Particular Stupidities.


St Rumwold’s Church, Bonnington. (View from Romney Marsh.)

We’re on a two week break now. I’m heading home to the UK tomorrow morning with Turdish Airlines. People to see, things to do, places to visit. Beer to drink, food to eat, books to buy. And so on.

Once again, I’m going to be Internetless on Romney Marsh for a while. It’s never easy. And I’ll be on my own. Always easy.

I’ve put two books out recently – Smoke and Mirrors and He Made Me. I’m glad to get them off my hands before the break. I’m now free to concentrate fully on the project in hand. For a change, I will be taking my laptop with me because I’m half-way into R&M #5 and I don’t want to leave it. If I can keep it ticking over with an hour or two a night I’ll be happy.

Working title and almost certainly the one I’m going to end up with is Particular Stupidities. I know it doesn’t sound very ‘crimey’ but that’s not my biggest concern for this title, which is actually perfect for the book. My biggest concern is how a two word title – one of ten letters and one of eleven letters – is going to look as a thumbnail image. And I’ve got to find room for an ‘effect’ in there somewhere to ‘sex it up’.

Unless I can stumble across some free WiFi on my travels I won’t be able to respond to any emails or comments either here on the blog or on Amazon. Sorry for that, but I’m sure they’ll all keep.

Having been quite immersed in the second Booker & Cash lately I have a desire to visit some of the places what I wrote about. Particularly I want to visit St Rumwold’s church. I’m going to ride my bike the couple of miles out there and sit on the bench in the graveyard that overlooks Romney Marsh just like David and Jo. I might even pretend that I have a book-themed coffee shop in my life, a Range Rover and a Jo.  (Trust me, if ever I strike it lucky two of those three will be high on my shopping list.) Maybe I’ll take some pictures.

And finally, at the time of writing I have one comment on He Made Me at Amazon UK. It’s a good one, which is always nice for the first. I want to share part of the reader’s feedback because it means a great deal to me.

I have never been to Romney Marsh but I must admit these books have made me really want to see the place, it sounds very special.

I was born and bred on Romney Marsh. I lived there for over forty years. It will always be a special place for me. It’s not perfect but it’s home and it does have a lot going for it. I would be thrilled to think that the books I have written and will write about the place could help to raise an awareness of it, to encourage people to think about paying it a visit. I’d like to give something back to it.

Like David Booker, I left Romney Marsh swearing I’d never go back to live there and like David Booker I’m now contemplating reversing that decision. There are a lot of worse places to live, especially with a young boy to raise.

Come in number 9 – your time is up.

He Made Me (Large)

Last night I finished the final read-through of He Made Me (Booker & Cash #2). I changed one word. (It was an important one, so I was glad I went the extra mile.) Only yesterday I said I’d be releasing it at the weekend but as everything else was ready I thought that I might as well induce the birth. Why wait?

So it’s now available from Amazon UK and at the links below.

Now, instead of spending all week spamming people with news of the forthcoming release of this title I can spam them and tell them it’s available for downloading.

(In case anyone is wondering about that number 9 shizzle, that’s my ninth book.)

Booker & Cash #2 (labour pains have started)

Bad Sons Final (Large)  He Made Me (Large)

I do like seeing the covers in my series alongside each other. I like to see them multiply. It feels like I’m getting somewhere.

I continue to think that the cover for Bad Sons is really brilliant. And although it’s early days (it only came yesterday afternoon) I feel just as strongly for He Made Me. If and when you read it go back and look at the cover again. Then tell me I’m wrong.

I’m currently re-reading HMM for what I hope will be the last time before I self-publish it at the weekend. Thirty percent in and I’m enjoying it. When you consider that I’ve read it at least a dozen times already, oh yeah and I wrote the thing, I think that bodes well. It encourages me to think so anyway.

If you follow this blog (thanks by the way) please forgive the daily spam this week but what can I do? I’ve got a book coming out and conventional self-publishing wisdom suggests that authors should go on about it. And of course I want readers to read it.

The Blurb:

David Booker and Jo Cash are experiencing similar stuttering starts to their new lives on Romney Marsh when Rebecca Swaine turns up seeking help. Someone is demanding a lot of money from her husband. She wants to know why.

People come undone and reputations are ruined and made before the meaning of a man’s dying words – he made me – can be guessed at.

Mrs Swaine might end up wishing she’d let sleeping lies lie.

DI Romney to vent my spleen (again).



He Made Me, the second in my Booker and Cash series, has now had its final read-through. It has been formatted; it has its table of contents and back and front matter, and is awaiting uploading to Amazon. But I can’t upload it yet because I still don’t have the cover. Because I don’t have the cover or any idea of when it’s coming I can’t even say when I’ll be putting the book out there. That’s all a little frustrating. I worry that if I were to be killed by a bus when I take the Halfling to the park today then my biggest regret as I waited patiently in line at the pearly gates for my one way ticket in the elevator going down would be that He Made Me would die with me. (I know, not much of a life, eh? Sorry kids. There it is.)

In the meantime, I’m bashing away at R&M#5. I’m thirty thousand words in and it’s going well. Romney is still cantankerous. Marsh is still respectfully patient (for the most part). Grimes is still…fat. Boudicca is still ginger. Dover and district is still keeping CID busy.

Almost four years ago I wrote something of the non-fiction variety. It concerns a theory I have regarding intelligence. I’ve held this theory dear ever since I thought it up and I only see examples in daily life to reinforce my belief in it. It is not something that I could hope to publish, even self-publish, without upsetting most of the people who would probably read it. Until now.

Enter DI Romney. He is the perfect mouthpiece to give voice and credence to my theory. It is exactly the sort of theory that he would come up with. (The more I write about him the more I realise that Romney and I are not so unalike.) Since I accepted that I wouldn’t be able make my theory known through conventional channels I have been toying with the idea of introducing it in one of my books. I won’t be talked out of it. But what I must do now is to find a way of incorporating it into the narrative without it seeming contrived and I must not let Romney stay on that soap box too long. I have to distil my ten thousand word rant into a couple of meaningful paragraphs. Yesterday, I realised that I’m nearly at a place in the book that would be perfect for it. I’m looking forward to that particular ‘literary’ exercise with some relish.

It’s a lovely sunny, still day here in Shitstanbul. I’m off out to the park with the Halfling, a walk along the seafront and then a coffee outside somewhere. It’s not a bad life.

Happy New Screw! (It’s a tax thing.)


I’m composing this blog-post sitting in a warm Istanbul coffee shop. I should be at school teaching English as a foreign language but last night, because of the threat of heavy snow in the region, the Ministry for Education made the announcement that all schools will be shut today, as they were yesterday and the day before for the same reason. Some parts of the region got it but the heavy snow has not arrived here although the skies appear heavily laden with it.

I’m sitting next to a window with a view over the Sea of Marmara. It is snowing very lightly. The flakes are like blossom falling at the end of summer. It’s not laying. A little way across the sea are the Princes Islands. They are all but obscured today. I have plans for those and Acer to become acquainted.

Unexpected days off like this are special. I’m being paid to sit in a cafe and live my second life.

Part One:

At midnight on 1st January 2015 an EU taxation law changed making all sales of ebooks now subject to the VAT rate of the country in which the book is sold. (I think I got that right.) The result for me of that stroke of money making genius from some bean-counting git who probably doesn’t read is that every time I now sell an ebook in the UK instead of there being a 3% VAT cherry on top for someone’s government there is now a 20% VAT layer of heavily iced sponge cake for them to gorge themselves on at the trough. Hey! Maybe all that increased revenue from ebook taxes will encourage them to start another unwinnable war somewhere. There’s a cheery thought to kick the New Year off with.

The change doesn’t have to be my loss. I think that the increase is intended to target the end user. (Did I really just refer to readers as ‘end users’? What’s happened to me?!) Nothing new there, I suppose. Kick the consumer on the street right where it hurts most – the pocket. It’s certainly nothing to do with Amazon and the other ebook outlets. But Amazon had to do something about it so they automatically hiked all the prices of my ebooks by 20%. (They did let me know well in advance that they would be doing this if, as the publisher of the ebook, I did nothing about my pricing prior to the changes coming into being.)

So I had a decision to make when I turned on my computer to see that all my books had gone from £1.99 to £2.32: leave it like that and let the reader/customer take the hit if they wanted my books, or reduce my starting price so that the £1.99 that I like to price my books at now includes the 20% VAT. Obviously, that means that now the financial loss becomes mine.

I don’t know that readers wouldn’t buy my books at the new price of £2.32. But I don’t like the look of it. I thought about rounding it up to £2.49, or maybe £2.99. Just for the aesthetics of the numbers. Not long enough to do anything about it, though. They are now back to £1.99 and I feel that’s right. I’m big on feelings. (If anyone I’ve ever had a ‘special’ relationship with sees that they’ll probably be on the floor crying with laughter now, or throwing breakables at walls.)

