“You might like this”

So, today, I am to share my thoughts about one of the things that can be useful, but can also cause you to facepalm hard. recommendation systems. What made me wonder about this more the last days? YouTube.

I was watching metal covers of game and film soundtracks, so as good as it could be, it recommended things to watch next. Since I have some other related things in my watch history (like best-of scenes or videos showing making game/film weapon replicas) it went quite well on pointing me to what I might know. Heck, I found some really good stuff there. Since I was in the rare mood when I felt like actually giving a thumbs up, I was logged in for all of the time.

Fast forward three days. I watch one of those things again. And that’s when the hilarity kicks in. Many of those were in the recommendation with the usual text “you might like this” (in my language). You don’t say? (I was so tempted to insert the Nicolas Cage meme…) Of course I might like this, I played it 10 times in a row the other day…

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Book review: Soldier saved

Fourth book in the Teralin sword series, and one that I went through really fast. I had it read some 30 hours within release, which says much I guess. Again, I’ll do my best to avoid even small spoilers.

Anyway, the fourth book follows the events of second book, starting a few months later when Endric returns to Vasha from his journey ‘to his roots’ in the third book. He would like to say he’s returning home, but he can’t be sure anyway. He was away for almost a year, and he returns to see that much has changed.

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Placeholder: blessing or curse?

This is a thought that returned to me today: is using placeholders (mostly for names) when writing a blessing or a curse? Can it get out of hand or backfire?

When I started working on my fantasy story, even before writing, I knew that naming the characters will be probably the hardest part. I always had troubles with coming up with names, even for my game characters, especially in World of Warcraft, Diablo 3 or even The Sims…

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Typical autumn?

So, the last few days were a bit busy for me. I finally did what I promised for two months and created the few maps for next year’s hikes, but that’s not as important. Weather was now suspiciously great for this time of year. It’s not too often when mid-October would be with temperatures around 20°C in central Europe, even more rare to end up around 25°C.

Autumn scenery.

So, I went for another hike during the Saturday. It was not that interesting to give it separate post, merely a relaxing walk through the colourful forests. As as it tends to be in this time of year, it’s great time for picking some edible mushrooms and in that place they grew in such numbers that one could go harvest them with a scythe and wheelbarrow.

That day, it was probably somewhere around 18°C. It was even warmer during the days after, and in the end it was the perfect way to get some fun in the sun, maybe last time this year. Maybe, because I said it during the previous hike…


Perfect weather for outdoor sports.

I guess that these days, no one really knows what the weather will do. Anyway, I guess that’s all from me for now…

Setback or chance for improvement?

It’s a bit over two years since I started working on my story. I hoped to have the first book done in summer 2018 and in a way, I am on track with that. Yet, there’s one big trouble: the intro as I call it, or prologue if I used real book terms.

The amount of information I need to put in the early part to set up the world is just too large for something like a prologue, if it had the size of one chapter. In that way, it feels too dense on information yet does not say enough. It’s something I suspected since the start and was not sure how to deal with it. Now that a friend who is one of my alpha testers pointed out this problem even more, I realized it’ll need serious revision. Truth that I tried to ignore, curse me…

At this point, I consider my initial plan for Summer 2018 release pretty much scrapped, no matter what approach I take. Once again, my working title ‘Project Eternity’ is becoming the harsh truth. So, what are my possibilities at this point?

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E-book experiences: is piracy overrated?

Here I come again with another story about my e-book experiences. I know that this might be topic that goes into speculation a lot as either side in this conflict tries to make the impact look in their favour (there were cases when developers were inflating piracy numbers to make it look like more severe problem and vice versa). I am not here to advocate for any side, but to share my thoughts.

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E-book experiences: converted classics

So, a story that goes back to the time when I bought my e-reader. Fact is that many classics are now under public domain as the copyright protection expired – I believe it’s 50-90 years since author’s death, varying by country. For that reason, classic books are usually available for quite low price and many are available completely free in electronic form. Even though I don’t have a thing for classics as I am mostly into fantasy and a bit of sci-fi, there are some pieces I’d like to read eventually, like Jules Verne’s books.

