Tuesday 16 December 2014

Happy Christmas!

I know it’s a bit early but I would like to wish all our readers and followers a Happy Christmas for 2014 and a prosperous and successful year to come for 2015. I have to say this now because from Thursday I’m not sure how much internet access I will have as I am jetting off to sunnier climes for a few weeks.
   Can anyone tell me what happened to 2014? It seems to have flown by before I could do anything. In fact I feel like I have done nothing and yet I know I have been busy all year! Things will be different next year, I promise. New authors and new books are already lining up to be published. Should be good!
    I have been busy, really. Most of our ebooks are now also available as paperbacks, Licence:Reviewed, Shadowchaser, The Blue Hour, Simon’s Choice, Shattered Dreams and Silent Love are all available through the links on the author pages.
    We have two new authors joining us in 2015, watch out for their pages. One is an author who has previously self-published her books. The second is completely new. Looking forward to working with both.
    Ryan Spier has an urban fantasy book coming out soon (at least that is how I classify it) and Patrick Mulready will be giving us a science fiction novel later in the year.
    As for me…well we shall see what my stay in the sun produces! Something hard-hitting and heart-rending I hope!

    Happy Christmas everyone. Enjoy yourselves and buy lots of ebooks to keep you amused!

Thursday 27 November 2014

Licence:Reviewed now in Paperback

We are pleased to announce Patrick Mulready's book Licence:Reviewed-50 Years of Bond Movies is now available in paperback from Lulu.

Order here

Ideal Christmas or birthday gift for any avid Bond fan in your life!

Friday 14 November 2014

Farewell to a dear friend

It was with great sadness that I learned from Facebook earlier this week that Rags Daniels has passed away. Condolences to family and friends and apologies for not posting this sooner.

    I first came into contact with Rags when we were both new to the ebook business. I edited Foxy Lady for him and he sent me a beautiful vase of flowers as a thank you. Still have the vase!

    I never knew how old Rags was but he was certainly born in a time gone by. A true Gentleman, the like of which doesn't seem to exist any more. Although I never met him personally I could imagine him holding a door open for a woman, standing up when she entered a room. All the things that no longer happen because women want to be treated the same as men.

    Rags was a talented man, a wit and raconteur. He had travelled the world then built his own house on the south coast of England. For the brief period I knew him he brightened my life. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

   Rest in peace dear Rags.

Wednesday 10 September 2014

New Paperback Links

 I'm pleased to say a growing number of our books are now available as paperbacks on the following sites.

Barnes and Noble

Books published as paperbacks so far are :

The Blue Hour and Shadowchaser by Stephen R Hulse
Silent Love and Shattered Dreams by Kristen Stone (Shattered Dreams only at Lulu for now)
Postcards From Berlin by Ryan Spier
Simon's Choice by Charlotte Castle

Sunday 17 August 2014

Why is our language morphing into American?

No offence intended to all our American friends!

