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London, England – February 2, 2016 – Fresh from its skirmish with Wikipedia over whether magnetic therapy is pseudoscience or effective alternative medicine, Magnetic Products Store (MPS®) has come out fighting with a magnetic bracelet giveaway to “brighten up someone’s Winter!”

Magnetic Products Store a leading seller of magnetic bracelets, is doing a late winter giveaway, of one of its magnetic bracelets, open to male and female entrants alike. The giveaway is being run from its Facebook page. [Click here if you are using a tablet, smartphone or other mobile device.]

“Late winter is a depressing time in England,” said MPS spokesman Phil Abrams, “because it’s still cold and rainy and the days are short, but Christmas and the New Year are behind us. Bright and shiny magnetic bracelets are a powerful antidote to the winter blues – regardless of the debate over magnetic therapy.”

The reference to “the debate over magnetic therapy” is understood to be a reference to the spat between the magnetic jewellery business and a Wikipedia editor who has consistently blocked and deleted any attempts to draw attention to studies indicating that magnetic bracelets and jewellery can have a palliative effect on arthritis patients.

Attempts to modify the Wikipedia page “Magnet Therapy“, to include references to a number of such studies have been reverted by the editor who stated ” We are not here to sell magnet therapy.” The editor argued that the statements from the medical studies to the effect that the evidence did not support magnetic therapy were the “key” statements, whilst those that said otherwise, in the case of osteoarthritis, were not.

After several unsuccessful attempts to include the qualifying statements from the relevant medical studies, MPS is now seeking to put the dispute behind them and is offering this winter giveaway of a man’s or woman’s magnetic bracelet, placing the emphasis on the brightness and aesthetics of the bracelets, rather than any contentious therapeutic or palliative properties. The giveaway result will be announced on February 6.


The choice of prizes is  the European titanium magnetic bracelet or a Venus Hearts bracelet, both pictured above.

 

The true story of the murder or Rachel Nickell by Robert Napper and the attempts by the police to put Colin Stagg in the frame.

(If you are based in Britain, click on the image on the left, or on the title, to buy The Wimbledon Common Murder: The Shocking Story of How an Innocent Man Nearly Got Sent down for Life! If you decide to join audible.co.uk, please make this book your first purchase.)

To those who think that the British criminal justice system is superior to the American legal system – this book will serve as a rude awakening!

The shocking story of an innocent man who spent 13 months on remand and 14 years in limbo because of police shenanigans and the incompetence of a psychologist working with them. Colin Stagg spent thirteen months in jail awaiting trial for the murder of Rachel Nickell – a crime he did not commit. The case against him was weak from the outset, but was a classic example of the way in which facts can be misrepresented in the hands of professionals, be they lawyers, psychologists or police officers.


When the case against Stagg collapsed, his life was made a living hell by the tabloid press, portraying him as a man who had got away with murder. Police leaks, and a book by a psychologist who had assisted them, led to the ongoing perception that Stagg was a murderer. This nightmare carried on for fourteen years until a “cold case review” identified faults in the original investigation. This culminated in the identification of the real culprit – a man who had indeed slipped through the net and gone on to kill again…

(If you are based in the United States, click on the image on the right, or the title to buy The Wimbledon Common Murder: The Shocking Story of How an Innocent Man Nearly Got Sent down for Life!  If you decide to join audible.com, please make this book your first purchase.)

 

How to write an Amazon fiction book - coverWell it’s done. Written. Finished. That is the writing is done. And the publishing. Now comes the selling. This is pretty much the most comprehensive treatise on writing and selling books for the Kindle that you’ll find. Kindle and CreateSpace. Okay that’s Kindle and CreateSpace that you’ll f–oh, er and Smashwords. The three platforms that you can learn to write best-selling books for with this treatise are the Kindle, CreateSpace and Smashwords. And of course Lulu.

How to write - paperback coverAll right, this is pretty much the most comprehensive treatise on writing and selling books for the Kindle, CreateSpace, Smashwords and Lulu that you’ll find. Not forgetting, of course, books written in the hope of getting them published by mainstream publishers. Okay, just to make it clear: among the platforms and outlets that you can use the information in this treatise to write books for are the Kindle, CreateSpace… Shall I go out and start again?

Anyway, suffice it to say that this book is available (with slightly different titles) for the Kindle (How to write an Amazon fiction book that SELLS*: *by someone who HAS… MANY TIMES!
) and in paperback (How to write an Amazon book that SELLS: by someone who HAS… MANY TIMES !

And for two days (Sunday 29th November and Monday 30th November) the Kindle edition will be available FREE.

