Wishing Shelf Book Awards 2019



If you have never heard of ‘The Wishing Shelf Book Awards’, neither had I till a few months ago. But it’s an award scheme that is likely to be more helpful than nearly every other award scheme there may be ‘out there’. I have entered my fabulous  ( I would say that wouldn’t I?) middle reader book, ‘Which Way Switch’. But, as I understand it, the manuscript doesn’t just disappear into a mountain of manuscripts never to be seen again. Real children are going to read it and give their real comments on it. I paid a bit extra to receive feedback, which I think is well worth the money and effort.  So the cover, blurb, grammar, layout and of course the storyline will be commented upon; this will, of course, be helpful for me in every possible way. If ‘Which Way Switch’ is considered good enough, it will then be entered into the selection of finalists to be judged.

I am really looking forward to the process and receiving my feedback. I think I will celebrate each stage of the process with some gooey chocolate cake (any excuse)…as would Lucas.


A further review from Amazon

I was scanning my Facebook site and came across a review I hadn’t noticed. Uncertain of the author either but was a pleasant surprise.

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for 9-12 year olds!
By Amazon Customer on 15 April 2017
Verified Purchase
A wonderfully written book from T. J. Rogers. Suitable for all ages and gripping from the first page. An upcoming author to keep and eye on for future works!

Thank you to the anonymous reader.

New Review of Which Way Switch

I was scanning my Facebook site and came across a review I hadn’t noticed. Uncertain of the author either but was a pleasant surprise.

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for 9-12 year olds!
By Amazon Customer on 15 April 2017
Verified Purchase
A wonderfully written book from T. J. Rogers. Suitable for all ages and gripping from the first page. An upcoming author to keep and eye on for future works!

Thank you to the anonymous reader.

Proof copy

Do I look like the cat who got the cream?
A little flurry of excitement this morning as the proof copy arrived, after only 2 days, I’m sure it said ‘expect it from the 2nd May’. Rather an exciting moment holding my work in my hands, after several years on/off working on it. As with anything I do, I then begin to wonder if it’s good enough/ right/ too big/ etc etc. A couple of minor cosmetic adjustments should do though.
Now I need to get organised to promote it, I suppose most long-established authors would already have launch parties and book signings organised. Must make a decision or two about that before I click ‘publish’.

Paperback on the way

Having appeared to be in hibernation for far too long I have finally got moving & motivated again . I have uploaded the book file from the ebook file to a pdf file to at last get the paperback book ‘out there’. I know many people are reading books on Kindles, tablets, laptops & other digital means but I still think you can’t beat having the hard copy in your hand & turning the pages. Especially for youngsters in the 9 to 12 year old bracket. I well remember reading under the bedclothes as a child, especially when I was supposed to be sleeping, this of course was later followed by listening to radio Caroline or Luxemburg under the covers( very quietly) with ear pressed to the speaker ha ha !!

I have restarted editing the 2nd in the Lucas trilogy as well after a rather too long break. It’s great to get back into the storylines again. I am however still unsure of a title …again! Get those creative juices flowing & I’m sure it will become obvious.

I have offered a free paperback of Which Way Switch to those who are interested. So if you are one of the first 3 I will send you a signed first edition. So if you leave an email address I will get it to you.

Interview with TJ

1. Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written

I have spent most of my life trying to reconcile not taking it too seriously with taking it seriously by being an academic. This tense oxymoron has taken some skilful negotiation. But the fact is that I love Maths and being a lecturer was the best way to get to do it. I finally left university a while back and now do some private tutoring. I’m in my late 50’s and love to try and keep fit by cycling, hiking and running, and keep undoing it all by eating cake and ice cream. I discovered writing about 12 years ago quite by accident and was surprised to find (a) I had an imagination and (b) what an emotional release it was. But I was not surprised to find out I can write from a child’s perspective.

I have written several shorter stories for younger children – some for 3- 5 year olds, some for say 5-8 year olds. And I have written a novel for middle readers, Which Way Switch, and its sequel with a title to be located. It’s out there somewhere!

2. What is the theme of your latest book and what inspired it?

Right, really pedantic answer here. My latest book is the untitled sequel, with the same, but more developed, theme as the first book and was inspired by it. This was the answer of a mathematician.

So, let’s go then to Which Way Switch, and its theme. It appears as if this a supernatural adventure about a boy, Lucas, whose life is pants, who gets to alter it by flicking a light switch he finds in his garage. And so it is. But underneath this, using the switch as a metaphor almost for life’s vicissitudes, Lucas is on a voyage of self-discovery as he is coming to terms with his own insecurities and feelings. Inspiration? Purely autobiographical!

