Thursday, September 25, 2014

How NOT to write a Thriller...

Sometimes writing a novel is a fairly easy process; sometimes it’s just the opposite.

Last Thursday, worldwide eBookDay, saw the launch of my latest Suspense ThrillerOutsourced’ and that day culminated a project that has taken me over three years to turn the idea (actually several) into a cohesive tale of mayhem and action.

So what’s it about?

Amazon Link
Outsourced’ features a New York-based writer of Thrillers (NO! It’s NOT autobiographical!) who receives a mysterious package from a fan. That fan turns out to be a professional killer. That’s just the start of the writer’s problems; problems that escalate way beyond anything he could have imagined on the pages of his novels, as death and destruction follow rapidly. Just when matter cannot get any worse for the novelist, he learns a high-tech Intelligence agency has been tasked with obtaining the contents of the package too, and they will stop at nothing to achieve that goal.

And, if that’s not enough… the sender wants it back, and his methods are even more direct and violent!

Yes, I’m sorry. I’ve written another fast-paced suspense thriller that will have you missing your stop on the homeward commute and make your food go cold as you frantically turn the pages. As one reader put it (rather mournfully, I thought):

I have sadly learnt that once you pick up one of Eric J. Gates’ books, life as you know it ceases. From page one it is nonstop and enjoyable; a read you will not regret

Anyone who has read my humorous non-fiction book ‘How NOT to be an ASPIRING Writer’ will recognise the opening. It’s the same one I used as a case study in the chapter on turning rough ideas into novel plots: how could someone who has murdered so many people be set free at a court hearing?

That was one of the kernels that grew to make up ‘Outsourced’.

Yet there were more, many more.

If you are not into science, don’t be put off by what follows; it’s not what you think.

From an early age I have been fascinated by Quantum Theory and when, in the seventies, much more information about it was available publicly than ever before, I read everything I could. This was an era when books on Physics written by the leading gurus of the day (Hawking, Greene, Kaku etc) were unheard of. Yet somewhere in the labyrinthine corridors of my mind, a seed started to grow.

Over the years that seed grew into… a HUGE problem.

I wanted to write! Okay.

I wanted to write Thrillers! Fine.

I also had this crazy idea of writing a thriller about Quantum Mechanics!!!


I’m sure you can see the dangers. Readers do not want a textbook; they want something that will entertain above all, something that will get them hooked and turning pages like there was no tomorrow. Physics? A branch of physics that is so difficult to understand??? Have I finally flipped?

The answer to the last question is… Yes, but friends have known this for some years now.

Friends also know that I love a challenge – the harder it is, the more I enjoy solving it.

It took me a while, and three years of back-burner work, but the latest thriller I place before the reading public is about Quantum Mechanics… but don’t worry: first and foremost it’s a fast-paced thriller with enough twists and turns to keep you on your toes as you see which is the mightiest: the pen or the sword gun!

No, the novel is NOT Science Fiction.
Quantum Mechanics, or ‘spooky action at a distance’ as Einstein once referred to one aspect of it, is just a small part of the tale: the part where I stretch science a little to make my trademark ‘Suspense Thrillers with a touch of Strange’ novels. This one will not disappoint habitual fans of my books, and you never know, even Michio Kaku or Brian Cox might like it too!

Just in case either decides to pick up a copy>>>


Do some EXTREME Reading.

Pick up a copy today…

…read it, then try out the Competition on my web: you never know, YOU could be in the next one!

Oh… in case I didn't mention it, please don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon – they are worth their weight in gold for a writer!

And if you don’t…. well, I have this package, you see…

Outsourced  Click for YOUR Amazon Link


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Guest: Owen Jones

From faraway shores, my Guest this week talks about how he took his first steps on this crazy road to become a writer. Ladies and Gentlemen...

Owen Jones

Getting Started In Writing

Readers, aspiring writers and even practiced novelists often like to know how someone started to put pen to paper, which is what I still do by the way. I still write all my work in rough, before typing it up into neat onto the computer.

I started seeing things that I thought would make good stories about forty years ago, but I did nothing about them, even though I had studied Russian at university and so was used to writing all sorts of pieces from simple exercises to dissertations.

Amazon Link
However, a novel, me? Never!

I had had to read lots, and always had for school, and I did enjoy reading but I didn't know any writers and we certainly didn't have any in our family that I knew of.

