Monday, 9 December 2013

New books at Top Writer's Block

Two new collections of short stories by a worldwide group of writers, known collectively as Top Writer's Block, have recently been published as e-books in aid of the charity Sea Shepherd.

Cover for 'Pumpkins'

Pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes. You'll be surprised just what shape they take in this collection. Sci-fi, mystery, fantasy, comedy and even modern romance have their say in 'Pumpkins!'

Writers from around the world have contributed to this sometimes scary, sometimes amusing collection.

Available as an e-book in a variety of formats at Pumpkins 
Cover for 'The Winter Collection'





Also available this month is The Winter Collection


This is a collection of winter tales to warm the heart. Some stretch the imagination while others are down-to-earth feel good tales. It is an excellent way to discover new writers and then to go on to their longer works.

Available as an e-book in various formats at The Winter Collection


For more information about Barnaby Wilde's stories, including Quirky Verse, Detective Fiction, Humorous Tales and Short Stories, visit www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk

Monday, 2 December 2013

Barnaby thinks about Xmas

Barnaby figures that a lot of people will be receiving gifts of e-book readers or tablets this Xmas and what could be nicer than stocking them up with a few good reads to keep them entertained through those cold dark winter evenings. Barnaby has e-books to offer in every price range.


For those on very tight budgets, the following titles (amongst others) are available for FREE download.
Flowers for Mercedes       Barnaby's Shorts (vol one)      I Keep Thinking It's Tuesday


The following are just $2.99 (~£1.83)


Free Running                            Flandra                            A Question of Alignment

There are also titles at just 99c (~61p)


A Little Bit Elephant               Barnaby's Shorts (vol 6)                     Life ... (plus ten)

This is just a small selection of Barnaby's e-books, which include quirky verse, humorous fiction, short stories and detective fiction. For the full selection, visit www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk

And for the special person in your life, many of these titles are also available in paperback editions. details at www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk

Happy shopping!



 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Barnaby thinks about coffee.

Barnaby enjoys a good cup of coffee, as do the characters in his books, especially D.C.I. Flowers in the Mercedes Drew Mysteries. Flowers is particularly partial to Costa Rican coffee and tends to drink his black. Barnaby is less fussy about the origin, though he does prefer the stronger flavours, and he usually takes his with some milk. Neither of them spoil the coffee taste by adding sugar.
Once, it was only possible in the UK to have a single type of coffee. It was whatever instant coffee the establishment served. The only choice was whether to have it with or without milk. Now, there is a bewildering array of choices, confusingly identified by Italian names.
A few years back, Barnaby wrote the following verse to acknowledge the change.

Arty Farty, Caffy Larty

The chip van in our layby has gone all arty farty.
Instead of selling mugs of tea, he now sells caffy larty.
It used to be quite simple, instant coffee or strong tea.
Either way you got a mug.  The price was forty pee.
But now if you just want to buy black coffee and a sarnie,
He’s asking is that expresso, or is it merry karnie?

I said, “Make it quite expresso, ‘cos I haven’t got much time”,
And I put a fifty pee down on the counter in the grime.
I waited while he made it and lit myself a smoke,
But when he put it down I thought he’d made another joke.
Instead of the enamelled mugs he’d used ‘til yesterday,
He’s put a dolly’s teacup down, filled only up half way.

“That’s two pound twenty, mate”, he said.  He didn’t even blink.
That’s one pound ten a gulp, I thought.  Too bloody dear to drink.
I said, “Your prices have gone up a bit.  Are you having a laugh?”
He said, “It’s elf and safety, mate.  You just can’t get the staff.
Sugar’s on the end there”.  Well, some things stay the same,
Still the one bent teaspoon then, left swinging on a chain.

I said, “I can’t afford to drink it, mate.  How about some tea?”
He said, “Make your bloody mind up, John.  It’s all the same to me.
D’you want
White tea?  Green Tea?  Black or Iced?
Fruit tea? Herbal?  Blended?  Spiced?
Earl Grey?  Jasmine?  Lapsang souchong?
Camomile?  Roibos?  Or Oolong?
How about a nice Assam?
Or, bit more spicy, Mangalam?
Chinese?  Indian?  Ceylon?
Or, why not try a Rose Pouchong?

I think he knew he’d lost me as I backed towards my car.
I said, “Keep the fifty pee, mate, and I left it on the bar.
He called out, “D’you need water?”, as I opened up the door.
“I’ve got thirty two varieties, ... or is it thirty four?”
I pulled into the traffic and rejoined the endless snake.
I guess I wasn’t thirsty.  Still, ... it was good to have the break.

 (July 2010)
 
If you liked this poem, Barnaby would love to hear from you. You can find more about his quirky verse at www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk  available in both e-book and print.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Barnaby thinks about topless sunbathing and bare knees.

Today, Barnaby walked along a pebbled Devon beach in glorious autumn sunshine with his partner and her dog. Although the beach was uncrowded, a few others were also taking advantage of the weather and the exercise.
Now, Barnaby has a theory that people like beaches not only for the bracing air, but because they allow behaviour that would be deemed antisocial, improper or childish in other places.
For example, on the beach one is allowed to play with mud (or sand) whether adult or child. It is also acceptable to throw stones, (towards the sea of course and only when safe to do so), douse other people with cold water and to remove one's clothes down to whatever is the locally acceptable minimum. In some places, to nothing at all. Curiously, folk who would die of embarrassment to be seen strolling around in their underpants, or bra and knickers, are totally unphased by doing pretty much the same thing on the beach.
Barnaby was reminded of a time he was at Lake Geneva at Evian les Bains. At this point the Route Nationale hugs the shore of the lake. At various points, however, there are narrow strips of shingly beach, which are heavily utilised by sunbathers and swimmers. There is a low wall, no more than eighteen inches high separating the busy road from the small beach. On the beach, topless sunbathing is quite acceptable, though the practitioners are clearly visible to pedestrians and vehicle drivers alike. It would be entirely unacceptable, however, to step over the dividing wall from the beach onto the street unless fully clothed. Barnaby is somewhat at a loss to understand how an eighteen inch wall can make this difference, or is it the presence or absence of water that is the determining factor?
None of which, of course, has anything to do with publishing e-books, though Barnaby is disconcerted to find that his volumes of short stories are still not being listed on the Kobo website. Could it be the bare knees on the covers that are the problem? Luckily, all Barnaby's books, in e-book or paperback format, can be found on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble and many other bookstores. More information about the books and where they can be bought at www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk

Monday, 28 October 2013

Barnaby thinks about value for money.

