10 February 2020

I released "The Revenge of the Druids" last year but received some comments that I should have linked it more closely to my earlier novel "The Annunaki" as the first book inspired the later. I have merged the two and "The Annunaki Books 1 & 2 are now released as a single book. Enjoy them both. "The Annunaki" has been a consistent seller since its release but "The Revenge of the Druids" is probably the book I enjoyed writing the most out of all of my books. - https://www.amazon.com/Annunaki-Books-1-2-ebook/dp/B084DHVGXY

21 November 2019

After trying a few ideas I have now settled on another book. It will probably take a year or two to write so I may be absent from here for a while. You can always contact me at atende@outlook.com. (Atende is the heroine of 1809; The Year they Freed the Slaves.)

March 30, 2019

I am running a Facebook ad in Phnom Phen to find out what interest there is in The Kings of Angkor. It is a very limited campaign but has received over one thousand likes and eighty shares. Okay, they're not sales but it demonstrates that the people of Cambodia have an interest in the book and I need to work out a way to get it into the retail outlets. I experienced similar results with The Kings of the Toungoo Empire and seem to be facing the same brick wall. The lack of effective copyright protection in both countries deters publishers.

February 11, 2019

"Miasma; The Return of the Druids" has been deleted, but like an all-new car it still exists in the new "The Revenge of the Druids." Same front story, new and improved back story, and the Druids do, indeed, get their revenge. www.amazon.com/Revenge-Druids-Robert-Smith-ebook/dp/B07NL47FX5

January 27, 2019

"The Kings of Angkor" has been released on Kindle as an Ebook and a paperback today. You can find it here www.amazon.com/dp/B07N56RBXD. The first in the South East Asia series, the others being "The Kings of Ayutthaya," and "The Kings of the Toungoo Empire," it tells the story of the rise and fall of the builders of the great city of Angkor Wat from the perspective of those who were inspired to build it: the kings. 

December 4, 2018

I was asked to submit an article to a UK magazine on writing about South-east Asian history:

An accidental journey into South-east Asian history

It was curiosity that first got me started. I was visiting Wat Yai as it is known locally with my Thai wife. The temple, more correctly called Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, is the home of the gold-covered statue of Phra Phuttha Chinnarat and one of the most revered temples in Thailand. Little did I know that this temple would feature in a book that would slowly develop in my western mind.

As we left, a procession of Muay Thai fighters together with an entourage suitable for Las Vegas entered to give thanks for a recent victory. I never did find out what they were celebrating. My wife, Ananya, had no idea and English is a commodity rarely spoken in Phitsanulok the town in central Thailand where I live, but my interest was piqued. What I did find out was that they were giving thanks to Buddha but also to King Naresuan the Great, Thailand's national hero who was born in Phitsanulok. At that time a crossroads near the city center was surrounded by four giant red, black and yellow chickens. We even had our own, slightly smaller, chicken in our garden as do many homes in the town.

The only thing I could find out was they were connected in some way with King Naresuan, but little else. Phitsanulok is a sleepy town particularly if you are a Falang, as the Thais call us. I had written textbooks as a sideline in England before I moved here, and since arriving had written three self-published novels just to prove to myself that I could write. Writing, self-publishing, and getting published was a world that I was to become familiar with. I started to research King Naresuan both by visiting the ruins of the Chan Palace, attending the national day celebrations, and searching on the Internet. The first problem was that almost everything was in Thai which is a language well beyond my ability, but if you delve for long enough then things begin to come together. I consider myself a novelist, not a historian and that was to be my approach. In my head, I called it “faction,” an approach where I would gather the facts and blend them into a story. It took about nine months to put the novel together and get it critiqued and proofread.

On the spur of the moment, I submitted it to two South-east Asian publishers and got a bite. Joel Atkins at Silkworm Books liked it and gave me a few more ideas and told me that what I had written fell under the category of “narrative non-fiction.” I went away and turned it into more of a novel to make it interesting. Unfortunately, they didn't take the finished manuscript up, and I put the book on Kindle as self-published.

