All posts in The Long Hard Road

The Shape Of Things To Come

Extract from CHAPTER 1 – ‘Nothing Is Ever Forever’ (Due Dec.2015)
Monday September 3rd 2012-

On the first Monday of the new month, that time had arrived. Erebus invited Rusty to join him in the orangery alone. He was more than a little surprised; Phoenix was generally selected for these special meetings with the old man. Every now and then, the old gentleman deigned to let the tough ex-SAS sergeant join them. A face-to-face meeting was a privilege not to be sniffed at.
Rusty arrived in the orangery at the appointed time. He had put on a clean t-shirt especially. Erebus was waiting. He nodded at Rusty and noted the slogan across his chest; SAS – Super Army Soldier. He passed no comment.
“Thousands of foreign domestic workers are living as slaves in Britain, being abused sexually, physically and psychologically by their employers, more than fifteen thousand migrant workers come to Britain every year to earn money to send back to their families. Many endure conditions that amount to slavery. They can suffer physical and psychological abuse. Thousands are not allowed out alone, never have a day off, work all the hours God sends and receive a pittance in return.
Foreign diplomats are among the worst offenders. Their workers, unlike those brought in on a domestic worker visa, cannot change their employer and face being homeless or being deported if they run away. It is also extremely difficult to prosecute diplomats for treating their workers as slaves.
Children are also being bought to the UK. One young girl was trafficked from Nigeria to London when she was just twelve years old. Her employer worked as a cultural attaché at the Embassy. The young girl was supposedly employed as a domestic servant, but behind closed doors she was regularly raped and beaten.
When she was fourteen she was thrown out onto the street. What had been her crime? She had asked for a day off. The attaché left her with nothing; terrified and alone, all she could do was to sit in the street, waiting for her abuser to change his mind. He relented in the morning and she was forced to return to the household duties and be at his beck and call whenever he wanted her.
In June of this year she took her own life by drinking bleach. Her employer was adamant that there had been no signs that the girl was unhappy. She had been ‘a good worker, always willing and her smiling face around the house would be sadly missed.’


“There are more servants in the UK now than there were in Victorian times Rusty, because of the growth of childcare and the relatively low cost of employing domestic staff,” said Erebus.
“I’m hoping that folder in front of you holds the identity of the bastard involved? Excuse my language Sir.”
“It’s all there Rusty,” said Erebus “I should like this job carried out immediately. I believe the bastard concerned, as you rightly termed him, has outlived his usefulness as a cultural attaché to these shores. Please arrange for him to be repatriated forthwith.”
“Consider it done boss,” said Rusty grimly, and he picked up the file from the table and left the orangery to return to his quarters to prepare.
Rusty had sat in with Phoenix on many occasions to watch the master planner at work. He had picked up a few tricks of the trade in the past two years. With the amount of training that Rusty had given Phoenix when he first arrived at Larcombe, it seemed only fair that it had finally become a ‘two-way street.’
Solomon Okonkwo was forty-six; he had been with the High Commission for three and a half years. His high-rise apartment was impressive, situated in Marylebone. Rusty had imagined that most of these blokes would have gravitated towards Mayfair or Knightsbridge. After all, their government was picking up the tab. Rusty flicked through some of the information that Giles and his team had put together.
He was interested to learn that five million bought you more space in Marylebone than in the more upmarket areas of central London.
“Who knew” asked Rusty, to nobody in particular “how the other half lives eh?”
He read on. Marylebone had transformed itself into a great destination, with a lovely village feel and, arguably, the best high street in London. Marylebone’s international diversity with Russian, American and African inhabitants was part of its charm.
Rusty checked the easiest route to Northumberland Avenue, so that he could get to the Embassy. He had photographs of his target and could pick him up from there and follow him home. He wanted to get a look around the apartment block itself first, while Solomon was at work. Gaining access was not an issue. Phoenix had about half a dozen methods, all tried and tested, and half a dozen that never failed. One of those would serve his purpose.
Rusty didn’t need much convincing that Solomon Okonkwo deserved to pay the price for his actions, but he went through the data concerning the young girl just the same. Olabisi Promise Chukwu had been just twelve years old when she arrived in the UK on a flight from Lagos. An elderly relative had accompanied her; he was said to be an uncle from her village.
Olabisi had been left at Solomon’s new apartment only days after he had collected the keys from the letting agents. He had been staying at a five-star hotel for the first two months after taking up his new position at the High Commission. Solomon was a single man, with specific needs. Olabisi was to perform all his domestic duties and she soon discovered that she was to provide other more personal ones too.
In addition to Olabisi, Solomon employed an Indonesian woman, Nurul Ruby Pohan, a thirty-nine year old mother of four, who had worked in London for seven years. She came to the flat seven days a week and was Solomon’s cook.
Rusty looked at the photographs of the two desperate women. He looked at the long list of crimes that diplomats were responsible for in the past year. There were robberies, sex attacks, fraud, grievous bodily harm, drink-driving and shoplifting. One suspect had been arrested for making a bomb threat.
“You couldn’t make it up,” muttered Rusty.
International treaty rules give immunity from prosecution to all diplomats and any relatives living with them. Rusty was appalled by the fact that serious offenders were escaping justice. The immunity granted exemption from arrest or detention.
“Well, in my book, that means that Solomon’s immunity doesn’t exempt him from having a nasty accident then.”
Everyone at the Olympus Project were of the same opinion. Serious offenders escaping justice was not an option.


