Wednesday 25 April 2018

Just what the Doctor Ordered: Why each actor left the role of Doctor Who

William Hartnell, the first Doctor, was pushed rather than jumping from the Tardis. He very much wanted to stay in the role that was beloved by millions and had helped create a massive hit for the BBC. However Hartnell was in his late 50s at the time, and was increasingly erratic and, on occasion, had to miss an episode. Producers took the dramatic, unprecedented (and not to mention, historic) step of replacing their lead actor.

The actor that replaced Hartnell was Patrick Troughton and he , took on the role on the proviso that this was a three-year gig. He's also commented on the fact that, as an actor, he didn't want to be typecast.

Third Doctor Jon Pertwee claimed that he quit the role because of a chronic back problem, but it later emerged that there was an arguement over money with the BBC that provoked him laying down the sonic screwdriver. 

Fourth Doctor , Tom Baker handed in his notice every year, but was always lured back by a better deal from the BBC.  However when producer John Nathan-Turner came along, attitudes changed. JNT, as he is affectionally known, wanted to bring the show into the futuristic decade that was the '80s. Who got a shiny makeover. A makeover that would see Baker's notice finally accepted.

Fifth Doctor, Peter Davidson  took Troughton's advice of not staying longer than three years despite producer John Nathan-Turner asking for him to stay. He did say, however, "It was very demanding, so I was too tired to feel sad when it was all finally over."

Doctor number 6, Colin Baker was effectively sacked from the role when his contract was not renewed although he was asked to come back for four episodes in the following season for his regeneration story. The actor felt more than a little aggrieved and refused the BBC's plans,

 "I told them what they could do with their offer. I have been treated shabbily." Colin Baker.

No 7 was Sylvester McCoy - Doctor Who came to an end in 1989 but the show wasn't actually officially cancelled at any stage. McCoy has often lamented the short-sightedness of the BBC given that he and companion Ace (Sophie Aldred) were just hitting their stride. So this entry is an oddity: he didn't leave and he wasn't sacked.He just vanised from the screens.

For one night only, back in 1996, the Withnail & I actor, Paul McGann was most definitely the best thing about the ill-fated Doctor Who TV Movie. But a series didn't follow and fans had to make do with his Big Finish audio dramas.When the show returned, some nine years later, McGann was nowhere to be seen. Not even a regeneration. 

Doctor No 9, Christopher Eccleston quit the show after just one season.
He says the relationship with Russell and the producers (which included Julie Gardner, Mal Young and Phil Collinson) broke down "irreparably" at the start of filming and "never recovered".
Eccleston added, "They lost trust in me, and I lost faith and trust and belief in them."

Doctor 10 - David Tennant spectacularly announced his decision to leave Doctor Who live on ITV during the National Television Awards in 2008.Deciding to move on after making the role his own, the Scottish actor didn't want to "outstay" his welcome, saying: "It would be very easy to cling on to the TARDIS console forever and I fear that if I don't take a deep breath and make the decision to move on now, then I simply never will."

Matt Smith, Doctor No 11 simply felt it was time to move on. "When ya gotta go, ya gotta go!" Matt stated in his official leaving statement in 2013.

In an emotional interview on BBC Radio 2, Peter Capaldi announced that he was leaving the show. The Twelfth Doctor said it was "the right time to move on".  It now seems that three years has become the norm for an actor to stay in the role.

Doctor Who returns this autum with Jodie Whittaker in the title role.

Book News: Comey's Book comes up Trumps

A Higher Loyalty, the memoirs of fired FBI director James Comey sold in excess of 60,000 copies in its first week, propelling it to the top of the book charts.

Publisher Flatiron Books, a division of privately-owned Macmillan, said it has printed more than 1 million copies of Comey's book, which has made national headlines.Flatiron did not say whether the first week sales were global or limited to the United States.

Comey has been on a media blitz, sitting for numerous television and radio interviews, while also on a book tour that has seen him appear before sold-out audiences of more than a thousand.
The book has drawn Trump's ire as Comey compared the president to a mob boss who stresses personal loyalty over the law and has little regard for morality or truth.

Sunday 22 April 2018

Where the Dead things are.....

Available now in print and eBook -my new crime/mystery thriller.

1940 – France has fallen and Britain stands alone against the might of the German war machine; a fierce battle for supremacy of the air rages in the skies as the Battle of Britain hits full stride.

For Chief Inspector Frank Parade, and his much depleted team there are many challenges to policing the small Welsh mining village of Gilfach Goch, for whilst miles away from the theatres of war the Home Front faces unique challenges of its own. The wartime demands thrown on the country mean that each officer in Parade’s team must do the work of two men – three even.

Soon the already overwhelming workload is increased when not one but two bodies turn up, and Parade finds himself having to investigate two murders as well as cope with everything else thrown his way.

Chief Inspector Frank Parade is going to become the new superstar cop. An excellent book.’ *****

'The wartime setting is authentic, the suspense well handled. Highly recommended.' ****

Available from Amazon, iBooks, Playstore

The Woman in White

I'm looking forward to the BBC's adaptation of The Woman in White, based on the 1859 book by Wilkie Collins -  the book is often credited as being the first mystery novel and is one of the best supernatural stories ever written. The five-part series follows Walter Hartright as he encounters a ghostly woman dressed in all white on a moonlit road and is drawn into a mysterious and disturbing world.

It starts tonight on BBC1 - The Victorian mystery has inspired five silent movies, a major Hollywood film, a German TV mini-series, a Soviet version, and two previous BBC mini-series.
And now it’s back. This new BBC1 adaptation, written by Fiona Series and directed by Carl Tibbetts, immerses viewers in the story of Walter Hartright (Ben Hardy) and the mystery of the Woman in White, as well as the two young ladies Walter tutors: Marian Halcombe (Jessie Buckley) and Laura Fairlie (Olivia Vinall).

