Still alive


Just wanted to let anyone who’s still out there know that I haven’t been taken out by a sniper’s bullet, but am a firm believer in the dictum that if you haven’t got anything worth saying, you might consider saying nothing at all. (In which case, why was this blog ever started in the first place? I hear the unkind among you mutter.)

A bit of news: the third John Purkiss novel, Annihilation Myths, will be out in all ebook formats at the end of May. The second Martin Calvary novel, following on from Severance Kill and with a title yet to be confirmed, will appear in September.

And I’ll get round to releasing Delivering Caliban and Severance Kill in paperback some time this year.

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Win a book!


To mark the paperback release of Ratcatcher, I’m offering the opportunity to win one of three copies completely free, as well as three copies of the ebook in whatever format you choose. To enter, just post a comment below, letting me know your preferred format (paperback or ebook). That’s it. No questions to answer, no horrendous catches anywhere.

Bribes and flattery, while always welcome, won’t improve your chances of winning. Nor will threats, of either the “I know where you live” or the “I know what you’ve done” varieties. Closing date is Sunday 11 November at midnight (UK time) and the winners will be chosen at random.

This could be yours…

Out of the mire


All right, all right. I’ll slow down with the posts. Just stop flooding me with emails, okay?

Thanks to everybody who’s visited and followed this blog. It’ll get more interesting, I promise.

At the moment, I’m doing three things.

One: formatting all my Kindle books (novel, novella, novelette, short stories, and collections) for Smashwords, so that they’ll be available in all downloadable formats. Ratcatcher is already up on Kobo and Smashwords and being distributed to Barnes & Noble, Apple and the rest.

Two: getting ready a paperback version of Ratcatcher. I should get the proof copy next week, and if all’s well, it’ll be available as a real live paper book soon afterwards.

Three: I’m finishing off not one but two new novels. The first is the sequel to Ratcatcher, Delivering Caliban, which sees the return of John Purkiss. The second, which may or may not be set in Purkiss’s world, is The Severance Kill, a thriller about a British assassin who finds that resigning from his job comes with a heavy price. Delivering Caliban will be out in mid-November as an ebook, and as a paperback some time before Christmas. The Severance Kill should appear in all formats by the end of the year.

Feedback, criticism, stalking, death threats and offers of film contracts are, as always, most welcome. Well, some of them are.

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New plug


No, this isn’t a post about some dull DIY project I’ve undertaken. The sequel to my debut novel, Ratcatcher, will be published in November. Titled Delivering Caliban, it features the return of John Purkiss, scourge of rogue intelligence agents everywhere. Darker, meaner and bloodier than the first book, it takes Purkiss in new directions: geographically, emotionally, and morally…

Here’s the cover, by the excellent Jane Dixon-Smith. Jane’s website is: http://www.jdsmith-design.co.uk/.

Hope you like it!

Why I don’t have a Kindle


Hello to new visitors, and welcome back to my (so far) tiny band of dedicated followers. I hope the frenetic pace of my posting hasn’t put you off.

Since my last post I’ve published two books, Reunion, a chilly Cold War novella, and Woodborn: Six Tales of Unease, the title of which says it all, really. They’re doing brisk trade, and I’ve had some highly successful free giveaway days for both of them. The Alpha male of my literary troop remains, however, Ratcatcher. It’s taken off particularly well in the UK, thanks in no small part to the very generous reviews it’s had.

Oh, and why don’t I own a Kindle? Because they’re the devil’s invention. Because ebooks are killing off traditional publishing. All those lovely paper books with that characteristic musty smell are going the way of the dodo, all because of the Kindle.

Er… no, not really.

I don’t own a Kindle because I haven’t got round to getting one yet.

Reviews


Well, I’ve had one review so far for Ratcatcher, and a very decent (and fair) one it was, too. Four stars. The formatting problem the reviewer mentions makes me cringe – non-justified text – but I’ve fixed it now.

Reviews are all-important, I’ve discovered, especially when you’re an unknown author self-publishing for the first time. All the advice I’ve had says to solicit reviews left, right and centre. Specifically, Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk reviews. Reviews are what get you noticed by the reader who’s casually browsing Amazon. Reviews – positive ones, of course, but even those that aren’t so enthusiastic –  draw readers to a book. Reviews mean the book’s being read.

There’s a problem, though.

I’m English.

English people are acutely, painfully uncomfortable with asking favours. To ask, even in a general way, for people who’ve read my book to consider writing a review of it for Amazon floods me with embarrassment, even to think about it.

Nevertheless –

No. I can’t.
http://bit.ly/LbX9uG

http://bit.ly/JyOB4f

The awkward first post


Hello. My name’s Tim Stevens, and I write thrillers.

I’ve written three of them so far. The second, Ratcatcher, has just been published for Amazon Kindle. Links to it are here and here.

If you’ve read it, please read on. If you haven’t, I’d be most grateful if you did. Then read on.

Or just read on anyway…

Ratcatcher is an action/espionage thriller set in the beautiful Estonian capital of Tallinn. The story was inspired by three very different sources. The first was John Le Carre’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. In the early spring of 2011 I heard that TTSS was being remade as a film. As a fanatical devotee of the classic 1979 Alec Guinness BBC television adaptation, I was appalled. How dare they? Etc, etc. Of course, the film turned out to be utterly brilliant, and in some ways superior even to the original series. (I’ll come back to this in a later post.) What stuck in my mind when I thought again about TTSS was the notion of a mysterious traitor within the organisation tasked with the defence of the realm, and how powerful a modern archetype this was.

The second source of inspiration for my novel was Mike Figgis’s 1990 film Internal Affairs. It’s a film that’s little remembered now, but it’s really rather good, with excellent turns from Andy Garcia as a member of the LAPD’s Internal Affairs division and Richard Gere, cast against type, as the corrupt officer he’s investigating. Unusually, the IA cop is presented as the good guy. When the IA crop up in films or TV series they’re routinely portrayed as nasty, quasi-fascist jobsworths doing their best to ruin the careers of heroic working stiffs who might bend the rules occasionally but are basically decent people.

So I liked the idea of a protagonist whose full-time job it was to root out corruption within the British intelligence service, a sort of Internal Affairs officer to the spies. Of course, the very existence of such a job relies on the notion that corruption and criminality is rife within MI6, rather than confined to the occasional bad apple. I’m the first to admit that such a notion is preposterous. But preposterous ideas often make for good stories.

I mentioned there were three sources of inspiration for my book. The third was the device Alistair Maclean typically used in his novels, especially the earlier ones. Maclean’s best works were thrilling adventure stories which included a whodunit element: there was always an unknown saboteur within a fairly narrowly confined group of characters. Working out who among the good guys was the traitor was part of the fun.

And so Ratcatcher was born! I do hope you read it, and like it, and I’d be most interested in your feedback, good or bad. Plus your views on thrillers, and on writing. Or anything that you might think appropriate.

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