The following morning he was up bright and early. The car arrived outside the stable block at exactly seven fifteen. The seven forty-three from the old Spa station would arrive at Platform Five at Paddington, just before a quarter past ten.
Rusty collected his kitbag and started the journey. As the train sped through the Wiltshire countryside he thought through his initial timetable. Straight ahead to the Tube; then the Bakerloo Line to Northumberland Avenue. He should be outside the Nigerian High Commission before eleven.
The concourse wasn’t especially crowded on this Tuesday morning. He strode through the slow-moving throng of commuters, tourists and students. Why were there always students around, no matter what time of day you travelled? Late for wherever they were supposed to be, he imagined, either that or they had selected a course where lectures were scattered carelessly through each week, making sure they had lots of downtime.
Twenty minutes later Rusty was looking at the front doors of the building. It certainly had plenty of character. His mobile phone vibrated in his pocket. It was a message from Giles. He had hacked into the CCTV in the vicinity and checked that Solomon Okonkwo had arrived for work. He confirmed that Solomon was definitely inside the building. The coast was clear for Rusty to pay a visit to Marylebone.
Another short ride underground via Green Park and he was craning his neck to see the floor on which his target lived. As the crick in his neck increased, Rusty knew that his choice had been perfect. All he needed to do now was gain access. Time to use one of Phoenix’s ruses. He removed a clipboard and hi-viz waistcoat from his kitbag.
He strolled up to the nearest pedestrian crossing , donning his disguise as he went. As he waited for the ‘Walk’ light he kept an eye out for any movement at the front entrance to the apartment block.
There it was! A postie pushing a trolley. Early September and she was in shorts, but then they all tended to wear shorts whatever the weather these days. In her case, it was a mistake. She was almost old enough to be his mother, with legs that should remain hidden by law. The lights changed; the mighty noise of traffic paused and Rusty crossed over.
He hoped that a little charm would win the day. He held back for a second as she searched through her set of keys. She found the one that would allow her entry to the foyer and the post-boxes on the wall.
Rusty sprinted forward.
“Here you go, sweetheart, let me get that for you,” he said, holding the door back in order for her to get her trolley inside.
“Oh thank you my lovely,” the old postie cooed “I’m getting too old for this game.”
“Too old?” said Rusty “don’t be daft. The council have sent me round to check some flats on the top floor, they keep hearing pigeons in the roof spaces. I might have to get rid of some vermin later.”
“Bloody nuisance, pigeons,” the postie agreed. She was dishing out the post. The pile was disappearing fast.
“Nearly done?” asked Rusty “they can wait for me a little longer; I’ll help you get out without scratching those pins.”
She was like putty in his hands. She slotted the last gas bill into No 84 and wheeled her trolley back to the door. Rusty let her out.
“Have a nice day!” he called after her.
“You too, love, you too.” Cried the postwoman.
Rusty was already by the lifts. Floor after floor slipped by silently and then he was there. When the doors opened, all Rusty could hear was his own breathing. It was as quiet as the grave. Perfect.
Getting inside Solomon’s flat presented no problems. Picking a lock was one of many skills that Rusty had acquired over the years. Once inside he moved around quickly and quietly, just in case there were poeple at home in the adjoining apartments. It was unlikely, nearly all the occupants were at work. This wasn’t the sort of flat that a single mum with a nipper could afford on benefits. He wasn’t likely to hear Jeremy Kyle seeping through the walls.
Rusty crept towards the windows. He peered out from behind the curtains to ensure that nobody was watching the flat from across the street, or idly glancing up from street level. It was all clear. He tried to open the sash window. It was stuck, or secured in some way.
“Back to the kitbag,” he muttered “just as well I collected a few bits and pieces from stores.”
Fifteen minutes later the window opened, it slid up and down smoothly in fact, probably as well as it had done for fifty years.
“Job’s a good one,” said Rusty “time for lunch I reckon.”
Taking as much care on the way down as he had done on the way up, Rusty exited the apartment block. He shared the lift for a couple of floors with a Jewish couple and met a lady with sunglasses and a voluminous handbag sashaying into the foyer. Nobody challenged the man with the hi-viz waistcoat and clipboard. Why would they? People who could afford these apartments didn’t talk to ‘the help’ did they?
Rusty removed his waistcoat and stored it along with the clipboard in his bag. He was off to find a decent pub for a pint and some proper nosh. Two hours later he was fed and watered. As he strolled through Regent’s Park he made a mental note to thank Phoenix for telling him to take twice the cash you thought you’d need on a mission. Rusty had thought that was overkill; but a pint and some proper nosh set you back a pretty penny around here.

