All posts in The Long Hard Road



The past ten weeks have been the most frustrating weeks of my life! Apart from my health suddenly going from ‘fine and dandy’ to feeling like crap inside twelve hours, the road to recovery has also been littered with further annoying obstacles that made me feel it was three steps forward and two steps back all the time! If I was lucky! If not it was the opposite!

I have always enjoyed the summer months and have looked forward to working at school during the examination season. This year though, I’ve missed significant sections of it and that’s been frustrating too. Okay, 90% of the kids we look after for several years as they move through school and their different exam levels leave us & we never see or hear from them again; but a few others remain life long friends. Either way I like to wish them well when they go out into the big bad world. I’ve missed my goodbyes to a helluva lot of this year’s leavers.

The book tours too have had their frustrating moments as has been well documented in previous blog chapters. Because I haven’t felt fit enough to get stuck into much research, nor been inclined to go chasing reviews etcetera, then things have gradually slipped away from me. The reviews via the tours will eventually kick in, as will several from the supreme effort I put in during March and April. Maybe all the stress that built up during that period was the catalyst for the sudden deterioration in my well being. Who knows? Unfortunately though, I don’t feel the payback will be enough to generate the sort of book sales that will encourage me to pursue my dream of writing TWO series beginning this autumn.

Indeed looking towards the itinerary for July and August it feels like a long shot that anything rewarding will come from all the work I have managed to put in. Regardless of which way things pan out, I can hold my head up high and say I gave it my best shot. For the time being getting as fit and well as possible has to take priority.

The book tour has several intermittent stops to make while the Orangeberry Expo is under way as you can see below. Some time in late July and early August a few authors will be rewarded with a nomination for one of the many categories on offer and voting will get under way. For the chosen few their lives will be hectic for a month; just like mine was last year! Perhaps I’ll be fortunate enough to join them again; maybe my turn has come and gone? Time will tell.

If you get a chance to drop in on any of these sites over the next few weeks, I’ll be very grateful:

28th June – Guest Post at Page Turning Books
29th June – Excerpt at Books & Beyond
6th July – (*17)Book Review & Guest Post at Reading My Addiction
13th July- Author Interview at Top Shelf Books
20th July – Orangeberry Book of the Day
27th July – Tweet Me A Storm with OB Book Tours
3rd August – (*18)Book Review & Guest Post at Pages to Covers
10th August – Excerpt at Zoo of Books
17th August – (*19)Book Review & Author Interview at Book Lover’s Dream
24th August – Guest Post at Journey’s thru Books
31st August – (*20)Excerpt at Yesterday’s Book
7th September – Guest Post & Book Feature at Life Altering Reads

I’m off out this evening. Nothing unusual in that you think; well, it’s my first Friday night out to listen to a band in ten weeks! Another challenge! Can I get through the experience unscathed? If I do, then you’ll hear all about it in my next chapter; if not then it will be as soon as I am well enough to post the next one!

Take care of yourselves; enjoy the weekend and I look forward to getting back in touch with you shortly.



I read an article by Tony Parsons the other morning. It reminded me just how important it is that we never forget who we are, or where we came from and that we always stand up for the values our parents instilled in us. The essentials of what he wrote that struck a particular chord with me were as follows:-

‘We are a gentle, tolerant, welcoming people and yet we are ferocious when provoked.’
‘We love animals and hate bullies.’
‘We love freedom and we hate people who aren’t polite.’
‘We love our neighbours but never remove our fences.’

These fundamentally English values have taken a hammering over recent years and there are people in this country, some of them in positions of power and influence, who would seek to dilute those values or undermine and eventually abandon them completely. While we have breath in our bodies these values must never be taken away from us.

I am neither a political nor a religious man. I search in vain for ‘None of the above’ when asked to choose between one political party and another; the same applies when religion raises its ugly head. None of the options available seem to have much to recommend them.

