Join the Revolution (Day)

Thanks for hosting me, Jen!

Jennifer C. Wilson

Today, I’m handing over the reins of the blog to Tim E. Taylor, to tell you about a special offer on his novel Revolution Day. Tim previously joined me back at the start of November, so you can find out more about him and his writing here. For now, though, just keep reading below!

Over to you, Tim!

T E Taylor T E Taylor

Hi Jen,

Many thanks for inviting me onto your blog today.

I’d like to share an excerpt from my novel Revolution Day, published by Crooked Cat and currently on special offer for Christmas at 99p/$0.99.

The novel follows a year in the life of ageing dictator Carlos Almanzor, clinging to power as his vice-president intrigues against him, playing on his paranoia to drive a wedge between Carlos and the Army. In parallel, Carlos’s estranged wife Juanita is writing a memoir in which she recalls how, from idealistic beginnings…

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Welcome, Claire!

The second Christmas guest on my blog is Claire Stibbe, a historical novelist who has recently branched out into crime, publishing The 9th Hour (currently on special offer at 99p/99c!) last month.  A warm Christmas welcome, Claire!

Hi Tim!

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog this chilly, snowy December morning. Well, it is here in New Mexico, USA, where cedar fires are burning in every hearth and people are already slugging down that eggnog by the jug.

I just want to say WOW, is it December already? That means National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has ended. Congratulations to some of the Crooked Cat Publishing authors who took part in it and finished.

Crooked Cat Publishing released the first in my Detective Temeke series, The 9th Hour, in November of this year. One of the hardest obstacles of writing is the perfectionism we authors have with our books. Does it read well? Does it makes sense? Is it even interesting? We know every word counts and venturing onto that blank page with words that either stick or get deleted the following day is a daunting task. I’m always wandering between the park and my office in the search for scenes, words and great dialogue. I brainstorm, tell and re-tell. I watch the weather for signs, smells and sounds.

In my fictional world, the characters are the ones who lead the book. They take me to places my structure never knew existed and trample on any specific sequence of events I may have penned in advance. With fiction, it’s all smoke and mirrors and outlines… Eh? What’s an outline anyway?

9th smoke

I loved writing The 9th Hour because it became spontaneous, exciting and nothing like I imagined it would be. Detective Temeke strayed off those pages into a world of his own and I had to run to keep up. He can be downright stubborn and thoughtless, but his sniffer is the most accurate yet. The only problem is, Temeke is the one who, by hook or by crook, always raises the stakes. Any conflict with him is going to be high.

Malin Santiago becomes larger as the series grows. In the second book, Night Eyes, she is more settled in her role as Temeke’s partner. She watches and learns as one does in a new job. It’s not until the third book that she literally jumps off the page. I have tremendous respect for her and Temeke as I do for real detectives in the real world. If it wasn’t for the detectives I’ve spent valuable time with, these characters would be as flat as a cow pat.

When I finished the second book, Night Eyes, there was a round of applause in my house and a time of great celebration. As I embark on the third in the series over the next nine weeks, I’m reminded of a small voice saying – finishing is the single thing that separates those who want to write from those who actually have. So I keep learning and I keep writing. There’s nothing I’d rather do.

If you enjoy psychological thrillers mixed with a little Scandinavian noir, The 9th Hour is available on, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo and Smashwords. It is also on sale for 99c / 99p for a short time over the Christmas season.

Thank you for hosting me!

You’re very welcome, Claire!  Good luck with the books!

Claire B&W








Links: (all regions) The 9th Hour

Elf Yourself

Today I welcome the first of two special Christmas guests to my blog.  Ailsa Abraham is having a two day sale of her excellent fantasy books Shaman’s Drum and Alchemy.  Tell us all about it, Ailsa …



We celebrate the Winter Solstice or Yule so as my gift to you readers I would like to present – for the two days of 22nd and 23rd December only…..Both books in the Alchemy series at 99p or cents each for an e-book. Come on, less than a cup of coffee? Lasts longer and keeps you awake better!


