Tuesday, 3 October 2017

First Promotional Blog Tour

It's been a while since I posted anything here, but, as usual, that just means that I have been beavering away in the background.

So, let's start with an up-date on reviews.  "The Unwilling Recruit" is still collecting positive reviews so I thought it would be nice to thank those responsible and to show you all what is being said.

The first review comes all the way from Australia.

"A great novel.  Good to see depth of characters that are easily visualised and a fast paced story.  Only wishing it was longer, looking forward to the follow up ... congratulations John.  If this is novel number one, you have great things to come.  Best of luck ..."

Martin Degg (4 stars)

The second review comes from another UK based author who's book I will soon be reviewing.

"Loved the book...it left me with a whetted appetite.  A number of questions to be answered, just leave me wanting the next book AS SOON AS POSSIBLE."

David McCluskey (4 stars).

Thanks very much guys for taking the time to share your opinions.

Now onto the next bit of news.  I will be taking part in a seven day Blog Tour with "The Unwilling Recruit" which will run from 9th - 16th November.  This is a new and exciting direction for me and it will be very interesting to see what various book bloggers and critics think of my little offering.

The tour has been organised by the wonderful Tami Adams through her company Magic of Books Promotions .   Thank you Tami for being so patient with me.

I will be posting up-dates and schedules on her as they become available so keep watching.  With luck it will be an interesting and fruitful end to 2017.

To purchase your copy of "The Unwilling Recruit"

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

First Ten Reviews for "The Unwilling Recruit"

So "The Unwilling Recruit" has reached, what for me is a bit of a benchmark.  The first 10 reviews on Amazon are in.

This probably doesn't sound like a lot to anyone else, but I feel it is a noteworthy achievement.

What makes this even more pleasing is that 9 of the ten reviews are 5 star.  As always, I am going to share with you the latest reviews.

Darylyn writes :

"The Unwilling Recruit is a thrill a minute page turner.  Great summer read.  Can't wait for more!"


Amanda Rose writes :

"Very enjoyable read, once started I could not put it down.  Brilliantly written the descriptive text immerses you into the suspense from the beginning through to the end of the first book.  Eagerly awaiting second instalment.  This supernatural thriller is a must read!"

So, there you have it.  Thank you both for taking the time to share your views with myself and the public at large.  I am so pleased that you enjoyed my story.

To get your copy of "The Unwilling Recruit"
in Hardback or Kindle

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Band Review - "Hotter Than Hell"

So, over the course of this last weekend I had the opportunity to get out and watch a live band in action.  Something I really enjoy, but don't often manage to do.

This, however was something different for me as I had never before seen a "Tribute" band in action.
"Hotter Than Hell" claim to deliver a classic 1970's style KISS stage show right down to the pyrotechnics and blood.  Now, speaking as a life-long fan of KISS, I can tell you, this is quite a claim to make and, in all honesty, I had my doubts.  So, did they deliver?

The simple answer is, absolutely, unequivocally, YES!!!

From the moment they stepped onto the stage I knew we were in for something special.

The costumes and make-up were amazingly detailed and incredibly close to the originals, but it was more than that.  The personalities were right there.  All the mannerisms were absolutely perfect, from the stomping dragon claw boots and snaking tongue of "The Demon", to the evocative pouting and outrageous flirtation of "Starchild" and  "Space-Ace" maintaining the perfect balance with his  trademark hypnotic, enigmatic presence.

This was only a small venue with a limited stage which obviously impacted on some of the more extreme elements of the show (primarily in the fire-breathing department), but that didn't really matter.  The boys used the available space to perfection and, for the next hour and forty minutes the entire audience was caught up in the show completely.

The music itself was absolutely "on point", with  perfect vocals from all  and some impressive guitar work from "Ace".  They played classic tunes such as "Black Diamond", "Strutter" and "Firehouse" flawlessly and with an energy that was truly infectious.

Then, as if all that wasn't enough, the band took the time after the show to come out, still in costume, and mingle with the audience, taking photos and offering autographs (and before anyone asks, no, there was no extra charge for this).  You know, I payed only £5 for an advance ticket to see these guys.  They are worth a lot more than that.  

I would recommend that any fan of classic 70's/80's rock and especially fans of KISS - go and see these guys.  You will not be disappointed.

I know I'm looking forward to their return in November.

For more information on "Hotter Than Hell"

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Mental Health and Art

I have a tendency to be a very private person, revealing the more personal aspects of my life and personality only to selected individuals.  Over recent years this aspect of my nature has gradually changed and I have developed a more open policy.  This post is a case in point.

As far back as I can remember I have always felt that I thought differently to everyone else and my degree of emotional control has always been tenuous at best.  I experienced wild and unpredictable bouts of both depression and mania as a child and teenager, all of which made me very difficult for my parents to either understand or control.

As the years progressed, this aspect of my nature drove me to make some incredibly poor choices in my life and I was generally not a very nice person to know.  Ultimately I suffered a number of severe break-downs and numerous serious suicide attempts.

Ultimately I survived and approximately 15 years ago (when I was around 35), following my last major breakdown, I was diagnosed with Bi-polar disorder.  Finally my world started to make sense.

So why am I telling you this?

Well, I don't believe there should be any stigma in mental illness and I have never had an issue with telling those around me of my condition.  Why should I?  It is, after all, a part of who I am and, if I expect people to interact with me in anything like an effective manner then I believe this information is useful for them to have.

I refuse medication for my condition and have learnt over the years how best to control this aspect of my mentality and use it's quirks to my benefit.  This is why I write and sing and paint.  There are times when my mental state is perfectly suited to these endeavours and during those times I work, and work hard.  At other times when my  mind refuses to function in a satisfactory way, I simply avoid these pursuits and retreat from the world until these periods have passed.

This strategy has allowed me to be very productive and, in some small way, successful.

I am writing this piece to illustrate the importance of awareness and acceptance for individuals like myself.  We have as much to offer this world as anyone else, we just need to find a different way of doing things and we should be allowed to explore that without stigma and/or prejudice.

There is an organisation which i support and am a member of in the UK.  It is called "Mind" .

They are a national charity that supports and champions those with Mental Health issues.

This year they have a competition running, looking for art that expresses the "Workings of My Mind".  I chose to enter a piece of artwork into this competition and I am very proud to say that, although the competition is still running, my entry is one of a number that has been chosen to help promote the competition and, by association, the charity itself.

I hope that this little revelation of mine helps, in some small way, those who are struggling with their own mental health.

I painted this a number of years ago immediately following my last major nervous break-down.  It was a time of incredible darkness and despair for me, yet from it sprang a wealth of creativity which only now sees its real use.

Never give up.  There is always a path through the darkness and the light will always wait for you to reach it.