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Friday, 26 December 2014

2014.... an early retrospective.

Firstly, please join my blog by pressing the "join this site" button on the right hand side of the blog. Once you've done that, please read on!

It's not quite over yet, but 2014 is fast becoming 2015, so I thought I'd have a retrospective of the past year's event from my point of view..... and it's been quite a year.

For a start I officially retired in April, although in practice I unofficially retired 2 years ago to write and sell books, as well as do small bits of part-time work and play the odd game of golf. The golf never really happened until this year, but the books did

My first book, Leap of Faith, came out in paperback and as an eBook last year and did moderately well on Amazon. Then in February it was selected as a finalist (1 of 12 books out of an initial 100 odd) for the People's Book Prize. A black tie event and a great honour.

In March I went to Rick Barter's Bookshop in Lee-on-the-Solent with 5 other authors to celebrate World Book Reading Night. My first book signing session and one that I'll always be grateful to Rick for inviting me to. He is fantastic at supporting local authors, as well as being the leading light of the Titchfield Amateur Dramatics. I went back to Rick's shop in late August after Trouble With Swords was published and sold and signed more books in 3 hours than I had on Amazon in more than a year.

In the weeks and months following my initial session at Rick's I signed at Calliope's Gifts in Alton, October Books in Southampton, One Tree Books in Petersfield, The Petersfield Bookshop (a different shop) and a couple of others. My books also started appearing in local libraries and schools.

In August the 2nd in the Temporal Detective Agency series, Trouble With Swords, was published and I did a 2nd round of signing at the same shops, which was great fun. I also moved into Surrey where I did a session a week ago at Barton's Bookshop in Leatherhead. More fun than I could have imagined and Peter Snell, the owner, is a true book fan and very knowledgable. I look forward to going back there again in the New Year.

Many of my signings were done with fellow authors, Michaela Sacchi O'Brien, Jane Bwye and Shani Struthers. They provided the glamour.... and probably the brains!

Holidays.... in March Mary and I went to the Canaries for a week and had a wonderful time. In late August we went to Tunisia for 7 days on an all inclusive holiday. We went to Carthage and eventually saw what we wanted to see, not what the tour guide was keen to show us.

August was, of course, the highlight of the year when Sarah, my beautiful daughter and Ben became a married couple. The wedding was wonderful and nothing went wrong. The venue was amazing, the ceremony fantastic, the dinner was incredible, the speeches by the groom and best man were witty and unhesitant (mine was quite good too!). It was a 3 day event with a golf match for 24 people starting it and a close family and friends party on the 3rd day. For us it really was the wedding of the year!

Also in December I went to a school reunion, played golf with an old school friend, attended the school carol service in Gloucester Cathedral and saw that both my books are in the school library. In June I played in the school's charity golf match and hope to do the same in 2015.

I gained many new Facebook friends in 2014 and a good number of followers on Twitter. Then to top it all Trouble With Swords became the Christmas number 1 most popular book on the Authorsden.com review site. It's mostly USA oriented, but it does cover over 400,000 books, so it's quite an achievement and will hopefully be the prelude to lots of sales!

2015, you've got a lot to live up to, but I have no doubt you'll manage it!

Happy New Year and Blog on, Dudes!

Friday, 19 December 2014

What to blog about tonight? I know.... a reunion

Many things come to mind....

Firstly, please join my blog by pressing the "member" button on the right hand side of the blog. Once you've done that, please read on!

This week I went to the Gloucester Cathedral carol service for my old school. I left there 45ish years ago and started going to the annual service and the reunions afterwards about 5 years ago. At the first, I had arranged to make it a 2 day event and have a game of golf on both days with the lad I used to share a 6 form study with. We set a time of midday to meet in the pro's shop and I arrived dead on time. In the shop was the pro and a couple of old guys looking at clubs. After half an hour my golf partner was a no-show so I decided to phone him on his mobile. Seconds later a mobile rang in the shop and one of the ancient old men answered my call. I'd forgotten he would probably look a lot older. I, of course, haven't changed a bit!
This week we had a good game (I lost only 6 balls) and then went into Gloucester where the headmaster's secretary took us on a conducted tour round the school. The changes since the 1960's were incredible.
Very gratifyingly, my books are in the school library!
The cathedral carol concert was superb, both in sound and vision and the choir was made up almost entirely of the boys, girls and teachers from the school.
Immediately afterwards we had a reunion of old boys and teachers in the cathedral Chapter House, where incidentally I took my A' levels and the Doomsday Book was signed. Two historic events. I met with a number of teachers who had taught me and amazingly some of them were still very much alive!
Back to the hotel for some nostalgia and several double whiskies!
A great 2 days!

