Friday, 20 January 2017

David Ryan #DogExpert

Featuring David Ryan, retired policeman, dog handler, author, and

Q. Welcome, David. I’d like you tell us all about your work in the dog behavioural sector if you wouldn't mind?

A. I was a police dog handler in North Cumbria and latterly an instructor at Headquarters when I retired in August 2007, having misspent most of what laughingly passed as a career messing about with dogs. I’d already been working as a dog behaviour counsellor on the side for three years, so it wasn’t a huge leap to take that up full time. 

I’d qualified with a post graduate diploma in animal behaviour counselling (PG dip CABC) in 2002 and was a member of the UK (if not the world’s) leading association for pet behaviourists, the APBC  when in 2008 I was Certificated as a Clinical Animal Behaviourist by the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. 

(There are only 38 people working at this level in the UK even now) making me a “PG dip CABC, CCAB”.

In 2009 I was accidentally elected APBC chair and amongst other things worked with the top organisations in the country instigating an industry-regulated independent register for animal trainers and behaviourists, the Animal Behaviour and Training Council (ABTC) , which has recently been mentioned in DEFRA documents as go-to place for qualified professionals.

If I tell you that it is well known in the (totally unregulated) industry that the only thing two dog trainers can agree on is that the third one is wrong, you might get a glimmer of the magnitude of our achievement.

All of this work was done on a voluntary basis, but I got to meet many of the big nobs in animal welfare and training (and I know the 07.46 to Euston very well). 

Having done my bit, I retired from the APBC chair in 2012, handing over a very healthy organisation which continues to thrive.

I’ve written four books on dog behaviour and training and contributed to two others (available through my website and all good online book retailers. Check out the following amazon link.

These make a great present for all the family), and written articles for many newspapers and magazines (for example the Liverpool Echo on “how to tackle a dog that is attacking your child”, yes, I know, a bit niche, but they asked…)

Whilst that was going on I was asked to present on dog training and behaviour subjects by various organisations across the UK, including Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Victoria Stillwell’s Dog Bite Prevention Conference, the National Search and Rescue Dog Association, the Dogs Trust, The PDSA’s annual “state of the nation” conference (twice), the London Vet Show, on behalf of the RSPCA at the National Status Dogs Summit, and many dog training clubs as far afield as Aberdeen, Jersey and even Venice. 

In 2011 was asked to lecture on Newcastle University’s MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare, which I still continue.

As a result of the contacts I was making it was probably inevitable that with my background I would fall into the legal aspects of “Dangerous” Dogs, and that’s what the majority of my time is taken up with now.

As a legal expert witness I take instruction from solicitors for clients that have been charged with dangerous dog offences, from owning a pit bull (in itself an offence), to dogs that have bitten people. I also work with police and prosecutors and have assisted in the investigation of several incidents in which dogs have killed or have been suspected of having killed people.

I lecture on the behaviour of allegedly dangerous dogs to Police Dog Legislation Officers (DLO) courses and helped write the course syllabus, aims and objectives for the Policing College.

I keep a presence on Facebook at
and the internet at  writing occasional blogs on dogs when the fancy takes me hopefully educating as well as entertaining.

In case you think the titles conceited, “Dog Secrets” is the ironic title of my second book – there are no “secrets” in dog training only stuff no one has yet told you – and “Dog Expert” is designed to bounce off the website to hit higher google ranking when a legal exec searches for one  - it’s all about SEO (I’m told you’re nobody unless you’re on Google’s first page).

I’ve been on a few TV programmes as a guest talking about dogs – probably the best was, “It’s Only a Theory” with Reg D Hunter and Andy Hamilton, which was recorded in Pinewood studios – the after party was a blast and both Reg and Andy were fun and approachable. 

There’s a clip of it still on the BBC4 website 

Sadly they didn’t get past the first series and I had to cancel the condo in L.A. but the other lass on it was a relatively unknown called Clare Balding who has since done quite well for herself. I like to think I gave her a leg up.

To keep myself rooted in a mild form of reality I assess dogs for local and national rehoming charities, working with dogs that have bitten to see if they can be safely rehomed.

I’m also behaviour advisor to the charity Wag & Co, North East Friendship Dogs, a Northumbrian organisation that, “enables visiting dog teams to build meaningful new friendships with older dog lovers across the North East of England” .  This was a complete accident (as have been most of the things I’ve ever done – I never meant to join the police in the first place) as I misheard when Diane rang me and thought I was joining Legs and Co, the dancers from the late 70’s Top of the Pops, to assess them at close quarters (an offer that is still open to them).