It was a few months later that we visited Ayutthaya. A fascinating city, and one I wanted to know more about. I wanted to know not only what I was looking at but the context. Again, there was little information available apart from brochures and Internet articles. Then inspiration struck. It sounds obvious but why not write about the kings of Ayutthaya, as I had written about King Naresuan, and in chronological order. It seemed easy, but it wasn't to prove easy. The further you go back in history fewer records are generally available. Details were recorded on materials that have rotted away, been destroyed by the kings themselves, or were burned in the Burmese invasion that saw the end of Ayutthaya as a capital city.

The story of Ayutthaya begins in Sukhothai where some records are available, the King Ram Khamhaeng Inscription being one and the novel was off and running. I have spoken to some people from the west who make the assumption that the history of South-east Asia is recorded as in England or the U.S.A. This is not the case. History has to be pieced together, particularly if you are building a novel around the events of the period. I submitted the finished work to Silkworm Books who received it enthusiastically. They are Thailand's foremost English-language publisher and specialize in books of social significance. I had to earn a lot as Joel Atkins, the editor, dissected the book from beginning to end. I like to think he learned a lot, I know I did. The book was published in mid-2017. I wrote another, more topical book before returning to writing something more serious. “The Rise and Fall of the Toungoo Empire,” was the result.

There are many characters in South-east Asian history, but one who stood out to me was the Burman king, King Bayinnaung who followed his friend King Tabinshwehti on the throne following a series of revolts after the late king's death. It was a story that needed telling and despite knowing that it would be unlikely to be published as it comes close to aspects of “The Kings of Ayutthaya,” particularly in the reigns of King Maha Thammaracha and King Naresuan although it views the events from a Burman perspective.

One heart attack and one cancer operation later I wrote another contemporary book before deciding that what I really wanted to do was tackle “The Kings of Angkor.” In my mind, these books “The Kings of Angkor,” “The Kings of Ayutthaya,” and the renamed “Kings of the Toungoo Empire,” (the largest Empire you have never heard of) were a trilogy that covered South-east Asia. Finding material was, at times, excruciating. Records of the kings are fragmented and subject to conjecture. Like my other novels, you have to piece the story and then build a novel around it.

“The Kings of Ayutthaya,” carries the subtitle “A Creative Retelling,” and that is true of all the books in the series. The history is incomplete, and my role was to put the events together in a manner that, to my mind, remained true to the facts as I saw them. They were a joy to write and were a challenge to write, but what I have learned about my adopted country of Thailand and its neighbors has been informative and fascinating. “The Kings of Angkor,” is doing the rounds of agents and publishers. You never know if a book will be adopted. In many ways that is unimportant. I titled this piece “An accidental journey into South-east Asian history,” and that is exactly what this adventure has been.

October 27, 2018

I will be working on this site while me "The Kings of Angkor" is being proofread so please accept my apologies if it looks a bit unfinished. As well as a dedicated page to "The Kings of Angkor," I am changing the title of "The Rise and Fall of the Toungoo Empire," to "The Kings of the Toungoo Empire," and republish the book. This allows me to form a trilogy that goes from Angkor to Ayutthaya to the Toungoo Empire, and encompasses the histories of modern-day Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar.

October 20, 2018

The first draft of "The Kings of Angkor," has just been forwarded to my proofreader. For me it is the culmination of three (four if you include the de-listed "King Naresuan the Great,") books that have taken me on a journey to a past history of Asia that was beyond my imagination. With a heart attack and cancer this year I felt it was a bit of a race against time to complete the trilogy, but I am pleased that I did.

Now to see if I can find a publisher??

August 27, 2018

I have knocked out the first five chapters of "The Kings of Angkor," my next narrative non-fiction novel. The book is even more problematic to research than "The Kings of Ayutthaya," or "The Rise and Fall of the Toungoo Empire." There is little evidence left behind by the Khmer themselves as the material the wrote on has rotted away over the years. Carvings and writings on temples and buildings give a taste of life. Experts, seem to have conflicting views on many areas of the Khmer history. It is a case of carefully plotting your way through. I think the first draft will take at least a year - which should keep me busy!

July 29, 2018

"Miasma; The Return of the Druids" is now available on Kindle as an e-book and a paperback. I must admit I like it! Only one review so far but some pretty positive responses. www.amazon.com/Miasma-Return-Druids-Robert-Smith-ebook/dp/B07FJ7BHD3

June 19, 2018

For therapy I started to write another book. Miasma; The Revenge of the Druids is coming along nicely. Probably only 30,000 words it is a mix of horror, historical fiction, and fantasy. A taste (early days so please accept my apologies for any typos!):

Mary, child, wake up, you are having a nightmare,” said Jake, placing the candle on the floor by her bed and shaking her awake by her shoulders. Her eyes opened wide with terror.

