Archive for June, 2012

York SigningAnd so, the Yorkshire book tour has begun, with today’s inaugural Paint this town Red signing at Waterstone’s in York, alongside my fellow Wild Wolf author, Simon Swift (left). The session today went well-ish, and was technically a sell-out for me, however I’ll be hoping for an even better showing in front of my home crowd in Leeds in a fortnight’s time.

That it was a pretty lovely morning probably didn’t help, as there were a lot of people in York, but most preferred to soak up some rays… So we prayed for rain. And when it came, boy did it come, heralded by cracks of thunder and flashes of lightning (no that wasn’t the paparrazi). And suddenly we had a rush on, meaning we could steal victory from the jaws of defeat. All in all an okay start, but the message going forward will be could do better.

Still, I’d like to thank all the York Waterstone’s staff for helping make the event a qualified success, and, of course, everyone who bought a copy too!

Duh-duh, duh-duh (etc etc in an attempt at the incidental music from Jaws.) Yep, laydeez and gentlemen, your brave, intrepid Paint this town Red correspondent, yours truly, has today risked losing a leg in order to seek out the latest ebook freebie which you can get your sticky paws on. Wes Brown’s  fantastic Leeds novel Shark is, for a limited time only freemans. This is to celebrate the launch of the new print run and new version of Shark, and the publishers, Dog Horn, have enrolled the book in a five day Kindle giveaway with Amazon for the E-Book.

According to Wes: “The promo has been live for a few hours, and the novel’s currently no.41 in the literary besteller free download chart  and no.13 in the war bestseller free download chart and be good to break into the top ten. More details here.”

A short point of note. The Wes Brown I speak of is not of Manchester United and Sunderland fame, and is not sung about in the famous “he’s orange everywhere, come and have a go if you dare” chant, but is instead the Wes Brown described by Anthony Clavane, no less, as: “one of the best young writers around.”

About the Book

“Shark is a story about the dispossessed and how they get by.

Ex-soldier and violent deadbeat John Usher returns to his boyhood home of Leeds to find things have changed. His community has been unravelled by gang culture, ethnic tensions and hopelessness.

Unable to sleep, his only consolation is drinking late into the night and playing pool by himself. That is, until an encounter with a hard right activist leads him into a twisted relationship of deceit, cuckoldry and hatred.”

“In Shark, Wes Brown writes with a kind of rhythmic Northern realism, catching the way we think, the way we talk, the way we act round here; he manages to make the North a marvellous place, a place where art can happen, where epic can feel comfortable…” Ian McMillan, poet and broadcaster.

“Brown is a new generation Updike with the ability to capture the essence of a time and place comparable to Cartwright’s Heartland. Never has hard-fought alienation been rendered so tensely familiar and jaw-achingly hard to swallow.” Jo Brandon, editor of The Cadaverine

“Here we have that rare artifact. A contemporary, regional, working class novel written with the ideas-based, language currency of the great transatlantic stylists: Updike, Bellow, DeLillo and Martin Amis. Wes Brown’s art is to match literary intensity to the northern pubs and pool halls, finding the story in a young man’s struggle to accommodate himself to the life he has been dealt, after service in Iraq, in a community divided and adfrift.” Danny Broderick, The Workroom.

I’m delighted to welcome back Karen Cole today, for the second of her blog residencies on the Paint this town Red site. So, everyone, give a warm welcome to Karen, and enjoy her blog.


An Overwhelming Mountain of Editing

Ghost writerThe job of a ghost writer (or anyone else who writes) is to create brilliantly written copy. Today’s book market won’t stand for anything else, even if the original material is creative and full of new, interesting ideas. Presentation is still very important, so you should know how to edit properly and with professional presence, style and sophistication. But sometimes, your material can be something of a nightmare or otherwise unwieldy and difficult to work with – don’t despair, there are ways!

When facing a huge manuscript that obviously needs to be pared down sizably, the first thing a ghost writer should do is ask the original author or client what he or she wants to see used in the manuscript primarily, and what needs to be removed. It helps to take out any excessive, redundant material, but as in all cases, communication with the client is crucial. You need to ask them what they want to see in the newly edited manuscript – tighter writing, more of a plot line, new characters, how they might like to see it reworked, etc.

It’s your job as the editor/ghost writer to go through the manuscript, and yes, although it may be a lot of work, going through everything (including any separate notes) is needed; but you must also decide for yourself what constitutes excess material. Fortunately, you can usually just read through everything once, make some liner notes yourself, and then begin the process of culling out unneeded material. If you make ample notes as you go: “Needs more drama throughout entire scene,” etc. you will have no problems in going back and editing what’s needed where it’s needed.

