Ed James writes crime-fiction novels across multiple series.
His Scott Cullen series follows the career of a young Edinburgh Detective investigating crimes from the bottom rung of the career ladder he’s desperate to climb. The spin-off Craig Hunter series focuses on a cop and overcoming his PTSD from his time in the army.
Putting Dundee on the tartan noir map, the DS Vicky Dodds books star a driven female detective struggling to combine her complex home life with a heavy caseload.
Set four hundred miles south on the gritty streets of East London, his DI Fenchurch series features a detective with little to lose and a daughter to find.
Formerly an IT project manager, Ed began writing on planes, trains and automobiles to fill his weekly commute to London. He now writes full-time and lives in the Scottish Borders, with his girlfriend and a menagerie of rescued animals.
Really frustrating to report BUT there has been a slight delay to the publication of SHOT THROUGH THE HEART. I had expected to get it online last night ahead of today’s launch but it’s been stuck in the Amazon pipes.
Turns out that a book with vampires, werewolves and romance can’t be tagged with the keyword Twilight, and also that Amazon don’t have the capability to default the errant keyword to blank, publish the book and then let the author fix later. Given that it’s been ready since the end of September, this is beyond annoying.
Hopefully it’ll be published later on today – I’ll keep you posted as it progresses. It won’t be free today, hopefully I’ll have time to let it go free tomorrow.
Anyway. Time for deep breaths. They’re usually really good – eg a minor tweak to the price of FIRE IN THE BLOOD went through in record time yesterday. It’s time they allowed us to do a pre-release launch…
My next book, SHOT THROUGH THE HEART [Book one of the SUPERNATURE series], is out this Thursday, 31-Oct-13. Or Hallowe’en as its otherwise known… The book has been ready for a few weeks now, but I’ve been getting my ducks in a row on the old publicity front… It’ll be £2.99, BUT –
It will be free on Thursday, just for one day.
This is as a thank you to all my loyal fans over the eighteen months I’ve been self-publishing. If you get in there on Thursday, you get yourself a brand new book for the nothing. I couldn’t do this without people liking my books, so this is a little something back to you.
Mark Campbell, historian and author, is desperate to finish his new book on the infamous Highland Clearances when his researcher mysteriously disappears. Abandoning his depressed wife and new baby, Mark rushes to a remote Scottish village to investigate.
But when he gets there, all is not what it seems. Who is the attractive landowner, Lady Elizabeth Ruthven, and why is she housebound on a remote loch island? Why are wild dogs hunting him? What really happened to the researcher?
Mark’s investigation is soon overwhelmed by a series of unnerving events, plunging him into a nightmare of vampires and devil worship. Can he make it back home to his family in one piece?
SHOT THROUGH THE HEART is a thrill-ride adventure set in the Scottish Highlands, cleverly weaving the supernatural with history. It will grip you right through to its shocking conclusion.
Book one of the SUPERNATURE series.
(I use Grammarly’s online proofreader because copying is less than cutting.)
Those of you who’ve seen the articles on me or heard the Radio Scotland interview will be aware that I set myself an idiotic challenge to complete two books before the end of September while simultaneously switching my working life from an Edinburgh commute to staying in London through the week and commuting from Edinburgh. It’s October now, so how have I done?
Well, first you’ll all know that the main book was CULLEN 4, or DYED IN THE WOOL as it’s otherwise known, and that came out in early July. Seems to have gone down reasonably well, to say the least…
The second of the two books – SHOT THROUGH THE HEART, not a CULLEN book – was supposed to be the lighter of the two in terms of word count and effort, a little project that I could batter on with while DYED was getting edited. In the end, it’s grown arms and legs but I’m really happy with how it’s turned out.
In total, I think the finished books are over 190,000 words. Bearing in mind the amount of editing I’ve done (thanks Rhona), it’s probably about 250,000+ words that have been typed in that time. While I’ve got a day-job. And in all seriousness, at least 75% of that was done on public transport -literally planes, trains and automobiles…
I could release SHOT THROUGH THE HEART tomorrow, but I’ve decided to try something different. Instead of publishing the book when the ink is still wet, I’ve decided to be a little bit more grown-up about it and do a proper release. So, SHOT THROUGH THE HEART will be released on 31-Oct-13. (Yes, that’s Hallowe’en.)