The TV adaptation takes a different approach to narrative structure, starting at some point towards the end of the story and then taking viewers back to the beginning. We then flash between the two time periods as events unfold. Novelist Wilkie Collins started out with a much more linear approach. The novel, which was published in serial form between 1859 and 1860 in Charles Dickens’ magazine in the UK and in Harper’s Weekly in the US, begins with Walter’s invitation to Limmeridge House and his moonlit encounter with the Woman in White. Each chapter is told from a different character’s perspective, so readers have no idea where the story might end up.

Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee: Muhammad Ali Limited series in the works

Now this is interesting -

CBS All Access is developing “8 Fights — The Life of Muhammad Ali,” a limited series that will tell the story of eight critical moments in the life of the legendary boxer. Each of the eight episodes episode will be framed by one of Ali’s fights. The story of each episode, however will focus on Ali’s internal struggles and the drama of his life outside the ring. The project will explore the heart and mind of one of the most consequential and controversial figures of the 20th century.

The limited series will be produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Morgan Freeman’s Revelations Entertainment, and is based on the recent biography “Ali: A Life” by Jonathan Eig. Dan Kay will serve as writer and executive producer. Freeman, Lori McCreary and Beth Miyares will exec produce for Revelations Entertainment. Erica Shelton will serves as a consulting producer through her overall deal at CBS Television Studios.

Saturday 21 April 2018

eOneBook Dual

It's an innovative design in eReaders - the device contains two eInk screens - The eOneBook 7.2 inch dual screen manga reader is a tour de force of sensible design and functionality. It has a detachable dust jacket that is removable and looks like any other hardcover book when its on your shelf.

Find a full Hands-On review HERE

Thursday 19 April 2018

The reason ears were invented

Available from Audible now - never been a better time to get into Granny's adventures.

There's a brutal murder in the small Welsh village of Gilfach. The police are clueless. With no motive and no real suspect, the investigation soon grinds to a halt. Enter Mary Anne Smith, otherwise known as Granny Smith, the 71-years-young, pipe-smoking, heavy metal-loving, chaos-causing amateur sleuth with a difference.

Granny has a talent for mayhem, and soon those talents are put to good use as our intrepid pensioner starts the unravel the case, which finds her provoking Chief Inspector Miskin as she comes up against a full scale police investigation, proving that you're never too old to make a nuisance of yourself and that 71 is actually the new 21.
Murder's never been so much fun.
©2012 Gary Martin Dobbs (P)2016 Gary Martin Dobbs

  • Granny Smith Investigates

  • The Little Old Lady Who Solves Crime
  • By: G. M. Dobbs
  • Narrated by: Fiona Thraille
  • Length: 3 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 01-04-16
  • Language: English 

  • A Welsh woman won't be stopped!

    I knew from the first few minutes that I was going to enjoy this audiobook and I was right. The dry (yet sassy) humour was spot on and the narration was perfectly matched to the tone of the story. Highly recommended!
    You voted on this review!

    Fantastic voice acting from Fiona Thraille

    The narrator really brought the characters to life. Great performance, fun and engaging murder mystery.


    Where does Granny Smith Investigates rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
    at the top of the list..often laugh out loud funny. Brilliantly written and performed.
    What other book might you compare Granny Smith Investigates to, and why?
    Agatha Raisin series but edgier
    Have you listened to any of Fiona Thraille’s other performances? How does this one compare?
    very good.
    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
    Miss Marple on steroids


    Clickety Click

    ClicketY Click

    Wednesday 18 April 2018

    Clint Eastwood once again before the camera

    Great news that Clint Eastwood is to step back in front of the camera to star in The Mule.

    Clint and the real Leo Sharp
    Backstage reports that - One elderly man is taking his last act to contend with drug cartels—and the law. Clint Eastwood is nearing a deal to direct and star in “The Mule.” The project, which stems from a New York Times Magazine article by Sam Dolnick, will focus on a decorated World War II vet who is slapped with a prison sentence at the age of 90. The sentence comes after the man is caught smuggling drugs for the infamously brutal Sinaloa Cartel. While 87-year-old Eastwood is the only one in talks for the project at the moment, Geoffrey Miclat is casting additional roles. Production on the Warner Bros. film is anticipated to begin this summer, near the beginning of June. The exact shooting location is not known, but it will likely take place in Georgia.

    The Mule chronicles the real-life experiences of Leo Sharp. The 90-year-old was an award-winning horticulturist and decorated World War II veteran known for his prized lilies when he was busted for running drugs for Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, and sent to prison. He was transporting $3 million worth of cocaine through Michigan in his beat-up old pickup truck when he was nabbed by the DEA. Sharp was sentenced to just three years after his lawyer argued that his client’s dementia sent him down the wrong path.

    Parade's Way

    Available now in print and eBook -my new crime thriller.

    1940 – France has fallen and Britain stands alone against the might of the German war machine; a fierce battle for supremacy of the air rages in the skies as the Battle of Britain hits full stride.

    For Chief Inspector Frank Parade, and his much depleted team there are many challenges to policing the small Welsh mining village of Gilfach Goch, for whilst miles away from the theatres of war the Home Front faces unique challenges of its own. The wartime demands thrown on the country mean that each officer in Parade’s team must do the work of two men – three even.

    Soon the already overwhelming workload is increased when not one but two bodies turn up, and Parade finds himself having to investigate two murders as well as cope with everything else thrown his way.

    Chief Inspector Frank Parade is going to become the new superstar cop. An excellent book.’ *****

    'The wartime setting is authentic, the suspense well handled. Highly recommended.' ****

    Available from Amazon, iBooks, Playstore

    AMC greenlights NOS4A2: Will this be their next horror mega hit?

    AMC, currently enjoying huge success with their remarkable series, The Terror based on the novel by Dan Simmons have turned to the novelist Joe Hill, son of Stephen King, for their next big horror series. NOS4A2 follows the adventures of a character called Vic McQueen. Vic is a working-class artist who is able to track Charlie Manx, a seemingly immortal character. Vic’s supernatural ability will see her pitted against Manx as he feeds off the souls of children. What remains of these children afterward ends up in Christmasland. Variety describes this place as a “twisted Christmas Village of Manx’s imagination where every day is Christmas day and unhappiness is against the law.” For Vic, though, the battle will always be to stay one step ahead of Manx in order to not lose her mind or become one of his victims.

