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March 28th, 2017
A Writer Reads
I have read some wonderful books recently, but there are three which stand out for me. Dead Woman Walking – I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this excellent novel by Sharon Bolton, and as many of you know she is one of my favourite authors. It begins with a dramatic hot-air balloon ride and a view from above of a killer. With a twist that I genuinely didn’t see coming, the tension never drops until the last page. Although not published yet, Dead Woman Walking is available for pre-order. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Woman-Walking-Sharon-Bolton-ebook/dp/B01KL65GTM/         Wrong Place – Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Michelle Davies’ first novel, Gone Astray, I was keen to read the next story in the DC Maggie Neville series. Neville is a Family Liaison Officer, and this gives a unique spin to a police procedural. Wrong Place is the story of a woman ...
March 30th, 2017
Interesting links
Here are a few interesting links that I thought you might enjoy. Is it way past time you finished that novel you’ve been carrying around in your head? Try this article for inspiration! https://www.theguardian.com/books/ng-interactive/2017/mar/20/how-to-finish-a-novel-tracking-book-progress-wyl-menmuir Peter Swanson, author of The Kind Worth Killing describes his perfect reader perfectly! ‘They have no gender or age, but they are in for the night, and looking to get lost in, and maybe a little scared by, a book.’ Sounds good to me! https://www.ft.com/content/e9c39ac4-f529-11e6-95ee-f14e55513608 An interesting and timely read? I think so: Margaret Atwood on what The Handmaid’s Tale means in the Age of Trump http://nyti.ms/2mo9wkr If you have any interesting links you would like to share, just let me know!
March 30th, 2017
Featured Reader – Beth Moist
Thank you all so much for responding to my request for featured readers – now I have a library of you! I’m going to start off with Beth Moist from Phenix City, Alabama, USA who has some very interesting memories to share. My love for psychological thrillers comes from my childhood. My father was a police officer and he used to ride me around in his patrol car and he would take me in the back of the jail with him. It was so exciting. My father also used to take me on his adventures into ancient Native American burial grounds where we would search for old pottery, arrow or spear heads. The mystery of looking and what I might find was a great thrill for me. My big brother Tom and I would often play and explore in the woods, looking for a secret cave or hide out, pretending ...
March 30th, 2017
Dying to write – the opening line challenge
This month I’ve picked out some great opening lines from psychological crime thrillers. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to come up with one sentence that could start off a book that cannot be put down. My latest book The Sixth Window starts like this: “It had been a night like so many others over the past few weeks, and as the woman looked down on the narrow street below her second-floor window she finally admitted that she couldn’t take any more.” So get your thinking caps on – you need ONE sentence that will hook the reader who’s desperate to walk down the dark path, the one who will go into the basement with a faulty torch when they hear something scratching to get in… The bedroom is strange. Unfamiliar. SJ Watson, Before I go to Sleep An hour before her shift started, an hour before ...
March 30th, 2017
The new novel is underway!
I am so happy to have started work on my next novel! As a writer, it’s such an exciting time as the characters and story begin to take shape in my imagination. Not all writers work in the same way, of course, but for me character definition is a critical part of the writing process. As soon as the overall plot is clear in my mind I begin defining the detail of each of the individuals that the reader will meet along the way. I already have a clear idea in my head of what each of them will look like, but I also like to find a photograph of somebody that is close in looks to my idea. That way I can refer back to it whenever I need a visual reminder. I search Google with a broad description and sometimes find an actor that fits the bill, or ...
March 30th, 2017
Forthcoming events – April 2017
This month I’m going to be out and about, and it would be great to meet up with some of my readers. I’m off to Denmark first to speak at Krimimessen in Horsens on April 1 but I don’t suppose I will catch up with many of you there. http://krimimessen.dk/ And later in the month I will be travelling to the North West of England, visiting Oldham, Bolton, Warrington, Denton and Wallasey. Do let me know if you’re likely to attend any of them so that I can say hello.   Moving on a month, I will be speaking at the Guernsey Festival on 11th May http://www.guernseyliteraryfestival.com/ and at New Writing North on 20th http://newwritingnorth.com/   Later in the year, I’m looking forward to being a judge for the Kindle Storyteller Award, a new literary prize recognising newly published work in the English language across any genre. The prize is ...

Recent Posts

An Interview with Jennifer B White

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview Jennifer B White, author of Otherwise and Dead Asleep as part of her Blog Tour. A review of Otherwise can be found here. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself I was born and bred in New England. I live in Massachusetts, when I’m not in Los Angeles working on movies. As well as penning novels, I’m a tagline writer and screenwriter. I’m the mother of three boys, ages 16, 13 and 7.  All of them were born in late October—the youngest on Halloween—which is somewhat fitting for a writer of supernatural novels.  I hold a B.A. in communications, and a Masters degree in psychology. Otherwise is a book about the spirit world. What inspired you to write in this genre? Growing up in my family, there was a certain amount of supernatural phenomena that was to be

Review: Otherwise by Jennifer B White

AN ENGAGING AND INTRIGUING TALE OF THE PARANORMAL Overview When 26 year old Delilah returns to the town she was brought up in, she discovers that some things never change. Her old grandmother is now dead, but the ramshackle cottage that she lived in is still full of all the junk that had accumulated over the years, and Delilah despairs of the task ahead of her in clearing the place out to make it habitable. But strange things begin to happen to her, and gradually she becomes aware that this town has two sorts of inhabitants – the living, and the “otherwise”.  Within the town is one woman – living – who is able to speak to the spirits that are “otherwise”, and gradually during the telling of the story, lies and secrets from the past are revealed culminating in a dramatic and surprising climax.

