A new Crooke and Loch story escaped into the rainforest …. the first time I have ever published in three formats, the e-book, the paperback and the new baby a hard cover format edition.
There are two problems with the hard cover version. One for me, the other is for you.
My problem is with the set up. All my paperbacks are in the 8 x 5 inch layout beloved of major publishers of paperbacks such as Penguin. The closest available from the ‘Zon for their hardback format is 8.5 x 5.5! That means a separate Word manuscript for each. Not hard to do but a pain.
The other issue that comes with the change of template size … is the need for a size new cover. To add to the pain there it has to have much wider safety margins. “No problem!” just resize the images.
Nope, you need them to fit in the guide lines.
No problem Amazon have templates!
Yes, but at the minute they are for the paperback formats and sizes and don’t fit, as you are told in an overnight e-mail. Ages spent creating, uploading and adjusting to get the right; dimensions, content in the right place and getting rid of the stuff on the standard templates.
So after hours of labour … here it is …
The downside for you the customer … the rather hefty price compared with the e-book. Three pints rather than some change from one.
Then again, it will take longer to ingest than the drinks … even after the bars, pubs and clubs are re-opened
Ruth is a young woman, she is on the verge of her divorce from a controlling husband. She sees her divorce as a liberation, her D-Day! The day she regains her freedom. A day worth celebrating. A day for sticking two fingers up at her soon-to-be absolute ex!
Her first decision is how to mark all three days in one action.
The story of D-Day for Ruth was inspired by the cover image (used with kind permission) by @nudismnu.
I had asked on Twitter for a cover image for the next NBL Solutions story. This missed the brief by a considerable margin. Melody is a lady of a certain age and generous proportions. Ruth in the image is much too slim, young and agile. The image needed a different story. This is it!
Once again I found myself writing in a female voice, something I feel comfortable doing. I’ve not been criticised for my tone or phrasing by a female (yet). I read several segments of this as a work in progress to the Creative Writing Group (thank goodness for Zoom!) and the lady authors all managed to empathise with Ruth!
D-Day for Ruth is a Novelette, 10 000 words long. Amazon included it as a 90-minute read. Which makes it ideal for a day’s commute, a flight, while ignoring the TV News or just lounging around the pool!
Two new publications for November in the Year of the Great Plague .
The first new book to get published is brand new tale about Melody, the NBL.
Problems in the Pyrenees
Publishing 1st November 2020
Melody is on an early summer holiday on the Mediterranean coast of France, when she gets a call from her ‘Head of Research’. They have a new set of problems to solve, just a few kilometers away in the foothills of the Pyrenees.
Generous with her time, the generously proportioned Problem Solver swings into action.
The other November publication is an old favourite.
The Uncovered Policeman: The Whole Story
Rags, The Uncovered Policeman finally gets the collection treatment, all twelve (Yes! 12) of the mainline stories from the Uncovered Policeman (the original novella) through to A New Home in the Sun in a single paperback volume.
There wasn’t room in the binding for the short stories!
even so, the collection turns out to be quite a tome; 330 000 words, 655 A4 pages and weighing in at almost 2kg.
All for little more than the price of the series in Kindle e-book format!
The Whole Story joins The Uncovered Policeman: Secret Casebooks in November, in time for Christmas. Sadly it wont be available in the Bookstore because the shipping costs are outrageous.
James Wesley, Wes, was a CIA operative, he was sent to jail when his team fouled up an operation and the wrong people got killed. He is towards the end of his sentence when his ex-wife has been killed in a terrorist attack in Spain. He also discovers that his young son, Ethan, is missing. But Wes didn’t know he had a son.
Given early release, Wes is picked up from his jail by the CIA. He escapes with his life and runs … desperate to find safety and his son.
He is helped by the men he left in prison and the orphan of a Yugoslav Warlord, who had died in the prison days earlier.
Maybe the CIA are a little late getting on his trail but that would ruin the story, flawed but not fatally.
