Monthly Archives: June 2017

…another beaut from the pen of the amazing Matt Hilton…

…one of the really good guys in the authors’ community, my pal, Matt Hilton, has his latest Joe Hunter crime thriller, MARKED FOR DEATH,  launching soon… here he shares some of that arduous journey that leads to what’s laughingly called ‘being an overnight success – after decades of hard slog!’… I salute you, that man…

Rocky Road Blues (or My Path To Publication)

For more than almost three decades I aspired to be a published author, and in any spare time I had between working and raising a family, I would be working on my next book, short story or article. Other than a few articles in ‘Combat’, a monthly magazine dedicated to the martial arts, I had no success in placing any of my work with a publisher. I started writing early, penning short stories as a child, and even completed my first novel – a coming of age tale – when I was in my early teens. I then switched to writing heroic fantasy, along the lines of Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Cimmerian tales, but was unfortunately never going to break into the market with them. However, in my early twenties I began writing crime thrillers, quite simply because they were the kind of books I enjoyed reading, many of which were penned by American authors. Seven novels, and around five hundred short stories and almost twenty years later and I was still unpublished. I had lost count of the number of rejections received back from the dozens of publishers and agents I’d submitted to. You’d think by then I’d have got the message that I wasn’t much of a writer and given up on my dream, but call me stubborn.

I was still hopeful of getting a book published, and although my career to date had been one of rejection there had been a few near misses. I entered a competition run by my local arts council for aspiring authors to be mentored by a published author. My novel was placed second. I entered another competition in a writers’ magazine where the winner had their novel published, and again came second. In the late 1990’s I submitted a novel to one of the Big Five publishers and entered into communication with them towards publication. However they chose to pass in the end, deciding that my book wasn’t as commercially viable as they hoped. Some people might see those near misses as cause to spiral into depression, and it would have been easy to throw my toys out of the pram, but I decided to look at them as ‘almost there’ rather than ‘not near enough’. It gave me the encouragement to carry on.

It took an epiphany of sorts on my part before I discovered the strategy that finally got me a deal. You see, that term ‘commercial viability’ had stuck with me, and I only had to take a cursory look back at the seven novels I’d previously submitted to show me where I was going wrong. They were all standalone books, with no prospect of a follow up. Publishers are in the market of establishing authors and characters that readers return to time and time again. I only had to look at my own reading habit to see that I followed authors writing series’ with recurring characters and themes. At the time, Simon Kernick had just hit the big time and a quick glance in the acknowledgements gave me the name of his agent. I decided to send out a submission to his agent, who by chance had just been named literary agent of the year. In my accompanying letter, I explained how this was the first in a planned series, and name-dropped a few huge names in the action thriller genre that the books might appeal to. On the back of that I was invited to London to meet with the agent, and given a pile of homework to re-write and edit my book. I worked at it feverishly over the next few months, and then resubmitted my book to said agent, who snapped it up and immediately sent it to auction with a group of publishers all competing to be my publisher. As fate would have it, the publisher that won was the same one I’d interested in one of my earlier books, albeit nine years earlier. Any way, my debut novel – Dead Men’s Dust – became the first in my on-going series of action-packed thrillers featuring vigilante with a heart, Joe Hunter. I was lauded as a break out success and an overnight sensation. If only those who thought I’d been successful with my first book knew the truth. My overnight was one almost thirty years in the making!

My road to publication had some rocky patches, and there were times when I grew despondent, but I just had to hitch up my trousers and carry on. I’m seriously glad that I did. My twelfth Joe Hunter thriller – MARKED FOR DEATH – is about to be published on 17th July 2017.


Matt Hilton is the author of the high-octane Joe Hunter thriller series, and the Tess Grey and Po Villere thrillers. His first book, ‘Dead Men’s Dust’, was shortlisted for the International Thriller Writers’ Debut Book of 2009 Award, and was a Sunday Times bestseller, also being named as a ‘thriller of the year 2009’ by The Daily Telegraph. Dead Men’s Dust was also a top ten Kindle bestseller in 2013 and 2016.