In the sequel just finished, the supernatural element takes over (literally!) but the same underlying emotional self-development feature is there.

3. Do you have any unusual writing habits?

I wish I could say I like to write backwards eating jammie dodgers whilst swimming breaststroke at the local baths – it frees up the inner creative juices of my mind. Oh I just did say it! So that’s good. But it ain’t true. But I might have a jammie dodger or two.

4. What authors or books have influenced you?

Another mathematician’s answer here. All of them. All the authors/books I have read have had their say – each one being an indeterminate component in a complex interactive gestalt of influence. Yawn!

Maybe a little more enlightening, I do have a leaning towards reading the classics, and the light they shine on the world has undoubtedly influenced me. That and living 50 odd years in it.

5. What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on the editing process for the sequel to Which Way Switch. That and being on a wild goose chase egg hunt for the title, a book cover idea and a cool name for the amorphous globby beings that rule the multiverse (well almost they do).

6. What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?

I’m still learning! There seem to be plenty of people prepared to offer advice. It’s still early days so my Facebook page & website are most used. Twitter has given me lots of followers but doesn’t seem to promote much interest in the book currently & I don’t think anyone is hanging on my every word yet.
Face to face, schools, independent bookshops & radio are avenues to be explored as soon as I have finished editing my second book.

7. Do you have any advice for new authors?

1) Follow your own imagination in creating stories. If you don’t have any, don’t write.

2) Sometimes a title idea can lead to a story. You can get these just by listening – certainly brightens things up when someone is droning on and on and you get a story idea out of it. Kind of like the tail wagging the dog. Hey that’s a good idea for a kid’s story right there!

8. What is the best advice you have ever heard?

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

A day off from authoring and up to the mountains again

path  and haystacks
The gentle walk towards Haystacks

The weather has been wonderfully warm again ( for the Lake District anyway, even though London has been basking in the 30’s) and my heart gets drawn to the mountains once more.  Nothing quite like walking and clambering up a mountain with the sun on your back, the air clear and the visibility amazing. It’s not always easy to judge the right place to go to get the best of the sun in the Lake District because little areas seem to have their own weather system despite weather forecasters trying their best with predictions.

After analysing all the various forecasts, Buttermere seemed to be a good bet and having not been there for quite some time and my wife never having been there it seemed like a good plan. I grabbed my Wainwright book and map, plus lunch and water and we headed off. Found a place to park and set off towards Haystacks; Wainwrights favourite mountain  I believe. His ashes are scattered by Innominate Tarn, not far from the summit. Getting to Buttermere meant driving along the Honister Pass, which was very narrow and steep in places but passing through some wonderful scenery.

We were not the only ones taking advantage of the lovely weather, we encountered numerous people heading in both directions. We lingered over some bird spotting( my wife’s more recent passion) as we encountered some birds not spotted by my wife before. We did have binoculars but not a bird book, so I endeavoured to get some close-up photos to clarify the species when we got home. As we climbed higher we could see Buttermere and higher still Crummock water came into view, very beautiful scenery.

Several old mines are in the area and we came across a bothy, (it would have been nice to be like a  ‘hutte’ that we used several times in the Alps last year and had beer and strudel to refresh us.) It looked like just an old abandoned cottage but part of it had a roof and glass in the window. Inside there were things to assist backpackers like camp beds, stove, pots and pans, large bottles not sure what was inside, table and a little cuddly marmot on the window sill. It smelt heavily of smoke so maybe the chimney to the stove/fire wasn’t that brilliant. I wonder how many people know it’s there, it obviously gets used,  but it’s quite a good walk to get to it.

Buttermere Lake
Nearing the summit, looking back towards Buttermere and Crummock Water beyond.

We continued our climb and ended up around the back of Haystacks ( from our direction anyway) and then we came across some tarns. The second tarn turned out to be Blackbeck tarn and we had lunch beside it thinking it was innominate tarn. It was lovely anyway, glad to take a longer rest, eat and drink. Maybe kit-kats weren’t such a good idea on such a hot day. The water was by then warmish as well. The steady trickle of walkers in both directions continued as we tried to get comfortable on the grass leaning against rocks that could have been a bit smoother for our comfort. There was a good view of the amazing fells and mountains around us, most of which I tried to identify and turned to Wainwright’s book to help with the ones I didn’t know.

Tarn and sky reflections
The beautiful little Innominate Tarn near the summit. Very still and reflecting the lovely summer sky.

