Year of the CWAP.

It’s traditional to reflect upon the year when we come to the end of it. So for posterity and my CWAP diary here goes for my thoughts on 2016.

I put four books out this year:

It’s possible that with A White-Knuckle Christmas and Deep State I’ve written my last Romney and Marsh File and the last Acer Sansom story respectively. Possible, not definite. I want to have a bash at some other writing projects. I’ll see how I feel about things after that. Booker & Cash is a series I can see myself writing more in.

Deep State was selected by an Amazon epublishing imprint. It was certainly something worth trying because on the face of it… well it’s Amazon and you’d expect them to really get behind anything they’ve selected because they will make money out of every sale twice – as publisher a fifty percent cut of the book price and as sales outlet a percentage of the sale as commision. So I’ve been hugely disappointed with their apparent lack of interest in anything to do with Deep State after it went live. No communication, no promotions. It’s been left to fend for itself. I would not recommend going the Kindle Press route to anyone. Live and learn.

I’ve written three short stories. I’m intending to write a few more so that I might produce a collection for self-publication. I like the short story format.

The first draft of Poor Hands (Booker & Cash #3) is finished at last.

I’m 25,000 words into Death Wish (Booker & Cash #4).

I’ve added to and then shelved a couple of other rainy day projects and I’m continually generating ideas.

Cold Kills is the first step in trying something different to my usual and I thoroughly enjoyed the change of direction. It’s only been out a week but initial feedback is encouraging.

On the writing front, then, not too shabby considering I was ‘Out of Order’ from April to October working on this:

and this:

Who said letting kids watch telly all day was bad for them? All those Bob the Builder DVDs certainly paid off.

Like 2016, 2017 is going to be a mix of writing and building work, time in Ankara at my desk and time in the UK up a ladder. I enjoyed that variety in 2016. It was nice to have a physically demanding break from sitting on my backside all day making up stories.

Writing related aspirations for 2017?

Get out B&C #3 & #4 for starters.

Finish that short story collection.

Crack on with another change of direction and genre that’s burning a hole in my head.

That should keep me going until I return to the UK in the spring.

I’d like to wish all my readers a happy and healthy 2017 and my sincere and heartfelt thanks for your ongoing support of and interest in my writing.

Celebrating a new arrival.

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Whoever made this yummy looking cake must have been thinking of Cold Kills when they decorated it.

Cold Kills is out tomorrow – Christmas Day. Given the time of year, I don’t expect anyone to read it anytime soon. And I wouldn’t advise anyone to read it before they’ve had their Christmas dinner.

Cold Kills is my fifteenth book. The other fourteen have all been associated with my three series. Those three series each have established reader bases. I’ve been very fortunate that many readers who’ve read their way through one of my series have gone on to try another and in some cases another. There are some readers who have read everything I’ve written. For that level of support I am sincerely grateful.

I know many of my readers have downloaded Cold Kills on the strength of enjoying some of my other books, even though it is far removed from the usual stuff I write about. That’s such an encouraging thing for a CWAP. My thanks to you all. I can only hope you find something in it to enjoy. I believe the book has the potential to be a more thought provoking read than anything I’ve released to date.

It’s not going to appeal to everyone who picks it up. It’s quite possible that because it is so far removed my usual writing that feedback will be a good deal less positive than if I’d stuck closer to ‘home’. I’m prepared for that. That’s the chance you take when you offer something outside of the norm. I intend spending more time out of my comfort zone in 2017.

I’m back working on Poor Hands B&C#3. I’ve ordered the cover. I had a week away from it because while looking for something in my documents folder I came across another writing project I started a couple of years ago. I made the mistake of opening it and then reading it. I liked it. (So maybe it wasn’t a mistake.) I couldn’t remember why I’d shelved it and I couldn’t resist spending a few days on it. It’s now up to nearly 20,000 words. And I’m shelving it again. It’s a book that needs a plan, not my usual approach of making it up as I go along. (Maybe that’s why I shelved it before.) It’s the second time this has happened in recent months with forgotten documents in my ‘False Starts’ folder . Still, it’s nice to have a couple of projects in the bank for rainy days.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a healthy and happy Christmas with their loved ones.

cold-kills-largeCold Kills is available to order from these links :

Amazon UK and Amazon US

 

 

Social media and the CWAP.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to be a writer using social media forever. (Mahatma Coat)

Wise words from a sage who understood a thing or two about life and learning and having extra arms. At least he did until he was assassinated by an Internet troll who took exception to having their one star review of Coat’s seminal work, ‘Social Media and the CWAP’ torn to shreds by the man himself.

