EVE ONLINE – Micro-transactions, how they could work

Jita Protests

Jita Protests
Jita protests yesterday at the new Incarna implementation
We all know the recent EVE Online controversy is not just about microtransactions. It’s not only the feeling that the players are already paying €15 a month, so paying more is a bit much, but the attitude revealed in leaked internal emails that the players will act up whatever CCP will do has enraged the lifeblood of the game – the people who cough up monthly. They’ve got people to buy into EVE Online on one principle and are changing the very philosophy of the way it works without consultation.

So after my last post I began to think about the problem. Yes, the micropayments are more macro than micro but they could take a leaf out of other ‘games’ endeavours.

Take Second Life for example and I know that one is free. There is a thriving market of people designing clothes and in some cases people are charging top dollar for these items. The difference is that it’s the ‘players’ who are making profits as well as the ‘game’. Second Life take a cut and everyone is happy. The value of having thousands of people designing means that the environment is enriched with far more creativitiy than the game makers could get with employees.

Of course this would only work with items which couldn’t affect gameplay. Allowing people to create guns and ships would of course not work. At the moment CCP just looks greedy. Opening up so that the players benefit along with CCP would benefit both sides.

I think that could work – what do you think?

EVE Online Controversy – the peasants are revolting

Jita Protests

Jita Protests
Jita protests at new Incarna
I have a confession to make. I have a character in EVE. a couple in fact. Yes, I am officially a geek. So it was with horror (and a pint of cider in me) that I found out about the controversy.

For those not familiar with the now infamous EVE, it is a massively multiplayer online game. There is a subscription which means I play sporadically. The fee is a not insubstantial €15 a month.

In the game I am Squeaka, a proud Amarr warrior, slash miner, slash engineer. Ok I’m a bit career schizophrenic I couldn’t work out what job I wanted to concentrate on, (sounds a bit like real life unfortunately). The career decision I mean not the miner/warrior obviously.

So to the controversy. EVE has decided to open a shop which currently sells clothing for the avatars. Now I know what you are thinking what is all the fuss about a monocle or a sexy pair of jeans or two? Well the micropayment for the monocle is around $70, which is not micro by any stretch of the imagination.

Still, if you are like me you don’t really care what your character looks like, I’d settle for a dustbin outfit as long as she is just a little bit pretty. Well it is the principle of the thing that has got people all hot under the collar. Well that and the rude internal email that was leaked.

Basically people are worried that more than just clothes will be offered for sale, that ships and weapons will be next on the list. Curently to earn enough to buy such items means hours of gameplay and dedication, I am ashamed to say, I have a couple of battleships, one Amarr and one Gallente, work out my overall sadness rating from that.

These take months to earn, doing mission after mission, mining, researching, murder mayhem, that sort of thing. If you can simply buy one of these ships from the store then it throws the ecosystem out of the window. It suddenly comes down to how much money you have not how much effort you put into the game and that just isn’t fair.

So what is happening? Well, people are unsubscribing in their droves but what is more interesting and quite funny is that there are subversive freedom fighters in the game who are sticking it out and protesting for their characters right to slave away in the mines. Yes, they are rioting. Login and pop into Jita and you will find hundreds of people attacking monuments. If they could do graffiti they would. On 12:08am on 26 June 2011. at the time of writing, there were 1480 rioters.
“tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!” …Braveheart

OK rant over.

Happy gaming everybody!

Don’t feed the Fairies by Eileen Gormley

My favourite book of 2011! The fairies of the title are really aliens who live off the life force of other living things. Turns out humans are the tastiest and the heroine intends to farm us. Luckily she learns the error of her ways and when she is captured along with several good looking males and one female human she decides to save them.

But what can one alien do against a whole civilisation who view us as food?

This was a really enjoyable read. I finished this in two days which is a testament to how good it is. The better the book, the faster I read it. This had an ‘unputdownable’ quality which left me wanting more.

It was a light, sci-fi, funny read and I would recommend it to all my friends.