Barnaby likes to think of himself as a shrewd shopper who knows the difference between 'value for money' and 'buying the cheapest'. The difference, of course, is all tied up in the specification, or 'quality', if you prefer.

Barnaby's 2nd Big Book of Shorts
 is now available at Amazon
Sometimes, the specification is simply a matter of buying the cheapest available, but more often it is a question of finding the item which meets a particular set of requirements, be they functionality, size, colour, quality of construction, whatever. Having found the item that meets the specification, then Barnaby's view is that it is worth spending a little time finding out where to buy that item at the lowest price, provided that any saving is commensurate with any inconvenience incurred.
Of course, there is always a subjective element to this process. Part of the specification is defined by aesthetics and this will often override any purely functional requirement.
There is also a place, occasionally, for the entirely spontaneous or frivolous purchase, though Barnaby tends to resist these on the whole.
Pricing of e-books raises a whole bunch of questions about value for money. How does an e-book rank against a printed book in terms of perceived value? Should a book be priced by the number of words it contains or by the quality of the writing? Can a book be priced too low?
Barnaby has attempted to address the issue of 'value for money' in his own books by offering a range of purchase options. For example, Barnaby's Shorts, his series of short story collections are available in volumes of ten stories, collections of thirty or forty stories and in e-book or print editions in a variety of prices. For the ultra cautious reader, or shrewd shopper, some of his books are also available as FREE downloads. It goes without saying, that the quality is equally high in all versions.
You can find out more about the books, the author and the prices by visiting www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk

Monday, 21 October 2013

Barnaby thinks about his first million

There is a theory that no one becomes an expert at anything until they have invested ten thousand hours in it. Crudely speaking, that equates to writing something like a million words for an author.

Now Barnaby had never previously counted the number of words he'd written or the number of hours he'd spent doing it, so he wasn't sure how far along the road to becoming an expert he might be. Some might say, not far! Fortunately there are others who disagree.

To date, Barnaby now finds he has published eighteen e-books, totalling around six hundred thousand words, so he has a way to go to reach his first million. This includes his Quirky Verse, his Mercedes Drew detective stories, The Tom Fletcher stories and the anthologies of short stories. (There is another anthology of short stories about to be published, volume six).

Of course there is another school of thought entirely which says 'never mind the width, feel the quality'.

So, whether you subscribe to the theory that width is preferable to length, or prefer the opposite, or maybe even like a bit of both, Barnaby hopes that you will find something to satisfy you at www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk

And for those who would like to check out how big Barnaby really is down under, you might like to check out this copy of The Australian Times Poetry magazine

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Is it the knees?

Barnaby has been disappointed this week to discover that all his e-book titles have disappeared from the Kobo online store, along with thousands of titles from other Indie authors. The reason for this appears to be a row with the UK book retailer W.H.Smith who complained of finding explicit 'erotic' titles displayed online alongside children's literature.

Now, Barnaby would be one of the first to agree that children should not be exposed to sexually explicit books and that this situation should be resolved quickly. However, the indiscriminate removal of all independently published e-book titles seems an unnecessarily crude method to resolve the problem.

Barnaby's books could not in any way be described as erotic, unless it is the pictures on the front covers of his collections of short stories that are disturbing people. He feels compelled, for the record, to state that any knees displayed on the book covers of his short story collections are wholly his own and that no sexual association should be inferred. The picture is merely a punning reference to the word 'short' in 'short stories'.

Fortunately, all five volumes of short stories are still available on other retailers websites and links to these can be found on the author's website at www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk

For those of a delicate disposition, Barnaby directs your attention to his other works, including collections of quirky verse and detective fiction (The Mercedes Drew Mysteries) where there is no sign of his knees, or any other part of his anatomy.


Monday, 7 October 2013

Barnaby wonders if size matters?

An Indie Author friend set a challenge recently to write a piece of Flash Fiction in 200 words. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Barnaby duly wrote a piece in 200 words, but this set him thinking. Would it have been as good, or better even, in any other length?
Here then is the 200 word version of his story, plus a 100 word version, a 140 character (tweet length) version and a headline version (5 words). Each tells essentially the same tale, but something is added (or is it?) as the length increases. Barnaby is currently considering expanding this story to something between 3,000 and 4,000 words, but will that add anything significant to what's already been said? You can judge. Here are the first 4 versions.

Headline (5 words)
Marketplace bomb kills Afghan girl.

Tweet (140 characters including spaces)
Suicide truck bomb in huge marketplace blast at Afghan army checkpoint kills two soldiers and local girl, who was shopping for pomegranates.

100 word story (excluding title)
Collateral Damage

Farrukh adjusted her niqab, re-examined her shopping list and studied the fruit, while the stallholder halfheartedly dusted the pomegranates. Her mother would be cross if she bought poor quality or paid too much.

Neither of them noticed the approaching truck.

Two soldiers, rifles slung nonchalantly, leaned against the wall.

There was gunfire and the cry "Allahu akbar" as the truck slammed into them, before the world exploded.