A tense thriller.
The Baby Werewolf
Michal Beyer turns the attention of the Norwal Pirates on discrimination on grounds of visual difference. The Baby Werewolf is real, except he is not a werewolf. He is a boy with a difference. Once the Pirates understand this they are well on the way to solving several murders in a tale with more than a little mayhem.
The story bounds along at great pace, always keeping one foot in reality while everything else runs wild. Real young adult material
The Boy… Forever
Another great story from Norwall, this one gets wild with Chinese Vampire Magicians and a boy called Icarus Jones.
Icky is immortal, trapped in the body of a ten-year-old but immortal. His latest attempt at suicide brings him to Norwall. Followed by a cast of misfits, the dragon child, a general who is of great antiquity.
The Norwall Pirates become involved … well they would.
Young adult fantasy … at it’s best. Raising questions of right and wrong as it goes.
The Ship That Rocked the World: How Radio Caroline Defied the Establishment…
by Tom Lodge (author), Steven Van Zandt (foreword)
Tom Lodge was a highly respected broadcaster in the early days of Radio Caroline. The man largely responsible for creating the success that Caroline became.
The book is limited to the Authors time and personal point of view of events – an autobiography – and, as such, a very different book to Ray Clarke’s biography of the radio station .
The writing is generally simple, interesting and engaging. It does however get a little repetitive.
A chalk and cheese job but if I had to choose … I’d go for Ray Clarke’s bigger picture.
Copper City Slag (Copper City Chronicles Book 2)
by Otha Foster (author)
Eric’s family decided to move back to Copper City after his father, a minister, has a crisis of faith. A teenager on the very edge of sexual awakening, Eric is torn apart from his almost girlfriend.
Arriving in Copper City, the place where his parents grew up, he soon finds himself embroiled with Alicia Martin, sex siren and trouble causer. The girl his parents and Aunt have warned him to stay away from .. Almost fitting the British slang ‘Slag’ but then …
Why have his parents told him to stay away from Alicia? Why is there bad blood between Eric’s father and Coach Martin? With the police involved, Eric talks to the Press, in the form of Bill Clark (the hero of Fifth Sun) owner of the Copper City Chronicle.
This is a convoluted story of family relationships and attempted murder, just a little to far fetched for me.
Who Told You That You Were Naked (Copper City Chronicles Book 3)
by Otha Foster (author)
A stronger story than Copper City Slag. It contains a real killing, that occurs on the day Eric Carvin is doing work experience with Bill Clark at the Copper City Chronicle. A prostitute is killed and Eric wants to get to the bottom of the story even if the police and sheriff are not.
A foster child known to PK, Eric’s little sister, knows may have clues to the back story of the dead girl.
Meanwhile, Eric is fast falling in love.
A pacy, well written story, well worth pushing through the slag for!
The Case of the Erotic Equestrian (Miles Grant)
by Jack Dearborn (author), Ellen Dearborn (editor)
Now too rich to have to work, Miles takes the odd case to keep himself busy. Out of the blue his wife’s family have a case for him, someone is leading their daughter astray . Miles and the family take a road trip to help out. Miles quickly discovers what is going on … then what is the solution? Miles doesn’t want to give advice!
A light fluffy tale, a harmless poolside read.
A strange book, a who dunnit that isn’t really interested in who dunnit.
The writing is beautifully observed, little details abound. The research into the art and artists is detailed and described in detail.
It starts so well, a murder described so vividly the electricity sparks and crackles off the page. The brutality, the violence and the pain for the people finding the body of a loved one. Then it loses pace,
The assorted relationships are all convoluted twisted and unsatisfactory. The detective, Connor Reid, is obsessed by the victim and her sister, after having released them from captivity that was part of a crime that killed their mother. Late in the book he wonders if he has been stalking them … yes! On the other side of the coin, he is blissfully unaware that the victim had other relationships, visited certain places and … I don’t want to get into plot spoilers.