While I’ll be losing a month’s income, and you lot will be losing a month’s reading, I want to try and make a splash with this. Aside from that, every time I’ve published it with wet ink, I’ve regretted it – DYED was the only exception, but the first three were riddled with typos or errors that I’ve had to fix. I only really get a feel for them a couple of weeks after the book is done, so that’s what I’m doing this time. I’m letting it build up.
(Not that I’ll be quiet in October. I’ve decided to up the idiocy and write the next CULLEN – BOTTLENECK – in November’s National November Writing Month. I’ve been plotting it out, getting the outline sorted, and it’s looking like it’ll be about 90,000 words, or 3,000 per day, every day, for a month. But I’m not doing a bloody moustache this year.)
So, yeah, that’s some pretty good news.
Quick note to say that I’ll be on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland show tomorrow morning from about 8.30am, talking about my books and writing on public transport. I’ll post a link to the iPlayer stream once it’s up.
(Serious thanks to Ken Stephen from Heartland Media PR)
Also, GHOST IN THE MACHINE is currently at number 8 in the Amazon UK free charts just now. I’m struggling to not get over-excited…
I’ve just spent all afternoon redoing the artwork to the four SCOTT CULLEN books, replacing the previous illustration files with some snazzy new photographic-based images, which are tied both to the genre and to the stories themselves –
The new cover to GHOST IN THE MACHINE is a view along the shoreline of Portobello, home of Scott Cullen (and previous home to me). There are some key plot points that take place in the town (I view it as distinct from Edinburgh) and I thought it fitting to include.
The cross here illustrates the overriding theme of DEVIL IN THE DETAIL – faith and the abuse of trust that usually comes when it goes unregulated and internally governed.
FIRE IN THE BLOOD features a shot of Edinburgh from the coast at Longniddry, not far from where Dunpender Distillery is set but which also ties together the two distinct geographies of the book.
Finally, DYED IN THE WOOL has a shot from what could be Cullen’s bedroom as he contemplates what the hell is going on in the book.
A huge thanks to Kitty for helping me with the files and for using up some of her 9,500 photos on our hard drive – I only wish that I had more books written so that we can do more covers now.
Nice to see my latest getting some lovin’ – DYED IN THE WOOL is the 8th and final nomination for best crime book on the There’s Been A Murder blog (you’ll recall that I did an interview there recently) –
(On holiday just now but this is great news!)
Slightly misleading title there, heh, but I’ve fixed the pricing structure for my ebooks in the UK (US prices are roughly consistent) –
DEVIL IN THE DETAIL is now £1.99 (UK http://t.co/KHnEWdbF US http://t.co/HFRVU0r7)
FIRE IN THE BLOOD is now £2.99 (UK http://t.co/yJg6BEKO US http://t.co/VRuKuV4G)
DYED IN THE WOOL is still £3.99 (UK http://amzn.to/14E7St1 US http://amzn.to/14E7SsZ)
GHOST IN THE MACHINE had reverted to charging at 77p, which was very frustrating, but it’s now back at FREE. UK http://t.co/tPhCVOJX US http://t.co/2fQ1jgjS
In other news, the structural edit for SHOT THROUGH THE HEART is back in – my rough calculations give me 20 hours of editing work before it’s ready for a proper line edit. The good news is that, while it suffers from the same problems the early draft of DYED IN THE WOOL did in terms of lack of pace in the first half, it’s got a lot of good stuff in it. Trying to put werewolves and vampires in a real world situation isn’t easy… I’ve had a target of getting both DYED and SHOT done by the end of September, obviously I’m half way there (damn, another Bon Jovi reference…)
Last night, I clicked compile in the Scrivener file for SHOT THROUGH THE HEART, the first non-Cullen book I’m going to publish and maybe, just maybe, the start in a new series. It’s got vampires and werewolves and stuff, and is in no way linked to Cullen.
