Category Archives: ebook

Pegasus Falling’s new look

It is with great pleasure I present to you all the new cover of Pegasus Falling.

Pegasus Falling's new cover artwork

I’m really pleased with this new look for the first part of the Cypress Branches trilogy. It has taken a long time to get to this point, this being the fifth (and hopefully final!) version of the cover.

The previous four covers were all very similar, with small changes to the original picture of Lesley holding Sammy’s Paratrooper’s cap in her hands. Although I liked the image, and readers kept telling me they liked it too, I was never entirely happy with it as a cover. There was a certain something lacking which I couldn’t put my finger on.

For a while I had had the idea of using the image within a wider context. When I created the cover for The Bridge (William’s short story available to download for free), I considered using the haunting image of falling paratroopers on the cover of Pegasus Falling as well. I had a play around, but didn’t come up with anything satisfactory and left things as they were.

However, a few months ago, I opened up Photoshop again and had another play. This time, inspiration must have struck and I was much happier with the result. The original image of Lesley holding the red beret (captured brilliantly by photographer Dewi Clough) remains, but as part of a much more dynamic whole.

With the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem coming up next month, I’m really pleased that I have been able to include two bold key images portraying the British Parachute Regiment on the cover. The regiment, then newly formed, played an important part in the infamous and controversial operation which forms the backdrop for the opening scenes of the book. Even more poignantly, the author was a witness to those appalling scenes he describes so vividly – he was 18 when he fought on the front line at Arnhem, and used his experiences to tell his story.

I’d love to know what readers think of the new cover, so please do leave a comment or get in touch.

It Never Was You is ready to (indiego)go!

It Never Was You will be released some time in April. Yep, that’s a month later than previously announced, but having looked at the lead times, I realised I was being a little hasty and have had to put it back by a few weeks.

I know that will come as a blow to many readers who are waiting patiently to read it. However, there is a way to get your hands on a copy early. Want to know how? Then read on…

Want to get hold of It Never Was You before anyone else?
Click here to head to the campaign and grab the perk!

In order to give It Never Was You the launch it deserves, I’ve put together a crowd funding campaign on indiegogo.com.

indiegogo is a great place where all sorts of people from around the world are raising money for all kinds of concerns. From film makers trying to get their latest project off the ground to charities raising awareness of their cause, it’s full of inspiring stories and projects and well worth a browse.

Publishing the Cypress Branches trilogy is a labour of love for me, and it’s something I do without the aim of making a profit – in fact, I’ve ploughed a lot more money in than I’ve got out. The reason I do it is because I’m determined to see William’s work in print. That vision, and this project, costs money, and that’s where this campaign comes in.

Last year I was able to fund a print run and the beginnings of a marketing push for Pegasus Falling using my own funds before selling one book. This year, I was facing the possibility of having to launch It Never Was You without any funding available. Whilst I would have been able to launch the books by making them available as an ebook and via print-on-demand on Amazon, I would not have been able to distribute them to a wider audience. That would mean that I would not be able to supply the shops which stock Pegasus Falling with stocks of its sequel, or send copies to journalists, reviewers and bloggers. Not the best way to keep the momentum going! By creating this campaign, I should be able to give It Never Was You the push it deserves.

So why indiegogo? 

One of the great innovations of the site is something they call “perks”. Perks are rewards which people can claim in exchange for a contribution. Film makers provide anything from a DVD of their finished movie to the chance to go on set during filming. Charities offer a warm fuzzy feeling or priority booking on fundraising events.

I’ve made one of the perks of contributing to the Cypress Branches campaign being able to get your hands on an advance copy of It Never Was You. Depending on your budget (or your preference!) you can request an ebook or paperback copy as a perk, sent to you as soon as the files are ready / the books are printed in mid March, and before they appear on Amazon or in the shops. By grabbing one of these perks, you’ll get a copy at the same time as the review copies go out, and be amongst the first to read it.

It’s the perfect solution, I think. I can raise funds to ensure that I can give It Never Was You the perfect launch, and also make sure that all you lovely lot who have supported me over the past year or more get the chance to read the book sooner. (And enjoy the bragging rights!)

If you’re feeling generous and fancy treating yourself to an extra special perk, there is also the chance to own a copy with a personal handwritten note from me inside, or a rare copy of the hardback edition featuring the original manuscript we printed back in 2009 or even get your name added to the acknowledgements page.

Whatever way of contributing you choose, you can be sure that every penny raised will go towards getting William’s books into print. I’ve set the target at £2,000. This will pay for an initial print run of It Never Was You, a second run of Pegasus Falling and a big marketing push to get sales going.

