Making Justice Credible: (And the author)

Naively I guess, when I decided to take my writing to the publishing stage, I didn’t really consider the implications of having to sell myself as well as the book. We can all build ourselves up, and indeed at times we have to, for career opportunities and such like.
However, “Building myself up,” left me with feelings of anguish and the dilemma of whether to make myself look bigger and better than what I believe I am.
As the opportunity for my first two local interviews drew ever closer,I found it incredibly difficult to judge the best way forward. In the end I decided that I would open up about all of me, warts and all. I was and am, very aware that most people, including relatives, would be very surprised about the personal side that was about to be revealed in the media; things can never be put back in the box.

Having decided to go down the road of open-ness and total honesty, I began to feel strangely at ease about releasing hitherto personal thoughts and fears to the public, and so when it came to the actual Interviews, I was perhaps too relaxed and at times had to force myself to slow down, to give the journalists a chance to clear their heads and take notes. There was, and is a reality, that by inviting “Strangers” into my world, then they can get a feel of why my chosen subject for the Credible Justice series, was so personally important to me.

I now firmly believe, I can move through the system more comfortably, because there isn’t anything more that people can glean from my past life and work within the police service.In other words what you read, what you see, is what you get, even though most people, most ex colleagues could not have known the real me.

Those of you who are kind enough to read my blogs, and there are more and more every week! Can have that insight, by reading one of my newspaper interviews at the bottom of this page. It is what it is, I haven’t exaggerated to make myself look better, I haven’t bulled up the reasons why I hope you will read my book. I have merely been very open, very honest and very grateful that I now feel strong and powerful enough to reveal the real me. The credible me, and in the knowledge I have done myself justice.

Thank you for allowing me to share my writing and my life with you.

Stew
Cumberland News

BRANCHING OUT FROM A ROOTED TREE.

There is a quotation out there, somewhere and from someone, that states that “Authors are shy actors.” I have no idea how many authors feel that this statement refers to them, but it certainly refers to me.

I have mentioned previously that I find it difficult to sell myself. On one hand, because of the amount of time it takes to write a book, I want people to read it. On the other hand, to sell my book to potential readers, I have to sell myself too. There is no choice, because in the world of writing, there is a great deal of competition. This demands that an author has to either be in a lucky position of being famous and therefore the books may sell themselves, or as in my case, I need to tell people who I am, and why I think people should give my books a try.

My first book was published in December, but because of the busy period for the press and other such like media outlets, my attempt to put my story out there, was delayed until now, this week, right now! In January when the celebrities have gone back to ground and leaving room for others to attempt to get noticed.

So after two photo shoots, and Interviews, my features now are in the local Carlisle Living Magazine and the lead feature in the Cumberland News ‘Life’ section. Both out in the same week, and probably the start of more of the same coming my way. Neither the photos or the Interviews were something I looked forward to, but as I dragged myself into the process, I was surprised how comfortable I began to feel. Not least, because the photographers and journalists, know how to work their subject.

In the Interviews, I released information that would, and will surprise some relatives and friends. There are some issues that led up to my writing that affected me and my mental health over the years, that made it difficult for me not to write a book. I know the majority of you are not local, and this may be difficult for you to understand without seeing the features. I will endeavour to remedy that in time, when potential sales of the magazine and paper will not be affected. I guess what I am saying, is that cops can become victims too, and their families. This fact is often not recognised by the public as they go about their everyday business. I was in that category a number of times and I did not believe justice was served as well for me, as well as the victims I searched to help. The characters in my book have a grounding in much of my past; warts and all.

The reality of most of our lives, no matter what our life experiences are, is that we will end up with good times, bad times, living and loving, doing things we regret and regretting things we wish we had done. Over time and because of my experiences, I had to write my novel, based on personal experiences and those of others, who perhaps over stepped the mark at times, and created moral and personal dilemnas. All the time, the victim was the main concern and not the aggressor, the bully, the dealer who dished out death to loved one’s. I have experienced victims’ loss and worries, from being an officer, a counsellor and a voluntary worker for Victim Support. The victims were, and are now the uppermost in my mind when writing this series. They are for the Den Stone and his team too.

