Malta – you teaser

April 11, 2014
Fort St Angelo, Malta from the sea.

Fort St Angelo, Malta from the sea.

Meeting a Maltese prize-winner

I know some Brits say Malta has become too urbanised. It might be true. There are 53 towns with a council on an area of only 316 square kilometres. Its population density of 1321 persons per square kilometre makes it the eighth most densely populated country in the world. Yet, earlier this week, Mrs N and I strolled along empty lanes and sparsely-populated seafront promenades. Yes, we had to choose them carefully. The seaside walk was by accident the first time. On Sundays there is a popular market at Marsaxlokk but the queue for the bus was so long we looked for the nearest bus with no passengers and jumped on it – no matter where it went. That was the similarly-named Marsaskala. What a quaint port with nearly empty, wide promenades and cafes. Yes! We’d discovered a closely guarded Maltese secret: their own resort, hidden from the brochures. There’s more – an even cuter bay, but hey, I’m not giving it all away in a blog. I will say that I remain astonished every time I visit Malta’s sister island, Gozo, that I can walk around a small rocky field with no security, no fences, no people on a site known to be nearly as ancient as the so-called temples – ie older than Stonehenge and the pyramids. At least the most famous site, Ggantija, has upped its security with a higher fence and fancypants shop and ticket entrance.

In hilly Valetta there are many quaint views such as this British postbox.

In hilly Valetta there are many quaint views such as this British postbox.

Gozo and the temples that might not have religious origins, no one knows, has a special place in my heart. I always hug or at least fondle the ancient stones and get a buzz in return. No doubt in the future they will all be encased in clear plastic so hug while you can. I use a kind of spirit of Gozo in my urban fantasy, Xaghra’s Revenge. The entire population of the island were abducted by pirates in 1551. Really! Their spirits cry out for revenge and they get it in my novel – in the hands of my agent Rebecca Pratt – sell it, girl! A few details here with photos. While on Gozo my wife and I met Tina from Toronto, and by chance in several other places too. Amazing how once you see someone you keep seeing them – another story there.

Another reason for visiting Malta for me is another chance meeting. I play scrabble and other games on and met Jimmy from Malta there. He knew a writer, John Bonello, who lives in Jimmy’s town Ħad-Dingli, where he

John A. Bonello, Malta

John A. Bonello, Malta

lives with his young family. In 2008 John was awarded Ġieħ Ħad-Dingli for his first book ‘It-Tielet Qamar’. In 2011 he won 1st prize in the National Book Awards for his second book ‘L-Aħħar Ħolma’. We’ve met a few times now and can spend hours discussing writing and publishing. Anyone out there who can read Maltese and enjoy a clever science fiction dimension-themed story grab it from Merlin Publishers here.

Nelder News

ARIA on wikia

Another web database here

Geoff’s UK Amazon author page

And for US readers

You tube video trailer for ARIA

Like if you will, the ARIA facebook page at

First to be top in 2nd hand books

March 17, 2014

Update on City Walls Books, Chester.

City Walls Books, Chester

City Walls Books, Chester

They have agreed to stock my books. These are NEW not second-hand paperbacks of quality literature. I know because I wrote them. Haha. Escaping Reality is a humorous thriller based in northern Britain and Amsterdam. See below for details. They are also selling Exit, Pursued by a Bee and my ARIA Trilogy. All at hug-them prices below normal retail and Amazon.

a secondhand bookshop – and a good one too. City Walls Books, 2 City Walls, Chester CH1 2JG They have a website here. However good they are, authors like me or even those unlike me, don’t receive any royalties or payments for our books sold there. Having said that, the unknown writers (hands up and waving again) can gain branding, awareness and a tad of recognition by browsing readers finding us on secondhand shelves.

The shop owner is a writer too. I loved his story, The Is Shop, in which a store only sells what the previous customer ordered. It’s based on the concept of fractal so there are cusps and bifurcations of intrigue in the story. Perhaps City Walls Books could be subtitled as The Alternative ‘IS Shop’?  When you go or email the shop as for a copy.