For ALL my titles on Amazon just click on the button!

For all your promotional needs and social media exposure par excellence, I heartily recommend:

The Art of Contemplation

Last month I told you why I considered all the little positives I could muster relating to my writing were signs of progress; regardless of whether actual sales were improving.

This month I’m older and maybe wiser. My wife and I spent a very warm and relaxing week on holiday celebrating my seventieth birthday. I did virtually nothing towards my writing or my social media platform. A few things suffered, but by and large the world kept turning.

In the days before my holiday, while we were abroad and in the days since we returned home, shivering to a chilly autumn in England, I’ve been contemplating what to do next. How do I adjust my strategy in order to improve sales, release more free time for writing and reduce the reliance on massaging social media to make even a modest ‘breakthrough’?

When you step back from the ‘coal face’ you see a different picture. You also question whether it’s worthwhile digging any further. I wrote to a mentor who has helped a lot over the past eighteen months. I was at a crossroads.


Should I finish off the next Phoenix book ‘Nothing Is Ever Forever’ (which I planned to start last Monday!) and wrap up the series as a trilogy. I could chase as many reviews as possible; promote it with adverts on Goodreads and Facebook and use a couple of other Twitter based outlets too. Perhaps maintain my website until the domain name is next up for renewal and gradually reduce the promotion and walk away, leaving nine books on Amazon.

Alternatively, I could stick to my mantra – NEVER GIVE UP – and plough ahead, using different tactics. His initial reaction was not to say ‘Please don’t go!’ nor was it ‘Do what you feel is right for you.’

His opening comment was that having received my email he had looked at my Amazon Central Author Page. He congratulated me on the significant improvement since his appraisal of it several months ago. He reminded me that he didn’t hand out praise lightly. I tried to remember whether that had been one of the little signs of progress I had itemised last month.

Some of his other questions seemed strange at the time. Clearly he didn’t want immediate answers; he was cleverly persuading me to continue to contemplate; to analyse what I was doing and why. In the past seventy-two hours I have arrived at my conclusion.

ted tayler-01

The books I write are good enough to be sold in larger numbers. My average of 4.6* across all of my titles suggests that they stand comparison with books that DO sell well.

I write about things that interest me; things that I know and things that a lot of people like to read. I have a character at the heart of five books (including the one I’m about to write) that has similarities to characters created by famous writers. Let’s take one example.

Dexter Morgan (created by Jeff Lindsay) – Dexter is a vigilante serial killer who targets other murderers who have evaded the justice system. He follows a code of ethics which hinges on two principles: Dexter can only kill people after finding conclusive evidence that they are guilty of murder, and he must dispose of all evidence so that he doesn’t get caught.

Colin Bailey (created by Ted Tayler) – The Phoenix targets criminals who have evaded the justice system. He used to work alone, planning his murders meticulously, leaving no clues. He now works for a secret organisation whose aim is the same as his own – to clean our streets of those who appear to be above and beyond the law.

These two anti-heroes have something else in common. We don’t want them to get caught; even though we know that their methods are wrong.

My conclusion is that The Phoenix will continue to right wrongs for several more adventures. There will be significant changes to my website; my book promotion methods and to my social media presence. I’m going to spend the next two years hitting that wall harder than at any time since I started in 2011. I make no apologies. I owe it to The Phoenix to make every effort to get him into the consciousness of many more readers. He deserves nothing less.

For ALL my titles on Amazon just click on the button!

For all your promotional needs and social media exposure par excellence, I heartily recommend:

Why Do We Root For The Anti-Hero?

I started to review books as Father Ted in February 2015 in order to increase my digital footprint. Someone told me that the more I spread my name around, the better it would be for my book sales. Sadly, they couldn’t say when.

