Category Archives: book


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On the 1st of November I will be answering questions on AMAFeed.


A publication… VICE MAGAZINE

W’hooo! I’ve been included in something literary. A publication… VICE MAGAZINE



For an indie author such as myself the rewards for years of writing, editing, designing and promoting don’t exactly tally with the amount of effort and passion I invest in my work. It is an arduous chore feeding this greedy mistress known as indie self-publishing. For the most part and I’m speaking for myself here, it is an uphill struggle with very few high points. Other than the odd review, there really isn’t much acknowledgement nor encouragement to help push you on when your feeling underwhelmed.


Saying that, the other day I received what is considered so precious to many authors. PRAISE and feedback… from an unknown reader, the neighbour of a friend, a German lady who is halfway through reading Playing Out: Swings and Roundabouts (in English). My friend in Germany is an 80 year old lady, called Lilo. A dog-walking colleague I met over 13 years ago. To say I revealed to her only my best side is perhaps an understatement. Regarding her as the mother I never had, she would knit socks for me and lavish me with hugs, lengthy ones that I’d normally recoil from if given by anyone else, but with her I allow myself to sink in and receive all the love it comes with. Needless to say, seeing her as a parental figure I kept all my unsavoury rent-boy past to myself. One could consider this a falsehood, me not. It is no less than everyone else does when meeting parents. Subsequently when I had completed and published Paulyanna International Rent-Boy I didn’t share the news and felt bad for it. So when I wrote Playing Out: Swings and Roundabouts a story of my early childhood I couldn’t wait to send her a copy, unannounced in the post. Her English isn’t all that good yet still better than my German. Perhaps that’s the reason we hug so much.

Anyway my lovely Lilo struggled to read my work and so enlisted the help of a more fluent English-speaking neighbour. Between the two my book was verbally translated. When hearing I was popping round for a visit the neighbour asked if she could come by. I was truly daunted knowing that a stranger was heading over to chat. However I needn’t have been. It turned out to be a real compliment and a privilege to witness first-hand a genuine interest in my work. In her words, she was curious to see how the child had turned out. She also had a few British dialect questions as I tend to throw in some Black Country slang. All those not so obvious mentions and undertones I’d planted still managed to be understood.

One slip up, when hubby asked how long it took to write THIS last book, she caught the gist and asked out-loud “Oh so you’ve written another book?” Of which I quickly answered in mumbled speech. “Yes but it’s not for everyone.” To the side I did confess that I hid the fact from Lilo. Although Lilo is an observant bird and I suspect she will eventually see a copy, just not from me. As we spoke I saw admiration and not pity in her friends face. Eventually I sat relishing the attention (nothing new there) I felt like a mini-celebrity and boy does my ego need it.

Not sure exactly why I’m sharing this fluffy piece of nonsense, other than to convince others to check out my books and to say there is more to be gained for our indie efforts than sales figures.

Kind Regards. PDL

Please take a moment to like, share, purchase and review. Alternatively you have my permission to ignore. author page

Source: PRAISE

Book Marketing – Review.


How hard is it to market your own books. No that wasn’t a question, more a gripe, an observation.

It’s all very well someone else singing your praises, in the form of reviews in my case, but having to do-it-yourself. Tastes Manky.

You’d think that a nonentity writing a memoir was ego enough and, that someone like that would find it easy to self congratulate, big-up and brag in order to sell books. You’d be wrong.

It turns my stomach reading some of the cringeworthy boasts I am compelled to write. Especially when I’m all about selling truths, I mean.. . . .


BE WARNED! By not reading these, you’re seriously missing out.

Really!?  Do people even read these tag-line claims. Sales figures tell me, no. Still I don’t know how I’m supposed to reach an audience. So I potter on. I started to write one of those: Twenty Five Things You May Not Know About Me.  But I’ve already divulged two memoirs worth and besides… a sheep licking my hand the other day and being slightly afraid… I have nothing new or interesting to say.   😉

I try to catch people’s attention with flashy bright graphics. AND… I think to date I’ve made more picture adverts than I’ve sold books.

I’d say forgetting; the tarnished image of self published indies. The big no-no of making your own book cover. Not joining Amazon’s KDP to give your work away for free and refusing point-blank to fall into paying for advertising. I have my work cut out if I’m ever going to reach the levels of my contemporaries.

I’m often exhausted by my efforts, feel as if I’m running up a giant mound of rubble which is shifting beneath my feet. After three years and two books and countless levels of Candy Crush, I have discovered that I write because it’s what I am. What I’ve choose to be. I write because I have a lot to say.