If you consider that the average novel nowadays could be 90,000 words or more (although books in those days did seem a lot thinner) and I was used to writing essays of 1,000 to 3,000 words, then writing a book was never an option for me. I found my first 10,000 word dissertation so scary!

Anyway, one day, thirty years on, while I was between jobs, a good friend invited me to join him on holiday for a month in Thailand, so I went.

It was ten years ago to the day as I write this piece.

On that first evening, on a double date, I met a girl, whom I later married. It was easier for me to move to Thailand than it was to get her a settlement visa in the UK, but that meant that I would have to work here too, although there was nothing I was qualified to do and a work visa would not have been easy anyway.

Teaching English was certainly not for me either, because I don’t have the sort of patience required, although I am a patient man, I think.
I was already using the Internet a lot, so I started creating web sites. It got to the point where I had 140 of them and I was doing well, but writing content to keep that amount of sites fresh was a nightmare.

One year, I wrote 1,200,000 words' worth of 500-word articles for my web sites!

It crossed my mind that that was actually enough to write a dozen novels, so I revived an idea for a book that I had had five years before and wrote 'Behind The Smile'.

A lovely woman won a copy of that first book in the only competition I have ever put it into. She liked it and wrote a smashing review, which she put on Amazon (yes, it is still there). It was great to know that someone had actually enjoyed what I had written!

That novel proved quite popular and four people asked for a sequel. When Google closed my Adsense account a year later, they cut off my main source of income too, so all I was left with was writing books and promoting them.

After that first book, I went back to Wales for Christmas, and my stepmother said rather nastily: 'I suppose writing is a skill that can be learned with practice...'. (Six months later, she disowned me 'and all that that entails', although she may have had other reasons too). Nevertheless, my friends and brothers loved 'Behind The Smile', now called 'Daddy's Hobby' and some old friends said that they had been telling me since we had left school that I ought to have been writing for years.

Amazon Link
I don't remember anyone ever having said that, but as I dwell upon it now for the purpose of this article, two years later, perhaps they did, but I didn't want to hear them because I was intimidated by the idea.

I returned to Thailand and another four people asked me for a sequel, so I wrote one and then a third to make a trilogy. (I am writing a fourth and planning a fifth for this year). I have now written twenty-three books and organised all the articles from my defunct web sites into a hundred ‘teach yourself’ booklets.

So, the point of this story?

It is that you should listen to your friends, but not necessarily your family :-), when they have your best interests at heart. You just have to go for it. If you feel awkward expressing your opinions in public and offering them up for public scrutiny and criticism, start with a blog, but write and publish posts regularly and often.

The best piece of advice I have ever had on writing was the daily quotation from the bottom of a desk diary. It said:

‘If you want to be a writer, write for at least ten minutes a day'.

I have never managed it, because once I start writing, I cannot stop and the hours fly past.

One last thing though, as cruel as my stepmother's comment was, it was true - you can and do get better at writing by writing. So, if you want to be a better writer, keep writing! Reading helps a lot too.

Good luck in your endeavours,
and if you want to contact me, please do.

PS: the girl on the cover of Behind The Smile, is Chalita, my stepdaughter.

When Owen is not writing novels in exotic lands, he can be contacted here:







Lulu Spotlight:

Thank you, Owen, for an interesting insight into how someone can take those first steps toward becoming an author.
Eric @

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book Genres for Readers - or how I learnt to love Frozen Algae!

WARNING: Do not read unless you have already eaten!

Forget what you ever thought you knew about books.


Because YOU don’t decide what you read… Empirical Science does!

A sweeping statement, perhaps… or is it?

Let’s examine one of the most frustrating problems an author can face in today’s writing paradigm. And before I continue, I should make clear I’m not talking just about Traditional Publishing.

Now IMAGINE for a moment you find yourself in a supermarket; we’ve all been there, right. You entered without any clear idea of what you were going to buy; no shopping list clutched in your hand to direct your paces. All you want is something for Dinner; something, a capricious whim, to tantalize your taste buds at the end of a long day. You’ve worked hard, so you deserve a prize. It’s all about seeing something that creates that ‘Oh Yeah!’ reaction. Are you there in the supermarket? Good.

Chicken - FriedNow see your feet taking you down aisle after aisle, seeking that elusive culinary delight. Got it?

