Codename: Nightshade – available


A standalone crime thriller produced as a result of the Beyond The Law trilogy.

Yes, we authors can write what we ‘know’, or what we enjoy but at the end of the process, the result must be entertaining. For some authors the task of producing a standalone crime thriller might not sound too daunting, after all, what do you need apart from time (two years in this case), imagination and research where required?

I reread the Beyond The Law trilogy from beginning to end in a week. Yes, I wrote the books, but I still made copious notes. The cast includes friends, allies, enemies and a handful of neutrals, but the body count is important—we can’t have dead people coming back if it isn’t that type of tale.


Dare I say, I enjoyed the trilogy and felt justified in the character I singled out for the spotlight.

Rachel Donoghue rapidly developed from being a vehicle thief to covert operative and had the desire to continue improving her skills. In Codename: Nightshade, Rachel proves that not only has she improved as an operative she has leadership skills to offer.

Of course, besides all of those things, she is first and foremost an effective vigilante.

There is no requirement to have read the Beyond The Law trilogy before reading the new story, but perhaps you will afterwards. The original trilogy is available as a box set, therefore saving you money, and allowing the download of three books in one.


Codename: Nightshade

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My Series’ are boxed off


How to attract more readers and give them a reward—that was my quest.

I have individual novels, a trilogy, and a five-part novel. My poetry titles come in the form of a bumper book of serial poetry, my five-part, multi-genre series and, of course, a collection of rhyming erotica.

Click image for Amazon page and options including KU.

Erotica, not usually mentioned on this blog—apart from poetry I have several novels, two anthologies of short stories, and a series of novellas.

I was looking at an opportunity hidden in plain sight—box sets.

I could offer a series at a cut-price. Yes, it would mean I lose a small amount in royalties from the individual book sales, but providing entertainment to a greater readership is more important to me than the money—which of course would be the spin-off; I know. 😀

Four questions came to mind.

Click image for Amazon page and options including KU.

How many people are keen to have a series available in one download?

How many people will take the opportunity of saving about 15-20% on the overall price?

How many of my series should I prepare as box sets?

Click image for Amazon page and options including KU.

How hard would it be to create them, and how long would it take?


The good news is, the graphics in this post are not simply for show. The first part of the job is done—four box sets completed, although while working on the project it felt like forty. Amendments to front and back matter was tedious, but worthwhile.

In each case, there is at least a free book when comparing prices to individual purchases.

These box sets are available on Kindle Unlimited.

Click image for Amazon page and options including KU.


I have no intention of going along the audio route so it will be interesting to see if this idea works.

Things got off to a good start with the erotica—a box set sold within three hours of publication.

I’ll write a post giving any useful information if the idea takes off, and in which area/genre.

A Life of Choice is available as five individual eBooks, a box set of five, and as a paperback trilogy.

If you’re new to my brand, all of my eBook titles are available on Kindle Unlimited.

In my meantime, I’ll be happy to accept question, comments and suggestions.


My Guest Today is Harmony Kent

Don’t be afraid of ‘Fallout’ … check out Harmony Kent.

Sarah Stuart - Romantic Suspense

Hi, everyone. Harmony here. Many thanks to Sarah for hosting me. I have a new book on preorder called FALLOUT, which is a post-apocalyptic dystopia. This novel started out life by playing a little game. I sat and closed my eyes and imagined an empty room … in that room, a vial appeared. A dull orange plastic thing covered in scratches. It sloshed when I shook it. From that tiny beginning, the world of Exxon 1 and its deadly virus was born.

Did John betray Sasha?
Why wouldn’t he take this golden opportunity to get rid of President Terror?
How can she protect herself now?

Click the cover to preorder and get a lovely surprise on August 25th when it downloads.


The year is 3040.

The location is Exxon 1, part of a six-planet system in settled space.

Determined to avoid the…

View original post 238 more words

Light at the End


The ‘working’ cover

I’ve published short stories in a wide variety of genres, but before tackling a novel I think ‘long and hard’, which I suppose is a reasonable euphemism for writing a novel.

Many authors who write sci-fi, dystopian or apocalyptic naturally populate their world with those creatures with whom we are most well-acquainted—humans. If not human, the characters are invariably a variation of the model. The unbelievable can be found in any genre but, in sci-fi,  dystopian and apocalyptic stories, we as readers must more readily ‘accept’ the author’s word—it has to be convincing.