AND now when I’m on a downer I discover a new FIVE STAR REVIEW.  So here it is…



Phillip Crawford Jr. reviewed Paulyanna International Rent-boy

“I never want anything, it’s easy / You buy whatever I need / But look at my hopes, look at my dreams” — Pet Shop Boys, “Rent”

Paulyanna is a well-crafted memoir of a London-based sex worker in the 1990s during his twenties, and it surprised me in the loveliest way. I was expecting a gritty story from a jaded narrator detailing sexual encounters fueled by an existential imperative — perhaps in the style of City of Night by John Rechy — but the endearing Lovell offers so much more.

Sure, there are enough accounts of the rentboy trade to establish convincingly that Lovell has been around the block. For example, in describing “a small ramshackle bar called Hunters” in Los Angeles he writes:

It had sawdust on the floor. A total dive where the bar-staff often outnumbered the clients. Milling around outside were a few unsavoury-looking characters, young vagabond drug-addled rent-boys, some of whom wore only scruffy cut-off denim shorts and walked barefoot as they paraded up and down the boulevard.

However, the book’s soul is the author’s transformation. Lovell had a hardluck childhood which was a bit Dickensian, and upon reaching the big city as a young man turns to sex work for the easy money. And heck, for many the rentboy is a revered archetype in the gay psyche. Over time Lovell discovers talents to offer the world other than hustling punters. He has no moral qualms about sex work which provided him with some adventure and helped him get by, and yet it was other choices which would fulfill his dreams. As Shawn Colvin sings in “New Thing Now”: “Gee, it’s good to see a dream come true.”

Paulyanna is more than good writing; it’s genuinely human. author page

Merry Christmas


author page #bookish #instabooks #igreads #bookishescape #bookshelf #bookoftheday #booksale 

Smashwords Coupon Offer – ENDs 30th Oct.

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I have made one hundred  50% off coupons for Playing Out: Swings and Roundabouts. (ebook only)

This offer will be available on Smashwords til the end of October 2016 (or until they are all redeemed).


Simply enter the code PZ59T at the checkout.  I hope some of you will take advantage of this offer. 🙂 (smashwords)

Playing Out – Swings and Roundabouts outlines the first ten years of Paul’s life. Abandoned by his mother at six weeks old, he lives alongside three brothers and a sister being raised by their lorry driver father. Struggling to cope, their father does his best to provide but living on state handouts means the children often go without.
Being motherless has a huge impact on every aspect of his existence. In way of compensation, swings and roundabouts, Paul is afforded the freedom to roam. Hardships aplenty, lacking the nurture that often comes from a motherly embrace, Paul is being sculpted, his life is playing out.
Set in the 1970s, the older reader can enjoy a nostalgic trip down memory lane and the youngsters can view the offline existence of kids who wore flares and had bad hair. Products and television programmes, toys and confectionery, the sweetest of memories entwined with the roughness of a working-class environment. Street games, scrumping and sewage tunnels. A patchwork quilt of Paul’s memories stitched together using a rather coarse yarn makes this story a true account of British social history that is both poignant and humorous. All the main elements of the story are genuine incidents, although many of the people and places have been distorted to protect the guilty and to assist with the flow of the narrative.
 kind regards, PDL.





To encourage sales and to gain customer reviews (which are crucial for success) I have discounted Playing Out: Swings and Roundabouts to the lowest price possible.

Kind regards PDL.

Books Store Links: (usa kindle) (uk kindle) (iTunes) (smashwords) (paperback)

Also here is a couple of adverts.



