Living With Terrorism

TerrorismThe head of the UK intelligence service says more attacks are inevitable as Britain sees ‘dramatic upshift’ in Islamist terrorism, says a report in The Guardian (18/10/17). Must we now accept this as the new ‘normal’?

The alarmist report continues: “Britain is facing its most severe ever terrorist threat and fresh attacks in the country are inevitable, according to the head of Britain’s normally secretive domestic intelligence service in a rare public speech.

Andrew Parker, the director general of MI5, said the UK had seen “a dramatic upshift in the threat” from Islamist terrorism this year, reflecting attacks that have taken place in Westminster, Manchester and London Bridge.

The spy chief said: “That threat is multi-dimensional, evolving rapidly and operating at a scale and pace we’ve not seen before.”

He added: “It’s at the highest tempo I have seen in my 34-year career. Today there is more terrorist activity, coming at us more quickly, and it can be harder to detect.”

Clearly, it not just the terrorists who want to alarm us – the authorities also wish to ‘prep’ us and ensure we are receptive to warnings and security measures. When the two sides clash, you need to get out of the way as quickly as possible.

This must undoubtedly have a waring effect on the population, particularly of large cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester. Engendering fear and intimidation amongst the civilians of a country targeted by extremist political and religious groups is the aim of terrorism, and the greater the atrocity, the more likely it is to succeed. People will inevitably be on their guard, more suspicious and more easily spooked by loud random noises and the sound of sirens. More security checks slow down people’s progress and have become a major inconvenience of modern life.

 

GeraniumsI have tried to capture some of these issues and feelings in my short story, ‘Geraniums’, in my book, ‘Postcards from London’. In this story, my main characters are retired couple George and Maggie Taylor who embark on a theatre trip to London by train. They take advantage of good weather to walk along the South Bank and onto Westminster Bridge, noting the recent addition of steel pavement furniture following a previous terrorist incident. They pose for photos with the Houses of Parliament behind them when…BANG!

“A flash of light was followed a nano-second later by a loud explosion that shook the bridge under our feet, causing us to stagger. I put my arm around Maggie and we instinctively crouched by the stone wall as bits of masonry and assorted debris rained down on us. A large black cloud billowed over the Underground station entrance – with screams and shouts providing a chilling soundtrack. My ears were ringing and I felt dazed – I looked at Maggie to check that she was all right and we slumped into a sitting position as I held her tightly around her shoulders, trying to stay calm.

Flower petals settled on us and I picked one up. I was in a surreal dream of odd shapes and noises; an unfamiliar world where time has been slowed and distorted.

“Pelargoniums,” I slurred, hardly hearing myself over the ringing in my ears. “We call them Geraniums – a single red flowering plant… native of South Africa, I believe… popularised by US President Thomas Jefferson in the eighteenth century…”

Maggie looked at me with a combination of shock, annoyance and concern in her blue eyes. Picture postcards of London scenes and debris from a kiosk rained like confetti. One, singed at the edges, fluttered into her lap. Tower Bridge by moonlight. Someone then tripped over my outstretched foot and stumbled, falling to their hands and knees…”

 

Read on in ‘Postcards from London’ – order the e-book or paperback here:-

Postcards From London

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King Charles the Benign Dictator

The BBC recently broadcast the controversial movie-of-the-play, King Charles III, and by doing so entered the once treasonous realm of speculation concerning the death of a monarch and the succession. Although it seems like QE2 will live forever, she will eventually (most likely) be succeeded by her eldest son, Charles, Prince of Wales.

Parliament bombed

We already know Charles to be a man with ideas about how society can be improved for the many, through his charity work with the Prince’s Foundation, and his often unwelcome forays into architecture and the built environment.

In my futuristic novel set in 2026, Devil Gate Dawn, I have King Charles III as an aged but still exuberant ruler of the nation, painting his vision for a better Britain on a broad canvas that brings him into conflict with the capitalist exploiters who have already subverted our fragile democracy. Charles heads a Government of National Unity and runs the country along socialist lines through his Privy Council.

I’m fascinated by ‘what ifs’ and the idea that the only person who could break us out of our imprisonment at the hands of the international capitalist elite (or Establishment), who have a vice-like grip on our feeble democratic systems, is the good old Benign Dictator.

I see Charles as that person, and although I play it for laughs, there is a serious underlying message to all this, as we now face the prospect of a Conservative majority in our forthcoming general election – the politics of divide and rule bring my dystopian vision a step closer. Yes, Charles is a member of the ruling elite and through birth one of the country’s largest landowners. But he also stands outside the corrupt political landscape, and as such is a maverick to the Establishment. God Save the King!

Aside from King Charles, who else can save us from our seemingly inevitable fate?

http://myBook.to/DevilGateDawn

DGD promo banner 06_2016

 

Changes Made to Futuristic Novel

I’ve taken on board some useful feedback following the release of my first novel, Devil Gate Dawn, in April 2016, and as a result have made a few changes:

  • The cover has been changed to have a shadow figure standing at the gate
  • The quote on the front has been changed to, ‘Mild-mannered George must face his nemesis’
  • The start of chapter one now has George reflecting on an accident at work, indicating that such traumatic moments contributed to his decision to take early retirement.  Other work-related inner thoughts have been added through the early chapters, showing he is still haunted by past events.  These reflections stop when new events come to dominate his thoughts and actions.

DevilGateDawnModifiedCover_Aug_2016All in all, I’m proud of my achievement in pasting together this story from blogs and new material, and am thankful for the input of my copyeditor, Sinead Fitzgibbon, in helping to shape it into a structured story with sub-plots and suitably developed support characters.

