Thursday, 30 September 2010

The Fluffy Navel Rides Again

OK, it’s been a while since I shared any of the rambling thoughts that wander through my head. Most times I’m too busy putting them down in my latest manuscript. But I’ve got a few minutes spare and thought it was about time I got down to write something here for which this blog was originally intended. To hopefully inspire other authors to write the book they always intended to.

So, I’m going to pose a question, and then just write what comes to mind. I warn you now: it could be a ramble, it could be disjointed, but hopefully there’ll be something here to make you think.

Before I start, I’m not on a soap box, but just want you to think a little about your own writing. If you don’t agree with what I say, then that’s OK, because it will only solidify my point. I’m not generating debate here, unless it’s in your own head, so when/if you comment, please be gentle with me, Okay?

Here’s the question:

How do you decide what to write?

Do you follow the old adage of ‘write what you know’, or ‘write what you’d like to read’?

I tend to go with the second nugget of advice, and thankfully – by the number of readers and supporters of my Joe Hunter series – it seems to work for me.

Basically, I enjoy writing escapist, fast moving, slightly over the top, crime thrillers, because quite frankly I enjoy reading them.

Some have said my writing is superficial, unsophisticated and lacks depth. Well, in my book (no pun intended), that’s fine by me. It means I’ve delivered what I set out to write, and that can be no bad thing. Not that I mean that I purposefully write superficially or in an unsophisticated manner, or without depth, but that I write for readers who aren’t looking for such in my books. You want those, read one of the classics or the latest Booker Prize winner. If you want to kick back and engage yourself in a few hours of pure escapism, in a style that’s accessible to the lay man, then I write for you.

What is a fiction author’s first duty? To teach or to entertain? Me? I believe in the latter. A good book will do both, I understand and appreciate that, and I do like to learn new things. But I also love to be entertained. In fact, I prefer to be entertained. Therefore I try to write entertaining books, and leave the factoids to someone more in the know than I.

In my humble opinion, there are no rights and wrongs in writing (although I’m firmly against some subject matter). I’ve never read a chick-lit book, but that’s not to say thousands of other readers don’t love them: they obviously do. I’ve read very few of the classics, but there’s no denying that they’re great. Some people turn up their noses at sci-fi and fantasy, where others absolutely devour those genres. Basically, there’s a reader for all books. Sometimes you get lucky and there are masses of readers for your book.

As an aspiring author, are you trying to pre-empt the market and think of the next big thing? Great if you can do it. But the market is a funny and fickle thing that we just can’t pre-determine. The publishers can try to build a market, but for something to truly become the next big thing, it needs to engage the public consciousness.

Think of a couple of the biggest crazes of the last decade (as far as publishing success is concerned).

Harry Potter.


Who would have ever guessed it, eh?

Most agents won’t touch fantasy or horror with a barge pole. What were the chances that either a boy wizard or a brooding vampire would have caught the imagination of readers the world over? Never mind that: who would have guessed that either series would ever have been published?

I’m digressing a little, but what I’m trying to say is that both JK and Stephanie must have sat writing their debuts with a faint taste of impending doom in their mouths, knowing what it was they were up against. But they persevered and delivered, and ultimately triumphed. They wrote what they liked, and it found a following. The following swelled and birthed a tide of readers of tsunami proportions.


Never give up, never surrender.

Write what thou wilt.

If the books you write are good, then they will get a readership.

(Like I have, you will also get your deriders...but, hey, that only means you’ve achieved some level of success. No one would bother to knock you if you hadn’t done something they’d love to do, but can’t.)

So...head up, tighten your chin straps, and get back to writing that book of yours. Write what you would love to read, and others will join you in loving your writing.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Five star JAW

Jerry Solot at MYSTERY READER gives Judgment and Wrath the thumbs up, and a lovely array of five stars. Very much appreciated Jerry.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Large Print Book Give Away

Coming this October 2010 is the UK Large Print Edition of Joe Hunter 4 - CUT AND RUN - from Clipper Books (WF Howes). Click here for more details.

Here's your opportunity to win one signed edition of the book (a large format paperback) for someone very deserving in your life. And it's as simple as this:

Drop me an email at and put LP BOOK in the subject line.

In the body of the text put your name (as you like to be adressed) as well as that of the person you wish the book to go to should you win.

I would also appreciate it it if you would recommend my books to your recipient, as well as others you believe would enjoy reading them - in large or regular print size. Please CC your recipient or those that you are recommending the books to, and mention that you are entering this giveaway. I will not contact them in any shape or form other than to arrange delivery with the eventual winner (and all email addresses will be deleted afterwards). I accept that your suggested recipient/s might not have an email adress, so I will accept on faith that you have passed on your recommendations to them.

This give away is open to everyone. I will randomly choose a winner from the suggested recipients on Friday 1st October 2010. I will then contact the winner/ and/or the nominee to arrange delivery (at my expense).

I will announce here (and at my related blogs and Facebook pages) the winner once contact has been made to arrange delivery.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Could Rink have his own book?

A 'fan' has started a new facebook campaign for a book featuring Jared 'Rink' Rington as the main lead. If you want it, click here and join the gang. If enough people ask, well, who knows...

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Skin We're In

Even More Tonto Short Stories is an anthology of crime, slice of life and other tales published by Tonto Books. It contains stories by established authors and newcomers alike. Some time ago I was asked to contribute to the anthology, to help support writing in the north of England, to which I agreed wholeheartedly (I think you all know how much I like to help aspiring authors by now). In EMTSS you can find my original, never-published-before-short-story 'THE SKIN WE'RE IN'.

The first thing I'll say is it's not a Joe Hunter story and has nothing to do with Hunter in any shape or form. However you will probably recognise my style of writing: set in the north-east of England, it is a fast-moving actioner packed with grit and balls and not a little pathos. I'd love to hear what anyone who has read it thinks as it really is a divergence for me in publishing this kind of tale.

Also, while I'm at it, I'd like to mention that the antho also contains my friend Col Bury's first published story called MOPPING UP, another fast-moving actioner packed with grit and balls and well worth a read. Look it up if you haven't already. The story is an intro to Col's first novel which is currently doing the rounds with the publishers by way of NYC agent, Nat Sobel.

By the way - to set the record straight - I do not profit from this book in any form and do not have any connection to Tonto Books or any others (apart from my regular publishers) connected with the publication of this book. My intention of bringing it to your notice is to simply share some great tales you might otherwise miss out on, and to bring to your attention some fine new writers.

'Choose and Book' chooses Slash and Burn

I was very pleased to come across the unsolicited review of Slash and Burn above. It's a very genuine, from-the-heart-review that left me smiling with pride.
I don't know the name of the reviewer, but would like to say thanks anyway. So if you read this...thank you.

Monday, 13 September 2010

New Joe Hunter Facebook page

Hi all,
I've just set up a new facebook page specifically for Joe Hunter where I'll be posting images of the book covers and such like - as well as much, much more. There you'll find links to some great interviews (including ones with Joe and Rink) as well as links to some original fiction featuring Joe and related characters. Why not take a look and if you like it then hit the 'like' tab.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Soaked in adrenalin and electricity

I don't want to bore you with reviews of my books, but I had to share this one with you from Joe Hartlaub at which is great fun. Enjoy:

Friday, 10 September 2010

Of Bar stools and cremations.

To read a nice little interview with me conducted by Graham Smith of at this years' Theakstone's Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival just follows these brief instructions:

Click here
Click the TOPCWF icon on the front page (under the microsites icon)
Have a read of how the interview came about and hit the blue prompt to go to the interview with me.


Wednesday, 8 September 2010

...and coming.

Thanks to USA Joe Hunter supporter Pat Reid for this awesome review of CUT AND RUN, to be found at various sites, including top flight webzines Mysteries Galore and Bestseller World

My gracious thanks go out to you, Pat.

The reviews keep on coming...

Another cool review for JUDGMENT AND WRATH from Fresh Fiction.Com.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Judgment and Wrath takes the page 69 test

Over at Marshal Zeringue's The Page 69 Test I have subjected my latest book released in the USA - JUDGMENT AND WRATH - to see if the sixty-ninth page is indicative of the book in its entirety. I believe it's a 'good un' and that it is indeed a showcase for the rest of the book. Why not click here and see what conclusions I came to: The Page 69 Test
Alternatively you can hop on over to the Campaign For The American Reader for further information and links.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Sign of the times...

I'd like to say thanks to all those who came along to Waterstone's, Carlisle yesterday (both old friends and new) for the signing session I did for CUT and RUN. It was a really good session for me, no pressure and lots of good conversations with interested readers and writers. A good day.

p.s. I don't know what all the fuss is about non-iron shirts. I've been wearing them for years - before anyone else gets a dig in ;-)

Friday, 3 September 2010

Listen to them...the children of the night...

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending Whitby Book Shop, 88 Church Street, Whitby for a combined evening of crime with Sheila Quigley, and I had a fabulous time. Whitby Book Shop is in the beautiful Church Street, the historical shopping street of Old Whitby which leads to the 199 steps that lead up to the ruins of the Abbey. Anyone who knows their history knows that it was on viewing Whitby and the ruins towering over the port that influenced Bram Stoker to have Count Dracula make land fall there when he arrives in England. I could see why Bram was so inspired. Whitby is one of the most picturesque towns I've visited in many a year, an artists and authors wonderland - I wish I'd taken my sketch pad - as well as being truly gothic. When the sun went down and the floodlights picked out the church cresting the rugged clifftops, well I could almost lose myself in the view. It was almost a shame that I had to go to the bookshop at the foot of the the cliffs instead of revelling in the sights. Almost, but not quite. The staff at the bookshop had gone to great lengths to prepare for the event, and I'm indebted to them and to those who attended mine and Sheila's talks for making it such a wonderful venue and event. I enjoyed myself immensely, and have promised .... I'll be back-ack-ack-ack....

As an add on:

Yes, me and my wife made our way up the 199 steps to the Abbey (but it had just shut. D'oh!) Nevertheless the climb was well worth it. I prowled around the ancient grave yard with wind scoured headstones going back as far as the seventeenth century and was spooked out and excited at the same time. Whoever said people died young in those days? There seemed to be a huge number of people living well into their 90s back in the old days. Maybe there's something said for this vampiric attachment to Whitby where people never age?

The superb window display at Whitby Book shop.

Grips like a vice on steroids!

Now this is my kind of review! Huge thanks to the chaps at

Slight hiccup...

Just to prove that I don't just post links to the rave reviews of my books (not that any one has ever said that) click  the link to the Yorkshire Post where it's believed Hunter might be a little misguided in his responses to being targeted by a sniper - although in my own humble opinion, if Joe merely waited for the police to arrive and got himself locked up for a few days it would have severely slowed the story not to mention got a few of his good friends killed in the meantime. Oops, what do you mean I'm being defensive? ;-)

Seriously, it's a very good, objective and well thought out review.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

What is Matt Hilton reading?

Over at the superb blog Campaign For the American Reader, editor Marshal Zeringue posed the question of me: What is Matt Hilton reading?

To read my answer, click here:

and for the full unabridged reply, you can read on at Writers Read by clicking here:

Also, keep an eye out for my entries for My Book, The Movie and my sampling of Judgment and Wrath at the Page 69 Test very soon.