Saturday, 28 October 2017

Halloween Horror Promo


All three of my horror e-books will be $0.99/£0.99 around Halloween!

Turner 
"Turner is one fast paced, horror slasher of a read, that had me turning the pages at breakneck speed. I was thoroughly creeped out while reading this book." -- Brew and Books Review

They Move Below
"Scary and packed full of twists. A RED RIBBON WINNER and highly recommended." -- Wishing Shelf Awards

Harvest Festival  
"Dramatic and terrifying, the scenes move speedily along to an ending which stayed in my head for some while." -- Banshee Irish Horror Blog

You can add all of them to your library for under $3/£3, from now until 1st November. That's a bargain.

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Friday, 27 October 2017

Meet Author Karl Drinkwater In The Horror Lounge


A couple of days ago I was interviewed on Lounge Books as part of their Horror Lounge event. Here's a backup of the interview.



Meet author Karl Drinkwater @karldrinkwater #HorrorLounge

Karl Drinkwater

By Karl Drinkwater

Tell us about your latest book

Lost Solace, an action sci-fi horror where a super-tough woman has to face her demons without losing her humanity. A haunted house in space: Event Horizon mixed with Alien. #GirlOnAMotherfuckingSpaceship
 

First memory of reading horror

Up a tree, reading horror anthologies from the school library. The branches swayed and creaked, leaves rustled as if things moved nearby. Weeping willows are the best to climb.

 

Did you write in other genres or straight to horror?

I am a multi-genre author, because my primary focus is telling a good story – genre becomes irrelevant to me. Or the genres can be combined where it serves the story. I’ve written horror, thriller, literary, contemporary, and sci-fi. Some of the horrors are also literary; some of the contemporary stories have elements of romance, and so on. Some of my fans only like my darker works, some only like the more relationship-based stories. A few enjoy my writing regardless of where it goes. All good stories involve characters you care about or are interested in, and situations that pull you in, and elements that stay in your mind afterwards.


Tell us about your fans

They are lovely. Without them I’d feel like I was talking to myself all the time (I only really do it half the time; and maybe, because the cat is listening, it doesn’t count as madness). They write reviews, they tell other people about my work, they send me pictures and messages. I love it when I get an email saying “I stayed up until 2am to finish your book and now I am too scared to sleep!” or “I read that book on my honeymoon, and my husband got annoyed because I spent so much time reading by the pool!” Though that seems to imply that I enjoy ruining their sleep patterns and breaking up marriages, and it isn’t true.

 

Do you believe in evil? 

Of course. Evil is simply making choices that harm others. It’s a reality every day.

It’s why horror is an enduring genre. There are two types of horror story.

Those about demons and aliens and zombies and man-eating sea monsters: that’s entertainment and fantasy and escapism from the more depressing truths of the world. And it’s great because of it.

Those books about the true evil of actions: that’s important stuff that says something about the world, and leaves splinters in your mind.

Both are important.


Do you celebrate Halloween?

Oh yes indeed. I don’t celebrate Christmas, Easter, birthdays or stuff like that – Halloween is the only annual celebration I take part in. I go into full horror mode and set up lists of books and films to immerse myself in. This was last year’s indulgence pack: http://www.karldrinkwater.uk/2016/10/my-films-for-halloween.html
I always prepare trays of treats for any kids calling, and try to go for healthier stuff, like small boxes of raisins, or fake satsuma pumpkin heads where each is different. This was from last year:

Where can readers find you?  

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Website

Newsletter


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Thursday, 26 October 2017

The Works Of Dean Koontz

[Image hosted on Dean Koontz's website]

Last night I took part in some of the Horror Lounge events (where there is also an interview with me). I also ran one event, focussed on the books of Dean Koontz.

Who is Dean Koontz?