Hobbies? When do I have time for hobbies? I try to keep reasonably fit by cycling instead of driving where I can, and of course walking the dog. I am fortunate in that my family still lives in Carlisle and any spare time I have I spend with my four grandchildren (12, 10, 10 and 8) – watching everything from football training to clarinet concerts.

Oh, and I’m still working on my novel – a tail of real police dog handling. Watch this space…

Q. Thank you, David, and good luck with your  work.

Readers, check out some of the books below and don’t forget to click into David’s amazon page mentioned above.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The First Encounter #crimewriter

Tikrit, Iraq, Twilight.
 The sound of deafening gunfire rang in Jack Dooley’s ears. Fear of capture, serious injury or death, penetrated his mind. A divine right to live the way he had been brought up burnt into his soul and drove him to survive. Yet around him missiles exploded with a ferocity that galvanised his body when they burst into tumbling clouds of death and destruction. Rocket propelled grenades found their target and blew into a dozen pieces of white hot steel maiming and killing. Machine gun bullets lethally pierced the air. A knife swirled. A dagger plunged. A sword took a life. And another young warrior fell to the ground never to rise again; never to feel the heat of the desert sun touch their skin, never again to caress a loved one.
It mattered not which side they were on or which uniform they wore. Some were women, some were men, and too many were children never truly taught the difference between war and peace, or right and wrong. A limb broke, a vessel bled, an organ failed.
Life was precious, lived for a lifetime that was all too short. A treasured ‘once only’ moment that can never be repeated.
Mighty walls of an ancient city crumbled during the onslaught, flattened, and then sunk into the desert sands when the evil hordes advanced. No trumpets echoed from without. There was no marching army chanting noisily for the walls to fall.
This wasn’t Jericho.
This is TikrÄ«t:  the birthplace of Saddam Hussein, a city 87 miles northwest of Baghdad and 140 miles southeast of Mosul on the River Tigris. Numbering 260,000, the population of Tikrit were devastated by a war brought about religion, greed, and power.
Those who wanted peace needed someone to stand and fight their corner. They needed crusaders, not Knights of yesteryear with their shields and banners flying above them. Not sword swirling, lance-bearing men on horseback wearing chainmail armour charging wildly into the fray. Not superheroes direct from a Hollywood movie. No, they needed men like Jack Dooley.
Master Sergeant Jack Dooley wanted prisoners. That was his brief following the Iraqi government declaration of a ‘magnificent victory’ over Islamic State militants in the city of Tikrit. The United States-Iranian backed Shia militia and elements of Iraq’s government forces were still fighting to clear the last remaining Islamic State warriors holding out in Tikrit. It had been a month-long battle given fresh impetus only when a US-led coalition began air strikes in the region. Now the enemy was on the run and Jack and his men, from Coalition Special Forces, were keen to push the militants as far as possible into the desert and away from Tikrit. A victory here would see the Shia militia turn its attention to Mosul – Iraq’s second city – in an attempt to drive the predominant Sunni forces of Islamic State from the country.
The region, as far as Jack was concerned, was a cauldron of hate, violence, and depravity the like of which had not been seen since the Third Reich and the Second World War.  Jack borrowed a term from German jurisprudence to describe to his friends back home Iraq, Syria and various parts of the Middle East. He argued a ‘Rechtsstaat’ was needed: a state based on the rule of law where people of both genders share legally based civil liberties and constitutional rights that enable them to use a properly established legal system via the courts. Yet the desert was a thousand miles from any form of western liberal democracy that Jack’s friends had experienced. The desert here was hell on earth!
Scanning the ground below Jack clung by an umbilical cord to the framework of an AH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. The attack aircraft was fitted with a variety of 7.62mm mini-guns, 70mm impact-detonating rocket pods, a couple of .50 calibre machine guns, and four Hellfire air-to-ground missiles. On its own merit the helicopter was awesome but when in the hands of Coalition Special Forces it was quite simply formidable.
The aircraft was part of the illustrious 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, also known as ‘The Nightstalkers’.  
It was twilight and the master sergeant had his orders.
Flying low and fast the co-pilot shouted, ‘Jack, we got a loner on the road out of Tikrit towards Mosul. It’s a pick up and they’re making a run for it.’
The helicopter swooped down and Jack glimpsed a view of a Nissan travelling flat out towards Mosul with two males on board. Even from above he could clearly make out two men dressed in black combat fatigues. The rear of the pick-up carried a heavy machine gun mounting which was unmanned.
‘I got them,’ bellowed Jack. ‘Let’s take them out.’   
What happens next? You can catch the rest of this high octane crime thriller at the following links..... 

