Mythaxis Magazine: Spring Edition


The print edition of Mythaxis Review Magazine will be available to buy from Amazon in the next few days.

As you can see from the cover, it contains reviews from me, so think of this as blatant self-promotion!

I confess that seeing my name on the cover of any publication does make me feel very good, and makes all my hard work trying to write worthwhile.

By choice, I don’t make any money from doing this, but would of course be immensely pleased if anyone decided to buy a copy.

Just Been Watching… (114)

The Limehouse Golem (2016)

I watched this film on the BBC, and it is also available on Amazon.

***No spoilers***

Adapted from the novel by Peter Ackroyd, this film is set in Victorian London, in the 1880s. Think of those films about the real ‘Jack The Ripper’ murders you might have seen, and you get the idea. However, Ackroyd is a distinguished and wonderful writer, and he brings that era to the screen in fascinating detail, with convincing performances from a dedicated cast.

With a series of brutal and unconnected murders causing uproar in one of London’s poorest districts, Inspector Kildare (Bill Nighy) is brought in to take over the case. He is not expected to be able to cope, and is merely a scapegoat for Scotland Yard to blame when he fails. He soon discovers a connection with a woman on trial for poisoning her husband, (Olivia Cooke) and with the assistance of Constable Flood (Daniel Mays) he starts to look closely at all the suspects for the heinous crimes.

Where this story scored for me was in the introduction of real people into the fictional killings. The famous Music Hall entertainer, Dan Leno, once the highest paid person in Britain, features heavily throughout. He is played by Douglas Booth, with real flair. Other suspects include Karl Marx, the writer of Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto. He was actually living in London at the time, and is woven into the story.

The tale unfolds in a series of flashbacks and ‘fantasy’ sequences, as we see inside the mind of the troubled detective. We also follow the life of the poisoning suspect, Lizzie Cree, and her unfaithful husband, John. Most of the film is set in a Music Hall, where many of the characters work. This allows for a very interesting insight into the entertainment of the time, along with the way that social classes mixed in such establishments. With no spoilers, I cannot go into detail. But this film had me gripped, and wanting to know the identity of the murderer.

That is revealed right at the end, in a wonderful twist that I didn’t suspect. And I love twists!

I should add a warning that the murders are shown in some graphic detail, with lots of blood. There are some sexual references, and minor nudity, but nothing unsuitable for TV viewing in the 21st century. If you like your murder mysteries set in the past, and enjoy films with an old-fashioned feel, then this is one for you.

It has had mixed reviews, but I would suggest ignoring those. This film brings a cast of mostly British character actors all at the top of their game. In addition to those mentioned, there is the reliable Eddie Marsan as the theatre manager, and Henry Goodman as Karl Marx.

I really enjoyed the atmosphere, and the performances.
This trailer gives a good feel of the film.

A Pretty Amazing Book Deal

I was lying in bed last night, scrolling through some Amazon recommendations.

I found this.

That’s not a typo. ALL of Charles Dickens’ novels for £0.75 p.
That is 86 cents in Euros.
And 96 cents, US.

All of his novels, downloaded in under a minute.
Wonderful classic British literature, and timeless too.

I remember when my grandmother bought all of Dickens’ collected works in leather-bound hardback volumes.
She paid for that collection for years, one book at a time.

I accept that a Kindle edition is far from glamorous.
But at 75 p, it is an absolute bargain, better than any other I have ever seen.

Obviously, I bought it!

Books, and Amazon

Regular readers will have noticed that I am reviewing a lot more books lately.
Since buying a Kindle Fire tablet for myself last Christmas, I have got back into reading.

As well as reviewing most books that I buy outside of blogging, I have also reviewed those of some fellow bloggers.
At the end of the review, I always add a buying link.
And that is usually an Amazon link, as they are the only suppliers of Kindle versions, which are generally the cheapest option.

But in case anyone was wondering…

*I am not affiliated to Amazon in any way, and receive no commission from any books bought via those links.

*I have paid for every book I have ever reviewed, even turning down the offer of free copies from blogging friends.

*I rarely pay more than £1.99 for a book, usually just 99 p.

*I still buy some paperback and hardback books second-hand, mostly through Amazon Marketplace sellers.

*I wouldn’t like any of you to think that I use those book reviews as a source of income, however small that would be.

*They are all 100% genuine reviews, so you can rest assured that I meant what I said, even if I gave a book the equivalent of five stars.