Meanwhile, what if the author client didn’t make an outline, or the outline or notes are a huge, misguided mess? Well, in all cases, again communication is paramount. You can’t read minds or do too much guesswork. Over time, I’ve found that most authors can write an outline and the general ideas in their notes so that I don’t have to worry; but sometimes people are a bit scatterbrained and need some direction. A phone call is best here, with plenty of discussion about what they want to see in the book and what can be safely removed without the author crying, “My baby! What did you do to my baby?”Dragon

Messy notes are really not as big of a deal as insufficient notes. You need to know where the book is going to stand, so if you have a lot of messy notes, going through them helps, as long as they are legible. I always ask my clients to send me their notes in Word 2007 or later. Handwritten notes can be a true nightmare; you don’t want to have to deal with those. As for the first draft, if the client can get you one of those – wonderful! It helps to have a first draft, even if it’s sprawling and messy, so you know basically what you’re working from and how to begin to go about dealing with it. Your job is to whip it all into shape for the second and final drafts. You may be adding background material, researching the material the author client included, asking the author to write about permission to use cited materials from other people’s works, etc.

Whatever you do, maintain constant contact with the client, sending along the installments of the work as you go. And don’t despair; if everything is sprawling, messy and excessive, that’s the very reason the client hired you to write for them in the first place. So it’s your job to get it all down to a dull roar, and then to rework it into something that might hit the best seller lists.

Warmly, Karen Cole

Executive Director
Ghost Writer, Inc.

BooksHire an amazing, expert ghostwriter from our team! Ghost Writer, Inc. has your ghostwriter or editor. We also offer you affordable book, screenplay and script marketing, promotions, sales, and publishing or optioning assistance. We work with leading publishers and literary agents, and film and TV producers in New York and Los Angeles. If you have the resources, we can get your work published and produced for affordable prices.


Anna StephensPaint this town Red has received another excellent review, this time from the (pictured, left) author Anna Stephens (Calestar), who penned this for The Hub Pages.

Here’s some selected highlights:

Kirby’s “best work comes when he mixes thriller with horror, to compelling, skin-crawling effect. In Paint This Town Red, Kirby has once again ticked the boxes.”

“The novel has that small-town-feel where everyone knows everyone else’s business and family feuds and love triangles are played out for all to see.”

“Kirby focalises each new chapter through a particular character, giving us both a glimpse into their inner lives and giving him a chance to showcase his excellent vocal abilities. Each character has his or her own speech patterns and verbal tics, making them distinct from all the others. This is no mean feat in a novel containing a fairly large cast of characters and we also see characters fleshed out, seen from a variety of perspectives, including their own. Readers are then left to make up their own minds about individual characters (personally, I have a deep distaste for Buckby and Combs, and with Combs, this is more than borne out by his subsequent actions…)”

“Kirby has produced another ultimately satisfying novel.”

You can get your hands on the book from all good stores, or by visiting one of the locations of his author tour.

Sci-Fi Online have today given the Allen Ashley edited Eibonvale Press anthology, ‘Where are we Going?’ (which features my story ‘The Bridge’) an unbeatable ten out of ten in a glowing review which I just had to let you know about (as I like showing off).

You can read the full review here.

But here’s some highlights from reviewer Charles Packer’s gushing commentary:

“Most of the stories take great delight in exploring the often darker substrata of the human psyche and experience. The opening steampunk story displays many of the elements of the anthologies stories. Dead Countries by Gary Budgen takes a cavalier attitude towards genre restriction; in fact nearly all of the stories exist to tell a good tale without feeling the need to fulfil the expectations of any particular niche market. This can only be looked on as a good thing and something which has been finding its way into mainstream entertainment for some time. Consider Alien, which is as much a haunted house fantasy as it is a science fiction film. Even as far back as the writings of H. P. Lovecraft there have been writers who were more interested in the art of the written word than they were in fulfilling the expectations of a limited market.”

“Many, if not most of the short stories have a similar multi layered structure. Here it can either be read at its surface level as simply a well-constructed piece of prose and there is nothing wrong with this. In fact it is a prerequisite to making the stories enjoyable to read. But dig a little deeper and all human life can be found within these pages.”

“In total, there are seventeen tales here for your delectation. Again, another delightful reading experience which challenges and entertains in equal amounts.”

I’ve been in the news a bit this week, what with one of my book reviews (of Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending) getting picked up by the Powell’s Books site (putting me in some pretty good reviewing company – The New Yorker and the San Francisco Chronicle), and the publicity build-up for the Kidwelly e-Festival increasing in volume.

Here’s the pre-festival PR, the author talk timetable, and a list of the appearing authors.

Kidwelly e Banner


From Lucy @ Legend Press:

Legend Press are looking for 15 avid readers to take part in an exciting new reading focus group to be held monthly at the Legend Press headquarters in Central London. Each month we will be focusing on a new upcoming Legend Press title, offering a chance to give feedback, discuss the book with like-minded readers and get an insight into the publishing process.

The group is free to take part in, and each attendee will receive a free advanced copy of the book to be discussed on the day. All we expect from you is to come to our office ready to discuss the book.

If you are interested in taking part please email your name to with a brief statement (100 words max) of why you would like to take part. Please email by Friday 15th June to be considered.

The first meeting is on Wednesday 18th July at 11am at Legend Press, 2 London Wall Buildings, London, EC2M 5UU.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Best wishes


Lucy Boguslawski
Publicity Director
Legend Press | Legend Business | Paperbooks
2 London Wall Buildings, London, EC2M 5UU
0207 448 5137

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Legend Press was Shortlisted for UK Independent Publisher of the Year 2011