The Logo of Counter Terrorist Command

The phrase 'Bell, Book and Candle' refers to a Latin Christian method of excommunication by anathema, imposed on a person who had committed an exceptionally grievous sin. Evidently introduced by Pope Zachary around the middle of the 8th century, the rite was once used by the Roman Catholic Church. In current practice a simple pronouncement is made to anathematize formally. 
For many years the same phrase has been the logo of the Metropolitan Police anti terrorist branch which is now part of the nation's Counter Terrorist Command...
Retired counter terrorist detective, Paul Anthony pens 'Bell, Book and Candle' as a high octane crime thriller in which he penetrates the meaning of 'Bell, Book and Candle'.... A story from the sharpest end of policing..... and it goes something like this..... 'From an ancient Silk Road in the Spin Ghar mountain range and the red-bricked chocolate box skyscrapers of one of the oldest civilisations known to mankind, the travellers begin their journey. Fourteen hundred years of struggle and anguish arrive in the unspoilt backwaters of Cumbria’s Lakeland Fells and erupt in a bloody, deadly climax. A simple bell, book and candle adorn the altar of a village church yet the parishioners are unaware of the gathering storm clouds that herald the arrival of the ‘Eternal One.’  Will the Cumbrian detective, Boyd, work out why it has taken since the seventh century for the problem to arrive in his back yard? It’s not until a child is kidnapped that Boyd realises he needs to separate out good from bad; normal from extreme, and the innocence of youth from the guilt of maturity. Boyd is fighting the biggest dog in the pack and the Shimmering Dawn is about to unleash its terrifying dogs of war. Crammed with intrigue and drizzled with Machiavellian conspiracy, the plot dissects the culture and very existence of the Middle East as it gradually and passionately boils over into a turbo charged thriller of acrimonious conflict and religious aura when the history of yesteryear explodes with the reality of today.
Verified Amazon Review: Bell, Book and Candle by Paul Anthony...
Action from the first page, the tension doesn't let up until the last, giving you a book that you just can't put down. Anthony's attention to detail makes you appreciate what the police force face every day in the course of their duty. Glimpses into the personal lives of the characters shows you that they are just normal people dedicated to their vocations but frequently go above and beyond the call of duty to serve and protect the people of the nation. Boyd works with his usual team of skilled professionals in the Special Crime Unit and friends in other organisations using their exceptional abilities in surveillance and interpretation of several sources of intelligence. The action and story line made me feel like I was in the middle of an episode of the BBC television series `Spooks'....... Anthony's engaging style of writing, his development of characters and accuracy in description make this a gripping read and a real treat for the readers. Thoroughly enjoyed it.... Elizabeth Marshall (aka Debs Brown, author)
Follow this link for a story by one of whose been there.... 
in KINDLE at

Chatting with E W Sullivan #crimewriter

A warm welcome to Mister E W Sullivan to the blogsite. Thank you for joining us, Eric... 
(a.k.a Sully).
Q. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A.     I’m a christian, a father and a husband.  I live in Atlanta, Georgia in southeastern USA.  I consider myself a renaissance man having worked in the architectural, construction, computer technology, financial services industries and now the literary field.  My wife says that I’m still trying to “FIND” myself.  I tell her she’s correct except during the hours of 3:00 am and 6:00 am (est) where I know exactly where I am.  Did I mention that I’m starting a music label and opening a recording studio?  I love reading, music and sports.  And the pride of my life is a 25 inches tall, 26 pounds, leggy toddler who’s the reincarnation (in attitude) of her late grandmother.               
Q. What drove you to begin a writing career?
A.     A funny thing happened on my way to work - I decided I no longer liked how I made my living.  It was an out-of-body experience for sure.  I had tried the full-time writing career before, but the mortgage lady and the utilities man said it was time to get back to work.  It being the dead of winter I listened to them but only for a short while.  What I’m saying is that what drives me to write is the same force that drove the trailblazers west (in America) or the astronomer to turn his gaze toward the stars.  It’s a force stronger than hunger, more potent than love and it lingers in the mind like the first time you set eyes on your first child being born.  What’s stronger than love you ask?  Passion.  You can give up something you love, but you can never give up your passion.   
Q. What do you feel are the greatest challenges facing any writer at the present time?
A.      I don’t know about any writer, but for the indie author it has got to be getting your work noticed.  Most of us don’t have the big budgets of major (or minor) publishing houses, so our marketing and advertising powers are limited.  The greatest challenge use to be creating a product that met the literary standards the book consumer had come to expect.  I believe we’ve done that, and now our work needs the platforms to be seen.  An Interview like this is a great start.       .   

