The Climate Conundrum

The sixteenth book ‘Into The Sunlight’ is a little behind schedule. It didn’t take long to get the A+ content I mentioned last time agreed and posted, but we’ve had people working inside and outside the house which didn’t help the creative juices to flow.

This newsletter is a week earlier than planned because my long-awaited eye operation is imminent. My writing shouldn’t be curtailed for more than three or four days, so there’s still a chance of hitting my deadline of the end of October.

A chance remark a few days ago triggered a memory, and I thought I’d share the story with you:

A frequent topic of conversation these days is climate change. Someone I worked with forty years ago explained why reducing, let alone eliminating, the amount of carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere was nigh on impossible.

An engineer who worked at the same tyre company I did, went to the Middle East in the late 70s. His task was to identify possible locations for a new factory. When he visited Dammam in Saudi Arabia, he was taken by a UK trade delegate, in a Land Rover, from the seaport to the Shell oil refinery. The company had improved transport links for the eight-mile journey by building a two-lane highway.

The road was far busier than the engineer had imagined. As well as the occasional tanker, he spotted all manner of luxury foreign cars – Ford Mustang, Porsche, Ferrari, Jaguar, and Rolls Royce. The delegate explained these belonged to local sheikhs and princes; things had changed since the oil crisis in 1973. That sixteen-mile round trip was the only decent road surface on the Arabian Peninsula at that time, and the Saudis were determined to use it.  The engineer wondered why they bothered with such a short trip, and the delegate told him something perhaps he should have shared with a wider audience.

“We live in the Old World and have been through our Industrial Revolution phase, plus its resultant social and economic changes. Most of the New World has negotiated the same process, although some areas haven’t progressed at the same rate and still must catch up. What do you think the so-called Third World nations will do? Sit back and accept they don’t get a chance to develop in the same way? What we can see on this stretch of black tarmac is just the beginning. China and India have hardly taken their first steps yet. The Africans too, will join those huge nations in wanting new roads and motorways for the cars they aspire to own. Every individual in Asia will dream of owning a television, washing machine and refrigerator like you, too.”

That was 1979. The trade delegate might have been on the money with the priorities of the decade. However, the full impact of the mighty micro was just around the corner, and things have moved faster in the past forty years than at any time in world history.

I’m no politician. I don’t envy them the task of agreeing effective reductions while seventy-five per cent of the world’s population is still waiting to enjoy their time in the sun.

I can’t stand still for long. Here’s another Box Set to keep someone happy until #16 arrives.

I’ll be back with an update in the second week of November.

Take care. Keep reading. Best wishes Ted Tayler

An Improving Picture

Front Cover: Into The Sunlight‘A Normal November’ #15 in the Freeman Files Series went live as planned by the end of August.

I’ve written 10% of ‘Into The Sunlight’ and hope to complete it before the end of October.

I need to get my skates on because October is a busy time in the Tayler household.

My birthday and our Golden Wedding are the cause for celebrations.

Thankfully, they are at either end of the month to aid recovery!

Our happy band of Phoenix members is scattered around the globe and have experienced differing climatic conditions during August. My heart goes out to those living with wildfires on the horizon or unseasonable winds and flash floods. Here in the UK, we had very little sunshine. Conditions were cool and cloudy from start to finish. It wasn’t what those who decided on a Staycation for 2021 had in mind.

After completing ‘ A Normal November ‘, the website overhaul occupied what was meant to be my leisure time, and my current To-Do List has an item I could do without. Except it could be argued I can’t do without it. Let me explain.

Amazon’s A+ Content has been available for a while, and traditionally published authors have the resources to flood their clients’ Product Pages with attractive, eye-catching designs. These appear down the Page under ‘From The Publisher’. (In the old days, this was where you might see gushing reviews from major publications or famous authors.)

Many best-selling authors haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet. Perhaps because they don’t need gimmicks to sell their books. I need to scrap for every new reader, and as there’s nobody else on an indie writer’s staff to carry out the work – it’s down to me. So far, I’ve submitted A+ Content for approval on just ‘Fatal Decision’ #1 in the Freeman Files Series. If my proposed format is approved, the other forty titles I have on Amazon will need updating. As you can imagine, that’s a lot of work!

Amazon KDP reckons it could take seven days to decide, so it may be ‘live’ when you receive this newsletter. If so, please let me know if it would help you choose to take a chance – if you were discovering my books for the first time.

Design wasn’t on the curriculum when I was at school, and it’s another skill I’ve had to learn as an indie author. If I’d realised writing occupied a mere 10% of the time required to be an author, I might have stuck to playing lawn bowls in the summer and snooker in the winter.

It’s a long, hard road being an indie writer, but people like you make it worth the effort.

We extend a warm welcome to another 18 new members this month. We hope you have fun.

I’ll be back with an update in the second week of October.

Take care. Keep reading.

Best wishes

Ted Tayler

Change Is Continuous

‘A Normal November’ #15 in the Freeman Files Series is well under way. With a following wind it will be published by the end of the month as planned.