Blog on, Dudes!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Happy Birthday Crooked Cat!

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS A Birthday CAT


And no, I haven’t lost the plot, because this is no ordinary cat. This is a Crooked Cat... in the nicest possible way. It’s one that has kept a low profile while its two owners (actually does a cat ever have an owner?) acted as a “front”, until it was ready to hit the world publishing stage. Today it reached the ripe old age of three!


Eh?


Cat, I’d like to say what a pleasure it is to be talking to you tonight, even though I am rather apprehensive about talking to what is in effect an iconic, if a somewhat nebulous and anthropomorphic personification. How do you feel about being interviewed at long last?


You may call me Crooked. I feel indifferent about the situation and, since I have heard that you are somewhat of a troublemaker, Mr Hardie, I shall take my time. You may continue.



Er, thank you, Cat, I mean Crooked, I'll try not to cause too much trouble. Few publishing houses have been run by an animal, except of course Penguin, so tell me how you started Crooked Cat Publishing?


Penguin? Pah. A bird in Cat’s clothing. There are few things in life more important to a Cat than to see its owner happy. That, my dear friend, and a rather large, dead fish in front of one, naturally. My owner, tired of the way that normal publishers value celebrities ahead of a good read, thought it would be a spiffing idea to start something up - a place where the story is the most important thing. And so it began...


I have to ask you.... why Crooked? Cats have a reputation for cleverness, being devious and often cruel. But Crooked?


How dare you suggest that I have a reputation for cleverness! Your readers may be familiar (though I’m quite certain that you possess not the slightest clue about it - I’m sure that you are an X Factor fan)......


I am definitely not!


.......with an old English rhyme:

There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

I shall leave you to make up your own mind about it. CAN YOU READ?




Word has it that you would have loved to have published Of Mice And Men, The Birds and Under Milk Wood.


You can’t read, can you?


Yes, I can. Now tell me though, who is your favourite non-Crooked Cat author?


Are you trying to be humorous, Mr Hardie? Don’t. I am particularly partial to a piece of Jean Cocteau, Neil Gaiman and Jack Kerouac. I also like J...  BIRD. BIRD. BIRRRRRRD.....
Who is your favourite, Mr Hardie?


(Blimey! I interviewed Bernard Cornwell and now I'm talking to a cat!!! Chin up, Richard!) There are so many publishers out there.......


Oh, are you ignoring me, Mr Hardie?


......as an independent how do you promote your brilliant authors?


You ARE ignoring me. Big mistake.
Hmm...how do the big Cats do it? The cream (hmm, cream) rises to the top eventually. I love telling the world how brilliant our authors are, and they’re very good at it as well. The internet is beautifully lovely for this sort of thing - facebook and twitter to name but a few - but my poor paws don’t really suit the keyboard these days.



What do you look for in a book before accepting it, and how important is the author?


I don’t accept - I tolerate. Someone has to write good and use, punctuation properly, and sepll well. But what’s most important of all is when they......BIRD BIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRDDD.....


(Nurse, the screens!) On average, Crooked, what percentage of authors that submit to you do you take on?


About 15%. Even the ones who ignore me......


Sorry!

.........That’s very nearly half

.
Now you've had your third birthday, how do you see Crooked Cat Publishing evolving over the next two to three years?


I see a big castle, a lot of mice (preferably just-dead) and lots of warm fires. I don’t think there’s anything else to say, really.



Cat, it’s been lovely taking to you......



No it hasn’t. Don’t lie.


 .....and many thanks for giving us an insight into Crooked Cat Publishing.


I am Cat. Call me Crooked. I have tolerated you. Farewell.


(Phew! It's a good job I didn't mention that next week I'm interviewing a dog!)



