Thursday, 31 December 2009

All the best for 2010...any resolutions?

So it's goodbye to 2009 and time to, start afresh, write a list of resolutions and goals, then forget all about 'em by the second week in January! In a radical change of tack I'm trying the old reverse psychology this new year...
1) Drink copious amounts of alcohol.
2) Smoke more.
3) Eat more.
4) Procrastinate more.
5) Mismanage my time.
6) Treat people like shit.
7) Read less.
8) Write less.
9) Mast...
Think I'll leave that there!
It's probably best to focus on one specific goal to give yourself a chance. After some encouraging successes in 2009, my main one has to be getting my crime novel polished to perfection then published (sounds so simple, dunnit? Yeah right!).
So whatever you choose to achieve I sincerely hope you're successful.
Good luck n all the best,

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my 'virtual' friends...

The blogosphere has provided me with many cherished friendships, several I'm sure will last a lifetime. Although it should always be a time of goodwill, alas, we all know it's not. However, now seems the perfect moment to say 'thanks' to everyone who reads my blog, has ever left comments or has encouraged me on my sometimes arduous writing journey. I know there's still a long way to go, writing-wise, but I really do appreciate each 'n' every one of you. May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very 'Merry Christmas.'

Friday, 11 December 2009

A Hat-trick of Blog Awards...well done or so what?

I recently received two more blog awards to add to one I got a while ago. People have varying views on such awards, from the cynical - it's just friends buttering each other up - to - the awardee genuinely being delighted. Personally I take the balanced view that it's just a bit of fun. But being a 'glass half full' type of chap, it's always nice to be given a pat on the back while being recognised by people you respect. So many thanks to Lost Wanderer, Essygie and Matt Hilton. To see who I've awarded and to view my seven 'interesting' facts just read on...
Now I'm obliged to do the following in order to accept the award(s):
* 1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
* 2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
* 3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
* 4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
* 5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
* 6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
* 7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Seven things about me:

* 1. I once had 8-ball pool trials for England.
* 2. I'm left-handed and recently broke it playing football!
* 3. I've won three online writing competitions in the last year.
* 4. Other than online, my first published story features next year in the anthology EVEN MORE TONTO STORIES.
* 5. Family-wise I'm the youngest of three siblings and I'm married to my soul mate, Mandy, and we have two wonderful children.
* 6. I work in the Public Sector.
* 7. I'm a season ticket holder at Manchester City FC ("BLUE saw me standing alone...!!!").
* Bonus fact... I once came second in a Robert Redford lookalike competition...A brunette won it!

Sorry, but I had to hold back the 'juicy' ones! Maybe some other time.

Now for the hard bit of picking seven bloggers I admire...hard only because there's loads I admire. I've awarded some before, who'll remain exempt, so here goes...
* 1. David Barber - David Barber's Fiction World for efforts in rekindling his writing after years out of the game.
* 2. Mike Wilkerson - Writing The Hard Way for showing grit and determination after recent setback.
* 3 Stuart Wheatman - Tonto Books for his loyalty to the promotion of new writers while running a successful independent publishers and battling the big boys.
* 4 Alan Griffiths - Brit Grit he describes himself as a 'rookie' writer, but I always love popping over to read his gritty stuff.
* 5 Lily Childs - Lily Childs Feardom her world of horror and gripping stories are well worth a nosey...if you're not too scared that is!
* 6 Jane Smith - How Publishing Really Works for keeping the writer abreast of the world of publishing in a refreshingly honest voice.
* 7 Nicola Morgan - Help! I Need A Publisher! fascinating insights and words of wisdom for all wannabe writers authors alike.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Lee Hughes is back on the blog...

Arguably the best up 'n' coming writer the Isle of Man has to offer has resurrected his blog. In fact I can't think of another Manx writer so drop the aforementioned arguably. That makes Lee 'King of the Island' in my book! If you've missed his incomparable, often witty and invariably gruesome mix of crime 'n' horror writing, then I recommend you go take a look by clicking on the title of this post. Lee still has a website, too, where many of his fine stories

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice...

Hi Folks,
It's that time again when I choose three stories I particularly enjoyed from around the blogosphere. The Brits have had a good run to date so now it's the turn of our American friends. However, I make no excuses all three of this month's selections are from the deep archives of Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers. Next month I will mix 'n' match.

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice #7

COUNT THE EYES - by Erin Cole

A must-read, beautifully written, atmospheric chiller from Erin. I had to break off half-way through, for a brew, such was the tension! A inimitable tale with a strong voice I absolutely loved the sound of.

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice #8


When a crystal ball arrives in the post Larry's life takes a mysterious turn. A profound piece of incomparable flash - with a cracking title - from back in May when Angel debuted over at TKnC.

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice #9

GRETA - by Christopher Grant

If you've missed Greta, you've missed a treat. She's a stunning blonde doubling as a no nonsense debt collector - one of the most memorable female characters throughout the blogosphere. There's a trilogy of Greta stories over on TKnC - a place that A Twist Of Noir Editor, Chris, calls his 'home from home'. The fact her name is an anagram of 'Great' is less than coincidence.


Saturday, 7 November 2009

Sheila Quigley's 'The Road To Hell' book launch in Newcastle...

I had a smooth ride across the Pennines and up A1 until the mystical, and somewhat eerie-looking, sculpture 'The Angel of the North' jumped out of the trees at me as I cruised through Gateshead and into Newcastle for my maiden visit.
After booking into the old half-star 'hotel' I met up with writing buddy Matt Hilton and his adorable wife Denise - on our reconnaisance mission to locate the venue - where I was introduced to an unassuming chap, crime author, Adrian Magson and his lovely wife, Anne. So being wife-less on this excursion, the joke was: Col 'Goose' Bury!
It was great to finally meet Adrian having been in contact with him via email for a while now and I appreciated hearing his invaluable insights into the writing world.
The main event was at the spooky Masonic Temple on Maple Terrace. I met Sheila Quigley outside (faggin' it!) and, having heard a helluva lot about her (all good) I found her to be just up my street: a gritty, salt-of-the-earth Northerner with wicked wit and a contagious laugh. Inside it was packed and a cool band played swing-style in the background, and I was extreeeemely pleased to see that there was a bar!
Among the many well-wishers in attendance were the publisher, Stuart Wheatman (pictured with Sheila n I) of Tonto Books and author, Ken McCoy, both of whom I was pleased to briefly meet.
The book itself, The Road To Hell' had me hooked from the first page (I started it on the hotel bog - sorry, too much info') and one chap must've thought the same as he was sat at the back (not in the hotel bog - at the launch) flicking page after page, totally engrossed.
The night was topped off with a nice Italian (down boy) n good writing chat sliced with smart-arse banter (that'll be me then) with Denise, Anne, Matt n Adrian.
The next day we all met up with Sheila again then hogged Blakes coffee shop in Newcastle centre and had a jolly good chin-wag mixed with a plethora of chuckles. Laugh? I nearly bought a round!
A thoroughly enjoyable sojourn, despite my 'brisk' walk through a dodgy council estate while searching for the elusive Masonic Temple that none of the locals had even heard of - when I asked one chap he looked at me as if I was from the moon. When he replied, I returned the same look! Plus, the return trip: bumper-to-bumper M62, driving rain, glaring headlights n baggy eyes...grr.
Look out for a forthcoming Q&A with the inimitable Sheila right here, and her road to success is a heart-rending story in itself so watch this space. And if you've not read any of Sheila's gritty stuff yet then you're missing a treat.
The Road to Hell by Sheila Quigley - hardback published by Tonto Books.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, OFFICER - my latest piece over at TKnC...