Dean [Ray] Koontz is an American author. I used to think of him as a horror author, but I think he prefers “suspense thrillers which incorporate elements of horror, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and satire”. He’s a real bestseller, and has written A LOT. He's been writing since the 60s and never stopped. I think he's written over 70 novels. I see him as a contemporary to Stephen King, both with long careers and ridiculous numbers of good (and successful) books and films. Koontz also helped form the Horror Writers Association in 1985, along with many other great horror writers. (I'm now a proud professional member of that organisation too.)

How did I discover him?

I first heard of Dean Koontz when I was given a second-hand copy of Phantoms by my grandmother. I was gripped from the very first page, and although I'd read scary stories before, I'd never read anything so absorbing. I curled up in an armchair and just kept reading.

I love a book with a good concept. In Phantoms, two women drive into their hometown. Night. Winter. Lights are on. But no people around. It gets weirder and weirder. It's a big town. Where is everyone? By page two you are already caught up in the mystery, and you've started to care about the characters and put yourself in their shoes, because everyone goes to their hometown.

Favourite Koontz books?

I think Phantoms and Midnight are my two favourite Koontz novels (and partly inspired me to write Turner) - though other Koontz books such as Intensity are great at "doing what they say on the tin", an impressive match of form and theme. I loved the way Koontz novels would open with either action or tension, then ramp them both up along with the stakes throughout the novel. The ideas also grabbed me. Ever-living protoplasmic beings of unstoppable power? Human-computer interfaces for emotionless killers? Wow! They were books I could not put down - and that's a huge part of what makes a good book.

Both books impressed me so much that I ended up basing the opening of one of my stories around two people trying to scare each other in a hotel room, and because the guy is trying desperately to terrify the woman into his bed (which obviously doesn't work out well!) he starts by talking about Koontz books. That's how much they stayed with me.

Using Koontz's books as a seduction technique in "Just Telling Stories" (They Move Below)

Dolly says: "Notice how he rebranded himself from Dean R Koontz to just Dean Koontz"

Style and King

I read a lot of King and Koontz books. I was interested in their similarities and differences. They scratched different itches. In a way it's not just style, but story choices. At least in how I used to perceive them, since I spent all my pocket money on books by those two authors!

Certainly back in the 80s and 90s I felt that Koontz generally got down to things straightaway, cutting in with immediate action (as in The Bad Place, almost a perfect template for his thriller/horror crossover - it begins with an action car chase). Whereas King would spend a lot longer building up the story. Less of a shock, more of a build-up of shudders with King (e.g. think about the opening of It, or The Shining).

Koontz also usually offered some kind of scientific explanation, however goofy, whereas King was happy to allow a hidden supernatural world without it needing explaining. These bad things just exist. I enjoyed both approaches.

Films

We always think of Stephen King as being the one with lots of films made of his books, but then I found this list: Scare Yourself with Movies Based on Dean Koontz Thrillers. Yep, there's been loads of films of Koontz books too, so there are quite a lot of options for watching his stories on the big screen over Halloween!

I have a hobby of matching films to books that seem heavily related, but aren't officially connected.
One example is Dean Koontz's Intensity with the French film Haute Tension / Switchblade Romance. (A non-Koontz example of my interest would be Jeff Long's brilliant book The Descent and the film The Descent, even though they are not the same story.)

Koontz The Friendly

Dean Koontz was legendary for being open to his fans: I remember reading how, long ago, he even made photocopied, quirky newsletters for them. He was ahead of the game there. I spoke to fellow author Terri Nixon yesterday [Twitter / Facebook / Website], and she told me Dean Koontz once wrote to her and gave her a piece of advice she looks at every day when she is writing.

"do it always for the LOVE of doing it" [i.e. writing]

Great advice, presented with humour. Great stories that don't disappoint.

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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Horror Lounge Events

'Tis the season to be spooky, so wrap up warm and grab a booky

Lounge Books are an exciting new company for book lovers. Now they are running the Horror Lounge, "a week-long celebration of horror fiction". And they've even interviewed this reprobate as part of their wide-ranging horror coverage.

