Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Run and Hide

The day is finally here!  Nineteen months after Trojan hit the shelves, my latest thriller is now available.

There’s only so long you can run for your life.
Eva Driscoll is used to chasing down bad guys, but now the bad guys are chasing her. She knows they won’t stop until she’s dead.
After her brother is killed in a faked suicide, Driscoll teams up with ex-soldier Rees Colback, the one person who can help her find answers. Together they’re determined to uncover why members of his Special Forces squad are dying in mysterious circumstances.
But with every agency in the country in hot pursuit, their only choice is to flee.
The clock is ticking. They can’t run forever. It’s time to make a choice: kill or be killed…


Stephen Leather says "Brilliant book - I wish I'd written it!"






Monday, 14 May 2018

2500 days and counting

I was looking back on my writing career and noticed that May 15th 2018 marks 2500 days since I published my first novel, Gray Justice.  It seems like yesterday.  So what has happened in that time?

Plenty!

That first thriller was just supposed to be something to supplement my salary at a time when outgoings exceeded income.  Little did I know where it would lead.  Fast forward almost seven years and my eighth novel, Run and Hide, is available for pre-order with an August 22nd release date.  I've been writing full time for over three years, and it makes a huge difference!

My first three novels were picked up by Thomas and Mercer back in 2014, and since then I have been contracted to write 5 more.  The last of those, Seek and Destroy, will be out in November 2018.  I'm working on the tenth, a third book in the Eva Driscoll series, which I hope to have finished by the end of the month.

This month also marks another milestone.  I'm a handful of sales short of one million across all platforms, so I should hit the magic number in the next few days.

In the last few weeks, I also managed to get one of the most respected agents in the business.  Alice Saunders of LAW Agency is going to be looking after my interests from now on.

I recently learned that my seventh novel, Trojan has been shortlisted for the ITW Best Original Ebook award, and my publisher is flying me to New York for the ceremony at Thrillerfest!  It'll be my first taste of the Big Apple, though unfortunately I won't get to see much of it as I'm only there for two days.  Still, it promises to be an experience.

So, now it's time to look forward to the next 2500 days.  I hope to write at least ten more books in that time, just in time for my daughters turning 18.  Hopefully they'll want to read my work!

Monday, 23 April 2018

Cover reveal for Run and Hide

Well, it has been fifteen months since my last book, Trojan, was launched, but I finally have some news, both good and bad.  The good news is, I have a release date for my latest adventure, Run and Hide.  It introduces a new character called Eva Driscoll, a CIA assassin who risks everything to track down her brother's killer.  It also features some old favourites in the shape of Len Smart and Sonny Baines to name but a few.  Here’s the cover:
The bad news is, it won't be released until August 22nd. 

But wait!  There's more good news!  The second in the Driscoll series, Seek and Destroy, is scheduled to be released on November 14th, and it marks the return of Tom Gray!  In addition, I'm almost done with the third book, which I hope to see published in the spring of 2019.
In other news, Trojan was shortlisted for the ITW (International Thriller Writers) Best E-book Original Novel Award, and my publisher is flying me to New York in July for the award ceremony!  I’m up against some great competition and don’t expect to win, but it’ll be my first taste of the big apple and I’m really looking forward to it!
While you’re waiting for my books to launch, why not check out these other fabulous authors.  There’s enough reading material here to keep you going until August!  The books are best read in the order shown.

Russell Blake:
Night of the Assassin (Prequel)
King of Swords
Revenge of the Assassin
Return of the Assassin
Blood of the Assassin
Requiem for the Assassin
Rage of the Assassin

Simon Toyne:
Solomon Creed
Broken Promise
The Boy Who Saw

Rob Ashman:
Those That Remain
In Your Name
Pay the Penance

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Wildfire


My good friend Scott Bury has a new release coming out on March 22nd, and I'm delighted to be able to bring you a short extract from Wildfire to whet your appetite.

