Nik Morton: Author Interview and Extract from ‘Prague Papers’

NikI’m delighted to welcome fellow Crooked Cat author,  Nik Morton, to my blog. With fifty years writing experience and many books to his name, Nik is a brilliant writer of pacy, action-packed and fascinatingly researched books. He’s here to discuss his latest spy novel, The Prague Papers. There’s also an extract and links at the end. I’ll hand straight over to Nik who will tell you more…

The Prague Papers transports the reader to a relatively exotic locale and period and is fast-paced and highly visual. Running through the series of Tana Standish chronicles are several leitmotifs: each story begins with a Prologue about the handing over of a secret manuscript; each tale starts with a victim in the sights of a weapon. Astute readers will appreciate that Tana experiences flash-forward images of future threats, which are played out in the respective sequels. Intentionally, the blurring of fact and fiction occurs and each tale ends with a news report, often hidden away in the middle of a newspaper: bland paragraphs that hide a lot of international tension and chicanery. Many of the subsidiary characters appear again in the follow-up, The Tehran Text. The end of each adventure plugs the first chapter of the next; for example, the first chapter of The Khyber Chronicle is already appended to The Tehran Text. Tana’s Khyber mission takes place in Afghanistan in 1979/80 and the follow-up to that is in Argentina/Falklands in 1982); all echoing real events in recent history.

The readership

These Tana Standish books will appeal to readers of Jack Higgins, John Le Carré and Ian Fleming or any reader who enjoys The Manchurian Candidate and Modesty Blaise capers. The books also offer the serious side to Ronson’s The Men Who Stare at Goats.

Prague Papers1 - Copy (2)

What are the main ideas or themes in The Prague Papers?

For years I’d been interested in psychic research and read a great deal about it. When I learned that in the 1970s governments actively pursued this for potential use against enemy states, I linked up the idea with a spy organisation I’d created in the 1960s in my first two (unpublished) novels. The theme is the survival of the human spirit even when oppression is the norm. The heroine epitomises this, from her fifth birthday in 1942 to 1975, with this latest mission.

 Exciting stuff. So why is the setting so important?

We have all lived in interesting times, and I feel that the Cold War period still has many more stories to tell. Reappraising that time some forty years later, there’s scope for inserting the grey as well as the heroic. I’d researched Czechoslovakia a great deal and found myself sympathising with the people. Freedom was something to fight for, to work towards in 1975; it took another eighteen years for it to be a reality, when the country was split in two. The Tana Standish series reflects the history we’ve lived through and shows how events in the past can influence the ‘now’.

Tell us more about Tana and some of the other characters.

Tana Standish is a spy working for an organisation linked to but not part of MI6. The organisation came into being in an attempt at avoiding the constant Soviet leaks. She is a psychic with a photographic memory; she’s not superhuman, though, as her abilities cannot always be turned on and off at will. Laco is an old friend and ex-lover who is head of an underground cell in Prague. Sadly, being a friend of Tana can prove fatal. There are echoes from her past, in the guise of Ilyichev; some years back, she crippled him when he was spying in Northern Ireland. And there are echoes from her future – in each book, she gets tantalising glimpses of an event or situation she will be involved in, often puzzling, often threatening. Tana’s dilemma is to survive capture and brainwashing.

Why did you write this novel?

I always wanted to write about characters who could cross the globe on their adventures. Having an interest in the history of espionage, I felt that it seemed logical to write about a period I’d lived through and understood. The psychic elements are provided in a realistic setting; that’s the hard part, making science fiction believable. Certainly, Tana has evolved into a strong character who can easily tread the murky byways of recent history.

 How do you go about writing a novel? Is it a simple or complex process?

I’ve been writing novels intermittently for fifty years, though I’ve only had novels published for the last seven! It depends on the original impetus – is it an idea, a character, an event? Now, I tend to plot the full story – not in any great detail – just so I know where I’m going.

This is easier (and harder) for the Tana books because she is tied to real historical events; easier, because I have a route; harder, because I’ve got to make the action fit the real timeline.

A stand-alone novel is relatively easy, once the plot-plan is devised.

