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Monday, 26 May 2014

An observation

Hello my friends.

  Firstly while I will keep this site operational I am transferring most of my posts to my website You can join me there for more interesting observations of a self published author attempts at promoting his work.

 Why am i doing this? The simple answer is for expediencies sake. I check my web site daily and can update the blog from one point

I hope you will all join me for further jolly japes and interesting mutterings about the story of Dead Men Lie and what happened when I met the re-enactors at Hunton.

See you on the other side



Sunday, 18 May 2014

Monday, 21 April 2014

The Easter weekend

Morning all

 So the first bank holiday weekend has come and gone and i thought I should share some of the joy with you.

Of course the opposite to joy is what depression, anger, frustration, boredom. All four were part of the selling experience this weekend. It was my unfortunate experience to encounter one really sad man who wanted to vent his own negativity on those near him. Initially I tried to rise above his tiresomeness but eventually at the Hop farm I came to realise what he was feeling. While at Chilham our frustration was simply down to the organisers lack of motivation. Which was strange because at their previous fairs they had been so upbeat and positive. I know as humans we are all due down days but when running a business you have to reflect a persona of positivity even if your hurting inside. As one of my fellow stall holders said, "negativity spreads like the plague," and by God did it spread yesterday.

  Very bad signage was the first indication of what to expect, that and the word from those who had been there before that it never got going before noon made the first couple of hours daunting. Steadfastly your hero stood, smiled and greeted the few visitors who trickled in. While our hosts sat and drank tea and chatted with their friends and family. What they do is their own business, but when we had paid to be there the least we could expect were a few cheery words and some motivation. They should look to their selves and the way the run such events before they lose what good name they have.Still the fudge people kept me happy, Mick and Kaye were lovely while their samples were divine.    

  Eventually customers began to arrive and beneath the withering glare of the other stall holders Kaye and myself fell into our spiel. Perhaps this was wrong, maybe we should have sat silently and waited for the customers to come to us? Not how I work, you have to be out going and draw people into a conversation. Remain silent and seated and you portray an impression of not being interested. The two of us were kindred spirit, we worked the crowd, we began to make sales. As many of you will know I am an ex plumber not a salesman but I can speak to people, once I have engaged with them it is me that either makes or losses the sale and that I can live with. Usually I can convince enough that Dead Men Lie is worthy of reading. I will never convince those with short arms and deep pockets, or those who perhaps can't understand the concept of buying books direct from the author. They are beyond convincing but I can live with them, I simply smile, say thank you and look for the next customer.

    What galls me are the young, the intelligent who say "I don't read" then stand reading the literature about the book before moving on. A simple "thanks but no thanks" would suffice. I can even appreciate the talker, those who desire to extol the merits of what I am doing, who discover all about how the book was devised and how I wrote it and even the size of my underpants before saying, "thanks I 'll think about it". Half an hour wasted while other potential buyers have passed by. However one poor soul who appeared unable to raise the cost of a cup of tea did so engage with me. Eventually he did walk off without buying, but this morning he had sent an e-mail ordering five copies of the book. So the time spent with him was indeed worthwhile. We had some laughs as well, one lady appeared interested was about to buy, I had her in the palm of my hand when she spoke. "Oh I wish I hadn't bought this child's cardigan because the two will make my bag simply too heavy to carry."  Come on I know DML is a weighty tome but its not that bad.

   During a lull in the influx of customers (an hour) Mike and myself went into Chilham to drum up some interest. We found them, lots of potential buyers sitting in the sun drinking tea and beer totally unaware that 200 yards away we were struggling for customers. Bad advertising once again had done for us. Our organisers should have been doing what we did.

 So overall what of the weekend, well thanks to sales yesterday we were in profit, we sold fourteen books handed out lots of leaflets and will have to wait to see if E-book sales increase. Would I go back to either event, no. craft fairs are a little clique of friends who are more interested in catching up with what everyone is doing than actually selling. One woman sat all day without selling a thing. Why because her stock failed to arrive? Why she remained and didn't simply go home was a mystery until you realised this was her day out seeing her mates. Thankfully Kaye has e-mailed me details of events they attend which she thinks would be beneficial to me. I will rethink my strategy and reorganise. DML is too good a story to languish in the bargain bucket bin. I shall get the new stall built which will give the book some visual impact. Personally I must rethink my selling technique, after three fairs I realise that I sometime's stumble on that initial "Whats it all about" I need a one line hook with which to draw the reader in. It will come, hopefully not too late for this summer. Oh yes and one last buyer was a new author gathering tips. I am afraid he got more than he bargained for when the told me he was going to give a couple of hundred books away for free. Why do people do this? I hope I talked him out of it. Even Kaye said she would never give away fudge, samples yes but not an entire book full.

 There you are a few lessons learnt and if I have shown the errors I made to you the potential new author than my work is done. Writing is easy, its the publicity and the apathy which we have to overcome, that is where the hard work begins. Those lucky authors who have agents, publishers and publicists never have to experience what we, the self publisher, have to endure. One day perhaps I will reach those heady heights, if I do, I hope I will never forget the hard work that was involved, or the amount of apathy I had to break down to get a book known. Until the next time my friends keep writing


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

I do not need negativity in my life.

Morning all

 Sorry for the absence but it is busy busy busy.

So many fairs fates and book signings to get organised for , e-mails to answer and books to dispatch I really do wonder where the time goes.

For all that positivity there are always those ready to rain our you parade so what to do about them?

My advice and this is just my opinion ignore them, I know its not easy but remember if they have nothing good to say about you or your book they are either troglodytes or perpetual moaners who have nothing better to do. Of course on the other hand as I have said before if their advice improves your work in anyway then you owe it to yourself to consider their remarks and either take it on board or ignore it. What I refer to here are those that try to drag you down. They are not worth the worry and heart ache.

 This week I almost got suckered into an argument with some person who commented on my book in a derogatory manner. I could have ended up in a full scale row but I remembered some sound advice and asked them politely what was the title of their last manuscript and who published it. Red faced they scuttled away, obviously no such work existed and they didn't desire to admit that fact.We write, therefore for some reason we are easy targets for those who cannot. Of course I was annoyed but only for a little while another sale quickly calmed my fury.

I still await the review by that person who stole a copy from our first fair perhaps they are still trying to work out some of the big words like 'and' and 'that' Oh I can be cutting. But the negativity is eating away at me as we speak. With less than 6 weeks to go i begin to worry if anyone will turn up for the book launch. I keep telling myself that if only those who are truly interested appear then we will have achieved something. But then little Jimmy speaks again and tells me that all these famous authors have hundreds turn out and they don't have to work half as hard as i do. "So what Jimmy they have myriad helpers doing the work for them all they have to do is write and draw their pay packet while you are creating." I can understand that but is so frustrating at times when you read of their exciting lives and i am still plodding away selling my books at fairs and wherever.

    Which is why as Easter approaches Mrs P is a little miffed that I will not be here for three of the four days. Nor was she pleased this afternoon as we took our granddaughter out I spent a few moments plugging the book and persuading the owners to take a few brochures and posters. I am sad but hay books do not sell themselves (unless you are very lucky) Dead Men Lie has to be seen it has to be touched and read, I have always said that if we can get copy into readers hands the majority of the time those readers like what I have created. The few that do not, well I can't please everyone can I?

Whatever you do make sure you do it with as much conviction and passion as you can muster. You are the masters of your own destiny and when the money begins to flow along with the Kudos and adulation you can look yourself in the mirror and say "Through my own hard work I did this and I am proud of what I have achieved." I know I will

Until another day remember the next book sold could be the key which unlocks the floodgates to all manner of things.


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

My errors of judgement.

Hello one and all

 Yes its me again, with another dollop of trash and trite. What thorny issue should we deal with today? I have something in mind but I think I have visited the subject before. However, I believe we should look at it again because it can cost you, the author, both time and money.

When we complete our work and are prepared to show it to the world  we have various choices to make most of which we may never have contemplated when we began this journey of discovery called publishing. Certainly most of us, and I include myself here, will have had little or no knowledge of publicity marketing and promotional work. Perhaps I was a little lucky in that I once ran  plumbing business so had a modicum of experience, but plumbing and publishing are different beasts entirely though both require people skills.

So we have done it your book is ready and after sending thousands of requests to agents and publishers and you have papered the entire house in rejection slips like me you decide to embark on the self publishing route. It can't be that hard can it have some books printed upload the file to Amazon and wait for the millions to role in. How long did it take you to realise it wasn't going to be that easy? Weeks, months we all get there our friends and family can only do so much. Therefore we have to do something else to sell our work, we all congregate on Facebook twitter goodreads and every other site we can think of we go where we think we will be heard but thousands of others are already there doing exactly the same thing. We become lost in the crowd and still the books sit under the bed gathering dust.
 What other mind blowing strategy can we try? We are so desperate to make a favourable impression we leap in without regard for or respect of the implications. Only in hindsight can we determine if our choices were good or bad. I cannot say which is ideal for you, all I can do is tell you what errors I made and point out another route. You then have to determine which is best for you and your pocket.

When I began, I had a few pound to spend. How best should I use that small investment, should it go on an editor to mould my work into how they desired it to be or should I plough on regardless and leap into the unknown? I chose the latter. I went with a large vanity publisher, paid them a fortune and got an inferior service. In hindsight I now realise the product, while being a good story, needed a professional editor to guide me through the faults that existed. Harsh lesson learnt

After nursing my injured pride and depleted bank balance (I sold precisely five copies and gave away a dozen) I eventually began writing again and Dead men Lie is the result. it is however far different to the original draft. Unwilling to be taken for a fool a second time I discovered a lovely lady who has edited my book for me. When we began we were both novices, we learnt as we went along, we listened and became better. We failed a couple of times, almost got suckered by another so called publisher and I vowed then and there that no one apart from me would determine the destiny of my work. But the leeches still exist, even now we are occasionally fooled, not so often, but occasionally another plausible rogue crosses our paths.           
 How to get reviews? We all desire them, apparently it is what readers look at first. Do they, certainly some do but are they all important? Go into a bookshop and what do you look at first, the front cover, the back spurge or the authors name do you rush home and examine the reviews on certain sites before parting with your hard earned cash. I know that's being simplistic and the world had changed. But the principle remains the same we buy what we like first and foremost. We have to have reviews though, even me for my  apparent disregard devour every review eagerly to see what someone has said about my work, its human nature to have nice things said about us. So how do we get these elusive reviews?

  Certainly never ever pay anyone for a review. if you do you are prostituting yourself at the door of suspicion.Ask yourself if you can be sure that the review such people give is honest or even if they have read your work. Certainly I have my suspicions that some, not all, and certainly not the majority, but some reviewers cobble together their copy from the work of others. Maybe I am being unjust to the majority of honest and dedicated reviewers, but these are simply my uncorroborated views. I suspect though there is a modicum of truth in what I say, because in every level of society there is a under belly of rogues. So never ask for reviews certainly never pay and as i discovered never plead for reviews. I did that just recently, I got suckered into asking my friends to aid me with three reviews for a specific purpose. Guess what not one responded, therefore point proved, its far better to wait for genuine comments from genuine readers. They do come and I would rather have those than twenty sub standard reviews.   