I hope everyone had a great Halloween. For my part, we took the kids trick or treating then returned home for an extreeemely noisy party!

Once the shouting and screaming had waned I thought I'd write a piece of flash to cause some more. Click on the title above to read Happy Halloween, Officer.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Three new novels for crime fiction fans...

Firstly one that was officially launched on October 22nd 2009 is my Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers co-editor, Matt Hilton's second in the Joe Hunter series entitled JUDGEMENT & WRATH. A crime thriller novel I'm half way through reading - and thoroughly enjoying - and is shaping up to be even better than the first, DEAD MEN'S DUST which, simply put, means it's a cracker!

Another one to look out for is talented northern crime novelist, Sheila Quigley's THE ROAD TO HELL - publisher Tonto Books - which is officially launched up in Newcastle on November 5th, so there should be fireworks (sorry). Sheila has a series of gritty novels featuring characters on THE SEAHILLS ESTATE.

And last but certainly not least, debut novelist, Nick Quantrill, over at Hull Crime Fiction, unleashes his Private Investigator, Joe Geraghty in BROKEN DREAMS to be published by Caffeine Nights late 2009.

Amendment/update from Nick: as the publisher is still awaiting confirmation of cataloguing/ordering for libraries & shops, plus the ongoing postal strikes (the proof copies are still in transit somewhere), the publishing date for BROKEN DREAMS will be March 2010.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice

It's time for my next three selections of shorts from across the net that have caught my eye for one reason or another.

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice #4

Over at Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers is part ten of Lee's epic horror yarn ('horror?' you ask in horror - click the title of this post for my Choice criteria) with an ever-growing body count and tension to die for (he-he). Having read them all, I'm well n truly hooked. Here's the link to all ten if you prefer - The Osseus Box - but they all work well as cracking stand alone pieces.

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice #5

If you fancy some 'Brit Grit' gansta fun then look no further than Al's top tale over at the Flash Fiction Offensive. A fast flowing piece with lingo as good as it gets to more than satisfy all noir fans.

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice #6

You want gore? You want imagery? You wanna see the last foray of a catwalk model with a troubled mind? Then check out this crime-cum-horror piece of flash at TKnC.
To learn more about what makes Lily tick click here.

Ps. The Brits have had a good run so far. Americans next!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

New kid on the block - aspiring writer, David Barber...

My old school buddy, David Barber, has entered the blogosphere after our reunion in a Manchester pub last Monday. After our common bond of writing had brought us back together, we 'chewed the fat' on writing life, our aspirations and plans of action (sorry for sounding like a personal development guru!), just like we used to do twenty-something years ago in the local snooker club.

However, with my cue-arm still being in plaster from a broken wrist we had to give the ball games (ooo, matron) a miss on this occasion. (In truth, I didn't want to knock Dave's confidence with another battering!) Instead, a fair few pints later, we debated, amongst other things, Matt Hilton's latest crime thriller, Judgement & Wrath.
Dave also quizzed me on blogging and the importance of building a 'writer's platform' and he now has a
So how did Dave rekindle his love of the written word? He heard on the grapevine about Thrillers, Killers 'N' Chillers, made a few comments and now has half a dozen stories of his own on there. So why not support this new writer and give him some welcome feedback on his excellent work?

Ps. If I look like a short-arse on the photo it's because Dave is actually 7 foot three and he was wearing those ridiculous, eighties platform shoes. No really, I stooped to 'big him up' some more!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Col's won a coveted place in the anthology EVEN MORE TONTO STORIES 2009!

I'm absolutely ecstatic to announce that my crime story, MOPPING UP, has been selected by judge and novelist, Caroline Smailes, for the annual anthology run by Stuart Wheatman's Tonto Books.

Like all aspiring writers, I research the markets and submit my material in the hope the target - be it a publisher, agent, competition judge, webzine editor - will love it. Then I try to put the last submission to the back of my mind and crack on with the next project, and repeat the process.

However, with this one I couldn't do that as I reeeeally wanted it. The reason being: I firmly believe - and I'm not alone in this - that Tonto Books is one of the best up n coming names in publishing AND I knew if selected I'd be alongside some cracking writers.

The fact that my story is based on characters from the crime novel I'm endeavouring to finish has given me a further welcome boost, suggesting that I might just be onto something...?

And to top it all, I then discover that not only were there hundreds of entries, but my great friend, Matt Hilton, is also in the anthology!

To see the full results click on the title of this post.

Friday, 2 October 2009

An evening with my two favourite Crime Authors - Chris Simms & Matt Hilton

Well, okay, it was an hour or so, but that hasn't got the same ring to it, has it? I had the pleasure, along with some of my immediate family, of meeting two authors who've both inspired and selflessly helped me in my writing journey to date.

Having a broken wrist (at least it matches my City top - see below) I had to wait for the chauffeur (alias my missus, Mand') to finish work in order to escort me to Oldham Library and due to bad traffic I missed the bloomin' start. However, this didn't detract from a thoroughly enjoyable experience, especially hearing some open and informative answers to the Q&A session.

When my eight year daughter plucked up the courage to ask (to 'Aws' from the crowd)...
'What advice would you give to people wanting to be authors?'
Chris replied, 'Read, read, read.'
Matt reiterated this and added, 'Stick at it and keep on keeping on.'
Now where have I heard that before? Simple, yet sound advice. I promptly thanked my little princess for getting me the answer to the question I bottled out of asking! I then sent my seven year old lad up to get the autographs Daddy longed for!
It was fantastic to meet Chris, and see Matt and his wife, Denise, again. Both authors are friendly, down-to-earth chaps who came across brilliantly, displaying modesty and wit in equal measures.
Matt gave us an insight into his writing world with a snippet of chat from his house...
'Matt, come on now, yer dinner's ready.'
'I can't, int middle of a car chase!'

Of course I got my copy of Matt's latest Joe Hunter thriller, JUDGEMENT & WRATH, as well as SAVAGE MOON, one of Chris's five DI Jon Spicer novels. Chris gave us an insight into research, openly admitting that Saddleworth Moor was simply 'too scary' to research at night so he went at dusk instead!

To learn more about Matt and Chris and their respective novels either click on the highlighted links above or check out the Q&A's (top right) that I did with them on this blog.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Two Crime Authors for the price of one...

Manchester based Crime Author, Chris Simms, and thriller novelist, Matt Hilton, are at the Oldham Literature Festival on Thursday 1st October location: Oldham Library and Lifelong Learning Centre, Greaves Street, Oldham, UK - from 6 p.m.

If you're in the Northwest area why not pop over. It's only two quid to enter so it's a quid per author and you can meet me for free!

Writer, Angel Zapata's detective skills flush out plagiarist, Richard Ridyard...

The blogosphere is bubbling with the news that we have a plagiarist in our midst. He didn't only dupe Matt and I over at Thrillers, Killers 'N' Chillers, but also many unsuspecting editors, writers and readers alike across our tightly knit network, including American Writer, Angel Zapata.

