How to Make a Modest Author’s Day

I want to share the most uplifting, delightful email that hit my inbox this week:

Hi Bill,

I’m off to Chernobyl in a few weeks and so ordered your book on Amazon. I read it cover to cover over the last couple of days and I wanted to say how great I found it.

You strike a great balance between illustrating what I will see on my visit, whilst sharing the historic and human narrative of the disaster.

Thank you so much


Thank you, Andrew, very much. Have a good trip.

Audiobooks Now Available

CS&WAudioBookCoverArt ChernobylAudiobookCover







I’m happy to say that as of yesterday both my print books, Common Sense and Whiskey and Visiting Chernobyl, are also available on as audiobooks, narrated by me:

Common Sense and Whiskey: print versionaudio version
Visiting Chernobyl: print versionaudio version

Look for a brand new book in late summer, about travel in the far north, Svalbard, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, maritime Canada, Finland. See previous post.

Happy New Year, and Thank You So Much!

cswcoverAfter a strong Christmas season I’m thrilled that Common Sense and Whiskey, the book, is now in the top 200 in Amazon’s travel writing category. Thank you all so much.

CS&W is my first book, published in 2011, with fifteen stories from way off the beaten path, from Bhutan, Borneo, Burma, Greenland, Guangxi, Lake Baikal, Madagascar, Malawi, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Chilean Patagonia, the Southern Caucasus, the Trans-Siberian Railroad, Sri Lanka and Tibet.

Visiting Chernobyl, A Guide came next, and I’m working hard to produce a new book by the end of 2015 covering travel in the far north, with sections on Finland, Norway, Svalbard, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and maritime Canada.

Seeing the December results for Common Sense and Whiskey, the book, is really exciting for me, and I thank you all very much. Happy New Year!




Chernobyl Film Using Drones

About a year ago I authored the short book Visiting Chernobyl, based on a visit and my research. Having seen the subject of this short video in person, I can recommend it as looking just as I saw it in March, 2013.

It’s from a British freelance filmmaker named Danny Cooke who used a drone and camera to capture aerial footage of Pripyat, the town in the center of the exclusion zone made up of scientists and engineers dedicated to keeping the reactors running. Read more in this article at the Smithsonian magazine website.

Visiting Chernobyl, This Month

A British fellow named Geoff Barker bought my book Visiting Chernobyl ahead of his own visit there and has just returned. He’s been kind enough to allow me to share his photos and impressions of his trip. Here we get a couple of nice closeup views of reactor four, and progress on the New Safe Confinement structure, which is meant to cover the entire reactor four.

Kiev March 2014 086

Kiev March 2014 087

Mr. Barker used the same tour company that we did, Solo East Travel, and writes that

“…we travelled with Solo East to the Ukraine Missile Museum some 300 kms south of Kiev, a long but worthwhile day. The highlight is descending 45 metres into the control room of the ICBM silo that had the capacity to wipeout the whole of the USA. To have your finger on “the button” certainly makes you realise what a very dangerous place this use to be.

 Wednesday was our trip to Chernobyl, again unlike on your visit the skies were blue and we were blessed with sunshine. Igor collected us from the hotel and we followed the route you know so well. It is certainly the most surreal experience to see the new sarcophagus appear on the sky line and then the first glimpse of reactor 4. Being a bit of an old bloke I remember very well the accident and watching the story unfold day by day on the television. Never did I think that one day I would be up close and personal with the Ukraine let alone reactor 4. The whole day was superb and wandering around Prypiat is again something that is difficult to convey to people who have not had that experience. We also enjoyed lunch in the canteen at Chernobyl and the mix of nationalities made for good conversation.
Igor from Solo East was excellent and their organisation for both trips was spot on.”
Mr. Barker’s an intrepid kind of guy and went in spite of all the turmoil around Kyiv just now. In a separate post I’ll publish a couple of photos he took around Independence Square and was kind enough to share.
Thanks very much, Geoff!

More Bells, Whistles, Hoopla, Bargains and Free Stuff

leaf graphicThe Kindle edition of Visiting Chernobyl is now available on Amazon. It hardly costs a thing, just $3.99. To celebrate birthing another book, I’ve sale-priced the Kindle edition of my first book, Common Sense and Whiskey, at $3.99. And if you buy the paperback edition of Common Sense and Whiskey (listed at $8.99), you can download the Kindle edition for free.

Hope you enjoy them, and thank you. Please share your feedback.

The next book is Visiting Easter Island, tentatively due in the spring. You can read the first chapter at the end of Visiting Chernobyl.

To get the Kindle edition of Common Sense and Whiskey for free, look for this graphic:

Visiting Chernobyl

The book version is now live on Amazon. The ebook is due in a few days. In the next few days we’ll be bundling my first book, Common Sense and Whiskey, so if you buy the book, you’ll get the electronic version of CS&W free. And we’ll be giving away the electronic version of Visiting Chernobyl. Yep, free downloads, on select individual days between now and the end of the year. Hope you enjoy all this new reading. Scroll a little bit and read chapter one of Visiting Chernobyl just below.