Simplified Instructions for Making Andre Jute’s Unsewn, Unstapled Sliding Quarter Imperial 100% Cotton Embossed Leather Multimedia Sketchbook

Alitogata wrote:Though I didn’t get exactly how you made it I think that it is perfect! ( and now I’m jealous and I want one of the same).  :)

Here’s a simplified description:

There are four components required to construct this sliding book:

1. Signatures of your preferred paper. The signatures are not sewn, stapled or glued, just folded spreads tipped in. Their height controls all the other measurements. You may also want some thin paper for protection interleaves.

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2. A signature holder. I used hollow plastic strips from a magazine holder; they look like an elongated 0. You can make your own from a strip of stiff cardboard or plastic with slits or holes to guide a string for each signature. The string goes right over the paper, with about 5mm space top and bottom, not through the paper. The signature holder also is loose: it “floats” on the inner cover. The signatures are not any way attached to each other. The operation of this book depends on their independence.

3. An inner cover cut to the full height of the space inside the strings, i.e. taller than your signatures. This is used for both vertical positioning control and as a slider mechanism to let the book lie flat. It is fed through under all the strings but on top of the string holder. It is not fixed to anything at all. It is helpful if this inner cover is smooth card or film, but flexible. I in fact use two cards, one for the front and one for the back, overlapping at the signature holder, not fixed to each other, for extra-smooth operation, but a single sheet of card will probably do you.

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4. An outer cover, slightly larger than the inner cover. This must on the inside have either a fixed flap on each side inside which the inner cover can slide, or a vertical strip under which the inner cover can slide. This sliding space must be the same height as the total height inside the strings on the signature holder, closely matched to the inner cover. The flap is good also for lateral control, but I found it unnecessary if the materials for the book are chosen right. Vertical control is essential, so match the height of the slide closely to the height of the inner cover. Nothing at all in the book is firmly attached to the cover by glue, sewing or staples.

5. Optional for those who want a hard cover. Two separate stiffeners to slide between the outer and inner covers, one at the front and one at the back.

CONSTRUCTION OF PARTS

1. The inner cover is slid under the signature retainer strings on top of the string spacer, so hiding most of it.

2. The inner cover ends are slid into the flaps or strips on the outer cover. Position the signature retainer in the middle.

3. Insert each signature under a string so that the string lies in the fold. Arrange the signatures to lie half to the left and half to the right so that you can see the spine is position correctly.

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4. Test the efficacy your choice of material textures and weights, and the punctilio of your construction. Close the book. Clasp it lightly by the spine, hold with opening end downwards and shake. Repeat for the ends. If the paper remains inside the book, and the edge is as even as you can expect with such thick deckled edge paper, you’re done. Your book will lie flat, hold it’s position by friction and weight of paper, close correctly, stay closed, and every spread will be indivually removable and used as an uninterupted spread by simply taking it out and putting it on top of its signature. Try it. Paint something.

5. Optional for those who want hard covers, two stiffeners to fit loosely (unglued, unsewn, unstapled, eh?) between the inner and outer covers at the front and the back. You should not stiffen the spine because the signature retainer needs to take on various attitudes to make this book work as intended. However, 300gsm paper even in a stack a few sheets thick is already pretty stiff, and when you have a block like my big book, stiffeners in the cover are superfluous.

Good luck.

Andre Jute is a novelist and painter.

Copyright © 2015 Andre Jute

Andre Jute’s Unsewn, Unstapled Sliding Quarter Imperial 100% Cotton Embossed Leather Multimedia Sketchbook

Most bought sketchbooks are adequate only to the most undiscriminating sketchers. In almost all cases the paper just isn’t good enough, too thin or too weak to take much water or rubbing out or handling. In a few cases where the paper is good quality cotton, the book is so tightly sewn it won’t lie flat, or difficult to handle because it is ringbound on the short side (landscape format); always something unsatisfactory.

andre_jute_sketchbooksThe solution is to make your own. I have several sketchbooks I’ve made myself in a variety of leather covers, in various sizes up to A5, roughly 8×6. Those are all intended to go outside with me and the smaller ones are routinely popped in my pockets in case I see something I want to sketch.

andre_jute_s_sliding_quarter_imperial_all_cotton_multimedia_sketchbook_32sh_300gsm_all_cotton_800pxwBut for my desk I wanted something larger, say up to quarter imperial size, 15×11 inches. It would be useful if the same book handled 11×7.5in, octavo or one-eight imperial size, as I generally don’t have a lot of time and like finishing a sketch in one or at most two goes at it.

The large oxblood item is a custom-made Italian cover of embossed semi-soft leather, lined in silk for reasons that will soon become obvious. Open it measures 19in by 12.25in, edge to edge.

