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Waiting on a Dust Jacket

The Proofcopy of my last Hardback, Dagon’s Revenge

The song says the waiting is the hardest part and it’s a truth that is too easy to dismiss. I’m currently expecting my proof copy of a hardback of “Darkness on a Foreign Shore”, my first role-play book. I ran a Kickstarter for that project and we were vey successful. I’m keen to give out the pledges my backers signed up for but I am waiting to see how the interior artwork looks before getting all the books ready to post and letting the finished product go on sale.

Christmas is a funny time for books as hardback sales go nuts and eBooks can often take a wee hit. I haven’t written anything particularly seasonal yet and so I am not in a mad push for a specific book other than getting behind “Water’s Edge”, my just released Hebridean detective thriller novel. And so I’m in a kind of limbo where I carry on with the daily write (a pandemic novel by Dictaphone and the follow up to Water’s Edge on the tablet) as well as other projects. But my eye is on the post.

You see the first time you hold a finished book in your hand is quite special. There’s a sense of completion, a little pride and a general satisfaction before the inevitable draw of breath as you launch into the marketing. There’s also that feeling of the start or continuation of something, depending on whether it’s the first or later book in a series. And unlike an eBook it’s tangible, the feel of the paper, the book in your hands, flicking through pages and placing the copy on the shelf.

This time I’m waiting on a dust jacketed hardcover which is a first for me. I did produce hardcovers before but they were hardboard, the last being Dagon’s Revenge. This time it’s something new and there’s more than a few butterflies flying around my stomach. But as I wait, I’ll keep writing, keep plodding on, for there’s nothing else I can do but pass the hours until the book arrives. Kids are lucky, at least you know the night Santa comes!

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A Spielberg Masterclass

This week I have been hit by the cold and was forced to actually take Sunday as a proper day of rest. Therefore I was found on Sunday morning at about 9am watching “Bridge of Spies” , huddled on my sofa, fighting to breathe properly through my nose (yes, those are violins you are hearing).

Bridge of Spies DVD cover

Now I have to say I am a fan of the spy genre, Len Deighton and John le Carre being authors I love but this was a rather unknown story to me. However it was more than a spy movie, rather it was a masterclass in telling a story.

What struck me about this film was not Tom Hanks’ acting (although as the main character he was superb) or that of anyone else in the film (Alan Alda was sublime). It wasn’t the terrific locations, especially Berlin in its coldness, snow on the ground and lawlessness breaking out. Rather it was the way Stephen Spielberg can hit your emotions from the blindside.

At one point Hanks character is crossing from East berlin to West Berlin after successful negotiations and looks out of the train to see the recently built wall. So far all has been fairly pleasant in the film but at this point you see the hopeful escapees brutally shot down off the wall and it hits you hard. The shot is brought back to mind as Hanks is back in the USA having completed the mission successfully and is somewhat warmed by the response he receives on a train. But looking out the window he sees a backyard wall with kids jumping over it and you are immediately taken back to that sucker punch.

A story would not be true to itself if it didn’t show that uneasiness we all have with finished results, knowing that despite success there is more evil or unfairness left in the world. Unless it’s a child’s movie the platitude does not really sit well with us.

Having watched the film, I found myself thinking about how Spielberg sets his audience up, rolling them through those confusing sides of life, of every person, so we end up with a rounded picture of what is happening whether we like it or not. And seeing it on film only makes me want to do it on paper. In a world where characters are often one dimensional or simply purporting one side, depth of writing that can enhance our world view with all its complications can only be a good thing.

Watching this film made me remember why I love films to be begin and why I love reading. The challenge made to ourselves as viewer and reader is surely what makes it all worthwhile.

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Who is Mr. Kirkgordon?

As an author I am often asked where my ideas come from for characters and plots which makes me pause and actually think, where have they come from? In response to this feeling, I’m taking a few blogs to discover for myself which bit of this dark mind of mine has produced my main characters.

Mr. Kirkgordon is the one of feuding duo who had their relationship first formed on paper in “Crescendo!”, although a later short origin story, “Footsteps”, takes us back to their first actual meeting under a grave. Agile and a former bodyguard, Kirkgordon can handle himself in trouble and is ideal to look after the volatile eldritch genius that is Mr Austerley.