Now I am aware of libel laws, but with such compelling and damning evidence meticulously unearthed by Angel, I have no hesitation in vigorously backing all the honest folk within our wonderful writing community.

This Fraudster even plagiarised the master himself, Stephen King!!!

Click the title of this post for extensive details.

Ps. A huge thanks must go to Angel.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice...

Your choice: skip the waffle to see my first set of selections below...

My choice will be a regular feature from now on whereby I'll be pointing you in the direction of some of the top notch short fiction I've enjoyed from around the blogosphere.

There are some cracking writers out there - many as yet undiscovered - and, since August 2008 when I began 'blogging,' I've had the pleasure of becoming friends with many of them (well virtually!).

So I'll be delving into the archives of my favourite Webzines and I make no apologies for some of my selections possibly being horror, supernatural or even Sci-Fi based as many of these genres often blur together. The only criteria is that a crime is committed or, at least threatened, and dark humour is always a winner with me! (For example, if some two-headed monster bites the head off an unsuspecting victim then I'd say that's a crime, wouldn't you? Extreme, but you get the gist.)

Having said that, many of my choices will undoubtedly be straight crime fiction or noir as I love the 'grit' therein. And, obviously, I can't choose any of my own...

'God, you're a harsh task-master, Col.'
'Shut it! This is about other people so wind yer neck in, you egotistical...!
'Okay, okay. I was just wondering whether I could mention some of mine, that's all.'
' you want me to get me weapon out?'
'Easy, Tiger!'

That sorted, and in no particular order, where better to start than the archives of Thrillers, Killers 'N' Chillers and top American ezine, A Twist Of Noir...

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice #1

THIS OLD HOUSE - by Paul Brazill

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice #2

THE WAY TO A MAN'S HEART - by Gary Dobbs

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice #3

CRIME OF THE CENTURY - by Vallon Jackson


Ps. Watch this space for the next three choices...

Friday, 25 September 2009

WANTED by Col Bury now up at top American Webzine, A TWIST OF NOIR...

Just a heads up in case you've didn't catch one of my crime shorts. I'm reliably informed it does have 'A Twist Of Noir,' hence it's now showcasing there!
Feel free to click on the title above if you fancy a nosey.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The Arrowsake Alumni - great new network for lovers of the thriller genre, including Matt Hilton's, Joe Hunter series.

Just to give you the heads up that thriller writer, Matt Hilton, has started a great new network called The Arrowsake Alumni - where you can not only chat about Joe Hunter, but also all other aspects of the thriller genre.

There are some intriguing and witty debates on there already so if you wanna have a mooch or join then click on the title for the link.

It's being billed as for "Graduates of Joe Hunter's school of hard knocks," and in Matt's words...

"Here fans can meet and discuss everything they want concerning Joe Hunter - and Matt Hilton's other writing. In fact if it's relevant i.e. about writing, reading and enjoying crime, mystery, suspense, horror and in particular thriller or action-oriented books, let us know what you think via the forum.
Everyone's welcome to join, so long as they remain respectful to all members. Otherwise Joe might have to pay you a personal visit!"

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Flash Fiction Offensive debut by Col Bury with A PUBLIC SERVICE...

After having my last submission knocked back over at edgy American ezine, FLASH FICTION OFFENSIVE (associated with OUT OF THE GUTTER magazine), I had a rethink and specifically targeted the site with my short crime story - A PUBLIC SERVICE.

On reflection the initial story probably didn't fit the site and was rightly rejected, but this new one is described by FFO's editor, Rey A. Gonzalez, as 'A much stronger piece - this one's got balls!'

Let me know what you think of the said 'balls' by clicking on the title of this post for the link.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

And the winner is.............little old me!!! (Col Bury's first fiction comp' win).

Over at Writers News Talkback - a global forum for writers - I've been entering the monthly One Word Challenge Competition on and off for the last year or so. The judge is the previous month's winner and he/she selects a word and the entrants then have up to write a 200 word story as they see fit. It's pretty tricky and the competition is fierce and of a high standard with some excellent and experienced writers participating.

The word for August was 'SET' and there were twenty-six entrants this month. I'm honoured to reveal my winning piece below...
(Feel free to let me know what you think).


It was a simple plan, for a simple man. If things worked out there’d be no blood on my hands.

Andrea originally joined the Tennis Club after Cheryl had told her what ‘great fun’ it was. Six months on and Cheryl’s hubby made her quit, but Andrea’s appetite for the club grew stronger somehow.

Initially I was pleased she felt slimmer, fitter, though the fees were somewhat steep, credit crunch and all. But I noticed, despite her new zest, our love life had died.

Being a cop, I decided to investigate. And sure enough: advantage Dempsey, a poser if ever I saw one. ‘Thirty-love?’ More like ‘Dirty-love!’

And so I was set to serve my ace with plenty of top spin. I considered delivering Dempsey my best backhand, but that wasn’t nearly enough. So I volleyed his head and ironically he made quite a racket. Especially when I smashed Andrea’s racket into his nether regions: ‘New balls, please!’

Andrea had just left his flat. I’m forensically aware, remember, plus my alibi was concrete. Motive-wise, Andrea’s the jealous type and Dempsey was rampant at the club. The next court she attended wasn’t half as favourable to her.

Game, set and match.

Monday, 31 August 2009

A Trio of Treats by Col Bury over at TKnC...

I've been working on several short stories - as well as the ongoing novel - with the idea of doing a thriller, a killer and a chiller over at (believe it or not) Thrillers, Killers N Chillers.
So if you fancy a 'trio of treats'...
The Thriller: NOWHERE TO HIDE.
The Killer: WANTED.

Just click on the title of this post for the link, select your favourite beverage, and enjoy!

All feedback welcome.


A week ago my last post detailed six top stories over at Thrillers, Killers N Chillers. Well since then Matt n I have uploaded fifteen more belters for your pleasure incorporating all genres appropriate to our site: crime, horror, supernatural, mystery, suspense and, obviously, thrillers, killers n chillers!

So why not pull up a chair, put a cushion under your butt, pour yourself a drink and enjoy...

There are more crackers in the pipeline, too, including something a bit different from yours truly!

Sunday, 23 August 2009


Hi Folks,

This weekend we've had six of the best uploaded over on the ezine I co-edit, Thrillers, Killers N Chillers. So to be fair to the writers and in case you missed the simultaneous posts, here's a quick reminder.

Check out BLOOD SISTER, part 4 of Lee Hughes' epic tale, THE OSSEOUS BOX.

Experienced author, Michael A Kechula, chills us in classic style with RED DUST.

Regular, Lily Childs, is up to her old tricks with her unique short, SLIDESHOW.

Newcomer, Michael Robert Gordon goes Detective in his thought-provoking, IT SHOULDN'T HAPPEN HERE.

Last, but not least: My old school friend, David Barber, has rekindled the writing bug with his second piece of micro fiction this week, LETTING GO.
(Clicking on the title of this post takes you to TKnC.)


Ps. You may want a nosey at some of mine over there, too!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

COPING by Col Bury - micro fiction over at Blink Ink...

The idea over at newish ezine Blink Ink is to write thought-provoking micro fiction in 50 words. To read my debut, COPING, on there just click the title above for the link.