The next task after obtaining a suitable cover is to rip the 100% cotton paper and these are the tools I used: a blunted heavyweight stainless steel scalloped carving knife, bought at the charity shop for pennies, to give my sheets that vintage deckle edge; and a good quality bone folder, lying on the cover.andre_jute_s_sliding_quarter_imperial_all_cotton_multimedia_sketchbook_ripping_800pxw

Note that there’s no ruler. The paper is used as its own measure. You simply fold the sheet lengthways in half, flatten the edge with two runs of the bone folder in opposite directions, then rip it along the fold with the knife. You can get a larger deckle by hold the paper down with the blade of the knife, one hand on the blade and using the other hand to tear the paper against the scallops on the knife, but this risks ruining the sheet if you don’t do it right; 300gsm paper can be amazingly obstructive, especially if you’re tearing it against the grain. Then fold one long strip to 2mm short of half, and the other to 4mm short of half, and rip again.

andre_jute_s_sliding_quarter_imperial_all_cotton_multimedia_sketchbook_veritcal_fix_800pxwOnce the paper is ripped to near enough quarter sheets of 15x11in, they are folded to 11×7.5in, and signatures of 4 folds, eight pages are made up, the shorter spreads going to the inside in decreasing order, so that the edge of the book can be relatively even. You can staple or sew the signatures into a book; search for instructions on the net. My method is different. I like sketchbooks where all pages lie flat, and where any page in a signature can be pulled out and put in the middle to use as a spread. That requires some innovative thinking.

andre_jute_s_sliding_quarter_imperial_all_cotton_multimedia_sketchbook_construction_800pxwMy big sketchbook has no staples, no sewing, no glue, no pegs, no metal clasps, nothing. Instead all the signatures are hung on plastic strips from partwork covers (you could use twine strung on a piece of cardboard instead) and held together by the natural friction of cotton paper. It lies flat when open by the very slight slack in the plastic strips I used as retainers and by sliding against the silk lining of the casing. andre_jute_s_sliding_quarter_imperial_all_cotton_multimedia_sketchbook_11x15in_800pxwNote that, unlike in traditional bookbinding, there is no connection whatsoever between the signatures, nor between the signatures and the cover. The red card in the second photo above that appears to be a cover is instead a mechanism for fixing the book vertically by running through the plastic strips and the inside retainers of the leather cover at full height. There are separate front and rear cover cards and they overlap in the plastic strips but are not glued to each other, to the plastic strips, or to the cover. andre_jute_s_sliding_quarter_imperial_all_cotton_multimedia_sketchbook_32sh_300gsm_800pxwThe whole affair slides with a little stiction, and that with the good design is enough to hold it together. Furthermore, it opens perfectly flat, at any page or spread, though this assembly method makes working across pages irrelevant because every sheet can be removed and used as a spread by simply putting it on top of the signature to which it belongs.

andre_jute_s_sliding_quarter_imperial_all_cotton_multimedia_sketchbook_cold_press_800pxwThis particular version of  my Sliding Quarter Imperial Multimedia Sketchbook was built with one sheet each of Fabriano Artistico NOT  and Hot Press, and one sheet each of Saunders Waterford NOT and Hot Press, all of it 300gsm 100% cotton paper. I also had sheets of Arches NOT and HP standing by but the book was getting a bit thick already. Weight doesn’t matter too much in a tabletop sketchbook, but all the same it needs to be at least briefcase portable  for big adventures, and mustn’t be so heavy that you contemplate moving it without enthusiasm.

andre_jute_s_sliding_quarter_imperial_all_cotton_multimedia_sketchbook_cold_press2_800pxwIt contains 16 spreads (counting one side only) of quarter imperial sheet size, or 32 sheets (counting one side only) of 11×7.5in. 32 sheets/64pp of 300gsm cotton paper makes a book that with covers is an inch thick at the opening end and thicker at the spine. Between the thick paper, the stiff card for vertical control, and the silk-lined leather cover, it still weighs less than the two pounds which was my target.  That’s not excessive for such a large, thick, versatile book of novel construction.

andre_jute_s_sliding_quarter_imperial_all_cotton_multimedia_sketchbook_hot_press_paper_800pxwAll the paper will handle wet media like watercolours, pen and ink, etc, and the Hot Press papers will take considerable rubbing out and other handling in charcoal or pencil work. There are thin protective sheets at the back to be slipped between pages that shouldn’t rub, plus bond paper to soak up excess water should I decide to go wild with lavis.

Andre Jute is a novelist and painter.

Copyright © 2015 Andre Jute

CHOOSING A HEART RATE MONITOR by Andre Jute

I came to cycling too late in life to learn cadence control, so my cadence is fixed between about forty and sixty revolutions a minute, depending on which side of the bed I got out of that morning. That has turned out to be a really good thing, because from the beginning it forced me to control my exertion by my respiration rate rather than by my speed or whatever the gearing of my bike demanded or even by the terrain. From that follows the gearing specification of my bikes, for fifteen years or so now with internal hub gearboxes, currently Rohloff Speed 14.

UNSATISFACTORY HEART RATE MONITORS (HRM) CAN SOON MOUNT UP TO REAL MONEY

812lf1lEueL._SL1500_In 25 years of cycling, a fair number of heart rate monitors (henceforth HRM) have been through my hands. Let’s leave aside cheap supermarket crap I bought to have another HRM on standby; they all broke too soon to justify their cost. Let’s also leave aside a Medisana Polar H7 copy, bought at Lidl, which did everything right with every software package I tried it with, except the last step: it wouldn’t put my heart rate on the display page, making it useless; returned for a refund. Let’s leave aside Chinese ripoffs of the Polar H7; none of them worked as expected.

