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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Xannu - The Prophecy Now FREE on Amazon

Yes that's right, if you have an Amazon Prime account and a Kindle, you can read my highy-rated Young Adult Fantasy novel, Xannu - The Prophecy for FREE! As I blogged about last week, I decided to tip my toes in the KDP Select program and offer this book via the Amazon service. This means Xannu - The Prophecy is now only available on Amazon and has been withdrawn from Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and Apple. Amazon has exclusivity for this book for 3 months. I'm already biting my nails to see how this affects my sales! As always, I'll be reporting back regularly on the success of the program. In the meantime, for those of you that are new to my blog, here's the skinny on the book (click on the picture to be taken to Amazon):

For fans of Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and The Narnia Chronicles, the first installment in a thrilling epic fantasy series…

Would you wake up in a hot sweat if you lived your night’s dreams as a soldier battling un-earthly creatures, witnessing powerful magic and fighting to save your own life on a daily basis?

English schoolboy Terry West does. Frequently. After digging up some rune coins near a roman road, he has been living in another world inhabited by warlocks, seductresses, priests and prophecy. There Terry is a soldier, Teern Truthbringer, who has been tasked with finding the Xannu - 'he who will lead the people into deliverance.'

If only it wasn’t real; but it is. Very real. When it all began it was even enjoyable, but now Terry’s life is getting very complicated. Somehow he involved his best friend Joe and although it had seemed a good idea at the time, the consequences had been dire. Then there is Susan, the leggy sister of klutzy school-friend Brian. Why does she keep sending him messages?

Terry is struggling to balance the two lives he leads and every day he is losing his grip on reality just a little bit more. He’s been forced to kill enemies; his companion, the magical woman Maria, is scaring him half to death with her abilities; and his parents are on his back about his school work.

How will he balance the two lives he leads, solve two sets of problems, and understand the lessons he receives from both? Only time will tell. But time is something Terry doesn't have too much of, as everything is unfolding in ways he could never have imagined!

Book 1 of 'The Southern Lands' saga
“Listen to the teachings of a wise man. You may not understand all he says but you will surely have nourishment for the future. Be positive and plan for success. Failure to plan is to plan for failure. Worry not at what came before but only prepare yourselves for that which is ahead.” (Pika’Al 10:1-5, The Scriptures of Al’Zaneed)

Friday, January 27, 2012

To Amazon KDP Select or Not?

So I've been toying with the idea of making one of my books Amazon KDP Select available for a while now (meaning it can be borrowed for FREE by Amazon Prime Kindle readers), while following other readers’ experiences with the program. And I have to say, the jury is still out.

The pros are that supposedly I will get more sales (or at least more exposure and maybe more revenue), but the cons are quite big for someone who has been a self-practicing Indie Author for the past year. To adhere to Amazon’s terms and conditions I will have to withdraw my book from Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple and all other electronic bookstores. That’s quite an undertaking. I also will not be permitted to sell the book electronically direct via my own website (not something I currently do anyway). In effect I will be giving Amazon everything! It’s tempting and big brother scary, both at the same time.

But hey I’m an Indie Author and I take risks. What have I got to lose? I plan to relaunch second editions of my Xannu series later this year (along with the long-awaited third installment) and so three months of Amazon-only exposure may be an interesting thing to try. Watch this space over the weekend as I blog the experiment and then write regular updates over the coming few months. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Juice Fast - Update Plus 1 Week

So it's been a week since I finished my seven day juice fast and I thought I'd write a quick update on how I've managed myself since then.

The good news is that I've managed to keep my weight off. I put on about three pounds after the first two days, but I've slowly taken it back off (all but 0.5lb) again during the rest of the week. I'm very pleased about that.

Other things are a little mixed though. I have to admit that immediately after my juice fast I went a little wild and completely blew my dietary promises out of the water. It didn't help that here in Seattle we were suffering from the worst snow storm in several years, but at the end of the day I only have myself to blame. The problem was that I had no real meal plan. It had been so easy to just drink juices. I should have really planned out exactly what I was going to eat once I was finished with my fast - in detail. Only now, a whole week later, am I just working out an eating regime. Changing the way you eat without detailed planning is not a good idea. Be warned!

Then there's my energy levels. The euphoria of the juice diet wore off within a couple of days and I haven't really had a surplus of energy at all these last few days. But I am still sleeping well (and not really snoring), even though the last couple of days I have been suffering from a bit of a cold. The bounce back from the juice fast has had its downside.

Still, this is all a learning experience and as I move forward these next couple of weeks and then months, I hope to get a better handle on it all. It's all about routine and I just need to perfect my routine. Well, there you have it, my one week update. I'll post a further update in a few weeks time.

PS. For those of you that are interested, I'm still making juices and I'm drinking about one per day, be it either fruit, veggie or a mix. I'm also trying my best to eat as much raw as possible and not to eat meat, processed foods or candy.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Change Of Plans

I'm a planner. Well, mostly anyway. But even a planner has to be prepared for the unexpected. If you've been following the Seattle area weather this week, you've probably noticed that we've had a bit of an unusual spell of weather. It was caused by something called snow. Now, I know all you Canadians and East Coast readers will just think Seattle has no idea about how to deal with snow, but the simple truth is that it doesn't actually snow very much in Seattle and when it does, all the hills make things very challenging. Yes, Seattle is a very hilly place! Then there's all the trees. Seattle is green and verdant and full of forests and trees. Those trees extend into neighborhoods too. And this week not only did we get a whole load of snow, but we also got a whole load of ice too - the ice storm was VERY rare. End result - falling trees, downed power-lines, blocked roads, accidents - you name it, we had it.

So, where am I going with all this? Well, this weekend my wife and I were due to go away on vacation. We had booked a quiet retreat in a log cabin, tucked away in the San Juans. Five days of solitude and a chance to do some uninterrupted writing and reading. But the weather has put a stop to it. The owners of the place where we were due to stay called to say it wasn't a good idea to try and travel there this weekend. Sadness ensued all around.

This means it's time for a change of plans, just as this blog post title declares. As soon as I got the news, I jumped online and booked a downtown Seattle hotel for the weekend. At least we can escape and have a couple of days away from home, even if it won't be filled with reading and writing. Instead it'll be a pretend we're tourists weekend, where we get to visit several downtown stops in between sheltering from the predicted downpours of rain and dodging the icy sidewalks. It's going to be fun!

In all things in life we must be prepared for a change in plans. Even as we write our novels. I am embracing this change and looking forward to something totally unexpected. Besides, We'll still get to the San Juans - it's just going to be a couple of weeks delay. If only changes in novels were that simple!

Friday, January 20, 2012

All I wanted for Christmas (technology-wise)

When I was a kid, after I reached the age of about 13, I really got into gadgets. The electronics and computing marketplace was just taking off and everything was really exciting. Remember, this was 1973 - only a mere 38 years ago!

My first purchase was a Sinclair Cambridge calculator which was an amazing gadget that put my slide rule to a serious test. Of course it wasn't perfect, and it did take a while to calculate a few things. Then there was 'rounding error' to contend with too. But the best 'feature' was that if you tried to divide anything by zero, it tried to calculate the result for you! Something that would leave the calculator happily engaged forever if you let it.

Next up was the Sinclair Scientific, an amazing calculator that introduced trigonometry and log / anti-log functions. It was a little faster overall than the Cambridge, but when you asked it to perform trig functions you could actually watch as it tried to calculate the result! Oh, the good old pioneering days of pocket calculators.

In my later school years I purchased my first programmable calculator, only to find out I couldn't use it in my school exams! Still, the slide rule and log tables actually sufficed and got me through. Kids today have no concept of a slide rule or log tables. I guess that's something that has been lost to the void forever now. It's a shame really as these were really good 'gadgets' and you actually had to understand things before you used them in anger, unlike modern calculators that just do things mindlessly, even when you don't know what it is you're really trying to do.

Anyway, I finally left school and started work in 1978, just as technology was burgeoning. My first purchase about a year later was an Acorn Atom computer which I put together from a kit. It used the TV as output and a cassette recorder as input. Its 2kb (yes, 2 kilobytes of memory, or 0.0000019 of a gigabyte!!) of memory served me well. I was able to write all sorts of multi-level player games and eventually added another 4kb of memory and had the world's best PC! Those were the days.

Time moved along and better PCs were invented, phones became mobile (well to be honest transportable with huge battery packs) and gadgets continued to fill my house. Then somewhere in the early 2000's I suddenly lost the urge for new gadgets and stopped spending all my waking hours looking at new things. At the time I didn't know why, but time has given me an explanation.

The simple reason is that the technology market got itself into a mess up. Although there were a few new technological breakthroughs, on the whole there was nothing really exciting being launched. The iPhone changed all that. Suddenly a device was available that was part phone, part PC, part music player, part movie player, and part entertainment machine. This was indeed a technological breakthrough.

Me? Of course I got my T-Mobile G1 phone a couple of years ago. T-Mobile was an early adopter of the Android OS. To me this phone was the next generation 'swiss army' penknife of gadgets. A device that plays Youtube videos; will give you step by step directions from your home to some other destination, with street maps along the way; will let you send and receive emails when you are away from your desktop PC; will keep your calendar and contacts up to date in one place; will allow you to wile away a few hours playing pac-man; will display a compass on screen in case you get lost; will scan barcodes so that you can make sensible buying decisions. The possibilities were endless. This device is about the same size as the Sinclair Scientific of 35 years ago and a lot smaller than my Acorn Atom PC. But its power was so deceptive. It was a 1970's mainframe PC in a matchbox.

A few years later and I'm now a converted iPhone user and those pioneering days of Android have also now been lost to the void.

So, what do I want for my next technological Christmas? I would love some kind of Heads Up Display (HUD) for my phone so that I didn't have to wear my reading glasses to read the ever decreasing text size. A virtual 20" display on a phone would be amazing. Maybe also a virtual keyboard where you could 'tap' in the air and effortlessly write your text messages. Throw in much better battery life and a better more intuitive index and retrieval system and we would really be cooking on gas. Oh well, I can but dream.

