Baggage, building and bacon.

Dear CWAP Diary

Ten days back in the bosum of Romney Marsh. And I’m just about over the couple of days it took me to get back home from Turkey. Couple… of… days…

You just know things aren’t going to go your way when your suitcase comes around the carousel at Baggage Reclaim looking like this.


You know that old joke about luggage in London, you in Istanbul etc. It’s not funny.

So because of flight delays and connecting flights missed and ‘luggage issues’ I didn’t get back to the UK until late Tuesday night having spent most of Monday and Tuesday stuck in Istanbul  and in the same clothes for forty-eight hours.

I made the London Book Fair for the last day: Thursday. It was much as expected – lots of book industry people doing lots of book industry things. Busy people. Nothing there for me. But up on the top floor Amazon had a good set up. I caught an open chat on writing for children – a genre I have ambitions to write in – so, interesting. And then I had the good fortune to catch a couple of Amazon’s best-selling authors who were very friendly, down to earth and good to talk to.

Amazon’s Kindle Scout got back to me this week with editorial feedback on Deep State. (When Amazon accept a book for publication part of the deal is that they have the manuscript looked at by editors from Kirkus.)

Feedback was generally positive with some suggestions for minor alterations and the like. Nothing major and most of the recommendations  were related to making the text more American, which is feedback wasted because Acer and I are British. One of the good things about the feedback is the understanding that recommendations are just that and the author is free to accept them or not as they wish. Now I must make time in my DIY schedule to look at the text, deal with it and send off the final version.

I haven’t written anything new since I’ve been back home. Here’s why:

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I’m enjoying my new set of challenges and renewing old acquaintences with my tools, even if many of them are, like me, a bit rusty.

I’m taking a day off today to catch up with computer related stuff and look seriously at Deep State now that I’ve had a few days to mull over the suggestions.

Ten days and I still haven’t had a rasher of bacon. I’m intending to rectify that this morning.

Oh, and I’ve got a letter to write to Turkish Airlines…

Time well spent.

Unhappy Families (Large)  Deep State (Large)  Three Short Blasts  (Medium)  A WHITE-KNUCKLE CHRISTMAS 1030 1

So that’s my Turkey time finished for a while. I’ve had a little under eight months of a writing sabbatical. Not many people get lucky enough for that sort of opportunity in their lives. In that time I’ve written and put out the four books above. I’ve also written eighty thousand words of Booker & Cash #3 (I feel like I’m on the home straight with that one), ten thousand words of Booker & Cash #4 (that was just accidental – an attempt at a short story that I realised had some legs in it) and a sixty thousand word first draft of a stand alone that might be the start of something special. Then there’re the weekly blog-posts and I overhauled the first three Romney & Marsh Files, which was quite a time-consuming task. But a necessary one.

Life has been good here. Surprisingly really good. I existed in my bubble in the suburbs of Ankara and I have been happy.

For myself as much as anything (this is my writer’s diary after all) I’m going to detail a typical working day in my writer’s life.

6.30am – my little boy usually wakes up demanding attention. That’s my job.

8.15 am – I walk my son to school, which is about fifteen minutes away. Sometimes it snows.


8.30 am – My usual Turkish breakfast at my usual table in the local eatery. (Including mug of tea 12.50TL, which equates to just under £3. Bargain.) I used to go home and make my own until I discovered this place. (No shopping, no preparing, no washing up. Eat, pay, go. What’s not to like?)


9.15 am –  Back home. Sit down to write.

new projects

(Yesterday, Sunday, I stripped the walls of my Post-its and put them somewhere safe. That was pretty sad. I felt like I was moving out, which I suppose I am.)

1.00 pm  – Down tools, change into running gear and head to gym.

1.15 pm –  Arrive at gym and torture myself for an hour.


Anyone else remember Roger Newel-Post?

2.30 pm – Table tennis partner arrives. Let the games commence.

3.45 pm – Leave gym, run to meet son from school.

4.30 pm – Arrive home. Do stuff.


Even his T-shirt was impressed with that Yorkshire pudding.

7.30 pm – Put son to bed and read him a story. That’s my job.

8.00 pm – Sit down to watch a film. (Great TV packages in Turkey)

10ish pm – Back to current writing project

Midnight – Bed.

On a good day I’ll manage 5000 words. On a slow one half that.

I feel like I’ve had a productive and enjoyable time as a writer. And I’m still brimming with creativity. My walls are plastered with Post-its of ideas for new stories.

I don’t really want to leave Turkey just now but I have to. It’s a visa thing. I’ve got to get out for three months minimum. And then it will be summer in the UK, which I quite like, so I’ll be back home on the Marsh until September. Then… we’ll see.

