Thursday 6 December 2012

Super Highway

There are lots of plans going on in the UK at the moment about creating a high speed train network to link London with other parts of the country, mainly the northwest. (HS2, it's called). This plan is stuttering along, held up by enquiries into its needs and the effects on the environment and on the people living close to the proposed route. The fairness of some householders getting compensation when someone else living just fractionally further away, and I'm talking about mere yards here, suffering the same disruption getting nothing
    At the same time the country is struggling to keep up with the growing demand placed on it by broadband and internet technology. Keeping in mind lots of things, including things the HMRC wants you to do, need to be and can only be done on line these days. Most broadband, in many parts of the country, still runs off old fashioned copper telephone wires which are not up to providing the speeds that most providers can offer. If you are lucky enough to have a cable connection then faster speeds are available. But if you are in a remote area, or even a small village just of the main cable network, then the cable companies do not want to know you.
    Now, I'm not speaking on behalf of the individuals who might want to play endless games on their computers or watch instantly downloaded films, although these people would benefit. I am speaking on behalf of businesses who want to boost trade, to profit themselves and the country, because, let's be honest, businesses are in existence to make money as well as provide jobs.
    Obviously it would take time and a great deal of money to connect every home and every business to a cable run network of broadband. And money, even government money, is limited. So what makes more economic sense? Building a high speed train line that will connect certain cities or connecting the whole country to the Internet via cable?
    Who stands to benefit from high speed trains and how?
    The supporters of high speed trains say that business will benefit because people will be able to get to meetings quicker. But the train will only take you from one main line station to another. At each end of the journey you have to get to and from the station which will quite likely negate the time saved by the speed of the train. It still makes a long day travelling with the possibility of overnight stays. And that only helps the people who are actually in the UK to start with. So any benefits are limited to the people who want to go to the Capital.
    Who benefits from a decent Internet service?
    Almost everyone. From businesses who are required to do all their Government related work on line, to anyone who can order their prescriptions from the doctor without making a phone call.
    Businesses benefit because they can operate from anywhere and yet deal with the whole world. There is nothing to stop a pottery firm in Stoke On Trent selling to Australia and South America, having meetings with their representatives all over the world at the same time, with no travel expenses, no loss of time, the most inconvenient thing might be someone has to stay up all night to accommodate the time difference. This not only speeds up business but cuts down on the emissions caused by travelling, hence doing a little to save fuel and the climate.
    This is already happening in some forward thinking companies but there is no reason why it cannot be extended even further. And even if we are not talking about global business, decent Internet means people from different parts of the country can work together without having to travel to meetings.  More people could work from home, cutting out that awful slog to work every day, giving them more time for family or other commitments.
    Already companies are operating where the staff have never actually met face to face and shaken hands. People are getting used to being part of a global community with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Where once upon a time your circle of friends consisted of the people you met at work, school or other local places, we now share our lives with people around the world. Whether they are real 'friends' remains to be seen, but they are contacts who provide opportunities.
    So imagine the possibilities for all businesses, large and small, if they could have reliable Internet connections to the world.
   And surely this would be cheaper than building a new train line, disrupting the lives of the people living on the route. And if the main telephone companies were given the funding to employ and train enough people around the country to accomplish this, it could be done a lot quicker and with less hassle than building a new train line. Plus this would provide employment which equals taxes for the government.
    So please Department of Transport forget HS2. We don't need to travel to do business any more. The technology is available to have all sorts of conference calls and videos meetings. I do believe you can even create virtual people now for those who feel they need a physical presence to make things real. Trains, no matter how passionate you are about them, belong to the 19th century way of doing things. The island of the UK is small, it doesn't have the wide open spaces of Europe and other continents. Bring this country into the 21st century and make sure everyone can get superfast broadband and then we might see this country grow again.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

New Author Ryan Spier

A Big Blue Hour Publishing welcome to Ryan Spier the latest author to join us.

Out today Ryan's first book Postcards from Berlin, the story of a boy forced to fight to the end of the war against his wishes and beliefs.

Get your copy here

Check out Ryan's page for full details.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Snow Blind - Released today

Released today - Patrick Mulready's Sci-fi short story Snow Blind.
Full details on Patrick's page or Here for .com and
Here for the UK.

Monday 12 November 2012

Expanding Boundaries

So far Blue Hour Publishing has brought you adventure, mystery, thrillers, horror and film reviews.
Today we launch a book by our author Kristen Stone which takes a look into how becoming a Buddhist has influenced her life.
Available at all the usual sites on Amazon including

Amazon .com

And don't forget ALL Blue Hour Publishing books are available from the Kindle Lending Library if you are an Amazon Prime member.

Friday 9 November 2012

Why we should edit

I have been reading a book by an Indie author, won’t mention the author or the title of the book, but it was one I came across by chance. I really enjoyed the story – but oh the typos, if ever there were an example of a book that needed an editor this was it.
   I’m not talking about grammatical errors, although there were a couple – ‘that’ that should have been ‘who’, the odd ‘was’ that should have been ‘were’ (always a difficult one that, makes me stop and think every time I use the word, but in this case it was a definite plural not one of those conditional clauses that make you scratch your head and think was/were? As in my opening paragraph – I think I’ve got it right, but could be wrong.)
    No the writing was pretty much fine, very good, in fact. But the book was plagued with bad formatting, missing first line indents, back to front speech marks, and speech marks that did not need to be there. Now some people say typos don’t really matter and I will admit it is quite likely that sometimes even the editor will miss one or two, even miss the odd homonym, homophone or synonym. But this book had far too many it slapped of sloppiness.
    I know Indie authors can’t afford to pay professional editors for their services. It is hard enough to make money from your book let alone make enough to pay for something to be edited, especially if it your first. So what do you do?
    First step is to make sure you know WHAT you are doing. I know it is a trial reading all those articles about ‘how to write’ but there are some basic rules that a writer should know. I won’t list them all here because that is not why I am writing this, but one simple thing everyone should know is how to type dialogue.
     It is easy if your characters are only speaking one or two sentences at a time. Speech marks at the beginning and end of the speech, new line when starting a new character’s speech. But if one character is speaking in paragraphs do not put speech marks at the end of each paragraph. Put them at the beginning of every new paragraph and then a closing one at the end of the whole speech. That way the reader knows the same person is speaking all the way through.
    It is up to the author when/if or where they put ‘he said’. Once a thread of conversation has begun, especially if only between two people, it should be clear who is speaking. If there are more than two people it might be necessary to say who is speaking to make it clear to the reader.
    It doesn’t matter whether you use single or double speech marks so long as the use is consistent throughout the work. For many years industry standard has been to use single speech marks but I’m sure that schools still teach children to use double. Either that or the host of Indie authors publishing today were taught way back, as most seem to use double. What IS important is that they are facing the right way. If you inadvertently put a space between the speech mark and the first letter of the speech the mark will appear as a closing mark like ” this. I even edited something for someone whose computer didn’t seem to understand forward facing speech marks and even when I tried to type them it put them in the wrong way round. Obviously something got imbedded in the file that I could not get rid of. I had to copy the right marks from another file and then paste them in the correct place throughout the text.
    So what point am I trying to make here? ALWAYS check your work before putting it live. Not the day after you have finished it. Leave it a week, then check. Let your brain forget what you thought you typed so that it sees what you actually typed. Try to find a friend who reads slowly. It is so easy to skim read something but so many things are missed when you do that. That way you might produce a book that you can be proud of, not only with the story but with the way it looks.
    Right, better get off and read through the mss I’ve just finished before it goes live and I find it full of mistakes!

