Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Conspiracies and their use in Fiction

The CIA has revealed that Area 51 is real. About time. But before you get too excited, a newly declassified CIA document confirmed the existence of famed Area 51 in Nevada, but offered no proof of alien spaceship landings at the site.

Full story here

I love conspiracy theories. And conspiracies feature often in fiction. The best known novels are perhaps The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, The Bourne Identify by Robert Ludlum...the list goes on and so do the conspiracies. Goodreads has a great list of conspiracy books. Full list here

Here is a list of conspiracies I tracked down while researching for my spy/thriller Feedback.

 
 
 
FOO FIGHTERS

Foo fighters - a cool grunge band headed up by ex-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, or mysterious balls of light seen by pilots in war torn Europe?

Seen flying beside bombers during World War II, the Allieds thought these mysterious balls of lights were German aircraft. After the war, the Germans revealed that they also saw these aerial foo fighters. To this day, nobody has discovered what the foo fighters were. Are these foo fighters UFOs, or are they the work of something more sinister?
 

 
 
 
 
BAR CODES
 
Are barcodes a means of identifying a product, or a mean of controlling people?

Some conspiracy theorists have proposed that barcodes are really intended to serve as means of control by a putative world government. Others believe they are Satanic in intent. There are claims that barcodes secretly encode the number 666 - the Biblical "Number of the Beast". This theory has been adopted by fringe figures who refuse to label any of their books with barcodes on the grounds that "any type of computer numbering systems MANDATED by any government or business is part of the PROPHECY of the BEAST controlling you." 

 
 
 
 
THE MOON LANDING
 
A classic among conspiracy theories is that the Apollo moon landing never took place, and was faked by NASA with possible CIA support.
 
Claim #1 is the astronauts could not have survived the trip because of exposure to radiation.
Claim #2 is the photos were altered: the Crosshairs on some photos appear to be behind objects, rather than in front of them where they should be.
Claim #3 is that the quality of the photographs is implausibly high for 1969.
 
CLAIM #4 there are no stars in any of the photos, and astronauts never report seeing any stars from the capsule windows.
Claim #5 is identical backgrounds in photos that are listed as taken miles apart.
Claim #6 is the moon's surface during the daytime is so hot that camera film would have melted.
Claim #7 is no blast crater appeared from the landing.
Claim #8 is the launch rocket produced no visible flame.
Claim #9 is the flag placed on the surface by the astronauts flapped despite there being no wind on the Moon.
 
BIG BROTHER
 
Some theorists claim that forced transition to Digital television broadcasting is practical realization of “Big Brother” concept. They claim that miniature cameras and microphones are built into Set-top boxes and newer TV sets to spy on people. Another claim describes use of mind control technology that would be hidden in the digital signal and used to subvert the mind and feelings of the people and for subliminal advertising. When you buy your Digital TV – be sure to check it out for hidden cameras.
  
NATURAL DISASTERS
 
It has been speculated that the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami may have been caused intentionally by a “tsunami bomb” – a nuclear weapon detonated in a strategic position under the ocean. Some reason that the technology is at least feasible since research into such technology has been conducted by the military as far back as World War II. According to declassified files, top-secret “tsunami bomb” experiments utilizing explosions to trigger “mini-tidal waves” were conducted off the coast of New Zealand in 1944 and 1945. The U.S. Defense Department had even expressed concern about earthquake-inducing technology in warfare well before the 2004 disaster. In 1997 Defense Secretary William S. Cohen stated, “Others are engaging even in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves. So there are plenty of ingenious minds out there that are at work finding ways in which they can wreak terror upon other nations. It’s real, and that’s the reason why we have to intensify our efforts, and that’s why this is so important.”
 
HORSE RACING
 
Phar Lap was poisoned with a large single dose of arsenic in the hours before he died, perhaps supporting the theory that Phar Lap was killed on the orders of U.S. gangsters, who feared the Melbourne-Cup-winning champion would inflict big losses on their illegal bookmakers.
 
ROYALTY
 
Diana, Princess of Wales, died in 1997 in a car wreck in Paris. Her lover, the wealthy Dodi al-Fayed, and the driver of the car, Henri Paul, both died too. al-Fayed’s bodyguard was the only survivor. A lengthy French judicial investigation concluded that the crash was caused by Paul losing control of the car at high speed while his abilities were impaired by drink and anti-depressants. A sad, avoidable, but pretty ordinary accident you might think. Conspiracy theorists, however, claim it was murder. They say Diana was pregnant with the child of Dodi al-Fayed, whom she was going to marry, and the Duke of Edinburgh (the Queen’s husband) ordered MI6 (the British secret service) to kill Diana and Dodi. Whatever the truth, the continuing controversy keeps Diana’s picture on the worlds front pages and sells lots of newspapers and magazines.