Farrukh's eyes flickered open as she lay on the ground, revealing a severed arm lying amongst the smoking debris, still clutching a shopping list.

She felt no pain as her world went black.

 
200 word story (excluding title)
Collateral Damage

Farrukh adjusted her niqab and studied the indifferent fruit piled on the market stall in front of her. The fat stallholder halfheartedly flicked dust off the pomegranates and oranges and wiped his hands on his grubby, grey kameez. She glanced at the heavily creased shopping list in her hand. Her mother would be cross if she bought poor quality, or paid too much.

Neither of them noticed the dust cloud from the approaching truck.

Two soldiers leaned on the wall next to the fruit stall, smoking and laughing loudly, rifles slung nonchalantly across their shoulders.

"Are you buying, or just looking?"

She bowed her head with embarrassment at the stallholder's brusque interrogation.

There was a loud squeal of tyres, a burst of gunfire and the cry of "Allahu akbar" as the truck slammed the soldiers into the wall before the world around her exploded with sound and light.

Farrukh's eyes flickered open momentarily as she lay on the ground, a spreading pool of blood surrounding her head. She saw in the distance, lying amongst the smoking debris and other scattered body parts, a severed arm, still clutching a shopping list. She felt no pain as her world went irreversibly black.

Barnaby Wilde  (Sept 2013)
 
You can find more Barnaby Wilde in a mixture of genres and lengths at www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk  including FREE downloads of several of his e-books.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Barnaby has a bit of a rant

Barnaby finds that he is increasingly irritated by the misuse of English words. Perhaps it's a sign of his age. It seems that fewer and fewer people understand the difference between 'few' and 'less' for instance, although one is plural, fewer people for example, and the other is singular, e.g. less sugar, but they are universally confused. Or, take another example, 'due to' and 'because of'. They are not interchangeable. 'Due to' is an adjective, which means it can only modify pronouns and nouns and 'Because of” is an adverb, which means it can only modify verbs, adjectives and clauses. One trick you can use is to substitute 'due to' with 'caused by'. If the substitution doesn't work, then you probably shouldn’t use 'due to' there. Then there is the word 'decimate', now used almost indiscriminately to mean 'devastated' or 'almost totally destroyed' when it actually means 'one in ten' or 'ten per cent'. Thus a town which is described as 'decimated' is actually ninety per cent intact. (Sadly, Barnaby just discovered that even his own dictionary now gives the meaning of decimate as 'laid to waste'. Is this progress?)
Of course all language changes with time and perhaps Barnaby is simply behaving like an old fart trying to hang on to outmoded English usage. At one level it can be argued that it doesn't matter at all as long as the meaning is clear. On the other hand, Barnaby finds that it jars when he hears or reads an incorrect usage, which spoils the flow and enjoyment of whatever he is reading or listening to.
Does Barnaby make mistakes in his writing? Almost certainly, though he tries hard not to. If you spot something which is wrong, please let him know.
There are hundreds of other examples of confusion between words in the English language. Take the words 'sarcasm' and 'irony' for example. 'Sarcasm' is usually defined as 'a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter gibe or taunt', whereas 'irony', of course, is the 'use of a heated metal object to remove the creases from clothes'.
You can find more of Barnaby's writing, correct and otherwise, at www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk

Friday, 20 September 2013

If it smells like a book

AVAILABLE IN PRINT
AND EBOOK FORMAT
AVAILABLE IN PRINT
AND EBOOK FORMAT
If it looks like a book, feels like a book and smells like a book, then the chances are that it's a book. For some people, a book isn't a book unless you can hold it in your hands and see the ink on the page. There is as much delight for them in turning each sheet and seeing the bulk of pages move from right to left as they read through it as there is in absorbing the content itself.

Most of us enjoy picking up a brand new, unopened copy and turning those first few unread pages to get to the beginning of the story. Then there is the small pleasure of finding and inserting a book mark, be it bus ticket or work of art, to mark the furthest point read, or, for a naughty few, turning down the corner or writing notes in the margin.


AVAILABLE IN PRINT
AND EBOOK FORMAT
AVAILABLE IN PRINT
AND EBOOK FORMAT
There is undoubtedly a pleasure beyond simply reading the words on the page in owning a physical book.

With this in mind, Barnaby has begun to make his e-books available as print editions. (visit www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk for the current status of each book). Naturally the e-books will still be available so that you can take a whole library
with you when you travel, even when you fly 'hand baggage only'.

From today, though, you can not only read Barnaby's words, you can smell the paper that they're written on


.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Barnaby thinks about money laundering

FREE DOWNLOAD
The Bank of England announced this week that it was considering the introduction of plastic bank notes to replace the traditional paper variety. Apparently this makes money laundering less risky since the notes don't disintegrate when accidentally put into the washing machine. (They are also claimed to be resistant to red wine stains, though most drinkers will find that a wine glass is still likely to be more convenient).


FREE DOWNLOAD
It is alleged that plastic notes will last two and a half times longer than paper money, but Barnaby has some doubts over the veracity of this claim since he finds his money lasts hardly any time at all.
Of course metal money can last for hundreds, or even thousands of years, when buried in the ground, as anyone with a metal detector can tell you. This does, however, require you to do your banking with a spade, which might be inconvenient for a large purchase.

FREE DOWNLOAD

For many years, personal cheques replaced the need to carry large bags of cash, but the banks seem intent on phasing this convenience out entirely.

Happily, shopping on the internet overcomes all of these problems, since you don't need real money at all, especially if you want to download one of Barnaby's FREE e-books. You can find Quirky Verse, Short Stories or Detective Fiction at www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk and you will find at least one example of each that won't cost you a plastic penny.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Out of the Ashes


 
Can any good come from ashes? This latest collection from Top Writers Block reveals that ashes may involve anything from fantasy, romance, horror, comedy to poetry.

