New interview, from Tom Leins' Dirty Books blog

Hi all

I’ve been interviewed by Tom Leins for his excellent Dirty Books crime and noir fiction blog. You can find the interview here.

Also, Tom’s been good enough to review East of England also.

I’ll be back soon with updates on the second Dan Matlock story Piece of Work, and on the status of the currently-crowdfunding Canine Jubilee, which’ll be the third book in sequence.


A second Crime Cymru blog post, and other bits and bobs

Full disclosure: this is a rewrite of the original posting, as I - fool of a Took that I am - managed to close the browser without saving the first version. Ah, well.

First things first. There’s a new blog post by me over at Crime Cymru; the post discusses using Welsh locations in fiction a little, and includes a tiny bit of a tease about a forthcoming Dan Matlock book following on from East of England.

Second, the crowdfunding for an East of England sequel - Canine Jubilee - continues over at Unbound Publishing. Please consider supporting the project if you can! In all fairness it’s going a little slower than East of England’s crowdfunding did, though that’s only to be expected. We’ll get there, one way or another. This is the last time I’ll crowdfund a book, so make the most of that alluring opportunity.

Third, blogging over at Benches of Llangollen is on hiatus until the beginning of June. Day-jobbery is taking up all the time and brain space at present, but there’ll be public seating shenanigans galore on a weekly basis from the first Tuesday in June onwards. Oh, and Benches of Louth is eminently available if you want a copy; those local to Louth in Lincolnshire should find paperback stock in at Mark Merrifield’s Off The Beaten Tracks record store.

Benches of Louth Ebook Cover DIGITAL.jpg

Fourth, micro-blogging on my ongoing reading and movie-watching continues at 255BookReview and 255Review respectively. Note that all the book reviews are mine, but only the movie reviews tagged with my name (that’s most of ‘em, to be fair) are mine, as this site is a collaborative effort.

Fifth, East of England is on offer on Kindle/ebook for 99p or thereabouts pretty much everywhere that sells electronic books, so avail yourself of bargainage while you can. The cheapest paperback option that I’m aware of is over at BooksEtc, where it’s less than £6 including delivery. The book’s been generally well-received, which is gratifying; if you’re able to leave a review or a star rating on the likes of Goodreads or at your book-buying site of choice, then that’d be most appreciated too!

East of England cover.jpg

Sixth, and slightly teasingly, there’ll be another Dan Matlock book sooner rather than later. This’ll fit between East of England and the crowdfunding Canine Jubilee and will hopefully fill the time nicely while the latter’s funding. I’ll say more about this in a few weeks’ time, but the intention is to deliver a novella-length Dan Matlock story that’ll be available towards the end of the year. In all probability this’ll be a self-publishing effort via Amazon. It’s got the working title Piece of Work.

That’s all for now

Thanks for reading


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Crime Cymru blog post: Canine Jubilee: crowdfunding and what it entails for the crime writer

I’ve contributed a blog post on the website for the Welsh crime writers’ collective Crime Cymru. The post talks through crowdfunding from a writer’s perspective. The post’s here.

Naturally, there’s mention of both East of England and its now-crowdfunding sequel Canine Jubilee!

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East of England blog tour round-up

Over the last two weeks, East of England’s been on a bit of a blog tour, and so it only makes sense to both thank all of those involved and to round up the various posts and reviews into a single posting. As you might imagine, it’s not easy for plucky underdogs like me to get reviews in the press, so every little helps, and that’s where the dedication of book bloggers comes into play.

So, thanks first and foremost both to my publishers Unbound and to book tour organiser extraordinaire Anne Cater. Thanks to each of the bloggers who took part too! In no particular order:

Cheryl MM - who said that East of England is “a clever tongue in cheek nod to the old gangster regimes, but with a small countryside flair to it”.

Novel DeeLights - who hosted a guest post by me; “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Me”.

Hayley’s Book Blog - Hayley reckoned that East of England was “near impossible to put down”.

Reflections Of A Reader - who said the book was “great” as well as “dark and brutal”.

Don Jimmy Reviews - who was good enough to host an excerpt from the novel.

Beady Jan’s Books - Jan was kind enough to host a second guest blog post from me, this time on writer characters in movies.

Over The Rainbow Book Blog - who said that East of England was a “gritty, gripping read”.

Anne Cater’s own Random Things Through My Letter Box - Anne kindly hosted a second excerpt from the novel.

The Writing Garnet - who said that East of England was “an impressive roller coaster ride of a novel that left me breathless”.

