Thursday 30 June 2011

I spotify with my little eye

It's Spotify for Books

An online view-on-demand books service dubbed “the Spotify of books” has launched today.
24symbols, created by a Spanish team co-founded by Justo Hidalgo, is offering access to 1,000 book titles for a subscription fee. The website currently only offers customers the opportunity to read texts through a browser, but it said subscribers will soon be able to read books via an iPad, iPhone and Android through an app.

According to, 24symbols pays publishers based on how many pages users read from their books as a proportion of the overall number of pages read across all titles, and is currently offering users “classic and commercial books” from small and medium-sized publishers.
The service offers a free, ad-supported version along with an ad-free option in return for a monthly payment prices at either €9.99 per month, €19.99 for three months or €59.99 for a year.
24symbols is also integrated with Facebook and allows users to receive recommendations from friends.

Blog Round-up

I've not done a blog round-up for some time, and so now would seem a good time to remedy this. I have after all discovered many blogs that are must reads since my last round-up and so settle back and let the Archive guide you all to some cool sites - Broken Trails hosted by western author, Ray Foster is always worth a read. Another western based blog is the excellent Slap Bookleather. Of course is you're looking for western based material then perhaps the best place to stop by is Western Fiction Review which is one of the most consistently good blogs out there. All Pulp does what is says on the tin and is the one stop resource for pulp based material. Blimey it's another blog about comics is my favourite comic book based blog on the entire web and I'm sure it will be yours too. We're back in western territory for Buddies in the Saddle though this always interesting blog also covers other genres. Horror fans could do worse than check out Classic Horror and also in the fright blogosphere are the brilliant Groovy age of Horror and  The Horror of it all and speaking of horror try out Scary Motherfucker the home of the mysterious Vincent Stark.


Jumping forward in our look at the complete Bond, - we will return to cover the remainder of the John Gardner books and then move onto Benson and Faulks - in order to cover the recently released and freshly read Carte Blanche.

So has Jeffrey Deaver, a bestselling writer in his own right (write), captured Fleming's Bond? Well not really - for a start the book is set in the modern day which seems strange given that one of the best received aspects of the previous Bond novel, Devil May Care was that it was set in period. This means the book suffers from the same basic flaw as those written by John Gardner and Raymond Benson. Only this time more so - Deaver's turned Bond into a non smoker who believes in sexual equality.

What the F**k? Why bother writing a Bond novel if they are going to take away the basic essence of the character? Change the character name from Bond to say Bertie Bland and the book would stand up as a modern thriller, but as it stands it's a Bond novel that doesn't feel like a James Bond novel.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the story or plot - it's quite cleverly plotted, though a little overly complicated. And the author certainly knows how to pace a story, but it's just not James Bond and I probably wouldn't have finished it had I not had to write this review. I felt the book started off well but by half ways through I was bored senseless.

Look at the evil man, smoking!
A big disappointment after Devil May Care - all this updating of classic characters is troubling. Not only has the setting been brought forward to the present day but the character has been updated with it, given the opinions and lifestyle of a contemporary man. That's all very well but it takes something away from the original works and rewrites the DNA of Fleming's remarkable creation - it ignores the aspects that made the character so successful in the first place. It makes you wonder where all this rebooting shit is going to end - will they one day remake Superman and take away his ability to fly because of health and safety issues?

Deaver's Bland (whoops, Bond) is an Afghanistan veteran whose favourite gadget is his iQphone with which he can Tweet the detailS of his latest adventure, in no more than 140 words of course.
Just had a brush with big guy with metal teeth.
Just done my third bird in as many hours.
Caused a secret lair to explode.
Think I may have to visit the clinic.

It's Bond but not as we know him.

The force comes to eBook

For thirty years, people have been writing Star Wars books, building on the canon and quite often ignoring it. That's one big back catalogue and this week , Star Wars literature finally entered the digital age when Lucasfilm and Random House announced that the entire library of Star Wars fiction titles (Del Rey/Bantam Spectra) will be available in eBook format, as will any future releases under the imprints. There are already a dozen or so Star Wars titles available as eBooks but now they will be joined over a hundred more.

