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Adventures in Writing – my Western, part one.

Writing during the summer months usually finds me accelerating my output, embarking on new projects, finishing off old ones.

This year is no different, despite soaring temperatures causing the entire process to be an arduous one!

With July barely half way through, I’ve completed the final edits of my novella ‘Fallen Past’, and the first adaptation for a television serial of my book ‘Roadkill’. With both of these out of the way, I can put my energy into writing biographies for famous Vikings, which I’ve been invited to do for an artist friend of mine (more news of that when it is done) and starting a new novel, in a genre I have always wanted to try.

The Western!

I reckon (notice the easy way in which I slip into Western-like parlance!) I should keep a log of my progress, so here it is.

DAY ONE

Writing first few chapters. In a deadbeat town in the Utah of the 1850s, a retired army general is embroiled in a bank robbery and is shot. As he lies bleeding, his daughter is abducted. US Marshalls, summoned to find the daughter as our good general is a hero of the Mexican War, are waylaid and killed, possibly by Indians. The Pinkerton Detective Agency over in Illinois, charged with finding the missing girl, send Officer Simms  out across the Territory to find her. Simms knows the general, served with him in the War. He’s the perfect choice. He’s also a killer, which might help.

But he’s travelling to a violent, unpredictable land. An added terror is the land is gripped by the worst drought in living memory. This does nothing to lighten Simms’s mood. Soon, starving Indians, merciless bounty-hunters and other, even more despicable individuals punctuate his progress. But he can handle it. Simms is tough. The toughest there is. Utah may be about to find itself pitched into all-out war, but none of this matters one jot to Simms. All he cares about is the girl.

But will he find her alive?

Well, okay, I’ve put down 8,000 words so far, which is about a tenth of the way through, which isn’t bad for my first outing. I might have it done in less than two weeks at this rate! More of the same tomorrow, because when a story takes hold, there’s no way I can shrug it off.

I’m not sure if it will be successful. I don’t even know if a publisher will accept it. Westerns aren’t the most popular of genres, but I don’t care. I’m past all that now. I write for myself, what I enjoy. This used to be my benchmark, and so it is again. I’ve discovered in this business, publishers don’t really give a damn. Not many others do either, and I can’t blame them. It is impossible to make yourself known in this business nowadays, so what is the point in killing yourself in trying. That’s my motto now. I write, for me. If someone else likes it, that’s a bonus. The world is awash with books, a lot of them are pure bilge, and authors battle like demented insects around a light bulb, all of them jostling for the best position. I see it and read it all the time; Twitter and Facebook alive with adverts and posts screaming out why you should read such-and-such book. I steer clear of them all. I suspect people do the same with mine, because yes, I do indulge. One of my publishers tells me to, even though it’s all a bunch of crap. Anyway, I digress. This book is going to be great fun. Great fun to write, hopefully to read.

Next time, I’ll detail subsequent chapters.

Stay tuned and thanks for dropping by.

If you are in the least bit curious as to what I do, please visit my website where you can find out a lot more about me, my work and where to buy copies of my book! If you like spies, adventure and Vikings, you’ll like my books. I write thrillers, historical and contemporary ones, and now Westerns! Yeeha!!!

www.stuartgyates.com

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Adventures in Writing…a little taste of ‘Whipped Up’

Hi everyone, and I hope you all have a wonderful 2015!

To start things off, my brand new novel, ‘Whipped Up’ is published on the 5th January, so I thought why not give you a taster. So, here it is, and I hope you enjoy it enjoy to rush out and buy the book. It’s a contemporary thriller, with Paul Chaise back in the UK looking for his girlfriend, Linny. But, as he is Paul Chaise, ex-SBS and trained killer, nothing runs smooth as he becomes embroiled with some very nasty people indeed.

whippedup_cover_big

Amazon tends to post the first couple of chapters, so here is some of the action from later in the book…

