Monday, 13 February 2017

Brotherswater #Cumbria

Brotherswater


 

Brotherswater is often considered to be a tarn rather than a lake and is less than an hours drive from my home in Cumbria, in the United Kingdom. It’s set in the Lake District National Park and it’s one of those glorious jewels tourists drive by every day....  And occasionally miss.
The lake used to be called Broad Water but ‘Lakeland’ rumour has it that in 1783 two brothers drowned there whilst ice-skating and it was renamed Brotherswater.  It is the smallest of our English Lakes measuring half a mile long and a quarter of a mile wide. Its depth is about 68 feet and it sits in the basin of the valley of Hartsop, close to a hamlet of the same name. Hartsop means ‘Valley of the Deer’, and the term captures the wild rugged landscape of the area.
Since its formation during the ice-age, Brotherswater has been modified only by time, the forces of nature, and the Fellside sheep farmers with their dry stone walls.  The dry stone walls that criss-cross the Lakeland valleys of Cumbria are part of an ancient story that is being deciphered by Cumbrians and the Intelligentsia alike. So far, examination of the walls date them back to the 10th or 11th centuries when Norsemen are believed to have occupied the area. But many walls were built in medieval times to enclose small fields or to divide up the land within between various farms and prevent woods being destroyed by grazing.
 The lake, that might be a tarn, lies between Pooley Bridge and Ambleside at the northern end of Kirkstone Pass. On the approach to Brotherswater, travel south from Pooley Bridge until you reach Glenridding and Patterdale. Looking right, you will see Helvellyn  stretching into the sky. To the left, on the other side of Ullswater, close to the bend of the Lake, you will see Hallin Fell and the route to a dozen or more fells that I have walked, ran, camped upon, and gloried in, and even dragged canoes up when I was a younger man with no sense between my ears. But only a mile or so from Patterdale Youth Hostel you’ll find a small car park on the offside of the road. This is called Cow Bridge Car Park and it’s where we always park the car before we go walking in the area.
Most postcards and photographs of Brotherswater, show images from various parts of Kirkstone Pass and  reveal a thin blue splash of water rising from the valley green. Well, the lake is not amongst the most popular of the National Park, being shallow and full of reeds, and not at all inhabited by man. But Water lilies bloom there, usually from July onwards providing a display of unique colour that has to be seen to be appreciated in all its glories. And the best images of Brotherswater are found on the pathways surrounding the lake, not the highways man built.
Indeed, if you are ever in the area I recommend you park at this car park and walk along the pathway towards the lake. You’ll cross over the narrow Cow Bridge and when you do you will have followed the footsteps of Dorothy Wordsworth - Yes, the wife of the English Poet Laureate, William. It’s a matter of ‘Lakeland’ record that she wrote quite a few anecdotes and poems whilst sitting on the dry stone wall bridge looking out across Brotherswater surrounded by the High Fells of Hartsop and all their glory.



Well, I’ve walked over the bridge many times hoping for a spray of water from the stream below to splash me with a piece of Wordsworth’s brilliance.
Alas, that’s not so far proven the case - but I’m still hoping with fingers crossed and dreams still to sleep. What I can say is that this area of the Lake District is a very isolated and quite beautiful in so many ways. It is often overlooked probably because it’s just a little off the beaten track in comparison with other sights. Wordsworth? He’s there somewhere but the Lakes belong to the people and not one individual.
There to be enjoyed. And a poem is always on the cards....
What’s on the next page, I wonder.
Once you’ve crossed the bridge, nip through the gate and walk along the path next to Goldrill Beck. You can’t miss it roaring at you from below. If you walk along this path you will reach the point where the beck leaves Brotherswater. Here, by the waters edge, you will see only the lake in all its rugged isolation... And nothing else.
But if you walk further along the path you’ll find Hartsop Hall, the Water Lillies and the winding pathways that narrow and crumble as the mountain streams trickle and tumble, and take you into the High Lakeland Fells.
This is my walk, this is my garden, this is my land.




