3-2-1… Crime Fiction Coach is launched! #crimefiction #amwriting #writerslife


This week the secret project I’ve been working on with fellow crime writers Susi Holliday, AK Benedict, and Louise Voss launched and I’m super excited that it’s finally out in the world.

We set up Crime Fiction Coach because we know what it’s like to be just starting out writing your first novel, or having written a novel not being sure what to do next, and we wanted to make a place for those people to come and get advice and support. We also wanted to create something that is flexible to individual needs – yes we do standard coaching programmes, critiques and writing packages, but we also recognise that everyone is different and so we can create a programme or package that’s tailored for a person’s needs if our standard services aren’t hitting the spot.

Our coaches are experienced crime writers with over 30 years of publishing experience and a host of bestselling novels and awards nominations between them. And we work with all sorts of writers from complete beginners to published authors.

Whatever someone’s looking for – sounding board, process and motivational coach, plot buddy, style, voice and character guidance, draft critiquing mentor, submission package preparation and lots more – we’re here to help at every stage of the process from blank page to submission-ready manuscript.

As well as our paid for services, we run a free Facebook group for new writers and those aspiring to publication where we post writing tips, and run live sessions, QAs and web chats focused on different aspects of writing and publishing.

Find out more about Crime Fiction Coach HERE

And join our Facebook group by hopping to FB HERE

CFC Group

How Not to Write a Novel by Sandra Newman & Howard Mittelmark

How Not to Write A Novel cover image

How Not to Write A Novel cover image

For those of us aspiring to write a published novel, ‘how to’ books that help us learn the craft can be a great resource, but how do you choose which ones to buy from all the many available?

Well here’s one with a difference.

Rather than focusing on ‘how to’, Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark focus instead on ‘how not to’. The result is this hilarious and entertaining book, that also drives home 200 different things to avoid in your work-in-progress.

It has sections covering plot, character, style, world-building, and also how (not) to approach agents.

With examples of each type of mistake clearly shown, this book is both fun to read and also really educational.

If you’re an aspiring author it’s well worth checking out.

Writing Prompts: The Frozen Lake

frozen river

frozen river

A few days ago, just after the first snow fell, I took a walk through a park near my work office. Despite being in a city, just a minute or so after straying off the usual path I found a stilted walkway leading through a reed bed.

I followed the walkway out to a river that I never knew existed. It was entirely frozen.

Beautiful. Silent. Remote.

And with all that snow and the ice it reminded me that winter, and colder climates, can make for fabulous settings in crime thrillers.

Do you prefer your crime fiction set in cold or warm settings?

Writing Prompts: the abandoned motel

abandoned motel

abandoned motel

Travelling through the States I stumbled across this abandoned motel on the edge of a tiny town in West Virginia.

It seemed odd, that in a cute little town with artisan shops and traditional bars, a motel beside a picturesque river on the edge of a national park could fall into disrepair.

Old and crumbling, with broken windows and the door to the reception area just slightly ajar, the place looked like it’d been empty a while.

It got me wondering: what happened here?

Now there’s a prompt for a story …

Writing Prompts: “A Great Place for Murder”


English: The Old Land Port

English: The Old Land Port (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The other week, along with several of my writing friends from The Nomad Novelist Writers Group, I joined a walking tour of Dickens’ Portsmouth.  It was a fabulous tour, fill of great little insights into the life and world of Dickens.  But the thing I got most from the tour was the opportunity to have a good look around Portsmouth’s nooks and crannies.

A fellow writer had set his recently completed dark thriller in the city.  I was a beta reader of his first draft, and as we walked he gleefully pointed out all the locations that had featured in the novel.

As we neared the end of the tour we came across the Landport Gate. At this point I turned and said, ‘Wow, wouldn’t this make a great place for a murder.’  He agreed.  And as we were discussing how it might happen, we noticed the other people on the tour (non writers) quickly moving away from us.

Perhaps we should have explained we were plotting for a book!

What places have inspired your writing?


Writing Prompts: Stalker-ish Lyrics

English: Nancy Wilson of the American rock ban...

English: Nancy Wilson of the American rock band Heart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I drove home from work yesterday, the song ‘Alone Again’ sung by Alyssa Reid featuring P. Reign came on the radio.

I loved the rockalicious version by Heart in 1987. I was in my early teens, and that song was the perfect accompaniment for all my teenage angst!

But last night, as I sang along (don’t tell anyone!), I realised just how stalker-ish those lyrics can sound.

To me, as a budding crime thriller writer, the line:  How will I get you Alone? sounds like a fantastic prompt for a whole lot of story.  How there’s an idea …

What lyrics inspire you to write?