Graham Downs

Monthly Newsletter :: January 2019

Hi there,

Welcome to my first monthly newsletter of 2019. Are you sick of people telling you "Happy New Year" yet? Well, tough, because I'm going to tell you...


Did you have a good break over the festive season? I actually worked right through: on account of the fact that I started a new day-job in December, I only got public holidays off. Oh well, I'm still super energised, and pumped to get this year started.

Have you set yourself a resolution to read more books this year? I know lots of people have, but I also often hear people complaining that they just don't have time to read. If this is you, then you may be interested in this article I ran across this month by BookRiot: How to Read More in Six Easy Tips. I also wrote my own blog post, where I home in on one or two specific tips from that article. You can find that post in the "Blog Posts" section below.

And how's your first month back at work been, if you are actually back? I trust you've gotten loads of work done, and are well into the swing of things.

Speaking of which, I'm writing again. Yippee! I'm working on a Sword & Sorcery story about an evil overlord, and a group of heroes who set off to overthrow him. I can't tell you much more than that, except to say that the world they inhabit is nothing like ours - in fact, it's the inside of a cylinder. Should be fun! I'll keep you abreast over the coming months, as it (hopefully) starts slowly coming together.

This month's newsletter's going to be a long one, since I didn't really do one in December because of Christmas. So let's not waste any more time. Onward and upward, as they say....

Financial Report

(As always, all figures converted to South African Rands)

December 2018

I had a really slow month in December, but I think that's true of most authors, since a lot of people are away, or anyway too busy to read, what with family commitments and such. Here's how I did:

I did manage to score some advertising revenue from visitors to my website, although I failed to sell any books.

  • Income: R9.21
  • Expenses: R69.14
  • Loss: R59.93

November 2018

My November was a lot better. I made some more advertising revenue from my website, and also some affiliate income from referring people to Loot. Plus, I sold a copy of A Petition to Magic from Google Play Books.

On the other hand, I didn't spend any advertising money in November. If I had, the situation would've been quite different.

  • Income: R40.26
  • Expenses: R19.00
  • Profit: R21.26


Featured Author: Stephen Hayes

Our first featured author for the year is Stephen Hayes.

Stephen lives in Tshwane, South Africa. He is a freelance writer, editor, teacher, and missiologist. He is also an Orthodox deacon, an Inklings fan, a church historian, and researcher on African Independent Churches and his own family history.

His book "Black charismatic Anglicans" was published by Unisa Press, and he was also a contributor to "African initiatives in healing ministry". You can find out more about those two books by visiting his Goodreads page.

In addition to the above, he's also written and self-published two Christian fantasy stories, both of which I've personally read, and can highly recommend. Click on the covers below to see where you can buy them.

The Year of the Dragon

A woman dies on a South African farm, and Richard Rutherford, the lawyer who goes to wind up her estate, discovers that others are prepared to kill for some old Russian ikons she owned. Richard's friend Denis Walters disappears, and soon Richard is driving 1000 miles in search of Denis and King Lobengula's legendary treasure, accompanied by a mysterious hermit and an even more mysterious priest.

Of Wheels and Witches

A Johannesburg schoolboy goes to spend the school holidays at a farm. There he meets three other children from different backgrounds. They have fun riding horses and exploring caves, until they encounter an ominous symbol of a wheel, and through a witch they learn of a plot to harm the father of one of them. They try to warn him of the danger, and come up against the power of the apartheid state.

If you'd like to interact with Stephen, you can find him on Twitter and Facebook

He also posts book reviews, and talks about South African politics and history, on his blog.

Blog Posts

Here are all the blog posts I wrote since my November 2018 newsletter. To read one in your browser, click its link:

What's Your Favourite Book of All Time?

You might have noticed the two blog posts above, relating to your favourite book of all time.

This is something I started in December, and would have announced in the December newsletter. had I had a "proper" one.

But I didn't. I did send an e-mail to everyone who's signed up for "Occasional Extra E-mails" earlier this month, so if you're signed up for those, you would've received that. If not, then you missed the nominations phase. Sorry. (but see the next section for what you can do to prevent that sort of thing from happening in future)

In any event, the shortlist is out, and I'd really love your votes!

