#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles @DamppebblesBTs / #GuestPost : The Moscow Whisper #TheMoscowWhisper – Michael Jenkins @FailsafeQuery

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

The Moscow Whisper banner

Today I’m on the ‘The Moscow Whisper’ blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

yyDFL3QQI started climbing at 13, survived being lost in Snowdonia at 14, nearly drowned at 15, and then joined the Army at 16. Risk and adventure was built into my DNA and I feel very fortunate to have served the majority of my working career as an intelligence officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal Engineers.
I was privileged to serve for twenty-eight years in the British Army as a soldier and officer, rising through the ranks to complete my service as a major. I served across the globe on numerous military operations as well as extensive travel and adventure on many major mountaineering and exploration expeditions that I led or was involved in.
I was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical Society for mountain exploration in 2003 and served on the screening committee of the Mount Everest Foundation charity for many years. It was humbling after so many years of service when I was awarded the MBE for services to counter-terrorism in 2007.

Social Media:
Twitter
Facebook
Website

Synopsis :

jpeg low MB‘Sometimes you have to enter the death zone to save the innocent.’
A top-secret clique of former spies meet for dinner to hatch a plan to murder a competitor, not knowing that they are under surveillance from a covert arm of British Intelligence. Hours later, with bodies strewn across a terrace, a piece of secret intelligence reveals an international plot of colossal magnitude.
For disgraced agent Sean Richardson, this is the beginning of a deniable mission to infiltrate and disrupt a group of Russian mercenaries who are working clandestinely to take over a nation state.
Acting covertly as an illicit arms trafficker, Sean is dropped into a deadly cauldron of terrorism and high-tech weaponry that will take a nation down. As the bullets fly and the chaos rains in, can Sean take down the merchants of death…or has he finally met his match?
The third in a set of spy thrillers that have been expertly crafted with stunning plot lines, magnificent locations, and twists that leave you gasping for air. Perfect for fans of Frederick Forsyth, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, and Scott Mariani.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Publishing Information:
Published in paperback and digital formats on 7th June 2020.

Guest Post :

The Moscow Whisper

Spies, Mercenaries, Weapons smuggling, and Forensics
A unique mixture of espionage

For those that have read the book, I hope you enjoyed the mixture of geo-politics, mysterious locations, and the fascinating mission that Sean, the main character, has to achieve set against tumultuous odds. A task he felt was impossible from the outset.
I thought for many months about how I might fuse some of the modern-day geo-forensics, bomb disposal, weapons smuggling, and Russian mercenaries into such a story. I wanted to immerse the reader with a rich insight into the modern-day world of intelligence operations, from strategic level and national assets, right down to simple and applied forensics on the ground, with a smattering of bomb disposal and weapons smuggling scenes too. Of course, most spy and espionage novels don’t have such a unique mixture, so what led me to explore these themes?
For many of my years, I was privileged to serve on operations with some incredible forensic and bomb disposal experts, both during my days on counter terrorist operations with the police, and also on overseas operations acting with the intelligence services and the military. Hence nearly all of the search, EOD (explosive ordnance disposal), weapons and forensic scenes are authentic, but have of course been adapted to the theme of the story where Sean comes up against a set of highly trained Russian mercenaries, a long way from home on another continent.
I really enjoyed showing some of the capabilities of modern-day cyber operations – highly trained operators using cutting edge technology to conduct intelligence gathering roles in support of covert missions. It’s no secret that many of these techniques are employed by many nations, and there have been lost of media coverage and articles about the power of cyber operations, hacking, and stealing secrets that are embedded in servers, networks and IT systems. Cyber espionage is very much alive.
But how does Sean use all these techniques and procedures to achieve the mission that Jack, his MI5 handler gave him? One of the main themes here is that he needs trusted friends and experts to achieve the mission, something he could never do alone. And so he brings in his team of eclectic, erratic, and eccentric operators together. I loved creating their oddities in the first novel, The Failsafe Query, and then bring them together again for their second high-octane mission in the Kompromat Kill, before completing the trilogy with The Moscow Whisper. Each of them can be read as standalone novels, and each are based on people I served with, and I blended in multiple characters to make them who they are today in the story. I always chuckle when I meet up with some of them for a drink and I’ve included most of their own personal traits into each character. The characters feel real because of it.
It was important to me that Sean did not become the tired ‘lone wolf’ superspy that you usually find in spy thrillers, but I wanted him to use his charisma and flair to lead a team of highly skilled geo-forensics and bomb disposal operators. Sean is a highly skilled professional, who pulls off his missions by selecting and leading the right team of people for the job. He is flawed, he makes mistakes, pays his dues, and has to find ways to live with the extensive trauma his profession has caused him.
The activities of Sean hunting down the merchants of death, are based upon my experiences of working in the world of Intelliegnce, weapons intelligence, bomb disposal and high-risk search for counter terrorist operations. But I adapted the principles to make a story out of it, and used the skills of what is known as Search Advisors to create the conditions for him to succeed. Police and military search advisors are those officers who conduct investigations into missing persons and finding criminal items – and they are superbly trained and lead the world in this type of activity.
It was great fun to blend in the military and geo-forensic aspects of the operation into the novel, and I hope you enjoy those scenesa mongst exotic landscapes. What exactly does it all reveal though……the twists and turns will eventually lead you to a very dramatic finale. Sean’s route to success and contentment is blocked by many disturbing and hidden facets that he didn’t know were in play. It seems an almost impossible mission. And just as you thought it couldn’t be any worse, along comes a standoff that needs Sean to somehow find a way out of.
Just as all seems lost, Sean senses an opportunity and gets some help he didn’t expect… .

