Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Reading when Writing

Dear Reader or Writer

Reading when writing. A good idea?

All writers start out as readers. That's what fires our imagination. Stirs our interest. I can do that. Isn't it the way?

We all have an amazing literary experience to tell. The stories that ring our bell and kick us off on our literary travels.

The only problem is that we become addicted to our reading fix. And we read while we are writing.

Trouble with that is, if we don't consciously attempt to write our own version of  Harry Potter, we might well be persuaded to steal a battle scene from Lord of the Rings or sneak out a sex scene from twenty-five shades of what not. The temptation, of course, being subliminal.

And what makes the temptation worse is that there are no truly original stories left. Are there?

So if everything is derivative then why not adapt a particular piece of action to your needs, be it in a back alley, the bedroom or the killing fields of the planet Zog?

After all, it's not about copyright.

If I were so convinced that there was room for another school of witchcraft and wizardry, I could quite happily write my own version without sanction. I could set it in a comprehensive in south London, the professors could be sex mad teachers, the death-eaters gang members and the boy who lived a drug addict who survived being stabbed by - you guessed it the death-eaters - sorry gang. In fact, the more I think of might not be that bad an idea....

But it is. Reading while writing sucks the life out of our work. We all strive to be original, yet after a hard day's graft we go to bed clutching the paperback and allow ourselves to be influenced.

The things we like to read become imprinted on our minds. Rather than stealing from the author, they steal away our originality.

So put down that book. Chuck it away and dream. Let the scenes be yours. Sleep tight. Let the action unfold in your subconscious. Then blast it down in pencil first thing in a morning.

That way you might write something worthwhile. And something worthwhile is what others want to read.

Sweet dreams

Yours affectionately, Saul.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014



The FIFA World Cup is going on apace at the moment. It is the 'highest level of football', isn't it? Last night's debacle suggests not. But we all believe the blurb, don't we, 'highest level...'

I've got a confession to make I'm absolutely terrible at blurb. Here I am spending months writing a great book and I can't tell you what its about in a few pithy words.

And here's why

I'm not the kind of omniscient being who can look down on a work in progress, can see the whole plot down on the table and move the characters around it like some controlling Svengali from a Bond movie.

No, I write the novel right down there in the plot. I crawl my way through the twists and turns of dark tunnels as I find the plot. When I see a little light at the end of the tunnel, I stop and write down a few numbered bullets to guide my way out. But I have no overall picture.

Result - at the end of the journey, how do I say what this story its about in a few words? Plot, sub-plots, characters, sexy bits are all screaming for your attention. Not good.

I saw one poor chap who believed in his novel and put it up on Amazon with a blurb that competed with the text in terms of detail. Why read the story when it's all there in summary?

I've never been that bad (have I?). I've always tried to at least cut down the words. But I was struck by the James Paterson back of the book blurbs that run to around 78 words. He'd sell any way no matter what was written, wouldn't he? But still there's a lesson there.

I put up what I considered a short blurb for one of my recent novels Duisburg (improving all the time). The creator of the cover commented that the cover looked great but the blurb was too long, but more importantly had too many names (of characters).

He advised me to concentrate on two characters and stick to the main plot. I had a think about this and put it into practice and it is amazing how much it helps. As a result, a much better blurb for Duisburg is going up today on Amazon. 

Moreover, I applied the rationale to my latest release Amanda as well. Now, Amanda features three strong women characters. Okay, I'm not dogmatic, so three it is. But I got rid of the names of lovers, husbands and a mysterious slave girl who's the cause of a lot of the trouble.

Sticking with these three woman opened up the whole thing for me. I was able to see I was putting in too much detail. Why a thing happened, rather than it just did. This helps the immersed writer to concentrate on the main plot line. Therefore, the new blurb asks questions rather that providing answers.

Hopefully, readers will buy the book to find the answers.

I'll post the link to both books once they have gone through the final Amazon vet, text, covers, blurbs.

Hope you've found this useful.

Good reading and writing

Best wishes


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

My Novels


Lord,  it has been busy. A few weeks ago when I published Duisburg after three months of editing I vowed to move things on with my career. I also determined  not to let sleeping dogs lie.

On the former I started and completed the edit of Amanda in about a week. This is a 105k word thriller, but I have to admit, that unlike Duisburg, it was right first time. This is something I will always try to do from now on with my writing.

I published Amanda today, so expect to see it tomorrow on Amazon - will post the link.

On the latter, Duisburg is nevertheless a marvellous crime thriller and deserves a better presentation. So here is a cover that says much more about the content -

The cover is courtesy of If there are any self-pub writers out there I can recommend this service. It's dead easy, with plenty of choice in their catalogue. What's more the service is fantastic. Check it out.

Ok, so Amanda is going to be published tomorrow, so I'll be blogging about that. But in the meanwhile take a look at Duisburg on or It's readily found by searching on Duisburg Thriller. You'll not be disappointed.

In any case, here's the link

Best Regards


Thursday, 3 July 2014

Duisburg & Amanda

Dear reader,

I can't believe it was December 20 last year when I last posted on here. And here we are with over half the new year gone!
As advertised in that last post I did write a sequel to Amanda. This new story is called Qandisa and is the second in a trilogy. It was completed mid-March.
I then set about editing Duisburg, a sexy high octane thriller, which was completed this time last year. Duisburg took three edits, and as a result was published last week on Amazon.

Here's the link.

I immediately set about editing Amanda (105k words) and I am half way through the edit. In contrast to Duisburg, Amanda was more or less right first time and will only require one run through. Consequently, I expect to publish this story about a female serial killer toward the end of next week on Amazon. Look out for it then.

I am mad busy with the writing and my ability to produce is my greatest strength. You won't be disappointed with either of these new tales!

Best wishes