The main horror programme begins tonight, including various online events and locations (all free!) There will be updates every day until Halloween, with new events each evening. I'm going to try and pop in to all of them.

In fact, I am hosting one of them tonight!

7.30pm Author Karl Drinkwater will explore the books of Dean Koontz on his Facebook page.

So please join me for half an hour there. Tell me why you love (or don't love) Dean Koontz's books. Which are your favourites? Have you ever met him, or written to him? Seen a film of one of his books? Anything Dean Koontz related is up for discussion.

Since it is 7.30pm in the UK, check here or here for your local time if you are in another country.

Dolly may sit on my lap for the event, if we are lucky

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Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Kindle Scout Can Catch You Out


Why do shocker emails always seem to arrive at the end of the day on a Monday?

I’d been a Kindle Scout fan for a long time – in fact, one of the books I champion and promote a lot was one of their first titles, Housebroken. My own Kindle Scout campaign for Lost Solace was going really well. The book had been "hot and trending" and getting lots of views. The action was all organic, as in real people who wanted to back the book. I refused to pay for any spammy services that boosted the book's campaign: especially after I saw that one or two of those that were getting the most votes were not good books - often the previews were badly-written and there were basic writing and punctuation mistakes in the first few sentences. I refused to join them in paying for votes. As usual, I wanted my books to stand purely on their quality.

When I started the Kindle Scout campaign I had to tick a box saying that Lost Solace had never "been available for sale in any format, anywhere in the past, including on Amazon." That was true. Note that they only talk about the past. That implies the future is fine. I read all the guidelines carefully. I noted that Kindle Scout did not take the paperback rights. The guidelines specifically said that the author was free to publish the paperback themselves, or via a third party.

When an e-book is published it can take up to three days to reach all the distributor sites. It's often less than that. When a paperback is published it takes a lot longer - sometimes it can be a month for the metadata to be fully shared. I know, I know, it makes no sense - it should be instantaneous, but that's how the book industry works. Sometimes Waterstones will say a book isn't available anywhere even though it may have gone on sale a week or so earlier. That's because the details of the book still haven't got on to the main systems they check. It's normal, and publishers just build the delays in to their plans. It also means you have to plan ahead. So, I set the paperback of Lost Solace in motion, guessing it wouldn't be fully available until November, maybe in time to coincide with the launch of the e-book, which would hopefully be published by Kindle Scout this time. That offers a number of advantages: it would have some starting sales rank above zero; it would have early reviews; there would be a buzz among book bloggers and on social media. That then helps push the e-book to the front of some lists and means it becomes visible to buyers. It's all common sense.

You can tell there is going to be a "but" ...

Last night I got an email off Amazon with the innocuous title of "Your Kindle Scout Book", from a member of Amazon staff whose name I recognised. I'd been in touch with them a few times, and had been helping them out. One thing you may not realise is that, if you put your book on to somewhere like Kindle Scout, you will suddenly get a lot of persistent spam from people claiming to be able to promote it for you. The emails are dodgy stuff, with typos, no URLs, unfinished sigs, beginning with boilerplate stuff like "I saw your ebook on Kindle scout. From the blurb it looks like a high quality e-book. If you are looking for some real promotion and exposure for your book, I can help" and ending with "serious interest only" and "respond now if you want to get published by Kindle Scout". The spammers probably have a lot of fake accounts that will vote for your book if you pay. It is both dishonest and risky, since it is easy for Amazon to spot the accounts and work out that the author is following dubious practices that are against their regulations. Some of the spammers were persistent and contacted me multiple times - emails, Facebook, Goodreads and so on. In one case they even used my non-public email address. So I shared the messages with Amazon so they could get an idea of the scale of the problem and the (probably fake) names involved. My Amazon contact thanked me and shared the information within their teams. They also told me: "When we calculate the clicks to show on the Campaign Stats page, we filter out any clicks coming from robots, which includes search engine crawlers, the Facebook crawler, as well as any other automated scripts that the author might have set up." I'd also been in touch with them about formatting errors their process had introduced to books, where section breaks were messed up. They fixed it and thanked me for flagging that up too. In each case it was the same contact at Kindle Scout and I was happy to help improve the service, for them and for other authors. So I expected this to be another email following up on one of the service aspects we'd discussed.