Check out the links above for the full reviews/posts. Huge thanks again to all who took part!

East of England is available here in paperback and ebook, and from all good online and real-world bookshops. Also, its forthcoming sequel Canine Jubilee is crowdfunding now, and can be supported here.

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Canine Jubilee - the sequel to East of England - now crowdfunding

The crowdfunding for Canine Jubilee, the sequel to my recent noir thriller East of England, is now up and running.

If anyone's interested in the book, then there's an offer code ENDOFFEB10 that'll get you 10% off, plus if you've got a copy of East of England, there's a further offer code that gives you £5 off this book. Go for it! Here’s a short video that explains a little more:

More details about the new book, including how to pledge to the project, can be found here.

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Blog tours and reviews

Hi all

Here’s the text of an update I posted over on Unbound’s site for East of England, though it makes sense to have it copied here too.

East of England has been out for a fortnight now, and most folk seem to like it, which is gratifying. If you've been able to leave a review already then thanks very much! If you haven't (or plain haven't got around to reading the book yet), then please consider leaving your thoughts - however brief - on Amazon, on Goodreads, and/or elsewhere on social media. For smaller publishers like Unbound, and for little fish in the writing pond like me, these things really matter, and can help get word of the book out to wider potential readerships. 

If you've not picked up a copy yet, then here's a chance for you!

The publishers have organised a blog tour - basically a sequenced run of interviews, extracts and reviews from crime fiction-oriented book bloggers - which starts tomorrow (Monday 11th Feb, as I'm writing this up on Sunday morning). I'll do what I can to promote this through the ten day run of this tour, but again, anything you can do support-wise (as well as reading what the different bloggers have got to say on the book) is both valuable and appreciated. 

East of England blog tour details

East of England blog tour details

Third, those who've read East of England will have seen (and maybe even read) the opening pages of a continuation novel - the second in a potential series - titled Canine Jubilee. That book again will be crowdfunded via Unbound, and there'll be some stuff coming out about that hopefully in the next few days. 

Fourth and finally, check out my brother Max's page for Field Notes - also being crowdfunded by Unbound - and consider backing the book. Details on that are here

That's everything for now. Thanks for the continued support!

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10 questions: Oli Jacobs, author of Deep Down There

Another in my occasional series of short interviews with other writers. Today, it’s the turn of Oli Jacobs, author of the forthcoming Deep Down There. Here we go…


    1.        Who are you and what’s your book about?

It’s a question I often ask myself... as far as I’m aware, I’m Oli Jacobs and my book – Deep Down There – is about a strange hole that suddenly appears in a small cul-de-sac.

Oli Jacobs

Oli Jacobs

  2.        Why should folk read your book?

Because it’s the best gosh-darn horror book you’ll ever read. Plus, it combines elements of surburban tension, and creeping dread. And, of course, a massive hole.


    3.        What’s the appeal of your book?  

Finding out what’s down the hole. There’s a lot of build up with how the residents react to it, and efforts to “solve” the problem of it, but when things get weird that’s when the true horror kicks in. Not to mention when one eager resident wants to abseil 0down...

    4.        Sounds great! Where/when can I get hold of a copy? 

Deep Down There is currently available for pre-orders at Not only will you get the book, but you’ll get your name inside too!

Deep Down There provisional cover

Deep Down There provisional cover

    5.        Describe a typical writing day, or at least a typical day with some writing in it:

A fair few hours of procrastination, before a flurry of words in an hour or two period. It’s all in my head, it’s just getting to the fingers to tap out...


    6.        Pick one book about writing. What it is and why have you chosen it?

I don’t actually like reading books about writing, but I’ve heard Stephen King’s On Writing is quite the tome.


    7.        Pick three books that have influenced or inspired you as a writer:

The Stand – Stephen King, At The Mountains of Madness – HP Lovecraft, House of Leaves – Mark Z Danielewski


    8.        Pick three desert island books - works you couldn’t live without:

 Apart from the aforementioned three above... probably Leviathan – Ian Edginton, Songs of a Dead Dreamer – Thomas Ligotti, The Last Days of Jack Sparks – Jason Arnopp.


    9.        Any words of writing wisdom?

Always have a plan, and a good soundtrack to write to.


  10.        Let’s make a movie of your book. Give me the high-concept pitch:

A hole suddenly appears in a small community, unleashing not just their own inner demons, but something lurking in the very core of the Earth. Shady agencies, maddened neighbours, and whatever it is lurking... Deep Down There.


