Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Next Big Thing

Fellow author, Joanna Lambert, tagged me to write about my work in progress so here it is! I’ve only managed to find one author to tag to follow on from me with a Next Big Thing blog – thank you Serena Fairfax! Serena’s blog address is shown below. And now on to my version of The Next Big Thing - I hope you will find it interesting.

What is the working title of your book?

Given that it’s another Carter Jefferson story, following on from Rough Cut, which was a murder mystery thriller about synthetic diamonds being fed into the natural diamond distribution chain, the working title is, fairly appropriately I think, CUTTING EDGE. This will probably also the final title.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

When I was thinking about what my next book would be about, I again started digging into what was happening in the diamond industry currently and came across a little nugget, which I thought I could use as the core of my new story.

What genre does your book fall under?

Cutting Edge will again be a murder mystery thriller but will again delve a little into the lives of the main characters.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Denzel Washington would make an ideal CarterJefferson but so would Idris Elba. Amongst the other characters, I’d love the film of Cutting Edge to include Ellen Page (of Juno fame), probably playing Lucy – but of course you don’t know who Lucy is yet, do you? Patience, patience!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Now that would be giving away the storyline too soon, wouldn’t it? So, it’s a no comment on this question.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It will be self-published again but this time I won’t make the mistakes I made with publishing my first book, Rough Cut. This time, I’ll make a whole load of new mistakes! Hopefully not.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It took about two months. I was doing a few other things in amongst although it was a relatively quiet couple of months, day job wise.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Oh, none! It’s unique! The thing is, it will again probably be a bit cross-genre, a thriller primarily but with a romantic sub-plot!

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I love writing books and screenplays, I enjoy the whole process, so I don’t really need to be inspired to write a story but I do find the whole diamond industry scene quite interesting.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I try to locate my stories in places I know reasonably well, places where I have spent some time and places which I think will be of interest to readers. Cutting Edge is set mainly in Oxford and Santa Monica.

Well, that's it! Below are some links including a link to Serena Fairfax's blog where you will find The Next Big Thing a week from now. - I’ve tagged Serena Fairfax to write a Next Big Thing blog  – Famous Five Plus – a meeting place for indie authors.  – website for my first novel, Rough Cut, with some information about me and my film making activities as well - Rough Cut on - Rough Cut on

Thursday, 23 August 2012

"Dead Wood" by Chris Longmuir

I have read three books in the last month, the first being John Grisham’s latest “The Litigators” which I enjoyed even though I didn’t think it was as good as some of his other books – and I’ve read them all, he is one of my favourite authors. The second was “Along Came a Spider”, James Patterson’s first book, which I also enjoyed despite the American jargon and somewhat truncated style which made it a much more difficult read. The third book, however, was by far the best! This was “Dead Wood” by Chris Longmuir.

“Dead Wood” was Ms Longmuir’s first book and is the best book I have read for some time. Like the other two, it is a thriller. Thrillers are supposed to grab you from the outset and keep you enthralled right to the end and “Dead Wood” most certainly did that for me. I think the main reason I enjoyed this book so much more than the others is because I really cared about Kara, the central character, it mattered to me what happened to her and that kept me rooting for her all the way through the book! Add to that the fact that the book is beautifully written and flows easily, which allows you to concentrate on the story rather than the process of reading and you have a brilliant book At no point did I sense the writer behind the story trying to lead me along a certain path, something which I did with both the other books. Rather, I felt I was reading a true story, one so real that it couldn’t have just been invented, one where I felt I was actually there, observing the events as they happened. It is a great book and I can, without the slightest hesitation, heartily recommend “Dead Wood” to anyone who likes an engaging thriller that will keep you hooked to the very end. I absolutely loved it!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Wanted: AUTHOR – thick skin required

Yesterday, I discovered a one star review of my book Rough Cut which had been posted on Amazon, it went as follows:

“A plot with more holes in it than Swiss cheese. One dimensional characters I could care less about. Every so-called twist is signposted in capital letters. Poorly edited, with the presumption that five words fills more page space when one would have sufficed. Worth reading only if the only other book available is Janet and John: Book One.”

Needless to say this was from someone I don’t know, otherwise he would now be nursing a broken nose, quite appropriately given his Amazon username is Rhythmdoctor! His only other review on Amazon is for an iPhone case so he/she is clearly not a regular reviewer of books.

Now, I’m not saying people aren’t entitled to criticise a book if they really dislike it but there’s no need to be cruel. As a fellow film maker said when I asked him for feedback on my last film, 'I'll tell you truth but I won't be cruel.' So far, there have been three one star reviews in this vein posted on Amazon, the first one being:

“I'm afraid this book is almost unreadable as it is so badly written. It is full of school boy cliches. The English character lives in Darrington Hall, characters are killed for unconvincing reason - just not believable. I couldn't read beyond a few pages.”

Well, if Matthew (that’s who posted it - and his only other review is for a cook's knife!) couldn’t read beyond the first few pages, he really has no business passing comment on the book. If you’re going to have a go at someone’s creative baby, at least do them the courtesy of actually reading it!

Which brings me to another thing which I found quite depressing which was when I submitted the book to a couple of brand new publishers for consideration. One, based in the USA, read the whole book and simply said:

“While Rough Cut is certainly an interesting read, it unfortunately does not fit within the criteria that we are seeking at this time.”