Realm Hunter: Pursuit of the Silver Dirk by Bob Greenwade

Bob Greenwade has created a compelling universe where we move from world to world in search of a master criminal.

Bear Waters accepts a job to solve the crime of the Silver Dirk. People have been hurt but what seems strange to Bear is that they are never killed. Still, blood is drawn which leads our intrepid investigator to believe that the mysterious silver dirk attacker is part of a sinister cult hell bent on summoning the Old Gods which doesn’t just mean the end of one world but possibly the universe (or at least five worlds).

The story is imaginative and my only gripe was that there were quite a few discussions about what things were in ‘our’ world. This shouldn’t put you off however as it is a great read and cleverly written.

Fans of sci-fi might spot the red shirts and Dr Hoo references. I might be reading too much into it but they made me giggle appreciatively.

This book was a great read and I could have carried on reading when it reached the end. Fans of The Dresden Files will enjoy this but the similarities are only superficial. This is an original work which made me glad I set up the Fantasy Book Club for under $3 on Amazon Discussions.

I recommend this one!

Ceri Clark

My Experience at the Fat Attack Boot Camp in East Grinstead

This is my account of the Fat Attack weekend I took part in starting the 19th May 2011.

PROS

  • You feel great for completing the weekend, no matter how much you do.
  • The instructors are good.
  • If you can’t do the exercise, you can tone it down for example I walked 4k in the mornings instead of jogging 10k because of my asthma.
  • They will take your dietary needs into consideration BUT they will forget. I was given two things I was allergic to by accident. The lady organizer is very secretive about her ‘special blend’ tea, which meant I drank half a cup before someone mentioned it tasted lemony and she confirmed it had lemon in it, which I am allergic to.

CONS

  • The accommodation is VERY basic. When I was there, 2 showers between about 16 girls, if this bothers you, upgrade.
  • If you don’t do ALL the exercises that they give you no matter what the reason, the organizer may not want to weigh you rendering all the hard work you’ve done pointless and leaving you grumpy and with a sour taste in your mouth. If this happens to you, INSIST! After all you’ve worked hard for what you’ve done.

PRICE:

£400 for the basic boot camp. I paid £179 with LivingSocial deals

WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? No, simply because of the weird attitude I was getting from the organizer, I might try somewhere else though! I really enjoyed it and would have gone again but for the strange attitude of the organizer on the last hour of the last day. It was a shame because it was brilliant up to that point. I had to insist on being weighed and after being pressed three times she gave me the other measurements such as fat percentage that I had lost – and I did lose! Read the next few pages to find out what happened.

CONCLUSION This is an amazing weekend if you are fit and healthy. However if you suffer from ailments, (I am slightly unusual in the sheer number of mine!) then this might not be the boot camp for you. It is 99% outdoors with only one class indoors (Body Combat). If you are prone to severe sunburn then this is not for you, unless you do it in February! On balance I enjoyed it (barring the last hour) and my friend who is sickeningly healthy loved it.

Click on the next page for the full review.

Fatattack Boot Camp weekend (East Grinstead)


My friend comes up with the strangest ideas and this is one of them. For the next three days we will be putting ourselves through torture for the sake of losing a few pounds.

After the event,t I will be blogging about my experience of the trip so you get an idea of what these weekends are about. At 12 it begins.  Wish me luck!

Add books to your Author Central Profile

I was asked by a friend how to add their books to their Amazon Author Profile. I thought possibly there may be others who may not know how to do this so I am giving back to the community with this blog post.

To add books to your Author Central profile (works on both .com and .co.uk sites):

  • Sign in to Author Central.
  • Click on Books
  • Go to the bottom of the page where it says Are we missing a book?
  • Click the yellow button which says add more books
  • A list of books will appear with your author name in it. There is a button under each book. If it yours and you haven’t clicked on it yet it will be yellow. Click on it.

If the book isn’t there check how your name is spelt on the book on your Amazon page. If it is different from the one in the search box on the Amazon Central Books page type in the variant spelling. You should be able to find all your books this way.