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Book Junkies' Journal

Our author Kristen Stone is featured on the new Book Junkies' Journal. Read this fantastic article and learn more about Kristen HERE

Thursday 25 October 2012

Check Out This Interview

No, not on this blog. Blue Hour author Kristen Stone as been interviewed by Tricia Drammeh on her website Authors to Watch.
Read this insightful interview and find out what inspires Kristen to write.

Wednesday 24 October 2012

The Waiting is Over : Get Licence Reviewed to complete the experience

50 Years of James Bond.
Skyfall has been premièred. The film will be on release this weekend!
NOW is your chance to catch up with ALL the previous Bond films, reviewed by Bond fan Patrick Mulready.

Get your FREE copy at

and all other Amazon domains.

Be prepared to be Shaken And Stirred.

Saturday 20 October 2012

Spooky Tales for Halloween

With Halloween coming up treat yourself to something special to get you in the mood. At the Speical Price of 99c/77p from now until 31st October. 

Shadowchaser by Stephen Hulse.
Good against evil, angels against demons, with Martin Thorne the only one who can save the world. 
To get your copy now click
Limited offer 99c/77p

DayStalker by Kristen Stone
Meet Robert Gaunt, vampire extraordinaire, with a need to father a son, who gets strength from the sun and who uses his charm to win the friendship and confidence of strangers. Before he sinks his teeth into them.
To get your copy click
Limited offer 99c/77p

Add a new fright to Halloween night!!

Wednesday 17 October 2012

In Search of the Truth

Steven Mark Andrew Penhaligan has always been his own man; gone his own way, followed the career path he wanted not what his father wanted for him. At the age of thirty-five he is sure of his place in the world, known, trusted and secure. A journalist who has worked around the world and now investigates corruption. Then a chance meeting in a Jazz club and a phone call from a bereft woman throws his ordered world into disarray. Doubts arise about one of the drugs his father’s pharmaceutical company, The Penhaligan Foundation, produces and extreme measures are taken by someone to stop the journalist investigating.
   In this story Kristen Stone looks into the way an industry works. There are cover-ups. The pitfalls of working under a pen name are exposed as attempts are made to silence Mark Andrew, when those doing the silencing don’t realise he is actually Steven Penhaligan, the son and heir of Amos Penhaligan, chairman of the Foundation.
   And she explorers the depths of despair when someone is injured beyond their ability to function in a normal everyday way.  Old friendships are tested to near destruction. New friendships built.
    Will it all work out in the end? Find out when you read The Penhaligan File  FREE 17-18th October 2012

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Licence to Write

Ever heard of the DVD board game “Scene It”?  The James Bond edition wound up in my hands for Christmas, 2004.  On New Year’s Day, 2005 I hosted a family get together at my house, where we ate and drank and laughed and enjoyed the day, until I convinced everyone we should play this new “Scene It” game.  We were supposed to divide up into teams, but my family’s knowledge that I was a true James Bond aficionado meant that they were all going to gang up on me, a team of 12 against yours truly.  And I still won.  By a considerable margin.  After that, no one ever wanted to play me again.
    My fondness for the James Bond franchise goes back to a very early age.  I was not even ten years old when I watched the movie “Goldfinger” for the very first time, and I became hooked.  Every time a television network here in America would show the films, I was in front of the TV.  In 1977, I got to see a Bond movie in the theater for the first time with “The Spy Who Loved Me.”  And it was about that same time that I came into possession of paperback copy of the novel of the same name by Ian Fleming.  That added a whole new dimension to my understanding of Bond’s world: the book was nothing like the movie, and I had to go find the other novels and see if the same thing held true. I’ve since seen the theatrical release of every Bond movie after TSWLM, and collected Fleming’s Bond novels in nice, special edition hard covers.
    I got my first VCR while I was still in college, and shortly after I graduated, the Bond franchise celebrated its 30th anniversary by releasing its back catalogue of films on video.  Naturally, I collected all of them.  I then did the same thing when all the movies were released as “Special Edition” DVDs not even ten years later.  (EON Productions has certainly taken a fair amount of my money over the years.  This is why I’ve decided to put the “Ultimate Edition” James Bond collection on BluRay as a Christmas gift list item, so that someone can make a present of it for me.) 
    So what does one do with all this pent up, pedantic knowledge of a film franchise?  Well, if you’re a member of an online forum, and the subject of Bond comes up, you join in the discussion.  A question came up: “what was the best Bond movie ever made?”  Titles got thrown around like pennies being thrown in a fountain, so I interjected.  “That’s the wrong question to ask.”  You can probably guess the response – a nearly universal “Huh?  Why?”  I maintain it’s the wrong question to ask because now that we’ve had 22 EON production films, and one rival production in 1983, and now that we’re onto the sixth actor to play the role of James Bond, all of the films are simply too different in tone, content and performance to be fairly judged against one another.  Forget comparing apples and oranges, the question of which Bond movie is “the best” is like trying to pick a winner out of a basket of mixed fruit.  You have to judge each film on its own merits, and do it from the perspective of what contemporary audiences got out of it at the time it was released.
    That online conversation took place around April, 2011, and in hindsight, it was a bit of a case of famous last words.  The response to my position that all 23 films featuring the character James Bond had to be judged individually was met with amusement.  I was asked to prove it.  So I did.  Starting with “Dr. No,” I took each movie in order of its release, and wrote what amounted to an essay deconstructing its various parts and subjecting them to scrutiny.  And unlike a film critic, reviewing the latest Bond film only, and wanting to seem both objective and slightly imperious in their writing, I took on the challenge openly acknowledging my unabashed fan status. 
    I finished my review for “Quantum of Solace,” the most recent Bond film, sometime this past June.  All told, more than a year has elapsed since I’d thrown down my gauntlet.  Somewhere along the line, it occurred to me that if compiled into a manuscript, these essays might actually be a worthy idea for a book.  As far as I knew, no one had ever taken on a comprehensive evaluation of the Bond films.  That’s where Blue Hour Publishing enters the picture, offering to allow me to do just that. 
   I submitted the manuscript, and, like any writer hoping to see his first work published, waited anxiously for word.  The word came out on Friday, October 5, 2012, that it had been released.  It’s a very surreal feeling to go to Amazon, type in your own name in the search bar, and get a result.  But a book called “Licence: Reviewed” does come up as a search result, and it’s a bit like being a proud father for the first time.
   Not only did the release of “Licence: Reviewed” coincide nicely with the 50th anniversary of the original theatrical release of Dr. No, the impact of Bond on the silver screen is just about to happen again with the release of “Skyfall” this autumn.  I’ve been asked what expectations I have for this film.  Well, with the reboot of Bond effectively carried off over the last two movies, I’m expecting this one to get back to more of the traditional formula in that I believe we’ll get to see Moneypenny and Q this time around.  Having said that, I don’t think it will feel particularly like the traditional formula we got used to prior to “Casino Royale.”  Bond got rebooted, so I expect the dynamics of the relationship Bond has with both Moneypenny and Q will also get a re-tooling.  Beyond that, I genuinely have no idea where EON Productions will take us, and I have to admit, I rather like it that way.

