Monday, 31 March 2014

Trying to improve the SEO for my blogs and websites.

I been trying to improve the discoverability of my blogs and websites by trying to understand SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION (SEO)

I've read lots of the advice websites and blogposts and found that there seems to be agreement that links should flow naturally within the text so I'm going to practise that. Apparently the links should feature the key words of the post as well but still remain natural. Still haven't got the hang of this: I write what I want to say and then look and see if I've used any key-words. Wrong, wrong, wrong. You're supposed to do the very opposite.

Another thing: you have to have good content if you want the search engine spiders to like your post and push it up the page rankings. Er - well yes - I would have thought that went without saying. But who decides what is "good"? What criteria do they use?

And links too from social media are very important to show the spiders that people are interested in your website or blog. If you've read this far you must be a bit interested in what I'm writing even if you're completely gob-smacked at my lack of knowledge of this SEO phenomena. So could you tweet it please by clicking on the button at the bottom of the page and follow me on Twitter @spurwing_

To summarise what I've learned so far:

To improve the SEO for your website or Blog you need to have
  • ·         Amazing content
  • ·         Links to social media
  • ·         Backlinks to your own pages
  • ·         Backlinks to pages that rank higher than yours
  • ·         Backlinks that occur naturally in your text.
If I find out anything else, naturally, I'll include it in a future blogpost but so far my efforts don't seem to have had much impact.

Remember: If at first you don't succeed, try and try again.

If the saying worked for Robert the Bruce and his spiders I'm sure it will work for Internet spiders too.

Thanks for reading.

Learning Lines? A Practical Guide for Drama Students and Aspiring Actors by Michael Murray

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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Greetings from the Land of Search Engine Optimization!

If you've landed on this page as a result of a random search or because some Google spider thinks I know anything about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) - er, not.

I've just started trying to figure it out for myself.

My blogs and websites are about the ebooks I publish / write / read / review / recommend and also my family history  (genealogy) researches.

I'm trying to learn how to get them found by search engines without spending any money.

It seems like SEO is big business used by big business.

If I search the titles of any of our books they usually appear on the Amazon and Apple pages aeons before anything else; which is fine if you know the title of the book and that it is available on Amazon and Apple but not much use otherwise.

Anyway back to the point:

All the sites I read said don't do the click here type of back link but I find that I often do click here to go back to the home page.

Which do you prefer?

Or would you rather see the full link? Return to my home page at

Any advice gratefully received.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Coming soon: Writing a Family History On-Line

Are you a Family History enthusiast?

Do you want to use the Internet and Social Media to share your discoveries about your ancestors with family, friends and other genealogists?

Do you have memories you'd like to share with future generations?

In "Writing a Family History On-Line" I describe my own approach to making my Family History available on-line to family, friends and other genealogists. I use my own Website, Blogs and Social Media to demonstrate how you too can write and share your Family History on-line at little or no cost.

After reading this book you should be able to write your own Family History on-line instead of just printing out family trees, charts, lists and reports. You will have looked at some examples; got some ideas; and be equipped with enough knowledge to have a go at trying out some alternative ways of writing a Family History using the Internet and Social Media.

Anticipated Publication Date: March 23rd 2014 in the Amazon Kindle Store.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Friday, 10 January 2014

Friday, 29 November 2013

I Think I Prefer the Tinned Variety

If you're interested in Family History and personal memoirs you might like to take a look at I Think I Prefer the Tinned Variety: The Diary of a Petty Officer in the Fleet Air Arm during World War II which is based on a diary kept by my father during World War Two.

It records his experiences on a naval air-base first in Sierra Leone, West Africa and later on Ponam Island as part of the British Pacific Fleet.

The diary has been annotated to add more detail to the story and there's lots more information on the Tinned Variety Blog.

 I Think I Prefer the Tinned Variety: The Diary of a Petty Officer in the Fleet Air Arm during World War II is available exclusively as a Kindle ebook in the Amazon Kindle Store.

If you don't read with a Kindle you can download a free app for your computer which is well worth doing as there are so many free books available including one of our other publications, Julia's Room by Michael Murray.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Learning Lines? A Practical Guide for Drama Students and Aspiring Actors

I've been so busy on the free promotion for Julia's Room recently that I've rather overlooked our new publication Learning Lines? APractical Guide for Drama Students and Aspiring Actors by Michael Murray.

When Michael was a student at R.A.D.A. he was told by his drama tutor, "You do not learn lines: you study a part" but how exactly do you study a part? In "Learning Lines?" Michael describes the principal dramatic elements that writers use to construct their scripts and which actors need to know in order to understand and learn a role. He shows you how to interrogate a script for evidence to build a character; analyse your scenes; divide your role into its units and objectives; and identify the sub-text. With this knowledge you can then learn your lines authentically instead of rote-learning them. Michael considers the memorisation process and how it can be used to optimise the learning of lines and describes his own practical step by step approach to learning a role using scripted material he has written specifically for the purpose.

Michael has many years' experience as an actor, drama teacher, writer and director; he is a drama in education specialist and has an M.A. in Education.

If you've ever thought there must be a more stimulating and effective way of learning lines than simply rote-learning, then this is the book for you.

If you're an aspiring actor or drama student the book will be particularly useful but it should also interest those who intend to write and direct as well as all who are interested in literature and the drama.

These are the ebook retailers where you can buy Learning Lines? A Practical Guide for Drama Students and Aspiring Actors by Michael Murray: Amazon Kindle; Apple iBooks; Smashwords; Flipkart; and B&N Nook.

Monday, 18 November 2013

New 5 star review for I Think I Prefer the Tinned Variety

There's a new five star review for I Think I Prefer the Tinned Variety: The Diary of a Petty Officer in the Fleet Air Arm during World War Two on the Amazon site in both U.K. and U.S.A. Thanks very much to "Frank" for taking the time to post a review and so pleased you enjoyed the book.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

New 5***** Review for Magnificent Britain by Michael Murray

There's a new 5***** review for Magnificent Britain by Michael Murray on the Amazon Kindle site.

There's still time to get a half price copy of Magnificent Britain by Michael Murray in the Smashwords Summer / Winter sale.

Have you visited our new Spurwing ebooks website yet? Please take a look for more information about our books, links to all the main ebook retailers and free samples of each title.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

new website

We've moved 
to a new website at 
Hope to see you there.

Spurwing ebooks

This is my promo page for books published by Spurwing ebooks; I hope you've got time to take a look and maybe check out some of the free samples available on the retail sites.

Magnificent Britain by Michael Murray

What happened at the Battle of Loos in 1915 to make veteran soldier Leonard Stidges so embittered? When writer Nigel Lush interviews Leonard for his biography of World War One hero Sir Maurice Brearley he hears some unexpected allegations. "The man's a fraud," says Leonard, "a liar and a fraud." Nigel dismisses the accusations. Then a series of events cause him to search for the truth producing consequences that change his life for ever.

It is 1971: Nigel has almost completed the official biography of Sir Maurice Brearley. Brearley was an arms manufacturer and renowned horticulturalist; he was also the founder of the Magnificent Britain gardening competition and restorer of Budeholme House, a stately home, in the Yorkshire Wolds.

Nigel has no intention of revealing Leonard's allegations to Lady Celia Brearley, Sir Maurice's widow; but when he visits her at Budeholme House her extraordinary behaviour stings him into speaking out.

Lady Brearley is fiercely protective of her husband's reputation and is determined that the official biography will only present him in a good light. However Nigel persists in his inquiries and the results are unexpected and devastating.

Spanning the whole of the twentieth century, Magnificent Britain explores the complex relationships between Sir Maurice, Lady Brearley and Leonard Stidges. Nigel is determined to find out the truth; Lady Brearley wants to suppress the truth; only Sir Maurice really knew the truth. Nigel feels keenly the difficulties of penetrating the unrecorded past about which he remarks to his friend, the writer Henry Cruden: "As a novelist you are God; as a biographer I am merely a detective."

In his novel Magnificent Britain, author Michael Murray explores the nature of biography and its relation to fiction and the truth; the consequences of pursuing a secret life; and the sexual politics of the twentieth century. Hypocrisy, secrets and lies permeate the novel and reflect the prejudice that was prevalent in British society throughout the last century and which forced so many to lead double lives.

Described as "immensely readable" and "a page turner all the way to its gripping conclusion" Magnificent Britain is a novel in three parts which will appeal to readers who enjoy historical, political and literary fiction.

All devices
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I Think I Prefer the Tinned Variety: The Diary of a Petty Officer in the Fleet Air arm during World War II by N. Buckle and C. Murray

Seventy years ago, World War II uprooted my father from a coal mining village in South Yorkshire and transported him thousands of miles to Sierra Leone in West Africa and later to a tropical island in the Pacific.

This short, annotated diary (approximately 22,000 words) records his extraordinary experiences and the on-going banalities of everyday life on a naval air-base far away from home.


