Happy (belated) Halloween from Rumer

Hey everybody! It’s been exactly a week since Vicious Rumer hit 100% funding on Unbound. I still can’t quite believe I get to write those words. This book has been skulking in the shadows for over a year, so to know that it’s going to be published – and not only published but read by lovely people like you who pre-ordered a copy – is both surreal and unbelievably exciting. So thank you. This only happened because of you. I owe you all alcohol and hugs.

So what’s next? Well, in the past week I’ve been paired up with my Unbound editor (hi Craig!), chatted to him all about Rumer (I’ll admit, the phone call made me shake), and received his feedback on the manuscript (the man’s a power-reader).

As I write this, I’ve just made a start on his edits. I’m refining Rumer’s story to make it as scary, funny and thrilling as possible. I’ll admit, I’ve not read the manuscript in months, and it’s fun getting back into Rumer’s head (although there’s some pretty odd stuff in there). After I’ve made my edits, Craig will take another look at the manuscript before it goes through some heavy duty proofing – the book equivalent of a shave and a haircut.

The timeline on the project remains a bit of a secret, but there’s every chance that this time next year you’ll have a copy of Vicious Rumer in your hands.

If you can’t wait that long for some creepy fiction, here’s a belated Halloween treat – you can read my short story Dead Air for FREE when you sign up to my mailing list at http://joshuawinning.com. (I promise I won’t spam your inbox to oblivion. In fact, you’ll only hear from me when there’s big news.)

Meanwhile, happy belated Halloween from me and Rumer, and thanks again for going on this weird and exciting journey with us.

Josh x

08.02.18: Amended to change the title of the book to Vicious Rumer, woo!

Killing Rumer update: blogs! blogs everywhere!

Hey all! Thought it was probably time I wrote another update on the Killing Rumer campaign at Unbound because (huzzah!) we’ve hit the two thirds mark! Thanks so much to the 146 people who have supported Killing Rumer over the past month, and continue to be calm, kind voices in the dark wilderness of crowdfunding. You’re amazing. I owe you all hugs and pubs.

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Innway, yes, we’re at 66%! We’re 44 days in to the campaign, which means I have 46 more days to hit 100%. Can you help? Why, thanks for asking! If you’re active on Facebook and Twitter, why not share some of the blogs that I’ve been squirrelling away at?

But wait, there are other things you can do to help get Killing Rumer in print and put a giant goofy smile on my face:

  • Share share share! If you have the time to email or message one person who likes quirky crime thrillers and kick-ass heroines to ask them to support the book, that would help HUGELY. One-on-one messages are the best way to tell people about the campaign, and be sure to include this link: https://unbound.com/books/killing-rumer
  • Tweet/Facebook/socialise to your heart’s content. Use the hashtag #KillingRumer and @ any of your book-loving buds. If you can share this banner, you might catch a few eyes (in a non-violent way): https://www.dropbox.com/s/dkoo0uxa3fldugq/Logo.gif?dl=0
  • Upgrade your pledge. If you ordered the ebook but you’ve decided you really want a paperback as well, that doesn’t mean pledging twice. To upgrade your pledge, simply click on the new reward you want, and rather than being charged twice, you’ll only pay the difference for the new pledge: https://unbound.com/books/killing-rumer

Oh yeah, did I mention I WAS IN THE PAPER! There’s my mug there in the Bury Free Press, looking a bit stern and stuff, but secretly smiling on the inside.

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Thanks again for your support. Until next time.

Support Killing Rumer by pre-ordering your copy of the book here!

Top 10 tips for crime thriller writers

FF 1As part of my blog tour to promote my new book, Vicious Rumer, which is available from Unbound here, I came up with 10 essentials for crime writers over at Female First. Check out their website here and read on below for my tips…

Decide what sort of crime thriller you want to write. It sounds straightforward, but genre can be flexible like plasticine; and that’s especially true for the crime genre. Are you writing a murder mystery? A gangster thriller? A heist story? A serial killer potboiler? A mixture of all four?! Knowing what sort of thriller you’re writing enables you to play around with tropes and shape something genuinely surprising.

Don’t JUST make it about crime. Sure, crime is an integral part of the plot, but the best thrillers have a lot more going on than that. Gone Girl is about mistrust and marital crisis. Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None is about injustice and vengeance. Aside from a juicy crime plot, what do you really want to write about?

What’s your MacGuffin? That term was coined by screenwriter Angus MacPhail to describe an object or goal that drives the plot. In The Maltese Falcon, the MacGuffin is the titular priceless artefact. In my book, Killing Rumer, the MacGuffin is an occult relic called the Crook Spear; but what is it and why does everybody want it? Those questions keep the action clipping along.