For your copy click Licence:Reviewed

Monday 15 October 2012

Journey to the Edge of Extinction

Over the next week or so I am going to talk about each of our books in detail, starting with Edge of Extinction by Kristen Stone.
   In this book Ms Stone takes you gently by the hand and leads you into the heart of the Amazon rainforest, to a world no Western eye has seen. She creates a whole culture, unique in its isolated existence, suspended in time for there is no need for change, the people are happy and contented.
   The story is told through the eyes of the tribal leader, a man of mysterious origin and strange appearance. His hair is a sun-bleached, almost golden, colour. His skin has a deep bronze tan unlike the natives. He has hair on his face which none of the other men of the tribe have. And he has a prehensile tail. He MUST be a god, in their eyes. His name is Kianda Mala, the Monkey Man.
   As leader of the tribe it falls to Kianda to find out why the people in his village are suddenly falling ill and dying. His search takes him from the security of a world he understands to a strange world fall of monsters and strange machines.
   Some have said this story is naive, which is a testament to Ms Stone's skill as an author. Apart from the introduction, this story is told in first person from Kianda's point of view and it does not stray into the modern world even when Kianda himself finds himself there. His idea of how things should be done are founded on the way HE has been brought up. He doesn't understand why his people are considered expendable. Ms Stone doesn't try to extend the story beyond Kianda's understanding but through his eyes we are introduced to a culture quite different to that of the reader and feel for the problems being caused by unscrupulous industry.
   This novel by no means preaches at the reader about the right or wrong of what is happening in the world. It lets Kianda tell the story. But the story is so skilfully woven, the words so beautifully written, it lingers with the reader long after the book is finished.
   To find out whether Kianda manages to save his tribe get the book here. Edge of Extincton

Friday 12 October 2012

Kristen's Interview

Did you catch the interview with Kristen Stone on Facebook. If you didn't catch it live you can still go to Facebook and read the whole interview. Oo-er Missus, I hope I don't bump into her latest character! Find out all about Robert Gaunt in her chat with Shah.

Perfection is a Myth

Today I would like to welcome Electa Graham who has provided today's Guest Blog.

Perfection is a Myth By Electa Graham

I am a mother of 2, a farmer, a wife, a writer, a caretaker to one big goofy dog, 3 cats and about 5 or 6 thousand worms (give or take they never fill out the census form).  Those are just my main jobs. My husband is in the navy and when he is deployed I add father to that list. So how do I get everything done? Wow, I had you going for a second didn’t I? I don’t get everything done.
   I’m happy when my house is clean enough that if someone drops  by unannounced I don’t have to hide in my bathroom until they go away, because my house is too messy to let anyone in. I’m happy when my laundry is clean, being put away is just a bonus. I’m happy when I have time to pick all the veggies that are ready or I have time to keep the weeds down to a small meadow. I’m happy when I get more writing done in the morning then I expect to.
   There was a time when I tried to have everything perfect and get as much done as possible every day. It was too stressful and it felt like an exercise in daily failure. So instead of telling you how to get everything done on some mythical impossible list, I’m going to tell you how to get enough done that life doesn’t feel like you are drowning in a sea of to-dos.
   First rule don’t feel guilty about asking for help. My kids (age 7 and 11) have chores and not token take the garbage out once a week kind of chore. My kids are in charge of the dishes (washing, drying, loading and unloading the dishwasher, setting and clearing the table). They put away their clothes, keep their rooms clean (well mostly) feed out pets and take out the compost bin. My husband does his fair share around here too.
   Rule number two, do the critical stuff first. Everything that can wait…well can wait.
   Rule number three, I write every morning from 8 until 1030. If I get in more writing time that is a bonus, but that is my time. Writing could always be put off, which is why I have a set time for doing it.
Rule number four, is the most important of them all, time must be set aside for you and for family. Husband time is when the kids go to bed. Kid time is just after supper. Me time is an hour everyday where I do what I want. Might sound indulgent, but if I had a 9 to 5 job I’d get breaks there.
So for all those type A’s out there who are cringing at my willy-nilly approach to my day, I say phffft. I may not be perfect, but I am perfectly happy (most days, after my coffee).

