Short post this weekend because I am hard at work on the June Newsletter. This month: no less than 3 chances to win free books and one of those gives you the chance to spend an hour with me onlie for an interview and keep a copy of the interview to share with your friends! There is still time to sign up for the Newsletter here – If you sign up before Friday 10 July, I will send you a copy of this month’s Newsletter. After that, no dice!
Two other things to mention for this Independence Day in the USA:
Lotus is Free from today 3 July until 7 July at 8am EST.
Lotus is an encounter between a soul and Satan. Satan uses every trick possible to torture the soul, who is reincarnated at Satan’s whim but eventually Game Theory proves the undoing of one of them! Click here to get the deal!
Attack Hitler’s Bunker!
This wartime thriller has just been accepted for translation and distribution in China so to celebrate, I am offering it in an Amazon Countdown Deal. This means it will drop to 99 cents from 8am on 4 July and gradually climb back up to its usual price of $2.99 by 11 July 12am PST. So hurry because it will only be at 99 cents for a day or two! Click here to get the deal!
What would a Politics lesson from Aristotle for Cameron, Miliband, Farage and Clegg be like?
Picture the scene; Aristotle, Athens’ great teacher of philosophy, from which politics was an offshoot, is late to teach his four new students and rushes into an annex of the Parthenon, out of breath. Farage is, as usual, sipping Egyptian beer and expounding on the virtues of the lusty maid he bedded the night before:
(If you are living in a democracy outside the UK, substitute Cameron for any republican candidate, Clegg for a liberal, Miliband for a socialist and Farage for any nationalist.)
“Farage!” Aristotle bellows. “Shut up boy! Now, it says here, on my contract with your guardians, that I am to compile an end-of-year report for you all before the end of today. To help me do this, you will each debate whether the actions of the 300 Spartans in the pass of Thermopylae was a success, and I don’t simply mean in strategic terms. In half an hour, you will each take the floor to put your point for four minutes and then there will be open discussion for thirty minutes. Go!”
Cameron, wearing a fetching, sky-blue, Romanesque toga, smiles at the simplicity of the problem. Every student of Athens knew the story; Greece was being invaded by 100,000 Persian soldiers and had no time to assemble an army. King Leonidas of Sparta took his own 300 personal bodyguards to defend a narrow pass at Thermopylae. Spartans were renowned for never surrendering and they fought until all 300 were dead but they bought Athens the time it needed to arm itself. Cameron thinks it was a resounding success.
Miliband frowns. He can see that the action was successful in military terms but, to the families of the soldiers who died, it must have felt like an unmitigated disaster. He is torn.
Farage, wearing the traditional toga of the aristocracy, picks up his beer, which he had strategically hidden behind a rock, and looks towards the Aegean to consider his response.‘Of course the deaths were hard, but that is War,’ he tells himself. ‘One simply has to accept harsh realities.’
Clegg mills about, gravitating like a wayward pendulum, alternatively between Cameron and Miliband, hoping that he will overhear their ruminations. He has rolled his yellow toga up to his armpits, to signal that he is a man of the people.
The presentations are to begin. Aristotle asks for a volunteer to go first. Cameron is on his feet, knowing that first impressions count and that, even if he has a weak argument, going first will give him credit from the others for his courage.
“Thermopylae was a complete success,” Cameron announces. “It gave Athens time to respond and the families of those, brave, 300 men, were honoured and raised to the level of nobility whereas before they had simply been of the fighting class. In military, strategic and sociological terms, it was a success!” He beams in self-satisfaction and offers the floor to Clegg, who is on his feet.
Until now, Clegg wasn’t quite sure what his stance would be. But he has seen a chink in Cameron’s armour and he means to exploit it.
“I would have to put the success as about 80%,” he begins. “Militarily, it gave Athens time, yes, and of course, to the families, it was tragic, simply tragic. But in the long-term, it undermined the strength of Sparta. Later, at Sphacteria, the Spartans finally had to surrender to Athens rather than be completely annihilated. Their resolve to never surrender had been undermined by Thermopylae, thus signalling the downfall of a great nation.”
The other three contestants nodded, signalling that they hadn’t thought of Clegg’s angle at all.