By the time anyone sees this I will hopefully be somewhere in the air over Europe looking down on the world with an alcoholic beverage in my fist. Tomorrow I’ll be at the London Book Fair. I’m looking forward to that. See here: LBF Blog-post.

Writing is going to have to take a back seat in my life for the next few months. I’ve got a list of jobs to do as long as Inspector Gadget’s arm. And I need a bit of a holiday. I’ve worked quite hard during my sabbatical.

I’m gutted I didn’t get to wrap up B&C#3 before I left. It’s my own fault. I was struck with a book idea in February and spent the next three weeks knocking out a first draft. And it is good. But it cost me valuable B&C time, which I haven’t been able to claw back. I can’t not finish B&C#3 as soon as possible because I’m in the swing of it and it’s a bit complex for me. I can see I’m going to be burning some midnight oil for a week or two back home. So be it.

I recently read a very interesting and affirming article here: When the well runs dry.

The author of the piece considers the feelings of tiredness that a creative can experience on finishing a project. This is definitely something I can relate to. I found it hard to understand the first few times it happened to me – I thought I was coming down with something – but now I’m used to it. It’s become part of the process. I finish the first draft of something and it’s like someone’s pulled my plug. I become quite listless for a few days. It’s good to know it’s normal for some.

After eight months of writing solidly, I need to give my ‘well’ an opportunity to fill up a bit. Preferably with beer. I’m looking forward to heading down the road to this place. Romney Marsh Brewery No prizes for guessing why.


I intend to keep my Diary of a CWAP up to date. There will be news to share in the coming weeks – Deep State (Acer #4) and Waifs & Strays (B&C#3) for starters.

I would like to end this chapter (groan) in my writing life by taking the opportunity to once again offer my warmest and sincerest thanks to all my friends and readers on social media who have taken an interest in my writing and helped me to have such a wonderful time of it. Your ongoing support is greatly appreciated.

Writers are nothing without supportive readers.

And finally many thanks to Martin and Shelagh who have both had their editorial and proofreading work cut out for them with the above books. They are the reasons my writing is not littered with errors like what it used to be (?). Professional help is something else a serious writer can’t do without.

Jones on the beach

My sunshine on Dymchurch beach.


Cinders to attend London Book Fair


A few weeks ago I wondered out loud on social media whether to attend the London Book Fair. I had no ‘real’ understanding at the time of what the event was all about. The response of those who answered my thoughts was fairly consistent: don’t bother.

What the London Book Fair is: a place for the book industry’s players to get together and do business: press the flesh, network, trade, buy, sell, thrash out deals for their traditionally published pets. It is a place for the professionals.

What the London Book Fair isn’t: an opportunity for unpublished or self-publishers to prowl the stands and the aisles, clutching carrier bags of manuscripts and book synposes, stalking possible marks (agents and publishers) that they might be able to corner in the hope of impressing them with the quality of their work and get a ‘deal’ out of it.

I’m clear about all that. Now that I am I can attend and just relax. I have my ticket.

Why would I go to an event where I will likely be treated as a pariah if my identity were uncovered? The truth is that having just spent eight months living in a culturally sterile city – in fact hidden away in the suburbs – where my unswerving daily routine has been devoid of cultural and English language experiences that haven’t come out of a computer screen, a television or a Kindle I feel the rather desperate need to dive into an atmosphere devoted to one of the loves of my life: books. (Think man in tattered clothing, sunburned to a violent crimson, weeks of stubble and almost blind from the intensity of the light, crawling out of the Sahara desert and spotting a swimming pool shimmering with cool, unchlorinated mineral water. [Or is it a mirage?]) And the opportunity to visit and soak up a bit of London’s atmosphere is something else I’m looking forward to. Maybe I’ll call in on the bookshops in Charing Cross Road and Cecil Court. Just thinking about it is making me smile.

As for the LBF I have aboslutely no intention of doing anything other than turning up, mooching about, handling books, smelling success, sipping coffee and generally spooning up the ambience of the place. I don’t think that I even want to talk to anyone. (After eight months in the wilderness I’m not much of a conversationalist these days).

I’ve never been to anything like it before so it’s something new for me. It can feed my dreams, which is never a bad thing if it’s not hurting anyone. And who knows, I might learn a thing or two.


Don’t be dull.


One week to go until I must flee Turkey or face imprisonment for outstaying my welcome. (Might be worth it for the material for a bestseller it could give me: Midnight Express 2). As the clock ticks down on my Turkey time and my writing sabbatical I’m taking stock of a few things. Today I feel the urge to make an entry in my CWAP diary for posterity.