“Father, I can feel death,” said Mary. “Hundreds of souls are surrounding me.”

“Settle down my child. 'Tis only a nightmare,” said Jake trying to reassure her.

“No father, 'tis real. I can see them as clearly as I can see you. Hundreds, the pain of their death is unbearable,” Mary almost shouted.

“We must go now. They are waiting for us,” said Mary as she got out of her truckle bed.

“It is a nightmare. Settle down child,” said her father.

“No, 'tis real. Hundreds dead over by the headland. I can feel them, I can smell them,” said Mary. “We must go.”

“Come my child. It is your imagination. You have been seeing things since your mother passed. It is just your imagination,” said Jake imploringly.

“No, father. We must go now,” she replied. “The dead are calling. They cannot wait. They have met a black death, an evil death.”

“The wind is up. A storm from the east is coming. The sky foretold as much last evening. Put on your shawl just in case. The sun is rising,” said her father realizing he had no chance of quieting her.

“Quick father bar the door. We must hurry.” “Be patient girl. Lead on,” he replied.

She walked quickly along the barren path that led over the dunes above the headland. Jake struggled to keep up at times. They moved in silence. He was afraid for his daughter. Just thirteen she had endured so much. Her three brothers had died of the wasting sickness, and she had watched as he mother died giving birth to a fourth, stillborn. Her gangly legs showed no signs of slowing. Finally, they breasted the rise that led down to the headland.

“Look a ship,” she said. “They are all dead. I know it.”

They both broke into a run as they made their way down and along the shore. The sun rose silhouetting the ship against the early morning sky. Jake gagged. The smell was overpowering. Mary fell to her knees only twenty yards from the aged hulk.

“We must get help,” said Jake. “Come.”

“No father I will stay with the dead until you return. They have much they want to tell me.”

“Stay here and do not board the ship. Do you understand me,” said her father as he looked down at her. He realized it was futile to ask her to come with him. Mary just remained still. Her father crossed to the western side of the headland where the small fishing community of Cape Charles lay. Some hours passed before he returned on foot with William Suggins, the village headman accompanied by four men, all carrying weapons. Mary had not moved.

“It's no more than an ancient Schooner,” said William. “It looks like a derelict. How did it make the journey across the ocean?” he asked as they crested the dunes and looked down on the wooden hulk beached almost intact below.

“The stench is overpowering. I am a'feard what we will find,” said Jake.

“I hope my child has fared well.” Jake ran ahead to where Mary waited. She was still in the same position as he left her. On her knees looking toward the ship.

“Mary, child?” he asked. Mary looked at him, her eyes ablaze like that of a madman. He knew he had lost her before she spoke. Suddenly she sprang to her feet and shouted seeming curses at him in a language that he had no familiarity. Her arms flailed wildly as she moved to attack him. She was only a slip of a girl, but the ferocity of the attack forced him back. She was his daughter but was she still?

“May 15, 2018

A few more weeks in hospital but I escaped. Not much on the writing front but I have updated the ebook cover of "The New World Order" in an attempt to up the sales. There is no doubt that is you self-publish and fail to promote your book no one will ever find it - so don't get taken to hospital for three months or so just after your release a book!

April 8, 2018

A few weeks in the hospital gave me the time to edit "The Rise and Fall of the Toungoo Empire" again. Although I did get help with the initial edit I still managed to find a few errors that crept through. Much like "The Kings of Ayutthaya" the complexity of the names and the unpredictability of the story makes editing difficult. More than that both books were written to provide an introduction to Siamese and Burman history as I could find only limited information and was curious. To find an editor with any subject knowledge was not possible. Silkworm Books did a great job for "The Kings of Ayutthaya" but finding a Myanmar/Burmese editor for "The Rise and Fall of the Toungoo Empire (TRFTE)" was beyond my range of contacts.

