Monday 29 December 2014

The lovely Jo Robinson lands on my blog today.

Jo continues her book tour about her new release and today graces my blog. I feel ever so humble! Echoes Banner Donna thought there was something wrong with her. That she was suffering from a mental illness that has caused her husband to despise her, distance himself from her, and cheat on her. She blames herself for the desolate, miserable thing that is her marriage and her life. Then she comes across a book that will change everything for her, and reading it, she discovers that there’s nothing wrong with her mind at all, but that there is something very wrong with her husband instead. Marco, she realises, is a malignant narcissist. A text book case. He has a real and documented mental disorder, and that he’s been controlling, manipulating, and abusing her for decades. The sudden full knowledge of all that he’s purposely done to her enrages her. Not sure how to leave after thirty years of what she finally knows has been intentional mental and emotional abuse from him, and believing that she has nowhere to turn, being so physically isolated, she bides her time. Then she meets and befriends a group of unusual people who share her passion for gardening, and so begins her journey to escape. She joins her new friends in their project to assist elderly people in old age homes care for their small gardens, as well as secretly supplying those suffering from painful and terminal illnesses with medicinal herb and plant remedies, including illegal plants such as cannabis. As weeks go by, she delves into her memories, relearns what it is to be respected, liked, and loved again, and slowly she formulates a plan to safely leave her dangerous husband. But unbeknownst to Donna, Marco is in serious trouble, and has desperate plans of his own, and absolutely no regard for her safety. ** This is a work of fiction, but malignant narcissists really do exist, and it is a recognised mental illness. Unfortunately, many people never realise that they are involved with a narcissist, because their actions are so demonically bad as to be unimaginable and unbelievable, and so they spend their lives in misery, depression, fear, and isolation. If only by the accidental reading of a fictional story, I hope that this book will help even one person, unknowingly suffering narcissistic abuse, to realise that they don’t have to, and that it’s never too late to start over, be happy, be fulfilled, to love and care for yourself, and be truly loved and respected by others. Narc12349N1T (2) Available now from AMAZON Jo Robinson very recently returned to her homeland, South Africa, after having lived in rural Zimbabwe for eighteen years. Her obsessive affection for the African continent, most humans, and all creatures feathered and furred are what inspire her writing. She is the author of African Me & Satellite TV, the science-fiction/fantasy series Shadow People, and a couple of short stories, which will be free to download from Amazon from 26 to 30 December, Fly Birdie and The Visitation. To win eBook copies of Shadow People and African Me & Satellite TV, send Jo a message from THIS page. Jo Robinson Photo.jpg 1.jpg 2 Amazon Goodreads Google+ Facebook Twitter Blog

Monday 22 December 2014

Ambulance memoir: Happy bloody Christmas!