There are also a few improvements I would love to see on the transportation front. In the 35 years or so since I bought my first calculator the roads are still littered with the same types of cars as were around then. Sure they're a little more fuel efficient and robust in accidents, but there are millions more of them around. Getting from place to place is a real bind. What I'd really like for my technological Christmas would be a better form of long distance transport. Where are the transportation devices of Star Trek and Stargate SG-1? Surely if mankind can deliver multi-purpose electronic gadgets it can now work on long distance transportation. We can fly into space, we can return safely in a reusable spacecraft, yet we haven't solved how to go 50 miles without sharing the roads with thousands of other like-minded drivers, determined to make our particular journey a misery.

When I was a kid I used to have dreams where I could levitate and then take a journey under my own power, zooming across the countryside, quickly getting to my destination. If I had my choice for a technology gift for Christmas, I think that's exactly what I would wish for right now. It doesn't seem so far fetched as it did when I was a kid. In fact I might even trade in my multi-gadget phone for an early model!

As we embark upon another year, be safe in the knowledge that humans are not only the most dangerous beings on our planet, but also the most inventive and at their core strive to make things better for the rest of humankind. Now where did I put my iPhone?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Juice Fast - Day 7 (Final Summary)

So here we, are seven days of my juice fast complete!

Let's get straight on with the comments:
  • Skin - The blotches on my face seem to be a little better, although they are definitely still there. Hopefully over the next couple of weeks they will disappear
  • Energy - My energy was still very good yesterday even though I was mostly housebound due to the snowy weather. I definitely seem to have a higher level of energy overall than before the juice fast
  • Sleep - I slept really well and awoke very refreshed. No snoring is a real bonus!
  • Hunger - I wasn't hungry yesterday and I maintained my juice intake. I drank about 60oz of juice during the day and about 80oz of water
  • Aches & Pains - None
  • Total Pounds Lost - 6.8 (0.0 yesterday) This was the most disappointing element of yesterday although I had a feeling it would be like this as for some reason my body decided to retain water yesterday
  • General Comments -  I feel euphoric! Seven days without any food - only fresh fruit and vegetable juice, and some water. Yes, that's been my diet for the past week and it hasn't been too bad at all, to be honest.
So, I guess I should summarize all my experiences as best as possible.

The most noticeable thing to me has been my heightened sense of smell and taste. This was something I wasn't expecting at all. As I transition back to real food it will be interesting to see how everything tastes. My body has definitely gone through a detox this past week.

I went shopping today for some food to see me through the next couple of days as I break my fast and start to eat real food again. I even made some fresh coleslaw and hummus this evening and put them in the fridge ready for tomorrow. As I've written before, I want to try and eat as much raw as I can, with only the minimum of cooked or processed food. And the diet will also be 90%+ vegetarian. Wish me luck. I'll report back on that from time to time.

My energy these past few days has also been really good and I have also been sleeping really well, although I have been having quite vivid dreams. But, and this is the best part, my snoring has more orless disappeared altogether. I really want to keep all these great feelings as I move forward, back on my day to day course.

And weight loss? That's been an interesting journey. In some ways I thought that I would lose more than I did, but in other ways I am really pleased to lose the 6.8lbs. When you see other testimonials about losing weight, they always sounds so great. But I have to remember, it's not that I was 100lb overweight when I started. This year in total, I set myself a challenging 26lbs to lose (anything over 16lbs would be wonderful). I had already lost a couple of lbs before I started this fast and so now I only have 17.2lbs to lose over the course of the rest of the year (11 months). And to put that weight loss in perspective, when I reach my weight loss goal I will be the lightest weight I can remember being in over twenty years! I am already nearly at the weight I was when I first arrived in the USA, over sixteen years ago, and I considered myself pretty okay back then! So no, I'm not going to complain about my weight loss.

What does that leave? Not a lot really I guess. I'm definitely going to do this again later in the year, for another reboot, and the journey has definitely taught me a lot about how the body reacts to food. I urge any of you out there reading this to give the juice fast a go. You'll be surprised by the journey.

You can read the complete Juice Fast series by clicking the link HERE.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Juice Fast - Day 6 (Summary)

Amazing, six days of my juice fast gone!

Day six - the fast goes on...

Let's get straight on with the comments:
  • Skin - The blotches on my face seem to be getting a little better, although they are definitely still there. I'll have to watch these closely over the next few days
  • Energy - My energy was very good yesterday even though I was mostly housebound due to the snowy weather. I definitely seem to have a higher level of energy overall than before the juice fast
  • Sleep - I slept really well and awoke very refreshed. No snoring is a real bonus!
  • Hunger - I wasn't hungry yesterday and I increased my juice intake a little, especially the fruit juices. This seems to have helped a little. I drank about 70oz of juice during the day and about 80oz of water
  • Aches & Pains - None
  • Total Pounds Lost - 6.8 (0.8 yesterday)
  • General Comments - The best breakfast juice ever! I definitely excelled myself today. This fresh juice was so tasty. Mix together the following: two apples (cored), a wedge of cantaloupe melon (peeled and cored), a handful of each – grapes, berries, strawberries, and the killer ingredient a couple of stems of mint (leaves only). This mix made enough for about 24oz of juice. I could drink this every day!
So that was the start of my day. I had decided I would try and boost my weight loss today as it had been relatively little the previous couple of days. So I tried boosting my fruit juice intake. Fruit and vegetable juices both have different effects on the body and so I am hoping this is what I need. I followed the breakfast juice up with an orange juice mixture a few hours later. I had a late lunch of several veggies (juiced) and also drank a lot of water in between. As I write this on the evening of day 6, I am interested to see what I will weigh in at in the morning. And I say that because I have decided that unless the weight loss is bigger than the last couple of days, I am going to come off the fast and revert to my modified eating diet.