Now I fear we come to my pet hate. How do we, the self publisher, sell more copies of our work? Some will give work away, this is their prerogative but personally I despair at this tactic. Why I hear you ask. Consider this, name any other profession that charges nothing for their work I do not include charities in this. Bet you can't, as an ex-plumber I never undersold my talent. It took too long to earn my certificates to undermine my training by doing something as idiotic as underselling myself. To write a book takes time and effort so why should anyone expect to get my work free. If they want it, make them pay, charge a smaller price but for Gods sake make a profit, even if its a penny. I fell into this trap (Not the freebies) by giving my book away to people to review, I didn't get one back, all I did was lost the cost of ten books. You learn that those who down load free books simply move onto someone else when yours comes off offer. They win, you lose, what's the point? Oh I hear some authors laudably proclaiming they are number 1 2 or 3. in some chart or another but within a week they are back where they started and God knows how many copies out of pocket. That is my point of view, personally I would love the practice to stop but I doubt it ever will.  

As I said at the beginning, this is my view on life, you may agree, you may disagree. That as they say is your prerogative, as for me, I may not be rolling in cash but  I sleep soundly in the knowledge that Dead Men Lie, no matter how well it does or doesn't do, will happen through no fault of either it or its author. We have tried our best and will continue to strive for, if not perfection, than at least as near as we can get and we will have achieved it through our hard work and diligence.   

 here endeth today's rant hope you have enjoyed it if so perhaps someone would like to leave a comment would be nice to hear what others think occasionally.

Cheers D

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Today's thoughts

Morning all

  Like me I suspect you hope to please everyone....fact is we cannot. The hard truth is for all your social media friends and connections, most are simply doing what you do, trawling the internet attempting to sell their work.

 While some will engage, might even buy your work most will promise the world but do little while expecting you to aid them in their quest for world domination. Does that sound terrible?

  The hard truth is you are seeking what>>>>> To be successful as a writer we are looking for approximately 100,000 sales. Not many in the grand scheme of things and when we consider the worlds population of God Knows how many Billions why worry about those who don't want to know seek out the interested ones discard the uninterested and move on.

I have reached a milestone in my advertising campaign, if it doesn't work stop doing it, if those who say they will aid and assist you and don't discard them, seek out only those who really do come through for you and reciprocate. Build a unit of like minded assistants and forget the rest.

 I have lost track of those who say one thing and fail to deliver, the people who tell me they will buy a copy of my book yet want a freebie in return for some idealistic promise which never materialises.

Now perhaps i have become hardened to what I must do, but if a promise is made that person gets a few days grace. If they do not produce I move on and that is what we must do. Stop chasing the rainbow and hunt for those 100,000 people who will give you what you desire freedom to pursue your dreams.

 This isn't written in a fit of pique, nothing has occurred over night to upset me its simply a awakening to the fact that no one will do it for you, if you want success you must look for those who can aid you and not waste time on those who cannot.

There endeth today's Procter lesson.

 have a good and successful day in whatever you do. I trust uit will become the first day on your own individual path to where you want to go.


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Our First Fair.

Good morning

 Saturday has come and gone and I have reflected upon what occurred. Was it a success? of course it was. Hythe came out in force and was most amenable to both myself and Dead Men Lie. Unfortunately there are no pictures, i was alone and not knowing anyone didn't have the nerve to ask anyone to take a few snaps of the table but next time i promise there will be evidence.

 Always in fear of the unknown I approached the venue with a sense of trepidation, it was a church hall in a backstreet a most unfavourable position, or so I thought, how wrong was that. Almost before we were set up the first visitors began to arrive and from early on until about 2 pm there was a steady and eager crowd flowing through the venue.

 Like all these fairs there are the lookers and the interested and you begin to sense one from the other. What I didn't spot was the thief who made off with a copy, but that was a lesson learnt and one I will not be making again. That aside we sold seven copies handed out a lot of literature and spoke to so many people that I trust I made an impression. apart from the sales many expressed an interest and one person actually downloaded the book from Kindle there and then which is always a bonus.

 One lovely lady spoke to me and expressed her interest, her voice betrayed her identity and when i asked she mischievously said "oh I am always being mistaken for *** ***** " The reason is because it was her. Not sure if being recognised made her hurry away but she did look back, smile and hold up a leaflet so perhaps we have a celebrity reader watch this space.  

Another stall holder purchased a copy of the book and started to read it, she sat silently devouring each page and I waited for her reaction, always a terrible time. Then she closed it stood and walked towards me. What is she going to say? Is she going to tell me it was rubbish in front of customers I do hope not. Of course not she smiled and said "Bloody brilliant couldn't pout it down read three chapters already."

There you are not much else happened, spoke to one elderly gent who had spent thousands publishing his book with a vanity publisher and sold ten copies. it was a sad story especially when it was all about his life with his now departed wife in India. But his is a story we hear of so many time s when will people learn the best way is to print on demand. If anyone asks for money to publish your work you are obviously in the wrong place, but that is a story for another day.

As for the first fair it was well worth the effort. I booked more with them that day and from that have found other more exciting places to showcase my book perhaps this is the start of a massive surge of interest in Dead Men Lie. Certainly the review that was posted overnight on Sunday was also a great fillip for my somewhat battered ego.

A women said to me on Saturday as I handed out leaflets, "You have the ability to do well, you are not afraid to get out and tell people about your work. While others sit and wait you make it happen people like you deserve to be heard. I wish you well." She didn't buy a copy but she might and that is all we can hope for.

 Therefore if you are relying on Facebook for your sales it will never happen, go to those places where customers lurk, find your niche and work it for all your worth. If you are personable and your merchandise is sell-able you will become noticed and that is what we all seek after all isn't it.

Good luck my writing friends . Now I have to amend my sales technique, and point of sale material. because that is another thing I discovered . If you have lots to offer, customers are drawn to you to discover what is all about. All I will say is my reindeer worked better than I thought.

Speak soon friends


Monday, 31 March 2014

Be honest

Morning all.

 Well her we are again for another basin full of my thoughts moans and general groans. But today that's not what I am going to do. Why I hear you wail what is wrong with me? Nothing at all simply I need some assistance for a change.

I have been offered a chance to increase my sales of that book everyone is fed up hearing about. To do this i need 10 published reviews on Amazon and I have 7. Therefore I need nay require no ask for three of my good friends to write some nice words for me.

 Is it too difficult to post a 4 or 5 star review after all many of you will have read Dead Men Lie you have said as much so many times. Three further reviews will allow me to advance my sales the great comments sent to me directly evidently do not count.

 The ball as they say is now out there who will pick it up and make my day.

Thank you in advance


Sunday, 23 March 2014

how to hack off an obnoxious neighbour

We all have them, those people we have to live alongside but can't stand the sight or sound of well I think I found the answer as to how to hack them off big style.

First watch them renew 3 foot high fence,
Next build the worst six foot fence imaginable.
Thirdly watch as they build their own six foot fence to hide my monstrosity.
Then remove my temporary fence and enjoy their perfect fence.

Neighbour annoyed and I get a nice new fence to the height I always wanted at no expense to myself, the end to a perfect Sunday.

 Small pleasures must be achieved when and wherever possible.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

How authors are ripped off.

Morning all.

 I am a trifle cheesed off today. While bored yesterday I discovered a site devoted to me on Google. has anyone ever googled themselves its fascinating what is written about oneself. Anyway there in all there glory were those well known books written by me all those years ago.

 Forgotten souls withdrawn by myself almost six years ago still on sale. Where these people think they are going to get editions to sell is beyond me nor for that matter can I explain the prices.
Forgotten souls was on sale for £9.99 yet now they trade for £25 -£35 do I get the royalties for these sales. More disturbing was seeing a book written for family only, its title trips of the tongue 'Mum there's a red Indian In the Garden' This was sold for £10 as well yet now this particular site has the audacity to sell a copy for wait for it £45. I hope no one pays this come to me if you want a copy I can get you a brand new copy for a quarter of that price.    

 Now i get a tax return from Amazon for tax collected in US i paid $0.36 tax despite telling them I wasn't a tax payer in the US. Why can't life be easy.

 back to the grind stone


Friday, 21 March 2014

message from Australia.

Hello once again

 So today I will attempt to delve a little into my inner workings as an author. I have broached this once or twice and never really satisfactorily explained why I do what I do.

"Oh you write have you been published?"

That is the first thing everyone asks. Then, when I say no I self publish, I see the blinds fall across their eyes as if I am unworthy to call myself an author. You must have experienced something similar, if not you have that joy to come. What is the difference between myself and say Mister Dickens? Truth is there isn't a lot. Many of the well known authors either began life as, or dallied with, self publishing. At one time it was the only means by which you could get yourself into print, only since the advent of the major publishing house has times changed. Perhaps that is also on the wane, with more and more publishers being swallowed up into larger conglomerates, maybe the day of the Indie Publisher is about to take over once again.
If that is the case then we have to do all we can to present the best work possible. Each Indie author has to swallow their pride and accept the words of advice that editors and proof readers give. Their views aren't cheap, but certainly it can be the difference between mediocrity and star quality. Dead Men Lie, lies somewhere in the middle, our budget was small, we did the best we could and rectified the errors we found as they came to light. Which might explain the following brief note I received via e-nail yesterday morning from a reader in Australia. He has given me permission to present it here in its entirety, I hope you enjoy, I did even though its not a review as such.

 Dear Mr Procter

   Some time back I purchased your book and read it with interest. Under the pseudonym of kangaranger I wrote to you in a way that perhaps you thought flippant. Fact of the matter was I didn't think you would publish my thoughts, not many authors would.

Because of your honesty, I have followed your progress with interest, I visit your Facebook page and your Blogsite, while occasionally dropping in to view your web page. I find you both interesting and unafraid to speak your mind. Sometime I wonder what you were feeling when you right from the heart. You have obviously suffered for your work, perhaps the Gods of publishing haven't been that sympathetic towards your cause. However if karma is to be believed then you will succeed eventually I hope so.

 Now for the good bit, I downloaded your latest version of Dead Men Lie recently, why, because you said it was going to be good. I was not disappointed, there remain a few minor, and I do mean minor, issues with grammar, but I am Australian, so what right have I to speak about grammar or punctuation. Certainly you have achieved something I could never do, a book is an awesome thing to have produced. As for the story brilliant, the text is far more cohesive, the speech more realistic, the plot tighter, the characters more real. One question though, when will you reveal the identity of the Chamberlain. More importantly I loved the subtle twist right at the end, clever stuff Mr Procter to leave the reader wanting more.

I hope you do well with this book, certainly I have told all my friends about it. Continue the good work and good on yeah. Respect sir    

Yours John c/o Bennett station, Australia.

 I have said it before and will reiterate, remarks such as this is the reason we put ourselves through so much grieve.

