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Always nice to get a positive review for one of my books and even better when it comes from another 'ex-pat' Burtonian!  Carol post...

Sunday, 30 October 2016

A Christmas Cracker - the big bang!


Well, after a couple of days of fiddly editing and wrangling with the ever-changing requirements of Amazon KDP publishing, we finally have lift-off.  John Steele has, as always, done a cracking job of shoe-horning my half-baked ideas for a cover, into something that looks the business and the whole kit and kaboodle is now available for pre-order on Kindle.  What is it about?  Well, to quote the blurb:

"Are you ITCS yet? For those who don't know, we're talking about being In The Christmas Spirit here. Before you throw anything at your e-reader, just remember that this is a state of mind that advertisers and manufacturers try very hard to induce in you, and yet the answer is right here, in this little book. Being ‘In The Christmas Spirit’ is impossible to define. It’s a bit like love, you know it when you’re in it. Philip has gathered together a whole bunch of stories he's written about Christmases past and present, some factual, some fictional, over the years. Some of these, if you’re a regular reader of his ramblings (and we know there are some of you out there...we can hear you breathing) you may recognise from previous collections, although updates have been made where it was sensible to do so. Interspersed with these familiar stories are others that have never previously seen the light of day, including a story featuring Josiah and Archibald, the two fictitious undertakers, written specifically for this collection. We really hope that you get as much enjoyment from reading these stories as we've had gathering them, and that you're ITCS before you can say "Ho, ho, ho!""

Publication date is 12th November, but you can pop over and take a look right now.  For just 99p (99c in the U.S.A. and the equivalent elsewhere) this could be just the thing to make your Christmas go with a swing!



Saturday, 29 October 2016

Oh, Samantha!


This month's Derby Telegraph article rounds off my 1970s holiday in Majorca in typically chaotic style.


I'll post the link to the Derby Telegraph as and when (and if) the article appears there, but for the time being (and to stop you having to squint at the photo) here's the content:

Ten days is a weird duration for a holiday, it’s neither one thing, nor the other!  Before this return to Majorca in the early 1970s, I don’t think I had been on a holiday that lasted more than a week, and I’ve avoided ten days ever since, for reasons which will become obvious.

I suppose that the end of our holiday must have been in our minds because we had begun to think about what we might take back with us.  In my case, I had bought a pair of Clackers for my sister.  Do you remember Clackers?  They were a one summer craze back in the 1970s and were very much in evidence on this holiday.  Clackers were two ceramic coloured balls on a piece of rope.  You held them by the centre of the rope and the idea was to cause the two spheres to bounce against each other repeatedly, with such force that kinetic energy eventually caused them to fly upward and clash again at the top of the stroke and so on.  Sounds fun, eh? 

They made a horrific noise.  You could hear them all over the resort.  The problem was, if you messed up the rhythm, you stood a good chance of striking your wrist a painful blow with one or both balls, which resulted in a good many broken wrists and probably explains the short-lived nature of the craze.  On the whole, it was probably an ill-advised present, but it seemed a good idea at the time.
Another clue to the duration of our holiday should have been when our next door neighbours went home.  We had been somewhat wary of these lads in the next room.  They seemed to keep pretty irregular hours and when they did appear on their balcony, they invariably bellowed “Oh, Samantha!  Let me kiss your…” well, we won’t go into what they wanted to kiss but this phrase echoed around the holiday complex countless times. 

On their last day, we happened to be on our balcony and got chatting.  Apparently they had met the hapless Samantha and her mother on their first day, had discovered that they were staying in a hotel opposite ours, and embarked on their campaign thereafter.  I should imagine it was a holiday to forget for Samantha’s mother.

Our last day was like any other.  In fact, too much like any other.  We were sitting outside a little bar near our hotel.  Kev and Den were sipping cokes, I was on my first Bacardi and Coke of the day (it had been that sort of holiday).  We were musing about how long we had been away and started to work it out, when panic set in.  Today was our last day and we should have checked out of our room by 10.00!  It was now well past that hour.  We ran back to the hotel, only to find a clutch of very annoyed Spanish cleaners gathered outside our room.  After a good deal of begging and pleading, we were allowed 20 minutes to pack and clear out. 

