9 Mar 2014

Dark Days

With the Ukraine still in the grip of political forces that seem intent on creating division our thoughts go to those involved in the crisis. Those people who are trying to live a decent life are exposed to suffering that they could not have expected, nor deserve.




While we contemplate what is to be done, the situation continues to develop with lines becoming firmer and the chance of a simple resolution disappearing like the famous "Scotch Mist".


The power of the written word plays its part in some many ways. It alerts us to the emotion and harsh reality of those involved in the struggle. Not just the political and military leaders but also the people involved in the horror of war and the threat of violence. Through articles we can attempt to understand the emotion and the journey that those involved and those who are forced to be involved are going through.




It struck me that the emotion viewed from a safe, secure Scottish home is so remote but intense that at times it is difficult to comprehend. But comprehend we must. Our responsibility to our fellow beings and to each other is to attempt to understand not just the political actions but the real suffering and motivation of the everyday people involved in conflict around the world.




The book, "Three Dark Day" for me was an emotional journey of some intensity written by a humble Scotsman to try and articulate his experience when faced with the horrors of war. Although from a different era when the eyes of the world were more focussed on South East Asia the lessons and learning is still there for us to see and understand.




We could do well to remember the admonition of Edward Burke when he said,


"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing".

7 Dec 2012

Once In Royal Baby's City...

With the recent news that Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their first child (and with some sources claiming twins) it's safe to say that the Royal Baby (who has somehow managed to Tweet from inside the womb) is going to be the media focus for the next few months/years.

On the other side of the coin of this media attention is the way this particular Royal couple are very private people, as private as you can be with camera lenses poking into your life of course.

So what is our obsession with Royalty and where did it begin? Was it with the invention of TV, of the news media tapping into the growing trend to know more about the finer details of celebrities lives? It's hard to say and I'll let you decide on that one.

However for the Royalists among us it is no wonder that there is a growing trend for memoirs of princesses and queens popping up on Amazon. Whether you're a fan of Royalty and the concept of a Royal Family there is no doubt that there are those who are very keen and fascinated by Royalty. 


Source: 25 Chapters of My Life: The Memoirs of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna

A family reunion in the late 1880ies:

Back row from the left: Princess Marie of Orleans (married to Prince Valdemar of Denmark), Princess Louise of Denmark, (daughter of Crown Prince Frederick),  Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark, Crown Princess Lovisa of Denmark, Prince  Max of Baden, Princess Marie of the Hellenes, Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia, Prince Albert Victor of Wales, Crown Prince Constantine of the Hellenes, Princess Victoria of Wales, Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich of Russia, Princess Alexandra of the Hellenes.
Seated in front: Princess Thyra of Denmark, (daughter of Crown Prince Frederick), Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) Alexandra, Princess of Wales (later Queen Alexandra), Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia, Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia, Queen Louise of Denmark, Emperor Alexander III of Russia.



As one keen reviewer on Amazon said of the book '25 Chapters of My Life: The Memoirs of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna': 


As the title says, this is 25 chapters, none of the terribly long, but nevertheless this is a good read and a book anyone interested in Olga should buy that will undoubtedly be highly sought after by royalty buffs in years to come.
Grand Duchess Olga Aleksandrovna was the last surviving member of Nicholas II’s immediate family and in this book she recalls her life and relationship with her brother’s family. This includes personal reminisces from the childhood and reign of Nicholas II. Alongside a first-hand account of escape from the Bolshevik regime and life in exile from a member of the imperial family. 

12 Oct 2012

The Life of a Pilot Is Never Dull.


Image credit: Death on Small Wings, Neville Atkinson.

Last night a ground-breaking documentary was shown on Channel 4 titled 'The Plane Crash.' The Channel invited viewers to book a virtual seat through the Channel 4 website on a flight with an unusual destination. The 170-seater Boeing passenger jet was unlike any other air craft as it was set on a flight path to crash-land on purpose for the sake of science. Viewers were invited to log onto the site after the programme aired to see what their fate would have been in their chosen seats. Many newspapers are criticising Channel 4 for being insensitive after the Sita Air crash in Nepal less than a fortnight ago in which 7 Britons died, killing 19 in total.

However the main objective of the documentary seemed clear: studying the mechanics and impact that a plane crash causes and what passengers can do to reduce fatalities in a plane crash situation. The documentary followed a team of scientists, other experts in the field and skilled pilots as they crash-landed the passenger jet 'Big Flo' in the Mexican desert.

One of the pilots, Jim Bob Slocum, was a seasoned pilot who'd previously parachuted out of three planes and had given the nick name 'Big Flo' to the passenger jet that was intended for the crash experiment. Big Flo was taken up in the air by a team of pilots who then parachuted out of the aircraft at which point it was remotely controlled by military experts. Pilot Jim Bob, one of the most experienced pilots in the experiment, was the last man out of the air craft.

Once the air craft had crashed in the Mexico desert it became apparent that if there had been anyone on board to pilot the air craft that they would have met their maker as the plane took a slight nose-dive and the nose eventually broke free from the craft, being squashed by the remaining chunk of the plane.

