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I heard on the news this morning that with the prices of petrol soaring through the roof, more and more people are turning to hitch-hiking.

This sent a shiver down my spine. I mean, has nobody seen C. Thomas Howell‘s movie, ‘The Hitcher’? No? How about the remake with Sean Bean?

If you haven’t, then you should.

I remember back in 1980, I was holidaying with my family in California. My parents, who are supposed to know better, picked up not one, but two hitch-hikers. Together! What was they thinking? They’re parents. They’re supposed to know better. Luckily, these two men were not psychotic serial killers and we lived to tell another day. In fact one looked like David Soul… Maybe that right there should have convinced my dad not to stop and to drive straight past them.

Would you trust this man?

I pass many people, usually always men, thumbing for a lift along the motorways. Do I stop? Never. Do I feel guilty? Yes, of course. Especially if it’s hammering down with rain. But, here’s the thing. I write gore and creepy for a living. My imagination on the scare factor scale is right up there with Stephen King and Quentin Tarantino. Between me first seeing the hitch-hiker, and the hundred yards it takes to reach him, I’ve already played out the scene where he gets in the car, drugs me, and I wake up, hands and feet tied, in the boot. Believe me when I say you really don’t want to know what happens after that!

When you pick up a hitch-hiker, you are putting a lot of trust in your judgement. Contrary to popular belief, not all hikers look like killers. Some actually look like nice, normal, trustworthy fathers and boyfriends.

Just look at Ted Bundy’s high school Yearbook Picture.

A few years back, I lived in Drymen, Scotland. To get there, I had to drive through a remote, barren area where there were no houses and I had no phone signal. One night, I had to stop on this dark, country lane, at a temporary traffic light. I saw no workmen, no ongoing road works. I was surrounded by thick, dense wood, with no cars in front of me, and no cars behind me. I was all alone. My headlights lit up little of the road in front of me but everywhere else was pitch black. What did I do? Started thinking about the movie, Urban Legend.

I just cannot help myself. I am my own worse enemy. Half the time it’s not my surrounding that make me nervous. It’s my own imagination!

We’ve all heard the legend. A driver is made to stop her car. While the car is stationary, an axe murderer climbs onto the back seat. Waits for her to drive off and then WHAM! Slaughter and blood on the wind-shield … I sure as hell wasn’t going to wait and see if my future ended with me being gook on my window, I can tell you.

Nope, I keep my doors locked and my eyes peeled. I’m afraid when it comes to hitch-hikers, there is no way in hell I would ever pick one up. Male or female. Those crazy killers can stay where they belong… on the road and in my rear-view mirror.

Although, I did pass a woman once by a broken down car. I pulled over and asked (through a slightly wound down window) if she needed me to phone someone for her. She thanked me and said someone was already on their way. Phew. Total relief.

So, now it’s over to you guys. Would you ever pick up a hitch-hiker? Have you ever picked up a hitcher? Have you ever hitch-hiked yourself? Do you have good experiences, or bad? Maybe you hitch-hiked and it was the driver who was creepy. Let me know. You know how I love a good story… funny or scary 🙂

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With only days to go before the much awaited premier of James Bond’s, Skyfall, it seems the UK has gone into Bond frenzy. I passed Harrods yesterday, and the whole window was devoted to 007. It was only when I saw this video this morning that I realised just how far they had taken their obsession.

And I don’t need any excuse to write about a handsome man with a six pack!

But what is it about James Bond that makes men want to be him, and women yearn to have his babies? Okay, I know damn well why women chase their fantasy – I still think if Daniel Craig met me before Rachel Weisz, I’d be Mrs Bond…. We do, after all, have the same colour hair 🙂

As for the men’s reason? Who cares. As long as they keep churning out the movies, the female population will stay happy.

Now, down to business. The best Bond.

     

Connery was the first Bond way back in the 60’s with six movies under his belt.

I found him arrogant and although I am a massive Connery fan, I don’t like him as Bond.

     

George Lazenby made one movie, and I’ve never seen it.

Was it any good?

     

Roger Moore was the first James Bond I liked.

He made contributed to seven movies in the franchise and added a little humour

to the

character. This was the first time I saw Bond showing a little emotion.

