Category Archives: Fun

A Glorious Month

This post is by way of a small update really, rather than anything earth-shattering. I thought you might like to know that A Long Time Dead has finally been made perma-free by Amazon UK, a year or so after it went free in the US. This has been great news for fans of ‘the old’ trilogy featuring SOCO Roger Conniston.

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As of writing this post, 9500 people in the UK have downloaded it on Amazon, and a further 3000 or so on Apple. This has planted it within the top 5 in the Crime and Police Procedural charts, and overall it has fluctuated from being just inside the top 20 to where it sits now, which is 45. Happy? Bet your arse I’m happy.nerd-155841_1280

It’s seen a sudden spurt of reviews (mostly very good), and more importantly has prompted downloads of the other two in the series; Stealing Elgar and No More Tears skyrocket to somewhere approaching the sales figures they constantly enjoyed four years ago.

The knock-on effect hasn’t stopped there. The new series, featuring Eddie Collins, has also seen a decent resurgence, but less so than Roger’s.

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Another snippet worthy of note is that I’ve finally finished the first draft of the new Eddie Collins book, Ledston Luck (that’s still a working title). I’m very excited by this because I’ve managed to wangle in a couple of very curly twists that I’m quite proud of. One of them is… Oh wait, that would be a major spoiler so I’ll shut up.

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The New Book – Ooooh!

I’m working on the second draft constantly (great, except my reading over the last year has suffered tremendously), and once it’s done, I shall be firing it out to a couple of trusted readers.

Also finished, apart from a firm title (I know!) and cover art is The Note, another Eddie Collins short story – quite a hard-hitting one. And I’m resurrecting an old short from a couple of years ago called Any Old Iron. It’s not a crime story, it’s more of a horror story really, and that’s for Betsy from Bloodhound who’s compiling an anthology for release later this year. It needs a polish, but other than that it’s ready to go.

My only concern as Ledston Luck (and The Note) draws to a conclusion is how to release them.nmt99ptext book-1468463_1280

The last Eddie Collins book I released fell into a black hole. I happen to think that’s more down to my marketing skills rather than it being a bad story (it ain’t!), and I’d hate for Ledston Luck to follow suit. place-name-sign-1647341_1920There’s talk on the wire of a mailing list and gathering together a team of people to help with book releases, but as I already said, marketing is NOT my strong point. So… well, I’m at a loss as to what to do. Hopefully I’ll think of something soon.

WiP Blog Tour

I have been invited to contribute to this blog tour in which authors are encouraged to offer a snippet of their work in progress. My particular WiP has been such for well over a year, and I’d be telling fibs if I said it didn’t bother me; I like to crack on and write it out before the story begins to ferment and loses the urgency it was born with. I think this blog tour is a wonderful way of letting people see an author is still alive, and what they might expect when he finally types The End.

Kath Middleton nominated me (she pointed a finger and shouted at me, if truth be known – and you don’t argue with Kath!). Everyone who is anyone knows Kath. She’s been responsible for boosting more writers’ egos than anyone else, and now she is more prolific a writer than most. Having access to The Well of Wonderful Stories, Kath cannot be pigeon-holed into any single genre. Pop over to her blog to see how industrious she is:  Kath’s blog.  And here is Kath’s Amazon Page.

 

There are rules for this blog tour, and here they are:

1          Link back to the post of the person who nominated you

2          Write a little about and give the first sentence of the first three chapters of your current work in progress.

3          Nominate some other writers to do the same.

 

Unusually for me I have a couple of WiPs on the go. One is a short story entitled Any Old Iron, but is just something I conjured up one day and has no bearing on what I usually write. The other is what I usually write and is entitled Sword of Damocles. It features CSI Eddie Collins getting into more scrapes as he blunders his way through a rather intriguing case, a case that plunders the depths of desperation as one man struggles with a past he thought was long dead. And Eddie dishes out his own version of justice along the way to people who have no honour. I know that description sounds rather vague, but I’m keen not to give away too much of the plot or the sub-plots. Anyway, without further ado…

 

Chapter One

The flickering light attacked his eyes, but he didn’t see it. He didn’t see anything except the bottle on the table next to him. It remained unopened, but he could feel his resistance to it melt like chocolate on a bonfire. Maybe constantly challenging himself to see who was in control – the alcohol or him – was a bad idea.

It was two-thirty in the morning and Eddie felt wiped out, but his mind was in a tailspin again and that, combined with a thudding heart, refused to let him sleep. So here he was, torturing himself with the memories of whisky-induced slumber and a repeat of Jeremy Kyle. His nails dug into the arms of his favourite chair and his toes clawed at the carpet until he could stand it no longer. He leapt up and kicked out at the television. It crashed against the wall. The sound died immediately and the picture fuzzed, became a trapped rainbow and then it too died. Eddie was panting; felt like opening his skin and crawling out, anything to be free.

 

Chapter Two

The noise was appalling. Up on the stage, his equipment illuminated by red and green spotlights, a DJ spoke unintelligibly into a face mic positioned so close to his mouth that he might as well have been shouting through a pillow. And Terry would’ve volunteered to be the one holding it there.

 

Chapter Three

“Morning, Moneypenny,” he said to the receptionist.

“Eddie, someone to see you.” She nodded towards the three plush leather chairs partly obscured by state of the art potted palms.

Eddie saw something that looked like an extra from the Rock Horror Show. It stood up and smiled, then met him in the middle of the floor, hand outstretched. Eddie heard Moneypenny snort from behind him. “What the—”

“Mr Collins?”

Eddie grunted. In front him was a skin and bone manikin wearing a pink blouson and tight black leggings that disappeared into knee high black boots with chrome buckles up the sides. Over his shoulder he carried a red satchel with hearts scattered all over it. Eddie turned to Moneypenny, “Is this a piss-take?”

“Mr Collins, I’m Sidney. Your new secretary.”

Eddie stared. “You’re kidding, right?”

“They said you were shi— they said you needed a hand.”

 

There are so many more opening sentences I would love to have shared but alas I cannot. It’s time to move things along, and I nominate two authors whose work is an inspiration.

Tim Arnot writes classy British post-apocalyptic tales of a world I love to read about, inhabited by characters I’d really like to meet in person.

Bill Todd writes crunchingly realistic stories featuring an ex-soldier, Danny Lancaster, who turns detective. And he does it with real style.

 

 

 

 

 

Goths in Whitby

DSC_0992.2I thought it would be a great idea to take my little family along to Whitby this weekend (Sunday 2nd November) to encounter the Goths.

I don’t know much about them as a group nor do I understand why they dress up as they do, but I can genuinely appreciate the lengths they go to in order to fit in to their particular clique.

And what’s more I can’t overstate what a wonderful group of people they are. They might dress crazily depending upon your own viewpoint, with dead babies sprouting from hats, stuffed crows perched on shoulders, brass goggles with spikes, boots with 8 inch soles… the list goes on, but not once did I see a Goth be anything less than courteous; always happy to have their picture taken, they are a group of weirdos whose company we enjoyed immensely.DSC_1000.1

Indeed, it seems they revel in having their picture taken. And why not, after the lengths they’ve gone to with clothing and make-up. It seems the nation’s photographers know about this decadent vanity and flock to Whitby for some new material. It’s said that Goth weekend is full of uplifted boobs and old men with big lenses! Ahem!

I have been to Whitby lots of times, but last Sunday ranked among one of the best days so far. I marvelled at their ingenuity, wondered at the craftsmanship of their outfits with their incredible detail and utter luxurious beauty. It was like floating around in something from Lemony DSC_1037.1Snicket, Sleepy Hollow, or even Carry On Screaming.

The most startling thing about the whole experience though was the age range. There were of course many youths dressed up, but the amount of 50s, 60s and even 70-year-olds was staggering. Being a Goth it seems transcends age and social background.DSC_1009.1

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Fish n chips at Hadley's is mandatory
Fish n chips at Hadley’s is mandatory

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