But what, I hear you cry, has this pithy saying about life and learning got to do with being a CWAP?

As CWAPs we are constantly encouraged to believe that using social media is imperative to getting the word out about our writing, in particular forthcoming releases. I continue to wonder at the true value of social media as a CWAP tool.

This week I posted the following status update on my Facebook homepage:

Just received some really upsetting news: After seven years of medical training and hard work, my very good friend has been struck off after one minor indiscretion and I think it’s outrageous . He slept with one of his patients and now can no longer work in the profession that he loves.What a waste of time, training and money. A genuinely nice guy and a brilliant vet.

This received 63 likes, 30 shares and 16 comments. It could be the most feedback I’ve had on anything I’ve ever posted on FB. (And I ‘borrowed’ it from somewhere else.)

My next book out is Cold Kills. Since it became available for pre-order on Amazon I’ve posted three times about it on FB. Those three posts have generated a total of: 32 likes, 13 comments and 3 shares.

As the saying goes, you do the math.

In case anyone who reads this should find themselves tutting, rolling their eyes and thinking I’m whining about stuff, again, I’m not. Really. I’m not. I’m simply chucking a statistical experience out there, wondering about marketing on social media, making an entry in my online writer’s diary. I reckon what a really savvy (desperate) CWAP would do now is go back to the popular thread and post a comment about Cold Kills being available for pre-order. That would then show up in the notifications tab of all those who’d engaged with the thread.

Another thing I could do next time I find something really funny to steal and share on my FB page is to include a link to my books with it.

I think Mahatma would be pleased with my savvy CWAP thinking.

 

Poor Hands (Booker & Cash#3)

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A celebratory breakfast at my local simit shop.

How hard it is to find a title for a book these days that hasn’t already been done. I want to be original with titles where possible. It’s nice to be original (I don’t think I’ll ever top Particular Stupidities) but it’s not easy. Example: Booker & Cash #3. Working title has been Waifs and Strays. It’s a good fit. But there must be at least a million books on Amazon called Waifs and Strays. So I always knew eventually I was going to have to change it. (Also it’s too many letters.) But to what?

Honestly, I’ve agonised over the title of this book the last few days. Literally agonised. Problems I have with a title are: it’s got to reflect the content of the book, it’s got to be original and it’s got to fit in with the other two titles already in the series. By that I mean… well look here:

bad-sons-final-large  He Made Me (Large)

You can see the titles occupy one line only. I want to continue this theme. That gives me 7,8 or 9 letters at a pinch to play with. I wanted two words, two four letter words (not like that) so the white and mustard contrast would be even. Can you see I’m painting myself into a corner over this? Narrowing my options?

I looked and looked and looked for inspiration. I Googled four letter words and trawled through thousands searching for a four letter word that would make me stop and think. There were a few. But every bloody thing they suggested to me has been done before. I really was becoming quite desperate.

It’s sorted now. The flash of inspiration will always come, given time. Poor Hands. It might not be the catchiest thing out there but (a) it reflects the story (b) it’s original and (c) at 9 letters over two words I’ll get that colour contrast on one line effect.

And it provoded me an opportunity right at the end of the book for a bit of ‘funny’ interaction between David and Jo. I think a laugh is as nice a way to finish a story as anything. Blimey, I nearly forgot to mention this week’s big news in my Diary of a CWAP – the first draft of Poor Hands (Booker & Cash #3) is completed, hence the celebratory breakfast.