I like the final release of TRFTE and hope it starts to sell. When I was writing it I wondered who would buy it. It is about a subject little known outside Myanmar and it will be interesting to see if people will venture into something new. Readers tend to stick within a narrow band so we will see.

As a writer I moved from alternative history, to sci-fi, to contemporary fiction, to narrative non-fiction and back to contemporary fiction with "The New World Order." I tend to write what I feel is interesting rather than stick to a repetitive genre and format and hope to gather a following that appreciates that

February 2, 2018

Unfortunately I have had a few health issues of late and have been forced to put my writing aside for a while. Will still be checking in so if you want to contact me feel free.

December 29, 2017

I've finally been doing some marketing. In terms of writing I have been doing things all wrong. If you want a chance at financial success it appears you need to write what people want - where's the fun in that. I write what I feel needs to be written. I like to challenge people to think. I will continue. On that note I alreadyhave two spiffing five star reviews for "The New World Order." All the very best for the New Year.

December 14, 2017

That was interesting! I ran a Facebook Ad in the Yangon, Myanmar area promoting "The Rise and Fall of the Toungoo Empire." Nothing special, just trying to see if there was any interest. 1,600 likes and nearly 240 shares later I feel overwhelmed and humbled. The interest in history in Myanmar is huge. Having self-published this book it is only available from Amazon or Createspace. Few people have a credit card and fewer are registered with Amazon. I owe it to those people who responded to make the book more readily available to them. But how?

December 7, 2017

Finally set up a Facebook page. Find me at fb.me/RSAuthor or message me at m.me/RSAuthor

December 5, 2017

One agents comment on "The New World Order." "Hugely entertaining, but not for us." I love this publishing game!

November 25, 2017

"The Rise and Fall of the Toungoo Empire" has now been released on Kindle. A paperback version is available. It only needs Amazon to tie them up (usually takes a few days.)

November 17, 2017

"The New World Order" is now finished and is being sent to agents who may chose to represent it. Writing it was very cathartic as one on the underlying themes of the book is the impact of Brexit on the United Kingdom, which I am not a fan of!

The novel starts in the year 2027 where the ramifications of the twin political decisions of 2016, Brexit and the election of Donald Trump have left their mark. Daniel Day, an Englishman who is forced to work overseas due to the declining British economy, visualises an idea for a better world. He questions why democracy has failed so badly and sets out to develop “Modern Democracy,” a computer-based system that can manage a nation's economy using the Intuitive Technology available by the year 2027.

The system he designs understands the complex economies of countries in a manner that politicians are failing to do. More than that, the resultant system is interactive with the public involving them on a continual basis. Securing backing from Jasper Sigurdsen of Icelandic IT, together they set out to make this concept a reality. Trialed first in Iceland and then memorably introduced to Africa by Ruth Onwuatuegwa in Chapter 5, the Modern Democracy system proves itself, gradually gaining adherents around the world.

Africa is inspired by Ruth Onwuatuegwa and Masozi, daughter of the President of Namibia. Together with Melissa Sigurdsen, they market Modern Democracy, first in Africa and then throughout the world. The world's richest man is murdered (sand iron to the back of the head!) and this leads to a further development, Modern Capitalism inspired by Marcus Delavane, a partner in that infamous game of golf, who questions his wealth and his existence, and adds his financial software to that of Modern Democracy.

The result is Modern Capitalism, an assault on the “three evils” of capitalism; tax avoidance, tax evasion, and corruption. Amidst all this; Vladimir Putin dies and the “Great Revolution” takes place within Russia, America fails to recognise change, South-East Asia takes a long hard look at itself, and Great Britain re-joins the European Union after being a pariah for many years. The Courtney Black trial, the lady who hit the world's richest man, William DeVine in the back of the head with her sand iron, inadvertently starts the “Burn the Boats” campaign where the yachts of the mega-rich are set alight while docked in port. The wealth gap is exposed as never before. 60,000 increasingly fast-paced words that involve live conversations, the media via live streaming, talk shows, presentations, and discussions as the story moves around the world to its inevitable conclusion; The New World Order, but not the one of the conspiracy theorists.

October 27, 2017

I tend to neglect my blog, particularly when I am writing. The Kindle version of "The Kings of Ayutthaya" has yet to go up. I am assured this will be rectified shortly.

