Thursday, November 1, 2012


This what I am currently involved with: the first novel in a trilogy called Hawkwind. It is published as an ebook on Kindle (with a paper version, a pbook, out before Christmas).  A Kobo version will follow soon. The book is fast-paced and full of thrills and humour, with  a little romance on the side. Suitable for ladies as well as gents. You have six individual heroic characters to root for and fall in love with. If you enjoy it half as much as I did writing it, then you'll die happy. But not before reading the other books; Beach of Blood, chasing an agent with the plans for the secret D-Day invasion, and The Iron Peace, post war Berlin and Soviet spies.

A WWII heroic thriller set in the German-occupied Channel Islands.
It could be the most outrageous bunch of heroes you've ever met: fearless American airman Curtis Olson; reckless RAF pilot Hartley-Penrose; two merciless Resistance fighters, Claude and knife-wielding Marie-Claire; gruff, tough commando Sam Haines; and bi-polar spymaster Eric Baker. All stranded on the heavily fortified island of Guernsey - and all desperate to escape.
But Operation Hawkwind orders them to kidnap a visiting high-ranking German officer, whose capture will drastically change the course of the war. Yet they only have 24 hours before he leaves. So now these reluctant heroes - even more reluctant when they discover the officer’s identity - are forced into a critical race against the clock as they try to get to the closely guarded VIP. Their chances of kidnapping him and escaping with their lives grow slim as the hours flash by. Eventually, after numerous failed attempts, they meet up in a suicidal confrontation.

But a new revelation changes everything.

YouTube promo: Peter Tong Island of Steel       Web:



Isn’t it always the same? Whenever something new, especially if revolutionary and therefore possibly quite strange, comes along, the majority of us ignore it like an irritating fad too foolish to acknowledge. Others inquisitively take notice, read the blurb, nod wisely, but carry on as before. However a few pioneers totally embrace it without a seconds thought, making whatever is innovative the centre of their lives.

E-books are like that, wouldn’t you say?

A fervent bookworm friend of mine was given an e-reader for his birthday. He was so intimidated by it that he didn’t unwrap it for two weeks. Then he reluctantly toyed with it for another week, downloading a free book. Read a bit. Put it down. Read a couple of paper books – p-books. Picked it up again. Browsed awhile longer; finally switching it off with lingering uncertainty. And then…


He was off. He couldn’t get enough of it. ‘There’s something so compelling about it,’ he said. ‘The screen is the size of a paperback and weighs the same or even less. I have a dozen or more books on it and it’s still the same weight! I’m also trying to reduce my reliance on reading glasses, so I just increased the font size. It’s incredible!’

Suddenly he’s a happier, more enriched reader. He still reads p-books, especially hardbacks, for they have undeniable tactile significance: the touch of quality paper, the rich smell of print, the intriguing dust jacket, and its status on the shelf. But more and more, the ease of e-reading, especially for the traveller, is gaining ground. Where would overloaded commuters be without them? They are now part of our techno-gizmo generation.

For those who actually read books, of course.

Ah, but that last sardonic remark is being contradicted, for seldom-reading gadget kids are now reading books because that’s obviously the purpose of an e-reader, another must-have along with iphones and ipads of the iwant society.

However, now let’s take an objective view at e-books vs. p-books.

The paper book is totally self-contained and sustainable - once the trees that made it have been replaced. But it is easily ripped and creased by careless use. Spilled water bloats the paper and distorts it. Deadly fire destroys it in seconds. And Philistines dog-ear its wisdom-filled pages. Yet, if mollycoddled, the same book is read and reread for years, acquiring a special charm, becoming a friend, as cosy and comforting as a pet on your lap.

But no plastic e-reader can seriously swell the heart with dignity and respect, can it? Will we see one stand proudly on a library shelf along with its peers? Silly notion, for each e-reader is a library in itself, and will soon store thousands of titles, old and new. All knowledge will be contained therein. But if you drop it, whoops, you’ve lost the lot. And if you forget to charge the little beast with its electrical nourishment, it becomes just another disposable gadget that doesn’t work, your invaluable books locked away inside this slim, sleek, and damned useless fancy case!

And can the precious metals clawed from the suffering earth required to build it be replaced? Not from this planet, unless technology changes - as it usual does, given time and incentive.

P-books can have important comments scribbled on the margins. But e-readers have a facility to make as many notes as words in the e-book itself. Elegant bookmarks enhance the p-book, although a button will permanently bookmark any e-book page. And not fall out. Another button will turn the page, and advanced ones allow you to sweep a finger to do it. P-books require external light to read them, while e-readers have a built-in light source so you can read in a power cut.

Now, you can’t really give an e-book for a present, can you? An e-reader, yes, but generally only one per person, until a new model becomes an essential substitute. But p-books are the mainstay of gift giving. When you have chosen one, what greater pleasure is there than writing a personal loving message inside? However no one can seriously scratch a meaningful dedication on an e-reader, can they?

Everything has it place and purpose, let’s admit. Books of fiction and non-fiction with just words are fine as e-books. And big p-books with glossy photos and fold-out pages are perfect for coffee tables. Students need to be surrounded by reference books they can jump from book to book and back again. Alongside googling on an Internet connected handheld device, of course.

Children’s books: no doubt, some large ipads will contain big colourful pictures and big print as current p-books do. But can you love Pooh Bear or the Gruffalo the same? (And please don’t use the television analogy when the kiddies are being settled to sleep) But anything is possible, I suppose. And very probable.

As for myself, I haven’t got an e-reader yet. I download e-books onto my laptop, and snuggle up on cold dark nights in a warm bed with it, all the while lovingly stroking one of my trusted old paper volumes as I read.

And fall asleep with e-dreams of an exciting if unsettling ever-inventive future.