Tuesday, 23 December 2008


Many writers who are fortunate enough to have their debut book published frequently struggle when it comes to writing book 2, but with me things have been a little different. Book 2 flew from my fingers to the keyboard and I found that I wrote the first draft of book 2 (Working title Judgement and Wrath) with little problem. I was in the ZONE. Book 3 was my moment of EEK! where I experienced those little strirrings of unease, but I pushed on and got by the worries and delivered the first draft (after copious edits and changes I may add). On the advice of my agent and editor the book was re-written with a different ending - which to be honest meant scrapping the beginning of book 4 that I'd already started -but it did make the book much better. On further advice I have been asked to make some further changes, so I'm now on my third major re-write of book 3. Some people might balk at this, but I'm taking it on the chin and getting on with making the book the best it can be.
I'm not writing this as a big-headed way of showing how hard working or dedicated I am (or that my first two attempts were poor books), what I'm trying to show is the importance of taking the good advice that comes to you from people in the know. My editor, Sue Fletcher, at Hodder and Stoughton, is fabulously knowledgeable (she also edits one of my favourite - if not favourite -writers in John Connolly), so I am in good hands. A number of friends I've made through my endeavours at this blog and elsewhere have often asked the question about editing etc, and I've waxed lyrical about the subject in the past, but I still think that it is extremely pertinent to mention it again.
So, it's third time lucky. With Sue's words of wisdom echoing in my ears, I'm pushing on with delivering a book I hope you will all enjoy, and one that I hope keeps you coming back for more. If this doesn't work, watch for a further entry titled 4x4x4. I'll keep going until i get things right.
Keep on keeping on
And Merry Christmas to one and all.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Endorsement of Dead Men's Dust by Richard Hammond

I am indebted to TV star (Top Gear) and best-selling non-fiction author Richard Hammond who read my book, Dead Men's Dust, and kindly said this:

"Taut, thrilling, tense and sometimes scary - it's hard to talk about DeadMen's Dust without sounding like a caricature. But it delivers all those things. And clearly was written with passion and backed up by real experience of some of the darker sides of life. Loved it."

Monday, 15 December 2008

Shoot 'em up - Point Shooting the Joe Hunter way

I visited my editor in London this week and one of the lovely surprises (apart from the delicious meal that Sue treated both my wife and I to) was a copy of the shoot 'em up game developed by Hodder and Stoughton to coincide with the launch of my first book, Dead Men's Dust. The game is a shooting gallery type, where you have to rely on speed and accuracy and a quick reload to defeat the knifemen coming out of the long grass. This is based on the fact that Joe Hunter is an adept of a quickdraw and shoot style coined 'point shooting', and gives the reader the opportunity to try their skills to take out the bad guys. Pretty soon the game will be made available at various locations on the Web, and also at my webiste at http://www.matthiltonbooks.com/
Further levels with different bad guys will be added with each subsequent book.
Why not stop by and see if you can beat my personal record of 14 hits (but I'm getting better) and see if you could go into battle shoulder to shoulder with Joe.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

The days to publication grow less

It's amazing to think that in less than 5 months I will finally see my book out there for sale on bookstands. It's now more than ten months since I fist heard the amazing news that I was going to be a published author. At the time 15 months seemed like a long, looooooooong time away, but already I'm two thirds of the way along. It's an amazing feeling. Can't wait.

keep on keeping on


Sunday, 7 December 2008

Lesson learned

It's good advice to listen to your peers. I took on the advice of some good friends I've made (thanks Col and Amit for the feedback) and have revisited my Christmas tale The HOLLY and The I.V. and sanitized it a little. Like I said, I wrote the story as an exercise, to get the creative juices flowing and to try entering the head of a different character. But LESS IS MORE especially when we talk about swearing. I've re-posted the story below - it's still in the voice of a bad man so it's still a bit dodgy in places just not as dodgy as previously, and I hope it doesn't shock too many sensibilities this time. Remember to read it in a pantomime wise guy voice for full effect.

The moral of this story - you can and do learn all the time.

Thanks guys

A short story for you all - Splitting Heirs

Good day to you all. I've been writing again, and thought I'd share this short story with you and invite your comments. It's a short - short. It's a crime story. Enjoy!


Three million pounds plus. That was what James Caruthers left behind when he died. James wasn’t known to have that kind of money behind him. He lived in a council bungalow with three cats and his neighbours barely knew him. In fact, most of them steered clear of the old man who spent most days in a great coat and wool cap, whatever the weather. No one knew what he got up to inside his decrepit home because of the newspaper taped over the windows. Daily a care assistant would turn up, make sure that he was still breathing and shove a ready meal in the microwave oven, then they’d be out of there wrinkling their noses at the stench clinging to their clothing. Other than that, James’s only other contact with humanity was when the milkman delivered his single pint of gold top. James would peer out over the chain on his door and give a gruff thank you, before slamming and locking the door again.
One morning the milkman raised his concern to the police when the old man didn’t come to the door. The cops turned up, broke in, and found James lying in the corner of his kitchen. There was half a sandwich on a saucer next to the blazing gas fire in the living room. The other half – missing a single bite - was in the kitchen sink, as well as a wad of masticated bread and corned beef. It was concluded that the old man had choked on the sandwich, made it to the sink where he’d hacked it up, but his overtaxed heart had then given out. No suspicious circumstances. Case closed. No investigation.
When James was buried, no one turned out for his service.
When someone dies without leaving a will, and no one turns up to claim their inheritance, the government can claim the money. Still, they have an obligation to publish the fact that money has been left, to give an heir the opportunity to come forward. When big money is at stake – three million two hundred thousand and thirty three pounds in this case – there are specialist firms out there willing to jump at the chance to find the rightful heir. For a hefty commission, of course.
That’s where I come in.
It’s a race. Other firms will have their best investigators on the case. Public records, birth certificates, marriage certificates, all will be checked to discern the rightful heir, then these companies will fight tooth and nail to get to the lucky recipient first – bearing the good news and the offer to represent their new client.
I was the first to make it to Robert Wilson’s front door, but I knew the others wouldn’t be far behind me. If I wanted my pay day, I had to make sure that Robert Wilson did not deal with anyone from the other firms.
Wilson was a man in his late fifties. He didn’t even know he was the first child born of a union between James Caruthers and his now deceased mother, Ingrid. He looked at me suspiciously as I handed him my card and explained why I had turned up at his door on a cold, winter’s evening. As soon as I mentioned the money though, he invited me in to his living room. It looked like he’d inherited more than money from his late father: his house was a stinking hole that he shared only with cats.
That was good, really. No wife, no kids, no extended family to contest this turn of events.
I accepted the offer of tea – even though I’d never touch his filthy cup to my lips – and followed him into his kitchen. As he’d turned to fill the kettle, I took his head in both my hands and slammed it down on the corner of the work top. I aimed so that his temple struck the pointed corner and was gratified to see the deep indentation in his skull as he collapsed dead at my feet. Careful to remove my card from his pocket, I put it back into my wallet. Then I spilled some of the water from the kettle onto the floor, then manipulated Wilson’s foot so that it made a dirty skid mark in the spillage.
Wilson wouldn’t be inheriting anything any longer.
The entire estate belonging James Caruthers, plus anything that Robert Wilson had tucked away, would now be going to James’ second born son.
Of course, I’d have to pay out a little of my good luck in commission to the investigator who found out who I was.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

The Punisher: War Zone


Hi all,
as you might have guessed, I'm a bit of a fan of Marvel's The Punisher. Opening in the US this weekend is the latest offering following Frank Castle's war against the mob Punisher: War Zone . aAbove is a link to a short trailer for the movie. Looks cool.

