23 March 2012

Hello, Mr. Glamour - Guest Post by Richard Godwin

Designer goods, beautiful women, wealthy men, a lifestyle preyed on by a serial killer.
A killer who is watching everyone, including the police.
Latest headlines?

No, an outline of my second novel, Mr. Glamour.

My debut novel Apostle Rising was published in paperback by Black Jackal Books last year. It was about a serial killer crucifying politicians, and sold extremely well, received excellent reviews, and sold foreign rights to the largest publisher in Hungary.

Now Black Jackal Books have published Mr. Glamour, and I’d like to tell you a bit about it. The settings are exotic, and the pages drip with wealth. The story’s told in my usual style, and my readers will know what that means. I have been told I write with a blend of lyricism and graphic description. I like to explore what motivates people and I certainly do so with the leading characters in Mr. Glamour.

The two central cops, DCI Jackson Flare and Inspector Steele, are unusual and strong in their own ways, as reviewers are already picking up. At the beginning of the novel Steele hates working with Flare for personal reasons. She doesn’t by the end, and the investigation takes them both on a journey which changes them and their opinions of one another.

Let me give you the setting if you are tempted to read Mr. Glamour: 

Something dark is preying on the glitz of the glamour set. There is a lot about designer goods and lifestyles in Mr. Glamour. The killer knows all about design, he knows what brands mean to his victims. He is branding their skins. And he has the police stumped.

As Flare and Steele investigate the killings they enter an exclusive world with its own rules and quickly realise the man they are looking for is playing a game with them, a game they cannot interpret. The killer is targeting an exclusive group of people he seems to know a lot about.

The police investigation isn’t helped by the fact that Flare and Steele have troubled lives. Harlan White, a pimp who got on the wrong side of Flare, is planning to have him killed. And Steele has secrets. She leads a double life. She is an interesting woman who pushes her sexual boundaries in private. She travels a journey into her own past and rescues herself. And in a strange way she is helped by the killer she is looking for. And Flare has some revelations in store.

As they try to catch a predator who has climbed inside their heads, they find themselves up
against a wall of secrecy. The investigation drives Flare and Steele to acts of darkness. And the killer is watching everyone.

Then there is the sub plot.

Contrasting this lifestyle is the suburban existence of Gertrude Miller, who acts out strange rituals, trapped in a sterile marriage to husband Ben. She cleans compulsively and seems to be hiding something from him, obsessed that she is being followed. As she slips into a psychosis, characters from the glamorous set stray into Gertrude’s world, so the two plots dovetail neatly with one another.

And when Flare and Steele make an arrest they discover there is far more to this glamorous world than they realised. There is a series of shocks at the end of the novel as a set of fireworks go off. Watch out for the highly dramatic ending.

It is already picking up some great reviews:

Advance praise for Mr. Glamour:
“Richard Godwin knows how his characters dress, what they drink and what they drive. He knows how they live--- and how they die. Here's hoping no one recognized themselves in Godwin's cold canvas. Combines the fun of a good story with the joy of witty, vivid writing.”
-- Heywood Gould, author of The Serial Killer's Daughter.

“Smart, scary, suspenseful enough for me to keep the light on until 3AM on a Sunday night, Richard Godwin once more proves to fans of crime fiction the world over with Mr. Glamour, that he is not only one of the best contemporary writers of the procedural cop thriller around today, he is a master storyteller.”  
-- Vincent Zandri, author of Scream Catcher.

“Richard Godwin’s top-of-the-line psychological police procedural driven by its heady pace, steely dialogue, and unsparing vision transfixes the reader from page one.”
 -- Ed Lynskey, author of Skin In The Game.

 “Mr. Glamour is a striking effort from one of the most daring crime writers in the business. It is the noirest of noir...and hellishly addictive.”
-- Mike Stafford, BookGeeks Magazine.

 “This first rate detective thriller will have you gripped from the start. Richard Godwin is an author not to be missed.”
-- Sheila Quigley Author of Thorn In My Side.

“Mr Glamour is, in every sense of the word, the real McCoy: genuine hard boiled detective fiction.  Lean, gritty, and tough, it’s a journey into the heart of darkness ... you won’t soon forget. Connoisseurs of Nouveau Noir will have to add Richard Godwin to the list of writers to watch!”
-- C E Lawrence, author of Silent Kills.

“Involving and compellingly sinister, Richard Godwin’s Mr. Glamour portrays cops and criminals, the mad and the driven in a novel of psychological noir. Read it while snuggling with your stuffed teddy bear for comfort.”
 -- Gary Phillips, author of Treacherous: Grifters, Ruffians and Killers

“This is one outstanding novel written by one amazing author.”
-- Fran Lewis Review.

