Wednesday, 26 October 2016

E-book Star Ratings.

It is great whenever your e-books receive 5 and 4 star ratings, but what about the 1 and 2 star ratings?

At first they upset me. How can people be so cruel when you have spent months working on your book?

Now I am more philosophical. What can you think when someone posts a 1 star review based on bad spelling? True. He was an American and, obviously, hadn't read the book right the way through so he didn't know that it was written in English-English. (Nor had he read my bio). Solved that one - changed the title and cover and re-published it. It now gets 4 and 5 star reviews.

Another one star was followed by the word 'Muddled'. That reminded me of a school teacher who, after we had read a classic, asked for our opinions. One pupil responded, 'I thought it was a bit of a muddle.' The teacher gave her a sorrowful look, 'I think that refers to your muddled thinking.'

To give authors 4 and 5 star ratings you have to have 5 individual stars - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. In other words, stars 1 and 2 are only make-weights!  (Of course some of the 1 and 2 star ratings could be from writers whose books don't sell. A bit of sour grapes!).

As my Mum taught me, 'If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.'

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Paddy the Pigeon

When making a stop at Carnlough in Northern Ireland (during an excursion from the Oriana), I came across this memorial plaque to Paddy the Pigeon. What had he done to deserve it?

Only won the Dicken Medal for bravery, the equivalent of the Victoria Cross. Paddy had been taken to RAF Hurn in Hampshire (now Bournemouth Airport) in time for the D-Day Normandy landings in June 1944. Two days later he was one of 30 pigeons taken to France by the US 1st Army. He was released at 8.15 a.m. on June 12 carrying coded information about the Allied advance and was home in four hours and 50 minutes. A record-breaking time.

Well done, Paddy. After the war he was returned to Carnlough and his owner and died in 1954, aged 11.

Paddy first gets a mention by me in my article on the Antrim countryside which can be found on