Crooked Cat’s fascinating and beguiling webpage is at www.facebook.com/crookedcatpublishing  where you can find out a lot more about Crooked Cat Publishing and its authors.

You can also find out more about Crooked Cat Publishing on YouTube at

You can find my books at ....

Blog on, Dudes!

Friday, 7 November 2014

That Was A Week That Was!

Well, of course it was.

It had seven days, each of which had 24 hours, so it qualifies by default to join all those other weeks that prceeded it; the lucky thing!

I noticed that the newspapers all had headlines and the TV news programmes managed to fill half an hour without repetition, so it was not only a week, but presumably an eventful one. However, rather than repeat everything that I'm sure you've heard and read, let's look at my week.

- The Queen Mary cruise liner cam back into Southampton after a trip round the world. 12 of my books went on the trip in the liner's shops and I'll find out this coming week how many of them were sold. If the word loads is used then the company that supplies the ships will put the books into other liners. Exciting Times!

- Firework Night. I have to admit I love seeing firework go off. When I was a kid I used to love coming back from school on 5th November and couldn't wait for it to get dark so my dad could let off all the fireworks. My sister and I used to save up our pocket money for weeks so we could go down to the local corner shop. We would buy one Roman Candle and some bangers, storing the Roman Candle away and inevitably using the bangers well in advance of the big night. The big cakes of multi-ignition fireworks weren't available, and we wouldn't have been allowed to have had them, but a few familes would come round to our house, or we would go to theirs, and our combined fireworks and the bonfire would give us endless fun. Hot baked potatoes and hot drinks made the evening perfect.
Some fireworks disappeared because of safety concerns. The Airplane was a favourite that, together with The Helicopter, shot into the air in a totally random direction and could cause chaos. The other main victim to safety was the Squib, or Jumping Jack, that shaped like an old radiator, jumped randomly 7 or 8 times. It was often set off among crowds causing mayhem. Bangers also seem to have bitten the dust, except for the ones imported from China.
When I left home and until I got married I saw the occasional firework, but didn't buy any, so when my kids were old enough to enjoy them I went to a garden center near Bedford and bought a mixture box made by a local vicar whose hobby was making the more pretty display fireworks. They were superb, and for the next 20 odd years some family friends and their kids would get together and we would do what my parents did when I was a kid. We had great fun!

- I've worked hard this week and physically I'm pleasantly tired. But not so tired that I won't enjoy going out with a couple of friends for a drink after dinner! The only down-side is that it's my turn to drive, so I'll be on one glass of wine, followed by orange juice!

Blog on, Dudes!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Poppies

A fairly short blog post tonight.

Yesterday, I went up to London with my wife and daughter, to see the ceramic poppies planted in the moat of the Tower of London. The intention was to sell and plant nearly 900,000 poppies by the 11th November. The sale target has now been met and the team of volunteers are working hard to make sure all the poppies are planted in time.

The spectacle is mind-blowing and well worth the trip, though be prepared for the crowds... they'll become larger as we approach Remembrance Day. The concept is brilliant and the organisation behind it is equally brilliant, so if you have the chance to go there, do so.

Purposefully, I haven't posted any photos because you need to see it to appreciate it... amd I promise you will.

Remembrance Day is becoming more poignant every year. When I was a Scout Leader we paraded to the local cenotaph where there would be a small number of WW1 veterans and a slightly larger number of WW2 vets. Now the number of vets is down to a small handful in wheelchairs and it won't be too lomg before the space reserved for those who serbed in the World Wars will be empty.

The ceramic poppies is a perfect reminder of those wo gave their lives, but it's a start, not a finish.

Blog on, Dudes!

Friday, 17 October 2014

What makes a good Young Adult story?

So... the hard questions first!

You might as well ask what makes a Young Adult and what makes them tick, as much as what books and stories appeal most to them. The Harry Potter books sold a few copies, as did the totally different Hunger Games. The Lord of the Rings still attracts new fans after many, many years, as do the Narnia stories. Is there a link? Of course there is.... Good versus Evil, with Good winning out after nearly losing.

The one thing none of the above has is any great degree of humour. So does humour sell? Of course it does, because we all like a good laugh no matter how old or young we are. However if you couple Humour with Fantasy, mix in Good v Evil, add a wizard or two with some witches and a magic sword.... you must have an automatic winner. Of course the title would have to be something along the lines of Lord Hungry Harry's Wardrobe.