Q. What inspires you – or has inspired you – to write a particular book?
A.      I’m a crime-mystery thriller author, so tragedy inspires me.  Twenty plus years ago my nephew, a promising young man, lost his life due to crime.  He was carjacked, kidnapped and murdered.  Understanding the psychology of crime has been of interest to me ever since.  I created the character Dr. Thelonious Zones (the protagonist in my novels) as a criminal profiler to explore this psychology.  My first novel Sheaves of Zion was inspired by my wanting to know how institutionalizations affect criminology, if at all.  In Swarm Theory, my second and latest novel, the inspiration was terrorism.  I’m presently working on my third novel titled The Path to Kriya. In it, I challenge what we think we know about who is most susceptible to criminality.               

Q. Which of the books that you have written so far is your favourite and what can you tell us about it without giving the game away?
A.      I’m the second youngest of nine siblings, and I’d always felt that my late mother favored me - that is until she sided with one of her other children.  You want me to choose between my literary darlings?  Well, since Swarm Theory is my latest novel I’ll discuss it.  The setting is a small town outside of Atlanta, Georgia in the southeastern United States.  A bomb explodes as a young woman is assaulted.  Dr. Thelonious Zones is a witness to both events and finds himself caught in an international hunt for the perpetrator(s).  He does so while continuing his investigation into the twenty-four year old murder of his mother, for which his father has been imprisoned.  There are a number of possible culprits, and Zones is tasked with profiling them.  These duties, however, turn into a full-blown investigation when things get personal.  The story spans both time and distance as Zones retraces the life of his mother and travel continents in pursuit of an elusive bomber.                    

Q. Do you have a current ‘work in progress’? Can you tell us anything about it?
A.      There are a number of projects in the works.  I’m in the planning stage of the third Thelonious Zones book titled The Path to Kriya.  It’s a murder mystery set in the same small, southern town as the first two.  I’m also working on a piece of literary fiction that has a murder mystery backdrop - no title as of yet.  I’m reworking another literary novella initially published under a nom de plume.  I’m planning a book festival that will combine the best of indie authors, music and culinary arts.  And then there’s the recording studio and record label that will come online Spring 2017.  And that’s not even my day job!    

Q. What is the best piece of advice you could give to someone starting out on a writing career?
A.      Study your craft and keep writing.  That means reading other authors who write in your genre and those who don’t.  In a former life I studied architecture.  One of the first course of study was architectural history whereby you learned the techniques and theory of past styles and how they evolved into the designs we see today.  The point is that writers should have a thorough grasp of techniques, theories and structures that govern good literature.  I’m not saying you need a PhD or even a MFA, but you must know your craft.  This is particularly important for the indie author who struggle still with the stigma that their work is somehow subpar.  So study to show thyself approved..      

You can discover more by clicking into the following links....

Check out Eric's books...

Chatting with Amy Metz #crimewriter

A big welcome to the blogsite for Amy Metz. Thank you for joining us. 
Thank you for having me!

Q. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A. I live in Louisville, Kentucky. I taught first grade until my first child was born. Now I have one married son and one in college. While I raised my boys, I worked on local, district, and state PTA boards. Two years ago, I got divorced after 32 years of marriage. Now I write full time.

Q. Do you have a kindle, nook, or reading device yourself, or do you prefer to read from printed versions of a book?
A. I have a Kindle and read from it because the ebooks are so much cheaper than print or audio, but I prefer print books. Strangely enough, I “read” more audiobooks than anything because I can listen to a book in the car or while I’m pottering around the house. I have to admit I’m addicted to audiobooks at bedtime. I can no longer go to sleep without having an audiobook softly reading me to sleep.

Q. Which ‘genres’ do you prefer to read – and write? Is there a difference?
A. I like to read mysteries the most, but I write cozy mysteries. When I started writing, I set out to write a mystery but didn’t want sex and violence in the books because I didn’t want to be embarrassed if my dad or sons read the book. I’d actually never heard the term “cozy” mystery until a publisher I’d submitted the book to told me that’s what the book was. I’m now on my fifth cozy mystery, but I’m also writing a traditional mystery book for the first time.

Q. What drove you to begin a writing career?
A. Stress. I began writing as a form of therapy when I was going through a particularly hard time. Life was sad, maddening, but funny too, so I started writing a book about what was happening. But that was like living through it twice, so I started writing a funny mystery book to take my mind off life. And Goose Pimple Junction books were born.

Q. Do you write from imagination, personal experience, or a mixture?
A. A mixture. I’m always looking and listening for things to include in my books, but I also like to write characters who do and say things I never would.

