Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Update on work in progress.

Haven't been here for a while... due to having the kitchen completely re-fitted. This took a little longer than anticipated, and  I couldn't re-tile until the wall units were installed. I'm pleased to say that in the interim period, there have been several hits in the Operation Ebook Drop coupon game. This is a really worthwhile project as far as I'm concerned, and consequently I've extended the coupon expiry date. (Let's just hope the Political Masters decide to bring  our forces home before the extended date is reached.)

Meanwhile, the latest novel "A Dollar for the Ferryman" is proceeding slowly... just starting chapter seven at twenty-five thousand, five hundred words. The research for this one is difficult and time-consuming. It concerns the clandestine Air America operations in Laos... and much of the information was classified until the late nineties. However;  that's one of the problems with writing a speculative historical story... accurate facts, because there's always someone out there who can pick up on inaccuracies!

Here's an excerpt. Our Heroine has just encountered a member of the Chinese Delegation ( who were actually Intelligence officers from their Central Investigation Department) in the corridor of her hotel in Vientiane...

    Feeling much more human, she carefully dressed in the cool silk garments, applied the merest touch of make-up, and opened the door to go back down to the lobby. The corridor was deserted… except for a figure kneeling at the far end, tying his shoelace. There was no sign of the Lao guards. She began walking along the corridor towards the figure who continued to fiddle with his shoelaces. As she approached, he glanced up. He was Chinese; about fifty, and a little taller than most Chinese men. He wore thick-lensed spectacles, an expensive silk shirt and tie, and dark trousers.
    She smiled, and made to squeeze past him.
    'Zao Shang Hao! Ging Yuan Liang'… 'Good Morning! Excuse me…'
    The man glanced up at her again and stood up.
    'Dui Bu Qi.'
    Then, he smiled… a typically toothy, Oriental smile, and spoke in English. His voice was soft and the tone was pleasant.
    'You speak Mandarin very well for a Westerner. Where did you learn?'
    She paused, and thought to herself… Be careful of what you say, girl. She gave him a shy smile.
    'My mother taught me as a child… in Hong Kong.'
    Colonel Ming Tsai gave a sage smile and peered myopically at the girl… but, hidden behind his bland demeanour, his steel trap of a mind was collating the gathering pieces of information. The girl spoke Mandarin with a distinct Guangdong Province accent. Hong Kong's Han Chinese majority originated mainly from this area of Mainland China. He detected American overtones in her natural accent… but Hong Kong was a British Crown Colony with little or no American presence or influence. Therefore it would be unlikely that she was with any of the American agencies that infested Vientiane these days.
    The American CIA only recruited American Nationals since the McCarthyism paranoia of the fifties... If there was any American connection at all, it would probably be USAID… The United States Agency for International Development, whose purpose was to provide Foreign aid.
    He decided to press his benevolent interrogation a little further.
    'So, how do you like this beautiful country?'
    Stacey smiled.
    'I'm afraid I haven’t seen much of it yet. I only flew into Wattay airport last night.'
    Colonel Ming nodded. That tied in with the intelligences that had crossed his desk this morning. Only one commercial flight had landed the previous night… a Douglas DC3 belonging to Lao Air Lines. All the other movements for the previous day had been either Air America or Royal Air Lao, with a couple of China Airlines C47 Freighters. The Lao Air Lines flight had arrived from Saigon, and USAID maintained a mission in that city. He smiled again. This young girl gave no outward appearance of being military, with her long, blonde hair and totally feminine aspect. He decided to dig a little deeper.
    'Are you here on a vacation? Or perhaps to study the culture?'
    She shook her head.
    'No; I work for the United Nations International Law Commission. My duties include translation of Lao government documents, collation and research on the origin and personal histories of refugees from northeast Laos to the Vientiane Plain; and research in Lao government archives to create a chronology of political and military events in northern Laos.'
    Colonel Ming Tsai nodded. His expression was benign and impassive. Just as he had originally suspected… this girl might very well be with the CIA. What she was doing here was irrelevant. She was almost certainly just one more Capitalist spy. He smiled.
    'That is a very honourable vocation for one so young in these uncertain times. I am Ming Tsai. I am honoured to make your acquaintance, Miss…?
    She smiled again.
    'Thank you, Mr. Ming. I am Staysha Sharansky.'
    Colonel Ming Tsai's expression changed very slightly. He had heard that surname somewhere before. His gaze remained impassive, but his mind was racing. It was a Russian name. Where had he heard it before?