One book in particular grabbed my attention. It was ‘Closure’ written by Randall Wood. There was a lot to like in the way the story was written; the descriptive passages were superbly handled, and the characterization was terrific, but it was a ‘quirk’ at the head of each chapter that encouraged me to write this piece for my blog.

Randall Wood had posted a big clue to save me checking the chapter index. There had to be at least fifty as he had researched the figures for the prison population by State. In addition, he knew the proportion of recidivists by State too. By the end of the book, I discovered the overall number of prisoners. I also knew that between sixty and seventy percent of them were repeat offenders.

This was in 2009.


In the story Randall Wood exploited the recidivist element. It was a fact that many inmates were in and out of jail all their lives. The prisons were no more than training grounds, turning them into more efficient criminals, rather than returning them to society as reformed citizens.

Killers languished on Death Row, lodging appeal after appeal. Lawyers found all sorts of loopholes to ensure their clients didn’t serve time.

Politicians defended the ‘right to bear arms’ despite all the evidence that the easy availability of firearms has led to thousands of unnecessary deaths.

It is now 2015. Are we any further forward?


My own series featuring ‘The Phoenix’ deals with a stone cold killer, Colin Bailey. He works for a secret organisation ‘The Olympus Project’. The ideals and methods they follow echo those of the terrorist in ‘Closure’.

He targeted people who used every trick in the book to avoid paying the price for their crimes. He gave their victims ‘closure’ and sought it for himself, to make some sense of his own loss.

If the ‘system’ continues to fail us, will there be a real organisation such as ‘The Olympus Project’? Does one exist already? Is a man like ‘The Phoenix’ a necessary evil? Are we in fact all looking for someone to take up the fight on our behalf?

Consider this from a recent review of one of my books featuring Colin Bailey.

Bailey is actually a metaphysical representation of our darkest moments; the moments when we desire retribution for wrongs that are done to us, but unlike Bailey we do not have the ‘special skill set’ to deploy such reprisals. By tapping into this almost primal urge; to eradicate the evil that exists amongst us, Mr. Tayler has embedded subconsciously a connection that makes this book so engrossing. It is why we root for the anti-hero, and why we don’t want to see Bailey captured by the police.

Food for thought? If we take a long hard look around us we see so many injustices that it is difficult not to want someone to stand up and say “No more!”. Someone to then take on the battles we are unwilling to fight.

Everything we’ve been taught since childhood tells us it is wrong to think along those lines. Yet our anti-hero’s actions would bring ‘closure’ to the victims of crime; the recidivist element would be eradicated. Drug dealing, people trafficking, sexual exploitation and many other heinous crimes would be diminished. We have a dilemma; do we turn away from everything we’ve been taught and allow a vigilante killer or killers to clear up the mess. What’s the answer?

The answer, of course, is to fix the system.

For ALL my titles on Amazon just click on the button!

For all your promotional needs and social media exposure par excellence, I heartily recommend:

How Do You Measure Progress?

If you have been reading these chapters for a while you will know there are a couple of things that never change for me. Firstly, I never give up. Even when there’s absolutely no chance whatsoever of something happening, however hard I try, and everyone else would have packed in long ago, I never listen. I keep plugging away; searching for that loose brick that will allow me to break down that wall; it doesn’t matter how long it takes, I’ll keep going until I find it!

The second thing is something I’m not particularly proud of, but at least I’m honest enough to admit I suffer from it. When someone annoys or upsets me I’m a little like my anti hero Colin Bailey, but not as extreme! I don’t have a list of people to bump off like him, but there are people for whom a little payback is due. The odd success on that front is always most acceptable. Does that make me a bad person?

In early October, I shall be seventy. The amount of time left to me for activities in both of the paragraphs above, is limited. The wall needs to be weakened very quickly. Karma needs to wake up and heed my call before too long as well, so that I get to enjoy seeing the fruits of that payback.

Rocket Cover

If progress for an author is measured in book sales alone; then I’m in trouble! For months now I’ve been consoling myself with the other statistics that I can lay claim to; statistics that indicate progress, in some shape or form. My latest book ‘It’s Not Rocket Science’ provided me with my highest ever ranking on its first weekend. I hit #2 in the charts for an e-book in the Business & Finance genre about Computers & Technology. So close to being able to claim a #1 hit! Not to worry, more people remember ‘Vienna’ by Ultravox than the rubbish that kept them off the top of the charts.

In my book I explain how my 100k Twitter Followers came about; and how anyone can get as many as they need for their particular passion. My numbers are pretty constant. I’m adding perhaps three hundred followers a week, but losing the same number by judicious pruning and natural wastage. My pruning means that the value of the following is higher than the majority of account holders. If you just let your numbers grow organically, you will have deadwood in sixty days. Do nothing, and although your overall number looks healthy, your condition is deteriorating day by day. So that’s progress isn’t it?