Monday, 10 August 2009

An interview with crime writer Col Bury

Yep, I was as surprised as you are now that fellow writer and blogger, Sara Tribble, asked to interview little old me over at her top blog, I AM WRITE.
So if you wanna...
A) Watch some paint dry or...
B) Watch that old black n white film on The Obscure Channel or...
C) Find out more about what makes me tick, crime writing, my aspirations, my inspirations and how Thrillers, Killers N Chillers came about...
...then take your pick!

Click on the title above for the link.


Sunday, 2 August 2009

BROKEN - by Col Bury

My latest piece of flash fiction for your pleasure over at Thrillers, Killers N Chillers. Click on the title above and feel free to let me know what you think.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

My Blog Wins Award!

A big thanks to Lost Wanderer for this award. ('Er...I'd also like to thanks me mum...'). LW not only blogs articulately about her own writing, but also encourages fellow aspiring writers with a 'short story challenge,' whereby they report back each month on their output.

Lost Wanderer's link:

For the rules of this award click the title above.

So now I must award this to five deserving 'bloggy' friends, whose blogs I admire.

1) Matt Hilton -
2) Lee Hughes -
3) Paul D. Brazill -
4) Michael Solender -
5) Tracy Ann Baines -

Congrats to all the above!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

SIX SENTENCES debut from yours truly!

After my previous effort was rejected, I have now finally been successful at cracking the resolve of Robert McEvily, the Editor of top American ezine, Six Sentences - also known as 6S.

Robert says, "Excellent work, Col - thanks so much!" in response to my re-write of FLY BOY - previously showcased over at Thrillers, Killers N Chillers.

Well chuffed!

To have a gander, click the title link above.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Thrillers, Killers N Chillers honoured by English teachers down under (steady)!

Most of you will know by now that I'm the co-editor of Thrillers, Killers N Chillers, along with its founder, Matt Hilton. Well word has certainly travelled regarding our ezine started to help new writers because here's an email I received from new writer, Domenic Trimboli, from Oz, after I'd informed him his story had been accepted.

Thanks Col!

Its funny... for English, at school, we're doing crime fiction. And my teacher strongly suggested your website as a point of call, to help familiarize ourselves with the world of crime, to see the different styles, views, perspectives of crime. And now, I have a short story up there!

Thanks again. Loving the site.


It goes without saying that both Matt and I are honoured. So thanks to Dom for letting us know and to the nameless English teacher for his/her flattering recommendation.


Further from Dom...


You'll be happy to know that it wasn't just my teacher who recommended the site... I actually attended this HSC workshop (HSC being the Australian equivalent of the A-Levels in the UK... I think) and they listed TKnC as a top source of flash-fiction. So be proud. Your site is being viewed by students all over the state.

Now I'm blushing!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Fellow blogger, Tracy Ann Baines, interviews Redhammer Agent, Peter Cox.

I've just watched a fascinating and extremely insightful interview by Tracy Ann Baines - a writer friend of mine over at Writers News Talkback - with Redhammer Agency's main man, agent, Peter Cox.

It's rare you hear such candid thoughts from a top agent as usually us writers receive the old single colour, standard rejection slip. So if you want to hear this frank interview just click the title above for the link, but remember, it's in four parts. You'll easily find the rest on Tracy's blog.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

New flash fiction - FLY BOY - by Col Bury.

Short piece of alternative crime fiction over on Thrillers, Killers N Chillers. Click title of this post for link and enjoy. All feedback welcome here or there.
Cheers, Col

Friday, 10 July 2009

Now back from Lindos, Rhodes and my best man speech!

Just to let you know that I've returned from the best holiday of my life in Lindos, Rhodes, where twenty-two of us partied away in sweltering heat at my brother's and new sister's stunning Greek wedding.

The best man speech I wrote on the morning of the perfect day went down a treat and raised a good few laughs, then I exhaled and joined in the fun with my fantastic family and friends.

So it's been a quick baton change with Thrillers, Killers N Chillers editor, Matt Hilton, who's gone to the States for Thrillerfest. Please direct your submissions to me at least until Tuesday 14th July when he returns.

I'm playing catch up now and already there's three more fresh stories to post this weekend so laters.


Monday, 22 June 2009

RESPECT - by Col Bury, for your pleasure on Thrillers, Killers N Chillers...

I've just done something on a whim. Probably shouldn't have, but time will tell. After necking a full bottle of Blossom Hill Rose the creative juices flowed and I wrote a new short story, RESPECT, based on characters from my ongoing novel.

It's now 5.00am and I'll probably wake up, read it and think, holy $£*%..!

If you wanna read just click on the title above.

Friday, 12 June 2009

My short story, The Handshake, now up on Thrillers, Killers N Chillers...

Apart from allowing new writers to showcase their talent, one of the other main reasons Thrillers, Killers N Chillers was created was so the said writers could also get constructive feedback.

With this in mind, I've rejigged one of my original stories, The Handshake, over on TKnC. If you fancy a nosey just click on the title above.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

My Review of debut Joe Hunter thriller, Dead Men's Dust, by Matt Hilton

Just a quick heads up to all you avid crime thriller fans that I've reviewed Matt Hilton's debut novel, Dead Men's Dust, over at Amazon. The book's the first in a five book series featuring the dynamic vigilante, Joe Hunter, and if you've not read it yet then I suggest you get your hands on a copy pronto as you'll soon fall behind because the books are out every six months - next one, Judgement and Wrath, this October.
Click on the title of this post for the link to the review.

Monday, 25 May 2009

My latest short story, MR CURLY TOP, over at TKnC...

I fancied writing something a little bit different to reflect my current mood. So I did!

Over at Thrillers, Killers N Chillers the stories have taken on a 'noir' twist. There are some absolute belters, too. Why not take a look? You won't be disappointed.

To check out my latest offering just click on the title of this post.


Thursday, 14 May 2009

Matt Hilton's 'Dead Men's Dust' book launch at Waterstones Carlisle

I've just got back from Carlisle where I surprised my good friend - Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers creator and co-editor - Matt Hilton, after I'd originally told him I couldn't make the 250 mile round trip for his book launch.

It was standing room only at Waterstones with over one hundred and fifty people gathered as Matt did a Q&A and read from Dead Men's Dust, the first of five crime thriller novels published by Hodder in the dynamic Joe Hunter series.

The Waterstones rep' said they'd never had as many attend, even for top sportsman! All 100 copies of Matt's first published novel were signed and sold, and more had to be ordered - and the book's not officially hitting the shelves until today when Matt travels to London. (Click the title of this post for Matt's full itinerary.)

It was a pleasure to share Matt's special night with him and his equally down-to-earth family and friends. My kinda people.

And I'm sure DMD is gonna be one helluva bestseller - it couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke. Good on yer, Matt.

Ps. It appears my maths isn't as good as my England (joke): other reports suggest there were well over 250 in attendance!

Friday, 8 May 2009

My Review of SWITCH by William Bayer at THE RAP SHEET's 'Forgotten Book Series'.

