Travels in Northern England – 24 December 2022

December 26, 2022

Arrived in York on Christmas Eve.  The streets were bustling with life and complicated to navigate.  I kept getting lost but the people are really nice and helpful to an elderly man.  A bouncer at a nightclub kindly directed me back to my hotel.  I got up early and left hotel on foot at 9 am.  It was a good time to take photographs as the streets were deserted.  The bells of York Minster rang out through the city.


York Walled City.
Drove through this arch to reach hotel.


Christmas Tree in deserted York street


The Magnificent York Minster


Today we head to Scotland.


Keith Jahans

Book Review – The Boy and the Briefcase and the Moose by Andrew Batty.

December 15, 2022

An antidote to Tom Brown’s Schooldays.

I was educated in both the private sector and state secondary schools during the 1960s.  In that time a child’s fate was governed according to whether they passed the then Eleven Plus examination which marked the transition between primary and secondary education.  This is an examination I failed so I can relate to the narrator’s experiences.  I also understand the author’s teenage angst when trying somewhat clumsily to understand girls.

The narrative is littered with fascinating characters.  The teachers were delightfully eccentric.  I too had an accident prone physics teacher but I was not fortunate enough to have so many subjects taught by people with such obvious teaching talent.  The contrast between the two private school exchange students and the secondary school pupils was well drawn as was the self-recognition of what was expected of them when grown to adulthood.  In those days corporal punishment was part and parcel of education but as the decade advanced it was rarely used.  Inventing stories to get oneself out of trouble was par for the course and as the stories were related over time the more outlandish they became, which was what indeed happened with the narrator of this book.  I loved the way that his fellows came to his aid and joined in with his attempt to mislead those in authority.

I found reading Andrew Batty’s story a captivating experience and can recommend it to anyone who enjoys a humorous read, especially those who were educated in the England of that time.


Keith Jahans


Published by Book Guild Publishing Ltd
and available as a paperback and ebook

Book Review – Gold: The Kincade Saga by Thomas Greenbank

November 17, 2022

A gritty mining tale of the Australian Outback.

This is an absorbing story, which is easy to read.  The plot is well derived and contains interesting descriptions of the mining process in Australia.  The characters with the exception of the sexy Bronte could have been drawn better but this did not retract from a rattling good yarn.  I recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading family sagas.

Keith Jahans

Available from Tudogz Publishing
as an Ebook and Paperback


Book Review – The Kalis Experiments by R.A. Fisher

October 18, 2022

Writing fantasy is a challenging task for a writer who has to create another world different to our own.  This author manages it exceptionally well and has created a world with its own politics and characters with superhuman powers.  The scenes are vividly described as are those depicting action and violence.  The protagonist changes form a number of times throughout the narrative, but maintains an underlying profile.  How the writer achieves this is very cleverly done.

The plot interwinds through a number of episodes each one adding to the atmosphere of the story.  It kept me reading right until the end.  This is Book One in the Tides series and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading fantasy.

Keith Jahans

Published by Next Chapter and available in hardcover,
as a paperback, an audiobook and ebook


The art of story telling

October 5, 2022

We are all storytellers.  When we meet with friends we like to tell them what we have been doing.  Maybe we have just return from a holiday which went perfectly; we tried different foods, listened to different music tried different dances, experienced wonderful scenery, saw magnificent architecture.  Everything was wonderfully exciting.  Conversely, everything went badly.  The car broke down and we were stranded miles from nowhere in the rain.  The hotel was a dump and the staff rude and unhelpful and the food bad.  My companion was ill, we had to find a doctor and spent many hours in a hospital waiting room.  But there was one common factor with both scenarios.  We loved talking about it.

Life itself brings up its own challenges.  It never runs smoothly.  Like the holiday it can be enjoyable and rewarding.  We meet someone we love, set up home, maybe have children natural or adopted.  Get a job, buy or rent a house.  Make friends who we meet regularly.  But sometimes the opposite happens.  We loose loved ones, loose our house, loose our job.  Make enemies, fall out with the boss.  Again we need to talk about it.

Talking about it is therapeutic but can be mandatory as we often have to recount our experiences to a prospective employer to get a job.  We need to say why we studied for different qualifications and how successful we were at obtaining them.  Above all we have to self censorship as we have to be careful what we say as our careers may depend on it.

Literature provides us with skills to embellish our stories.  It is a source of colourful words which are tools we can use to describe our experiences, what we have achieved and what we hope to achieve.  The wider read we are the better equipped we become to convey our lives to others.

