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.
Originality is relatively easy when an author is working on a single title. When the title/premise goes to a second, third or more, the idea must be examined closely to see how far it can be taken without repetition.
Certain sub-genres can run for several books and if the author is careful and inventive the fictional world will remain exciting to the reader. This must be paramount in the mindset of the creator of the work. Reader satisfaction is everything.
I have no worries about a continuing story, but I enjoy stretching my writing creativity in different directions, which is why I ended the Beyond The Law (BTL) idea and proclaimed it a trilogy.
As a reader and a writer, certain characters lend themselves to the spotlight and become favourites. For me as an author, one such character is Rachel Donoghue. When the BTL trilogy ended, the door was left open for several characters to make another appearance. Rachel was crying out to be given a standalone adventure. From this premise was born Codename: Nightshade. Rachel’s antics will provide continuity, closure in certain areas, and further entertainment for those who have enjoyed the BTL trilogy.
As a precursor and to get me in the right frame of mind I recently reread and made several edits to each book of the BTL trilogy. Plot and detail were not affected, but some dialogue and narrative were tightened to improve the reading experience.
In the new story, a few names from the past from both sides of the law will show up, combined with new good guys, and new bad guys. This will not be a fourth BTL story, but by its nature, it will lean in that direction. The key aspect of the tale for me is to highlight an individual character.
The first five chapters of Codename: Nightshade all appear in my Work in Progress menu. They’re not the finished article, but they give a flavour of how this individual character will demonstrate her skills and how much promise she has as a central protagonist. As an author, I’m thoroughly enjoying expanding my notes and ideas, many of which have been made over the past year. For me, Rachel is already real, and out there doing her best … to the worst.
I aim to produce the book in June 2019, which means that by May I hope to be asking for beta readers to help refine the tale.
In the meantime, thank you for reading and in particular, thank you to the followers of the BTL story. I have to go now … gangsters, guns and a girl are waiting for me. 🙂
I am always keen to learn about a fellow author’s route, from those tentative steps of composing a first piece of work, to first publication and beyond. Irrespective of age, or experience, the early days are the most difficult, as they are with most ventures.
It’s good for a writer’s morale to take stock occasionally, but publicly like this. It’s also self-marketing, but we can’t hide our light under a bushel, because therein lies obscurity.
My story may not be awe-inspiring, but I’ve reached another stage with my latest release.
Now is a good time for me to take a look back.
In 1992, following a military career of 23 years, I next took up retail management, which I did for 20 years. In the mid-90’s I started to write my military memoirs. It took over two years and the writing was abysmal. I abandoned the memoirs, and over the next few years I wrote short stories for my own amusement, not knowing anything of the required discipline.
In 2007 I wrote a rhyme whilst on a coffee break. A colleague told me I should join an online poetry site. I did and I wrote 700+ poems in three years, but felt the need to do something more.
I read short stories and books on how to write them, whilst I practised. I took out a subscription to a national writing magazine. In 2010 I won a competition and had my story included in an anthology. Poetry was left behind, as I spent every available minute producing ideas to create short stories.
I joined a website and a local writing group and learned much from having my work critiqued. I’d long had a yearning to write a novel, but felt it was beyond me. My first novel was inspired by a fellow poet on the other side of the world. We’d reviewed each other’s poetry and kept in touch. I’m delighted to say that our friendship has remained firm and we continue to support each other.
In December 2012 I published ‘Ten Days in Panama’, a romance-based thriller. I knew it wasn’t great, but I had introduced aspects of the thriller, and I knew I had to write something more exciting. It was a steep learning curve, just as it had been with short stories. I used the manuscript ‘rest’ periods as a time to continue writing short stories.
When I read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ I was disappointed in the content. I got the impression that the author had a good idea, but minimal knowledge of her subject. I am amazed at the success of that series.
