Tom Kane's Blog

A word can change a mind. A sentence can change a life. A book can change the world

image of a bee

Fruit is something we mostly take for granted, be it an apple a day or the grapes of wrath, we tend to eat fruit (or not) and not think too much about it. But with the world’s bee population being decimated on a vast scale, your daily intake of fruit may become a weekly thing, or even monthly, maybe even a once in a while treat. Think I’m being alarmist? Even in my small patch of ground in Cyprus I’m finding dead or dying bees on a regular basis. A United Nations press release in May 2019 stated that more than three quarters of the leading types of global food crops rely to some extent on bees and other pollinators.

image of American Blueberries

American Blueberries

I grow a lot of fruit for a small garden. Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, grapes, blueberries, tomatoes and even melons.

image of Melon - Rugoso di Cosenza Giatto

Melon – Rugoso di Cosenza Giatto

Whatever it is I decide to grow, even though they are grown in tubs, seems to do well. I’m always amazed when I sow new seeds and something grows. Not least of which was my amazement at the melons I have growing.

So I pay particular attention to nature and try to invite as many insects into my garden as possible with the right types of flowers and environment. Because one day I may sow some seeds and nothing will grow. If that day ever comes, god help humanity because without pollination, people will starve.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2019

Living in Cyprus has been great for me. You can read about what it’s like with my series of books.

Living in Cyprus: 2015 is free




image Kouklia Coastal Retreat

I can understand why buying property is stressful. Add into that mix Harvey’s illness and sad death and, well, I could go on bemoaning the harshness of life but, I’m not. Life is way too short to spend time moaning about its inequalities. Life is what it is, so get on with it and enjoy it as much as you can.

So, here’s the good news, the contracts to the Cyprus apartment have now been signed and all we have to do is wait for the legal stuff to go through, taxes to be paid, bankers draft for final payment and voila! J’ai les clés et c’est la fête – I have the keys and it’s party time. What could go wrong? Plenty, but we will ignore that for now, remember, life is too short.

I have a website almost completed, which you can see here. And though the law on tourist rental is changing, there seems to be a period of three years where you can get your act together and be tourism compliant, so that’s pretty cool. But then comes the hard part, the marketing.

Software integration between sites like TripAdvisor and AirBnB is easy enough. Arranging cleaning after visits will not be too hard and there are maintenance companies specialising in all many of services.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2019

Living in Cyprus can be an interesting and sometimes frustrating experience for an English expat. I’ve been here 11 years, but the first few years were anything but normal. Read all about my introduction to living in Cyprus.


image book cover

First draft my 3rd work in progress

Ascension: Brave New Earth



Brett awoke to the sound of panicky, whispered and frightened voices.

“Wake your father up. Quickly.”

He felt the nudge on his shoulder and fearful voice close to his ear. “Dad! Dad!” Another nudge, more forceful and then a loud cracking sound brought him to full alert, his military instincts kicking in. He was up, blaster drawn and searching for danger.

“What?” He hissed.

“It’s the walls, something’s drilling holes in the walls. Our air is escaping into the atmosphere.”

In the dark, half-light, of the terra-forming habitat module’s night mode setting, he met his daughter’s eyes, fear was there, but tempered with steel. Hard resolve. She was only twenty but he had trained her well.

“Over here as well,” his son was calling out to him. “All along the seams… it seems. Forgive the pun,” he said, smiling ruefully.

Another good soldier in the making, Brett thought.

“Be quite! Whisper it for heaven’s sake.”

The unmistakable fear in that voice, the trembling and weakness told Brett it was his wife.

Coming to this alien world was all your idea, and now you are fearful of what your actions may cost you. Pitiful.

Brett’s thoughts were his own, but it didn’t matter, everyone knew he had nothing but contempt for the leader of this expedition.

My wife!

He let out an involuntary snort of derision and his wife’s fearful stare caught his steady gaze.

Yes, I’ll get you out of this… again, Maggs.

Brett checked the outer-hull vid-feed and at first saw nothing. His son, now standing to his left saw it first.

“Who the hell is that?”

