On tour and punch-drunk


By the time you read this my blog-tour will be over. I will have travelled across continents to carry the message of my work to the masses. Eight blogs have read ARCs (advance review copies) of Night Shift and published their opinions. You can find the links above; check them out if you’re so motivated. More hits for them reflects better on me so I’m not going to complain.

This is my first experience of being reviewed. It’s been… well, it’s not seemed quite real. It still doesn’t. This is partly because I didn’t organise the tour myself: it was handled my publisher and via PR people – another unreality – so the first I really knew about it was in the messages I was tagged into on Twitter.

I’ve had minimal contact with the bloggers themselves. I got the links, checked out the pieces, and retweeted them. That’s it. Now I’m blinking in disbelief, especially as all of the reviews were positive. Well, all but one – I’ll get to that in a minute.

Will this translate into sales? No idea. It can’t hurt, though.

A note on sales: I’m not actually that bothered about money – it’ll be minimal – and I won’t be checking my Amazon sales rankings obsessively. But weak sales will mean I’m less likely to get my second book deal. Publishing is a business; publishers do care about sales because only a healthy bottom line will enable them to put out more books. Publishers, believe it or not, love books and want to act as midwife to as many as possible.

So how am I feeling now? Bewildered, mostly. Punch-drunk. For, though I do my best to get my name out there and have the arrogance to think that what I say is worth hearing, I am a seething cauldron of insecurities. I wrote Night Shift a long time ago; I’m a better writer now. For people to like what I did five years ago (although revisions have been made right up until a few months ago) far exceeds my sense of what I deserve.

This also gives me a sense of immunity from criticism. The one poor review I mentioned earlier: I read it with an awareness of how hard the blogger was trying to be positive – they wanted to enjoy it but couldn’t quite get there. The final judgement was ‘Quite a good story,’ which is somewhat damning.

I read that with a smile and a shrug. Because what else can I do? It’s all illusion anyway; everything is smoke and mirrors. I have no beef with the reviewer and will help promote their site because that’s the sort of person I want to be.

Now if, on the other hand, they’d said this about my most recent writing, then we might have a problem.

I joke but there’s truth in it. The problem would be entirely mine but it would be there. Even faint praise hurts. My whole self-image might shatter if shaken violently.

I’ll write more about reviews next week. For now, please let me finish with a quote and a link from each review:

Crime meets science fiction- I loved it!


The author did a good job with building the tension and I was kept guessing … Just as I thought I had an idea of who it was, a little doubt would creep in as something else was revealed. The who, why and how was not what I expected at all.


Quite an enjoyable story.


I really enjoyed this book … What makes this story work and feel fresh is the writing, the very narrow perspective of only Anders’ view of everything and the ramping up of the tension and peril as the story develops.


This is a brilliant twist on the ‘who done it’ concept. Multiple murders and multiple motives and suspects kept me guessing throughout the book and just when I thought I had it figured out something would happen that would completely turn my thinking around … I hope to read more from this author in the future.


It’s speculative fiction with a whodunnit vibe and an aura of creepy suspense.

This a well-written and superbly plotted crime thriller based in the Antarctica … [h]opefully we won’t have to wait too long to read more by Triggs.


There was also an extract shared on Over the Rainbow Book Blog

Punch-drunk. Yeah. That sums it up.

See you next time.


Mensis horribilis

I was all set. Had it all planned out. Today’s blog was to be about my own fear of criticism; I was going to open up about my weaknesses, that sometimes – no matter how prepared you think you are – words hurt bad. I would confess that I needed time to build up my defences before wading back into Night Shift.

I was going to do this – nay, I had done this. I drafted my entry on Monday, read it over on Tuesday and was all set to publish it today.

And then my computer died.

All things considered, it has not been the best of months for me. It began with my prospective agent being disappointed in my work (actually this was in April, but I think you can give me a little leeway here), proceeded with an unexpected week in hospital that resulted in general anaesthetic, many stitches and much pain, before May culminated in the death of my motherboard.

This, in and of itself, is not a massive tragedy. My files are safe, I’m sure: the hard drive should be unaffected. But I can’t get at my writing. I am bereft. Like I’ve lost a limb. I have no reason to get out of bed in the morning. I stagger down into the living room and gaze longingly at the empty space, fall to my knees and weep…

I exaggerate. Slightly.

Technology is, for better or worse, a key part of the writers’ arsenal these days. When I started writing seriously I took pride in creating my first drafts longhand before typing them up. This gave way before the inevitable march of Time. It simply took too long to create using this laborious – but beautiful – method. I used to scribble myself little notes in the margins and, when stuck, doodle abstractly and abstractedly, creating little flowers and curvilinear, menacing shapes around the edges. I miss that, and the coffee shops (I miss you, Norwich Playhouse) I used to write in.

Now my crucible is the computer screen, the keyboard my stylus. Duller? Much – but not that different really. The pictures are all in the mind anyway and, whilst I don’t have a room of one’s own, an office and a personal space, this area is still me. I have my music. I have my Muse. And now that has been taken away from me. Temporarily, yes – but a day feels like a week when you know there are things you should be doing, that you are ready, ready to create and you can’t.

So for now all I can do is a bit of brain-work; keep up with my reading (the best homework anyone could ever have), work a little on characters and envisionments – you have to be able to see a space in order to make it feel real for your audience, even if you never actually describe it – and try and fix this bloody machine. All whilst still going to work and trying to be social and ungrumpy and – dammit – normal. Never did like normal. It just ain’t me.

Seems like this year May just had it in for me.