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Christmas 2020 Newsletter

Hello from Hertfordshire

This should be the last time I’m able to say that, which is a bit odd as I’ve never before began a newsletter with, ‘Hello from Hertfordshire’. I usually say, ‘Greetings Booklovers’ or some such. However, this is a roundabout way of saying that I’m in the process of moving house to the historic town of Colchester, described as Britain’s first ever city and was the capital of Roman Britain. However, I’ll save that for when I’ve actually moved in. No doubt, there will be posts on Facebook and Instagram of my writing room, posts about where I put my desk and all sorts of insights into the life of a breakout author. Is that what they call people like me? I think I’d like to be known that way as it has good associations.

In this newsletter

  • News about books
  • Three blog posts
  • T shirt giveaway for Christmas

Note:- Don’t forget to select Download Pictures (or whatever it is on your computer) or you won’t get the full technicolour experience of this newsletter and, worse still, you won’t be able to see what you might be winning in the competition.

So here is the news

Much has happened in the last six months, mostly involving putting my life in boxes or on eBay. (I sold a really great set of old wooden stepladders that someone was going to turn into shelves and I’m really curious to see what he made of them. He restored my faith in humanity and I wrote a blog about the experience. See the links below.)

However, the big news is that my travelogue, In SatNav We Trust is now available in both paperback and Amazon Kindle. If you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber you can download In SatNav We Trust for free! Even if you are not an Unlimited subscriber you can still get it for a fraction of the price of a good cup of coffee. (I tend to live my life by the coffee standard these days, it’s a good unit of measurement when it comes to value.) It’s also enabled for Kindle Unlimited Lending so if you want to send it to a friend you can share the love.

Here are the links:

You can also use these same links to write a short one sentence review.

Apart from In SatNav We Trust I’ve recently been returning my attentions to fiction. It was always my ambition to write a series of Hidden Masters novels but life sort of got in the way. Now I’ve made a commitment to myself, and you folks, to get back to the occult comic fiction which was where I started all those years ago. To that end I’m now actively working on The Hidden Masters and the Techno Knights (working title only) and I think I like it. It’s no spoiler to say that the first chapter opens with an end of the world cult sitting on top of a Welsh mountain waiting for midnight. For those of you who have read The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil and remember the big fight in the final chapter you might be pleased to learn that there is also an early mention of doughnuts and an exploration of their cosmic nature. It is a sequel of the first book after all.

To celebrate the upcoming development of the second Hidden Masters novel I’ve freshened up the ebook on The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil (also on Kindle Unlimited). Amazon are currently also stocking the paperback and seem to have a pretty good deal, priced at just a little more than a cup of coffee. Grab yourself a paper or electronic copy in time for Christmas and you’ll be ready for the second book when it comes out.

You can use these same links to write a short one sentence review.

Blog posts

There have been just three blog posts since the last newsletter.

Reader interraction

Interraction is very important to me. So please do like, comment and share on any posts you see but commenting gives me the best buzz as I get the opportunity to reply. Reviews are very important to me as they give social validation to people who don’t know my work yet and remember a review can be just a few words so don’t feel shy.

Christmas giveaway

Because it’s Christmas I’m giving away three T shirts from my online shop. All the designs are originally drawn by me. You don’t need to answer any questions, simply click the link and it will open the page to enter the draw. I’ll pick the winners on Christmas Day and be in touch to ask you which design and size you would like. I think my favourite is the one with the lighthouse or possibly Glastonbury Tor. They are only available in white. If you want to see what they look like a bit larger you can go to my shop page here. If you win I’ll send you individual close up images so you can be sure you know what you are getting.

The instructions for the competition are only available to subscribers to the newsletter.

The winners for the Christmas 2020 T Shirt Giveaway were:

  • Manda
  • SusanB
  • Fannyfanacapan

They will be receiving their T shirts in the post as soon as I know their preferences.

June 2020 Newsletter

Hello Again Booklovers

My I’ve been busy over the last six months. Yes it’s really six months since the last newsletter when we had the Grand Christmas Prize Draw. Oh Lordy, there’s news. So much has happened since we last spoke.

  • Note:- Don’t forget to select Download Pictures (or whatever it is on your computer) or you won’t get the full technicolour experience of this newsletter and, worse still, you won’t be able to enter the competition.

In this newsletter

  • In SatNav We Trust – final cover design with competition
  • New merchandise and book shop
  • The new edition of The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil in a swanky new cover.
  • Lots of blog posts

Don’t forget to read to the bottom to enter this month’s competition for a T shirt.

So here is the news

The last you heard I’d been contacting agents to see if I could find a mainstream publisher. Well I can tell you, I’m done with that shit! Therefore, the big news is that In SatNav We Trust is coming out under my new self-publishing imprint, Cosmic Jellyfish. Up the revolution!

