Monday, 1 June 2020

3 ways to get more writing done during lockdown

one writer's office
"I can't seem to find the time to get any writing done with everything that's going on."

That's a common refrain I'm hearing from writing pals. It's understandable given the circumstances caused by the coronavirus.

But there are ways you can get some writing done.

Here are just four -

writing is work

1. Don't tell your family that you're going to "get some writing done". 
Nope, tell them you have some work to do.

A funny thing happens to writers I know. When they tell their families they're off to do some writing they get constantly interrupted by kids asking where stuff is and partners coming in for a natter. 

Unless you say you're working your work will be treated like it's not work at all.

Not everything good comes in large packages

2.  Try to do your writing in manageable chunks. 
If you have 10 minutes to spare use that time. You might find it easier than say telling yourself you need to set a few hours aside to work on that article or your novel.

Speech to text can get that writing done

3. A slow typer or just someone who likes to read something out loud that you've written to see how it scans, making use of the speech to text capabilities on your phone, tablet or laptop is a good way to get your writing done. 

It's also perfect when you just want a break from typing and want to be productive.

I use OneNote on my phone.

Monday, 4 May 2020

Read a free extract of CANNIBAL CITY (Detective in a Coma book 2)

A killer is stalking their victims on Glasgow's streets.

Men are being abducted, kept tied up for weeks and force-fed, then strangled and their livers are being removed.

Detective Inspector Duncan Waddell has enough problems not least of all that his best friend and colleague Stevie who's meant to be comatose is talking to him and only him. Now he faces his most bizarre case yet.
This time he has help in the form of FBI profiler Odessa Thorne who arrives as part of a new Police Scotland initiative.
When a career criminal comes forward to say he was targeted by the killer but somehow managed to get away, Waddell hopes it's the breakthrough they need. But can they trust this witness who's known to be a habitual liar?
As they close in on their ruthless killer Waddell must look into a heart of darkness to get his killer.
If you love gritty thrillers set on the mean streets of Scotland then you will love this book.


Chapter 1
When he came to, his head felt like a whoopee cushion somebody with a huge, fat backside had sat on. And what the hell was that shitty smell? Had someone taken a giant dump and left it to rot in the pan?
Warily, he opened his eyes, which wasn't easy because they were gunged up with sleep and his head was sore enough without letting any light in, but he had to see where he was.
Gradually his surroundings came into focus. He was in a room with stone walls, with strip lighting and he was lying on a mattress on a stone floor. In the far corner, there was a barber's chair. Located nearby was the source of the stench, a plastic bucket. He didn't need to inspect it to know it was full of shit; was it his shit?
Only shit smells like shit, his old man used to say (before he suffocated on his own vomit after a two-day bender).
Not remembering how he got here made anything possible.
He must have been lying down too long because his legs were numb. As much as the marching band in his head made him want to remain lying down, he needed to get the blood flowing in his legs or he'd end up with cramp.
Reaching down, he gave the tops of his legs a wee rub to try and get the circulation going. That's when he clocked the chains around his ankles. He followed the chain to a bolt embedded in the wall. When he pulled with both hands there was no give at all. Couldn't budge the bastard.
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
Where the hell was he and, more to the point, who the fuck was he? He couldn't even remember his own name. Had he been hit over the head? That'd explain the pain and the dizziness.
What was the last thing he remembered?
Think. Think. Think.
Knowing that would be a start. He'd a quick flash of someone grabbing some guy's shoulder bag with a laptop inside. Dozy clown had been too busy sipping his fancy coffee to notice it'd been snatched. Up and away you go.
How the hell would he know that? He must have taken it.
How could he remember stealing that bag and not even know his own freaking name? Was he concussed or drugged?
He was wearing jeans and a t-shirt with a thin denim jacket on top. Rummaging through the pockets, he found a few bookies' receipts and one for petrol in the jacket, so he must have a motor somewhere. That was one more thing he knew about himself than he'd known a minute ago.
In the back pocket of the jeans, his hand closed around a plastic card. It was a gym membership card in the name Dennis Kincaid. Maybe that was who he was?
There was nothing else in the pockets but junk. Not even keys that he could use as a weapon because he knew he needed something. Someone had put him in this cellar and chained him up. And they could be coming back any minute, in through that door with the keypad that he couldn't get to because these bloody chains stopped him from moving any further.
He was scouring the floor, frantically searching for something he could use to defend himself when the door beeped then clicked.
Fists balled, he hauled himself to his feet and in spite of the dizziness, he managed to stay standing as he braced himself for what was coming. When he saw who came in through the door, he almost laughed. Had to be a windup. It was some guy in a Freddy Krueger mask.
"Is this a joke?" His words came out a rasp. Was he tripping?
The guy advanced towards him. Before he realised what was happening there was a flash and his whole body convulsed. Bastard had Tasered him.
As he writhed about on the floor, the guy spoke. 'Listen carefully. Do what I say and I'll let you leave. Try to fight me and you're dead. Deviate in any way from my instructions and you're dead.
All he could do was listen as the stranger made his offer.


Saturday, 25 April 2020

How to survive family lockdown (without killing one another)

Even your dog needs headphones

It's predicted that the divorce rate is set to soar under the pressure of couples being forced to live on top of one another during the lockdown. Close family relationships are also going to be seriously strained.

Here's some tips on how to survive that family lockdown without killing each other because the family that stays together drive each other insane.