Detective Reid also appears to be left alone by his bosses, no pressure, no other cases, to take months to deliver an arrest.
The main problem with the pace though is backstory, lots of backstory, the same backstory, repeated several times. So much well observed and beautifully detailed in the writing; signifying very little.
Nice writing style, plot and editing need work
Divergence: A group of naked girls interrupts a kayaking trip
by P.A. Choi (author)
Boys go canoeing , beginner falls out and is rescued by naked girls …
Sunny Mates and Murders: A Chinese Cozy Mystery (A Raina Sun Mystery Book 5)
Anne R. Tan
Everything goes wrong Raina … except it doesn’t. Everything seems to work out for our heroine. Not my cup of tea … abandoned at about 50%
Abbie is the Restaurant Critic for the New York Sentinel and she has the body to go with it, after a life time of indulging in the finest food available. So much so she is no longer able to go ‘undercover.’ The restaurants know her and she is starting to get special treatment!
As a result, she is replaced by Barry and demoted to a once a week column until she loses some of her identifying weight.
Why is she so addicted to food? Her Grandmother, Gigi, who taught her to cook to keep her away from her warring parents? Her parents? Social pressure?
sometimes indirectly, by the males in her life she sets about rebuilding
read, however I found the detailed recipes that ended many chapters an
affectation that cost the book a whole star and her girlfriend, Jess just
Stars – 1 for the cookery lessons.
Lost in Time
The stories of two women living centuries apart, but through the actions of others, in the same region of France.
is apparent from the very beginning that both of the women are trapped. Only
one has the power to set them both free and she doesn’t know it.
older story set in the time of Charlemagne offers a tale of blood, violence, and
feuding. The heroine, although loved by father and her future husband, is
treated as a chattel battered to please the King. Forced into an arranged
marriage to man she hardly knows sent across the country from Vaulun to the
citadel of Carcassonne to marry the Count.
other contemporary woman, Madie, has been left a house by her estranged. Francophile,
mother. Not that she wants to keep it, do it up and sell it; get back to
Newcastle and her life as an academic, that’s her plan. Her mother it transpires
had other ideas. Trapped in the house, she finds herself the focus of attention
from the locals, in more ways than one.
there is the mystery of her father …
she is best known as a writer of historical romance, the story set in
contemporary time is an elegantly written and realistic romance.
his written a delightful piece of time travel fiction. The main character
Cordelia Brown used to (or is it, she will?) work for a company that makes time
machines. Until, it all goes to pot one day and she escapes in an unfinished
time machine. When we meet her she is building a new life in the past, has a
boyfriend in a different country but in contemporary time.
All is going well until, agents from her time appear
and … the rest you will have to read for yourself.
A fun uplifting tale, cleverly plotted.
The Real Story Of The Boat That
The story of Radio Caroline, written
by someone who was there, for part of it. A well written book sprinkled with
dozens of amusing, scary and totally mundane anecdotes collected from former DJs,
the Owners, office workers and supporters of Britain’s first commercial radio
The book covers the heady early days
of the Station in the 1960 through the low times, the shipwrecks being
impounded, to the modern day.
Radio Caroline still transmits to the
East of England, 24 hours a day- everyday, on the medium wave and to the rest of the
world via DAB and the Internet. They use the Radio Caroline ship, the Ross Revenge
(a record breaking trawler before she became a broadcast ship) for a monthly
broadcast under the guise of Radio Caroline North.
The book is illustrated with a
selection of photographs, many of which unless you are a transmitter-mast nerd,
look much the same.
I found it to be an interesting read.
Two worlds are suddenly linked, ours
and one where the Church has developed mental powers. Powers that they need tortured
souls to sustain. Guess who’s souls they are after.
A Murder and a spate of disappearances bring Detective Chief Inspector Seamus Brogan to a remote part of the countryside outside Dublin. Where he finds himself driving off the road, literally the road has disappeared. He has crossed into the other world.
Can he save himself, the rather
attractive woman who was with him and the rest of our world?