A series requires certain characters to reappear; also there’s some foreshadowing into future books, and back-references with perhaps fresh revelations on past events. A spreadsheet is useful for keeping track of characters and where they appear, too; for example, The Khyber Chronicle already has 43 named characters and has some way to go!

What advice do you have for less experienced writers?

Be your harshest critic. Write the whole book; don’t dally with the first part, trying to get it right. Move forward. Get it down on the page, get it done.

Once it’s ‘finished’, then you can go over it to find the inconsistencies, the word repetitions, the logic lapses, the contradictory timelines, and the spelling and grammar mistakes.

Self-edit, self-edit and just to be sure, self-edit. You’ll never achieve perfection, but strive to that end.

Put it aside for a few days and read it with fresh eyes. You’ll still find mistakes. Correct them. Then, when you feel you can’t improve it any more or may even be in danger of destroying those flashes of spontaneity, prepare a pristine copy along the guidelines of your target – publisher, editor et al – and send it off with the synopsis and anything else that is required. In short, don’t rush it. You only have one chance to create a good first impression.

What are you working on currently?

I’ve got three books on the go. 1) To Be King is the sequel to a co-written fantasy quest Wings of the Overlord. This series has been evolving for over forty years; Gordon created the fantasy world and paints the broad plot strokes: I write the book, adding sub-plots as appropriate. 2) Cataclysm is the second sequel to Catalyst, which is due from Crooked Cat on 11 December. Catalyst is the first in the ‘Avenging Cat’ series, about another female protagonist, Catherine Vibrissae, who is set on destroying the global organisation Cerberus and its head, Loupe Malefice. Her adventures take her to Spain, Morocco and China. 3) The Khyber Chronicle, the third in the Tana Standish series, set in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion. Happily, they’re all different enough so that I don’t get confused!

What would your perfect day be?

Excluding family, I’ll answer this from a writing perspective: the perfect day would be when I saw one of my books on film! Well, we can all dream, Jeff!

I certainly share that dream, Nik. Name a book or a film that means a lot to you.

Having over 4,000 books and several hundred films on the shelves, that’s a tall order, so I’ll duck the question. My blog has a list of favourite books, and it’s quite a list. (Nik’s blog).

 If you could leave a message to the world, what would it be?

I guess embedded in most of my books is the message that ‘good triumphs over evil’, so I’d let the books speak for me.

All the best with your many different projects, Nik. Sounds like you’re busy, but finding great success now. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you.

 Prague Papers1 - Copy


Extract from Chapter 2: Tana

Perversely, it was good to be back after seven eventful years – dangerous and secret years in far-flung places like Karachi, Tehran, Elba, Gibraltar, Hong Kong and Mombasa. Caution and deceit were second nature to her, she reminded herself and grinned. Yes, I feel quite at home again.

The sound of the heels of her calf-hugging black boots added to the general hubbub in the echoing terminal. Tana moved through the wide glass-partitioned entrance then lowered her travelling-case on the steps and checked her watch.

The British Airways flight had been a couple of minutes early – a favourable tail wind. She’d allowed for a much longer delay in customs, so now she had at least ten minutes to wait before Laco arrived with transport to take her the seventeen kilometres into the city.

The very air seemed grossly oppressive – and it wasn’t the weather.

At least the rain had stopped, although the grey heavens stayed overcast. From the aircraft, she’d seen the lights shining between the rows of Charles Bridge’s Baroque statues, while the Vltava, edged with rain-sodden trees, reflected the city’s winking night-lights and numerous turreted spires and domes. A beautiful city that seemed to benefit from Communist neglect; it lacked modern hoardings, neon advertisements and garish shops and she felt it was probably better for it.

After all these years it was easy enough for her to keep in check her distaste for the Soviets and their system, which had seemed to get even more corrupt. Odd, but Sir Gerald had openly regretted Kruschev being deposed the year before she joined Interprises – “Not as shifty as Brezhnev. We thought we had a chance to work with the Russians,” he’d said. “Now, after over a decade of Brezhnev, I’m not so sure any more.”

She really felt for the oppressed Czechs and Russians; they were regularly lied to and deprived of so much; all so that the Soviet hierarchy could live well. Where there was oppression, there was fear, betrayal and personal danger.