A Prisoner of War

BLACK CHRISTMAS
~   ~   ~
This is a tale that a soldier told me many years ago when I was a younger man.
I did not think him to be a hero when he divulged an account of the battle he had fought. Neither did I consider him as special in any way. He was a chap who was always there for his family no matter what happened. As an individual, he went out to work to bring money home so that his kin might eat, drink, and enjoy the wonderful life he made for them. He was just an ordinary man really.
But as he grew older and finally declined from the evils of the war he had fought, we spoke much of the conflict before he died in peace and ascended to a Holy parade ground far above. He described a Christmas long ago and asked me to pass on the legend to my children so that they might pass it on to their family and know of his story.
The soldier described how he took command of his unit when the officer in charge committed suicide in the face of the enemy. Against overwhelming odds, the soldier fought side by side with warriors from Britain, India, Canada and China. He fought next to the Middlesex Regiment, but on the devastated blood-soaked streets, he was close to the Royal Scots, the Rajput Regiment, the Punjab Regiment, various Canadian Regiments, the Hong Kong Chinese Regiment, and the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps. In addition, the Royal Artillery were there and a whole host of supporting units from the British army.
They were all there to defend the people of Hong Kong.
Such soldiers of whatever creed, colour or religion fight for the rights of others at home and abroad. They fight in defence of the weak and in the interests of their nation. They engage in conflicts against terrorists, unwanted dictators, despots, and enemy forces. They fight for freedom wherever their calling takes them.
They bequeath me the writer and you the reader, the right, the privilege, and the freedom to be part of this article - for if we do not have freedom..... We have nothing....
Such great nations are born of men like this...
This is the tale of Herbert James Scougal, Company Sergeant Major, Royal Army Service Corps, 12 Hong Kong Company, China, (1941 - 1945). His army pals in that company consisted of 14 officers and 183 men. They nicknamed him ‘Darkie’, ‘Danny’ or ‘Bert’.
I called him ‘Dad’.
This is his story...
The ending of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in the early 1920’s coincided with the Union of Ireland Act in Great Britain and the evolvement of a home-grown terrorist group known as the Irish Republican Army. Britain’s domestic and foreign policies were further exasperated in the mid-thirties when Hitler’s dominance of German and European politics grew to an unprecedented level. Indeed, the Japanese took advantage and subsequently occupied Canton in order to effectively surround the British colony of Hong Kong. The British Government decided Hong Kong was too problematical to defend and resolved to reduce its garrison to a symbolic size. They argued that measured reinforcements might allow the garrison to delay a Japanese attack. In October, 1941, by arrangement, a Canadian contingent arrived to bolster the British force. The Canadian battalions consisted of 1,975 personnel from the Royal Rifles of Canada from Quebec and the Winnipeg Grenadiers from Manitoba. The Royal Rifles had only served in Newfoundland and New Brunswick prior to their duty in Hong Kong, whilst the Winnipeg Grenadiers had served in Jamaica. None of the Canadian soldiers had much combat experience. Nevertheless, the extra reinforcements signified a deterrent against the Japanese and reassured the Chinese leader, Chiang Kai-Shek, that Britain was genuinely interested in defending the colony.
The British defence forces were led by Christopher Maltby, Commander of the British Troops in China. He established a 10-mile line of defence known as the Gin Drinkers Line across the Southern part of the mainland. However, on the 8th December, 1941, Japanese troops led by Lieutenant General Takashi Sakai mounted an attack on Hong Kong. The attack occurred only a few hours after the infamous assault against American interests at Pearl Harbour. General Takashi Sakai began a bombardment of the Island.