I told you last time I was taking several days off. Fourteen titles in two years had started to take its toll. Nevertheless, I managed to publish a Box Set for Books #10 to #12 in the Freeman Files Series, and of course I came to a decision about what lay ahead. Many thanks to those of you who got in touch with suggestions and the encouragement to continue.

Your wish is my command, and the cold cases for Books #17 to #24 have been researched, the titles agreed, and front covers purchased. The plan is to write four books a year in 2022 and 2023. There may well need to be changes in personnel to keep things fresh, but rest assured the overall tone of the stories will remain the same.

 

You can view the new front covers in the Gallery on my website here

I expect you’re wondering how much time I spent relaxing. I can assure you I did spend time watching the Olympics, meeting family and friends, and enjoying the infrequent hours of sunshine this summer has produced so far. However, time marches on, so I used free time to overhaul the website yet again. The Book theme I use worked like a dream when I had a handful of titles, but with a minimum of eight more books to come it felt the right time to switch from one Page per book and match the 3 book Box Set model. I think it makes everything more accessible, no matter which series you’re reading, or how far you’ve got.

I’d love to think that’s it for the additions and amendments to things that are peripheral to the actual writing, but experience tells me that change is continuous. Standing still is not an option. 

I’ll be back with an update in the second week of September.

Take care. Keep reading.

Best wishes

Ted Tayler

How Far Should I Go?

‘Dead Reckoning’ #14 in the Freeman Files Series arrived by the end of June as promised. I hope you’re enjoying it. I’m taking a few days off before getting stuck into ‘A Normal November’.

 (Football, cricket, tennis, and family are occupying my thoughts over the next week – although not necessarily in that order!)

I haven’t forgotten that before I complete ‘Into The Sunlight’, the sixteenth title in the series, I need to decide what comes next. Gus Freeman was a six-book series when I started writing about him in August 2019 and moved to ten the following February because I found it so much fun. The Freeman series took off in April 2020, and it seemed fitting to extend it to sixteen. Now, I’m in a quandary – do I research four or even eight more unsolved murders and keep going, or not? I searched Amazon for guidance.

Peter James’s ‘Roy Grace series’ – 17 titles

Faith Martin’s ‘Hilary Green series’ – 18 titles

Ian Rankin’s ‘John Rebus series’ – 23 titles

At first glance, sixteen appears a sensible number. Twenty-four seems cheeky. After all, Ian Rankin has sold twenty million books over the past thirty years. I’ve managed to get one hundred and eighty thousand copies of The Freeman Files to readers in eighteen months. 

I’ll tell you a true story. Someone in my family took several James Patterson paperbacks on a holiday a few years back. They were sure they had reached Chapter Eight before going to sleep, grabbed a book from the pile the following day, and read on from Chapter Nine while spending several hours sunbathing.

Yes, the penny finally dropped when they retired for the night and saw a book on the bedside table. But at no time did they feel it necessary by the pool to flick back to Chapter One to Eight because the story didn’t flow.

With Patterson and his multitude of co-authors, the formulaic approach works. I realise there are patterns in the way I tell Gus Freeman’s stories, but I’d hate it to become an issue. I’ve got time to mull over which way to go.

What do you think?

I’ll be back with an update in the second week of August.

Take care. Keep reading.

Best wishes

Dead Reckoning

‘Dead Reckoning’ #14 in the Freeman Files Series is 50% complete and I’m on target for publishing before the end of June.  

We’re still unsure whether total unlocking will occur on June 21st here in the UK. I fear we might have a short delay. However, things did improve after May 17th and on our first trip we visited a garden centre. For the previous two weeks it had been cold, wet, and windy. The day turned out to be the warmest day of the year so far.

Last Monday our son invited us out for a meal with his wife and two sons. It had always seemed so simple in those faraway pre-Covid days. On Monday, it was The Rule of 6; No booking; Register that you are waiting for a table through an app; Go for a socially distanced wander and when allowed in, keep your masks on until seated; Check the menu on the app, get one of your party to input your order and wait to be served.

It felt strange, I must admit, but we saw more people that evening than we had in fifteen months. We enjoyed the meal and sitting around the same table with loved ones for the first time in eighteen months was priceless.

A Phoenix Club member contacted me last month suggesting I had mistakenly used miles per hour instead of kilometres per hour for the rate at which someone’s car was travelling in one of my books. If you live in the UK, you’ll know how perverse we can be on the matter of imperial or metric measure. If you live in the US, Canada, or other corners of the world, you will just know that we’re perverse!

I can’t speak for every car on the road in the UK, or every road sign, but in general our speedometers show both mph and kph. (mph tends to be in larger print) As for speed signs, the upper limit is 70mph and below that there are a variety of limits for given situations.

Somehow, despite decimalization back in February 1971, we never got to grips with switching every weight and measure.

Why do you think that was? Well, can you imagine the impact it would have on phrases we use in conversation if we changed everything?

  • A miss is as good as 1.609k
  • They buried him 1.829m under
  • More bounce for the 28.35g
  • In the Merchant of Venice, would .454k of flesh carry the same weight? (Sorry)

 

I’ll be back with an update towards the middle of July.

Take care. Keep reading.

Best wishes

Ted Tayler