Review: A Real Piece of Work by Chris Orcutt

A compelling mystery, well written and very entertaining Overview You can tell from the naming of his main characters – Dakota Stevens and Svetlana Krüsh – that author Chris Orcutt has a sense of humour, and this is apparent throughout his writing. This book is no comedy – far from it – but Orcutt displays a lightness of touch in dealing with his characters that makes it a joy to read. The story focuses around ex FBI agent now turned PI Dakota, and his ‘beautiful assistant’ chess world champion Svetlana. They are offered a job to find a missing painting – and paid a substantial amount in advance. When their client goes missing, they have the option of taking the money and doing nothing. But that is not Dakota’s style – and as he begins to investigate what seems like a simple art theft, the plot genuinely does thicken. Dakota

Using Twitter: are you a writer, a brand, or a salesman?

Something else to think about … I recently wrote a few blog posts to help some of the people that I had met on forums to get to grips with Twitter. I said from the start that I am no expert, but over the last ten weeks or so since I launched Only the Innocent I have learned a lot more about Twitter which I’ve tried to share with other indie publishers.  I got some great feedback to the earlier posts, and some very interesting comments –  which have cast a slightly different light on things. I have concluded (and am happy to be disagreed with) that as authors, we have to wear three hats. The writer The ‘brand’ The salesman In terms of Twitter, these are almost mutually exclusive.

The indie author’s guide to Twitter for beginners – Introduction

Why have I written this? Some of you out there will wonder why I’ve bothered writing this. Well, it’s because when I published my first novel, I thought I knew about Twitter. I had been using it for another business for years – and I just didn’t get it. I thought it was a waste of time. Before I launched my novel, I had just 9 (yes – NINE) followers, and so I have been on a steep learning curve. I certainly am a long way from being an expert, but I’ve found tools that work for me, and now I GET IT! I’ve met quite a number of authors on various discussion sites who write about not getting any interest in their books – and they say that they don’t use Twitter. And it’s really for these people that I have written this. The post is in 3 parts

The indie author’s guide to Twitter for beginners – Part I

Twitter? What’s that? I must start by declaring loudly that I am NOT an expert. This is all about my own experience, what I have learned, and what I wish I had known first. But if you are thinking of becoming an indie publisher you may find something useful here. At least, I hope so. This post is aimed at the people I have met on my author journey who do not have a Twitter account, and don’t really understand what it’s all about. It’s a recognised fact that if you are going to be successful with your indie publishing venture, you need to create a PLATFORM. So what does that  mean? I will quote Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn – “The author platform is how you are currently reaching an audience of book-buying people, or how you plan to do so. It is your influence, your ability to

The indie author’s guide to Twitter for beginners – Part II

The basic terminology and etiquette of Twitter. Now you have your twitter account, you’re going to want to start tweeting. One of the first things you need to understand is about the length of tweets and the impact this has on any web link urls that you want to add into your tweets. There are various web shortening sites that will do the job for you. I use bitly.com  because it not only stores the addresses, but I can get some useful analytics as well which show how many times my links have been clicked. All you do is paste in the url that you are going to add into your tweet, and it will produce a reduced length version. Click on the ‘copy’ button, and paste it into your tweet. When you look at other people’s tweets, you may see that there a lots of # tags incorporated. These

The indie author’s guide to Twitter for beginners – Part III

Twitter – Using the tools Social networking is a very time consuming occupation. When I first got going, I was clicking around all over the place trying to find people to follow, making sure that I followed people back, writing tweets at certain times of the day – like every 10 minutes. It was hard work. But you know what? It doesn’t need to be. I’ve sorted myself out with three different pieces of software, and an occasional use of a fourth. There are loads and loads of different Twitter apps out there, and it all depends on what you want to achieve. But for me, these three/four work perfectly. The first thing that I got was TweetDeck. This is free. I have got the desktop app – but I understand that there is an online version if you use Google Chrome as your browser. I haven’t investigated this, but

Faith Creation – All Lies Revealed by Christine Dougherty

Overview It’s important to say at the outset that isn’t a book about religion – which is what I thought when I saw the title. It’s actually about a young girl called Faith, and the first part of the book focuses on her early life with her twin sister Charity, flashing between the present and the past – but beautifully done. The novel starts with a remarkable opening line: “The first time my sister died, we were three years old” and builds steadily and consistently from this point, creating a sad tale of two young girls brought up in an apparently loveless home. It continues until Faith is in her early twenties. It has a mixture of styles, from heartbreakingly sad to tense and scary, and Christine Dougherty carries them all off well. In places, her writing is superb and her use of imagery excellent. Although it’s not the usual

Gray justice

Gray Justice by Alan McDermott

Overview Gray Justice is the story of a man who has lost everything, all because of the selfish actions of a joy rider. What he cannot tolerate is the fact that this joy rider seems to feel no guilt for his crimes – and, along with a vast number of similar criminals, nothing stops him from re-offending. The sentences handed out are risible, and it would appear that the government is going to do nothing to impose harsher sentences or develop strategies to reduce the number of recidivists. So Tom Gray comes up with an ingenious plan which involves the whole population of the UK, and requires some definite and positive action from the government. What he fails to realise, though, is that one of his clever strategies results in a conclusion that he had never anticipated.