Wednesday, 8 October 2014

My book is a bestseller!

Evening gang,

So, two posts in as many nights. And there you all were thinking I wasn't bothered.

Big news. Turns out I've sold a few books today. Enough to sneak into the top 100 crime books on Amazon. I was at number 92 at lunch. Fell to 96 my teatime, now I'm at number 86 and well pleased with that as an end to the day. Here's a handy screenshot.


So, spread the word. I'd like to make this last as long as possible before I fall back into the herd. Thanks to all those who have purchased a copy today and over the weekend, I do appreciate it. Needless to say I'm all set for the odd harsh review. But all my blog posts, Goodreads posts, Facebook posts and so on, make it very clear what the book is about. So if you don't want to read about women being attacked and murdered in a garage then buy another book. But that's one plot thread. And it's a true thread, as I've said many times. Besides, worse things happen every day on the news, sadly.

Anyway, if you've paid for a copy, I hope you like it. If not, shame, try one of my other books, there's something for everyone.

Right, I'd best get my head down. Busy day spending the tax payers money tomorrow.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Where have you been?

Evening gang,

Remember me? It's been 2 months since I last posted anything to this blog. Time flies when you're busy as a bloke who is busy.

First off, I notice that this blog has now attracted well over 14,000 views, visits, call it what you will. For that I'm grateful as I am prone to ramble and, lately, vanish.

Since my last post the new football season has begun and Liverpool are finding life difficult without Suarez. Meanwhile Man Utd seem to be winning while being awful. Still, early days yet. In Brendan we trust. For now.

So, what have I been up to all this time? Well, plenty, but equally I've been consciously trying less hard, putting less pressure on myself to deliver. I've ticked most of the boxes I needed to for the year so I've eased off. My job's sorted i.e. permanent. A lot less cash, but nothing I can't work with. Plus there are currently quite a few jobs out there like mine and they all pay well. I've just applied for one actually so we'll see. But I'm easy either way.

The wife is also in the job market as part of her ongoing reinvention. I'm not ashamed to say I tend to treat her as a long term investment. Had a few crap months but you stick with it and then... well, let's just say I'm starting to reap the rewards and that she's progressing nicely.

We've bought another couple of houses as part of our fledgling buy to let business and next year should see that start to deliver real profits which should be exciting. Been bloody hard work though which I'll remind people when I'm an idle millionaire and they think I fell into my cash.

We've also been on our first break since we bought our dog - 18 months ago. Only to York, but it was excellent. I went big on the hotel, as you'd expect from me, and we spent enough in 48 hours to cover a long weekend abroad. But it was superb. Hopefully, now we know we can safely leave the dog, we can get back to our old ways of trekking about all over the place.

So, where does that leave the writing then? Well, on the back burner a bit. FEAR is still ongoing and should still be out this year. But I'm not going to rush it and have tweaked it several times. But, I have entered it in the northern crime competition just to show I'm making the effort. Also, I've just finished a free giveaway for The Trust. It was downloaded 3900 times over the weekend which is no bad thing. I also made half decent royalties last month too.

Quick story. The thing that prompted the giveaway was a review I received for The 24 Hour Jazz Café while in York. It was a scathing 1 star review which basically said the book was nothing but an excuse for violent sex and murder. Now, if they'd said that about The Trust I could kind of get it. But the Jazz Café is primarily about two mates running a jazz club who accidentally get drawn into a murky world. There is one scene in the whole book where a prostitute is violently abused and left for dead. The scene is telegraphed very obviously and, because it's a book, you are free to skip past any bits you don't like. Either way, that 1 star review had a hefty impact on the overall rating of the book which, until then, had only received 4 and 5 star feedback. I hope the clown who dismissed the jazz café grabbed a free copy of The Trust. It gets nasty from page 4 and goes downhill from there.

Rant over.

In other news, my fantasy author chum Frion Farrell has her new book out at the end of this week. Her debut was a winner so keep your eyes peeled if fantasy is your bag.

Finally, we had the house decorated while we were in York. Ace to come home and find it done. We had a surveyor booked to come the same afternoon which didn't hurt. Long story short, they valued the house 40 grand over what we paid for it 5 years ago. Means nothing in terms of selling it, but means lots in terms of taking equity from it to buy houses. A very good day indeed and a wicked investment.

Right, that's it for now. I'll try to make more effort but there's lots going on. All my books still available, if you're classy buy the paperback.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Hot paperback action

Evening,

Super quick post just to say I got my copy of the new version of The 24 Hour Jazz Café in paperback today. It's really, really nice. I reckon it looks as near to professional as it's gonna get without someone like Random House doing it. New matte cover, cream pages, smaller than the original, top drawer.

I don't generally push the paperbacks but if you've got about £8 burning a hole in your pocket, spend it on my book. I've attached a handy pic below. And tell people! Saves me the bother.


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Want to read extracts of my new book?

Afternoon,

Apparently there are still people in the world who don't "do" Facebook, twitter, instagram or any of the other widely accepted social media sites/apps.

For these people I maintain this blog. Interesting that these people have broadband yet don't want to be "social". You have to wonder what they're up to on the internet?

Anyway, I've added a revised opening to my upcoming first person novel FEAR to Wattpad for folk to have a read of. The link has been shared on the usual social media outlets. For everyone else, it's here.

Enjoy.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Have you been watching the commonwealth games?

Hi gang,

I have, just a bit this week because I'm off work. It's been top notch. Tonight being a case in point. Men's 800m was top drawer, 200m also really good.

I've also been to Chester today to see a mate and his wife. Always good, nice lunch, few ales, wander round, can't go wrong. Went to see the play in the park earlier in the week too. Hansel and Gretel. Very well staged, well lit, great sound etc. The actual material felt a bit light to me, lot of noise but not a lot of content, but a good spectacle none the less.

Just as an aside, I was reading a review of A Streetcar Named Desire which has just opened in London. Apparently Gillian Anderson gives a career defining performance. I was reading this at 3:30 this morning and I'd had a bit to drink, shocker! Anyway, I booked tickets to see it when they do the NT Live broadcast in September. It's only £13 a ticket and an ace way to see live theatre if you can't be arsed to take time off work to trek to London. I woke the wife up to tell her. She wasn't thrilled at the time.

Mind you, I wasn't delighted when she dragged me out of bed at half 9 this morning to go to Chester. I soon rallied once we'd stopped at the services for a brew and sausage bun. Once we walked to the lunch spot in Chester I was all set for a couple of ales.

Other news - I've been shortlisted for interview for the job I'm currently doing. I have mixed feelings about it which I won't bore you with here.

So, book news? Well, the new, shiny version of The 24 Hour Jazz Café was released yesterday. The Kindle version is available now, the paperback will be out any day - just depends how fast Amazon do their bit. What's new about it? Primarily I wanted to tweak the paperback. So the cover is now matt, the pages are now cream and it's totally reformatted so it's a hundred pages shorter. But as I was doing this I rewrote bits too. It's now about 2000 words longer, plenty of scenes have more detail and some plot points are tighter and better explained than before. As a result I decided to relaunch the kindle version too.