Ambulance memoir.
  • I have tried to recreate events, locales and conversations from my memories of them. In order to maintain their anonymity and privacy I’ve changed the names of individuals and sometimes places, I may have changed some identifying characteristics, so the people described do not necessarily reflect the actual person or persons involved. Incidents and situations are as I recall.
  • Swearing happens. I have used, and will use, some words that some people may find offensive.
Christmas in the ambulance service is just another day. If you are working, that is.
For my first Christmas I was on a late shift – three to eleven – all over the festive period.
Christmas Eve was meant to be a fun time, full of expectation and goodwill to all men type of thing, with Christmas spirit supposedly overflowing. Well, spirit definitely came into the equation, but not of the type normally associated with it. When you sit in the high street and watch Santa Claus beating the proverbial out of an Elf while Tinkerbell is trying to scratch the eyes out of a nun, you tend to have a different perspective. We were waiting for the police to turn up, so we were a little way down the street, watching, trying to blend into the background, which is difficult when you’re sitting in a big white van with blue lights and AMBULANCE written all over it.
The ruck continued. Another fairy was attacking Santa now and was doing her best to corkscrew his head off while he was on the floor being kicked by what appeared to be a very large lady with extremely large breasts; it was the tattoos and shaved head along with the large muscles which indicated that perhaps this lady was a man. He didn’t have very good legs.
The police eventually arrived, piled out of the van and set to with the appropriate amount of vigour. Truncheons were flying, but after a brief couple of minutes some sort of order was restored. We were beckoned forward and after a brief check decided that two of the combatants needed to go to hospital. The difficulty was that they were on opposing sides. Ambulances were tied up everywhere so we had no option but to take both. My colleague nabbed a copper and virtually ordered him to come with us, just in case the two decided to carry on their disagreement in the back of our motor. So there was I, stuck in the back with Santa handcuffed to the stretcher and a roman in a toga, both with cuts and bruises and virtually unconscious through drink.
The policeman and I passed the time chatting while trying not to inhale the alcoholic fumes which were engulfing us. Santa then vomited to add a nice little extra to the aroma.
Once at the hospital we discharged our charges into the hands of the lovely hospital staff who were fighting against the tide, trying to sort out the needy patients from the waste of time ones. We left our two on the floor, a bucket nearby and went out to have a smoke. A few minutes later a nurse came out and asked us if we would like to give them a hand.
Back inside we went to the crash room where Santa was on a trolley. The doctor produced a big long plastic tube and we all grinned, especially the copper. While we held Santa down the tube was unceremoniously rammed down his throat and then about three gallons of water poured down. Santa didn’t like it very much…..but we did!
I will always associate Christmas day with corpses. Every Christmas day I worked I got a Christmas corpse.
It was a quiet shift for us after the night before and we were enjoying snoozing in front of the telly. We got a call to a collapse and motored off into the late afternoon, around tea-time. We were going to Tring, a small town just up the road.
We pulled up outside a little row of Victorian terrace cottages to see a man standing outside the address. The police had been called too and arrived at the same time as us. The man said he was a neighbour and was checking on the old lady who lived there; he had a little bag of Christmas goodies with him to give to her. He hadn’t got a reply and was now concerned as she lived on her own and she hadn’t any relatives that he knew of.  We peered in through the window but saw nothing. After a few minutes of banging on the door we decided that we had to break in. A couple of kicks later the door burst in and we all followed.
The house was dirty with battered furniture and lots of bits and pieces, pots and pans were littered all over the floor with junk everywhere. The carpet was rank. We pushed passed all this and entered the tiny back room.
Sitting in a chair with a rug over her knees was the occupant of the house; a tiny emaciated looking woman with thin grey hair. A single Christmas card was placed on the fire surround, next to an old mantle clock. The room was freezing cold, she had no central heating, the open fire the only source of heat, and that looked like it hadn’t been lit in days. The old lady was dead. I checked and found she had rigor mortis so she had died a good few hours previously, all alone in a cold dank house.
Her neighbour was upset, the bag of goodies still hanging from his hand. He thought to cheer her up with a visit but found that the grim reaper had got there first.
Happy bloody Christmas, I thought to myself as I stood there looking down.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Ambulance memoir: The one-armed bandit