The great thing is that we can keep raising money, even if we reach the target before the end of the campaign. If we can smash the target, I’ll plough all the extra money straight back into the project, starting work on Part Three of the trilogy as soon as possible.

If we don’t reach the target, I will still receive around 90% of the funds pledged (indiegogo raise their fees to 9% if you don’t reach your target). Whilst this would be less than ideal, it will still mean that I can go ahead with launching It Never Was You – but the print run may have to be postponed or curtailed and the marketing will be much scaled back. This would be sad. Let’s not think about it.

Spread the word…

The success of the campaign very much depends on how far we can spread the word. If you’d love to see William’s trilogy taking a significant step closer to completion, then please help get the word out there by heading to the campaign page and using the “share this campaign” tools. You can “Like” it on Facebook, send a tweet, do whatever you do on G+, share on your blog or website, send your friends an email or do all of the above, all from within the campaign. You can also post comments, check for updates and brag to your friends that you’re helping William get his books printed.

And the cool thing is that the more of us who share, the greater chance we have of raising the profile of the campaign on indiegogo itself! They use an algorithm which measures a campaign’s success and attributes it a “gogofactor”. The higher the gogofactor, the higher up the campaign goes in the listings, and the better chance it has of being spotted by others using the site.

I won’t be releasing any copies of It Never Was You to general buyers until the official launch date. The only way to get a copy before then is to contribute to the campaign and request the perk. Then you’ll not only get that warm fuzzy feeling from knowing you’re helping me get William’s books out there and into the hands of the audience we all know will love them, but you’ll also be able to read them before anyone else! Now there’s bragging rights!

Head to the campaign page now, grab your perk and get sharing! 

As ever, happy reading, everyone and thank you all for your continued support!

The Undiscovered Documents

A few months ago, just after Pegasus Falling had been released, my nan (William’s wife, Sheila) thrust a small, unassuming plastic envelope in my hands, proclaiming that she’d found it in amongst an old pile of Gramps’ stuff. In it were three very interesting items.

Firstly, there was a short, typed memo from Gramps to ‘Kate’. This is my mum – her real name isn’t Kate, but her initials are K.T, so Kate for short. Dated 2.10.92 (for my American readers, that’s October 2nd, not February 10th!), it introduced a short story hot off his new word processor.

Gramps retired in 1990. He soon became bored with the life of a pensioner and decided to set himself the challenge of writing a book. He called his first work simply ‘Opus 1’. I had read it back in 1992 (at the grand age of 13) but had not laid eyes on it again until now. Set in a part-Courier typewriter / part-computer system typeface, the manuscript ran to just 20 pages, loose leaf and unformatted. It was just as he had written it, un-fettered and undisturbed for many years. 


The third piece in the plastic envelope was a much larger loose leaf document – a synopsis and abstract from The Cypress Branches, the document William had sent to publishers on his brief attempt to publish.  


All three are fascinating items in themselves. I wish I had seen the synopsis and abstract years ago, when I first set out to edit the books. Although written for a different purpose, it provides an insight into how William saw the novel work. Thankfully, it looks like my changes work within the context of his vision, but a lot of difficult decisions would have been made easier with this document to hand. 


The memo is poignant, to say the least. Although it is a simple note, its style is as efficient as William’s prose, declaring that “I’m still feeling my way with this” and that he had to “exploit a direct experience”, asking for, “some objective comments please”. 


Opus 1 itself is a revelation. The memo goes on to say, “of course there is some artistic licence and more than a suspicion of hyperbole, but the tale is in general, true.” As with his subsequent work, William drew on many and varied incidents from his own life and weaved them together into a gripping and heartbreaking work of fiction. It is the story of a romance between a British Parachute Regiment sergeant and a Dutch girl whose house is taken over by the army and turned in to their HQ for the ensuing battle to secure the bridge. William was a paratrooper, and at the age of 18, was involved in the ill-fated operation to capture the bridge at Oosterbeek, near Arnhem in Holland – the fabled Operation Market Garden which ended so badly for the troops involved. William was one of the lucky few who managed to escape back home and tell the tale. Many of his friends were not so fortunate. 

Although Opus 1 was initially written as a standalone work, elements of it ended up becoming part of William’s much larger work, The Cypress Branches, which he started to write almost immediately after completing his first short story. Although it underwent a considerable amount of editing and the story was changed to integrate it into the longer storyline, some readers will recognise it as forming the basis of the first chapter of Pegasus Falling – part 1 of the Cypress Branches trilogy. They’ll also recognise the sergeant, the main character in Opus 1 who plays a smaller role in the story of Pegasus Falling

Opus 1 is a fantastic introduction to William’s work – it reflects his style and the characters are just as well-written as those in The Cypress Branches. So, I have built it into a stand alone ebook and it is now available to download for free from Smashwords, Kobo Books and acuteanglebooks.co.uk. Despite its quality, Opus 1 was never, to my knowledge, meant for publication, so William never gave it a proper title. I have named it “The Bridge” – which seemed simple, fitting and appropriate. 