Click on the link below to see them on Amazon in YOUR country.

Universal Amazon link – anywhere in the world

Plenty of five star reviews and the third one is on the way – grab them while they’re this price!


Book 1 ALCHEMY  A world without war? Professor Sawhele Fielding stumbles across an invention that would change the world; something so monumental, it could spell the end of environmental disaster and conflict. With the help of her father, a shadowy figure in the world of international banking, she begins to set into motion the biggest upheaval the planet has seen. But in a changed world, dark forces are threatening the fragile peace. Where modern technology is proving useless, old magic from a bygone era might just save the day. Adrian Oliver, expert in ancient religions is skeptical until faced with incontrovertible proof that ancient evil is abroad once again. How could a Utopian dream of free fuel and peaceful co-existence turn into a nightmare? Iamo, a priest of the Mother Goddess and Riga, a Black Shaman assassin captain, are thrown together – reluctantly at first – to face a threat that nobody could have imagined before “The Changes”. ALCHEMY is the prequel to Shaman’s Drum which features the adventures of Iamo and Riga through their world in the near future, where the established religions of our own days had been banned.

Alchemy                                                             SD

Book 2 SHAMAN’S DRUM  England in the near future. Mainstream religions have been outlawed, and the old gods rule again. Iamo has been a priest of the Great Mother and is sworn to celibacy, but his love for Riga, a Black Shaman, a magical assassin, caused him to break his vows. After being imprisoned apart from each other for three years, Iamo accepts an offer to earn them both a pardon and the possibility of marriage. If they survive. Iamo and Riga must discover why demons are breaking through from the other side. Which of the cults are renegades who allow the demons through? Who can they trust? Combining their powers, they face the ordeal with the help of a band of eclectic pagans, spirit creatures, Riga’s Black Shaman brothers, an undercover Christian granny, and three unusually energetic Goths. It’s a tough assignment, but the hope of a life together keeps them fighting.

You can find out more about Ailsa and her books on her Facebook page, her website and on Twitter.

Yule Pent

Welcome back T. E. Taylor

Claire Stibbe

T E Taylor (2)We are delighted to welcome back Tim Taylor. He is with us today to discuss his book, Revolution Day, which is currently on special offer for 99c/99p on both and Amazon.UK. Links provided below.

Bio: Tim was born in 1960 in Stoke-on-Trent. He studied Classics at Pembroke College, Oxford (and later Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London). After a couple of years playing in a rock band, he joined the Civil Service, eventually leaving in 2011 to spend more time writing.

Tim now lives in Yorkshire with his wife and daughter and divides his time between creative writing, academic research and part-time teaching and other work for Leeds and Huddersfield Universities.

Tim’s first novel, Zeus of Ithome, a historical novel about the struggle of the ancient Messenians to free themselves from Sparta, was published by Crooked Cat in November 2013; his second, Revolution Day in June 2015. Tim also writes poetry and…

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…Author, Tim Taylor’s REVOLUTION DAY is on special offer for Christmas… snap it up!

Seumas Gallacher

…my Crooked Cat Publishing stablemate, TimTaylor, has his terrific book, REVOLUTION DAY, on special offer from now through Christmas, and he gives yeez a wee tease piece below… T E Taylor

Hi Seumas, many thanks for inviting me onto your blog today.

I’d like to share with your readers an excerpt from my novel Revolution Day, currently on special offer for Christmas at 99p/$0.99! It’s a political thriller about an ageing dictator, Carlos, whose Vice-President, Manuel, is intriguing against him, playing on his paranoia and manipulating the perceptions of those around him to undermine his position so that Manuel can seize power for himself. Several people close to Carlos find themselves drawn unwillingly into Manuel’s plans, including his estranged wife and – in this extract – his mistress, Corazon:

Corazon walked languidly towards the bar, catching the attention of the barman as she did so. Many other eyes followed her progress…

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Secrets of Crime

I am delighted to welcome to my blog crime writer Catriona King, whose twelfth novel, The Keeper (of which more below) has just been published.  Today Catriona shares with us her thoughts on how to write detective fiction.