I have never had a major problem with the fact that Americans, or anyone else for that matter, use different words for things like pavement, trousers, biscuits and mobile phones. No problem at all, just the urge to go into a stationery shop and ask for a rubber just to see the shocked expression on the sales assisstant's face. As a writer and reader as long as the right people use the right words that's fine.
    I've also thought it a bit strange that the French are so opposed to foreign words slipping into their language. Some things simply don’t translate easily.
    But in the last few weeks I have been increasingly annoyed that perfectly good English phrases have been replaced by Americanisms.
    I've reluctantly got used to the fact that our police forces no longer have SOCO units (Scene of crime officers) they now have CSI (crime scene investigators ) but when I hear people talking about autopsies instead of post mortems I start to get annoyed. When will our coroners become medical examiners?
    Yesterday a really terrible case was reported on the news. A cargo container was discovered at a port with a large number of illegal immigrants trapped inside. My heart goes out to the people whose lives must be so terrible they will risk travelling in such a way to find a better life but that is another issue. What made my hackles rise was the fact that to start with it was reported that one man had died and a murder investigation was underway. Then later in the report a spokesman from the police said a 'homicide' investigation was underway.  Now I know the literal meaning of homicide is the killing of a human just as patricide is the killing of one's father, but since when have we had 'homicide investigations ' in the UK? I'm sure Morse and Jack Frost solved murders. And can you imagine Midsomer Homicides ever taking off?
    It has long been the fact that England and the USA are two countries separated by the same language but do we really need to change OURS so that WE can understand it. Are we watching so much US TV now that we have to adopt the American way of speaking to be understood? It may be that as writers we have to use American terms if we want to be read in America but is it really necessary to have a Justice Department and a Supreme Court instead of our much longer established institutions?
    I know language changes and have no problem with introducing new words, changing the way we use grammar. Most of what I read today, not only in books but in blogs and top notch newspapers, would never have got through the eleven plus I took. But I don’t see why we should adopt phrases when we have had perfectly good ones that everyone understands for a very, very long time.
What do you think?
Are there any Americanisms that drive you to distraction?
 We would love to know.

Thursday 14 August 2014

A Word From Our Winner

The winner of our recent competition was Robert James Bridge who sent us the following message.

I found the recent competition at Blue Hour Publishing enthralling and interesting since it was book related with great prizes up for grabs, not one book but three!!  The question was also book related and was one that had me thinking very hard. The three prizes of books with different issues were a joy to win and I was elated to hear I was the actual winner since I have never won anything in my seventy odd years.
I follow Blue Hour blogs and enjoy reading of others like myself on the rocky road to publication and enjoy reading how young folk are taking to writing and its pleasures.  I continue to write almost on a daily basis and still live the dream that one day I receive publication for all of my efforts. In the meantime, I would like to thank all of the staff at Blue Hour Publishing and thank those that take the time to read of my exploits. Remember “Believe in The Dream And You Are Halfway There”
Robert James Bridge, member of CWA UK and CRA UK

Robert James Bridge is an independent author who lives in the south of England. He has six books on Amazon for Kindle. Four are thrillers in the 'Hell Bent' series and two are historical novel in the series 'A Bolt From The Blue'

Tuesday 12 August 2014

New Releases in paperback

Two new paperbacks available from today on Lulu and coming soon to
Amazon and other stores.

Simon's Choice by Charlotte Castle, a moving story of a father coping with the impending loss of a daughter.



Postcards From Berlin by Ryan Spier. Following the footsteps of a young German boy who had been forced against his will to fight for the Nazi's in the war. Find out what happens to him as the war ends.


Saturday 9 August 2014

When did Sci-fi become Sci-Fact?

With the British Government announcing there are going to be trials of driverless cars on UK roads, gasps of horror were heard from various quarters and hands were raised in despair.  But what is so unusual about the idea of driverless cars? We have seen them in futuristic films.
    This made me think about all the things, or at least some of the things, that have turned from fiction to reality over the years.
    H G Wells and Jules Verne are surely the first writers of science fiction, certainly the first I know about. We now know more about science and the universe than they did. Men have actually walked on the moon and did not find anyone or anything living there. We now have deep sea vessels that can explore beneath the waves although much of the ocean remains a mystery. But what about other predictions, not only in science but in the human condition.
    1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 495 –  These books looked into a future to consider the politics and social change. All of which are important and worthy of comment – but not here.
Let’s look at the gadgets. 
  • Communicators in Star Trek; we now call them mobile phones, or cell phones. 
  • Tapping a badge on your chest to talk to someone; Bluetooth devices. 
  • Scanners; your mobile phone now has picture quality that could easily transmit a scan of the area you are in back to base. 
  • Replicators; 3D printers are now being developed to such an extent they may soon replace many manufacturing processes. 
  • We haven’t quite got stun guns yet, at least not that we know to, but we do have Tasers. Work out how to shoot a charge without the wires and I’m sure stun guns will soon be available.
  • Babylon 5 had little crystal devices that were plugged into computers and monitors and stored or retrieved data. Never, I thought when I first saw this. Anyone NOT got at least one USB memory stick in their office? 
  • Flatscreen TVs, once an idea of fiction, now is most homes in the UK I should think.
  • Cameras that can spy on what you are doing in your own home; CCTV, interactive television and computers. Who do you think is monitoring you when you use these devices?
  • Touchscreen devices, from mobile phones to computers. I won’t even look at a gadget I can’t poke and swipe.