No. Kindle Scout threw my book out.

"We recently found that the paperback version of your book is available in Amazon. Due to this issue, we will remove your campaign from our site."

Even though it was the same contact I'd been in touch with, the tone was cold, robotic - it was obviously a standard email, the kind anyone who contacts Amazon will be used to.

At the end of the email it invited me to contact them to discuss it.

I didn't hang about. I sent a polite email with some of the explanation above. I pointed this out:

The actual Kindle Scout rules you linked to say "Kindle Scout books should not have been available for sale in any format, anywhere in the past, including on Amazon." And it is true, the book had not been available in any format, anywhere in the past, so technically I don't seem to be in breach of it, which is how this has occurred. I thought it was okay. If not, the wording should be changed to "Kindle Scout books should not have been available for sale in any format, anywhere in the past, including on Amazon; AND SHOULD NOT BE FOR THE DURATION OF THE CAMPAIGN." (Obviously not in caps, I just did that to highlight my addition!)
I also explained why I'd set the paperback in motion:

Is there anything that can be done? I had been really excited about the idea of possibly working with Amazon on this new venture. My last book sold thousands of copies (enough to grant me professional membership of the Horror Writers Association), and this new one is even better. I'd be grateful if you could give me some advice here. I really thought I was fully in line with your guidance, just as I had been when I first submitted to Kindle Scout. It's been exciting, and I'll be so disappointed if it fails now just because I misunderstood one of the criteria! Even more upsetting that I was just trying to be efficient, and set up a good environment for if Kindle Scout published the e-book! I thought that it would be good to get on with the paperback because the good previews from book bloggers would build up excitement for the e-book and drive sales to it.
Many thanks for your time; any guidance or ways that I can stay in the program would be much appreciated!
I sent the email and hoped we could sort it out.

I didn't know that Amazon had already taken Lost Solace down emailed everyone who had voted for it as follows:

Dear Scout,
We wanted to let you know that your Kindle Scout nomination for Lost Solace has been removed from the Kindle Scout site, and your nomination slot is available. There are still tons of great never-before-published books that could use your support! We hope you'll use your nominations to scout the next titles you want to see published.
Regards,
The Kindle Scout team
I only discovered this when I started to get messages in email, Facebook and Twitter from people asking what was going on! The Amazon message's vagueness suggests I've done something wrong, or there are shenanigans afoot. Was the book plagiarised? Had Karl been paying for fake votes and been caught? Had it been revealed that he was a serial killer and Amazon were distancing themselves from him? It was obvious there must be a story behind it. And this is that story. Sorry, it's not as dramatic or scandalous as you might expect.

As you can imagine, I was pretty frustrated that, even though I immediately responded to Amazon, and they had invited me to do that - they had already removed the book and emailed all the voters before I had a chance to send my email!

Removing the book and emailing voters at that early stage was certainly overkill, thought it may have well have been an automated process, knowing how Amazon works (i.e. as soon as it is flagged up their bots kick the campaign, regardless of what their staff say in an email). I was grateful to people for letting me know what Amazon had said to them, because often the author is the last to find out when automated scripts kick in!

So what happens next?

Possible outcomes:

1. Kindle Scout reinstate the campaign. That's probably unlikely now they have nuked it without waiting to hear back from me.

2. Kindle Scout ignore what I said and the e-book is released without them. I won't get their marketing help or an advance, but it means the e-book could be available before Halloween, and (you may be surprised to know) I'll get higher royalties and more control over the book than if Kindle Scout published it. So, actually, even the worst case scenario isn't bad. It just means I wasted the time waiting for the Amazon campaign, and asking people to vote for it!