Thursday 11 October 2012

Spotlight Interview with Kristen Stone

Our very own author Kristen Stone is being interviewed on Facebook tonight at 10pm. Follow this link and see what she has to say.

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Have Women Lost Their Dignity?

Now before I say anything else I want to say I'm NOT a prude, I think sex is wonderful and writing a character without giving him/her a bit of a sex life, even if only a hint, makes that character unreal, almost unnatural.
   Neither am I against having a tipple or two. On average four hours of my life is spent in the local every week. That's where I have got to know several of the people who live in the village.
And I don't have a dicky-fit if I hear someone use, or read, the word 'fuck.' I have even been known to use it myself and believe me, when I turn round and call someone a 'fucking wanker' they take notice.
   On the other hand I feel much of the efforts over the last forty years to make women equal to men have gone in the wrong direction.
   YES women should be paid the same as the man she is working next to if they are doing the same job. It is the job that should have a price, not the person doing it.
   YES women should be given the same career options as her male co-workers if that is what she wants.
   NO, she can't do that AND have a family. Bring up a family is a full time job if you wish to do it properly.
   But I am straying from the point I want to make here. All the above do not affect a woman's dignity.
The habit of binge drinking is nothing new. Fifty years ago young men would frequently attempt The Abbey Street Run, which involved visiting every pub in Abbey Street of the town where I have spent the last thirty odd years. The aim was to have a drink in every one. Usually only half a pint as there were something like fifteen pubs in Abbey Street (it is quite long). Role models would be those who could do the run and manage a pint in each one. Wives and girlfriends would wait at home and deal with the consequences. I have no idea if any deaths occurred through vomiting in a drunken stupor after this run, no doubt if any did the poor soul would have been heralded as a hero.
   Yet, these days not only young men but young women go on regular weekend binges. Hen weekends are as common as stag weekends, and not necessarily to wish a soon to be married person good luck. Any excuse will do. You find young women drinking until they can barely stand up.
Is this what Women's Lib was all about? Where is the dignity in puking your guts out at the side of a road, or being so drunk last night you can't remember who you shagged? If you got lucky, that is.
   And now I come the the latest phenomenon. Mummy Porn.
   Yes, I'm talking about THAT book. You know the one I mean. Personally I haven't read it, so maybe I shouldn't be the one to comment. But I did read the sample chapter and I did read some of the reviews. Talk about reverse psychology! I wish could get so many bad reviews and have people queuing up to buy my books! Amazon do this thing where if several people make a similar comment they highlight it. Over 2000 people said the book was rubbish and don't waste your money on it - and still it sold.
   This is heartbreaking for the thousands of good writers out there who are not getting a look in.
I'm not saying a book can't have sex in it. All my male characters are sexually active. In The Penhaligan File Mark Andrew has a girl-friend and is seduced by the wife of his best friend. But the act is no way demeaning.
   The premise of that book seems to be the lead female is somehow unable to avoid being seduced by the male lead. How old fashioned is that? How pre-liberation? Don't the women of today know how to stand up for themselves? The very idea that women are so susceptible to the charms of such people should surely tear at the heart of all independent women around the world.
   The fact that thousands of women are lapping it up shows another sad side to the way life if going.
At one time Porn was for men, because we all know men can't go more than a few minutes without thinking about sex. Poor things. Although I do not believe that statement for one minute. I think it was put about by someone with pockets to fill with jangling coin. Certainly the men I have known throughout my life have not displayed this characteristic. (What opportunities they missed!).  Or maybe they just hide it well!
   Once Lady Chatterley's Lover was accepted as a work of literature, sex became more common in books. Harold Robins of The Carpetbaggers springs to my mind although maybe I am showing my age here. Then there was The Tropic of Cancer and The Tropic of Capricorn, before moving on to what was basically soft porn in The Confessions series. Very interesting to a young teenager but soon becoming very boring as the reader realised the same story was being repeated over and over again.
The truth is books about sex have been around since The Karma Sutra.
   A good book has strong characters, not always perfect. Alex Churchill in The Blue Hour is very troubled, but the character is drawn so well that I want to know more about her, her back story, how did she get into the state we find her at the beginning of the story? And even Alex has a sex life - but that is left to the imagination of the reader.
   There are a plethora of Erotica books about these days. Again I haven't read any myself but I really wonder at the need for them. Are there a lot of frustrated writers out there who can only find sexual gratification by writing about it? And are there twice the number of frustrated women who need this stimulus to make their lives complete? If there are I feel very sorry for you all. Is this a sign of how the liberated woman will end up? I did read one book that claimed to be erotica. It started very well, the writing was very good and I thought we were in for some kind of female Raffles type adventure. But by the end of the second chapter it turned out to be one sex scene after another with very little in-between. And the things the woman who was narrating the story had to put up with - well, you wouldn't catch me being treated like that! No way.
   I'm not saying that authors can't have vivid sexually fantasies, but they should stay that, private fantasies. Even at sixty I can get quite carried away with what my characters might do. You wouldn't believe what Kianda Mala has got up to it in my mind but none of it reached Edge of Extinction. 
And what Tony and Christina did in Shattered Dreams, well I can't go into that what with it being a pupil/teacher relationship.
   The cry 'we should be allowed to write whatever we like' does not sway me. As writers we all have responsibility towards our readers. Yes, we are writing fantasy, every story is a fantasy. But the people who read about our made-up world take all sorts of subconscious messages from our pages. Every book has a message hidden somewhere within it. The best books don't make that obvious. I know people pick out things because of comments I have received about Edge of Extinction. I did not set out to write an important message about how we treat the people and planet, but that is what some people have picked up on.
   So what are we saying about women who are seduced by powerful, controlling men. That it is ok? That it is what everyone should be aiming for? Or do the readers just skip to the next sex scene and do whatever they do while reading it?
   I'm sure if it were known that men were writing such stories (I say that because there are probably lots of men out there using female pen names) there would be an outcry about the demeaning of women. As a woman myself I agree.

