ATH: Webisodes Incoming

While everyone is being patient and waiting for the second book in the A Thousand Hearts series I’ve decided to fill in some of the gaps with a weekly ‘Webisode’. Basically these will be short snippets that take place between book one and two. Hopefully these will satisfy peoples hunger as I finish off the second book.

Speaking of the second book, things are coming along well. I’m going to get a deadline sorted and I’ll post the update once I have a date. Look forward to sharing the first glimpses of the story with you all this coming Friday!

Review: Soundpeats Qy7 Mini Lightweight Bluetooth Headphones

When I popped these headphones open the first thought that entered my mind was ‘How on earth will these stay in my ears?’ Well I’m not sure how, but they do stay in. They look stylish and are pretty lightweight. Normally I prefer to wear something that has a clip to go over my ear rather than headphones such as these which seem supported by nothing. However these are comfortable to wear and stay in my ears, they never slipped out and the cable attaching the two buds together never gets in the way.

On the headphones you’ll find a small micro usb port, volume up and down controls and also a power button. All of these ports and buttons are stylishly presented with nothing sticking out. At first they look like they will stick out of your ears, but to be fair they nestle in quite nicely (check out my attached picture)

Pairing these headphones is fast and easy. Once paired up with your device they will automatically connect once you turn the headphones on, making it fast and efficient.

The sound quality is fantastic for the price. The only time they skipped was during my more active periods such as running or cycling, but to be fair this was very rare. The headphones also cut out background noise and do a very good job of this. I’ve been using the EarPods that come with Apple devices and these headphones exceed the quality offered by Apples headphones by quite a margin, giving you a good indication to compare against.

If you’re after some lightweight and sporty headphones then these are definitely worth investing in, especially if you’re on a budget.

 

My Smartwatch Excitement

So wearable technology is finally beginning to take off. We all expected it to but we’ve been left with sub par devices up until now. There are a number of manufactures bringing wearable technology to the market, and for the first time these devices are beginning to look like something people will actually want to use and wear.

LG G Watch R

Now this is a smart device that looks like a watch! I never thought that would be too much to ask for but apparently strapping some weird futuristic device to our wrists was acceptable in major manufactures eyes. Well LG decided against this, bringing a watch to the market that follows Motorola’s circular design. The device runs on Android which gives the user a fantastic range of features in this nice looking device. The thing that stands out the most in my eyes is the circular dial around the outside of the display, which mirrors traditional watches and helps the G Watch R to avoid standing out like a sore thumb.

Stylish, powerful and functional, this is a wearable that’s on my radar.

Motorola 360

After Motorola showed off their wearable I was a little shocked. It looked fantastic and its stand out feature was that it was circular. For some reason the desire for a circular smartwatch had never entered my mind until then, but now I had seen the 360 I couldn’t imagine ever owning a boring square device. I think it’s safe to say that Motorola really stole the show after Google announced Android Wear. All eyes were on the 360 and for good reason.

It has just landed on shelves in the UK and is selling out quickly, with positive reviews coming. I can’t wait to get my hands on one and take it for a test drive and see what Android Wear is really like.

Pebble

Now here’s a smartwatch that hit the market a little while ago but it is only just arriving in the UK, signing an exclusive deal with O2, a major UK telecoms network, for some of its products. Until recently the Pebble hadn’t really caught my attention, but after more research I’ve found myself genuinely intrigued by their smartwatch range.

After using a smartwatch for almost a year I’ve found my biggest pet peeve is that the battery life of these devices is awful. The Pebbles bragging rights are that their smartwatches will last between 5-7 days on a single charge. That’s pretty impressive given that the competition can hardly last a day. Now granted the Pebble does a little less but it still offers the essentials and gives customers a good variety of styles to select from.

All in all this is definitely a product launch to keep an eye on.

So those are the three devices that I’m looking forward to having a good play with this year. Of course next year we have the Apple Watch hitting the shelves and no doubt that will help to really drive this market. Until then however, we have a great selection to play with.

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Apple announces October 16th event

Well it looks like the time for the latest announcements from Apple are fast approaching! So what can we expect?

Well it’s that time of year when the iPad’s seem to get their refresh. I feel it is a safe assumption that we will see a new iPad Mini and iPad Air wielding touch ID and slimmer designs. Fingers crossed we will see a 13 inch iPad Pro/Plus (with mouse input support)

A refresh to Apples Mac line is most likely incoming, seeing their 27 inch display Mac gain Retina Display and perhaps we will see an updated Macbook Pro’s? Of course to go hand in hand with this I’m sure we will see a final build of Yosemite and find out exactly when it will see a public launch.