    According to the press release, the supernatural horror series will premiere with 10 episodes in 2019. So far, no definitive premiere date has been confirmed beyond 2019. As yet, there have been no cast announcements in relation to NOS4A2.

    NOS4A2, of course stands for ” Nosferatu.”

    You've got to admire Mr Hill for having the audacity to write in the horror genre in the first place - after all, his father Stephen King is arguably the most famous horror writer there has ever been, he's up there with Bram Stoker and Poe in genre recognition. And yet I've read several of Mr Hill's book and he has a distinctive voice all of his own, and whilst he may still reside beneath the shadow of his famous father he's seems destined to become one of the genre's greats all on his own.

    New eReaders to launch in 2018

    Those good people over at Good eReader have compiled a useful list of all the new eReaders hitting the market in 2018 - check out the article HERE

    Friday 13 April 2018

    Still waiting for Winter: What's happening to Game of Thrones Book 6?

    The next book in the A Song Of Ice And Fire series has been anticipated by fans since the release of A Dance With Dragons back in 2011. However despite constant rumours that the next instalment is ready for release, fans on the ASOIAF board on Reddit have spotted a big indication that there’s still a long way to go yet.

    One user asked: “Do you think it’ll be in the next few years? Or is he too busy with other projects?Perhaps he’s stuck, or demotivated by the show? Or maybe we’ll get it for Christmas… What do you guys actually think?”

    The most popular reply, from Ser_Wun_Wun, said: “In 2010, George couldn't shut up about Dance being near completion. He gave page counts like 6+ times, spoke about chapters he was writing, how many POVs he had wrapped up, etc.When George is nearly done with a novel, he gets giddy and gabby. Can't help himself. So his caginess with Winds is a very, very bad sign imo'

    'Look I have always had problem with deadlines.' George R. R. Martin recently tweeted.

    No kidding - there's an interesting article HERE that speculates that Martin may never finish the series.

    Wednesday 11 April 2018

    Crime is officially Britain's favourite genre

    Crime fiction has become the most popular fiction genre for the first time in the UK, according to
    data revealed at The London Book Fair. 18.7 million crime books were sold in the UK last year, with the genre making up 36% of book sales.

     It seems readers love to cower behind a terrifying crime tale, as thrillers overtook general fiction to become our most beloved genre of book for the first time. Swapping Heathcliff for Holmes, Britain has become a nation of crime readers with 18.7 million crime and thriller books sold last year - a 19 per cent rise since 2015.

    The genre is also popular with borrowers and the crime and thriller genre dominated loans from UK public libraries last year according to data released by Public Lending Right (PLR).

    Thriller writer David Baldacci, who was awarded a Specsavers Nielsen Bestseller Award at the book fair, said: “When times are stressful and it looks like the bad is winning out over the good, along comes the genre of crime novels to put the balance back in life.People inherently don’t like folks who do bad to get away with it. In real life they do, all the time, because of a variety of factors.But in novels, evil is punished, and the good guys mostly win, after solving the puzzle. And all is right with the world. At least fictionally.”

    Down Among the Dead - a new crime thriller

    Available now in print and eBook -my new crime thriller.

    1940 – France has fallen and Britain stands alone against the might of the German war machine; a fierce battle for supremacy of the air rages in the skies as the Battle of Britain hits full stride.

    For Chief Inspector Frank Parade, and his much depleted team there are many challenges to policing the small Welsh mining village of Gilfach Goch, for whilst miles away from the theatres of war the Home Front faces unique challenges of its own. The wartime demands thrown on the country mean that each officer in Parade’s team must do the work of two men – three even.

    Soon the already overwhelming workload is increased when not one but two bodies turn up, and Parade finds himself having to investigate two murders as well as cope with everything else thrown his way.

    Chief Inspector Frank Parade is going to become the new superstar cop. An excellent book.’ *****

    'The wartime setting is authentic, the suspense well handled. Highly recommended.' ****

    Available from Amazon, iBooks, Playstore

    Tuesday 10 April 2018

    New JRR Tolkien book, to be published in 2018

    The Fall of Gondolin was written while the author was in hospital following the Battle of the Somme.

    The Fall of Gondolin will be the second “new” Tolkien work to be released in two years, following the release of Beren and LĂșthien in May 2017. Edited by Tolkien’s son Christopher Tolkien, and illustrated by The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings artist Alan Lee, its announcement came as a surprise even to Tolkien scholars.

     Christopher Tolkien, who is now 93, had described Beren and LĂșthien in a preface as “(presumptively) my last book in the long series of editions of my father’s writings”.

    Garth said the story was written by Tolkien while he was in hospital and convalescing directly after the Battle of the Somme. “It’s a quest story with a reluctant hero who turns into a genuine hero – it’s a template for everything Tolkien wrote afterwards,” he said. “It has a dark lord, our first encounter with orcs and balrogs – it’s really Tolkien limbering up for what he would be doing later.”

    The book is said to be the biggest narrative Tolkein wrote outside of the Lord of the Rings

    Audiobook sales soaring

    My own Granny Smith Investigates available from Audible
    No longer just the greatest invention for bathtub readers, the audiobook is, according to new data, the surprise saviour for solving one of the world’s greatest problems: getting non-readers to read. Sales of audiobooks have doubled in the past five years, according to Nielsen with commuters and men aged 25 to 44 accounting for the bulk of that rise.

    Good news indeed as conventional wisdom is that less and less men are reading, but audiobooks seem to dragging men back to the printed page. are a great provider of audiobooks - not only do they stock several of my books - why not try Wild Bill Williams by Jack Martin for a slice of western adventure, or for a comedic crime caper try Granny Smith Investigates by G. M. Dobbs. Ok that's my shameless plug out of the way - but do visit Audible as they stock thousands upon thousands of titles, of ever genre and from almost every author you can think of.

    Total sales for audiobooks rose 18.2 percent over 2017, with digital downloads making up 82.4 percent of those sales, compared to 76.8 percent in 2015. Physical audio (CDs) dropped to 16.2 percent of total audio sales, from 21.8 percent in 2015.