Escaping Reality is now out of print but I have a few that I will keep supplying to City Walls Books as they are needed. It is also available as a Kindle – see the page and slide show at

Exit, Pursued by a Bee is a science fiction mystery published by Double Dragon Publishing in Canada. See its page at

ARIA Trilogy is the award-winning science fiction medical mystery based on the unique idea of infectious amnesia. Also as ebook from Amazon Amazon US

Kindle UK – and the publisher details where you can see the video trailer and blurbs.

How to review a book

March 7, 2014

crowdIn several other blogs (with particular thanks to Jonathan Gunson here, and sites I’ve seen variants of the following guide a book reviewer could use.  A good idea, after all I’ve seen reviews of my books range from “Eh?” to ten pages of philosophy all because that reader was inspired by my aliens who totally ignored humans on Earth –  in Exit, Pursued by a Bee. All too often reviews on Amazon are mere descriptions of the plot, slightly reworded from the back page blurb. Then we have what are becoming known as the Amazon bullies – people, maybe rival authors or publishers, who write nasty things in an attempt to discredit the author and bring his or her average ratings plummeting down.  Luckily, most reviewers are being honest but often don’t know what to look for in a book when writing their review. So here is my helpful guide. So as to be even more helpful I put in italics quotes from reviewers relating to my science fiction and medical mystery novel ARIA: Left Luggage.

  1. Did you enjoy or dislike the story? “ARIA enthralled me because I know someone who lost their memory slowly, and I could imagine how the characters feel.”
  2. Was it exciting? “Fast paced with a hook at the end of each chapter. Sorry, Geoff I read it in only two days!”
  3. Extremely romantic? “I didn’t think Ryder and Teresa were right for each other then along came that hot-blooded Jena. Wow. Not only did she take him off her but the rivalry triggered a whole new ball game – so to speak.”
  4. Did it hold your attention? “I wasn’t going to read it one go because I had to go out, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what would happen if amnesia really was infectious! What an imagination in this book.” “It asks the important question of life itself – what’s so important to us we have to write it down everyday?”
  5. Did it provoke emotions? “I hate you Geoff Nelder – I can’t get the scene in the supermarket out of my mind!!!” “More scary than zombies and vampires. How am I going to get to sleep now?
  6. Did you care about the main character? “Ryder was so-so at first but he grew on me. How did you do that?
  7. Did you like the writing style? “Inimical style and yet with touches of M R James.”
  8. Would you recommend it to a friend? “I’m compelled to laud it on my blog.”

 Quotes are taken from the various Amazon sites, blogs, Compulsive Reader, SF Signal, Facebook, twitter, SF Crowsnest, Ideas4writers forum, and by such readers, some of whom are excellent writers, as Gladys Hobson, Annette Gibson, Kyle from the Chester SF Book Group, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Brad Lineweaver.


Geoff’s UK Amazon author page

And for US readers

You tube video trailer

There are reviews of ARIA on the Goodreads site at

It made me laugh to see a 2* review of ARIA: Left Luggage when the moaner said it should warn that the book is aimed at ‘mature’ readers. See it at

On the other hand, I agree with him!

More than books

February 27, 2014

It’s a sad era for independent bookshops and yet a time for opportunities. Ironically, the end-of-days farewell party at Bluecoat Books in Chester with the marvellous address of 1 City Walls, bulged with people many buying more books than they could carry. However, it wasn’t the lack of business that has led to the closure of the last independent bookshop in Chester but the retirement of its owner. I tried to persuade the beautiful assistant to take it on but she couldn’t afford the lease and was looking forward to working in the shop’s parent shop in Liverpool – also called Bluecoat Books – here is their website.

What drew me to the Chester Bluecoat Books since their opening in 2003 was that they were good to me as a local author and always stocked my books – thriller Escaping Reality, science fiction Exit, Pursued by a Bee, ARIA books one and two, and Escape Velocity magazine. Sometimes I would take books in lieu of cash payment, which was fine.  I wonder if any of my books made it into the bookshop next door, which is a secondhand bookshop – and a good one too. City Walls Books, 2 City Walls, Chester CH1 2JG They have a website too here. However good they are, authors like me or even those unlike me, don’t receive any royalties or payments for our books sold there. Having said that, the unknown writers (hands up and waving again) can gain branding, awareness and a tad of recognition by browsing readers finding us on secondhand shelves.