THREE HRM THAT LASTED MORE THAN A YEAR

BICYCLE-HAC4-on-wristThe Ciclosport HAC 4 PLUS was a superb HRM. with all the bells and buttons you could wish for. So it should have, at 300 Euro. For that price I expected it to last at least 10 years. It broke on the day after the three-year guarantee ran out. I didn’t buy another because I don’t like planned obsolescence! Also, as watch, it looked cheap on the arm. Note that the head unit, left on the bike when you remove the watch part, is vulnerable to theft; there is a thriving trade in these units on Ebay…

Sigma PC9 Heart Rate MonitorThe Sigma PC9 was altogether at the other end of the scale. It cost 40 Euro, had all the functions Iactually used on the Ciclosport HAC 4 (except altitude) and then some, was much more elegant as a watch, and still works after about ten years; it was replaced simply to save some space on my handlebars by combining various bits of kit/functions/displays into my iPhone. I’m a big fan of Sigma, and also use their bicycle computers; their stuff is very fairly priced, especially for top quality German goods, and lasts forever.

An iPhone or other smartphone with Bluetooth 4 (a low energy transmission protocol that saves battery use) with appropriate software, much of it free, is already an HRM. All the hardware you need to add is sensor/sender belt to fit around your chest. I’ve tried quite a few and the only one that is truly an allrounder (works with everything I tried it with) is the Polar H7, which cost STG 47.15 delivered in Ireland from Amazon UK. Mine was returned inoperative to the manufacturer shortly after arrival, fixed, and returned to me in a couple of weeks. It has worked well since.

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I put the iPhone in a waterproof bag on the handlebars where I can see it, but I could keep it in a pocket because Polar’s own programme, which I use, reports every kilometer or mile, to choice, in a loud woman’s voice the elapsed time or average speed, and heart rate. If you need to control your heart rate closer than that, you need to cycle with your physician or a trained nurse. (My pedal pals include both.) With the phone on the handlebars you can control your exertion very closely to your chosen or permitted maximum respiration rate. (Here’s a tip: the physio will normally set a lower max heart rate than your physician or a cardiologist will. Get an opinion from all three, if you can.) I also have a motor on my bike, and when my respiration rate hits max, I keep up with the group by cutting in the motor.

THE ADVANTAGE OF BLUETOOTH 4

The smartphone/BT4 belt setup has an advantage over all dedicated HRM. Your dedicated HRM is set up so that a bunch of roadies riding in a peloton don’t have HRM interfering with each other, so the range is at most 18in. This is a stupid irritation for a utility cyclist or a tourer who sits upright and usually has 24in or more between the sender on his chest and the reporter unit on the handlebars or even on his wrist if he’s being energetic. Any BT4 band though has a 10m/33ft sender radius, so there is no interruption in the flow of information if you step away from you bike. This can be important, because if you really need an HRM, the second most important thing you do with it is check your respiration recovery rate R^3: the faster your respiration settles, the fitter you are.

Polar’s H7 has the fastest latch onto a heart signal of any belt that I’ve ever tried; about a third of all the belts I’ve tried failed altogether to detect a signal. This is important especially when it is cold and your skin is not naturally moist.

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QUICK AND DIRTY RECOMMENDATIONS

If you’re a luddite or poor or a multi-gadgeteer, I recommend the Sigma PC9 (or its successor), which is easy to set up because it has very clear instructions, beautifully printed, and it just keeps working, and it is extremely reasonably priced, and goodlooking too.

I don’t recommend any Ciclosport because mine was ultimately unreliable, and they’re too expensive for what they offer.

If you have a smartphone with Bluetooth 4 already, I don’t see why you should want anything more than the Polar H7 belt, which lets you choose which software you want to use; I find Polar’s own free software quite good enough, and it has outstanding automatic record-keeping, useful when my cardiologist asks.

André Jute is a novelist and cyclist, and a teacher via his non-fiction textbooks of creative writing, engineering and reprographics.

Copyright © 2015 Andre Jute

The perfect finish — for the Seaveys

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The Seavey’s are creaming themselves. The tracker shows the finish in Nome, the checkpoint in Safety 22 miles from Nome, and White Mountain. On the trail to Nome are 46 Dallas Seavey, 18 Mitch Seavey, 63 Aaron Burmeister.

Check the scale and grab your best guess from thin air about whether Mitch can overtake Dallas before Nome.

Negeqvak, the racer without a bib, biggest threat to every would-be Iditarod champion

Everyone knows why no one races in the modern Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race under Bib No. 1, right? It belongs to the late great Leonhard Seppala, hero of the 1925 “Serum Run” from Seward to Nome.

But did you know there is a musher with no bib, no number? His name is Negeqvak, and last year he took the victory away first from Jeff King within spitting distance from the finish line, and then from Aliy Zirkle when she dithered in the face of Negeqvak.

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I’ll let a lifelong Alaskan, John Schandelmeier, a two-time winner of the other 1000 mile race, the Yukon Quest, explainthe relevance of Negeqvak with particular reference to champions and would-be champions:

“Dallas is faster, but if Aaron can force him to cut his rests short … that could change. Neither Aliy Zirkle nor Jesse Royer can be counted out. Neither should negeqvak.”

So who is this Negeqvak, the musher without a bib? Actually, it’s a what. It’s  the Yupik word for “north wind”.