 For now I have a lot to do, preparing for various shows and feats. One word of good news, some of you will know that we are going to showing at the Battle of The nations in May. This is a re-enactment where hundreds of like minded souls present all that was great about the British fighting man (and our allies). It was announced today that Sky will be there to record it for posterity, maybe yours truly might find his name mentioned. If so remember any book sold during that weekend or ordered before will mean a £1 donation from me to the chosen charity which I believe is the local hospice. A worthy cause which you can aid by simply buying a book you see two exciting ways to enhance your well being.

 Speak soon


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

my daily view on life.

Good morning one and all.

 Its been too long since I last spoke to you and that is due to commitments concerning the re-launch of Dead Men Lie on June 4th. For all those who might be interested (and I hope to see a great many of you at the event) I am pleased to announce that all the differing elements begin to come together. The venue is booked, the books are printed, the posters and handouts ready. More importantly, and no doubt the ladies of Rye will swoon at the thought, but Colonel Maitland and Sir Percival will be attending along with Mistress Abigail. Look out Rye for these three to be among you drumming up support. I hope the many visitors that day will appreciate our hard work. If in the vicinity do please drop in it should be entertaining.
More importantly the wine is chilling nicely.
Why are we doing this? That question has been asked more than once and the simple answer is that we made mistakes with the previous additions. Oh shame on me we erred, we rushed into production and I sent the wrong copy to the printers. We are all fallible but I have lost count of the times I have been told of my errors. Which is both annoying and complimentary. Annoying because I wonder how many readers contact Publishing houses to point out their glaring mistakes. Conversely its rather gratifying that readers feel able to contact us and feel they are adding to the production process. Anyway we took the bold decision to withdraw the book from sale. While out of production we sat down and tore it apart, checked every dot and comma, every sentence and every plot line. The version, we have now is as good as we can make it. We have added a few twists, removed a lot of excess baggage and tightened the dialogue up so that Dead Men Lie reads so much better.Once we had the product, we needed to ask ourselves more searching questions, questions all Indie authors I believe should ask themselves. What do we do about advertising and promotion. That is the wall we all hit and which few manage to break through so lets look at why.

Self publishers fall into two categories. Those who write and publish for the pleasure of seeing their work in print, unfairly in my opinion commonly refereed to as vanity printers. Most will agree that, with all the good intentions in the world, few expect to sell more than a few copies, most of which go to family and friends. I do not decry or demean their efforts in any way, but they do add to the  perception readers have of anyone who self publishes. Such views are not applicable to everyone, with the uncertainty of the publishing world we see more talented and well known authors joining the ranks of the self publisher from the world of the main stream publishing. This can only be a good thing they bring a degree of credibility to those of us who continue against all odds to make a mark.

How then do we break through into the wonderful world that beckons to us from the mists of invisibility? More importantly how do we stand out from the thousands that try to advertise their work on mainstream social media sites and who are our targeted audience? Like everyone else I  went to the well known social sites to advertise my book. I enthused and waxed lyrical about its merits, the web site was looked at but who was I actually speaking to?

Each morning I have grown more disillusioned, each morning my in boxes are filled, not with orders or comments from readers, but with endless postings about cakes or cats, games and ghoulies. Personally I have a passing interested in all four but when I get upwards of 250 such messages the only thing to do is quickly scan for anything interesting and then delete. Therefore I have to conclude that all my so called friends are doing exactly the same thing.

Lets be fair, we have all spent hours, days, weeks and months slaving to hone our work as such we want it read. Which is why we flock to the same sites, I won't mention names here but we all know who I allude to. We join this group and that, we display our work and await the responses. Few though read our postings after the initial few weeks so we attempt to increase our circles of friend. We go for the same people, authors, we all think they are the people to give us what we desire but  authors haven't the time to actually read anything apart from the first initial brief examination. I stand as guilty as the rest, authors, no matter how genuine they at first appear, are motivated by one thing only self promotion and sales. Therefore I have to ask am I engaging in the right sort of people?

If as assumed many are leaving these sites in droves, we must develop other areas where we can advertise and sell our work. We must develop a different approach to find those willing to buy our books. But where and what can be done. We the self-publisher, by design, do not have access to the resources of the major publishing houses. We have to struggle for every sale. Therefore we have to be adaptable but we have to firstly make sure the product is as good as we can make it. Despite the professional publishers making horrendous mistakes, they are rarely criticised. Errors abound while some of the stories are far from enjoyable yet obtain cult status simply because they are published by proper companies. I am no literary giant, but I know what I like, some of the so called best sellers are too be fair less than appealing

Secondly I think we need to be more flexible in how we find readers. Where are they and how do we connect to them. Most do not reside online, the majority of readers are middle aged to elderly, I have discovered that a lot do not and will not use the internet if they can avoid it. Yes Amazon is the preferred choice to buy books and is a formidable tool but there has to be other choices available to those who would still like to buy a 'proper book'. There we the self-publisher run into another brick wall bookshops are reluctant if not down right blinkered in stocking our work and I can see their point. A self Published book is difficult to sell at a reasonable price, add too that equation the risks involved and a thousand and one other reasons and an Indie is unlikely to find a main stream book shop willing to take a chance.

Therefore we have to be bold and go into the world and peddle our books whenever and wherever we can. That isn't something many of us are willing or able to do. Family commitments and cost all eat into our valuable writing time or so we say. But why do we have this narrow view of our life? We chose to put our work out there to be read by not only reviewers, and other authors, but by the general public. So as the old saying goes in the mountain won't come to Mohammad than Mohammad must go to the mountain.

This year I am facing my public, I will do whatever is required to get my work into the readers hands. The reason being I believe in my book, my readers, apparently like what I have done and if others read it they will think the same way. Once again I implore other Indie authors not to dwell among those who flatter but do little, reach out and find your own audience. I will keep you informed as to how this year goes after what is the worst that can happen someone tells you to your face your work is rubbish. If they do smile, thank them, and move on. For another potential buyer approaches as they walk away.

 I make one last appeal. If anyone would like an author to attend a school feat, a village fair, a summer or spring fair or even a dog show contact me and if I can fit it in I will.

Here are my links


Thanks for reading and if you feel the same way don't just sit and wring your hands join me in doing something about it. E-mail me at to whinge to moan or to join with me in bringing good quality Indie books to the reading public.

Until another day Dave 

Today's offering

Morning all

I hope you enjoyed my daily rant that I posted yesterday. Like all self publishers frustration boils over occasionally, and with no one else to vent that anger on we have to use the internet to express ourselves.

Therefore here comes today's offering.

 A group I joined offered an exchange of reviews. You know the thing, read my book and review it and I will reciprocate in kind. All good fun and a veritable influx of hopefully good reviews to have posted on Amazon.

Don't fall into the trap, I soon discovered it was for published lovies, to basically slap each other on the back declaring their unending love of all things intellectual while I, as the lone selfie, was to be the sacrificial lamb.

I read some of their work, and while obviously well written and researched every one left me cold for story content. They took so long in getting going I was bored come chapter four or five but I persevered and gave my reviews and guess what Dead Men Lie received not a one.  While they all stated grandly that they had downloaded copies none have, so far as I have seen, bothered reading it while one pompously said she was so busy it was impossible for them to do a full edit for at least a year.

What an insult. Dead Men Lie has been edited, perhaps not to industry standard but there again there were some glaring errors in spelling in their book but did I say as much, nope, yet they, in their pompousness, think I and my team are to be ridiculed.

They have the luxury none of us Indies possess, they have either a well known name, or a selection of books to sell via their time with publishers. We on the other hand, the individual, have to struggle each and every day to get our name known. None of these authors have to stand in a field touting their wares, To watch as hundreds of people pass by and savouring the few book sales we get. These guardians of the literary world have the luxury of time to write, while we, the Indie, spend most of our time looking for outlets, interacting on social sites, attempting to get media attention. My readers are the benchmark of my success, not people who sit in judgement of me after skim reading our books.

Skim reading? I hear you ask. Of course they do, that is how your books are reviewed, you didn't think these people can actually read four books a week and eat and sleep and do everything else we mere mortals have to do. I can't be certain but I would guess they read the first few chapters, skip to the middle section, and perhaps read the end, then check the other reviews your books have received then they cobble something together. Of course if I am wrong than I apologise unreservedly, there are most likely some very dedicated reviewers out there who read each and every word. My complaint is directed at those who can churn their reviews out almost machine like.

 Of course, this sounds like a dissatisfied author throwing his toys out of his pram. That isn't how I wanted it to be perceived, I would simply like some honesty, if you don't want to review my work tell me and I will save my time reviewing work, by people who want it. If Dead Men Lie doesn't appeal to you fine, I can't please everyone, but at least attempt to read it then cast your vote.

 I may not have the most reviews on Amazon but real readers do speak out in favour of the work and that I will continue to cherish. I, unlike others, post both good and bad comments on my website, that way I feel readers get a balanced view of my work. I tried to assist a fellow author once and since then I have barely heard from him, you see honesty isn't what we want is it. Instead of accepting well intentioned advice we all want to hear how good our work is. Well perhaps we should all begin to be honest and say what we think but we won't will we because we all desire those good reviews

Back to the grindstone and you know where I am if you would like to throw some brickbats my way.

Speak soon D

Thursday, 6 March 2014

another favourable review.

Hi friends

 I received this e-mail via my web site this morning and get the feeling that this is a general take on reviewing. I may be wrong but if it is it explains why most reviews come from recognised reviewers or authors.

 Mr Procter,

    I have never before written to an author, nor have i ever felt inclined to write a review or felt the urge to post anything on a book site or indeed on a web site of any sort. I find the thought of doing so far too intimidating and frankly confusing. I can manage e-mails and thankfully found your web site simple to understand.

  I write after seeing the review you posted by ChristophFischerBooks and felt compelled to join with him in expressing my profound admiration of your writing skills. Dead Men Lie left me spell bound by your descriptive powers in both character and place setting. To anyone who hasn't read your book they are sadly lacking in the enjoyment your story brings.  I will be telling all those i know to purchase a copy of this book forthwith. Congratulations and Thank you for creating something that holds the attention, is entertaining and isn't full of sex and violence.

 Yours appreciatively

Mrs Joyce Bigg (aged well over 50) England    

 What can I say but thank you Mrs Bigg, I have your e-mail address and will let you know when the next installment of this story comes available. It would seem our fan base grows despite the negativity shown by some.

I must get back to writing now so speak soon


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Latest review

5.0 out of 5 stars
 Enjoyable, gripping read 4 Mar 2014
By ChristophFischerBooks TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
"Dead Men Lie" by David Procter is a well researched, historically accurate and impressive novel set in Boston and England in the late 1700s. It is a thriller, a mystery novel, a romance and historical fiction and a rich and rewarding read.
The books starts with a dramatic scene, the description of a gruesome hanging in Boston in 1969 as perceived by the lawyer of the hanged man. There is more to the case than meets the eye and this has a profound effect on the lawyer.
The story then moves on to Stormouth in England and the Wood family. Abigail, whose husband is missing and declared dead, the reading of the will, the priest and the dubious Benjamin Turnbottle, a 'friend'.
The plot is cleverly woven and told with a confident voice and with lots of surprises. The characters are diverse and colourful and their stories are intriguing and reflect English society of the times with all its flaws and some of its joy.
Pre-revolutionary America and Georgian England are a well chosen setting for the story.
Enjoyable, educational and gripping.
Comment | 

This is why we writers do what we do. We display our wares and hope that one day a review like this will pop up and be noticed.  The review is a well known and prolific reviewer that doesn't detract from what he says about our book if anything it speaks volumes for our dedication. If Dead Men Lie had been badly written or poorly researched he would have said so in no uncertain terms. So please read and digest Dead Men Lie is a great book, perhaps it is time you added it to your library??????? 

