All posts by Ned Kelly

Location as inspiration – Venice, Italy.

Thanks to Jackie for her post on ‘Like Strawberry Tea’ On a short break to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary a few seconds looking out the window of a Venetian hotel and a large chunk of my next book formed almost instantly. On first sight I thought the canal was a backwater but it proved to be on the main gondola route, dozens passed every hour despite the weather. Now consider their individual stories and a myriad of ideas spring to mind. So wherever you are don’t just look but see, don’t just hear but listen. The muse should flow naturally from that!

An Invitation to go Virtual Sailing! Part 1

marmaris comp

The wind is howling through the marina in Marmaris, Turkey and even in the shelter of the harbour walls the yacht is tugging at her mooring lines restlessly. She seems keen to get out and face the elements again. I know it will a more settled day tomorrow with a fair wind to sail along the coast to a beautiful anchorage at the end of the peninsula. The bay is sheltered and has several restaurants with the prospect of good food, a few drinks and a peaceful night gently bobbing round the anchor. This idyllic spot also provides a respite from city traffic as no cars and indeed no roads spoil the tranquillity.

But there is a problem, I have no crew. I could go by myself but the voyage would be more difficult single handed and what fun would it be to visit this beautiful spot without someone to share it with?

Now, here’s a thought, why don’t you join me? You don’t know anything about sailing? Doesn’t matter, everyone that sails had to start somewhere and it might just whet your appetite for it.
You’re up for it? Good! I think you will enjoy it. See you in the morning about nine thirty and we’ll set off about ten. Sleep well, remember to bring some warm clothes it can be cool in the wind on the open sea.

Small gg

Morning, come onboard. I’ve set everything up ready to go. I’ll talk you through a few things over coffee.
You can swim, can’t you? Excellent! Otherwise you would have to wear a lifejacket. If the weather gets rough I may ask you to put one on anyway as a precaution. Don’t worry, the weather forecast is fine for sailing today but the Aegean Sea can be surprising sometimes.
I have no intention of leaving you on your own on the yacht but accidents can happen so there are a few things you need to know. This is the radio and it will be on all the time until we anchor and this switch turns on the navigation lights. The instructions are here on how to put out a distress call. Should I fall over overboard, stop the boat and I’ll show you how to do that when we move off.
If I can’t get back onboard or you can’t see me, put out a distress call and turn on the lights. There are lots of vessels around that can come to our assistance. Don’t look so worried, these are all just precautions better than trying to find out on your own. As they say on airlines ‘In the unlikely event…’.
Now, try on this life jacket and adjust it to fit. Comfortable? Okay, we’ll stow it away again.
I’ll just start the engine to let it warm up and we’ll tidy away any loose gear that can roll around when we are moving.
Any questions so far? No? Remember there is no such thing as a stupid question there is only a stupid answer.
You’re going to let off the lines at the dock end and I will do the same at the other end. We’ll take this one off now and coil it up. It goes in this locker here. And when I wave to you from the cockpit you do the same with the other. Bring the line onboard and make sure no ends are trailing over the side as they might get caught on the propeller and then the boat will be without power in the confined space of the marina!
When we get moving I would like you to watch out for any boats we come close to and push us off with the boat hook. Please don’t use your legs to fend off the boats as there is a good chance you will get trapped. Anyway I’ll do my best not to get too close to anything.
Ready to go? Okay, let the other line go your end and then sit down on the cabin top so I can see.

My end is now free so I will drive backwards and then turn towards the harbour mouth.
So we managed to get out without hitting anything. Come back into the cockpit and relax. We can now see Marmaris bay open up in front of us.

To be continued with Part 2 – The open sea.

Titanic to sail again!

Recently in the news an Australian billionaire and a Chinese shipyard are joining forces to build an almost exact replica of the Titanic which will, in 2016, sail the previous route taken by her ill fated predecessor.  A staggering 40,000 people have already applied for places on this trip at astronomical prices.  The ship has a family connection for me and the author DJ Kelly with whom I share a Great Grandfather who had worked on the construction of the original.  The thought came to today as I lazed in the cockpit of my considerably smaller vessel in Turkey, what sort of people would be attracted to such a journey? Can it be a fun thing to do considering that 1,502 people perished in the icy waters of the Atlantic on the first trip? Or is there some sort of closure if the Titanic eventually sails past the Statue of Liberty in New York?