‘He drove out of town towards Lowestoft, making a turn down a narrow country lane, signposted for Gisleham. At a quiet, deserted spot he pulled over and got out. He checked nobody was around and opened the boot. The shadow seemed in a bad way, with blood trailing from his nostrils, his face chalk white with purple blotches. Without a pause, Chaise took him by the lapels and heaved him into the road. He draped him over his shoulder, carried him to the other side and propped him up against a solid tree in the middle of a copse. He stepped back to have a good look. The force of the blow to his neck had almost taken the man’s head off and a nasty red welt had developed across his throat. He continued breathing, however, so it did not seem he was about to expire. Reassured, Chaise used his tie to lash the shadow’s hands together, returned to the back seat of the rental and rooted inside. He found the bottle, swished it around. Little more than a mouthful of water left, it would have to be enough. He crossed the road again, unscrewed the cap, and threw the contents into the shadow’s face.

It had minimal effect.

Chaise went down on his haunches and picked up little stones, throwing them one at a time at the unconscious shadow. The first few brought no change, but after a dozen or so well-placed strikes on the man’s forehead, he stirred. He coughed, moaned, shook his head and opened his eyes as a final stone struck him in the cheek. He growled, blinked a few times and realised his hands were tied. After a moment or two of fruitless struggling, he focused in on his assailant, recognised Chaise and fell back against the tree with a loud sigh.

“What’s your name?”

A few laboured breaths, eyes closed, head lolling. “Colin.”

“Colin? Pleased to meet you. I’m Paul, but you know that already.” He dangled the snub-nose from a finger stuck through the trigger guard. “Colin, I’m getting a little sick of being tailed now. I’m tired and I’ve got a lot to do, so I’ll get straight to the point. I want you to tell me who you are and who you work for, or I’ll kill you.” Paul smiled, twirled the snub-nose in best Western-roll fashion and pointed it directly towards Colin. “With your own gun.” ’

‘Whipped Up’ is available for a range of e-readers at Smashwords, and on the Kindle at Amazon.

Thanks for reading.

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Adventures in Writing… a slight deviation from the usual

Hi, I thought this month I’d do something a little different.

You may have followed my tale, of not so many months ago, of the problems I was experiencing with a publisher. The sequel to Burnt Offerings was written, but the publisher decided British writers were not selling in the USA, so ‘goodbye’. Not sure if he’d ever heard of J.K.Rowling, but never mind. Well, to cut a long story short, my other publisher, Rebel-E, who have published my most successful book to date, ‘VARANGIAN’, offered to send it out into the world. ‘Whipped Up’, a contemporary thriller featuring Paul Chaise, who first appeared in Burnt Offerings, will appear sometime this summer/autumn, which is wonderful news for me as I think it’s a good story.

Well, to help you all decide, here is an exceprt. Chapter One. The opening you can read at the end of Burnt Offerings, so here’s what happens next …