Q. Do you have a current ‘work in progress’? Can you tell us anything about it?
A. I have a “work,” but there’s not much progress on it. I am stuck on the fifth Goose Pimple Junction book and so work has stalled. I’m also writing the suspenseful mystery book I mentioned earlier. It’s about a serial killer who dresses up as a helpless old man and gets his victims to come to his aid. It will be a psychological thriller-type mystery driven by suspense.

Q. When you have writing the book – what do you do next? By that I mean, do you edit the book yourself? Do you design your own book cover? Do you prepare a project plan to market your book?
A. Finishing the book means the fun is over and the real work begins. By the time I send the manuscript to an editor, I’ve gone over it myself a gazillion times, rewriting and proofreading many times over. When the editor is done, I go back over it and include or exclude her suggestions. I have a really great editor who doesn’t do one and done. We swap the manuscript back and forth several times before we decide it’s ready to publish. (Thank you, Lisa Binion!)
Usually before the book is finished I’ve found a painting for the cover and I’ve contacted the artist. While I’m waiting for the manuscript to be edited, I send the image to someone who turns it into a cover and adds a back cover. Once the manuscript is ready to go, I have it formatted for print and ebook.
And while all that is going on, I plan and carryout marketing for the book. I contact a gazillion reviewers and bloggers and line up a blog tour. Almost all my marketing is online. I’ve been to a few author signings but haven’t found them worth the time. Word of mouth has been what works best for me.

Q. If you were gifted an air ticket to ‘anywhere’, which destination would you choose above all others and why?
A. It’s a toss up between three of my favorite places: 1) The Colony Hotel in Kennebunkport, Maine because their veranda overlooking the ocean is the perfect place to alternate reading, taking photos, and staring at the water.
2) Stockbridge, Massachusetts. It is my northern Goose Pimple Junction. Beautiful, quiet, wonderful town! I’d move there if I could.
3) The Inn on Biltmore Estate is another gorgeous place that I love. All three places are heaven on earth and highly recommended for de-stressing.

Q. Do you have website or social media page you would like to invite us to visit?

Q. Do you have links on twitter or any other social media sites?
A. My Twitter address is: and Goodreads is: 

And on a final note, I would like to thank Amy for contributing to our charity anthologies - Chiari Warriors and Coptales, both available in print and in kindle. Best of luck with your writing, Amy. Here is a selection of Amy's books, don't forget to visit her amazon page for more information.

Saturday, 7 January 2017


Welcome to an excerpt from an international chase thriller featuring the life of a double agent - Pegasus. 
Admiral Crow continued to study the map, was aware of his undisputed authority, and without losing focus replied, ‘Let him hear the tape, Commander. He’s entitled.’

Engaging Mansfield, Commander Pape invited him to take a seat, flicked a switch on the radio apparatus and said, ‘It rolls on for a few minutes or more. In a couple of places gunfire can be heard.’
Mansfield relaxed, sat down, and listened to the commentary. There was a hint of static before the narration burst into life:

This is Sabre One, I have control.’
‘’Roger, Foxtrot out.’
‘Sabre One to Sabre units, I have control, stand by, four x-rays in sight.’
‘Sabre One, I have control... Stand by.... Stand by.... Stand by..... Go!’
‘Sabre Three, X-Ray Two down,’
‘Sabre Two, X-Ray Three down.’
‘Sabre Three, X-Ray Four down.’
‘Sabre One confirms device safe, repeat device safe.’
Sabre One, all units, X-Ray One escaping.’
‘Sabre One calling Foxtrot, reporting a contact. Three X-Rays down. Device is safe. X-Ray One has escaped across the border. Authority to pursue requested.’
‘Negative, Sabre One. Abort, abort, abort.’
‘Roger Foxtrot. All Sabre Units... Abort... Abort.... Abort.... Stand down to the extraction point.’
Commander Pape looked approvingly into Mansfield’s solid grey eyes and offered, ‘Congratulations, Mansfield. An excellent result, I believe.’
Tetchily, Mansfield challenged Commander Pape stating, ‘With respect, Commander, X-Ray One is Conor O’Keeffe and he quite clearly escaped from right under the noses of Sabre Force. Apart from being the leader of an active service unit he has the eyes and ears of the Republican Movement. Conor is no idiot and neither is Dublin Command. It will take them only a short time to work out Pegasus is the informant. It’s the third time in as many months Pegasus has provided pre-emptive intelligence allowing us to disrupt terrorist activity.’
finish reading this remarkable story by following the links below... Beware, the chase is in.... Dublin, Amsterdam, Tokyo, London.... Buckle up and bring your passport...