Matt has published novels in the supernatural/horror genre, namely ‘Preternatural’, ‘Dominion’, ‘Darkest Hour’ and ‘The Shadows Call’.

His next Joe Hunter novel, Marked For Death, will be published 17th July 2017, and his next Tess and Po novel, Worst Fear, on 29th September 2017. website  @MHiltonauthor Twitter Facebook official author page at Facebook

About the book:

 Joe Hunter has been Marked for Death in his most explosive outing to date

It should be a routine job. Joe Hunter and his associates are hired to provide security for an elite event in Miami. Wear a tux, stay professional, job done.

But things go wrong.

Hunter is drawn into what appears to be a domestic altercation. When he crosses the mysterious Mikhail however, he soon finds something altogether more sinister…

Before long this chance encounter has serious repercussions for Hunter and his friends. Good people are being killed. On the run, in the line of fire, the clock is ticking.

From the bars of Miami Beach to car chases and superyacht grenade battles, bestseller Matt Hilton dials up the intensity in this rip-roaring, set-piece filled thriller perfect for fans of Lee Child, David Baldacci and Stephen Leather.

 Available for pre-order now:

….cheeeeeeeeeers, that man, Matt… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Uncategorized

…the loneliness of the long-distance Author…

…here’s a regurgitation of a post I did almost four years ago… and the context holds even more true today than I thought it did back then… my salute to the stamina of every Author and Authoress who gets to type ‘THE END’ on their wee masterpieces… enjoy…

…even the shyest of people need company from time to time… hermits, real hermits, measure less than 0.00000648 percent of the WURLD’s population… cloistered monks and sisters of the cloth in their monkeries and sisteries at least have the presence of their ilk round them on a constant basis… the brooding G.Garbo and H.Hughes had lots of M.Money around them to alleviate their solitary exclusion of the rest of the planet… which makes it apparent to me, Mabel, that it’s abnormal to ‘want to be alone’… yet, hundreds of thousands of quill-scraper Lads and Lassies of Blog Land choose just such a devoted pathway… yes, yeez can point to the Web, and all its SOSYAL NETWURK trappings… where at the click of yer mouse, yeez can be in touch with twenty-five trillion people simultaneously… but, and it’s a big ‘but’... it’s not the same as being with people in the flesh… the myriad virtual-candlelit garrets wherein the scribing successes of the future literary generation reside hold their own special importance… being a writer is lonely… no-one else can sculpt the characters, plots, nuances of yer own story-telling… it’s unique to each and every one of yeez… I know I bang on occasionally here about the real WURK starting after yeez’ve finished yer masterpiece, in getting it accepted in the Big Bad WURLD out there… that doesn’t detract from the beauty and the adrenaline rush of actually typing ‘THE END’… yeez can try to share that feeling with others… but it’s impossible for them to feel what yeez feel yerself at that precise moment of conclusion… and all the heartache, all the pain, all the angst, all the suffered loneliness of the long-distance Author, all the ‘alls’… are worth every nano-second of this peculiar labour of love… and then, fools that yeez are (me included), what do yeez do then?… yeez start another one!… pass me my candle, Mabel, I’ve my next masterpiece to write… see yeez later…



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…pssssst!… wanna join me in my latest foray into the Wunnerful WURLD of the Web?…

…hear ye! hear ye! here ye!