The fact that I have to step out of my comfort zone, to achieve my aims, is nothing compared to things i have witnessed and dealt with, in our so called civilised society. Besides, I am not scared of failing, but I am scared of not trying. Thanks for your continued support, which I know is building up from all corners.

Out with the old, In with the new.

“We have to start somewhere,” and i’ve discovered there is something nice about that saying, that I didnt appreciate before. No matter what age we are when we start a new venture, there is still the excitement, the worries and the nervousness that surrounds any change in the world as we live it.
When writing my first novel, I wondered what was in store for me; would it be okay to publish, will people read it, will it sell??
All these things continually plagued me while I was writing, but not once did I consider, not writing!

As I mentioned in my previous blog, the local media held off any features on me and my book etc until January 2017, because I would get lost in the crowd of Christmas stuff that they needed to concentrate on. Makes a lot of sense!

In reality, it has helped, because I can stroll into the new year knowing that my features would have more chance of getting viewed, or heard, away from the madding crowds.

So back to, “We have to start somewhere.” Wherever we live ln our world, there is normally a media base including local T.V Station, Radio, newspapers and magazines and of course bookshops. We take all these outlets for granted, as we look to catch up on noted local news and events. However, it is only when dealing with them directly have I realised how much work can go into getting a news feature “Out there.” You suddenly see how teamwork is essential in this walk of life as well as others. A novice author, can also see that although the writing of a novel is time consuming, and by it’s nature a lonely job at times, it cannot be done without a support structure.

In my baby steps in the aftermath of publishing, my first contacts with the local media are bearing fruit. Bookends bookshop in Cumbria set me up first with an outlet and from there I have now appeared in the local Carlisle Living Magazine. My first author Interview in print, and no matter how far my writing takes me, there is something special, and scary about seeing yourself in print, where many people know you. I have more Interviews next week and more photos, and still I haven’t found anyone who would step in as my body double.

I guess what I am saying is, that I think selling yourself to a community that know you or know of you and your location is possible more worrying than trying to convince strangers of your worth. Added to that of course, is that writing is a competitive game, and if you can’t sell yourself or your book locally, then its unlikely you will anywhere else either.

This last week, I have been joined on my social media platforms, by people all over our decreasing world. To you, I ask for patience as I post things about my experiences in my little part of the U.K. with the wish that one day I can spread my wings further.

As many of you know, I am a retired cop, so at this time of year I don’t have to think about keeping my wits about me, as those do who will be working through our celebrations. I thank all of the armed forces, emergency and public services for doing their thing in protecting and looking after us, our families and friends.

Thank you all, for help, support and friendship as we head for a new, but challenging new year. All the best to everyone out there

Stew.

 

It’s the time of year!

It has been a strange few days, perhaps weeks? My book launch turned from a rush down the slipway, into a “slow ship to China.”

Never the less, the slow passage into a new way of being has been fascinating as well as frustrating. Being a new kid on a very competitive writing block, I have discovered many new things, from the complications of the book delivery services to the stores/outlets, to the uncomfortable ways of self promoting. Luckily because of the contract with the publisher, they do a lot of the leg work; leaving me with the tidying up.

There was part of me that was dismayed about some of the press releases not getting through the system, and some local stuff not hitting the public domain until January. There is also a part of me that sighed with relief, because of the same issue? In other words, I know some things have to be done, but way out of my comfort zone.

That said, because of the busy period for journalists, and for book sellers, I have been able to deal with the local media in a slow methodical way, which has allowed me to understand their needs, and has enabled me to slide into their world more carefully than it could have been. If everything works out, articles will appear in January 2017, although a local B.B.C radio Interview may happen before then. I will let you know; erm, maybe!

A few days ago, I was in a photo shoot on a location close to the railway station; A relatively old part of town. Phil, the photographer, whisked me down a lane nearby to get some shots in this high walled sinister looking area, ideal for the visual impact of introducing a crime writer.

