Tag Archives: amazon

Reflections on Lockdown #1

Howdy doody folks,

How’ve you all been doing under lockdown?

I’ve been doing lots of art.

Mainly sketching, painting with acrylics and photography.

Today, I thought I’d focus on portrait sketching. Most of it is in pencil, some chalk pastel and a little bit of charcoal.

You might even spot the odd bit of Amazon packaging for canvas when I ran out of paper.

Reference wise, some of them are life drawings, a lot from photographs and a few from other people’s paintings.

Apart from it being good practice, it’s also very good for your mental health. And, let’s face it, we all need to look after our noodles. Especially when Barack Obama stares at you like that all day.

I’ll post a few of my acrylic portraits at some stage. They’re a bit more experimental. With the emphasis on ‘mental’.

Follow me on Instagram: @milligancroft

Remember folks: Art is Medicine!



Filed under Animals, Art, Children, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Education, Ideas, Illustration, Inspiration, mental health

The era-defining legacy of Tish Murtha.

Patricia ‘Tish’ Murtha is another photographer I’ve been wanting to write a post about for quite some time. And, like my previous post about Saul Leiter’s early work in New York, Tish Murtha captured the essence of working class Northern England during the late 70s and 80s under Thatcher.


Tish Murtha 14/3/1956 – 13/3/2013. © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

Unlike Leiter, Murtha’s work focuses predominantly on the socially deprived. One of the reasons I love her work so much is that I can empathise with a lot of the shots. I can see myself in them as a kid growing up in Batley in the 60s and 70s.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

Her images also remind me of the early social documentary work of legends like Bill Brandt and Don McCullin. The sort of work we don’t see enough of. That’s because people don’t like to look at it. Because it tells us the truth about the society in which we live.

Local Boys in Bradford 1972

Don McCullin


Bill Brandt

One of the things a great photographer does is make the viewer ask questions. Like, who are they? What are they doing now? In this case, who started the fire? Did they start it? Why are they unconcerned? What are they looking at?

Tish Murtha doesn’t just capture images of the economically deprived in our society, she captures joy and despair. Fear and determination. Hope and uncertainty. Perhaps most importantly – love and kinship.



Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

Tish Murtha would have been have been 64 next month. Sadly, she died at the tender age of 56 in 2013 of a sudden brain aneurysm.

The legacy of Tish Murtha is carried on by her daughter Ella who has kindly given me permission to publisher her mother’s work, and to whom I owe a debt of gratitude.

Ella posthumously published collections of her mum’s work in the books Youth Unemployment and Elswick Kids which you can find here.

You can also get exhibition prints here.

I could continue this post with Tish Murtha’s work for as many Google pages there are showing it. But that would leave you with nothing to do. To find out more about her era-defining work – and how she saved the lives of four women through organ donation – why not explore her life and work here.

Happy birthday Tish.


Filed under Art, Books, Children, Children's books, Children's stories, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Economy, Education, health, History, Ideas, Innovation, Inspiration, love, mental health, Uncategorized, Writing

Get 43,415 words FREE!

That’s right, my collection of short stories, Ten Orbits of the Sun is F.R.E.E. for a limited time only.

Not only do you get 13 tantalising tall tales for gratis, you also get a sample chapter of my latest novel, Peripheral Vision, thrown in for good measure.

Simply click on the cover image below for your free copy.

All I ask in return is that if you like it, you’d be so kind as to leave a review on Amazon. (Indie authors live and die by their reviews.) Obviously, if you don’t like it, I’ll thank you to keep your opinions to yourself!

But it’s only free for 5 days so you’d best get your skates on.


Offer starts Friday 15th January, ends Tuesday 19th January 2016. (Although, I think this might be US ESB time.) Hey-ho, I’m sure you’ll manage.

Front cover photography courtesy of Mike O’Toole.

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Books, Children, Comedy, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Ideas, Innovation, Inspiration, Literature, Short stories, Writing

The customer is always right.

