The eyes of a Wolf always see straight into your soul ...

...You can't hide the truth from them


Please visit the main site - www.wolf-photography.com


Sunday, 31 January 2010

Weekend in Calais...

I needed to use up some tickets to Calais and back by car so I went over for the weekend to isolate myself in a hotel room and just sit and write down some of my memories from serving in Northern Ireland.  It's helped to do it that way as I had no dsitractions and could just focus on my memories.  I find it hard to put any emotion into that writing though and find that my words reflect that ... perhaps that's best as it allows the reader to use their imagination more when they read about some of the conditions that we served in.  How do you write about emotions though when all of yours were locked down at the time?  We functioned without them when dealing with incidents etc.

I also had to be careful as I couldn't write anything that someone might be able to use against people serving out there now.  In the case of our unit though there can only be an improvement in one particular aspect of airfield security.

I got most of the stuff down from my experiences there and felt rewarded by seeing the beautiful Snow Moon the other night.

Most of the time will be spent writing the biography now until May 2010.  I should be able to get most of the bad stuff written about between now and then.  I can go back and write about the funnier bits later, I hope.

I've had word from the printing company that the 'go live' date for 'Words of a Wolf'  - Poetry of a veteran is 24 February 2010.

The snow's coming again.  Northern France has had some and it was trying to snow when I was just North of London today.  Watch out for black ice as there's no cloud cover tonight and the Moon will make her presence felt.

Later ...


Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Printing contract signed ... advance orders accumulating

I guess everything's done on the base level now.  I uploaded the final edit of the cover and book last night via ftp and the printers will have the book back to me in 4 weeks time.

The job's been paid for in full and I have advanced orders of 34 copies so far.  11 of them are from the USA (thanks Mat).

My thoughts turn toward the marketing aspect now, which isn't my favourite task ... BUT I kind of feel like I'm on a ride to somewhere and I'm not in control of it anyway.  I'm contributing towards something that seems to be there already...a bit like walking into your closet for the coat that fits the weather (if that makes sense?).

I feel tired tonight.  The accupunture was good today and chilled me right down.  I'm tired in a good way though.

Tomorrow I'm going for a drive somewhere to chill out and maybe do some more writing on my bio.

What's it all about?  Do a search within this blog (above right)  for PTSD and follow the developments.  It's about trying to raise awareness of PTSD in Veterans and what they go through when they come home, are abandoned and then have to find a way to cope with the condition.

If you're interested in selling the book on as a small bookstore, you get 20% off the RRP.  So drop me a line if you're interested.  It's not an expensive publication for the genre, so profit margins are low for everyone involved in the selling of the product.  The title details are below:

Title: Words of a Wolf

Poetry of a Veteran

Contents: 48 Poems and some B&W images (the focus is on the poetry though).  Details of organisations that can help veterans with PTSD on a range of issues, including mental welfare support.

Author: Villayat 'SnowMoon Wolf' Sunkmanitu

ISBN number: 978-0-9564885-0-3
Price: £6.99

Size: 8"x5" (127mm x 203mm)

I'd like to thank the following people:  Derek Thompson for proof-reading, making me laugh and taking the piss as and when necessary;  Mat Jones for his enthusiasm and support (as well as facilitating the first USA purchases); Wolf Theuns for his feedback and encouragement on the cover design; Eleanor Pigg from Nielsons for all of her help and advice on the publishing side of things; Nigel from MPG Biddles for his advice on the printing aspects of this project and the proofs supplied; and last but not least, you, for reading and keeping up with developments and showing an interest.

If you'd like to order a copy of the book, please click here and you can make a purchase securely through Paypal.  There are also some example extracts of poetry on that page.

The next part of this project is to finish the autobiography and then everything's ready for the exhibition.

The following organisations have said that they're happy to be involved with the exhibition:
Combat Stress
The Veterans Agency
The Royal British Legion
Help for Heroes

Three of them are charities and the trick will be to find venues for the exhbition that want to run for a month but also have collection boxes for these charities in order to help raise some funds.

