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Mea Culpa!

Ages ago, I published a blog in which I apologised for not replying to those readers who had responded to my blogs by writing in but to whom I had not replied for reasons which included my own IT stupidity and a computer glitch which obscured them. Well, belatedly, I...

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Pity oh Pity the Poor Book Signer!

If you are a novelist, it's a fair bet that the finest words in the English language are "The End."  You've finished the damned thing, no more agonising about plot twists, how to spell miilleni...millennium, or whether we are now allowed to finish a sentence with a...

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Have Pity on a Poor Old Book Signer

"Dust Clouds of War," the twelfth and possibly the last in the Simon Fonthill series, has exploded onto the book shelves at last and I shall be taking up residence to sign thousands of copies of the damned thing at Waterstone's in Salisbury High Street this coming...

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“Dust Clouds of War” on its way!

Simon Fonthill surfaces again on December 17th when the 12th in the series - and possibly the last, I can't help feeling - hits the nation's bookshops.  It's called "Dust Clouds of War" and takes Simon, 352 Jenkins, Alice and their trusty tracker, Mzingeli, through...

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Dementia and Damnation

Is it my imagination or is the media these days full of references to dementia?  For years it was the sickness which dare not speak its name (probably because most of the sufferers couldn't remember it).  Now, it marches along in headlines, matching the latest...

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Come and Say Hello

"Treachery in Tibet" - the eleventh and probable penultimate Simon Fonthill novel - having been safely launched, I shall be in Waterstones bookshop, High St, Salisbury, from 11a.m to 1.pm on Saturday, 14th March, signing copies. If you are in the area, please come and...

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Shameless Promotion

Apologies to everyone for the ridiculously wide gap between posts. I can only wriggle and beg that my wife is sick and needing home care (me) and that I have started on Fonthill Number 12 - our lad, with Alice, 352 and Mzingeli fighting the Germans (at the ripe old...

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Don’t forget the paperbacks!

After my remarkable success in single-handedly swinging the result of the Scottish referendum (see Post below) I have been brought back to earth by receiving a slap across the wrist from my publishers. It seems that this site gives the impression that my books are...

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Aaaah, for God’s Sake, Don’t do it!

I am not a Scot, have no vote, no influence and probably only three readers north of the border (oh, all right, then, only two) but I can't resist adding my two groats to the debate before the great vote on Thursday. I hate Little Englanders - the people who go with...

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Apologies and News

First of all, an apology to readers who have posted comments on some recent blogs and who have received no acknowledgements or replies from me.  My computer took it into its head not to reveal these to me and I have only recently been able to dig them out.  To some...

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Closure to my family history search

After the publicity about my father and his remarkable brothers – see previous posts: The real Band of Brothers – seven sons from one family who all fought in World War One – as featured in The Sunday Mirror – 19 April 2014 MY HEROIC UNCLE ALFRED ‘the great’ VC – as...

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‘BAYONETS’ IS SIGNED AWAY

The good ship BAYONETS ALONG THE BORDER, my latest Fonthill - set against the Pathan uprising on the North West Frontier of India in 1896 - has trundled down the slipway and is now well afloat. In an attempt to sink her, I shall be signing copies of the hard back in...

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TO HELL WITH HAIG!

The memories and arguments about the First World War won't seem to go away. Max Hastings and Jeremy Paxman have recently joined in on the question of whether it was a "noble" war, worth fighting because it was based on principle, or just something we stumbled into...

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TWO NEW FONTHILLS ARE BORN!

Just to report, as a proud parent should, the birth of two new Fonthills. The very first Simon Fonthill short story - and the first to be written exclusively for the e-book market - appears on 13th February. Titled "Pirates - Starboard Side," and set in 1900 in the...

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OH WHAT A LOVELY COCK UP!

As STARSHINE, my World War I novel, came out in paperback form only a couple of weeks ago, perhaps I may be permitted to offer a small contribution to the "How should we regard the war?" debate begun by Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, and stoked by Sir Tony...

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THE BRITISH ARE COMING!

A last word on the tragedy when the great storm hit the Philippines about a month ago. Did you notice that the Royal Navy sent a destroyer to help with the restoration of the islands? Just like the old days! Whenever there was danger from the elements or subversive...