    And the good news for publishers, looking forward, is that much of the audience for digital is young. Almost half of those who say they listen to audiobooks were under 35. And it’s a hungry audience. While only 24 percent of Americans say they listened to at least one audio book in 2017, the average listener in that category consumed 15 books in that same period, mostly on a smartphone. In the UK the average was higher with 24 perecent saying they had listened to two audiobooks in the previous year. You have to figure that the average reader of physical books did not buy 15 books last year, much less read that many.

    Find Audible and er (Granny Smith Investigates and Wild Bill Williams) HERE

    Vintage Movie Review - Jaws (1975)

    After a late night, and one too many whisky's I just wanted something to watch that would pass the time until I fell alseep, and cruising Netflix I came across Jaws and thought, 'WHY NOT' - I'd not seen the film for a good few years, though at one time it was one of my favourite movies - such a pity the sequals were so poor-, and I thought I'd see how it played now. Would it be as good as I remembered? Would it still work?

    I can vividly remember the first time I saw this movie - it was in my local cinema,The Workman's Hall, around 1976 when the hype for this movie was still at its peak. Back in those days big movies took months and months to get to my local cinema in my small Welsh town. You know, I was 11 years old when I went into the cinema to see this - back then age didn't matter and I saw a fair number of the Hammer X certificate movies on my the big screen back in the day; not to mention the Confessions movies. Back then they didn't take any notice of film classification and were happy for you to go in just as long as you paid your money - probably less than a pound for entry back then. 75P seems to stick in my mind.

    I had my younger brother with me when I went into see this movie, so he would have been about 9 and I still remember, that when the Duh Duh music started with the first frame, my brother went green and ran out of the cinema - true story that. Before the shark even munched its first victim my brother had legged it. I wasn't going to miss the movie and so I stayed in my seat and ended up with a heck of a telling off from my parents for leaving my younger brother to go home on his own. Now that's an amusing, though totally true, story but think of the anticipation for that movie, the effect on young minds, because all it took was a Duh Duh to set my brother off at Olympic speed. Either it was a particularly scary Duh Duh or my brother was a pussy!

    But I digress - watching the film now (a long time since I was 11 years old) does the film still work the same magic? Well, yes basically - it's still a damn good film and of course made Stephen Speilberg a superstar director for the geek generation. The performances are excellent - particularly Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss. And although the shark effects may be ropey by modern standards the suspense works far better because of this.  Sure, these days we could have  a CGI shark that looked absolutely amazing but that would be no substitute for the skilled storytelling in this movie.

    Some of the core scenes I know like the back of my hand, but as soon as I found myself sucked into the movie they worked just as well as they did the first time. Robert Shaw's death still brought a tear to me eye, and I still felt like punching the air when they blew up that bad old shark.

    Jaws still pack a bite.

    Check out that ever so scary Duh Duh below.

    The Sinister Minister

    I was sent a review copy of The Frighteners by Peter Laws, and I found it really interesting with the author presenting his case for why we are attracted to all things creepy in a lucid and persuasive way, but when I set out to find out more about the author I was truly intrigued.

    'During the research for my new book The Frighteners I’ve hung out with real-life “vampires” who drink actual blood, barristers who devote their life to searching for ghosts and young mums who save their money to buy strands of hair from the world’s most savage serial killers. I’ve crept through the underground crypts of Rome and I’ve back stage tours of the funeral homes of Hertfordshire; I’ve hunted werewolves in Hull and been chased by zombies through a nuclear bunker in Essex. At one point, the BBC even strapped me to an electric chair and threw spiders on me; this was after being blind-driven to a remote mansion which was staffed by a witch and a one-eyed butler. It’s all been part of a quest to understand why human beings are attracted to the creepy, kooky and downright repellent.' Peter recently told the Irish Times

    According to the author's website he is a author, journalist, church minister, you tube presenter, film critic and weirdo. Peter is also knoweldgeble about the horror paperbacks I was brought up on, so he seems a perfect choice for an author's interview on the Tainted Archive -

     I'm currently in the process of setting up an interview with the Sinister Minister, so expect that here soon as well as a full review of The Frighteners which is available now in hardcover and eBook. For now we'll leave you with a little more from Peter himself.

    'I’ve been a fan of horror, ghosts, and all things creepy my entire life. Which makes it slightly awkward when I also explain that I’m an ordained church minister, too. That feels odd. I get that. Like a Reverend should be a “professional nice person”. Yet I’ll happily blow heads off in a videogame and be the first person in the supermarket, when the novelty-fang aisle opens on Halloween.I’m also the creator of the thoroughly macabre series of crime novels, Purged and Unleashed. Both featuring the atheist ex-vicar Matt Hunter on the trail of religiously fuelled killers. These books pull zero punches when it comes to frights and violence and yet, people keep buying them.' Source, The Irish Times

    Find a full feature on Peter HERE

    Fine Peter's own website HERE

    Amazon selling a pervert's handbook

    Amazon will be embarressed that after hiding away many of the eBooks in the erotica section, they are now selling a book that claims to teach perverts how to Creepshot - that's taking secret pics of hot women in order to view later and ....well, I guess bash the bishop. So Amazon recently took the stance of hiding erotica fiction in order to protect public morals but are now selling a kind of pervert's handbook

      “Have you been interested in taking pictures or videos of those sexy young women you see around town?” asks the promotional copy on Amazon for the eBook.' Well you’ve probably looked up how to creepshot but all you got was half baked advice, that barely taught you much. “Creep shooting is an art form, and in this book I go fully into detail and tell you EXACTLY what to do before, during, and after you take creep shots.'

    The blub for the book then goes onto say - 'This is part one, I will be publishing part two where I will breakdown for you how to take upskirts, in the meantime learn the information that I have taught you here and when the second book comes out you'll be ready to take great upskirt.'

    Amazon have not responded to an email I sent asking about the legality this book, so it leaves me to wonder whatever next -

    The Good ePerverts Guide?
    Stalking for Beginners?
     Underwear Sniffing on a budget?