Top Writer's Block is an informal group of Indie authors who come together from time to time to produce anthologies of short stories in aid of the Sea Shepherd charity. The latest volume, 'Out of the Ashes' is now available here.

Eleven authors. Eleven stories. Eleven interpretations of the theme 'Out of the Ashes' is available now to download in the e-book format of your choice.

All this in 'Out of the Ashes.'

You can find previous collaborations from Top Writer's Block here 

Visit www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk for details of all Barnaby's e-books, including the Mercedes Drew mysteries, The Tom Fletcher stories and his collections of short stories and poetry.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Barnaby introduces a friend


Barnaby would like to use this blog space to introduce a fellow writer, Suzy Dubot, an Anglo/American who has been living in France for over 30 years. Not only does Suzy write her own books, she also motivates and inspires a multinational group of like minded authors to produce regular compilations of short stories in aid of charity. This group, known collectively as Top Writer's Block, simply would not exist without her encouragement. Here, in her own words, is a small insight into Suzy's writing.
 
 **
 
A writer is only half responsible for what he writes. I promise you.

Once I have given my characters their names, they begin to take over. Their personalities emerge and have very little to do with what I had originally planned for them. The hardened hero often takes on a schoolboy vulnerability and my heroines have the colour of their hair changing several times before the end of the tale. Not one of your modern hair colour products either, because the majority of my people are ensconced in the Regency period with only the occasional time shift, if you're lucky.
Q. How did I begin you might ask?
A. It was a very bad Regency paperback that convinced me that I could do better.

Q. Why so late in life?
A. I admit that any urge I had to write earlier was stifled by the mystery of dialogue. How did an author create credible dialogue? Fool that I was, I never attempted it until that modern 'penny dreadful' pushed me to try. I know now. The answer is quite simple for me - I take dictation. My characters say what they like and often do as they like. I sometimes find them kissing or moving on to more serious acts, and there is little I can do without stepping away, without taking my fingers off the keyboard. I wonder if they knew we were reading about them, they might be a little more discreet but somehow I doubt that, in a moment of passion, they would give a damn!

Q. Have I lived a dull life, you might wonder?
A. My writings are not the fantasies of a drudge. I am an American who spent her younger years travelling back and forth between the US and Britain. The irony is that I have ended up living most of my life in France.

How that happened is another story.

I am a vegetarian and an active supporter of animal rights. It is difficult to know if I have influenced my three daughters or if it is they who have influenced me. My life still has many unexpected twists to it, for which I am grateful most of the time.

To sum up, I must just say that as an author I have had the amazing good fortune of crossing paths/ words/ lines/ stories with some pretty impressive writers. Contact with them has been an eye-opening experience that I would not have missed for anything because, not only have they encouraged me but they have shown me that writers the world around are just ordinary folk like me. They all have characters and plots in their heads waiting to get out. So now when I'm asked what I do for a living, I can answer without hesitation that I am a secretary who takes dictation! Just joking.

 I AM A WRITER!

**
 
You can find out more about Suzy Dubot's books  here including two of her most recent books Tangling with Tania and Garnets
 
I can heartily endorse Suzy's credentials. SHE IS A WRITER!

 

Monday, 19 August 2013

Barnaby thinks about topiary

Barnaby has been doing the annual trim on two ornamental junipers in his Devon garden. These were planted long before Barnaby lived here and were probably sold originally as 'dwarf' conifers. They are now about twenty feet tall. Now, had the previous owners sculpted these as they grew, by means of judicious snipping and pruning, they could by now be in the form of peacocks, perhaps, or a steam locomotive, maybe. Unfortunately they have grown tall and cylindrical, with a rounded top and look more like giant ... (well, Barnaby is too nice to say what they actually do look like, but he now has the two biggest ones in the neighbourhood).
To celebrate the completion of this year's annual chore, here's a verse that Barnaby wrote on the subject a few years back.

Paradise gardens 
Some people like unkempt gardens
With grasses, wildflowers and sedges.
But I prefer something more formal
With tightly clipped shrubs and trimmed hedges.
A heath’s an elysian field for them.
Paradise is a flowering tree.
But I just want neatness and order.
Yes, yew topiary’s heaven for me.
Oct 02

(You can find more of Barnaby's quirky verse by visiting www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk )

Friday, 9 August 2013

Barnaby's Shorts just got Bigger!

Barnaby's Bigger Book of Shorts is now available as an e-book from Smashwords  here.

Volumes one to four of Barnaby's Shorts, which are still available as single volumes, have been amalgamated to a single volume containing forty 'coffee break' sized stories.

Ideal for reading on the beach, in the bath, on the train to work, or, while taking your morning coffee.

A mix of genres, including mystery, romance, sci-fi and humour. Who are The Women Furies? Can you grow a man from a bean? Is it possible to rob a bank by accident?
Answers to these questions plus four tales from the Vertigo labs inside.
Can a man get trapped inside a Kindle? What would you do if you were stalked by the invisible man? and how did Amelia find her new man?

For a short period, this e-book is downloadable for 'FREE' in the e-reader format of your choice.

If you enjoy what you read, please leave a review here. This provides valuable feedback to Barnaby and also helps other readers find the book.

You can check out Barnaby's other e-books here

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Barnaby makes a gesture


One of the unexpected positives that Barnaby has discovered since he started publishing e-books has been to make contacts with other Indie authors around the world. The internet has rendered the physical separation of no consequence.

David Keith is an American author, who describes himself as an unreformed hippie. He happens also to be a fine writer and Barnaby has enjoyed, in particular, his series of tales about the characters who inhabit a bar known as The Painted Door. Dave has also been a contributor, with Barnaby, to several collections of stories that have been published to raise funds for the Sea Shepherd charity.

Barnaby is pleased, therefore, to be able to use this blog space to allow David Keith to introduce himself to some new readers.