The Japanese bombed Kai Tak Airport on 8 December.  Four of the five allied aircrafts were destroyed by 12 Japanese bombers. The attack also destroyed several civil aircraft including aircraft used by the Air Unit of the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corp. The RAF and Air Unit personnel from then on fought as ground troops. Two of the Royal Navy's three remaining destroyers were ordered to leave Hong Kong for Singapore. Only one destroyer, HMS Thracian, and a handful of gunboats, remained.
Maltby was forced to swiftly withdraw his troops back to Hong Kong Island.
On 8, 9 and 10 December, eight American pilots of the China National Aviation Corporation and their crews made a total of 16 trips between Kai Tak Airport and airports in Namyung and Chungking in China. They made 16 sorties and evacuated 275 persons 
On 10 December 1941 a Japanese Infantry Regiment, commanded by Colonel Teihichi, attacked the Commonwealth defences at the Shing Mun Redoubt which was defended by 2nd Battalion Royal Scots, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel S. White. The line was breached in five hours. The Commonwealth forces decided against holding the Sham Chun River and instead established three battalions in the Gin Drinkers' Line across the hills. The Japanese 38th Infantry under the command of Major General Takaishi Sakai quickly forded the Sham Chun River by using temporary bridges. The Royal Scots withdrew from Golden Hill but then their D company counter-attacked and recaptured the Hill. By 10am the hill was again taken by the Japanese. This terrible warfare made for a dangerous situation and the evacuation, under aerial bombardment and artillery barrage, started on 11 December. Military and harbour facilities were demolished before the withdrawal. By 13 December, the Rajputs of the British Indian Army commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Cadosan-Rowlinson, the last Commonwealth troops on the mainland, had retreated to Hong Kong Island.
Maltby organised the defence of the island, splitting it between an East Brigade and a West Brigade. On 15 December, the Japanese began systematic bombardment of the island's North Shore. Two demands for surrender were made on 13 December and 17 December. When these were rejected, Japanese forces crossed the harbour on the evening of 18 December and landed on the island's North-East. They suffered only light casualties, although no effective command could be maintained until the dawn came. That night, approximately 20 gunners were massacred at the Sai Wan Battery after they had surrendered. There was a further massacre of prisoners, this time of medical staff, in the Salesian Mission on Chai Wan Road. In both cases, a few men survived to tell the story.
On the morning of 19 December, a Canadian Company Sergeant Major, John Robert Osborn, aged 42, born in Norfolk, England, carried out an action for which he was awarded the first Canadian Victoria Cross in World War II. It is the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. After seeing a Japanese grenade roll in through the doorway of the building Osborn, of the Canadian Winnipeg Grenadiers, took off his helmet and threw himself on the grenade, saving the lives of over 10 other Canadian Soldiers.  Fierce fighting continued on Hong Kong Island but the Japanese annihilated the headquarters of West Brigade, causing the death of their commander Brigadier John Lawson.
A British counter-attack could not force them from the Wong Nai Chung Gap that secured the passage between downtown and the secluded southern parts of the island. From 20 December, the island became split in two with the British Commonwealth forces still holding out around the Stanley peninsula and in the West of the island. At the same time, water supplies started to run short as the Japanese captured the island's reservoirs. 
On the morning of 25 December, Japanese soldiers entered the British field hospital at St. Stephen's College, and tortured and killed a large number of injured soldiers, along with the medical staff. There were further reports of women being raped and carnage on the streets. By the afternoon of 25 December 1941, it was clear that further resistance would be futile and British colonial officials surrendered in person at the Japanese headquarters on the third floor of the Peninsula Hong Kong hotel. This was the first occasion on which a British Crown Colony has surrendered to an invading force.  The garrison had held out for 17 days. 
This day is known in Hong Kong as Black Christmas.
