2nd July, 2021: This month’s charitable donations from book sales went to: PDSA, Battersea Cats & Dogs Home, and Islay Dog Rescue.
29th June, 2021: It’s been a good couple of weeks for my latest book, Lesser Spotted Classics.
It started with a very positive review in the July special issue of Auto Express. This was followed by a smashing review in Free Car Magazine, courtesy of James Ruppert, and finally by a stonking review on Petrolblog, Gavin Braithwaite-Smith’s highly regarded website. Both James and Gavin are very accomplished and successful writers, so their positive evaluations of the book mean a great deal to both Russ Wallis, who formatted the book and supplied its excellent illustrations, and me.
You can pick up a copy from Amazon or I can supply one to you directly. Either way, the price is £6.50 plus postage – reckoned by those who’ve reviewed the book to be a bargain. And to top that, 25% of the royalties earned by Russ and me will go to charity.
My previous books, The Ultimate Unofficial F1 Quiz Book* and The Ultimate Classic Car Quiz Book*, are just as good. They’re also available from Amazon but, being larger and therefore rather more expensive to print, each comes in at £8.00 plus postage. And as sales of them also generate money for charity, what’s not to like…
* Don’t be misled by their names, these are not your standard, regular, everyday quiz books. Rather, they’re a fusion of two genres: quiz book and history book.
18th June, 2021: A favourable review of Lesser Spotted Classics has appeared in the July Special issue of Auto Express magazine. The reviewer’s conclusion, that it’s “a bargain”, is very much in line with the uniformly positive feedback that Russ and I have received about it. You can pick up a copy here.
5th June, 2021: This month’s charitable donations from book royalties have gone to the PDSA and to an animal sanctuary in Portugal run by a truly remarkable lady.
28th May, 2021: Lesser Spotted Classics, my new book (with illustrator Russ Wallis) is finally out. A description can be found here.
4th May, 2021: This month’s donations from book sale royalties went in equal amounts to the Ayrshire Hospice and the UNICEF Vaccinaid appeal. If you can donate a few quid to a good cause or causes then please do so.
28th April, 2021: My new book, a joint production with illustrator Russ Wallis, will be out in May. Here’s the cover…
8th April, 2021: Some words about The Ultimate Classic Car Quiz Book appear in this week’s edition of Classic Car Weekly. In other news, the book is almost finished. Give it another 7 days and the principal writing will be done. More details about it, including the title, will be disclosed soon – i.e. as soon as I come up with a good title for it!
1st April, 2021: This month’s royalty payment was received a bit earlier in the month than usual. As it was based on book sales in January, it was a *bit* smaller than last month. Even so, enough was received to enable me to make donations to Dementia UK and Islay Dog Rescue (Ayrshire).
13th March, 2021: This month’s royalty payment is from book sales in December. Consequently, it’s a bit bigger than usual, which means that I was able to make donations to seven charities this month: the PDSA, Blue Cross, Erskine Hospital, Four Paws UK, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Help for Heroes and Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Centre.
6th February, 2021: Work is now underway on my next book. It should be out in a couple of months. For now, though, all I can say is that it’s about classic cars.
2nd February, 2021: This month’s charitable donations from book royalty payments have gone to The Donkey Sanctuary and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. In addition, I will purchase a quantity of food and donate it to a local foodbank later this week.
1st February, 2021: Remember I said that one of the new projects was a little different? Well, it’s a podcast. I’ll be presenting it with a noted motoring writer, and it’ll be going live just as soon as we’ve got a few episodes in the can. More details very soon.
19th January, 2021: Two new projects are in the offing. One is a book that – shock, horror – isn’t about cars, and the other is, well, something a little different. More details in due course.
19th January, 2021: Another write-up in Classic Car Weekly to report. This one’s about an extremely well looked after BMW 740i that’s currently on the market. The photo doesn’t do justice to the car, being taken on a somewhat grotty day when my flashgun pointedly refused to work (hint: they don’t like being dropped).
6th January, 2021: My write-up on a rather lovely Capri 280 ‘Brooklands’ that’s currently up for sale can found in this week’s edition of Classic Car Weekly.
6th January, 2021: This month’s charitable payment from book royalties has gone to the de Havilland Aircraft Museum.
17th December, 2020: ‘The Lost Highway’, a collection of six spooky short stories written by me is now available as an Ebook from Amazon. Yours for £1.80, guv…
11th December, 2020: I recently drove two rather lovely classics for Classic Car Weekly, one of which generated a lot of positive reaction from other motorists. What could it be? It’s the…ah, no, it’d be more than my life’s worth to tell you what it is. Well, before my write-up is published, that is. In other news, I should be testing another pair of desirable classics this side of Christmas.
