What goes up…

Unhappy Families (Large)

(Unhappy Families is available for immediate download now here Amazon UK and here Amazon US )

Four days now since Unhappy Families (Romney and Marsh Files #6) hit the virtual shelves.

Like anyone responsible for creating something for others to hopefully enjoy I was on tenterhooks waiting for the first reader feedback. What a relief and pleasure it was to be humbled with a wonderfully encouraging review on Amazon UK the same day. In fact on the day the book became available for reading it received four glowing reviews on Amazon UK. I was fairly bowled over by the positive response and have been further by other Amazon reviews, emails and social-media comments that I’ve received since. Sincere thanks to all for your encouraging messages.

This morning I logged onto the Internet to discover that Unhappy Families was at #822 in the overall Amazon charts and still receiving positive feedback. I was so chuffed that I posted the details of my happiness on my social-media sites. I was riding high on an emotional wave.

What goes up must come down.

To remind me of that central tenet of life, particularly a writing life – you can’t please all the people all the time – within an hour I noticed that another review had been posted on Amazon.com and Goodreads. A two star comment for Unhappy Families.

What goes up must come down. Thanks to Betsy for bringing me firmly back down to Earth… with a bump. Ouch!

Let’s get one thing straight folks: everyone is entitled to their opinion. Betsy didn’t like it. She paid for it and she has the right to air her views. DOUBLE PLEASE don’t anyone think about going over to comment. That’s not what this is about. By all means look but PLEASE DON’T COMMENT AND DON’T LOOK IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK BECAUSE THE REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!

So why am I blogging about this?

This is my online diary about being a self-published author. I try to make it a warts an’ all record. Being a self-published author is not all sunshine and lollipops. Naturally, I’m disappointed that a reader really didn’t like the story I’d written. Fiction writers write to entertain not make people wish they’d saved their time and money. But Betsy gave me something I think I probably needed – a dose of reality. And that’s never a bad thing for anyone. Other readers aren’t going to like this book, too, in the same way that all of my books, in fact just about every book on Amazon, has got both glowing and scathing reviews. Everyone’s different. Everyone brings something different to the reading experience. Everyone has to accept this. Especially the writer.

Right, it’s lunchtime here. I’m on this diet that’s working well for me. Every lunch time, a time that I usually start to feel peckish, I head off to the gym for some exercise. That way I miss a meal and burn calories. A double-whammy. Besides there’s a punch bag down there with someone’s name on it…

Not a (very) festive blog-post!

Unhappy Families (Large)

As mentioned in a previous post, I was obliged to let Amazon have my final copy of Unhappy Families (Romney and Marsh File #6) well before publication date. That’s now out tomorrow. How time flies.

(Unhappy Families is available for pre-order now here Amazon UK and here Amazon US )

The book has been available for pre-order for the last ten days. In that time it’s floated in and out of the top 20 in Amazon’s British Detectives chart, which has been encouraging. (It’s just a sub-genre of the crime catalogue so nothing to get too excited about. I’m not ordereding the Range Rover yet.) I noticed that the book broke briefly into Amazon’s top 1000 chart a couple of times. And one time when I looked it was occupying the number one spot for Amazon Hot New Releases in the British Detective chart. That was so thrilling I immediately took a screen shot. (Like you do.)

no 1UFWhen R&M #6 was off my hands I had a choice to make: get back to Booker & Cash #3 or get on with editing one of my other finished first drafts. It seemed a bit silly to have first drafts just sitting around waiting attention. They should be moved along the production line as soon as possible so that they can start repaying me my time and effort. (This is my livelihood now.) Besides I write books to be read, not stuck in limbo in drawers.

So I got on with Deep State – Acer Sansom #4. A couple of read-throughs and associated editing and I was happy enough with it to send it off to my gentleman friend. That took about a week.

When I read about how long it can take some writers to write a first draft and then perform their own edits on the manuscript until they are happy enough to let it go up the line I can feel a little… hurried with my own process. (A year or more for some of them!) But I know when I’ve done all I can with a project. And I’m pretty sure that putting it in a cupboard for six months and then taking it out again to look at it with fresh eyes isn’t going to make much difference to me regarding the end product. They’ll still be my eyes.

On that subject, a reader gave me cause to look up another writer who I had heard of but hadn’t appreciated his contribution to literature. John Creasey. Have a guess at how many novels he wrote in his lifetime and then check him out here if you like. Here’s a clue: he wrote using twenty-eight pseudonyms. John_Creasey.