 It is the day my father was taken prisoner when British forces surrendered.
He gave me so many great and memorable Christmas’s yet always looked forward more to the New Year. It was many years before I learnt why. Maltby surrendered to the Japanese at Queen's Pier on 25 December, 1941, and became a Prisoner of War for the duration.  The battle for Hong Kong was an uneven battle as is often the case in war. Maltby’s 14,000 troops faced 52,000 invading Japanese troops. 2,113 British troops were killed or declared missing in action and 2,300 wounded during the 17 day conflict. The Japanese suffered 1,994 losses and 6,000 wounded. During this time there were 4,000 deaths and 6,000 severely wounded amongst the civilian population. 
Factors contributing to the loss of the colony included no significant air defence and inadequate naval defences. British sovereignty was restored in 1945 following the surrender of the Japanese forces on 15 August, six days after the United States of America dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. General Takashi Sakai, who led the invasion of Hong Kong was tried as a war criminal and executed by a firing squad in 1946.
The Allied dead from the campaign, including British, Canadian and Indian soldiers, were eventually interred at the Sai Wan Military Cemetery and Stanley Military Cemetery. A total of 1,528 soldiers, mainly Commonwealth, are buried there. There are also graves of other Allied combatants who died in the region during the war, including some Dutch sailors, who were re-interred in Hong Kong post war.
Prisoners of war were sent to:
Arglye Street for officers
North Point Camp primarily for Canadians and Royal Navy
Ma Tau Chung Camp for Indian soldiers
Yokohama Camp in Japan
Fukuoka Camp in Japan
Osaka Camp in Japan
My father was imprisoned in Sham Shui Po, a former British army camp.
Dad said, ‘Freedom was something we lost and never recovered in Shamshuipo. Every day we went on some form of working party. I worked the mines mostly. We paraded at 5 o'clock in the morning every morning - summer and winter. The bugle called, those who had survived the night attended parade. Every morning there was another one who hadn’t made it. Thousands died in those camps. We were always hungry and in the three years and eight months we were in Sham Shui Po Camp, there was only one issue of a toothbrush and tooth powder. We had nothing to cook but rice but occasionally received an issue of corned beef,  vegetable boiled in water, and a bit of oil with a serving of hot tea. I lived on snakes and cats that were electrocuted on the fence surrounding the camp. I ate them raw most of the time but sometimes managed to cook them. I was 12 and half stone when I went into the camp and six stone when I was liberated by the Canadians. When the Canadians overran the camp, the guards escaped and hid in the mines where we had worked during our captivity. An explosion occurred trapping and killing many of the guards inside the mines. No-one wins a war. When they took us home, they took us to a place called Hiroshima in Japan. The Yanks had dropped an atomic bomb there and I think people wanted us to know that the war really was over. I remember Hiroshima. There were no bodies to see. No, not at all. I remember looking at buildings that weren’t there. It was as if their shadow was still there, as if the very fabric of the building was there. When you stretched out your hand to touch what you thought was there.... your hand merely brushed thin air. It was weird, bizarre, so very strange that you could see what was not there to see... None of us present could explain the phenomenon and no-one has ever adequately explained it to me since.’
Dad came home via Australia and Canada where they fed him and tended him before repatriation to the British people some months later when he was fit enough. His army medical record lists a catalogue of dysentry, tropical fever, yellow fever, beri beri, malaria and other diseases.
 He earned his freedom and would tell you freedom has to be earned.
Actually, I made a mistake. My father was special. He was special to me, to us, to our family. And he was a hero, our hero.
Someone reading this somewhere will not be lucky enough to have their father with them this Christmas. He may be fighting for the freedom of others in a far off place or he might be on a parade ground somewhere.
Wherever your father is... This is for you....