Why? I feel pretty confident that my body has mostly detoxed now. I am noticing nothing particularly different going on. My senses are still heightened as in previous days and my hunger is totally under control. I think that because I've been eating a mostly vegan diet for the past several months, my body didn't have too much of a detox to go through. Apart from some turkey at Christmas, I have hardly eaten any meat in over four months. 90% of all my meals have been home cooked from fresh ingredients, and I've had no real sugar or extra salt to speak of for a very long time. I don't drink soda, and I stopped drinking coffee before I started my detox. Before that I only drank one cup a day anyway. During the detox I have continued taking my medication and vitamins.

My energy has remained high and my mind sharp. I have felt no fogginess or general aches and pains throughout the fast, and my wife assures me my snoring has all but disappeared - and that has to be a good thing! I would defintely recommend a juice fast to anyone as a way to improve all sorts of things associated with your body. And the great thing about it is you can come back and do it again anytime you want to.

So, tomorrow morning is decision time. Do I call it a day after six days, or do I continue for a few more days? Read on...

Well, it's now Tuesday morning and after a really good night's sleep and weight loss of nearly 1lb, I have decided to continue one more day. This will make it a seven day fast, as opposed to my original aim of a ten day fast. But, I really think I have achieved my objectives and it's time to get eating food on my new lifestyle diet. More tomorrow and final thoughts. Have a great day!

You can read the complete Juice Fast series by clicking the link HERE.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Don't Forget - How To Write & Self-Publish Your First Novel

In an extra post today, I thought I'd give you all a quick reminder of my consistently selling book How To Write & Self-Publish Your First Novel. It's only $3.99 as an ebook from Amazon and $8.99 as a paperback. From the feedback I have received and the consistent sales, maybe this is a book that could really help you. Take a look at some of the recent Amazon rankings for the book:

What are you waiting for? Just click the link HERE and take a look for yourself.

Juice Fast - Day 5 (Summary)

Yay, I am halfway through my juice fast!

Day five was not really a day of any note. It was actually a little of a bleh day.

Let's get straight on with the comments:
  • Skin - The blotches on my face are still no worse nor better than yesterday. I thought there may have been some change by now
  • Energy - My energy was good yesterday. It was noticeably a little lower than the day before and it appears my body has started to process things a little different. I may need to start feeding it more juice as it seems to have gone into a little semi-hibernation
  • Sleep - I slept really well and awoke early. I had to force myself back to sleep for a couple of hours
  • Hunger - I wasn't really hungry yesterday although my stomach did grumble a few times. I think psychologically I am getting used to the lack of food, although maybe my body is disagreeing with that conclusion. Today I am going to try and drink a lot more juice and see what happens. I drank about 50oz of juice during the day and about 90oz of water
  • Aches & Pains - None
  • Total Pounds Lost - 6.0 (0.4 yesterday)
  • General Comments -   So, halfway through my ten day challenge and still on course! I have to admit I was very tempted today to cheat, walking around the local grocery store. But I held out and managed to get through the day drinking only my juices and water. I suppose it's all downhill from here, but no doubt there will be challenges along the way. I've got into a routine with the drinking and juicing and I'm not generally hungry during the day. 
The most amazing part of all this for me has been my increased sense of smell and taste. It's really, really weird! I've never had a great sense of smell but these last few days I have been able to smell even the subtlest of smells. My wife was eating some raw carrots and peppers in the afternoon and I could smell the peppers as clear as anything, right across the room. Trust me, this has never happened before!

I've been thinking a lot today about how and what I want to eat as a lifestyle when I finish my juice fast and I think I've just about sorted it in my mind. At this point I think I'm going to be eating a 70% raw diet, supplemented with some beans and nuts. I think I've ruled out eating bread, and any wheat actually, so that rules out most pastas too. Of course meat will be out, but I may occasionally have some sushi or sashimi. As I'll be eating mostly raw, I will try and avoid most fried food too (I do like a portion of fries once in a while!). I also think I'll continue to juice a few meals here and there and also do another juice fast later in the year. Hmmm, I guess we'll have to have a follow up later, won't we?

Anyway, back to the juice fast. I am mostly enjoying the juices I am drinking. They are all fresh and tasty, it's just that I am missing eating other foods too. It's amazing the variety of juices that can be made. Today for example I added some mint, green onions, beet and a parsnip to a very veggie drink and the result was very tasty and a little bit spicy. My mouth is actually salivating just writing this down! Crazy.

So, bring on the last few days!

You can read the complete Juice Fast series by clicking the link HERE.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Juice Fast - Day 4 (Summary)

Four days down and nearly halfway!

Day four was an interesting day that has left me asking a lot of questions.

