Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Stephen Spencer and the Paul Mallory Thrillers

Coming Soon 

Being a full time author is a wonderful job, but one downside is that you don't get any employee benefits. One bestselling author, Stephen Spencer found this out to his cost. He was a regular fixture on the bestseller lists back in 2011 when his Paul Mallory thrillers took off, but disaster struck shortly after his third book when he found out that he had a brain tumour.
No longer able to go on the book promotion circuit, his novels soon fell out of the public view and the double whammy of unexpected bills and a drop in royalties kicked in.
When Julia Hughes, a British author, heard about Stephen's plight she started #OperationMallory. She enlisted a dozen other authors, and set about getting the Paul Mallory novels back on track.
Julia had this to say: "Stephen is a fantastic thriller writer, and for most of 2011 he owned the bestseller lists on both sides of the pond. When I saw that he'd stopped promoting, I knew something had to be done so I put together a group of authors to re-launch the series."
That work came to fruition last week with seven brand new eBook covers, five new print editions and a brand new website at
But a full rebrand wasn't enough to satisfy Julia. Instead, she set about organising the biggest book tour in history inviting readers and writers everywhere to share Stephen's story and show off the new artwork (which was designed by renowned Singaporean artist Clarissa Yeo).
For his part, Stephen has maintained he doesn't want charity. He just wants the chance to reconnect with his readership. To do it, he's giving away his first book, It's Always Darkest, absolutely free. You can download it in any of the major eBook formats here (no registration required).
If you enjoy It's Always Darkest, the series carries on with The Devil You Say, Third Time Lucky and The 
Middle of Nowhere with a fifth book, Ghost of a Chance, slated for release later this year.

Stephen C Spencer was raised in West Palm Beach, Florida, the oldest of three brothers.
Before becoming an author, Stephen travelled the world with the United States Navy. He spent his youth enjoying casinos from Torremolinos to Monaco, but it wasn’t until he met his wife Melissa in 2003 that he settled down, and began a family. He's the father of two children, Kaitlyn and Evan.
Domestic bliss provided an outlet for his vivid imagination, and this, combined with his extensive personal knowledge of the world’s most exotic ports, gave birth to the internationally acclaimed Paul Mallory thriller series published by Crimeways.
He now splits his time between the family homestead in Indiana, and the tropical island of San Estaban.

What readers are saying...
"Witty and well paced with an ending " - Kate Farrell, Kindle Book Review
"Fast, exciting and full of intrigue" - Charlie Plunkett
"Spencer really has a knack for the written word." - Joyce Mitchell
"A wickedly dry sense of humour." - Jenny Worstall
"The main character leaps off the page." - Doreen Cox
"Tension-filled" - Joseph Bouchard
"A James Bond with heart, tough and chivalrous" - J Ryder
"Broody and oppressive atmosphere" - Amazon UK Top 500 Reviewer
"Gripped from beginning to end" - Pam Anderson
"It's Always Darkest will pick you up, throw you into the air and keep you gulping for breath until the very end." - Emma Elizabeth Fry
"One of the best thrillers I've read in years." - Julia Hughes