Dad
~   ~   ~
If only I could share a word,
To say how it all turned out.
If only he were with me,
We’d talk. I have no doubt.
Yet I only have the memory,
Of the man who walks with God.
Yet I feel his strength, his fire, his will.
I can even see him nod.
If only I could share a word,
With that man from a special breed.
If only he knew my story,
Lord, let these words, him read.
Yet I hold the crumbled photograph,
Of the man in khaki gear.
And I know somehow he’s with me.
Yes, beside me. Right here.
~
Poem extracted from my poetry collection entitled
‘SUNSET’


*

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Cocktails

Cocktails
~   ~   ~
If you’re running out of ideas for your next celebration, try these cocktails. Or, just relax with a book and a cool glass.

VODKA FIZZ
2 measures of vodka
2 measures of pure orange juice
1 measure of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of caster sugar
3 measures of lemonade
Dissolve sugar, shake and strain into glass half filled with ice, add lemonade to taste



TEQUILA SUNRISE
2 measures of gold tequila
½ measure of grenadine
4 measures of pure orange juice
Stir and strain orange and tequila into ice filled glasses, add grenadine allowing it to sink top the bottom of the glass.




CHAMPAGNE LEMON
2 measures of champagne
½ measure of peach schnapps
2 measures of bitter lemon
add all to glass and mix



WESTERN SLING
2 measures of gin
½ measure of Cherry brandy
1 measure of lemon juice
2/3 measure of sugar syrup
1 teaspoon of grenadine
3 measures of pineapple juice
Shake and strain into ice filled glasses



BABY DOLL
2 measures of brandy
1 and half measure of  Grand Marnier
half of a squeezed lemon juice
ice cubes and sugar round glass rim



ZOOL (Tweedy Ole’ Crow)
1 measure of Peach Schnapps
1 measure of vodka
1 measure of ameretto
poured in that order



REQUIREMENTS
VODKA
TEQUILLA
CHAMPAGNE
PEACH SCHNAPPS
GIN
CHERRY BRANDY
BRANDY
ORANGE JUICE
LEMON JUICE
PINEAPPLE JUICE
LEMONADE
GRENADINE
BITTER LEMON



~

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Golden Oldies

I love reading the works of other authors - particularly those whom I have forged an online relationship with over the last decade or two, or just know. Often, I fill my kindle with those who have supported me over the years. I take their books on holiday with me to read.Sitting by the pool, or on a roof terrace in the sun, is the place I read books and craft my next book before returning home. Sometimes such books are non fiction, other times they are pure fantasy and imagination from the writer's mind. My wife and I are lucky enough to have worked hard and long all our lives and, as a result, we can now enjoy a few holidays every year. Reading the works of other authors is a great way to extend your knowledge of writing, to inspire you further, and learn something about writing virtually every day.

Every author can learn from the works of other authors.

Non of these books are new.  They are in kindle and paperback. Most of them are from the period 2008 - 2012 and help define the author and their originality. Oh, how lucky was I to find such writers...

Fill your kindle with these 'Blasts from the past'.....




Elizabeth Marshall is the writing alter ego of a lady born in St Mary's Hospital, at the Marianhill Monastery, in the province of Natal, South Africa and was brought up in a small, rural Natal village surrounded by a large Scottish farming family.  Her primary education was delivered by Nuns from the monastery in which she was born. Through secondary school into adulthood, Elizabeth's life centered on a love of music, reading, writing and history. After Elizabeth married she settled in the UK with her husband. She has worked at the Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School in England, Nottingham Social Services in England and is currently a Director of an IT Project Management Consultancy.  Elizabeth lives in Derbyshire, England with her husband and children. She spends her spare time with her head in a book or her fingers on the keyboard writing one. 

Elizabeth Marshall has written the novels 'When Fate Dictates', ‘Beyond Time’, ‘Entwined’, ‘Whispers In The Dark’, ‘Rising’........... Check out Elizabeth's Highland Secret Series...... 

Click HERE for Elizabeth's amazon page



A Top-Notch Action-Thriller, One you won't Want To Miss..."

From the moment Anchorage Police Detective Sheridan McKenna begins his unsanctioned investigation into the brutal killing of his mentor Sergeant Aaron Campion he finds himself pitted against a trio of formidable opponents, all locked in a deadly battle to uncover the startling answers to a seventy-year-old mystery. The FBI wants McKenna behind bars, Chechen terrorists want him dead, and hidden in the shadows a renegade Russian SVR agent watches patiently while manipulating the actions of all involved. With the Alaskan wilderness as the savage playing field, any mistake may prove lethal and McKenna can trust no one, except for a courageous and devoted canine partner from his past.

Click here for the amazon page of C L Withers





A qualified parachutist, Harvey Black served with British Army Intelligence for over ten years. His experience ranged from covert surveillance in Northern Ireland to operating in Communist East Berlin during the cold war, where he feared for his life after being dragged from his car and attacked by Russian KGB soldiers. Since then he has lived a more sedate life in the private sector as a Director for an International Company, but now enjoys the pleasures of writing.