    Turn any eBook into an Audiobook with new Smartphone App

    Good e-Reader have released their first major app for Android smartphones/tablets -  From the Good e-Reader website -

    It is called Audio Reader and it turns any ebook into an audiobook. It reads aloud all of your sideloaded content using Amazon Polly, which is what Alexa is built on. We support 28 different languages and 12 different voices for English users.
    We are the first Android app to employ Amazon Polly, which sounds way more natural for reading ebooks than Cortana, Google Voice Assistant or SIRI. Polly is the perfect narration tool for readers who want their books read aloud and don’t want the standard robotic voice that most TTS systems use.

    There is a little over 36,000 audiobooks produced globally every year and most publishers want to focus on their front-list titles, most of the back-list is less of a priority. The average professionally narrated audiobook ranges from $15 to $49, which can get expensive. Audio Reader will narrate any EPUB/MOBI/PRC sideloaded books aloud with a natural sounding voice, for free!

    Key Features
    • Turn any eBook into an audiobook
    • Immersion Reading: Text is highlighted when the audiobook is playing.
    • Audio Narration available in over 28 different languages.
    • Select a male or a female voice
    • Collection Management: Add books to your own personal collections.
    • Dynamic Home Screen: Keeps track of all of your ebooks.
    • Built in file manager to import in your favorite eBooks.
    • You can import eBooks from your phones internal storage, SD or Google Drive
    • Supported eBook formats: EPUB, MOBI, PRC, FB2, PDF
    • Bright and Vibrant eBook cover art.
    • Change fonts, text size, margins and much more.
    • Change the background of the book you are reading or adjust the brightness.
    • PDF User Guide will teach you how to use the app
    • You can forgo the Polly System and just read with our advanced parser and rendering engine.

    I downloaded the ap to my Galaxy S8 and it took me some fiddling to get it to work - firstly it wouldn't work with any of the kindle books already on my device, and I had to sideload a book to the phone. I did this and it worked fine - I went through all the available voices until I found one I liked.

    I was also impressed in the amount of languages it will read in. For instance I listened to the book, written in English, translated to both German and French - that's a clever touch. Eventually I settled on the Geraint voice which read English with  Welsh accent.

    Find the App HERE

    Monday 9 April 2018

    The Walking Dead Season 8 Finale - BIG FAT SPOILERS

    Next week season 8 of The Walking Dead ends with, what promises, to be an all action episode that finally brings the Rick/Negan storyline to a close. And about time too - the show's run out of stem and Negan has become something of a bore. I've more or less given up on the show but will be watching the finale to see how things pan out.

    However a SPOILER going around the web may reveal what happens - it all sounds pretty plausible and so here's goes the SPOILER: YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

     Remember back when Negan had everyone on their knees at the end of the last season, and he ended up killing Abraham and Glenn. Well, it is going down again, and these are the ten people involved.

    The group surrender to Negan to spare the lives of everyone else. Negan is going to execute them all to end the war; he puts Rick’s crew in front of a firing squad of Saviors and orders them to fire.
    The Saviors open fire on Rick’s group! All is lost, everyone is going to be killed, but the guns do not fire instead they explode killing most of the Saviors. Negan is in shock, but soon realizes it was Eugene. Negan goes after Eugene and tries to shoot him, but Dwight intervenes.
    Both Eugene and Dwight have betrayed their respective sides; this is a bit of redemption for the both of them.
    Negan ends up taking off into the woods and is caught by Rick. Rick takes him prisoner and puts Negan into the cell Morgan built. Rick walks into the cell and says:
    This is where you die,” to Negan.
    The episode ends with Rick’s words.
    Trouble is that if the above turns out to be true, it seems that Negan will join Rick's team, as the future scenes splattered throughout this season seem to indicate, and if that happens then the show will have gone well and truly off the boil. We all want to see Negan's head bashed in with Lucille, preferably with Maggie in control of the bat.

    Man suffering with motor neurone disease pens a book with his eyes and an innovative computer program


    A Sherwood man battling ALS,Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, defies the odds.

    just over six years ago Kipling Jackson fell after his leg went numb, then his fingers began to spasm.

    It took a couple of years but eventually Kip and his wife, Robin received a diagnosis they never imagined. Kip was suffering from motor neurone disease, also known as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Lou Gehrig's disease, but Jackson is a man of great courage, and he refused to let the illness get the better of his ambitions.

    Jackson has always wanted to write a book but he never could decide on what.After public speaking about his relationship with the disease, it became apparent exactly what story needed to be told.

    ''I realized how interested people were in my story and my passion for life, so I decided to give it a shot," said Jackson. ''You must decide you want to live and then do it, every day is a new normal, but you can keep fighting and keep living this is your life and your story, you get to decide how you want to live it."

    “The brain stops sending messages to the muscles, so eventually the muscles atrophy and basically harden and won’t move,” Kip's wife, Robin said.

    Jackson began writing his story using only his eyes.

    A computer calibrates his eyes to form a word, he simply focuses on specific letters.
    His book, ALS: A Respiratory Perspective, is not just for people with the disease but for any person struggling with a terminal illness.

    Kip has completely typed every word of this book with his eyes.  He's seen the book though to publication, even designing the cover.

    The book, ALS: A Respiratory Perspective, is not just for people with ALS, it’s for any person struggling with a terminal illness.

    Kip has a disease , but the disease  doesn’t define Kip Jackson.

    This diagnosis wasn’t the end of his story, but the beginning.

    Han Solo New Trailer Released

    Reports are that the studio are panicking over the Han Solo movie, leaks reported on fan sites have said that the movie is a mess, and to be honest I've long lost interest in the Star Wars movies. I'm way too old for this shit -  I've not even seen the last one nor that Rouge One. But Star Wars remains a huge part of Pop Culture and so the Archive will continue to report on the franchise.

    Disney have just released a new trailer for Solo.The trailer gives the best look at what the film is about. The trailer opens with Qi’Ra (played by Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke) asking Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) if he’s after revenge, money, or something else. Before long, Han is recruited for a job: telling Woody Harrelson’s Tobias Beckett, that he’s a driver and that he’s waited a long time for “a shot like this.” The film certainly has the feel of a heist story: we see Han, Qi’Ra and Tobias recruit a very suave Lando Calrissian (“Everything you’ve heard about me is true.”), while Beckett tells Han that once he joins, he’s part of this life forever. There’s also plenty of high flying action as the team trades shots with Imperial troopers and fend off TIE Fighters in the Millennium Falcon.