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

dpbt 2

#CoverReveal #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles @DamppebblesBTs : Not the Deaths Imagined #NotTheDeathsImagined – Anne Pettigrew @pettigrew_anne @RingwoodPublish

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m super pleased to be on the blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour, to reveal the cover of

Not the Deaths Imagined
by
Anne Pettigrew

But first some information

About the Author :

Anne PettigrewGlasgow-born, 31 years a Greenock GP, graduate of University of Glasgow (Medicine 1974) and Oxford (MSc Medical Anthropology 2004). Worked also in psychiatry, women’s health, and journalism (Herald, Pulse, Doctor, Channel 4). In retirement took Creative Writing tuition at Glasgow University aiming to pen novels about women doctors (rare in literature except as pathologists or in Mills & Boon). Runner-up in SAW Constable Award 2018, chosen as a 2019 Bloody Scotland Crime Spotlight Author – ‘one to watch.’ Member of several writers’ groups and a short story competition winner, she lives in Ayrshire and enjoys good books, good wine, and good company.

Twitter
Facebook
Website
Instagram
Blog

Synopsis :

In a leafy Glasgow suburb, Dr Beth Semple is busy juggling motherhood and full-time GP work in the 90s NHS. But her life becomes even more problematic when she notices some odd deaths in her neighbourhood. Though Beth believes the stories don’t add up, the authorities remain stubbornly unconvinced.
Soon, Beth’s professional reputation is challenged. There follows a chilling campaign of harassment and she finds her professional reputation – and family – are put at risk.
Is a charming local GP actually a serial killer? Can Beth piece together the jigsaw of perplexing fatalities and perhaps save lives? And as events accelerate towards a dramatic conclusion, will the police intervene in time?
From the author of Not the Life Imagined, this slow-burning tartan noir novel from a Bloody Scotland Crime Spotlight author follows Beth on another quest for justice. Reflecting Pettigrew’s own medical expertise, Not The Deaths Imagined re-affirms the benefits of growing up in a loving family and the need for friends in hard times, while offering insight into the twisted development of a psychopathic mind.

After this great teaser I hope you are still excited for the

blog-cover reveal

because this is happening

right now!

NTDI Cover

Did this all pique your interest in reading the book? It will be available on August 1st, 2020, but you can already pre-order on Ringwood Publishing.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

dpbt 2

#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles @DamppebblesBTs / #GuestPost : The Jansson Tapes (Terry Bell Mysteries #3) #TheJanssonTapes #TerryBellMysteries – Colin Garrow @colingarrow

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

The Jansson Tapes banner

Today I’m on the ‘The Jansson Tapes’ blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Colin-GarrowTrue-born Geordie Colin Garrow grew up in a former mining town in Northumberland and has worked in a plethora of professions including taxi driver, antiques dealer, drama facilitator, theatre director and fish processor, and has occasionally masqueraded as a pirate. Colin has published three stage plays, six adventures for middle grade readers, two books of short stories, the Watson Letters series and the Terry Bell Mysteries. His short stories have appeared in several literary mags, including: SN Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Grind, A3 Review, Inkapture and Scribble Magazine. These days he lives in a humble cottage in North East Scotland where he writes novels, stories. poems and the occasional song.

Twitter
Facebook
Website (adults)
Website (childrens)
Website (The Watson Letters)
Instagram
Smashwords
Amazon Author Page

Synopsis :

The Jansson Tapes COVER ebook March 2020 smallerWhen a familiar leggy blonde slides onto the back seat of his cab with the offer of work, taxi-driver and amateur sleuth Terry Bell isn’t keen. However, compared to the tedium of driving a cab all day, the lure of another mystery is too strong to resist, and Terry agrees to help. Tracking down a missing writer and his tape recorder sounds simple enough, but following the clues to a remote village, the case takes a dangerous turn when the man turns up dead. After the police take over, Terry and his sidekick Carol return home to find their flat ransacked—and that’s not the only surprise. Caught between a suspicious detective inspector and the machinations of a mysterious woman, can the wily investigator unravel the mystery before the killer strikes again?

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Smashwords

Publishing Information:
Published in paperback and digital formats on 9th May 2020.

The Jansson tapes PAPERBACK cover April 2020

Excerpt :

Making a Hero

Back in the early 1990s, I spent a bit of time driving a taxi in a nice, quiet seaside town on the Suffolk coast. I got to drive a new car, swan around during the summer months in shirt-sleeves and sunglasses and pick up a lot of young women. Trouble is, I also picked up drunks, pimps, villains and the occasional prostitute. It wasn’t a glamorous lifestyle and I soon tired of it, but I saw a side to the town that intrigued me, so it was inevitable that the place would, at some point, make its way into one of my books.
As it happens, I did write about it at the time, though the narrative poem that emerged did the place no favours—painting it as an unpleasant mix of crappy little council houses and newer poorly-built boxes thrown up by cowboy builders to cope with the increasing population. The inhabitants of those same little boxes were likewise tarred with my unglamorous brush, colouring them as sly, untrustworthy folk, generally unkempt and troll-like. And of course, most of them spent their time in the roles of pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers.
As my creative skills were then still in their infancy, the poem was little more than self-indulgent crap, mostly reflecting not the town itself, but (following a failed marriage) my own petty irritations and disgruntlement at having to live there, and in retrospect, I freely admit it was a lovely little town inhabited by (mostly) lovely people. However, there did exist a certain group of characters with the kind of notable behaviours and personalities that novelists adore, and who were, therefore, ripe for inclusion in something literary. I just didn’t know what.
In late 2016, I had a yearning to create a murder mystery series loosely based on some of the aforementioned characters, but when I did start writing, the seaside town that kept popping into my imagination wasn’t the one I’d been thinking about for years, but one much nearer home on the northeast coast near Newcastle—Whitley Bay. I lived there for a couple of years during my drama-worker days and always thought the place had an appealingly down-at-heel atmosphere, perfect for a down-at-heel amateur sleuth. Consequently, Terry Bell’s stomping ground ended up being a kind of fictitious mix of people and places, with several of the people I’d met back in the 1990s morphing into roles in my dramatis personae.
These include the character of Ralph, the bald-headed minder of Caravan Queen Sheila Carver. Loosely based on a massive ex-doorman who tended to hit people rather than speak to them, I used the same mould for another recurring character, Joe Spud, a taxi driver who has a tendency to speak with his fists, but is otherwise a (reasonably) charming and amiable fellow. Others, such as Big Ronnie and the Fish Twins were an amalgam of various villains and drug-dealers I met, while my initial description of Detective Inspector Charis Brown—She was small and graceful, with an elfin-like smile and eyes that could melt a Mr Whippy at fifty paces—was inspired by a girl I knew at school who had an elfin-like smile etc.
Terry himself isn’t based on anyone, but was originally intended to be a younger, nicer, more intelligent and better-looking version of me, with a different personality and more hair. The main difference though, is that he’s better at solving mysteries, even if it takes him a while to fit all the pieces together.
How long Terry will continue solving murders and tracking down bad guys remains to be seen, but for the moment both he and I are having too much fun to stop.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

