Sunday, 28 November 2010

First press Article on 'The Drop'

The press release went out from No Exit this week. The following article is the first piece to appear in the Trade press about 'The Drop'. It's on

British Gangland Debut Snapped Up By No Exit
Posted at 5:15PM Monday 22 Nov 2010
A scorching debut novel set in the Newcastle underworld and likened to iconic British gangster movies, Get Carter and The Long Good Friday, for their hard-hitting portrayal of organized crime, has been acquired by leading crime fiction specialist No Exit Press.
World English language rights to THE DROP, the first novel by Howard Linskey, were bought from agent Philip Patterson at Marjacq, in a two-book-deal for an undisclosed sum by No Exit's Publishing Director, Ion Mills.
Brutal and terrifying, THE DROP tells the story of David Blake, a white collar criminal living the high-life on the payroll of ruthless crime boss Bobby Maloney. But when a big chunk of Bobby's money goes missing, along with Geordie Cartwright, Blake is in the frame and he must journey deep into the heart of gangland Newcastle to save himself and to uncover the explosive truth.
No Exit's Ion Mills said of the acquisition, 'The Drop is a pulverizing British crime story and an instant classic, rich on atmosphere and unflinching in its portrayal of gangs and mob violence. Howard has a razor-sharp ear for dialogue and The Drop is breakneck entertainment from start to finish. We are very much looking forward to launching it next April.'
A former newspaper and magazine journalist, Linskey was born and raised in the North East and now lives in Hertfordshire. He said, 'I am delighted to have signed a two-book deal with No Exit. The team has a first-class reputation for publishing edgy and gritty crime novels and I know The Drop is in expert hands.'
THE DROP will be published by No Exit Press in paperback in April 2011. Advance proofs are available on request.
For a proof copy, an author interview, or for further information call Chris Burrows PR on 0161 445 6635 / 07738903955 /

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Drop - a sneak preview of the cover of the book

We have a cover for 'The Drop'. No Exit have been playing around with a lot of different ideas but it looks like this is the one we will go with. It is now on my page on the publisher web site and on the jacket of the proof copy of the book, which arrived at the weekend. I have to say they have done a great job. I think it looks sensational!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Prevarication's what you need

Not written for a little while and I think the main reason is how easily I am distracted from the business in hand, even when that business is writing. When I don't have enough hours for writing, which is most of the time, I crave the opportunity to sit down in front of the keyboard and get going. So often, I start a day with good intentions and reach the end of it having achieved very little. Frankly there are simply not enough hours in a day. There would be enough if I didn't have to sleep!
At those times, usually in the middle of a book, if I can steal an hour at the weekend or when every one else is tucked up in their bed, then I am a happy man. When I'm really on a roll it isn't unheard of to get 1,000-1,500 words done in a day, maybe more if I can squeeze two sessions at the computer into the same 24 hour period. That's how you write a book, by getting a momentum going and keeping it up every day, revisiting your words and characters on such a regular basis that they become almost second nature and every time you sit down to work, the words just flow. Then there is the editing process that immediately follows. By the time you have written your book, read your book, edited your book then re-written it over and over again, time after time, it has become something you have lived with for months and sometimes years. The first book I wrote took me three-and-a-half years, including a stack of research, and it still didn't find a publisher but it did get me a literary agent, which is a massive step forward.

I then wrote two 60,000 word books, under a pseudonym, for a publisher who gave me an idea, some characters and a synopsis then asked me to deliver both novels in just five months. Somehow I did it but I really don't know how. There were a lot of sleepless nights and crazy 3,500 words-in-one-sitting stints at the weekends that got me across the line but not without two bad attacks of sinusitis along the way; one at the end of each book. I never go to the Docs. I'm a bloke after all, but I had to go and get some pills to get rid of the blinding headaches, so I could start work again. Was it caused by trying to write two books in less than half a year I asked the doctor? Yep, apparently it was.

Then I wrote 'The Drop' and the first draft took just six months. The 90,000 words just seemed to flow. They were duly edited again and again until I was happy with every single one of them.

And now the book is done, the final draft has been submitted to 'No Exit' for a proof. In fact it has been there for a couple of weeks now. I gave myself a few days off as a reward and fully expected to get straight back into it; starting my next book or at least blogging away to spread the word about 'The Drop'. But no, I've not written a word in three weeks until now, unless you count Facebook, which I don't. I've gone from a 1,000 word a day average to zilch, nicks, nada, nowt. Even the 140 words maximum of a tweet on Twitter seems too much like hard work at the moment and I can't explain it. Actually I figured I should try, in this blog, and, in doing so maybe force myself to get going again.