Urmston Bookshop

Urmston Bookshop

So where can readers who like paper books find my tomes other than online? Sadly, Waterstones won’t stock many small indie books especially if they are not offered a huge discount. The next nearest bookshop to buy my books is where my daughter’s young family live – Urmston, in Trafford, Manchester. Urmston Books sell a range of gifts, cards and offer a tingling atmosphere of friendly service. Here is their website. Frances and Peter Hopkins there kindly have my science fiction books on their

My books on the shelves at Urmston Bookshop

My books on the shelves at Urmston Bookshop

shelves – see photo although by now those are back on the N shelf at floor level! I believe mine are the only science fiction books for grownups in the shop. I urge all Urmstonians and others nearby to journey to 72 Flixton Road M41 5AB and buy books there!

I will be travelling to Heswall on the Wirral soon to visit another great independent bookshop, Linghams.

All these small bookshops sell more than books, and I don’t mean gifts. They are brilliant at imparting knowledge and a love of books. Some develop a small café on the premises if there’s room, hold author readings, signings and events. Most of them also sell books online. Indeed I know that Bluecoat Books sell my books through their Amazon Associate links.

I am loving the ebook reader apps on my tablet but enjoy the tactile experience of a real paper book too. Don’t walk past those small, energetic bundles of fun that are independent bookshops, get in there and buy something.

Nelder News

My trilogy’s page at Wikia

Geoff’s UK Amazon author page

And for US readers

#free excerpt from ARIA book 2

February 19, 2014

Excerpt from Chapter 35 from ARIA: Returning Left Luggage book two of the ARIA Trilogy. Details at the publisher’s website here. oilrig

In Book One most people on Earth have an infectious amnesia such that unless they’ve been fortunate to be near those with the antidote they have died. Most people have died. This is real apocalyptic stuff, more scary than vampires and zombies. In Book Two a daring rescue is underway off the coast of Australia.

Bryce has lost memory to that of a fourteen-year-old.

At two in the morning, we approach the rig and turn off our radar and transponder in case they are monitoring. I’m in the small boat rather than the rubber dinghy, which would submarine quicker if bullet-holed. Dominiq comes with me, while the women stand guard a hundred metres off. This gives them a good view and would let their infrared-sighted weapons reach the platform that overhangs the ladder up from the water.

We have rucksacks, flash-bang stun grenades, and wear night-vision goggles that auto-revert in brightness. Dominiq is above me, and I repress an irreverent snigger at the look of his SAS gear, complete with holster, ammo belt, knives, flak jacket, helmet, and handcuffs. I wear the same and laugh silently at myself. The mirth helps calm the raging butterfly storm in my guts. Adrenalin is supposed to hype you into battle, but I have knee-wobbling stage fright.

After a long climb, the metal ladder takes us to the platform’s wide veranda where more ladders lead to two floors of buildings. The derrick is on the other side of these buildings, which must be the office and accommodation. We hear nothing except the breeze whistling through gantries. The slough and slap of the waves seem a long way off. I look to sea and just make out the darker shape of the lights-out Solar Sprint.

Like a kid, I wave, knowing they are watching. I imagine their tut-tutting.

Rope and hoses are coiled, there’s no litter and all the doors are shut. It points to Benita’s optimistic view that we have a non-ARIA group. I let Dominiq lead the way. He digs out a mini-periscope and looks in the nearest cabin. We creep along until his peeping-Tom activity makes him stop, turn to me, and raise two fingers.

I return two but of course I know he means there are two people in there, neither being Charlotte. He mocks sleep. He takes a small gun from his multi-tool belt and squirts superglue along the door crack. Clever. The last is unoccupied, so our rubber soles silently take us up the ladder.

The first cabin he shows me a thumbs up followed by giving me the finger. Ignoring his ambiguous crudity, I look. A woman is in the left bunk while a man occupies the lower right. I didn’t telescope the periscope to examine the top bunks, accepting Dominiq’s observation. I reckon the woman is Charlotte. Fair hair, and I see a handcuff. He prepares a flash-bang while I squirt a fine lubricant on the door hinges and lock area. After inserting earplugs, I am to go for Charlotte while he immobilises the other occupant.

He sneaks opens the door, and flashes a low-set torchlight at Charlotte’s face. A twirling hand signal at his brain indicates his opinion that she is too asleep, maybe drunk or drugged, to waken easily.

