Latest Newsletter

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

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.

Formatting your ebook – part II

In the last post, we managed to get rid of all the unnecessary formatting – the stuff that e-readers hate. And now, if you haven’t been using styles, you will have ended up with a whole mass of text without any apparent breaks. So we can fix that now SO easily. I’ll give you a step by step breakdown with explanation, and then a summary that might be quicker and easier to follow. Just remember, this is only the first phase of editing for Word uploads only – there’s a lot more to come!

Formatting your ebook

It’s taken me a long time to get round to writing this post, because it is complicated and I want to make sure that I get it just right for everybody. When I had finished my novel Only the Innocent, I wanted to get it uploaded as quickly as possible – but I also wanted it to look good. I read so many bits of advice all over the web, and much of it was conflicting. But in the end, I managed to pull some different strands together that worked for me. So in this post, and possibly one or two more to follow (as this takes some explaining) I will explain which bits of advice I used, which I rejected (and why) and my ultimate conclusion. I really hope this helps.

Preparing your ebook for publication

There are a number of very specific elements that you need to consider when you are preparing your ebook for publication. It’s not just about writing a good book, editing it and formatting it. At each stage of publishing your ebook, you will be asked for information and it certainly helps to have it all ready before you start. It will dramatically save time – particularly if you keep everything in one place on your computer. Here’s what I would suggest.

Creating your first ebook – preparing the ground

Just to reiterate some of the information from the last post, there are several stages to getting your book ready to publish. It’s not just a matter of writing it, and then uploading it. At least, not if you want to be successful (and I have yet to discover how successful I will be!). The main phases are : writing a good book (obviously); proof reading until you are blind – some notes on this below; preparing your social networking sites, at least in a rough format so that you can add links within your book – you don’t want to be doing this later. This is covered briefly in the previous post, but there will be more on getting the most of your social networking sites later; preparing all the other stuff you are going to need – photos, blurbs, book cover images – more below; formatting your book

Publishing your first ebook – preparation

The earlier posts reflected what I was doing, how I was doing, and how frustrated I was getting with the whole process. But now my ebook is published and is available from Amazon.co.uk here and Amazon.com here. However, the journey was not quite as easy as I thought it would be, so I am going to concentrate the contents of the following few blogs on the process I followed, and the issues that I experienced along the way. The process will be covered in several posts, and as I continue to market my book, I will share the process to the best of my ability.

Wrestling with html editors

Well, this isn’t the complete blog post that I was hoping for by the end of the week. After spending too long trying to sort out the best way to tweet, have people “like” me, and join various LinkedIn groups, I thought I should get down to the real business of sorting out my book. I had been working under the misapprehension that actually this last bit was going to be easy.

Social sharing

I was hoping that today I was going to be able to say that I had done a great job, and now all my social sharing stuff was up and working. This is not the case. As I mentioned yesterday, I do want to make sure that people can share my content, and when the book is launched (presuming I ever get time to finish editing it) I want to be ready so that those people I know well will share information about me and about my book. So it all has to be ready!