My books are thrillers with a twist. Click the picture of the book below to learn more.
It’s been a few months since the release of my last book, The Colour of the Soul, so I thought it was worth writing a few words about what’s coming next.
One of my short stories, The Offer, is included in The Corona Book of Science Fiction. You can buy it from 15th October 2018.
As far as full length books go, I’m nearing the end of the first draft of a new thriller, provisionally named Assassin’s Web. The story is about a school teacher who finds a note containing the login details for a site on the dark web. Within a few hours he is running for his life, pursued by a ruthless assassin. In a change from my previous books, I’m switching from third person to first person to give a more immediate feel and place the reader closer to the action. I’m expecting to launch the book half way through 2019.
Looking further ahead, my current plan is to write a sequel to Decimation. I have a few plot ideas that will see a return of the surviving characters from the first book. Does Rosalind Baxter survive or not? You’ll have to wait and see! The working title is Annihilation, but that may all change. You can expect a 2020 release date.
Finally, I would like to say a big thank you to my readers. Discovering that somebody has enjoyed reading my work makes it all worthwhile.
Most of the credit belongs to my cover designer, Michelle Arzu, not least for her boundless patience as I dithered between alternatives. As it happens, the cover design went full circle, ending with one that was very similar to the first she proposed. I thought it might be interesting to show the evolution of the cover.
This is the first one.
At this stage, the staring eyes came as a bit of a shock. I wasn’t sure the purple colour sent the right message.
Onto draft 2. This was an attempt to go for the menacing hooded figure. Not menacing enough in my opinion.
Draft 3 (below) didn’t do it for me either.
Draft 4 was my least favourite. This one screamed Young Adult at me rather than psychological thriller.
Draft 5 went back to the original concept but changed the purple eyes to blue. Unfortunately it still wasn’t threatening enough for me.
The sixth draft was one I created from the fifth. The knife with the drop of blood at the tip certainly added menace. The original concept was for the knife to be pricking the skin of one of the letters. I quite liked this but it still wasn’t quite right.
The seventh draft was starting to get close. Notice how the eyes are much darker and the whole thing gives off a sense of menace. The text still wasn’t quite right in my opinion.
In the eighth version, the text became red and dripped blood. I deliberated over this one for a long time but eventually came to the conclusion that the blood was a bit over the top.
So here is the final version. This is pretty much the same as the previous one but minus the drips.
The dark colours and the red of the title were both things the judge (Kit Foster) picked up on. Here is what he said.
KF: It’s very unsettling – those eyes staring out at you! The use of eye contact is very powerful, and can draw the reader in. It breaks the ‘fourth wall’ and makes a direct connection (eye-contact!) with the potential reader. I like the sporadic use of colour here. The distinct patches of red, green and blue are given lots of power by their stark surroundings. The deep, muddy red of the title subtly reminds us of blood, upping the sense of threat even more. ★
For any authors who want to contact Michelle for their own book cover, she can be contacted at the One Stop Fiction website.
I can see the colour of your soul.
A paperback of The Rage is included among the prizes in the Thriller Giveaway at OneStopFiction. It costs nothing to enter and you automatically receive six eBooks. The 14 paperbacks for the lucky winner include The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza.
The full list of paperbacks is as follows:
- Butterfly Garden – Dot Hutchison
- Deadly Still Water – Roger Stelljes
- The Girl in the Ice – Robert Bryndza
- One Night In Tehran – Luana Ehrlich
- The Best Friend – Shalini Boland
- Time to Play – K.A Richardson
- Ward Zero – Linda Huber
- The Rage – Richard T. Burke
- Talisman – David Evans
- No Safe Home – Tara Lyons
- Tears of Sand – Sandra Bass Joines
- Loose Cannon – Jack Steele
- Stone Dead – Kelvin Jones
- Nemises Roger A. Price
The free eBooks include:
- Death in a Dirty Afternoon – Colin Garrow
- Stealing Elgar – Andrew Barrett
- Altered Genes: Genesis – Mark Kelley
- Storey – Keith Dixon
- Shadow House – A.J. Sendall
- Re-Wired – Greg Dragon
I am honoured that one of my short stories has been included in Dark Minds, an anthology of short stories to be published by Bloodhound Books. A Christmas Killing is a dark tale set over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with several twists that will keep you changing your assumptions. All proceeds will go to the charities Hospice UK and Sophie’s Appeal.
The book will be on sale from 13th December as both eBook and paperback. I believe an audio-book version will also be available.
It seems I am in some esteemed company. For example, the list of authors includes Louise Jensen. Her debut novel, The Sister, reached #1 this year in the Amazon UK charts.
