Monday, 31 August 2015

AMA Answers Part One; A Beer For The Shower

I decided to answer the AMA questions in no particular order except the one I have imposed. The questions I got asked were great and may take a post each. So thanks everyone who asked something. I'm glad it went so well. I didn't get a lot of questions, but the ones I were asked were awesome. So anyway, here's the answers to the first set of questions. These ones asked by the boys at A Beer For The Shower.

1. What sets Immortal Space apart from other books in its genre?
This is the kind of question I'd have trouble with, which is also something that will see me having difficulty getting published. But I thought about it and do have an answer for you. The first thing is that Trent isn't like other immortal people in fiction. They are either a megalomaniac because of their immortality, or utterly depressed after having lived such a long life. Trent is neither and genuinely still loves life. He doesn't pretend to love it, or keep going out of some sense of duty or obligation.

The other is that even though it is science fiction, it's not very tech heavy. It's a great jumping on point for people who are new the genre. The things that are technical are explained and there aren't a whole bunch of difference species to know. There's no ages of customs or history you need to know. Star Wars and Star Trek throw you into a world with many different races, each with their own history and traditions. Doctor Who throws you to a new race almost every week. Immortal Space deals with human characters in a human setting, dealing with human problems.

2. What kind of music do you listen to while writing, or do you at all?
I listen to music when I write. I generally listen to faster paced and heavier music when I write. It depends as well on what I'm writing. When I had to write a story dealing with child abuse I listened to the saddest song I could find. On repeat. I cried by the time I was done.

3. What's the most hilarious inanimate object that you could kill a person with, and why?
A big black billycock. No wait, that's just hilarious to say. To be honest I can thin of lots of things I can kill people with and have a very twisted sense of humour. I don't like how much thought I'm actually putting in to this.

I suppose with a computer you can utterly ruin someone's life and drive them to suicide. It's not exactly hilarious but it would be fun to watch if you were the one doing it. In terms of comedy/slapstick you can't go wrong with the ol' anvil on the head. I'm a fan of the classics.

 Coming up on Thursday will be the answers to Mich's question, and Christine, who both asked me about favourites. Friday will be Fang's answers just because of the name. And because I got more questions than I expected this week there will even be a post on Wednesday where I answer Debra's questions. So look forward to it.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Hawaii Jumping On The Green Train

After my recent post about places being powered entirely by natural sources, another player has entered the game. This time it's Hawaii that have pledged to become carbon neutral in just 20 years, and powered entirely by renewable sources of power in 30.
I don't think I'd last long in Hawaii. I'd melt pretty quick.
It might sound like a long time away but I imagine it's the kind of thing that might take a while. Better to start now than be completely screwed in ten to twenty years time and realise you don't have another twenty years to spare. I didn't think about it much but energy is pretty costly in Hawaii because of the island nature of the place. They tend to have to ship fuels in which costs a lot. Right now they run on a lot of petroleum. The plan was to switch to natural gas but now the governor has decided it would be more prudent, and better in the long run, to use the money to invest in renewable energy instead.
Here's the badass signing it in. (Source)
It's kind of being seen as an experiment to see how the rest of the United States would do if they tried to switch to being purely renewable. They're even going to get some help from the US military. I for one hope it goes well and even more countries (or states) take up the challenge of becoming entirely carbon neutral.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