dpbt 2

 

 

 

 

#SubmissionCall #PMPress @PMPress1 @damppebbles

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m not on a blogtour, but helping PM Press to promote their submission call.

PM Press Logo

We are a Kindle-First imprint of Holland House Books that specialises in crime, thriller and dystopian fiction. Phaidra Robinson and Mia Skevington set up PM Press in April 2020 in order to pursue their respective loves of true crime and detective fiction. Our background of Literary Fiction at Holland House Books means that we bring an expectation of and experience in producing high quality books to these genres. An inaugural imprint, this is the time for authors to submit their work for the chance to be one of our founding book releases.
We are looking for most types of crime and thriller fiction, from the classic English whodunit through to police procedurals, or classic noir through to mind-bending psychological thrillers. Maybe you want to introduce us to a dystopian future. We want well-written, satisfying work – a good twist and convincing characters are the ways to our hearts. It may be cosy and comfortable or dark and disturbing… or something completely different.
If you have a completed novel or novella which you believe may fit, then send us:
1) The first fifty pages of your work.
2) A synopsis of your work (maximum two pages).
3) A covering letter with a brief overview – we do NOT need you to do a brilliant ‘pitch’ or the kind of blurb which would go on the back of the book. The basic story, main character(s) and the general themes is all we need.
These documents should be Word Documents, size 12 in a standard font, with a line spacing of 1.5.
Please email us at pmpress@hhousebooks.com and address them to the Editor Phaidra Robinson.

Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

PM Press Logo

Good luck sending your work out into the world!

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

dpbt 2

 

 

 

 

#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles / #QandAs : Ground Rules #GroundRules – Richard Whittle @richard1whittle

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Ground Rules banner V2

Today I’m on the ‘Ground Rules’ blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Richard WhittleRichard has been a policeman, diesel engine tester, university student and engineering geologist. Writing as Alan Frost he was shortlisted from several hundred international competitors for the CWA (Crime Writers Association) Debut Dagger Award.

Twitter
Website

Synopsis :

Ground RulesCalled out one night in the hope that she can identify the body of a man found in a field, Edinburgh forensic geologist Jessica Spargo – Jez – inadvertently becomes involved in the investigation of a university lecturer’s murder. The investigating officer, Tom Curtis, hands her a small glass vial and asks her to analyse its contents. She agrees to do it. The results confound everyone.
Media attention around a seemingly unconnected incident on a construction site near Edinburgh means that all work has stopped. An object discovered beneath the site confounds everyone, including the police. Employed by the firm’s owner to attempt to solve the mystery, Jez falls foul of an uncooperative site manager. Unruffled, she perseveres. Meanwhile, the murder mystery deepens. Despite her reluctance to become further involved, she has her own theories about the origin of the vial’s contents, theories the police do not accept.
To Jez’s dismay there are more deaths. As she says to Curtis, ‘I don’t do bodies. I’m a geologist, I look at rocks. If I’d wanted to look at bits of body then I would have become a surgeon or a pathologist.’

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Publishing Information:
Published in paperback and digital formats on 9th March 2020.

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I was around forty years old when I first sat down to write a full-length novel. I wrote it because I wanted to, not because I wanted it published. I don’t know what became of it. I do remember that I typed it on a portable typewriter!
I was a policeman in a big city for around ten years. My hobbies were geology, caving and rock-hunting, and what I really wanted to be was an engineer. I studied to enter university and eventually became an engineering geologist.
Around twenty years ago I entered one of my novels for the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award and was shortlisted from a few hundred others. I didn’t win, but it encouraged me to keep writing.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
From an early age I was a public library member. Each time I visited I took out as many books as they allowed. I remember being given a copy of ‘Jennie’ by writer Paul Gallico, a novel that made me realise how powerful writing could be, and how it could raise such strong emotions. When I was older I started to read crime, mystery and adventure novels. For a while, because of my work, I tended to read (and write) a lot of technical and scientific stuff.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I would like to chat with Kate Atkinson, to find out how she gets her head around such complicated plots. Also J. K. Rowling, to ask how she conjured up such stories – though I’m sure her answer would be “after many years of hard work.”

