All About Me

My name is Michael Sheridan and I was born in Derby in 1953, almost with a silver spoon in my mouth ( coronation of Liz 2!) . I was raised and schooled in Nottingham living first in the Meadows and then Bakersfield, Carlton, hence my blog name. I left Nottingham at the age of 18 to train for four years at a Teacher Training College in Manchester where I now live. I taught in mostly primary schools for 22 years then left to work with adults mostly IT Training.  I resigned from my  last ever job and left on 4th July 2011, celebrating my independence from work on a very auspicious day. I wasnt happy, wasnt going anywhere and it was time to go. I have been wanting to write my first novel for some time and now I have the time especially as I need to do lots of research.

I  stumbled on an amazing story via an internet search in April 2011 and my first novel will be based on a real life event that I feel connected to on a number of different levels, not the least because several generations of my family know this story and talked about it.I am also connected to it by the locality and landscape. As a child I walked the paths and tracks taken by the people in this story, little thinking that one day I would learn about their dreadful suffering. I now know about the last journey taken by four of them and I have walked that path, something you cannot do now, as the path has gone. I know their final resting places and I have been and I have seen.  Its a tragic and poignant story with a dreadful sting in the tail.  You can find out more about my book, my writing and my journey as I will reveal more  about slowly it through the blog. Its a kind of warts and all diary and I want to chart and record the progress or lack of as I try to first get the novel together and then into print. I have already decided I want to try to use the internet and social media to promote the book and get it noticed. Its almost certainly going to start life as an e-book on Kindle and after that who knows?. The most important thing for me though is to write the story and record it properly for all time. Generations of my family have told this story, I want to bring it up to date, put my stamp on it and make it as accurate and absorbing as I can.

UPDATE late JULY 2014

My first book is now finished and available in the Kindle Store on Amazon. The title is “Saville’s Spinney -True Story of the Colwick Murders of 1844.” It’s been a long but interesting journey but it isn’t over yet. I have already found small errors and revised the copy three times. I am working on ways to market the book. Already had my first sale and ran a free download promo briefly. I am also now looking for my next story, it will be in the same genre ie true and historical crime with a lot of research and real history thrown. The cold days of winter are coming and that’s a good time to be researching……..

UPDATE early August 2014

Very pleased with my sales already, so far every day since July 26 seen at least one sale and highest so far was 6 on Aug 5th. Just had my first review and please to say its 5 stars (thank you David Webster!) Pleased to announce I have found the story I was looking for and indeed about to start writing. Having learnt so much from my first book I should be able to proceed much faster with my second.  Hoping to have it finished for Christmas. It’s another murder but a very different story revolving around a very strong character. It’s another “lost” story, few if any people will have heard of it, even in Nottingham.

In the meantime Saville’s Spinney is available now. You DON’T need  a Kindle to download and read it. It can be read through the free Kindle App, avail for any PC, Mac or tablet or IPhone or smartphone. It is also possible to read the intro, prologue, full chapters 1 and 2 plus part of Chapter 3 by using the amazon “look inside” feature, check that out by clicking on the link below..

 

 

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23 Responses to All About Me

  1. Emma McCoy says:

    I nominated you for The Next Big Thing blog hop so you can post about your work in progress.

    • Many Many thanks Emma, finding WordPress and its wonderful supportive community of writers and creative people has been a huge help to me. The writing and research currently stopped dead in the water as my house move takes place in 7 days. Dont worry though, its going to start properly when I have settled into my new house, my new den and the beautiful locality that I cannot wait to explore.2013 is going to be the year of my first novel………………………

  2. Emma McCoy says:

    I know you’ve had a lot going on lately but I did it again. I nominated you for another award! Check out my blog for the details.

    • Thanks again Emma, yes certainly have been busy of late in fact we finally moved out of our old house yesterday as the sale completed and money was wired into our account. We are happily installed in our cosy new home and today is the first full day of occupation for the whole family. One big problem though, my new den is full of boxes and all kinds of rubbish!!

      Ok off to join the blog awards trail again and of course your blog will be no 1 in my list of 15!!

      Thanks again
      Mike

  3. chris yates says:

    Good luck with your novel Mike
    Chris Yates – from Kosovo

  4. zoemouse says:

    Love this story Mike! Where do you access the newspapers (Nottingham Journal and Review) from? I can’t find anything about them online. Thanks!

