Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Red Plus Zone is a bestseller*

Well, dear friends, yesterday certainly was an interesting and rewarding day.
Now I'm not exactly sure how many wonderful people actually bought the paperback version of Red Plus Zone, but what I do know is that it was enough to propel it up to the dizzy heights of 2,913 in Amazon's bestseller rankings:

And the fun didn't stop there!
A couple of hours later, even though it had dropped ever so slightly in the overall rankings, it actually rose three places to #20 (or 'No.20' as we would say here in the UK) in the Post-Apocalyptic sub-group of the Science Fiction sub-group of the Fiction sub-group of Books!

And then...

...before eventually, after a flurry of late evening purchases...

So does that mean that Red Plus Zone can be classed as a 'bestseller'?
Well, this screenshot would certainly suggest that that is indeed the case.

'But hold on, Andy,' I hear the voices of indignation cry out from across the Interweb. 'Surely you're not suggesting that Red Plus Zone is a bestseller in the way that a Dan Browne or a Lee Childs novel is a bestseller.'
And the answer is:
'Of course not. To believe such a thing would be a sad case of extreme self-delusion.' 
Instead, Red Plus Zone is probably best described as a 'bestseller with an asterisk' which means that it's okay to refer to it as a bestseller but when I do so I need to put a little footnote at the bottom of the page which says:
* Amazon Bestseller Books > Fiction > Science Fiction > Post-Apocalyptic

Now that, I think, is being honest.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Blog Tour - John Fioravanti

Having enjoyed hosting my previous big tour, I thought I'd do another.
Today, I'm handing over my blog to JOHN FIORAVANTI so he can talk about his new book.
Over to you,  John!


I’m grateful to my host of this fifth post of THE GENESIS SAGA TOUR, and to Nonnie Jules of 4WillsPublishing who arranged it all! The full lineup for this tour can be found @

My purpose, is to give readers a greater familiarity with planet Genesis – within the Equations universe created by author and friend, Kenneth Tam.

To this end, we embarked upon a series of interviews of some key players in Book One of The Genesis Saga: PASSION & STRUGGLE. Nonnie Jules of the famed interviews, Who’s On The Shelf With Nonnie Jules?’  agreed to lend her formidable skills to this process. She gave me the nickname “Fio” a while back – so keep that in mind in case she opts to use it!

Nonnie and I are together in the formal living room of Professor Marco Rossini’s home on the University of Genesis City (UGC) campus. Marco is about to give us some historical background about the earliest days of humans on Genesis going back roughly 700 years – to the year 2181 CE. Let’s listen in…

MR:     Nonnie, I want to take you back to the year 2181 – the human survivors of the Omega Virus are aboard the United Nations colonizer ship, UNS Divine Scepter, and are only a few days’ travel from Genesis. John actually found this story buried in the archives. I plan to make it part of a book I’m going to write. Do you mind if I tell you?

NJ:       Not at all! I love a good story, right Fio? (John grins and winks at Marco.)

MR:     Great! This story involves Jethro Hodge – an ancestor of today’s Navy Marine Commandant, Gillian Hodge – and his five-year-old grandson, Joachim. Jethro was not a military man, but rather a civil engineer and architect. He was preparing to direct the construction of Genesis City when the ship arrived. The story unfolds in his home…