Kirkgordon comes from that part of us that knows what the right thing to do is, and that we’re going to have to do it despite the hardship that comes from doing it. He cannot walk away, even if the people he’s involved with do the exact opposite to what he would. Having a faith in God, Kirkgordon is not a religious nut but rather is the atypical believer struggling with his faith as well as his behaviour to others he loves and those he loathes.

“Death? That’s it? Indy, everywhere we go there’s a general implication of death. Do you mean death here, in the corridor, or death in a more widespread sense?”

From Ship of Doom by G R Jordan

As a man of faith I wanted to have Kirkgordon put under pressure, both from the outside darkness but also from his own darker sides. He has a wandering eye when it comes to women and when Calandra comes on the scene, they have to fight the immense attraction between each other while working closely together in front of her former lover Austerley.

The archer in Kirkgordon comes from myself and was a lot of fun to write, although I doubt anyone in the real world has handled a bow like him. One of the sides of Kirkgordon brought out to me by a reader was how harsh he is on Austerley. Constantly pilling on the banter and sometime abuse, his understanding of his colleague takes time to grow until there is a mutual respect and distrust in the same measure. Each knows the other frailties and the trouble that comes from them.

“Nailed to your cross then. I hope you believe in redemption and foregiveness too, Havers?”

From Crescendo! by G R Jordan

Ultimately, I think Kirkgordon is ourselves thrown into the mess of situations with all fears, beliefs, pressures and blind corners, knowing that we still have to get it done. He’s not the most powerful, most clever, wisest or even the bravest of the characters but he always gets it done, fighting his conscience all the way. In that I reckon he’s like a lot of people on this earth, albeit his demons tend to jump out of the ground at him.

Check out Kirkgordon’s psychologist’s report here and see what the professionals at SETAA think of him. Or for the books check out my shop and find Kirkgordon for yourself!

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Writing Life moves on

Well I haven’t been attacking the blog due to my previous successes.After completing the Kickstarter, I have been engaged in looking at proofs, setting up publishing accounts, checking t-shirts, pondering over prints and most recently sending out the eBooks to my backers. Next on the agenda is to get the book up and live in its various formats on the myriad of sales sites available.


One lesson I have learned over the past week is that this is an important perod to just take a breath and when proofs arrive, sit back and check. Take a pause. Don’t ram-stam at them. Instead try and allow yourself some time to consider what’s in front of you. Even when working with the best artists, formatters and editors, errors occur and this is a chance to nail them before you commit to any significant amount of stock.

I’m also learning, slowly albeit, that the real effort and drive to get a book out there comes after the writing. As much as the editor will work you hard, it is nothing to managing everything and pulling all the pieces together to produce a book in the right format at the right time.

But the journey has been a fruitful one. I have a book winging its way through the UK postal system which I will be handing out to my Kickstarter backers. Hopefully it will also be on local bookshops shelves. I still have many things to complete from my Kickstarter with regards to marketing and these will occupy my Christmas run in. But already I’m having to think about the next one. Actually next three in fact – two more in this series and another in a lighter fantasy style about mermaids arriving at a Scottish Island. I actually have two books beyond second draft, one at first draft and a short story in the writing as well as another novel. The plates are a-spinning but it’s a lot of fun!


G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

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To Paper – some poetical jottings


To Paper

I want to look at you without you staring back,
Like a freeze frame in a movie so I can get the detail.
I want to touch your hair and see how substantial it is,
Shine a light a see if the red is a product of some bottle.
From the corner of my gaze I think yours is a young face
But whether there’s hope or angst I can’t see from here.
So I want to kneel down in front and burn into those eyes,
Read the soul, explore your emotions.
Your clothing is functional, drab in most ways
But is that just a cover for a curving figure.
Can I see if you are assessing the room,
Hunting for appreciative looks or hiding away.
It’s hard to tell your reads through subversive glances,
Desperately avoiding your view when your hair is flicked back.
And when you brushed it back, were you preening for my benefit?
or did you just have a knot that was causing annoyance.

Forgive my stare, forgive my interest
For you can’t know what madness drives me on.
I must assess you, I must admire you, I must own you in my mind.
If you had this curse, if you stood in my shoes you would understand.
You must be put in print, you must be scribed and be known.
When you live in my words I will expose your very soul.
I am a writer and I will make you immortal …..

…. until they burn my book!

