Gabe Has Found His Voice!

It’s been four months in the making, but I’m thrilled to announce that “Killing Hope” – (Gabe Quinn Thriller #1) is now available in audio format as a downloadable audiobook from Amazon, Audible and iTunes, and it sounds absolutely amazing!

The narrator, David Doersch, has done an excellent job of fleshing out the characters, individualizing their voices and, of course, staying true to Gabe’s roots by giving him an earthy Memphis accent. It’s like the whole book has enjoyed a new lick of paint and is now brighter and bolder than ever!

In preparation for the recording, “Hope” underwent a complete refit. I made editorial changes to the manuscript to enhance the audio experience. Nothing too drastic, just a little fine-tuning here and there to allow the spoken words to flow much more smoothly off of the tongue. The updated version features a brand new Prologue, with some scenes I deemed surplus-to-requirement being removed. The end result is tighter, fresher and spectacular. In fact, the recording has created an exciting new dimension to the book by coloring characters and injecting real feeling into the narration. It’s like “Hope” has been given a whole new lease of life and she’s much sprightlier for it!

Take a listen to the first 15 minutes here:


As the print version is chunky, the audiobook is lengthy, running just short of 13 hours, which is plenty of time for the listener to immerse themselves totally in the experience. And it’s addictive. What becomes apparent as the story unfolds is that everything feels bigger – the locations, the players, the plots – making this audio version essential listening for every Gabe Quinn enthusiast.

To download from Amazon: USUK

To download from Audible: USUK

To download from iTunes: search ‘Keith Houghton’ or ‘Killing Hope’ in the Store

Thank You for all Your support!

Please Note: Should you wish to take advantage of the Whispersync for Voice service, be sure to go to your Kindle Manager in your online Amazon Account and download the latest version of the eBook to your Kindle library.

 

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3 Milestones in 3 Months

So far, 2014 has thrown up a few really nice surprises from out of the blue, not least of which are three major milestones in my self-publishing career. Just in case you have a life and missed them, here they are in their entirety – so grab yourself a cup of tea and some dark glasses and get to it …

#1 Kindle Newsletter

In January, I had the honour of appearing in the Kindle Direct Publishing Newsletter, which went out as an email to everyone registered with KDP. The article was designed to introduce me to fellow independent authors, to give a little insight into my background and hopefully to inspire . . .

KDP Author Keith Houghton

Keith Houghton, author of Killing Hope, shares his experiences with KDP.

<ember Spotlight“I was banging on publishers’ doors for 30 years before Kindle Direct Publishing opened theirs. Like most aspiring authors, I thought of self-publishing as a cottage industry, mostly tainted by mothballs. My feet were planted firmly in the traditional agent-to-publisher route, mapped out with dead-ends and rejection slips. Naively, I believed if my writing was good enough then it would sell. What I didn’t gamble on were the odds being stacked against me. To get an agent, open a publisher’s door, so many things–all beyond my control–had to line up just right. The key was finding an agent who believed in my work. It took three decades and dozens of hopeful letters to get a foot in the door, and even then, it closed at the final step.

“I believe everything happens for a reason.

“I broke with convention and looked into KDP. The Kindle was the new kid on the block. It offered a means for unknowns like me to get my work in front of readers, fast. But I didn’t know what to expect. Amazon was in the throes of giving self-publishing a facelift–revolutionizing reading in the same way the jukebox popularized music. It was exciting but daunting. What if it didn’t work out? What if it was a flash in the pan? People don’t believe me when I say I’m shy. The thought of exposing my work to public scrutiny was scary. Worse than that, the fear of not selling a single book was a reality check.

“I bit the bullet and launched my first crime thriller Killing Hope through KDP in November 2011.

As it turned out, it was the best career decision I ever made.

“Within two months, Killing Hope had hit the Top 20 in the U.S. Kindle Store and reached the #1 spot in its categories internationally. Sales were exceeding all my expectations. Better yet, I was getting plenty of reader feedback and using it to shape my future books.

“And I was kicking myself for not taking the plunge sooner! I have ditched my day job and now write full-time. KDP’s versatility means I can edit my books, update their stats, and choose pricing promotions on my own schedule. KDP Select is like having my very own publicist working full-time behind-the-scenes, free of charge. Enrolling in KDP Select opened new doors for me and my books. Not only can I schedule zero-price book promotions to help boost sales, my books also attract great royalties on borrows through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. For writers like me, it is a win-win all-round. Running regular KDP Select giveaway events on my Gabe Quinn thrillers gave them unparalleled exposure, resulting in a quarter of a million downloads worldwide, 100,000 of which were actually paid sales.