A cleverly constructed tale. I
enjoyed turning the pages.
A Friend in Need
Elizabeth M. Hurst
A second story set in the same
village and involving characters we met in Siren Spirit.
Once again we have a well written and
engaging story of spirits trapped in a place beyond their time, while people
try to deal with the issues in their own lives.
The representation of Selena’s
depressive illness and behaviour is one of the best I have encountered in
A likeable story, a good fireside
read for a cold winter’s evening … or maybe on a sun lounger by the pool.
A Wife and a Bisexual Husband
A novel, written in a woman’s voice, about
her coming to terms with her husband’s admission that he is bisexual. Not only
is he bisexual he is also impotent, which of course brings, Kate, the wife’s sexuality
This is a patchy exploration of the
doubts and uncertainties Kate experiences along the way to her new life. Some of
her internal conversation repeats several times, others are almost glossed
over. While in her life she struggles with some small steps and at other times
she makes huge bounds almost without thought.
For the patchy nature.
Who Kills a Nudist
A complex story of interwoven crimes
in the English county of Cornwall, a spiritual home of smuggling of all types.
The trigger for the tale is the death
of rather gentle pensioner, a man who was found naked in the sea. He had been
sexually assaulted and violently killed. (That is about it for nudists as far
as this story is concerned!)
Enter Detective Chief Inspector Neil
Kettle, a man with enough on his plate already. Widower of 3 years, his only
real friend his father-in-law who was also a heroic thief taker in his days in
A plot that has more elements than
the periodic table (not really but it is a busy story) the Cornish Detective
could be a series to follow.
A Village by the River
A story from the Nudist Series that
Marin Brant has created.
Jonathon, a born hiking enthusiast,
decides to abandon his damp, clingy clothes, one afternoon when out hiking and
has an epiphany.
The rest of the book concerns his
relationship with Patricia, a girl he encounters while on a naked ramble and
trying to get his friend Timothy, to join him.
A very American book, many of the cultural
references … factory dormitories, for instance, are outside of British
experience. So learnt something as well as enjoying a gentle stroll through
Americana with out my clothes.
A bunch of unrelated books (except 2 by Michael Beyers) that might tempt you
Sky Diving Naked: A Murder of Crows
Set in the Australian outback. A light easy read tale of hitmen taking out people stupid enough to steal from a drug dealer. The police remain at a loss
If you have a couple of hours to kill … Enjoy
Sacrifice (Numina Book 3)
Charlie N. Holmberg
difficult read, to start with. The series has been much darker and Ms
Holmberg’s lightness of touch is less evident. The two main characters are
rather flat the rest of the cast are completely two dimensional – apart from
a scene near the end of the book which
saves the whole project.
this book is the most compelling of the three-book series. The narrative
finally comes to life and the (sketchy) characters fall in line to deliver a
gripping finale a few chapters from the wind down end of the book.
If you are
a fan of Charlie N. Holmberg’s other works… The series awaits
If you are
stuck on book two… Siege and Sacrifice is worth reading on for
If you are thinking about it … Start with the first book and if you love it, it is worth continuing if you don’t click don’t bother.
very funny story once you get into the Scottish argot used throughout.
am a Suverner, I can do cockney if you need me to, however I made sense of the
in 2030. Brexit has happened. IndyRef2 has happened and a thriving Scotland has
re-joined the EU.
Kemp, Minister (not his real title) of Finance, decides to prepare his
autobiography with the help of an English journalist …
Beyer says this is the best book he has written, I’m not sure I agree with him.
number one: Even though the covers might suggest this is a book for children,
it is very definitely a book for adults, that is safe for children to read.
is a very well plotted and written story. Once again, we find ourselves in the Iowa
of town Norwell. While the Norwell Pirates, members of the famous softball
team, feature in this story, other than Valerie, they take the back seat to the
adults this time.
before ‘Sing Sad Songs’ which I reviewed last month, Snow Babies tells the
story of the arrival in Norwell of four orphans, a witch, a social worker and a
man called Catbird. Oh yes and a rather severe snowstorm, probably the worst in
assembled the ingredients, mix well season with a few deaths and …
very good read.
best? Maybe, but I still think ‘Recipes for Gingerbread Children’ (reviewed in
May) might just have the edge… read both and decide for yourself.