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
It can’t really be from one of my own books, because I would know the answers to all the questions already. So let’s think about this… who would I invite for tea? I’m going to be boring here. Because I worked as an engineering geologist I’m going to say Marcus Attilius Primus, the aqueduct engineer in Robert Harris’s ‘Pompeii’, and ask him about the tunnels that took water to cities in ancient Italy. Not impressed? Okay. Then how about Hagrid? I did wonder about Severus Snape, but Hagrid would be much more fun.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Medium latte in a coffee shop. Comfy chair if possible (out of the sun, because if not, the sun’s either in my eyes or blanking out my laptop screen). Earplugs too, I don’t like using them, but I have to if a nearby customer talks too loudly. No earbuds or headphones with music, because I tend to listen to the music instead of writing. I manage to write intensely for two to three hours a day. I do not aim for a certain number of words, that’s for newspaper columnists and school essays. Instead I like to get things right. I can spend an hour on one page if I need to.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I base much of my work on personal experience. I was a policeman for ten years, then worked on the shop floor of an engineering firm. I became a mature uni student, then an engineering geologist. I worked in 20 countries, I have seen a lot of things (not always nice ones). Nobody in my life needs to be worried. I twist and turn the facts, the names and the dates. The personal experiences are only a trigger.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
A mix of the two. I like to think I’m a plotter, but really the plot is loose, I go with the flow and the plot comes in chunks – I plot the next bit. Only when I get around 2/3 way through do I start to develop an ending.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Write what you love. It shouldn’t be a struggle. And write what you know about – or if you don’t know about it, research it thoroughly. Don’t beat yourself up if the words don’t come. Try writing something else. Sometimes I write two novels at once – I have about six half-done ones, but that’s from over thirty-or-so years! If I want to, I can pick them up later, or use bits of them.

What are your future plans as an author?
I just want to keep writing. I write because I love doing it, I find it relaxing, I can’t stop doing it. I suppose I write for myself but with the reader in mind. I see myself as a storyteller, so what I write must appeal to others. I will never make money from writing, that rarely happens.

Last, but not least: Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Forensic Geologist Jessica Spargo (Jez) is handed a container by Edinburgh Detective Chief Inspector Curtis. When he tells her what is in it, she says she can’t analyse it and doesn’t want it. Why is that? And why are its contents a key clue to the murder Curtis is investigating?

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Richard Whittle.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

dpbt 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

 

 

#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles / #QandAs : Paper Soldiers (DCI Priest #3) #PaperSoldiers #DCIPriest – Mark Pettinger @m_pettinger

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Paper Soldiers banner

Today I’m on the ‘Paper Soldiers’ blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Mark PettingerMark Pettinger is a crime fiction writer of the DCI Priest novels. His debut The Decalogue entered the Amazon Bestseller Top 100 list in December 2015, and the Top 10 on the sub-genre of ‘police procedurals’.
Mark was born in a maternity ward attached to RAF Manston in Kent. His father was in the Royal Air Force, and for the first few years of his life, he lived on a number of RAF bases on the east coast of the UK with his parents and sister. Skip forward a few years; now married and with children he lives in a small village in East Yorkshire.
Fitting his writing around his ‘day job’; Mark’s writing pattern is somewhat sporadic, and he writes when he can, which currently is in hotel rooms / foyer, or in an airport lounge trying to keep one eye on the departure board to ensure he doesn’t miss his flight!
Mark’s interest in the murky world of crime started a number of years ago when he was attracted to reading true crime. He became fascinated with the exploits of the Yorkshire Ripper, Dennis Nilsen, John Wayne Gacy, Andrei Chikatilo etc. An avid reader of many genre’s, but his attention turned to favouring crime fiction; and his reading list includes Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham, Lynda La Plante, Jo Nesbo, and latterly CJ Tudor (for something just that little bit special).
Mark has openly credited Ian Rankin as the primary inspiration for not only stirring his interest in reading crime fiction, but also ‘picking up the pen’.
Mark has published two hugely successful crime fiction novels: The Decalogue in 2012, and Tick Tock, Time’s Up in 2015. Long overdue, critics have noted, Mark published the third instalment in the DCI Priest series Paper Soldiers in March 2020.
Next on his list is a standalone crime thriller, due for publication in summer 2021.

Twitter
Facebook
Website

Synopsis :

Paper Soldiers ebook completeThe streets of Greater Manchester are awash with drugs and weapons, and the gangs that control this multi-million pound business will stop at nothing to protect and grow their business. The Dolsen family are one such gang.
When the head of a rival Yardie gang is found brutally murdered, revenge attacks were always likely to follow, and gang members were unlikely to be the only ones hurt.
DCI Priest teams up with the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA); but they soon admit to conflicting objectives which may unravel their alliance, and prove to it be more of a hindrance than a help.
Was DCI Priest was about to undertake his most challenging investigation to date?

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Publishing Information:
Published in digital format by BookBaby on 16th March 2020.

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
My name is Mark Pettinger and I live in a rural village in East Yorkshire, UK. I do have a ‘day job’ so I write whenever I have time, which is usually when I am away on business trips – hotel bar, airport lounge etc.
A number of years ago I was travelling long distances by car, and was struggling for time to read, so I came across audiobooks. During long journeys I would devour many crime fiction books, most notably the entire works of Ian Rankin. One day, travelling home, I thought ‘I can do this, I’ll give it a try’, and from there the journey began.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a child I was fascinated by all things ‘military’ and ‘war’. I read mainly non-fiction books, reading about various battles or wars fought over the centuries, and the soldiers that fought in those wars.
Now, as an adult, I tend to read crime fiction, which itself has many sub-genres. I enjoy police procedurals, psychological thrillers and the dark and creepy ones that you wouldn’t read alone in the dark.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Despite having met him on a couple of occasions, a lengthy chat over a pint with Ian Rankin would be the one for me. The million dollar question would be ‘how do you keep coming up with storylines and maintain the longevity of a character over a long running series, such as Rebus?’

