Monday, December 31, 2012

And The Two Winners Are ...

Goodreads kindly gave me the word this morning about the results of the draw for two signed copies of "Living In The Real Cyprus"

There were 780 entries. Hundreds of these also added the book to their "Books to read" lists.

One of the winners lives in Mauritius. The other in the state of Mississippi. The books are already signed and, together with covering letters, parceled up and ready to go next time our village post office recovers from the winter bacchanalia and deigns to open.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

More Reviews Of Vic's Big Walk

Just spotted a couple of reviews I didn't know about, of "Vic's Big Walk".

There is this one on

"4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Story December 3, 2012
By Meredith Pike-Baky
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase

I would have loved photos and maps throughout the journal entries. I appreciate so much Vic's dedication and admire his physical strength!! I am inspired to do something similar." 

And this one on

5.0 out of 5 stars A truly inspiring tale, 2 Nov 2012
By Chris Lown - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Vic's Big Walk (Paperback)

Vic's Big Walk is an awe-inspiring tale of bravery, determination and stamina, written by a truly remarkable man. Anyone capable of walking almost 1900 kilometres from SW France to NW England is a hero in my book (although I know Vic finds this term rather embarrassing), but to take on such a task at the age of seventy to raise money for such a worthwhile cause is just extraordinary. I loved 'Vic's Big Walk' - it was inspirational, thought-provoking and beautifully written. 

I don't know either of these kind people but I wish there was some way of telling Meredith that in the book is listed a website where photographs can be seen. The pictures were not included in the book because it would have pushed the price up considerably

I don't know if Chris Lown is the man of that name who wrote the excellent book "Tents and Tent Stability". Whether he was or not, he was moved to make a donation, via my JustGiving page, to pancreatic cancer research. Thanks again, Chris, that is what my efforts are all about.

The website I mention, for pictures associated with the walk, can be found by clicking this link:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Writers' News - Interesting Interview This Month

Reminder - you have until the end of December to apply on Goodreads (eyes right!) for a free, signed copy of "Living In The Real Cyprus".

Friday, December 7, 2012

Isn't Flying Fun?

Only 5 weeks after it took us 2 days to get from Boston to Florida (in the aftermath of the Frankenstorm) we had another nightmare journey, this time from our home in the Pyrenees to my daughter Karen's new home in Switzerland.

Setting off at 0630, we drove to Toulouse. There we encountered the worst Toulouse traffic we have ever seen. It was so bad that it could have been any day on the M6 in England. The journey to the airport took over two and a half hours.

Checked in. Sat there well past our take off time. No announcements. Upon
enquiry, told that the airport was shut down because of a problem with air traffic control. How long to fix it? Don't know, could be all day. We found out later that the radar had conked out

Eventually invited to board. Everybody on, ready to go. No movement. Is there a doctor on board? We have a medical emergency. No reply. Four paramedics came on board. Turns out there was a diabetic problem in the rear. Fixed that, but now that part of the plane had to be cleaned because of vomiting. Hooray, we take off.

Coming in to land at Munich at after the time of our onward flight to Zurich. Lots of announcements about rescheduled connections but in our case, the flight to Zurich has been cancelled.

On the ground, we arranged another flight to Zurich with a wait of 3 hours. They did give us a voucher for meals. After the 3 hours we were told that our flight was delayed because the incoming plane had not yet arrived. When we eventually got on board the plane had to go to another part of the airport for de-icing before takeoff.

Eventually arrived in Zurich where Karen met us. Because it was so late we now had an onward journey involving four trains instead of two. Then a bus ride.

We arrived in Beckenried, on the shores of Lake Lucerne, at half past midnight.
And now we are getting snowed in.

What fun, eh?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Guest Blog

The very interesting blog "The French Village Diaries" is run by Jacqui Brown, who abides in the Deux Sevres area of France.

Jacqui kindly invited me to do a bit of guest bloggery, which can be seen by clicking this link

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Free Books

Until the end of December 2012, you have the chance to enter a draw on There are two prizes, each of which is a copy, autographed by the author and dedicated to the winner, of "Living In The Real Cyprus". Enter where it says "Goodreads Book Giveaway" at the top right of this page. Click on "Enter To Win".

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Next President Of The United States

When we were in the USA recently, the very next day after the election, the TV pundits were already beginning to speculate who the Democrats would select as their candidate to succeed Barack Obama next time round.