He shows me the primed flash-bang. I kneel beside the window. Even through my earplugs, the detonation shocks me, and the white light bursts through the window and out across the sea. I take out my earplugs, rush in, and use my bolt cutter on the chain tethering Charlotte’s ankle to the metal bunk.

“What… what? My ears. I can’t see.”

“Don’t worry. We’re your rescue mission,” I say this even though I know she won’t hear anything for half an hour. I throw off the sheet and check her hands are free before carrying her out of the room.

“Wait, wait, my coat… stuff.” I risk laying her under the window and nip back in. Dominiq has taped the man, who has wide, wild eyes. Near Charlotte’s bunk, I find a large shoulder bag and a waterproof jacket. I wasn’t going to bother with her day clothes, because we have spares on the boat, but maybe, she has crucial stuff in the pockets.

Back outside, I put her jacket around her shoulders to give her some comfort we aren’t the baddies, hopefully. We follow Dominiq, who has a short muzzle Koch waving at dark places. The glued door makes a noisy percussion drum as we pass. The two in there are wasting time on the glued door instead of throwing a chair through the window, but who are we to argue?

Within six minutes, we have Charlotte, sipping hot chocolate, in a comfy chair. Her ears remain silent, but her vision hazes back into action.

Benita writes on a card to show Charlotte: Hello, Charlotte, we’ve come from Rarotonga to rescue you.

“I needed rescuing…” She starts sobbing. “But I don’t know who you are…”

I exchange glances with the others. She has ARIA.

Benita glares at me. She’s right. Now isn’t the time to tell her she’s the comms expert our survival depends on.

ARIA Book Two cover art by Andy Bigwood

ARIA Book Two cover art by Andy Bigwood

You tube video trailer

facebook page

Start with book one? Links to the Kindle below though paperback and other formats are also available.

Great SciFi Threads by Tom TInney

February 16, 2014

Initially I squirmed at the start of Threads not because of the characters, such as Billy Ray, assigned to the Royal Mongolian Space Navy Destroyer 119, the Admiral Khan, but the pages of info-dumping as the reader learns about the Mark IV implant in Billy Ray’s head. Then again in Chapter 2 on ISTEC company history. Many science fiction writers use this technique with the risk of losing readers with too much Tell in order to get over the mass of new information they need to handle the story. Get past it and the characters are real enough so let’s enjoy.

Threads by Tom Tinney

Threads by Tom Tinney

Marshall Matt and his twin Mark use an enhanced telepathy link – the eponymous Threads – with each other. It’s this concept that brings a unique element to this novel and one which shapes the whole plot in a clever way.

As a former teacher, who had to demonstrate this, it’s really good to see the Coriolis Effect get a mention no less than three times.

After encountering this medical development used more in this novel as a weapon let me warn you to never shake hands with Tom Tinney, he’ll be palming a derm patch with a powerful analgesic so that you’ll be on the floor before you know it!

Threads has a political agenda and uses the wonderful medium of science fiction as the author’s ‘if only’ and ‘what if’ future making the unlikely come possible. An example:

“In 2079 a group of businessmen collected 1/3rd of the world’s wealth onto a 200-vessel ‘Freedom Fleet’ protected by former US carriers. The fleet negotiated with Hawaii to make it a landfall base but the ‘new’ UN, who’s demanded the money back and distributed to the poor heard of the talks and nuked Hawaii. 4 years later the fleet negotiated with a new liberated Cuba to make them rich and lead the world to a socialist-free paradise.” Kinda, because not everything is what it seems.

I like the relationship between the two paraplegics, Mark and Phyllis. Funny that she’d compliment him on his sense of humour with, ‘You’re funny when you’re not in the middle of a paradigm-shifting incident that could bring the known galaxy to a standstill.’ If only I had a girlfriend who could talk like that. Hang on, I do!

Interesting plot premise with alien ships randomly and devastatingly attacking Earth ships but are they really? A cunning ploy that takes the telepathic Threads and deep undercover work that makes this otherwise often slow-paced novel worth the persistence.