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
It would definitely be Detective Sergeant Stephens (from my own DCI Priest series). The three books so far in the series have seen her relationship with Priest move from ‘having a fling’ to something more formal, to now living together. So many questions to ask about what it is like to live with DCI Priest? Does he ever switch off? Can she see herself in that lofty senior role in the near future?

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Not really. As I noted earlier I do have a ‘day job’ so I need to fit my writing around that. As such, that doesn’t really allow for many rituals or habits – I just open up the laptop, read back the last 4 of 5 pages to get back into the story, and crack on!

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
You should see my internet browser history…no, really you should!
Crime fiction is probably the easiest and conversely the hardest genre to create ideas. The murky world of crime provides an abundance of opportunities, but the challenge is always to find a new angle. If you look at ‘ways to murder someone’ – it has all been done before, multiple times. The author needs to weave a number of sub plots and ensure that the characters are foremost in the storyline.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
100% a plotter. At the start of a new book I will spend a lot of time planning the end to end story. Don’t get me wrong, as I write the story may meander off somewhat but I’m OK with that if I’m happy with where it is going. I try and break the story up into 10-15 chunks (not yet chapters) and will add a dozen or so bullet points to each section to help me as I write.
Starting with a blank page without any planning would leave me with severe writers block.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
I know that it’s not original, but my best advice is simply: Stop talking about writing, and just write. You’ll gain more confidence as you write, and learn so much. None of which will happen if you don’t start.
My second tip, again nothing ground breaking, is: the first draft of anything is rubbish. The first draft simply gets the story out of your head and on paper, and by its very nature is the end of phase one, your ‘brain dump’. Don’t expect your first draft to be good. From there you can review and develop the story that you wanted to write.

What are your future plans as an author?
Having published book 3 in the DCI Priest series, I am currently writing a standalone crime novel which I expect will be published in summer 2021. After which I do expect to return to the DCI Priest series.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
A teaser……right! Well, both beta readers and early readers of the published book have all noted that the ‘torture scene’ will send you one way or the other (engrossed and lapping it up….or quickly turning the page) – let me know which one you are.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Mark Pettinger.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

dpbt 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

 

#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles / #QandAs : Trembleath #Trembleath – Ruth Shedwick @ruthshedwick

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Trembleath banner

Today I’m on the ‘Trembleath’ blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Ruth Shedwick - 5Graduating from Liverpool John Moores University with a degree in Environmental Planning, her passion for the natural environment and love for creatures great and small is evident in her writing. She currently lives on rural moorland on the edge of ancient woodland and shares her home with four cats and a wolf and spends most of her time ‘earthing’. Since an early age, Ruth has been intrigued by the ancient world, folklore, myths and legends and explores the unknown.
As well as writing, Ruth dabbles in Graphic Design and has worked with local charities including South Lancashire Bat Group and Rooley Heritage.
Ruth is also the creative mind behind Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival (first Chocolate Festival in the UK). She organised the event for the first 5 years, winning an award for Best Small Event in Greater Manchester. Capitalising on her passion for the paranormal, Ruth organised the Whitefield Halloween Festival whose specially commissioned beer by Outstanding Beers went on to win awards. Building partnerships with local community groups and businesses for over 20 years, promoting Town Centres and staging large-scale events to boost the local economy and bring communities together.

Twitter
Facebook
Website
Instagram

Synopsis :

TREMBLEATH CoverAmelia Scott is re-building her life in Southern England following a disastrous relationship. It was going to be an adventure, but when she hears news of a young girl found dead and another goes missing, she quickly begins to learn there is more to Creek Bay than she could ever imagine.
A village hiding a dark secret, two families at war, Amelia Scott gets caught up in a murder investigation with dire consequences.

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Waterstones
Foyles

Publishing Information:
Published in paperback format by Hygge Media on 11th November 2019.

