Posts Tagged ‘’

Having Some ‘Me’ Time

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

After returning to full-time self-employment I confess I am enjoying some ‘Me’ time. Not much work on at the moment so I am taking it easy, which my cardiologist is no doubt happy about. I tend to be my own harshest critic and drive myself pretty hard; something I need to ease up on.

Yesterday I enjoyed a coffee with my parents and a quick trip to the locksmith to get a second key cut for my Land Rover Defender. I was beating myself up over the fact I wasn’t at the keyboard ‘working’; but in fact I was working. I was thinking about several projects at once, more or less. You have to put value on your ‘Me’ time because it is valuable creative thinking time. Ghostwriting is not like a 9-5 job where you swap your hours for someone’s dollars. You can produce a lot of money in a short burst of brilliance but forget it took hours to get those thoughts together.

On the weekend I worked on the Sunday presenting one of my community college course. I forget it is work as I enjoy it so much. It is work and it does drain one, but it is a lot of fun, too. It also pays the rent and as a freelance one must keep in mind your income will come in at different times and in different amounts. Some weeks there will be a cashflow issue and others money is everywhere. Managing it is the trick.

Lately I have put away a couple of academic jobs and am bidding for a major textbook re-writing project that will see me out for the year, even provide work for my two sub-contractor writers. I have had three college courses run this term and will soon bill for them, so the cash flow will not be a problem… for the moment. I am teaching myself not to look too far forward but to live in the moment with an eye on the future. Whenever I have needed money, something has turned up and it always will. so have faith, I say.

I tried that 9-5 ‘steady job’ thing over Christmas and I must say in hindsight being retrenched was the best thing other than a regular payday. Now, I am focusing on some new Philippines related eBooks and the third in the Sarah’s Child trilogy, hopefully out by July with the three volume omnibus set in time for Christmas. This time it will have me listed as the author ‘with Paul England’ as the supplier of the original idea and content which will more accurately reflect who did what. I am confident I can market this and make Paul and myself a tidy sum, split 50/50, to help us get over next Christmas. Stay tuned, the eWriter’s life is never dull.

Sarah’s Child Getting Rave Reviews

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Slide1My latest novel, ‘Sarah’s Child’ is getting rave reviews over on  and even better reviews at I co-wrote this with Paul England; he supplied the true events and I wrote the narrative. It is a fictionalised account of events that affected his family in recent years. While the theme and plot are accurate, the characters have been radically altered to ensure they can’t be identified as anyone living or dead, except perhaps by the individuals themselves; if they choose to so identify.  That would be a mistake as I have applied considerable literary license to the novel to make it entertaining and fiction. The ending, for example, is total fiction but gripping nonetheless.

What is very true is the social issues it addresses such as; postpartum depression, single parenting, controlling relationships and so on. There is already a sequel planned, ‘Sarah’s Turn’ and that should begin pre-production as the movie types say, tomorrow. I am very pleased with the reaction so far and am looking forward to writing even better for the sequel. Paul has given me more information and direction as to where he wants the novel to go and I am confident I can weave another enjoyable read from his material. The book will be released on tomorrow. So far it has had 915 downloads of the beta reader, or review copy. The first few hundred were of the pretty raw first draft, followed by several hundred of the 80% edited version. The feedback from beta readers was crucial in getting the plot holes ironed out and any confusing bits repaired. Then I sent it to my  proof reader, Jeff Kennedy for final editing. Jeff is a lot slower typer and reader than me and misses nothing, as well as being a talented writer in his own right. If nothing else, his corrections prove once again, if any further proof is necessary, of the value of having your manuscript proofed and edited by a fresh set of eyes.

I hope readers will surf over to Smashwords and buy a copy, just US$4.99 in eBook format and as a paperback only US$14.99 plus shipping.

Blog Tour? Wazza Blog Tour?

Monday, May 26th, 2014

The Tale Of The Ancient MarinaI have been invited by Aaron David, the well-known Bolton bon vivant and author of ‘The Tale of the Ancient Marina’, to join his blog tour. Aaron, by the way, was discovered by me and I published his very funny first novel to international acclaim (some might dispute the details of this allegation). If I had the five thousand quid to enter it into the Man Booker Prize I would, but sadly funding issues and all that. Lame excuses aside, the blog tour is a way for writers to network and have some fun and hopefully draw some attention to their writing and their blog. Given I have been flat strap since my last post, this is one of those good things we all need from time to time to kick start us into doing something.

So the thing is, I answer four questions about me and my work, link to other writers and they do the same and all of a sudden we achieve the fame and fortune we deserve. So here goes!

1) What am I working on?

