Travels in Southern England – The Folkestone Book Festival – Tuesday 24 November

November 25, 2015

Gun Baby Gun
This talk by Iain Overton was the most impressive I had so far listened to at the festival and it was a pity that there were so few people in the audience to hear it. In the course of his career as a television journalist for BBC, ITN and Channel 4 he had visited many countries throughout the world and compiled some alarming statistics. In some parts of the USA guns are more available than McDonald’s Hamburgers. It is an indictment of the western world that guns flow from the USA and Europe to fuel violent crime and terrorism in underdeveloped countries while drugs and illegal money flow the other way. I had no hesitation in buying his book and recommend that people and politicians who really want to understand the nature of gun violence do the same.

 Gun Baby GunGun Baby Gun: A Bloody Journey into the World of the Gun
by Iain Overton is published by Canongate Books; Main edition
in hardcover, paperback and as an ebook

The Battle of the Atlantic: How the Allies Won the War
Although I disagree with the title of his book and presentation by Jonathan Dimbleby (Hitler was a despot and madman who was bound to loose in the end), I do agree that The Battle of the Atlantic shortened the war and prevented Britain’s surrender. I learnt a number of facts of which I had been previously unaware, such as the German intelligence had been able to read Allied naval messages and pass this information to their U-boat packs or that British Navel and Bomber commanders were constantly arguing about the need to provide air cover for merchant shipping. Dimbleby had obviously done a great deal of research before producing this book and I can recommend that it is a must read for anyone who wishes to understand more about this aspect of The Second World War.

Battle For The AtlanticThe Battle of the Atlantic: How the Allies Won the War
by Jonathan Dimbleby is published by Penguin
in hardcover, paperback and as an ebook

Keith Jahans

Travels in Southern England – The Folkestone Book Festival – Monday 23 November

November 24, 2015

Sport Unwrapped
Brian Scovell, former cricket and football writer for the Daily Mail, gave an entertaining talk about the many characters he knew in the world of sport, including Sepp Blatter, Denis Compton, Danny Blanchflower and many more. He was there to promote his autobiography, Thank You Hermann Goering: The Life of a Sports Writer, which looks to be a good read but I managed to persuade him to sell me a copy of his book on England and Surrey spin bowler, Jim Laker, which he duly signed.

Keith Jahans

Sport UnwrappedThank You Hermann Goering: The Life of a Sports Writer
is published by Amberley Publishing and
is available in hardcover, paperback and as an ebook

Jim LakerJim Laker: Nineteen for 90 is published by
The History Press and is available in hardcover


Travels in Southern England – The Folkestone Book Festival – Sunday 22 November

November 23, 2015

Beautiful Britain with Tom Fort and the Reverend Peter Owen Jones
I remember being delighted by Tom Fort’s TV progamme in which he described his travels from London along the A303 as this was a road passing through ancient landscapes which I have travelled myself many times. On this occasion he was promoting his book, Channel Shore, in which he recounts his journey by bicycle along the English Channel Shoreline. This talk was a must for me as I have been visiting this area regularly as part of this blog. He had many stories to recount about the characters and things he encountered but was very critical about some of the places he visited. Peter Own Jones, on the other hand, seemed happy just to commune with nature. Apparently, Great Britain is one of the very few parts of the world where you can roam freely and he has collected 21 of his circular favorite walks in his book, Pathlands and Shares.

Friends of the Book Festival Quiz
At 7.30 pm that evening I took part in the Festival Quiz. The venue was the bar of The Quaterhouse, where all of the festival events I attended so far had taken place. Quizzes are a great way to meet other festival goers especially if, as I was, you are on your own. I joined five bright people, three men and two women, to answer what turned out to be general knowledge questions but with an artistic bent. We came second out of nine groups of six with the winners beating us by just one point. We should have won if some of us (and I am afraid I was probably the chief culprit) had not talked one of the ladies out of what turned out to be at least three correct answers. Despite this, we all seemed to get on well and it was a most enjoyable evening.

Quaterhouse FolkestoneThe Quarterhouse Folkestone

Travels in Southern England – Folkestone, Kent

November 22, 2015

I do not recall ever visiting this seaside town before but when I was looking for places to go I was delighted to see that it had its own literary festival which was about to begin. I packed the car, off I went and here I am.

The majestic Grand Burstin Hotel overlooks the harbour and I was lucky enough to book a room here for most of my stay. There were problem’s with the lock on my door on the first day and I had difficulty in locking it but the hotel management kindly transferred me to a much grander room with a magnificent harbour view.

