A Smorgasbord of Nerves

Fenna scrabbled to her feet and kicked the Gunnery Sergeant in the groin. He moaned, she kicked him again in the head, and then, a third time, planting the sole of her size five desert boots in the centre of his chest. She ignored the Gunnery Sergeant and collected her equipment, slipping her arms through the straps of the empty hydration pack, closing her notepad and stuffing it into the cargo pocket of her trousers, before pushing the rubber caps over the ends of the scope and slinging the rifle over her shoulder. The evening chill descended quickly, cooling the sweat on her back. She tugged a buff from her trouser pocket and slipped it over her neck. She took one last look at the Gunnery Sergeant and took a breath. It was time to move.

This is it then, book two in The Greenland Trilogy is less than a month from release, doing well in the pre-sales, and serving up a smorgasbord of nerves – for the author, anyway.

In book two, Fenna is plagued by demons from the past, but, at the same time, she must confront new adversaries like the USMC Gunnery Sergeant, above.

There is plenty of intrigue to offset the action in book two, but, I will admit, it gets a little rough at times, and, in Greenland, anything goes.

Curious? Then, you might be interested to pick up a cheap pre-order of In the Shadow of the Mountain, available from Amazon for kindle books and apps. The paperback will be available to buy on the date of publication: August 1st.

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1,000s of things!

dsc_7874I’ve just done the math… including eBooks, paperbacks and “pages read” via the Kindle Unlimited programme, The Ice Star has just topped the 1,000 books sold mark!

I am overwhelmed by the sales. Perhaps small in comparison, but 1,000 sales in the first month feels so good. The Ice Star was never meant to be. In December 2014, when I finally submitted my first 15,000 words to my supervisor at Falmouth University, I was so done with the project. I had rewritten the entire novel twice, polished the first five chapters at least eight times, changed POV twice, I even changed the sex of the main character – yes, Fenna started out as Ravn. (Thanks, Sarah Acton!) In short, I never wanted to see The Ice Star again, and I never thought it would amount to much.

I was done.

But, Sarah wouldn’t let it lie.

Neither would my supervisor, Tom. He mentioned it was a shame not to finish it. He thought it had promise, not least for the setting.

I did pick up the manuscript – a mess of rewritten chapters, notes, and a hundred different copies of different versions – several times, but I never did anything with it. I chose to write fantasy novels instead. Then Alaska happened. I quit my job, and Jane and I joined our friends on the Yukon River. The last thing I did was load the latest mess of chapters onto my tablet computer, and imagined that one day I might look at it, just out of interest – for old time’s sake.

After two months on the Yukon River, and a lifetime’s worth of unique experiences, Jane and I got off the river and spent a week in Fairbanks, AK. The Ice Star was silent, it didn’t so much as creak as we explored the town and made plans to visit Denali National Park. But, in the park we saw a wolf, and there was a murmur and a hint of something that I remembered from a long lost passage in a fragmented chapter. I ignored it, choosing instead to squint at the fuzzy, grainy, bleary photos of a wolf’s behind.

We took the train to Anchorage, and I took a few hundred photos of Denali as it finally broke through the clouds. Jane got sick, and I celebrated my birthday, alone, at the movies. I spent $10 on a movie ticket and a cup of coffee, and indulged in a brain-dead couple of hours with Jason Bourne. Predictable? Yes. Familiar? Very. Enjoyable? You bet.

And The Ice Star was forgotten once more.

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Until, that is, we boarded the ferry in Whittier. A pod of orca swam around the bow of the MV Kennicott before the ferry slipped anchor and we began our journey to Juneau. I found a table in the lounge as Jane slept and I opened the folder on my computer, and started reading, editing, shaping and listening to the characters of The Ice Star, and the story they wanted to tell.

And that was that.

The Ice Star would never have happened without the support of great friends and colleagues. No matter what happens next, and whatever the future holds for The Ice Star and its sequels, I will forever be grateful for the help and support of friends like Sarah Acton and Isabel Dennis-Muir, and the people and nature of Greenland.

Qujanaq!

Curious? The Ice Star is available in paperback and on Kindle or for Kindle apps from Amazon:

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In the Shadow of the Mountain

mtn-shadow-100pctThe planning, scribbling of notes, and plot development is firmly underway for book two in the Greenland Trilogy: In the Shadow of the Mountain. But one of the things I enjoy most about writing the book is working on the cover – even before the drafts and redrafts are done. Having a cover is like seeing the finish line in the distance; it’s something to work toward.

