Monday, 7 November 2011

Living With Bipolar a Black Cloud

The Bookshop Guru

Living with Bipolar

Sometimes it’s difficult to express how I feel living with bipolar. But I have to say I am disappointed and frustrated with how things have turned out.  Sales of my book have been disappointing, maybe that’s due to the fact that the public see that it was a mental health publisher who published my book. Maybe people feel someone who has mental health issues cannot help others cope. I chose to write a book about my experience at university and how to cope with the stresses and strain that university can place on you. I put a lot of effort into writing this book as a real story of how to pass a degree, not only as a study guide but also a witty and personal experience of do’s and don’ts of a passing a degree.

It wasn’t long after passing my MSc that life was about to kick me in the teeth again. I had been offered two highly paid jobs as a software engineer in London. Yet, I found myself in hospital for a month, having had several manic episodes. I was severely ill. Even when I was released from hospital I was still very ill. My world came crashing down. Eventually, I started to write the book. I was still ill, but I hoped the focus of writing would help me recover. Slowly, I did recover, but my career as a software engineer was over. I couldn’t deal with the stress and besides I now had bipolar to contend with.

At the time I was alone and trying to cope with bipolar. My son and daughter didn’t understand what bipolar meant, and nor did I. I had to go out find out myself. I surfed the internet and read what I could about bipolar. I began to understand what bipolar was. Sometimes dealing with bipolar became a living hell. I find bipolar difficult to express and often misunderstood. Eventually, I had regular counselling sessions and still do. I would say to my mental health counsellor and  my doctor that the best way I could describe how I felt was using the analogy of living under a ‘black cloud’ day to day.

Click Below and Listen

Today, I try my best to deal with this disability. But it isn’t easy when that black cloud descends upon me without warning. I find it hard sometimes to do anything. I push myself, but I can’t avoid the ups and downs of this disorder. I imagine and hope that maybe one day my book will help you. Read it and tell me what you think.
Are you listening,  what are you dreaming?

As Jesus said, “belief is everything.”

In my latest book “It’s Never Too Late” read how dreams do come true, but be careful what you wish for. Understand the secret of greed and you will attain one of the secrets of prosperity. The book will also take you on a journey and explores love, money, luck, and much more.

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Hey, Chuck. Did you bring any spending money? Viva la vida loca.


Conducting Survey into Precognitive Choices

Which would you prefer half-price digital or paperback?

 Read my latest book "It's Never Too Late" by Anthony Fox,  published by Chipmunka Publishing

Thursday, 3 November 2011

In Search of a Dead Guitar Player

The Bookshop Guru

Book Review: The Killing Floor by Lee Child

This is the first of Lee Child’s series of novels about the action hero Jack Reacher. A fast paced crime thriller. The tough ex-military cop goes in search of a dead guitar player. Who apparently died in mysterious circumstances many years ago in the area? Reacher finds his way to Margrave a small town in rural Georgia, USA. After walking miles in the rain Reacher wanders into a diner and settles down to have some breakfast only to find moments later he is surrounded by cops and arrested and thrown in jail. He finds out that there have been some murders at the edge of town. And there hasn’t been a murder in the town for over 30 years.

It seems Reacher is the fall guy, the stranger. Later, he is thrown in prison only to find out someone is trying to kill him. He deals with that. He takes them out. And an eye for an eye prison justice. Meanwhile, Reacher’s alibi is confirmed and is released from prison. Reacher doesn’t know who to trust. Luckily, for him, he finds help in the shape of an attractive female brunette, another fellow cop. Between the rides in bed Reacher discovers the truth about the Kilner foundation. Reacher gets rustled into the police investigation and finds out his brother Joe has been killed. He will avenge his brother’s murder.

It seems the whole town is plagued by the Kilner foundation which controls and spreads itself into everyone’s life. Like a sickness it corrupts the arteries of honest people and most of the local police force. The locals have become seduced by easy money. Reacher now needs to find out how the Kilner foundation makes their money and how they have been spending it. But Reacher knows one thing he wants the murderer of his brother Joe more than anything. He will stop at nothing. The anger is there waiting to erupt on the next bad guy. Kill, kill, and kill.


Boxes of counterfeit money and plenty of dead bodies litter this novel. Just the way Reacher likes it. I would recommend reading this novel as a starter to an interesting series of novels about Jack Reacher. I don’t think you will be disappointed. I like the writing style. It’s quick. It’s fun. It will keep you turning the page.