Julia's Room by Michael Murray

"It was the late sixties: everyone my age seemed to be becoming a pop star or an actor: they were all getting famous, leading interesting lives, making loads of money and, most importantly, getting tons of sex. I was scoring low on most of these happiness tests and zero when it came to the sex. I was tone deaf, sang like a dog and couldn't act but I had a feeling that I could write. So, after giving up my safe, well paid position, I did the round of the employment agencies and started on a long succession of temporary, dead end jobs which gave me plenty of time in the evenings to read novels and delude myself that I could write one of my own. And that's how, in 1970, after a year of these boring jobs I came to fetch up at The Sunday Globe as a messenger cum office boy….."

Julia's Room is a novella - 32,000 words. It tells the story of Alan, a young reporter working in London's Fleet Street. He thinks he has three great ideas for the weekly story conference but then, in the editor's absence, Ray Dressler is put in charge. In the course of the day Alan is humiliated by a colleague and shocked by the revelations of a stranger in a pub. By the day's end he will never feel the same about his fellow journalists or Julia again.

All devices
Apple for ipad and iphone

Julia's Room by Michael Murray

Another bloody awful Monday. My heart sank when I got into editorial and was told that Mackintosh had been summoned to some urgent, high level meeting and Dressler would be taking the story conference. I went straight over to my desk, opened the drawer and took out the three pieces of paper on which I'd typed my story suggestions. I wanted to see if they still seemed as good as when I'd put them in the drawer on Saturday evening.
The weekly story conference was the occasion when we put forward our ideas for the next edition of the newspaper. The content of The Sunday Globe was a mixture of scandal mongering and moral outrage and was a superb example of British hypocrisy. On any given Sunday you'd find The Globe's leader writers and columnists railing against promiscuity and the general decline in Britain's standards of morality: yet turn to the paper's other pages and there would be photos of sexy young women wearing next to nothing; titillating reports of the depravities of celebrities and members of the aristocracy; and sordid accounts of the sexual misconduct of lesser mortals. That's why our Monday morning story conferences were a long procession of defrocked vicars; perverted scout masters; kerb crawling local councillors; and film and T.V. stars mired in vice.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Magnificent Britain by Michael Murray

If you're looking for a good read you might like to try Magnificent Britain by Michael Murray.

It is 1971: writer Nigel Lush has almost completed the official biography of World War One hero Sir Maurice Brearley.

Brearley was an arms manufacturer and renowned horticulturalist; he was also the founder of the Magnificent Britain gardening competition and restorer of Budeholme House, a stately home in the Yorkshire Wolds.

Nigel goes to interview another First World War veteran, Leonard Stidges, and hears some startling and unexpected allegations about Sir Maurice. "The man's a fraud," says Leonard, "a liar and a fraud."

When Nigel tries to find out what really happened at the Battle of Loos in 1915 to make Leonard so embittered his search for the truth has far reaching consequences that change his life for ever.


The Visitor's Guide to Budeholme House 2001

Pages 7-9

Sir Maurice Brearley

Sir Maurice Brearley was born in 1893 at Southfell Hall in the county of Derbyshire. He was the only son of the industrialist Reginald Brearley and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Brearley. Maurice was educated at Trafalgar School and Caius College, Cambridge. At Caius he read History and began his lifelong interest in Botany.
Shortly after Maurice's graduation in 1914 the First World War was declared. He volunteered immediately and obtained a commission in the North Wolds Light Infantry Regiment. In early 1915 he was sent to the Western Front and saw action at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, the 2nd Battle of Ypres and the Battle of Festubert. For his "conspicuous gallantry, leadership and devotion to duty when under fire" at Festubert he was awarded the Military Cross.
On the 25th September 1915, whilst in action at the Battle of Loos, Maurice received a wound to his leg which disqualified him from further active service. Nevertheless, he was still determined to do all that he could for the war effort. His father had diversified into munitions and in 1916 Maurice went to work in one of his factories, starting on the shop floor. After the war Maurice and his father remained in munitions and together established a number of arms factories throughout Europe.
In 1929, in recognition of his status as a horticulturalist, Maurice was invited to become a member of Professor Copeland's celebrated expedition to the Amazonian Rain Forest. He returned home with many new specimens of Orchid, and, in later years, he became a leading authority on the species. Maurice's collection of Orchids which is housed at Budeholme remains one of the most extensive and diverse in England. In 1965 he was awarded the British Horticultural Association's Medal of Honour for his contribution to horticulture.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Julia's Room | Now available at Smashwords

If you don't read with a Kindle but you want to read Julia's Room it's now available to download at Smashwords.