Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaWriNoMo 2012


I don't know if it was a good idea, but I've just signed myself up for this year's NaWriNoMo challenge. In a nutshell it is a challenge to write a novel in a month. My writing has stalled a little bit lately and I'm hoping that this might be a chance to give it a kick start.  

There are quite a lot of good reasons not to do this but I'm going to give it a go anyway. Depending on how I get on, I might come back and update this blogpost with my process. It's quite likely I'll be wanting to focus every single word I write on the novel but putting something on here might help motivate me a bit. Wish me luck!


Here is a widget that tells you how far I have got so far. The big fat zero is staring back at me now, but hopefully by the time you are reading this it will have gone up.





2/11/12
I've started, sort of. I've decided not to plan much, I'm just writing as I go along. This might make it a disjointed mess but it also give me the freedom to go wherever the story takes me. Writing chances are pretty limited at the moment though, so will need to plan my time carefully.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Book Giveaway - Get A Free Paperback

Find us on Google+


I am running a competition to give a free copy of my book, Someone Else's Dream. It is open to anyone, wherever you are in the world and all you need is a Goodreads account to enter (which is free). Good luck!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Someone Else's Dream by James R. Winterbottom

Someone Else's Dream

by James R. Winterbottom

Giveaway ends October 17, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Monday, September 17, 2012

Book Review - I Am Secret Footballer by Anonymous

I Am the Secret Footballer is a book based on the columns printed in the sports section of the Guardian most Saturdays. The chapters are divided up along themes, such as money, agents, bad behaviour, etc. They are written from the perspective of an anonymous premier league footballer and are refreshingly honest in their assessment of modern football.

The identity of the secret footballer is unknown, but there is a blog devoted to trying to find this out. There is enough information about the career of the secret footballer to narrow it down to a fairly small pool of players but nothing has ever been publically confirmed. I have have heard a rumour somewhere that the secrect footballer might actually be a few different players who reveal their secrets to a journalist at the Guardian who shapes the stories into one narrative.

The book is made up mainly of the newspaper columns, with some additional material added in around the already published bits. Organising everything around themes works pretty well through most of the books but there are a few sections where the linking between one column and another is a little bit clumsy and makes you realise that you are reading something that was not originally meant to be in book form. This doesn't really spoil the enjoyment of the book too much, but means the book leaps from one topic to another in places.

Premier League footballers are subject to an awful lot of scrutiny from the press but it is rare to hear them speak honestly about their jobs and the lifestyle that comes with it. I really enjoyed the behind the scenes stories that rarely make it into the press. While the secret footballer often argues that footballers are cast in a bad light, he also reveals some pretty appalling behaviour that he has witness or been involved in. While I would not have liked to have been involved in some of the debauchery described, there are some very interesting stories in here which lead to the occasional snort of laughter.

There is a serious side to this book too. The author admits to currently taking medication for depression and describes how the pressure of professional sports can lead to, or at least trigger off, mental health issues. The description of these issues was honest and made me feel genuinely sorry for him. What's the point of earning tens of thousand pounds a week if you feel so bad you can't enjoy it?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the lives of professional sportmen. Some might find it hard to have sympathy for these overpaid millionaires but they will at least enjoy being able to peek into a world that is closed off to the majority of us.

4 stars

Friday, September 14, 2012

Book Review: War of the Worlds by H G Wells

With Curiosity Rover recently landing on Mars it made me want to read this book about people from Mars coming to visit us. Like a lot of older books I started reading this expecting that I would probably find it too old fashioned to properly enjoy. I found that I soon forgot about the time and was absorbed by the story.

The story of aliens coming to land on earth has been covered many times since this book has been written but I can't think of any such story that has the depth of imagination on display in this book. Wells seems to have a knack for telling a huge story from a personal viewpoint that makes you feel like you are there, hiding the hedges while the Martians are stomping about with their heat-ray.

The central character is perhaps a little bit fusty compared to modern action heroes but I found him likeable and authentic. I particularly enjoyed the section of the book where he teams up with a Curate, which goes quickly sour and ends in ... well it ends interestingly anyway.

The descriptions of the Martians and their habits are fascinating but the reaction of the people of England in the wake of the invasion is perhaps a bigger part of the story. While communication methods might have moved on a lot since this book was written I can imagine that reaction from the general population might be very similar. 

