Happy forty-third birthday to Oksana Chusovitina, who has had the most incredible gymnastics career of any girl or woman to ever compete in the sport.
Born into the Soviet Union, she also competed for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Uzbekistan, and Germany.
Over a career spanning nearly thirty years, she has won World and Olympic gold, become a mother, and worked as a coach.
She’s ageless and incredible despite hardships, and if she was from a country like the United States, everybody would know her name.
Everybody SHOULD know her name.
Australian-born ballet star Errol Pickford, who was a principal with Britain’s Royal Ballet, has died at only fifty-one years of age.
Pickford, famous for his performances in The Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote, also danced with the West Australian Ballet after leaving Britain.
With the football World Cup beginning today, please take some time to remember the millions of Ukrainians and Syrians suffering because of host country Russia’s current actions, the thousands killed in Russian attacks, and all of the political prisoners trapped in inhumane conditions.
There are things in the world we should prioritise over sport.
There’s been a lot of drama in the publishing world recently, and one of the biggest stories at the moment is about the authors in the Kindle Unlimited program who are cheating the system to take money from honest authors.
In order to make MUCH more money than they’ve actually earned these people manipulate unsuspecting readers into helping them, and very few people seem to be aware what is going on.
Here’s how it works:
#1 Kindle Unlimited is a book subscription service. Customers pay a fee each month and have access to numerous ebooks that are exclusively on Amazon.
#2 Authors aren’t paid by book borrows, but by how many pages are read. That means they only get paid for twenty pages if the reader goes no further than that, as long as the reader doesn’t click through to the end (e.g. to rate the book).
In theory, authors are paid for equal work.
#3 Scammers try every trick there is to make their readers go to the end of the book. This includes adding links at the front to make readers jump to the end.
In reality, it looks more like this.
#4 The more pages readers skip over, the more the “authors” are paid. And so they “stuff” many other, previously-released books and other random content into the one book. It doesn’t matter if it ever gets read; it just matters that people click through it so they can make more money from it.
#5 This is 100% against the Kindle Unlimited Terms of Service. There is not meant to be more than 10% of bonus material in a Kindle Unlimited book, but some of these cheaters have extra stuffing in there that makes up 80 or 90% of the book.
And it is SO bad because:
#6 All authors are paid out of the same pot of money. They get paid based on the % of page reads, and so authors who’ve tricked people into flicking through literally thousands of extra pages are taking income away from authors who don’t cheat.
#7 Very few authors in this world make much money, but some of these book stuffers are making a fortune by scamming everyone.
#8 Now, finally – because people have started reporting the scammers – some of the worst offenders have been removed from Amazon in recent days, and they’re complaining loudly, all over the internet. They have their fan club members out complaining, too.
#9 At the moment, these scammers are playing the victim in the situation. THEY’RE NOT. They are complaining about loss of income, and saying ridiculous things like, ‘How will I feed my family now?!’
What they don’t mention is that they’ve been STEALING from other authors for years. Not once did they care how other authors would feed their families.
Don’t fall for the sob stories.
How you can help stop these unethical authors:
#1 DO NOT, under any circumstances, skip through to the end of a stuffed book.
#2 And DO NOT, under any circumstances, click on suspicious links within the contents or the book’s text.
#3 And… DO NOT, under any circumstances, click to the end of the book in order to rate or report it. Even if you intend to stop the scammers by reviewing or reporting, if you’ve gone to the end, you’ve just paid the thieves and stolen from honest authors anyway.
If you want to review etc., go to your computer or tablet and log on to Amazon there.
#4 And – finally – nothing will change unless these people are REPORTED.
At the moment the worst of the book stuffing is taking place in the romance genre because it’s so big and lucrative. However, some of these so-called authors are listing their books in every category under the sun in order to trick more readers.
Today in Canberra we celebrate the Queen’s Birthday (which means it’s a public holiday), even though her real birthday is in April. For generations now, the British Monarch has celebrated a pretend birthday during the Northern Hemisphere summer. Unfortunately for us in the Southern Hemisphere, it means our holiday is in winter!
The world began without the human race. Now, after a mysterious pandemic decimates the entire adult population, it looks as if it will end exactly the same way. Unless the young survivors – who band together in warring Tribes – overcome the power struggles, dangers and unexpected challenges in a lawless dystopian society to unite and build a new world from the ashes of the old. The Birth of The Mall Rats is the first story in a compelling series of novelisations of the global cult television phenomenon, The Tribe. Creating a new world in their own image – whatever that image might be…
In the late 1990s and early 2000s a New Zealand-made show about a world where the adults were wiped out by a virus became a cult hit. Running for five seasons (before the producers thought the actors were getting too old for their roles and cancelled it), The Tribe centred on the Mall Rats living in a previously abandoned shopping mall in the middle of an abandoned city, and featured other tribes of kids and teens trying to survive in this new world.
Since the show’s cancellation the cult following has continued, including a spinoff show about younger kids, soundtracks, DVDs – and books.
The Tribe: the Birth of the Mall Rats is not the best introduction to this phenomenon. It is a for-fans-only type of book, and is more or less the first season of the show in written form. The problem with this is that the book is basically the scenes from the television on the page, which means they’re all too short (there are 181 chapters!).
The show had large ensemble cast (with some standouts – go Amber and Bray!), which means we’re jumping around a lot. It works on the screen, and the author has tried his best to make it work here, but it really is a book for people who already know these characters.
There’s another book – The Tribe: A New Dawn – which reads more like a proper novel. A New Dawn has taken the scripts and storylines for the planned but never made sixth season and turns them into something that works on the page.
For all its drama, crazy costumes, and occasionally weird acting, The Tribe was an addictive post-apocalyptic-type soap opera that was loved by at least one generation.
Roswell was a TV show (based on a book series), that became a cult favourite after its premiere in the late-1990s. I wrote about it a while ago, after reading all of the books. I was a fan of the show before I even knew the books existed, and – like many others – wasn’t happy when it ended.
However, the last thing I expected was for the network to reboot it so many years later, with a new cast! A second version of Roswell is due to hit screens in 2019.
I want to say I’ll give the new version a chance, but I don’t think I want to! Why can’t people come up with a new idea instead of taking a cult favourite and redoing it?
I suppose the target audience this time round wasn’t even born when the original was on, but I hope that new Roswell fans will go back and take a look at the first version.
Okay, so unless you live somewhere like the Snowy Mountains, your chances of seeing snow in Australia this winter are zero, but it is winter here now! While everyone online is discussing beach holidays, and sites like Goodreads are sending me summer reading recommendations, things are a little different Down Under.
Kanangra-Boyd National Park, NSW, Australia.
Undead Girl Gang was released this month and is a fun take on the paranormal. I read the first few chapters as a sample review copy, and the writing is fun.
Here is the blurb:
Mila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There’s not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley’s favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.
So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.
Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.