Mr. Glamour will appeal to mystery and crime aficionados, to readers interested in psychological profiling and designer lifestyles, to thriller and noir fans, and to anyone who enjoys a fast paced narrative with strong characters.

Mr. Glamour can be bought now:
at all good retailers online and in stores in April. If you Google it, you should see a range of options come up.

And you can find out more about me at my website
and my stories here

The Writer's Vampire - Time Suckers

As a new author I face a number of obstacles when writing. Time is my most valuable commodity. I’m always wishing for four extra hours in each day to get more done, because I never can seem to find enough. When I do have it, I’m so starved for it that I tend to waste it, which is what this post is all about: Time Suckers, the Writer’s Vampire.
Screenshot from the 1931 film Dracula
Partnerships – Before I lucked upon Nerine Dorman as a co-author, I tried with other people. I’m sure some of you have chatted with a fellow writer and gotten excited over a really crazy collaborative idea. Or maybe you enjoy one another’s writing so much you just have to write together. Until Nerine, my advice would have been “Don’t,” but my mind has been changed. It can be a very rewarding experience with a same-minded, dedicated, creative person. It is important to recognize warning signs of time-sucking, both from the manuscript and the other person(s) involved. Are you running around in plot circles? Have you rewritten the story more than once without actually having finished a first draft? Has the other person ever finished anything of comparable length before?

Family – I really can’t do much about the people I’m related to. I have a particularly difficult time explaining to my mother why she can’t visit when I’m on a deadline. My child, and pretty much any small child will not understand the importance that Mommy or Daddy need quiet time so they can write or edit their book. My previous spouse felt that my writing and research was time that could be better spent with him and viewed it as a waste of mine.

You can’t let blood bring you down. The ideal situation is where you work so hard and are so dedicated, that the need for you to have your time and space becomes evident. Spouses are usually made aware once that first check comes in. It becomes legitimate at that point. A lot of writers, including myself, burn the midnight oil to avoid conflicts with children or day job.

Friends – This has been a particularly sore spot for me. To start with, I’m antisocial. I’m a mother that works at home, which means I don’t see people in person very often and that is fine with me. However, friends aren’t very happy with my need to have my space when I’m thinking on a plot, actively writing, or scurrying to finish edits. In fact, those that are closer to me haven’t been really considerate at all.

Social Networks – Twitter. Facebook. LinkedIn, YouTube, and definitely chat clients, such as Yahoo, MSN, Gmail chat, etc. can be a huge time-suck. Actually, I’ll just go ahead and admit that they are. The only way to stop the madness has been to turn them off, as leaving them up while writing has proven to be distraction I can’t seem to resist. I do leave chat up and send messages to an author friend as we write. We don’t say much, but the sense of connection to another human being is there as we write, also we like to plug in fun excerpts for the reward of instant gratification. I cannot do this with very many people, as they have proven to take the simple reply as cue to unload their daily disgruntlements on me which then eats up valuable hours. 
Writing is a lonely occupation in the end. Those that can understand me (poor things), have their own thing going. Those that don’t get what I’m doing are usually pushed away eventually. I’ve ended up with the best matches: Writers, artists, and other introverts. Everything else has been polished away as I became more serious about getting Crooked Fang revised and published. I’m a cold-hearted bitch because I’ve tried to put my book’s needs as a priority. I’ve had to make very hard decisions in order to choose what was the most important to me. This has burned more than a few bridges in my constant drive to find a balance between contentment and success.

The point of this rambling blog is for both parties:
ppdigital from morguefile.com 
Writers: Stand up for your writing career and time. Turn off Facebook. Dismiss friends that continue to hinder your progress, either intentionally or not. Make family aware of how important this is to you, and if they still don’t understand, find another way. There will always be a sacrifice involved for the things worth doing.

Friends and family of a writer: Above all, try not to take anything personally and back off when requested. Understand that this isn’t just a hobby to your writer. Try to find ways to make it even easier, such as offering childcare, a chance to sleep in the next day, and so on.

People, I’m writing. I’m at my desk because I want to take this to the next level and produce novels. The next time you look at a book, think about the sacrifices the author might have had to make in order to see that story through. The time it took to write the thing. The coffee he or she might have had to consume. Maybe even the booze. ;) - CC

21 March 2012

Lucky Seven - Crooked Fang

I was tagged by Cari Silverwood (warning: sexual content link) for a fun lucky seven post. Here's the rules:

1. Go to page 77 in your current manuscript
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next seven lines as they are - no cheating
4. Tag 7 other authors (Done on Facebook)

Here's my lucky seven. This is taken from Crooked Fang:

Relying on time to rub away memory wasn’t really reliable after all, and despite the fact that plausibility would argue there was no way Gabriel Nez could look the same over twenty-five years later, people still knew what the hell they saw. Not to mention I was supposed to be dead.