You can download a copy of The Bridge from any of the following links: 
The Bridge on acuteanglebooks.co.uk (FREE downloads for epub, .mobi and PDF)
The Bridge on Amazon (77p / 99c – but hopefully they will price match soon)

Pegasus Falling on ManOfLaBook.com

Today, Zohar from the excellent ManOfLaBook.com featured a guest post written by Mike telling the story of how Pegasus Falling came to be published.

Grandfather’s Book Published – A Tragedy

The story of how Pega­sus Falling came to be pub­lished is pos­si­bly as tragic as the story within its pages.
William Thomas, my grand­fa­ther, was born in 1925. He started work as a mes­sen­ger at theBBC at the age of 14. When war broke out, he went to work with his father at a fac­tory in Har­row. While still a teenager, William joined the army and was soon recruited in to the Para­chute Reg­i­ment. By May 1945, he had been “dropped” in to a num­ber of key bat­tles and become a much dec­o­rated sol­dier. He was still only 19 years old. Fol­low­ing the war, he served in Pales­tine until 1948.
William has six chil­dren. As they were grow­ing up, he was work­ing and study­ing in shifts as a mer­chant sea­man and an engi­neer. He was one of the first stu­dents to enrol at The Open Uni­ver­sity and in his mid fifties, he decided to work there full time as a lab tech­ni­cian, remain­ing there until his retire­ment in 1990.
Hav­ing become quickly bored of the life of a pen­sioner, he looked around for some­thing to keep him occu­pied. A lover of the arts, in par­tic­u­lar music and lit­er­a­ture, he bought him­self an elec­tronic key­board (he is an excel­lent jazz pianist) and a word proces­sor, hav­ing decided to sit down and write a book…

To continue reading the guest post on ManOfLaBook.com, and be in with a chance of winning an eCopy of the book, click here.

To read Zohar’s 5* review of Pegasus Falling, click here.

May Newsletter – Bank Holiday Ebook Giveaway & We Need Your Reviews!

This newsletter was sent out to the Acute Angle books mailing list on 4th May 2012. If you’d like to receive future newsletters in your inbox, drop us a line at newsletterATacuteanglebooks.co.uk

Dear Friends and Family,
Welcome to the May newsletter. In this edition, we’re asking for your reviews, and also giving you the chance to download the ebook for free.
It’s been a busy month following the release of Pegasus Falling, and it looks like it’s going down very well with readers everywhere. As well as being in stock at amazon.co.uk, the paperback is also now available at Waterstones in Midsummer Place, Milton Keynes and Rye Books in East Dulwich, London. We’re keen to support local bookshops and we’d encourage others who feel the same to pick up their copy of Pegasus Fallinglocally. Even if it’s not in stock yet at your local shop, most should be able to order it in easily if you provide them with the ISBN number (978-09562299-1-5).  
The ebook is also now available widely and, thanks to smashwords.com, for virtually any device. As well as amazon.co.uk and amazon.com, you’ll also find it in the iBooks store, kobo.com and diesel-ebooks.com with many others to follow.
WILLIAM’S BEEN IN THE PAPERS
We were thrilled when William and the book were featured in the Milton Keynes Citizen a few weeks ago, with an article appearing on the inside front cover, much to our surprise and delight. If you don’t live in the area, or missed it at the time, you can read it online here.
WE NEED YOUR REVIEWS!
We’ve already had a handful of reviews on Amazon (take a look here) and several bloggers have agreed to read and review the book, so keep an eye out for their thoughts in the coming weeks. It can not be underestimated how important reviews are to people – especially when they’re buying a book by an author they don’t know.
We’re therefore asking (very nicely!) anyone who’s read the book to please take a few moments to post a review online. The best place to post a review is on amazon.co.uk. You don’t need to have bought the book there, but you do need to be logged in to an account from which you’ve made a purchase in the past. Go to the Pegasus Falling page and click on “Create your own review”. (You can comment on either the paperback or the Kindle edition – your review will be seen on both.)
Please be honest and say what you liked and didn’t like about the book. If you thought it was wonderful and worthy of 5 stars, then great. But if you thought it was only worth 1 or 2 stars, then that’s fine too – but please explain why. As long as you’re honest, your comments will help others who are happening upon the book to make their choice. Your review doesn’t have to be long – just a sentence or two will do.
If you’d like to help us further, you could post your review on other sites too. There are hundreds out there, but here’s a selection to choose from. Click on the hyperlink to go straight to the book’s page:
Amazon.com(for our American friends)
WHSmith.co.uk(where it’s available to download on Kobo)
Goodreads.com(a great site for all booklovers. Check out William’s author page while you’re there)
Smashwords.com (you need to buy the book here first before reviewing it – see below for a coupon)
iBooks or Aldiko on your iPhone/iPad/smartphone
DOWNLOAD THE EBOOK FOR FREE THIS WEEKEND
It’s a bank holiday weekend and with the weather looking typical for a British bank holiday, it looks like getting stuck in a good book is the order of the day. So, we’re making Pegasus Falling free to download at smashwords.com where you can download a copy of the ebook suitable for any ereader or for reading on your PC. Head over there and use the coupon code SF42B for a 100% discount. Feel free to forward the code to your friends and family – this offer is open to all – but the coupon expires on Monday evening, so hurry!
Before I sign off, some of you may have heard that William’s wife Sheila is recovering in hospital after suffering a stroke two weeks ago. I’m sure you’ll all join us in wishing her a full and speedy recovery.
Mike Harris
acuteANGLE books
Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/PegasusFalling
Follow us on Twitter: @cypressbranches