    Declassified: Why Timothy Dalton didn't do a third Bond

    Some People raved when Daniel Craig took over the role of Bond - they applauded the new tougher edge, and yet Timothy Dalton, a criminally underrate  Bond, was far tougher than Craig's version and his second Bond, Licence to Kill makes Craig's efforts look quite cuddly. It is one of the real shames of the franchise's history that Dalton didn't do a third.

    This week the actor spoke to The Express Newspaper and revealed why he didn't star in Goldeneye - the role was offered to him before Pierce Bronson took the part.

    With just two 007 movies (1987’s The Living Daylights and 1989’s License To Kill), released as the Cold War was ending, Dalton is on of the  the franchise’s most underrated James Bond.

    The actor had grit and depth of character long before Daniel Craig came on the scene with 2006’s Casino Royale. And it turns out that not only was his third movie cancelled, but he was offered 1995’s Goldeneye, only to decline it.

    Following a legal dispute between Eon Productions and MGM that stalled a 1990 third outing, Bond producer Cubby Broccoli asked Dalton to return as 007 in Goldeneye.
    Speaking with The Week, Dalton explained:

     “When [the next movie] did come about, it was probably four or five years later.[Broccoli] asked if I would come back, and I said, ‘Well, I've actually changed my mind a little bit. I think that I'd love to do one. Try and take the best of the two that I have done, and consolidate them into a third. And he said, quite rightly, ‘Look, Tim. You can't do one. There's no way, after a five-year gap between movies that you can come back and just do one. You'd have to plan on four or five.And I thought, ‘Oh, no, that would be the rest of my life. Too much. Too long.’ So I respectfully declined.

    The result? Brosnan was cast in a film that is now considered one of the franchise’s very best.

    It's the end of the world as we know it

    If there's one thing writers like to read it is interviews with other writers, we scour these articles for information on how they gained their success, searching for confirmation that it is not really a lottery, that good work will eventually find a market. So I'd like to direct readers towards this interview with author, Tim Washburn. The interview was published in The Oklahoman and was written by Ken Raymond.


    Sunday 8 April 2018

    Kindle Publishing Trends 2018

    This guy talks some good sense here...worth  watching as he certainly knows his onions.

    Amazon take legal action against Book Stuffing

    When Amazon launched their KIndle Unlimited program a lot of authors saw their royalties dropping - the subscription model is definately unfair to those trying to make a living by self publishing, so it is no wonder that some have found a way to rig the system in their favour. Book stuffing basically comes down to the way the Kindle program pays authors: Through a global royalty fund that is split between all of the self-publishing authors included in the Kindle subscription services. The fund is doled out per number of pages read. Book stuffers slip entire books into the back of their latest ebook, getting significantly more pages in front of their reader's eyeballs and taking a larger chunk of that month's royalty fund as a result — earning as much as $100,000 per month.

    Last Tuesday, an Amazon subsidiary filed suit in federal court seeking to confirm an arbitration award against British book publisher Jake Dryan and his companies, relating to claims that the publisher's companies abused Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), the Amazon self-publishing program. According to Amazon Digital Services LLC’s petition, Law360 reports, the self-publisher breached Amazon's terms by using bots or "clickfarms" to inflate page views and manipulate their ranking. However, the petition also identified another practice in violation of Kindle's terms: The act of "combining selections of works they had already published into purportedly new books." It's a much-hated move called "book stuffing" by the self-publishing community, and this suit is the first indication of a legal precedent against it.

    "Authors have very strong feelings about any kind of cheating or scamming, but book stuffing stands out because it artificially inflates the payout that cheaters receive from Amazon — money which comes from a communal pot," David Gaughran, author of several books on digital publishing, tells me. "Our end, in other words. Many feel that's why Amazon has been very slow to do anything about this problem, because it is costing us more than them.

    "It's hard to know if this is the beginning of Amazon finally cracking down on cheaters and scammers, or a one-off warning shot. I hope it's the former, but I'm skeptical because since arbitration was first filed in this matter in September 2017, Amazon has continued to reward the biggest cheaters every single month with huge All Star bonuses — money which should have gone to hard-working, honest authors. These cheaters are a plague on the Kindle Store," Gaughran adds. Amazon first filed the legal action against Dryan, along with four other legal actions against other individuals, in September, covering a variety of alleged Kindle publishing abuses.


    Over at Amazon the latest Granny Smith eBook is free for the next five days - what better time to catch up on Granny's adventures! Go grab a freebie and PLEASE LEAVE A doesn't have to be long, a few words will do and reviews help immensely.

    There'll be a new Granny book this year.

    Here's a little histoy of the character.


    My own series character, Granny Smith is an amalgamation of varied pop culture detetectives - when I was creating the character the biggest influence was, of course, Miss Marple. I like the idea of a fish out of water, and that's just what Granny is - a busybody pensioner who becomes embroiled in one crime after another, usually besting the police and bringing the guilty to justice. In creating the character I wanted to build her character by taking traits of other detective characters... some of these traits were so ingrained in detective fiction that they had become stereotypes. However stereotypes are not always to be avoided, and can be used almost as a kind of shorthand in character building.

    Granny smokes a pipe - that comes from Sherlock Holmes and indeed the silhouettes used on the book covers are very much based on Holmes. I instructed artist, Tony Masero, -  to think Holmes as an old lady, when creating the illustration. It can of course be argued that every fictional detective holds genomes of Holmes in their DNA. For Holmes may not have been the first fictional detective, but in terms of creating the modern genre he was indeed standing on Ground Zero.

    (C) Tony Masero

    Granny's love of music - this primarily came from Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse. The author used Morse's love of music to flesh out his character, and often to power the plots -  but where Morse enjoys classical music and opera, Granny is more into heavy metal and rock operas. It seemed to be that most fictional detectives had a leaning towards one form of music or another - Ian Rankin's Rebus was into his rock music, Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch loves his Jazz, Mark Billingham's Tom Thorne likes country and western and Inspector Frost - well, I like to think he woud have enjoyed his music if only he could find a CD player amongst the chaos of his office. Music, of course, holds a long tradition in detective fiction - think Sherlock Holmes and his violin. Then again we have Lord Peter Wimsey who was written as an amatuer musician of note (pun intended).

    Thorne had tried, once, to tell him. To explain that real country music was fuck all to do with lost dogs and rhinestones. It had been a long night of pool and Guinness, and Phil Hendricks - with whichever boyfriend happened to be around at the time - heckling mercilessly. Thorne had tried to convey to Holland the beauty of George Jones’s voice, the wickedness in Merle Haggard’s and the awesome rumble of Cash, the dark, daddy of them all. A few pints in, he was telling anybody who would listen that Hank Williams was a tortured genius who was undoubtedly the Kurt Cobain of his day and he may even have begun to sing “Your Cheating Heart” around closing time. From Lazybones by Mark Billingham (2003)
    Maigret - another pipe puffing sleuth

    Granny is something of an anti-establishment figure. This of course comes from the long tradition of  maverick detectives  - there have been so many - detectives with their own code of right and wrong, detectives who don't mind breaking the rules if the end justifies their actions.

    Granny's fashion sense is, to say the least, unconventional - something I borrowed from the wonderful character of Michael Belker from Hill Street Blues. This guy looked truly unique and this was something I felt was important for Granny's character.

    Granny Smith was thought by most to be an odd sort, altogether harmless but decidedly odd. She dressed, an unkind person would say, like a dosser. While more kindly souls would have to admit that her style of dress was, to say the very least, eccentric. She usually wore tight leggings that were better suited to a woman half her age and would wear these with a variety of T-shirts and a body warmer of navy blue fleece.  She always wore that body warmer, zipped up in winter and open during the warmer months. And if all this didn’t make her look bizarre enough she topped it off with the corncob pipe that seemed to be permanently clamped between her teeth. From Granny Smith Investigates by G M Dobbs (2012)

    Yep...Granny Smith's character came from a lifetime of enjoying the wonderful creations of others, and wanting to take my own spin on the Agatha Christie type of amatuer crimebuster.  The fourth Granny Smith novel, Murder Plot is free at Amazon at the moment. Granny is a character who has been called both Miss Marple on Steroids and Batman with dentures. The pop culture references are suitable since in creating Granny I thought long and hard about those who had gone before - we are all standing on the shoulders of giants, you know.

    Gene Hunt - The hardrinking cop from Life on Mars actually owed much to Jack Regan from the 1970's classic, The Sweeney. And on the surface you'd think that Gene Hunt was a million miles
    away from Granny, but the character had a straightforward way of speaking - delivering banter which was often crude but mostly hilarious. This non PC attitude is something that was very important to the creation of Granny Smith. Granny doesn't take no shit and she abhors political correctness, seeing it as a form of censorship.

     Jessica Fletcher played memorably by Paul McCartney lookalike, Angela Lansbury, owed more than
    a little to Miss Marple herself. The character lived in Cabot Cove, Maine, which seemed like an idyllic seaside resort but had an alarming murder rate: Lansbury encountered a total of 274 killings, despite the town having a population of just 3,500.  Granny's own village of , Gilfach has a smiliar population and whilst the murder rate may not be so high it is certainly climbing.

    Another character I kept very much in mind when writing the first Granny Smith was Columbo as played by the wonderful, Peter Falk - the detectives bumbling manner concealed a razor sharp mind. In the murder investigations he becomes involved in Columbo often seems to be the underdog pitted against a much smoother foe. I still love Columbo and can (indeed I often do) watch the old episodes over and over again, so it is no wonder that a little of the detective seeped into the creation Granny Smith. Where Columbo has his shabby raincoat, Granny has her tatty body warmer.

    Have I mentioned location - well yeah I have briefly, but the location in which the Granny Smith books would be set needed to be fleshed out to a point where the village of Gilfach became a character in itself. This is something that other authors are particularly good at - Ian Rankins Rebus books thrive on the well realised depection of Edinburgh, and Morse would be nowehere without the donnish Oxford he inhabits. Wilkie Collins Moonstone (1868) displayed the importance of location in crime fiction by setting the expertly plotted story in a remote country house. And so I was aware that the location, the setting of the Granny Smith books was of vital importance. I decided on a fictional version of my own village, Gilfach Goch which is situated in the South Wales Valleys. And so the village of Gilfach in the Granny books may not an exact watercolour of the real Gilfach Goch but it is certainly an abstract representation.

    The Granny Smith series are available in all major eBook formats, as well as a Google search on Granny Smith by G M Dobbs and you'll find your way to Granny's madcap world of murder and mayhem. I do hope you stay for awhile, and please please do leave some sort of review.

    On My eReader - Lee Goldberg

    Photo courtesy of Homeland Security
    This week's On My eReader features  Lee Goldberg, an ex-Navy SEAL, freelance Sexual Surrogate and a professional Daniel Craig impersonator. OK, not all of that may be true (though Lee) reckons it  is.

    What can be verified is that - Lee Goldberg writes books and television shows. With an impressive list of credits - Goldberg broke into television with a freelance script sale to Spenser: For Hire. Since then, his TV writing & producing credits have covered a wide variety of genres, including sci-fi (seaQuest), cop shows (Hunter, The Glades), martial arts (Martial Law), whodunits (Diagnosis Murder, Nero Wolfe), the occult (She-Wolf of London), kid’s shows (R.L. Stine’s The Nightmare Room), T&A (Baywatch, She Spies), comedy (Monk) clip shows (The Best TV Shows That Never Were) and total crap (The Highwayman, The New Adventures of Flipper).

    Lee  published his first book .357 Vigilante (as “Ian Ludlow,” so he’d be on the shelf next to Robert Ludlum) while he was still a UCLA student. The West Coast Review of Books called his debut “as stunning as the report of a .357 Magnum, a dynamic premiere effort,” singling the book out as “The Best New Paperback Series” of the year. Naturally, the publisher promptly went bankrupt and he never saw a dime in royalties.

    His many subsequent books include the non-fiction Successful Television Writing and Unsold Television Pilots as well as the novels My Gun Has Bullets, The Walk, King City, McGrave, Dead Space, and Watch Me Die, which was nominated for a Shamus Award for Best Novel from the “Private Eye Writers of America.” He’s also the writer/co-creator of The Dead Man, the monthly series of original novels published by Amazon’s 47North imprint, and co-author with Janet Evanovich of the five international bestselling Fox & O’Hare novels (The Heist, The Chase, The Job, The Scam and The Pursuit) and two New York Times bestselling prequel novellas (The Shell Game and Pros & Cons).

    Despite all that success Lee claims, again unverified,  that he is perhaps best known for his pioneering work mapping the human genome and negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.

    OK stop all that, let's tear Lee away from his covert operations and get him to explain the contents of his eReader..

    And so it's over to LEE GOLDBERG

    My Kindle is always near-bursting with books I've yet to read -- and books I'm currently reading. I can't read two novels at once, but I can balance a novel and a non-fiction book. I recently finished Anthony Horowitz's wonderful MAGPIE MURDERS, which is an incredibly clever homage to Agatha Christie-style mysteries while, at the same time, working as truly contemporary whodunit while also skillfully deconstructing, and ruminating upon, the genre. If that sounds like a magic trick, it is. Pure briliance.

    I followed that up with Hannah Tinti's Edgar-nominated THE TWELVE LIVES OF SAMUEL HAWLEY which is a remarkable book about the relationship between a young girl and her widowed, fugitive father...a man covered with bullet wounds that chart his violence-plagued life.  

    While reading those, I skipped between two terrific TV reference books by Richard Irvin -- FILM STARS' TELEVISION PROJECTS and THE EARLY SHOW, which covers series from 1944-1949. Both books are brilliant and red meat for TV history junkies like me.

    Next up are SHE RIDES SHOTGUN by Jordan Harper and WONDER VALLEY by Ivy Pochoda. In between, I have upcoming books by Dave Putnam and Simon Gervaise to read and likely blurb.

    On the non-fiction front, I've just started reading MR. NOVAK, by Chuck Harter, a reference book about the classic early TV series that starred James Franciscus. Pretty soon I'll also have to start reading a stack of books as research for my next novel...but I'm keeping those titles a secret (I don't want to tip what I'm writing about!).  

    Find Lee at by clicking on - TOP SECRET COVERT OPERATIVES. COM

    Have I Got Val McDermid for you

    Author, Val McDermid best know for her hugely successful crime novels, more than 10 million sales, is to appear on the topical and deeply satirical news show, Have I Got News for You.

    'Is it scary to be in amongst such illustrious comedy company. I’m in a state of abject terror. I hope I can hold my own, although it’s still terrifying.' the author recently stated in an interview for Scotland's Sunday Herald.

    Val's appearance will be broadcast on BBC TV next Friday.

    Val has created many notable characters such as journalist, Lindsay Gordon; the private investigator, Kate Brannigan; and psychologist, Tony Hill. Her books include three main series: Lindsay Gordon, Kate Brannigan, and, beginning in 1995, the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series, the first entry in which, The Mermaids Singing, won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year. The Hill ⁄Jordan series was adapted for the highly successful television drama; Wire in the Blood, starring Robson Green.

    The author is not shy of public appearances and has done many over the years to promote her books but over recent years she has also appeared at festivals as part of the Fun Loving Crime Writers - a band made up of fellow crime scribes.

    The Fun Loving Crime Writers:

    The Band

    Mark Billingham (Guitar/vocals)
    Mark is the author of the bestselling series of novels featuring country-music-loving Detective Tom Thorne and has collaborated with acclaimed Americana duo My Darling Clementine on an album and live show called The Other Half. A huge fan of songs about despair and alcoholism, he brings a ‘three chords and the truth’ sensibility to the band, largely because he can only play three chords.  So, if they are performing a song about lost love, empty glasses or dead dogs, it’s probably his fault. His public spat with Phil Collins is now a thing of the past, though the band are unlikely to cover ‘Another Day In Paradise’ any time soon.
    Val McDermid c Fraser Rice.jpg
    Val McDermid (Vocals)
    Val McDermid dreamed of being Joni Mitchell or Leonard Cohen but failed to achieve Canadian citizenship. Instead she settled for writing books. Around 40 so far, some of which have won awards. Singing is easier.

    Chris Brookmyre (Guest Vocals)
    Chris Brookmyre is the author of twenty novels and the owner of way too many Blink-182 albums. He regards guitar-playing much the same as writing sex scenes – best left to other people who have more experience. He does, however, have the voice of an angel, though unfortunately it’s the angel of death.

    Stuart Neville (Guitar and Vocals)
    “What, you need a bio?  What for? Oh, for f… Okay, write this down, then. Word for word, right? Here goes … You’ve heard of the guitar hero’s guitar hero – well, Stuart Neville is the guitar hero’s guitar hero’s guitar hero. Aside from his good looks, Stuart’s immeasurable talent as a musician is matched only by his humility.  Stuart also enjoys referring to himself in the third person.  He absolutely did not write this bio himself. You got that? Okay. Maybe mention the books too.”
    Luca Veste (Bass)
    Luca first picked up a guitar when he was nine years old. He hasn’t got much better since then. He spent twenty years in various bands and on the pub circuit as a solo act. He writes books now and some people enjoy them. He tries to look as cool as Flea while playing bass, but instead appears to be closer to a Sting tribute act. Despite being from Liverpool, he hasn’t forced Beatles songs into the setlist.

    Doug Johnstone (Drums and Vocals)
    At the age of fourteen Doug could drum along to every Rush song. That didn’t get him any girlfriends. Or friends. He graduated to guitar and singing and journalism and best-selling crime novelist. But deep down, he’s a drummer at heart. He still uses the same drumsticks as Neil Peart, sadly.

    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...