The Mechanikals – a major review

The Mechanikals coverI was truly thrilled by this great review of my YA novel, The Mechanikals on Amazing Stories. I used to read the paperback version of Amazing Stories as a teenager, jumped at the chance to blog for the new version, which is a website. 

Now, don’t misunderstand, the bossman, Steve Davidson would be opposed to any form of sycophancy. The deal was the reader could read and decide not to read if whoever it was didn’t enjoy the first few pages.

The review duly appeared and I was, as some standup comedian once said, incandescent.

My author site is live

I thought I was long overdue in creating a website for my work. So, here it is – a work in progress, as all writer’s sites should be. I hope you’ll check it out and recommend it to your social networks (or even friends you see in real life!)

myweb

 

Dead Boyfriends out now

DB

DEAD BOYFRIENDS
A paranormal romantic comedy
by John Dodds

Some guys won’t take “no” for an answer – even from beyond the grave.

Daisy Wentworth’s life couldn’t be better. For one thing she works as a gallery attendant who regularly has to deal with abusive visitors. For another, her opinion of herself as a “fat-arsed frump” pretty well summarises the state of her self-esteem. And not only has her latest boyfriend just died but now his ghost, and another three of her deceased lovers’ ghosts, have taken up residence in her flat.

Things seem to be looking up when handsome businessman, Carl Simmons, falls for her. The only problem is the jealous, vindictive, dead exes, who are determined that “Mr. Businessman” won’t have their girl.

Get it now on Amazon Kindle (cheap!). Anyone who’d like to review for website, blog, Goodreads, etc, just reply to this posting and I’ll send you a copy.

Cover photography: Amani AlShaali

 

An apology to my blog

My dear blog,

I wish to apologise unreservedly for having neglected you for so long. My only excuse is that I don’t have an excuse, other than life being so full. Not only having a new novel coming out as an audiobook later this year but I’ve been teaching creative writing, cutting grass that won’t stop growing, and working on several new writing projects.

For example, my forthcoming series, BAD SEEDS is shaping up to what I hope is sort of a cross between Person of Interest, Breaking Bad and The Avengers. That was my elevator pitch, folks.

And I will be self publishing my formerly anthologised novelette, DEAD BOYFRIENDS, though Amazon Kindle. News on that will follow shortly – I’ll be offering free copies to those of you who are willing to review it on Goodreads, your blog or website, or otherwise tell others about it.

 

The Felted Stone

jakk54:

My wife, Carole’s forthcoming web space. Watch this space.

Originally posted on craftywoman:

 

stones-on-rock copyrighted

I am very excited to let you all know about my new (soon to be live) web space.

The Felted Stone will be a place of creativity, meditation, and transformational opportunities.

Here is a little taster of some imagery for chakra work

chakra stones

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The Mechanikals on Kindle – some customer reviews

The Mechanikals coverMy YA steampunk superheroes novel, The Mechanikals, came out recently for Kindle. Some excellent customer reviews have come in so far, so thanks to those who’ve taken the time to give feedback. Incidentally, some readers picked up errors, but these have now been fixed.

4/5 stars from Ms. J.M. Pryke: “An excellent book, enjoyable, fast moving, very vivid situation. Well-developed characters who are caught up in a kind of parallel universe. The hero goes through a great turmoil of emotions linked to his experiences. I’d recommend anyone to read it. I only gave it 4 stars as it was an unusual genre for me to read but for science fiction readers …Go for it!”

5/5 stars from Andy Kitchener: “Very clever and enjoyable read, loved the approach, reminded me of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and reading H.G. Wells, or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books I loved from the past. Great read thanks.”

5/5 stars from Capot: “This is basically a story of good vs evil and the discovery by a poor orphan boy of his special powers and those of his friends. There is a good twist in the plot towards the end of the book that most will not see coming. The plot and characters were well thought out and the ending would seem to lead to a follow on book. I’d recommend this book to readers of all ages.”

Free review copies are available on request – just use the comment box below.

