Another work in progress begins


If you read my recent post you will know that I have an idea for another book. This time concerning a freelance assassin, or perhaps that should read avenging angel – identity and gender unknown.

So, while I work on completing the rewrite of my fantasy anthology Goblin Tales. And before I begin the rewrite of my science fiction space opera The Berserker Saga, I have already begun playing around with the opening two paragraphs. This is what I have so far:

“It was all so vivid. Not only could I see every detail. But I was aware of his deodorant and the lingering smell of his last meal, still heavy in the air. I had just witnessed the violent death of my first target, without actually being there.”

“Weeks earlier I had had the same recurring dream. Each night I came to dread falling asleep. It was always the same. A woman’s thoughts constantly invaded my mind. She wanted her husband dead. I had no way of enquiring why she wanted him gone. And yet I knew somehow or other, I must help her achieve her goal. If only to give her, and myself, peace of mind. The first thing I needed to do was determine who he was and where he lived…”


What you have just read is what we writers like to call, the hook. It is a device to gain your attention, hopefully meaning that you will want to read the entire book.

While it is only a rough draft of the book’s beginning, in other words, not written in stone. I would be interested if any of the murder mystery buffs among you are intrigued by it? Let me know by leaving a comment…

More later




… an idea for a fiction based on an actual historic event is making its presence felt

It looks as if a new story is forming in my mind. I have some research to do before I begin writing it. That’s not strictly true. I already began yesterday morning with everything I can find on line and in my reference library. I refer to the apocryphal accounts. By that I mean what historians believe happened, purely based on biased points of view written fifty years after the event. Those often dubious sources from the period still hold a fascination for me to this day.

Several modern day writers have written about it in the past, more or less preaching what historians accept as fact. The problem with that line of thinking is that without being able to interview someone who actually took part in the event how can anyone swear that the original accounts are wholly truthful? In other words can they honestly accept what court appointed scribes at the time wrote? Everyone knows that any written history is usually based on the winning side’s point of view! In this instance a lot of what historians insist must be the truth, at best must be regarded as nothing more than conjecture.

Fortunately not too many have written a fiction about this particular event as I intend to do. At the moment I only know of one badly written and edited book from the nineteen nineties. It wasn’t so much fiction as merely regurgitating the opinions of various historians.

I’m considering writing the story from the viewpoint of two individuals from either side of the debacle. It’s early days as yet. I haven’t decided exactly who they will be. At the moment I only have the location, a river crossing near a village in what was then rural Yorkshire, and the year it happened. Nothing else.

If you suspect you know what I’ll be writing about, I beg you to say nothing for the moment. Whether or not it gets any further than the first draft is a big unknown, let alone whether it will be good enough to publish. That will be decided by others, not myself.

Now if you will excuse me I have an appointment with one of my favourite dubious sources – The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

More later…


Thank goodness the promotion is over!


What many of today’s readers conveniently forget, or are wholly ignorant of, is the fact that getting your hands on a free copy of any book is a privilege, not a right!


To that end, the one time only five day promotion for this book ended at midnight California Time – that’s 8am this morning, here in the UK. From now on, if you want a copy you will have to open your wallet, set the moths free, and spend money buying it like everybody else.

Here are the two main links – and


The following is the breakdown of the free copies taken:

Amazon US – 46

Amazon UK – 5

Amazon Germany – 2

Amazon Japan – 1

Amazon India – 3

The burning question now is how many of the fifty-seven free copies will actually be read, let alone reviewed? I’ll know the answer when I see movement on KDP’s Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read, along with any review posted on the book’s relevant Amazon page.

For your information, 170 pages equals one copy of the book read. So I’ll know exactly how many of you actually bothered to read it. Back in the real world, past experience dictates that the numbers of pages read, and the reviews, will be pitifully low. So how about proving me wrong for a change. After all I gave you a free copy out of the goodness of my heart. So now its time for you to do the decent thing by me in return, don’t you think? Read and review it!!!


It’s Research Time Once Again


Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610)


I’ve just finished editing my old mate Derek Haines’ dystopian WIP, at the moment entitled God’s Gone Fishing, yesterday (Friday 18th March). Now at last I can turn all of my attention to beginning my research into the man pictured above, starting today with Desmond Seward’s book, Caravaggio – A Passionate Life.

