AIA Publishing’s latest book will likely make you consider becoming a vegetarian: ‘Spiderworld’ review

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What if spider-like creatures were the top of the food chain and used humans as slaves and for entertainment and meat? Would you be selected as a buck, or would be join the majority of males as a castrate? And if you're a woman, would you be selected for breeding or sent to the arena to fight for your life against an assortment of deadly alien animals. It's a chilling vision and one that, in 'Spiderworld' by Richard Bunning, Timelord Orlando Oversight assures us will one day not be fiction. My publishing company has just published this intriguing and unique book. Readers who enjoy a bit of metaphysics in their fiction will particularly enjoy it. And if you like off-beat sci fi or any kind of speculative fiction, I'd say you really should read it. I read so many books that it's hard to find any that really excite me, but this one does (That's why I published it!) The characters are a mix of humans and spider-like aliens. There's Boklung, a verbose rather pompous spider chap, … [Read more...]

Mortdecai review: Critics can be so wrong.

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I watched Mortdecai last night. It is the funniest movie I’ve seen for a long time. Yet the critics panned it. The Sydney Morning Herald, for example, said that it was a waste of talent. Where, I wonder, is their sense of humour? Did they not see that this movie is a spoof, that it is supposed to be silly? Have they not seen the original Peter Sellers’ Pink Panther? Or did they just not like the style and their idea of an excellent movie is restricted to other styles? Maybe they didn’t like the character of Mordecai—he is upper-class English with the worst of their traits. Who knows? But I suspect that to pan this movie you would have to not have a sense of humour or, at least, this style of humour doesn’t work for you. The Peter Sellers Pink Panther movies, considered masterpieces in their time, weren’t for everyone either, but anyone who enjoyed the original PP would see that this is a brilliant movie, and I found it funnier. As for the remake of The Pink Panther—I didn’t find that … [Read more...]

Where have I been? Where am I going?

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Sorry to have neglected you. I have no wise words for you today, just a quick catch up in case anyone might be vaguely interested. My writing has taken a seat way down the back of the bus because my masks are selling and my editing clients are building up. Making masks is a better combination with editing health wise, because I get to move around and use a different part of my brain. It's a lovely break from working with words. Also one mask sale equals 15 book sales, and I'm not selling 15 books a month, not anywhere near - mind you, I'm putting no effort into it either. Been there, done that, and it hasn't paid off. At this point it feels like flogging a dead horse. My promotions have broken even, but not actually made me any money, and it's not because they're bad books; the awards prove that.  I did better last year and the year before, but it's just getting harder. I keep waiting for the Diamond Peak Series to take off, but ... it may never happen. Whereas, I sold 4 … [Read more...]

How to suceed: the bliss and surprising results of no ambition

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  The Western world suffers from the diseases of busyness and driven ambition. We are taught that ambition is a good thing, that without it we won’t go very far, but ambition that’s driven by desperation is not a good thing. There’s a big difference between having a relaxed aim to achieve or create something and being desperate to achieve. The desperate model is based on fear – the fear that we won’t succeed in what we set out to do. We feel that if we fail to succeed in an endeavour, then we are a failure and being a failure is a dreadful thing. (Is it really such a terrible thing?) This happens because we don’t separate ourselves from our project. We treat our book as if it were us, so that when someone criticises our book, we take the criticism personally.  The hope and fear that come from this kind of emotional investment in our ventures creates enormous stress and leads to defensiveness in the face of criticism that can be so extreme as to be a kind of insanity. If you … [Read more...]

Intriguing – a review of ‘Tom Houghton’ by Todd Alexander

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Tom Houghton is a well-written story about a complex and tortured character. It juxtaposes the past with the present to give us some understanding of why the adult Tom is the way he is. The result is an intriguing psychological profile. Tom Houghton is a strange little boy, and it’s Tom as a boy that carries this book. The structure is one chapter in the past with Tom as a bullied twelve year old, followed by one chapter with Tom as he is now, a gay actor with massive insecurities, then we have another chapter with the boy and so on. The ‘Tom the boy’ thread tells the story of Tom’s determination to show those who bully him that he’s worth far more than they could ever imagine.  After several chapters of just getting to know Tom and his obsession with Hollywood, Tom’s teacher decides that the class will have a Hollywood dress up day and all the children will wear costumes. For the rest of that thread, the reader is wondering what it actually is that his neighbour is creating for him … [Read more...]

‘Prunella Smith: Worlds Within Worlds’ just received a BRAG Medallion for outstanding fiction. Yay!

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Prunella Smith: World Within Worlds has received a BRAG Medallion for outstanding independent fiction. This is my third BRAG Medallion. I also have one for my YA book Lethal Inheritance and also one for You Can't Shatter Me.  .    You can see all the details on the BRAG website. http://www.bragmedallion.com/medallion-honorees/2015-brag-medallion-books/prunella-smith-worlds-within-worlds Do you think I should put the stickers on the cover? This one and the Seal of Excellence? … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Power of Meow by David Michie

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The Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Power of Meow by David Michie is a delightful novel that tells the story of a cat’s forays into meditation. Though fictional, the book contains some excellent snippets of well essentialised Buddhist wisdom, just enough to make this book more than just a story but not enough to make it didactic. His Holiness’s Cat (HHC) has a charming voice and a delightful perspective on the world. She lives with the Dalia Lama and wanders around the nearby area, visiting friends at a nearby café.  She listens in to the humans’ conversations and shares her insights into their lives with the reader, and through this we get to know the human characters around her. Though a cat, HHC has the same kind of challenges as most people when they start to meditate—mental fleas—and some of the other characters have the same issues which the Dalai Lamas addresses in his wise but simple manner. HHC and the other characters on the same path learn the benefits of even a small amount … [Read more...]

What does a line editor do?

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  This quote from Gary Provost shows you the kind of things a line editor does to turn mediocre prose into something that shines. This is why line editing is an art, you can learn the principles, but in the end, how good a line editor you are depends on  how well you hear the music, the music of language. … [Read more...]

Literary Fiction Review: The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire b y Sandra Hutchinson – highly recommended

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A coming-of-age novel set in America in the late 70s, Sandra Hutchison's The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire centers on the relationship between David, a physics professor in his 30s, and Molly, the teenage girl who used to babysit his daughter. Molly doesn't babysit for David anymore because his wife and daughter recently perished in a plane crash. He is too overwhelmed by grief to take care of himself, so his estranged sister hires Molly to keep house for him. Molly has problems of her own. Her parents are divorced. Her father loves her but now has another wife and children, a family where she has a marginal place. She mostly lives with her mother, a notorious and uninhibited artist who commemorates Molly's first period by constructing the figure of a girl with tampons and, of course, exhibiting it publicly. Molly's schoolmates call her Tampon Girl. The physics professor doesn't seduce or become obsessed with the teenager, nor does she have a girlish crush on him. While David … [Read more...]