Brett followed Ryan’s gaze to the top left quadrant of the big display and saw it too. A figure in black combat gear, obviously designed for hostile environments, seemingly made of a hazy, shiny material he didn’t recognize. “What the hell…”

“That’s personal shielding, isn’t it, dad?” Michelle, Mitch to her friends and family, seemed in awe… and rightly so.

“Yeah,” Brett said slowly. “Looks like… but, tha…”

“That’s impossible, isn’t it, dad?” Ryan’s voiced had an urgency to it, Brett recognized. He realised, as Brett did, this was not human technology they were witnessing. This figure was… alien.

“Do something. Do something!”

Father, daughter and son all turned as one to look at Maggs. Her hands covered her mouth realising she had nearly screamed in hysterics at the situation. A situation no human had ever encountered before. Not only seemingly alien contact, but hostile alien contact. From the vid-feed it was obvious the alien figure was tampering with the habitat’s protective hull, allowing their precious air to bleed out into the alien atmosphere. This alien’s idea of first contact was not as humanity had hoped since man moved out to the stars, expecting this first contact at every new planet they found. Now, that moment had come and it had arrived on the Madison family’s watch and it was to be a deadly affair.

“Switch the view to the entire camp, Mitch,” Brett said, ignoring his wife’s pleading eyes and turning back to the vid-feed.

“Yes dad,” Mitch said, matter-of-factly. She looked down at the feed’s display and pressed twice on the holo-display. She heard the gasp from behind and looked up, her face turning from impassive to outright fear. “Two hab’s collapsed and the place is swarming with them. Dad?”

All eyes were on Brett. Though the mission commander was his wife, he knew this was his baby now. His mission speciality was maintaining the habs on this alien world, but also as security for the base. None of Earth’s terraforming missions had ever needed security before, until now.

“First time for everything,” Brett muttered. ”Two habs down and we must assume the people in there are dead.” Brett looked at Mitch, knew she was thinking of Ben James in hab two, but not showing it. She would find time enough to grieve later, if he could find a way through this.

Good girl.

“Okay, we need a…” Another sharp crack behind them made them all whirl round. The loud squeal of escaping air brought reality back to the group. “Suit up. Now! Ryan.”

“Yes, dad?”

“Essential survival supplies. We have minutes left before a collapse of the habitat.”

“I’m on supplies,” Mitch shouted.

Brett looked at his wife. She nodded, sobbing, and began gathering essential medical supplies. Brett took stock and then suited up himself. They would have no chance getting to the Rovers, he noted, looking at the outer hull vid-feed. The black combat-suited aliens meant business and intended no-one to survive this encounter.

Okay, my alien friends. All bets off. This is war.

Brett busied himself gathering comms gear and weapons and at the same time formulated a plan of escape.

“Comms check,” Brett said as he sealed his helmet in place. “Brett, okay.”

“Ryan, okay.”

“Check,” Mitch said.

“Okay,” Maggs’ voice sobbed, loud and clear, over the comms.

“Okay, luckily we are still on the private channel from yesterday. They can’t hear us, but equally no-one else can hear us… if there is anyone else left. Line astern, behind me and do as I do. Follow the training, we have practiced this…”

“A lot.”

They all recognised the amusement, despite the situation, in Ryan’s voice.

“Then no excuses. You all know the drill. Rear escape port. Follow me.”

Survival habitats are essentially a ball cut in half. The half-circle sat on top of soil, a ten metre circumference, each inner segment was divided into quarters and colour coded. Red for rear escape section in case of air-loss and imminent collapse. It made it easier for the human mind to understand their environment and react immediately in times of crisis.

Brett turned and watched his family line up behind him through the helmet’s HUD (Heads Up Display) and quickly moved to the rear. He pressed the emergency decompression button and waited for the air to cycle out of the hab. Collapse had been averted, just in time, but now they had to avoid being seen by the aliens roaming the compound. That was going to be a lot harder. As he waited for the depressurisation cycle to complete, Brett noticed that the seal around the emergency exit was crumbling. Now he realised the aliens had introduced a fast working bio-agent into the very fabric of the hull. The bio-agent was eating the hull, very quickly.

At that moment here was a whoosh of mass escaping air has the bio-agent, coupled with the hab’s own attempt to remove the air conspired to cause the collapse of the crumbled hull. The hull simply vaporised in a colourless cloud of degraded plastic and carbon.