David H. Keith
 
I have been called a lot of names over the years: smart-ass, curmudgeon, idealist, various parts of my anatomy (which are not always in close physical proximity to each other), as well as a great many others. Some of them are even true to varying degrees, but so are some of the more pleasant names: lover, wise, intelligent, kind, etc. I guess the one word that best describes me is human, in all my nobility and all my failings. I’d rather that being human thing weren’t the case, but I’m sort of stuck with it for now, so it’ll just have to do.

Cover for 'Tales from The Painted Door III: Molly's Walk'
I’m also a writer, which makes me even weirder to some folk. You’ve probably heard the saying that writers are professional liars; well, it’s true in that fiction writers, in particular, just make stuff up to entertain others. That stuff’s relationship to reality is tenuous at best—and that is as true for the so-called news media as for Stephen King, Kathy Reichs, and all the rest of the breed. No matter how objective we try to be, nor as accurate, we are still humans, so we see—and report—through the lenses of our own perceptions, experience, and beliefs. All of us writerly types truly do listen to the voices in our heads. We have to. If we didn’t, we couldn’t write a syllable.

My degree is in Communications with an emphasis on writing. My passions are many, including using our language properly, the absolute freedom of speech we here in the US are told we have, and telling a good yarn. And earning and keeping my wife’s love and respect.

Professionally, I have worked for nigh onto three decades in the medical profession, from combat medic in the US Army to Paramedic in the civilian world and a host of other occupations. If nothing else, this makes me more or less fluent in medicalese; for instance, I know the difference between, say, antiseptic and aseptic. I also know how not to treat a burn and I’ve had the ultimate pleasure of helping a new life into this beat-up old world of ours. I’ve also seen, and even eased, some as they make their final departure. I suppose you could say I have seen both the Alpha and the Omega of human life.

But, wait! There’s more to David H. Keith than a simple medic. I’ve also been a newspaper reporter, photographer (sometimes simultaneously), and editor. Yep, I’m one of the banes of would-be authors everywhere—and I’m quite passionate about it. And that is because I have a deep reverence for language and the proper use thereof. Language, you see, is one of the hallmarks of our being human, or so some say.

My wife, Dr. Elizabeth Rowan Keith, and I have developed a website highlighting our eBooks; we invite you to browse our works at www.novemberfirstpublications.weebly.com. If you’d like to discuss the mechanics of writing, please visit my blog at www.davidkeith1.blogspot.com. There, I give hints to help writers with grammar, punctuation, and all the other little things that make a good story great.

Slainte!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

The right sort of rain?

Barnaby has been enjoying the decent run of uncharacteristically warm weather in the UK this July. Indeed, it has been positively hot, so warm, in fact, that Barnaby was induced to swim in the sea for the first time in about twenty years. (It was still cold).
We have already eaten al fresco more times this month than in the whole of last year and this is shaping up to be one of our better English summers. The plants in the garden have been suffering, however, from lack of water. Barnaby doesn't believe in watering garden plants, except those in pots and baskets and food crops. The lawn is brown and several otherwise hardy perennials are looking distinctly unhappy (this is more or less a euphemism for dead) as well as trees shedding leaves.
Last night, however, we had rain. Not a deluge or a downpour, but steady rain, albeit for only a short time. It was enough to refill the water butts around the house and to wet the top of the soil at least. This morning is bright and clear again, with long sunny periods, though ten degrees cooler than it has been.
So was this the right sort of rain? Well, it came at night, which is always a bonus, it didn't do any damage, but maybe there wasn't quite enough to restore the garden.
For the time being, Barnaby has put away his shorts but he's keeping them close by in case the temperature goes up again. Of course he'd like you to keep his shorts close to you, too, and you can find all five volumes of Barnaby's Shorts at http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/barnabywilde to download in the e-book format of your choice. You'll find that they are excellent reading, whatever the weather.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Barnaby thinks about the beach

Barnaby has enjoyed the hot summer weather which has, unusually, been gracing most of the UK for the past two weeks, despite the browning of his lawn and unending need to water the pots, tubs and baskets dotted about the garden. It's been hot and sunny enough to tempt him to drive to the beach on several occasions, though not, so far, to venture into the sea. (Barnaby reserves his swimming for the Mediterranean or the Caribbean).
He has been pondering why the beach is such a popular destination in warm weather, aside from the obvious opportunity to cool down in the sea. His conclusion is that the beach allows us to behave in ways that would be considered disagreeable, improper or just plain antisocial in any other place.
The beach gives us permission to take our clothes off in public, play with mud, throw stones, douse one another with cold water, laze about doing nothing useful and generally behave like kids again.
All this unproductive downtime, of course, can quickly become tedious and Barnaby recommends that alongside your protective hat and sunscreen, that you remember to pack your e-reader. You'll find that B.W.'s e-books are eminently suitable for reading on the beach and you can find out all about them at www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk
You can also eat ice cream, of course.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Barnaby's Shorts (Volume Five) now available.





Ten more short stories to read while you take a coffee break; on your train ride to work; in the bath, or on the beach.
 
Three lads play hooky from school, a virtual man who is human in every way, a father and son conversation, a body frozen in the ice.

A story of a marriage in 'A Trace of Boron'. A tale from Sri Lanka in 'Rich Man, Poor Man.' And another tale from the Vertigo Research Labs.
 
A hint of sci fi, a touch of romance, a pinch of humour and always a twist at the end.

What would you do if you met yourself in the street? Where did loneliness come from?

Ten stories in a variety of genres to suit all tastes available as an e-book from here in the format of your choice to read on Kindle, Kobo, mobile phone, PC or tablet.
 
For a limited period, this book is available for FREE download.
 