After a suitable break we headed off for the summit and then we came to the innominate tarn- strange name for a tarn, it means a tarn without a name! It was only minutes away from where we had been sitting. It was very calm and tranquil and the sky reflected in the water making a beautiful image.

As we clambered down the gravelly path and then back up to the summit we passed several people (and dogs) we had already greeted going past us, while we rested for lunch. The stone and gravel that the conservationists  put on the well-trodden paths to try and prevent erosion, can be lethal on occasions. ‘Bit like walking on marbles’, someone commented. It can be very slippery especially when going down. My wife managed to slip over 4 times in all, once was admittedly while she was focussing on a bird flying overhead.

The last little climb was more of a scramble to a very rocky/lumpy summit. In fact all of Haystacks looks very lumpy and rocky really. The view from the top was amazing. Views towards Ennerdale as well as Buttermere, Crummock and beyond, to the very far distant mountains of Scotland. Also views towards  Eel Crag near Derwent Water, Scafell Pike and other mountains. We could also make out tiny little, coloured specks of walkers on various summits or walking up and down various slopes.

The tricky bit was then finding the route back down, as we didn’t want to retrace our steps. We found a path but not the actual one I was hoping to use. It was very gravelly and rocky so coming down can be almost as tricky as climbing up…sometimes worse. The trek back down was certainly faster than the ascent and it was good to be walking on fairly level ground when we reached the path beside Buttermere. It is possible to walk all around the lake on a level path and it is very scenic walk…but not necessarily after walking up and down Haystacks, maybe another day.



British weather …always a good topic.

“A few drops of rain tapped against the window panes of the School Hall. It was a kind of polite tip-tapping as if the drops knew they ought not to be disturbing Mrs Thackray’s announcements. But before long, the polite drops had been replaced by a ruder sort and the gentle tapping became a hammering as rain lashed against the glass. Heads turned sideways to look. The rain turned to hail and the hammering gave way to a loud clacking noise like two thousand knitting needles were knitting a thousand jumpers. This got everyone’s attention, and for a short while, Mrs Thackray’s announcements were lost to the weather.”

ch: 7 Which Way Switch www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XXGWVQ8/

This was how the weather was described in ‘ Which Way Switch ‘ obviously after years of experience of it. Cumbria is a county which gets more than its fair share of rain I suppose but that too is the reason it is called the Lake District, lakes don’t appear from drought. It’s lovely when we do have a warm and dry period though. Last Saturday was an interesting day. Thunder, lightning, heavy rain, garden flooded in places and plants flattened… then it happened all over again later. How was a cricket fan supposed to keep up with the ODI with the TV not working too?

But on the upside…no watering of the plants to do.


Which Way Switch, One week on from launch.

I have become fascinated by the comings and goings or ups and downs of my book’s  status on amazon.co.uk Which Way Switch. I find myself looking far too frequently at its various positions in the top 100 of any category it fits into. Then I look at its overall performance amongst all the books on Amazon and it feels quite disheartening.

I need to remember why I wrote the book…it was for my own pleasure first and foremost- the fact that I can write and enjoy doing it. Hopefully, other people will enjoy what I write too; that is the reason I decided to publish as an ebook first, then move on to a paperback version. The other factor though is that is was aimed at 9 to 12 -year-olds and will they be trawling through Kindle store looking for their next good book to read? Will be their parents doing the searching on their behalf? I have found that the adults I know who have bought the book, enjoyed it too when I’ve had feedback. Thinking of other success stories e.g Harry Potter books (which were originally aimed at the younger reader ) what was it that made the breakthrough to all ages clamouring for those books? Will people start queuing outside bookstores for the latest novel from my series?  Do I really want that sort of fame and fortune? My initial thoughts are: not that much…at this time. Maybe later I might change my mind. But for now…I must try to continue with the sequel to Which Way Switch and try not to peek at the ratings too often. ( ooh it’s just crept back up to number 22 in the time travel section)

Maybe another cup of coffee will help or some cakey stuff. 


Which Way Switch cover image changes, what do you think?

The Original cover image without the changes and what a difference it makes.

Boy beside green glowing switch
original image by Sharon Cash the illustrator

The cover as revised by my publisher Matador.

Boy beside old fashioned light switch
Which way should the switch be …up or down?

So interesting what can be done with online editing. Can you always believe what you see in images these days? The Loch Ness monster could be made very believable. I love the slightly nervous, inquisitive, awestruck face of Lucas. He was soon to find out why he should be nervous !