…I make no secret of it… I LUV what I do… my day job as a corporate adviser/company troubleshooter/executive coach/management trainer gives me tons of satisfaction… oh, and by the way, it also contributes to paying the bills, always a handy facet… but it will come as no surprise to emb’dy who knows me on here, it comes a distant second to the pleasure of being not just an author, but a writer who gleefully embraces all the SOSYAL NETWURKS that comes with it these days… over the decade or so that my scribbling of the Jack Calder crime thrillers series took over my wee grey cells, I’ve enjoyed the interaction with the thousands of friends that have been amassed through the Twitter, Facebook, Google+ channels, and especially this ‘ere Blog… on occasions when I travel out of the Middle East where I currently reside and WURK, I’ve begun meeting pals, other authors, readers, and bloggers in get-togethers in London (twice), Manchester and Glasgow (twice) on a face -to face basis… and all of that has been glorious fun… now I’ve been thinking (dangerous, I know, Mabel, but some thinking nonetheless), that I’d like to broaden the ‘personal’ feel even more online… recently I posted on Facebook that I’d like to try to create sum’thing along the lines of a regular ‘Newsletter‘ but kinda different to that… the objective is to generate an active TWO-WAY exchange of thoughts, ideas, and so on… to that end I’m inviting folks to join a list of pals with me by giving me their names on email, through or by DM on Facebook… I’d be happy to have all of yeez come aboard on this latest foray into the Wunnerful WURLD of the Web… hope yeez’ll sign up … see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…I’m not Jack Calder… but I know a guy who might know him…

…as Authors we’re often asked, ‘is any of yer stuff autobiographical?’… well, unless it’s yer own life story, p’raps only wee bits of yerself and past experiences will creep into yer literary masterpieces… my Jack Calder crime thrillers are no exception to that… the main characters are former SAS officers… in a previous life, Master Gallacher spent some time as a corporate troubleshooter in the Philippines, one engagement there being to effect the turnaround of an ailing shipping company… ‘so where does the SAS in yer books fit into that benign scenario?’ I hear yeez ask… here’s how: in the first month around the company’s piers and cargo yards in the slum area of Tondo in Manila (a notorious squatter area housing over 125,000 people, a large number of whom were criminals and drug dealers), I fired 600 dockside trade union members… next to go were local mayors and policemen up and down the country in ports where the company’s vessels called daily… these men were supposed to be looking after our interests, when in fact much of the time they were simply lining their own pockets at the company’s expense… it had to stop… the abruptness of the actions taken had swift repercussions… in short order we were informed via the friendly Mayor’s office in Manila that a couple of ‘contract hits’ had been sanctioned against this stupid, interfering, disruptive Scots fellow … I relayed this to my principals who told me to ‘get security’… I said ‘I’m a banker, not bluudy Rambo!’… net result was an armoured car and a rotation team of 6 armed bodyguards for three years… the detail who looked after me were from a firm owned by a former SAS officer… there’s yer connection…

…pictured above is a lad called Adonis, the team leader and as cool and efficient an operator yeez will ever meet… alongside him was another champion guy, Raffy, shown with his firearm on the left below…

…and I literally had to trust them with my life… in one thankfully false alarm occasion, the details of which I will not bore yeez with, I was screamed at by Raffy, ‘You! get down!’… none of yer ‘please, sirs’… in seconds, I had two guards on top of me covering my body in classic line-of-fire style… here’s a picture of a very much younger me with more hair and much less girth than at present, with Raffy at my right hand side and Adonis taking up the rear cover alongside another agent… the loose shirts hid their firearms… note also the blurb about our security people protecting access to the company’s precincts…

…these guys were excellently trained, and I maintain the greatest respect for their skills… I even had to learn how to shoot from a rolling stance on the ground, and what to do in x, y and z situations… latterly, I was not allowed out of Manila without wearing a bulletproof armoured vest… so, yes, a wee bit of past experience has sneaked into my novels… I could tell yeez more, but then I’d have to shoot yeez… that’s how that WURKS…  right??!!… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!




Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…the bestest group hug in the whole WURLD!…

…I will fail miserably trying to describe the great joy this ol’ Jurassic scribbler experienced this morning… at the invitation of a friend of mine, Ma’am Fatima Al Alawi, (standing next to me in the photo below), I was scheduled to ‘tell a story’ to a class of 5 year-old children at Ibn Khaldoon National School in Bahrain

