Sunday, 29 December 2013

The Second Coming-Media release

Media release for the Second Coming
Local Author Publishes Second Skidian Chronicle Sci Fi Novel on Amazon Kindle 

Auckland NZ, December 29 12 2013 – Auckland writer, Keith Fenwick, has released the second Kiwi themed satirical science fiction novel in the Skidian Chronicles trilogy; The Second Coming. This is Keith Fenwick’s second novel.

In his first novel “Skid - The First Chronicle” Keith Fenwick takes us to a highly sophisticated world where civilization is about to fall apart in a spectacular fashion. A world whose leader’s arrogantly assume that they can do no wrong in the face of the dangerous signs of a disintegrating world around them.

In the Second Coming Skid has undergone the apocalypse signaled in the first novel, now revealed to be the work of the malfunctioning computer intelligence charged with maintaining Skidian society as the most powerful and sophisticated in the known universe.

The Second Coming follows the main human characters, now back on planet earth, grappling with a gap in their lives they cannot explain and details the almost complete disintegration of a once powerful and sophisticated society. Skid once had a population that numbered in the hundreds of millions. By the time the story returns to the planet Skid after a short and eventful interlude on planet earth where a new pivotal Skidian character emerges and treats the locals with complete disdain, the population has dwindled to several thousand Skidians eking out a basic living as best they can.

The Second Coming reminds us how fragile a flower intelligent life is in our universe and how close we all are individually and collectively from disaster that threatens our way of life. One drunken miss step, one line of rogue code, one random, unprecedented incident on top of an unfolding disaster and it could be the end of most of us.

Reviewer Andrew Baker says, ‘I found the book quite fun, especially when I got to the meat of it. It's quite comical and some of the adventure and action made it so I had to keep reading on past my bed time. The Second Coming turned out to be a fun and funny read and I would recommend it to anyone that has the endurance for longer, slower adult science fiction novels.

The Second Coming Kindle version
http://www.amazon.com/Second-Coming-Skidian-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00F8A9FRGASIN: B00F8A9FRG

The Second Coming Print version
http://www.amazon.com/The-Second-coming-Chronicle-Chronicles/dp/1492742619ISBN-13: 978-1492742616

The First Chronicle
Kindle version http://www.amazon.com/Skid-Tasting-plant-ebook/dp/B009FIAMXS
Print version http://www.amazon.com/Skid-The-tasting-plant-Volume-1/dp/1479378844

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Review -The Second Coming

A Review for the Second Coming 

The Second Coming by Keith Fenwick is a next-in-series title about several different people whose stories are in some way related, but if you are just coming in you don't quite know how. Sue and Bruce are normal, everyday Earthlings... mostly. Sue, who owns a travel agency, is somehow pregnant when she hasn't had a sexual partner in a very long time. Her best guess is immaculate conception. 

Bruce, on the other hand, is a bit of a foul mouthed, rugged loner living off the land. He feels that something is missing--a chunk of his life perhaps. 

On the other hand, Mitch, a third Earth personality (and the United States President), was experiencing no abnormality in his life before a spaceship landed in an American military airplane hangar after a little airspace encroachment, battle, and chase. The alien flying that craft is Myfair, the happenstance ruler of a mostly unknown planet, Skid--the most advanced planet in the universe.

In the wake of a mind-blowing apocalypse on his planet caused by a malfunctioning computer intelligence charged with making Skidian life as easy as possible, Myfair was simply traversing the deep, not looking for anything in particular, when he accidentally stumbled upon Earth, violating American airspace and instigating a dogfight in the process. The skirmish caused him to lose control and scrape his ship across a range of mountains, forcing him to find a place to land. A secured military base is as good a place as any, wouldn't you think?

To you and me it would seem like an insanely stupid idea; but to an intelligent life form that considers us a pitifully ill-advanced, backwater planet that can be easily handled, an air of arrogance keeps our intelligent thought process from rendering us dangerous to a Skidian, and even worthy of note. This is why Myfair was just fine with parking in a military hangar and taking a Sunday stroll around, checking out American war planes. His lack of realization that there could in fact be danger on such an inconsequential planet is just the reason he runs into Bruce, Sue, and President Mitch, which begins their journey together.

As a critique, it takes a lot of reading to get to this point. It could have easily been a hundred or more pages shorter. In addition some of the sexual description was weird, almost as though it hardly had a place in the book. I don't mean all of the sex in general, which was very little, but when it popped up unexpectedly--specifically from the main female character's perspective--it took me by surprise and seemingly without reason. On the upside, there are almost no instances of it. In fact, all such instances containing sex probably only amount to a single page, or less even. My final critique is that Bruce's mother added an almost irritating ingredient to the mixture that bothered me--not because it existed, but because it worked itself into this book so late. Perhaps Fenwick touches on this in the first book, which could make me wrong in thinking this was new, but it was bothersome none-the-less.