My Goodreads friends list contains 670 names and my Facebook Author Page around 190. How would that compare to a year ago? I’ve added 600 on the first and 150 on the second. Now that I review books as Father Ted I’m in the Top60 reviewers on Goodreads too. On Amazon US I’ve moved from an initial ranking of over 100,000 to just outside the Top 15000. Surely that’s progress of a kind? These statistics certainly indicate that more people are aware of me as a writer and reviewer – see me as ‘a safe pair of hands’ if you like, than a year ago.

My website and blog have received quite a few compliments too. I completely overhauled both in the past year. The visitor numbers have dropped a little this summer, but I haven’t posted as often, nor have I tweeted links to the site as often, and the book promotion site that did that task for me only drives readers there every two months these days. Yet again, the increased presence online and the perceived increase in stature (rightly or wrongly) have led to two new initiatives. The link-up with Channillo for serialization of my short stories was by invitation. Something about my work attracted them to me. The partnership isn’t particularly lucrative as yet, but I count it as a sign of progress.

I was invited (again) in February to join a group of writers in what you might describe as a ‘collective’; we share ideas and encourage one another in any way we can. Some of our number are more established writers and sell in significant numbers; others are just starting out. I’ve learned more in the past six months than I had picked up in the previous three and a half years. That’s progress and it’s immeasurable. Something that I’ve learned since February, could lead to a ‘light bulb’ moment. They may have given me a sharp tool with which I can ease one of those bricks out of the wall.

Keeping tabs on these ‘progressions’ and maintaining or improving them leaves me with a dilemma. If I am going to spend four hours writing per day, I can’t give sufficient time to my blogging, to my tweeting, to posting updates on Facebook and the book advertising campaigns on the three or four sites that I am currently signed up to. Something has to give. I’m taking time out, to step back from the daily tasks I currently take on. Perhaps my faith in the signs of progression that I’ve outlined is misplaced? Is there a better way; always remembering that I can’t afford to buy my way out of trouble?


A holiday around the date of my birthday will give me time to ponder. When I return it will be decision time. The next book must be started. ‘Nothing Is Ever Forever’ is written in my head and now it needs to be committed to paper. Why am I so certain that it’s worth continuing to fight; to keep searching for that loose brick? Take a couple of minutes to read this review of ‘Conception’ – The Birth of ‘The Phoenix’

That’s why we write isn’t it? Just to get that sort of reaction from another human being. Someone didn’t just skip read the book; they got it! All of the pain suffered by honest, hard-working people, the injustices, the arrogance of the legal system, the ineffectual police service and despite all the talk and all the promises, nobody stands up and says – “No more!”

Colin Bailey is the man who stood up and said “If no one else has the guts to do it; I will.”

He is MY character and he got that reaction from another human being. That’s progress isn’t it? Whether the sales figures reflect a significant moment or not is immaterial. I reckon that’s progress.

For ALL my titles on Amazon just click on the button!

Light The Blue Touch Paper

Every day is different for the Indie Writer. Write, Re-Write, Edit, Blog, Social Media, Reviews, Cover Design, Panic and several more things. That’s just Monday of course; sometimes other days of the week can be busier.

A list of Top 5 Indie Writers for 2015 included some great names and then I spotted this among the ‘honourable mentions’ and was choked. Someone has noticed. I keep saying I’m making small steps in the right direction. Well now I know I’m right.

ted tayler-01

“Ted Tayler has created a character I’ve unabashedly fallen in love with. “The Olympus Project” is book one in “The Phoenix Series”. Colin Bailey is the hottest new hero to come out of fiction in a while. Renamed Phoenix by the secret organization that drafts him into their service, Bailey is the best vigilante I’ve ever salivated over. Obviously there is no lack of characterization in this book. It’s action packed, sexy, unpredictable, and current.”

In fairness to the writers who hit the Top 5 and those who got mentioned like myself here’s the link.

A Sting In The Tale’ is still being serialized on; if you would like to join us then click here

Twitter: It's Not Rocket Science

On the 28th August ‘Twitter:It’s Not Rocket Science’ launched. This little book tells how I got 100k followers on a shoestring, and shows YOU step-by-step how to get as many followers as you feel you need to enhance your business or interest. Whether you’re a corporation, a writer, or a dog-walker just setting up, there are hints and tips that will speed up your actions and increase your connections. It will be FREE to download for THREE days from the 29th August. Just watch out for news of the next FREE promotions. Then grab it!

Here’s the link:

For ALL my titles on Amazon just click on the button!

