Ruby Barnes's Blog

November 3, 2015

This non-fiction title is a collection of blog posts by Jamie Clubb, the founder of Club Chimera Martial Arts. I’ve never read the author’s blog but the chapters of this book are plenty long enough (not always the case with books formed from a collection of blog posts) and they group very nicely into the four sections of the book. Also worth a mention is the writing style which makes for easy reading while delivering enough detail to satisfy. The author manages to get his knowledge and experience across without preaching or condescension. Extensive use of reference material provides further credibility and the seven page list of those references provides a great starting point for those who might wish to delve further into martial arts reading.
The first section is titled Martial Mutterings and provides some very interesting background to the various combat sports that are known as the martial arts. If the reader is a martial artist (such as myself, I’m a karate practitioner) then these chapters help to place your sport in the martial universe. Jamie Clubb’s leaning is obviously towards self-defence and he begins to hint that many martial arts are not really practical in that sense, but he deals fairly with the validity of the different disciplines and clearly has a great breadth of experience.
Self-Protection is the second section and here the author begins to deal with his own special area of focus – how to be emotionally prepared and physically secure in the increasingly physically threatening modern environment. The four tenets of Club Chimera – Respect, Awareness, Courage and Discipline – are delved into with unassailable logic. The section concludes with some very interesting suggestions on pre-emptive strikes, proactive training and pressure testing. Having myself trained with four very different karate clubs over thirty years, I can appreciate the acid testing that is needed for effective self-defence. All too often martial artists can become deluded about the effectiveness of their carefully perfected, artistic techniques.
Reality Training for Children deals with the thorny issue of exposing children to the threats of twenty-first century life and finding ways for them to handle such situations. The first step is to train the teachers, as genuine self-defence for children is a rare commodity. Then the author deals with the why, what and how of his approach to reality training for children. He doesn’t give away his trade secrets but just enough to tantalise.
The fourth and final section is Training: Fit for Purpose – a very interesting set of perspectives on attitudes towards and types of training and fitness, including the pitfalls of being led astray by fitness training as an end in itself.
In conclusion, I found Mordred’s Victory and other Martial Mutterings by Jamie Clubb to be a very thought provoking read. Each chapter deserves careful reading and contemplation. Whether you pursue martial arts for fitness, sport, competition, art or self-defence, this book will assist in self-realisation and help any martial artist find their own path. The extensive reference section deserves another mention. Overall, highly recommended. 
Mordred’s Victory and other Martial Mutterings by Jamie Clubb is available on Amazon here.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair review. I have no prior connection with the author (although I am a martial arts fan and practitioner).
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Published on November 03, 2015 14:35 • 20 views

October 8, 2015

One of those truisms trotted out at management seminars, to ASSUME makes an ASS out of U and ME has people scrabbling for their pens and noting the phrase so they can lay claim to it in front of future audiences. But I'm guilty of ASSUMING. After a few years in this e-book business I have assumed that everyone knows what an e-book is, where they can get them and how to read them.

The truth is lots of people do know all about e-books (they're electronic files e.g. type mobi or azw for Kindle devices, type ePub for Apple and Nook and Kobo and Android and others, or even just plain old pdf) and are familiar with e-readers (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, almost any Apple device, almost any Android device).

But a large number of people really don't know about the world of e-books and how to read them. They just haven't delved into e-books. They don't know how to grab an e-book for a few bucks instead of shelling out several times as much for a hard copy. They don't have a Kindle ("What the hell is a Kindle anyway?") and don't realize that e-books don't require a dedicated e-reader. The answer to reading an e-book without a dedicated e-reader is to use an app.

If you want to buy and read e-books from the behemoth Amazon then you'll find they have FREE apps available for PC, Mac and other devices and Android (see links in column right). They also have a neat page where you can just enter your email or phone number and they'll send you a link to your app.

If you have an Android phone or tablet then you can also grab a free app for your preferred store from Google Play. The same applies for the Apple Store but, not being too clever at that sort of thing, I've fallen down on the link for that.