Let's get straight on with the comments:
  • Skin - The blotches on my face are no worse nor better than yesterday. I hope they are going to start to clear up soon
  • Energy - My energy was excellent yesterday. I did all the things I wanted to do without any issues and enjoyed a relaxing evening
  • Sleep - I slept really well and awoke bright and alert
  • Hunger - It's very weird to go through a day and not feel hungry. My body must be shutting down! I drank about 60oz of juice during the day and about 80oz of water
  • Aches & Pains - None
  • Total Pounds Lost - 5.6 (0.4 yesterday)
  • General Comments -  I awoke on day four with lots of energy. After drinking breakfast I thought it would be good to do some writing. My focus this week has been around juicing and body health and I hadn't gotten around to do any writing. Today would be a good day to get back into it.
Alas, it was not to be. I read through the last chapter I had written and decided my brain wasn't quite in the right space to continue where I had left off. That wasn't to say my brain wasn't functioning, just not ready to continue writing just yet. I decided I needed to go for a long walk instead. So, once I had sorted out several other things I set off for a one hour brisk walk. It was good, although very cold out on the trail! Still, it was just as well I went when I did as an hour after I got home it started to snow. The weather has turned!

The odd thing about this juice fast is my lack of hunger. Last week I would have thought that going through this I would have felt hungry all the time. Not so at all. How does that work? Has my stomach shrunk and my body gone into starvation mode? I'm not sure. If I was in starvation mode then surely all the foods everywhere would make me hungry, wouldn't they? No, I think it's a little different somehow. My body is obviously enjoying this clean out and is reacting positively to it. I wonder how long it wants to go on with the experiment? I know from my end it's six more days and I'm outta here! Not that I won't come back to it again sometime, it's just that I am looking forward to having some solid food again - maybe some nice crunchy salads and fresh fruit. And I don't even like salads! I must be losing my mind.

Some other observations from yesterday include a heightened sense of taste and smell. Very weird indeed! I can smell things I don't normally smell, just walking around the house, and when I taste my juices it's just like I can taste many of the several ingredients individually. This is definitely something that I haven't experienced for a very long time.

Then lastly it was also weird only losing 0.4lb yesterday. Previous days have seen much greater losses and nothing was different in what I did. In fact, if anything, I was more active yesterday than the day before. Perhaps my body stored more water yesterday. I don't know. The one thing that I am seeing is that weight loss is not entirely dependent upon calories consumed. The body is indeed an interesting thing. Let's see what happens tomorrow!

You can read the complete Juice Fast series by clicking the link HERE.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Juice Fast - Day 3 (Summary)

Three days gone and seven to go!

I think at last I'm getting the hang of this thing. Day three was a successful day.

Let's get straight on with the comments:
  • Skin - I think the blotches on my face are a little worse than yesterday. Nothing significant but definitely blotchy. Detox is at work!
  • Energy - My energy was good yesterday. I did all the things I wanted to do without any issues and enjoyed a relaxing evening
  • Sleep - My energy level was so good yesterday evening that I didn't go to bed until very late. As a result, I only slept about 6 hours but it was great sleep! Deep and satisfying
  • Hunger - Another day where I wasn't hungry! It's weird. I am eating (or drinking) way less than I do on a regular basis and yet I'm not getting any real hunger pangs. I definitely thought I would be starving by now. I drank about 60oz of juice during the day and about 80oz of water
  • Aches & Pains - None
  • Total Pounds Lost - 5.2 (1.8 yesterday)
  • General Comments - My sinuses felt a little blocked today and I definitely had some mucus to clear out. Again, I've read this is normal. I've also noticed that I'm having more vivid dreams than usual. The mind is a weird thing! I had no headache today and my concentration was good. Actually it was better today than it has been for a while. I am looking forward to ongoing improvements over the next week.
I think I've found my dream juice too (well, at least for today). This evening I juiced 3 medium carrots, 2 medium apples, a good handful of spinach and a slice of fresh pineapple (about one inch, skin and all). The resulting bright green drink was wonderfully sweet and filling. It gave me a good calorie fix (around 300), great nutrients and minerals and tasted wonderful!

As for the weight loss, I am impressed at how much is coming off in such a short time. It can't be due to dehydration as I'm drinking plenty of water and it can't be down to calorie intake alone. In three days I would normally consume around 6,000 calories, which would equate to around 1.7lb of body weight lost if I consumed nothing at all. I have been taking somewhere in the region of 700 to 1,000 calories a day (by my juicing calculations), so this means the most I should have lost should be around 1lb (to make up for the overall 3500 calorie deficit). This means I've lost an additional 4.2lbs of crap inside my body somehow. Amazing!

I am looking forward to seeing how this feels going forward.

You can read the complete Juice Fast series by clicking the link HERE.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Juice Fast - Day 2 (Summary)

Another day gone. Two down and eight to go!

Today was not as straightforward as the first day. But there again, I wasn't expecting it to be so.

Let's get straight on with the comments:
  • Skin - Still a little blotchy on my face. Don't know if it's going to get better or worse
  • Energy - My energy was so-so yesterday. I can't say I had none, but I definitely wasn't bounding around everywhere
  • Sleep - Good - seem to be sleeping more these last two days
  • Hunger - I can't honestly say I was really hungry. I drank about 60oz of juice during the day and about 80oz of water. Maybe it gets worse later
  • Aches & Pains - None
  • Total Pounds Lost - 3.4 (1.4 yesterday)
  • General Comments - I had a vague headache most of the day. Something and nothing. I also spent the day journeying back and forth to the bathroom. The body is certainly starting to get cleaned out! I got tired quite quickly in the evening and I'm hoping this is just a part of the detox process. I generally don't need as much sleep as I am getting at the moment.
I have continued reading about other people's experiences going through a juice fast and I'm worried I might begin to smell and have bad breath soon. I hope I notice it first! Still, the weekend is approaching and so at least I can hide myself away if necessary!

