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Behind the scenes, cover designs, news and more.
To create the background image for The House Always Wins, I started with Midjourney, an image generator that exists on the Discord Server. You can see my prompt on the right side of the image, asking for a single yellow shoe in a puddle in a scary, ominous industrial estate.
I ended up with many images, some with one shoe, some with two, some with none at all. Some of the images captured the external of the buildings with spooky street lighting, others were internal. Eventually, I settled on...
“The Low Lights Tavern: A Historic Pub with a Literary Twist."As the reputed oldest drinking establishment in North Shields, it has had its share of moments in the spotlight, primarily because it boasts a connection to hometown hero Sam Fender, who initially toiled behind the bar and remains a frequent patron to this day.
However, another rising star in the shape of author Betsy Baskerville (aka Faye Allman), has taken ownership of the famous venue herself by featuring The Low Lights heavily...
"Owner of North Shields pub made famous by Sam Fender delighted it features in Geordie author’s crime fiction novel."
Whilst away on my sailing adventure around the UK, I was thrilled to hear Danny Higney, owner of Low Light’s Tavern, had read my debut novel The Only Weapon In The Room. The Low Lights is Athena and Kris’ pub of choice and they like to enjoy a pint in there after a hard day in the gym. Being the oldest pub in North Shields, it felt natural to include it in the The Only Weapon.
To bring the branding of the first three books in line with the later three, I decided to recover and relaunch Cut The Deck, Rock, Paper, Scissors and Roll The Dice. Relaunching the paperbacks also allows me to assign new ISBNs to the publications with the view of having them available in bookstores or libraries.
Let's begin with Cut The Deck. I wanted to keep the image of the woman walking away from the first edition (Purchased on a royalty-free licence via Shutterstock). I muted the colours...
With Finders Keepers, I created two cover options and allowed my newsletter subscribers to pick their favourite. Their choices were Hadrian's Wall or the High Level Bridge. It was very close, but in the end, High Level won.
The image I used is licenced through Pixabay, and although no attribution is required, the photo was taken by Pixabay user, DrNickStafford.
Shop for Finders Keepers here.
The first step in editing the image was to resize it to the correct dimensions. My paperbacks...
The fifth DCI Cooper mystery largely takes place in Northumberland – specifically the forests of the national park and around Kielder Water. Having visited Kielder in September, I had a good mental image of how I wished the cover to look. However, with fuel prices so high, I decided to be frugal and take a stroll around Jesmond Dene, which is much closer to home, in the hope of snapping a suitable photograph.
Shop for Hide & Seek here.
If you'd like to see how I got on, you can watch a short...
Without giving too much away about the plot, I have a scene in my next novel which takes place on Holy Island. Holy Island, also know as Lindisfarne, is a tidal island off the coast of Northumberland, known for it's castle and priory.
One bright and sunny August day, I headed north along with my parents and Woolly Bear. The island was very busy with tourists so I had to be patient to try and capture the scene with as few people as possible. Once back home, I used Affinity Photo to remove...
Nia from the Most Sublime reviews Dead In The Water.
"The story switches through the POV of each of the women on the boat, so we get a piece by piece view of what they all think of each other and what their relationships are like – giving us a total of 6 unreliable narrators. This kept me hooked, it feels like you’re catching up on the juicy gossip of their lives as you see them sail closer to disaster."
If you’d like to read the full review, click here.
The muses came calling and told me to set a murder mystery on the high seas. I could picture it: a sailing yacht, six university friends, turquoise waters, balmy nights, and a storm that brewed literally and figuratively. A classic six people get on the boat, only five get off deal.
I had a plot, characters, and location. What I didn't have was any technical knowledge. If my characters knew how to sail, there was only one thing for it... I needed to learn to sail. Luckily, Rob knows how to...
I was delighted to be featured on Curled Up With A Good Book. Michelle Whitham's site includes book reviews, author interviews and more. To read the feature, and find out what Athena Fox and I would do if we were stuck on an island, click here.
"The writing is assured, delivering action like an uppercut to the jaw while switching between this and more studied character development."
A first! I was overwhelmed and couldn't stop smiling when I found out someone (an author no less) had blogged about my writing. Reading such kind and enthusiastic words really spurred me on to write more.
"The book goes beyond being just an action thriller. It explores the distance between physical hardness and mental fragility. Mental health issues...