For any of you lovely people out there who are still unsure whether to sample any of my e-books, I thought I’d let people who’ve read my work do the talking. All of these quotes can be read on Amazon, except for the excerpt quotes which were posted on a FB writers’ group page.

Praise for Peripheral Vision.

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 17.30.05

“I had the honour of reading the penultimate draft of David Milligan-Croft’s novel prior to publication. It’s an extremely well-written and moving story. Had to dab my eyes on and off, and sometimes I wanted to wring the main protagonist, Danny Kane’s neck when he went off the rails big-time, but it was a most believable story — shades of Donna Tartt, even!” – Sarah Potter


“Sometimes, a mother’s love is just not enough…

“Peripheral Vision is a great read, but be warned, it is brutal and jarring. It examines a young man’s difficult life and it sticks with you. Life is rarely fair, but sometimes a child ends up paying for a parent’s sins, far more than can be tolerated. The main character, Danny is a willful, bright boy growing up in a previously prosperous English mill town that has last seen better days decades before. His abuse is well documented by the author, yet Danny seems to be able to keep on his feet, until the betrayals simply outnumber his defenses. The cruelties inflicted on him make this a book that is very important for anyone who has sons, or daughters, or a heart, to read. This fast-paced novel also investigates friendship and those kind of connections forged in childhood that stand for a lifetime. Author Milligan-Croft pulls no punches however. Danny’s story was told so well, I read it in two sittings, waiting for the redemption I hoped would come. When it does come, after an unexpected twist, it is intense, but momentary. I was especially taken by the very believable way the story outlined how a great kid can be sucked right up into a criminal life as a result of his abusive childhood and lack of relationships with male role models. Sometimes, as the author makes exceedingly clear, a mother’s love is not enough. Read this book and you’ll remember it. I’ll be looking forward to the author’s next release.” – Richard Sutton


The following are quotes from people who read an excerpt from Peripheral Vision prior to publication.


“A great excerpt, this really hooked me in to the story and the character – he seems to have great spirit, which leads me to wonder what happens to him to lead him to live the life he eventually does.” – Andrea Stephenson.


“I was very much hooked by this excerpt and am curious to find out what happens. The dynamics between the various family members certainly set the stage for an emotionally fraught story.” – Sarah Potter.


“I really enjoyed reading his excerpt from his novel which leaves me wanting to know what happens next, the cast of characters already formed in my mind! Great writing.” – Sherri.


“Nicely written and well chosen excerpt with just the right amount of intrigue and character play.” – Dave Farmer.


“It’s a powerful piece that makes me want to know what will happen to them!!” – The Dune Mouse.


Praise for Love is Blood.

Buy my book!


“Love, love, love it. Couldn’t wait to see what happened next then didn’t want it to end. Read it twice!” – Elizabeth Phillips.


“A page turning beauty.

“Beautifully described scenes and emotions, twinned with a plot that twists, turns and intertwines – looking both to the future and the past. Well worth a read!” – Anon.


“Great Story.

“A really enjoyable read…..well written love story with a twist. After reading the first couple of chapters I struggled to put this book down. Would strongly recommend !!” – Alibongo.



“A sequel is required!

“A compelling story, I was left wondering what would happen next! I’d like to read a sequel, think there’s potential for a soap!” – Bluenose. [Not sure about a soap!]


“Gripping, excellently written unusual love story.

“Love is Blood is one of those books that stays with you. A gripping and unusual love story that has a mystery at its heart – a personal mystery which I won’t spoil. Its chain of events sparked by an act of terrorism, Love is Blood shows how cause and effect or, if you like, fate, can shape the lives of characters in ways they never expected. If you want a well-made story that encompasses romance, loss, hope and forgiveness, this book is for you.” – Patrick Chapman.


Praise for Ten Orbits of the Sun.

ten orbits of the sun, short stories, david mileage-croft

“Eclectic mix

“A really interesting set of stories: full of angst, melancholy darkness, sadness, humour and human insight. A well worth read for all.” – Graham Hoyle.


