Happy News/Strange News

Happy News #1

Had a great time at the UK’s annual Sci-Fi and Fantasy Convention (Follycon) in Harrogate. Met some old friends and made some new ones. Learned a lot and had a few new ideas sparked. Delighted to say that my friend David Allan got his first publishing contract. Congrats, David!

Happy News #2

The final part of my sci-fi trilogy (Janus Arrival: Journey’s End) was released on April 1st and sales are very satisfying. I’m already at work on my next book.

Paradise is a ride away – if you survive the journey.

So near, yet so far away…

SS Challenge has arrived in the Andromeda galaxy. Their landing party is held hostage on the planet Tenebra. Communications are cut off. Tenebra’s military forces launch an attack on the ship. Slavery and worse horrors await if the ship is taken.

Zag Bishop must lead his forces into battle in space and on land. In the mines, Angel Flores and Katya Ulyanov struggle to survive and escape their forced labor prison.

As the enemy fleet gathers, crucial decisions are forced upon the ten thousand travelers from Earth about their future in this galaxy.

Who will reach paradise? And will it be a true New Eden for them?

Strange News

The strange part was the new UK Customs/Immigration checks. Arriving at Hull docks off the Belgium ferry, I was asked, “How long are you staying for?” I know this is usual at other countries’ borders, but it was the first time I was ever asked this in the UK in over fifty years of travel.

“How long are you staying for?”

Gut reaction: “I have a full British passport. I am a British citizen. I have right of residence. I’ll stay as long as I damn well please!

My actual reply? “Three or four weeks.” (I didn’t want to play internal searches and three-day lockups.)

He then asked my itinerary.

None of your damn business!” sprang to mind.

Instead, I told him. (Internal searches and three-day lockups also sprang to mind.)

On leaving the UK, headed back to Luxembourg, I was asked, “How much currency are you carrying?”

Again, this is normal for other countries’ border checks, but the first time I had ever been asked this when leaving the UK. It seems there’s a little-publicised cash-exporting limit of £10,000 and – confusingly – a £1,000 limit when leaving Hull docks. You work that one out.

I know there were UK currency controls in place during the Sixties, but they had been abandoned decades ago – or so I thought.

I didn’t have more than a couple of hundred in all currencies, so I was allowed to leave the country – after my car was searched for… whatever Customs and Immigration search outgoing cars for. To fill their quota, perhaps? But they were pleasant; it was cool.

I understand and appreciate border controls, especially the safety/security part when I’m about to sail a couple of hundred miles across icy waters. But I do hope the UK doesn’t turn into the unwelcoming hell that is New York’s JFK airport. (Been there twice. The second time was due to a diversion and very much against my will. Never, never, never again!)

Safe and happy travels to you all!

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