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POSTCRIPT TO A FUNERAL

Now that Nelson Mandela is, like Queen Anne, indubitably dead, and the hordes of BBC presenters sent out to South Africa to cover his passing - and so denuding TV shows ranging from Panorama to Match of the Day - are returning home, perhaps it's time to step back a...

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THE SUIT AND I GO TO TOWN

Living and working in the green boskyness of Wiltshire doesn't demand sartorial elegance; it encourages old cords and yesterday's shirt.  So The Suit hardly comes off its hanger.  A trip to London, however (see blog below) is a very different matter.  It calls for...

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BOOKSHOP BURNING BRIGHTLY IN THE GLOOM

So...bookshops all over Britain are having a rough time, battered by e-books and the cut-price, omnipotent Amazon.  Right?  Well, yes and no. Yes, because it is sadly true that the great names that used to dominate the High Street are now reduced to two: Waterstones...

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FONTHILL IN THE GREAT WAR…?

     I have spent much of this glorious summer researching the eleventh novel in the Simon Fonthill series.  It has been a rather desultory business, interrupted by the need to see how England were doing against the Aussies in this most fascinating of Ashes series and...

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A FACE AT LAST!

One of my readers, James Baker, has decided that it was time I came into the 21st century and has insisted that I have a Facebook page. He has accordingly created one and put it into life on my behalf. Anyone interested can turn to it on www.facebook.com/johnwilcox....

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THE WHEEL OF LIFE

A couple of days ago I typed the most beautiful words in the English language:  The End. It's always a relief to finish a book but this one - the tenth novel in the Simon Fonthill series and the thirteenth of mine in all - had a kind of modern resonance.  As I...

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LAST WORD ON MAGGIE

     This is being written on the eve of Lady Thatcher's funeral and I do hope (I don't pray) that no lunatic(s) attempt to wreck her last Great Day.  But I do wish that a State Funeral had not been planned for her.  It's not just the excessive cost of it at a time...

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TWO MORE FONTHILLS!

A couple or three blogs ago I speculated idly about writing short stories, given that STARSHINE was on the slipway ready for launching and that a new Fonthill was virtually written.  The short story scene is a genre that has always fascinated me and one that I have...

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WELCOME BACK HILARY!

I am hoping that Santa might bring me Hilary Mantel's "Bring Up The Bodies" on Christmas morning so I haven't yet read the 2012 Mann Booker prize winner.  But - on the ball and up-top-the-mark as always - I have recently put down her previous winner, "Woolf Hall,"...

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NEW SIGNINGS

     Another new book, another round of signings.  I shall be signing copies of my newly launched novel, Starshine, at Waterstone's, Salisbury, next Tuesday, 20th November, from 11am until 1pm.  I would be delighted to see readers there during that time.  You don't...

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SHORT – BUT TO THE POINT

     Short stories. You know, the easy-to-write stuff. Just like novels, except that they are shorter and take up less time and effort. And nothing, of course, could be further from the truth.      I have now had thirteen full length books published (counting...

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AN APOLOGY

At the beginning of this site, I invite readers to respond to my blog and let me have their comments on what I have written. Many of you have accepted the invitation and posted your views. They have all been passed onto me via my e-mail address and I have always...

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UNBELIEVABLY WORTH THE MONEY

A last word - from me, anyway - about the Olympics. I have always felt a touch ashamed, or defensive at least, about regularly buying National Lottery tickets.  As my wife points out every week, "it's a sheer waste of money."  Oh, I have had the odd £10 win every blue...

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THE RAINBOW RUNNERS

Allow me two pennorth of comment about The Games.  Have you noticed how so many of the Brits picking up medals are...gulp let me summon up my courage to write this...well:  NOT WHITE?! There, I've written the unsayable.  But this is not a racist tract.  Firstly, it is...

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CORRECTION!

     In my last blog I wrote about two new books of mine:  STARSHINE and FIRE ACROSS THE VELDT.  The publication dates for these new masterpieces have been changed and I hurry now to correct them.     STARSHINE (the glow from Verey lights that illuminated No Man's...