Friday, 5 December 2008

BBC Radio Cumbria last week

Forgot to give you all an update. Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of appearing on a BBC radio interview at the Carlisle studios. I was interviewed by Kevin Fernihough, and was on air for the best part of an hour. True to form I only got a very small portion of what I wanted to say over, but it was a great experience nonetheless. As I am a little narcisistic, I drove home quickly to hear how the interview had went only to find that my good lady wife had been tuned into the competition channel and had missed the entire interview. Non-deterred, I brought up BBC Radio Cumbria's website where you can listen again to the shows, only to find that the particular programme I appeared on hadn't been downloaded (Kevin is a new return to the show and his programme hasn't been added to the site). Ergo, I don't know how I came across. Ach, never mind.
keep on keeping on

Writing exercise -see story in last blog

Howdy all,
just thought I'd clear up a possible misconception pointed out to me by a great guy and follower of my blog. I wrote the short story in a flurry of activity (after seeing no flurry of snow that I was waiting for) as a little writing exercise. Usually I write from a first person perspective, where my character Joe Hunter tells the tale as he sees it, interspersed with chapters from a third person perspective where we see other aspects of the story where Joe is not present. Joe has a certain perspective himself, and has often pondered on how others see him. To him he's a good guy doing what he feels is right, but to his enemies he's the bad guy. I thought it would be fun getting into the mind of a thoroughly nasty individual and telling a tale from his eyes. I chose the nameless lead in The Holly and the I.V as a downright thug and bully, of little intelligence, who thinks he is a great guy because he is so bad. Therefore I wrote in the kind of language that I believed a man of such integrity (or lack of) would speak. I'm not a fan of swearing (unless necessary). You can write a great thriller or crime novel without the use of four letter words, and I have tried to do this with my books, only adding swearing at points where it was necessary to the moment. This story is excessive - hence the warning at the beginning - but it served my purpose for looking at Joe through someone else's eyes and sensibilities.
By the way, anyone looking for publication should keep anything gratuitous out of their writing (in my opinion) as - like my friend pointed out - it could turn off a lot of commisioning editors.
In the meantime, if you read the story, read it for fun as intended.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

The Holly and the I.V. - A Christmas morality tale

Despite myself the promise of snow got me in a Christmassy mood and I wrote this little morality tale:

before you read it, please take note:


Take the story in the tongue in cheek manner it's intended

Read it in a wise guy voice, it sounds best that way.


The Holly and the I.V.

(A Christmas morality tale featuring Joe Hunter).

I’m a bad ass mutha, and don’t let anyone tell ya otherwise.

You doubt me an’ I’ll kick your ass all the way to New Year’s Eve.

So don’t be doubtin’ me, man, an’ we’ll get along just fine. You start thinkin’ you can take a liberty with my good nature an’ I’ll do yer. Got it? Good.

See, the way it is, it’s Christmas, and even a bad ass mutha like me ain’t all bad at this time of year. The season’s good will can even affect a bastard like me. I can laugh with the best of ‘em. Last Christmas I nearly laughed my dick off when that punk, Jakey Cenato, got his balls crushed in a vice when her old man caught him with Sherry Bischoff. Jakey was givin’ Sherry a good ol’ seein’ to in back of the garage where they worked. Office romance, my ass! Jakey was just hot for the little whore and Sherry had just gone way over the top on the eggnog. Johnny Bischoff got two of his boys to hold Jakey down while he twisted the screw tight. Jakey won’t be filling any stockings on Christmas Eve ever again, I’ll tell ya. What a freakin’ wheeze.

Anyways, I’m whatchacall digressin’.

I’m tryin’ to point out that, see, when it’s Christmas, I’m not as bad as I normally am. So, I was just not on top of my game. Doesn’t make me any less a man than normal, just, like, not as up for it as usual.

I was in Blake’s Bar. My usual hang out. Most of the usual guys were there. We were drinkin’ for ol’ times sake and stuff. Thinkin’ about goin’ home and trimming the tree and all that crap. Some asshole had even put a Bing Crosby track on the juke box. Christmas in freakin’ Kilarney or some other goddamn Mick shit. I supposed it was a good match for the Irish whiskey I was putting in my guts, so I didn’t complain. I was havin’ a good time. I was as happy as a bad ass mutha could be on Christmas Eve.

Jakes nuts roastin’ on an open fire, Bischoff nipping at his balls...yeah, we even struck up a Yuletide carol. I was feelin’ warm an’ fuzzy when I finally stumbled outa Blake’s an’ hit the road. It was blowin’ a blizzard. Didn’t dent my good mood, though, just made me want to get home quicker. The bitch I’d hooked up with, Brenda, was waitin’ for me, an’ there was a certain part of me that was in need of hottin’ up.

Most of my pay check was in the cash register behind Blake’s bar. There wasn’t enough in my pocket to get me all the way back home. Them goddamn cabbies are on a good thing, way they bump up the price of a fare at Christmas they need their heads bustin’. Uncharitable pricks!

But that’s what got me thinkin’. Good will to all men an’ all that crap. All I hadda do was ask somebody an’ they’d hand me over their change. An’ if they weren’t feelin’ up for the season, I’d just hafta remind them. Problem was, there weren’t too many people out in the weather, ‘ceptin’ one guy who’d been sittin’ in a corner of Blake’s half the night. Once over I almost went over to him and asked him what the hell he was lookin’ at, but Billy and Clem had told me to leave it. Some sorta bad ass this guy was supposed t’be. Joe fuckin’ Hunter, Bill said in a whisper, the mutha who did the dirty work for that dick over at Rington Investigations. Well, I owed Jared Rington big time. That slant-eyed gook stuck a shotgun in my neck an’ led me back to my bail bondsmen an’ got me a six-month stretch in the big house. It even got as far as me gettin’ up, but my buddy Clem grabbed holda me. He knows karate, Clem warned. Like I gave a fuck! He starts all that Bruce Lee jumpin’ about bullshit, I says, an’ I’ll show him what a kick in the balls feels like. Plus, in my coat I had ten inches of lead pipe.

Maybe this Hunter asshole knew to get the hell outa my face. He got up an’ walked outa there before I could show him who he was messin’ with. Bastard doesn’t know how lucky he was. I downed another coupla drinks before I heard Brenda’s hot little ass callin’ me home.

Shoulda wondered what Hunter was doin’ standin’ there in the snow. But like I said, I was in a good mood, a bottle of malt down, an’ lookin’ forward to givin’ Brenda her Christmas treat.

Gimme fifty bucks an’ I’ll let my beef with Rington go, I told him. To show him I wasn’t beggin’ for charity I pulled out my lead sap.

Musta been the booze an’ my good mood.

Hunter kinda swarmed all over me.


He took a freakin’ liberty with my Christmas spirit.

If I’d been my normal bad ass self he wouldn’ta stood a chance.

But, hey, I’m still in a good mood.

Apparently when Bill and Clem found me I’d been makin’ some of them angels in the snow. Very seasonal, huh?

First time I’ve spent Christmas in hospital, but it ain’t all bad.

I’m warm and I’ve got these pretty nurses fussin’ all over me. Not that the bitches’ll give me the sponge bath I asked for. An’ it ain’t the same eatin’ Christmas puddin’ through a goddamn straw or pullin’ a cracker when you’ve got a I.V. drip in your wrist. But at least I did better outa this deal than Jakey did last year.

At least when I’m healed I can get back to bein’ my normal bad ass self.

It's a Killer Year

Well, so much for the snow - I didn't see one flake. Although the rest of the country seems to be suffering a white out my little corner remained snow free. All I got was a cold and very un-Christmas-like drizzle. But never mind: that means I can concentrate on what I should be doing: writing. I am currently pulling a few ideas together for Joe Hunter book 4 and working on a young adult novel, so lots to be getting on with.

Another thing I've been doing recently is a good deal of reading. One of the books I purchased a few days ago was 'Killer Year' edited by Lee Child. This is a book that has been produced by International Thriller Writers to showcase the up and coming crime/thriller writers of the future, and contains stories from the class of 2007. I am a member of ITW myself and am seriously thinking about joining the debut authors programme. ITW are doing a fantastic job of supporting and mentoring their members and this book is proof of that.

The Barnes and Noble website says this of Killer Year:

Killer Year is a group of 13 debut crime/mystery/suspense authors whose books will be published in 2007. The graduating class includes such rising stars as Robert Gregory Browne, Toni McGee Causey, Marcus Sakey, Derek Nikitas, Marc Lecard, JT Ellison, Brett Battles, Jason Pinter, Bill Cameron, Sean Chercover, Patry Francis, Gregg Olsen, and David White. Each of the short stories displaying their talents are introduced by their Killer Year mentors, some of which include bestselling authors Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen and Jeffrey Deaver, with additional stories by Ken Bruen, Allison Brennan and Duane Swierczynski. Bestselling authors Laura Lippman and MJ Rose contribute insightful essays. Inside you'll read about a small time crook in over his head, a story told backwards with a heroine not to be messed with, a tale of boys and the trouble they will get into over a girl, and many more stories of the highest caliber in murder, mayhem, and sheer entertainment. This amazing anthology, edited by the grandmaster Lee Child, is sure to garner lots of attention and keep readers coming back for more.