Our flight home was not until late that night, so we stored our luggage and whiled away the day.  Kev and Den sunbathed, I propped up a table at El Leon Dorado.  Before our coach came to take us back to Palma, Kev and Den decided they would like to shower and change and somehow managed to persuade a couple of lads from the BBC to let them have the use of their room.  Being a scruffy urchin, I declined but was left as a sort of surety with these blokes.  As time ticked by and Kev and Den failed to appear, my persistent bleats of “I’m sure they’ll be here soon” came to seem increasingly desperate and they began to get more than somewhat anxious and angry.  Eventually I had to go up and tell Kev and Den that we stood a good chance of the police turning up if they didn’t come down soon.


So our holiday ended, and I headed back to my solitary office at Harold Wesley Ltd.  But things were about to change, as I'll tell you next time.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

A Christmas Cracker (continued)


I've been quite productive!  Well, for me anyway.  I've selected the 22 stories that will feature in the new collection and now I'm going through these, placing them in a reasonably logical order and ironing out any editing issues.  That just leaves me to write an Introduction, a brand new Undertakers' story and get the cover sorted out.  Nothing to it really (famous last words).

As they said to the Hubble Telescope - watch this space :-)

Monday, 17 October 2016

A Christmas Cracker


Every year, without fail, I tell myself that I'm going to release a Christmas collection of stories and every year, without fail, time drifts by and the opportunity vanishes. Therefore, this year I've decided that the only way to ensure I actually extract my digit and do something is to announce the impending publication and force myself to adhere to a deadline. Hence this post.
'A Christmas Cracker' a collection of Christmas-themed stories designed to get you into the Christmas spirit (whatever that is) will feature some old, some new and some previously unpublished tales and will be available on Kindle from 12th November (solely because I don't think Christmas advertising should start prior to Remembrance Day).
Drat, now I've got to do something!

Monday, 10 October 2016

A Bull Market?


I'm not quite sure why, but the fourth and most recent book in the 'nostalgedy' series has not exactly taken the world by storm!  Why this should be the case is beyond my comprehension.  After all, it is just a continuation of the other three in the series, all of which have sold well and been fairly popular. It's also had some good reviews, like these:

"This is the fourth book by this author that I have read and I think it is the best. It was enjoyable to hear all the stories about the different cruises he went on and the funny situations Philip and his wife found themselves in. It was also very nice to see all the photographs included in the book.
There was also funny stories about rail travel, and coach travel, one horrifying story that I could not believe people would do, is crossing a motorway on foot to get to their coach the on the other side (one of the party was in a wheelchair) they crossed safely. Unlikely that this could be done in today's traffic.
The title of the book "Giving A Bull Strawberries" I know that saying as "Giving A Donkey Strawberries" an interesting twist in different parts of the country. This is a lovely book."

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"This is the first of the nostalgedy collection I have read - and it was good. Probably not the kind of book that you would sit down and devour feverishly in one sitting, but one that you would pick up and fall into, comfortably, chapter by chapter, having a wee quiet chuckle as you did so. Charming."


"Giving a Bull Strawberries, a collection of stories from yesterday and today by Philip Whiteland is another comical adventure that had me giggling from the start. The author has no problem making fun of himself and loves to go for the laugh. This an entertaining escape that I had to pick this book up on release day. I have read the others in the series and couldn't help cracking up out loud with people looking on.

As always, I love the old photographs. I would call them 'vintage' but I don't wish to upset the photographer. They really bring the stories to life. Takes you back in time. Precious!

This book is a real treat and something I found comical and endearing. I am all for 'nostlagedy' and no better writer could do it so well. This is an adventurous ride I enjoyed taking."


In addition to which, how many books do you know that have a 30 foot high stainless steel shovel on the cover?  Come on, be honest ;-)

Giving a Bull Strawberries - read it and gain instant cult status!