Hey Dave! If I can be so bold? I’m a tad incensed. Why? Well, I’m glad you asked – homeless ex-forces personnel.
I know, you’re thinking – not that old potato again? I’m afraid so. You see, I was in the Armed Forces for 22 years. I didn’t serve in any overseas military conflict, but for all that time I was ready, able and willing to do so. We always believed that the government who sent its military personnel to fight in an armed conflict would have our backs, and that nobody would be left behind. You seem to have reneged on that understanding.
I’ve paid taxes all my working life and continue to pay them in my retirement. I’m a great believer in the Welfare State, but recently I’ve watched as you’ve squandered my hard-earned money on a long list of scroungers and benefit cheats instead of looking after the people who really matter.
The idea that one single soldier is homeless and sleeping rough makes me so damned angry. Apologies for a few expletives here and there, but when I hear that my taxes are being used to fund houses for refugees from another country before you look after one of your own, a few expletives are necessary.
I don’t normally expect a say in how my taxes are allocated, but now I’d like to say that you serve the people of this country, and your priority should be to look after all homeless ex-forces personnel before you help one single refugee.
'It's me, Toady.'
'No, I'm sorry. You're face doesn't ring any bells.'
'I know, I know! You're making a point because I haven't written a blog post in absolutely ages.'
'You think I'd be so childish?'
'Do you think you'd be so childish?'
'So, what do you want?'
'There's no need to be like that, Toady.'
'You've written a new book, haven't you - that's why you're here?'
'And some other things.'
'I didn't think you'd come here to say hello to your old friend, Toady. Instead, you're here to let everyone know what you've been doing.'
'I'm here to see you as well.'
'You're just saying that.'
'No, I'm not. You're the bestest friend an author ever had.'
'Yes, definitely. Now get the beers out while I tell everybody what I've been doing.'
'You bet, boss.'
So, what have I been doing? As I said, I've written two more books - both in the Parish & Richards series. Deceit is in the Heart is No.15 in the series, and The Fragments That Remain is No.16. No.17 - The Kisses of an Enemy - will be out later in the year. The other things I've been doing are compiling an omnibus edition of the previous three books in the Parish & Richards series: Nos. 13 - 15: The Twinkling of an Eye, A Time to Kill and Deceit is in the Heart - a bargain at less the cost of the individual books. Also, don't forget, that VAT is now added onto the price of the ebook, for which you can blame the government for adding 20% VAT, which ultimately, as with all VAT, the consumer pays for and it goes into the chancellor's coffers. Don't think that I get any of that VAT - I don't. And don't think (as one person added to their review) that I've hefted up my prices because I think I'm a real author - nothing could be further from the truth. THE GOVERNMENT MADE ME DO IT!
Also, I had many requests to produce a printed version of The Writer's A-Z of Body Language, which I have now done, and I hope it serves its purpose. I'm currently writing Souls of the Dead (Tom Gabriel 3), which will be available at the end of May 2015. The first chapter is at the end of the link, and here's the cover:
Oh, and for those who mourned the death of Stieg Larsson, Swedish novelist and journalist David Lagercrantz has written the next in the Millennium series: The Girl in the Spider's Web, which is due out August 27th. I've already ordered my copy - I loved that series.
I've kept the names of those who were involved in this shameful incident a closely-guarded secret all these years, but feel that the statute of limitations must have run out by now. And if they come for me - I'm not going down alone. There was Dave Needham (Neds) he was the ringleader; Andy Keeble; John Fletcher (Fletch); Paul Duffy; Stevie Barker; Chris (Joe) Brown; Pete Croft; Martin Rains and Mal . . . Come to think of it, I don't think I actually got involved in any of the scrumping. Yeah, that was it - I just watched. So, it was nothing to do with me, officer. You want me to do what? And I get immunity? Okay, it's a deal.