The Mechanikals – free on Amazon today

My YA steampunk superheroes book, The Mechanikals, is free on Amazon for Kindle today, so please help yourself….

Image

Bad Seeds Preview

Coming out soon on Amazon, the first volume in my continuing science fiction/supernatural thriller series, Bad Seeds.

Here’s the opening section of the first novella, Hack 1: Enter Sandman. Each volume will be self-contained but with continuing back stories. Comments welcome, even at this stage.

Hack-1-coverMr. Sandman
Bring me a dream
Make her complexion
Like peaches and cream
Give her two lips
Like roses in clover
Then tell me that my lonesome nights are over
— 
The Chordettes

THE DAY I DIED it was sunny and the birds were singing. Typical. I’d been hoping for a minimum of some gloomy stormclouds and a dramatic drumroll of thunder. Not too much to expect since that’s my city’s default weather pattern. Still, once you’ve decided to off yourself you’ve forfeited the right to be choosy.

On the upside there was one thing I could be choosy about: my exit strategy. Suicidal or not, I’m no masochist. Pain not being my thing, I had to figure out the best way to shuffle off my mortal coil so that it wouldn’t sting too much.

I considered the following options:

Gunshot to the head.

Poison.

Jumping off a tall building.

Slashing my wrists.

Hanging myself.

All of the above have more cons than pros, though. Gunshhot; a chance of not hitting the relevant vital organ straight away. Poison; could take too long and the potential for a futile change of mind. Jumping: like they say, it’s not the fall that kills you but hitting the ground — and the falling would be a little too scary. Blade to the wrists; again, too much thinking time. Hanging — a snapped neck is okay, but slow suffocation isn’t.

It took weeks to hit upon the final method. It was a stroke of genius, too. Not that my damned guardian angel thought so.

Evolution of a book jacket

One of the most challenging aspects of being an indie author is creating a book cover. I’m fortunate in one respect, in that I worked for a number of years as a graphic designer. But I am not an artist. My line was mainly typography, layout, logo design, publication design and so on. Along the way I learned to use PhotoShop, Illustrator and other graphics programs. So I feel relatively comfortable doing a layout.

To some extent, it’s possible to use freeware images, or combine images to create something original. But, in an ideal world, if you can afford it, there are plenty of excellent artists and photographers out there who offer their skills at a modest price (or some form of bartering).

Recently, I found a very talented artist on Deviant Art - Ted-Mx (Fyodor Ananiev). He and I are working together on a cover for the first volume in a novella series called Bad Seeds. I’ve used one of his existing images to create the draft cover below.

I found a free font, called Xirod, which I used for the branding and subtitle. The other text is simply a standard font. I reversed the first E on the word Seeds to visually suggest what the word means (black sheep, or people who dysfunctional in some way, or with criminal tendencies – all of the above describe my slightly warped “heroes”). I’ll tell you more about the series itself later, but meantime I’d value comments and feedback on this initial cover idea.

Hack-1-cover

New on Adventures in SciFi Publishing

A double whammy (as we say in the UK): a review I did of Mike Resnick’s book, The Doctor and the Dinosaurs, and a podcast interview with me, both on Adventures in SciFi Publishing.

The podcast mentions that the audiobook download version of Bone Machines is $1.99 – sorry, but that offer has now been closed. However, the new price, still discounted, is $14.96.

In the interview, show host, Timothy C. Ward, and I talk about the craft of writing. We cover a range of topics, including:

  • How to ensure your dialect is accurate when writing in a non-native culture
  • What idioms can we use when making up worlds and civilizations?
  • “The rhythm of the language is more important than the words that you use.”
  • How religion affected early censorship as well as in modern books, but also the surprising openness to sex that non-religious people react to.

A big thanks to Tim for the interview. Though, to be fair,  I thought I was online to interview Kay Kenyon, but Tim snagged some of our informal chat beforehand to put into the podcast.  You’re so sneaky, Tim!

 

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