Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Crossword Puzzle - June 2015

All right, so by now you know the drill (if you don't, read on). Each month, I  post a crossword puzzle for your brain-teasing enjoyment.

Print it out, solve it, and e-mail me your answers. If you're the first person to send me the correct answers before I post them on Tuesday, 20 July 2015, I'll mention you as the winner. I'll even offer you the choice of one of my e-books, completely free.

So, what are you waiting for? Let's go!


Clues

Across

1 A young goat (3)
3 With a needle (3)
5 Nothing (3)
8 Anger (3)
9 Thailand (4)
11 Brand of beauty soap (3)
13 Do with a canoe (3)
14 Open area of land for temporary pasture (3)
15 Witch (3)
18 Motor-cross bicycle (3)
20 Estimated time of arrival (3)
21 A tree's blood (3)
24 Used to see (3)
26 A young wolf (3)
28 Currency of Japan (3)
30 Make a mistake (3)
31 The alphabet (3)
33 Afrikaans uncle (3)
35 First month (3)
36 Fancy (4)
37 Submachine gun (3)
38 Dude, or guy (3)
39 Rodent with a long tail (3)
40 Catholic, wears a habit (3)

Down

2 Not bright (3)
3 Work well together (4)
4 Reminiscent of a box (4)
6 Member of a people of S.E. Nigeria (3)
7 For extinguishing cigarettes (7)
10 Persistent pain (4)
12 U-turns (4)
13 Steal (3)
16 Did with food (3)
17 Happy (3)
19 Height of the lowercase x (7)
22 Large primate (3)
23 Prefix in pursue (3)
25 Island in Tuscany (4)
27 Command for a horse to stop (4)
29 Vietnam (3)
31 Slightly open (4)
32 Also Canute (4)
34 Large evergreen tree (3)
36 Small metal rod (used in needlework) (3)

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Crossword Puzzle - May 2015 Answers

Still struggling to complete the May 2015 Crossword Puzzle?

Well, if you want to keep struggling, I suggest that you close this page now, because the answers are in!


Answers

Across

1 Preparer of food (4) cook
7 Pier (4) quay
8 Help (3) aid
9 Hard bench in church (3) pew
10 Snake from the Jungle Book (3) Kaa
12 Your father's brother (5) uncle
13 Gordimer (6) Nadine
15 Of the young (6) youthy
18 ... of your being (5) fibre
19 Mafia Boss (3) Don
21 ... you're it! (3) tag
22 Evil intelligent fantasy creature (3) orc
23 You don't want to find it in your apple (4) worm
24 Belonging to you (4) your

Down

2 Dutch hill (5) kopje
3 "War is a Machine" (6) HAWKIN
4 Barbie Girl band (4) Aqua
5 Whisky and ..., the day the music died (3) rye
6 Tropical American agave plant (6) maquey
11 One less than two, Afrikaans (3) een
14 Latin for neediness or poverty (6) egency
16 Or best offer (abbr.) (3) OBO
17 Gossiping women (Yiddish) (6) yentas
18 An old-fashioned person (5) fogey
19 A lady (4) dame
20 It's company (3) two

So how was that for you? Too easy? Too difficult? Just right? I'd love to know your thoughts. Please let me know in the comments below.

See you next week, for the June 2015 puzzle!


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Tales from Virdura: Kathryn's Saviour