5 Star Review

Stephanie Dagg reviewed Playing Out Swings and Roundabouts
Rating * * * * *
Aug 2016
snails.jpg SeventiesPO.jpg
This is a very lively memoir of the author’s younger years growing up with his three older brothers, his one older sister and his dad during the 1970s. Money is tight and times are hard but Paul not only survives but thrives, thanks to his eternal optimism and his ability to make the best of every situation. No new toys? Make up a game with smelly socks. Having to do the food shopping with his sister? Play bowling with tins of beans down the store’s aisles.
He inherits from his father a strong sense of right and wrong. It may not always tally exactly with everyone else’s but young Paul has strong principles and sticks to them. Whilst he does try to play by the rules, he decides that only God has the right to pass judgement. He therefore regularly wheels and deals with his Maker over “minor transgressions such as scrumping, thumping and the occasional fib” and firmly believes in a banana-filled heaven. This is just one example of how the irrepressible youngster navigates his way through his noisy, boisterous, deprived childhood.
Paul doesn’t dwell on the hardships in his life. They’re simply there and he has to carry on regardless. For example, when he and his brothers and sister suddenly find themselves in a children’s home, when their father temporarily can’t cope, there’s no upset, merely a quick adaptation to this new life. And when the children are returned home, then they all just pick up from where they left off with no questioning. It’s this pervasive inspiring, non-resentful attitude that makes this book such a gem.
Nostalgia publishing is currently hugely popular. (For example, there are lots of biographies of erstwhile stars about to hit the bookshops for this Christmas, and Ladybird books and Enid Blyton have been revamped for a new audience.) Books like Playing Out show why this is the case. When done well, as here, this genre evokes a past era that those who’ve lived through can recognise and enjoy reliving, and those who haven’t can get a real sense of what it was like to be there. It would do the Millennials and later generations good to read this book and see that you really can be happy with no phone, hardly any telly and a handful of simple toys and some oranges and chocolate biscuits in your Christmas stocking!
This is a truly enjoyable book written with a sharp eye for detail, lots of humour and an infectious happy-go-lucky zest for life.
An absolute must-read.

Book Covers

I’ve been trying to design my next book cover. I’m going for the Indie-Author homemade look.

All images sourced using the Google parameters: free to use, share or modify, even commercially.

I have a basic draw programme that allows me to cut and paste, stretch and skew. BUT not much else, hence the plain appearance. Personally I don’t like the high-gloss generic style of many covers.

Kind regards. PDL (comments welcome)

playingoutblue.jpg   PO-Sweeping.jpg

playingoutGrey.jpg  playingout2.5.jpg


A second sample of my work in progress


Thought I’d brave another sample share… It is very much a work in progress (So.. go easy on it.) It hasn’t seen an editor.

Carole and Paul approach the door with apprehension, afraid one of her teenage sons will answer it and chase them away like beggars. It has never happened, yet the fear is always present. As they creep along her gravel driveway they huddled together like worried primates. A debate as to whom should press the door-bell, initiates a Hokey Cokey dance. In, out, in, out they step about the front door porch.  Today it is Carole who is first to shake off her qualms and the inevitable happens. Ding-dong the doorbell song echoes it’s hollow tune. Waiting patiently for a moment they guess that perhaps she hasn’t heard it, so try again. Speculating that maybe Mrs McGaveridge is outside in the back garden hanging out her laundry. This convinces them to press a third and then a forth time. With no response the dejected pair decide to try again later. Paul suggests that they wait over the nearby Rec, a playground area beside the graveyard. The Rec is limited when it comes to entertaining children. It has no swings, no slide and no see-saw. It does have two concrete playground tunnels. One reeks of urine the other is strewn with fleshy pages of top-shelf magazines and glass from broken bottles. The jungle-gym climbing frame does manage to occupy the pair for almost ten minutes as they swing about apelike. Moving on, they look ridiculously awkward ambling about the play area. Both hoping their twisted gait of crossed fingers, arms, legs and eyes though not quite toes will bring them some good luck. It isn’t long before these monkeying antics lead them to a crumbling corner of the playground’s surrounding wall. With assistance from a sturdy branch, they hoist themselves up, over and into the graveyard.

Careful not to tread on anybody’s grave they weave around the enormous stone crosses and statues, peering up into the eyes of winged angels hoping to witness them blink. They read the headstones of beloved wives, fathers, daughters and sons. Discover tiny new-born graves and old moss covered relics. Some are so ancient it is difficult to decipher the faded markings.

“Arr… look, this one’s got no flowers” Carole gazes down to an empty vessel on a neglected grave.

“Yeah… and that one there’s got loads” Paul points to a well maintained plot with potted plants and green glass fragments. Sympathy strikes them both and they begin a redistribution of what Paul interprets as wealth.

“No… you must only share the plastic ones.” Paul informs his sister as she reaches out to a fresh bloom.

“Yeah, cause them ones last longer doe they?” Carole adds.

“No…It ay stealin’ cause them only plastic and we’m just moving um.”  This makes perfect sense to Paul who guesses that God would also agree that these faded flowers have long served their purpose and therefore it is all right to share. They continue the mission with a sense righteous holiness, selecting, thanking and placing the blooms with words of endearment upon lonely resting places. Carole spies a sunken grave, cracked open with a gaping hole. The broken headstone bearing their own family name. Freaked out they run from the graveyard with muted terror. Only when they are back beyond the broken wall do they release their gasps. Emitting something between a laugh and a scream they nervously hug one another. Carole suggests that perhaps it belongs to their real dad and at home sits an impostor. Properly spooked a seed of doubt takes root.