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Kindle Touch 3G competition

KindleSunday, November 16, 2014

With Christmas coming up, I figured I’d give something away to one of my lovely, loyal readers. I have a Kindle Touch 3G up for grabs – plus I’ll sign a book of your choice. Both prizes are yours to keep, yours to give away as a Christmas gift, or yours to flog on eBay for a quick profit. You choose!

To enter, you have to find the sentence hidden in the books below. I’ve given you the first word.

So, in Crossing The Line, word 10 of chapter 27 is ‘Manchester’. Find the other 11 words and fill in the form at the bottom with the complete sentence. That’s it.

The closing date is 21:00 GMT on Sunday, November 30, 2014. The winner will be chosen at random from all correct entries after that date and I will email him or her to ask for their address.

One entry per household and please don’t share the correct answer with anyone else (though you’d only be diminishing your own chances anyway…). Good luck!

FIND THE HIDDEN SENTENCE
Crossing The Line. Ch27, word 10: Manchester
Crossing The Line. Ch32, word 8:
Playing With Fire. Ch5, word 12:
Behind Closed Doors. Ch3, word 3:
Playing With Fire. Ch17, word 8:
Thicker Than Water. Ch25, word 14:
Behind Closed Doors. Ch1, word 9:
Thicker Than Water. Ch4, word 10:
Think of the Children. Ch34, word 16:
Playing With Fire. Ch2, word 10:
Thicker Than Water. Ch1, word 6:
Behind Closed Doors. Ch2, word 8:


Top-five tips: How to finish a novel

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My publisher asked me to write something for their September newsletter, so I did them a top-five things needed to complete a novel. I thought I’d share:

1. Hot water
– No book in the history of time has ever been written without a plentiful supply of hot water. First, there’s a morning coffee or five. At some point overnight human beings forget how to string a sentence together, resulting in the type of warblings more usually associated with someone attempting to learn a new language. Coffee is the only known cure.

After about ten in the morning, the need for tea kicks in. Twinings is a personal favourite but any tea will do. Proper tea, though. There’s a box of something called “Redbush and Vanilla tea” in our house thanks to Mrs W, which is an utter abomination. A crime against humanity.

I’ll give an honourable mention to hot chocolate, too. It’s the lesser-known of the three – flashy and a bit smug. It knows it’s got ‘chocolate’ in the title so thinks it doesn’t have to work as hard for your attention. That said, it’s a good early evening kick up the arse when you’ve wasted the day looking at YouTube videos of tortoises chasing cats.

2. BiscuitsIMG_2650
– Of these two scenarios, which is the best:
a) Sitting on your own, cradling a laptop on your knee WITH a Fox’s chocolate viennese on the side;
b) Sitting on your own cradling a laptop on your knee WITHOUT a Fox’s chocolate viennese on the side.

Unless you’re diabetic or a bit, well, weird, there’s only one answer to that question. In addition, although they’re technically not a biscuit (don’t get me started on that), Jaffa Cakes are an absolute must if you’re even going to think about writing a novel. And don’t go giving me any of this own-brand/Cadbury’s jaffa cake nonsense. McVities are the jaffa cake kings, and long may that be the case.

3. Rain
– Want to know why so much great music has come out of Manchester and Liverpool? Some might argue that it’s the strong working-class roots that creates an environment in which creative talent is nurtured. Those people are wrong. It’s the rain. When it pees down as often as it does in the north west of England, you’ve got to do something to amuse yourself.

As for me, if it didn’t rain, I’d get nothing done. As soon as the sun comes out, I’m lured out of the house like a dog to a lamppost. Luckily (or unluckily), living in the north of England means there are plenty of wet days where I can grumble about the weather while actually getting some work done.

4. A tolerance for technology companies
– Everybody had one of those kids in school. The physics teacher would ask something like, ‘Where are chromosomes found in a cell?’ You’d be looking blank and thinking, ‘I dunno…the middle bit?’

He’d be there, hand up, desperate for attention, straining over the top of everyone and you’d be rolling your eyes, thinking, ‘Look, mate. Just because we’re busy rolling up bits of paper and trying to throw them into some girl’s hair, it doesn’t mean you have to show us up.’ Anyway, he’d always get the right answer to the point that even the teachers were sick of him.

Where was I? Yes, Microsoft. Every time you turn on one of their machines there are pop-ups all over the shop wanting you to update Windows for no reason other than it’s got a ‘wah, wah, wah, look at me’-complex. Toddlers who drop their favourite teddies are less needy.

