The Reality War



A new time travel, action-adventure series begins with The Reality War Book1: The Slough of Despond, out now

Kindle (Free*) | (Free*) . ePub Kobo (free) | iTunes (free) | Smashwords (free) | Nook (free) | Sony (free)

Paperback  US  | UK   *book1 free on 31 Jan 2013. Check price before purchase.

Click here for further details.

Book 2 now available for Kindle  | and out now  in paperback and ePUB eBook format. Click here for further details.

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Originally posted on The Human Legion:

I love the look of books designed to be in a series. Especially when they’re mine.



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Mobilization Alert!


I’ve been busy these last few months writing my new military sf/ space opera series. First book is available to pre-order now (for release Dec 26th) and second book will be published in January 2015.

Originally posted on The Human Legion:

Marine Cadet 11The Kindle version of Marine Cadet, the first Human Legion book, is available for pre-order from Amazon now: priced 99 cents in the US and something similar in other regions.

This is the double-length feature that kicks off all six books in the series. (It’s 140,000 words, which is pretty big. I had thought of splitting it in two but that would be an artificial division for the purpose of selling more books).

IndigoSquad03The second book, Indigo Squad, is going through final editing now for release January 2015.

RenegadeLegion04Writing has started on the third book: Renegade Legion.

And since I seem to be discussing the series, the other three books are all sketched out in detail. I hope you’ll enjoy reading them as much as I’m looking forward to writing them.

If you want to beta read, discuss some points of science or military background, or just…

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YA Paranormal Adventure available for pre-order now


An ancient evil is surfacing. It’s in Jake’s school, in his house… in his blood. Published by our YA sister imprint, The Repository of Imagination.

Originally posted on The Repository of Imagination:

~ They’re in the shadows. They’re everywhere! ~

Jake thinks he’s just an ordinary schoolboy. Scraping a pass on his tests while doing the least amount of work, attracting admiring glances from girls, hanging with mates, and scoring goals for the soccer team: just ordinary things.

But Jake is far from normal. And his family? His sister is missing, his father changed, and his brother dead… or so Jake thinks; the truth is far more shocking.

When his school friends start to disappear, and with petite Vicky Harris the only person he can trust as his world collapses around him, it’s time for Jake to learn the truth.

The Therions are out there.

And they’re almost ready to reap their human harvest.

‘The Therions’ will grip fans of YA paranormal adventures. 


The Kindle edition of The Therions is available to pre-order now for delivery on Monday at a special launch…

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Amazon Opens Dutch Kindle Store, B&N Moves Into Author Services

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

Amazon launched a Kindle Store in the Netherlands this morning, as anticipated by The Digital Reader yesterday.

Kindle devices are now on sale for prices ranging between €59 for the basic model, up to €189 for the Voyage, and the store has opened with over 3m titles. However, only 20,911 of these titles are in Dutch and only 1,221 of these e-books are by Dutch authors.

That may change now that KDP has launched a local portal for Dutch writers and small presses. The opening of the Dutch Kindle Store also means the abolition of the regressive and unpopular Whispernet Surcharge in the Netherlands which added $2 onto the price of many e-books.

For those already publishing via KDP, your book is on sale in the Dutch Kindle Store without any further action needed at your end. You will earn 70% on sales between €2.60 (~$3.24) and €9.70 (~$12.08) –…

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Railgun recoil: why Newton won’t be denied.

bomb1Over at the Human Legion website today, I’ve finished off my personal journey through the world of railgun recoil, using an old-school bomb, and a game of billiards, and a little help from my dad!

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Railguns in science fiction

a portable railgun

a portable railgun

The problem with railguns in science fiction is that they are fast becoming science fact. So I thought I’d better get my facts right. I posted part 1 of my recoil and railguns series today. You can read it here.

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Amazon v Hachette: Don’t Believe The Spin


Very interesting tale of what really goes on in the book industry, and of how much internet chatter may actually be influenced by hidden PR campaigns.

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

amazonhachetteThe internet is seething over Amazon’s reported hardball tactics in negotiations with Hachette.