Don’t get too excited, that’s my “writing” phase done, it’s now fully into the editing phase. There’s a structural edit going on just now – it might be able to skip straight into full line edit, but I doubt it. I expect to be able to publish it in mid-to-late September, depending on how that all goes.
Anyway, one of the big things is that there’s absolutely no swearing at all, whatsoever. The harshest curse is maybe a bloody or a Jesus. I wanted to see if I could write without all the Bain effing and blinding – keen readers will notei that DYED IN THE WOOL actually had the C-bomb in twice, entirely in context, of course.
It’s been an interesting experience as my fingers seem to have muscle memory over the F, U, C and K keys on my MacBook, and the keys are less white and more grey. It’s in context with the book – the main character is an academic – so it’s not feeling too forced.
Also, there’s no explicit reference to brands – something I’m a bit conscious of having done.
One thing about this book is that it could form the basis of a series. I’ve got about 1/3 of the sequel plotted out in my head – whether I actually write it remains to be seen.
One of things I wanted to do was diversify my books from the core Cullen series into something a bit different but with similar themes and style. We’ll see how it goes and whether that sequel gets written. If it does, I’m going to steal the CRASH INTO MY ARMS title from Cullen.
The next thing for me is to graft out the full outline for BOTTLENECK, Cullen book 5. Hopefully it won’t be as tortuous to write as DYED IN THE WOOL was. Or as long.
Had another interview published today on There’s Been A Murder site (absolutely love that name) – thanks for Lynsey for asking me to do it!
What do you see for the future of Scott Cullen in your books
I can’t tell you that, you’ll just have to wait and read them…
The next book is going to pick up on events from DYED IN THE WOOL, both in Cullen’s personal life and in his professional -remember that there’s now a vacancy in the DS ranks and maybe one in the DIs as well…
Read the full thing here –
GHOST IN THE MACHINE (Scott Cullen book one) is FREE –
UK Kindle – http://amzn.to/Ih2ros
US Kindle – http://amzn.to/IzknfQ
Did a fun interview with Jason Beech – author and book reviewer – over the weekend. It came out really well, though I may regret the following –
That we’re fucked. Seriously fucked. There are too many people on the planet and we don’t manage or organise ourselves very well – and we spend too much money on the wrong things. Individually, people focus on the wrong things through choice or peer pressure. Corporations hold too much power.
Scott Cullen book four – DYED IN THE WOOL – is out now on Amazon Kindle (other formats to follow) –
UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dyed-Scott-Cullen-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00DTG5BTM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373258399&sr=1-1&keywords=Ed+James+dyed+in+the+wool
US – http://www.amazon.com/Dyed-Scott-Cullen-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00DTG5BTM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1373282584&sr=8-1&keywords=Ed+James+dyed+in+the+wool
It should be up at all other Amazon domains – there are too many to individually link to…
And I can now collapse before the reviews come in…
Detective Constable Scott Cullen’s professional and private lives are at opposite ends of the spectrum. His career is impacted by the jockeying for position ahead of the formation of the Scottish Police Service, as much as by his own inability to push his case for promotion. Meanwhile, his relationship with DS Sharon McNeill goes from strength-to-strength – dinner with both sets of parents is interrupted by a call to action.
A body has been found in a Range Rover at the foot of a shale bing in West Lothian.
Cullen is forced to go back to his old stomping ground, haunted by figures from his past. DS Colin Methven, the latest officer occupying the position that Cullen has long coveted, is intent on straightening out Cullen’s cowboy nature, which has fractured his friendship with DC Angela Caldwell. Lurking in the background is DI Paul Wilkinson, trying to push Cullen back to a recent major case. As the mysteries are compounded, Cullen starts to feel lost among the dyed in the wool.
And it’s coming out next Monday on Amazon Kindle with others to follow soon. It’s a doozer – the best Cullen so far, I think, and backed up by the lucky few that have read it. It’s the culmination of the first trilogy (in four parts, natch) and will be the last SOMETHING IN THE SOMETHING book – Cullen five (hopefully out before Xmas) will be called BOTTLENECK (or maybe BOTTLE NECK, who knows?). As you’ll have seen, it’s had the most copious editing (rather than the rush job that I did on FIRE IN THE BLOOD) and I’m feeling seriously good about it.