Still, so far she had no reason to doubt Merrick’s assessment was accurate. “Minimal risk,” he’d said. “A straightforward repair and rebuild assignment. I thought you’d enjoy it; a return to see old friends.” Then he’d added, with a lecherous smirk, “Laco Valchik’s still in charge, he picked up the pieces and got Torrence out. A close call, by all accounts.”

As soon as she’d heard about Torrence, Tana had contacted Enid Shorthouse, the Interprises filing clerk in the basement Library. Enid had been with Sir Gerald since the beginning in 1963 and, it seemed, had a memory second only to Tana’s. She knew all the Interprises field agents and their traits. Her filing system was separate to the Ops Officer’s and that’s the way she liked it. Idiosyncratic. Only she could find anything. She was supposed to provide documentation and information backup for the agents in the field. But Enid took her job too seriously to limit herself, so whatever she could find out she put in her files – on paper and in her memory.

“You know, Enid,” Tana had remarked, “all Moscow Centre has to do is to kidnap you. Interprises might as well fold up then.”

Chuckling, Enid leaned on the enquiries counter, drooping breasts encased in a My Weekly pattern blue-green bobbled cardigan, well past its best. She lifted her spectacles from her pointed nose and rested them among the permed curls of her blue-rinsed hair. “You’re the only agent who knows the full extent of my knowledge, my dear.” She winked. “The Ruskies’d have to be psychic to know, really.”

Tana grinned. “Let’s hope so. Now, what can you tell me about Reginald Torrence?”

“Torrence!” Enid’s normally kindly features suddenly transformed, lines pronounced around her glaring eggshell blue eyes. “He’s a buffoon. I don’t know why Sir Gerald allowed him to stay after he bungled Izmir.” She calmed down, waving a hand airily. “Fine, he’s good in the classroom, knows the theory, but his people-skills are nothing to write home about, I can tell you.”

Tana wondered why Merrick had sent in that buffoon, as Enid called him. Apparently, he bungled the whole operation from the word go. All he had to do was consolidate the underground faction, obtain any useful information, and then return with technical requirements they might have. Instead, he blew it, the whole fabric torn at the seams, one cell disrupted, others in hiding and fearing the worst.

At least Torrence got out – thanks to Laco and his network’s survivors.

Was it Torrence’s fault or was there a mole in Laco’s organisation?

But Tana knew there was another quite unthinkable possibility.

She still puzzled over what happened to Toker in Istanbul last month – and Enid hadn’t been any help, either, save saying that Dudley Toker had been a real professional and a gentleman as far as she was concerned. “I tell you truly, Tana, I really miss his wonderful smile and chivalrous airs. Not much gallantry about since the Sixties.”

A chilly sensation down the nape of her neck returned Tana abruptly to the present.

The man was obviously watching her. Hatless, close-cropped black hair, greying at the edges. Stout, short, a broken bent nose, flaring nostrils. He was so blatantly an agent of the StB, their political security police, no doubt sent from his rat-hole in Bartolemejská where they’d taken over the old convent and eighteenth century church of Saint Bartholomew. One day, maybe the church and convent would echo to hymns and psalms again instead of the plaintive cries of tormented citizens. But she wouldn’t hold her breath.

All StB agents wore civilian clothes, yet they might as well have displayed placards with neon lights. It was a combination of their unrelaxed poses, their strained unawareness and something indefinable, almost as though they smelled of decay and corruption.

On the other hand, he could be KGB – they were little better, confident in their superiority and their ability to instil fear into the populace. And if so, then she was probably blown before she started.

She was aware that in the last six months Interprises had lost two other experienced agents, besides Toker. Cornelius in Helsinki and Segal in Berlin. Her thoughts naturally turned to the existence of a mole inside Interprises. Sir Gerald had created Interprises twelve years ago, specifically because MI6 seemed riddled with Soviet double agents.

Only a week earlier, James Fisk had obtained authorisation for Tana to experiment with a new probing technique on the staff of Interprises. It had risks to her mental well-being, he warned, but she said she was willing to try. The technique used a prototype bio-feedback system combined with remote viewing. Then this mission cropped up. Bad timing, really. Still, when she got back, they’d set it up and with any luck it just might help identify the mole, if there was one.