     

Hmm. Timothy Dalton made two appearances as Bond. I think I saw bits of one.

To his credit, some do say he was the best.

     

Pierce Brosnan made four movies and was by far my favourite. I went into mourning when film bosses announced he would not return for a fifth.

For me, he was the first Bond to show the character was actually capable of love, kindness and emotion.

     

When Daniel Craig was announced as the new Bond, I refused to watch any more 007 films.

Fifteen minutes into Casino Royale, I was in love and had found my new favourite Bond.

Craig’s third Bond film is about to be released…. I’m as happy as a pig in mud.

As for the worse Bond movie moments, check out my friend, Lewis Malka, over on ‘Top Left Design’s’ blog. Lewis is definitely a James Bond fan who has taken things way too far.

Now, who do you reckon would still be standing if there was a Battle of the Bonds?

So, who is your favourite James Bond? And why? Also, do you have a best and worse moment in a Bond movie?

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There are many ways to publish your book. Years ago, our hands were tied. Nowadays, it’s different. We now have the power to do what we used to rely on the publisher for.

Self-publishing opens up a whole new world of options for the authors of today. And one of those options is audio books.

Terry Kate knows all about this, so much so that she’s running a WANA International class to show you how.

I’ll let Terry explain…

Audio Books are NEW to You

Well not as listeners, but as authors. Audio has not been an option for any and all authors till now. The possibility is there for every author, as long as they hold their audio rights there is nothing stopping you. Which I think as a listener and audio producer is the greatest jump start and opportunity in publishing now.
So to help those ready to take the plunge I am teaching a class through WANA International. There are rumors everywhere about this and that element, the process, and it is a whole new world. How do you pick a narrator? How much does it cost? Where do I go? Well, to my online class might be a great first step.
I throw out the pros and cons on all sides as the class is also open to voice talent. How does the business work and how to make your move? When? Now, now, now! Get in the game early, carve out your place in the market, and if you light that fire under your bum you could have an audio book for the holidays!
So join me Wed 10th  8:30pm EST – http://wanaintl.com/?page_id=13&ee=55
Or Sat 13th 12:30pm EST – http://wanaintl.com/?page_id=13&ee=62
Catch the sound wave people! Get the best voice talent by moving fast and get in on the ground floor.
Donna, thank you so much for having me on your blog! I look forward to any questions your readers have for me.
Okay guys, what are you waiting for? Go and book your seats now. And as Terry’s thrown down the gauntlet to answer any and all of your questions, why not ask some?

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It’s been some ten years or so since I did boarded trains and the whole travelling to work thing. Now, my travel consists of a walk to the kitchen to make a cuppa, and then a flight of stairs to my office.

Most of us do this in a conventional way. And then there are these guys….

Hasn’t anyone heard of an invention called the ‘Boat’?

If she could get away with it, my daughter would have one of these.

…And if I could get away with it, I’d have this.

How many farmers does it take to sow a field?

The same amount  of workmen it takes to dig a hole.

I see what the driver’s getting, but what does the female get from this deal?

…. Maybe one of these.

Probably not the best way to take your washing to the laundrette.

… Or your wife on her honeymoon.

And people thought British Rail had problems.

Where it all began… The man with the dog powered bicycle.

So, what is the worse journey you’ve ever experienced? And let me know which is your favourite picture and why.

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As you guys probably know, I’m on my holidays at the moment and a day spent at Disneyland far outweighs a day spent blogging. But, my hubby read this on Mail Online and I just had to share.

Can you guess what it’s about?

 

One Christmas, my dog once ate the tree decorations, ripped apart some record LP’s (remember them?), and we never found the blade from the Bic razor.

Do you have a dog? What’s the worse thing they have done? Would you name and shame them on You Tube of Tumbler?

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Okay, today I have been busy finishing my novel, and now I have to go pack for my holiday. So, I’m passing the reigns.

Now, I won’t tell you how I stumbled upon Peter Koevari’s post, Authors and Piracy, eBooks on the high seas,  – but it was funny.  Anyway, I really liked it and wanted to share it with you guys. So, I illegally downloaded it for publication here. Later on I’ll be touring London, selling it on printed flyers for the small fee of 99p. Just to be clear, the author will be receiving none of this fee…. but Shhhh – don’t tell anyone.