Suddenly you find yourself in unknown territory.

Before you is a freezer; shelves laden with tempting promise. You spy an unmarked box, covered with a thin white frost hinting that’s it’s been waiting just for you; the answer to your gastronomic goal. The image on the box looks attractive; lots of calid colours: fiery red, toasty orange. Exactly what you’ve been looking for, right?

You tip the trophy into your trolley and head for checkout – it’s going to be a great evening!

This is where things then go sideways!

Upon reaching home you race into the kitchen, extracting the bounty from the box, preparing to lavish a little TLC on yourself.

WHAT! What’s this?

Chicken - DrumstickInstead of the promised Chicken Wings in Spicy Tex-Mex Salsa the shelf label promoted, you have a chunk of frozen algae. Could this be some new-fangled fashion from Asian shores?

Or is it something far more sinister?

Yes, you have become another victim of  Empirical Science!

At this point, either you have stopped reading to visit your own kitchen, or you are wondering what the Hell I’m rabbiting on about.

So perhaps a little more explanation is called for…

Empirical Science is all about testing stuff independently and using reproducible methods to define exactly what it is. Useful right? Its essence is really quite simple: nothing officially exists until it’s been labelled!

So, am I talking about a mislabelling of your Chicken Wing delight here?

No. The sad truth is that the supermarket has been taken over by the publishing industry.

Now you are really puzzled, right?

When we scribblers finish a tome, still infused with that cuddly sensation of achievement that magically manifests, we head over to the Internet to tell the World about our latest creation. We need to upload our creative content to Amazon etc., and, of course list it everywhere we can think of, especially Goodreads, Shelfari etc. so our potential reader audience can find it. But what is this? We, the people with the most intimate contact with our creation, don’t get to accurately describe it, to place it on the shelf where it belongs. No. We are made to force it into a pre-labelled existence defined by… who knows?

Again, a picture is worth a thousand words, so they say, so let me draw one for you.

I will use Amazon purely as an example; the problem persists EVERYWHERE!

First step: log on to KDP and enter the details of my new title. Now near the bottom of the page, the trap awaits. It’s a two-pronged beastie, cleverly designed to play with your mind, and that of your readers too.

I wrote the book; spent months researching, planning, plotting, typing, rewriting, editing, more rewriting… you get the picture. So you would think, at this juncture, filling in a few boxes on a form would be child’s play, right?

Someone find me a child. I’ve apparently committed a cardinal sin! I’ve written a novel, nay, a lot of novels, that DON’T fit in to the pre-labelled slots available!

A practical example to illustrate my dilemma: A few months ago I completed book 3 of my series ‘the CULL’. At that moment I was feeling great. It had been a challenge: three full-length, fast-paced tales filled with the feats of fantastic characters. Lots of F’s, you’ll note – I added one more when I tried to fit my novel into the available categories.

You see, dear fellow scribe or attentive reader, my sin was to do something different! In short, I created.

I wrote a series of books which introduce you to events in the lives of two female Federal Agents. (That must be the CRIME category, right?) They work for a covert unit of Homeland Security. (Oh, hang on a minute, that could be ESPIONAGE. No problem, I get to list the books in two categories, so CRIME and ESPIONAGE). They find themselves initially chasing a Serial Killer, (SUSPENSE?) but the tale quickly takes an unexpected twist as a far-ranging conspiracy is revealed. (THRILLER territory?) Then it goes international in a big way, with protagonists and antagonists battling it out over several continents. (EPIC, anyone? Or is this a TRAVELOGUE รก la Dan Brown? If you’ve read his latest, you’ll know what I mean.)

Oh! Did I mention there are vampires?

Whoops! That’s torn it! PARANORMAL, you cry, for all you’re worth.

Yeah, I know they’re not your run-of-the-mill vampires; not shiny or romantic at all. Nor are they angst-filled teenagers.

Up until I introduced THAT word, I was clearly heading in the SUSPENSE THRILLER direction. So what else is in the books? Well, the protagonists use computers, the latest in surveillance techniques and there are guns, explosions, and gadgets galore. Wait, it’s a TECHNO-THRILLER!

…and the story of the antagonists has its origins centuries ago. HISTORICAL! …must be HISTORICAL, you say.

…and there’s quite a bit about genetics…  MEDICAL!

