Novel Launch – She’s Out There Somewhere

My novel ‘She’s Out There Somewhere’ is launched on Kindle today.

You can view it here.

Thanks to everyone who helped with viewpoints about the cover. I received a lot of feedback on wordpress, Twitter, and good old-fashioned word of mouth.

The vote was quite tight, but came out as a tie between the black and white photo cover of the gatepost, or (following advice and discussion) development of a template. After careful consideration I opted for a template and this is the result below. I think it has the air of a thriller and hope the design gives the impression of a missing body/person and broken or failed communication.

The story outline/tease is here:

A chance discovery leads to Chrissy Clews investigating the disappearance of schoolfriend Laura, who went missing thirty years ago. The case was shrouded in secrecy with rumours about the involvement of a group of local men, and even Chrissy herself, in Laura’s disappearance.

After her release from care Chrissy is quietly rebuilding her life working at a motorway service station when her former teacher walks in and tries to discreetly buy a porn magazine. He doesn’t recognise her, but when he drops his wallet she hides it and can’t resist looking inside. She’s shocked to find a tatty passport photo of Laura Duggan, a school friend who went missing 30 years ago and was never seen again.
Chrissy decides to investigate but, with a troubled past and history of violence, how will she find Laura and get at the truth of what happened? Laura was a friend of Chrissy’s, but they fell out. Is it possible she had involvement in Laura’s disappearance? If she can find out the truth will anyone believe her?

I am sorting out a few review copies as requested, so please bear with me (also as I sort teething issues and Amazon profile etc.)

Once again, thanks for all your support and interest and comments.

Can you help me choose the cover?

If you have a few seconds free, I’d really appreciate your opinion…..

I’ve written a book which, subject to any late changes, I’m going to self publish in the coming weeks.

It’s a suspense/thriller novel of around 95,000 words called ‘I Know She’s Out There.’

I’m preparing the cover and tidying/editing the text at the moment.

To assist I’ve included the elevator pitch below:

After her release from psychiatric care Chrissy Clews is quietly rebuilding her life working at a motorway service station when her former teacher walks in and tries to discreetly buy a porn magazine. He doesn’t recognise her, but when he drops his wallet she hides it and can’t resist looking inside. She’s shocked to find a tatty passport photo of Laura Duggan, a school friend who went missing 30 years ago and was never seen again. She decides to investigate…

I’ve taken some images and mocked up covers. Obviously, I’m an amateur at this kind of thing (very much Sunday pub league), but please let me know if you have a preferred option, or indeed, if another approach is required.

When I publish I’d be delighted if anyone wishes to have a copy to review.

Thanks for your time.

Redundancy Cadillac – a poem

Just over the back from us there was a guy who lost his job and spent all his money on a Cadillac. He’d ride along getting envious glances masquerading as concern at his profligacy. I don’t think he cared. He had a mock US number plate and a horn that played Dixie.

Even as a child I could see the pleasure that car gave him and the escape from reality and troubles as the air rushed through that Elvis quiff.

He was on the A34 not Route 66 and the only diner was a Little Chef near Barlaston. But he was happy.

Living the dream on the A34

Universal then and now…

Stafford is changing and I’m posting this to capture the changes. It’s often hard to imagine what was there before, even just a few months after demolition.

Since the 1920s Universal factory stood just off Doxey Road in Stafford. It was once an employer of hundreds and I’ve written about it elsewhere on this blog. It was scaled down and eventually shut and then demolished to make way for the Stafford western bypass in 2020.

We live on the edge of the site where the old Shropshire railway line passed and goods were delivered. It seems hard to believe now that all that is left is the Unicorn from the factory (below) and the name given to the road (Unicorn Way). Hundreds worked here and it was an important part of people’s lives with sports and fun days and huge Christmas parties and social events. There were numerous sports teams too. We live a short throw from midwicket from the old cricket pitch which is being gradually flooded and taken over by nature.

The yard during demolition
Entrance to universal
Fromt of the main building
The site cleared
New road. The main building would’ve stood by the top of this bank

We await what development follows. This may be building on the proximity of the site to the west coast mainline. However I suspect it’ll be more housing. We already have huge development ongoing and while people need houses I believe the council should be sharing this and allowing building to the south of the town too.

Doxey Road and Unicorn Way

Sadly two badgers have been killed this week. Surely a direct result of the higher volume and speed of traffic the new road has brought with it. Doxey and Stafford are changing and this brings opportunities but challenges too. Green spaces are threatened, traffic and light and noise increases and we are just above a floodplain. Of course, Universal was once noisy and a site containing many toxic chemicals. The only thing constant is change. I hope nature finds a way. ….

Watching non-league football again

I’d forgotten how much I’ve missed watching sport. I’ve seen Stoke City play a few times (hardly warms the heart just now) but haven’t seen any other football or boxing since before Covid19 struck and changed everything.

The Commonwealth Games come to Birmingham this summer and I’m delighted to have tickets for the boxing at the NEC. I’ve decided I’m going to make much more of an effort to get out and get involved.

Yesterday we went to watch our local football team Stafford Rangers. It was a beautiful day of sunshine with gusts of fresh wind. Rangers had climbed to 8th in the Northern Premier League after a 14-match unbeaten run.

Sadly, it wasn’t to be yesterday. After scoring early Rangers were pegged back by a physical Lancaster City team who scored twice, making their presence felt from crosses. Rangers huffed and puffed and had bright spells including a shot that struck the post, but they couldn’t make the breakthrough.

Although the photo below makes the support seem sparse there was a decent crowd of 630. This is the seventh tier of football. Rangers, who play in black and white stripes, have struggled in recent years but hopefully are now improving. Their glory days – like their neighbours Stoke City – were definitely the 1970s.

Pre-match – it got a lot busier

Rangers were formed way back in 1876, when Queen Victoria was made Empress of India. They’ve played in Midlands and Northern leagues and semi-professional since. In the 70s they won the FA Trophy and the Northern Premier league but didn’t apply to join the football league. They have never finished as high again. Notably for me, they get a mention in David Nobbs’ The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin! History of Rangers here – https://www.staffordrangersfc.co.uk/history/

Unbeaten run ends – pic courtesy of Rangers twitter

Not the result we wanted, but it was great to be outdoors watching football. It’s worth remembering how fortunate we are and I’m grateful.

The teams line up – pic courtesy of Rangers twitter

We’ll be back soon…..