News Update on ‘A House Without Windows’

Back in December I received an email from a very pleasant lady in the Development department of an award winning New York film company.  She had discovered my book  ‘A House Without Windows’  when using keywords to research for criminals who had fathered children – generational crimes.  She asked me for the manuscript, and I received this email when she had read it:

‘I finished A House Without Windows and enjoyed it immensely. I broke it down for our director and recommended it be explored for film consideration. The final decision is not mine, but I wanted you to know how much I enjoyed the book and found it riveting and worthy of further review.’
A month later and I received another email:
It is an incredible story and I believe it will make a fantastic film, but it didn’t fit the parameters of our slate.  I would like to congratulate you on a wonderful book that literally had me feeling as though I was locked in that basement.  It kept me on the edge of my seat. I look forward to reading more of your work.
I was curious enough to find out what ‘it didn’t fit the parameters of our slate’ meant, as I had no idea.  She was kind enough to send this email:
The director was concerned about the violence against women in it, especially with the climate right now in filmmaking, etc. I thought the character was amazing, especially the fact that she was a doctor I believe put her so far ahead of anyone else in that predicament. I also loved how she never associated her son with the monster, she saw him as the person that saved them. It was so well done.
I thanked her for the interest she had shown in ‘A House Without Windows’, and asked her whether she would be interested in reading any more of my books.  She sent this reply:
We are looking for suspense so thank you for the opportunity to look at other projects. I found myself very drawn to your writing.
So all is not lost -it would have been rude not to send her something!  I emailed her the novel and screenplay of  ‘For the Sake of a Child’, also ‘The Noise Effect’ short story, and my novel ‘Repent at Leisure’.  Let’s see what happens this time!  So authors… be mindful that film companies are now very wary of making films where there is violence against women.
Now I have another 4 – 6 week wait probably … so watch this space!

My Take on Old Age

This excellent post by Janet Givens asks ‘What does old age really mean?’.  As somebody speaking from the experience of being in the 60th year of my life and also caring for my 92 year old mother in the last few years before her death, I have a pretty good idea.  Here’s my list of what old age means:

  1.  It means you will fight until the last moment possible to hang on to your independence instead of going into residential care.
  2. You will need to accept your body’s limitations, or face years of depression.
  3. You will drive your car until the last possible moment before the family take away your car keys because you have started to become a hazard to other road users.
  4. You will constantly look back to a time when you were younger and life was better.
  5. Friends that you’ve known all your life will all die, one by one, so somehow, somewhere, you will need to make new ones or face years of loneliness.
  6. You cannot help but think that you are a burden to your family.
  7. Bodily functions you took for granted will cease to work properly, and you will need to make ‘adjustments’.
  8. Mobility will decrease for sure.  The legs always go first.
  9. It will be harder to remember anything or learn anything new.
  10. You will get to know your GP and ambulance staff quite well.
  11. You will feel cold all the time.
  12. You will find it hard to do up buttons.
  13. You will become clumsy and prone to falling over.
  14. You will need to use a walking stick, maybe two.
  15. You will resist until the last moment the necessity of using a mobility walker.
  16. On outings with your family you will eschew the use of a wheelchair and walk along pushing it at a snail’s pace.
  17. You will wake up several times during the day, but do not remember falling asleep.
  18. It will get harder and harder for you to hear what is being said, but you will resist until the last moment the necessity of using a hearing aid.

Depressing isn’t it?  So I say this… live life  to the full while you can and while you’ve still got the wherewithal to do so!


Guest Submissions Wanted

Ooh, yes, I’ll be taking part in this one. Thanks Michael!

The Ink Owl

Calling out to all writers and bloggers who would like to be featured for the month of February! The Ink Owl will be once again taking submissions from guest bloggers and writers to be featured throughout the month of February. (Let’s see how many times I can reword that statement.) Anyway, I always call February the “Month of Love” because it’s never a lovely month to me. I feel like I always end up slogging through the month with all the gray melting snow and bare trees. But not this year!

This year I’d like to shake things up with a new challenge, one that will hopefully test your limits as a writer. This month I would like submissions to be about self-love. Not self-obsession, narcissism, or conceitedness, but actual, genuine self-love.