As I've said elsewhere on the site, school was a waste of time for me. We used to truant all the time. In fact, I can't recall going to school in the last year at all. There was also another member of the gang called Mal (I don't recall his last name), but he used to live in the house behind the shops on Wilmslow Road (see picture), which had a wooden shed at the bottom of the back garden. We spent many happy days squashed in Mal's shed when we should have been at school. It was in that shed where we discussed our plans for world domination and told our best jokes. Most of us smoked as well, and as there was no ventilation it was like an Opium den. I'm surprised any of us got out of there alive. I also recall getting blamed by Ned's parents for him wagging school. As if! He was the ringleader. I would never have done anything if he hadn't coerced me.
Neds passed his driving test and bought a mini. The thing I remember about that Mini was that it had a hole in the floor on the passenger side (or was it the driver's side?), so that if it rained your feet got wet. Pete Croft had a car as well - an Anglia. We all piled in it and went to Blackpool. There used to be a pub called 'Our Father's Moustache' there, which sold beer in 3-pint pots. Did we ever drink all that beer? I don't recall, but I don't think so!
We started a band, you know. What were we called? I have no idea, but we weren't very successful. I had a guitar (Oh yes! I was an accomplished musician) - it had one string. You've never heard music until you've heard 'Mony Mony' (apologies to Tommy James & the Shondells) played on a one-stringed guitar. Who were the other members of the band? I recall that Stevie Barker had a drum kit, so he must have been on drums. I don't recall who else was there. What I do remember is the police arriving. Well, we were practising in my mum and dad's front garden - I think they must have been out at the time. Anyway, one of the neighbours didn't appreciate our version of 'Mony Mony', and called the cops. We could have been contenders, our shot at the big time gone in an instant - I hope you're proud of yourself if you're reading this!
Did I mention my new book? Gott im Himmel! My memory is getting worse. Well, I've put the cover up at the top of this blog post with the link, so if you click on it . . . I think you know what will happen! Yep, the end of the world as we know it. And just so you don't come back later and say: "Hey, you never told us!" I'm telling you now. The next Parish & Richards book - No.15 Deceit is in the Heart will be out the first week of January 2015. Yeah, you're right - that's the cover up above! Oh, and hey! If I don't see you before:
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Yes, we've had our ups and downs as most couples do, but mostly ups. Life would be pretty boring if you never had an argument. I look back and I can honestly say I've enjoyed it. And now, I get to write as well. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I'm any good at writing, I leave that to the readers. Some (thankfully in the minority) think I'm a dreadful writer. Well, hey-ho a sailor's life for me! One does one's best. The thing is - I like writing. And ain't it great when you find something you love to do. My wife has pottery and shopping, I have writing. What more could one ask for in the knacker's yard?
So listen, I've got a novella to tell you about: An Ill Wind (Cyrus Kane 1) - the start of a new series, but listen closely - you can get that and a whole lot more by downloading Murder 9.0, which includes the first Tom Gabriel Footprints of the Dead, and that's a bargain if there ever was one!
I have one more thing to tell you about and then I'll leave you alone. I'm currently on the third chapter of A Time to Kill (Parish & Richards 14). I know, I said I was going to write something called Little Boy Blue, but I'm saving that for a future project. Anyway, here's the cover of the new P&R and if you click on it, it'll take you directly to the first chapter - Love ya lots!
Here's a wheel, and it's a very nice colourful wheel. It describes human emotions. Now, if we add a human emotion to a smile, we might very well be moving in the right direction. However, I think we have to bear in mind that a picture paints a thousand words. If a reader can't picture what type of smile it is, then the descriptor is not going to be very helpful. For instance, we might be able to picture a 'sleepy', 'playful', 'serene', or 'bored' smile, but what does a 'faithful' or 'stimulating' smile look like?
So, here's the thing! Next Friday there's an event happening - Murder 9.0 will be published, but . . . come closer - it's been pre-released and you can get it here in the US: http://is.gd/UKYFRl and here in the UK: http://is.gd/SKZA2k.
I know, you're saying to yourself: "And how is this event going to effect the price of kiwi fruit in New Zealand?" And well you might. But listen . . . come closer - not only have I written a novella of 23,000-words called An Ill Wind that incorporates a new hero - DI Cyrus Kane - who plies his trade in Brick Lane in London, but is on holiday in Cornwall - four other brilliant bestselling authors have also written new stories:
Lawrence Kelter (The Death of Red Rocket and the Bright Blue Light);
Jenny Milchman (Mother May I);
Rick Murcer (The Pier); and
Rebecca Stroud (Amelia's Island).