Apart from reading pretty much anything I also write in a broad spectrum. Although my sci-fi short stories have been well-received, for a long time I’ve wanted to write a novel with a sci-fi/dystopian/apocalyptic flavour. I was afraid of being drawn into a world of unpronounceable equipments, scientific jargon, strange weaponry, beams, time warps and goodness knows what else.

Two writing theories came to mind. ‘Write what you know’ and ‘ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances’. Now, here were two things I could work with in my new venture.

Alternative colour scheme

During my morning cycle rides when my surroundings permit, I let my thoughts wander and over many weeks I dreamt up a situation which involved ‘ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances’. If I’m writing ‘what I know’ then that as always will be down to memory, experience, knowledge and research.

My sci-fi/dystopian/apocalyptic novel has the working title ‘Light at the End’. Like most of my titles, this one carries more than one meaning.

For the benefit of new writers or those who are interested in such things as how an author’s mind works when a new idea is bubbling under the surface, I used my favourite method for building the basics before writing any of the story. It’s a one-man brainstorming session.

– On a regular A4 sheet of paper, I drew a bubble and wrote the title inside.

– From this first point, I drew a line with a bubble on the end and wrote ‘tunnel’.

– From ‘tunnel’ I added several other threads with bubbles on the end—some of these immediately gaining their own extension.

– Back at the central bubble I extended more threads and added topics like ‘nuclear strike’, ‘tourists’, inhabitants’ and so on. Inside about thirty minutes I had thirty extensions from the original bubble—Light at the End.

– I spent twenty minutes listing character names and ‘other considerations’, writing as fast as possible when an idea came to mind. Speed is more beneficial than procrastination when brainstorming, otherwise it becomes braindrizzle. Characters would need names—not descriptions or ages—not yet, but male and female—yes.

I stopped the whole brainstorm session at one hour.


Forty circles with topics or sub-topics, and a list of forty ‘other considerations’.

While my thoughts were concentrated on the new story idea I had to keep pushing. Next up was another sheet of paper on which I drew a quick sketch of the tunnel and the surrounding countryside. By this stage, I was thinking of the opening scenes.

Before I stopped working I assessed progress.

A working title, a cover, a wide spread of information required, a plan of the main location, characters … and a catastrophe waiting to happen.

I performed the brainstorming session on Thursday evening and yesterday (Friday), I spent the day working on Chapter 1 – A Leap of Faith. Take a look and leave a comment if you wish. It’s a bit rough, due to being the first draft, which like the brainstorming was produced rapidly.

After much heart-searching, I’ve amended the sub-title/strapline from dystopian to apocalyptic. The two phrases are regularly and rightly associated, but I feel my tale will lean more heavily toward one than the other. Stranger than fiction really, since I’ve only written one chapter.

You’ve got to love being an author.

As always, thank you for dropping by, and for any comments or suggestions.


Codename: Nightshade – Update


Beyond The Law was my first serious crime thriller and was so successful it had to be retitled, Beyond The Law: Formation as I learned the joys and pitfalls of writing a sequel, and ultimately—a trilogy.

The BTL trilogy titles; Formation, Retribution, and Consequences were published in 2013, 2015, and 2017 respectively, and I have to admit, I was satisfied when the job was completed. The characters and the ongoing story appealed to many readers, but as the author, I always had a soft spot for Rachel Donoghue.

Before I published the third book in the BTL trilogy I had a yearning to choose a character and create an individual story, so it will come as no surprise that I selected my personal favourite.

I wrote a few experimental passages and then shelved the idea—it needed a fresh start, and the best way I knew, would be to work on other projects and return to my ‘spinoff’ idea occasionally.

It’s two years later, and I’ve brought the various chapters together, many of which had been reworked multiple times. Before it reaches the standard for beta readers to chew it over, it stands at 117, 000 words, 37 Chapters and an epilogue.

If I can entice a few good people to beta read the manuscript sometime in mid-August, I would like to aim for publication by 16th September 2019.

Could I tempt you to be a beta reader?

I have the ‘rough’ drafts of the first three chapters here on my blog under Work in Progress, Codename: Nightshade. A few lovely people have left comments on Chapter 1.

Thank you for the visit and any comments or suggestions.


The interview by Fiona Macvie

Interviewed by Fiona Mcvie

Here is my interview with Tom Benson

Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

Tom Benson, and I’m 66 …until November ….

Fiona: Where are you from?

Originally, from Glasgow, Scotland, although I’ve lived in Northeast England since my military career ended in 1992.

