My latest Sherlock Holmes short story Miss Violet Dixon (deceased)

My latest Sherlock Holmes short story Miss Violet Dixon (deceased)
The front cover created with Gimp with help from Aubrey Watt on You Tube.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Here I am again. I have been so buy with just....stuff! I have been writing another story and it is finished! Well, except for the editing bit that Alex, my wife, does for me. She has been busy doing a poetry course so I am in the queue for her attention, Anyway, it's written and I like it (I have to say, as usual!). I do like my own stories. It may seem strange but I do enjoy reading them. Must be my really rubbish memory!

About 3/4 of the way through writing it I became overloaded with the writing aspect and had to stop, I was drained. I decided to look for an image for the book cover and found this one. I think it's great and it ties in so well to the story. The book should be completed sometime next week (or before if I ask nicely). Enjoy!

I have been asked by a famous Sherlockian, David Marcum if I will publish all my stories as a rea book. The Julia Moriarty Trilogy is already available as a paperback with MX Publishing so that would leave me with 12 stories . David thinks would just about the ideal number so it is worth a LOT of thought. I may well do this so look out for further news.

The weather here is shocking, strong winds and now we have rain. We had ferries to the UK cancelled last week because of storms in the English Channel. Hey-ho, at least we don't get snow, it's 14 degrees Celcius here but the wind whistling past the door sounds really awful.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Dick xx

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Well, here we are again. I keep neglecting to write stuff and time runs away with me. Alex and I had a great time in London at the launch of the MX Sherlock Holmes trilogy. We met quite a few fellow authors at a great location on the 35th floor of the Heron Tower in London. Fabulous view and we enjoyed seeing the sun set over the city from the highest balcony in Europe.

Whilst here we met Bonnie  MacBird, the author of several great Sherlock Holmes tales at The Sherlock Holmes hotel in Baker Street. Shout out to Anita, the manager on reception. She remembered us and we had a warm welcome from her.

Since our trip, I have written another story which is available from Amazon and (from today) Smashwords. The new story is called 'Sherlock Holmes and Miss Violet Dixon (deceased). This is based on a true and truly shocking scam that was centred on London but affected women all over the British Isles.  Here's the blurb from my Amazon entry....

"Holmes returns angry and disturbed after a visit to Hammersmith mortuary at the end of a particularly tiresome case. Whilst at the mortuary, Lestrade shows him the body of a young woman who has taken not only her own life, but that of her unborn child.

So begins a tale that highlights the exploitation of vulnerable women through quack medicine and blackmail in a scheme of unbelievable proportions. Julia Moriarty, the sister of the late Professor James Moriarty is suspected to have a hand in the affair and Holmes must involve Lestrade in a bid to apprehend the perpetrators. Lestrade springs the trap but in doing so, causes Watson to be grievously wounded.

Moriarty escapes but has she revealed to Holmes her Achilles heel? Whilst Holmes has seen that the 'Rule of Law' is maintained and the case concluded, Watson is in turmoil as he is unsure whether their investigation has inadvertently caused further harm to those they sought to protect."

I have to say I like it and as it is a true story that I have weaved Holmes and Watson into, it is even more exciting and poignant.

I am half way through writing my next short story, 'Sherlock Holmes and The Emerald Spirit' which is going 'so-so'. It's difficult to write with a young Lemon Setter wanting to join you by sitting between your legs on the footstool. I sit on the sofa with my feet up on my IKEA footstool and my laptop on my beanbag tray. She can't resist a cuddle and climbs up and I end up with splayed legs on the very edges of the stool. She is getting MUCH bigger and is well into teething!! She has most of her teeth now but will still chew most things!

Anyway, I will write more soon.

Dick xx

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Well, I just realised that I haven't actually posted anything on here since January!! Where have I been? Well, Bulgaria for one... and several quite important things have happened in the run up to now.

Firstly, I am now the proud grand-father of a delightful little chap called Flynn. My wife and I flew over to the UK in May and Flynn was born whilst we were on the plane! Mum, Dad, Flynn and the two cats are all settled into a routine and he is growing up so quickly.

Secondly and perhaps thirdly and fourthly, I have written three more Sherlock Holmes stories! 'The Angel's Trumpet' is a tale of German spies set in the early days of aviation. 'The Second Key' is a new story that involves a bomb plot and a train robbery. It also features the glamorous, but deadly, Julia Moriarty. I have to say that it does have a rather tantalizing ending. The final story I have written is entitled 'The Man on Westminster Bridge' and has yet to be published. "Why?" I hear you gasp! Well, it's because I sent it off to David Marcum for possible inclusion in the MX Publishing's latest and greatest venture, The Worlds Largest Sherlock Holmes Collection. This is a great project where 60+ of the World's Best Sherlock Holmes authors have generously written a story each for inclusion into a three book anthology. The royalties from the sale of the trilogy are going to support the restoration of 'Undershaw', Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's house.  You can read more about it here

This project is the brainchild of a great Sherlokian, David Marcum. He has worked tirelessly to bring together and edit the 60+ manuscripts to produce three stunning volumes. You can catch up with David on his blog here

I am very pleased and proud to say that my story was accepted and has been included in Volume 2 of the anthology. If this project interests you, there is still time to back it on Kickstarter.

