Amazon dictates

So let’s get this straight. In the real world, you buy something online, and then, when it arrives and you’ve tried it out, you can leave a comment. Amazon doesn’t operate like that. It’s too far away from Common Sense. If you buy a book from Amazon, read it and then write a review, a whole cabal of apparatchiks will review your review, and then decide if it’s worth publishing. In the last fortnight, I have written 3 reviews of the e-books I’ve bought from Amazon Kindle, and the socialists at Amazon have refused to publish any of them.

So, what’s the reason? I mean, there must be a reason, right? Wrong. It’s not as simple as that. The Amazon secret police won’t say which law you have transgressed. Instead, they send a list of 7 or 8 things that you ‘might’ have done wrong. Oh, I get it – they don’t want to commit themselves. Maybe they think we will sue! Or maybe, they really aren’t sure of themselves, and don’t want to put their judgements down on paper in case we see through their completely illogical and arbitrary declarations. After all, if it’s only 8, they could produce a form and let the person doing the judging tick a box, right? Easy. Too easy. It’s just like the Wizard of Oz. The skinny people at Amazon think that if they stay behind the curtain and shout, they’ll retain their mystique and power. Wow, they must have learnt that one from Joe Stalin.

There must be some kind of way out of here – Ah, yes, and now I’ve found it. It comes in the form of a new website called ‘’. They’ve organised local bricks and mortar bookstores into a list. All you have to do is go to, pick the book you want, then choose a bookstore near you and they’ll order the book for you, through that store. It covers the country, so there’s no shortage of choice. Why not? Amazon, being the biggest, (if not the best), have just shot themselves in the foot, yet again. By playing all cloak and dagger with reviews – setting conditions, not applying them consistently and failing to communicate (the thing they’ve always done best) – then people like me are going to be out there looking for an alternative. Sorry, Auntie Amazon, but if you insist on acting like Big Brother, then you’re going to lose customers. It’s only logical.

Author Mike shelters from the storm

Drawing in the park

Mike goes down to his local tram stop (properly socially distanced, with a mask – in his pocket) and finds himself mentioned on a poster.

Mike at tram stop, stopped in his tracks. Astonished

The drawing is part of a series commissioned from an artist in The Netherlands called Jan. Jane and Mike had several sessions online with Jan, and told him all about their experiences in Buile Hill park in the centre of Salford. Jan decided to include the singing duo in his exploration of the fifty acres.

It’s them! The Jane and Mike Band. (You can find them on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes and all good music stores). Also, they are resident singers on ‘The Green Giraffes and Worms’ radio show, saved as podcasts on SoundCloud – just go to SoundCloud and type ‘Green Giraffes and Worms podcasts’ into the Search Box. It brings up an extended Playlist.)

Thanks to Mark Frith of ‘Growing Togetherness’ for inviting Jane and Mike in to the consultation phase. Mark is responsible for developing the old allotment site at the bottom of Buile Hill (the old Seedley Park bowling green) over the last year and is mentioned also.

Plus, observe the giant words ‘Incredible Edible Salford’, a project that celebrated its eighth birthday in February. Mark was involved at the beginning, but then moved on. (Mike is IES’s Company Secretary at the moment, ongoing.)

Thanks to the ‘Sick Festival’ for inventing the project and arranging the series of drawings of local areas all around Manchester. (As you might expect, this Salford drawing is the best, probably).

NEW COVER – reveal

The story so far: since Christmas, in this brave new world of 2021, I’ve drawn attention to 2 e-books of mine (see below). The first one you’ll see is called ‘Everybody Lies’ and is Book 20 in the ‘Amelia Hartliss Mysteries’ series. The book below it (that is, mentioned earlier in the year), is called ‘Senctioned’ and is number 15, but in a completely different series (‘Mickey from Manchester’).

Hey, I thought you LIKED mysteries. You’ve wondered, well – 16? 17? doesn’t lead to 20. There’s something missing. You’re darn-diddly-darny-did-diddly-did right! There must be a book called 19 (nineteen) which comes before. So where is it?