Fiona: A little about your self (ie,  your education, family life, etc.).

I’m the oldest of four boys and two girls. I was eight years old when my three brothers, my parents and I, moved out from a single-room house in a rundown tenement in the east end of Glasgow. We set up home in what to us, was a luxurious two-bedroom apartment in Drumchapel, a sprawling housing estate on the city’s western boundary.

I was a natural scholar and artist, so I excelled at lessons, but due to lack of support and financial backing I was destined to leave school at 15. That was just how it was in 1967. I worked in an office for the next two years and commenced training as a book-keeper. (There’s something ironic about that job title and how life has turned out for me).

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

-Two weeks ago I published ‘One Man, Two Missions: and other stories’, my seventh collection of short stories.

– At the time of responding (July 2019), I have thirty-six published titles and I’m presently working on three projects.

– ‘Codename: Nightshade’ a standalone/spinoff of the ‘Beyond The Law’ trilogy.

– ‘Czech Mate’, a standalone thriller.

– ‘Around the Bend: and other stories’, my next collection of twelve multi-genre tales.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing my military memoirs in the mid-1990’s, having finished my army days in 1992. It took me a couple of years, because I was then a retail manager and commuting daily. When the manuscript was completed, even I knew that the story might be okay, but the writing was terrible. I left the idea aside and concentrated on my day job.

The story was written in different points of view, but I eventually opted for changing all the real names (including mine), and declared the tale to be fact-based fiction.

I wrote my military story partly as a catharsis, partly as something to leave behind, and if I’m honest—to relive those 23 years. I enjoyed the life and I survived to tell the tale.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In 2007, about ten years after shelving my military life story, I started writing poetry, which was something I did spontaneously one day during my lunch-break. At the suggestion of a colleague I joined a poetry website and after a few months I attempted writing short stories.

In 2010, one of my stories was a winner in a national competition to be included in the anthology ‘Whitby Abbey – Pure Inspiration’. For me, that was the turning point—my writing and my name were in print; together. One year later I came second in an international competition.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

My military career inspired my first book, ‘A Life of Choice’.It wasn’t the first story I published, but it will remain my magnum opus however many other titles I publish.

Although ‘A Life of Choice’ is available as a series of five eBooks or a paperback trilogy, it is word-for-word the same story.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

The title is a key ingredient of the whole writing package, so I tend to give myself a ‘working title’. I list more possible titles while I’m in the process of writing the particular story. The title is something which must carry appeal, but also be an accurate description of the tale, whether it be location, character, plot, a message or even a hint of the content.

‘A Life of Choice’ was not my first option, but it grew on me and I realised over time that it was an ideal fit for such an extended tale.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

In my writing I’m not inclined towards the regular use of ‘three days later’ or similar phrases to show the passage of time, so from the outset I’ve kept a perpetual diary close at hand. This means that for the sake of detail it doesn’t matter if the date were in 2018, or 1901, I would know what the specific day would be. I like my reader to be comfortable with time scale and progression.

I would hesitate to call it a style, but it’s in my nature to keep everything neat and tidy. It’s probably for that reason that I tend to produce a story in a mainly chronological order with clearly defined periods of time. Flashbacks are used sparingly, but as required. If my fiction had a style it might be referred to as ‘literary diarist’.

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Although ‘A Life of Choice’ is purported to be fact-based fiction, the story is factual and autobiographical. The names and descriptions of all characters are disguised to protect the innocent … and the guilty. Apart from this I omitted a couple of family members.

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

In the case of ‘A Life of Choice’ the travelling was already done many years before.

For my other fiction I don’t usually travel to complete the process of writing a story, but in the case of my ‘Beyond The Law’ crime trilogy, I conducted detailed research on several brief visits to my birthplace, Glasgow.

For one of my projects ‘Czech Mate’, I made copious notes on a five-day trip to Praque and several weekends in Edinburgh.

There is something visceral about walking the streets a story’s characters walk and inhabiting their world, even partially. In my military career I drove on city streets and walked among people while armed and I find it easy to recall such a strange sensation.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

The covers for my early novels; ‘Ten Days in Panama’, ‘Amsterdam Calling’, ‘A Taste of Honey’ and the ‘Beyond The Law’ trilogy were all designed by Aimee Coveney, a professional cover designer. Aimee also designed the covers for the paperback trilogy version of ‘A Life of Choice’.

I take pleasure and pride in designing my covers and have produced the others myself. I have created 34 of my present covers.