When the editor of popular crime fiction site THE RAP SHEET, Jeff Kingston Pierce, invited me to review a book of my choosing for his 'Friday's Forgotten Books' Series, two words popped into my head...
...'Yes,' closely followed by 'EEEK!'
The latter because, apart from writing the occasional 'comment' about books on various sites, I'd never really written an official book review.
Well, I have now!
Instantly I thought of the book which played a huge part in my obsession with the crime genre: Switch by William Bayer.
If you fancy a nosey of the review of Switch then click on the title above for the link and, as always, I'd be interested to hear what you think.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

My latest short story, THE OAK TREE, over at TKnC...

My latest short story entitled, THE OAK TREE, has been brewing for a long while and is extremely personal to me. I chose the first person point of view - a rarity for me - for immediacy and because it was so very close to home. It's more a mystery tale than my usual crime.

If you fancy checking it out then just click on the link to my short stories on the top right or the Thrillers, Killers N Chillers link from the website list, bottom right.

I do hope you enjoy it - let me know...

Monday, 27 April 2009


The ripples I mentioned in the last post created by my short story, FORUM OF FURY - which featured on both Thrillers, Killers n Chillers and A Twist Of Noir before being mentioned at The Tainted Archive - have now graduated into waves.

Over at EASTERN STANDARD CRIME Geoff Eighinger reviews mystery and crime fiction then rewards fedoras to each chosen story: one being dull and five being fantastic. Just to see what his rating of my story actually meant I had a quick trawl through probably 100+ stories and couldn't see a five fedora review. The common range was two to three.

I must say that I was both pleased and surprised that the story was actually selected in the first place. Anyway, the link's below if you wanna have a nosey at Geoff's review and not wanting to give the game away I'll just say after reading it I tipped all four of my hats to him!!!

A well chuffed, Col.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

FORUM OF FURY gets a mention over at THE TAINTED ARCHIVE

Surprisingly - to me anyway - it seems each time I log on someone else has commented on my short story, FORUM OF FURY, which is pleasing me no end and is more than I ever expected when I penned the tale. Who'd have thought that a simple idea, which stemmed from changing a pen name to a real name on an online chat forum, would create waves (okay, maybe ripples then!) across Cyberspace?

Gary Dobbs aka Archavist, who runs the popular site, THE TAINTED ARCHIVE, appears to like the story as he's mentioned its presence on a TWIST OF NOIR under the title: A TWIST OF BURY!

If you've not read the story you may never log on again!!!


Friday, 24 April 2009

High praise indeed from the Editor re' FORUM OF FURY, now up at A TWIST OF NOIR...

I've now completed my hat-trick over at A Twist Of Noir!
I received a very encouraging email from the Editor, Christopher Grant, which I thought I'd share with you...


FORUM OF FURY is now up at A Twist Of Noir.
Frantic, insane and over the edge. All of these describe Joe in this story. Fun little story about mistaken identity and what someone can do when they get paranoid.
I saw this thing play out in my mind as I read it and that's the nicest compliment anyone can get about their writing.
Excellent stuff.


As us Northerners say, 'Am well chuffed!'

A surge in popularity for sister website, Thrillers, Killers N Chillers!

Over at Thrillers, Killers N Chillers we've had seven new stories in five days, including three yesterday alone, and the promise of imminent submissions, as the site gains in popularity throughout the writing fraternity with over 1400 hits in less than three weeks!

There was also an unexpected, but very welcome, mention over at The Rap Sheet earlier this week for two of the stories: Paul Brazill's eerie tale containing nuances and all, THIS OLD HOUSE, and my very own, FORUM OF FURY, addressing the fact we're often unaware of exactly who we're communicating with on the net.

I'm also chuffed that two American writers now feature over at TKnC, namely, Mike Whitney, with his adept use of letters in, IT HAS COME TO MY ATTENTION, and Michael J. Solender with his short, and equally adept, humorous piece, HOMEGROWN TOMATOES.

There's also a cheeky debut, LOST CAUSE, from the mysterious alter-ego Vallon Jackson!

And I'm pleased that my friends over at Writers News Talkback are submitting stories, too. Following Bill Haddow-Allen is Dorothy Davies with her chilling tale, BEATERS, as well as, CIRCUS, which is refreshingly different in style from earlier posts.

Hey, instead of reading me rambling, why not pop over there and take a look for yourself? You won't be disappointed!

Better still, if you fancy your chances then why not have a stab (pardon the pun) and submit a story yourself.
(Guidelines on the right of the site - link below.)

Sunday, 19 April 2009


As I work shifts and have children I find it difficult to regularly attend a Writers' Group so I often chat to like-minded virtual friends on Writers News Talkback - a friendly and informative Writers' Forum. This is my convenient alternative to a Writer's Group and I love the banter on there, as well as the empathy and instant responses to writing problems.

However, I recently changed from 'Col B' to my full name of 'Col Bury'. This got the old cogs turning and inspired a new short story: FORUM OF FURY.

I dedicate this story to my fellow Talkbackers as a thank you for their friendship and advice over the last couple of years.


Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Another of my Short Stories, 'THE BREAK IN,' at A Twist Of Noir...

I broke from the novel writing (and screaming kids - school hols!) last night to pen another short story that had been crying out to be written.
And now I'm chuffed to say that 'The Break In' not only appears on our very own Thrillers, Killers N Chillers, but also at A Twist Of Noir.
It's not for the faint-hearted, but I do hope you like it.

You can read it by clicking on my short stories link on the right for TKNC or follow the link below for ATON.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Thrillers, Killers n Chillers...

Some of you may already be aware from previous posts that my good friend Matt Hilton began a site for up and coming writers to showcase their short fiction over at Thrillers, Killers n Chillers, a site I'm proud to say that I co-edit.

There's certainly an ongoing debate running among the writing forum fraternity regarding the merits of non-paying sites, like TKNC, A Twist Of Noir and many others, whereby fiction is 'published.' Nearly all of what I've read has been positive, though on a crime forum I recently read a comment which pricked my senses and with which I wholeheartedly disagree. It read: 'I think short, online fiction should be looked at like those free samples they give away in the supermarket.'

Biting my lip till it bled and trying not to shout the B-word describing male genitalia at the top of my voice, I opted to write sensibly about it instead. I don't know what this guy has been reading online, but for some reason he sounds a tad cynical and blinkered as he shouldn't pigeon-hole all online fiction like that. He's obviously not read TKNC!!! I think it can depend on the editors of the site, too, but on TKNC it does have to be of publishable standard. Most, if not all, the sites of this ilk appear to me to be professional with some excellent stories so I suspect this man is being frivolous, or maybe even envious.

Personally, I can't see a downside. And here's why: I received quite a lot a feedback from my short story, The Handshake, on TKNC, which is probably one of the main reasons Matt started the site in the first place; that is, to bring newer writers on. As a consequence of the feedback I rejigged the story, adding a line here and restructuring there, yet maintaining the basic story core, until I came up with a much more polished version.

I've now entered The Handshake into Word Magazine's 'Murder' short story competition. It doesn't really matter if it doesn't win (there are usually hundred's of entries), the fact that an aspiring writer is continuing to improve and learn the craft is paramount.

Sites like TKNC also give the new writer a small taste - after perhaps years of writing without reader-acknowledgement - of what it's like to see their work in print knowing someone out there may just like it, which is the recognition all writers crave and that which spurs us on.

