Thursday, 24 July 2014

I'm over at BRIT GRIT ALLEY... "SEEKING THAT VALIDATION OF A ‘YES’: THE ROAD TO PUBLICATION…"


Noir-man, writer extraordinaire and all-round good egg (or all-oval), who is everywhere all the time, Paul D. Brazill kindly asked me to share my thoughts on how I (finally) got published. So, I'm over at the salubrious(ish!) BGA spilling the beans...

Thursday, 17 July 2014

IT'S BEEN A LONG OLD JOURNEY AND I'VE FINALLY REACHED THE START...

After years of trying to be published traditionally, and several false dawns and near misses, I finally bagged a book deal. It's the boost I needed at the perfect time as it's been a somewhat frustrating experience and my head was turned numerous times by the successes of some self-published friends. However, I resisted because deep down I yearned for that validation of a "Yes" from a publisher.

I'd just like to thank my many supportive friends and the readers who offered feedback, which spurred me on in dark times. And, of course, a big thanks for the faith shown in my writing by Darren Laws, the head honcho at Caffeine Nights Publishing, who will publish my first novel, MY KIND OF JUSTICE, later next year.

Now, with impeccable synchronicity, the sun is shining in 'rainy' Manchester and I'm off to Harrogate Crime Festival to celebrate!  

Monday, 10 March 2014

Thursday, 24 October 2013

HELLO, BLOG! LONG TIME NO SEE. UPDATES & NEWS OF A FREEBIE FOR YOU...

(If you wanna skip my ramblings to snag the FREEBIE and run, then scroll down).

Just a wanted to say that I'm not ignoring you and that I'm still bang at it, as I endeavour to chase that elusive breakthrough. I've recently been floored by a bout of vertigo that has had me in and out of work. I'm hopeful it will settle, but I know people who've had it on and off for years.

Anyhow, back to writing.  My second crime novel manuscript is out there, via my agent, being read by editors. After the encouraging feedback received with the first one a couple of years ago, there's still hope.  However, this is tempered by concern that they just might not 'get it', since I took a calculated gamble with the plot twist, making it a 'crossover' novel.  The responses have been sluggish, at best, so it doesn't look too good.  I can't say that it's not been frustrating, but no one said it was easy!  Nothing worthwhile is.

Anyway, we'll see.  Of course, I've started a third, something of a change of tack, but less of a gamble, and still a crime thriller.  To be honest, I'm bursting to unleash my novels on the public, though I'm trying my best to remain patient and to not become too exasperated at the slow-turning traditional publishing cogs.  I can see why so many writers self-publish their novels these days.  It's very appealing on so many levels, but I still have faith in the traditional route, albeit at a particularly uncertain time for the industry.

In the meantime, my eBook collections are serving their purpose and being consistently read.  The positive feedback from readers has kept me going.  It feels like I'm getting closer, knocking on the door... and soon I'll be kicking the damn thing down (hopefully)!

After resisting this on principle up until now, in a 'shift of mindset' (aka 'selling out'?), I've decided to run a FREE promo (until Sunday 27th October 2013) on my short story collection, MANCHESTER 6.  After all, writers should give their stuff away shouldn't they? I mean, it's not like they've sweated blood and tears creating their masterpieces, while everyone else is watching telly and chillin' out, is it?

You're welcome to spread the word about the freebie, which would help ensure that it wasn't a complete waste of time!  I wonder if Kindles the world over are now filled up with eBooks that will never see the light of day...?  I also wanted to see if these types of promos worked on short story collections as opposed to novels.  To be honest, I couldn't see myself doing a free promo on a novel that has taken a year, or more, to develop.

In other news, I got my hat-trick! Three years on the bounce, having stories accepted for Maxim Jakubowski's brilliant MAMMOTH BOOKS OF BEST BRITISH CRIME.  This time EYES WIDE SHUT from charity anthology, OFF THE RECORD 2: At the Movies, was selected.

I will have some more 'Fat-Chews' with crime authors for you soon, once 'things' settle down a bit.