…nerveless I may be in presenting to hundreds of assembled adults, and even college and university classes over the years, but NEVER, NEVER has this poor excuse for a literary Braveheart encountered such a daunting audience… the children are all from Arabic families, but with a command of English in most cases better than mine (which wouldn’t be difficult, I know, Mabel)… I had chosen to tell them the story of one of my admittedly lesser-known masterpieces, THE GREEDY TEDDY BEAR… any nerves I brought into the classroom were instantly dispelled with the enthusiasm of these children… kudos galore to their teacher, Ms Heyam, and her class assistant, Ms Faye, who managed the impossible by keeping 18 children well-behaved throughout the entire event… if I ever need sumb’dy to assist in herding cats, these two ladies will be first choice… after the storytelling, Ma’am Fatima engaged the class with decorating cupcakes with all sorts of confectionery goodies… cake icing, M & Ms, sprinkles of hundreds and thousands, chocolate buttons, and… the piece de resistance… tiny edible teddy bears to put alongside the frostings

…what a giggle!.. we had coin tricks… we had singing… Jingle Bells, would yeez believe!… and as yeez can see from the photograph at the top of this blog post, the bestest group hug in the whole WURLD!… I’ve said it so many times before… if yeez want a better planet to live in, hand it over to kids… they know how to share… they know how to care… and I defy emb’dy to get a group hug from them and feel negative about anything!… see  yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…a proper lesson in how to conduct a real Glasgow ‘bender’…

…in keeping with a couple of recent posts about my time as a Trainee Master of The Financial Universe in Docklands Govan,  I thought yeez might like a rerun of this post I did two and half years ago… enjoy!
…Wee Jockie… and a prime lesson on how to WURK yer way through a windfall…


…this ol’ Jurassic’s banking career kicked off just over 50 years ago in Docklands Govan in Glasgow… in the mighty Clydesdale & North of Scotland Bank Limited’s outpost, situated on the corner of Govan Cross, adjacent to the vast Harland & Wolff shipyards, the then kings of the shipbuilding industry on Clydeside… the area didn’t boast much in the way of wealthy merchants, nor stockbrokers… not even a lawyer nor accountant or two… in the WURDS of the politicians… Govan was definitely WURKIN class… ‘NUTHIN wrong with that’, I hear yeez say… and right yeez are… what it did breed was more than its fair share of characters… one such was Wee Jockie… his family name is conveniently lost, lest I get hammered for disclosure of confidential banking records… Wee Jockie was one of thousands of men who helped build the great ocean-going vessels for which the mighty Govan shipyards were justifiably famous in these days… he entered the bank one day, completely unknown to anyone… dressed in his cloth cap, trench coat over his dungarees, and stood at the main teller window… I recall he didn’t reach more than about five feet, cap and all… he wanted to open an account… the deposit was a crumpled cheque dated about a week earlier… Wee Jockie had never had a bank account before and had obviously been trying to figure out how to go about getting one… a simple signing of a form or two (none of yer money-laundering regulatory rubbish back then—certainly not in Govan) and his account was live… the cheque came from a local bookmaker, in the splendid sum of Sixty-Three Pounds, Five Shillings Sterling in pre-decimal money… now, yeez have to understand that the average weekly wage for a chap like Wee Jockie was prob’ly in the region of Seven Pounds Sterling... on that first day he withdrew Six Pounds Sterling… the very next day he was back… looking slightly the worse for wear… self-inflicted ailments of the Electric Soup vintage had left the signs of a full-blown hangover… this second day saw a withdrawal of Three Pounds Sterling… succeeding days came and we witnessed repeats of the standard Three Pounds Sterling takeaways… in those days the bank opened half-days on Saturdays, and just before closing at midday, Wee Jockie rushed in… bleary-eyed, and apparently not long out of his bed… and the weekend spend was looked after with a withdrawal of Eight Pounds Sterling

…suffice to say, we could almost set the clock by Wee Jockie’s expected arrival times for the next couple of weeks… finally the balance had dwindled all the way down to a mere Five Pounds Sterling… he arrived with his usual puffy features, a certain air of alcoholic haze drifting around him… as he cleaned out that final Five Pounds Sterling, we heard his voice raised properly for the first time, he waved to us all and said, ’Thanks for a’ yer help…this has been the best bender I’ve ever been on— the Missus is still trying to figure out where I got the money from… Cheerio!’… it was evidently the last time he ever won big with the local bookmaker, ‘coz we never saw him again… I wonder if his wife ever got wind of how he managed to be blotto for a whole three weeks straight!… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…what level an Author’s living wage?

