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

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Happy New Year – what’s coming soon…

I do hope it’s a good one for all of you. I’m certainly looking forward to a few exciting moments. My first bit of excitement is the fact that in the UK ALL THREE of my books are currently in the UK Kindle charts, and they are all on offer for just 99p – only a few days left now.

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Reedsy and the changing world of indie publishing

I know that many of my readers are also writers who either already self-publish or are hoping to do so in the future. So when I came across Reedsy, I asked them to write a blog post to tell us all about their site, and what they have to offer. I hope it’s useful. When new writers decide that they want to write a book and publish it independently, many of them aren’t aware of just how much work it takes. Aside from the actual writing, there are so many other challenges that we face. How do you go about editing the book, or creating a cover, or getting it noticed once it is out there? As more and more writers choose to publish independently and the market becomes more crowded, it seems that these challenges will be greater in the future than ever before. We all need honest advice from people

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Sleep Tight – just $1.99 on Amazon US for limited period

This week, Sleep Tight, has been chosen for an Amazon promotion in the US and is being offered at $1.99 instead of the usual $4.99, and I just wanted to talk to other authors about why this is such a good thing. We have all seen books shoot up the charts to the number one position when they go into an Amazon Daily Deal – and it’s really great to see your book flying high. But in my experience, the Daily Deals fall as fast as they rise. The good thing is that on the way down – while they are still visible – they are earning royalties on the full price rather than the offer price.

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A day in the life of author – Maggie James

Maggie James is a British author who lives in Bristol. She writes psychological suspense novels. The first draft of her first novel, entitled His Kidnapper’s Shoes, was written whilst travelling in Bolivia. Maggie was inspired by an impending milestone birthday along with a healthy dose of annoyance at having procrastinated for so long in writing a novel. His Kidnapper’s Shoes was published in both paperback and e-book format in 2013, followed by her second novel, entitled Sister, Psychopath. Her third novel, Guilty Innocence, has now been published, and like her first two, features her home city of Bristol. She is currently editing her fourth novel, The Second Captive.

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Self-publishing – A one day course by Rachel Abbott

If there is one email that I receive more often than any other, it’s one that asks, “Can you please tell me how to sell more books?” – and it’s a really difficult question to answer. Being successful as a self-published author is not easy. With over two million books on Amazon, it’s hugely difficult to get noticed, and I appreciate that I am one of the lucky ones that has – until now at least – been fortunate enough to sell a lot of books. According to the Daily Telegraph, I am the top-selling self-published author in 2014 to date on Amazon UK, which is a huge honour against some very fierce competition. But it wasn’t easy. I worked long hours, ate lots of biscuits, put on a ton of weight – all to try to get my first book noticed.

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“A Paroxysm of Nausea”- author Tim Adler tells us why he writes

 “…just as a paroxysm of nausea swept over him,” I finished, looking up from my exercise book. My schoolmates looked bored, and somebody flicked a chewed-over paper ball at me. Paroxysm. Not a word you hear used much in everyday language, but I’d read it somewhere and decided to shoehorn it that week’s chapter. My English teacher was thrilled though. Every Saturday I was persuaded to stand in front of my class and read the latest instalment of a serial adventure I was writing. One month it was Doctor Who, another it was my version of a James Bond yarn. No sex, just gadgets. Not that I needed any persuading. I loved storytelling. Being an only child, a lot of my time was spent drawing comics and poring over books while my idea of heaven was taking the bus to the local library and just trailing my hand along the

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Recommended Read: Gray Retribution by Alan McDermott

The following critique of Gray Retribution was written by Kath Middleton. Kath is a writer, and is known with great affection on many forums as IGNITE. Since publishing her own first novel, Ravenfold, Kath has started to be better known by her own name, rather than her forum signature. Check her out on http://www.kathmiddletonbooks.com Gray Retribution Plot This is a multi-stranded plot and keeps the reader eager for more movement on each front. There is the exciting jungle setting with the boy soldiers who really engage the sympathy and there is the home setting of Tom’s uncle-in-law who is threatened for protection money in his new business. Each escalates and Tom’s staff who are on training manoeuvres with local soldiers are drawn into the jungle war. At home, thugs don’t merely threaten and Tom’s family is under attack again. It’s full of exciting twists and turns. If I found a fault it

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Amazon special offer on SLEEP TIGHT!

I am delighted to say that as of today, Sleep Tight has been selected for an Amazon UK deal, and has the massively discounted price of just 99p (normal price £2.99).  Check it out here. For those of you who follow this blog, you will be aware that Sleep Tight is my third novel, and I am thrilled with the response of readers around the world. To those of you who have supported me with your recommendations and reviews, a huge thank you.

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A Day In The Life of Author Julie Shackman

Julie Shackman trained as a journalist, but in her own words “writing romance has always been a dream of mine.” When she doesn’t have her head in a book or is drafting one, she writes verses and captions for greetings card companies. Rock my World  is her first contemporary romance novel, but book number two is already finished, and she is busy researching her third. My typical day usually starts around 7am, in a blur of cereal, school uniforms and shouts of “Are you up yet?” and “Who’s in the bathroom?” Once my Husband leaves for work (or escapes, depending on your point of view) it’s a case of herding our two sons towards the general direction of the front door for school. During all this, I’m thinking about what writing I have to do for the day, whether it’s a guest post, novel writing or a new brief for coming up

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Recommended Read: The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud

The Last Life by Claire Messud would definitely go into a list of one of my favourite books so I was eager to read her latest novel, The Woman Upstairs, and on the whole, I wasn’t disappointed. “The Woman Upstairs” refers to the narrator of the novel, Nora, and is a term that Nora uses to refer to a woman like her, who she believes at a certain age, approaching 40, has become invisible and is dismissed as being or having of little consequence in society. Nora is furious at this and the novel gives us a view inside the mind of “ the woman upstairs”.