Movie news & a new month long chance to win signed copies of The Jerusalem Puzzle & The Istanbul Puzzle

Posted by on Mar 15, 2013 in Competitions

Last month’s winner of a paperback copy of The Jerusalem Puzzle was Jamison Duncan. Please email me Jamison ( with your address! This month I am offering a free copy of The Jerusalem Puzzle & a unique advance reader copy of The Istanbul Puzzle, both signed, posted anywhere in the world. An exciting offer has come in from a Hollywood producer to make a movie of The Istanbul Puzzle, shooting to start within eighteen months, so I expect these signed copies will eventually become more valuable. But for now we keep our feet on the ground. The competition will run for a month, until the 15th April 2013. You have a chance of winning a free copy of both my published novels if you share this post, on Twitter and Facebook please, with your followers. You must comment below when you have done that to enter. I truly appreciate and am humbled by all your support. If I can involve you in the movie making process I will, as I will be a script consultant. Get in touch if you have ideas, what scenes must stay in, who should play Sean and any other thoughts. I am working on finishing The Manhattan Puzzle this week. It is due out October 10th. I hope it will entertain and interest you. The truth about the puzzle will be revealed in The Manhattan Puzzle. If you are a writer and want to be on my list for guest posts please email me: and I will send you guidelines. I want us all to work together to promote our writing. If you want to buy The Istanbul Puzzle click here. And if you want to buy the The Jerusalem Puzzle click here.  Each month, from now until October, one person will be chosen using a random number generator from the list of comments below. So keep coming back  if you don’t win! And you can enter multiple times by sharing on Twitter and Facebook on multiple days and commenting on each day below, so you have multiple comments. I will take a look at any multiple comment winner shares to make sure this is fair for everyone. Thank you all for sharing this post and for buying my novels and for all your support.  I hope you win! And I hope you’ll enjoy the...

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Action opening alternatives. What makes you read on? #2

Posted by on Nov 10, 2012 in On Writing

“I opened the door. The woman standing outside in the rain had a small black gun in her hand. It gleamed. She smiled, then put the gun to her forehead. I put my hand out to grab it.” (1) This is an action opening to a short story. I know not everyone likes a story to start with action, but many people do. The action mightn’t be about a gun though, It could be about something else: “I opened the door. The woman standing outside in the rain had an envelope in her hand. It was wet. She smiled, held the envelope out. I put my hand out to grab it.” (2) This opening has almost as much impact as the gun opening in my opinion, but the impact is psychological now. Let’s try another way to get action into an opening: “I opened the door. The woman standing outside in the rain was dripping from every extremity. She smiled. “I’ve been looking for you,” she said. I had no idea who she was.” (3) This third opening isn’t about giving something physical, but it is about a possible moment of real change in someone’s life. What about a fourth type of action: “I opened the door. The woman standing outside in the rain was naked. Her eyes were wide. Her hands covered herself. “Please, I need to hide,” she said. Her voice quivered as she spoke.” (4) This one had an emotional impact, I hope. What about this final one: “I opened the door. The woman standing there laughed. The rain bounced off her. ‘If you abuse another female character in a story, I’m going to come and get you,” she said” (5) This is more of an experimental meta-fictional type opening. I wonder would you mind picking which opening you prefer? If you leave a brief comment below and come back late December, to give plenty of time for some responses, or simply sign up for updates above right, the most popular opening will have a short story created around it. Please also comment below on using action as an opening technique. This is the second in a series of four posts in the run up to the launch of The Jerusalem Puzzle on ebook December 3rd and in paperback in many countries January...

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Could Video Book Excerpts Help Us all Sell More Books?

Posted by on Oct 28, 2012 in On Writing

Now! As you know I am an author of crime/mystery/adventure novels and a social media consultant. My second novel, The Jerusalem Puzzle, published by Harper Collins, is coming out December 3rd 2012 on ebook in English on and It will be out in paperback January 3rd 2013. and, I have created a 2 minute video with me narrating the first chapter of The Jerusalem Puzzle here. The style is a series of relevant images being panned across as I speak the opening chapter. I used Windows Moviemaker, four images, two from the cover, and the audio track narrated inside Moviemaker. and, My question to you is, do you think this approach will help sell books? and My second question is, would you like me to make one for you? and I will make three by two minute Moviemaker videos free of charge for three authors of social media or fiction. All you need to do is email me lob at with some images and a sound file and I will make it and post it to my channel on YouTube free of charge. I will also send you a copy for your site. and The aim is to get people on the channel looking at all our videos. I will also post about our videos on my Twitter account so that will help us all get exposure too. I have quite a few followers on my Twitter account now. and If you think I am crazy let me know! Is helping people for free ever a good idea? Do the tax authorities even allow it?...

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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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Old Jerusalem, an ancient city in a modern age

Posted by on Feb 23, 2012 in Research, The Jerusalem Puzzle

Written February 2012 I am spending time in the old city of Jerusalem. If I stay here any longer I’ll probably have to apply for a resident’s permit. And as I am staying in East Jerusalem that may be tricky. My reason for being here, aside from the welcome sun, is to research the next stage of Sean and Isabel’s adventures. If you read The Istanbul Puzzle you’ll probably know that there are a few questions at the end still hanging. The Jerusalem Puzzle will move the story forward and answer some key questions. As part of my research in old Jerusalem, where the book is mainly set, I have spent a lot of time in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the legendary site of Jesus’ crucifiction, his tomb and the burial place of Adam’s skull, according to some 2nd century sources. Whatever your beliefs, this place is an extraordinary building, a mix of mainly Crusader and 19th century, Armenian, Catholic and Orthodoxy all rolled into one. This was the place a lot of people died for before the crusades, during the crusades, and ever afterwards. Richard the Lion Heart and Saladin fought over this place and almost every other Empire since has had plans to capture it. Here is what the entrance to the legendary tomb of Jesus looks like now (click each image to see it in all its glory): This church is the most important place of pilgrimage in the Christian world. Bar none. What I found though, at the end of my last visit, was a less than spiritual place. I had queued to get in to the small chapel where Jesus’ tomb is supposed to be with cries of “hurry, hurry, we are closing,” echoing in my ears. I’d visited where Mary, Mother of Jesus fell into an eternal sleep (legend says), on Mount Zion the day before and I was lucky that I went down into that underground tomb with the sound of a Polish group singing hymns echoing in my ears. That place was spiritual. Much of the rest of the old city is a heady mix of the Arab souk, with plastic toys and wooden crosses for tourists, and a wedge of Abercrombie and coffee shop Westerness pushing up close to the city from the Jewish and modern western side. To me Jerusalem is where three great faiths, Christianity, the Jewish faith and Islam all overlap with their bits fraying. The Islamic faith is well represented here in the famous Golden Dome and mosques and the regular call to prayer filling the air. The Jewish faith is evident in the devotion at the Western Wall, the Orthodox faithful almost everywhere, and through the joy of young men being escorted with drums and horns through the crowds. The Christian faith is evident  in the extraordinary churches and the pilgrims from all...

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