I am not a racist! I have worked with, played with and entertained people from all corners of the globe & I have had no problems with any of them, provided they were good people. If they were, then they were fine by me. After all, as an Englishman I was merely following in the footsteps of my ancestors. As a nation we have welcomed people to our shores for over two thousand years.

Where I take issue with the current state of affairs is that we appear to be happy to let anyone in; good, bad and indifferent. In some extreme cases these people turn out to be downright evil and we have a helluva job getting rid of them when this fact is uncovered!

When I was growing up in post war England, I read about the grip that various criminal organisations exercised on the daily life of people in America’s big cities. The trafficking of drugs was already big business throughout the States, whereas in my neck of the woods drugs were as rare as hen’s teeth. The situation was worse in the major cities admittedly, but it was by no means of epidemic proportions. I shook my head in disbelief at the foreign countries who still thought that domestic & sexual slavery was acceptable; I shuddered at whole continents where the exploitation of children was a fact of life. I thanked my lucky stars I was English and that those horrors could never threaten our shores.

Fifty years on we’re overrun with evil people of all colours and creeds and the police and the judicial system are powerless to stem the tide. How the hell did we let things get as bad as this?

Our cities are being strangled by organised gangs from all four corners of the world. Drugs are in every town and village the length and breadth of the country. My own quiet West Country town has seen reports of domestic slavery & sexual exploitation; when I was a teenager the local paper reported on a man being fined a few shillings for cycling at night without lights! How times change!

Instead of a lot of hot air being wasted on whether we should curb immigration or pull out of Europe surely we should be asking a basic question about the population we have here today.
Are they good or bad? If they’re good people then they should be welcomed with open arms. If they’re bad (and believe me there are thousands for who ‘bad’ doesn’t even come close!) then we have to be strong enough to say ‘enough is enough’ and deal with them. Either we deport them or we jail them for as long as the law permits.

Have you ever tried to get an entry visa to Australia? If you have a criminal record – forget it! (This is quite funny when you cast your mind back. Sadly, it’s the only touch of humour in the whole sorry episode.) They seem to be able to pick and choose who they let in; meanwhile we are fast becoming the world’s dustbin and we need to wake up to the fact that we’re the only ones who can empty it of our rubbish.

A complete switch of topic, now I’ve got that off my chest! My health has improved to the extent that I’ve managed a week at school as we finish off the examination cycle for another academic year. Next week will see a few more ‘mock’ exams for various Year students and then I’ll be on ‘holiday’ until September.

The book tour continues and today sees a Twitter Blast at Orangeberry Book Tours. The rest of the schedule is set out below.

20th June – Twitter Blast with OB Book Tours
21st June – Orangeberry Sidebar
22nd June – Book Review & Author Interview at Working for Books
–Book Review & Excerpt at Nose in Books
– Author Interview at High Class Books
28th June – Guest Post at Page Turning Books
29th June – Excerpt at Books & Beyond

Enjoy the weekend weather; take care of yourselves and I look forward to getting back in touch with you next weekend.



I read this on Monday morning. It was pinned to a notice board in the doctor’s surgery. ‘Tell me about it!’ I wanted to shout. Instead I screamed inside my head and sat in silence along with the other patients waiting for our names to appear on the screen, summoning us to learn our fate.

When I posted my last chapter (Friday 6th) I was feeling as well as I had been for six weeks. Twenty four hours later, with daughter Kim settled in for the weekend, I had just finished a chicken curry, which I had washed down with a glass or two of white wine. As the evening wore on I felt a few aches & pains. I spent a troubled night and in the morning things had moved on to a totally different level. I won’t go into details, but it was clear by early Monday morning that the meal was fine; this was an infection that had some nasty side effects and I was heading for the doctor’s waiting room yet again!

I’m halfway through the course of antibiotics I was prescribed & there are definitely signs of improvement. Not dramatic as yet; but at least I’m in discomfort now, rather than in bloody agony, so I’m thankful and hopeful in equal measure! I’m also not allowed alcohol which has been the norm over the past two months. I am not a BIG drinker; but I don’t like a day to go by without at least one. (Drink not bottle!)

