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.
Oxford 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.
I’ve written before that I’m not really concerned about bookshops closing, but I do care when libraries close. In a similar vein, I am a great fan of museums. I wrote to my local council recently to express my concern at some of their budget proposals, which I believe could put some of the local museums at risk.
My 1-year old daughter with a WWII gas mask
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.
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
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
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
Christmas is a time of giving, so during the week between Christmas and New Year, I shall be posting discount codes here, and on Twitter and Facebook. Each code will be valid for one day, and will allow the ebook to be downloaded for free. The codes are only valid for direct sales from this website.
The list of books and the dates they will be free are below. Don’t forget to check back for the code on the relevant day.
Have a good Christmas!
27 December: Red Steel
28 December: A Fleet in Being
29 December: This We’ll Defend
30 December: A Damn Close-Run Thing
31 December: The Bear Marches West
It’s a commonly-held belief that bookshops are a dying breed, that ebooks and online bookshops (especially Amazon) are killing them. Many book lovers decry this turn of events, yet (in some cases) still continue to buy books online. Personally, I’m no more concerned by the closure of bookshops than I am by the closure of any other business. I am truly saddened, however, when I hear of libraries closing or being reduced in size.
Today is Remembrance Day in the UK. I have a red poppy, and I shall be observing the two minute silence at 11:00. I’ve read things recently that have prompted me to think about why I consider Remembrance Day to be so important.
I consider Remembrance Day to be a time to remember everyone that has been harmed by war. Any war, any nationality, civilian, military, whatever. It’s a time to remember not only those that died, but also those that survived. Some have injuries that are plain to see. Others have mental injuries like PTSD, which are much less visible but can be just as debilitating.
It’s important to remember that, when you go to war, people will die. It’s obvious, yet people seem to forget it all too easily. I wear a poppy to remind myself and others of that simple truth. It is my eternal (but almost certainly naive) hope that the more people understand what happens during war, the less likely they will be to call for it in future.
The following poem from Siegfried Sassoon was written during the Great War, but is sadly still relevant today.
Suicide in Trenches
I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.
In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.
You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.
Source: The War Poems of Siegfried Sassoon at Project Gutenberg.
My tag on the sculpture
On Saturday, my family and I joined 150-200 others at the unveiling of the new Unearthed sculpture, outside the Victoria Hall in Stoke on Trent, where the Lidice Shall Live campaign began in 1942.
It was a great event, featuring an aerial dance by EveryBODY Dance, a performance by Stoke Men’s Choir, and a poem about the story of Lidice, performed by the 6th form student that wrote it.
I was pleased to note that the mayor of Lidice had sent a representative, especially when she added her own personal thoughts to the official message from the mayor.
The sculpture itself is very impressive. Not only is it physically large and imposing, but the use of tags (based on miners’ tags) is a wonderfully inspired idea. They illustrate the people standing together, just as they did in 1942.
The Unearthed project has built a remarkable and important sculpture. They have also put a great deal of time, energy, and effort into spreading the story of Lidice and Stoke-on-Trent. The sculpture has 2,000 tags, each one representing a person that has promised to tell the story to at least two others. That’s at least six thousand people that now know the story.
It’s an amazing story which should be shared far and wide. If you don’t know it, see my previous blog post. If you do know it, tell others. Don’t let the atrocity be forgotten – it’s when we forget that we allow such things to happen again. But also, don’t let the miners’ generosity be forgotten – it can, and should, inspire future generations to be the best they can be.
For more information about the Unearthed project, see the project website, Facebook group or Twitter feed.