Better Late, Than Never

‘Buried Secrets’ #11 in the Freeman Files Series went ‘LIVE’ this morning.Let me explain – I started writing ‘A Genuine Mistake’ on the 18th of January as planned. When I was twenty thousand words in, I realised that I’d grabbed the notes for the murder mystery that I had scheduled for #12 in the series. I blame lockdown, plus the excitement of my first jab on the 30th.

I couldn’t face starting again, so I contacted The Cover Collection and asked for minor adjustments to the two covers involved. Once that was sorted, I started to write again. I published Book #10 on the 7th of January, so to get the next case done and dusted by the 16th of February was satisfying. Please don’t assume this sets a precedent!

It reminded me of a story from my early days as a Cost Accountant in the mid-Sixties. People from the Technical Department would drop Estimate Requests on my boss’s desk. I was keen to prove that I could provide an accurate costing with my newly acquired skills and got stuck in as soon as they left the office. When it was complete and my boss had nodded his approval, I suggested I drop in into the Technical Department. No, he said, stick it in the drawer for a couple of days. We don’t want people to think they can expect that sort of turnaround every time they want a job costed. There will be days when we’re rushed off our feet. I find it best to tell them it will be four or five days, then when you get it back to them in three now and again, they think you’ve done them a big favour!

I’ll double-check my notes before I start ‘A Genuine Mistake’ in a week or so; I need to re-charge my batteries first. 

So, I estimate that Book #12 should be ready by the end of March.

Of course, I’ve been wrong before…

I’ll be back with an update in March.

Take care, stay safe.

Best wishes

Ted Tayler


Keep Right On

‘All Things Bright’ #10 in the Freeman Files Series went ‘LIVE’ this morning.

I’m pleased to report that my wife, Lynne, is almost fully recovered from her operation now. We spent Christmas and New Year alone due to the restrictions that existed at the time.

Another total lockdown followed, and we’re back in survival mode just as we were last March. A vaccine is on the horizon. I’m sure, wherever you are, it can’t come soon enough.

I started research for the next six titles in the Freeman Files Series on New Year’s Day. Work on #11 ‘A Genuine Mistake’ begins on Monday 18th January.

You might stumble across a post containing ‘My 2020 in Books’ online. You will see that I read & reviewed 215 books last year. I’ve decided to curb my enthusiasm in 2021 to concentrate on writing.

I follow a Facebook Page that each day features Births, Marriages, Deaths, & News Headlines for the town in which I’ve lived for 70 years. I spotted a reference recently to a soldier who returned home after being interned in a POW camp in Italy.

Phil Tayler was my uncle (1916-79), and he was taken prisoner late in 1942. The first battle of El Alamein was in July; the second battle, around October time. Uncle Phil talked about the many occasions he went drinking with my father, Vic, (1914-93) whenever he visited our house. There was only one afternoon when he spoke about how he got taken prisoner. I was seventeen at the time.

Uncle Phil was in a convoy of trucks that left camp at dusk. A sergeant drove, and lance/corporal Tayler sat beside him. They had made similar journeys together on many occasions, moving stores and ammunition to various positions along the front line. Tonight, they were ‘Tail-end Charlie’, the last truck in the line.

“Let’s just say those positions were fluid, Ted,” he said.

Around midnight, a sandstorm blew up and the sergeant had a devil of a job tailing the truck in front. They drove for fifteen minutes and as the storm abated, they sighed a huge sigh of relief to see a line of trucks twenty yards ahead.  Several minutes later the trucks ahead came to a halt. Uniformed men surrounded the truck.

“Hände hoch!”

They’d latched on to the end of a German convoy doing the same job, moving stores and ammo from a base camp to forward positions.

Uncle Phil was moved to Italy later that year and spent the rest of the war as a POW. He never spoke about his experiences, and I was never 100% sure that the reality of how he got there was how I’ve described it here. His story makes a good story though, and I retold it to mark the 75th anniversary of his coming home to my Auntie Eileen.  

I’ll be back with an update in February.

Take care, stay safe.

Best wishes

Ted Tayler


Best Laid Plans

I was hoping to be well into ‘All Things Bright’ #10 in the Freeman Files Series by the time I wrote to you this month. Best laid plans, as they say. All the preparatory work was completed by mid-November and three thousand words written.

Then my wife, Lynne, had to be rushed into hospital in Bath for a major operation. I’m happy to report that the surgery was successful, she’s home and making slow but steady progress.

When I semi-retired in 2000, Lynne was still working full-time, so I took up the household duties. Getting into elements of it again wasn’t an issue. In fact, it was easier this time because our three kids have left home!