All in all though, I found the book quite fun, especially when I got to the meat of it. As the book follows Myfair and other Skidians and allows you to see what their arrogance and underestimation gets them into, it's hard not to laugh. Reading about the effect that Bruce and Mitch have on others is no different; it's quite comical and some of the adventure and action made it so I had to keep reading on past my bed time. The Second Comingturned out to be a fun and funny read and I would recommend it to anyone that has the endurance for longer, slower adult science fiction novels.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Behind every good author stands a great editor or spell checkers are great

I have only recently realised what a great benefit to the process of writing an editor is, My editor is just starting out but she is fully involved in helping me address the continuity issues and basic grammatical errors that I tend to to make. Spell checkers are great but bit nothing beats a well trained eye to sniff out those silly little errors.

For those of you that have read the Second Coming you should notice an improvement in continuity and structure as well as grammar and punctuation.

Despite good marks in English at school, and let's remember I went to school in the days when typing classes were for girls while boys did manly stuff like woodwork, correct grammar and punctuation are a bit of a mystery to me. I got caught up in the era where the precursors of the Green Party controlled education and decided that good grammar was not necessary to rite a good story. How wrong they were. And yes I wish I had learnt to type plopperly as, as you can imagine typing a full length novel is a bit of a mission with all the mistakes and backspacing.

I feel that my creative juices flow best when I write something long hand but it is also pretty pointless giving a manuscript to someone to type up as my handwriting is also atrocious. I bought a livescribe pen to convert my scrawl to text recently, unfortunately these pens are not designed with the likes of me in mind. They require neat and well formed script -which I haven't, so this experiment to truncate the editing process has only been partially successful.

But back to the editor. If you need editing assistance try these guys. http://styxpress.co.nz/

Finally found some gravel for the new toy. the first road I found had just been graded but I found a few others today that I could have a good fang down. Need to get the helmet camera out and take some video.








Friday, 9 August 2013

The Second Coming

The Second Coming- Part two of the Skid Chronicles series
click here for the first novel in the series 


Synopsis

The Second Coming is the second novel in the Skid Chronicles series and follows on from the first novel in the series where our unlikely protagonists were kidnapped by a team from the Planet Skid who were on a mission to locate expertise to assist them in developing alternative food sources to feed their people as the planet’s synthetic food production systems began to fail.

The Skidian team selected a team of experts at random without really understanding the expertise that they required to achieve their objectives. More by good luck than good management they had found in their random and unscientific search someone who could generate new food production systems in the form of New Zild Kiwi style grasslands based cattle farm, station or ranch. Unfortunately for the Skidians as the old earthly adage goes; ‘you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink,’ the enterprise eventually failed because not enough Skidians wanted to get their hands dirty in the enterprise.

Since the inception of modern Skid as it was at that point in time; the most sophisticated and powerful civilisation in the known universe, the concept of having to actually do anything remotely connected to work for most Skidians was unknown and hundreds of millions of Skidians had been governed by a small group of hereditary rulers who didn’t brook any change to the status quo.

Quite unknown to those rulers or perhaps unacknowledged by them in many respects, in actual fact their lives were monitored and controlled by an artificial intelligence that in many ways was as flawed as the society that it was tasked with maintaining.
The alternative systems developed by the offworld experts would inevitably lead to the transformation of Skid as it was known and the fracturing of Skidian society. Faced with a choice between maintaining the Skidian Way and perhaps saving a good number of Skidians from certain death, the hereditary rulers chose the former and hoped for a miracle to deliver them from mass starvation and the end of the Skid as they knew it.

To make matters worse the artificial intelligence that monitored all the systems that kept the population fed, housed, and watered was experiencing its own difficulties.
The second novel deals with the aftermath of the breakdown in food supplies. The offworlders have been returned home after undergoing a partially successful memory wipe and Skid is slowly recovering from the disaster that; not for the first time has all but destroyed the most powerful and sophisticated civilisation known in the known universe.

The first novel in the series can be bought here


http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009FIAMXS

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The Skid Chronicles

The second novel in the Skid Chronicles series of science fiction novels is close to being published. Here is an excerpt from the novel.

