2020 – A New year!

A new year is always a time to take stock, to think about things, and plan and scheme!

This year is going to be one of change for me. I’ve finally taken back the rights to half my books from Simon and Schuster and will be working with a number of other publishers to market and sell the series more effectively. It will prove to be very exciting!

The Templar Series is split in two now, with the first thirteen and last four now going to Canelo Books, a new ebook publishing house which promises to be much more effective at marketing and publicising my books. I’m also very glad that they have taken on PILGRIM’S WAR, which will be republished by them in February. They are already talking about a follow-up to this book, which is great to hear. I had planned this as the first in a series of four or five originally, and it’s wonderful to find a publisher with a similar vision for the stories.



Then there is the Vintener Trilogy, a strong storyline – rather like “Band of Brothers” but set in the 1300s – that took a vintaine of archers in the Hundred Years War all the way from the initial skirmishes of the long march to Paris, then the sudden reversal and hurried retreat to the Somme and the battle of Crécy in the first book, FIELDS OF GLORY. That was followed up by BLOOD ON THE SAND, the story of their continued campaign, the siege of Calais and battle of Neville’s Cross in the following year. Finally the trilogy culminated ten years later in the Poitiers campaign, with the men suffering after the trials of the previous decade of plague, war, and death.

This little series was wonderfully well received when it was first published, and now it’s found a home with Sharpe Books, where ACT OF VENGEANCE is already selling well. If you are interested in the trilogy, keep an eye out because it’ll soon be launched as a trio of ebooks at a ridiculously low price, called THE FEW.



Meanwhile, Jack Blackjack is doing well. He has been with Severn House for all of his first five stories, and the publisher likes him so much that, when Canongate bought out Severn House a little while ago, one of the first books they chose to go to mass-market paperback was my first Jack Blackjack story, REBELLION’S MESSAGE. It came out just before Christmas, and I’m looking forward to seeing how well it did in December. Sadly, probably not as well as it might, because books delivered in December tend to stay stuck in their boxes at bookshops, because the staff are too busy to keep replenishing their shelves, but with luck the book will find a new audience, and Jack’s miserable and incompetent career will go from strength to strength!

I’ve now completed the fifth in this series, and we are discussing plans for two more.



Meanwhile, there is a lot to keep my busy this year.

I am giving a talk to the Red Coats – not a military group, but the team of tour guides who operate in Exeter showing off the Cathedral and medieval buildings to best effect. Then I am organising the Crime Writers’ Association Conference in April, attending Skulduggery in Stowmarket, speaking with Karen Maitland at Winchcombe Festival, and teaching writing skills for a week to aspiring and professional writers at Swanwick. At the same time I have to keep up with the various projects I’m working on.



What projects? Well, I will have another Blackjack to write this year, but I also have a Templar Series story to write, I’m intrigued by a cosy crime story based on a couple of elderly investigators, a police procedural, and a follow up to ACT OF VENGEANCE, as well as the stories I’ve already spoken about. I really don’t know how many of those I can get to grips with, especially since I have the thrill of YouTube videos to produce weekly as well (my channel is called WriterlyWitterings – you should check it out!). They are fun, and working on them is almost like a holiday.



Then there is social media. Hmm.

In the last few months, I have taken the advice of a friend and started to run a Patreon site. The reasons are twofold.

First, social media nowadays is really confusing. As an author, I have to be present on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and a number of other sites. I produce a YouTube video every week (like I said, take a look at WriterlyWitterings!), I have to have a presence on LinkedIn, WordPress and elsewhere.

Each of these social media require different skillsets. And while they are all fun, they are also a major distraction from my real work, which is writing. With Patreon, I can put up videos, photos, or simple blogs, and it’s all deliciously coherent.

However, there’s also the other aspect, which I cannot ignore. At a time when the income from book sales is reducing, Patreon gives me a way of providing extra material for people who want to support me. There are different levels, starting from no charge – yes, the basic level of information I put on Patreon for free – and then from $2 upwards, patrons will receive more and more information about me, my writing, my books and everything else. You will see more at https://www.patreon.com/MJ150520

Although $2 might be considered a small sum, for an author, it’s the equivalent of the sale of about ten books, so pretty good. 

And that is about it for now. I have about ten days to complete the book I’m currently writing, so today I will be stopping writing and rereading the whole of the first half, making extensive notes, so that I can tie up all the loose ends, red herrings, and make the ending as satisfying as possible. Wish me luck!

That’s all for now, but let me take the opportunity to wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year!

Michael Jecks

North Dartmoor



PS – for those interested: the photos were all taken today, 10th January, while walking up over the moors. The weather was so perfect, I couldn’t resist. Sadly we couldn’t walk too far – I don’t trust the pup with sheep yet – so it was a case of wandering in various directions and taking photos. However, it’s given me a bunch of pictures that I can convert into water colours, with luck. Last year I managed a grand total of one painting. This year I WILL do more!



One Response to “2020 – A New year!”
  1. Old Trooper says:

    The link finally worked! Thanks for this latest WW.


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