For a long time now, (decades in fact) I’ve wanted to write a fiction loosely based on his relatively short, often violent, life. For anyone who has absolutely no clue whatsoever about him, let me just say that as far as I’m concerned Caravaggio was one of the most brilliant artists of his age, when he wasn’t being accused of murdering someone, thanks to his fiery temperament. Or spending time under lock and key, as he did when he got into trouble on the fortress island of Malta.

Extensive research on my part is absolutely necessary to do justice to the story. I need to glean all the known facts and fallacies about Caravaggio for the crib sheets I will need for background detail.

Here are just two of the fifty original works (not including versions he painted) that quiet clearly demonstrate his talent to anyone with an appreciation for fine art at its zenith:


The Calling of Saint Matthew


Judith Beheading Holofernes

Wish me luck. I’m going to need it! Why? To keep the anal retentives and other asssorted tosspots out there from attacking the end product if I get anything factually incorrect.

To this day, they never let me forget for one moment that in my best seller back in 2012, The Seventh Age, I misspelt the name of Gobekli Tepe, a neolithic site still being excavated by archaeologists to this day in South Eastern Anatolia (Turkey). To hear them complain, anyone would think that the world had ended because of one honest spelling mistake on my part. Did I ever go back to correct it? Hell no. Never acknowledge any mistake you make on Amazon, unless you have a death wish!!!

See what all you aspiring writers out there have to look forward to… 😉

With all the months of reading/research ahead of me, I can’t see myself writing word one this year, let alone whether or not the end product will prove good enough to offer to one of the big five publishing houses. If it doesn’t come up to their exacting standards, I’ll simply publish it in Kindle form along with the ten other’s I’ve written so far…

PS – back in 2002 while on the one and only proper holiday I’ve ever had in my entire life, I actually climbed down a rickety ladder into the freezing cold underground cell Caravaggio was briefly incarcerated in on Malta.

PPS – for the less computer savvy among you, if you click on any highlighted (coloured) word on this or any other blog post of mine, you immediately gain access to pertinent information for each post. Just thought I’d mention it. One less than intelligent individual a long time ago asked me why some of the words in my posts are different colours. Needless to say they went away red faced. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand idiots…

Well, Its Hyperlink Time

CELESTE cover 8,5 x 11

As I draw nearer to completing Céleste, now is the time to begin inserting the hyperlinks necessary for the e-book version. What do I mean by that? As it will be in preorder mode for maybe a week or ten days prior to its publishing date, you will still be able to take a look at the first few pages using Amazon’s Look Inside feature. The first hyperlinks you will come across are on the second page. They consist of two pre-publication reviews by two fellow science fiction writers. I will also be adding them to Céleste’s blurb on Amazon, minus the hyperlinks. After you have read what they have to say, by clicking on their hyperlinked names in the e-book, you will be taken directly to books by them I deem to be their best. I’ve done this in grateful thanks for their involvement in Céleste’s journey from idea to end product.

The other hyperlinks you will find are on page three, consisting of chapter headings. By simply clicking on the relevant chapter you can go straight to it, once you have bought your copy.

As for Céleste’s e-book price, I’m still thinking about that. One thing is certain, it won’t be any more than my usual US$2.99. Both of my fellow authors, Nicholas Rossis and Derek Haines, agree that I’ve cracked it once again with this science fiction romance. Its success or failure all depends on whether or not the reading public agrees with what they had to say in their pre-publication reviews…

More later folks,



A taste of what lies in store for the lovers of romance among you…

3d e-book



If you read This Post you will know that I’ve changed the direction of my latest WIP Céleste. To give you an example, here is one paragraph from chapter five describing a moment in the lives of the two main characters.

Céleste watched David undress to take a shower as she did every night. There was nothing unusual in that. She loved seeing her man’s body when they were alone. Except that tonight a feeling she had never previously experienced before began to stir within her, causing her temperature to rise. She was undergoing yet another dramatic change as her need for him began to completely overtake her. For the first time since she revealed herself to him, she was experiencing the totally electrifying sensation of sexual desire flowing through every fibre of her being. Whether she realised it or not she was fast becoming more human every day. David had barely stepped beneath the shower when he felt her soft body press against his from behind while her hands gently began to explore his body. “I love you my darling,” she whispered as she clung to him, reaching round with one hand to caress his chest while tenderly kissing his back and the nape of his neck. David turned round to face her. Their lips met, intensifying their hunger for one other.