Now might not be the time to watch Ravenous

1. Be careful with the movies/tv shows you watch - Try and avoid watching anything related to the apocalypse and cannibalism  and society breaking down. You don't want everyone waking up with nightmares because it'll disturb your sleep and that's the only me time you're currently getting.

2. Get rid of everything that annoys you - I'm talking about the harmonica your son's just discovered and is trying to play very badly. The drill your daughter has decided to use to hang up picture hooks in every bit of space on her bedroom wall. The guitar your partner decides to start learning to play.

Dug holes are useful

Dig a big hole in the garden whilst nobody's looking and toss the unwanted items in the hole and bury.

3. Step away from the board games - In fact, you may consider tossing them in that hole.
This is for several reasons -
*Board games cause arguments and recriminations in households.
*Someone always cheats.
*Someone always gets upset when they lose.
*Someone always crows about winning. 
*Somebody always takes their frustrations out on the board and throws it up on the air with the game pieces all going everywhere.
*Somebody always ends up in tears.

Board games only cause arguments

Don't be swayed by nostalgic remembrances of happy days spent playing board games with your family. If those times were happy you're not remembering them right. Ads that show happy Brady Bunch type families playing board games all smiling and laughing are a trap set up by the toy industry to rake in the cash.

These happy ads hide the truth - during the lockdown if you play board games as a family you will regret it.

4. Buy a pair of noise cancelling headphones - even better, buy a dozen so everyone can have them including your dog. You're going to need them because you'll start to get tired of hearing everybody's voice.

5. Read loads of books.
There's some great deals at the moment - and here comes the shameless plug - my publisher is offering the first book in my Detective in a Coma series, Vile City for just £5 via PayPal. The book usually retails at £8.99 

Click here to see the deal. 

There are lots of other great books on the Caffeine NIghts online store. 

Saturday, 18 April 2020

How to kill your neighbour - my WIP

She thought she'd something in her eye.

Yes, that title got your attention, but I'm not really advocating killing your neighbour although I am currently writing a crime novel with the working title How to kill your neighbour.

For one thing, it's hard to get away with it because you will be considered a prime suspect due to your proximity to the victim. And that goes double if you've had a yell off with them in front of your other neighbours.
For another, to kill some neighbours would take a stake through the heart or a silver bullet. 

You know the kind of neighbour I mean? The kind that would rather launch a foul-mouthed tirade at you for some imagined slight rather than a 'Good morning.'

Again, I'm only kidding about killing your neighbour. Honest. Where would it get you? Prison for life. 

One person who did get away with killing their neighbour - at least in a short story I read - did it in the most novel of ways. 

The method used was contaminating the solution their contact lenses were in so their eyes started to sting and smart as they drove to work and guess what, they crashed their car and died in the wreck.

I haven't decided how my killer will murder their neighbour but I'll keep you updated on how I'm getting on with Killing my Neighbour.

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Why my latest killer force-feeds their victims in Cannibal City

In Cannibal City the killer's victims are force-fed in a similar way
Suffragettes were before they're killed

Years ago I lived on an island. Not one of those remote Islands but one of the most accessible ones you are likely to get. One day I was walking past a local restaurant and I was shocked to see something on the menu that's so cruel the production of it is banned in my country but not the sale. 

You can read about what happened next on my companion blog for my book Living Cruelty Free: Live a more Compassionate Life here 

That product was Foie gras which is made by ramming a metal or plastic pipe down a duck or goose's throat so their livers swell abnormally to around ten times their normal size. 

Foie gras is French and translates as fatty liver.​ 

There's never been an appetite for reversing the ban on producing it in the UK where I live because even farmers who could make money out of producing this vile 'foodstuff' find the cruelty involved too much. 

In Cannibal City ,DI Waddell investigates a sinister killer who's killing
people and removing their livers

When I was writing book 2 in the Detective in a Coma series I wanted to do something a bit different. Come up with a different method of murder whilst also letting people who don't know into the sick little secret of how cruel a 'food' Foie gras is. 

In Cannibal City, my killer craves Foie gras but is so sickened by how it's obtained he decides that he'll make a human version instead. Pretty gross but as well as coming up with a more novel way to kill people, it also gives folk an insight into one of the cruellest things humans eat. 

A food so cruel that when Scottish tennis star Andy Murray discovered what it was he banned it from being served in the hotel he owns. 

If you want to see how it's used in Cannibal City you can check out the book now.

A killer is stalking his victims on Glasgow's streets.
Men are being abducted, kept tied up for weeks and force-fed, then strangled and their livers are being removed.

~Coming April 16th from Jennifer Lee Thomson @jenthom72 and Caffeine Nights~ 
Pre-order #CannibalCity the follow up to VILE CITY

#Kindle #paperback

Monday, 6 April 2020

Cannibal City (Detective in a Coma, Detective Waddell) is available on pre-order

"Sometimes the monsters are real."

Pre-order Detective In a Coma book 2 now

"A tough case and your partner is sleeping on the job."

A killer is stalking his victims on Glasgow's streets.
Men are being abducted, kept tied up for weeks and force-fed, then strangled and their livers are being removed.

~Coming April 16th from Jennifer Lee Thomson @jenthom72 and Caffeine Nights~ 
Pre-order #CannibalCity the follow up to VILE CITY now-


#Kindle #paperback