On September the 8th, 2017, Blackwell’s Bookshop in Portsmouth gave birth to The Amber Moon Part One: Of Shadows & Dragons.

[Brilliant Pic by Claire Tewkesbury]

Launch Pic 3

The thing about these events is that however much they help to massage a writer’s ego that has been battered more times than Friday-night cod fillets, none of it happens without the selfless support of others…

So here’s my ode to those who really made Friday night what it was…

The brilliant Jo and her team at Blackwell’s are simply extraordinary! For weeks now, I’ve been delivering things, hoarding and cluttering up the office and they’re still talking to me! The professionalism, expertise and creative drive they have to set up the shop and make it look so resplendent in amber, is dizzying! Nothing is too small a request and they go out of their way to make the big day as special as possible, for everyone in attendance.

A few weeks ago, some friends at work – at The University of Portsmouth Students’ Union – Fiona ‘Marvel’ Cook and Stuart ‘Pullman’ Owens – approached me, offering their time and skills to help out at the launch. We had a bit of a chat, and as both are fine bakers/cake makers, amongst the other stuff they are brilliant at, they took on the task of creating these delicious beauties….

The Amber Moon Mirror Glaze:

[Cake by Stuart Owens]

Amber Moon Cake

Doctor Tan’s Hot Chocolate and Snow & Rosie Boots’ Fairy Cupcakes:

[Cake & Pic by Fiona Cook]

Tan and Rosie Cupcakes

Then came Brendan ‘DJ Cheddar: For One Night Only’ McCarthy who stepped up to help out with the music for the After Party at my Cricket Club. Without his help, and giving up his time, the evening would not have provided moments that made me laugh so hard, I think I broke more ribs than I own…

[Pic sourced from The Archives of DJ Cheddar courtesy of Brendan McCarthy]


The support didn’t stop there and my work colleagues from the Student Union, Sport and Rec and the wider University were amazing in promoting the launch for me on social media, wish me well with private messages, emails and texts. So many of them came to the event, despite the weather and the general fatigue at the end of yet another busy week ahead of Freshers’ Week 2017.

I started playing cricket for US Portsmouth three seasons ago. My teammates and their families are amazingly supportive and bloody hilarious! Laughing that hard is truly good for the soul, and I am very lucky to be able to do that pretty much every day I spend with this lot! They turned out in their numbers at Blackwell’s and at the after party back at the club, where Messrs Toms and Gadd outdid themselves with some very high brow performance pieces, including the very best of what the UK has to offer in terms of impromptu drama and song.

United Services CC

Huge thanks to Ross, for being a terrific host as always and allowing us the freedom to caterwaul our way deep into the night!

So many more of my family and friends, including my old MA buddies also braved a miserable Friday at rush hour to help me celebrate. Even those who couldn’t attend, have been amazing with their messages of support and sharing the event on social media channels.

You come to realise that the real stars of any book launch are the people behind the scenes, your friends and your guests who make everything seem so much more real and so very special.┬áSo, thanks to the unseen, the selfless and the giving… It’s a privilege to be a part of your story, however large or small the part you give me to play…


*Look out for a follow-up post later this week including all the great photos and pics from the launch