Suddenly I didn’t feel so bad about my own production line timings.

What next? I thought I might as well get on with the last first draft I’ve got in the pipeline, A White-Knuckle Christmas (Romney and Marsh File #7). It’s been cluttering up my writer’s desk with the others, a constant reminder that I have work to do on it.

I have been glad this last week to be involved with Dover CID in a story that takes place in the run up to Christmas. It’s made me feel Christmassy in a time and place where Christmas is not celebrated. Actually, I’m more than a little disappointed not to have written this one a few months before so that it would have been available as a Christmas download. And I’m not just saying that because the charts seems to be awash with Christmas themed books. Four that I can see in the British Detectives top 20. (Did I say awash? Some of you may have noticed that I’m prone to exaggeration.)

I’ve now given that a couple of read-throughs and some editing attention. It needs some more but I need a break from it. Actually, what I need a break from is editing. That’s pretty much three books back to back I’ve edited. It’s mentally exhausting. I couldn’t do it for a living. I’m missing my writing – making stuff up and letting my imagination run away with me.

I think I shall now get back to B&C #3 until Deep State comes back to me. Then it’ll be that interminable formatting process to go through again before releasing it into the wild.


Making a Killing JPEG

I also want to mention that Making a Killing (Romney and Marsh File #2) had its third birthday this week. Three years it’s been available on Amazon. It currently has 225 reader comments/reviews with a 4.6/5 star rating average on Amazon UK. I’m very happy with that.

One down, two to go.


Unhappy Families (Romney and Marsh File #6) is now off my hands. I uploaded the final version to Amazon on Tuesday. For the time being I have to forget it and move on. What better way to do that than by focussing on another writing project?

(Unhappy Families is available for pre-order now here Amazon UK and here Amazon US Release date is 27th December.)

I’m too late to get A White-Knuckle Christmas (Romney and Marsh File #7) out for Christmas. It would have been nice and seasonal but in any case I think it might be wise to have an interval between books #6 & #7.

That means I’m now working on Acer #4 Deep State. I’ve completed one read-through and I still like it. I haven’t felt the need to change anything of the structure.

I do the first read-through on a hard copy with a highlighter pen. Then I update the Word document with the changes. After that I send the new Word document to my Kindle and read the book again on that device. I have the hard copy and a different coloured highlighter pen close by. Anything I want to alter I note it on the hard-copy in the new colour as I go. Then I’ll ping the updated copy to my Kindle and read it again. I’ll usually do this a few times before I’m happy with things and can’t find anything else to change/correct.

Reading the book through using a different means – ie Kindle rather than paper copy – gives me the opportunity to spot things that I seem to not be able to spot otherwise. It always surprises me the number of things I miss on the first read-through. After the initial read of Deep State there wasn’t that much red ink on the manuscript. I’m now half-way through the second using the Kindle and there is more ink on the pages already than there was after the whole of the first read.

When I’m done with these stages I send it off to my gentleman friend for a second opinion.

(When the books come back I get further examples of the limits of my understanding of spelling, punctuation, grammar and making sense. I’m not terrible at these things – no one proofreads my blog-posts and they’re not littered with mistakes of English (?!) – but a full-length novel is something else. Sometimes it’s hard to see the wood for the trees, especially when you are so close to them.)

Anyway, second read-through going well. Still liking it.


Some of you may know that I run another site at southcoastcrimewriters.co.uk It was conceived as a bit of fun. A couple of weeks ago I had the idea to contact all the authors included on the site who I could find online contact details for and ask them to answer just a couple of questions about their motivations for writing crime fiction set on the south coast. I’m very happy to report that a few did respond and I think that their answers are great. Please go over and have a look.

Thanks to:

Valerie Keogh

Pauline Rowson

Elly Griffiths

Peter Guttridge

Sara Sheridon

If any readers have an author or book to suggest, please take a look at the criteria I’ve devised for inclusion (it’s on the ‘About’ page) and if your suggestion matches do let me know. I want the site to be comprehensive.


It’s unlikely that I’ll blog again before the 25th and so I would like to take this opportunity to wish each and every reader of my books a very happy Christmas.


‘Tis Done…

Unhappy Families (Large)

Remember, Remember the 27th of December

If I should get hit by a bus,

Arrested, deported,

Don’t make a fuss.

