Thursday, 21 April 2011

The Station - the new book

The novel is finished (just about - about 500 words to go) but it's an uphill struggle getting a publisher because nobody is spending on books any more. So, I have put the first five chapters up on an e-book for you all to read and comment on.

There is a plot and a twist in the story ( a few twists in fact) and yes, for the sake of art and reality I have had to use profanity (I know some of you will disapprove - especially my mother) but please read what I have offered and give me feedback.

I still have to re-read to refine this draft but it's nearly there. The e-book will only be up on this link for 7 days, so there is limited time to read it.

If you are a publisher - get in touch! Otherwise I will publish it myself and put it on ebay as an e-book.

Thanks all!



Jake said...

Read the first chapter or two so far, and I reckon it's pretty good from what I've read.

I did tend to think that people who don't know much about the Ambulance Service might find it difficult to settle into, but I suppose the different target audiences is a factor for every book which is written.

Is this your first fictional book? By that I mean, your first book which isn't about past events and occurances - such as "Life and Death on the streets"?

Harry said...

Wow- I absolutely loved it. Seriously good read. All the tongue-in-cheek humour of your Survival Guide tied in with small explanations of what things mean, and at the same time deeper insights into what working from a station is like.

I really can't wait to read the rest now... and I want to know what happens with Steve and Lizzie D:

Xf said...


Hmmm... I did wonder about the start and whether it needs to be 'dumbed down' but other books, such as detective fiction can be a bit hard to get into.

Yes, it's my first fictional piece on this scale.

Jake said...

I think the problem is that you're a paramedic to be honest! I suppose it depends on who you're writing this for - take the Data Terminal for example. When you (a medic) look at it, you probably see an MDT. When a MOP sees it, it's just a computer really.

I've only read the first 2 chapters so far, but will read the rest soon. I think that you should consider toning the use of "ambulance slang" down a little - so MOP would just be member of public, because, I guess the same way the slang that youth use today works, it might bring you out of the story for a little bit if you need to think to remind yourself what a MRU is.

I suppose it's a little like reviews of the book "127 Hours". People said it was good, and technically it was correct, but the overuse of "rock climbing" slang alienated non rock climbers, and they kept having to look things up. Whereas this kinda of speech pattern is fine for blog/diary entries, it might be a little different when writing a fictional story - as most diaries would only really appeal to those who they are aimed at (e.g. This blog = ambulance staff/people interested in ambo work) and novels would potentially interest... well, everyone.

I'll read the rest of the chapters, and get back to you on them!

Mrs F with 4 said...

I can't wait to read the rest! The children got cereal and bananas for supper so I could finish this part. I wouldn't dumb it down, though, as part of the attraction could be that it IS so 'real'

I didn't catch any grammatical errors (an instant turn-off, for me at any rate), but I did get a type.... page 18 (I think), 'rouse' should be 'ruse'.

Hurry, hurry, I need to read the rest!


Anonymous said...

Please don't dumb it down, it was not hard to get into and I am not a paramedic. Loved the scene in the urinal, I've always felt that it is unfair that women can pee in peace while men are expected to whip out their penis in front of co workers.
When I got to the last page I was upset that I was going to have to wait to find out what happened to the characters, you've done a good job of getting the reader invested too.
I have one minor suggestion, for Misha, instead of describing her as witty, put in some wickedly funny dialogue, let her character demonstrate it. You have the sense of humor to do it. With the other characters, part of the pleasure is the discovery of who they are through their actions and dialogue rather than through a description. It feels more like getting to know a person as one would in real life.

paul said...

there no technicians left down there? everyone seems to be a paramedic...

Xf said...


I wanted to keep it simple for the reader - just about everyone thinks everyone working for the ambulance service is a paramedic, so there are no technicians.

Xf said...


Already working on that. The slang is there for me I guess - I'm editing it now so there should be a reduction in this.

Xf said...

Mrs F

Thanks - am still editing, which is a long process and I don't yet have the benefit of a publisher's editor to help me - so it's very useful to have hundreds of you looking for these things!

Xf said...


Misha is a minor character unfortunately and what I'm trying to convey to the reader is that, at the change of shift, people come and go quickly... I don't want the reader to think she is going to be important to the plot, so she gets an introduction and then bows out... a few characters will do that throughout the book. It's important for the reader to get to know the main characters because the events of the day will prove much more devastating when the plot develops.