Check out Harvey's website at harveyblackauthor.org
or Click here for his amazon page.




Lighting The Dark Side is written by William R Potter. It is an award winning anthology of short fiction including three novellas and three shorter works covering a wide range of fiction genres including, Action/thriller, Mystery/ Suspense, Sci-fi, Romance and even Hard-boiled detective. Regular people find themselves caught up in extraordinary situations; and all are locked into circumstances rendered more complex by their own weaknesses. Only when the shortcomings are recognized can they overcome these limitations and succeed. This collection of Six Modern Tales is designed to exercise your emotions, capture your imagination, and challenge you to think in new directions.

 The Stories Bent, Not Broken. An obsessive compulsive man falls in love; however, his disorder puts a severe strain on the relationship. Jealousy, low self-esteem, anxiety, and an increasing sense of violence engulf him until he pushes his new love away and falls into old habits of avoidance. In the Gray. A seemingly mundane phone call between a grown son and his mother uncovers the reality of one man’s life. Tragedy interrupts the call seconds before the man can speak his truth and free his mind of decades of bitter animosity. Prominent Couple Slain.  Detective Jack Staal is disillusioned about his career after he takes a nosedive from big city homicide investigator to small town detective. Desperate to prove himself, he ignores protocol to work a case that is not his to solve. May 18th.  Growing pandemonium over the approach of an earth-grazing comet called Ivan is the backdrop for a man who is given numerous chances to make amends with his loved ones. Blessing or Curse? Brad Stewart’s bloated ego strains lifelong friendships after an enormous lottery win. His millionaire lifestyle suddenly becomes a nightmare when his son is kidnapped for ransom. Surviving the Fall. James Goodal has spent his entire life avoiding uncomfortable situations. This safe and easy existence has left James lonely and facing divorce. Everything changes when he takes in a young street girl named Ashley. The pair finds comfort in their unorthodox friendship until her violent world returns forcing James to fight for Ashley and for his very survival.


Since this publication in 2009, William has become the author of a number of full length novels which are well worthy of further investigation.
Click HERE for William's amazon page 






Amazon TOP 100 and Nook TOP 100 Bestselling Author, John L. Betcher, holds a Bachelor's Degree, cum laude, in English from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School in Minneapolis. He has practiced law for more than twenty-five years in the Mississippi River community of Red Wing, Minnesota. 

John has published an award-winning series of "Becker" suspense/thriller novels. The first five are THE 19TH ELEMENT, THE MISSING ELEMENT, THE COVERT ELEMENT, THE EXILED ELEMENT, and THE CRITICAL ELEMENT. He has also authored the award-winning spiritual phenomenon, A HIGHER COURT.
Click HERE for John's amazon page 




Written in 1994 and published in 1996, like many of the books on this post - it is still attracting readers.

This is a thriller of violent prejudices and divided loyalties. About the province where no-one talks, this story tells it like it is. This Ulster novel reaches to the very roots of sectarian life and death. Written by a member of the security forces, it penetrates behind the media-screen to reveal a human landscape that is unknown, yet startlingly believable. It is a world where sworn enemies may exchange confidences over a game of snooker; where a kneecapping operation turns into a deadly vendetta fuelled by sexual jealousy and where the fate of the United Kingdom could rest in the hands of one punch drunk bruiser with a dangerous addiction. Everything is here, from the glamour of hi-tech intelligence work to the despairing pub-talk of men locked in the past. Trace the origins of these relentless tit-for-tat killings, often starting in childhood and see how the lives of vastly different people may by mysteriously linked forever against the fatally beautiful backdrop of Northern Ireland.

Click Here for the amazon page


Check back next week for more..... GOLDEN OLDIES....