11th December, 2020: A bit of a blast from the past here: an article written by me in 2019 about the Bohanna Stables Nymph (which so nearly became Chrysler Europe’s equivalent of the Mini Moke) has surfaced, with an additional contribution by the mag’s staff writer, in the January, 2020 issue of Complete Kit Car.
2nd December, 2020: The third royalty payment from sales of The Ultimate Unofficial F1 Quiz Book has been donated to the Salvation Army (66.7%) and Islay Dog Rescue (33.3%).
12th November, 2020: The new book is almost ready. I’.m halfway through th.e editing process and should finish it over the weekend. All being well, it’ll be submitted to Amazon on Monday. It’ll make a cracking Xmas present…
12th November, 2020: A few words from me appear in this week’s edition of Classic Car Weekly. The subject: a 1987 Jaguar XJ40 that’s currently for sale in Edinburgh.
6th November, 2020: Some more details about the new book. It’s about cars from the 1960s to the 1990s and follows the same format as The Ultimate Unofficial F1 Quiz Book. It’s therefore both a quiz and a history book, with the questions being accompanied by answers that offer information (be it facts, stats, trivia or a combination thereof) about the cars, companies, people and popular culture of that time. It’s fun and informative, and at least 25% of my royalties from it will go to charity. Oh, and it’ll be out later this month…
4th November, 2020: My new book, details of which will be revealed in a few days time, should be available from Amazon later this month. As with the The Ultimate Unofficial F1 Quiz Book, a proportion (at least 25%) of my royalties from the book will go to charity. The same will be true of the book after that (due in December) and every book I write thereafter.
4th November, 2020: The second royalty payment from sales of The Ultimate Unofficial F1 Quiz Book has been donated in equal shares to the PDSA and Blue Cross. Next month’s payment will be split between The Salvation Army and a local charity, and the payment after that will go to the de Havilland Aircraft Museum. Neither Marcus, who did the cover illustration and the illustrations in the Ebook, nor I have thus far taken a penny from sales of the book.
29th September, 2020: My first royalty payment from sales of The Ultimate Unofficial F1 Quiz Book has now been received. It wasn’t a King’s Ransom, being as it only covered the first three or four days of the book going on sale, so I decided to donate all (rather than half) of it to charity. The recipient was Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Centre, who do great work in caring for sick and injured wildlife. I know times are hard for many people, but if you can find a spare couple of quid then please donate it to one of the many charities that do wonderful, if often unheralded, work. You’ll feel the better for it.
7th September, 2020: The Ultimate Unofficial F1 Quiz Book is now available in paperback from Amazon. It costs £8.00 plus postage.
If you’re wondering why it costs twice as much as the Ebook then allow me to enlighten you: printing costs make up nearly half the cost of the book, on top of which there’s Amazon’s fee, which is rather steeper for printed media than for Ebooks. I won’t say how much it is, but here’s a hint: I receive more than twice as much in royalties from the sale of an Ebook as I do from the sale of a paperback.
Price isn’t the only difference between the two versions of the book. Printing the paperback in colour would have cost around 4 times the cost of black and white printing. This meant, alas, that Marcus’s lovely colour images of F1 cars had to go. I did consider including them as black and white images but the test results were so disappointing that removing them from the paperback edition was the better option.
To atone for the absence of the images, the paperback contains some extra content – a dozen very tricky list-type questions. There may be someone out there who could answer them all correctly without cheating, but I doubt it…
The first royalty payment from the book should reach me in a little over three weeks, whereupon I’ll make over half of it to charity. Obviously, the more copies that are sold, the more money that will go to charity.
14th August, 2020: Some very kind words from James Ruppert, the doyen of motoring writers and the nicest man in motoring journalism, can be found here: https://www.freecarmag.com/the-ultimate-unofficial-f1-quiz-book
9th August, 2020: I did say that I’d tell you how you can buy an Ebook directly from me, didn’t I? Well, here goes…
If you have a Kindle E-reader, Kindle Fire tablet or use the Kindle app, you’ll also have a Kindle e-mail address to which a copy of the book can be sent directly. It’s quick, simple and easy, and it means that more of the sale price will go to charity – around £1.80 per book as opposed to £1 if you buy the book from Amazon.
Obviously, the first thing to do is to ascertain your Kindle email address. This link shows you how.
Once you’ve done that, the next step is to send me an email using the contact page on this website. Make sure to include the email address you use for Paypal, so that I can send you an invoice. Pay the invoice, making sure to include your Kindle email address so that I can send the book to you.
After that, there’s one final step: you’ll receive an automated email from Amazon Kindle Support asking that you verify the request for The Ultimate Unofficial F1 Quiz Book to be sent to your Kindle device. Left click on the ‘Verify Request’ button and the book will automatically be uploaded.
Of course, if you’d rather buy it from Amazon then that’s fine too. It’s good to have options.