  5. Those old newspapers are not digitised so you have to go to Nottingham Central library and spend hours or should I say days going though ancient microfilm scanned in the 1950s. You can’t even easily copy them to PDF either as they are very poor quality and full of .smudges and track marks. The only thing you can do is just and I do mean just about read them and then make your own notes, that’s why it’s taken me two years. The trial details should be avail at Kew aka Public Record office in London BUT they are not available. According to. Member of staff they have ….”disappeared”……….. How very strange.

    I will be selling my book for £1.99 on Amazon and it will include all my research notes. You could spend a whole day just going through one edition of those papers at the library and rest assured I have missed nothing.

    Feel free to browse the chapters currently online. I am working now on what will become the finished version which will include more detail, maps and photos….

    Thanks for your interest, watch out for announcements in the blog, I have a cunning plan and a surprise up my sleeve……………

    Mike

  6. zoemouse says:

    Amazing! When will your book be available?

    • Should be out before summer is over, have a very definite date in mind and I work best to a deadline. The really hard work, the research is over, just need to add some finishing touches and re-draft. After that I have to format it all as an ebook and upload to Amazon……..watch out for a very special offer!

  7. David Webster says:

    Hi Mike – I ran through Colwick Woods today for the first time.
    Surprised by its beauty I started poking around online and eventually stumbled across your book (alas I do not have a Kindle). I’m interested if I ran anywhere near the location of the murders. Here’s my route – http://www.strava.com/activities/176658089

    ?

    I’m planning on running again next week and would like to spook my co-runner, Dan :oD

    • Hi, can’t really see the detail of your route near Colwick and it does depend exactly on where you enter Colwick Woods. For now I will say the murder site is in the east end of the woods. I will never reveal the exact murder spot even though my research has pinpointed it. Anyone can follow in my footsteps to determine where it is, either by research or by reading my book. An old map will also prove to be very useful.

      Ps there was another murder in the west end of Colwick Woods around 1968. A young girl was raped and strangled there.

      I can say both murders took place quite close to pathways. If you were on the right path you may have been very close to not one but both!

      PS you don’t need a Kindle to read my book, the Free Kindle app is avail for both Mac and PC plus IPhone and Android….once downloaded you can then also access 1000s of free books….

      • David Webster says:

        I’ll download tonight (iPhone).

        Some straw poll searching at dinner and I think I got him in 1841 census as “Willm Savill”, also a christening in May 1812 which is a good fit.

        Sounds like I was close to the 1968 incident but, looks like I’m waaay East if “The Spinney” is basically that over the train track and up to Carlton (Sands being the other side of the track). As the crow flies it looks like there was a old route more directly north from the bridge at the end of Douglas Street (hitting Greenhill road -> Greenhill rise). All conjecture, I’ve not got an old map to reference.

  8. Yes Saville is in the 1841 census. There were once no less than 5 crossing points over into what was once Colwick Park and became Colwick Woods. No less than 3 of these provided access to Savilles Spinney. These are all gone now…..There is a lot of confusion about the site of the murders……but it’s definitely east…..

  9. David webster says:

    Complicated by there being no railway there at the time, but simplified by the location of manor farm, the obvious areas for arable plantations (those hills are steep, perfect for deer), and the thoroughfares that have stood the time. Still, that’s a long way to walk with little kids, you’d certainly try and stay on the reasonable flat. Well, I’ll spook Dan anyway and have now downloaded your book and will provide appropriate feedback!

    • Thanks for a very nice review David, much appreciated and I love your comment about fitness and running faster through the woods! You want more? You shall have it….. Stumbled upon another amazing story of another Nottingham murder that few people will have heard of. Already part researched it thanks to a visit to Nottingham Central library las Sat plus the wonder of the Internet. Hope to have this ready for Christmas…….might give you another running route too coz it ain’t Colwick this time.

      Thanks again

      • David Webster says:

        If it’s not chucking it down I’ll run it again tomorrow morning! I’ve joined your site for updates on the new book…

        Happy to provide some constructive thoughts / feedback, either directly or on your site?