Sunday, 2 March 2014

the article

 read this everyone and see what i have been saying for so long

Cheers D

An eternal question

Good morning one and all

   Yet again I have been remiss in contributing here, fact is I have been stuck in a maelstrom of events, some of which sucked me in then spat me out but more of that later.

 Dead Men Lie, my book, did you know I had written a book Oh that's good glad the word has got out, continues to  become known around the world. the web site continues to grow despite a mega blip last month. Hard lesson learnt there, best not to trust all that you read about bright shiny new sites. Cost me money and time to end up back where I was. Only good point was the elimination of the glitch which had affected the old site, so perhaps some good did come from my time away.

I also joined a group in which a small group were supposed to review each others books. A noble sentiment which if it had delivered might have proofed effective. I felt, a week into the group that it was a group dedicated to self acclamation and that selfies weren't to be tolerated but hay who hasn't been decried for our efforts I know I have.

I also read a piece which decries the act of giving away free copies of books. At last I am no longer the lone voice in the wilderness. The article explains that , as i have been saying for some time, free copies belittles the work we as authors spend in writing our work. if we continue down this route how much longer will it be before the only books read are free ones and then when the industry has collapsed and we have nowhere to go to earn a modest living who will be the winners and looser's? Us no one else.  Unfortunately I appear to have lost the link but if it reappears I will post it so you can all read it as well it was fascinating.

My last point this morning is one of my own stupidity. I like so many others am trying to sell my book. Dead men Lie has a following it has been read and has received some good reviews. But I am attracted to so many sites on Google + Amazon and others where authors congregate. Suddenly I have realised that I don't care what other authors think of my book. I am not worried if some well meaning academic tells me that a comma is in the wrong place or that the inference is wrong when one character speaks to another. What I want is real readers to speak to me and to buy the book. Authors will not drive my book sales only readers will do that. Authors are far too concerned about their own reviews to give honest comments about books, readers will. Which is why over the course of this week I will be drastically reducing the amount of sites I use and culling some of the friends I have those who never respond or comment. What I would like is for your my true friends and readers to spread the word among your own friends that I and Dead Men Lie are different to so many others, we want your opinions even bad ones.          

There you are a new day has dawned and here is an open invitation to anyone able to get to Rye in east Sussex on June the 4th dead men Lie is having a launch party between 2 pm and 6 pm at the town hall. Drop in if you can and share a glass of wine with me and see just what Dead Men Lie is all about.  This will most likely become my platform for future promotion so share it and tell your friends about me. I may sometimes be controversial but I will also be honest. After all I have but one book, at the moment, to promote

Monday, 17 February 2014

Dead Men Lie

Morning all

 Well its done, after a lot of grief and a few choice words the new improved version of Dead Men Lie is now up and running and awaiting your views.

For those who have been waiting you will discover it has been radically altered, the changes though are subtle you have to look to find them but when you do I guarantee you will be surprised.

The printed version is off to the printers today and that should be ready in a few weeks time, all being well the launch party should be fun.

However there remains a glitch the web site is still down now resolved over night so yours truly will be back on the phone later to Sweden South Africa or God knows where else in the world such people send me.

 Be patient this will be sorted and Dead Men Lie and myself will be back on line soon.

Cheers dave  

update on the web site

Evening friends

 The old site has gone and the new site has problems
. We are working just as quickly as we can and the new site will be up and running very soon. Until then follow me on facebook
Cheers dave

Sunday, 9 February 2014

new website.

Wow thanks everyone for looking in and following the saga of this debacle.

I begin to wonder what it is about Dead men lie that causes so much controversy, other authors write there book, post it on Amazon receive dozens of nice comments and reviews and we struggle at every turn.

No I am not whinging, just making an observation.  Yesterday I was forced by matters beyond my control to publish the new site weeks before I was ready. I knew there were issues with it and as each one was mentioned i did my best to rectify them and to all those who contacted me I thank them profusely.

But stress and aggravation made me grouchy as the day wore on, I began to make mistakes none worse than while cutting and pasting i again deleted another chapter and didn't notice it until late in the evening. I now have to go through everything again, checking i haven't deleted the newest file not a great job a few days but one i wish i didn't have to do. So if i am not here for a week or so do please keep watching and liking and passing on your thoughts.

As for the book, well Dead Men Lie has to be at the printers by late Feb at the latest so as to make the June 4th deadline. That is our day to shine and i hope you will all join us either on facebook, here or in person at Rye Town Hall.

Cheers D  

Saturday, 8 February 2014

New Web site

New web site up and running, not happy with it entirely but had to get in online before my trial period ran out.

take a look at

Any comments would be appreciated but keep them clean. Not entirely sure of the background

D has been bought back off Vistaprint (rip off merchants)  and will be in place very soon so simply bear with me. I haven't been able to amend alter or adjust the old site for almost a month yet they still demanded payment to release my own domain name. what a rip off. I would ask everyone who reads this to do me the greatest favour and spread the word A about vistaprint and B about my new site.

 Cheers speak soon D

 The web site is organic, changing as we speak. I was forced to publish this about a week too soon. so forgive the errors I am doing my best to sort them out as quickly as possible. See what else happens tomorrow?????

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Good Morning.


Some of you may have wondered where I have been, some possible hadn't missed me, some, perhaps couldn't have cared less. but I will explain for those who have had concerns. We got hit by the Christmas storms and have had builder issues.  estimates ranged from the sublime to the absurd. resulting in moi spending the best part of a month on a roof between heavy rain and wind repairing the damage myself.

 That completed I then had 55 chapters to re-edit and re work/ Today that process was completed and Dead men Lie is now so good even I am excited.  Parts have been removed ( even those I liked immensely) others are so much better its mind blowing. As for the finally well it has to be read to be believed.

 For those interested I will be posting this new edition on Amazon, Goodreads and Kobo for a limited period free of charge. take advantage of this great offer it will never be repeated. As for those who want physical copies they will be available as of may and at the re-launch party in June.

 What more can i say but with all this going on it was only fair that we re-designed the web site in the next few weeks you will be able to see what we have done with it I guarantee this too will blow you away.
 So continue to follow David T Procter and Dead Men Lie this year is our year, I will tell you all where we will be, pop along speak with me and tell me honestly what you think of our efforts.

 First up we will be at the Battle of the Nations at Hunton gardens in Kent in May. The 3rd regiment will be in attendance, I will post pictures.

 This is the start i will bore you witless with my inane chatter in the coming weeks.


Friday, 10 January 2014

Another taster from the same pot

Afternoon friends.

Firstly many thanks for all the wonderful comments coming into Dead Men Lie central. It seems these chapters have been well received makes our hard work all the more enjoyable.

We have been busy here in the office organising the printing of the new version of the book, We have to have it all ready by the beginning of Feb so as to be sure of having the printed books ready for the June Book Launch in Rye. That is moving on a pace, the posters and flyers are now ordered, the invitations are printed awaiting posting.  These next few months are going to be busy busy busy, in fact the new fleeces, polo shirts and tee shirts are all ordered and we await their arrival with anticipation.  

 We have also just received another wonderful review. it arrived this morning via the web site and its pretty damn good. its from a Lady here in England and I have to say I am pleased she took the time to contact us. i will be posting this on the web site later

"Mr Procter, I have just finished your extraordinary book and felt compelled to write to you. I wanted to place my review on Amazon, but for some reason the site wouldn't allow me to upload it, hence the reason it has come to you direct. I began this book back in June while on holiday, for two weeks it went everywhere with me, each spare moment I devoured the lives of the residents of Stormouth. I had read three quarters of the book before I was forced to return to work and have only now, through ill health, had the chance to complete it. Wow what a story, what a fertile mind you must have, what descriptive prowess and character portrayal. I felt as if I knew every nook and cranny of the town. As for the residents they have become almost real to me. I swore at your when tragedy befell Abigail, I wanted to kill the priest myself  and wept at Nathaniel's demise. But you knew better, you toyed with us, the reader, led us down blind alleyways and built the suspense until revealing the truth right at the end in a series of chapters I especially liked. I would heartily recommend this book to anyone, in fact I am surprised it hasn't been snapped up by some publishing house already, it certainly deserves to be a number one bestseller. I look forward to further stories from you all the best."

Sue, S. UK      

 Thank you Sue comments like that make all the hard work worthwhile.

Lastly we have a new merchandising strategy. it will feature more and more in the lead up to the big day. it goes some thing like this

" I have a book but I don;t want to sell it.... I do have 100 chocolate bars on sale though and for each one bought you will receive a copy of Dead Men Lie free of charge."

 More soon, but for now I have a prequel to write.


Sunday, 5 January 2014

A small taster of what is to come....Enjoy.

Morning friends.

  As you may be aware Dead Men Lie has been in the body shop for some time, well it is now ready to be released. With that in mind I give you the first Three chapters to peruse. If certain words come through underlined, as if indicating spelling errors, pleas disregard, they are not they are simply differences between English and the American word processor. I trust they will not detract from your enjoyment, or to stop you sharing with your friends. This has taken a lot out of us, it is no mean feat to take a book off sale and re work it but we have and now we await your views.

          DEAD MEN LIE

                                             Copyright © 2012 David T Procter

The rights of David T Procter to be identified as the author of the work have been asserted and established by him in accordance with the copyright, design and patents Act 1988 all rights reserved. Apart from any use permitted under UK copyright law, this publication may only be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, photocopying or otherwise with prior permission in writing of the publisher, author or copyright holder.

This is a work of fiction therefore all characters in this publication are the product of the authors imagination. Any resemblance to any person either living or dead is purely coincidental and no disrespect or harm was ever envisaged. Though certain mention is made to historical groups, the necessary permissions, where needed, have been obtained. The author thanks those involved.    