Are you listening,  what are you dreaming?

As Jesus said, “belief is everything.”

In my latest book “It’s Never Too Late” read how dreams do come true, but be careful what you wish for. Understand the secret of greed and you will attain one of the secrets of prosperity. The book will also take you on a journey and explores love, money, luck, and much more.
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Hey, Chuck. Did you bring any spending money? Viva la vida loca.


Conducting Survey into Precognitive Choices

Which would you prefer half-price digital or paperback?

 Read my latest book "It's Never Too Late" by Anthony Fox,  published by Chipmunka Publishing

Friday, 14 October 2011

A Writer's Muse: Finding Your Voice

The Bookshop Guru
The other day I randomly picked up a book in the bookshop to read. I do this often. It was a crime thriller. I wasn’t familiar with the author. But then that’s not news. Curious cat, I turned to the back, and read the titbits. It sounded interesting. It felt compelling. So I started to read the first chapter. I was disappointed. Dejected, I continued. The second chapter was the same. I couldn’t find the voice, I gave up almost disillusioned. I didn’t buy the book.

Finding your voice is just as important as the story. Some writers make it easy for you to follow and others not so. Finding your voice is what I call it. Sure, there is the story to concoct. But, as a writer trying to write a novel, finding your voice and keeping the flow and the reader interested is the art. Knowing how to keep the flow and the voice makes it easier to construct a novel. A chapter then becomes a task which is easier to frame. It’s broken down into smaller parts. I am still learning, but I like it.

At the moment, I think I have found my voice. I hope so. Only time will tell. Writing book reviews and musing about writing gives me a chance to be reflective.
Anthony Fox Art Click Here
That is why I write this blog. It gives me focus. I need it. Otherwise, I get stale. Reading a lot gives me the chance to sample other authors, not just the ones I like to read. Some books I buy and some I don’t. Some I borrow. A mixture of nonfiction and fiction books is what my consumption dictates.  

Are you listening,  what are you dreaming?

As Jesus said, “belief is everything.”

In my latest book “It’s Never Too Late” read how dreams do come true, but be careful what you wish for. Understand the secret of greed and you will attain one of the secrets of prosperity. The book will also take you on a journey and explores love, money, luck, and much more.

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Hey, Chuck. Did you bring any spending money? Viva la vida loca.


Conducting Survey into Precognitive Choices

Which would you prefer half-price digital or paperback?

 Read my latest book "It's Never Too Late" by Anthony Fox,  published by Chipmunka Publishing

Thursday, 29 September 2011

This is a Story Worth Dying For

The Bookshop Guru

Book Review: Worth Dying For by Lee Child

This is the first book I have read by Lee Child. I came upon it by chance. I was on the way out of the bookshop when I saw this book. So I started to read a few chapters and ended up buying the book. I like the way Lee Child writes. And the storyline is good. I hate the way some writers think they are clever by over use of metaphor and simile. I hate what I call descriptive diarrhea which is what some writers marinate in. Lee Child writes in a way that lets you read fast without losing the plot. You do not have to read a long list of adjectives in his book.

The main character is Jack Reacher who is what I call a superhero, but not in the sense of someone with super human abilities, no, he is an all-round good guy with courage. And he has the skills as an ex-army cop to tackle the bad guys. Whatever comes his way, he will find a way to put things right.

‘Worth Dying For’ is a story about a missing child that disappeared some 25 years before Reacher hears about it. Reacher cannot let go. And why should he. He is the good guy. Someone you want and trust to dig deep and find out what happened to the missing child. You want the bad guys found and dealt with.

The location of the story is in the heart of rural Nebraska, America. It is a flat and dusty landscape of fields where corn and alfalfa are grown. You can drive for miles without seeing a living soul. It can be a harsh environment. And Reacher soon finds out what that means. Reacher finds the locals living under the spell and fear of a local redneck family, the Duncan’s.

The red-faced, pot belly Duncan’s are a family that have contrived and ruled the county using brute force with a small army of cornhuskers and they must find and stop Reacher snooping around. An irritation they must bring down before he finds out the truth.

The Duncan’s are waiting for a mysterious shipment and they want Reacher down and buried before it arrives. But Reacher is smarter and tougher than they can imagine. He never gives up. He keeps going. Every stone is turned. Battered and bruised he never gives up. He just keeps going. Reacher is the all-action hero. Reacher has no time for court room justice only the battlefield where you shoot first and maybe ask questions later if you can be bothered. Jack Reacher, I like.