One name was Hillary Clinton, who seems by coincidence to be limbering up to retire almost immediately as Secretary of State. Some think she is too divisive, too old, or too Clintonian. Then there is the Vice-President, Joe Biden, who is even older and thought by some to be too gaffe-prone.

But neither of these has declared an interest. They may be too late - look who is already up and running.

Fired up? Ready to go? Vote Willie in 2016!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Save 30% on my books

Between Friday (23 Nov) and Tuesday (27 Nov), Lulu is offering 30% off my books with code REDEMPTIO.

Just go to, search on "Vic Heaney". Select the book(s) then put the code "REDEMPTIO" in at payment stage.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Free Colour Poster

This is the great poster designed for me by Peter Labrow, of

The simple message  (apart from the obvious one that you should buy one of my books) is that I write books to raise funds to save lives, because the proceeds go directly to pancreatic cancer research.

If you would like to help me in that endeavour, I can send you a PDF of the poster. Just e-mail me at You can then  send it out to your contacts via email, Facebook, Twitter or any other method you can think of.  Or you can print it out and place it on any noticeboard you know of - stores, pubs, clubs, et cetera.

Not too much effort required in any of that, but you will hopefully be increasing sales of the book and therefore channeling funds to a cause which is desperate for success in defeating this dreadful illness.

The covers of both books were also designed by Peter Labrow of, specialists in marketging-focused, business-to-business websites, print design and copywriting. Click here to go to the company website. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012


The sun has gone down on our visit to USA. Our journey back took us more than 24 hours and confirmed us in our impression that Frankfurt airport is one of the worst in the world.

I have a lot of catching up to do here at home, including now getting my teeth into proper promotion of my new book. More about that anon.

Here is a thought to get to grips with. Did you know that an ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

First Review Of "Living In The Real Cyprus"

Today I saw the first review, on both Amazon and Goodreads, of "Living In The Real Cyprus".

It looks pretty favourable to me - this is what KEW has to say:
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and informative 7 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
This book has been written as a guide to anyone who is thinking of living in Cyprus, to point out the pros and cons, and is full of useful advice that would prove invaluable to anyone who is considering this. I'm not considering moving to Cyprus but I still found the book to be fascinating. My husband and I had a holiday in Cyprus just before the country joined the euro zone. The country had made quite an impression on us, good and bad, so I found it very interesting to find out more about areas that we had visited, learn more about the Greek Cypriots and about the effect that the divided country and joining the euro had on their lives.

Although the book is aimed at giving advice to anyone who is thinking of living in Cyprus, either full time or part time, I think that others would find this book interesting. If you enjoy travel books, which I do, you may also enjoy this.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Whistlin' Up A Radio Interview

This is Whistlin' Tom. He is an entertainer with a remarkable 3-octave range.

I met him yesterday when we went to Panera Bread for a breakfast muffin and coffee. We had a little chat and it turned out he was with the lady who co-ordinates the Pinellas County Fair and a broadcaster who was just about to interview the two of them.

Before you could say Jack Robinson, I was being interviewed about my books and my big walk, all of which raise funds and awareness in the interests of finding a cure for pancreatic cancer. The interview will be broadcast on CBS Radio on Sunday morning.

Strange the way things work out, isn't it?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Nook Gets My Cyprus Book

"Living In The Real Cyprus" is now available from Barnes&Noble Nook, in addition to Kindle, iBookstore and Kobo.

Pancreatic Cancer Walk And Donation

Yesterday morning we went into St Petersburg and found we had just missed a charity walk to raise funds for pancreatic cancer research. If we had known about that it would have been fun to do instead of the beach exercise we had already undertaken.
When we got back to base and I accessed my e-mail I discovered a donation on JustGiving, from Christopher Lown, who has clearly read and enjoyed my book - I think "Vic's Big Walk". 
Thanks, Chris. Unfortunately, the way JustGiving is now set up, I have no way of thanking you directly.

Loved the book, Vic - inspiring. Congratulations on the fundraising.
Donation by Christopher Lown on 02/11/12

Made It To Florida

We are now in Florida, after a bit of a struggle which involved sitting in Boston Logan airport for most of Thursday, being told various lies before they admitted that the plane wasn't going anywhere because there wasn't a crew available (disruption caused by the Frankenstorm and all flights having been cancelled for two days).

We finally made it as far as Washington that day, where we stayed overnight, with dinner and breakfast provided, along with the hotel billy, by United Airlines, who also seated us in First Class for the flight to Tampa.

