Great fun, signing and selling books at a Christmas Fair in Aspatria

Just after I arrived at the Community Centre, yesterday, I was delighted to have a long chat with Mary Bragg of Cockermouth, who had just finished reading my new novel – ‘My Cup Runneth Over’ – on Kindle, the evening before, and who was wonderfully complimentary about it. Thank you, Mary

I confess that I also sold more books than I had dared anticipate, so that was very pleasing, too.

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Eddie Wren (alias Steve Shearwater), L, and Peter Reece

Then Peter Reece – one of my former colleagues in crime (fighting!) – appeared, following his own grin into the room, and when I wasn’t busy with people at my little sales’ table, we naturally had great fun swapping old ‘war stories’. (I’m the one on the left, in the photo, and Peter would tell you he’s the better-looking one, on the right!)

Incidentally, the little town is pronounced “Sp’yatri,” in Cumberland dialect but gets its proper name from ‘Ash Patrick’, after the famous saint preached there in the Fifth Century.  Another Cumbrian place name that comes from the saint is Patterdale – Patrick’s dale – at Ullswater.

Interestingly, despite its small size, both Peter and I worked at Aspatria years ago, during our respective police careers.

All told, the Fair provided a wonderful afternoon. My sincere thanks to the organisers.

Who is YOUR key character in ‘My Cup Runneth Over’, and why?

If I may start what I hope might become a ‘ball rolling’ on this topic, let me say that even to my own surprise, the character I found myself wanting to get back to when I was writing was – of all people – ‘Ike Nick’!

Isaac Nicholson was not a real person but was based on a conglomerate of real individuals I encountered during my police years, many of whom had anything but an easy life, but even though they had hard, unforgiving and often offensive manners, I found a lot of these people to be among those we typically refer to as the ‘salt of the earth’.

Farmers certainly presented their own challenges to young police officers and no doubt some of them used to take a special delight in giving us a hard time.  However, show them that you had at least some grasp of their challenges or a small understanding of their livestock and things often changed.  Typically, they were still ‘grumpy old gits’ but at least you weren’t enemies anymore.

So as the title of this blog asks”  Who did YOU most identify with? Or who did you hate most?  Or who made you laugh the most, and why?

In some ways, the story in My Cup Runneth Over took on a life of its own.  I’m not joking when I say that some days I would re-read what I had just written and it was like reading something I had never even seen before!  As a result, your own insights would genuinely be of great interest to me and I hope you’ll take a couple of minutes to post them as a comment please.

‘Book Review of the Week’ and a Christmas Recommendation from ‘Susie’

I have been genuinely stunned by the delightful consistency of readers’ opinions of my novel ‘My Cup Runneth Over’. Indeed, at present it holds an average rating of 4.8 stars out of 5 – 96% – at Amazon!  Much of the time it is hard for me to pick any one reader’s comment from another in terms of their ‘gratification rating’ to me as the author, but I have to say that so far this week I have to put this one from Amazon’s UK website at the top of my list:

If you only buy one book this year – make sure it’s this one!                 Steve Shearwater’s delightful pen transported me straight back to my Cumbrian childhood – a time of community when the village ‘bobby’ was both feared and revered.

The RAC rally, local lock-ins, familiar dialect and places – so evocative of a time that I probably remember through very rose tinted specs!

I read this in a single day, curled up by the woodburner with copious mugs of tea and the rain battering on the window. Getting lost in the tale of the young Cumbrian constable was easy, Steve’s writing style makes for a page turning read which evoked such powerful memories I didn’t want to reach the final page.

As a child I loved watching Dixon Of Dock Green, [and] My Cup Runneth Over shares a similar dialogue. It’s comforting yet confronting, set against a backdrop of none politically correct policing, when the ‘baddies’ got a ‘clout’ , the bereaved a cuppa and the community noticed when something was awry, even if it resulted in an unsuspecting, ailing OAP getting a rude awakening.

To be truthful, I initially bought this book because of its era and setting. I’m so glad I did. My partner (a non Cumbrian) read it too, proclaiming it a ‘feel good, comfort blanket of a read’.