Here’s Schandelmeier in the Alaska Dispatch News on a few of the years in which Negeqvak influenced the outcome of the race:

“Last year saw negeqvak become the deciding factor to give Dallas Seavey one of the biggest come-from-behind victories of all time. New, dry snow coupled with forecasted wind could again be instrumental. Some of the Iditarod’s most memorable victories have come with the wind, including Rick Swenson’s record fifth win in 1991 and Libby Riddles’ historic victory as the first woman champion in 1985.”

Right now at Koyuk, Negeqvak is blowing 15mph NNE.

***

My page Iditarod follows the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race live, as it happens. You’re cordially invited to join us.

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André Jute is the author of the much-loved, multi-award-winning bestselling novel IDITAROD a novel of the Greatest Race on Earth, available in paperback and all ebook formats.

Risking everything to reach White Mountain first. André Jute explains the Iditarod end game.

No, it isn’t a computer game. It is a real race, the toughest and most dangerous race in the world, running a thousand miles behind a dogsled across the tundra of Alaska, within spitting distance of the Arctic Circle, all the way from Fairbanks to Nome. This is the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, famous or notorious depending on your outlook.

Photo courtesy of Alaska Dispatch NewsPhoto Alaska Dispatch News

And after you beat all the human odds of fatigue and sleep deprivation to get to the head of the field by the  time you reach the Kaltag Portage, you have to sprint 250 miles or so to get to White Mountain first.

Why? Because the race is deliberately rigged to set up a sprint for a photo finish under the arch on Front Street in Nome, 77 miles beyond White Mountain. That suited the framers of the competition well, and suits the current race organization equally well, because it also meets the greatest subsidiary aim of the race, next to keeping it alive.

You can tell by their environment that the organizers are hard men and women. But they’re clearly absolutely terrified by a good number of potentials for disaster in the unavoidable dangers that arise from the nature of the race and its immovable geography, terrain and weather. First, they are terrified that anyone will ever say that a dog was maltreated on the Iditarod; they take such good care of the canine contestants that a dog on the gangline, running in the Iditarod, stands a better chance of surviving the period of the Iditarod than the average pooch that you can see your neighbor walking. For the health of the dogs there are several mandatory fixed-length stops during the race. One of these, of eight hours, is at White Mountain.

I said the organizers are visibly terrified by a number of possibilities. We don’t have time or space to go into all of them, but another predictable worry is that a contestant will kill himself on the Iditarod, and perhaps get the race banned. They have very strict entry qualifications to guard against this, and a “rookie” on the Iditarod is always an experienced long-distance musher already. That everyone let into the Iditarod is a very hard case goes without saying, tough, fit, and with unshakable focus.

So now you have a bunch of very tough, fit, focused mushers coming down the mountain from Kaltag, having already beaten out the other very tough, very fit athletes to be in the first ten out of Kaltag checkpoint, knowing that beyond White Mountain, where everyone has to stop eight hours, everyone will be rested, and there will be only 77 miles left in the race.

Seventy-seven miles is not far enough to make up any significant distance on a top competitor.

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Every musher wants to be first out of White Mountain. And that means arriving at White Mountain first.

Of course everyone else knows this too. That sets up a longrange sprint of attrition to be first at White Mountain. Every year the sprint for White Mountain starts earlier. This year it visibly started at Kaltag. Some might argue it started earlier, even much earlier…

It doesn’t matter precisely where it started. We’re into the sprint now. Enjoy.

My page Iditarod follows the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race live, as it happens. You’re cordially invited to join us.

iditarod_cover_6dec13_72dpi_800pxh

André Jute is the author of the much-loved, multi-award-winning bestselling novel IDITAROD a novel of the Greatest Race on Earth, available in paperback and all ebook formats.

Come join me at the IDITAROD: The greatest race on earth since Marathon — and a bookie’s nightmare

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Every year I take a busman’s holiday at the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. I have a page that helps people follow the race. In theory my presence and the helpful page promotes my novel about the race. In practice the book, long since a best seller, promotes itself, and is anyway better promoted by enthusiastic readers than by the author, and I maintain the page to help myself keep track of a confusing race spread over 1046 miles (approximately) of the most inaccessible and dangerous terrain on earth, and share it with others of like mind. The other thing I do every year just before the Iditarod is amusing: I try to pick some outsiders who will do well; I’m proud of an outstanding track record, for intance picking Aliy Zirkle in each of the years she came second. Obvious now, but this woman, already over forty, with small dogs, in the beginning just wasn’t an obvious choice against the hard men with their brawny dogs. Another example: I picked the poster boy, the Iditarod heart-throb, Joar Leifseth Ulsom, when he came from nowhere, with no track record at this level of mushing.

So, why am I bragging about past triumphs? Because this year the organizers, by accepting so many novices, have made it almost impossible to pick genuine outsiders, short of sticking a pin into the entry list, or laboriously tracing the provenance of each musher. And I intend “provenance” in the precise dictionary meaning: that a musher grew up in a mushing household and community clearly matters in winning the Iditarod, as does the learning experience of the race itself. It’s a dangerous race, so the organizers, terrified someone will die on their race, let in only those with experience and a track record in other tough races. This in turn makes it even more difficult to pick the newcomer who will emerge from the pack.