Finally, I'll update you with the result of my free promo 'experiment', once results are in, but a day and half into it the five days and the signs are promising...

US downloads = 155 & UK = 313. US rank = 1,299 (#2 in mystery short stories). UK rank = 119 (#1 in short stories).

NAB YOUR FREE COPY...

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

You take care and keep soldiering on (unless it's driving you insane, in which case, take a break).
Ever determined.
Col

Thursday, 27 June 2013

CHEWING THE FAT with... Richard Godwin...

Apostle Rising is a dark, psycho-logical and moody novel. One Lost Summer sounds lovely, suggesting sun and flowers, but I suspect I'm wrong. Tell us about it.

Despite the fact that it is set in a heat wave One Lost Summer is a dark seductive novel about identity loss and reality. And it is about why we want to be seduced.

Rex Allen meets his beautiful next door neighbour, Evangeline Glass, when she invites him to one of her summer parties, and he becomes convinced she is someone other than the person she is pretending to be. He sets about spying on her and asks her to act out the part of Coral, who may be a figment of his imagination or Evangeline’s alter ego. His obsession leads to disaster. It is a psychological portrait of obsession set in a heat wave.

Despite being on your third novel (Mr Glamour being the second), unlike many novelists, you still find the time to write short stories for the ezines. Why?

I like short stories. I think they are an excellent way to explore fiction in shorter form. I also enjoy contributing to the magazines. And they bring exposure to a new audience.

When you kindly put me up on my London visit, you still got up at 7.00 am and did a couple of hours writing. Rather than thinking, 'ignorant bugger', I admired you for it!  This made me realise that you are a true pro' and have the self-discipline to get the job done.  Have you always been so steadfastly organised?

Not always. When I was younger probably not, but discipline is necessary.

So far, your novels are 'standalones'. Any thoughts on creating a series character?

Yes. I am writing the sequel to Apostle Rising. For those of you who have read it, the novel, while complete, remains open for a sequel, and that should be out next year.

Any words of wisdom for the writers out there who want to fulfil their dream of becoming a full-time novelist? 

Keep writing.



You can buy One Lost Summer here, Amazon UK or Amazon US.

Richard Godwin is the author of critically acclaimed novels One Lost Summer, Apostle Rising and Mr. Glamour.  One Lost Summer is his third novel. He is also a published poet and a produced playwright. His stories have been published in over 29 anthologies, among them his anthology of stories, Piquant: Tales Of The Mustard Man

Apostle Rising is a dark work of fiction exploring the blurred line between law and lawlessness and the motivations that lead men to kill.

Mr. Glamour is about a world of wealthy, beautiful people who can buy anything, except safety from the killer in their midst.

Richard Godwin was born in London and obtained a BA and MA in English and American Literature from King's College London, where he also lectured.

You can find out more about Richard at his website  www.richardgodwin.net, where you can also read his Chin Wags At The Slaughterhouse, his highly popular and unusual interviews with other authors.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Soul Destruction: Unforgivable by Ruth Jacobs - Sample & FREE eBook, if you're quick...

(FREE here MAY 26th to a.m. of 28th)
Ruth Jacobs writes a series of novels entitled Soul Destruction, which expose the dark world and the harsh reality of life as a call girl. Her debut novel, Soul Destruction: Unforgivable, was released on 29 April 2013 by Caffeine Nights. Ruth studied prostitution in the late 1990s, which sparked her interest in the subject. She draws on her research and the women she interviewed for inspiration. She also has firsthand experience of many of the topics she writes about such as posttraumatic stress disorder, rape, and drug and alcohol addiction. In addition to her fiction writing, Ruth is also involved in non-fiction for her charity and human rights campaigning work in the areas of anti-sexual exploitation and anti-human trafficking.

Soul Destruction: Unforgivable

Enter the bleak existence of a call girl haunted by the atrocities of her childhood. In the spring of 1997, Shelley Hansard is a drug addict with a heroin habit and crack psychosis. Her desirability as a top London call girl is waning.

