Summer shorts

By Joe | May 6, 2014

Summer’s here in the Canaries – at long last – so I’ve decided to break out the shorts.

No, not the ones that reveal pasty legs and cut into my thighs – short stories. It’s a form I’ve never tried before so before I stumble headfirst into the familiar trap involving blind enthusiasm and an over-eagerness to submit the damn thing before it’s fully cooked, I’ve decided to adopt a more mature approach. I’ve gone back to school. Well, at least online.

I’ve signed up for a LitReactor course to master the mechanics of short storytelling in the hope that after seven days I can compile an anthology of tales for my next book.

I shall let you know how I get on, suffice to say that after day one I realise the short story form is one that requires the least ink-age but possibly the most amount of think-age. Who would have known!


Topics: General musings, Writing tips | 1 Comment »

Elephant wee…

By Joe | May 1, 2014


2013 was an interesting year. One in which I learned many useful things, such as:

Not a lot I can do about the first two, but in the spirit of self-improvement I will avail to put the last two right. In the meantime, I’d like to point you in the direction of someone who is very good at blogging, and also very good at interviewing authors… so lead the way, top editor Danielle Wrate, with an insight into how I got into writing…


Topics: General musings, Life in general, Writing tips | 2 Comments »

Why I talk to spoons.

By Joe | April 10, 2014



Always nice to be considered a ‘successful’ something or other. I guess we all have our own markers as to what success means but I’m not so sure it’s as black and white as ‘successful’ or ‘not successful’. There are degrees. Yes, my first book did very well, much better than I expected so I guess in that respect it was successful. But am I a successful author? Different question altogether.
If you mean can I live off my author income, the answer is no, especially with two children in tow and an old farmhouse in constant need of repair.
On the other hand, have I had a book that became a bestseller in its genre? Well, yes, I’d consider I’ve been successful in that respect.
Anyway, I was recently interviewed by the Alliance of Independent Authors regarding the steps to my ‘success’ and to provide tips for other writers, both indie and traditionally published. One of those tips involved a conversation with cutlery. So here it is:


Topics: General musings, Life in general, More Ketchup than Salsa, Writing tips | No Comments »


By Joe | November 5, 2013

finally_logo_tnWell, after a great deal of procrastination, hand-wringing and floor-pacing, the sequel to More Ketchup than Salsa has finally been born.
Even More Ketchup than Salsa: The Final Dollop carries on from where the first book left off, and although a lot darker than the original, I’m hoping it still provides a few snortles and chortles.
Anyhoos, you can buy it right - and if you do, it would be mighty fine if you’d let me know how you got on with it, preferably via an Amazon review.
The print version should be out at the beginning of December, just in time for you to stick a big bow on it and give it to your nearest and dearest.
Oh… and look out for the surprise gifty thing at the back of the book. Saying no more.

Topics: General musings | 1 Comment »

The Next Big Thing after The Next Big Thing

By Joe | December 19, 2012

I’ve been kindly asked to participate in a global writerly project called ‘The Next Big Thing. Naturally the next big thing is the End of the World, so this is really The Next Big Thing After The Next Big Thing. It’s where writers from different parts of the planet answer the same ten questions about a work in progress.

The writer who passed the baton on to me was the very talented (and equally amiable) Karin Bachmann. You can nosey into her background and writing here.
So here goes:

What is the working title of your book?
Even More Ketchup than Salsa. Took me ages to come up with that one. I mean, what else could you call a sequel to More Ketchup than Salsa? Answers on a postcard please.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Surprisingly it came from the first one. More Ketchup than Salsa covered the first six months of our calamitous career in overseas catering. Even More… continues the story and guarantees more laughs and even more tears. Ok… maybe not guarantees… but certainly ‘tries very hard to provide…’
What genre does your book fall under?
Humour. And Travel. It’s a kind of humorous travel narrative. With romance.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
Martin Freeman for me, and Joanna Page (Stacy in Gavin & Stacy) for Joy.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A young, inexperienced couple borrow money to forsake a career in fish entrails on a cold British market for life as British bar owners abroad.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Currently talking to agents so watch this space.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
First draft of More Ketchup took six months. First draft of Even More Ketchup is taking several lifetimes and is still not complete. Yet.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Driving Over Lemons, but for the everyday man.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Bill Bryson… author, wit and God-like genius with words.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s all true.

I now pass the baton to the marvelously talented and slightly deranged Tony James Slater, author of recommended funny read ‘That Bear Ate My Pants‘.

Topics: General musings | 2 Comments »

The Making of Even More Ketchup than Salsa

By Joe | October 25, 2012


Well who would have thought writing a sequel was so difficult… and wallet-draining!

Despite rash promises that the follow-up to More Ketchup than Salsa would be ready June, July, August, October and now Christmas… my little stubby fingers can’t work fast enough to finish other projects and put the finishing touches to the sequel. On top of that, the expense involved in launching a sequel properly is more than I anticipated… so, I had two choices; finish it in my spare time and launch it quietly, or block out some time by turning down other projects and launch it with enough of a bang that it can compete with the big boys of publishing on even ground.

