Christmas Newsletter – Grand Prize Draw

Greeterings again Booklovers

Welcome to my increasingly intermittent newsletter. Do tell your friends who declined subscribing to my monthly newsletter that it isn’t at all monthly, as it’s currently December and the last one was August, so it could never be described as spammy.

Get ready to hear about the prize draw.

So here is the news

Many of you will know that earlier in the year I decided to have a grand push at finding a literary agent for In SatNav We Trust. In the modern world of publishing you don’t submit to publishers, you submit to agents and they talk to the publishers in return for a small consideration. However, it’s the devil’s own job submitting to agents and in the past, such as with The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil, I got tired of the process and decided to self-publish. This is the difference between J.K. Rowling and myself, she didn’t give up after the 25th submission and eventually ground the industry down. Well neither did I and, hopefully, so will I have. If you get my drift.

Since you last heard from me, as well as earning a living writing about things I’d rather not write about, I’ve written 31 proposals to agents. Each one takes a good hour or more because you have to write to the person rather than the job title, tailoring your submission to their requirements. And that’s after reading the entries for another 350 that I decided not to write to. You can see why people often give up and that it’s a wonder that poor old Harry Potter exists at all. It’s a brutal industry.

However, I’m having a prize draw, which is a good thing.

So now I’m waiting for the responses. While I’m waiting, I’m preparing to self-publish, which comes with both positive and negative feelings.

Self-publishing is a bit depressing because unless you are writing about S&M you tend not to get noticed and you get read by about six people plus your mum, so not much joy there. Having said that I wrote a novel about three blokes who smoke too many drugs, drink way too much booze, to the point of falling over, and perform ceremonies that people might mistakenly describe as satanism. I didn’t get noticed so far so writing about something controversial or titillating isn’t always a guarantee of success.

However, the positive side of self-publishing is that I get to make all the decisions. That means that when In SatNav We Trust comes out I can decide to list in the book all the names of my supporters from the aborted Unbound campaign. So that is my plan. After Christmas is over, I plan to start typesetting In SatNav We Trust with a view to publishing on one of the platforms that publishes on paper. There might be an eBook available but my plan is to provide you with a proper paper book to buy.

Of course, if one of the literary agents comes back with a positive response before I press the publish button then we are talking a whole different game of soldiers and you can expect to see In SatNav We Trust in all good bookshops.

Whatever happens, one way or another, there will be news about In SatNav We Trust getting into print next year.

Watch This Space

Did I mention there’s a prize draw? Keep reading.

Blog Posts

It’s been so long since I sent out a newsletter, I’ve written five blog posts. There’s plenty more on the site.

The Handmaid’s Tale – why I had to stop watching it on TV, some thoughts on the TV series:

The Handmaid’s Tale – why I had to stop watching it on TV

The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District, a review of the book by James Rebanks

The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District – book review

The unseen divisions in the population around us, a blog post in the general silliness category

The unseen divisions in the population around us

Ten Songs to Save The World, a review of the show on tour from Mitch Benn

Mitch Benn – Ten Songs to Save The World – review

Who will look after the NHS? a true story of a conversation on the eve of the General Election

Who will look after the NHS?

Grand Christmas Prize Draw

As it’s Christmas I had planned to have a Grand Christmas Competition but it just hasn’t worked out. I’ve been working on a T shirt design to promote In SatNav We Trust but it’s still in development. I’m also planning to set up a shop so you can order merchandise for yourselves; that way if there’s anything in one of the competitions that you don’t win you can buy direct. But more on that in future newsletters.

However, I’m still doing a Christmas giveaway but there’s no T shirt (yet) and there’s no competition. Instead I’m running a Grand Christmas Prize Draw. I’m going to giveaway another mug, another tote bag and a copy of the Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil (refer to the bit about mistaken satanism above or read about it here). Instead of the usual competition every entry will be in with a chance so there’s no excuse not to try. I’ll get the computer to pick three names on Christmas Day and I’ll contact the three winners shortly after.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous New Year

The link to the competition page is only visible to newsletter subscribers. To enter in future months go to the sign-up section on this page.

The Grand Christmas Prize Draw was won by the following people:
1st place: SongSticks from Suffolk who chose the mug
2nd place: Heather (aka Brenda) from Blackpool who chose the signed and dedicated copy of The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil
3rd place: MKUltra from Hong Kong who chose the tote bag

August Newsletter

Greetings Again Readers

Welcome to the August Newsletter. The eagle eyed amongst you might notice that there wasn’t a July Newsletter but that’s because July was full of heatwaves, camping trips and me looking out the kitchen window thinking, ‘I really must cut that grass.’ Well I bought a lawnmower so the grass has now been cut.