The eBooks will all feature extra features:

  • An updated Star Wars novels timeline
  • An introduction to the six major Star Wars eras: The Old Republic, Rise of the Empire, Rebellion, The New Republic, New Jedi Order, and Legacy
  • Over half a dozen additional excerpts from some of the most popular Star Wars books of the last thirty years.

Together with the Harry Potter eBooks which are soon to d├ębut it is hoped that series like these will make eReader devices appeal to the younger reader. eReader sales are healthy but a number of consumer reports have revealed that it is the middle aged that are rapidly buying into the technology - that ability to increase the font size helps our poor old eyes, you see!

This bonanza of over 100 titles were launched on 28th June, across all eBook formats.

Wednesday 29 June 2011

This'll get everyone talking

Ordinarily I would never buy an album like this-celebrity records are usually nothing more than a novelty , but I kept reading good reviews of this blues album from Hugh Laurie. In the end the prospect intrigued me and after reading yet another five star review, I took the plunge and handed over my cash.

The contradiction of a white middle class man singing these songs that were born out of the struggles of the Southern blacks early in the last century, is not lost on Laurie. I was not born in Alabama in the 1890's, he writes in the sleeve notes. I've never eaten grits, cropped a share or ridden a boxcar. No gypsy woman attended my birth and there's no hellhound on my tail. I am a white, middle class Englishman openly trespassing on the music and myth of the American South.

The amazing thing is that the actor does this all so well and has produced a damn fine blues album. OK his vocal range may be limited but through a shrewd choice of songs and a great backing band he's come up with something quite essential. Opening track, St. James Infirmary, with its fine piano intro, sets the scene for a surprisingly authentic sounding blues set. And I defy anyone not to be moved by his reading of Six Cold Feet - it'll send shivers down your spine.

Below I have embedded a video of Laurie performing Swanee River, which is track 7 on this brilliant little blues album.

Prepare to be amazed.

Monday 27 June 2011

The Ballad of Delta Rose exclusive extract

There is now a little over a month to go before the publication of my third Black Horse Western title, The Ballad of Delta Rose.

I've already given several interviews regarding the book and you can find many of these by doing a web search using the books title and author as the search term.

The Black Horse titles are primarily intended for the library trade and as such are produced in limited print runs. They often sell out within days of publication and so the most sure fire way to secure a copy is to pre-order the book now from Amazon, The Book Depository or even Robert Hale themselves.

It's my most hard-boiled western - a story of redemption. It is the story of a man who has no future and must reclaim his past.

Below find an exclusive extract from The Ballad of Delta Rose by Jack Martin.

