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Showing posts from September, 2016

Rhino Hunting - part 2

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I am learning quite a lot on my rhino hunt (Paignton Zoo's Great Big Rhino Trail - see previous post).

1. Don't assume you know your own town. Louis-the-Rhino took quite a bit of finding! He's Torbay's moving rhino named after Louis Tiffany, creator of the stained glass lamps, and I never even knew the "secret watery path" up from the zoo existed until I had to look for him. Luckily, I'd already tried out the new cycle track at the Torbay Velo Park so that gave me a clue...


2. Even large, colourful rhinos can be difficult to spot if they are standing in busy surroundings. Here is Paignton's very own How Many in the middle of town, and bright and beautiful Herby hiding in the bus station - I walked right past him once and had to return at a quieter time for the photo.

3. Sometimes you have to be willing to go the extra mile.
These two rhinos at Kingswear steam railway station and at nearby National Trust property Coleton Fishacre required a whole day o…

Rhino Hunting on the English Riviera

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It's World Rhino Day, which interests my muse since rhinoceroses are probably the closest creature in this world to unicorns, having one large horn on their heads (forget that stumpy one just behind, it's barely a foal's bump). So I've been rhino hunting this month - but don't worry, the only shooting I've been doing is with my camera! Here's one I bagged earlier... 
The Great Big Rhino Trail 2016 is a public art project in Torbay, Exeter and the surrounding area, where 40 life-sized rhinos such as poor lonely 'Spike' dreaming of his herd outside the tourist office are decorated by different artists and sponsored by businesses around South Devon. If you've visited the English Riviera or Exeter this summer, you might already have seen some of them. If not, then there is one of our rhinos at Paddington Station and another at Bristol Temple Meads where you can catch trains to get here (that makes 42). At the end of the summer, the travelling rhinos…

Ben Hur and other great chariot races!

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You can take the author away from the racehorses, but you can't take the racehorses out of the author...

I've written a book about Roman chariot racing already - The Cleopatra Curse (Book 7 of my Seven Fabulous Wonders series originally published by HarperCollins), in which lighthouse boy Zeuxis becomes a charioteer and races a chariot in Alexandria's hippodrome to win his freedom during the riots of Queen Cleopatra's reign. It was a very exciting book to write, and I always knew I'd do another chariot racing book some day.



I'm in the early stages of a new project about a Roman racehorse, so in the interests of research I took myself off to see the brand new make of the classic Roman epic Ben Hur. I've seen the 1959 version starring Charlton Heston on TV, but remembered little of the plot apart from the infamous chariot race that apparently killed some horses during filming and the vaguely religious theme - inevitable since the plot takes place in 33AD aga…

Do young readers prefer paper books? Let's find out...

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Well, everyone's been saying it. Younger readers do not like ebooks. Or, more likely, their parents and grandparents don't consider an ebook a real book worthy of being a gift, and unless they've been let loose with a credit card or some kind of credit online, younger readers don't have the buying power to download their own ebooks. That certainly seems to be confirmed by my indie ebook sale figures (three figures annually) compared to my print sales figures with publishers (five figures).

On the other hand, this is hardly a scientific comparison, even as far as unscientific book sales go, since producing a title indie means no marketing or promotion aside from the odd blog like this one, little support from the traditional channels, and a totally different sales model. The only way to discover if my ebooks are not selling because young readers prefer paper books, or for some other reason (such as I am a totally pointless writer with rubbish stories and should give it …