Part Two:

As many who follow this blog will be aware, over the Christmas period I released the third book in my Acer Sansom series. Please, take it from me that being solely responsible for putting an ebook out into the world is quite a stressful thing. I’d rather have a baby. It would probably be easier, less demanding, less painful. (Mothers: please direct your scathing remarks to my agent.) There are many worries for one’s paranoia to feed upon, and to lose sleep over. I’m deadly serious for a change. Did the formatting survive the transition from my computer to Amazon ebook file? Does the plot have any massive holes or inconsistencies? Did I get all the names right? Does it make sense chronologically? Did the changes I made after getting the book back from proofreading bugger anything up? And the big one, will readers like it?

In the case of Smoke and Mirrors, I was seconds away from pressing the upload-to-Amazon button when I realised that the title page said Smoke & Mirrors and the cover said Smoke and Mirrors. Honestly. As the author/publisher you see something like that and it makes you want to read the whole thing again. Twice. Just to be as sure as you can possibly be.

Pardon my language, but if you fuck up with something you’re going to let yourself and readers down. You’ll destroy something fragile and valuable that’s taken a lot of time and effort to build up even if it’s only in your own mind. There will be no second chance. You can’t get those books back that have been downloaded. Any new readers will probably slate you in the comments and ratings sections.

I’m thrilled/relieved to report that the initial response to Smoke and Mirrors has been wonderfully generous and encouraging. I know that I have readers who look out for new publications (that’s a very special feeling) and I am truly grateful and not a little humbled to have my ‘regulars’ feedback so positively on the read. One of my maxims for this second life of mine is that writers are nothing without readers. I should have it tattooed on my forehead. (Maybe backwards so I could read it in the mirror every time I…looked in the mirror. Actually, maybe not. Might be confusing for people who don’t know me and it would definitely be an unwise career move. Just write it on a sticker and keep it near the laptop, eh?) A massive thank you to each and every one of you.

Part Three:

Booker and Cash #2 He Made Me came back from the gentleman who proofreads my books. One day I should compile a list of the comments he makes in the sidebars and stick it on here. They make me laugh. I know that elements of Booker and Cash #1 didn’t please/convince everyone. I really believe/hope that #2 will help to win those readers over.

Over the last couple of days I’ve had the opportunity to read it through again. I’m happy with it. Just waiting on the cover and I’m going to stick it on Amazon.

I’ve made a start on Romney and Marsh #5. It’s going pretty well and just the other day I had two great ideas for it that did something to my skin.

A seasonal cliché. (sad face)

Ever since I saw this watch was due for release by Omega I’ve wanted one. I could go on and on about why I think I deserve one and why I just want one but I won’t. I think it’s the watch that Acer might choose. (Not that I see myself as Acer in any way, I hasten to add.) The watch became available in November. I’ve been dropping a steady stream of subtle and not so subtle hints to she-who-must-be-dismayed that this would make the perfect Christmas gift for someone extra special.

Because Christmas doesn’t exist where I live the giving of seasonal gifts is made on New Year’s Eve/Day. So it was with great interest and not a little excitement that I noticed a box with my name on it had appeared under the New Year tree yesterday. OK it was a little big but that would just be a good tactic for disguising the contents.

When it was time to unwrap I elbowed my three year old aside and fell on my box. I broke a nail in my haste to tear open the wrapping.

Even now, twelve hours later, it’s hard for my to truly convey my feelings for what awaited me. I don’t think that I should try on a public forum.

(Scroll down to the bottom of this post to see why.)

Other than that, 2014 has been a good year for me as a writer. I’ve written a couple more books and I haven’t run out of ideas or enthusiasm for it. I’ve learned a lot, too. One of my books has been translated into German and hopefully there’ll be more this year. Reviews of my books continue to be mostly positive and encouraging.

What lies ahead for me in 2015? Another book in each of my three series, I hope. And I’m going to seriously investigate creating audiobooks. I want to have a go at that myself. I have that kind of belief that I could do a good job. And I think that I would enjoy the experience. A bit of variety. Lots of authors do read their own stuff. There is so much help and advice online at that I should at least give it a shot. Maybe I could do a sample and put it on the blog for some reader feedback.

This week I played around with Youtube and created a couple of short book trailer videos. One for the R&M Files and one for Acer. It’s so easy and quite fun. Have a look for yourself.

It just remains for me so say a very big thank you to Martin for his skills and contributions to the books. Anyone who read my early stuff knows how improved the latter books are for his input. I’d also like to say thank you to those people who I hope won’t mind me referring to them as my supporters. (That’s everyone else). I value every download, every comment, every thought and, of course, your ongoing interest in and support of my writing.

Best wishes for a brilliant 2015 to you all.

Yay! Slippers!

Yay! Slippers!