"It amused Bruce how these three copied him so studiously, it also came as a sobering surprise to realise that they considered him a worthy role model. He’d never considered that before, him a role model?  The three of them had forsaken the Skidian tradition of smoking agbar through the nose, affected clothing like his own and made hilarious attempts to work his dogs that the dogs equally studiously ignored. It wasn't so much that they were one man dogs, they simply didn't understand what the Skidians required of them. Cop reckoned that their attempts at whistling made about as much sense as a flock of mating fantails in the springtime. The dog made his own fun on the odd occasion and pretended to respond thereby raising their hopes and them shattering them as he and the other two dogs loped off midway through a job or simply refused to budge"

Purchase the first novel here.

http://www.amazon.com/Skid-Tasting-plant-ebook/dp/B009FIAMXS

Thursday, 2 May 2013


Excerpt from the second novel in the Skid Chronicles series

Check here to download book one in the series...
http://www.amazon.com/Skid-Tasting-plant-ebook/dp/B009FIAMXS

Excerpt


“Do the people back at the ranch think like Mischief and his cronies?” Mitch asked as they sped away from the industrial complex.
“They want something called collective leadership there, they want to vote for their leader,” Myfair replied, shaking his head not comprehending how they had developed such bizarre notions.
“A power crazy megalomaniac on one hand and a bunch of hippy commie democrats on the other, not a happy state of affairs. I wonder what the rest are like?” Mitch muttered to himself. It’s just like home he thought morosely and it suddenly struck him how polarised the politics of his nation was and how he had contributed to the legislative impasse that deadlocked the nation politically. Neither his side or the other could actually do what they really knew was required to save the nation from falling over a financial precipice at some point in the near future because they had locked themselves into fiercely partisan positions that they felt they couldn’t retreat from even if it was for the greater good. Secretly they all did just enough to stave off financial Armageddon happening on their watch.
Myfair didn't understand what Mitch meant and didn't really think he wanted to know. Nor did he want to know what other fledgling power structures were sprouting elsewhere around the planet that he would have to deal with at some stage. Not just yet.
“Voting for a leader isn't all that bad a thing,” Mitch ventured, “but this business of collective leadership has got to be stamped out quickly.” He added letting his own well developed prejudices surface. It was ok to act like a dictator as long as you were more or less democratically elected and had more and bigger guns than anyone else.
At least they agreed on something Myfair thought, wondering if it was such a good idea to lean too heavily on Mitch. Already he felt as if events were moving out of his control, as if he were on the verge of tumbling headfirst into an abyss with no chance of saving himself.
First; the Aotearoians had rebelled against him after earlier pledging their support for his leadership. Then Mischief had developed his grandiose delusions of power. The only bright spot was that Mischief had been quickly brought to heel, but what damage had been done in the process?
Already a significant number of Skidians had experienced life without a Chief Mati and were getting used to the idea of making some of their own decisions, could they ever be brought back into the fold?
And what of the other Skidians he hadn't even sought out yet? Myfair tried to grasp the size of the job ahead of him and failed. He suddenly felt as if it was all too much for him, the task seemed to stretch away into the future and he couldn't imagine where it might end.
 “What are they doing down there?” Mitch asked, breaking into Myfair's train of uncertainty.
“Where?” Myfair asked following the direction of Mitch's pointing finger.
Myfair banked the patrol craft and looked downward on an almost primeval scene. A group of desperate Skidians, emaciated and clad in the filthy tattered remains of their robes were milling around the body of an ivop.
Myfair watched as several of the group raised large stones into the air and brought them down on the head of the animal. Myfair thought he could see bright red blood spurting into the air as the ivop suddenly lurched to its feet, leaving several of the Skidians on the ground as it stumbled off.
Immediately the rest of the Skidians were onto it again, knocking it to the ground again and this time it didn't stir again as they beat it to death with their rocks.
“Christ,” Mitch muttered as the Skidians tore at the carcass, tearing away strips of skin from wherever they could and stuffing bloody flesh and offal into their mouths.
Mitch was stunned by the sight of the Skidians tearing at the bloody flesh with their bare hands almost totally oblivious of his presence as Myfair landed the patrol ship and they disembarked. A few heads swung their way as they gingerly approached the group but most of them were too engrossed in their impromptu orgy to give the visitors a second glance.
In his time Mitch had experienced some pretty devastating sights, mainly second hand via reports on the television or in special briefings which he thought had affected him to the point where he had mobilised the vast resources of his country to help where he could. But here standing on a planet far from home the full impact of the misery suffered by people after a disaster of any kind, really struck home in a much more devastating and personal way than he had ever experienced previously.