            Joachim Hodge bounded into his grandfather’s cozy reading room to find its owner sitting in his favorite chair, absorbed in an old-fashioned book. Hearing the boy’s running steps, the sandy-haired family patriarch dropped the book in his lap just in time to reach out, catch his airborne five-year-old, and set him upon his book.
            “Great catch, Papa!” The boy squirmed as he reached for the book under his bottom. “What’s this, Papa?”
            “That’s the story of our people, JoJo.”
            “Our family?”
            Jethro Hodge smiled at his only grandchild. JoJo gave himself that nickname when he was learning to talk at twenty months. All he could manage from ‘Joachim’ was ‘JoJo’ – and it stuck as the family began to use it from that day forward.
            “Yes and everyone else’s family too. Tell me, what did you learn in school today?”
            His Papa asked him that question almost every day, but today young JoJo’s face lit up with excitement as he remembered the big news.
            “Papa, do you know that we’re all flying in a spaceship? It’s called Divine Semper! How come, Papa?”
            Hodge opened the book in Joachim’s lap so the boy could see the picture of the ship on the inside cover of the leather-bound volume. “This is our ship, JoJo; it’s called Divine Scepter.”
            “That’s the same picture we saw in class today,” Joachim said pensively as he studied the drawing carefully. The boy looked up from the book and locked eyes with his grandfather. “What’s a Divine Semper, Papa?”
            Jethro settled in to tell his grandson the story. “Well, JoJo, a scepter is a fancy staff carved from wood used by kings a long time ago. The staff was a reminder to their people that the king had the power to rule. The word ‘divine’ means something that belongs to the Gods.”
            Joachim scrunched up his face in thought for a moment as he looked at the picture. “It doesn’t look like a staff.”
            “You’re right, it doesn’t. This ship was provided by the Gods as a sign of their will that we travel to a new world.”
            “How come, Papa?” Hodge smiled indulgently at the oft-repeated question.
            “Well, young sir, that is an interesting story. Shall I tell you?”
            “Please, Papa!” Jojo’s face was animated as he clapped his hands together in glee. He loved his grandfather’s stories.
            “Alright, Jojo, get comfy now. It all started a long time ago, before any of us on this ship were born. Our grandparents and great-grandparents came from a world called Earth. But there was a terrible war – people fighting each other, and killing each other because they disagreed about the Gods they believed in.” Jethro looked to see if the boy was following. He nodded his curly head, so Hodge continued.
            “One day, some people created a very powerful disease to make their enemies sick and then die. They called it a virus. It was so powerful that no one could control it… it had a mind of its own. They called it Omega. You won’t believe what happened next… Jojo… are you listening?
            Little Joachim had fallen fast asleep in Jethro’s arms. The story would be finished another time…

NJ:       Marco! You’re just going to leave me hanging? I want the rest of it…

MR:     And so you shall have it, Nonnie! But first, let me get us some refreshments. I baked chocolate chip cookies this morning, and I know they’re John’s favorites…

Join us next time when Marco finishes the story for Nonnie!

Author Bio:

John Fioravanti is a retired secondary school educator who completed his thirty-five year career in the classroom in June, 2008.

Throughout his career, John focused on developing research, analysis, and essay writing skills in his History Classroom. This led to the publication of his first non-fiction work for student use, Getting It Right in History Class. A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching is his second non-fiction work; it attempts to crystallize the struggles, accomplishments, and setbacks experienced in more than three decades of effort to achieve excellence in his chosen field.

John’s first work of fiction is Passion & Struggle and is set within Kenneth Tam’s Equations universe (Iceberg Publishing). He claims that, after two non-fiction books, he’s having the time of his life bringing new stories and characters to life!

At present, John lives in Waterloo, Ontario with Anne, his bride of forty-one years. They have three children and three grandchildren. In December of 2013, John and Anne founded Fiora Books for the express purpose of publishing John’s books.

The Genesis Saga Trailer:


Book Purchase Links:

Blog Tour Links:

Goodreads Event Page –

Rafflecopter Giveaway Page –

"This tour sponsored by"

Sunday, 25 January 2015

At is here!

Yes, folks, the wait is over.
My latest blockbuster, Red Plus Zone, is now in print and available to order from Amazon - and I have to admit that I'm excited beyond measure. There is, it must be said, something immensely satisfying about seeing your own words on the printed page.
Oh, and contrary to popular belief, I have not just spent the last 24 hours sat holding this copy of my book, stroking it gently and purring like the proverbial cat that got the cream. I have, admittedly, been wearing a particularly satisfied grin!

So what's next?
Well, dear friends, that's where you come in.
(You're all fabulous, by the way - have I mentioned that?)
I'm really, really hoping you'll be able to do me a massive favour...actually, two massive favours.
Massive Favour No.1 - I want you to buy Red Plus Zone - it's as simple as that.
Massive Favour No.2 - I want you to place your order on Tuesday 27th January. Why? Well, if truth be told, I'm trying to get as many people as possible to buy the book on the same day as a sort of experiment to try and see how far up the Amazon sales rankings it can go. I reckon that if everyone I know buys a copy, and all the people that follow my blog buy a copy, and then each of them manages to convince a couple of their friends to buy a copy, and then they are able to do likewise...well, who knows...
So what do you say, my wonderful followers - are you up for it?

Click here to buy in Blighty.
Click here to buy across The Pond.