So what do we have so far?


Bending over backwards
But they don’t have a box for that!

I’ll have to settle for Thriller – Suspense.

I can’t even mention PARANORMAL because that defines something else. If you want to cite your work as PARANORMAL (for the vampires, even if they are nothing like the aforementioned shiny teenagers, just in case someone has lost the track of my ramblings) then your book can only be listed as FANTASY – PARANORMAL, or worse, JUVENILE FICTION – PARANORMAL. No dragons, sword-wielding knights, fairies, elves, gnomes… or teenagers in sight I’m afraid, so if I use either of those categories I will be MISLEADING the potential reader.

So, it all boils down to a choice:

I can choose to either MISLEAD the reader or MISREPRESENT my novels!

Empirical Science, you see. If I don’t choose one of those, by definition, my book doesn’t exist!

Dammit! We’re CREATIVES! We create; we are original; we generate new ideas.

(Now I’m apologizing for being a fiction writer! Wonder if Bram Stoker had this problem?)

So what’s my conclusion?

Simple, really: Forget science!

What’s the solution?

How about a series of boxes that writers can tick (say up to ten to avoid abuse) where we can more accurately describe our work. Easy, right?

Now, frozen algae, anyone?

So, I throw out a CHALLENGE to my fellow authors:

Why don't you help readers find your books by tweeting about them using the classification system I suggested (Not more than 10 categories, remember).

These are mine: 
(Amazon Links & Extracts on my website: )

That's a lot clearer, isn't it?

Now, about that Frozen Algae...

Oh, in case you are wondering...
NORMAL (blog) SERVICE will be resumed next week with a NEW INTERNATIONAL GUEST! Who could it be?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Interrogating a suspect...

I stood outside the Interview Room, collecting my thoughts. This was going to be a tough one. The guy on the other side of the table knew how to handle what was coming far better than I did. He was an old hand at this; he could run rings around me if he wanted. I would need my wits about me if I was to obtain the answers I needed for my investigation.
With trepidation I grabbed the door handle and twisted.
He was already sitting, waiting; a smile playing over his face.
I swallowed hard, and sat opposite. I hoped he didn’t pick up on my nervousness.
I switched on the tape recorder, stated the date and time for the record, and shuffled the notes before me. There was no turning back.

“Crime Thriller writer Andy Laker, we’ve brought you here today to help us with our enquiries. Before we get to specific questions, tell us a little about yourself.” [Let him speak first while I try to calm down.]

Andy Laker: “I’m usually a private kind of bloke, but you look nervous, so I’ll humour you. I’m a family man, always have been. I love my home comforts, so it may surprise you that I left home at 16 to join the Royal Navy and travel the world. After I got married and the kids came along it got harder to go away, so I had a change of uniform. I joined the police service and had 25 years of good and bad times and met some interesting characters. After 25 years I was medically retired and that was quite a culture shock, because I’d always been an active person until Multiple Sclerosis put a stop to it all. I can’t go anywhere now unless it’s in this wheelchair, but hey, these things happen and we have to make the most of them. I decided if I can no longer do what I’m good at, at least I can write about it. I’ve always known there was a book or two in me and now fate has given me the opportunity to bring them out. You’re sweating. Do I intimidate you?”

I chose to ignore his attempt to control the interview and ploughed ahead.

“I recently read ‘Time to Think’, your debut novel, and was impressed by the authenticity of the characters. How many of them are based on real villains and cops?”

Andy: “If I was to analyse them I dare say I’d find elements of real people, but I didn’t ever intentionally base a character on a real life person. Initially they’re all plot driven. Whenever I need a character to play a specific part I create someone suitable. Once they are formed in my head, I can visualise them and it’s then a process of writing what I see. I might make an exception with you in my next book though.”

“The story you told: is it based on real cases?” [Short, sharp, incisive… I hope.]

Andy: “Again, not intentionally. Some of the anecdotes are based on experience, but I always think it’s better to stay in the world of fiction. That way no one can recognise themselves. Once or twice I’ve had people say they know a character was based on them, but they’re wrong. At least it shows they can visualise the characters from my description and that’s always been my goal.”