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The convenience of e-books

I’ll continue directly where I left in the last post where I described my transition to e-books. First thing that needs to be mentioned is that I like travelling, and I consider it very convenient to use public transport, just as I understand it might not be so appealing elsewhere in the world.

So, I like travelling (mainly hiking) and I like reading fantasy. The result is that I call myself “train reader” – majority of the books I started reading were started aboard a train or bus while travelling to the hills. While I also like to observe the landscape, I know most of it very well and so I only look out of the window if it’s in place undergoing some changes (station reconstruction, highway construction or something).

Which is where the convenience of e-books kicks in. Taking a small paperback book (300-ish pages) is not a big deal. But can you imagine making space for something much larger, when the backpack is often around 10 kg in summer (especially when my own weight is barely 60 kg)? I don’t think so.

E-reader is light and takes much less space, which further adds convenience. And I don’t need to carry a bookmark with myself, let alone fear losing it. And the best part? I carry a small (for now) library with me, so I am not limited to one book, or can go on to another if I finish one. Going for longer holiday with printed book would mean choosing one piece carefully. E-reader means choosing on the spot based on my mood. And if I am in reach of wireless connection, I can expand my library on the spot.

David Gaughran, who gives advices to aspiring writers, says that two main advantages of e-books are convenience and price. While price is something that goes case by case, convenience is where e-books won me over easily. Even if the e-book costs the same as print version, you can get it any time within few seconds, as long as you can connect to the internet, which alone cuts time and money travelling to the bookstore. But that’s still not the main part.


One of the biggest things I see in e-readers is the fact that they can have useful tools. Not understanding a word, or not being sure? Just tap it, and I get it explained, with optional wikipedia definition if connected to the internet. Even though my English is very good, I sometimes come across a word I don’t know. This is great help.

Notes and highlights

Highlighting in a physical books is most likely barbaric. E-books allow that with no damage to the book itself and allow you to see which parts were highlighted by other readers. Goodreads now support that, with the ability to add notes to your highlights. Want to discuss a bad-ass line of a character? Easy!

Go on to the sequel

Most books that have sequels will have direct link to it, allowing you to continue easily. Or direct you to getting the next book if you don’t have it already.


Okay, I know this might be controversial, that there will be people saying that big bad Amazon can use that to spy on people and whatever. But both Amazon and Goodreads will try to recommend you something to read next based on your purchase (Amazon) or reading (Goodreads) history. There are still some hits and misses and I’ll probably go into detailed thoughts about this in some other posts.

You can’t damage an e-book

Probably the most convenient part. You can damage the e-reader, but not the e-book itself. Buying an e-book, as far as I know, gives you license tied to your account, not a specific device.


Manufacturing paper requires lots of water and unless fully recycled, some dead trees as well, but the biggest problem is the transportation and storage. Yes, electronics have some impact, especially due to metals used fo semiconductors, and this means e-readers as well. Still, storing 3 MB file on a server with capacity of several TB is probably less dependant than a book in large warehouse. E-reader battery can last for month and charges in two hours or so. Quite sure one charge of the e-reader causes less environmental strain that printing a single book.

“…more than half of the books that publishers print are returned. Many cannot be sold again at full price and have to be remaindered, or they are tattered or damaged from shipping and end up being pulped.” – David Gaughran, Let’s get digital

Considering that it’s not always easy to guess what people will like, the amount is not that small. I’ll not go into details of that. Thanks to David for letting me see this as I had little ideas about the backstage of publishing, so to say.

I’ll go on in more details about some personal thoughts about e-books in following posts. My thanks to David Gaughran for allowing me to quote him, and for the great insight into the publishing process. I’m likely to mention him in the future again, especially when I get to my thoughts about e-book piracy and self-published work.

How I turned from physical books

There was a time when I was reading sparsely, when the only thing I was reading voluntarily were Harry Potter books and everything else that came to my hand was school-forced. I admit that at that time (let’s say it was around 2005) I doubted I’d become an active reader. I became a bit more realistic slightly later, knowing that once the choice is my own, the attitude would change.

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