So here it is, I think when you work so hard and so long on something and it's finally over… just crash. Your body, your brain, your imagination, just says 'stop, I need a break' and looks for a million and one reasons to avoid starting the writing process again; playing with your kids, watching something mindless on TV, cutting the grass, washing the pots, going for a run, anything but actually getting back to doing what you have always wanted to do…….write.

It's a funny old world…..and it has taken me an arduous 700 words to explain it. I think I need to go and have a lie-down now.....  

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Business of Writing

   It's been an exciting and busy couple of weeks since 'No Exit' bought my debut novel 'THE DROP'. I would love to say I have been so busy there has been no time to celebrate but that would be a lie. More than one friend has supported me while I have been writing the book, so it was only right and proper that I had a drink with each of them to celebrate. Call it a thank you because they believed that I would get there in the end. I am about half way through my thanks-yous now, so a spell in the Priory probably beckons when I'm finally done. Do I need an excuse? Not really. If you can't raise a glass or two to celebrate a publishing deal, when the odds against being published are so high, then you will never find an excuse to celebrate anything.

That said, it has not all been drinks and groggy mornings hunting for the nurofen, there has been a surprising amount of work too. 'No Exit' don't mess around and they are already going out there with all guns blazing to publicize 'THE DROP'. There's a web site, announcements on Facebook and Twitter and a Press Release on the way, which means they need as much help and information from their new author as possible. 

Obviously they were looking for anything of interest about me that a newspaper, web site or magazine might like to pick up on. Tempted as I was to tell them a lurid tale of teenage drug use, spells as a 'face' in a football hooligan crew, prison time, rehab, mercenary work in Bosnia and a dozen other common staples you would expect to hear from a new thriller writer, I was forced to settle for the truth. The reality is far more ordinary; a few years as a journalist and a series of jobs in sales and marketing, either side of a mad stint working for an even madder celebrity chef, plus a sad and enduring passion for Newcastle United football club. I'm glad it was all done by e-mail, so I didn't get to witness the underwhelmed looks on their faces in the press office when they read all of that.      

Since then, I've been busy spreading the word about 'The Drop' on-line and in the flesh. The most amusing part is when you tell a friend or colleague who has no idea you spend your so-called free time writing. They tend to give you a funny look, then answer "You've written a book?" sometimes they put it like this; "You've written a book?" and occasionally they say it like this "You've written a book?" which I hope is down to my north east accent and not just because they always assumed English is my second language.

I'm not used to all of this but it is fun and, the more of it you do, the more you begin to slowly and steadily realise that something that did not previously exist, until you dreamt it up in your fevered imagination, is about to be launched onto an unsuspecting world as a fully fledged novel. Blimey!

Thursday, 30 September 2010

'THE DROP' - my book will be published by 'No Exit'

Hello all, I am starting this blog to coincide with the announcement that my debut novel "THE DROP" will be published by 'No Exit' in 2011.

I am pleased to say I have signed a two-book deal with Ion Mills, head of 'No Exit' and, since the press release hasn't gone out yet, you heard it here first!

Sincere thanks to my agent, Phil Patterson at Marjacq Literary Agency for believing in my story and in me. Thanks also to Isabella Floris and Luke Speed at Marjacq and to the following for their ongoing faith and support, which means a great deal,  particularly during the long and lonely process of writing a book; Adam Pope, Gareth Chennells, Andy Davis and, of course, my dear wife Alison and beautiful daughter Erin.

Below is an outline of what 'The Drop' is all about. If, like me you enjoy classic British gangster films like 'The Long Good Friday' and 'Get Carter' then you should love this………………………………………………….

                                                                'THE DROP'

"'Geordie' Cartwright has disappeared, along with Bobby Mahoney's money. I have to find him and fast, or it's going to be my face staring into the business end of a nail gun"

David Blake is no gangster, or so he likes to think. He's a white-collar criminal, working for gangster Bobby Mahoney, enjoying the good life while the money keeps on pouring in. Trouble is, a big chunk of that money has just gone missing, along with Geordie Cartwright, and Blake is getting the blame.

Has Geordie done a runner with The Drop or has he been killed by a rival gang? As Blake goes deeper into the Newcastle underworld, a seedy and violent place filled with clubs, pubs, lap-dancing bars and brothels, he slowly starts to uncover the truth; there's a rat in Bobby's crew and someone else is planning a take-over. Meanwhile the Serious and Organised Crime squad and an ambitious D.I are both closing in on Bobby. It's just a matter of time before he's finally nicked for good. Blake must uncover the truth before it's too late for them all.

If that were not enough, he has to choose between his girlfriend, the beautiful lawyer Laura and the impossible-to-resist Sarah, his bosses' gorgeous young daughter. Sarah might just to be the most dangerous person in his life right now, if her dad finds out.

In a desperate and bloody finale, Blake has to make an agonising choice then some one will pay the ultimate price in

                                                                'The Drop'.