Passing the restaurant, she froze at the unmistakable sound of a door closing.
Shoving the phone into her pocket, she belted around the mansion. In the weak moonlight, she could see someone running toward the road and willed her legs to move faster, pumping her hands like her trainer had told her. 
“Stop!” Why the hell did I say that?
The figure in the dark did not stop, but turned right when he reached the road.
He’s going for a car. “No!” 
She caught up as the figure opened the door of a small car. He whirled, his arm extended and Tara jumped back as the tip of a long blade flashed past her midriff. She fell back on her butt on the road. Years of training took control and she rolled on her back, sprang to her feet, fists raised, knees bent, her left shoulder forward to present the narrowest possible target.
A short, broad man stood beside the open door of a hatchback, brandishing something toward her. “Stay away from me, you little bitch,” he hissed.
Is that a kitchen knife? “Donald?”
“Stay away. These are mine.” 
Tara shook her fists. When Donald flinched, she pivoted on her forward foot, sweeping her back foot around. Her toes smashed his wrist, Donald yelped and the knife dropped. 
He jumped into his car. Tara hesitated just long enough to allow Donald to start the engine. The headlights flared as Tara grabbed at the open door’s frame. The wheels squealed against the pavement and the car tore out of her grasp. Tara stumbled forward, but could only watch the taillights shrink with distance.
She used her smart phone’s light to look at the knife on the pavement. One of the restaurant’s ceramic chef’s knives. Donald did say they belonged to him when Alan fired him
She dialed 911. “This is Tara Rezeck of the Rocky Creek Winery. We’ve had a break-in at Cyrano’s Restaurant. Yes, I’m safe. He’s gone now. I know who it is. Yes, twenty-three-eighty-five Rocky Creek Road. Yes, I’ll wait. Please tell the officer to come to Cyrano’s, in the old mansion, not to the house. There’s no need for a siren or lights or anything. No, I won’t touch anything. Thank you.”
Tara sat on the bench on the mansion’s verandah to wait for the deputy, looking at the images on her phone. 
There was definitely someone on that dirt road. It’s too bad I can’t tell who it was, though. But does that mean there were two people sabotaging the winery? Was it Donald all along?
That doesn’t make sense. Alan was complaining about sabotage before he fired Donald. Why would Donald sabotage the place where he was gainfully employed?
Anyway, Donald isn’t fast enough to go through the vineyard, down to the main road and back to the restaurant in the time it took me to walk across the lot. I’ve seen him run. He’s not fast.
But that means there is still someone else sabotaging the winery. 
She did not like that conclusion.
The patrol car arrived within ten minutes, and Tara was relieved that the deputy used neither the lights nor siren. There’s no point waking Veronica. She definitely doesn’t need any more stress.
But do I?

Wildfire


Wildfires swept across California wine country in 2017, destroying thousands of homes and businesses, and killing dozens of people. Law school grad and single mother Tara Rezeck finds herself in the middle of the catastrophe. When she returns to her job at the most award-winning vineyard in Sonoma County, she finds her employer’s body in the ashes.
The question that challenges her brains and her legal training is: was it an accident? Or was his body burned to hide evidence of murder?
Now available for pre-order on on Amazon (for Kindle e-readers) and Smashwords (for Kobo, Nook and other e-readers).
You can read the first two chapters for free on Wattpad.

About the author


After a 30-year career as a journalist and editor, Scott Bury turned to writing fiction with a children’s story, Sam, the Strawb Part, and a story that bridged the genres of paranormal occult fiction and espionage thriller: Dark Clouds. Since then, he has published 12 novels and novellas without regard to staying in any one genre.
In 2012, he published his first novel, the historical magic realism bestseller The Bones of the Earth. His next book, One Shade of Red, was a satire of a bestseller with a similar title.
From 2014 to 2017, he published the Eastern Front Trilogy, the true story of a Canadian drafted into the Soviet Red Army in 1941, and how he survived the Second World War: Army of Worn Soles, Under the Nazi Heel and Walking Out of War.
Scott was invited to write for three Kindle Worlds, where authors base novellas on the fictional worlds of bestselling series. For Toby Neal’s Lei Crime Kindle World, he wrote Torn Roots, Palm Trees & Snowflakes, Dead Man Lying and Echoes.
For Russell Blake’s Jet Kindle World, he contributed Jet: Stealth, featuring the explosive duo of Van and LeBrun.
And for Emily Kimelman’s Sydney Rye Kindle World, he brought Van and LeBrun back for The Wife Line and The Three-Way.
Now, he is beginning a new mystery series with Wildfire, featuring the smart and passionate Tara Rezeck. Wildfire is currently available for pre-order on Amazon (for Kindle e-readers) and Smashwords (for Kobo, Nook and other e-readers).
Find out more about Scott and his writing on his website, ScottBuryAuthor.com.