I have several projects going at the moment. I am ghostwriting three books, editing two, publishing one and trying to get some of my own short stories written for the ‘Postcards From Pudu’ anthology inspired by my recent tour of Malaysia and the Philippines with fellow author and business partner, Frank ‘Currywolf’ Green. I have quite a busy schedule of work, interspersed with tutoring sessions and the odd lecture course at college but it keep sme busy and the wolf from the door and as a self-employed writer, one must have multiple streams of income.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?Photo: Designed the cover of the anthology that is planned to emerge from our trip to Malaysia and the Philippines in April. 'Postcards From Pudu - Short Stories From Singapore To Cebu' by Curry Wolf and Satay Bear. Ten ripping yarns from each author that are all set in the Malay archipelago in the tradition of W. Somerset Maugham and Louis L'Amour!It will be available sometime in the second half of 2014, so get your pre-orders in as stocks will be limited to a few hundred thousand only...

If we are talking about my Street Lit Trilogy, ‘The Cool Side of the Pillow’, Twenty Seven Seventy’ and ‘Never Be Unsaid’, I think it is that I try to bring a higher standard of literary application to topics of contemporary and everyday mundanity! Mundanity is the noun of mundane. I just made it up but you can use it, introduce it to your personal lexicon, get it out there. Discussing deep topics in ordinary language everyone can understand is no easy task and I don’t always succeed; at least not if success is measured by the number of copies sold. But I do try. And I love trying. short stories attempt to entertain and intrique and most of all, make the reader pause, ponder and process. I love the short story format because you can get the job done and see the end of it, unlike the long term commitment to a novel. Shorties are coming back into vogue because we have more platforms to read them on with eReaders, blogs, eBooks and of course, mobile phones.
3) Why do I write what I do?

Because (with my novels) I have something I want to say. I believe I have said it all for now and have turned my back on novel writing. I prefer to pursue the short story and help revive it with the new platforms eWriting is offering in blogs, eBooks and so forth. I personally believe an anthology of short stories is better for someone going on a journey than an airport blockbuster they may or may not finish, not to forget the sheer weight and bulk of those things. I write what I write for my own enjoyment as much as anyone else’s. Just as Aaron wrote in his blog, I am my own best audience, my biggest fan but also my most strident critic.
4) How does my writing process work?

With short stories I usually have an idea for a title, a snatch of dialogue or a plot twist; most often drawn from something I have observed first hand in real life or that has morphed from one idea to another. By this I mean I have a random thought that trots off on a path in one direction, then takes a side street, then a short cut, then doubles back and so on. Very rhizomatic one might say.

With novels and non-fiction work I plan it out using Excel to give me chapter headings, outlines and word count. I have Scrivener, which is a superb software program however I can’t be asked to invest the many hours it would take for me to be able to use it as well as I work my own method. Once the Excel scaffold is laid out, I use Word in Notebook format to give me a tabbed page for each chapter, then I collate them in Print View and edit, format and publish. My only whinge is you can’t check word count in Notebook format, so you have to copy/paste to Print View to check if the chapter is hitting the planned word count. More for non-fiction than fiction writing.

So now I have to upload this, add the links of course and then perhaps try and get stuck into something that pays me to write it! I’ll let you know who my three writers are when I attract them, entice them, coerce them or blackmail them into joining the tour!



Writing Retreat Planned For April

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

IMG_1319This Easter I will be spending two weeks travelling through Malaysia and the Philippines with fellow author and StreetWise Global business partner, Frank Green. A major objective of the trip is to actually meet after over a decade of online friendship and nearly three years in business together. We have shared many hours of  VoIP conferencing (Skype) and email exchanges but nothing beats spending time face to face. Frank is an Englishman who lives on an island off the west coast of Ireland with his two children. A superb writer in his own right, Frank handles a lot of the ‘grunt’ work of running an online writing business.

StreetWise Global is one of the StreetWise group of businesses, but separate to my personal StreetWise Publications. SWG handles the factual self-help series of StreetWise Guides and Language Courses that currently focus on the Philippines. One of our goals is to explore Malaysia a little more than we already have on previous individual visits. (I was last there in November 2012 after attending the Singapore Writer’s Festival). We both believe there is a lot of potential in providing StreetWise Guides for those looking to retire to Malaysia, especially those who can’t quite afford the superb ‘Malaysia My Second Home‘ retirement scheme. We have some unique insights to develop on how expats can enjoy everything this fabulous country has to offer, but at a more affordable retirement budget.