My ‘Unfinished Business’ tour has faltered a few times this week; clearly I have taken my eye off the ball but I had an excuse!. It was difficult to concentrate on trawling through emails, Twitter, Facebook etcetera while in a prone position & feeling like death!

For their part Orangeberry have been pre-occupied too & a few stops along the way got mixed up or mislabelled. Fingers crossed their site details will have all the ducks in a row for this coming week!

You can check for yourself here:

As I write this at 21.00 on Friday 13th June, these are the next batch of sites I’m featured on but as you can see the dates are jumbled around & don’t make a lot of sense. Keep checking back; they have promised to get things sorted out as soon as possible.

I’ve missed a whole week of exams thanks to my poor health! I was gutted! I really enjoy the work and hate letting the school and those pupils down. If I keep taking the tablets I should be back to work on Tuesday morning!

Time to get some supper I guess & wait for Lynne to get home from an evening out with the girls! It’s been so long since I was well enough for a night out I’ve almost forgotten what it feels like! Perhaps I’ll wait up and ask her all about it; or maybe I’ll try to get comfortable & sleep until I hear her trying not to make any noise as she makes her way up to our bedroom.

Look after yourselves! Read the chapter heading again before you go and remind yourself why we say things like that to one another! With a change in luck I’ll be back next week, fully fit and raring to go. Stranger things have happened. Hey ho!



Welcome back! Or if this is your first visit, where have you been for the past two and a half years? I can’t believe that I’ve been doing this blog for that long, but time seems to have a way of slipping by without you noticing doesn’t it?

Two of the book tours are all but over and the reviews will be along in due course; I mentioned before that I’d added my name to a few more sites to get as many chances as possible for exposure. Review Seekers on Facebook turned up trumps for ‘A Sting In The Tale’ with 2 five star reviews in the first week which restored my faith in human nature (and my ability to string a few thousand words together in a meaningful manner!).

I still need reviews for both the novels and I’ve got just under a dozen new leads to follow up over the coming weeks. The ‘Unfinished Business’ tour should provide 20 and those reviewers I contacted in March/April will be posting their impressions as the summer months tick on.

The Video Book Trailers for the two novels are some way off the target views I would have liked by now! Please take a look? It will only take a minute of your time & I’d appreciate an honest opinion. I need feedback to let me know what I should be providing for the NEXT novel. The Final Straw VBT on YouTube Unfinished Business VBT on YouTube

The OBBook Tour for ‘Unfinished Business’ has these stops on it’s journey over the next week or so; keep checking back if the article I preview isn’t there. Depending on which time zone the blogger is in will determine when they post their item and occasionally an additional stop seems to get slipped into the itinerary (if it does it may replace one that I think is next in line; a bit frustrating I know!)

You can check for yourself here:

As I write this chapter at 12.15 BST on Saturday 7th June, this is the next batch of sites I’m featured on:

10th June – Guest Post & (*8)Book Review at Author’s Going Places
Guest Post 2 & Book Feature at Quality Reads UK
– Book Feature at UK Book Club
– (*10)Book Review & Author Interview at Book Professor
– Book Feature at Reading Away Life
– Book Feature at A Novel Design
– (*12)Book Review & Author Interview at Love Books
– Excerpt at Book Bumpkin
10th June – Orangeberry Sidebar
11th June – Guest Post at Page Turning Books
12th June – (*14)Book Review & Excerpt at Nose in Books
13th June – Author Interview at High Class Books
14th June – (*15)Book Review & Guest Post at bit’s ‘n bobs
15th June – Book Feature at Books are Magic

Lynne & I are awaiting the arrival of daughter Kim, as she’s staying with us as part of her trip to London with her sister Louise & daughter Sophie. Monday sees me back at school for another busy week of exams; the new blue specs were met with a mixed reception as I thought! I like them and that’s all that matters.

Time to get some lunch I guess & let you get on with your day! I’ll be back in a week or so with all the latest news & any gossip that comes my way! Take care.