 

If you like conspiracy theories or spy stories, check out this YA spy/thriller.

Feedback

Synopsis:
Ethan, Florida and Jake need organ transplants. When they receive the organs of a dead CIA agent, they take on more than the task of completing the mission of deactivating bombs that threaten millions of lives. Kidnapped, their lives under threat, the memories stored in the CIA agent’s mind begin to awaken within each of them, except the one piece of information they are abducted for - the location of the bombs.
 

AVAILABLE FROM ALL ON-LINE RETAILERS












ABOUT THE AUTHOR

D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. Her first novel reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Her second reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.


Contact information

Email                   dlrichardsonbooks@bigpond.com 
Blog           www.dlrichardsonwrites.blogspot.com
Website          www.dlrichardson.com Facebook      http://goo.gl/560JXl  
Twitter              www.twitter.com/#!/DLRichardson1

Friday, 23 August 2013

Interview on Smashwords

Today on Smashwords, interview with author D L Richardson was published. You can read the full interview HERE.

Extract of Interview:

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney, Australia. I have three brothers and one sister. At one time in our house there were five kids, two parents, three dogs, three mice, one bird, and one cat. My house was always noisy, messy, crowded, and there was no privacy. These factors are a huge influence on why I jumped feet first into the world of fiction, first as a reader and then as a writer.
 
What do your fans mean to you?
A lot, fans mean a lot. Without fans I would be a person who sits in front of a computer and plays with her imaginary friends. When I create a fantasy world or a bizarre situation for my characters to overcome, fans accept the world and all its layers, they accept the quirks of the characters, they want to know what happens. And when a fan gets in touch with you and says they related to this or they loved that, its such an honour. Getting feedback from fans means you are on the right path.

READ MORE https://www.smashwords.com/interview/DLRichardson.


What would you like to know?

Dear readers and fans...do you have any questions you'd like answered? Just add them to the comments below and I'll answer them in an updated interview.


Available on Smashwords:

 Fear of Falling is and 11 short story anthology that is FREE to download CLICK HERE




Connect with D L Richardson:








ABOUT THE AUTHOR

D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. Her first novel reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Her second reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.


Contact information

Email                   dlrichardsonbooks@bigpond.com 
Blog           www.dlrichardsonwrites.blogspot.com
Website          www.dlrichardson.com Facebook      http://goo.gl/560JXl  
Twitter              www.twitter.com/#!/DLRichardson1
 



Monday, 19 August 2013

Scavenger hunt to win ebook copy of YA sci-fi thriller Feedback

PLEASE SHARE Scavenger hunt begins 3 Sep 2013.

Sign up to play to win Feedback in ebook format. The theme for the hunt will be "Back to School."

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1455948-september-scavenger-hunt-sign-ups

Read sample chapter here. Here's a look at what you'll be playing to win...


Listening to your inner voice can get you killed.

Ethan James, Florida Bowman, and Jake Inala are three teenagers who receive much-needed organ transplants. Two weeks later they are inadvertently recruited by the CIA when a spy dies halfway through his mission. Three bacteria bombs are set to detonate, spreading illness and death across the planet, and it’s up to Ethan, Florida, and Jake to deactivate them.

Except that they have no idea where the bombs are located.

Kidnapped for information they can’t possibly know, and fuelled by the spirit of a dead CIA agent, Ethan, Florida, and Jake must look deep inside themselves if they are to finish the mission and save millions of lives. But they’re being held captive in a strange place by a man who believes in Feedback, the theory that information is retained in the memory of organs–in this case those of a certain dead CIA agent donor. And their captor will stop at nothing to get the information retained in their newly transplanted organs.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. Her first novel reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Her second reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.


Contact information

Email                   dlrichardsonbooks@bigpond.com 
Blog           www.dlrichardsonwrites.blogspot.com
Website          www.dlrichardson.com Facebook      http://goo.gl/560JXl  
Twitter              www.twitter.com/#!/DLRichardson1

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Writer's Tip - Check the links on your website

Today's writer's tip

Check the links on your website.

You need to do this periodically because stuff happens and links drop off or are moved or sites shut down. You readers must always be able to find your books.

Pick a day and spend a few minutes in the morning checking the links.

This allows you to also check prices, images, rankings, etc.

While you're there  select a few sites to click Like on and/or Tweet about your book. I wouldn't recommend doing this at every site because you'll just annoy people.

Should you put the links to every retailer on your website? It's up to you. I do this for two reasons. One: To ensure that readers can purchase from their favourite online retailer. Two: because this becomes my database of where all my books are sold and I don't have to store this information on a separate document.

Checking your links also gives you the chance to check for recent reviews. If there are any new reviews, add them to your website and share them on your social media sites.

This goes for  checking links to Goodreads, book trailers, publisher or editor links etc. Check to make sure these are still up to date.

Any new sites you find, spread the word on your social media sites.

