Saturday, March 28, 2015

Author Spotlight - Richard Milton

Visit Richard's Amazon Author Page at - - I'm so happy to have crossed paths with him. Find him on FaceBook too -

Enjoy the interview. I sure did.

What inspired you to become a writer? Why did you go from non-fiction to fiction? Why did you choose this particular genre?
I wanted to be a writer since I was nine or ten. I would make up treasure maps and bury them in the garden hoping someone would discover them and dig them up. Sadly, they never did. When I was 15 I bought an old cast-iron typewriter from a junk shop, lugged it home on the bus and taught myself to type. The books I wrote in the evenings were not very original and, like the treasure maps, remained undiscovered.

Eventually I managed to get a job as a journalist and worked on business magazines and newspapers. I developed an interest in geology and spent my spare time visiting cliffs and quarries collecting rocks and fossils and this started me investigating Darwinism. My first book was Shattering the Myths of Darwinism, which didn’t go down too well with some sections of the scientific community, who started foaming at the mouth and chewing the carpets. Richard Dawkins called me ‘loony’ and suggested I needed ‘psychiatric treatment’, although he didn’t trouble himself to respond to any of the scientific questions I raised.

I wrote several other non-fiction books. Alternative Science looks at the curious phenomenon where some scientists are averse to new discoveries and declare certain subjects taboo. Bad Company looks at why large corporations sometimes behave in insanely self-defeating ways. Best of Enemies examines Anglo-German relations through two world wars and the birth of the PR industry.

I started writing fiction because I find it the most challenging and the most satisfying form, but in my stories the factual background is never far away and I like themes that introduce the unusual, the exotic and even the paranormal into everyday life.
What’s your strongest point as a writer?
I consider myself very lucky to have been trained in old-school journalism where you are compelled to express the facts as economically as possible and still tell an interesting and engaging story. I was given one tip early on that I find very useful in fiction. I always draft a novel first (mainly) in dialogue, like a screenplay, and add the exposition and descriptions later. This makes your story lean and mean and stops all the throat-clearing and long-winded descriptions.
As Author, what do you consider your most difficult obstacle?
The biggest obstacle to writers is the traditional publishing industry which now works against us rather than with us. The big publishers have squeezed out mid-range authors in favour of books “authored” by TV celebrities, sports stars and models, and will no longer even look at unagented manuscripts. The good news is that the reservoir of writing talent that traditional publishers have sponged off for so long now has an alternative outlet in the form of professional self publishing and especially Kindle.
What new projects can we look forward to from you, and where and when will they be available?
I’m putting all my books, past, present and future on Kindle. So far, I’ve published Dead Secret, The Glass Harmonica and Conjuring for Beginners, as well as my non-fiction book Shattering the Myths of Darwinism. If anyone wishes to review any of these, please email me and I’ll be happy to email you a complementary copy.

My latest Kindle novel is Conjuring For Beginners (only put up last week and at the time of writing no-one has yet reviewed it at all). It’s a story about a woman magazine journalist, Rosa Daniels, whose father - Ferdy Daniels - is a legendary con artist living out his days in Switzerland. When Ferdy dies alone and penniless, Rosa, inherits his victims who are convinced she was his partner in crime. To stay alive, Rosa must unravel Ferdy’s web of deceits. But to understand her father’s past, she must learn to become as quick-witted and cunning as Ferdy. She must learn to become a conjuror like him.

In the next few months, I’ll be publishing a fourth fiction book, a collection of short stories called True Stories, and more non-fiction, starting with The Ministry of Spin and then a follow-up to my Darwin book titled Darwin Doesn’t Work Here Anymore.
Where can we find you?
My website, with more details of all my books is at If anyone would like to contact me directly my email is (note the site has a different domain name from the email).


Friday, March 20, 2015

Dead Secrets by Richard Milton

This book was given to me to review. It was presented as a paranormal romance. Cover unseen at this point, those two words brought up a couple pictures in my mind. Paranormal of course usually brings up something to do with vampires or werewolves, not that I mind much, but the subject is getting rather old in my opinion. And then there is romance. Most romance I've seen lately involves a whole lot of "love at first glimpse" and "I just can't live without him/her". The rest of the book, in my opinion, too many of them fall just short of erotica as the erstwhile pair struggles to hate each other while at the same time they can't stay out of each others pants. The whole point of the story is to get from point A-in bed to point B-in bed to point C-in bed... You get my point.


This book has paranormal more along the lines of precognition and the romance is the kind that makes you cringe with fear. Yes, I said fear. Almost as soon as Tony meets Miss Eve Canning, he loves her, but he still carries on with his research. His goal, to debunk scientifically one wealthy psychic. However an inheritance from his mother opens a puzzle-box that he can't resist. When his work starts to cross paths with the mystery surrounding his mother, he has to dig hard, and when his psychic ends up dead, Tony starts mixing with the rich and rather freaky. I mean, when some old lady with a title can shell out 7 million for a skull... Yeah - scary.

