Thinking in the Cloud Poetry Book

thinking in the cloud covers 3 front

I hope you like the collection of my poetry I’ve chosen for this new book. Most of them are freshly written and cover a wide range of subjects which are close to my heart. Some follow a strict poetic form, but I get a warm naughty feeling when I break the rules so there is plenty of that. Also tucked inside the collection of thirty nine poems is some free verse, comic rhymes, and a rap and of course the title poem – Thinking in the Cloud. The book is available now on Amazon Kindle for 99p, or free if you have Kindle Unlimited (click here to see it). A print edition will follow soon!

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What is Poetry?


Inspiration has flown out of the window this past week or two. The river of ideas which was flowing into my new poetry collection has suffered days of drought and all I see is crazed terracotta. The occasional light shower creates a few shoots from seeds blown in on life’s breeze, but they shrivel into twisted black threads.
Advice at this point usually boils down to ‘Write, just write.’ That’s all very well, but what’s the point of spewing out poppycock? I believe the thinking behind the advice is that the random assortment of words spread over the page will somehow get rearranged into an attractive collection of stimulating sonnets and thought-provoking villanelles. A bit like a potter turns a blob of clay into a beautiful vase, or a painter creates a fabulous picture from worms of coloured oil on his palette. It doesn’t work like that with me. I end up with lines that rhyme, with mathematically correct metre, and stressed syllables creating accurate iambs. That’s poetry, isn’t it, you may ask. Not for me it isn’t.
Rhymes come two a penny. Look at the zillions of greetings cards on the market. The rhymes can make you giggle, make you sigh, make you hoot, sometimes make you cry. But they get thrown away with the cards. Do you remember them? Do they change your life? Do you feel what was in the mind of the creator when the rhymes were written?
Poetry surely is more than rhythm and style. Doesn’t it have to be sensual? Make your heart miss a beat? Take you to a beautiful place and leave you there even after you have stopped reading? Nod your head as you empathise with the writer’s emotions? OK, this is getting a bit yawn-provoking, but you know what I mean: There is surely a difference between rhymes and poetry. Sometimes it is subtle, sometimes it is restrained. But a difference there is.
So, is my new collection anything more than an assortment of lines where the end words rhyme? I just had a look at those written so far. Yes, some are a bit clinical, especially the couple of pantoums where it seems more work went into the structure than it did the turn of phrase. Some are a bit mathematical, like the chocolate cupcake one shaped like a… cupcake. And some are amusing with no purpose other than to raise a titter or two. As for the others, I read them again and they evoked a range of sentiments inside me. But of course that isn’t the point. I know full well what I meant when I wrote them, what I was feeling, the symbolism, the background. The point is, will the words mean anything to the reader?
I’m not going to find out just yet though, because I want forty poems for the collection and still have five to go. And inspiration has flown out of the window.
Which is where I was when I started writing this blog entry!

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Three Courses – Short Story Fiction and Google Book Search

The new book of short stories is now up on Amazon in both Kindle download and print editions. Initial feedback from readers has been good, and although not all of the stories are to everyone’s taste, there seems to be something for everyone to enjoy. If you have bought a copy, thank you very much. Please let me know what you think either by leaving a review on Amazon or getting in touch with me direct.

three cOUrses back and front

Details about the book and how to buy a copy can be found under the Cade Books tab on my WordPress blog, or go direct by clicking here.

Well, that’s one Local History, one ‘How To’ and one short story fiction book finished. Now it’s on to poetry. Some will have noticed from my lack of Facebook and Twitter presence that I have had my head down for the last few weeks. The reason is that I’ve been writing new poems to add to the small collection created over the years. I want the book to be fresh and current, so although I will include some of the old ones, most will be newly written. Watch this space for progress!

I have been wondering about Google Book Search recently. If you submit a book you have published, they include the text in their searchable database and highlight the match if anyone Googles for a particular term that’s mentioned in your work. On the face of it, this sounds like a neat idea, but I’m a bit put off that Google can display 20% (more if you specify it) of your book. On the other hand, if someone is checking out your book in a library they get to see it all for free! For me, I’m happy to share my writing because I do it for fun. However, I can see that an author who is trying to carve out a living might not want to share such a big chunk of work. Sixty pages from a three hundred page novel is quite a read for free! The bottom line is that I have released my Probate book to Google Book Search. It will be interesting to see how it affects sales!