So why haven't Leap of Faith and Trouble With Swords topped all the book charts and made me a millionaire several times over? The Temporal Detective Agency has everything. I thought about and realised what the reason was... not enough people had bought copies. Stunning, I know, but seemingly true.

But there is a solution!

Follow the link and go to Amazon. When you get there buy a paperback, or eBook copy. You know you want to!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=richard%20hardie&sprefix=richa%2Caps

Blog on, Dudes!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Books and Bookshops

This has been a week for books for a number of reasons.

1. Tomorrow sees the start of BAMB (Books Are My Bag) an initiative to unite bookshops and authors in order to encourage more buyers and readers to come into member shops. The authors are there to sign books, talk about their work, and generally promote independent bookshops in the UK. Pop along to your local shop and who knows you might be pleasantly surprised at who is there to meet and greet you. Who knows.... it might be me!
In fact BAMB is a month-long initiative so don't give up if you can't make it tomorrow. 
I won't!

2. I popped into my local library and was very pleasantly surprised to see both my books on the Young Adult / Teen shelves. They were beautifully bound in clear plastic and in great company.

3. I had an email from Southampton Civic Center which controls the main 9 city libraries, to say that both my books are now being stocked in the Central Library and will be on the shelves of the other 9 libraries soon. I enrolled in the Public Lending Rights system, so every time someone borrows one of my books I'll make a fraction of a penny..... but it all counts!

4. I finished reading Bernard Cornwell's first non-fiction book, Waterloo. As a novelist he makes a great historian. A wonderful book! I'm now reading his novel about Azincourt. Spelling is correct!

5. Both my Temporal Detective Agency books Leap of Faith and Trouble With Swords) are still available in bookshops, as well as through Amazon on:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=richard%20hardie&sprefix=richa%2Caps

Don't be shy. Go and have a look!

Blog on, Dudes!

Friday, 3 October 2014

The Writer's Bermuda Triangle

I saw a cartoon on Facebook this week showing the Caribbean and more importantly the area where the Bermuda Triangle.
A triangle had been superimposed and each corner had one of the main social network sites next to it.... Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

The implication was that writers (and presumably authors) sink without trace in the swamp of social networking dependence, and I can understand why.

Once anyone is sucked into the black arts of social networks, especially Facebook and Twitter, anyone whose job depends on sitting in front of a computer screen (an author?) is wide open to the temptation of spending more time with their "friends" than in developing their latest great work. I know this from personal experience.

Twitter seems to be a little less pernicious because it doesn't invite as much interaction. It's more of a noticeboard, just as Pinterest is somewhere to post your photos and see other people's. It's Facebook that is the most powerful point of the Writer's Bermuda Triangle.

Many, if not most authors use Facebook to launch book, advertise themselves on their Author page and promote their books, both on their own pages and those of other people and groups, as well as hope that other authors and fans will "share" any news, or promotion with their "friend" network. It can be a bit like pyramid selling in that many friends have the same friends as their own friends, if you see what I mean. So Facebook can tend to be a bit incestuous with everyone marketing to the same groups of people.... more or less. There's only so many times you could ask people to buy a book before they stop listening to that and other posts you might want them to look at.

I'm definitely not against Facebook and the rest as part of an awareness model, and I know of at least one author who sells very successfully using Facebook, Twitter and a few other social network tools. I know of others who use it as part of their overall marketing plan, but who also maintain that they mention their books in probably only 1 in every 10 of their posts, and even then they mention them merely in passing. These people tend to have a large following on all their chosen network tools, and also operate a blog linked to their website. One friend of mine, Jonathan Gunson, is a successful international author with 116k followers on Twitter and 1,500 Facebook friends. He hardly ever promotes his books, though covers and links are on his blog and details are on his website. Instead he promotes other authors, innovative ideas on authoring and ways to improve book marketing. His name is synonymous with great ideas and his books sell in great numbers.

A first-time author with no fan base and few resources could do far worse than use the free facilities of Facebook and Twitter, building up their following carefully and marketing to it with equal care, so as not to kill it with over-zealous selling and self-promotion.

