The Prole Soldier is coming.

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The Prole Soldier is out in a week. Three people that I know of have read the full-length version. Their feedback has been encouraging. I’m looking forward to seeing what these members of the book blogging community think of it. And of course, I really hope that a few of my regulars might be persuaded to dip a toe in my dystopian future and feedback their views.

The book is available to preorder from the following links. Amazon UK Amazon US Many and sincere thanks to those of you who have already done so, thereby taking a chance on me writing in a different genre. Your ongoing support (and faith) is greatly appreciated.

 

 

The Prole Soldier

The Prole Soldier (Large)

I am very happy to share the rather excellent cover for my next release: The Prole Soldier. It is available for preorder from Amazon UK and Amazon US as of today by clicking on the blue highlighted links. Publication date is 20th February.

The Prole Soldier is a departure from my usual crime and thriller writing and contributes to my ambition to write in different genres. If I had to choose one category to list it in it would be the wonderfully named ‘speculative fiction’.

As the title suggests (I hope) the story is strongly influenced by George Orwell’s 1984. I read other books that encouraged me for this one: We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. The Iron Heel by Jack London. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  There were also films, notably The Hunger Games trilogy. I was going through a phase. Actually, I’ve been rather susceptible to a good dystopian tale for as long as I can remember. I intend to make The Prole Soldier the first in the Rainbow City Trilogy.

I wrote TPS while I was in living in Ankara. There’s a good reason why it’s taken me so long to self-publish it. (When I remember what it is, I’ll write a blog post about it.) For now, I only want to celebrate the fact that TPS has finally gone into labour.

Here is the blurb:

Theo lives and works in the Blue Zone of Rainbow City. He is almost sixteen at which age he will begin four years conscription – military or mines. He wants neither. He hates his life and despises the cruelty, injustice and inequality that prevails. When the opportunity arises for Theo to be involved in the fight for change he grabs it, knowing that failure will cost him everything.

If you missed the links above, here they are again. Amazon UK Amazon US. As always, all support for my writing is sincerely appreciated. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Working my way back.

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Hello to all readers old and new. I sincerely hope that the New Year has started well for you.

Surprised to find me in your inbox? Me too. I didn’t think I’d be writing a blog post again for a while with the way my writing has been going (or not) in the last few months. But here I am. Back at a chair at a table tapping away.

I returned to the UK in the summer after living abroad for a few years. My life in exile provided me the opportunity to explore my writing ambitions because I was largely responsibility free. I was quite productive. And I enjoyed the daily life of a writer. Returning home to the UK, as I feared, was the kiss of death for that side of me. Not only was I swamped with ‘real life’ and a house renovation project but all those other things I’d missed whilst away were suddenly freely available to me and I indulged myself wantonly, like a long term prisoner finding himself suddenly on parole.

But cometh the New Year cometh the New Year resolutions. I decided that I needed to get back to my writing. I had to MAKE time for it. And that means giving up a few things, like TV and beer and sleep. So that’s what I’ve been doing.

In the six months before Christmas I’d not written anything new.  I’d done some editing on my next book out – something I finished in Turkey – and that is now ready for self-publication. It’s called The Prole Soldier and should be out in February. More on that another time.

As well as time, a large part of my problem with not being able to write here has been that I haven’t found any place to write – somewhere I can be comfortable enough that my creative juices can make a mess on the carpet. While the weather was good I tried the shed but it’s too cold down there for that now. I’ve found somewhere now. I’ve put an old table at the window in my bedroom. The view could be better but it could also be worse. And it’s quiet this side of the house. I feel comfortable here. That’s important. Really important. And I am writing again. A few hours a day.

It hasn’t been easy getting back into things. I didn’t know what to start with. I had ideas for additions to existing series and new standalones. I started Jess Albion #2, working title The Avenging Agent. (Title of #1 was The Fallen Agent. Anyone see a theme emerging?) Things went slowly at first but after a couple of sittings the mechanics of writing started to return. I got twenty thousand words to the good with avenues to explore but wasn’t feeling that necessary burning desire to continue her story. I looked again at Booker & Cash #4 – I already had a good start in the bank from my days in Turkey. But again, the urge wasn’t there. I started an idea I had for a standalone. It began well enough. And then I had an idea that got me so excited a little bit of wee came out. Could I make some alterations and turn this into a Romney and Marsh? Could I? Should I? Would I?

I thought I was done with them. I had no plans to write another in the series, despite the series being my most popular. But I’ve never said never again. So I tried it. I adapted what I’d written. It’s going well. Most importantly I’m feeling that keeness to write about them. And the more I do the happier I am. I feel like I’m spending time with old friends. And it feels good. I don’t know how the rest of it is going to go. I don’t know if, when I finish it, I will deem it unworthy of putting out. What I do know is that I am back writing. I have found somewhere I am comfortable writing. I have characters I care about. I’m enjoying myself.

 

Now appearing at…

From the 17th – 26th of November the Folkestone Book Festival will be taking place. It’s quite a literary event on the south coast.

As well as the big names that make the festival calendar (see above) there will also be a number of smaller events taking place throughout the week as something of a fringe festival. I am excited to share that I will be appearing at The Steep Street Coffee House on Thursday 23rd November at 6.30pm to talk about self-publishing and my particular journey.

I’ve visited Folkestone a couple of times recently and I’m really impressed with the way the old high street and the harbour area in particular continue to benefit from an extensive regeneration programme. It’s very diverse and interesting and arty and bohemian round there these days.

