Monday, 16 December 2013

My latest novel 
has its first review

please click here to read the review.

A few days before the Falklands Conflict in 1982, murder and mayhem visited the streets of Hartingham in central England as an armed diamond robbery left carnage in its wake. 

The gifted linguist Penny leaves aside her privileged upbringing and dubious past as she is recruited into the world of espionage and intrigue. The secret mission to bring her father’s murderer to justice leads her to Argentina at the outbreak of hostilities. 
It is not only a killer she discovers. In this gripping adventure, Penny becomes involved in a web of intrigue and uncovers a plot to overthrow the British government. 

With the recent announcement of her stepfather’s death, Penny thinks it is safe to reveal the treachery which has kept her in hiding for thirty years, and how the hunt for 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, 1 December 2013

I think I've worked out why my posts never get comments - I don't think they have been seen....

I've not used Google+ that much in the past - and now I find I have more than one account. Hopefully, now the two accounts are connected - someone will see my blog!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Paying the Piper ... but who calls the tune?

I have published EBooks, painted some pictures and have written countless poems - my work has been well received and has amassed over a hundred excellent reviews. Although I am the first to admit that good editing is essential before publication, I ask why you have to pay? I didn't.

I have recently read an article from a writer who paid over $5,000 for editing and is completely dissatisfied with the outcome. 

I have paid nothing and am completely satisfied, thank you. 

I think it depends on how you view your creation. Me, I am always open to advice, but like the paintings on my website, the poems and short stories published here and there, I want my novels to reflect exactly who I am - my style - my writing and my choice of words. I pay attention to grammar and word usage and give my work a thorough check before publication, but at the end of the day, it is my work, and that is important to me.

Judging from my string of excellent reviews, I guess my readers like the way I do things.

I'm told I'm arrogant because I will not pay for these so called pre-publication professional services - but why should I? Why should any of us? I've seen too many professionally edited books with simple errors which could have been picked up with a built-in spelling check.

I believe writers could do a lot better for the industry as a whole if they would use their experience to help other writers with publicity, promotion and minor puntuation corrections. I  do this all the time without fee or hope of remuneration - Wouldn't the writing profession be better off, if there were more out there like me? 
I want to write and write some more and enjoy even more success - but I am fed up to the teeth with these so called professional editors, designers and the rest, who insist on charging an exorbitant fee before a writer receives a penny from sales.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Hey, I’ve downloaded this photo-album program. It has facial recognition and has picked me out on a thousand or more photos, which have been taken during the last ten years or so. Some of these were posed, but there are a fair few when I’ve been in the background and not always aware the photo was been taken. The remarkable thing is that on every single photograph, I am smiling. That shouldn’t really come as a surprise because every single day of my life over the last twenty years has been full of joy. 

I have a wonderful, loving, supportive wife, who has given me a son and daughter who, together with their spouses, would make any father proud. We have half dozen grandchildren ranging in age from our recently married twenty-four year old granddaughter through to our three year old, each of whom fills our hearts with joy each weekend we see them. My home is warm and comfortable and my garden a delight to the eye, so it’s no wonder I have a smile for every occasion – 

Then again, it might be trapped wind. Hmmm-

Sunday, 6 October 2013

I never want an August/September like that again.

We all celebrated the arrival of my great nephew  but within hours, celebrations turned to anxiety as our niece was rushed into intensive care - it was tense for several days but all turned out well.

As soon as one was better, another fell ill. A simple wasp stung my wife on her toe. Her foot swelled like a balloon. Within hours, she was in intensive care with septicemia. I've never seen a reaction like that and the way blisters spread on her toe, then foot, then leg - it seemed at one point that nothing could stop it short of her losing her foot, but again, at the last moment, the antibiotics kicked in.

No sooner than my wife is back home, disaster three hit our family. Our daughter had a house fire. She had put the washing on timer so that it would come on in the early hours of the morning, and be ready before she went to work. She woke to a house of thick black smoke - they got out just in time - daughter, son-in-law and grandson, but the fire destroyed the kitchen and smoke had penetrated everywhere. They arrived on our doorstep in the early hours with nothing but their nightclothes and buckets full of tears.

They've stayed with us and had a night or two in a hotel.

You can imagine the strain that these episodes have put on our family, but we know how to love and support each other through these crises so at the end of the day, they become a mere blip in history.

Even the darkest cloud has a silver lining. Our niece recovered sufficiently to bring her baby to our house in time for his great-great-granddads birthday. My wife has been left with nothing more than a scar and slight limp which will soon disappear, and the insurance has paid for a deep clean of the house and all their clothes, so now our daughter and her family are as fresh as daisies, albeit, for the next few weeks, without a kitchen.

Thank you to all our friends both here and the U.S.A. for your prayers and thank God for His gift of a close, loving and supportive family.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Converting a Word File to EPub -

For All Eternity (and other short stories)
is an introduction to the acclaimed Mike Newman Mysteries which I hoped to give away on Apple, Sony and Nook.

A few days ago, I loaded the Word document onto the Smashwords site, but shock horror - I had a message saying it had failed the EPub check. Apple will not list an EBook unless it is 100% compliant. I followed all the advice from Smashwords and elsewhere, and concluded that the problem lay with the chapter headings for the different books. To get around this, I decided to try converting my Word.doc to EPub before loading onto Smashwords.

A Google search returned a plethora of "Free" Word to Epub converters and I tried several, but non was returning that vital 100% compliance when I loaded the EPub to Smashwords

- but then I found the Trial version of EPub Maker 1.7 from EpingSoft.   Now this isn't a free program, and the trial version throws an occasional asterisk into the output document, but it was the first, and so far ONLY Word to EPub converter that has scored 100% for EPub compliance.

It also gives you the opportunity to easily change chapter headings and make other adjustments. I haven't used the facility for converting graphs and tables, but it's there.

What else can I say? Other Epub converters may be free and have a colourful interface, but what good is free if it doesn't work? I didn't find any of the Free programs easy to use and couldn't get any of them to return a 100% EPub compatible document, 

EPub Maker costs a few dollars, but it is straight forward to use and returns 100% EPub compliance. I think I'll have the full version of EPub Maker anytime.  EPub Maker 1.7 from EpingSoft. 

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Thank you AHA.

I wrote a little article for the Authors helping Authors blog, and received this award.

Please read the article by clicking here:
 Does this sound familiar?

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Following the success of "Who Else is There?" and "Suffer Little Children" I have been persuaded to re-launch the third novel in the Mike Newman Mysteries, "Penalty for Murder."
The great news is that a couple of FIVE STAR reviews were waiting from its brief appearance last year!

This is my public "Thank you" for great reviews to Karen on and to Gloria on Amazon UK!

Penalty for Murder on
Penalty for Murder on Amazon UK

Thursday, 18 July 2013

... I went into hospital the other day
For tests they said,
And maybe an operation.
They gave me a shot in the arm.
Which made me feel a bit woozy
So I reached for my iPad
To play solitaire...
But I was filled with inspiration.
In an hour I'd written a thousand words,
A thousand more in two.
By the end of my stay
I had a novella.
and emailed it to an agent.
"Brilliant" was her one word reply
"Random House have bought it.
Fox Media want the serial rights...
... Would you like a cup of tea?"
"What?" I answered drowsily.
"You're in hospital Mr Catshill...
And have had an operation...."

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

New Website

A few days ago, I built a website for a friend, and looked carefully at my own tired old pages. I've spend a bit of time revising them, and I'd be interested in getting some feed back.
I've added Website builder as a skill on LinkedIn.