When her client dies in a suite at The Lanesborough Hotel, Shelley’s complex double-life is blasted deeper into chaos. In her psychotic state, the skills required to keep up her multiple personas are weakening. Amidst her few friends, and what remains of her broken family, she struggles to maintain her wall of lies.

During this tumultuous time, she is presented with an opportunity to take revenge on a client who raped her and her friends. But in her unbalanced state of mind, can she stop a serial rapist?

The Stranger, the Coke Can and the Futuristic Street Installation taken from Soul Destruction: Unforgivable by Ruth Jacobs.

Shelley found herself squatting on the dirty floor of a public toilet in Camden Town, trying to avoid the sparkling streams of urine under the dim light. Twenty minutes earlier, she’d plucked a young man from the street. He’d been sitting on the pavement by the Tube station, begging, appearing to be homeless. She had a knack for picking them – the junkies – and she was rarely wrong.

She entrusted him with one-hundred and twenty pounds to score sixty brown and sixty white. He both scored and brought back the drugs – the latter not being a given when strangers score for strangers, especially when buying heroin and crack. With that action, sadly, he proved more reliable and perhaps more deserving of her trust than the majority of people with whom she associated.

Although in her cigarette packet she still had the crack from The Lanesborough, she needed more. And she needed the heroin to come down, but before coming down, she wanted to get as high as she knew how. Speedballing. The superlative combination of heroin and crack. The transportation to Shangri-la.

None of her friends took heroin. The only two heroin dealers she knew – Jay and Ajay – weren’t answering their phones. That was why she had to follow her usual Plan B, which she imagined was no more jeopardous than working.

The stranger had suggested shooting up in the toilet on Inverness Street. She didn’t want to wait to walk back to her car so had accompanied him inside the futuristic street installation. Though the outside was modern, inside it was rank. One of the worst public conveniences Shelley had ever used for a hit. The stench of stale urine permeated every cell in the depths of her nasal cavities and from there, travelled down her throat like post-nasal drip. Even though she kept her mouth shut, she could taste it on her tongue. It was making her gag.

The spoon he cooked up in wasn’t a spoon at all. Neither of them had one, so he used the bottom of a coke can as a substitute. Shelley hoped the boiling would sterilise the metal. She would have preferred her own clean spoon, but it was in her glove box.

She wondered if that was everything he owned, bundled into the small rucksack on his back. She didn’t ask. She didn’t say anything. And neither did he. Why was she dressed for the office when she was shooting up in a public toilet? Not that it would have been difficult to conjure an alternative to what happened at The Lanesborough, but she wasn’t there for conversation. She was there to forget. In her own way. Not by the falsehoods Marianne tried to peddle. 

She rolled up her sleeves to choose a vein. Her arms were clean. So far, she’d managed to evade the track marks, lumps, scabs, bruises and abscesses that would have been tantamount to commercial suicide. To charge upwards of two-hundred and fifty pounds an hour, her clients could never know she was an injector. So injecting had to be organised, alternating numerous veins in her arms, hands, legs and feet. If she was messy, she’d only be able to solicit clients on the street, and streetwalking came with far more risk and a far lower financial reward.

When the heroin had dissolved, she added a rock of crack. With the young man holding the can steady, she used the plunger end of her syringe to grind the white stone into the brown water. She hurried, craving to feel the warm safe-danger, her body pulsating, and her head pumping like it was pumping out every tormenting memory it stored. Soon, the relentless playback of those pictures and scenes would stop. She would have her reprieve. Her respite. And although earning the money to pay for it created new images, as abhorrent as they were, what she was originally escaping from was worse. 

Shelley proffered her gold twenty-pack. He took a cigarette and, using his teeth, tore off a chunk of filter. He snatched it from his mouth with his thumb and index finger then dropped it into the concoction. Shelley noticed the scabs on his lips and the dirt under his fingernails. The filter wasn’t clean. She needed the hit.

 “You first.” A gentleman, he held the can out in front of Shelley, letting her draw up her shot before him.

“Pass it here.” Shelley positioned her filled syringe between her teeth and reached for the can to reciprocate.

