Reading

Being Katniss Everdeen

Being Katniss Everdeen

Reality is not always a pretty place to live. Day to day life can be mundane or in some cases very difficult and we all find different ways to deal with that. Some people lose themselves in the bottom of a tumbler of whiskey and others become addicted to computer games, losing themselves in realms of warlocks or druids. For some the lure of the Penny Black draws them in like a siren, but for me it’s books.

I am a bookaholic. I’m not a reformed case, unless you count moving from exclusively paper to electronic and audio as reform. This may shock you, I’ll be honest, I don’t want to reform. There, I’ve said it. I’m happy here. When I’m not reading books I’m writing them. When I’m not writing, I’m planning them. For the last couple of weeks I have been Katniss Everdeen.

I’ve been rereading the remarkable Hunger Games Trilogy and for those all too brief and elusory hours I have not been a middle-aged woman dealing with real world issues. For those precious, stolen moments I have been a young participant in the Hunger Games, living by my wits and an expert with a bow and arrow. Every so often one of the dogs has interrupted to remind me they, if not I, are real and need feeding. Then reluctantly, I’ve laid down my bow and come back to reality. Looking on the bright side, when I’m writing fiction, I can get lost in the world of my characters for months. At least reading a book only takes me a few hours.

At the moment I am getting increasingly excited about planning the launch of my new novel. I want to do everything NOW, but of course that is not possible. You the readers want the cover to look brilliant (and it does) and you want to be able to read the book uninterrupted by errors (which is in process). You might even think you’d like an invite to the launch (which is being planned). All those things take time.

In the meantime, books are a great and largely safe place to spend time. They can fuel the imagination, and broaden horizons. They can inform, challenge ideas and inspire. In my opinion they are as relevant now as they have ever been and if spending a few hours being Katniss Everdeen gives me the strength and courage to face the world then Katniss Everdeen I will be!

5 years and we’re celebrating!

It is five years ago today since I launched www.alfiedog.com the short story download site. Over those years I have built it to being one of the biggest paid short story sites in the world with 325 authors and over 1600 short stories.

We’re having a bit of a celebration with some special offers on stories by those authors who have been with us all five years http://alfiedog.com/fiction/featured/ and a special sale of some of the best stories we carry, with six different stories brought to you each week over the next five weeks http://alfiedog.com/fiction/sale/  Then we’re having with a big online party which you are all welcome to join on June 11th from 7pm to 9pm UK time https://www.facebook.com/events/214250785730563/?active_tab=discussion Finally we are finishing off our celebrations by offering five of our short story collections absolutely free as ebooks and we’ll let you know the dates of those later.

Spread the word and join in the celebrations.

Morning the loss of kwality fikshun

‘Lies damn lies and statistics.’ Book sales were up last year. You would think that was good news, but should adult dot to dot books really be included? Even when you take those out and look at the rest of the sales it can make for depressing reading.

Whilst there has been much criticism of self-publishing ‘dumbing down’ literature, I fear that the problem runs much deeper. It is a long time since I’ve read a book without a significant number of errors. Even supposed modern classics like The Red Notebook had a record being 33 1/3 inches! (If you don’t immediately know what’s wrong with that then you’re too young to know your vinyl from your cassette.)

I’m not sure whether to be appalled or relieved. As a publisher, I know it is almost inevitable that the odd error will slip through. The reason being that the cost of catching them all is too high compared with the likely return on the publication.

The problem lies with a society that has the attention span of a gnat on caffeine and which expects something for nothing, or at best paid for by hidden means such as advertising.

I’m told that one of the big things for writers is Wattpad where books are posted in instalments and are free to readers. If this is the next big thing, then the thing after that will be the most dreadful standard of written English amongst the following generation as they learn from what they read… and what they are reading is not good!

I’m not against the progression of language and its ongoing simplification; development and change is part of what keeps it alive. However, I do believe that we’re at risk of losing quality fiction because of the lack of interest and respect by the population at large. Is that inevitable in the age of electronics? Does it matter? I think it does.

I set up Alfie Dog Fiction to publish quality short stories for paid download. An author has to earn a living. Giving their work for free does not enable them to do that. By quality I don’t mean literary. Of course we do carry some high class literary fiction, but whatever the genre a reader deserves to be able to read stories which are well written and well crafted. I didn’t set it up because it would make me a millionaire (if you’re counting, it has made me zero so far) I set it up because I believe in it and I believe in the authors whose work we carry.

Five years on from the start of Alfie Dog Fiction I still live in hope that readers will one day come to understand why good quality writing is important in the fast paced, throw away age we inhabit.

Rosemary J Kind

www.alfiedog.com

We carry 1600 short stories written by more than 300 authors around the world

Author / Editor / Publisher

What’s worth reading?

Well, it’s only my opinion, but I’ve been building up a page on my website of books I recommend. They are not all ones I’ve given five star reviews to, but ones that I think are worth taking the time to read. I’ve included a review, without giving away any of the plots, so you can read them safely.

I have been going through everything I’ve logged on Goodreads over the last few years and bringing them together in one place. I’ve left out the ones that I did not think were worth reading and there are a few of those! I shall be adding to the page over the next couple of weeks until I bring it completely up to date. After that I shall only add to it as I read a new book and think you might enjoy it.

It’s an eclectic mix. I hope you find something there you enjoy too.

You can find the page HERE

Addictions can be healthy… can’t they?

If it were alcohol you’d be sending me to get help, but it’s not. It still leads me to lose touch with reality, become distant from my family and become depressed if I have no opportunity to feed my addiction. If you are reading this you may share my problem. We don’t sit around in an old hall on wooden chairs and come out with lines like ‘Hello, I’m X and I’ve been on the wagon for three weeks.’ Instead we join Goodreads and say things like, ‘I only give this one two stars because the characters weren’t believable.’

I’ve known for years that I’ve had an addiction. I can’t walk past a bookshop without going in. I get bookcase envy almost anywhere that I see a row of books and own more Ikea Billy Bookcases than is reasonable for a human being to have. My mother and I have labelled ourselves as Bookaholics for years and if you search the Internet we are clearly not alone. However, even in my own family my problem is not fully understood.

This became painfully apparent when my father decided to THROW OUT some books! My mother did the responsible thing and immediately sent me a list of all the titles to see which I would want. It took willpower, but I didn’t just respond with, ‘All of them.’ Instead I carefully selected the ones I would like to read and having managed to eliminate one or two sent the list back. That’s when the problems started. My father assumed I must want to give them away elsewhere or sell them. My mother understood and reassured him that she was sure I’d want them for myself. He still found it hard to believe and it took some fairly emphatic explaining to convince him that of course I wanted to read a book about the Goons that I hadn’t got and various political memoirs (not written by the Goons), as well as some works of fiction. They will be carefully added to the pile, ready to feed my addiction at a moment’s notice.

In the meantime you’ll find me in America, or falling in love, identifying a murderer or back in 1840. If you need to rouse me, just remember it can take a while to bring me back to the real world and be gentle as who would with any other addict who needs your help.

Except… I’m happy to be addicted and I really don’t plan to stop anytime soon. My eyesight might be suffering and I would look at everyday objects as possible murder weapons, but I’m just fine. Now, what page was I on?

 

I’m currently giving away a copy of Pet Dogs Democratic Party Manifesto in a Goodreads Giveaway – see below for details:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Pet Dogs Democratic Party Manifesto by Alfie Dog

Pet Dogs Democratic Party Manifesto

by Alfie Dog

Giveaway ends October 08, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway