Aug 8, 2011

The Messenger is live!

THE MESSENGER is on Kindle:

'A land of souls. Genocide. And one soldier.’

… a story that challenges the basic belief of war.

Jack Chandler is a Special Forces operative whose close shaves have been adding up – which is why his wife, Sally, wants him out of the Regiment. On his last mission, he is mortally wounded and finds himself in a land overflowing with centuries of war dead ready to slide back and destroy this world – Jack’s world. He recovers, but the visions persist, driving a wedge between him and his family. Jack is told he has PTSD. He hopes it is. The alternative, that what he is seeing is real, terrifies him.

Jack discovers a US plot to invade Iran that will kill millions and flood the land with dead it can’t hold. He sets out to stop the genocide, but can one man succeed against the most powerful country in the world? And the souls? Are they real or is Jack's conscience creating them?

May 27, 2011

The Messenger - cover

Well, chaps, this is the Kindle mock-up I have been working on for the cover of The Messenger - it needs slightly more work but I hope I'm almost there. The manuscript is out for a final read through and critique and then, subject to that, I hope to be out on Kindle by the end of June. Then of course I shall be at the mercy of the reviewers ... eek!

I will be interested to hear anyone's view on The Messenger mock-up cover shown here.

Next step ... rather than work on a sequel to The Messenger at the moment I am going to revisit my first novel - The Paradigm Culture (another thriller with other-world undertones). The sequel to that is already written - goodness, I have been busy this last ten years ha-ha.

Mar 4, 2011

A bottle of Coke versus The Messenger - decisions decisions.

Again today I have been researching the prices of books on Kindle to gauge the price I should set for The Messenger.

Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Kindle price £2.74

James Patterson's Worst Case - Kindle price £2.75

Lee Child's 61 Hours - Kindle price £3.59

Sean Black's Lock Down - Kindle Price £4.18

Now, as a 'new thriller writer' I am conscious that, unlike Stieg, James, Lee and Sean, both me and my work will not be well known - so I can't overcook the price. However, my prospective readers will be getting a 150,000 word, page-turner of a thriller. But as I'm told so often it isn't size that matters - it's quality. And who am I to suggest the quality of my own work? That will be down to the readers /reviewers. They will tell me if it's good value for money. However, when I consider that a bottle of coke (other fizzy drinks available) at most motorway services will cost the best part of £1.50, do I use that as a marketing tool? "Buy a Kindle thriller for (less than?) the price of a bottle of coke at the Services!"

I began writing The Messenger in 2006 - and it has been a labour of love ever since. edits -alterations - research - deleted story lines - meetings - critiques - more editing - Agents - Publishers - suggestions - rejections - more writing - and so it went on. What I am trying to say is it's been a long time coming and now it's here I don't want to spoil the ship for a half-pennyworth of tar.

Feb 22, 2011

Kindle self-publishing ... goodbye to agents?

Well guys, here I am at last. Having spent the last fifteen months chasing literary agents I have decided I am doing it no more. I am about to publish THE MESSENGER on Amazon Kindle instead. Publication is instant and worldwide. I will also achieve 70% royalties on sales in the UK and US and 35% elsewhere.

I have come to this decision not least of all because of the somewhat disturbing attitude of literary agents to new writers. I have researched around forty agents and written to twenty-three. Of these, three expressed an interest after receiving the standard opening chapters and asked to see the full manuscript. However, whilst that interest came to nothing I am grateful to those particular agents as it showed that they at least read their slush piles. I realise agents are busy people and understand that they need to advocate certain standards for submissions - double-spaced A4 sheets, synopses that can vary from one paragraph to six pages, enquiry letters with and without personal details, CVs and no CVs, return postage etc. We are also told quite bluntly not to contact an agent to see what is happening to our 'baby' until at least three months has elapsed. And we are warned that agents do not like us making multiple submissions - (which means if we stick to their rules we might have responses from four agents in any one year - if we are lucky). When agents do finally reply it is increasingly the case that the rejection slip is not addressed to us (Dear John) but rather contains a standard "this is not right for us - go away".