Brett and his family were exposed to the alien’s and there was nowhere to hide.


It was never inevitable that humanity would reach for the stars. A more likely scenario for humanity was war between nations due to limited resources on Earth and this would lead to the destruction of humanity. Nuclear war followed by a nuclear winter followed by the demise of the human race was more than inevitable to most professional observers.

But that was not the way it turned out. Yes, war was inevitable and prolific due to limited resources, but then two remarkable discoveries made all the difference. Cold fusion that actually worked finally came into being in December 2033. But not before war had laid waste to the middle east as the oil finally ran out. It was a close run thing but it wasn’t long before the world changed. And with that change came the second industrial revolution and humanity finally had the chance to reach for the stars. The Holk-Lieber Drive became the mechanism that opened up the galaxy. Better know now as the Warp-Drive, German scientist Reinhard Holk and Britain’s Bill Liebersmith demonstrated the drives capabilities in the summer of 2041 and the first field test, a two-day trip to Jupiter was a sensation. Now, twenty years later, humanity was reaching the stars closest to our own solar system on a regular basis and discovering planets so Earth like it was breath-taking. Terraformers we sent out where there was the need to alter atmospheres. More controversially biological tinkering was performed and a few Brave New Earth scientists wanted to go the whole hog and attempt to change a planets geology and atmosphere where they could. Brave New Earth became a mantra to planetary scientists the world over and new and cutting edge technologies were developed to re-create planets in Earth’s likeness.

Ascension was chosen in the third phase and needed extensive atmospheric shaping to make it possible for humans to live there. Up until then, no evidence of any alien life beyond the microscopic had ever been found. And then it happened, when least expected and not looked for. Aliens who, it was assumed, considered Ascension their world, came calling on the Terraforming team of Dr. Maggs Camorra and they were not bearing gifts.




It was hours before dawn was due. When mankind first discovered Ascension, it was decided the planet was an ideal candidate for a terraforming program. But before that, in the very early days of exploring the planet, before an Earth-like atmosphere began replacing Ascension’s native atmosphere, those explorers were amazed at Ascension’s gloriously star filled night sky. A sky of such magnificence that those who were born and who died on Earth could never have imagined it.

They could also never have imagined the terror in the heart of Maggs Camorra as the hab unit she cowered in simply disappeared before her eyes and left her and her family exposed to alien soldiers, intent on killing every human on Ascension, maybe even all humanity. But for now, Maggs was simply terrified and her thoughts could go no further than her own, imminent, and dramatic demise at the hands of black suited aliens she had never even seen, face to face. She handled the situation by forming her body into as tight a ball as possible, head between her knees, rocking on her feet and whimpering. Her husband and children were made of stronger stuff and were instantly ready for combat. But none was offered, the camp area was deserted.

“It disintegrated,” Mitch whispered, as she tentatively stood. Her suits passive scans showed no sign of life except for her family. “They’ve gone. Job done. No need to hang around, nobody would survive this environment without a hab unit.” Mitch turned full circle and wondered what the aliens had used on the hab units to destroy them so quickly and so utterly.

“Some sort of bio agent,” her father said, as if he had read his daughter’s mind.

“I’ll check the other habs,” Ryan said.

Mitch turned to her brother. “Be careful, we don’t know if they have left for good. There may be booby traps.”

Inside his suit helmet, Ryan smiled at his sister’s concern. “I’ll be careful, little sister.” Ryan could almost see the crinkled nose his sister was making after his comment. You’re so predictable, sis. But I love you for it.

“Survival is the first order of the day.”

“Copy that,” Mitch said still whispering. “I’ll take a look round and see what we can salvage, air, some sort of cover for a habitat? Shit! It’s not going to happen, dad. There is nothing left of the habs and…”

“Doesn’t hurt to look, Mitch. Let’s just get the big picture first and then we can assess where we stand.”

“Up the creek without a paddle,” Ryan said with a grunt, as he turned over a storage locker and found a body. “Oh Lord! She didn’t stand a chance when this hab blew.”

Brett walked up and put his hand on his son’s shoulder and looked down at the face of death, death from Carbon Dioxide poisoning. “We all knew the risks.”

“Yeah, but from the planet. Not some alien killer rampage. She didn’t stand a chance.”