Steve you’ve nailed it. Just ordering some paper copies to pop into various Christmas stockings. I suspect it could be a very quiet, nose-in-book festive this year.

If you only buy one book this Christmas make sure it’s this one!”

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To read all of the reviews at Amazon, please click here.

Characters of Cumbria’s Most Famous Writers

Mention Cumbria in the literary sense and most people will think of William Wordsworth, and perhaps Beatrix Potter.
But Potter’s Peter Rabbit and Mrs Tiggywinkle aren’t the only world-famous protagonists to emerge from Cumbria. We have other heavyweights, too, such as Thomas the Tank Engine!
What do you mean, you didn’t know that Sodor was just an enlarged version of Walney Island, at Barrow-in-Furness?
See: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-13872542
And then there’s Postman Pat, a story set in the fictional village of Greendale (inspired by the real valley of Longsleddale, near Kendal).
Famous protagonists? We have truck-loads of them…. It’s just that they’re very small trucks! 🙂  

The first book,’My Cup Runneth Over’, is now AVAILABLE via Amazon and Kindle

My Cup Runneth Over officially went on sale yesterday, 11 November 2016, via both Amazon and Kindle.

You can find information about the book via ‘The Individual Titles’ on the main Menu/Index bar.

There is also now a Reader Feedback page specifically for this book.  Visit it and see what readers are saying!

Excerpt from Ch.3 of ‘My Cup Runneth Over’ — The Copper-bottomed Pan

As a little ‘taster’ from the first book in the Cumbria Police Novels series, here is an excerpt about a domestic dispute:

“We arrived in less than five minutes and found Sergeant Clarke already there, standing beside the police van, clearly entertained by the loud fracas that could be heard from inside the house.

‘How many more men are you going to screw around with while you’re meant to be my wife?’ bellowed the man.

‘What are you complaining for?’ the woman screamed back. ‘At least I get paid for it. At least it means that I bring a damned sight more money home than you, you bone-idle lump. And what little you make you pour back down your neck at the bar in the Labour Club!’

The crashing and yells hit a new pitch while we were going up the path to the front door.

‘Let me go first,’ said Carol. ‘They know me. But mind yourselves, they can be unpredictable.’

The door wasn’t locked. We walked straight in after knocking just once. The sight as we entered the kitchen was something to behold. At the far side of a small pine table, in the middle of the floor, was Mrs Smith. She was wearing an unfastened synthetic fur coat over a grubby, rather short old nightdress, curlers in her hair, cigarette drooping from the corner of her mouth, and she was brandishing a battered but large copper-bottomed saucepan in her right hand.

At our side of the table, stark naked and wielding nothing but a small wooden spoon by way of feeble self-defence was the overweight Mr Smith, facing his fearsome wife and clearly more than a little bit apprehensive. Three chairs lay on their sides on the floor, one of them minus a leg, which was lying broken alongside it.

The bold Sally never took a blind bit of notice that there were now three police officers in her house but instead just flung the pan as hard as she could at her husband, even though we were standing behind him. He dodged left, Carol dodged right and I had time to duck, but poor Kevin, who was still in the kitchen doorway unable to see exactly what was going on, took it square in the middle of his forehead and went down as though he’d been shot. For what seemed like ages we all just stood there in total silence, staring at the motionless form lying in the hallway.

Then Sergeant Clarke said ‘Right, Sally, you’ve done it this time. I’m arresting you for assaulting a police officer.’

As Carol cautioned and handcuffed Mrs Smith, I checked that Kevin was still breathing. Thank God he was. I rolled him over into the recovery position and then ran to the van and used the VHF radio to tell the force control room what had happened and I requested an ambulance…..”

As Armistice Day Gets Closer: Remembrance for Police Officers Killed on Duty

In our beautiful county of Cumbria, home to the most-visited national park in the world, it is easy to forget that being a police officer can be a deadly affair. Since policing began here, in the early 19th Century, at least 17 police officers have been killed in the line of duty.  With Remembrance Day imminent, I think this is a good time to post the following link to the Roll of Honour for fallen Cumbria Police Officers.

This next link will take you to the National Roll of Honour.