Review of Blackrayne by Nathyn Brendan Masters

I was asked to do this review on the Amazon discussions site. I didn’t want to because I don’t think I should do a review unless I can honestly give four or five stars. I have to give this book three stars and this is why:

The Good News

This is well written. Some may disagree with me from some of the other reviews on Amazon but I was never distracted during this book because of mistakes. I am extremely forgiving of spelling and grammar errors, so if you find any, sorry! I don’t agree with reviewers who concentrate on this area. To me the story is everything.

The Bad News

I didn’t like it. I adore fantasy, which is why I created the Kindle under $3 fantasy book club. I am not fussy about what sub genre a book is in either. All I care is that I like the characters and the book is a good old yarn.

This brings me to the characters. Jason Blackrayne is a thoroughly reprehensible figure with as far as I can see no redeeming features. Your first impressions of him are made when you find out he sleeps with a nymphomaniac who goes to him for treatment (he is a shrink) and when he comes into some ‘powers’ he uses it to get women into bed.

Now all I’m saying is that I didn’t like it. There are probably a lot of people who would like this story. Just be aware it is quite sexist with descriptions such as leggy blond giving you a taste of the style of book.

Another turnoff was the amount of Christian hyperbole in the story. I found it immensely distracting and found myself flicking through the sections with exaggerated sighs – much to the annoyance of my husband. If you are happy to read pages of scripture, again you might like this book.

I haven’t read anything like it before and the whole point of the book club was to find literature in my favourite genre that I would probably never normally try. In this the club was successful, I would normally have given up after three chapters.

I liked the concept but I would have liked to see the guy go through something in the middle to make him seem a little more, well likable

As with all books, download a sample and see if you like it. It costs you nothing to try!

The Night Watchman Express by Alison DeLuca

I enjoyed this one!

As an independent author, I am eager to help and read other indie authors. I set up a Fantasy Kindle Book Group on Kindle on Amazon discussions and also belong to the ABNA Writers Group on Facebook.

Now I’ve read quite a few books over the months and I came across some books which, ahem, I was very disappointed with but Allison DeLuca’s book is most definitely NOT in that category.

The Night Watchman Express kept me interested throughout the book. This is the book that doubters of Indie publishing should read, it shows that there are Indie books which can be and are of a high quality. In fact better than some main stream books I’ve read!

What is it about? Well it’s a historical fantasy but not the sword and sorcery variety. It is what I would call more of a realistic fantasy.

The main character is an heiress whose life is turned upside down when her guardians come to stay. Relegated to the attic, while her new ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle’ enjoy the trimmings her inheritance pays for, a governess suddenly appears who tames the wild creature the girl has become in her grief. The guardians have an important project which depends on a hidden device. This project has repercussions for not only the girl and their family but also a mysterious island.

The book poses a few questions, which are all (satisfactorily) explained through the book. Who is the Governess? Where did she come from? What is the device the guardians are looking for? What is the project?

The book is extremely well written and I truly cared about the characters. The fact I glared at my husband when he stopped me reading to get my attention says it all. When you read this book you will be drawn into a story that will melt reality away.

Go on buy it, you know you want to!

————————————————–

News from Fantasy Island Publishing

Fantasy Island publishing is going from strength to strength with new authors and more sales.

Connie J. Jasperson’s book “The Last Great Knight” has been received well and grows readership daily. Compared to the great Wilbur Smith in her action and bawdy prose, she will be one of the great writers of fictional adventures to come.

The Last Good Knight
Connie J. Jasperson

Alison DeLuca’s new book “The Night Watchman Express” is soaring up the Amazon Kindle sales ranking and is a promising series to look forward to in the future.