 

For the last couple of months, I have been beavering away (if that’s the right expression) writing a book about creating writing in general and writing for self-publication – especially for the Amazon Kindle – in particular. I figure that as a published author with three books published by HarperCollins and a further four thrillers published by Hodder Headline, I am better placed than most to write about how to write a good book. Also, as someone whose books have sold by the tens of thousands – both for the Kindle and  in print – I am eminently qualified to write a book on how to write a bestseller.

I could have called it how to write a thriller, but I wanted to broaden its scope. Although most of my books have been thrillers, I have also written, science fiction, chick-lit, children’s and young adult fiction, journalism and even literary fiction. So I gave the book a more general title more befitting its content and purpose. The book deals with everything from getting story ideas, developing the plot, viewpoints, dialogue, narrative and descriptive writing to things like motivating oneself, overcoming writer’s block and promoting the book after publication.

It has taken me longer than I expected, because I wanted to make sure that it didn’t have any typos. It would hardly make a good impression if I published a book about how to write and self-publish for the Kindle and then littered the book with typographical errors. (It would be like writing to Gay News and applying for a job as a “poofreader”.) However, now I am nearing the end and so I feel that it I time to share the news. I probably could have done so earlier. In fact, that might have motivated me to work faster!

But anyway, the deed is done (or nearly), so I’m telling you now. I’ll update you all when it is published.

Bye for now.

 

Cold Turkey - Amazon cover
Cold Turkey is the story of two drug-addicted brothers, Lee and Mark, who kidnap a right-wing radio talk-show host and deliberately set about getting him addicted to heroin, after he has angered them by mouthing off about “junkies” and their lack of “moral fibre.” To some extent they are merely taking him up on his own hubristic posturing:

“You could kidnap me tomorrow,” he bragged, “shoot me up with smack till I’m hooked and I could kick the habit cold turkey!”

But when they take up his challenge, he fails to live up to his boast and his life spirals out of control. And yet their victory is a Pyrrhic one, as differences between the brothers come to the fore, forcing them to re-evaluate their own lives – culminating in Lee taking a most extraordinary decision.

I first had the idea of Cold Turkey while I was sharing a flat with a psychologically-dependent drug user in South London. Although he was an irritating chav, a thief and even, at times, a wife-beater (or at least girlfriend-beater), I also learned about his background and the events that turned him into what he became. I saw his dependency on the friend who got him into the drug scene – a sort of substitute older brother – and the vicious circle he had got himself into. I also saw his vulnerability, how that was exploited by others and the rage that sometimes flared up within him.

The characters in this story are by no means “based on” my former flatmate and his drug-using friends. They are, however, inspired by them. The real-life character was never viciously beaten by his father. But he was thrown out by both parents after their acrimonious divorce, because of his own behaviour and at one point ended up on the streets at the age of 12, when he was “taken in” (in both senses of the expression) by a young man who introduced him to drugs and took advantage of him sexually. (Ironically, they remain friends and drug-buddies to this day, except for moments when “Lee” goes into a rage – usually under the influence of alcohol rather than drugs.

I wrote this story to explore the minds of people trapped in a downward spiral of self-destructive behaviour. I have seen “Lee” off drugs as well as on. Unlike the brothers in this film, he does not “do needles” – although some of his friends do. In truth, he is not physically addicted to heroin or any other drug – or at least was not for most of the time I knew him. Like the character in the film, he has been to prison several times, for offences like stealing (to get drug money) and violence whether against shop-keepers or others with whom he has got into conflict, under the influence of alcohol. And like the character in the film, he has been off drugs, but has always relapsed and got back “on the gear” – usually as soon as he was out of prison. (NB he did not need methadone in prison – except on one occasion.)

The novel explores such questions as: to what extent are we in control of our own lives? Are we the captains of our souls or at the mercy of the winds of fate. Can one achieve anything alone or does one always need a friend? And are some friendships toxic?

Asking these questions in the context of the modern day problem of drug (and alcohol) addiction, we see the thin line that separates winners from losers and get a glimpse of the fragility of the lifestyles that some of us take for granted.

There is also a US Kindle edition, a US paperback edition and a UK paperback edition: Cold Turkey
.

 

Stepping On Mars: An Evolving and Unauthorized Elon Musk Biography by Damien Darby. $6.99 from Smashwords.com
From fleeing apartheid, sleeping on floors and showering at the local YMCA, to becoming perhaps the most prolific man in the modern world; Elon Musk is an exemplary figure. Everyone should hear about his tale, and be exposed to the prolific changes he is bringing forth into the contemporary human condition. From SpaceX Rockets to Tesla electric automobiles, Elon will soon have us stepping on Mars.

______________________________________________________________________

 

Those of you have read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (Penguin Modern Classics) will know exactly what I’m taking about in the headline – or at least you will after you read this book about entrepreneur Elon Musk.