Beware of some sdm scenes such as that affecting Allison Winslow. I’m (spoiler but hope I’m forgiven) glad to say she survives butbutbut not all is as it seems. The perpetrator is something else indeed. Of course you should suspect that Threads isn’t only a communication system for exceptional twins, especially when you consider how bees, ants, whales and other sentient creatures might communicate with the intriguing thought – could a human using Threads use that skill with other species?

Usually, the important and Earthly thing to do when you see ghastly creatures coming at you is to open fire, but wait! Typified by a terrific chapter heading: The End of an Error.

Normally, I knee-jerk against cliché but having read Threads I now take back and delete my quibbles over such cliché as ‘snug as a bug in a rug. The author possesses a wit beyond part one, and those cliché snippets become real!

Threads is a complex novel(s) with its shocks, innovations, socio-political subplots and pseudo-science, none of which are what they initially seem. You don’t just become engaged with a main character but their ‘distant’ and yet close twin, and their ‘squeezes’. Buy this book and you’ll receive far more than you deserve.

The author gives an insight into writing Threads here:

Tom’s Amazon author page

He also runs a book review cooperative, which offers shared book reviews by published authors. A great way to get budding authors reviews and noticed.  The link is here with an author interview with me and ARIA!


Engaging the Forumifera

February 1, 2014

“The End of Science Fiction? Nooo, please let it have a different title.” What an introduction to my temporary appointment of administrator of small press BeWrite Books a few years

“Read the novel, and you’ll see why the title stays.” I argued that most science fiction aficionados would recoil at the title thinking it was another diatribe by the anti-SF literati. Indeed, the novel was more a detective thriller but based on the premise of the imminent folding in of the universe. While humanity freaked at their termination, the police officer was determined that a murderer shouldn’t get away with his crime. Sam Smith did a good job in that page-turner but with that title, it didn’t sell as many as the story warranted. Titles are important. The title of my ARIA:Left Luggage has been dubbed ‘strange’ and in hindsight too obscure to find easily on Amazon. Go for the juxtaposition of perceived opposites such as in Alyson Bird’s Bull Running for Girls.

Small press rarely see their books on the shelves in chain bookshops, not because of Print on Demand (POD) nature of the process whereby books are only printed when ordered, but because of the low bookseller discount often set by the publishers making it insufficiently profitable. Watch out if you want author signings, for example, in Waterstones. I’ve questioned small press on this and they argue their discount means larger royalties per book for their authors. Umm, methinks a higher turnover with lower percent royalties works better.

An attractive publisher website helps as long as finding books readers want is as easy as picking  delivery pizzas.

Sales are driven by loyalty and this is often generated via forums. I cut my moderator’s teeth on a small press community forum. Lively, heated, angry, calm and passionate book lovers all, it was a marvellous vehicle for book promotion.  Baen’s Bar comes to mind as the active forum for Baen Books. Most small press have them but many are sparsely populated. Even the yahoo group forum for Double Dragon Publishing is tiny compared to their hundreds of titles, but that’s because the owner only allows its authors to be members. Yes, we are all readers but most writers are too busy to read, so publishers’ forums really should be open to all readers if they want the forum to generate sales.

Does twitter help small press? Yes, but ensure your authors don’t just tweet their book links. ENGAGE is the magic word on twitter and all social media. It’s time-consuming to respond, retweet, banter but it helps create friendships, brand and eventually, sales. Remember, the life of a tweet is only 10 seconds especially for high-rolling tweeters.

Publisher and book pages on facebook creates interest, and information is easily reached on releases for the many facebookers out there. Try for example. Throw in cartoons and snarky images to find readers sharing your page with a tap of their fingers. What you DON’T do is to bomb facebook users with daily posts and urgings for them to buy your book. I’ve done that for a 5-day period when ARIA: Left Luggage was free for Kindle and even then only 8 posts yet I was criticized. In general it is other authors rather than readers who ‘like’ author pages on facebook and they are not the most supportive in buying books. They’ve little spare time to read them.

To maximise your social media presence in addition to the above, consider Pinterest, Bebo, Google+, LinkedIn, LibraryThing, Shelfari, MySpace, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, YouTube, blogs and Goodreads. How do we find time to write stories?

Geoff’s current novels include the ARIA trilogy, which has infectious amnesia as its unique premise. His social media links are:


Also for his website.

The above blog post is the basis for an article in the current FOCUS magazine of the British Science Fiction Association

Geoff’s UK Amazon author page

And for US readers

Lose one Win TWO!

