Can you believe it’s September already, ? I certainly can’t… hence the seriously tardy nature of this newsletter, which should, by rights, have gone out a week ago. What can I say – I’ve been a tad preoccupied, both with gearing up for the impending release of The Shadow Men (just over a month to go now!) and revisiting the two previous novels in the series.
Meanwhile in the real world, a couple of weekends ago I took my first trip into Glasgow city centre since Scotland’s first lockdown began back in March the previous year. A part of me had been expecting to find that the place had changed radically during my eighteen-month absence, but as it turns out, everything was much the same as I remembered it, apart from the new and improved Queen Street Station. I met up with a friend for dinner (Pizza Punks on St Vincent Street – highly recommended) and my first cinema visit since last February (we saw Censor
– interesting and certainly trippy, if not quite the slam-dunk some of the write-ups I’d read had led me to expect).
That said, and nice as it was to be out and about again, I must admit to having been a little unnerved by the distinct lack of mask-wearing that was evident on the return journey. (I don’t drive, so my only options were the train or the bus, and I plumped for the latter given the RMT’s ongoing industrial action on Sundays.) It’s certainly made me leery of using public transport unless I absolutely have to, particularly as infection rates continue to rise. Realistically I know we can’t all just continue to live as hermits indefinitely, but you’d think something as simple as wearing a mask on the bus would be a small price to pay for your own peace of mind and for others’.
Anyway, public health bulletin over, and on to the question you probably actually clicked on this email to have answered: what’s new on the writing front? Quite a bit, as it happens…
On the Writing Desk: The Shadow Men
In the previous newsletter, I revealed the blurb and release date for The Shadow Men, the third novel in the Anna Scavolini series and poor Anna’s most complex and disturbing case yet. (If by any chance you missed that edition, you can find it here.) About a month ago, I also got in touch to reveal the amazing cover designed by Tim Barber of Dissect Designs. In case you missed it, here it is again, in both its paperback and ebook iterations:
The Kindle edition has been available to pre-orderfor a little over a month now, and I’m pleased to report that the paperback version is now available
for pre-order too. At the time of writing, it’s only showing up on Amazon, but past experience tells me that it ought to be available on sites like Waterstones, Blackwell’s and so on before too long if you’d prefer to pick it up from one of these suppliers. I’ll also be selling signed copies directly, so stay tuned for more info on that front at a later date.
There’s a piece of advice for writers doing the rounds which goes something like this: “Write the book you’d like to read, because you’ll be reading it again… and again… and again.” Truer words were never spoken! I’m not sure how many times I’ve now read The Shadow Men from beginning to end over the past two years, which probably tells you everything you need to know. That I’m not yet sick of the sight of it is, I hope, proof that what I’ve written is at the very least not completely tedious, and hopefully bodes well for how other people will respond to it come release day – something I await with plenty of eager anticipation and just a tiny bit of trepidation.
For now, with the paperback edition fully laid out and the proofs approved, the final stage of active work on The Shadow Men is now complete. Now it’s just a matter of getting ready for the official launch on 18th
October. As I mentioned previously, there’ll be a full blog tour to coincide with the release date, spread across three weeks, and I hope to have more information on that front for you in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, I’ve made the prologue and first chapter of the book available
on my website if you’d like to get an early sneak peek at the events which kick off Anna’s investigation. Why not head over and take a look?
On the Writing Desk: In the Silence and Cruel Summer Revisited
In addition to finishing off The Shadow Men, I’ve also been spending some time revisiting the two previous instalments in the Anna Scavolini series, In the Silence
and Cruel Summer. As you may be aware, while In the Silence was released by Bloodhound Books, all my subsequent work has been independently published. For a while now, I’d been toying with the idea of asking Bloodhound to return the rights to In the Silence to me. This makes sense for a number of reasons. It allows me to apply consistent branding across the board and also affords me a level of control over how I sell and market the series which simply wasn’t possible with the first instalment is in the hands of a third party. I’m happy to reveal that Bloodhound kindly agreed to my request, meaning that, as of last month, In the Silence
has been under my sole and exclusive control. A new ebook edition has been published, with a paperback version to follow later in the year.
In the process of re-issuing In the Silence, I took the opportunity to reinstate a small amount of material that was removed during the final editing process and which I was always a bit sorry to lose. These additions don’t fundamentally alter the nature of the book, but I think they help flesh out some of the characters a bit more, particularly Zoe and her brother Victor. If you’re interested in reading some background information on both the process of writing In the Silence and the rationale behind this “director’s cut”, I’ve made the same notes
contained in the new edition of the book itself available online.
In the near future, it’s my intention to offer a free ebook copy of In the Silence to everyone who subscribes to the Mailing List (something I couldn’t have done while the publishing rights resided elsewhere). For the time being, it’s available on Amazon for only 99p (UK)/99¢ (US) – though please note that the edition currently available, while containing the new, expanded text, uses a placeholder cover design rather than the new and improved artwork Dissect Designs is currently cooking up for me.
I’ve also been going through a similar process with Cruel Summer, again revising the text to restore some material not present in the previous edition. My hope is to make the new edition available at around the time of The Shadow Men’s release, though it remains to be seen whether Amazon will agree to “push” the updated text to people who already bought the Kindle edition (everything I’ve read on the subject suggests that it’s a bit of a crapshoot). Either way, I intend to make sure anyone who wants a copy of the revised edition and can provide proof that they own the previous version a free ebook copy directly from me – including those who bought the paperback release and don’t mind owning the revised edition in ebook form. (Sending out free paperback copies would, I’m afraid, be too cost-prohitive.)
That’s All, Folks!
And that about wraps things up for this issue! I wish I had some exciting news to report on my ongoing writing projects, but aside from some early plotting work on a title that it’s way too early to say anything about yet, I’ve been almost completely preoccupied with The Shadow Men
and its two predecessors. Hopefully, by the time the next regular issue of the newsletter comes out in early November, I’ll have more to share.
One last thing before I forget: Bloody Scotland, Scotland’s biggest crime writing festival, kicks off in Stirling this Friday for a three-day event dedicated to all things of a criminal nature. Partly because of the ongoing public health situation, I’ve made the decision not to attend the whole three-day event in person, but I’ll heading through to Stirling on Saturday to attend some panels (as an audience member rather than in a starring role), so if you happen to see me, feel free to say hi! (I’ll be the tall one in the Arrow Video face-mask.)