My latest Sherlock Holmes short story Miss Violet Dixon (deceased)

My latest Sherlock Holmes short story Miss Violet Dixon (deceased)
The front cover created with Gimp with help from Aubrey Watt on You Tube.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas is nearly upon us, the Christmas tree has been decorated and all the presents have been carefully arranged around the base of it. It looks lovely and has already had a small Breton cat deciding that it is a great thing to climb up and our black Labrador has given all the presents a good sniff! Trying to type with a cat lying on one arm has reduced me to typing with one finger!

Keeping warm here in France is not a problem with the big wood burner but in the UK, it seems that the power companies have their own agenda. Our tiny house, our 'holiday home' in the UK, has electric heating. We are only there for about 3 weeks a year when we go over to visit family and friends. Some time during the year the electricity meter failed....completely dead! Sooooo....after a very long discussion and 2 failed attempts to replace it, we finally have a new electricity meter. Hurrah! You say...but the electricity company want to charge me as if the house had been occupied 100% of the time. Here lies the problem, trying to convince them that if they look at, say, a month's usage when the house is empty, it is a true reading of our consumption. Hmmm... I think we have some more hard bargaining and a bit of jumping up and down to do. We will see!

I'm still running on empty for ideas for the next Sherlock Holmes story but perhaps I need to read some more background material. I really would like to get some flying stuff into a story and it is just the ideal time period for someone to challenge the Wright brothers. We will have to see!

Enjoy Chistmas, I wish all my friends and my readers both new and old, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Dick xx

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Here we are, mid-December and the sun is out and it is really warm! When I say really warm, it's 10ºC in the shade but brilliant sunshine! Strange things happening in the garden, we haven't had a frost here and the grass looks like it needs mowing. The moles are still active under one of my lawns and I have to keep scooping up the fine soil left behind in their molehills. We now have a Rhododendron in flower with more blooms to come. I think the mild weather has confused it!

Exciting times here this week. A friend of mine asked if I would go with him whilst he mended the roof on his cottage. Thankfully, it only has a ground floor and he was working at about 3m (about 12 feet) off the floor when the roof ladder he was using gave way and he slid down the roof, with the ladder and landed flat on his back! Fortunately, he landed in the neighbours vegetable patch but he lay unconscious for a minute or so. I was just dialling for the emergency services when he came round and insisted he was OK. Obviously he was slightly concussed and didn't remember what had happened. I had to drive him home in his car and he gradually came back to normal. A trip to the hospital showed no damage apart from pulled, and now stiff, muscles.

My new book, The Bulgarian Clockmaker is selling well. In the last 30 days I have sold over 180! If you haven't bought yours, please go along to Amazon or Smashwords or any of the other ebook sellers. If you have bought a copy and you enjoyed reading it, please leave me some good feedback! I have lots of fragmented ideas for another story but nothing that will link present. I'll let you know. In marketing the book I have used Fiverr again to promote it to 50 or so Kindle reader groups on Facebook. For $5 it is a great way to advertise and I definitely see an increase in sales.

Have a great week, we will be on the beach this afternoon for stroll with truffle, the black Labrador and her tennis ball called Spot....Spot the ball! ;-)

Dick xx

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Goodness! I have been so busy that I have completely forgotten my blog!

So, what has been happening in my life? Well, a friend and I went out to Bulgaria to stay in our apartment in Kosharitsa, a small village with a holiday complex near Sunny Beach. Great weather and a fun time was had by two blokes on the loose. With a pint of beer for about 60p and a quadruple Gin and tonic costing less than £2, it was great fun!

At the beginning of July my wife and I went back to the UK for the marriage of our beautiful daughter on 4th July! A good time was had by all and we returned very happy to have Joe, our daughters new husband as part of our extended family. I am very pleased to say that Joe is a fellow Geek and we can happily speak Klingon to each other about new operating systems, Android stuff and general techy things. Wonderful!

Lovely reception at Cockliffe Hall in Nottinghamshire, the weather was kind except that it rained for the evening guests which meant that we had to eat inside but that wasn't a problem.

