Friday, July 1, 2016


This will be the first of several cross posted posts about books by other authors. They will all be space and / or travel related.

An interesting take on what can happen in the long term as the world is used up.

Description from Amazon:
The world was dying, so scientists worked to create a safe haven in the centre of the earth; hollowing it out for the future generations to live safely.
When the creatures created to watch over the people detected the failsafe program had activated, and that their hollow world was about to collapse, they took them to a sentient, biological spaceship, set with the coordinates to take them to a new world.
But with the aliens who helped the scientists in the past having come back to change the course of the ship, things soon spiral out of control.

Currently on sale for $0.99 on Amazon

of the Hill promo program. Each book being promoted is on sale for a limited period for $0.99 and
we ask that if you purchase it that you please leave some type of review on Amazon. This is a group of (mostly Indie) authors who are trying to help each other get noticed and
ranked in Amazon using legitimate reviews and promotions.

Friday, May 6, 2016

How about a Cruise Through the Solar System?

I am taking my various travel stories and using them in a Science Fiction novel.

It is entered in the Geek and Sundry Hard Science Fiction contest on Inkshares. The contest ends at 11:00 p.m. PST on May 16th and I am making a big push to get into the top three.

So, can I ask two favors of you?
1. Please consider spending $5 for a copy.  If everyone purchased a copy I’ll make it and get the National Science Academy to help with checking my science is correct.  If the project is not completely funded they will automatically refund your money.
2. Refer my book to a friend, via Facebook, Twitter, email or any way that works for you.  I need all of the help to get so word about my book is out there in order to move up the ranks, and to get this work published. 
 I hope you will consider being part of this effort!

The site is selling the e-book for $10, but if you register and wait for the confirmation it will include $5 in credit (you need to claim the credit before purchasing) so it is at a discount.

To see the promo video, to read the first 3 chapters, or to pre-order click the green button.

Read or Pre-Order Now

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Writing a Science Fiction book

The One: A Cruise Through the Solar System

Just to let you know I have been a bit distracted of late, as I have been starting work on a science fiction book.

I was talked into entering the Geek and Sundry Hard Science Fiction contest so you can see some of what I am doing as they want us to post chapters as we can to encourage the crowd funding idea behind the Inkshares site that is hosting the contest.

The year is 2152: Follow BJ Armstrong as he helps to unravel a murder plot,  foil the biggest heist in history, while on a cruise of our solar system along with a beauty pageant, and scientific symposium.

But can he get the girl?

If you would like to take a look (or pre-order) the link is: The One: A Cruise Through the Solar System 

If you would like to make a pre-order for my book you can get it at a discount. 

  • Got to the link and sign up for Inkshares. 
  • They will send you an email asking you to confirm your email address with a $5 credit for use in the system.
  • Accept the credit (I think it comes as an email after you confirm)
  • Then go and order the book using the link below for a 50% discount.
The link is: The One: A Cruise Through the Solar System 

Please share far and wide or comment, as I would love to actually get someone to help edit and market this once I am done.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Travel Warnings for the unwary

As this is the middle of the summer vacation season, here are a few warnings to take into account while you are away.
The BBC put out this warning for tourists going through Thailand: Tourists warned of Thailand airport scam that warns people to be careful when wandering in the dutyfree shopping area and a scam using a the store, the police, and a translator who will try to scam you into paying thousands of dollars to be allowed to leave the country in spite of a suspicion of "shoplifting".

Just the Flight has put together a nice infographic: A pretty useful guide to preserve your money against scam

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Move to end Bill Shock: Telecoms Slash Data Roaming

(Cross posted between my travel and telecom blogs)

Over the past 18 months or so the telecom industry has been
slowly going through a subtle change that affects travelers.

Back in December 2012 Telecom [New
Zealand] announced
a breakthrough new approach to international data roaming
that will slash costs for travellers when using their
smartphones and other mobile devices overseas.
A feature is a flat daily rate for
data roaming by postpaid customers across major travel markets. Australia
roaming will start at a specially reduced rate of $6 a day (Telecom will review
the rate in mid 2013). Customers will pay just $10 a
day flat rate for data while travelling in the UK, USA, Canada, China, Hong
Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia. Telecom’s fair use policy applies to
these rates.

Telecom’s CEO, Simon Moutter, said the flat rate would make it much simpler for
customers to understand data roaming costs and would give them the freedom to
make use of their smartphones in the same way they would at home.

“We know data roaming charges have
been a pain-point for customers – personally, it was a real bugbear of mine as
a customer before I joined Telecom earlier this year. A flat fee provides
certainty and puts an end to concerns about nasty bill shocks on your return

“It’s also much simpler to follow
than any usage-based system – as most customers don’t really know how quickly
their phone apps will chew through 1MB, 10MB or 100MB.”
Now other companies have started to follow suit:
On October 20, 2013 “T-Mobile changed
the way you can use your smartphone in more than 100 foreign countries” with
their T-Mobile's
New Global Roaming
. While T-Mobile’s Simple
plan allows certain customers to roam in about 116 countries as if
they were at home.
In March 2014 T-Mobile added 7
countries to Simple Choice Global International roaming list
so it is now
122 countries.