I had experimented with writing erotic stories, but they’d never been seen. I thought back over my life experiences and decided I had the knowledge and imagination to adapt them and create a variety of scenarios. In June 2014 I published my second short story anthology ‘Coming Around and other erotic stories’.
My work on thrillers continued. In July 2014 I published ‘Amsterdam Calling’, a psychological thriller. Since moving on from poetry, my practice had been to work on more than one project simultaneously, so my next book was at an advanced stage.
I published ‘A Taste of Honey’ in December 2014. It was another vigilante story, but this time about a rogue female detective – in the US.
From late 2014 into early2015I had a handful of private messages asking if I’d ever considered writing an erotic novel. These were not random queries, but from folk who had read my erotic anthology. Just as I had with my poetry a few years before, I sensed a challenge, but once again, a challenge I relished.
One of the greatest things we can all do as indie authors is to support our peers. Try to read other indie authors, and provide reviews. Make an effort to read widely in genre – it really does pay dividends.
Another good idea is to do as I’ve done here, and produce an occasional update on progress. It doesn’t matter if you’ve written one book so far, let people know you are out there.
As always, I thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. Feedback is always welcome.
Having already produced three novels and two collections of short stories, I’ve learned that it takes several drafts and many days and months of work to produce something close to a good story. That is vital to me.
I believe that the most important thing I’ve learned has come from reviews of my work. Judging from sales figures and comments I started to appreciate where my audience wanted to be taken.
In my novel writing, I started with Ten Days in Panama (a romance-based thriller). Next I tried more action with Beyond The Law(a crime-based thriller). My third project was experimental. I aimed to tie together a travel guide and story in Amsterdam Calling(a psychological thriller).
Each of my forays into the thriller genre have led to me tackling different sub-categories and this next one is different again.
A Taste of Honey is essentially a one-woman fight against evil. The evil in question consists of more than one perpetrator, so the heroine has to stay one step ahead of the law. Anyone who has read my novels or short stories will be acquainted with my style and desire to see justice.
Honey dishes out that justice in spades.
The story is set in the USA so it is no accident that I’ve spent many hours attempting to dig out the British English and replace it with a language that our American cousins would feel more at home reading. I don’t believe the reading experience is spoiled for the British reader, but I’ve no doubt I’ll find out soon enough.
From idea to publication has taken four months, so has that time scale created any issues?
It has created issues, if I was to say that I’ve hardly been near this blog, or anybody else’s blog. I devoted my time, day and night to this story. The final version is the sixth draft although I feel sure that I could have spent more time and refined it further. There comes a point when we have to say, okay the job is done.
If you do decide to try my latest novel, please consider leaving a review. I’ve taken the precaution of giving the story the option of a sequel, but a sequel will be dependent on how Honey’s introduction goes with readers.
In 2015 I will be producing a sequel to Beyond The Law.
I am now going to catch up with some blogs before I settle down to my next story. As always, thank you for reading and remember, comments are always welcome.
In July 2014 my author website went live. I had three novels to promote on there, plus two books of short stories and five books of poetry.
It was the first week in August 2014 when I first came up with the idea for my next story, so I made some simple notes in my trusty notebook.
What did I write as the basis for the new book?
Vigilante, young female, NYPD, trigger – family connection, short time scale, fast pace, outside influence.
Okay, so that wasn’t much to go on, but as any writer would agree; it was enough.
The mention of outside influence was essentially because I was asking for ideas from anybody to keep the story going after the first chapter. There wasn’t much of a response on the ideas side of things, but I did have suggestions from several people that I should go it alone to maintain my writer’s ‘voice’.
I gave myself an estimated publishing date of mid-December 2014.
Why so tight on time?
I know I feel more of an incentive, so work more efficiently when under pressure. I completed the first draft six weeks later.
It is now 16 weeks since I started and I’ve completed the fourth draft. I’ve just finished editing my latest printed copy of the manuscript and gone back to the screen to make my amendments – again.
