Fergus Ferry Launches Tablet and Smart Phone App

I was contacted yesterday by the Snowball Press with the press release below, which I thought might well interest those of you who have just given their very young family members a shiny new Tablet of one sort or another, and are now looking for suitable reading material for these lucky sprogs.


“The star of 24 best-selling children’s books comes to Apple & Android for Xmas with an amazing free offer!

November 4 2013 – Great news for fans of the lovable Fergus Ferry, star of the popular 24 book series for children aged 2-6, as he now stars in his own app for the iPhone, iPad and Android!

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European Air Safety Folk Approve Use of Ereaders At take-off and Landing

A few weeks ago, the USA Air safety people announced that as far as they were concerned, we should be allowed to use our ereaders, Tablets and other electronic devices on planes from the moment we get into them till we leave   This ruling still excludes mobile phones (Thank God!!!) but will mean that if we fly in American planes, as soon as we are established in our narrow and uncomfortable seat, we will be allowed to bury our noses into our ebook until the glorious moment arrives when we clamber stiffly out of the plane at our destination.

Well, now the European equivalent office (The Civil Aviation Authority or CAV) have announced that they agree with their American colleagues , so that they are OK with us using all our electronic gadgets (I am glad to say still excluding the awful mobile phones) for the entire duration of our time inside the plane.

Why not mobile phones?

By the way, I am strongly against allowing people to use their mobile phones in planes as the idea of being stuck tight beside someone shouting into their mobile phone for the entire duration of a long flight gives me nightmares….

Not yet though.

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Win A Signed Copy Of Exciting Ebook – The Furnace

To mark the release of The Furnace by Timothy S. Johnston, eBookanoid is hosting a giveaway.  First place is an eBook of The Furnace (specify format please:  .epub or .mobi) and a signed cover.  Second and third places are signed covers.


How to enter: 

To enter simply send an email to Timothy S. Johnston with your mailing address.  Make the subject heading of your email “Furnace Giveaway at eBookanoid.”  The draw will occur on December 23.  Good luck!  tsj@timothysjohnston.com

And what is the Furnace?

A very good question, and here is what I hope is a good answer, a review I wrote of this book:


An enthralling Sci-Fi thriller, The Furnace by Timothy Johnston is a Space Opera with a difference. It is a case of Agatha Christie meets Issac Asimov with added Crichton for flavouring.

Before saying anything else I will quote from the author’s blurb on Amazon, which gives a broad idea of the actual story line, without giving away too much:-
As a Homicide Investigator working the solar system’s most remote outposts, Lieutenant Kyle Tanner has been involved in more criminal investigations and captures than any other in Security Division. He hunts his prey stealthily, tracking them through the trail of victims cast behind, and makes difficult captures when no one else can. He has seen the twisted remains, things that used to be human but are now barely meat. And he’s executed those who have done such horrible deeds.

His most recent case takes him to SOLEX One, a power-generating station that orbits precariously near the Sun. Among the fifteen inhabitants is a killer, a disturbed crewman who for some reason has mutilated his victim. But when Tanner arrives and begins the investigation, he’s shocked to learn that this is no ordinary murder. There appears to be no motive for the crime, and no reason for the mutilation after death. But what Tanner doesn’t realize is that something terrifying is amplifying among the station’s personnel … and if he doesn’t solve the mystery, the result could be the extinction of the human race.

THE FURNACE is a locked-room murder mystery, part techno-thriller, part horror, part detective story.

So, that is the basic framework of this book, but there is much more to it than the description above would lead you to think.   Timothy has taken the well known theme of a locked room detective novel, and carried it to a total extreme, the actors in this story are in a physical situation that allows absolutely no escape, so near to the sun that they can’t even go outside their space station for more than about 90 minutes without risking death from radiation, nor can they simply leap into a space shuttle and return to the relative safety of the main base on Mercury…  They are really stuck and it is in this claustrophobic atmosphere that the tale unfolds to its – to me at least – unexpected finale.

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What Is The Real Value Of “Books For The Poor” Programs?

When you see articles written about programs that are aimed at bringing literacy to kids in the poorer parts of the world, there is always an emphasis on those kids who say that as a result of having been given books to read, they intend to become lawyers, or doctors or some similar in order to improve the lot of their nation, friends, school mates and so on.

I am sure that a lot of these kids do say this, and that some of them even manage to go on to actually follow one or other of those professions and some might even do their fellow citizens some good as well.   I also believe that the great majority will do no such thing, but will simply live much as their forefathers did.

The reality of life in a smallish rural African village is that your future life is pretty much decided before you are even born by who your parents happen to be, and as with us in the West, the great majority of kids will grow up to continue to live much as their forefathers did

But the real change that reading programs such as Worldreader (an extremely good and successful example of such programs) bring about is that they introduce these kids to the world of books, opening up their imaginations, showing them that there is so much more to the world than the relatively narrow world of their village or small town.

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Ebooks To Fight Illiteracy – Worldreader Well On The way

In this interview on Public Service TV, John Risher – one of the founders of Worldreader discusses and explains the birth of this amazing and successful scheme to fight illiteracy in the world.

Worldreader has the immodest – but achievable aim – of ending illiteracy completely all over the world, and thus bring the joys and benefits of reading to hundreds of millions of people who currently either cannot read, or have no access to books of any sort.

If you have read any of my earlier reports about Worldreader, you will know that I am not being stupid when I state that it is an achievable aim – In a matter of only a couple of years operation they are now working in 7 countries, and it is spreading all the time, so give them another 10 or 20 years, and you will certainly find an outpost of Worldreader somewhere high up in the Pamir mountain range, and happy Uighur kids with their noses deep in whatever the type of ereader that will be current then.

And given the sad way in which the West is also travelling, I wouldn’t be surprised to find them working in Detroit or Sydney as well.

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Every Thing You Wanted To Know About Editing, But Were Afraid To Ask

The Business of Editing  is the ideal ebook for anyone who might be thinking about becoming a book editor, written by Rich Adin who has some 30 years of book editing behind him, and who really knows his stuff when it comes to how a book should be edited, from obscure aspects of the use of apostrophes to how best to cope with ridiculously long sentences – This last is something I could use, given as I am to long and wandering sentences in my writing.


I have to admit at once that I have not read this ebook in its book form, but have actually read it all over the last few years as this book is made up of the dozens of highly interesting and useful posts that he has been posting on his blog (An American Editor).   Obviously those posts have been rewritten to make them into a coherent book, but all the points covered in the book have already been well discussed on his blog.

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