As defined by Merriam-Webster online dictionary self love is: regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.


I would…

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Friday Roundup – 12th January

1.  Thanks to Deana Cabinian, guest author on Jane Friedman’s blog, for these 5 things she is not doing to launch a book:

2.  Rachel Poli shares things she has learned when re-branding her newsletter:

6 Things I’ve Learned Re-branding My Newsletter

3.  Lisa Brown on Just Publishing Advice writes on how to get your book picked up by a publisher:

4.  Thanks again to Lisa Brown for this advice on how to find a literary agent:

5.  Blonde Write More gives advice on accepting that not all our writing projects will be a success:

How To Accept a LOT of Your Writing Projects Might Not Go Anywhere #MondayBlogs #AmWriting #Writers

6.  Jocelyn Young writes of 5 things she has learned as an author:

5 Essential Lessons I Learned as an Author in 2017

7.  Derek Haines gives advice regarding writing for online publishing:

8.  Jean M. Cogdell advises on word counts:

Do you want to know how long to make a story?

9.  Erica Verrillo writes about why you need an author profile:…+and+Other+Forms+of+Insanity)

How to Add X-Ray to Your Kindle eBook

I’m going to have to try this. Thanks for the info, Chris.


X-ray picture licensed from ShutterStock.


Authors can add X-ray to their Kindle eBooks via KDP.

Here is how to do it:

  • Visit Kindle Direct Publishing at
  • After you login, visit your KDP Bookshelf.
  • Hover your cursor over the gray button with three dots (…) near the right of one of your book titles.
  • If available, you will see an option to Launch X-Ray. Click this link.
  • This will open the X-Ray page for your Kindle eBook, but you won’t be able to do anything yet.
  • Click the yellow button to Request X-Ray. The window will automatically close 20 seconds later and return you to your Bookshelf.
  • You should receive an email once X-Ray is prepared for your Kindle eBook. Although it says it can take a few hours, my emails came within minutes.
  • Now you need to return to your KDP Bookshelf and Launch X-Ray…

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Venus and Mars and the Gender Pay Gap


The BBC’s China editor, Carrie Gracie, has resigned from her post amid much outcry, accusing the BBC of having a secretive and illegal pay culture.  She was offered a pay rise before she resigned, but her proposed new salary of £180,000 was still far less than the £200,000 – £249,999 paid to Jon Sopel, the BBC’s North America editor.   Also when the BBC published a list of its top earning stars, it was revealed that only a third were women and the top seven were all men.

This inequality is not just limited to the BBC, but I’m using this as an example.  It happens in many other corporations, but fortunately it seems that women are at last starting to break the silence and speak out, now that companies have been forced to publish their gender pay gaps.

We have moved on since the days when married women were not allowed to work, and single women tended to have dead-end jobs until they got married.   Nowadays more women than ever attend universities, obtain degrees, and want and expect the same salaries as men for doing a similar job.  And why not indeed?  It is only right and proper that Carrie Gracie should have been paid the same as Jon Sopel, as I’m sure you would all agree.

In the hospital where I work the pay bands are upfront and well known. Grade 1 pay scale includes housekeepers and some kitchen staff.  For Grade 2 you get the ward clerks and simple administration jobs.  Grades 3 and 4 include medical secretaries.  A Grade 5 job is somebody in charge of the General Office, Grade 6’s are assistant service managers, and all grades above 6 are managerial positions.  The medical staff have their own pay grades, where consultants earn the highest salaries.

So who do you think are housekeepers, ward clerks and medical secretaries?  Yes, these jobs are all done by women.  When you get to the Grade 7 and 8 higher-paying managerial positions, surprise surprise, these are mostly done by men.  The nursing staff are mainly women and the consultants are mostly men, but there are a few women consultants and the odd male nurse too to even it out a bit.