For a couple of days, I’ll be working through the whole file to check punctuation, grammar and suchlike. One minor issue I’ve created for myself is that this novel is Americanized. The story, characters, and locations are American, so why would the spelling and phraseology be any different? I particularly want it to appeal to the people who live where the story is set.
The file will rest for a week before I complete final checks.
Towards the end of the first week of December I’ll print the manuscript and read it again.
Monday 8th December I’m aiming to publish my new creation, ‘A Taste of Honey’.
The first five chapters are now updated on my blog as a taster.
Thank you as always for being patient with my absence from the blogging community, and thank you for reading.
Any comments are welcome as always.
Have you ever read a book and thought you had a good idea for a scene?
Perhaps you’re not a writer, but you would like to suggest an idea.
On 14th June 2003, Kimberley Forest, a NYPD police officer is awakened by the buzz of her cell phone. She reaches out from bed and sees that the caller is her teenage sister.
When the off-duty officer listens to the call, she hears only a conversation between two men.
In less than an hour, Kimberley is armed and driving 700 miles to the family home in Greensburg, Indiana.
Her life has been changed, and she is intent on changing a few others.
My intention is to write a novel under the aforementioned title, but it might be a novel with a difference. I have already started working on the main character’s bio, so we are getting better acquainted with every day that passes.
Chapter 1 is posted on this blog and I’m working on the first draft of the next two chapters. The opening passage is posted on my author websiteon the Projects page. The ‘intro’ will remain there for one month.
I would like comments and if they feel the urge, visitors may offer suggestions for scenarios that the character might be involved in at some point in the story.
I will post chapters here and mention it on my author website. From day one, there will be an open invitation for readers of this blog, my creative writer and artist site, or my author website to get in touch with ideas.
You don’t have to be a writer to put forward an idea, and you don’t have to ‘write’ the passage – simply send me an outline. Should any good suggestions be forthcoming, I will not be trying to work them immediately, but I will make every effort to get them in. As and when an idea is used I will credit the author.
I’d like to produce a completed novel at the end of the project, so it might take many months. When the story is complete I will remove the chapters for editing and rewriting. At such time as the manuscript is complete, I will be accrediting all who have taken part with a brief explanation to the reader in the preface about what we have accomplished together.
I published my crime thriller ‘Beyond The Law’ in early October right on schedule, which was good because the next day I headed to the Scottish HIghlands to chill out for a week – and it’s easy to ‘chill out’ in the Highlands in October.
My novel tells the story of Phil McKenzie, an ex–SAS soldier who is framed for an assassination. He returns to his hometown, Glasgow – as Hawk, a vigilante. He then recruits a small team and tackles organised crime head on.
As usual I aim to link my graphic with my post and this one is no different. What is the relevance of the picture? Just like the road through the Cairngorms from Braemar to Blairgowrie, I faced many twists and turns with my novel.
It was a long road with my hero being brought to life in a poem in May 2008. My character ‘Hawk’ attracted interest and good reviews, so the poem became a series of 35 poems. In November 2011, Hawk became a novel written in 30 straight days during my first attempt at the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
During 2012 I started a serious rewrite with various working titles, the favourite being, ‘Hawk – A Vigilante’. On completion I left it aside for about six months before revisiting the manuscript. When I started work on it again early this year I set myself a target date for completion of late September/early October.
I’m delighted to say I met my deadline. I set it up for a one-day Free promotion on Amazon on Saturday, 12th October and I’m pleased to say it was downloaded over 100 times and sold 5 copies. Interested readers came from UK, USA, Canada, Germany, Italy and India. Now I have to hope that the story works for all those people.
My aim for this week is to relax and paint some scenes from my recent Scottish holiday. Where did I stay? I rented ‘Treasure Island Cottage’in Braemar – so called, because it’s where Robert Louis Stevensonwrote part of the famous book, ‘Treasure Island’.
Thank you for reading – I’ll be back soon with news of my new romance novel, set in Amsterdam.