Personally I still love working with independent bookshops. Seeing my books on a sales shelf and (even more so) signing copies for buyers is a massive thrill that selling online can't provide. Having said that I still have 2 Facebook pages, a Twitter account with more than 1,100 followers, a Google+ account which I admit I hardly ever use, a profile on Authorsden.com, a website and (obviously because you're reading it) a blog. It's a marketing combination.

The three Social Networks can definitely be a Writer's Bermuda Triangle if used badly, but used intelligently and as part of an overall marketing strategy, they're great!

Blog on, Dudes!

Friday, 5 September 2014

So, what's happened this week?

A week of high's and lows, ups and downs, toing and froing, coming and going. Some fun, some far from fun. But the one thing you can say for the past seven days... they were a week.

So what happened:

1. A people carrier, a tank and a jet fighter were all on parked on a fairway at Celtic Manor in Newport. The members of the golf club must have been overjoyed and anyone who had booked months in advance to have a quiet golfing holiday buying Cameron, Obama and the rest a beer in the hotel bar. Surely the world leaders didn't need to meet at a golf club, any old Travelodge would have done. Having said that, last time it was Gleneagles that took the strain, so maybe they do need the odd hole in one! Let's hope it's not all golf and they actually do some good.

2. The Islamic State morons, once again proved they have nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with pure vitriolic hate and terrorism. They have to be stopped now, and the radicalisation of our children needs to be halted at schools, mosques and universities. It has to be said that it's down to the Muslim community to handle that one.

3. England once again showed their true cricketing prowess in a One Day International match. Bring back Geoffrey Boycott and Beefy Botham!

4. Poor old Luke Donald was left out of the Ryder Cup team, while Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter were picked as wildcards in his stead. I have to agree with the decision though. Poulter is such a fighter and so passionate, while Westwood always does well in the Ryder Cup. Luke Donald isn't having a good year and although he's a very technically precise player, he's not as passionate as the other two. Let's hope Obama, Cameron and crew get off Celtic Manor so the team can practice!

5. A Jamaican who had spent some years in prison (for rape, I believe) and was being expelled from the UK, suddenly remembered he was gay as he boarded the plane in handcuffs. He was immediately take back to prison (presumably) and is now allowed to stay in the UK on the basis he might be persecuted in Jamaica because he's gay, plus of course he has the right to a family life. Was he gay when he was raping women, or had he forgotten? Besides, if he's really gay, who would know in Jamaica, unless he was going to tell them. He certainly never told anyone in the UK before! The "Get Out Of Jail Free" card!

6. In line with event #5 Manchester United's new signing is having problems. He's being paid £300k a week and he's being given a gratis club house (it won't be a 2 up, 2 down) so he's hardly going to be a drain on the UK economy, in fact at current tax rates we'll benefit to the tune of £120k a week and you can bet he won't be shoving the rest under a mattress! Local garages, clubs and boutiques must be rubbing their hands in anticipation! The problem is his work permit isn't quite right and without that he can't come into the country. He should have said he was a gay Jamaican.

7. Also on the question of immigration, the migrants in Calais are getting more and more desperate, even to the extent of climbing into the boot of a private car. The man in question wasn't discovered by the driver until she was in Dover, by which time it was too late and the population had increased by one. With well over a thousand migrants at the port of Calais trying to get to the UK by any means, and many more heading that way, the situation is critical. Open borders in the EEC is fine, providing all countries are equal, but they never will be, and the poorest people from the poorest countries will always try to get the better off to improve their lives. That was always going to happen, so why didn't our politicians recognise the fact instead of pussyfooting around talking about Human Rights Acts?
Now we have the mayor of Calais talking about closing the port. Not good.

8. On a personal note, we booked a week's holiday in Tunisia and plan to visit Carthage, something I've always wanted to see. We need the break after my daughter's wedding and the wind down from that!