If you are thinking of Christmas presents to give or to recieve you couldn't go wrong with this book.

happy reading


Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Christmas looming

It has suddenly occurred to me just how close Christmas is looming. To be fair my mind has been on many other things and the pending celebrations have barely impinged on my mind as I've been so busy writing. I love Christmas. I love everything associated with it when we talk about giving presents and renewing friendships and hugging our loved ones and Bing crosby songs and Santa Claus. I don't like the commecialisation of the season - I don't think anyone does. Readers of this blog may have already noticed that one of my all time favourite movies is 'It's a Wonderful Life'. I can't help it, it's just such a great moral tale that I catch it whenever I can. As crazy as it sounds, but I was thinking about that movie whilst writing a scene in an upcoming Joe Hunter book. Don't worry, there are no angels seeking their wings, but there is snow. I don't think IAWL would be the same with gunfights and stuff, but the movie did influence me in a big way. I suppose at its root, the movie is a crime thriller (all those shady goings on at the bank and the theft of money etc), so maybe the movie resonates with me on more than one level. Plus I'm a big ol' sentimental romantic. I just love all that 'happy ending stuff' that goes with the movie. I'm probably wishing that the world was still the same as it was when the movie was made and that people would come together to help and to show their support - though I saw none of that when the Northern Rock debacle hit the news. On the flip side of my last comment, I was there when devastating floods hit my home city of Carlisle and people did rally together, so there are incidents that renew my faith in the human species.
Anyway, what's got me going on about all this?
The weather forecast promises deep snow for Cumbria tonight. Well, I'll be waiting at the window, watching for the first flurry and thinking about what a wonderful life we lead.
Nuff said the now

Friday, 28 November 2008

Foreign translation list continues to grow

As followers of this blog will already be aware, Hodder and Stoughton own the rights to publish my first five books in all UK territories, while for USA rights, William Morrow and Company hold that distinction for the first three. I've also mentioned that Verlagsgruppe (Random House) will be translating my first book into German, Longanesi will be translating the book in Italian, and RIO Publishing will be translating the book into Romanian.
It has just come to my attention that Era Media - whose list of authors include Agatha Christie, Adele parks, Jeffrey Deaver and Catherine Alltiott - have just acquired the rights to publish Dead Men's Dust in Bulgaria.
The list of foreign translations continues to grow and it is beginning to look like I'm going to have to build some new shelves were I can display all the different editions of my books. What a great feeling.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Dead Men's Dust in Publishers Weekly

This is what Publishers Weekly said about the US edition of Dead Men's Dust, due for release next April in the USA:

Dead Men's Dust by Matt Hilton(Morrow, Apr.)

Plot: Joe Hunter is an ex-military officer and, in his own words, “the weapon sent in when the planning is done and all that's left is the ass kicking.” In this first of a series, Hunter sets out across Southern California after his wayward brother, who has become entangled in a cat-and-mouse game with a serial killer.

Author's inspiration: “I think of Joe Hunter as a guy with a strong moral code and the necessary skills to help people in difficult situations. I've given him a specific set of skills, but want him to be different from other heroes—a kind of vigilante rather than a PI or a detective. Then I put him in a lean, mean cinematic thriller because I just love them.”

Clues to success: Executive editor David Highfill says, “Everyone loves a charismatic hero in an action thriller (think Lee Child's Jack Reacher), and we have an excellent new guy on the block in Joe Hunter. But then Matt adds fuel to the fire with one of the smartest, most sarcastic and frightening bad guys I've read in ages. Their confrontation is memorable—and downright irresistible.”

Body count: 14.

Hollywood pitch: Jack Reacher meets Thomas Harris.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Video bar

I've just added the video bar to my blog. The first is the trailer developed by Hodder and Stoughton to publicise the launch of Dead Men's Dust and to introduce Joe Hunter. The second is a montage film I made based upon characters from the book. Vid three is a rockabilly track recorded by Caldonia (now Johnny Scott and the Shakers) from a tune I co-wrote named Streets Of Fear.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

BBC Radio Cumbria

I'm appearing on the 1pm slot on Wednesday 26th November 2008 on BBC Radio Cumbria to talk about how my life has changed since leaving the police force to pursue a full-time writing career. Anyone who wishes to listen in can do so online.

BBC Look North

I'm currently putting together a short news piece for the regional BBC programme Look North, which should air on TV sometime in the next few days. I haven't a definite date yet, but will update as soon as I know something. Look North is the news service that takes in the north of England (Tyneside and Cumbria areas).

Friday, 14 November 2008

My influences: AKA whose books do you read?

When filling in all the publicity questionnaires and answering queery letters and emails, one of the questions asked of me most often is who has influenced my writing the most. I could try to seem very worldly and name all the great names of classic fiction, but with the exception of The Lost World by Conan Doyle, and the occaisional dip into Sherlock Holmes, also by Conan Doyle, I have to admit to never having read any of the greats. I'm ashamed to say I haven't read any of the classic PI novels either, so can't join in when people start talking about Hammet, Spillane, Parker etc.
I began reading the pulp stories of R.E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft, and also loved Poe, so you'd ppretty much expect me to have gone the route of the horror writer. I do love horror, but more than that I love the suspense and thriller elements of those authors' tales.
Next, I moved onto the 1970's western stories. Edge and Jubal Caid etc, that owed more to Peckinpah and the Spaghetti Westerns than they did to the classic western story. Again, I was drawn by the action and thrills.
This put me on to Don Pendleton et al, who were writing about anti-heroes like The Destroyer and the Exterminator and such like. Yup, the action did it for me.
Then I started to pick up some of the greats of modern PI/crime/supense/thriller writing.
David Morrell's books, Brotherhood of the Rose, Fraternity of the Stone, The League of Night and Fog, and Covenant of the Flame had a huge influence on me. So did The Fifth Profession. I've followed Morrell ever since.
Dean Koontz, though often referred to as a horror writer, has written some great supense thrillers and Intensity, Mr Murder, Dark River's of the Heart, The Good Guy and The Face are some of my favourites (but I've also read everything else he wrote that i could get my hands on).
Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch books and his Terry McCaleb books resonated with me and still do.
Lee Child's Jack Reacher is often seen as a modern incarnation of the type of books that Don Pendleton wrote, but I don't see it. Reacher is far too deep a thinker to be slotted into the action only type stories. I like Reacher because he's a thinker, not just because he's got a mean headbutt or cigarette punch.
Harlan Coben is one of my must reads. I came on to Harlan's books with Tell No One, and i haven't looked back.
Jack Kerley's books about Carson Ryder and his psychopathic brother, Jeremy, are some of the most enjoyable books I've ever picked up, and I owe a lot to Jack's books. It might not show in my writing, but it's there.
Michael Marshall and his Straw Men and associated books were excellent, and I'm gutted that there might not be any more. I found the entire conspiracy theory understory fascinating.
Robert Crais is a fabulous writer. Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are characters I absolutely love. I recently read The Watchman and thought, damn, I'm sure I was going to write that book. Maybe this points to how much Robert's writing has influenced me.
Last on my list (and there are so many others I could have added) is John Connolly's Charlie Parker books. Parker, Angel and Louise are fascinating. The underlying supernatural elements in the books hark back to my love of Howard and Lovecraft and Poe. Coupled with the dark and moody action in John's tales, these are my ideal read.

Films have also influenced me.
They are many and varied, and I have a cinematic eye when I'm writing and often see the scenes in my head as I'm writing them. You are as likely to come across a scene influenced by It's A Wonderful Life as you are Death Wish or The Shogun Assassin.

I also have many influences from life that I draw on, and I come from a family who have an oral storytelling history, so I've probably been influenced by that as well.

All in all, my influences are very varied. They're about good versus evil, with many shades of grey in between. I am the sum of all my yesteryears. I write, therefore I...uh, write.