Monday 8 October 2012

When Life Gets In The Way

   I had great plans for writing this morning. Start of a new week, start of a strict new writing regime that would have me editing in the morning and writing my own stuff later in the day.
   What happened? Writing was thwarted by that evil thing housework. Yes, the shower needed cleaning and the carpets needed a quick vacuuming, the kitchen floor needed mopping and the only thing I have had to time to write is this!
   It's nearly time to walk the dog and pick up some pills from the doctor's so it's hardly worth  starting anything before lunch. BUT this afternoon WILL be different. I WILL do some real work.
   Oh, I am so looking forward to December when I will desert the dog and the man who pays the bills and have three whole weeks to myself somewhere where the sun shines and the sky is nearly always blue. With only myself to worry about I can eat when I want, sweep the cool floor tiles before I hop into bed without worrying about a vacuum cleaner waking the neighbours as I do my housework in the middle of the night. The only mess made is by me, so I can't complain or worry about having to clean up after anyone else.
   I know I shouldn't wish my life away, but roll on December!! 

Licence:Reviewed - Reviewed

Yes, folks, the first review of our Bond book has gone live on Read it here then follow the link on Patrick's page and get the book. If you thought Bond was all chases and explosions think again.

Friday 5 October 2012


Now available. Check out Patrick's page for Product description and links.

Wednesday 3 October 2012


Coming on Friday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise - Patrick Mulready's License - Reviewed. Reviews of All the Bond films to date.
Don't miss the chance to get your copy.
Keep an eye out for more details in the coming days.

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Spark of Inspiration

    First of all I need to apologise. This blog - if there's anyone out there who hasn't set themselves on fire after reading through it - has been, up until now, as dull as ditchwater - and a lot less entertaining.
    But that changes now.
    Instead of simply attempting to write"Writing", instead we're simply going to write about any and everything we feel like as the mood strikes us. Ah, thought that might catch your attention; pull you away from the universal importance of contemplating your navel lint that our past blog entries have engendered. That's a thing of the past.
    Yes... that does mean I want you to stop playing with your navel lint, sit up and pay attention. Especially you...yes, YOU loitering at the back...
    Now pay attention. Have you read any good books on your Kindle recently? What do you mean, you haven't got a Kindle? WHY NOT? Are you living in the dark ages? I know I started by saying we're moving away from the Writing subject but THIS is a topic that has struck my current mood.
    "A book isn't a book unless it's paper."
    WHO SAID THAT? Go and stand in the corner and repeat the mantra 'A book is the story not the paper it's printed on.'
    Do you think the author has slogged over his/her keyboard to bring you exciting and impossible stories that will only reach a few people in a limited area? NO. The authors of today want to reach EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE.
    AND ebooks are environmentally friendly so it is your DUTY to read them if you care about the planet and the tress and the energy used to produce paper books.
    Do you readers out there think we authors still write our books by hand? Of course not. Some may scribble notes but publishers require manuscripts to be submitted neatly typed to specific formats. Everything is done electronically. No more need for typesetters to do everything back to front.
     So MOVE ON. You will find some really interesting stuff out there. Stuff you can read waiting for the bus, or in the doctor's waiting room. Stuff you can carry around in your pocket or handbag so that you NEVER have to wait to get home to read because that 1000 page book is too big and too heavy to carry.
    Oi, YOU at the back! Are you paying attention? Oh, sorry. Nose in your Kindle. That's all right then.

Friday 7 September 2012

DayStalker - First Promo weekend

Free this weekend YOUR chance to meet Robert Gaunt, the vampire who loves the sun. But DON'T call him a Vampire, he hates that word. Find out what he is in DayStalker, the latest from award-winning author Kristen Stone.

Thursday 30 August 2012


From award-winning author Kristen Stone:

Monday 27 August 2012


All Blue Hour Publications are available from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Coming to a Kindle Near You

For three days only. Stephen R. Hulse's critically acclaimed Amazon best-selling Noir thriller The Blue Hour is available as a free download; beginning Wednesday 22nd, until Friday 24th of August.

   As the countdown begins to the release of their sensational second adventure: "The Insignificant Other", grab this limited period only opportunity to discover how the most volatile and intriguing partnership in modern Noir fiction was forged via a dark and deadly web of international intrigue, flying fists, and all hell breaking loose.

   Alex Churchill: an alcoholic female British ex-cop with an attitude...

   Gideon Wade: a tough, no-nonsense enigmatic American Private Eye who isn't quite all he appears...

   The lives of 15 stolen children hanging in the balance...

   The Blue Hour: Book 1 of the Churchill and Wade Mysteries...

   Experience the adventure for free - Wednesday 22nd, through Friday 24th.  It's even more deadly than a .45 bullet between the eyes.

Monday 23 July 2012


The following conversation was spotted on Twitter this morning between our very own Kristen Stone and the mysterious Production Elves in the Blue Hour Publishing office of wonders.

KS: Calling Blue Hour Production Elves, you’ve been very quiet of late.
PE: Oh Miss award winning author Kristen Stone forgive our slackness. We have trauma aplenty.
KS: Trauma? Explain.
PE: Tis chaos here. Mr McMiser got run over by a steam roller.
KS: A steam roller? Surely not.
PE: Well, it was a car actually but he insists it feels like a steam roller.
KS: Is he ok?
PE: Well, he took a nasty knock to the head, so no real harm done. Thinks we have taken on more staff though.
KS: Why?
PE: He keeps seeing two of everything.
KS: And have you heard from Sanguine Scribe lately? He seems to have gone AWOL too.
PE: Oh Miss award winning author Kristen Stone, Mr Sanguine has been at Mr M’s bedside mopping his fevered brow.
KS: Look, cut the award winning author bit. In the circumstances just call me Kris.
PE: Oh Miss award winning author Kristen Stone we couldn’t do that.
KS: Cut it! So Mr M has a fever?
PE: Oh, no. Just a bit non-compos mentos, but what’s new? We think Mr Sanguine is taking notes for his next scribieness.
KS: That’s good to hear. But don’t let Mr M hear you say that. So what have you been doing?
PE: Between tweeting and running errands we have been making copious quantities of chicken soup.
KS: Chicken soup, no Lambas bread?
PE: We have been adding a few crumbs of the wonderful Lambas bread to the soup. But we fear Mr Sanguine is scoffing it.
KS: Best keep an eye on him. You know what these starving authors are like.
PE: Indeed we do Miss awar… Kris. Well, must get on. We hear the subtle voice of Mr M calling for soup.
KS: OK. Take care of Mr M and if the other fellow gives you trouble let me know. I’ll sort him!

Thursday 19 July 2012

Does a book NEED sex to sell?