IMG_1274While in Malaysia we will be undertaking a road trip, not quite as epic in length and duration as the one Scott and Greg enjoy in ‘Never Be Unsaid’, but epic nonetheless. The plan, so far, is to drive from Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan on the East Coast, then north to Kota Bharu, across to Alor Setar and then back down to KL before flying on to Cebu. In Cebu we will circumnavigate the island as we both believe road trips are ideal for focusing one’s thoughts and giving us plenty of time to talk things through in detail. While on this trip we have pledged to write at least 1,000 words per day of short fiction. The theme will be decided but the setting will be wherever we are that day. The resulting anthology will be published online and in print.

Another objective is to scout out various WW2 and Malayan Emergency (1948-60) battlefields and add them to the planned tours of Singapore. Once the focus on Gallipoli, Flanders and WW1 dies off and everyone has done the Kokoda Track and Vietnam, I think there will be interest in the Malayan Campaign, Fall of Singapore and the Emergency and Confrontation with Indonesia (1964-67) as a place of military historical value to visit. In the Philippines I have to visit my inlaws and make sure they are getting back to normal after the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda, meet up with old friends and refresh a lot of material for my existing titles. While you can update many things via the Internet and forums, there is nothing like boots on the ground (or sandals in my case) to get you genned up.

When we return there will be a lot of writing to be done and no doubt some new publications to be promoted. I can’t wait to challenge Frank to a Satay Eating Contest!

Awesome Result In 24 Hours

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Screenshot 2014-01-13 00.54.48In the first 24 hours of being available for sale on, ‘Out of Stock, Sir!’ has made it to a ranking of 172,187 in the Paid Store! I am stunned. I did push a free coupon download to facebook friends last night and so far two dozen half availed and a few have written great reviews. I have sold one copy on but I still have no idea how come it is ranking so well, so soon. Stay tuned!.

Update 24 Hours Later: Within 30 minutes of publishing this post the ranking sank to 180,000. The following morning it was at 230,345 and now, 24 hours after first checking and finding it at 172,187 the rank is 115,522! Will it crack five figures? Who knows, stay tuned!


Guest Blogging’s Good For The SEOul

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 11.35.11 AMI have had a blog post published over at The Writer’s Shack. Guest blogging can be a very positive way of improving your ‘brand’ for various reasons. First of all people you would otherwise not be read by get the chance to learn of your existence. They might click the link you leave in your author-bio box, visit your site and decide they  like what you have to say. That could lead to them buying one of your books, then becoming your biggest fan. You never know.

Guest blogging is good for your SEO (search engine optimisation) and site ranking. These days, ‘black hat’ SEO boosting tricks are pretty much a thing of the past and getting ranked well relies on social influence and relevance of content. Being out there on blogs other than your own says you are considered worth reading by other people and so your rank is increased. When what you post has a lot of views then it adds to the social influence and relevance of the blog and by extension those blogs and sites your post links to.

Guest blogging is also good for you because it is giving something back. Your host gets some great content to add value to their blog and entertain and inform their audience as well as a hike in ranking and relevance. Their audience gets a fresh viewpoint and the chance to discover a new voice. Everyone wins. Of course, like guests everywhere, behave appropriately. Consider your host blog and their audience. Tune your post to suit, there is nothing to be gained in upsetting anyone for no return other than a brief moment of smug contentment that yeah, you showed ‘em! As a writer and a professional, keep the objective in mind and don’t burn bridges. Nothing helps your own brand and ranking like a guest blog except being asked to come back and blog again!


Never Be Unsaid Now Available!

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Screenshot 2013-12-22 23.32.11At last! ‘Never Be Unsaid’ is now available in paperback through and soon in paperback and eBook on and as an eBook through Apple, Kobo, Sony, BN and Smashwords and wherever quality literary fiction is sold.

In Grave & Dark Clad Company

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

cover smallThis month I published my ‘edgy’ anthology, ‘In Grave & Dark Clad Company’. Sixteen short stories of sex offenders, suicides, serial killers and assorted strange people, normal people and a few in-between people. I have several other stories that will form the basis of the next collection but they really didn’t fit into this one. I think you need to resist the temptation to throw in everything you have ever written just to make the page count and get them out there.

An anthology should have a theme or some common thread tying things together. I have other stories that are funnier, fluffier (well as fluffy as my writing ever gets) and perhaps more far-fetched but this collection just seemed to gel and say, ‘enough’ when the last one was included. So far sales have been promising with lots of people promising to buy a copy. It is available through Lulu as well as on Amazon courtesy of Create Space and of course Kindle and everywhere else as an eBook thanks to Smashwords.

