Had a curious email from amazon this morning. Apparently there have been complaints about FIRE IN THE BLOOD – curiously, not about the amount of swearing or the actions of a certain DI, but the use of the word “outwith”.
This is a word I use all the time. It seems to be a Scots word, meaning the opposite of within, e.g. “The dilithium crystals are operating outwith their usual parameters, Captain”. I’ve no idea how non-Scots cope without this word – without doesn’t work, does it?
Strange. Anyway, I’ve told them to add it to their master dictionary. Let’s see if they do.
So, that’s SHOT THROUGH THE HEART out of my hands and onto your Kindles, and the paperback should be out in the next week or so, [I’ve gone Kindle-exclusive on this, so if you’re an iBooks or Nook or Kobo or whatever user, then sorry, but that’s just the way it is] – the paperback is on the Createspace store now https://www.createspace.com/4504848.
My attention has turned to BOTTLENECK, Cullen no 5.
This little bugger has been nagging away at the back of my skull for over a year now. It was as I was pulling together the final novel-length outline for FIRE IN THE BLOOD that I stumbled across the central idea. It’s taken a wee while to get round to writing it – the working lifestyle change, plus publishing another two books has delayed my Cullen schedule a bit. I’m pleased with the core ideas now and it’s going really well.
Where I’m at is the outline stage. As I’ve explained so many times before, I’m an Architect when it comes to writing [[George RR Martin link]] and I like to get a really tight outline done before I start writing properly. It’s probably come from my experience in bands – it’s much more cost-efficient to have practised the hell out of a song before you go to a £25/hour studio to record than to go into a studio and jam some ideas together. As it stands, I’ve got 52 actions, of which I’ve done thirteen. Some are tiny, some are quite big and will spawn many other actions, but it’s all just putting flesh on the skeleton now. The core story is nailed, just got a few bits and bobs to add here and there, some jokes, subplots and so on.
I think I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m going to do NaNoWriMo to finish it. Well, the stars aren’t aligning here… I think I’ve got another week or so before this outline is perfect and then I’m on holiday for a week. It’s been a bit of a bloody nightmare year, so I’m actually going to switch off from writing totally and chill out. I’ve got a solid month of writing and then an edit before anybody else sees it. My main experience this year has been to get as much right in the first few drafts to avoid the hell of editing.
One thing I’m going to make more of is the Newsletter – please subscribe to it over >>>. It’s pretty decent and honest and I don’t spam with it. Also, if you want to subscribe to receive updates to this blog, that’ll help keep you informed of when books are due to come out.
Strolling along the ancient farm path, the loch to her right was bathed in moonlight as the midsummer sun began slipping behind the mountains. She got her mobile out to check the time – just after midnight. She’d be back in her hotel room by half past at the latest.
She was surprised to feel happy as she savoured the embers of a fun evening. Smiling, she thought back to the meal, her mouth watering as she remembered the tender lamb cutlets, perfectly prepared.
Walking slowly, hoping to defer her return to the real world and work, she breathed in the smells of the countryside, wild garlic mixing with the tang of damp moss. She’d possibly regret her late night in the morning, but that was then, not now.
A howl came from behind her.
She’d read that they’d started reintroducing wolves into the Highlands, following the success with sea eagles. The land was creeping back to its pre-human times, and it pleased her to think that it was another step on the way.
She heard another howl, this time much closer. A few answering calls came from the field to her left. She couldn’t tell how far away they were. Quickening her pace to match her pulse, she stumbled in a pot hole she hadn’t spotted.
A howl emanated from right in front of her.
She stopped dead, unable to see anything, and waited, swallowing hard. Nerves jangling, she focused on blocking out the distant car noise, listening only for the movement of wolves. She didn’t know if they would kill someone but she didn’t want to put it to the test.
Three more howls rang out from in front, much closer this time. She caught sight of a wolf appearing through the hedgerow, brazen with its attitude, its fur an unusual shade of bright orange, almost like a fox but much larger.
Turning back towards the island, she started to run. Glancing behind her, heart pounding, she saw the wolf trotting slowly, keeping a distance. Hurrying, she was intent on increasing the gap between them. She was covering the ground she had sauntered down in mere seconds, berating herself for not being quicker getting back to the hotel – maybe she would have avoided the wolves.
Breathing a sigh of relief, she closed in on the gatehouse that sat across the small expanse of water leading to the island. She quickened her pace as she approached the edge. She stopped dead and climbed down the ladder onto the flagstones, now submerged. The ford through the loch had been just about passable when she left.
Launching herself forward, the water soaked her jeans up to her thighs, making her progress slow. She slipped and caught her knee as she landed, sending her sprawling under the water. She struggled up and started wading through, continually looking behind at the pair of green eyes looming over the edge. They were keeping a watching brief. She climbed up the steps at the far side.
Through the pain, desperately trying to catch her breath, she told herself she’d made it.
She was safe.
Looking up, her heart sank as she noticed that there were no lights on in the castle.
And then she saw a wolf approaching from the castle gates, flanked by another two.
She could only stand and watch as they slowly changed shape – the canine forms gradually stretching and contorting until three human beings replaced them, each with sharp talons emerging from the ends of their fingers.
Hope you enjoy it…
Status just changed to publishing! It should be live by the time my plane lands… Phew…
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