Memories of an Ambulanceman

  • I have tried to recreate events, locales and conversations from my memories of them. In order to maintain their anonymity and privacy I’ve changed the names of individuals and sometimes places, I may have changed some identifying characteristics, so the people described do not necessarily reflect the actual person or persons involved. Incidents and situations are as I recall.
  • Swearing happens. I have used, and will use, some words that some people may find offensive
I was working a late shift, three to eleven, and so far it had been quiet. The day crew had put their vehicle away and were ready to go home and we were having a last game of cards before they went. The phone rang, and as attendant, I rushed through to pick it up.
‘Collapse,’ said control. High Street, Berkhampstead. ‘No other details.’
‘Cheers,’ I said, scribbling the location down on a pad.
I was working with Chris, a Leading Ambulancemen, who was in the first line of management. I was lucky that most of the staff at Berko were seasoned ambulancemen, and Chris was another; someone who would teach me a lot over the years and who would become a good friend. He was one of the best ambulancemen in the service.
We walked out leaving the day crew to lock up and jumped into the motor, Chris fired it up and we swung out of the station, then up the road to the high street and turned a right. Blue lights flashing in the dusk we headed off into town.
I was still at the nervous stage, all manner of things flashed through my mind as to what was in store for us. A collapse could mean anything from someone lying dead in the road to someone who just felt a bit iffy. The only thing we could be certain of was that when we did turn up there would be an audience.
As we approached the scene we could see a little group of people gathering around a figure lying on the pavement. A few hands were raised and waving in the gloom. We pulled up and I jumped out. Grabbing my first-aid bag and the portagen I headed towards the group, Chris following closely behind.
‘What’s happened?’ I asked, as I pushed my way through.
‘He just fell over,’ said a man pointing to our patient. ‘He sort of went weak at the knees and then lay down; hasn’t moved since.’
I put down my bag and cylinder and knelt. ‘Hello, can you hear me?’ I said giving him a little shake. I could already see that he was breathing okay. ‘Are you in any pain?’ I sniffed and could smell the distinct whiff of alcohol. The man was small and thin with dark greasy hair, his clothes looked as though they’d come fresh from a midden.
There was no reply. I shook him again and this time I was rewarded with a grunt. I tried again, talking to him and shaking him, trying to get something tangible out of him.
Chris stood at my side with his hands in his pockets and was mumbling to himself. I turned my head to see what he was doing. He was trying not to laugh.
‘What’s up?’ I asked.
‘You’re still fairly new, so you might not have met our friend here. Just don’t take your eyes off of him,’ he advised.
‘Why?’ I asked.
Just then I found out why.
As soon as Chris had stopped talking there was a collective intake of breath as an arm came arcing through the air, aimed right at my head!
I ducked and moved my head just as the limb whizzed by, it came so close I could feel it tickle the hairs on my head.
‘That’s why,’ replied Chris. He moved in quickly, grabbed the errant arm and pinned it down. He then leant forward to speak quietly to our patient.
‘We’ve just about had enough of you.’
‘Fuck off,’ replied our patient.
‘No, you fuck off,’ Chris advised, he then turned to me. ‘This gentleman is one of our regulars and a nasty piece of shit he is too.’
The crowd moved back rapidly leaving just me and Chris within striking distance.
The patient waited a few seconds and then started to scramble to his feet, it was then I noticed that something about the arm looked odd. The man stood and then sort of staggered off, pushing people out of the way.
The air was thick with expletives coming from the onlookers and aimed at our ex-patient, they weren’t amused that they had been fooled and that their entertainment was nothing more than someone taking the piss. I would come across him quite regularly over the coming years; someone who’s only joy in life was to find some way of being the centre of attention, an alcoholic with bloody great chip on his shoulder.
Chris turned to me. ‘Notice anything about the arm?’ he asked, as we watched the drunkard head off down the road.
‘False?’ I enquired.
Chris nodded. ‘Meet the one-armed bandit. Alcoholic and violent. That arm has smacked ambulancemen and coppers alike; and it fucking hurts, I can tell you.’
It was nice to know that even old hands like Chris could sometimes get it wrong!

Monday 24 November 2014

My review of The Last Templar by Michael Jecks

This is a book that I’ve just re-read after finding a dog-eared copy hiding in my loft. I’ve read a few of this series, and each one I have enjoyed just as much as this.

The Last Templar introduces us to Simon Puttock and Sir Baldwin de Furnshill, the two main protagonists throughout the series. Puttock is called in, as bailiff, to investigate the death of a local man and he meets the new Lord who has just returned from years abroad. A friendship, albeit tentatively, begins; but elements emerge that puts Puttock’s friendship with Baldwin into question.

I’m a big lover of historical novels, and this one didn’t disappoint. The medieval era is perfectly depicted through the narrative, the obvious research into the time apparent from the very beginning. There is an easy rhythm to the writing which compels you to turn the page, although the pace slows occasionally, it quickly picks up again.

Fans of Bernard Cornwell, Simon Scarrow, Bernard Knight, Karen Maitland, C J Sansom and the like will find that this series sits nicely on the shelf along with them, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. 

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Sponsor a writer sir/madam?

Is this a new way forward for eBooks?

The thought of having to gear my writing to an advertiser would somewhat hinder the creative flow I would have thought, but the worrying thing is that when one publisher/company/writer starts using something like this and it becomes moderately successful, then the door is flung open for everyone else.

Imagine Frankenstein being sponsored by an electric company, or Sherlock Holmes having to insert adverts for ambulance-chasing lawyers, Patrick O’Brian in league with the holiday companies, Terry Pratchett and British Rail (his latest).

Seems to me that although this is obviously going to be a revenue stream for someone, I just hope that sense prevails and it doesn’t transfer to the mass market. Reading would never be the same again!    

