Monday, March 26, 2012

MeMyShelfAndI Review of "Memories of the Dead"

MeMyShelfAndI have uploaded their gracious review of Memories of the Dead, and I am thrilled to hear the "good stuff" from them! I'd like to thank the whole staff over there if I can. 

Time to celebrate! The ice-cream is on me! :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Facebook page

The official Facebook page for Memories of the Dead is now even easier to get to! Just go to

Review of "Memories of the Dead" is a-comin'

On 3/26, will be uploading their review of "Memories of the Dead." I can only hope for a good score. Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The new CONTEST has begun!

Howdy, y’all!

Earlier I talked about the next contest. Well, that day is upon us, and here’s the scoop.

The prize, and there will be more than one winner, is the following: a personally autographed paperback copy of the retail version of the book!

Why another contest? To celebrate the availability of the print edition becoming available on! (Yes it's still available for Kindle download, and on the Nook as well.) You can now order the print edition from Amazon here

How many winners? Well, my chums, there will be three (3) winners.  Postage to you is paid for by me.

How to enter? This is the easy part. Each of these things is worth an entry, do them as many times as you feel the need to do so and you will receive one entry into the contest for each. Pretty simple.

One: Tweet about “Memories of the Dead” being available on Kindle, Nook, and in print. Use the tag #MemoriesoftheDead and I’ll keep tabs on it. Each tweet is worth three entries.

Two: Like my Facebook page (if you’re already a “liker,” you already get an entry) Here’s the page:

Liking the Facebook page gets you one entry.

Three: Blog about “Memories of the Dead” being out in print and available on, include the link in your blog to the page. This is worth five entries. Email me at to let me know you did it.

At the end of the contest duration, each entry gets one chance, and three names will be contacted and announced on my blog ( , on my Twitter (!/philhall1969), and on the Facebook page for “Memories of the Dead" (

Once I get a hold of you and have your address to where you want the copy sent, I will autograph the inside cover to you and pop it in the mail! Pretty snazzy!

Duration: The contest runs from RIGHT NOW, this very second, until APRIL 1. That's when the winners will be contacted and announcement will follow shortly thereafter.

So....wanna free copy of my book? Well then, you better get entering!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Downton Abbey -- Who I think killed Vera Bates.


Ok, those of you who know me know I watch "Downton Abbey" with my lovely wife. It's something that we just do. We like the sets, the props, the actors, the story...the whole thing.

Now, recently, one of the "bad guys," if you will, on the show ended up dead. (And good riddance!) Anyway, her character name was Vera Bates, and there's a lot of discussion about how she died and who is responsible for it.

In both cases, we have little to work with. Let's look at the poison first.

According to the plot-line dialog and the wiki page dedicated to the show, all we know is that she died by being poisoned with "rat poison."

This could be many substances...a whole run of possibilities; however, the episode of her demise takes place in 1918, which limits things for us greatly.

By looking at the condition of her body as she was found (with voice-overs) we see that she seemingly dropped dead in a hurry--practically instantly. This can't happen with Arsenic, so it's out. Warfarin wasn't available until after WWII, so that's out too.

What I think it was is simple: white powder, possibly crystalline, and fast acting. This, to me, says Cyanide.

Secondly, who could have done it--and motive?

Well, here we have more options.

John Bates -- the husband. He hates her, and wants her out of his life so he can go be happy with Anna. Plenty of motive. Sadly, he foolishly did mention to the Earl that he'd like to see Vera dead (more or less.) And where did that scar on his left temple come from?... We don't know... For all we know, Vera could have attempted to slap him as he left, or threw a cup at his head as he turned his back on her once and for all.

Anna -- the rival for John's love. She, too, would like Vera out of the way, and benefits from her being gone by getting John all to herself.

Vera Bates -- yes, she could have "offed" herself purposefully. She had recently been confronted by Sir Richard about blabbing the story of the Turk who died in Mary's chamber. As a result, she couldn't use that story any more to threaten John's life, but if she ended up dead, under odd circumstances, the blame would logically be pointed at John....spoiling the fun from beyond the grave! We don't know everything that was going on in her life--perhaps Vera had been diagnosed with a rare, fatal illness, and the "real" reason she wanted John around was because she didn't want to die alone; but when John chose Anna over her (who the hell wouldn't?) she felt the best option was to end her life on her own terms, in some kind of painless manner and with what remained of her dignity remaining. Staging her own death to look like someone killed her is just icing on the cake that screws John and Anna's plans up (short term, at least until the truth comes to light.)