                                                The Colonies
                                                January 1769
                                                                      Chapter One
                                            A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step          
                                            Lao-Tzu Chinese philosopher 604BC-531BC

Samuel Worthington rarely displayed emotions. Certainly not in public, but today he did. Cuffing a tear aside, he turned away, unable to witness any more of this abomination. Was it only he who found the hanging of a youth distasteful? Or did the crowd, who waited in sullen, silent anticipation, hope to witness, even at this late moment, some reprieve for the boy who was to die?
    Any such hope was dashed as the hangman slapped the mare’s rump. A gasp of anguish rose in protest as Jeremiah was unseated and dangled, twitching and thrashing as the noose tightened around his neck. The crowd voiced their anger as the youth fought against his imminent demise; they screamed their disapproval with accusations and threats at the hangman. Amidst all this noise and confusion only those nearest, heard the boys last muffled sob.
     Samuel could do nothing but whisper a silent prayer, he begged God to swiftly end his client’s pain and indignity. The act of legalised execution wasn’t pleasant, it was meant as a deterrent, the ultimate punishment. It could, however, be made easier by the skill of an experienced executioner which this fool wasn’t. He had placed the noose poorly, meaning Jeremiah swung back and forth in excruciating agony as he slowly choked to death, instead of the swiftness of a fractured neck. Such a spectacle could be exploited and enhanced if the felon was of note, Jeremiah though was a local well liked youth and the crowd disliked his treatment.
    Sensing their growing anger, the hangman moved forward, clasped the boy’s legs and added his weight, so as to speed his death. The hangman though, stopped, mid stride as a gasp of horror came from the crowd.      
    “Look at him, shite himself.” The words, testament to the youth’s, further degradation. “Cut him down you swine. Let him live.” The hangman stood motionless, apparently unconcerned by their comments or the vile stench that came from the contents of boy’s bowels which had involuntarily emptied.
    Forcing himself to watch, Samuel felt the bile rise in his throat. He wanted to retch but what good would that do? Like the rest he was helpless. Minutes dragged by, time in which, all he could do was wait as Jeremiah choked, time in which he sensed his client glaring at him through bulging accusing eyes which, Samuel though, seemed to plead for him, his lawyer to end his torment. Shamefully he looked away, he had done all he could he was unable to help the boy further, the seconds seemed like hours, and eternity or so it seemed until mercifully his client died, killed by the establishment who cared little for his pain. Jeremiah’s final journey, his last great adventure, had begun.
    “May God have mercy upon you and may you find eternal peace,” Samuel whispered. He felt annoyed, desperate and ashamed. Of all the hangings he had witnessed, none had affected him as this one had. Mindless fools. Wouldn’t recognise the truth if it bit them on their fat rumps. The hangman was a necessity; justice had to be seen to be done. The guilty had to pay for their indiscretions. However, this wasn’t justice. This vileness was nothing less than legalised murder.  The evidence had been substantial, everything pointed to his guilt, yet Jeremiah had remained reticent, withholding much until it was too late. The facts were plain, a soldier had been killed, three witnesses identified Jeremiah as the culprit. If true then death was the only punishment. Despite his best efforts the boy refused to speak, remaining sullenly silent, declining to refute the allegations. With no option and despite his best efforts, the court had passed sentence. Jeremiah Jones’s silence, had ultimately led to this travesty of justice. The Angel of Death had a new disciple. “Ignorant fools.” Samuel cursed. The experience left him drained, devoid of any good intentions towards his fellow man. Breathing deeply he turned his collar up as protection from the chill wind, and began his journey home.
    “Are you proud of your day’s work lawyer?” Samuel turned, and saw pure hatred in the face of the man before him. His accuser was tall, well built, scarred with tar spots and wore the coat of a rope maker. In his left hand he carried a wooden stave which Samuel knew such men used in their work. Rope making was an essential yet dirty and dangerous job, carried out on the long straight quays.
    “I answer not to you, sir, but to a higher authority,” Samuel replied. He saw animosity in the eyes of those who gathered around him. Hatred of what though, him, the verdict and punishment, or did their hatred go far deeper? The colonies were awash with rumour and disquiet, matters to which Samuel had so far managed to distance himself from. Was this, he wondered his first experience of civil unrest.  
    “Answer to God himself, won’t do no good nor make what append ere any less disgusting.” Tar-face spoke with a vileness Samuel had not witnessed before. These were people he knew, had lived among and for the most part, respected and was likewise respected back. Tar-face stood intimidatingly close and held the stave menacingly. Samuel wasn’t particularly brave, but he held his nerve and his head, and forced his way through the gathered masses. The underlying feeling of the townsfolk was, he was sure, that of anger and frustration. Men so infused were capable of making rash decisions, if their anger boiled over he wanted to be as far away from this place as possible. 
    “Scared to reply lawyer...well we are not! You wait; we will seek to redress this ignominy.” Tar-face taunted him, bravely; Samuel resisted the urge to look back and hurried on. He had expected some sort of reaction, but had assumed it would be released before sentence. Jones had acquired some sort of notoriety during his trial, a mirror of the plight many suffered from, not only in Boston but the colonies in general. Passions had been aroused, passions which had daily drawn crowds of excited women who stood outside the courtroom hoping to catch a glimpse, or to toss food to the youth. Voicing their feelings, the boy’s supporters had shouted his innocence. They expected justice, hoped their demands would convince those in power that Jones should be released and that the real culprits brought to justice. That was never going to happen, not without some confession from those involved. Far from England, those in authority had little time for ideals. Within Massachusetts, a small minority made the laws which were enforced rigorously by soldiers loyal to the crown. Soldiers whose word was accepted as fact no matter what the truth was. Was it, any wonder, the Judges had been unsympathetic, unwilling to amend their verdict?
    Worthington thought himself an excellent orator, a capable lawyer and master of discovering truth even when overshadowed by deception. He had in the past rescued victory from the very jaws of legal defeat. Yet he knew that this judgment would taint his name for years to come. It would affect his reputation and turn many from his door. These thoughts and many more made him begin to doubt his own abilities as he moved through the crowd.
Despite what they thought, he had done all that was humanly possible. Without testimony from Jones, he was confounded, befuddled and betwixt. He had tried, had sought clemency, but as the judge had said in his summing up.
    “Your client, sir, admits the charge. What is there to delay punishment?”
 Those words would haunt Samuel for years to come.      
     “Extenuating and mitigating circumstances must be accepted as a reason for clemency my Lord.” Samuel had pleaded as forcefully as possible, but without hearing the boys version of what happened, his guilt was unequivocal. Samuel’s best efforts were doomed to failure; the Judge had declared that soldiers, even drunken ones, were to be obeyed. The reasoning galled Worthington. The sentiment was illogical, even illegal, but he suspected ulterior motives were at work. Politics were involved and Boston was alive with such inconsistencies. The crux of the matter, the very point he had attempted to make was that politics were not more important than justice. His arguments had failed, so despite his reputation as a gallows thief, the hangman had claimed another victim and the crowd grew ever more resentful.  
    Shame! a womans voice shouted, instantly joined by others. Samuel flinched, expecting an attack upon his person. Tar-face, though, had moved away inciting unease among the crowd, directing their anger towards the hangman again as the enormity of what had occurred fed their anger.
    “Faking cullies, another voice added. This time their displeasure was reinforced with a barrage of ripe fruit which splattered among the assembled dignitaries. Sensing a growing anger and seeing the belligerence etched upon their faces, Samuel feared for what might occur, their emotions were running high and he sensed a change, which if left unchecked might turn deadly.
    “Horse turds,” Tar-face shouted. “Scared to take on those able to fight, these brave men instead choose children to persecute.” The mood was becoming ever more hostile. Very soon the town dignitaries would have to intervene. If they did Samuel knew what their response would be. Intrigued by the apparent inability to control the situation, Samuel saw the town alderman falter, saw him wipe a fevered brow and call out.   
    “Clear the square! Move them away.” Scared men were unpredictable but the bespattered Alderman had reacted in the only way he knew how. He had summoned the only force available to him, the army. It was the worst thing he could have done. Many Bostonians were openly hostile to the soldiers, reluctant to accept that the military were there to protect, not suppress them. Samuel knew that to antagonise them unduly could result in an abomination. Fear of rioting, civil unrest perhaps looting and murder made the Alderman act irrationally. Such fear, if not stopped, would see bloodshed and Jeremiahs death would be forgotten.
    “Make ready!” The young officer in charge of the soldiers was young, no more than a child himself, yet he was prepared to commit a heinous crime. “Present!” The situation was desperate; soldiers in ranks aimed loaded muskets at unarmed townsfolk. All that separated them from disaster was a single command. Worthington stood transfixed watching the scene unfolded before him. A scene, similar to the one he had read about in a broadsheet, weeks out of date, but which described in graphic detail, how soldiers had quelled a bread riot in a northern British town. By days end fifteen women, men and children lay dead in a town square. If he didn’t act, the same would befall his neighbours.
    Not again, not here, not today. Worthington prayed for sanity, fear though, was the precursor to evilness; it made men act without thought.
    “No!” he commanded stepping into their line of fire. “What you intend is wrong. Must force be the only solution? Are we not intelligent enough to put aside such things to come together and discuss our differences as intelligent beings? Can we not find alternatives to force and threats to achieve what we all desire, Peace?” His voice, though strong, hid a fear that made his legs quiver within his breeches. Twenty muskets remained aimed at him. The officer was torn as to what to do. He had his orders, lawfully issued, he was on the brink of greatness one man would not detract him from his duty. “Bad laws enforced by use of arms are an abomination in the face of God. I beg of you, think sir, take your men back to their billets and I will speak with these good people. No one desires to see a violation, nor do mothers wish to bury their children. There is no need for such ill feeling to occur, not today, not ever.”
    His words, though compelling, had, it seemed little effect. The muskets remained aimed and cocked, the officer drew his sword and Samuel gulped in trepidation, bloodshed, it seemed was not to be averted. Samuel desired nothing more than to run and hide. Fear of course was a reason but he also wished to live, to be able to speak of what occurred after the inevitable volley was fired. The silence was overpowering, sweat ran down his back, while the soldier directly to his front blinked and mouthed the word ‘sorry’. These were by all accounts the dregs of British society, guttersnipes and criminals, enlisted into the army rather than serve their sentence. Yet here was a man willing to accept what he was about to do was wrong. Ignoring the threat, the mob were incensed, they continued to shout abuse; death was but a heartbeat away. All that was required was one word of command and a volley of lead would rip into flesh and bone.   
    Thankfully that command never came. Common sense, in the shape of the Town Sergeant, prevailed. He spoke to the officer who paused, then commanded his men to stand down. A moment of panic had been averted, but feelings were so raised that such good fortune could not continue. 
    Barbarians,Samuel whispered. The British had not changed, nor most likely ever would. Twenty-odd years ago he had arrived with the hopes and dreams for a new life. But the old ways had followed and his world was changing again. Sighing deeply, Samuel realised that it wasn’t the place or the British but he himself that had changed. His dream had died along with his wife and, strangely, Jeremiah Jones. Disease had taken her while politics the other and that was proof of the pointlessness of it all. He saw it in the faces around him; fear and persecution were becoming commonplace and Samuel despised it.


