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 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 . 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 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?


Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Slight change to cover of DMD

When perusing the Hodder website at 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.