9. After some weeks trying to get action, BT have eventually agreed to disconnect one of the BT lines I have in the house (one was for home and the other for business). We only now need the home line as I've effectively retired to become a blockbusting success as an author! The trouble is I have BT Infinity Broadband on my business line and I want it moved across to the home line. Trying to explain that to India has been a nightmare. They threatened me with massive penalties if I cancelled and large fees for doing the work. On one occasion the line just went dead. Eventually I spoke to someone in the UK by pretending I wanted to buy something and after much slow explaining got the guy to understand what I want. The engineer is coming Monday to do the entire job. Firtsly BT are charging nothing to do the work and secondly there is no penalty (Yah, Boo Sucks to India!). Better than that my home tariff including broadband has gone down by nearly £10 a month and I no longer pay for the other line, a saving of over £60 a month!. On top of that I will now be able to get BT Sport for nothing, even though we have Sky! Result!
Naturally Royal Mail tried to deliver the hub / router yesterday while I was out, and even though there was a big label on the slim box saying it was designed to go through a letterbox, they took it away and I had to drive 6 miles today to pick it up.

9. Marit Meredith's long-awaited anthology of poems and stories for children called The Shambelurkers Return came out in paperback this week. At the moment it's available from Lulu, but it will be out on Amazon hopefully next month. Proceeds go the children's section for NAS which desperately needs the money. It's actually also a rather good read!

That Was The Week That Was!

Blog on, Dudes!

Monday, 25 August 2014

A wedding!

With the exception of the odd fight, few events bring people together more than a wedding, and few people are more proud than the bride's father!


This past weekend it was my turn, when my beautiful daughter married her wonderful fiancee Ben. We had three days of perfect weather, and the venue and catering couldn't have been better.


We started on Friday with a golf match for 21 of the guests, including myself, which gave me the opportunity to meet many new acquaintances and make many life-time friends.
The wedding on the Saturday went without a hitch with a big red bus ferrying guests from the hotel to the wedding venue, a Rolls Royce and big Jaguar taking my daughter, the bridesmaids and myself, and a fleet of taxis taking everyone back to the hotel at the end of the evening. Sunday was a day for close family to get together and compare notes and photos.


We couldn't have asked for a better weekend, of son-in-law.

I've attached some photos .


Please wish the happy pair happiness!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Occasionally at the foot of my weekly Friday evening blog post I put a link to my books on Amazon, but not often. Let's face it, people don't read my blog so they can be directed to a site where they can spend their hard-earned money.... minimal though the cost may be.



But tonight I'm going to break the habit of a lifetime and make this a selling blog, mainly because a week ago today the second book in my Temporal Detective Agency series, Trouble With Swords, was published by Crooked Cat as both an eBook and paperback. The next day I had a book signing at The Book Shop in Lee-on-the-Solent at which the shop staff dressed up as characters from the book and I took along Excalibur. We sold lots of books, including a load of Leap of Faith, the first in the series!

Tomorrow I'm signing at Calliope Gifts in Alton and I know it's going to be great fun.

So, on to the selling bit! If you haven't already bought a copy, then PLEASE do, especially if you have teenage kids. Please also tell people about it and share the links.

Trouble With Swords is available is an eBook for the promotional price of 99p / $1.66 at the following link:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Trouble-Swords-Richard-Hardie-ebook/dp/B00MEWG5D8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408123213&sr=1-1&keywords=richard+hardie

And Leap of Faith is available on Amazon at:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Leap-Faith-Richard-Hardie-ebook/dp/B00GQHXSHS/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408123213&sr=1-2&keywords=richard+hardie

Friday, 8 August 2014

Interview with Tertia. Founder of the Temporal Detective Agency!


My interview tonight is with a 15 year old time travelling apprentice wizard whose early adventures were immortalised in the book Leap of Faith... released last by Crooked Cat Publishing and are now continuing in Trouble With Swords. It’s none other than Tertia, one of the founders of The Temporal Detective Agency.

Tertia, it’s a pleasure to be talking to you again today, especially as the first time I heard your name was 10 years ago. Mind you as you travel in time you haven’t aged at all, while I (allegedly) have the odd grey hair now.
Er... what are you doing?


Counting the odd grey hairs. Could take me a week or two, I reckon, and Marlene would definitely have to take her shoes and socks off!


Amazing!   The tape recorder’s on so tell me about you and your cousin Unita.


You mean Neets? What’s to tell? We originally came from near Camelot, where our families had small farms until they were burnt to the ground by the Black Knight. He was a nasty bit of work. Then we travelled through Merl’s Time Portal to the 21st century and here we are!


Hang on. A Time Portal? What’s that?