William has been in the papers!

This post was originally published on acuteanglebooks.co.uk on 13th April 2012

On 5th April, the Milton Keynes Citizen ran a feature on William and Pegasus Falling. Sally Murrer wrote a lovely piece which ran on the inside cover (much to our shock and excitement!). We’d like to extend our thanks to Sally for writing such a lovely piece for us.

The article also appeared on the MK Citizen’s website – www.miltonkeynes.co.uk – and you can read the article online here.

And thanks should also go to Rachel, who attended the book launch, for her very touching comment after the article. I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying the book, Rachel!

We’re hoping for a lot more media coverage over the coming weeks and months, so keep a look out.

Pegasus Falling has landed!

This post was originally published on acuteanglebooks.co.uk on 26th March 2012

A newsletter was sent to the mailing list this morning to announce the launch of Pegasus Falling. Here’s what was sent. To join the mailing list, send a message to contactusATacuteanglebooksDOTcoDOTuk.

Dear Friends and Family,

Launch day has finally arrived and Pegasus Falling is now available as a paperback and ebook. Yesterday, we held a small party at the care home where William is now resident, so that the man himself could be included in the celebrations. A massive thank you to those involved in putting the day together and to everyone who attended for giving the book a brilliant launch. Pictures of the day can be found on the website here.

We plan to make Pegasus Falling available as widely as possible and you have a plethora of options for where to buy it. And if you haven’t made up your mind whether to buy it yet or not, you can download samples from both the paperback on the acuteanglebooks website and the ebook at Smashwords (follow the links below).

PAPERBACK – £8.99
The paperback is available now to buy online from www.acuteanglebooks.co.uk/pegasusfalling and if you order before 30th April 2012, you’ll get the ebook as well for free.

It can be ordered from Amazon and Waterstones.

It is also available to buy through the Facebook page – www.facebook.com/pegasusfalling.

We’ll be approaching high street retailers over the coming weeks, including big chains and local bookshops, to see if they’d like to stock the book. In the mean time, if you’d like to buy from your local shop, they can order it from their wholesaler by quoting the ISBN number – 978-0-9562299-1-5.

EBOOK – from £1.53
Pegasus Falling is also available as an ebook. This is a very exciting prospect as the e-reader phenomenon takes hold. We’ve priced the book very competitively and will cost as little as £1.53 in the UK, EUR2.60 in Europe and $2.40 in the US (depending on the addition of VAT).

Kindle – download at the Amazon Kindle store in the UK, US, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Smashwords – head to www.smashwords.com to download the book in a range of formats which are suitable for any reading device or for reading on your computer. It’s an American site, so prices are in US$, but you can buy from anywhere in the world using PayPal (they’ll do the currency conversion for you). It’s a great site in itself with a huge range of interesting and unusual ebooks published independently.

The ebook will be made available through other ebook retailers in the coming weeks, including the Apple iBook store on iTunes and Kobo. Keep checking and it should appear shortly!

WE NEED YOUR REVIEWS!
We’re now about to plug the book for all its worth to generate interest and excitement. We’ll start with the local press and social networking sites and work our way up to the national press over the coming weeks and months.

But there’s nothing like word of mouth to get the buzz started, and there are a number of ways you can join in and help us spread the word. If you can do any of the following, we’d be incredibly grateful!