For all your promotional needs and social media exposure par excellence, I heartily recommend:

My Interview With ‘The Phoenix’

This week I sat down with my main character ‘The Phoenix’ and asked him some of the questions to which I’m sure you are eager to know the answers.

What’s your name? Phoenix

When were you born? I was born Colin Bailey in 1968

Where are you from? A small town in the English West Country, it pretends to be around 10 miles from the Roman city of Bath, maybe fifteen miles from Larcombe Manor, the Olympus Project HQ as the crow flies.


How do your parents feel about your career choice? They are both deceased. My father Adam died in a fire in 1987; my mother Janet committed suicide in 1990

What is your marital status? I’m in a relationship, but I cannot divulge her name. I married Karen Smith in 1985, we separated in 2001. After our divorce I married Sue Owens

Can you tell us a little about your education, work etc?
I left school at sixteen because my mother needed me to earn my keep. My father had left three years before. My only regular job was with Shaw Park Mines. I worked at night, alone most of the time, which gave me plenty of opportunity to make my plans. After the death of her husband, Sue Owens took control of the business and made me Site Manager

Have you travelled abroad much?
Sue and I lived in The Gambia for almost ten years until she died of cancer in 2011. I returned to the UK on business – unfinished business

Is there a message in your work that you want our readers to grasp?
If you do the crime, you pay the price every time

What book are you reading now?
Observer Book of Hand Guns

What are your current projects?
I could tell you but I would have to kill you

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your work?
Meticulous preparation and attention to detail reduces the challenges to an acceptable level. I guess the short answer is ‘No’

How do you work through self doubts/fears?
My previous answer suggests that this has been unnecessary so far

What is your least favourite quality about yourself?
My inability to truly love someone; I loved my daughter Sharon of course. A father’s love for a daughter is special, but the total lack of love my parents showed me meant that I have never felt able to give myself fully to any woman I’ve met. I always hold something back; ready to leave at a minute’s notice, rather than be hurt if that love is suddenly withdrawn, or taken from me forcibly

Is there one person past or present you would like to meet and why?
My daughter, Sharon; because I miss her, every day

What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Anything but sport that has plenty of action. I usually watch with the sound muted; if I’m at Larcombe it’s so I can work. On an assignment it’s because I’m listening for trouble

Best friend?
Until I arrived at Larcombe I had never had a male friend. Karen and Sue were the closest I got to true friendship. Therese was an itch to be scratched at first, but she could have been a friend in time. When I met Rusty at Larcombe he helped train me, he taught me more in three months than I’d learned in fifteen years about how to kill someone swiftly without leaving a trace. Yeah, Rusty’s a good mate


Would you class Rusty as a mentor?
No, not really, the old gentleman at Larcombe is my mentor. We carry out his orders without question because it was him who pulled all these people together in The Olympus Project. The whole project is about preventing the UK from following the downward spiral we were on several years ago. Olympus is focused on stopping us from going to hell in a hand cart

Who is the old gentleman?
Refer back to my earlier comment on ‘current projects’

Favourite Foods?
I have learned to enjoy every meal that is set in front of me. I don’t cook and although I take every precaution, that meal might be my last

Favourite Music?
I rarely listen to anything except Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Iron Maiden and Judas Priest would be my first choice, but it has to be loud. Preferably beyond the threshold of pain

Are there any skeletons in your closet?
Unlikely, but the Pet Cemetery at Larcombe is pretty crowded these days, so we may need to rethink where they all end up


Will there be any further adventures for ‘The Phoenix’ after ‘Nothing Is Ever Forever’ later this year?
I think this interview is over. I’m the dummy, you’re the ventriloquist; I don’t really have a say in the matter do I?

My compilation of the first two novels ‘Conception’ – the birth of ‘The Phoenix’; which gives new readers a chance to catch up with the story so far is a 430 page blockbuster that you can check out for yourself here

A Positive Spin

A Positive Spin

The life of an indie author is not a bed of roses. It is hard graft, with little financial reward. However, there are sometimes a few grains of gold that shine through as you sift through the detritus in your pan of life.

It is things like these that enable you to keep forging ahead with a smile on your face, putting a positive spin on all the times when your writing ‘journey’ appears to have stalled. If you can’t find that positive spin, then you will fall by the wayside very quickly.

My nuggets this month in book reviews or comments online have included:

“Atmospheric settings, clever twists mixed with reality, plausible and entertaining”

“Immensely more intriguing than conventional spy/vigilante fare”

“A great book that will grab you and test your nerves all the way through”

“A writer who creates dynamic characters and intricate plots”

“Exciting and timely fiction; great characters in a great story”


“Tayler certainly knows how to hold a reader’s attention. It wouldn’t surprise me if this book found itself in the forefront of a long standing film series with people clambering for a front seat!”