Having decided on the big bang theory, I’ve launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise some funding for such things as professional editing, cover design, marketing and print costs. I have no idea how it will work, but basically anybody that can help either by supporting the cause with a pledge and/or by spreading the word will be richly rewarded with anything ranging from a personal and public social media thanks to having your name appear in the book to actually appearing as a character in the book. If you’re a business, you can even take out a full page ad at the back of both the print and Kindle book.

Anyways, if you’d like to learn more head on over to my Indiegogo campaign and join Team Author’ toute de suite… if not tooter.

And a mighty big thanks if you do decide to get involved. My love for you will grow immensely.

Topics: General musings, More Ketchup than Salsa | 3 Comments »

Doh! Giving it away!

By Joe | September 12, 2012

As much as it pains me, I’m giving away the Kindle version of my bestseller, More Ketchup than Salsa, today and tomorrow as a promo experiment through Amazon’s KDP Select programme. Time will tell if it was a master stroke of marketing or a complete dumb-ass way to bring attention to the book.

For those who do download it for free, don’t feel any pressure whatsoever to leave a review and click that little ‘Like’ button at, .com, .es etc. It only took me six months of blood, sweat and toil to churn out 100,000 words (mostly in the right order), open my soul to the public humiliation of cocking up bar ownership and face the wrath of those numpties named and shamed in the book.

So no… don’t feel you have to give anything at all back, not even for the £1.99 I’ve saved you. £1.99 that would have gone to paying the bills, feeding my kids and that sort of thing. Today, when my kids sit at the table in front of an empty soup bowl, I’ll explain that I ‘gave away’ my book, and thus their food… just because I’m a nice guy… not at all because I want something back. I’m sure they’ll understand.

But if I find out that you have downloaded my book for free, depriving my kids of food for a day and NOT left a review and clicked the ‘Like’ button… well, let’s just say Sam and Molly Blue will have you in their Nerf gun sights. Just saying.

Topics: General musings, More Ketchup than Salsa | 9 Comments »

I need you!

By Joe | July 23, 2012

Would be mighty obliged if you could take a minute to head over to 50 Kisses, take a quick read of my 2-page screenplay then vote using the stars at the top… and even leave your thoughts in the comments bit if you’ve got a bit of spare time.
Not going to spoil it for you, but the plot involves murder, suicide and Valentine’s Day all in two pages!!
Click and vote here… this writer needs you!

Topics: General musings | 1 Comment »

Tenerife fires

By Joe | July 20, 2012

Normally nice and quiet up here in the Tenerife mountains, but not during the last few days. Due to the mountain fires behind us the skies have been awash with helicopters and hydro planes on constant rotation trying to quell the flames.
Every five minutes I get a nice refreshing shower courtesy of the spillage from the underhanging buckets. Not much chance to get any writing done with all the excitement, but hats off to Tenerife’s firemen (mostly volunteers) who have worked day and night to get the situation under control. Thankfully they now seem to be winning.
This is a little video taken from my garden showing the helicopters queueing up to dip in a water tank on the other side of the barranco.

Topics: General musings, Tenerife | 3 Comments »

Amazon Kindle Marketing Tips

By Joe | April 14, 2012

With More Ketchup than Salsa currently riding high in the Amazon UK Kindle charts…

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #264 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

…I’ve been asked to post a few tips as to how to market your book for this medium.

But first, I think it’s worth mentioning just what a jolly good fellow Amazon Kindle is for authors.

Self-publishing has been around since the first slab of stone was etched and passed round grunting hunters. Thankfully, it’s evolved a little now.

Up till around two or three years ago, ‘proper’ authors viewed the DIY lot with about as much regard as something they found soiling  their sandals. But many contracted authors are wishing they hadn’t signed their lunch vouchers over to publishing houses. And why? Because it’s so damn easy to self-publish… and perhaps more importantly, is potentially a lot more rewarding.

Compare the standard 10-12% royalty rates with a publishing house paperback with the 70% royalties you get from Amazon Kindle. Also bear in mind that you can have a whole library of your works for sale on the same electronic shelf, not be at the whim of a publishing house who like to do things one very small step at a time.

Naturally, as with any ‘business’, marketing is the key. Which brings me back to the point of this post… ‘finally’, I hear you sighing!


Get some reviews on your book page. Ideally those that don’t say your a book is a load of crap. Badger friends, family, work colleagues and your pets. When you’ve amassed a few, make sure you put them above the production description blurb (see the link to my page on Amazon below). Unfortunately, even though you as the author might think your writing is the best thing since Mothers Pride, it’s what other’s think that holds most weight. So make sure your prospective buyer has the ‘others think it’s good box’ ticked straight away.

#2 coming soon.

You can buy More Ketchup than Salsa for your Kindle here, or for your ipad, iphone, pc/laptop and other reading device here.


Topics: General musings, Writing tips | 4 Comments »

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