I will probably post "The Tiger King of Siam" on Kindle. I have only tried a few agents, and the book which takes us into the fledgling world of prizefighting in London in the period 1710 -1720 has been well-received, but is a bit "specialist." i.e. not a mass market seller! I expect a similar respose for "The Rise and Fall of the Toungoo Empire," which is out in agency-land. Again, you could class it as "specialist" but it is also very interesting. We will see.

I an currently working on a novel, "The New World Order, which starts in the year 2027; eleven years after the political apocalypse of 2016 - Brexit in the United Kingdom and the election of Donald Trump in America. Democracy is being questioned and Daniel Day, a computer programmer develops "Modern Democracy" under the premise that the world has become to fast-moving and complex for politicians to understand. If politicians do not understand then what chance does the general public have? Set against a backdrop of African democracy, corruption, the "great revolution" in Russia and the elite of the 1% questioning their role in society it brings forth "The New World Order." Not the one of the conspiracy theorists, but one that is more equal for all of society. As Marcus Delevane says in the book " We (the elite of the 1%) are the beneficiaries of the production era. We are now in the information technology era. We serve no purpose in modern society."

And yes, there is a murder tucked away in the middle of the book. The murder, back of the head with a sand iron on the golf course,It is the catalyst for a major change in thinking. Anyway, it should be finished in a month or two. We shall see.

October 22, 2017

"The Kings of Ayutthaya" has now been released worldwide.

September 25, 2017

Jack has left the building!! It is with great sadness that I announce that my pen name, Jack Lourens has gone. He has been replaced by my real name; Robert Smith. One thing I learned was that changing your name is not easy - particularly in the world of publishing! My Goodreads profile, my Amazon author central profile has been updated, and my book covers changed. Jack was "a writer that makes you think" so I will endevor to follow in his footsteps.

August 23, 2017

I am about to launch my new website! And here it is .....

"The Kings of Ayutthaya" is available now at Silkworm Books in Chiang Mai https://silkwormbooks.com/collections/frontpage/products/kings-of-ayutthaya. Copies are available at Books Kinokuniya in Bangkok and the book is slowly becoming available across Thailand.

The international launch is staggered during October, but the book is currently available for pre-order at:

Kindle: www.amazon.com/Kings-Ayutthaya-Creative-Retelling-Siamese/.../616215134


Readings: https://www.readings.com.au/.../the-kings-of-ayutthaya-a-creative-retelling-of-siamese

New Zealand

Mighty Ape: https://www.mightyape.co.nz › ... › History › Asian / Middle Eastern history


ibs.it: https://www.ibs.it/kings-of-ayutthaya-creative.../9786162151347


Bokus: www.bokus.com/.../the-kings-of-ayutthaya-a-creative-retelling-of-s...

United Kingdom

Browns Books for Students: www.brownsbfs.co.uk/Product/Smith.../The-Kings-of-Ayutthaya.../9786162151347

Foyles: www.foyles.co.uk › History & Politics › Regional & national history › Asian history

Telegraph Bookshop: https://books.telegraph.co.uk/Product/.../The-Kings-of-Ayutthaya--A.../20996085

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-kings-of-ayutthaya/robert.../9786162151347

United States

University of Washington Press www.washington.edu/uwpress/search/books/SMIKIN.html

Overstock: https://www.overstock.com › Books & Media › Books › Fiction Books › General Fiction

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Kings-Ayutthaya-Robert-Smith/9786162151347

I understand more bookstores will carry the book by the time of the international launch. Please let me know what you think? thekingsofayutthaya@gmail.com. Feedback is always important to an author. You can also check me out at facebook/JackLourensAuthor.

To kick this new website off I have transfered material my previous website at: www.jacklourens.wordpress.com. I will add my thoughts and comments as time progresses but for now feel free to browse.

April 30, 2017

The Rise and Fall of the Toungoo Empire is nearing its end. Sorry, no posts for a while. I have been busy writing my narrative non-fiction novel with the spectacular title of “The Rise and Fall of the Toungoo Empire.” It started out as a book about King Bayinnaung, but I included all four kings. For those of you who don’t know, and that is probably 99.9% of the world, the Toungoo Empire was the largest empire ever seen in South-East Asia.