This is a short book that doesn't dwell much on character but does provide a fascinating insight into how society might react if we were to be invaded by Martians. The writing is excellent and the pace zips along right until the end.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Someone Else's Dream - Out Now on Kindle

Hello

My first novel is out now. Here is the blurb: 

What do you do when you have just been dumped and have quit your job? Go home and cry to your mum? Or do you go out there and find out what you really want to do with your life?

At 28, Simon is reluctantly forced off the sofa and into the world outside. No longer content (or able) to fester on the sofa drinking beer and playing video games, he sets out in his rattling old car to work out how other people live.

His journey involves sex, booze, edgy art projects, tears and a bit of soul searching. Will this be enough to help him find out what he wants to do, or will he be stuck living out someone else’s dream?


It is 65,000 words long and available now from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk for the kindle. The paperback edition will be available in the next few days. Here are the links:


                                                                                    

Sunday, July 8, 2012

You Decide Games Facebook Page Now Live

Today I have set up a Facebook page for You Decide Games. So now there is another way to keep up to date with all the latest news about new apps, updates and offers. 

Here is the link: http://www.facebook.com/YouDecideGames. Please give it a like if you want to keep up to date with what is going on. 

Expect news about the next update to Zombie Survival very soon.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Zombie Survival You Decide - Update Coming Soon

Chapter 3 of Zombie Survival is currently being written. 

You are leading a group of survivors in a theme park. Naturally there are problems and zombies a plenty and you have to pick your way through it all. It will be in the same style as the two earlier chapters and will be roughly the same length as them too.

The third chapter will be included in the current app as an update. It will be completely free. 

Follow me on twitter or subscribe to this blog if you want to know when the new chapter comes out. It should be in the next week on Google Play and probably two weeks on Amazon.com (because they have to check apps before they publish them). 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

N3rdabl3 Review of Gangland - You Decide

N3rdabl3.co.uk is one of the top places for android app reviews on the internet. I am very pleased to say that my app, Gangland You Decide, has recently been reviewed by them. To check out the review please click:  http://www.n3rdabl3.co.uk/2012/06/review-gang-land-choose-your-own.html


Updates for You Decide Games

Hello.

I have been a bit busy lately, so have not had chance to blog for a while. The first thing to mention is that a couple of weeks ago I released updates for two of my games. Here are the details:

Zombie Survival: Second chapter added, which doubles the length of the story. This chapter sees your rescue helicopter crash land, leaving you in the middle of nowhere with a group of other survivors, trying to fend of the zombie masses. There are tough choices to make and grisly ends if you don't make the right calls.

First Date:  This update adds the option to play from the perspective of a girl. It is a completely new story line, which again is about the same length as the original game. You have to decide what you are going to where, how to behave with your date and try to get through the whole thing without it all going horribly wrong.

These updates are available to download now from the android appstore. 

I will be adding extra chapters onto my apps in the future, keep an eye out on this blog for more details nearer the time. Please post a comment below if there are any things you are particularly dying to see in the next updates.

Thanks

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Religion For Atheists by Alain DeBotton - Book Review

I have tried to read Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens books about atheism in the past and struggled to finish them because they were so angry with religion. It's true that religion has done a lot of harm over the years, but Alain De Botton's approach in this book is much more palatable.


Rather than attack the faithful with frothy mouthed invective, DeBotton looks at what religion has to offer when you strip away the magical fantasy elements and look at the tangible things religion has provided over the years. This includes a form of community, consolation when things go wrong and a set of rules to live our life by.


An argument is made for an atheistic religion which puts aside the implausible bits about a religious faith but extract the socially useful things. I expect that this could be insulting to the devout but probably only those that actively seek out things to offend their delicate sensibilities.


As an aside, the kindle version of the book is left aligned all the way through, rather than justified, which makes it look a strange. Given that the cost is similar to the print version it seems a little sloppy of the publisher but its not a massive problem.


This is a relatively short book, but there are plenty of ideas crammed into the pages and I found it an excellent read.



Buy a kindle verision from amazon.co.uk here
Or the paper copy from amazon.co.uk here
Or the paper copy from amazon.com here
For some reason there isn't a kindle copy available on amazon.com which seems a bit weird.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Skagboys by Irvine Welsh - Book Review

Kurt Vonnegut said that you should always start a story as late as possible, something which Irvine Welsh did with his first book Trainspotting, which has meant that he could revisit the story 20 later years for this prequel. 