The well had been running a bit dry for my next book. I had a few ideas scuttling around but couldn't tie them together to make a coherent story. So, in the meantime, I decided to create my first 'real' book using the Amazon Createspace platform. I decided to publish the 3 stories that featured my new character, Julia Moriarty as a trilogy in paperback. I found it quite easy to do, the three word docx. were combined into one and then the front papers were created.

   Julia Moriarty is a flaming red head so I needed a suitable image for the front and rear covers. I searched Flickr for a suitable image as it is a great resource for public domain images. I found a fabulous image that really matched my idea of Julia Moriarty. It was made using an iPhone app called "Average Face" which gives you a single image as a kind of compilation. In my case, the average of 12 images of auburn haired ladies, Beautiful! The book cover was created using GIMP, the free Photoshop type program for the Mac and the stories and the cover sent off to Createspace. About 10 days later I had a delivery of the printed proofs and so The Julia Moriarty Trilogy was born! It is now on sale as a paperback at Amazon for $7.99  Have a look here...

I wasn't happy with the 2 black borders at the sides of the image as when the book was produced, it was not always precisely trimmed and this made the image not precisely central. To avoid this, I removed the borders.

With the new printed book on Amazon and a few copies given away to friends, I looked at what else to do. I had had an idea for a modern crime story but then I thought I might adapt it for a new Holmes story. The result of this was my latest Kindle story, Sherlock Holmes and The Bulgarian Watchmaker. Julia Moriarty doesn't feature in this one although I have purchased a domain for her and created a new web site  Here I can promote my new books and also showcase the books in the trilogy.

The Bulgarian Clockmaker which was published on all the Amazon sites on the 5th November, includes a very strange custom that I found whilst I was in Bulgaria. This has has become a key element in the climax to the story. I won't reveal any more, you will have to buy the book!

Alex says that she thinks that it is the best story yet... we will see!

Last week I discovered Fiverr as a resource. It is a great place where folk offer their services in so many different categories for $5. I used it to promote my book on Facebook and I have definitely seen an increase in sales. I also purchased an intro video for The Julia Moriarty Trilogy and I think it is great. I uploaded it to You Tube and I have included it on Julia's web page. See what you think..

I think it is breath taking and only cost me $5 for the guy to customise it for The Julia Moriarty Trilogy. Brilliant!

Anyway, I'm sorry to have neglected the blog for so long. Do have a look at www, as you can read the dramatic first chapter of The Bulgarian Clockmaker.

Dick xx

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Bulgaria calls!! I'm off to Kosharitsa, a small village close to the notorious 'Sunny Beach' on the Black Sea. I have an apartment in a complex about 1km from the village and I want to see how the complex has progressed since my last visit some years ago. It may be a tad uncomfortable as the apartment is not furnished and at 64 years old, I may have a problem sleeping on the floor on an air bed!

I think the first business to hand may be to buy a couple of single beds, mattresses and bed linen so that we can have a decent nights sleep. The first night may not be so bad as we are arriving on the red-eye from the UK that lands about 4a.m. so some sleep may have been had on the plane and when the shops open at about 7 a.m. in Sunny Beach it may be a dash to the furniture store!

Weather looks to be good and the swimming pools at the complex should have warmed up a fair bit. Car hire is cheap over there and are picking up a small car at the airport. The transfer costs by the airline would be half the cost of the hire for the week. Not sure of the age/condition of the car we get so it could be interesting!

Whilst wifi is available on the complex, I don't think I will be posting from there but I will take some photographs and upload them here on my return.

Have a good week,

Dick xx

Saturday, 24 May 2014

After what seems like an age, I have managed, with the help of my dear wife, to publish Sherlock Holmes and The Severed Finger today on both Amazon and Smashwords! Phew! It was a labour of love to read it together and fine tune the grammar and the period speech. Please feel free to download it and leave me some feedback

If you are not an Amazon fan and don't have a Kindle, have a look at Smashwords

It is a good book, I really enjoy the writing process and I enjoy reading the end result! It's fun! Feedback is so important to me, not just in promoting the book but also in understanding what folk want from a story, what they liked, what they didn't like etc. etc. It's part of a learning process for me.