FEAR is progressing well, I'm not killing myself to get it done though. I'm submitting the first 3000 words of it to a competition in August, along with 3000 words of the new jazz café. Can't hurt. I've also sent an extract of the new jazz café to an agent, just for kicks. In the morning I will also be submitting the new jazz café to the Guardian book of the month competition. Again, no harm in trying.

So that's about it. Lot's going on as ever. Could live without the huge pay cut coming my way shortly but such is life. On the plus side we've just bought two more houses as part of our Buy To Let project which means we have three. Safe as houses.

Right, ale, Tele, early bed since I've only had 5 hours kip.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Was that you I saw in the paper?

Afternoon groovers,

Just a quick update for the three people on the planet who either don't buy a newspaper, use Facebook or have a Twitter account.

This week I'm in both the Lancaster Guardian and the Morecambe Visitor. Least they could do since I mention both in my books.

Anyway, it's a decent sized piece in the real paper, and not a bad article online either. I've included a link to both sites for no other reason than I can. If you're local to Morecambe and Lancaster best to buy a real copy then you can keep it.

I suspect the same article might well appear in the work newsletter tomorrow too. So no downside, unless you take offence at my light hearted comment about some of the folk who live in Morecambe. In my defence, I was likely drunk when the interview took place as it was on a work day.

http://www.lancasterguardian.co.uk/what-s-on/book-club/crime-thriller-set-in-lancaster-1-6699385

http://www.thevisitor.co.uk/what-s-on/book-club/crime-thriller-set-in-lancaster-1-6699385

Will it lead to increased sales? Shouldn't think so, but it's nice that the local press are being so supportive.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Is it better to admit defeat?

Evening gang,

Been awhile - again. Looks like that's going to be the way of things from now, there just aren't the hours in the day.

On the plus side I've finished the new edition of The 24 Hour Jazz Café. Just the new cover to work on and then I'll launch it. Woo etc.

Struggling a bit with the editing of FEAR but only because it's quite a complex plot and I need to concentrate and I exist in a state of permanent weariness. I will, as ever, stick at it. But since I've got one eye on doing some submissions in the next month or two I might throw what time I do have at my new book, the third jazz café novel, and see how that pans out.

Side projects starting to take shape. Had a meeting with financial advisor and it turns out we have a few options regarding finance for Project Slumlord (which is the fun name we've chosen for our Buy To Let adventure). 1st step is to talk to bank on Monday and then hopefully we can crack on. One thing I have learned is that I won't be using Ratcliffe and Bibby to manage any future properties. Frig useless. It will be July on Tuesday and I am yet to receive last month's rent. I emailed them last week, no reply, rang them Thursday only to be promised someone would call me back. It's now Saturday night and nothing. So to recap - R&B estates. Crap. Feel free to show this to them, it might get them to pull their finger out. Bear in mind I am paying them for this awesome service, as well as covering the mortgagee myself since I'm not getting the rent. Good job I've got pots of cash!

Speaking of which, had tidy Birthday. Pressies from wife on way, spent the day shopping in Manchester where we did some damage. Wife got a Mulberry bag though so it's all smiles. Also got a couple of cards from work which I always find a bit odd, as well as a pressie.

Dog's driving me mental, wildly time consuming. But of course that could be fixed by working less hours - hence my drive to get Project Slumlord off the ground.

Finally, how awesome is the World Cup? One of best ones in my lifetime. Wimbledon also shaping up nicely with Federer playing great so far.

Tomorrow's plan - get a Rug Doctor to clean carpets. Dog related grime. Then wife related mooching.
It's her birthday on Monday so we're going to empty a flash bottle of champagne tomorrow night and try not to be grumpy.

Did I mention I was invited to go talk to a local writing group? I went a few weeks ago. They were all essentially concerned with how they could get their work published. I was very patient but the simple answer is to look on the internet and put in vast amounts of hours like I do. Can't see many of them putting in 18 hour days every day just to get a book out though. Bless.

Which leads me to the title of this blog. I have been pondering making these books my last ones, at least for the foreseeable future. I struggle to find time to write and when I do I'm rarely happy with the results and that's before I promote it, do this blog etc. Since plan A (quit work) isn't feasible, then the only way to have more free time is not to write. I can become another one of the millions of retired folk who then decide to be writers. Then again, I could shoot myself.

Still, Old Ma Sinclair didn't raise quitters. She raised over confident, mouthy alcoholics so we shall see. I've got two finished books to play with which will see me to the end of this year. After that....* shrugs and finishes brew*

Until next time...

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Bigger, better and stronger

Morning folks,

First off, apologies for the lack of activity over the last few weeks. But I've been busy.

I abandoned all promo aside from three book events I did locally which were a nice distraction and have led to other things.

So, what have I been doing?

Well, writing. In the last six weeks, almost to the day, I have written the first draft of the third jazz café novel. 86,000 words, six weeks, done. I've surprised myself but this story just wanted to be told. It's been a bit of a blur, lots of late nights, hazy days but constant typing.

Somehow, in that time, I managed to get my contract at work extended and still sell a few books. The book events went well though by Friday last week I felt pretty ill. 7 hour meting Thursday, straight out to book event, take away tea and then bed. Then meetings all day Friday, straight out to another book event, take away tea, bed. Felt like death.

But I've been asked to go and talk to the writing group at Heysham library this month, as well as a weekend event with Frion Farrell in Morecambe and also I'm in talks with the Dukes in Lancaster about an event there. So busy busy.

Meanwhile, I have another book finished. I'm going to let it sit for a while, it needs work of course but the words are there to play with now and the plot is strong.

So no plans to do anything but promo for now, then reformat some existing paperbacks, finish editing FEAR and then after that return to the draft of the new book with a view to submitting it to the Northern Crime Competition in August.

But for now, since I'm knackered and I have a meeting in Blackpool in seven hours, I'd best take an ale to bed and read for while, and then grab a few hours kip so I can drive in a straight line.

It's going well. But you have to work for it!

Friday, 9 May 2014

Is it worth investing in yourself?

Evening gang,

Regulars will know I've spent a few quid on myself this year so far in the interests of promotion and selling more books. Some have worked quite well, some have ben utter crap. But I'll be sticking at it.

I'm just having a discussion with a musician mate of mine who invests hundreds, maybe even thousands of pounds in himself in terms of mastering his music, PR etc. Compared to the few pounds I've spent it's a big deal so I'm left wondering if I should really throw money at my books, invest in some proper promo etc and see what happens. As ever my big concern is that working full time will get in the way and I won't be able to take full advantage of it.

