Not the winner, but a big thank you!

Posted by on Nov 23, 2012 in On Writing

I attended the Irish Book Awards last night. Tana won in my category, and I had an amazing night. The senior people from Harper Collins were so encouraging all the way through. And I met one of my idols, the venerable Edna O’Brien. Here is a pic from my view point at the Harper Collins table. The winner of the children’s book award, Oliver Jeffers, is on the far side of the table to me. I would like to sincerely thank everyone who voted for me and everyone who has bought my books, and all my publishers around the world and all my readers everywhere for helping me get this far. With your help I am doing what I have always wanted to do, tell stories. That is what is important to me. The next big thing on this site is the launch of the ebook for The Jerusalem Puzzle on December the 3rd. I will also be creating some new blog posts. I hope you will find them interesting. I am just so happy to be read all over the world now in so many languages. Thank you all for your help and...

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The Jerusalem Puzzle proofs & new tag line

Posted by on Oct 15, 2012 in On Writing, The Jerusalem Puzzle

A Brutal Murder. An Ancient Evil. A Secret Revealed. This is the new tag line for The Jerusalem Puzzle I sent my corrections to The Jerusalem Puzzle page proofs back to Harper Collins on schedule at 5am this morning. The proofs were a PDF document with 400 pages showing exactly how the book will look when it is released in paperback format 3rd January 2013 and in ebook format 3rd December, in a month and a half. I listed corrections, words to be deleted mainly with some typos and a few insertions on twelve pages. This is probably the last time I will have a chance to make corrections before the book comes out. I am excited and anxious. The book could do well, very well or badly. Welcome to the world of publishing. Being a writer is definitely not a steady job. The uncertainty, the expectations you have and the expectations of others, spoken and unspoken, all add to the pressure. I don’t mean to underplay my excitement at having the second novel in the series published, I am simply being honest about how it feels on this journey. There are some exciting things planned, I will be running a competition on this blog, and a different competition on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/theistanbulpuzzle so do Like it if you are on Facebook. There is other stuff planned too. Already a competition has started on the Authonomy, the aspiring writers site, to get short stories published along with my ebook next year http://blog.authonomy.com/ A series of announcements will be made in the run up to the ebook launch Dec 3rd. You can Pre-Order The Jerusalem Puzzle paperback here on Amazon UK You can Pre-Order The Jerusalem Puzzle ebook here on Amazon UK You can Pre-Order The Jerusalem Puzzle paperback here on Amazon US (for all outside the UK) You can Pre-Order The Jeriusalem Puzzle ebook here on Amazon US (for all outside the UK) I truly appreciate all your support, and I want you to read The Jerusalem Puzzle. I won’t say what I think of it, but I will tell you my publishers Harper Collins have said many amazing things about...

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The Jerusalem Puzzle update

Posted by on Sep 29, 2012 in On Writing, The Jerusalem Puzzle

I am working on the page proofs of The Jerusalem Puzzle right now. These are a pdf document with the pages as they will appear in the final book. I am deleting here and there, adding a word, but moving fast through them. I will have them back to Harper Collins mid October. I have also received good news on two other fronts, including the ebook of The Jerusalem Puzzle coming out December 3rd. When I get a link I will post it. The paperback will be out Jan 3rd. Other countries will have a chance to buy The Jerusalem Puzzle at the Frankfurt Book Fair mid October. I don’t know what to expect. Expectations are one of the difficult areas of being a writer. You literally never know what is going to happen. Stay tuned for lots more news in October including something exciting I can’t talk about yet! From the cover of The Jerusalem...

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The Jerusalem Puzzle update

Posted by on Aug 30, 2012 in On Writing, The Jerusalem Puzzle

I completed the latest draft of The Jerusalem Puzzle two weeks ago. On Monday the 3rd September I will start a 2 week edit of the complete 400 pages, incorporating some major changes as inspired by my new editor at Harper Collins. The suggestions were general, think more about the ending, the relationship. They have challenged me to add depth to the relationship between Sean and Isabel and to heighten the ending to include something even more dramatic, which will resonate beyond the book itself. I like the challenge of being edited. The first emotional reaction is to resent any interference and to fear the work involved in making the changes, but soon after I saw the benefits that these changes will bring. I don’t expect to work any less than 7 days a week, 30 pages a day, during the coming two weeks to make these changes. I have also been working on The New York Puzzle, and have 100 pages of that...

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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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