The Night Watchman Express
Alison DeLuca

J. Darroll Hall and his Fantasy Island Book Publishing brand are topping Amazon sales rankings all over the Kindle book rankings. The brands bookshelves and catalog are on fire at the moment.

http://www.fantasyislandbookpublishing.com

Well I’m not going to write a blog post and not plug my book! :-):

Children of the Elementi special edition
Ceri Clark

THE KING OF EGYPT: Special edition.
www.amazon.com
Raised a warrior, Tigris, crowned Nitiqreti, is the first female pharaoh. With a beauty that can bring men to their knees and a power that reaps respect from an army, she is prepared to take on any enemy. Author J.J. Makins has written a fascinating look at one of the most beautiful and unknown rulers of Egypt.

Miranda Warning
www.amazon.com
Why is someone killing the band geeks of Richland, Texas? Miranda Beeling would like to know since she is one of them.

Author Marilyn Rucker Norrod certainly knows her subject. A musician and an attorney, she has taken that background and spun a wonderful book with great characters and lots of humor as well as intrigue.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_2?_encoding=UTF8&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=J. Darroll Hall

A Simpler Guide to the best free Android Apps: 100+ apps to inform, entertain and organise (now on Kindle)

 

Finding useful apps on the marketplace can be daunting. A Simpler Guide to the best free Android Apps is not just a list of over a hundred free Android Apps but contains summaries and a rating system which helps you decide whether you want to download an application or not.

The book covers information on security, how to find more apps and discusses permissions. Each app has either a 0, red or green permissions rating based on the risk level of the permission requested. This means you can see at a glance what the ‘risk’ is and get a feel for what is normal for a particular type of app. These permissions are explained at the beginning of the book to help in any future search in the ever expanding marketplace.

A special section ‘For Children’ contains apps especially suited for younger android users.

This book includes:

PART ONE: INTRODUCTION

How to use this Guide
Rating Systems in this book
Star Rating
Permissions
What are the permissions?
A note about Security
Finding Apps
Apps
Games
My apps
Other ways to search for Apps
AppBrain.com
AndroidZoom.com

PART TWO: APP CATEGORIES

Browsers
Business
Communication
Education
Entertainment
Finance
For Children
Lifestyle
Security
Tools
Travel

Alphabetical list of Apps

A Simpler Guide to the best free Android Apps at Amazon US

A Simpler Guide to the best free Android Apps at Amazon UK

 

How not to respond to a review / Rebecca Black / Libya/ Japan/Ceri Clark/ Connie J. Jasperson/ Alison DeLuca/ Marilyn Rucker Norrod/

How not to respond to a Review

The internet was abuzz with how not to respond to a review this week. An author had submitted her book to a reviewer and took exception to what the reviewer said. Now I don’t condone what the author did. It did seem very unprofessional to me but I don’t know what is happening in her private life. She just seemed to have lost it.

The thing with reviews in my limited experience is that people either get your story or they don’t. This can be for a number of reasons, they may not like the genre, the writing style may turn them off or they may even be in the wrong age group. You have to take the good with the bad and concentrate on the people that like your work. After all, you wrote your story for them! I wrote Children of the Elementi specifically for some younger teenagers I knew. They are my target audience. If adults like it fantastic, if they don’t? That is also fine, there are others who will like it. Besides if I got 4 and 5 stars all the time, people would thing I was writing the reviews! My advice to other writers, go with the flow…

If you want to see post that caused all the ruckus, go here: http://booksandpals.blogspot.com/2011/03/greek-seaman-jacqueline-howett.html

Rebecca Black

I won’t say I am a big fan, in fact I thought the Fridays song was hilarious when I first heard it. I was a little startled by the age of the driver, but hey I thought what do I know about the legal driving age in the US? 😉

Still, bad but catchy song aside, I thought the comments under the YouTube clip were uncalled for. There is simply no need to say those things. People have feelings. The posters may have been anonymous but Rebecca is not. She will have the last laugh though. The amount she has sold and the plethora of parody videos mean that she will stay famous for that little bit longer than she may have otherwise expected.

