A Bookish Valentine’s Day…blog-post.




Say it with simit.

When I went to pick up the morning simit bread today the woman behind the counter popped this little gift into my bag. (I know it looks like a heart-shaped turd, but it’s bread.)

After I stopped panicking that I’d forgotten it was Valentine’s Day, it got me thinking about the occasion (and about how I could rescue myself from the promise of a bad day at home because of my forgetfulness). I could have presented my wife with the heart-shaped simit and pretended that I’d paid for it, but by the time the idea occurred to me on the walk home from the shop I’d already eaten it.


A flower in bloom, like first love, is beautiful to behold: fresh, fragrant, perfect. It is no surprise that they are chosen by many a romantic to give to the apple of their eye on Valentine’s Day. But… they wilt. They become ugly and smelly and depressing to look at. A metaphor for our chosen loved one, perhaps? Eventually, we can bear to put up with them no more and they are discarded, thrown away on life’s rubbish heap. It’s one of the reasons I don’t give flowers. (The other reason is, I’m tight.)


Chocolates! Mmmm… another safe staple for many a Romeo to fall back on and many a Juliet to get fat on. Remove the cellophane of the packet, lift the lid, inhale the trapped scents of long-sealed  c h o c o l a t e… it’s almost sexual, isn’t it? The box is full, virgin, unspoilt, unmolested, a treasure of tastes and torment, treats and truffles. But wait… chocolates get eaten, they disappear, soon they are all gone, there is nothing left… a bit like love, perhaps? And then, like love, it all turns to shit. Literally. That box of chocolate, that token of love is turned by your insides into poo. You squeeze it out and flush it away. A stinking mass of waste, again, literally. Gone. Forgotten. It’s one of the reasons I don’t give chocloates. (The other reason is, I’m tight.)

Flowers and chocolates: landfill and shit. What a waste in every sense of the word.

This is the speech I made to my wife this morning before she stopped speaking to me and threw something heavy in my direction. It was only half of my intended speech. She didn’t want to hear anymore. I don’t think that she could have over her sobbing behind the locked bathroom door.

Three Short Blasts  (Medium)The rest of it went like this. A book. Is there a more complete, more personal, longer lasting, more multi-sensory pleasure, more multi-layered gift that one civilised person can give to another with whom they experience feelings of deep and enduring love for than a book – new or old? I don’t think so. As well as all of the above a book is a present that can be opened again and again. That’s why I pre-ordered you, my sweet, a copy of my latest book Three Short Blasts.

Her response probably would have gone something like: It’s not even a real book. It’s a crappy electronic file. You only pre-ordered it to get your sales figures and your Amazon chart position up.

Despite marrying me, she’s not completely stupid.

For anyone out there looking for a late Valentine’s Day gift for the love of your life, here are pre-order links. Amazon UK Amazon US

And at £0.99 and $0.99 a copy you won’t find many cheaper presents out there. Say it with an electronic file.

Here’s the Amazon sales page blurb in case you need a little more convincing.

Three Short Blasts is a collection of three original stories that are not to be found anywhere else. There is one story in each of the three series that I write: The Romney and Marsh Files, Acer Sansom and Booker & Cash.

Going on industry standard word count, the three stories range from forty to sixty pages of a paperback novel in length – significantly longer than short stories but not quite novellas.

There’s also an introduction in the book where I explain the motivation behind it. You can skip that bit if you like and get straight into the reads, which I hope you will enjoy.


As regular followers of this blog will know, last Sunday Rope Enough (R&M File #1) was the subject of a book promotion excercise that saw it go to #1 in the Amazon free charts. That’s the chart for every single free book on Amazon. Quite amazing. I’m still trying to get my head around that. There must be thousands of free books on Amazon. Maybe tens of thousands. In its first twelve hours it was downloaded nearly 6000 times. I thought it would quickly drop back down the charts but it stayed at #1 for 24 hours (awesome) and then hung around in the top 10 for most of the week. A few thousand more downloads later and today it’s at #20. Still good and a great boost to the book and the R&M Files’ profile for a mere $50.