The book also has a bonus chapter of Lee Child’s latest story due to be published 29th of September 2011. I have started reading another of Lee Child’s books ‘Gone Tomorrow’ which I will review shortly. Jack Reacher is the all-action hero. He never gives up. He keeps going. He is tough and just. He is commando style. I recommend the book.

P.S. Sponsored by Madbrokes a comedian on antidepressants.


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In my latest book “It’s Never Too Late” read how dreams do come true, but be careful what you wish for. Understand the secret of greed and you will attain one of the secrets of prosperity. The book will also take you on a journey and explores love, money, luck, and much more.

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Hey, Chuck. Did you bring any spending money? Viva la vida loca.


Conducting Survey into Precognitive Choices

Which would you prefer half-price digital or paperback?

 Read my latest book "It's Never Too Late" by Anthony Fox,  published by Chipmunka Publishing

Friday, 23 September 2011

Stonehenge the Enigma

The Bookshop Guru

Today, people will travel to Stonehenge to watch the sunrise over the gigantic stones of Stonehenge. The autumn equinox on the 23rd September marks the day when the day and night are equal length at all points on earth except the poles, after that the nights will get longer and the days shorter. The fascination with Stonehenge started for me when as a young boy my grandmother took me to see the historic site. Back then being able to walk around and touch the stones and sense the magic and appreciate the scale of the stones increased my thirst to understand the reasons why Stonehenge was built. We are still none the wiser. We do not know what culture and why Stonehenge was built? We can make assumptions and that is about it.


Stonehenge is a mystical place of mystery and it is where the solstices are celebrated. The giant stone circle has always fascinated me. I remember as a boy walking through and under the gigantic lintel which bridge two giant trilithon uprights which symbolise the image of megalithic Stonehenge. And thinking: Why was Stonehenge built? Questions such as ‘why are we here’ and ‘who are we,’ these thoughts resounded in my mind at the time and today is much the same.


Authors such as Erich Von Daniken and his book ‘the chariots of the gods’ have all inspired my interest in science fiction and history. As a young boy I was inspired by the words and voice of Carl Sagan who would talk about the cosmos and its wonders. I guess, I have always been a dreamer. A dreamer who thinks too much, but then who doesn’t like to dream. For in those dreams, we can dream the impossible without the burden of logic. A blurred logic is what sometimes creates new science. For me science fiction and the mystery surrounding the possibility of extraterrestrial life and all these other questions are still today, facets of my thinking.

Stonehenge © (pen and ink drawing by Anthony Fox)
Click here


If time travel was possible then going back to see the culture that created Stonehenge and finding out the reasons why would be a trip I would like to make. I would not be surprised if Stonehenge had more meaning to those who built it then we imagine today. The 2012 prophecy, the Mayan calendar and other mysteries from the past symbolise how time has a way of clouding the future and the past.  


Are you listening,  what are you dreaming?

In my latest book “It’s Never Too Late” read how dreams do come true, but be careful what you wish for. Understand the secret of greed and you will attain one of the secrets of prosperity. The book will also take you on a journey and explores love, money, luck, and much more.

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Hey, Chuck. Did you bring any spending money? Viva la vida loca.


Conducting Survey into Precognitive Choices

Which would you prefer half-price digital or paperback?

 Read my latest book "It's Never Too Late" by Anthony Fox,  published by Chipmunka Publishing

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Success is not Dependent on Failure

The Bookshop Guru

A book review of Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure by Tim Harford

I started reading this book because I was intrigued by the title and the subject matter. The first two chapters were good and well written, but after that I felt the book lost touch with the initial premise. This is because not all success starts with failure. The basic premise of the book is that complex systems of organisations are too centralised and use inflexible doctrine to run their organisations. These organisations have little or no experimentation or trial and error policies, and so they lack the adaptability needed for today’s fast changing economic landscape to succeed in the long run.

Many examples are used to illustrate the point Harford is trying to make. But that is easy to do – find examples where success came from failure. But that doesn’t prove the point Harford is making, that is just coincidence and to some extent luck. Consider the example of Google versus Microsoft. Harford tells us that Google became a dominant company because of how they are willing to experiment and allow their employees the freedom to develop new ideas. Nothing new here many companies including Microsoft develop and test new products all the time and will have failures. In fact even Harford acknowledges that Google’s success with tailored search engine adverts was by chance and not by design. Harford says Google’s engineers did not set out to design optimised advertising they happened upon it by chance.