Newspapers and blogs are filled with heated opinion pieces, decrying Amazon’s domination of the book business.

Actual facts are thinner on the ground, however, and if history is any guide, we haven’t heard the full story. Here’s how it started.

In a historical quirk of the trade, publishers and booksellers negotiate co-op deals at the same time as the general agreement to carry titles. (For those who don’t know, co-op is the industry term for preferred in-store placement, such as face-out instead of spine-out, position on end-caps, front tables, window displays, and so on.)

At publishers’ insistence, the same practice has continued in the online and e-book world, namely that negotiations regarding virtual co-op (e.g. high visibility spots on retailer sites) take place at the same time as discussions over general terms and publisher-retailer discounts.

There is a lot…

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Now you can learn the secret of green energy…

TheUltimateGreenEnergy_prodcat_200px_96dpiOne of my mini-collections of YA fantasy and sci-fi stories is free today and tomorrow on Kindle. I wrote them really for my son rather than to make a zillion sales, but you can enjoy them yourself too by downloading for free from

You don’t need a Kindle device; you can read Kindle-format books on PC, Mac, Android and iOS [See here for details]

Getting high up the free download ‘bestseller’ charts is fun, and although it doesn’t make me any money directly, the publicity could help.

Crustias_logo_91px_300dpi_left_padded_TextSo pop over to , grab the goodies, and put a smile on my alter-ego Crustias’s face :-)


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Writing tips: how to write robust paragraphs in Word

[In this post, I’m going to address a topic that some of you might consider pretty basic: how to write a paragraph using Microsoft Word. It certainly is fundamental but I would say around 15% of the manuscripts I receive in my capacity of publisher, editor, or formatter, have been written by authors who do not know how to tell Word when a paragraph has finished. With a lot of additional rework and luck, you can just about get away without knowing how to do this if you self-publish a paperback, but if you self-publish an eBook starting with a Word document without properly defined paragraphs then the results will be unreadable – Tim]

The most fundamental task of a word processor is to wrap lines for you automatically.

If you were looking at the paperback book from which this post was extracted, you would see it consists for the most part of paragraphs, each of which is separated from the next by a small gap. Most paragraphs have more than one line of words. In fact, you are reading such a paragraph now.

When you type such a paragraph into Microsoft Word, the correct approach is to keep on typing until you get to the end of the paragraph. Then you tell Word that you’ve finished the paragraph by pressing the Enter key. Then you start typing the next paragraph.

For simplicity I’m using the term ‘Enter key’. You might refer to it as ‘Return’ or ‘Carriage return/ line feed’. The button on my keyboard has a short downward line followed by a longer line to the left that terminates in an arrow. These are all names for the same button. It is very rare for PC/Windows software to distinguish between them, but some Mac software does, including Word.

You must not tap the Enter key until you have finished the paragraph. Inside a paragraph, it is the word processor’s responsibility to automatically decide when a line has finished and so it needs to start the next word on a new line. If you try to do this yourself by hitting the Enter key in the middle of a paragraph, then you are going to have a badly formatted paperback book. And if you use the same Word manuscript as the basis of your eBook edition, that is likely to be even worse. In the latter case, I’m not talking ‘doesn’t quite look professionally formatted’, I mean ‘utterly unreadable, ask for money back and complain about poor quality to Amazon.’

The reason is simple. You might think you are setting a new line at the correct place. But it is dependent upon variables such as font size, margins and page size. As soon as any of these variables change, your new line will be in the wrong place. And with eBooks, all of these variables are completely out of your control.

I’m going to repeat the previous paragraph but I’m going to insert a paragraph break at the end of each line. When I wrote this in Microsoft Word on my computer, the lines appeared to wrap perfectly. I can’t tell precisely how this will look on whatever device you are using to read this post, but I am sure it won’t look good. If you are using a Word document to send to Amazon KDP or Smashwords, or using a Word document as the input to an automated conversion tool, such as Calibre, then this is the kind of result you should expect if you don’t set paragraphs as I’ve explained.

The reason is simple. You might think you are setting a new line at the

correct place. But it is dependent upon font size, margins and page size.

