Thursday, 25 June 2009

Doing the Do for charity

Something extremely weird just happened to me. I have been asked - as a local celebrity - to open a new book shop in The Lanes Shopping Centre, Carlisle.

Y'know how some celebs just can't say no, and will turn up at the opening of a tin of beans, well I used to laugh at them. But I'm not laughing now. I'm thrilled and honoured and proud of the fact that people actually want me to do the honours. out for me on or around the 15th July doing the biz in The Lanes. Come along and show your support for a great charity (the bookshop raises funds for a local hospice).

More details to follow as I receive them.

P.S. when I earlier referred to myself as 'a local celebrity' it was with a huge pinch of salt and with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek. But I guess you already knew that!

Ruminations and mumblings

OK, so a blog's not all about reviews, so I thought I'd better get a few more thoughts down to keep all you aspiring writers thinking (even if you're not an aspiring writer - maybe you're already a succesfullly published author or not an author at all - hopefully I'll have something interesting to say and for you to think about).

My debut novel has been out there for about six weeks now and has been read and hopefully enjoyed by many people. It has been very gratifying to find that on the whole the feedback I've had has been congratulatory and readers seem to have enjoyed Joe Hunter's first outing. It's a very strange situation to receive emails from readers from all corners of the globe thanking me for a great read. It's these little personal notes that make me glow with pride.

As with all debut authors (I know I'm painting everyone with the same brush here, but I'm guessing that I'm right) I have googled my name and book title and followed the mentions on the internet. When I've found a review I've posted the link here for your opportunity to read what others have said. 'Most' have been favourable - a few haven't.

When you are an author (or in any business for that matter) you have to expect the reality that not everyone is going to like what you've done. That's the way of the world: we all have our preferences.

What I've found odd is that what one reviewer finds as a strength in my book another will find it as a weakness. One reviewer said my book was full of nuance - another said there wasn't enough nuance to fill a thimble. One said the book is too violent, another said the violence wasn't realistic, another said the 'action was authentic'. Horses for courses, I suppose.

When all boils down to all, maybe the message here is that a debut author should learn to avoid googling every few minutes - I'm disciplining myself now. If you dwell on the bad points you don't appreciate the good. And don't forget, sometimes the bad can turn in your favour. As long as the bad comments are constructive, they can only help your future writing, right?

Sometimes the review can be cutting and even a personal attack: my attitude to these is to respect the reviewer's opinion, take it on the chin and then IGNORE them. I don't know why certain individuals choose to attack authors and try to rubbish their careers when they're just trying to get a good start. My personal thoughts on this are that anyone who has the grit, determination and sheer good fortune to have their book published should be congratulated, not pulled down. Even if I hated a books subject matter or style of writing I wouldn't 'rubbish' it. Obviously there will be others out there who will love it and it isn't for me to say what they enjoy. To accuse the people who enjoy the books as being misinformed - or worse still...on the publishers payroll - is ridiculous and smacks of jealousy. IGNORE IT, Matt, IGNORE IT!

I never set out to write 'literary books'. I didn't set out to write a Jack Reacher pastiche (though I do thoroughly admire Lee Child and his writing). And I never claimed that my books were better than those of Sandford, Connolly, Connelly, Crais or Child (all favourites of mine). Some reviewers have accused me of all the above. Weird, huh?

I set out to write a good ol' action series with a 'damaged' lead with the tools to get the job done in a violent world. Hopefully I've succeeded with my dream - and you the reader will enjoy Joe Hunter's journey in print as much as I do. If you don't, well fair enough. But please don't 'dog' anyone elses enjoyment. I SAID IGNORE IT!

OK, tirade over.

I'm often asked who my favourite writers are and who I'm influenced by. Here's a list of contemporary writers who I 'always' pick up:

Jeff Abbott, Robert Crais, Dean Koontz, Jack (J.A.) Kerley, Michael Marshall, John Connolly, Michael Connelly, James Patterson (and gang), Lee Child, Simon Kernick, David Morrell and Jeffrey Deaver.

Here's a list of authors who have influenced my writing:

Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, Wiilard Price, George G. Gilman, Don Pendleton, Robert Ludlum, and Marvel Comics - and probably all of the above.

I've also been influenced by movies:

It's a Wonderful Life, Shogun Assassin, Aliens, Marathon Man, Narrow Margin, Lethal Weapon, and Die Hard to name a few. (Watch out for tributes to all these movies throughout my books).

My musical tastes are 'really' old fashioned:

50's Rock'n'Roll
Rythm and Blues

And, I have a keen interest in all martial arts systems, but primarily Ju-Jitsu.

All of these influences are the making of me as a writer.

An interesting little exercise for an aspiring writer would be to write down a similar list. See what you come up with, you may be surprised at how you've come to be the sum of who you are now and how that influences your writing.

'Nuff said (now where did that influence come from? - answers on a £50 note please)


Tuesday, 23 June 2009


Hey all, just discovered this cool review of Dead Men's Dust by Bruce Grossman at the BOOKGASM facebook page and thought you'd like a look see.

and for the original have a look here (just in case you missed it)

Thanks for the great review Bruce.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Sunday Sun

I believe that the piece on me and my writing is in THIS WEEKS Sunday Sun. Sorry about the confusion over the past couple weeks...

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Judgement and Wrath - Joe Hunter Book 2

Joe Hunter doesn't like bullies. So his latest job - saving a young woman from her bully boyfriend - is a no-brainer. Hunter's only worry is that the man who hired him is looking for more than protection for his daughter. One thing Hunter has never been, and never will be, is a killer-for-hire.
As it turns out, the vengeful father isn't the only one who wants the boyfriend dead. Soon Hunter is face-to-face with a contract killer who takes his work very seriously.
Dantalion has a talent for killing and keeps a list of his victims in a book chained to his waist. Each victim is numbered. And the body count is about to start rising...
Let's get ready to Rumble!! Coming October 2009 from Hodder and Stoughton.

Book 4 - Yes, I've finished the draft

As mad as it may seem - what with all the publicity I've been busy with lately - I've finished and delivered the draft of Joe Hunter book 4 to my editor at Hodder and am gratified to say that with very few changes requested I'm almost good to go with this one.

Without giving too much of the story-line away, I think this is about the most action packed of the series to date and I hope everyone likes the finished result when they get round to reading it.

The most difficult part of the process with this one was in coming up with a title that fits the series. I've laboured long and hard on this one, and it's the first time I've ever written a book without a title in mind. But - as of today - Joe Hunter's fourth adventure will be known as CUT AND RUN.

To re-cap, for all of those who have been wondering, or need reminding, the series to date goes (or will go) as follows:

Book 1 - Dead Men's Dust (published in the UK and USA May 2009)
Book 2 - Judgement and Wrath (Coming to UK October 2009, Coming to USA May 2010)
Book 3 - Slash and Burn (Coming to UK May 2010, Coming to USA May 2011)
Book 4 - Cut and Run (Coming to UK October 2010)
Book 5 - Untitled (Coming to UK May 2011)

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

New Author page at Hodder website

Hi all,
you can check out my new page at the Hodder and Stoughton website by clicking the link (it's also handily in the blogroll at the right of this page). Here you can keep up with my books as they are released with news direct from my publisher. There is also news there to all other Hodder authors.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Joe Hunter seen hanging about in London Underground

Hey all,
these are the awesome cross platform posters in the London Underground featuring your favourite vigilante.
My thanks go to my agent, Luigi, for sending the pic.

Sunday Express 'S' magazine (7th June)

OK, so I was out of the country and in Rhodes in the Greek Isles (not that I'm bragging) and forgot to order a copy of last Sunday's Express 'S' magazine which contained a copy of my short story SPLITTING HEIRS. Hope some of you caught it and enjoyed the story.

Also, for you Cumbrians (and I'm guessing there may be more than a handful looking in here periodically) I was apparently in the Cumberland News in the entertainment section. Going to go out and try to track myself a copy down.

For those of you who aren't Cumbrians here's a link:

Enjoy...I couldn't have put it better myself!

105.2 FM SMOOTH RADIO Glasgow

Listen in tonight at 7pm (until 8 pm) and hear me discussing my debut book Dead Men's Dust with Alex Dickson on The Smooth Bookcase.

Once there's a link to listen in I'll add it.

DMD at SHOTS The Crime and Thriller Ezine
click the link above to read the review of Dead Men's Dust by top crime author and Writing Magazine collumnist Adrian Magson.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Carlisle library event - the morning after

Last night I had the pleasure of attending Carlisle library alongside top psychological crime thriller writer Sophie Hannah and I have to report that it was a blast. We had a great crowd of avid readers who were kind enough to laugh along with all my cheesey jokes (usually of the self-deprecating variety - but that's me through and through). I'm pretty new to these kinds of events, but I think I did OK. Sophie was a true professional and a interesting and humorous speaker and I enjoyed listening to her tales as much as did the attendees. It was a nice little buzz selling and signing books to people afterwards, and to speak to them personally.
My thanks to all the staff involved - all lovely people - and to Gwen from Bookends bookshop who had plentiful stock for sale - another lovely person.
Afterwards me, my missus and Sophie 'just had to' sample the delights of a local curry house. I'm a weakling when it comes to a good indian meal and 'just had to' partake of the delicious food on offer. For some reason though people aren't getting too close to me this morning. I keep telling myself it's just the garlic...

Thursday, 4 June 2009 review

Another great review of Dead men's Dust at

Big thanks to Percy Babcock.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

DMD does the Page 69 test

I was asked by Marshal Zeringue to put my debut novel Dead Men's Dust to the Page 69 test, and if you follow the link above you'll find the end result. It was an excellent exercise in studying random passages from my own book, and seeing as to whether or not I would be inclined to read on.

Suffice it to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

DMD also appears at Marshal's other blog site:

My huge thanks go without saying to Marshal for this opportunity.

Contemplations from the fluffy navel

It has struck me that of late I haven't really blogged with any great detail - concentrating as I have on the publicity side of getting my book out there. But the reality is, if you want to succeed in this current economic climate, it's important to get it done. Since just before publication, I have done a launch (a magnificent success) and attended Crimefest where I was involved with my first panels. It was a surreal feeling being out there in front of afficionadoes of the crime genre and answering questions about me and my writing. You can't be a shrinking violet if you want to succeed as a published author.
My next 'duties' were to go on the road (or more correctly the rail) to do stock signing at various bookshops up and down the UK. Signed copies of my book can now be found in such far flung places as Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull, Wales, Brighton, Preston, Kirkham, Lancaster, Kendal, Carlisle, Glasgow, East Kilbride, Braehead and The Glasgow Fort.
While I was in Glasgow I recorded an interview with the amazing Alex Dickson to be featured this Sunday at 7pm on Glasgow's Smooth radio (105.2).
I have done a whistle stop tour of my home county of Cumbria as well, introducing myself to bookshop owners and managers.
Add to that telephone interviews with the Sunday Sun and Canberra Times, and also being with BBC Look North camera crew for a piece aired on 14th May, and also popping into BBC Radio Cumbria on 12th May and you can see that it has been a pretty hectic time. OOh, and let's not forget that I did a trip to London to meet and celebrate with my agent and editor and some of the Hodder team, as well as to record an interview with Mariella Frostrup for Open Book, alongside Karen Armstrong, another cop turned writer.
In the meantime I have been communicating with the USA about the launch of my book out there, and answering emails and messages from well-wishers who have read and enjoyed the book.
Tommorrow I'm at Carlisle library at 7.30 pm, alongside bestselling crime author Sophie Hannah. I met Sophie last year in Baltimore and am looking forward to seeing her again. What a lovely down to earth person.
Shortly I'll be jetting off to NYC for this year's Thrillerfest, which promises to be an amazing event. While there I'll be shooting a short promo video, doing signings at various bookshops, and hopefully having a great time. Back from NYC, I'm off to Bodies in the Bookshop in Cambridge, then back up to Harrogate for the Old Peculier Crime festival. The next date in my diary is in October, when I'm attending an event in Oldham with Mandasue Heller, another bestselling author. Then things will kick off with the paperback release of Dead Men's Dust and with the Hardback release of Judgement and Wrath.

So what was the point of all that? Other than restating what I've been up to, or will be very shortly, what I wanted to get across is an important message for anyone who has been following this blog from the start. My original reason for blogging was to give other aspiring authors an idea of the road to publication and beyond. Hands up how many people thought that writing was the difficult part.

The reality is that the writing is only the start.

Are you sure that this is what you really want?

My answer is: YES.

Keep on keeping on


Monday, 1 June 2009

Sunday Sun and Sunday Express

Keep an eye out for this week's Sunday Sun, where I'll be featuring in a piece, and don't forget that in this Sunday's Express 'S' magazine there is a feature and also my short story SPLITTING HEIRS.

Carlisle Library Event 7:30 pm Thurs 4th June


this Thursday 4th June 2009 at 7:30 pm I will be appearing alongside bestselling crime writer Sophie Hannah at Carlisle library. Tickets are only £3 each and these include refreshments. Anyone who hasn't got their signed copy of DMD yet can do so at the event. Books will be on sale from BOOKENDS Carlisle's independent bookseller.