All posts in The Long Hard Road

The Final Straw Revealed

This chapter will give new readers a chance to discover what ‘The Final Straw’, my first novel, was all about and hopefully persuade you there’s a good read just a click away!
For those of you who haven’t been with me on ‘The Long Hard Road’ from the beginning, it might just convince you to take a look.

The key themes of the book are family drama, tragedy, death and revenge. The main characters are the Bailey family and the story centres on their seemingly inevitable journey to disaster.

Other characters in the book that play pivotal roles in the story line are:

Phil Hounsell, a Midlands born policeman who transfers into the West Country town and seems destined to be chasing Colin Bailey for most of his career.

Sue Owens, the wife of Colin’s employer at Leigh Park Mines, who is a woman knows exactly what she wants and isn’t shy about getting it!

Neil Cartwright, a six foot eight, eighteen stone, tattooed biker who is Colin’s only male friend. Of course, Colin’s naivety regarding relationships doesn’t augur well for the future of that friendship!

The book is set in the West Country where I have lived all my life. There are worked out mines within five miles of my house that have been used in wartime for military purposes, in the cold war on standby as an underground bunker for Prime Ministers and Cabinet members to be housed. In peace time all sorts of businesses have used the facilities to store items which benefit from the underground conditions. Leigh Park Mines don’t exist but they are typical of the companies operating in the area.

As for the town itself, this is entirely fictitious; in fact it’s unnamed in the book. It represents a typical West Wiltshire town with its shops, official buildings and housing estates and sadly nowadays they increasingly share the gang culture, drugs and the crime that the book portrays. Times have changed significantly since I was growing up!

‘The Final Straw’ is fairly dark and the themes it deals with don’t generally have roses around the door and happy endings, so romance and mystery are thin on the ground. Life is pretty bleak in this quiet fictional town and my chosen style of writing means you get the facts warts and all!

Most reviews have been favourable and a quick read through on my website will tell you it’s an easy read. ‘The Final Straw’ was voted ‘Best Book Ever’ (Quality Reads UK Book Club) in September 2013. My ambition is to write books people enjoy reading; nothing more, nothing less.

Now I’ve whetted your appetite why not take the next step?
The Final Straw on Amazon

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

Let’s Twist Again! (the story of ‘A Sting In The Tale’)



This review from Tina Stanciu for Reader’s Favorite probably sums up ‘A Sting In The Tale’ pretty well!

“This is a collection of short stories that introduces the reader to a world that has a little something for everyone: love, ghost stories, revenge tales, books and libraries, and a touch of humor that perfectly binds them all together.”

“The first story, which was also my favorite, is about a bookstore owner who finds a little sparkle of joy and excitement in his monotonous life in the shape of a beautiful and interesting young lady. But as the cleverly chosen title says, there is a sting in every tale, and we, the readers, are dared to find it, which makes the reading experience even more entertaining and makes you want to read them all at once.”

“Short stories have a harder role to play than novels. They need to get the reader to love the characters and be hooked by the plot line sooner than in the case of novels, and also, we need to be able to move from one character to another without losing the feeling of excitement that we expect to have.”

“ This is a superbly written collection of short stories; the author’s style is truthful, fresh, and the touch of humor adds the finishing touches to an already beautiful reading experience.”

“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. I saw the library; I saw the park; and I felt the emotions that the characters felt as their stories were revealed before my eyes.”

Take a look at these shorts with a twist why don’t you? There’s a lot of variety there for very little money!
A Sting In The Tale on Amazon

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

Musical Mystery Tour (the story of ‘Unfinished Business’)




‘Unfinished Business’ is the sequel to ‘The Final Straw’ and continues Colin Bailey’s quest for revenge. After a decade in West Africa, out of reach of the long arm of the law, he has waited impatiently for the news of whether Neil Cartwright, his former friend, has managed to get parole.