There have been some good knock-on sales for the other R&M Files. That’s what it was all about.

Hits on my blog were also up. Before the promotion I was averaging about 30 or 40 hits a day. All this week I’ve been averaging over 100 hits a day, presumably from downloaders of Rope Enough checking out my links. Great stuff! Lots of exposure.

Talking of the blog: a small milestone this week: I posted my 200th blog-post. By my calculations that’s quite a lot of CWAP.


17 thoughts on “A Bookish Valentine’s Day…blog-post.

  1. Glad to hear your promotion has proved to be fruitful and hope your success shoots to even greater heights. Reach for the stars, as that song goes.
    As for Valentines day – I’m surprised your wife’s hasn’t castrated you by now – it would appear we both seem to have to same unsentimental approach to this day, and I say, why should we celebrate some gangster in America shooting several other’s gangsters for invading his manor in the 1920’s.
    But, if Hubby should deign to buy me anything to celebrate this massacre- and that’s a big IF – I would like flowers. He knows I hate chocolates. I usually leave them in their box and when I fancy one, which will probably be nine months after I received them, they will all be gone, or gone off. And cards I also find a waste of money, unless you’re into cutting them up afterwards to produce a collage, if you’re that way inclined, which I am not.
    I bought Hubby a flat-cap (a ratter) for Valentine’s day as he’s into hats. All he needs now is a shotgun, and he’ll look like the village squire.
    Have a great Valentines day, and hope your wife feeds you.
    Best wishes.

    • Pat,
      Things are very quiet at home today. Still at least I can get on with my work. (I’ve hidden all the long knives.)
      Yes, cards is something else I’m not keen on. Funnily enough they don’t do them out here. Not for anything.
      A hat? Sounds… useful. 🙂
      Have a good day!

      • Here’s a clue, Oliver – there’s more than one, deliberate or otherwise, and all but one involve apostrophes.

  2. Right you (self confessed) tightwad. There is a way to redeem this situation, but you will still have to suffer today.
    Next week, you get over your stinginess and buy her some lovely flowers, they will be much cheaper because it is NOT Valentine’s Day, then when you give them to her, you tell her that you wanted to give them to her as an expression of your love and devotion rather than because the rest of the world says you should do it on that particular day.

    It may work – she will like the individuality of it – but it will not make up for her not being able to join in when her friends are excitedly chatting about what their spouses gave them on Valentine’s Day.

    Do NOT ever give her one of your books, unless you have had it bound especially for her – preferably with a dedication to her in the front.

    We, your readers love your books, to her they are a part of your everyday life!

    Glad the R&M promotion worked so well. Is it something you would consider repeating? I have Three Short Blasts pre-ordered.


    • Hahaha… that made me laugh, Dawn. They do a nice line in poison ivy down at the local garden centre. 🙂 Seriously, I will think long and hard about your very good advice. Thank you for it.
      As for my books as gifts, again you are probably right. It’s an association I hadn’t considered before. I’ll still keep it on pre-order though – I’d feel bad cancelling it.
      I’m definitely thinking of another Bookbub promotion. That was a huge success for a CWAP like me.
      Thank you for your pre-order of TSB. I hope you like it.
      Have a good Valentine’s day.
      Best wishes.

  3. Mmmm previously, I tried unsuccessfully to pre order it on Amazon.co.uk which is the way I normally do but I have now managed to pre order TSB direct through my Kindle device. Great news!

  4. Congratulations on a successful promotion. And just buy your wife some flowers or chocolates. Yes I know it’s a horrible commercial venture. But just do it.

  5. ‘Say it with an electronic file’… Love it! Another great blog, Oliver. I share that feeling of wonder when a book hits the #1 spot. Quite surreal, isn’t it. Congratulations 🙂

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