The Internet is littered with pithy gobbets of writing advice attributed to famous authors. Erudite phrases that are like word-windows opening onto fields of literary possibilities. I might not be a famous author but I have a bit of writing advice to impart to would-be novelists – my two-penny-worth: don’t be dull.

It might seem obvious to strive not to be dull as a writer but I have read – make that started and discarded – a number of books this year that have proven to be ‘dull’ reads. (Yeah, I know dullness is a subjective thing.)

Technology is allowing increasing numbers of people to realise that dream of writing and ‘publishing’ the book inside them that we are all supposed to have. Good luck to them all, I say. But a word of caution: it’s not enough to be able to write coherant sentences, organise paragraphs, keep a narrative arc going from start to finish. Not if it makes for dull reading. Writing doesn’t have to be gripping but it does need to be engaging. Pace, humour, horror, suspense, twisting plots, colourful characters, startlingly original figurative and/or descriptive language, snappy dialogue – there are many ways one can engage readers. The more strings you have to your bow the better. Obviously. Just dont be dull.

As a writer one must be a reader. More than that. You’ve got to read masters of the craft and learn from them. Understand what it is about their writing that hooks you the reader and learn from it.

Now might be an opportune time to recommend a read. (Don’t worry, it’s not one of mine.) The best book I have read in a long, long time. Certainly my of my top five reads. It’s got everything. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. An easy ten out of five from me. And I’m nearly finished with the follow-up Hannibal. This guy is simply brilliant. He has many strings to his bow.

(In response to the suggestion that everyone has a book inside them, the publisher Michael Joseph is reputed to have once said  that most of them should stay there.)

Don’t make yours one of them. Don’t be dull.

For sale by auction.

Dirty Business Final (Large)  Loose Ends Final (Large)

Smoke and Mirrors 0602 (Medium)  Deep State (Large)

I had an idea the other day. The idea is based on another idea that I had a good while ago.

The older idea isn’t really an idea. It’s more of a belief. The idea/belief is based on property ownership. I’ve always considered physical property, particularly of the bricks and mortar kind to be the best kind of property investment one can make. I’m still keen on that kind of property ownership, but I’ve changed my mind about whether it’s the best kind of property to own. So what it the best kind of property to own? Could it be intellectual property?

Owning the right intellectual property can prove quite profitable in the right hands. I would even go so far as to say that owning any intellectual property can be quite profitable in the right hands. This all got me thinking about the intellectual property that I own: the rights to my books. OK so I’m using the word ‘intellectual’ in the broadest sense. (Thought I’d get that one in first.)

When I started thinking about my IP (intellectual property) I wondered if I could profit from it in a different and more immediate way that might appeal to some investors.

If I were to make for sale the rights in every shape and form to a series of my books would I get any takers? That got me thinking two things: which series and what sort of money would I want for it.

I’ve decided to  sell my Acer Sansom series to the highest bidder – all rights to every book. I will happily sign a contractual agreement that I won’t write another. The  purchaser can do what they like with them: keep my name on the cover, change it, whatever, change the titles, change Acer’s name, whatever. All a prospective purchaser would need to do would be to meet my reserve price or better it and then the four book series is theirs to do what they like with. In the right hands the four books could bring a nice monthly income for as long as the world reads books.

In the hands of a savvy business person I’m sure there is good money to be made with these books. As well as continued sales of ebooks (a market that with my limited enthusiasm or nouse for self-promotion  I have hardly scratched) there is the physical book market (none of the Acer books has ever been printed). There is also the audio book market to take advantage of (again something that I haven’t touched and something that is growing in popularity and is quite lucrative). And, who knows, maybe film rights one day. I repeat: who knows. All for a one-off lump sum.

Why would I do that? Because I need a one-off lump sum.

I’ve given this a good deal of thought. It’s the right thing for me. The package as outlined above is now open to bids on ebay at the following link address. So, if you’ve ever fancied owning your own series of thrillers to do with as you wish just click on the link and make a bid. There is a modest reserve.

Ebay UK Acer Sansom series: full rights auction.

Now that the date has passed  I’m posting below the information that the link above provided.

Yes, that’s right it’s an April Fool’s Day joke. That’s why I haven’t allowed comments on the original post.

Did I get you? If you want to pass comment (swear at me), please do it on social media WITHOUT GIVING AWAY THE APRIL FOOL. I’d like to get as many people as possible. 🙂

PS: Anyone seriously interested in the Acer series let’s do lunch. (Bring your cheque book.)