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Islands of Hope Update – 16/05/2020

Another week in lockdown goes by. The great news this week is that football may be returning in June, how I have missed the wonderous sport. There is something so romantic about watching twenty-two sweaty men kick an inflated pig’s bladder around a large rectangle of grass! If you too are missing football, you can read my short story/poem collection ‘World Cup Dreams’ at Smashwords (just click here.) Right, now that shameless plug is over (be thankful I linked to the free version, not the paid for one with a few extra stories in it!), we can move on to this week’s ‘Islands of Hope’ update. I wrote the update in parts and, somehow, managed to amass over three hundred words. It is a bit of an emotional one in-between the action. We find out that, although being hard as nails, Imka is easily overpowered by her leader. Then there is the start of a section with Kira, she is finally home but does not know how to react, almost slipping off her training into keeping her anger in check. I do worry I have not written enough about that training, but it is kind of implied. Maybe I will go back and add a bit more about it when I am editing. For now you can read Chapter 46 here, or start from the beginning here. Keep safe everyone.

The World Cup is over but World Cup Dreams live on


Another chance to get the e-book version of World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition for FREE

It is with sadness that we see the end of the World Cup. Well done to France on winning and Croatia for putting up a good fight. I am also really impressed with my own team, England. They far outperformed expectations and Gareth Southgate has shown what a generally good bloke he is. We now have a platform to build on, so here’s looking forward to Euro 2020 in…erm….wait….how many countries?

Anyhow, as you know, as a writer I like to jump on the bandwagon of big events and use them to promote my work. So, as the World Cup has ended and the new league season is about three weeks away, you can tide yourself over by reading ‘World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition.’ To make that more of a reality I am doing another promotion on the kindle version. From today until the end of Saturday the e-book version is free from Amazon (in fact it is on Kindle Unlimited so if you have that it’s free anyway!). Below are links to the UK and US Amazon stores. If you read the book then please could you leave a review, either good or bad? I know that are some spelling and grammar mistakes, my editing process was not as tight as it is now when I released the book. Anyway, enjoy, and here’s to another great season of Premier League football, or if you support a team like I do then another mediocre midtable finish in the Championship!

Get World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition from Amazon UK here.

Get World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition from Amazon US here.

World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition – FREE this weekend!

So there we go, the qualifiers have ended and now we know who the final 32 teams will be at the next world cup, held in Russia next summer. The successful teams will be…

  • World-Cup-Dreams-Extra-Time-Cover-BLOG

    World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition is FREE on Kindle this weekend


  • Spain
  • Denmark
  • Serbia
  • Germany
  • Peru
  • Iceland
  • Nigeria
  • Brazil
  • Switzerland
  • Costa Rica
  • Australia
  • Portugal
  • England
  • Sweden
  • Japan
  • Argentina
  • Colombia
  • Tunisia
  • Morocco
  • Belgium
  • Mexico
  • Egypt
  • Panama
  • Poland
  • Uruguay
  • Senegal
  • Korea Republic
  • France
  • Croatia
  • Iran
  • Saudi Arabia

There are some big guns missing, mainly Italy, USA and the Netherlands, but brilliantly, for me at least, England have made it. As we wait for the World Cup it seems now is a good time to do a promotion, I have not done one for some time. To keep you going while you wait for the World Cup you could read World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition and for this weekend it will be absolutely FREE on Kindle. I would like to do a promotion on the print copy but, unfortunately, that is out of my control (paper costs money you see!). So, you can download World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition from Amazon in the UK here or from Amazon in the US here. It should also be free in all the other countries Amazon operates. The only thing I would really like back is a review, be it good or bad. So here’s to a summer of excellent football and, hopefully, some excellent reading before that!

World Cup Dreams competition – no entries

Now the competition to win a print copy of World Cup Dreams: Extra time edition has closed I am sad to say that, whilst I had numerous likes and gained a few followers, I did not get any entries to the competition. I think this is down to one of three reasons, nobody wants the book, my email has blocked the responses or, most likely I think, people could not think of a poem or did not have enough time to write one. To test this theory, I am reopening the competition but with one change, you do not need to submit a poem. That said, if you do submit a poem you will be more likely to win. Same rules as last time, fill in the form below and I will email for an address if you win. If I do get poems I will display them on this blog and link to blogs/Twitter/Facebook (if you want me to that is – tell me if you do not). I will even sign the copies if you want (although that might actually devalue the book!). Good luck!