My Cat Is Devious But Adorable

I mentioned that last week I took my cat Kadie to the vet. There's nothing seriously wrong with her, but she does have an allergy to fleas. Which sounds like the worst thing a cat can have actually. It's why the bites on her body don't heal properly and why the fur around her tail is a bit rough. The flea collar drove them away from her neck and down to her tail. So I had to get rid of that. Who knew flea collars were actually a bad thing?
She actually did have a collar that looked just like this
Her having an allergy means that it's now my job to give her pills. Steroids to be exact. She had them daily for a week and now has them every other day. Which is good for me because giving a cat a pill is a nightmare. I thought I'd try and train her by giving her a treat after managing to get the pill down her throat. Getting a cat to eat a pill is done by holding them down, lifting their head up, prying it open, and hoping to God they don't kill you before you get the pill in. Even then they tend to spit it out. It was so bad I actually apologised to my dad for if he ever had to force feed me medicine.
She also looks like she has drug problems
It seemed to be going well actually. On Monday and Tuesday she took the pill without much of a fight. On Tuesday she even opened her mouth and let me pop it in. I thought I'd done something barely anyone had ever done before; for a brief moment I considered I may have trained my cat. Then yesterday she fought again. So she tricked me into thinking she was being compliant. Because she's evil.

Because she's a cat.

"If I fits, I sits"

Monday, 24 August 2015

Ask Me Anything

I know I don't have a lot of followers and this might not go too well, but I decided screw it, I might as well open myself up to some questions. I ran a small AMA a few weeks ago on Voat that could have gone a little better, but hey I ended up selling a book so it can't have been that bad, no?

So to commemorate the release of Immortal Space feel free to ask me anything. It can be about the book, about me, about writing and self publishing (from my perspective), England, or anything in between.

I'll find some other way to occupy the rest of the week here at the blog and have the answers up Monday. This also gives me more time to get a few questions. I doubt I'll have to split it across several posts but if I do, then do that I shall. In the mean time I'll just shut up now and open myself up to questions.

Don't forget to pick up your copy of Immortal Space today! Or tomorrow. Or whenever. The sooner the better though.

Friday, 21 August 2015

A PSA For Dog Owners

I don't know if this is a thing outside of the UK, but you should check to see if it is. After the tragedy of losing Garfield I decided it would be a good idea to take my other cat, Kadie, to the vet. While I was there I learned about something pretty important I want to share with you all now.

Did you know that it's possible for a dog to become a blood donor?
I don't know why I never thought about it before. I don't think I considered that dogs could get blood transfusions is all. But they can, and that blood has to come from somewhere. So if you're a dog owner and you live in the UK please consider letting your furry friend donate blood. If something happened to your dog you'd want the blood to be there and available, and everyone feels the same. Or they should.

Again I'm not sure if this is a scheme outside of the UK but if it is then go for it. It's a neat and nice thing to do. Of course don't forget to give the dog a treat when the blood is taken. If people can get a cookie for donating blood then a dog can get a treat.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Seals! (And Other Animals)

I didn't get the chance to go on vacation this year. Instead I went on a day trip to the place I usually go on vacation and we tried to fit as much as we could into one day. One thing I insisted that we do is go to the Natureland Seal Sanctuary so that was the first place we stopped. I will not be defied. The first stop was, of course, the seals. It's a seal sanctuary after all.
He got the seals to wave. A lot. It was adorbs.
It's very easy to do the rounds in the place, and see everything in one round trip, so that was what we did. After the seals came the baby seals, the koi carp (which are freaking huge), the penguins, the reptile house (after a trip to the meerkats) the tropical house, which includes butterflies, then the petting zoo which has a number of small animals and bigger ones including ALPACAS.

This photo taken shortly before I was molested by the alpacas
 After the petting zoo came the aquariums which marked the end of the round trip. We made a short trip to the gift shop, as you do, and then it was time to be off. I make it a point to go to Natureland once a year and I hope I can continue to do that. I love the place, and what they do for the local wildlife.

One thing I would like to do if I became super rich is actually own an animal sanctuary. For now I'll have to enjoy ones owned by other people.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Goodbye Garfield

This isn't the post I wanted to make today. This isn't a post I ever wanted to make. I'm on a few hours sleep and I'm very emotional so you'll have to forgive me. My dad woke me up early to let me know one of the things I was fearing most had come to pass.