Social media contacts: Facebook - @OJBooks, Twitter - @Olijacobsauthor, Instagram - @olijba


Book URL:

Previous publications: Kirk Sandblaster, Filmic Cuts, Bad Sandwich, The Children of Little Thwopping, Wrapped Up In Nothing, Strange Days in High Wycombe, Station 17... all can be found here:

Huge thanks to Oli for playing along. Deep Down There is a project that I’ve supported on Unbound, so here’s hoping that you’ll do precisely the same and that the book’ll get into print soon!

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East of England hits the streets!

The book’s out. You know what to do. Read, review, repeat.

Buy for Valentine’s Day, Pancake Day, Easter, Mother’s and Father’s Day and so on and so forth.

Massive thanks to all who’ve helped with the crowdfunding, and with the book’s production. East of England is yours now. Have fun with it! And if you yet haven’t got a copy, try here for starters.

All sizes catered for.

All sizes catered for.

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East of England blog tour details

We’re going on a blog tour. My first, so hold my hand.

Thanks to Unbound for sorting this out in collaboration with Anne Cater of Random Things Through My Letter Box, whose organised the tour. The graphic is by Go Book Yourself. Thanks also to the book bloggers who’ve invited my into their corner of web-space!

East of England blog tour. Anne Cater/GoBookYourself

East of England blog tour. Anne Cater/GoBookYourself

There’ll be a mix of the bloggers’ reviews, some fresh material from me, and a couple of excerpts from East of England. The book’s out in paperback and ebook from January 24th. If you’re minded, you can read sample reviews from folk who’ve read the book before publication at Amazon and at Goodreads.

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New year, new thing:

For the last couple of years I’ve been collating capsule film reviews of every movie I’ve watched (since Feb 2017). It’s a collaborative exercise with a couple of former work colleagues that you can find over at (my reviews are tagged “Eamonn”, straightforwardly enough).

It only takes a few minutes to put some brief thoughts together, plus it acts as a personal diary/reminder of what I’ve seen and not seen.

So I’ve decided to branch out from this and do the same for books. In the past I’ve played with the likes of Goodreads and book blogging. I did this a lot when immersed in post-grad study and had to keep tabs on my reading, but the 255 character format I’ve shifted into has the benefit of brevity, being able to fit into a single tweet, plus there’s something of a challenge to get capsule thoughts and a one-line book description together.

I’m also reminded of the value of reviews to other writers, so part of my thinking is that I can cross-post these to Amazon or wherever and pay a little back to the author that way.

I’ve made the decision not to use star ratings or grades out of ten, or anything like that. I’ll work also not to be negative where at all possible; a straightforward “Not for me” will suffice in pretty much most cases I’d have thought. These are, after all, opinions, not reviews as such.

Anyway. Here we go. The new site’s at It’ll take time to get much in the way of content up there, but I’ll try to remember to cross-post links back here too.

In the meantime, East of England is out on 24th January, and can be bought in ebook and paperback here and from all good bookshops, real and virtual.

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East of England festive update

Hi all

Here's where we are with East of England. The book's done, I've approved the final artwork for the back cover, and the project's being sent to print. It'll be rolling through the presses shortly after the Christmas break.

That means that subscriber copies will be posted out mid-January in advance of the official launch of the book on the 24th, for those of you that have gone for paperback options. If you've got an ebook coming your way, then you'll also get an email from Unbound with instructions on how to download your copy. 

I'd hoped to have included a pic of the full back cover, not least because there's a couple of lovely quotes on there from two writers who have read East of England and claimed to have liked it very much indeed! When I've got something to show you, I'll let you have a sneak preview. 

For everyone else, the book’s out on 24th January.

If you want to read East of England before its release, then you can do that by subscribing (it's free) to the bookclub app The Pigeonhole, and signing up to their serialisation of the book; East of England will be released in 10 daily episodes starting 4th January. There's more details on that here

On the assumption that I don't darken your inbox again this side of 2019, then have a fine Christmas and New Year, and I'll see you on the other side of the festivities. 



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East of England is being serialised for free on The Pigeonhole

East of England is being serialised for free on the reading app and “global book club in your pocket” The Pigeonhole, starting on 4th January 2019.

If you’ve not heard of The Pigeonhole, this is what all of that means.

pigeonhole logo.jpg

The Pigeonhole is an app that you download to your phone (Android and Apple versions are available). Via the app you get access to a range of books to read for free. There are two main categories of books: new releases/premieres which are being previewed via The Pigeonhole, and which are available for a limited time only, and classics, which are available permanently.

