Monthly Archives: December 2011

Christmas Reading

Merry Christmas to you all. I’m off to Cornwall for a few days. My reading list consists of 39 steps and Greenmantle by John Buchan,  Black Cherry Blues by James Lee Burke and a couple of inspector Zhang short stories by Stephen Leather. 
I picked John Buchan because he’s supposed to be the world’s first thriller author and I hope to learn something from the master. I’ve seen two of the 39 steps films so that may influence my reading of the book. That’s why I’ve added Greenmantle as well.  I’ve never heard of James Lee Burke but a colleague recommended him to me so I thought I’ll give him a try. Stephen Leather is another thriller author new to me, so I’ve added him to my list.

Movie Review – Another Earth

I saw Another Earth last night. The film was not what I was expecting, but I thought it was good all the same. The film had been advertised as a sci-fi dealing with a parallel universe. In fact it was more a psychological drama dealing with guilt and atonement. 

The plot is about a drunken student, Rhoda, who drives her car into oncoming traffic, killing a woman and her child and injuring her husband. Four years later having served time in prison Rhoda tracks down the husband, John, with the intention of apologizing.  John doesn’t recognize Rhoda and a relationship of sorts develops.  At the same time another planet is discovered, an exact replica of earth and its inhabitants. But this other earth is really only a background to the story.  Although clearly a low budget movie, the acting and production was good.  The material was a bit dark for the festive season so see the film when you’re in the right mood for it.

Finding an iBookstore title without an ipad

This post is for newbies in the selfpublishing ebook scene. You can only browse for iBookstore titles on an ipad or iphone. This makes it tricky for authors who don’t have one of these devices and who want to find out if their book is available or if they want to add a link on their website. It took me a bit of googling to find out how do this from a computer.

First go to   Then enter an author name or title in the search box. This will return books available on Kindle, Nook and iBookstore in the United States. If you click on the iBookstore entry you will get a page with an address something like

To find the iBookstore entry for other countries just replace the ‘us’ above with the country code. So for the United Kingdom the link in the above example will be

There are probably other ways of doing this, but the above worked for me.

The Banker published

The Banker was published today.

It’s available as paperback from on-line stores, including Amazon, at 7.99 pounds in the UK.

It’s also available as an ebook from Amazon Kindle store and the Apple iBookstore.  Its priced in UK at 1.99 pounds, in the US at $2.99 and 2.99 euros in euroland.


Spook For A Day

Well just under an hour actually. I had just collected some business cards from a shop which happened to be located next to the HQ of the Secret Intelligence Service (aka MI6) in Vauxhall, London. SIS and its HQ (known as Legoland in the intelligence community) feature in The Banker. It was around 5 pm and people were leaving the building, so I thought it would be fun to try to tail a spook.

I won’t compromise national security by describing the spook or exactly the route we took. Of course the individual may not have been a spook – it could have been a visiting plumber or cleaner.

I tailed the spook as far as redacted station, and followed the spook at a very brisk pace onto platform redacted. There were several people on the platform so I was able to get to within 30 yards of the spook, who looked in my general direction but showed no reaction. The train, heading for redacted, arrived and at the last minute the spook moved 2 carriages down – was this evasive action? I just managed to get in the same carriage and was able to have visual contact with the spook. I had a Travelcard so as long as we were within the Greater London area I could play this game. At redacted station the spook got off – I was able to follow despite the brisk pace but the station was very crowded and I soon lost the target.

Not a great job, still I’m an amateur and the spook a professional.