You’ll get your copy on time because

Now I’ve ironed out all the flaws,

Pulled out the stops

Against the clocks

And pressed submit

Washed my hands of it.

R&M 6 is ready and waiting

In Amazon’s system

Quietly stating

Its place in the series

Of south-coast crime books

Here’s hoping the tale is a match for its looks.


In case that’s a bit confusing for anyone, what I’m trying to say is that today I uploaded the final version of Unhappy Families (Romney and Marsh File #6) to Amazon. So if I drop dead tomorrow it will still get published.

I won’t look at it again. Amazon won’t let me interfere with it now until after publication date. (Can you imagine if I took a peek and saw a mistake?)

I will now spend the next two weeks living on my nerves, medically prescribed drugs and the toilet as I worry about the same things I worry about every time I self-publish a book.

The buck stops here.







Spot the difference.

Unhappy Families (Large)

Available to pre-order now here Amazon UK and here Amazon US.


I’ve taken some good advice from a reader. (No I’m not going back to teaching.) I’ve created a Facebook author page. I wish I’d done it years ago. I’m an idiot for not. It offers lots of possibilities for a perspiring writer. Please go over and have a look at the below link. In case you’re wondering what’s in it for you (don’t we all?) it is only on my FB author page that you will be able to see the covers for A White-Knuckle Christmas (Romney and Marsh File #7) and Deep State (Acer Sansom #4). They are both in the photo albums section. If you do stop by PLEASE click the ‘like’ link.



A few weeks ago I posted this image. For this photo shoot I was engaged in my own round of proofreads and edits for Unhappy Families (R&M File #6).

nice work

Here’s me today. Anyone got time on their hands for a game of spot the difference? (Me neither.)


Did I mention the heating’s stopped working? And this was Ankara last week. It might look sunny out there but it’s bloody freezing!


This week I received the proofread copy of Unhappy Families (R&M File #6) back from my gentleman friend. It’s now available for pre-order here  Amazon UK and here Amazon US.

When the books come back from proofreading they need formatting for uploading to Amazon. This is my least favourite task in the whole self-publishing process. It’s onerous and boring and time-consuming. I refer closely to the Smashwords style guide. It’s never let me down yet. Basically it entails:

  1. Copy and paste the whole document into a new MS notepad document. This will get rid of any glitches in the document that have come from it being worked on on multiple computers. (This is called the ‘nuclear method’ and it cleans the whole document up.)
  2. Copy and paste that all back into a new MS word document. (Trouble with the ‘nuclear method’ is it removes all previous formatting. So the italics have gone along with any oversized font for chapter numbers and newspaper headlines etc; paragraphing and spacing also needs redoing and asterisks used to denote change of scene etc have been aligned left. I like them centred.)
  3. Redo all the things that were lost in the creating of a new document. (See 2)
  4. Create the front matter.
  5. Create a hyperlinked table of contents.
  6. Make sure that there are ‘x’ number of spaces between every chapter end and start and asterisk and chapter number to chapter start.
  7. Create end matter (book links, letter of thanks begging for feedback).
  8. Then it needs reading again on a Kindle to make sure that everything has been done properly. (There is always something to change and I have never read one of my books at the last stage [this one] and not found something to change in the story – a word, a line. Example: I’ve just removed a paragraph from R&M#6 because it didn’t add anything.)
  9. Update word document with these final tweaked revisions and guess what? Read it again on Kindle to make sure I didn’t bugger anything up when I did the revisions.

I have to get this book to Amazon by Wednesday or I’m in trouble with them. (They demand it ten days before publication day in the case of a pre-order.) I’m halfway through the first read through of the formatted ‘finished’ book. The hard copy of the manuscript has got purple ink all over it. (I’m working in purple crayon today, even though it hurts my eyes and I suffer from a crayon allergy that brings me out in hives [part of my PTSD from working with small children for too long], because The Halfling has hidden all my highlighter pens.)

With so much to do on top of everything else all this begs the question: why am I messing around taking pictures of myself in silly hats?


R&M#6: off to a flying start!

UF no2

Just before I tiptoe off to bed I’d like to offer my sincere gratitude to everyone who has pre-ordered a copy of Unhappy Families (Romney and Marsh Files #6). Thank you all so much for your support of my writing.

The book only became available for pre-order today and the response has been something for me to get a bit mushy about. As you can see from the screen grab it’s gone to #2 in Amazon’s Hot New Releases category. That’s just word of mouth, a mention on my blog, Facebook and a few tweets.