Just to get you started, Elon Musk is the founder of Pay Pal and Tesla Motors. This is the man who will soon have us driving electric cars – despite the best efforts of the oil companies, the auto industry, the auto dealers and crooked politicians to stop him. The Tesla Moden S and Model X – and the Tesla Roadster – are the cars of the future. And it will take more than a few crooked politicians in Texas and elsewhere in the United States to stop him from selling these cars or the customers from buying them.

But he is more than just a one-trick pony – or even a two-trick pony. He is a visionary, like Steven Jobs or Ray Kurzweil – more far-sighted than the former and more successful than the latter. If you want to know more about him, this book will get you up to speed. You will be hearing a lot more of Elon Musk in the future.




 

The actor Colin Firth has declined the leading role in David Kessler’s exciting new action rom-com Over in a Flash.

The role of emotionally-repressed aviation designer Conrad Finch had been specially written for Colin Firth and writer David Kessler has spent months in contact with Firth’s agent in an effort to secure the actor’s services. However the actor finally declined the role and informed Kessler of his decision through his agent.

“I am extremely disappointed,” Kessler was quoted as saying. “The role of Conrad was written for Firth and played to his strengths. The guitar-playing, the Amnesty International membership – even the carpentry skills. [Firth worked as a carpenter during a hiatus in his early acting career] There is no one who could play the role as well as he could.”

Firth’s agents declined to comment or give details of the actor’s decision. The female lead in the project (a military widow whose officer husband was killed in Helmand province) was offered to Alice Eve and the second male lead (a military test pilot) to Ewan Mcgregor. It is not clear if either will play these roles.

 

A pregnant Italian woman who suffered a panic attack when she forgot to take her medication for Bipolar Disorder was forcibly (actually unconsciously) subjected to a “compulsory caesarean section on the decision of the High Court under an ex-parte order obtained by social workers. (Ex-parte means that the other party didn’t get notice, wasn’t consulted and had no opportunity to challenge the decision.) This MIGHT be justified in itself if it was to address an immediate crisis. But the Essex authorities went on to refuse to return the child and have now put it up for adoption. This goes far beyond addressing the immediate crisis and raises questions about both the honesty and integrity of the Essex Social Services and the commitment of the British courts to law.

The claim made by the social services, was that she might suffer a relapse. A judge in Chelmsford Crown Court accepted this argument and ruled that the child should be put up for adoption in the UK. Now you would think that a judge would know the law. But this ignorant judge did not seem to realize that as the mother was normally resident in Italy, the matter of custody of the child falls within the jurisdiction of the Italian courts not the British ones.

The woman, who incidentally has two other children in Italy, has never been allowed to see the child, who is now 15 months old.

The question is why was this blatantly illegal action taken by the Essex Social Services and backed up by a judge who one presumes must have known better. Could it be that Essex is short of babies for adoption and is looking for short-cuts to find more? Even if it involves fabricating bogus pretexts and breaking the law? It reminds me of a book I wrote a few years back about a baby racket conspiracy between social services and a devious paediatrician: How I cleared my mother of a murder charge when I was eleven (The Ethan and Lexie adventures)


 

Who can play the lead? is a new series of books and screenplays in which the reader is invited to make suggestions as to who should play the leading roles.

Over in a Flash (Who can play the lead?), the first in this series, is a romantic comedy about an emotionally-repressed aviation engineer who steals an advanced fighter to jet to get back to his ex.

Readers are invited to make suggestions for who should play the roles ofConrad and Alison. Also welcome are suggestions as to who should direct the film.  Please write an Amazon review and put the suggestions in that review.

 


 

It is becoming an almost daily story: scum of the earth viciously assault innocent person, scum of the earth caught, scum of the earth brought before judge and found guilty, scum of the earth told they are very naughty boys (or girls) or have done a terrible thing and then sentenced to suspended sentences or community service and turned out onto the streets.

Time and time again it happens and time and time again we wonder if the judge speaks the English language.
“You did something very wicked and instead of punishing you I am going to spout a load of hot air and then let you go. This is how our criminal-friendly judges behave. And Judge Shani Barnes is no exception.

In this case the scum of the earth are: Kieran Hawker (18)  Robert Elsey (19), Aaron Henery (18), Dean Riley (19), Anthony Patton (27) and two seventeen-year-olds who cannot be named because the law protects criminals who are younger than 18. These namby-pamby little mama’s boys – who haven’t got a testicle or a brain cell between them – conducted a vicious assault on three innocent people without any legitimate reason. For the full story see here.

But scum doesn’t grow in a vacuum.  Where are the people who brought them up? The people who were supposed to teach them right from wrong?  In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I would have to conclude that those who brought them up are scum too.

There is really only one cure for people like this – a taste of their own medicine!