Sincere Request for Reviews & A New Competition

Posted by on Oct 20, 2013 in Competitions

  Hi all, My new novel, The Manhattan Puzzle, came out ten days ago. It’s doing pretty good. You should find it in most major UK & Irish bookshops, in many on the front tables as above. It will also be in shops in Canada, Australia and New Zealand soon. In the US I expect it will only be available on Amazon and on iTunes and on the other major online sites. PLEASE review it on Amazon,whatever you think. Positive & negative views are welcome. You can do so on your local Amazon site here in 30 seconds: Real reviews are critical. Your help will give this, and my career as a writer, a real push forward. I appreciate every single comment and review. If you see The Manhattan Puzzle anywhere please take a pic and email it to me: The most interesting pic – judges decision is final – will receive a signed copy of The Manhattan Puzzle AND a small box of Irish chocolate posted to them anywhere in the world. The competition closes 25th December. This will go well with your ebook of The Manhattan Puzzle, which is still at a ridiculously low price: And if your local bookshop or book outlet doesn’t stock The Manhattan Puzzle, please ask them to! Your help with reviews, harassing bookstore owners and taking pics is all truly appreciated!...

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Short Post: Nominated for Crime Writing Award

Posted by on Oct 26, 2012 in On Writing

My first novel, The Istanbul Puzzle, has just been shortlisted for the Irish crime novel of the year award 2012. Everyone can vote for this award here. The ceremony is on the 22nd November in Dublin. It will be televised in Ireland on the 24th November. I am humbled by being shortlisted with such inspiring writers. Thank you all for your support. From being an aspiring writer in search of a contract to being published to being nominated has taken twenty months. Thank you for sticking with this series, and for buying the books. I hope you will enjoy the rest of this series as it unfolds....

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Get Your Writing Noticed: Emotion – what keeps us involved!

Posted by on Oct 19, 2012 in On Writing

. Making an emotional connection with readers is critically important. If you don’t, they can easily stop reading. We are all familiar with emotions. They are what makes us have a great day or a bad one. But how does a writer use them to connect with readers? One of the most basic emotions is desire. If your characters are motivated, if they have desire, if only for a glass of water, then readers will feel connected. And the more they want something, the more interesting your story becomes, as the reader is left wondering what the character will do to achieve their goal. Desire is the basic emotion which keeps us involved in a story. If your main character wants something, you are obliged to put obstacles in their way too. Obstacles create conflict. Conflict will inspire an emotional response in your reader and keep them turning the pages. Some other ways to build an emotion connection with the reader are: * Creating embarrassment for a character. By making the reader feel that embarrassment you will build a connection with them. * Having a character abused in some way. Natural sympathy will be evoked if you do something terrible to a character we have come to know. * Placing opposing characters in the same situation. There’s a natural tension when opposing characters meet. Your readers will feel it if the opposing characters views have been shown to them. * Fear creates tension in the reader too. If we know the murderer is coming up the stairs, and the woman is having a shower, we fear the outcome. * Anticipation. If you foreshadow, occasionally, without explaining exactly what is going to happen, readers will anticipate something happening. * Surprise readers. Readers will enjoy your writing if something surprising happens. They won’t have any idea what is going to happen next. * Excitement is a powerful writing tool. You can move the plot fast, anticipate, and spell out what might happen, and then keep the reader waiting. All the above methods combined will produce excitement in your reader. One of the hardest parts for a writer is in creating authentic emotional scenes. The ability to understand how it feels to be in an emotional situation and to express that feeling in a genuine and new way, without resorting to cliche or to simply naming how characters feels, is vital to creating truly engaging writing. People look for writing that truly explains how it feels to be in each situation. And they can tell if you haven’t represented the reality in a way that’s believable. I wish you well with this, one of the hardest challenges of becoming a good writer in the 21st or any century. This post is the sixth on a voyage exploring the world of getting your writing noticed. The next post, the last post, covers the impact...

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Get Your Writing Noticed: How to grab your reader’s attention!

Posted by on Jul 6, 2012 in On Writing

. A key aspect of writing for the 21st century, applicable to non fiction and fiction, is grabbing the reader’s attention. The number of distractions people have these days was covered in my last post. Here are some techniques for grabbing the reader up front: 1. Establish credibility. If you’re being published by a major publishing house this will help, but even if you’re not you can put your key credential up front. If you spent 20 years as a gardener and you’re writing a book on gardening I will want to know that. ‘Gardening from 20 years experience” is a good title in my opinion. So don’t be shy. Tell us why we should read your book. And tell us quickly. 2. For non fiction, make it practical. I am writing a guide to social media and making it practical is a key consideration. Two of the top five Sunday Times non fiction books this week are practical in some way. 3. Other favorite themes for non fiction, which grab readers are war, for the armchair fighters among us, violent crimes, to make us glad we’re safe, and cooking/homecraft. These areas make up most the remainder of the top non fiction slots. 4. Start in the middle of the action. This standard piece of advice for fiction writers, to cut out the long preamble, to go straight into the action, is also what non fiction readers want these days. In non fiction we want a quick way to move to the key areas of our interest. So let us get to the heart of it, fast. 5. Make a bold statement. In commercial fiction there is often a big scene right at the beginning. This could be a murder, a kidnapping, an interview or a disagreement. The purpose of the scene is to hook the reader in. Similarly, in non fiction you can make a bold statement. If you have something new to say offer it up early, then let us read the rest of your book to find out what’s next. Digital, whether through blogs, Twitter, Facebook or video/audio are all vitally important to success these days. Whatever you are writing, consider how you can build an online presence which will use the skills you have. The demand for online interaction is high and likely to get even higher. Publishing and being successful with just a printed book is becoming less and less likely. Other aspects of grabbing your reader’s attention include titles and keywords. Here is a post I wrote, on my social media blog, explaining key words in simple terms. Beyond key words is the whole area of titles. This is an art, which includes many elements difficult to distill. Taste, fashion and culture are all part of the choosing of titles. My suggestion is for you to consider the most popular current titles in your...

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The Jerusalem Puzzle is Finished!

Posted by on Jun 1, 2012 in Mystery Novels, On Writing, The Jerusalem Puzzle

I delivered The Jerusalem Puzzle to Harper Collins in London last Monday, by email. I had finished it the previous Thursday. I spent most of last weekend doing one final edit. That was a hundred page a day edit. The kind of edit that drains something from you as you go on and on and on for endless hours each day. But I did it. And I’m glad I did it. There were logical errors, which you see better when reading through a novel fast. I fixed an issue in the middle about the dig in the old city of Jerusalem, which they visit in the novel, and I changed a big part of the ending too. I spent about a year on The Jerusalem Puzzle from concept to fourth draft. I expect Harper Collins will come back in July with a series of suggestions as to how to tighten it up. These I will address during July and August. There may be more editorial suggestions in September too and then some copy editing changes in October, perhaps twice, and that will be it, I hope. I am pleased with how The Jerusalem Puzzle turned out. It may even be better than The Istanbul Puzzle! The Jerusalem Puzzle will be released January 17, 2013. It should be available in other languages after that. The Istanbul Puzzle is being translated into 9 languages. I hope you enjoy The Jerusalem Puzzle when it comes out. I enjoyed creating it. If you would like to pre-order it from Amazon click here. And I greatly appreciate every comment and kind word and recommendation you give for it. I will be submitting an outline for The New York Puzzle to Harper Collins in the next 10 days. Once that is agreed I will start writing The New York Puzzle. Below is a photo of the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem, which I took earlier this year. This is the main entrance to the city from the west. It features in a few scenes in The Jerusalem...

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