Well here we are again! There is an annoying child in a bedroom across the road (or next door) that is screaming incessantly and doing my head in! Generally, I love kids, certainly my own three and my grandchildren. The rest I could manage without I reckon (particularly this evening!)

Lynne & I went out on Bank Holiday Monday to Lacock with my daughter Louise & family. They had a scarecrow trail with lots of devious clues to the names of countries. It was a very pleasant way to spend a couple of hours. In the afternoon I went for an eye test. I know, I was surprised to find them working on a Bank Holiday too! There were 4 young ladies to attend to my every need; possibly because I was their only customer. Next Tuesday will be the day of reckoning. I selected a different style of frame for the first time in over thirty years! The three ladies who saw me wearing them professed them to be ‘super’; I can’t help wondering whether the reaction closer to home might be less favourable. In my defence, I felt I needed a ‘pick me up’ after the last few weeks.

The book tours have been in full swing for a while now and I’m getting quite a lot of exposure on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve joined up with a few more sites that help to promote indie authors and provide opportunities for extra reviews.

Quite a few of you will have seen the Video Book Trailers for the two novels but if you haven’t then here’s your chance: The Final Straw VBT on YouTube Unfinished Business VBT on YouTube

The Orangeberry Book Tour itinerary for ‘A Sting In The Tale’ is nearly over. Try to take a look at these last couple to see what you’ve been missing!.

30th May – Author Interview at Reading the Dream Life
31st May – (*10)Book Review at A Novel Design

The OBBook Tour for ‘Unfinished Business’ has plenty of life left in it yet! These are next week’s little gems.

30th May – Guest Post 2 & Book Feature at Quality Reads UK
31st May – (*4)Book Review & Guest Post at Nobody Important
– Book Feature at Top ‘o Mornin’ To Ya
– (*5)Book Review & Author Interview at Me, You & Books
– Guest Post at Gentleman Reads
– (*7)Book Review at My Reading Problem
– Author Interview at UnBiased Book Reviews
– Guest Post & (*8)Book Review at Author’s Going Places
– (*9)Book Review & Author Interview at Creating Imaginations
4th June – Book Feature at UK Book Club
5th June – (*10)Book Review & Author Interview at Book Professor
6th June – Book Feature at Reading Away Life
7th June – Book Feature at A Novel Design
8th June – (*12)Book Review & Author Interview at Love Books

I’ll be back next weekend with this week’s news and the next stop off points for the UB Book Tour! Monday will see me back at school for a busy week of exams; Tuesday sees the new ‘me’ & my BLUE specs. The weekend will see a late Sunday night as I wait up for my daughter Kim to return from a trip to London for a One Direction concert with her sister and my granddaughter Sophie! Happy days!

If you have been wondering what the title of this chapter is all about then you need wait no more! Three book tours, decent reviews, lots of exposure on Facebook, Twitter and beyond and what effect does that have on book sales? Not a lot! There’s a long summer ahead and things could pick up but it looks increasingly on the cards that this autumn will see me with time on my hands; there’s not a lot of point starting on a couple of series of books if there isn’t an audience. Not so happy days!



Welcome back! We had a fantastic day for the wedding last Saturday and the evening was thoroughly enjoyable. It was my first night out in a month and there were lots of friends & family to help things along.

The book tours continue to pick up speed; there are lots of things to read about plus excerpts from the books that I submitted. There will be reviews from the tours in due course but the people I targeted early doors are now starting to deliver their verdict. I’ll keep adding them to this site (good or bad!) and obviously you can peruse them on Amazon, Goodreads and various blog spots around the globe.

You can still watch the Video Book Trailers on YouTube at these URLs: The Final Straw VBT on YouTube Unfinished Business VBT on YouTube or on my Twitter page at

It’s nearly half term and I’ve got plenty of stuff to keep me busy while the kids re-charge their batteries (and revise?) before we get back into it in June. No real highlights on the social calendar this week; just spinning my wheels waiting for the sun to shine again!