Monday, 6 February 2017

Chatting with Jim Yackel



Welcome to the blogsite, Jim and thank you for joining us.
Q. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A. I’m a Christ follower, author, singer/songwriter, and a keen watcher of world events; especially as they may play into Biblical prophecy. I’m also becoming an independent journalist and working on content in regards to that vocation on my YouTube channel. Q. Where do you live and do you have a day job?
A. I live in upstate New York and yes, I have a day job that is nothing to brag about!
Q. When you’re not writing, what leisure time activities or hobbies do you enjoy?
A. I enjoy fishing, working out, and taking walks down long paths - where I’ll often find myself stepping off the beaten path; so as to explore what may or may not be there. Sometimes, that results in getting covered in burdock and getting attacked bitten by all manner of insects.
Q. Do you have any pets that are part of your household? 
A. I have no pets, but I’d enjoy having a tank of some of the species of freshwater fish found finning in my locality.
Q. Do you like to read or do you prefer to listen to audio books?
A. I prefer reading to audio books. I like to have the written word come to life in my imagination without the enhancement - or should I say distraction of sound.
Q. Do you have a kindle, nook, or reading device yourself, or do you prefer to read from printed versions of a book?
      A. I’m old school in that regard. I like to read from a physical book.
Q. Who are your favourite authors?
A. Stephen King, Dean Koontz, LaHaye and Jenkins, and of course the authors of the Biblical word.
Q. Which ‘genres’ do you prefer to read – and write? Is there a difference?
A. I like Christian fiction pertaining to the End Times, some horror, and Sci-Fi - hence King and Koontz. I prefer stories that make a reader think and not just provide entertainment. A story with a message relevant to the events and culture in which we live is always best.
Q. What drove you to begin a writing career?
A. Strangely enough, it was at the suggestion of a friend that I should write fiction (and non-fiction which I’ve not yet dabbled with) because of my creativity, insight, and imagination. Once I began, I knew it was something I was meant to do; that it was a parallel to music in some ways. The effort now is to combine the two together with pop/rock soundtracks for my books. Everything I do seems to tie into everything else I do. For me, there can’t be one thing without the others as part of a complete creative offering. Unfortunately, getting my new music recorded and getting back out on the live scene is posing difficulties due to financial and time constraints, as well as finding a good line-up of musicians to work with. This is a pain in my soul that needs to be salved,and I need to get this moving again!
Q. What do you feel are the greatest challenges facing any writer at the present time?
A. It’s not so much the writing for authors as it is the promotion. There are so many indie authors with product on the market; just like recording artists. The challenge is being able to promote enough to get market share and be competitive. It takes money, time, and of course talent doesn’t hurt! The reader has so much to choose from, and in cyberspace just like on Terra Firma, the consumer’s attention span usually under ten seconds before they’re drawn to something else. The greatest challenge is to grab the consumer’s attention in that miniscule amount of time and hold it so they will be compelled to purchase or at least download through Kindle Unlimited, so there’s the royalty for the author for page reads.
Q. Do you have an office or ‘space’ where you write from and is it at home, or elsewhere?
A. I write at home on my PC. It’s comfortable and quiet enough.
Q. Do you write to a target – word count – every day, or do you have another writing discipline that you could share with us?
A. I write until the creative well runs dry, or until I run out of time during a particular session.
Q. What inspires you – or has inspired you – to write a particular book?
A. God, and the events taking place around us in the U.S. and around the world. Needless to say, there is plenty of inspiration right now!
Q. Do you write from imagination, personal experience, or a mixture?
A. It’s both, for certain. Most (but not all) of my characters are at least loosely based on people I’ve known or encountered. My life experiences certainly are contributors to the process.
Q. Which of the books that you have written so far is your favourite and what can you tell us about it without giving the game away?
A. That’s a difficult question, but I would have to say its Remembering Will. That story is the only one without an End Times theme. Let’s just say that Will is a man in a natural and supernatural crisis, and he has suffered greatly. It’s emotional and heart wrenching to say the least. Does Will survive? Well, I guess you’d have to read the book.
 Q. Do you have a current ‘work in progress’? Can you tell us anything about it?