Remember, not only would you be making me monumentally happy (which should be reason enough, I guess) but you'll also be getting your hands on a book that the Stranger Views website described as 'intense, brooding and unsettling'.
Can't be bad!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Oh, how I love a good review

Now I know that there are people out there writing books, making films, taking photos, performing on stage or painting pictures who say, quite genuinely, that they do these things 'because they need to satisfy their inner muse' and, as a consequence, they place little store in the opinions of others. Some even say that they never, ever read a review of their efforts.

Well, folks, I'm not one of those people.
Whether I like it or not, I do value the opinion of others and, sad as it may sound, I do (ever just a little) crave praise for what I've written, if only to have the confirmation of my own self-belief in what I write; and let's face facts, it's that self-belief (misguided or otherwise) that we ourselves have the ability to produce something of worth that others may appreciate and gain enjoyment from that motivates most of us to do what we do and then, most crucially, place it out there in the public domain for others to scrutinise, dissect and comment upon. (If it really was just your inner muse you were aiming to satisfy, then you'd put what you'd created in a cupboard under the stairs, out of sight of others...wouldn't you?)
And it's a thrill, believe me, when you get that confirmation. It initially comes from family and supportive friends (though good friends are often critical as well), then occasionally there's a bolt from the blue, a name you don't recognise posting a positive comment or a high rating - and then there's an extra warmth to the glow you get when you read it.

Well, following the review of Red Plus Zone that was posted on the Stranger Views yesterday, I am positively radiant!

Click here to have a read the whole thing on the Stranger Views website.

And it couldn't have come at a better time, as final preparations are underway for the print version of Red Plus Zone to be made available...and with that in mind, I'll soon be asking a favour of you all, my fine followers out there in Blogland, to help me spread the word about Red Plus Zone, to tell your partners, your children (of a suitable age, naturally), parents, siblings, friends, work colleagues, even strangers on the street who you see reading a book or a Kindle (other e-readers are available...apparently).
Gird your loins, my friends - I'm calling in a favour!

Friday, 16 January 2015

Please, Mr Sainsbury's...A word.

There's actually something wrong with this picture.
Any ideas?
Well, it's simple really - the post scanning area (where your shopping ends up after the till-meister has whipped it across the barcode scanner) is unnaturally free of items...which is nothing like reality.
In my local Sainsbury's supermarket, things are very, very different. In my reality, you haven't even acknowledged the operative's breezy 'Good Morning' and got the first of your 'bags for life' unfolded than the scene before you is suddenly one of total grocery carnage.
That idea you had about keeping all the chilled and frozen stuff together? Forget it - your Muller yoghurts are now lost somewhere underneath those new bags for life hanging at the end of the checkout.
Your bulb of garlic? You'll never see that again!
And shit...your jam-filled doughnuts are being mercilessly crushed beneath a roaring, rolling tide of Plum Tomatoes and Heinz Tomato Soup (with a hint of basil).

But why is it like this?
Surely the Mad Scanner sat on the other side of the till can see that your grapes are being squeezed juiceless between your Innocent Orange and that 2.5 kg bag of King Edwards Potatoes!
Surely the sensible thing would be to slow down, to put items through at a reasonable pace...
Ahh yes, it would, wouldn't it. Only, that doesn't appear to be the Sainsbury's way. You see, it seems that all of Sainsbury's check-outs are monitored for throughput - operatives have to scan a certain number of items per minute - this is what the operative's performance is measured on.
On the face of it, there is some semblance of logic in it - after all, the faster you can get items through the checkout, the more people you can serve, the shorter the queues (or the fewer checkout staff you need, whatever your economic, cost-saving preference may be).
But that's just on the face of it.
The truth is that the defining element of how quickly an individual gets through the checkout is not the till-meister. It's the shopper. How quickly the shopper moves on depends on how quickly they can pack their bags and, whether Sainsbury's like it or not, no matter how quickly my groceries are thrown at me or pressed into a churning mass of tins, cartons, vegetables and toiletries by the whirring conveyor, it's going to take me the same amount of time to pack my fact, truth be know, if I'm feeling a little annoyed by the fact that my Warburton's Toastie loaf has been crushed into the shape of a French baguette by a checkout operative worried about their 'item throughput speed', I'm actually going to take a little longer to pack those bags. The word you're looking at here is belligerence.
Oh, and there's another word that Sainsbury's would do well to look up in a dictionary - that's the word 'alternative' - I choose to shop at Sainsbury's. I can choose to shop elsewhere