If you have any tips for checking links, just leave a comment and I'll add them to this post.


Thanks for stopping by!
D L Richardson


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. Her first novel reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Her second reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.


Contact information

Email                   dlrichardsonbooks@bigpond.com 
Blog           www.dlrichardsonwrites.blogspot.com
Website          www.dlrichardson.com Facebook      http://goo.gl/560JXl  
Twitter              www.twitter.com/#!/DLRichardson1

Thursday, 15 August 2013

How to create a book cover in 5 easy steps

Writers are masters of language. Illustrators are masters of images. Publishers have always kept the two  masteries separate because writing and illustrating require separate skills, and probably because we never played well together, who knows.

Writing on it's own has a certain power. Images on their own have a certain power. Together they can help a reader really fall in love with a book.

Readers associate fantasy with illustrations vs photos, dark colours vs light, mythical creatures. vs real humans (though not always). Readers associate romance with flowers, bright colours, human couples. Readers now associate YA paranormal romance with a girl in a gown.

So many writers these days are doing both writing and illustration as part of the publishing and marketing program. Self-published authors who can't afford to hire a creative artist have to create their own book cover. Authors who can't afford a publicity company have to create their own images for marketing, which includes banners on websites, flyers for book stores, promotional material, logos, images for press releases etc.

I needed to create a book cover recently when I compiled short stories for my anthology Fear of Falling. I checked the web for software, and there were dozens of types. I downloaded a few and got as far as opening the software only to promptly close it again. I had no idea how to use the software and no time to learn (or inclination, let's face it I barely have time to write much less learn new tricks).

Through further research, I came across a really easy way to create book covers and other images, thanks to William King (read his post here). I won't go as in depth as William does, so if you want more detail check out his post. And his covers are awesome. Here, I'm assuming you know a bit about PowerPoint and the version I use is Windows 7, I can't remember what the old PP has in the way of effects, but possibly not as much as version 7. I find this the easiest for me to use as I'm pretty good on Windows applications and now I use PP for all my images.

The easiest way I know how to make an ebook cover...

1. Open PowerPoint
  • make sure slide orientation is portrait (under Design tab in Windows Version 7)
2. Insert image
  • If you download an image without paying for it, you will probably need to alter the image, otherwise it could infringe copyright. Or you can purchase an image through a range of online sources
  • Set the background to any colour you like, though I chose black to match the image and the tone of the book



























3. Alter the image
    You can do this through the Format Picture tab under Brightness, Recolor, Contrast. Have a play and find something that suits.
  • You can also add Image effects such as Shadow, Glow, Reflection etc
  • I set my image to Transparency under the Recolor tab, and Glow under Picture effects
  •  


 4. Next, add the text by using Insert Text box


  •  Play with the text. I made my name Reflection and the title Glow under Text Effects
5. Save the PowerPoint file as a Picture file. In Windows 7 this is done by selecting File > Save > Other Formats > Dropdown > JPEG.
  • It will prompt you with a box asking you whether you want to save all slides or current slide. Choose current slide only
You now have a JPEG images that will upload as an image to websites, blogs, Smashwords etc.
     
  • To create a size large enough for Smashwords, you'll need to Edit Pictures > Resize > and resize according to the specifications provided. The same goes for FB and blogs that prefer smaller sizes. Just Edit Pictures > Compress to a more user-friendly size.


This technique can be used to create logos, banners, printed bookmarks, as well as images for websites. You just need to adjust the page orientation to suit for a book cover or a banner. Sometimes you'll need to crop the image. The below is a header image I created for my website's home page www.dlrichardson.com using PowerPoint and the image is cropped so only Ethan's head appears and I added text on top.


So there you have it. How to create a book cover or any other image in 5 EASY STEPS. Is that easy or what?

Have fun. And if you do get stuck and wanna ask me some questions, just email me at dlrichardsonbooks@bigpond.com.

Thanks for stopping by!
D L Richardson




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. Her first novel reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Her second reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.


Contact information

Email                   dlrichardsonbooks@bigpond.com 
Blog           www.dlrichardsonwrites.blogspot.com
Website          www.dlrichardson.com
Facebook      http://goo.gl/560JXl  
Twitter              www.twitter.com/#!/DLRichardson1

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Books From You To Review: Book Review #2: The Bird With Broken Wings By: D L...

Books From You To Review: Book Review #2: The Bird With Broken Wings By: D L...:     Hello people of the world! Guess what? I have a new book review brought to you by the lovely D L Richardson. Drum roll please! And the b...




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. Her first novel reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Her second reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.


Contact information

Email                   dlrichardsonbooks@bigpond.com 
Blog           www.dlrichardsonwrites.blogspot.com
Website          www.dlrichardson.com Facebook      http://goo.gl/560JXl  
Twitter              www.twitter.com/#!/DLRichardson1