He had seen people in rags before, seen people waiting patiently for food that wouldn't arrive in time to save their emaciated bodies. He'd seen people vainly scrabbling through the wreckage of their homes after a tidal wave or earthquake. He'd watched reporters and various public figures imploring the wealthy to assist the disaster stricken, using their celebrity status to prick at consciences, stirring the nation’s guilt which was assuaged by band aids that lasted until the next catastrophe. Mitch had squirmed in frustration as he tried to deal with obdurate leaders who wouldn't accept aid with strings attached, while their people starved and squirmed even more when he was pilloried by his electorate for failing to act to help when it was clear he should.
But he'd never felt as impotent as he felt now or felt a greater urge to do something practical to help as he watched these desperate Skidians.
“We must do something”
“What do you mean?” Myfair appeared surprised by the question. It hadn't occurred to him that he could do anything, except maybe point them in the general direction of Aotearoa.
“We must do something to help these people.”
“Like what? Myfair asked, not thinking about the patrol craft that could easily transport this small group of Skidians to Aotearoa, a patrol craft that carried ample supplies of synfood. Instead he made sure his dazier was ready for instant action in case the situation turned nasty.
“What about food? There must be food aboard and clothes,” Mitch added,” and couldn't we transport these Skidians to Aotearoa?”
“Yes, but why should we do that?”
“Myfair you want to lead these people, why don't you show some leadership and help them?”
Myfair's mind wasn't focused on the scene as Mitch's was, he just couldn't help but wonder how a Skidian could stoop let himself or herself go as these ones had.
“But what about our meeting with Mischief?”
“Oh fuck Mischief, we can deal with that ratbag later. First lets’ do something for these poor sods.” Mitch didn't wait for Myfair's reaction and walked up to the group.
They were an even more pitiable group at closer range. Bony arms and legs, covered in open sores stuck out of their dirty torn robes. They all wore dull desperate expressions, now splattered with blood and gore as they feebly tore at the dead animal's carcass. Most of them didn't even have access to where the flesh was bared Mitch saw, the weaker ones being pushed out of the way. They didn't appear to have decent weapons either, or even knives, though as he approached one or two of them raised rocks ready to throw in his general direction. Prepared to defend their meal.
“Over there is your leader,” Mitch pointed to Myfair, thinking as he did so that the simple act of saving these poor souls from their desperate existence would ensure they saw Myfair as their saviour. “He has come with food and clothing and the promise of a new better life.”
None of the Skidians really looked interested in what Mitch had to say. But then slowly it seemed to dawn on a couple of the weaker ones that there might be better pickings elsewhere.
Weakly they made their way toward the space ship and then broke into a painful parody of a run that made Mitch wince just to watch them as a robot appeared at the patrol craft's door pushing a trolley laden with synfood.
Mitch was almost caught in the crush as the rest of the Skidians suddenly realised what was happening and rushed for the trolley. They jostled each other out of the way in their haste as the stronger among them shoved the weak out of the way. Nevertheless there was enough for all.
Within minutes most of them were throwing up whatever they had eaten, but this didn't seem to deter anyone and they continued to gorge until finally they were sated.
Mitch was impressed with the way Myfair finally reacted and also with the utility of the Skidian patrol ships. Myfair might not be able to think of much himself but once he got the general idea he was a hard man to stop.
While the rest of the Skidians were emptying the food trolley into themselves and then vomiting it out again Myfair had set up a mini camp complete with showers, had laid out fresh clothing and was moving among his subjects and accepting their thanks with humility and grace.
Mitch became a little indignant. Wasn't saving them his idea? After a moment he decided - maybe this is better and he considered just how far he might be able to go before Myfair realised he was having his strings pulled like a puppet. He sat himself on the ground beside the patrol ship, half listening to the tales of incredible hardship and realised just how thin the veneer of civilisation was for perhaps all so called civilised people.
The remnants of Skid that he had been exposed to seemed to indicate a well ordered and highly sophisticated society supported by a level of technology that made his head swim. But as soon as the Skidians had experienced a break down in order and were failed by their technology, this group at least, had rapidly degenerated into something primitive and quite frightening. Resorting to cannibalism, living off corpses and worse when their world crashed around them. They had barely survived where most of their fellows had perished. Who were the lucky ones?
Now, full of food, freshly clothed and washed, secure in the presence of a leader who's right to rule they recognised these Skidians were transformed once again to their former selves. Or almost. Mitch could see it in their eyes, he recognised that the trauma of their experiences would stick with them for a good long while, if they ever left them. This was something that he had seen before as he visited one disaster area after another and seeing the haunted looks of the survivors as they struggled to put their lives right.
I wonder what they will want now? To return to their cocooned former existences or would they strive for more control over their own lives? Mitch thought they would more than likely opt for the former approach. Having experienced a life of deprivation they would go for the option that ensured a life of security and full bellies and to hell with anything else. Mitch couldn't find it in himself to blame them and thought it would be rather interesting to see how they mixed with the Aotearoians most of whom had never experienced such privatisation.