My beloved cat Garfield passed away overnight.
At first I didn't react much. I had just woken up and I didn't process it. Then about ten minutes later I started crying. An hour later, as I write this, I still am. To be honest it's probably harder on my dad. He fed Garfield the most so of course he was Garfield's favourite. He shouted at him a lot but I know he loved the guy really.

The first time Garfield actually left the house I cried a lot. Luckily my mum and family were in the house at the same. She organised a search party and found him pretty quick. Then he disappeared for a whole week to get laid once. I've actually seen cats around town that look an awful lot like him.

I know some people might think it odd for me to be so emotional about a cat but today I didn't just lose a cat. I lost an important friend. So I hope you can understand that today I won't be visiting any blogs or anything like that. I'll catch up tomorrow or something. Today I just want to take some time for myself.

Today I hugged my dad for the first time in probably a decade. Today I lost one of the best friends I've ever had.

I should have done something. I noticed you weren't breathing right. I thought it was just your weight. I'm really sorry I didn't. I hope you can forgive me.

I love you. I miss you. Now I'm off to cry some more.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Pizza Delivery By Plane? Totally Worth It

In the vein of "interesting but still funny news" I discovered last night that some remote Caribbean islands can now have pizza delivered to them, and by a plane no less. It's one of those stories you find yourself thinking "Please be true" and then you're delighted when it is. Because it's awesome.
Been a while since I've had a pizza
It's something that kind of started out as a joke but last month became a reality. There was an april fool's joke where someone delivered pizza by helicopter. It was a long time coming but eventually Dominos were able to work out a deal with a local airline and get pizza delivered along with planes that were headed to the islands anyway. Apparently delivery is less than $3, which is pretty awesome considering the pizza is coming by a *frickin plane*.

There are only two downsides to this. The first is that you still have to go to the airport to collect the pizza. But, hey, it's pizza. The other downside is that the only pizza company with this connection is Dominos.

Still it's pretty awesome to consider the things we do with the wonderful technology we have. We have this thing that can be used to take anyone, and anything, anywhere in the world. And we use it to deliver pizza.

Humans are awesome like that.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

The Nightmares Of Self Publishing

I mentioned in Monday's post that actually publishing Immortal Space ended up being quite a nightmare. The first problem was that I made the completely moronic mistake of quietly publishing it at 6 in the morning. After being awake 20 hours. After sleeping about 4. I think you can see how that might go wrong.
Solid advice
I woke up to find that the document was formatted terribly. I made the mistake of using the headings system in Word. It turns out that, for books, you want to use the bookmark system. So I spent two hours re-re-formatting the document. That wasn't fun. There was another big problem with the cover.


I don't know if I made a mistake with my instructions or Jessica made a mistake with executing them but it was the wrong size. It was initially wider than it was tall, which is a big no no with books. Generally a book cover should be a 1.6 ratio. Which it wasn't. So I had to resize the cover. I then had to reupload the document and the cover to the sites I published on. Except I couldn't do that on CreateSpace. I couldn't change the cover until after they had reviewed it. So I had no choice but to wait until I could do that.

Next time I publish a book I need to remember all of this as I'm writing the document. Not after. It was a nightmare fixing everything. Hopefully it becomes worth it.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Immortal Space Is FINALLY Released

It's been a day two years in the making but I can tell you that, once and for all, Immortal Space has finally been released. I opted to sell it through more platforms than just Kindle this time so I have a few links for you to be able to buy the book from. Print editions are coming soon but, due the cost of production, will unfortunately cost twice as much as the ebook edition. It's the minimum price so I couldn't go any lower than that.
So if you'd like to buy Immortal Space (and why wouldn't you?) Here's where you can find it.

It's available through Smashwords here.
For Amazon.com it's here.
For Amazon.co.uk it's here.
Cover designed by my good friend Jessica. No, not that one.


For other Amazon stores just replace ".co.uk" with the local domain for you, or search for it on Amazon. For print editions you'll want to go to CreateSpace and that can be found here. You can also buy a digital edition from CreateSpace. If you have complaints about the price I assure you that the price is the lowest it can possibly be. Even though it costs $10 I actually only get about $2-3 in royalties. Print editions will also be available on Amazon over the next few days.