My New Olympia

Friday, March 29th, 2013

olympia1I was at the Blacktown Car Boot Sale last Sunday. We got there after noon so it was free to get in and most people were packing up and leaving. The market is held in the old drive-in theatre and next to one of the speaker stands someone had abandoned a 1960s-70s era Olympia manual typewriter. Just like the ones i used to type up incident reports when I was a Military Policeman back in the early 80s. It all works and while it needs a clean up and a new ribbon, the kids love playing with it. These things are German made and pretty much bullet-proof. It will clean up nicely and look as good as the one in the photo.

amstrad_pc1512_2sWhat I like about it is it is solid, heavy and reliable. A bit like me some would say. I won’t be doing any work on it but I do recall the transition between typewriter and word processor on my desktop computer. It was an Amstrad 1512 and I bought it as they were being replaced by 286 models. It had two 5.25 floppy drives and a CGA monitor. I hooked it up to a dot matrix printer and away I went however I kept the Canon portable electric typewriter I had been using for a few years for invoices and ‘quick’ stuff. Back then dot matrix was the only printers available, it was right before laser and bubblejet (inkjet) came in. Remember the special printer paper with the holes down the sides for the drive sprockets?

When I upgraded to a 386 PC in 1990 or 91, followed by a $600 bubblejet Brother printer I could buy today for $49, with colour print, scanner and photocopier, I never went back to the typewriter. No need as I and my income had caught up with technology. All that was nearly a quarter of a century ago! No matter how technology changes, though, the need for quality writing never disappears. You can have the best writing tools in the business, which I have) and that won’t ensure good content.

Singapore Writer’s Festival

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Well I’m back. It was a great trip but I returned with pneumonia thanks to sweating like a rapist just walking around, then stepping into aircon buses or shops and getting blast chilled with freezing air. It was a brilliant way to get the creative juices flowing again and I have hundreds of new ideas for stories, characters and dialogue. I also got to visit several historic sites from the Fall of Singapore in 1942, very moving and thought provoking. How would I have managed had I lived then? Would I have lived or died?

While in Singapore the Singapore Writer’s Festival was in full swing and I attended several events. Like writer’s festivals everywhere I felt it was more for readers and thus buyers of books than writers. Except for the fortunate writers invited to speak on panels and present seminars of course. I attended one discussing the value of literary prizes. The panel members had more literary prizes (including a Pulitzer) than I had had curry dinners and I did wonder if they would be so casual about such things were they as yet un-awarded. There is something to be said for writing for prizes as the prize circuit can be lucrative. How one does that was one of the discussion topics but nobody seemed to think you could (or should) write just to win prizes. Why not? They are another form of revenue or income a writer can earn from their work.

I quickly realised the festival didn’t have much if anything to offer those of us who publish independently or online. Not surprising given it was sponsored by book chains and publishers. So what is the value of these festivals? They can get very expensive and are often teeming with people anxious to get a result with their writing but not sure if it will happen. Maybe they are hoping to be discovered, fairy-tale like, by a benevolent publisher who instinctively recognises their latent talent. Dream on.

I moved on and went to Kuala Lumpur by coach. Observing the driving of the average local I revised my plans to rent a car for a couple of days and figured I would be better off taking it easy in KL and not trying to rip around and do and see too much. I was pretty exhausted from the heat and all the walking I had done in Singapore and felt there was little to be gained pushing myself even harder. I met a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner on the bus, ‘Singapore Sing’ who told me what ailments I had just by feeling my pulse, looking into my eyes and at my tongue. he was spot on! He gave me some great nutritional advice and the following day we met and he showed me 20 Yoga positions that should eventually do wonders for me. One of those chance meetings that perhaps wasn’t so coincidental.

I had my 51st birthday in Kuala Lumpur. A friend of mine working there on assignment took me to dinner at a Thai restaurant and then we went on to Traders Hotel 33rd floor Skybar to stare a the stunning Petronas Twin Towers, lit up and looking magnificent. I enjoyed my time in KL and was sad to have to leave the next day and begin the journey home. First to Singapore by coach, then the red-eye flight to Sydney and then straight off to my doctor. The very next day, despite the pneumonia it was back to work tutoring, lecturing and writing whatever people pay me to write. The trip, not counting presents for the wife and children, cost me about $2,500 all up, around $250  a day yet I have gleaned so much more value from those ten days it was worth every cent. I could have saved $500 by flying budget economy but those narrow seats would have been the death of me on the flight back, ill as I was. I could have saved another perhaps $100 by struggling with buses instead of the three or four times I used cabs in Singapore. Another $500 would have been saved had I shared a dormitory in a backpacker hostel instead of having a room and bathroom to myself but if I have to slum it like that at my age, I m not going! Now to turn those ten days into writing that pays!