The ‘funny’ thing this week is that after I’d sketched this blog post and before having another read through Poor Hands I thought to take a look at B&C#4. (I started this with an idea about nine months ago and I wrote 10000 words before putting that on hold to finish B&C#3.) I had another inappropriate working title for it and after reading through it once the perfect title hit me. It fits most of criteria except it’s been used many times before. Booker & Cash #4 will be called Death Wish. I think it’s the best B&C opening I’ve written. Can’t wait to crack on.

Booker & Cash #3

bad-sons-final-large  He Made Me (Large)  blank-book-cover1

I might have finished with Romney & Marsh. (I said might.) Acer may have come to the end of his story. (I said may have.) But Booker & Cash will likely go on a while yet.

With Cold Kills off my hands earlier this week I’m back working on B&C#3 – working title Waifs and Strays (I might need to change that because there are so many Waifs & Strays titles on Amazon 😦 ). I was 85,000 words into it when I abandoned it to run with the idea of Cold Kills and then I went home for the summer. A mistake? Yes and no. Yes, I should have finished it while I was into it. No, because it’s going to be better for the seven month break from it. Seven months!

My memory is that bad I’d forgotten a great deal of this story. I was quite excited at the prospect of going through it. At the time of writing I’m three-quarters of the way in and I’m loving it. Why the hell didn’t I finish it? I know I didn’t finish it. But I don’t know how I left it. I’m actually excited to see what happens next and I wrote the bloody thing.

I’m sitting at my desk in one of the greyest cities in the world. Inches beyond my computer screen is a plain coloured wall. No visual distractions. (I also can’t write with music playing, so it’s quiet.) And then I get into B&C#3 and I’m back on Romney Marsh with such vivid recollections it’s like a waking dream. Have I ever mentioned the building Bookers coffee shop is based in and where David and Jo live is a property I lived in for several years before coming to Turkey. Reading this story is like watching a home movie at times. In fact it doesn’t feel like reading. It feels like watching the story. Of course, there is the danger that because so much of it is familiar to me I’m not including enough description for readers with no experience of the setting to fully visualise it. It’s a difficult one.

Jo and David are perfect for each other. I adore the way they interact. I’ve remembered one thing – a reason I was happy to put this aside where it was. I was wrestling with the nature of David’s and Jo’s relationship. They are getting on well. Would it be a bad idea or a good idea for them to take their relationship further, beyond sometimes business partners, housemates and friends? If they were to become phyiscally intimate how would that affect the dynamic of their working relationship and how would such a thing impact on future books? I could not decide for a long time. It’s the toughest decision I’ve had to make for any of my characters. I remember being back in the UK and on one of my rare trips to London, a day out in the capital in the summer sunshine. I was standing in the middle of the Millennium bridge, leaning on the steel rail, staring along the Thames thinking about what would be best for these two. And I still couldn’t decide. It’s only going through it now that I think I know. For that reason alone seven months away from it has been worth it.

cold-kills-mediumIn other news Cold Kills went live for pre-order last week . My heartfelt and sincere thanks to all my loyal readers who have taken a chance on ordering a book that might not, at first glance, be in their usual line of reading country. I really do appricate that level of support and faith that my writing, whatever I’m writing, is going to appeal.

Here is the blurb and the Amazon links. Release date is Christmas day.

When a plane crash lands in the Alaskan wilderness the survivors must battle harsh elements, hostile geography, a hungry wolf pack and horrifying moral dilemmas if they are to live to be rescued.

Amazon UK & Amazon US

Cold Kills – available for pre-order.

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Amazon don’t hang about these days. Maybe it’s because I’m a regular. I did the necessary and submitted Cold Kills for pre-order this morning. Within an hour it was available on both UK and US sites.

Release date is Christmas day.

Here’s the blurb: When a plane crash lands in the Alaskan wilderness the survivors must battle harsh elements, hostile geography, a hungry wolf pack and horrifying moral dilemmas if they are to live to be rescued.

Here are the links: Amazon UK & Amazon US

Any sharing of this link is greatly appreciated. 🙂