George battles his way through problems with a calm, stoic approach, often bewildered by the extreme methods and actions of others.  In many ways, his pragmatic approach has mirrored my own problems with battling health issues whilst writing it.

I’ve made notes for a follow-up, and have pored over the 10,000 words of my abandoned novel, The Langley Leopard (submitted to the Richard and Judy novel competition three years ago!) that preceded this one, looking to salvage bits.

I’ve temporarily dropped the price to 99p and equivalent in other currencies to attract new readers.

In the meantime, I’m immersed in the mid-fifth century, ploughing on with researching and writing my next historical fiction novel, Ambrosius: Last of the Romans.

http://hyperurl.co/ii7gpl

What’s your Favourite Movie?

Social media can be a wonderful thing for connecting people with similar interests, ideas and goals.  Recently, whilst publicising the release of my novel, Devil Gate Dawn, on FaceBook, Twitter and Goodreads, I was contacted by some friendly folk in the USA with an offer of an author interview.  naturally, I said YES!

The Search for Endorsement

DevilGateModifiedPixThanks to the 79 who took advantage of the free weekend download promotion of my new novel Devil Gate Dawn. Now I’m hoping this converts into reads and positive endorsement in the shape of favourable reviews!

As an unknown writer with a modest following, I feel this is a justifiable tactic to try and get those precious reviews on Amazon that will entice browsers (who’ve read the reviews, blurb and opening extract) to click on the Buy button… it’s gotta be worth a punt at £2.10/$2.99 surely?

UK:- http://amazon.co.uk/dp/B01EGDLHLW

US/other:- http://amazon.com/dp/B01EGDLHLW

 

Devil Gate Dawn…out now!

DevilGateModifiedPixMy first novel, Devil Gate Dawn, is now up and available to download from amazon kindle store.  It will normally be £2.10/$2.99 per download, but for this weekend, Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th April it will be a FREE DOWNLOAD.

I badly need your support to read and review this short novel, hence the two day free promo.

UK readers: http://amazon.co.uk/product/dp/B01EGDLHLW

USA readers: http://amazon.com/dp/B01EGDLHLW

also available in amazon territories worldwide.

Devil Gate Dawn is a tense near-future thriller set in the UK and USA in the year 2026.  Retired railway worker, George Osborne, is drawn into a battle with a terrorist group as the country slides into chaos.  Will he succeed in neutralising a deadly internet virus and help rescue the kidnapped King Charles III?  Find out as dawn breaks at Devil Gate Drive…

 

Don’t have an Amazon Kindle reader?  You can download their fee app and read on any device:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Apps-Amazon-com-Kindle-for-Android/dp/B004DLPXAO

Devil Gate Sundown

Thanks to all the 300+ who took the time to read my opening 5,000 words and nominate my novel, Devil Gate Dawn, on Amazon Kindle Scout. This is a promotional platform for exposing new authors.
Today (8th April) is the last day of my 30 day exposure, so if you haven’t already, follow the link and nominate me!
https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3AC6627K4Q0B2

All who nominate will get an email from Amazon in a week or two when the ebook is published on Kindle, with a link.  I intend to make it a FREE download for the first 7 days, to encourage as many reads and reviews as possible.
Thereafter, I will put a nominal £1.99 price on it and see how it goes!
Thanks to all my friends, my copy editor and beta readers for your valuable feedback. Changes have been made to the final version to make it a more compelling read.
I hope you all enjoy reading it, and PLEASE put a Star rating and brief review up on Amazon for me!

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Time to Panic, Mr Mainwaring?

dont-panicSince the dreadful Brussels Airport and Metro bombings on 22nd March, there has been much alarmist reporting in the media, aimed at, well, terrifying the citizens of Europe. It used to be the case that the media reported news events and went in for measured and balanced analysis, with the aim of helping us sheep understand complex events. Now they have thrown that aside in an undignified, disrespectful and hysterical scramble to out-do each other as they stoke up a huge moral panic. I’d prefer my news without the hysteria, please. I find it disrespectful to the survivors and victims’ families.

Check out this morning’s (28/03/16) usually calm mirror.co.uk (newspaper of the year and not the mail!) news report…

SPOOKS ON ALERT AS EASTER TARGETED… (page headline)

50 hardcore jihadis ‘plotting terror attacks in the UK’ (sub-heading)

“More than 50 hardcore jihadists are suspected of planning attacks in Britain in the wake of the Paris and Brussels atrocities…they are among 450 extremists across the UK…it is believed MI5 and counter-terror police are tracking as many as 25 serious plots in support of Islamic State or al-Qaeda…Investigators also fear ‘sleeper cells’ could be awaiting orders to activate plots to bring carnage to Britain’s streets…”

Parliament bombedHold on a minute! If the security services know who is a threat, where they live, and where their weapons and bombs may be stored, why are they not picking them up? European citizens are asking this question, particularly after the Brussels bungle following on from the Paris slip-up. Hostile settlers intent on destroying us from within are laughing as they use our freedom of speech, association and human rights laws to their advantages – laws that they wouldn’t tolerate in Islamist countries/societies.

Maybe it’s time to remind ourselves that our hard-won freedoms are the result of hundreds of years of citizens agitating for fairness and equality as we struggled to throw off the shackles of feudal/Victorian oppression. They are a part of our history and social development, and suit our western way of life. They should not be a wall behind which those who mean to kill us can hide.

The citizens of Western Europe do not want to be told to run and hide in fear. They want to hear that our security services are acting to protect them. NOW.