September 28, 2011

Fish Hoek shark attack

My friend Chana Martens posted this video of the aftermath of a shark attack on Fish Hoek beach, Capetown, today, Wednesday 28th September.
This is actually the mouth of the Silvermine River, and in the background there is a row of houses against the mountain. We lived in a cottage next to the red roofed house, where there is now a larger building.
That was around the time of the events recorded in my short stories Sunbird & Finding the Eland. The second of those stories is also included in modified form in Eland Dances. Part of Ch 6 I think.
Click on the post title to watch the vid.
We didnt usually swim right in this area because of strong currents, and quicksand around the rivermouth.

September 26, 2011

Eland Dances

Eland DancesEland Dances by Philip van Wulven

Click on the title of this post to link to the book on smashwords.
I think because I wrote this, I am disqualified to review or rate it.
That is my response to the standard Goodreads request to review & rate every book you 'put on your shelf' on their site. I know others do actually rate their own stufff, but seriously, what is the point of that?

View all my reviews
Peter Fitt instinctively dislikes the power-hungry men who see others as ego-food or enemies. In San beliefs, passed down in his family, the eland opposes the selfish and destructive carnivores, the men with 'lion spirits.' Healing power is found in dance, in trance, and the strong should defend others, not prey on them.
When he uses a Soviet airplane in a development project the Russians use this opportunity to supply arms to both sides in the Rhodesian independence struggle. They intend to escalate the civil war so their cadres can climb into power. Shit rises to the top when stirred.
Now also available from and

Eland Dances now published on smashwords

I finally took the plunge and Published 'Eland Dances' on smashwords.
This book has been a lot of work, with a lot of learning. I began it back in 2004, so it has taken 7 years to come to this point.
There is still something not quite right with the formatting, because the epub version from their meatgrinder conversion software does not have the proper functional hyperlinked Table of Contents. The epub version done by the iPages software on my Mac works perfectly, as does the Mobi version from the Meatgrinder.
Which means at least one more re-formatting attempt from a clean copy.
The point is that it is published, and any changes from now will be minor, to fix errors.
With that much time invested in it I want the final version to have a seamlessly efficient Table of Contents, so some effort is going into the formatting for sure.
There is a coupon code, so I can give free copies to people who might offer opinions or reviews. If anybody actually reads this post, and wants a copy, contact me for now. I will post the code on this blog when I am happy with the formatting in all versions.
I am going to email a few people who might like to read the final version, having read parts at some point.
Ideally, it should be ready for distribution to all of smashwords' retail network, and on Amazon Kindle, by the end of this month.

September 14, 2011

New Covers

Well now, almost halfway through the month. What have I achieved? Not much.
Fiddled with all my book covers, edited 'In the Valley' to add in a linked Table of Contents, so now you can click on a story in the list and whizz, you are on the first page of that story. Click on the story title/header inside the book and you go back to the Table of Contents.
I took 'Heavy and Light Tales'ebook version down from Amazon. None have sold. Maybe I should split the stories in that to try as freebie short stories, or perhaps simply try a better cover and some directed marketing. I dunno.
After the first week of September, 5 had sold of each of the Sherlock books in the USA,1 of Voodoo Dolls in Germany, and 1 in the UK. Then everything stopped. Just 1 copy of Voodoo Dolls has sold all this week, in the UK.
I don't know if this was because I changed the covers so Amazon froze sales for a day. I didn't think they'd do that, since the new cover was up on the site in a couple of hours. But now I'm thinking that has to be the reason all I have are dropping rankings. Once momentum is lost, it is simply gone, it seems.
Lastly, I tried a site which 'animates' gif images - or more precisely, they rotate a series of images you supply. I have added their code to this post. Curious to see if it works.

September 4, 2011

Sherlock Holmes Investigates. The Case of Lady Chatterley's Voodoo Dolls

Yesterday I uploaded my latest Sherlock Holmes story to Amazon for kindle and Smashwords. Just over 10,000 words, set in 1890/91 in Hampshire; Winchester, the New Forest, and Portsmouth.
I had sorta fun writing it, and did a lot of historical & natural history research online.
This started out firmly placed in 1890, after horseless carriages were allowed to travel without a flagman in front, so that Dr Watson could emulate Toad (Wind in the Willows)with a Need for Speed. In search of details about events of the era in Portsmouth, I found that Queen Victoria was present to launch a ship in February 1891 by means of an electrical machine. She preesed a button, the champagne fell, and the ship slid into the water. A gala occasion, and very apt for Sherlock to Save the Day.
Now the timeline presents difficulties, because they go to the Winchester Cup racemeet first. This took place in August (historically), yet they must be at the ship launch within days, which actually happened in February.
In the end I exercised my almighty powers as a fiction writer and moved Victoria and everyone at the event in Portsmouth back a few months to August, when the weather was more congenial.
January 1891 was very cold, February fairly bleak, and I didnt want my guys to drive an open vehicle in nasty weather. So Victoria had to just suck it up, and schedule her do for August of the previous year.
Other than the time warp, I have kept fairly close to history as it actually happened.
As of writing this post, 3:30 pm, Sunday 4th September, just one copy of the story has sold, in Germany. Woohoo!