All posts in The Long Hard Road

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!

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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:

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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

A Sting In The Tale Revealed


There’s a lot to get through for this collection of twelve short stories; so buckle up and get ready for a rough ride! There are twists and turns throughout; just when you think you know the ending there’s a final twist!

The stories in ‘A Sting in the Tale’ deal with love, death, revenge and mystery. You can find a ghost story or two and for good measure several of the stories are laced with a touch of comedy. So there’s something for everybody.

In Voice is a love story about an elderly bookshop owner with an unusual talent and his summer of love with a young schoolteacher.

Daylight Robbery tells the story of an audacious jewel thief.

Affair of the Heart is set in Bath; will she leave her one true love to run away with a married man?

Traveller’s Rest is a ghost story; or is it? You decide.

What’s in a Name? This is what used to be called a ‘shaggy dog’ story; my apologies to the Canine Defence League if that’s not appropriate. There are no dogs in the story.

Dobson’s Choice is based in my home town and is another love story; as in Hobson’s Choice, young Laura Dobson is left with no choice at all.

A Merciful Release tells of Christine Amor’s passion for boy bands; not unusual for a young girl, but when the lady concerned is middle aged, her actions are a little extreme.

A Crack Shot will give some young wives ideas how about how to deal with a cheating husband, but could they dream up such an ingenious method of creating a ‘win win situation’?

Come To Rest is a story of revenge set in Weston Super Mare. Jane Collingwood is a genteel spinster with a romantic past.

Bang to Rights sees Dave Abbott have to deal with a tearful woman in what proves to be an explosive day with twists and red herrings in his job as concierge at a luxurious office block.

The Class of ’64 is loosely located in Trowbridge, where I myself went to school. There the similarity ends. In this story a group of bullies get their comeuppance.

The Last Bus is a ghost story set just four miles from my home town. This bus journey was one I took with my parents & my brother on numerous occasions, but we never knowingly had the same experience as my narrator.

All of the stories are based in the UK. This is simply because that’s where I live and therefore they are the places I know best. Some locations are really close to home like ‘The Class of ‘64’, ‘Dobson’s Choice’ and ‘The Last Bus’, while ‘Traveller’s Rest’ is based on a real incident from my days in the band.

We were travelling back from a gig somewhere south of London and heading towards Andover, Devizes and a warm bed. Through a thick stand of pine trees Nick our saxophone player spotted a dim light. We stopped and reversed back to thread our way via a cinder track through the trees into a clearing. It was a truck stop that had seen better days and we were the only vehicle in the truck park. The proprietor looked after the eight of us with a cooked breakfast, hot drinks and a selection of corny jokes and riddles that amused us during our stay. We left him as the sun was coming up with a cheery wave. Although we travelled that way a dozen times over the next few years, we never found that truck stop again. No matter how we strained our eyes at the passing rows of trees we never saw a dim light, no cinder track and we certainly never sensed any smell of sausage, bacon and egg wafting through the early morning. Spooky!

Why did I write this book? Why a collection of short stories, rather than another novel? As you will have read elsewhere, I stumbled into writing fiction and after I’d completed ‘The Final Straw’ I was at a loose end. It was up for grabs on Amazon and doing the rounds on a virtual book tour for the summer (2013); the reviews were scheduled for September/October perhaps and I searched for some local reviewers to get things moving. I discovered a writers group in my home town and I thought I’d get some help there. As part of my induction process and in an attempt to ingratiate myself with this motley crew I offered a couple of poems and a short story or two for their opinions. My offerings went down well, but there was no sign of a book review anytime soon. I tried my hand at a couple more short stories & when ‘The Final Straw’ was picking up my first award, I had about seven or eight completed. I thought that twelve was a good number and cracked on in the week or two before we were off on holiday in late September. The holiday was for rest & recuperation for both of us but my wife wanted me to be ready to start the sequel to ‘The Final Straw’ as soon as we returned home.

I published ‘A Sting In The Tale’ in October and started writing ‘Unfinished Business’. Four months later, I thought I’d better think about promoting BOTH books. That’s my downfall; I love writing but can’t get to grips with the marketing side of things.

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

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Unfinished Business Revealed


Welcome back! I’m sure you’ve already read the story behind my first novel ‘The Final Straw Revealed’ which precedes this new chapter?

‘Unfinished Business’ is the sequel to ‘The Final Straw’ and continues Colin Bailey’s quest for revenge. The key themes of this sequel are death, revenge and music. “Hang on! Did you say music?”

Absolutely! Colin Bailey is a meticulous planner and in ‘The Final Straw’ he and his wife Karen were regular visitors to their local pub for their Friday night ‘music fix’. Hard rock and heavy metal music were what got Colin’s juices flowing. He spent many hours planning how to dispose of the people on his list listening to tracks by Iron Maiden and Judas Priest on his Walkman while he was working underground at Leigh Park Mines.

Using the name Colin Owens to stay under the radar of Border Control, he becomes a roadie with a Canadian Iron Maiden tribute band touring the UK and Europe. He goes deeper under cover by adopting the name Owen Collins while on the road. The band begins the tour in Scotland and moves down the eastern coast of England, crossing over to Liverpool and Manchester before eventually heading south to London.

This was all familiar territory for me; in a previous life I sang with bands that played various types of music; the last band I was in were very much a hard rock outfit. We covered tracks by Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Cream and Rory Gallagher (all new names on the scene back then!). These were all mixed up with our own material and we were LOUD! We travelled in our Transit van with our roadies, unlike Maiden’s Hair in the book; there was no tour bus for us!

Travelling across the country, unloading our kit & getting set up for a gig, playing our set, then breaking the kit down & getting away to the next stop on our own musical mystery tour was part & parcel of our everyday lives for almost a decade. ‘Unfinished Business’ allowed me to make a sentimental return to the good old days in fiction at least; but back to the dark world of Colin Bailey and his quest!

Colin had seen that 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 was scheduled for one last task at the end of the UK leg of the tour; this was when the band moved across to Europe and Colin could deal with the policeman whose continual harrying and frustrating might prove to deflect him from his mission – Phil Hounsell.

Colin hadn’t missed a trick; by keeping an eye on the local news from that quiet West Country town where he had been brought up, he knew that Phil was married with two young children and was now living on the outskirts of the city of Bath. He knew too that Phil had been promoted and had moved on to work in London as part of what proved to be the short lived Serious Organised Crime Agency.

As each name on Colin’s list is ruthlessly eliminated Phil Hounsell teams up with several of his former West Country colleagues as they hunt down the stone cold killer. Other characters that play a significant role in the story are:

Erica Hounsell, Phil’s long suffering wife, who finds herself in danger when Colin wants to be left alone to continue with his task.

Frankie & Billy, the roadies that work alongside Owen Collins, totally unaware of what he is up to.

Therese Slater, a Manchester barmaid who falls for Colin and gives up everything to follow him wherever he may end up. Does Colin have feelings for her? The final scenes on the towpath by the Pulteney weir in Bath leave you with as many questions as answers!

This novel was intended to tie up the loose ends that remained on the final page of ‘The Final Straw’; however, after consultation with my wife (she spoke – I listened) there are new threads beginning at the end of ‘Unfinished Business’! Sorry, if you want to know where all these threads will lead you’ll have to read the book, and then the NEXT novel will make sense!

I deal in facts not fantasy; the reality is that the world is a nasty place and although Colin Bailey may have an extreme way of improving it, sooner or later the streets will have to be cleaned. If this book helps to get that message across then it will have served a purpose.

Does it sound like the book for you?
Unfinished Business on Amazon

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