7th August, 2020: My Ebook, The Ultimate Unofficial F1 Quiz Book (try saying that after a couple of pints), has now been out for a week. It’s available from Amazon and is suitable for Kindle E-readers, Kindle Fire tablets and, if you don’t have one of the aforementioned, on the Kindle app.
Even though I do say so myself, it’s an original, fun and informative book that’s crammed with facts, stats and trivia about Formula One from 1950 to the present day. With over 50,000 words and some excellent illustrations by Marcus Ward, it’s terrific value at £4. And remember: I am donating half of my income from sales of the book to charity.
26th July, 2020: Coming before the end of July…
25th July, 2020: After much faffing around, the Ebook is finished. I won’t bore you with tales of trying to format a book of its type for Kindle, so let’s move on to the book itself.
It’s got a title: “The Ultimate Unofficial F1 Quiz Book” and will be available for sale via Amazon (or directly from me if you have a Kindle – I’ll explain how in the next day or so) by the end of this month. The price will be £4 and half of my income from it will go to charity.
More details will be uploaded in a day or two, when the book gets its own section on this website. Meantime, I’ll reveal this much: it isn’t just a quiz book. Far from it…
6th May, 2020: The book (an E-book, to be precise) is running a bit late – no surprise given how much work has gone into it. It will, however, be ready sometime this month. As for the subject matter, let’s just say that I’ve followed F1 for a long time…
23rd March, 2020: With Covid-19 having been spread so widely to such horrible effect, it’s unlikely that too many new commissions will be coming my way soon. So with that in mind, I’ve decided to finish a book that I started a while ago but never quite completed. I won’t say too much about it yet (don’t want to hex it) but it’ll be a fun and informative book for those interested in a certain sport. Better still, I’ll be donating half of my income from it to help those badly affected by the current crisis. It’ll take about a month to complete the book, whereupon I’ll tell you everything you need to know about it.
22nd March, 2020: Another couple of published articles to intimate: a feature for Classic Car Weekly about a Piper P2 that’s had the same owner for 43 years, and a multi-page spread in Absolute Lotus about an Elan M100 that’s part of a limited edition within a limited edition…
5th March, 2020: A quick round-up of some of my recent articles in Classic Car Weekly. First up was a feature on an early 90s Range Rover Vogue SE that was for sale in Edinburgh. Next came a feature about the only Matra M530 ever to have been registered as new in the UK – a cracking car that couldn’t have asked for a better owner. And to top that lot off was an article about a 1992 Mercedes 300 SL-24 for sale in Edinburgh – a peach of car. Next up? Watch this space…
20th February, 2020: A one-page feature on Warren King, long-time Lotus employee who rose from accounts clerk to group accountant, and the lovely Elan M100 that he’s owned from new appears in this week’s edition of Classic Car Weekly.
24th November, 2019: Nothing new to report in terms of published material, but there are a few pieces with publishers and several more in varying states of preparation. All will be revealed (gulp!) in due course. For now, though, here’s an image of a pre-production Elan M100, taken nearly three decades after Mike Kimberely pulled the dust sheets off it at the 1989 Motor Show. Guess which idiot passed up the chance to buy it for peanuts back in 2010/11…
1st November, 2019: Only one motor racing circuit in the UK is licensed for racing in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions: Knockhill. Impressive though that is, it’s got a lot more going for it than just that, as I explain in this article for Influx.
23rd October, 2019: More Lotus-related words – this time they’re about the first production Esprit and its owner. You’ll find them (and some photos, natch) in this week’s issue of Classic Car Weekly.
16th October, 2019: My latest scribble for Influx is about a simple vehicle that gave sterling service over many years: the invalid trike.
7th October, 2019: More new scribbles are on the way, including a piece about Knockhill, the only circuit in the UK to run races in both clockwise and anti-clockwise directions – though not at the same time, I hasten to add…
2nd October, 2019: Yup, it’s the Matra Rancho again. But this time it’s told from the perspective of a man who bought his first Rancho in 1984 and has owned the same one since 1988. Want to know more? Just pick up a copy of this week’s issue of Classic Car Weekly and your thirst for knowledge will be sated.
30th September, 2019: My Lotus-centric write-up about this year’s Bo’ness Revival can be found nestling among the glossy pages of Absolute Lotus magazine, along with several photos of Lotuses in action. To mark the occasion, here’s one of the images that didn’t make the editorial cut.
17th September, 2019: I paid a visit to the BTCC at the Knockhill circuit in Fife last weekend. Needless to say, some words shall follow in due course…
17th September, 2019: The new Jim Clark Motorsport Museum at Duns pays tribute to one of the greatest (if not the greatest) racing drivers ever to have lived. In this article, I explain why he’s still revered more than 50 years after his death and why you should visit the museum.