There were two problems here! One was trying to keep a straight face, when all I wanted to do was laugh, especially when Phil produced the lighting umbrella and a very expensive camera and kit. The next problem was, that I was asked to stand in the middle of this narrow lane, which unfortunately at one end, had scaffolding tied to the side of a building and some rough, tough workers clambering up and down it. I just knew nothing good could come of this.

Sure enough, when I forced myself into the requested stance and the flash lit up the immediate area, the comments arrived from the lads doing a real job half way up their lashed together piping. One comment was “Oy baldy!”, along with other kind offerings. Phil was a pro, I dont know if he hadn’t heard, or he didnt care. I know he thought nothing of stopping work vans driving through, until his job was done.

In a break for equipment checking, I looked intently at the scaffolding and had a flashback to a few years ago, when as a police officer I climbed to the top of a similair structure to talk down a man who threatened suicide. When at the top, I realised I was uncomfortable and didnt particularly like being there. I persuaded the man to clamber back down, which he did, in a much faster way than I did.
I wobbled, but I didnt share my new found dread with anyone.

A week or so later, the same man jumped into a harbour, and was pulled out by another cop, who got an award!!! The man clearly was a serial attention seeker; ill yes, but never intended to take his own life. A cop can’t take that into account of course.

So this brings me back to the scaffolding in the lane. I realised that seeing the funny side of events, was far better than climbing up there to have a word with the foreman.

I did something crazy this week when under the influence of a heavy cold. I coughed and sneezed so much that it appears I pulled an abdominal muscle and have ended up in agony. Honestly, in all the years of playing sport, including rugby, this is a first. It is nice to know I do have some muscle in there somewhere.

It’s all a bit ridiculous, but I guess its that time of year.

“Stew”

The mirror lies!

There is a saying that, “An author is a shy actor.” I understand that sentiment, because many writers want their stories to be on show, but not necessarily themselves. One of the reasons I finally completed a book, was the incentive that charity would benefit, if any profit was forthcoming.
I stress this, because although I am with a publisher, I am still independent, which was essential for me to get this far. I needed to have control of how I write, and how often.
There is a lot of work behind the scenes by the publishing team, but perhaps the timing of the release may have been better. My ignorance of how much trading for book sales at this time of the year is clear. I now know more about the stocking of books for Christmas sales. If you are already a household name, then good luck, because you have jumped the queue.
Reality? I would do the same, If I were in that position.
The positive side of things, as I live and learn, is that I am not in the rush, that maybe some people are. As you may have already picked up from my social media accounts, I will be featuring in the media, or more to the point, my writing will. This gets me back to the point at the beginning of the article, I don’t like selling myself.
I cannot have it both ways, though. I cannot hope to sell books, if i don’t push myself to the fore. There isn’t a way of just throwing my book out there, it has to be part of a package.
My saving grace, for self worth, is that my first book is for charity, and that makes it so much easier to push it. There are millions of books for sale and I have no right to assume mine will sell more than anybody else’s, and I don’t assume anything.
I have previously joked that writing a book, was instead of climbing mountains or running marathons. It is how I want people to see it, but for a fixed price. You can get the book, which will keep you entertained for a while and the charities get their money. Everyone benefits.
Regarding my first book, because of the busy time that it is, some press releases are just getting to the outlets now, so there is a slightly disjointed set of information being released, but it is getting there.
My second book, which completes the story from the first, is about to filter onto the sales line. There is something quite topical within that story. Cuba is heavily featured within, and particularly on the regime and how it operates. Castro’s passing was not a surprise to my heroes, but if the next event happens, then it could be troubling? But you will have to read it to know what I am alluding to.
I am aware of people visiting my social media sites, from all around the globe, which is great. I know you will see a lot of local events, and I ask you to appreciate, that it’s from my current locality that things will initially spring from.
Thanks to all of you for the support and please keep sharing my posts.
“Stew”