I wouldn’t bet tuppence of my own money on a race as long, and over such terrain, and through such uncertain weather, as the Iditarod. But if I were staking serious money, I’d grit my teeth and accept the short odds on Dallas Seavey to take a third win. Lance Mackey and Jeff King, both four-time winners, stand at the head of a line of contenders who think they’re finishing the Seavey’s run — Dallas’s dad Mitch is also a two-time winner and a current contender to be reckoned with. There, let’s leave the list of hard, experienced men, several more with victories or many high finishes on their record, and look at the outsiders.

At the beginning of the Iditarod last year (2014), Aliy Zirkle was all set, by her record of two second places, to leave the list of underdogs and outside chances for the permanent powers that be, the perennial threats. But events in the closing stages of the 2014 race have raised the question whether she is only a nice lady with athletic gifts — or whether she’s a winner. After Jeff King was blown off the trail and was forced to scratch only 25 miles from a fifth victory to protect his dogs, it was Aliy Zirkle’s race to lose. And she did lose it by not being ready when the gritty, relentless competitor Dallas Seavey arrived from nearly two hours behind to blow without rest through Safety, where Aliy was resting. Dallas staggered on to victory in Nome.

1924633_754426211236322_206420366_nDallas Seavey, winning the 1000+ mile 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race from 1h49m behind 77 miles before the finish.

That Aliy, had she not relaxed into champion mode already in Safety, could have caught the worn Dallas and his tired dogs is shown by the fact that, starting from 17 minutes behind in Safety, 22 miles later in Nome Aliy was only 2m22s behind Dallas, an otherwise incredible gain that tells us much about their relative condition.

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The popular Aliy Zirkle, runner-up for the third year running in 2014.

Dallas won that race because he is first and foremost a winner.  Which is how come we pick him to win again. He’s a pretty obvious choice: young and hard, yet hugely experienced, a proven winner.

And once more I pick Aliy to upset the running behind Dallas, possibly to be second again, especially of there is a settled weather over all or most of the race to favour her light, fast dogs. Who knows, she may have learned her lesson last year: the race isn’t over till you cross the line, and use her chances better this year. We’re due for a woman winner, and Aliy is still the best-placed woman to deliver that victory.

For newcomers, the Iditarod is one of the very few great sporting events in the world where men and women compete on equal terms. As the saying goes, “Alaska, where men are men, and women win the Iditarod.” The late Susan Butcher has four victories too.

And for a new champion from among the outsiders? Once again I fancy the impressive Norwegian  Joar Leifseth Ulsom. This is no longer a daring prediction because everyone knows his time will come, but I’m betting on sooner rather than later.

An underdog who could easily choose this year to become a top ten top dog is Nathan Schroeder, the 2014 Iditarod Rookie of the Year.

If the ladies want someone interesting to follow besides Aliy, try DeeDee Jonrowe, a veteran runner with an enviable record of high finishes, still a threat for the top places. And don’t forget the grittily courageous Cindy Gallea, 63, who last year was forced to scratch through illness.

Fewer people have finished the Iditarod than have ascended to the summit of Mount Everest.

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The toughest race in the world, a race of attrition because of trail and weather conditions just short of the Artic Circle.

My page Iditarod follows the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race live, as it happens. You’re cordially invited to join us.

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André Jute is the author of the much-loved, multi-award-winning bestselling novel IDITAROD a novel of the Greatest Race on Earth, available in paperback and all ebook formats.

Iditarod, toughest race in the world, stressfree from your armchair

For a zero stress Iditarod you need these three pages open and only these three. Close any pages you refer to instantly you finish with them or you’ll soon be lost in a tide of pages.
* IDITAROD. Here you find the most important and exciting race reports in comprehensible format.  Come join the best party going. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Iditarod-a-novel-of-The-Greatest-Race-on-Earth/193084334057961?ref=hl
* Alaskan clock, scales with the window. Most mushers take elective breaks during the Alaskan daytime hours. http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fullscreen.html?n=18
* Iditarod Race Map, so you can see where your favourites have reached and how far they have to go. Total race distance is about 1000m. Click on the map and a bigger version will open on your screen. http://coolmainpress.com/iditarodcompmap.html
* IDITAROD a novel of the Greatest Race on Earth: a bestselling story to read in downtime from the race when you are too excited to sleep. Yeah, it’s that addictive. http://coolmainpress.com/iditarod1.html

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CoolMain Press: #Bargains, Introductory Offers, #FREE Books by #Bestselling, Prize-Winning Authors

CoolMain Press:  Bargains, Introductory Offers, Free Books by Bestselling, Prize-Winning Authors

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by Bestselling, Prize-Winning Authors

 Some of the books by best-selling, prize-winning quality authors at CoolMain Press that are FREE, 99¢, only £2.99 or bargain omnibus offers (click the link or the graphic  ABOVE to reach any of them — and more!):

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How do you like my new mobile-friendly blog?

So many folk now read the net on smartphones, I’ve decided to simplify my blog and make it a column narrower. In fact, if it is still too wide for reading on a cellphone, it will automatically lose the sidebar and just show you the main feature.

Let me know how much you like it.

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“I married my husband for his money. I have been very happy with my husband’s money.” — Dakota Franklin

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“I married my husband for his money. 
I have been very happy with my husband’s money.”
Dakota Franklin

You won’t believe how much trouble that innocent joke got me into. And it isn’t even true. The truth is much more romantic, but is too long for a quick joke. Still, you and I have a moment, so I’ll tell you the truth.