After this, it’s on to finishing SHOT THROUGH THE HEART (plus I’ll do a tweak to DEVIL, like I did with GHOST but much less drastic). August feels attainable.
Oh, if you’re on the mailing list – you’ve got an exclusive removed chapter from this coming your way. Otherwise, get on the mailing list!
So tonight I sat in a burger bar (Byron burger – skinny burger, courgette fries and milkshake if you must know) [and the same one that the revised version of GHOST’s Afterword was written in] and committed the last edits to DYED IN THE WOOL, Cullen book four. It’s off being proofed now so I suspect it’ll be ready to publish in 1-2 weeks. I’ll let you know – keep an eye on this page and twitter.
Anyway, it’s been the longest writing I’ve done – I plotted it in November, started writing it in early February, finished in mid-March, got it structurally edited in April and May and properly line-edited in May and June. It’s the longest of the Cullen’s at 111,000 words – I’m not writing that length of book again, it practically killed me. (Bear in mind that I wrote most of the first draft of SHOT THROUGH THE HEART in that time)
I wanted to thank Rhona for the sterling editing job she’s done – she’s really knocked it out of the park (cliche) – she’s really done an amazing job (repetition of She’s) – etc. In all seriousness, it’s a great edit job she’s done and I really appreciate her help with it. Give me a shout if you’re looking for an editor – I can highly recommend her (though I obviously get first dibs).
Anyway, I thought you’d like to know it’s on its way. There will be a newsletter soon with an exclusive scene that I culled from the novel so go and subscribe…
Next on my list –
- readthrough of first draft of my girlfriend’s book
- put down ideas for Cullen book five in a structured way
- blurb and afterword for DYED IN THE WOOL
- finish and edit SHOT THROUGH THE HEART
Nice review of GHOST by Jason Beech. Very well-written and articulate –
In other news, I’m getting close to the end of DYED IN THE WOOL, should be going to the proof readers this weekend, I hope… Feeling enthusiastic about CULLEN again.
GHOST IN THE MACHINE (Scott Cullen book one) is FREE –
UK Kindle – http://amzn.to/Ih2ros
US Kindle – http://amzn.to/IzknfQ
Quick note to sat that FIRE IN THE BLOOD is out now in paperback (only four months after Kindle – I need to stop being so bad at that). I think it’s all hooked up on these pages –Amazon UK – http://bit.ly/EJDevl Amazon US – http://amzn.to/EJDevU
Amazon DE – link Amazon FR – link Amazon ES – link Amazon IT – link
In other news, DYED IN THE WOOL is 50% through editing so I’m confident of getting it out in June.
I’m taking a break from SHOT THROUGH THE HEART to do a few tweaks to GHOST IN THE MACHINE – my style has moved on quite a lot since then and it’s just bringing it up to the standard for later books (all I’m doing is tidying up sentence structure where it gets a bit clunky in dialogue and adding some clarity/removing ambiguity). I’ve done 41% in two days so it’s not a particularly onerous task – should get it done this week.
My schedule and rhythm is all broken with the lifestyle change of the last two weeks, so it’s a case of doing what I can when I can. Should be back on form soon.
I’ve just uploaded a new file for GHOST IN THE MACHINE to Amazon, mainly to try and convert some of the colossal downloads I’ve had into sales of the sequels, and to standardise the format. Part of me is tempted to give it another draft – my style moved on quite a lot in DEVIL IN THE DETAIL – but I’m conscious of too much revisionism. I wrote the first two books in Word and then moved to Scrivener – Word produces pretty poor eBook files, well actually it doesn’t produce any. Scrivener outputs them directly and they look really pro.
Anyway, one thing that I couldn’t help was restoring the original intro from way back in 2009. Actually, I may have written in December 2007. Looking back at it, I’m not sure why I removed it. I lost a lot of the book between the third and fourth drafts, so it must have been around about then. Shame, it reads pretty well to me and gives a bit more to Caroline’s character which maybe makes her subsequent disappearance more poignant. Quite a lot of pop culture references in there – that soundtrack is amazing, by the way, check it out on Spotify or something because it’s got so many good tunes on it.