Tuesday 11 November 2014


To those people whose lives, loves, hopes and aspirations, were lost to enable us to live our lives and have our loves and have enabled us to hope and achieve our aspirations. 

I thank you.

Monday 13 October 2014

Sun and fun

Having read the two other books in the Bev and Carol memoirs, I was eager to read this third offering.

Stranded in the Seychelles didn’t disappoint.

Our two fun-loving girls are a little bit older now, a little bit wiser and both in the teaching profession. Bored and with direction problems they decide to take up teaching positions on the other side of the world.

They encounter an eclectic group of people, ranging from the eager locals to a group of varying foreign nationals; as well as a government not exactly sure of where it’s going. There is an element of pathos to the recollections as it looks at the restrictions placed upon them and the local people, the undercurrent of control, and the poverty which surrounds them; all of which doesn’t sit very well with our two girls.

That said, the humour is there in bucket-loads, the sharp wit, the wry observations and the tendency to throw two-fingers up at authority. It didn’t seem as if I was reading this story, it was more like listening to two friends recounting their adventures whilst sitting down the pub with a few glasses of wine and a couple of beers in an atmosphere of joie de vivre. Lovely stuff! 

Monday 29 September 2014

African me & Satellite TV by Jo Robinson

At first I thought this was going to be a light-hearted humorous read as the early chapters indicated, but then it began to turn to more serious issues. This was all done through the eyes of Suzette; her boring life, her boring (to her) husband and her inability to accept what was going on around her - i.e. Racism.

The realisation that she could step out of her cloistered existence and embrace the world she inhabits, and could actually do something to right its wrongs, is the spine that underpins this novel.

I bought this sometime ago and have only just got around to reading it, and like others who reviewed earlier there were some typo issues with my copy. (since posting this review, the author assures me that the book has been completely re-edited) However, it doesn’t alter the fact that this is still a very good book.

The characters are well rounded and the plot well written. I found myself detesting the villains in the saga due to how well they were portrayed. The main character I wanted to give a kick to, to make her see what was in front of her and to get her to do something about it. Fortunately, she does, but the repercussions are not only felt by her.

I would definitely recommend this novel and am looking forward to reading more from this author.

Product Details
see it here

Monday 1 September 2014

Middle for diddle

I do archery as a sport, and the other night I was up at our field and shooting away; compound, Bowtech, 53#, carter release aid, ACE’s 28 1/2” for those who want to know. Anyway, there I was playing with my set up, trying the find the right balance, the right technique, the right posture, changing things, fiddling, twiddling, tweaking anything to get me that inch closer to the middle when something occurred to me.

A lot of people try archery, they come up to the field, pick up a bow and think that it’s going to be oh so easy. They put an arrow on the string, pull it back, let it go and watch it fly into the middle of the target.

Yeah, right. In their dreams!

It takes practice, and a certain amount of coaching, and then you move the target back a few metres and it all starts over again. It ain’t easy.

Yes, you do get the naturals who can start off running, but they are few and far between, the vast majority have to be taught.

Some people come up, fire away for ten minutes and think they now know how to shoot. They then go out and buy the best most expensive equipment, without any advice, and think that they are now it; they know it all, they don’t need any more advice and help and they now have the kit to take on all-comers. They are sorely disappointed when they find out that that ain’t the case. They haven’t done the basics, so how the hell they think they can become world champions just because they have the latest and most expensive kit, I just don’t know.

You have to learn and then practise and then learn some more, and then after a good while you find that when you shoot, the arrow goes where you want it to go; and then the really hard work begins, because you are always striving to get that arrow even closer to the middle.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Marketing is something that needs to be practised, you need to learn and then practise some more. You need to hone your technique, you need to study the best and learn from those who are successful. Certainly in the self-publishing world there are a few who know what they are doing. I try and study them, I try to pick up little snippets of information and then I try to apply what I’ve learnt.

They don’t know it, but they’re coaching me.

 Yes, I’m taking my time because I’m not a natural and I realise this, but I will improve, bit by bit until eventually I can say I know what I’m doing.

I suggest that you all do the same; don’t think that you know it all, because unless you are a natural you ain’t going nowhere.

Listen, read, watch and learn from those who know, use the wealth of information out there because the internet is full of it. You will discard some bits, take note of others, but above all take the time to learn. That’s what I’m trying to do.