    Stacey had been briefed back in the Joint Technical Advisory Group facility at Atsugi, Japan, before she embarked upon this mission, that her father had infiltrated North Korea during that war using the legend that he was Colonel Konstantin Sharansky of the Soviet Military Intelligence Service.
    Her mother had told her that she had been christened Staysha… after her father's mother. Now, she chose to use this "Nom de Guerre" to possibly unnerve this Chinese spook. She noticed his sudden change of attitude.
    Colonel Ming Tsai had remembered where he had heard this name before… P'yǒngyang… 'No. 2 Korean People's Army Officers School, in the summer of 1950. Sharansky had been a Colonel… a Soviet Military Attaché; which was actually a smoke-screen used by members of the Soviet Military Intelligence Service. Ming Tsai had been a lowly First Lieutenant advisor to the People's Liberation Army. Yes, he remembered that bastard Russian with the green and red banded visor cap. Was this girl related?... Or even his daughter? If so, was she also KGB?
    Ming Tsai knew that he needed to be very careful as to what he did now. Suddenly the tables might just have turned against him. Russian influence still surpassed Chinese in Laos. There was little love lost between the two powers. The People's Liberation Army was militarily inferior to the Soviet Army, and the Sino-Soviet ideological split between political parties, had decayed into open warfare between states, to the extent that, by January 1967, Red Guards had actually attacked the Soviet Embassy in Beijing. Despite unbroken formal diplomatic ties, the People's Republic of China and Soviet relations had become progressively worse in the ensuing period.
    With this in mind, it was imperative that Ming Tsai now extracted himself from this conversation without losing face, or revealing anything to the detriment of his covert presence in the city. He peered through his thick pebble lenses and smiled benevolently. The toothy yellow smile reminded Stacey of an ancient seaside donkey. He glanced at his expensive Patek Philippe, square, gold wristwatch.
    'Please excuse me, Miss Sharansky, but I have an important meeting to attend, as much as I would like to continue our conversation. I wish you every success in your endeavour on behalf of the United Nations.'
    He bowed slightly and hurried away along the corridor towards the rooms occupied by the Chinese Delegation.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Operation Ebook Drop.

I've just added the five Ebook versions of my novels to Operation Ebook Drop.  If there are any Indie writers out there who would like to give something back to the guys deployed overseas, then this is worth a serious think.
Operation Ebook Drop is an effort to provide soldiers deployed overseas free eBooks courtesy of authors participating in the program. The effort apparently started as "Operation Kindle Ebook Drop" when Ed Patterson, an author affiliated with eBook publisher and distributor Smashwords, offered a soldier all thirteen of his eBooks free of charge after the solider mentioned that Amazon's Whispernet  download service didn't work in Iraq.
Smashwords has since got into the act, with founder Marc Coker notifying the more than 1,300 Smashwords authors about the program. Author participation is voluntary. The program has also been expanded to include eBooks for other readers such as Sony's devices, along with cell phones and laptops.

Read about Operation Ebook Drop Here:


Saturday, 1 October 2011

The two sequels now available at Smashwords.

The other two novels:

The Vanavara Protocol.
The Abaddon Stone.

have now been uploaded and published as multi-format ebooks  at Smashwords.com.
They are available for viewing/downloading in the following formats (which covers most of the popular readers):

Online Reading. (HTML, good for sampling in web browser)
Online Reading. (JavaScript, experimental, buggy)
Kindle. (.mobi for Kindle devices and Kindle apps)
Epub. (Apple iPad/iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, and others.)
PDF. (Good for reading on PC, or for home printing)
RTF. (Readable on most word processors)
Palm Doc. (PDB) (for Palm reading devices)
Plain Text. (download) (flexible, but lacking much formatting)
Plain Text. (view) (viewable as web page)

These are all available for immediate sampling online... which means you really can try before you buy.

Here’s a link to my page...

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


Seeing as Amazon Kindle aren't really cutting the mustard, I've added the three books of "The Eternal Watchtower" Trilogy to Smashwords.com. The real advantage to this site over Amazon is that the conversion process from print layout to electronic layout of the book content is precise (Once you've got to grips with the specific formatting niceties!)... they tell you where you've screwed up on the formatting, and allow you to resubmit when corrected, without any of Amazon's annoyances.
They provide an in-depth, downloadable PDF formatting and style guide which is a damn sight better that Amazon's "Upload it and see what happens" system. The conversion system also generates a comprehensive selection of reader formats (Nine different... not just .mobi for Kindle,) which obviously means a wider market.
They also provide a free ISBN, and distribute  to the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony Reader Store, Kobo and the Diesel eBook Store.

We'll see how it goes!

The Eternal Watchtower Trilogy.

