Talk about getting things backwards…

Covers – a touchy subject with me…

Have We Had Help?


Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper

If all that matters to you as a writer, or reader are pretty pictures like the one above take a trip to an art gallery or museum.

What am I on about?

These days more and more writers fall into the trap over what their book’s cover looks like. A lot obsess over it. Before you say anything, yes I accept it’s all part of the modern day sales pitch when it comes to paperbacks and eBooks.

But remember this – until you have built up a faithful readership, as long as night follows day, having a spectacular cover is no guarantee of sales. What sells is your writing talent and the story itself.

“Ah, but having one improves my book’s chance,” I hear hundreds of you caustically shriek. Not necessarily true!

For example, I know several fellow writers who have spent a…

View original post 241 more words

Blog Feature: Usual Muttwits

More from Beetley Man!!!


Some readers may recall a blog started by one of my oldest friends, Julian. It was full of amusing stories about the doggy residents of an imaginary town, and their feline arch-enemy. Well that blog has been revamped, and now has great new illustrations by Zozo alongside the amusing stories.

Each character now has their own feature too, with the drawings summing them up perfectly.

Whether lamenting about the lack of available food, or investigating new canine arrivals, the antics of the Muttwits gang reads like a wonderful soap opera of the activities of all the pets in the town of Westley Piddle. If you own a dog, have ever owned one, or just love them, I am sure you will find this blog a delight. There is also a book in the works.
Dogs tails from Westley Piddle

So check out this new blog, treat yourself to some great illustrations…

View original post 10 more words

My Morning Routine Doesn’t Change…

Shhh – want to know a secret?

Have We Had Help?


The older I get, the grumpier I get…


A morning routine is something the entire population of the world has in common. Mine consists of the following, apart from walking into a half open door in the dark on occasion, otherwise it wouldn’t be a routine would it! Why in the dark? Because at the ungodly hour I wake every morning, my eyes cannot stand strong light, especially overly bright light bulbs!

I slowly emerge from the land of nod as the realisation that morning is assaulting my still closed eyes. No matter which way I turn in bed; no matter how hard I try to pull the duvet over my head, morning wins, no matter whether its still dark or not…

My feet act on their own, swinging out of bed closely followed by my body. My brain however is still snuggled down in the warmth of the…

View original post 445 more words

Freeview. Methinks it promises much, but leaves a lot to be desired Horatio…

Repeat viewing…

Have We Had Help?


In the commercially driven world of British television today, we are given so much choice, or are we?  When it comes to quality viewing and despite its many changes and internal wrangles, the BBC still sets the standard…


For those of us who do not wish, purely on principle, to contribute monthly to the wealthy bank balances of Sky or Virgin Media or any of the other ‘pay per view’ systems currently available, there is Freeview. It does what is says on the tin – it gives us free access to hundreds of Television and Radio channels. Unfortunately barely a half dozen of them are worthwhile!

In reality Freeview is nothing more than a dumping ground for channels that fail to turn a profit, or more importantly as far as their owners are concerned, attract large numbers of viewers essential to the ridiculous ratings system.

And now we come…

View original post 514 more words

Lockdown and the foodchain

Jim on ‘lockdown’…

Jim Webster


When we start talking about the lockdown and when it should have started, we have a couple of fixed dates.

The first is the 16 March 2020. This is when the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team produced ‘Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID19 mortality and healthcare demand.’

In the document itself it mentions that the picture they paint is based on experience in Italy. This is because prior to this they’d mainly had Chinese data to work on. So the 16th March makes a nice start date. This is the scientific evidence that we were probably going to need a lockdown.

If you had demanded a lockdown before then you’d just be another nutter shambling along wearing your sandwich boards, muttering about the end of the world being nigh.

If you look back from now and say we should have locked down before that date, you’re…

View original post 1,321 more words

Who would you most like to meet?

A consumate actor…

Have We Had Help?


For me it has to be Andy Serkis.


He was born and brought up in Ruislip Manor in Middlesex. His mother Lylie taught disabled children; his father Clement was an Iraqi born gynacologist of Armenian descent.

While there is absolutely no doubt that Andy is an accomplished actor. When he immerses himself in non human characters such as Ceasar and Gollum, we experience a true master of his craft at work. Ever since I first saw his Gollum in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, I’ve wanted to shake his hand and tell him how much I enjoy his performances.

In my opinion Andy positively shone as Ceasar the charismatic leader of the simian horde in the Planet of The Apes films. What an actor. I’d take my hat off to him if I wore one. Hell I might just buy one to doff in his presence…

View original post 4 more words

Seventy-Fifth Anniversary

A lovely tale….


Perhaps he was a footnote in history, there was no one left to ask, this veteran of a near forgotten war, now brought to life through films and sometimes books, but lived by him back when his legs still moved, and crawled without complaint through this same undergrowth.

Nearing his centenary, and the last of the old pals, he sat upon his chair with a blanket round his limbs and watched the wind play with grass and leaves: no cordite now, no friends crying out their last. His eyes, which seemed unfocused to his relatives, looked out for faces loved so long ago and torn from life by one man’s evil brilliance and those dark acolytes who gave muscle to his plans.

To those around him who waited on his thoughts, the scene was now at peace, with only a cross to excite the memory, but in his mind, were…

View original post 166 more words

Which genre, which market???

Which genre???

Have We Had Help?

As a reader have you ever thought where the books you love fit in the great scheme of things? Reading tastes are constantly changing. It would require a brave person indeed, willing to predict what the next bestselling book will be.

As a reader, it may not matter to you. But if you are a writer, how your books will be received is always at the back of your mind. Every genre has multiple compartments within it, where discerning readers, critics, reviewers and publishers like to place your work. People are people after all, they can’t help themselves. They must pigeonhole things to make sense of everything, including books, at least in their own minds.

Only one of my books sold well. The one I still prefer, which has earned nine straight five star reviews on Amazon, did not. Why – because its subject has become a shrinking market. If I…

View original post 285 more words

Ladies of my acquaintance

Jim’s ladies…

Jim Webster


As you might imagine, I’ve been musing recently on the impact of arbitrary government diktats. Admittedly they’ve been part of my life for longer than I care to remember, but then agriculture has always been a field where Westminster felt it unwise to rely upon the ignorant and unlettered peasantry, and preferred to organise things themselves. From a safe distance. And during office hours.

But if we scroll back through the years, back on 2 April 1984 the government (at EEC behest) introduced milk quotas. This is the equivalent of the government telling you than instead of working 35 hours a week, you could now only work 28 hours, but at the same hourly rate. The expedients that you have to resort to so that you can keep paying your mortgage are your problem, not theirs.

So we have to do something and we tried various things. One was to…

View original post 1,272 more words