So, if you know of any galleries that would want to be involved in raising awareness of PTSD in Veterans and would be happy just taking a slice of commission from any potential print sales, get them to drop me a line?!

Have a lovely evening :o)


Tuesday, 26 January 2010

'Words of a Wolf' is ready for printing!!

It's 01:17 and I'm sat here with a little bit of whiskey as I celebrate the end of the editing process of my first book.

The ISBNs came through today (many thanks to Eleanor) and the new cover was designed.  I'm just going to put that up for now, as I start working on publicity for the book tomorrow.  Fingers crossed.

Hope you like the cover.

Night ...


Monday, 25 January 2010

USA version update ... it's deleted!

The first copy of the book was done via Lulu.com in the states.  If you want Lulu to print or publish your book, you fall into the sticky mits of the IRS in the USA.  For UK tax paying citizens this results in us having to pay tax over there and then getting taxed again by the Inland Revenue on the figure left.  In addition you have to get a USA tax code for yourself and lodge 2 forms (1 of those stay with Lulu).  It's complicated and can get messy.

I've decided to publish and distribute the UK copy only.  That gets the tax complications out of the way.  If people buy off my website, they're buying from the UK.  I doubt that there'll be much difference in the postage costs, as Lulu have significantly increased their postage costs.  The profit margins on this project are minimal as it is.

BUT, life is simple again ... big sigh.  :)


Friday, 22 January 2010

First Order received ...

I'm still waiting for the ISBN number and perhaps a line from a person that might want to chip in with a message for the back cover.  Everything else is pending now.  The USA version (without an ISBN number) is available for purchase.  It's a couple of centimetres smaller than the UK version  (I can hear Derek's mind working on a joke here) but essentially the same book.

I want to wait for the last couple of bits of info before I put the full description and re-designed back cover on here.

I've contacted Combat Stress and the Royal British Legion about the possibility of them sellling the book for a percentage of the profit markup (25%).  I hope that goes favourably.  The sale price will be £6.99.

It's been an interesting ride to get the book to this stage.  It's a bit like swimming in shark infested waters ... but, there are some decent bods around.

I think I've earned some game time.



Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Words of a Wolf now available in the USA

My thanks to Derek for getting the proof reading done so promptly.

The file was uploaded to one of the print companies today and is now available for sale to USA customers.
Please click here to read the synopsis or to buy the book.

I got the test print back today and the quality of the UK printer is good.  I'm just waiting for the ISBN number now and then that will go live too.



Monday, 18 January 2010

Update on the poetry book - Words of a Wolf

Combat Stress are cool with being quoted in the book.  I've used their definition to explain what PTSD is. 

The printers are getting a test print of 4 pages out to me ASAP. 

Neilson are processing the ISBN numbers for me.  I will have to assign a seperate ISBN number to a version printed in the states as their book sizes are slightly smaller.

I've updated the website with a 'Books' section and have set the system up to start taking advance orders.

I should be ready to complete and ship out orders from the 1st February onwards.

Things are moving on nicely :o)


Sunday, 17 January 2010

Sunday, peaceful Sunday...

Time really does fly quicker each year I age.  Last sunday still lingers on the fringes of my memory, as does the aroma of Edna's Sunday roast.

I revisited the poetry book and found a lot that was wrong and put it right.  A friend asked me if I'd expanded upon some sort of definition of what PTSD is in the book and I said that I hadn't.  Thanks Liz; I've been thinking about what you said and have included the definition supplied by 'Combat Stress'.  Toward the end of the book I've elaborated on the difficulties I've experienced with regard to care and support from NHS and social Services towards veterans with PTSD.

It feels like a complete book now and, I feel, satisfies the reason for which it was written.

I sent it over to Derek for a final check.  He provides a proof reading service for £16 per hour.  So drop him a line if you have need of such services.  His blog is Along the Write Lines and you can drop him a line through there.