Book One.
A Bright, and Shining Land.
Book Two
The Riddle of Storien-Rhudd.
Book Three.
The Hand of Baelar.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Online Ebook Converter.

Now, for all you ebook fans; here's an interesting site I stumbled upon:


This free online file converter lets you convert media easily and quickly from one format to another. It supports many different source formats...

Text to the ePub ebook format.
Text to the ebook FB2 format.
Text file to the Microsoft LIT ebook format.
Text/pdf file to the Sony LRF ebook format.
Text or ebooks to the mobi format.
Text, ebooks or documents to the Palm PDB ebook format.
Text files to PDF optimized for ebook reader.
Ebooks and text files to the TCR format.

I experimented with a random Mobi to pdf. It works perfectly!  It converts, then downloads to your desktop ready for you to save.
Could be very useful for those wishing to publish on Amazon Kindle, or whatever.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Abaddon Stone now available as a Kindle edition.

As promised, "The Abaddon Stone" is now available from Amazon as a Kindle edition. Details as follows:
Format: Kindle Edition 
File Size: 656 KB 
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited 
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services 
Language: English 
Kindle Price:   $3.37. 
( Includes VAT & free international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet .)

Direct Link:

The Abaddon Stone

Monday, 13 June 2011

"The Abaddon Stone" has arrived on Amazon.

"The Abaddon Stone" has just arrived on Amazon.com and has been priced at $15.99.
I hope to have a Kindle edition available in due course

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Lightning Source triumphs again.

Received today, the author copies of "The Abaddon Stone." As expected, Lightning Source has produced another top-quality product.  I just have to flip through to check for printing errors, and, if OK, I anticipate the novel will hit Amazon  within a couple of weeks.
The allocated ISBN is 987-1908147165.

This printer is thoroughly recommended.

Monday, 30 May 2011

The Sequel to "The Abaddon Stone."

The sequel to the Abaddon Stone has been started. Stacey Mckenna is the daughter of Charlotte Mckenna; the Heroine of The Abaddon Stone.
Charlotte has returned to Seoul to resume her quest to seek out "The Abaddon Stone," and Stacey has followed her mother into the service of "The Company"... the CIA.
An accomplished pilot, she has joined the ranks of Air America flying out from Laos during the Vietnam War....

Here is a preview of the provisional book cover....

Why? You may ask, do you create the cover before the novel plot is completed?
I work this way because the cover of a book is probably the most difficult thing to accomplish successfully. This includes the "Blurb" on the back cover. The Title of the book gives a basic description of what the book is about in either one word or a short phrase. The colour of the cover is important because it corresponds with the theme of the book. A book's theme is the main picture people get when they read the book. For example; love equals red, and danger and death equals black. The theme should have a corresponding colour. Pictures tend to give the reader an image of the story, so when they read it, they can get a better picture in their mind of what's going on.
Designing the cover gives me an insight into how the plot will build. This sounds strange as I am actually creating the plot, but it puts me where the reader will be when they first see the book, and gives me a clear view of how the storyline is developing as I write it.  If I get stuck, I simply study the cover and imagine what the reader is expecting from their initial sight of the cover.
It may not work for you, but seems to work for me!

More to follow later!

Re-jigged Cover.

And now... at great expense... the re-jigged cover for Abaddon.
Problem is; printers demand a minimum of 300dpi, and there aren't too many graphics apps out there that will save at that resolution without making the file an unuseable size for attaching to emails. (Usually in excess of about ten megs!)
Fortunately, PaintShop Pro will do the business... If you set it up properly.
Anyway, enough of this rubbish... here's the cover:

The Publishers have set the price at £8.99 GBP... $ USD price to follow when it appears on Amazon.(Probably in a couple of week's time.)

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Abaddon Stone finished!

So there we are; The Abaddon Stone is finally completed at just over 147,000 words. Now comes the fun part... The Dreaded Line Editing! This will probably chop it down a little, and reveal where I had a few incidents of brain fade. (and there must have been quite a few of those over the last eight months that it took to hatch this story!)

Publication has been agreed, and apart from the "red pen" job, I also have to tidy up the cover graphics that I have designed. A "guesstimate" is that the book will appear early next month if all goes to plan.

Monday, 2 May 2011

And... Today's special offer is...

Seeing as how I've just been struck down with a bad case of Philanthropy...( and the fact that Amazon aren't cutting it,) I have just re-priced the Kindle editions of The Eternal Watchtower Trilogy and The Vanavara Protocol.
This means that you cannot now no longer plead poverty!