Shouting followed by gunfire.
The sound of gunfire can be quite distinct. The roar of a Colt, for instance, is nothing like the crack of a Remington. Similarly a Henry sounds nothing like a Derringer, and whilst it is true that to the untrained ear, a gunshot is a gunshot with no variations in cadence, Delta knew that he was being awakened by the very fierce shout of a Colt.
Delta went from a state of complete sleep to total awareness, within the blink of an eye. He got to his feet and stood there in the darkened corner, body rigid, hands hanging by his side, ready to draw iron.
His eyes narrowed to slits, he looked around the room.
There was a man on the floor; he rolled about sobbing and clutching his arm. Delta could see blood seeping through the man’s fingers where he held his arm. Someone had winged him and that someone must have been the young man – man, more a kid really – standing with a smoking Colt in his hand. 
The kid’s eyes travelled to the gloomy corner and looked directly at Delta.
‘I got no argument with you, mister,’ the kid said.
‘Suits me, fine,’ Delta replied but he held the kid’s stare. Both of them were oblivious to the man on the floor with the shot up arm. The winged man looked from one to the other, spittle and snot over his face, and then went back to his whimpering.
‘He drew first,’ the kid said, pointing down to the whimpering man at his feet. The man rolled over and tried to scuttle out of harms way but he collapsed, yelling out his pain.
‘Shut up,’ the kid said, his eyes briefly glancing at the wounded man. He returned Delta’s gaze and even though his dander was up he felt hesitant. He sure enough didn’t want to fight this stranger. ‘He drew first,’ the kid repeated.
‘Ain’t none of my business,’ Delta replied without taking his eyes off the kid. ‘Less you want to make it so.’
The kid shook his head.
At that moment the bat-wings swung open and a man entered. The man was in his mid fifties but lean and powerful looking. A shock of silver hair curled under the brim of his hat and he had the bluest eyes imaginable. He wore the badge of the sheriff’s office and his rig was hung low on his hip.
            ‘What happened here?’ he asked.
            Delta relaxed and sat back down. He reached for his beer and took a sip. It had gone flat, but that didn’t bother him none.
            ‘He drew first,’ the kid said yet again. ‘I could have killed him but I didn’t.’
            ‘Then put that iron back in leather,’ the sheriff said, pointing with the eye of his own Colt.
            ‘Sure thing, Sheriff Masters.’ The kid slid the colt back into its holster and adjusted his belt. He stood there, looking at the sheriff.
            The sheriff looked at the man on the floor, then at the kid. ‘Harvey,’ he shouted and the barkeep yelped from his position behind the counter. ‘Is it like the kid says.’
‘Sure is, Sheriff Masters,’ the barkeep, evidently called Harvey answered. ‘I don’t know what went on outside but they came in here arguing. Billings went for his gun first and the kid put one in his shooting arm. Quick as a flash he was.’
            ‘Someone get the doc,’ the sheriff took a look around the saloon and for a brief moment his eyes fell on Delta. He frowned and turned back to the kid. ‘You’ll have to come with me.’
            ‘Why?’ the kid protested. ‘You heard how it was. I did nothing wrong.’
            ‘That maybe so, but I’ll have to take a statement from you.’
            ‘I ain’t under arrest?’
            ‘No,’ the sheriff said, wearily. ‘You ain’t under arrest.’
            The bat-wings swung open again and a small balding man, the doc, Delta guessed, came into the saloon and looked at the man on the floor. He clucked his tongue on the roof of his mouth and then bent to the man, and proceeded to administer to his needs. After a moment he stood back up.
            ‘Someone get him over to my place,’ the doctor said. ‘He can be moved. He’s not in any danger of death but I’ll have to get that bullet out.’
            The sheriff nodded and two men lifted the semi-conscious man from the floor, and dragged him out of the saloon.
The doctor followed behind them.
            The sheriff looked at the kid and smiled. ‘Wait there,’ he said and walked over to the corner and stood before Delta’s table. ‘You’ll have to come along too.’
            ‘I’m nothing to do with this.’ Delta snapped. There was firmness to his voice and hard edge to his eyes.
‘You witnessed it.’
‘I was asleep. I saw nothing more than you.’
‘Yeah, I’ve been riding some. I was tired and the gunshot woke me.’
‘Nevertheless, I’ll need to talk to you.’
‘What for?’
‘You’re a stranger in Hayes,’ the sheriff said. ‘That makes you being here my business. Hayes is a quiet town, we don’t allow transients and I like to know what’s going on with any newcomers.’
‘Friendly little town you got here.’
 ‘I just need to talk to you is all.’
            Delta looked across at the kid who was now leaning against a table, watching the exchange with the sheriff.
            ‘Like him,’ Delta said, pointing to the kid. ‘I ain’t under arrest.’
            ‘You ain’t under arrest,’ the sheriff agreed.

THE BEST BOOKS OF 2011 thus far

They are now the world's biggest book retailer and so their list of the best books so far this year will be scrutinised by everyone involved or merely just interested in the book trade. Check out Amazon's list HERE

Tarantino's Django grows closer

More details about Quentin Tarantino's western have emerged - it seems original Django star Franco Nero will have a cameo in Django Unchained - Tarantino has said he wants to do a movie that deals with some of America's uncomfortable past - in Tarantino's own words, 'Slavery and stuff.' The movie will be set in the deep South and it looks as if Inglorious Basterds star, Christopher Waltz will have a major role. If reports are true Tarantino's Django will be an ex-slave turned bounty hunter and will be played by a black actor. A report that was given credence when Tarantino recently told, Total Film Magazine that he wanted Will Smith for the title role.