Welcome, Catriona!

Hello Tim

Thanks for inviting me onto your blog. When I was thinking of a topic for this piece I thought back to what would have interested me three years ago, when I was writing my first Craig detective novel, ‘A Limited Justice’ and decided that I would have loved someone to have told me…

How to Write a Detective Novel. (NB. This isn’t a definitive guide, just some vague ideas from one novelist. No-one can actually tell you how to write; each writer has to find their own style.)

So…back in 2012 I just knew that I wanted to write a crime fiction novel. Crime was what I read and watched on television, and it was what always caught my eye in the daily news, so it seemed natural that it was the genre I should choose. I can’t imagine writing one hundred thousand words about a subject that didn’t really interest me.

The Story.

I start writing each book with just a vague idea for a story, often coming from something that I’ve seen or heard in daily life. I’ve never had an organised approach, with time lines plotted and detailed character bios, just a vague idea that’s rattling around in my head. Although many writers do take an organised approach, just as many simply sit down with a blank piece of paper and a cup of tea as I did in 2012 and still do now in 2015, having just released the twelfth novel featuring Marc Craig and his team, ‘The Keeper.’

What type of crime novel?

When writing in any genre, it’s important to know what type of novel you want to write. In crime fiction that could be anything from deciding on a past, present or future setting for your novel; choosing to write cosy or brutal, forensically or psychologically focused crime. Will your lead character be male or female? A private investigator, a police officer, a pathologist, or even, in the case of Kathy Reichs’ excellent books, a forensic anthropologist?

I chose to set my books in the present day with a male police officer lead, and I chose to write murder novels because of the myriad of story options that they afford. While I didn’t want to write cosy crime, I did make a conscious decision not to dwell too much on the gory side of death, as I wanted to write books that I wouldn’t mind having to read myself. There are plenty of exciting plot twists you can write without having to cover your characters in blood!

Having decided who leads your investigation the next decision becomes do they work alone or in a team? Either can be effective, but I think for good dialogue it’s useful for your lead character to have someone to bounce ideas off.

A word about dialogue.

As important as it is to have a story with twists and turns, a book that is simply dense passages of prose heavy with jargon or description can become tiresome for the reader and they may give up halfway through. Dialogue between characters, revealing some detail about their lives, need not detract from the core story in any way, and can, in fact, help hold the readers’ interest. If it allows humour to be introduced into dark subject matter such as crime and murder, then surely it’s a win-win?

Having outlined the characters in my head, I like to see how they develop during the book and am often surprised at the storylines that emerge as I write. Obviously the more bizarre ideas are weeded out during editing but many others make it into the finished work.


While it’s essential to check the detail of what you write: geographic, forensic and procedural, try to avoid writing too technically. While readers often like to learn new facts, you’re not writing an investigative handbook; you’re creating a fictional world and hopefully writing a thrilling story that will carry the reader along.


So now you have your characters and you know how they will speak to each other, and you have an idea of your story. Hopefully, with a lot of time and effort, you’ll be able to produce a first draft. But that is only the beginning; the second draft is when you really shape your book. Rewriting the passages that almost worked, and ruthlessly deleting others that were simply padding and don’t add to your story or help the plot. You’ll read the dialogue passages out loud to see how good or ridiculous they sound, and tweak them again and again until they sound right. You’ll check the details that you didn’t know and spell and grammar check the draft until you’re completely fed up, and then, when all of that is done, you should send your draft to a good editor and two beta readers who you can trust to be honest.


When your editor and beta readers come back telling you everything that is wrong with your book, you definitely shouldn’t get demoralised and give up. You’ll simply start on draft number three and tighten your story again, until it’s ready to submit to an agent or publisher (who will ask you to redraft it a fourth, fifth and sixth time). Then, finally, you’ll have completed your first crime novel.