5. A broken Internet connection
– I’ve never had a day of work quite like the one when Virgin Media conked out. No Internet, no TV. At first I was horrified at the thought of not being able to constantly refresh the BBC Sport website but then I discovered that, miraculously, the world does continue to turn when the Internet’s broken. I wrote an absolute shed-load that day. Then the Internet started to work again and I was back to Buzzfeed looking at a list of Jason Statham’s top-10 movie moments. Lock Stock is number one if you’re wondering – as it should be.


Jessica Daniel: Crossing The Line competition winners

CTLproof
Sunday, August 24, 2014

With just 18 days until the release of Crossing The Line, I’ve been running a competition to give away some proof paperbacks. There are a whopping 25 winners, each of whom win two books – one for the entrant, one for a pal.

I had an enormous amount of entries – more than for any other contest I’ve run.

Here are the winners:
– Anthony Darbyshire from Beverley, East Yorkshire
– Catherine Ainscough from Bamber Bridge, Lancashire
– Claire Bridgen from Failsworth, Manchester
– David Anderson from Southsea, Hampshire
– Grant Donald from Westhill, Inverness
– Jackie Coulter from Bangor, N Ireland
– Jennifer Berry from Selby, Yorkshire
– Julie Rugg from Huntingdon, Cambs
– Kat Duncan from Govan, Glasgow
– Lauren Pike from Sidcup, Kent
– Lorna Cowle from Hook, Hampshire
– Megan Pugh from Rugeley, Staffordshire
– Mike Broughton from Wells, Somerset
– Milly Gibbs from Dorking, Surrey
– Pamela Fudge from Poole, Dorset
– Peter Royle from Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside
– Peter Trebilcock from Salisbury, Wiltshire
– Rhiannon Wates from Knutsford, Cheshire
– Robert Phipps from Gillingham, Kent
– Rob Scott from Pontefract
– Rosemary Knight from Swinton, Manchester
– Saira Kazmi from Cricklewood, London
– Tony Selwyn from Enfield
– Vanessa Rivington from Dollingstown, Co Armagh
– Wendy Salter from Pontypridd

If you didn’t win, you don’t have too long to wait until the book is out:

CROSSING THE LINE (Jessica Daniel Season 2, Book 1)
September 11, 2014:

Long before Jessica Daniel became a police officer, Manchester was once a ghost city after dark. Fear ruled as people were afraid to be out by themselves, the notorious Stretford Slasher terrorising its inhabitants.

Twenty-five years on and the media are feeling nostalgic over the milestone but Jessica has a new panic to worry about. Apparent strangers are being targeted in daylight, the attacker unworried about being caught. If only she and her team could find him…

It’s the coldest spring in memory and Jessica has old friends to look out for, plus secrets – so many secrets – that should have long been buried.

Following the events of Behind Closed Doors, Crossing The Line marks a new beginning with Season Two of the Jessica Daniel series.


Jessica Daniel: Crossing The Line giveaway

CTLproof
Wednesday, August 5, 2014

It’s that time again…

Crossing The Line is out in five short weeks on 11 September – and I am running a FREE prize draw that’ll enable you to get your hands on a copy of the paperback proof a short while before the release date. Look how shiny it is in the photo!

Twenty-five winners will be chosen at random, with each person receiving TWO copies of the book. That’s one for you, one for a friend – hopefully someone yet to try a Jessica novel.

To enter, simply fill in the form below:

The closing date for entries is 18:00 BST on Friday, 22 August 2014.

That’s it. In case you’ve forgotten, here are the details of Crossing The Line.

CROSSING THE LINE (Jessica Daniel Season 2, Book 1)
September 11, 2014:

Long before Jessica Daniel became a police officer, Manchester was once a ghost city after dark. Fear ruled as people were afraid to be out by themselves, the notorious Stretford Slasher terrorising its inhabitants.

Twenty-five years on and the media are feeling nostalgic over the milestone but Jessica has a new panic to worry about. Apparent strangers are being targeted in daylight, the attacker unworried about being caught. If only she and her team could find him…

It’s the coldest spring in memory and Jessica has old friends to look out for, plus secrets – so many secrets – that should have long been buried.

Following the events of Behind Closed Doors, Crossing The Line marks a new beginning with Season Two of the Jessica Daniel series.


Jessica Daniel season 2 launches in September

TescoFriday, June 20 2014

Now that the ebook pre-orders are beginning to go live, it’s probably a good time to give an update on the next Jessica Daniel book, Crossing The Line.

It is the eighth novel in the series but, after the events of Behind Closed Doors, it starts a new chapter in Jessica’s life. I won’t spoil what happened in that book for those of you yet to read it but most readers will already know.

Because of that, I pitched the idea of re-branding the books as ‘season two’, in much the same way that television shows finish off one large set of storylines, disappear for the summer, and then come back again.

