Free books – hurry now!

It’s offer time in the book world. T B Markinson is offering her first novel A Woman Lost for 99 pence or cents, depending on whether you use Amazon UK or US.

When I read her novel Marionette (she sent me a review copy), I read the preview chapters of A Woman Lost, and told her it sounded interesting. Whereupon she offered to send it to me. When do I turn down a book?

A Woman Lost by T B Markinson

While both novels deal with lesbian relationships and moneyed families, the similarities really ended there for me. A Woman Lost concentrates very much on relationships, those of family, of friends and of partners compared with the harsh and sometimes violent discrimination that was portrayed in Marionette.

Our main character, is suitably strong and feisty, but doesn’t feel she wants to get trapped into commitment with her current partner. Meanwhile, Lizzie’s obnoxious brother is marrying a perfect stunner, who tells Lizzie that she is bisexual, leaving Lizzie to fantasise gaily about sex with her future sister-in-law.

I liked the characters, they were very different and well sketched. Uncommunicative father, bitter whisky-drinking mother, and point-scoring brother always trying to undermine Lizzie. The alluring fiancée, the loving partner who avoided being a doormat, and the good friend who she shares her problems with. All these were developed over the course of the book, leaving us with a real insight into Lizzie’s life. There is lots of dialogue, which makes for an easy and pacy read, and one of TB’s strengths is to write good believable conversations.

If you like romance, relationships, with a dash of sex and good dialogue, buy now while the offer is on. Closes 11 June.

Jabberwocky by Medeas Wray

Reading Kev’s blog, I came across another offer. A freebie, so I’ll be taking advantage of that. Wray’s Jabberwocky sounds an interesting and unusual read, so perfect for this immobile invalid. More info about the author, Jabberwocky and other novels, plus the limited offer freebie at Kev’s Blog. Free offer closes midnight, 8 June.

Early Daze by Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Another freebie I happened on (via TB’s blog) was Early Daze about a woman having a premature baby. Normally I would shy away from all things baby-related, but in the interests of broadening my mind and reading books for free, I clicked.

In this one, our heroine has her baby three months premature, and it, I mean she, weighs a mere two pounds and three ounces.

What was really interesting, for me, was that my partner was born three months premature, and weighed … yes, two pounds and three ounces. As did his brother who the last time I saw him, was grossly overweight. But both of these were born in the 50s, more than half a century ago.

They were the tiniest babies born in the hospital, and years later, the hospital wrote to ask them to take part in a follow-up study. They didn’t.

But if they were small, the record for the tiniest baby for more than 50 years belonged to Marian Chapman, born in South Shields UK in 1938 at 34 weeks and weighing a mere ten ounces. Tinissimo!

This was ten years before the inception of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948, yet Chapman survived. Her doctor fed her for 30 hours on brandy, glucose and water from a fountain pen filler. No neonatal intensive care units back then. In fact there weren’t any in the 50s either. Partner and his bro were just dropped in an incubator and maybe they would survive.

So what of Early Daze, which is based on the author’s personal experiences? Well, if I made it through a baby book it can’t be that bad. It was quite interesting reading about what she had to go through, pumping milk, and doing everything through holes into the incubator. There were some relationship issues, and some family, friends, and lesbian/bisexual ones. Not remotely like A Woman Lost in terms of story, but Early Daze was about the main character growing older and wiser. In fact, it felt to me like I was reading about a teenage mum, rather than someone in her mid twenties. Regardless it was an interesting read, and an even bigger reason not to ever think about getting pregnant!

I’m currently reading Island in the Clouds by Susan Toy, which certainly has a promising start. Other ebooks are lined up, along with hard copy, so if you want a review, please mail me, but it is likely to take a few weeks.

Sloppy journalism

Let’s move on to some nice errors I spotted this week on some web sites. First up the BBC. Reading about the abdication of King Juan Carlos of Spain, I read an interesting one that said …

Felipe and his wife – former television presenter Princess Letizia – …


Felipe and his wife, Princess Letizia – the former television presenter – …

To my knowledge, she was not Princess Letizia the TV presenter. She became a princess when she married Su Alteza Real Felipe. And she had stopped presenting the news by then. Putting the two together without a break carries the wrong implication.