“Colin Bailey makes James Bond look wimpy. Action packed and sexy with a heart”

“Tayler’s writing and creativity are amazing. He’s easily one of the best indie writers around today”

As you will recall from the last blog post my short story collection ‘ A Sting In The Tale’ is being serialized on

If you would like to join us then click here

I have also published a compilation of the first two novels ‘Conception’ – the birth of ‘The Phoenix’; which gives new readers a chance to catch up with the story so far. This gives you a 430 page blockbuster that you can buy for only 0.99 or £0.99.

Conception new cover

You can check it out for yourself here

There are always positives, if you look for them. Nothing I have written about today can be termed a major breakthrough; but I see them as steps in the right direction. Small steps perhaps, but remember what Chairman Mao said about The Long March – “It starts with one small step.”

For ALL my titles on Amazon just click on the button!

For all your promotional needs and social media exposure par excellence, I heartily recommend:

A Series Of Hope

“Hope springs eternal”

‘Gold, Silver, and Bombs’ the second book in my ‘Phoenix’ trilogy has been on sale for three weeks now. Progress is slow, but as ever there are positives to be drawn.

I have developed a small network of reviewers and over twenty of them have taken a copy so far. Some have posted their findings on Amazon and Goodreads; others are still to come. Twenty would still be twice the number of reviews any of my books have ever received.


I’m intelligent enough to realise that ‘cherry-picking’ people who automatically like my books would be pointless, so the reviewers I select give potential readers some balance. Most reviews are extremely positive, a few point out my weaknesses. I can learn from both; don’t fix what isn’t broken and try to address the shortcomings.

Where else have I been sourcing reviews? A Story Cartel campaign finishes tomorrow after a 21 day run. I look forward to seeing how many people have downloaded a copy. My Goodreads friends count is up to 535 now and around 10 so far, of the 40 I have asked have agreed to provide a review. All in all this could get me closer and closer to my target of 50.

New GSandB Cover

As I said in my last blog post, each day I have to learn new tools and techniques, just to stand still! I use Buffer now to schedule my Tweets through the day. There have been some amazing results due to targeting the US at the ‘right’ time, rather than me merely posting when I’ve got a spare minute during the day here in England.

The most exciting development potentially has been an invitation from Channillo a digital publishing platform for writers interested in releasing an ongoing series of work. It’s a subscription site and for a modest monthly amount readers can follow a series of short stories, poems, essays, or novels.

I was targeted as they need a thriller writer. Initially I have uploaded ‘A Sting in the Tale’ my short story collection. In early October the thriller series will follow on and run until early 2016. It should finish just as the third ‘Phoenix’ book hits Amazon’s bookstore.

If you would like to join us on our journey then start here

The next few weeks will be crucial in the success or failure of ‘Gold, Silver, and Bombs’. Hope springs eternal and regardless of the outcome every step I take at the moment seems to be in the right direction. As you can see by looking at the covers for ‘The Phoenix’ series – the future’s bright, the future’s orange!

For ALL my titles on Amazon just click on the button!

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Gritty and compelling!

Frequent visitors to this blog will know that ‘The Olympus Project’ was the first in a series featuring ‘The Phoenix’ aka Colin Bailey, the main male protagonist from my first two novels.

The second book in the series is ‘Gold, Silver and Bombs’ and ‘The Phoenix’ is once again busy righting wrongs and making sure the ‘bad guys’ don’t escape justice.

If you study the time-line of my first three thrillers, you will see that Colin Bailey grew up in the 1970s, was forced to marry young and buried his beloved daughter in 2001. After ten years, he returned from West Africa to complete some ‘Unfinished Business’. That story ended a few months later with Colin fighting for his life in the River Avon under Bath’s Pulteney Weir.

All the action in ‘The Olympus Project’ took place in a relatively short space of time too and with the London Olympics in 2012 as the main focus for ‘Gold, Silver, and Bombs’ then the story line picks up immediately from where we left it.

However, it would not suit ‘The Phoenix’ to concentrate on the terrorist threat to the Olympics alone; he has other deserving cases to satisfy as well! So you can be happy in the knowledge that the thrills come thick and fast!

New GSandB Cover

‘Gold, Silver, and Bombs’ is better written, better packaged, and better promoted than any of my previous efforts. Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it; just read it and tell me if you agree. Check out some of the early reviews:-

‘Another fast-paced, riveting Tayler novel with a descriptive and unforgettable cast’

‘Tayler is clever at creating atmospheric settings, clever twists mixed with reality to make his books plausible and entertaining’

‘spinning a tale of fear and violence that could have come from world headlines.’