The Orangeberry Book Tour itinerary for ‘A Sting In The Tale’ is as follows. Try to take a look at some or all of these; I think you’ll enjoy them.

23rd May – (*6)Book Review& Author Interview 3 at Top o’ Mornin’ To Ya
24th May – (*7) Book Review & Excerpt at Books & More
– (*8)Book Review at Paws on Books
– Guest Post at Books on the Open Range
– (*9)Book Review at Living Books
– Author Interview at Reading the Dream Life
– (*10)Book Review at A Novel Design

That’s about it for the short stories; just a short tour & eventually 10 potential reviews. Well worth the effort though.

The OBBook Tour for ‘Unfinished Business’ has plenty of life left in it yet! These are next week’s little gems.

23rd May – Excerpt 2 at Paws on Books
– (*2)Book Review & Excerpt 3 at Author’s Friend
– Excerpt 4 at Everything 4 Books
24th May – Author Interview 2 & (*3)Book Review at City of Reviews
25th May – Excerpt 5 at Kindle Nook Books
26th May – Excerpt 6 at Dreaming Pages
27th May – (*4)Book Review & Guest Post at Nobody Important
28th May – Book Feature at Top ‘o Mornin’ To Ya
29th May – (*5)Book Review & Author Interview at Me, You & Books
30th May – Guest Post at Gentleman Reads

I’ll be back next weekend with this week’s news and the next stop off points for the Book Tours as we travel ever deeper into the heartlands of the USA and the UK! Have a good weekend!



Well I didn’t have long to wait for those trailers! I’ve loaded them on to Twitter, my Amazon Author Central page; my Smashwords profile; my Goodreads Author page; my Freado (BookBuzzr) profile and last but not least this website.

I’m waiting for the Independent Author Network (IAN) to load them up and together with YouTube then that’s pretty much my full set.

You can watch the Video Book Trailers on YouTube at these URLs: The Final Straw VBT on YouTube Unfinished Business VBT on YouTube

All three book tours are under way now and there have already been a couple of rounds of Questions & Answers on Twitter. I have had three Author Interviews posted on various sites and the links can all be traced via my Facebook page: or on my Twitter page at

This week I have seen a big shift in improvement in my health! On Tuesday I started back at school invigilating and was thrown in at the deep end with Biology in the morning and Geography after lunch. Then I went out in the evening for the first time in a month! I was playing snooker for three hours, including a Semi Final one frame shoot out which I won! (Perhaps I should play without practicing ALL the time!) I was shattered! The next morning I had five hours straight with 4 different A levels running simultaneously and a Food Technology paper to follow. I was asleep in the chair before three pm, but I’m almost there!

The stop off points over the next week on the Orangeberry Book Tour for ‘A Sting In The Tale’ are as follows. Try to take a look at some or all of these; I hope they’re interesting, they should be I put a lot of thought into the things I wrote.

17th May – Guest Post at My Reading Problem
18th May – (*4)Book Review at Just My Opinion
19th May – (*5) Book Review & Author Interview at UnEnding TBR Pile
20th May – Guest Post at My Life in Books
21st May – (*6)Book Review at Top o’ Mornin’ To Ya
22nd May – (*7) Book Review & Author Interviewat Books & More
23rd May – (*8)Book Review at Paws on Books

Meanwhile the OBBook Tour for ‘Unfinished Business’ is just gathering speed and these are the ports of call next week.

17th May – Twitter Blast with OB Book Tours
18th May – (*1)Book Review & Guest Post 1 at The Reading Cat
19th May – Excerpt 1 at Blog-A-Licious Authors
20th May – Guest Post 2 & Book Feature at Quality Reads UK
21st May – Excerpt 2 at Paws on Books
22nd May – (*2)Book Review & Excerpt 3 at Author’s Friend
23rd May – Excerpt 4 at Everything 4 Books

Lynne and I are off to a friend’s wedding do tomorrow night. We’ve known Chris since he was about 14 I guess, so thirty years at least. It’s about time he settled down! I think he’s made the right choice; Sam seems like a lovely girl. My son Steve & his wife Jan will be there too; plus about 100 other people I know from town and around! I think there’s a good night in store!