Libya

I have mixed feelings about Libya. I obviously don’t agree with dictatorships and something had to be done but there is just too much war. I really hope that the conflict will have a speedy resolution soon with a minimum of collateral damage. I hate that word, but we all know what it means.

Japan

Things took a turn for the worse recently, with some radioactive material leaking on to the concrete floor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. This is really scary stuff. I was reassured by a news programme which mentioned that the particular type of radiation that had spilled previously had a half life of just days. I just hope that the new radioactive leak has a similar longevity. I really feel for those plant workers in the situation they are in and I believe they are heroes.

News 

Connie J. Jasperson’s new book “The Last Great Knight” has been received well and grows readership daily. Compared to the great Wilbur Smith in her action and bawdy prose, she will be one of the great writers of fictional adventures to come.

The Last Good Knight
Connie J. Jasperson

Alison DeLuca’s new book “The night watchman express” is soaring up the Amazon Kindle sales ranking and is a promising series to look forward to in the future.

The Night Watchman Express
Alison DeLuca

Located in Wales in the UK, author Ceri Clark has the children and young adult market abuzz with her fantasy series “Children of the Elementi!” This book series is and will become the new “Potter” the entire world will fall in love with. This book series is profound, important, and masterfully written. Learn the name Ceri Clark; it will be a household name in a short time.

Children of the Elementi special edition
Ceri Clark

Miranda Warning
www.amazon.com
Why is someone killing the band geeks of Richland, Texas? Miranda Beeling would like to know since she is one of them.

Author Marilyn Rucker Norrod certainly knows her subject. A musician and an attorney, she has taken that background and spun a wonderful book with great characters and lots of humor as well as intrigue.

Sequel to Children of the Elementi

After having some feedback from my target readers, I have sat down and put together the plot for the next book in the Elementi series. This one is based on Shenella as she appears to be everyone’s favourite Elementi character!

Who is your favourite character?

Children of the Elementi FAQ

Children of the Elementi

Children of the Elementi is a quick, fast paced read but it is peppered with information which you might just skip if you read it too fast! Here are a few frequently asked questions from the book.

How did Jake survive if his mum was only six months pregnant at the massacre?

Jake’s mum, Nuin, was with the Healer, Kiron. Their medical knowledge and skills are far better than our own.

What is the Matrix?

The Matrix is a planet-wide crystalline mind. Nothing to do with the Keanu Reeves film!

The Matrix in our world has several meanings, in its oldest form it means the womb and in the story it represents the source of the Elementi powers. In a sense without the Matrix, their powers would not have developed at all. Other definitions (courtesy of Dictionary.com) include a crystalline phase in an alloy or a fine-grained portion of a rock in which coarser crystals are embedded.

The Matrix in Eleria is alive. It is the culmination of combined crystals through the world, taking power from everything but it’s intelligence from humans. In return it has given powers to the humans it has bonded with.

How do the teenagers know how to connect to the Matrix?

When Mirim talks to Keira after the volcano she explains that each heir was connected to the Matrix before they left Eleria. The knowledge was always there, they just couldn’t access it. However because it was there, once they reconnected it became instinctive.

Why is color spelt wrong?

It’s not, it’s how we Brits spell it!

What is Adramelech?

Adramelech is a Deoc. A race of people made completely from fire. A pure Elemental, he is estranged from his people because of his predilection for power and enslaving vulnerable civilisations. Before Aras called him, he was imprisoned in no-space with no way of getting home.

Aras? Who is he?

He is a descendant of Jake’s father and has the abilities of both peoples. Unfortunately the two powers are not compatible and Aras is slowly dying. He needs to kill Jake and find the ancient Citadel to survive.

Who is the Fire King?

I’m not telling you. You have to read it to find out!

Is there a sequel?

There is one planned, it just needs writing!

 

Children of the Elementi passes the first round of the Amazon Breakthrough Award

To celebrate getting through the first round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, I’ve reduced Children of the Elementi to just 99 cents on Amazon and Smashwords until the end of March.