And there goes another one! (the latest part of the Massimo Cellino saga)

I was once told that the Australian Cricket Team picked a team and kept them together through thick and thin, allowing them to grow and develop to become a successful team. What is happening at Leeds United could not be further from this. Earlier today Uwe Rosler became the latest manager to be sacked by Leeds’ owner Massimo Cellino. Given his actions during his reign thus far it was no surprise. Like so many managers he has swept aside, Rosler’s win rate was not fantastic but to me this is missing the point. Leeds have not had a particularly fantastic time since being relegated from the Premier League in 2004 and it seems Cellino is just dumping more misery onto us fans. He has come to England expecting that by picking the right manager a team will suddenly win most games and be successful. Unfortunately sport does not work like that. What frustrates me more than anything else is that by looking at the way the team performed under Rosler they were moving in the right direction. Some solid performances and tight games with narrow loses shows that the team were putting in the effort and were just losing out by those fine margins people talk about, something that would have changed as times goes on. Leeds had just lost in the dying minutes to the team at the top of the league and been beaten by the team in second thanks to more than one large slice of luck. These were not performances where struggling teams were taking Leeds apart piece by piece, far from it. By sacking Rosler it is back to square one, removing him is not going to suddenly solve all the problems.

The other argument against sacking all these managers is the money they had available, has Cellino invested millions and bought some of the best players in the world who are underperforming? No he has not. So if he has not provided the means of success how can his standards be so high? I could understand if the creme de la creme of football were not successful but these are solid Championship players. There is an argument that if he sacks a manager for not being able to pick the right team then surely he cannot pick the right manager and thus has not done his job. Should he therefore sack himself?

There are many who say that he is actually in control of what happens on the pitch, that he picks the team and he chooses the tactics. Maybe he should manage the team himself and stop putting others through misery. If he is this involved then surely the lack of success is all his fault, again another piece of evidence that he should sack himself. Further evidence that he may be in control could be shown in the win rates of managers. Neil Redfern has the highest at 37.8% and the main bulk of wins were when Cellino was suspended, does this show that by just leaving the manager to do his job the success will come? But these successes do not seem to matter, although Redfern saved Leeds from relegation he too was sacked.

All this continues the unrest at Leeds and means that the team needs to start rebuilding again and again. How can you expect to be successful when every few months you need to begin again? As they say Rome wasn’t built in a day, I am also pretty sure it was not knocked down every two months and the first stones put in place once more, how can you build anything like that? The good news for Leeds fans is that Cellino is suspended again so new manager Steve Evans might get to do what he feels is right for a short time. If I was him I wouldn’t get too comfortable, as soon as Cellino is back he may only have a matter of weeks before he is back on the hunt for a job.

I think what this all shows is the Cellino is making a laughing-stock of Leeds United. Far from creating a successful club he is making the issues worse and it nows seems a long way to the stability and success Leeds fans deserve. Once again we will be looking at a relegation battle. I am personally waiting for the point where no manager will take the job and Cellino will finally get a taste of his own medicine because you know what, if everything that is said about him is true, he may well be the worst manager the world has ever seen!

World Cup Dreams ebook available

Just a quick post from me to let you know that the e-book version of World Cup Dreams is now available for free on Smashwords. There is a foreword about the challenge of writing a short story of between three and five hundred words each day during the World Cup as well as details of results for each day. I am hoping it also makes the premium collection which will mean you will be able to access it on Kobo, Sony Reader, Nook and many other e-readers soon. You can get it by clicking on this lovely link. The original is still up on Wattpad and I would like to once again thank anyone who read even one of the stories. If you want to leave any reviews (both positive and negative) then please do, I like feedback and try to reply to every piece.


Further the this, look out for the print version of the book, World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition, which will cost a small amount but will contain six shorts exclusive to this version. I hope it will be out sometime in the next couple of weeks.

World Cup Dreams (Days 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 and 32)

The World Cup is over and so too is World Cup Dreams, for the moment that is (I will explain later in this post). Whilst I now have three full weeks to survive without football to keep me going I am proud of my achievements. I set out to write a short story every day of the World Cup and that happen, there was a slight slip when I did not post one till after midnight but all in all I achieved my goal. As with previous posts, here is what has been going on…


Day 22 – A humorous poem about a young man that has married a die-hard Italian supporter

Day 23 – A look at flight technologists, those people that design the ball for the World Cup

Day 24 – A short from a player’s point of view, he gets an injury and cannot compete in the rest of the competition

Day 25 – A poem about the great football players

Day 26 – A look at how football functions in a similar way to religion

Day 27 – Someone is infuriated by the pundits on TV, he is sure they are watching a different game to him

Day 28 – A manager responds to questions using a lot of clichés

Day 29 – A fan is sitting at the top of the stadium and can barely see the action below

Day 30 – A frustrated player feels like his team have been robbed when they lose narrowly after extra time

Day 31 – Is the 3rd/4th place playoff pointless? The person narrating this short thinks so

Day 32 – It is electric tension as players and fans prepare for the World Cup final


I was not all that happy that Germany won the World Cup but fair play to them and at least it is what Klose deserved for being such a great player for so many years. As for World Cup Dreams, that will be staying on Wattpad for as long as I can foresee. You can read it here. As I eluded to earlier in this post, it is not actually the end for World Cup Dreams. As with all the work I finish, I am making it available as an ebook. Because I posted it on Wattpad for free it will go live as a free ebook via Smashwords. This will, hopefully, mean it will be on most major ebook platforms in a few weeks time. Before it can go up I need another proofread and to format it correctly as well as adding scores from the games to give the whole picture of when it was written. I hope to have this done by the end of the coming weekend.