Now, anyone in their right mind would think that was more than enough, but . . . come closer. We've included four full books. I know, I know - you couldn't dream up something like that, could you? Me, myself and I have included Footprints of the Dead, which is one of my very best and . . . come closer - I'm writing the second in the series Whispers of the Dead (Tom Gabriel 2) now, and it'll be published during the first week in September. Also, and as well as - three of those other four brilliant bestselling authors have included a full book as well:
Now, if that isn't the best offer you've had while we've been sitting in this lifeboat wondering where our next meal is coming from, I'll eat all my vegetables up!
So, here's the thing! In 2008 I was frequenting the charity shops looking for books to add to my collection (this was in the dark unenlightened days before the Kindle and the ebook) when I came across a handful of Writing Magazine. I'd just started writing, and it was exactly the thing I was looking for. I was beginning to wonder if anybody produced a magazine on writing. Well, discovered somebody did. So, I devoured every copy, and then subscribed. I'm still a subscriber now, and look forward to each magazine flopping through the letterbox every few months. So, if you're looking for regular features on writing, I can recommend it. Although, they have a feature on self-publishing in the July copy and I'm not in it! I know, somebody's head is gonna make my spike look good.
Oh, I forgot to tell you! I've published another book. I know, how could it have slipped my mind? Well, I get confused. What with these characters inside my head talking to me all the time - chitter, chatter, chitter, chatter - it's no wonder I forget things sometimes a lot. So, this magnus opus is another Parish & Richards: The Twinkling of an Eye - that's 13 now! Who'd have thought when Jed Parish met Mary Richards at that bleak snowy crime scene in Chigwell it would turn out this way?
I was recently subjected to an interview by the incomparable children's author David Chuka, and do you know that a million photographs were taken of me at the London Book Fair? No, I don't suppose you do - unless, of course, you were one of those who took a few of them! Anyway, have a guess how many I have? You guessed - zero, zilch, nul. Until now. David, unknown to me, was at LBF14 happy snapping and managed to take one of me helping some inquisitive children on book choices at Author HQ! David has kindly identified me - with a red arrow - as the main suspect in this case, but for those with eagle-eyes there's also a head shot of me on the hoarding that Amazon were using as a warning to others who might think that life will never catch up with them!
Also, let me tell you that I've made the Parish and Richards series available in chunks of three - that's four trilogies to you, Toady. And, if that weren't enough - if you buy three together they're cheaper than buying them individually! Is that a deal, or is that a deal? And, if that weren't enough - I've done the same with Quigg. I know, call me a mad impetuous fool!
Well, I suppose that's about it then. Although, I'd like to thank my army of fans - all three of them - for supporting my continuing efforts to achieve mediocrity. I think it's working!
So, here's the thing! I was at the London Book Fair at Earl's Court from 8 - 10 April . . .
'Hello, Toady. How're you today?'
'What are you doing?'
'I was just telling people about the LBF . . .'
'That's my job.'
'Really? Were you there as well?'
'I'm meant to be interviewing you for the Toady Times.'
'Who said so?'
'Me? Are you sure?'
'You said, and I quote: "Come and interview me after the LBF and I'll tell you all the gory details and who was sleeping with whom."'
'They say that forgetfulness is the first sign.'
'No, that's talking to yourself.'
'Well, I never.'
'So, what was the LBF like?'
'Ah! Now you're asking.'
'Yes I am.'
'Oh, okay then. Well, the days were long.'
'More or less.'
'What about the people?'
'There were two types.'
'Those who liked your book, and those who didn't?'
'No - Amazon people and other people.'
'Are Amazon people different from other people?'
'Very much so.'
'In what way?'
'Some of them liked to speak American.'
'Is that because they were American?'
'Could be, but one guy - who thought he was an American - went to see Chelsea beat PSG.'
'Maybe he had British genes?'
'Do we still make British jeans?'
'Were these Amazon people all American?'
'You would think so, but no - some of them live in this country.'
'As illegal immigrants, you mean?'
