Been there…

Class pay attention!!!

Have We Had Help?


Not everyone likes people to succeed in what they do. In fact these days more and more people both your colleagues and the general public want you to fail. This applies to any and all writers, recognised or like myself known only to a few lovers of my work.


Since one of my books achieved my dream to become a best-selling author (selling 250,000+ ebook copies), I have become another victim of the tall poppy syndrome. I have experienced hate and envy, particularly among certain of my colleagues. While it is true to say I brush it off and move on, I do it with great difficulty. In other words despite the passing of time it doesn’t get any easier.

As published writers, unfortunately hateful comments and reviews are par for the course. Many come from other writers jealous of your work. All any of us can do is move…

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Review: THREE STATIONS by Martin Cruz Smith, published by Simon & Schuster

Review: THREE STATIONS by Martin Cruz Smith, published by Simon & Schuster



I have always had a soft spot for Martin Cruz Smith’s book, ever since I first read GORKY PARK, the book that introduced Arkady Renko, the disillusioned cop of Moscow’s police force.

There are several books in the series, and I find each of them utterly captivating. Yes, they are page-turners, and they have great concepts flowing through their pages, but they have more than that. There is a great humanity that flows through all the stories. A deep understanding of people and what motivates them.

I loved this book. Perhaps because I was reading it in Auckland while in two week’s quarantine, waiting to see my brother, who was dying. I needed something that was uplifting, that was well-written, and most of all, diverting. THREE STATIONS was absolutely perfect. Which of course begs the question why it took so long to write up this review. I was in New…

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Chapter Fifty

You lucky people. Another riviting chapter from the first in a long line of published books of various lengths.

Have We Had Help?


Chapter Fifty – Ghost from the past

Max’s tribe welcomed the young newcomers with open arms after he had introduced them. Work was underway to make the already well defended village into a near impregnable, heavily fortified redoubt. Tihke coordinated foraging teams to retrieve anything that could be turned into a defensive weapon. Shaila and Torinn organized the women into medical teams and runners, to tend wounds and supply arms to the defenders on the ramparts of the fortified earthwork. Manouf and Goran helped construct spike filled pits covered with reed mats, manufactured from the plentiful supply that grew in the marshy lands beyond the defended perimeter. Max and Tihke, together with Max’s two sons, made more bows and arrows using Goran’s fine weapon as an example.

The news of the raiders working their way steadily towards them, unnerved the village. The bloodshed caused by fighting other tribes over territorial…

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Review: MIDNIGHT IN PEKING by Paul French, published by Penguin

Review: MIDNIGHT IN PEKING by Paul French, published by Penguin

More from Michael…


I’ve spent quite some times reviewing crime books recently, and here’s another – except this one isn’t fiction.

In the early morning in January 1937 the body of a late-teenaged British girl, Pamela, daughter of the city’s former consul, ETC Werner. She had been appallingly mutilated, and even her breast had been opened and her heart cut out.

This was in those terrible days for China. She suffered civil wars, rebellions, Japanese invasion, and one murder in a period of such horror and slaughter was hardly a pressing matter. But some police wanted to find justice for the girl. DCI Dennis and his Chinese counterpart, Colonel Han, began to investigate, but Dennis was hamstrung by a British desire to hurry and not rock any boats.

One of the first on the scene was the tall, slim widower ETC Werner himself. He was a keen sinophile, a man who had learned…

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New Version of a Literary Classic

Time to remind you all that HG wrote a blinder, long before film or television, let alone the internet!!!!

Have We Had Help?

Image result for HG Wells pic

War of the Worlds [BBC] [DVD] [2019]

I’ve read H.G’s original work. I’ve seen all of the films made, none of which are anything like the book. I’ve listened to Orson Welles’ radio broadcast. Once again nothing like the book! For the very first time, at least the latest version is set in the correct time period, and will be broadcast next year and available as a DVD (see above) which I have already preordered.

