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'?