Skagboys follows the main characters from Trainspotting in the years building up to the original novel. It covers their descent into heroin and covers the hectic world of Edinburgh schemes in the 80s. I have read most of Irvine Welsh’s books and think this is right up there with the best of them. It encapsulates the hopelessness of addiction but does not moralise or try to offer up any lessons. 


The characters drawn from the poor areas of Leith all jump of the page and come across as fully rounded individuals, partly due to the phonetic spelling Welsh uses for their speech, which takes a bit of picking up but gives the characters a strong voice. The middle class characters tend not to be as well rounded and they feel a little bit two dimensional compared to the vividness of the “schemies”. 


I found that the book really sprang to life whenever Begby was involved. He is a violent psychopath but at the same time has a kind of insane logic to his behaviour that makes him almost likeable. I found that the scenes he was involved in really light up the book and would personally love to see a novel dedicated just to him. 


The book was reviewed on Newsnight Review just before its release and I remember one of the people on there saying that this book was not as relevant as Trainspotting because society has moved on since the time this book is set in. The story covers disaffected youths, thrown on the scrap heap by the Tory government, a familiar story to anyone who has seen a news report about youth unemployment. 


If you wanted to get an understanding of the mentality of the kids rioting in London last summer, this book would give you a fair insight. I am giving this book a five star rating, it might not quite reach the heights of Trainspotting but over the 500+ pages it consistently entertains and provides a great background to the characters depicted in Trainspotting. The morality of the people in the book is abhorrent at times but I think that is part of the joy of Irvine Welsh’s writing, he can find the humanity in the most horrible human beings. A great read.


5 out of 5




Here are some links to the paperback and the kindle versions:

Gang Land - You Decide Updated Today!

I have just released an update for my Gang Land app, which effectively doubles the length of the story. It is available to download from the Google Play website right now. Click here to get it.

This adds an additional chapter to the story, taking you deeper into the criminal underworld and dealing with the pressures that come with being at the top of a crime family. If enough people give good reviews I will look to add additional chapters.

Some of the feedback from the reviews has pointed out that the game is too short, so this will address that issue and also sets the story up for further updates in the future. If anyone has any suggestions about what they would like to see happen in chapter 3 please leave a comment below or tweet me @the_wint and I will see what I can do.

Expect to see more updates on my other apps in the coming weeks. My plan is to write new chapters for each app and then maybe start working on something new. I also plan to write the second draft of my novel at the same time, so its going to be pretty busy in the next month.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Apps now on Amazon App Store

Hello,


A couple of my apps are now on the Amazon.com android app store - here are the links:

Zombie Survival - You Decide

Wild West - You Decide


Unfortunately you can only get these games through amazon if you are based in USA but you can still download all my games for free through Google Play which you can find by clicking here.


I must admit that the amazon app store seems a little pointless when Google's app store already has every app listed there but it seems that there are quite a few people who like to use amazon instead. 



Monday, April 30, 2012

Wild West - You Decide App Out Now on Android

Hello,

Just thought I would let you all know that I have released a new app for the Android this weekend. It is a western choose your own adventure game, in the same style as my other apps. It is text based and probably takes about 10 minutes to play through.

My plan is to write additional chapters to the story in the future, depending on how popular the app is.

If you are interested please click here to go to the Google Play store and download it.


Also, this weekend saw two of my earlier apps tip over the 1000 downloads mark, which is very satisfying. Hopefully it won't be long before the Wild West app breaks through that barrier.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hello World

Maybe "Hello World" is stretching it a bit. It's probably more likely that this post will be read by me, my wife and then maybe some obese guy who lives in his mum's basement and has dedicated his life to reading every page of the internet. If such a man exists you have to admire his ambition. I've still not got round to reading War and Peace because it's too many pages, imagine how many pages of the internet they are.


Stop imagining now. Because I want to tell you what this blog is about. Its about me. I'm a writer from the UK and I am soon going to be releasing my first novel. I also develop choose your own adventure Android apps as well. I also have a proper job in the real world but that it not what this blog it going to be about.

The plan at the moment is to use this blog as a place to put up bits and pieces about what I am doing, it will be a mixture of stuff about self publishing on the kindle, writing in general, developing android apps and reviews of stuff I have read, seen and heard. It might sound a little bit sketchy at the moment but it will work itself out. Or it won't.