Book number 8 notched up – time to move to the next one

Well, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Billingham Forum is finally done, dusted, and delivered to Amazon. And I’m glad to see the back of it.

Why?

Well, it was hard to write, for starters. It began life as a short story (encompassing the initial robbery at Billingham Forum). But as soon as the short was complete, I wanted to know what happened to the characters I’d created (the short story leaves the fate of several of them up in the air). So I decided to fill in the gaps…

The novella came next. It fleshed out Bobby, Harry, ToJo, and Thrombosis, but, again, left me wanting to know more about Billy Chin, Jonno, Joey, and Ramon. So I went back again, and gave the story a third go.

The novel took much longer to assemble than the novella and short story because I wanted the tale to be more character driven than in previous works. I used a lot more foreshadowing. Many of the characters make decisions that come back to haunt them later. Sometimes you can’t plot these things. Occasionally they just need to bubble to the surface. For a plodder like me, that take times.

I learned a lot by writing this novel. I found out that expanding a short work into something much longer is not for the faint-hearted. Often the plot changes course because what works in a short story (or even a novella) doesn’t always succeed in the more generous word count of a novel. Characters evolve because they can grow into the pages. The lack of limits makes them less black and white.

Endings changed, first chapters came and went, characters emerged from the chrysalis of a cameo to become fully-fledged main players. Most of the main players got at least two or three killer lines and moments, or in Billy Chin’s case got to steal virtually every chapter in which he appears. The Stantons were much nastier in the short story, partly because this was the first Stanton short I ever finished (that’s right, the first – which goes to show how bloody long the novel took to write). It was only when I wrote The Hunters that they developed slightly softer edges and became more sympathetic. A Funny Thing Happened… came together in such a way that it was overtaken by every other project. This is why what seem like prequels actually aren’t. I write about six projects at the same time. It just so happens that The Hunters was the first project after The Gamblers that I was happy to publish. A Funny Thing Happened… was last one to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

The next Stanton story due for publication (early in 2017, most likely) has been almost as protracted. Sexy Lexy is set roughly a month after the events of A Funny Thing Happened… It was originally slated for release in The Greatest Show In Town, but I felt it needed lots of work and dropped it at the last moment. And, much like A Funny Thing Happened…, it expanded to become something bigger and broader – in this case, a novella.

After Sexy Lexy, I’m planning to put the brothers away for a while and concentrate on The Amsterdamned, which should come together quickly, because I’ve plotted it meticulously. Then I intend to fix my sights on We Won’t Leave This World Alive, which continues storylines from The Glasgow Grin (the Stanton brothers, Bob Owden, Gupta Patel, Jimmy Raffin, all get leading roles).

Anyway, enough talk about future publications…

Now it’s time to start pushing A Funny Thing Happened… to my readership.

I hope you enjoy it.

It was hard to write, but I think because of these difficulties it’s a pretty good read.

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The Glasgow Grin is finally here

GlasgowGrin2013After 3 years of writing and editing, the direct sequel to The Hunters, The Glasgow Grin, is finally here, slashing its way on to Kindle devices and apps everywhere! And for a fortnight only, it’s at 99p/$0.99. So grab it while it’s cheap.

In the aftermath of The Hunters, the Stantons are in hiding. They have a pile of money that doesn’t belong to them, and a lot of dead bodies to show for it. They’ve never had a problem with doling out violence to Middlesbrough’s villains, but now the stakes are different: A mother and her innocent daughter have been savagely mutilated in a revenge attack by a twisted maniac. An attack for which the Stantons are being blamed…

Bob Owden, feared local crimelord and businessman, wants to know exactly what happened at the Hollis Haulage Massacre. As Bob’s investigation progresses, and victims mount up, he comes to realise that the Stanton brothers might just know a thing or two about it. And anyone who comes to the attention of Bob Owden is not likely to have a long and happy future.

In order to survive, the brothers are going on the warpath. Bringing their own brand of street justice to the scum who cross them, while – of course – making sure that they still make a profit at the end of it. They’ll use blackmail and intimidation to flush out the culprits, all the while dodging hitmen, gangsters, and the ever-increasing bounty on their heads. But even they might have bitten off more than they can chew this time…

Set in a world where everybody’s motives are suspect, where the good guys are bad and the bad guys are worse, where every favour can cost the ultimate price; The Glasgow Grin combines intense, fast-paced plotting, ferocious ultra-violence, snappy, foul-mouthed dialogue, and a rogue’s gallery of twisted villains to create a crime thriller so wild that it just might leave you grinning from ear-to-ear.

Get it here: Amazon UK | Amazon US

Bone Breakers is free from 12th December to 16th December

BoneBreakers2013If you haven’t picked up Bone Breakers yet – hold off. I’m making it available for free for five days from 12th – 16th December (my early Christmas present to you).