From happy royals to a happy valley. (The BBC series, ended this week)

I think I read this one on a private blog so I won’t be too rude. Those of us who blog, largely don’t get paid, so we can afford the odd error. Unlike staff working for the beeb and other nationals and internationals.

Referring to the boat where villain Tommy Lee Royce was holed out – ‘a two-birth boat’. Love it. Did said boat have two little baby boats rather than two berths?

What did I think to the last episode, seeing as I said how good the previous ones were? Bit of a let down. But I think they overdid the kiddy thing with Royce. All I could see was a nasty murdering rapist violent bastard who should have been kicked head first into the canal. Still at least he got a kicking :)

Onto other website errors, and less dramatic, but countless ifs instead of ofs. Missing words. Just, really really sloppy journalism from people who are being paid. Well, I assume they are. Send people back to skool say I. Get rid of tablets. Teach ’em three Rs. It is the norm to read something on a commercial journalism website and find at least one error. I find it worrying. I doubt anyone else does.

And not a word about the broken ankle! Until now. No outpatient appointment this week and it is still broken or still mending, whichever is most appropriate. Def still hurting. I’m not sure I can shuffle down the stairs on my arse to get out of the building and escape to Spain.

Still here is a hospital pic with a difference.

Gib's former Naval hospital
Gib’s former Naval hospital

During World War 1, wounded service people were brought in to Gib by ship and brought to the Royal Naval Hospital for treatment.

Both this and the header picture are taken from the Gibraltar Heritage Trust 2014 calendar, which commemorates the centenary of World War One. The header photo is of WW1 graves at North Front Cemetery in Gib. As today is also the 70th anniversary of D Day in 1944, a war-related header seemed appropriate. And it happens to be the calendar photo for June.

Blog issues

Victoria wants me to put back ‘likes’ on this blog. I don’t have it because I don’t like lots of people who neither read nor comment yet hit ‘like’ as soon as a post is published and comes up on Reader. If you read and don’t always comment that’s fine by me. I know some people do that because they have commented to say so (!). And after all, you can always click on ‘like’ in Reader when you have read a post.

Sonel wants me to introduce smilies. I think they are over-used, I certainly over-use them and I don’t like them. My theory is, writing should be good enough and clear enough not to need the addition of smilies to avoid misunderstandings. And they detract from serious topics.

You can always bypass the no-smilie option with an emoji keyboard 😉

So here is a nice poll, you can vote for more than one option.

62 comments on “Free books – hurry now!

  1. Since I don’t get paid for blogging I can afford the mistakes but in view of your eagle eyes I’ll try not to make them. Thanks for the information and reviews.
    Hope the ankle is improving bu I’m sorry you’re still getting gyp from it.
    Hugs x


    • I don’t think any bloggers should beat themselves up over mistakes, but seriously, the BBC? I know the Grauniad used to be famous for it, but the standards of correct English really have slipped in today’s journalism. Spellcheck solves all, including births.


  2. Smilies ‘Guilty I am’ to me it is showing a friendly face… You Kj what has really got me riled recently isthe amount of new followers and on checking out who they are, [as one does] all are people trying to sell something,, how to be ‘this or that’ you probably know the door to door sale persons that our mothers would slam the door on. This is the type of bloggers or I say trollers’ they really piss me off…I must be getting at least two a week, sometimes more.. I wonder if other bloggers are getting these people as well… hope your ankle is improving,, I bet the sight would be amusing,, you know, you sliding down the stairs on your arse… heehee! welcome ;) oops a smilie sorry.


    • Always a friendly face here. Well, mostly.

      I never check up followers unless they come from someone else’s blog. They usually seem to be lifestyle consultants. Just yawn. Who needs that?

