All posts by Christopher Hepworth

Instafreebie Multi-Author Giveaway

Dear readers,

I have something special, I’d like to share with you.
I’ve teamed up with mystery and crime thriller authors to give away a collection of 48 novels.

You can access the giveaway page at this link
This opportunity is available for a limited time only and will expire on 25th August. Enjoy

The giveaways are handled via Instafreebie and are subject to their terms and conditions.

Have you read my novel The Wulff Agenda? For a limited time, you can enter to win the book plus 35+ fantastic crime fiction novels from an amazing collection of authors, PLUS a Kindle Fire!
Enter the contest by clicking here:

When you’re done, leave a comment to let me know you’ve entered!

Six months before last year’s presidential election, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek blog about how to survive a Trump presidency. A week later the blog was subject to an orchestrated ‘no prisoners taken, pile-on Troll attack’ by twenty or so Trump supporters. The attack lasted for a couple of hours, but when no-one responded to their insulting and ‘braindead’ comments they disappeared, never to return. The process was brutal and I discovered a Troll attack is a very disturbing experience indeed!

So why do these small but highly organised ‘follower armies’ of Trolls bother to pile on to random blogs, written in jest on the other side of the world? Because on the fringes of our society there is an internet culture war taking place. Most Trolls are extremists on opposite sides of the political spectrum and their intention is to polarise debate into one of two ‘camps’. In their simple minds, you are either with them or you are the enemy, deserving of their insults and threats. There is no room for reasoned debate or polite acceptance of opposing views.

Their strategy is to claim ‘victory’ based on their imposed majority judgement of the targeted chat forum. On a grander scale, it means that small, well organised, on-line groups can magnify the impact and influence of their extremist viewpoints. They are able turn random social media platforms into propaganda machines that suit their ends. Think anti-vaccinating, Brexit, fossil fuels, abortion, Trump, gun laws or any other controversial social issues of the day.

For those who do not have polarised views, the behaviour of the Trolls is boorish and irritating. Our natural inclination is to push back against those views – an activity known as feeding the Trolls. A sad reflection on our society is that this boorish style of commentary has become so prevalent it now mainstream. I read a serious column in a respectable Australian newspaper where a government ‘spokesman’ suggested that anyone who believed in man-made climate change was a ‘cardigan wearing, Guardian reading, elitist.’ I suspect most of his moderate-leaning readers switched off at that point.

So how best to fight back against a Troll Follower Army that has taken possession of your favourite internet forum?  Trolls are after all, mythical creatures that can be outsmarted by low-IQ Billy Goat Gruffs! Here are six ‘Resistance’ strategies that may not win the war against a full blown Troll pile-on but they are more fun than seething impotently at your computer screen:

  1. Ignore them and they will go away. It’s the ultimate strategy. Trolls thrive on conflict and are the masters of trench warfare. They have incredible stamina and will win any war of insult. But with no ammunition or target, their short attention spans will cause them to quickly leave the field of battle.
  2. The Commando Hit and Run. When a Troll Army has invaded your favourite forum, sneak in and lay a ‘sticky bomb’. This explosive argument should be logical, factual, unemotional, unbiased and hard hitting. Then get the hell out of there fast leaving the Trolls chasing nothing but shadows.
  3. The Sniper Attack. Locate the Troll Army general. He’s the loudest, most obnoxious and most irrational Troll on the chat forum. Take aim and hit him between the eyes with a killer line of reasoning backed up by telling scientific references. Then exit the chat room leaving the troll army stunned and leaderless.
  4. The Kamikazi. Unfortunately, you are going to have to take one for the team by zeroing in on the Troll heavyweight. This involves dropping ‘the big one’ – the latest academic research paper on the lead Troll’s sweeping generalisations. You might inflict irreparable damage on his flawed logic, but you are also likely to be shot down in flames by sheer weight of numbers.
  5. The ‘Johnny Come Lately’. A strategy used to great effect on US websites. This involves supporting the one remaining voice of reason surrounded by a sea of angry Trolls. With the battle almost over and the Trolls on the back foot, you enter the fray with a few hard-hitting facts and well-constructed conclusions. Your support is often enough to send the orchestrated Troll pile-on packing.
  6. The ambush. Draw the trolls out into the open with a few rookie comments while keeping your best logic, your carefully researched facts and your supporting reference sites hidden. Once the troll army has revealed their position let rip with your entire debating arsenal leaving them stunned and bloodied. Then get the hell out.