…nit-pickers warning!… I’m gonna play semantics a wee bit here (differences in WURDS, Mabel… differences in WURDS)… I wanna dwell on the gaps in understanding inter alia, ‘PRICE’, ‘COST’, and ‘VALUE’… ‘cording to my faithful dictioWURD thingy,:

PRICE : the amount of money expected, required, or given in payment for something.

COST : cost is usually a monetary valuation of (1) effort, (2) material, (3) resources, (4) time and utilities consumed,

VALUE : the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.

…throw in the oft-debated context of how much readers are willing to pay for a book or novel on Auntie Amazon Kindle, or indeed, a print copy from a bookshop… and the arguments and disagreements appear… yer PRICE is simply the amount of currency yeez hand over in exchange for the product… yer COST is the combination/consideration of all the merits that have gone into the making/processing/producing yer product… and last, but never by any means least, yer VALUE is what its WURTH is to the buyer… the issue that continues to amaze, confound and disappoint this ol’ Jurassic writer, and millions of my fellow scribblers, is the discrepancy between the amount of a writer’s time, effort, sweat, blood  and toil that a novel takes to bring to the market, and the pittance that some readers expect to fork out to grab their copy… of course, thankfully, the vast majority of we virtual candle-lit-attic tome-peddlers have more than the commercial lustre in mind when we write… and as for the mind-boggling number of people who barefacedly ask or expect to have a copy free of charge, I often WUNDER what would happen if I asked them to provide whatever product or service they have for the same fee… for me, my WURK is PRICELESS, its COST is my own investment in whatever little bit of literary legacy I may leave, and it’s VALUE is immeasurable, because it’s truly part of my own soul… (hows that for philosophical thought in the middle of the week, Mabel!)… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!








Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…into the minds of babes… why art of any kind is so wonderful…

…I readily admit, I’m biased… how can I not be?… I’m an author… that’s art of its own kind… or art of its own JONGGR, if yeez want to use the phrase so much employed by the cognoscenti… and every so often, wee glimpses of ‘practiced art’ float across yer ken… look carefully at this photograph captured this morning on my trusty mobile device… for this ol’ Jurassic being able successfully to capture this on his phone is an event in itself…

…as one does on a cold, wet, windy morning in June (well, it is London in summer, Mabel), the National Gallery attracted my custom… adjacent to the Rembrandt and Rubens treasured halls, this remarkable lady was entrancing these young children with the story of the painting on the wall behind her… I was also instantly enchanted listening and watching her story unfold… no theatre headliner actress could have performed better than she… the children were transfixed… even the wee red-headed boy sitting at the back, with the delightfully explosive hairstyle, a piece of art in its own right… when her story reached the end, the racontress invited questions, and discussion flowed noisily… infant hands pitched in the air wanting ‘airtime’… the enthusiasm was tangible… eyes wide with statements as only young children’s eyes can be… the wider the eyes the louder the questions… and m’Lady, Storyteller gave time to every child’s query with equal animation on her part… yeez will note that apart from my own vicarious indulgence at the periphery of the group, several other ‘growed-ups’ also listened and watched intently, some of them sitting on the floor with the wee ones… all too soon the session ended… I didn’t have the chance to speak with the presenter… I wanted to thank her on several levels… for my own entertainment during the time there, but also for the insight as to how valuable it is for children to be encouraged in such visits with as terrific a presenter as she… into the minds of babes… why art of any kind is so wonderful… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…hubble, bubble, and blether… when shall we meet again?…

…the proposed get together with kindred bookly spirits mooted for Sunday morning, June 4th in London at the Sloane Street Millennium Hotel understandably got decimated by the appalling events nearby at London Bridge and Borough Market on the prior Saturday evening… and thoughts, prayers and love go out to all who were affected by that… notwithstanding that backdrop, we did end up with not one, but two mini-meetings, both of which were fabulous…