Should you be excited? Well I know I am, but only if that 13 inch iPad makes an appearance!

iPad Pro/Plus

With rumors of Apples next iPad’s coming up there is one that has really caught my attention, the larger screened iPad. I had it in my head that Apple would align their naming with their Mac and Macbook range, running with a mini, air and pro, but after the announcement of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus it looks like maybe Pro won’t be appearing anytime soon. Regardless of the name it comes with, if it does come I’m very excited for it!

Some people think I’m a little mad wanting a larger iPad than my Air that I have already, but the only thing that really lets my iPad Air down right now is the screen size. The device itself is very close to being able to replace my Macbook, but the screen is just a little too small. Rumors suggest that the iPad Pro/Plus will come with a 13 inch display which is perfect. Combined with a keyboard dock then it will offer a near perfect solution for portable productivity.

I do a lot of writing on the go and my iPad Air, keyboard dock and Pages app really make work easy to accomplish. I’ve even gone a little crazy at times and completed Keynote presentations and spreadsheets on my iPad, but due to the screen size things get fiddly.

The 13 inch screen size would help to make things a lot easier to complete, removing the fiddly process of constantly zooming in and out of certain areas on the screen. Even with the added weight and potentially added discomfort of holding something so big, that can be easily cancelled out by using a keyboard dock which normally act as a stand as well.

The only issue I have with the idea of a 13 inch iPad is that iOS doesn’t support mouse input unless you jailbreak. Now if I’m going to go keyboard dock, larger display, and potentially replace my Macbook, then I’d love to see Apple implement this into the software. Considering their refusal to do this in the past, insisting that the touchscreen is the only input needed, this could be unlikely. However there are a lot of things happening over at Apple that they always insisted would never happen, so maybe mouse input will show up?

Only time will tell what new devices are coming. We don’t have long to wait, with Apple usually announcing new iPad’s within October. I’ll be keeping a close eye out and really hope Apple come out with something bigger and if they do, maybe I’ll finally give up my Macbook.

Galaxy Gear Fit Impressions

I’ve been using my Galaxy Gear Fit for a couple of weeks now. It was a bit of an impulse buy, on offer with O2, so I grabbed myself one. I prefer the look and feel of the Gear Fit vs the Neo or the Gear 2, and it’s definitely a much nicer device to wear on a day to day basis than the original Galaxy Gear.

For me it’s the style of the watch that I like. It’s small and compact and looks smart, giving a solid two to three days of battery life. Throw in the added water resistance and Samsung have really gotten themselves a winner.

When it comes to screen size, the Gear Fit is unusual, but work pretty well. I have my display oriented vertically, making my notifications and menus much easier to navigate through. Speaking of notifications, I don’t really use the watch much for them. Granted it’s handy to be able to see who is calling, or why my phone just vibrated, but for me they are an added bonus.

S-Health is a great complimentary piece of software for the Gear Fit, tracking your heart rate, steps walked, calories burned, sleep patterns and exercise. It’s nice to have these stats in one place, and you can chose when your Gear and phone sync up. I must admit however, the software still has leaps and bounds to go before it is any real use. Right now it’s more of a handy little link up to store your information, but you can’t do a massive amount with it.

So that’s it really, short and sweet. As I mentioned, this is a fantastic watch, and by far my favourite wearable so far. It suits me perfectly as I was looking for a nice looking watch, that had added functionality thrown in. Is it for everyone? No, but if like me, you want a nice watch, that can also link with your phone, then go ahead and take the plunge.

Free eBook on Amazon Day 2

Well it’s the second day of my free promotion running on Amazon and so far things are going well. Seems to be plenty of people out there who like the look of my book.

Yesterday I almost made it into the top 1000 on Amazon which is a nice start. Today I’m hoping to break into that top 1000, so please share this post and let’s sky rocket the book up there 🙂


Thanks for your help, and if you haven’t picked up a free copy yet, then get downloading.

A Thousand Hearts Sale Weekend

Good evening all. Since it’s bank holiday here in the UK I thought I’d kick off a little sale until Monday evening. Grab yourselves a bargain, with A Thousand Hearts – Rebirth, retailing on Amazon at a only 77p! For those outside of the UK the sale extends to you guys as-well! There’s no better time to buy, so pick up a copy this weekend.

Goodreads giveaway

Thought I would experiment on Goodreads so I’ve put an autographed copy of A Thousand Hearts up for grabs! Not sure what sort of demand to expect but thought it could be a fun idea. If you have a Goodreads account then check it out, who knows, you could be the winner!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Rebirth by Shaun Dowdall

Rebirth

by Shaun Dowdall

Giveaway ends May 26, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Progress so far

Well it’s almost been a month of being published and so far so good! Feedback from the book is great, glad everyone who has read it has been enjoying my story so far.