As the watcher’s black rodent-like eyes momentarily latched onto hers, Tana’s brain echoed with a loud throaty scream, a woman in extreme agony:

Completely naked, the woman was strapped to a chair, her skin blemished with electrode-burns, lathered in glistening sweat, trembling violently.

The stark moment passed. Tana didn’t superficially react at all; the mental image had been too swift. But her pulse and heart rate quickened.

The sensation was not wholly alien to her; it was akin to previous bouts of precognition. But it was also possible that it could have been a captured impression from the watcher’s sewer-like mind. He looked old enough to be an apprentice during Stalin’s time. Probably reliving his stimulatingly vile memories.

A sibilant hiss of tires on the wet tarmac caught her attention.

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Author Interview: Charlotte Howard

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I’d like to welcome Charlotte Howard, fellow Tirgearr author, whose latest book, One Night in Edinburgh, is next in the ‘City Nights’ series, following Jaz Hartfield’s One Night in Amsterdam

What romantic themes are explored in One Night in Edinburgh?

One Night in Edinburgh is all about love at first sight, and the difference between lust and love. We’ve all been in lust, and most of us are lucky enough to have been in love as well, but not many people think love at first sight is possible, which makes me sad because I am a great believer.

Tell us more about your main character’s dilemmas.

Chloe Shade has 24 hours to seduce the CEO of Lowe ‘n Beholden, and convince them that they should stock the selection of adult toys that Chloe’s company produces and sells. Unfortunately, travel arrangements to Edinburgh haven’t taken her fear of flying into account. While she’s on the plane, she meets Ethan – he’s sexy, he’s charming, and he’s able to keep her calm while they land. It’s not long before she ends up in his car, bed, and everywhere else he wants her, and she’s left having to make some life-changing decisions.

Why is the setting so important?

Edinburgh is a beautiful city. I’ve been there a few times, and have loved every minute spent there. I wanted the story to be less about sex and one-night stands, and more to be about romance, and in my opinion Edinburgh castle and The Royal Mile provide that.

Is writing adult romance difficult or fun?

Fun, challenging but fun. I love writing juicy scenes – the heat, the passion, it’s all escapism in one way or another, and I think we need that sometimes. It can be tricky getting the story just right though. I’m terrible with endings. Most of the time I have to take a step back, and tell myself to leave it. It’s like when you’re painting a picture. It would be very easy to add that one detail that is too much and ruins the whole thing, which is why I’m grateful for my amazing editors!

Charlotte Howard
Charlotte Howard

Why did you write this particular book?

I was at Smut by the Sea in Scarborough when I got talking to Lucy Felthouse. She told me about the ‘City Nights’ series and suggested I give it a go. I thought it might be a good challenge – I’ve never written a short erotic romance before. Turns out, I loved every minute of it.

Tell us about your current work in progress.

I’ve just finished working on another full-length novel, which will be published at some point next year (keep an eye on my website for more details!), and I was going to take a break from writing, but that never works.

My latest WIP is about an English teacher and her affair with a colleague who turns out to be so much more than he seems. It’s another erotic romance, but promises to be hotter than anything I’ve previously written!

Any good marketing tips for other authors?

Don’t be afraid to network. I keep business cards in every handbag (I have a lot of handbags), coat pockets (I have a lot of coats too!), and in my car. If someone asks me about a book, or mentions that they’ve read something slightly erotic, I hand them a card. I’ve also given a pile to people like my Mum, husband, sisters, friends, and they leave them lying around wherever they go. From caravan sites to dentist surgeries, my business cards are everywhere!

Why should people read the ‘City Nights’ series?

It’s hot and it’s unique. Most erotic stories take place over several days, weeks, months, even years! But the ‘City Nights’ series all take place over 12 to 24 hours.

I’m currently reading One Night in Boise, and will be putting a review on my blog: when I’ve done, but one chapter in and I already know it’s going to be 5-stars.

They’re all well written by fabulous authors, and I’m very proud to say I’m part of that group.

Blurb:One Night in Edinburghby Charlotte Howard - 200

Chloe Shade has travelled to Edinburgh to meet up with a potential client, and has just twenty-four hours to convince them to sign her contract. But when she meets the delicious Ethan, he proves to be so much more than an enticing distraction. It’s not long before Chloe has some life changing decisions to make, and less than a day to make them.