So to that bloke and his 'Supermarket' comment: I suggest he pops into his local supermarket and purchases a large cucumber...
...I don't think I have to tell you where he can shove it!!!
(Sorry, my sensible time has expired.)


Ps. tenacity is key.

Monday, 30 March 2009

As promised, an interview with Crime Novelist, Chris Simms.

Chris Simms is the author of the DI Jon Spicer crime novels and, in my opinion, soon to be right up there with Simon Kernick and Mark Billingham. I'm in good company with this prediction as when professionals within the book industry announced their 'Top 25 Authors of the Future,' Chris made the list!
I absolutely love his work and I'm so pleased that he's agreed to this interview.

Hi, Chris, and thanks for agreeing to do this Q & A.
So when did you first start writing and what motivated or inspired you to really go for it?

I’ve always enjoyed coming up with stories – and I remember how disappointed I was at school when English began to move away from creative writing toward literary criticism. With the aim of eventually building up to some kind of novel, I wrote various, unpublished, ghost-stories in the tradition of MR James during my twenties. But it wasn’t until turning thirty and becoming a father for the first time that I said to myself, ‘If I don’t start on a novel now, it’s never going to happen.’

Could you please enlighten us as to how you achieved your first book deal? Did you try to acquire an agent? Were you rejected much? And how did you feel about the process of being accepted for publication?

Not knowing a soul in the publishing industry, I found an agent by following the advice laid out in my local library’s copy of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. I started sending off a covering letter and first few chapters to four agents at a time, waiting for all their rejection letters to come back, then sending off to another four. I was picked up on my fourth round of letters, roughly one year after sending out my first batch. I reworked certain aspects of the book at my agent’s suggestion and she got me a publishing deal within weeks. I thought that was it: I’d reached the summit. Little did I know, I had merely strayed into the foothills of the publishing industry; there were - and still are - many higher hills to climb.

There's a lot of unrealistic talk of huge book deals. Can you provide us (me!) with a reality check, Chris?

Well, they do occasionally happen – but those six figure sums are usually paid in stages dependent on handing in several novels that meet with the publisher’s approval. Therefore, the money is paid over a series of years, and once you account for the endless hours actually writing a novel takes, you’re not earning a lot more than the minimum wage. Sorry to shatter the media-myth. There’s a saying in the industry that makes me smile: everyone makes money in publishing apart from the authors.

Your novels appear to be extremely well researched, Chris. Having four children and a job as a copywriter, it must have been hard to organise and sustain the writing. How did you manage this?

Research is the part of the writing process I love most, along with actually plotting the story out. Writing it all down is just a slog and then typing it up is even worse! Unfortunately, no one else on the planet can read my handwriting. When it comes to writing, I have to be very disciplined – I only get two mornings a week when I’m completely on my own. During that time, I lock myself away in a glorified shed with no internet access, phone or music. I sit facing a blank wall and, generally, get around three and a half thousand words down before hunger forces me back into the house.

I believe that you switched publishers after your second novel was published. Why was that?

Back to those hills I mentioned. My first publisher rejected my idea for a third novel, but only after allowing me to research and plot it out. I knew Orion liked my work, so my agent showed them a synopsis for the third novel and they snapped it up. I was lucky because many writers don’t have the option of jumping to another publisher when asked to place their proposed novel in the circular filing cabinet.

‘Shifting Skin’ is a great read, but very dark. Are all your books as dark as this?

Afraid so. Don’t ask me why – probably something to do with watching films like The Omen and American Werewolf in London at far too young an age. I like to think the odd flash of humour provides some light!

Five of your novels include the dynamic and determined DI, Jon Spicer. What was your thinking when considering the attributes and character traits of your protagonist?

I knew that, in order to cope with the plot lines headed his way, DI Spicer would need a certain cosy familiarity with violence. I didn’t want to go down the well-worn ‘ex-soldier haunted by memories of combat’ route so, instead, I made him a rugby player. The type of one used on the pitch as an enforcer, there to deal with the opponent’s best players by any means necessary. I’ve played the game all my life and I’ve met many people with the mentality and physicality that allows them to punch another person in the face. Several times and with great force.

Why did you opt to use real locations in and around Manchester for your stories as oppose to fictional ones?

Well, what better location for dark and gritty crime novels than Manchester? The city has endless dramatic possibilities. Primarily, there’s the juxtaposition between the shiny re-developed city centre and the narrow backstreets, derelict warehouses and abandoned factories that surround it. Not being born in the area, I find all these details fascinating.

You have seven novels published to date, so what’s next for you, Chris?

Number eight is around two thirds written. Next comes the dreaded typing, but I’m well ahead of my late-summer deadline. After that, I’m not too sure. I have a couple more ideas for DI Spicer novels, but I’ve also got an idea for something completely different. Maybe it will be breaking news on your blog in another year’s time!

What advice would you offer any wannabes out there?

There’s no point pretending that getting published is anything other than a long, hard, lonely slog. Bear in mind my ever-steepening hills analogy. I tell people to treat it like a hobby: don’t aim to have a deal by a certain date, don’t treat it as something your life depends on and don’t, under any circumstances, give up the day job! Having said all that, writing novels is wickedly addictive and I wouldn’t swop it for anything else.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Chris. I look forward to reading more of your gripping work soon, and of course reporting on the exclusive of the 'breaking news' next year!

To learn more about Chris Simms and his top notch crime novels go to:

Sunday, 22 March 2009

My Short Story, 'Domestic Hated,' now appears on website, 'A Twist Of Noir.'

(Image: Sarah Meek - starring in 'Domestic Hated.')

A Twist Of Noir is the brainchild of American writer, Christopher Grant, and includes over fifty short stories encapsulating the theme of crime and noir fiction. The concept is not too dissimilar to Thrillers, Killers n Chillers whereby if the writing's good enough it is then showcased.

Having read a few excellent pieces of fiction on there I thought my story 'Domestic Hated' might stand a chance of a slot on ATON. Chris must have liked it as it now has a second home there:

Thursday, 19 March 2009

A mention at 'The Rap Sheet' for my blog.

The Rap Sheet is a popular and established blog which sprung from January Magazine. It focuses on author interviews and all things crime-related.
I'm chuffed at the mention and that the word's spreading.
It's all good.
Here's the link:

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Coming soon: an Interview with Crime Fiction Author, Chris Simms.....

A couple of years ago a colleague heard that I was well into writing crime fiction and told me about a Manchester Novelist namely, Chris Simms, the creator of the DI Jon Spicer series.

Being that sort of chap, I introduced myself via email and found Chris to be extremely approachable and helpful. Having read and really enjoyed a couple of his novels to date, I'm extremely pleased to announce we can all get to know Chris a little better - what makes him tick and how he got started - when we do a Q & A on this blog very soon....

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Meeting Matt in Lancaster.

I recently met up with my good friend, Crime Thriller Author, Matt Hilton, in Lancaster.

As you can probably tell from the 'winning smiles,' we had a thoroughly pleasant and conducive day chatting non-stop about writing and life, and supping several coffees while Matt's lovely wife, Denise, took in the local culture of this historical city by... basically shopping! (sorry Denise).

I wonder if Matt would have shaken my hand had he read my short story, 'The Handshake,' over on Thrillers, Killers n Chillers! Incidentally, as Matt becomes increasingly busy with the exciting business of his book launch, I am now proud to announce that I will be assisting as Co-Editor on the aforementioned 'site which showcases the work from new writers (link on right).