For those of you that don’t know – The War of the Worlds is a science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells, first serialised in 1897 by Pearson’s Magazine in the UK and by Cosmopolitan magazine in the US. The novel’s first appearance in hardcover was in 1898 from publisher William Heinemann of London. Heres hoping that this new version will follow the book…


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Mountains of plastic

More from Greece…

Letters from Athens

The pandemic has had a  lot of unpleasant side effects, one of which is the amount of plastic that is being discarded on a daily basis.

Over the last few years, supermarkets and many other shops abolished plastic bags, and people have started using bamboo straws and other recyclable objects.

Sadly this trend has suffered a reversal: at the moment one can hardly go for a walk without spotting a mask or two embedded in the bushes, or lying in the gutter.

Hospitals also are consuming veritable mountains of protective equipment: a friend who works as a doctor in a covid ward tells me she has to wear no less than three pairs of disposable gloves daily (as well as the mask, whole body suit etc.) When I visited the dentist, both she and her assistant looked like astronauts, covered from head to foot, including plastic bootees. I too was…

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The Longest Teaser I’ve ever written…

East Wind

A whale chaser departed the Japanese factory ship, then altered course towards the becalmed double-ender. After the crew returned with her under tow, having found no one aboard, the captain began reading the log of the East Wind…

From him down, she stirred the hearts of these tough seamen. The captain recognised her design. Her keel was laid in 1905. She was one of the last of a long line of pilot boats, designed by Colin Archer, the Scottish Norwegian boat designer, more famous for Fridtjof Nansen’s arctic ship – Fram. Like her sisters, East Wind is 46 feet overall, double-ended and rigged as a gaff ketch. A more sea-kindly vessel you would be hard put to find. When they came across her she was laying head to wind, secured by her sea-anchor. Her sails had been furled by her owner. How long since, or indeed his identity, the factory ship’s captain was yet to find out as he returned to her log book…


Olav Knudsen (Bill to those that knew him) had set sail aboard his first love from Bergen in the dead of night, once more a step ahead of the authorities. This time for theft from a ship’s chandlery. He now had enough anti-fouling paint to give his beloved East Wind’s bottom several years protection from Teredo worm and other living organisms that attach themselves to any unprotected wooden hull.

Within a week and a half he was heading well out into the Atlantic. As yet, destination unknown. All his life he had known nothing but trouble. When he was small he had become accustomed to the daily regime of beatings from his father Olav senior. Which is why he hated his Christian name. Any other name was better than being named for his tormentor! The only human being that ever showed him unconditional kindness, love and compassion was his mother Tilde, until the day she died, while protecting him from his father’s rage…


For a couple of days he sailed due west, before deciding that Curaçao in the former Dutch Antilles would be his next port of call. Meantime while the sea-miles slipped beneath East Wind’s keel, Bill had maintenance to attend to. A lady of her age must be kept in tip top condition. Once he had cleared customs, he intended to careen his beloved between makeshift stilts lashed to cleats aboard her, on a mud flat that dried out at low tide, that he was aware of, close to the ancient harbour’s sea wall, well away from prying eyes, to scrape and re-caulk her bottom before giving her a much needed fresh coat of anti-fouling paint. Along the way he had decided that ultimately he would head for the South China Sea.

Because he was down to his last $100, he couldn’t afford the toll to use the Panama canal. Besides which, it was too public! Instead he must round Cape Horn at the tip of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, Chile’s southernmost point. The very thought of rounding the Horn made lesser men than he quake in their boots! Bill was made of sterner stuff than most. Even so he would need to chose his moment as well as be totally rested. Once he pointed her bow due south, until she was safely on her way on a nor westerly passage across the Pacific, the pair were committed. Neither boat nor master could relax…


He was woken by someone shouting his name. “Come on out you murdering bastard Knudsen – wake up!”