Author Bio:

British author, Charlotte Howard, was born in Oman and spent much of the first part of her life flitting between Oman, Scotland, and England. Now settled in Somerset, Charlotte lives with her husband, two children, and growing menagerie of pets.

Her career as a writer began at an early age, with a poem being featured in an anthology for the East Midlands. Since then Charlotte has written many short stories and poems, and finally wrote her first full-length piece of fiction in 2010.

During what little spare time she has, Charlotte enjoys reading and writing (of course), spending time with her family, and watching action movies whilst eating curry and drinking tea.

Charlotte is an active member of Yeovil Creative Writers Group.

Purchase Links:

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Click HERE to purchase ONE NIGHT IN AMSTERDAM  by Jaz Hartfield.


Jaz Hartfield’s ONE NIGHT IN AMSTERDAM is here!

Friend and fellow Tirgearr author, Jaz Hartfield, has a new book out called ‘One Night in Amsterdam’. It’s  hot and steamy – and not for the faint-hearted already described by one reviewer as having “a great romantic plot with lots of sexy encounters”.  I’ll hand over to Jaz to tell you more:

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Hi, folks – thanks to Jeff for letting me invade his blog. My fiction is a little different to his: it’s adult romance! ‘One Night in Amsterdam’ tells the story of Chloe and Dean who are on a hen and stag party respectively, when their paths cross in the red-light district of Amsterdam. Things start getting sexy and a little over-heated, with Dean having doubts about his forthcoming marriage, and Chloe sick of having  short-term relationships. Is their ‘holiday romance’ just that or something deeper? This is the point where love and lust most certainly meet.

The Blurb

Chloe organizes Jo’s hen weekend in Amsterdam, glad to get away from the usual boring or married men that she sleeps with. Perhaps she’ll meet some cool guys up for a bit of fun. If not, at least she’ll make sure her best friend gets very drunk while they all party in style. 

Dean is getting married to Tamsin, but having serious doubts. His mates take him to Amsterdam for one last weekend of debauchery before settling down for the rest of his life. But is Tamsin the right woman for him? 

When Chloe and Dean meet in Amsterdam’s red-light district, they are immediately attracted to each other. Dean tries to justify one last fling before marrying Tamsin. Chloe feels bad about having sex with someone else’s intended. Yet, a night of amazing sex is exactly what both of them want. So, why shouldn’t they just enjoy one night of fantastic, guilt-free sex?

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A free (and carefully chosen!) Extract:

Chloe smiled politely as she slipped the pink sweatshirt on. The name printed on the back was ‘Office Bike’. They weren’t allowed to choose their own name, of course. Still, it could have been worse: Di’s sweatshirt said ‘Bitch-Ho’, and Jo’s, whose hen party this was, proudly displayed the title, ‘Bridezilla’. Ushma had the most pleasant moniker with ‘Virgin Queen’. Jo’s sister, Glynis had ‘MILF’ printed on hers, which Chloe felt flattered her rather, but Jo had insisted on it.

They’d started drinking at Gatwick Airport, before their morning flight; continued on the plane with two white wines each. The flight only took two and a half hours. Once at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Chloe took charge, as chief bridesmaid. A taxi took them to their hotel where she did the talking at reception.

“Sorry, madam, but we have no reservation under that name.” The lady spoke in perfect English with only a vague hint of a Dutch accent.

Chloe suddenly regressed to being a humiliated, naughty child. She felt the judging stare of the receptionist as she stood in her ridiculous pink sweatshirt. She had no idea what to do.

“Which travel agency did you use? I could phone them for you, if you like.” The lady smiled with only her lips. “Do you have the number?”

Chloe blushed as everyone turned to stare at her. She’d not thought to bring contact details. It hadn’t occurred to her.

“I booked online and can’t remember the company name.”

“Oh, Chloe!” Glynis chided. “Told you I should’ve organised this trip.”

The others sighed and gave her irritated glances.

“We do have two rooms I could let you have. They are a bit more expensive and the only ones available tonight. Would you like those?”

The other four nodded.

“Not much choice is there?” Glynis mumbled.