I love Taranatino and I love the original Django movie, so all these reports are whipping me up into a frenzy. Whatever happens the reports from the Tarantino camp point to anything but a straight forward remake, but then we always knew that would be the case.

The next blockbuster western is on the way.
Django Unchained is due summer 2013.

Tainted Stats

Weekly Stats Report: 20 Jun - 26 Jun 2011

Unique Visitors6746155725675875117034,229604
First Time Visitors6415885455425524916704,029576
Returning Visitors3327272535203320029

Sunday 26 June 2011


I've been out of the loop for a few days and I've only just heard that Columbo's died.

Peter Falk is one of those actors that most people would associate with the one iconic role, that of the dishevelled TV detective. However Falk had a long and distinguished career outside of the small screen and graced many a big screen movie.

Columbo though was brilliant - the show was rotated as part of a series called, The Mystery Movie when I was a kid. Each week we'd get a different show - McCloud, Macmillan and Wife, Columbo and a few others I can't quite recall. Ahh those were the days.

Peter Falk, veteran actor who is best remembered for winning four Emmy Awards, passed away at his Beverly Hills home on Thursday. He was 83, and the cause of the death is not established yet but he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, according to a statement released by family friend Larry Larson.

All the eNews

 eBooks are continuing to gain inches in the press:

This from Onenews
According to a new study from the Book Industry Study Group, a quarter of respondents have transitioned to using digital devices to read their favorite books or periodicals, bringing the U.S. adoption rate for ebooks to about 25 percent.

The Association of American Publishers reports that electronic books are the fastest-growing segment of the book-publishing industry. For the first two months of 2011, the use of ebooks grew 169 percent since a year ago.

Mark Coker is founder & CEO of Smashwords, a large distributor and publisher of independent ebook authors. He says electronic books now claim about ten percent of the total book market.

Mark Coker (Smashwords)"A lot of the credit goes to Amazon...Barnes & Noble, and Apple for creating ebook-reading devices that make reading on screens more pleasurable than reading on paper," Coker notes. "Many of the earliest adopters of ebook-reading devices have been folks in my age range -- middle-age and up. As we get older, our eyes start to decline, and one of the most powerful features of ebooks is that you can click a button and increase the font size instantly."

Print books have declined some 25 percent this year because readers are finding ebooks to be more convenient. And the Smashwords founder contends electronic books also give unknown authors a greater opportunity to publish their work.

And from The Guardian UK:

The publication of The Waste Land app, marks the end of the beginning. After a decade of panic about the future, it signals a rapprochement between print and digital culture. This new coexistence is supported by the figures. The average UK shopper now spends £4 per month on eBooks. For Random House USA, some 30% of its sales now come from ebooks. After a perfect storm of economic, technological and cultural change from 2000 to 2010, publishers can detect a silver lining.
Look to see this trend accelerating a change in reading habits unprecedented since Caxton. Publishers, literary agents, booksellers and writers are all puzzling over the impact. John B Thompson, author of Merchants of Culture, says: "Truthfully, no one knows what the future holds."
"Goodbye Gutenberg" made a nice headline, but, as ebook sales surge in the US, thoughtful observers have begun to detect a future for the traditional book. David Campbell, publisher of Everyman, says: "The well-produced hardback, a clear and permanent contrast to the ebook, will fare better than cheap paperbacks printed on newsprint."
One book trade Jeremiah, Jason Epstein, retired chief editor of Random House, identifies a parallel future for old and new book media. "My own guess," he writes in the New York Review of Books, "is that the digital future in which anyone can become a published writer will separate along the usual two paths."
Epstein applies a twin track to future business models. "Some publishers may experiment by setting up their own freestanding digital start-ups," he says. His hunch, illustrated by the Waste Land app, which is co-published by Faber and Touch Press, is that "a separate, self-financed, digital industry will coexist with many functions of the traditional firms as the logic and the economies of digital technology increasingly assert themselves".
This coexistence of the old and new worlds of paper and screen is supported by Umberto Eco, who declares that "the book is like the spoon, the hammer, the wheel. Once invented, it cannot be improved." In This is Not the End of the Book, he writes: "The internet has returned us to the alphabet. The computer returns us to Gutenberg's galaxy; from now on everyone has to read. In order to read, you need a medium."