The Eternal Watchtower Trilogy:
Book One... A Bright and Shining Land.
Book Two... The Riddle of Storien-Rhudd.
Book Three... The Hand of Baelar.
are all now the princely sum of $1.99  each;
The Vanavara Protocol
is now a stunningly equitable $2.99.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Spoof Antivirus back again.

Be Warned! It's back! And lurking out there ready to screw your browsing enjoyment.

Fast Windows Antivirus 2011 is a rogue security software that will be introduced by a fake virus scanner. This scanner will mimic Windows explorer in order to deceive users that the scan was processed locally. In fact the Fast Windows Antivirus 2011 virus scan is running on the server of the malicious web sites where visitors are redirected by a Trojan infection.
At the end of the scan, it will provide Windows Security Alert and state that several infections were detected on the computer. (There aren't actually any infections... it's merely a frightener.) An advise to download an unregistered version of Fast Windows Antivirus 2011 is then displayed. When clicked, this will automatically download and install Fast Windows Antivirus 2011 on local hard drive. A modification will be carried out on the system, adding files and registry entries that will make the fake anti-virus to run each time Windows.

Installing Fast Windows Antivirus 2011 is the worst decision one can ever make when faced with this situation. The best thing to do is ignore every link, prompt and web site. Disconnect the computer from the Internet to avoid infection. Immediately run a full scan of the system using anti-malware and anti-virus application. It is best to install an anti-malware program that can provide a real-time scan to block harmful files and unwanted Internet traffic.
First sign you've been hit, is when this suddenly appears:

If this appears do absolutely nothing. Do not click "OK" Do not try to shut it down. If you do, you will be flooded with pop-ups faster than you can close them.
The only way out is to press ALT-CTRL-DEL to bring up the task manager...

Locate the entry: "Fast Windows Antivirus 2011." Select it, and  press "End Task."
Now, it gets sneaky. This will pop up...

Hit "End Now." Do not hit "Cancel"... (It will just start up with the first warning once again.) You will lose your browsing pages that are open, but this is the only safe way not to get inundated with this little swine. When your browser (Especially Firefox) starts up again, it is likely to ask if you want your pages recovered. Under no circumstances click YES... or you're back to square one, and will get the first pop-up all over again.
If you've clicked anything at all, go to:


to get detailed instructions on how to clean your machine.  Surf wisely... surf safely!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Another taste of "The Abaddon Stone."

          Lieutenant-Medic Catrina Dombrovski wiped her forehead with the back of her bloody hand and bent once more to her task of attempting to suture together the shredded remains of a young Shturmovik pilot who had caught a large piece of shrapnel in his abdomen as his aeroplane had been shot down by the quad 20mm guns of one of the German Wirbelwind self-propelled anti-aircraft guns ranged on the edge of Seelow town.
          The old barn that served as the field hospital reeked of blood and excreta, vomit and dirt, and the sickly-sweetish smell of early-stage gas gangrene. On the rough table next to her; two Red Army Medical Service doctors were performing amputations; using only vodka as an anaesthetic. They worked swiftly. As soon as the offending limb was removed, it was thrown into an enamel bucket resting on the dirty, blood-stained floor.

          The wounded lay in rows on the dirty floor. There were no beds; just planks and benches salvaged from the shattered buildings in that part of the little town. The dying and the dead lay next to each other. Medical orderlies removed the corpses and amputated limbs when they could, and dumped them in a large, communal burial pit scraped out by the pioneers, for want of any better way to dispose of them.
          The only lights in the field hospital were from Hindenburg-Spar Lampen... Hindenburg Candles. These were flat circular bowls made from pasteboard and filled with tallow. When the short wick in the centre was lit they would burn for some hours. They had originally been designed for use in the trenches of the First World War. They were extremely smoky and gave off a foul, acrid smell from their dim, guttering flames; but there was nothing else.

          Catrina Dombrovski studied the pain-sweated face of the young pilot. He was only about twenty; but he had been lucky... if lucky was a word you could feasibly use in this ramshackle monument to the bloodbath behind the Seelow heights. The shrapnel had hit him in his solar plexus and ripped across the lower quarter of his stomach. When they had brought him in, he had been deathly pale and quiet. There was nothing in the way of anaesthetics or antiseptics left; the assault on the Seelow Heights had cost casualties counted in thousands of the Soviet forces. The German engineers had released water from a reservoir upstream, which turned the plain into a swamp, and left the armour  to use the few roads which were easily targeted by the defenders.
          When she had examined his dreadful wound; the only anaesthetic available had been a vicious uppercut from a large Guards Medical orderly. The shrapnel had missed both his oesophagus at the top, and his pyloric sphincter at the bottom of his stomach. With infinite care, she sutured the laceration back together. He would make it, provided shock, infection or peritonitis didn't get him first. Infection she could do something about. The other two were in the lap of the Gods. Finishing the suturing; she snapped her blood-stained fingers at the assisting orderly, who handed her a half-full bottle of vodka and a sheet from a bundle of newsprint that was being used for swabs and dressings. Newsprint can save a man from gas gangrene.