What I tend to do is install all apps on all my devices (I have a laptop, an iPhone and an old Kindle) and keep my e-book purchasing options open. I do tend to buy from Amazon though and then read via the Kindle App. The great thing about that is all three devices are connected through Kindle and I can pick up from the last page read at any time via any device.

Once you have your app(s) installed then you can go shopping at your e-bookstore of choice. If you happen to come across an e-book as a file on your laptop or PC (for example if you sign up to my list and grab a free copy of my first in the zombie series) then you can side-load the file onto your device by simply connecting that device via cable to the computer. (The only vagary I've come across with this is that Kobo devices like an extra suffix of "kepub" before the filetype suffix, so the filename needs to be edited e.g. from book.epub to book.kepub.epub. I have a Kobo Touch reader too, which is how I found that out.)

So, I hope I've gone some way to remedying the ASSUME phenomena regarding e-books. All of my titles are available in e-book format but, if you're a staunch paper addict then they're also available in paperback too.

Sign up to Marble City Publishing's reader list for free entry into a $100 quarterly giveaway, and info on special offers and new releases!
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Published on October 08, 2015 08:08 • 8 views

September 9, 2015

I've been writing under the name Ruby Barnes / R.A. Barnes for some time now. It's a pen name, in memory of my late Scottish grandfather Robert "Ruby" Aloysius Barnes. Here in Ireland we have famous men named Ruby (okay, so there's one, Ruby Walsh the champion jockey), so it's not totally weird for me to work under what looks like a female name. I did change to R.A. a little while back to try and be a little less "cozy", as my writing isn't "cozy" at all (and readers of my books will concur with that). However, I knew that one day I would have to cast off my cloak of Ruby and strut my street name. That day has come.

I will remove my disguise once I've got rid of this wasps' nest
A couple of years ago I met another writer, one more widely published and successful than Ruby but working even more in the shadows than I. A ghostly apparition, one might say. After a few opening salvos, we concluded that it might be fun to write a novel together. Fun in the way that full contact karate is fun as long as you have adequate protection for your private parts and beauty bits. There was a plot outline, some early work and a strong sense of what had to be done. The missing component was someone who could write Nasty. I had Nasty in a bottle in the spirit of John Baptist and other baddies. It seemed right up my street. Except I don't do plotting and all that. I'm what writers call a pantser.
Wot? No plot?
So I had to drop my pants and run with the lady's plot. It wasn't easy. There was shouting and screaming and hand-to-hand combat. That was the co-authors. But the result was sublime. A struggle to the death by two determined individuals with unique voices. That was the characters. Experienced beta readers were engaged to advise along the way. Each chapter was put through the mangle and came out freshly pressed. The female HALO character is in control but dangerous and with a wonky moral compass. The male SHARD character is evil, vindictive, sadistic, sexually-perverted and lusting for revenge. (Guess which one I wrote.)

John Goldsmith's review of Kill Them Twice says it all much better than I can:

"Everything you don’t expect and everything you want. This is one of the higher aims of any work of fiction, regardless of genre, and it is fiendishly difficult to attain.
Eveleigh and Turner’s super-charged thriller Kill Them Twice gets you there at page one, chapter one, paragraph one – one could almost say, sentence one and keeps you constantly encountering the unexpected and relishing the manifold treats all along the way to the bittersweet, counter-intuitive conclusion."
(See the rest of John's review here)

So, I am an author and my name is Mark Turner. There, I've said it. My pants are round my ankles. I need a beer.

Kill Them Twice is available from 4th September 2015 at the following outlets (at a special release price of 99c / 99p):

Amazon Barnes & Noble Google Play iTunes Kobo

We've provided some insights into the mindset of Halo and Shard in our blog post The A to Z of Kill Them Twice

Here are some other pieces of the pie:
Follow us on Twitter  @KillThemTwice
Visit our web page
Visit our blog
Like us on facebook

Thanks for reading and see you on the other side of the page.