Colin Bailey is now in his early forties and alone. He has watched his homeland sink further into a morass of crime, drugs, sexual exploitation and domestic slavery with increasing anger; he despairs of the efforts of the police and the legal system to do what’s needed to remove the cancer killing the country he loves. He sees himself as the only person with the will and cold blooded efficiency to clean the streets of these criminals.

The key themes of this sequel are death, revenge and music. Hard rock and heavy metal got Colin’s juices flowing. He spent many hours planning how to dispose of the people on his list listening to his Walkman while working underground at Leigh Park Mines.

Colin becomes a roadie with a Canadian Iron Maiden tribute band. Their tour begins in Scotland and moves down the eastern coast of England, crossing over to Liverpool and Manchester before eventually heading south to London.

The band’s itinerary meant he could tick a few names off his list as he travelled across the country. Everything fitted! His plan was complete; he had one last task at the end of the UK leg of the tour; Colin could deal with the policeman whose continual harrying and frustrating might prove to deflect him from his mission – Phil Hounsell.

As each name on Colin’s list is being ruthlessly eliminated Phil Hounsell is teamed up with several of his former West Country colleagues as they hunt down the stone cold killer. He also meets Zara ‘Mouse’ Wheeler; she’s just over five feet tall, seven stones wringing wet, as sharp as a tack as regards police work but an innocent in the ways of the world.

Is there romance? Time will tell; certainly Zara finds her new boss attractive and thrown together in difficult situations in far flung corners of the UK, who knows what could happen?

Reviews for ‘Unfinished Business’ say it is: ‘a thriller in every sense of the word’; ‘a gripper’; ‘difficult to put down once you’ve started’.

Sounds like just the book to pick up doesn’t it?
Unfinished Business on Amazon

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

Deaths In The Family (the story of ‘The Final Straw’)



This chapter will give new readers a chance to discover what ‘The Final Straw’, my first novel, was all about and hopefully persuade you there’s a good read just a click away!

The key themes of the book are family drama, tragedy, death and revenge. The main character Colin Bailey has a dysfunctional family. His parents Adam and Jennifer virtually ignored him as he was growing up; he was clearly a ‘mistake’. Their own lives were complicated enough without the encumbrance of a child.

Adam left his wife and son to live with another woman – without a backward glance. Jennifer had always played the field; let’s just say she ‘liked her bread buttered on both sides’.

Colin was unloved, unwanted and a loner; he was bullied at school by the members of two local gangs; their leaders Leroy Ambrose and Scott Hall, headed up the young thugs that terrorised the quiet West Country town where Colin lived.

Colin somehow stumbled into a relationship with Karen Smith; she was plain & chubby but willing and Colin was completely unaware of her many previous partners. They were forced to marry and had a daughter Sharron. This little mite was the first person Colin had ever loved in his life and who of course loved him unreservedly in return.

As Colin grew from a young boy into a young man, his hatred for his parents and those thugs that have tormented him led him to write down a list of people that he would like to dispose of. As the drama unfolds we follow him righting the wrongs he perceives have been done to him.

Whether you like Colin or not as a character it’s hard not to sympathise with him as he creates a safe haven for him, Karen and young Sharron, only for their happiness to be tragically torn apart. This was ‘The Final Straw’ that saw Colin embark on a path from which there was no turning back.

Now I’ve whetted your appetite why not take the next step?
The Final Straw on Amazon

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

Inside The Mind Of The Author

my familyInside The Mind of the Author

Tell us about yourself: – I’m sixty nine years of age; I’ve been married for almost forty four years to Lynne. We have three grown up children who are all married and have flown the nest! We have four grandchildren, one step grand daughter and a step great grand daughter – so far. I started my working life in a bank, and then joined a tyre company as an accountant. I was made redundant after thirty four years and I took early retirement.

What made you start writing: – A friend asked if the ‘war’ stories I had from my days in groups were written down anywhere for posterity. I replied that they were just in my head; four years later they were in a book. I had always read voraciously from a young age and written stuff while I was at school. Life got in the way of the writing but I’ve always read.

