Abandoned Re-loaded

I’ve just re-published a new, longer second edition of Abandoned, book one in A Light in the Dark Ages series. It addresses the complaints at the brevity of the original novella that told the story of Marcus and the defence of Calleva. This is now incorporated into a longer story that charts Britannia’s troubled journey from abandonment by the Romans to choosing a king to organise their defence from determined raiders.

Abandoned second edition ebook coverThe narrative thrust is loosely guided by the writings of Geoffrey of Monmouth in his 1136 work, The History of the Kings of Britain. The romantic in me likes to think there might be some credence in his account of events in fifth century Britannia leading up to the coming of King Arthur (now widely thought to be a composite of a number of leaders who organised opposition to the spread of Anglo-Saxon colonists).
I’m holding the e-book price at just 99p/99c – so please help me replace the lost reviews from the now unpublished first edition. Much work has gone into this upgrade from novella to novel – I hope you enjoy it!
http://amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FKT7W8J
http://amazon.com/dp/B07FKT7W8J

Postcards from London

Postcards from London is a new book of 15 short stories by myself, Tim Walker, due for release on Sunday 10th September. Please ‘like’ my facebook page for news and updates, and to get the link to the FREE ebook download on the 10th and 11th September.

http://facebook.com/London-postcards

Postcards from London ebook cover_low res

 

Thames Valley Tales – Free Promo

Contemporary tales that echo the rich history of the flowing heart of England…

Thames Valley Tales is a collection of 15 short stories written by myself between 2013-2015 and first self-published on Amazon Kindle in July 2105.  To coincide with my presentation on Self-Publishing at Slough Library today (Thursday 2nd June 2016), and to demonstrate the ‘free promotion’ option on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP),  I have made the book a FREE download for today and Friday 3rd June…so what are you waiting for?

Please download, read, and leave a review, nominating your favourite stories…

UK: http://amazon.co.uk/dp/B011PQHJUQ

USA: http://amazon.com/dp/B011PQHJUQ

Thames Valley Tales promo masthead

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

Amazon Scout Campaign Review

Amazon Kindle Scout (https://kindlescout.amazon.com) is a promotional platform for new authors wanting to promote their e-book (and try and garner ‘reads’ of your 5,000 word opening extract and nominations from those with amazon accounts) prior to launch, provided you are willing to commit to it being published exclusively on Amazon Kindle for a minimum period of 75 days. Phew!  there’s always conditions….

Their blurb says: “Kindle Scout is reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.”

Devil Gate Dawn coverI submitted my entire manuscript (which just crept over the 50,000 word minimum requirement, and further qualified as having been professionally proof-read and copy edited, although no proof of this was asked for – they must make their own assessment).  I selected the category as ‘Mystery/Thriller’.

Also, you must have a decent book cover.  I designed my own but sent it to a graphic designer through fiverr.com to give it a more ‘professional’ look, and ensure the cover image used is copyright paid.  I’m happy with it, although it perhaps is a little too much dark, brooding and foreboding for a novel with plenty of tongue-in-cheek humour!

I was accepted, whoopee! and my promotional exposure period on their site ran from 9th March – 9th April 2016.  It has just ended and they have emailed the following message:

“Dear Tim Walker,

Thank you for submitting DEVIL GATE DAWN to Kindle Scout. The nomination period for your campaign has just ended and we are reviewing your book for possible selection.

Here’s what happens next:

    • You will receive an email from us in the next few business days notifying you whether your book has been selected for publication by Kindle Press.
    • Each Kindle Scout reader who nominated your book will also receive an email from us with the result, along with the following thank you message you submitted with your campaign:

“Dear Reader, many thanks for taking the time to read and nominate my book, Devil Gate Dawn. I hope you were suitably entertained by my storytelling, my attempts at raising tension and alleviating it with some humour. I sincerely hope you were engaged and enjoyed the ride. Thanks again, and look out for the return of George!”

  • We will list all books selected for publication on the Kindle Scout website a few days after the selections are made.”

Yeah, forgot to mention that when you fill in the application form at the start, you also put in a ‘thank you’ message to all who nominated you.  Also, Amazon will email them when your book is up on Kindle – something useful, even if you don’t win a deal and put the book up yourself, they will still do this.

Now, my campaign did not break any records!  I could moan about being up against US authors with huge social media followings, but I won’t!

I amassed a total of 320 page views over the 30 days, and 0 (yes, zero) hours in ‘Hot and Trending’.  Totally stuffed by the Chick Litters and heavy-weight Yanks!…

But consider this…I was always going to put the book on Kindle, and this has given me greater exposure, plus those who nominated will get an email with the link once it goes ‘live’.  Fine by me.

