Friday, 26 February 2016

The Torc Trilogy

Working hard on the final book in The Torc Trilogy.
Word count now stands at 101.493.  Just another 10 or 15 thousand to go, it all depends on my characters!  Should have the first draft complete by the end of next week.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The Witness kindle offer

Only a few days left to get your hands on a kindle copy of my book The Witness at the reduced
On 1st March the price will go up to £1.99 (US equivalent).  
Thank you to everyone who have already bought a copy, please don't forget to leave feedback on Amazon.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Research notes

I am often asked about my research techniques.  During the writing of my novels the research process never stops.  At first when planning the novel a certain amount of preliminary research is necessary and this usually takes the form of a small notebook.  Each of my books has a little book like this where all my ideas are jotted down.  I usually make notes about research that I might find useful, and sometimes collect ideas from a range of sources. 
Mostly a notebook like this gets filled with characters names, dialogue, crazy ideas and a lot of stuff that never makes it into the book.  This can be invaluable information and I have found these very useful when writing the Torc Trilogy.  I have often dipped in and out them searching information relating to each book in the series.

Sometimes I come across little Gems that I have forgotten about.

Little A6 notebooks are an invaluable resource.

Highlighted notes in my little book.

The bulk of my research is from the internet.  Pages are printed off and paragraphs highlighted before being filed in a folder.  This folder is a research tool that I use whenever I need to revise on a subject or to learn about some technical aspect, it can often be used to verify a fact.      

The research file used when writing The Belgae Torc.

The file stuffed full of useful research notes.

Sometimes a little medical knowledge is useful, it all depends on what the characters are getting up to!

I needed to know about mythology and folklore.

I had never heard of a Moon pool before but one featured quite a lot in The Belgae Torc

These dive tables were useful although I needed to consult with an expert to understand how to use them.

I had to learn about weapons, so I consulted the internet but I also had to speak with experts.
As you can see my research file was filled with information that took me into lots of different subjects.  I could never plan for this when starting out, but had to wait and see how the novel developed, only then could I decide what subject to research.

All that research leads to this, the first hand written draft.

The hand written draft is then typed up into a first printed draft.

This is how I like to work, I can only assume that others do the same.  
I find my research files a useful resource when planning other books, I'm always dipping in and out of them.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

The Witness, how it all came about.

The Witness

The Witness is my first attempt at writing a psychological thriller.  It began a number of years ago when my sister Joanne and her husband Dean lived in a lovely little village called Garmouth.  Situated in Morayshire near to the ancient city of Elgin, Garmouth sits on the edge of Spay Bay, an area of outstanding natural beauty.  The river Spey flows through this beautiful landscape as it makes its way from the Highlands towards the Moray Firth.

There was a time when this area was not so tranquil.  On one side of the river towards the village of Kingston boat building once thrived and on the other side towards Spey the Tugnet Ice House and visitor centre was once part of a fishing station.

A railway serviced the area and spanning the river is a magnificent iron bridge.  This engineering monument had to be re-designed before construction was completed as the river decided to change course.  Nowadays the bridge forms part of a walking and cycle path that lead visitors into the bay.

During my stay in the village we took the path across the bridge and made our way along the riverbank towards the visitor centre where they serve a mean mug of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows.   It was on that day I saw an artist painting a picture of the bridge and then my story began to take shape.  

Josie MacDonald, my main character, was there pretty much from the start and as I turned my mind to constructing a plot I knew that some unimaginable horror would have to disturb the peace and tranquillity of this place.   The plot began to evolve and as my characters came to life my research took me to some interesting places.  I couldn’t resist weaving in an historical element, but  things could quite easily have got out of hand if it wasn’t for the qualities of my characters to anchor the plot.  The drama of the unpleasant scenes made for a racy story, but it was the everyday lives of the characters that kept the whole thing honest.

I wrote this book over a long period of time, the basic story didn’t take many months to complete, it was the re-writes and editing that took the time, I was in no hurry to publish.

The Witness was always going to be a standalone novel, but I can’t resist the challenge of developing some of the characters and locations that appear in the story.  I imagine a series of books that are all connected in some way with many of the characters and places appearing throughout the different stories.  The next book, The Cellist, is already being planned and features a character called Mia Falzone, but that is as they say another story. 