As previously reported the seven Harry Potter novels will be available as ebooks in October, author J.K. Rowling said this week at the launch of a new interactive online website that will allow readers to navigate through the wizard stories. Rowling gave her clearest indication yet that she would not write an eighth Harry Potter story to follow the final installment published in 2007 by Bloomsbury in Britain and Scholastic in the United States. 

Interview with Dobbsy

There's an all new interview with myself HERE - where you can find out a little more about the mysterious Vincent Stark. I very much enjoyed talking with the lovely Morgen Bailey - check out her website for scores of writer interviews.

The Archive's Sunday Comics - Strange Possessions

Last week we had no Sunday Comics, but we more than make up for it this week
with a complete script by Archive friend Keith Chapman, better known as western
writer Chap O'Keefe. And who better to tell us about this week's offering than
the author himself? Keith here gives us some fascinating background on this
week's strip as well as some great reminiscences.
And so over to Keith: 
Charlton Comics was founded in the early 1940s and published The Many 
Ghosts of Doctor Graves from 1967 to 1982, for the best part of the run 
as a bi-monthly. It was one of Charlton's most popular mystery/ghost 
titles. Several now legendary comic-book artists drew for its pages, 
perhaps as an escape from the fetters on individual creativity imposed 
by New York publishing giants like Marvel and DC.
More than one comics fan has noted that Charlton, despite its low 
budget, barely adequate printing press, and Derby, Connecticut address, 
produced some truly top-class material and gave a start to some of the 
finest talents the industry has known.
Dr Graves "hosted" the stories that appeared in the comic carrying his 
name. This generally meant a thumbnail portrait of the character would 
be incorporated with the opening and closing text panels of each 
self-contained story. The same pattern was followed by other Charlton 
ghost comics. For example, Ghostly Tales had a Mr Dedd for a host and 
Ghost Manor had a Mr Bones. Usually three stories were featured in each 
 From time to time, Dr Graves, who had originally been introduced by 
writer-artist Ernie Baniche as a "ghost fighter" in the May 1966 edition 
of Ghostly Tales, would play an actual role in a story. The writers of 
these few "real" Dr Graves stories included prolific Charlton staff 
stalwart Joe Gill. The story here Strange Possessions, appeared in 
The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves No. 62, 
October 1977.
I would have liked to have written more, but Charlton's 
fortunes were already in serious decline. In December 1975 , executive 
editor George Wildman, who had accepted every one of my 'great' stories 
for his ghost comics, wrote, 'At present I have more than enough scripts 
on file. Try me much later.' The following June, managing editor Paul 
DelPo wrote, 'We are again cutting back on comic titles and inventory. 
As a result, freelance scripts are being curtailed and we will only have 
enough work for our regular staff. As to how long this policy will 
remain in effect, I don't know.' By then I was established in New 
Zealand as the chief sub-editor of a women's magazine and had a young 
family to support. So basically it was goodbye to comic books, since the 
Kiwis published none of their own. A few years later, Transworld Feature 
Syndicate of New York, who'd sold a story of mine to a 'confessions' 
magazine, offered George another ghost script. He returned it to me, 
writing, 'I am sorry to say that at the present time we are not 
accepting any outside material due to our small production schedule of 
only twelve titles. We are using up inventory on hand plus reprinting 
old material.'
The artwork for Strange Possessions is by Steve Ditko, who is today 
largely thought of as a Marvel team member -- co-creator with that 
company's editor-in-chief Stan Lee of The Amazing Spider-Man, and artist 
at various times for The Hulk, Doctor Strange, and other famous 
superheroes. But as early as 1954, Ditko's art home had been at 
Charlton, for whom he'd drawn The Thing. His association with the 
company continued through to its closure in 1985.
After a falling-out with Marvel in 1966, Ditko worked mainly for 
Charlton and various small-press publishers, though he did have a stint 
with DC in 1968 and '69. For a while, he lived close to the Charlton 
Building, in a small hotel in Derby, Connecticut.
Through a long comics career, Ditko shunned interviews and avoided 
cameras. In 1969, he said, "When I do a job, it’s not my personality 
that I’m offering the readers but my artwork. It’s not what I'm like 
that counts; it’s what I did and how well it was done.... I produce a 
product, a comic art story. Steve Ditko is the brand name."
In 1987, Ditko was declared the winner of the Comic-Con International 
Inkpot Award. Typically, Ditko didn't attend the convention, so the 
award was accepted on his behalf by one of his publishers. Ditko 
returned it to the publisher, telling her on the phone, "Awards bleed 
the artist and make us compete against each other. They are the most 
horrible things in the world. How dare you accept this on my behalf."
With some of the unique Charlton background noted, it's time to turn to 
the fiction itself, and join psychic investigator Dr Milius T. Graves, 
who is more than ready to talk one more time to his public!
(Remember click on any image for a larger version)