In case you missed it, you can see Matt's insightful interview below.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Okay, so it's not crime...but I WON!!!

Unfortunately, like many working people with young families, I don't have much opportunity to attend a Writers' Group as such, but I do have an equivalent of this over at Writers News Talkback - a friendly online chat forum for writers of all ilks.
Each month they hold a competition called the 'One Word Challenge,' whereby the word is chosen by the winner of the previous month, who is also the judge.
February's word was 'Chaos,' but instead of entering a prose piece - which I'd done to no avail twice before - I had an idea for poetry instead, although it's not really my forte.....
....and to my amazement I won! And there's talk of an anthology, too.
I have had a few articles published before, in magazines, plus I once helped on the editorial team for a book by Yorkshire Arts Circus, but this is the first writing contest I've actually won so I'm pretty chuffed with myself.
However, there's always a downside...I'm now the judge for the March challenge (oh no!).
Anyway, the winning entry is below and remember the theme is 'Chaos.' I hope you like it... do let me know.

‘Good Morning, Daddy!’

That’s just great,
We’re gonna be late,
Must get moving, no time to wait,
‘Libby! Joe! It’s ten past eight,’
Onto the landing, I slipped on a skate!

Burnt toast, ironing board up,
Oh shoot! Cornflakes in a cup!
Just a gulp of coffee for me to sup,
The yelp, yelp, yelp of that bloody pup,
And the kids constant arguing… ‘Oh, shurrup!’

‘Hey! Don’t poke little Joe’s eye,’
‘Libby! Look, you’ve made him cry,’
‘Be good for Daddy – please give it a try,’
Now where the heck’s my flippin’ tie?
God, this place is like a piggin’sty.

‘NO! Gimme that knife cos you may get hurt,’
‘I’ll scrape that toast while I iron your skirt,’
‘Joe wipe your face, it’s full of dirt,’
We’re gonna be late; it’s a dead cert,
‘Oh blast’…burnt toast all over my shirt!

‘Now get yourselves dressed; I aint got time,'
‘He’s pinched my toast. OY, that’s mine.’
‘Here have mine. God, it’s twenty to nine,’
Yelp, yelp. ‘Move that pup, the little swine,’
Sod the brew, I could do with some wine!

‘Where are your book-bags? Libby! Joe!’
‘Come on! Help me, it’s time to go,’
‘Don’t turn the telly on…I said, "NO!"
‘But it’s my favourite American show,’
Then I looked outside and saw the snow!

‘Now get your coats on as fast as you can,’
‘Car’s frozen - I need warm water in a pan,’
Honestly, I’m normally a very calm man,
And the door, I really didn’t mean to slam,
But over I slipped and up flew the pan!

‘Daddy! Daddy! Are you okay?’
It felt like a punch off Cassius Clay,
‘Daddy, since you're okay, can we now play?’
‘You what? No chance, no flippin’ way!’
‘Aww, but it’s snowing…and it’s SATURDAY!!!

40 lines (excluding the ‘DOH!’).

Friday, 20 February 2009

A great link for more short fiction...

Just a brief update...
While writing my ongoing novel, inspiration often strikes and other ideas form. They then keep pecking my head to be written so I've rattled off a few more short stories for you to read at
Check out: Blind Alley, Death Message, The Handshake, Remember, Domestic Hated and Caught In The Headlights.
I do hope you enjoy them - let me know.
Ps. There's some cracking stories from others there, too!

Further update:
It's great to see others are now taking up the gauntlet as there are now several pages of stories, so don't forget to click the 'older posts' link at the bottom of each page to see them all.
And, since you're here, why not vote on the poll - on the right.

Monday, 9 February 2009

As Promised: An Interview With Thriller Author, Matt Hilton...

Ex-cop and Martial Arts expert, Matt Hilton, hit the headlines earlier last year, earning himself a substantial five-book deal from Hodder after years of endeavouring to fulfil a lifetime ambition of becoming a published author. Matt's first novel, Dead Men's Dust, featuring the dynamic, no nonsense vigilante, Joe Hunter, (C) NIALL MCDERMID is out in May 2009 and the other four in the series are planned to follow at six-monthly intervals (so no pressure then, Matt!).

I managed to catch up with Matt during his busy schedule, and I do hope you find the following Q & A session as fascinating and inspiring as I...

How old were you when you started writing and when did you know it’s what you wanted to do for a living?

I’ve been writing and drawing, designing my own comic strips, from a very young age. I loved the old King Kong and Sinbad movies and wanted to be a fantasy/monster film maker and wrote a story boarded script for a film called Prehistoric Island. It was probably laughable, but at the time I thought it was great. With my writing there are two times I can pin-point as being pivotal to my future desire to be a writer. As a child I read ‘adventure’ books by Willard Price, where two brothers, Hal and Roger Hunt, travelled the world collecting endangered animals. I read all the books in the series and was devastated to find that the writer had died and there’d be no more. So I set out to write my own pastiche called Antarctic Adventure – there were glaring problems with it: no less the fact I had polar bears sharing the ice with the penguins – which was my first attempt at writing a novel. The second time was when I wrote a violent western story that a teacher read out to the class. It got rave reviews from my schoolmates, and it was this that gave me the push to want to be a published author. My first real attempt at writing a novel was when I was thirteen. ‘AGGRO’ was about coming of age, sex and gang fights and partying – all the stuff important to a thirteen year old boy. It was handwritten into a book and I still have the original somewhere. I wanted to be a published author and write for a living since then.

Who’s been the biggest influence on your writing?

Various writers have influenced me over the years and they’re a pretty diverse bunch. The aforementioned Willard Price set me off. My next great influences, who are probably responsible for my desire for strong, action oriented plots are Robert E. Howard and Lin Carter. Next, I started reading Don Pendleton and Warren Murphy and other such writers and was influenced by The Destroyer, The Executioner: all macho blokes with guns. For crime and thrillers, I probably got the bug when reading Brotherhood of the Rose, by David Morrell (which I’ve heard has just been optioned for a movie). Current must read writers, whose books I always pick up are – in no particular order – David Morrell, Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly, Jack (J.A.) Kerley, Michael Marshall, Jeff Abbot, James Patterson, Jeffrey Deaver, Lee Child, and Simon Kernick. I love the Charlie Parker books by John Connolly, as well as the Elivis Cole and Joe Pike books by Robert Crais, and I’d say both of these latter writers are my biggest influences at present.

What’s your typical writing day?

I write on a laptop at a desk in my living room. I start early, usually going over what I wrote the day before, then continue from there. I usually take a break mid-day to late afternoon and then go back to my writing in the evening. I usually have two or three projects on the go at the same time, either writing the next book or short story, editing previous work, or updating my blogs and answering emails. I’m quite prolific (that’s not always a good thing), and tend to bash out a rough draft, then go back over my work fine tuning and tidying the book up afterwards. I have a great team of editors in Sue Fletcher at Hodder and David Highfill at William Morrow whose editorial advice and guidance is invaluable to me. My agent, Luigi Bonomi and his wife, Alison, who is an editor, help me greatly when I’m writing the drafts for the books and I always seek their advice and guidance before submitting the finished book.
I work seven days a week, probably for around ten to twelve hours, so despite what people think, I’m working very hard to produce the books.

