Super Book Giveaway – Final Day

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Today is the last day of promotion. It’s been a pretty good run with The Path of Swords charting in and around the top 20 in the top 100 free Epic Fantasy books since Thursday evening. Thanks to all of you who helped in any way

So just for today you can download The Path Of Swords for free from Amazon.  Plus I’m doing a special Qoffer so if you get TPOS you can get the next book in the series free as well. It’s like a buy one, get one free, where you don’t have to buy the first one.

Just click here:

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071LBJNTC        for the UK

www.amazon.com/dp/B071LBJNTC           for the US

www.amazon.com.au/dp/B071LBJNTC          for Australia (big shout out to those Australians who have bought it already!)

www.amazon.ca/dp/B071LBJNTC                for Canada

www.amazon.de/dp/B071LBJNTC                for Germany (sold one there as well. Thanks!)

www.amazon.in/dp/B071LBJNTC                 love to sell some in India

www.amazon.fr/dp/B071LBJNTC              Come on France! (recently sold there as well!)

If you haven’t got a kindle you can also download a kindle app from the same page that will work on any device.

It would be great if you could download it. It will give the book a boost  that is very important in making it visible. Even if you think it doesn’t sound like your sort of thing and never read it, you will really be helping me.

However if it does sound like your sort of thing then I would love it if you read it. It’s not very long (only about 90 pages) so shouldn’t take up too much time. I would value your opinion.

If you read it and like it then I would be very grateful if you leave a review on Amazon. You can do it on the page where you downloaded the book.

Share the links with anyone you think would like it.

Many Thanks

Martin

Super Book Giveaway – Day Two

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Please share this post on twitter, your blog, or any social media.

It was a great first day of promotion with The Path of Swords reaching no. 13 in the top 100 free Epic Fantasy books. Thanks to all of you who helped in any way.

Again today you can download The Path Of Swords for free from Amazon.  Plus I’m doing a special offer so if you get TPOS you can get the next book in the series free as well. It’s like a buy one, get one free, where you don’t have to buy the first one.

Just click here:

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071LBJNTC        for the UK

www.amazon.com/dp/B071LBJNTC           for the US

www.amazon.com.au/dp/B071LBJNTC          for Australia (big shout out to those Australians who have bought it already!)

www.amazon.ca/dp/B071LBJNTC                for Canada

www.amazon.de/dp/B071LBJNTC                for Germany (sold one there as well. Thanks!)

www.amazon.in/dp/B071LBJNTC                 love to sell some in India

www.amazon.fr/dp/B071LBJNTC              Come on France! (recently sold there as well!)

If you haven’t got a kindle you can also download a kindle app from the same page that will work on any device.

It would be great if you could download it. It will give the book a boost  that is very important in making it visible. Even if you think it doesn’t sound like your sort of thing and never read it, you will really be helping me.

However if it does sound like your sort of thing then I would love it if you read it. It’s not very long (only about 90 pages) so shouldn’t take up too much time. I would value your opinion.

If you read it and like it then I would be very grateful if you leave a review on Amazon. You can do it on the page where you downloaded the book.

Share the links with anyone you think would like it.

Many Thanks

Martin

Super Book Giveaway

 

Twitter post TPOS giveaway

Please share this post on twitter, your blog, or any social media.

From today you can download The Path Of Swords for free from Amazon.  Plus I’m doing a special offer so if you get TPOS you can get the next book in the series free as well. It’s like a buy one, get one free, where you don’t have to buy the first one.

Just click here:

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071LBJNTC        for the UK

www.amazon.com/dp/B071LBJNTC           for the US

www.amazon.com.au/dp/B071LBJNTC          for Australia (big shout out to those Australians who have bought it already!)

www.amazon.ca/dp/B071LBJNTC                for Canada

www.amazon.de/dp/B071LBJNTC                for Germany (sold one there as well. Thanks!)

www.amazon.in/dp/B071LBJNTC                 love to sell some in India

www.amazon.fr/dp/B071LBJNTC              Come on France!

If you haven’t got a kindle you can also download a kindle app from the same page that will work on any device.

It would be great if you could download it. It will give the book a boost  that is very important in making it visible. Even if you think it doesn’t sound like your sort of thing and never read it, you will really be helping me.

However if it does sound like your sort of thing then I would love it if you read it. It’s not very long (only about 90 pages) so shouldn’t take up too much time. I would value your opinion.

If you read it and like it then I would be very grateful if you leave a review on Amazon. You can do it on the page where you downloaded the book.

Share the links with anyone you think would like it.

Book Review – Legend by David Gemmell

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I first read Legend in my teens and loved it. Recently I was prompted to read it again and I’m delighted to say it has stood the test of time.

