Running this series has introduced me to new authors and new books I want to read. Today is no exception as I’ve discovered, from Kelly Clayton, a crime series set in Jersey, a place new to me booth in life and in fiction, and the fabulously named Zombie Cupcake Press (no I didn’t make that up!) that has published some of Jim Ody’s work. So get a comfy seat and your drink of choice, coffee for me, and read on.
The year ahead – Jim Ody
As an author you have to plan ahead however being creative it means things often change! My planning surrounds writing, sales and marketing which are all surprisingly in equal parts. I am always working in the future as an example I have written a number of things now that have not been released yet. On January 27th 2018 my third book for Zombie Cupcake Press will be released. It is called A Cold Retreat and is a psychological/thriller that looks at the fine line between doing something you want to do right up to the point you no longer being comfortable, but feel unable to stop. It explores perception of right and wrong, and what happens when someone doesnt say no. I wanted to try something different for this book and had a number of BETA readers to make sure that I was still being sympathetic and sensitive with the subject matter. It is important to me that I look at things from every angle and remain as subjective as possible.
I have just finished writing a novella called Beneath The Whispers which will get a final round of edits before being submitted to my publisher for a spring/summer release. This is a story about a guy caught between his cheating ex-girlfriend and his childhood sweetheart. It looks into his heart and mind and tries to piece together what he really wants. All of this is whilst searching for a USB stick that holds a mystery that cannot be allowed to be seen. The truth of the stick holds the key to his future.
Now short stories never appealed to me. Until I had one published by Bloodhound Books a year ago, and saw how it raised my profile. I have now got into the habit of suddenly writing a short story in a matter of weeks when asked to submit. I have a Sci-Fi comedy being released in February by Zombie Cupcake Press in their anthology called Off Course. A handful of writers were given an outline of a story and we came up with our own stories that intertwined together. As a rule I stay away from Sci-Fi, so this was incredibly challenging but a great deal of fun too. Another of my short stories has just been accepted for an anthology by Crazy Ink. My story is called Sweet Little Eyes and is a thriller about a woman taking her son on a road trip for his birthday, but things arent quite what they seem. For this one I set the story in California. Writing a book based in America is something that I have thought about doing for a while and I was surprised at how naturally it felt.
Currently, I am re-writing a comedy/caper novel called Just South Of Heaven which will be the first book in a series. I first wrote this book back in 2002, so Im bringing it up to date and rephrasing a lot of scenes. I hope to have this book released next year. I have the full outline written to the follow up called Missing Miss Legless about a one-legged porn star gone missing, and I also have a brief outline of the third book called Gold Dogging. With this series I get to unleash my comedic side. They are a contemporary take on the Dime-store detective novels with witty dialogue and crazy characters. They are a bit of fun that will then allow me to be more serious and commercial with my other novel releases.
My most important release for next year is yet to be started but already has a title A Stolen Truth. I am quite excited about this as it will be my most commercial release to date. I cannot give any details away other than its a psychological/thriller about a woman who wakes up and decides she no longer loves her husband.
In the past few days I have also been speaking to another author about co-writing a book. This is an incredibly exciting proposition for me. Im not sure how well it will work but watch this space.
Most importantly I want to get out and meet people a bit more in 2018. Ive spent a lot of time interacting and socializing via the internet, and whilst I now have a YouTube channel, I need to be getting out to conventions and author meets to be able to see fellow authors and readers.
Throughout 2017 I have always tried to promote other authors. I have been incredibly lucky with a number of people who have helped me so far and I want to give something back. I have a street team of over 70 dedicated people, and they to a great job of promoting me. I like to think Im approachable and always happy to answer questions that others have. I hope to carry on doing this in the future, spotting authors to join my publisher, or helping out any self-published authors with my experiences.
2017 was a huge year for me going from being self-published to being signed to a publisher, but now I want to more towards the next level.
Jim was first published in an English School Textbook in 1987. He won a competition to draw a dog-walking machine. Having won an art competition the year before, he felt that at the age of eleven he had peaked and consequently retired from the world of art.
For 10 years Jim wrote for a number of websites reviewing and interviewing bands in his own unique way, as well as contributing dark poems and comedic features.
He writes dark psychological/thrillers that have endings that you won’t see coming, and favours stories packed with wit. He has written three novels released through Zombie Cupcake Press, and has also contributed to several anthologies.
Jim has a very strange sense of humour and is often considered a little odd. When not writing he will be found playing the drums, watching football and eating chocolate. He lives with his long-suffering wife and three beautiful children in Swindon, Wiltshire.
2018 – Kelly Clayton
Towards the end of 2017 I had a good think about what I needed to achieve in 2018. I have a historical murder mystery, Fortune’s Hostage, being released in April, with a standalone novel, Cyber Sisters, and a fourth DCI Jack Le Claire due to be published before the year-end. In addition to that I have several ongoing projects with The Blonde Plotters, a collaboration I have with two other writers, Deborah Carr and Gwyn GB. Oh, and I work full time in the finance industry.
I realised I had to maximise my writing and publicity time and that means getting organised, and staying focussed. I always achieve set deadlines but I’ve been thinking that if I planned my time properly I could achieve a lot more.
My plans for the year ahead are:-
Dedicated writing time of two hours each day. Absolutely no pootling about on Facebook, internet research (especially where I end up looking at something completely irrelevant) or general faffing about. Just writing. An hour before work and one in the evening – every day.
Setting aside 4 hours a week to deal with marketing and publicity. Actually setting it aside; putting the time in the diary and sticking to it.
That’s it. Doesn’t sound too difficult, does it? However, I need to factor in that I have a demanding day job and that has to take priority. I travel regularly for work and my schedules can get disturbed. But I do know that I can also spend time doing things that aren’t exactly a priority. I work to deadlines and will burn the midnight (or dawn!) oil to achieve them. What I need to do is make the deadline smaller, gentler and daily. Two hours of writing a day and 4 hours of marketing a week (every week) should mean I achieve my 2018 publishing goals and perhaps squeeze in a couple of extra projects. Wish me luck. I may need it!
Kelly Clayton is originally from Scotland but has lived on the Channel Island of Jersey for most of her life. Kelly has three published novels in The DCI Jack Le Claire Mystery Series; Blood In The Sand, Blood Ties and Blood On The Rock. The books are mainly set in Jersey and can be read as part of the series or as a standalone.
Kelly lives with her husband and three cats in a home overlooking the sea.
About the books:
Blurb: How do you stop a killer who has everything to lose?
A man sits alone on his yacht, contemplating his good fortune as the sun slowly sets. But the past has a way of catching up with you.
Sophie Ginelli has returned home, having fled Jersey a decade earlier. She is trying to make amends and claim what is hers by right. But a lot can happen in ten years. Will she like what she finds?
With her future threatened, Sophie must decide what she is willing to do to come out on top. An unexpected romance opens her eyes to new possibilities. Will she follow her heart?
Is blood thicker than water?
DCI Jack Le Claire is called in to investigate a suspicious death. As he peels back the layers of the victim’s life, he uncovers a web of family tensions, jealousy and deceit.
Can he piece together the connections between a series of crimes while facing his deepest fears as his past continues to haunt him?
Kelly’s latest book, Blood On The Rock, is available at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0765W92QG
The digital boxset of the first 3 books is also available at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077XGSFB4