History tells us that many great innovations have come from luck and chance. So without luck and chance on your side even with experimentation and failure is no guarantee for success. So it’s a false premise to say success always starts with failure.



Another example touted was how the top-down approach used by previous leaders in the wake of the Iraq war that initially failed led to success because a few inspired commanders responded to ground conditions and adapted their policy to suit. I am not sure how this example shows that success always starts with failure. In my opinion its human nature to under estimate and be over optimistic on complex events and that success is subjective and only time will tell if this true.

Harford also uses the banking crisis of 2007/8 to tell his readers why success comes from failure. I personally do not see the correlation between bank failure and success. Everyone knows that the crisis was largely caused by greed and ignorance and not because the banks failed to adapt or were too centralised as organisations. In fact the banks failed and the only reason why some of them exist today is because taxpayer’s money bailed them out – that is not a success.


Overall an entertaining read but I do not agree with the evidence Harford presented that success always starts with failure.

Are you listening,  what are you dreaming?

As Jesus said, “belief is everything.”

In my latest book “It’s Never Too Late” read how dreams do come true, but be careful what you wish for. Understand the secret of greed and you will attain one of the secrets of prosperity. The book will also take you on a journey and explores love, money, luck, and much more.
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Hey, Chuck. Did you bring any spending money? Viva la vida loca.


Conducting Survey into Precognitive Choices

Which would you prefer half-price digital or paperback?

 Read my latest book "It's Never Too Late" by Anthony Fox,  published by Chipmunka Publishing

Monday, 5 September 2011

How to Write a Bestseller?

The Bookshop Guru

This should interest those of you who are budding writers or wannabe’s. I read this book called ‘How to write a blockbuster’ about a year ago now, in part preparation for my task of writing a book. The book is from the ‘teach yourself range’ by Helen Corner & Lee Weatherly, and contains all the semantics of crafting a story plus all the ins and outs of getting published. In fact, I contacted one of the agents mentioned in the book. I ended up re-reading much of the book several times while writing my first two books. I found the information very useful.

Although the first book I wrote was rejected it was not a novel, but a memoir about me. Looking back now, I can see why it was rejected. The book I had written ended up being perhaps parts of several books. I wanted to write about bipolar and ended up with several bits about different topics. But, no harm done, I now have the beginnings of some new books and some experience.  It was a learning curve. Luckily, I only sent the book to two agents, one of which was kind enough to reply.

The whole process of finding an agent or publisher seemed to involve a lengthy and frustrating time. Happily, my second book was accepted for publication and is now available. In this book I chose to write about my experience at university while studying for an MSc in artificial intelligence. The book is a study guide in how to pass a degree with confidence. I wanted to share my experience with other students because I was well aware of the stress and pressure of gaining a university degree.  Hopefully the book will be a bestseller.

My experience as a budding writer – the rejection, finding agents, and publishers is limited. But, I would like to think I can write a book in the same genre and quality as Malcolm Gladwell, Tim Harford, Dan Gardner and others. To this aim I have already started on what will be a likely 2-3 year project, maybe longer, without the resources such as research help. At the same time I am trying to write a novel. It appears multitasking is a habit of mine, a common trait and one I associate with bipolar. I have a habit of going off in several directions or trying to do too much at once. At least I am aware of it and can make allowances.


 Sunset © Anthony Fox

But writing a novel – crafting pure fiction is not as easy as it may sound. I am given some encouragement though, by what Ernest Hemingway said to his friend Scott Fitzgerald, about how it had taken him all morning to write just a paragraph, and he didn’t hold much hope of writing a novel. This of course is when Hemingway was an aspiring writer living in Paris in the 1920’s, before he published his first novel. Writing a novel is a challenge and one that I have set myself. Follow and I will endeavour to blog about my progress as the weeks and months pass. Yippee ki kay!

Are you listening,  what are you dreaming?

As Jesus said, “belief is everything.”

In my latest book “It’s Never Too Late” read how dreams do come true, but be careful what you wish for. Understand the secret of greed and you will attain one of the secrets of prosperity. The book will also take you on a journey and explores love, money, luck, and much more.

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Hey, Chuck. Did you bring any spending money? Viva la vida loca.


Conducting Survey into Precognitive Choices

Which would you prefer half-price digital or paperback?

 Read my latest book "It's Never Too Late" by Anthony Fox,  published by Chipmunka Publishing