While I don’t want to say very much at all about what happens to Fenna, and the decisions she is forced to make in book two, I can reveal that it opens in the USA as Konstabel Fenna Brongaard prepares for her next mission in Greenland. No spoilers here, lots of people have yet to read The Ice Star.

But, with the finish line in sight, there is plenty to keep me motivated and working hard to get Fenna’s story down on the page as the deadlines loom and the shadow of the mountain grows.

Have you arrived at this page by mistake? Are you looking for book one? The Ice Star is available in paperback and on Kindle or for Kindle apps from Amazon:

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There’s no going back!

the-ice-star-25pctThe Ice Star is released tomorrow, and there’s no going back! This is it then, sink or swim.

Will Fenna capture reader’s imaginations?

Will I?

What happens if she does?

What happens if I do?

These are questions I haven’t asked before – haven’t felt the need to. But The Ice Star is doing pretty well just now, moving up the charts in “military thriller” and “international crime and mystery”. I haven’t seen this interest in my other books – it must be the genre.

And what a genre! There’s a lot of competition, and a lot of books competing with the readers’ interest and doing their best to grab their attention.

This is it though.

It’s time to test the ice!

The Ice Star is available for pre-order from Amazon at a reduced price. Spoiler(ish) alert – it’s serious all of a sudden.

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Frost Bite and Frozen Corpses

the-ice-starI have killed again.

I’m not proud of the fact, but I have lost track of the body count – it’s not huge, but enough. It got a little rough all of a sudden, racing by dog sledge to the endgame. It’s a thriller – of that I have no doubt. But the political machinations took me by surprise, as have the characters. I mean, the Greenlander – Dina, she has more guts than I will ever have! She shows it too.

And then there is Fenna – Konstabel Brongaard herself. She has shown what she is capable of, and yet, she’s human. A woman in a man’s world – it’s a cliché she is doing her best to turn around, without sleeping with the leading male protagonist. And why not? Well, she is the main protagonist!

Between the description of the sledge patrol, when nature shows its teeth, and the build up to the first “car chase” (it’s a little different than your usual fare), there is plenty to occupy Fenna. She really is in a bind – literally to begin with, and then, well, literally again.

You know, at this point, even I’m not sure she is going to make it.

The Ice Star is available for pre-order from Amazon at a reduced price. Spoiler(ish) alert – Canadians are cool, really, and I could imagine Ryan Gosling playing a role in The Ice Star.

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The Dog Star(s)

img_9042_2The Ice Star isn’t the first thriller to feature sledge dogs, but it might just be the first thriller to build a plot around sledge dogs and the men (and women – spoiler) that work with them.

Konstabel Fenna Brongaard is the first of her kind – the first female member of the Sirius Sledge Patrol. She’s also the first patrol member to be accused of killing her partner. The sledge dogs in the story play an integral part in letting the reader discover just who Fenna is, what makes her tick, and literally driving the plot forwards, from scene to scene.

Without dogs The Ice Star would be mostly ice. The dogs then are the real stars!

They shine brighter than life, much like the Sirius star itself.

The Ice Star is available for pre-order from Amazon at a reduced price. Spoiler(ish) alert – no real dogs were harmed in the writing of The Ice Star.

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Killer Inspiration

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I know what you’re thinking, the Sandstone Trail (Cheshire, England) is a long way from Greenland. But you never know when inspiration for your next cold-blooded killer is going to strike.

The idea for Royal Marine Lieutenant Mike Burwardsley was born on February 11th, 2015. The Ice Star was already in its third or fifth reincarnation, but Burwardsley had yet to really take form.

He’s not a nice guy, but he is very good at what he does, when he gets the chance to do it his way. He is also tall. Is he Jack Reacher tall? Who knows – there’s quite a difference in height between the literary Reacher and the one in the movies. Burwardsley is definitely in the middle. He also has a sidekick, a very competent Sergeant, from another legendary regiment in the British Army – hint, not very tall at all.

Just what are the Brits doing in Greenland? Good question. You’ll just have to wait and see.

The Ice Star is available for pre-order from Amazon at a reduced price. Spoiler alert – ex British Army and Navy soldiers play a significant role in The Ice Star.

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