    I doubt if there is one household in the western world that does not have at least one gadget that seemed like science fiction fifty years ago. The very first computer I operated had a massive 32 megabyte memory, took up a whole air-conditioned room and had to be fed with punched paper tape. Now I’m sitting with a machine on my lap which is phenomenally more powerful. If I could use the TARDIS to take it back to my old computer room the people there would not believe what I have is possible.
    The days of I, Robot are getting much closer than they used to be. Someone needs to come up with something for us humans to do before we are made totally redundant. 
    Bearing in mind most inventions are designed for the military before they reach the public, it might not come as a surprise that driverless cars, or at least jeeps, have already been used quite successfully. We already have cars that can park themselves; cars that will stop you getting too close to the one in front. So why not driverless cars on the roads. It will be interesting to see the test results and compare the safety record of those against cars driven by people. Lots of drivers won’t like having control taken away from them but they need not worry. By the time driverless cars are universal, those people will probably be long gone.
    What do you think?
    What will be the thing of the future?
    Is there anything left for sci-fi writers to come up with?
    Is it just technology that is changing, or is society changing too?
    And what will people do when machines do everything for us?

Please leave your thoughts below.

Monday 4 August 2014

Welcome New Author Charlotte Castle

A big welcome to author Charlotte Castle who has joined us at Blue Hour Publishing. Her amazing book Simon's Choice is available now at Amazon and is shortly coming to other platforms. Check out Charlotte's page for the links.

Competition Winners

It give me great pleasure to announce the winners of our competition are as follows:

First prize of THREE paperback copies of The Blue Hour, Shadowchase and Silent Love is
Robert James Bridge

Runners-up who can claim three ebooks of their choice are
Gev Sweeney
Sylv Jenkins
Tara Fairfield
Ron Sewel
Faith Mortimer

Congratulations to everyone.

emails have been sent to the winners but if you don't receive them feel free to shout at me!

Saturday 26 July 2014

Great Competition

Win! Win! Win!

 Blue Hour Publishing are pleased to announce a great competition where
the winner will receive not, one, not TWO but THREE
great paperbacks from Stephen R Hulse and Kristen Stone

And to be in for a chance to win you don't even
have to know about Blue Hour Publishing,
their books or their authors.

What is the prize?
Paperback editions of
Silent Love
The Blue Hour &
each book signed by the author
go to one lucky winner.

Five runners up will receive 3 ebooks
of their own choice from the BHP catalogue.

The question...

The author Charles Dickens did not complete his final book. 
Name this book.

Use the contact form on the right to send the answer to us.
Competition runs from 26th July to 2nd August 2014
Winners will be drawn at random
and announced on Monday 4th August.

Please note: family members of Blue Hour Publishing directors excluded! 

Saturday 19 July 2014

New Amazon Deal - or No Deal

Amazon has just launched a new scheme with Netflix whereby subscribers pay $9.99 a month to access as many ebooks and audio books as they like. Authors who are signed up with the Select scheme on KDP automatically have their books enrolled in this programme. Authors get paid when a reader reads more than 10% of the book. Payments come from the Global Fund set aside for the lending library. I can't find any details of how much this will be.

   Pros and cons of this -

   Pros - For the reader - Brilliant for a fast reader who can read a book a week or more. IF traditional publishers join this scheme it will mean that readers can have access to more expensive books than they might currently read.