It's been an interesting experience so far with regards to the book.  I applied for my ISBN numbers on Friday gone, so they should be with me in a week or so.  Once that's done, I just have to generate a cover design for the ISBN barcode.  I was sent a link to a site that does this automatically for you - for free.

I started off using Lulu but have become concerned about some of their practises, having read the forum - particularly the UK entries.

Tax is also complicated too.  You pay tax there for any USA based sales that they do on your behalf and then you pay tax here too, should there be any profits.  Sounds unfair to me.  So I'm looking at a different model.  I get Lulu to do the printing USA side for any orders that I generate orders for the USA from my site here.  So it's still a UK sale from the UK.  I've contacted my accountant and the IRS in the states about this model and am awaiting a response.

There's also the issue of customs and whether I would have to pay anything there if I send the book abroad.  So, it's time for more research.

Five minutes til sunday roast!!  Sounds like a good time to sign off.


Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Stuck in Limbo

I feel like I'm in a void at the moment.  I guess it's all of the emotional energy that went into finishing the poetry book.  I was experiencing a whole range of emotions as I was re-reading the poems and finding images to fit with them.

I've started working on the biography again but I need to let things settle internally so a couple of days away from the PC, or writing about the difficult stuff, would be good.

It was good to hear that Mat got back from his trip ok, that Wolf Junior is safe on his travels and Derek's forging ahead with his writing.

I usually have counselling on Tuesdays.  I'm lucky to have a good counsellor.  He realises that I do a lot of work on my own here and that the weekly sessions are my way of reflecting and putting the weeks thoughts and generated feelings in to some kind of order that makes sense.

I just found a diary from the time that I was serving in Northern Ireland.  There are a few entries in there about some of the incidents I was involved in and a couple of poems.  There were also entries about some of the lads and some of the people that I had met on leave.  The memories trigger emotions of laughter, warmth and darker side of serving in a hostile zone.

One thing that stands out is that we were treated like the proverbial mushroom (kept in the dark and fed bullshit) by our senior officers.  We were intelligent guys though (in the main) and figured quite a lot of things out for ourselves.  There's a level that's beyond our scope though..or beyond the scope of a common soldier, sailor or airman (our level)...and that's where politics come in.  With politics comes corruption and lies.  When I think back to the general orders that we were given about policing our area, I realise that we were made to do our job with one hand tied behind our backs and that we weren't cared for by our high ranking officers.  I'd liken it to being a rat in a lab waiting to have an experiment conducted on it..or perhaps being experimented on.  So many things didn't make sense.

We were put in harms way so often without having any form of backup or defence.  I guess these are thoughts to expand upon in the biography.

I'm guessing the state of limbo will last until the poetry book gets here and I've assessed the paper quality.

As far as the exhibition goes, the following organisations have agreed to have their banners and leaflets available:  The Veterans Agency, Combat Stress, The Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes.  Business Link have got a freelance reporter to do a press release re my photograpy website and she's kindly mentioned the exhibition and the poetry book in the piece.  I don't want anything going live until I've okayed the book though.

If you know of a local gallery that's willing to hold the exhibition for a month, please would you make contact with them for me?  The purpose of the exhibition is to raise awareness of PTSD in veterans and avenues of support available to them.  I need details of venues etc now to plan further and the accountant can't put the bid in until the plans re venues are drawn up.  So I hope you can all help in some way.  Costing is important and I'm looking for a lot of good will here.  I also want to raise some money through this project via donation boxes at the venues.  The main charity for the donations will be Combat Stress.  I want the money raised to pay for the treatment of veterans that don't have a war disablement pension.  If you have a war disablement pension then the Veterans Agency will pay for your treatment if you refer yourself to Combat Stress

I know veterans that are in a really bad way but fell foul of the tribunal system.  I know others that haven't had the condition formally diagnosed.  All these people need help.  If through our efforts here we can help a few along the way by providing some treatment and support, it'll be a worthwhile project.



