Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Find Her

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I have become a member of the Hardboiled Collective and brought a review of Zoe Sharp's latest eBook to your attention. I will be regularly bringing you recommendations from authors writing in the hardboiled tradition and today it is the turn of FIND HER by Jochem Vandersteen.

A Trestle Press original digital short story series by Jochem Vandersteen:
“ Husband, father, vigilante... Mike Dalmas left Special Forces to become a dedicated family man, but when his daughter gets molested he had his revenge, killing the pervert who committed the crime.
Now the Bay City cops keep him out of jail if he takes care of their dirty work. The things their badge won't allow them to do but for which Dalmas has the right skill set.
Mike Dalmas is blackmailed in saving a young girl from a known sex offender. The cops want him to find her before she dies or loses the will to live. The clock is ticking... Will Dalmas be prepared what is needed to find her in time?”

This is a new action / adventure / crime series by Jochem Vandersteen, founder of the Hardboiled Collective and blogger of Sons of Spade, author of the Noah Milano series. It's his first story to come out from publisher Trestle Press.

FIND HER can be found here at amazon:http://www.amazon.com/Find-Mike-Dalmas-Story-ebook/dp/B005P9FSQC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1316944615&sr=1-1

Monday, 26 September 2011

What a Blast!

I've had a few adrenalin-charged escapades of late - some good, some bad - but all have helped me as a writer. They say that you should write what you know. Well, I can now speak with experience when it comes to firing live rounds and what it feels to be seconds from death, both of which often feature heavily in my writing.

First thing first. Recently I took a trip to Jamaica to celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary (I know I look way too young, but I did marry at the tender age of three years old) and everything was great. Hurricane Irene swept by the island during our stay but left its calling card by way of high winds, pelting rain and a lightning storm to end all storms...just as we were taking off in our airplane. Anyway, we were tearing down the runway when a lightning bolt struck the plane and blew up the left engine. Flames, sparks and smoke gouted across the runway. Doing around eighty miles an hour and losing one engine meant only one thing: the plane swung crazily to the left and was heading off the runway. Then it swung to the right and it felt like we were going to roll over, before the quick thinking pilot hit the brakes to abort take off. We were of course then thrown forward in our seats. Was there a lot of screaming and praying? No. It all happened so quickly that all that went through my mind was "Oh. This is it then?" It was only afterwards when the plane rocked to a standstill and the truth set in that a chorus of surprise set in, followed by shock and the wailing began. The firetrucks turned out to douse the engine and then we were towed back to the gate and all the passengers spilled into the disembarkation lounge. It was only then that I began thinking about how much it would be to charter a boat home. I was determined that I was never going to get back on an airplane in my life, but at the back of my head knew that I just had to. I had to get home, and then had to take another four flights to reach St Louis for Bouchercon World Mystery Convention in a little over a week's time. So, I thought WWJHD? I girded my loins and got back on the replacement plane brought in a day later.

By the time I flew to St Louis I'd put the incident down to experience and told myself that things could have been much worse. Apparently another five seconds later and we'd have been at optimum speed for take off (170 mph) and things would have ended up very differently indeed. The new engine that was required for the plane had a price tag of £15 million pounds, plus the bill for putting up more than 300 passengers in a 5* hotel all inclusive amounted to £158,000 - so maybe I had nothing to complain about.

I got my second major adrenalin buzz while in St Louis. I had the pleasure of accompanying fellow Brit thriller author Zoe Sharp and her husband Andy, and a couple other readers, to the Top Gun shooting range where I had a literal blast shooting some of the guns I feature in the Joe Hunter series. My favourite remains the SIG Sauer P226 but have to admit that shooting a MP5 submachine gun does leave you with a sense of awe. Earlier during the convention I'd had great fun at a shooting range simulator at the hotel where real guns had been attached to gas bottles to simulate 'real fire' sensation, and I really enjoyed that, however when compared to the genuine thing there was something missing. When handling a real gun, with live rounds, there's always that sense of cold fear and absolute respect lurking in your mind. This was brought home to me while shooting the MP5. I was goggled and earphoned-up, and merrily gave rip with burst after burst of ammo at the targets. Then one of the scalding hot spent brass shells dropped inside my right goggle and burned my eyelids, followed seconds later by another that dropped neatly in my left goggle and burned my eyelids on that side too. It served to remind me that BULLETS ARE DANGEROUS. But my little burns also gave me a little ego trip, thinking "Well, that's my warrior stripes earned." It was a superb experience, and one that left me adrenalized but also with a sense of great responsibility. What a blast. A hearty thank you goes to Zoe and Andy for allowing me the opportunity to satisfy my shooting jones.

Plus a second hearty thanks go out to all the Bouchercon gang, and in particular Jon Jordan and Ruth Jordan of Crimespree Magazine, Judy Bobalik and Beth and Jeff Tindall.

N.B Apparently flying is still the safest form of travel and it was a million to one chance that a similar incident should happen to me, and about ten million to one that it should ever happen again. For one hot shell to go inside my goggles was about a million to one. For a second hot shell to go in the opposite side about two million to one. Then again it's about a million to one that I will win decent money on the National Lottery so I've just gone out and bought a ticket.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Musings From the Fluffy Navel Rides Again!

This past month has been a very busy one, what with two books coming out (Blood and Ashes in paperback and Dead Men's Harvest in hardback) and all the associated publicity work that I've been up to alongside them. I've barely had time to update my blog, and I apologise for only hitting you with my latest reviews and such. My writing seems not to have moved on much since last I updated you all, but I have been working hard on a few separate projects to get them ready for publication in one way or another.

Joe Hunter Eight (Current title RULES OF HONOUR) is now in the bag - discounting line edits, full edits, page proofing etc - and is now with my editor. I've also been working hard on writing six brand new Joe Hunter short stories to be released exclusively as an eBook in the early months of next year. It's called SIX OF THE BEST and I really hope you all enjoy this collection. I've also been working on a totally different project that must - for now - remain a secret. It's not Joe Hunter, but it is an action-packed, high-octane thriller, with a genre twist you might not have expected from my pen. More news on that soon...which I hope will be GOOD news.

Good friend of mine, Vallon Jackson, has also been doing some work of his own, and his GOOD news is that independent film makers "Third Act Montage" have picked up his short apocalyptical story THE DAY to adapt in to a short movie. I can't wait to see what they come up with. They did an amazing job on the Joe Hunter movie-promo I shared with you all a few months ago. The Day is now in production and I'll update you all once I know more details or have some sample shots to share.

In a few days time I'll be hopping over the Pond to the USA to attend Bouchercon in St Louis, where I'm taking part in a couple of panels, doing a couple of signings and also giving away 50 copies of Slash and Burn to some lucky recipients. SAB is being released at the end of October by William Morrow and Co as a paperback original, and because some readers might be coming across Joe Hunter for the first time, I've written a brand new chapter that was not included in the original UK edition. Less than a month later, Cut and Run will also be available in the US. Publication of the paperback edition of Judgment and Wrath has been put back in the US until sometime late Spring next year (just in case you were wondering). While I'm in the US I hope to attend a gun range to familiarise myself with the proper handling of handguns again (all for research purposes I assure you) and am also visiting a wolf sanctuary. Can't wait. Though I'm planning on an eventful journey, I hope it doesn't end the way my recent vacation to Jamaica did. While picking up velocity on the runway during take off, my plane was struck by lighting, the engine exploded, and the plane veered wildly out of control before the quick thinking pilot saved all our lives with an emergency stop before we went completely off the runway. Scary stuff, but all fodder for an active fiction author's imagination.

Once I'm back from the next trip, I'll be getting on with Joe Hunter nine. At this time I haven't a clue where the story will take me or Joe, but rest assured, you can count on Joe doing the do as per the norm.

On the publicity front, things are coming to an end for the year. I do have a trip planned to East Boldon Library in N.E England 7.30 on Thursday 29th September, so if you're in the region please pop along. Then I've got my calendar cleared until the new year to get down to some serious writing. Those of you aspiring authors longing for publication, take note: Publicity now takes up more of my time than the actual writing of the books. But it's an extremely important facet of my career (and yours), particularly now that there are less bookshops and retailers pushing your books for you, few newspapers giving up column inches to new books, and less money in the publishers' pot to spend on promotion.

On the promotion front. If you've purchased a Joe Hunter book and liked it, perhaps you can kindly go on Amazon or any other review sites and put up an honest review of the book. It seems only my detractors - or those with an axe to grind - currently post reviews, and my rankings and sales are possibly suffering for it. Now you might care less that it could hurt my pocket, but it also might mean that in the future there could be no more Joe Hunter books released, if the publishers don't think they're viable. I'm sure you don't want that?

To finish....I just wanted to mention a quick "Congratulations" to Dean Crawford, whose debut book Covenant is due for publication. It's one to keep an eye out for, trust me.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Another goodie...


Another good review for Dead Men's Harvest has come in, this time from Linda Wilson at Reviewing the Evidence.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Crimesquad.com's September Author of the Month is...

...Little ol' me.

I was thrilled and honoured to hear that Chris Simms, editor at Crimeqsuad.com chose me as Crimesquad's author of the month for September. Here's a brilliant review of Dead Men's Harvest along with a special Q and A I completed for the site. I know you've possibly read other interviews by me lately, but I assure you there'll be something new here you haven't heard from me before.


Blistering reviews are coming in for the latest Joe Hunter book

Brill review of Dead Men's Harvest from Shotsmag. Excellent stuff. http://www.shotsmag.co.uk/book_reviews_view.aspx?BOOK_REVIEW_ID=324

Huge thanks to Adrian Magson and the Shots crew.