On a very much sadder note, our beautiful, 6 month old Black Labrador Jess had to be put down last month after developing uncontrollable epilepsy. Even on the maximum dosage of anti-convulsive drugs, she was having 10 or more Grande Mal's a day. It broke our hearts to have her put down but we could not bear to see her in such great pain and distress.

On the upside, a little wriggling bundle called 'Laouen' (a Breton name and pronounced La-when) came into our lives 2 weeks ago. She is a 10 week old, Lemon English Setter puppy and she is gorgeous! She cannot, and we would not want her to, replace Jess in our hearts. She is quite a different character and I have to say that we have had quite a few sleepless nights as she got used to her new home.

This is 'Hermine', Laouen's mother with one of her pups.
Laouen in her crate.

Just lazing in Jean-Claude's bed (our Breton cat...he isn't impressed!)

Well, there's lots of news. I will try and write more frequently and please consider supporting the anthology project, either through being a backer on kickstarter or by buying the books. They can be bought as pre-release copies on the Kickstarter site (just follow the link above).

Enjoy August, I look forward to the official launch of the anthology in London on the 1st of October!


Sunday, 18 January 2015

Here we are in a chilly January! You find me freshly back from a trip to the UK to partake of a little culture. My wife had seen 2 exhibitions in London that were soon to close so we flew over to see them. As you will know from this blog, I am a Sherlock Holmes fan and what better place to stay in London than at the Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes Hotel in Baker Street! A 50 minute flight from Dinard courtesy of Ryanair into London Stansted and then a coach ride direct to Baker Street.

The Sherlock Holmes hotel was full of charm and not full of glass and chrome. It did have a bit of a Gentleman's Club feel to it. The hotel has a reading corner and I presented the hotel with a copy of my paperback, The Julia Moriarty Trilogy which I signed for them. I don't know whether this helped but we were upgraded to an executive room :-) It was much appreciated! Thank you Anita!

The two exhibitions we visited were the Constable at the V&A and the Turner at Tate Britain. Of the two, I preferred the Turner which was superb! My wife and I had seen the great film 'Mr Turner' starring Timothy Spall before going and it certainly did give the exhibition a new dimension. Two nights at The Sherlock Holmes was not enough and a quick train ride up to Nottingham allowed us some time to see our children. Booking in advance for the train allowed us to travel first class for only £21, a real bargain! We had use of the 1st Class lounge at St Pancras for free tea, coffee, juice etc. and similarly on the train. A one way car hire from Nottingham back to Stansted brought us to the Radisson Blu at the airport and a really good evening meal in the Italian restaurant. A missed flight and 2 days later, we were back home!

More to follow, have a good week!

Dick x

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas is nearly upon us, the Christmas tree has been decorated and all the presents have been carefully arranged around the base of it. It looks lovely and has already had a small Breton cat deciding that it is a great thing to climb up and our black Labrador has given all the presents a good sniff! Trying to type with a cat lying on one arm has reduced me to typing with one finger!

Keeping warm here in France is not a problem with the big wood burner but in the UK, it seems that the power companies have their own agenda. Our tiny house, our 'holiday home' in the UK, has electric heating. We are only there for about 3 weeks a year when we go over to visit family and friends. Some time during the year the electricity meter failed....completely dead! Sooooo....after a very long discussion and 2 failed attempts to replace it, we finally have a new electricity meter. Hurrah! You say...but the electricity company want to charge me as if the house had been occupied 100% of the time. Here lies the problem, trying to convince them that if they look at, say, a month's usage when the house is empty, it is a true reading of our consumption. Hmmm... I think we have some more hard bargaining and a bit of jumping up and down to do. We will see!

I'm still running on empty for ideas for the next Sherlock Holmes story but perhaps I need to read some more background material. I really would like to get some flying stuff into a story and it is just the ideal time period for someone to challenge the Wright brothers. We will have to see!

Enjoy Chistmas, I wish all my friends and my readers both new and old, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Dick xx

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Here we are, mid-December and the sun is out and it is really warm! When I say really warm, it's 10ÂșC in the shade but brilliant sunshine! Strange things happening in the garden, we haven't had a frost here and the grass looks like it needs mowing. The moles are still active under one of my lawns and I have to keep scooping up the fine soil left behind in their molehills. We now have a Rhododendron in flower with more blooms to come. I think the mild weather has confused it!