Farage takes the floor, looking somewhat hesitant, but then he smiles broadly. “Thermopylae was a resounding and complete success. 100%, no doubt about it. Who can deny that for the lives of the average Spartans, freedom had been bought? They could go on farming their crops safely and drinking a nice pint of Egyptian ale, or local wine if they preferred, in peace. Men die in War and that is a fact. Every soldier knows this and they are prepared to pay the consequences. After all, who wants foreign invaders to run the show?” He looks pleased with himself and sits down.
Miliband takes the floor. He is the least certain of the four.
“I would ask you to look at Thermopylae from the perspective of a young woman, the wife of one of the 300 brave men who fought in defense of Sparta. She has a young son and a younger daughter to look after. There is no welfare state. She also has no primary healthcare and she is suffering from malnutrition, pregnant with her third child. She comes home from the fields, where she has been working among the slaves, simply because she has no choice. A runner tells her that her husband has died but that Sparta is safe!
“Does she rejoice? Can she rejoice? Will promotion to the nobility come soon enough to save her and her unborn baby? The answer to all these is a resounding, ‘No!’”
The other three contestants look fearfully at Miliband, knowing that he only has to add something like, “To three quarters of the population, the women, children and old folk, who had lost a loved one, it was not a success,” but he doesn’t say it. They breathe a sigh of relief.
Aristotle takes to the floor. He looks at Miliband, wearing a rather dapper red toga, and smiles indulgently. Aristotle thinks, ‘If only Miliband had Cameron’s killer instinct. I never thought about the slaves before. Perhaps I have to think again.’ He looks at Cameron briefly and looks away. ‘If only Cameron had one drop of compassion in his soul.’ He looks at Clegg and shakes his head. ‘If only Clegg had a single idea of his own and could stand up for it.’ Finally, his eyes light on Farage. ‘If only,’ he thinks, ‘Farage knew what it was like to be discriminated against.’
“Now,” Aristotle announces, “I would like to introduce you to the fifth member who will be joining us for the debate. She is the great, great, great granddaughter of one of the men who fought at Thermopylae.”
A woman, dressed in slave’s rags, enters the annex and Aristotle bids her sit among the four students. Cameron looks nervously at her clothes.
“I have listened to each of your speeches,” the woman announces. “To David, I would say that you are wrong; many of the soldiers’ families were not ennobled. Mine wasn’t because we were considered third-generation immigrants. To Nick, I would say your point is an interesting one but you denigrate my ancestor’s achievement. To Nigel, I would say that you are ignorant of many basic facts of life. Finally, to Ed I would say that you are a nice man but you should stay out of politics.”
The open debate begins but nobody has anything to say. Farage tries desperately to think of something to mitigate his blunders but can think of nothing. Clegg keeps his mouth clamped closed because he knows he has insulted the woman. Cameron wants to argue but now he is not sure of the text books his father bought off the back of a wagon. Miliband is the only one to say anything at all to the woman. He takes her hand and says, “I am very sorry.”
If you had been Aristotle, how would you have marked each of them?
In a world where reality is in doubt, only doubt is real
Robert Lath dies in the trenches of World War One. But he wakes to find himself on a never-ending flight of stone steps. No matter how hard he tries, he cannot reach the top or bottom. Then a face appears and offers him a choice; a choice that might damn his soul.
Six characters from different spans of history battle against illness, seemingly the result of a game with Satan, and human frailty to find salvation but are they all the same man?
A soul is trapped and gradually dissected in this intriguing and labyrinthine story of trust, betrayal, disease, death and immortality.
It’s a short post this week because I am so busy with the last stages of publishing Lotus. if you are a Newsletter subscriber, there is good news: expect another issue in the next few weeks! I am also excited to announce that I am editing Iron III: Worlds Like Dust for the final time prior to release. If you want your thriller edited by an experience thriller writer and editor, contact me or take a look at my editor rates here.
If you’ve missed it, don’t forget to listen to a preview of Too Bright the Sun with a soundtrack on Booktrack.com.
This week: my new book, Lotus, a rant about Formula 1 and Who Killed JFK?
As promised, the title announces a new book, to be published in the next 2 weeks. If you receive the free newsletter, you will know what that book is.
My new book, Lotus
We have all seen the impossible staircase of M.C Escher; you know, the one where you go round and round but never go up or down? Escher’s Staircase was the working title of my new book. Here is my first stab at the blurb:
“Robert Lath dies in the trenches of World War One. But he wakes to find himself on a never-ending flight of stone steps. No matter how hard he tries, he cannot reach the top or bottom. Then a face appears and offers him a choice; a choice that might damn his soul.
