Its taken me three years but i finally have a No.1 book in the UK

Its taken me three years but I finally can say I have a No.1 book in the UK and I cannot stop smiling.

The book in question is my short story “Tea” and its currently number one in the Amazon UK Kindle charts under the following category  Kindle Store > Books > Gay & Lesbian > Fiction > Horror

The story of ‘Tea’ is about a six hundred year old werewolf having tea with a seventy year old gay tailor. However, that is just the story it’s not what the book is about.

The book is about – Being old, living with the choices you make through your life, unusual friendships, family, being brave, hiding what you are from the world and loneliness.

‘Tea’ is taken from a book of short stories called ‘Stories for a Storm Filled Night’, and is the most successful of my short stories released under their own cover. It has been downloaded just under 800 times around the world including USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Japan and India.

‘Tea’ is part of ‘The Storm Series’ set of books, which currently include a trilogy, three books of short stories and a number of promo stories. The ‘Storm Series is an adult, bittersweet, dark fantasy series that deals with relationships, loss, power, prejudice and ultimately, the true ‘monster’ that lurks inside of us.

Below is a link to the UK Amazon site

I’m still smiling


Typical writer ‘earns £11,000 a year’, research reveals

It is only the minority who earn a substantial amount from writing

The number of those working as full-time writers has also dropped from 40% of all writers in 2005 to 11.5% now.

Chief executive of the ALCS, Owen Atkinson, said the research by Queen Mary University of London, suggested these are “concerning times”.

The typical income of a professional writer in 2005 was £12,330.

The 2005 comparison figures date back to the ALCS’s last piece of research on authors’ earnings, which was published in 2007.

Digital revenue

“This rapid decline in both author incomes and in the numbers of full-time writers could have serious implications for the economic success of the creative industries in the UK,” Atkinson said.

Novelist Joanne Harris, whose books include Chocolat and Blackberry Wine, said: “It’s good to see that finally we are becoming aware of just how little the average author earns.

“Not everyone can be a high-earning, high profile writer but all creators should have the right to be paid for what they do.”

However there is some hope for writers’ future earnings, with revenue from digital publishing on the increase.

Digital publishing is now the third-largest sector in terms of financial importance to writers, behind books and magazines/periodicals and ahead of newspapers and radio, film and television.

Self-publishing is also becoming an increasingly successful venture for writers.

Some 25% of writers have self-published a work, with a typical return on their investment of 40%. Eighty-six percent said they would self-publish again.

Poet Wendy Cope said: “Most people know that a few people make a lot of money. This survey tells us about the vast majority of writers, who don’t.”

Hugely successful writers, such as Harry Potter JK Rowling, have become wealthy as a result of their work. She is estimated by the Sunday Times rich list to be worth £570m.

There were 2,454 writers involved in the study.

Well on average they are earning £10’985 per year more than me. Lol.


A letter to my 10 year old self

Hi Alan, I’m writing to you from your future it’s the year 2013 (you are now 44 – Yup, you make it that far at least).

Sorry Pal, I’m not going to tell you what happens between then and now, because what happens to you, make you the man you are today. And I like who I am

All I will say is -life is going to be hard for awhile and you are going to get hurt, both physically and emotionally. But you know about pain anyway (The finger still hurts in cold weather by the way and the shoulder occasional freezes).

However, there are also good times, you will see the world and oh yes – look out for your 22nd birthday. All I am going to say is – what a night!

So anyway, what sort of man are you today? Just a normal bloke, with a handful of good friends, who is well liked, can live with the things he has seen and done, and has found peace.

Before I forget, you will find out that your dyslexic in a couple of year’s time, so don’t worry about the spelling etc. In fact by the time your 44 you will have self published 7 books.

That’s it pal, stay strong and see you on the far side.


Ardo – His Story

This will contain spoilers, if you have not read the Storm Series trilogy.

On the 2nd July  I will be placing the short promo story, When Ardo Met Ozzy, on free promotion on Amazon and I thought it would be fun to look at the backstory of Ardo and how his character developed.

