I do love a poem now and then…

The hopeless eyes and tear stained horror of a fragile, far-away gaze. Where once, a sweet and happy child dwelt, till the innocence of life was erased. The tears have dried up, cried out with the pain on battered beseeching hands. Just sitting, bereft, in the remains of a life; in the dust of desolate lands. Never will a smile grace the frozen faces of those who have seen so much grief. The laughter and joy lie dead and buried, their moments so tragically brief. Childhood cut short and a long life so alone, no longer afraid the bombs. Just vacant resignation of all that will be; a lament for a life now long gone. It breaks my heart and claws at my soul to see the haunted gaze of a child. Staring from the rubble of streets they once played, where death and destruction run wild. Will we ever…

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In This Business, It Always Pays To Have Highly Talented Friends

Just to refresh your memory…

Have We Had Help?

As many of you will know, I had to temporarily put aside working on the new version of my one and only fantasy anthology ‘Goblin Tales’, until the artwork I had commissioned was completed.

Well, it was finally sent to me on Sunday afternoon via email by its artist Duncan Nial Boswell. Not only did he produce the family portrait of the five goblin brothers – Glob, Neo, Byz, Make, Mous and Bejuss the one eyed lisping raven that I asked him for, but he also threw in a revitalised map of Goblindom and a whole new cover. Take a look for yourselves.

I’m sure you will agree with me when I say that his work is absolutely faultless. It was definitely worth waiting for…


Top Left – Make, Top Centre – Neo, Top Right – Mous, Lower Right – Byz, Lower Left – Glob with Bejuss on his shoulder.

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You READ – but do you leave REVIEWS? – by Chris Graham (aka The Story Reading Ape)

You READ – but do you leave REVIEWS? – by Chris Graham (aka The Story Reading Ape)

We all need reviews!!!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog


A stack of books and words Read - Review - RepeatIf not, why not?

I don’t have time

The author probably spent a heck of a lot more time writing the story than you took to read it, no matter how slow you think you are, so why not take a few minutes to record your feelings about it.

I can’t write long fancy reviews like those I see on book review blogs

You don’t have to, Amazon, for example, only ask you to use a minimum of 25 non repeating words.

I can’t express myself very well

No-one is asking you to produce a literary masterpiece, start off with things you liked, didn’t like or a mix of both about the book, e.g.,

I liked this book because –

it reminded me of –

it made me think about –

it made me so scared I couldn’t sleep for –

it made me feel homesick for –


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Imagination and Observation

How many would you recognise?

Have We Had Help?


When I was a child during the late nineteen forties into the fifties, our only family entertainment was the radio. Times where tough back then. To all intent and purpose, Britain was bankrupt and in a period of austerity. It was still recovering from the ravages and deprivations brought on by the Second World War. Food was still being rationed. No one had much money.

One thing I absolutely loved to do was imagine what the people we used to listen to on the radio each night actually looked like. Far too often my childish imaginings were way off target whenever I saw a photograph of them. When I was ten, we finally got our first black and white television after we had emigrated to New Zealand in 1958. My favourite childhood activity of imagining what people looked like faded into the distance for me, or did it?

For all…

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#BLOGTOUR | The Hitman And The Thief – Richard Dee @RichardDeeSci-Fi @rararesources @gilbster1000 #amreading #bookblogger #bookreview

#BLOGTOUR | The Hitman And The Thief – Richard Dee @RichardDeeSci-Fi @rararesources @gilbster1000 #amreading #bookblogger #bookreview

About Richard’s latest scifi novel…

Jessica Belmont

Assassination can be a messy business, especially if you’re having a bad day.

Dan Jones is the ultimate problem solver, the hitman for crime boss Fliss Bauer.

Fliss has a rival, Kalindra Dallin. She runs a particularly unpleasant planet. Dan is told to arrange her demise. It’s just another job; until a random event means that it all goes horribly wrong.

To save his skin, Dan is forced to try again, only this time he has to work with a partner. He doesn’t want to but it’s the only chance he’s going to get; if he wants to put things right.

Can the hitman and the thief get the job done, more importantly, can they keep each other alive?