Cover for Kill Them Twice by eveleigh & turner
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Published on September 09, 2015 13:50

August 27, 2015

The seasons roll by, or in the case of here Ireland they all just roll together. Marble City Publishing's Summer Draw is closing in just a couple of days and someone is going to win a $100 / €90 / £70 gift card or a Kindle Paperwhite. Make sure you're entered in the draw here because if you're not in, you can't win. (Existing Marble City subscribers are automatically entered.)

Also just to mention that I'm slowly migrating this blog to a new website which has more flexibility. The front page highlights my new Zombie series (thanks to Jane Dixon-Smith for the cover designs) and book 1 is available for free to subscribers. Please wander over and help save the human race! My crime fiction, thrillers and historical blog posts will be following over to the new place once those ninjas have tidied the zombies up a bit.

Origin - first in the Zombies versus Ninjas series by R.A. Barnes  Domination - second in the Zombies versus Ninjas series by R.A. Barnes  Exodus - third in the Zombies versus Ninjas series by R.A. Barnes
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Published on August 27, 2015 11:34 • 9 views

June 15, 2015

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Marble City Publishing had a terrific response to their Spring 2015 free prize draw for a Kindle Paperwhite. The lucky winner was Robin in Estacada, OR, USA.
In response to public demand, Marble are running another draw and expanding the choice of prize as a lot of us already own a Kindle. This time they are offering a $100 (or local equivalent) Amazon gift card or a Kindle Paperwhite. The draw will close on 31 August 2015. If you are an existing Marble City subscriber you don’t need to do anything. You will automatically have an entry in this and subsequent prize draws. If you haven’t signed up then go here… and good luck!
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Published on June 15, 2015 15:16

June 7, 2015

The time is approaching to unleash the undead. Zombies with a twist (of the knife), featuring good old John Baptist as the crazy second coming guy, D.I. Andy McAuliffe as the long arm of the law, and yours truly as the oldest ninja in town. Zombies v. Ninjas: Origin is the first in a series of non-quite-serious zombie novels. How could I ever be serious?

Marble City Publishing is running a paperback giveaway for Zombies v. Ninjas: Origin on Goodreads (see badge below to enter) and an e-book giveaway on LibraryThing Early Reviewers . The e-book is also available on Amazon for pre-order here . If you don't want to take your chances with a giveaway and want a review copy then give me a shout in the comments below or mail to admin <at> marblecitypublishing <dot> com

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Goodreads Book Giveaway Zombies v Ninjas by R.A. Barnes Zombies v Ninjas by R.A. Barnes Giveaway ends June 15, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads. Enter to Win
Oh, and also a mention that Marble City's latest $100 Amazon gift card free draw is now open. Clickety click!

Best of luck and watch out for those zombies. Come to think about it, watch out for the ninjas too.
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Published on June 07, 2015 02:16 • 16 views

May 29, 2015

The free draw at Marble City Publishing is closing on Sunday 31st May, two days from now, and the choice of prize has been expanded to add a $100 (or local currency equivalent) gift card. This is due to popular demand because a lot of people already have a Kindle but everyone can use a $100 gift card! So spread the word and make sure you've entered the draw here.

Marble City have a few special offers coming up on Ruby Barnes and Jim Williams books, so keep an eye out for those, not to mention the upcoming release of book 1 in my Zombies versus Ninjas series. Here's a sneak peek at the cover...

cover for Zombies v. Ninjas: Origin by R.A. Barnes
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Published on May 29, 2015 15:02 • 12 views

April 7, 2015

It's time to breathe new life into a couple of my book covers. Much as I love the cover for Peril, the way it sums up the MC anti-hero and his isolation, it doesn't really convey crime fiction. I also love the sequel cover for Getting Out of Dodge, with its mix of red-blooded murder and sex, but some have said it's derivative and the book has been refused ads on occasion. Another factor is these titles are the first two of a series and the covers don't have a series feel (see existing covers on the right side bar of this blog). So I've shortened the second title to Dodge and commissioned some new cover options. Now I need your help, by giving your feedback on which of the cover sets below do it for you (oh, and feel free to enter my publisher's draw to win a Kindle Paperwhite).