Monday, March 24, 2014

Firemonkeys Sims FreePlay

I am a huge fan of EA's Sims. I have been playing for years and own the games. I spend more time, (and money), than I really like to admit to on them. So when I discovered Firemonkeys, (Real Racing 3), made an app game I can play on my Kindle Fire I was so stoked! I have been playing day and night since.
The game features my beloved Sims, though a smaller selection, and a Sims neighborhood. I can make a Sim, and build a home like I do in Sims 1,2, 3 and soon to be 4, (again on a smaller scale). Much like Sims Medieval, Sims FreePlay has Quests and tasks to do. I personally love doing the Quest play as much as I love just doing my own thing on regular Sims play. I think Firemonkeys have done an awesome job with game play on the app.
I had an issue with the game. It was something I brought to the attention of Firemonkeys and they fixed immediately, (it concerned their bundles of Simoleons/Life Points for purchase on Amazon)! Yay! Yeah! Go Firemonkeys!! Having dealt with EA regarding game play on I really was not expecting much at all from Firemonkeys. When I received an email from them regarding the issue and then saw that they fixed the issue, I was impressed. Nina Nikolic over at Firemonkeys has it going on! They weren't the easiest to contact as I did not have an account set up on I think I ended up just leaving a message on Facebook or Twitter so getting the email was major. It meant someone in that company cared about the game and consumers. I'm totally excited about these Firemonkeys and would definitely trust them for future games.
There is an issue dealing with the quests. I call it an issue because I have read so many gripes about it. For me, personally, I see it from both sides and normally it doesn't bother me. The issue is the length of time to complete taking longer than possible without using Life Points. Life Points, (LP), as well as Social Points, (SP), and Simoleons, (a form of cash Sims can earn during normal game play), can be purchased using real money, (you can also earn small amounts of both LP and SP in the game. Sims earn Simoleons in various ways). Parents, take note of that. You may want to put a parental lock on if you don't want to be surprised. If you complete the quest on time, you receive a reward. You can still complete the quest even without the time. Most of the time you can purchase the reward in the Sims store. Since it may involve LP or SP it could still cost you money. My opinion on this is that the app is free. The developers need to make money somewhere. I'm mostly cool with it but today I wasn't. More on that later.
The quests are set up as three different types, Quests, Weekly Tasks and Social Tasks.  I'll start with weekly tasks.  If you complete it you gain a key that you can save or use to purchase mystery boxes. I love these tasks and am excited to get new ones each week. You can keep playing these tasks after you earn your weekly key but you get no credit for them. Sometimes I choose to do them just for the challenge. They are fun to do and along the way to the key you can earn Simoleons and LP. Woot! Woot!
Quests are opened up one after another and follow levels. These are usually the ones that get the gripes. I am on An Alien Concept: Weather Machines. If I complete it in time my reward is winter clothing. It would be cool to get it. This quest will also give the option for a weather machine that you can use to bring on rain, snow or sunshine. I think that is awesome. The quests, once completed, unlock new quests. You can look on the Quests page in game and see what Quests are coming. For instance this quest will unlock Multi-Story Renovations, (allowing 2 story homes FTW!), Teenagers, Higher Education, The Road to Fame and Adulthood. My issue today dealt with the quest task of End Is Nigh On A Soapbox, a task that takes 12 long hours to complete. I had 2 hours left when I went out of the game. An hour later I went to check on my Sim and collect my game goodies when I discovered all my Sims were just standing around. I have no idea what happened but I lost 10 hours from the quest. No way am I completing it in the allotted time without a major LP investment now. So that sucks. Major sucks. I was already figuring I would need to use a few LP to complete everything in time, (the quest I just finished I had to shave a few hours off of by use of LP so it stands to reason I would again), I just wasn't counting on these lost hours. So now I have another Sim on the task and will see how it goes. Really sucked that every single Sim was taken off tasks so that those who were working went home with no pay and those who were working on hobbies lost credit. Hopefully a one time glitch. At any rate, you do not have to complete the quests within the time frame if you do not want the reward. You will still unlock what needs to be unlocked and most quest rewards do become available in the store later on. So if you don't want to purchase LP you don't have to. It is your choice.
The third type is Social Tasks which you receive Social Points for completing. These are fun and involve your friends. You don't have to have neighbors as there is a Sim Town but not everything is available in the Sim Town so neighbors are awesome. I try to set up my towns with my neighbors in mind. I have a pool with inflatable toys, I try to have at least one 3 star furniture of each type so that visitors get faster times on tasks and I am steadily working on the mountains on my islands. I have my neighbors from Facebook. I believe you can get neighbors through the Firemonkeys forum too. I just haven't accessed that yet. In case you are wondering what SP are good for - really cool stuff for your Sims home.
I love this game, even with today's glitch. I am impressed with the Firemonkeys team. The additional purchases of Simoleons, Life Points and Social Points are optional. However, the purchase does support the developers so if you really like the game it is an easy way to send your support. Well that's how I justify my purchases anyway. LOL.  So I give this game 5 stars and really hope they keep it going. It is a lot of fun.
Firemonkeys have a YouTube Channel where you can keep up with changes, see houses, walk through game play, learn about other games and even meet the developers. Pretty cool stuff there. The video below is from that channel. Be sure to subscribe.

I have noticed that there are some small differences depending on what you are playing on. So not everything you see may be available to you if you play on a different tablet. Also have a charger handy. LOL.

You can also follow Firemonkeys on




Do you play Sims FreePlay? Do you play any Sims? What do you think? Leave a comment if you need a neighbor!