“It was quick. Wasn’t it?” Mitch’s voice held a slight tremble as she came up and put her gloved hand on her brother’s other shoulder.

“Yeah… it was quick,” Brett said, knowing full well from the horrific grimace on the face of Jane Barrett that it was anything but quick.

“Oh Jane,” Mitch murmured, to nobody in particular.

A distant rumble made the trio look toward the noise, left, in the distant hills now visible as dawn rapidly approached. An obviously alien craft rose, slowly at first, from just beyond the hillside. Large, shining black armour, menacing and obviously military in its deadly purpose. Quickly it gained height and with a roar, heard even through the trio’s space suits, the alien vessel shot straight up into the approaching dawn sky.

“Bye. Thanks for visiting,” Ryan said with bitterness.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2019


image of our dog Harvey

Our dog Harvey passed away on Tuesday 18th June 2019 after several illnesses. He soldiered through all that was put in his way and was of good humour right to the very end. Here’s the beginning of a series of stories I’ve written over the years all about Harvey’s adventures and mishaps.

Summer 2009

Harvey the Elephant Dog

Harvey is a character, of that there is no doubt. Of our two Springers Harvey is the one who will always get into trouble. Holly is quieter and lives for chasing the ball, but we have long suspected, from when we introduced Holly into our little family, that she was leading him astray. But notwithstanding that, there’s plenty of mischief in Harvey even without Holly leading him astray.

There are two memorable occasions where Harvey got himself into trouble all on his own. The first occasion was one mid-week mid-morning. Harvey had begun to bark, incessantly. He does that when he feels the need for attention or when he wants one of us to throw the ball for Holly. Harvey gets excited when we throw the ball for Holly. He rarely chases the ball himself; he just likes seeing Holly chase the ball.

On this particular morning Harvey was nowhere to be seen, but he could certainly be heard.

We looked high and low to locate him, fearing he may have escaped through the fence onto a neighbour’s land and be chasing something he shouldn’t be. But no, we found Harvey at the bottom of the garden. He was facing us but staring at a mound of earth. He then began barking for a couple of minutes before plunging his head into the earth mound!

Harvey’s second name is Headbanger and true to form he was showing what a lunatic he could be.

So I went for a stumble (it’s pretty rough down our ‘garden’) to see what he was doing and there he was, sat looking at the mound of earth, barking, until he plunged his head… into an ants nest. Up he came with a head full of ants, a big lolloping grin with tongue hanging out, also infested with ants and he started to bark.

He had never seen ants before, and I believe he was trying to make friends. Harvey Headbanger, indeed.

The second occasion was more worrying and involved Harvey doing a passable impression of the Elephant man.

I had been out all morning doing errands in Paphos and was on my way back home when my mobile phone rang. Always aware of safety and because I can’t see the screen while driving, I stopped the car.

“Harvey’s been bitten by something and he’s acting strange,” Chrissy said.

I could her the stress in her voice so I told her to hang on I would be there shortly.

Five minutes later I rolled up and here was Harvey, head inflated like a misshaped blimp and scratching his head and face with his paws. He was obviously in no pain, rather he seemed to be itching. Chrissy drove and I sat in the back with Harvey while poor old Holly stayed at home, on her own – something I’m sure she hated.

We got to the vets and Harvey was taken straight in. Our vets are absolutely brilliant, except when it comes to clipping the dogs!

The head vet examined Harvey and immediately said he had been stung by a scorpion. I didn’t know there were scorpions in Cyprus, let alone seen one.

By the time the vet injected Harvey with anti-venom he was giving John Hurt a run for his money in his acclaimed Elephant Man role.

Harvey has never been stung since; I think he was beginning to learn his lesson.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2019

Extracted form ‘A Pat on his Back’

image of Holly and Harvey spriger spaniels

The Good

As a writer, I’m well aware of many famous sayings to do with writing. Perhaps the most famous is never judge a book by its cover. That goes doubly so in Harvey World. Harvey, he’s the black & white springer next to his pal Holly in the picture above, is my English Springer Spaniel and he has had a bad 8 months of illness. In October last year he suffered from a large cyst attached to his dietary tract and Ataxia, which is a spinal problem. He underwent a long surgical procedure in which it was hoped it would sort out his spinal problem. The details you can read here.