There are lots of reasons to like this book. It has a great cast of characters, covering both the traditional hero figures and the men who serve under them. The plot is well done, similar to other stories of a small force holding out against a much larger one, think of films like The Alamo, The Magnificent Seven, Zulu, 300 etc., and the writing is tight if a little functional. That sounds like a gripe, but actually the style suits the book perfectly.

The thing that struck me this time was the wonderful feeling of claustrophobia of a story which is mostly set in a very small gegraphical area, namely between the seven walls of the fortress of Dros Delnoch. This has the effect of pulling you right into the centre of the action, so that when you stop reading it’s like you’ve come up gasping for air.

I’m now going to have to add his other books to my ever expanding TBR list.

Do you have any books you’ve reread after a long time? Did they stand the test of time?

If you fancy a quick fantasy read, why not try The Path Of Swords? Six reviews on Amazon UK and they’re all 5 star.

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071LBJNTC for the UK

www.amazon.com/dp/B071LBJNTC for the US

The View From The Cage

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In some of the first experiments on addiction, łab rats in cages were given the choice of two bottles to drink from, one containing heroine and one containing water. The rats chose the heroine, quickly became addicted, and usually died fairly quickly. This, along with similar experiments, was taken as evidence of the dangerous physically addictive power of drugs.

Then in the late 70s a Canadian psychologist called Bruce Alexander started thinking about how the rat felt in the cage, isolated, bored, scared, just like a human really. Is it surprising they took lots of freely available drugs? What if the rats had everything they needed? Would they still become addicted to drugs? He decided to find out and built Rat Park.

Rat Park had lots of space and lots of rats.

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The rats had fun things to do.

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Which including making more rats.

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All in all it was a fun place for a rat to be. Plus, because this was still an addiction experiment, hard drugs were freely available.

The results? Well the rats in Rat Park still took drugs, but only occasionally. They consumed far less than the rats in isolated cages and the Rat Park rats didn’t get addicted. Conclusion? Addiction is as much psychological as physical. The isolated rats in the cages took drugs and became addicted because it was their only means of escape. The rats in Rat Park didn’t need to become drug addicts, they didn’t need to escape.

One of the key things is isolation. Humans are social creatures, and although sometimes we may yearn to be left alone it’s actually not very good for us. Isolation can be physical or psychological. People with depression will often withdraw physically from the world by staying in their home, or even just not being able to get out of bed, but even worse they get trapped behind psychological barriers as well. Emotional distance is more dangerous than physical, and that’s true for drug addicts as well.

The thing is we all live in a some kind of cage, although usually it is a metaphorical cage of our own construction, and some cages are nicer than others. Mine is a very nice one, I have my family, my work, my friends and a beautiful home in the country but there are still times when I feel the need to escape, just as we all do. On reflection I think this is why I have always read so much, you can open a book and step straight out of your own world and into the story. I don’t know if there are any studies that comparing drug abuse with how much you read, maybe there should be.

As for writing, I think that’s even more of an escape. Not only do I get to escape into another world, I can make of it anything I want. Even better I get to be a different person, an author, and just for a moment try out a different life, even if deep down I know it is an illusion.

In my darkest moments I fear that my whole life is a sham. Whichever way I try to frame it I’m still in my cage, I’m just painting the bars a different colour. But these moments don’t usually last very long. In my heart I know I have everything I need. There is nothing I need to escape from, and nowhere better to escape to. If I’m happy where I am it isn’t really a cage, it’s a home.

Book Review on Fantasy Faction

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I recently embarked on one of those strange internet adventures you can never recreate but ended up in me landing on a site called Fantasy Faction. It had a place where authors can post about their own books so I thought “Might be worth a shot”. I joined and posted a short description of my book and a link.

 

And then something rather  nice happened. A lovely chap who goes by the alias of Jmack replied as follows:

Here is the first post.

To all my forum friends here, we all see self-pub posts and few of us have time to act on them. For no reason I can think of, I clicked on @Martin Swinford’s link to Amazon. I liked what he had as a blurb. 99 cents. Bought.

I sitting on a bench in my back yard with “Smiler’s Fair” and a “Catch a Wave: the Rise, Fall, and redemptions of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson” on my lap. But I decided, eh, I’ll try this 99 cent novella. Well, I’m only 13% in (Kindle, so it’s percent, not pages), but this is charming so far.

And here’s the second.

As you saw, it’s pure happy (for me) chance that I decided to click your link. Pure “I’m slightly bored; oh, why not?” But having clicked, I think your write-up on Amazon is excellently done. Somewhere I saw your “autobiography”; must have been Amazon, but now I’m not seeing it. Web version vs. app? The autobiography suited my Anglophilia ::), so I purchased.