Monday, 19 February 2018

It's been a while...

I haven’t written a post for a while—fourteen months, in fact—and I put that down to a couple of things.
 
First, the way I was writing my books.  From my debut thriller Gray Justice to my eighth book, Run and Hide (due out later this year), I would start with the seed of an idea and run with it.  At the very most I would plot out the next two or three chapters, but after that I would just write by the seat of my pants. All went well for the first seven attempts, but when it came to Run and Hide—centred around a new character, a female CIA assassin forced to go rogue—nothing seemed to go right.  I painted myself into so many corners that I went through the same thing most authors suffer from at one time or another: self-doubt. 

There were days when I would wake up and dread opening the file and looking at the word count that hadn’t changed in days.  I would write three sentences and immediately delete them, then stare at the page on and off for hours, and finally call it a day.  Most nights I would lie awake worrying about how I was going to pay the bills with no new book on the horizon, which made the next day even more stressful. 

I’d been working on Run and Hide for thirteen months when I did what I should have done a long time earlier.  I took the family away to Gran Canaria for 23 days and completely forgot about writing.  I sat in the sun, swam in the pool and lounged on the beach (reading the Mechanic trilogy by Rob Ashman, which was fantastic!).  I took the girls to water parks, we ate out every day, I spent a couple of nights watching football in the pub, everything and anything but writing.  When I got home, I opened the manuscript and went from 20,000 words to 85,000 in ten weeks, and a lesson was learned.

I handed in Run and Hide at the end of October 2017 and immediately began working on the sequel only this time I worked differently.  I plotted out the gist of the story, then broke it down into individual scenes then added more to make them complete chapter prompts, and once I had 35 scenes in place, I began writing.  That was the best 48 days of my writing career to date!  I finished Seek and Destroy at the end of November and took a few weeks off while I came up with my next idea.

I was planning to move on to something completely new, but Eva Driscoll wouldn’t let me, so I started working on the plot for her third adventure.  Twenty days in, I’ve got over 20,000 words down and it’s looking good.  I hoping to have it finished by May for an early 2019 release.

With the words now flowing, I was able to take stock of my writing career and saw that something was missing.  I’ve been sitting on the film and TV rights for years, and my foreign rights have been with my publisher all that time.  So far, only one book as been translated into German and Spanish, while the rest gather virtual dust.  I needed to do something about that.

I asked a highly-successful author for advice regarding literary agents.  Up until that point, I’d seen little need for one.  I’d negotiated my own contracts with Thomas & Mercer, and over the last three years I’d made enough to pay the bills and put a little aside for a rainy day.  Still, I felt there was something holding my career back.   When my friend was good enough to introduce me to Alice Saunders of Lucas Alexander Whitley (LAW), I was a little nervous.  Would my work be good enough?  Would I have enough potential to interest one of the most respected agencies in the UK?  I needn’t have worried.  Alice made me feel at ease from the moment we met, and she guided me through what they could offer me, as well as delving deep into my own plans for the future.  When I left her London office an hour later, I floated back home to Worthing and celebrated like it was all my birthdays and Christmases in one!  I’m hoping to sign the contract this weekend, and the future seems a lot rosier than it did six months ago.  Alice has already given me some great advice, and I’m really looking forward to working with her for a long time to come.

So, that’s what’s been going on since my last post, and I’m hoping to share more good news over the coming months.


