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By James Minter, Jun 14 2017 01:01PM



This book is close to my heart, and I have to applaud Luke Christodoulou for making these ancient stories accessible to modern youth. My preoccupation is with teaching positive values to children through storytelling in the Billy Books series (http://thebillybooks.co.uk/ ) of the behavioural aspect of a person. Whereas morals are a system of beliefs that are taught for deciding good or bad, Values are personal beliefs that come from within. However, the two are emotionally related for choosing right or wrong.


Over and above rewriting the stories in contemporary language, for each fable, Mr. Christodoulou has included extra pages for parents to make clear the moral under discussion, and he’s proposed a number of activities parents can do with their children to help to reinforce the message. Also, he has also included suggestions for YouTube where children can see cartoon versions of each fable.


My only reservations with the book are the extra ‘parent’ pages – Mr Christodoulou is an English graduate, and some of his exercises appear a little demanding. The book is an eBook I would have expected to see clickable links to YouTube versions, and some of the parent’s pages seem to be rushed making them light on content. Though this is still a very worthwhile read, I feel there is an opportunity to revisit it to make it easier to use in this digital age.




By James Minter, Jun 2 2017 03:15PM

We are all different. It’s a fact and one that should be embraced and fostered. Without differences, the World would be a very grey, boring place, and without the vast array of innovations and cultures we all take for granted. Left-handedness is another example of the differences between people, and like all differences, it brings out prejudices similar to those held toward skin colour, religion, gender, height, weight and more.


Prejudices are negative behaviours learnt in childhood from parents, peers, and society as a whole, and reflect the values held. Since prejudices are not likely to go away anytime soon, children and teens need to be taught to understand and embrace differences at a minimum and to become resilient to the bullying, name calling, and aggression that often follows.


Jean Gill has done a good job opening up the left-hand, right-hand debate. However, this book is actually two books – the first one covers who in history is left-handed, and what it’s like to be different, and is fascinating and well researched. The second is a story dealing with being a left-handed teenager and trying to educate peers about the issues encountered, while dealing with the usual angst of being an adolescent, and at the same time, running a long-distance friendship.


A lot is going on in this book. Mixing the two books together, with the friendship storyline, plus extraneous scenes like, for example, the band members getting drunk in the coal shed, added little to story and became a distraction to the message. This is an important issue book, and brings with it a great opportunity to open up conversations about left-handedness in the classroom and at home. Definitely worth a read though. 4.5 star.




By James Minter, Jun 2 2017 02:22PM

Because Self-Publishing Works – Everything I Learned About How To Market a Book by V V Cam


I’m a self-published author of fourteen books, but my sales are lacklustre, to say the least. To quote V.V Cam “I’ve used sporadic marketing tactics: chasing after reviews, doing a few author interviews and throwing money at promotions with the hope of selling a few more books.” Like 95% of all self-published authors, I lack well-honed, professional marketing skills and knowledge.


For any new, or recent writer whose sales are in the doldrums, this book is for you. If you’ve Googled searched, you’ll know there are tonnes of marketing information on the Internet, but what is lacking is a decent structure to build a marketing strategy and plan. This is where ‘Everything I Learned About How To Market a Book’ scores highly. V.V Cam has a professional marketing background, and she has put her hard-won knowledge and experience to good use to drive the sales of her husband’s book ‘Because’ by Jack A Langedijk, to a respectable level for both paperback and Kindle editions. Now she is sharing all she knows in this very complete ‘how to…’ book. You only have to look at the Table of Contents to see how complete she is.


Note; this book is not for wimps. I love ‘How to…’ books, but it’s one thing to buy the book, another to read it, but it’s a totally different matter putting into practice all the ideas and suggestions. It’s at this stage many authors give up – tenacity, dedication, commitment and a realistic budget are paramount. As V.V Cam points out, there is no marketing silver bullet.


However, V.V Cam has come to your aid with predesigned, downloadable templates, self-analysis questions, a plethora of web links to useful resources, and a copious amount of hints and tips.


I have no hesitation in recommending this book to any serious self-published writer. And if you are a first timer contemplating writing the next best-seller, I suggest you read this book to understand the world you are entering into. You’ll realise writing a book is relatively easy! With Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, Draft2Digital, etc. listing over nine million books for sale, you soon appreciate it’s a formidable challenge to break into the top 20% where you need to be if you are looking to earn a living from writing. The only real chance you have of doing this is to adopt the strategy so comprehensively laid out in this book. And finally, does the strategy work? Only time will tell. I’m fully on board and will let you know in 12 months.



By James Minter, May 29 2017 02:58PM

As a person with the Hemochromatosis – diagnosed in 2004, and now on maintenance, I thought there was little else I could do to improve my lot. Having already given over 100 pints of blood, and now at the age of 65 being faced with the prospect of another 100 pints (assuming 4 per year and living for another 25 years), I was very keen to see what Dr Lewis had to say on the subject of food and nutrition.


You cannot eat your way out of the condition, but it appears you can significantly reduce your future iron loading and so increase the time intervals between phlebotomies. Ideally, I would like to reduce mine to 1 per year or less!


Before reading this book, I had already made a significant change in my diet – in October 2016 I moved to a totally whole food, organic, plant-based regime. This change in diet was confirmed as positive since non-heme iron (the iron found in plants) is less readily absorbed by the body. BUT, there is always a but, the body is extremely complex, and for a person with Hemochromatosis, it is even more of a mystery to be unravelled. It appears that diet is not about less or no meat, but more about combining plant-based foods which inhibit the iron absorption process, otherwise, you can make your situation worse!


Dr Lewis is a practising naturopathic physician with Hemochromatosis. He does not claim to be definitive—one of the great strengths of his writing is his honesty—as he is only drawing on what is known today. He substantiates his position by quoting on-going research supported by an extensive bibliography, and his breadth of coverage on diet, nutrition and supplements is to be applauded.


If you are looking for definitive answers from this book, remember we are all different, and at a microbiological level even more so. However, Dr Lewis does an excellent job of making a complex situation accessible to the person in the street. I highly recommend this book, but with the knowledge, must come practice – you need to apply what you learn to see the improvements. His website, and the range of supplements on offer, will help you significantly improve your Hemochromatic life: www.HemochromatosisHelp.com



By James Minter, May 19 2017 02:39PM

The Complete Mailing List Toolkit: A Box Set - Barb Drozdowich


For authors, the humble mailing list has been described as the ultimate book marketing channel. With an email list, you can promote and share new ideas, products, and services and then direct readers to a place where they can make the purchase – your website, Amazon, etc. Moreover, email is the fastest, cheapest, most powerful way to engage with your readers in large numbers. No other service, not even social media, is as personal as email, and if done right, you have the potential to sell way more books through email than you can any other way.


Ms Drozdowich has an impressive portfolio of author related “how to …” books and a well-deserved loyal following. With this latest offering, she provides help navigating this extremely important book marketing tool. Sold as a box set of four books Ms Drozdowich covers Strategies To Grow Your List, The Nuts & Bolts of MailChimp, Get Your Emails Delivered, and Newsletters That Rock. Although she focuses on the MailChimp software, many of the lessons learnt cover other popular mail handlers like AWeber email management.


I am a great fan of this type of book since most of the work has been done for me – it is now down to you to put this hard-won knowledge and experience to good use. It is not definitive, but it is another very useful addition to the toolkit for authors to achieve sales success and I believe well worth the price. Get your copy, work it, and see your book sales increase.



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