Beta Readers comments,
Richard’s latest book, The Hitman and the Thief, takes the reader on a twisting journey through different worlds. The action moves swiftly, with unexpected twists and…

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The Power of The Mind Update…

Time for another update about my latest W.I.P. After many months my word count is extremly low. Currently it stands at 5769 words, which equates to 11 A4 pages, or 30 Kindle pages. In reality you can quadruple times two the number of words I’ve written so far…

Why so low? It’s not exactly rocket science folks. I constantly rewrite/edit as I progress. In this instance my hero or anti hero, depending on your point of view, is not following a conventional storyline, as far as any story worth its salt ever does. I have him operating all over the place. One minute he is here in the UK. The next he is somewhere else entirely.

One thing is fairly apparent. He is no longer in control of his life. Instead he is being directed by an ancient tome to do its bidding. While it indirectly protects him, how long that will continue is unclear at the moment.

I’ve previously stated that it is a mix of the psychological and a mind numbing thriller. I haven’t changed my mind on that score. I see him as a cold hearted executioner, even though he doesn’t see himself in that light. Methodical, diligent, single-minded, unemotional are all words I would use to describe him during his crusade to rid the world of people he and the vast majority of his fellow senior citizens dub undesirable. You know of whom I speak – waisters, jobsworths, bullies, liars, cheats. The list is endless…

More later,

Jack xx


It’s review time…


Review BUGLES AND A TIGER and THE ROAD PAST MANDALAY by John Masters, both published by Phoenix, part of Orion Books

I am indebted today to “English Sailor”, who watched my YouTube video about John Masters (it’s here – – if you want to see it), and suggested these two books.

It is vanishingly rare for me to find books that really compare with the superb war memoirs of George MacDonald Fraser, QUARTERED SAFE OUT HERE. Fraser was the brilliantly inventive creator of the FLASHMAN series, and wrote his own war memoir as a way of honouring the men with whom he fought in the Burma campaign. I was utterly gripped by that book when I first picked it up, and was unable to put it down until I had finished it. In my opinion, it was one of the best books explaining the reality of life for an…

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Why Do Writers Write?

Good point…

Have We Had Help?


You may as well ask why do painters paint, or sculptors sculpt. Like them, we have a burning desire within us to produce something for posterity. In our case, for your reading pleasure. The serious writer isn’t in it for the money, only the story. Nor are we attempting to become famous during our lifetimes, just to be read.

Sculptors use chisels and other tools to release that statue trapped inside the block of marble. Painters use brushes, palette knives and all manner of paints and pigments to produce that painting which you admire in an art gallery. Whereas we use words to paint a picture for your imagination to feast on.

By its very nature, writing is a solitary occupation. You have to have a writer’s soul and a total commitment to the craft, not to mention a steely determination.

An editor or a teacher of English can give…

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Block Editor Looming

A few gripes and grizzles about WordPress…


From the comments on my blog over the last few days, I have noticed that a large number of you have now been switched to the block editor by WordPress. Despite the provision of the so-called ‘Classic Block’ nobody seems to be very happy about having to use the new system. One blogger has already told me via email that she intends to stop blogging now, as she cannot be bothered with the learning curve necessary to continue.

I fear this may be the case with many others, in the weeks to come. I also have concerns that this will not be the last of the changes that WordPress intends to force upon us bloggers in their quest to satisfy their Business and Professional customers.

You will all remember my complaints to WordPress, and the issues I have had with them concerning critical blog posts I published. What you may…

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One of my favourite short stories…

I loved writing this series. It was critically acclaimed. And yet hardly anyone has bought it. Go figure???

Have We Had Help?

…from my much heralded but rarely bought anthology ofGoblin Tales

What's next on the agenda?

Obadiah Fingletook – Grand High Goblin

In which Globular Van der Graff, (Glob), Makepeace Terranova (Make), Byzantine Du Lac (Byz), Eponymous Tringthicky (Mous) and finally, curmudgeonly old Neopol Stranglethigh (Neo), set out on a quest to rescue the grand high goblin, Obadiah Fingletook.


A loud knock on the goblin brother’s front door an hour before dawn, one day in early spring, woke Glob from a deep sleep. He leapt out of his bed in such a panic that he stubbed his big toe on the chamber pot beside his bed, sending it clattering across the floor, spilling its contents.

He limped painfully towards the front door muttering and cursing under his breath, unbolted it and angrily flung it open. Leaning heavily on the old oak’s trunk, totally out of breath, was a purple faced plains goblin wearing the…

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