Creek Bay Gazette

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
My background is Environmental Planning where I worked as a Senior Planner for local government over 20 years. During that time my passion for art transcribed into graphic design and so I used this in my every day to produce trail booklets, information boards and exhibitions on the environmental projects I worked on. As an avid project manager my organisational skills were then used to design, develop and solely organise events to bring in large footfall to boost the local economy. I organised the UK’s first ever Chocolate Festival and did so for the first five years until I was made redundant. It was a particularly dark time in both my work and personal life if I am honest and I guess you either use that to your advantage or let it eat you whole. I began writing in 2010 when I had a recurring dream that wouldn’t leave me. It was then that I decided to put pen to paper (or rather fingertips to keyboard) and put it down for therapeutic purposes. It worked, and as I let the words flow, the dreams progressed. In my first sitting I wrote 20,000 words and had no idea I had that in me, every day I would take the steps to the study and immerse myself in their world – it was a welcomed distraction to my current predicament, it was my escape, and my freedom. As I became more focussed it was not before long that I had a fully constructed novel on my desktop and more stories flowed from there.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
My mother had a great bookshelf, as a little girl I would sit with my legs crossed and flick through the pages of the books that I could reach. Ancient Greek and Roman Mythology were the first books I began to take interest in and still are to this day. I was hooked, fascinated and intrigued by the stories, so much so that I couldn’t wait to find out more. She also had books on British history linked to the supernatural, I guess this is where my interest into witchcraft and the natural world stems from. My personal book collections are wide and varied, but I must confess I love a good horror book as well as crime fiction.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I do have a few favourite authors sitting on my shelves, namely Stephen King, James Herbert, Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris, Kelley Armstrong, Lynsay Sands, Tom Cox. Of course I would like to pick all of them for advice, but if I was only given one, then I think it would be Anne Rice. She writes passages as though she has lived that time and it draws you into that world, the characters and believe everything is possible.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Invite for tea, or BECOME tea (haha). I would invite The Vampire Lestat (Anne Rice) and William Henry Malloy (from my novel Trembleath). These two characters (or should I say gentlemen), have a wealth of experience between them, have seen many things over the years and though they have a darkness within them, they are also torn between the light. I would also like to think that they know one another in some form through the years, so hearing about their first thoughts of one another would be interesting and whether they are friends or foes. They both excite me and scare me – the right mix of entertainment for any gathering.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
My writing rituals have always been based around force dreaming. So I will lay completely still, take deep breaths and run through the scene in my mind, its at that point they take over and I’m merely there to record what is happening. I would literally be lost if it wasn’t for the notes app on my phone, the second I hear a conversation I have to write it down. The concern is that I have so many notes I have to make sense of before the traction is lost. Armed with a large pot of black coffee or peppermint tea I sit in my office and let the words flow. I do however get distracted with research so I can often sit for days contemplating differing scenarios or just end up reading about forensics and think wow, that isn’t relevant for this story, but I will park that info for another time.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I think the people in my life ARE worried (haha). Those that know me know of my love for the natural world and my affinity with animals. I harness this in my writing and let the environment speak to me. I am a huge fan of Earthing – walking barefoot and let the earth’s energies filter through you. I live in a remote hamlet on the moors surrounded by farm and woodland, I find inspiration in everything around me, from listening to the birds, the deer or just the wind through the trees. If there is one gift I have, it is listening and observing – so when I am around people I simply watch, take in their mannerisms and their body language, their interactions with one another and their reactions, people watching is a great past time.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m actually a little of both. What I have found when I am writing a series, the first novel simply flows, and although I know how the series ends, the subsequent novels in that series tend to have a more plotting structure to them. This is because I need to ensure questions are answered, and information is revealed. I lay breadcrumbs for the reader, some may be very subtle while others are literally screaming at you, and I enjoy seeing whether the reader picks up on the hints along the way.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Thank you for asking. I would say just go for it. Writing is amazing therapy. Write, write, and write some more. The more you hone your craft, the better you will become. Writing short stories and flash fiction is a great way to get your creativity flowing. My one piece of advice on the don’t – is don’t overthink it, let the story come to you, never force anything.

What are your future plans as an author?
I have three books in the Trembleath series, so I am working on completing those at the moment. Trembleath has been shortlisted for the Cornish Book Awards and currently in discussions with literary festivals, I was also due to be in Cornwall 20 April – 1 May with talks and promotion of Trembleath, however, due to Covid-19 the scheduling for 2020 has been put on hold, so who knows what the future holds. With other completed series I am looking to revisit those and see if there is any representation, but for now I am focussing on getting through my 9-5 job, my writing, and staying motivated during these difficult times.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
A teaser… Mmm.
Creek Bay is not your average quaint Cornish seaside village. It holds a dark secret steeped in Pagan history ruled by a powerful family. As Amelia mourns the loss of her previous life, a new one is thrust upon her without fully understanding the consequences. The deaths of two young women will soon reveal the horror she faces, but just when you may think you have secrets to the mystery all wrapped up, an old foe rolls into town.

As she ran down the cobbled street into misty darkness, clouds consumed light cast out from the waning moon into the night sky. Her ragged breathing filled the air, her heartbeat pounded in her ears and her panic filled their nostrils; they were hungry for the kill. The slapping of their large feet against the cold wet stone echoed around her. She tried to ignore the sound and focused on making it to the village, where she knew she’d be safe. The pounding continued from her pursuers bringing new life to her tired legs, humming from the pain now fuelled with adrenaline. She could make out a light in the distance, and another, and another; the village she grew up in, people she called friends, family, loved ones were just within reach. The thought of being in the warm embrace of her parent’s arms spurred her on.
She didn’t see the pothole beneath her feet, she sprawled forwards tumbling hard onto the cobbles, her kneecap shattered on impact sending waves of agony down her leg. The girl howled, as pain coursed through her body, muscles convulsing tightening her limbs; she rolled on the ground in fetal position panting out the pain. Tears ran down her cheeks. The rain hadn’t registered until she saw the ripples in the puddle beside her. With a sigh she raised her head skywards watching the drops descend. She knew she had to keep moving, had to get away, put some distance between her and…
Silence, deathly silence. Like someone had clicked the mute button on life. And then she felt it. The hairs all over her body stood to attention; a tingling sensation ran up her spine, rising up the back of her neck; she shuddered as a breath of cold air passed over her, she could smell the stench of death in its wake.
Death was coming for her and there was nothing she could do about it. She thought of her mum and dad at home with her little sister, waiting for her bedtime story. But there would be no story. Not tonight. Not any night. She knew she would not survive. She hung her head low in submission and waited for death’s grip, a prayer forming on her lips,

“Bless me father for I have sinned…”

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Ruth Shedwick.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

dpbt 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

 

#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles / #QandAs : A Plague On Both Your Houses #APlagueOnBothYourHouses – Ian Porter #IanPorter @matadorbook

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

A Plague on Both Your Houses banner V2

Today I’m on the ‘A Plague on Both Your Houses’ blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Ian PorterBefore he turned his quill to penning novels, Ian was a professional non-fiction writer. He wrote most of the original edition of the guide book Where to Ski & Snowboard. He contributed to non-fiction work on such diverse subjects as the Suffragettes, the Titanic, Jack the Ripper and Charming Small Hotels! He now lectures and guides walks, primarily in women’s 19th and early 20th century history. Which brings us to his novels. His first, Whitechapel, is set in the East End slums of 1888 at the time of the Whitechapel Murders. His second, the highly acclaimed Suffragette Autumn Women’s Spring, is set within the Votes for Woman campaign between 1912-14. This, his third novel, A Plague on Both Your Houses, is set in 1918-19 in the final months of the Great War and the following months, during the flu pandemic, in both the East End of London and the East End of Berlin. His next novel (title to be decided) is again set in the Victorian East End and will be published later this year.
Ian has a degree in history from the University of Birmingham, where he was awarded the Chancellor’s Prize for outstanding achievement. He is married, lives in Kent and when he’s not doing research or writing, likes to play and watch lots of sport.