“I understand you were on the Force, yet your description of prison life and how Jason Mayfield, your protagonist, a copper behind bars, survives was chillingly convincing. How did you achieve this?” [Let’s see if he implicates himself…]

Andy: “I’ve visited many prisons and spoken with plenty of people from both sides of the bars. As I say, once the character is created I can visualise them and their environment. ‘Time to Think’ isn’t autobiographical if that’s what you’re getting at. If I’ve ever done anything wrong, I wasn’t caught and no, I’m not going to confide in you.”

“How do you, as a Crime and Mystery novelist, develop your stories?” [I wonder if he’s got an inside source.]

Andy: “In my later career I spent a lot of time de-briefing officers. Contrary to what many people believe, they’re not robots. They have feelings and are often affected by what they see. I made it my duty to get to them as soon as possible after an event to make sure they were okay and give them a shoulder to cry on or to swear at. It’s touch- feely I know, but so much better than having a ticking time bomb on your hands. As a result I know how things can and do progress. When I’m writing I do a walk through in my head, applying different scenarios to see if a plot line is realistic or full of holes. If something doesn’t work, I change it to something that does. In that sense it’s quite a clinical process, really. The art is not letting it come across as such in the final draft.”

“Can you tell me where we can find ‘Time to Think’?” [We need as much evidence as we can get with this one.]

Andy: “Initially I tried to get publishers interested, but as any aspiring writer will tell you, it’s not an easy thing to do. I stopped trying when I read a quote that said “There’s only two people’s opinions that matter with regards to a book. The author’s and the readers’.” I firmly believe that to be true and immediately stopped bothering with anonymous publishers who can make or break a book in an instant, with no regard to the pains the author has gone through. From there I decided to publish with Amazon’s KDP site (Kindle Direct Publishing). I appreciate that restricts my audience to anyone who owns a Kindle or has a free Kindle App, but they are a growing breed. Anyone wishing to read my book can search for the title ‘Time to Think’ or author Andy Laker on Amazon. Alternatively they can follow this link

“Will there be a continuation of Jason Mayfield’s story and what can we expect?” [We need to know what he’s planning…]

Andy: “Yes definitely. I always intended to complete a trilogy. Book number two in the series is nearly finished and will be published on KDP in the spring of 2015. I’ve already got a plot for book three in my head and I’ll start that as soon as number two is published. Many of the characters from ‘Time to Think’ will reappear and a few will feature more prominently. They will be two completely new stories, but there will be a through line linking the series. I can’t give too much away at this time, but I can promise you the follow up books will be every bit as good as ‘Time to Think’.”

“Thank you for coming in today, Mr. Laker. We’ll be in touch if we need any more answers.” I declared the interview over, stated the time again and switched off the recorder. That went well, I thought.

Time to Think, a superb, gritty Crime Thriller from the pen of Andy Laker can be found in the Evidence Room or on Amazon here, if you can't wait for the case to come before the judge. If you want to check out Andy Laker's alibi, he claims he was here:

Help us with the Investigation: follow Andy Laker here:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My Guest: Katie Lindon

My Guest this week is not a writer, at least not of books, though she's a dab hand with computer code. That may surprise regular followers of this blog. What will surprise you even more is knowing she is an ex-NSA super-spy, with a wealth of covert and clandestine missions in her file. Let's see if we can't prize out a detail or two. Ladies and Gentlemen...

My friend and fellow thriller writer Seumas Gallacher has tagged me in a little game called 

Meet My Main Character
Blog Tour

The Rules are simple...
…the taggee must write a post answering the same seven questions about their Main Character… then the taggee becomes the tagger and chooses five other authors… sort of like a chain letter with all the potential to become a global virus.

Now with several suspense thrillers already penned and a plethora of personas to chose from, who should be subjected to the interrogation is an interesting dilema.

My readers are particularly enamoured of the dynamic I created between two that share main billing in the series of novels that form 'the CULL'. Special Agent Amy Bree, the ex-FBI agent who is the younger half of the duo, has already been subjected to an uncomfortable interview; an experience she didn't enjoy (you can read that here: ) so it seems only fair her enigmatic partner should be placed in the spotlight this time.

…now meet my main character.

1. Tell us a bit about your main character? Is she fictional or a historic person?

Katie Lindon is a fictitious character, firmly based upon others who have worked in the clandestine world of cyber-intelligence and who have had the misfortune to cross my path at some point. Her name, however, originated from a request by a cousin of mine to feature her 12-year-old daughter in one of my books. Katie, my Katie that is, is a little older though, which could explain why the younger version is still not speaking to me.

