“Hey, Mal. I love reading your books. It always feels like you’re taking me on a pub crawl,” says one of my regular readers, and perhaps he’s right. It seems the plotlines in all my books have drinking hostelries as key locations. I’ve always found a pub an excellent place to people watch and gather material for my books. Well, before you all say it, that’s my lame excuse anyway!
The Asylum Soul
*The Anchor, The Crown, The Nags Head, The Royal Oak. All in Knaphill, Woking.
Fly Back and Purify
The Carpenter’s Arms, Camberley, The Crown, Knaphill. The Garibaldi,
Knaphill (pictured), Hare and Hounds, Bisley, The Sovereigns, Woking, *Enzo’s Wine Bar, Woking. The Barley Mow, Tiford, Farnham.
An Invisible Nemesis
(Set current day)
The Cole Hole, Strand, London, Ogilvy’s (Now, The Station Tap), Woking, The Garibaldi, Knaphill.
Grand Hotel, Għajnsielem, Gleneagles, Mgarr, Luzzi Bar, Mgarr, Rosie’s Kiosk, Hondoq Bay, All in Gozo (Malta).
Jude & Bliss
*The Barley Mow, Knaphill, *Brookwood Hotel, Brookwood, Woking, The Garibaldi, Knaphill, The Nags Head, Knaphill, The Railway Hotel (Now, The Sovereigns, Woking) Market Tavern, Mayfair, London
and Ye Olde Grapes, Mayfair, London
(Set in current day)
The Ancient Foresters (Now, The Bear), Camberley, *The Avenue, Camberley, The Carpenter’s Arms, Camberley, The Garibaldi, Knaphill, The Nags Head, Knaphill.
* Note: The Barley Mow, Knaphill is now a private dwelling
after it closed in the 1920s, and The Avenue, Camberley
was demolished in the late 1970s.
Enzo's Wine Bar in Woking was also recently demolished.
The Brookwood Hotel is now a solicitor's office.
The Anchor, Knaphill is closed indefinitely.
After the initial publication of a book, most authors sit and wait with a sense of painful apprehension for the first reviews to appear on Amazon and elsewhere. Their title is out there like a sacrificial lamb ready for slaughter and there’s nothing more they can do. With luck, the first few reviews will be positive, hopefully putting the book in good stead towards its future success.
Eventually, a bad review will come. In my experience, I’ve learnt to turn that negative into a positive which brings me to the person who stated that one of my titles reminded her of something a teenager might write in preparation for their GCSE exam. Well, as I left school at 15-years-old without any formal qualifications, I took that slur as a compliment, as it proved I had come a long way since those grey days of the early 1970s.
I have also noticed that some poor reviews have coincided with the free Kindle give-a-ways hosted by Amazon as part of a weekend book promotion. For instance, some people are prone to downloading a title without properly digesting the book’s subject matter and then complain afterwards that it is not for them. “Idiots!” They wouldn’t walk into Foyles or Waterstones and purchase a book they didn’t like!
Fortunately, though, with all four of my novels, the positives outweigh the negatives by at least 85%, which is a great place to be, especially for a self-published independent author like myself.
As I write much more than I read, giving a review is a rarity; however, I would NEVER knock a fellow writer by giving them a negative rating. Leaving it alone would be much kinder.
At the same time, writers like myself thrive on encouragement and positive feedback, so please, if you enjoy a book, always leave your words of appreciation. That kind gesture might just be the nudge to propel your favourite indie author into writing their next tiny masterpiece!
As a teenager, it became quite apparent to me and many others that I would probably become a wordsmith rather than a musician. Clearly, playing the first few chords of Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water on a borrowed guitar would not suffice. Frustrating yes, but it still didn’t stop me from always dabbling with music when I had the opportunity. That will never stop!
In the mid-1980s I was reunited with an old mate, Mick Magic as he endearingly calls himself. We had previously met in the 70s as teenagers in a first-floor coffee lounge called Galini’s in Camberley at the top of the High Street. It was at a time when we considered ourselves to be the new Bohemians. Poetry was our currency and music, a vital backdrop. Alan Guest, Sean Duffy and Jeremy Goodwin are other writers who I remember frequenting the smoky haze after all the pubs had shut for the night.
By 1987, Mick had married the lovely Shona, and they had teamed up with Jay and Kate to form Magic Moments at Twilight Time (MMATT). Their music was unique, keyboard, synth and some guitar. On some tracks, sound effects with quirky voiceovers by an animated three-eyed alien baby called Albert. "What?"
I first saw them playing live by chance at the White Hart pub in Frimley and followed them around for the next couple of years.
In the following months, I forged a collaboration with Mick and Shona who had expertly set a number of my poems to music on cassette tape. The Wedding, Preconception and A Short Time Beside You, with the latter being performed live on stage at the Green Peace Festival in Surrey in September 1987.
The whole experience inspired me to get involved with music a bit more and so along with keyboard maestro, Paul Wells, we formed a loose partnership called Leviathan. We were short on numbers, and even secured the services of a shop-front mannequin to make it look like we had a female singer. The project was very short-lived, but we did go on to get some great reviews for our EP cassette War Torn and Ravished. Local pop columnist Adrian Creek even compared us to Tangerine Dream in his weekly Pop Scene slot in the Aldershot News, the best-selling local rag at the time.
As an aside, in 1988, one of my few songs, The Unheard of War was performed; live at the St Jame's Tavern, in London's Picadilly by the Irish trio Giro Junction. Sadly, all three members, Tommy, Joey and Lee have all since passed away.
Getting back to MMATT, I remember waking up on New Year’s Day 1988, at Mick and Shona’s place in Farm Court, Frimley. It was a surreal morning following a party that had gone on to the early hours with a number of us drunk and badly hung-over souls scattered across the wine-soaked front room floor.
That was the morning I knew my life had to change for the better. (I still doubt if it ever did!)
Since the 1980s, most recently as Magic Bullet, Mick has valiantly kept the band’s music alive with recent digitisations. It can now be easily found across the internet today.
says... “Here, give this one a try, I think you'll probably like this, the gentler side of the Bullet...” Morning Mist Over Parrox Hall Farm
out Mick's website @ MickMagic.net
4 February – 8 April 2021
Due to the current Covid19 situation, it has become increasingly clear that I will be unable to host a physical book launch and signing for ‘Jude & Bliss’ anytime soon. Nothing like a friendly gathering in a cosy pub, with a crowd of good people, as previously.
However, with this rapidly increasing age of the internet and modern technology, the way books are marketed is changing. Unlike conventional book tours, a blog tour is a virtual tour on several relevant blog sites hosted by professional and renowned book critics, whose opinions and Amazon/Goodreads reviews, often dictate what happens to books in the international sales and rating charts.
A virtual book blog tour consists of lining up a series of book bloggers to spotlight and/or review a newly released book and conduct author interviews during a time frame that corresponds with the release of a title. It is, as the name suggests, the internet version of an old-fashioned, in-the-flesh book tour.
Independent authors, like myself, are finding this comparatively new concept of book promotion quite valuable. It is hoped this will give ‘Jude & Bliss’ some extra exposure. I wrote it, I published it, and now I owe it to myself to get as many people as possible to know about it!
- The Writing Desk
11 February - Candlelight Reading
18 February - Let Your Words Shine…
25 February - Oh look, another book!
4 March - The Whispering Bookworm
11 March - Zoe’s Art, Craft & Life
18 March - The Historical Fiction Blog
25 March - Historical Fiction With Spirit
1 April - B for Book Review
8 April - Emma Lombard’s Official Blog