On Monday evening I have what might be my last Snooker AGM. I’m desperate to find someone to take over the role of Secretary that I’ve held for 23 years. The plan is for my successor to work alongside me between August and next May, and then they can fly solo.

I have one exam every day next week as half term approaches; fortunately there are no really long grueling sessions until we go back in early June. This time last year I was writing the series of 12 short stories that became ‘A Sting In The Tale’ but I don’t have the urge to write ‘Sting 2’ just yet; perhaps next summer if the book tour throws up some solid reviews and extra sales.

Everything is ‘on hold’ in the writing department at the moment. This summer is an important barometer of how far I’ve come. In September or October Lynne & I will sit down to decide what I do next. Which series should I concentrate on? Could I do both? Perhaps the market I’m trying to crack is too cluttered, too much opposition and the short stories with a wide selection of genres is the way to go? Time will tell.

Not so long to wait this time! I’ll be back next weekend with this week’s news and the itinerary for the Book Tours as we travel deeper into the heartlands of the USA and the UK! Happy days!



I apologise for not writing to you earlier! I’ve had a few health problems that have knocked me sideways it has to be said. I was struck down on the night of the 15th April and have been in and out of hospital for tests & treatment ever since. Fortunately there’s nothing terminal, but my lifestyle will have to change to something more suitable for a man of sixty eight summers!

I’m a lousy patient and as well as driving my wife up the wall I’ve been sliding further down towards that black pit of depression. Today was the first time I actually imagined that I could do something other than lounge around in a chair watching TV.

I finally visited Roger Calcutt at wiltshiremedia this morning, instead of on the 16th April as I told you previously. Was I a ‘one take’ person or was it a nightmare? It was perfect; the images looked superb and Roger had composed a piece specially for the backing track to ‘The Final Straw’. I can’t wait to see the final versions.

You will be able to catch the Video Book Trailers on YouTube shortly and I’m planning on adding them to my Author Profile on Amazon, Smashwords & Goodreads as well as this site. For the time being I’m concentrating solely on the two novels; maybe one day I’ll do something for the book of memories and the short stories.

Two book tours started on Tuesday (the same day as my last visit to hospital for three months; fingers crossed!). There’s a tour for ‘The Final Straw’ which is concentrating on reviews and a summer long extravaganza for ‘A Sting In The Tale’ You can catch all the details day by day on Twitter and Facebook. I’ll keep you posted on the highlights on this blog as the weeks slip by.

On the 13th May the ‘Unfinished Business’ tour gets up and running. This is another marathon and there will be lots of activity on Twitter and various blog spots across the States and Europe. I will still be pestering reviewers for a rating. If I don’t get 100 for each of my novels then it won’t be for want of trying.

Lynne has been wonderful this past month; I couldn’t have asked for more support and TLC. Sadly we missed out on our annual trip to Ibiza because of my condition but we have confidently booked holidays in August & September in Wales & Majorca. As for Ibiza, if we can find a week where an apartment is vacant that suits us then we’ll pop over to see our old friends and get some late sunshine.

Every day is ‘three steps forwards two steps back’ (or the reverse!) at the moment. I need to get myself up together before Tuesday, not for the ‘Unfinished Business’ tour but the exam season has started and I’ve already missed a week. I don’t want to let the kids down. I’ve looked after the Year 13 students since Year 10 for definite and some probably before that. This Year’s Year 11’s will have had to put up with me in the Main Hall since their first year at the ‘big school’.

I’ve been knocked down, but I’m back on my feet again. I’ve learned a lesson – never tempt fate. The biggest mistake I ever made was giving last month’s blog post the title I did!

If you’re lucky then some good always comes out of bad things that happen to you in life. For me I was reminded yet again how lucky I am to have my family. My kids have been brilliant.