The app releases a portion of the book in question every day (the app calls them “staves”, as a nod to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which uses the same word to divide its events). So, East of England will be made available in ten daily staves beginning January 4th. This gives the reader a handy daily chunk of the book ideal for commuting, lunch breaks, whiling away a spare half hour in a coffee shop, as a bedtime read and so on.

The app’s interactive, so readers are encouraged to comment on their reading as they go, chat with other app users, and generally make the book a social experience. All of this is entirely optional, by the way; you can either just read the book, or chat with others about it, or go on and write reviews and post them online. It’s up to you.

What’s in it for me as the writer? Well, it’s all about word of mouth, and about hopefully getting folk interested in East of England, having some reviews generated, and most importantly, getting reader feedback in more-or-less real time. I’ll be reading the book along with everyone who’s signed up to sample the book, and will do my best to answer questions along the way!

You can sign up at any time (the sooner the better really, as spaces will be limited to some degree) and the book will be on the site for a month after its release, so don’t think you have to keep up with the daily chunks if life gets in the way.

Here’s The Pigeonhole’s own explanation of who they are and what they do.

Here’s the sign-up page for East of England.


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East of England: crowdfunding/subscription is closed!

That’s it. After 315 days (thought the book reached its funding target back in July), the opportunities to be part of the crowdfunding of East of England have now closed, so that the publishing elves can get on with the business of completing the printing and distribution of the book.

East of England is out on 24th January 2019. It’’ll be available from all of the places that sell books, both offline and online, and can be pre-ordered here (a selection of links for you).

Out 24th January.

Out 24th January.

A massive set of thanks to all of you who’ve contributed to the book’s funding. That list of glory is here if you want to peruse it; just click on the tab marked “Supporters”. Each and every one of you is a patron of the arts, and may use the letters POTA after your name.

The rest of you? You pay retail (see the links above).

Thanks again!



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East of England: cover reveal

Hi all

Here’s the cover for East of England:

East of England cover

East of England cover

Not bad, is it?

As I've mentioned before, the book's released on 24th January. At the time of writing, there's still a last-minute change to be a patron of the book via pledging to the project at the publisher's website. This closes on Monday 3rd December and is the absolute last opportunity to have your name immortalised in the book's credits. Get in while you can! 

East of England can be pre-ordered at all of the places that you can buy books from, both in ebook and in paperback. There's a list of links to East of England's page with a range of booksellers here

If you've already pledged to support the book, then your copy will arrive shortly before the 24th January. 

In a few days, I should be able to give details of a handful of book signings and the like...

Thanks for your support!



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East of England: a brief update

Hi all

Here's where we are with East of England

First, I've had a few proof copies printed up. These are for review and advance promotional purposes only, so that folk can sample the book in advance of publication (and hopefully garner a few supportive quotes for publicity use along the way). They turned up today, and I've posted the first few out, so hopefully, they'll get a positive response!

Second, East of England is now available to pre-order from all of the places that sell books and ebooks: 

Books Etc:

Plus your friendly neighbourhood independent bookshop too. Incidentally, buying through Hive - currently, the cheapest as they've got a pre-order offer on - supports your local bookshop, as a percentage of the sale goes to them.
That's it for now. Next stop, the cover (mid-December maybe). The book goes on sale on 24th January!

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10 Questions: Alison Belsham, author of The Tattoo Thief

Hi all!

Another in my sporadic series of 10 Questions interview / survey things with fellow writers! I know, it’s been a few weeks, hasn’t it? I’ve expanded the casting of my author net a bit, so not all the writers featured from this point onwards are with Unbound. Mind you, that won’t stop me plugging my own noir thriller East of England, which is out on 24th January 2019, and which can be pre-ordered from all the places that sell books, such as here.

Today, it’s the turn of Alison Belsham, whose The Tattoo Thief is out now from Orion:

Who are you and what’s your book about?

My name’s Alison Belsham and my debut novel, The Tattoo Thief was published in September by Orion/Trapeze Books. It’s a police procedural set in Brighton:

A policeman on his first murder case
A tattoo artist with a deadly secret
And a twisted serial killer sharpening his blades to kill again...

When Brighton tattoo artist Marni Mullins discovers a flayed body, newly-promoted DI Francis Sullivan needs her help. There's a serial killer at large, slicing tattoos from his victims' bodies while they're still alive. Marni knows the tattooing world like the back of her hand, but has her own reasons to distrust the police. So when she identifies the killer's next target, will she tell Sullivan or go after the Tattoo Thief alone?



Why should folk read your book?