Website

Synopsis :

A Plague on Both Your HousesIt’s May 1918. The Great War is finally coming to a conclusion. The German Spring Offensive appears to be winning the war before the recent arrival into Europe of American troops can have any military effect.
But the German Home Front is struggling. The Allied blockade of foodstuffs; a poor government and a potato blight have left the German people hungry and angry. In comparison, the introduction of rationing proves a great boon to morale in Britain. And just in time too. Because the American troops have brought with them something far more deadly than their own firepower. A deadly mutated flu virus.
In the East End of London, Mr & Mrs Nash have not bought into the war. He’s a tough ex-villain who hides conscientious objectors from the authorities. But the government’s net appears to be drawing in on him. She helps Sylvia Pankhurst run a nursery, restaurant cum soup kitchen and a toy factory, as well as badger officialdom to give more help to people. And as an ex-Suffragette she knows how to both use and circumvent the law when it suits her.
In the East End of Berlin, a nurse, a farmer, a black marketer, a soldier home on leave and a rich woman with a chauffeuse are all woven together as the Germany Home Front starts to collapse into starvation, retribution and rioting. Germany can’t fight the British, the flu and themselves.
It’s a fast paced page-turner, full of action and personal relationships, as the two stories and the people of two countries come together to solve a huge problem the war and the flu has created.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Troubador
Waterstones

Publishing Information:
Published in paperback and digital formats by Troubador on 13th March 2018.

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
My pleasure.

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I am a Historian and Public Speaker with a particular interest in 19th/early 20th century women’s history. I was already a non-fiction writer (for example I wrote most of the original edition of the guide book where to ski). I became frustrated by the interest shown in Jack the Ripper, when the stories of the poor women whom he killed were ignored, so I wrote my first novel, Whitechapel, set at the time of the killings, but it was a social history novel. It shows readers what it was really like for a woman living in the slums in those days. And what drove some of them into prostitution.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
Treasure Island. Robert Newton is one of my all-time favourite actors so I guess it was the films with him playing Long John Silver in conjunction with reading the book that has stayed with me. I’ve also done quite a bit of research on pirates (they were very different from Johnny Depp!)

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Ian Rankin. His writing is so good, his dialogue so real, his character Rebus so believable. And Rankin inhabits modern day Edinburgh like I like to inhabit the old East End of London. And when I’ve seen him interviewed he seems like a pretty good guy.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Rebus (see above). If it was a character from one of my own books it would have to be Ruby, the anti-herioine of A Plague On Both Your Houses. She may not be the most law abiding of police officers, but she’s quite a girl!

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I like to inhabit the world I am writing about, which is difficult if you’re always stopping to make tea and then go to the loo. So I like to starve myself whilst writing all day. I then pig out just before my wife gets home so I don’t get told off! Also, I tend to get new ideas when I am in that state of muzzy just waking up so I like to have a pen and paper by the bed.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I get my ideas from historical events, and real people in that history. So I’m not sure I could write a novel set in today’s world. The baddy in my second novel was the government and in my third was a virus. And the baddy in my first and fourth novels, whilst apparently were criminals, in many ways the true baddy was the government. I don’t have any politicians in my family or friends so I think the people in my life don’t have to worry!

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m a pantser. I start with a basic idea and run with it. For example, the chemistry between the main characters in my second novel was not planned. They just wrote it themselves. The anti-hero from my first novel was only supposed to be in the second novel at the start, but he somehow managed to end up being a main character again!

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Write for yourself and your audience rather than what you think a literary agent or publisher might like. With the self-publishing option such high quality nowadays, and with all sorts of book marketing available, ‘getting published’ has never been less important. It’s all about your story, not somebody else’s idea of what your story should be.

What are your future plans as an author?
I am about to send my next novel off to be published. And I’ve already done the research for my next novel set in the worlds of theatre and athletics in 1908. It’s going to be a ‘me too/Weinstein’ novel about young women who have to lead false lives to achieve their goals. One has to disguise herself as a man. One has to make the decision to near-prostitute herself to have a chance of furthering her career.

Last, but not least: Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
The book tells of how the Spanish flu altered the course of the war. We see Eastenders in london and Berlin struggling against the disease. Britain’s home front not only comes through it, it wins a world war. and that was with madmen in charge. So if the people of Britain could do that in 1918 we can certainly come through the problems we are facing today.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Ian Porter.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

dpbt 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

#CoverReveal #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles @DamppebblesBTs : Midtown Huckster (Alex Cohen #3) #MidtownHuckster #AlexCohenSeries – Leopold Borstinski @borstinski

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m super pleased to be on the blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour, to reveal the cover of

Midtown Huckster
by
Leopold Borstinski

But first some information

About the Author :

Leopold BorstinskiLeopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.
There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.
He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Social Media:
Twitter
Facebook
Website
Instagram

Synopsis :

Can you keep your gelt and freedom when the cops have enough evidence to take you down?
1930s Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen runs Murder Inc for Lucky Luciano. After the death of Prohibition he must find a new way to make money, just as the cops are baying at his heels. When Luciano goes down for racketeering, Alex loses his protection and is arrested for tax evasion-he must decide between saving his skin and ratting out his friends.
If he chooses prison time then his gang will fall apart and he will end up with nothing. If he squeals then he will have to flee the city he loves and the family he once adored. What would you do in a world where nobody can be trusted and you have everything to lose?
The third book in the Alex Cohen series is an historical noir novel, which plunges you deep into the early days of narcotics trafficking and the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s piercing crime fiction delivers a fix to every reader like heroin from a needle.

