August 1st 2008

Hello there.

Well you wouldn't think a whole month has passed since I wrote the first page in this diary, would you?

There was a problem with the email contact to enable you to write to me, this has now been fixed by James (the webmaster). But I do know that a few hundred good people have had a peep here. I hope that they read this diary. I get such a kick out of writing it.

In the early part of the month, I saw the artist's first idea of the dust jacket of MURDER IN BARE FEET which is the next Inspector Angel book coming out on October 31st, this year. It was simply the picture of the mould of a foot in sand and shells from a handgun. I thought it looked great. I hope readers won't think it's a story set in the desert; it's set in Bromersley, here in South Yorkshire, of course.

I also got an advance copy of the large print edition of THE CURIOUS MIND OF INSPECTOR Angel, which is due out in the bookshops and internet shops on July 30th. It's a very striking cover. You can see it at the top of the page. If you have somebody who has visual difficulty or if it's a young person trying to learn to read, these versions are really helpful. I have nine books out in large print now. The titles are listed and shown at the bottom of the Books page. If you don't want to buy any of them, ask at your library, they usually have them in stock or might get them in, if you smile at the librarian sweetly.

By the way, I have just heard that WILD ABOUT HARRY (that'll be the 13th Inspector Angel book) will be published on the 27th February 2009. That's four days after my birthday. It'll be like a late birthday present.

I have a letter calling me to the hospital to have a check up on the 21st. I have had a few of these over the past five years. I hate it ... difficulty parking the car, hanging around for ages, undressed in a dressing gown, waiting for a miserable man in a white coat to hurt me. Then wait for the verdict. I don't like it. Anyway, please wish me luck.

Hey. I hear that the Plain English Campaign, which I enthusiastically support, have accused the press offices and websites of some British police forces of 'ploddedlygook'. Apparently Norfolk constabulary call their control room 'citizen focus command.' While Suffolk coppers call the boss of their IT department, 'the director of knowledge architecture'. How about that?
Instead of 'crime writer', I thought I would call myself 'a placement of words in reasoned entertaining sequence relating exclusively to crime, operative'. What do you think?

That famous Booker prize has been awarded. £20,000. I look at it covetously each year knowing that I have as much chance of winning it as I have of finishing a full bottle of champagne in a day. I did that after a party, when my first Angel book, IN THE MIDST OF LIFE was published years ago! Happy memories.

Did you know that creosote is a banned substance? The perimeter of my garden was recently fenced with timber which has never been painted, so I needed a few gallons of creosote to preserve it. I went down to Focus and asked for creosote. The assistant in there looked at me blank. The stuff has been banned for sale by European regulations. Can't think why. You wouldn't want to smoke it, inhale it, or drink it, would you?

Must get back to writing ... I'll never finish this book on time.

PS. I saw this lovely joke in RED HERRINGS, that's the crime writer association's official magazine ...
Question: How many crime writers does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer: Two. One to put the bulb in the socket and another to give it an extra twist.

Must fly. Have a super holiday.
July 1st 2008

Well, hello folks. It’s July already, and who would think I’m writing on my very own website. If my father was alive he wouldn’t believe it. For that matter, my father wouldn’t believe that you can shove a piece of plastic in the wall and tap in a number and money comes out! But there you are.

But readers, hello. It’s July 2008. And the sun is shining. The hottest day of the year so far!
I have never kept a diary before, but I am going to try and give anybody who cares to read it – if there is anybody out there – a flavour of what it’s like trying to be a crime writer and at the same time still live as much of a normal life as possible.

If last week was anything to go by, you will see how difficult it is. Huh. The phone was dead for three days, I had to have a wisdom tooth out, I had to take my wife to the hospital for a check up, we ran out of porridge and my webmaster (what a posh name, but he insists on it- he’s power mad – his real name is James) insisted that the site should still be completed and opened on time.

While all this was happening, I had to check off the fiddling little errors and inconsistencies that the copy editor at Hales had found in the manuscript of my book, MURDER IN BARE FEET (September/October this year). There aren’t many this time, thank goodness, but they needed sorting out. It’s boring and time-consuming. I’ve written and re-read the book a hundred times by now. I know it backwards … I want to move on. Anyway I’ve had an email this morning from the obermeister-furhrer down there, apparently everything is now OK and the manuscript has gone to the typesetter. It’s exciting. Although I’ve had seventeen books published, every stage nearer publication of a new book still gives me a buzz of excitement, like a family of bees buzzing round my chest.

I’m off to try and write some more while I can. I’m in the middle of a book for September/October next year, 2009, it’s about a man finding a dead pig in a nightie in his bed. I’ve got Angel tangled up in a devil of a plot that is taking some sorting out … and I am supposed to know whodunnit! Come back in a week or two and I’ll tell you how I’m getting along.