Thursday, 29 January 2015

Lynx and Submarines

Apologies to my readers for being rather silent recently but Christmas followed by a dreadful bout of flu just seemed to get in the way.  I have just started a third novel in the Jacaranda series and like all my books I know where I want to end up by haven't a clue how to get there.  One of the stars will be a submarine - the Nautilus - built between 1800 and 1804, it was actually quite successful but never came to anything - I'll soon change that!  However, I now have a separate and parallel project.  I have been liaising with a historian over certain aspects of the Falklands War that I was involved in and a few months ago he suggested that I would be uniquely placed to redress a wrong - that is to write a book about the Lynx helicopter, especially its achievements in war time.  The aircraft is ending its service life this year and in my view has never been given the recognition it deserves, particularly for its performance during the Falklands.  All the documentaries and books focus on the land battle once the soldiers were ashore but there was still a fight going on at sea and in the air.  This is a departure for me as I won't be able to just make things up if I run out of material!  So if anyone who was there reads this article I would really like to hear from you.  My intention is to base the book partly on a factual account of its gestation and capabilities but in large part on the personal accounts of the guys who flew it.  I will be using the Fleet Air Arm Officer's Association data base to contact most of the aircrew but not everyone is a member.  All help will be greatly appreciated.  Unlike my novels, I even have a publisher lined up for the book and intend to give a proportion of my royalties to the Fly Navy Heritage Trust.

My Lynx - in 1982, called ARFA

A full size, sectioned model of a submarine called Nautilus.  3 crew, 2 knots and four hours underwater endurance - not bad for over 200 years ago.


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Latest novel, 'GLASNOST' now available on Amazon.

As usual, I am working on a mega book launch, with dancing girls, fireworks and a marching band,  However, while I look into how I find all those in rural Somerset on a cold December morning, the latest novel will go quietly on sale on Amazon.  Its available as a Kindle or paperback and may I thank everyone who pre-ordered it.  There is already a nice jump in my sales numbers.
I won't do a spoiler on the plot, particularly the first part but the basis of the story is the Russian revolution of 1991 or should I say non-revolution.  It was also the real end to the Cold War and is an absolutely fascinating piece of history.  What's really amazing is that, even after all this time, when just about everyone who was involved has been interviewed or written their memoirs, there is still serious doubt over what really happened and why.  Of course no one knew then what the long term effects were going to be. However, it allows for more turmoil and military incidents for my central character to get embroiled in...........................................

Oh no - found some:

Thursday, 20 November 2014

GLASNOST available for pre-order

The new book is finished (bar some comma checking) and is available for pre-order on Amazon now.  The actual launch date is 4 December.

Available here: GLASNOST

Friday, 7 November 2014

One more chapter

Finally about to finish 'Glasnost'.  One more chapter to go and then its off to the Ministry of Defence to clear it.  I have to do this with all the naval books or I could end up in the poo.  They 'redacted' a big chunk of 'Arapaho' - something to do with me being too honest about tactics which are still current.  Even so it should be out soon, certainly before Christmas.   I've tried with all these books to illuminate a bit of history that maybe never got the attention it deserved and boy I this another of those.  I occasionally get accused of far fetched plots even though they all have a basis in fact.  Well this one is a cracker.  I'll say no more.

My old ship, HMS Andromeda, who in the guise of HMS Prometheus stars in two of my previous books and makes another appearance in 'Glasnost'

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The last lap

I've not been blogging for a while as I've been heavily into writing (and trying to hit a stupid little white ball with a long stick, with little success as usual).  'Glasnost' should be out by the end of November.  However, one of the problems with researching recent political events to weave a story around, is drilling through the myths and conjecture to find the facts.  The climax to the book will be based around the three days in August 1991 when Soviet hardliners attempted to oust Gorbachev while he was on holiday in his villa at Foros on the Black Sea.  The more I've dug into the story, the more I've realised that probably no one really knows what happened and I include Gorbachev in that.  There are plenty of conspiracy theories and as many views as there are writers on the subject.  Of course this is all grist to the mill of the novel writer because I can pick and choose which set of 'truths' to use.
Rather like my book 'The Caspian Monster'  the more I researched the subject, the more I realised that the whole incident was far more critical to world peace than was reported in the western media.   However, in this case it was just the start of a process in that in Russia is still going on today.  When Gorbachev unleashed the floodgates of  Perestroika and Glasnost - Restructuring and Openness - I wonder if he realised just how far the avalanche of change would reach.............(apologies for the dreadful mix of metaphors!)

The villa on the Black Sea where Gorbachev was imprisoned for three days - or was he???


Saturday, 20 September 2014

The latest novel

Now firmly into writing again although I've had the dreaded writers block for a few weeks.  Luckily that seems to have gone and I'm cracking on.  Decided to have a go at the graphics:

A KA 50 Hokum in NATO parlance or a Black Shark if you're Russian.

Monday, 15 September 2014

The dog with extra cheeseory perception

So we spent a really fantastic week on the boat as a last trip of the summer.  For once the weather forecast was good and it actually was!  A quick trip down the Macclesfield and then the Peak Forest canals saw us in Bugsworth basin.  its an amazing place - used in the last century as a dock area for bringing limestone down from the Peak District and it used to handle up to 80 narrow boats a day.  The pub was good too.
Now as to the title of this post.  For some time now I've been amazed at the dog's ability to know when I go to the fridge to get some cheese.  If I go for any other comestible, he stays in his bed but the moment I feel esurient for matured fromage, he is sitting behind me as if by magic.  So while we were away I conducted a highly scientific experiment.  I went to the fridge and got out a bottle of tonic (good excuse for a gin) - no dog.  I went to the fridge for a beer - no dog.  Went to the fridge and touched the cheese wrapper - he was already sitting behind me giving me the 'do I get some' look.  So it just goes to show that animals have extra senses than us poor humans don't have.

Bugsworth - or least part of it there are two more dock areas like this and all as well preserved.

A dog sensing cheese.

 A dog asking for cheese

 Actually we reckon he just knows the sound of the wrapper  crackling when its touched.

Probably won't be boating now until the Spring.  As usual I have the dreaded 'list' of things to work through on the boat including rebuilding the shower.  But more importantly I have a book to finish.................