Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Sea Skimmer on Audio

Sorry about posting  my reviews here but this one really impressed me.  I narrated 'Sea Skimmer' a couple of months ago and it went for sale on Amazon Audio and I Tunes.  I'm no expert on this system as I never really use audio books, so maybe I've been a bit tardy at looking at the web site to see what people have said.  I had a look this morning and this has to be just about the best review I've ever had for any of my books.  What's even better for me is that I narrated it so I must be getting that reasonably right as well:

If you could sum up Sea Skimmer in three words, what would they be?
Intense, moving & humorous
What did you like best about this story?
The pace in which the story moves is great. It has proper military humour & keeps you listening and wanting to know what's going to happen next.
Which scene did you most enjoy?
There are too many to mention! But I suppose the dogfight against the Argi plane.
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
The British Top Gun!
Any additional comments?
I have read the complete series on my kindle and would highly recommend. I can't wait to hear the rest of the books. You don't need to understand military history or even the basics of the military as this books can put any reader at ease with the subject and draw you into an intense story based on both fact and fiction.
The 'Caspian Monster' is also starting to sell and I am currently three quarters of the way through 'Cocaine'.  Only seven more books after that!

Monday, 23 November 2015

Praise for Jacaranda

Sometimes when I have writers block or think maybe I've written enough, something happens which reminds me why I enjoy it all. The following review was given for Jacaranda yesterday:
'This and the second novel in the trilogy are brilliant. Could not put them down, I have now bought the third book in the trilogy and intend to purchase the naval novels by this author. Please read them, they are awesome'.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

The Caspian Monster now available on Audio (Thanks to Silverton)

So having spectacularly failed to get my second book accepted as an audio book by ACX (the Amazon company who sell them), by recording it myself  -   I sent the audio files to the company that produced Sea Skimmer (Silverton Audio).  I've no idea what magic wand they waved over them but The Caspian Monster has just been approved and will be on I-Tunes and Amazon Audio within a few days. 
I am now three quarters through doing the next one - Cocaine. 

Friday, 20 November 2015

A legacy

At the risk of being controversial, I do wonder how much of the appalling atrocities going on both in Syria and Iraq and now Paris are our own fault.
When I was researching for both books, Arapaho and Bog Hammer it led me into some interesting places. Firstly I suspect the situation is far more complicated than our press either know or want us to know. During the fighting in Beirut in the 1980s there were at least twenty-two separate factions fighting for their own agendas. These ranged from large organisations like the PLO, to small splinter groups. I can't believe this current situation is much different.
Secondly, if we go back to the 20s or even earlier, the whole region was carved up by Western powers with very little thought to the poor people who actually lived there. Of course the same is true in Africa, one only has to see the dead straight lines, presumably drawn by some nameless civil servant with no understanding of what he was actually doing, to realise what a callous and arbitrary act it was.
It was Winston Churchill, between the wars, when ordering the Royal Air Force to bomb the Kurds, who came up with the phrase to create 'an atmosphere of righteous terror'. Who was the terrorist then?
When the Shah of Iran was the West's friend, Saddam Hussein and his country were classified as a country that promoted terrorism. Right up until the time the people got fed up of the Shah and his vicious ways and kicked him out. Of course the Americans overreacted and all of a sudden Saddam Hussein was a friend to the West and was backed all the way through the Iran-Iraq war by us. It could be argued that had we left Saddam alone or even stopped him attacking Iran, the Ayatollahs would have lasted only a few months but we didn't wait. The Iran-Iraq war was, apart from the two world wars, the biggest this planet has ever seen. And of course we knew he had weapons of mass destruction later on because we had supplied the chemicals to make the weapons in the first place.   60,000 Iranians were gassed and how often do you hear about that?.
And then as soon as that war was over the West abandoned Iraq leaving Saddam Hussein with a crippling war debt, other Arab nations driving down the price of oil illegally and putting  Iraq in an impossible position. Invading Kuwait may not have been the best solution but bearing in mind it was actually part of  Iraq until some British civil servant drew a line literally through the sand, maybe it was understandable.
And then President Bush and a certain Tony Blair decided that the risk to our security posed by Iraq because of the weapons of mass destruction (the ones we supplied in the first place) was too great to be allowed to continue . It's strange these days that Tony Blair only ever talks about the righteousness of removing Saddam and conveniently forgets to mention the WMD at all.
None of this in any way excuses the barbarity and sickening behaviour of the morons now fighting in the region or murdering innocent civilians on the streets of Paris. However, maybe we should look at our own record and accept some responsibility for the situation. Maybe we should recognise that we need to resolve it. And that doesn't mean letting the RAF drop a few bombs to institute an atmosphere of righteous terror.
The Jon Hunt series of books is continuing with the current one addressing the issues of the Serbian war. But at some point my hero is going to confront the problem that many must have had in the military with the invasion of Iraq. I suspect that will be the last book in the series. Thank goodness he will be too old to get caught up in the current situation.

Sorry, rant over. Shameless marketing below:

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Progress on the Lynx book

I've received some fascinating input for my book about the Lynx helicopter. I'm currently working on the section about the Falklands War.  One of the things that's become quite clear is that we should have got together soon after the war to exchange stories.  Doing it 33 years later is probably just a little too late!  I'm letting each individual Flight tell their story in their own way and entries run from a page and half to 7500 words but that only gives the whole section a degree of authenticity that would disappear if I tried to normalise everything.  Also I'm getting some really original and never seen before photographs which can only add to the narratives.  A couple below:

Entitled 'just another say in the South Atlantic' by the photographer it sort of sums up some of then issues of operating a helicopter at sea!!  Apparently they all got rather wet a few seconds later. 
A sense of humour was also rather essential - this is HMS Penelope Flight, hence the misleading name on the door!! (oh and its a finger).

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Audio nightmare

Bad news.  It was all going too well.  Despite all my audio files for the new book passing the automatic checks for the web site that produces them and meeting some frankly very tough requirements, ACX the company that produces the books have come up with yet another criteria that they fail to meet.  Bit of a shame that its one that they fail to mention at all in their submission requirements!!!!  So I am looking at reverting to plan B and asking the American company that helped with Sea Skimmer to produce them for me.  The only problem is that it might mean I have to re-record the whole damn thing.  I may put the project on hold as I am busy with the book about the Lynx as well as getting into the new Jon Hunt novel.  The whole things smacks of what it was like to produce Kindles several years ago which was a nightmare until Amazon stepped in and streamlined the whole process.  Maybe I should just wait a year or five until they make the system user friendly.  Sorry if anyone was gong to buy the audio book soon - it may be out in a few months depending on several factors - I will put updates here when I know more.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

More audio

Ta dah!!!!!   By dint of hard work and effort beyond the call of duty I finally uploaded the audio version of  Caspian Monster two minutes ago.  Some years ago when I started producing Kindle books the process was a pain the *rse because of the conversion software and need for exact formatting.  That's all changed now and one can simply upload a word file and the jobs a goodun.  Audio books  are another thing altogether.  The recording software is fine but completely full of incomprehensible jargon - luckily there is a users forum which was able to give me the steers I needed.  THEN, even though all the files are produced to the required format you have to run them through another piece of software for some unaccountable reason before uploading each chapter separately.  Oh and there has to be a one second gap at the start and 5 seconds at the end of each chapter which I only discovered once they had all been saved so they all had to be edited.  But hey its done now and I've learned how to do it so the next one should be much easier.  If your into audio it should be available on Amazon, Audible and ITunes within a week or so.  Phew where's that bottle of red..................

Oh and I had to redo the artwork as apparently audio books are square!!!!