In other news the latest book is pouring out of me. Cleared the 17,000 word mark earlier. I imagine I'll get beyond 20,000 before work on Monday and then I suspect things will slow right down again. Can't be helped. The good thing is it's taken me less than two weeks to write all that and it's pretty good. I haven't done any promo or any editing of my other book, but it's been worth it to get the new material out. I've got a pretty clear idea where the various plot threads are going, although there are always random tangents which make it fun, so hopefully I can keep plodding even while at work.

Mind you, if I'm not successful in applying for the upcoming job, or I just don't apply, I'll be back in my old job by the end of June, so I'll have all the time I need to finish the book. Silver lining to the harsh reality of the pay cut.

Anyway, if you could spread the word that my other books are still available that would be super. It's also worth mentioning that I'll be doing 3 appearances in Morecambe at the end of this month. I'll be sending the posters out shortly, so I'll post one on here when it's done. If you want a book signed, or just want to talk to me about writing, or anything else, come along.  I'll post times and venues nearer the time .

Right, quick brew break and then perhaps another hour on the novel before we start the evening session.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

What do you do with time off work?

Afternoon folks,

I'm having a few days off work. Why? No reason other than I now have 10 years service in the NHS. Never imagined that would happen. As a reward they give you 4 extra days holiday so I thought why not?

So what have I done? Well I've written 2000 words of my new novel today so that's good. Other than that, stayed in bed until lunchtime, had a fried egg sandwich (epic), listened to The Stone Roses album three times and played with the dog. All better than working.

I've been avoiding the promo lately as you'll have noticed. It's just so bloody time consuming. My books are still selling, lower numbers but still selling. I'll get back on the horse over the weekend, maybe. But it's lovely to be writing again, all pretty effortless so far too.

Did everyone have a good Bank Holiday? Non UK readers don't need to answer. I did. A mate came to stay so we headed into town for the first time in forever. Much drink was taken, burritos eaten, buskers talked to, their dogs stroked, pizzas and kebabs purchased. The wife was on entertaining form and my mate and I stayed up until 4AM listening to vinyl and pondering life.

Then, the next night, we did it again. Good times. Unfortunately I have spent all but £90 of this month's wages and it's three weeks until pay day. Ho hum. As an example of how I live, the wife and I went into town for lunch. It started to rain and I was only wearing a polo shirt. So instead of turning back I simply bought a jacket. This is why I don't haver any money. Those who know me will not be surprised.

I'm not going to mention Liverpool, or what happened at Crystal Palace other than to say, we've over performed and come up short right at the very end. Hope and expectation can be very cruel but it's been a stunning season. It's a strange feeling to be top of the table with just one game to go and feel dejected and disappointed, but there we are. That's enough of that.

On the job front the firm has finally found some funds to employ me permanently. As ever there's a hurdle. The job will be advertised, I'll have to apply etc etc. The twist being if they don't pick me I'll have no choice but to sod off back to my old job because the new person will be sitting in my chair. Swine. There is also a question over how much the salary will be. I suspect not as much as I get now which might end up being a factor. Either way, I'm told that when I return to work next week the ole will be advertised. We shall see.

Right, that's all for now. All books still available so spread the word.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Why does vinyl feel different?

Evening groovers,

Big news. I have finally pulled out my finger and replaced the belt on my record player. Best money I've spent in a year, easily. The belt arrived today, I fitted it tonight and since then have spent the evening listening to utterly fabulous music on vinyl.

I started with some Van Morrison (Astral Weeks), The Band, Exile on Main Street. If you're not familiar with vinyl, or you're just young and never heard of it do yourself a favour. Save up, buy the best speakers you can afford, an amp, a turntable and some records. Then let me know what you think of Mp3 afterwards.

Don't get me wrong, I've got a networked drive filled with Mp3, wireless headphones, an SD card in my car and I download most of my music off Amazon and long since sold all my compact discs (aside from the ones with sentimental value). But tonight I've listened to records and it's inspired me, moved me, made me feel something. I actually did some writing tonight because of it. I could happily stay up all night listening to music. I might yet. It's Friday tomorrow. I'll be tired. So what?

I don't know why vinyl is different, it's been debated for decades. But it is different. Somehow more immediate. You feel more connected to the band, the song, the music. I don't know. But it's bloody powerful.

Anyway, how's things? I've not done much promo this month because I've been trying to write. The new book will hopefully be done, a draft anyway, by mid May. I've even booked a few days off week after next. Glad I did now. Days of vinyl and writing. That'll do.

I've sold 130 books this month so far which I can't grumble at since I've done sod all to push them and I've been busy as all hell with work. Plus I've got viewings booked this weekend for another property to expand the empire. God knows how I'm gonna fund that.

Busy weekend in prospect too. Out to the theatre Saturday night then drinks. Lunch out Sunday and record shopping but must, must, must be back for the football to watch Liverpool beat Chelsea and place one hand firmly on the league title for the first time in 24 years. Tears might well be shed at the end of the season. I'm big enough and happy enough to admit to it.,

I've also written a handful of pages on the third jazz café novel and I have 3 events booked at the end of May which I'll Tel you about nearer the time.

Finally, I might have mentioned this. The wife and I bought two new cars. Aside from being full of kit and super to drive, they are very, very fuel efficient. Mine is delivering almost 700 miles on a tank of fuel. For no road tax! Ace.

Right, I've got to turn the record over and get another ale.

Night.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

How hard is it to get to number 1?

Evening gang.

As you hopefully know I'm running a couple of promos at the moment, centred on making a dent in the American market. As of the last screenshot I took my new book Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths was hovering around the top 20 in America for freebies while the Jazz Café was loitering in the top 10,000 for paid sales. It shifted 17 copies there just this afternoon which is quite the record for me.

But that begs the question, just how much effort does one have to make to grab the much coveted number 1 spot? God knows is my rather feeble answer but I'll stick at it.

Just been watching Bad Santa by the way. Awesome film. Always makes me laugh. It's Billy Bob Thornton. The man really can deliver a line and has a natural ability to do the slap stick stuff too. Love it.

Right, I'm off to promote myself on a couple of websites for half an hour and then treat myself to some Xbox and ale. First full day with the new car today. Wife took hers up the motorway to Kendal. I sat in a local car park playing with the stereo and various menus. Each to their own. I also took it for a drive along the prom, staring at the fuel consumption. I like to live right on the edge.

And then, tomorrow, it's Liverpool. I've talked enough about that lately. Suffice to say that Man City and Chelsea both won today so there's only one result that will do tomorrow. Dare to believe.

Now please download one of my books if you haven't already. The new one's free for Goodness sake.

Night

Are you brave enough to jump off the treadmill?

Morning gang,

Bit grumpy this morning since the dog woke me up barking like he'd been stabbed at half 9. I get up early all week for bloody work so I value Saturday's to simply slump in bed, stewing until lunch when I get up and slump on the couch watching football until bed time. I know, I know, I'm 37 and I should get a grip. Bottom line is, I don't want to get a grip, I want to stay in bed.