Crossing The Line sees a promotion for Jessica, plus a few new characters, as well as many of the old ones. Having her in an elevated position provides a challenge of telling stories in a slightly different way but, rest assured, her old foibles and character traits still remain. The book provides a starting point for new readers who might have been put off by thinking they have to read the previous seven books to get it. There are, of course, allusions to previous plotlines but if a reader is looking for somewhere to begin investing in a character, this provides as good a place as any.

This also feeds from yesterday’s announcement that my publishers, Pan Macmillan, will also be publishing two more Jessica novels. Here is the schedule as it stands:

- 11 September 2014: Crossing The Line (season 2, book 1)
– 2015: Scarred For Life (season 2, book 2)
– For Richer, For Poorer (season 2, book 3)
– Father’s Day (season 2, book 4)

Anyway, here’s the blurb:

CROSSING THE LINE (Jessica Daniel Season 2, Book 1)
September 11, 2014:

Long before Jessica Daniel became a police officer, Manchester was once a ghost city after dark. Fear ruled as people were afraid to be out by themselves, the notorious Stretford Slasher terrorising its inhabitants.

Twenty-five years on and the media are feeling nostalgic over the milestone but Jessica has a new panic to worry about. Apparent strangers are being targeted in daylight, the attacker unworried about being caught. If only she and her team could find him…

It’s the coldest spring in memory and Jessica has old friends to look out for, plus secrets – so many secrets – that should have long been buried.


Jessica Daniel series: Pan Macmillan sign for books 10 and 11

IMG_1909Thursday, June 19 2014

I’m delighted to announce that, with the continuing success and interest in the Jessica Daniel books, I have agreed a new deal with my publishers, Pan Macmillan, that will see them release books 10 and 11 in the series.

Book seven, Behind Closed Doors, came out in January 2014 and has done really well. Sales have actually increased through books five, six and now seven, which is really rare. Book eight, Crossing The Line, is out in the UK on 11 September 2014, with books nine and 10 likely in 2015.

Away from Jessica, Pan will also be publishing my standalone crime book, Down Among The Dead Men, in 2015 – plus there are still two more books in the Silver Blackthorn trilogy to be released.

In short, there’s still plenty to come – plus the Jessica series will be relaunching as “series two”.

In addition, following the rather sad demise of AudioGo, Pan will also be creating audios of the Jessica series.

Here’s the top line of the new contract with what are, for now, provisional titles of books 10 and 11.

IMG_2252


Reckoning is out; signing date; Crossing The Line cover and general round-up


Friday, May 23, 2014Tesco

Wonderfully, the first Silver Blackthorn novel, Reckoning, was released in the UK yesterday. It is available from all of the usual places online, plus in-store at Tesco (see right); WH Smith and, from June 5, Asda.

SIGNING DATE

I am gong to be signing copies of Reckoning (and anything Jessica-related if people want) on SATURDAY, JUNE 7 from 11am until 1pm at Waterstones, Altrincham, Cheshire. It is in the Stamford Quarter shopping centre. Come along and say hi.

TescoTHE NEXT JESSICA DANIEL BOOK

Crossing The Line is out on September 11, 2014. The spangly cover is on the right.

Here is the synopsis: Long before Jessica Daniel became a police officer, Manchester was once a ghost city after dark. Fear ruled as people were afraid to be out by themselves, the notorious Stretford Slasher terrorising its inhabitants.

Twenty-five years on and the media are feeling nostalgic over the milestone but Jessica has a new panic to worry about. Apparent strangers are being targeted in daylight, the attacker unworried about being caught. If only she and her team could find him…

It’s the coldest spring in memory and Jessica has old friends to look out for, plus secrets – so many secrets – that should have long been buried.

REVIEWS & NEWS ROUND-UP

Reckoning has been very kindly received so far, which is marvellous.

- There’s a lovely set of comments from adults and young people alike on Love Reading 4 Kids
– I wrote a blog post about my favourite fantasy novels for One More Page. There is also a review here.
– I wrote another for Fiction Fascination about exams.
– I did a Q&A for Liz Loves Books, who also reviewed Reckoning on the same page.
– I wrote about the future for My Kinda Book.
– I put together a piece about binge-reading for Tor UK.
– There’s another Q&A on Much Loved Books, as well as a review
– Plus a review on A Bit Behind On Books; another on The Book Nook; and this on The Reading Room.
– There are also many more reviews on Goodreads
– If that’s not enough, Publisher’s Weekly say Reckoning has a “strong voice and an intricate endgame“, plus Kirkus says there’s “true joy“.

Whew.


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