.varangian and burnt

CHAPTER ONE

He stood at the top of the aircraft steps and took a moment to look around. The grey sky matched his mood, and the fine drizzle didn’t help either. Not for the first time he wondered about the rightness of his actions. Coming back home. There was Linny, of course. She figured large in the decision. Even more so than the coercion perhaps. Being told what to do was not something that came easily to Paul Chaise.
The air stewardess touched his arm and smiled. She beckoned him to continue; some disgruntled passengers wanted to disembark as quickly as possible. Lost in his thoughts, he hadn’t noticed. He gave a nod of apology and descended. Overhead a plane soared into the sky, all around the noise of jet engines and the smell of kerosene invaded his senses. The steel steps clanged under his shoes, each one sounding like a death knell. Back home. Blighty. He sucked in a breath, hating it as much now as he ever did.
He’d been in the Costa del Sol for a long time, building up a comfortable little niche for himself selling real estate to the ex-pats. He’d done well, managed to earn enough to buy a lovely villa, which Linny loved. Life was good, at first. Everything came tumbling down when he became involved with gangsters and drugs. None of it of his own making, but that didn’t prevent Linny from leaving him.
She was sick of the lies, she’d told him. Sick of the way he kept his past so secret. She’d never understood, how could she? He’d created a protective layer of deceit, and for a few years it had remained intact, with no hint of who he really was.
Nothing about his life as a covert killer in Iraq, the follow-up operations in Bahrain, Kosovo, Pakistan. He couldn’t reveal anything. He’d signed the papers, and the men in grey suits had him under their thumbs.
The shit hit the fan in Spain, when he’d killed one of their own. Since then he had become an undesirable, a threat. They’d recalled him, leaving few options other than to acquiesce. The alternative meant death – his own.
He went through the various exits and down an endless stream of corridors. When he finally arrived at the check-in – or should that be check-out, he wondered – he felt tired and hot. Some idiot had put the heating on.
A smiling security guard in navy blue uniform guided him towards one of the queues. Hundreds of people milled about. Britain, gripped with paranoia over terrorist activity, had up-graded its passport controls. Chaise couldn’t work out whether it had more to do with illegal immigrants rather than bomb threats.
The politicians vied to hit the right nerves; preventing anyone not ‘British’ from trying to enter the country was always worth a few votes. Eastern Europeans in particular blamed for the nation’s ills. Strange how all the hotheads kept quiet when a ‘white Anglo-Saxon’ committed an outrage. None of them grasped the simple truth that good and bad resided in everyone, regardless of colour or creed.
He took a breath, sick to the back teeth of such thoughts. He’d never been able to get inside the heads of racists, nor did he wish to. His own troubles monopolised his time now, chief amongst them being how to get in touch with Linny.
Finally, his turn arrived and he stepped up to the little cubicle. Chaise presented his passport and the customs officer scanned it. She stopped, pulled a face and studied her monitor. He knew what was coming next. He watched her turn to a colleague standing with arms folded some way behind her. She motioned him to approach. An exchange of whispered comments, followed by a quick glance towards Chaise. The colleague stepped away and pulled out his mobile.
Chaise stood and waited, his breathing shallow and controlled. This was what he’d expected, but it irked him nevertheless.
After a short while, two more uniformed men arrived. These were a different species. They were big, serious looking, with automatic rifles strapped across their chests. Another brief exchange and they came up to him, one on either side. “Can you come with us, sir?”
Stupid question. Chaise shrugged, accepting there was little gain in taking the men apart. He nodded to the customs clerk, and went wherever the men with guns wanted to take him.

He didn’t know how long he sat in the tiny, clinically-clean room in which they’d deposited him. Before leaving, they’d taken his watch, trouser belt, wallet and passport. He wore slip-on shoes, otherwise he felt sure they would have taken the laces from them as well. Now, alone, he sat and waited. There was no window, the room claustrophobic, with nothing but a small table and the strip light for company. In the corner, high up, a security camera. A little green light blinked underneath the lens. Did that mean it was operating, or not? Chaise didn’t really care. He closed his eyes and slept.
When the door flew open, he woke with a start, turned around. Two men came in, one of them moving behind the opposite side of the desk. He sat down, dropped a manila file on the top and leaned forward on his knuckles. He didn’t look happy. “My name is Commander Mellor,” he said.
If this revelation was meant to impress Chaise, it failed. He merely gave Mellor a blank stare.
The Commander scowled, somewhat put-out by Chaise’s lack of reaction. “I have a message,” he said. “From London.”
“Where are my things?”
Mellor blinked. “What?”
“My things. My passport, my watch. Why did you take my watch?”
Mellor shook his head. “Didn’t you hear what I said? I have a message for you, from Control.”
A heavy silence descended. Chaise looked from Mellor to the other man and back again. “And?”
“You’re a surly sod,” said the man positioned against the wall. Chaise gauged the distance and knew he could be at his throat before anyone could react fast enough to stop him. He noticed the man had a gun in a hip holster, and he filed it for later. It might be needed.
“Don’t waste your breath, Simms,” said Mellor, his eyes narrow. “Our Mr Chaise doesn’t like authority, do you Mr Chaise?”
“Why don’t you just tell me what the message is, then give me back my things.”
“We keep the passport.”
“Like fuck you do.”
“Listen, Chaise, you’re here on the behest of Her Majesty’s Government. You don’t make the rules, Chaise – we do.”
“So tell me what the rules are.”
“We have a flat for you. Simms here will take you, help you settle in. Someone will be in touch. Until such time, you stay quiet, keep your nose clean. You crossed the line over in sunny Spain, now it’s time for you to toe it.”
“Jesus, where the hell did they find you?”
“I told you, Chaise. I’m a Commander in the Royal Navy. You’d do best to remember that.”
“And you’d do best to remember that I am also a commander … at least I was, last time I checked.”
“London wants you to stay at your flat, keep low. They will want to talk to you about a few things. In particular, why you killed Embleton.”
“He was about to rape my girlfriend.”
“Well, that’s as maybe, but London will need to get it all straight, with no misunderstandings on either side. Until then you do as you’re told.”
“I need to find her. Linny. My girlfriend. She left. That’s the only reason I’m here, not to answer questions or kiss the arse of anyone from Control.” He stood up. “Now, if you’ll give me my passport, I’ll be on my way.”
“Sit down, Chaise,” said Simms, sounding bored. “You heard what the Commander said; you’re coming with me to your new flat.”
“No,” said Chaise and looked deep into Mellor’s eyes. “Tell London that I’ll be in touch, when I’m ready, not before.”
Mellor straightened and tapped his finger on the cover of the manila file. “It says in here you can be difficult.”
“Did it really. Where’s my passport?”
Mellor reached inside his jacket. Chaise spotted the gun.
The passport fell to the desktop. “I’ll do a deal,” said Mellor. “You can keep the passport, if you go to the flat.”
“I’m going up to Liverpool,” Paul said quietly. “Find Linny.”
“London won’t allow that.”
“London can kiss my arse.”
Simms moved, reached for the gun at his hip. He probably thought it would intimidate Chaise, cause him to rethink his approach, but he thought wrong.
The elbow hit Simms under the chin, snapping his head back, stunning him. In one easy movement, Chaise twisted behind him, locking Simms’ arm, wrenched the gun free, and pointed it directly at Mellor, who sat and gaped, everything happening too fast for him to react.
“Now,” said Chaise, applying more pressure on Simms’ wrist. The man squealed, Mellor closed his eyes and sighed. “I want you to put all my things on the table, then take off your trousers and shoes, whilst Mr Simms and I go for a little drive.”
“You’re being bloody stupid, Chaise.”
“It’s in my nature. So is killing people who don’t do what I ask.”
It only took a few moments for Mellor to comply. With his few belongings secured, Chaise left the airport with Simms. In one hand he held his suitcase and Mellor’s bundled up clothes, in the other the trim Walther automatic relieved from Simms. Simms himself didn’t appear too happy and spent most of the stroll across the car park rubbing his swollen looking wrist.
When they reached the car, Simms handed over the keys and Chaise hit him very hard in the solar plexus. The man folded and fell to his knees, groaning loudly. Chaise pushed him aside, opened the car door, threw his bag in the rear seat and slid in behind the wheel.
On the way out, he saw Simms in the rear-view mirror, still down on his knees, taking time to recover. For a moment, Chaise thought that perhaps he should have killed him. The man would almost certainly come looking for him. But it had been a bad start to the day. Chaise didn’t really want it to become so much worse.

Unfortunately, as Mellor later discovered when he phoned in to Control to tell them what had happened, it already had.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this opening chapter. Keep an eye out for when the book is released, which shouldn’t be too long I hope. But the publishing world is slow, slow, slow, so we all have to be patient. Keep visiting my webpage, http://www.stuartgyates.com where I shall post more information.

Thanks for dropping by and…keep reading!

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