Friday, 12 February 2016

The Witness revealed

The Witness.

Without giving too much away I want to post some photographs of Spey Bay to give my readers an idea of what this beautiful place looks like.  When I visited the area some years ago I saw an artist painting a watercolour of the iron bridge and suddenly ideas began to formulate. From that moment I knew that my character Josie was going to be an artist.
Like me, Josie was completely taken with the tranquillity of Spey Bay and she too decided to paint a watercolour of the magnificent iron bridge.  It was here that her story began.

The river in this photograph is very high, when I was there during the summer the water level was much lower.

I would like you to have an idea of the layout of the bay with some of the places mentioned in the book.  This map details places like Fochabers, the house and estate where Mr Mac lives is there.  The river runs from the mountains into the bay and this is the route my characters took through the woods when trying to escape from Mr Mac.  
Closer to the bay you can make out the villages of Garmouth and Kingston.  Josie's Auntie Molly lived in Garmouth and it was from here that Josie accessed the bay.  

The distance from Fochabers to the Tugnet Ice house is about five miles

Spey Bay is an outstanding area of natural beauty where many seabirds and animals can be seen.  There is also a very nice hotel and golf course further round, but these did not feature in my book.

A view of the ice houses with the mountains in the distance

Kingston is just across the mouth of the river.  

The beautiful river in the summertime.

Follow the pathway leading from the bottom right of this photograph, go past the buildings and head for the sandy bit towards the top of the picture.  This is where the Tugnet Ice house and visitor centre is situated, it is also where Josie plunged into the water when being chased before being swept away into the Moray Firth.

The Tugnet Icehouse where Josie tried to hide from Mr Mac

I hope this helps to bring The Witness to life without giving too much away.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

My friend's post

My friend wrote this about my book The Witness and it's so good I just have to share it.

Kindle Sale The Witness by Kevin Marsh

I have told everyone I know in person and throughout social media about how much I love the novels of Kevin Marsh. His books are so engrossing, intelligently written and excellently plotted that I can't wait for the next one!  Yes, he is a friend of mine but I come to you out of honesty and without much bias. I just believe in his passion for the written word and his dedication to writing.

One of my favourite novels of his is a mystery set in Scotland, 'The Witness.'  When I tell you one of the most terrifying serial killers I have come across is the character Mr. Mac. My goodness his torture and psychological torment he puts his victims through like main character, Josie Macdonald. I found myself squirming in my seat, hands gripped on the arm of the sofa. I was curled up in a foetal position by the end of it! The Witness is a psychological thriller, gripping, page turner with intelligent writing and well thought out plots.

Now that it is on sale on Kindle I hope you will buy it. Even if you don't like it, it's only $1.30 that's much cheaper than your Starbucks every morning! For those in the United Kingdom, the kindle is only

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Chartwell, home of Winston Churchill

On Tuesday we went to Chartwell to see an exhibition about Winston Churchill and his exploits during his army career.   Whilst there we went to a talk in the studio about his painting.  It was most interesting and covered facts about many of his paintings.

This is a picture of part of the house,(I am in the centre of the photo)!

The back and side of this beautiful house.

The gardens, although sparse at this time of the year were laid out ready for the summer blooms.  It was good to see the garden at this time of the year and all the work that is going on to get the estate ready for summer visitors.
The main part of the house is closed at the moment, (opens in March), only a section open which currently houses the exhibition.

View of a beautiful tree on the terrace.

Winston's fish pond.

As you can see, the weather was beautiful with just an occasional shower.  It was a sunny but chilly day.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The Witness Promotion

The kindle version of my novel The Witness will soon be available for download from Amazon at just 99p with equivalent reduction in Dollars for my USA fans.

This promotion will last throughout February.

Happy reading.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Day job gone

Finally given up the day job and spent all day writing in my study.

Started the day reading what I had written previously and picked up the links etc.

Soon had a cup of coffee on my Guinness bar mat.  I picked up a few of these mats in Dublin in 1993 and still have a few left.

Once I got going, spent the morning writing about 1800 words.  A lunchtime break was well deserved methinks, then worked the afternoon typing on my notebook. 
A good days work I think, feeling satisfied having spent a day doing what I really enjoy.
Will do the same tomorrow.