Read the rest of the great romance between Ferry and me.

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May you reach as safe a harbour as this one

Andre Jute: Sampan Harbor, South China Sea, oil on canvas, 2014, 16x12in
Andre Jute: Sampan Harbor, South China Sea, oil on canvas, 2014, 16x12in

Happy holidays, all!

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in a proven bestseller for only 99¢?

What the critics said:

“Mr McCoy gets on with the job of telling us exactly what it is like in the Heart of Darkness. He has the soldier’s eye for terrain and the soldier’s eye for character. This has the ring of truth.”
John Braine/Sunday Telegraph

“Very rough, exciting, filmic, and redolent of a nostalgie de boue d’Afrique. Full of the rapport and affection for blacks experienced only by the genuine old Africa hand.”
Alastair Phillips/Glasgow Herald

“Like the unblinking eye of a cobra, it is fascinating and hard to look away from, powerful and unique.”
Edwin Corley/Good Books 

“I found this work excellent. I recommend it as a book to read on several planes, whether of politics, history or just as thriller — every episode is firmly etched on my memory. It is certainly a most impressive work of fiction.”
“H.P.”/BBC External Service 

“Like a steam hammer on full bore.”
Jack Adrian/Literary Review

“Something else again. The author has plenty of first-hand experience of the conditions he describes so vividly.”
Marese Murphy/Irish Times 

“Totally convincing fiction.”
Colonel Jonathan Alford, Director, Institute for Strategic Studies/BBC World at One 

“The reader is in good hands.”
Kirkus Reviews 

“Even in an entertaining thriller he makes us see ourselves anew.”
La Prensa 

“Graphic adult Boys Own Adventure.”
The Irish Press

“Well written by somebody who has lived the life: a cracking read.”
Grant MacNeill

More about this classic thriller at STOP THE TERRORISTS! DEAD.

Who else gives you reviews and thrills like these in a proven bestseller for only 99¢?
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Huge Christmas #Giveaway at Cookie’s Book Club, #BestSellers, #PrizeWinners, #FREE ENTRY

cookie_s_book_club_christmas_giveaway_2014

Including my latest books, FESTIVAL and LASHBACK, and Dakota Franklin’s latest racing thriller, TRIPLE THREAT THRILL. Not to mention books by the excellent Donna Fasano, Libby Fischer Hellman, Uvi Poznanasky and Zeev Rachel, J. S. Dunn, and Melanie McDonald. Plus copies of my famous IDITAROD, a family-safe novel of the greatest race on earth. On top of that there are several copies of Omnibuses from Dakota and me to be won, high value books. All FREE. And the rules are loosely framed so you can enter every day from the 21st so you stand a really good chance of winning a book, or even several, enough high quality reading matter for the entire holiday. Good luck. Merry Christmas. Check it out at Cookie’s Book Club.  — Andre Jute

“Mr President, here is America’s James Bond.” LASHBACK, the truth about who dug the Berlin Tunnel into Russia’s secrets.

…recalls Russian literature at its finest. VANGUARD ELITE was a real pleasure to read, the writing is rock solid and flawless – every word is the right word, in the right place. The next volume is written and awaiting publication. Bring it on.
abrwrite/LibraryThing

The exploration of the mindset of the Revolution is fascinating.The complex nature and motivations of the revolutionaries and the sorry state of Russia at the time are explored in a way that makes the suffering palpable in an engaging way without pretending that the people who want to be in charge are necessarily as noble or capable as some of them would like to believe. The author does a good job of presenting the Revolution itself as a another character, and through its atmosphere and details begins to offer a commentary and explanation for what history will further bring.
J. A. Beard/Good Book Alert

It reads like a literary classic and as a screenplay for a historical documentary miniseries. The language is lush, vibrant even when describing the horrors associated with the Bolshevik Revolution. The imagery through words painted by author Andre Jute makes me feel that I am moving through an art gallery where I wish to study every aspect, explore every color, more than once. I cannot remember when I have read a book of this caliber in recent years.
Doug Glassford/Amazon

“I am reading this now. So well-written, with the combination of graceful, elegant prose and tough subject matter that makes Andre one of the best around.”
Matt Posner on Facebook

LASHBACK
Book 5 of the 75-Year Saga
Cold War, Hot Passions
by André Jute

The threads are gathering…

Harvey McQueen, the permanent outsider, the greatest American spy of all time, introduced to President Kennedy at the President’s request as “the American James Bond”, exposed Kim Philby and dug the Berlin Tunnel into the heart of Russia’s darkest secrets. But he almost landed in jail instead for tapping the CIA’s own headquarters cable in the company of the intelligence mandarin Joshua Adams and Colonel Hillel Hirsch, the penniless Jewish refugee who became a legend in American intelligence. Their suspension causes the final breach between Harvey and Jennie when she refuses to accompany him to Berlin where he digs the famous Berlin Tunnel.

The change of generations comes even to patriots.

Harvey’s daughter Belinda makes a brilliant career at the State Department and marries Aron Hirsch (Hillel’s son) who is an Israeli anti-terrorist expert but the marriage heaves this way and that under their career stresses. Joshua Adams Jnr and Andrew Drexler are soldiers in dangerous jobs in Vietnam; the same war turns Conrad Drexler into an assassin and starts him on a career which will eventually as the founder of Air America make him the world’s largest transporter of drugs. The Rempton children have other temptations and do not turn out so well, bringing tragedy to their loving parents.