          Carefully, she tucked the sheet of newsprint into the airman's wound and poured neat vodka over her suturing. With the excess soaked up by the pages from a three-month old copy of Pravda; she gently removed the sodden newsprint which had effectively acted as a swab, and picking up her needle and suture thread, began to repair the torn abdomen muscle. This done; all that was left, was to close. If he survived the night, he would have an impressive scar to show to the girls. She allowed herself a tiny smile. OK; let's make it a heroically attractive one.
          As the young pilot was carried away from her operating bench, she took a quick swig from the vodka bottle proffered by her orderly. She had been working for ten hours non-stop, now; and there was always another shattered body waiting for her to attempt to repair to some degree of normality. 

 As the next stretcher bearers approached, she sighed, and wondered if, one day, the mangled remains of the human being in front of her would be her brother Sergei.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Update on "Abaddon."

Abaddon is now up to 111,500 words and proceeding nicely. I normally use chapters of about 3000 words length, but this time, seeing as I was into the mid-twenties with the chapters, I have separated the novel into three parts.
It broke nicely with the storyline....
Part One covers the Fall of Berlin and the Heroine's escape to the Allies.
Part Two describes her return to Berlin during the Soviet Blockade and her adventures in the espionage community.
Part Three follows her adventures as she seeks out the Abaddon Stone in distant lands.

That's all you are going to get for now!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

A Little unexpected publicity

Have just been directed to this by one of my contacts:

(Free-Press-Release.com) February 27, 2011 --

"The Vanavara Protocol" ... A follow-on to the gripping "Eternal Watchtower" Trilogy by the same author, only this time, not a fantasy; although there are many references to the Trilogy, albeit, cleverly set into modern times.

"The Vanavara Protocol" is set in pre-war Germany and the Soviet Union, and follows the adventures of the central heroine (whose name is very similar to the central heroine of the Trilogy... coincidence? or something else?) as she embarks upon an expedition into the Soviet Union to seek out the truth surrounding the massive Siberian explosion of 1908. Three ancient volumes have been discovered in the area, and may hold some clue as to the cause of this catastrophe.

The expedition has been arranged by Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler and Nikolai Yezhov... head of the Soviet NKVD in order to establish if there might be anything of advantageous Military significance to their respective regimes. Each of these evil men propose to double-cross the other if anything is found.

This novel really is a page-turner. I found it difficult to put down. It draws you into the plot, almost as if you were actually there in that period of history, accompanying the heroine. The research is flawless, but carefully incorporated to prevent it reading like some history book.

This is a masterly adventure that keeps its pace from beginning to end. It is a large novel at 448 pages, printed on top-quality cream paper with easily readable, clear type, and presented in trade paperback size.

If someone ever chose to write a screenplay of "The Vanavara Protocol" it would make a superb film! (And you can't say that about too many novels, these days!)

Available from Amazon Worldwide.
# Paperback: 448 pages
# Publisher: new Generation Publishing
# Language English
# ISBN-10: 1907756574
# ISBN-13: 978-1907756573
# Price: £9.99

Also available in Kindle edition:
# Format: Kindle Edition
# File Size: 759 KB
# Publisher: New Generation Publishing; 2 edition (17 Jan 2011)
# Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
# Language English
# ASIN: B004JN0SD8
# Kindle Price: £5.70

So someone out there must have found it interesting!... only, who the heck Glenn Elliott is... search me!... but, thanks anyway!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

The Eternal Watchtower Trilogy now available as Kindle Downloads.

All three volumes have been uploaded and new artwork has been added. This is because, although the printed version covers were OK, the choice was limited, and the publishers changed during the printing run. Consequently, one of the covers was of a different design; which, although  not a earth-shaking tragedy; rather spoiled the overall visual effect of the trilogy. The Kindle covers carry the same theme, but in different colours...

Perhaps, not the most aesthetically artistic endeavour... but, they do retain a common theme.
Shortcuts to the volumes on Amazon are...

A Bright, and Shining Land. (Book One.)

The Riddle of Storien-Rhudd. (Book Two.)

The Hand of Baelar. (Book Three.)