      Like many people, I am happy to be paid for what I do, and I think I make that clear. I don’t follow for the sake of it (I follow very few blogs comparatively) and I hope, from time to time, I provide some useful tips about writing and blogging. After 30 years I should know something.

      I stick to people who comment whether regular or occasional. Otherwise, the trolls need to work harder.

      I used to do it as kid. Bumpety bump down the stairs. But I didn’t have a pot leg at the time. Nor was I 50+!


  3. Thanks for alerting me about Kev’s freebie. I just downloaded it. And I nabbed Jennifer’s over the weekend. I’m really curious about that one. I’m not a mom (and no plans on that), but it does sound like an emotional read. And thank you for the kind review of A Woman Lost.

    As for the likes, smileys and such, doesn’t bother me either way. I used to receive notices in my email when someone liked my post, but I stopped that pretty quick. I don’t mind when people like a post, but I can’t track them with every post.

    Hope you have a marvelous weekend. We have another round of moving to accomplish … so not looking forward to it.


    • Technically not Kev’s but I wouldn’t have found it without his blog and looks a good read. I rattled through Jennifer’s, didn’t find it emotional actually, more very pragmatic.

      I’ve never linked blog notifications with email. A big nono here. Reader serves as well as it does and the little orange sign thingy.

      The only time we self moved I think we did it in three loads in a hired transit van. Biggest worry was whether or not we had enough fuel to last out. Hope you finish quickly.


  4. Tinissima, you mean, a feminine adjective for a female person. I love smilies, and an emoji keyboard looks wonderful, but you don’t need them converted to pictures for them to work 0_0


  5. My concentration isn’t really good enough for books most of the time, but A Woman Lost does sound like an interesting one. By the way, i’m one of those who doesn’t know what an emoji keyboard is!


    • I can lose myself in a book any time. You might be interested in her other book Marionette which has some interesting – and disturbing – anti-gay scenes based on her time at university in the US.

      I didn’t realise that but I was emailing her about the novel and she told me. Had I been her editor …


  6. There are people who like a post as soon as it is posted. I ask myself when did they read it or were they with me as I typed. A necessary evil maybe as the Stone god says.
    Get well soon and take the dog for a walk.


    • If you read fast you could possibly scan a few hundred words quickly. But when mine are often 1500 – 2000+? I don’t think so. I think it devalues them, destroys any credibility, and puts me off like buttons.

      You managed that comment without a single smilie. So not always necessary. But you do have the cutest avatar.

      Huh. The flipping dog. Jumping all over me when I’m asleep. Be a while before I’m up to walking him.


          • SA is on my list, as is the other SA, ie America Latina

            Discomfort is a good word, that’s how I prefer to think of it. :) right now I have a little dog with his head next to mine on a pillow. Kills pain.


          • Maybe in future I should have a pet. I like the photos you guys share of your pets.

            Yes, Latin America is also on my list alongside Asia and Europe


          • Depends on your mindset. We were both brought up with animals. I felt my home was incomplete until we homed rescued dogs.

            Wish I could take pix of the little one asleep next to either of us. Not fond of guys, gets up my feminist/linguistic nose 👿

            Been to some of Asia, very nice, and loads of Europe, I am a bit of a classical Europhile. France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal … Why else would I live here? :D


          • We have had dogs along the way, somehow I just didn’t get close to any. There have been cats at home, not in our house though but I still didn’t make friends with them.


          • Then maybe it’s not right for you. All ours have been rescues and my one aim has been to give an unwanted animal a home.

            But it’s very much about the type of relationship you have with animals. They need time and attention. Close? Yes, I reckon I’ve been close to all mine. Differently, but still close.


  7. Many find it worrying, but not enough decision makers that can do anything about it ( crying in the wilderness along with the others here…)
    And for once I’m on time to go after some books. Summer is here…and you always need to take a book along with you. (So this comment will actually be short)
    Great poll (I’m not on the winning team. So normal for me.)
    Appreciate the note about D Day. Your dad was there? An amazing feat of courage and determination. Possibly more appreciated there.
    Paw waves from lazy dog on couch to Pippa and Snowy


    • Why bang on about standards of education when the media, which could possibly be regarded as being influential, yes? gets it wrong? Even sub-titles drive me up the wall.

