During my research for Book 3, I started digging around into naughty villains from across the sea and their effect on crime here in Britain. I always knew things were bad but I didn’t quite grasp the scale of it.

I found an article on Albanian gangs and people trafficking.  Not going to give too much away but, my next book involves Albanians, but not people trafficking. That’s it. That’s yer lot. Oh, and to give you an idea what these chaps are like, have a little read of this.

I’m in the middle of the first round of self-edits for my fourth novel and, despite people telling me it gets easier, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Sure, the process has changed in the way that I write (I did the first draft in a month instead of the usual three (ish) and I’m happy with that, but I still hold the same doubts and worries and wondering if I can do it again.

My two previous books have been pretty successful and so there’s a pressure on to better, or at least equal, them, and I struggle with that niggling away at the back of my brain. Constantly. I don’t want to let down those readers who are looking forward to the next in the series and have become invested in Paterson & Clocks as people.

Last night, as I sat glued to the screen, cutting bits out there, tightening sentences here, it suddenly dawned on me that I was probably overthinking things. When I started my first book, I wrote it for myself. It was the kind of book I wanted to read. I wanted my characters to reflect real life, to show real policemen under pressure, they swear, they dig each other out, they make inappropriate quips, they fight amongst themselves, they bitch, all the things that the more mainstream authors tend to omit, and villains who do some truly awful things.

Whether that will harm me in the long term remains to be seen but I decided that that was what I was going to keep on doing-write the kind of book I wanted to read. It’s all I know how to do.

And whilst I was procrastinating instead of writing (let’s call it research-it makes me feel better) I came across an article about the author of ‘The Danish Girl’ and his struggles to write.

The struggle continues…

I listened to a BBC podcast with Miles Jupp the other day and he was talking about a book called Plotto.

I must admit, I  hadn’t heard of this until the other day. Plotto is a book that came out way, way back in the day and it allegedly contains every plot known to man (and a few more). I may have to get it…  just because. If any of you writers have read it or better yet, used it, I’d be interested to hear what you thought of it.

You can have a listen to Miles Jupp’s podcast here. Val McDermid’s on there too.

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Late last month I set myself the task of writing the first draft of my fourth book to feature Paterson & Clocks in a month. Yep. 31 days. And, I did it. Let me tell you a bit about it.

Normally when I write a book it takes roughly three months for the first draft to be done.  Once I’ve completed it, I will usually take a break for a week and then pick it up again. From there, I will tweak it about, re-structure it, alter, add or delete words, sentences and even paragraphs (I have been known to throw out a whole chapter) in the pursuit of a better, stronger, story. This second phase can take up to three months and so, from start to finish, a book normally takes me six months. By then, I’m sick of the sight of it. Literally.

Somehow, and I have no idea how, I got it into my head that I was being lazy. If I wrote 1500 words a day, I considered that a bloody good day’s work. Really? I’m retired and I retired early so I could write. I can do better than that.

I needed to rethink my working day and so I set myself the task of writing 3000 words a day for 31 days. I didn’t always succeed and I did sneak a few ‘rest’ days in there (I buggered off to Croatia for a week), but I did end up with a 75,000-word story. It’s bare bones though and having read through some it, I’ve cringed more than once. But, it is a draft and I have to keep reminding myself that a draft is a long way from the finished product. What I have now will morph into something that is, at its heart, the same story, but will feel a whole lot different when I’m done.

And, in keeping with my new ‘can-do’ attitude, I’m going to get it edited and ready for submission in two months. Yep. By Christmas this year, book 4 will be submitted for editing and will hopefully be out in January 2019.

We shall see (I’m also editing book #3 don’t forget)

 

 

It’s been just over six weeks since my debut novel ‘Their Last Words‘ was released into the world and I’m astonished at how well it is doing. I thought I’d indulge myself a little bit here and write about its fortunes to date. The facts and figures I give here are accurate at the time I recorded them but may not be true now. By the same token, they may well have done even better than I think but I haven’t been looking at the charts on a daily basis. Although every fibre of my being wants to, that way lay madness, my friend.