Once his barrel was full, she delicately placed the empty can on what seemed like a dry area of the floor, saving the filter for the next fix. If she was taking one hit from the dirty filter, what difference would a second make? 

She wrapped one hand around her wrist. She squeezed. On cue, her pulse thumped and the map of blue veins rose from the back of her hand. She let go, swiped the syringe from her mouth, removed the orange cap with her teeth and inserted the needle into a sinking vein at the base of her hand. Pulling back on the plunger, blood swirled into her medicine. Inside, her rush was brewing. She pushed it all in.

 
Soul Destruction: Unforgivable was released 29 April 2013. Available worldwide from all major online retailers in paperback and e-book. Also available direct from Caffeine Nights

Further information and contact details:


Soul Destruction website: http://soul-destruction.com

Author Website: http://ruthjacobs.co.uk

Ruth’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/rujacobs

The Soul Destruction Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/SoulDestructionSeries


Join Ruth’s mailing list here

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

New eBook - THE COPS OF MANCHESTER...


Well, as I come to the 'end' (?) of rewrite three of novel attempt two, having re-plotted, cut and replaced 35,000 words, I decided another short story collection was long overdue.

Here's what people are saying about THE COPS OF MANCHESTER...

“Short, sharp, shocking - and all set in my beloved Manchester. Great Stuff!” - Mandasue Heller, bestselling crime writer.

“Bury is going places. He shows boldness by tackling different styles of writing which encompass humour, paranoia, action thrillers and urban discontent.” - Crimesquad.com

“Col Bury pulls no punches, landing a flurry of hard jabs to the solar plexus that leaves us breathless. This is tight, gritty, bare-knuckle writing.” - Howard Linskey, author of The Drop.

“Fast dialogue and edgy plots, keeps you turning the pages. Cracking!” - Sheila Quigley, author of the Seahills series, and the Holy Island trilogy.

Product Description...

Ever fancied being a cop? 

Could you handle the pressure of hunting down a vigilante who’s killing criminals at a ferocious rate? Consider how you would deliver a death message to a distraught parent. Would you protect the public by tailing a gangster’s vehicle, knowing the occupants were armed? Or follow a suspect into a dark alley? How would years of dealing with society’s appalling, and often violent, underbelly affect you? And, does anyone really like a bent cop?

Love them or loathe them, cops run toward danger as everyone else flees.

With alternating short and longer fiction, The Cops of Manchester provides an eclectic taste of life as a cop - with a few 'surprises' - in the gritty urban setting of Manchester, UK.

Author’s note: some of these stories are hard-hitting, so not for the fainthearted. 

You can get your copy here...

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Thursday, 14 February 2013

CHEWING THE FAT with... Graham Smith...


Well, I've been busy putting the finishing touches to rewrite three of crime novel attempt two for my agent, so forgive my silence.  It's surely time that I 'chewed the fat', and who better than Crimesquad reviewer-cum-author, Graham Smith?

You have a crime weekend for aspiring writers at your snazzy hotel in March. Tell us about it and why writers will benefit?

Crime and Publishment is a weekend of crime writing master-classes taken by authors and industry professionals. First off you have Matt Hilton teaching attendees how to inject pace and action into their stories. Sheila Quigley will then lecture on characterisation. The next day Allan Guthrie will talk about editing in a session titled “How to kill your babies DEAD!” Inga McVicar will then teach the attendees how to pitch their novel to an agent. All attendees will be given the chance to pitch their novel directly to Allan Guthrie who is an agent for JennyBrown Associates and a co-owner of digital publisher Blasted Heath.

Crime and Publishment runs from the 8th-10th of March 2013 and more information can be found at www.crimeandpublishment.co.uk 

When I started to put the event together with co-organiser Inga McVicar, I was determined to put together the kind of course I’d like to attend at a price I could afford. With a total cost of £260 for all five sessions and two nights accommodation at my hotel, I feel that the course is not just informative but also affordable.

Sounds well worth the investment. But what if funds are a tad tight? Could someone just pop in and stay for one day or night?