I just wanted everyone to know. 🙂

Books, Books, and More Books

Ever since I started this blog, I have noticed quite a few things. One of those is that lots of people blog about books. And I mean LOTS!

They review books, they blog about books they are reading, and they blog about books they have read before. They list their Goodreads selections, and how many books they have already read that year. Many mention their TBR (To be read) piles, often wondering if they can ever possibly get to the end of them. I soon realised that where books are concerned, I am a very small fish, in a crowded ocean of literary sea lions.

Well done to them all. I love that people are still reading. It doesn’t matter whether they are using an electronic device, or turning the pages of a huge hardback. It has to be better than watching TV all day, or playing video games.

Another thing I noticed was that many bloggers are also published authors. Some of them are contracted to big publishing houses, some self-published, and many more just starting out. They use their blogs to advertise and sell their books, and usually promote the books of other bloggers too. That’s great. People want to write. They want to see their name on a cover, and have something to show for all that imagination, and hard work. Well done to them too. Keep at it!

Many of my readers have kindly suggested that I should write a book. Perhaps a non-fiction account of my long service as an EMT, or a compilation of some of my most popular short stories. The extended fiction serials that I frequently post are usually long enough to qualify as a novella, so I could go down that route, possibly.

With all this in mind, I did some research.

Amazon currently lists 33,000,000 books, worldwide. And that’s just on one company’s website. I will write that number another way. 33 MILLION.

Many books now boast the words ‘Best Seller’ on their covers. I wonder how many copies have to be sold, before that claim is valid? I found out. To make one of the ‘Best-Seller’ lists in a prestigious journal such as The New York Times, a well-known or established author has to sell more than 5,000 copies. Even then, selling that number of copies doesn’t guarantee you will appear on the list at all. That is decided by an ‘Editorial Panel’. If you are a new author and it is your first book, that number has to reach 10,000 copies, before you will even be considered.

Amazon can rightly claim to dominate the market in book sales in 2019. Their version of what constitutes a best seller is very different. Established authors publishing on Amazon only have to sell in excess of 1,000 copies, before their latest book receives the ‘Best Seller’ accolade on the cover. Unknown authors have to sell more than 5,000 copies to get the same recognition.

So if you are planning to publish your book, don’t be too disappointed if it gets lost in the crowd. And don’t expect it to make the Best Seller lists.
Not yet, anyway.

Meanwhile, keep reading, and keep writing about reading. And if you want to, keep writing that book too. 🙂

The Internet: Compulsive Buying

I almost bought something I didn’t need this morning. It was on my Amazon Wish List, and they sent me a suggestion email, that I might like to go ahead with the purchase,

Perhaps like many other people, I frequently add things to my wish list on Amazon, just to remind myself that I like those items, and may wish to buy them in the future. Unfortunately, Amazon is a marketing wonder, so constantly reminds me about items I have added, especially if they have sightly reduced in price.

I was almost mesmerised into adding the item to ‘My basket’, when I remembered that I would have to spend £20, to qualify for ‘Free delivery’. That in itself is misleading of course, as I have no doubt that Amazon has already factored any delivery costs into their pricing plan. But to add something extra in order to reach that magical £20 mark is indeed compulsive.

Buying with ‘One Click’ with Amazon online is so easy now. They have my account details, my delivery address details, and my payment details. Just click ‘Buy Now’, and the transaction happens so seamlessly, the confirmation email has already arrived in my inbox. I can actually feel ‘happy’, that the sale has gone though without a hitch. How crazy is that?

The end result, is that by my own admission, I constantly buy stuff that I do not need. DVD films to add to a pile that I might never watch, Kindle books added to a list that I can hardly keep up with already. Then there are the home and kitchen gadgets, that look so effective in the short videos. In reality, I could do most of those tasks with a sharp kitchen knife. But Amazon is very clever. Much cleverer than I am. They make it look not only easy, but essential. Amazon has me enthralled and captivated.

On the plus side, I am aware of this mercantile snake charmer, so unlikely to be seduced.

So why does it keep happening, I wonder?

Charity Book Sale: Updated

***Please scroll to the end, for an Amazon update***

Writer and fellow blogger Christoph Fischer is one of a group of authors who have got together to raise funds for the animal charity shown above. They are selling an exciting series of medical thrillers at a bargain price, and donating the proceeds to help animals in need.