For the last eight years I’ve been with a small press publisher which means that, while they take on a lot of the work, you don’t have much control. However, small presses are often very small organisations so they don’t really have the resources of a large publisher. Basically you have to do your own promotion so you might as well be independent anyway. By establishing my own imprint I can control the whole process and be picky as I like. The downside is that a bigger publisher would put in place a publicity, marketing and sales infrastructure that a one man band simply can’t afford. Of course being self-published means individual readers, such as yourselves, become invaluable for thinking of people who might like to hear about a book once you’ve read it.

So the big news is that In SatNav We Trust will be published in September! It’s already got a skeleton listing on Amazon so it’s really happening. The ISBN will be: 978-1-527 2-6030-6

The cover design for In SatNav We Trust

I’ve spent the last few months designing covers, typesetting all the text, registering the ISBN, thinking up pithy statements for the frontmatter and end notes, and making all sorts of arrangements. If it hadn’t been for the apocalypse I probably couldn’t have done it all, even though my day job has continued. The current status is that the text is finished and is now with the printer. I’m now deciding on the colour combinations of the cover. All the blurb is finalised apart from one or two short passages that I’m quite excited about but can’t share with you until publication day.

Here are the choices of cover colour:

Don’t forget to scroll down to the competition. Once you’ve seen these cover designs you have a chance of winning the competition. You did activate the pictures like told you?</p?

New online shop

The other news is that I now have an online shop. It’s a bit rough-and-ready at the moment, but when I get time I’ll sort out the formatting. WordPress keep messing with the design tools and I quickly forget how they all work when I don’t use them often enough. It’s a wonder the web site works at all. So, if you have been entering the competitions or the prize draws since I started this newsletter, and you wish you’d won that mug, or tote bag, take a look via this link and see what you can buy. There are only a few options at the moment. I hope to add more once all the busy publishing stuff is out of the way.

Rerelease of The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil

However, what I can announce as of today is that, to go with the upcoming release of In SatNav We Trust I’ve released a new edition of The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil. It’s basically the same eccentric book as before but with a swanky new cover and an improved subtitle. Here’s what book blogger Elizabeth A. White said about it back when the previous edition came out:

  • “Author Jack Barrow has created a very strange animal in The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil, a bizarre mash-up of magic, organized crime, and unlikely heroes, with a dose of stoner road trip thrown in for good measure. The magic is not the wands and broomsticks variety though, but is more ancient spells and incantations. Of course, when your magicians are fond of beer, rum, and weed, well, they often end up with questionable – and highly amusing – results for their efforts.”

The new edition of The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil is now available on ISBN 978-1-5272-6312-3. Do buy it from your local high street bookseller, heaven knows they need the support, but if you’re likely to forget then it’ll be on the Waterstones web site soon and it’s already available on Amazon here.

Here’s the new cover art:

I said it’s been a busy six months. I’ve done all that, prepared two new books, built a shop, designed some T shirts and written all these blog posts… Phew!

Blog posts

It’s been another long break since the last newsletter so there have been quite a few blog posts.

R2D2 is glad I have new brake pads, first in this year’s series of R2D2 blogs in the run up to the annual Star Wars film

R2D2 is glad I have new brake pads

R2D2 isn’t coming to New Year’s Eve, his adventures over the Christmas holiday

R2D2 isn’t coming to New Year’s Eve

R2D2 gets his reward for good behaviour over the holidays, finally he gets to see the film and meet some of the cinema staff

R2D2 gets his reward for good behaviour over the holidays

Bournemouth, Wimborne, and how not to be a tourist, just a weekend away, how complicated could it be?

Bournemouth, Wimborne, and how not to be a tourist

I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, a review of the show in Ipswich featuring the late great Tim Brooke-Taylor  

I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue – Review

Venturing out amid the virus, walking the streets the first night the pubs were closed

Venturing out amid the virus

How things have changed, or not changed, with the virus, three weeks into the lockdown and counting

How things have changed, or not changed, with the virus

Four ambulances and an apocalypse, a story about how people depend on each other that ended up being about Thunderbirds

Four ambulances and an apocalypse

See, I’ve been really busy.


To celebrate the upcoming publication of In SatNav We Trust I’m offering an In SatNav We Trust T Shirt. It’s available in any colour you like, so long as you like black or white.

If you can’t quite see the detail of the design here’s a closeup of the art. For some reason the image here is a bit low quality. It’s much better on the T shirts.

To win your very own fashion icon here’s what you do (I know that a fashion icon is really a person but what the hell.):

The instructions for the competition are only available to subscribers to the newsletter.

The competition this time was won by Graeme in Dundee where you’ll be able to recognise him wearing a magnificent In SatNav We Trust T shirt.

So that’s it for this issue of my occasional, not at all spammy, newsletter. Do invite your frields to sign up. Good luck with the competition and do feel free to comment on the blogs or other posts on social media.