An online friend of mine, Stuart Ayris, has recently made the decision to back himself as a writer, reducing his hours etc. He has also registered himself as self employed as a writer and is hoping to make a real go of it i.e. make money from books.

It's something I think about each and every day and I'm in a better position than most to do it. Wife has a great job, my family has a few quid should I fail, we've no kids etc. Yet I've got to 37 and still work full time, quietly moaning away that I'd rather be writing. Not sure what's stopping me. Fear of failure most likely. Fear that I won't get a decent job, or any job, if I have to go back to work later. Fear that my books aren't actually good enough when I remove the excuse of working full time as a reason for why I can't spend more time polishing them.

So, for now, nothing changes. What will make the decision easier is to consistently make money. I reckon if I could make a minimum of £1000/month from book sales I could work part time. I'd have to adapt the lifestyle a little but I could manage on about £2000/month as long as the wife was working. Last month I made £350 from book sales. Not bad? But clearly not enough. In real terms that £350 covered my half of the mortgagee for the house we live in. Which still left bills, taxes, car payments, groceries, mortgagee on second property etc etc etc. So I'm as far away as Arsenal are from winning the league! Ha.

So instead of moping I'm going to try a bit harder. Right now, RIGHT THIS MINUTE by new book Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths is free on Kindle. So stop reading this and get to Amazon and grab a copy. Read it, review it, buy more of my books. It's time to build momentum.

Also, MORE PROMO OFFERS, the first book in the series The 24 Hour Jazz Café, is just $0.99/77p this weekend and will be listed via Book Gorilla today. So if you subscribe to them, grab your copy of my book today!!!

In other news, the dog's ear is fine. Cone is off, stitches still to dissolve but essentially he's okay. New cars are lovely. Wife is thrilled with hers. I'm well pleased with mine, really like the interior and the wealth of features. No handbrake is hard to get used to, as is the adaptive cruise control. I'm used to driving the car myself, not trusting the vehicle to do everything itself. Still, it's got a cracking stereo so I can always sit back and listen to music while it drives me about.

And finally to Liverpool. I've thought about little else all week. Another must win game tomorrow at West Ham and we stay top. 24 years folks. It's big stuff and if it happens I'm man enough to admit there might well be tears shed. Brendan has made us all believe. Now he just has to drag all of us, the team, the city, the global fanbase, over the finish line all by himself. If he does it, I suspect they'll talk about him like they talk about Shankly.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Do you want another free book? Can Liverpool win the title?

Evening gang,

Been a busy time. First off this blog has been viewed over 12,000 times. Big deal indeed.
As we reach the point where Amazon reset the sales counters for April, I can report my books have been downloaded over 4500 times this month. Of these approx. 300 are real paid for sales which had left me with royalties of well over £250 for the month. Not life changing but a big deal to me.

Of these profits and the sales, the vast, overwhelming majority of books sold is The Trust. Why? No idea. Am I pleased? What do you think?

The book signing went really well. Sold 13 books, all signed, did a reading, people clapped and stayed for the full 2 hours. On the back of it I've booked 3 more events in late May over three consecutive nights. Woo! Details to follow.

The weekend was fun. The wife and I bought two new cars. VW Golf. Quick way to spend 40 grand. Still, she's happy. Then on Sunday I went to Anfield to watch my beloved Liverpool go top of the league by demolishing Spurs. Bottom line is this. Six games to go. Win them, win the league for the first time in a quarter of a century. It's consuming me and I might well cry like a girl if it happens.

Finally, since the last promo delivered such tangible results I'm doing another. From this Friday (4th April) my new book Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths will be FREE for the weekend. Tell your friends, get a copy and review it.

Bed time.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Supporting local animal charities

Evening,

If you read this blog, or follow me on FB and Twitter you'll know my dog Ralph was hurt today. He's lost part of his right ear and is spending the night at the vets. The wife is beside herself and we're both missing him being here. But he's lucky because we can afford the bills and the time to look after him.

Plenty of dogs, and other animals, aren't so lucky. So for the next 7 days (at least) I'm donating all proceeds from my book sales to two charities local to where I live. Their websites are:

http://www.wolfwood.co.uk/

http://www.animalcare-lancaster.co.uk/

I do this for no other reason than I'm worried about my dog and this will make me feel better. If you'd rather not play along then just have a look at a dog charity near you and donate to them, simple as.

Either way, just so folk don't misinterpret this, I'm not going to post about it again. Either way, I'll donate what there is in the pot, and if it goes well I might just keep doing it. Whatever, have a look at the websites, your next dog might be on there waiting for you.

Ta

LIke a scene from a Scorcese movie

Afternoon gang,

So today began in perfect fashion. Stayed in bed until mid morning, full English breakfast, wife made fish pie for tea. All good.

Sales still superb for The Trust, royalties on way too and it's a decent sum too, for the first time ever.

The sun is shining so we took the dog to an off the lead walking area in nearby Heysham to let him run round. He was having a great time, playing with a few other dogs, all good. Then we got to a pond where a chap was with his dog. He warned us all that his dog wasn't friendly so I and the other dog owners started trying to get hold of our dogs. At that point I heard our dog yelp and run off. Long story short we ended up at the vets with the wife in tears. I think the photos sum it up.



Anyway, Ralph is totally fine. He wanted to keep playing with his other dog chums but as you can see there was a lot of blood. The vet has just rung to say he's come round from the operation. They've trimmed and stitched his ear and we can pick him up tomorrow. Given that it's Sunday, operation and overnight, this is going to cost a fortune. But could be worse.

Luckily this week's royalty will take a chunk out of the bill so extra thanks to everyone who has bought a copy, good timing!! Sadly I'd just got a quote for new Mercedes so I think that might have to wait until next month unless the book sales really take off.

Either way, it's been an eventful day. People do tend to steer clear of you when you're walking down the street with a dog covered in blood while you are also covered in blood.

What's the secret to successful book sales?

Morning gang,

The sun is shining here at HB Towers and the view across the bay is a reminder of why the houses here are so damned expensive. Today's' plan, after the Full English breakfast which the wife is preparing as I type this, is to take the dog for a tour of a doggy day care facility nearby. If he like it, we'll be leaving him there for a couple of days next week. If he hates, we might take him anyway.

After that, depending on the mood, we are going to test drive a couple of cars with a view to getting two new ones. We're just pondering the adult sensible option of getting two average, but well though of Fords, or chucking logic out of the window and me buying a Mercedes or an audi. The wife is being very patient as she knows I am essentially still a child and don't really understand that we might need the money for other things later on.

I want to be home by tea time because Federer is playing tennis today and you know how I like to watch Roger.

Quick blog update. As of today this blog has received 11786 views which is nice. It's only got about 33 subscribers though so there's work to be done.

As part of a project to relaunch all my paperbacks - I want them all to look the same i.e. be recognisable as my books - I have reformatted The Trust and decided to ponder a new cover, which is below. Do we like? The wife prefers the existing cover.