Kathryn sat on the front steps of their family's small farm, just outside Virdura Castle. She was staring wistfully at Marcus, working in the fields of the neighbouring farm. He was far away, but she could still see the cords of his bulging neck muscles as he bent down and dragged the hoe through the soil.
“Mama,” she said as an older woman walked up behind her and put her hand of Kathryn's shoulder, “One day, I'm going to marry that man.”
Kathryn's mother looked down at her and smiled. “That's nice, dear,” she said, “but right now, we should get back to work. Your father will be back from the fields soon, and he will want his afternoon meal.”
***
Kathryn and her mother, Iris, were standing at the fire, stirring a pot of gruel, when David stormed in.
“What's for lunch?” He sat down at the kitchen table and banged his fists onto the surface, growling like a bear. Kathryn cringed at the noise, and rubbed her hands together nervously.
“Gruel, dear,” said Iris, “and please stop making so much noise. You're scaring our daughter.”
David got up and screamed at his wife. “Well, she should grow a backbone, then!” In a flash, he was towering over Kathryn, holding her wrist in his hand. He twisted hard.
Kathryn screamed and pulled her hand away. She cowered in the corner, nursing her wrist.
David slapped her through the face. “Stop your snivelling, girl! You're never going to make it in this world if all you do is cry.”
His daughter stood up and scurried away into the adjoining room. David and Iris ate their meal in silence, while listening to the soft weeping coming through the open doorway.
***
The next day, Kathryn was leaning against the wooden log fence separating their farms. Once again, she was watching Marcus tilling his field, shirtless. She dreamt of the day when this muscle-bound man would sweep her up in his arms, and take her away from her abusive father. They would have children together, and she would love them and care for them, and they would never know the horror that she had to endure. Marcus would never beat them they way her father beat her. Of that, she was sure.
She was brought out of her reverie by the sound of someone calling.
“Hey, you there!”
She looked up, and saw Marcus standing, some distance away, waving at her.
Kathryn's heart leapt up into her throat. This man, the man she had loved from a distance for so long, had noticed her! Sheepishly, she waved back.
Marcus trotted up to Kathryn. “Hello,” he said. “My name is Marcus, what's yours?”
With that, Kathryn burst into tears.
***
That day, Kathryn told Marcus everything about her father and his abuses. She learnt that Marcus had been beaten by his father, too, but that one day, he had fought back, and beaten his father so badly that the man had to be sent to the healer. Marcus' father had never laid a hand on him again.
Over the coming weeks, Kathryn and Marcus would become closer and closer, sharing every detail of themselves and their lives. Kathryn even confessed to him how she had felt about him all those months. She had been desperately afraid that he wouldn't feel the same way, but he had.
She was happier than she'd ever been, and the day that the couple decided to tell Kathryn's parents about their engagement was a happy one indeed.
***
“Papa,” said Kathryn one day, after their evening meal. Marcus had joined them for the meal, and she clutched his hand for reassurance. “Papa, Marcus and I are getting married.”
Iris was overjoyed. She leapt up from her seat and wrapped her arms around her daughter. She sobbed, as she exclaimed how happy she was for her daughter.
David's reaction was a bit different. He, too, shot up from his chair, a dark glaze appearing over his eyes. “No daughter of mine will be getting married to a man like this!” He lunched forward, and it looked as though he was going to punch Kathryn in the face.
Marcus reacted instantly. He reached behind his waist, and grabbed the small knife that he always carried, out of its sheath. He stepped between Kathryn and her father, and plunged it into his chest. The man stopped in his tracks, clutched at the handle of the knife, and crumpled to the floor.
Iris immediately dropped to the floor and began stroking her husband's cheek. David spluttered a few times, and then fell silent.
Kathryn's mother stood up, faced her daughter, and slapped her through the face. Tears were streaming down her own cheeks, as she screamed at her daughter and her new fiancé.
“What have you done?” She continued to pound her daughter's chest as she continued. “Get out! Get out, and don't ever come back! I never want to see the two of you again as long as I live.”
Seeing that there was no arguing with Kathryn's mother, Marcus grabbed his beloved's hand and pulled her out the door.
They ran, as far as their feet could carry them.
Iris never saw her daughter again.

---
If you'd like to find out what became of Kathryn and Marcus, read my fantasy short story, A Petition to Magic.

(Image from Wikimedia Commons)


Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Do you Read on the Toilet?

When I was growing up, my father used to keep the latest book he was reading in the bathroom, and he used to read it whenever he was on the toilet. In fact, I think that might have been the the only time he read!

My wife tells a similar story. They only had a single bathroom in their house growing up, and she has fond memories of doing the "potty dance" outside the bathroom door, waiting for her father to finish just one more chapter.

Now that I have my own property, I do exactly the same thing. Only now, I take my tablet or phone with me whenever I go to the toilet, and sit there long after I'm... done, because I want to finish the chapter I'm busy with, first.

Of course, with the convenience of e-books, the toilet isn't the only place I read. I always have my phone or tablet with me, and I sneak in a couple of pages of my latest read whenever I possibly can.

So how about you? Do you read books on the toilet? What kinds of books do you read? Are they print or e-books?

Please fill out this fun little survey below, and also (if you're feeling brave) feel free to tell me about your lavatory reading habits in the comments!

(P.S. Want the form in full screen? Click this link)

Image from Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jbird/19650368

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Want Free and Deeply Discounted E-Books?

Have you ever wondered why most book marketing is so Amazon-centric? Lots of readers sign up to receive free and discounted books in their e-mail, every day, but many of these deals are only available on Amazon.

As you can imagine, it's important for me as an author to market myself and my books, but personally, Amazon is not my favourite retailer. I understand that a lot of people love them, but the beauty of a competitive industry means that they're not the only shop in town when it comes to selling books. So, why does it seem that they're the only one that matters?