It is still the hurricane season here, of course, so we hope there will be no more antics of that nature during the next two weeks.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kobo Gets My Cyprus Book

My new book "Living In The Real Cyprus" is now available on Kobo. "Vic's Big Walk" is already there, of course.

Apple Gets My Cyprus Book

"Living In The Real Cyprus" is now available on iTunes and iBookstore, as well as on Kindle. It will shortly be found on Nook, Kobo, et cetera. "Vic's Big Walk" is already available from all these, as well as from the other major e-book publishers.

Boston Superhero

The Telegrarf today publishes 50 pictures of the unbelievable destruction wrought on the East Coast  by Hurricane Sandy. Click the link to see them:

Much of that damage is in the huge city of New York which, as we all know, is also Metropolis, the home of Superman. Where was he when Metropolis needed him? Why wasn't the big guy sucking up that Frankenstorm into his mighty lungs, flying out near the sun and blowing it out? I suppose you think that sort of thing is fantasy but read on.

Another great question exercising my mind for the past couple of days is how Boston got away so lightly? We were threatened with much of the same disaster that you see pictured above (if you clicked on the link). But as the storm was supposed to be reaching its maximum impact here, it suddenly ceased. I can now reveal, and produce evidence to prove it, that Boston has its own superhero who did in fact save the city.

The pictures below were taken this morning at Panera Bread in Braintree, which is where we have been taking a regular cappuccino, perchance muffin, of a morning while staying here.

First you see Paneraman appearing shyly behind some of the store equipment.

I guess that, after expending all the energy required to save Boston, he has come in - perhaps he himself is a muffin man? - to replenish his powers before jetting off to New York, New Jersey and points south to become the mighty anvil of the rescue efforts there.

Maybe he will need first to fly north to his mountain fastness to receive advice and motivation from his Jor-El equivalent before taking on the task. After all, we are talking a lot of saving to do! I believe this is the place, under that cloud somewhere.

Muscles bulging with muffin and coffee,  realising that the world needs reassurance that he is on his way, he let me persuade him to pause for a moment while I took this photograph of him which I can now broadcast to a planet reeling from the brutality of nature.

And I promised not to reveal that this mighty figure is, when catastrophe does not threaten, the mild-mannered manager of this Panera store.

Click on any picture to enlarge.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

I don't know how it happened but Massachusetts got away very lightly. It was all building up to a horror story, everybody was sent home from work, there was no traffic, the wind was a-howlin', rain was getting heavier and heavier, then before midnight it all went quiet and come morning all we had was a few intermittent showers, no wind at all. Presumably a slight change in course of Hurricane Sandy saved us from the threatened devastation.

Unlike the poor people of New York, New Jersey and other states on the Eastern seaboard. The subway tunnels in New York are flooded with sea water, 8 million homes in New York are without electricity, and there is a mounting death toll.

The picture is borrowed from the Telegrarf and shows taxis stranded in a flooded street in Queens.

Monday, October 29, 2012


We are in Boston, right in the path of Hurricane Sandy, which is being billed as the worst tropical storm ever to hit the US, stretching from Maine on the Canadian border to North Carolina in the heart of the South. It is due to peak here between 11 am this morning (it is 10 am as I write) and the same time tomorrow.

So what have Gay and I just done? We have been for a walk - nothing is as important as getting that blueberry muffin and cappuccino!

You know it's serious when they start tying the lamp posts down!

As I mentioned in my last hurried post, both my books are available in both e-book and paperback formats. Just to remind you that all proceeds of both books go direct to pancreatic cancer research. For full details of where to find the books, click the link at the top right of this page (below the header, of course).

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Cyprus Book on Kindle at Last!

Just dashing out the door to the airport - flying today to Boston, Massachusetts via Toulouse and Munich.

I had a quick look online before packing up my laptop and discovered that my book has just arrived on Kindle.  I need to do things now about publicising it - things I have been poised for weeks to do. But I will be travelling all day, and away from home for 3 weeks now!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Apple Picking Time

There used to be a popular song which went  "I'll be with you in apple blossom time, I'll be with you to change your name to mine ... "

Well, we are well past apple blossom time here, but apple picking time is very important in the area between us and Mirepoix. So much so that they have an annual Apple Fete in the town. Lots of music, jollity and apples. And the mediaeval town square exhibits sculptures made from the fruit. This year, the theme is Africa. See pics below.

And yes, I am still waiting for my Cyprus book to arrive on Kindle, although it has been out in paperback for a month now.