Do you have any favourite authors: – Ian Rankin; Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens. I don’t know whether I’ve been influenced by any of them but I love to read their work. I hope something has rubbed off because it couldn’t hurt could it!

Do you have a strong online presence: – Apart from this website where you can follow my blog? If you check out Facebook you’ll find my Author’s page at
You can follow me on Twitter on
My books are all over the place! Amazon, BooksGoSocial, Goodreads and Independent Author Network, so there’s no excuse!

Tell us about your latest book: – ‘The Olympus Project’ is the first in a brand new series featuring ‘The Phoenix’, a man rescued from a watery grave by strangers. He has been headhunted because of his particular skill set; that of a super efficient stone cold killer.

The stories throughout the series will cover the activities of the secret organisation which recruited the man they have named ‘The Phoenix’ as they send their agents across the world removing anyone who poses a threat to political or economic stability.

In this fast paced thriller we follow ‘The Phoenix’ as he exacts revenge and rights wrongs in his inimitable style. ‘The Phoenix’ has always been a loner; can he and his new colleagues work together as a team to prevent a terrorist cell from causing havoc in Central London?

What’s your favourite genre to read: – Crime thrillers without question

Which do you do more, read or write and why: – I write more than I read; I research more than I read too! I wish I could find more time to read; there are so many titles I’ve seen in the last four years that I want to get to but writing and trying to get reviews and sales leaves precious little spare time. In the past month or so I’ve started to review books; the more ‘presence’ I have on Amazon can only help my cause. Or at least that’s my hope!

Have you ever studied the art of writing: – No fear! I know that technically I could be a lot better but the way I do it now, flying by the seat of my pants, means I enjoy every word I write. Imagine how much of a bind it would become if I had to go back over every sentence or paragraph to see if I’ve broken some ‘golden’ rule. I know it’s not perfect but my writing reflects its writer!

How To Make Your Characters Believable

How To Make Your Characters Believable

When I started writing in 2006 I was merely getting down on paper a series of stories that I had been telling people for years. That book of memories described real people and the things we actually did together. I wasn’t creating characters or setting out to make the people I was writing about ‘believable’ for the reader. Basically, I told it how it was. They were real people and real events.

In December 2012 when I started writing ‘The Final Straw’ I only had a vague idea of the outline of the story. If you have read any of my previous posts from last year then you know what happened next! I typed ‘Colin Bailey was invisible’ as my opening line and that sketchy plan was lost forever. Ninety five thousand words later it was done.

The book dealt with sexual awakening, broken families, hatred, revenge, multiple murders and a few other subjects into the bargain. Some people say that it helps if your readers empathize with your characters and find them believable and enjoyable. If they do then the style in which you present your work and the plot will be more acceptable too. Other people advise writers to try and write about what they know.

It looks like I missed those signposts doesn’t it! Very few of my characters are ‘enjoyable’. Most of them reflect the society we live in and therefore are painted in darker terms rather than light. No matter what my enemies say behind my back there are no bodies buried under the patio, nor is there a little black list of people that I would cheerfully dispose of! So I wasn’t writing from experience! I just try to write about characters we have all read about in the papers or seen on TV; sadly there are plenty of the types of people in my books to choose from!

I try to describe the setting in which the action takes place; I use a light touch as far as possible and the reader can paint their own pictures; there’s nothing worse than reading a description of a building or a person that is so detailed that it feels like the author is dragging you by the ear, leading you to No10 Woodside Terrace and shouting ‘Here it is! This is the where the murders took place! Can’t you see?’

I give some background to the characters so you know where they come from, I tell you their age and what their given name or nickname is. I give you a general idea of what they look like but for a lot of my characters I leave the reader to give them a face. In ‘Unfinished Business’ Zara Wheeler is around twenty five years old, seven stones wringing wet and she wears glasses. Her colleagues have noted that she wrinkles her nose and blushes profusely when she’s embarrassed. They call her ‘Mouse’. She’s super intelligent and lives at home with elderly parents. There are a few other character traits and background that emerge as the story unfolds, it isn’t necessary to lay it on with a trowel when the character makes their first appearance, they can be added as the story line evolves. Even if a character is only a minor one with a brief appearance centre stage, it is important the detail of what they look like and their background is there.

