Sunday, 24 April 2016

Penny Lane lives on...

As most of you will know, I've written seven crime novels featuring Jack Scott, Sian Laidlaw and Calum Wick, two more with photographer turned amateur sleuth Penny Lane who is aided by husband Josh and gambler Ryan Sharkey.

The demise of Robert Hale saw Black Horse Westerns taken over by The Crowood Press, Wiltshire, but more general fiction - including crime - in limbo; those new publishers are primarily non-fiction. The good news for me (and readers?) is that another publisher is willing to look at a new Penny Lane novel, and will also look at the Penny Lane back list if they decide to continue the series. Excellent. All I have to do is write the new book.

Well, I always boast that I can write a western in just a few weeks. A crime novel for the publisher so far expressing cautious interest would be almost three times as long, which means writing it could take a few weeks times three - and, of course, 'a few' is open to any kind of interpretation!

My optimistic view is three months. And as it's now mid-April, that's looking at completion at the same point in July. Eighty thousand words. Twelve weeks. Not even one thousand words a day, so within easy reach - right?

We'll see. So far there's a working title: The Silent Halls of Death. And a prologue that has now become the first chapter. And four more chapters. Nine thousand words done (almost), leaving seventy-one thousand to do.

Penny Lane lives on...

Friday, 15 January 2016

New Publisher

I cannot believe that it's almost four years since I posted! Perhaps that's because, as always, they've been productive years, with new crime books and, of course, new Westerns.

It's the latter that prompted these musings. Many of you will know that Robert Hale have ceased trading as publishers. They began in 1936 which, coincidentally, is the year of my birth. I was with them as an author for twenty years, so was surprised and saddened by their passing.

However, for Western writers, all is not lost. Most of Hale's assets have been acquired by Crowood Press, Wiltshire, and the future looks bright. Back and forth emails with Ken Hathaway and John Dennis have revealed that a priority of theirs is the continuation of the Black Horse Western imprint. Exciting news. A western of mine that missed out through being completed just as Robert Hale faded from the scene is now with Crowood. It's going to be the first of many.

One further point I feel is worth raising. For many years I taught fiction through Writers' News correspondence courses. I'm back with them as a tutor - though now it is Writing Magazine. And, for those of you interested, I have two of my own courses running with, an excellent school run by Stephen Morrill in Florida.

More soon, I hope. But what's that saying, 'Don't hold your breath'? 

Saturday, 18 February 2012


Looking back at what I've written, I noticed that I've mentioned my web site. That site has now been discontinued, partly because I never did manage to keep it up to date, partly because this blog is an excellent way of putting my thoughts on line. 

Another way of looking at it is that two sites might be interesting, but on the other hand they might do nothing more than deliver a double dose of boredom.

Ouch! Did I say that? 

Sunday, 5 February 2012


Thought I mention that I teach creative writing through two schools. 
     The first is Writers' News, and if you're interested then courses are offered either via email or snail mail. 
     The second is, and their courses are strictly on line, via email. 
     As far as I'm concerned, through Writers' News I teach their courses, through I teach my courses - so you get more of me the second way.

     Only you can say whether that's good or bad!

Right, it's there!

D'Arragon's Axe was published on line yesterday, through Kindle Direct Publishing. That means it's available on Amazon. Though I say it myself, it's a good read - well, of course I'd say that - and, as it was written when I was a young man of 53, even I had forgotten a lot of the plot. Very English, lot's of references to the Civil War, and... well, I know you're going to read it so I'll say no more.

Here's the link:

Monday, 16 January 2012

Cross pollination - or something

It's been brought to my notice that moving novels from standard hardback to on-line electronic editions has its problems. Although all my novels are copy edited before being published as a physical book - and remain unchanged for the electronic version - somehow typos creep in. How? I'm puzzled, but will investigate and, where possible, correct the problem. 

My own feeling is that the problem is minor. If there are any more of you who have bought my crime books for Kindle, have enjoyed the story but been disappointed by the faults in the publication - do let me know.

In the meantime, on with the horror book, which should be with Kindle in... oh, ten days?

Should be worth it!  

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Something Different

Well, goodness me, I've just been looking through my files and discovered a horror novel I wrote, oh, fifteen or twenty years ago. Quite a long one - for me, anyway - over 100,000 words.

It was written using Claris Works, which shows just how long ago that was! The point is, it's been disinterred, exhumed, whatever you like to call it - and believe me, considering the subject matter, both those terms are apt.

D'Arragon's Axe is the title and, with a little work, I should be able to publish it as an e-book a couple of weeks from now. A New Year offering to my readers.

Keep your eyes on Amazon.