Growing up in Staffordshire there were quite a few places we could visit of a weekend where, as a family we could relax from the hustle of working lives and in my case school. Most of these places were not more than gardens or parks where you could take a leisurely stroll around or have a picnic lunch at. One of my favourites and just happened to be near where I lived, was Rudyard Lake. A man made reservoir that in its heyday used to house thousands of visitors on a daily basis. I have some fond memories of spending time with my Mum, Dad and Sister there when I was growing up, just walking around the lake or taking a trip on the narrow gauge railway that travelled part way round the lake before returning to its starting point. When I became a father, I took my kids there to let them enjoy the same pleasure I had when I was young there but it wasn’t quite the same, it never is. The lake was still there obviously but things had changed, it seemed smaller somehow and a little less awe-inspiring, although I bet my young kids thought it was huge when they first saw it. Also it seemed that people were taking less care of it and everything surrounding it, I supposed funding was dropping off as the amount of visitors dwindled too. It was nice to see the BBC news website do an article on it though, and it showed just how popular the place used to be. It was known as The Blackpool of the Potteries and some even called it the Geneva of England. There is little doubt that in its heyday Rudyard could hold its own as a popular tourist attraction being home to twenty thousand tourists a day, which, even by today’s standards is pretty awesome. Having read the article I thought I just had to share it with you. Click on the link below to read the full article and feel free to leave any thoughts in the comments section.
As any writer who publishes their work on the Amazon Kindle format knows they offer promotional deals. One such deal is to offer your book as a free download for a five day period. The Death List was the first book I published under the pen name of Jack Dillon so it seems fitting that this should be the first book to avail of this promotional tool.
So from midnight on the 29th of April until midnight on the 4th of May The Death List will be a free download on the Amazon Kindle Store.
As a reminder of what the book is about here’s the description you’ll see on the book’s page on Amazon.
A deal between a hacker and a terrorist goes badly wrong and Special Intelligence Section Six is called in to help Special Branch. This opens up a can of worms no one was prepared for.
A list of names of covert operatives is stolen and the race to find it and the thief is on before those names are made public. Jack Cross is brought back to help Mike Flynn of SI6 to take point in the operation. A mysterious group lurks in the shadows pulling the strings of the puppets in play.
The action rages from Crete to London and on to Scotland.
Will SI6 prevail or will those names become a Death List.
I hope you have as much fun reading this thrilling ride as I did writing it and if you did then please leave a review.
As writers we are dependant on readers buying our work, that’s very much a given. It’s a symbiotic relationship, without readers we’re just people who write words, with readers who actually buy the work we are then partners in a sense. Readers contribute to a writer because they enable us to continue to produce work at a standard they expect.
If you have a favourite author there are ten things you can do to help them.
1, Buy their books, I know, pretty obvious
2, Write a review, again pretty obvious but this is just as important as buying the book. With a good review you are encouraging others to join you and others in something wonderful
3,Give their books as gifts
4, Tell ten people, then in turn they will tell others and the word will spread
5,Read for a book club
6,Recommend on Goodreads
7, Request in your library, this gives those of us who are not able to buy books in quantity the opportunity to read a good book and join in the fun. There are those who will not buy a book but will read it from the library so this is important.
8,Promote on social media, let others in your circles know you enjoyed a good book and they might try it too
9, Post pictures holding their book, again this helps to spread the word to your friends
10, Send them a fan letter, most authors nowadays are accessible either by their website or Facebook fan page so this is really quite easy to do and don’t think that they would not respond or that they are too busy. If they are like me then they would be only too pleased to hear from genuine fans, after all, it’s why we write. Someone once told me we do this not to get rich or famous but because we love it. That is quite right on many levels. I would write no matter what happened. To be able to interact with readers to me is a wonderful bonus and if it made me rich and famous along the way, I suppose I could put up with that. As they say, “It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it.”
The Satan Strain has been out now for a few weeks as a free download on Smashwords and as any writer knows it takes time for the word to get out about a book. This morning I noticed it had garnered a five star review so I just had to share. Here’s the link to the Amazon.com review.
Like I mentioned earlier the book is available as a free download but only until the end of the month. It’s a great opportunity to see what this reviewer was so pleased about and get on board for the next great adventure. The Death List is also available so why not grab a copy of that too for your weekend entertainment.