I originally created the character of Ardo for two reasons:  As the sidekick to Twever the Magnificent and as a way of Jane getting her revenge. I knew immediately that he was going to be invisible, have the morals of a two-year-old, be a four -legged beast of some sort, enjoy having his ears scratched, and be a lean, mean, killing machine.

We first meet Ardo in Echoes of a Storm as Twever’s sidekick. He has only a small, but important, part to play in the book; however, the template for his character is set – protecting the innocent.

Although Ardo is not in The Visit, from Tales of Solomon Pace. He is discussed at length, in the story we discover that Ardo is actually a Dev’ver (werewolf) called Death Claw, who is allegedly the most dangerous Dev’ver who has ever lived.

In the second book of the trilogy, Scions of the Storm, Ardo continues to be his normal self, and both he and Twever have a bigger role to play. However, it is no coincidence that, once again, Ardo becomes the protector of the innocent. It is he who saves Katrina when she is attacked by a gang. It is he who puts the cat and the children out of their misery after the Midnight Man has finished with them.

Towards the end of Scions of the Storm he and his best friend, Twever, charge into certain death to save Twever’s partner, a suitably dramatic ending for the pair… or was it?

It is in the final book that Ardo finally reveals who and what he is.

In A Dark and Hungry Storm, Rosie, a young girl with learning difficulties (I tried to write her as having mild Down’s Syndrome), has an invisible four-legged friend called Mr. Fluffy, who has the morals of a two year old and enjoys his ears being scratched!

Mr. Fluffy has broken and fragmented memories of his past which haunt him at night. As the war, which is sweeping the land, finally reaches the forest where Mr. Fluffy lives, it forces him to fight. During the fighting, Mr. Fluffy finally remembers who and what he is –  He is not a simple Dev’ver, instead he is the Ver known as Death Claw, aka Ardo.

If you have read the books, you will know that a Ver is the combination of all four Spirits (Earth, Fire, Water, and Air) placed into a single body. A Ver is extremely rare and it takes a very special kind of person to cope with having all four elements in them.

When Rosie’s village is attacked by Undead hordes, it is Death Claw that saves them, before taking Rosie away and planning his next move. Because he is the Ver, Death Claw (aka Ardo, aka Mr Fluffy) cannot interfere in the war directly, and we learn why he has hidden away from the world for so long.

During the last battle of the war, Death Claw broods about his inability to help his friend, Shadow Killer. His brooding turns into anger as he sees his friend dying on the battlefield. It is then that Rosie tells him to abandon his Death Claw personality and become Mr. Fluffy again. With a promise that he shall return when she needs him the most, Death Claw reverts to Ardo and goes to save his friend.

Eighty years later, Rosie is an old woman and dying. The hordes of hell are trying to claim her innocent soul so that they can devour it, when out of the blue, Death Claw comes and whisks her away to the highest and coldest peaks of the Granite Mountains, where Rosie dies whilst admiring the spectacular views.

Her spirit, in the shape of a little girl, rises from her body and talks with Death Claw. Their discussion is interrupted, as the demons and spirits once more try to claim Rosie soul. Death Claw directs Rosie to a cave mouth where he hands her over to a woman called Jane and her companions. He tells them both to flee into the cave.

The book and trilogy ends with a very masculine savage force of nature standing firm before the evils of the world to protect the innocent . This ending and the use of Ardo is very deliberate, as it encapsulates (to me) what the Storm Series is about.

Anyway, back to When Ardo Met Ozzy: this is just a light-hearted short story that pokes some fun at certain erotic novels and all wildlife programmes.

You can find the book by searching “The storm series Alan Scott” on Amazon

I hope you enjoy.


The character of Ardo can be found in the following books:


Echoes of a Storm

Scions of the Storm

A Dark and Hungry Storm

A Storm Filled Night – Jennifer, Nathanial, Twever, & Ardo Go On an Adventure

Tales of Solomon Pace – The Visit


Death of my Childhood Innocence

I’ve just seen that Rolf Harris has been found guilty of all 12 counts he faced by a jury at Southwark Crown Court (The 84-year-old was alleged to have assaulted four girls and young women, aged from seven to 19 between 1968 and 1986.)