As soon as any of these variables change, your new line will be in the

wrong place. And with eBooks, all of these variables are completely out

of your control.

The screenshot below shows how your document should look.

How your paragraphs SHOULD look

Notice in the Ribbon that I’ve ringed the show/hide button (¶). Setting show/hide on means that I see a paragraph mark at the end of each paragraph and a section break at the end of the page.

The ‘show/hide’ or ‘paragraph mark’ (¶) is properly called a ‘pilcrow’. This blog post has been extracted from the manuscript I wrote for a book. When I needed to enter a pilcrow into the text, for the paperback I added the Pilcrow through ‘Insert Character’ from the Ribbon and picked the ‘Arial Unicode MS’ character set and went hunting for the pilcrow. For the eBook version, readers won’t have the Arial Unicode MS font installed on their readers (unless reading using Kindle Reader for PC), but through the magic of Unicode, if your eBook reader has any font that includes the pilcrow, then your reader should be able swap to that typeface and display the character. Modern eBook devices and tablets have good enough Unicode support to display pilcrows and many thousands of characters beyond, although my Kobo readers Mini isn’t able to use fallback fonts in this way.

Unless you’re writing a book on formatting, you probably won’t need to enter a pilcrow yourself, but I’m using it as an example of how you can get special characters into your book.

Now we’ll see the same text but with the paragraphs broken up. Here I’ve hit the Enter key at the end of each line instead of at the end of each paragraph. Remember, if we turned off the show/hide option (and so hide the pilcrows) both examples would initially look identical. But if we changed page size, margins, font, font size or even our version of Word, the lines would break in the wrong place in the second example but would adjust automatically in the first.

How your paragraphs SHOULD NOT look!

Pilcrows don’t always look the same. The most obvious difference is that sometimes the head is filled in and sometimes not. In the screenshot above, the text uses a font called Palatino Linotype, and for that font the pilcrows are hollow. At the bottom I’ve added three blank lines in another font: Calibri, for which the pilcrow is filled in.

I’ve written so far about using the Enter key before the end of the paragraph. Sometimes people keep pressing the space bar or the tab key for the same effect. This has the same results and causes the same formatting disasters as soon as any of the variables changes (such as font size or margins).


Follow this link to my other writing and publishing tips

This article was adapted from ‘Format Your Print Book for Createspace: 2nd Edition‘ available now as a Kindle eBook, and as a 296 page paperback:

eBook: |

Paperback |

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Tips for self-publishers: Typography 103 — Kerning and Spacing

If you look back at the advanced font tab in Microsoft Word, there’s an entry there for Kerning. This isn’t specific to OpenType fonts and is something you should keep an eye on with your titles (for example, chapter headings, book and part title pages). Kerning refers to moving characters closer together to avoid unnecessary gaps. It’s generally a good thing to have kerning set on for headings and titles. For example if you have a capital W followed by a lower case ‘a’, where should the ‘a’ start? With a kerned font the ‘a’ will shelter somewhat under the ‘W’, which looks neater and more professional. With Word up to and including Word 2013, there is no control to fine tune kerning: it is either on or off.



Back in the advanced font tab, you will see a spacing option. This simply places a gap between characters if expanded or reduces spacing if condensed. Best used for special effects and titles, I’ve given expanded examples below for an idea of how chapter headings might look. I’ve set the first example to have normal spacing, expanded 3 points, and expanded 9 points.


You can also have different settings for each character within the same paragraph. For example:


Here I’ve added a manual line feed between the two lines (Shift + Enter). The first line has normal spacing and the second 6pt expanded, except for the final letter (‘Y’) which has normal spacing (because otherwise the subtitle would be offset from the right-hand margin).

Of course, you could achieve an expanded effect by adding space characters, but if you’re doing this frequently (e.g. with chapter headings) then it is easier and more consistent to apply and change if you are setting expanded characters through a heading style rather than direct formatting.

Follow this link to my other writing and publishing tips

This article was adapted from ‘Format Your Print Book for Createspace: 2nd Edition‘ available now as a Kindle eBook, and as a 296 page paperback:

eBook: |

Paperback |

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