Harvey’s recovery was remarkable for a 14 year old dog. Now Harvey has a new battle, nasal cancer. But Harvey is a fighter and he will not give up. The cancer is slow growing and he’s on medication to help him. He will never get better and I understand that. But he has good and bad days and three times in the last eight months Harvey has seemed to have given in, yesterday was one of those.

The Bad

So yesterday morning was like any other. I woke up, let Harvey and Holly out and they did their thing. We have a routine here where Harvey goes out for a wee. He comes back in and a few minutes later he wants to go out for a pooh. This goes on for an hour or so, in out in out. But yesterday was a break in the routine as I was up late, usually it’s 5am and it was 7am yeaterday. Consequently, Harvey was late getting his medication and when it came to breakfast he didn’t want his normal food. He had had a little bit of my bacon-buttie, but when he was presented with his food he refused. I managed to crush up his pills and get them down him. His steroids would normally kick-in after an hour or so, but not this time and he slowly began to deteriorate. Yesterday was a Bank Holiday in Cyprus, so the vet was closed. I managed to get a message to the vet and he agreed to see Harvey today. But by mid-afternoon Harvey was listless, asleep and blood, mucus and nasal lining was flowing freely from his nose.

The Downright Ugly

As the blood seemed to build up in his nose Harvey would sneeze and blood was showering the area he lay in. It was a constant clean-up operation. The he would do a big sneeze and clear his nasal passage. This would lead to a large glob of nasal lining coming away and being ejected from his nose. It looked remarkably like a small piece of liver. If a policeman had walked in I would have been arrested on suspicion of murdering someone.

Harvey was getting worse and a visit to the vet was now urgent. Fearing the worse is always a bad scene and the appointment wasn’t until 6pm. Harvey had been asleep for quite a while and woke a couple of hours before the appointment. I tried feeding him again, knowing it wouldn’t happen… but it did happen.

The Miracle

Harvey ate. Not a little nibble, whole mouthfuls. He ate and wanted more. I gave him more and he wanted yet more. By the time it was just past four in the afternoon Harvey was outside, trotting around, sniffing the flowers, weeing on the flowers and wanted a few nibbles to eat. He was a different dog.

Today he’s snuffly and his vets appointment is at 09:30 and I’m sure he will be as fine as he can be.

Never judge a book by its cover. And here’s another saying. Never put a good dog down.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2019



image side border in the garden

When you’re having a bad day, odd day, crap day, stressed day or a day you simply want to forget, where do you go to put it all behind you? For me, it’s the garden.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a gardener, but I do like to grow things and see the flowers, birds, bees, butterflies and my family enjoy what I’ve created. It’s satisfying.

image garden pots

All I need is a few minutes peace and quiet (difficult when you have two English Springer Spaniels as pets) and all my problems put themselves into perspective and take their turn in the queue.

Growing these flowers and fruits from seed, rather than buying the plant, makes it all the more worthwhile. Sure it takes a lot of work, but that’s part of the fun. And yes, as a writer who has a family and has other projects on the go it takes time. But, for the summer I get to sit in a garden full of flowers and watch the world go by.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2019

When I moved from England to Cyprus 11 years ago, I was set for a lazy time in the sun. To relax and chill for the rest of my life… it took 30 minutes for the airport to lose my two dogs. It took me hours to find them and at the same time cost a small fortune and a ton of paperwork into the late night to get my dogs out of doggie jail. “Welcome to Cyprus, please ensure your wallet and passport are open.”


image book marketing

What’s the difference between sales and marketing? Most people have no idea and seem to confuse the two. To put it simply, if your books are on sale on Amazon then you don’t have to bother with sales. Amazon does the selling. That leaves you to concentrate on the critical marketing of your book.

Once your book is written, edited, formatted, the cover designed and you’ve chosen what price you want to sell it for, then you are ready to publish. Once published Amazon is able to sell your book. Simple isn’t it? Who has spotted the deliberate error in this plan?

That’s right, Amazon won’t be able to sell very many of your books without the world knowing your book exists. How do you tell the world your book exists? That’s up to you but that is where your marketing strategy comes in.

What was that? You don’t have a marketing strategy?

