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Odd acknowledgements

I've just been reading through The Judgement Book, and all seems well, with perhaps one little exception.

The acknowledgements are the oddest I've ever written.

I can't remember when I wrote them, but I'm wondering if I might have had a drink or two at the time, or was feeling light headed.

They're certainly creative, to put it mildly!

I won't spoil it for you by saying any more, but if you do have a look, I hope you find them endearing, rather than just mad.

Thanks to Amazon, who are kindly offering The Judgement Book at an introductory discount of two pounds off the usual cover price.  If you're interested, you can look it up via the books page -

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...if you'll excuse me putting it that way.

My copies of The Judgement Book have just arrived, hence the excitement and the rather odd title for this blog.  It's like being a child on Xmas morning!

It all looks rather good, in my humble opinion.  You never quite know how a book is going to turn out until you hold it.  For all the proofs you get sent of the cover, the only way of really knowing how it'll come out is when you see it.

And I'm very pleased with this one.

That, incidentally, is why I think these electronic book reader things (spot the technophobe) will do ok, but never make old fashioned actual physical books disappear.  There's something about holding a book in your hands, the smell of the paper and the feel of it, plus the stack by the side of your bed, your little personal collection of reading, which is irreplacable - to me at least.

Or is it just me being an old codger?!

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Where do I get the names for my characters, I'm asked.

The answer is a mix of places.  Some I simply hear or see in the course of this thing called life.  The doctor in the tvdetective series, Silifant for example - I borrowed his name from a firm of undertakers in Exeter, just because I thought it was such a great one.  It felt to me as if it summed up an aged and grumpy medic.  It's odd how some names do that - they seem to describe the person.

I often leaf through the phone book to get a mix of ordinary and more jazzy names - I hope the combination is convincing.  There's such a great range to choose from!

A recent development is that friends have asked for their names to be used.  One old school pal makes it into The Judgement Book as a long dead parish priest.  The slightly worrying part of this is that he wanted to be a madman, or mass murderer!  But he's far too fine a chap for that.

I've also put in a couple of friends who are getting married, as a sort of strange wedding gift.  But before you ask, no, that's not just me being mean - I have bought them a proper present too!

Last thought in this blog - I'm told The Judgement Book is now listed for order on various websites.  If you're interested, do have a look via the books page -

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This morning, I realised - with something of a shock - that it's only three weeks until the first of my talks to promote The Judgement Book.

Thus, some of today has been spent thinking about what to say!

The good news is that, in the course of my strange life, I think I've accumulated enough to amuse, interest and hopefully even entertain you for an hour or so.

So, if you'd like to know the rather embarrassing reason why I always carefully check the flies of my trousers before a talk, how I've been most severely told off by readers for some of the things I've done in the books, or indeed what plans there are for future tvdetective adventures, do please come along to one.

There's a list of all the events on the news page -

Hope to see you there!

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Writing discipline

A question arrives, about how I discipline myself to write a book.

The answer is that I don't have to.  I enjoy writing immensely and think of it as my hobby.  The fact that people seem to enjoy it too, and want to know more about the adventures of Dan and Adam just makes it even better. 

I don't even set myself a target of how many words to write in a day or a week.  I've found that to be counterproductive.  It puts me under pressure, which is a sure way to scare off any creativity or inspiration.  I just try to relax and let it flow.

It's a tough lesson to learn, but writing is a fickle mistress.  Some days it just works easily and I can write good sections of a book with little real apparent effort.  On other days the muse simply refuses to come, and she can be very obstinate.  Those are the most difficult, and used to leave me frustrated.  Nowadays I've come to accept they happen and can walk away, knowing that the next day will be different.

Or hopefully anyway!

Where I have had to discipline myself is in writing thetvdetective blog.  It's new to me - I'm rather old media, when it comes to technology - so I've had to try to set aside time for it in my writing week.  I'm hoping I've just about got the hang of it now and am enjoying it - I think it makes for a good way of having a conversation. 

And finally for this posting, as for the people who keep asking me about what happens in The Judgement Book, you'll have to be patient!  It's less than a month until it comes out now...

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New site

In case you hadn't noticed, the website's had an update - have a look at the new home page -

It's all in preparation for the launch of The Judgement Book.  I'm rather fond of the book's cover, which now dominates the site's banner, and I hope you like it too.  It strikes me as attention grabbing, something that should be easily spotted on a shop bookshelf, and nicely in keeping with the TV camera theme of The Death Pictures and Evil Valley.

Large amounts of work goes into the book jackets, with ideas and drafts often going back and forth between the designers, the publishers and myself for several weeks, until finally we come up with something we all like.  No wonder it can be a long process!

The final edits on The Judgement Book are now done and it'll be off to the printers in a couple of days.  Which means my copies should be coming through in a week or two.  Which, in turn, for me is a jolly exciting moment.  This is the point at which all the work finally feels like it's come to fruition.  A real book!  At last...

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Crime Fiction Day and a wedding

The feedback from the Crime Fiction Day / Oxfam Bookfest has come in, and is uniformly and pleasantly positive.  Writers from across the country reported good turnouts of enthusiastic readers at Oxfam bookstores for their events, in one case sufficient to mean the talk and book signing had to be moved to a local pub where there was more room.

Thus!  It looks like the Crime Writers Association will be holding another event next year, and this time it may grow - 7 fold to be exact.  So as not to tie writers and readers down to one particular day, next year it will probably become a Crime Fiction Week.  For those who want to get a flavour of what it was like this year, have a look at the archives section of the news page - 

Next year, we're hoping for more events, and more variety in the things we do; signings, talks, maybe even writing workshops and other educational activities.  I'll keep you posted.

One more thing to mention.  I don't normally do this, as it's quite personal, but I think you'll understand why on this occasion.  Excuse me if I'm out of touch for a few days, but I'm off to Jersey for a wedding.

It's the union of one of my longest standing friends, John Ayres, to his wonderful partner Emma Ruminski.  I first met John when I went to university, all those years ago, where he was the radio station manager.  It was he who encouraged me to get involved in journalism, which in turn led to me becoming a writer.

So, as you can see, I owe him a great deal, and I'm very much looking forward to being there for his happy day.  All the very best to a delightful couple!

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Almost there...

Not in life, that would be far too philosophical for me - no, I'm talking about The Judgement Book.

The letterbox creaked and the doorstep thudded with the final version of the manuscript earlier this week.  My poor postman must hate me, with all the weight he has to lug around on my behalf, but that's by and by.  The important thing is that we're almost there with having it ready for publication.

I'm about half way through this last read through, and still finding the odd little typo, spelling or punctuation error. I was thinking how remarkable/annoying that is following so much work - after writing the book, I usually go back over it four or five times myself to tighten it up or amend the odd bit or two.  Then it goes to the publishers for their scrutiny, read throughs and suggested amendments - then back to me for the final read throughs and signing off.

And after all that, I'm still finding little mistakes!  Mind, I was wondering if any book had ever been published without at least one little error in there, be it a missing speech mark, or missing or repeated word, or whatever - perhaps not so surprising when you consider most books are over a hundred thousand words - but I'm meandering againg, so back to the point.

The Judgement Book is nearly done and ready for publication!  Just five weeks now... I'm very pleased with how it's all shaping up, and looking forward greatly to my little tour of the libraries and literary festivals which have been kind enough to invite me along.

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