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Hi and welcome along to my stop on the blog tour for “Unforgivable” by Mike Thomas.  This is the second book to feature Will Macready, the first in the series was “Ash and Bones” which I would thoroughly recommend reading (my review of this can be found here).  I’m absolutely delighted to be able to share a guest post today that has been written by Mike, and it’s very inkeeping with his sense of humour, and remember ladies and gents, there are other supermarkets out there if you would prefer their bags….

UnforgivableDescription:

Bombs detonate in a busy souk, causing massive devastation.
An explosion rips apart a mosque, killing and injuring those inside.
But this isn’t the Middle East – this is Cardiff . . .

In a city where tensions are already running high, DC Will MacReady and his colleagues begin the desperate hunt for the attacker. If they knew the ‘why’, then surely they can find the ‘who’? But that isn’t so easy, and time is fast running out . . .

MacReady is still trying to prove himself after the horrific events of the previous year, which left his sergeant injured and his job in jeopardy, so he feels sidelined when he’s asked to investigate a vicious knife attack on a young woman.

But all is not as it seems with his new case, and soon MacReady must put everything on the line in order to do what is right.

You can buy a copy of “Unforgivable” via:

Amazon
Wordery

 


 

How a Bit of Cheek Got My First Novel Published (or ‘Mugging a Publisher’)

Getting your foot in the door of the publishing world is incredibly hard, right?

You write your book, you edit and polish and fret, and when you’re absolutely certain it’s as good as it’s going to get, that it’s going to make an agent or editor sit up and immediately make calls to get you signed, you do it: covering letter (not too long, quickly selling yourself, your novel), synopsis (punchy, intriguing, it has to draw the agent or editor in), three sample chapters (probably the opening, and you’ve made them a thrilling read, right?). Off they go, into the post or via email.

And you wait. And wait. Then you wait a bit more.

During this time your brain does weird things to you. You forget that people can be very busy and won’t respond straight away. When you haven’t heard anything for five hours, you worry that the post office lost the parcel. You think your email got lost in the ether. After two days, you wonder if your letter was a bit rude, or if you’ve managed to upset your chosen agent because the font you’ve used reminds her of an ex-boyfriend’s love letters. After a week you’re convinced the entire publishing industry despises you and you’re the worst writer in the world.

After two months of wretchedness: A LETTER ARRIVES.

You pause, staring at it. Holding it in your hands. Wondering if you will open it… and open up a whole new world.

Of course, it’s a rejection. They usually are. So you spend a day or two feeling numb then pick yourself up and send off another package. Then you and your brain go through it all again. And again. Ad nauseam. You repeat this rigmarole until you’re happy when you receive an electricity bill through the letterbox, just as long as it’s not another ‘We really enjoyed it but it’s not for us I’m afraid’ missive.

I went through all this for years. With three novels. I have hundreds of rejection letters from agents and publishing houses. All of them very polite kicks in the testicles.

By December 2008 I’d had enough.

At this point I’d gone back to university, and was halfway through a Master’s degree. I’d written a novel as part of it: ‘Pocket Notebook’, the tale of a demented police officer whose life comes crashing down around his ears. At regular intervals during the course we would have the chance to listen to and ask questions of guest speakers from the writing world: authors, academics, industry insiders.

For that December it was the Publishing Director of one of the biggest, most respected imprints in the UK, if not the world, who was traveling west from London to talk to us. I won’t name him, for reasons which will become apparent, but he was incredibly interesting to listen to. We sat, rapt, for over an hour as he gave us a glimpse of another world, another life, one that most in the audience aspired to live.

Especially me.

I’ve told you I’d had enough of rejection by this stage. It can do funny things to you. Make you desperate, even. And so, before the speech by the Publishing Director I Won’t Name, I hatched a cunning plan: I gathered the manuscript of ‘Pocket Notebook’, stole a large brown envelope from a University office, and parcelled it all up with my contact details WRITTEN VERY CLEARLY on the front, back, and every side. I ‘casually’ mentioned to my fellow students and several members of the faculty how I wished I could get my book into this publishing chap’s hands. I placed the bulky envelope inside a Tesco carrier bag so that it would be easier to carry on the train back to London, should anybody have to carry it…

And then I sat through the speech and asked some questions and we all really enjoyed it and once it was over and we were having a cup of tea I sidled up to him with the Tesco bag held to my chest and then one of my fellow part-time students – who also just happened to work for another imprint in the same building as the Publishing Director – and several of the faculty formed a small semi-circle in front of him.

And then it happened.

One of them – I can’t recall who – ‘casually’ mentioned that I had written a novel. Then another mentioned that it was half-decent. The Publishing Director nodded and smiled and didn’t actually say ‘no’ so it was then that I seized the moment.

I thrust the carrier bag into his hands.

“This is it,” I squeaked, and gurned at him.

He was incredibly gracious. It was a terribly rude thing to do, but as I’ve said, desperation can make a man do unconscionable things. So Publishing Guy shakes my hand and I stop trembling and the day ended and I went home and that was that.

And, oddly, I forgot all about it. You have to remember that by this point I was a thick-skinned Rejection Veteran, so instead of dreading the worst I simply didn’t think about it. I just went back to work, and Christmas came and went, then New Year, and it’s always a busy time for the police so my mind was on other things, and at this point I had two kids under three years of age and was rather preoccupied.

I was in work, late January 2009 when my wife rang.

I took the call in a side office. Her voice was shaking; I thought something terrible had happened to her or the children.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

And she told me that the Publishing Director had emailed to say he’d read my novel and loved it and wanted to publish it and would I like to come to London to talk about it a little bit more?

I went numb. Thought I’d misheard her. Asked her to read the email again.

Nope, I’d heard right.

I ran around the police station immediately after ending the call. In full uniform, whooping and punching the air. My colleagues watched, shaking their heads.

Why won’t I name this incredibly gracious, gentlemanly Publishing Director? It’s because another imprint came in for the novel soon afterwards… and I went with them instead. So despite what I’d done, and how kind he’d been, and how enthusiastic he was about ‘Pocket Notebook’, I chose somebody else. I used to beat myself up about it, but I’ve learned that, as with any other industry, publishing is a business. You’ve got to do what’s best for you and yours.

Anyway, the next few months were a blur of trips to London and writing articles for magazines and having photographs taken for The Guardian, while publishing people forced books and booze on me wherever I went.

It was a dream come true. And I’m still here. And, I really hope, will be for a while.

So in short: never give up. Keep at it, because you will get there. And sometimes, just sometimes, when the world keeps kicking you in the nuts and you think nobody wants your novel and you’re a terrible writer and you might as well give up… stop, and grab a Tesco carrier bag, and force your work onto people because you never, ever know where it will take you.


A huge thanks to Mike for joining me today and for sharing that with us, I know that it’s given me a fair chuckle!

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