May 11, 2015

New stuff.

My newest novel, Lowland Knight, was inspired by a 16th Century painting on the subject of the Siege of the Damietta Tower. This was during the 4th Crusade, which took place in the 13th Century, some 300 years before the painter created his great work. The artist was Cornelis Claesz van Wieringen.

As you can see, the ships and costumes match the artist's own era, not the actual period of the events depicted.
Anyway, I began to research that era and the events and people who were at that siege, and an account of one knight's experiences is the result.

July 15, 2013


This little bird saved my life when I was about seven or eight years old. One like this, at least, because there is no photo of my actual helper. He also formed the basis of the first story I wrote, comparatively recently, in 2004 I think.
An Orange Breasted Sunbird intervened when a very large cobra struck at my face. He stabbed his beak into its eye. Both died, I lived. Thank you, bird.
The story is in Heavy & Light Tales, and is actually non fiction.
This image is by Derek Keats, and is used under Creative Commons licence.

July 1, 2013

Free e-books for July 2013

Get the books on my page at Smashwords

Lucky reader, you will find all 12 of my e-books are free, for the month of July 2013, with coupon code SW100 from, in any digital format.
The books are listed on their site below the bio stuff here.
I have been very lazy, so should go right away and ensure all 12 e-books are listed on my 'Books' page on this blog.
Of those 12, 3 are presently available in print, Eland Dances, Sherlock Holmes Investigates; The Hampshire Expedition, and Heavy and Light Tales 2012. I am presently working on a print edition of Waking the Stones.
The print books are available from Amazon and Createspace.

June 24, 2013

June 2013

What has happened lately? Well, In 2012 I discovered that people like my Sherlock Holmes stuff much more than my novels and other stories. Perhaps because those who like the Great Detective actively search for writing about his exploits, while very few do the same for stuff written by Phil van Wulven.
During the first half of this year fewer and fewer have been sold on Amazon, while other ebook sites, reached through Smashwords, have shown an opposite trend.
I have three books available in print now, but all suffer from my lack of promotional skill and dedication.
Stone Song is now 'Waking the Stones' and can be got free from Smashwords with coupon codeDC88Q

June 19, 2012

Grace's Mirtillis, and my S. Holmes

Today I had a nice surprise in my mailbox. A copy of my daughter's ex-neighbour's cookbook, 'Grace's Sweet Life'  for me to review. Looks yummy, lots of colour pics of delicious desserts, with easy clear directions. To drool over. How Grace can cook all this stuff and stay skinny is a miracle. Because she has made everything in the book a few times. 200 pages of stuff like:-
 Piccolo Torta al Crema di Formaggio e Cioccolato Bianco con composta di Mirtilli - Mini Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecakes. That takes 4 pages, including a full page illustration. I will eat those, but somehow doubt I will manage to produce them with my toaster oven and propane stove.
Now, the last one in the book, I just might manage. Pere al Vaniglia - Vanilla Poached Pears. I even have almost all the four ingredients - water(yup) sugar (yup, well, she says demarara, but) pears (yup, as it happens) 1 vanilla bean (no, but I know where to get that) cinnamon stick (yup, may be about five or six years old, but, yup)
Maybe I will try this. Later.
Back to my own books now. Yeah, yeah, boring. Thing is, I now have a small and potentially growing income from my stuff, so I should concentrate and nurse things along, not drool over Grace's Mirtilli's.
I have received two cheques from Amazon US since January, and my US revenue EIN has been received everywhere, so they won't withhold that nasty 30% for US taxes anymore. Smashwords will pay something equal to, or a bit more than, Amazon, at their next quarterly payout. Almost all of that is from sales of my Sherlock Holmes stuff, and mostly priced at $0.99.
I have a print edition of my Sherlock book out via Createspace, and a few people have bought it. Thank you, those guys. I am no promoter, of course, so it is sinking rapidly through the ranks on Amazon. But I have managed to get a book into print with very little fuss and bother, and all it cost was my time. If I spend $25 for extended distribution it can be bought from a number of outlets, and I will likely go ahead with that simply because then I can buy copies from Amazon Canada.
I wanted to buy half a dozen copies, to sell or give away, from Amazon, yesterday. First, not available from, second, 'eligible for free shipping' -- if you are in the USA. Finally, each copy would cost $3.99 shipping charge + retail price + extra $1.99 ('duties'?). No way, forget that. I will recoup the $25 extended distribution costs with the savings on 6 copies bought in Canada, alone.
I can buy from Createspace directly, of course, I was just tempted by the 'free shipping' offer. Shipping from CS, also in the States, costs rather less, because they charge for the parcel, not per item in it.
Nobody tells you this stuff, trial and error rules.
Eland Dances, meanwhile, is in hiatus, and I will go ahead with publishing that in print next month, to allow a gap between publications. The point is mostly to have one book always in the list of just published items, and to allow any pushing to concentrate on one thing at a time. Not that I'm doing much pushing, the theory is good, right?
Right now I have two Sherlock stories part written, as my NanoBootcamp effort.  Well behind with the wordcount, at about 10,000 words of a theoretical 50k by the end of June. So long as I produce something readable, I will be happy, never mind a particular wordage. Something produced every day is good.Sherlock in print, US

May 28, 2012

Now in print

A preview of Sherlock, print version
Createspace was surprisingly easy to handle, and there were no glitches anywhere in the process, so Sherlock Holmes Investigates. The Hampshire Expedition is now available from any Amazon site anywhere in the world. Anywhere they have a website, at least.
I went ahead & released it, and it was available on Amazon within hours, rather than the several days I'd expected.
I must check to see if Amazon Canada has it. Createspace has recently announced they will pay directly into a bank account in the US, Uk, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, or France. But not in Canada, so I will have to wait for royalties to reach $100.

April 25, 2012

Smashwords: Can Ebook Data Reveal New Viral Catalysts to Spur Reader Word-of-Mouth?

Smashwords: Can Ebook Data Reveal New Viral Catalysts to Spur Reader Word-of-Mouth? This is a study by Mark Coker which attempts to answer several questions about indie book sales. He has taken statistically significant data gleaned from Smashwords sales records over several years from 2009 for over 1 million titles, and done some analysis. The results are what common sense and my own 'gut' has been saying, but with a weight of certainty only possible when you have a comparable data pool. There are several conclusions of use to me. Price and length of works that sell best are very useful items to know. Romance sells best; we knew that. $2.99 is the sweet spot pricewise, but around $0.03 per word is what sells best, which would mean ebooks of around 100,000 words. Shorter work sells, but rarely makes the top 100. I, fortunately, am content if my stuff sells steadily in the midrange. Perhaps I should try Eland Dances free for a while, and see what happens. He also says free books 'outsell' by 100X their pace when they have a pricetag. I know 'Pink Jewel' gets over 1,000 downloads a month while free, and should sell around 10 a month at 99c. If I can sell 10 a month of Eland, I will be far ahead of where it is presently, so watch this space. I dont think Amazon Prime is where that one is going. I shall simply put it free on Smashwords around the time the print edition comes out.