Graham Downs :: Monthly Newsletter

April 2019

Hi there,

Yoh, it's been a whirlwind month. But it always is around Easter. So many people take time off work. Did you get to take a break?

We did. My wife and I took ten days off work, and my mother-in-law came up from Cape Town to stay with us.

And we went on a cruise! Yip, for two full days (and a bit), we were cruising on his beauty, in the middle of the Indian Ocean:

My wife and I went with my mother-in-law and my parents. It was our first time on a cruise, and we thoroughly enjoyed it!

You know, everybody says that you do nothing but eat on these cruises, but we didn't find that. Maybe because we were conscious of it, we were more careful. 

There's a buffet onboard, serving food for twenty hours out of twenty-four, but we tried not to spend too much time there. We'd pop in to have breakfast and lunch, but we chose to rather take our supper in the sit-down restaurant every night, with a set menu.

And man, did we walk - that ship is huge.

We'll definitely be doing it again. :-)

In other news, tomorrow's Workers' Day in South Africa. But I think most of the world has the day off tomorrow, don't they? Whether you call it Workers' Day, Labour Day, or maybe still May Day, if you've got the day off tomorrow, let me know.

And if you're in South Africa, don't forget that next week Wednesday is Election Day. And it's a Public Holiday too, so you've got no excuse not to go out there and cast your ballot. Remember, if you don't vote, you can't complain.

Finances: March 2019

A big loss last month, because my annual domain renewal fee for was due.

The loss was less than last month, though, because that domain isn't nearly as expensive as a year's BookFunnel subscription!

On the plus side, I sold two copies of Memoirs of a Guardian Angel; one on Amazon US, and one on Kobo.

(As always, the below figures have been converted to South African Rands)

    • Income:   R  20.44
    • Expenses: R 134.59
    • Loss:     R 114.15

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    Featured Author

    Susie Dinneen

    This month's featured author is South African author Susie Dinneen.

    Before Susie Dinneen became a writer, she was a reader, and before that she was a dreamer. Now she’s all of those things.

    She catches stories that flit and float through the air, which is what she’s really doing when it looks like she’s daydreaming (although sometimes she’s just daydreaming).

    She’s currently working on the Stolen Treasures series of adventures for 9 to twelve-year-olds. The prequel short story, The Pickpocket and the Thief, is available now for free, and the first novel-length instalment, The Trunk of Stars, will be out in June. 

    She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, with her husband, who’s a musician, and their cat, who pushes books off tables. One day she’ll have a library with a very comfy chair in it. She works as a creative director in a digital agency to fund her book habit.

    To get your free copy of The Pickpocket and the Thief, click the cover below, and sign up for Susie's newsletter.

    The Pickpocket and the Thief

    There’s no place like home. But how far would you go to find it?

    Cairo hates living with the Mulch family, but she’s only eleven and has nowhere else to go. Forced into a life of stealing, she’s desperate to find her real parents and ask them why she was left in a trunk when she was a baby.

    When she meets Mel, a petty thief, Cairo realizes that she might be able to discover the truth about her past. But as she gets closer to solving the puzzle, she learns that her choices come with a price – a price she might not be able to pay.

    The Pickpocket and the Thief is a short story in the Stolen Treasures middle-grade series. If you like timeless adventures, brave heroines, lying auctioneers, tall tales and quirky humor, you’ll love this introduction to Susie Dinneen’s enchanting series.

    Start reading The Pickpocket and the Thief today – for free – for an adventure that you won’t want to end.

    Blog Posts

    Below are all the blog posts I wrote since my last newsletter. Click the link to view them in your browser.

    Does Your Favourite Author Write Under a Pen Name? Does Your Favourite Author Write Under a Pen Name?
    Judging a Book by Its Cover: Urban Fantasy

    My most viewed blog post of ALL TIME was a giveaway
    Do You Buy EBooks in Rands?

    How Many Indie Authors Publish Afrikaans Fiction?

    Month in Books

    I had a much better reading month in April than I did in March. And not just because I went on the cruise, either - as I mentioned, I planned to read so much on the ship, but with so many activities planned, I didn't touch a single one!

    Click on any of these covers to find out where you can buy a copy.

    How many books did you get through this month, and have you read any of these?

    Runaway by T. S. Barnett
    Long Road To Abilene: The Western Adventures of Cade McCall by Robert Vaughan
    Writing About Magic: Professional Techniques for Paranormal and Fantasy Fiction by Rayne Hall
    Requiem in E Sharp by Joan De La Haye
    Featured Book

    Requiem in E Sharp by Joan De La Haye

    You know what I like most about Joan De La Haye's stories? They are so truly South African. I mean, she doesn't try to explain things, or "dumb things down" for an international audience. If you're South African, you'll understand exactly what she's talking about. If not... well, you better catch up quick, bucko, because this lady ain't got time to stop and explain nothin' to no-one.

    She also doesn't pull any punches about what life is like in the city. It's dangerous, it's bloody, and gangs and corruption rule. Hearing gunshots and screams in the distance while you're trying to fall asleep at night is no cause for alarm, and the Police Service is as inept and useless as ever.

    The constant racial tension is also ever-present; in South Africa, everything's about race. Even when it's not.

    So many people try to downplay these things, but they're how we live on a daily basis. And I don't know about my fellow South Africans, but I wouldn't want to live any other way!

    The story itself is gruesome and bloody, and the characters, real and desperate. Visceral, you might say. And for the most part, they are totally believable. In lots of these stories, you look at things the characters do, shake your head, and go "No. She just wouldn't do that," but not in this book.

    My only gripe was that, at times, I thought it was a little too much "tell", and not enough "show". The author sometimes spends too long explaining to us that someone is angry, or perplexed, or sad, when I would've liked to have SEEN that emotion on display, where I could've figured it out myself.

    As a whodunit... it isn't, really. There are plenty of twists and turns, especially around the 60% mark, but for the most part, you know who the killer is by the third chapter. But it's not really meant to be a whodunit, in my opinion - the real fun is picking these characters' brains. Peeling back the layers and finding out what really makes them tick.

    My Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

    About the Book

    A troubled detective.

    A tormented serial killer.

    Sundays in Pretoria are dangerous for selected women.

    As The Bathroom Strangler’s frenzy escalates and the body count mounts, Nico van Staaden, the lead detective on the case, finds himself confronting his own demons as he struggles to solve the brutal murders.

    But how many women will die in this deadly game of cat and mouse?

    Click the cover above 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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