So a word of advice to Mike Coupe (he's the CEO, don't you know) - if you want to keep on pissing off loyal customers, then by all means continue telling your till-staff that the most important thing is to get every item scanned just as quickly as is humanly possible, and sod the fact that half of the customer's fruit has just been turned to shit. However, if you want to avoid having shorter queues at the checkouts because no bugger is shopping at Sainsbury's anymore, then can I suggest that you instruct your till-meisters to take a moment to watch how quickly people are able to pack their bags and to then alter their speed accordingly.
That way you'll end up with fewer misshapen loaves and fewer disgruntled shoppers who suddenly find themselves wondering whether they should follow your company's advice and 'Try Something New Today' Asda.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Stranger Views

I thought I'd just take a moment or two, my loyal blog-followers (you're all fabulous, by the way!) to point you in the direction of a particularly cool web-site.

It's particularly cool because it recently had a fabulous article about whether Brian Blessed is the best Doctor Who we never had (which I'm beginning to think he is!)
Click here to read it.

The site is called Stranger Views and if you're into sci-fi films and books (like me) then I think you'll really enjoy it.

I do!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

That to which we aspire...

As this year has started busily with regards to my other job (that's right, folks, I have decided that from here on in I will be referring to myself as 'a full-time writer who does a little bit of business consultancy and auditing on the side' rather than referring to my writing career as some kind of sideline or hobby - besides, referring to myself as a writer first-and-foremost gives me a recusant, bohemian air...methinks), I haven't had the opportunity to really throw myself into any of the far-too-many writing projects that I want to tackle this year (such as The Curious Case of God vs Pratt, Deus Magnus, the follow-up to Red Plus Zone, the Minstrel Yan poem, etc) - instead, what little spare time I've had so far this year has been devoted to my other target - reading as many of the SF Masterworks as possible.
And I'm not sure I could have started off with two better books :)

The first is The Lathe of Heaven by the fabulously named Ursula Le Guin (helpful picture of the cover below).
I wanted to read one of her books after I heard her name mentioned in Dominic Sandbrook's fascinating 4-part TV series:
The Unearthly History of Science Fiction
If you haven't watch it, check it out - it's really good!
I couldn't get hold of The Left Hand of Darkness (it's on my list though) so I went for The Lathe of Heaven instead...and I certainly wasn't disappointed.
I'm not going to go into great detail about it (I'm not very good at dissecting and analysing books) - instead, I'm simply going to say that it has a fabulous concept at its core (the ability of a man to change reality through his dreams, and another man's desire to control that ability) and, just as fascinating from my perspective (because I'm a writer, remember), it is written with a wonderful, flamboyant prose. Here's a writer who is determined to use the full pantheon of words, someone who won't shy away from using precisely the right noun or adjective just out of fear that the reader may not understand it - that's an approach I really, really like (after all, looking up a word is what a dictionary is for!)
I'd summarise The Lathe of Heaven as exactly the sort of science fiction novel that I, as a writer (refer to my earlier point) aspires to write.

The other book I have read since the start of the year?
Actually, it's the second element of this two-part offering (another helpful image below), both by Czech writer Karel Capek (the man credited with bringing us the word ROBOT...which is predominantly the reason why the play 'RUR' is the first of the two parts of this book - it's okay, and would be interesting to see on stage, but it's not what I'm going to wax lyrical about!)
The War with the Newts (which is what I'm going to wax lyrical about) I found to be incredibly engaging and very, very clever, because it really is more of a critique of all that is wrong with mankind - yes, it has some baggage from the time it was written (1936) but that doesn't detract from the underlying premise, which is that that which we take advantage of and treat badly may just come back and bite us in the ass!!
It's just groovy!

So there you have it, folks - two really, really good books for your perusal and delectation.
Hopefully, one day in the not-too-distant future, someone will be kind enough to say something similar in their blog about something which a writer called Andrew Ritchie has written.
He's a full-time writer who does a little bit of business consultancy and auditing on the side, don't you know...

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year!!

Here's a little New Year's poem,
A note to those I love.
Peace and joy I hope you'll have,
Passed down from up above.
You all to me are precious and
No things I value more, for
Each of you is special in more
Ways than you could know. 
You all make life so wondrous,
Every minute of each day,
And I only hope that what you give to me I can