The Steep Street Coffee House is located in Folkestone’s old high street. It’s a book-themed coffee house (just like Bookers from my Booker & Cash series). I fell in love with the ambience of the place when I paid a visit last week to speak to the very friendly and enthusiastic owner.

It would be brilliant if one or two of my local readers were able to come along and say hello. The one and only time I’ve attended anything like this as a speaker only one hand went up when I asked if anyone had ever heard of me. Awkwarrrrrrd. (Shelagh – thank you. You made my night 🙂 )

Spaces will be limited – it’s a cosy establishment – so be sure to get there early. Even if I turn out to be boring, the coffee and cake on offer are well worth the trip.

Just a thought: I’m thinking about having a box for attendees to pop an anonymous question into. You can ask me anything you like. I’ll attempt to answer as many as time allows for, and as honestly as I can.

 

Many thanks!

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Today was the final day of the blog tour for The Fallen Agent. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all those book bloggers on the list above for taking part and for their overwhelmingly positive and encouraging feedback for the read. Your time and involvement is much appreciated.

I would also like to say a huge and special thank you to Caroline Vincent at BitsAboutBooks for organising the blog tour and for working so energetically to ensure that The Fallen Agent received plenty of social media coverage. Caroline, you are brilliant.

 

The Fallen Agent

The Fallen Agent(1)

In my last days in Ankara, as the clock ticked down to my leaving date, I worked quite feverishly on a story that had gripped me in its unfolding. I have called it The Fallen Agent. I have plans to make it the first of a few featuring the main character. I do like a series.

For a change, for me, the lead is female. Her name is Jess Albion. It needed to be pointed out to me that all my leading ladies’ names start with the letter ‘J’: Joy, Jo and now Jess. I cannot explain this attraction to the ‘J’ sound. Do I need to?

Here’s the blurb:

Jess Albion has recently started a new life on the other side of the world with a new identity. She used to be MI5. Then a job went bad, someone died and she was made an example of in the British courts. But MI5 look after their own. Or they did until rumours of a planned Al Qaeda biological terror attack on London started circulating. Now someone in the British security services is giving agents up in return for information. No price, it seems, is too high to save London from the ultimate threat.

When Jess’s fresh start is compromised she has a choice to make: run and hide and spend the rest of her life looking over her shoulder or go looking for the threat and snuff it out. On her own, she’d run, but she has Nick on her side.

The Fallen Agent is a story of love and hate, of loyalty and betrayal, of revenge and callous disregard for human life in the pursuit of satisfaction.

The strapline for the book is: Can a killer escape their past? And that’s where the story begins.

This book has a rather extended dedication. It tells anyone all they need to know about the motivation for the story. Here it is.

The Fallen Agent was inspired by the BBC TV drama Spooks, in particular Season 3 Episode 6. This book is dedicated to every single person who had anything to do with bringing that finest of British TV dramas to the small screen. Thank you one and all.

Initial feedback for The Fallen Agent from those long-suffering family and friends who usually read my stuff first has been positive and encouraging. My ever-critical daughter (love her) gave it a 7/10 – praise indeed by her miserly scoring standards. She did need to borrow some money, though.

Caroline at bitsaboutbooks has very generously organised a blog tour for the launch of The Fallen Agent. I’m also very grateful to her for other sound advice related to aspects of bringing a book into the world.

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The Fallen Agent is out on 10th October and is available now for preorder here:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Many thanks for your ongoing suppport of my writing.

 

Windsor Festival Event.

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Hello everyone,

If you’re reading this post because you ‘Follow’ my blog, may I say a big thank you for hanging on and bearing with me through what has been a rather lean period in terms of blog posts and story writing. Your ongoing support of, and interest in, my writing life is sincerely appreciated.

The good news, as far as my writing is concerned, is that my summer hiatus should now be at an end. I’ve been working pretty solidly on fixing up a property where my family can live, now that we’ve relocated from Turkey to Romney Marsh. That’s just about habitable now – who needs internal doors and curtains and carpets? And I’ve always thought indoor plumbing a bit of an indulgence. Plastic buckets work just as well as flushing toilets and they’re portable, which means you don’t even need to get off the sofa or out of bed when nature calls.

And so to the main purpose of this post. As part of this year’s Windsor Festival a ‘meet the authors’ evening is being put on. I’m taking part. It’s happening this coming Thursday, 21st September. It’s a ticketed event. (I hope they don’t expect to me to buy one to listen to myself. I can do that for free here.)

I’m going to be on a panel with the four other authors pictured in the banner above.

Julie Cohen

Essie Fox

Tessa Harris

Jonathan Posner

The brief is that we each have seven minutes to fill (surely, talk eruditely to the audience?) about our book and writing related stuff and then there will be a Q&A and then a book signing. Am I daunted at the prospect of sitting shoulder to shoulder with authors whose books can be found in actual bookshops? What do you think? I’ve ordered some Tena pants from Ebay this morning. I hope they arrive in time and don’t rustle too much when I move.

I’m very much looking forward to the evening and I would love to think that there is at least one person in the audience who has the faintest idea of who I am. If any of you should be free on Thursday and can attend, I’d love to meet you. I’m prepared to beg, but not pay for your ticket.

http://tickets.windsorfestival.com/Sales/autumn-festival-2017/thursday-21st-september/meet-the-authors/meet-the-authors

One weight off my mind for the day is transport. I spent all my money fixing up the new place. I’ve been cycling everywhere for three months. A friend has offered to give me a ride up there. We’re leaving Romney Marsh early Tuesday morning. Be prepared for long tailbacks on the M25.

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