May 28, 2015

The 10 Worst Criminals in the NFL

Going off at a tangent, here ... someone's just been in touch and thought I might be interested in an infographic they've produced about players in the NFL (that's an American Football league for non-American speakers).

I'm not quite sure why the infographic's been produced, but it's amusing enough and I thought it might provide some light relief to what can be, let's face it, a rather grim blog ...



NFL Criminals

The 10 Worst Criminals in the NFL, and Why You Can’t Rent to Them [INFOGRAPHIC]This infographic came from PM Guardian.com

May 18, 2015

Self-Publish Your Book

A colleague and friend, Jessica Bell, has had her Facebook page suspended for some mystical - probably mythical - reason, just at the point where she has a new book published. So myself and several other colleagues are publishing her pitch for the book so that she can get at least some promotion while her FB page is down. Here's the pitch:

Are you ready to self-publish your book, but dreading the massive learning curve? Well, there’s no need to dread it anymore!

This 6th installment of the bestselling
Writing in a Nutshell Series, will not overwhelm you with all information available—it will tell you exactly what you need to know, without the faff, by following a foolproof, cost-efficient, time-efficient, extremely easy-to-follow, step-by-step self-publishing method.

Want to go from manuscript to a professionally published book within one week? Then this is the book for you.

You’ll learn how to: prepare your manuscript in Microsoft Word, design your paperback and eBook cover, prepare your front/back matter and blurb, format your paperback interior & eBook, proofread your designed pages, register with desired retailers/distributors, export your eBook to a retail-ready file and upload your paperback and eBook to retailers/distributors.

Not only will this book save you time and money, but it will also save you from inevitable stress. What are you waiting for? Grab a copy of Self-publish Your Book today! 
Jessica's an excellent writer, musician and book designer and I'm sure if you're entering the hazardous waters of self-publishing that this book will be a great boon. Rush out and buy it now! (Or stay in and buy it, I don't care which.)


May 12, 2015

Revisions, revisions ...

I decided to issue new editions of my Sam Dyke Investigations, with revised covers. I haven't completed all of the work yet, but here's a sample of those I've finished ...




April 26, 2015

The Secret Sharers

If you have eagle eyes you'll probably have noticed a new book cover on the right of this page - well, The Secret Sharers will be available for download from 1st May at all the usual sites: Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Kobobooks, iTunes and so on.

If you have the courage to read it, I'd be grateful for a review as reviews drive interest and traffic - which, if I'm to be selfish about it, is good for future work ...

April 08, 2015

Venture into audiobooks ...

A quick plug to say that the first Sam Dyke book, Altered Life, is now available as an audiobook. It's read by the wonderful Rob Ellis in a fashion that brings out the Chandleresque tones of the prose (he said hopefully ... )

Rob is working on the other books in the series too, which will be released over the next twelve months or so.

The audio versions will be available through Amazon, Audible and iTunes, so there should be an outlet you can use. There seems to be a deal if you're a first-time user of Audible you can download it for free - can't be bad!

March 08, 2015

Re-reading Chandler

Some years after reading Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep and Farewell My Lovely, I thought it was about time I read his other most famous novel, The Long Goodbye. I had fond memories of the ‘reworking’ of the story in Robert Altman's 1973 film starring Elliott Gould and wondered how Chandler’s style would stack up against some of the modern crime writers I’d been reading in the last few years.
The Long Goodbye shows Philip Marlowe becoming involved in what appears to be two separate cases but which wind up being connected. The first is his growing friendship with Terry Lennox, who turns out, it seems, to be the murderer of his rich socialite wife. After the friendship ends with Marlowe driving Lennox to Mexico to escape a possible charge of murder, the second storyline picks up: Marlowe is hired by Eileen Wade, the wife of famous novelist Roger Wade, to find her husband, who is a drunk and has either gone off on a bender or is drying out somewhere in a sanatorium. These two plot-lines converge in more violence in which Marlowe is implicated but doesn’t participate.

November 20, 2014

Shameless promotion ...

As an inducement to sign up to my Keith Dixon's Novels website, I've added a freebie. If you sign up now, you'll be able to download a free copy of the book I put together of the earlier posts on this blog.

It's actually been one of my best-sellers and has often hovered near the top of the charts for "Writing Skills" on Amazon. Here's a review:

"Excellent. Insightful, entertaining and inspiring. I thoroughly recommend this book to all aspiring authors, regardless of genre."