Friday, 5 April 2013

The Skid Chronicles Part 2

............here comes the Skid Chronicles Part 2

Synopsis

The Skid Chronicles Part 2 follows on from the first novel in the series where our unlikely protagonists were kidnapped by a team from the Planet Skid on a mission to locate expertise to assist them in developing alternative food sources to feed their people as the planet’s synthetic food production systems began to fail.

The Skidian team selected a team of experts at random without really understanding the expertise that they required to achieve their objectives. More by good luck than good management they had found in their random and unscientific search someone who could generate new food production systems in the form of Kiwi style grasslands based farm, station or ranch. Unfortunately for the Skidians as the old earthly adage goes; ‘you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink,’ the enterprise eventually failed because not enough Skidians wanted to get their hands dirty.

Since the inception of modern Skid as it was at that point in time; the most sophisticated and powerful civilisation in the known universe, the concept of having to actually do anything remotely connected to work for most Skidians was unknown and hundreds of millions of Skidians had been governed by a small group of hereditary rulers who didn’t brook any change to the status quo.

The alternative systems developed by the offworld experts would inevitably lead to the transformation of Skid as it was known and the fracturing of Skidian society. Faced with a choice between maintaining the Skidian Way and perhaps saving a good number of Skidians from certain death, the hereditary rulers chose the former and hoped for a miracle to deliver them from mass starvation and the end of the Skid as they knew it.

To make matters worse the artificial intelligence that monitored all the systems that kept the population fed, housed, and watered was experiencing its own difficulties.

This second novel deals with the aftermath of the breakdown in food supplies. The offworlders have been returned home after undergoing a partially successful memory wipe and Skid is slowly recovering from the disaster that all but destroyed the most powerful and sophisticated civilisation known in the known universe.

The second coming and learning more......

My foray into self publishing is kicking along in fit and starts. I have written press releases, signed up to tweeting services and the like but I have still managed to sell more books by various forms of coercion. This isn't going to do me much good in the long term.

I still have a few ideas up my sleeve once I have book two complete but one method that I have started to employ in my personal dealings is; well if you want me to buy that big ticket item (the car) or change my mortgage financing, you need to go to this link and buy my book. This seems to work with a degree of success, though there are far too many people who have promised to buy my book and have yet to do so.

But I have made a few unsolicited sales to people that do know me or are acquainted in some way. Their comments and feedback indicate that I do have a readable product that people Will enjoy. Phew.

This just reinforces in my mind that if you have a good product and have provided the product or service that you say you do then this is a far better form of advertising than any spend unless you have shitloads of money to spend on big bucks advertising. Word of mouth is extremely important. This is truth is just as true in my personal marketing strategy as it is in my day job.

Just a reminder to those people that do know me; don't bother coming to me with a raffle ticket or sponsorship request unless you have bought my book. Here











Friday, 15 March 2013

My solution to traffic congestion..this is not an add...

This morning as I drove along the motorway I fell in love with cruise control. You'd think that at the ripe old age of almost fifty one I would be completely familiar with this functionality. But the truth is my new ute is the first vehicle I have ever owned that has cruise control.

For years I was quite satisfied with my late model Toyota Hiace vans until I decided on a changes and bought a ute two years ago.And cruise control? An effete option and besides why would you have it on a vehicle in this country anyway as we don't have the long straight highways that would make it worthwhile to have?

There was nothing wrong with the ute, it was a major improvement on the van in terms of ride comfort and safety, but it was really a bit rough around the edges in comparison to a car.

Enter the new model utes now on the market from all the main manufacturers over the last year or so and the the change in the ute market and the change in the expectations of many of the people that buy them. Just as many people buy them as their daily transport or to transport their toys around (like me) as do the businesses, farmers and tradesmen.

 Ok they are still small trucks and they drive like trucks but they have a lot more of the standard options that you would expect in a decent car and the new one is simply a quantum leap ahead over the old ute.

Roll forward to a month or so ago. I had been debating for ages whether to upgrade. I really agonise over this kind of decision. It's not about whether I have the money but whether I should spend it. You know the arguments. Sinking money into a new vehicle is a waste and yeah I could have paid the cash I put into a new vehicle off my mortgage but....... For me being able to buy new vehicles is a sign of success in my day job and I enjoy the new vehicle smell. No doubt my attitude would be a bit different if I wasn't lucky enough to qualify for a fleet discount which takes some of the pain away.