Absolutely no problem with that, completely understand that it might not be what they were looking for. But compare that polite and considerate response with this one from a new UK e-book publisher:

“ We have given this long deliberation but on this occasion are declining to accept the work for publication with us. This is for two reasons. The repetitive use of nouns in close proximity, the lack of scene breaks when swapping from one viewpoint to another, and the misuse of punctuation within dialogue all point to this being the work of someone who is new to the craft of novel writing and thus we feel is not of the standard we require in a novel. As it stands at present, we were not inspired to continue reading past the first chapter.”

They didn’t read past the first chapter but felt constrained to criticise the book on technical grounds which, although they might be justified, neither I nor the professional editor I employed before publication, agree with. Come on guys, if you don’t like it, just say you don’t like it, you don’t have to find excuses, especially ones which are not justified. And what was all that about “long deliberation”?

On the plus side, along with lots of nice reviews from people I know, I have had some really lovely and encouraging reviews from people with whom I have absolutely no connection at all, such as these two:

With his book, Owen Carey Jones has found the perfect recipe: Rough Cut is cleverly written, will grip you from the very beginning and will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. The characters are well thought through and likeable and they all have a real dimension about them.” (Margotlily on

“I love reading and can easily read a book in a day and Rough cut is a prime example of this. Once I started reading I could not put it down! The characters draw you in, the twists keep you on the edge of your seat and you feel the emotions of the characters, I cried and laughed with them. Definately worth getting lost in their world!” (Mrs E J Hughes on Amazon)

So, if you want to be an author (or film maker for that matter!), make sure you've got a thick skin because, along with people who love your work and feel inclined to say so publicly, there will be people who get some sort of weird pleasure from being cruel and hurting you and who are happy to do it publicly.

One thing is for sure, there will be people who love your book and people who hate it – it’s that age-old Marmite syndrome. Authors should revel in the positive things that are said about their work and ignore the negative things, unless of course the criticism is constructive and from someone who knows what they are talking about and who doesn't feel the need to be cruel.

Right, so that’s got that off my chest! Better get back to writing another "unreadable book with more plot holes than Swiss cheese." Or maybe one that "will keep you on the edge of your seat and can easily be read in a day."!! J

Thursday, 19 July 2012

A Creative Person's Week

What happens when, as a creative person rather than an experienced business person, you have a few ideas? You know, a few good ideas that you think might be worth pursuing but don't know which to put your time, and possibly money, into? Is it anything like this:

First you have a MULL DAY to think about it.
Then you have to have a CHOOSE DAY to decide which to pursue.
After that it's time for a VENTURED DAY when you put your money where your mouth is.
And that is often followed by an after THOUGHTS DAY, if you're unlucky.
Which in turn brings on a FRIGHTENED DAY, that's the worst one!
Last but one, comes SAT AROUND DAY when you wonder what you were thinking of!
And finally it's SUNK DAY and that brings you back to......

But don't worry, it isn't always like that. Sometimes on the last day the clouds and rain go away and it's a SUN DAY instead!

Here's to lots of good ideas that lead to SUN DAYS rather than SUNK DAYS!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Writer and The Bookseller

It's weird, isn't it, how sometimes your brain just never lets up! This morning, I woke up at 5 o'clock! I went to the loo, as you do, and then got back into bed. And then this popped into my head:

The Writer and The Bookseller

"The time has come," the writer said,
"To talk of many strings:
Of freebie books -- and Amazon --
Of Rough Cut -- and Kindle things --
And why on earth you wouldy not
Go and start downloading!

I was going to add: with apologies to Ruddy Hard Kipping!
but actually I think it should be with apologies to Loos Carol.

And of course it would be emiss of me not to give you te link, now wouldn't it?!

But it won't be available free until today from 12:00 midnight Pacific Standard Time which I think is 8:00 am GMT.

And so, back to bed!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Sequel to Rough Cut in Progress

Well, it's been two months since I last blogged! But now that I am a member of Triberr, my performance will improve, I promise!

So, what to say? Well, I'm happy to report that my new novel, a follow up to Rough Cut called CUTTING EDGE, is well under way with more than 15,000 words having been written so far.

My target is to get this book finished and out there by Christmas, which may be possible for the Kindle version but probably not for the paperback. 

I did wonder wether it was worth bothering with the paperback this time given that with Rough Cut, I've only managed to make a small profit after costs with the paperback, and that has involved doing over 30 book signings with Waterstones! Don't get me wrong, I have thoroughly enjoyed doing the book signings so I will probably go down the same route again with Cutting Edge, assuming Waterstones are up for it, but it's the Kindle version which has delivered a significant return on the time and effort I put into writing Rough Cut. Not that it's all about money, far from it, but you do like to know that your book is being well received and as widely read as possible. After all, if no one is going to read it, why bother to write it? And so far, including paperbacks and both free and paid for Kindles, nearly 14,000 readers now have a copy of Rough Cut. 

OK, time to get back to Cutting Edge! :-)

Friday, 18 May 2012

OK, so I went for a walk round the dam as usual today and when I got home, this chicken followed me into the house! I held the door open and waited for it to leave but it just stood there and looked up at me pathetically. "What do you want?" I asked as I looked into it's pleading eyes. "I need to lay some eggs, urgently!" it said and I weakened. "OK," said I, "but you'll have to lay them in the fridge because that's where we keep our eggs." The chicken nodded and smiled as I led it through the hall and into the kitchen. As it sat on the fridge shelf laying one egg after another and sighing with relief after each one, I asked "What's your name?" The smile came back. "Creme," it said, "Cadbury's Creme". As it got off the shelf and headed for the still open front door, waving a wing at me, I looked into the fridge and smiled. When my wife got home and asked my why there were six Cadbury's Creme eggs in the fridge, I told her the story! :-)