A. As of this interview, I have some firm ideas for the next book, but nothing yet underway. I am stretched thin at this moment; trying to get a music project started as well as growing the independent news reporting. But, as I alluded to before, I need to do all of these things, so if America doesn’t implode and we lose our ability to produce and
release product, there will be a new book in the not too distant future, unless the Lord has different plans.
Q. When you have finished writing the book – what do you do next? By that I mean, do you edit the book yourself? Do you design your own book cover? Do you prepare a project plan to market your book?
A. I proofread and edit myself, and it is quite a repetitive process. I don’t design my book covers or do my own formatting, but those are both things I would like to do on my own and should invest the time in gaining those skills. I’m always thinking of new ways to market, but that is an effort.
Q. What methods have you used to engage with your readership? Social media, press announcements, or book signings? What works for you that you might recommend for others?
A. I love Twitter and use that. I personally don’t use Facebook, and I know that puts me in the minority, but I guess when it comes to Social Media I’m not very social! It’s all business in that respect, but I am always seeking engagement with my readers. Because I am a watcher of the world and know how the internet is used for data mining and tracking, I’m somewhat “aloof” on Social Media, even though I’m a heavy Twitter user. I also use YouTube, where I’ve done videos of readings of blogs written by characters from The Wayfarers. I would suggest that authors invest what money they can in Amazon ads, and also work to get verified reader reviews. Pursue author radio shows as well, and try to do interviews like this one on blog sites. Just keep pushing, and hope that a buzz begins that will draw interested readers.
Q. Where does your target ‘device audience’ lie? Is it in people who use kindle, kobo, nook, or some other electronic device? Or purely in print? 
A. For me, it’s Kindle. That is where the most action is, hands-down.
Q. Which gender and age group are your books targeted at?
A. While I would hope that anyone from the age of 16 on up would read my book, my work is targeted toward adults. I don’t have a specific age demographic that I target, but it certainly better understood by adults, and as far as gender is concerned, I would say both male and female equally.
Q. Where do you see your primary market? The USA, UK, Europe, or elsewhere?
A. I’ve sold books to readers in many nations, but my primary market is the U.S.A.
Q. What is the best piece of advice you could give to someone starting out on a writing career?
A. Be yourself. Endeavor to be an original, even though your influences will creep in, and in that, comparisons to other authors will arise. It’s the same in the music business. Keep your expectations low, but your aspirations high. Writing is a muscle so to speak, so you need to keep exercising it so it’ll grow.
Q. If you won a million pounds / dollars tomorrow, what would you do with the proceeds?
A. I would use a good portion to feed and clothe the homeless and hungry. I have particular needs, and certainly I’d have to tend to those as well. I wouldn’t invest any of it in the stock market. Whatever I had left, I would stuff under the mattress.
Q. If you were gifted an air ticket to ‘anywhere’, which destination would you choose above all others and why?
A. I’d go to Israel, the apple of God’s eye. I’d love to walk where Jesus walked when he was here on earth the first time.
Q. What is the funniest thing that happened to you in 2016?
A. While fishing, I cast a spinner and the line landed on an overhanging tree branch. As I started to reel up in an effort to get the line free, a Northern Pike jumped out of the water and tried to grab my dangling spinner. It came out like a missile a second time as I slowly reeled up, and missed the spinner again. After carefully reeling, the spinner passed over the branch without snagging and fell into the water. I as I started to retrieve, the pike went for it a third time and I hooked and landed him. I found the fish’s dogged persistence extremely funny! Not a spoiler alert, but my character Will Gailey from Remembering Will loves to fish for pike. I like to fish for them, so therefore one of my characters does as well. Another case of my personal experience or interests being that of a character.
Q. Do you have website or social media page you would like to invite us to visit?
A. http://walkthetowpath.com
Q. Do you have links on twitter or any other social media sites?
A.     Twitter: @jim_yackel

B.      YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/c/Jesulife  

To hear Jim's music.... Click HERE

Readers, if you'd like to check Jim's books out please click into his amazon page at the following link.  https://www.amazon.com/Jim-Yackel/e/B004ZRCZL6
Here' a selection of Jim's books. They are available in both paperback and kindle.