Now go and take a cold shower. But before you do, you can’t say I haven’t given you a taste of what you can expect to read next year. Remember it is not set in stone at this stage of the proceedings. By the time I come to the end of chapter five, I’ve no doubt that like this paragraph the entire chapter will have gone through several more re-writes. Be assured it isn’t the only private moment they have shared together by any means, its just the latest. Nor will it be their last…

More later folks,



More News Concerning Céleste’s Progress


Well, things have finally gone the way I wanted them to regarding the cover for my latest W.I.P Céleste. As you can see from the above advertising banner, (click on it and the Kindle cover below to see them in more detail) I finally found someone prepared to come up with the cover quality the story demands to make it stand out from the crowd.

The cover artist’s name is Alexios Saskalidis who can be contacted at He was recommended to me by my fellow scifi author and friend, Nicholas Rossis. As you may have guessed, like Nicholas, Alex is domiciled in Greece. He is the one responsible for all of Nicholas’ excellent book covers. I can tell you this, I’ve already told him that he will be getting all my future trade if the eyecatching cover below is anything to go by. He doesn’t come cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but quality is always well worth the price paid in my book, if you will pardon the pun.

I know I’m once again onto an absolute winner when it comes to Céleste, as I was three years ago when I came up with a timely story written around the dire predictions about the end of days when the New Ager fraternity misinterpreted why the Mayan Calendar had ended in 2012, in my novel The Seventh Age (which became a best seller by Indie standards, at well in excess of 200,000 sales).

Since then it has become more difficult to attrack potential readers for any book. This new story deserves to be given the same chance if it is to succeed in what has now become a saturated marketplace. Ask any other full time author you care to name and they will all tell you the same thing; no matter how good the story may be, these days unless a book’s cover attracts the attention of potential readers, you are quite literally wasting you’re time…

Alex has been producing high quality covers for years. Therefore he is full of ideas. In this case he came up with a much better alternative to what I had in mind for the cover. So far, apart from the above banner which is one of three I will be using as pre publication advertising until I finally publish Céleste sometime next year, he has aready provided me with the Kindle version of the cover shown below. Using the material I supplied to him (blurb, bio and my mug shot), he has also created the paperback version. But until I finish writing the book and can give him the final page count, along with the CreateSpace template size I have finally settled on, which will be the standard paperback size, (5×8 inches) understandably he is holding off from sending the finished product to me.

CELESTE cover 8,5 x 11In the meantime Céleste has taken an entirely different direction to the way I originally intended. To begin with I saw it as being a ‘dyed in the wool’ science fiction tale, full of adventure and dangerous situations. But I’ve now gone down an entirely different route, largely thanks to the way the characters are interacting with one another. Apart from the ongoing love affair between Céleste and the mission commander David O’Leary, there are now two more slowly emerging from among the ranks of the remaining crew members aboard Apkallu.

Why have I decided this is the way to go rather than sticking with hard core scifi? Well, I was reading another of Derek Haines’ informative articles the other day concerning what sells in todays world of books and what doesn’t. From the research information he came across, it turns out that by far the most popular genre being bought and read these days is romance, (over 80% of the market). So to appeal to that readership I’m combining the three romances as the main thrust of what is essentially still a science fiction story at heart.

By the way If you think that the stunningly beautiful Céleste looks like trouble as she moodily peeks out at you from the cover, I can tell you that she very definitely can be, especially when provoked. Even though I’ve just finished putting the finishing touches to the fourth chapter, already two of David’s crewmates have fallen foul of her – one of them twice.

Well that’s about it for now. I realy must get back to it, as chapter five now beckons. So far the word count stands at 20,843. It’s pointless me giving you the number of pages as I’ve yet to transfer the text to the CreateSpace Word template I’ve decided on. Having grown heartily sick of Createspace endlessly bleating on about my sending them an A4 sized .doc file, I experimented with a larger size of template the other day and the page count then came out at thirty-eight, way more than the standard A4 page count of twenty-two of the original file. I’ve a feeling that if I did transfer it to the new template at the moment, it would easily exceed fourty pages already.

