All posts in The Long Hard Road

The Phoenix – A necessary evil?

Last week I was on holiday in Ibiza. I took about a dozen books to read on my kindle. I’ve posted reviews on the eight I managed to finish on Amazon & Goodreads (as Father Ted). A mixed bag of genres and a mixed set of results; par for the course I guess.

One book in particular grabbed my attention. It was ‘Closure’ written by Randall Wood. ‘Closure’ was book #1 in his Jack Randall novels and was published in late December 2009. Even though my review would be lost among the hundreds that the story has received in the intervening period, I needed to record my thoughts and the impression that the book made on me.

There was a lot to like in the way the story was written; the descriptive passages were superbly handled for sure, but it was a little ‘quirk’ at the start of each chapter that encouraged me to write this piece for my blog.

Before moving on to chapter two, I knew there were a minimum of fifty chapters. Of course, I could have looked at the index, but Randall Wood had posted a big clue to save me the bother.

He had researched the figures for the prison population by State. In addition, he knew the proportion of recidivists by State too. In time, 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.


‘Closure’ concerned an ex-sniper who had lost his family in a car crash. I won’t give any other details of the story in case you haven’t read the book. Safe to say, Randall Wood exploited the facts of the vast numbers of prisoners, many of whom were in and out of jail all their lives. The prisons were no more than training grounds for the inmates, turning them into more efficient criminals rather than 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 new series ‘The Phoenix’ which was launched with the publication of ‘The Olympus Project’ in December 2014 deals with a stone cold killer, Colin Bailey.

In ‘The Final Straw’ the death of his daughter at the hands of a sexual predator tipped him over the edge. Already hell bent on righting the wrongs he perceived had been done to him by his parents; he lashed out in a killing spree that eliminated two gangs of thugs and drug dealers. Ten years later in the sequel ‘Unfinished Business’ he set about removing several more sets of criminals – drug dealers; people traffickers; his daughter’s killer. To Colin Bailey every death seemed righteous.

In the new series 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 had 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 family’s deaths.

How many people like ‘The Phoenix’ are there out there? Will they increasingly take responsibility for righting wrongs, giving closure, while the ‘system’ continues to fail us? Is a man like Colin Bailey ‘The Phoenix’ a necessary evil?

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:

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

1. I joined my local church choir when I was 8. I left to sing a different type of music when I was 18. When my treble voice was in its prime I sang with the choir at evensong in Salisbury Cathedral.

2. In the mid 60s I worked for the Kray family. This will send a shiver down the spine of a lot of people who either experienced the family first hand or have read about their ‘reign of terror’ in London at that time. Charles was related to the infamous brothers, and was a director of an entertainment agency who booked us to play at pubs and clubs across London.

3. In the early 70s I appeared on several editions of a sports quiz programme on the radio. British readers of a certain age will remember the celebrity team captains, Brian Johnston and Ted Moult. The quiz master was Peter Jones, a broadcasting legend. It was an unbelievable experience.

4. I started playing snooker when I was 16. The local League provided me with many happy years of competition and after 25 years of playing I decided to give something back. In 1991 I became League Secretary and my son Steve takes over from me in May. I’ve operated a ‘benevolent dictatorship’ and it has seemed to work without too many problems! I plan on playing long after my term of office is over!

Bucephalus 2137

5. We played at The Granary Club in Bristol supporting Genesis on February 22nd 1971. It was a regular venue for us and we had backed several big names there. The gig was voted the best night in the history of the Club (1969 -1988). Happy days! The full story is in my first book.

6. My wife Lynne and I ran a quiz night at a local social club for almost twelve years. I hosted over five hundred quizzes, all of which I prepared myself. Lynne was my glamorous assistant. The last quiz we ran was on 21st December 2012; seven days after I had started to write my first novel ‘The Final Straw’.

7. I was made redundant in March 2000 after 34 years with a tyre company. I took the money and ran! In the mid 60s it was a friendly, sociable working environment that made it a pleasure to go to work. By the time I left it had become a soulless money making machine and I haven’t given the place a second thought since I walked through the gates for the final time.

8. It’s not very rock ‘n’ roll but the summer after I finished work I started playing bowls. The vast majority of my colleagues were twenty years older than me, yet the next 8 summers were the happiest sporting times of my life. I was Club Captain in 2008 and maybe I’ll find time to take it up again when I get older!