Fast forward to rolling down the motorway this fine Saturday morning in light traffic. One click and flick of a switch and there I am cruising along at 102 kilometres an hour. Assuming that my speedo is accurate I suddenly realised how slow the traffic flow really generally is even when there are very few cars on the road.

Make cruise control mandatory I say and maybe we wouldn't have so many bottle necks caused by people meandering along at low speeds on our motorways.
To easy right?





Saturday, 9 March 2013

The Skid Chronicles Part 2


     Excerpt form the The Skid Chronicles part 2


Bruce wondered why he had never thought of hijacking one of the patrol ships before as piloting one was just like playing on a virtual flight trainer game on the internet. He blissfully ignored the fact that he would never have got even close to one of them previously. He also ignored the probability that even if he had got aboard he would  just as likely have blown the space port and himself to bits  rather than getting off the ground, let alone managing to get back  to earth.
Myfair had shown him what most of the controls did, showed him how to set a course to anywhere on Skid and back to earth, but nowhere else. Myfair had also suggested that he not fiddle with various knobs and buttons on one side of the console in a most un-Skidlike manner. This was like a red rag to a bull to Bruce who suspected they must control the ships weapons systems and he itched for a suitable target and an opportunity to test them.
Bruce enjoyed piloting the space craft, though he was looking forward to seeing what had become of his farm even more. The farm that he had hewn from the landscape just like his ancestors had hacked their’s out of the bush. He conveniently forgot about the huge trees that his pioneering ancestors had had to deal with, with nothing more than an axe and a pit saw and the years of superhuman struggle they’d had to break in the farm. Bruce felt as if he was coming home after a long trip away, which after he thought about it for a moment was quite odd.
Odd because not  so long ago he hated the place, hated the planet and the people that inhabited it and yearned for the real home that he thought he would never see again. Now he felt some sort of proprietary interest in what was happening there as if it was his and not the property of those that lived there. He wondered if he would feel the same way if he ever got back to his real home again. He thought about that possibility for a moment and found to his surprise that going home or not going home didn't seem to mean as much to him as he believed it once had. All he had always wanted was embodied in the baby that Sue held, and well maybe in Sue herself although he wasn’t all that sure about that yet.
Bruce shook his head in disbelief. It was as if whatever emotional bonds he had developed for the place he had grown up and bound him there had been shattered. If he did ever go back home to earth his homecoming would certainly be different. While his absence had not been missed before, this time his departure had been far more public and would be hard to hide. He was also determined that if he did return to earth it would be in full control over his memories.
It wasn't hard to conjure up a vision of Trev being grilled by the thought police, or of Mrs Pratt who must be having a hard time explaining the disappearance of little Bruce to the cops and the gun she toted.
As the space ship sped over the vast empty Skidian plain Bruce caught sight of the meandering line of trees that marked the river beside which he had built his home on Skid, more correctly the house that had been built for him. He thought he recognized the line of low hills close to the farm and looked around nervously for Myfair because despite his new found confidence in piloting the craft he wasn’t actually sure of the procedure for landing the spaceship.
How did you land these things? He wondered. He needn't have worried. As the patrol craft skimmed over the trees the farm came into view and after making a circuit of the farm it descended, slowed and landed gently beside the barn without any input from Bruce who was left wondering whether he had actually been in control at all.
During the circuit Bruce had seen people running towards the house from various points about the farm and wondered why they would do that. None of them had turned up where the craft had landed, though as he walked down the ramp behind Myfair he could see some Skidians looking down the hill at them. That struck him as a little strange. But he was more interested in the farm which from the air looked much as he'd left it.
Looking around Bruce wasn't so sure as he looked closer. The garden they had so carefully planted and tended now looked like a wilderness and the fence around it sagged as if something had tried to jump over it and landed on top of it instead.
Bruce wrinkled his nose distastefully, the place had an air of sad neglect, like a rental house, where nobody really cared about the place because it wasn't their's and it showed in the rank grass, the sagging gates and the tools and chairs left discarded about the yard.
The dogs ran out of the space ship behind them and reacquainted themselves with their old stamping ground as Sue carry the baby and Bruce followed Myfair up the hill towards the house.
Mitch stood indecisively at the door of the space ship and looked out. Nobody had told him to do anything so he wasn’t sure what he should be doing and he was not used to alighting from an aircraft without a military salute to acknowledge and a red carpet to stride purposefully down. Should he follow the others or stay put? He asked himself. He could see some people peering down the hill at them and wasn't sure whether they were friendly or not. They didn't look too happy. Some looked as if they were brandishing objects that looked very much like weapons. His old fear of open spaces made him feel giddy and he teetered on the threshold wondering if he was going to faint. He reached out a hand to support himself in the doorway and told himself to pull together.
The real fear of being left behind overrode the other conflicting emotions in Mitch’s mind and he made a move to follow the other three. The door closing behind him as he stepped out of the spaceship made the decision final. He trotted off after the others as fast as his out of condition body would allow him and came abreast of them puffing and coughing wondering if he had the energy to make the climb the rest of the way up the hill.
Myfair recognized most of the people standing on the hill and saw them relax as soon as they realized who it was alighting  from the patrol ship. Perhaps they’ve had other less welcome visitors he decided, wandering bands of desperate Skidians looking for food and shelter or maybe more formidable, more demanding visitors from the better appointed industrial complexes. Maybe the likes of Mischief had learnt of his absence and decided to test the limits of their power.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