As with “The Kings of Ayutthaya,” I have written it using as much dialogue as I can. The reason is that this allows me to impart some flavor of the period and the motivations that led the four kings to act in the way they did. It’s a good story, and a largely untold one. Next test, can I get it published? Will it be copied and sold in Myanmar (where copyright seems limited)? In many ways it doesn’t matter. It would be good if it sold in huge numbers, but for that I would have to write detective novels or erotica. It is a niche market but like “The Kings of Ayutthaya,” if it increases awareness then I have achieved something.

March 12, 2017 Update “The Kings of Ayutthaya” is going through the design stage prior to the final proofread. Then, if all goes well I will make my debut as a “published author.” The Tiger King of Siam” is with about twelve agents. One asked to see the manuscript which is good – but then said it wasn’t right for their portfolio, another replied along the same lines. As many authors never get any response from agents I guess I’m doing well! The book is a bit unusual (as many of mine are!) and, in truth, I can see it going straight to Kindle which is a shame as it really is pretty good.

"King Bayinnaung" is going slowly. He left Pegu with King Tabinshwehti and conquered Pegu and the Mon heartland around Martaban and Tavoy. Prome fell to the Burman forces of King Tabinshwehti, but the attack on Arakan failed. The attack on Ayutthaya was also a failure and following his return King Tabinshwehti took to drink and was killed by the assassins of Smim Sawhut. Bayinnaung was down south near Martaban when he heard the news. Five kings declared their kingship, including Bayinnaung’s brother in Toungoo. A king without a kingdom, King Tabinshwehti took them on and they either lost or recognized him as king. In the book so far it is 1553. He has rebuilt much of his capital, Pegu and is today is due to be crowned “King of Kings.”

What next you ask? I will give you a clue – he sets out to attack Ava. More to come ….

February 15, 2017 The Kings of Ayutthaya Just a quick update. I have spent many happy hours meticulously going through the book with my editor, particularly checking the historical accuracy that underpins the book. It is now on its way to the designer before meeting the proofreader. This is all a new experience for me. I have previously only self-published and used my friend Bill Smart to proofread and an editor from Fiverr.

I suppose I was put off by those who talk endlessly about rejection letters so I never tried to approach an agent until "The Kings of Ayutthaya." Two letters, one deal – I think I was lucky! The publisher has added a subtitle so in only a few months “The Kings of Ayutthaya: A Creative Retelling of Siamese History” will be out.

January 17, 2017 Copyright

Here I am living in a city called Phitsanulok in north-central Thailand, the home of King Naresuan the Great back in the 16th century. Fighting Cocks, the symbol of his historic victory over the Burmese Mingyi Swa sit at many road junctions and in many houses, including mine. So who was King Naresuan? English is spoken by a minority here and my Thai is still pretty poor. I wanted to find out so I wrote a book. Like all my books I wrote it because I enjoy writing. As with my previous novels, I was happy to self-publish on Kindle and the other platforms. The problem was finding out about King Naresuan made me curious about the other kings of Ayutthaya.

So I wrote a book and included in it many of the sections from King Naresuan. The text was relevant and I was more than happy with it. Anyway, this book I sent to a publisher. They say the odds of a new writer getting published are about three in a million so I didn’t really expect anything. They loved it and it is due out in July this year (2017). The trouble is they now hold the copyright so King Naresuan will have to be unpublished.

More trouble loomed. King Sua, the Tiger King of Siam was a spin-off from the Kings of Ayutthaya. As I researched and wrote Part 2 of the book about his early days in Siam (he was probably the worst king of Ayutthaya but I had a soft spot for him!) I added much of the text in The Kings of Ayutthaya. So here I am rewriting part 2 so not to have a copyright conflict with my own book!

January 14, 2017 A great review for King Naresuan the Great 5.0 out of 5 starsA great look at a great man. Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase Excellent book that takes a look at one of the heroes of Modern Thailand. This well crafted narrative gives a Westerner a look into a defining moment of Thai culture whose impact is still felt today. As an American ex-pat living in Thailand, and in King Naresuan’s former capital city, it brings into focus why he is still venerated to this day. If you are interested in Thailand, or just interested in history and stories from another culture, I can’t recommend this highly enough.

August 10, 2016 Excerpt from “The Georgia Secession”

“Clarence, thank you for coming,” said Sir Miles Standish to General Clarence Rutherford.