9. I was an Exam Invigilator at local schools 2002-2015. I looked after children sitting various exams from 11 to 18 years of age. It was rewarding work and I have kept an eye out for how the ‘superstars’ have developed as they left us and went to university and beyond.


10. In November 2012 I was joined by two of the original members of my last group for a reunion gig. It was to mark the 65th birthday of one our road managers. Almost 40 years after our last gig together we played some of our favourite songs; it was the first time my children and a lot of my friends had heard me sing! We had a great night, but it was just a ‘one-off’. My friends asked me whether I missed how it felt to be on stage singing to an audience that enjoyed what they heard. My reply? ‘Only every day!’

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 your books relate to the real world?

I am sure you remember my ‘Welcome’ message when you visited this site.

“Are you searching for real characters; realistic story lines?”

I do not have an agenda, political or moral. I write to entertain; however, I soon realised in December 2012 when I first started writing fiction that there were thousands of real life stories available to me that could be fertile ground for my plot lines.

In ‘The Final Straw’ Colin Bailey was a damaged individual who had already started to right the wrongs done against him by his parents when he met Neil Cartwright. Colin was naïve and a loner; he never suspected that Cartwright would tear the only person he truly loved away from him.

Cartwright was a sexual predator who groomed and abused young teenage girls and sold the photos and films of his attacks to a paedophile ring. He raped and murdered Colin Bailey’s daughter and received a laughably short sentence in prison. This ‘Final Straw’ opened the floodgates and Bailey took his revenge on the drug dealers and thugs that had terrorised his local town for over a decade.


In ‘Unfinished Business’ a gang responsible for flooding a major city with drugs was apprehended; huge amounts of cash, heroin & cocaine were seized. After two days in court, the judge had to throw the case out because the prosecution had failed to disclose a piece of evidence to the defence. Millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money were wasted and the judge accused the police and CPS of gross incompetence.

I also included a case of domestic slavery and one of girls from around the world being trafficked from one end of the UK to another to work in the sex trade.

The whole premise behind ‘The Olympus Project’ my latest book is the notion of a group of wealthy people taking the law into their own hands, because of society’s failure to punish criminals appropriately. The Phoenix is one of their agents; he is tasked with tracking down and eliminating those that have slipped through the net.

None of these plot lines was imaginary; they were widely reported real events. Only recently, Oxford joined Rotherham as a large town/city where the sexual exploitation of young girls has been commonplace.


March 6th 2015 – today, I opened my newspaper and read the following article:-

“Tens of thousands of serious criminals are being let off with just a slap on the wrist because of lazy police officers, a report claims.”

“Almost one third of crimes is ‘inappropriately’ punished with a police caution or penalty notice, including some that carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, such as rape.”

“Some 86,000 offences that could have gone before a Crown Court were dealt with out of court in the year to June 2014.”

“The Home Affairs Select Committee points to an ‘alarming’ rise of the caution culture – which has damaged public confidence in the justice system.”

“Despite ministers insisting cautions are ‘inappropriate’ for serious offences, almost 15000 sexual and violent offenders received one in the past four years.”

“The committee chairman said: The public deserve to feel reassured that their local police forces are not tackling serious crimes with a slap on the wrist.”

Sadly, there are likely to be many more disclosures to come and we can only hope that reports such as this galvanise the Government, Police, Justice System and other related authorities into genuinely effective action.

With further massive budget cuts looming, I fear our hopes may be misplaced.

I stress once more, that my books do not ‘point the finger’ in order to make a political or moral statement; however, as a human being I want to see the suffering caused by these criminals stopped; by the law, not by a vigilante killer like Bailey.

As a realist with a dash of cynicism gained over many years, I fear that I will still have a fertile field of media reports from which to continue my stories of Colin Bailey (as The Phoenix) and his quest for justice.

For my latest book visit:

All my other titles are on Amazon too; happy reading!

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

Where Is The Olympus Project HQ?

Larcombe Manor is the site of the headquarters of the Olympus Project; of course, it doesn’t really exist. However, there are a hundred similar looking country estates within a thirty mile drive from my home.