There is obviously a few books in the making here if any aspiring author wants to consider this as inspiration (Denise?).  The media coverage will be immense should all the plans come to fruition.

Maybe one or two of the prospective 40,000 will chance by this blog and throw their hat into the ring.  I’d appreciate your input!

Until the Fat Man Sings – another 5* review but with a cloud!

The following 5* review appeared for a short period on Amazon then was removed.  Anyone any clues as to why?

A thoroughly gripping adventure story. I hope that we hear more of Mike Balmayne in the near future. I am an avid reader and critic but this is a new genre for me, stumbled across accidentally. I am certain that all the male readers of this novel, will be envious of Balmayne not least for his long suffering and wonderful wife Caroline.           

H. Clayton.

My first novel on Kindle

Until the Fat Man Sings

Published on Kindle on 28th January 2013. (Link to the book in the right hand column)


Mike Balmayne, a larger than life hard-working, hard-playing oil executive, plans a well-earned holiday with his wife but unwittingly gets entangled with some shady characters involved in international crime. After extricating himself from potential danger he returns to his oil business. Through a chain of events involving poor health and a bad choice of business partner, he loses the business he built up over years. His world and that of his family, collapses around him. Desperate situations sometimes require desperate solutions, which leads him back to his criminal connections. He hatches an ingenious but high-risk plan to recover his financial losses and take revenge on his business partner. However, his principal intent is to ensure that his actions do not cause any detriment to innocent people, and he plans on being able extricate himself on completion unscathed. To do this, he must play with and against the criminal elements and the authorities of several countries. Will he succeed?

Reviews to date (2)

5.0 out of 5 stars A cracking good yarn! 1 Feb 2013
By Amazon regular
Format:Kindle Edition There is little a man wouldn’t do for the happiness and security of his loved ones. When respectable, successful, hardworking, high-living businessman Mike Balmayne sees everything he has worked hard for all his life snatched away from him, he reacts with surprising courage and initiative. But beyond his insouciant Irish charm and good humour, the affable Mike has hidden depths. And Mike has friends – good friends. This is a well-paced and well-written thiller which sees this ex-navy man take to the air and the sea in pursuit of rough justice and revenge. This book is ‘unputdownable’ and the writer takes us all the way with Balmayne, to some exotic locations which the author clearly knows well. The characters are well-drawn and credible, the dialogue sharp and the action gripping. Anyone who has lived in Portugal will laugh out loud over the crack about the local police. This is an engaging plot and makes a thoroughly enjoyable read, especially if you are lying in the sun, on the deck of your yacht, observing the position of the sun over your yardarm and working up a thirst for your first drink of the day – or sitting on the train to work and imagining yourself there! A good first outing from a talented writer from whom I do hope we shall see more.

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Feb 2013
By Tilquhillie
Having heard about this book being in the pipeline for some considerable time I had no idea what to expect. Not being one of your average book-worms it takes something intriguing with a good story-line and some ‘ducking and diving’ to hold my attention. And this has it. I read it cover to cover in two outings.

The introduction of his family, wife, son and daughter along with his professional life style and committments is highly plausible as someone who works hard plays hard and exhudes an honesty which he wears on his sleeve and expects the same of others. Unfortunately in the high octane powerhouse of business, legit or otherwise, honesty can be as real as a Fata Mor’gana.

In the midst of some well earned family time he discovers just how much his honesty of others is a very scarce if not non existant commodity.

His comfortable middle/upper class world suddenly collapses around him leaving him and his family very close to ‘skid-row’.

With his back against a seemingly immovable wall his keen Irish brain and past naval experience which built his successful business and provided all the trappings of comfort for his family is about to be played out across Europe.

The story will keep you riveted to the very last chapter.

Whilst the book flows well from cover to cover the story-line leaves ample opportunity for a sequel to be spawned from this thrilling yarn.