Stand by for launch sequence…

It’s been a good couple of days. My leadership work at Cheltenham and Wells was fun, and whilst part of me wanted to draw a line underneath it and concentrate on writing, a couple of the people I look after have asked that I stay on – one has asked that I follow him to a new job. It’s good to feel wanted in that way.


Home (?) Again…

Whilst all that has been happening The Innocence of Trust has begun to take shape. The company I am using are v efficient, and all looks set for a preorder date from this Saturday, with launch next Friday 7th July. Once I have the confirmed Amazon page it will be a flurry of emails etc letting people know that the book is out there. And then sit back and see what happens.

I don’t have Amazon behind me (although they are advertising Fuelling the Fire again from next weekend for a week, which might help), so I have absolutely no idea if this thing is going to fly. I need to sell 500 books to recoup the money we’ve put into the project. Anything beyond that will be profit. As I’ve sold 2,500 copies of FTF and 1,000 copies of UH, I will be disappointed if I don’t make that number. But, we’ll just have to wait and see.

I’m still selling copies of both books, at about 1/2 copies a day. It’s hardly paying the bills, but it is (now definitely) what I do. I am an author. I am an author. That’s what I do. The repetition is for me, not for you. I almost believe it. Almost. If The Innocence of Trust starts to make some money (or the UH screenplay genuinely creates interest), then it’ll be confirmed. Keep your fingers crossed.

That’s all from us. I’ve got 5 litres of vinegar stewing away in the hot water system – clearing out the limescale. We’re off to Annie’s (C’s sister) tomorrow, and then picking the almost married couple up from Manchester airport at some ungodly hour on Saturday morning. It will be great to have them back.

Back in Blighty

There’s a lot going on in our world. First, and most important, is the run up to Bex and Steven’s wedding at the end of the month. They’re in Cuba at the moment (from the Bahamas), flying back next weekend. Then it’s 4 weeks of wedding prep. This hasn’t stopped C (and Mary – who is a professional flower arranger) from working through pew ends, prepping bio-confetti etc. It’s going to be fun – and it’s going to be a fab day.


pew ends…

Next is The Innocence of Trust. I have just finished proofing the proof. It’s funny, you know. Post publishing I reread Fuelling the Fire after it had been through the professional copy-editing hands of Kindle Press in Seattle. I still found 10 mistakes, which, they tell me, they have now sorted. The British company I’m using for The Innocence of Trust fared no better. OK, it is fabulously typeset – much better than Kindle’s attempt with Fuelling the Fire. But I still found 12 genuine mistake, such as a sentence starting without a capital letter. I also found 15 author changes – so the book is in a much better shape than hitherto. Are there still mistakes? Certainly. But it will do.

The cover is complete and looks good. As is the back page.  I’m hoping to have pre-order available from this Friday, with release date the following Saturday. It is soooo exciting, I can’t tell you. No marketing though, just what I can put together. So it’ll probably be a damp squib – but you never know.

For the record: we stopped at R+C’s (thanks again, and so, so sorry to learn of Tizla’s passing – she was their adorable, old, beautiful dog who we were blessed to see before she passed), Mum and Dad’s – another story (didn’t want to go; didn’t want to leave – something is going to break there soon), and Mary’s (fab – thanks for the cinema and all the love we get when we’re with you). I’m working at two schools Monday and Tuesday this week. And then, I guess, it’s final prep for the launch. Oh, and the wedding! Hurrah.

Oh! And my director friend and I spoke about Unsuspecting Hero’s screenplay. It’s not dead in the water. His mate Kieron Hawkes is looking at it next week, and he has another producer friend who has shown interest. He said ‘things happen slower in my world, mate’, with that lovely gangster accent he has.  Indeed…

And both Fuelling the Fire and Unsuspecting Hero still selling. A couple of books a day. Better than none!

Sshhh, I’m proofreading

Really sorry, but this is going to be short. I’m 9/21 chapters into the final proof of The Innocence of Trust having got it back from the publishers the day before yesterday. All good so far.

Here is the wrap round cover for the paperback. It’s not finished yet, but we’re getting somewhere.