Rather than you lot having to scour Amazon for it, here it is –
Caroline Adamson tugged the brush through her hair, her nerves jangling. She stared at her face in the mirror, frowned at her hair. She still had no idea what to do with it.
So much rested on tonight.
She took another sip from the glass of white wine on the dresser. The CD switched track, and Caroline started swaying to the opening bars of the next track. She pouted in time with the hi-hat, and tugged the brush ever harder, desperately trying to get her hair perfect.
“Make him magnificent,” she sang, out of time and out of tune.
She laughed to herself at the lyric; so much hope placed in such a throwaway line, but every word resonated.
She had bought the CD – the Trainspotting soundtrack – two days after her eighteenth birthday. This was easily her favourite track, the Sleeper version of Blondie’s Atomic. She thought back to herself at eighteen, going through the same ritual to the same songs before going out; brushing her hair, singing along. In those days, of course, she didn’t have to hope it was true; at that time, she still thought that Rob was magnificent. She grimaced at the thought, reflected on how little had outwardly changed in her – she was still reasonably thin, hadn’t aged noticeably, hadn’t put on weight after having Jack.
The divorce, though, had added rings around her eyes that she couldn’t get rid of.
She caught herself in the mirror from an unusual angle – her hair would do.
Tonight, though, she hoped against hope that Martin would be magnificent.
Her mobile, a cheap Samsung clamshell, lit up on the dresser and chirruped – a new text message. Amy telling that Jack was safe asleep. She picked up her land line and called Amy.
“How’s he doing?” asked Caroline, before Amy could even answer the call.
“He’s fine, Caz, he’s fine,” said Amy, amusement in her voice. “Out like a light. Not even you ringing four times in the last hour could wake him.”
“I worry about him, that’s all.”
“Don’t!” said Amy. “He’s in good hands.”
“Fine. Okay. But let me know if he’s up in the night.”
“Caroline, stop thinking about Jack for one minute, okay?” said Amy. “Think about yourself. You’ve got a date with this secret man, try and concentrate on that, alright?”
“I suppose you’re right.”
“You know I am. Now get yourself ready and get gone, okay?”
She sighed, and put the phone down.
She moved away from the dressing table and sat down on the bed, waking the sleeping MacBook up. She logged into Schoolbook, and read through the last few messages that Martin had sent: sorting out arrangements for tonight; confirmation of her confirmation; a message about some film he’d just seen, Code 46; a reply she’d sent about the book she was reading, a crumpled copy of On Beauty that had languished in her handbag, still unfinished despite months of chipping away at it on the bus home from work.
The CD switched track again. Caroline started humming along. New Order, Temptation.
She flicked back to her home page. She had a message from Steve Allen, one of her oldest friends, going back to school. He wished her luck for tonight. She didn’t reply.
She went into Martin’s profile, looked at the baby blue eyes in the photograph, the wide smile, the perfect teeth. The only messages on his Profile were hers; Caroline wondered if she would look like some mad stalker woman. She took another sip of wine. She saw her grinning face in Martin’s friends list, and clicked through to her own profile.
It always sent a shiver down her spine that he was one of the few of her friends displayed; her ex-husband Rob Adamson. Steve had explained to her that it was to do with them both being in the Edinburgh group, and that was how it prioritised friends. Steve was in the Glasgow group and wasn’t even shown on her profile – she even had to click through to the main list to see Steve holding a pint of lager with a Celtic shirt on. She was tempted to delete Rob from her friends there and then. She should never have accepted the invite in the first place, but she had been trying to rise above it all, at the time, trying to be friends for Jack’s sake.
Martin’s face was adjacent to Rob’s, another member of the Edinburgh network. It was where they’d met, if you could call it meeting. Caroline had been on a Schoolbook message forum she regularly frequented, discussing the best film as voted by the group – Martin had said Pulp Fiction, she’d said Trainspotting, though could just as easily have said Pulp Fiction; the vote went to Anchorman, something neither had even seen. They’d shared some conversations on the forum about their choices, and then Martin had sent her a private message…
She started singing again. “Oh, you’ve got green eyes, oh, you’ve got blue eyes, oh, you’ve got grey eyes.”