But wait, there is more. I have been looking at using Create Space for some time and have decided to trial it with World Cup Dreams. Obviously as it is a print medium (as well as an Amazon Company!) you cannot put books on their that people can get for free. To alleviate this problem I have, what I hope will be, a fitting solution. I have six titles left, six shorts I did not write as I ran out of days. This print book will therefore have a new section entitled Extra Time where these stories will go. So you may have to pay but you will get six exclusive shorts that do not appear on Wattpad and will not be in the free ebook.

Keep checking this blog for details of the ebook and print book releases. Finally I would like to say thank you to all those that read World Cup Dreams as it was going up, I hope you enjoyed it because I loved writing it, particularly stories that were not from my point of view.

World Cup Dreams (Days 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21)

It has been longer than I wanted since I have posted about how World Cup Dreams is going but I have been busy so get off my case! It has been exam and coursework season at work but I have managed to sneak in thirty minutes a day (usually just before the late game) to get a short written so the challenge is still on. To keep you up to date, the stories since the last post are as follows…


Day 12 – A manager needs to make a change to stop his team going out of the World Cup but doesn’t know what to do

Day 13 – A short from the point of view of a referee

Day 14 – An explanation of a fantastic goal scored through teamwork

Day 15 – A nervous fan keeps flicking between two games as he needs the results to go his way for his team to get through

Day 16 – A look at the frustration of having rest days during the World Cup

Day 17 – A player will send his team through if he scores a penalty

Day 18 – A poem about different features of the world cup that come in different colours i.e. shirts, flags and boots

Day 19 – From the point of view of a boyfriend and girlfriend on the boyfriend checking his phone to find out football scores whilst out shopping

Day 20 – A match report about the Germany vs Algeria second round match of the 2014 World Cup

Day 21 – A goalkeeper talks about making an error that could cause his team to lose a game


So there we go, World Cup Dreams is still going strong. I have also got ideas for enough stories till the end of the World Cup (plus a few more!). You can read World Cup Dreams here, and keep checking back each day of the World Cup for a new short story or poem.

World Cup Dreams (Days 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)

Just a quick post to say that World Cup Dreams is still going strong and because of that I am still yet to edit I can hear your pain. It will happen, but now it will not be till after the World Cup. If you have not read any of World Cup Dreams so far then feel free to catch up by going to Wattpad. Most stories are between 300 and 500 words as planned but there are a few poems of less and at least one story so far that is a little longer. To keep you up to date, the stories since last post are…


Day 5 – A (probably quite bad) poem saluting football fans

Day 6 – A view from a player who sits on the bench hoping for a chance but never gets it

Day 7 – A bit of radio commentary about an underdog upsetting the World Champions

Day 8 – A look at a player’s view of a controversal issues that still haunts them years later

Day 9 – A poem (slightly better than the one from Day 5!) from the point of view of someone who hates football and doesn’t want to hear any more about the World Cup

Day 10 – A frustrated fan talks about his team going out in the group stages of the World Cup

Day 11 – Someone has to go to a meal but would rather be watching the World Cup


And what is Day 12 about I hear you ask? Well, ok, you are probably not asking that but it was a  divisive way of saying it is written but you will have to check back tomorrow to read it. All there is left to say is that you can read World Cup Dreams here. Hope you enjoy and please feel free to leave any comments both positive and negative.

Word Cup Dreams (Days 1, 2, 3 and 4)

The cover for the new project, a short story of 300-500 words everyday during the World Cup

The cover for the new project, a short story of 300-500 words released everyday during the World Cup

The problem with finishing writing on one project is you immediately want to start another one. This desire appears to be an issue with me as I seem to flit between projects quite a lot. About a week and a half ago I finished the first draft of ‘I can hear your pain.’ Rather than edit it I wanted to write something else, particularly a Super Lizard short. Again life got in the way and I was able to do neither of the two projects. However, I did had another idea, a challenge to myself, during this time. Being a massive football fan and loving the World Cup I wondered if I could write a short story of between 300 and 500 words everyday then publish it on Wattpad. This would build up to be a small book in its own right and look at football and the World Cup from different angles and using different written styles. The ability to quickly write a short and edit it each day appealed to me so I decided to have a go. Realising I could actually write more than one short each day so I had some in the bag for days when I couldn’t write helped cement the idea in my head. I am happy, therefore, to announce ‘World Cup Dreams.’ The first three shorts are up, looking at the excitement of travelling to the World Cup, wearing the team’s shirt for the first time in the World Cup and a disgruntled football hater talking about how they dislike it when the World Cup is on. You can get to it here. Today’s offering is written but not edited so will be up a little later today, it is a cheeky look at TV advertising around the World Cup.

I hope you enjoy the project as I am enjoying writing about one of my favourite sports from different people’s perspective, particularly those that are alien to me. Keep checking back on the book as there will be new shorts every day during the World Cup.

p.s. Come on England!