A - that dark, noir feeling? 

B - a softer, more colourful look?
C - a crisper, more colourful look?
Please drop a comment below on this blog post, email me or leave your thoughts as a note if you enter Marble City's free prize draw for a Kindle Paperwhite plus leather cover . Much appreciated!

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Published on April 07, 2015 13:57 • 20 views

March 14, 2015

I've joined the team at and here's my first review of a contemporary fiction novel, The Ground Will Catch You by David Powning. Please head on over and have a read of my review. Here are the first couple of lines.

A thought-provoking, character-driven novel. The main character and narrator, Steve Hollis, is an anti-hero who has difficulty fitting into the world around him. He’s successful at his advertising sales job but feels no pride from it and dislikes his work colleagues. His former interest in Judo was put aside when he abused the martial art for purposes of revenge, and guilt denies him a return to the sport. A passion for life is something that he keeps locked away, like a miser saving up money with no foreseeable hope of ever spending it. Life picks Steve up and slams him down on the mat. He lets the ground catch him and bounces back for more punishment. Rinse and repeat. Steve haphazardly wanders through existence without making any real life-choice decisions. Until he meets two new, very different people: Jack and Emily. .... Read the rest at

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Published on March 14, 2015 13:55 • 24 views

February 8, 2015

I picked up this hardback after Mrs R had left it lying around. Her book club has been going through a Misery Lit phase (like forever) and she had chosen The Age of Miracles as a little light relief. I noticed that she fairly flew through the book and thought it must be lightweight, but something piqued my interest – probably the cover. I read the blurb and gave it a go.

Well, several exhausted days later I’m glad that I’ve finished reading this book. Reviewers on Amazon variously describe it as a coming of age novel or YA. Genre schmenre, this book freaked me out. The premise of uncontrollable changes to planet Earth is not unique, but the way it was handled captivated me. The narrator is a young girl who is a bit of an ugly duckling. She describes the slowing of the Earth’s rotation and the multitude of impacts it has on everyday life. Through it all she remains fixated on a boy around whom her world revolves. The changes to the Earth are gradual, not apocalyptic, although there are disastrous consequences for the other animals with which we share the planet. More central to the story are the social divisions and the impact of extended daylight and darkness hours upon characters and relationships.

It was only on day three of reading this book (my free reading time is at breakfast and lunch) that I realised what it was doing to me. I was watching the early morning sky as dawn broke in winter Ireland and wondering if it was a few minutes later than the previous day, although we’re heading into spring and the day should be gaining on the night. Then, as I let the dog out before bed, it seemed that the day had lengthened. In the mornings I thought my sleep had been extended, my circadian rhythms challenged. I was living through the slowing of the Earth’s revolution. If by Bread kept playing in my head. If the world should stop revolving, spinning slowly down to die, then I did want to spend it with my wife and family. I wouldn’t desert them: as all the stars went out, one by one, we would simply fly away.

When the book was done I breathed a sigh of escape and could reflect upon the distorted behaviour of those characters in The Age of Miracles as they dealt with the inevitable. More music, this time Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden , flooded my head. Faced with “The Slowing” would we be able to keep our act together? People sometimes ask what you would do if you had three minutes to live. Or one last day? What if you knew the end was coming but you didn’t know when? It would be gradual and creeping.

I highly recommend The Age of Miracles. If you’re looking for planet-splitting, cataclysmic apocalyptic disaster then this isn’t the book for you. If you’re interested in an honest and guileless perspective on what people really value and how to decide the important things in life for however long we have left on this Earth, then this is a thought-provoking read.
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Published on February 08, 2015 11:34