                                                 Chapter Two

You are a man of many talents, Mr Worthington.” Drawn from his remorse Worthington turned to face the man who spoke. “A tragedy averted, the British humbled. A pity poor Jones could not be so fortunate. Some might express the opinion that he was much maligned treated, how shall I say… unfavourably.”
    Indeed!” The lawyer remained disturbed by his closeness to death. His demeanour and manners as yet unrestored to their normal polite disposition. “I fear; I do not share your erstwhile thoughts concerning my talents, sir. I failed my client and damned near got myself killed as well. Is that the talents of a sane man?” Worthington enquired as Elijah Forest, a merchant of repute fell in step alongside him.
    “I would disagree, sir. Moreover I would say you were both courageous and spoke with justification, as you did in court, your oratory was a wonder to behold.”
    “You sir, are a flatterer, your words best used at table among the ladies who seek such adulation.” Samuel’s heart still raced, his mood disturbed, yet it seemed Forest was determined to engage him in conversation. “Truth is I failed the boy when he needed my aid. His death could…no should have been avoided. His innocence was obvious to all but a fool.or so I believe.
    “I flatter not, but I do concur. I witnessed your persuasive closing statement. It was a veritable masterpiece of passion and common sense, if I may be so bold to say.
    Worthington turned and looked at the man in wonderment. Forest was known throughout the county as a wealthy and prominent merchant, whose presence and demure said more of the man than his fortune. Of aging years, he was not reserved in showing off what he had achieved; he was a philanthropic man who epitomised all this burgeoning country had to offer to those willing to grab the chance.
    You were present?” Worthington asked. “You saw the inequality.the way he was dealt with?” Samuel found it difficult to image any man less likely to attend a trial than Forest. Yet it was possible, the court had been packed, filled with tobacco smoke, so thick the judge had ordered them extinguished, and Forest was a prodigious smoker. If Forest had been there and had witnessed the same injustices, he was gratified. The boy deserved far better than I was able to give. The odds were against him, you saw the way the soldiers bandied together how they lied. Any right minded soul could see they had been schooled. Yet I could have broken them if only…”
    “They were a trifle orchestrated.” Forest stated, nodding politely to someone in the crowd.
    “Then perhaps you would lend your voice to my own, maybe the two of us might even now obtain justice. Too late to save the boy, but at least his name could be restored.” Samuel was prepared to seek aid from wherever he could find it in an attempt to expose the rot that existed within the colonies.  
    “Is this a worthy battleground, a suitable place to seek change? Or should you wait a better opportunity a time when you could do real good on a broader stage?”
    “You speak in riddles sir, I am a lawyer not a dandy, what care I for posturing and prevarication? My clients ask for nothing more than justice and we, I included, fail them at every turn. The hierarchy is rotten to the core. This land was supposed to be where men could find security, where through honest endevours they could succeed. Where common sense and salvation would prevail, yet it seems all we have done is to import the same mistakes that forced us to leave Britain.”
    “You are harsh upon yourself. I witnessed an honest, God-fearing soul destroyed through no fault of hisor yours for that matter.” The merchant added solemnly.
    You are too kind however we are both aware that Jones was convicted long before he stood in the dock. The trial was a travesty, a sham, a lie. Such matters make me ashamed of my profession and how justice is mocked. My defense was hamstrung, confounded at every turn. A child could see the lies that were told, yet not one person spoke out, not even my client and that was what hampered me despite my best efforts.” Worthington sighed and shook his head in sorrow. Forest had instigated an outpouring of frustration which once begun could not be stopped. “Soldiers are the scum of the earth, thieves, drunken rogues, liars, the dregs of society. Yet, because they wear the red uniform, they are accepted as reliable witnesses and given immunity from reproach or punishment by a distant King.”
    “Have a care sir, that King has ears everywhere.” Forest cautioned the lawyer when in truth, he wished to hear more.
    “I care not who hears. I said much the same in court and was not sanctioned. Nor do I care who hears that Jeremiah’s silence convicted him as much as any testimony. Why he did so still flummoxes me as I am flummoxed on many matters pertaining to this case. At least I praise God his mother was spared witnessing that abomination.” Worthington turned and pointed to where the boy still swayed on the rope.
    Indeed. Forest sensed that if he could direct the anger the solicitor harboured in the right manner it could be used to his advantage. All he needed to do was nudge Worthington a little further and his trap would be sprung. For the moment patience was required, in time the seed of doubt he had planted would spring forth as a new recruit or wither and die.    
    “Indeed…Jeremiah Jones was no more capable of committing that act
then I am of speaking to the King. Rot his cold black German heart! Worthington spat and grimaced at the very thought of being anywhere near the King of England. Forest grabbed his arm in caution as a squad of soldiers marched towards them.
    Be careful, my friend many would consider it to be in their best interests to pass your name to the Governor.” Forest warned, glancing left and right in alarm.                       
    Rot his heart as well, Forestas God is my witness I have lived by the word of the law; it has been my mistress for more years than I care to remember, yet today I curse its name.” Samuel paused and Forest saw the man physically shrink in stature, the lawyer sagged before looking at him again. “Not many know that my dear wife died alone while I was before the bench in Philadelphia. I was saving a woman from the same fate as Jones there. I won there because I tore the witnesses apart and discovered the truth yet here I lost because of lies and politics.”
    “Have you evidence for such accusations? For as you well know, to accuse without unequivocal evidence is a dangerous course to take…do you have such evidence?” Forest asked.
    What is the use of proof, when it can be ignored as it was in there?” Worthington stated angrily, pointing vaguely in the direction of the town courthouse where the trial had been held. That boy worked his fingers to the bone providing for his elderly mother and his siblings. His diligence was what convinced me to take his case. His silence though. My God, if only he had spoken out I could have acted. Instead, he says nothing until last evening when it was too late.
    “He spoke? Jones told you what occurred. Why then was it not presented?” Forest demanded. This was going far better than he could have imagined.
    “Do you think I did not try? I sent word and was ignored. The Judge had retired and sentence had been passed. Even so I did what I could. I sent a note to the Judge begging...begging for clemency but I was ignored.”
    “What then did Jones speak of?” Forest asked.
    “Tell the truth he spoke so eloquently I cried. He told me everything from beginning to end. How he had been protecting his mother from animals, drunken louts, soldiers who had been foisted upon them under this infernal Quartering Act. Men so vile, so nasty and evil he thought the devil himself lived with them. He was forced to watch as his mother was ill-treated, and assaulted,”
   “Did he not think to speak with the quartering sergeant, to appeal to have them removed?”
    “He did Forest, constantly, but was ignored. Seems that the army do not care what sort of men they foist upon our citizens. They must house and feed them, care for them and for what reward? One penny a month small reward for what is expected.”
    “It is. What then occurred to make Jones turn violent?”
    “A son’s worst nightmare my friend, it appears he returned home to find his siblings cowering beneath a table while his mother lay upon the floor battered and bleeding. Two of the soldiers stood above her, one had his belt held in his hand, the reason plain to imagine. Anger and shame made him snap, his temper flared and he attacked. Why only Corporal White was killed remains a mystery. He never enlightened me, nor as you know did he utter it in court. The question must be asked, how many others suffer in silence and verge on such behaviour?”      
    Too many I would guess. It is indeed a most disagreeable Act. The question I ask is why could you not get a stay of execution? Surely once the boy spoke there were grounds to have the sentence delayed, perhaps overturned.
    “My sentiments precisely, unfortunately I have no answer. My note stated what I had been told but I was denied a reply. Not even a common acknowledgement and without such a note Jeremiah’s fate was sealed. Despite my plea, the Judge believed the other soldiers, took their word as Gospel and sentence was passed. You were there, you heard what was said. ‘An acquittal would send a message to others who defied the word of the King.’ Worthington had found the words derisory then and still did.
    It would appear his mind was made up. No wonder you heard said at the time that the mother had marks about her body, yet they were dismissed as insignificant. Why?
    “A pity you did not sit in Judgement, for it would seem, you, were the only one paying heed of my defense. Worthington sniffed and wiped his nose on his kerchief. “The marks were important, but they were deemed of no consequence. I believe they were significant and should have been taken into account. Unlike the prosecutor, I do not believe she harmed herself for her bruises were distinct, consistent with the shape of a mans hand. My belief is that someone, more than likely this Corporal White, held her tightly while engaging in carnal lust. Be the act premeditated or accidental, like as not White killed the mother, and his friends compounded his lies with their own. I said as much in court and was rebuked, while they stated she was simply clumsy.”
    A clumsy cow, if memory serves, Forest added helpfully, and that she had made those marks herself while gathering water.
   Hummmph! The sound was derogatory, a guttural contempt from deep within the throat. “That was when I knew I was beat. It repulsed me to see the army closing ranks; protecting their own and sacrificing the boy. I would even dare to suggest that money changed hands. I suspect the jury was bought and that too repulsed me.                        
    “A respected man like yourself must have advised Jones to speak out why did he remain silent?” Forest asked. Worthington shook his head in mystified dismay.
    I cannot say. That was his choice and I had to respect his direction. Certainly we were hampered further when the mother inexplicably died in her sleep. Nor when Doctor Megaw said her death was some form of miasma. What would he know? Hes pickled more often than not, wouldnt know miasma from measles. Oh I know, the superstitious amongst our brethren think it comes in on the ships; The Devils Kiss they call it, but are we really to believe that?
    “We must. Megaw is a respected surgeon.” Forest stated pompously
    Respected by whom, the innkeepers?” Worthington’s anger was obvious. He needed to lay the blame at someone’s door and the doctor it seemed was as good as anyone. “She never died from some foul invisible air but at the hands of a killer. Her death occurred either where White left her, or later, when her injuries finished what White had begun. Jones knew or witnessed all of this, yet chose for reasons beyond our understanding to take the truth to his grave. Did he condemn himself, or was it fear that made him do what he did? Without one of the dead speaking, we will never know.”
    That is the end then, add Master Jones’s name to the ever increasing number of innocents indicted and convicted in the name of justice. Forest spoke sadly as he turned to walk away. The crowd was dispersing, the spectacle completed. Jones would hang for perhaps a week as an example to anyone who defied the King’s laws. Importantly Forest had information to pass on to those that mattered. Worthington had confirmed to being disillusioned, a respected man who might be ripe for plucking and a man Forest’s group desired.                            
    I could have saved him but he was scared you see, scared of them more than he was of death. Forest stopped, Worthington it seemed, was a man tormented by his failings, a man who had accusations and recriminations to make against those who had failed his client. If that was the case, then maybe the solicitor was closer to turning than he had envisaged.
    “Could you? I doubt that, not here, not in this climate of foulness. What can anyone do for him now?” Forest waited for Worthingtons reply, depending upon what was said, would confirm if Worthington was a disciple ready to be inducted, or simply a man who was frustrated with what had happened here and spoke out in anger at a case lost, not a radical who desired change.  
 Is there not? Suddenly, Worthington grabbed the merchants arm tightly.
Do you truly believe that? For if that is so why do we bother? Surely that
was why our forefathers came here. Were they not seeking a better life, free from persecution and tyranny, to build a life that will benefit those who follow us? Mark my words, if we do not force change, then more will perish before we see freedom. Worthingtons voice rose to such a level that Forest was forced to act. Taking hold of the solicitor he led him quickly towards an alleyway between a smithy and a laundry house. Insurrection was born in many a strange place but never had the merchant imagined such a humble beginning for their cause. Two men of wealth, standing and influence hid in the shadows and spoke of things that could land them upon the gibbet as sure as night followed day.
Once certain Forest cautioned Worthington,
    “I urge caution; such matters spoken too loudly have a habit of reaching the wrong ears.
    I say nothing that can be interpreted as anti-establishment. Besides which, I said far worse in Court. Worthington stated. Forest paused as if he was considering his next statement with diligence. When he spoke, his words were whispered.    
    “If only that were true…possibly you know of those who would advocate we need change in the accepted order. Would you agree to such a statement?” Forest paused it was time for Worthington to think carefully before replying.
    “Then they must be cautioned, for such a statement, if overheard, would endanger that person and any that listened. Worthington admitted candidly.
    Of course it would, but have you never considered, albeit when alone and in the privacy of your own counsel how much better off this land would be under self-governance?
    I have pondered the possibility. Worthington confessed. In fact he had considered such events on more than one occasion. Until now he had kept silent and spoken to no one of his thoughts. But a man had to be blind or insane not to have seen the leaflets distributed by the separatists. King George was draining the enterprise from the colonies. Each year brought a new Bill, a new Act which took money back to England and restricted the colonists from expanding.
    You are not alone. There are many prominent people who ask the same questions. Some are prepared to speak out, others seek more progressive methods. All though are united in the same cause. Forest paused and inhaled deeply. This was the moment when he would discover if he had chosen well. Would you be prepared to join their struggle? There, the invitation had been made. Now he must wait, would Worthington be tempted or would he call out for the soldiers? Might the merchants next meal be his last, exposed as the traitor he was?
    “What you ask could cost those involved dear. You speak of treason, the
punishment for which is death. I should summon the guard to have you arrested but I am minded of what you have proposed” Worthington paused reflecting on what to say next. “However your words are intriguing enough to make me curious to hear more. If I were to show interest, I would need to know who these so called idealists are, to meet and discuss our mutual thoughts.”
    “That could be arranged…though they would seek to know in advance what your response might be if such a thing was to happen? Forest enquired anxiously.
    “It is too early to say, but certainly I would hear their arguments both for and against. More importantly, my discretion would be guaranteed” 
    “Mutual trust is the life blood of our cause. Of course I have to discuss this with others who will decide. You will be contacted when their decision is made. For now return home, await our word and I implore you Samuel, remain vigilant. There are those who would desire nothing less than to discover our group.” Forest declared his relief obvious. He nodded politely, turned and walked away. Worthington could not be sure, but as the merchant turned the corner he thought he heard a faint tune drifting upon the winter wind. Samuel had made a pact; he hoped he would live to see its outcome.