Monday 18 August 2014

The pen is mightier....

I have decided to relent.

After the last few years of bashing away at the computer I’ve decided that picking up pen and paper and scribbling away in my hard to read handwriting is more productive than sitting at the keyboard and hammering away at the digits.

I’ve gone back to writing my writing down by actually writing!

When I first started writing I did so at work. Being in the ambulance service, the wee small hours were then a bit slow for calls, and I hated being woken up and having to rapidly get my brain into gear before careering off down the road to deal with whatever some person decided to do with themselves at that ungodly hour, that I always stayed awake whilst my crew-mate counted the z’s in the next room. I had to write on bits of paper, loose-leaf and stuffed into a battered and ripped A4 beige folder. I used to hide away in the ciggie room in my comfy battered chair and scribble away, making regular forays out to the kitchen for endless cups of tea to sustain me during those strange dark hours.

Technology has its good points, but you can’t beat the good old-fashioned technology.

I reckon people can lose sight of how it feels to actually write down, properly, the prose whizzing around in the mind. I find the flow is easier and more tangible and you don’t highlight and cut with pen and paper, you just write down what you’re thinking, warts and all. There’s a connection that you don’t get with a computer and it’s a bloody sight easier to just pick up a pen and add a line when it suddenly occurs to you.

It’s less of a distraction too. With a computer you’re just a click away from everything, and I mean everything. It’s all too easy to wander off and then find that for the last hour you’ve been scrolling through e-bay or looking at the house you’re going to buy when your latest book hits the best-seller list; the book that you’re not writing because you’re looking at the internet!

Give me a nice fountain pen and a few bits of paper and I’m happy as the pig in the proverbial.

I reckon that’s not a bad thing either!

Monday 4 August 2014

The old adage applies

The Commonwealth Games have now finished. I must admit I was glued to the telly day in and day out as you could see all the competitors trying their hardest to win that elusive gold medal.

 Did you see the expression on the face of thirteen year old Para-swimmer Erriad Davies who won a bronze medal? Priceless!

 All those athletes, new to the scene, won because many top athletes stayed away. The aspiring athletes gained; the unknowns who competed in front of millions won against expectation and received a media coverage they could only have dreamed of. Sport gained because of it. 

Is there a correlation with writing?

 Yep there is. You see, all those athletes trained hard in an attempt to make it onto the world stage, some of them have now managed it. Those of us who write try to bring our work onto the world stage. Those unknown athletes have shown what can be achieved with perseverance, dedication and bloody hard work. Years of training have paid off by the simple act of having a medal hung around their necks. It applies to us too. It’s inspiring. We spend sometimes years scribbling away with what looks like no hope of success - and then suddenly there’s a chance. It brings hope that success can come to those who least expect it, and that, my dear friends, applies to us as writers as well.

 The old adage applies; it takes years of hard work to become an overnight success!

Tuesday 22 July 2014


Jazz Baby is an atmospheric dip into southern America in the 1920’s. It follows the story of Emily Ann as she hits adolescence; as she sings and explores life, life explores her.

I enjoyed reading this book as it was both light and dark. The prose flowed well and jogged along at the right pace. The dialect was no problem for me even though I’m a Brit, I thought it brought to life both the era and place.

My only gripe is with the main character’s reaction to certain situations. What should have affected her deeply, and been a catalyst for what followed, was seemingly just shrugged off. Her emotions for me weren’t explored enough as she just carried on until the next event in her life panned out, be it a murder, a rape, or sexual awakening.

 Having said that I still found it an enjoyable read, it is well written and the characterisations are good. It’s certainly a book I would have no hesitation in recommending.

Monday 16 June 2014

World Cup Bargain

World cup fever is upon us!

Well, as an Englishman, perhaps fever is not exactly the word that springs to mind, more appropriate is the word angst!

Every time we build up our hopes only to have them dashed against the wall and disintegrate into the ether in puff of inevitability - generally in a penalty shoot out against Germany.

This time I am not holding out a lot of hope, instead I will watch and cheer and just enjoy the games without expectation. Fingers will be crossed of course, but I will keep hold of reality. Two group games to go, we need to win them both......yeah, right!

Will I go and join my fellow cynics down at the pub? Perhaps, but I don’t like crying into my beer, it waters it down too much.