Bill peered bleary-eyed at the silhouetted figure standing on the sea wall. “You murdered Arvo Mommsen, the rightful owner of this vessel you ba…” Bill’s ironwood marlin spike struck him between the eyes, silencing his accuser before he toppled lifeless backwards into the sea on the other side of the wall. The man had signed his own death warrant. No one, at least no one with any common sense ever mentioned East Wind’s former master in Bill’s presence! He had rescued her from the mad fool who deliberately over canvassed her for the sake of an extra half knot hull speed, to the point where she was momentarily laid on her beams end before Bill came to her rescue by braining Mommsen with a caulking hammer, cutting the main halyard and dropping her mainsail before dumping the fool over the side, weighed down with East Wind’s spare anchor chain. No doubt her Scottish Norwegian designer, had he still been alive at the time, would have heartily approved of Bill’s action in coming to her rescue in the way he did. From that day to this, no one ever again mistreated her in the way her legal owner had. She was an elegant lady, and should always be treated as such in Bill’s eyes. He didn’t suffer fools like Mommsen, nor most of mankind. Come the following spring tide, the pair were sailing south towards Chile and the Horn.


Having finally left Punta Arenas after what seemed like an eternity as they waited for a lull in the weather battering the Horn, East Wind with Bill at her helm headed south. For ten days they battled their way through some of the most monstrous, not to say treacherous seas any mariner will ever experience. Now they lay becalmed. After writing the latest entry in her log for whoever came aboard with explicit instruction concerning her fate, he furled her sails and ensured she was relatively safe by employing her sea anchor, before turning in for some much needed sleep in the most secure place aboard her, hidden from view…


That’s your lot for now. If you want to know what happens to East Wind and her devoted master, you’ll have to wait. At the moment I’m working out Chapter 2 in my head. when I’m satisfied I’ll write it. This is the way I work, unlike the vast majority who like to brag to anyone within earshot that they are ‘writers’, even though they’re largely unpublished wannabe’s…

100 Days of Writing

We are not cool anymore…

The 960 Writers

A thing I proposed over on tumblr and it looks like a lot of people are signing up.

Here’s the post and here’s the text:


Recently, I noticed my writing friends dropping away. They don’t talk about their stories anymore, they aren’t posting snippets anymore, they don’t talk about this great idea they just had under the shower. And somehow they don’t seem to write as much anymore.

And I get it, you know? We’re all busy. Life doesn’t wait for the muse to come around and we all got some sort of pandemic trauma. But there’s a thing I noticed recently in that I write more if I talk about writing and when I don’t talk about it, I kind of lose the drive. Does that make sense?

So here’s what I’m proposing for one hundred days, starting on June the 1st.

We write. Duh, of course. But…

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A New Review

Love a good review…

Have We Had Help?


Here is the very latest review for my best seller from back in 2012.

23 November 2019

Race against Time is a very credible tale; partly built on the fact that the Mayan calendar stopped in 2012. Why? Nobody knows but Jack gives us a possible explanation. Combining historical facts with the fruits of his vivid imagination, we take a journey around the world, exposing all sorts of conspiracies and nefarious goings-on.
As usual, there’s a fascinating cast, a hero in the Indiana Jones mould, villains at every turn, unexpected allies, love interest, Femme’s Fatale, edge-of-the-seat adventures, even a cat joins in the fun.
The research is faultless, the scenes of the action in various locations around the world are expertly bought to life.
The conclusion will leave you wanting more, fortunately, there is…

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Review: THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE, by Martin Edwards, first published 1998 by Hodder & Stoughton

Review: THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE, by Martin Edwards, first published 1998 by Hodder & Stoughton

Latest review from Michael…


Martin Edwards is probably best known for his Liverpool-based stories starring the lawyer Harry Devlin, a series that shows the grimy, gritty (and often pungent) back streets of the city as well as the more salubrious neighbourhoods. There is a lot more to Liverpool than the Liver building and the Beatles, after all.

A lawyer himself, Martin has a talent for simple descriptions that bring an area to life. “Empty burger cartons, chip papers and hot-dog wrappers were strewn along the pavement. He’d read that nutritionists believed there was a link between junk food and delinquency. If they were right, Liverpool was in for a crime wave.” And “Whoever said that April is the cruellest month had never spent January in Merseyside. It was one of the harshest winters he could remember and the forecasters promised worse to come. As his partner Jim Crusoe pointed out, it was perfect weather…

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