More to the point, if you ever took advantage of the offer and started reading ‘Everybody Lies’ you would have been told that it’s Part 2 of a two-part series. Gosh darn it (again). You want to find out what happened in – Oh, now that’s a problem. We’re talking Book 19 (again). Where’s it got to? I can’t get hold of it, you say.

The simple answer is that Book 19 had a cover (which even e-books have) that the bookshops online said was not good enough. They wouldn’t put it on their shelves (their virtual shelves) until something was done. What, like find an artist and get a new drawing? Exactly that. A new cover, and you’re done, they said. Okay, here it is. New cover, same book, and below the picture, a link to an online bookshop (other bookshops are available).

Melia is back in business, but not looking her best

Not three books – FREE books….

Well, cos you’ve already heard about that one, and that one, and you might be thinking that since all good things come in threes, then there will be another FREE e-book coming your way, being made available for download.

Okay, I give up. Sure, you can have one. The thing is, this time, it’s like a blast from the past. You see I used to be an active member of a website called ‘InstaFreebie’ which is exactly like it sounds – you set things up and they gave them away, for free, on your behalf. But then IF changed their name to ‘Prolific Works’, not so catchy, and I kind of lost touch with them. Still, I’ve been strolling around this week, and guess what – they are still there. I tried logging on with my old details, and bingo, I’m in. They’ve still got all my projects, and they’re all still working. Wow, nothing ever dies on the internet, does it? It might fade away for a bit, but it’s still there, lurking on some server –

Now, down to business. Click on the link below and you will be sent to a ‘Prolific Works’ page with one of my e-books on it. Click on the blue button and they’ll give you a free copy. What’s the catch? Why, in this case, just for once, nothing. You don’t have to do anything, not ever write a review or play nice. Just take the exciting action adventure away and read it at your leisure. Consider it my Easter Giveaway. I couldn’t give you a chocolate rabbit, so have a novel instead. Happy Holidays.

More books? More and More?

Okay, the problem is I’ve been sent a Widget (I know, painful.)

If you click on the button, you get sent to NetGalley, which is a great site for readers, and regularly features free and 99p e-books. If you like reading, really like reading, it can provide you with an endless supply of new and exciting novels. I know, because they’ve now accepted one of mine. It’s a thriller, with lots of running around, and it centres on the problem of making ends meet in modern day Britain. It’s called ‘Senctioned’ because the two biggest threats facing anyone on a limited budget right here, in the North West of England, is that they will either get Sanctioned or Sectioned – or both! That’s the challenge facing Melia’s cousin Liv in this story. Meanwhile, Melia is cast away on a small island in the Channel, watching out for foreign invasions. Really. Oh well, maybe it’s she who has lost her mind. Click on the Link, read on, and find out.

Click for Link:

Hope that shows up. Any complaints – well, I don’t usually get complaints.


I’ve got 10 e-books out there for free this very important weekend, which, as you may know, starting on Thursday night and doesn’t end until midnight on Monday.

Phew, a long weekend. You could get a lot done in that time – paint the fence, put up a shelf, make a ragout, or – read a book (or 2, or 10).

See how you get on.


‘Trilogy’? Tri? Try harder!

When is a 3 not a 3 ? When it’s a Mike Scantlebury Trilogy.

You’ve heard about my ‘Housing Crisis’ series of novels? I started writing in the first weeks of 2020, but then the whole world went mad and I was Locked-Down, literally. The book changed, the story changed. The characters changed. And the plan changed.

The Trilogy changed. As The Spice Girls once said, ‘Two Becomes One’.

(or 3 becomes 4)

Don’t worry, help is on its way

What a day! Isn’t it about time a big shouty man told you that you had nothing more to worry about, because there’s some superhero just flying over the horizon and coming down from the mountain with Good News, all the information you’re going to need to make sense of Life (and important things). Well, that would just be perfect, wouldn’t it?

On the other hand, it might just be another opinion. But if you wanted that – one more opinion, (Well, one more to add to the one you’ve already got – but wait, where did you get that one from? Who gave you that?), it might be time. Yes, it really is about time.