Which brings me to my point; as long as England remain in the cup, my book, Banker’s Draft, will be free to download from Smashwords. Free, gratis and for nothing - possibly the bargain of the year!

Don’t despair if you only use amazon, it’s only $1.29 or 77p, again for the duration.

If you enjoy it, then please leave a review, it would make this author very happy.

C’mon England!!   

Tuesday 27 May 2014

SHOUT or whisper?

When an author has finally finished putting pen to paper, or in the case of most, bashing the hell out the keyboard, there comes a time when you stare at the masterpiece you’ve produced and think, now what?

You’ve spent all that time thinking about plots and character development, how to pace your book, whether the ending fits with all the other stuff you’ve been writing, and whether you’ve managed to tie up all the bits that have meandered off plot for the purpose of creativity, that maybe the most important part has been neglected.

Unfortunately I’m talking about marketing.

I’m finding there are many ways to market a book, and to be honest, I’m still trying to find the best way to market mine.

I look at all the different genres and think ‘where the hell in all this does mine sit?’ You see, Banker’s Draft falls into lots of different groups. It’s about a crime, murder sets it off, but it’s also a mystery and a fantasy: it’s also humour, a parody, a satire; there’s even a bit of romance....sort of! So I have to think where this sits out in the big wide world, and how to draw readers to it
Looking at all the blog posts, each and everyone has a different way of doing things. There are some who want to shove their book down your throat, you see them on twitter and facebook with reams of ‘buy my book’ tweets etc, they’re the SHOUTY ones, the ‘buy my book’ because it’s brilliant and I don’t care that you’ve got a book out because YOURS doesn’t matter, only MINE matters, type of person. Rarely, if ever, do they engage with another person. The polar opposite are the ones who put the book up on amazon and then sit and pray that someone somewhere will notice it amongst the trillions of other books out there.

 Most sit somewhere in-between.

Like me, you probably look and try to learn because the one thing I, or you, do not want to become is the SHOUTY person. I want to get readers to read my book because they want to, because they’re interested in it, because they may actually enjoy reading it.

Perhaps there is a magic formula somewhere, but I think it’s more to do with engaging with people, being interested in people, but above all being supportive to people.

Please don’t be like the SHOUTY people!

Friday 23 May 2014

My review of Self-Publishing Steps To Successful Sales by Seumas Gallacher

This little book is packed full of useful information to the newbie writer just entering the market place, or applicable even to the seasoned old hand needing a refresher course and a kick up the bum. It reminds us that writing is a business and that businesses need nurturing to develop.

This is not an A-Z of marketing techniques, just one person’s experience on how he uses social media and other avenues to sell his books; and he gives guidance on how to achieve this in a simple easy to read format. It is a valuable lesson from someone who has been there, seen it, done it and is now wearing the t-shirt.

Building a platform on social media is a must-do for any author seeking to self-publicize, and this little volume shows how this can be done easily and efficiently.

Seumas Gallacher shares with us his experiences so that all of us can learn, and the truth is that many of us need to learn. 

In comparison, the writing bit is the easy bit, but the marketing side is a totally different ball-game.

Roll yer sleeves up and get stuck right in - Seumas is showing us the way.

Monday 19 May 2014

Love a writer

A few people have asked when my next book is coming out. Well, hopefully it won’t be too long in arriving. I’m about two thirds of the way through writing it at the moment, so if I can do my time management properly........

That’s the trouble when you’re not a full-time writer; there are so many other things that get in the way.

Work for example - I have to earn a few pennies in order to put a crust on the table, otherwise I’d have to queue up at the workhouse in order to get a bowl of gruel to hand out to those poor unfortunates saddled with me as a husband, father, dog owner etc.

Life - I have a family, they need a lot of my attention; otherwise I might not have a family at the end of it (see above) should I devote all my spare time to scribbling.

Sport - Yes, I like sport and I do participate; I actually do archery. Also armchair football, rugby, cricket, tennis....but sorry, not golf.  Sky telly does come in handy.

Then there’s all the little DIY things that I have to do around the house, the gardening, the decorating, repairing everything that breaks down, falls apart, disappears or is disappearing; all those little things that need doing and eat up your time.