O'Brien -- She asked to borrow some baking powder...a white substance. Something easily used to cover an equally white poison. Why would she do it? The story Vera could blab would harm the Grantham name, and lately she's been awfully protective of Cora since the whole "slip on the soap" incident.... Just protecting her own, perhaps?

Sir Richard -- He bought the story from Vera under a draconian contract to prevent the tale from leaking out, but when Vera seemed that she might go elsewhere or leak the info--he had to do something to (a) protect his revenues from a story he owned, and (b) he was, at the time, sill engaged to Mary--and this leak would have ruined her name, possibly the whole family's, and even his for being associated with such a wonton harlot.... Protectionism at its finest. Also, keep in mind that the actor who portrays John Bates said in an online forum about this very option called the people to brought it forward (and there were a lot), "Brilliant." This is by far the most popular opinion--but as we know, dramas and their writers love to make the murderer someone other than the most obvious choice.

Lord Grantham -- John "threw himself on his sword" to protect the family's name. He, being an honorable fellow, could have chosen to pay dear Vera a visit to repay John for the kindness and loyalty shown earlier. Highly unlikely, but possible.

The rest of the cast would be practically impossible as the killer. So we'll leave them out entirely.

For my money, I believe that either Sir Richard did it, or Vera offed herself. But which of these is the more likely?

If you're going to kill someone, and you're wealthy, you don't get your hands dirty so the trail cannot be traced back you. Sir Richard would know this, so he wouldn't go personally; however, if he sent agents, this opens up a potential can of worms because all it takes is one drunken moron to open up to the wrong person saying who, why, how... And Sir Richard goes to the gallows. He's a careful man, and would take massive precautions. As a result, he now, to me, seems highly unlikely.

This leaves Vera killing herself and setting it up to blame John--thereby ruining his relationship with Anna. I now choose this option because I don't think Bates did anything, he's a meek man with honor....killing a wife, no matter how she deserves it...just isn't "him," if you get the meaning. Sir Richard would stand to lose far too much if he was ever implicated. But Vera was a witch of a woman, and I wouldn't put it past her at all to do this as a parting "kiss my ass, John!" as she slipped her mortal coil.

Five big-name publishers colluded to fix e-book prices

First off, go read this article over at the BBC.

The five publishers are Simon and Schuster, Hachette, the US arm of Penguin, Macmillan and HarperCollins Inc.

Damn, those are the biggies!

The European Commission is also investigating the same five publishers and Apple over ebook prices.

That's never good...the DOJ and the EC looking into your business practices!

"The perception is that publishers are saving a fortune because they are not physically printing a book," he said. Actually, said Mr Evans, printing costs were a small fraction of the total outlay required to produce a book.

Bullshit. When a book--any book--is made, it's first written, and in these days that means on a word processing program like MS Word, MS Works, Libre or OpenOffice, AbiWord, etc. Printing costs to the publisher are zero.  Then the book is edited, again electronically, also costing nothing. Then it's sent off to the layout department, where the final form of the pages are designed and the "galley" is produced. Then that's sent off to the printer where the physical pages are printed, compiled, and assembled with a cover.

Physical items cost more than virtual ones. You know how you know they're lying? If they were telling the truth, all e-books from the "Big 6" would cost exactly the same as the print version of the same book. But they don't, they cost less. Significantly less, in fact. (As it ought to be.) 

"All the costs are the people in the publisher's HQ and the writer's mortgage," he said, adding that these had not changed significantly with the rise of ebooks.

Partial bullshit. If the "writer's mortgage" is a big factor, how come it's less than 20% of the total cost? They're just obfuscating the truth: they want to charge more for producing less material. Their revenues go up, their costs go down. In essence they "win" until they were busted by "the man." (lol)

I have to say, there is no reason that an e-book should cost close to the same as the physical, print edition of the same text. There's all kinds of costs that apply that do not apply to an electronic edition. And I, for one, am glad they were busted for their baloney. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New contest? Yes, one will be coming.....soon-ish

Ok, friends, remember this Twitter hash-tag #memoriesofthedead because you'll want it later.

More details? Nope, sorry, not at this time; but suffice it to say that the prizes (yes, plural) have already been ordered. :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Contest Winner Announcement!!

Ladies and Gentlepeoples of the world. I can now announce the winner of my contest! The one and only winner of the original manuscript for "Memories of the Dead" is ....


I'd like to thank her for her entry, and for all the great support I have had thus far. Your willingness to push me forward is, all by itself, worth the effort. I hope you all have enjoyed the story, and stay tuned for further announements!

Molly, enjoy your prize!