Wednesday, 16 August 2017


I don’t know whether this social phenomenon has ever been documented, but I’ve noticed it happen in playgrounds, in families, in work places, in clubs, even in churches.

It usually involves a controlling personality, let's call him or her Person 'A', and is often triggered by a minor, often insignificant error or omission by Person ‘A’, which causes another person, Person ‘B’ to be inconvenienced, upset or just confused.

Instead of just acknowledging or admitting the minor error, Person ‘A’ becomes aggressive towards Person ‘B’, displays anger, makes counter accusations and generally implies that Person ‘B’ has no right to be in the slightest bit inconvenienced or upset. Person ‘A’ might even claim that Person ‘B’ had, by action or omission, caused or contributed to the error.

Obviously, this causes Person ‘B’ to be more upset or disturbed.

What usually happens is a third person, Person ‘C’, will attempt to calm the situation. Almost always, Person ‘A’ will resent the intervention. With Person 'C' around, Person ‘A’ can no longer bully or subdue Person ‘B’.

Now Person ‘A’ knows he or she can’t bully Person ‘C’, so instead, in this hypothetical but frequently occurring situation, Person ‘A’ will openly denigrate Person ‘C’ to other classmates, friends, family or congregation members and in doing so, Person ‘A’ effectively persuades others that Person ‘C’ is responsible for escalating the minor problem into a major crisis.

To my way of thinking, the only way to resolve a situation like this is when Persons ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ work together on restoring friendships, relationships and trust at the earliest opportunity but that only happens in fairy tales, because in real life, Person 'A' wants to retain his or her dominance over Person 'B' and can't achieve that while Person 'C' is prepared to intervene.

Instead, Person 'A' works towards an understanding or reconciliation with Person 'B', but ensures Person 'C' is excluded from the process. In some (but not all) cases, Person 'B' is persuaded by Person 'A' to abandon the association with  Person 'C', which effectively increases Person 'C's isolation.

Having reached this reconciliation with Person ‘B’, Person ‘A’ switches his or her attention rebuilding a relationship with Person ‘C’.

This puts Person ‘C’ in a dilemma. On the one hand, Person ‘C’ wants to restore harmony in the playground, family, workplace etc so now Person ‘C’ has to choose whether stand aside and accept whatever tactic Person ‘A’ employs to regain his or her control over Person ‘B’, or to walk away, find another corner in the playground, resign from work, join another church congregation.
In all the times I’ve witnessed this social phenomenon, I’ve never encountered a Person ‘A’ type who makes any attempt whatsoever to reverse his or her denigration of Person ‘C’, thus Person ‘C’ is still ostracised or shunned by those he or she once counted as friends. Whatever the outcome, the relationship between ‘C’ and everyone else involved is damaged, tarnished and sometimes destroyed.

Such is the damage to these relationships, the ‘C’ type persons will sometimes change schools, resign from jobs, even leave the clubs or church. 

Every dictator or bully in history has succeeded through isolating the stronger while dominating the vulnerable, so this situation is nothing new.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Full marks for Never Say I Can't – Judges Commentary in full ...

Writers' Digest 4th Annual Self-Published e-Book Awards.

Judge4th Annual Self-Published e-Book Awards.”

Entry Title: Never Say I Can't
Author: Philip Catshill
Entry Category: Life Stories

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5
Production Quality and Cover Design: 5
Plot and Story Appeal: 5
Character Appeal and Development: 5
Voice and Writing Style: 5

Judge’s Commentary*:
Author opens the book with an engaging scene, and we are soon – thanks to the author’s stellar talent in sharing his observations from inside the affected mind – immersed in the disorientation and fear of the post-stroke mindset. ‘Each every’ and the author’s early attempts at speaking are well-shared, and we get plenty of sensory detail such as the feel and temperature of the floor, the vinegar-cleaned windows, and other fascinating details he is able to process. We’re moved by how the author moved through the earliest stages of his recovery when progress has not yet been made. We sense the confusion, the wish to communicate better, the numbness.

Well done.
Author has created a very sensory account here. Very essential to the book’s success. I found the ‘rankings’ of patients in the care center according to whether or not they’ve had a ‘proper stroke’ fascinating. It was amazing to
think that the human race’s need to rank and impose status would ever apply to recovering from stroke.
It was a deep and moving scene when his friends preferred that he not accompany them to the ground floor for their departure, since it felt like they were abandoning him. That’s heart-wrenching, and the author presented this raw interaction with the concerned friends movingly.
‘I will manage’ uses terrific economy of words to show his empowerment and admirable courage. Settings are rich and detailed, and dialogue with caregivers is richly nuanced. We can feel that the caregivers are sticking to scripts that work with patients, but because they care so much for this patient, they show more heart and honesty with him.
Well done.
 We cheer for his progress, and we listen intently to his stellar writing voice.
Engaging and inspiring.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Penny for Them 


Awesome Indies Approval

If you were told your country’s secret service needed you to do something you have done a hundred times before, would you hesitate or help? 

