My Books




I have independently published all of these books - with no commercial backing or promotion. I love to get feedback - it makes it all worthwhile, since there is next to no monetary reward.
Please leave reviews on Amazon or Goodreads etc. because word of mouth is all I have to go on. Thanks.

The Evergreen in red and white is my first novel. It revolves around Rabbi Howell of Sheffield United, Preston and Liverpool, the first Romani professional and the first Romani international player. It also follows the points of view of his wife, Selina, and Ada, who he falls in love with.
Is it a "football book" ? Not really. No more than Tess of the D'Urbervilles is a "farming book."
It is a story about a footballer: his loves, dilemmas, and choices as he struggles with the morals of Victorian society, class, prejudice, and an ageing body.

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The Skipper's Wooing tells the story of Captain Wilson, skipper of the Seamiew, is besotted with a woman he has only observed from a distance. He sees a way to ease is way in to her affections and offers a reward to his crew to help him in his quest. The fun then starts as each of them tries to bag the reward for himself and leads to a lot of bother for each of them as they sail round the South Coast. This is classic British, understated humour, that would translate marvellously to the screen.

“The story of how Captain Wilson, master and Owner of the schooner Seamiew, won the hand of Miss Annis Gething is one which few people, to use an expressive vulgarism, will be able to read ‘with a straight face’.” – The Spectator

“It contains scenes which we shall not be able to recall without a smile for many weeks to come… It is a good story well told and full of humour and drollery.” – The Daily Telegraph

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Spirit of Old Essex draws together Arthur Morrison’s lost treasure of a novel Cunning Murrell,a tale of witchcraft, smuggling and country life long lost, together with additional background information on Morrison’s research and inspiration. 

“The effect worked by Mr Morrison is one of distinction and charm; yet it is not one which suddenly makes you in love with the book, but one which encroaches, grows and abides.” Morning Post – Sept 1900
     
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Historical Football Stories is a collection of the oldest known football stories including an early P G Wodehouse story: Petticoat Influence - a story told from the point of view of a female Bertie Wooster type, and The Matador of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett. Many of these stories were first published in 1908.
    There are also four new stories: three of mine and one by Niall Kennedy, a Partick Thistle historian.
    The stories provide huge insights into the obsessions of a certain class, with regards football, at the end of the 19th century.



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 Put Yourself in his Place is the oldest known Novel set in Sheffield, written by a contemporary of Dickens and Elliott, loosely based on the true story of a London woodcarving-tool maker, James Bacon Addis, who was brought to Sheffield by tool manufacturers Ward and Payne. It is a Victorian melodrama interweaving class, heroism, love, treachery, and tragedy into actual events: the “Sheffield outrages”: battles to protect union membership often through violent means in order to defend labour against capital, the Great Sheffield Flood etc. It all comes together in a happy ending, with all plot threads neatly tied together.

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 Joe Stepped Off the Train is a new collection of short stories by debut and established authors, all with a war theme: how it affects people and changes lives. It started life as a short story conversation between myself and a colleague: following a short story competition at work for which we both chose the same starting line from the given list (The “Joe Stepped off the Train” of the title), and both coincidentally chose a war theme. We went on to write some more but it fizzled out at 8 stories.
    So, in the summer of 2015, I put out an appeal on social media and the blogosphere asking writers to contribute: the idea being that all royalties would be donated to War Child. The result has been a genuine collaborative effort: in compiling the collection I set out to not just accept or reject contributions. I have had my fill of that kind of  approach being taken with writers. Instead I chose to work with the writers to make them the best stories they could be.
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All Measures Necessary is a contemporary political thriller based on the ridiculous notion of what might happen if a left-wing, Labour leader was resurgent despite all the attempts by the media to discredit him. What if, as an election approached, he started to gain traction because of a serious downturn in the economy, unrest in the country and corruption revealed at the highest levels? What if the electorate started seeing him as an answer to their problems? How would the right and big business react?
Finding himself at the heart of a conspiracy is 30-year-old Health and Safety Inspector, Mitch Miller who falls in love with someone he shouldn’t and gets into very hot water. A modern day Romeo and Juliet facing car chases through the streets of Sheffield, murder, betrayal and kidnap.
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Boy in Blue I have published this novel by Steph Henley. It has been compared to those of Sarah Waters – except this is an account of illicit male love in the 1890s.
    Boy in Blue is based on the true story of a Victorian “pretty policeman,” PC John Higgins, whose evidence convicted twelve ordinary men for what was a victimless crime. Treated worse than murderers they felt the full weight of the law. Higgins had gained their trust and obtained an invite to a party. But was he really undercover or was it just a cover-up? This is a carefully researched tale of love, temptation and betrayal in Victorian England, told from the points of view of Higgins, his wife Annie, and of his close friend Bill Kilroy, who spent the rest of his life in a lunatic asylum. It is gritty, but also lyrical and moving.

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 How Great a Crime - to tell the truth. When my dad died in November 2015 he left his unfinished manuscript of this book. Ill-health stopped him from ever getting it finished. This was not some sort of sentimental journey – my interest was  as a storyteller, looking at a lost story and wanting to see it told – the story of the Galeses and what they achieved is remarkable.
    Joseph and Winifred Gales were publishers of the late 18th Century Sheffield Register were giants of our history. For their beliefs in free speech and democracy they had to flee to America as the authorities made a move to arrest Joseph for treason – he dared to speak the truth.
    Exiled to the United States they were important figures in the early 1800s. Joseph was the first to report the proceedings of Congress verbatim.
230 years on, when there is more than a hint of the rotten boroughs still hanging over British “democracy.” Today the votes of 37% of the electorate in the UK are held up as being an “overwhelming mandate” to push one of the most momentous, critical decisions taken by government in decades – it has nothing to do with returning power to people, but further restricting it.
    Over in the United States the free press is demonised and accused of producing “fake news” just for holding up the mirror of truth (not “alternative truth”) to power.
In many ways we have made progress but in others we are taking retrograde steps, and under threat of losing hard-won liberties. Joseph and Winifred Gales are very relevant 230 years on.
    How Great a Crime - tells the story of their time in Sheffield working on the Sheffield Register and how they came to be exiled – how Britain’s loss became America’s gain.
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