THANKS EVERYONE! WATCH OUT FOR IT ON AMAZON KINDLE IN A WEEK OR TWO…AND I’M PLANNING TO MAKE IT A FREE DOWNLOAD FOR THE FIRST SEVEN DAYS…PLEASE READ AND REVIEW!

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!

image

Please Nominate My Book!

My first novel, Devil Gate Dawn, has been selected for the Amazon Scout scheme (it has been professionally proof-read and copyedited and they have approved my manuscript).  This means I am competing with other debut novelists for an Amazon Kindle publishing deal.

Their stats record how many reads I have of my 5,000 word opening extract, and I have an encouraging 200+ reads after the first week – the promotion period runs for 30 days and ends on 9th April.  When they first put up my opening 5,000 words I carefully read through it and yes, spotted a couple of minor errors and things I’d like to change, but also notice, with horror, that my first dramatic moment comes just after the cut-off!

I got in touch with them (amazon.com in the USA) and requested a re-submit.  After a couple of days they agreed, and I did some editing and re-submitted.  The new version went ‘live’ on Friday evening, and it now reads much better (in my view) and ends on a dramatic high…

Please read my extract and if you feel it is worthy, please nominate it.  After the 9th April, the book with the most nominations wins a publishing deal…help make it me!

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3AC6627K4Q0B2

 

GET SOME HEALING

My year started waiting for an operation date. Finally, in early February, it came. All other plans are on hold until I get through a complex and risky surgical procedure. On the morning of Friday 12th February, 2016, I lay in a bed on the Specialist Surgery Ward at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, waiting to be called to the operating theatre.

IMG_20160219_100242825_HDRIt was a beautiful morning, weather-wise, with bright blue sky over the green farmland hills in the distance. In the foreground is a heli-pad, where I watched a Thames Valley Air Ambulance crew land and transfer a patient to a waiting ambulance. Someone else’s life balancing on a thin thread. I can’t praise the emergency service staff enough. They are true heroes in an age of selfishness and greed.

A plastic surgeon and a neurosurgeon come in to brief me on my procedure. It is to remove infected bone and tissue from my cranium. The Plastic Surgeon will deal with lifting the skin flap on top of my head, exposing the infected bone, which will then be cut away with the assistance of the neurosurgeon, whose primary function is to prevent any fatal contact with the brain . They will then send samples for analysis, attempt to identify the type of infection, and then make a treatment plan. Simples. I can expect to be in theatre for up to four hours. How do I feel about it? Well, not thrilled, but I know it is necessary as I have been living with a slowly worsening infection in my skull for 10 months. I can do little else but sign the consent form and put my faith in their hands.

Another air ambulance helicopter arrives, and another still patient is removed and I reflect once more on my mortality, hanging by a thin thread, in the hands of practiced health professionals, hoping they find a familiar problem they can easily correct. I can have a sip of water at 10.30 and then nothing. Fasting until it’s over, knowing that I’ll come to in a recovery ward, feeling groggy, thick tongue, and, as the anaesthetic slowly wares off, a throbbing headache. They intend to keep me in for a week on an intravenous antibiotic drip, to try and flush all vestiges of infection out of my system. During this time they will be getting results on the nature of my infection from analysis of cultures in the laboratory. Modern medical science is a marvel of human ingenuity and endeavour. They cannot be praised highly enough. I know I’m in good hands…

 

 

Panic over. I survived. Yes, I woke up in a bed in my own room, my head pounding with pain. Slightly spaced-out after the general anaesthetic, the words of a favourite song running through my head:

Flying, but I know I’m not coming down,

You’re trying, but I can’t be found,

All my colours turn to brown,

All my colours turn to clouds.

(Zimbo by Echo & the Bunnymen)

I became aware of a tube attached to my head wound, it is draining off excess fluid – blood and bile – and I have a kind of colostomy bag that I have attached to me. I’m typing this on the Tuesday after the Friday afternoon procedure. Saturday was a day spend in bed, not moving, on a drip. I had a catheta rod up my penis, and when I asked the nurse to remove it the pain was excruciating. It still hurts five days on when I take a pee. Hospitals are no fun for patients.

The surgeons came to see me on Saturday and declared it a success. They took off the bandages and took some photos. I asked them to take some pics on my phone. They explained they had successfully identified the infected bone and removed it, the neurosurgeon doing the delicate excision without coming into contact with the major artery that runs above the brain. Horray! This leaves me with a hole in the skull, which they covered with the skin flap. No grafting was done. The bad news is, they will have to go in again in a month or so, once they are sure the infection has gone, and put a moulded inplant into the hole to give the cranium some solidity.