***************

Smouldering in the circle the Deoc glared malevolently at Aras. Its body was made entirely of fire but as Aras watched, the flames rescinded. Skin formed over the creature’s body. First its arms and legs, then its face before it was covered completely in skin. Over this, a robe formed until a man stood before him with red and gold-flecked eyes.

‘What do you want?’

‘I need you to kill a boy.’

‘Why would I do that?’ The creature smiled, confident in its power.

‘You have no choice.’

***************

 

The pitch:

The powerful Elementi Empire spanned over a thousand years, its kings and queens loved and revered by their people and their elemental abilities feared by their enemies. Treachery and Magi illusion destroyed the Empire almost a century ago. All five heirs were thought to be lost.

On present day Earth, fourteen-year-old Jake has an ordinary life of school, bullies, parties… until he stumbles on an ancient crystal. Meanwhile across the dimensions, the Magi Emperor is alerted that not all the Elementi were killed all those years ago. He summons and dispatches Adramelech, an evil fire demon to hunt and kill the last of the Elementi. If the heirs unite their powers and return to Eleria then all Magi gains from the war could be lost.

Can Jake learn to control his growing elemental powers and reunite the other lost children in time?

Children of the Elementi is a 51,000 word young adult adventure set between two worlds. Written by a former school librarian, it is a culmination of book requests and feedback from children and includes magical powers, underwater cities, sword-fighting and a sea battle.

A Simpler Guide to Gmail: Getting the most out of Google’s free email [Kindle Edition]

This book is now out of date! Please see the Second Edition.

 

A Simpler Guide to Gmail is now available as a download from Amazon.

A Simpler Guide to Gmail is a straightforward no-nonsense approach to a how-to guide for setting up your Gmail account. From opening the account, sending email to the more advanced features including Buzz, Chat and Labs.

The Chapters included are:

Chapter One: Introduction
Chapter Two: Getting Started
Chapter Three: Sending and Receiving Emails
Chapter Four: Address Book (Google Contacts)
Chapter Five: Sorting Emails – No more folders
Chapter Six: Searching for Emails
Chapter Seven: Changing the look and feel
Chapter Eight: Google Accounts and your profile
Chapter Nine: Buzz
Chapter Ten: Chat
Chapter Eleven: Tasks
Chapter Twelve: Netiquette
Chapter Thirteen: Gmail on your Android Phone
Chapter Fourteen: Advanced Features – Google Labs

Author’s Dilemma

Working full-time means that there is never enough time in the day. You need to spend time with your family, you want to write the next book but you also have to market the books already written.

Writing the book is hard, (but fun), editing is harder but the most difficult thing to do is the marketing.

The author’s dilemma is what should take priority. I could write a hundred books but noone would know they existed, I could market Children of the Elementi to death and never let the stories swimming in my head out.

There is all that but there is also the book/writing club I set up at work. Why do I do it to myself? 🙂

My first independent review…

This isn’t strictly true, as I received one from Academi (the Welsh literacy agenc). However this is the first review from a customer who I’ve never met. I’ve reproduced it below. Thanks Abbie!

“This book is awesome! I read the whole thing in one day! The plot and themes are completely original and the characters are realistic but not boring or too Americanised. It starts in the human world and flicks between the two planets, which gives a really good contrast between the two worlds. The storylines for all the characters are fresh and interesting and intertwine really nicely. The end of the book has a lovely conclusion with an open end, maybe a sequel? Overall I think the book is new and really steers away from the teen vampire genre. Well done Ceri! Xxx”

Now that’s what I call a review!

Self-publishing

After reading JA Konrath’s posts on publishing ebooks online, I have decided not to continue my search for a traditional publisher or agent. This isn’t to say I have exhausted all the possibilities but that the opportunities are much better for the independant author. The stigma of self-publishers seems to no longer hold true.

I have published print and ebooks online. You can now buy a paperback at Lulu or ebooks from Smashwords. More details will come in a later post. The covers I have designed can be seen in the header.

I hope you like them!