When Spectre was released I went along to the local cinema to see it along with hundreds of others on the opening night. I sat in the cinema enthralled as the story unfolded before my eyes. All the iconic signatures were back, the gun barrel opening with Bond shooting straight at the camera, M, Moneypenny, the cars the gadgets the girls and above all Blofeld. All the things that the movie Bond had been lacking since they tried to bring the most famous secret agent of all time into the twenty first century were back in place and all was well.
Or were they?
Coming hard on the heels of Skyfall, the most successful of all the Bond movies, Spectre had big shoes to fill. The critics were harsh in some of the comments brought against the film, unnecessarily I thought in some cases. I only saw the film once at the cinema and recently I bought the Blu Ray and watched it again, this time with my finger poised over the rewind button just in case I missed something or wanted to go over a scene again for better understanding, something I do often and miss being able to in the cinema.Remembering some of the reviewers comments I watched the film through new eyes looking to see if I could agree with them or not. Yes in some parts of the film the story made little sense, the car chase could have been longer with more stunts or gadgets added to the cars and there were one or two other points made that were perhaps valid, but do you know what, none of it mattered. The film made a ton of money and paved the way for many other Bond films to follow. It left the franchise in good health and whether Daniel Craig makes another or not the franchise will continue. After all it is the longest running, most successful screen franchise in history so they must have been doing something right.
There was one criticism leveled at Craig when he took on the role which concerned his height. Some thought at five feet ten he was too short to play Bond. This was never more obvious than in the fight on the train against man mountain Dave Bautista the ex-wrestler of the WWE. Against the six feet five behemoth Craig looked tiny in comparison and was for the first time in the franchises history in actual danger of being beaten to a bloody pulp in a fist fight one on one, something Bond has always excelled at. Had it not been for the timely intervention of the heroine he undoubtedly would have died at the hands of this huge hit man. The size difference to me though was not a criticism against Craig, it rather highlighted the danger Bond was in and harked back to the times when Connery fought Blofeld’s bodyguard in You Only Live Twice.
If you haven’t already figured it out I thoroughly enjoyed Spectre in spite of all it’s faults. The mark of a good movie to me is if you can suspend disbelief at the absurdities and still enjoy the film then they have done their job well. The same can be said of a good book too. So here’s hoping the Bond franchise moves on in the same vein to continue the good work all those before them started. As they say, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’
Recently I’ve been in contact with Carter Novels, an enterprising husband and wife team who run their own website that helps indie authors promote their work while they advertise their own books too. I’m now the proud owner of two author pages. One for myself and the Col Sec series and another for my pen name of Jack Dillon. Here’s the links for both pages should you want to check them out.
What do we as writers want to be our ultimate gain from our endeavours, is it critical acclaim or commercial success? I think this is a question all writers must answer at some point.
Is it better to held aloft by your peers and have them praise your prose or verse than have a runaway hit on your hands? For me the answer is quite a simple one, the latter, and not for the obvious reason of monetary gain. To have your bank balance boosted by sales of a book that sells well is not something I will ever complain about but it also means that people are reading your work and enjoying it. I can remember a writer once saying that they didn’t mind what they did with his books, whether it was to prop up the coffee table or read them he was not in the slightest bit bothered, as long as you bought them. To some extent I agree and I think most other writers are only fooling themselves if they think otherwise but I would get much more satisfaction if I knew people enjoyed what I did. I often say in tweets or dedications that I hope readers have as much fun reading my books as I do writing them and that remains as true today as it was when I first started writing.
I think of myself as an entertainer of sorts, I hope my stories entertain you the readers, I would like to think that you enjoy the ride and if you want to know more, what happens next with my characters then I believe I’ve done my work well.
Would I like to have a book that won awards? Of course I would and I’d be lying if I said otherwise but it is far more important to me to be liked by my readers. Winning an award is no guarantee of success but undoubtedly it will open doors. There is no denying that as there is no denying the fact that many writers who won prestigious awards had that one success and nothing further. If I want to be remembered by any group of readers then I must extend my reach far and wide and aim at a wide audience. That is my aim, my goal and I hope you come with me.
I’ve often said that writers should not give their work away for nothing. It takes many hours of extremely hard work to put together a book, the endless nights of solitary writing, the re-writes and so on. Readers want what they want though, they don’t realise just what it means for a writer to produce something that is so personal to them and then just give it away. Having said that I also understand that to garner any relationship with a group of readers I will have to hold back the tears and just do it. So here it is, for a limited time, (until the end of the month) the Satan Strain is available as a free download on Smashwords. I hope you enjoy this Jack Dillon book as much as I know he enjoyed writing it.