Strike A Pose

Derek
August 26, 2017

I watched Strike a Pose – which is available on Netflix now – twice this week, and cried both times.

I found it both heartbreaking AND inspiring, the sadness coming from the idea of people not quite reaching their potential, from the death, and the blight and fear and stigma that HIV placed on my whole generation (Salim is 6 months older than me).
But then, on the other side: They LIVED! They had that moment. And most of them have lives of quiet normalcy, but with Love and Satisfaction and struggles.
There’s a lot to be said for reality and a normal life.
I forget it sometimes – I think we all do, in this world that’s obsessed with progression and with chasing goals and dreams.
Sometimes the dream is right under your nose – a boyfriend or a husband you can sit with, watch the TV with. A job that pays the bills and allows you time to do the things that make you happy.
All that glamour – like all that glisters – is not, necessarily, Gold.
I suspect Madonna – for all her money – knows that.
I just hope the boys who made it through know it too.

Highly recommended

Death of a Devil – Week One

Derek
August 20, 2017

Well hey there.

It’s been a while. What have you been up to?

Me? Oh, I wrote a book. Another book.

I think – save for a post celebrating Danny’s first birthday –  I last posted here when I was in South Africa last October. That was the week I started work on Death of a Devil – the third Danny Bird Mystery.

And this week, it was published – as are all the Danny Mysteries – by Fahrenheit Press.

I meant to keep blogging through the writing process, but this was a pretty intense book to write, to be honest.

It came out of a pretty bleak time for me – the one year anniversary of my mother’s passing; Brexit; the rise of the man who is currently President of the USA – and I really found it hard to figure out what to write about, and where to find the jokes and snappy dialogue the Danny Bird Mysteries are all about.

But I found it, and once I had it like fireflies in a jar, I wanted to keep focussed, keep the lid on, not talk about it too much in case the magic evaporated.

And I think it worked out well.

This one’s about gangsters, long-forgotten crimes, strong women, secrets (so many secrets) and – as they all are – ultimately about the tribes we make, and the community we arrange around ourselves.

If Death of a Diva and Death of a Nobody were my British mysteries, I think this one is a little more American. I’m not going to explain that statement, but let me know what you think when you’ve read it.

And I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of a book.

Out of a pretty grim time has come something beautiful. And something – as the picture above shows – which looks beautiful too.

If you wanted to buy it – in ebook or paperback – you can get it here (in the UK) or here (everywhere else).

I woke at 4am last Monday – the day that Death of a Devil was released – with a knot of fear in my stomach. What if it was crap? What if people hated it? What if I’d let down all the people who’d put their faith in me – who’d loved Death of a Diva and Death of a Nobody? I guess all writers have those moments of pure self doubt.

I needn’t have worried.

Death of a Devil has already been very favourably reviewed by Verity Wilde,  who made it her coveted Book of the Week, and said “Lady Caz is … posher and drunker than ever in this instalment and the subplot with her family is excellent too,” and noted that Death of a Devil has a “sly and subversive world view… It’s fun and funny and won’t leave you terrified to go out of an evening.”

The book already has a five star review on Amazon, and readers have very kindly taken the time to pop on to my Facebook page and let me know how much they’re enjoying it.

Verity interviewed me the week before publication and asked a great question: Who would play the characters in Death of a Devil in a TV or Movie Version? I’d LOVE to hear who you think should. Drop a note in the comments below.

And the good news is that Danny4 is almost fully plotted and Danny5 has begun to form, and Fahrenheit Press seem pleased with the sketches they’ve had so far.

I have a top secret project to finish off in the next few weeks and then it will be straight in to Danny4.

Only this time – I promise – I shall keep you posted on the progress here.

But for now: Go buy the Danny Bird Mysteries.

Not The Booker Prize Long Long Longlist

Derek
August 1, 2017
I’m on a Good List

 

OK, this is huge news (for me).
I’m on the Long long (long) list for the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize, and it’s the first time I’ve ever been on a good list, as opposed to one of those “People we’ll round up when our day comes” ones.
I am genuinely excited. Whodathunk a few years ago my name would be in the Guardian and not prefaced by “The accused,” “The victim,” or preceded by the words “The man whose credit card debt accidentally bankrupted Britain.” Success, I’d say.
Thank you with all my heart to all the people who got me this far. But now I have a favour to ask: I want to go the next step.
It’s a bit trickier, this one: You need to go to the Guardian website (the link is below) and leave a review of both my book and one other. Not huge reviews
• The exact rules are that you have to do is cast your vote in the comments section on their website.
• You need to choose two books from the longlist, from two different publishers, and accompany those choices with a short review of at least one of your chosen books.
• It would also be very helpful if you could include the word “vote”.
• The review should be something above 100 words long – a couple of short paragraphs on why you love Danny & Caz and think this book deserves to win a prize.
And if you could post the reviews on Amazon too, that would be even better.
But whether you vote and review or not, thank you – from the bottom of my heart – for getting me this far.

The link is here: https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2017/jul/31/not-the-booker-prize-2017-please-vote-on-the-long-long-longlist