For more information on Barnaby Wilde's other titles, visit www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk
 


Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Poverty - New title by Top Writer's Block


Top Writer's Block, a consortium of Indie writers, have released their latest collection of short stories, this time written around the theme of 'Poverty'.

The new title contains nine new stories in a variety of styles and genres, interpreting the theme in many different ways.

As with all other collections by Top Writers Block, the authors proceeds will go to the charity Sea Shepherd which devotes itself to protecting our seas and oceans and the life within.    
The new e-book can be downloaded in the format of your choice from http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/332342 

You will also find links to the previous titles published by the group.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Barnaby thinks about Stevie Wonder

Barnaby was lucky enough once to go to a Stevie Wonder concert.
To break the ice with his new audience Stevie asked if anyone would like him to play a request.  A little old Japanese man jumped out of his seat in the front row and shouted at the top of his voice...
"Play a Jazz chord! Play a jazz chord!"
Amazed that this guy knew about the jazz influences in Stevie's varied career, the blind impresario started to play an E minor scale and then went into a difficult jazz melody for about 10 minutes. When he finished, the whole place went wild.
 The little old man jumped up again and shouted...
"No, no, play a Jazz chord, play a Jazz chord".
A bit nonplussed by this, Stevie, being the professional that he was, dived straight into a jazz improvisation with his band around the B flat minor chord and really tore the place apart. The crowd went wild with this impromptu show of his technical expertise.
The little old man jumped up again.
"No, no. Play a Jazz chord, play a Jazz chord".
A little brassed off that this guy didn't seem to appreciate his playing ability, Stevie said to him from the stage "OK smart ass, you get up here and do it!"
The little old man climbed up onto the stage, grabbed hold of the mike, and started to sing,
"A jazz chord to say I ruv you................."

Now, of course, this story could be seen by some to be politically incorrect on a number of levels, relying on a stereotypical image of a non native english language speaker and a blind pianist for it's humour, when, actually, it's nothing more than a shaggy dog story, completely invented and relying on a rather bad pun to raise a smile. Barnaby's Quirky Verse is rather like that, complete invention and a lot of bad puns. You could check them out at www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk (some of them are even FREE to download).

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Barnaby thinks about tipping

To tip, or not to tip? That is the question that Barnaby has been pondering this week. Should tipping be encouraged or should it be banned entirely? Is it a way of rewarding especially good service, or does it simply perpetuate a system that allows employers to underpay their staff?

In some cultures, tipping is seen simply as an unavoidable part of the cost of the purchase and has little to do with the quality of the service. This seems to Barnaby especially to be the case in the U.S.

In other cultures, such as China, offering a tip is seen as an insult.

Barnaby is reminded, however, of a sign in a restaurant which read, 'We pay our staff well. Please do not insult them by leaving tips.' However, beside the till itself was a jar labelled "Insults".

The question of whether to tip or not and by how much is frequently a source of consternation not only to visitors, but also to locals. Establishments in the U.K. are increasingly adding a tip automatically to the bill on the assumption that most people will pay up rather than risk the embarrassment of querying the addition. Only the very brave or exceptionally dissatisfied customer will strike out the extra demand.

Barnaby is of the opinion that people should be paid a fair wage and that the advertised price should include the service charge. Yes, Barnaby deplores tipping.

So, to make things absolutely clear, the prices displayed against Barnaby's books, including the FREE ones, is the full price. What you see is what you pay. No tips are expected or accepted,. (unless it is advice on how to improve his writing). See for yourself at www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Barnaby thinks about al fresco living.

During the recent week of unusually warm and sunny and weather in the UK, Barnaby was reminded of the times that he spent camping under canvas. His earliest memory is of being allowed to sleep out on the back lawn with his brother and sister, an experiment which ended at about ten pm, when sibling squabbling was clearly going to prohibit any chance of sleep.

Later, camping with the scouts and even holidaying abroad with his young family, was considerably more successful and enjoyable.

Barnaby's camping days under canvas are probably now behind him, as he values the comfort of hot showers, flushing toilets and comfortable beds more highly than the crisp dawn air and fresh overnight dew that might otherwise greet him on unzipping the tent each morning, though he was persuaded to try a week in a motor home recently, where he renewed his acquaintance with the joys of the chemical toilet and empty gas bottles.

It brought to mind the story Barnaby heard about Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson camping on the moors, lying in their sleeping bags and staring up at the night sky. "Tell me what you can deduce from what you can see, Watson," said Holmes.

"I can see from the orientation of the stars that we are lying approximately north/south," said Watson, "and that from the position of the moon, that it must be almost three a.m. From the lack of cloud cover, I would say we are under a high pressure weather system and that the weather tomorrow will probably be fine."

"Excellent, Watson, excellent," said Holmes. "Anything else?"

"I don't think so," replied Watson. "What have I missed?"

"Someone has stolen the bloody tent," said Holmes.

Barnaby's e-books can all be found on www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk  and are eminently suitable for reading indoors or al fresco. Why not take one camping with you. You'll find it intensely satisfying.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Barnaby wonders about weeds

The weather has been excellent for the past few days, clear blue skies, warm temperatures and just a light breeze. Just what we always hope an English summer will be and so often isn't.
Barnaby has been indulging in a spot of gardening. He is not ashamed to admit that he is a fair weather gardener and would prefer to be looking through a window at the garden from the warmth of his office when it's cold and wet outside.
This means, of course, that Barnaby's gardening consists mainly of pulling up the weeds that have been growing happily outside while he was sitting, typing, inside.
The most important thing, therefore, is to be able to distinguish the weeds from the flowers, especially when some of the weeds are rather attractive in their own right. So, what exactly is a weed?
A weed is most simply defined as being a plant growing in the wrong place. A potato in a cornfield is a weed. A rose in a potato field is also a weed.
None of this, of course, has anything whatsoever to do with e-books, unless it happened to be an e-book about gardening. Happily there are no weeds in Barnaby's e-books as you'll find out if you visit www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk where all Barnaby's books can be seen in full bloom.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Barnaby bags a bargain