Absolutely. Attendees may come for any single day, except day three, and don't necessarily have to stay both nights, or even stay at all. One or two local delegates have booked without accommodation. I could even be tempted to offer a discount for a group booking of five or more.

Harry Charters... I enjoyed his Chronicles very much. He's a no nonsense PI, and you seem to have nailed the 'Chandleresque' turns of phrases. Being set in the 50's, and in the US, tell us how the character came about and how much research was necessary...

Thank you for the kind comments.

Harry Charters first appeared when Kate Pilarcik asked me to submit a noir piece to her blog site. I wrote about this nameless, faceless character who was the traditional private eye. When I write him he’s narrated in my head by Humphrey Bogart. Kate urged me to give him a name, so I named him after my maternal grandfather Harold Charters and shortened Harold to Harry. One or two of Granddad’s traits have crept into Harry and in Dealt a Better Hand I put my Granddad back in the ring one last time. I just wish he was alive to have read the story as he’d have loved that.

I totally cheated with my research as I made up the city of Mariscoper that Harry inhabits. You can’t get it wrong if it’s fictional!

The research I did do was on 50’s fashions, beer brands and so on. I also got drunk on Jack Daniels for a wee spot of method writing.

It would've been rude not to! Nice touch re' your Granddad too. I think there could be some mileage for Harry in a longer piece: a novella, or even a novel. What are your plans for him?

I plan to return to Harry Charters as I feel there is still a lot of mileage in him, and lots of people have commented that they’d like to know about the case which made him the mean son of a bitch that he is. All I need to do is find the case to set the novella or novel against and then I’ll write it.

Most people in the industry knew you as a Crimesquad reviewer. Elaborate on the transformation to author in your own right, and how it came about...

I’ve always been a massive fan of crime fiction and action thrillers. Being a reviewer for Crimesquad.com has furnished me with so many great books that I’ve been spoiled for choice. I turned to writing as I felt I had a story inside me trying to come out. I half-heartedly bashed away at it until Col Bury (that's you!) gave me the kick up the backside I needed, and I am currently half way through a rewrite of my debut novel.

Yeah, I do that to myself a lot, bud! Give us a quick run down on your other eBooks.

I have two collections of short stories, as well as the Harry Charters Chronicles. Both, Eleven the Hardest Way and Gutshots: Ten Blows to the Abdomen, feature an eclectic mix of hard hitting crime based short stories. They have received some acclaim from noted authors and Eleven the Hardest Way has been nominated for a Spinetingler award.

Congrats on that. Personally, I've published my own short story collection via Ganglion Press (with another to follow soon), but that was just for exposure purposes while I write the novel(s). I still have faith in the traditional approach regarding longer works. Do you?

I absolutely have faith in traditional publishing, and the novel I am currently writing will be sent to agents in the hope of getting a print deal. I love the convenience of eBooks for both authors and readers, but prefer reading a physical book. I enjoy the feel, smell and ownership of "real" books and nothing will ever change that.

I would love to have something published traditionally and doing so is definitely high up on my bucket list.

One last question: how the fook does a man of Scottish heritage end up supporting ManU(re)? I mean, you're not even a Cockney! ;-)

I'm a football supporter first and a club supporter second. I love to see a good game and United play more than most over an extended period. 

Over the last few years they have seen off Blackburn, Leeds, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea as title challengers. City are a work in progress, which sadly for you may change before the season is complete. 

I'd watch Carlisle play Brighton if they played a decent game.

So would I, mate. We’ll see, but I think you’re right for this season, unfortunately.

Thanks for Chewing the Fat, Graham, and I hope the Crime & Publishment event goes so well that it becomes an annual event.

Cheers, mate.

To find out more about Graham and his writing check out his blog here.

For more details regarding 'Crime & Publishment', and the credentials of the industry experts involved, go here.

Monday, 24 December 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS & A HAPPY NEW YEAR! (plus, 2012 highlights).

It's been a tough old year, chasing the writing dream while working full time and feeding the family. Just wanted to send my hearty good wishes for the festive season to my online friends / readers, and say 'thanks' to you all for your ongoing support and friendship, which is invaluable and truly spurs me on more than you probably realize.  