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to update you on the tours & any other news. Hopefully I won’t need to issue any more bulletins on the state of my health! If you want to help in a small way to make me feel better then why not follow the tours on Twitter and Facebook, then drop into Amazon and download a copy of one or other of the books? All those 5 star reviews can’t be wrong surely? There are far worse ways to be spending your summer than escaping into one of my books (believe me I know – I’ve been through some in the past few weeks!)



‘Time marches on.’ ‘Time waits for no man.’ ‘Time is a great healer.’ I could go on but you get the picture!

I’m pretty much geared up for what the summer will bring now; all my preparations are either complete or well under way. The Guest Posts and the Author Interviews have been written and sent off to Orangeberry ready for the three book tours. I have had ‘Unfinished Business’ added to the website as you will have seen on your way in here. I like the ‘slider’ effect so that all the books get a viewing don’t you? It makes the site look a little more professional.

This week I visited Roger Calcutt the bass player we had with us on the reunion gig in November 2012; he runs wiltshiremedia and as well as recording bands in his studio he does videos & trailers too. I’m returning on Wednesday (16th April) to do my first voice over! Will I be a ‘one take’ person or will it be a nightmare? The scripts and the images are agreed for trailers to ‘The Final Straw’ and ‘Unfinished Business’. Roger has an almost limitless selection of rock music snippets for us to choose from too so they should be worth a watch.

You will be able to catch the final Video Book Trailers on YouTube and I’m planning on adding them to my Author Profile on Amazon, Smashwords & Goodreads as well as this site. For the time being I’m concentrating solely on the two novels; maybe one day I’ll do something for the book of memories and the short stories.

I’ve spent hours chasing down reviewers over the past month. I’m running out of ideas. I’ve contacted over sixty people and received a positive reply from around twenty (which is a good ratio!). The reviews will be posted between May and September on a whole variety of sites. Some bloggers have asked me if I will be available for interview & I have agreed in every case so by the autumn the tours will be over and the books and their writer will have had plenty of exposure.

The question is – what then? Even if every reviewer I’ve contacted direct, plus those posting reviews during and after the virtual book tours, provide me with a positive 4-5 star review I’ll still be only half way to the sort of number of reviews that get people to sit up and take notice. That’s being optimistic as quite a few potential reviewers didn’t post anything at all last summer when ‘The Final Straw’ was doing the rounds on the virtual tour for the first time.

So where will that leave me? I won’t really be out of pocket, because this enterprise has still only cost me about £12 per week since I started trying to sell WLTDANN back in August 2011. That’s as cheap a hobby as many I could have got involved in and I wouldn’t have been in touch with so many fantastic people or learned so many new skills. I have few regrets about the last three years. Sadly, based on the experiences of the last nine months, nothing I can do will make any difference. I need a miracle or someone who DOES have the clout to get my books to a wider audience.

It’s frustrating because at the moment I don’t KNOW whether my books are any good; it’s reassuring that my family and friends enjoy them and the handful of reviews that I’ve received from my peers were very encouraging but I need a few reviews by say some top Amazon reviewers. (I HAVE approached them believe me – I’ve tried!) If they tore my books to shreds then the decision at the end of the summer would be easy. I’d quit while I’m behind!

If they were as encouraging in their reviews as the others then in October/November I’d start on the next leg of the journey – the ‘Cat and Mouse’ series or ‘The Phoenix.’ At least I would have something tangible to bolster me through the winter and next summer’s book tours would see me starting a little further up the ladder than I am at present. Maybe 2015 would be the year when one of my titles makes it into the Top 100.

We’re off on holiday to Ibiza towards the end of the month and as soon as we return I’ll be off to school for the exam period. The book tours start on the same day so I’ll be busy!

Take care of one another. Have a Happy Easter and I’ll be back in a few weeks with another update. Who knows? Maybe I’ll have some good news for a change!



UnfinishedBusinessFINAL200x300_300DPI‘Unfinished Business’ is available to buy on Amazon NOW! Be one of the first to read this thrilling sequel!

