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Other posts by Paul St John Mackintosh

Does the Hemingwrite reflect the true nature of modern writing?
October 21, 2014 | 10:25 am

An interesting product came up on my radar yesterday. And I'm not one to diss genuine creativity and inventiveness gratuitously, but I do wonder. The Hemingwrite, you see, is designed as "A Distraction Free Writing Tool," offering the functionality of an old-style word processor, the ergonomics of a typewriter, and the freedom from distractions of a hermit's cave. And designed for decades of use. The Hemingwrite's features include a mechanical keyboard, an e-ink display with backlight, and Evernote cloud backup - for despite its retro styling, the Hemingwrite is a connected beast. What it is not, however, is connected to the...

Cardiff gets horrifically horrible with Scardiff
October 20, 2014 | 3:34 pm

The Welsh capital received an horrific visitation last weekend in the shape of Scardiff, " the first Cardiff horror expo," and a celebration of "all things horror: books, comics, movies, cosplay, the works." And according to attendees, Cardiff Masonic Hall was overrun by a zombie-like horde of attendees, foaming with rabid enthusiasm for the events and attractions. The program at Scardiff included "horror-themed cosplay comps with prizes and custom-made trophies," an SFX scareoff, tabletop gaming, a low-budget filmmaking workshop, and - last but not least for budding horror writers - "a live pitching session for budding novelists, led by Scott Harrison...

Quote of the day: “What happens when The Guardian lets an author gloat about stalking a blogger”
October 20, 2014 | 10:25 am

Plagiarism or not, second-hand reporting or not, I can't do better than to simply repeat and link to the above headline. Here's The Guardian, defender of free speech and woolly thinking, running in full the ruminations of author Kathleen Hale on how she tracked down the perpetrator of a one-star review of her book - to her real-world address, in person, face to face. Admittedly, The Guardian doesn't take sides, simply giving the author's account, without implied endorsement even in the subtitle. But commentators on the story soon did, both for and against. A good many who weighed in on Kathleen Hale's side...

Q&A with Michael Kelly on crowdfunding the Year’s Best Weird Fiction
October 19, 2014 | 2:28 pm

Michael KellyAfter reading Michael Kelly's posts about the organizational work needed to reward the contributors to the crowdfunding campaign behind the critically acclaimed anthology Year's Best Weird Fiction Vol. 1, I contacted him for his comments on his work as series editor and on the complications of crowdfunding an anthology in the ebook era. Here are his replies. TeleRead: Are physical books still an important reward for crowdfunding campaigns? What does this say about the enduring status of print? Michael Kelly: The majority of people prefer a physical book, to be sure. But that gap is closing. Two-thirds of the contributor's to the Year's Best Weird...

A class action against James Patterson?
October 18, 2014 | 10:25 am

James PattersonWhen not engaged in dissing Amazon, endowing lucky bookshops, or otherwise positioning himself front and center before an attentive media, bestselling $350 million-net-worth $90-million-a-year-earning author James Patterson is indulging in business practices that make me wonder whether there is a case for a class action against him. On grounds of consumer fraud. Because, as the Celebrity Net Worth website (the Hello! Magazine of money junkies) outlines, "Patterson works with a variety of ghostwriters and co-authors, such as Maxine Paetro, Andrew Gross, Mark Sullivan, Ashwin Sanghi, Michael Ledwidge, and Peter De Jonge." When you're reading James Patterson, how do you actually know...

The celebrity self-published author signing is the Next Big Thing? Ingram thinks so
October 17, 2014 | 4:25 pm

gI_116797_IngramContentGrouplogo.jpgI have to confess that even as a supposed savant of self-publishing, I hadn't heard of Barbara Freethy, though she "is the author of 40 novels ranging from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women’s fiction," and "was recently named Amazon KDP’s bestselling author of all time by Amazon," according to the original press release. However, it appears that Ingram Publishing Services rate her achievement as a self-published author so highly that they now are willing to showcase her as an instance of what may be a new phenomenon: The celebrity self-published author/service provider signing. "Ingram Content Group Inc. today announced...

Mintel research shows ebooks encourage reading
October 17, 2014 | 2:25 pm

eBooks should be more expensiveA just-published research study from Mintel, the London-headquartered consumer market research organization, demonstrates that ebooks are driving up reading levels in the UK. "One in four (26%) consumers who have bought an e-book in the past year say that they read more than they used to because e-books cost less than paperbacks, rising to as many as four in ten (38%) 16-24 year old-book owners," states the Mintel preamble. Cost seems to be one of the key grounds, as "over a third (36%) of UK book buyers buy both e-books and print books and 42% of these say that they...

WH Smith figures suggest better performance for UK high street book chains
October 17, 2014 | 12:25 pm

KoboProphecies of doom for the main street book store may be a little exaggerated, if the latest financial figures for WH Smith plc are anything to go by. The UK high street book and stationery chain has recorded a 9 percent uptick in its profit for its financial year as at end August 2014, and an 18 percent increase in its diluted earnings per share. Stephen Clarke, Group Chief Executive of WH Smith, said: "The distinct strategies for each of our businesses continue to deliver good profit growth. We had another record year in Travel, with profits up 11% to £73m ,...

John Grisham testified for his friend who downloaded kiddie porn: Reports
October 17, 2014 | 10:25 am

Grisham.jpegIn the wake of the coverage of John Grisham's comments around lighter sentences for consumers of child pornography, as well as Grisham's own public apology, we have had some commentary "in defense of John Grisham," insisting that "the invective he’s receiving right now is both misinformed and wildly over the top," and asking that his remarks be put into context - of his work on criminal justice reform, on racial parity in sentencing, and age of consent laws in the U.S., etc. Well, here is some more context. The Daily Telegraph, not slow to follow up on the scandal it facilitated in...

Are German fairy tales still the domain of Nazism?
October 16, 2014 | 4:25 pm

Speaking recently at this year's Telegraph Bath Festival of Children's Literature, celebrated German children's author Cornelia Funke talked about the difficulty of writing imaginative literature based on folklore in the long shadow of Nazism. "The fascists used myth and fairytale," she said, and "corrupted the the whole." As the Festival details outline, Cornelia Funke "is the renowned, much loved author of many children’s books, including the Inkheart and MirrorWorld series. She is also a film producer, an app designer, and was named by Time Magazine as one of the ‘100 must influential people in the world today’." This is by no...

Amazon goes same day in UK
October 16, 2014 | 2:25 pm

AmazonAmazon has begun same-day delivery in the UK, in a manner that - unexpectedly - might even help book chains, or at least one version of them. "Amazon.co.uk today announced an expansion of its Pick-Up Location programme which includes the introduction of its first ever Same-Day collection service," states the Amazon release. "Customers will be able to purchase products and pick up their order later that day as a result of a collaboration with newspaper and magazine distributor Smiths News, a division of Connect Group Plc. For a limited time, Amazon Prime members will be able to use this new...

John Grisham speaks out – for pedophiles?
October 16, 2014 | 12:25 pm

johngrisham.jpgJohn Grisham, hawklike legal eagle, millionaire bestselling author, spokesperson for middle-aged white pedophiles ... oops. How did that one slip through the publicist's net? Through Grisham's own mouth, it seems, relayed via the UK's Daily Telegraph in an interview taped for your enjoyment and judicial edification. And the legal opinions vouchsafed therein are interesting to say the least... Grisham complains about the harsh sentences meted out to consumers of pornography, even child pornography, and bemoans the fact that: "we have prisons now filled with guys my age, 60-year-old white men in prison who've never harmed anybody, would never touch a child, but...