‘Do you crave reading books with nail-biting suspense, twisted plots and great characters who get caught up in whirlwinds of crime, deception and lies? Do you love sitting on the edge of your seat, wondering who will survive…and who won’t?

From the mountains of West Virginia, to acute care hospitals, the battlefields of the Middle East and the hallowed halls of our educational system, join us for these incredible stories of healthcare gone wrong.

DO NO HARM is an extraordinary, limited collection of medical thrillers written by USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Amazon best-selling authors. You can order it now for .99!

If you like Robin Cook, David Baldacci and Patricia Cornwell, this collection is for you! Do No Harm is a binge-readers dream – 14 medical thriller books in one! And you can only get this collection of books from this group of authors here!’;jsessionid=631B75678AE09F83EB51E5858BC9E41F.prodny_store01-atgap14

(It will also be available on Amazon, later in 2019.)

This is a great offer. Please investigate the link, share this post on social media, and buy a copy if you can.
Let’s all help the animals!

Here is a link to Christoph’s own blog post on the offer.
If you are able to help out by promoting this on your own blog, please let him know in the comments.


I have ordered my copy!

A Present To Myself

Sometimes, the best presents are things you buy for yourself. You don’t have to wrap them, or wait until the 25th to open them. After resisting Tablet ownership for some years now, I saw that there was a cheap offer on the Amazon Fire Tablet, with a 10.1 inch screen. As I already have a PC, a laptop, and a smartphone, I obviously didn’t need to have it. But who only buys things they actually need anymore? Not me, obviously.

But wait. I do actually need it, as I want to be able to read my Kindle books. All those lovely books written by fellow bloggers that I bought for 99p, and have stored in my Kindle library. I could read them on the PC. I tried that, and it wasn’t a comfortable experience. I also tried reading them on my smartphone, but that was too small. The laptop is unwieldy, especially for reading in bed, so I was able to justify the moderate expense of this Amazon-dedicated tablet. Especially as it is far cheaper than the actual Kindle Paperwhite book reader I was originally browsing for, and has more features.

It was delivered today, in the box shown above. Like most things these days, it had no instruction book, just a charger unit and the Tablet. So I charged it up and switched it on. After connecting to the home wi-fi, it immediately knew it was me. I am still enough of a technophobe to find that very spooky. Seconds later, it had downloaded all my music and Kindle books, and was fast making suggestions about more things Amazon thought I should buy, or apps I should download. It also delighted in telling me that I now had ‘Alexa’, and I could ask the robot anything I wanted. Maybe not, so I chose not to activate that weird voice, thank you.

After some frustrations with getting out of screens, and going back to home screens, I was using it reasonably well. It’s like a huge mobile phone really, and nothing at all like my trusty PC.

Of course, it is far from perfect. But what is? The cameras, front and back, are dull and grainy. But I don’t care, as I have lots of digital cameras, so didn’t intend to use this device to take photos. The search engine is Bing, by default. But that doesn’t bother me either, as I can search a lot faster using my PC, with a keyboard. Leave it alone for a while, and adverts pop up, mostly for pay-to-play games. But that didn’t worry me, as to buy the Tablet without those adverts is much more expensive. And I can just swipe them away. Eventually.

Screen resolution is average, at best. Compared to my wife’s Samsung Galaxy Tab, or an Apple i-pad, it looks gloomy. But that is of no consequence, as the Samsung costs three times as much, and the Apple even more than that. For two-thirds of the price of a Kindle e-book reader, I reckon it’s a bargain.

Let’s just hope it carries on working.

Guest post with Nicholas Rossis.

My good blogging friend, published author, and all-round nice guy, Nicholas Rossis, has kindly published a guest post from me on his blog. It is about my experiences as an Amazon reviewer.
If you think this might be of some interest, please follow this link.

Feel free to comment on his blog.

Nicholas Rossis: My guest review

Nicholas is an urbane and witty gentleman who lives in Athens. A published author, his literary website strives to promote other writers too, as well as his own work. It is always crammed with useful information and tips, together with a remarkably positive outlook on life. He recently featured a new free book, about how to understand the complex reviewing system on Amazon. Today, he has kindly published my own review of that book.

If you ever think about publishing a book or selling a product using Amazon, in any country, that book is a must-read, before you start that process. If you already have books published there and cannot get your head around how the reviews work, or why you don’t get any, this book will explain why.

Here’s a link, with my thanks to Nicholas.

Beetleypete Reviews “How to Get Good Reviews on Amazon”