                                                 Chapter Three

The days that followed had been fraught with anguish and indecision. He spent most days wandering the streets, invariably drawn to where Jeremiah still swayed upon his rope. While at night he began to sleep fitfully, pondering his response in case he was summoned. Four days after the hanging, Samuel was accosted by a man who appeared vaguely familiar.
    “Aint pretty is he Lawyer? Will get worse afore he’s cut down, bastards want us all to learn from his mistakes.”  
    “What?” Samuel remembered. The man was the rope maker, the man he knew as Tar-face, only now he appeared calmer, more rational but no less frightening. “Oh yes. A terrible outcome, I did all I could. I could do no more.” 
    “So you say.” The man frowned and shook his head. “I reckon, many would follow an educated, brave man like you. No disrespect meant sir, but there’s much more you could do if you listened to your heart, not your head.”
    “Perhaps?” Samuel whispered as he experienced such clarity of thought, he was left breathless, it was if, suddenly the blight which had overshadowed him since Jones’s death had been removed and he knew what he must do. Fate had shown him which path to take, it might be dangerous, it might be adventurous but he knew his life would never be the same again.
    One week later Samuel Worthington stood beneath an old, gnarled, oak tree considering is he was a fool or not. The reason for his presence remained unclear, but he had done as commanded in the briefest of notes. Who delivered it, he neither knew nor cared. Forest, he suspected had some hand to play, perhaps not in the delivery, for Forest wasn’t the sort of man to skulk around town, but certainly in the note’s conception. The note had been simple and precise, ‘Be at the Woodsman Tavern at seven, of the evening of the fourteenth of this month.’
    The journey had taken longer than imagined; he had walked for reasons, which remained lost, even to him, but he was glad he had done so. Self-consciously he found a seat by the fire and waited for whatever happened next. An hour later he contemplated leaving, no one had approached and he tired of their games.  .
    “This is for you,” the tavern keeper whispered, placing a small glass of wine before him along with a scrap of paper. Drinking the wine, Samuel read the note, held secretively below the tabletop.
    Go to the old oak at the crossroads on the high road.” He paused as a man walked past before continuing. “Take the left fork and three miles further on you will come to Brookside House. Be there ‘afore nine this evening. You will be expected.
    “Is it far to the next crossroads on the high road?” He asked.
    “An hour, less if you have a horse.” Samuel thanked him, drank his drink and left almost immediately.
    The instructions were simple enough and he arrived before nine. Pausing within the tree line, Samuel considered his options once again. To continue meant he was more than interested, to falter and return would mean he was no better than the cowards that had hung his client. Decision made, that first faltering step set him apart from many others. Despite the fact that fear made his heart race, he had a fire in his belly which need quenching.   
    Brookside House was a fine building, more ornate than he had imagined from where he had first seen it. Built in the Queen Ann style, he thought it more suited to the Shires than the colonies. Ornate gates separated the house from the countryside, giving the impression of both strength and isolation.  Torches illuminated the driveway while candle-lit windows sparkled like fireflies in the gloom. Entering the grounds he walked cautiously up the drive, his progress hampered by lingering doubts. There was still time to turn and never speak of this again. That was what the lawyer in him advised, his heart, though, forced him on, to discover if he were man or coward.
    Standing upon the top step, in front of a pair of oak doors, it was obvious Forest had wealthy friends. Wealth brought position and influence. Many an intrigue had been born in such places as Samuel well knew, paradoxically many a treasonable plan had also been discovered simply because the establishment looked upon landed gentry as constantly at odds with those in power. Breathing deeply he wondered which would occur here, then he knocked and waited, until finally he heard the drawing of bolts from within, before a bewigged and liveried servant opened the door.
    My name is Worthington, I am expected, he said simply. 
    “Sir.” The servant was polite, not the least surprised by his late arrival. Closing the door, the servant asked, “Might I assist you with you topcoat?” As he laid Samuel’s hat and coat upon a hall table he added “The other guests await you in the white drawing room, if you would follow me sir.” Only then did the small sword worn about the man’s waist become apparent. Decoration or defence was yet another question Samuel hoped would be answered soon.
   “Mister Worthington, guest of Mister Forest, seeks an audience.” Samuel desired to laugh; the servant would have not been out of place in Britain at some grand house or palace. Here, his manner seemed a little ostentatious. 
    Samuel, my friend, Elijah Forest said pleasantly stepping forward to greet his friend. I was wondering if I had made a mistake.
    No. It was I who had misgivings, Samuel replied truthfully.
     “A wise man always questions his motives, yet you decided to come. I am glad. Forest led Samuel towards the group. “Allow me to introduce you to the others.” It was not unusual for Worthington to meet influential clients, or to stand in rooms which exuded opulence, but even he was in awe of the grandness of his surroundings. Portraits and landscapes adorned the walls, along with rich tapestries. Delicate tables with fine filigree legs supported silver candelabra; beneath his feet was a rug of such richness Samuel thought it would swallow him to his knees. Brookside House was clearly the home of a man who liked and appreciated the finer things in life.
    Gentlemen, may I name my particular friend, Mister Samuel Worthington.” Forest turned, smiling to his guest like the cat that had got the cream. It was this that drew Samuel back to reality. Twelve men acknowledged his arrival, some enthusiastically, some with muted reservation. Samuel accepted their uncertainties with due reverence and the merest of bows. 
    Mr Worthington, you are most welcome. Forest has spoken well of you, a particularly elegant gentleman said, greeting him warmly. “He informs us you are sympathetic to our cause.
    “Perhaps, perhaps not, that remains to be seen. However, if you ask, am I disgruntled by the manner in which the King treats these colonies, then yes, I do agree.
    Disgruntled, a strange choice of words, sir, one that portrays annoyance and nothing more, another guest stated solemnly.
    My dear Otis, words are so arbitrary. What you perceive as paltry, to another borders upon a sense of outrage. My apologies, Mr Worthington, may I name our punctilious friend, Mr James Otis.” Samuel inclined his head in greeting. The man Otis was known to him by reputation, they both practised law but Otis was better known for his outspoken articles in the broadsheets.   
    “A pleasure, sir, it was with a sense of alacrity that I read of your speech in Boston. It was inspired; the words they quoted were inspirational. No taxation without representation, exactly what I have thought myself.” 
    “I was particularly pleased with that, though it has become something of a rallying cry, I fear. Mr Otis answered. Samuel sensed unease, akin to shame that his words had become to mean so much.
   No, it was exactly what needed to be said. The King assumes we are fools, assumes he can continue fleecing us of all we have, yet allows us not a word in our defence.  It requires men of standing, men like your good self to speak out, to inform His Majesty that we are close to penury that, enough is enough.” Perhaps it was the ambience or the quality of the wine which made Worthington feel at ease and able to speak of matter she would normally remain silent about.
    “Forest, where have you been hiding your friend, for he is both wise and knowledgeable. Have we not said as much often, have we not attempted to make our views known?” Otis appeared overjoyed to have a new convert, someone new to speak with. “We tried to be heard, the Boston merchants attempted to boycott English goods which attracted ludicrous levies. We are all aware of the results.” The group nodded, as if it had been a personal attack upon each of them.
    Forgive Mr Otis; he is never short of things to say,” injected the elegant man who was obviously homeowner and host. 
    Is that not our reasons for being here?” Otis asked fervently. “To think radically about what we have endured and contemplate what can be done? My God, sir, as you well know we are being swamped with new Acts and Bills. This latest Stamp Act, brought in without consultation, will ruin a good many. It has doubled the cost of everything, yet we can do nothing about it. Our governor is nothing more than the Kings lackey who implements each new idea without a word of complaint. For pity’s sake, are we to do nothing while we are bled white? Mark my words it will only become worse!
    Take care, my friend,” their host warned. “We are aware of your feelings. But I implore you; allow our guest a moment to at least get comfortable ‘afore you abuse his senses with your views. For now, as time, I fear, is our enemy and as we have much to discuss, I suggest gentlemen we begin.” Gesturing towards the large mahogany table, around which were fourteen chairs, they took their places, Samuel sat opposite his host and accepted both cigar and wine when offered. Once all were ready, their host spoke. Gentlemen, I name Mr Worthington of Concorde. I am told that our guest is a notable lawyer of like mind.
    “You agree the British should be disposed from these shores once and for all? Samuel turned, noticing that the speaker was far younger and, if his clothing were anything to go by, of lesser financial standing than the others of the group. Something about him reminded Samuel of himself as Jones had swung on his rope. This youth was full of passion, spirit, the feeling that wrongs were to be righted. “Mark my words gentlemen, Britain will deal with insurrection in the only way she knows how, force of arms. We see it even now, the slightest murmurings of discontent bring redcoats to quell our words and deeds. Why do we see more than eight thousand troops on our shore if the King is not concerned? They fear losing the wealth we generate, more importantly, they fear losing this land to a more powerful adversary. I hear Britain is close to war with France, if that occurs we will be drawn into their fight. They will expect us to join them despite how they treat us. We should deal with them now, while we can. Rise up I say, throw them out and keep them out.            
    “Mr Penn, I do so urge caution. Your words will surely upset our guest. I fear, sir, some of our members are a trifle spurious of the King’s reasoning for sending us so many troopers. Armed revolt is not what we desire. What we seek, what we hope to achieve is to discover a way of convincing the King that he must treat us with the respect we deserve.
    “With the deepest respect My Lord, you are a fool.” Penn stood and for a moment Samuel wondered what their host’s response would be. In this brief exchange he had learnt much, that there were issues to be resolved, that not all shared the same goal, and that his host was of noble birth, all very revealing.
    “I concur with Penn, Kenardington. What you desire will never happen Samuel baulked, if this man was truly the Earl, then he had been drawn into a very distinguished group indeed. The ‘Sons of Liberty were spoken of in hushed tones. Word was they sought to break away from England and form a new country, self-sufficient and independent from their land of birth.
    It must,” the Earl countered. “Our future lies with, but not of Britain. The King must relinquish his strangle hold on our economy, without that freedom and the ability to govern ourselves, we will forever be paying vast amounts into the English coffers and receiving little in return.
