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

 

Saturday Sonnet #8

Derek
May 28, 2016

process

 

‘process’

I sit before a screen devoid of words
and wait for something smart to come along.
Ideas, skittish as a flock of birds,
are steadfastly withholding their sweet song.
This moment – now – the doubt begins to speak
Of how the things you write are value-free
Of plots that fail, of characters too weak
To make a mark that anyone can see.
And yet I type and worlds begin to come
From out of nowhere down on to the screen;
Their parts, sometimes, far greater than their sum
Their movements leaving nothing where they’ve been
If writings all that matters here tonight
What matters is the simple fact you write.

“Death of a Nobody,” The 2nd Danny Bird Mystery is available now.

In the UK, you can buy it here. Everywhere else, you can buy it here.

“Death of a Diva” – The 1st Danny Bird Mystery – can be purchased here

Saturday Sonnet #7

Derek
May 21, 2016

Having spent the weekend at CrimeFest, I’ve become familiar with the dangers…

So, in tribute, I wrote a Sonnet…

image

 

<Insert Obligatory Somewhat Buzzed Publication day Gin & Beer Pic>

On The Dangers of Believing What Authors Tell You Their Books Are About

“This book you wrote,” somebody said to me
“Is it all Fifty Shades of Filth and Phwoar?”
I guess I should have really let it be,
But “Yes,” I joked, “It’s all of that and more.”
Then didn’t think, again, of what I’d said,
Until my friend’s review popped up online.
“This book is one I wish I hadn’t read,”
They wrote, though you could almost hear the whine.
“I saw that it was ‘Crime’ and thought ‘Oh Good’
There’s bound to be some torture; nice and vile
I like a bit of buggery and blood
But this filth forced a thought and – worse – a smile
I wanted anal sex and acid baths.
But all I got was mystery and laughs”

My books are Death of a Diva, available Here

And – as of yesterday – Death of a Nobody, available here.

If you like the above, you might enjoy them. If you want, y’know disembowellings and blowfly infestations, you might not.  <But you won’t know til you try>


Saturday Sonnet #5

old-trainers-12002789

friday

In hindsight, some despair is evident,

But, hey, what else are you supposed to do

when pheromones, it seems, are heaven sent,

and order you, put bluntly, to go screw?

Whilst every single Gay in London town

Comes freshly from the Spa or from the Gym,

you squeeze into your jeans, perfect your frown,

and go into the night in search of him.

Then end amidst the throng on Compton Street

At sometime near approaching kicking out

To find a man with size eleven feet

And money left to stand for his own shout.

Though his Trainers are hotter than his form

you bed him; any old port in a storm.

Saturday Sonnet #4

Derek
April 30, 2016

Book_DOAD (1)

For Rebecca Chance, who asked for it…

Death of a DIva

My life, it seemed, had ended on one day
Until I came across a certain bar
And thought that I could turn the grim to gay
Which thus explains why we are where we are.
My star turns life’s been ended premature
And PC Plod has got me in the frame
And e’en my best friend is no longer sure
If I deserve to keep my own good name.
Add to the mix a Gangster who’s intent
On making my life hell if he’s involved
And plots galore both obvious and bent
And – for my sake – this mystery MUST be solved.
The end, now that you’ve had this little look?
Alas, you’ll have to buy the dam-ned book

My book Death of a Diva is out now from Fahrenheit Publishing.

To buy it, click here.

Saturday Sonnet #3

Derek
April 30, 2016

mouse-1

She thought that all I did was to keep house
That she could waltz right in and take my man
from me and I’d stay silent as a mouse.
That I’d fight back was never in her plan.
And yet how could I not when all I knew
was heading West with Laura and her hair
of yellow and her sparkling eyes of blue,
her scarlet nails and fashion savoir faire.
But then she learned: You cannot run in heels,
as I slid up the gear lever to “Drive.”
It took me hours to scrape her off the wheels.
Laura’s no more; this mouse is still alive.
She lies beneath the sod, and moulders now;
But then, she always was a rotten cow.

My book Death of a Diva is out now from Fahrenheit Publishing.

To buy it, click here.

Featured Author

Derek
April 28, 2016

image

So, I was the featured author on Charlie Cochrane‘s blogs this week.

The first time – apart from a Fahrenheit chat when Death of a DIva was released – that I’ve been interviewed.

Typically, I agonised over the answers – do I want to appear pure comedy and silliness and risk not being taken seriously, or do I come across like a high brow Salman Rushdie and talk endlessly about my craft in tones that suggest I’d be happier doing the grouting, but that writing is a vocation for me, like, y’know, working with lepers is for other people..?

In the end, I went with “Just tell the fucking story, Derek, and stop over thinking,” which – I think – worked well.

I want to thank Charlie for being such a lovely person, and for questions that made me go “Oooh, I don’t have  a glib answer ready for that.” I’m looking forward to reading some of her mysteries now.

The interview is here, if you’d like to read it, and you can buy Death of a Diva (a 5* book worth every penny of your money) here, if you haven’t already.

 

Guest author – Derek Farrell

Saturday Sonnet #2

Derek
April 23, 2016

princebowie

I don’t wish death on any living thing,

But find it hard to know that Bowie’s gone.

That Prince no more will dance and play and sing,

While Bashir Al Assad goes rolling on.

Yet I’ll still play “Let’s Dance,” and “Kiss” Out LOUD

Not read Mein Kampf from first page to the last

Or watch Kim Jong Rant at a frightened crowd;

These hate details all fade into the past.

For though our monsters loom and always will,

In shadows they are doomed to spend half-life.

Our heroes bask in light, and always will:

Their work – they joy they give – defeating strife.

When death comes we can not escape its pains,

The beauty that we make alone remains

My book Death of a Diva is out now from Fahrenheit Publishing.

To buy it, click here.

The First Draft Lesson

Derek
February 8, 2016

image

This week’s been an interesting one for my writing.

I write crime fiction, which I think is heavily reliant on plot, and as a result, before I start writing, I always have a plot (and several sub-plots) mapped out, from beginning to end.

I write a detailed sketch of some scenes that means I’m doing little more – when I get to them – than adding in adjectives and adverbs (which, in editor mode, I will delete in the first draft), and funny lines or character quirks as I come to them.

Then, by the time I’m writing the book, I can let my imagination run riot, creating new scenes, comic asides and expanding on the characters (which are based on character sketches that also run to over a dozen pages) safe (sort of) in the knowledge that I won’t end up hopelessly lost or backed into a corner by a rambling subplot.

The sketch for the book I’m currently writing runs to 48 pages, and yet, still, some days feel like carving basic shapes out of marble using a toothpick.
So this week, between Hong Kong and a small town South of Auckland, in weather ranging from freezing fog to stone-splitting sunshine, has been like this:
This is hard.
This is shit.
This is easy but shit.
This is a first draft; it’s meant to be shit.
This isn’t bad.
This is shit again.
This is actually really good.

And then, today: This is so good I never want to stop.

But I did, because the sun was shining, I had the cutest kid to play with, my hosts had been super kind, and because I didn’t want to become known as  the unsociable writer who came to dinner and never spoke to anyone and because, of course, I’m on holiday, and I know – now – that I can get back to that place.

Eventually.

The lesson – which I shouldn’t really have needed to be reminded of – is the oldest one of all: First drafts are allowed to be anything from Genius to Shockingly Bad. What they are not allowed to be is unfinished.

I’m closer than ever to having a finished first draft, and though I know that some of what went before will need reworking (or, possibly,even jettisoning) I’m going to focus on that finish line, just ahead, and waiting to be crossed.

Then, the real work can begin.