Travels in Southern England – The Colne Valley

May 11, 2022

The Colne Valley contains 43 square miles of parks, green spaces and reservoirs alongside the River Colne and Grand Union Canal, mainly in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.  I have spent many weeks exploring this beautiful area and watching its abundant wild life.  Now is the perfect time to visit the lakes near Rickmansworth Aquadrome as the wildfowl eggs are hatching.

Keith Jahans

 

 

 

 

 


Book Review – A Litter of Bones by J D Kirk

May 9, 2022

I am reviewing the audio book version of this novel which is a task I have not done before as I usually down load the ebook to read.  This is a tense thriller in which a team of detectives led by a DCI Logan are investigating the disappearance of a young boy in the Scottish Highlands.  Logan had previously brought to justice a serial killer of children and was seeking to find a boy whose body had not been accounted for.  There were striking similarities between the past case and the current abduction.  Had Logan got the wrong man or was this a copy cat scenario?

The characters in this narrative are wonderfully described particularly the interaction between the members of the investigative team.  There is some humour between them but mostly tension as they sought to find the boy before he is found dead.  The story kept me listening avidly right to the end.  I particularly like the Scottish brogue of the narrator which added to the narrative atmosphere.  I thoroughly recommend this book to all fans of this genre.

 

Keith Jahans

This is book 1 of DCI Logan Crime Thrillers
published as an ebook, hardback, paperback and audiobook
by ‎Zertex Crime


The Importance of Networking

April 6, 2022

It is important that a writer meets with readers, other writers and representatives of the publishing industry, which is why Keith Jahans is representing Peatmore Press Ltd at the London Book Fair 2022.  Writing fiction is a solitary pursuit so it is easy for an author to loose contact with others and become unaware of those he or she he writes for.

The publishing industry does not stand still and neither does the technology it uses.  Readers’ tastes change so does the way they interact with the written word and there is a need to keep abreast of current trends.  It is imperative to understand how people feel about books and how they interact with writing.  The only way to be sure that authors are not left behind is to get out and meet readers to find out how they feel about fiction.  But one important fact that remains constant is that everyone enjoys a good story.

 

 

 

 


Enhanced Ebooks

March 2, 2022

Back in the mid 1990s I visited the London Book Fair.  I had written my first novel, “Cogrill’s Mill” and although there was some interest from a few agents and publishers none of them were willing to take a chance on an unknown writer.  I downloaded a pdf to a CD, labelled it with a book cover I designed and set off to promote it at the book fair.  No one was interested because during this time no one had heard of Ebooks.  So I gave up on the idea, formed my own publishing company and went down the print-on-demand route and began printing my own paperbacks.  A few years later someone approached me and asked if I had any Ebooks for sale.  I had not as I was busy promoting my paperbacks.  Then low and behold the Ebook phenomenon took off.

I was still promoting my paperbacks but it was not difficult to produce them simultaneously as ebooks.  Initially, I posted them on Amazon in Mobi format which was being used by Amazon for their electronic Kindle readers.  Then other platforms were developed, notably by Kobo.com, Google and Apple.  I visited a gathering of ebook enthusiasts at a Soho café in London where I met someone who told me that the way to go was with the epub format as Apple was using this to produce interactive ebooks.  He pointed me to Apple’s interactive version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland which featured videos embedded in to the text.  I checked it out and remembered one featuring a caterpillar on a toadstool smoking a cigarette.  Later I vivited the London Book Fair once more and found a small number of publishers producing epub books with videos embedded in the text mostly used as promotional tools.  I was smitten.

Amazon was sticking to its mobi format so I began to produce my own enhanced epub ebook to showcase on Apple as what were then called ibooks but are now called Apple books.  I decided to utilise a book of short stories as a few of these I had turned into audio books.  So I inserted two audio books into the text at the beginning of two short stories and embedded a video trailer advertising the whole collection before the contents page.

I am still promoting this ebook.  The problem I found was that the files I made available to download are much larger than text only ebooks.  This may be off putting to the average reader.  In addition Apple has proved difficult for a small independent publisher such as me to work with so now I have made this epub book available free of charge on Google Play and Kobo.com.  Readers can download this themselves by following the link below or it can be open to read on line without downloading it at

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Luke_Johnson_Crime_and_Passion?id=YvK0DwAAQBAJ

 

Keith Jahans

Crime and Passion enhanced ebook is available at:
http://peatmore.com/crimeandpassion.HTM


Book Review – Drugs to Forget: Race Against Bioterror by Martin Granger

February 21, 2022

A tale about a team of documentary film makers, bioterrorism and criminal pharmaceutical companies, which combine to produce an intriguing thriller.  This proved to be an entertaining read which provided interesting information on how independent TV film makers go about their work.

I found the description of the documentary filming process fascinating.  All the more so as it was underpinned by bioterrorism and the methods used by pharmaceutical companies.  The characters were believable as were the locations in London and Zimbabwe.

The author was well briefed on the situation his characters found themselves in and so was able to produce a believable peace of fiction.  I highly recommend it.

 

Keith Jahans

Available from Red Door Publishing
as an ebook and paperback


Writing Detective Stories

February 16, 2022

When writing detective novels it is very easy to fall into clichés.  Such stories often use an element of violence and many of these involve the use of guns by the protagonist.  In my latest novel, “The Lost Girls”, the lead detective is a crack shot but hates using fire arms.  While working as a policeman in a past life he went to great lengths to avoid them.  He never carries a gun except at the end of the book when he is forced to do so by the villains.