   Cons - For the reader - Unless you read really quickly, or have plenty of time to listen to audio books, you might as well buy a couple of paperbacks a month - visit The Works or browse the charity shops and you will find lots of books for less. Or actually buy your ebooks.

   Pros - For the author - I can't see a single one at the moment, especially for small publishers and self-published authors.
Cons -

  • You have to be in Select to benefit which means you cannot offer your book on any other platform.
  • Your books will show up on the new sales chart, but you won't get paid until the reader has read at least 10% of the book, which might well mean you never get paid. I have about 50 books on my Kindle I have not started yet, but I know the authors will have been paid. Some have been there since the day I bought the Kindle which is probably three years ago.  
    The best we can hope for is that not enough people sign up for this scheme to make it worth Amazon/Netflix's while. It is easy money for them. They share your subscription and then pay out peanuts to the authors.

    To me this is reminiscent of all those mail order book clubs you saw advertised in magazines way back when. Do they still exist? I know I signed up for a few in my time. Still have some of the books I've never read. The thing with those clubs, though, was that they sent you real physical books you could keep once you left the club. I'm not sure what happens to the books you have downloaded for your $9.99 once you decide you don't want to play any more. Are they all wiped from your cloud, or do they remain there? The explanation on the KDP site doesn't go into this.

    If this does become successful and enough people join, it will surely put an end to cheap self-published books, or at least make it more difficult for them to chart; assuming that downloads will be recorded in sales charts. And how will that work, when the book is ordered or when it reaches its 10% read target? Unless you can get through 10 books in a month, and I know some people can, readers will want those more expensive traditional published books so that they feel they are getting their monies worth. And I don't blame them. 

    So where will authors wanting to do promotional freebies or price-reduced countdown campaigns stand? Hopefully there will still be more people buying their books than signing up for the Kindle Unlimited scheme. We have to assume that the market for free books is totally different to that of paid books, which it probably is; but then puts a question mark against why people give their books away in the hope that readers will then go on to buy books. 

    Whether this works or not only time will tell. I hope it is successful if it means more sales for everyone but somehow I'm not totally convinced. Amazon are offering 600,000 books. If they get 600,000 people sign up that's a lot of dollars for them, but the possibility of only one sale per month for each book. I know it doesn't work like that, but it does mean there will be an awful lot of books that are not touched and even more work for the authors trying to get noticed.

    What do you think of this scheme? Will it help or hinder self-published authors? Feel free to leave a comment or rate this post below.

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Analyzing Success

It is always difficult to know which advice to follow. Lots of people have told us to do lots of different things to promote our books - most of which involve either money we can't afford or reviews we haven't got.

The questions ALL authors have is 'how to get reviews' and 'do reviews really matter'. We wish knew the answers to those questions. If we did we could write a book about them and sell it on Amazon.

So far out of our books, the ones with the most reviews are selling less than the ones with fewer. We would love to get these popular books promoted but they haven't got enough reviews - even paid advertising companies like BookBub won't look at them.

This month we are trying to analyse the ratio of retweets:sales. Probably a pointless exercise because books are still being tweeted even if they aren't retweeted and it is impossible to tell from where the sale came. But at least each retweet extends the reach of each book.

Having collected the data and compared the platform of sales, what we will then do with it is debateable. Not sure we will achieve anything, but if it looks interesting we will let you know.

Has anyone else any proven facts on promotion?

Tuesday 15 July 2014

SHADOWCHASER now in paperback

SHADOWCHASER is now available in paperback at Amazon and Lulu.

This fast moving occult thriller from Stephen R Hulse barely gives the reader a chance to catch their breath. Martin Thorn is left fighting for his life with nothing less than the salvation of the human race at stake.

Get it now and take it on holiday.

Also available as an ebook on many platforms. Check yours out today!

