Blog on the Bus pt 46 (branching out)

To my regular followers, the Blog on the Bus represents an insight into the mind of an up-and-coming author. I should point out, that like all competitive entrepreneurs, I have a tendency to blow my own trumpet (in the metaphorical way, you understand – all my ribs are in place!) I try, where possible, to share what goes on in my day to day thoughts and how all my thoughts, dreams and wishes return to the same thing: writing.

In that way I thought I should share an insight into what I observed during a manic visit to the emporium-also-known-as Peppa Pig World.

For the uninitiated non-parents, Peppa Pig World is Britain’s answer to Disney Land. It houses rides for children including Grandpa Pig’s Train, Daddy Pig’s Car and Miss Rabbit’s helicopters. If you’ve never been to Peppa Pig World then I’ll leave it to your imagination as to what these rides might look like.

As with all successful / popular shows these days, there is various Peppa Pig themed merchandise available in the park’s shop and online. They sell t-shirts, aprons, hats, socks, teddies, toys and much more. Peppa Pig toothbrush anybody?

What I noticed, while whisking my two year-old daughter swiftly through the shop, before she could pick anything up, was that their variety is somewhat limited.

Sure you can buy a Daddy Pig or a Mummy Pig t-shirt but where are the Granny Pig and Grandpa Pig t-shirts?

Opportunity missed.

Where are the t-shirts and socks emblazoned with characters like Danny Dog, Pedro Pony or Candy Cat? What if your child prefers Emily Elephant to Peppa and George? Where are those items?

Opportunity missed.

It got me thinking. What if someone out there wanted to read one of my books but doesn’t own a Kindle? At the moment they would be out of luck.

Opportunity missed?

Well not for much longer.

That’s because, as of 01 August 2013, my novels Integration, Remorse, Redemption, Snatched and Shadow Line will be available to download on the B&N Nook, the Kobo and through the iBookstore. They will still be on Kindle and in paperback through Amazon, so don’t fret. The cost of the digital copies of my works? £1.99 on each of the platforms, so nobody will be disadvantaged.

Give the people what they want!

I am moving with the times and would strongly encourage my fellow indie writers to follow my lead. Who knows, maybe they will sell Mark Baines toothbrushes one day?

Until the next time, happy reading.


Stephen is the author of Integration, Remorse, Redemption, Snatched and Shadow Line. Find his work here or via


Andrew Peters: The Blues Detective, Barry Island Murders and Joe Soap


Blues Detective

Meet Otis King … or that’s the name on his office door. Maybe his original name sounded a little more Welsh, but didn’t sit too well on a Blues guitarist in the city of Memphis.

By day, Otis works as The Blues Detective. Pretty much every Blues related case in Memphis drifts his way sooner or later.
Enjoy Otis’ adventures in bite sized chunks with your coffee, or better yet, a beer with a bourbon chaser.
Otis is a fun guy, who does his best to avoid trouble and attract blondes. Some days he succeeds more than others.
Join him as he deals with Hijacked Harmonicas, Missing Musicians, Wayward Wives and Precious Packages.

My review:

“The Blues Detective” by Andrew Peters is a fun filled selection of short stories about a Welsh born detective in Memphis. To me, a European who lives with a Welsh significant other near Wales, this…

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Blog on the Bus pt 45 (the point of it all)

Before you judge a blog by its title, and start to presume that today’s entry in the “World’s Greatest Blog”* will be a maudlin tale about the woes of the would-be writer, think again. Stick with it and you may just be surprised.

(*the “World’s Greatest Blog 2013” was created, entered and voted for by me alone. All other blogs were in-eligible)

Those fathers among you will have recognised the significance of yesterday as that one (and only) day in the calendar when the alpha-male of the pack is permitted to put his feet up and allow his kids to fuss over him on hand and foot. Of course, if like me, your kids are too young to boil a kettle or have four legs, and you aren’t allowed to wear the trousers in your house, then you were probably brow-beaten with phrases like “it’s not a real day”, “you’re on your arse the other 364 days of the year, so what makes this one different?” or my personal favourite “the decision’s been made so suck it up!”

I am lucky enough to have a wife who knows my mind better than I do.

That’s right!

There was me thinking I wanted the day to start with breakfast in bed, the dog walked by someone else, followed by a day of testing my footballing-know-how against the likes of Mourinho on the game ‘Football Manager’, all served up with cider and chips and a night of Confederations Cup on the telly.

Silly me.

Little did I know that, actually, I wanted to walk the dog myself, make my own breakfast and then spend the day with my wife, daughter and in-laws walking around Longleat Safari Park.

Luckily, my wife had seen the error of my ways.

I appreciate that I’m probably sounding like a bit of a dick at the moment and despite my initial reservations about how the day was to progress, I genuinely enjoyed it and wouldn’t have changed it for anything. Seeing my amazing daughter learning and exploring, interacting with the hippos, elephants, sealions, and feeding the giraffes, was wonderful. Sharing jokes and memories with my loving in-laws and their gorgeous daughter was priceless.

It made me realise just how lucky I am to have such a great family and it was this thought, as I settled down in front of the telly with a McDonald’s burger and fries, that reminded me of why I continue to pursue this writing adventure that I started nearly three years ago. In fact it was exactly three years ago that our holiday villa was burgled while we were in Spain, which ultimately led to the idea for Integration.