Praise for Woman’s Best Friend.

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 17.41.16

“Mad Englishmen and dogs.

“This was too funny! Like the domino effect gone city wide – all it takes is that first one…

“The boy in the story was both clever and determined. Unfortunately, things just never went according to plan. And I certainly had to feel sorry for the hapless father, in spite of his – er – extracurricular activities.

“Charming in an unintentional kind of way.” – Birdie Tracy. [It was completely intentional, I’ll have you know.]


So, there you have it. Straight from the horse’s mouth, as they say.

Now, if you’d be so kind as to click on a cover that tickles your fancy. That’ll whizz you over to Amazon via the power of whizzardry. Once there, you can avail yourself of hours of pleasure for a few paltry pennies.

Oh, and if it’s not too much to ask, an Amazon review would be nice too.


Filed under Books, Children, Comedy, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Ideas, Inspiration, Literature, Short stories, Writing

From Saskatchewan to Sao Paulo…




ten orbits of the sun, short stories, david mileage-croft

Whether you live in Mumbai or München, Ten Orbits of the Sun is now available across the globe.

If you happen to live in any of the countries listed below, and fancy a rummage through some of the darker recesses of my mind, just click on your country of choice and it’ll take you straight through to my book.














So, tell your friends, tell your family, and let’s get Ten Orbits of the Sun back up to number 173 in the Amazon chart where it belongs!

There are 13 tantalising short tales and a chilling excerpt from my second novel, Peripheral Vision, which I’m hoping to publish later this year.


Ten Orbits of the Sun is a collection of contemporary short stories touching on diverse subjects, from dystopian fantasy to serial dog killers. Sometimes darkly humorous, occasionally macabre, but always evocative and visceral. Ten Orbits of the Sun is brimming with concepts that are tender, heart-wrenching and challenging.


1. Classic Mercedes Requires Garage.

Wedding day jitters told from both protagonists’ point of view.

2. The Music of Butterflies.

Is Oskar in dystopian heaven, or pharmaceutical hell?

3. Mudslide Bride.

It’s never too late to get down on one knee. Unless you have arthritis.

4. Shall I be Mother?

Will Walter finally realise his ambition of murdering his identical twin?

5. Big Fish, Little Fish.

Children caught in the middle of a dysfunctional family.

6. The Doorstep Girl.

Innocence and racism from the point of view of a terminally ill child.

7. Lucky Penny.

Will Jim scrounge enough money for a packet of fags? This could be his lucky day.

8. Woman’s Best Friend.

A serial dog killer is on the loose. And there’s only one kid in town who can stop him.

9. The Funny Farm.

Are the voices in Larry’s head, or yours?

10. Kanye West, in Botswana.

One-upmanship taken to the extreme.

11. Chasing the Dragon.

You can always have too much of a good thing.

12. Little Snow.

Koyuki has got inside James’ head – quite literally.

13. Ten Orbits of the Sun.

How far one father would go for his daughter.

14. Peripheral Vision (excerpt).

After being blinded in one eye by his abusive father, Peripheral Vision tells the story of 11-year-old Danny Kane growing up in 1970s northern England. His violent upbringing results in his descent into a life of drugs and crime. As he reaches adulthood he realises that the only way out of his spiralling slide into perdition is to find the one thing that he treasured most – his childhood friend, Sally, who was taken into care after the death of her mother. Can the search for his long-lost love lead to Danny’s redemption?



Filed under Books, Children, Comedy, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Ideas, Inspiration, Literature, Short stories, Writing

The Boating Party – with Colin C. Murphy

Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881. By Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

The Boating Party is a series of interviews with writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, sculptors, designers and the like.

In times of economic hardship the Arts are usually the first things to be axed. But, in my view, the Arts are the most important aspect of our civilisation. Without the arts, we wouldn’t have language or the written word. Without the arts, we have no culture. Without culture, we have no society. Without society, we have no civilisation. And without civilisation, we have anarchy. Which, in itself, is paradoxical, because so many artists view themselves as rebels to society.