Saturday 25 June 2011

Shelf Portraits - Life by Keith Richardson

I read a lot of  biographies/autobiographies - and I can't remember the last time I found one as fascinating as this. Keef tells a good story and comes across as remarkably truthful, particularly when dealing with his own drug addictions and the effect this had on himself and those around him.

There's a lot of black in this story, but Keef's sense of humour comes across on the page and makes for a captivating read. I'm not really a Stones fan as such - I love their 60's output, but haven't really had any time for their later output. Although I did very much enjoy their most recent studio album, A Bigger Bang. Hey, I'm one of those rare people who doesn't really like Exile on Main Street, which is the critic's choice for best Stones album. If I had to vote for the best Stones album I think my choice would be, Aftermath or maybe Out of Our Heads, but then my vote wouldn't be worth much as I've not really listened to most of their albums from the mid 70's onwards. Hey I'm a early Stones man and I feel that when Brian Jones went the band changed.

Their early sound was raw and bluesy which is pretty much the type of stuff I prefer, but reading this book has given me the urge to try some of the later stuff that I may have overlooked.

But back to the book - there is some swiping at Jagger (including claims that he has a tiny penis)  but not as much as other reviews of this book would have you believe, there's a lot about drugs, a theory on the death of Brian Jones ( Keef doesn't believe it was murder, but thinks it may have been manslaughter), and above all an extraordinary love for blues music.

Ghost writer, James Fox has done a great job in keeping Richard's voice in the prose, so much so that the book reads like one big monologue from a man who truly has some tall tales to tell.


ePottering on

Of course we all knew the Harry Potter books were coming to eBook, so J K Rowling's so called surprise announcement earlier this week, was not really a surprise. What is interesting is that the author has decided to sell the books through her own website, cutting out the traditional publisher, and making the books DRM free - this is the clearest signal yet that the publishing world has been irrevocably changed by the emergence of eBooks.

AUTHOR J K Rowling has launched the Pottermore online reading experience, which will invite fans online, and will sell DRM-free eBooks of the series for the first time.The project, which is a collaboration with Sony, involves bringing the Harry Potter books online, telling the story through a web site and exclusively selling the ebook and audiobook versions in multiple languages.

Pottermore is live online now but will not become fully functional until October, but if readers register a email address they are promised early access to the delights the website has to offer. Potter fansite The Leaky Cauldron has been granted a sneak preview of the content and described it as "one of the most amazing, engaging and breathtaking additions to this fandom imaginable".

What makes Pottermore so interesting is that the ebooks will not feature digital restrictions management (DRM), copyright protection designed to prevent media content from being illegally distributed on filesharing networks. DRM is of course useful in the battle against piracy but it is far too restrictive for the end user. Maybe this new approach will see the eBooks attractively priced and thus make piracy less desirable. And besides pirated versions of the Potter books already exist so it makes perfect sense to put out official, better produced versions.

That the Pottermore website will be the only place selling the Harry Potter novels as digital downloads is a massive event. Jonny Geller of Curtis Brown made the claim the move was a gamechanger for the industry. He said:

"This does feel like a significant moment. If I was a brand author I would be asking my publisher how to get to the online communities that JK Rowling is getting to. It might be a wakeup call to think of a new way of getting to readers."

