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Life Imitating Art

It’s strange how reports in the media suddenly replicate a work of fiction.

Facts that emerged recently regarding an incident in Salisbury UK lend a strong similarity to The Haunted Lady, one of my Eden House Mysteries set in 1983; written and published in 2016 by Accent Press.

Curiosity made me scan my research notes and I was astounded at the results.

The plot contains, Espionage, Double Agents, Soviet Bloc/Iron Curtain, all revolving around an East European citizen resident in the UK, and murdered by use of toxic chemicals. When written I had no idea that so many of the elements of the plot would bear grim resemblance to recent real life events.

I’m aware that my Mike Nash thrillers are popular reading in the library at Durham Gaol, I do hope they haven’t become DIY manuals!

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Getting back to normal

With only the occasional sound of hammering and sawing, life is returning to normal. Baring a few final touches, we now have a home, and the new sound, or should I say usual sound, of tapping keyboards is echoing round the bungalow. My in-house editor has a backlog of work and I am continuing to ‘think’. Plot ideas come from the strangest of situations and generate themselves at the oddest of times. I can be stirring a pan as I cook dinner, or typing my current work, when a stray thought will come to mind and has to be noted for future use. The worse time is as I am preparing for bed, and the ‘Will be a few minutes,’ can run into fifteen or more as I make copious notes or plot changes that must be made.

So ‘normal service has been resumed’ as they say.

And with that comes the latest Greek Island Romance.

 The Garden of Healing is now available on Amazon in both Paperback and digital formats and I continue to draft the next in the series. The next Mike Nash is at present with my proofreader, and I’m eagerly awaiting the cover from the graphic designer with the hope of publishing soon.

A Valentine Special

Today is Valentine’s Day and it’s been rather a different day from what you would expect. I got a present – in the form of a review on Eurocrime.co.uk for Picture of Innocence and it made my day.      But it wasn’t the only thing. Many of you will be aware that since April 2016 we have, through necessity, made two house moves, and during that time still managed to somehow continue writing and publish three books. And now I am informed by my in-house editor that although there is editing to finish, she suddenly has time on her hands. For over two years she has continually packed, unpacked, and repacked boxes and now it has come to a halt – and daytime TV holds no interest!

So she has in fact given my readers a Valentines gift, a thank you for their support.

Within the next 72 hours, the list prices on the Greek Island Romances will be uniform. There was a disparity but now all the digital books are £1.99 and all the paperbacks are £5.99. These changes also apply to US and European prices. Along with this, she reduced the paperback to £6.99 for Love Changes Everything – because it does!

I hope her efforts benefit my readers, and I shall now go and make a meal for my Valentine.

 

Through another window

In June 2016, I apologised for being absent for three months while we moved house. There was also another three months missing in 2017 while we moved yet again; the reason being that the first house simply didn’t work for our lifestyle. It isn’t easy to write a gory murder, or to make love to an attractive female when someone walks past the back of your chair, through the office, heading for the kitchen. The layout was wrong and there were other factors to consider.

So now I’m looking out of my office window at a different garden, other than the occasional birdsong, in complete silence, watching the local fox saunter through in daylight, waiting for the summer.

Besides renovating this property, with help from son-in-law, daughter, and numerous tradesmen, I have managed, along with my in-house editor to keep busy working. The Fountain of Daphne, on behalf of ELEPAP, and Picture of Innocence were published from within the chaos and now life is returning to normal.

 

So here is the news … The next Greek Island Romance The Garden of Healing is in production and there will be another DI Mike Nash thriller in a few months, but you’ll just have to wait for that.

Projects, old and new

I once told a former colleague that I work harder now I’m retired than when we worked together. His response, ‘Well that wouldn’t be difficult’!

Never was there a truer word spoken. This past year has been solid work, though not writing, for me, and our family. I won’t bore everyone with the details, but we moved house and ended up with a lengthy, major renovation project involving every form of building service possible to make the home we wanted. My in-house editor has been too busy packing and now unpacking boxes to work on my projects, while I have helped with all the lifting and shifting. In the midst of this, in February The Fountain of Daphne was released to help ELEPAP, the Greek children’s charity, and in November Picture of Innocence, the ninth DI Mike Nash was released in paperback. Our long-standing joke since February has been that the first thing we will do in the new house will be to put up the Christmas tree. Well I’m delighted to say that this week – we did!

We still have work to do but we’re nearly finished and we’re hopeful that by February we will be back at work in the new office. The new neighbours will be pleased to know the builders have finished and peace will reign again. And for my readers … the tenth Mike Nash is waiting in the wings.

A very Merry Christmas to everyone.

 

 

Nash is back!

After a two and half year gap I’ve made the decision to bring back DI Mike Nash

The knowledge that readers who have enjoyed the previous books were eager for more was the deciding factor in the equation.

Rather than disappoint the people who had been so supportive I opted for the independent route in both paperback and digital format with Picture of Innocence, currently available on Amazon. To do so, I commissioned Derek Colligan, the original designer of the first seven hardbacks, to create the cover.

There were other reasons. Foremost was the demise of the publisher of the previous eight books in the DI Mike Nash series (see ‘The end of an era’, 20th December 2015). That closure, together with their decision to sell the company lock, stock, and barrel to a publisher whose remit at that time didn’t include fiction left me – along with many other authors, I guess – well and truly stranded.