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

In my work generally, whether it be novel, novella, short story or poetry I strive to entertain, but in that context I work hard to provide a sense of justice, karma and a feeling that good will prevail. As things turned out in my military career, I feel that these same things occurred throughout ‘A Life of Choice’.

If there is a message in that story it is that beneath the military uniform and the confident, usually humorous facade is a human being, complete with all the trappings of any other.

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?  Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?

– I can’t think of anybody I’d classify as a ‘new’ author. I’m a fan of several indie authors but if I had to choose one, for consistently memorable storytelling and incredible characterisation I’d name Lesley Hayes.

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

If you’ll excuse the pun, this is relatively easy for me. Although my wife has believed in me from the outset, neither she, nor my grown-up son have read any of my work.

If there were one entity I’d name as support it would be Amazon as a platform. After publishing a few titles, more important to me has become the psychological and personal advice and support provided by the Indie Author Support and Discussion (IASD) group on Facebook.

For quality reading material in a wide variety of genres, I would recommend many of the talented authors in the IASD.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I would say, yes I do, if we take it that as a career or occupation it takes up a significant part of my time and I maintain the desire to improve, or if you will, develop my craft.

Although I treat my writing as a ‘job’ I do so more to achieve the natural wish to produce stories—not to earn money. For example, I regularly send the paperback versions of my work as gifts or prizes for military veteran fund-raising events.

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I’ll refer once again to ‘A Life of Choice’ and the answer would be; no. I gave my heart and soul (not to mention twenty-three years of my life) to producing that story. At twenty years (off and on), it took almost as long to write and edit as it did to live the life.

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

If I were to use ‘A Life of Choice’ as the book(s) I’d suggest that I learned how fortunate I was to have achieved so much after such a self-indulgent, self-destructive start to my military career. The success was, of course, a by-product of effort, enthusiasm, diligence, and professionalism, but also due to marrying Olive, my lifelong support and anchor since we tied the knot in 1977.

Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

James McAvoy (Atonement, X-Men, The Last (King of Scotland ), et al. He is not only a fellow Glasgow man, but was brought up on the same housing estate as me; Drumchapel. Like me, he was Roman Catholic and also like me, for a brief period in his childhood considered joining the priesthood.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

To a novice writer I would suggest—do not publish until the work is as good as it can be and accept constructive criticism in good faith. We’ve all been there—really.

To established writers I would suggest—whether or not we sell our work we are promising entertainment and/or education. With this in mind we should devote ourselves to achieving what we’ve offered. Do not over-promise and under-deliver.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

If you enjoy my books, please tell others—if you don’t; please tell me.

I’m a really big fan of reviews—particularly good ones!

 Fiona: What book are you reading now?

‘The Silence of the Stones’ by Rebecca Bryn, aka Ruth Coulson.

 Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

– ‘Tom Sawyer’ by Mark Twain. Until I finished reading; I was Tom Sawyer.

 Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Humour is capable of making me do both.In my writing I’ve learned to judge how realistic a scene has developed by my mental and physical reaction. I move on at a pace when writing, so it’s when I am editing for the final time that I might feel the emotion. This applies to all genre: thriller, adventure, erotica, romance.

I may not always be reduced to tears but in our modern world I despair when I see evidence of tragic loss of life. For example, with humans due to natural disaster or terrorist activity, or in the case of wildlife, wanton destruction like ‘hunting’ or ‘poaching’.

 Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

Sir David Attenborough—the naturalist and broadcaster. My hero. He’s been to places and seen and done things many of us will only ever see on a screen. I admire his tenacity, and though in his winter years now, he remains passionate about our natural world.

I’d also like to go back in time to meet Adolf Hitler in a dark alley when we were both in our twenties …

 Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

I’m a self-taught artist, so I draw and paint when not reading or writing. Maintenance of my physical fitness has been a personal aspiration for many years. Due to a knee injury in my forties I had to abandon long-distance running. About two and a half years ago I rediscovered my love of cycling. I go out every morning (except Monday) before breakfast to cover between ten and twenty miles.

 Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

Natural History on TV has been a favourite all my life, even when the picture was black and white. In films I like humour, action, adventure and espionage.

I love the Airplane movies, the Monty Python movies and I enjoy the flippant humour in The Three Musketeers (1993 version).

 Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

I’m not now, and never have been a ‘food junkie’. I like sweet rather than savoury. If anyone pulls me up for not trying new things or eating more, I have a maxim—‘I eat to live; I don’t live to eat.’