Okay, back to writing…

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Interview with Andy Lucas


Who is Andy Lucas?
I first started writing for pleasure when I moved up to secondary school, in the very early 80s. I was fortunate to have a couple of enthusiastic teachers who fuelled my interest in story writing so, by the time I was sixteen, I knew I wanted to be an author. Like thousands of other hopefuls, however, after a year or two I could have papered a wall with the dozens of rejection letters from agents and publishers I acquired. In those days, mainstream was the only game in town and I was spectacularly unsuccessful in interesting a publisher with my initial offerings. I did receive a few positive nibbles here and there, including for a screenplay I wrote, but this did little to improve my sense of failure. I figured they knew what they were talking about and that I must, after all, just not be very good at this writing lark. For nearly two decades thereafter, I wrote only sporadically and fitfully. If I am brutally honest, my writing was so haphazard as to be virtually non-existent for years at a time. A growing family and work took up most of my time and I considered stopping writing altogether, on several occasions, but could not bring myself to do it. Fortunately, the dawn of the indie author arrived, possibly just in the nick of time!

Tell us about your latest work.
I am currently writing the sixth book in my James Pace thriller series. I write each story set across two volumes i.e. a duology format, so this new book will complete the third duology, called BLOOD GURKHA. Part 1: Prophesy is available now and my new book; Apocalypse, is scheduled for release on 19th December 2016. Right now, I am hard at work, drawing the threads of the story together, and I have to say that I am thoroughly enjoying writing this new book. Once completed, I will be taking a brief break from this series to complete the second book in my new Ian Flyn science fiction thriller series, which I intend to release in March 2017 before commencing a fourth James Pace duology, with planned release slots of July 2017 (Part 1) and December 2017 (Part 2). All these book are currently untitled although I already have a good idea of what each story will look like. My intention is to release three books every year from now on.

Describe a typical writing day.
I wish there was such a thing for me!
Although I still work a full-time day job, my writing is now regular and I have learned to be a little ruthless when it comes to making sure that I have enough time to write. The most important revelation has been that I write more fluidly (and better) when I set aside entire blocks of days and write for at least six hours on each of these days i.e. holidays or ring-fenced weekends. On these dedicated days, I rise early and write solidly from 07:00 until 13:00, undisturbed. Not only has this approach improved my word output i.e. 4000 - 7000 words each day but the intensity of the creative process allows me to focus more effectively on the pace and flow of the narrative. I also tend to write outdoors during the spring and summer months; sitting at my garden table, beneath the parasol, with my laptop humming, fuelled by copious mugs of coffee!
In essence, I write a little most days but I create the bulk of my books in a few concentrated bursts. This approach allows me to keep on top of every planned twist and turn in the plot lines and develop the characters in a believable manner. A writing blitz can add up to 30,000 words to a story, usually over a week of frenzied, focused effort. I am not suggesting this is the right approach for everyone – it just works for me so I am happy to share.

How do you handle negative reviews?
I don't often read reviews any longer; dipping in only occasionally to see if there have been any technical issues picked up by readers. I used to get quite hung up on negative comments but found the soul-searching and my natural, defensive reaction to be self defeating and damaging, especially towards my own enthusiasm for writing. I hold a genuine respect for a reader's opinion whilst also understanding that two people can read the same book and experience very different outcomes. Engaging with a book, as a reader, is a very personal event and I am just grateful that readers are prepared to give up their time, and hard-earned money, to join me in my own world. Of course, I want every reader to love my books because I pour my heart and soul into each one but this isn't realistic, I realise. As a developing author, I now stay intently focused on writing new material and let the existing work speak for itself, with the hope that the writers of any negative reviews are still able to find some elements of my work that they enjoyed.

Have you ever read a book and thought “I wish I’d written that!”?
Far too many to list, including offerings from the likes of Tolkien, Lewis, Innes, Bagley and even your own Tom Gray books! Strangely, though, if I had to choose just one, it would not even feature in the genres I write. My favourite book of all time, from childhood and still today, is a toss up between 'Stig of the Dump' and the other classic children's tale of 'Watership Down', with the latter just nosing ahead of the race. The genius of personification that the author applied to bring this band of wandering rabbits to life, with such diverse and relatable characters, remains a powerful reminder to me that storytelling is truly worth doing. It does enrich people's lives and, if you get it right, it can leave a positive, indelible mark upon another human being that lasts a lifetime.

