Monday, 29 June 2015

Halfway there, and a nice review

On Saturday I completed chapter 15 of Scarrowbeck, my cod-19th century thriller based on a joke from a radio programme, being written to raise money for the BBC Children in Need Appeal.

So I am now exactly halfway to my target of 30 chapters, and well on-course to be finished by the target date - Saturday the 7th of November, when we're holding this year's Treasure Quest Live stage shows at the Norwich Playhouse.

I've slowed down a bit to just a chapter a week, but aim to try and pick it up again... Of course it's all nonsense, but it seems to be entertaining the ten or twelve people following it, and it's already raised more than my initial target of £150, or £5 per chapter. Thanks to everyone who has already donated!

You can read the existing chapters here, as they're posted:

And you can donate online here:

When it's all done, I'll put it up as a complete novel both as a Word document like the individual chapters, and in ebook form for Kindles, etc.

Speaking of ebooks, sales of The Ruined Heart have not exactly taken the world by storm. It sold five copies on the day I put it online, and in the fortnight since then has sold exactly one more copy, yesterday.

So slightly disappointing, but yesterday's sale did result in this lovely e-mail I received today, and what's more it's from someone who is neither a friend nor a colleague, and whom I have never knowingly met. So I was very pleased with it!

I hope it is OK to send an email to you at the BBC but I couldn't find another address. In the space of just over an hour I have been totally absorbed in your book and honestly it is such a good read and I couldn't put it down...

Seriously, it is tremendous and I was left wanting for more so leaving the ending open for more Alice Flack is genius. I am an avid reader and it was so refreshing to read a book with a story that does not rely on 4 letter words and explicit details of sex. I am now reading Scarrowbeck and really enjoying that as well. All this and cryptic Treasure Quest clues - you will, I am sure have a best selling novel at some stage. Can you imagine Ruined Heart being adapted for TV and Alice Flack being the new Miss Marple !!

As you can imagine, this left me with a big grin on my face, and I kept re-reading it throughout much of the day! As for further Alice Flack stories... Well, I do have the next one plotted out in some detail, and rough ideas sketched for some others, but whether or not they ever see the light of day depends on whether I ever meet my target of 20 sales for The Ruined Heart!

If you'd like to buy it - it's only 99p! - you can do so on Amazon, here:

Monday, 15 June 2015

The Ruined Heart

The Ruined Heart cover, created by David Lavelle.

Last year, I wrote that I’d finished a short novella – or, less charitably, a long short story! – called The Ruined Heart. A sort of murder-mystery set in an English village just after the Second World War, I was rather pleased with it, and mentioned how I was considering putting it up online on Amazon as an ebook download.

Well, now I have done it, and those of you of an ebook persuasion can purchase it for 99p by clicking here.

Long-term readers of this blog – should there be any! – may be surprised at this, given my stated dislike of the idea of self-publishing. It’s not that I condemn others for doing whatever they want with their books, it’s just that, for me, it feels like cheating to expect people to want to pay for my books when no publisher has judged them good enough to print.

But 25,000 words is a funny length for a story. Too long for a short story, and much too short for a novel, there isn’t really anything else I could do with The Ruined Heart. So I decided… why not?

A friend of a friend of mine, the talented David Lavelle, kindly took on a commission to create a piece of cover artwork, and the story went online to purchase from Amazon this morning. I’ve decided that if it somehow manages to make 20 sales, I’ll put another one up. I already have a 2000-word treatment written for a second Alice Flack story, and some ideas floating around for others… They’re quite fun to write, and there is something more relaxing about writing without the pressure of thinking you’re ever going to submit it to anybody.

So just the readers to worry about, then!

So far, it’s sold 5 copies, which isn’t bad for one day, and a quarter of the way to my target. No reviews yet, and I doubt it’s sold to anyone I’ve never met, or ever will manage that… But you never know!

Elsewhere, I continued to work on the Scarrowbeck novel in aid of the BBC Children in Need Appeal, and am nearly halfway through that – you can read the chapters so far completed by clicking here. I managed to complete the research and writing for my possible next Doctor Who Magazine piece, and that’s being considered by them for possible publication next year, although it may need cutting down a bit. Fingers crossed it will appear on some form or other! I also submitted Another Life to another agent last week, so we shall see what happens with that.

Anyway, please do take a look at The Ruined Heart – and if you like it, please tell your friends!