Sunday 13 July 2014

And Now...

And now Google Play can be added to the list of where all our books are available.
Just go to your Play Store on your mobile phone and search for the book you want. If you haven't already got the reading app it can be downloaded for free and takes a mere second or two.

Saturday 28 June 2014

New Links

We, at Blue Hour Publishing, are pleased to say all our books are now available at Scribd and Page Foundry.

Links to where all books are available are on the author pages.

Monday 9 June 2014

Patrick Mulready's London Bond Experience

Recently Blue Hour Author Patrick Mulready popped over from Colorado to visit London. As part of his trip he took in a Bond tour. He did do other things as well, but here is his report on what he discovered about his favourite spy.

London is a city I have not visited for a quarter of a century.  So when I made plans to go there earlier this year, there was no way a James Bond fan like myself was going to miss out on the opportunities to see it as it has been shown in the films I discussed in "Licence:Reviwed"
    The first part of my Bond London experience was a guided tour in which I visited a number of locations used in the films.  I learned that the “back door” to MI-6, as we see it in “Die Another Day” (2002,) is in fact a cleaner’s closet on the far side of Westminster Bridge from Big Ben.  And if you take the pedestrian underpass from that closet beneath Westminster Bridge, you come to the location of the photo shoot introducing George Lazenby to the world prior to the release of “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969.)  Speaking of OHMSS, the College of Arms is a very real place, and, I learned, the location of a chase scene between Bond and the assistant to the Sable Basilisk (who was, in the original version, a Blofeld plant.)  The chase involved a climb to the roof of the College of Arms.  Sadly, all this was cut from the final film for time. 
    Somerset House, located near Waterloo Bridge, is essentially a large, outdoor exhibition space.  But it featured as a location in two different Bond films.  In “GoldenEye,” (1995) with a
bit of exterior decoration and vehicles thrown in, it doubled as a traffic circle in St. Petersburg, Russia.  In the very next film, “Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997,) its archway gate off the Strand served as the entrance to the Admiralty Headquarters, as Bond drives his DB-5 to the meeting.
    “The World Is Not Enough” (1999,) featured a pre-credit boat chase between Bond and Renaud’s Cigar Girl on the Thames and through several canals.  One of those canals is located at the Tobacco Docks off Wapping Lane.  You may remember this is where a couple of traffic wardens affixing a tire clamp on a car got drenched by Bond’s high speed fly-by.  Those (very real) traffic wardens were part of a BBC series on television at the time called “Clampers,” and one of those two wardens, Ray Brown, apparently took some glee in his reputation as the most hated man in London for his over-zealous pride in immobilizing illegally parked vehicles.  The pair weren’t warned ahead of time the scene would involve them being splashed, so their drenching came as something of a shock, and the expletives they uttered would probably have been inappropriate on film.
    Obviously, much of “Skyfall,” (2012) took place in London, itself.  Multiple locations were used for the foot-race between Bond and Silva, M’s Enquiry Hearing, and the roof-top scene between Bond and Moneypenny near the film’s end.  But did you know the building to which Bond tails Patrice in Shanghai was actually an office building on Primrose Street.  Daniel Craig never set foot in China during the making of “Skyfall.”
    It’s interesting to note that some of the locales referenced in the films are based upon very real places.  The Les Ambassadeurs Club, where we first meet Sean Connery’s Bond in “Dr. No” (1962,) is in fact a very real place in London, and a frequent haunt of Ian Fleming, himself.  It’s located not far from the Dorchester Hotel off Parklane, and dedicated Bond fans will appreciate that the Dorchester Hotel has long been associated with Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman during the early years of the Bond franchise as the site of important meetings and press launches of new films.
    After the three hour tour, my Bond experience wasn’t done.  As luck would have it, currently on display in London is the Bond In Motion Exhibition at the London Film Museum in Covent Garden.  This exhibit features an enormous collection of the vehicles used in Bond films, from Goldfinger’s Rolls Royce Phantom III, to the actual Aston Martins Bond destroyed in both “Casino Royale” (2006) and “Quantum of Solace” (2008).  Yes, you’ll see the DB5, too – no Bond exhibit would be complete without that. 