MTN cuts cost of roaming
across own 'footprint'
MTN has introduced its Roam like Home service that
enables all its customers to keep in touch with family and friends at
affordable rates while travelling in any of the 21 countries that it operates in.

Now the EU
parliament votes to abolish roaming
end to mobile roaming charges across
the EU by 2016, if it is approved by all the member countries.

So, now with only a few SIM cards you can now have unlimited
calling and flat rate data in 145 countries:

Country Telecom NZ SIM T-Mobile USA Simple Choice SIM Any MTN SIM Any EU Carrier
Afghanistan T-Mobile as Investcom
Aland Islands T-Mobile
Anguilla T-Mobile
Antigua and Barbuda T-Mobile
Argentina T-Mobile
Armenia T-Mobile
Aruba T-Mobile
Australia T-Mobile
Austria T-Mobile  in 2016
Bahrain T-Mobile
Barbados T-Mobile
Belgium T-Mobile  in 2016
Benin  as Investcom
Bermuda T-Mobile
Bolivia T-Mobile
Bonaire T-Mobile
Botswana  as Botswana Mascom
Brazil T-Mobile
British Virgin Islands T-Mobile
Bulgaria T-Mobile  in 2016
Cambodia T-Mobile
Cameroon  as MTN Cameroon
Canada Telecom NZ T-Mobile
Canary Islands T-Mobile
Cayman Islands T-Mobile
Chile T-Mobile
China Telecom NZ T-Mobile
Christmas Island T-Mobile
Colombia T-Mobile
Costa Rica T-Mobile
Cote d'Ivoire  as MTN Cote d'Ivoire
Croatia  in 2016
Curacao (Netherlands/Dutch
Cyprus T-Mobile  as MTN Cyprus  in 2016
Czech Republic T-Mobile  in 2016
Denmark T-Mobile  in 2016
Dominica T-Mobile
Dominican Republic T-Mobile
Easter Island T-Mobile
Ecuador T-Mobile
Egypt T-Mobile
El Salvador T-Mobile
Estonia T-Mobile  in 2016
Faeroe Islands T-Mobile
Finland T-Mobile  in 2016
France T-Mobile  in 2016
French Guiana T-Mobile
Germany T-Mobile  in 2016
Ghana T-Mobile  as Investcom, MTN Ghana
Greece T-Mobile  in 2016
Grenada T-Mobile
Guadeloupe T-Mobile
Guam T-Mobile
Guatemala T-Mobile
Guinea Bissau  as Investcom
Guyana T-Mobile
Honduras T-Mobile
Hong Kong Telecom NZ T-Mobile
Hungary T-Mobile in 2016
Iceland T-Mobile
India T-Mobile
Indonesia T-Mobile
Iran  as MTN Irancell
Iraq T-Mobile
Ireland T-Mobile  in 2016
Israel T-Mobile
Italy T-Mobile  in 2016
Jamaica T-Mobile
Japan T-Mobile
Kenya T-Mobile
Kuwait T-Mobile
Latvia T-Mobile  in 2016
Liberia  as Lonestar Cell
Lithuania T-Mobile  in 2016
Luxembourg T-Mobile in 2016
Macau Telecom NZ T-Mobile
Malaysia T-Mobile
Malta T-Mobile  in 2016
Martinique T-Mobile
Mexico T-Mobile
Moldova T-Mobile
Montserrat T-Mobile
Netherlands T-Mobile  in 2016
Netherlands Antilles T-Mobile
New Zealand Telecom NZ T-Mobile
Nicaragua T-Mobile
Nigeria  as MTN Nigeria
North America & Caribbean T-Mobile
Northern Ireland T-Mobile
Norway T-Mobile
Pakistan T-Mobile
Panama T-Mobile
Peru T-Mobile
Philippines T-Mobile
Poland T-Mobile  in 2016
Portugal T-Mobile  in 2016
Qatar T-Mobile
Republic of Congo  as MTN Congo SA
Republic of Guinea  as Investcom
Romania T-Mobile  in 2016
Russia T-Mobile
Rwanda  as MTN Rwanda
San Marino T-Mobile
Saudi Arabia Telecom NZ T-Mobile
Scotland T-Mobile
Singapore T-Mobile
Sint Maarten T-Mobile
Slovakia T-Mobile  in 2016
Slovenia  in 2016
South Africa T-Mobile  as MTN South Africa
South Korea T-Mobile
South Sudan  as Investcom
Spain T-Mobile  in 2016
Sri Lanka T-Mobile
St. Barthelemy T-Mobile
St. Kitts and Nevis T-Mobile
St. Lucia T-Mobile
St. Martin T-Mobile
St. Vincent and the Grenadines T-Mobile
Sudan  as Investcom
Suriname T-Mobile
Svalbard T-Mobile
Swaziland  as MTN Swaziland
Sweden T-Mobile  in 2016
Switzerland T-Mobile
Syria  as Investcom
Taiwan Telecom NZ T-Mobile
Thailand T-Mobile
Trinidad and Tobago T-Mobile
Turkey T-Mobile
Turkmenistan (No Data network) T-Mobile
Turks and Caicos Islands T-Mobile
Uganda T-Mobile  as MTN Uganda
UK Telecom NZ T-Mobile  in 2016
Ukraine T-Mobile
United Arab Emirates T-Mobile
Uruguay T-Mobile
USA Telecom NZ T-Mobile
Vatican City T-Mobile
Venezuela T-Mobile
Vietnam T-Mobile
Wales T-Mobile
Yemen  as Investcom
Zambia T-Mobile  as MTN Zambia

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Making your vacation a winetastic time

On most international tours you are taken to historic places, museums, or cultural sites where everyone is taken.