The view from the other side.......what if?

In the last few days planet earth had a close encounter with asteroid 2012DA14. The asteroid was so close that it was actually inside the orbit of some of the satellites swinging around our planet. Pretty close, but all the experts seemed pretty relaxed about it all. I guess there's not a whole lot anyone could do Bruce Willis included, if it was likely to hit us and there was no need to spread any more panic and uncertainty than was neccessary. The twittersphere and other social media was doing a good job of that already.

Unfortunately and coincidentally a meteor shower created widespread damage and panic in central Russia at more or less the same time. While there appears to have been widespread damage, luckily there have been few injuries and no fatalities. I say unfortunately because of course we all draw the dots-the two events must be connected. Apparently not. The meteor shower and asteroid approached us from different directions.

Apart from a reminder about just how vulnerable life as we know it is on this planet in terms of how would we, or even could we, divert a large life threatening asteroid aimed straight at us I did wonder if there is an alternative view to this story.

Imagine the headlines beamed home from a space craft piggybacking on the asteroid as it cruises by on its journey of exploration.

We are not alone! And then; Life discovered in galactic backwater! Primitive civilisation discovered by pioneering space mission. Research probes dropped over major landmass.

Backup contact mission already planned. Potential resource windfall, riches await for intrepid exploreres. Boost to economy predicted.

All attempts at communication failed.

Initial reports suggest a low level of technology, no evidence of space travel beyond their own system. The people of this world pose no threat to us in the foreseeable future

If they are out there I wonder what they think of us for surely we aren't really alone in the universe?

And no Mr Zhirinovsky it wasn't the Americans testing a new weapon.





Saturday, 26 January 2013

What I have learnt about Indie book promotion...

While I am busy pecking away at the second novel in the Skid Chronicles series I have also been looking at how to widen my readership for the first book in the series and make my fortune. Yeah right. Making a living at this would be great but I am not about to give up my day job.

I've tried quite a few things to sell copies of my first novel and get a few good reviews on Amazon as that is the key it seems to me-good 5 star reviews. I have twisted people's arms and basically told them to buy my $0.99 novel and write me a good review. This tack has had limited success even when I have offered to give people a dollar as there are far more people that have said to my face that they will download the Kindle version or buy the hard copy than have actually done so. Amazon has pretty good reporting. Clearly I haven't twisted enough arms hard enough.

I have also tried Google Adwords and Facebook adds to no avail, admittedly I can only send people to the Amazon pages via my still dirtbike themed website. Note to self....spend some time on developing a new page. It might help.

All I can say is that I am pleased I tried this avenue but didn't spend too much money in this area. I did spend  a chunk of cash on 't' shirts that I mostly gave away that apart from my wife to be I don't believe anyone actually wears. If you want one drop me line.

I've created a Twitter account along with all those other people who create accounts to self promote their product or service. But Twitter is a bit like Facebook, just because you have 'friends' doesn't mean they are going to read your posts and even if they do, it doesn't mean this is going to translate into any sales.

My latest scheme as per all the reading I have done is to generate a media release for the book. Now I just need to find out where to send it. I have never felt comfortable with self promotion and rejection but my skin is getting thicker so maybe I will just send it too as many people as possible. The good old shotgun approach.

Finally all the good blogs and websites say that all I have to do is create is a community of interest and I'll become an instant online best seller and make my fortune.

So if anyone actually reads this blog and wants to become part of my community you can join me on Facebook or Twitter-I promise not to twist your arm. But in case you have forgotten here is the link to the book......amazon.com/Skid-Tasting-plant-ebook/dp/B009FIAMXS

Actually mostly what I have learnt is that there is plenty of good reading out there and at the end of the day nothing much has changed in the world of publishing. While we can do a lot of things to promote our masterpieces and be successfull at it (in an ideal world successfull for me would be making my living out of writing) at the end of the day luck and being in the right place at the right time has a lot to do with it.