    “You speak of mutiny at best, rebellion and treason at worst, sir. Samuel stood, his trepidation made his voice tremble. “I must caution against such action, for to continue might see us all face the hangman.”
    Your concerns are justified Mr Worthington, treason is indeed an ugly word. Throughout our history men have strived for change against tyrannical regimes. Such men have risked all in their efforts to gain for others the liberties we have come to expect, such actions are now defined in our very being. You must, as each of us has already done, examine your conscience and decide if it is treasonable to want to live without fear of reproach or exorbitant taxation. Is it treasonable to want the freedoms those intrepid pilgrims sought when they arrived in this land, seeking freedom from persecution? I swore an allegiance to our King, yet, even I am prepared to consider the unthinkable. We find ourselves restrained by unfair laws and taxes, governed by those with little idea of what is amiss, and shackled by an army which acts more like they, not our elected representatives are in control. No, sir, what I speak of is not treason, but liberty. Something we should speak of openly and not in secret.” The assembled men listened intently, nodding in agreement as the Earl finished.
    “Well said, my Lord, but all this talk is pointless unless we proceed with what has been previously discussed. The speaker, Samuel noticed, was a stylish man whom he recognised immediately. The colonies were small and talented silversmiths were few and far between. Our money flows into the coffers in London and each month my position becomes more untenable; commissions are decreasing to the point where it will not be worth working. I say the time has come; we should proceed with separation, issue our declaration and tell the fat German where to go.
     We have broached this question more than once and our deliberations always end the same; with no firm decisions,” the Earl interrupted. His tone implied that he grew tired of this subject. “We are not in a position to rise in open rebellion. To do so would invoke severe repercussions. My God, sir, militarily we are at a disadvantage. Our forces comprise militiamen, farm boys and tailors. Stout hearted and committed for sure but how long would they survive against seasoned troops; days, weeks, one battle? The British are everywhere, they can reinforce from north and south, they count their cannon in scores. Our brave men would be slaughtered, wasted on the fields where next years crops would feed on their blood. No, what we must do is use our intelligence, not our resources. Mr Worthington may be our best and possibly only chance of success.
    “Me? What, pray, can I do? He had not expected to become the object of sudden notoriety. To be used so candidly implied that he had been discussed long before his invitation had been issued.      .
    Travel, sir, you can move without raising suspicion. Take our hopes and dreams abroad, discover and recruit those who share our commitment to a new beginning,” Kenardington said easily.
    II can not. Samuel stammered. To leave Boston for countries he hardly knew was alien to him; he thought he would never leave these shores.
    You can and you must, sir, Kenardington insisted. You see, you are unknown, you would be ignored, able to go wherever you desired. We on the other hand would be watched, questions would be asked, our plans possibly discovered or betrayed. Our future is entrusted into your success; you will carry our message to others, that it is why we invited you here, only you can acquire travel documents safely.
    “You ask much,” Samuel replied. “The enormity of what you desire is mind staggering. If I were discovered, I could disclose your names to save my own, is that the risk you are prepared to take? 
    “Grant me the intelligence to judge character Samuel. From the moment Forest first mentioned your name, we have delved into your past. We know more of your character than perhaps you do yourself. Of all we know, the one thing you have in abundance is loyalty. If you accept our ordinance we are certain you would do all in your power to protect those here. No man can have such faith as from those whom he holds so dear. Our trust in you will be well rewarded. However, if you accept, there are certain arrangements that must be made.”
    “What arrangements?” It felt to Samuel he was on a slippery slope from which he could not escape, but must continue until the ride ended.
    “If we proceed, Samuel Worthington dies this night.” The statement left Samuel gasping for breath. Kenardington saw the fear and reassured him quickly
    “Have no fear, you will simply disappear, no harm will come to you. Forest will orchestrate some plausible explanation for your demise. As for your name, that is dead also, you must travel under a nom de plume. What would be a suitable name? That is for you to decide, for you will become that name, live with it, breath it. Upstairs you will find clothes and travel documents and a loyal servant to assist you. When you are ready you will be taken to a woodsman’s shed where you will remain for a day or two. When you receive instructions, you will join a ship which sails for England in one weeks’ time. You will be assisted every step of the way. Meanwhile, take this.” The Earl handed him a sealed note. “Inside is a draft on my bank in London. Draw that money, sir, then use it wisely.
    “While you await the ship, you will be told of those willing to assist our cause, another added. “Consign those names to memory; do not write them down for they will be of interest to the British and could see you hanged.”
    “Who are these names?” Samuel asked 
    “Men willing to aid and stand alongside us, men who will guide you to others equally so disposed. Nurture such men, recruit others obtain all we need, men, weapons, money, for if we do rise, we will be sure to lose a portion of the population.  Not all will share our view, half will side with the crown, of that we are sure. Add those men to the army already here and we will be hard pressed to win anything without further assistance. We must seek allies from beyond our borders, even those we have fought against before.” 
    France would be a useful place to begin, the Earl added. “Personally, I dislike the idea of seeking their aid, but I am sure they will join if we rise.
The likes of Spain, the Dutch, the Scots and Irish have all been persecuted look to them also. If they believe our cause just, they will join us in battle. If that is our destiny, we will need all the friends you can find.      
    Is that what you desire? Open rebellion?Worthington asked. “For if that is your quest…. I would have to question my ability to assist you. I am a man of the law, yet you openly ask me to contravene those principles I have sworn to protect. If that is the case, then I fear you have approached the wrong man. I am sorry…” Samuel rose, prepared to leave, but hesitated as Forest implored him to remain. The merchant’s words were passionate, calm, each chosen for their impact.  Elijah reminded him of why he had come and what had prompted his disgust.     
    “None of us would wish you to contravene your principles. Each of us has had to look deep into our souls to justify our presence. Be it trade or more personal reasons. But each and every one of us is here because we feel we can do more for our fellow colonists than by doing nothing. Only last week I witnessed in you a struggle as that youth, Jones, was hanged for nothing more than defending his family. Is that not what we are attempting ourselves? Are our neighbours not our family? More to the point, do you believe that boy was convicted in the name of justice? If so, then I want no part in legalised murder. Our King is supposed to be our protector, yet he is squeezing the very life out of us. He sees the colonies as a lucrative sponge which can be wrung out, sucked dry, then discarded. You said yourself that Jones had been dealt an unfair hand, that his fate was decreed long before sentence was passed.”
    “I did, and still believe that. But I fail to see what that has to do with this?” Worthington asked Forest.
    “Everything, Samuel, we are being suffocated beneath myriad laws and legislation. Even you must realise that boy was fighting for his liberty as much as we are. Perhaps we will suffer the same fate, but know this my friend our deaths will fuel another’s sense of injustice. From our ashes will spring hope for a better future.” Forest’s words brought a burst of applause from those gathered. Samuel was never more confused, but had to be sure before deciding.
    “You truly seek a peaceful resolution….not conflict?” Worthington needed to know.                  
    My dear fellow, Kenardington replied, of course, we do not desire any form of confrontation with our King, but he must be made to understand exactly how we feel. However, it would foolish not to prepare for the worst. If diplomacy fails and a struggle ensues, then so be it. We must be ready for all eventualities.     
    Im sorry, Worthington interrupted, how can you say that the King is to be respected, yet concede that conflict is inevitable.”
    “Look to your own misery, Samuel. You have seen how our people suffer and will continue so to do if change is not forthcoming. It is time King George heard our cries.” Forest implored, his passion was such that Samuel knew he had no recourse, no doubt as to where his loyalties lie.
    “I truly hope the King is guided in our favour,” the Earl stated. “But should events overtake us, if the King refuses to hear our pleas for clemency, what would you rather us do? Lie down and accept our fate? Or be prepared to fight for what we consider to be our birthright?” The Earl waited, head inclined in question as Samuel deliberated. There was so much to ponder, so many questions that needed answering. Questions, which Samuel had considered before, but always while alone in his home. Now he was being asked to choose and they sought his answer immediately. Was he being irrational? He knew what these men were saying was precisely what he had thought himself. They were just more willing to speak out whereas he had not, as yet.
   Fight, of course, Samuel finally replied. The die was cast; he had joined them.      
   “Good man. Bravo!” Kenardington was enthusiastic. “I knew you were the man for the job. If we have to fight we must win or die. The King will offer us no quarter, will not seek to parley. Our one chance is to take him to task, grab his manhood and squeeze until he cries out in fear at our capabilities. Samuel we need your strength, your forthrightness, your honesty. Can we count on you? Will you go into the world and find like-minded souls willing to render assistance?” There, the offer had been made and the Earl’s question hung unanswered for a moment. The silence was almost palatable as Worthington considered his response. One would condemn him as a traitor, the other a coward. Which could he best live with? Finally, he looked at the assembled men and said clearly….
    You can and I will.
    Then pour the wine. We have much to discuss before the night is out.
                                            *      *      *      *      *
    Samuel Worthington sailed from Boston just over a week later, under his new identity. He took with him the aspirations of men eager to discover an identity and freedom for a young embryonic nation. However, unknown to him, or the Earl, his departure wasn’t the secret he would have liked. He had been seen and identified; messages about his departure were carried swiftly to the offices of the Military Governor of the Colonies, from there a frigate would make haste across the ocean overhauling the slower vessel. His task might remain a secret but he would be observed once he arrived in Plymouth, for that was where his ship was due. Wherever Samuel Worthington went, agents would be close behind. Those he met would be investigated and reported on. The plan the Earl Kenardington had implemented was already doomed to failure. The ‘Sons of Liberty’ had underestimated the British, something that they would never do again.