What makes a book a good book, a seller? Are the two things the same? Is a best-selling book necessarily a good book? These are the questions that ever indie author would like answered. Unfortunately it is unanswerable.
             The thing is, every reader is different, every writer has a different story to tell. How that writer tells the story is up to him/her. For me a good book is one that has a story I can relate to. It is one where language is used to its fullest extent. Not necessarily complex language but carefully crafted words and sentences. I don’t like reading the same phrases over and over again. I don’t like getting bogged down in too many facts. I like my fiction to be that, fiction. I’m happy to read any genre as long as the story is good. I can be transported back in time with an historical novel. I can be sent into space or the future. I can be a spy or a lover, an adventurer or an ordinary person living a life with a story to tell. As long as the words are good I don’t care.
             I went through the phase of giving every character an action to accompany speech, a toss of the head, hair tucked behind an ear, the raised eyebrow. Fortunately I got through that phase before I got published. That’s not to say that sometimes a character doesn’t do something to enforce what is going on, but it is not all the time. My characters still laugh and smile, shrug or wink, such things are part of life, but it is only mentioned if it is important. The rest of the time the reader can make up their own reactions to what is going on.
             Following the success of a certain book this summer I caught an author on Channel 4 news the other night putting forward the argument that the great classics of our literature should be sexed up to make them more appealing to readers. WRONG! In the interests of accuracy and research I should call up the programme on whatever ‘watch again’ system Channel 4 has and check the names of those taking part in the interview – but I write fiction, I don’t do a great deal of research! Suffice is to say they had a rather enthusiastic female writer of indeterminate age, long black, wavy hair, saying that we shouldn’t be afraid to write about sex, and a rather dry, balding, grey-haired older professor of English Literature for the ‘leave it alone’ camp. I felt it was a pity that the professor wasn’t young, handsome and more passionate about the books he was defending, but maybe there are no such young professors about.
             A few examples of what could be added were included in the discussion and frankly, maybe because of the time the interview went out, I did not find them particularly sexy at all, and definitely not erotic.
             So do we need to sex up Jane Austin? Personally I think not. People read the classics for the style, the wit, the story and the craftsmanship. They can be led to believe things and fill in any gaps in their own imagination. These stories are already sexy in their own ways, else the TV companies and film studios would not be falling over themselves to put them on screen. 
             Who does it benefit to make these stories more raunchy? Certainly not the authors who are all long dead and gone, so it would be the publishers and anyone commissioned to write the extra scenes. All they will be doing is cashing in on the name and the title. If there is really a need for such a thing then let the author take the story and re-write it under their own name or pen name, with a different title and different character names; then wait and see if it is successful.
             So on to the very first question asked – does a book need to have sex in it, and when does that sex move into the erotic category? All my books have sex scenes. I write about life and sex is part of life, to deny it would be to cut a chunk out of a character’s personality. But I usually write about the build-up to sex and when the actual act takes place the bedroom door is discreetly closed and we re-join the characters later. Having said that I don’t know if those introductions are classed as mildly sexy or erotic. Is it erotic for Kianda to become aroused at the smell of Hannah, or for Mark to lick the sugar from his girlfriend’s fingers after eating doughnuts, or for Tony to massage his girlfriend with baby oil?   
             As writers we need to consider who our readers are and who we want to reach. It is not true that young people do not appreciate the classics. Maybe more read Twilight than Dickens but that does not mean we have to put vampires and werewolves in Dickens any more than we have to delve into the relationships between Bill Sykes and Nancy.
             Sex in books is not new.  Even before D H Lawrence wrote Lady Chatterley’s Lover, there were references and hints. And it is those hints that make the work more appealing, giving the reader a chance to participate in the story by using their own imagination if they want the characters to go further than what is written on the page. Whilst listening to this author spouting excitedly about how sex should be in everything, I couldn’t help wondering if she had never heard of Harold Robins, Wilbur Smith, Lesley Charterise and any number of authors who wrote raunchy and sexy books without being placed in the erotic category. Oh, and not to forget Chaucer.
             Yes, lots of people want to read sexy stories, but just putting sex into Jane Eyre will not make it any more popular or a more enjoyable read.
             Finally, do you know which is the most profitable and prolific publishing house? Mills and Boon. And they are very particular about what can and can’t go into their stories.

Sunday 8 July 2012

Tinged with SUCCESS

When our intrepid leader suggested putting three books up on promo at once I was not at all sure such an idea was a good one. When Amazon KDP failed to register any downloads we were both beginning to think the same. Then ... we checked the statistics for each book and saw that they were rising in the promo charts on a steady basis, not only in the UK, and .com but also in Germany and France!
    All is forgiven intrepid leader, you were right! We ended the day with the comfortable feeling that lots of people now have three of our books. We don't know how many yet because KDP is still showing nothing! Oh, the wonders of modern technology!

Friday 6 July 2012

Are You Sitting Comfortably? (A Writer's Tale)