My wife, Jill, bought me an Amazon Kindle 3G for Christmas. Wonderful machine! It will store 3,500 books - anyone of which can be purchased and downloaded in seconds. But more importantly (to writers, who, like me, may have been chasing agents for years), the Kindle has a self publishing sector - which I have been investigating for the writing groups to which I belong. Briefly anyone can publish on Kindle. Write your book, upload it and put a price on it. Simples! And you get royalties. No printing costs - no waiting for agents to reply - no publishers telling you that your book will be out in two years. As soon as it's finished, critiqued, edited, proof read - in other words the most polished you can make it - you upload it and then it's up to you. Either sit back and hope it gets noticed or do some agressive marketing and make sure it gets noticed.

I hear you asking "If anyone can publish on Kindle doesn't it mean that there will be books which will not be up to scratch - not good value for money on the Kindle system?"

Yes, I suppose that could be the case - some writers will not take the trouble to have their stories critiqued, edited and proof-read and that's where the Amazon reviewers come into their own. They are not afraid to vent their spleen when they read rubbish. So, it's in the writer's own interests to get his /her story polished.

Anyway, enough from me for now. I will try to write regularly on how the process is going for me and my writing friends who are choosing to take the Kindle path.

If anyone out there has used or is considering using the Kindle publishing route and is happy to talk about the experience write to me on

Jan 22, 2010

Book that man ...

It's been a while - but I'm here now.

I was interviewed by BBC radio on Sunday about The Messenger. BBC iPlayer - Michael Chequer and friends: 17/01/2010 I have three reviewers (chosen by the BBC) to whom I have delivered the draft manuscript. They are going to critique it and air their comments live on the show in around three weeks.

This is a precursor to the operation of a proposal, about prepublished books, that I put to the BBC. So watch this space folks!

Sep 25, 2009

Gut feelings

Three months? Lots going on - some resolved - some not. I am due to have an exploratory camera thrust down into my gut on Monday afternoon. Hopefully that will sort out what has been plaguing me since I last posted. I am told that I must post the pictures on Facebook - not sure that will be wise.

I've completed some writing, but renovating the smallest room in the house took a considerable time - wouldn't you know it! What writing I have achieved has been mainly on the Jack Chandler sequel. Set in New York, Washington and London (and possibly Slovakia if the Trenchin Castle idea comes up trumps) it has action, assassinations and a secret society to end all secret societies (Dan Brown eat your heart out). Jack realises that the powers pulling the strings behind the scenes of Western Governments have an agenda beyond even his jaundiced imagination - but deciding who he can trust with the information is another matter.

I'll try not to leave posting so long next time - depends how the pictures develop!

Jun 23, 2009

As I was saying ...

Two months? Has it really been two months?

I have had my head down - doing a rewrite. The Messenger intentionally crossed set genres (thriller and supernatural) and it was suggested that it could pose a selling challenge to an interested agent. So, I decided to see how the story may fare from being purely a thriller without its 'other world' subplot. The exercise has been fascinating. Whilst the concept of the original story - (are war dead free from the pain of death?), poses a threat (the more we kill, the more likely we are to kill ourselves) and brings a message (those who profit from war will destroy us - so believe nothing - question everything) when the supernatural subplot is removed it creates a totally new focus. Iran and the Middle East dilemma are still the object of the story, as is the US invasion, but the 'new' story (for which there is no working title as yet) drops the wordage from 144,000 to 115,000 and reduces the characters. The pace, however, is increased and becomes more story led than character led. Both allow me to provide a sequel. So, there we have it - that's where I have been for two months.

Oh, yes, and I met up with Camilla Bolton (Darley Anderson) at the Crimefest event in Bristol and she has requested the first ten chapters of the revised story when it is finished (in around two weeks).