Saturday, 9 April 2016

I must be doing something right.

After the last post, I had more hits in a day than I normally get in a month.  From the stats it is mainly from peeps on FB who saw my link and the picture of the new book cover.  Its a shame that the book is going to take so long to get published.  I know there are a lot of graphics and it has to go through an editor but it seems strange that when I publish one of my novels I can upload it for sale as a Kindle and paperback in 12 hours yet this 'mainstream' publication will take 12 months!!!  Anyway, just to remind people that I have six novels about the Fleet Air Arm and Royal Navy (including 815 Squadron in the first one), all based on bits of my own career but mainly made up to make them interesting.  So here is another gratuitous book cover - with a Lynx on it.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Lynx book cover

Well  my publishers have been quite quick in some ways and have just sent me the first draft of the cover for the new book.  I have to say I think it looks pretty good but always welcome feedback.  There is plenty of time to make changes as the actual book is going to take at least another 11 months before it appears.  I was hoping for 9 months but apparently because I put some many pictures in it, its going to take a little longer.  In some ways its not a bad thing as this will tie in with the decommission of the aircraft next March.  I've already had to send this draft back as there is one error about one of the photos - if anyone spots it just leave a comment.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Another literary milestone.

First draft of the Lynx book was despatched to the publishers today.  There is one more addition to make.  I was meant to be flying last Wednesday with 815 Squadron to have a final trip in a Mark 8 but managed to select the only day of the week with a Force 10 and low cloud.  Hopefully next Wednesday will be better.  Either way, I wanted to get things going with the publisher and the RN PR people who have to clear the book.  If I actually get airborne I can add the last bit in due course.
The book has been a labour of love and incredibly time consuming especially considering that most of it consists of contributions from other people.  The process of contacting them, 'coercing' them to contribute and then getting the input into a consistent format has not been easy.  However, I must offer a really big thank you to everyone who came up trumps.  Of course I now have to deal with the publishers and have no idea what changes etc they will want.
Publication apparently takes about 9 months which means a launch around Christmas but I am trying to tie it in with various things that the Navy are doing as the Lynx retires.  I am really hoping to get everyone together for a few beers at an appropriate time.
So on with Jon Hunt 7..................

One of my problems is that I've been given so many brilliant photos its been really hard to choose them.  Here's one that I didn't use.

Friday, 5 February 2016

I've been commiting aviation (almost)

As part of the end chapter of my book about the Lynx I want to write a personal account of what the latest Mark 8 is like compared to the Mark 2s and 3s I flew.  Yesterday I was lucky enough to get a ride in the Mark 8 simulator at Yeovilton.  I'm still working on a trip in a real one but the sim was very useful at letting me see all the new electronic gizmos in action.  In the earlier machine, the radar was pure analog and to plot targets the Observer literally had to use a chinagraph pencil on a plastic overlay over the screen and join of the dots over a period of time.  Also the Sea Skua missile could be fired at 9 miles which was great for keeping out of the way of a target's self defence systems but meant you couldn't actually identify what you were firing at - not good.  The Mark 8 now has the radar digitised and fed into a large tactical display which can also show the picture from the Passive Electro Optic thingy on the nose which can easily identify ships at 9 miles.
It was great fun seeing all this working and made me realise how bloody easy it would be for the poor old pilot to get stuck into watching what was on the displays to the detriment of what was going on outside - which is a long winded way of saying I almost flew the thing into the water! I'm not sure that the workload is any higher than in my day but without doubt the results are going to be far more comprehensive and effective.
But of course the real problem with the simulator was that the visuals can only be seen through the main windows and the overhead panels are blank.  This may not seem like much of an issue but when returning to your ship and beating her up, you really need to be able to see the ship when you are almost completely inverted in a wingover, in order to line up properly!!  It was nice to find out I hadn't forgotten how to fly the thing completely..........

There were lots of ways to re-join the ship but it was always worth waking up the bridge staff.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Lynx book almost done

Well the first draft that is. Which is why I've not been blogging much as it seems to have taken over my life for the last few weeks.   I'm still looking for an account of counter drug operations in the Caribbean and I've one last Falklands Lynx flight to contribute (you know who you are). Then there will be the final chapter. What I want to do is a personal comparison of what the aircraft was like to fly in the early days and what it is like now.  This of course is all part of my cunning plan to get a trip in a Mark 8 - something that I am working on with the squadron (no really - its not just an excuse to go blasting around the sky in a Lynx once more!)  I've also got a trip in the Lynx simulator booked and want to use that to see how on earth the current aircrew cope with all the buttons they have to press these days - and there are a lot.
After that I'm about 20,000 words into the next Jon Hunt novel but it really seems that writing non fiction and fiction concurrently is almost impossible.  So once I've got the draft off to the publishers its back to the non real world of novels - the Balkans conflict this time.

A Lynx Mark 8 cockpit.  The driver's side is relatively unchanged but the big centre screen and the two panels in the middle weren't there in the Mark 2 and 3.  Nor were the very clever radios just below them.  The only things I recognise are the radar - on the left and the Orange Crop radar warner above the large TV screen.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Cocaine - now available as an audio book

It was actually released just before Christmas but I forgot I needed to announce it as I'm up to my ears in the Lynx book, the new Jon Hunt novel as well as narrating 'Arapaho'. And then there was Christmas and New Year to get in the way!! Who said retirement was boring.  I must be doing something right as I've already sold ten copies.  If anyone reading this thinks they are expensive on Audible they are also available on ITunes and significantly cheaper.  With audio books, unlike Kindles and paperbacks, I don't set the price, the retailer does so I have no control but it does seem weird to me as Audible is an Amazon company and they normally a very rigorous at price matching.  Right back to work.........

Not totally relevant to the book but a really cool photo sent to me by one of my contributors to the book on the Lynx.  Its two Mark 8 Lynx in the hangar of one of our new Type 45 destroyers HMS Dragon -  sort of like the two aircraft in the hangar of HMS Chester in the book.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

I've been a busy little Hector

With all this work on the book about the Lynx, I've also managed to narrate the next book in the Jon Hunt series - 'Cocaine'.  Doing a Chapter a day soon eats up the time and I hate to say it but its a while since I visited the book and I actually quite enjoyed reading it - even if I knew what was coming next!!  Silverton Audio, my brilliant producers have just given me a sample of the first 25 minutes and it sounds outstanding.  Quite how they take my crackly unprofessional soundtrack and turn it round so well is amazing.  So it should be out in the New Year.  Only seven more to go - or eight if I finish the new Jon Hunt novel in the meantime.