But I don't want to waste your time. If Amazon publish a Kindle Scout book they give a free e-book copy to everyone who voted for it. If they have permanently closed the campaign that won't happen now. So I'll be nicer than Amazon, and if they don't re-open the campaign I'll give a free e-book to anyone who gets in touch with me and who had voted for Lost Solace. I don’t want the generosity of you kind people to be wasted, after you took the time to vote. I really appreciate everyone who did that.

There you go, that's the full scoop! Hopefully it is a useful for authors on interpreting the Kindle Scout rules so no-one else accidentally falls foul of Amazon like I did. Even better if Amazon makes their guidelines clearer and removes the ambiguity over the timing of the paperback releases. The guidance is obviously not clear at present, or I wouldn't have made this mistake. Likewise one person replied to my explanation with "Wow! Considering I'm preparing a novel for a Kindle Scout campaign and was just trying to determine when I could publish the trade paperback, this is actually really helpful timing (for me, not for you!)" Amazon - you need to clarify this point for future authors trying Kindle Scout!

As I pointed out, it's not all bad. The e-book will be available one way or the other. If I hear back from Amazon I'll add an update to the end of this post. In the meantime, there's the paperback. And, once again, I am reminded of how nice the readers and authors who support me are. One message of support I received ended with: "I went ahead and ordered the trade paperback of LOST SOLACE in the meantime. Looking forward to reading it!"

Update: Kindle Scout aren't going to reinstate the campaign. For info, this is their email.

I completely understand your concern.
We were truly sorry to remove your campaign as well, since we loved to have your title as part of our Kindle Scout platform.
If you have a new, never-before-published manuscript that you’ve finished working on, we encourage you to submit it to Kindle Scout. If your title is selected for publication we ask that authors wait until their Kindle book is released through Kindle Press prior to making a print version available (this helps the new release launch momentum and us keep our promise to Scouts that they’ll receive an early copy of an ever-before-published book).
Additionally, regarding your suggestion I think is a very good idea to include in our guidelines that Kindle Scout titles shouldn't be available in other formats during the campaign time. I have transferred this suggestion to our appropriate team for future improvements of our platform.
We thank you for your understanding, and we hope to review a new, never-before-published book of yours in the near future!
So be it. No hard feelings. Onwards and upwards! The e-book will be here sooner than you thought! And I should be used to Amazon by now.

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Friday, 20 October 2017

Forename Capitalisation

Which is correct?
  • K.D. Wordman?
  • K. D. Wordman?
  • KD Wordman?
It's a tricky one. Basically, style guides differ on this. Especially because, technically, all the variants are correct.

According to Hart’s Rules (chapter six: Names) it would be K. D. Wordman with a space. BUT! They admit spaces and points are not always used, and they also make a mistake: they use J. K. Rowling as an example, when it is really J.K. Rowling with no space (see her Website/Twitter - it's something Wikipedia gets wrong too).

Incorrect, Wikipedia

According to newspaper styles such as Guardian Style (p160) it would be KD Wordman. Personally, I think that looks weird outside of newspapers.

For an author choosing how they wish to appear, and using multiple initials for their forenames, my general advice is to either pick a style guide and stick to it for consistency; or look at what other authors who write in your genre do, especially well-known ones. Hence using J.K. Rowling as an example.

No space between J. and K.

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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Lost Solace Print Copies

"We women must stick together. I'm going to paw through the book on Halloween."
-- Dolly The Cat

The Lost Solace paperback is available! It was released for sale on 15th October.

Blurb and details here. Early review here.

Where Can I Get Lost Solace?

It's available from the Buy My Books links, including Amazon UK and Amazon US.

