“On the Worst Day of Christmas” and “Silenced Witness” are now available in paperback on Amazon:

On the worst day of Christmas 
Silenced Witness


Happy New Year

2016 looks like going down in history as a terrible year but I’d like to reflect on some personal positives. The year has been made magical by our newest family member, grandson Oliver, who was born in November 2015. I’ve been lucky enough to spend lots of time with this little bundle of joy this year and I’ve enjoyed every minute.

On the writing front I’ve seen my first short stories published in DC Thomson magazines “The People’s Friend” and “The Weekly News”. I’ve also had a “My Weekly Pocket Novel” published and another bought for publication in 2017. The second of these was written during November’s “NaNoWriMo” – the first time I’ve participated.

I attended Crimefest in Bristol (prize for winning Flashbang contest 2015) where I met my hero, Peter James, for the first time and I spent a day at Harrogate during the Theakstons festival. It was lovely to see, however briefly, lots of bookish friends.

Finally, though it might sound like a negative, a health scare in September was caught early enough to be easily treated.

Happy New Year.

My First (Pocket) Novel

I’ve been writing short stories and submitting them to magazines for a year or so. It’s a great way to learn how to cope with rejection but I’ve had a handful of successes too.

I wanted to have a go at a longer story and stumbled across the guidelines for writing a My Weekly Pocket Novel. Basically they’re about 50,000 words long and need to have a strong romance element as well as a thrilling mystery plot.

I emailed my first three chapters and a synopsis of the whole story to Maggie Swinburne, the pocket novel editor at My Weekly. She soon replied and followed this up with a phone call. She was lovely and explained I needed to work on balancing the thrills and the romance. I can’t remember her exact words but it was along the lines of “don’t scare our target readers so much they can’t sleep”. But she was very encouraging and asked to see the rest of the novel as soon as possible. And as it was a story set at Christmas I needed to get it written and to her quickly.

So, with no guarantee that My Weekly would actually buy it, I spent the next several weeks writing the longest story I’d written so far.

I won’t go into the detail of writing the rest of the book, but anyone who’s interested could check out my “First Draft” Q&A on Rebecca Bradley’s blog here

I emailed the completed manuscript to Maggie and I was thrilled when just a couple of days later she replied saying she’d like to buy it. However there were a few things she wanted changed (it was still a bit too frightening apparently).

Once the edits were done I then had a few months to wait before finally seeing the book in the shops at the beginning of December. What an amazing feeling! 

Thank you to Susan, Louise & Brian for sending me “shelfies” photos of the book in the wild.

Although it was hard work and at times I thought I’d never finish it, I’m proud of my pocket novel. And it can’t have been so very terrible an experience because I’ve since written (and just sold!) another one.

My New Year’s Resolution, though, is to write a full length novel. I already have an idea and a main character, so watch this space!