Barnaby likes nothing better than wandering around a Car Boot Sale on a sunny morning and today was a doozy. Hundreds of stalls. Thousands of bargains and lots of happy shoppers. He was surprised to see for sale an antique penny-farthing bicycle, and, on a different stall, a horse drawn plough. Neither of which he'd ever encountered at a Boot Sale previously. Naturally enough, most of the other items were of a much more prosaic nature, comprising children's toys, household ornaments, furniture and unwanted gadgets and gizmos of all descriptions. Many of which prompt the question, why on earth did anyone ever buy that in the first place? That begs the follow up question, what ever persuaded the person who designed and manufactured it to think anyone would ever want one?
Nevertheless, the majority of the customers went home clutching their carrier bags full of bargains, well happy with their morning's work.
Barnaby was happy with his own bargain, too. A double CD of the Rolling Stones for the grand price of £1.
You can bag your own bargain, of course, by visiting www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk and downloading one of Barnaby's e-books. The best news of all is that most of them won't even cost £1 and some, believe it or not, are absolutely FREE!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Barnaby wonders how low will you stoop?


Barnaby has been wondering whether it makes economic sense to pick up coins in the street. Assuming that it takes approximately three seconds to stoop down and retrieve a coin, it would presumably only be worth picking one up if it's value was higher than you could earn in the same amount of time.

For readers in the United Kingdom, where the minimum legal wage for adults is currently £6.19 per hour, or .515p for 3 seconds, it would certainly pay to pick up even the smallest UK coin, which is currently the 1p piece. Indeed, it would make economic sense for anyone earning up to £11.99 per hour, or approximately £24,939 per annum, to do the same.

Coincidentally, this is not far off the average UK earnings for adults in full time employment, which is currently around £26,500 per annum.

As a rule of thumb, therefore, Barnaby suggests that if your wage is above the National Average, you should leave any coins you spot in the street for your less well paid countrymen to pick up.

Unless, of course, you should spot a Liberty Head 1913 5c piece, which sold at auction on April 26th this year for $3.1m.

Unfortunately, in the time it will take you to determine whether the coin you have spotted is a genuine Liberty Head nickel, you might just as well have picked it up anyway.

Alternatively, instead of walking around looking at your feet all day, you could download a copy of one of Barnaby's e-books and read that instead. You'll find plenty to amuse and entertain you at www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk

Monday, 6 May 2013

Barnaby thinks about Loneliness

Those Indie authors at Top Writers Block have produced another collection of short stories, this time on the theme of Loneliness. Twelve authors, including Barnaby, writing cooperatively, have produced twelve stories inspired by the word 'loneliness'.

All proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to the charity Sea Shepherd.

You can read a sample, or download the whole book in any ebook format by visiting
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/311958

You can find Barnaby's own ebooks, including several titles which are FREE downloads, by visiting
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/barnabywilde. The range includes quirky poems, collections of short stories, humorous novels and detective fiction.

Volume 3 of the Mercedes Drew Mysteries (Flandra) is now published, and you can download Volume 1 (Flowers for Mercedes) completely FREE at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/310785

More information about Barnaby Wilde books at www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk

Sunday, 28 April 2013

NEW! Mercedes Drew. Volume 3 - Flandra.

The third volume in the Mercedes Drew Mysteries Series - Flandra - is now published on Smashwords.

Mysterious goings on in the allotments, a lorry hijack and arson at the golf club. Three more complete stories about Mercedes Drew, her 1969 Triumph Bonneville T120 motorcycle and Detective Inspector Desmond Flowers, in Volume Three of the Mercedes Drew Mysteries.

Who is stealing Derek Trott's carrots? Where are the counterfeit coins in Gordon's coffee machine coming from? Who hijacked a lorry full of TV's? What is Flandra? Answers to all these questions and more in 'Flandra, volume three of the Mercedes Drew Mysteries.'

Visit http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/310785 to view a sample or to download a copy.             

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Eight million can't be wrong.

Sales of ebook readers are holding up strongly against mobile tablets and it is estimated that eight million Britons now have an e-reader. This is roughly equivalent to a third of all UK households, with those in the forty five to fifty four age range being the most likely to own one. Furthermore one in ten of all people surveyed plan to buy an e-reader in the next year.
All of this is music to Barnaby's ears and will spur him on to write yet more ebooks in the coming twelve months. (* The next Mercedes Drew volume is expected some time in May).
Meanwhile, for all those e-reader owners who haven't yet sampled Barnaby's delights, and even those who have, but are not yet fully satiated, why not visit www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk and find out about his quirky verse, his short stories and the antics of Mercedes Drew and Detective Inspector Flowers. If you look carefully, you'll find that some of the books can even be downloaded for FREE!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Shameless Self Promotion

Barnaby was flattered this week by a Press Release written by a fellow Indie Author and writer of romantic fiction, Suzy Dubot (who can be found here ). The text of her Press Release is reproduced below.
@@@

April 9, 2013 -- It is not every day that one stumbles upon a passionate, talented Englishman. This one is tucked away in a corner of Devon but his ingeniosity with words stretches across the internet. Barnaby Wilde reaches out and regales us wherever we are with the deviousness of his line of thinking.
‘The Blind Philosopher and the God of Small Things’ will have you marvelling at his grasp on words as he entwines them in amusing verse. ‘Barnaby’s Shorts’ (showing a pair of slim legs in shorts, socks and ridiculous shoes on the book cover) are a collection of all his weird and wonderful short stories, described as ‘coffee break stories’. He now has 4 in the ‘Barnaby’s Shorts’ collection, all showing those ridiculous shoes.
‘Flowers for Mercedes’ , a detective story, may just hook you onto wanting to know more about Detective Inspector Flowers.
Sci-fi, mystery, murder or romance fan? Mr. Barnaby Wilde will fill your order. Nothing can or will stop him. He is an inveterate writer who also belongs and contributes to a group of equally passionate writers called Top Writers Block. Why not sample a little of his writing? There is definitely something for everyone and we can all do with a good laugh – no?
Just as prolific as his writings are the places where he can be found. You won’t have to go to Devon…
On his website: www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk  and at the following bookstores (click on store to visit)
Smashwords
Amazon
Are you a FaceBook addict ? Find him there too:  
Barnes and Noble 
Sony   
Diesel  
Apple   
Kobo  
WHSmith