I have also mixed several juices now and I can't say I really have a favorite to date. There's so much stuff in the fridge that I've sort of adopted the 'little bit of everything' attitude. My main drink of the day is certainly very green vegetable based. Last night I made up a mix containing romaine lettuce, celery, collard greens, parsley, spinach as a base and then added a couple of tomatoes, some ginger, a whole lime, a couple of carrots and an apple to sweeten and spice it all up a little. Quite surprisingly I could taste the lime and the ginger really well. It was a tasty juice and there is enough left in the fridge to take to the office for my lunch today.

As for breakfast, I continue to mix fruits. I use a base of three apples and a cucumber and then add something else (berries or pineapple or ...) as necessary. Very tasty, although I have noticed the juice goes through your body pretty quickly (see bathroom issue above!).

Hopefully today should be my last day of bleh. Let's see and thanks for sticking with me!

You can read the complete Juice Fast series by clicking the link HERE.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Juice Fast - Day 1 (Summary)

So, one day gone and another nine to go. Will I survive?

Actually yesterday was pretty straightforward. After all I had motivation on my side and who can't go one whole day just drinking juice? How hard can it be, eh?

Oh, the pride cometh before the fall. Let's hope I can stay on this journey the full ten days. First to the results...

As promised, every day I will be reporting on the previous day with comments under a number of categories:
  • Skin - A little blotchy on my face. But that's not extra. My face started that way
  • Energy - I felt pretty good yesterday. Nothing to complain about
  • Sleep - I got a good night's sleep last night. That maybe because my metabolism slowed down and I was tired earlier than usual
  • Hunger - No hunger pains to talk of
  • Aches & Pains - None
  • Total Pounds Lost - 2.0 (2.0 yesterday)
  • General Comments - I think first days are supposed to be easier. The bigger test will come today as I sit in my cubicle office and try to survive the work day with only 24oz of veggie juice, a couple of emergency V-8 cans, some water with lemon and a mug of organic oolong tea.
My breakfast drink this morning (starting day two) was a slight variation on yesterday's. I juiced 3 apples (cored), 1 cucumber (peeled) and a portion of fresh pineapple. 16oz of juice heaven! It was very sweet and I don't think I'll add the pineapple every day, but it was nice for a change.

Today and tomorrow are supposed to be the worst days as my body gets rid of all the bad things within it. Hopefully it will be okay as during the past four months I've eaten mostly a Vegan diet using fresh fruit and vegetables. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that a lot of the bad toxic things inside me have already been flushed away. Oh well, only time will tell. See you all again tomorrow!

You can read the complete Juice Fast series by clicking the link HERE.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Juice Fast - Day 0

So, here we go. Yesterday the Juicer arrived. It's all shiny and imposing and now taking its pride of place on the kitchen counter. I tried out a couple of recipes last night and swigged some of the stuff down to see how I liked it. The good news - it was actually most drinkable.

Every day I will be reporting on the previous day with comments under a number of categories as follows:
  • Skin
  • Energy
  • Sleep
  • Hunger
  • Aches & Pains
  • Pounds Lost
  • General Comments
The good news is that I've found my breakfast drink - yummy! Simply juice 3 apples (cored), 1 cucumber (peeled) and a cup or two of blackberries (or blueberries, raspberries). This makes up about 16oz of a wonderful fresh morning drink to start the day off.

The green leafy juices that will make up the rest of the day are going to be more of an experiment. I have found several recipes online so I will try a few and work out just what works best. Of course I will report back.

I'm expecting to hate the first two or three days of this fast. That's what everybody says. No chewy food and my body will start to clear out all the toxins inside. Still, it has to be done. Onwards and upwards to the next ten days!

You can read the complete Juice Fast series by clicking the link HERE.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Preparing For A Reboot

If you'd told me a couple of years ago that I needed to reboot my body to get rid of the crap that is inside it, I would have told you you were crazy. Actually, a part of me still thinks I am crazy, but what the heck!

I have watched several movies recently about body health and also read a lot of articles on the Internet. All in all, I have come to the conclusion that I have treated my body pretty badly over the past fifty years. Sure, a lot of it wasn't my fault. It was conditioning. I was told what to feed myself and which foods were good for me. And then as I got older, I started to make those choices for myself. Eventually I began to get fatter and feel generally more unhealthy than I did when I was younger. I told myself it was just because I was getting older. But maybe I was wrong and being wrong isn't something that is in our nature. We all think we know what we are doing and are the best judge of everything. Another conditioning thing.

But anyway, back to the main story. I have decided that I am going to reboot my body, clear it of all the toxins and crap that lives inside and then see how I feel at the end of it. The movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead advocates a ten day juice fast and I have decided that is the way to go for me. As I can see it, it will have several benefits:
  1. It will clear all the toxins from my body
  2. It will give me more energy and overall make me feel healthy again
  3. It will help me drop several pounds of body fat
Sounds like a pretty good deal for the punishment of only being able to drink vegetable and fruit juice (and water) for ten days. I'm told the first few days are pretty tough, but after that it gets a lot easier. So I have ordered a good juicer and am going to stock up on fruits and vegetables at the store, ready for the ordeal. My wife is going to be my cheerleader and keep me on track and I'm game to see how it all plays out. I'll be documenting the experiment here on my blog, probably interspersed with the usual writing blog posts. I mean, it's not that I am changing what I do, just having a little reboot!