In the meantime I am getting some very good feedback about my stories in the compilation "A Splendid Salmagundi, which is only on Kindle. Just go to any Amazon site and search on "Vic Heaney". It will show my own books and the Salmagundi

Friday, October 19, 2012

Great First Reviews

The Salmagundi was published on Kindle only a couple of days ago, but already there are excellent reviews. Here is one:

5.0 out of 5 stars A Simply Splendid Salmagundi. 18 Oct 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
I downloaded this anthology early today and have barely put it down , such was the quality of the writing.
I found myself amazed at the diversity of the content. Where else could one read of pigeons alongside buffalo, Santa following on from demons and sexy reminiscences, reviews of wrinkle plasters and the shortcomings of hygiene facilities in public toilets in the same contents table as haunted car rides , eerie mountains and inspired poetry.
There are trolls and fantasy friends.Feuds and spaceships share space with resurrected detectives, barn sized computers and pyramids, not to mention, traumatised fathers, dying girlfriends, a poignant funeral and country villages named Slaughter!
I will dream tonight of darkened corridors and creatures at my door seeking permission to enter while my life support machine is switched off and God speaks to tell me the end is nigh.
I am however comforted to know those pesky vampires won't be having a suck tonight and I will still be enjoying eggs fresh from the nest tomorrow while proudly wearing my oak tree lapel pin in the hope that a handsome spy comes knocking and if I am truly blessed he will bring David and his chocolate fountain with him.
No! I am not rambling ( well maybe I am a bit) all this and more is included in this glorious book. There is indeed something for everyone regardless of your preferred genre. Like me you may even be surprised and find yourself drawn to themes you may not have previously considered and in so doing discover some new authors to help you through the dark winter nights ahead.
Comment | 

Not Just Another New Book - A Salmagundi!

I forgot to mention that I have another book out - or at least part of one. A Splendid Salmagundi is full of contributions from a number of authors associated with the Goodreads Amazon Kindle Forum. Two of the contributions, one fiction, one partly fiction, are by yours truly. This is the official blurb for the book, which is available only on Kindle:

"A Splendid Salmagundi" is a delicious salad of short stories seasoned with a light dusting of poems, covering a variety of genres. You will find one or two true stories, some humour, some horror, fantasy, adventure and science fiction. Many are Amazon published authors whose work you may already have read. Others will soon be favourites.

Contributors are alphabetically, D M Andrews, Tim Arnot, R J Askew, Baarbaara, Andrew Barrett, Kath Brinck, Michael Brookes, Alexandra Butcher, DD Chant, Mel Comley, Lexie Conyngham, Raymond Daley, Ian Ellis, Robert Franks, Cornelius Harker, Mark R Faulkner, Vic Heaney, Jonathan Hill, Darren Humphries, Andrew Lawston, Stephen Livingston, Will Macmillan Jones, M T McGuire, Kath Middleton, Marc Nash, Harry Nicholson, Jenny Shaw, Rosen Trevithick, Simon Turpin, David Wailing, Jim Webster, Philip Whiteland."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pancreatic Cancer - Doing Your Bit

Join Us
on Nov 1st

Raise Your Voice on 1st November and invite your local MP to our next APPG meeting!

Join us on our Day of Action to kick off Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

Pancreatic Cancer needs putting on the Parliamentary agenda and we can’t do it without you! On Thursday 1st November we’re counting on you to speak up by calling your local MP and inviting them to the next meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pancreatic Cancer being held at 4pm on 19th November.

Getting involved is easy and will only take you a few minutes:

1)      If you’re not sure who your local representative is, find your MP.
2)      Call their constituency office and ask to speak to your MP. If they’re not there, leave them a message.
3)      Explain who you are, what your connection to pancreatic cancer is, if you have one, and invite your MP to attend the APPG meeting.
4)      Encourage all your friends and family to call too – the more voices, the better!

If you want to call but aren’t sure what to say, head to our Day of Action page on the website and have a read of our Quick Tips Guide. And don’t forget to leave a message if your MP isn’t there; you can always call back to check  if they received it.
We’re aiming to reach as many MPs around the country as possible on November 1st, to show them how important this issue is to all of our supporters. We need all hands on deck: it’s time to rally the troops and get calling!

Once you've called, we’d love to hear all about how your calls go and what responses you get or messages you’ve left: you can tell us either by leaving us a message on ourFacebook wall or via Twitter or sending an email to!