What do you think is one of the main factors in this gender inequality?  Near the top of the list is that thing which employers mustn’t talk about to prospective female employees – pregnancy and children.   Most (but not all) women are instinctively caring and nurturing and want to bear and raise children, and the majority are prepared to forego a high-paying career to build their families.  This makes them happier to take lesser paid part-time jobs in order to have the best of both worlds, which most men cannot afford to do if they have a partner at home and children to provide for.  It’s all common sense so far?  Also, it’s only human nature that even if he/she does not ask the ‘children’ question, the MD of a company will more likely than not have childcare in the back of their mind if they interview a female candidate of childbearing age.  This will automatically put a woman with children at a disadvantage over a male candidate.  I know this for certain because a female consultant at our hospital once attended for an interview, wore a big coat, and did not let on that she was pregnant.  Within 2 months of taking up the job she was off on 15 months paid maternity leave.  Two years later she took another 15 months off for the same condition, causing the head of the department to virtually jump up and down in rage, stating that he would have never employed her if he had known what was going to happen.

Of course in the minority are non-maternal / career-minded women who do not want children, or career women who have children but have maybe a partner or a nanny who stays at home to look after them.  These women want the same career opportunities as men and be paid the same as men if they choose to do a similar job, and they should be.  Hopefully times will now be changing for the better.

But are there many similar jobs for men and women?  All the heavy industry and engineering jobs for instance are dominated by men.  All the caring, nursing, and lower-paid administrative jobs tend to be dominated by women.  Even at the school-leaver level there are so many more apprenticeships favouring boys than there are that might attract girls.  I know because I found this out when helping my sons to gain apprenticeships more than 15 years ago.  Girls, because of the aforementioned caring nature, are not usually attracted to jobs in heavy industry where the salaries are higher.

But at the moment are women paid as much as men if they do happen to work in a similar job?  On the whole, no.  This is because up until now most companies have kept silent about how much they pay women as compared to men,  and they’ve got away with it.  Career women have crawled up to the glass ceiling and have unknowingly accepted lower pay because of company secrecy, and usually women are less forthright than men anyway about speaking out and maybe losing their jobs.  If a company can get away with paying women less and therefore having less outgoings and more profit, then you can bet your bottom dollar that they will do just that.  Men, previously thought of as the main breadwinners (but as I said, times are changing) would probably be more upfront about asking for a pay rise and getting it.

Will a fresh feminine breeze soon be blowing around staid male-dominated corporations?  I sincerely hope so…

I’m working at one of those female-orientated jobs I’ve just written about today, so will check in again tonight and answer any comments!





Last Chance To Get Your Early Bird Tickets For The #BloggersBash

Who’s going?

Hugh's Views & News

Thinking of coming to this year’s Blogger’s Bash? If so, time is running out to get your early bird tickets!

#bloggersbash #bloggers #London #tickets

The Bash will be held on May 19th in the leafy London suburb of Chiswick, and tickets are already selling fast. The day is a great chance to socialise with other bloggers as well as learn more about blogging, with talks, Q&A session and a panel discussion all included in the price.

Our early bird offer means you can get your ticket for the discounted cost of only £20 –but only until January 11th. After that, prices rise to the standard ticket price of £25, with late entry tickets available between the 4th and 18th of May for £30.

So be like the bird and get your worm, figuratively speaking! Follow this link (insert link here) to join the party – we hope to see you there!

Please take note of the small print: 

  • Tickets are non-refundable
  • Tickets are…

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10 Things I Look for When Buying a Book

I’ve read many blogs on WordPress regarding increasing our book sales.  Apparently we all need to have a great cover to start with.  However, I beg to differ, as I’m of the opinion that what is printed in-between the front and back covers is more important.  So here is my list of things I look for when buying a book.  They are in no particular order, just as I think of them:

1.  My favourite genres:

I will seek out autobiographies, biographies, psychological suspense, women’s fiction dramas, or novels with a dry wit.

2.  Ratings:

I am usually drawn to those books which have higher ratings.

3.  An interesting blurb that makes me want to read more: 

This will cause me to download a free sample.  If I like what I read I will go on to buy the book.

4.  Good reviews:

Yes I do read a book’s reviews, and nowadays hopefully they are genuine.

5.  The price:

I will pay up to £2.99 for an e-book if it takes my fancy.  Anything more than this…no.  I don’t often buy paperbacks these days as I prefer my Kindle.