If you could collaborate with one author, who would it be?
As a huge fan of Jack Higgins and Clive Cussler, of course these two authors would be at the top of my list. Their heroes, villains and twisting narratives have kept me company on many holiday beaches, train journeys and aeroplane flights over the years. That said, since first reading his novels, I rate David Leadbeater as highly as any thriller writer I have ever purchased from a book shop. I feel privileged to have been included in a couple of boxsets with David, alongside some other fantastic authors, but collaborating with him on a book would be a great experience, I'm sure.

Do you plot your books to the smallest detail or do you write by the seat of your pants?
Both. I start with an idea; fairly detailed, and then I throw the characters at it to see what happens. I always have my eye on the end result and rein them in if their own interactions threaten to lead the narrative too far off course. For me, a good book is about the characters and how they all react differently to situations. The readers need to care about them and, for this to happen, they have to be believable even if the situation they find themselves in seems to be bizarre. Sometimes this means that a couple of sub-plots or strands crop up that I never envisaged at the outset but they always seem to enrich the overall story. I tend to flesh out story structures broadly by chapter nowadays too, which is something that I find increasingly useful i.e. in this chapter, these characters will meet the villain, in the next chapter, a new setting will be introduced with a new character and a key event, like a murder etc.

When you’re not writing, how do you relax?
It is a cliché, I know, but I enjoy spending time with my family. I love watching my children grow and develop - time with them is hugely valuable to me. On a less emotive note, I enjoy riding horses and have, in the past, also enjoyed riding motorcycles. I have fairly recently taken up target shooting as a hobby and I am really enjoying beginning to learn the sport of marksmanship out on the ranges. Not only do I hope that I might end up being good enough to take part in competitions one day but I am also looking forward to being able to increase the level of realism that I instil whenever my characters use firearms in my books. Finally, I enjoy getting stuck into building and DIY projects. Working with my hands; measuring, sawing, filing, fixing and painting, is oddly relaxing for me.

Where can we find your books?
All my books are available on Amazon, in Kindle or paperback formats. Visit my Amazon author page at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Andy-Lucas/e/B007BS5S0Q/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0 Links to each book can also be found through my website: www.andylucasbooks.com

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Interview with Erik Therme

Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harboured runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering for his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his seventeen-year-old. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty places in the world UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature.


Tell us about your latest book
Resthaven is about a pack of kids who have a scavenger hunt inside an abandoned retirement home . . . only to discover they’re not the only ones roaming the hallways. I have two teenage daughters, and I wanted to write something I thought they’d enjoy. I'm also a big fan of horror movies, and it was a lot of fun to employ a creepy, abandoned building as a backdrop for the story.

As a hybrid author, which model do you prefer?
One of the advantages of self-publishing is having complete control over editing, cover design, and retail price—three things that can greatly affect a book's success. On the flip side, traditional publishing brings a marketing team into the equation, which can be invaluable when it comes to finding new readers. In the end, the most important thing is to write the best book you can, work hard to promote it, and try to make your own luck.

Do you have an agent, and if not, are you looking for one?
I've been fortunate enough to have my first two novels released through publishing houses, and both contracts were straight-forward and easy to manoeuvre. One of the (many) jobs of a literary agent is to place your book with a house, so as long as I continue to have success with publishers on my own, I probably won't pursue an agent. That said, if an agent expressed interest in me and my work, I would absolutely listen to what they had to offer.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing career?
I often joke I “learned to write by reading Stephen King,” but it’s the absolute truth. I discovered Misery in junior high and immediately began crafting my own tales of horror. Most were pretty lousy, but the more King I devoured, the more respectable my writing became. Eventually I moved away from the supernatural elements and found my own style and voice.

What’s a typical writing day?
It can be a challenge to maintain a routine—especially with a wife, two teenagers, and a full-time day job—so the majority of my writing is accomplished during evenings and weekends. If I’m especially inspired, I might try to sneak in some pages over lunch. The important thing (for me) is to write every day, even if it's only for a few minutes.

What is your ultimate writing goal?
To write the best book I can, and to continue to hone my craft with each new project. I'd love to (someday) be able to support myself through my writing, but that's a luxury few authors are afforded, and I'm OK with that. At the end of the day, I ultimately write because I love to write.

Where can we find out more about your books?

Articles, reviews, and information on upcoming projects can be found at www.eriktherme.com. I’m also happy to connect with people through Facebook and Goodreads!
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