I have lived in West Wiltshire all my life. I worked in the Roman City of Bath in the mid 1960s and both ‘Unfinished Business’ and ‘The Olympus Project’ feature Bath and the surrounding countryside in their story lines.

I use familiar settings in my books because they are ‘comfortable’ reference points around which to weave the plot lines of my novels.

Over the centuries since the Romans inhabited Aquae Sulis and built the Roman Baths, many others have influenced the local architecture; the Georgians of course (as Larcombe Manor demonstrates) and in the past fifty years The Admiralty has been a significant presence.

All of these elements gave me the idea for the Olympus Project; a retired Naval man living on the outskirts of Bath in a Georgian manor, his family touched by tragedy. What if he reached out to others in a similar position? What if they joined together to take direct action against criminals who seemed to be above the law or who even when caught still managed to escape with a laughingly light sentence?


The main house and the grounds look quite normal don’t they? What if all is not as it seems? The series featuring ‘The Phoenix’ will explore the adventures that can be generated by a secret organisation with all the modern technical wizardry available to it hidden away in this elegant looking desirable property.

News of the next book in the series soon! Meanwhile why not try:
The Olympus Project on Amazon

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

What Inspired ‘The Olympus Project’?

To answer that question I would need to take you back to December 2012 and the day I started my first novel ‘The Final Straw’. The idea of writing a piece of fiction at all had come to me late in life; the plot line for a book that might materialise from that piece was still sketchy.

The premise of the story was that Colin Bailey was a loner, unloved and unwanted by his parents, bullied at school and with no friends whatsoever. This was the complete opposite of my own childhood; and I hope my three children would say the same! So I was not writing from experience.


Colin Bailey would grow into the sort of young man that we hear about all too often in the media, someone who lashes out against society after what they see as being dealt a losing hand. Colin lashes out against his parents and his tormentors from his school days and plans to deal similarly with all the others who have had a negative impact on his life through his teenage years and into adulthood.

‘The Final Straw’ told of Colin’s dysfunctional family and the effect his actions had on his later life. All the characters he came across were people we hear about every day. They included drug dealers, young thugs, and paedophiles on one side, with police officers struggling against a tide of ever-rising crime and an ineffective justice system on the other.

The list goes on; if you need to add to it just pick up a newspaper or turn on your television.

The sequel to that first novel came in ‘Unfinished Business’ which continued with the same theme; one man’s fight to mete out justice to those who either had never been caught and punished, or had got off far too lightly.

When I decided Colin Bailey was too interesting a character to leave at the bottom of the River Avon in Bath and that ‘The Phoenix’ should return in ‘The Olympus Project’ it was because the number of stories that such a character could be involved in was virtually endless!

New Olympus Cover

There is certainly a fertile field for new plot lines! How many stories have you read in the past months regarding corrupt politicians, bonus greedy bankers, corrupt police officers and lawyers; terrorists of various persuasions. The good old-fashioned straightforward murder or bank robbery from the days of my youth has been relegated from the front pages these days!

In fact, every story line within my books is based on a REAL headline, a TRUE story. The character names have changed and the location has switched; the crucial difference from the real event is that in my books the criminals pay the FULL price.

Colin Bailey ‘The Phoenix’ is only a fictional character of course; perhaps the world would be a safer place if there really was an Olympus Project and agents like ‘The Phoenix’ removing the ‘bad guys’?

Buy the book today on Amazon:

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

What moulded the character of ‘The Phoenix’ ?

Colin Bailey was the main protagonist in my first two action thrillers; his story began in ‘The Final Straw’ where the events took place which led him on a seemingly endless campaign of revenge and his quest for justice.

His character was set in stone the moment I wrote the first four words of that first novel.
“Colin Bailey was invisible.”

I had no idea when I wrote that sentence, that it would change my life completely.


In the book we learn of his early family life; the lack of love, the neglect, the bullying he suffered at school from the boys who would inevitably become leaders of the rival gangs on the lawless council estates in the town where Colin lived. Colin vowed to get his revenge and to right the wrongs carried out against him. He planned what to do right down to the smallest detail; nothing was left to chance. Many of us have probably felt badly treated or wronged and thought how we might go about putting things right.