    But the exhibit is actually a bit cleverer than that.  You see, this isn’t just a display of cars, aircraft and motorcycles.  It’s a chance for the art and model-making departments within EON productions to demonstrate what they’ve achieved.  From the model of the submarine Lotus Esprit used in “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977) to the Soviet diesel train engine from “GoldenEye,” there’s a load for all Bond fans to see, inform and enjoy.  I don’t think people realize just how good the model makers associated with the films really are.  For example, in “Skyfall,” M’s Jaguar is stopped by police on Vauxhall Bridge, and M looks on in horror as her offices are demolished in a gas explosion.  All of that was accomplished using models, but you’d never guess that, watching the film.
    The Bond In Motion Exhibition will be in place at the London Film Museum through the end of 2014.
    And here’s a “did you know?” factoid on which to conclude: in 1999, when the very real MI-6 learned that filming for “The World Is Not Enough” involved a location shoot in the Thames just outside their building, they moved to prohibit it, citing a security risk.  (Really?  You mean the world doesn’t already know where MI-6 is headquartered in London?)  However, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, at the urging of Member of Parliament Janet Anderson, over-ruled MI-6’s objections, thus allowing filming to take place.  Of the decision, Cook famously remarked, “After all Bond has done for Britain, it was the least we could do for Bond.”

Wednesday 14 May 2014

The Blue Hour Paperback available

The Blue Hour by Stephen R Hulse is now available in paperback from Lulu

Join Alex Churchill and Gideon Wade as they search for a group of kidnapped children. Fast action. Unexpected twists and turns make this a must read for all thriller lovers.

Get it here from Lulu. Coming to Amazon soon.

Tuesday 1 April 2014

New Move in eBook Development

How many times have you heard a reader say of eBooks, “I like to hold a book.”? Well, in a new move launched recently eBooks are now being sold in their own custom designed reader which opens just like a book. Although no bigger than a normal ereader these one-off devices open like a book, have a left and right hand page and come with their own printed front and back cover, just like a ‘real’ book.
This has come about because ebook technology has become so cheap and easy to produce. Admittedly it does take a little longer for the ‘book’ to be produced, but no more than it takes to produce a POD book if all goes well.
What are the advantages to this?  It means you can browse for an ebook in a shop just like you can for a hard copy. For people who like having their books on display for others to see, they can be lined up on shelves (watch out for eBook reader shelves, just like DVD and CD storage units). Ebooks will become more visible. People will be able to swap them with friends, or loan them (and probably never get them back, just like paper books). Old eBooks will turn up in charity shops alongside paper ones instead of sitting unseen on a reader’s device. And authors will be able to hold signing sessions, just like they do for paper books.
Watch out for this new venture coming to the UK SOON.

Posted 1st April 2014

Saturday 15 March 2014

Silent Love - Now in Paperback

Following the ebook success of Silent Love, we at Blue Hour Publishing have decided to launch it as a paperback through Lulu.
    At the moment it is only available through Lulu but it will be hitting other shops soon, so take note of the ISBN if you want to buy it!
    Other  books by BHP will be following over the next few months so if you still prefer paper to elecyronic watch out for further news. In the meantime -

SILENT LOVE - ISBN 978-1-291-75961-7
or buy it at Lulu

Thursday 20 February 2014

Back to normal

Pleased to announce all our books are now back on Kindle. Check out the author pages for the new links. Hope you haven't been inconvenienced in any way.

Enjoy your reading.

Saturday 8 February 2014

Interruption to service

Apologies to Kindle owners who would like to buy our books. There is a bit of a problem with Amazon at the moment. Hope to get it resolved soon. Watch this space.