A Thousand Hearts broke into the top 10k selling books, not sure if that’s a great achievement in terms of sales but I’m pretty happy considering the huge number of books selling out there.

Onto the second book in the series, Fallen. I’m 10% of the way through the first draft so I’m on schedule so it shouldn’t be too long until the book is ready for my beta readers. Everything is on track to have the second book ready to be published this year so fingers crossed nothing huge comes up and interrupts the writing process, it has been known to happen to me in the past 😛

As always, if you haven’t checked out my first book yet, take a peek at the following links!

Thanks for reading.

Second Book

The plan for the second book in the ‘A Thousand Hearts’ series is complete. Writing will begin today and my schedule is jam packed with time planned for writing this book so expect a faster turn around! The title for the second book is ‘Fallen’, focusing on a new era for the Guild and it’s members.

As always I’ll keep updating you on the progress of the book but for now here is a little teaser image!

Today is launch day!

Well it’s been a long time coming but it is finally here! My first book, A Thousand Hearts – Rebirth is available to purchase today! You can find it available on Amazon Kindle and in physical copy to order. The book will soon be available on most other eBook platforms too.

Here are the Amazon links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00JOPR68G?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JOPR68G

Thank you to everyone for your patience and putting up with my constant ranting about my book. It’s been a while and I really hope you all enjoy the start of this journey and stick with me to see it through to the end.

Some special mentions, in true cheesy style:

Cynthia Shepp, thanks for being such a fantastic editor with the patience of a saint.

Rene Folsom, thank you for the cover art, it looks amazing!

Rosie Munroe, thanks for sticking around and bringing my characters to life, they are looking better than ever.

Katie Amzid, thanks for tackling my book in its rawest form and giving me the feedback I needed to evolve it.

Maureen Cutajar, thanks for the formatting, the final thing looks amazing.

Sarah Dowdall, last, and by no means least, thanks for putting up with my late night writing, my random silent periods of staring at my laptop screen. Thanks for being there through this process.

Now everyone, stop reading this and go out there and read A Thousand Hearts! Thanks everyone! Enjoy!

ATH Poster

Hey all!

With the launch of my first book quickly approaching I’ve created a little bit of marketing to hype it up a bit. This is the first bit before the wave that should be hitting within the next week.

Exciting times!

Screen Shot 2014-04-12 at 08.14.58

Release Due

Well, I must admit, that in all the mayhem leading up to the book launch I forgot to actually announce it! My first novel, A Thousand Hearts – Rebirth, will be landing on virtual shelves within the next two weeks. I’m very excited and can’t wait to get this book out there.

Hopefully I’ve learnt a few things, following a number of different processes and gaining new experiences. I may have even learnt a few things about how to actually write thanks to a very, very, patient editor.

So thanks for everyone’s patience so far. Not long now.


A Thousand Hearts – Michael and Katerine

Another little doodle I did of Michael Nolan and Katerine Lesigne from A Thousand Hearts. Had some great fun playing with this on my Galaxy Note. Not long now until the book is out! Just a couple of weeks.

The book is now being formatted to fit ebooks and also print. Once I’ve got the completed files back it won’t take me long to get the book out. The wait is almost over.



Editing Stage

Just a quick update on A Thousand Hearts, it’s been sent over for editing by Cynthia Shepp! Getting very real now.

Release Time

So ATH Rebirth will hit shelves some time around March/April 2014. I had aimed for a launch this year but with my schedule blowing out of control with job changes etc I didn’t want to rush the book. Also in order to work with the editor I wanted to work with, Cynthia Shepp, things have had to wait a little longer.

This gives me a great opportunity to begin work on the next installments in the series so the books will all gel together so much more. I’ve written the plans and the entire structure for the series has now changed but at the same time it’s finalised. Five books in total for the story arc that follows Michael Nolan’s trials.

I’ve always said I won’t rush these books and that I’ll wait for quality and I feel that Cynthia is a choice worth waiting for. No point in rushing it at this last hurdle.

Thanks to everyone for your patience. It will be worth it in the end.

Beta Over

Well the first impressions from my beta readers are looking good. With the feedback Ive had it looks like I am finally on track to get this book into the final stages. One last read through required and the addition of a small amount of content and then its out of my hands and into an editors.

Now as I near the final stages theres a few tweaks I need to make to the plans for the next two books. Idea overload hitting some blank pieces of paper shortly.

Almost there

Well the complete book has now gone to my beta readers. There a few amendments I need to make but its almost ready to go off to an editor. Very excited about the completed book nearing its existence.

Made a slight amendment to the ending but after another read through I felt it needed the tweak. Things are looking good and I’m aiming for a December launch!

Let’s see how this all plays out!