So here is the news

However, I’m sure you are much more interested in the world of publishing. The last news I had was that I was busy writing a proposal for the agent I was planning to submit to. That was a bit more of a job than I imagined. In SatNav We Trust has 39 chapters, granted short ones, but that’s still a lot of chapters. I spent the first couple of weeks writing a summary for each chapter, which is the sort of thing an agent needs, but by the time I had finished I realised that I’d written it in completely the wrong style. I won’t go into details but, suffice to say, I finished the chapter listing only to realise I had to start from scratch but that’s sometimes the way with writing. So, another two weeks went by which took us into mid-June and only then was I able to start to write the proposal proper.

Phew, I’m tired just talking about this. Is this going on a bit? I think it might be but don’t worry, there isn’t an exam at the end so it doesn’t matter if you’re not paying attention. There is a quiz with a prize draw though. Which, I suppose, is a bit like an exam but much more fun and I can tell you, the answer is ‘London’ so that’s not really a quiz. Of course, in an exam you don’t get to win a bag. Anyway…

Eventually I finished the proposal, and the chapter listing and the sample chapters I had to send and the other bits and I sent the whole package off at the beginning of July which meant the whole process took about six weeks. Therefore, you might understand why there was no July newsletter as I needed a bit of a rest hence all the camping trips and mowing the grass and stuff.

And now we wait. The proposal is currently working its way to the top of the pile as agents get a lot of submissions. Occasionally I get a spike in visitors to my Facebook page for one of my books or some other clue that might make me think I’ve come to the attention of the publishing world. Perhaps tens of dozens of publishers, agents, book publicists, general hangers on, girls called Felicity (who always seem to end up in publishing), and the like are suddenly looking at my online profile, buying copies of my earlier works and… well, you get the picture. Basically, you can’t tell so I have to wait for a reply.

So the upshot is that you need to keep paying attention (and possibly invite others to do so) and keep everything crossed (and possibly invite others to do so). Don’t forget there’s a competition with every newsletter.


Blog Posts

Again I’ve only written two blog posts this month. There’s plenty more on the site.

The Story of the British Isles in 100 Places, a review of the book by Neil Oliver:

The Story of the British Isles in 100 Places – book review

Memories in raindrops, Rutger Hauer, Guinness, perception and the nature of reality:

Memories in raindrops


The June competition was won by svmitche from Dorset who received a cool In SatNav We Trust mug.

This month’s competition is for the new tote bag design for In SatNav We Trust. This design utilised another of the memes I created as pre-promotion over the winter.

The link to the monthly competition is only visible to newsletter subscribers. To enter in future months go to the sign-up section on this page.

The August competition was won by Graeme from Dundee who receives a very cool bag.

June Newsletter

Greetings Again Booklovers

This is my second newsletter so welcome to our new subscribers. I’m trying to get more people to sign up so that they hear about new books and other projects as they develop. If you know anyone you believe would be interested do encourage them to sign up and let them know they needn’t worry about getting a lot of spam. There’s also the monthly giveaway to tempt folks in. This month’s is a great prize so read on for more details.

So here is the news

The latest news is that In SatNav We Trust is moving along nicely. I had a meeting with an agent a couple of weeks ago and pitched the book with a positive result. Of course the nature of these things is that there’s a procedure. You can’t ask someone to represent a book in a face to face meeting, rather you have to submit the right extracts along with a synopsis and all that jazz. Of course, I’ve done this all before but the fact that I don’t have an agent yet is testament to the fact that I’ve not been doing it right. The other issue is that each agent wants it done in a slightly different way or uses the terminology in a different way. What one agent calls a synopsis other calls a proposal and for some a proposal will contain certain elements while other agent will want something else. The upshot is that, basically, you address the individual and not the job title. Mass mailings are not where it’s at.

The current situation is that I’m in the process of preparing my proposal and hope to be getting it off shortly. From then there will be a delay while she considers whether In SatNav We Trust is likely to tickle the interest of a commissioning editor at a grown up publisher, so keep watching this space.

Blog Posts

I’ve published just two blog posts this month. There’s plenty more on the site.

What’s in a name, lunch times, late breakfasts and architecture:

What’s in a name?

Ask an Astronaut, a review of the book by Tim Peake:

Ask an Astronaut – book review


The May competition was won by Karl of Hertfordshire and he received a signed and dedicated copy of The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil.

This month’s competition is for the new mug design for In SatNav We Trust. A little while ago, when I was releasing memes as teasers for the coming book to show agents and publishers what a brilliant prospect I am, one particular meme really generated some great responses. The fact that it’s the shortest text and the only meme with a graphic might have something to do with it.

Here is the new design for the In SatNav We Trust mug that you can win.

The link to the monthly competition is only visible to newsletter subscribers. To enter in future months go to the sign-up section on this page.

The June competition was won by svmitche from Dorset who receives a slightly philosophical mug


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