'I shouldn't say this . . .'
'But you will?'
'There were two . . .'
'Yeah. They even had English names. One was called Amy - Amazon seem to employ a lot of Amy's - Amy Tipper, and a guy who had a permanent smile called Darren Hardy . . .'
'I suppose you'll report them to the Illegal Immigration Board?'
'You know, I don't think we've got one those anymore.'
'Oh well. What about the other people?'
'Readers and writers.'
'At a book fair?'
'I was astounded as well.'
'I bet you were. So, what did they want?'
'That's a good question.'
'Did you give them the benefit of your experience?'
'You know me, Toady.'
'Always happy to talk about myself.'
'That's true. And did they listen to what you had to say?'
'Yeah, I saw a few people nodding, pulling faces, grimacing - you know, that type of thing.'
'You're certainly a good talker.'
'You would say that, Toady.'
'You've trained me well.'
'And afterwards . . . ?'
'You went down the pub?'
'Ah! If only, Toady my friend. No, people came up for a chat.'
'That must have been nice?'
'Oh yes. I gave some of my books away, and even signed a few.'
'That's not like you.'
'I know. It must have been the occasion. I was feeling impetuous, carefree, full of wild abandonment . . .'
'Is that because you had too many the night before?'
'More than likely, but you know what?'
'I kind of enjoyed talking to people.'
'You don't normally.'
'I know, I know! But they say that a change is as good as a rest.'
'Oh, okay. Is that it then?'
'Nearly. There were two other people there.'
'You sound vague.'
'Well, one was the famous Mel Sherratt . . .'
'Taunting the Dead?'
'The very same.'
'I love her books.'
'As much as you love my books?'
'That's not a question a friend asks another friend.'
'Of course not! So, what was Mel like?'
'I thought you said she was there.'
'Mmmm! But she was like a wraith - flitting here and there to talk, and network, and have meetings, and jabber, and . . .'
'That's what women normally do, isn't it?'
'You can't say things like that here, Toady - this is a family-friendly blog.'
'So, you didn't see much of her?'
'What about the other person?'
'What, with green skin and bug eyes?'
'The very same - masquerading as someone called Steven McKay.'
'And what was he like?'
'No idea. He'd written a book on Robin Hood called Wolf's Head.'
'Maybe it's you.'
'Me? I don't know how you can say that, Toady. He spoke in an alien language, and you know I'm no good at things like that.'
'The name sounds Scottish.'
'Yeah, that's it - a country called Glasgow.'
'Never heard of it.'
'Me neither. I saw a lot of him, but I couldn't understand a word he was saying.'
'So, overall how did you find the experience?'
'Would you go back and do it all again?'
'Steady on, Toady. I've got books to write.'
'But you would, wouldn't you?'
So, here's the thing! I've just published my new book. Yep, you've no doubt spotted it on the left - Number 12 in the Parish & Richards series. And . . . I'm already writing No13: In the Twinkling of an Eye - and here's the first chapter.
For those that might want to see a struggling and penniless author in all his glory, I'll be on the Amazon Publishing Stand (16n) at the London Book Fair on the 8, 9 & 10 April at Earl's Court juggling two rubber balls, practising my sword swallowing, sawing some female volunteers from the crowd in half and signing a few copies of my book - Hey! Don't say authors aren't willing to go the extra inch to please their readers.
I'm doing some other things as well! I'm writing a novella called: The Measure of all Things for an anthology, which takes place in Cornwall during the Christmas flooding - it'll be a wet one! Also, I'm compiling another A-Z for crime writers - this time on forensics.
And then, of course, I need to write another Tom Gabriel: Whispers of the Dead. Talking of which, I submitted the first Tom Gabriel Footprints of the Dead into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) and it just got through into round 2, so pleased about that.
So, that's about it really. I'm quite sure you don't want to know about . . . no, probably best not! Oh well. I could tell you about my business cards. Here's one I prepared earlier. Yeah, I'll be pressing the skin with these at the LBF as well. Hey! We struggling and penniless authors have to do what we can to make ends meet in these austere times.
Hi, I'm Tim Ellis - I write a lot and I hope you enjoy what I write.