Friday 24 June 2011

Self publishing - make a million....or not!

The road to self publishing is paved with gold - yeah, sure!

There's an interesting article HERE on this very subject. It's a refreshing read since all we seem to hear about are the mega sales of folk like Amanda Hocking and J A Konrath, but for every big seller there are thousands of others struggling with low, often non existent, sales. So why is this? Well there's a lot of dross out there, of course.But even well established authors, with a proven track record are finding it difficult to shift units in bulk.

Raymond Benson, a well known  writer, the third official author of the James Bond series, recently wrote about his own difficulties in selling his back list as eBooks and Archive friend, Chap O'Keefe, a very well respected western author, has reported that sales are slow with his own eBook titles. My own eBook, A Policeman's Lot has been out a year and often goes months without a sale - mind you, things do seem to be picking up at the moment and a print version has also just become available. And I have sold a few hundred copies of my short stories that are available for the Kindle - not a massive amount but given that the stories are available for free elsewhere, I'm quite pleased to pick up the odd sale which helps support the Archive.

Is it all about promotion?  Take Joe Konrath for instance - he constantly preaches promotion while making claims of massive sales, often selling a truck load of books before dinner time. And yet I've tried to corner him for an interview with the Archive for some time and had no response. John Locke, on the other hand, has talked to the Archive and this week he became the first self published author to sell a million titles. Congratulations John - we're thrilled for you. I could make the outlandish claim that the Archive is responsible for Locke's success, but of course it isn't as the author is a bloody good writer and his work is addictive. He has also worked long and hard at promoting his books but the most important fact is that they are excellent books.  However  in the spirit of outlandish claims I'm gonna' make it anyway - APPEAR ON THE ARCHIVE AND SELL A MILLION!!!!!!!!

Maybe readers are reluctant to buy eBooks by new authors after being stung by some of the badly written, badly edited crap out there, but that doesn't explain why true craftsmen like Chap O'Keefe and Raymond Benson (expect an interview with Raymond here soon) are struggling to make the eBook model work. At the moment we live in a world where anyone can easily publish a novel to eBook using Amazon, Smashwords or Barnes and Noble, and believe me many do - some it seems bang out something in a matter of days, bung up a cover with Photoshop and then press publish and  their creation is soon available to the world.

I do strongly believe though that true talent will shine through - at the moment self publishing seems to be a craze, but as time goes on readers will soon discover what is good and what is not. But self publishing platforms like Amazon really do need to introduce some quality control if they are to ensure their eShop contains nothing but quality writing, still I fear this will never happen since money is made from the good as well as the bad, and the bad outnumbers the good by seemingly sixteen squillionwilliontwillion to one.

Though have no fear - writers will continue to write, since that is what they have to do, what they must do.

Thursday 23 June 2011


I am pleased to announce that my novel, A Policeman's Lot, previously only available as an eBook, is now available in a handsome paperback edition - check it out HERE

Product Description

Think you know the Jack the Ripper story? Think again! Inspector Frank Parade carries out his daily duties in the Welsh industrial town of Pontypridd, duties complicated by the unprecedented presence of 500 members of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show encamped outside the town, not to mention the thousands attending the show every day. A series of depraved murders quickly makes things even more complicated. Buffalo Bill stands squarely in his path when Parade tries to investigate the likely possibility that one of the hundreds of show members is involved. And soon enough Parade’s own superiors are blocking his inquires, too. Still more deaths occur as Parade sifts through the thin evidence available and finds a trail that may lead to the perpetrator of the most heinous crime of the 19th Century—London’s “Ripper” murders. Shocking revelations come thick and fast. The greatest criminal mystery in history is about to be solved by a Welsh copper and an American Legend.


It was no surprise that I would like this book. The author had previously entertained me with two fine westerns(as Jack Martin).

Inspector Frank Parade of the Welsh town of Pontypridd heads a two man police force that is busy enough. When Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show arrives with it's five hundred performers and eight hundred livestock, never mind the thousands attending the shows, things get a lot worse.