For the record, we had an easy if hot drive to France where we stayed for two days in a small French village on a river just short of Calais (they really know how to do waterways!). Now at R+C’s (thanks for looking after us!) and on to my Mum and Dad’s today.


More next time….




I’m still writing…

I want to talk a little about my writing today, as I’m sort of feeling good about it, even though nobody wants to traditionally publish my book(s).

First though, what have we been up to? We left Krk and, for no reason that either of us could put our finger on, ended up in Germany about 16 hours later. On the face of it, it could have been a slog, but it wasn’t. Even in 30 degrees of heat Doris is a pleasure to drive, and with motorways all the way we were kept entertained by supercars on the ‘Lion’s Run’, a rich-kids’ race headed for Monte Carlo. We thought of stopping on the motorway in Switzerland, but couldn’t find a rastplatz that allowed for more than 4 hours parking. In Germany there was no such problem, so we parked up and slept.


queue for the St Gotthard tunnel

We’re now having our final 3-days ‘off’ before the UK onslaught – we’re staying at an ACSI campsite just off the Rhine in Braisac. It’s just in France, next to a huge fortification (which houses the town, a UNESCO world heritage site), and over the river is its German equivalent, with lovely old town. We got the bikes done at a v efficient German cycle shop. A new front wheel for C, 4 new tyres and inners cost £250, which was probably £100 more than I could have got the lot from Amazon. But they fitted everything in 2 hours as we wandered around town.


squeaky new tyres

That enabled us to cycle 35 miles (no power from me – legs knew it by the end) down the Rhine in France, and back up it in Germany. Perfect, even if a cold wind accompanied Mrs Sun throughout.

Today, not much. Tomorrow another long slog to Calais, some shopping and home for a week of work and then 4 weeks of wedding prep. Oh, such fun!

Writing. By the time I get home I will be 3/20 chapters into book four (I must get hold of a working title). Sam will have a breakdown at the end of Chapter 3. It’s a hidden (not any more) thing with my books. Sam breaks down at the end of Chapter 3 and then goes on to save the world. I’ve started much earlier this year (June not September) and it means I am writing more slowly. This is good, but also bad. The problem is that my plots are pretty complicated, and, as you probably know, I don’t know what happens next: if it surprises me, it will surely surprise you? Without a real grip on the plot and with gaps between tapping away, I lose bits of the plot and have to revisit where I was. But, slower is less stressful…


lovely here in Germany/France

The second thing I want to stick down for the record is that, in three years, I have written three books and one screenplay. And these are not inconsequential novels. They’re easily more complex than any of the Reacher novels I have read. And they’re big – Fuelling the Fire is 145,000 words and the Innocence of Trust is 128,000 (UH is 85,000, but that was at the beginning of it all). The new book will be at least as long as the Innocence of Trust. They’re different. Sam Green is different from any hero I have ever read. A female lead in an all-male literary world? And, finally, if you don’t mind me putting it out there, people are still reading them. And still enjoying them. Here are my two latest Unsuspecting Hero reviews. One is a Brit, the other is from the US. (These are people I don’t know from Adam, randomly reading my book.)

Five stars. Read this book! This book grabs you from the first page to the last. Brilliantly written, unable to put it down, read it in two days. Excellent going to start the next one now and I can’t wait.

And: SIX STARS ! A masterful insight into todays hazards. Secondary characters are a little “sketchy”. The primary characters are well developed. I’m about to start the second book.

I guess I put this down, because, well, it’s what I do. And, for me, it’s very easy to think that I’m doing b-all, just pottering around. Some authors struggle to put out a book in a lifetime. I’m on a roll!

Sorry for the conceit. Really. But I don’t think I’m doing badly at my day job.

Bye-bye Croatia!

Cheerio to Croatia then. We leave tomorrow morning. It’s been about 5 weeks and my opinion of the place hasn’t differed much from my thoughts after 2 which I believe I shared with you. But we have had a fab time, and if you want Mrs Sun’s company, lovely, rocky beaches and more boats than you can shake a mast at, then come here. You will not be disappointed.


Croatia – fab!

The last couple of days have been about hiring a moped and doing the rest of Krk, and a couple of magical David Attenborough moments.