    • Hi David, you are welcome to add your thoughts to this blog but it’s also possible for us to have a customer discussion on Amazon. If you go back to the book on Amazon look after the reviews and you should be able to see a discussion area. I will post a link back to the book below. I always wanted to use social media to connect with my readers and the discussion may well help others, here is that link again…..

      http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00M20HOPU

      • David Webster says:

        A longer review, as promised…

        Taking the reader back to the time of the events worked a wonder. Original grammar, warts & all. I found myself searching for old maps to enhance the locations and ‘walks’ you explain – there’s probably some copyright gubbins to think about, but if maps were included as reference (even if crudely drawn by yourself) that might have worked well. Certainly for streets and locations now gone / renamed.

        Readers love a mystery and there is a lot to be found here! What on earth was Bill’s final confession all about? I found myself thinking “what does Mike think” – herein is great artistic license to fuel the reader’s mind with what-ifs and whys, even if pointing out the obvious. Huge things were missed in the trial – the right to left cutting of throats seemed key to me but not discussed. Bill’s strange story of leaving his wife a few streets away when what seems like hundreds of people saw and interacted with him with her in Colwick! But then his final confession suggests that was all a lie anyway. It’s just all odd. Too odd even to fully grasp… but potentially aided by guidance from the Author either piecemeal or by reference to a prologue of your thoughts. If done sympathetically this would not take away from “make your own mind up” – there’s almost too many question marks to make your mind up anyway.

        I loved the detail, certainly around the aftermath. If the very specific / verbatim detail was referenced to in an appendix it may have allowed the ‘take the reader back’ (which is essentially The Story) element of the book to shine through more uninterrupted. You wrote this in so well at the start (Mr Parr for example). This then allows the reader to eke out more specific detail, or not, as they see fit. I would have read the book, then gone back and re-read key parts referencing the appropriate appendix.

        Just my thoughts Mike, potentially unshared by anyone else so take with salt!!!

        I feel like I’m leaving on a negative there, but not so. Genuine feedback to a genuinely great book.

        DaveW

  10. Cheers David. I used to live and play in that area as a child. Without my local knowledge I could never have found the spot. One last thing…… It just isn’t possible to stand on the murder spot, much safer to keep to the paths……..

  11. Hi David, thanks for your longer review. Intelligent comments from someone who has not only read the book but explored the landscape. I do have postcards and maps that could be used in an appendix but that will have to wait for a printed version. Similarly I could ref the details more precisely in a notes page but again don’t think that’s right for an e-book. Don’t know if you have read The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or Mr Briggs Hat but that is what I hope my printed version will be like with lots of extra detail. Needs to be picked up by a publisher. I live in hope, 80 copies sold in less than a month ain’t a bad start!

    I did try hard to write an engaging story revealing details slowly and very importantly allow the reader to make their own final judgements. You are right about the wounds on the throats as they give a clear indication of how the murders were carried out. The biggest mystery remains as to who killed the children. Like you say Saville’s final confession is odd. I do have a very firm opinion on that and the clue lies in the surgeon’s report. There is an important maxim when writing for others, “Show, don’t tell!”. That’s what I tried to do and it’s how I will be writing my next book.

    Well am off to do some more research for my next book, am wading through Coroner’s accounts online. Will leave you with another Saville’ crossing mystery. You must have stood at the bottom of Douglas Avenue and seen how steep it is. I lived at no 14 between 1963-1971 and in about 1966 or 67 there was a very strange accident. A milk-float, not electric, some kind of customised Bedford van was delivering milk on the hill when it’s brakes failed. Inside was the milkman and his delivery boy. In those days few cars if any had seatbelts. The car ran away down the hill gathering speed, ran right to bottom, hit the kerb then took off and jumped right over two tracks and smashed into the trees beyond. Myself and a mate went to investigate and found the cab had crumpled on impact. Lots of blood inside and most where the lad was. Not sure what the injuries were but looked pretty bad. And all this. within feet of the original Saville’s crossing. Weird but true and I never heard of any other story about a runaway……

    Thanks for your comments and review, it was always my intention to use social media and to engage with my readers.

  12. David Webster says:

    Ha! I of course was not considering The Possible with an eBook! Well great work on the 1st month, I hope it keep / increases momentum.

    What is it with that part of the ether, so much direct and indirect suffering?! I suffered today, those hills are tough to run :/

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