So, the writing had to stop for the past three weeks. Instead of five hours per day in my office, I’ve snatched an hour here and there. I’ve prepared a Box Set of Books #4-6 in the Freeman Files Series that’s poised for publication; and I sourced a new cover for ‘Conception – Birth of The Phoenix’, the prequel to the Phoenix Series.

That title, plus the 2 early novels that it contained have been edited and updated. (Let’s just say they’re less likely to offend)

The past month shows that there are no guarantees, but my aim is still to complete ‘All Things Bright’ by mid-January. After that, it’s full steam ahead with titles #11 – 16. Around this time next year, I’ll be planning for 2022. If Gus Freeman is still as popular as he’s proved this year, then who knows? Perhaps twenty-four books in the series isn’t out of the question.

I’ll be back with an update in the New Year.

Take care, stay safe.

Best wishes for the Festive Season for you and yours 



More Of The Same

‘Night Train’ #9 in the Freeman Files is available NOW on Amazon. If anyone wants a free copy in return for an honest review, then let me know.

Ivan Kendall died in a station toilet eighty miles from home in March 2014.

Why did the quiet family man travel to Westbury from South Wales so late at night?

The Crime Review Team tackle two cold cases in this intriguing ninth title in the series.

As the team close in on Grant Burnside’s assassin, an old adversary stands in their way. In lighter moments, Suzie Ferris moves in with Gus, and Lydia Logan Barre finds her father.

 ‘All Things Bright’ #10 is in the research phase, and I hope to announce its arrival in the first newsletter of 2021.

 For many of you, Gus Freeman was the character that encouraged you to join our happy band. Some of you have been with me from the start, and therefore The Phoenix Series was the trigger. Several readers had asked for a ‘crossover’ storyline. In ‘Creature Discomforts’ Gus investigated the death of Grant Burnside, and although the team solved several other cases, they never resolved the shooting of the gang overlord.

I included references to the case in ‘Silent Terror’, and while I was writing that book, kept wondering how to bring the story thread to a satisfactory conclusion. In ‘Night Train’ I’ve attempted to defer the matter until Gus Freeman’s last case (whenever that may be!).

A few of you might dip into the Phoenix archives, but it’s not for me to steer you in that direction. Six years have passed since I wrote the first book in that series and the world has changed in so many areas.

So, it’s onwards and upwards with Gus Freeman throughout 2021.

How about a Q&A session for some light relief?

Q. Is there a message in your novels you want readers to grasp?

I used to answer, ‘Not really’. I don’t have an agenda. I want to tell a story people can believe and enjoy. However, as the books mount up, I must admit I’m poking fun at the PC brigade, lamenting the lack of a real sense of justice, and despair that we’re losing the war against crime. I don’t run out of topics to feature in each new title, so the next seven books in the series in 2021 will be a breeze to write.

I don’t need a fertile imagination. I just read the news.


I’ll be back with an update in December.

Take care, stay safe and best wishes. 

Ted Tayler

Silent But Deadly

‘Silent Terror’ #8 in the Freeman Files is available NOW on Amazon. If anyone wants a free copy in return for an honest review, then let me know.

 A brutal murder occurred at a remote bungalow in January 2013. Gus Freeman reviews the murder of Ursula Wakeley, a seventy-eight-year-old spinster. Why did the former librarian become a victim? Was it a robbery, or something more sinister? Alex Hardy returns to the fold and new girl Blessing Umeh joins the Crime Review Team.

 ‘Night Train’ #9 in the series is underway and due to arrive in time for Christmas.

 With a following wind, ‘All Things Bright’ #10 will make it onto Amazon before the New Year. Until recently, that would have been that, but the series is selling so well that I’m aiming for six more titles in 2021. 

 At my age I can’t look too far ahead, but I won’t rule out extending the series into 2022. Gus Freeman is a great character to write about, and with a strong supporting cast both at work and at home there’s potential for a lot more adventures yet.



Several of you have found your way to my Facebook Author Page. If you want to join the party the link is: –

I’ll be back with an update in November. Take care, stay safe and best wishes. 

Ted Tayler


The More The Merrier


Hello again. Hard to believe it was a month ago I wrote about Sweet Sixteen.

When you’re writing every day the time just slips away.

The Freeman Files Box Set of Books 1-3 has a Featured Deal with BookBub at the weekend.



‘Creature Discomforts’ #7 in the Freeman Files is available NOW on Amazon. If anyone wants a free copy in return for an honest review, then let me know. 

I’ve started to write about Ursula Wakeley, the spinster from Mere (on the edge of Salisbury Plain) who was stabbed during a robbery in January 2013. 

Gus and the team have extra pairs of hands to help crack that one, plus dig deeper into the mystery surrounding Grant Burnside’s death.


There are Phoenix fans among you who yearn for the stories to mingle on occasion.