She looked back at the message chain between her and Martin, stretching back almost two months, the flirtatious subtext getting ever stronger as the chain kept on towards the seeming inevitability of their meeting. She’d not felt that level of connection with anyone for a long time. It was like he was in her head.
Caroline tried to read between the lines, tried to work out if he would be magnificent.
God, did she need him to be.
… it then goes into the previous intro – her sitting in the bar.
If I can find the time, a revised file of DEVIL IN THE DETAIL will wing its way out soon. Oh, and the paperback of FIRE IN THE BLOOD should be out tomorrow…
GHOST IN THE MACHINE (Scott Cullen book one) is FREE –
UK Kindle – http://amzn.to/Ih2ros
You’ll probably be wondering where CULLEN book four is given that the perpetual bad weather for 2013 has cleared for a day and it can officially be called early summer…
Well, DYED IN THE WOOL is probably about three or four weeks away from being published. On the to-do list is 1) get edited by the editor (looking good from the sneaky peak I’ve had at her spreadsheet), 2) make my edits in the manuscript, 3) get it proofed by someone else (to make sure my stupid fingers haven’t added errors when I’ve taken them away) and 4) do the cover art (just about there). So sometime mid-June would be when I expect to get it out there – I’m really pleased with it, feels like the most professional book I’ve done on so many levels.
I intend to refresh the Kindle files for the first two books (might be a couple of errors still in) over the next few weeks – nothing major more a lick of paint and some publicity linking to other books.
The reason that this post is called TWOISM (a reference to a Board of Canada mini-album if you didn’t know) is that I’ve got another book that will follow quite quickly after. It is not a Cullen book and features no arsehole DIs (in fact, it has no profanity at all). It is a supernatural thriller and will be called SHOT THROUGH THE HEART (the working title was NAIL IN THE COFFIN which is too Cullen – I don’t want to give the impression that it’s got anything to do with that idiot). You can probably guess that it’s something to do with vampires. Anyway, I’ve got about 80% through the first draft with a load of extra scenes I need to add. I started a new job in London last week and I’m not getting the same amount of time as I did working in Edinburgh – I’ll fix that this week. It’s going to go through the same process as DYED did so I’d expect to release it late-July. In amongst that, I’ll be plotting out CULLEN five and another non-Cullen book I want to get out this year…
Oh, and GHOST seems to be hurtling towards the top 100 free again, after weeks in the mid-300s. No idea why – can’t find any new reviews of it. Spooky.
I’ve been struggling of late.
Not with DYED IN THE WOOL, Cullen book four – that’s just ready to get line edited and proofed. Should be out in June.
And not with NAIL IN THE COFFIN, my first non-Cullen book – I’ve written half of it already and it’s going really well. Should be out in July, would you believe…
What I’ve been struggling with has been the plot of SPANNER IN THE WORKS, Cullen book five. I’ve got a specific theme I want to write about (it’s been set up in FIRE and DYED) but I’ve really struggled with the actual case. I’m wary of repeating myself and I don’t want to get too formulaic (or repeat mistakes that other writers have made) and there’s a danger that SPANNER just becomes DYED IN THE WOOL part 2, which I want to avoid.
Anyway, we were having a big clear out of cupboards at the weekend and came across a load of old notebooks, from the time before I started using Evernote… There was a load of rubbish in there – half-finished ideas, outlines for abandoned half-finished ideas – but I did find a few pages of notes that got me interested.
The notes were ideas based on redrafting my first ever novel – don’t worry, you’ll never see it – but they clicked with an idea I’d had for a future Cullen novel. As I looked through them – and I typed them into Evernote – I realised that it could work with the theme I’d got for book five. Since then, I’ve been thinking it through and it definitely works. Very spooky.
So be relieved that you’ve got (at least) another two Cullen books to come after DYED IN THE WOOL…