Like the facebook page – Next time you’re on Facebook, have a look at the Pegasus Falling page. Clicking “Like” will not only show all of our updates in your newsfeed, but also help us spread the word around Facebook. The more likes we have, the better our chances of success. Feel free to join in and leave comments and messages on the page.

Leave a comment – use the comments box at the bottom of the page in the shop to tell us (and your friends!) what you think of the book.

Follow us on Twitter – follow @cypressbranches for updates and use #PegasusFalling to talk about the book. We’re getting followers from all over the world, which is fantastic.

Rate us on Smashwords – leave your star rating and help us raise the book’s profile on the site.

Tell your friends – if you’ve enjoyed the book, let your friends know!

Tell us – email contactusATacuteanglebooksDOTcoDOTuk to let us know your thoughts. Please mark your email “Not for publication” if you’d prefer your comments not to be used in our publicity.

Once again, a massive thank you to everyone who’s bought a book (or plans to) and for all the support we’ve been given over the last few years.

Happy reading!

Mike Harris
acuteANGLE books

NEWSLETTER – MARCH 2012

This post was originally published on acuteanglebooks.co.uk on 9th March 2012

Below is the text from the latest newsletter, sent to members of the mailing list on 7th March 2012. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list and receive all future newsletter directly to your inbox, please send an email to newsletterATacuteanglebooksDOTcoDOTuk

Dear friends and family,

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY OF PEGASUS FALLING TODAY!

There may only be 141 days left to go before London 2012, but booklovers have another, much closer, date to look forward to. Pegasus Falling, the first part of the Cypress Branches trilogy, launches in just 19 days and after a lot of hard work, and what seemed like an interminable wait, the first batch of books arrived this morning from the printers and I am very happy to announce that Pegasus Falling is now available to pre-order from the website. Head over to www.acuteanglebooks.co.uk/pegasusfalling to order your copy.

Pre-ordered books will be dispatched to arrive on launch day so this is the only way to guarantee receiving your copy before the official launch date of 26th March. Depending on how well the postal service is working, you may be lucky enough to receive your copy a day or two early (but I can’t make any promises!). Pre-ordering will be available until Wednesday 21st March 2012 when the site will revert to normal sales. All orders placed after 21st March will be dispatched from 26th March onwards, so hurry to make sure you bag your copy early.

THE DIGITAL EDITION
Those of you with Ereaders will be glad to know that Pegasus Falling is also going to be available on many devices. From launch, it will be available in the Amazon Kindle bookshop. Other devices and ebook services will follow in due course. Links to all available formats will be presented via the “Pegasus Falling Digital Edition” page on the website.

KEEP UP WITH ALL THE NEWS
A lot will be happening over the next couple of months as the PR campaign kicks into action. As I’m keen to keep these newsletters to no more than once a month, if you’d like to keep right up to date with all the news, you can:

Follow @cypressbranches on Twitter and use the hashtag #PegasusFalling to discuss the book with your friends. Let’s get it trending!
“Like” us on Facebook. Pegasus Falling now has its own Facebook page. Search Pegasus Falling, like the page and all the latest will be streamed straight to your newsfeed.
Join the website and discuss the book in the Forum. Membership on the site is free and I’m keen to get people nattering about the book in the forum. Click on “Join this site” in the top left of the screen on the site and get the discussion going.

Facebook, Twitter and of course, the website itself will be updated regularly with news and photos and anything else happening. The newsletter will be sent out every so often with a digest of the latest in case you missed anything.

As ever, please feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone you think would be interested in the book. Everyone is welcome! And feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions or queries – the address to write to is contactusATacuteanglebooksDOTcoDOTuk.

I’ll be in touch again on 26th March to mark the launch day. Until then, best wishes to you all.

Mike Harris
acuteANGLE books

A note on the digital edition: We will not be selling ebooks directly from the website. Instead, we are making it available through third-party sites which specialise in selling ebooks.

News update – 8th March 2012

This post was originally published on acuteanglebooks.co.uk on 8th March 2012

The details of the latest developments are posted in the March newsletter (see posting below), but in short, here’s a summary:

Pegasus Falling can now be pre-ordered now. Head over to the shop to get your copy. Books pre-ordered before 21st March will be delivered to you on or shortly before the launch date of 26th March.

It will be available as an ebook on several platforms – including Amazon Kindle from launch.

Pegasus Falling now has its own Facebook page – www.facebook.com/PegasusFalling. If you’re on Facebook, please “like” the page for regular updates and news. The same updates will be posted to Twitter, so follow @cypressbranches if you’re a user.

Lots more exciting news to come soon, so keep checking back!