Sometimes it’s hard being a writer for we stare at our world in order to know it, to ponder it. This is poem asking foregiveness of those we stare at. Yes, we are disturbed and probably mad, but that’s what makes us so creative.


G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

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Location, Location, Location (Part 1 – Foreign Places)


One of the funnier things I find in my writing is the lengths I will go to to find a suitable location for my books. By that I mean each scene within my books. Every place mentioned usually has within it the building blocks of several real places if indeed it is not a real place itself. Because of this I am always on the lookout for different backdrops, whether it be from books, online searches, travel programs or anything else. My mind is constantly “location hunting”.

In my new book, “Crescendo!”, my intrepid duo Austerley and Kirkgordon, race around the world and I thought it would be interesting to see where the locations in the book come from in reality. The first location is Arkham, and more specifically the asylum there.

Due to the book’s tie-ins with Lovecraft mythology, Arkham was an obvious start point, the central town in the whole area of Lovecraft’s nightmares. I consulted fictional books and maps, checking the rivers and bridges and location of the asylum. But the building itself, or rather the scene, reminded me of a scene in “Porridge”, the classic British sitcom where Fletcher is let loose for a time. The sheer drabness and loneliness of a walk out of captivity with fanfares. The start of the Blues Brothers film has the same feel.


A trip to Russia then ensues and here was a major problem. At the current point in my writing career, ad hoc visits to far off countries are still beyond the budget. So thank goodness for the internet and those wonderful map programs where you can even place yourself in streets. I walked Russia’s alleyways, virtually, trying to see how my characters would perceive this place. Unfortunately the net doesn’t provide the smells and sounds and I had to think these into being (but I am meant to be a writer!). Pictures of a rather famous Russian café helped me in a little restaurant scene that occurs, giving me the feel of a past grandeur and a perfect backdrop to introduce Calandra, my Russian vamp.

It is funny how I have never been to any of these “foreign” places but felt able to find myself in their surroundings simply by a little application. I’m not here today to ponder on the finer pints of place description but rather as an encouragement to not limit yourself to places that you know when writing. With a little research, plenty of pictures, writings and a wee bit of imagination, you can make anywhere come alive. But yes, I would like the bigger budget, the private jet (now I am dreaming) to go and visit these places. But remember, places in the past or future, or those invisible except in the mythos of a person, cannot be reached. Well, except on the train of the mind and is that not our standard mode of transport as a writer anyway?


G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

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Methodically Creative – words combined that don’t make sense?


It was my English teacher who said the word in a school report. Methodical. Truthfully I didn’t know what it meant. It sounded similar to the word on those cough sweets. Now that I know its meaning it is certainly an appropriate word for a man who likes to make lists, who sees a structure in apparent chaos, a guy who abhors sheer randomness. You probably know those devices for writing prompts. Spinning wheels or random numbers indicating your protagonist, the dilemma, the setting and the type of story. That is never me, never.

Unfortunately my creative side was never pushed and although apparent in my scientific nature, I struggled along on my own in the arts disciplines that I loved. Life was about getting a degree to get a job and then build a life. There was little room for my music, my poetry and my drama to be anything but pastimes. I look at my own kids now and hope I can stop myself from making that mistake.

Science is all about methodology and without doubt it is one of the reasons I am well suited to it. My mind is diagnostic in nature seeking what’s not as it should be, spotting the flaw in the machinery. However, repetition bores me and I struggle with mundane going through the motions during experimental practice. I think a lot of us do. Wrestling with the answers is where it’s at for me.

And so it is with my writing. I diagnose life around me. I dismantle and rebuild it, looking to see how it works, finding the flaw before this churning mix in my mind produces an image or story. My wife asks can I not write normal books? Well no because in the normal the flaw is not seen. So often we have to take the flaw out of its surroundings to see it for real with no compensations. But there is always a method in the way that I do this. I have my mode of working.

Sometimes I get into difficulty with editors because my way of understanding the world, my method, means I often leap across different POVs in the same chapter in order to compare different agendas and motives. A life time reading Pratchett probably taught me how to do this (although I am still the novice to the great master in this) but more importantly gave the encouragement to write in my own style and not cling to the methods of different instructors.

So I hope you can see I am methodically creative.Science and art mixing, left and right brain co-operating. I believe these opposites are present in all of us if we let them loose, in different forms and ways to be sure, but conflict to hone the content we produce. What two words combined that don’t make sense describe you? Let me know!


G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!