Penelope is the privileged stepdaughter of Henry Kendall-Wilkes. News of his death brings her out of hiding, so thirty years after she was told a UK secret service agent needed her help, she is able to recount the story of espionage and deceit that put her life in danger. 

In 1982, Penelope’s stepfather was a Minister in the UK Government. After Penelope threatened to expose his involvement in blackmail, he tried to kill her. However, with the Falklands crisis looming, the British Government needed his expertise, which protected him from prosecution. 

At the same time, IRA terrorism threatened mainland Britain. After introducing himself as an MI5 operative, Jim Pansy asks for Penelope's help to bring her father’s killer, Sean Moran, to justice and prevent an IRA atrocity, However, the simple task quickly escalates into an unforeseen pursuit for which she had neither training nor experience. 

At last, Penny can reveal how the pursuit of a killer led her to romance, danger, and a bag full of diamonds. 

“…you won’t want to stop reading until the last word…” 

Adult content.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Here's a game I play when completely bored – usually when I'm in the waiting room at the doctors or dentists – I write a sentence, translate it with an online translator, then another with a different language and so on, until I've circumnavigated the globe and arrived back in good old English ...
This :
The result is never the same as the original, and frequently isn't even similar to the original sentence.
became :
The residue is nowhere indefinable as the first, and often carries no level resemblance to the primary imprisonment.

Digital translation shouldn't be relied on, especially translating from English into another language, because English is notorious for having many words meaning the same thing or the same word having several different meanings. 

What do we mean when we say mean?
Do we mean average, spiteful or signify?
Shabby perhaps, skilful or poor?

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The Mike Newman Mystery "Who Else is There?" 

is a finalist in the 

Independent Author Network Awards 2015

Click here for

Click here for

Friday, 24 July 2015

Have you ever walked on broken glass or trodden on hot coals, because I feel that's what I'm doing right now. A couple of weeks ago in another forum, a writer picked up on a comment I made over four months ago and then lambasted me with all sorts of unpleasantness and insults.
Should he see this topic, he might want to bring his sarcasm and innuendoes to this forum.

The reason for this guy's unpleasantness is because he refuses to accept that I not only go it alone in publishing my book, but because I go it alone from the first word right through to publication. Just duck your head in case there is still flak flying around, while I whisper a confession – I edit my own work, and despite the five star reviews my work receives, this guy is not alone in saying it can't be done.

So why do I do it?

I paid a small fortune to have my first book edited and proofread, but when I made changes as suggested by a professional editor, I felt I had lost something. Not in the writing, for the words on the paper were still my words and my voice told the story, but something deep-rooted and personal had been taken away.

I had my first stroke at 30, my second at 42, and both ripped furrows into my brain. The second brought an end to my working life. To fill my time, I studied art at the local college. In order to demonstrate a technique, the tutor took my brush and adjusted the picture on my canvas. This was his way. He would move from student to student, take up the brush or pencil and twiddle with the image, but for me, the painting had become distant, remote and no longer mine. I can only attribute this overwhelming sense of loss to the brain damage caused by the strokes.

It took me a while before I discovered what was missing from my first, professionally edited novel. I had lost the much-needed sense of personal achievement, which until then, had been the driving-force in my post-stroke recovery. Although the editing was excellent in every respect, for me, the book had lost its spirit. The life had gone out of it and it was as limp and useless as my right hand.
Others said the work was brilliant and should win awards, but I grew to despise it for the simple reason that it betrayed not my achievement, but only what I could accomplish with another's input.

I took the decision to withdraw the novel from the market. My first venture into becoming an author was nearly my last, but one characteristic I share with the fictional hero in my books is we do not give up. We never say, “I can’t.”

Just as I did with my painting after my second stroke, after a third stroke came along, I applied myself to studying. I learned editing practices and writing techniques. I focused on developing a system where I could hone my stories through several different stages until it was my best, and not my best enhanced, improved or adjusted by someone else. While I am still determined to achieve against the odds, I am immensely grateful for people who have helped, advised or guided me towards this goal. One such person is the British author and editor, Dorothy Davies. I have never met Dorothy, but her constant encouragement, criticism and advice through our social media connection has inspired me to progress in my ambition, and that is to produce a first class, award-winning novel of my own.

I do not recommend any writer to edit their own work unless of course, like me they only have half a brain and have spent years trying to perfect a system that works, but I have taken on the challenge and enjoyed every step on the way. My books still get amazing reviews and the occasional bad review, but whether it is 5 stars or 1, I feel I have a right to claim every single star as my own.

If you want to see my books, search Amazon for Philip Catshill

My paintings can be viewed at  which also has links to my poetry.

Philip Catshill