Available as an Ebook from
Peatmore Press and Amazon

This scenario is helped by the fact that the police in the UK are routinely rarely armed.  When arms are needed during the arrest of known dangerous criminals fire arms are usually carried by specialist teams.  It is also important to note that handguns are illegal in the UK and are difficult to come by by the average member of the criminal fraternity.

The first detective story I published, “Victim of Compromise”, was a police procedural novel set in southern England.  Again the lead detective does not carry a gun, but other police officers do so.  I expect if I was writing in the USA my characters will be carrying hand guns and I would be tempted to use these in the plot which will add to the excitement of the narrative.  The advantage of having my central characters unarmed adds to their vulnerability and makes them sympathetic to the reader.

Available as an Ebook and paperback
from Peatmore Press
and as Ebook from Amazon

 

Keith Jahans


Book Review – Collateral Damage by Steve Howell

November 23, 2021

This is a political thriller set mostly in London and partly in Libya just after the aerial bombing of President Gaddafi’s residence by the USA.  A young journalist dies mysteriously while attending a conference in Tripoli.  A junior solicitor is persuaded by the dead man’s girlfriend and his own ex-girlfriend to fly to Libya to find out exactly what had happened so she can gain closure.  The solicitor’s ex-girlfriend’s current boyfriend, who was at the conference with the deceased, is unable to travel with them because of a family illness so the solicitor and the decease’s girlfriend travel to Libya together.

They arrive in Libya where they are met by the deceased’s father and a Foreign Office official whose attitude towards them is decidedly frosty bordering on hostile.  They return to England with the cause of death unresolved and subsequently discover that the circumstances surrounding the death are not what they were at first led to believe.

It is an intriguing story which keeps the reader turning the pages as further disturbing revelations come to light and I thoroughly recommend this book to all those who enjoy tales of political deception.

 

Keith Jahans

 

Published by Quaero Publishing
and available as an ebook and paperback


Book Review – Destination Unknown: A Tale of Time Travel by Kathleen Ballantine Watson

November 6, 2021

This is an intriguing tale about time travel and a serial killer.  I would have never dared to mixed these subjects myself but the author seems to have made them work.

The novel concentrates on the time travel aspects of the story and in particular the transportation of the heroine back to the mid nineteenth century.  She is stalked by the killer who has a list of female victims behind him.  The description of life in the USA rural 1800s, especially the people she encounters, is particularly good.

The narrative falls down a little with her projections of the future but despite this I found it a good read as the plot kept me turning the pages right until the end.

 

Keith Jahans

Available as an ebook and
paperback from Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Readers Magnet

October 28, 2021

In October 2021 I received an invitation from the online magazine Readers Magnet to post an article about my latest book ‘The Lost Girls’ in their Author’s lounge.  Their readers are mostly self publishing authors and were interested in how I went about my writing process.

They particularly wanted to know what ‘The Lost Girls’ was about, what inspired me to write it, my target audience, my future plans for the book, what I thought readers could get out from my book and a little more about myself.  The goal in Authors’ Lounge is to help aspiring and new authors reach their audience and I hope that my article went someway in helping them to achieve their goal.

The Readers Magnet is an excellent online magazine and it is well worth reading, not only for anyone aspiring to be an author, but also those interested in how fiction writers go about their craft.  Not only is my article featured but there are articles written by others writing in a variety of genres.  To read my article go to https://readersmagnet.club/the-lost-girls-by-keith-jahans.

Keith Jahans

 

 


Travels in Southern England – Southend-on-Sea, Essex

August 27, 2021

25 August 2021

This was my second visit to Southend.  My first was as a student in 1968.  I and three fellow students had just finished our applied Biology examinations.  We piled into one of our number’s car which he had borrowed from his parents.  It was my one and only time tasting jellied eels and I have never had the inclination to repeat it.

Southend boasts the longest pier in the world and I walked the length of it as a student, but this time I decided to give this walk a miss.  Instead I opted to walk along the seafront and treated myself to fish and chips in a restaurant overlooking the pier funfair.  This is a tradition I started on my travels to seaside towns around Britain.

Southend Pier

Fish and Chips by the Fun Fair

It was a relief to get back to my travels once more.  Like many of the world’s population I have been “locked down’ in doors this last two years.  It had an upside in that I was able to work uninterrupted on a new novel, “The Lost Girls” and followed this up with some short stories featuring the same central character in the novel.  Writing is a solitary occupation and despite the opportunity it provided to get work done I missed the travel and the opportunity to interact with other people.

The chief reason for going to Southend was to check out the Essex Writers festival, which had been running since June, but was now nearing its end.  I visited the Essex Writers’ House at Chalkwell Hall, Chalkwell Avenue.  This provided the opportunity to write alongside fellow writers and interact with them.  A lady who ran it told me that all the desks were fully booked but I could use a table on the terrace out side.  It was a sunny hot day as I set up at the table and the kind lady provided me with a cup of tea.

My writing table at Essex Writers House

I met another lady who told me she was writing a text book on carbon-free textiles.  She had taken a short break from one of the upstairs writing desks and had come down for a cup of coffee.  We chatted for a short while then went back to our writing and I managed to complete most of this blog on the terrace.

When I finished I went back to the Chichester Hotel, Wickford where I was staying.  The hotel was running a skeleton service because of the pandemic and the restaurant was closed.  I really felt for those who were struggling with the effects of the pandemic and the hospitality sector has been one of the hardest hit.  I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and found my visit to Southend very worthwhile and I was able to leave the next day extremely pleased with all I had achieved there.

Keith Jahans

The Chichester Hotel, Wickford

 


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