A friar, helping a time-traveling werewolf, a merchant spaceman, a painter, a monk, a private detective and a Medieval knight all battle against illness, seemingly the result of a game with Satan, and human frailty to find salvation but are they all the same man?
A soul is trapped and gradually dissected in this intriguing and labyrinthine story of trust, betrayal, disease, death and immortality.”
The title will now be ‘Lotus,’ which I think is a far more appropriate, if slightly enigmatic, title for the book. The lotus, in most cultures, is the symbol for reincarnation and different colours have different meanings. I haven’t decided yet, but I am rather drawn to the red lotus, which is the symbol for passion. I also have no cover yet but that will designed in the next week. There will be more of a fanfare, once I am sure of the publication date but spread the word.
If you have a suggestion for the cover design, leave it here. If I use it, you will get a credit in the book, a free paperback and eBook of Lotus and any other free eBook of mine. Don’t be shy, give me your ideas!
Who killed JFK?
Some of you may remember my predictions for the next 30 years. Here they are:
A real Short Stirling wreck will be recovered and restored to museum standard (I don’t think a real one will fly again)
Fusion power will work but will not significantly affect energy prices yet
Alexander the Great’s tomb will be found
Whoever ordered John F Kennedy’s assassination will not be revealed and proven.
NASA will not have sent a manned-mission to Mars yet
Well, I now feel strongly that I know who killed JFK and it wasn’t an assassin! If you haven’t watched the Channel 5 documentary: JFK’s Secret Killer: The Evidence, I suggest you watch it. I am not a fan of Channel 5’s dreg-like schedule but this programme was the exception; well researched, well presented and based on hard evidence.
Having watched countless documentaries on the subject, and firmly believing it involved a conspiracy, I wasn’t easily swayed but the amount of evidence and the logic that led to the programme’s conclusion really persuaded me. What is more, it has the ring of truth about it; the real cause is more disturbing that a conspiracy.
It turns out that the FBI agents in the car behind had been on a binge until 5 am that day (ample eye-witness accounts) and the only man sober enough to operate the single automatic weapon, hidden on the floor of the vehicle, was an agent who only usually functioned as a driver.
When he heard gunfire, he picked up the weapon (a photograph taken by an amateur shows this) and swung it to face the Library. The weapon’s safety-catch had been on but otherwise, the weapon was ready to fire. Releasing the catch, he accidentally pulled off a round before the barrel reached the library. Who’s head was directly in line? Kennedy’s.
It sounds bizarre but the evidence is overwhelming:
1. During the autopsy, at least 13 rolls of film taken in the room, showing clearly the massive head wound, were confiscated and never seen again
2. The huge hole in Kennedy’s skull (right side) could not have been caused by a single non-explosive round, which was what Oswald used
3. The tiny entry hole was on the left side of backbone, in the neck and not the right (as was first falsely reported)
4. The entry hole was too small for the size of round Oswald used. It was 6mm
5. The entry hole was large enough for the .22 calibre explosive round that the automatic rifle was loaded with
6. When the doctor carrying out the autopsy wanted to enter a verdict of death by explosive round, he was told ‘Not to pursue the matter further’ (my paraphrasing)
7. Kennedy’s brain was ordered to be removed by some shady FBI agent and was never seen again.
8. The agent who is said to have fired the gun was never questioned in the inquest, despite giving a false statement, in which he said he did not stand up in the car until it passed under the bridge (the photograph clearly shows him standing before the car reached the bridge)
9. Many eye-witnesses at ground level reported smelling gunpowder, something they could not have done had the shot been fired from high up in the Library
Sorry I can’t remember all the details but watch the programme and see for yourself. How bizarre that a freak accident should have ended Kennedy’s life.
Formula 1 Brazil and MotoGP
I wasn’t going go mention this but I am in the mood for a rant. I may not watch another Formula 1 race again until they make drastic changes. I watched this race and, quite honestly, I reckon 50% of the coverage was of pit stops! I don’t want to watch pit stops, I want to watch action on the track. When a sport comes to this point, there is something seriously wrong. You may not be a fan of pugilism but if you were, would you watch a boxing match where 50% of the coverage was of time outs; the bit where the guy spits out his mouth-guard and gets wiped down? Watch MotoGP instead. It still has photo-finishes and, if you are quick, you might still catch Valentino Rossi before he retires. He may prove to be the greatest Grand Prix motorcycle rider of all time.