All the hours spent reading, researching, plotting, thinking, writing, editing, rewriting, formatting, publishing, promoting and ignoring the critics and haters is for a reason. Whilst these stories are in me and need to be shared, the reason I continue to chase it, in the face of adversity, is to make a better life for my daughter: a world where she too is brave enough to follow her dreams.

To all the fathers out there, I say, remember how special your children are and cherish the time you have with them.

To all the mothers out there, I say, thanks for putting up with us lazy fathers.

To my amazing daughter, I say, it’s all for you!

Until the next time, happy reading!


Stephen is the author of Integration, Remorse, Redemption, Snatched and the forthcoming Shadow Line. Find his work here or via

Blog on the Bus pt 44 (kindness of strangers)

Good morning and welcome back to the ‘X4’. It’s been a week or so since I was last aboard this rickety old bus and you’ll be as pleased as me to hear there’s been little change: the regular bus dwellers are all still here and we’re all ignoring each other as per the norm.

The reason for my absence? I’ve been on a lovely holiday away. Before you think ‘it’s alright for some’ or ‘bloody rich author away in tropical climate!’ I should point out the week was on the Isle of Wight. I do hope one day to be an internationally-recognised bestselling author with more money than sense, but for now a week off work in the coastal town of Shanklin is how far my pennies will stretch (I should point out that we’ve just enjoyed a week of 20•C heat while we’ve been away, so I’m not complaining!)

It was a fantastic trip in which we’ve been to the IOW zoo, the Seaview wildlife park (my daughter just loves animals) as well as garlic tasting, chilli sauce tasting, cider tasting, wine tasting and ice cream tasting (if you’ve never been to the Garlic Farm and tasted their garlic beer or garlic ice cream, I highly recommend it). It’s been a week where I have not thought about books or writing and have focused on my family and I’ve loved every second of it.

But alas, all good things must come to an end and now I’m back on the bus bound for the office and the ‘day job’.

While away I met 3 different types of people. One night when I was out walking the dog, my wife discovered a purse strewn on the floor. It was open and contained a debit card and a membership card for the local Conservative Club. Being a good sport I located the club and handed the item in. One of the members overheard what happened and gratefully shook my hand, thanking me on behalf of the purse-owner. I’d been happy to oblige but appreciated his gratitude.

The next day I was trying to get my daughter to sleep in her pram and was boarding the Shanklin lift (which takes you from the top of the town straight down to the beach and vice versa). The journey was only £1 but the lad operating the lift waived the fee as I had a pushchair. What a thoroughly nice thing to do I thought.

On our final day we were sat at our cottage having lunch when the doorbell rang. I opened it to find a man and woman looking troubled. I asked how I could help and they immediately started laying in to me because our car, whilst parked on the driveway, was partially obscuring the pavement. I tried to explain to him that we had been unable to park correctly as somebody else had parked their car too close to the property (not in a designated bay, I added) so we had done what we could. ‘Well it’s not good enough,’ he declared, ‘we were trying to get a wheelchair down the pavement and couldn’t. I expect you to move it.’ I said I would see what I could do but felt angered by his attitude (not prepared to listen to reason) and his bluntness (interrupting our lunch).

The road our house was on was very narrow and had some parking bays marked on our side of the road with double yellow lines the other. I could have pointed out to him that he and his wheelchair (not sure there was one as I couldn’t see it) could have easily used the pavement across the 1-lane road. I could have pointed out that it is extremely bad mannered to make demands on a stranger without understanding the bigger picture. I could have told him how much of a struggle it had been to park the car where it was because of the other vehicle, but he refused to listen. As far as he was concerned, we were wrong and he was going to take pleasure in pointing it out and judging us. That kind of character is the type which leaves bogus reviews of books, films and other products without appreciating the amount of time, effort and love that has gone into its production. I wish I had pointed out to him that he should have been wearing a hat to protect his bald head from getting burned, or that he should wear sunglasses to stop UV damage to his eyes. I wish I had told him that his blue polo shirt did not complement his green shorts and that his wife might burn more calories if she smiled once in awhile.

But I’m not like that.

I don’t take pleasure in picking out others’ flaws. I’m the sort of person who hairs off into an unfamiliar town to return a lost (or maybe stolen) purse.

Which of the 3 strangers are you?

Until the next time, happy reading,


(Stephen is the author of Integration, Remorse, Redemption, Snatched and the forthcoming Shadow Line. Find his work here or via

… STARFISH… it’s an old story… but I still think it’s great… see what ye think…#TBSU…

As always Seumas speaks a lot of sense.

Seumas Gallacher

… the former great, London-born vaudeville and old-time television comic, singer, entertainer, Max Bygraves had a tag-line, ‘I’m gonna tell you a story …’… so, here’s a story to kick off today’s blog post … a man is walking along the seaside early one morning… in the distance he notices a young guy who looks like he’s dancing ballet, moving towards the sea edge, throwing something into the water, and going back again… picking up stuff and repeating the movements… as the man gets closer he observes the shoreline laden with scores and scores of scattered starfishes… a heavy tide had thrown the fish on to the beach and receded too quickly to take them back into the water … stranded as they were, with the heat of the sun during the day, these fish would die… when he reached the younger man, the walker commented, ‘…there’s far too…

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