To me, artists aren’t rebels, they are pioneers.

And perhaps, most importantly; without the Arts, where’s the creativity that will solve the world’s problems? Including economic and scientific ones?

I hope a brief glimpse into their lives is as inspiring to you as it is to me.

This latest installment is by one of the most creative guys I’ve ever had the good fortune to work with – Colin C. Murphy.

Colin C. Murphy

What’s your greatest personal or career achievement?

Personal: Surviving the last ten years of my children’s adolescence and remaining sane!
Career: Getting my novel ‘Boycott’ published – something I’ve been dreaming about since I wrote my first story in secondary school. It’s only taken me 30 or more years.

What’s been your greatest sacrifice?

I would have to say ‘chill out time’. That sounds a bit odd, but I’ve found that to dedicate so much time to writing and researching has left me with little time to do much else, although I’m not complaining, far from it, as I’m convinced being a full time writer is the best job on the planet.

To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?

My English teacher Mr. Condon, when I was 15, for giving me the encouragement to pursue my creative side. Also my parents, who weren’t well off by any stretch, for the sacrifices they made to ensure we all had an education. Incidentally, my Dad, who was a Painter & Decorator, celebrated his 90th birthday this year and is still driving!

Who and what inspire you?

There are lots of writers that inspire me of course, but the people that really inspire me in life are those we hear little about, such as those people who care for the very sick or infirm 24/7. We think we have hassled lives, but compared to these incredible individuals, we’re living in paradise.

What was the last thing that inspired you?

Who couldn’t be inspired by the achievements of the Paralympians we saw recently from all corners of the world? Such dedication to achieving their dreams against almost impossible odds. They make the rest of us look like a bunch of wimps.

What makes you unhappy?

I could make lots of jokes here such as saying ‘Tax’, ‘No sex’, ‘Hangovers’ and the like. But seriously, the only thing that ever really made me deeply unhappy in my life was a period of loneliness when I lived alone in a flat in Edinburgh many years ago. Thankfully I haven’t had to experience the same feeling since. I think loneliness probably accounts for a large percentage of society’s unhappiness today.

What makes you happy?

Writing. When I’m writing it’s as though a river of happiness is flowing through my soul!

What are you reading?

I’m just finishing Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. I always loved the movie and finally got around to finding a 2nd hand copy of the book on e-bay recently. Just a couple of chapters to go…great stuff even though I already know Maxim de Winter’s dark secret…

Who, or what, are you listening to?

Literally at this moment I’m listening to The Arctic Monkeys blasting up through the floorboards from my son’s room. (Turn the f…ing thing down!). I actually don’t listen to music that much anymore, unless it is on the radio in the car or something. I literally don’t have the time. Although when we’re having dinner at the weekends myself and the wife often listen to an eclectic mix of 60’s, 70’s and 80’s music. Pair of old fogies.

What’s your favourite film?

It’s A Wonderful Life, with James Stewart. Gets me every time, big old sentimental softie that I am.

 If you could go back in time, where would you go?

Ancient Rome. Although I wouldn’t mind secretly bringing along an Uzi sub machine gun if that was allowed, as it could be a pretty dangerous place. I’ve always been fascinated by Roman history and the intricacies of their society and politics, which was incredibly advanced when most of the rest of the world were still living in mud huts. I’ve dragged my wife to a hundred remnants of the Roman civilisation all over Europe. I often wonder if the Roman Empire hadn’t collapsed in the 5th century and all their libraries hadn’t been burnt to the ground etc where the world might have gone. No dark ages? No religious wars? No Spanish Inquisition? Electricity by the 12th century, perhaps? Colony on Mars in the 19th century? Of course they might also have gotten the atomic bomb by the 18th century and blown the planet to bits! Who knows?

What frightens you?

Any major ill-health issue, either my own or my family’s. I had a rough time about 6 years ago when I had serious lower back problems and underwent my third operation, luckily successful. But I was off work for 3 months at the time, in constant pain and couldn’t even get out of a chair without help. Since then I’ve learnt to appreciate my health and dread the thought of anything going wrong with the oul’ bod. (Oops, hope I haven’t jinxed myself…)

What can’t you live without?

Family, writing, friends, the wilderness (I’m a keen hill walker whenever I get the chance). Oh, and Guinness.

What’s your motto?

I borrowed it from the great golfer, Arnold Palmer. When a journalist once remarked that he was a very lucky golfer, he replied ‘Yeah, and I find the more I practice the luckier I get.’

If you only had one year to live what would you do?

Besides write another book (a short one) and spend a lot of time with my family, there are 406 summits over 500 m high in Ireland. I’ve 108 left to complete…that’s just over 2 a week, no problem!

Up who’s arse would you like to stick a rocket, and why?

Any bigot, racist, fascist, corrupt politician or Jedward. Why – goes without saying, especially in the case of Jedward.

Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?

Mitch Hedberg, the comedian, who is unfortunately gone to the great comedy club in the sky. His non-stop one-liners delivered in a totally deadpan American drawl would crack up anyone. Here’s a brief sample, although they’re obviously better delivered in person by Mitch:

A friend of mine took out a photo and said ‘This is me when I was younger’. I said ‘Hey man, of course it’s you when you were younger. Every photo of you is when you were younger. Now if you showed me a photo of you when you were older, I’d be really impressed.’

I tried to throw a yo-yo away. It was impossible.

My girlfriend works at Hooters. In the kitchen.

I like rice. Rice is great when you’re hungry and you want 2,000 of something.

I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.

What are you working on at the moment?

Literally just finishing off a non-fiction book called The Priest Hunters, about bounty hunters who used to hunt down Catholic priests for reward during the 17th century. It’s out in the spring. After that I hope to start work on another historical novel, which I’ve been researching for months.

Which six people would you invite to your boating party?

My six closest friends.

What question would you liked me to have asked?

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

Don’t waste time, it’s too valuable.

Thank you, Colin.


Colin C. Murphy is an Irish author whose first novel, ‘Boycott’ will be published in October 2012. Previously he has written a non-fiction book entitled ‘The Most Famous Irish People You’ve Never Heard Of’ concerning Irish emigrants who found fame abroad but are little known in their native country. He has also written a light-hearted look at Irish history called ‘The Feckin’ Book of Irish History’, which is one of a series of very successful Feckin’ books that take a humorous look at different aspects of Irish culture. Previous to his career as an author he was the Creative Director of a leading Irish advertising agency, Owens DDB. He is married to Gráinne and has two grown-up children, Emmet and Cíara. He lives in Dublin.

Boycott by Colin C. Murphy

Brandon/O’Brien Press



Filed under Art, Books, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Ideas, Inspiration, Literature, Philosophy, The Boating Party, Writing

Japan, In Memoriam.

On March 11th it will be exactly one year since almost 20,000 people lost their lives in the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

To mark this anniversary, composer Albors Askari, is releasing a single to commemorate the disaster. With all the proceeds going to an Austrian charity called Helft Japan who are raising money for a children’s dance group in a town in the Miyagi prefecture near Onagawa.

You may or may not recall that the piece he composed, entitled “Onagawa”, (after the nuclear power plant), was inspired by my poem: Tsunami – A poem for Japan.

It’s an absolutely stunningly haunting piece of music which I urge you to buy a copy of on Amazon. (It will also be available on iTunes and Spotify.)

It’s officially being released on the 11th, but I’m sure you can pre-order. It’s all for a good cause! What’s more, you get to read my poem which is on the cover artwork!




Onagawa, david milligan-croft, poetry, albors askari

Onagawa by Albors Askari, poem by David Milligan-Croft


Filed under Art, Children, Classical music, community, Contemporary Arts, Dance, Inspiration, Music, Poetry, Writing