I enjoyed the novella quite a bit, though perhaps not the final chapter or so as much as rest. Martin’s writing is enjoyably detailed. He’s rooted in the English country-side in many ways, and the travels of the young hero and his friends are through same landscape that Lloyd Alexander and JRRT capture. There are some lovely moments and good surprises in the plot, including a very realistic aftermath to a deadly fight.

The writing is strong, but needs an editor’s hand to fix some things, mainly POV stuff. Meanwhile, I think anyone who would like a break from grimdark or just wants to return to an old-fashioned fantasy novel (somewhat YA) should give this a try.

The next installment comes this Fall. I’ve got another 99 cents ready.

This review made me very happy, even though there are some constructive criticisms. For a start it mentions Tolkien (hurrah!) but more importantly what it really does is confirm to me that I’m on the right path. So big thanks here to Jmack

And while we are in the subject of reviews, The Path Of Swords just got another 5 star review on Amazon (this makes 5 so far). If you want to take a look then click on the links below.

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071LBJNTC        for the UK

www.amazon.com/dp/B071LBJNTC           for the US

Thanks again.

M

 

Book Review – Holy Island – A DCI Ryan Mystery

Cards on the table, I only got this book for two reasons: it was offered free with my Amazon Prime membership, and it is set on Lindisfarne which I have visited recently and absolutely love. I quite like detective books, although I haven’t read many recently, so I thought I’d give it a go.

So I read it while on a short holiday last week and quite enjoyed it, although I thought the end sucked. So I checked out the reviews.

As you can see it has over a thousand 5 star reviews which is very impressive, but I also noticed it had 125 1 star reviews, of which this was my favourite:

DCI Ryan, escapee from a French perfume ad by way of Made in Chelsea, lives on Lindisfarne and fumes. We’re never quite sure what he’s fuming about but he does a lot of it. DCI Ryan has the charisma of a baking potato but none of the spud’s inherent likeability.
Across on the mainland lives a fey mimsy whimsy creature, Anna, who holds down a job as a university lecturer?, researcher?.- who cares, you only need to know that she’s wetter than a haddock’s bathers. She used to live on Lindisfarne.

There’s a murder on the island.

Ryan stomps about fuming and giving orders to his sidekicks. Watch out for the Irish sergeant with the Scottish name – she’s flame-haired which gives her a bad temper. NO, it’s true! – it’s been proven by people at the University of Hairs.

Then there’s another murder.

Then there’s another particularly horrible murder. Involving fire. By now it’s clear that Lindisfarne, although just four and a half miles in area, possesses many of the characteristics of the Tardis, since nobody is close enough to notice the smell of freshly toasting person on the breeze.

The mainland police have no access to boats or helicopters so they have to wait till the tide goes out, leaving Ryan to do all the enquiries.

Ryan is very fuming now. Mimsy Anna has been sent to the island to help him as she is an expert on Things.

Ryan’s first contact with Mimsy makes DCI Gene Hunt of Life on Mars sound like the Editor of the Guardian Womens’ page.
Nonetheless Mimsy feels a fluttering in her underpinnings because she is a Big Wet Nelly.

Ryan calls round to hers one day, kicks the door off its hinges like any reasonable copper would do, and finds Mimsy without any underpinnings at all, having just got out of the shower …
I’ll leave you to guess what happens next.

That’s as far as I’ve got with this bilge. I know I should simply donate my Kindle to the British Heart Foundation charity shop, but could I really allow some misfortunate to stumble upon this without warning.

Do yourself a favour – save your eyeballs and your money.

Now, this review is much better than the book itself, and actually everything it says about the book is pretty much true. Much of the book is fairly ludicrous, and some of the plot devices really don’t work, or are introduced and then never appear again, (like the killer’s internal monologue – weird that you only hear it once). So what rating do I give it? The thing is I enjoyed reading it. Maybe I’m not demanding enough, or maybe I’m very good at suspending disbelief, or maybe I just didn’t expect too much from what I thought of as a ‘trashy’ novel I got for free.

I read the absolutely sublime All The Light We Cannot See before Holy Island. Another great book wouldn’t have worked afterwards, it would have been too much. Perhaps every book doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. It’s a bit like watching TV, sometimes you want to watch a really high quality drama, other times you just want to settle down with something undemanding that passes the time.

So is Holy Island a good book? As always it depends what you like and how you’re feeling at the time. Sitting outside my caravan with a glass of wine, it was a good book.

And while we are in the subject of reviews, The Path Of Swords just got another 5 star review on Amazon. If you want to take a look then click on the links below.

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071LBJNTC        for the UK

www.amazon.com/dp/B071LBJNTC           for the US

Thanks again.

M