Have you suffered much rejection in your writing career and, if so, how did you cope?

Like all writers I’ve suffered the dreaded rejection slip on so many occasions I can’t remember. Between writing Aggro, and my deal for Dead Men’s Dust coming to fruition, everything I ever wrote – apart from a few articles for magazines - was rejected for one reason or another. I came very close on a few occasions, and it was the advice that I was given that spurred me to keep on writing. Rejection can be depressing, but you have to look beyond the ‘thanks but no thanks’ message and pick up on any advice contained in the rejection letter. I took each rejection as a step along the road to publication, and after each I’d go back to my work and see what it was that wasn’t acceptable to the publisher and try to put it right next time round. Expect rejection and you won’t be disappointed, so when the acceptance comes it is a great surprise. If you lay all your hopes in one place – or one step of the process – it can pull you down if you’re knocked back. But don’t give up, keep trying. If you’ve got the drive and the talent, someone will pick you up.

How did your book deal come to fruition?

After all the aforementioned rejections, I analysed where I was going wrong. Up until that point I realised that what I was producing were stand alone books that weren’t very marketable. I looked at the writers who influenced me and saw that they all write books with continuing series characters – or an overriding story arch – so set out to come up with a strong character that could carry a number of books. I didn’t want to write about a detective as there are other writers who do that far better than me, so I came up with a character who does things his own way. I decided for him to be able to get into dangerous situations all the time, and to have the tools and skills to deal with them, then he had to have a background in the military or law enforcement. Because I didn’t want the books to be tied down with current politics, I decided to make my character retired, but still young and vibrant enough to get the job done. I came up with Joe Hunter, an ex-counterterrorism soldier, who is now a bit of a vigilante. I realised that to make him viable in the market, then Joe should have a larger arena than the UK to move through, so have set most of the action in the Joe Hunter books in the USA. This gives more scope, landscape and scenery to set his adventures in.
After coming up with the character, I started to look for representation. Nowadays - I feel - a writer without an agent is at a distinct disadvantage, so I began to research agents. I’d noted how successful Simon Kernick had been and read that he was represented by LBA. I googled LBA and found that Luigi Bonomi had been nominated as agent of the year, so thought, Why not start at the top. I sent an enquiry letter to LBA, with a synopsis and sample chapters and waited. I was overjoyed when Luigi asked to see the entire book. From there until acceptance in March 2008, I spent months sending my work back and forward. I guess that I had to show that I had a strong work ethic and desire to write before Luigi would take me on. When Luigi and I finally exchanged contracts I was overjoyed. But that paled in comparison when Luigi sent my book out and it became the focus of a bidding war between three top publishing houses. My success was well recorded in the media so I won’t go over it again, but you can imagine how exciting and terrifying it was at the same time. I gave up my job as a police constable almost immediately and haven’t looked back.

Do you feel the book deal has changed you in any way?

I don’t think it has changed me personally, but it has given me freedom to do what I’ve always wanted to do – which is to write. I’m quite a private person by nature, and I’ve had to become another ‘name’ in the public arena, so this has changed dramatically, but it’s something I’ve got used to now. It has also given me the opportunity to help others. Clich├ęd as it sounds; I became a cop to help others less fortunate than myself. Now I want to do that with other writers who are trying to get published. When I can I try to encourage writers to write and to not give up. I set up my blogs for this very reason and have recently set up Thrillers, Killers and Chillers, a blog spot to showcase new unpublished short stories and flash fiction by budding authors.

What advice would you give any budding authors?

Don’t give up; write, read, research, accept rejections for what they are but move on, and take on board any advice or guidance – even if it seems like a kick in the guts at the time. Oh, and send your work out there. It’s no good languishing in a drawer or on your hard drive. People have to read your work for them to take it on.
While you are waiting for a reply from a agent, editor or publisher, get on with your next project. Don’t, as I’ve already said, lay all your hopes on one body of work. It might just be the next one that finds you success. Or the next. Or the next.

Matt, may I take this opportunity to thank you for this inspiring insight into your writing life. I trust you’ll be back to update us when the first two Joe Hunter thrillers are out in May and October of this year?

It would be my pleasure.

for more news, advice and support.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Coming soon: an interview with Author, Matt Hilton...

My good friend Matt Hilton, an ex-cop from Cumbria, last year earned himself a six-figure, five-book deal with Hodder relating to his thriller books introducing the dynamic, and not-to-be-messed with, Joe Hunter.
Matt has kindly agreed to a Q & A session on this blog soon, so watch this space...!

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Bigger & Better?

Welcome and thanks for stopping by. Now you're here why not check out my stuff? And if you feel the urge, maybe even make a comment, too!

After a few months of blogging I've realised three things:

1) I try only to blog if I've got something pertinent to say or share.
2) I do enjoy that maybe someone, somewhere could possibly get an ounce or two of enjoyment from my scribblings. (Oh, to be a published author!).
3) I realised the font was way too tiny on my blog and, furthermore, I also sussed out (took me an hour, or two!) that it could be enlarged.

So to all the zillions of you who have been screwing up your eyes and reaching for your Gran's bifocals, I've revamped the blog and hopefully you'll agree it's much easier on the eye! If I've gone too big in my excitement (steady) then let me know.
Now please read on and hopefully enjoy... comfort!


Ps. For the polite ones who've been here before I give a hearty apology and thank you for your discretion.

Pps. To go straight to the fiction there are links on the right, or simply scroll down.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Novel titles...

Well, the clock is ticking and I've been busy 'polishing' the first 3,000 words of my novel (they're really shiny now!), plus the dreaded synopsis, for entry into this year's CWA Debut Dagger - for unpublished crime 'novelists.'

However, after dotting the 'I's and crossing the 'T's I thought it pertinent to get feedback on the 'running' title I've had from the outset. The book's premise is fairly simple in that a vigiliante is avenging the 'Hoodies' (thugs) who have impacted dramatically on his life, hence the title: 'The Hoodie Hunter.' This title clearly sums up the book...
...When I started to recieve my first snippets of feedback a common theme developed. People didn't care for my title. On The Mystery/Thriller Writers' forum on Facebook an American writer remarked: 'Why would anyone want to hunt sweat-shirts!!!' I did find this funny, but it got me thinking. Firstly the term 'Hoodie' is British. I know publishers invariably change the title, and parts of the book, once they cast there critical eyes over a manuscript, but it is important you're as content as can be with all aspects of your work beforehand so as to maximise your chances of success. A published friend of mine informs me that agents invariably don't bother reading manuscripts if the title doesn't grab their attention.

I've learned that titles are extremely personal and can obviously affect the nuts and bolts of the writing, especially when the original idea stems from the title as mine did.
So having had a complete rethink I came up with a few alernatives to The Hoodie Hunter, whereby I wanted to convey the mood of the book with a catchy title.
Please check out my list and feel free to comment:
Vengeful Hunting.
The Hunting.
A Man Scorned.
Vengeful Pursuit.

My favourite is the last one and unless something dramatically changes this week then that is what my Novel will be entitled...that is until the publishers cast their expert gaze on it (dream on, Col!!!).

A Happy New Year to you all (all three of you!).