So, follow along with me during the next couple of weeks to see how it all turns out. It's going to be a trip!

You can read the complete Juice Fast series by clicking the link HERE.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Time To Get On With Some Writing

It's already the 5th January and to date this year I've written exactly ZERO words towards my latest book in the Melrose series. It's time to dust off the old fingers and get them typing again. I have until the end of February to get this book written. Fifty-five days. That's not a lot of time to pen approximately 80,000 words. Oh well, I guess I just need to knuckle down, stop complaining and making excuses, and do it!

I always get like this when it's time to write. I put it off for a while. Any excuse. But once I get into the story, I can't stop writing - usually. So now it's time to write again. Too many people have asked me when the next book in the series will be ready. I have readers to make happy! Lots of other things are also dependent upon me finishing this book too. My Xannu series needs the re-editing finished. And then there's the elusive third book of the Xannu series that has now been finished (in draft form) for nearly a year. I have to get that released by the summer! Otherwise I won't get around to writing book #3 in the Melrose series and get that published by the end of the year! Oh, 2012 is certainly going to be a busy year for writing. Oh, and somewhere in between all that I have to write another Xannu book (#4). Dammit, where did the time go already? I don't know how I've even got time to dillydally, not writing. I should be spending every minute writing. Oh wait - I can't. I have a day job and a life too. Still, no more excuses, it's onwards and upwards. Time to write Unicorns Chapter 3...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Blood - Definitely Not Another Vampire Story

In the planning of New Blood, I didn't want to write yet another teenage vampire novel that centered around mushy love scenes. I mean, come on, that's just not me! No, I'm more of an in depth, subterfuge and intrigue kind of writer. Yes I like a little action and passion, like any other writer; but a story needs to have depth for me to enjoy writing it.

So when I started writing New Blood I didn't really have a solid plan of how the underlying currents would play out. Of course, one book down in the series, I certainly do now! That's one of the exciting things about writing a book - seeing where the adventure takes you.

New Blood is fundamentally a book about power and what a person will do to get it and what it can do to a person once they have it. It's also a book about technology, genetics and several other things that we, as humans, are starting to take for granted now. I wanted New Blood to ask several 'what if?' questions. And the book certainly does that. But more than that, it wraps the questions and underlying currents in a story that, at its core, is a love story about two seemingly opposite people. One is a power-seeking monster with a special talent for getting what he wants and the other is a young, innocent woman, looking for love in all the wrong places. Can they, should they, will they ever get together? Only the passage of the series can answer that question.

If you haven't already taken a look at New Blood, why not head over to Amazon (or Barnes & Noble or iBookstore) and download a copy? It's only $2.99 for the electronic version and $12.95 for the paperback. Take a look at the video preview below. You never know, 'Definitely Not Another Vampire Story' may be just what you're looking for.

A single kiss can get a girl killed. But what if he's the most irresistible man you've ever met? What would you do?

Watch the New Blood trailer:

If you don't have a flash enabled browser, click HERE to watch trailer

"New Blood reads like season one of an addictive paranormal TV series. The premise takes the power of relationships beyond even the vampire thrill. The characters are fleshed out (except the victims, who are left convincingly dry) and we care enough about our heroine Lucy, to dread her migraines almost as much as she does. Add in a paranoia about the people who are really in power and... well, the temptation is to call it a formula for a long and satisfying series. However, Paul Dorset rises above formulaic prose with writing so compelling that only after you catch your breath do you realize the craftsmanship. He tells stories. And as with the best paranormal fiction, the fantasy serves to illustrate some basic truths of the human condition." - G. Tuttle (reviewer)

New Blood (Melrose Part 1) - Genre: 16+ Young Adult Urban Paranormal Thriller

In a world where big corporations are controlled by a secret society, Beau is on track to have everything he ever wanted and more. And there is only one woman that stands in his way - As long as she can resist falling in love with the man of her dreams.

In this contemporary tale of power, greed, ambition, love and death, what would you be prepared to sacrifice to have it all?

Available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Smashwords for only $2.99

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The New Baby (The Video)

Today I thought I'd try something a little different and post a video of me reading one of my most popular poems - The New Baby. So without further ado, here we go:

For those of you without flash you can watch the video by clicking THIS LINK.

I hoped you enjoyed it!

And for those of you who want to read it and see the words:

The New Baby by Paul Dorset

We're having a baby, my mummy and me
It's something to do with our eggs.
Not the sort that you have for breakfast with toast,
But the sort that grows long arms and legs.

We're having a baby, my mummy and me
Just before Christmas, I'm told.
It's so long to wait, it seems such a shame,
By then I'll be ever so old.

We're having a baby, my mummy and me
We've got to eat masses of food.
Our tummies are growing ever so big,
And it's looking a little bit rude.

We're having a baby, my mummy and me
We went to the clinic today.
My mummy's baby kicked ever so hard
But mine had got nothing to say.