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LASHBACK
is 
Book 5 of Cold War, Hot Passions

Cold War, Hot Passions series by Andre Jute

Cold War, Hot Passions
by André Jute

The epic saga
of ten intertwined families
who live and die by their love of
their Russian and American motherlands
and the searing passions they
arouse in each other

FROM THE STORMING OF THE WINTER PALACE…

In the beginning they were impassioned young revolutionaries risking only own their lives for justice. The prince, the soldier, the peasant and the baroness became the founders of three families, steadfast in love and war, whose generations are enfolded in the sweep of humans and inhumans, inquisitors and victims, the betrayals of friends and family, the show trials of colleagues, the psychiatric tortures of dissidents, that was Russia under the Communists, right up to glasnost, when the fourth generation must answer the question, Was the result worth three generations of tragic suffering and sacrifice?

And the Americans who opposed them for liberty, the patrician Adams family, the refugee Hirches, the redneck Remptons who became political powers in the land, the McQueens who did not count the price of rising from smalltown mid-America to the highest levels of the nation, the Drexlers who had always served their country, the implacable Southern Hubbells who could — and did — threaten Presidents, and the clever Talbots whose shy Joanne married the handsome Russian who was the cleverest traitor of them all.

In his first novel for two decades, a storyteller who has always had a knack with the true history of men and women will touch your heart and thrill your mind with the risks these men and women took with their lives and their families for the ideals they were born to — which some betrayed, and some paid too high a price for in love, even with their lives.

…TO THE BITTERSWEET END
75 YEAR LATER

COLD WAR, HOT PASSIONS
• around 2000 pages

• launched in eight volumes
• at the rate of three volumes a year

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Stop the terrorists — dead! A famous bestseller available in ebook for the first time! CAIN’S COURAGE by Andrew McCoy.

CAIN’S COURAGE
by Andrew McCoy

Stop the terrorists — dead!

When three busloads of kibbutz children are blown up, one evil man is behind the outrage: diehard Nazi fanatic Max Spitz, alive and well, fabulously rich, and living in South America. Part-time kibbutznik Mark Bern resolves to fight fire with fire, but the Israelis don’t want to know. The days of the snatch squads are over.

But Bern goes ahead anyway, kidnapping Spitz’s sex-mad teenage granddaughter for a ransom of gold. His aim: to attack the Germans’ heavily defended main gold vault and take the terrorists’ wealth away for good.

Against him and his handful of hardened allies: not only ruthlessly bloodthirsty Nazis and the local secret police and army, but even, incredibly, Israeli Intelligence assassins…

CAIN’S COURAGE is the shattering story of a thirst for vengeance that literally knows no limits — the brutally violent saga of the struggle to wipe out the most dangerous nest of criminals and terrorists the world has ever known.

A famous bestseller now in e-books for the first time!

Jacket blurb by Nick Austin, from the Grafton/Collins print edition

Who else gives you reviews and thrills like this
in a proven bestseller for only 99¢?

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WHY FORMULA ONE IS THE CHEAPEST MOTOR SPORT THERE IS, IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING a cost-benefit analysis by Dakota Franklin and André Jute

WHY FORMULA ONE IS THE CHEAPEST MOTOR SPORT THERE IS, IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING 
a cost-benefit analysis by
Dakota Franklin and André Jute

Why should automobile manufacturers wish to race in Formula One, by far the most expensive formula on earth? Because it isn’t actually. If you handle it right, and especially if you’re a winner, it’s a cheap form of publicity and promotion, much cheaper than racing sports cars or even touring cars.

Now there will be outraged screams of, “Everybody knows F1 is hugely expensive. What are you talking about!” But the cheapness of F1 for those who know what they’re doing is easily proven.

Mercedes-AMG-F1-W05-01

Let’s for instance compare the return on Formula One racing that Mercedes enjoys with the return that the Volkswagen Audi Group (VAG) enjoys on sports car and touring car racing. VAG  brands are VW, Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Bentley, Skoda and Seat. Audi and Porsche race in the World Endurance Championship, Audi also races the German Touring Car Championship (DTM), and Volkswagen races in the World Rally Championship.

To keep it simple, we’ll just compare the most valuable return, free television exposure. And we’ll let the  authoritative BBC speak on the numbers we need to compare.

The global advertising value of Mercedes’ television appearances during its F1 campaign in 2014 was $2.8bn.

“Experts believe the equivalent value for VAG [of their sportscar and touring car programmes] was about $30m.

“Mercedes spent a net 130m euros on F1, once external sponsorship and prize money is taken into account.

“VAG spent about 320m euros on DTM and sportscars.”

Let’s see that again:

In F1 racing, Mercedes spent 130m euros net for a television publicity return of 2.8b euros.

In sports car and touring car racing, VAG spent 320m euros net for a television publicity return of 30m euros.

Now we can calculate that for every euro Mercedes spent they received from F1 in return 21.54 euros.

While for every euro VAG spent on the WEC, DTM and the WRC, they received in return less than ten cents.

Oops.

That is why Formula One, Grand Prix racing, is cheap. If you know what you’re doing, of course. Ferrari’s been riding that crest for a long time, and Red Bull, which sells caffinated sugar water, too. They know what cheap marketing it is.