Literature provides us with hope.  There are wonderful stories out there written by brilliant wordsmiths.  Even better are those that are passed down over time.  Many are classical tales told to us by unknown authors whose identities are hidden in the past.  Such stories maybe thought of as fairy stories told to delight children.  Mixed within these are cautionary tales told as warnings in case we over reach our aspirations and become too greedy and thoughtless, paying little heed to others.  The list of folk tales are countless, told originally in the oral tradition but then become written down by enthusiastic collectors.

Then come the authors, poets and song writers with the gift to put stories into words that go down on paper.  They make the words sing by adding descriptions and metaphors to delight and enlighten us.  Such words can be acted out on stage, in the cinema or broadcasted in sound on radios.  Modern technology has given us tools to put these words in magical settings.  The use of CGI has created enchanting worlds that could not have been visualised in the past.

But nothing can surpass the magic of the original words.


Keep the Literature Fires Burning

September 26, 2022

Read widely.  Do not limit yourself to what is universally regarded as the Classics or a particular genera.  Encourage students to do the same.  Read to young children to stimulate their interest in stories, story telling and story tellers.  Get students to write down their own stories and own ideas about story telling.  Get them writing.  Everyone has a story within their own lives.  Talk to older generations as when they are gone their stories might be lost.  Read poems out loud to get use to the sound of words.  Quote the works of past and present famous writers.

Movie makers are story tellers.  Find out how they get their ideas.  It is usually from books and literature.  There is no original story.  Most stories have already been written.  New stories are re-workings of past tales with spins on them to make them look fresh and appealing to modern audiences.  A reader can draw significance, relevance or profundity out of a story when it understands the deeper implications, reasonings and causes behind it.  The meaning of a story depends on the standpoint, which is  the mental attitude from which a person views and judges things.

When writing get your words down on paper first and worry about spelling and grammar later.  Then check rewrite and revise so that it makes sense to yourself.  Do not let the reader anticipate the outcome of a plot.  Get at least three to five people whose opinions you trust to read your work.  Any more becomes difficult to manage.  If one makes a highly critical point, take note and move on.  If two or more make the same point, make changes.  If you wish to publish your work employ a professional editor.

I like to read the works of lesser known writers.  I review every thing I read and post my reviews on my blog and, if they are published, on Amazon and  I do not post bad reviews.  My reviews tend to be rated four or five stars.  I know how hurtful bad reviews can be.  In my view anyone who writes and finishes a novel is a heroin or hero.  If I consider that it is below par I will try to contact the author directly and give my views privately.  I get sent many stories to read and my reading list is long.  I am a slow reader and an even slower writer.  But if I feel a narrative may have merit I will get to it in the end.


Homer’s The Odyssey.

I have read this several times and consider this the best story about the human condition ever written.

Jupiter’s Travels by Ted Simon.

I do not read many travel books but this one inspired me to write about my experiences motor cycle travelling.

The Double Helix by James D Watson.

It is an autobiographical account of the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA.  It is controversial due to Watson’s willingness to appropriate data surreptitiously from others and his sexist attitude towards scientist Rosalind Franklin who, because of the harmful nature of the X-rays she worked with, died early and therefore could not share the Nobel Prize.  Despite these flaws, I found the story fascinating.  It is probably the greatest medical discovery of all time which has lead and is still leading to momentous breakthroughs in modern medicine.  It is the best detective story I have read and is the main reason why I followed a career in biological science.

The Invisible Man by H G Wells.

A classic tale of what can happen when a scientific experiment produces an irreversible result.  Wells was a Master of Science Fiction.  Wells goes into great detail about how to change a body’s refractive index and become invisible  He describes the science of visibility in great detail so that his protagonist’s experiment becomes believable. What I liked about the story was that Wells skill in explaining the science behind the plot makes it seem entirely plausible.  The attempts of the protagonist to regain normality are cautionary and shocking.  This is a tale that has been imitated many times on film and TV but the original outshines all these and remains well worth reading.

The War of the Worlds by H G Wells

It fires the imagination about what may exist out in space and also is representative of an outstanding piece of literature. The author, H. G. Wells, lived in Woking and his nocturnal trips to the nearby common inspired this great story and created a new literary genre.  Like me he was a student of biology which he studied at Imperial College London.  Bacteria have an important role in the plot.  There is a magnicent sculpture in the centre of the town of Woking in Surrey, UK where I lived for over 40 years.  Next to this, is one of The Invisible Man.




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, 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  Readers can download this themselves by following the link below or it can be open to read on line without downloading it at


Keith Jahans

Crime and Passion enhanced ebook is available at:

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