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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 on 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…

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

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.


Fire Mission Beer Garden!

Thoughts & Meanderings... Posted on 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

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

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

Thoughts & Meanderings... Posted on 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

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

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 on 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

Thanks and goodnight all.


Thoughts & Meanderings... Posted on Fri, June 28, 2013 09:10:46

How did I feel when I looked at my book

I currently have a few reviews on one site
and approximately 250 on another. Both of which I check and read on a regular

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 on 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’

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

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

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 on 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.