Another great story!
Beginner’s Guide to Free Fall
absorbing and well written tale in which nothing much happens but I couldn’t
almost has it all, good job he enjoys, loving wife, a daughter he dotes on and
a sister that worships him. Then in a matter of hours it had all gone, except
in a squalid bachelor flat he has to rebuild his life. He does get help from his
sister and a couple of other unlikely sources.
I am glad I picked this story the Kindle Firsts list … a lovely read.
Book of the month
The Bicycle Wheel Genius
Another outing for the Norwall Pirates, several years further on from the Snow Babies. Former leader Mary is long gone, Valerie is handing over leadership just as the new tale starts.
A mad scientist, a mad (psychotic) killer, killer humanoid robots, a government out of control, aliens, time travel, sexual realignment and the rest of the population of Norwall.
A fun story, although at one point there are too many characters with names beginning with D … and once or twice it becomes a little difficult to follow the narrative. No, you don’t lose the thread it just a bit tangled, then it is that type of non-linear story.
Wow another month dashed by … a few more books read, most of them well worth reading!!
Sing Sad Songs
What a sad song, a sad young man and yet he brings so much
joy to a dysfunctional Norwall family.
Arriving as an orphan, his French family wiped out in a car
accident Francois brings something special to his Uncles Family and his new
adopted brother, Billy.
He is accepted as one of the Norwall Pirates, a softball team and investigators of weird crimes. Rapidly a relationship between Francois and Valerie, a fellow Pirate, develops … all looks wonderful until the Teddy Bear Killer hits town. Even allowing for the strange dreams and the clowns …. had I mentioned the clowns? Or the dreams?
Weird and Wonderful 5 Stars
Chapter (The Invisible Library series)
Another fun instalment in the adventures of Irene the librarian and book redistributor and her sidekick the elegant dragon Kai. This time they need to deceive the man who leads the gang formed to steal the picture that … It makes more sense the way Genevieve Cogman has written it. Even if you got bogged down mid-series it is well worthwhile reading this little gem!
Weird and wonderous 5 stars
The Human Trials: And the Thrill of Being Watched
Ava Lee Mosley
Ava, got into a conversation with me on Twitter, I said I’d read one of her erotic stories. I touch of mild sexploitation, other wise a gentle, consensual sex story. Not badly written, No surprises. No problem. No excitement.
Nothing to get excited about 3Stars
The Church of the Undressed: Paradise Regained
lacklustre priest’s wife inherits a run-down naturist resort, with a few wacky
members. We going to sell it, her husband decides. Then she has a revelation,
God’s work is best done naked. A new church starts. The new church attracts
lots of on line coverage and the attentions of the police.
sprinkled with biblical quotations the story treads that fine line between
titillating fiction and worthy polemic and generally manages to keep its
I am not
sure who the target audience for this book is, the naturists know this already and
the unconverted are unlikely to start the story.
A pleasant enough read.
Well written Well balanced and Well … 4Stars
The Salt Path
An absorbing and almost overwhelming story of a couple beset
with problems. Just little things, his health is failing, being made homeless,
bankrupt, jobless … easy stuff really (NOT!). With nowhere else to go decide to
walk the Salt Path, around the coast of Cornwall, rough camping. There only
means of support, Social security of about £50 a fortnight.
The book describes their painful adaptation to their new lifestyle,
acceptance and finally … read it and find out. The writing is sometimes a
little self-indulgent, but the narrative thread was sufficiently strong to pull
me through these rare patches.
Rags finds himself surrounded by strong, caring and supportive women; most of them strongly influenced by Bea. All wanting the very best for a man they all view as someone very special, Bea’s influence at work again?