“That’ll be two hundred and eighty Euros, please.” The lady tapped on her computer as Chloe held out her debit card. None of the others offered to pay their share. Chloe put in her pin number and hoped the bank wouldn’t charge too much for going overdrawn. She took the receipt, printed on watermarked, cream coloured paper.

“I’ll need all your passports, please,” the receptionist announced. “And your rooms are on the third floor.

Once they had the key cards, Glynis dragged her case towards the lift on the other side of the lobby, huffing and puffing loudly.

“The elevator is out of order today.” The lady pointed to the red carpeted stairs.

They eventually found their rooms. Jo and Glynis shared one, while Chloe, Ushma and Di were round the corner in another.

Di bagged the sofa bed, leaving Chloe and Ushma sharing the double bed.

Chloe had a need to voice her irritation. “I expected some kind of an upgrade, at least. This is just another cramped room with no floor space.” She twisted her mouth and stopped to get a response. She got none. “Still, it’s gonna be such a cool weekend.”

“Someone check the mini-bar,” Ushma ordered, jumping onto her side of the bed. “Any vodka in there is mine.”

“See if we can clear it out in the first five minutes,” Di grinned without irony.

Chloe laughed aloud, wondering if the cost of the whole mini-bar would go on her debit card. To her relief nobody moved.

“So what’s the plan, Chlo?” Ushma asked, stretching languidly on the bed.

“Find a good bar and get Jo pissed.”

“A bar with lots of fit blokes, hopefully,” added Di.

“A male strip joint?” Chloe suggested.

“Yeah, to start with,” Di said. “But those places are just full of desperate slappers and sad biddies —”

“Like us, you mean?” Chloe snorted with laughter, making Ushma giggle.

“Speak for yourself,” Di answered, looking away.

“Says the girl with ‘Bitch-Ho’ on her back,” Ushma said, sending her and Chloe into convulsions.

“Whatever.” Di held up a hand and went to fill up the kettle.

“Okay,” Chloe said, regaining control of herself. “So we get Jo pissed, take photos of her in various naked, embarrassing positions, then post them on Twitter and Facebook?”

Ushma gave her a high-five.

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My fellow Tirgearr author, Jaz Hartfield, has a new book published on 24th October – One Night In Amsterdam. This erotic romance is a stand-alone novella in the ‘City Nights’ series from Tirgearr Publishing and is available for pre-order now. If you’ve ever wanted to go on a stag or hen party to Amsterdam, then this saucy, sizzling tale will appeal to you. If you’re intrigued by relationships and desires, then see what Dean and Chloe get up to whilst away for the weekend. Be warned though – it’s rated ’18’ and will be too hot for some!

One Night in Amsterdam by Jaz Hartfield - 500


Here is the blurb:

Chloe organizes Jo’s hen weekend in Amsterdam, glad to get away from the usual boring or married men that she sleeps with. Perhaps she’ll meet some cool guys up for a bit of fun. If not, at least she’ll make sure her best friend gets very drunk while they all party in style.

Dean is getting married to Tamsin, but having serious doubts. His mates take him to Amsterdam for one last weekend of debauchery before settling down for the rest of his life. But is Tamsin the right woman for him?

When Chloe and Dean meet in Amsterdam’s red-light district, they are immediately attracted to each other. Dean tries to justify one last fling before marrying Tamsin. Chloe feels bad about having sex with someone else’s intended. Yet, a night of amazing sex is exactly what both of them want. So, why shouldn’t they just enjoy one night of fantastic, guilt-free sex?

Purchase Links. Available for pre-order now:

Publisher’s Website (Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, Nook etc)

Amazon US

Amazon UK


My Exciting News…

My exciting news is that I’ve just signed a contract for a three book deal with Accent Press.

Publishing-with-passion Accent

‘Pica’ will be the first novel in the Young Adult ‘Gaia Trilogy’. The novel is ready for editing and due some time soon in 2015.

Pica Pica is the latin name for a magpie. The novels consider how people in the 21st century have forgotten how to manipulate natural powers once common in ancient times. When Luke meets Guy – a strange and lonely boy – he begins to see a glimpse of the powers that humans once possessed. The Gaia Trilogy explores environemental themes that affect the entire planet.


