Nose to the Grindstone

Yes, I know I said I was going to be writing more regularly … but just now the main writing has to be the work on the next Jack Blackjack book, which has to be complete by end November.

It’s been a very bitty year, this. Little bits of work on so many different projects, and trying to keep my mind organised has been a little problematic. For example, there was the judging of the Impress Books prize at which I was the chairman of judges. That was tough. The short list was astonishingly strong, and choosing the actual winner was difficult. However, in the end it meant that one writer, Magdalena Maguire, won the prize, and a runner-up will receive help from the excellent folks at Unbound. But reading a load of stories and analysing them to select a winner was difficult, while trying to write as well!

Then there was the Man Booker debate at Yeovil. I’ve rarely been to a meeting about a short list of books at which there was so much hilarity as well as serious conversations about the merits of different titles. Sadly, I’m forced now to seek out several of them, but I won’t let myself open one until I’ve got some more time to read them.

The third distraction is the talk I’ll be giving at the How To Get Published day in Plymouth on 29th October. If you’re in the area, do come along. It promises to be a brilliant day, with authors, agents, publishers and many, many aspiring writers, because it’s organised by Writers’ & Artists’, the people who produce the yearbook every year. That is an event I’m looking forward to – but there is a lot to be done still.

Meanwhile, I still have to try to paint some more pictures for those who’ve commissioned them, as well as a painting of a Christmas scene so we can get cards printed. I have to go and visit my father, who is a very healthy 96 this year, and go to the Detection Club’s launch of Motives for Murder. This is the second book I’ve written with other members of the Detection Club this year. The first was The Sinking Admiral, which was a full collaboration, in which friends and I wrote sections of a novel. With Motives for Murder, we’re returning to a collection of short stories which have been written to celebrate the life of Peter Lovesey, a wonderful writer and delightful companion.

Of course the good thing is, that this is the last book launch of the year for me. After that, I’ll be disappearing into writers’ purdah for a while, writing a book or two, editing my book on the Crusades (first in a new series), and developing two other projects. I’m keen, if possible, to write another Templar series story. Perhaps that one will be written as a Kickstarter project. I’m not sure. What do you think about Kickstarter books? It seems fine to bring in money and only start to write it when I know that the money is committed, but it’s a long process to write, edit and proof a decent copy of a book. The only good side is, I have dealt with some excellent printing and binding companies, so at least I know the market a little. Let me know what you think.

And that is it. Back now to the main task of the day – 5,000 words on the new Blackjack mystery!

Have a good week!

Planning Christmas card layout

Planning Christmas card layout

11 Responses to “Nose to the Grindstone”
  1. Ida says:

    I think Kickstarter books are fine. I have all four volumes of the new Sherlock Holmes anthologies and have pledged for the fifth Christmas volume. I can see why an author would want to try any new method of payment/distribution. The time delay would not bother me. Always have a huge TBR pile and like the anticipation of new books by favorite authors. How wonderful that Dad is 96! All the best.


    • Thanks, Ida – it’s an interesting concept to me, but the issue with Kickstarter is, I’d then have to take on responsibility for marketing and selling the book. I’m not sure it’ll work out cost-effective in terms of my time. It’s certainly worth looking at, though. Thanks!


  2. Lindsey Russell says:

    I had to google ‘kickstarter’ and found this. You may have seen it in your own research. I’ts two years old but I imagine the facts are still current.


    • It’s a strange one, certainly. I think it works well with specific products where there’s a short run and then the item’s dropped. My issue has to be that a book should last longer – and of course I don’t want to be responsible for selling and marketing because that would eat into my time too much. I want to be sitting here writing, not phoning shops and trying to persuade them to take on my books! I’ll need to think carefully about this.


  3. Ida Umphers says:

    I think trying Kickstarter would be a fine idea. It makes sense to me for Rtists to try out all methods of delivery as things are constantly changing. I have supported all five volumes of the new Sherlock Homes stories and the wait was no problem. Kind of enjoy the anticipation of abook by a favorite author. How wonderful for Dad at 96! All the best.


  4. Lindsey Russell says:

    Just looked through your lastest pics – have you had a blitz in your office?


  5. Lindsey Russell says:

    Just seen the tweet about Hugh Laurie playing Baldwin – great actor but this would be a long series so already to old to play the role. Might II suggest Tom Ward (from ‘Silent Witness’)? And Martin Freeman as Simon.


    • Sadly, I think the Hobbit is too expensive for a mere historical author to tempt! Tom Ward … I’ll have to look him up. It’s an interesting idea, though, isn’t it?


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