Historical Novel Society article by me

Historical Novel Society article by me

A short piece I did for the HNS about Amazon’s ACX and making the audiobook version of Wolf’s Head.


Wolf’s Head hits the Kindle TOP 20!

Very proud to say Wolf’s Head  managed to break into the overall Kindle Bestsellers Top 20 list last week, as well as going back to the top of the “War” chart. The only thing keeping it from reaching number 1 in the “HIstory” chart was Twelve Years A Slave.

Before I published the book another writer told me making it into the top 1000 would be doing well, and, so far, the highest Wolf’s Head had ever reached was number 140 last year so…to break into the top 20 was a massive, unbelievable achievement.

Thank you to all my readers and to everyone who’s left a nice review for either that book or the sequel, The Wolf and the Raven and helped build the momentum to reach so high in the charts.



The Undercover Soundtrack – Steven A McKay

Take a look!

My Memories of a Future Life

for logo‘Black metal for reimagining a well-known legend’

Once a week I host a writer who uses music as part of their creative environment – perhaps to connect with a character, populate a mysterious place, or hold  a moment still to explore its depths. This week my guest is Steven A McKay @SA_McKay

Soundtrack by Enslaved, Behemoth, Jethro Tull, Fairport Convention, Death

Music has been a big part of my life ever since I was a teenager and I discovered hard rock and heavy metal. Now, more than 20 years later I still have music playing constantly, from the moment I get into the car for work in the morning to when I go to bed at night with my earphones in and Jethro Tull’s Thick As A Brick or A Passion Play turned up loud.

20140427_1142461Obviously then, music would be heavily involved in the creation of…

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“Never give up Hope!”

2 years ago today our baby daughter Lianna was stillborn. It’s hard to know if today is her birthday or not. Whatever, it was hard to feel sad this morning when I woke up and could hear 7 month old Riley in his cot saying “dada dada daddy” with a big grin on his face.
Sometimes things are very hard to understand or cope with and, about a year ago I honestly felt like someone had cursed me. Everything seemed to be going wrong from little niggly things like the shower breaking to Wolf’s Head being rejected by every agent I sent it to. I eventually decided feeling depressed was bringing bad luck down on me and made a conscious effort to be more positive and thankful for what I have. Literally from that moment on things took a turn for the better.
I wrote a song called “Hope” about how I felt and, if anyone has read The Wolf and the Raven you might recognise the word from Robin’s situation in the book. I never realised until a couple of days ago how close his experience is to mine – I certainly didn’t write it on purpose but I suppose the things that had happened to me made it easier for me to put myself in Robin’s shoes.

Life can kick you in the bollocks but I’m a lucky man to have my wife and two amazing children so, if you’re having a hard time…”Never give up hope!”

I look out on the horizon,
Behold the coming day,
What will Fortune bring me?
How will she mould this clay?

The sunrise is hopeful,
But the clouds promise rain,
Before the day is over,
Will the gloom take me again?

My spirits rise,
And I embrace the morning,
As the past,
Is washed away

Make ready for my journey,
Gather up my things,
I open up my front door,
As a distant church bell rings

The sun is brushed aside,
While I move along the trail,
As the stormclouds break above my head,
I cry, ‘I will prevail!’

My spirits rise,
And I embrace the morning,
As the past,
Is washed away

I look out on the horizon,
Behold another day,
But it doesn’t seem to matter, now,
If the skies are dark and grey

For as long as you are with me,
Hope will never die,
And the stormclouds of another day,
Will part with a new sunrise

Here’s a version of “Hope” with my friend Bil Moore playing the 12 string and me singing (I normally played mandolin but I don’t hear it in the recording so it must have been one of the first times we played it). It sounds alright, despite it being recorded on a potato.

Advice for aspiring authors

Some advice for aspiring authors…

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I’ve only published two books so far, but, luckily for me, Wolf’s Head and The Wolf and the Raven have both been Amazon “War” chart number 1s and are still selling quite well. It means people often ask me for advice on how I did it.

It’s very flattering to be asked by another author how to be successful but there are no simple answers as far as I can tell and, to be honest, this post isn’t aimed at those of you who’ve published a book or two anyway.

I often get emails from aspiring authors – people who have an idea for a book, or even someone who has actually written a book but has done nothing with it. And, when I was at the London Book Fair lots of people like that came up to the Amazon stand looking for advice from me and the other (genuine!) bestselling authors Mel Sherrat and Tim Ellis.

As far as I can tell, most of these people seem to think the world is going to come to them, looking for their book. Or they’ve sent their manuscript to a few agents, had no luck and lost heart. Or they have a great idea but haven’t made the time to write it yet. They’ve maybe even had it published by a mainstream publisher who did nothing to promote, it sunk without trace and now they’re lost, wondering why their career’s gone nowhere.

Going into LBF 14 was one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my whole life. I’d never stood in front of an audience like that to talk before, never mind while doing it as a representative of one of the biggest companies in the world. I was desperate to make a good impression on both the Amazon staff and the people in the audience who came along to hear me speak.

I was absolutely terrified before it.

But on the day I arrived in London I was in the very fancy hotel’s lobby and the news came on the TV that Peaches Geldof had died. I have no interest in celebrity culture and I didn’t really know who Peaches was, but I felt terrible for her and her family, especially her little children, and my fears and nerves over something that was, essentially, a great opportunity seemed ridiculous in comparison.

It made me realise we have to take our opportunities when they come along and make the most of what talent we have because if we don’t…well, who knows what’ll happen tomorrow?

So, here’s my advice to any aspiring authors who want to write a book but haven’t done it yet, or those who HAVE written a book but haven’t done anything with it:

MAKE the time to write your book, make it the best you can, then go to the Kindle Direct Publishing website, open an account and PUBLISH YOUR BOOK.

How old are you? How much longer are you going to wait before you work up the courage to do this? You’re in control of your own destiny now.

There’s no guaranteed recipe for success – I’m still working my day-job as a meter reader in Glasgow, so really, what would I know? – but the only chance you have of ever doing anything with your love for writing is to get it out there for people to buy and read.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Grit your teeth, grasp the nettle and believe in yourself, because if you don’t, no one else will.

Now…what are you waiting for?!


Amazon’s KDP: