Coming soon – The Blood Moon Murders

Mac Maguire’s twelfth outing – The Blood Moon Murders – is a little different to the others. You might get a clue what this difference is through the dedication – ‘For Halloween, ghost stories and things that go bump in the night.’

I have long been an admirer of M. R. James and his ability to put ghostly goings-on right into the workaday world. I’d guess that it was the title that first gave me the idea that this might be my chance to incorporate a supernatural thread into a murder mystery. That and the fact that the book should be ready to be published around Halloween.

As you can guess from the title the murders take place during an eclipse of the Moon by the Earth. I witnessed a really good one some years ago and the effect of the moon darkening and then glowing red with the light that had made it through the Earth’s atmosphere is a really eerie experience. It was easy to see why ancient peoples saw this as a harbinger of change and even doom.

Continue reading

If you’re self-publishing then who are your most important readers?

The answer isn’t complicated, it’s those people who you ask to read your book before you publish it. I’ve touched on this subject a few times in my posts so why write about it now?

My latest book, A Concrete Case of Murder, took quite a while to write. Too long for my liking. Writing is never an easy process but, due to a confluence of adverse circumstances, writing became impossible for some months. Since retiring, I have been publishing two books every year, however, A Concrete Case of Murder took over eighteen months to complete. Having a series of ten books already published, most of which were well-received, I found myself getting a little paranoid about this latest one. I think that my paranoia was mostly triggered by an offhand remark someone made which was something to the effect of, ‘If it was hard to write it will probably be hard to read’. It was not a comment I appreciated all that much.

And so, the seeds of doubt were sown. All I could do was carry on writing and then trust to my readers.

Continue reading

Self-publishing – some positives and negatives

KDP logoI started categorising my blog posts when I restyled my website and I was surprised that I had only blogged once about self-publishing. So, here is blog post number two. In talking to other authors, I realised that quite a few of them have only tried the traditional route because they are either still unaware of what self-publishing can do or find the whole process a bit opaque or even scary.

You need to be aware that when I say ‘self-publishing’ I mean Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP. KDP is basically the only game in town. It will publish your book in virtually every major market but you have to play by their rules. I talk more about this below. So, if you’re having problems with finding a traditional publisher, you should definitely read on. Continue reading

Editing and typos- the hardest part of a writer’s job

Typo shop bannerI’ve been writing full-time now for nearly two years and I’m loving it. I especially love those moments of pure creation when new characters, situations and even worlds spring into life.

However, there is always a bit of grit in every pearl, and the grit for me is editing and especially the dastardly and eel-like typo. I published my first book four and a half years ago and I’m just realising how steep the slope of the editing learning curve actually is. This has been recently highlighted by the fact that I’ve once again re-edited my first four books and guess what? I found them littered by tortured English and infested with typos. I have come to terms with the fact that these books will still have some instances of tortured English and typos but, hopefully, a lot less than there was before. So what’s the problem? Continue reading

Having to write a crime novel to find out how it ends!

confusing signposts

The image on the left describes pretty well how I feel at times when starting a new novel. However, sometimes I’m still feeling like that even when I’m well into it! To illustrate this I’m well over halfway through the eighth Mac Maguire mystery (provisionally titled ‘The Chancer’) and I’ve only just discovered who the murderer is!

I’m not one of those authors who like to plan the story line out in advance. I’ve heard of crime writers who even use spreadsheets to plan the plots of their books in incredible detail. If I’m honest that all sounds a bit cold-blooded to me. Continue reading

23 Cold Cases – How come my detective is in bed for most of my latest book?

Book coverThroughout most of my latest book 23 Cold Cases the main character, retired murder specialist Mac Maguire, spends virtually all of his time in bed. Why did I write a crime book with this in the plot and what were the challenges?

When I started writing the book I must admit that I had doubts about this plot line and considered scrapping it more than once. Why? Mostly because it was difficult to come up with a sustained story that would keep readers interested and wanting to turn the next page. There’s also the fact that I had to include the details of many crimes, quite a few in some detail, and at times I began to wonder if I’d have any plot lines left for future books!

So why did Mac Maguire have to be in bed? Continue reading

Some thoughts on writing and self publishing

writer at work night park benchThe next Mac Maguire book, the fifth, is nearly there and after some three years or so of seriously struggling to put the right words in the right order this has given me some pause for thought. Looking back I’ve learnt so much from the writing process and I’ve no plans for stopping anytime soon. So what’s changed with me since I started out on my writer’s journey?

Why did I start writing? Continue reading