Friday, 5 August 2016
Wednesday, 7 January 2015
Friday, 28 June 2013
Tuesday, 25 June 2013
Friday, 21 June 2013
Excerpt of the Week might have to replaced by moan of the week at the rate things are going!
First of all, I have badly pulled a muscle at the base of my back so that's one reason for the title Back to the Future this week! The other is that I simply feel I am going backwards at the moment. I simply cannot get my blog accessible in mobile devices whereas it did work before I pointed my domain lazloferran.com at it. But more of that later!
Problems with Barns & Noble
As promised here is the story of my problems with Barns & Noble on their website BN.com. Theirs is the most useless Customer Service system I have yet come across. I participated for the last 5 years in the Premium programme for my books sold though Smashwords.com. This meant that other affiliates like Sony, BN.com could sell the books for their own devices (Sony Reader and Nook). Now I want to try the Amazon KDP programme, as you know, and this requires me not to have my ebooks (entered in the programme) for sale anywhere else than Amazon. Consequently, I removed most of them from the Smashwords programme and they should have been removed from all the affiliates' websites. However Too Bright the Sun was still available on bn.com two weeks later.
I made use of their online chat to talk to their Customer Services team about removing their book but they told me they couldn't help and that I had to contact a different division on this email: firstname.lastname@example.org. So I did. A week later nothing had happened. I hadn't even received a reply other than an automated reply saying that they had received my email. So I went back onto the bn.com website and chatted again. The operator told me that he was sorry I had received no reply but that there was nothing I could do for him and he suggested I telephone the department instead. I mentioned that bn.com has been making money from my book for the last 2-3 years and I considered myself a cutomer: I didn't see why I should spend money on a phone call when I am currently not working full-time. Anyway I could get no further. He said to email them again. He assured me I would defintely get a response and he would record my case notes so they would have something to refer to. So I emailed them again and waited for a response. I waited another week!
By now I was approaching the FREE promotion slots for the second book in the Iron Series so I really needed to get Too Bright the Sun into the KDP programme fast! I was becoming very frustrated with Barns & Noble. Finally this week - after nearly a month, they removed the title. But I dont't see why they couldn't respond to ANY of my emails. Come on Barns & Noble. It's not good enough!
Problems accessing the Blog on Mobiles - Zoneedit DNS Management
I hope this is the last time I have to whinge for a while. I am very unhappy with the services I have been getting from Zoneedit. I used to get their services for free to manage my domain lazloferran.com. Now I have to pay for it but I was happy to do so - until now.
Basically I made a cock-up creating a domain record using their wizard for www.lazloferran.com instead of lazloferran.com. I don't know why I did this: I have been creating records for over ten years and never made this mistake before. Anyway, I told zoneedit to remove the record which they did but not all of it. There is still some rogue data and it hasn't been removed. It's interfering with the new record and stopping it working properly. This means that the redirect on blogger.com doesn't work properly. I don't know why it affects only mobiles but it does. But the point is that zoneedit have not responded to two subsequent emails asking for updates and two new tickets asking for the work to be completed. As a result, I am forced to consider moving either to wordpress for my blog or changing my domain and certainly changing my domain name management company. it's all very frustrating and stressing me out! This is the worst possible time for this to happen with me just starting to promote my books' FREE sale period on Amazon.
I'm still working on Iron III and it's getting near to completion. I hear that The Journals Of Raymond Brooks is also near to a completed Second Edtion so that is something to look forward to.
Isn't it funny how illness suddenly makes the TV your best friend? Last night when my back went, I could only lie on the bed. I barely managed to get the remote control before I lay down. I watched movies on TCM and found that I was happy to watch anything that came on. Even that weird old movie with Spencer Tracy as an aged rock climber with Robert Wagner as his (very young!) brother was pretty entertaining.
Don't forget the 3 books that are going to be FREE on Amazon in less than a week now. Here are the dates again:
24-28 June: Iron I: Too Bright the Sun
29 June-3 July: Unknown Place, Unknown Universe
2 July-6 July: Vampire: Beneficence
Please tell your friends, your neighbour, your parents, your neighbour's dog - and the cat and hamster if they have one, and retweet or post on facebook and anywhere else you can think of if you like my work. Thanks!
Friday, 14 June 2013
Update on Blog access issues
I am still working with zoneedit who I pay to manage my DNS settings. They have omitted to delete an old record which is giving conflicting data to the new record and thus causing issues, particularly for Mobile device users. Despite my repeated emails this still hasn't been fixed despite their reply that it would. I can only hope this is fixed very soon.
Virgin Media Issues
Damn Virgin Media! I have had a broadband fault for 3 weeks. Richard Branson wouldn't be too pleased if he knew. I had an engineer round to check. He swapped the superhub as routine but found no issue. He gave his name as Michael and his mobile and said to call if I had problems. I did the next day because I couldn't get online and the voice-mail said it was John! He never called me back. So I fixed a second appointment. With OCD, and being busy, I only agreed to give access again if it was the last time. I was assured it would be because a Senior technical engineer would come. He arrives and says it's local area issue becaue he visited another flat with the same issue nearby. He gets me to sign form saying it's fixed (stupid of me - I didn't see he had checked the 'fixed' box!) and says it will take 2-3 weeks to locate the issue so I must be patient. I wait a week and call Virgin to see how its going. He never even reported it! I get at best 1 hour online some days.