You have a package ready to market, but you have no idea how to market it. What you need to market your book, put it simply, is exposure.

Anyone remember the slow-motion chase of O. J. Simpson? It was 1994 and people still remember it to this day because it had massive exposure. Now I’m not suggesting you commit a murder to promote your book, there are plenty of other ways to promote a book. Also I’m not suggesting you do your marketing in a particular way. But there are multiple avenues you can do down. Here’s a few ideas.

  • Identify your target audience
  • Build an author platform by creating a website displaying your books with a blog attached to your website utilising content marketing
  • Advertise all your books at the beginning and end of all your content
  • Use universal booklinks for your books, not individual links per country Amazon sells from
  • Use SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to guide potential new readers to your website
  • Utilise sites like
  • Use social media to increase your online presence to spread the word about your book to your target audience
  • Get reviews for your book
  • Use book promotional tools and programs
  • Maximize your distribution channels
  • Run a preorder campaign
  • Run ebook price promotions
  • Host author Q&As
  • Create reader communities
  • Create box sets and bundles
  • Do a book-launch. There are two ways, physical, in a book store, or online.
  • Give away free books in the genre of your othger books, short stories, featurettes or a book explaining how you became a writer. Make sure you advertise your for sale book at the beginning and end of all your content
  • Use Google to seek out and utilise other ideas for marketing your book

These are just a few ideas and in many ways you should choose the ways you think are best suited to you and to your book. Don’t try one and then another and… well, you get the idea. Plan your marketing, don’t wing it.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2019

Need help setting up a blog? Get the free book with plenty of useful ideas and tips on blogging.


image of our dog Harvey

It’s a calm period since Harvey was first diagnosed with nasal cancer. The turbulence has toned down somewhat, though he did have an episode of a nose bleed a fortnight ago. That was stabilised by our magnificent vet’s, 3Vets, in Larnaca.

Since than he’s gone from strength to strength. But, and it’s a big but, we know he’s not going to get better. He’s 15 in November this year, and in general terms he has slowed right down. But he still loves to play around the pool. He doesn’t too much like to go in the water, but he does go in, sometimes with my help and other times of his own volition… like last week when he fell in trying to grab a ball in the water. Harvey has always loved the feel of a rubber ball in his mouth and will go to great lengths to get the ball. Luckily we’re always on hand to make sure he or Holly can get out the pool and not drown.

Harvey’s health issues are now a waiting game. We can expect more nose bleeds and yes he can’t help himself sometimes and has a pee in the house and even drops the odd stink-bomb as well as a bouncing brown pooh-bomb on occasions. He can’t help it and I’m not going to get mad about it, it is what it is.

We wait and see, it’s all we can do.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2019


image of kouklia apartment

About a year or so ago I tried to buy an apartment in Peyia in Cyprus. For reasons beyond my control that purchase fell through and it’s only just now that another property has come onto the market which will do quite nicely for renting out to holidaymakers.

This time it’s in Kouklia and it’s a cosy single bedroomed apartment offering everything you require for your holiday in Cyprus. The village has a host of eateries and bars, a craft shop, post office and a medical centre and is only a 10 minute walk away. The tranquil village square is quiet during the day but comes to life on an evening, with live entertainment in the summer season. The apartment is a 13 minute walk from the Sanctuary of Aphrodite. It’s only a ten minute drive from Paphos International Airport and fifteen minutes from Paphos town. There are also two internationally acclaimed 18 hole golf courses virtually on my doorstep. One of them, Aphrodite Hills, was named the 2018 European Golf Resort of the Year by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators.

The ancient town of Palaipafos is located within the limits of the modern village of Kouklia, situated close to the mouth of Diarizos river, it’s 16 kilometres east of the modern town of Pafos.

image Petra Tou Romiou

Petra Tou RomiouBeaches nearby are the Blue Lagoon, Lara Beach, Argaka Beach, Coral Bay Beach, Baths of Aphrodite Beach, Laourou Beach, Petra Tou Romiou Beach and a whole host of other beaches, too numerous to mention.

So it seems to have everything a holidaymaker would need. All I have to do now is wait and see what happens as it’s all in the hands of my solicitor now.

Fingers crossed… and legs… and anything else I can manage to cross.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2019