Friday, 13 April 2018

Makers Central 2018 - Birmingham NEC May 5th & 6th

At the Birmingham NEC this year (2018) there will be an event called Makers Central, showcasing YouTubers from all over the world, with suppliers and vendors from the UK. The weekend event runs over the 5th and 6th of May 2018 and full details of the event can be found here:
Nick Zammeti from NZ Woodturning has organised the event and it looks to be a good one! I'll be there on Saturday as a visitor, so if you spot me, say hello!

Make sure you get your tickets in advance to be sure of getting in. There will be tickets available on the day for a little more (if there's any left!) but pre-book to guarantee you get in to see all the good stuff!

Thursday, 5 October 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017

Well, I decided to do it this year! I'm joining ranks with thousands of other authors across the globe for the (inter)National Novel Writing Month competition.

I have a plan ... well, an outline of a plan ... maybe just an outline of an outline, but it's STILL a plan! So, the big reveal of the novel I'll be writing:

L.I.C.K - Lichfield Ice Cream King

Now before you all jump on the Ice Cream/Ice-cream debate, it's my title alright?! Anyway, that's what you jumped on first? 

I have no idea if I'll be able to make the 50,000 words in November stick, there are lots of things at play here. Well specifically, two little ones at play. My wife is onboard and will push me to stop procrastinating, but whether I'll get 1,613 words written a day in a couple of available hours is up in the air right now.

If you want to know more, here's a brief synopsis of the novel I'm going to write:

The Sirrupa family run it all. From High-quality imports to addictive “street” products. Nothing comes into the country without their knowledge, at least that had been the case until now. An underground movement rebelling against this monopoly will go to any lengths to undermine the Sirrupa domination of the market. The Sirrupa Family also influence power within the Police, Government and food retail, making any disruption to the market nigh impossible.
One man is about to change all this. Known as the Lichfield Ice Cream King to his underground followers, Spencer to his friends, he has been planting the seeds of a confectionary revolution for several years. This Christmas, he plans to take the Family down once and for all. No longer will the public be forced to pay over the odds for their custard creams and bonbons, their eclairs and Pain au chocolat.
A sweet revolution is coming.

So there you have it. A fun novel in the style of Jasper Fforde, Robert Rankin, Terry Pratchett, those awesome guys. 

Normally I'm what they call a "Pantser" or more accurately a "Trouserer" (I'm British). Which has worked okay for my previous novel and other manuscripts I've worked on, but this time I think I need to do a bit of planning.

Okay, so that just used up 380-ish words, so if I can write at least 4 times this much each day, we're golden!

I've also got someone working on a book cover that I'll share when it's ready. This will be for the competition, but there's enough love for it, who knows where it will end.

Best of luck to all NaNoWriMo'ers this year!!!

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Delivery issues with UKMail

I had a little delivery issue last week with UKMail. Despite driving 20 miles home at lunch time for the allotted delivery slot, they didn't show. My email to them is below :)


I am very disappointed in the driver who "attempted" to deliver my package today. I was at home before the allotted hour, and watched with baited breath as my new phone stopped at delivery addresses before me, one by one. 

Then I was next!!

Watching from my study window, I can see the entire length of our road and the main road at the end. I waited and watched, "you are the next drop" the website says, I'm drooling with anticipation. Five minutes pass, then ten ... still nothing. 

I refresh your website, and boom ... "Delivery Attempted". What? No it wasn't, there was no sign of a delivery van at all. Had he come onto our road, I would have run like a screaming loon chasing him if he left with my phone.

I am then told that package will be redelivered tomorrow! Something smells a little fishy, and I think it smells like GPS. Looking at the Event Map on your website, shows that a card was left at a property in Ashton Close in Needingworth, a whole 8 miles from my house, as the crow flies!

Could it be that the driver has out dated satellite navigation, probably. Did the driver try and call me? No. Am I now 30 minutes down on my working hours, and 40 miles out of pocket for a wasted trip home? Yes.

It looks like I have a similar time slot tomorrow, but suspect that I will be left wanting again, as the driver won't find the address again as today.