Anyway, see what you think. No new book on the horizon at the moment, I will have to wait for a flash of inspiration, a typical Eureka! moment. They do exist, an idea will come to me out of the blue. Sometimes it's a "Wow!", sometimes it's a slow idea that grows as an organic thing and then i develop it into a story. This one was a bit of both!

Have a good week, the weather here in Brittany is typical 'April' weather with sunshine and showers...just a month late!

Dick xx

Friday, 9 May 2014

So much has happened since I last posted. Having been to Barcelona  and enjoyed the sunshine, I've been back to the UK for 10 days and also written a new Sherlock Holmes short story! Phew, a busy time! Barcelona was beautiful, warm and sunny and in fairness, the UK was warm the whole time we were there. Stilton cheese, cheddar cheese, fish and chips... a gastronomic blow-out!

The new short story is a corker, a little over 11k words. Quite exciting and due to be published next week if I can do a final few tweeks to ensure that the 'voice' is truly Victorian. I enjoyed writing it (as I do every time) but there was a patch of about a month where the creative juices just disappeared and I couldn't move forwards. Took until this last seven days for me to be able to link the bits of the plot together and bash out about 5k words. I found a great Public Domain website for royalty free images and I chose one that has some resonance with the story. Using GIMP, the free 'Photoshop' lookalike for Mac I created the book cover yesterday. Yipeee!

I have also, since posting last, have decided to have a go at some jewellery making. Not just threading a few beads to make some earings, I have had a go at making some nice 'floating' necklaces. I think they have come out quite well. I'm going to have a bash at selling a few at the local indoor Christmas Market. By then, I will have sufficient stock and my knowledge of Excel will have improved sufficiently to allow me to sort the stock out properly.

Here's a selection of what i have been busy doing!

Got to get back to the editing, hope you have a great week!

Dick xx

Friday, 28 February 2014

Another windy, wet day here in Brittany! So... I have spent the day fine tuning the story and my long suffering wife (who is my copy editor) has read through it with me, line by line) and it is now in Amazon's 'meat grinder' and will, fingers crossed, be on sale world wide tomorrow so tell your friends! Not sure of the Amazon link yet but if you search for it on Amazon or me (P.S. I was amazed I was number 2 on the whole of Google when I searched for myself!!!) by name you will find it ...and all my other books ; )

Enjoy, it was a frantic three days blasting the story out but it's good!

Dick xx

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Well, since I last posted I have been for a week in Barcelona doing a bit of culture. Gaudi was brilliant and the early work of Picasso was very interesting. What really blew me away was the fabulous National Museum of the Art of Catalunya, It was magnificent! A day trip out to Sitges from Barcelona was a nice relaxing time. The weather was superb, it was so warm that I had to move out of the sun to sip my ice cold beer served in a frosted glass! It was so nice to be in a climate that was free from wind and rain...and a stay at the Hilton and a corking rate through SecretEscapes was magic!

As you can see from the new graphic on the page I have been busy writing a new Sherlock Holmes short story. I think it is a cracker with lots of different threads going on and some surprises too! I will say no more! The book itself is at the copy edit stage so once it has been checked I will upload it to both Amazon and Smashwords.

Weather here in Brittany has been foul! Large storms with lots of trees blown down and lots of coastal damage from the high tides. A chap in a local village lost 5 metres from his garden in one storm! We lost power for almost 24 hours and also water (which was a bit worrying!). This is small beer to what folks are experiencing in the UK but it is the continuous rain, day after day that grinds you down. I know a few folk who are planning to spend next winter in warmer climes rather than suffer the wet weather here.

No ideas yet for the next book, it took me about a month to kins of blend some thoughts together but once that was done, I had 10k words written in 3 days, perfect for a short story. watch this space.

Hope everyone is looking forwards to spring, we have daffodils about to bloom and we have Primula's in full flower. Roll on spring.

Have a great week,

Dick xx

Sunday, 12 January 2014

The book is well and truly launched and is now on sale at Smashwords that feeds Kobo which in turn feeds iTunes, Barnes & Noble Collins etc. etc. and at Amazon, worldwide. Took me a while to format it for both platforms but it's done. I do like it and if you are into an 'action' Sherlock Holmes story, this is the one for you!  I like it and I hope you will too.