Please note that none of this is meant as a brag. It’s just so damn weird!

Six weeks ago I was unpublished and since then I have been on bestseller charts with some of the biggest names in the world. For a while, I was in front of Lee Child and James Patterson, Clive Cussler and even J.K Rowling.

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top 100 No 100 near JK Rowling 27-07-18

(Never thought I’d see myself next to JoRow. Bet she never thought she’d be next to me either!)

For an unknown author with no back catalogue and no readership, it’s unreal and is down to the efforts of my publisher Joffe Books and the marvellous team who have worked hard to get the book seen and noticed.

Everything here refers only to Amazon and their respective bestselling charts.

So, to my knowledge, I peaked at No 31 in the Amazon bestsellers chart and as of today’s date, I am at No 100. I have been at No 5 in the serial Killer category and No2 in Heist Crime category (I have no idea why I’m in there).

In Australia, on the 8th of August, I am No 5 in Crime Thrillers, No 3 in Crime and No 12 in Noir and to my immense satisfaction, find myself next to the great Michael Connelly at No 11. 8th August 2018 No 12 in Noir Next to Michael Connelly

(Me and Mike, tearing it up…)

I have had some fantastic reviews and I’m grateful to everybody who took the time to write their thoughts and feelings about the book (even the ropey reviews too, but they weren’t particularly constructive). I have been humbled by some of the things that people have written and it gives me hope for the future. I have also had some fantastic emails from people who tell me how much they enjoyed it and are looking forward to the next in the series. I am truly grateful.

Amusingly, from what I can make of it, it would seem the Aussies don’t like the book at all. Seems they don’t like the swearing! That I do find amusing particularly as I remember the song by the Australian warbler, Kevin ‘Bloody’ Wilson, which was entitled, ‘You Can’t Say C**t in Canada.’ After singing the title line he followed it up with, and I paraphrase, ‘Well, you fucking well can in Australia!’ Still, you can’t please everybody.

The Americans are better. For the most part, they have been positive in their reviews but again, there are a few complaints about the language. I will at some point write a post about the language I use but for now, I’m struggling to understand why people read the blurb, presumably use the ‘Look Inside’ feature, read other negative reviews (misery loves company) and then go off on one about it being violent and full of bad language. Well, there’s a shocker. Who saw that coming? One bloke said it was a waste of his $1.49. But he read it all the way through though!!

The other thing that has been interesting is to read the reviews of those who state that some bits were implausible and that ‘that wouldn’t happen in real life.’ Wouldn’t it? My friends, you have no idea. I have seen and done things that you couldn’t make up. Genuinely couldn’t make up. So, maybe a few bits have been exaggerated (it is, after all, a story) but please be under no illusion about what would and wouldn’t happen in real life.

So, a bit long this post, but it’s been a surreal period of my life and I wanted to document it for my own benefit as much as yours. One day I’m going to look back on this and go, ‘WTF!’

 

Okay. So, as I’ve been saying, Book #2 is due for release soon. This one has me a bit apprehensive. Why? Well, the content of this is, I’m sure, going to upset certain factions and send them into an immediate knee-jerking frenzy. I wrote it hoping it wouldn’t but expecting it would.

I can’t tell you what it’s about at this stage but I believe that as well as being a good story (so, I’m told), it highlights a growing problem not just here in the UK, but globally.

I’ll be interested to see what happens.

 

Book #1 (TLW) has been out for a few weeks now and it’s still in the Top 100 Bestsellers chart. Can’t complain about that! As of today, it’s at No68 so, it’s on the slide but I’m hoping to see that swing back up when #2 is released. At the moment I don’t have an exact date but Joffe were looking to the end of this month. Don’t know if that will happen though as, at the moment, we have no title and no cover but I know that Joffe Books move fast so it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if it makes it in time.