Freedom of expression demands that the ‘sensible centre’ sticks up for what it believes to be right and does so in a calm logical way. It’s time for normal people to fight back!

It may not be the best way of dealing with the Trolls, but then the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff would have been a complete anti-climax if the little billy goat had not given the Troll a taste of his own medicine.

Have you read my novel 'The Sleepwalker Legacy'? 
Enter to win the book and 20 fantastic dark thrillers from an amazing collection of authors, alongside bookstore gift cards, PLUS a Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet! Enter the contest by clicking here:
When you’re done, leave a comment to let me know you’ve entered!

Dear readers, I have something special, I’d like to share with you. I’ve teamed up with mystery and crime thriller authors to give away a collection of 33 novels.
You can access the giveaway page at this link This opportunity is available for a limited time only and will expire on 8th July. Enjoy

The giveaway is handled via Instafreebie and is subject to their terms and conditions.

When the pace of corporate life gets too frantic, I dream of my favourite patch of earth. Its lies in the heart of Africa in a place called the Luangwa Valley in Zambia. A majestic river runs through the arid savannah and it teems with exotic wildlife.

I picture myself as a teenager, drinking tea in a comfortable chair staring towards the river waiting for the sun to rise. When it does, the sky explodes into a palette of red, orange and yellow hues as the new day breaks. Dawn sets off a cacophony of noise as hippos, elephants and assorted animals take their first drink of the day at the banks of the Luangwa River.

I hear the strange noise of vegetation being ripped from its roots and I turn to see that an entire herd of elephants has gathered behind me while I was watching the river. It is quite a shock. The African elephant is built like the side of a house and has the power of an eight-tonne bulldozer.  And they detest humans who have been poaching them for their ivory tusks for centuries.

My route back to my chalet has been blocked and I recall stories of how angry African elephants have been known to pick up humans in their trunks and dash them to their deaths against the rocks. But this herd is engrossed in shovelling the fresh shoots of new green grass into their cavernous mouths and is happy to keep a wary eye on me as I slip past them to safety. I was left with a feeling of respect and awe for these magnificent creatures that has stayed with me for the rest of my life.

I stumbled upon this entrancing video of the same family of elephants who trek through the reception of the Mfuwe Lodge in the Luangwa National Park as if they own the place. They emerge at the other side of the building where they gorge themselves on ripe mangoes. The lodge was built on an ancient elephant path and they see no reason to walk around the building and who is going to stop them?

It is a perfect picture of man and nature living in harmony and long may it continue. But unfortunately, it is a rare example. I found myself wondering how I would feel if this oasis of paradise was threatened by development. And so began the premise for my latest book, The Last Oracle which is due for release in September. The book takes the small acts of destruction of our natural environment to its natural conclusion, but luckily the book’s hero Sam Jardine is there to save the day once again.

We are all too consumed by the idea of progress for progress’ sake rather than balancing what progress can sometimes take away from our lives. A perfect example from our recent history was the ever-rising production quotas imposed on the whaling fleets of the Soviet Union in the sixties and seventies. The captains who achieved the tough production quotas were lauded as heroes. The Soviet Union had little use for the dead whales but their exploits almost wiped out the largest species ever to have graced the earth. It would have been a tragedy of unimaginable proportions, but luckily the world woke up at the eleventh hour and stopped the mass slaughter. In some ways, it is still happening today with our nostalgic love affair with dangerous and dirty sources of energy when cleaner and cheaper alternatives exist.

My research for The Last Oracle has changed my view of the world completely. It started by watching a three-minute video of my favourite place on earth and imagining what would happen if an oil rig was planted in the middle of the elephant’s mangrove plantation.

We all have our perfect patches of earth from our childhood stored in the depths of our memories. Take a minute to retrieve those memories and imagine what would happen if an oil rig was planted in the middle of that patch in the name of progress. Then consider what you could do to achieve a better balance between progress and protection of the places we love. It could change your life.