Sian said...

Absolutely loved the first chapters you posted.
I will definitely be buying the full book , as you have really whetted my appettite to find out what happens next... :-)

Anonymous said...

Loved the first few chapters. I will also be buying the book. :D

Anonymous said...

Excellent. I have read the whole download in two nights and can't wait to find out what happens.
I echo the comments about the use of service slang and abbreviations. OK for us that know what an MDT or MRU is, but not so good for Joe Public unless it is explained and the odd eminder is thrown in.

Looking forward to the full book.

Ian said...

Love the first few chapters and i'm looking forward to when the rest surfaces in whatever form - good luck with finding a publisher.

Did you publish the last two yourself or are the guys who you did that with not interested in this?

I love the fact that your "fictional" Oscar Three has a familiar sound to it and I'm really looking forward to maybe recognising some other "fictional" locations!!

Dave said...

Just read all you've put up. Really wanted to know where it goes. I think you've got the balance between correctness and readability right- people will pick up the terminology as they read.
Can't wait to see the rest!

James said...


Have read the extract you have released so far and thoroughly enjoyed it. I agree with previous comments in that there is a lot of slang used however I would argue that this draws me as a reader with limited experience of pre-hospital care into the world of the Ambulance Service. May I suggest including a glossary in the final version to elucidate some of the concepts/equipment further thus saving space in the text and providing a reference guide?

Very much looking forward to buying the full book in whichever form it gets published.

Good luck getting a deal with a publisher.


Jess said...

Really enjoyed it!
I think it is a valid point about MOP maybe forgetting ambulance slang and having to remind themselves what FRU and MDT means - however I personally think it would make the book seem less realistic if you constantly dumbed things down: "the paramedic checked on his onboard computer"...!
I really liked it, and would definately buy the book when it's completed! The only thing I personally didn't like, was the graphic doctor's description in the beginning. To be honest it put me off reading the rest, but I persevered because I love all of your other books. And I'm glad I did continue as I loved the rest of the book and thought it was really well written. I just wondered if the graphic "hamburger" conversation was necessary - I've never heard doctor's have that conversation in resus over a patient that critical. But then my A&E is a lot quieter than London so we don't get that many calls like that!
But that's just my humble opinion....! Keep up the fantastic work :)

Loz said...

I know some fellow aussie colleagues that would be interested if you publish! great start by the way.. I'm glad there is plenty of 'in' jokes... it's like listening to some of the old guys at work talk about the good old days

Anonymous said...

brill, looking forward to the whole book.Thanks

Xf said...


I have actually been deliberating over the start of the chapter - whether it is necessary for the doctors to be musing over those injuries. There is a lot of black humour in this profession but I don't want to give it a bad reputation either because doctors are professional, caring people.

The intention was to reel the reader in on dark humour and then unravel something not so funny about their job but can see your point and have already started to review it.

This is precisely why I have asked my readers to look at the book for me, so thank you.

Xf said...


Thanks! Yes, Oscar Three is based on somewhere we all know and love! A few of the characters that are about to appear are based on real people, all of whom gave their permission to be part of the fiction.

The publisher of 'Diary' only does non-fiction, so he won't publish this. I published 'Street Medic'. I could do with a publisher for this because novels are notoriously difficult to promote unless you are a big name.

LiBallerina said...

I was a bit surprised about the penis bit but i love your sense of humour

I will deffo be buying the book

The Explorer said...

A suggestion for MDT, FRU etc... just put a glossary of terms used at the end, other authors e.g. Anne McCaffrey use it in some of their books to reference things that may not be known by their readers. It'll flow better if you just use the terms that the charecters themselves would use if they were real.

E.M.Taylor said...

Maybe I'm being dumb do I read the chapters? Comes up with a site about converting pdf files...

Xf said...


Not dumb... just too late! They were only up for 7 days I'm afraid. I'm hoping to publish soon now anyway, so maybe you'll just trust it on what others have said :-)

Xf said...

The Explorer

It's a work of fiction, so a glossary will look a bit out of place. There are hundreds of novels out there that involve a little bit of boning up on the tech so that you can read them... books about pathology and detectives, for example, are laden with non-layman terms.

Still, I will do my best to make it a more enjoyable read.

Anonymous said...

Loved it! definitley keep us all posted if and when you publish....