 Speaking of The Trust, it continues to amaze me. I woke up this morning to find it had climbed to number 14 in the crime thriller best seller chart on Amazon. If you follow me on FB and Twitter you'll be sick of the continuous and very excited posts about chart positions, accompanied by screenshots. But as I've said before, I've never sold this many copies of one book in such a short time so it's huge for me.

I've had a few days to reflect on this and decided there is no formula to it. The Trust has been available since Feb 2013. It generally sells a few copies each month as do all my books. I've done free promos before, you get a few hundred downloads, a small sales spike afterwards and then back to normal. So when I decided to do a promo for The Trust last week that's all I was expecting. But then it was downloaded over 4000 times in two days and went to number one in three countries. That was different.

Then the sales spike. Nothing in America. That's a bit different because I'd expect to see a few sales. But in the UK I did shift a few which was normal. Then a few more, and now, almost a week on the spike continues. That's not normal. I think a lot of it is down to visibility, though I'm guessing as I don't buy digital books. Since the book managed to get into the top 20 it has become more visible. Amazon display their best seller lists 20 per page. Most folk don't look beyond page 1. The people buying The Trust don't know me, and they only have the front cover and the blurb to go off before buying. But it's on the first page so that immediately tells a reader that plenty of other folk much be buying that book so it must be good, right?

I don't know. As I say this is new territory and I know enough writers to know that if we could figure out the formula for success we wouldn't all have day jobs.

As a test of this latest formula, when sales have levelled off a bit, and they will, I'm going to do a free promo for my new book Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths. It'll either take off or it won't.

Right, best crack on, breakfast is ready, the wife is also making a fish pie for tea!!!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

How do you know when you've achieved success?

Morning all,

Staying up late tonight despite being shattered. I'm off work for a week so I intend to make the most of it. Stay up late, drink ale, watch sport, sleep until lunchtime.

Sport - Fevered is continuing his awesome 2014 with some great tennis in Miami. If it looks like he might be gonna get anywhere near winning Wimbledon I'll gladly pay foolish amounts of money to get a ticket. Foolish amounts!!

Car news. Wife and I been pondering a second car, a new car, some sort of car related purchase for a while. Finally got quote from Ford and have booked a test drive next week. But, being an idiot, I've also got a quote for a Mercedes C250 AMG Sport. We shall see.

Also, confirmed date for tenant to move into house. Apologies if I've mentioned that before, there's lots going on. April 10th!

Now, book news. Regular readers will know that, for some reason, my crime thriller The Trust is selling well. In fact as of this evening it is outselling the mighty James Patterson on Amazon. In fact, it's in the top 1000 best selling books overall on Amazon. In Crime thrillers it's at number 19 which means it's on the much desired first page of results. Check this out:

#19 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Thrillers > Crime
#35 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Mystery > Police Procedural
#40 in Books > Crime, Thrillers & Mystery > Police Procedurals
All very pleasing, even more surprising. It won't last but I'll enjoy it while it does.

Night, and thanks to everyone (and there's a lot of you) who has bought copies. If you have a paperback, bring it to the signing next week and I'll scribble on it for you.

Friday, 21 March 2014

How important is praise?

Evening gang,

Been a hell of a week so far.

So, praise. Depends on the individual I suppose. Everyone likes to be told they've done well. Boosts morale, adds value etc, makes you less likely to snap and kill someone.

Today a colleague came into my office. I assumed he was there to talk about work stuff. But no. We went out at Christmas for lunch with a few others. We got talking about my books and he asked me to recommend one for him. He likes crime stuff, but mainly American authors. I suggested The 24 Hour Jazz Café. He bought the paperback.

He came to find me today to say that he's 50 pages from the end and he loves it. Told his wife about me apparently. Said I have an amazing talent and he can't believe I'm still working where I do. This chap has no reason to lie, we only met a few months ago and he's pretty direct as a rule. I write because I love it, because there are so very many stories to tell and because I want others to read those stories. So for someone to say such positive things about something I created means a lot.

In other news, The Trust continues to sell well on the back of the wildly successful free giveaway. It's hovering around the top 50 bestsellers on Amazon UK in proper sales which is superb.

But despite all this, my mind is consumed by the fact that I have one more day at work and then I'm off for a week. Plus Liverpool play Cardiff on Saturday which is a must win, and then it's Sunderland on Wednesday which I'm hoping I might get a ticket for.

Plans for the week off? Bit of work on the new book. Lots of bed, Lots of Tele and Xbox. Season 2 of House of Cards is top of the list on Netflix.

Right, quick gin then bed.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Are you big in Germany?

Evening,

Another quick phone based update. My free giveaway for The Trust is almost over. I'll post a final tally later but it looks like the book will have been downloaded close to 4000 times since Monday. Not bad.

It peaked at number 3 in America. It's been number 1 here in the UK since yesterday and, surprisingly, it is also number 1 in Germany!

Obviously I'm pleased. It has already led to a kick in sales but what I'm after is reviews. If just 1% make the effort that 40 reviews of the book. Fingers crossed and thanks to everyone who grabbed a copy.

Finally, the new paperback version of Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths is out now and looks superb. It's about 7 quid to buy in the UK but we'll worth it if you don't do digital.

Night.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Are you number 1 on Amazon?

Just me then. Quick pre bed blog. As of just now my book The Trust is the number 1 most downloaded crime novel on amazon. Here's picture proof before I stagger off to bed.


I'm like a kid at Christmas

Evening gang,

Blogging from the pub tonight. Talking to the manager about Liverpool battering Man Utd. He's being very philosophical about it.

Anyway, quick update. The paperback of Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths arrived today and looks superb. I'll be launching it properly this week.

Also, my book The Trust is currently free on kindle. But only until tomorrow. In the first 24 hours it's been downloaded 2000 times all over the world. Mainly the UK and USA but also France, Spain, Germany, India, Australia, Brazil and Canada. Not bad by any measure. It's still stuck at number 2 in the Amazon chart though!!

Finally, my other book (I have several) is still free on Story Cartel. If you review it, there's a prize draw to win an amazon gift card.

So, to recap. Plenty of books available, paperback or digital, anywhere you live. If you can read, dive in.

Right, best get another ale and have some tea.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Do you want one of my books for free?

Good, well now you can.

While my Jazz Café promo is ongoing, I have also decided to do a separate free promo for one of my other books. The Trust is a crime thriller set in the UK around the National Health Service. The good bit is that it's based on real events. The serial killer was a particularly nasty American fellow. The asylum scenes are taken from news reports, as are the bits about government testing and the bodies they found later. All I did was create characters to tell that story.

Worth a look for free? I think so. If you do get a copy a review would be great as they're hard to come by. Just dash over to Amazon before Wednesday 17th. So far today over 500 people already have a copy. People from all over the globe including Germany, France, Canada and Australia, as well as the UK and US. Silly to miss out, go grab a copy.

So far The Trust is hovering nicely near the top of the most downloaded books charts on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk as you can see from these screenshots. Be nice if they hovered a little higher.