“I am in complete control of my writing career. What’s more, I get the kind of royalty rate unseen in the rest of the publishing world. But perhaps the best thing in KDP’s favor for me is the absence of literary snobbery. Anyone with a story can publish it and have people on the other side of the planet reading it the next day.

“Your only judge is your readership.

And that’s the way it should be.”

--Keith Houghton

#2 London Author Fair

In February, I was invited to join the Amazon KDP and CreateSpace team at the UK’s first London Author Fair, held at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden, London.

This all-day event was put together by Authoright and designed to unite authors with publishing ideas in one venue.

Over 200 authors attended.

photo courtesy of LAF14 and authoright

photo courtesy of LAF14 and authoright

As well as being ‘on call’ at the Amazon booth for the whole of the day (to answer author questions) I also took part in two 1-hour Q&A podium sessions, giving fellow authors the low-down on my experiences with Amazon’s KDP and CreateSpace platforms, and how I’ve been able to use their tools to create reader visibility.

The day was a great success for all involved. Authoright and their Partners did a wonderful job of organizing the event and providing knowledgeable panels of experts. The event was full of great advice and publishing tips from industry representatives.

The Hospital Club – Covent Garden

My sincerest thanks go to everyone who helped make the day memorable and special – especially the KDP team for their kindness and humour. Great job guys! :)

 

#3 Amazon Gateway

In March, my self-publishing “story” was featured on the UK Amazon Gateway (the Amazon homepage), visible to any and all Amazon visitors. It remained high-profile for 2 weeks . . .

A self-proclaimed shy person, Keith Houghton isn’t normally one to enthuse publically, but the success he’s seen as a self-published author so far has totally exceeded his expectations and he says he’s “over the moon”.

“As far back as I remember I wanted to be a writer, closely followed by an astronaut, nuclear physicist and brain surgeon, or preferably all three, which I could then write about,” Keith says. “When I was 14, my English teacher told me that I’d never make it as a science fiction writer; she said she was tired of reading those stories.” With a passion for the genre instigated by watching Star Wars when he was 11, Keith ignored this advice and finished his first science fiction novel when he was 18. “At that age, I thought the world was my oyster,” Keith remembers. “I just assumed that one of the publishers I sent the book to would buy it and I’d be rich.” But that life-changing phone call never arrived and Keith put his writing on the back burner to focus on “real life”.

Real life for Keith meant having a family and working as a retail manager, but when he was made redundant he decided to start writing again. Unfortunately, sending his new science fiction novels to agents simply resulted in more rejection letters. “At that point I started a new venture repairing computers to pay the bills,” Keith says. “I carried on writing, but I was still far from fulfilling my dream of making a living as an author.”

Following his teacher’s advice

It was only when he hit his 40s that Keith decided to listen to his old English teacher’s advice and try something new. “In one of my science fiction novels there was a flashback to a crime noir scene. My partner said that she’d always liked that part so we hammered out the idea for a crime novel, which would become Killing Hope (A Gabe Quinn Thriller).”

Keith had heard about Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and decided to give it a go. “I launched Killing Hope in November 2011 and decided to promote it using one of the five free promotional days as part of KDP Select in the following January.” He wasn’t expecting much, but it hit the top five in the free charts in both the US and the UK in one day and suddenly people all around the world were downloading his book.

The free promotion ended, but the paid sales continued growing. “Over those few days, Killing Hope was selling like hot cakes,” Keith exclaims. “I was at my daughter’s house when it first got into the Kindle top 100 in the US and UK at the same time and I was absolutely giddy. It also reached number one in its category. I couldn’t believe it; it felt like I’d won the lottery.” Keith has now loaded the second and third volumes of his Gabe Quinn series to Kindle and to Amazon’s bookstore, using Amazon’s print on demand service, CreateSpace. “I love the flexibility that self-publishing brings,” Keith remarks. “I also really value the feedback from readers, which allows me to adapt my writing to make sure it’s what people want to read.”

A whole new life

“Self-publishing my book has changed my life completely,” Keith says. “Amazon’s high royalty rates mean that I am making 10 times more as an author than I was with my computer repair business. It’s allowed me to think about things that I’ve never been able to before, like buying a new car and putting a deposit down on a new house.”