After a few beautiful days of sunshine with the temperature up to 15ºC, we are back to grey skies, wind and temperatures in single figures.We had some horrendous storms and some of our beaches here are sand backed by very large, rounded pebbles which can be up to the size of a flattened rugby ball. These had been tossed up onto the road by the beach and all over the car park. Didn't bother my 4x4 but other folk were a bit wary! I have heard lots of folk out with chain saws, the upside of a storms that blow over trees. Plenty of wood to be stacked away to dry out for their wood burners, still a major source of heating in rural Brittany and sustainable too!

Christmas saw our daughter here and me and my future son-in-law sailing my R/C yacht. I'm not sure what I will be doing this winter as a hobby, last winter saw me down the cellar building the yacht and jolly cold down there it was too! I think his winter I may be writing more Sherlock in the lounge with my laptop on my beanbag tray, sitting with my feet up in front of a blazing log fire. Seems much more attractive! Large glass of Scotch is not required but a very welcome accessory!

'Bable', our weekly Monday evening trip out to a gathering of French and English folk has started again. I really enjoy chatting in English and my poor French to different folk, sharing conversations and culture. It's fun, the folk are very nice and as 'the English' we seem in great demand as there are always more French than English and we have to ration ourselves out a bit. We sit around in groups of four and take i in turns to produce some written text to discuss and translate...usually with much hilarity! I have to say that my accent is improving as is my pronunciation.

At Christmas we had an end of year Bable get together and we introduced the French to Christmas cake, mince pies, Stilton and Cheddar cheese. Cheddar is something that is difficult to find in France (Stilton is impossible to find) and if you do manage to find a tiny pack of it, it costs an arm and leg! French folk who have tried Cheddar have loved it and whenever we go back to the UK we come back with loads and pass the odd pack on to both English and French friends.

Have a great week, read some Sherlock...especially MY Sherlock! ; )

Dick xx

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Great news, my next book is almost ready to be published! On Monday this week I finished it and have been madly editing since then, reading it through, moving bits around and updating(?) the language to fit the Victorian period. Then...I watched the first of the new Sherlock series last night and spookily, my book has some of the main elements of last nights premiere...bizarre! The BBC had kept the plot a tightly guarded secret and I was on a parallel course! I find that both weird and mind blowing!

The book SHOULD be published by this weekend, I like it. For the folk who like a bit of action then this is the Holmes book for you! I will try and publish the book on both Amazon and Smashwords by the weekend...more work!

We have had storms and flooding just like in the UK for the last couple of weeks although the power has stayed on. Christmas eve was a bit worrying when the water was turned off and we had our daughter and her fiance staying with us for Christmas! Fortunately, it was back on by the morning. Phew! The town is upgrading its water supply so we have had a lot of digging of trenches and stacks of large bore pipes gracing the footpaths of the town. I think one must have sprung a leak for them to have switched off the water on Christmas eve as this is the time when the French have their big Christmas meal. I would imagine that the emergency switchboard for the water company was red hot with irate french folk who were trying to cook their Christmas meal with no water!

Our biggest town of Morlaix did not escape the floods and on Christmas eve there was a storm surge and the centre of Morlaix was flooded to a depth of 1.5 metres ( about 5 feet). There is a yacht basin in town and I am surprised that there were no yachts to be seen in the central car park! The weekend before Christmas was the 150th anniversary of the building of the huge brick viaduct that crosses the valley in which Morlaix sits. There were laser shows projected onto the viaduct and a load of fireworks, it was quite a show! Fortunately, the rain held off for the most part.

More wind and rain at the moment as a storm travels past Brittany towards the UK, the shipping forecast for the crossing between the UK and France was really bad with winds up to severe gale force 9. Not the time to be crossing as it takes up to 9 hours, depending on the ports and the time of day.

Anyway, look out for Sherlock Holmes - The Shadow of James Moriarty, it will be available VERY soon!

Have a great week,

Dick xx