Battle for Tcherbevan: Crisis Point III

Tcherbevan city centre

Tcherbevan city centre


Recently, I played in Crisis Point III, a large, weekend-long wargame set in Tcherbevan, capital of the fictional ex-Soviet republic of Andreivia. I had been intending to play Russian naval infantry, but after some last-minute cancellations, I was asked to play Andreivian Turks instead. The Turks are fighting for an independent Andreivian Turkish state, and have a long tradition of enmity with the Andreivian Armenians.
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Improvements To UK Copyright Law

I was pleased to discover recently that, from the 1st of June, format-shifting will be legal in the UK. The change has generally been reported in terms of music – it’s now legal to rip a CD so that you can listen to it on your MP3 player. People have been doing this for as long as MP3 players have been available, of course. Before the advent of MP3 players, it was common practice to copy CDs and albums onto tape to listen to them on personal stereos or in the car. What is more relevant to this blog, however, is that the changes also apply to ebooks.

THE BATTLE OF COPYRIGHT
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Armed Forces Corporate Covenant

Corporate Covenant logo
The company that my wife works for has recently signed the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant. The covenant is a public pledge, made by a company or charity, to support the armed forces community.

The commitments made are not fixed, but the covenant always includes a core statement of commitment to two key principles:

  • No member of the armed forces community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen
  • In some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate, especially for the injured or bereaved

Beyond the core statement, there are a number of options that the signing company can commit to. The intention is that the company will offer support in a way that is appropriate to their situation and circumstances. They can also add commitments that are not part of the template.
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Getting Friendly with the National Archives

National Archives logo
I’m a huge fan of the National Archives. It’s a wonderful resource for research. Last time I was there, I put my money where my mouth is, and joined the Friends of The National Archives. My membership card arrived in the post yesterday. As a Friend, I get several benefits (discounts at the shop and online book shop, discounts on events, exclusive events, magazine, etc). The magazine is interesting (I was able to see the latest copy while I was at the Archive), and I’m looking forward to the next issue.

The Friends' magazine

Frankly, though, my primary reason for joining was simply to help the National Archives continue their work. I benefit from that work, after all, and I want to ensure that they are able to keep on doing it. If you’d like to do the same, you can get a membership form here. Alternatively, you can raise money when you shop online, without any extra cost to yourself.

Digital Reinforcements: Free Ebooks

Digital Reinforcements logo
Ever since I bought my first Kindle in 2010, I’ve found that I prefer ebooks to paper. I’m not blind to the advantages of paper books, however, and I know that many people prefer paper. Whichever format you prefer, most people would admit that both have advantages. I’m sure many people would like to have books in both paper and ebook formats, but don’t want to pay twice for every book.

My publishing company, Shilka Publishing, has a solution. From now on, every Shilka paper book will have a coupon code in the back. By simply entering that code at the checkout on the Shilka website, the reader can download the ebook version for free. You can now read my books as both paper and ebook, taking full advantage of both formats, at no extra cost.

The free ebook can be downloaded in several formats, so that it can be read on any device: Mobi (for Kindle devices & apps), ePub (for other ereaders & ereader apps), and PDF (for reading on a computer). Ereader apps are available for all computers, tablets and smartphones.

Tweetables

Russell Phillips’ paper books now come with free ebooks Click to tweet

Buy the paper book, get the ebook free Click to tweet

A Life Of Research: Interview With J.F. Penn

J.F. PennOxford educated, British born J.F. Penn has travelled the world in her study of religion and psychology. She brings these obsessions as well as a love for thrillers and an interest in the supernatural to her writing. Her fast-paced ARKANE thrillers weave together historical artifacts, secret societies, global locations, violence, a kick-ass protagonist and a hint of the supernatural.

Russell Phillips: Pentecost was a NaNoWriMo project. How did the tight deadline affect the research and writing of the book?
J.F. Penn: It only started as a NaNoWriMo project and I managed 20,000 words and a rough idea for a book. It was called Mandala at the time, and I definitely wanted a psychologist and Carl Jung’s Red Book to feature. But that January we had a trip to Venice and in St Mark’s Basilica, I saw the Pentecost mosaic which sparked the idea for the stones that Morgan must hunt down across the world. The bones of the apostles have always fascinated me! In the end, the book took 14 months from idea to publication.
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Giveaway: This We’ll Defend

This We'll Defend
The paperback of This We’ll Defend launches on the 3rd of March. To mark the launch, I’m giving away five copies at Goodreads. For a chance of winning a copy, go to the Goodreads giveaway page.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

This We'll Defend by Russell Phillips

This We’ll Defend

by Russell Phillips

Giveaway ends March 03, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Crisis Point III

Some time ago, I expressed possible interest in attending this year’s Crisis Point game (a big, weekend-long wargame organised by Richard Crawley). On Friday, Richard put on a practice game for me, since I’ve never played Arc of Fire.

Mujahideen advancing on the forest

Mujahideen advancing on the forest

It was a simple scenario. I had a platoon of Mujahideen, who had received reports of NATO troops in a nearby forest. They therefore set off to find said NATO troops and kick them out of their forest. Things didn’t go brilliantly for the Andreivians, as a forward observer team in the forest called down fire from three 105mm light guns. The NATO troops turned out to be SAS. Although there were only four of them, their excellent training and morale (and the help of the 105mm guns) meant that they were able to hold their own very well.

The game was a lot of fun, and Richard was a great host. I really liked the Arc of Fire Rules. They made for a fun and interesting game, emphasising training and morale over quality of hardware. I’m very much looking forward to running some Russians in April.

The Mujahideen command group

The Mujahideen command group

Crisis Point III promises to be a lot of fun. It only costs £10 for a full weekend of wargaming, and there is plenty of affordable accommodation locally. If you have some 20mm models, you will almost certainly be able to use them (The Andreivia setting is designed to allow all manner of kit to fit in). If you don’t have any suitable models, some can be provided for you. It will take place over the weekend of 12th and 13th April 2014, at Dungworth Green Hall, Dungworth, on the outskirts of Sheffield.

You can see details of previous Andreivia at the Andreivian Tales blog, and there are photos of of previous Crisis Point Big Games at Richard’s blog

New Authors (to me) in 2013

In 2013, I read books by several authors who were new to me. I don’t do reviews any more, but I can recommend the books listed below.

Alanna The First Adventure  Giving the Bird  Diary of a U-Boat Commander

The Red Effect  Pentecost cover