For Keith, this is living the dream, but he still wants to go back to his first love of science fiction. “I’m currently writing a stand-alone thriller and want to continue my Gabe Quinn series, but in the future I’d love to dip back into science fiction: I hope the learnings that I’ve had with KDP will help me to write the book my teacher always wanted to read. In a way, that would make everything complete.”

See my Gateway Story on Amazon here “Crime Pays For Self-Published Author”

 

I’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who made the first three months of 2014 an amazing experience! :)

A Royal Engagement?

Looking forward to what the next three months have in store …… In the meantime, don’t forget to :-

 

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“Killing Hope” in Amazon’s Best Kindle Books of 2013

My hat’s off to Gabe Quinn. It’s been a great year for the Celebrity Cop cum FBI consultant with a badge in more ways than one.

October saw the highly-anticipated new release of his third instalment – in the form of “Taking Liberty“, which was favourably received by his fans – and his first outing, “Killing Hope“, enjoyed a Top 10 slot in the Amazon UK Kindle Store for almost the entire month, culminating in the #4 position.

For a large chunk of the month, the #1, #2 and #3 slots in Hard-Boiled were occupied by GQ1, GQ2 and GQ3, in that order, with all 3 in the Police-Procedurals Top 10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now he’s managed to land himself a place in the Top 150 Best Books of 2013 as chosen by the Kindle Editors at Amazon UK. Nice going, Gabe! Hope you get the tee-shirt to go with it!

You can check out the Top 150 Editor’s Picks here, and see the kind of company Gabe’s keeping these days. Hope he doesn’t get too big for his boots! :-

In other news, “Taking Liberty” is now in paperback format at Amazon. This means all three Gabe Quinn Thrillers are now available in both Kindle and Print formats, exclusively at Amazon Marketplace – the perfect bookends for all you Gabe junkies out there!

As for me, I’m currently putting together a new standalone thriller, which I’m hoping to start writing in the New Year. I promise to keep you all updated as things develop!

Meanwhile, I’d like to take this opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to all of you who have supported both me and my writing this last year – by email or by Facebook – you know who you are! Your friendships are valued and your kindness is sincerely appreciated!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and healthy 2014!

Take care,
Keith :)

 

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Taking Liberty – Gabe Quinn Thriller #3

“When you’re going through hell, keep going …”

I am pleased to announce the launch of “Taking Liberty” – aka GQ3 – the third outing for Gabe Quinn, former LAPD Homicide Detective turned FBI consultant with a badge.

It doesn’t seem two minutes since I launched “Killing Hope” in November 2011, and even less since “Crossing Lines” came out a year later. And now the third Gabe Quinn Thriller is here! Aside from greying my hair, where did all that time ago?

Taking Liberty” follows Gabe’s story in the wake of his arrest for the attempted murder of a federal agent. Many of the themes and ongoing story lines introduced in “Killing Hope” and “Crossing Lines” are continued throughout this third book. Therefore, it is recommended to read the first two Gabe Quinn Thrillers before enjoying “Taking Liberty“, to ensure the best and fullest reading experience as it was intended.

Taking Liberty” is exclusively available through Amazon for all Kindle devices and Kindle apps, worldwide.

Enjoy! :)

Imprisoned for the attempted murder of a federal agent, former homicide detective Gabe Quinn is keen to make amends for his mistakes – so when a gruesome murder forces his freedom, he is determined to do everything in his power to bring the killer to justice and prove himself to the FBI.

But the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and the killer has something else in mind for Gabe Quinn, something that will raze everything he knows to the ground.

Drawn into a desperate chase against the killer’s deadline, Gabe is forced to stand accountable for the decisions of his past and face the ultimate question …

‘Could you give your life to save someone else?’
 
►►► Get your copy of “Taking Liberty” on Amazon here:
US —– http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G0TOW8G
UK —– https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00G0TOW8G
CANhttps://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00G0TOW8
 

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Special Mentions in GQ3 …

Special Mentions to my Facebook Friends & Gabe Fans Worldwide

Over the last year, many of you have expressed your interest in my writing and Gabe Quinn by either subscribing to my site, by hooking up with me on Facebook, or through Goodreads.

Thank You!

Since then, a large number of you have become friends and die-hard supporters, ready to stand by my writing at the drop of a hat. To thank you for your faith and friendship, I’ve added the following list of names to the closing credits of GQ3, as my way of acknowledging your kindness.

I have tried to include everyone who has actively supported me this year. Some of you have only subscribed to my site using your first name – so if you don’t see yourself here and would like to be mentioned in the book, please send me an email with your full name and and I’ll be more than happy to add you.