6.  Book length:

I am definitely put off by anything more than about 250 pages.

7.  Correct spelling, grammar and punctuation:

I think this is really important.  Any they’re/there/their and your/you’re mistakes is a real turn off for starters, let alone spelling howlers and lack of punctuation.

8. Formatted professionally for Kindle:

I am in the process of getting all my books professionally formatted.  I like to read a professionally formatted book, and therefore I would like my own readers to have the same experience.

9.  Books in my genre that have been recommended to me:

Yes I do take note of those recommendations that Amazon send by email.  Strangely enough they are always just the kind of book I’m looking for!  I have bought many books this way.

10.  A book that is available for purchase on Kindle Unlimited:

I pay a monthly fee in order to be able to obtain a certain number of books on Kindle Unlimited.  Therefore I am more likely to buy a book sporting the Kindle Unlimited logo.

As you can see, a cover doesn’t feature on my list at all.  It can be a brown paper cover for all I care – it’s what’s inside that’s important!  

What do you look for when buying a book?






Activate the Off Switch?

There was an article on the TV news bulletin last week about the stress young people are going through due to their online presence.  I did a little bit of research about it, and the charity cites ‘FOMO’ (Fear of Missing Out) and ‘Compare and Despair’ as two main triggers of social media anxiety.  It appears that unless you are out and about posting selfie after selfie or Snapchatting and Whatsapping as you go, then you are somehow failing at life.  Apparently the pressure to appear as cool as so-called ‘celebrities’ and gain thousands of followers on Twitter and the like is driving our newest generation of teenagers to despair.

Unfortunately young people are vulnerable and easily influenced, and feel a great need to be accepted by their peers.  We all went through it; back in the days before the Internet we all had to wear the right clothes or the right shoes so as not to be laughed at.  Nowadays teenagers all have to prove on social media that they’re having a wonderful life and are ‘liked’ by hundreds if not thousands of virtual friends, and it’s this pressure that is causing one in four young people to be referred for mental health treatment by their GP.

A study by The Guardian asked ‘Does quitting social media make you a happier person?‘ The simple response by young people was ‘yes‘.  

So where are the parents in this sad state of affairs?  Why are they buying iPhones for children aged between 9 – 13 and maybe even younger children than this?  It doesn’t make any sense to me.  Kids this age are not usually allowed much unsupervised freedom outside the house, so why do they need one? They should be talking and playing with real friends instead.  Okay, once the leash is let out a bit from 14 -16 years, young teenagers could do with a pay-as-you-go phone for emergencies, but after 17 years they should have some kind of Saturday job or permanent job in order to buy their own phone credit and therefore realise the value of money.  Pre-teens and young teens do not need IPhone contracts!  Both my sons did not have phones until they bought their own round about the age of 17 or 18.

Also, why can’t parents either confiscate their children’s phones or curtail the use of them if they can see that their offspring are suffering mentally?  Is nobody able to activate the off switches anymore?  I thank my lucky stars every day that I lived for roughly 50 years with no mobile phone at all.

What do you think?  Are IPhones making the young generation miserable or mentally ill?  If you have a stressed young person yourself, are you able to influence them to switch it off? Are you able to switch your own phone off?  I’d be interested to read your comments.





Interviewing with Expertise

Interesting interview from my fellow blog-hopper Aurorawatcherak focusing on health care in the US, which follows on from my own blog a few days’ ago.


Interview someone you follow or admire.


Custom Blog:

An InLinkz Link-up

get the InLinkz code

So, I’m interviewing my cousin Rick, a doctor, for this blog hop topic. I admire Rick a lot because he doesn’t just follow the herd in his thinking, but researches and considers before stating his opinion.

Tell us something about yourself.

Image result for image of doctors opposed to Medicaid expansionI go by “Rick” on your blog to protect my identity because some of what I have to say is controversial and can result in retaliation within some professional circles. I am married with adult children and grandchildren. I work for a major hospital and I am a researcher in a particular kind of immune system disorder that has a high disability and death rate, but the odds of surviving decades longer have vastly increased due to discoveries and treatments developed by the research team I am a member of…

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