      Have to say I also downloaded a few classics, which are my preference, Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes, obv well out of the time limit, so lots of those to plough through.

      I’m not usually either. Par for the course to be in the minority. Except, I’m mildly surprised people aren’t interested in likes or smilies. More want to know what an emoji keyboard is.

      Mine wasn’t. He was in warmer waters cruising around the Med incl Gib. The better story was my partner’s father who did go to Normandy but chucked an officer overboard en route for attempted rape, you’ve read the story on clouds so I won’t relink you. Allowed to take his chances on the beaches and when he survived that, got banged up for two years.

      Pippa under table and Snows in odd position on Partner’s knee. All paws waving in the air no less.


      • Ah, guess I was remembering Partner’s dad. Knew yours was on the water.
        Molly is reluctant to go out now – I think the low was 78 last night with high humidity. She spends lot of time tummy up under the ceiling fan.
        Wish we’d bought that hammock…the crepe myrtles that we let grow into natural shaped trees instead of hacking them off each year have made a nice shady canopy this year – makes a real difference in the afternoons. Now if the mosquitoes and gnats will leave…


        • We’re in high 20s, 30s predicted next week. Is that similar? Pippa is reluctant to go out too, and only having short walks. Little Rat isn’t bothered but he might as well be hairless, with only one short coat.

          Mosquitoes? Tell me about them. :(


  8. None of ther books appealed, but I think I’m having a Bah Humbug period where it comes to fiction at the moment.
    Smileys annoy me…’likes’ not so much when it is a regular reader in a hurry when it’s nice to note that they dropped by – but the lifestyle consultants!
    Just had mother on the blower re coverage of D Day commemoration…between the fizzing noises I gather she was not impressed by the bigwigs keeping the old boys waiting and even less by some display by dancers….for whose freedom to prance in tights it is clear that she did not undergo bombing in London and the loss of friends.
    And as for sloppy use of language….I might start fizzing myself.


    • What I read, and what I prefer to read, are not the same thing. Self-publishing is amazing though. All the world’s an author.

      The lifestyle consultants – insert loads of other self-employed whatevers – are a pain. They don’t even have the courtesy to type ten characters with ‘great post’.

      Laughing at your mother’s conversation. Rather puts it into perspective. Or tights. There’s loads to catch up with re D Day, but I’ve not made a start on watching it.

      Why are spelling and grammar no longer important? Don’t kids have a spelling test every week any more? Always disappointed if I only got 19/20.


      • I make a load of typos…not helped by changing laptops when the last one expired…but whereas I never used to have problems with spelling messing my brain with three languages is starting to give me problems.Doubts set in….so much for learning another language assisting the brain….


        • I make them too. Proofing on screen is much harder than proofing hard copy. I find it’s words like know and now or too and two that trip me up these days. I’m thinking ahead of myself verbally and it comes out wrongly. Delayed dyslexia? I’m probably better at Spanish as I’ll look more words up, and then find out I’m right which is frustrating. Rarely write in French, but the basics are still there.

          It’s just continuing to learn anything isn’t it? Trouble is, finding something interesting enough to hold that wandering attention.