So in the meantime if you will excuse me, I’ve got the intricacies of three romances to be getting on with.

More later folks,



It’s Back To Work I Go

outer space planets spaceships asteroids vehicles 1920x1200 wallpaper_wallpaperswa.com_32

I’ve heard from one of the two scifi authors, (Derek Haines and Nicholas Rossis) who I asked to check over the first fifteen thousand words of my latest science fiction work in progress – still entitled Céleste with the following as a possible subtitle –  love, hate and danger among the stars.

In Derek’s case, I asked him specifically to put on his English tutor’s hat when he read it through, as that is what he does for a crust when he’s not writing – teaching English to foreign students in Switzerland. The following is what he said in his email:

“Ok, I gave it a quick read. Great story developing! And I DO like the quantity of dialogue that is helping develop the characters. Not so keen on some of the adverbs in the dialogue tags though. Better to describe. eg; he said angrily. —- he said, glaring at him with rage in his eyes. The only other thing I noticed is that Internet should have a capital. Apart from that, great start!!”

Cheers Derek. It will be a while before I hear anything back from Nicholas, considering the impending birth of the child he and his wife Electra are expecting in a matter of days. So while I wait for him to eventually get back to me, the time for procrastination ended yesterday when I stopped re-reading The Hobbit for the nth time and immediately got back to work.

It really helps that from Derek’s considered point of view I’m on track with this one. How do I know that? Because in a follow up email he added: “It got my attention, so it works so far!” which is Aussie-speak for I like it. Coming from an author of his calibre that is praise indeed.

More later,




Hmmm – Where To Go Next? Decisions, Decisions…


I’ve reached a crossroads while writing my latest science fiction work in progress. In short I’ve done precisely the thing I didn’t want to do. I’ve written myself into a corner – yet again. So while I ponder on where to take the story for the next few weeks or months, I’ve asked two fellow scifi writers, Derek Haines and Nicholas Rossis, to cast their critical eye over the fifteen thousand words written so far. At this stage of the game I need fresh eyes to take a close look at it. They can both be objective. I can’t.

More later,


Progress has temporarily ground to a halt


The story’s setting, our galaxy the Milky Way


Progress has stopped while I work out exactly how to counter a threat of alien origin in my latest scifi WIP – Céleste. I created the darned thing in a moment of pure inspiration. So its down to me to work out exactly how to avoid it or perhaps counteract or eliminate it somehow. When it first struck it caused major problems for the ship (Apkallu) and Céleste, plus two of her human crew mates. I absolutely relish solving problems like that in any story I write.

Meanwhile the interactions between everyone aboard including the inexperienced mission commander David O’Leary, the extremely crusty doctor, Andreas Georgiadis – hmm, I wonder who I based him on? Let’s see, how many Greeks do I know… Several actually. Then the extremely shy Chikako Mori, geeky Lukas Gossens, the often moody and petulant Constança Blanco, and of course Céleste herself, who at one point had to take matters into her own hands when… Whoops, I almost gave away a mini plot then.

I’m constantly playing around with all their relationships, whether personal or professional. After all, if everything was cut and dried at this stage of the story, how boring would that be for you the future readers? Meanwhile I’m deliberately continuing at a slow pace, to ensure there is no chance of writing myself into a corner, ending up with yet another novella again.

Getting back to the problem, It’s been two, no make that three days now since I ground to a halt. While writing this, the answer to the problem I mentioned has just occurred to me. So I’d better get back to work. Otherwise I’ll be in trouble with Céleste and my beautiful Brazilian muse Bianca, pictured below. God only knows what will happen if my other muse, Thoth the Egyptian god of writing, turns up on the scene to poke his oar in once again as he has done previously, metaphorically speaking of course.


More later folks,


PS – As yet I’ve heard nothing back from Chris aka The Story Reading Ape concerning whether or not he’s started work on the cover. I sent him the pic below as an example of the quality I require for the cover via email yesterday. Céleste will be wearing a one piece creme body suit. Hopefully what Chris comes up with will look as stunning as this does:


 As for the young woman in this cover pic, she looks exactly as I envisaged Constança, but wearing a little less. Oh I don’t know though…