Do you recognise the mystery red-headed gunman in ‘Creature Discomforts’?

If you’ve been with me for the long haul, you will recall Tanya Norris and the others when Phoenix visited Swindon in 2012.

I never anticipated the complexity of writing two series where characters might bump into one another. I’m sure someone will check – but, no, there wasn’t another operation underway that would have prevented ‘you know who’ being on top of that warehouse roof on the date specified.

That’s the only potential clash to date. I shall have to be on my toes if there is any further overlapping of the stories.

I remember that I told you about the guy that contacted me and said how much he loved The Phoenix Series. Well, he was back last month. He’s completed the series, and is now catching up with the earlier books, followed by the Freeman Files series. Even better, he’s persuaded several of his mates to start reading my books.

We can all dream, I guess. Two days ago, I found a message on Facebook (hidden among the awful new layout!) from a lady who ALSO loved The Phoenix. She doesn’t enjoy the best of health and her condition means that she spends a lot of time watching TV. Especially, Netflix and Amazon Prime, neither of which I’m familiar with because I’m usually writing or reading. She bemoaned the quality on offer and begged me to consider getting the series televised.

I explained that you tend to have to be asked first and as far as I knew I wasn’t on anyone’s radar.

She asked whether I would mind if she approached the companies concerned and suggested they give my books a look. I conceded that it couldn’t hurt and told her that her kind words were more than enough for me. Who needs fame and fortune at seventy-five, I thought. Then, I remembered Captain Sir Thomas Moore (100 years young). Who knows?

I’ll be back with an update in October. Take care, stay safe and best wishes. 

Ted Tayler


Sweet Sixteen





The Freeman Files Box Set  has been available since the end of July. It’s been approved for a Featured Deal with BookBub on Saturday 5th September. That’s another step in the right direction.

‘Creature Discomforts’ #7 in the Freeman Files is due in early September, and I’ve started to write about Grant Burnside, the Swindon gangster shot by a sniper on Sunday 25th May 2014. His case feels like a tough nut for Gus and the team to crack.

I went ahead with my thoughts on what might happen to Gus in the future. We’re in for the long haul. I’ll be able to share the front cover images with you next month. All I can do this month is tease you with the book titles.

#8 Silent Terror

#9 Night Train

#10 All Things Bright

#11 A Genuine Mistake

#12 Buried Secrets

#13 Strange Beginnings

#14 Dead Reckoning

#15 A Normal November

#16 Into The Sunlight

As well as the cold cases to solve, Gus is surrounded by a dozen regular characters who contribute to the books as they face their own challenges and forge new relationships.

I can’t reveal too much at this stage – but I guarantee it won’t be boring.

Face masks are compulsory in so many places these days. I spotted a great idea on Instagram where another writer had purchased masks with her book cover incorporated into the design. I switch between the Phoenix and Freeman design shown above on my trips out now.

They’re great for promoting the books, but nobody asks for an autograph – because they don’t recognise me!

I’ll be back with an update in September. Take care, stay safe and best wishes. 

Ted Tayler


Happy Days

I’ve just sent out Newsletter #50 – time for a small celebration.

Only a handful of people can remember the content of the first connection I made with my readers back in June 2016. At the time there were only 4 Phoenix stories available and ‘The Price Of Treachery’ was in the planning stage. Christian Bale and Damian Lewis were suggested for the roles of Phoenix and Rusty if a casting director ever came calling. Four years on, other stars would probably be on the wish list.

The main thing I recall from my first newsletter was the comment that Colin Bailey was evolving as a character, and the addition of new characters in Books #3 and #4, plus the expanded roles of others opened dozens of avenues for me to allow the series to develop.

I’m still not sure I imagined a 12-book series at that point; I certainly never thought someone called Gus Freeman would create an even wider audience with his own series in the future!

 ‘Barking Mad’ – Book #6 arrived on Amazon around two weeks ago. Many of you will have bought it already, but if you want a Free copy in exchange for an honest review, then give me a shout and I’ll forward a copy.

If you’re still ploughing through The Phoenix Series and want to get a head start on The Freeman Files, I’ll have a Box Set of Books 1-3 available by the end of the month. It will be priced at $5.99 – (Buy Two Get One Free).

I told you in a previous newsletter that the original 6-book series was extended to 10. ‘Creature Discomforts’ is due in early September, and the next three will be with you in approximately two-monthly intervals.

BREAKING NEWS – I’m loving writing about Gus & his team so much that I’m planning to extend the series to 12 and SIXTEEN isn’t out of the question.

I’ll be back with an update in August. Take care, stay safe and best wishes. 

Ted Tayler

Warm Thoughts From Home & Abroad

Another month has passed, and although there have been minor adjustments to lockdown here in the UK, nothing has altered the schedule I’ve followed for eleven months. 