Colin Bailey is different: he actually DOES it! For those of you who have not yet read ‘The Final Straw’ I won’t reveal the tragic event that turns Colin’s life upside down and unleashes a killing spree to rival any book you’ve ever read. Let’s just say that things were never the same again in that quiet West Country town where he was brought up.

There were several loose ends to be tidied up and in the sequel ‘Unfinished Business’ Colin did exactly that! He also added a few more villains to his list of victims; people he had identified while he was living abroad, watching his homeland slip further into the hands of organised crime, drug barons and sexual predators.

Colin Bailey has a clearly defined set of values regarding what is right and what is wrong. He believes that if they are guilty then the criminals must pay the price. There are no soft sentences, no community orders or getting off on a ‘technicality’, not in Colin’s world!

New Olympus Cover
This new series features Colin Bailey as ‘The Phoenix’, a man who has cheated death and is now being used by a secret organisation to continue their own fight against crime. It seemed the perfect home for Colin! I wasn’t sure what to do with his character after two novels. In the end I was persuaded to give him a new direction. I think there are many more adventures ahead for Colin. I certainly hope so! It’s so much fun writing about good triumphing over evil, especially when the character bringing that triumph about is Colin Bailey; evil personified.

For the first book in the series go to:
The Olympus Project on Amazon

All my other titles are listed on Amazon also. Why not catch up on Colin Bailey’s stories so far?

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

What will I get from one of your books?

Ever since my first novel ‘The Final Straw’ was published I have used this message to greet you as you visit my website.


Are you searching for real characters and original story lines? Do you want an easy read from a book you just can’t put down? This award winning author will provide what you’re looking for.

There’s nothing pretentious about that; quite simply it’s what I aim for every time I sit down to write. If you invite me in, I’ll tell you a story. It will be as if we are sat in a bar with a drink having a chat; or lying on a beach, enjoying the sun with me telling you what’s been happening since I last saw you.


I think that’s something different from many other authors out there. Not better; just different. There’s one way to find out for sure; take a look at one of my titles.

Just to give you a few ideas of what to expect I’ll leave you with a few quotes from readers.

You never knew what was going to happen on the next page.

The story is original, the characters unique and the writing is absolutely moving.

The characters are vivid and it was well-written, both ingredients for a fantastic read.

Colin Bailey as a main character was extremely interesting and his lack of emotion was so well depicted to the point that it makes your skin crawl.

Each scene flowed to the next in a cohesive manner and it was easy to understand.

Each character’s voice is significantly different from the other and the tone of the story changes as they each make an appearance.

This tale grips you and refuses to let go.

Told in a way which pulls the reader into the story, you get the feeling that you are part of the drama, action and suspense.

The characters are well-developed and the plot is simply fascinating.

Ted Tayler’s stories made me feel like I was part of the action; the plot twists made me want more and the vivid descriptions put the scenes in my mind as if I was watching a movie.

A thriller in every sense of the word; a real gripper, once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down again until it was over.

Each chapter ended in such a way that stopping reading simply wasn’t an option. This was one of those rare books that pull a reader firmly into the story and holds on tight, not letting go, even at the end.

For my latest book go to:
The Olympus Project on Amazon

All my other titles are listed on Amazon also. Happy reading!

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

No One Said It Would Be Easy!

New Olympus Cover

Most of an author’s time is spent on the treadmill; chasing reviews, using Twitter, Facebook and other outlets to spread the word and praying for a break. How have the first three months of 2015 gone? Apart from a lack of any significant sales, things have gone pretty well!

My Twitter following has increased by over four thousand and they have been almost exclusively writers, reviewers, bloggers and avid readers. I’ve broken through the 100 thousand barrier; I never imagined that back in November 2011 when I joined up. Thank you for your continuing support!

I have tried to include a daily feature of ‘old words’ and ‘dry one-liners’ to spice up the tweets; it doesn’t pay to just bombard people with an overt ‘BUY THE BOOK’ message every few hours.

Thank you too to those who have doubled the number of ‘likes’ on my Facebook Author Page; and while I’m at it, the same goes to those Goodreads authors who have befriended me in the past two months.

An advert on Goodreads has had about four times the success on the CTR (click through rate) compared to the other 5 campaigns I’ve run.


If you’re reading this blog post, then you’ve contributed to the 300% growth in visitors since ‘The Olympus Project’ was published in mid December; and you’re staying longer, so the content must be more interesting since my revamp!

