I’ve just finished FIRE IN THE BLOOD – Scott Cullen book three.
Okay, by that I mean my core writing and editing has been completed.  I’ve sent it to my beta readers for commenting and then line editing.  After that, I’ll make some tweaks but then it’s out there, yours and I have nothing more to do with it.  I’ll start writing DYED IN THE WOOL and forget all about the Crombie clan.  I’ve got a week off this week, where I will do non-writing things and then I think it’s in a good shape to be published on time for the 19th January.
I’ve surprised myself – I’ve finished three full novels in a year.  That’s got to be good.  Considering that I had given up just over a year ago, to have done this is just wow.  There are people I want to thank my other half (for the aggressive editing, the cover art and the support), my parents (for letting me be an idiot), my mate Paul (for encouraging me to dust off GHOST IN THE MACHINE, and the research stuff ) and Pat & Andrew (editing and drinking respectively) for all the support over the last year.  Also, to everyone who has read either of the two published novels, especially those who’ve let me know that they’ve enjoyed it.
Finally, as an early first foot present, here is the first chapter to FIRE IN THE BLOOD (some words may still change but it’ll get you fired up, pardon the pun) –

Doug Strachan stood by a sherry oak barrel mounted on a rack in the damp, cold basement storage room of Dunpender Distillery.  He checked the date on the bottom, and lost himself in reminiscence to eighteen years previously when the barrel had been filled with immature whisky.

Eventually, he set to work and tapped the bung – the stout wooden stopper that kept the barrel whisky-tight – with a large mallet and eased it out slowly, placing it in the pocket of his overcoat for safe-keeping.  He then lowered the dog – a long copper cylinder on a chain – deep into the barrel and allowed it to fill.  Retrieving the dog, he poured the contents into a clear glass bottle and spent a few minutes swirling the bottle and examining the golden liquid.  It looked nice and clean to him, with no noticeable impurities.  It had taken on the lighter colour of the sherry oak cask it had sat in for the last eighteen years and was a worthy candidate for the blend.  Ready to drink, if anything, thought Strachan.  He took a sniff of it and drank in the aroma of the unblended spirit for perhaps a bit too long.

Replacing the bung, he moved over to the second barrel of the pair – this one a darker bourbon cask to compliment the softer sherry oak of its sibling when they were blended together.  He tried to remove its bung but it was stuck fast.  A good few hits with the mallet and it finally slackened off.  He wiped his forehead with a handkerchief – he shouldn’t be sweating in the room given how cold it was, but he hadn’t expect any form of exertion and he was dressed in a few layers.  He dipped a second dog into the barrel.

It hit something hard.

Frowning, he retrieved the dog – it had only filled a fraction.  It danced about on the chain and spilled its contents onto the cracked flagstones of the floor.  He picked the torch up and shone it into the barrel, angling the light to cut through the liquid.

The torch shone on a human head.

(Note that Dunpender is an entirely fictional distillery – Cullen, Irvine and Bain were drinking their produce in DEVIL IN THE DETAIL)
— Ed
Buy GHOST IN THE MACHINE (Scott Cullen book one) –
UK Kindle 77p – http://amzn.to/Ih2ros
US Kindle 99c – http://amzn.to/IzknfQ
other channels available – http://edjamesauthor.com/books/ – also Scott Cullen book two DEVIL IN THE DETAIL is out now!

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