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A NEW FONTHILL AND ONE LONG NURTURED OTHER

I am, I confess, the most irregular blogger. I guess this is because, blushing now like a wallflower, I confess feeling that my opinions on most things outside the field of writing for publication are of little interest to other people. True, I will vent a touch of...

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ABOUT READING AND WRITING…

As an ex-Fleet Street hack, I hate it when statements of so-called fact are not substantiated - particularly, of course, those with which I don't agree! For instance, in this morning's Times, Emma Duncan, the Deputy Editor of The Economist, states unequivocally that...

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SAVE ME FROM ONIONDOM

Freshly back from the magnificent country of the Orange Free State - a touch like John Ford's Monument Valley here and there - in South Africa, I face an in-store signing of the new Fonthill novel, THE WAR OF THE DRAGON LADY, from ll am to one-ish on Saturday, 25th...

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WILCOX ON THE VELDT

Persisten bronchitis permitting, I fly out from London to Johannesburg on Tuesday to conduct on-the-spot research for Fonthill number nine, now firmly titled "FIRE ACROSS THE VELDT." This is, of course, set against the background of the second and best known...

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Bloody bronchitis

I have bronchitis. Now I know that this news is not up there on a par with the recent doings of the leaders of the European Union, nor even of the latest twist in Katie Price's love life. But, damnit, it has taken over my existence at the moment. Any fool can have...

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Swindon hears about Fonthill

Those of you out there who follow the doings of Simon Fonthill, Jenkins, Alice and Co and who live within a spit or so of Swindon in North Wiltshire might care to know that I will be talking about them all at Highworth Library on Monday evening (5th Dec) at 7.30. The...

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IMPERIAL ECHOES IN THE PLIGHT OF THOMAS COOK

I am feeling distinctly sad about the Thomas Cook saga. You will know that the famous old company - Britain's second biggest tour operator - is virtually broke. It has net debts of £1billion, is said to be spending £30million a month and its share price has collapsed....

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FONTHILL RIDES AGAIN!

These are the keyprints of a happy chap. Happy because my old mate Simon Fonthill is riding again. I have just left him at the end of Chapter One of the ninth Fonthill adventure, he having escaped the clutches of the famous Boer commando leader Christian de Wet, with...

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AH, THE POWER…!

This blog doesn't usually wash its feet in the dirty water of politics - particularly those of another country. But it did recently bewail the rise of Rick Perry as favourite in the Republican race for nomination as US president, pointing out how unwise it was to...

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GEORGE W.BUSH – WHAT A HERO!

Gloom and misery everywhere. The economies of Britain, the USA and the Eurozone are in deep trouble; the war in Afghanistan shows no sign of ending; Britain's MI5 is accused of complicity with America in the systematic torturing of terrorist suspects; thousands are...

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A CYNICAL ASSASSINATION

I never thought I would write these words, but here goes: I don't think that Rupert Murdoch should have closed down "The News of the World." As an ex broadsheet journalist, I disliked the paper intensely and the recent revalations about telephone hacking and payments...

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FONTHILL AND THE DRAGON LADY

A breif confirmation to all fans of Simon Fonthill, 352 Jenkins and the feisty Alice, that the next and eighth Fonthill adventure featuring the three will be published next January 2012 (in hardback, then in paperback the following September) by new publishers Allison...

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GOOD ON YER, MR DAUNT!

A word or two to welcome the best bit of news that has come my way for years from the embattled British bookselling scene: Waterstone's is going to be run by a bloke who says that each shop in the chain will from now on "feel like your local bookstore, not part of a...

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SECOND HAND WILCOX

I have long known that there is a market out there for signed (but not dedicated!) first editions of my novels. Indeed, there are dealers who rush to buy the hardbacks as they come out and for whom I am more than happy to sign and write onto each title page a unique...

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FAT OR WHAT?

Just back from a brief holiday in the USA - it's most southern bit, Key West, which sticks out into the Carribean, or Gulf of Mexico, or the Atlantic Ocean, depending on which way you face. I've returned with a jumble of impressions, as I always do when I come home...

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FONTHILL RIDES AGAIN Allow me to use this (very) intermittent blog to announce that my long standing hero, Simon Fonthill, together with his feisty wife, Alice, and old comrade "352" Jenkins, have found new foster parents. After seven novels published by Hodder...

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