You wrote the bleedin’ books. Why’d you need me to tell you? You’re the writer guy!


I know, but many of my blog readers won’t have read Leap of Faith yet let alone Trouble With Swords, so they’ll be stunned that time travel really exists and is being used by a couple of teenage girls. Humour me.


Okey Dokey. Neets (that’s my cousin Unita to you) and I sort of inherited Merl’s cave and with it came her Time Portal. And, like, we’re going to use it aren’t we?


Merl? I don’t think I know her.


Yeh. You know, Merlin the wizard. She’s Merl to me. You must have heard of Merl Grey tea? She invented that years ago. So anyway, we started the Temporal Detective Agency with Merl’s sister Marlene.


Merlin had a sister? Merlin was a woman?


‘course she did. A dumpy red-headed little thing. Blimey, you must have known she was a woman, you wrote about her! I helped her do her man-disguise for a couple of years. (Read the book!). Oh yeh, and then there was Galahad, who started the Olé Grill chain of Spanish themed restaurants. He came with us and acted as the front for the Agency. Made a fortune into the bargain.



But why did you come here? Why didn’t you stay in Camelot?


It’s obvious. We moved to the 21st century because the cases were much more interesting and mostly because the toilet facilities are SOOOO much better. Flushing  loos and toilet paper. Bliss! Besides which it took you nearly ten years to get us into a book and Neets and I wanted to have a little chat with you as to why it took so long. I mean.... scribble, scribble, scribble, and it’s done! What took you so long?


Never mind that. We’ll have a chat later. If you came to the future, how come you still live in a cave?


Don’t get huffy, writer mate! It may be a cave to you, but it’s home to me, Neets, Marlene, Galahad and the cats. You think Dr Who invented the “bigger on the inside than it is on the outside” bit. Come off it, we were years ahead. Actually centuries ahead. Hot and cold running waiters. Our cave is a bleedin’ mansion! So many wings, it’ll probably fly away!


Tell me about your names Tertia and Unita. They're unusual.

Not really. They're not our real names - which incidentally I'm not going to tell you - but Merl had a terrible memory, so instead of always getting our names wrong she gave us numbers. She only ever had three apprentice wizards at a time so they were always called Unita, Douvet and Tertia. Get it... One Two and Three. Simple!



What happened to Douvet then?

We don't like to talk about it. She was a nice kid, but got mixed up with the wrong crowd.... druids! Word has it she's appearing in our fourth book though, so we're on the look out for her.



Ok, let’s move on to the Agency. Is it profitable?

Depends what you mean by profitable. Er... no! Mind you, we don’t turn work away and we have a motto “No job too small. No fee too big”. Catchy, isn’t it? Well, we thought so anyway, but we’re still working on the fee bit. Mind you our clients tend to be royalty and you know what they're like with money. Ask them for a few quid and they just look blankly at you.


In Leap of Faith you have some pretty hair-raising adventures battling ship wreckers and smugglers. Can you tell us what happens in Trouble With Swords?



No way, José! If I tell everyone what an incredibly hair-raising set of adventures the Agency had in Camelot, Ancient Rome, Elizabethan London and Egypt they won’t need to buy the bleedin’ book. If I told you we met two Roman emperors, Cleopatra and Shakespeare, we'd be giving the game away. Get your head screwed on, writer man, Blimey!



Good point, Tertia. So will there be other books about you and the other members of the Agency?


You’re asking me? Look, we’ll have the adventures, no problem, because we’re having fun. But it’s up to you to put finger to keyboard and tell the world what we’ve done. So what’s the answer, smart guy?


When you put it like that, Tertia, as long as you and the Agency are having adventures and I enjoy writing them up for you, there’ll be more Temporal Detective Agency books. Deal?


Right! Now let’s get back to the party and have some fun before Neets’s cats eat all the virtual food and Marlene drinks all the booze! Are we done?


I suppose we must be if you put it like that.


Great! Only last thing, and I’m only going to shout this once... BUY THE BLEEDIN’ BOOKS. You can get them at the following links.

Leap of Faith is available as both an eBook and paperback on Amazon at



Both books are also available through most independent bookshops in the UK and on line through Foyles, Waterstones and Lovereading4kids.

Richard's website is:

Richard blog is at