I’ve also had some wonderful messages on my social networking sites. It’s been good to hear from readers who’ve been following the series and who are looking forward to the latest installment.

I couldn’t be happier. Thanks and goodnight.

Christmas Joy anyone? (And the rest of Dover CID, of course.)

Unhappy Families (Large)

Unhappy Families (Romney and Marsh File #6) is back from my gentleman friend. Everything else will now go on hold while I format the finished article, read it through again and pester readers to buy it.

I have organised Amazon’s pre-release purchase function. Release date: December 27th. (Amazon insist on having the completed book ten days in advance of the publishing date. I thought about going for Christmas day but that would put too much pressure on me all things considered and, let’s face it, who’s going to be reading books on Christmas day?) Here are the links for Amazon UK and Amazon US

Please buy it. Please tell all your friends with ereaders to buy it. Please share your love of the R&M Files on your social-media sites. Let me know here, on Facebook or Twitter that you’ve pre-ordered and I’ll thank you personally – be happy to! Thank you.

My chief aim when putting out a new book in one of my three series (after trying to make enough money to extend my sabbatical [just the thought of having to go back to teaching has got me hiding under my writer’s desk, quivering with the PTSD that too many years in the job have left me burdened with]) is to release a work that does not let the side down. I am confident that this latest addition adds positively to the R&M Files canon.

A word of caution: Unhappy Families works perfectly well as a stand-alone read and much as I want it to be downloaded and read and enjoyed, for a reader to get the most out of it (and there’s plenty to get) I sincerely recommend that you don’t read it until you’ve read the other books in the series. (And that’s not me just trying to get everyone to buy the other R&M Files. But if that’s what it takes… )

Finally for today my apologies in advance: I’m trying to make a living out of writing these days. A big part of that is self-promotion (who knew?) and so I will probably be pushing R&M#6 here and about the web up until its release date and beyond…

Now, here’s the blurb:

Dover CID is enjoying a period of relative calm.

That is until DI Tom Romney gets linked with a disturbing find in a dead man’s flat; DS Joy Marsh gets involved with things that go bump in the night; DC Peter Grimes gets friendly with a ride-along author; DC Derek Spicer gets drunk and Superintendent Vine gets taken in by a ruse.

Can the members of Dover CID come through their individual trials unscathed or is it the end of the line for someone?

Another milestone reached.

Rope Enough Final JPEG 1205

Happy birthday Rope Enough – from baby to toddler.

Another milestone reached. I’ve commemorated the event by splashing out on a professionally produced banner for my social media sites.

Fancy some musical accompaniment to this blog-post? The fittingly titled: Milestones from the unbeatable Miles Davis. (See what he did there?)


Three years ago today – December 5th, 2012 – I released my first book: Rope Enough (The First Romney and Marsh File) as a self-published ebook. Three years seems like a long time that’s gone really quickly. Naturally, I wrote a blog-post to commemorate the event. (Any excuse for a blog-post.) I’m going to include a few excerpts from it in this blog-post. (Any excuse for a bit of padding.) Anyone who would like to see the original here’s the link:


I’ve done it. I’m climbing the ladder to success. I have self-published my first novel. How does it feel? Anti-climactic, actually, if I’m honest. It wasn’t exactly a publisher’s launch party in a major Waterstones with the national press kicking each other for an interview with me. It was more of a, right-the-baby-has-finally-gone-to-sleep-I-might-as-well-make-a-cup-of-tea-and-upload-that-book-tonight-instead-of-waiting-for-the-weekend type thing. Still, it’s done. Done and dusted. That’s the main thing. One down, four to go. I feel a bit relieved because I can move on. It’s a bit like a divorce.

Climbing the ladder to success? If success is viewed as a ladder, which rung am I clinging to now? Am I going up or down? And how long is my ladder? (Very Tao.)

In the blog-post I wrote a paragraph to remind myself of why I self-published. It’s as relevant today as it was three years ago:

Let me just remind myself of why I did it? Why I self-published? I did it because I had no realistic hope, or expectation of being able to get a literary agent interested in my books (see blog posts). I did it because I wanted people to read my books in order that I might get some feedback on them. I did it in the vain hope that I might get downloaded enough and favourably reviewed enough to maybe garner some attention – not me, the books (I have absolute faith in my writing). I also did it because otherwise I was just writing books to go in the drawer of my desk. No one else reads them. And if I got knocked down and killed by a bus tomorrow they would end up in a rubbish sack, then the dustbin and then the landfill site and all of my creative output would have been wasted and lost. (I’m not even going to try to make some crummy self-deprecating joke about that.)