Then the murders start up, involving a sixteen year old series of unexplained deaths. Throw in a thief, once arrested by Parade, who had threatened his life and had escaped prison by murdering a guard, a number of home break-ins, and superiors who want a fast, easy solution, and you have a fast moving novel that doesn't let up until the end.

And what an end.

The author uses Parade and Buffalo Bill to offer his own unique solution to the greatest unsolved serial killer mystery in history.

4.0 out of 5 stars Jack the Ripper revisited, July 3, 2010
Charles Gramlich (Metairie,, LA United States) -Gary Dobbs (AKA Jack Martin) continues his string of fast paced books with "A Policeman's Lot." Not a western per se, as are his Jack Martin books, "Policeman's Lot" still has some of that western sensibility and it even features Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West show on a visit to England, Wales in particular.

The story takes place a number of years after the Whitechapel murders but ties back to those murders in a most interesting way. I won't give more away because the twist at the end is original and took me well by surprise. Yet, it made perfect sense within the storyline of the book.

"A Policeman's Lot" is only availble at this time on Kindle or as a PDF file. Fortunately, I have a Kindle and was able to enjoy it.

5.0 out of 5 stars Wild West Wales . . ., June 21, 2010
Ronald Scheer "rockysquirrel" (Los Angeles)This tightly plotted and cleverly conceived crime fiction novel is set in the Welsh town of Pontypridd in 1904. Our central character is police inspector Frank Parade, who on a normal day has his hands more than full. Parade's job gets even more complicated when Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show comes to town. There is Bill Cody, larger than life, and not all that cooperative, especially as one of his employees turns up with his throat slit. And thus begins a murder investigation that generates a slag heap of difficulties for Inspector Parade and produces a string of corpses.

Dobbs has done his research and packs a lot into his novel. We become immersed in a time and place on the cusp of the twentieth century. Old methods of law enforcement are yielding with the introduction of new technologies. Economic changes create new problems and social pressures.

And there's the entertaining collision of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show with turn of the last century, coal-mining Wales. Cowboys and Indians wander through some of the scenes, and Bill Cody himself figures into the plot at key points. Well drawn, he is a self-important presence used to being regarded as a living legend. Meanwhile, Inspector Parade is a thoroughly enjoyable creation. Happy he is when he's on duty, which is nearly all the time. Such is a policeman's lot.

I Gimp

Well it's something new to add to my resume - today a friend brought the IMDB entry for Neil Jones's eagerly awaited horror movie, The Reverend to my attention. Seems I can now add Gimp to my CV right next to flower arranging and helping little old ladies cross the street.

Rutger Hauer ... Withstander
Tamer Hassan ... Harold Hicks
Doug Bradley ... Reverend Andrews
Simon Phillips ... Detective
Emily Booth ... Tracy
Shane Richie ... Prince
Edmund Kingsley ... Thug
Dominic Burns ... Big Bazza
Giovanni Lombardo Radice ... Almighty
Stuart Brennan ... The Reverend
Mads Koudal ... Viking
Helen Griffin ... Mrs. Jenkins
Marcia Do Vales ... Girl
Dave Sommer ... Brute
Rachel Walsh ... Hooker
Kirsten Jones ... Lady
Rebekka Raynor ... Dominatrix
Lyndon Baldock ... Barman
Billy Rumbol ... Ryan
Gareth King ... Drug Dealer
Gary Dobbs ... Gimp
Tabby Quitman ... Woman thrown out of pub
Kevin Hayde ... Postman
Mattie Thomas ... Danish Goon
Richie Woodhall ... Inspector Rodin
Andy Taylor ... Hicks man 1
Les Allen ... Hicks Man 2
Kelly Williams ... Waitress
Earl Palmer ... Danish Goon 2
Rachel-Helena Walsh ... Prostitute
Paul Hill ... Security Guard 2
Trevor Lumley ... Security Guard 1
Scott Ormrod ... Scott Ormrod

Australia empowers Big Tobacco with its new draconian and simply barking mad vape restrictions

 From July 1st 2024 it will be illegal to own or buy any vaping device other than from pharmacies, and flavours will be limited to mint, men...