I couldn’t think of a better titled that Peter’s, so I stole that too.

Over to you, Peter.

I am going to tackle what I think is a very important topic for Authors and creative artists. I’m going to talk about Johnny Depp piracy!

It’s a funny thing, piracy (aaaarrrg!), as we live in a world where it is very easy for people to jump onto torrent and release sites and download whatever they want, for free. Most people accept that this is the case and at some point in their lives, have likely done it themselves.

What if we got you as a reader, and a room packed full of people and asked the question, “Raise your hand if you have *never* downloaded absolutely anything illegally or broken copyright laws. Never copied a movie in a VCR, photocopied copyrighted material, bought anything pirated, downloaded an image and used it on a blog from google images, or absolutely anything that can be considered a breach of copyright?”

I would be surprised if any hands went up, and I would be floored if a number of hands went up. Do I endorse it? Absolutely not, but you can’t change the world… you can only adapt.

Lady Gaga was quoted to say that she is happy for people to download her songs, as she makes all of her money from touring anyway. This is not such a case for us as authors, is it?

We don’t “go on tour” to sell out tickets to our shows and make a huge packet, do we?

So, why did I bring this topic up in the first place?

Because I googled my book title with a timeframe of the last week, and discovered that my books have been pirated. Was I happy about it? Of course not, although the attention is flattering.

The funny thing about everyone who pirates is, it doesn’t bother them and they have all sorts of justifications for pirating… and that is all well and good, until it’s *their* work that is being pirated. They don’t slave over manuscripts for many years to write a novel, pay editors, cover artists, work every day to promote their novels. No, they enjoy reading the books that other people produce… just like we all do as readers.

After all, pirates are just regular people, but with a different perspective and values. Do I consider them criminals? No. Do I want to run out there and track down everyone who downloaded my book illegally and persecute them? No.

You may be looking at me in shock and horror, but why on earth would I want to ruin someone’s life over copyright laws, for wanting to read my books?

Let us face the reality about the argument of potential sales: It’s flawed.

I put pirates into a few categories:

A) Pirates who NEVER buy what they download

B) Pirates who download to try without paying, and then go ahead to buy what they really like

C) Pirates who buy what they really like, and pirate what else they can, because they can and they may want to look at it later.

D) Pirates who (for whatever their circumstantial reason) cannot afford to buy the things that they want.

E) Pirates who cannot buy what they want, due to restrictions

The pirates who are in category A, will never pay for our books. Are they a lost sale? No. Are we losing money because they download our books? No. Are they still ripping us off as authors? Yes… but what exactly can we really do to change it?

The best we can hope for is that they tell their friends and families about our books (if they enjoy them) and some of them may want to buy them.

Pirates in category B, will try our books without paying for them first. If they like them, they will probably purchase them… but likely not.

Category C is similar, but the stuff they hoard and download will likely never be seen or read, but will definitely be shared.

Category D is a tough one. I mean, at the end of the day… just because we can’t afford to have something, doesn’t give us a justification to take it without paying because we want it. However, people do what they need to do and although we don’t like it, there are some real reasons why people would like to genuinely buy something, but the way they need to purchase it deems it “not viable”. Does it excuse it? No… but we can understand it. We can hope that those readers do help us as authors by spreading the word about books that they like, and when they get into a position that they can afford it, they support us as authors.

Category E concerns me greatly, and the fact that people can’t buy ebooks over the Internet, due to restrictions is just ridiculous. We should all push for any companies who do that, to change.

Whatever category these pirates are in, it does not matter, they are going to do what they do, regardless of what we try to do about it. People who would buy our ebooks and paperbacks will still do so, even if the availability of our books on pirated channels would make them more accessible for free. Not everyone pirates, and lots of people out there like to support authors and keep them writing.

For any pirates out there that think all eBooks should be free, I would like to ask you… would you go to work from 9-5 for no paycheck at the end of the day? I doubt that you would, but if you are happy to work all your life for no money, then you can stand tall with that argument.

