Sad News

IMG-20131119-WA0000Dear friends and followers of Richard, I’m afraid Richard died on the 19th November of complications after an operation for cancer. I’ll post something shortly when we know the funeral arrangements.

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Where does the time go?

Two years ago I entered the first few thousand words of BOONIE for the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices competition. For the uninitiated, this is a comp for the unpublished and unagented (dreadful word!) writer. Now, the SCWBI UV competition has a pretty impressive record. As I write I believe 22 of the 36 writers featured in the anthologies have been published or are contracted to be so and quite a few more have agents beavering away on their behalf.

Now, I’d been writing for  a good many years. I’d had some kind comments, even once had an agent but never had any luck with mainstream publishers. What made me enter UV2012 apart from their impressive success rate was that I had been more successful with competitions than I ever had been with regular submissions. I had actually won a couple of comps and been long and shortlisted many times so felt this was a luckier route for me.

So, I polished up the beginning of BOONIE, entered UV2012 in June 2011 and pretty much forgot about it. Then, in the September I received an email telling me I’d been long listed. A quick visit to the SCBWI website and there was my name nestling in the middle of the lucky 24. Quite pleased with that. Then I forgot again and got on with my writing.

The phone rang in November 2011 and an enthusiastic voice told me I’d been selected to appear in the Undiscovered Voices 2012 anthology and could I come to a meeting with all the other winners in January? Wow! Chuffed or what?

The only snag  was that I was to leave the UK at the end of November to spend a couple of months in the Zimbabwean sunshine. (I know, its tough but somebody has to do it!) SCWBI were really helpful and I joined the meeting via Skype. Pretty exotic stuff!

Things moved on pretty quickly after that. I got back to the UK in February 2012 just in time for the launch party and I was beating off agents and publishers with a stick. Well, not quite perhaps but within two months I had a publishing contract from Hot Key Books and shortly after that signed with Anna Power at the Johnson & Alcock Agency. Thanks to SCWBI I have become a real writer.

And here we are, or at least here I am. BOONIE was published in January 2013 and the paperback is due out in July. As I sit and write every day (OK, nearly every day) I can look up at my bookshelves and there, nestling between Daniel Mason’s The Piano Tuner and my collection of John Master’s Raj books is a book by…well…me. How good is that?

So, if you believe you are a good writer and only need a lucky break to get your books published, enter Undiscovered Voices 2014. Click and get to it.

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And the winner is…

The great BOONIE giveaway ended last week. Thanks to everybody who entered and sorry there can be only one winner.

And the winner is…long pause with stupid drumbeats like in Strictly…Lucinda Fountain.

Well done Lucinda. If you like to contact me via the website and tell me your home address I will send you a signed First Edition  hardback copy of BOONIE.


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That’s it Folks!

The great BOONIE  book giveaway has now ended. No more entries please.

I will be announcing the winner on Friday 12th March and shortly after that a signed, hardback 1st Edition of BOONIE will be winging its way towards the lucky winner.

Thanks to everyone who entered.

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BOONIE Book Giveaway

Hello again,

Don’t worry those of you with a nervous disposition, no video today. Mum, you’ll have to frighten the children with something else!

Now, what I’m hoping is that apart from you loyal followers there are lots of newcomers visiting my little website today.

You are all very welcome. I guess you are probably here via that kind Mr Ripley at or possibly from Hot Key’s blog at and are looking for the Book Giveaway competition.

Well, here it is.

Win a signed hardback copy now!
Win a signed hardback copy now!

This is all you have to do to win a sparkling new signed first edition hardback of BOONIE.

1. Click on the Books menu tab at the top of the page and choose BOONIE.

2. Click on ‘The Beginning‘ and you will see before your eyes, the opening chapters of BOONIE.

3. Now, answer this simple question: ‘Where was JD’s family shack located?’

4. When you have the answer, fill in the Giveaway Entry form and put in your answer together with your name and email address. (I’ll need that to contact you if you win.)

5. Enter a nice comment where it says Leave a Comment, at the bottom of the home page.

6. You have to live in the UK to enter. Sorry to those who don’t.

That’s it! The Giveaway ends on 31st March 2013. I’ll read every entry and every comment. Whoever gets the question right and whose comment I like best wins the book. Good luck and I hope to be contacting you in early April.

Oh Yes, one more thing. I’ll be keeping everybody up to date on Twitter so if you want to click Follow Richard on Twitter to see whats going on.

Good luck.

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Look! Boonie is nearly here

Available 3rd January, 2013

Sorry for the gap in communications all you faithful followers but I’ve been laid up with a nasty attack of shingles. It’s sort of grown-up chicken pox and take it from me it’s not to be recommended.

In the meantime all those nice people at Hot Key have been working away getting Boonie ready for launch on 3rd January so now it’s up to me do my bit.

You will see there’s a nice picture of the cover here now. I’m really grateful to Jet and his team in the Design Department for that, they’ve done a splendid job don’t you think?

As a special bonus, you will find an extract of the book too. Just click this link this link and you can read the first twenty-seven pages of Boonie absolutely free. Naturally I hope that will whet your appetite and make you want to click onto one of the links, Hot Key, Waterstone’s or Amazon or maybe rush out to your local bookstore and order your very own copy.

One other thing while I’m writing. I plan to continue the story about how I came to write Boonie (see previous blog) any day soon. I’m trying to work out how to do it as a video blog which fills me with terror. So if you want a good laugh, keep checking out the site.

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Why do we do it?

Why do we do what? In my case, why do I write?

The easy and probably the most truthful answer is ‘because I can’. I hope that doesn’t sound too conceited but it’s true, I can write. I don’t always write well, I don’t always write interestingly but I always write. Every day, well, most days, after checking my emails, looking at the online newspaper, seeing if anyone has said anything remotely original on the Leyton Orient forum ( a remote chance but I check anyway) it’s on with the writing laptop and down to it.

OK, so I can string a few words together but how does that become a book?

With Boonie‘s publication date approaching fast, I thought it might be an idea to describe how that particular book happened.

It started with colours. I’d just about given up hope of finding a mainstream publisher for Dodger’s Lot so sat down to write something new and it was colours that came into my head. I wrote about things being the wrong colour. A landscape where the ground wasn’t brown and the sky wasn’t blue, the trees weren’t green. When the Sun wasn’t yellow I wondered why all this was so and the term ‘chemical landscape’ appeared on the page.

Now, I’m not a big environmentalist. Nor do I re-act in the standard knee-jerk way to what is called global warming but I do notice change and I thought it would be interesting to consider what might be the final result, the thing that might actually finish the planet off.  I concluded it would be when the water ran out and that, dear (potential) readers, is how Boonie got started.

A dying planet with things the wrong colour because of pollution and no water. There you go. That’s what writers call Place; where the story happens. After place we need Time, that is when the story happens. I don’t do time much, just try to lay down a few clues in the story and expect the reader to know, work out or invent when the story takes place for them.

OK so I had the Place and an idea or two about Time but I did need a story so that’s what I’ll blog about next.


PS. If WordPress keep trying to change colour to color I’ll scream.

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