  9. You do bring up a valid set of related points, all related to journalism. First, on a personal level I admit that I have never quite become used to the self-policing style of writing that one must do for blog posts. The vast majority of what I have written throughout my career has been as part of a team where my work was examined by editors and by paid “subject matter expert” reviewers. In most cases what resulted was not only more-or-less error free but, also wound up better-structured and better-suited to the purpose at hand. Editing my own work is something I find very difficult as I tend to miss typos that others can easily spot and, perhaps more importantly, I just can’t resist taking self-indulgent forays that any external decision-maker would nix for very good reasons.
    Now, as you already mentioned, for personal material that’s quite forgivable — after all the rule of, “my blog; my rules,” is acceptable for our own material.
    For professional writing, though, this is unacceptable. I think it goes beyond “ordinary” sloppiness though. As I see it, that error-prone (and I mean all kinds of errors including technical and factual) writing process is inevitable due to the way that digital media has evolved. Simply put, it is not sufficiently structured to permit quality. Writers are paid very small fees for pieces and so they tend to be rushed. The publishers also insist that they do not have the revenue available to enlist the other support persons (copy editors, fact checkers and subject matter experts) needed for a quality product. Whether this is true in all cases I have no idea. My personal belief is that it is true for smaller outfits but not for the larger ones such as NYT and such.
    In a very much related way, the issues you mentioned are happening in other kinds of media. Peer reviewed journals are starting to become something of a laughing stock as instance after instance is coming to light of papers that get published, only to be found significantly flawed, sometimes even completely wrong. It’s now to the point that the scientific and medical community is starting to realize that the majority of studies that get published are unlikely to ever be tested through replication. As such the findings, though widely disseminated, are completely suspect.


    • I am doomed with comments this week. Lost a long one. Even worse than your v comments. Just tried to do that and it self corrected. Anyway, short answer is:

      1 schooling. I studied French for five years and Latin for four prior to main exams in fifth year. We had friends visit us in Spain, one daughter was 15/16. ‘Is what time is it que hora es?’ I think more Spanish is required than a dubious what time is it at that age and level.

      2 money. Do I need to say any more? Capitalism, cutting costs, saving money. Back when I left one job my editor hired two trainees to replace me. Quantity v quality?

      3 everyone can now write with the advent of the internet. Really? When I’m not groaning I’m laughing.

      Peer reviewed studies? A bit mate orientated I always thought. Preferred to make my own decision on the validity of studies.

      Thoughtful comment as ever M, thanks.


  10. It is only by practising writing that you improve so blogging is good. Mistakes are irritating. It’s like glof – you can only get better if you practise.
    I don’t object to the use of likes even though I know people like without reading – that’s life!
    I couldn’t manage any of those books I have to say!


    • Practise makes perfect? And while I no longer actively seek it, I do think critique – in the past – was helpful. Learning to write as a journalist was very different to academic writing. Then writing for the civil service, writing reports, leaflets, books, etc all demand different styles, and comments (welcome or otherwise) from other people.

      Plus having your work questioned either gives you chance to improve it, or develop a rational argument about why your perspective is correct. Either way you learn something :)

      I don’t care about likes, so why bother? I find smilies can be messy and intrusive though. Certainly the coloured ones rather than :) or :D.

      Each to their own with books. Since being given loads from my neighbour I have to admit I’ve changed my attitude. I’d never have been seen dead reading Andy McNab or Chris Ryan in the past. I’m wishing I could remember the name of the Aussie author who I just didn’t tackle in hospital. Reading about eating rats in Changi was preferable.


      • I would rather have liked to have studied to be a journalist but I’ll just have to put that in the ‘There’s a Hole in my Bucket List’!

        I can’t remember the last novel I read – probably James Bond!


        • Not much studying involved as a grad fortunately because we got the shortened courses. I always wondered why it took non-grads a year to learn something that we picked up in eight weeks. That’s not a snooty comment, we all sat the same exam to qualify, just seemed odd to me.

          Most of the learning was on the paper.

          Can’t bear the term bucket list. At least your variation is mildly amusing.

          Think I’ve used up the Bonds at the library. Last Jack Higgins was mediocre as was the McNab. I need something New! And Exciting!


  11. Nice one on the freebies. I see you’re getting back to being, you again (A regular pain in the…) …foot must be improving! :D Either that, or you have too much time on your hands. Hang on, don’t your have some editing to do?


    • Domingo. El día para descansar. Actually reading Midnight Sun. I need to think as well as mechanically edit. Must send you a mail on a light hearted note re editing.

      I prob need to stop looking for the freebies. Need to distinguish between the Blackberry Wines and the Miedos, for want of a better example.