Thursday, 13 November 2008

TV appearance

I'm in the process of arranging to shoot a short film for BBC LOOK NORTH to appear on the regional programme airing across the north of England. This will probably appear in a week or so's time but I will update you all when I know for sure.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Others with a writers blog who'd like to link

I'm currently setting up this blog and would like to add other blogs of note onto my blog roll. If anyone wants added, please leave me a comment and I'll see what I can do. As this is a blog about writing and crime/thrillers in general I'd prefer to keep it that way (but I'm not averse to horror, fantasy etc), but please no gratuitous sex, nudity, politics or abnormality or gratuitous violence, this isn't the place for any of that.

Maundering, maudlin and murder

Writers are murderers - albeit only on the page I'm quick to add.
Someone very famous (whose name I'm ashamed to add resides in that hole in my brain brought on by a dodgy beefburger) said that we should 'kill our darlings'. Stephen King - in his excellent book ON WRITING - said something very similar. Neither writing allumni were referring to going out on a bludgeoning spree to clear our homes of distraction. They were referring to the process of editing our work, and culling all those wonderful little snippets and descriptive passages that do nothing to move our story on but severely distract from the action and slow everything to a standstill. I'm guilty of over-writing (see this blog for proof!). When I first sent off my book, Dead Men's Dust, to my agent I was told, cut every last sentence from every paragraph. I quickly understood that he was correct. Just about every final sentence said pretty much what had gone before and was superfluous, or it was my attempt at a clever aside. I originally thought my clever little twists on words or attempts at cynical humour were great - my darlings - but realised they were actually dire when taken for what they were. Someone said I was trying to write like Robert Crais and Harlan Coben (which I took as a great compliment) but that I couldn't (which I took as a cold wet rag slapped across my rosy cheeks). It made me reappraise what I'd written and see the truth in those words. I'm not Crais or Coben and should have my own distinct voice. By cutting all the baggage, making my writing lean (as in skinny, not lob-sided - oops, there's one of those unfunny asides again!) I wrote a much better, much faster book. I've held on to this advice in my subsequent books, so now deliver a manuscript largely devoid of what I'd have once written.
Before delivering my MSS to my agent, I do a severe cull. before it goes to my editors there is another cull. Then when it comes back from the editor there is yet another cull (on this occasion literally as two further people had to be put to death).
But, by murdering my darlings, I think I've ended up with some fast action-packed thrillers. I'm not looking to win any prizes for literary excellence, just deliver books that will be thrilling and what a reader wants to read. They don't want to read about my darlings, so off to the headsman for them.
If you are a writer reading this and you are seeking publication, take a second look at your work. See if there's anything there that is simply you enjoying the process of writing and wallowing in just how clever you sound (like I used to) and then cut it. Re-read what you have written. I guarantee that the second version will read so much better.
Good luck.
Keep on keeping on
In the meantime...back to my writing:

It was a dark and stormy night...

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

DMD publication date moved




This means there are 2 weeks less to wait.

Monday, 10 November 2008


I've just added the story ONE-EIGHTY (see below) to my website at www.matthiltonbooks.com
and if you want to reada couple other shorts they're all on the free stuff page.
Happy reading

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Short story for you all - don't say I don't give you nothing

Howdy folks. I'm feeling generous today, so here is a short story featuring Joe Hunter that's unavailable anywhere else (except for my website in a few days time).


A Joe Hunter Story
Matt Hilton

‘I’ve heard that you know more than a hundred ways of killing a man with your bare hands, Hunter.’

‘I only need one at a time.’

‘True. But then again, you’d need your hands to do that.’

Some days you wake up feeling shitty and you know that things are just going to get worse. When your dreams are disturbed by the cold sensation of a gun shoved under your jaw by a bad man you can be forgiven for expecting the worst day of your life. For me, it was kind of run of the mill. My days are often filled with guns and bad men.

Malcolm Peck goes by the shortened name of Mal. He doesn’t ever confess his full name; he delights in telling people his name is short for malice.

Mal Peck is a bad man. He’s a white-supremacist. A racist. The name Malice fits him like a glove.
His cousin Jason was a bad man, too. That was until I put a 9mm Parabellum in his skull. After that he was just dead.

Mal Peck showed me his machete. He used its rounded tip to measure the distance between my bound wrists and my thumbs.

‘I’m going to take your hands away from you,’ he said. ‘So you can’t go shooting anyone else. I promised Jason that.’

‘Like Jason’s going to care,’ I said. ‘He was a baby killer, Mal. Even you have to admit he got what he deserved.’

‘He was my blood. You think I care about some snot-nosed nigger outa the projects?’

Jacked on methamphetamine, Jason and his skinhead crew had been driving round the streets of Tampa in a souped up Chevrolet Impala taking pot shots at passersby. They weren’t indiscrete shots: they were all aimed at black kids. Jason had killed a seven year old boy as he walked home from Ben & Jerry’s with his eleven year old brother. Seven years old; it meant nothing to Jason Peck. The only thing that mattered was the colour of the boy’s skin.

The law couldn’t prove that Jason had fired the killing shot and he’d walked away. Maybe if he’d shown a little remorse then he’d have lived, but it was the way he’d laughed in the face of little George’s mother that had sealed his fate.

‘Do you know he begged for mercy before I shot him?’ I asked.

He didn’t rise to the bait, but my words had stung him. Mal rolled his bald head on his shoulders. Vertebra cracked like it was an prophesy.

‘I also promised Jason that I’d take off your head and bury it next to him,’ Mal said. Then he walked around the chair he’d tied me into, laying the cold edge of the machete against my throat. “Do you think one chop would do it?’

‘Someone as weak as you,’ I said, ’it’ll probably take a dozen attempts. Maybe you should ask one of your crew to do it for you.’

He laughed. ‘No, I think I can manage.’

‘Not usually your style, Mal,’ I reminded him.

‘I’ve killed men before,’ he told me.

‘But you prefer to watch others do it,’ I said. ‘When Jason was down on his knees begging for his life, he told me that you made him shoot the kid.’

‘I didn’t make him do nothin’.’

‘You gave him the gun. You were driving the car. It was your idea to go hunting. A seven year old child died because of you, Mal.’

‘That wasn’t any child,’ Mal spat bitterly. ‘He was a goddamn drain on our good country. He needed putting down. I only wish that Jason had killed the other brother, too. Just like I told him to.’

Mal seemed to like the weight of the machete in his hands. He stood in front of me bouncing it on his palm. It made him feel like a big man. But he was nothing in my eyes.

‘The next president of your good country is a black man, Mal,’ I said to him. ‘Time’s are changing. People are beginning to see sense. There’s no place in a good country for an animal like you.’

‘He’ll be dead within a year,’ Mal said. ‘People will see sense and shoot him dead, too.’

‘People just like you,’ I said. I shook my head at him. ‘But not you, Mal. You aren’t going to be around much longer.’

He lifted the machete.

‘I’ll be around longer than you,’ he said. But then he wasn’t so sure when he felt the barrel of a shotgun on the back of his skull.

‘Drop the knife, asshole,’ said my friend, Rink.

Mal rolled his eyes and muttered something under his breath. He dropped the machete and it clattered on the boards next to his feet. Rink allowed the Mossberg to dip, and then he caught Mal’s neck between his large fingers. He shoved Mal across the room, spun him around and slammed him up against a wall.

‘Move, punk, and I’ll make sure you hurt before you die,’ Rink told him.

Rink’s a big man like his Scottish father. He has the eyes of his Japanese mother. He is American through and through, a patriot, but he is still the type that Mal will instantly hate. He is also the type that Mal will instantly fear. He didn’t move.

Rink’s KA-BAR made short work of the ropes holding me in the chair.

‘You sons of bitches set me up...’ Mal’s face was as white as the sheets his forebears wore when they were murdering innocent people. Only the swastika tattoo on his forehead held any colour.
I looked across at Mal as I worked some blood back into my fingers. ‘You don’t think an asshole like you could’ve really walked into my house and taken me prisoner? I let you do it, Mal. I wanted to hear your confession.’

‘For what? So you could hand me over to the cops?’ He laughed. ‘You think I’m gonna admit anything to them?’

Walking towards him, I said, ‘No. It was so I can kill you in good conscience.’

Mal had heard tales about me. Some people believe I have over a hundred ways of killing a man with my bare hands. It’s a bit of an exaggeration, but like I told Mal, I only need one way at a time.

I clasped one hand on his jaw, the other at the back of his skull, and I wrenched his head a full one-eighty.

That’ll do it every time.

Copyright reserved by Matt Hilton 2008

Thursday, 6 November 2008

MMA and the writer

There is a long tradition of warrior poets and in my own fanciful moments I like to think of myself as one. Some of the great samurai warriors and those knights gathered about the round table were as much about writing as they were about fighting. Throughout my life, my spare time has been spent equally between writing and learning various martial arts. Over the years I've been a boxer, a Shotokan karateka, a Kyokushinkai karateka, a Ju-Jitsuka and a Kempo student, and have attained 4th Dan in Ju-Jitsu and Kempo. About 12 years ago I was one of the first generation to embrace the new style of martial art that has since swept the world and is now the fastest growing combat sport bar none. When I fought in Knockdown Budo as it was known then, it was bare knuckle and little art, but the sport of MMA (mixed martial arts) is now all about skill and olympic level athletes. I am not violent, I was just at that stage in my life when I needed to challenge myself even more. Anyway, as I've likely mentioned before, this training in violent ways tends to open your mind and makes you a deeper thinker and I believe it has helped my writing no end. My books contain quite a lot of hand-to-hand combat, and I'd like to think that the experiences I've picked up over the years lend them a lot of realism.
Besides training, I have also been a teacher for many years and have turned out a few blackbelts in their own right. One of my most recent blackblets is called Stuart Hall and he has taken over the running of my classes after my workload became too much. Stuart has gone on to prove himself as a very good martial artist and has built the classes up to a very succesful venture. Stuart organises MMA cage fights, the next being on Saturday 15th November 2008 at the Hilltop Hotel, Hilltop heights, Carlisle. Anyone from Cumbria (or anywhere else for that matter) would do far worse than look up Stuart's classes. Who knows, I might even pop up there time-to-time because I still like to keep my hand in (usually somebody's face!) and re-instate my fantasy of the old warrior-poet who can still do the business as well as write a blog or three.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Another Cumbrian cop who writes

I've just been fortunate to touch base with another ex-cop from Cumbria who writes under the name of Paul Anthony. Paul is a writer and publisher and has a whole raft of thrillers and crime novels under his belt. Anyone with an interest should take a look at Paul's website at http://www.paulanthonyassociates.co.uk/

Ruminations on Bonfires

It's bonfire night and it's got me thinking. There's something about UK culture where we make villains into heroes. Likely there are people out there who have forgotten that Guy Fawkes was in fact a terorrist who intended blowing up parliament, or that Robin Hood (if in fact he was real) was a robber and thug, and that the Kray twins were mobsters. There's obviously something in us that resonates with those who will stand up against what they see as injustice - rightly or wrongly - and we come to admire them or make them into something that they weren't in life.
I write about a guy who is periodically called a vigilante, a hitman, and other less-savoury words by those he goes up against. None of those traits should be admirable, but in this modern day, Joe Hunter is my hero. Strange you'd think, coming from an ex-cop, but there you are. It's probably because people like Fawkes, Hood, the Krays, and Joe Hunter lead such exciting lives that they make better stories than a totally law-abiding stay-at-home kind of guy.
Or maybe I'm totally off the mark.
I'm no psychologist.
I just like a damn good book with an exciting hero. And, as Joe will tell you, it's all down to perspective. To the bad guys he's the villain, but to the good people he is a saviour.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Crimefest 2009

I will be attending Crimefest 2009, which is taking place from 14-17th may 2009 at the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel, Bristol, UK.
Crimefest is a crime writing festival with panels, interviews, Gala dinner, reading groups, crime writing workshops and award presentations. There are also opportunities for aspiring writers to pitch their work to agents from three prestigious agencies where writers get a ten-minute slot to speak with an agent and to get them interested in their work. Writers attending the workshop can also have their work assessed and enter their work for the CWA Debut Dagger Award. the list of attending authors reads like a who's who of the genre, with guest authors Simon Brett, Hakan Nesser and Meg Gardiner (toastmistress) headlining.
I'm anticipating a great festival and look forward to meeting new friends and old. It happens only a week or so prior to publication of my first novel, and I'm looking forward to hearing people's questions.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Video trailer for Dead Men's Dust


Just for those of you that have missed this. This is a movie trailer for my book DEAD MEN'S DUST


I've been asked by a number of writers aiming for a publication deal about editing and re-writing. How many times? How much? Does it change or affect the story as I originally envisioned it? Is the book better after all the hard work? Are you sometimes against the changes and can you refuse to do them?
To answer all these would be a book in itself, but let it just be said that re-writing can only make the book better. Editors are editors for the very reason that they know what works and what doesn't. They know what sells. To ignore an editor's advice is detrimental to the books success, and if that means re-writing and re-envisioning your work then so be it. There will be people who disagree with my sentiment - which is fine - because we all have moments of selfishness where we want to keep the book all to ourselves (me as much as anyone). The problem with that is that it won't sell.
I've just had feedback from my editor on book 3. I'm going to be doing a re-write. It's going to have a huge impact on the book, but I can't find anything that I disagree with. In fact, the suggestions will make the book bigger and better, and will make the ongoing story arch so much stronger and offer further story lines in the future. So what if I have to write a further 30,000 - 40,000 words: that's what I do.
When the book comes out, you won't know how it originally stood. I'll have the memories, so I can pander to my selfish side as often as I want to.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Stablemate success

I would like to raise a glass - figuratively speaking, at least - to my LBA stablemate, David Young who has just got a great deal via Transworld publishers for a 3 book deal. His first book featuring the irrepressible Sean Lock - Lockdown - is due for release in Summer 2009.
Well done to both David and to Luigi.

Anyone else submitting their MSS to agents/publishers take faith in these kind of successes - it goes to prove that it can happen to you.

Keep on keeping on


Another place you can pre-order Dead Men's Dust

www.whsmith.co.uk is another place that you can pre-order Dead Men's Dust. As always, I am not advocating one outlet over another, just adding to your options.

Greek Fire

Anyone with a love for espionage/spy/thrillers - especially if you enjoy a solid dose of conspiracy theories thrown into the mix - should take a look at the short story Greek Fire by Jim Hilton at his website at www.jimhilton.co.uk . I couldn't help but think that Jim is perhaps on to something here.
Jim is a writer who straddles a number of genres: crime, horror, sci-fi, whimsical, historical, so there's something there for everyone. Please let me know what you thought via the comments tab and I'll pass your comments on to Jim.

Great to meet you Adrian

While I was in Baltimore I met a great writer and thoroughly nice guy in the shape of Adrain Magson. Adrian might be familiar to some of you as a collumnist with Writing Magazine. Adrian writes a debut authors article for WM. Also, Adrian writes an invaluable guide for beginner writers and anyone wishing to pursue writing as a career/vocation should look up Adrian's articles. Adrian is also a crime writer in his own respect and has a series of books out from Creme de la Crime books.
This is what one of his critics said:
'NO KISS FOR THE DEVIL' - "Magson is a gem of a writer... (he) has a unique and wonderful voice and his characters are unforgettable."
I'd advise anyone to take a look at Adrian's work, and also at his website.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Book covers

(Left) US Dead Men's Dust
William Morrow and Company
(Right) UK Dead Men's Dust
Hodder and Stoughton

Book 3

I've just delivered the finished manuscript to Joe Hunter three - currently titled SLASH AND BURN to my agent having completed the latest edit. My agent is then sending this to my editor at Hodder and Stoughton. I am therefore on pins waiting for the feedback from my editor. Some people say that their second book is very difficult to write, but I felt very good about JUDGEMENT AND WRATH and it seemed to flow from my fingertips. So...was my third book difficult to write? No. Not really. I did have that 20,000 words in moment where I thought eeeek! Is this working? My agent was constructive and helpful at this stage and gave me the encouragement to forge on. After that I had a much better idea where I was headed and the rest of the book was a pleasure. There is a different edge to Joe Hunter in this book as I wanted to get a little deeper into his psyche, but it is probably the most action packed and with the largest body count of all of my books up until now. I love the bad guys in this piece and can't wait to share them with you. But, it's way too early to spill the beans about plot or characters or anything else. Just let it be said that I think the book is damn good and can't wait for you all to read it (out May 2010 - doesn't that seem a long, long way off?).

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Endorsement of DMD by bestselling author Christopher Reich

'A dose of pure rocket fuel. Starts fast, gets faster, and doesn't quit right through to the slam bang finale. Dead Men's Dust is as enjoyable a thriller as you will read this year, and I do mean "Thriller!" My ears are still ringing with gunfire! I loved this book.' -- Christopher Reich, author of RULES OF DECEPTION 20080929

Martial Arts in my writing

Maybe not too many people realise that I have been training in various martial arts over the years. Just to put things in perspective, I've been at it since I was sixteen years old (that's twentysix years of taking hard knocks). I started off with boxing and Shotokan karate, but then moved on to Ju-Jitsu, Kempo Karate and most recently Mixed Martial Arts. I hold a 4th Dan blackbelt in Kempo/Ju-Jitsu and have had a modicum of success in MMA. I was employed in security and as a police officer and over the years I have had to use my martial arts in defence of myself/others and to effect arrests. There's nothing fancy about the blood and snot reality of a fight. I wanted to reflect this in my writing, and I have made Joe Hunter, and his sidekick, Rink, men who have trained extensively in martial arts. Joe often relies on his ability in a fist fight to get him out of danger. Joe's style of fighting is anything but, it's short and sharp, brutal, and gets straight to the point. I have based his style of fighting on military unarmed combat, ju-jitsu and Krav Magda (Israeli Special Forces unarmed combat). You won't find any jumping spinning back kicks here!

There is advice to the writer that you should write what you know. This doesn't mean that you have to relegate your story line to your own experiences, but what it means is to draw on your experiences and knowledge to inject realism into your writing. I've done this with my own books. No- I haven't actually killed anyone by driving their nasal bones into their brains - but I do understand the fear and flow of close quarter combat. I have tried to inject this into my books, writing what I know.

Hope this answers some people's questions


Dead Men's Dust on Amazon

Just a head's up (and again not advocating one outlet over another) but Dead Men's Dust is now available for pre-order on www.amazon.co.uk. You can pre-order the Hodder (UK) hardback edition, the William Morrow (USA) hardback edition or the Harpercollins (USA) Large print paperback edition of the book. Don't be shy, give it a try.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

New UK version of cover

This is the new UK version of the cover with moodier sky and different figure in the foreground. I hope you like this one, too.

US cover image of Dead Men's Dust

First look at US book cover of Dead Men's Dust. I Hope you like it as much as I do.


Dead Men's Dust can now be preordered.

It's always nice when browsing the web and coming across your own book available for pre-order. I found the book available from Waterstones on their website. I'm not advocating one outlet over another, just giving people the opportunity. Why not take a look? www.waterstones.com


Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Slight change to cover of DMD

When perusing the Hodder website at http://www.hodder.co.uk/ I found I now have an authors page. Why not take a quick look. There you will see a different version of the book cover for Dead Men's Dust as it will finally appear on publication. There is also a search facility on the site and if you put in the title you will find the book, plus the ISBN etc. Alternatively, if you click on the small book cover it will bring up a description of the book and a larger picture. Just a hint in case anyone wants to pre-order loads of copies of my books or anything. (Said with tongue firmly wedged in cheek, not a little pinch of salt, but also great expectations!!!)

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Due for release 28th May 2009

Charmed to Death

Charmed to Death was the tag line for this years Bouchercon mystery/suspense/crime etc writers' convention at the Baltimore Sheraton. Baltimore is known as Charm City. It was a beautiful city and the people there were great. I was there with my wife and we stayed at the adjacent Radisson Lord Baltimore Plaza hotel and it was a wonderful 1930's looking hotel that was full of atmosphere. The staff there made us particularly welcome and the guys who worked on the door and on the valet parking where top notch. Both hotels were attached by a walkway that led from the Radisson mezzanine floor to the Sheraton and this was where a lot of the attendees gathered to smoke and have a chat - I met some great people there. This years Bouchercon was sponsored by William Morrow and Company (Harper Collins US) who just happen to be my US publishers, so it was a great opportunity to meet people I've only ever spoken to on the phone or via email. The people I met there are too many to list and it would be rude to list only some of them: let it only be said that they are a thoroughly great bunch who were very open and approachable - Yes, even the top names.
Baltimore gets a bad rep. Apparently there is on average seven murders in the city each week, and in the past six months police have shot dead 33 people in armed confrontations. Still, we didn't see any hint of this side of the city. We were in the commercial centre and near to one of the most beautiful harbours I've ever seen in a city. My only regret was that I didn't get the opportunity to visit Edgar Allan Poe's gravesite. It was only 3 blocks from where I stayed, but the opportunity just didn't present itself. Particularly when I only got as far as the Park Avenue diner which did some great meals and had the power to halt me in my tracks. If you are ever in Baltimore, look up the Park Avenue for some great grub and great service. Also of note is The Cheesecake Factory, Le Cheneile(I think) and also The Black Olive at Fell Point. But it wasn't all eating. There was writing and networking and some great company all around. For wannabe writers (like I was only eight months ago) attending the Bouchercon is a great experience. I can't promise that it will get you the elusive publishing deal that you are after, but it puts you a rung higher on the ladder.
To get to Baltimore wasn't the easiest for me. I'd to drive 137 miles to Manchester airport, take a flight to Newark (7 hrs 55 minutes), hang around for hours, then get a second flight to Washington/Baltimore International, then grab a taxi to the Rad. Coming back was exactly the same, but with more waiting time between flights. Coming back we lost 5 hours which was a bit odd and has taken a few days to get over. But, hey, I wouldn't have missed it for the world!
Keep on keeping on

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Galley proofs for DMD USA

While I was in Baltimore I received via my hotel the final galley proofs for Dead Men's Dust US. This was simply a read through to check for spellings and typos and inconsistencies. 7 hours on a plane back was well spent going over the MS and I'm pleased to say that we are now good to go. It looks like the US edition of the book will be launched contemporaneous with the UK edition on 28th May 2009. I think I already mentioned that the two versions have slight differences in the finished version. Both are great in my opinion.


Hello all,
just a quick update in case anyone has been trying to access my website and found it to be inaccessible. It's now up and running again. Apparently I was getting so many hits I needed an upgrade package. This is done now so there shouldn't be any more problems.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Back from The Bouchercon 2008

I'm just back from Baltimore - home of The Wire and Hairspray - and not to mention some of the greatest mystery/crime/thriller writers on the planet. At least it was over the past weekend. The Bouchercon is probably the USA's finest crime/mystery convention and it was packed to overflowing in the Baltimore Sheraton with some top guys and gals from the genre. Notable authors attending were Lawrence Block, Laura Lipmann, Lee Child, Mark Billingham, Val MacDermid, John Connolly, Harlan Coben etc, but I wanted to extend a big thanks and hello to all the other greats I met over the weekend. Special hello's to Adrian Magson, Kenneth La Duke and Stan, Deborah Crombie, Sophie Hannah, all of you were especially welcoming. Bigger better blog to follow once I shake the cobwebs of 27 hours travel out of the ol' grey cells.
keep on keeping on folks

Monday, 6 October 2008

Bouchercon - Charmed to Death

Hey all,
if I have any readers from the USA looking in on this blog, just a heads up for you that I will be attending the Bouchercon in Baltimore, Maryland. This will be my first time attending a crime/thriller/mystery writers' convention and it's apparently one of the largest in the world. There are some great writers appearing at the convention, including Lee Child, Mark Billingham, John Connolly, Val MacDermid, Andrew Gross, and many, many more (too many great names to list here). I'm really excited about meeting some of my personal heroes as well as meeting fans of our genre. For my UK readers, I will be attending the Crimefest in Bristol and also the Harrogate Crime festival, both next year (dates to follow) where I will be appearing on panels. There is also a possibility that I will be attending the Thrillerfest in New York next year as well. Plenty of opportunities to speak to people. If anyone is attending any of these events, why not come up and say Hi.
Speak soon

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Uncorrected Bound Proof - DMD UK

When I arrived back from Portugal, one of the nicest surprises I found waiting for me was a package from my editor at Hodder and Stoughton. When I opened it I had in my eager hands an uncorrected bound proof of my book, Dead Men's Dust. To actually hold a copy of my book in my hands was - is - a truly amazing feeling, and my first opportunity to read the book myself in book form. The difference between reading the book on my laptop or on sheafs of A4 is phenomenal, and I actually read the book like it was someone else's work. A truly amazing moment, I'll tell you. Not that I'm bragging, but I found the book immensely enjoyable. I know that it's still eight months until you all can get the book (28th May 2009, by the way), but I really hope you all like my work as much as I did.
The UBF has been specially developed by H&S in a metallic silver colour with bold symbolism and is subtitled 'Get ready to meet Joe Hunter', and will shortly be sent out to selected readers. I can't wait to hear what people think.
keep on keeping on

Friday, 3 October 2008

OLA from Praia da Rocha

Ola, just thought I'd do a quick update. For the last week I've been away in the Algarve visiting the beautiful resort of Praia da Rocha (Rocky Beach) which was brilliant (if you are someone like me who gets off on a totally relaxing time). For the past week I haven't written anything, or had access to a computer, so I was like an addict the minute I got back to my normal life again. I've been hard at it re-writing the ending to book 3 following some sound advice from my agent. I was a little nervous that the new ending wouldn't work, but - blow me! (now there's a phrase you shouldn't use lightly) - I think it actually does work and adds to the book. This change has also given me an idea for book 4 that didn't exist before. Onwards and upwards!!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Silly Me!

Here I've been posting all over the place that my book Dead Men's Dust will be released 29th May 2009 when the actual date is 28th May 2009 a full 24 hours earlier.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

See the trailer for Meet Joe Hunter - Dead Men's Dust


Hi folks,
take a look at the trailer developed by Hodder and Stoughton to introduce readers to Joe Hunter in Dead Men's Dust.
I think it is awesome.


Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Just for fun


I've been fooling around on movie maker and made a short movie called The Song of Tubal Cain based on characters from my book Dead Men's Dust. If you have a couple minutes of your life to waste, why not take a look?

Monday, 22 September 2008

Cover art for UK edition of Dead Men's Dust

OK folks, the time has finally come. If you hop over to my website at www.matthiltonbooks.com, you can get a look at the cover of the UK edition of my book which will be available in hardback from 29th May 2009, published by Hodder and Stoughton. I'm thrilled by the look of the cover and hope you all like it as much as I do. The cover is displayed on the HOME page as well as in the BOOKS section, where you can also read the blurb. Pretty soon I will be posting the US cover. It is very different but also very good and I can't wait to share it with you.
Keep on keeping on

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Friday, 19 September 2008

Video trailer for Dead Men's Dust

Pretty soon you will all have access to a video trailer for my book Dead Men's Dust, produced by my publisher, Hodder and Stoughton. In the meantime, here are a few stills to wet your appetite.

Streets of Fear Album

forgot to mention: if you like the track, it can be found on the album by the same name released by Fury records.

Name dropping

Hi all,
I got a very lovely personal letter from Dean Koontz in the mail today. Dean is one of my favourite writers and if you like a good mystery, thriller or even horror story you won't go wrong by searching out any of Dean's books. Some of my personal favourites are Dark Rivers Of The Heart, Intensity, The Good Guy, The Face and the Odd Thomas series.
Read them and enjoy

Streets of Fear - Caldonia

http://www.youtube.com/v/emjHuSilW2o http://www.youtube.com/v/emjHuSilW2o

The above link will take you to montage video against a song I co-wrote with Johnny Scott (Caldonia, Stony Broke, The Shakers etc). Funnily enough even way back then, I must have felt some sort of attraction to vigilante action. No direct link to Joe Hunter, but the fascination must have been there all along. Whether you like rockabilly or not, this tune probably owes something to my later creation to be found in my books Dead Men's Dust etc.
Hope you like

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Instant Justice - short story

Hey all, this is about your last chance to read Instant Justice on my website. It's coming off the free stuff in the next couple of days (to be replaced by other stuff so don't fret!). So what are you waiting for, get yourself over to http://www.matthiltonbooks.com/ before it's gone.
keep on keeping on

US title for book 1

Hi all,
hot off the press I have learned that the US edition of my book will retain the original plural title of Dead MEN'S Dust. I have my editor David Highfill to thank for this as he has championed my argument all the way and has been in my corner against all those that wanted to change the title. So there should be no confusion now for when anyone is looking to purchase the book, either side of the Atlantic. Did I say it's out 29th May 2009?

The working day

I've been asked on many occasions how I manage to write so quickly (considering I'm a one finger typist) and the only answer I can give is that I enjoy the creative process so much. It would be so easy to procrastinate, go off surfing other websites etc, but I tend to discipline myself enough to work for 3-4 hours in the morning. I then take a few hours off and do the domestic stuff, spend time with my wife, go visiting etc, then come back to my writing in the late afternoon or evening where I go over 'what I wrote' in the morning and do a line edit and then usually this is enough to get me going again. Sometimes you can find me writing late into the evening (interspersed with answering emails, updating this blog, my website, facebook etc) and I find that the word count builds exponentially. I understand that not every writer has the luxury of the time I have - I certainly didn't prior to giving up full time employment - but it is a case of getting on and doing it. I recently read a line in a book (I think) where someone exhorts another to keep on keeping on - I've kinda adopted this saying as my work ethic.
So...keep on keeping on

Website changes

Anyone visiting my website at http://www.matthiltonbooks.com/ will notice a few changes over the next couple of days. You may have already noticed that this blog has been moved to the home page under the NEWS banner. Also a couple of the short stories will have disappeared from the FREE STUFF pages. Worry not. I intend to keep this page updated on a regular basis and i will be posting new stuff there in the future. At present there is a Weapons of Choice page and two short stroies featuring another of my characters in a more gothic/horror setting. I hope you enjoy reading them. Very soon on my website you will see the cover art for the UK edition of Dead Men's Dust, as well as a very exciting video introducing Joe Hunter. I'm excited for you!

Keep on keeping on


Tuesday, 16 September 2008

DMD US edition and foreign translations.

Sorry, I was remiss to add that my US edition of the books will be published by William Morrow and Company (Harper Collins) a prestigious publishing house with over 80 years of excellence behind them.

Readers in Germany can look out for my book, published by Verlagsgruppe (Random House).

Readers in Italy can look out for my book, published by Longanesi.

Readers in Romania can look out for my book, published by RAO International publishing.

Dead Men's Dust Vs Dead Man's Dust

There is some talk concerning the US edition of the book being renamed as Dead Man's Dust. This is for purely marketing reasons and does not affect the book in any other way. I just hope there is no confusion. For the duration I shall still refer to the title in its plural as that is what is ingrained in my psyche. Although I haven't got an exact publication date, I think it will be contemporaneous with the UK edition which comes out on 29th May 2009.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

DEAD MEN'S DUST release Date

Dead Men's Dust, my first Joe Hunter thriller is due for release in hardback in the UK by Hodder and Stoughton on 29th May 2009.

Exciting news about Joe Hunter

While I was in London I attended a presentation at Hodder for truly exciting news on my Joe Hunter thrillers. I can't go into detail for now, but please take it from me that I was blown away with what will be happening in the near future. Don't know Joe Hunter yet? Well you soon will. Believe me.

Merlin - BBC drama

I recently had the privilage of attending the premier screening of the BBC's new Saturday evening Drama MERLIN at the Waterloo, London IMAX Cinema. It was a great piece of TV with superb acting, casting and production values on a par with cinema. Afterwards the red carpet treatment continued at the Brasserie at the OXO Tower on the Southbank. The view across the Thames to St Paul's Cathedral was truly outstanding and the skyline was on a par with anything the world could offer. I met Anthony Head (Uther Pendragon in Merlin but better known as Giles in Buffy the vampire slayer) and his partner, Sarah, who were both very lovely and gracious towards my wife and I. It was a real pleasure meeting them both. I also gave my first autograph (usually these just go on the bottom of bills!!!) to a lovely young lady called Christine. Both Christine and her actress sister - whose name to my shame I missed - were both lovely ladies and I wish them both well in their careers. My thanks to Jane Tranter for the invite.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Col B's New Crime Fiction


Just a nod to all my readers. You may find Col's writing interesting as well. Why don't you take a look for yourself.

Cool image or what?

Belated thanks

Sorry, should have given my thanks for the foreign translations of my book title to my brother Jim. Jim is also a great writer and you can read some of his short stories at www.jimhilton.co.uk

Latest News

It's still about nine months until publication of my first Joe Hunter thriller DEAD MEN'S DUST but things will begin happening soon as far as pre-publicity is concerned. I will be using this blog to keep everyone up to speed about where I'll be. I'll be moving the blog to the homepgae of my website at www.matthiltonbooks.com to make it easier to find the latest news.

Keep looking at my website for news on the upcoming publications of my books. The artwork for both the UK and US editions have been designed and I think both are pretty darn good. They are both very different styles but both perfectly conjure the material inside. I'll be posting the cover art on my website soon, so keep looking back for a first look.

Dead Men's Dust (DMD) is also being published in German, Italian and Romanian, and I can't wait to see their take on the book and the covers they choose to use.

Check out Dead Men's Dust in the following languages:

men' guasto; polvere di s

totes men's s-Staub

if anyone can supply me a translation of the phrase in Romanian that would be great.

Keep reading, keep writing

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Writers' Forum Magazine October 2008 edition

Hello and welcome to any readers joining me after my open invitation in this months Writers' Forum magazine.

Book 3 rough draft

I've just finished the rough draft of book 3. I guess this is when the hard works starts again. The first of many edits so to speak. Now I'll have to go back to the beginning and start looking at all the little foibles that have crept in, the incosistencies and lazy writing that doesn't immediately stand out first time round. But, it is also my first chance to read the book while being slightly displaced outside of it. I'll see the book with an outsiders point of view now. Woo Hoo! Lucky guy that I am I get to read a preview. I just hope that when I'm finished everyone enjoys reading it as much as I have writing it.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

The low down dental blues...take 2

In a previous blog I waxed lyrical about having to have a tooth extracted, but how I even saw that as a good opportunity to think up new story lines. On that occasion it reminded me of a scene from the Marathon Man with Laurence Olivier doing fiendish things with a dentists drill. That got me thinking of a fabulous scene in the same movie where Roy Scheider's character is attacked by an assassin with a piano wire garotte and how I'd love to incorporate a similar scene in one of my books.
Anyway, the point is, I was back at the dentist's again this afternoon and was again trying not to think of the uncomfortable agony of a scale and polish and impromptu filling by thinking up new endings for book 3. I got it. I think this new twist will make the book even better than the original ending I'd planned.
Maybe I should go to the dentist more often?


Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Dead Men's Dust

Things have hit a turning point now. I can feel it like it is a high tide on its way. Since the initial rush of the announcement of my 5 book deal with Hodder and Stoughton, and the subsequent 3 book deal with William Morrow and Co (Harper Collins), I have had my nose to the grindstone working very hard. Along the way I've had some great experiences, but for a few months there - other than writing - I didn't seem to be doing much else. Now I've just done a radio interview and am looking forward to attending a premier screening of a new BBC production (what's wrong, I hear you ask, couldn't they get any real celebs?) and the future is looking rosy. I've gained a few new friends recently and got back in touch with some old ones who I'd lost contact with. All down to my burgeoning fame (I know that sounds very fancy an' all). People are coming to me for writing advice. I do like helping others, but I have to caution some people and remind them that it is only my opinion. I'm just learning the trade myself. Any decisions should be their own. Any way, I digress. Things have hit a turning point. I now feel I'm definitely on the slope down to publication and I can't wait. It's still 9 months or so until Dead Men's Dust hits the shelves, but if it's anything like the preceding 6 months it will fly in.

Keep writing and reading


Monday, 1 September 2008

Dead men's Dust and more

I haven't done much writing over the weekend except for updating various places that I have pages. It was my wedding anniversary (22 years and still extremely happy if you were wondering) and i decided to spend it writing free. So this morning I've been back at the laptop hammering away at book three. I'm approaching the big finale now and looking to make it a ferocious action piece. I'm actually trembling with adrenaline. I hope everyone likes the end product as much as I'm enjoying writing it.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Interview on BBC Radio Cumbria

Yesterday I did a radio interview on BBC Radio Cumbria breakfast show. I was lucky in that Lee Child (Jack Reacher books - in case you've missed them) had pre-recorded an interview for the show and I was on live immediately afterwards. Lee is a fantastic writer - not to mention king of the thrillers at the moment - so it has done me no harm to be mentioned alongside him.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

My other sites

Hi, some of you seem to have missed some of my other sites. You can find me at:


take a look.

Writers' Forum Magazine October 2008 edition

Hi folks,
a little shameless publicity here, but i just thought I'd let you know I've a letter being published in the next Writers' Forum magazine. I also got a brief mention in the previous edition for those of you who doubt me!!! ha, ha, haaa!

Interview with BBC Radio Cumbria/Newcastle

Hi all,
just thought I'd plug the fact that I'm being interviewed live on air at 08:30 GMT on Friday 29th August 2008 by the BBC. This is going to be a tie in alonside a piece pre-recorded by Lee Child so I'm in great company. Lee's a great guy and I would advise anyone who enjoys a great thriller to pick up his Jack Reacher books. I'll let you all know how the interview went.
Best wishes

Monday, 25 August 2008

Dead Men's Dust - Curse of the Bank Holiday weekend

Hi all,
I'm awaiting the arrival of my book from the USA, but the bank holiday weekend has got in the way of a tight schedule, I guess that it will be tommorrow afternoon before I recieve the overnight package sent on Thursday last week! But it's giving me time to get on with book 3. I've no title yet, but it will be the same kind of action packed thriller as all the others.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Another hat for the writer to wear

Something i failed to mention last time was another hat that the writer must wear. He/she should also have a knowledge of the editing process and all the standard symbols used as directions to the copy editor. You can find these in The Writers and Artists Year Book (out annually from A&C Black). Anyone looking to be a published writer should look these up and try to absorb them into your knowledge banks as you are going to need them.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Copy edit of US Dead men's Dust

I've just got word that the copy edit of my MS is winging its way across the Atlantic for checking and editing by me. There is a quick turn around period and i imagine I'll be pretty busy for the next two weeks.
I've also been writing book 3, but can't get on very far for dealing with TAX and VAT and a bushel of red tape and beaurocracy - but, hey, if that's what must be done to be an author who's complaining?
Just a note for anyone wishing to be a novelist...prepare yourself for everything else involved. You have to wear many hats: business person, publicist, marketeer, spokesperson, telephonist, secretary, general dog's body...oh, and a writer. If you don't think that you are up to it, write for your own enjoyment only.
Me - I've got a great team who look after me - so I love it!!!
Keep on writing folks

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Dead Men's Dust

Hi all,
Dead Men's Dust is the first of a series of books featuring Joe Hunter. It is due for release by Hodder and Staughton in UK territories and by William Morrow and Company (Harper Collins) in US territories in June 2009, with further books in the series being released each 6 months thereafter. It is also being released in the German, Italian and Romanian languages. There will be very slight differences in the editions due to local colloquialisms, but this will not affect the books in any form. I have seen the Uk and US versions of the covers and they look fantastic. I can't wait for publication now (it'll probably seem like a long ten months), but things are beginning to feel very, very real. Please keep looking back for the ongoing adventures of a first time novelist approaching publication.
All the very best

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

For those of you new to my writing

Hi everyone. For all of you who haven't been to my space, I was keeping a blog there, but from now on I'll be concentrating on this one. Do please keep taking a look at my space as I will update periodically but this is where you will find me mainly from now on. You can find my space at www.matthiltonbooks.spaces.live.com if you want to read what I've been up to until now.

In a nut shell, I have got a five book deal with Hodder and Staughton in UK territories and with William Morrow and Company (Harper Collins) in US territories. The first book, Dead men's Dust will be released across both areas in June 2009 with further books to follow every 6 months. Book 2, Judgement and Wrath will be out around December 2009.

I have written Books 1 and 2 and am well into book 3. I will be posting the covers for book 1 very soon on my website at www.matthiltonbooks.com

Hope this is enough to be getting on with
best wishes

Joe Hunter

Don’t know Joe Hunter, yet? Well, you soon will. He’s a two-fisted, gun-toting, ex-Special Forces hard man who doesn’t mess about. ‘Some people call him a vigilante. But Joe doesn’t see things that way. He prefers to be seen as someone who can help. When the full weight of the law can’t do anything, well then, that’s when he steps up. He doesn’t take the law into his own hands. Not as such, not when the law doesn’t extend to what is occasionally required.’
Here you can learn more about my forthcoming projects, my characters, my short stories, and many other things you will find interesting. Please feel free to have a look around.

My first book Dead Men's Dust is due for publication in June 2009 in UK and US territories. It is also being published in the German, Italian and Romanian languages. Further Joe Hunter thrilers will follow at 6 monthly intervals.