But on several of my or my friends trips we  have gotten to go on more interesting tours. Some of the most interesting are to local wineries or breweries.

Here are a few examples that you may want to consider on your next trip:

  • Take an organized tour of several wineries I have done this in Australia and Israel and can recommend that you take a look at:


Israel Wine Tours for personalized tours of the various regions where wine is made in Israel:

Judean Hills Wine Tours

Sample Itinerary : Drive towards the biblical Wine Country of Judean Hills and disscuss the wine history of the are with a Wine Expert. Begin the tour at a nicely preserved off the beaten path 2,100 year old Wine Press.
Continue to Tzuba Boutique Winery, where we will meet Wine Maker Paul Dubb, tour the winery and hear about the wine making process. End by tasting 4-5 of Tzuba’s outstanding wines. Next we will continue to the Agur Boutique winery to meet up with Shuki Yashuv (owner and winemaker.) Shuki is a master Blender of wines and a very colorful person, guaranteeing an unforgettable tasting experience. Lunch
Our next stop will be Tzora Winery, considered one of the “top 8” wineries in Israel. Taste 3-4 excellent wines that often include a dessert wine that ranked 92 points with Robert Parker!
We then Travel through one of the most beautiful roads in Israel ending up at an off the beaten path “Tuscany In Judean Hills” vista point.

    Carmel Region Wine Tours

    Sample Itinerary: Head north towards the Carmel Region. On route our Wine Expert will discuss the wine history of the land of Israel and how it evolved through the years. What makes a wine Kosher ? wine politics in Israel Etc.
    Drive to the boutique winery Tulip located in Kfar Tikva – Village of Hope ;  This is an excellent winery and probably the only winery in the world that employs people with special needs. Taste 4-6 wines,  and and meet the employees of the winery.
    We than proceed to the beautiful town Zichron Ya’akov – a quaint Carmel Mountain town and the home of Carmel Winery where we will Visit Somek Winery, a small estate winery owned by a fifth generation vintner.  At  Somek, all wines are handmade using old world techniques to produce their critically acclaimed wines. Meet the winemaker and taste 3- 4 wines
    We will then Stroll the beautiful Zichron Ya’akov promenade and enjoy lunch at one of the terrific restaurants there.
    After lunch , we will Visit Ramat Hanadiv, The Rotshield Estate Botanical Garden
    Drive north to Kerem-Maharl home of the Makura organic farm and Amphorae Winery. Amphorae is one of the most beautiful Wineries in Israel. Designed by an Italian architect and built in 2005, the winery is a large Tuscan style winery and employes the world famous winemaker Michel Rolland as an adviser. Tour the facilities and taste Amphorae’s award winning wine.

     Israel Microbrewery Tour

    Small independent and traditional, the Israeli craft beer industry is going through a renaissance period in recent years. In the Judean Hills alone, there are a dozen Microbreweries in various sizes and styles. Haifa and the Carmel region are no different. Much like a wine tour, we will select three breweries, throw in incredible vista points and top it all off with gourmet dining. Microbreweries that we frequent include:
    Abeer Haela
    Buster’s Cider
    Laughing Buddah


    While visiting Sydney we went on Gray Line Tours Hunter Valley Gardens tour:

    World acclaimed Australian wines from the vineyards of the rolling hills and valleys of the Hunter region, delight both the palate and the eye in this green and fertile land dotted with villages and over fifty wineries. The Hunter Valley is Australia's oldest commercial wine producing district with over 7000 acres under vine. Famous wine styles include semillon, shiraz, chardonnay, gewurztraminer, cabernet sauvignon and earthy pinot noirs

    • Three Wine Tastings
    • Winery Tour
    • Two Course Lunch

    Also, while visiting Kobe Japan I was able to visit the KOBE SHU-SHIN-KAN BREWERY
    The KOBE SHU-SHIN-KAN BREWERY, established in 1751, is located in the "NADA" district of Kobe, Japan, an area which has been acknowledged for centuries as the best for the production of Japanese sake. The quality of the locally grown Japanese rice and the purity of the water filtered from streams high in the Rokko Mountains; these are special blessings as they are essential to the brewing of sake. The cold winds which blow across the Rokko Mountains are also helpful.
    Friends have done part of the Whisky Trail in Scotland others have gone to Guinness brewery in Ireland.

    I have gone to wineries in the USA (Bully Hill), Israel (see above), Australia (also see above), Italy (that is another blog post), and intend to continue when the opportunity presents itself. I suggest that you keep your eyes open for similar interesting opportunities.