Writing update: My little old ebook of gritty crime shorts, MANCHESTER 6, is still selling consistently (pushing 400 now), considering it was just an 'appetite-wetter' while I continued with the traditional publishing route. When I've finished the third draft (big sigh) of 'novel attempt two' for my agent, I'm pleased to announce that I'll be bringing out another ebook of shorts via Ganglion Press. I've just got to go through twenty shorts and maybe whittle them down to the best dozen or so. Look out for THE COPS OF MANCHESTER in early(ish) 2013.

Highlights of 2012: 


... Going to my first Harrogate Crime Writing Festival with Graham Smith and meeting...  Howard Linskey, Michael Malone, Nick Quantrill, Matt Hilton, Chris Simmons, Luca Veste, Neil White, Jo Evans, Scott Turner, Zoe Sharp, Ali Karim and Kevin Wignall, among many others. 


... Briefly chatting with three of my favourite crime authors, Simon Kernick, Stuart Neville and Mark Billingham.  And... being in that room when TOSSERGATE erupted! (Quickly digressing...)


... Going to London to meet class acts, Bill 'AJ' Hayes and Richard Godwin, and having a damn good 'chinwag' and walk along the Thames with their lovely wives (don't tell Richard 'n' Bill though!). Richard even took us to Richmond Park which inspired the 'Woodlands Murders' in Apostle Rising - my fave novel of 2012 (that's when I read it anyway).


... Then, off up to Gretna with the family to chew the fat at Graham's gaff, with 'me old mucker', David Barber (& his lovely fam'), Denise and Matt Hilton, Sheila Quigley, Michael Malone and the man who fatefully introduced me to Matt nearly four years ago, Richard 'Thommo' Thompson. 


... Without that intro', the annual Gretna gig wouldn't exist, and arguably, neither would Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers ezine.



... Personally, I was thrilled to bits that my short story, MOPPING UP (Tonto Books), made The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 9, alongside the likes of Mark Billingham, Peter James and Zoe Sharp... and FISTS OF DESTINY (from MANCHESTER 6), was selected for The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 10 beside Lee Child, Ruth Rendell and Paul D Brazill, among other top crime scribes.

Non-writing highlight... obviously...!



All the best everyone. Let's make 2013 a year to remember too! 

All the very best,
Col

Friday, 2 November 2012

More Short Story Successes...(plus, news snippets).

***Note: bit of a 'me post' for a change! ;-)

After last year's inclusion in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST BRITISH CRIME 9, alongside the likes of Mark Billingham and Zoe Sharp, I didn't realise, until recently, that this time I'd be sharing the pages with stellar names, such as of Lee Child and Ann Cleeves, in  THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST BRITISH CRIME 10.  It is quite an honour, as you can imagine.  The book's out in February 2013, and my story's called, FISTS OF DESTINY, selected from the ebook, MANCHESTER 6.  A huge thanks goes to author/publisher, Maxim Jakubowski for twice showing faith in my crime writing.

So that's the name-dropping out of the way! ;-)

I'm still beavering away in the background regarding the crime novels, but, as they say, "patience is a virtue", right?  I also like the phrase, "The harder you work, the luckier you get."

In the meantime, as short stories pour out of me, I've had a few more accepted recently: four flash pieces in the forthcoming "OWC Writers' Talkback anthology"; one short in a Zombie Apocalypse anthology (more details to follow); one short in, OFF THE RECORD 2 - At the Movies, charity anthology; plus, there was my editors' contribution short  in the Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers Halloween Comp, which you can read here.

The winning stories from the TKnC comp are absolute crackers and the standard was off the scale.

They've already been posted on the site, so have a browse around for a horror feast. The results are here.  Big Congrats to the winners and runners up, and a hat tip to all who entered.

One last note: Paul D Brazill, the man with his finger on the crime fiction pulse, keeps us up to date weekly on all things juicy down Brit Grit Alley. So, if you don't wanna miss anything, get over there!

Laters,
Col