We hired a moped from a guy who works out of his Mum’s house. It was rubbish, in that it looked like a death trap. But it was unregulated so, unless we were going up any incline whatsoever, we pooped along at almost 50 mph. We did all of the ports on the island we hadn’t done, and mopeded into Krk for supper. It was a great day and it both didn’t kill us, whilst, at the same time, taking years off us.


Wallace and Grommit’s not so bright cousins…

We’ve been thinking about a scooter. The bikes are fab, really. But we would have gone to Mostar on a scooter, and so many other places in land where the bikes are just not man enough for the job – of course it’s us who aren’t man enough. I don’t have a bike licence so it’s either a moped, or a trike (which can be ridden on a car licence). Finances willing, yesterday sort of sealed it for us. Whereas a moped could go in the garage and the bikes on a carrier on the back, a Piaggio mp3, which can be driven on a car licence, is too heavy and has to go on a trailer. A moped is probably a £2k expense, whereas a Piaggio and trailer is more like a £5k expense.

Simples? Yes, you’ve guessed it. We’re going to go for a Piaggio. The smallest they do is a 300cc, and the largest a 500cc. Fabulous! Just think of all the places we can go on a machine capable of 90 mph! Death, and I know you’re thinking this, is just around the corner.

The David A moments were both surprises. Yesterday down the end of the island we saw six vultures. At a viewpoint 20 minutes later one flew right over our heads. Today, out in the boat, we were paddling along the rocky coast, dipping into and out of gullies formed by the sea. On a small rock, just off the coast, was a cormorant. We paddled right up to it, like a few feet. And then we paddled round the tiny rock, and it kept an eye on us, but didn’t fly away. It was v special indeed. Sadly I didn’t have a camera with me.


Speck in the middle is a massive vulture

That’s it from me from Croatia. We’re going to back via Italy, Switzerland and Germany. Ferry on the 21st and then the big wedding to plan and then execute. I can feel a military operation coming on!

Oh and I’m 17k words out of 140k into book 4. And loving it!

So this is what a holiday looks like?

So, all’s well here. It’s been a fab four days of holidaying. And Mrs Sun has been persistently present.

We’ve cycled (7 miles each way) from this pretty good ACSI site at Punat to the village of Krk. Think a mini Dubrovnik and you have it. In many ways, especially as you’re not hemmed in by cruise loads of tour parties, it’s actually better. Walls, towers, a small but delightful old town, a harbour and, of course, the wonderful Adriatic.


Krk – fab

We’ve paddled almost around to Krk, avoiding the rocky coves where the naked people are. There are a lot of naked people here, which I can’t get excited about. C thinks it’s a bit much when they’re naked and closely shaved (I haven’t been paying that much attention), but as she’s skinny dipped on a whim here, I’m not sure she’s got much to complain about. We paddled back into the bay and canoed around an island with a monastery on it – which has now made it into Book 4, more of which in a minute.


And yesterday we cycled to Stara Baska, another 16 mile return trip. Stara Baska is a small fishing village at the end of our road, up a blooming big mountain, and then down the most wonderful coastal road until the Tarmac runs out. Unfortunately C broke a second spoke on her bike (she lost one a couple of weeks ago) which made her front wheel buckle ever so slightly. This presented us with a dilemma as we wanted to walk from SB up into the mountains to see if we could see the mainland on the other side of the island. The worry was that we wouldn’t be able to get the bikes home, back up the blooming big hill (just measured it – it’s a 1000 foot climb), and then down the other side.

We needn’t have worried. We trekked up the hill in hot, but hazy conditions. It was lovely, even if we were pursued by some pretty strange black bees. And we got the bikes home, although C will need a new front wheel.


And we’ve walked, swam (C mostly naked – there are plenty of secluded spots, especially if you have a canoe), ran – it’s going well for me (Rebecca and Steven are running hard in the Bahamas, and I don’t want to get left behind when we put our shoes on during the honeymoon), and I have written.

Prologue done. Chapter 1 – tick (I love it already!). Chapter 2 started – it includes the monastery here. And walking over the hills yesterday I just about have the plot. So it’s just a question of getting the thing on paper. Brill.

