Wednesday, 30 October 2013

3 Horror Reads for Halloween

In the spirit of Halloween and the SA Horrorfest Bloody Parchment event tonight, we've asked horror writer Mico Pisanti to give us three great books that are guaranteed to get your creeps on. Also, you can  click on the images to get your horror fix sent straight to your ereader/door.

This is Mico, and here are his reads:

The Road by Cormack McCarthy

The Road is so stark, so dark and so minimalistic that the reader can hear the empty footsteps of the unnamed father and son who walk through an apocalyptic world of an unspecified cataclysm. This slim novel has so much weight, that you can literally hear it clunk when you put it down. And yet you as the reader cannot look away, cannot stop following these two bleak characters as they walk along the other constant in this book, the is beautiful and terrible...and scary. A masterpiece.

Birdman by Mo Hayder

Birdman introduces the world to Detective Jack Caffrey and his drive to find a killer who sows live birds into the chests of young women's corpses. This is more than a crime novel, Mo Hayder has the power of true horror on her side. She knows how to get under one's skin and not only to raise gooseflesh, but to raise hell in the dark recess of the mind. She is a true horror writer thinly disguised as a crime writer.

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Stephen King returns the favour to crime fiction by writing about a long marriage between a husband and a wife, Bob and Darcy Anderson. In it he explores the way people can be married to one another and never truly know each other. One night while Bob is away on business, Darcy rummages through Bob's belongings for batteries, and she stumbles across a pornographic magazine of sadomasochism. It is the first step to Darcy discovering she has been married to a serial killer for nearly thirty years. This is a truly frightening story, as it shows that there are rabbit holes  in life which we all can fall down into, and this changes everything we thought to be real and solid. Creeping dread at its best.

Mico Pisanti's work has appeared in Something Wicked and Bloody Parchment and his sci-fi/horror series The Folds: Miss Universe is out now on Amazon.
Check out the Bloody Parchment event tonight - featuring big-name local writers offering their strange tales on the night.

Monday, 28 October 2013

New sci-fi horror short story series coming soon!

Get your comfy armchair and ereader ready, Wordsmack Publishers is publishing Mico Pisanti's The Folds, this week on Amazon. 

About the book:
After a devastating chemical war, the scarred survivors of Earth are subjects of global corporations that keep their beer spiked with Prozac and free speech a distant memory. At the most glamorous event of the post-war world, Miss Universe, celebrities and the beautiful strut around as if there is no secret resistance, no mysterious movement called The Folds, and most importantly, no horrific once-aborted army of children being created by the current powers-in-command. In the first book of the The Folds series, Mico Pisanti horrifies us with a future scarred by chemical warfare and too-powerful corporations.
When The Folds calls, will you answer?

About the author:
Mico Pisanti lives and works in Johannesburg and believes every word he writes. The inspiration behind The Folds is the everyday mundane juxtaposed with a vision of the future which isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem.
He is such a boring person, that the only way he gets excitement in his life is by imagining the things he writes about in his head.

His previous work has been pubished in Something Wicked and Bloody Parchment.

Be sure to buy The Folds on Amazon.

Thank you to Louisa Pieters of Fool Moon Design for the great cover design. 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

For the love of airships

Hallo my pretties,

Instead of dealing with super-serious publishing issues today, I thought instead we should look at lots and lots of pictures of blimps/airships/zeppelins. It's been a long year, ok?

[Sci-fi/fantasy 101: blimps are beloved items in genre fiction writing. The steampunk kids get especially excited about them. In real life, they fell (blazing) out of favour after the Hindenburg disaster in 1937. In steampunk it forms part of a time when machines were noisy and demanded to be seen, when top hats and leather and corsets were worn by complicated characters.]

"I included blimps in my dystopian book Idea War: Volume 1, because they're the ultimate symbols of of power," says writer Abi Godsell. "They're not aerodynamic, they don't use the laws of physics - it's about flight by brute force."

Perfect, in other words, as a symbol of tyranny in her book.

But, without further ado:
These pics can all be found at (click on the pic for more):

Annnd the one that killed it for all others: The Hindenburg cruising past the Empire State building in NY:

Now, if you still haven't had enough, follow me on Pinterest for more.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Cover reveal: Idea War: Volume 1 by Abi Godsell

Finally something new in the Young Adult genre! 

Wordsmack Publishers is super excited to reveal the cover for Abi Godsell’s Idea War: Volume 1, which will be published on online platforms in November. The cover was done by Fool Moon Design's Louisa Pieters. 

The cover is designed to appeal to the young adult market and includes a local reference – the duiker, a small antelope – as a symbol of the main character’s resistance to a foreign oppressor. Classic science fiction fans won’t be disappointed either as futuristic technology and quality writing combines to create a great read.

Find Abi on:

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

How I rate and review books on Goodreads

Recently there has been a big furore about reviews: fake, real, paid for honest reviews, paid for fake reviews and the whole attacking/commenting on authors saga. But what if you just really love to read and to tell your friends and followers about worthwhile books? 

On Goodreads, I'm one of the top reviewers in South Africa  (16th over all at the moment). Because I hate reading the whole plot in reviews, I keep mine very short. However, I often go back to my old reviews and ratings and wonder whether I should change them. I also often wonder how my ratings will hold up in a few years. 
The way I rate books is very subjective - and I don't think a lot of people can say their's are not. When I review and rate a book I really do try to focus just on the book itself - language, readablility and plot. But it is also influenced by an author's other works, what else I read recently, other books in the genre and obviously my mood.  
I've also recently started using Booklikes, but it's still quite new and a bit harder to use at the moment.

How do you rate books? 

Please remember to review A Grain of Sand

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Amazon and the pricing of eBooks

It's a contentious issue on the web - Amazon getting it's grubby paws all over the prices of our ebooks.
Pricing is an art. Do I think my readers deserve or are interested to pay more than $1.99 for a short story of around 30 pages? No. But as we're based in South Africa, that's exactly what's happening.

The price I'm charged for Charles Cilliers's A Grain of Sand:
The price a UK/US-based buyer is charged:

The price it's listed at and applicable to US/UK buyers:

Look, I get it, if we want to list on Amazon, we abide by their rules. But it punishes local readers from a new market - one we're specifically trying to say to: "hey look, books are awesome, buy them online because they're cheaper there."

This is not a tax issue, by the way, that's a different story and we've paid our due. We're told explicitly that the price difference is because we're based in South Africa. And our royalties are based on the list price.

I've had a book blogger insist that Amazon won't ever raise it's prices above the listing price. Why not? Did they pinkie swear?

This issue is why it's absolutely important that Amazon doesn't become the only big player in the industry. If there's no real competition, ebook prices could go up to match those of physical books and leave behind a large section of the world's population that needs access to cheaper books.

Currently, A Grain of Sand is $1.99 on Kobo, click here to buy it. Or if you have an email address in the UK or the US or are based there, buy it here and here.