At times I have to give the reader a ‘true’ picture of my characters. On the front cover of ‘Unfinished Business’ you can see Zara, her boss DCI Phil Hounsell and the stone cold killer Colin Bailey. The images match my own ideas of what they would look like and any future books will need to reflect those images as the characters move forward.

Your characters need to be flawed, just like the rest of us and I think that helps them to be believable.

Maybe it’s not time to give up yet?


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

Unfinished Business VBT

I’ll be back in a week or so with all the latest news & any gossip that comes my way! Take care.

Never Tempt Fate!

Bucephalus 7

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.

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.

What Does The Future Hold?


‘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 the book tours start so I’ll be busy!

Book Early To Avoid The Rush!


It’s that time of year again! I’ve finished writing the book and I’m starting to catch up on the chores that piled up while I was stuck in the study grafting away. I’m sure you remember the drill from the previous titles?

Once I had typed the last sentences of ‘Unfinished Business’ I needed to get someone to proof read it; last time it was Bob my brother, this time my wife Lynne stepped up to the plate. Once we were happy with the content I got the file prepared for the publishing stage. A very helpful and efficient lady Lucinda K Campbell from the States sorted that out in a couple of weeks.

The next important stage was getting the front cover designed. No problems in deciding who to ask! It had to be Melissa G Alvarez of This took a little longer than usual as she was taking time out while a foal was being born on her ranch. Horses are her passion and the new arrival took priority for a week or so.

The results are there for you to see. This cover gives you the first images of DCI Phil Hounsell and his new sidekick DS Zara Wheeler plus the updated picture of Colin Owens (Bailey) after a nose job and a little cosmetic tampering of his jaw line.

When you read this book, what’s in store for you?

The sequel to the award winning ‘The Final Straw’ sees Colin Bailey return to the UK after almost a decade abroad. With a new name and a new face he still has scores to settle. His meticulous planning takes him ingeniously across Scotland and the North of England ticking names off his list with the police completely baffled.

DCI Phil Hounsell pitted his wits against Colin before and so he is sent to Durham where he teams up with super intelligent young DS Zara Wheeler; together they track their man to Manchester and then eventually south to Bath.

The final scenes take place on the streets of the Roman city; Phil Hounsell’s family is threatened and in a dramatic conclusion reminiscent of Holmes and Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls, the two men struggle above the foaming waters of the historic Pulteney weir.

You’ll need to get to the very end to find out what happens to Colin and Phil. Perhaps there will still be ‘Unfinished Business’ and Phil and Zara might work together again – could there be a series I wonder? Perhaps Colin lives to kill another day, but where and for who?

That’s entirely up to the reader. Keep your eyes peeled for a competition later in the year. Whichever way people want the characters to develop will determine what I write in the late autumn and over the winter.

So after the preparation, the uploading of the book and getting it accepted on the premium listings, what’s next? A long hot summer I hope!

The book will be listed at the end of March on Amazon (UK/US) but pre orders aren’t available on my self published items as yet. I’ve asked KDP to look into the possibility and perhaps by the time the next book comes around it will be an option.

As soon as the Amazon link is set up then I’ll be hitting Facebook, Twitter and this blog as hard as possible to get the message across! The quicker you all buy the book then the sooner I can stop pestering you. Lynne’s opinion of ‘Unfinished Business’ after her proof read? ‘It’s excellent; better than ‘The Final Straw’. When will you be starting the next one?’ (That’s high praise from my sternest critic!)

I’ll be back before you know it with all the details of the links and all the news that’s fit to print in a couple of weeks. Then we’ll be jetting off to Ibiza for our ‘chill out’ holiday before returning to that long hot, extremely hectic summer!