11th September, 2019: Some words about – and photos from – the 2019 Bo’ness Revival can be found in this week’s issue of Classic Car Weekly. To celebrate my return to the pages of said journal, here’s a photo taken just as the weather at Bo’ness cleared up on the first day of the event.
4th September, 2019: I covered last weekend’s Bo’ness Revival for Classic Car Weekly and Absolute Lotus. The resulting articles should appear in the next issues of each publication. Most of my best photographs have gone to the above publications, but here’s a couple of decent-ish ones for now.
2nd September, 2019: Here’s one that’s slipped under the radar: a new piece for those awfully nice Influx people. In no particular order, it features a radical engine designed by a man who never held a driving licence, a car that looks like someone’s spilt its pint, the soundtrack of the all-France knitting championships, and Yuri Gagarin’s daily driver. Possibly.
29th August, 2019: Back at Duns today for the official opening of the Jim Clark Motorsport Museum by Sir Jackie Stewart. Words and pictures will appear on http://www.influx.co.uk in due course.
24th August, 2019: My accreditation has come through for the Knockhill rounds of the BTCC, so I’ll be trackside with my trusty Kodak Instamatic come 14th and 15th September.
19th August, 2019: Twelve days to go until this year’s Bo’ness Revival. It’s an excellent event and one not to be missed if you’re within reasonable travelling range of Borrowstounness on the banks of the Forth. I’ll be covering it (words and photos) for a couple of publications. Details will follow in due course, but meantime here’s a couple of my photos from previous Revivals.
15th August, 2019: I can now reveal that I’ve written another piece about, you guessed it, a mid-engined car. This one is for Classic Car Weekly and the car concerned is a very important one indeed. I’ll confirm the publication date as soon as I’m able to.
8th August, 2019: I did allude to another article about a mid-engined car, didn’t I? Well, that car is the rather wonderful AC 3000 ME and you can read about it here. Meantime, here’s a photo of one to whet your appetite…
2nd August, 2019: My two-page article about the opening of the new Jim Clark Motorsport Museum can be found in issue 9 (September/October 2019) of Absolute Lotus magazine, available now from good newsagents and direct from the publishers. Meantime, here are a couple of my photos from the museum that didn’t make the magazine…
21st July, 2019: If you like mid-engined cars (and you should) then be sure to check out my next article for Influx, for there ye shall find a lovely but rather underappreciated member of the species. The article kicks off with a quotation from a poem by Robert Burns, although I’m pretty sure that he wasn’t thinking of mid-engined sports cars when he put quill to paper…
10th July, 2019: The time when you could pick up a brand new mid-engined sports car for the price of a family hack has long gone, probably never to return. And that’s a pity, as I explain in my latest article for Influx.
8th July, 2019: I had the privilege of attending the preview of the new Jim Clark Motorsport Museum in Duns, Scotland, on 6th July. My thoughts on the museum (very positive ones, lest you be wondering) will appear, with photos, in the next issue of Absolute Lotus magazine. Meantime, here’s a photo of a very special Lotus Elan that was parked outside the museum. A much more interesting, and poignant, photo of it will hopefully appear in Absolute Lotus.
1st July, 2019: Another new piece for Influx is on the horizon. The only clue I can offer is that cars of the type featured in it have long since fallen out of favour with high-volume manufacturers, more’s the pity.
26th June, 2019: The Renault Avantime was both the herald of a future that never arrived and a commercial disaster. How it did come to be and what’s it really like? You’ll find some of the answers in my latest piece for Influx.
13th June, 2019: As a certain Sheriff (judge) whose name might be Miller used to say: ‘rules is rules’. Which is fine IF you happen to know the rules, but rather less so if you don’t. So with that in mind, those awfully nice people at Influx (with some input from a motley assortment of scribblers, including yours truly) have posted the 100 rules of motoring to help on your way.
10th June, 2019: My latest piece can be found within the glossy pages of Absolute Lotus magazine, available from all good newsagents.
27th May, 2019: Nearly extinct now, the Matra Rancho far surpassed its makers expectations and became a seminal car. Its story is told here.
30th April, 2019: Yeah, you guessed it…another new article has been completed and submitted for publication. Details to follow in due course…
16th April, 2019: Another month, another new article? Hell, no – make that another week… And this one’s about a small car from the noughties that might just point the way forward for sports cars in our ever more heavily legislated world.
10th April, 2019: Another month, another new article. This one’s about one of my favourite movies, The Italian Job. And, no, I don’t mean that loud, vulgar American remake featuring the former leader of the, and I quote, Funky Bunch…
4th March, 2019: another new scribble from yours truly for those awfully nice Influx people. This time it’s about rag-tops. Cars, that is, not scantily clad humans…
And to whet your appetite here’s a photo of one of the cars featured:
20 February, 2019: my latest epistle (well, it was at the time) can now be seen within the virtual pages of Influx. Care to guess what it’s about?