The full list of stories and authors is as follows:
Ten Green Bottles – B A Morton
London’s Crawling – Emma Pullar
The Shoes maketh the Man – Louise Jensen
Never tell a Lie – Tara Lyons
A Christmas Killing – Richard T Burke
By the Water – Betsy Reavley
A Cup of Cold Coffee and a Slice of Life – Tony R. Cox
Slow Roast Pork – S.E.Lynes
A Lawful Killing – Ross Greenwood
Sticky Fingers – JT Lawrence
You will meet a tall dark stranger – Ron Nicholson
The Wages of Sin – Lisa Hall
Hidden – KA Richardson
The Sydney Dahlia – A.J.Sendall
Pop Dead – The Pension Papers – Pete Adams
The Sins of Muriel McGarry – A.S.King
The Shepherd’s Bothy – L J Ross
Life after Life – Paul D Brazil
The Smallest Acorn – April Taylor
An Onion – Joel Hames-Clark
I’ve Gone – Anita Waller
The Bridge – Simon Maltman
The Moth Jar – Jim Ody
Jimmy Jimmy – Steven Dunne
Be Careful what you Wish for – Peter Best
My Own Eggsecutioner – Tess Makovesky
One Last Job – Alex Walters
A Stranger’s Eyes – Paul Gitsham
Dangerous Actions – M.A.Comley
Captive – Stephen Edger
Left Behind – Nick Jackson
Horror – Roz White
Mary and Joseph – David Evans
Love you to Death – Lucy V Hay
Fastball – Alex Shaw
The Retreat – Jane E James
Out of Retirement – Mark.L.Fowler
Don’t go to Marsh town, Johnny Ray! – Charlie Flowers & Hannah Haq
Everything Comes – B.A.Steadman
This book would make the ideal Christmas gift!
How far would you go to save the human race?
This is the first post relating to Decimation. Hopefully the book will be out later this year depending upon how long it takes to edit. The premise of the story is as follows:
In 2032, pregnancy is a death sentence. A virus has infected every living person, lying dormant until a woman gives birth – whereupon she dies.
Sixteen-year-old wheelchair athlete Antimone Lessing thought she would be competing at the Delhi 2032 Paralympics. Instead, she is nine months pregnant and going into labour. When she unexpectedly survives childbirth, she becomes a vital clue in the race to develop a cure before the world’s population declines beyond the point of no return.
But survival comes at a price. As her doctors try to understand why she is still alive, she must choose between saving herself and the future of the human race.
How far would you go to save the human race?
Decimation now has its own Facebook page
Thinking About the Future
One of the more fun aspects of writing this book was thinking about how life might have changed fifteen years from now. I work for an electric motor company so self-driving cars (or autonomous vehicles as they are known in the trade) were a must. One problem with this technology is the likelihood that it will be abused by other drivers and pedestrians. If you knew a vehicle was going to stop for you, wouldn’t you be tempted to pull out / walk out in front of it? I introduce a solution to this problem early in the book.
User interfaces are going to change over the coming years. In the book, phones and computers use haptic technology where devices project ultrasound to provide tactile feedback in mid-air. See www.ultrahaptics.com for details of a company that is working in this area right now.
Smart watches seem to be gaining new features by the month. For example, heart rate monitors are already commonplace. By 2033 I expect that such gadgets will be able to tell whether you are pregnant (I’m sure you can guess why from the blurb!).
Finally I had some ideas relating to new fashion trends but you’re going to have to read the book to find out more.
Spoiler Alert – The following article gives away some plot elements from The Rage.
The Rage was recently chosen as the book of the month at a book club in Hook, Hampshire. Sue Morrow kindly invited me to attend their meeting and on Thursday I finally met my public! It was with some trepidation that I turned up clutching a copy with the newly designed cover. My nervousness increased when one of the club members arrived with a long list of typed questions. Were they going to rip the book to shreds and lambast me for my poor prose? Were they going to throw my book on a literary bonfire and torture me with cries of derision?
I exaggerate slightly; I play badminton with Sue’s husband, Owen, and most of the members were either friends of friends or their partners. Owen and I discussed beforehand the code word to bring him running and rescue me should things turn nasty, but we didn’t actually get round to choosing one, except maybe “Help!”
I needn’t have worried. We sat outside looking onto Sue and Owen’s immaculately kept garden, kept warm by a patio heater (technically it’s not yet the start of summer). Our hosts plied us with alcohol and snacks and the conversation soon turned to whether a woman who suspected her husband had just been murdered would sleep in the same room as a paramedic who had just saved her life three times in the space of four hours; or whether the pub landlord would be happy for the same paramedic to spend the night locked in the cellar with his psychotic wife and daughter.
I have included a scanned copy of the questions below:
I have to admit to not knowing all the answers. For example, I hadn’t really thought through what all the characters were doing when they weren’t the focus of attention. After all, you have to leave some things up to the reader’s imagination.
It was interesting (at least for me) to chat about what people thought worked well and what worked less well. There was even some talk about what direction a sequel might take, not that I have one planned at the moment. The next book (Decimation) has nothing to do with The Rage.
In conclusion, it was a very enjoyable evening. Thanks to everyone who attended for making me feel welcome and especially to Sue and Owen for their hospitality. I also greatly appreciate the offer to act as beta readers for the next book.
After meeting my readers, I finally feel like a real author!