army novels

army novels

Sean Connolly's Blog

Ex Soldier and Author. I was just sixteen years old when I joined the Army and stayed for fifteen years - half my life was given to this band of brothers but in truth it was my whole life. British Army on the Rampage is a seies of autobiographical novels that tell it how it was - warts and all. I wasn't in the SAS, I don't think I killed many people and if I did it was an accident. These are just the stories of a hell of a good time with real friends and comrades and the life we llived, the pranks we got up to and the friendships formed. I make no apologies for the fact that these memoirs are humourous because all in all I had one hell of an outrageously good time. And if war is a serious business at least we had a lot of laughs on the way...

Paperback Writer

Thoughts & Meanderings...Posted by Sean Connolly Sun, February 08, 2015 19:34:50

If I tell you that my heart and soul went into the writing of ‘Not My Father’s Apprentice’, the general response (I can almost hear it in Timbuctoo) would be: “But he is Heartless and Soul’s a kinda music innit?!" But heart and soul did go into it - it is simply the tale of my younger years and the problems I faced - something many ‘squaddies’ can identify with - and if the subject is serious there are quite a few laughs along the way - bit like being a Soldier really…

So find out more and get the E-books which continue to sell well. Click HERE. Although its early days, the feedback is great. With that said, I want to persuade, no beg readers to leave a review on Amazon. A task which is proving harder than something that’s really hard - if you see what I mean! But good reviews help push the books up the charts and that’s what we want because…

(DRUM ROLL…) The paperback is being published and is due for release in May. A fantastic launch is planned in Southport and all shall be welcome (especially those who have written good reviews - jus' sayin'). Details to follow…!

The website is looking good and appears to be attracting some unusual viewer stats. At last count, the U.S.A made up 60% of the visitors to the site. Australia, China, Egypt and United Arab Emirates all appearing on the score sheet - didn’t know Australians could read mind! Anyway you’ll all be able to buy the paperback from the website at a special discount though I’m not sure I can be bothered to translate it into Chinese - on the other hand there are a lot of them - ok I’ll think about it!

And finally, I would like to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who has purchased any and all my books. I hope you will all be purchasing the new paperback… I’ll have the names of those who don’t!!!

And once again - thanks for your continued support.

Sean Connolly







Fire Mission Beer Garden!

Thoughts & Meanderings...Posted by Sean Connolly Fri, October 11, 2013 09:23:56

'Fire Mission’ Beer Garden

At 18.00hours on Friday (3rd October)I was at the wheel, driving back from Manchester with my mate David. Traffic was heavy at this time of the evening so I decided to take the back road through Scarisbrick cutting out the main A565 into Southport – though David decided it was because I’d taken a wrong turn. As if!

As we came up to a right hand bend in the road, I noticed the Heaton’s Bridge Pub on the left. It wasn’t the pub that caught my eye and that sent my body into spasm. It was the sight of an Artillery gun which had been placed there by a group of military enthusiasts. This was no ordinary gun, but one which features heavily in my latest book, British Army on the Rampage. It was the F.H.70 (Field Howitzer 70).

The gun was a tri-national (Great Britain, France and Italy) disaster and was the worst gun most artillerymen had ever served on. Every time I came across it after leaving the army it still had the ability of turning me into a manic-depressive in a very short time. I wasn’t the only one to despise it either.

Only a few yards further on from this gun was another. It was a tracked vehicle. An Abbott 105mm. This was another gun that I had served on when I was deployed in Germany. We couldn’t resist and so stopped to look at all the other vehicles that were being displayed by the military enthusiasts.

At the rear of the pub we noticed an A.F.V. 432 (Armoured Fighting Vehicle), which was the tracked troop carrying vehicle and also served as a command post vehicle during my days in the army. By this time I was in my element.

The icing on the cake was resting on the small field at the rear of the pub. It was the mighty Foden Gun tractor. This was the wagon that towed the F.H.70 gun and the same vehicle that I passed my H.G.V. (Heavy Good Vehicle) licence on. My fondest memory of this vehicle was from 1982 when I was travelling in the ‘Wendy House’ on the rear of it and when I launched a scalding hot ten man tea bag landing it on the right cheek of the face of a W.P.C. (Woman Police Constable). She was innocently patrolling the streets of London with her colleague at the time of the assault.

With my memories intact and revitalised we had one last look around at what once was the might of the British Army in 1982 and thanked the enthusiasts for all their efforts in looking after the Olive Drab relics, (well all except the F.H.70 of course). We left the pub and I have to say that seeing all that old hardware and I was feeling very contented driving the few remaining miles home.