You could request a copy in your nearest bookshop if it isn't already in stock. Another option is to ask your local library to order a copy, which won't cost you anything, and means other local readers will get a chance to see the book. In both cases the details below will be useful:

Title: Lost Solace
Author: Karl Drinkwater
Publisher: Organic Apocalypse
Book Length: 273 pages
Print ISBN: 978-1-911278-11-5

The RRP is £7.50.


E-book Availability

The e-book will be available some time before Halloween. Check here.

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Monday, 16 October 2017

Karl Is Now A Member Of The Horror Writers Association

My post-celebration face

Good news: I am the newest member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA)!

I'm an "active" voting member, too: this professional category of membership has an eligibility requirement to have sold thousands of copies of a title in a space of time; my application was based on the success of my recent horror collection.

Even though horror is only one of the genres I write in, it's the one I am best known for, so it's a big deal to be recognised in this way - especially in the month of Halloween!

The HWA is a global organisation, and was formed in 1985 with the help of many great horror writers, including Joe R. Lansdale, Robert McCammon, and Dean Koontz.

The HWA also run the Bram Stoker Awards, and I was proud to be on the preliminary ballot for the award earlier this year.

One of HWA's missions is to encourage interest in and appreciation of quality horror, and I'm glad to be involved in the same enterprise.

[If you'd like to congratulate me, I am still begging for votes over on Kindle Scout!]

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Thursday, 12 October 2017

I Shudder At Restrictions And Film Companies - DRM Strikes Again


I Like Horror

A friend recently suggested I'd like the film service Shudder. And they were right, in that it got my interest straight away, with its wide range and curated collections. It seemed like such a good option. I love horror! Most of the films I watch are horror films. I don't have a TV - never have - so on the rare times I watch stuff it is films, or old series like Hammer Horror, played on a laptop connected to a projector. So I thought - Shudder will be great! I could picture myself subscribing permanently.

Sadly, much as I love horror, I hate DRM and restrictions (as my many posts on the subject illustrate). And like all the mainstream film streaming services I've looked at, Shudder is also rife with DRM and restrictions to the point that it is unusable for me. It doesn't work with my setup, my viewing preferences, or my devices and hardware. It should do - all my gadgets are capable of displaying films in pretty much any format - but the problems with Shudder and the like are all to do with DRM and arbitrary restrictions from film companies and services.

Normal Film Viewing Scenarios

First, let me clarify the two main scenarios where I would have watched the films.

1. On the sofa, laptop hooked up to the projector. The films could be via the browser (I prefer Firefox) or a special program, that doesn't bother me. But ideally they can be downloaded in advance of watching. Why? Because my broadband speed is merely okay. Sometimes I can watch streamed HD films without many problems. But if neighbours start big downloads then it affects the contention rate, and the speeds slow down. Ditto if someone else in my house starts using the Internet, or if Windows decides to force software updates on me. Then films stutter badly, pause, need buffering. It really ruins the immersion when that happens. Almost as bad as watching a film at the cinema when someone in the row in front keeps talking. If the film can be downloaded in advance it gets round this common problem.

2. The second scenario is watching films on my Kindle Fire HD in bed in the dark with headphones. There's something creepy about it, up close to the small screen surrounded by blackness. Great for horror. Again, downloading in advance is better, for the reasons given, plus because I turn off the wi-fi router downstairs at night before locking up. No point wasting electricity and resources, or risking fires - I know someone whose house burned down, a fire caused by a radio that was left plugged in with the socket turned on, even though the device wasn't in use. I'll avoid that (unlikely-but-possible) risk, thanks.

Neither viewing scenario is bizarre or uncommon. Still, I decided to contact Shudder and just make sure that at least one of these two scenarios was possible - but ideally both.

Shudder Won't Work With Them

Guess what? Neither will work with Shudder.

With regards to the living room laptop they told me: "We do not support HDMI compatibilities at this time, so a computer connected to a projector will unfortunately not work with our service." "HDMI nor VGA is supported at this time." So they even restrict what cables you use and what you watch the films on.