The Grand Burstin HotelThe Grand Burstin Hotel

View from Burstin Hotel room windowHarbour view from my Hotel Window

Sandy Beach FolkestoneSandy Beach with Mermaid Sculpture near sea entrance to Harbour

The Old High Street FolkstoneThe Old High Street

Folkestone Book Festival – Saturday 21 November

Mindfulness – Linda Blair
This talk by psychologist, Linda Blair, was the first I attended at the festival. On the way in the conference hall I was handed a pine cone. Other people were given pieces of stick. Later in the talk we were asked to begin breathing through the nose and out through the mouth and then study the object we were given for two minutes. It was certainly a way to clear our minds of the clutter that builds up in our hectic modern daily lives. We were told that humans only have a few basic needs. The rest of our lives is taken up by wants. I must say I agree with her but I am not sure I will buy her book.

Crime Without Borders – a discussion between three women crime writers and one serving police officer
The three writers were MJ McGrath (who chaired the conversation), Erin Kelly and Louise Millar. International crime across borders has been increasingly occupying the minds of writers, police and the public given the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. The writers referred to the TV drama’s, The Bridge, and its Folkestone set remake, The Tunnel, in their conversation. It was a bonus that DCI Keith Roberts was able to participate as he gave an interesting insight into how the police service in Kent cooperates with those in France. He was also of the opinion that the chief topics often neglected by crime writers were cyber crime and money laundering. All four participants were experts in their fields and the books by the three women writers are well worth a look.

The Folkestone Book Festival continues to 29th November.

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press

Book Review – Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle by Martin ‘Sticky’ Round

November 21, 2015

The scooters in question were made by piecing together scooter parts with motorcycle engines and likened to the way Mary Shelly’s fictional character created a monster out of pieces of dead humans. The horror analogy was complete because the author, his family and two companions passed by the castle owned by Vlad the Impaler (said to be the inspiration for the fictional Dracula) in Romania. The book is a guide on how to take your family through Europe to Turkey on self built two wheeled transport and as such is both an instructive and entertaining read.

I travelled a great deal myself in the 1970s and 1980s by motorcycle not scooter. However, I have a great deal of understanding of some of the perils that can occur and the amount of planning involved. Sticky Round has a distinctive writing voice and conveys his technical expertise and descriptions of the people he encounters in a most amusing way. The modern digital age is very different from the days when I travelled by two wheels but I am sure I would find this book extremely helpful should I be tempted to try similar two or even four wheel journeys again. This was an exceptionally good read and is highly recommended.

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press

Frankenstein Scooters
Frankenstein’s Scooters to Dracula’s Castle by Martin ‘Sticky’ Round
is published by Fingers In Pies Publications and is available in paperback
and as an ebook from the Kindle Book Store

Book Promotion – getting the price right

October 19, 2015

For a publisher setting the price of a paperback book is not complicated. The cost of printing and distributing is easily calculated and all that remains is to add a sufficient sum to gain enough profit from which to pay the bookseller, the author’s royalty and running costs. But, the situation with ebooks is more complicated.

The first Peatmore Press book, Cogrill’s Mill, was first published as a pdf in the days when ebooks were unheard of. There was little in the way of production costs as the novel was available as a download from the Company website (www. Peatmore .com) or distributed by CD. Now so many multinational companies such as Amazon and Apple have entered the ebook market and, since the biggest seller of its ebooks is Amazon, the Cogrill’s Mill ebook is now exclusively offered for sale through the Kindle bookstore. Thus practically zero production costs are incurred by this publisher. Amazon take 65% of the book sales, the remaining 35% goes to the publisher / author.

In the days when it was available as a download the price was set at £4.00 which was half the cost of printing and distributing the paperback version and was considered to be a good rule of thumb. A search of the Amazon bookstore has shown that the ebooks on sale there vary greatly in price. Amazon seem to benefit greatly from the number of free ebooks on its Kindle store but a small publisher is only able to offer its books for free in a promotional deal for a limited time.

It is said that offering a book at too low a price can devalue it in the eyes of both the seller and buyer. Thus setting the value may affect sales. With this in mind, Peamore Press has decided to bring the charge for the Cogrill’s Mill ebook into line with best selling books of a similar length in a similar genre. It now remains to be seen if this will help its sales or whether the price will have to be altered again.

Keith Jahans
Peatmore Press


Cogrill’s Mill by Jack Lindsey is available as a paperback from
or as a Kindle ebook from

Book Promotion – Cogrill’s Mill

October 14, 2015

The 5 day free Kindle book promotion period for the Peatmore Press novel, Cogrill’s Mill, has ended. Most of the downloads occurred on the first two days. By far the majority of downloads happened at, followed by and then (Canada). This was despite the fact that the book was set in England, written in UK English and most of the reviews were posted on The data is presented below.

graph 4







KDP Promotion Data

The unit price for the Kindle book has now been reset to its original price (£4 / $6) and so it remains to be seen if the free book giveaways can be transferred into sales or and/or positive reviews.

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press