Exciting times here this week. A friend of mine asked if I would go with him whilst he mended the roof on his cottage. Thankfully, it only has a ground floor and he was working at about 3m (about 12 feet) off the floor when the roof ladder he was using gave way and he slid down the roof, with the ladder and landed flat on his back! Fortunately, he landed in the neighbours vegetable patch but he lay unconscious for a minute or so. I was just dialling for the emergency services when he came round and insisted he was OK. Obviously he was slightly concussed and didn't remember what had happened. I had to drive him home in his car and he gradually came back to normal. A trip to the hospital showed no damage apart from pulled, and now stiff, muscles.

My new book, The Bulgarian Clockmaker is selling well. In the last 30 days I have sold over 180! If you haven't bought yours, please go along to Amazon or Smashwords or any of the other ebook sellers. If you have bought a copy and you enjoyed reading it, please leave me some good feedback! I have lots of fragmented ideas for another story but nothing that will link present. I'll let you know. In marketing the book I have used Fiverr again to promote it to 50 or so Kindle reader groups on Facebook. For $5 it is a great way to advertise and I definitely see an increase in sales.

Have a great week, we will be on the beach this afternoon for stroll with truffle, the black Labrador and her tennis ball called Spot....Spot the ball! ;-)

Dick xx

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Goodness! I have been so busy that I have completely forgotten my blog!

So, what has been happening in my life? Well, a friend and I went out to Bulgaria to stay in our apartment in Kosharitsa, a small village with a holiday complex near Sunny Beach. Great weather and a fun time was had by two blokes on the loose. With a pint of beer for about 60p and a quadruple Gin and tonic costing less than £2, it was great fun!

At the beginning of July my wife and I went back to the UK for the marriage of our beautiful daughter on 4th July! A good time was had by all and we returned very happy to have Joe, our daughters new husband as part of our extended family. I am very pleased to say that Joe is a fellow Geek and we can happily speak Klingon to each other about new operating systems, Android stuff and general techy things. Wonderful!

Lovely reception at Cockliffe Hall in Nottinghamshire, the weather was kind except that it rained for the evening guests which meant that we had to eat inside but that wasn't a problem.

The well had been running a bit dry for my next book. I had a few ideas scuttling around but couldn't tie them together to make a coherent story. So, in the meantime, I decided to create my first 'real' book using the Amazon Createspace platform. I decided to publish the 3 stories that featured my new character, Julia Moriarty as a trilogy in paperback. I found it quite easy to do, the three word docx. were combined into one and then the front papers were created.

   Julia Moriarty is a flaming red head so I needed a suitable image for the front and rear covers. I searched Flickr for a suitable image as it is a great resource for public domain images. I found a fabulous image that really matched my idea of Julia Moriarty. It was made using an iPhone app called "Average Face" which gives you a single image as a kind of compilation. In my case, the average of 12 images of auburn haired ladies, Beautiful! The book cover was created using GIMP, the free Photoshop type program for the Mac and the stories and the cover sent off to Createspace. About 10 days later I had a delivery of the printed proofs and so The Julia Moriarty Trilogy was born! It is now on sale as a paperback at Amazon for $7.99  Have a look here...

I wasn't happy with the 2 black borders at the sides of the image as when the book was produced, it was not always precisely trimmed and this made the image not precisely central. To avoid this, I removed the borders.

With the new printed book on Amazon and a few copies given away to friends, I looked at what else to do. I had had an idea for a modern crime story but then I thought I might adapt it for a new Holmes story. The result of this was my latest Kindle story, Sherlock Holmes and The Bulgarian Watchmaker. Julia Moriarty doesn't feature in this one although I have purchased a domain for her and created a new web site  Here I can promote my new books and also showcase the books in the trilogy.

The Bulgarian Clockmaker which was published on all the Amazon sites on the 5th November, includes a very strange custom that I found whilst I was in Bulgaria. This has has become a key element in the climax to the story. I won't reveal any more, you will have to buy the book!

Alex says that she thinks that it is the best story yet... we will see!

Last week I discovered Fiverr as a resource. It is a great place where folk offer their services in so many different categories for $5. I used it to promote my book on Facebook and I have definitely seen an increase in sales. I also purchased an intro video for The Julia Moriarty Trilogy and I think it is great. I uploaded it to You Tube and I have included it on Julia's web page. See what you think..

I think it is breath taking and only cost me $5 for the guy to customise it for The Julia Moriarty Trilogy. Brilliant!

Anyway, I'm sorry to have neglected the blog for so long. Do have a look at www, as you can read the dramatic first chapter of The Bulgarian Clockmaker.

Dick xx