Have I tweaked your curiosity yet? This book is well written and well researched. If I didn't know it was fiction, I could have easily taken it for some kind of diary. It lead into realms, London, that is, I'd never been to before, and yet I had no trouble following in Tony's footsteps, nor did I have any trouble following his logic. I don't believe I would have made the choice he made at the end, but then again, I was more than a little scared of Eve, and I wasn't in love with her.


Friday, March 13, 2015

The Trials of the Youngest Princess

My next book. Isn't that face awesome? She is so out for revenge.


I see Princess Anella as a tom boy (like me) before such an idea every occurred or was tolerated by anyone. That means that her interests and talents weren't quite feminine, but she tried.

So why is she out for revenge? Well, you see, even though she was willing to accept that her growing skill with a sword could never be seen beyond the midnight lessons in the arms-room, an uncle she'd never been told about had other plans - not that he knew anything about her first hand.

Thanks to her passion for the tournament (like her father and her brothers), she wasn't in the palace at a time when everything fell apart. Her uncle somehow was able to smuggle a sizable force into the palace when everyone was busy preparing for the ball that would take place after. Anella came in after the coup was successful to find her father impaled and her brothers hung from the rafters. That is enough to give anyone nightmares.

Since she is in disguise as a boy, she is able to see and then get away before anyone is the wiser. And then she is on the run. Until she can figure a way to drum up an army and undo the damage, she's just a girl, seventeen years old, who happens to be pretty good with a sword.

One thing evolves to another and someone comes up with the idea of following the tournament circuit. Just following wasn't good enough either. Passing as a boy of roughly fourteen, she needed to sharpen her skill with the sword enough to win each event. She could accomplish two things this way. First, competing in every district around the land would almost certainly see her presented to the new king personally, but almost might not be good enough; placing well would very likely seal the deal and she would be able to confront the man who had killed her father and brothers face to face. The other thing she could accomplish is a private meeting with each of the lords who were attached to her family via marriage. Everyone could make an appearance at the grand tournament in the capital, and lords could bring an entourage of guards; they would even be invited to the ball, and could bring an escort. With luck, her army would be enough. With luck, she would be presented to the king. Everything - the entire house of cards - depended on if the new king, her uncle, was as passionate about the tournament as her father had been. It depended on how much of the customs he'd changed and how much he'd much he'd kept the same.

Need I say... Yeah, she got the bad guy, but that's not where this story ends. You see, he's had an entire year to import his own personal army. Now she had to go after them. No way could she just let them wander around uncontested.

I'm working my way through a final edit and waiting for some feedback from some pre-readers, or beta readers as they are commonly known. You'll be seeing this book on Amazon hopefully by the end of the month. Look for it.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

How do you Walk?

I just read a really cute book. It was about a guy who can't have kids so his wife divorces him. He's going through a bad patch, struggling with depression and lack of motivation. A bad day can't get any worse when he gets a flat tire. And then a space craft crashes nearby. Well of course he and the tow truck driver simply have to explore, and the open door is so inviting. I mean, it was a crash; someone might be hurt. Deep inside they come face to face with gun-toting green folks and of curse the logical thing to do is pick up the closest thing that looks like a weapon and arm yourself. Um yeah, it didn't work out that way. Turns out this 'weapon' was a pregnancy inducer and it was pointing backwards, and yeah, it goes off. Now we have two guys who are pregnant with alien babies. Not written as a comedy, it was nonetheless very entertaining as this poor guy struggles with all the things us women go through - morning sickness, cravings, being unable to reach things on the floor, and emotional swings, among other things.

The biggest drawback about this book, little that it was, was the inexperience of the writer. Don't get me wrong, I loved the story. I recommend you read it, but the reason for this post is because many times other words for movement could have been used to improve the story.

I googled for a list of words one might use instead of walk and found this. Each word elicits a picture or an emotion, and it is key to your efforts to show rather than tell. Anyone can walk from point A to point B, but the word conveys just that - any-old-one. It says absolutely nothing about your character. Let's think about a few of those words and see what they say:

Amble: Who would you picture ambling? What does this stride say? I picture a cowboy as he makes his way across the corral. Such a stride would keep the contents of that corral calm because it is a smooth stride.

Hobble: This might indicate someone who is or has been injured. It might also indicate age as in very old. Think about it; if you saw someone hobbling along in front of you, what's the first thing you would think of that person. Environment would have a deciding factor in your judgement but found on Anystreet USA, you'd likely think old.

Mosey: This might, if you're paranoid enough, make you think of someone up to no good.

The word used frequently in the above mentioned book is:

Wander: To wander is to be aimless in your direction and intention.  It might also indicate a head injury, or disability such as severely retarded.

These are only a few of those words so you should go there and maybe copy the list. It's important that you use the word that best conveys the attitude of the person you're writing about. Think about it. how many soldiers do you think wander around the battlefield? How many little girls walk down the hall? You get the idea. Now run with it.