 If you’re the type of reader that relishes a gory serial killer tale with as many twists and turns as there are pages, this might be right up your street. For anyone who knows Brighton or for anyone who has a tattoo there’s an added layer of interest. The pace doesn’t let up for an instant, so it’s great for a holiday read when you want to be swept away by the story.

What’s the appeal of your book?  

I think one of the main appeals of The Tattoo Thief is the dynamic between the two main characters. Francis Sullivan is a young, newly-promoted DI. He’s as far from the usual fictional DI as is possible – he doesn’t drink, he isn’t divorced, he’s fiercely ambitious and he goes to church every Sunday. He crosses paths with Marni Mullins, the tattoo artist who finds the first body. Marni is older and wiser, but she has a dark past and a strong distrust of the police. The pair are thrown together, trying to track down a serial killer who’s targeting the tattooing community – and the sparks start to fly the instant they meet. Add to that the chance to get right inside this serial killer’s head, and you’ll find yourself on something of a roller coaster.

Sounds great! Where/when can I get hold of a copy?  

Amazon, Kobo, Waterstones, iBooks and hopefully all good bookshops. Not to mention your local library.

The Tattoo Thief_Approved Visual.jpg

Describe a typical writing day, or at least a typical day with some writing in it:

I get up at about 7.00 and usually try to go to the gym for a workout or a swim. Then back home for breakfast. My working day varies – sometimes I’m writing all day and at other times I split my time between writing fiction and copywriting, which is my day job. Being a freelance copywriter and working from home, it makes it easy for me to decide how to structure my time between the two sorts of writing. As well as working at home, I inject a bit of variety by also working at the library and in a number of favourite coffee shops. I sometimes wonder what the people on the adjacent tables would think if they knew I was writing a particularly gory murder scene while they’re enjoying their coffee and cake! I usually stop working at around five or six. Living in Edinburgh, there are a huge number of book-related events such as book launches and author talks, so I try to go to these regularly or just out for a drink with fellow crime writers, who despite what you might think, are an incredibly friendly bunch!


Pick one book about writing. What it is and why have you chosen it?

One of the first books about writing I came across was Solutions for Novelists: Secrets of a Master Editor by Sol Stein. I think this is a brilliant book and though I’ve read many since, this is still a book I turn to when I want to remind myself about some of the basics of writing. I can thoroughly recommend it to novice writers and the more experienced alike.


Pick three books that have influenced or inspired you as a writer:

Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving

Bleak House – Charles Dickens

Although the latter two are not crime books, these books had a great impact on me when I read them and I think it’s down to the extraordinary characterisation these writers achieve.


Pick three desert island books - works you couldn’t live without:

Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

The Art of Fielding – Chad Harbach

 I don’t think I could ever tire of Rebecca and Cold Comfort Farm always makes me laugh. The Art of Fielding is an extraordinary and moving coming-of-age novel.

Any words of writing wisdom?

I think the last thing any writer needs is words of wisdom from me! There’s a mountain of advice out there for novice writers, with plenty of contradiction – so all I would say is find your own way and your own voice. The more you write, the better you’ll become, but there’s no right way or wrong way – just do it the way that feels right to you. Perseverance is what you need most.


Let’s make a movie of your book. Give me the high-concept pitch:

The Tattoo Thief – the title says it all!


Social media contacts:

Twitter - @AlisonBelsham

Facebook – @AlisonBelshamWriter

Instagram -  alisonbelsham 

Book URL: 



Thanks very much to Alison for playing along!


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East of England's publication date is ...

… 24th January 2019!

A few details here, plus another nudge to pre-order yourselves a copy or two, or even to get in on the pledging and be listed in the book as a patron while that’s still an option.

More information as it emerges, but book-wise, there’s now officially something to look forwards to in the doldrums of late January…


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Benches of Louth now available

Benches of Louth is now available!

Paperback and Kindle ebook options for your reading pleasure here.

There’s also copies at Off The Beaten Tracks in Louth.

I’ve got a limited edition of 50 numbered and signed paperbacks which come direct from me. Perfect for those who fancy a signature in their reading matter, are addicted to numbers lower than 51, and/or don’t want to buy their books via Amazon. As of 10th November, I’ve got 25 of these left. Ideal gifts for the sitter-down in your life.

If you fall into any of these categories, PayPal me £9.99 (make sure there’s a delivery address, and it’s clear who you’d like the book dedicated to, if that’s your wish), and I’ll send a copy out. Just click the PayPal button below to get started. Thanks!

BoL cover 3D.PNG


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