I’d like to thank Sam Curtis and Lorraine Mace, and I look forward to working with Accent Press on ‘Pica’ and the Gaia Trilogy.

Exciting times ahead.

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Accent Press


My book about author Michael Moorcock – the man and his works – is out in hardback as a special edition with colour plates.

THE LAW OF CHAOS: THE MULTIVERSE OF MICHAEL MOORCOCK examines the major novels,  fiction and music of this iconic British writer.

It is only available from the publisher’s website, for now.  The paperback and e-book will  follow soon.

LOC final cover

From Jerry Cornelius and the Eternal Champion fantasies to Pyat and more recent novels, THE LAW OF CHAOS is an entertaining and accessible reader’s guide that explores the life and achievements of Michael Moorcock, one of modern literature’s most influential figures. All Moorcock’s works are examined and discussed in detail from early fantasies to his later philosophical novels.

With an introduction and other material by Moorcock himself, THE LAW OF CHAOS travels the moonbeam roads through the enigmatic multiverse of a celebrated literary icon.headpress logo

Buy it here from Headpress.



“Jeff Gardiner’s excellent book has offered me many fresh insights into my own work. I can genuinely celebrate the publication of this book.” Michael Moorcock

Jeff Gardiner’s ‘The Law of Chaos’ is a must for any fan of Michael Moorcock’s work. Here you’ll find fascinating stories about the author’s life, but also a thorough appraisal of his vast catalogue of work, plus an examination of the enormous influence Mike has had – and continues to have – upon the SF and Fantasy genres. A work of love – and written with colour and style.’   Storm Constantine

‘…an indispensable guide to one of our most important speculative writers’.    David Seed

“This new book, the latest Moorcockian meteorite to flash across the heavens, is a timely reminder of the scope, depth, heart and magnificence of an author with numerous readers, bright-eyed fans, global correspondents, but far less mainstream acknowledgement than he deserves. The glory of the work, in its astonishing reach and range, is that it can be freshly excavated by every rising generation.” Iain Sinclair

“A well-written overview of Michael Moorcock’s complete works. This is an ideal book for anyone looking to get a quick critical grasp on Moorcock … very illuminating.” Stephen Theaker

“When literary critics of the next century want to understand our times, it’s the chaos-storm of Moorcock’s fiction which will be their first port of call and Jeff Gardiner’s book their necessary introduction to the maelstrom. Moorcock’s legion of present-day fans will be grateful for Gardiner’s clearly-written and informative account of Moorcock’s work: an essential guide to the complexities of a very prolific writer. At last we have a sense of the entirety of Michael Moorcock’s vast achievement. Congratulations, Jeff, for allowing Moorcock and his works to speak to us!” Andy Sawyer – Librarian of the Liverpool Foundation SF Collection


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Author Interview: Cass Peterson


Tirgearr Publishing
Tirgearr Publishing

I’d like to welcome fellow Tirgearr author Cass Peterson to my blog. She has written the next book in the ‘City Nights’ adult romance series, called ‘One Night in San Francisco’. Click here to see more information about the City Nights Series and on the cover image to purchase Cass’ “sizzling” book.

Author Bio:

Cass Peterson is passionate about many things; her family, writing, chocolate, wine, cake, curry, gin, sunlit beaches, moonlit bedrooms and good novels to name but a few. At the moment she spends a good chunk of her time working on the day job, but she tries to fit the other passions in as often as possible.

She is a cat lover, an all-weather walker, a reader and reviewer of contemporary romance and an enthusiastic cook.

Cass likes to laugh, especially at Bill Bailey, Victoria Wood, Michael Palin and Eddie Izzard. She would happily live next door to any of these comedians.

San FranWhat are the main ideas or themes in your book?

The main theme is seizing the moment. When Liam and Nicky meet, they instantly know that there could be something very special between them. The chemistry is sizzling, but shortly afterwards they lose sight of each other and have to race against time to reconnect.

What is the setting or context of the narrative? Why is it important?

The story is set against the background of bustling, romantic, electric San Francisco, and it’s crucial to the narrative because the mood of the city runs through the way that the two protagonists react to each other. They are both creatures of impulse, and San Fran completely matches their joy for life and their longing to find both physical and emotional satisfaction at last.