Finally, a few words on cost. For us, Croatia isn’t cheap. We have to pay for campsites, which, on average have been costing us £18 a night. That leaves C with £22 a night for food etc. We don’t eat out, although meals even in the resort, are cheap – about £7 for meat and chips. But we do drink coffee regularly (v cheap here) and have a beer every so often (£5 for a round of 2 x 500 ml, which is good.). And, so, she’s still saving money! Hurrah to that!

I should just get on with it…

It’s very easy to become complacent when you’re living this sort of life. Choosy almost. We have a week before we need to head back to Calais (our ferry’s on the 21st) and that still give us longer in the sun than most people have the chance of once a year. And yet, somehow, I’m still a bit restless.

we stayed here on the route back up to Krk

Certainly the thought ‘should I be back at work, contributing to society’ has made its way to the back of my mind (it’s still there, but not writ large). I am a prologue and the first chapter into book 4, and already loving it. It’s Sam’s voice. When I write (in the 3rd person) as her, I am – and I know this sounds trite – fulfilled. I am also getting a little further on the plot, but fleshing that out in big chunks of stuff is my next job. So, in terms of ‘a job’, I do have one. Albeit hardly making enough cash at the moment to buy us a daily decent coffee. But, we didn’t go down this route to become millionaires?

I think it’s about the pace of the whole writing process which makes me restless. I finished The Innocence of Trust in December, and yet, here we are almost 6 months later and it is unpublished. I wrote and edited the screenplay for Unsuspecting Hero in early Spring, and I’ve had nothing back from my director pal, other than ‘be patient’. I suppose that until and unless I get an agent, I am on my own with my own timeframe. I could have published by February if I had wanted – the current people I am using to help me self-publish, promise to publish in four weeks. And we are 10 days into that period. So it’s doable.

Maybe the lesson here is to just get on with it? Write, publish and then write some more? Move away from the ‘one book a year’ ethos. I’m thinking about it…

Anyhow. We’ve moved back to the island of Krk for our final Croatian stopover. We’ve already cycled and ran. Then it’s a meander back via Germany as we’ve promised C schnitzel and chips. In the meantime, the campsite is fine, we have wonderful views of the sea which, here, provides a passageway for lots of boats. We have some decent cycling routes and the paddling looks like it will be fun (when the wind dies down!). I really should just be sitting back and soaking it up. When will I learn?

Speechless (almost…)

This morning I was going to have a geopolitical rant about Trump, and his playground bully ‘look at me’ style of politics after he unceremoniously pulled the US out of the Paris accord. I had a lot to say, but waking up this morning, sat here under the safety of the warming sun and reflecting of the latest terror attack in London, I am a bit speechless.

So I started writing a tirade about religion, and (mostly) men’s abuse of whichever particular banner they want to chose to do evil and spread hate and fear. Those of our generation lived through the IRA’s mainland bombing campaign, so we have some latent memory of living under the plague of religious terrorism.

But I am still speechless. And, without wanting in anyway to sound trite, our thoughts (but I won’t say ‘prayers’, I’m sorry) are with those affected by the attack.

And it’s Sunday…

the Croatian equivalent of Mumford and Sons

We’ve had a fab three days, walking, running, cycling, and paddling with Mrs Sun brazenly showing off after, for us, a three year absence (that what it feels like). We’re at an ACSI campsite at Biograd an Moru, which this weekend has a food festival on. And it’s fab. We’ve been in both nights, the long seafront awash with stalls and music. A cappella is big here – with small groups of mostly men accompanied by a couple of musical instruments (one nearly always the balalaika) standing around in front of a small crowd singing their hearts out.

There are two seafront stages. The furthest away was our fave. On Friday night we sat and had a beer listening to the Croatian equivalent of Mumford and Sons. They were spectacular. However, walking back to the main stage we stumbled across this quite fabulous a cappella group who made a huge noise, and almost brought a tear to my eye. Last night we said, wouldn’t it be great if the rock stage had a tribute band on? Well, almost. It was another v professional rock group, this time singing their own songs, but they played six covers – all of which we knew! A beer was had…

We’re going to wander in tonight, the last night, and see if we can pick up another live band. And we might stay another couple of days. The BBC weather app says ‘Scorchio!’ For the next ten days. So why not?