      Got that script sent to HTC yet? :)


      • Only if your religious, which you are not…todo los dias eren dias para descansar para tu! :D

        This is true. :P

        Ahem, right on it. (no!)


        • It’s what mi vecinas say and they aren’t religious tampoco.

          It’s a fair comment, you’ll have to read BW now :D maybe then you can see why the flashbacks in there are too repetitive and don’t add value. How to use childhood scenes and how not to. Only IMNRHO of course.



          • Mm, I’ll let you have that one.

            I’ve got too many other things on at the mo. I’ll be doing a bit more on Charles later in the month. I’m working on putting an album together…at least 10 tracks to create a music CD.
            And as you know, I’ve got both Miedo 2 &3 to work on as well and I have plans for both a prequel and a sequel to The Wizard…
            Then, I have my interviews which seem to be taking off really well.
            I’ll wait on the script …put it aside as a possible future project.

            Like you said, I’m a skiver. :D


          • Being eaten by a small dog.

            I’m not up on music unless we are singing or playing Verdi, Beethoven etc

            Miedos 2&3 shd be good. Hurry up! :)

            Extra Wizards? Also good. When the unicorn was young … or such similar. And later, Elyysa realised it was time to pass on her power. Who knows. Only you.

            Strike whilst t’iron is hot. If you choose not to …


          • Good doggie! I love doggies! :D

            I like green too.

            All in time. I’m about 5k words into Miedo: A Reckoning With Fear.

            Yes, the prequel covers the time when Skye came to help The Unicorn, in a time before the wizard when the shadow first struck Geo.

            In the sequel, Elyysa is grown into a young woman and is the shepherdess of Geo. She faces an even darker more powerful foe than the shadow… Here I play upon the word and nature of shadow as being just a shadow of the power and might of Elyysa’s nemesis. Also a female.

            I’ve told you too much already!


  12. First things first: I hope the ankle is improving. I nearly wrote “is coming along” but then I got this visual image of your one ankle coming along and so I had to rewrite.
    I like the Like button because I want people to know when I like their posts.

    But I get your drift: I once published an empty post with a weird title, and a number of people hit “Liked”.
    It’s one of the reasons I reduced my blog post frequency – people don’t have time to be reading so many blogs every day.

    But I still want bloggers to know when I simply “Like” their post.


    • Thank you. Sort of like taking the dog for a walk? Come along, two dogs and left ankle…

      I do ‘like’ occasionally. Usually when I don’t know bloggers enough to comment regularly. Blogs are like forums, it can take time to build up rapport.

      As I’ve got a few blogs, at one point I posted on one of them a day. Occasionally I’d post on two. That meant I wasn’t flooding the blogs all the time, but for people who read more than one blog, there would be a new post.

      I do agree about time constraints. I have thought in the past, ‘oh no, not another post from X…’ And didn’t want people to think that about my blog. Right now, they will be thinking ‘oh no, not another ankle post’ but I’m a bit limited for topics!


  13. Good luck at the clinic on your next visit. I am to have new pictures taken Friday. What a thrill that will be. Posted a link to a good poem on my blog. You might enjoy it..


  14. I was wondering if you would be able to manage a trip to Spain. And I don’t care about smilies, I can manage :) when I need to, and if I don’t comment it’s because I haven’t had time… case in point, it’s taken me a while to get to this one.


    • Didn’t feel up to it before, but without the cast I’m hoping to get there soon. Trouble is now, fitting it in around all these clinic appointments. One last week, two this week, one next week …

      While it’s always nice to hear from you, either in comments or blog posts, at least being busy and not being around is better than being in hospital and not being around.


      • Oh yes, your experiences have made me consider my own work-domestic-life-bound existence in a whole new… favourable… light. But at least you’re looking for the positives, and we should all emulate that :)


        • I could be in a far worse position. I could not even be here so while immobility is no fun, it’s not the end of the world. How many women would like to lie around, reading, writing, watching TV, and being waited on hand and foot? Or how many men come to that?


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