Keep Right On

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hände hoch!”

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

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

I’ll be back with an update in February.

Take care, stay safe.

Best wishes

Ted Tayler

 

Best Laid Plans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care, stay safe.

Best wishes for the Festive Season for you and yours 

 

 

More Of The Same

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

I’ll be back with an update in December.

Take care, stay safe and best wishes. 

Ted Tayler

Silent But Deadly

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

https://facebook.com/AuthorTedTayler

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

Ted Tayler

 

The More The Merrier

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ted Tayler

 

A Frequent Peal Of Bells

I often wondered how approaching retirement felt. Those weeks and months as you neared the date when you could officially pack up work. Redundancy robbed me of that anticipation, and I was thrust into semi-retirement with no time to prepare.

I’ve kept busy in the past eighteen years with exam invigilation and quiz compiling for a decade each. In the past six years, I’ve written fiction. In two weeks’ time, the eleventh book in the Phoenix series will be published. That leaves me with just one more to write. Four weeks in May/June to write a fitting end to series that’s given me so much pleasure.

I plan to post the odd blog and promote the eighteen books I’ve published since I started, but retirement beckons. I’ve got time to prepare this time around, and to be honest – it feels right.

Yesterday (9th April) saw almost 1200 downloads. Figures are a third up on 2017 in general. I can’t complain. I received this from an ex-schoolteacher in Missouri last month: –

Just recently discovered Olympus and Phoenix. I am midway through Book 5 and totally committed to making my way through all of the books. I’ve visited so many of the places mentioned in your books that I’m comfortable with settings. Your characters are so believable that I’m easily drawn into their lives and activities. Although I am no fan of Phoenix’s music choices, I am totally in sympathy with his mission. Congratulations on weaving a tale worthy of our oral traditions.

And ONE week later: –

And now the waiting game begins. Finished Three Weeks in September, Book 10 and eagerly await number 11. Wow! I thought Demeter was an evil witch, but this new member is a true snake in the grass. Chilling. My total fascination with this series remains strong. I am surprised to see so few posts on this FB page. I am going to have to encourage my friends to read the Olympus series.

That’s why we write isn’t it?

There are others out there who will react the same way. I just have to find them. It’s not imperative I slog away with more books about The Phoenix or start a new series altogether. What’s done is done, and good enough to spark that reaction.

I’ll be back with news on the FINAL book sometime in May. 

If you want regular updates on all my books, why not join The Phoenix Club? Newsletter (#23) will be circulated very soon.