Why do you think Philip Morris, hardcore marketers forbidden by law from putting their advertising on Ferraris, years later still sponsor Ferrari’s F1 team? It’s because for them it is cheap marketing.

We can magnify the examples forever, but it isn’t necessary. The case is proven. If you know what you’re doing, and especially if you’re a winner, or likely to be a winner sometime, Formula One is cheap racing.

andre_jute_singaporedakotafranklin_800pxAndré Jute is an economist with a background in advertising and mass motivation. Dakota Franklin is a consulting engineer in high performance vehicles. Both count among their other interests writing thrillers.

Hey this is non-stop action for sure! … and quoting Jacques Ellul! Too much! — JimK on GAUNTLET RUN, a free superhero novel

Hey this is non-stop action for sure! But even better – I was just driving north on US-206 past I-78 just about a week ago! Netcong!

… and quoting Jacques Ellul! Too much!

— JimK

GAUNTLET RUN (Henty's Fist 1: Birth of a Superhero) by Andre Jute, Dakota Franklin and Andrew McCoyFREE from iTunes Smashwords Kobo B&N

This is what Jim is referring to:

A copperchopper was diving at them.

Henty twitched the wheel but the pistol ground into her ear and she twitched it back, sending more Troubles flying out of the back of the trailer. The Troubles were throwing boxes of food onto the road and Henty could see other Troubles dashing onto the road to fetch the food and then dash back again. This was no isolated skirmish. She was in the middle of a full-scale battle which would start as soon as the opposing army of National Guardsmen and State Troopers finished lining up.

The copperchopper fired its pair of rockets. Henty saw the puffs of smoke as they left the chopper. They fell lazily to only ten feet above the ground, then aimed themselves at the truck and accelerated blisteringly towards it.

Henty panicked and stood up on the brake. The tractor came almost to a dead halt, the trailer didn’t. It swung around and jack-knifed the horse the other way. The two rockets hit the trailer simultaneously, ringing the cab and deafening Henty.

Henty used the confusion to grab the Trouble Sheila’s gun out of her ear, out of the Sheila’s hand, and to throw it out of the window. The Sheila scrambled for the zipgun the suicidal doped-up driver had left in the cab but the Fist was too quick for her and that went out of the window too.

“What you gonna do without a gun?” the Sheila wanted to know. “Man, you crazy.” With that, she opened the door and jumped.

In the big mirror, Henty saw the Sheila roll, come upright for a moment, then disappear over the side of the road like she never existed.

There was a turnoff and Henty took it, seeing in the mirror the remains of the trailer being shredded and disintegrated against the blacktop.

She punched the large query on the route finder. It told her, YOU’RE ON US-206 HEADING NORTH FOR NETCONG. Then it flashed and beeped her: US-206 NOGO WARZONE NOGO, complete with skull and crossbones.

“Everywhere’s no-go,” said Henty, and put her foot down.

 — from GAUNTLET RUN by André Jute, Dakota Franklin & Andrew McCoy
— a FREE novel in any format you want
— also from iTunes Smashwords Kobo B&N

“I give this book five stars. It is highly recommended for everyone with a strong stomach for violence.” — Matt Posner

mccoy_blood_ivory_cover_800pxh

Contemporary review of
BLOOD IVORY by Andrew McCoy
by the novelist
Matt Posner
***** (5 stars out of 5)

This book was originally published in the 1970s; I read the new edition by Cool Main Press, which is both re-issuing Andrew McCoy’s work and commissioning new novels from him. This text was provided to me by the publisher at my request since I was interviewing the gentleman for my website.

Blood Ivory is a direct sequel to African Revenge, to which I also gave five stars. Both feature as hero Lance Weber, who is an apprentice adventurer in the first novel and a veteran adventurer here, travelling on the road in a caravan of trucks with a mixture of sub-Saharan Africans as employees and partners. Both are unflinching in their depiction of race relations and racial conflict. Blood Ivory adds some new elements: boats, helicopters, and Chinese participants in the conflicts.

lance_weber_series_cover_2500

The range of this story is expanded to include England and many places in Asia, including Singapore and Hong Kong. More parts of Africa are shown; I was surprised by the small scale, since the truck convoy seems to cross countries in fewer hours than it would take to cross states that I drive through in the United States. I know Andrew McCoy has it right, however. No thriller writer knows Africa better than Andrew McCoy.

The novel posits an alternate-reality version of the 1970s world in which wild elephants are near extinction, and with their extermination, the price of their ivory will be dramatically magnified. The result, as one might expect after reading African Revenge, is brutal slaughter of men as well as animals.

Blood Ivory is a very gripping novel with strong characterization and terrific plot. It confirms me in my belief that I will enjoy anything Andrew McCoy writes, even when I am horrified by the cruelty and gore and even when I find the characters’ attitudes alien to my own. This is a different type of thriller than those written in this century, because of its setting, because of the treatment of race (and violence toward women), because of the characters’ necessary reliance upon 1970s technology (no mobile phones or computers).

I give this book five stars. It is highly recommended for everyone with a strong stomach for violence.

I hope I will soon see a reissue of McCoy’s controversial novel Atrocity Week. Really longing for a look at that one.

Read more international reviews from leading papers around the world.

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