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My first Press Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact:
Keith Fenwick
PO Box 90312
Victoria St West
Auckland
0272066091

New Zealand Author Publishes Sci Fi Novel on Amazon Kindle

Auckland NZ, January 29 2013 – New Zealand  author, Keith Fenwick, recently released a science fiction novel, Skid - The First Chronicle, the first novel of a science fiction trilogy.
  
In his first novel “Skid - The First Chronicle Skid” Keith Fenwick takes us to a highly sophisticated world where society is about to fall apart. A world whose leader’s arrogantly assume that they can do no wrong in the face of the dangerous signs of a disintegrating world around them. A disintegration caused by a failing in the technology that for so long has made them undisputed masters of the known universe.

Readers will immediately recognize the parallels with life as we know it on earth today as we struggle with the implications of climate change on our world and our lifestyles.

The plot addresses some serious themes, touching on issues as wide as the survival of any planet in the universe - from pollution, to the exploitation of natural resources - the pros and cons of collective versus individual action - organic versus synthetic food - survival with humor versus the alienating aspects of a form of political correctness.

The use of humor makes the book work effectively - mainly through the reactions of the "offworlders", Bruce (from New Zealand) and Sue (from the USA). Both Bruce and Sue react in stereotypical ways as caricatures of the cultures they come from - the skillful and amusing portrayal of their characteristics allows readers to laugh at their own attitudes.

Unlike many science fiction books, skid doesn't get bogged down in detail or stray so far from known worlds that you lose the plot. Aficionados of science fiction and anyone who enjoys a good read will enjoy this novel.

This is Keith Fenwick’s first novel.

Contact details for Keith Fenwick
Phone Keith: (064) 0272 066 091
Catch up with Keith at his blog http://dirtsdiary.blogspot.co.nz/


Reviews

.....I found this book to be a great read. Part Space Opera, part satire, this is a very kiwi novel in many respects. It takes really earthly themes like our preoccupation with sustainability and the exploitation of diminishing resources and combines these with the apparent inability of a super alien society to deal with the change required to accommodate this. Whole the novel is somewhat predictable it is entertaining and worth a read.

.....A clever allegory and an engaging read…….
Interesting and easy to read. Keith keeps the suspense through rich descriptions and engaging conversations. Themes of environmental awareness and spiritual discoveries are especially relevant to today's Western culture. The allegory of technically advanced but spiritually poor aliens that lack a purpose in life keep reminding you of people you meet in everyday life. The everyday familiarity in a science fiction setting makes this book stand out.

.....This is a very easy book to read. I loved the hero with his local New Zealand connection and "all will be right" attitude.

.....A very good read - if you like a bit of science fiction.
If you read between the lines or look a little deeper into the story it is not far from current happenings today.

.....The two main characters are easy to relate to for many who would read this book.
And I think that being able to relate to these two makes the book so engaging and easy to read.
The story also gives you somethings to think about and touches on many of the problems faced in today's world.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Unashamed self promotion




The other day she who must be obeyed turned up at home wearing this 't' shirt. I was literally gobsmacked. Forget Adwords and Facebook adds and anything else you have to pay for here is the ultimate talking point.

If nothing else the 2 or 300 hundred people who work in my building saw me coming today and hopefully I have shamed at least one or two of them into buying my book. We'll see. But I am this 't' shirt every Friday from now on.

The Book

Monday, 7 January 2013

The first Skidian Chronicle

Skid is an imaginative science fiction novel of considerable skill that pokes fun at all forms of political correctness, while also indicating there are dangerous signs of a disintegrating world that is not adequately taken care of. Readers will recognise these as parallels to life on earth. 

The plot addresses some serious themes, touching on issues as wide as the survival of any planet in the universe - from pollution, to the exploitation of natural resources - the pros and cons of collective versus individual action - organic versus synthetic food - survival with humour versus the alienating aspects of a form of political correctness. 

The use of humour makes the book work effectively - mainly through the reactions of the "offworlders", Bruce (from New Zealand) and Sue (from the USA). Both Bruce and Sue react in stereotypical ways as caricatures of the cultures they come from - the skilful and amusing portrayal of their characteristics allows readers to laugh at their own attitudes. 

Unlike many science fiction books, skid doesn't get bogged down in detail or stray so far from known worlds that you lose the plot. Aficionados of science fiction and anyone who enjoys a good read will enjoy this novel.


http://www.amazon.com/Skid-Chronicle-Skidian-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B009FIAMXS