 

John Radcliffe Hospital2My mind wanders to near-death experiences – a car crash in Zambia, and the time I was chased by a hippo whilst canoeing on the Zambezi… but I managed to distract myself from morbid reflections. I know I must keep my mind occupied, try and stay positive, to stop falling into morose self-pity and general gloominess. I listened to music on my i-pod. I watched TV programmes on my Kindle. Free wi-fi is a godsend. Patients have the option of using hospital television for a fee. I paid for Saturday and Sunday to watch the international rugby and football highlights, but stubbornly refused to pay thereafter. My sisters, their partners and my brother all visit on Sunday, bearing gifts of fruit juice and cereal bars…plus some chocolate!

 

After a few days the pain settled down into something like nagging discomfort. Still taking my full allowable quota of painkillers every six hours – paracetamol and codeine. My head hurts less when I sit up, I’ve come to realise. After four days the drip tube is removed from my head, as the drip of blood and bile has finally dried up. This is liberating, as I no longer have to carry my colostomy-type bag around with me. The drips continue and they butcher my arm with repeated failed attempts to find a vein that will take the catheta. I sit in the armchair in the mornings, after showering, looking out of the window at the helipad and cemetery behind. Convenient. Time to waste, if it’s possible to waste time. I’m on treatment and in recovery, so don’t even think about editing my book. Rest!

My consultant surgeon visits, and tells me I’m healing well. Results are still coming in from the lab and they will soon make a treatment plan. He can’t say how long I’ll be here. I ask him for his take on the problems with the NHS. He says it has become too big and unwieldy, and reform is needed. He admits that it is going through a painful process of being run down by the Government as a precursor to privatisation. This, he feels, is inevitable, and not unwelcome. He see this hospital in the near future being run by a private company, like Virgin Healthcare, with a mix of private and NHS patients. It is a painful but necessary process, in his view.

I ask about staff. Less than one in four nursing and support staff are British or Irish. He smiles, and says they are currently recruiting in Portugal. There is a friendly, youthful and extremely helpful team on my ward coming from a variety of European and Commonwealth countries – Poland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, India, Pakistan and South Africa. Good for them – they’re getting experience that many will take back to their countries. Britain is committed to capitalism, and cheap labour can come from any country. This is exploitation, thinly disguised as something positive – multi-culturalism. No one cares about the consequences, as long as the rich get richer. They can afford private healthcare, in any country in the world, so the National Health Service, the last thing that makes Britain ‘Great’, is seen as an expensive inconvenience. But I’m still here, in defiance of smiling assassin, Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary.

 

 

Communication can sometimes be an issue, but on the whole, things seem to work. It concerns me that the nursing profession is now seen as being an unattractive career option to young British people, due to (comparatively) poor pay and long unsociable hours. Am I alone in worrying that the country is losing a generation of health workers – and many other skill areas for that matter – as we passively accept the dictates of international capitalism? Finding cheap labour from wherever to undercut local workers may be financially rewarding for corporations, but surely we are helping to dig a huge pit into which our independence, cultural identity and personal development prospects are being dumped?

There’s a hole in my head where the rain comes in is a line from a song, but which one? Songs about holes in the head include, Hole in the Head by Sugarbabes, and by Cypress Hill. Another Hole in the Head by Nickleback, but that’s not what I’m trying to remember. Is it in King of Pain by Sting? My search engine says Rhianna, Foreign Tongues, Dixie Chicks and Human Radio all sang about a hole in the head. Most along the lines of, “I need you around like I need a hole in the head.”

But I’ve heard it somewhere, if only I can find it. If only I can remember… is it Heaven by Psychedelic Furs? No. That’s, ‘hole in the sky’. Ah ha! I’ve got it… Evil Woman by Electric Light Orchestra:-

There’s a hole in my head where the rain comes in,

You took my money and played to win…

Relief! Hate that – when you’re trying to remember something but can’t, and online searches are of scant help. After all, there’s a hole in my head, and the rain would undoubtedly come in if I walked outside the building. Better stay in.

Just read in today’s (18/02/16) BBC News highlights another scare story marking the crumbling of our National Health Service. “More than 1,000 NHS patients in England in the past four years have suffered from medical mistakes.” Yikes! Should I be reading this in hospital? These ‘never events’ include a man who had a testicle removed instead of a cyst, a woman having her fallopian tubes removed instead of her appendix, wrong leg, knees and eyes being operated on, and hundreds of cases of objects such as scalpels being left inside bodies during operations. An NHS England spokesperson valiantly tried to defend the indefensible by playing it down. These ‘never events’ only occur in 1 in every 20,000 cases. There are 4.6 million operations a year in NHS England. Well, that’s one lottery I’m pleased to have lost. Oh, they’re going to set up a Task Force to investigate and make recommendations!  That’s alright, then.

Is there a general dumbing-down of professional standards going on?  Part of the degradation of the NHS prior to full privatisation?  They would never admit to it.