Thank you,
Ms. Alex Ford (Chief Executive, Pancreatic Cancer UK) and team

Friday, October 12, 2012

My New Book Is Now At Amazon

The paperback version of my new book has beaten the e-version to the punch at Amazon. I was led to believe that the paperback would take 6 to 8 weeks to make it from the publisher to Amazon listing, but only 3 weeks has expired. Possibly because I already have a book on there and have established a reputation for quality?

The e-version should have taken only a couple of weeks to make the same journey to availability on Kindle but I was informed yesterday, upon querying the delay, that a "technical error" had held my book up and, after being unblocked as a result of my message, things will now be expedited.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Out And About With Nikon

I have a new superduper Nikon camera so here are a few photographs from our recent walks to occupy my idle hands while waiting for "Living In The Real Cyprus" to arrive at Amazon Kindle (any day now).

You can see enlarged versions of these pictures by clicking once on any one of them, which will provide you with a gallery.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

20% Off Either Of My Books - Until Friday 5th October

For the next 3 days, until Friday 5th October, you can get a 20% discount off either of my paperback books if you buy them direct from the publisher, and apply the special discount code. This is what you do.

Go to On the home page you will see a discount code, which is probably PLUMA - the code is case-sensitive. Go to the very bottom of the page to make sure you are in the store for the correct country (USA,  UK, et cetera). Then check the discount code again - it may vary from country to country.

Then at the top of the page search on "Vic Heaney", this will take you to the page where you can put one or other, or both of my books into your shopping basket.

When you have finished shopping and go to Checkout, you will be asked to insert the discount code, which will give you your 20% off.

Happy shopping!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Another Big Walker! And At The Same Time!

July 23rd 2010 was my 70th birthday. On that day I terminated my own long-distance walk, 70 days, almost 2,000 kilometres, at the house of my birth in Northern England, having walked, most of the way alone, from my home in the South of France.

On that same day, unknown to me of course, Bill Walker arrived at Santiago de Compostela, having walked for 5 weeks along the famous Camino. He did not enter the city until the following day, the holy day for this city in a holy year.

As soon as I knew of Bill's book I just had to read it and compare his experiences with mine, as well, of course, as comparing my book with his.

There were huge differences in the two walks. I walked mainly alone, at the age of 70. Bill walked in company with an apparently endless stream of people, for about half of my distance. His hike obviously had religious overtones and consequent musings. Much of his writing is about other pilgrims while my own is about people I met on the walk or musings and memories from my life.

An amusing difference for me is that, although, because my project was called Vic's Big Walk, I am known to many people as Big Walker, despite being, at a push, 5 feet 7 inches tall. Bill really is a Big Walker, at over 6 feet 11 inches, obviously the cause of much attention on the Camino.

There are some glaring errors which I hope he will correct, such as Christopher Columbus setting off for the Americas from the Galapagos Islands, the Basques being in North East Spain and the Inquisition having been invented in the late 15th century to deal with Spanish Jewry (it was actually started in 12th century France, in the area where I now live, to wipe out, in conjunction with a long and bloody crusade, the Cathars, who were Christian.

I enjoyed Bill's book, its descriptions of the people, friends and otherwise, along the way - its depiction of the daily struggle to get a bed for the night - and his obvious falling in love with Spain and especially Galicia.

But I think I will continue to walk alone.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Two Books To Save Lives

My second book - Living In The Real Cyprus - is now available for purchase in paperback. It is available from Amazon or direct from the publisher Lulu - to get to the correct Lulu page click  HERE

It will be available in e-book form from Amazon Kindle in a few days and on all the other major platforms shortly after that.

My first book - Vic's Big Walk from SW France to NW England - can also be found in paperback at or from Amazon. The e-book version is available from Amazon Kindle, iPad, Sony, Kobo, Barnes&Noble Nook, Baker &Taylor, eBookPie, Copia and Gardner's Books.

All proceeds from both books go direct to pancreatic cancer research.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

There Is Beauty All Around

 I think we all go round with our eyes closed, or at least not seeing much which is there. I have passed this window in Mirepoix scores of times but never seen it before. It is opposite the door of one of my favourite boulangeries. As my friend Peter says, it is surprising what you see if you look up.

If you double-click on one of these pictures, it will enlarge and give you a gallery of the others, which will also enlarge if you select them.

The next few were taken on a recent visit to Alet-les-Bains, which is an ancient place which we bypass frequently and  to which we do not give enough attention.

This is a nice view in Chalabre, 8 kms from our house.

And this is inside the covered market at Lavelanet, a few yards from the stage where I made my first guitar-playing appearance.