As well as the experiment demonstrating where to sit, as a passenger, for the best chance of survival it also demonstrated that pilots put their lives on the line every time they set off on a flight. This is certainly highlighted in the Death on Small Wings eBook, written by Neville Atkinson (pictured above) who left a career as a fighter pilot in the Royal Navy to take up a position as personal pilot to the President of Libya, Colonel Gadaffi. The turmoil of the Middle East at the time meant that the jet was constantly under attack as well as being forced to transport Carlos The Jackal and three other terrorist from Algeirs to Moogadishu in Somalia after a kidnapping in Vienna.

So whether it's parachuting out of commercial air-liners in the name of science or being the personal pilot to one of the most infamous men in history there is one thing that rings true in my observation: the life of a pilot is never dull!

22 Sep 2012

Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied.


The recent revelations on Hillsborough sadly reflect the public’s view of what had been long suspected but is now clear; the establishment will cover up and protect its own. If this was an isolated incident we would all be less worried, but when taken with other separate, but related, cases such as Jean Charles de Menezes and the Bloody Sunday case we should all be concerned about how the establishment deals with cover ups.

We should recognize that in a free country eventually the truth will come out. The well known and well used legal maxim that 'justice delayed is justice denied' can be applied in these cover-up cases. And is also the theme in the novel 'The Hangman's Fracture' by David CrigmanWhile dealing with a fictional case of an innocent man being hanged and the battle to take on the establishment. 

Of course we should show support to the forces that we all need in a civilised society, but those who commit crimes (and let’s be clear; much of the cover up is criminal) need to be brought to justice. Ultimately this is the role of the police to serve and protect, even if it to protect the public from their own colleagues.

28 May 2012

Happy Memorial Day.

image credit.




To our American readers, followers, fans and everyone in between we want to wish you a Happy Memorial Day from North Highland Publishing.



25 May 2012

Friday Social Media Tips: Twitter and Facebook.

Whether or not you opt for the marketing packages North Highland Publishing has to offer or you decide to have a go at marketing your own book you'll have to get the news out there that your book exists. 


So, with that in mind, how should you go about doing just that?

The power of Facebook and Twitter should never be overlooked. 


On Twitter you can directly search for your readership as Twitter filters out users who share the same interests as you by clicking on the '#Discover' button. Once you've done this, type in the exact keywords you'd like to find relating to your search. This will lead you to find users who 'tweet' about the same topics that relate to your book or writing. Twitter is free of charge to use and allows your followers to feel as though they're having a direct conversation with you. 


Facebook 'fan pages' are ideal for either setting up in the name of your book or under your author name. Facebook follows a different format than Twitter but it still allows you to have a direct line of communication with your 'fans.'


Through both of these mediums you can share links, pictures and any updates with your books.

6 Feb 2012

DIY Self Publishing: Should You or Shouldn't You?


When you heard the words 'self publishing', they sound pretty tame in comparison to the traditional route of publishing you might be more familiar with; the competitive conglomerates who will take up only a handful of manuscripts per year, who are ultimately not able to meet the demands of many wannabe published authors.

Hence why self publishing is opening the door where it may have once been closed - and with digital book sales and e-readers growing in number and popularity, it's no wonder that any sales savvy author would snap up the chance to self publish.

Wikipedia says that self-publishing is; 

Self-publishing is the publication of any book or other media by the author of the work, without the involvement of an established third-party publisher. The author is responsible and in control of entire process including design (cover/interior), formats, price, distribution, marketing & PR. The author can do it all themselves or outsource all or part of the process to companies that offer these services.  
At North Highland Publishing, we're a company who will let you, the author have complete control over the design of your front cover, the formatting of your fonts, marketing and promotion - with a little help from us. You send your manuscript to us, we'll pass it onto our Editing Department and we'll send you a quote based on our most updated price list as to what work needs done on your manuscript. 


Authors probably have enough on their hands with the marketing and promotion of their books so we will take your manuscript and sculpt it into a book; hard copy, eBook or both. 


But, if we can do it, anyone can do this - right? 


Our team have a combination of industry and personal experience when it comes to self-publishing and eBook publishing, specifically. 
We have worked on various manuscripts; fantasy, crime, thriller, fiction and non-fiction works. 
We have converted books to be sold as eBooks.
We manage several on-line book shops. 
We sell hundreds of eBooks per month. 
We sell eBooks across the world. Our authors have sold hundreds of their print copy books.


The difference between 'Do It Yourself' self publishing and jumping on board with North Highland Publishing is that when you DIY your publishing, you may make many mistakes along the way. Mistakes that may cost you time and money to make. 


We're not saying we haven't made the same mistakes as the DIY'ers make, we probably have, but the difference is that we have learned very quickly with each mistake. There is also the advantage of a whole team there to cushion any blows we might have faced. 


So can a person 'do it themselves' when it comes to self-publishing? Absolutely. Is this for everyone? Absolutely not. 


Not everyone knows where to begin when it comes to selling and promoting their book, not everyone knows how to edit their book and not everyone knows where to sell their book once it's completed. And once you decide to get serious about publishing, these are just the top three most important things to know.


Most people starting out in the self-publishing world won't know about these things and will spend an awful lot of time - and money - discovering what works and doesn't. With an established publishing company like North Highland Publishing you can rest assured that we've been there and done it several times over, getting it better each time we do.


Another hurdle that authors face is that they don't have the experience of repetition, which we do. We've done this several times over and over, are signed up with a number of book retailers and have guaranteed monthly sales. 


If you're serious about publishing with North Highland Publishing, get in touch with us here.