Once again, thank you for the friendship you have shown me this year – it is sincerely appreciated – and long may it continue!

And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the release of GQ3 this coming weekend!

Best wishes,

Keith :)

Jackie Offen, Kerry Clifford, Gaye Croft, MeLissa B. Mattaliano Davidson, Steve Reninger, Patti Hammond Blask, Jen Rowedder, Charlotte Roys, Karen Smith, Lorna Donna Robinson, Brenda Rochefort, Sue Garner, Matty Matuk, Laurie Tucker, John Bent, Carol Lynn Chilton, Bev White-Billyard, Alfie Robins, Ann Shiel, Julie Hudic Yost, Kelli Woods Jameson, Sarah Kuesel, Jan Jessup, Kim Cooper Couling, Elaine Elliott, Henry C. Cocker, Jeri Carlino, Paul Dawson, Janice Mckenzie Houghton, Tracey McPhail, Mary Endersbe, Maryruth Barksdale, Candi Warner, Glenn Hillyard, Donna Galanti, Tasha Laro, Dee Tregaskis, Mag Minor, Richard Nuttall, Jim Rooney, Bec Weir-Stoddard, Kiana Griffin, Sandy Walden, Amber Colleen, Jennifer Ward Wright, Traci Cappiello, John Michalak, Denilee Dedek, Carol Covato, Alice Weissman, Andy Snelle, Bonnie Phillips, Cara Gilligan, Bill Tharp, Cathy Ball, Christina Hall, Darrel Smith, David Pownall, Debbie Sams, David Ingram, Diane Martin, Elsa Maroon, George Mackrill, Gloria Stein, Herbert Asherman, Ali Bambridge, Mary Connelly, J. Scott Sharp, Jack Everett, Jack Rearden, Jaime Tennille, James Columbo, Jim Dunn, Joanne Patterson, John Gregory, Julie D. Richards, Kathy Mason, Katie Janes, Kim Hennessy, Kristie Haigwood, Laina Tiller, Larry Teply, Laura Pulsifer, Len Bernstein, Leslie Skidmore, Lise Voigt, Lucille Young, Lyn Askew, Marilyn Chapman, Marilyn Petrie, Marilyn Royle, Melissa Etheridge, Michele Wesselman, Michelle Miller, Mike Gibbons, Mildred Drake, Naomi Buckley, Norma Pryor, Pamela Dalton, Paul Higginbottom, Penny Bolla, Pete Houghton, Phil Calkins, Phyllis Manning, Raymond McCullough, Robert Garr, Robyn Brown, Rosie Connolly, Russell Waters, Sarah Conway, Shannon Johnson, Sharon Pollock, Shiela Fabiano, Shiela Puckett, Sheri Bush, Stacey Gunkel, Steven Hardesty, Steven W. Dalton, Sue Bath, Sue Geibl, Theresa Gonzales, Tracey Baxter, Trish Arrowsmith, Vicky McCaffrey, Karen Charlton, Nick Quantrill, George Polley, Kathleen Hewtson, Jeanette France, John Holt, Christine Robitaille, Babs Morton, Missie Mauldin, Liz Hoban, William Stephen Taylor, Harry Dunn, Sara L. Wielenberg, Fabyan Kio BetRan, Neil Thom, Keith Nixon, Patricia Johnson Laster, Diane Chan, Markie Robinson, Iain Purdie, Cheryl Richmond, Michael Turashoff, Tmonique Stephens, Martin Cooper, Tammie Buel, Pilar Guillory, Valle Fregeolle, Diane Boyd, Kathleen Patel, Megan Thakkar, Ann Bailey, Dianne Hill, Angel Eicher, Holly Kobe, Emma Alston, Joni Harrison, Nancy Thomas, Frederick Falchook, Roger Scott, Kelly Thormodson, Emmy Swain, Billy McCoy, Shara Mcdonald, Jason Jones, Hadiyah Lysko, Alejandra Rivas, Beckey Delaney, Lisa Freeman, Jodi Eubanks, Eri Nelson, Marilou George, Julie Goldsmith, April Hanson, Walt Denman, Linda Moore, Megan Mason, Ashley Blake, Roxanne Smolen, Renee Blakely, Christy Kidd, Neha Sarode, Kathryn Davis, Roger Lansing, Tracy Manley Moore, Dianne Smith, Janet Whitney, KD Rush, Andy Knott, Mandy Rudd, Tamara Pomponio, Susan Lyons, Dana Gary, Joanne Salapatas, Peg Crippen, Lynette Barfield, John Paul Davis, Heather Carter, Joyce Kirschner, Vanessa Faurot, Diane Schultz, Robbie Revell. Teresa Lowe, Michelle Starns, Roy Jeffries, Melissa Vannoy, Ryan Cable, Darren Burton, Diane Mcdevitt, Jordanna East, Joyce Counter, Dana Cosgrove, Chris Kelly, Amy Metz, Adam Teague, Jennifer Combs, Abby Pudlewski, Kendra Peterson, Aly Attwood, Bette Kincaid, Lorna Major, Joyce Ann Nelson, Emma Glynn, Debbie Knight, Victoria L. Hauck, Sybil Anne Richardson Hadfield, Judy Graves Hayes, Rebecca Tibbs, Julia Barrand, Teri Williams, Adrrienne McIntosh, Ethel White-Ransted, Debbie Fowler, Beverly Hand, Tracey Mitchell, Nancy Grow Matteson, Abby Hand, Angel Gainey Eicher, Kathrynn Bell, Carol Curtis, Gary Curtis, Nancy Siegel Nasto, Helen Carroll, Ralphe Leboeuf, Char Markey, Becky Fitzgibbon, Kathy Ford, Sharon Murphy, Ian Bichara, Cheryl Cardwell-Brown … All my Family … and everyone else who has bought my books!!!