Saturday, 15 March 2014

Can you predict the future?

Evening gang,

Yes, you can. To an extent. In that if it rains you know you're gonna get wet. If you fall down the stairs you know it will hurt and if you win the lottery you know you'll abandon your friends, move away, get a big house and so on.

But otherwise no, we cannot predict a damn thing. Only last week on this very blog I was suggesting that Chelsea might have a hand on the premier league title. A week on and they've lost at Villa. As a Liverpool fan this is wildly exciting as all of a sudden winning the title for the first time in a generation is back in Liverpool's hands. Yes, you still have to favour Man City and Chelsea, but in terms of fixtures, goal difference and just pure heart, Liverpool have a shot. And it's so exciting I struggle to put it into words, but if you're a football fan, a Liverpool fan, you get it.

Bottom line is this. If we keep winning, beat Chelsea and City at Anfield and the title is ours. I've danced around this for months but, if we beat United tomorrow at Old Trafford then I'm officially going to start to believe we might do it. If we beat Chelsea at Anfield then we might even be labelled favourites. Didn't think I'd be considering that this season.

Anyway, the paperback has been reformatted and is ready for launch. Hopefully I'll have copies of Ballroom, Bars and Seawater baths in my possession ready for the book launch on the 29th of this month. If not, then it's just me hanging about by an empty table in a hotel.

Also, big step, The 24 Hour Jazz Café is now listed by Waterstones. Woo. That's step two of my three step plan complete. Next step is to somehow get an account with Gardner's books. They are the sole supplier to Waterstones high street shops. If I can get an account there, I can approach Waterstones to stock my books. Then I can ask to do a signing in my local branch etc. We shall see. The aim is to have all my paperbacks listed with them this year and, hopefully, get them into the stores as well.

Quick tennis update. Federer's 2014 resurgence continues which is ace if you're a fan like I am. He has the most points on tour this year and is in another final tomorrow. If he wins, he's back in the top 4. At 33. Best player ever. Simple as.

Finally, and I know I've mentioned this already. There are just 5 days left of my Story Cartel promo. So, if you want a FREE copy of The 24 Hour Jazz Café you simply have to go there and download it. If you commit to a review you might win a $10 amazon gift card. There's a prize draw for that bit. The reviews are a big deal to an Indie author as it add credibility and further promo. SO since the book is free, I'd appreciate the effort.

That's it for now, apart from a reminder that bits of my next book are available to read over at Wattpad should you be curious.

Carry on....

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Fancy reading my new book on Wattpad?

Evening all,

Short one tonight. First off, Chelsea looking like they might have a finger or two on the premier league title. Liverpool realistically need to win every remaining game and still need Chelsea to slip up. Huge ask. But of course it's Liverpool so we dare to believe.

Anyway, the book signing approaches at pace so I've been editing the paperback today. Very nearly there. If you want to know more about it, meet me and have a free cake, then I'll see you at the Headway Hotel on the 29th.

If crime thrillers written by blokes aren't you're bag, then how about fantasy written by a woman? Frion Farrell will be my companion on the day, reading from her debut novel and generally making sure all goes well.

Finally, Wattpad. I've just added another 3000 word chunk of my upcoming novel FEAR to Wattpad for you read for free. If you've not been to the site before, the first two chunks are there too. Hope you enjoy, it's nothing like any of my other books. I'm diverse like that.

Right, that's it for tonight. No more writing, promo or anything. I will now be drinking ale and watching films and dabbling on the Xbox until the small hours.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Did you know it's World Book Day?

Evening gang,

Chances are, if you've got kids you know all about it because they went to school dressed as characters from books today.

There's no downside to it, anything that gets kids into books and reading has got to be good. One really good aspect is that the kids get a book token to redeem against one of the World Book Day books.

In a shameless effort to piggy back on this idea, I'm offering free copies of one of my books. The 24 Hour Jazz Café is currently available for free over at Story Cartel. If you leave a review you might also win a $10 Amazon gift card which you could redeem on books!! You see what I did there?

So, free book. That's the deal.

In other news Frion Farrell and I have had our first planning meeting for our upcoming book signing event. It will take place between 10 and 12 on Saturday 29th March at the Headway Hotel on Morecambe promenade. We're going to be reading from our books, talking about them and how we used Morecambe and the surrounding area as the setting. We will also answer any questions you might have.

It's a free event and we're even throwing in coffee and cake in the hope people will feel obligated to buy a book or two. Spread the word. We're having a banner, posters, the lot. When the design is ready to go to the printers I'll upload it here as well. Woo!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Can we start to dream now?

Evening gang,

I ask this question just as Liverpool score their second goal. A goal which will likely see them jump to second in the Premier League, just four points behind Chelsea. There are ten games left to play, Chelsea have to visit Anfield. But Liverpool lack depth of squad, have no experience of winning the league, Chelsea have all of the above.

So, in terms of the league, I'm not quite allowing myself to believe, yet that Liverpool can win the title. Champions League spot? Nailed on now. Just keep ticking off the games, and we'll see. But God it's exciting.

In other sports news. Federer, remember him? My favourite tennis player, bit old now? Well he beat Djokovic to get to the final in Dubai and then, this afternoon, he won that final. Big stuff indeed.

Which brings me to my writing. I've started more aggressive promotion this year, backing myself by spending money on promotion. I think I've done as much as I can for free with Facebook, Twitter, this blog etc. If I want to sell a lot of books, especially in America, I need to outlay some cash.

My first effort, a very cheap Kindleboards promo, was crap. 1 sale, not worth the effort. So, the new plan is to build reviews, as many as I can. This will open up other promo options that rely on volume of reviews. Story Cartel seems popular and seems to deliver. It's also pretty cheap just in case it doesn't work.

Bottom line, for $30 dollars they offer my book for free, those who want a copy have to leave an email address so I can contact them (with more promo stuff) and, if they leave a review, they get entered into a prize draw to get a $10 Amazon gift card. Fingers crossed. I've started with The 24 Hour Jazz Café. If it works, I'll add my other books.

I've also got in excess of 56,000 words of the next book written so that's a bonus. I'll be lobbing that online shortly.

Anyway, I'd best get back to the football. Spread the word, free book, Story Cartel.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Do you want a Free copy of my book?

Hopefully the answer is yes. As part of a promotion I'm running at Story Cartel, you can have a free copy of my very tidy crime thriller The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe. The deal? You review it. The incentive? American readers are entered into a prize draw to win one of three $10 amazon gift cards. Woo!! Here's the link...

http://storycartel.com/books/914/the-24-hour-jazz-cafe/

The aim of this is to increase reviews of the book which will enable me to promote the bookin other ways, all with a view to increasing sales. So crack on. It's free!!

http://storycartel.com/books/914/the-24-hour-jazz-cafe/

Monday, 24 February 2014

Do you pay for promotion?

Short answer...in this case yes.
Also a short post as I'm doing this via my mobile.