Tell us more about the main characters and their dilemmas.

Both Nicky and Liam have recently emerged from hugely unsuccessful relationships, where the sex was less than mind blowing and the laughs were in short supply. They think they are willing to risk trusting someone new, but there are mountains to climb first. Nicky is deeply conscious of her failure to keep her previous man (who left her for her best friend’s boyfriend.) Liam has also had his fingers burned badly by a manipulative colleague.

Why did you write this novel? Any other issues or ‘big ideas’ behind it?

I have to be honest here – I wrote One Night in San Francisco to see if I could overcome my embarrassment at writing much smuttier books than I was used to. I found I could! It was incredibly liberating. I am very impulsive, like my main characters, and can’t stand hanging around waiting for something to happen. The idea of a twenty four hour limit on the action was inspiring, and San Francisco is one of my all-time favourite places.

How do you go about writing a novel? Is it a simple or complex process?

For me, the day job takes a huge amount of time and energy so I don’t have the luxury of making things complicated. I just get up early and write! Editing the work is one of my favourite occupations, and I do it as I go along each time I write a chapter/section, rather than blast through the first draft and then go back. I’m not good at plotting.

What advice do you have for less experienced writers?

Join a writing group, either in the flesh or online, and learn to accept constructive criticism. Go on a course or two if you can afford the time/money. Keep trying, but only submit your work to agents and publishers when it’s the best it can be.

What are you working on next?

The next project in the erotic romance line is a full-length novel about a single woman searching for great sex. I hope it’ll be funny. It’s making me snigger writing it, anyway!

If you could leave a message to the world, what would it be?

Grab every opportunity that comes your way and run with it, but whatever you do, don’t forget to have fun in the process.



Nicky and Liam have only twenty four short hours to find out if their instantaneous attraction can develop into something more than an electric mile-high fumble. San Francisco has everything they need to put their previous disastrous relationships behind them but when they lose touch with each other almost immediately, fate seems to have other ideas. As the precious hours tick away, Liam moves heaven and earth to find the woman of his (filthiest) dreams before she leaves the city. Will he get to her in time?

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One Night in San Francisco


San Francisco airport was a blur of activity even in the early morning. As we piled off the plane, already jet lagged and dishevelled, we were herded into lines reminiscent of the ones at Alton Towers – zig zags of queues separated by tapes and metal posts, shuffling tiredly towards the perspex booths of hard-faced officials, ready to check our passports.

By this time I was almost comatose – lack of sleep and too much four-o’clock lust had left me bleary and bewildered by the bustle around me. I tried to keep near to Liam but when we reached passport control we somehow lost each other. I saw him in the distance, trying to charm his way past an official who obviously ate razor blades for a hobby, but we didn’t meet again. I waved to him as I was whisked away to have my bag checked – I must have a dodgy face, this always seems to happen to me at customs – and he waved back, mouthing ‘See you later.’

My heart sank. I’d hoped to have chance to talk to him before we went our separate ways, or at least to give him a hug. Never mind, I had his card safely in my bag. I checked again. Yes, still there, tucked into my purse next to the photo of Simon. I shook myself. Why was I still carrying around a picture of a man who had clearly moved out of my life?

I slid the tiny picture out of my purse and looked at it closely. Simon grinned up at me from his photograph – handsome, cheerful … and a complete and utter tosser. There were no litter bins to be seen but I noticed a man sweeping rubbish nearby. After a moment’s hesitation I ripped up the photo and dropped the pieces into his bin liner. He looked at me as if I’d spat on the floor but I didn’t care. A wave of freedom washed over me – who needed men that treated you like dirt? I’d ring Liam as soon as I thought he’d be clear of his work ties.

I frowned as I shuffled forwards in the queue. For the first time I realised I hadn’t offered Liam my own number. It would have made a whole lot more sense for him to phone me when he was through. Oh well, it was too late now. I’d give him till half past ten – that should do it.


The next book in the series will be One Night in Amsterdam by Jaz Hartfield who will be interviewed on this blog in October 2014.

One Night in Amsterdam by Jaz Hartfield - 500

News about my novels, short stories and non-fiction.


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