I like reds and golds for some reason. Perhaps I should have been a Chinese temple designer or an interior designer for Chinese restaurants.

I like most music, including pop (up until about 2015), classical, instrumental, folk, country and western, and heavy metal, but I don’t like jazz, garage, funk, hip-hop or any of the other strangely designated stuff that is around now.

 Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

–  Art would be my natural choice—most likely graphic design. If not, then musician or linguist would be my next choices. I’ve always wanted to play the piano, but though I can touch-type efficiently I don’t have the dexterity for instruments.

Although I’m capable of learning foreign vocabulary, I’m not good at conversational use. Okay, for a long time I’ve also harboured the dream of being a rally or racing driver.

Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?

 Best answered by a poem from my ‘Poetry-Volume 5 – Thrills and Chills’.

I can give you a flavour* of the piece:

Mentally Prepared

.With only one more day to live

all worldly goods I’d gladly give

to let me simply go on living

I would never tire of giving


I wonder how I would be

knowing soon I would be ‘free’

No more trouble and no more worry

what time is left there’s no hurry


I’d go to Scotland’s mountains high

watch golden eagles in the sky

I’d see the herds of deer all wander

that’s how time I would squander

*(there are five more verses)

 Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?

‘Here lies Tom Benson: soldier, retailer, author, and artist. He was adored by women, admired by men and envied by all who saw his beautiful house in the Scottish Highlands so realising the extent of his astounding fortune.’

I would like that message to be true, but at least it would bring a smile when a visitor realised it was for fun.

 Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers? (Amazon)

I highly recommend a visit to the IASD website which has an extensive catalogue of excellent reading material available.




One Man, Two Missions – now available


In my latest anthology of short stories, once again I’ve aimed to create a blend of action, intrigue, suspense, and twist in the tale. I feel particularly satisfied with these tales because several of them have been in my files at some level of completion for about five or six years.

I never throw away an idea, and at least three of these stories grew from a single paragraph removed from a previous short story or novel. In their original locations, those paragraphs were excess to requirement, but nurtured, over time they grew to become stories in their own right.

Once again, to offer value to my readers I’ve included bonus stories to support the new line-up. If you decide to try my work, I’d appreciate a review—however short.

My thanks to Robert Lalonde, Penny Luker, Paul A Ruddock (PA Rudders), Sarah Stuart, Ruth Coulson (Rebecca Bryn), Senan Gil Senan, Lucinda E Clarke, Anne Francis Scott, SK Holmesley, and Lesley Hayes. All of these wonderful people are fellow members of the Indie Author Support and Discussion group on Facebook and were my beta readers for this anthology. Every one of the ten beta readers has had an impact on the stories through their valuable suggestions.

1. One Man, Two Missions – a tale of terrorism, and counter-terrorism

2. Hunter – a young gamekeeper is repaid for his devotion

3. A Fair Cop – the law works in mysterious ways

4. Target Practise – assassins should avoid role reversal

5. The Meeting – karma, it just comes around

6. Taken for a Ride – do your homework before kidnapping

7. Dealing with Conflict – a run leads to a run-in

8. Changing Tides –  when all around is darkness …

9. The Hostage – impulsive decisions can be fatal

10. Finger of Suspicion – the small things matter

11. The Beginning of the End – how far would you go for science?

12. Escape – you must know when to get out


Bonus stories from other collections:

13. Pawnee Express – youthful exuberance and courage

14. Poisoned Ivy – do unto others … but harder

15. Photographic Memory – communication without barriers


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Temptation … at no cost


Yes, hard to believe, I know. Temptation often comes with a price, however small—but not this time.

My next collection of short stories is due to be published next week, so I thought it would be appropriate to offer something at no cost for all you who like a short story. For three days, my anthology Temptation: and other stories is free to download.

Friday 14th June to Sunday 16th June inclusive

Contrary to what the title might suggest, there is no erotica, but the stories are connected by the theme; Temptation.


What’s inside?

1.   Temptation  – Dave has a long-standing weakness.

2.   A Grave Mistake – DC Jeff Clark cannot resist the chance of glory.

3.   Good with Words – Who is in control at this meeting of minds?

4.   Poisoned Ivy – Emma’s desire and potential were recognised early.

5.   The Reunion – Will Gerry feel the wait was worthwhile?

6.   Going Down? – Being impulsive sometimes has consequences.

7.   A Day of Reckoning – Lei Mei has a tight schedule to meet through choice.

8.   The Visitor – A remote island offers unusual opportunities.

9.   To Go Boldly – Was this where it all started for Jim?

10. Louise E Anna – Where there’s a will, patience, and understanding ….

11. Bewitched – In the 16th century, not everything was as it appeared.

12. One Good Turn – Wayne risks his life for a stranger. 

The twelve stories are supplemented by five bonus stories taken from other collections.