To vote, click the button below, then scroll down in the form and select the book you think is your favourite of all time.

Then click Submit.

You have until Friday, 15 February to cast your vote, and I'll announce the winner on my blog on Tuesday, 19 February 2019.

That should give you plenty of time... but when people have plenty of time, they tend to put things off until later, and then they forget. Don't be one of those people. Go. Vote now. :-)

Cast Your Vote

Update Your Marketing Preferences

Speaking of marketing preferences, some of you may not know that I send out two types of e-mails during the month.

The first kind are my monthly newsletters. You're reading one of those now. They contain a rundown of all the cool, interesting things that have been happening in my life. Also, featured authors, featured books, specials which happen to coincide with the date of the newsletter... Well, you're reading it now, so duh. This newsletter comes out on the last Tuesday of every month (South African time).

But there's another type of e-mail, which I call the "Occasional Extra E-mail". This one is erratic and unpredictable. It will contain special offers and other time-sensitive information, which I feel you should know about, and can't wait for the last Tuesday of the month. You might get none of these in a month, you might get one or two, or you might get several. It really depends.

Right now, you're signed up to receive .

If you don't see "Occasional Extra E-mails" above, and you'd like to start receiving those e-mails too, click here. That link will take you you to a form where you can update your marketing permissions. Just enter the same e-mail address you used to sign up, tick one or both of the boxes, and click the button.

You can also use that form if you'd like to stop receiving one or the other kind of e-mails (but I really hope you don't do that). ;-)

Month in Books

This is something new I want to try this year. Take a look at all the books I read since the December 2018 newsletter went out. Click on a cover to see a list of stores where each book is available, and click on your favourite store to find out more about the book, and buy it if you want.

Featured Book: The Sleepwalkers by B. B. Griffith

My Review

It's been a long time since I've enjoyed a story this much.

Gordon Pope is a beautifully written, complex protagonist. Although he's an expert in his field, he carries with him some serious emotional baggage which makes him doubt himself and his abilities. When he's forced to confront that baggage head-on, he grows and becomes more confident. A growth which seems natural and logical, not forced to happen just because the plot requires it.

The story also seems to be fairly well researched. In my younger years, I had a passing obsession with the fields of sleep science, the limbic system, and lucid dreaming, and many of the concepts presented seemed familiar to me. It was actually quite nostalgic... although I'm sure a real-life expert in those fields would pick lots of holes in the story; it's always more complicated than fiction tries to present (something I know all too well as a software developer, who gets frustrated reading some descriptions of tech in fiction).

Although this book is the first in a series, and I don't often read series, it's still a complete story. Right at the very end, there's a scene that looks like it's going to lead into the next instalment, but there are no cliffhangers. It actually reminds me a bit of James Bond movies. This also means that I'm pretty sure if you read the second book in the series, without ever reading this one, you won't be missing anything. I hate cliffhangers, so that's something I really appreciate.

If you're into psychology or have an interest in how and why we sleep, I strongly recommend you read this story.

My Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

About the Book

Is it still a crime if you commit it in your sleep?

Ethan Barret is on trial for violent assault at only twelve years old. The problem is, he doesn't remember doing it. His hands committed the crime, but he was asleep the whole time.

Gordon Pope is down on his luck. He was one of the best child-psychiatrists in the country before his divorce. Now he's broke, bored, and spiraling into depression. He agrees to be an expert witness in Ethan's case because he needs the extra cash for drinking money. What he doesn't know is that he's about to be thrown into a race against time to save the boy, and himself, before it's too late for both of them.

The Sleepwalkers is a dark thriller that will change the way you think about sleep--and dreams--forever.

Click here to find out where you can get your hands on a copy.

Received this Newsletter From a Friend?

Well, they must be a very good friend indeed, because you've just discovered a treasure trove of reading goodness!

First off, please thank your friend profusely for me. Then, go make sure you don't miss out on any more of these monthly newsletters. You'll also get one of my books, absolutely free, as well as an exclusive invitation to Graham's Super-secret Readers' Circle group on Facebook.

What are you waiting for? Click here to claim your free stuff. :-)

Yours in Reading,

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Graham Downs

South Africa