There are bound to be other places, wouldn’t you think? In fact, I’m a little surprised I haven’t stumbled upon him before and you may be too. He does seem to be omnipresent and I have to admit, I have now added him to my website – the proof that I can highly recommend him.
@@@

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Barnaby worries about Gold

Gold has been mined for more than 6,000 years. The latest estimate for all the gold in the world - the gold above ground, that is - is 171,300 tonnes, which would fit into a cube with sides of just over 20m (67ft). Or, to put it another way, would reach to 9.8m above ground level if exactly covering Wimbledon Centre Court.

The first gold coins were minted in about 550 BC under King Croesus of Lydia - a province in modern-day Turkey - and quickly became accepted payment for merchants and mercenary soldiers around the Mediterranean. Until recently, all the gold that had been mined throughout history was still in existence in the above-ground stock. That means that if you have a gold watch, some of the gold in that watch could have been mined by the Romans 2,000 years ago. The way gold is being used in the technology industry today, however, is different.

The British Geological Survey states that about 12% of current world gold production now finds its way to this sector, where it is often used in such small quantities in each individual product, for example to gold plate electrical terminals, that it may no longer be economical to recycle it.

In short, gold may be being "consumed" for the first time and may eventually run out.

Of course you can consume Barnaby's ebooks as often as you like with no fear that they will ever run out. In fact, you could visit www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk right now and download another copy. Some of them are even 'Free' to download.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Barnaby worries about time.

Tonight, the clocks change one hour forward to mark the beginning of British Summer Time and Barnaby worries that he's been cheated an hour of his life. Being told that he'll 'get it back again' next Autumn doesn't reassure him. 'What if I die in the meantime?'
Of course his predicament pales in comparison to the folk in 1582 who lost ten days of their lives in October of that year when the Gregorian Calendar replaced the Julian Calendar and ten days were simply deleted overnight. No wonder there were riots.
On the other hand, average life expectancy in the Western World has increased by around thirty years in the last century. This astonishing increase means that during every decade that he has lived, Barnaby's life expectancy has increased by three years,  or three days for every ten days lived. (This means that during the next ten minutes, assuming that the rate of improvement is maintained, Barnaby will have won another three minutes).
Maybe he shouldn't be worrying about losing the hour tonight?
If you've got an hour or two to fill, why not curl up with one of Barnaby's ebooks. There's plenty to choose from, including some Free downloads at www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Trash Day

A new collection of works entitled 'Trash Day' by the Independent Author's cooperative 'Top Writer's Block', is now published on Smashwords.

'Top Writer's Block' periodically come together to put out collected works to support the charity 'Sea Shepherd'. Previous titles include 'A Winter's Tale', 'Fools Rush In', 'Painted Door' and 'The Trouble with Thorndyke'. All titles are available in any ebook format and can be found here .

The new volume includes work by ten authors, all based on the theme of 'Trash Day'. Stories range from a mysterious disappearance at the Vertigo labs, through a tale from the bar of The Door pub, to a garbage eating monster and the loss of a wedding ring, and more.

Genuinely, something for all tastes.

Friday, 8 March 2013

48 Hours Only - SALE



All Barnaby Wilde books are available for either FREE download or 50% off price until midnight on 9th March as part of 'Read an ebook week'.
Visit http://tinyurl.com/cwlafyc for details of all the books.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Barnaby thinks about curiosity.

NASA's Mars rover, Curiosity, has been temporarily put into 'safe mode', as scientists on Earth attempt to fix a computer glitch, possibly caused by cosmic ray damage. The $2.5bn mission, which is due to last two years, aims to study the Martian environment and, in particular, to hunt for evidence of water on the Martian planet.
It occurs to Barnaby that you could satisfy your own curiosity for a whole lot less money by downloading one of his 'Free' ebooks, where you will find evidence of humour, mystery, romance, or even a little sci fi. Sadly, you will probably not find much evidence of water.
If you like what you uncover in the 'Free' ebook, be it short stories, quirky verse, weird adventures or detective stories, you might well risk investing a small amount of cash in another of Barnaby's books, all of which can be found by visiting www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk . Unlike the Mars rover, Curiosity, which takes fourteen minutes to receive a signal sent from Earth, you will be relieved to learn that downloading an ebook takes only seconds.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

NEW! Barnaby's Shorts (vol 4) now published.


Barnaby's Shorts (Volume Four)

Ten more coffee break sized stories from Barnaby Wilde. Including another tale from the Vertigo labs, a boy and a bear in the woods, a winter's tale of murder, and a true story from Crete. A touch of romance, a hint of sci fi, a portion of mystery, a morality tale and a thread of humour.
Stories that are just the right size to read in bed, on the train or in the bath.
What happens when a man gets the wrong coat after the Opera? Why does a man find himself marooned on a featurelss plain wearing an orange jumpsuit? Can there really be a bear loose in the Surrey woods? What actually happened in the Tunnel of Love? Who will be the last man standing?
Answers to these questions and more in Barnaby's Shorts (volume four). available now to download in the ebook format of your choice.
Details of all Barnaby's ebooks can be found at www.barnaby-wilde.co.uk