Debt of Honour – from Smoke & Mirrors: and other stories, by Tom Benson

Blood Brothers – from A Time for Courage: and other military stories, by Tom Benson

Stranger than Fiction – from The Welcome: and other Sci-Fi stories, by Tom Benson and guest authors.

Goals – from You’re Not Alone: An Indie Anthology, by Ian D Moore and friends.

Faith, Hope, and Charity Holes: An Indie Author Anthology, by authors of the IASD.

Amazon Preview/Buy

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There you have it … are you tempted to grab a book of seventeen short stories for free?

If you haven’t sampled my work before then this is an ideal opportunity to try it for nothing, and if you’ve never got into short stories—take the plunge.


Perhaps if you like what you find you’ll be tempted once again in about a week when my next collection makes an appearance.

Watch out for, One Man, Two Missions: and other stories. The tales have been honed by using the valuable opinions and suggestions of several fellow members of the amazing Indie Author Support and Discussion group. They will, of course, be accredited in the new anthology.

Thank you for the visit.


My Shorts are Expanding

It’s now five years since my first collection of multi-genre short stories and two years since my most recent. Don’t repeat it too loud, but I also have erotic shorts. Now, armed with such random anniversaries, and a host of new ideas, I’m well on the way to releasing my next anthology.


What can be expected in One Man, Two Missions and other stories?

The use of firearms features prominently, and there will be more than one tale about hostage taking, but of course, those incidents don’t always end well for the kidnappers.

Police officers, special operatives, and soldiers of fortune make appearances with some strange outcomes.

For good measure, I’ve slipped in a sci-fi tale, only because it fits the general theme. There will be no steamy romance, erotica or humour.

When will the new anthology be published?

My target date is 6th July 2019.

As I tend to do with these stories, I will work on them, rest them, edit and rework until I’m content, and then they’ll be farmed out to a few beta readers for opinions and suggestions. A couple of the tales have been in my files for three or four years, but have undergone massive makeovers.

Reasons I’ve been drawn back to short stories are that I thrive on variety, and it’s good to break away from spending too long on the same project.


My priority and biggest WIP is my next thriller, Codename: Nightshade, which is coming along but to ensure it has an original feel I have reached the point where I have to leave it aside often. When using characters from a successful trilogy it’s essential to avoid the trap of reusing previous scenarios to create a credible standalone.

I would like to publish this thriller by the end of 2019, but it must be ready.


What have I got in store with the new anthology?

1. One Man, Two Missions – a tale of terrorism, and counter-terrorism

2. Hunter – a young gamekeeper is repaid for his devotion

3. A Fair Cop – the law works in mysterious ways

4. Target Practise – assassins should avoid role reversal

5. The Meeting – karma, it just comes around

6. Taken for a Ride – do your homework before kidnapping

7. Dealing with Conflict – a run leads to a run-in

8. Changing Tides –  when all around is darkness …

9. The Hostage – impulsive decisions can be fatal

10. Finger of Suspicion – the small things matter

11. The Beginning of the End – how far would you go for science?

12. Escape – you must know when to get out


Why have these books taken so long to reach this point?

Over the past two years, I’ve been working on something special which I’ll blog about before the end of the year. The secret project has caused me to sideline several other things, but in my opinion, this serves to maintain a freshness to all of my work.

In the meantime, thank you for your visit, and your patience.


Who writes fiction and can it be taught?

Sarah Stuart - Romantic Suspense

The answer to that question must be a qualified yes. Given the opportunity, every human being can learn to communicate. From stories passed from generation to generation in words to cave art, to writing, printing presses, and computers, men and women have always told stories. Those tales have changed from history, or magical explanations of the, at the time, inexplicable, to deliberately make-believe novels intended to entertain. It is to those novels that I refer when I ask, “who writes fiction and can it be taught”, and I don’t mean correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation – school – evening classes – proof-readers –

I told stories before I could hold a pencil, and a collection of dolls and teddy bears acted them, or did they? I had my favourites – the good guys who had families they cared about– and the ones I wished one of my aunts had never…

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