Read about the day that DCI Phil Hounsell meets his new sidekick DS Zara Wheeler in this excerpt from Chapter 8:-

‘Will someone please track down his passport photograph? He holds a British passport; he only got one at the last minute so he could get away to The Gambia with his boss when we were closing in on him over the Gibson girl’s murder. At least it will give us something useful to match against any CCTV images we can come up with.’
Phil Hounsell was warming to his task now; he could feel he had the room with him, there were no heads looking out of a window or staring at the ground, indicating that they thought this was a waste of time.
A young female officer spoke up. She was seated at the back; Phil couldn’t remember her being introduced when they arrived perhaps she had crept in while he was in full swing earlier.
‘It would be useful to get a credible image of this man out to the police authorities immediately surrounding our patch. He won’t be sitting around in the city waiting for us to pick him up. Our role in this investigation could well be all but over.’
Danny saw that Phil was about to explode; he stood up and walked forward to stand shoulder to shoulder with his old boss.
‘We didn’t come all the way up here to pass the ball on to someone else, okay?’ he said, fixing the young woman with a stare, and then looking at each of the other officers in the room ‘This is personal for us. We know this guy. You would all walk by him in the street without a second glance. He’s invisible; which makes him extremely dangerous. Phil Hounsell touched Danny Bevan on the arm, a silent thank you for the support, but also a signal that he was back in control of his emotions and ready to continue. He carried on Danny’s theme.
‘We had our suspicions about the deaths of both of his parents; sloppy police work and Bailey’s cunning and intelligence left us with very little except suspicions. After Sharron Bailey’s death her parents both went off the rails for some time, who wouldn’t? Karen Bailey hit the bottle and her husband was cheating on her with his boss Sue Owens. In 2003 a local councillor started a campaign to clean up the gang culture that was rife in the town and was shot dead by a member of one of the gangs. We believe now that Colin Bailey had some personal grudge against this councillor and when someone else took him out, this was the final straw and nine people were killed inside a couple of hours only a few days later.’
‘We were persuaded to believe at first that it was the two gangs flexing their muscle, but one of the dead men was the doctor who had delivered Sharron Bailey fifteen years previously and had performed a hysterectomy on her mother. Subsequent inquiries by the medical authorities suggest that this doctor was rather too keen to subject patients to the knife and eliminating the possibility of Bailey’s wife ever having any more kids was almost certainly too hasty; knowing what we know now about Colin Bailey’s attitude towards people who have caused him grief, then this doctor was yet another long term target.’
‘Karly Gibson was a young girl who, like many of her generation, was footloose and fancy free. There was no evidence she was particularly promiscuous, but she had friends and boy friends like I have Indian takeaways. She was also pretty much the age his daughter would have been if she had lived. Colin Bailey killed her. We could prove that. She met Bailey in a pub and chatted to him when she felt like it and ignored him once too often. It was as simple as that; I don’t believe he was attracted to her sexually; I reckon she reminded him of Sharron and he would have taken her under his wing like the daughter he had lost.’
‘We were so close to picking him up! He got away by the skin of his teeth and joined his boss in The Gambia. She had sold her home, her business, cashed in everything so they could be tucked up in a safe haven while we were left powerless to react. How much she knew about what Colin Bailey had done, who knows? If she did know and helped him escape then they must have had some incredibly strong bond. What sort of woman could love a stone cold killer like that?’
The room fell silent.
The young female officer spoke again ‘Are you on his radar Sir?’
Phil Hounsell looked at her again. She wasn’t much more than twenty five, maybe five foot five and about seven stones wringing wet. She blinked at him from behind her distinctive red rimmed glasses.
‘I didn’t catch your name, sorry’ he said.
‘Mouse, Sir’ called out Dave Butcher one of the senior members of the local team. Several of the other people in the room laughed. The young girl blushed.
‘DS Zara Wheeler, Sir’ she replied.
‘I’m afraid so Zara’ answered Phil.
‘We had better find this Colin Bailey then, before he finds you’ Zara said, blinking again.

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