We're having a baby, my mummy and me
Daddy's taken my mum for a test.
He said they wouldn't be gone very long
And he's sent me to Granny's to rest.

We're having a baby, my mummy and me
Mum's bought back a new baby boy.
I prodded and poked it, he started to scream;
Daddy told me it wasn't a toy.

We're having a baby, my mummy and me
He screams and he shouts every day.
He feeds and he burps, then changed, falls asleep
And he never comes outside to play.

We're having a baby, my mummy and me
It's such a big burden I've carried.
But I don't think I'm ready to have one just now
I think that I'll wait 'til I'm married.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - A Review

A tale of two movies...

Today I went to watch the new American version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and was shocked at the movie.

The movie is rated 'R' and it deserves that rating for its graphic portrayal of rape and torture. Several people even walked out of the movie theater during one of the more brutal scenes. So, did that make it a good movie? Was the director trying to tell the audience something?

To answer that I re-watched the original Swedish version of the same movie (also rated 'R'), which debuted a couple of years ago. I remembered enjoying that earlier movie very much and although I remembered there was some nudity in it (not a lot), I didn't remember as many graphic scenes that shocked me. I was correct. Two very different movies based on exactly the same book. So what were the main differences? (And no plot spoilers, so don't worry).

The original Swedish movie portrayed Lisbeth as a deeply troubled yet very intelligent woman, who also happened to be a dropout from society. In this version you never knew quite where you stood with the character and you certainly never came to feel emotionally tied to her. There was always a certain intrigue about her and you wondered just what made her the way she was. Towards the end of the movie that question was mostly answered. The newly released American movie portrayed Lisbeth as someone that the audience should feel sympathy for from the beginning and as the story progressed you wanted her to get together with Mikael, the main protagonist. As for Mikael, the Swedish movie portrayed him as an independent and resourceful person (even though he had some trouble driving a car), yet the American movie had Lisbeth being the really smart one, working out nearly everything on her own.

Several elements of the plot were changed between the two movies as well. Some elements were so changed that I had to question which movie was closer to the book? Alas, I haven't read the book yet (I'm going to have to now), and so I cannot comment on that directly. I did read, however, that the director of the American movie (or the screenwriter) changed several things to make a more aesthetically pleasing movie (and ending). Therefore I am guessing that the Swedish version is a little more similar to the book.

And overall? How did I rate the two movies? They were both over two hours in length (that's a good thing). They were both very dark (also good). They were both very well acted and moved along at a good pace. Both movies had the main climax about thirty minutes before the actual end and then spent the rest of the movie explaining various elements of the plot (different in each movie). If I had only seen one movie (and not the other) I would certainly have enjoyed either one. The American movie shocked me more (as I said) and certainly appeared more geared to a mainstream US audience than the Swedish movie. Generally I like European movies (they usually are very different than American movies) and this one proved no exception. The Swedish version kept me guessing more than the American one; it had more suspense and was creepier in ways that weren't as graphic. So, although I know the American movie will be a big hit, my casting vote comes down on the side of the original Swedish one.

But either way - go watch the movie. You're in for a wonderful ride...

Monday, January 2, 2012

FREE Cash!

We all get those emails from time to time promising us we've won the lottery in Nigeria or that a long lost relative has died and left us $15M. You don't? You're missing out...

As we start the New Year of 2012 I am reminded that nothing in life is FREE and we must never take anything for certain. 2011 was a challenging year and I've no reason to believe that 2012 will be any different. I have made several resolutions for 2012 including writing more and engaging more in the writing community and it's going to be a tough job to keep up with them all. But - as ever - I'm going to give it a try.

And also - BE DAMNED WITH ALL THE NAYSAYERS! From time to time there are people who post negative comments about one of my blog posts, or who don't like one of my books (even Leonardo Da Vinci didn't impress everybody you know), and I just need to ignore these people and their negative energy and keep positive and do my thing.

So to all of you, just remember there's no such thing as a free ride and we reap the rewards for the seeds we sow. I wish you all the best of success in 2012, and just in case you actually do want the FREE Cash promised at the beginning of my blog post, why not follow up on one the recent emails I received? I'm sure it was also meant to be sent to you too...

Dear Consignor,

This is to let you know that we discovered two trunk boxes containing cash. On 12/08/2011 diplomatic agent Mr.Smith Wiiams, he was stopped here in HEATHROW International Airport with this boxes bearing your name on the box as the consignee. We ask him for insurance certificate and international delivery permit which he stated that he is not with the certificate.

The boxes was abandoned by the diplomat who did not disclose his contact information, but your name and address is on the box as the consignee, from information reaching me the diplomat abandoned the consignment and run away over fear of being arrested for money laundering.

Base on this discovery we decided to contact you to work out modalities of delivery to you. because your name matched with the name written on the consignment.

Make sure you reply without much delay as every arrangement for delivery to you has been perfected. If you wish to know anything about this consignment packages. Kindly reply back for more directives on how to receive it by any diplomatic means in total co-operation.

Forward your home address together with your direct cell phone and any of your ID to avoid wrong delivery of the consignment to unknown person. I will give your further information on how this will be delivered without any hitch.

David Varney
The Internal Customs Revenue
Heathrow Airport.
United Kingdom