After this great teaser I hope you are still excited for the

blog-cover reveal

because this is happening

right now!

cNG-iMc8

Did this all pique your interest in reading the book? It will be available on July 16th, 2020, but you can already pre-order on Amazon UK or Amazon US.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

dpbt 2

 

#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles / #GuestPost : The Watch List #TheWatchList – Joseph Mitcham @MitchamJoseph

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

The Watch List banner

Today I’m on the ‘The Watch List’ blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Joseph Mitcham - reducedJoseph Mitcham served with the British military in elite and technical units for over 16 years. His service not only gave him a thorough tactical and technical understanding of some of techniques and processes employed in his first novel, it also provided him with the opportunity to develop himself, earning a first class honours degree in business leadership by the end of his service.
The inspiration for writing ‘The Watch List’ was taken from personal experiences from the roles that he has served in and characteristics from some of the people that he has served with. Joseph has written an incredible, yet compellingly credible story that plays out in our world as he sees it today.

Social Media:
Twitter
Facebook
Amazon Author Page

Synopsis :

watch list cover newSixty-eight dead and nearly 300 injured in a hostile vehicle and bomb attack on a community festival in Birmingham, the country is in shock.
Battling the mental turmoil of the aftermath, Alex, a former Army communications specialist, stumbles across the UK Terror Watch List – he cannot resist the challenge of stealing the list from under the nose of his contract supervisor, Lucy Butler, a razor sharp and headstrong Intelligence Corps corporal with big ambitions.
Wrestling with his conscience and the ethics of tackling unconvicted suspects, Alex enlists the help of famed former UK Special Forces Warrant Officer, Craig Medhurst. Alex struggles to win the respect of Craig’s core team, but together they hatch a daring plan to act on their selected targets.
Can Alex use his charm to persuade Corporal Butler to join them?

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Publishing Information:
Published in paperback and digital formats on 2nd December 2019.

Guest Post :

SOLDIER, OFFICER, AUTHOR

I left the Regular Army in 2015 and found my feet in civvy street working for Sunderland Council, preparing the city to host The Tall Ships Races; it was great doing something new and interesting, and being able to live at home with my young family for the first time since meeting my wife in 2010.
In 2017, I’d just finished an online business degree, so had twenty hours a week back that I had no immediate use for. There had been several high profile terror attacks in the UK and on the continent, and there had been a lot of press around what the authorities knew about the perpetrators of these terror attacks. On the evening of the Monday 22nd May, and I started making notes for a story that had been bouncing around in my head; it was about what might happen if the UK Terror Watch List got into the hands of some over-exuberant ex-squaddies. As I wrote, news broke on the TV that an explosion had happened at Ariana Grande’s concert at the Manchester Arena. I was shocked by the scenes and fallout from the attack, but enthused to write on in earnest.
Writing fiction was not a hobby that I would have envisioned myself getting into, but I became so involved with the characters that I had dreamt up, and felt that my story line was so compelling, current and evocative, that I became addicted to spewing my thoughts out onto my laptop. I soon found myself sitting for hours at a time, no music, no TV, just the keyboard and the screen. It gave me a new sense of release and helped me to unwind my brain after difficult days at work.
I had no idea whether what I was writing would end up as, or if my naturally developing style of writing would be popular, or even readable, but I did feel that it was going to be different from anything else on the market. I consider my background as a Private soldier in the Parachute Regiment, coming through to commission as an officer in the Royal Corps of Signals, as my ‘unique selling point’ as an author. Military authors are usually from one of two broad camps; commissioned officers who have great stories of leadership to tell, and non-commissioned soldiers, with fantastically gritty stories, usually based on their own lived experiences.
The former group are predominantly well-educated and quite capable of penning good quality memoires or factual accounts, but don’t have that raw edge to their work that a soldier might have. Typically speaking, soldiers of the ranks’ stories are about super-tough Special Forces guys, not often showing vulnerability or weakness to their characters. Alex, the hero of my book is a young, technical veteran who is not as mentally robust as he might wish to be, and he has great trouble dealing with the issues that his chosen mission presents him. There are plenty of ‘super-tough’ characters in ‘The Watch List’, but even some of these have clear and problematic weaknesses. The strongest character in the story is the female lead; Lucy has a personality based on a blend of real Army women who are not to be crossed!
There are few, if any, military techno-thrillers written directly by Armed Forces personnel without writing support, and who retain one hundred percent of the grass-root soldier’s writing authenticity. I hope that I have achieved this with what I have produced. I concede that my writing is not ‘Masters level’ English, but certainly good enough for the intended audience to enjoy.
‘The Watch List’ is peppered with insights of how our stereotypically rough and ready soldiers interact and behave. It was very important to me to communicate my views on how they regard their experiences of live ‘contact’ with the enemy, and how they cope with the death of comrades in action. These insights are taken primarily from my own limited experience in Afghanistan, and from observing the reactions and manifestations of guilt, sorrow and sadness expressed by fellow soldiers. I want my non-military readers to gain insight and understanding from this, but I would be over-joyed if military readers of the book can say ‘wow, that’s how I feel’.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

dpbt 2