January 29, 2014

AwardsJust as the Wikipedia mandarins delete the page about ARIA Trilogy, two other encyclopaedias include it in! As far as Wikipedia was concerned the concept of infectious amnesia, even if original in fiction, hadn’t attracted sufficiently ‘notable’ references and reviews to be worthy of an entry. Unique ideas are not as important to them as famous people. Yes, notable authors such as Mike Resnick and Jon C Grimwood had endorsed ARIA: Left Luggage but only via private emails and on back page blurbs. The controllers at Wikipedia require such endorsements to be published in ‘notable’ journals with editorial boards and I can understand that even though it’s frustrating to see other author’s books there with fewer endorsements and no real links to their authenticity compared to ARIA. Ho hum. Interesting too there doesn’t seem to be a page on that encyclopaedia to the P&E Awards from which both my Exit, Pursued by a Bee and ARIA: Left Luggage achieved success. The first won top ten (coming second) and the latter came first. I can understand that Hugo and Pulitzer, Man-Booker and  other famous literary awards carry weight, but not many independent publishers can afford the heavy entry fees, nor the authors have a sufficiently huge network of fans. Even so, the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll ought to carry more weight. They involve the voting of thousands of readers not just a handful of selected readers.

So to help ARIA one day achieving its own Wikipedia page please write your review not just in Amazon but in a mainstream journal or any publication with an editorial board! As if it is that easy.

Luckily, ARIA is now in two other encyclopaedias. The rival to Wikipedia called Wikia and the Science Fiction Encyclopaedia. Links below. I feel good.

Controversial story gets a hit

January 13, 2014
Encounters Magazine #10

Encounters Magazine #10

Issue #10 of Encounters Magazine contains my Science Fiction naughty story, TARGET PRACTICE. Warning #adultcontent! #FREE download
The story is about an asteroid heading for impact with Earth. That’s where the cliché of apocalyptic asteroids takes a left curve, because when astronauts divert the incoming rock, it changes direction to head back to us, and keeps doing so. Two things prevented the story being accepted straight away. One was a sex scene between the two arguing astronauts. They’d had a hit and miss romantic history before the mission and I liked the idea of them making up during a fight. Some people didn’t though most readers in the critique group of the British Science Fiction Association did. Thanks guys. Second, was that I’d used Chinese astronauts and technology to go up to rescue Earth. An American publisher couldn’t see the future being Chinese, but that was before the current moon mission with a Chinese rover on its surface!
I’ve been paid for this story and yet it is a free download on pdf for anyone. Not sure how they make their money.
All I want to do as a writer is to have zany ideas and transfer them to you via stories. I don’t want to get involved in arguments with Wikipedia police or with moderators at Linkedin. The latter say my post about Wikipedia censuring the ARIA page for its lack of ‘notable’ references does not belong in a discussion thread because it possesses a link to my blog page about the issue. They say it belongs in promotion even though it isn’t about promotion! Ugh, no wonder I lean towards anarchism – anything to get away from drowning in bureaucracy.
Better news is that the largest writers’ circle on the planet offered to host a showcase page for me at Feel free to take a peep.

ARIA Art Nominee

January 8, 2014
Cover Art for the August 2013 ARIA: Returning Left Luggage Art by Andy Bigwood.

Cover Art for the August 2013 ARIA: Returning Left Luggage Art by Andy Bigwood.

Andy Bigwood is the artist for the ARIA books and the cover he did for my second novel in the series ARIA: Returning Left Luggage has been nominated for an award at the British Science Fiction Association Awards. Here is the cover art. It shows one of the cases or ‘luggage’ left on the International Space Station with its holographic chevrons and weird alien emanations. The image also hints at the alien plant that melds with Earth Bindweed.

Well done for the nomination, Andy and good luck with the award competition. Note that neither I nor the publishers nominated the work, it was by a fan :)

Meanwhile book 3 called Abandoned Luggage has gone through the writing and initial editing stage and the artwork by Andy is in ready for publication in the Spring.

The free Kindle offer was in late December but for another two months Kindle Prime members can still borrow ARIA: Left Luggage for free.
That and other of my books are on my Amazon author page at
UK Amazon author page
And for US readers


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