Once more, thank you for your continued support and don’t forget you can pre-order you copy of British Army on the Rampage (B.A.O.R.) by emailing me at sean@armynovels.com





The B.A.O.R. Fact Sheet!

Thoughts & Meanderings...Posted by Sean Connolly Thu, August 15, 2013 10:17:48

1 British Army on the Rampage (B.A.O.R.) is a fun derivative of British Army of the Rhine (B.A.O.R.)

2 The book was not just written for the squaddie market. The target audience is every adult who likes to smile. Having said that I’ve received a tremendous amount of support from military comrades from around the world.

3 Whilst the book is meant to be a humorous account of my time in the army, I hope it is more than just a series of funny incidents – behind the fun and laughs it is about camaraderie, loyalty and friendship.

4 All the accounts in the book are true, however, times, places and names have been changed so that I don’t get beaten up!.

5 The book could never have been written immediately after I left the forces as to an extent I would still have been subject to military law and also needed to learn how to hold a pen!

6 This book is I hope, a small tribute to my comrades and to my regiment which disbanded in 2012 and in which I feel privileged to have served.

7 British Army on the Rampage (B.A.O.R.) is a large book but then a lot seemed to happen in my army career! In fact over a third of the original manuscript was cut in order to make the book it’s current length. Harper Collins suggested they would like to publish it as two books but in the end I decided on advice to publish it as three shorter e-books which average around 130 pages each, which I hope is good value at £1.99 each.

8 The book covers were shot on Formby beach in North West England (I don’t think I would have been allowed back into Belize to do it) using a whole load of props from a military store.

9 The book could not and would not have been written had it not been for the support, instruction and mentoring that I have been offered throughout the project. I still haven’t quite worked out why people were keen to help me but they did and I’m eternally grateful – I suppose it could have been to shut me up!

10 The books have had fantastic reviews. There have been occasional dissenters usually from readers who expected an SAS style, gung-ho, heavy casualty scenario or simply felt their time in the forces was more interesting than mine. To the former I apologise that I didn’t dismember more of the enemy and to the latter I’d suggest you publish a book. But these rare and treasonable acts of dissent make it real; and you can’t please all the people all of the time. But with 85% giving Five Star reviews I have to say I am over the moon with the response.

11 Keep on reading the B.A.O.R. novels currently on Amazon and shortly to be published by Barnes & Noble and iBooks, and look out for ‘Gunners ‘n’ Grenades’, my first fiction book which is on it’s way in September…

Sean Connolly





Why that book?

Thoughts & Meanderings...Posted by Sean Connolly Wed, July 24, 2013 09:13:51

I don’t know why, but every time I start to fall asleep on a train or an aeroplane, I tend to spot someone reading a book in my vicinity. It’s never a kindle, but a paperback or hardback book. That’s important because its part of the answer to the subsequent question that I have never yet been able to find an answer too.

Why, oh why does a person read a particular book?

I mentioned that this crazy event only occurs when I am falling asleep so therefore, the thoughts thereafter are a little crazy.

This is what I concluded;

A great cover is a must. First impressions count and all that jazz.

What about the reader already knows the author and doesn’t give a hoot about the cover as it’s the text they want to get too.

A good story. Without doubt. No story, no reader. I have heard so often about ‘word of mouth’. 50 shades spread like wildfire…

Lastly. Just damn good marketing, a cheap read and a big military family.

Don’t ask me why this only occurs when I am falling asleeppp zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thanks and goodnight all.



Reviews!

Thoughts & Meanderings...Posted by Sean Connolly Fri, June 28, 2013 09:10:46
How did I feel when I looked at my book reviews? I currently have a few reviews on one site and approximately 250 on another. Both of which I check and read on a regular basis. My feelings are mixed and they depend wholly on the content of the reviews. The way they’re written the review can tell you so much. If I don’t understand what someone is saying I can usually guess where the review is going before I reach the end of it – and it’s not usually to a good place!

Most people who don’t enjoy a book will either not write a review or attempt some kind of constructive criticism at least – but unfortunately there are those sad people who have little better to do with their lives than to try to pull down what others have built up.

In spite of that I always try and remember that someone has taken the time to compile what they want to say about my books and respect that. It may come as no surprise when I say that I’m on cloud nine when the review is complimentary, constructive and true, but equally I have to tell you that although in the long run a bad review makes me stronger, it’s a bitter pill to swallow at the time of reading it.