Last week, rather aptly, Rope Enough received its 500th 5* review/comment on Amazon.co.uk. At the time of writing it has 894 reviews/comments in total. Rope Enough’s Amazon.co.uk average rating is 4.4*. That is quite healthy. Reader feedback has been overwhelmingly (both statistically and emotionally as far as I’m concerned) positive.

I’ve had some stinkers, of course. You can’t please all the people all the time. That will be the title of one of the modules in my home study course: Self-publishing for Dummies when I get around to writing it.

Goodreads stats are not bad either when one considers that Goodreads’ readers are tougher judges (allegedly) than Amazon readers. Currently Rope Enough has a rating of 3.69 out of 5. I’m happy with that.

Rope Enough has been free to download since its release. Because I had three books written in the series I thought that if I gave the first one away for free – and let’s face it who is going to fork out a couple of pounds for the debut of a vanity self-publisher? – and readers found something to like in it they might be encouraged to pay for the next in the series and then the next. I’m sure this loss leader strategy has helped with downloads. For the time being Rope Enough is still free. (Pricing is something that I’ll be considering in my action plan.)

Comments policy?

So swept up in the euphoria of receiving my first positive feedback on the book was I that I replied to it. And then that became a habit. And then habit became policy. And then with ten books out there and new comments turning up fairly regularly the policy became a rod for my own back. So I stopped it. I wanted to try to make the comments bespoke to each reader depending on whether it was their first Amazon comment or, in some cases, their tenth. It all just became too difficult and I could never be sure that the readers they were aimed at ever saw them. I still value every comment and I read every single one I receive.

(These days my social-media sites: blog, Facebook and Twitter are the best places to contact me and I am always happy to communicate with readers. If anyone ever wants to communicate privately with me I’m on olivertidy@yahoo.co.uk. Happy to hear from you.)

How many books now?

Three years on: I now have ten books available to download from Amazon: five R&M Files, three Acer Sansoms and two Booker & Cash stories. I have two more R&M’s written and in post-production, one Acer written and in post-production, a R&M short story that I don’t know what to do with and I’ve just started B&C#3.

The books that are out there haven’t all been written in the three years since publication of Rope Enough. The first three R&M Files were written before I released the first one into the wild. And so was the first Acer Dirty Business. (Lots of information about all that in my blog-post archives.)

Why no hardcopies? 

Because this is a diary I must be completely honest with myself. The main reason that I have not done anything about organising print on demand copies of my books is because when I pressed the upload button that started my self-publishing venture (three years ago) I had a vain hope that I might get picked up by an agent or a publisher who just happened to be trawling through Amazon and who took a look at my books and thought I was worth a punt. And then they would take on the responsibility for all that. (That notion seems so naive and utterly ridiculous to me now that I’m a much more informed self-publisher.) It does happen, but books and writers must prove themselves first with sales figures and then the smell of potential profits to be made attracts the agents and the publishers in the same way that blood in the water attracts sharks.

It didn’t happen for me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t cry in my beer about it. I’ve come to realise and accept that while my books are not crap my writing is not good enough in a genre that is bursting at the seams with top quality writing, plotting and characterisation. I’m happy with what I write – I have thoroughly enjoyed writing the books in all my series – and I think that there will always be a place for fairly short, light, unchallenging reads, especially now that the self-publishing marketplace has presented those opportunities.

Anyway, I promised myself three years of doing what I was doing and if no one came knocking then I’d put things in train to get physical copies of my books published. Perhaps this attitude, this conceit, of mine hurt my sales and in turn my Amazon sales rankings. Who knows? I can’t regret it though. What would be the point?

Now those three years are up, the organising of physical copies of my books is on my action plan.

What have I got out of it all?

1) Writing, self-publishing and all that has come with it has given me more pleasure than I could have imagined. Probably the greatest pleasure I have found in life after having children. And I’ve tried a lot of things.

2) I’m not working anymore. I honestly wouldn’t have imagined that three years ago. I’m writing full-time. That’s not because of the wheelbarrow loads of royalty payments I’m receiving every month but because I decided, and could afford from my teaching earnings, to take a year out, just, to follow my passion. One thing this writing/self-publishing venture hasn’t made me is rich. Not even moderately well off. In fact if things don’t pick up and soon I’ll be looking for a proper job next year. G..u..t..t..e..d. But let’s focus on the here and now.