 When you add in Jimmy Salville, Stuart Hall, Gary Glitter and all the other “Celebrities” that are being investigated by Operation Yewtree. It seems that nearly everyone I watched on children’s TV when I was small was a sex offender, and abused their stardom

 My thought and sympathy of course goes out to all the victims, and they have suffered far worse than me.

 but, I can’t help but think that my childhood has just been wiped out. Almost every programme I enjoyed either on TV or on the Radio as a teenager has been tainted by these vile evil men.

 However I said half way through – my thoughts and sympathy are with the victims, as it they who have truly lost their childhood innocence.



American always, Scottish forever

As a Scotsman living in England for the last 20 odd years, it always makes me smile when I see Highland games preformed outside Scotland. Especially the dancing, as I know very few Scots that  know more than two dances , “Strip the Willow” and “Dashing White Sergeant” both of which are best preformed when your “Half Cut” lol (Half cut = moderately drunk) and yes I have danced both.

 Anyway, I saw this article on the BBC and it made me smile for all the right reasons, so I thought I would post it. Also its interesting to see what other countries think about Scottish Independence.


 On 18 September, voters in Scotland will be asked in a referendum whether they want the nation to become independent from the rest of the United Kingdom. Yet, across the Pond, there are many Americans with Scottish ancestry, something celebrated at California’s Highland Games season. Here photographer Stephen McLaren sets out his take on the event and shares some of his portraits.

 Despite President Obama’s hopes for Scotland to remain in the UK, the Scottish cultural spirit – which includes pipe bands, sword-dancing, tossing the caber and sheepdog trials – is alive, well and independence-minded in California. An annual calendar of around 20 Scottish festivals and Highland Games brings a mix of recent Scottish emigres and those for whom Scotland is an approximate but proud source of their family heritage.

These events have been going for more than a century and with the skirl of the pipes and shouts of hammer throwers resounding, it could be any Highland Games in Scotland. However, the sweltering heat, the imposing palm trees and the surprising recognition that every kilt-wearer speaks with a full-on American accent quickly reminds you that you are 8,000 miles away from heather, peat and misty glens.

 Away from the sporting arenas and music stages, clan associations are on hand to help those researching their family tree and locate the ancestral home. For those with money to spend on heritage goods, traders sell a panoply of kilts, musical instruments, food and heavy-bladed weapons, which may, or may not, have been used at Culloden.

 As a Scottish photographer who has never worn a kilt, I have been a double rarity at these events. In the first instance, being born in Scotland meant that I was one of the few attending who had the complexion and accent to convincingly be Scottish. Second, tartan irritates my skin so my attire was always less Caledonian than the participants at these action-packed and fun family-focused events.

 Watching these smiley, tanned Californians revel in a weekend of festivities where they get to dress up in Highland garb and imagine themselves as sons or daughters of the glen, it seemed obvious for me to talk to and photograph as many as I could. Unusually for any photography project, not one of the people I asked to be photographed refused, and all were as polite and willing to help me find the best shot.

 What was also surprising to me was how many of those people who agreed to pose thought that, contrary to their president, it was imperative that Scotland become independent.

 Some were well versed in the stories of rural Scotland being cleared of people in favour of more profitable sheep in the 18th Century and a degree of bitterness resides in those whose families may been shipped to the American colonies as a result. Others expressed the view that Scotland had more going for it in the way of history and grandeur than other independent nations and that being part of the UK was holding back Scotland from maximising its potential and its resources.

 I was unsure whether these views were overly sentimentalised notions of a country only a few had visited, but the views expressed were certainly deeply held and probably reflective of a country whose own independence from Britain is much treasured and celebrated.

 The passion for Scottish sports and culture at events like these could be seen as quaint and pre-modern but for the thousands of Americans with links, however tenuous, to the old country, who attend, it is an escapist weekend where they get to celebrate that they are all descended from immigrants who left Europe with high hopes of bettering their lot. For a photographer used to occasionally reluctant or shy subjects, it was a dream project.