Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

On Saturday, 19th of November I will be posting a review of Jane Isaac’s latest crime novel,as part of the ‘Beneath the Ashes’ Blog Tour and asking Jane some questions about her writing. Don’t miss it!



‘The floor felt hard beneath her face. Nancy opened her eyes. Blinked several times. A pain seared through her head. She could feel fluid. No. She was lying in fluid.’

When a body is discovered in a burnt-out barn in the Warwickshire countryside, DI Will Jackman is called to investigate.

Nancy Faraday wakes up on the kitchen floor. The house had been broken into and her boyfriend is missing. As the case unravels, DI Jackman realises that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has a secret.

Can he discover the truth behind the body in the fire, and track down the killer before Nancy becomes the next victim?

Follow Jane on Twitter @JaneIsaacAuthor
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Crime Writer M J Hall

Crime Writer M J Hall

We recently discussed M R Hall’s crime novel ‘The Coroner’ at the Sidmouth Crime Fiction Book Group. The book generated a lot of discussion. We shared our own experiences of sitting through a Coroner’s court and although most cases are brief and business like, we agreed that Matt Hall’s experience of being a criminal barrister and his knowledge of the criminal justice system brought real authenticity to Jenny’s courtroom – although we hope that Coroner’s are not in the habit of popping pills in the real Coroner’s Court.

We like Matt Hall’s tense and compelling style of writing and thought he did an excellent job of getting inside the head of a neurotic professional woman, with the proviso that the romance/sex side of the novel seemed a bit more masculine.

Matt Hall will be giving a workshop on ‘Turning Good Ideas into Commercial Crime Novels’ at ‘Creative Thursday’, part of the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival in York on Thursday 21st of July. Sarah Hilary, (see my earlier post) another of our favourite authors and winner of Crime Novel of the Year Award at last year’s festival will also be taking part. I’ve attended Creative Thursday on two previous occasions and found it inspiring and fun. I can also recommend taking the challenge of pitching at ‘The Dragons’ Pen’. It’s scary but brilliant when all four ‘dragons’ want to read your submission.

Sarah Hilary - Theakston prize winner 2015

Sarah Hilary – Theakston prize winner 2015


Sometimes an author comes across a brilliant book about the writing process. Debbie Young’s lovely guide to promoting your book is one such find. I have dipped into it almost daily after Revenge Ritual was published in August last year. It’s been so very useful as I work my way through the all the necessary post publishing processes leading up to my book launch and beyond.
I can’t praise this self-help manual highly enough. It contains all the information that you need to promote your book. If you don’t have an agent or mainstream publisher, or even if you do, Sell your books! takes you through everything needed to make readers aware of your book and increase its sales. It has chapters on all the ‘action stations’ authors will have to tackle from planning a marketing campaign, identifying their target readership, attracting visitors to the essential-to-have website, using social media, approaching libraries and bookshops and attracting media interest.
Debbie Young’s style is encouraging and comprehensive. I learnt a lot from this book but probably the best advice was around identifying my market. I knew internet promotion and sales would be important, hence the website. But reading ‘Sell your books!’ helped me appreciate that for a local author with a novel set in Devon where I live, my primary market was the one on my doorstep where readers knew the area and wanted to know more about me. Not only has this local approach paid off in book sales but it has been brilliant meeting people who have read my book.

Sell your books!’ will do what it says.