Saturday, 9 January 2010

Words of a Wolf

Well, the books done.  I finished uploading it and designing the cover this morning.  I've ordered one copy to check it for quality and formatting etc.  It should be here in a few days. 

Kind of felt excited by the time I finished designing the cover and seeing that the staus of the project had gone from 'draft' to 'published'.

It took a lot of farting about near the end as I had to re-order the pages and put a blank page in at the start and fisih to ensure the the pages line up in the book the way that I visualise them in my head.

I just hope that it goes ok now and that I can generate some interest in it.  For now, it's in quality assurance and you know what capricorns are like? :)

My sincere thanks to Derek Thompson for his proof reading skills and for writing the Foreword.

I've attached the cover of the book in case you're interested.

All the best


Thursday, 7 January 2010

The poetry book..

Well, the book is almost complete.  I'm waiting for my friend Derek Thompson to write the foreword.  We're checking it for mistakes over the next 24 hours and then it's time to sort out the cover design and the pricing package re self publication.

This had to be ready before general awareness about the exhibition kicks off.



Wednesday, 6 January 2010

More Snow and trees...with the odd bird here and there...

I had to go and drop off a friend to a little village called East Markham today.  I looked across and saw a stunning tree.  I'm not sure if it's a willow.  The land owners kindly let me photograph it.  I saw a couple of others that I had to stop for on the way out.

Driving conditions were a bit dodgy on the approach and exit but I had no problems until I stopped at Sherwood Forest on the way home.  I had a feeling that it'd be hard to get out of there once the car had been left on the snow for a while.

Sherwood Forest was magical...mystical...beautiful!  It remained calm and peaceful until the first humans appeared.  My kids wanted to see some real snow while they were up over Christmas and I was walking around wishing that they could have come on this walk with me.  The peace would have been non-existent with the snowball fight that would have to have taken place but it would have been worth it.  I took a small video clip to show them the beauty I witnessed today.

When I got back to the car park I had to dig tracks for the car to use as it was stuck in the snow and ice.  While I was on my knees clrearing the packed snow away I couldn't help but wonder if Robin of Loxley really wore tights and whether they were indeed warm enough to keep his tackle warm n toasty on a snowy winter's day.

Two new albums are on the website now:

East Markham and Sherwood Forest.  I hope you enjoy viewing them.


Monday, 4 January 2010

Winter in the Peak District

I've posted the photographs from the last weekend of wandering around in the snow in the Peak District.  Simply click here to view them.  Some of them have been manipulated to look part way between photographs and paintings.

I hope you enjoy viewing them.


Saturday, 2 January 2010

First entry of the year 2010

I hope that your New Year has started well for you.  As the snow falls the inner child dances to the carefree rythm of the wind.  I was driving around some of the local areas today looking for photographs of beautiful trees laden with snow and found myself exploring the Matlock area.  Some parts were too dangerous to attempt as the wheels of my car couldn't gain any purchase on the icy surface but others were covered with freshly fallen snow and I enjoyed walking on it.  It feels as though snow takes me back to a previous life where I found great pleasure in being in or around the stuff.

I did some more work on my poetry book tonight.  I just have to add a few more images and it's complete and ready for publishing.  A friend's going to model for me for a couple of specific shots that I need to go with the poems and that will complete a project that will help with the exhibition or vice/versa.

The forecast is for more snow tomorrow which would be great but it'll be settling on ice created tonight (minus 6 celsius locally), so it might be more treacherous than normal.  I found some black ice on a roundabout tonight and the space outside my front door is like a skating rink.

Spare a thought for the elders in your community and salt their paths or bring in their coal or wood for them, if they use those resources?  If they slip and fall on these surfaces, the results could be dire. Knock on their door and share a few moments if you know they live alone?

Be safe, whatever you're doing...and be careful in the morning.


Osprey - Nature section

Osprey - Nature section
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