Is it time to restart my Newsletters? I need feedback.

What’s happened to my newsletters?

It has been months since I last sent out any newsletters, for various reasons. It has been an interesting time for me, writing, editing, blogging, and having work done on my house. I am still working on two sequels to Accounting for Murder, Double Entry and am trying to produce a book on Risk Management, in response to an enquiry I received via Linkedin from an American academic publisher.  Now I think it’s time to restart communicating with readers, but perhaps I could improve my output. What do you think? I need some feedback. If you were never on my mailing list, you can still have your say. I would particularly like to hear from my Twitter followers. How can I serve them better?

What do you think of my newsletters?
  • Would you like to be on the mailing list?
  • How frequently should I send them out?
  • Any comments on the format?
  • What sort of articles do you like? Risk Management, claims, writing fiction, religion, general?
How often shall I write newsletters to you?
How often shall I write newsletters?


How will your answers affect the newsletters?

Depending on the responses, I am considering separating readers into two lists. I would produce two newsletters, not necessarily at the same time or with the same frequency, each with a different emphasis. Unless I discover that most people prefer the same things.

You can reply on the contact form on either of my websites, or just send me an e-mail.

The first step to creativity in business or anything else: preparation!

What has preparation got to do with creativity?

Preparation is the first of the (click here) seven steps I have recently written about concerning creativity in business. Although you might not think it involves your creative side, preparation is an essential part of the process. If you are looking for a solution or planning a new initiative, you need to understand the question before rushing to an answer. You want to know what research other people have already done on the subject, if you don’t want to reinvent the wheel.

What preparation do I do as a writer?

I research the background. I want to be as authentic as possible. Of course, in fiction you can alter some of the facts to make the story work better, but do it intentionally. I recently took a trip to Cardiff to remind myself of some of the locations I am using in Accounting for Murder, Book II, Old Money. In particular, I visited Castell Coch, where I have set much of the action. I am glad I did so. I will change a few things to make it more realistic but overall I am more certain than ever that I have chosen the right location for the story.

When do I do more preparation?

For historical novels, which I write under a pseudonym, I always need to do more research, so as to be true to the period and to incorporate as many historical facts as I can. They give a framework for the fiction.

Preparation for me includes reading other fiction and other kinds of reading. Studying modern grammar comes into it too. I am amazed how much has changed since I was at school, especially capitalisation.

The things I have learnt about writing, including preparation, are helpful in my business too.
What if you have begun working on an idea without preparation?
Risk Dice
What if you have omitted preparation?

Do not despair. Preparation obviously ought to come before anything else, but your situation, although not ideal, is not necessarily beyond repair. Go back and do it now. Be ready to rethink some of your ideas. It’s only too late once you have gone live. Doing things in the right order usually saves time in the long run, but we live in the real world. Even fiction writers!

Coming soon: the lightbulb moment, aka Inspiration!


How do you use statistics? For illumination or support? Don’t copy Mr Trump!

Who has been misusing statistics now?

I have recently criticised the Foreign Secretary for misusing statistics in relation to Brexit and the NHS.

Now Donald Trump has commented on statistics which  show an increase of around 13% in reported crimes in the UK . He says that this shows an increase in Islamic terrorism around the World. I find this statement quite worrying for several reasons.

  • Politicians do not  usually comment on internal matters in other countries.
  • The figures quoted refer to all crimes, of which terrorism makes up only very small part.
  • For some categories of crime, the police think the increase in reporting is because the public has more confidence that they will act. These include hate crime, sex offences and domestic violence.
  • The UK security services have expressed concern at the increased risk of terrorism, but they are basing this on information they have. It has nothing to do with the crime rate.

The last point would actually support PresidentTrump’s comment, if it had come from the US security services!

JHM Data Protection
You need to see what lies behind the data.
Statistics could help make the USA safer.

A real study of the relevant data shows that Americans are far more likely to die in a robbery, a neighbour dispute or a random shooting than in a terrorist incident. This suggests that gun control would  make the USA safer. It would almost certainly be more effective than immigration controls or most anti-terrorism security measures. I would not, however, suggest anyone should be complacent about terrorism. Anywhere.

I have previously quoted Andrew Lang (1844-1912) writing:

He uses statistics as a drunken man uses a lamppost – for support rather than illumination.

Mr Lang was obviously ahead of his time.

Want to know more about statistics?

To learn more about the use of statistical data, try my book: How to avoid being misled by statistics.  You could find it a help in your business and in your life.

How to avoid being misled by statistics
Book cover: How to avoid being misled by statistics