Goodbye to the cupboard

Today is a sad day. Because it’s time to say goodbye to my writing cupboard.

The wife and I have bought a new house and moved out of our old flat. And so I am also moving out of the cupboard in which I spent so many hours writing.

It was my home for many years. My tiny writing sanctuary. A place to escape from the wife and create books that, hopefully, people would enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Over the last five years, I sat in my little cupboard and wrote one and a half novels (George Thring was already half done when we moved in and the whole of Killing Dylan was penned in there); a few short stories; two episodes of an ill-fated sitcom, which I co-wrote with my friend Matt (and no, it didn’t ever get anywhere near actually being on the telly); and many, many bits of marketing copy (my day job as a copywriter) for numerous corporate clients – and my mate Dave.

My cupboard was a great little place. It was cramped. It was cold. It was a little damp. It had no windows or any trace of natural light. But I could (only just) fit a desk and chair in. I could shut myself away and get some work done. And it helped create the stunning headline for the Crawley Observer: Man writes book in his cupboard!

So farewell little cupboard. You will be missed. But in the new house I get an actual whole room to write in. With a window. And a radiator. Imagine what I’ll be able to come up with in there?

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Here we go again…

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Exciting news. My new novel will be hitting the shelves soon.

It’s written, edited, proofread and I’ve sent the final draft to the publisher. Thankfully the good people at Raven Crest Books liked the new story, and I’m pleased to say it will be going into production soon. No firm details on the publication date yet, but watch this space for further details on when you’ll be able to pick up a copy.

It’s called Killing Dylan. And just to whet your appetites, here’s a brief synopsis of the plot:

Freddie Winters is a disgruntled, sardonic, failed crime writer. He spends his days lamenting other writers’ success, in between overstaying his welcome in coffee shops, setting up his own, fake book signings, and sneaking into literary festivals uninvited.

Freddie’s old friend, Dylan St James, turns to him for help, fearing that someone is trying to kill him. But who could it be? And why? Begrudgingly, Freddie agrees to use his own limited detective skills to find out what’s going on.

As he begins to investigate, he uncovers a long list of suspects, a catalogue of crazy behaviour, and a truly bizarre motive for murder. With the killer still on the loose, can Freddie figure out who’s behind it before they can finish the job?

If you enjoyed George Thring you’re sure to love this too. Don’t forget to keep checking back for updates.

Happy birthday George

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It’s been quite a year. Exactly one year ago today, my first novel, The Unexpected Vacation of George Thring, was published. And my lovely wife bought me this brilliant card to celebrate.

Since it went on sale, the book has sold quite a nice number of copies – more than 13,000 so far, to be precise. And it’s received some very positive reviews – 120 5-star reviews on all the various Amazon sites.

It reached number 18 in the UK Kindle chart, and number 2 in Australia. It was also an Amazon #1 Bestseller in Humourous Fiction and #1 Bestseller in Romantic Fiction.

So, thanks to everyone that bought a copy, wrote a nice review, or sent me a message to this blog or my Facebook page to say how much they enjoyed it.

But it doesn’t end there. I’ve been toiling away at all hours in my little cupboard/office. And in a staggeringly unlikely coincidence, just this very morning I finished writing the first draft of a new novel. What are the chances?

There’s still a bit of work to do, and plenty of editing. But hopefully the new book will be out very soon. Watch this space for updates and maybe even a teaser of the first chapter…

Anyway, that’s more than enough self-congratulation. I’d better get back to work!

The joy and pain of Amazon reviews

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What do authors think of customer reviews on Amazon? Obviously I can only speak for myself, but I have mixed feelings.

They can be a great way to get feedback from readers. And they can help to boost book sales. But then, sometimes, they can be violent, hurtful, digital bullets that make you doubt yourself, your ability to write and, at times, the sanity of the general public.

I recently wrote an article for literary website Quadrapheme giving my own two-pence worth on the subject.

You can read the whole thing here

Enjoy