Then of course, there is the pub.........did I not mention the pub?  It’s a nice pub, a good old fashioned English watering hole where they serve proper beer, not that fizzy cold stuff that's the bane of our modern society, proper beer that has texture and colour, beer that has body, beer that has a soul. Beer served from a hand pump at cellar temperature, beer that slips down the throat with a velvet caress.

I’m not alone in this. The chances are that your favourite indie/self-published author is doing the same, as very few are in the position to be full-time writers.

So, to get my/their next book out sooner, you need to support them. Wave a flag with their name on it, use a bit of social media to get the word out, tell your friends, your relatives, anyone who’ll listen. But best of all, love them by buying their books - but don’t forget to give them a review!

Here's mine by the way.

Monday 12 May 2014

My review of An Unfamiliar Murder by Jane Isaac

I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this detective debut from Jane Isaac, it’s very well written with the plot bouncing along at just the right pace.

DCI Helen Lavery juggles her work and her chaotic home life as the plot unfolds. Plagued by an underperforming deputy and a boss unsure whether she is up to the job, she somehow manages to ignore everything and concentrate on what she’s there for, and that is to find a murderer.

Anna is the victim in all this. Her life is tipped upside down and then shaken to distraction before finally being put through the ringer. You can’t help but feel sympathetic towards her as she’s the unwitting victim of events, as well as the main suspect.

I found that the main characters leapt off the page at me; they were well drawn, well rounded within a well written story. They were human, with human frailties.

An Unfamiliar Murder is definitely a page turner, a cracking good read by cracking good author. Congratulations go to Mrs Isaac for a first class piece of writing that deserves to be widely read, a big future must surely beckon.    

Monday 7 April 2014

The Violin Man's Legacy by Seumas Gallacher

The Violin Man’s Legacy by Seamus Gallacher is fast paced, well written with nicely rounded characters. The story revolves around a security company, triads and gemstones. The action starts straight from page one and continues throughout with barely a pause.
Ex SAS Jack Calder is the main character in this testosterone driven, all action thriller. However, testosterone filled it may be, but Jack has another side as well. The body count is high, but this book also explores the psyche of Calder and how he comes to terms with the things he has to do. Yes, guns are an integral part of the story, as are violence and greed, but not the only part.

An enjoyable page-turning read for anyone who likes their action heroes to have just a little bit of humanity mixed with their machismo.

Friday 21 March 2014

Daydreams Daughter, NIghtmare's Friend by Nonnie Jules

Daydreams Daughter, Nightmare’s Friend by Nonnie Jules is a very powerful story of abuse and its consequences. The style of writing reminds me a little of memoirs like Angela’s Ashes, but the author assures us it’s a work of fiction. If so, then it’s a very compelling work.

Maiya is the central character, a girl from the wrong side of town; an innocent young girl, but that innocence is taken away in the most brutal way possible. A disinterested alcoholic mother and a too interested manipulative step-father spark the fuse that will ignite events.

Well written with good characterisation you feel you’re drawn in to the story, often in an uncomfortable way, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t read it - more so that you should.

Congratulations must go to the author for a very strong first novel.

Monday 3 March 2014

Jim Fosse's Expense Claim

John Dolan’s ‘Jim Fosse’s Expense Claim’ is a short sharp introduction to the writing of this author. Needless to say that this short story is a taster of his skill with the pen, together with an insight into his own sense of humour - his slightly twisted sense of humour. What can you do with an expense claim? Well, John does it in a most unexpected way.

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Auto retweets

Just a quick thought.
The proliferation of auto retweets on twitter. Am I alone in thinking that it is all a bit of a waste of time? I mean, if someone is using  a retweet service then doesn't that mean that they aren't actually on twitter and that they are doing something else like cleaning out the cat? And then if everybody is using a retweet service then all everyone is doing is retweeting an automated retweet of an automated retweet so nobody actually sees the retweet because everybody is cleaning out their cats! And then the auto retweet (I believe this is the case) picks out the first tweet on an account and tweets that, so my random piece of conversation gets retweeted across the globe, which happened to me just recently.....several times!
I push the thought out that auto retweets are in fact killing twitter for the author, and very soon, if this all keeps up there will be no authors actually on twitter because they have signed up to an auto retweet service! So what's the point? No bugger will actually see your tweets!
Just a thought.