…early in the day, superb crime fiction story teller, Eric J. Gates, and I played hosts to m’Lady, Trisha Griffiths… she’s the epitome of the person authors LUV most… a determined and steadfast reader…  Trisha demonstrated her bibliophilism…

…and we shared our common bookWURMS stories of writers we like, novels we have devoured, and generally had a lotta laffs… Trisha also bore gifts for Master Gallacher in the form of a couple of dozen various-sized t-shirts with my kilted figure imprinted…

…I’ll have to devise some means of getting a few of these into the hands of folk who wouldn’t be embarrassed by having my ugly features smiling from their chests (heaven forfend, Mabel, being fronted by an ol’ Scots Author!)… part two of proceedings kicked off in the early afternoon with the arrival of m’Lady, Lorna Watson, another wunnerful supporter of scribblers…

…Lorna is also one of the terrific admin people at the splendid Bookshop Cafe Group on Facebook, a great web destination for emb’dy who likes/loves/adores reading… it transpires that on top of all of that, she has also written over the past several years a tome that’s screaming to be published… all 230,000 WURDS of it… we chatted about how that might metamorphose into two or p’raps three books… the net result of the day, which passed by all too quickly, was 8 hours of focused blether in the company of real pals, whose faces I can now match to their names… man, I LUV this authoring gig!… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…yeez can take the boy out of Docklands Govan in Glasgow, but…

…another wee story from half a century ago, relating to my early months as a Trainee Master of the Financial Universe… as the youngest member of the staff at the Govan Cross Branch in Glasgow of the redoubtable Clydesdale & North of Scotland Bank Limited… my position translated as ‘principal dogsbody’, ‘prime-errands-runner-for-the-senior-colleagues’, ‘get-the coffees-in-organiser’, and ‘sum’time learner of the banking craft’… however, as I’ve mentioned before, the Bank Manager, dyed-in-the-wool,-bowler-hatted, pinstriped-pyjamas-wearer par excellence, Mister George Galloway was a joy to WURK with… no more especially than for my first ever Staff Christmas Dinner, paid for from the boss’s own wallet… now understand at the outset, the callow yoof, Master Gallacher, came from an ‘umble WURKING-class background, where ‘lunch’ was called ‘dinner’ and ‘dinner’ was called ‘tea’… comes then the ultra-posh evening dinner at the former Malmaison Restaurant in the city’s gourmands’ supreme hallowed ground in the Grand Central Hotel

…it was the first time this lad had ever been in any restaurant, let alone one as high-class as this one… an evening with the promise of multiple Faux Pas opportunities beckoned… and in that respect, it did not disappoint… Faux Pas #1… a gentleman called a sommelier (a wine buff, Mabel, a wine buff) whom I thought was the barman, asked each of us at the table ‘what kind of kind of aperitif Sir would like to start his meal’... this young Sir requested a pint of lager with lime… a far cry from the dainty glasses of hooch that arrived for each of my dining companions…

…Faux Pas #2… the hor d’oeuvres trolley was brought to the table… a veritable mountain of food on offer… unhappily, I didn’t understand that hor d’oeuvres are intended as small ‘starters’, and promptly loaded my plate with enuff grub to feed a legion… resulting in the ensuing main courses being merely nibbled at…

…Faux Pas #3… at a break in proceedings Mister Galloway and myself had repaired to the mens’ room for bit of a bladder-emptying (the pint of lager, remember?)… some lavatory attendant fellow began to brush down the back of Mister Galloway‘s jacket, then started on mine… I was resisting the urge to punch the man for his forwardness, but luckily the boss stepped in and slipped the guy a couple of shillings’ tip and ushered me back out into the restaurant and the relative safety of the dining table… the balance of the evening has lapsed into rather muddier recollection in the intervening 50 years or so, but I believe at least another pint of lager or more may well have been involved… it just proves yet again, yeez can take the boy out of Docklands Govan in Glasgow, but...

…I can assure the epicureans amongst yeez that I have never again asked for a pint of lager and lime as an aperitif… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

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