If you remember how he left the after party following the final, farewell performance of the Unknown Twins. How he returned to his hotel and he sat and talked the night away. Then you might have an idea where this story starts.
Death Beside the Seaside (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery Book 6) by T E Kinsey (author)
Tiny Flo’ and Lady Hardcastle are back!
On holiday in wonderful Weston, the dynamic duo find themselves embroiled in a multiple murder, spy, hotel mystery. Lots of murders, most of the guests at the hotel involved in espionage and the biggest mystery … who are Chub and Perch or is Antelope and Gazelle? Maybe Flo was correct to name them Leftie and Rightie after their gun hands.
An other rollicking adventure, revealing more of the past adventures of Lady H and her tiny companion, that bustles along like a hat in the breeze along Weston Promenade. At least it prevented Flo’ getting bored waiting for the tide to bring the sea to her!
As ever another fun read, just pipped to book of the month.
A fabulous read 5 Stars
The Reed Ferguson Series: Books 1-3 & Books 4-6 by Renee Pawlish (author)
A couple of box sets, the start of at least 18 stories featuring “not quite a rich boy anymore” detective Reed Ferguson. (Book 5 reveals why!)
The cast of characters are laid down in book 1 and they remain very true to themselves throughout, no sudden super-powers … then with Goofball Brothers as main support players; you wouldn’t expect them too. The plots are all different even if Reed’s technique, a bit like Dick Francis’s detective Sid Halley’s “crash about a bit until someone beats me up”, approach.
I found them to be easy to read and kept me turning the pages.
Good reads 4 Stars
See You at the Bar (A Harry Gilmour Novel Book 5) by David Black (author)
Harry Gilmour continues to fight his war beneath the waves of the Mediterranean. Except in this story he is on the surface of the sea much of the time. His would be nemesis, The Bonnyboy, is still trying to kill the one and only officer who knows the truth about his final patrol.
A less tension riddled tale than earlier books. Instead you worry for poor Harry’s mental and physical health and that of his crew as the submarine is pushed well beyond the normal deployment.
A bit weaker than normal from David Black
A final fling, 3 (+1/2) Stars
The Prisoner’s Key (Glass and Steele Book 8) by CJ Archer
This is really a Steele and Steele book, picking up the story soon after Matt and India return from their honeymoon. A metal magician wants to work with India to create new spells, then he becomes embroiled in a murder. India, Matt and the rest of the crew set out to provide the police with the identity of the real killer.
If you have enjoyed the previous seven stories, you’ll like this one too. It doesn’t, however, give you a reason to read on if you have lost enthusiasm for the series.
A fun read 4 Stars
The Last Dance (The Near-Earth Mysteries Book 1) by Martin L. Shoemaker
The Captain of a ship on an endless voyage is charged with mutiny by the military forces under the control of BIG money. The very junior Inspector General, Park Yerim, is the only inspector available in the narrow time frame available to conduct an independent investigation.
Park gathers testimony from the diverse crew, painting a complex picture of Captain Aames’s character: his heroism, his failures, even his personal passions. As the investigation unfolds, Park finds herself having to hold off powerful interests, each pushing and pulling her in a different direction to the one she wants to pursue. Corruption, conflicting loyalties, and clashing accounts make it nearly impossible to see the truth in fifty million miles of darkness, and Park faces danger from every direction. All eyes are on her: one way or another, her findings will have astronomical implications for all involved
A classic country house style mystery, just the country house is missing. A well-told, enthralling story.
Undoubtedly The Book of the Month 5 Stars
Other Halves (Hannah series Book 2) by Nick Alexander
A typically well crafted book by Nick Alexander. A marriage falls apart when Hanna leaves husband Cliff for his brother James. Cliff then has to struggle, coming to terms with suppressed feeling from his teenage years. In the middle of this turmoil is Luke, the only child and weapon of choice for the warring couple.