Dead Easy

Piece of piss.  Not that he hadn’t sweat blood, heart slamming round in his chest like a  caged animal – but still. No noise getting in, old guy didn’t even have time to stagger to his feet.  Grabbing his hair, what’s left of it, shooter to the temple, bang.  Out fast, jump-suit, gloves, balaclava in the bin-liner, shooter too.  Drop it behind the Shezan.  Home, shower.  Time to collect.

His mobile went off before he could dial.


Glad I caught yer.  Have to make it tomorrow.

S’ done.


It’s done.

Give over, you wanker, he’s at the bar now.

Can’t be.

I know my old man, mate.

Something slithered in his bowels.  Then who?

But I…

You losing it or what?  Nutter.  Tomorrow, right, twenty-one Crosby Drive.

Drive not Road.

And now?  No shooter, no gear, no frigging payment.  Aw, shit.  His heart imploded.

*Originally published by (now archived)


I think copyediting is really, rally important an one of the drawbacks of self-publishing (witch I have done) is if your not choosing to use a professional copy editor who can make all the right changes tot he manuscript.  Theirs nothing worse than seeing speech marks in the wrong plaice or having too characters called Mark, or getting the daze mixed up.  And a good copy editor will help you a void repetition to as well any contraindications.  There the best,    Sew if you are self-publishing try and fined someone who can help you with this.  (I didn’t bother here: because this is just a short peace.  Good look!?

Self-publishing – from paperbacks to ebooks

Trio is a novel about adoption (and very different from my usual crime fiction titles).  I wanted to write it because of my own experience as an adoptee and to reflect other stories I’d come across from people in the adoption triangle.  Originally published in hardback by a small publisher it soon went out of print.  Feedback on the book was very positive and as it was close to my heart I wanted to keep it in print and available to people.  So I set myself up as a small press, got my partner Tim to design a cover and found a printer.  I paid for a very small print run because I couldn’t afford more and storage was a problem anyway.  For the next eight years I sold the book (out of boxes under my bed) via Amazon and to the wholesalers Gardners and Bertrams as well as at talks and events.  Sales were in very modest numbers and due to my naivety and total lack of business acumen every single sale I made lost me money – I’d paid a high per unit cost for the books, postage was more than I’d imagined (and kept increasing) and Amazon took a large percentage of each sale.  Then came ebooks.  I paid someone to help me convert Trio and list it on Amazon for Kindle.  I selected a low price (£1.53) but one where I’d make 70% royalties.  And I watched in amazement as Trio sold many, many times more copies than it ever had done as a paperback.  Last month the paperback version went out of print.  If money, time and space were no object I’d keep it in print as a physical book in order to reach people who don’t have ebook readers but for now I’m not re-issuing it.  And I’m still quite dumbfounded by the difference in the economics.

Enhanced Ebooks

I heard an item on Radio 4 a while ago about enhanced eBooks.  Andrew Motion described how a soundtrack had been created for his book Silver, the sequel to Treasure Island.  From what I could gather it was background/ambient noise that was added – so if a scene was set in an inn, there’d be the sounds of people talking and tankards chinking or whatever, or a chapter in a storm would have fitting weather noises.  I had contradictory responses (often the way with me – I blame the Libran brain architecture).  On the one hand it was an amazing idea technically and artistically to add that aural texture, and on the other why would I want anyone ‘interfering’ with my reading by inserting some interpretation between the word and my imagination?  A book demands so much of us as readers, we actively construct our view of the characters and action, the setting  and atmosphere, filling in the spaces that a good writer gives us.  (That’s why an adaptation of a book we love into film or TV often frustrates – because it can never be how we imagined it).  However Andrew Motion argued studies show that enhanced eBooks actually improve the engagement of the reader and that they remember and retain even more of  what they’ve read than someone reading a ‘normal’ book does.  It’s probably not fair to say more until I’ve tried it for myself.  But it makes me wonder what’s next.  Smells?  Texture?  Taste?