Will there be a large number of sales of the book(s) for all the effort I’ve put in? At this stage it looks unlikely, but the impetus MUST be building surely? I have to believe that all the positives I’ve outlined above are indicative of a brighter future.

I had no idea how difficult it would be to get what I’d written in front of someone who wanted to read it! But hey! No one said it would be easy!

The Olympus Project on Amazon

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

Why Should I Buy This Book?


1. ‘The Olympus Project’ is the first book in a brand new series of thrillers featuring ‘The Phoenix’ and is on sale exclusively on Amazon NOW! There’s nothing worse than missing the first episode in a series.

2. ‘The Olympus Project’ is the best book I’ve written so far and ‘The Phoenix’ is a character that despite his many foibles has attributes that all of us would like to possess. He wants the world to be a better place; what sets him apart is that he acts to make that happen, while for the most part we sit on our hands and talk about what we think should be done.

Then there are the reviews received to date; why not add yours to the list?

3. Set in the UK a man known as “The Phoenix” is rescued while he is drowning. Phoenix is a loner and a stone cold killer. A group, The Olympus Project wants him to join their team of assassins. They believe in ridding the world of people they believe to be a threat to their political and economic views.

4. A fast paced thriller. Each character is introduced (in detail) and we learn a lot about them. I like that in a story. Told in a way which pulls the reader into the story, you get the feeling that you are part of the drama, action and suspense. Phoenix is a unique individual, he is not the typical “hero” of the story, again another quality I enjoyed in this story. The Olympus Project was an enjoyable read; I feel those who like drama, action and suspense will enjoy this great read.

5. Imagine James Bond as a crime-eradicating vigilante, employed not by national security but by an extremely wealthy, extremely right-wing private group dedicated to upholding the high standards of the UK–standards that in their view have been rigorously eroded in the past several decades. Colin Bailey, a vigilante serial killer, has literally been resurrected from near-death by this group, to be retrained and used as their tool, pointed at any targets of their choosing. While the world thinks the killer drowned, he will be effective in whatever killing scenario this group decides.

6. Let me start by saying what a fantastic, fast-paced, and thrilling book it was to read. I enjoyed it right through to the end. You’re drawn into the thrilling life of the agent code named ‘The Phoenix’ from page 1. A group, each one with their own skill sets, founded an organization to help rid the world of those the law lets off too easy. The Olympus Project deals with real world issues that upset our everyday lives. The characters and story are full of richness. As the author weaves the story you’re right there with the characters.

Well that should convince you! Get on over to Amazon and click on the link! Happy reading!

The Olympus Project on Amazon

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

The Olympus Project

New Olympus Cover


This is the first book in a brand new series featuring ‘The Phoenix’ and is ON SALE on Amazon. I know it’s the best book I’ve written so far and I have high hopes that as the series progresses Colin Bailey will become a much more widely known character. I hope you will agree with me when you read the book.

After I had completed ‘Unfinished Business’ last March, I took a few weeks away from writing as I needed time to reflect. Perhaps it was because for a little while I felt as if I was drifting aimlessly without that daily target of fifteen hundred words to get done. Also an old friend from my days in the band had died suddenly in February and it made me sit down and think about my priorities.

Of course, there was the self doubt as well; was it worth bothering to write any more? I guess a lot of authors get that feeling. Even those who are selling far more books than I do! In the end I resolved to keep putting stories out there for people to read for as long as I’m able. My love of writing outweighed the bits of the process I don’t like – chasing reviews, promoting etc.

‘The Olympus Project’ is about a man headhunted by a secret organisation based on the outskirts of Bath; the five shadowy figures who head this group are introduced to us in detail in this first book. Their anonymity is protected by the code names they have adopted from Greek myth.

The group sends its agents across the world removing anyone who poses a threat to political or economic stability and taking ‘direct action’ against criminals who have somehow evaded justice and thereby ensuring they receive the punishment they deserve.

This fast paced thriller follows ‘The Phoenix’ as he works alone hunting down his prey in the style that brought him to the group’s attention in the first place; and also facing his greatest challenge so far, learning to work together with his new colleagues as part of a team.


If you have ninety seconds to spare then check out the Video Book Trailer for ‘The Olympus Project’

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