So what are you waiting for? Go pick up your copy of Immortal Space today. Don't forget to leave a review too. Whether you enjoy the book or not.

But, you know, I hope you do enjoy it.

Friday, 7 August 2015

"It Tastes Like Crunchy Milk"

I think I mentioned a week or two ago that I would soon be in the hospital getting a test done. It was set up after the last time I went in there for my throat. The doctor reckons it's tonsilitis but still set up a test called a "Barium swallow and meal" for me. Basically I would ingest something that would show up in an x-ray. I would be x-rayed while swallowing it, then I had to lie down and turn around so it would coat my stomach, then have a picture taken of that glorious mess.
Not my x-ray but this is basically what a barium swallow does.
The title of today's post is something ridiculous I found myself thinking, and then actually saying. The barium swallow was white but because Barium is a metal it had small bits of metal in it. This made the solution crunchy and, as it was white, it really was like crunchy milk. Still one of the stupidest things I've ever found myself saying out loud.

After that was done there was another part. My stomach was essentially turned into a grade school science fair project. That's right; I had to eat bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. It was pretty cool though. He gave me a spoonful of the soda and told me to put it on my tongue. After that I had to down the liquid like a shot. It looked a lot cooler than it felt and tasted. That was not as fun as the crunchy milk.

In the end he said everything looked almost perfect in there. So it seems the problem is tonsilitis. Now I have to wait until the end of next month to meet the doctor again and go over the results properly and, hopefully, arrange to have my tonsils removed.

The worst part of the whole ordeal was actually having to wake up super early. Because you aren't allowed to eat anything up to six hours before a barium swallow they tend to be done early in the morning.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Some Decent Progress

It's time for the easiest blog post of the month now that monthly Immortal Space updates are done. It's time to check in on my weight loss progress. I got weighed on Tuesday. I even dragged myself to the gym on my own on Monday because Paul couldn't go. Even going to have to do it again today, if I get enough sleep. More on my lack of sleep tomorrow.
For now it's time to step on the scales
As the title of the post suggests I made a nice bit of progress. I was able to drop six pounds, which comes out to just over a pound a week. That's not bad but I'm me, so I'm never satisfied. I've completely switched up my diet so hopefully this progress continues, or manages to further improve over the next few months and I get back on track. This week I'm set to eat badly though. I'm going on a day trip on Saturday instead of going away for a full week on holiday. It's the first year I can remember not going on holiday actually.

I think I mentioned before I managed to cut out crisps. That was pretty successful. My dad is eating them now but I'm not the type to complain about someone eating food I've told myself I'm not allowed. I'm not a prick like that. I happily sat with him while he ate bacon and sausage when I went vegetarian for a few months.

Outside of crisps I've also gotten rid of yogurts and replaced them with apples. It's only a little less in terms of amount of food, but a big difference in calories. When you throw in that change I've managed to cut out about 200-300 calories out of my diet a day. Even on days when I have breakfast I rarely break 1300 calories. Sometimes I don't even break 1200.

We'll see where it goes from here.

Monday, 3 August 2015

A Preview Of My Next Book (If You Can Read It)

As I continue waiting for the book cover of Immortal Space, and consider hiring a professional, I'm working on my next book. I've said this before. You might remember I decided I would write this entire book by hand. I've not quite regretted this decision yet. I assure you I will however. It sucks because I wrote the first 8k words in a document and I need to copy that to paper. I'm also adding to the original work so it's going to be closer to 10k words probably by the time I'm finished with this. Anyway, I'm going to post the first two pages of the pad I'm writing on. If you can read my hand writing then enjoy this little preview of The Spirit.

Here's a tip; load the images up to their full size or you'll have almost no chance of reading them.

Page one!

Page 2! Scanned badly!

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