Update: I get some credit on my account from Virgin Media which really amounts to about £20 at this point and somebody called Gareth calls me and apologizes and says two engineers will come out the following day. On arrives about noon and asks for access to my flat without warning. Now Gareth assured me they would probably not need access but this guy then wants access twice! And at the end, after testing my hub again and disconnecting wires he tells me he found a note in the exchange cabinet down the road saying there was an issue at the exchange and that it was due to be repaired on the 20th - which was a week away! I don't know why he needed access twice to my flat to tell me this but I thank him and he went. Gareth had assured me he would call every day until the issue was fixed and he hasn't called back since the morning after his first call. I am still having big issues and its getting on for a month later. Come on Virgin - pull your socks up!
Extract of the Week
This week's is from Iron III and as you can see, I am deeply into the climax now. It's action all the way from here on. I won't be able to do any more extracts from this story because then I will give the story away.
Copyright © 2012 by Lazlo Ferran
All Rights Reserved
“We’re going in!” came the sudden command. “We may be ramming the door. Everyone hold tight!”
Colonel Mayer held on to the back of the pilot’s tall chair. They had been talking to the Ischian flight control but had been cut off in mid-transmission. Now Mayer could see several enemy cruisers turning their bows to face the intruder and on the great battleship, lasers were being trained.
“Okay. Let’s go. Fifteen knots!” he ordered.
Inside the hangar, Sergeant Tucker turned to the Lieutenant. “I can see it! I think it’s Mayer! He’s coming in!” Lieutenant deLion pulled himself away from the mayhem of lethal laser beams and shouting, screaming men around him to peer through a port. He briefly saw something yellow approaching fast.
“Clear the doors! Get out of the way. All you in front of the door – get out and grab something! Move! Tucker, open the bloody doors!” He cupped his hands around his mouth and bellowed, “Helmets on!” Then he jumped to the side of the huge hangar doors, pulled his visor down and grabbed a rail.
The cruiser came crashing through the barely-opened doors moments later.
Sergeant Tucker had left the Ischian equivalnent of s-grav on in the hangar and the cruiser’s belly was torn apart by the Magneton clamps as it smashed onto the deck and slid towards the far wall. Pieces of broken cruiser and decking flew into the air like hellish rain. Even where men and alien were fighting for their lives they ducked or dived for cover. At the same time the rush of air as the hangar de-pressurised knocked many over and sucked the air from those who hadn’t dropped their visors in time. Automatically the hatches at the end of the corridors closed to seal the hangar off.
All this was taken in by DeLion during the fraction of a second it took for the cruiser to reach and smash into the far wall. There, it crumpled against the frame of the huge battleship and came to a shuddering halt. Instantly the hatch on the furthest side from the attackers opened and a bewildered looking Colonel Mayer staggered out on to the deck. His eyes probed the scene of carnage eagerly for deLion who waited a few seconds more until the compartment was completely de-pressurised before wading through wreckage to the Colonel. He made a quick assessment of numbers on the way.
Vampire Beneficence: (Short Stories III) has been selling steadily; even better than Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate. The virality of my posts using Hootsuite (the measure of what percentage of readers actually go on to do something like re-tweet or comment etc) has hovered around the 5-7% mark but only on a few tweets and posts. I have yet to learn what affects this but the idea must be to home in on such posts. The reach (how many people read the post) has really varied according with the book or subject. Sometimes there seems little rhyme or reason to it. Iron III should be finished within the next month and Attack Hitler's Bunker! is receiving it's last proof-reading; this time from a proof-copy of the paperback. I have reissued all the Short Stories series with new covers. My stats are saying that a lot more people are looking at my books on Amazon but sales are not noticeably up. Perhaps a possible redesign of the covers of the Ordo Lupus series might help. All my books are now in the Amazon free promotion and lending scheme (called KDP) so that all my books will be offered free for short periods of a few days throughout the rest of the year. There was an issue removing one title from Barnes & Noble but more of that next week. Hopefully this will encourage more people to read them and pass the word. First dates will be announced in blog update over the weekend.
Promotional Campaigns for Iron series and Vampire: Beneficence (inc. The Jesus Monster and Ordo I and Iron I Chap 1 Free) The dates have now been set. The books will be FREE on Amazon on these days:
24-28 June: Iron I: Too Bright the Sun
29 June-3 July: Unknown Place, Unknown Universe
I watched a number of youtube videos of Bob Mitchum interviews yesterday. He was a very underrated actor and very polite about other actors and directors (most of the time). Unfortunately the last interview I watched - just before his death and when he looked very ill, was not good: the female interviewer kept asking inane questions about his relationships with actresses and missed the opportunity to ask him some penetrating questions. Its particularly criminal because it's clear, he was at last ready to reveal more about his life. There was a cheekiness behind his droll, disinterested expression that I have only seen in one interview many years ago, just after Ryan's Daughter. I also found out over the weekend that Kate Bush has managed to sneak out another album: 50 Words for Snow so soon after Aerial. I can't believe it! I am a huge fan of Kate's and usually she takes about 5 years for an album these days. To think she managed to get one out this quick and with no publicity that I can detect is amazing. I have listened to one track and it sounds good. Will listen to the rest as soon as I get time. As usual, good luck to Valentino Rossi and Marc Macquez in MotoGP tomorrow.