When we meet Katie Lindon she has just left the Tailored Access Operations unit at the National Security Agency for a job with a strange outfit called Office 312, a covert operation within Homeland Security reporting directly to the Vice President, although it's a Vatican priest who appears to be running the show. Why has Katie given up her long career in intelligence for this peculiar adventure? Well, as she nears her sixty-second birthday, she's thinking about retirement; the chance to develop her pet project, and make some serious retirement cash selling it to the Intelligence community, is foremost in her mind. She's been an active field agent on many a dangerous assignment, especially in the 'bad old days' when to access an enemy's computer, you had to be in the same room with it. Despite still possessing a sharp mind, keen instincts, an abrasive no-nonsense attitude and an agility that defies her age, she has been relegated to a windowless room at the Fort Meade headquarters of the NSA for the last few years.

Now she finds herself partnered with a disgraced ex-FBI agent with almost no field experience and tasked to hunt down a serial killer.

Yet not only is everything very distinct from how it initially appears, what will happen to her, and her new partner, will radically change them and the way they view the world.

2. When and where are the stories set?

The tale kicks off in Washington DC in the present day, but quickly takes the protagonists to Houston and Chicago, then onward to Europe (Austria, the United Kingdom, and Slovenia), then back to the States (for Amy) while Katie is off to Bolivia. The first three books climax with a return to the Eternal City of Rome, Italy. They get around, and having access to a private jet helps.

3. What should we know about her?

Katie was born in the UK, the daughter of the then Head of the London CIA station. Her mother was English and they lived in the UK for the first 13 years of her life. Curiously, despite returning to the States, Katie has retained her British accent... and a preference for tea. She is an expert with a computer and has developed her own Artificial Intelligence surveillance system called SANTA. Many people refer to her as Mrs. Lindon, which prompts the inevitable question about a Mr. Lindon, but it's not until book 3 of the series that we learn about her other half.

Her skills are not limited to computers, however; she possesses the full range of abilities of any top covert agent, everything from martial arts, through weaponry to thinking on her feet while under extreme pressure. When we meet her, she's a 'kickass granny' but events ramp this up to an awesome new level, unsuspected by her or her partner when they start out on their quest.

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

The series is primarily a fast-paced tale that spans three continents (so far) and is reminiscent of the level of action of '24' or the Bourne movies, yet there are hidden depths. The overall theme is the effect of change upon individuals and society; how we handle it, how we accept or reject it. In the climatic scene in book 1, Katie undergoes an experience unlike any she has encountered before; something that will mark her life for ever. How she reacts to this, how her friend and colleague responds also, is the underlying subject of books 2 and 3.

5. What is her personal goal?

All she wanted was to make some money and be able to travel to some of the places her missions have taken her during her career, but this time as a tourist. A simple-enough goal, one that prompts her acceptance of this one last job-change. Yet matters go terribly wrong and her objective is forgotten in the light of the new challenges she faces. To say more would mean major spoilers, so, dear reader, you'll have to read the first book to find out what put her on this new path and how she handles it.

6. What are the titles of your novels, and can we read more about them?

Currently there are three full-length novels in the series:

And these are the global Amazon links where you can find them:

the CULL book 1 – Bloodline
the CULL book 2 - Bloodstone
the CULL book 3 – Blood Feud

All three books can also be obtained in one download here:
the CULL books 1-3 - Blood Box box set
7. When can we expect the next book to be published?

The fourth book in the series, 'the CULL - Blood Demon' has been announced and will be available for Christmas 2014. 

There are some MAJOR surprises lined up for this one!

Mysteries are revealed...

...some characters are not who they seem to be...

...and the tale goes ballistic! Hang on to your seats!

And now, for the next victims…

1.  Gritty Crime Thriller author, and one of the most admirable people I know, Andy Laker 
2.  Blogger of the Year and author Scarlett Flame
3.  Fantasy novelist and part-time Dragon, Paul Cude
4.  Conspiracy author mate Laurence O'Bryan
5.  Fellow mystery thriller writer Jan Ryder

…many thanks to Suemas Gallacher, a.k.a. That Man!, for press-ganging me aboard the Tour… check out his blog (Scottish-English dictionary required). 

Eric @