For those Pirates that say that Authors are the real pirates for controlling their work and restricting what you can do with it… I really question that. If you buy my paperback, you can sell it, share it, sleep on it, use it as a paperweight, throw it in the air… I really couldn’t care less what you do with it… but I do hope you share it with your family and friends.

eBooks are usually considerably cheaper than paperback editions, and I have not put DRM on my ebooks (Can’t change the kindle Legends 2 edition when purchased from Amazon, they wouldn’t let me undo it). Although I don’t encourage emailing my book to every man and their dog, I see no reason why you couldn’t share the read in the same manner as a paperback.

As for the analogy of people buying ebooks and that they can’t sell it as they would a car, that is an interesting one. There is no real “second hand market” for digital works. Like second hand video game stores, further sales only profit the people trading in them… not the makers of the game. The same applies with eBooks.

Why would someone want to buy a second hand eBook when they can just buy it online themselves? We’re not talking cars worth huge money, are we?

Writing books is hard work and we work for nothing until we make any sales on our books. I am an indie author, what does that mean? We don’t get fat pay cheques from publishers, and we have to pay our own way and promote our own way for my books to be successful. Unlike movie studios, we don’t make millions or hundreds of millions in sales.

As much as the world is what it is for pirates, it is what it is for authors. We write for you, the reader, to enjoy our stories. If we all stopped writing, there would be no more books to read.

Having said all of this, what disappoints me the most… is that if any of these pirates bothered to come to my site and contact me, asking if I can give them my ebooks for free… I would have offered them an honourable deal of giving them my ebooks in return for an honest review. The act of pirating my ebooks is an unnecessary exercise of breaking copyright laws and using torrents or hosting sites.

I would love for pirates to consider buying my books and sharing them with their friends and families, but it is their choice if they wish to support me as an author, or not.

As a result of all of this, I stand by my words and I have put up a page on this very website that clearly offers review copies of my first book, Legends of Marithia: Prophecies Awakening (Uncut and Extended Second edition) to anyone willing to show some class and honour, and review my books for me on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. No need to break laws or illegally distribute my books!

It shows that you respect me as an author, and I will… in turn, respect you as a reviewer and respect your opinion. I don’t care if someone is a pirate or not, the offer is open to you equally.

If you decide to change your approach and buy my books (before or after you have read them, and however you have obtained them. eBook or paperback), then you have my gratitude for supporting me as an author.

Do you have an opinion on this? Have you had this happen to you? Comment and talk about it.

Follow Peter on twitter @Peterkoevari

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It was just over seven years ago that London won their bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

I remember exactly what I was doing when we began our campaign. I was on my honeymoon at the Atlantis Resort in the the Bahamas. I cannot express the joy and hearing the news… or the sorrow the following day when the 7/7 bombs devastated London.

Now, seven years later, London is stronger than ever.

However, our efforts to hold one of the most memorable moments in history haven’t gone without its problems.

It was feared that London traffic would come to a standstill in a bid to get Olympic officials to the venues on time with the introduction of  the ‘Olympic lanes’.

Many tax payers protested at the amount of money being spent on the venues when the current economic climate was already in a state. Then there was the outrageous scenes of blocks of empty venue seats when tickets were impossible to purchase.

Most embarrassing of all? Only a fraction of the security team arriving for work on the first day of the Games.

And then there was this man, Minister Jeremy Hunt – the cherry on the cake…

But, Britain is strong. We will always survive.

And here’s why…

It all started with the torch bearers, cheered on by thousands of supporters who lined the streets come rain or shine as they carried the Olympic flame around the country.

But, our Armed Forces stepped in to secure the venues and the opening ceremony was absolutely breathtaking. Millions around the world watch Kenneth Branagh ‘build’ London. Dancers danced, singers sang, and we even had a little help from Mr Bean.

When it was time for the Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth to arrive, who better to escort her than James Bond himself.

And Britain went on to have one of their most successful Olympics…EVER!

But it’s not just the British that have made these past two weeks so special. It has been an entire nation.

There have been tears of joy and sorrow. Medals have been won, and medals have been lost. But above all, for two weeks, countries rejoiced together. War and disagreements were buried and put aside. Instead, we supported one and other.

I just hope that spirit can continue.

Did you watch the Olympics? What was your favourite moment? How do you think London did hosting the games? Did you find it hard getting tickets? Did you attend any of the events? Let me know.

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