‘Leaving the reader hungry for more adventure, Tayler has woven a tale that will keep you racing to learn the outcome.’

‘A compelling, intense page-turning all night read’

‘It’s a surprisingly fast read and several notches above other books in its genre’

‘Using brilliant details and plans Tayler creates missions that are both exciting and believable.’

‘It wouldn’t surprise me if this book found itself in the forefront of a long standing film series with people clambering for a front seat!’

As usual I have a Video Book Trailer to go with the book and you can view it here

Authors always appreciate some feedback, so tell me what you think of the book and the video. Keep an eye out for more posts, some will be about ‘Gold, Silver, and Bombs’, some about new titles, every now and then I hope to be joined by friends who will feature in a guest post.

For ALL my titles on Amazon just click on the orange button in the sidebar! There are a few more you might like to try out too (just in case!)

A Leap of Faith

If you have visited this blog for any length of time, you will have noticed the title – The Long Hard Road.

I had no idea where that road was taking me when I started out in September 2011. I had written a book and had sold most of the paperbacks I had had printed. I was advised to set up a website in order to sell the remainder and use the blog and Twitter to generate sales of the kindle version. This exercise cost me an initial layout of around £300 or perhaps a little less than $500, if you are from the other side of the pond.

Almost four years later, I am about to publish my sixth book.

“Gold, Silver and Bombs’ will be the second title in my ‘Phoenix’ trilogy.
“Nothing Is Ever Forever” the final book will be written in the autumn/fall and will appear over the holiday period, as we enter 2016.

ted tayler-01

What have I learned in almost four years? There are undoubtedly a lot of positives. In the first year I amassed a lot of Twitter followers. I learned that some of them were to become good friends, some were only looking to make money out of me, and some were a**holes.

Using that knowledge, I embarked on a new project. I wrote my first piece of fiction. The followers increased, I made more friends, a different breed of vulture arrived on my doorstep, but I didn’t let them stay long, and the percentage of a**holes decreased.

The writing has improved. That has been a positive. As the project has progressed, each successive book has been a better piece of work.

As I learned to spot the ‘good guys’ among the people who really wanted to help, rather than just screw me for as much as I was prepared to part with, I found that the ‘quantity’ and ‘quality’ of my followers improved.

One thing that never seemed to improve in those first three years though was the number of books I actually sold. Clearly I was doing something wrong.


This past year has been a year of constant change. I started working with BooksGoSocial last June and nearly everything I had been doing previously has either been thrown out, or amended to the point where it’s unrecognisable from my initial digital footprint four years ago.

New initiatives were installed. The blog was overhauled. Every element of my Author Page and Title Pages on Amazon was analysed and amended. I received hundreds of retweets every month, which increased my reach on Twitter from 100k to 500k. The way I tweeted, when I tweeted and how I targeted those tweets with hash tags; anything and everything that might stimulate interest in my books was given a fresh coat of paint.

This blog chapter HAS to be about the books, no homely fireside chats any longer. I was invited to join sites like Instagram, Pinterest, SoundCloud, and several more. All of them could be potential conduits to direct readers to my books. The only thing holding me back from pursuing these is TIME, but I will try at least a couple of them out.

One year into the association and an awful lot has changed. The blog gets five times the visitors it did. The followers are still over 100k and the proportion of writers/reviewers/readers is far healthier. My friends are still with me and their numbers are growing. The a**holes are in retreat.

The reviews of my own books are still not as numerous as I would wish, even if they’re still mostly very good, but my reviews of other people’s books are being well received and proving helpful. They are another element that gets my name out there and more visible. My Goodreads friend count is almost 500 compared to 65 a year ago.

This long hard road might not have a happy ending. Despite all my best efforts, and those of BooksGoSocial, those sales are still not improving.

I cannot and will not throw money at the problem. My plan for the next twelve months is to complete the trilogy, continue with the reviews, pursue as many of the initiatives that BooksGoSocial offer, that I can afford and let the fates decide.

As The Phoenix is the driving force behind everything I’m working on, then I have revised the cover for ‘The Olympus Project’. In time you will see the next 2 books appear and the covers will feature the same image, with only the title and the number in the series altered. It’s a bold move, but if it establishes The Phoenix in the reader’s mind, then it may pay off.

New Olympus Cover

It’s a Leap of Faith.

I’ll be back in two weeks, with the latest news on ‘Gold, Silver and Bombs”
I can’t wait to hear what you think of it.

For ALL my titles on Amazon just click on the button!

For all your promotional needs and social media exposure par excellence, I heartily recommend: