Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Reality Bites: Do you compartmentalize your faith and your acceptance of science?

'REALITY BITES' is a series of 'bites' from my book:
Reality Check: Science Meets Religion

A short extract from Chapter 1:

Creation is a difficult subject for anyone to fathom—not to mention a time-consuming one—and that is probably why most people leave all the thinking to others and then plump for what they consider to be the most plausible argument. This book allows you to do that but, be warned, it will make you think a little. But it is worth it if the result is a unified view that embraces both science and religion—without compromise.

I believe one of the problems with scientists is that they tend to think that predicting how a sequence of events takes place—better still, putting a formula to it—gives it some inviolate rights of existence which obviate the need for a creator. Yet they do not know how things happen: just how things interact: cause and effect.

Ask a scientist where everything comes from and he will point back billions of years to the ‘Big Bang’ as if this explains everything. They may have formulae covering the expansion of the universe, but whatever happened at the very instant of the Big Bang—at the beginning of time—remains a mystery. Ask where all the energy needed to create the Big Bang came from and the scientist will shrug and say that one day science will have it cracked; it’s just a matter of time. (So who created ‘time’, exactly?) Science assumes this answer will lie in the ‘holy grail’ they call the ‘Theory of Everything’ yet this, despite being named, is really a non-theory: no more than wishful thinking. I think there is more chance of them turning into believers than coming up with that. Three decades ago, Stephen Hawking famously declared a Theory of Everything was on the horizon, with a 50 percent chance of its completion by the year 2000. In 2010, Hawking said he had given up—because there may not be a final theory to discover after all. Yet, somehow, I cannot imagine Hawking will be satisfied with a ‘Theory of Nothing’.

If there ever is a Theory of Everything, surely it must specify that everything comes from a single source? A single source would surely suggest ‘God’ in any case? Great knowledge gives mankind an inflated sense of superiority, which is why many scientists think ‘knowledge’ is the only altar to which they need bow.

The huge gap between science and religion is a hard one for man to grapple with, given his past makes him inclined to believe in a God offering eternal life beyond death; yet his present persuades him to imagine everything came about by chance. Yet how could a universe of space and time just happen by chance? How did energy and space suddenly appear from nowhere? How did time begin? The ‘chicken-and-egg’ riddle has nothing on this.

As a result of this intellectual conflict, a problem many believers face today is the need to compartmentalize their conceptions. On the one hand they have a belief based on ancient religious texts, written in days when man had no knowledge of science. On the other hand they see compelling scientific evidence which sometimes appears to conflict with their religious belief and cast doubt upon it. This uncomfortable juxtaposition is hardly a satisfactory union. Many imagine the only solution is to choose between the two—science or religion—which is why I believe it is time to force a reality check to show this need not be the case. We do not need to have split-personalities to be both believers and realists; but we do need to be pragmatists. I am very certain of this and hope to prove it because religion and science are equally strong ‘beliefs’. Yes, I also use the word ‘belief’ in connection with science because that is all scientific theory really is: faith in itself. If not, why does it change when scientists ‘learn’ more—and hence believe in something new? Ironically, in that respect, religion is far more stable than science.

Reality Check: Science Meets Religion, is a fascinating, accessible and entertaining book which aims to harmonize science and religion and to prove God is a consciousness that exists beyond his creation of space and time. Our consciousness is also external to space-time. The brain is merely a physical reflection of the mind. This book proves mind is external to the physical body, can survive death, and that modern, multidimensional science may help us to understand where Heaven is. Learn more, and watch a video trailer about the book, via the above link. The book includes over 70 links to supporting evidence online.

Watch out for regular 'Reality Bites' extracts in this blog.


Extremely well written and researched… Every point is very clear. The analogies are extremely imaginative and very effective. The passion in the work is powerful and every paragraph is thought-provoking... well thought through and persuasive.
—Gareth N

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Reality Bites: Step Back in Wonder

'REALITY BITES' is a series of 'bites' from my book:
Reality Check: Science Meets Religion

A short extract from Chapter 1:

If you looked at a masterpiece of art through a microscope you would only see paint pigments and the weave of the fabric upon which they are lodged. This is not as beautiful as the picture and it does not get you any closer to understanding the talent of the artist: its creator. So it is with this world. In order to understand the creation in which we live—and its creator—we need to step back and realize something very important. A creator can never be a part of his creation. A painter might paint a representation of himself in a picture, but that will never be a true, living being. So if our world is one of space and time, any creator responsible for it must exist outside the realms of that space and time.
Reality Check: Science Meets Religion, is a fascinating, accessible and entertaining book which aims to harmonize science and religion and to prove God is a consciousness that exists beyond his creation of space and time. Our consciousness is also external to space-time. The brain is merely a physical reflection of the mind. This book proves mind is external to the physical body, can survive death, and that modern, multidimensional science may help us to understand where Heaven is. Learn more, and watch a video trailer about the book, via the above link. The book includes over 70 links to supporting evidence online.

Watch out for regular 'Reality Bites' extracts in this blog.


Extremely well written and researched… Every point is very clear. The analogies are extremely imaginative and very effective. The passion in the work is powerful and every paragraph is thought-provoking... well thought through and persuasive.
—Gareth N

The most abstract of concepts are communicated in a clearly digestible form… There is a tremendous need for… arguments which transcend the physical world. For many, if not most, the task of adequately preparing oneself to respond to such questions is simply too daunting. I appreciate the scholarly professionalism and the extensive referencing… [The author] rises to the challenge of what most would consider an extremely difficult calling.

—James Revoir

This is a very intriguing piece. I believe there is a significant demand for such discussions... I especially appreciate the inviting style, which will definitely be a plus for more skeptical readers.

—Faith Rose

The survey of arguments both for and against the existence of God provides the reader with a way to better compare and contrast different viewpoints… Presenting the strengths and weaknesses of all of these different viewpoints was one of the things I liked most. I was really interested to read these chapters because, as a mathematician and a Christian, while there may be perceived conflicts between science and religion, I believe there are no conflicts between the structures and systems of the universe and God. This book also explains things very well… [and is] accessible without sacrificing scientific integrity… I think the book will be enjoyed by many and will encourage lively discussion.

—David Bortress

Friday, 21 October 2011

Film Review: 'The Bounty Hunter' (Gerard Butler; Jennifer Aniston)

Is it a comedy, thriller, action adventure? Does it have a plot? It would probably be best to make up your own plot as it goes along, and that wouldn't change much, because the original plot is as thin - and unbelievable - as austerity soup. That all said, however, it was entertaining thanks, mainly, I feel sure, to eye-candy in the form of Jen in her little black dress. She carries off the dress and the film. Someone suggested it was Friends with Guns. Maybe, although the plots in a Friends episode are more sound. Entertaining? Yes. Riveting? No. Funny? Some of the time. Worth a rent but not a buy.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Spain's Stolen Babies

Watch the heartbreaking documentary about babies stolen at birth and sold, complicit with Catholic priests, nuns and doctors, on BBB2 tonight. See more details here. Mothers thought their baby did not live. Babies grew up thinking their parents were their blood parents. Large amounts of money were exchanged. And from Franco's time until 1990s. DNA evidence has proven this went on. Rumour has it 30,000 babies are involved.

I am thoroughly shocked that this could go on, especially within the Catholic Church. But then this is hardly the first scandal to have hit the Catholic Church. Which makes me so sad. No, I am not Catholic, but I am a Christian, and the aspect that I want to write about this morning is that people without a religion should not judge the religion by things like this. Take any large group of people (say Germans) and if you judge them by one person (say their once dictator - Hitler), and you misjudge many. Within any large group there will always be evil people, and the Catholic Church is, I imagine, the largest 'group' in the world.

In a very large barrel of apples there are liable to be some bad ones, but do not blame the type of barrel for this. Watch how evil can spread, however.

There is far more good than bad in the Church. Keep a sense of proportion. However, it would be good to see all those who are involved in such scandals brought to justice. That requires honesty, not cover-ups. Extract all the bad apples. All Christians should pray for the best possible outcome as a result of this emerging scandal. I trust they will follow the money trail in any resulting investigation. And we must pray there will be an exhaustive investigation - although, something tells me, this may not happen in a hurry.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

SANDMAN Extract #6 (from Chapter 2)

Here is the latest extract from my psychological thriller: SANDMAN:

He moved soundlessly between the backs of the two rows of huts, peering into windows. The next one rewarded him with the sight of a girl: a teenager, a beautiful blonde with a shapely little waist and a bottom that wiggled as she descended some varnished steps from an upper level. He liked the way she moved. Tight blue jeans. Very nice.

Then he realised this was the hut of the family with the bouncy dog. The beautiful woman was doing something at the sink with her back to him, and the man was moving things around at the front of the hut.

It took him by surprise when the girl jumped down the last few steps and turned towards him. He saw her eyes widen as they engaged with his. He grinned back at her before ducking away from the window. Time to go.

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Find out more about SANDMAN at:

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Book Review: 'Breathless' by Dean Koontz

This is an amazing book which lies somewhere between horror and beautiful sci-fi. The major story line is about two wonderful creatures from another dimension bringing good to the world, but around three other sub-plot threads meander along in a darker part of our world. Eventually these threads are all brought together - although the one about the disfigured man could have been pulled from the bunch without much loss. What I really appreciated was the standard of the writing. Dean has written so much, one can only boggle at how he maintains such high standards with such a prolific output.

SANDMAN Extract #5 (from Chapter 2)

Here is the latest extract from my psychological thriller: SANDMAN:

Sasha was in white: all white. She burst into the bedroom with a towel turbaned around her wet hair and wearing a robe: clearly nothing more. After going to the window and pulling back the curtains to flood the room with sunlight, she crossed to the bed, sat on the bedside beside Paul and smilingly shook his elevated hip.

‘Hi. So you’re awake at last. Was this break a good idea, or what?’ She smiled widely. ‘Has it made you feel a bit brighter?’

Looking up at her, Paul put his hand over hers. He knew she was referring to his depression over his father’s accident. ‘Yes, it’s helped a lot. Thanks for suggesting it.’ She might be a flirt, but how could he not love her? As he expected, the unpleasantness of the previous day was now long forgotten. ‘I’ve only just woken up, actually. Have you had your run?’

‘I certainly have. It’s such a beautiful sunny morning, Paul.’ Her face sparkled with enthusiasm. ‘And it’s way time you were up. I’ve run to Boscombe Pier and back while you’ve been dozing.’ She leaned down to plant a lingering kiss on his lips. Sasha was so brilliant at defusing tension.

Paul relished the kiss gratefully. ‘Mmm! So much nicer than morning coffee.’ Smiling, he slid his hand into the gaping fold of her robe. ‘But what a waste of energy. Exercise could be far more pleasurable right here in bed.’ Sitting up further, he kissed her again, this time long and lingering.

Giggling, Sasha gently pulled his hand away and smacked it playfully. ‘Down, tiger. There’s no time for that. I’ve hair to dry and calls to make. Let’s go to the beach hut really early today. I don’t want the holiday mood to end. I’ve arranged to get a lift with Lucy tomorrow to go shopping at Sainsbury’s from Mudeford Quay. Could you meet us when we get back on the ferry? I’ll have a load up.’

Paul smiled. ‘Of course. To be sure.’ He loved kidding her about her Irish accent.

Grinning, she strode across the room while uncoiling the towel from her head. Sitting at her dressing table she towelled blonde hair vigorously and then let it cascade around her shoulders. ‘Unless you want to do the shopping today, of course?’ She looked round at him, loosening her robe as she did so, shrugging it off to reveal seamlessly tanned skin. Picking up her hair dryer she waited for his answer.

Paul grimaced. ‘I could. I will, if you want. But I really should call in at the build today to see how Charlie’s getting on. I need to make some plans for next week. The move’s getting near now.’

Sasha shrugged. ‘Okay.’ Looking back in the mirror, she switched on her dryer. Its roar filled the room as she teased-out her hair with its comb.

Paul allowed himself the luxury of admiring her exquisite body. It was no wonder she turned heads and provoked his green-eyed streak. He realised that was what the ‘Glenn-thing’ was all about, of course. She was a teacher, after all. She knew hundreds of people: colleagues, parents, pupils, university friends… other friends. The list was endless.

Sasha clicked off the dryer, pulled up her robe and looked round. ‘Well, get a move on, Paul. You say you like to get into the bathroom before Leah. I heard her moving around when I came in. She won’t be long.’

‘By the way, you missed a call on your mobile while you were in the shower.’

‘Oh?’ Brushing her hair again, Sasha didn’t seem particularly bothered.

‘I answered it. Just deep breathing. No one spoke. Spooky. Do you often get deep-breathers calling you, Sasha?’

She laughed. ‘Must have been a wrong number.’

‘Not many people get wrong mobile numbers.’ Paul watched her expression intently in the mirror’s reflection. There was no visible reaction.

‘I don’t see how you can say that. If a number’s misdialled, it’s just as likely to be to a mobile as a landline. I’ve had them before. Or perhaps someone I know accidentally selected the wrong person on their phone.’

‘I don’t get wrong mobile calls.’ He paused. ‘So hadn’t you better check it out? See if it was important?’

Sasha shrugged, lay down her dryer and brush and crossed to the bed. Picking up her phone she flipped it open and took it back to the dressing table. After flicking the calls button she shrugged and looked across at him. ‘I don’t recognize the number. It must be a wrong one.’ She put the phone down and then continued drying her hair.

Feeling his jaw tightening, Paul forced himself to relax. So casual. So smooth. Yet so naïve. A wrong number from someone already in her directory? She made it sound so insignificant. Why was she being devious?

His ponderings were cut short when the bedroom door was noisily pushed open as their dog, Shep, nosed his way into the room. He was closely followed by Leah. She was smiling widely. ‘Hiya, crew,’ she drawled, obviously still sleepy. ‘Ready for the beach? Life’s always a beach on the sandbank, isn’t it?’ She grinned. Her blonde hair straggled over her face and her lids were low. Shep came across to the bed and Paul held out his hand to be snuffled and licked. After going across to greet Sasha, Shep settled himself near the bedroom door, chin on the ground, his eyes raised to watch their movements.

Leah was wearing a white nightdress covered in coloured question and exclamation marks: more than hint of her love for books. Smiling at her, Paul yet again saw a teenage reflection of her mother’s beauty and grace. She crossed to the bed and kissed him on the cheek. ‘So, I’m first for the bathroom, right?’ She wagged her finger. ‘It’s only right, Dad. I’m out of bed first.’ Then she headed across to her mother who switched off her dryer to exchange a kiss and a hug.

Sasha smiled at her. ‘It’ll be great when we move into the new house, Leah. When we’ve got our en-suite, the main bathroom will be all yours.’

‘Can’t wait.’ Leah grinned at Paul. ‘So the sooner Dad gets his finger out the better.’

Paul held up a finger. ‘Right. Finger out. And on the move.’ He tossed back the quilt, leapt out of bed, and spurted for the door.

‘Hey?’ Big blue eyes followed him with indignation. ‘Where do you think you’re going?’

‘I’ll actually be the first one in the bathroom, Leah. And possession is nine tenths of the law. Bye-bye.’ As he grinned back round the door at her indignant face, they exchanged well-practiced comic-glares.

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Find out more about SANDMAN at:

Friday, 23 September 2011

SANDMAN Extract #4 (from Chapter 2)

Here is the latest extract from my psychological thriller: SANDMAN:

The lad with rolled-up jeans pushed his boat down into the water; it was beached near the end of his garden. Jumping in, he sat down and rowed with a slow, fluid motion. Golden reflections from the low morning sun danced on the calm waters and the only noise he heard was the soft plop of his oars as they moved in and out of the water. A low mist hung low over marshland at the easterly tip of Blackberry Point where several horses dreamed by the water’s edge. A light breeze caressed the boy’s deeply tanned skin and he sensed the coming of a hot, sun-filled day. He savoured the freshness of the air greedily. It was good to be alive.

After a couple of minutes he stopped rowing, stowed the oars, and moved back to the stern where he sat by the outboard. In no hurry to start the motor, he was content to stare across glittering waters while the boat drifted gently. Squinting against the brightness of the sun, he looked towards the long sandbank that separated the harbour from the sea. Beyond, only faintly discernable through the morning haze, he could see the distant outline of the Isle-of-Wight. The beach huts along the golden line of sand reminded him of colourful beads on a necklace. Nature had painted a glorious picture here, but it was the touch of man which lightened the mood and confirmed it was a place of fun. Sand and sea; fresh air and the sound of breaking waves; it was a combination that created a special magic for him.

The sandbank always seemed like an island to him because of the nature of its community: people who slept and lived out alternative life-styles, while paying handsomely for the privilege of their lazy days. This thought always made him grin; he practically lived his entire life there without cost.

Standing, the lad pulled the starter-cord and his outboard motor burst into a noisy life that startled some oyster-catchers into sudden flight from their feeding place just off the point. In the distance, nearer to the nature reserve, and quite unfazed by the noise, the lad spotted a stationary heron standing majestically in the mist. Sitting back into the seat he headed down Hurn Channel. When he was quite near to The Run and the harbour-mouth, he turned around the immersed sandbank into Main Channel, observing the buoys. Finally he crossed the shallow waters of the open harbour towards the beach café and slowly approached his usual morning landfall.

His first visit was to the fisherman’s hut near the Black House, but Tom Blake told him there were not enough net or lobster-pot repairs to warrant any work that morning. The fact there would be no money coming his way that day was of little concern. His financial needs were few, although he did have some serious long-term savings plans for when he could get a job with more pay. He was always asking at shops but they never had any job vacancies. Still, one day he might strike lucky.

Although the tide was wrong that morning, he happily spent a long while beach-combing. This ended with him stacking some smoothly-bleached logs into his boat; they would look great in his display. He imagined they were borne by the Gulf Stream across the Atlantic before drifting down the Channel; they might have originated from just up the coast, of course, maybe from Poole Harbour, or perhaps from France, but he liked the notion of America best. Good floaters might well come from America. He was keen on America: ‘land of the free… home of the brave’. He was brave, and he always wanted to be free. When he was older he thought he might live in America and be really free.

After buying a coffee at the shop alongside the Beach House café, and sitting at the strangely tall table there to drink it, he wandered down the sand-strewn service road to the foot of Hengistbury Head. On the way he had to grudgingly step aside to let the little green land train pass by. Why should it force him off the road? He had as much right to be there as anyone; more, really. Why couldn’t the passengers walk like him?

He climbed the sandy steps onto the heather-clad headland and then lingered to gaze down along the coast to the east: his favourite view of Mudeford Sandbank. He always marvelled at the way it stood so strongly between the combined forces of two merged rivers on one side and the power of the sea’s constant lashing on the other. How wonderful that tiny grains of sand, effortlessly moved around by wind and tide—even by people’s toes—could jointly have the strength to form such a strong barrier. And what power the waters had. He knew it well. The fact people paid such enormous sums of money for their expensive beach huts also proved everyone else believed the sandbank would always be there. He reflected it was a good job there were never any tsunamis in Dorset. Or was it satsumas? He frowned uncertainly. He never mentioned the word because he knew one or the other were oranges.

Gradually his eye was drawn along the colourful line of huts to the Black House, the last building on the sandbank. It stood next to the fast-flowing tidal waters between harbour and sea, the place where he loved to challenge its power in his little motor boat, especially when its engine could only just match the opposing current. Under these conditions it felt as if he personally overcame the power of Nature, thanks to his own strength and skill.

After a while he headed for his ‘thinking seat’. He was a great thinker, or ‘dreamer’, according to his dad. That morning he dreamed of going to America and powering along Route 66 on the Harley Davidson he planned to buy; he always hankered for a more powerful motorbike. He imagined himself with an attractive blonde seated on the pillion, clutching excitedly to his waist, wholly dependent on his biking skills as he rode a ton to the accompaniment of that throaty roar. How he loved the sound of a Harley. He thought about the girls in his magazines: how attractive they were; how great they would be as girlfriends; what fun they would have with him crossing the States on his bike; what fun he would have with them at nights in motels. Yes, he would definitely do all that one day.

Then he imagined himself on nearby Poole Quay with his Harley and his long-haired girl, both in black leather, her wearing a short leather miniskirt, him the envy of the other bikers as they ogled his girlfriend’s long, tanned legs. He also imagined what it might be like to own a Sunseeker boat, to moor in the South of France, to smile modestly at the admiring café people at the water’s-edge. Which led to thoughts about the beach huts again, the happy families, the couples. Why did his life have to miss out on all that?

Hearing noises behind him, he glanced back to see who was coming. It was a family he vaguely recognised. They were happy and laughing. The man was tall, dark-haired and lucky: lucky because his woman was a real stunner with long blonde hair, now exposing a lot of sleek tanned stomach between her bright orange top and hipster jeans. The daughter was a fair eyeful too, although a bit young for him. She was also blonde, slim, shapely, similarly dressed to her mother, but her top was red. He knew they were hut owners. They had their boisterous dog with them, bouncing about all over the place, out of control, as usual. He didn’t like dogs very much. They were too noisy and unpredictable. The girl was throwing a stick and the dog was fetching it and then scampering around, barking excitedly, impatient for another throw: a dim, easily-amused creature. A family having fun: he couldn’t abide it. Hunching over and looking studiously away from them, he gazed moodily across the sea towards the island. Mentally, he merged into the landscape so he would not be noticed.

Soon the family disappeared down the steps and he listened to the fading sound of the girl’s laughter and the dog’s excited barking with relief. Why had he never had a happy family life like that? Then it came to him. Rubbish parents, that was why.

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Thursday, 22 September 2011

SANDMAN Extract #3 (from Chapter 1)

Here is the latest extract from my psychological thriller: SANDMAN:

The crouching figure stared across the narrow strip of beach. Bright moonlight was forcing him to take cover in the shallow dunes. Although fierce flurries of sand occasionally stung his face, he still considered the conditions to be perfect. While the wind was not wild enough to compromise his mission, it was sufficiently blustery to cover any inadvertent sound he might make. He breathed slowly and deeply to calm himself and to fill his lungs with oxygen before he took action. He loved the tangy freshness of the sea and the sound of its alternate crashing and hissing; he smiled when the thought occurred to him that it sounded rather like his father’s wheezing and snoring.

Totally focused, he was ready to move. He knew his dark jacket and jeans made him practically invisible at night. He always took special care on missions. Tonight he needed to gather information and then get out by boat.

When a cloud temporarily obscured the moon, he slipped across the sand to the long line of beach huts. He could now move down their entire length without being seen: as silently as the most highly trained member of the SAS. Time for an update on those he called ‘hut-dwellers’. The mission was on.

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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

SANDMAN Extract #2 (from Chapter 1)

Here is the latest extract from my psychological thriller: SANDMAN:

Carol muttered more lines to herself while enjoying the pleasant wooded walk. She always sought solitude when rehearsing, and this was perfection. Areas of close shrubs and trees occasionally parted to frame delightful views across the lower fields to the harbour. It was all so beautiful.

Suddenly a loud rustle of leaves startled a blackbird and it flew close past her, chirping in panic. Carol halted uncertainly. Before she could assimilate what was happening, a man sprang from the bushes and blocked the path in front of her. He planted his legs wide and outstretched his arms threateningly. To her horror she saw he was wearing a black balaclava. Frantically looking for some way to escape, and well aware there was a sheer drop to her right, she veered to the left, but the ground immediately turned boggy. Small uncontrollable sounds of fear emanated from her throat and her heart was pounding as she struggled back out of the mud. Only the path itself was passable.

The youth grinned and pointed to her feet. ‘My, my! What a mess you’re getting in. A shame for such a pretty little thing.’ He paused to leer. ‘Let’s see your smile then.’

Screaming with terror, Carol turned to run back along the path but he was on her in a moment. One hand clasped tightly around her mouth, hurting her face, the other around her waist. The script flew from her hands as she tried to dig both elbows into him, but all her efforts were futile, he was far too strong.

‘Stop struggling or I’ll kill you,’ he shouted angrily. She stopped, rigid with fear. ‘Now just behave and I won’t need to hurt you.’ Still holding her tightly by the arm, the man moved around to face her.

Carol focused on the terrible knife in his hand; it was pointing towards her, glinting menacingly. Looking up she saw dark eyes boring into hers through the jagged holes of the balaclava. Seeing her terror, the slit of his mouth twisted into a sardonic grin. ‘Fancy walking alone here. Silly girl. Who knows what might happen?’ He took his time to look her up and down. ‘So what’s your name, babe?’

‘Michelle.’ Almost subconsciously, she spat out the protective lie straight from her script.

‘Me-shell.’ As he drew the word out he seemed to savour the last syllable as if it were some fine delicacy. ‘Nice name. Know what? You’re almost too pretty to live, Michelle.’

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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

SANDMAN Extract #1 (from Chapter 1)

I've been so busy concentrating on writing that Twitter has been my only social media outlet lately. However, I am now going to post extracts from my work on this blog. Each time I do this I will mention it on Twitter.

Follow me on Twitter (with almost daily posts) as: @authorkingsley

Here is the first extract from my psychological thriller called SANDMAN:

Paul Vincent was well aware his wife’s tight little smile was the result of feasting her eyes on the sleek and wet-suited contours of Russell Gartland. Were it not for this, he could have relaxed a little more and perhaps even been amused by the overpowering enthusiasm of the man with the spiky, gelled-up hair. Unfortunately, he knew Sasha’s weakness only too well. Gartland was showing them his windsurfing training rig on the harbour shoreline. Paul felt almost under-dressed in his baggy red trunks.

‘So just remember the sport’s called windsurfing, not sailboarding, and you’re called sailors, not surfers,’ said Gartland.

‘Confusing,’ muttered Leah Vincent, shaking her head. Dressed in a yellow bikini, she brushed long hair from her face. At only thirteen, she was not quite as tall as her mother and did not have the same toned body, but they were otherwise strikingly alike, except for her being a shade skinny, in her father’s opinion.

Gartland grinned and shrugged. ‘That’s life, Leah. But windsurfing’s a world away from board surfing, believe me. When you start out with displacement sailing, you’re just boarding through the water like a surfer, but when you’re proficient, and have learned to hydroplane in stronger winds, then you’ll just be skimming across the surface of the water.’ He winked at Leah. ‘That’s a whole new scene. It’s fast.’

‘Really?’ Paul Vincent was impressed by this new piece of knowledge; he also wanted to draw Gartland’s lingering gaze away from his daughter. ‘What speed can you get up to when you’re hydroplaning?’

Gartland turned to face him. ‘You can plane above around eight to ten knots, Paul, and you can even get to over fifteen knots with recreational equipment.’

‘So can you do more with special equipment, Russell?’ asked Sasha. Her black bikini revealed a figure almost as athletic as Gartland’s, courtesy of her work as a physical education teacher. Paul noticed she moved a little closer to Gartland while enveloping him in one of her broadest smiles.

‘Oh yes,’ Gartland grinned back. ‘There’s no holding back what you can achieve with special equipment, Sasha.’ As they exchanged amused grins, Paul was sure of it. He reckoned he’d noticed their mutual admiration during the theory training Gartland had given them a week earlier, but now this seemed patently obvious as the man continued to hold his wife’s gaze. ‘It’s possible to go right up to fifty knots, Sasha, but ideal conditions for recreational sailors are about fifteen to twenty-five knots.’ He pulled up the sail of the training rig. ‘So, we’ve done the theory. Now you need to develop balance and core stability. Stand up on the board, Sasha, and let’s get some wind in your sails. You look up for it.’

Sasha stood on the training board but wobbled off when she was distracted for a moment while smiling at Paul.

‘Try again,’ said Gartland. ‘You can’t walk on water, Sasha.’

Paul thought Gartland probably imagined that particular skill was restricted to him. As Sasha stepped back onto the board a light gust of wind unexpectedly filled the sail, taking her by surprise. When she wobbled towards Gartland, he reached out to support her, one hand resting on her back and the other on her buttocks. Both were laughing uproariously as he pushed her upright again, with his left hand remaining far too long on his wife’s bottom for Paul’s liking.

‘Steady on. Don’t handle the goods.’ Paul tried to make light of it but annoyance was clear in his tone.

Still with one hand supporting the small of Sasha’s back, Gartland grinned round at him. ‘Why do you think I do this job, Paul? Wait till it’s your turn, sailor.’ He jokingly twitched one eyebrow, causing Sasha and Leah to dissolve into hysterics.

‘Just don’t push it, Russell, that’s all,’ said Paul. ‘Especially with my daughter.’

Gartland’s face now lost its humour and his tone became icy. ‘I was only helping with Sasha’s core stability, Paul.’ He took his hand away from her.

‘I’d just concentrate on your own core stability, Russell.’ Paul held the other’s gaze during an uncomfortable silence. No one was smiling now.

Read more about SANDMAN and its real location at:

Friday, 3 June 2011

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas' by John Boyne

As a writer I hate having to say anything negative about another's work, but huge plot flaws do not go by unnoticed, as evinced by other reviews alongside this review of mine, published on Goodreads. Identifying and removing plot flaws is important for novelists, so I have published this review to demonstrate how they can misfire. In particular, the reliance on a misunderstanding of language that would not have actually worked in the original language is something no novelist should fall for. Nor is a point-of-view that is at odds with the treatment. Anyway, here we go with the review...

 Because of the success of the film, I decided to read this book. I was disappointed because I think it might have worked better with a different approach. As a writer, I found the choice of using third-person viewpoint and yet still writing what must surely be a young-adult or adult book in baby language was a poor choice. This topic is not for Enid Blyton readers. This level was emphasised by repetitive phrasing while inside the head of this child, Bruno, and such would only really work if this book had been written in first-person: which would have worked much better. To suggest it is a children's book amazes me, despite the baby language; you really don't want to 'charm' little children with tales of Nazi prison camps. In any case, only an adult can interpret what goes on, especially at the end of this book, so that blows a hole in that interpretation.

I have to agree with criticisms that to believe the 9 year-old son of the Commandant of a prison camp such as Auschwitz has not heard of Hitler and his aims is asking a bit too much (especially since he had been taught the Nazi salute). Even in those days, no child of that age could be as naive as this one. That he mishears 'Der Führer' as 'The Fury' and 'Auschwitz' as 'Out-With' becomes increasingly annoying with multiple repetitions, especially since such unlikely confusion could only occur with the English versions of these words and not the German: huge plot flaws. It is annoying that things like this, which prevent any suspension of disbelief and, rather, creat a feeling of total disbelief. And that this little boy is able to meet a 9 year-old inmate of the prison camp to chat through an unpatrolled section of the fence, for a year, and even pull up the wire to go into the camp in the closing scenes, beggars belief. I am also uncomfortable with the 'cosy fable' aspect of this dreadful scenario. I don't want to spoil the plot, but I also feel Bruno's father should have come out of this with a much more positive sense of self-realization as the result of learning what happened. Such an antagonist should reep his just deserts!

I cannot see a target audience to whom this book might actually speak. I have not seen the film, which possibly filters out some of the many plot flaws. As I said, it could be done much better. A pity that didn't happen.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Information about characters and settings in SANDMAN

Here is some information about some of the characters and settings in SANDMAN:

My psychological thriller 'SANDMAN' is now an eBook

I published my psychological thriller SANDMAN as an eBook a couple of days ago on and it already appears on the Sony EBook Downloads list, which makes me impressed with Smashwords. Yesterday I published it as an Amazon Kindle as well (US | UK). It was published in paperback in August 2010. The book is set in and around Christchurch, Bournemouth, Mudeford Sandbank and Hengistbury Head in Dorset, England.

For the full list of options of where you can buy SANDMAN, whether paperback or eBook, please visit this page on my author website. This page also includes many reviews. Bestselling author Sophie King gave it this cover endorsement: 'A gripping psychological read with characters that reach out and grab you. A real page-turner.'

If you buy it I hope you really enjoy it. Smashwords offers a 3-chapter free preview, and buying the eBook only costs you the price of a cup of coffee. If you enjoy it, I'd be really grateful for a reader review - especially on Many thanks!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Watch this stunning time-lapse of north American cities waking up

Between late 2010 and early 2011, photographer Dominic Boudreault visited Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Manhattan, and Chicago, shooting gorgeous images of the cityscapes at night using a Canon 5D Mark II. The images were then combined into this beautiful time-lapse video showing the hustle and bustle of highways, sidewalks, streets, and rivers. You really must not miss viewing this!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Did I see a UFO over golf course?

Okay, so you're skeptical about UFOs - as we all should be. But I shall never forget the time I took my dog for an evening walk - in total darkness - and saw this strange, bright light beyond a wood and over a golf course for about a minute. I saw it make sudden, very fast, and acute changes of direction several times (eg 30 degrees) before shooting off. It was obviously low, quite near, and not a star or satellite because of its erratic movements. It was all too fast for a helicopter, and there was no sound to be heard. I shall never forget it. What do you make of that?

Friday, 8 April 2011

Adding description while avoiding authorial intrusion

When writing fiction it it best to avoid diving straight into description, since this is total 'authorial intrusion'; in other words, the author's voice shouts out to interrupt the 'suspension of disbelief' you have lulled your reader into while caring about your characters. Looking at a scene through your character's eyes and observations is one way to achieve this. The following is an example taking from the novel I am presently writing:

I suddenly found myself observing her as a stranger might in order to gauge what Julia perceived. I was very ware of the shrillness to her voice and, although her English was excellent, I realised how Julia might notice her speech was still modulated by a German staccato; each word was sharply enunciated. I was also aware of an aroma of stewed apples. She’d always had a thing about apples. I’d practically lived on them as a kid. The house always smelled of apples.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Marchlands - and not cheating the reader/viewer

It is difficult enough for the reader/viewer to avoid confusion when a story flips to and from different time periods, but Marchlands (UK TV) pushed this further with three. The degree to which they interlocked was high and, on the whole, I think it was well done. The concluding episode last week drew in the different strands very well, but it did leave me with one big problem: a cheat. I hate cheats. My definition of a cheat is a scene within a book or drama that show us something that did not actually occur. Marchlands showed us more than one that Alice's grandfather was just innocently walking with her when she ran off, later to be drowned. The concluding episode showed us a completely different scenario, proving the earlier scene never happened (except in his lying head). Implication to throw people off the scent is fair enough in thrillers, but not cheats like this. Such a pity. Also, in the conclusion, I was pretty much unconvinced as to why Alice ended up in the water, let alone drowning. I expected more than an accident.

So far as writers are concerned, I believe it is fair play to misdirect readers - to make them think something misleading by implication (much as a conjuror does) - but a very unfair to describe something (even thoughts) that actually never happened. That is a cheat. I seem to remember Agatha Christie did it in the first book I ever read of hers and that rather put me off her for life, but novelists were still setting the ground rules then). I believe an author has a contract with a reader not to cheat - akin to lying - and I think that should be strictly opbserved. So, Marchlands gets my thumbs down for that cheat - although it kept me gripped. Such a pity after investing all that time.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Why I now spend time on Twitter

Before I began to use Twitter I imagined it would be a total waste of time. Indeed, if you read comments that truly answer the question 'What is happening?' as it suggests, it will be. Who wants to know if career-Mum is giving junior his toast? But many people just use it as a way of expressing wisdom, informing people about useful and interesting things, and so on. It is also a userful marketing platform. Personally I find its 140 character limit means you can make a worthwhile post with minimal interruption to your normal work. This constraint should work well for authors and it might even be a useful tool to help break writer's block: for which, just writing, is the best cure. Indeed, who is better suited than writers to be able to construct something interesting given these stringent constraints? It helps you to become concise.

When writing, I can get to a scene ending and then make a post. It is light relief. Why bother? Because it potentially brings you loads of followers and, as a writer, what more could you ask? In just under 2 months I have over 1,900 followers. I put in around 90 minutes a day. Okay, they don't all translate into sales but, given time, some may buy. Even if they don't, it is a good way for a writer to raise his/her profile. It is much more time consuming finding something worthwhile to post in a blog, which is why I now Twitter much more than I blog. Please check me out on Twitter at!/authorkingsley

Don't just use Twitter as a sales tool, though. Okay, you can mention your book, or whatever you have to sell, but you need to regularly post content that is interesting in its own right as well or you will soon turn off potential followers. My best advice? Target/follow users in your niche. If you don't follow others they won't follow you. Good luck!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Working to put back the ‘Great’ in Britain

I am old enough to remember my home town as it used to be when I lived in an avenue of beautiful cherry trees flowering in the spring (they were replaced to save sweeping up the blossom), when litter was the exception not the rule (people had a pride in their neighbourhood and town), and when service in shops was the rule not the exception (or you shopped elsewhere). What happened to those old values and expectations? I seem to recall that when computers first arrived they were heralded as the way processes could be automated so people could work less hard and have more leisure time. What happened? We became slaves to the computer in order to produce more for greedy companies. Commerce ruled.

Years ago I predicted the financial crisis that struck us all, but I am not claiming to have been a visionary, which is the really sad thing. Most people I talked to back then to seemed to be aware of the madness in financial companies offering easy credit no matter what your circumstances. Barely a day went passed without one or more leaflets dropping through the door begging us to take out further credit. Mortgages were easily approved with people exaggerating their earnings without any proper checks. People were given money despite the fact it was clear huge numbers did not have the means to ever pay it back. This was the build-up of a terrific bubble that had to burst when people could not afford what that bought. It did not take a genius to see this was happening, yet governments on both sides of the pond claim they didn’t see it coming, nor did the financial institutions. What? Really? How hopeless or irresponsible were they? Governments, of course, did not want to stop the party when everyone was happy. I think it suited them to turn a blind eye, make hay while the sun-shined, feather their nests - please add all the other applicable clichés.

Once a bank manager was respected as the person to whom you needed to prove financial viability and management expertise before you were given a loan. The bank worked hard to see if it could trust you. What now? We must work hard to see if we can trust a bank. We must consider how safe our money will be in any financial institution. We must weight up whether money in a financial institution is a better or safer investment than the proverbial mattress. What has the world come to when ordinary people are expected to make financial decisions trickier than banks themselves were expected to make?

Now, talking mainly of the UK, although I feel sure a lot may apply to the US, we are in a recession (forget technical definitions, trust the gut-feeling), and we need to reconsider what made us great in the ‘good old days’. A country can only be great, and viable, if it actually produces something useful: by which I mean PRODUCTS. I do not mean paperwork. This country built up arrays of civil servants with gold-plated pensions to push papers. Workable systems were made subject to change even though they worked perfectly well, and that change inevitable involved more paperwork. Take education, where teachers now spend so much time doing an administrative task, where paperwork is given priority over actually teaching. When I went to school teachers just taught. We learned. A great system. It worked! When we went to hospitals, the National Health Service used that old-fashioned method of local delegation, where ward sisters made sure things worked smoothly, and it did not take an army of civil servants in ivory towers to decide who was worthy of an operation and when, just a fair waiting list. Now, it seems, Mr. Cameron believes doctors can sort all that out instead, but, you know what, doctors should be spending their time making patients get well, not being involved in hospital adminstration. Why would a GP have better knowledge of what is needed at a local hospital than the staff there? So both governments, Labour and Coalition, have this one wrong. It was wrong, anyway, to expect the NHS to work like a profitable company. The profit in the NHS should be a fitter population.

Please, Mr. Prime Minister, look back at the models of yesteryear: the ones that worked. Delegation within a working system, not the micro-management and administrative nightmares concocted by Mr. Brown, nor Mr. Cameron’s empowered people keeping our country going for free because the tank is on empty. Yes, the present prime minister has a tremendous problem to sort out, and yes, it will be painful for everyone. We can only accept that – and the fact he inherited the problem. Tough measures are needed. It should, of course, be far more painful for top bankers, since it was their mismanagement that led us all into this problem. Afraid they will go abroad if their bonuses are cut? Maybe there would be newcomers filling their shoes who were prepared to be rewarded fairly for a fair day’s work – so what loss is that?

And on the subject of making cuts and savings, I would ask why decommissioned and fully functional military equipment could not just be moth-balled rather than cut up for scrap. It might come in useful one day in this troubled world.

It is inevitable people will be made unemployed in a recession, since paper-pushing people who are not really needed within a more efficient system really do need to get into more practical employment. What they need is different jobs, not the dole. They are not the kind of people used to, or wanting that. So let’s get back to what makes a country great: PRODUCTS. China and India are in the early phase where they see that these make wealth and happiness, although, of course, they have not got to the QUALITY phase yet; lots of what they make is rubbish. Germany realises quality and trustworthy products are the way to profitability. Why not us? We once got to the quality phase on both sides of the pond but now, because we are out-priced, we are suffering the rubbish phase with poor quality goods replacing those we knew and loved. Know what? There is still a marked to quality goods, and there is still an export market for them – and we know how to produce quality better than up-and-coming countries. It might be ironic if we supply high-quality goods to the countries feeding us low-quality goods for a while, but at least that would be TRADE: leading to us upping out standards again, in due course. Quality costs a little more, but it is what people really want, and many will pay extra for that, especially abroad. Some UK manufacturers who moved production to China, India, etc, to save on labour costs, are learning this to their cost how this affects quality and are bringing manufacture back to Europe and the home country where they can control it.

Yes, we do need to tighten our belts, we must not allow or be part of strikes asking for more money, we must be pleased we actually have jobs when we look upon those who do not. But what is the answer to the larger problem? Apart from banks helping financing sound and proven companies who are actually in the position to expand, and new companies with good business models and plans, I suggest it lies in investment within our infrastructure. We are still expecting Victorian sewers to function today when that was not the design aim. We expect the wires laid in the days of shared-line telephones to still deliver broadband services in those areas of the UK not yet upgraded (like mine). We loose precious water through leaky Victorian water pipes. We risk serious explosion through leaks from aging gas pipes. We plug holes in the roads instead of making them good again. Now we see a growing number people being paid for being unemployed – either through lost jobs or because they have yet to get their first job. True, the cost of paying their unemployment might be less than the waste of paying them to needlessly push papers, but how much better if they contributed to either producing products for export, or in restoring the aging infrastructure of our country. The UK government should invest in the better future they hope and pray for by using this available labour force to bring our infrastructure up-to-date. Then people are paid to contribute towards the better future to which we aspire. This is not just spending our way out of recession, as the previous government used to talk, but investing in our way out: there is a pay-off. That way they could work to make this country great again and it will be sounder for eventual growth and prosperity.

The modern world teaches everyone to expect everything NOW. We must learn again that you need to work for the luxuries of life – and WAIT a little. You can actually be happy with less. Less really is more. Work diligently now, and Mr. Cameron, please put people into work which will improve our country not just pay people to stay at home.

Know what? A country that pulls itself up by its bootstraps might also be a country that has some pride again. A country with less crime because there is more work and more money earned instead of illegally gained. Pride to keep its streets clean, its youngsters in order: less necessary with places to go and things to do. Pride in being known for quality goods and concern for our neighbours. Pride in being British again and feeling the word ‘great’ still applies to ‘Great Britain’.

(Please link to this article if you agree.)

Friday, 14 January 2011

Tweeting more than Blogging

I have to admit that I am tweeting more than I am blogging now. Since my New Year Resolution to Tweet, I have found it less time-consuming. With its 140-character limit, it forces you to be concise, and creating a Tweet is far less arduous. Follow me on Twitter.

Tiny URLs - great for a Tweet

You are all aware of how cumbersome some URLs can be. Well, since the advent of Twitter, with its 140 character limit to tweets, the URL shortener can be a boon. The results look meaningless, but sometimes it can be useful: especially in Tweets. Here is an example. The following is a link to the page about my novel called SANDMAN: and its shortened version is Take a much longer URL like the following link to my page: and the tiny version is only
OK, they're not the easiest things to type, and they are case-sensitive, but they have their uses.

Friday, 7 January 2011

My New Year's Resolution: to Twitter!

Firstly, a very Happy New Year to everyone. An important New Year's Resolution for me is to take the time to Twitter. Click here to find me on Twitter. I shall post more regularly there than in this blog - because it it so much quicker!