The ones that effect me the most and almost make me react with an answer are the reviews I receive which are unfounded, untrue and come from people who may be demonstrating a touch of jealousy, or even be a little bitter. Generally, I can take the constructive criticism even if it’s bad – we’re all learning. But when you get something like, ‘I spent 22 years in the Army and my life was far more interesting than yours’ – you think, perhaps this person has an agenda a little wider than commenting on a book! I noticed in the comments that someone had suggested that he write a book about it then!

On a good point though, the process of me sifting through the reviews is making me a better person as well as a better author even if some of the reviews aren’t what I was hoping for.

And to everyone who has reviewed my books - that's for taking the time and trouble to do it.

The Marketing of B.A.O.R.

Thoughts & Meanderings...Posted by Sean Connolly Mon, June 10, 2013 22:44:00
I have read so many articles over the last twelve months from disgruntled authors who believed that when they put their books on Amazon and their own websites, they would be home and dry. Here are a few more misconceptions;

‘My book is on Amazon so they should be doing all the work for me’…. Wrong.

‘I have got it on Amazon so I can sit back now and watch the cash come rolling in’…..Wrong.

‘It doesn’t have to be that good as its only an e-book’…..Wrong.

All myths. The real truth is that the work only starts when the book is posted on Amazon. Every night is spent thereafter promoting and marketing the books in one way or another for many hours.

Whether it be emails to publishers, newspapers or magazines or hunting for that interview on a radio or T.V station it’s a long haul and I know I must keep pushing them. The use of social media sites is paramount and advertising on a daily basis on these sites is an absolute must and for me a given.

So to anyone who thinks they only need post a book on Amazon and sit back and reap the profits, you may have a shock coming to you. Which I guess is my excuse for bending everyone’s ear! But don’t be alone in this, bend your friends’ ears too and tell them about the book. There is still one thing better than social media and that’s good old-fashioned word of mouth. Tell you friends! And THANK YOU!

Why e-publish?

Thoughts & Meanderings...Posted by Sean Connolly Wed, May 29, 2013 10:30:59

If I had a pound for every time I had been asked why I published my books in an ‘E’ Format as opposed to conventional paper format, then I would be a rich man and would probably have plenty of cash to pay for my own book to be published in paperback.

According to the Writers Bible (Writers & Artists yearbook 2013), it is clear that there has been a considerable shift in technology. Kindle sales have increased over 200% in the last two years. Associated statistics are indicating that e-publishing is the way to go and the right way to sell books. This is all well and good and would make me sound as if I predicted all this. It’s not true.

According to the above mentioned Bible, there are some clear guidelines to follow and strict protocols when doing so. It states clearly that one should seek literary representation by the way of an Agent before approaching publishers. If an agent rejects, then the author approaches another agent. It is normal to be rejected again and again and again. Some authors end up with one hundred and fifty rejections and still no representation.

After a reasonable number of rejections from the agent, it is time to approach the publishers. This works in the same way. I went through both processes and received a number of rejections from a number of publishers too. Approximately one third didn’t even reply.

The documentation that is sent to agents and publishers must be formatted and compiled in an immaculate state before the author even receives their fifteen seconds of fame. Likewise if the author doesn’t submit exactly what is required by the agent or publisher then they may never even make it to the ‘slush pile’, only the bin. That fifteen seconds is when the agent or publisher picks it from the ‘slush pile’ and then decides in the blink of an eye if it is fit to proceed to the next stage. The answer is often ‘No’

Having studied this subject for two years and read a number of internet posts and forums I have come to a conclusion:

What has occurred recently is that a number of publishers as a result of increased tablet and e-reader device sales, are beginning to feel a little unsettled about the future of paper books and publishing. This therefore is not a good time for the new author. After all, why should a reputable and profit making publishing house take on a new author called Sean Connolly who has no former literary credentials, when they can pull out one of their popular best sellers who would be a dead cert to make them a lot of money. It would be like betting on an unknown horse against the favourite.

This leaves the new poor author with what may be a good story but no audience to share it with. A few years ago these stories may have ended up in the back of a draw or left in the archives on a computer, but today e-book publishing has changed all that. Books can now be uploaded in an e-book format to sites such as Amazon for all the world to download and read. As long as the book is presented in a professional manner and boasting a good cover then they should sell. There must be a good story that readers are keen to read at the beginning of this process and a brand and website would generally have to be created to market the book.

In an ideal world, the books would sell as the readers enjoy them and spread the word, and if the sales grow then hopefully the publishers and literary agents would see them too. And hopefully then you might be able to buy the solid real book in a bookshop with pages you can bend the corners of and drop in the bath or spill suntan oil on – things that Kindles & eReaders are not very good at!

So they are my reasons therefore for publishing my books in an e-book format.