Today (Friday 24 November) is my last day in work before a well-deserved fortnight’s holiday. And will I be resting? Heck no! πŸ™‚

Next week I have earmarked for more work on my fourth Detective Constable Dominic Strider novel, ‘Till the Fat Lady Sings’, about the evil opera singer. And if you think the title gives the ending away, just think of this novel as a Columbo-esque mystery. Not so much whodunnit but how’s Strider gonna solve it??

The problem with having a full-time day job (in government communications) is that I have little spare time left for my books. Weeknights sometimes are OK to do a chapter. Weekends much better – you can blast through a good few of them.

But taking annual leave is, to me, still be very best way to do it. I can devote a specific amount of time to the story, settle down in complete silence, undisturbed by anyone else (my wife will be at work then), and blast through it.

I was fortunate enough to have loads of annual leave accruing this year; so much in fact that it was actually one of my job’s objectives for 2017 to get rid of it all!! What an objective to have to meet, eh??Β  πŸ™‚

So I took the first two weeks in October off and made a cracking start on the novel. I’m now 15 chapters in, so about half way.

This is especially a good achievement in my eyes as the opening chapter took me many weeks to get right. It’s set at Chester Races and had originally been a one-off action scene, never to be mentioned again afterwards. It’s now been changed so it’s the start of a sub-plot which runs throughout the novel till the very end. This of course requires new chapters to accommodate it.

I also deviated massively off my initial chapter plan in order to prolong the murder investigation, introduce new characters, new scenarios and new clues, and create from scratch a romance for Strider with one of the main witnesses.

Over the next week, I plan to take the writing very slowly and carefully, and not rush to the end. This is a marathon, not a sprint. So I fully anticipate reaching the 2/3 point of the book, where Strider pursues the villain down to London to finally prove her guilt and apprehend her.

It will be an intense week, but it will artistically fulfilling, and I know I’ll have fun too seeing where the characters take me next. After all, it’s ‘their’ story. Who knows where we’ll end up this time next week?? πŸ™‚


In two weeks time I will be visiting Chester itself – the setting for my DC Strider crime novels.

Please look out for further pictures of this beautifully historic city and details of a new video blog I’m planning, about my intense efforts to find a literary agent for my work.



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