When I wrote to you in May, I was about to start writing ‘Barking Mad’, #6 in the Freeman Files series. It’s  now 80% complete. I mentioned eleven months earlier because that’s how long I’ve been writing about Gus Freeman. Six books in a year? I was happy with producing three titles a year with The Phoenix Series. Why have I apparently speeded up? Five years ago, when the first title hit the bookshelves nobody noticed or cared. Little changed until March 2019. Since then, things picked up, and by December 2019, when ‘Fatal Decision’ was published, there has been an audience waiting for the next title to appear; and the back catalogue is still delivering the goods.   

I received this email a couple of weeks ago from a 40-year old father of two who lives near Manchester. He’s not a Phoenix Club member (yet) but it meant the world to me that he took the trouble to write.

‘I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you for the Phoenix Series. The books are so easy to read and I feel sad when a book is coming to an end because I just don’t want it to finish. I am on the fifth book at the moment and I look forward to reading all the other books in the series, plus your back catalogue and any future books you release. Thank you again. You have brought back my enjoyment in reading books. All the best.’

I’m the first to admit my books aren’t perfect. I’m a storyteller rather than an author. Imagine how I felt when another reader took the trouble to deliver this message –

‘I found your books through Kindle, and I really love your characters in the Phoenix series. I also enjoy your little narrative comments throughout. They add a cheekiness to your story telling. I am, however, distressed at elements of your grammar. It really does interfere with your wonderful story line. Could I offer my services (for free, absolutely no strings attached) to help you clean up your manuscripts? It would be so much fun. I have been a fan of Ian Rankin for some time and, as far as I can see, your books are up there with his!’

Praise and criticism all rolled into one email!

Every writer needs to be wary, but when I checked I found the email came from a Professor who has taught English for over 20 years. A linguist, who is an author for Oxford University Press. The collaboration has begun. My manuscript cleaner is enjoying her work and I feel as if I’ve gained a life-long friend. 

Regardless of what’s happening in the world this past four weeks have given me hope.

I’ll be back with an update in July. Take care, stay safe and best wishes. 

Ted Tayler


It’s An Ill Wind

There’s been a longer gap than usual between Newsletters and that wasn’t because I hadn’t been thinking of you. I prayed each and every one of you was still fit and well when I got back in touch.

Lockdown continues here in the UK for someone like me. As I mentioned last time, I found very little difference in my daily routine in those early weeks – the occasional social outing involving friends and family stopped completely, but that was it.

I planned to use the extra free time to publish this next book by the end of April.

So why the delay?

It was a combination of things. The BookBub Featured Deal for Book #1 in the Freeman Files Series was sensational. As a result, April produced more Sales, Page Reads and Downloads than ever before. I suddenly realised I had readers waiting for the next title. I experienced pressure for the first time since I retired. I didn’t have writer’s block, but I certainly struggled to get the usual number of words done per day.

An audiobook publisher contacted me asking if they could handle the Freeman Files series on my behalf. I was tempted, but then I worried that April was just one month. An exceptional month triggered by Covid-19 and an unprecedented surge in the need for books to read.

There’s always a ‘spike’ with a good promotion deal and it’s followed by a honeymoon period where figures thrive. After a month, the honeymoon ends and although Sales don’t tend to drop back below the average prior to the deal, they stabilise until the next ‘spike’ occurs. Maybe that’s why I thought of ‘Onwards and Upwards’ as The Phoenix Club’s motto?

Book #5 ‘Final Deal’ in the Freeman Files Series went ‘live’ in Kindle format today. If you want to read and review it then just let me know and I’ll gladly forward a .mobi copy.

To those of you who have been with me for a long time, you know that by July 2018 I was convinced I’d written my last word. Nine months later, my wife said after my first BookBub Featured Deal – “You need to write something for people to read after they’ve finished the Phoenix Series. Get out from under my feet and back in your office.”

I thought Gus Freeman was a character I would enjoy writing about. I sketched out six stories based on actual unsolved murders and by December I had four titles ready. I published ‘Fatal Decision’ with no fanfare or expectation, and followed up releasing a title each month until March. Books 5&6 should have been written by the end of February and released in mid-April and mid-May.

Although Sales between December and March didn’t catch fire, I was enjoying the writing so much I opted to extend the series to ten books. I sketched the content, sourced the covers, and looked forward to another quiet, uneventful summer, followed by a genuine retirement.

Funny how things turn out, isn’t it? What does my wife say? “Are you sure it’s only ten?”

I start writing Book #6 ‘Barking Mad’ in a day or two.

I’ll be back with an update in June.  Take care, stay safe and best wishes. 

Ted Tayler