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Whomerley Wood Moat Stevenage – Review from HALH

The other morning, a complimentary copy of Herts Past and Present dropped on the doormat, and inside I was delighted to find a review of my book by one of the editors, Ruth Jeavons from the Hertfordshire Association for Local History.

moat review HALH 1

Kind words, indeed!
The book is available from me (signed copy with free UK p&p), Amazon, eBay, Lulu and is for sale in Stevenage Museum. Check out the details here!

cover 1d

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Three Courses – Short Stories from Creative Writing Modules

Thank you to my Facebook and WordPress friends who encouraged me to press ahead with publishing my anthology of creative writing!

three cOUrses front

I found this book much harder to put out there than Whomerley Wood Moat and Probate, probably because with my engineering background I am more comfortable with factual writing. Fiction is different. The reader gets to know how you think. They judge your ability to please them. Will they be bored? Will they smile or laugh out loud? Will they believe in wherever you take them? Will they keep turning the pages?
Now is the time to find out the answers!
Details about the book and how to buy a copy can be found under the Cade Books tab on my WordPress blog, or go direct by clicking here.

It’s available direct from me (signed copies, free UK p&p), from eBay (signed copies, free UK p&p), and from Lulu Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu. .

Amazon have it on Kindle download here, and should have the print book in stock within a week or two.

If you decide to buy a copy, thank you. I hope you enjoy the stories as much as I loved writing them.

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Anthology of Creative Writing

I have been sitting on the fence the past few weeks wondering whether or not to publish an anthology of short stories to add to my Whomerley Wood Moat and Probate book titles.

image 2015 jun 19

There is quite a large collection of mixed genres, and many were written as assessed work during the Open University Creative Writing modules. And that has been the holding factor. The OU has, quite rightly, very strong rules about plagiarism and say they take a tough line if anyone is discovered copying the work of others. Although they seem to be happy to allow students to publish their work, my concern is that anyone doing so may be actively encouraging plagiarism.
While I’ve been contemplating whether or not to go ahead, I’ve been selecting what I think are my best bits of writing, reviewing each story in some depth, cutting, sometimes savagely, and rewriting extensively. Murdering my darlings I believe is the idiomatic term. However, I still felt some discomfort and that publication was not a wise move. Until last night, that is.
So, what has changed my mind?
Firstly, I have discovered it has been done before. And at least once with the unashamed blessing of the OU. In fact, Amazon have a number of student anthologies available for download as do sites such as Ink Pantry.
Then I realised that I wasn’t planning to publish ‘assessed work’ as such. The clue is included above. I have murdered my darlings. The work is not the same as I submitted on the modules. Hopefully it is more professional, more readable and more digestible!
And anyway, no-one will have access to tutor comments or advice, or indeed the marks awarded for each piece (although between you and me I did rather well). So anyone trying to pass my writing off as theirs is taking quite a chance.
Finally, the OU make extensive use of plagiarism detection software. If I go ahead and publish, there is a good chance that this software would quickly pick up any attempts to re-use what I have written. Plagiarism detectors are actually pretty good. I know because I used them a fair bit to make sure I hadn’t inadvertently copied something and failed to provide a citation.
So, my plan is to run through the editing process again, then again, and probably once again and then publish. Certainly it will be available as a Kindle download on Amazon, and as I’m a bit old-fashioned about this sort of thing I shall probably publish a printed version as well.
Right – now I need a catchy title and a cover design…

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Probate – Do It Yourself

New Book: Probate – A Personal Journey

This diary account of the time spent and expenses incurred getting grant of probate, with additional information and example spreadsheets, is now available to buy either as a Kindle download or a printed book.  If you are wondering whether or not to do it yourself, this might just provide all the encouragement you need.  You can start reading it for free on Amazon using ‘Look Inside’.



How to buy this book:

Contact me directly for a signed copy (free UK p&p) by emailing

Amazon – Print version – Click Here

Amazon – Kindle version £1.99 (immediate delivery) now available Click Here

eBay, signed copy (free UK p&p) – search for book or look for eBay username Philsbookshop

Direct from publisher, signed copy (free UK p&p).  Please send payment with your requirements to PayPal account:

Lulu Print on Demand    Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Book Details
ISBN                     978-0-9931987-1-7
Publisher              Cade Books
Publication Date   25th March 2015
Paperback            54 pages
Size                      A5, approx 15cm x 21cm
Interior                  Black and White

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