3) Writing and self-publishing has provided me with things in life to get excited about. And I am excited about the future of my self-publishing venture. I strongly believe that if I buck my ideas up with self-promotion when I return to the UK I can get physical copies of the books into people’s homes and onto their bookshelves. As a bibliophile, book-lover, book-collector and lover of the written word generally, that would make me very, very happy.

4) In May of 2014 I learned that I had been listed on the Fantastic Fiction website, which was pretty thrilling. I just wish I’d been able to provide a better photograph (something like me hunched over an old typewriter, cigarette hanging from the corner of my mouth, squinting through the haze at what I’ve just typed. Maybe a half-empty bottle of good scotch to the side and a tumbler tinted with the residue of my last snifter. Instead I had to crop something from my last wedding shoot: me in a monkey suit being attacked by a moth.) Maybe a proper, professionally taken author photo should figure on my action plan. (More on the action plan next week.)

5) And let’s not forget the blog. I’m attached to it – my writer’s diary. Through the blog I’ve communicated with readers of my books from all over the world who’ve taken the time and trouble to get in touch over the reads. I’m so happy that they have. I never tire of learning that someone has enjoyed something in one of my stories. Like most things in life positive feedback on what you’re doing is worth its weight in the encouragement stakes.

6) I’ve graduated from writing at the dining room table, the kitchen table, my lap in the locked bathroom and bed to my own writer’s desk in my own writer’s room. That’s nice.


I have a few, but then again… well, actually I will mention them.

1) I regret not having the first three R&M Files at least proofread before I released them. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Title of module two in my home study course: You must at least have your work professionally proofread before self-publishing.

A quote from the blog of three years ago:

The hardest part of it all has been the proof reading. I must have read the book five times in the last two weeks and every time I’ve found typos, or words to change. In the end I’ve had to stop. One has to say enough is enough and move on to the next project (why does everything remind me of divorce tonight?) which I have. I’ve already started on the second proof-reading of the third draft of the fourth edition of Making a Killing (the second Romney and Marsh File). I must be improving technically as a writer because there is a lot less red ink in the margins of this book, so far.

And I still missed a lot. But generally readers have been fantastic: supportive and helpful with their comments. I asked for corrections to be pointed out to me and lots of readers did in the nicest possible ways. It’s testament to the feedback of readers who helped me with spelling, grammar and punctuation errors that I corrected in further edits that I haven’t had a comment on Amazon mentioning any of the above for a very long time. It’s a bloody relief as well.

2) I regret not hunting readers down for their email addresses from the beginning so that I could pester them with new releases. I reckon I’d have a good few by now and I’ve learned from other more self-promotional savvy authors than me that a big email list of readers potentially interested in downloading your latest books is an essential for success in statistical and monetary terms.

3) I regret not being more social-media savvy, or rather I regret not being bothered to be more social-media savvy. These days I am a firm believer that you don’t even need to write a great book to be a successful, in financial terms, self-published author. You just need to work the systems well. I’ve seen it and I continue to see it. It’s that that gives me hope that if I can shake my self-promotion game up a bit I can maybe get another year’s sabbatical out of this.

What’s next?

I have an action plan of sorts. That might surprise a few people. Above my writer’s desk I have some sticky notes with ideas stuck to the wall. I’m adding to them, too. (Yeah, I know – an action plan on sticky notes… on a wall. Next week I’ll be sharing my ideas for the action plan.)

How do I feel about it all?

So, another milestone reached. But aren’t milestones markers on the way to somewhere? I have no idea where I’m going with my writing – it’s a bit of a magical ‘mystery-writers’ tour. (See what I did there?) But as the famous literary figure, Robert Louis Stevenson, at least once remarked: “Little do ye know your own blessedness; for to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour.”

I’m going to leave the final word of this celebratory blog-post to another famous literary figure, ahem, Detective Constable Peter Grimes. He doesn’t often say much worth remembering, but in Joint Enterprise he had this to say about immortality:

‘We’re all going to die, gov. Most of us will leave no mark of our existence behind what-so-ever. Not a stain or a smudge or a smear on the face of history. I think that’s sad. If I can be part of something that survives long after I’m dead then I’ll have achieved a form of immortality. I’d like that.’

I feel that I’m on my way to achieving that. (Oh look, I got the last word after all.)