Besides, sales of my work have ground to a halt since the latter half of November, so now seems as good a time as any to generate interest again, particularly in picking up new readers and reviews, because there won’t be any new Stanton brothers’ thrillers until the first quarter of 2014 (judging by current progress that is most likely to be The Curious Case of the Missing Moolah).

I’m hoping that I shift a good number of free copies over this period. Part of me would like to break into the Kindle Top 100 free books this time around and gain a whole new set of readers going into the new year. I think it’s possible if I get enough retweets and Facebook posts, and if the numerous free ebook sites I have informed in advance about my book decide to pass this information on to their readers.

Anyway, fingers crossed. And if you give me a retweet or Facebook post I would like to take this opportunity to thank you in advance.

 

Get a new Stanton brothers story for free

The Green-eyed Monster CoverNever say that I don’t give you anything for free, because here’s some proof to the contrary.

Mike Hollis is in trouble. Deep trouble. Having been sucked into a trap by a stunner with emerald eyes, he’s now being taken for a ride by some very smart blackmailers. He’s fresh out of luck and almost out of time. So he does the one thing he can in that situation. He brings in the Stanton brothers to help him. All he wants is the blackmailers off his back, but the brothers have other ideas. They intend to play these scumbags at their own game and make a lot of money into the bargain. They’re going to make them really pay!

If you’ve already read Bone Breakers – and why the hell haven’t you read it yet? It’s the mutt’s nuts – The Green-eyed Monster gives it a bit of context, by adding back story to a couple of characters who play a fairly sizeable role in the events of that book. However, if you haven’t read BB yet, then this 9,000 word short makes a nice lead-up to the main event – an appetiser, as it were.

Click the link on the cover or the title above or this link here here here and then just download the mobi file. It’s totally free (File no longer available). There’s no obligation to buy any of my other books (although if you do I won’t complain). And you won’t be asked to sign anything or join any mailing lists. It’s as simple as clinking the link, downloading the file, and then reading it.

Right now, you can only get this story here. You can’t get it on Amazon, Smashwords or anywhere else. Maybe later I will make it available to buy from the usual sites, but at least until the end of August it is only available here.

Enjoy!

After a couple of months for free, The Green-eyed Monster is no longer available as a free download.

The Green-eyed Monster

For the few folks who’ve either bought or read Bone Breakers (and there aren’t many of you) here’s a bit of a treat. The Green-eyed Monster will be available next week, to be downloaded for FREE via a link from this site as a .mobi file.

It works either as a Bone Breakers prequel or as a story in its own right. But if you read it and find you rather like it, then you’ll probably also enjoy BB.

I should have it up by Wednesday at the latest.

National Bone Breakers Day!

The Stanton brothers are back!

Today sees the release of Bone Breakers on Kindle. A twisting, turning, out-of-control, wild ride that sees the brothers attempting to get their hands on fifty grand from some very nasty people. Bone Breakers moves through its Teesside backdrop like a rocket, keeping it lean, forcing the reader to turn the pages until the tale is done.

Get it today in the UK for £1.99 and the US for $2.99

Also, for those of you haven’t caught up with the brothers yet, I’ve cut the price of the first novel The Hunters for 99p/$0.99 and The Greatest Show in Town, the short story collection in which they feature heavily, for 77p/$0.99

Bone Breakers arrives on July 1st

My latest effort, another Stanton brothers’ thriller, Bone Breakers, will be on sale as a Kindle ebook on July 1st and later as a paperback. Set before the events of The Hunters, it’s a blisteringly fast-paced 32,000 word novella, packed with action, suspense, and an assortment of colourful and vicious villains. It will be priced at £1.99 for the eBook and £4.99 for the paperback. See the book blurb for a glimpse of what you’ll be getting…

When the Stanton brothers decide to rob Teesside construction magnate, drug dealer, and all-round scumbag, Terry Albright, they think it’s going to be easy. Get in, get out, break a few bones, and make a tidy profit. But when the money isn’t where it’s supposed to be, they find themselves holed-up in a high-rise flat trying to break into the bedroom of a fat, Eminem wannabe, while surrounded by a family of psychotic scrap dealers and bone breakers who want the money for themselves. But as the night wears on, and the Stantons realise that time isn’t on their side, they decide to take matters into their own hands, leading to a hammer wielding, classic car smashing, bone-breaking finale.

Bone Breakers is a crime thriller with the emphasis on thrills. It screams along at a furious pace, mixing fast action, ultra-violence, black comedy, snappy dialogue, and the Stanton brothers at their bickering, foul-mouthed best. 

BoneBreakers2013