Catriona King trained as a doctor and a police forensic medical examiner in London, where she worked for many years. She worked closely with the Metropolitan Police on several occasions. In recent years, she has returned to live in Belfast.

She has written since childhood; fiction, fact and reporting.

‘The Keeper’ is the twelfth novel about detective Marc Craig and his team.

A new Craig novel is in edits for release in 2016.


After three men are shot dead in Belfast, Marc Craig’s team is tasked to investigate. But are the murders the work of a random killer or a legacy of Northern Ireland’s past?

When pathologist John Winter finds that the bullets were unmarked, it becomes clear the killings are the work of someone highly organised. Investigation points the team to a significant Belfast location; but will they get there in time to prevent another death?

Meanwhile, two of the Murder Squad’s members experience life changing events, and Craig’s failure to deal with a personal issue almost costs him his career.

The Keeper. Never Forget The Victims.’



Catriona’s books are available in paperback and ebook on Amazon worldwide

Read about Catriona’s books on

Interact with Catriona about her books on

Catriona is on Facebook


Dictators in History – Idi Amin

Jane Bwye

Historian, Tim Taylor is no stranger to my blog, and today I’m privileged to host the first in his new series. In my honour he’s decided to feature one of Africa’s most unpleasant and notorious villains, a dubious honour. But like all men, Idi Amin did not start as a monster. In fact, a member of my family played rugby against him in the past…


Hello Jane, many thanks for hosting me today!

My novel Revolution Day follows a year in the life of Latin American dictator Carlos Almanzor.  Carlos is a fictional figure and is not based upon any particular individual. Nevertheless, his life and career share many elements with those of real dictators and in some cases I consciously drew on historical events in writing the novel.

I thought it would be interesting to explore, in a series of blog posts, the lives of some real-life dictators, and…

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Backwards Brussels Sprouts

I am a member of two writers’ groups, in which, once a week, I sit down with friends and write for 30-40 minutes in response to an exercise someone has set, or a selection of random words.  I recommend this to anyone as a way of getting yourself writing and generating ideas.  It’s a bit hit and miss, of course, but some of the pieces are worth polishing up as poems, short stories or passages in novels.  Others don’t really fit any of these categories, but I will sometimes put those I like on my blog.

As we have now entered THAT time of year, I thought I’d share a little piece I wrote at Holmfirth Writers Group (HWG) a couple of years back when we were asked to write a Christmas recipe (in a suitably literary sort of way, I suppose).

Well, I didn’t really get any ideas for recipes, but thinking about Christmas dinner reminded me how much I loathe Brussels sprouts – testicles of Satan, I call them.  So I wrote this little backwards recipe for how to liberate your Christmas dinner from those vile, infernal veg.

Not that it did me any good.  At the HWG Christmas meal a few days later I got back from the toilet to find some wag had put a nice big pile of Brussels sprouts on my plate!

Backwards Brussels Sprouts


you will require:

your Christmas dinner

a small plastic bowl

an old, unwanted spoon

a little lighter fluid, or petrol

several sheets of kitchen roll

a mallet, if available

an open fire


Place the bowl and the spoon beside your place setting on the dining table.

In an adjoining room, place the fuel, the mallet and the kitchen roll upon a table.

Ensure that there is a roaring, well-stocked fire in the grate


With the spoon, carefully remove the Brussels sprouts from your dinner plate and place them in the bowl. Ensure that no palatable food is wasted and that no remnants of Brussels sprout remain upon the plate.

Excuse yourself, retire to the adjoining room and place the bowl upon the table. Wrap the sprouts in kitchen roll. Hit them repeatedly with the mallet until reduced to pulp. Drizzle liberally with lighter fluid or petrol. Throw the sprouts and kitchen roll carefully into the fire. Watch it burn until not one molecule of Brussels Sprout remains.  Utter expletives to taste.

Give yourself a little cheer. Return to the dining table and enjoy the rest of your Christmas dinner.

[ photo (c) Oyvind Holmstad ]