Personally, my favourite e-book retailer is Smashwords, mostly because they offer coupon codes. I don't know about you, but for me, entering a coupon code on a website, and watching the price of an item drop, is a great feeling. It makes me feel as though I've been given something special, something that's just for me, and nobody else. I said as much on a guest post that I wrote for Sarah Jane Butfield's blog, recently.

Because I love coupon codes myself, I run a lot of Smashwords coupon codes for my own books, offering great discounts and freebies. But when I went looking for a place to market those codes, I couldn't find any. So, like the the enterprising soul I am, I started my own!

Book Coupon News

Book Coupon News is a place for readers who love coupons. It's that simple. Visit the website, punch in your e-mail address, and start receiving weekly e-mails, containing coupon codes for great discounts on e-books - some might even be free!

And, if any of my author friends are reading this, you can add your own coupon codes to my weekly newsletter, completely free of charge.

So what do you think? As a reader, do you like coupon codes? What's your favourite e-book retailer? Do you shop at Smashwords, and would you be interested in signing up for this new service?

Authors, would you be interested in advertising your Smashwords coupon codes in the new newsletter?

Let me know in the comments below.

In the mean time, thanks for reading this far, and don't forget to sign up for Book Coupon News today!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Crossword Puzzle - May 2015

So I made a concerted effort this month to make my clues as easy as possible; I was beginning to get the idea that they've been far too difficult of late, and that's why people haven't been entering.

If this is your first time, welcome! Here's how it works: Solve this puzzle before Tuesday 23 June 2015, and e-mail me your answers. On the 23rd of June, I will post the answers on this blog. If you were the first person to send me yours, I'll publish your name in that post, along with a link to your website, Twitter profile, blog, or whatever other online presence you would like.

Sound fair? Here we go:


Across

1 Preparer of food (4)
7 Pier (4)
8 Help (3)
9 Hard bench in church (3)
10 Snake from the Jungle Book (3)
12 Your father's brother (5)
13 Gordimer (6)
15 Of the young (6)
18 ... of your being (5)
19 Mafia Boss (3)
21 ... you're it! (3)
22 Evil intelligent fantasy creature (3)
23 You don't want to find it in your apple (4)
24 Belonging to you (4)

Down

2 Dutch hill (5)
3 "War is a Machine" (6)
4 Barbie Girl band (4)
5 Whisky and ..., the day the music died (3)
6 Tropical American agave plant (6)
11 One less than two, Afrikaans (3)
14 Latin for neediness or poverty (6)
16 Or best offer (abbr.) (3)
17 Gossiping women (Yiddish) (6)
18 An old-fashioned person (5)
19 A lady (4)
20 It's company (3)

Remember, I'll be posting the answers on Tuesday, 23 June 2015.

Ready? Set? Go!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Crossword Puzzle - April 2015 Answers

Anybody looking for answers?

Well, you found them!

No, not the answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything. The answers to the April 2015 Crossword Puzzle.

Hope you all had fun filling it in. I promised that the winner of this month's crossword would receive a free electronic copy of my latest book, Heaven and Earth: Paranormal Flash Fiction. And the winner is...

Nobody.

Sorry the puzzle was so hard for everyone - or maybe you got it right, and were just shy?

Whatever the case, here are the answers:


Clues

Across

1 Writer, Hamlet (11) Shakespeare 
8 No problems here (3) A-OK
9 '80s mountain bike (3) BMX
10 Informal, you (3) thy
11 Grain or corn (4) curn
13 Joe Dever's monastic order (3) Kai
14 Precious stone (3) gem
15 The zest of a lemon (9) lemon peel
17 South African police (4) SAPS
18 Often eaten with gravy (3) pie
19 Soap (3) sud
20 On top of (4) upon
23 Mother Theresa (9) wise woman
25 de Janeiro (3) Rio
26 Slang for steal (3) cly
27 Expressing surprise (4) egad
28 Modern symbol of slavery (3) tie
29 Salty water (3) sea
30 To row a boat (3) oar
31 Dissipation of heat from the body (adjective) (11) thermolytic 

Down

2 Japanese Samurai sword (6) katana
3 Earliest ancestor of the horse (8) Eohippus 
4 Why is it blue? (3) sky
5 To do exceptionally well (5) excel
6 Of Einstein (11) Einsteinian 
7 Complete removal (11) abolishment 
12 Said while scratching your head (2) um
13 Afrikaans food (3) kos
14 Prefix denoting past tense (Afrikaans) (2) ge
16 Better than usual (8) especial 
21 Nocturnal bird's abode (6) owlery
22 To vex (3) noy
23 Broader (5) wider
24 Blind Discworld god (2) Io
25 Sun god (2) Ra
28 Also (3) too

See you next week, for the May 2015 puzzle!