Stephen R. Hulse

What does writing mean to me?
     Well, at this particular moment it means sitting in front of my computer typing with two fingers - but very fast fingers...even if I am using only two of them. Oh, I do have more - I mean it's not like I only have just the two - I have eight of them, and two thumbs... but when I'm writing, six of those fingers and both of those thumbs have a holiday, because I never learned to touch type. No, I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't lose the other fingers fighting a duel, or defusing an unexploded bomb or even saving the yummy Miss Priestley from the huge, salivating, razor-sharp jaws of a Great White Shark somewhere in the crystal clear blue waters off the Barrier Reef or anything heroic and exciting, because I didn’t.
     Of course, I could tell you I did... but I'd be lying...well, technically I wouldn't be lying... I'd be "writing". I'd be creating a fiction. In this case a fiction just for you, but a fiction all the same.
     But yep, okay, you've got me... it still wouldn't be true...only it would; because I'm a writer and that's what we writers do... we tell stories.
     Sometimes those stories are sad - sometimes funny - sometimes a little of both with just a dash of something else mixed in to make things even more interesting - and don't faint; but sometimes they might even be true.
     But they're still basically stories. Silly, wonderful, beautiful, amazing, breath-taking, eye-widening, heart-stopping, pulse-racing - sometimes even yawn-inducing - but still stories.
     I can't begin to tell you how to write or even where ideas come from. (Although "where do you get your ideas?" is the single most asked - and single most impossible to answer question - a writer is constantly asked.) If you were asked by someone why you nicked your best mate's last Hob Nob while he wasn't looking, or why you think Johnny Depp is the hottest guy walking around on two legs, could you easily answer?
     Then welcome to the "I Don't Know The Answer...Honest, Club". Because that's what it's like for a writer all - and I do mean all - the time!
     Sometimes we writers will give long, twisty-turny, very deep and important sounding explanations if we're backed into a corner - but pssssttttt.... don't tell anyone, will ya? The answers are fake.
      Made-up, fictions... more stories invented to get people off our backs so we can get back to the really important business of doing everything and anything we can think of except what we're actually supposed to be doing; writing. And you know exactly what I mean by that - you do it all the time - come up with clever, stupid, unlikely excuses for not doing your latest homework assignment or project or the chores or whatever... but you're doing exactly the same thing…
     Only you’re not getting paid for it. (Hang on a second… I’m not getting paid for this either! Which is just as well, because if I was being paid for this Mao my cat would be eating cardboard for, oh… about a month… - I don’t come cheap.)
     Look, I’ve gabbed away for over 724 words now telling you lot about  nothing and a little about a lot.
     But what it all comes down to at the end of the page is this…
     I write because it touches people.
     Young people, old people, smart people, not so smart people – everybody’s welcome to the party.
     Everybody can read the words that come tripping off the end of my two – very fast – fingertips, and perhaps smile or frown, laugh or cry, be bored or be interested… but whatever their reaction – whatever else happens - for a little while (even if it’s just a teeny-tiny moment) if I’m very lucky; I’ve made them think or feel or look at something in a slightly different way than they did before.
     So what does writing mean to me? It means I made a difference. Maybe not a big, “It’s Gonna Change The World” kind of difference; but a small almost unnoticeable difference.
     And sometimes, just sometimes - it’s the tiny differences that turn out to be the most important.

Wednesday 4 July 2012


Hi, Kristen Stone here. The Editor has asked me to talk about my new novel Shattered Dreams. What it’s about and how it came about.
   I’ll start with the how and more importantly, when. The idea behind Shattered Dreams has been with me for years, grown and developed as I, myself, have grown and developed as a writer. It is a work of fiction. None of the people in it are real. But I love creating people, events and situations in which to put them to the test. Unlike Edge of Extinction which has a specific story to tell, and The Penhaligan File which has a mystery to solve, Shattered Dreams is a snapshot of a person’s life, a fiction biography almost, although it doesn’t cover the characters whole life.
   So what is it about? (Didn’t Mark Andrew say ‘don’t start a question with ‘so’. Sorry Mark, will do better in future).
   Shattered Dreams is the simple story of Tony Walker, a teenager who gets mown down by a car just as he is being ‘scouted’  by a football club. His dreams of becoming a top player are taken from him.
·         It’s about dealing with disability
·         It’s about relationships
·         It’s about growing up
·         It’s about forbidden love
·         It’s about bereavement
·         It’s about drug related date rape
·         It’s about image
·         It’s about building a new life
·         It’s about rape within a relationship
·         It’s about single parenthood
·         It’s about alcoholism
·         It’s about a growing romance between two disparate people
·         It’s about recovery
    Wow! Did I write all that and I thought …
    Shattered Dreams is the simple story of Tony walker, a teenager who gets mown down by a car.
Available now at 
or here     

Leave a comment below

Sunday 1 July 2012

Susanne O'Leary

Our author Susanne O'Leary is being interviewed over on Big Al's Books and Pals.
Click the link in the right hand column to pop along and read.

Thursday 28 June 2012

Birth of a Book

Writing a new book is like having a baby. It doesn’t matter what genre of book, whether it is fact or fiction, it goes through the same process.
        First there is the conception. That spark that ignites an idea, a need to tell.
        This is followed by the gestation period. Unlike a human pregnancy this time can vary from weeks, months or even years. This is the time when your book is formed, shaped and grows from that initial idea into a full blown work. Checked, edited, every word in the right place; every comma, full stop and speech mark.
        Typing ‘The End’ is like giving birth. Your baby is fully formed and ready to meet the world. Like taking a baby out for the first time you tentatively ask someone else to read it and hope they will give you an honest opinion.
        Then, like taking your small child for its first day at school, it’s out there for people to buy. Your baby. Out there all alone in the world trying to smile enticingly so that people will pick it up, download it, read it. Maybe, just maybe, someone will review it, like a teacher giving an end of year report.
        Complications can arise when authors suffer from multiple births; two or three stories demanding attention at the same time. Some can deal with this, like parents of triplets, but they need to be very strict with their children, giving each an allotted time and sticking to it.
        I have just typed ‘The End’ on my latest book Shattered Dreams and already a new baby is growing. How long it will take I don’t know. Less than nine months I hope!