Also "we do not allow for movies to be downloaded and watched without a connection." That's pretty useless then for anyone in a rural area with slow broadband speeds.

No joy with my Kindle Fire HD either. As well as there being no offline option: "We do not support mobile browsers on phones or tablets (android or iOS)" and "we are not compatible with Kindle Fire". I only found the latter out after trying to install the Shudder App from the Amazon Store and getting a raft of error messages.

This is why you can't believe the marketing when you look at a service. Always look into the detail of how you would use it, because behind the lists of promising features, there are usually hidden lists of restrictions. Although this kind of thing should be clear from their website, it isn't, and required multiple Twitter messages and emails to find out.

Let me emphasise: there's nothing broken or non-standard about my hardware. It is fully capable of displaying video. The projector and Kindle screen will display whatever is sent to it without any problem, from browsers or software. Distributors don't have to do anything to make that magic work, that's the beauty of it. For it not to work it means the service itself is adding problems where they shouldn't exist.

DRM And Restrictions Piss Me Off

Honestly, DRM and arbitrary restrictions really piss me off. They are based on the tacit assumption that customers are all potential criminals and can't be trusted. And the people who suffer are the legitimate customers, not the pirates. I once had to return a brand new projector. It wasn't broken - it worked fine. But the Macrovision signal film companies added to many DVDs degraded the signals so much that the films became unwatchable. It's the usual false positive DRM creates. I owned the DVDs, I owned the hardware, and I was just trying to watch them, but DRM kicked in and prevented it. It took months of aggravation to pinpoint the cause and argue my case for a replacement projector even though, technically, it worked fine. I almost lost £1,000 on that one, with no comebacks against the people adding DRM to purposefully break things.

Other Industries Are Slowly Ditching DRM

The music industry gave up the battle years ago, and have benefited ever since. I buy more MP3s now than I ever did. I love music. And the music industry saves a fortune on ineffective DRM systems. Now people who want to buy music but avoid DRM restrictions can do that. Fantastic, we all win!

In the games industry GOG sells games that are DRM-free, none of that broken Denuvo crap (thankfully the publishers of Inside and Doom later removed Denuvo, so I could go and buy their games - I loved Inside). I buy loads of games from GOG. More than I'll ever get round to playing, I imagine. Great games like Witcher 3, Soma, Observer, Outlast 2, Hellblade, The Solus Project, and Little Nightmares. GOG even sell some DRM-free films such as The Frame, Ink etc.

In the book industry the smart players avoid adding DRM. It only annoys and inconveniences legitimate customers, not the pirates. Even when books have DRM it can be easily bypassed. Heck, even print copies can be ripped. I remember when JK Rowling didn't want the Harry Potter books to be available as e-books. It didn't stop it happening, it just meant one person scanned then OCR'd the books and distributed them as pirate copies, and millions of people read those instead of buying the e-books as they would have done if they'd been able to. Open up, don't close down.

But Film Companies Love DRM

But the film companies are stupid. They waste millions on DRM technologies and tying it in to hardware, with the end result that things often break; they can't be ported from one device to another; they can't be backed up; all sorts of technical problems occur that can't be easily resolved. And the most stupid thing of all - people can get a better experience and more reliable outcome from ripped versions of the film. Then the film companies get no money at all. Film companies should let go of their ridiculous obsession with DRM. Even with all this DRM, it would be easy to display the film then rip it to my hard drive.

And So They Lose Custom

And so I save my money. Instead of people like me taking out subs to film services, or buying films, it just isn't worth the bother. I spend most of that money on other media instead: books and music and games. The film industry puts off the very people who would have been their most loyal customers, and instead of adding to the profits, they get nothing, yet continue to spend millions on their ongoing tech war and legal cases. Their war is against shadows, and they are so frightened that they lash out and don't realise they are sometimes punching their friends. You wonder why films are so expensive? Because of this, plus the lost revenue and frustration that DRM creates.