I've paid for my new book to be listed on the bargain books bit of Kindleboards today, Monday Feb 24th. Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths will appear on their Facebook, Twitter and Blog. As ever, tell everyone. Here are links.

http://kboards.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/kboards.com

http://twitter.com/kboards1

Wish me luck.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Are you brave enough to make big decisions?

Afternoon gang,

I've been doing a lot of pondering recently, hence the question posed above. As ever there's plenty going on but each thing is getting sorted in typical fashion. Face stuff head on and roll over it. We've been outlaying cash like we've been robbed so far this year. Vets bills, the roof, luxury set of Le Creuset pans which I admit we could have lived without but they are smart. It all adds up but it's all sorted.

Performance at work is okay, good enough that they've just extended my contract again until the summer. I've also got a job interview to work locally too which is giving me even more options. Less money, but enough money, and less travel.

I'm doing a book signing at the end of March and on the face of it, all is well.

And yet....

The bottom line is I'd rather work less and write more. A chap I know online, we're Facebook and Goodreads friends, called Stuart, is a writer. He sells lots more than me, but then he does seem to try a bit harder than me too in that he writes every night. He's so keen on the idea of making a living from writing that he's actively applying for lower paid jobs which will allow him more time to write. He's basically backing his own talent and drive to succeed. I admire him for it as it's something I've talked a lot about and never dared to do. It gets harder with each passing year as I earn more money and, on the face of it, have more to lose. But that little voice keeps whispering in my head, every day, you're a writer. It's all you want to do. So why are we sitting in this meeting talking about project x?

I'm regarded as decisive. I manage people, projects, I'm in charge of stuff, I sort stuff out. But when it comes to this I dance round it, have done for years. It is, I suspect, the source of all my frustration. But, here's the flipside, while I stay at work full time I get to moan about lack of time to write etc, while having plenty of cash and a very comfy life. But if I did quit, write full time, then it would come down to luck, talent etc. I'd have no excuse if I didn't succeed and then what would I do? It's a grim thought because I've never really failed at anything and I'm 37. I don't think I'd take it well.

And so we carry on. Work on Monday...

In other news, I've uploaded a cheeky promo video to YouTube for you to look at. Nothing spectacular. I just did it as a test to see how hard it was to do. If it generates traffic I'll doubtless make more use of it as a promo tool in the future. It's just a slideshow set to music at the moment but might be worth developing. I'm not short of ideas.

The paperback has been delayed for no other reason than I am unable to finish the cover because the Createspace website is currently not working. As soon as it's fixed I'll get it done, ten minute job. Book is re-formatted and re-edited and better than ever.

The paid for promo will be out on Monday. It's via Kindleboards with a view to lifting my American sales. I'll be pointing you towards it on the day.

Right, I brew time, hour on the Xbox and one eye on the football scores. Tonight and tomorrow, bit of writing (yay) on the new book FEAR. It's totally different to my other books, but awesome.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The reviews are in!

Okay, so I've opened with a lie. It's a review, singular. But it's a really good review. It's for my new book Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths and, as ever, I've pasted it in below to save you the effort of going to find it. Needless to say, it was accompanied by 5 stars on Amazon.

"This book is the sequel to The 24 Hour Jazz Café and again features Mitch and Rupert, the two childhood friends who now own the café. Mitch has some psychic abilities and is called in to help the local police, specifically Jane Harper, in her search for the murderer of a local man. Mitch, however, is out of contact. Even his best friends Rupert can't get in touch.

This story weaves gang rivalries and family feuds into a gripping plot. The main characters become real; Mitch the larger than life and slightly off-the-wall man affected by his childhood and his unusual abilities and Rupert, the man still grieving eighteen months after the death of his beloved Emily, the woman they both loved. A great sequel!"

So, bottom line, if you're reading this blog but haven't bought my book, what on earth is it that's stopping you parting with your cash? It's keenly priced, good review, ace title, tidy cover, tight plot. Go on, be brave, read my book. Be part of the gang.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Do you think book signings help sales?

Evening folks,

Quick one tonight, football on Tele.

Given that Alexander McCall Smith did a low key book signing in Lancaster last week that went unpromoted and largely unattended, then I suppose the answer is I don't know.

But I'm doing one anyway!!

Me and awesome fellow local author Frion Farrell will be standing shoulder to shoulder to shift copies of our books. It will be on 29th March in Morecambe, likely at the Headway Hotel. More details to follow as I make them up.

Bottom line, I want to shift some books. I'll see you there.

Note - bloody Liverpool are losing to the bottom team in the league!! Shocking. Nope, hang on, just equalised. Game on. If Liverpool fancy the title this year then they have to find a way to win this one. Nail biting stuff.

Also, despite life threatening weather warnings the wife, me and the dog walked to the shop for half an hour earlier to buy wine. It was savage. But my neighbour was out sorting his recycling in just a t-shirt. Hardcore.

And I've submitted one of my books to Nielson with a view that Waterstones will stock them going forward. Potentially huge!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Do positive comments help?

Evening gang,

I suppose the easy answer is... depends on the context.

In terms of my last post about depression, the black dog etc, positive comments don't help apparently. Telling someone to "man up" and that "it's a lovely day outside" can apparently make things worse so best avoid that shit then.

Apparently being more helpful and knowing when to get out of the way are high on the list of clever things to do. It's all about reading the signs.

Which leads me nicely into some shameless book promotion. I've had a number of positive comments about the new book which I am about to paste in below. These are from folk who have bought the book, read it or are reading it. The theme is essentially positive.

"Got it. I loved Jazz Café so I'm looking forward to this one!"
    
"Same here! One-clicked!
Good luck with the new release Jamie"

"Finished it... not too shabby at all :)"

"I'm loving the memories the book is kindling. I visit Ayr every year and I think I remember the hotel in Morcombe as well, it was covered in scaffolding about 6-7 yrs. ago when we had a break in a wee cottage at Over Kellet.
The story has really grabbed me, 20% in and looking forward to bedtime;@)"

"51% in and the plot thickens ;@). Another early night methinks"

So you see, folk are right into the new book, which I have linked to throughout this blog. There is also an opportunity to read the opening scene for free at the top of the page. In other news my copy of the paperback arrived today. The cover is superb if I do say so myself. Createspace never quite get the internal print to look exactly like a mass produced book but it's okay. Bit small but that was necessary to keep size and cost down. It's 400 pages of a job band over 95,000 words. Value for money!

Anyway, that's enough for today. Few ales and some Xbox before bed and then Liverpool v Arsenal tomorrow lunchtime to start the weekend. Proper top of the table clash. Every game a must win now.

Night
    

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Are you living with a black dog?

Morning gang,

I've been reading a book called Living with a Black Dog lately. I won't bore you with details as to why though it perhaps doesn't take a genius of my calibre to work it out.

