Justice Will Be Done …

Anyone who reads my work will be acquainted with my continual need to see justice done. It’s usually summary in style. After all, who needs a judge and jury when you know who the bad guys are? I know that there are those who might disagree, but we’re talking fiction here.

The immediacy of that type of justice is more akin to retribution, a demand for an individual or group to pay the price for the wrongdoing.

What other justice is there?

Apart from that which we associate directly with crime, we can also, ‘do justice’ to someone or something. In other words, to represent fairness or appreciation where applicable.

Having completed another edit of my latest crime thriller, Codename: Foxglove, I feel that I’ve encompassed both meanings of justice. Within the story, there are few grey areas for the characters. They are either bad guys doing bad things, or good guys doing bad things to bad guys. In that second category, in mitigation, and using artistic licence, I absolve the good guys.

How have I used the second meaning of justice?

I feel that I’ve done justice to my original idea for Beyond The Law and the creation of the trilogy. From a passing thought (as we creatives tend to have), Phil McKenzie’s plight became a poem. By the end of the poem, I knew there had to be more. It became a thirty-plus poem series; The Hawk.

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I followed up on the supportive comments of my fellow poets on the Starlite Cafe website, and prepared notes with a view to using the poetry series as the basis for my first novel. In further preparation, I enrolled for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November 2010. I completed the challenge and ended with a rough 65,000 word story. I was in full-time work at that time so it took two years of dedication and multiple drafts before Beyond The Law was published.

I increased my output (work permitting), and apart from other stories over the next few years, I completed my first crime thriller. I later amended the title to Beyond The Law: Formation, because it became the first in a trilogy. Like many of my readers, Rachel was a favourite character of mine, and so she was developed in a spinoff; Codename: Nightshade.

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Once again as the story closed I had a nagging doubt about leaving things as they were. Dominique had been introduced in Rachel’s story and at that point I recognised what had to be done. The series needed not only another spinoff, but one which would provide closure.

Codename: Foxglove is now a few weeks away from publication, having been through two full edits already, and more are on the way. I aim to have the manuscript ready for beta readers by November.

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If you’d like to be one of my beta readers for this final tale in the series, I’ll be ready to send out the manuscript on Monday 29th November. The deadline I’m setting for returns/critique points is Sunday 5th December. This will afford me two weeks to work through the feedback and amend as necessary.

When I publish in mid-December, Justice will be done … regarding the Beyond The Law series.

Comments and suggestions are welcome as always, and thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

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In Their Footsteps

Pitlochry, Scotland

In mid-September I spent a week up in Scotland—in the picturesque Highland village of Pitlochry. It was an appropriate place to finish off the first full editing session of Codename: Foxglove. Dominique (Foxglove), went there to visit her mentor, Rachel (Codename: Nightshade).

The Foxglove story will rest until mid-October, and from then it will undergo at least three further sessions with two-week breaks between. If it feels ready, I aim to send it out to beta readers in late November. When published, this tale will bring the Beyond The Law stories to a close, so, as might be expected, it will be done with a heavy heart, but by the same token, some series’ run their course. I’d like the final story to be a worthy conclusion to the tales which started life as a single experimental poem about a man who was compelled to end his military career.

Pitlochry saw several scenes from Codename: Nightshade which involved the Mental Riders Motor Cycle Club among others. Characters from both sides of the line came unstuck in a big way in the village. Locations like the filling station, a (renamed) bar on the main road, a large hotel, a car park, and the railway station all held a special significance for me. I travelled along the road which was used in a car and motorbike chase and felt justified in having used the route in the scenes.

While in Scotland, I visited Braemar which featured in Beyond the Law: Retribution. As the author of action scenes, death and mayhem, it creates a peculiar feeling to be on site and imagine what took place in my imaginary world.

Apart from those places I also spent a day at Aviemore and on several of the countryside routes in the area. Here, of course, I was reminded of the characters from my Light at The End trilogy, and in particular my heroine from the spinoff, Sylvia.

In visits to Glasgow, my home town, I’ve enjoyed the ‘sense of place’ when thinking back to the Beyond The Law trilogy, and in recent visits to Edinburgh I sensed the presence of Bryce, and several other characters from Czech Mate.

A knowledge of the locations used in stories complements the imagery and to a certain extent, the action. Returning to ‘real’ places after the job is done is a surreal experience and provides a healthy dose of satisfaction—I’d recommend it to fellow authors.

Thank you for indulging me with your time and comments.

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