Write what scares you. Clearly, a thriller is nothing without thrills, so think about the things that get your heart racing. If you suffer from claustrophobia, trap your character in a coffin. If you’re scared of the dark, smash all the lightbulbs in your character’s apartment. By writing something that puts you on edge, you’re likely to illicit a similar response from your readers.

Who’s your hero and what drives them? Lisbeth Salander. Sam Spade. Clarice Starling. The crime genre is crammed with memorably flawed and fascinating heroes. What makes yours unique? Think about what shaped your character. Is she headstrong because she’s always had to fend for herself? Is he emotional because he’s lost so much? What is unique about your hero’s reaction to the plot’s sinister events and why are they so determined to uncover the truth?

Spend time brainstorming the title. An eye-catching title is the first battle for any book. Study the titles of books you love and ask why they work. For my book, I brainstormed a dozen different titles before I settled on Killing Rumer, which hopefully asks a question readers want to uncover the answer to. Then consider potential taglines: a title and a tagline should shake hands with each other. Chris Carter’s recent book, The Caller, played with a clever pun: Your life is on the line. If puns aren’t your thing, perhaps there’s a quote in your book you can use.

How will technology factor into the story? In a world of iPhones, CCTV, dictaphones and countless other technological doohickies, how is your story affected by modern life? How does technology limit or enable your character’s actions? Of course, you could eradicate that problem by writing a historical thriller instead, but that could open a whole new can of worms…

Don’t just read crime thrillers. Draw from everything and everywhere. Inspiration often comes from surprising places, so while it’s good to get a sense of genre by reading books similar to the one you’re writing, be sure to read around. Watch TV and movies. Read comics. Learn how to write different types of people and study why a story does or doesn’t work.

Speaking of, what makes your story different? This is particularly important when it comes to selling your book, whether that’s to a publisher like Unbound or to a potential agent. What’s the hook? Why should people shell out for it? What’s the inherent value of your story? If you’re able to pinpoint exactly what makes your story unique (its USP: Unique Selling Point), that’ll make talking about it to other people a lot easier.

Have fun! This crime stuff can get pretty dark, so don’t forget to bring a little levity to proceedings. Even The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo threw in a few snippy one-liners to relieve the tension, and lightening the mood in places can actually have the added effect of making the dark stuff more impactful. Frollo’s line in The Hunchback Of Notre Dame is especially apt: “Wait between the lashes. Otherwise the old sting will dull him to the new.”

 

Killing Rumer: we’re a month in!

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Hey everybody! How was your summer?! Over here at Camp Killing Rumer it’s been a bit of a whirlwind. The campaign to get the book funded launched on 1 August, and since then loads has happened. You lovely people pledged your support in huge numbers – as it stands, the campaign’s at 59% funded with 128 (I must say, rather beautiful) readers having contributed to Rumer’s story.

To all of you I can only say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. This character means so much to me, and you’re bringing Killing Rumer closer and closer to being an Actual Genuine Book. This is the stuff dreams are made of.

Had a busy month? Here are some things you may have missed…

  • The first review of Killing Rumer went live! The lovely Lynn at Book Reviews By Lynn got a very sneaky early review copy of the book, and her glowing review is up over here. In short, she said: Joshua Winning has written an intriguing crime thriller with a kick-ass heroine. I love his fast paced writing style, and the story flowed beautifully. He is one of only a handful of male authors who I have added to my favourite authors list and I can’t wait to see what he will come up with in the future.
  • Rumer joined Twitter! You can follow her here.
  • We have postcards now! You can get your hands on an extra special set of postcards (designed by the brilliant Louise Brock) when you select the ‘Awesome Extras’ pledge. (Already pledged but want the postcards? You can upgrade your pledge by logging in, at no extra cost.)
  • A few new pledge levels have been released! ‘Be Part Of The Story!’ gives you the option of having a character named after you. And with the ‘Superfan Special Collectable’, you can own a signed copy of my very first draft of Killing Rumer, complete with editorial scribbles (ooo, hello behind the scenes jiggery pokery).
  • I blogged! I wrote about the 5 women who inspired Killing RumerCheck it out over here. I also revealed a little bit about why I wrote the book in the first place – take a peek here.

There are other exciting things in the works, including a series of guest blogs around the internet, all to help get Rumer’s name out there.

So yes, you’ve all been fantastically supportive over the past month, and I’m so, so grateful. If you want to help even more, please do share this link with your book-loving friends and family members: http://unbound.com/books/killing-rumer Why not chuck them an email today?

Here’s to hitting 60% and beyond!

Pre-order your copy of Killing Rumer here!