Anyway, it talks about symptoms of depression, techniques to deal, support for those with etc. Turns out when you start to learn a bit about it, half the people you work with and socialise with might well be depressed. It's a fine line it seems. Here I was thinking that because I drink a lot, am moody, don't sleep much and don't like my job I was just "arty". Perhaps that's not the case at all.

I'm no expert but apparently it was Churchill who coined the phrase 'black dog' in relation to mood disorder and there are now groups, books, societies all devoted to the study of living with the beast.

I make no bold claim to be suffering from anything other than a mild - severe malcontent with how my life has panned out to date. Some days I see that I've achieved lots, other days no amount of achievement will ever be enough. Most of the time I'm able to reason it away, sulk a bit and move on. A few ales usually helps. Writing books really helps. It's not rocket science. Fiction is just a long winded way to diary my thoughts. I can have the discussion I would not have in real life, win the battle I lost, right the wrong etc. And then I get to sell it to the public as a crime thriller.

I can't imagine, and I do try - hard, what it must be like to not be able to reason it away, to not simply jump on top of the black dog, thrash it with a stick and master it. But I'm going to try and learn. Folk are relying on me to do it. Important folk.

I usually have a plan, I tend to live my life with a series of ideas and plans. I have no plan for this, none that's worked so far anyway. The overall plan remains the same. Earn enough to do anything we want to do but have enough time to actually enjoy it. So far we've got about 50% of that sorted.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Bottom line is this. Some stuff you can't ignore, you can't fix with ale or by trying harder. Some stuff you just have to fix. The brave bit is acknowledging the issue and hoping your team roll into action to help you fix it. Well, issue acknowledged. We're rolling into action armed with good intentions and the kind of grim determination and refusal to roll over that Churchill tapped into when we still gave a damn about defending our shores.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

How much promo is too much promo?

Evening gang,

I suppose the answer is I don't know. My goal for this new book is clear. I want it to hi the number 1 spot on Amazon, even if only for an hour. Plus I have the week off work. So, promo is the name of the game.

Keen observers will have noticed the addition of a new tab at the top of the home page. Cleverly titled Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths, the page links you to the opening scene of the new book which you can read for free. Lucky you.

The new book is in the top 35,000 for sales on Amazon after day one which is fine, but not what I'm after. Today's big news, though, is that the paperback is available for those of you who prefer as real book and have more cash than sense. Needless to say I've ordered a copy so it can sit on the shelf next to the other books I've written. Amazon have been a bit tight and didn't offer me free delivery so that's hardly going to help sales.

In other news, Chelsea beat Man City. Didn't see that coming. Could have scored a few more too. Title race not over yet by any means.

Also, the wife and I spent last night in the pub. On a Monday! Basically we forgot to take anything out of the freezer so pub tea it was. That turned into a few ales and a surprise visit up to the managers flat to look at his new kitten. All very exciting. The steak pie was bigger than usual too so the wife brought a few chunks home for the dog in a tub. We're good people.

So that's the scene. Sales of new book doing okay but tonight is going to be a bit of Tele, bit of Xbox and a few ales before we do it all again tomorrow. In that vein, sales links for new book below. You know what to do.

Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths US

Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths UK

Monday, 3 February 2014

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Do you want to read a new crime thriller set in Morecambe?

Evening gang.

Finally the new book is here. Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths officially launches on Monday 3rd February. It will be on Kindle first but the files are already being reviewed by Createspace so the paperback should be out this week too. Here's the blurb:

"It is eighteen months since the Midland Hotel burned to the ground. Now the 24 Hour Jazz Cafe stands in its place.
Owner Mitch Johnson is missing, leaving his oldest friend and business partner Rupert Watts to run their new venture.
A woman's purse is found by children playing on the beach. Then a man is brutally murdered in his bathroom. Newly promoted DS Jane Harper must connect the pieces to find a killer.
But when Harper learns that the purse belonged to the wife of the murdered man, and that the missing woman has run away with Mitch, Harper begins to wonder if her consulting detective might actually be the prime suspect.
This thrilling sequel to The 24 Hour Jazz Café pushes Mitch and Rupert to their very limits as they are exposed to a case far wider reaching than anything they have faced previously. Even detective Harper, usually in total control, is floundering as the clues lead nowhere and mistakes are made.
In the end, with Rupert in danger and a lack of options, it is Mitch who is willing to risk everything to see justice done."

I'm having a launch event on Monday over on Facebook if you fancy it. Expect enthusiastic, but poorly thought out promo, possibly involving a hastily put together giveaway of some sort as panic sets in.

Here's the exclusive bit. I have continually said that readers of this blog will get the chance to buy the book before anyone else. So here's what everyone else doesn't know.....

The book is already available to buy!! Follow this link and you can be the first to own a copy of Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths. If you get one, a review would be lovely as I'm aiming to grab the number 1 spot on Amazon with this book, at least for a little while.

Any other news for those not interested in the book launch? I went to the Merseyside Derby on Tuesday. Liverpool won 4-0 and despite feeling like death I had a great time. The dog is a bit under the weather but he's being brave and I had an awesome full English breakfast today, made by the wife. First time in years. But really, this post is all about the new book. Spread the word. I'm back.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Keeping up with your blog

Afternoon gang,

It's been a while. In fact I was pretty shocked to find out that it's been a month since I posted anything to this blog. Not good enough!

Before Christmas I was making bold predictions that my new book would be launched in time for the festive period. Well that didn't happen. The bottom line is I simply took Christmas off. I had time off work and just did... nothing. I stayed up late, drank ale, ate pizza, Xbox, Tele etc. But everything else went on the back burner.

It was nice too. We had a super Christmas and New Year and since then I've been back at work in a slightly new role which has been time consuming. Although not to the extent we thought it might be.

Anyway, I'm into the swing of 2014 now. The new book will be released very soon, promise, and I will be releasing more chunks of my next novel FEAR via Wattpad. I just won't be pushing myself quite as hard as I did last year.

So what plans are there for the new year? Well, we achieved all our goals for last year, aside from releasing the new book.

I started a new job, was good at it and so remain in the new job. We paid off a chunk of our mortgage with the extra money and also bought a second house as an investment. We bought a dog too. The wife started a Masters degree which we also paid for. So all in all last year was a vast success.

This year I will be releasing two books. That's a bit of a cheat because one of those is the one I was going to release before Christmas but there you go. The second will be FEAR. I will also begin writing the third book in the jazz café series (first two pages already done!).

Work - little bit trickier to predict as it's out of my control. But hopefully I'll get to stay in the job I'm doing. If so we'll be either buying another property or paying off more mortgage on the one we live in. We will also be buying a shiny new car. It will likely be German and go very fast.

Lastly, and this is very job dependent, we are going to aim to top six figures in terms of income. That last one is bold, and perhaps unrealistic but I'm motivated and full of ideas so we shall see.

Right, that's all for now. I've done a couple of hours writing today so I'm going to reward myself with a brew and some Xbox before I watch Liverpool roll over Aston Villa later.

Carry on...