The Book page

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ASPEN was established in 1990, following an initiative by Joe Sinclair at a Society of Authors' AGM, based on his experience of marketing his own first book: Refrigerated Transportation. Since that time he has published another 14 books, including 12 of his own, and has had three other books published by commercial publishing houses.  In most cases he made more money from the books he self-published than from those published by others. 

Joe's collaboration with Michael Mallows (co-author of Peace of Mind is a Piece of Cake) was expanded in 2002 with the introduction of the e-zine and magazine Nurturing Potential for which Joe was Managing Editor and Michael a consulting editor.

From 2002 through 2006 Nurturing Potential enjoyed critical acclaim both as a paper and an online publication.  Ultimately the paper version was dropped as most subscribers preferred to enjoy the no-cost online version and it became uneconomical to publish a paper version for the few subscribers who were not internet-connected.

Then, with Issue No. 18 of the magazine Joe Sinclair became unwell and, although he persevered for a further two issues, he became too ill to continue, and the magazine sadly expired with Issue No. 20.

In 2009 ASPEN published a new book by Joe Sinclair.  This was a miscellany of much of his writing over a number of decades, and included poetry written as early as the 1940s as well as several articles written for Nurturing Potential and a variety of other journals.  It is entitled Did I Really Say That?  See details below.

In 2012 his recovery to full health persuaded Joe to revive Nurturing Potential. This was done under the revised name of New Nurturing Potential and several of the past editorial board members were recruited to help with the production of the new magazine in time for its launch at the London Book Fair in April 2012.  This enabled contact to be re-established with the major book publishers whose books were such a prominent part of the highly praised book review section of the magazine.  The new magazine was located at

Later a companion site was introduced to cover each of the two months between issues of the quarterly magazine.  This was named Potential Unleashed.

In August 2014, Joe's collection of verse, entitled Uncultured Pearls, was published by ASPEN in one edition and by Create Space, an Amazon initiative, in a second edition, primarily to be marketed online outside the United Kingdom.  A pdf version may be viewed at

Adopting a similar formula, in 2016 Metaphors and Matzo Balls was published by ASPEN for personal sale and distribution, and by Create Space for marketing via Amazon in paperback form and via Kindle in electronic form.

In April 2017 the publication of Let Us Then Rejoice followed a similar pattern of self-publication by ASPEN and the simultaneous publication by Create Space and Amazon. 

Currently (April 2018) Lament for Emily, comprising poems written during the four-year illness of his daughter and his eulogy and subsequent poetry following her death in September 2017 from lymphoma, this book is being sold in aid of the cancer support charity SHINE

In April 2020 a new book of poetry was published both in a private limited edition, and via Amazon, both in paperback and Kindle online format. Whistling in the Wind, comprising Joe's output from the beginning of 2019 and through the initial stages of the Covid-19 pandemic period of "lockdown", was published in a situation of total uncertainty as to the continuing state of health of civilization or even the continued existence of the author himself.

From 2022 onwards, Joe Sinclair has begun devoting most of his time to working on his two versions of his online books of personal memoirs, You Don't Apologise for Chutzpah and Uncultured Pearls.  This latter title was subsequently adopted as the title of his first published book of verse (see below).


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This is the author's third volume of poetry and also includes the first publication of a significant number of short stories that had been written - but unpublished - over several years in the past.

As previously, the poetry comprises both serious and humorous verse as well as social commentary and parodies.  It also continues the autobiographical section in free verse that had concluded with the end of World War II in the previous volume.   This latest section invokes much of his subsequent life experiences and philosophy.


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This collection of verse marks a significant expansion of output, having all been written during the two years 2014 and 2015.  A succession of illnesses and hospitalization had made him uncomfortably aware of his own mortality, and triggered an anxiety to finalise a number of projects while still capable.

The book is divided into six sections of which the first, the Metaphors of the title, reveals the influence of natural and supernatural forces on the poet's life, as well as symbolic comment on matters of current and historical importance.  It also includes poems, many of them very "tongue in cheek" about his medical experiences.

As with the previous book of poetry, there are sections devoted to humour, trivia, and parodies. 

The Matzo Balls of the title refers to a section of epigrams mainly based on old Yiddish aphorisms and curses.  This is followed by the first part of an intended three-part poetical autobiography covering his life from birth through the second World War, very much influenced - the beginning at least - by Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself".


This is a collection of verse produced during the sixty year period from the 1940s through the 1990s.  But it is more than that.  It has been annotated with a cultural, political, personal and social commentary relevant to the subject matter or period.

It also contains a final section devoted to some of the more frivolous outpourings of Joe's inventive brain, including lyrics, limericks and clerihews penned and performed during his twenty year employment by the Sea Containers Group of companies.

To view a full pdf version of the book click HERE


For a description of the book please click HERE.

To view a full pdf version of the book click HERE.



The Torturous Scheme - Publish Your Book - The Chrysalid Years



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The first book published by ASPEN was the first edition of An ABC of NLP in 1992.  

Four years earlier the first edition of Refrigerated Transportation (1988), had been published by Container Marketing Limited the company of which ASPEN is a subsidiary. 

In 1992 Arteries of War was published by Airlife Publishing on behalf of ASPEN's parent company Container Marketing Ltd.  In 1996 ASPEN published its first book for an "outside" author: this was Lynn Carneson-McGregor's Homage to Hope.

In 1998 Peace of Mind is a Piece of Cake co-authored by Michael Mallows was published by Crown Publishing of Carmarthen, Wales and, in the same year,  An ABC of NLP appeared in a revised and expanded second edition, with additional material provided by Stephen Bray.

The following year (1999) saw a second edition of Refrigerated Transportation, updated at the request of Witherby & Sons, publishers, of London.

2001 was the most prolific year yet. In addition to Joe Sinclair's first venture into the area of fiction - the novel The Torturous Scheme - ASPEN has also published his Publishing Your Book and Abigail Freeman's The Chrysalid Years.

2002 saw the introduction of Nurturing Potential, an ASPEN initiative.  Both online (every two months) and in a paper edition (three times a year) this periodical has come in for generous and pleasing critical comment.

The most satisfying event for ASPEN in 2003 was the publication and successful book launch of A Start in Art by Alan Crowe . . . not because we published it (we didn't!), but because our service empowered the author to write, illustrate, arrange for printing and organise the marketing himself.  At the age of 86!  And with a minimum of practical assistance from us.  It's about the best commendation we could desire.  You will find Alan's story and a review of the book in Nurturing Potential Issue 6, by clicking here and then turning to the Book Review section and the section entitled The Third Age.