Friday 22 June 2012

The Need For An Editor

When Blue Hour Publishing first started someone asked 'Why do you need a publisher to publish an ebook?'
   The answer to that is simple. If you are a competent writer, have good friends who will check your work for you, without flattery, then you don’t need a publisher. Go it alone and take all the royalties.
However, not everyone is that capable. Not everyone has the ability to tackle Amazon’s KDP system. Not everyone can type perfectly!
   That’s where an editor comes in. I was amazed to realise that over the last eighteen months or so I have looked at over 20 books for different people. The difference in work needed has varied from next to none –  just checking that stray typos haven’t crept in; Word is great at spotting incorrectly spelt words, but even with the grammar check on it doesn’t always spot wrong words perfectly spelt but out of context – to suggesting sections that could be re-written for whatever reason.
   My main concern is continuity, both in the story and in the formatting. Checking that character names are the same all the way through, especially incidental characters that may only appear a few times. I spotted this error in a published book that no one else had noticed. The author was extremely grateful and the book was revised.
   Making sure that things like speech marks and dashes are the same throughout the text. Word has the, sometimes annoying, ability of changing an ‘n’ dash to an ‘m’ dash, often leading to a mix of dashes in a text.
Another thing I do is keep an eye on timelines. Making sure that someone doesn’t do something out of sequence, and that the characters don’t do something that is out of natural time, like picking apples in April.
   What about spelling? According to research at Cambridge University it doesn’t matter whether a word is spelt correctly so long as all the letters are there and the word starts and ends with the right ones. That’s fine as an experiment, but it would make reading a chore rather than a pleasure. I am English. Blue Hour Publishing is based in England. So we tend to use English spellings, English punctuation, English phrases and speech patterns. If dialogue has lots of aitches missing it’s because that is how the characters speak, not because we can’t spell. Again, this comes under continuity. It is quite hard for a writer to remember to drop all the letters that are needed when in full flow. I have just gone through something replacing lots of aitches with apostrophes.
   Should it be ‘ise’ or ‘ize’? So long as it is the same all the way through and for every word it is needed I couldn’t care less. Writer Colin Dexter had Inspector Morse criticise the use of ‘ise’ as incorrect; but according to any decent dictionary either is correct. Most newspapers that I know of in the UK use ‘ise’. Try putting a ‘z’ in a crossword and you will be stumped. I know ‘ize’ is used in the US, but I would like to point out to them ‘ise’ is not wrong, it is an alternative.
   The final thing I do to each and every manuscript I check is to run a check for homonyms and make sure the right word is in the right place. A ‘find’ for there, their and they’re is the first thing I check, followed by such other words that can get confused, not because the writer doesn’t know the difference but because fingers sometimes work independently from the brain and type the wrong word.
   How many times do I read a manuscript (technically we should stop using that word because if you look it up it means a handwritten piece of work. If anyone sent me anything handwritten, I would send it straight back I’m afraid).  This depends entirely on the work. Sometimes I only need to read it once, the only thing that needs checking is the typing. Sometimes I will read something two or three times as things become clearer in a complicated plot and my first comments are no longer valid. I have even had work submitted more than once, a second review after the writer has changed the work in accordance with my suggestions or his own plot changes.
   Every book published by Blue Hour Publishing goes through this process. Every book is different, written in a different style. I try not to interfere with the writer’s style or impose my own preferences on their work. That is not my job. If the story makes sense that is enough for me.
   So that is why an ebook needs a publisher. Editors have a hand in almost everything that is published. They are usually unknown, sometimes acknowledged by the author but not always. So next time you pick a book off the shelf in a bookshop or library, remember that the words within that book have been checked and sometimes rearranged by some anonymous person working for the publisher.  

Sunday 17 June 2012

Great reviews from Gerry McCulloch

We were very happy when author Gerry McCulloch featured two of our books on her blog. Lallapaloosa and The Blue Hour are both reviewed by Gerry, herself a brilliant author. To visit her blog click here or click on her blog at the side of our page.
Many thanks Gerry and good luck with your own new book Angel in Flight.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Reviewing Month One

Take a deep breath and count to ten. A whole month has flown by since this blog was first set up. And what a month it has been! Sometimes it seemed to fly by. Sometimes it has felt like it is not moving.
   Since starting this venture Blue Hour Publishing has put seven books out. All have been carefully edited and checked.
   So what is it like to be an editor. When I first told my husband what I was doing he immediately said he would inform the police about husband bashing. I told him EDITOR not ED HITTER (I’ll leave to work out what his name is).
   The hardest part is getting into the style of the author, not inflicting your own style on the work. I have been lucky here. Each of our authors has their own particular style and that has made looking at each book an exciting and rewarding experience.  I make a point of not trying to re-write what our authors have put. The most I have had to do is maybe suggest a slightly different way of saying something. But so far all our authors seem to be on the right track, so I am extremely lucky there.
   My main concern is making sure the text is right. It is amazing how even the best book can have the odd missing speech mark or the wrong word that has slipped in because it is spelt correctly but just isn’t the word the author intended. I have even seen this is published books by big name authors that are sitting on my bookshelf, let alone an ebook.
   This has been a huge learning curve and I am looking forward to the future and finding even more books to release out into the ethersphere.

Friday 8 June 2012

Lovely Review

Time for a bit of boasting from your Editor! It is always humbling when someone give you a wonderful review and today I spotted the first after the Edge of Extinction Promo. Don't know if the two are related but I don't care. Read the review on Kristen Stone's page, while I bask in the glory. Hope the writer goes on to buy The Penhaligan File and enjoys that just as much.

Saturday 2 June 2012

1st Day Stats for Edge of Extinction Promo

Well, it seemed a slow start, but by 11.30pm Edge of Extinction had moved up to
#649 Free Kindle Store
#12 Free Kindle>Books>Fiction>Fantasy>Contemporary
#24 Free Kindle>Books>Fiction>Action & Adventure

Let's  see if the momentum keeps up and the figures go even higher in the next 2 days.
KS sends her thanks to BH for working so hard at promoting this.

Friday 1 June 2012

Edge of Extinction

Coming on Saturday 2nd June Edge of Extinction FREE for four days.
Follow Kianda Mala through the Amazon jungle as he tries to find out why the people of his village are dying.
This is how other readers have described this book.

Enchanting - Pleasantly surprising - Compelling - Page-turner - Beautifully written - Thought provoking - Heart warming - Poignant

Don't miss your chance to get this intriguing story for free this weekend.


Wednesday 30 May 2012

Welcome to New Authors

I would like to give a very warm welcome to the latest authors to join us at Blue Hour Publishing.
Susanne O'Leary and Ola Zaltin collaborate to write exciting novels together. Read all about them on their new page and find out about Virtual Strangers, coming out on Friday 1st June 2012

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Book Number Two The Shadowchaser

Book Number two for this week available now. Shadowchaser by Stephen R Hulse.
Full details tomorrow but for now have a look HERE

Friday 25 May 2012

Just in! An interview with Kianda Mala from deep in the Amazon jungle

Go to our Interview page to read an exciting interview between Mark Andrew, the famous journalist, and Kianda Mala, leader of the Chachinka tribe living on the edge of extinction in the Amazon rainforest.

Sunday 20 May 2012

Penhaligan update

Do well in Germany!
UK - Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #207 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#17 in Kindle Store > Books > Fiction > Crime, Thrillers & Mystery > Thrillers

US - Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,068 Free in Kindle Store

DE - Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #596 Kostenfrei in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 - Kostenfrei in Kindle-Shop)
Nr. 5 in Kindle-Shop > eBooks > Fremdsprachige eBooks > Englische eBooks > Krimis & Thriller > Krimis
Nr. 5 in Kindle-Shop > eBooks > Fremdsprachige eBooks > Englische eBooks > Krimis & Thriller > Thriller