Can you please make sure that the delivery address is checked and that the driver uses some common sense and doesn't just rely on SatNav. Going to the correct village would be a good start, then a quick call to the recipient can clarify the rest. 

Fear not! UKMail and DHL are not alone in the SatNav subscription lottery, this has happened to other couriers, although not for a couple of years!. Our property has been there for nearly 7 years, so no excuse for not having us in the SatNav mapping data.

I have mentioned some of this on Twitter as there is no contact number.

My limit of 2000 characters is now up,


Oh and that message came in at EXACTLY 2000 characters, but then their form complained it was too long (even by their character counter), so ended up deleting some formatting and the last line :(

Boo :(

Friday, 3 June 2016

Now available ... everywhere (almost)

It looks like the distributors have got the cogs well and truly turning now. Amazon, Waterstones, BooksEtc and some others are now selling the paperback and eBook on their sites.

I'm just waiting on my printed copies, so I can give them to friends and family, the competition winner (enter now if you haven't) and sell signed copies on my website (at some point in the near future).

If you want to read the first chapter online now, you can have a look here:

Here's a bit of the first chapter:

‘Come on!’
    ‘Come on!’
    ‘You mis’rable bastard! I’ve got money; no good for you is it?’ slurred Borell.
    ‘Look, you’ve had more drink than you can clearly handle. Folk are leaving ’cause of you,’ said the bartender, keeping a cool head.
    ‘Kiss mine, there are other —’
    Borell came to, lying face down on the icy cold autumn pavement outside the pub. The bartender clearly knew how to deal with problem customers. Slowly getting to his knees, rubbing a sore and bleeding head, he could feel the extent of his forceful ejection from the pub in his lower back.
    ‘You have been keeping yourself busy, I see,’ said a voice, towering over him. A tall, silhouetted gentleman wearing a bowler and distinguished clothes was taking a drag from a silver-piped cigarette holder that glinted in the warm light from the gas-powered street lights.
    ‘I can offer you somewhere more comfortable to kneel if you can tear yourself away from the pavement, Borell,’ he said.
    Borell let out a painful breath. ‘You have me at a dis’vantage, sir.’
    ‘We have a mutual acquaintance, which is all I’ll say for now.’ The silhouetted man dropped the cigarette from the holder. ‘We have a job that requires your particular skills. There is a warm bed, pay and all the beer you can drink waiting for you —’ he chuckled ‘— if you complete this task for us.’
    The silhouetted man faded in and out of view as Borell's eyes slowly succumbed to his severe intoxication. He managed two words before passing out completely.
    ‘Why not?’

If this sounds like your cup of (insert favorite beverage here), then you can read the rest of the chapter on my website, or buy the book and read the whole gosh darn thing!

Tuesday, 3 May 2016


I've now got the first print proof copy in my hands, and it's amazing! Feels very strange having a physical copy of my novel, apart from the ones I'd printed myself.

There are a few little bits to change, such as the size of the blurb text on the back, so it doesn't overlap the page fold, but other than that it's almost ready to go to print!

I've just got the press release from the publisher to agree and then it's the eBook version and physical print run to do. This should all be done by the end of the month, so it'll be available everywhere in May!

You can also read the synopsis and pre-order the paperback on my website now at: if you want to get there first.

When I get the box of advance copies, I'll post another picture (that's what we do these days isn't it?) of the unboxing :)

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

A printed proof in my hands (almost)

Well, I had some good news from my publisher last week. They have the printed proofs back from the printers, and have gone over them for any changes that are needed. I should get my copy today or tomorrow, so will post a suitably cheesy photo of it in my giddy-excited hands at some point.

I also have the ISBNs for each version, paperback, eBook, ePub and PDF. Doesn't mean much at the moment, but does mean things are getting real!!

More when I get the paperback proof!

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Almost there!

Almost there!

The quality control copy of the manuscript has been back and forth to the editors a few times in the last month, and that's it ... done! We've sorted out the blurb for the back cover too.

By the end of next week I should have the manuscript back again with all the formatting changes to approve, which means there's a proof copy of the book on the horizon.

Very exciting stuff!