I don't know how much of Shudder's restrictions are down to some of the film companies, directors or distributors being dicks, and how much is down to companies like Shudder pro-actively implementing DRM restrictions rather than arguing against them, but the end result sucks. I'm sure some directors would be happy with DRM-free. It may be like with books, where many authors prefer to remove the restrictions, but some distribution platforms add it even though you don't want them to.

Seriously, I'm throwing money at the screen for films and it just keeps landing in my lap.

I'll keep my eye on services like Shudder. If they ever remove some of the stupid restrictions they'll gain a lot more customers and fans, rather than creating annoyance and bad feeling among people who would have been their best and most loyal customers.



Extra DRM news:
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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Recent Promo Images

 
They Move Below - enter if you dare

A selection of promotional images I've used since the last posts (which you can find here, here and here).

Turner - things get messy

Turner - it takes place during a terrible storm

Harvest Festival - the world can burn down in one night

Karl Drinkwater’s Horror Collection - the horror exhibition

Karl Drinkwater’s Horror Collection - a gallery of modern horror

And, moving away from horror (even though it is difficult to do that in the Halloween month!) ...

2000 Tunes - words for the soul

Cold Fusion 2000 - celebrating the relaunch

 Cold Fusion 2000 - the beauty in small things

Cold Fusion 2000 - the first edition

And a video to finish:



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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Lost Solace - My Next Book!


Lost Solace, my new book, is complete! The paperback is in process (and may be available for Halloween if the spirits prevail). The e-book should be available around then too. Fans of my horror and suspense books will love it, but it may also appeal to fans of my character-based literary stories. And, finally, I hope to gain new fans who love sci-fi.

Your Help Is Needed!

I decided to give Kindle Scout a try as a publisher, because that would enable the book to reach many more new readers. Kindle Scout allows people to nominate books they'd like to read, and the more votes a book gets, the more seriously they consider it. So every vote helps me.

Voting is free, and it also benefits the voter - if Kindle Scout publish the book, everyone who nominated it gets a free copy!

If you'd be kind enough to help, all you need to do is go to my book's Kindle Scout page and click on the blue "Nominate me" button:

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/1SIJHOMUUYK9X

You need an Amazon account to do that. Feel free to vote for any other books you like the look of too (you can vote for up to three). Whether you vote or not, I'd also be grateful if you could pass on that link to anyone who might be interested in sci-fi, horror, suspense, or literary action! Thank you! There's even a shorter and more memorable URL you can share: bit.ly/LostSolaceKS

"But is the book any good?"

I'm glad you asked. Have a look at this review from a book blogger that received an advance copy. In short:

"The story is excellent and there is a perfect balance of sci-fi and horror. Lost Solace is absolutely compulsive reading. It's punchy and fast paced. The technology and armoured suit are incredibly thought out and intelligent. The armoured suit is definitely the kind of thing I would want if I was in that kind of situation. I honestly cannot emphasise how much I loved this book. When I finished it my initial notes were as follows - Omgoodness ALL OF THE STARS! 5/5! It's creepy, it's action packed, it's awesome!"

What's It About?

Here's the back cover blurb.

Sometimes spaceships disappear with everyone on board – the Lost Ships. But sometimes they come back, strangely altered, derelict, and rumoured to be full of horrors.

Opal is on a mission. She’s been seeking something her whole life. Something she is willing to die for. And she thinks it might be on a Lost Ship.

Opal has stolen Clarissa, an experimental AI-controlled spaceship, from the military. Together they have tracked down a Lost Ship, in a lonely nebula far from colonised space.

The Lost Ship is falling into the gravity well of a neutron star, and will soon be truly lost … forever. Legends say the ships harbour death, but there’s no time for indecision.

Opal gears up to board it. She’s just one woman, entering an alien and lethal environment. But perhaps with the aid of Clarissa’s intelligence – and an armoured spacesuit – Opal may stand a chance.

Can she face her demons and survive?

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