After a rough night of hearing Serv slam stuff around in his room next to mine and dodging angry glares from even Josh the next day, I decided the best method of approach would be to take off for a few days. Considering Charlie was out on a date with Linda, Darrell was out doing whatever it was he did when he wasn’t at Pale Rider and Josh was at home with Bea...
Print cover

 (sorry, that was the end of the seventh line...)

Lyrical ebook

Look for Crooked Fang due out August 20, 2012.

17 March 2012

Crooked Fang Cover Reveal and New News

I’m pleased to announce that Crooked Fang now has a home on the Lyrical Press website. Here’s the ebook cover, what do you think? (Print version will be different and announced soon)

It’s March already. 2011 was a vital year of tumultuous change in my writing career, starting with an acceptance for my novel, Crooked Fang by Lyrical. I had big, big plans for this project, including music and merchandise, in order to offer a richer immersion experience. Sadly, most of that did not turn out as planned, as some of you that have been alongside me the whole time know. Still, it’s launch year. Yes, year. The reason I say launch year is because it takes a great deal of preparation to get that manuscript from idea, to first draft, to submission, to edits and finally, a book in your hands. That said, there’s quite a bit left to do in the next five months in anticipation of Crooked Fang’s release on August 20, 2012:

·         Edits – When writing Crooked Fang as web fiction back in 2009, I wasn’t expecting anything to come from it. It was a pastime, a sort of written relief from the stresses of everyday life. I gained readers and was compelled to organize regular posts rather than whenever I felt like it. That was the beginning of a very long process. Currently, I’m in perhaps the fifth draft of Crooked Fang, as I had to collect the raw posts, stitch them together, eliminate ridiculous scenes, add a lot of new scenes, and fluff up the content to go from bare-bones blog post to actual chapters. As of now, I’m in official first-round edits for Crooked Fang with another round to come. After that, if it’s acceptable, it’ll go to line edits. I’ll need to review the galley, which is an author’s last chance to catch those faceàpalm situations.

Back of Crooked Fang t-shirt
·         Promotions – As I now have a product, I must shift into motion to get word out about the impending book, which is my baby, my precious, my ultimate goal of being properly published. In order to do such a thing, I will need to call on friends and colleagues for blog spots, article posts, and interviews. Writing these things will take almost as much dedication as writing the book itself. On top of what I can write, tweet and post, I will also require a website redesign in order to accommodate the new direction. Crookedfang.com is still primarily what it has been for the past three years. I’d like to add a section where readers can find out more about the characters, add visuals, and possibly music at a later date.

Crooked Fang mouse pad
·         Merchandise – My readers have asked for Crooked Fang branded merchandise, such as t-shirts, coffee cups, stickers, and patches. I’m in negotiations with a company to provide the means to meet these requests. These will begin final production design in June 2012 in order to be ready for the August book launch.
It’s going to be a very exciting year for Crooked Fang!

 I’ve said it before, but I’d like to think my readers for their constant support and encouragement when all the odds seemed stacked against me.

Also, I’m always open to any thoughts or suggestions on what you would like to see next from Xan and the gang, in regards to merchandise, questions, articles, etc.

Until next time!


16 March 2012

"The Bath" #Fridayflash

Photo credit: fieryn from morguefile.com

She’s drinking gin and tonic, even though it’s not a girl drink. The blinds are closed, but splashes of red and blue still bleed through. A low hum of glass-bell silence in the house points an accusing finger towards the hall, up the stairs and to the bath. Signs, written in psychic hues of purple. Cryptic warnings. Don’t Go Upstairs. Her hand shakes, tinkling the ice in her drink. It hasn’t been said, but she’s getting talked to. She doesn’t want to get talked to.

Her fingers fidget for a cigarette. This ancient house usually feels warm, but the front door stands wide open, like a mouth, falling into a dark throat of frozen midnight. It’s always midnight when bad things happen, but maybe this one doesn’t count because she took a nap. Fatigue had etched away at her consciousness; the book she’d been reading, fell to the floor, where the cat could sniff and tear at the pages. Sleep is a thief. The night is its witness.

Dirty snow is left to perish on the Berber carpet.

If it happened while she was asleep, that makes it a dream. It feels like one. She takes another sip, and raises the glass to look at it. It looks like water but smells like hell, and that matches her mood.

A uniformed man stands over her. Not looking at her, but keeping watch as others like him file in and out of the door. They bring tools and bags. Soon, it’ll be time to move from the sofa. She licks her lips, numb from the alcohol and stained with nicotine. She’d ran out of cigarettes an hour ago.