The bald truth, as a fellow crime writer told me and confirmed by several enquiries on my part, was that no other publisher would take over a series that was well established without having the option to acquire the rights to previous titles. And that, with the contractual obligations, wasn’t going to happen for some time.

After concentrating on several other projects in the interim, The Eden House Mysteries, my Greek Island Romances, including The Fountain of Daphne for a Greek Children’s charity, I decided to go it alone.

Publication of Picture of Innocence was delayed further by a double house move followed by a massive renovation project, but now, at long last, the day has dawned. I sincerely hope that the book provides the level of enjoyment readers have come to expect … and the good news is that books ten, eleven and twelve are complete, albeit in draft form at this point, but there shouldn’t be as long a delay before the next title appears.

October … a time for romance?

I won’t bore you with stories of house sales going wrong or the reasons I haven’t had the time to blog for three months. What I will do is tell you that Amazon UK have selected one of my Greek Island Romances, written as William Gordon, to feature in their Monthly Deal. For the month of October Sofia’s House will be available to download for only 99p. You might have only read my thrillers, but if you fancy a bit of romance perhaps now is the time to try it. You might then be tempted to try one of the other titles in the series including The Fountain of Daphne where all the royalties are paid directly to ELEPAP in Chania Crete, a Greek charity for the rehabilitation of disabled children.

Sofia’s love life has ended in disaster. Having lost her London home, she now lives with and cares for her Greek grandmother, matriarch of the family, astute business woman, and widow of an English man. Sofia hears stories from the past, of her grandparents’ meeting and life in the remote coastal village of Galini on the Greek island of Tritinos. When her grandmother dies, she bequeaths to Sofia the family house in Galini, with one condition attached. Her final wish is that Sofia will find the same happiness in life as she did. The house, uninhabited for years, is currently in the midst of a dispute regarding redevelopment of the village. Sofia heads for Greece, but can she keep her promise to never sell the old stone house?

A Time of Gifts

Our recent visit to Crete was memorable in many ways and far different from the normal holiday experience. Part of our time there was spent in promoting The Fountain of Daphne, the most recent title in my Greek Island Romance series. For those who are unfamiliar with the background to this book, all royalties earned from sales in either paperback or eBook format will go directly to ELEPAP in Chania, the rehabilitation and therapy centre for disabled children through to adulthood.

The promotional work, which included an interview and full-page spread published in Xaniotika Nea the local newspaper, was most rewarding. However, the greatest reward for us came on the final day of our stay. We were visited by Maggie, the centre manager, and Ariadni, chairperson of the parents association, whose purpose was to deliver ‘something’. We had no idea what that might be, and certainly nothing could have prepared us for the surprise they had in store for us when they presented us with two wonderful gifts.

Val’s came in the form of a unique charm manufactured by the renowned jeweller Zolotas. It is the symbol of the beautiful goddess Calypso, decorated with waves from the sea and the constellation Ursa Major. The charm depicts Calypso’s unstinting generosity when she released Odysseus and provided help and guidance for his voyage from Ogygia to Ithaca and reunion with his devoted wife Penelope.

At the same time, I was presented with the medal you can see in the photograph. The facing side is inscribed ‘ELEPAP, steps forward for the child with disability.’ The reverse reads: ‘The treasures of ELEPAP: Acceptance: Co-operation: Equality and Love.’

It is fair to say that I could not have felt prouder than any Olympian standing on a rostrum when I was given this medal. Quite simply, it is undoubtedly the most precious gift I have ever received. I’m not referring to the monetary value, which is immaterial, but as a symbol of what it represents means I will treasure both the gift and the sentiment always.

It’s all Greek to me!

As I pack my bags before heading to Crete there is an extra item on the holiday agenda – one I am really looking forward to with a mixture of excitement and apprehension.

Plans are being made for me to be interviewed on local radio and by the Chania newspaper. Oh how I now wish I’d spared the time and effort to improve my limited Greek linguistic ability. I hope there’s an interpreter to hand!

I often see and hear of authors talking about their work in the British media, but I guess there cannot be many instances of an English novelist appearing on Cretan radio or in their press.

The reason of course is The Fountain of Daphne where all the royalties from either paperback or download will be paid directly to ELEPAP, a wonderful charity that helps disabled children through to adulthood in Greece. All the details are on my earlier blog ‘George’.

Now that the book is available, the management team at ELEPAP and I are doing our utmost to spread the word and I plan to give as much of my time in Crete over to them as required. In the midst of all this, there will still be the opportunity for a holiday when my alter ego, William Gordon, often appears and writes another of my Greek Island Romances. But he’ll be lucky … I’m in the middle of another DI Mike Nash thriller.

Now back to the packing. Where did I leave my Greek dictionary??

Start spreading the news….

Thanks to the Scarborough Review for carrying the article. 

With Government funding cut, ELEPAP, the charity in Crete that provides much needed rehabilitation and therapy for disabled children and young adults, needs our help. So all royalties from The Fountain of Daphne, the latest of my Greek Island Romances, are going directly to this worthy cause. The more sales, the more we can all help.

You don’t even have to read it!

Simply downloading the digital version, buying the paperback, if that’s your preference, or reading from the Kindle owners’ lending library will contribute.