“Sorry to ask you to come to the office, but there is something important I would like to discuss with you,”

“I imagined it was important by the tone of your message,” said General Rutherford.

“Let me show you a letter I received yesterday from one of our top men in America. I would like you to read it through and tell me what you think?”

After a few minutes General Rutherford responded. “Good God, man. If this is true then the Americans have acted in the most appalling fashion.”

“Don’t doubt its accuracy. It comes from a source very high up in the American government,” said Sir Miles.

“I don’t doubt the veracity of the letter, but their actions are simply land-grabbing, and at a time when their ally Spain is weak. It defies belief,” said General Rutherford. “So much for “the friend of freedom and the foe of tyranny,” if this isn’t tyranny I don’t know what is!”

“Do the Spanish know?” he continued.

"About the letter? Not yet,” said Sir Miles. “They have probably worked out what has happened, but I doubt very much if they understand the depth of the American’s involvement,” said General Rutherford.

“What next Clarence?” said Sir Miles. “Florida, Mexico, Cuba, British Canada? This establishes a precedent, and not a good one.”

“Then we had best be prepared. At least this helps us understand the Americans better,” said General Rutherford.

“On that note,” said Sir Miles. “I received an earlier communication from our mutual friend Arthur MacDonald. In it he tells me of a group of young senators who will be entering the senate about now. They are young blades determined to make a name for themselves and their target is British Canada. They are war-mongers, and will use any trick to start a war. Their intention is to use us arming the Indians as a pretext for war, but it could be anything. Arthur says that his source has informed they may push for war next year, toward the end of 1811.”

“Thank God for that money,” General Rutherford replied. “Get the troops and the arms over there and be ready for them. It’s beginning to look as if those Americans want the whole damned continent for themselves.”

August 9, 2016 Publisher

Well I’ve sent “The Tiger King of Siam” off to my publisher (not that my first book with them has been published yet!) so I will be patient for a few months. It’s an interesting time when you finish a book. For me it’s all quite intense trying to bring the story to the right conclusion. My proofreader loved the book, which is good but we are the only two people to see it so far.

Silkworm Books are Thailand's premier English language publisher and specialze in academic style books. I think this one, being a novel, might not interest them. We will see. I enjoyed writing it – which for me is what all this is about.

Maybe it will end up on Kindle, maybe it will become an international best seller. If you don’t try you will never succeed.

Speaking of Kindle I need to spend some time, and probably some money promoting my other books. There are many options open to the self-published author but none seem to stand out. The problem with Kindle, from an authors perspective, is that there are just too many books on it. If your sales drop off you start on the slippery slope to Internet oblivion, and you need to give your books a kick to get them back up the ratings.

August 8, 2016 The Tiger King of Siam

I’ve just finished the Tiger King. Understandably not many of you would ever heard of him. He reigned in Siam as King Suriyenthrathibodi. Still none the wiser. This is what his own chroniclers said of him: “At that time, the King was of vulgar mind, uncivil behavior, savage conduct, cruel habit. He engaged Himself in no charitable business, but in that against the royal traditions. Also, He lacked inhibition, but was consumed by unholy sin. Eternal were anger and ignorance in His mind. And the King habitually drank liquor and pleased Himself with the intercourses with the female children not yet attaining the age of menstruation. In this respect, where any female was able to endure Him, that female would be granted a great amount of rewards, money, gold, silks and other cloth. Should any female be incapable of bearing with Him, He would be enraged and strike at her heart, putting her to death. The caskets were every day seen to be called into the palace to contain the females’ dead bodies and to be carried out of there through a royal gate at the end of the royal confinement mansion. That gate thereby gained the name the “Gate of Ghosts” until now.” “Furthermore, when His Majesty made a trip to any canal, sea, island or any other place plentiful with sharks, sawfish and other aquatic beings, He always drank liquor. If any concubine, lady, page or official caused His barge shaken, His Majesty would exercise no judgment and express no mercy, but would be enraged and order the person to be dragged with a hook and thrown into water to be consumed by sharks and sawfish.” “Moreover, His Majesty never maintained Himself in the five precepts. He gratified Himself by having carnal knowledge of the wives of His public officers. From that time onwards, He was given the name the “Tiger King.”