It's currently retailing at $0.99 or £0.99, but you can have it for free. When you subscribe you won't be bothered too much with messages from me, but you'll get advance notice of new books coming down the pike and the occasional other piece of news.

October 31, 2014

A short-term deal for The Strange Girl


Just a quick advisory note: The Strange Girl is on a short-term discount for the 31st October and 1st November, $0.99 or £0.99.

Here's an interesting fact: my last book, The Bleak, is a thriller, part of which is based on the fact that Russia continued exploring the use of chemical and biological weapons even after they, like the US and Britain, signed a pact banning them in 1972. My book uses their failure to act on the ban to explain the chief villain's actions towards the end of the book.

Well, I've just been reading in a history of the British Secret Service that it was believed that during the Cold War, the Russians had buried caches of Ebola, anthrax and psychotropic drugs at various places around the UK, near to reservoirs and our own biological weapons development facility at Porton Down. In case they wanted to attack us.

Whatever you make up, Real Life always trumps you!

October 13, 2014

Triumphant triumvirate - Lehane, Atkins, Sandford.

I've recently read three crime novels that remind me - if I needed it - why crime writing is such a vigorous genre.

First I read Dennis Lehane's The Drop, which is a novel based on an earlier short story and which has been made into a film starring Tom Hardy and the great James Gandolfini. Effectively, it's the old story about the worm turning - someone who is put-upon finally deciding that enough is enough and finding the strength to assert themselves. The difference here is that the hero, although quiet and unassuming, was once part of a gang that exercised a violent rule over a part of Boston.

September 25, 2014

The Strange Girl

Just a note to say that The Strange Girl will be published tomorrow, 26th September, on more formats than you can care to count.

I'll put just a few here ...

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Kobobooks.com

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble (to follow)



And in paperback here in the US

                              here in the UK

September 17, 2014

Ace aces it - The Ranger hits a sweet spot.

I try to keep a handle on new American writers because I'm always on the lookout for people to learn from.

Ace Atkins surprises me - not because he's good, which he is - but because he's written half a dozen or more books and I hadn't stumbled across him or his work until a few weeks ago.

The Ranger is the first book in the 'Quinn Colson' series. Colson is a Ranger - a high-class Special Forces soldier - who returns at the beginning of the book from seeing action in Afghanistan. You get a sense of the man in the opening paragraph:
Quinn headed home, south on the Mississippi highway, in a truck he’d bought in Phenix City, Alabama, for fifteen hundred, a U.S. Army rucksack beside him stuffed with enough clothes for the week and a sweet Colt .44 Anaconda he’d won in a poker game. He carried good rock ’n’ roll and classic country, and photos from his last deployment in Afghanistan, pics of him with his Ranger platoon, the camp monkey “Streak” on his shoulder, Black Hawks at sundown over the mountains. 

Look at the detail in that - Mississippi highway, second-hand truck, 1500 dollars, US Army rucksack, Colt .44 Anaconda, poker game ... concluding with his last deployment in Afghanistan and the Black Hawks in the background. That opening paragraph does so much work in just three sentences, giving us some backstory, some of his personality and even some of his skills ('his Ranger platoon'). We don't get five paragraphs of detailed explanation of who he is, where he's come from and what he can do. We get three packed sentences.

September 07, 2014

Hold the press ...

Just a couple of items of news before my next critique post, which will be on Ace Atkins' book The Ranger. He's a new writer to me but he's written quite a lot and has encomia on his book covers from people like Elmore Leonard and John Sandford, so they obviously recognise his worth. He's also written a couple of books taking on Robert B. Parker's Spenser franchise, which I'll also have to catch up on.


First, a note to say that the next book in the Sam Dyke Investigations series will be published on 26th September. It's going through its final edit now and will be available for pre-order from 16th September. Here's the final version of the cover:

Secondly, the translation of Actress into Chinese is coming on apace. I'm receiving queries now about Chapter 17, and as there are 26 Chapters in the book, that means the translation is about two thirds finished. The promised completion date was by Christmas, so they're well on target. There's been a slight delay with the translation into Spanish because the translator has moved house. Hopefully it won't be deferred too long.





Finally, I'm looking forward to seeing the new movie version of Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder film, A Walk Amongst the Tombstones, starring Liam Neeson. It'll be interesting to see how they translate Block's easy style into a wham-bang Hollywood movie, and Matt Scudder's reasonably passive modus operandi into an all-action hero. I hope it's not a disappointment!