You guys rock!

 

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And the Winner is …

At the end of last year I decided to run a competition, giving one lucky reader the chance to see their name featured as a character in Gabe Quinn #3.

So many of you entered (by subscribing to my site or by making your presence known on my Facebook) that I kept the competition open all year and upped the number of randomly-picked winning entries to 3 (for Gabe Quinn #3, of course!).

A huge THANK YOU goes out to everyone who entered (you are too many to list!), from all walks of life and from all corners of the globe. I’d like to take this opportunity to state that you are the best readers in the world, and your faith and support is sincerely appreciated, always!

With the release of the new book looming on the horizon, the draw has now been made and it is my pleasure to announce the details of those lucky readers whose names will appear in the Gabe Quinn #3:

Glenn Hillyard – Nothamptonshire, UK

Kelli Woods Jameson – Ohio, USA

Sarah Kuesel – Minnesota, USA

Congratulations guys!!!

As for what kind of character your name will be attached to … well, you’ll just have to wait and see! Thanks for being good sports!

Gabe Quinn #3 will be released in the coming weeks, and its title will be revealed soon – so keep your eyes peeled for further announcements.

Thank you all, and best wishes

Keith :-)

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“Hope” and “Lines” Now Available in Paperback!

Something disconcerting happened to me this week (and I don’t mean the usual) …

Quite by chance, I found a Seller retailing print versions of “Killing Hope” on all of the Amazon sites worldwide – and without my permission. Not just one copy, but as many as your bank balance would allow – on a Print-On-Demand basis through Amazon’s CreateSpace in-house publishing service for Indie Authors.

As you can imagine, I was horrified to discover this unauthorized activity.

Hope” has only ever been available in e-book format for the Kindle. Never in print. So this wasn’t simply a matter of a Seller selling on a used print copy they’d bought. Oh no. To use Amazon’s CreateSpace Print-On-Demand, they would have had to download a digital copy to their Kindle or Kindle App, ripped it to their computer and then uploaded it as a Word Doc to CreateSpace through their own Amazon Seller account. Then, 5-7 days later, it appeared as a paperback version across the globe. No cross-checking to see if it was my account selling it, and no royalties for Mr. Houghton, thank you very much.

This Seller hadn’t sought my permission to retail my work. Their actions were infringing international copyright laws and violating Amazon’s own T&C on Sellers retailing copyright protected material. In other words, their activity was despicable and immoral.

What was even worse was the fact they’d copied-and-pasted the Book Description without keeping the layout – which meant it was all in one messy paragraph across the Book Page. My book image had been copied too, with an inferior dpi version on show. But worst of all was the book’s interior. The Seller had uploaded the ripped Word Doc still in the Kindle format – which happens to be nothing like a print book! The result was a two-inch column of continuous text running down the extreme left of each book page. Urgh! It looked like an amateurish disaster … and it had me as the credited author!

After picking myself up off the floor, I immediately contacted Amazon and underwent the long and arduous process of submitting ‘Copyright Infringement’ forms, one for each of the countries in which Amazon was retailing the unauthorized print book. That meant translating French, Spanish and Italian sites, and then submitting the forms and the required ‘account of why I felt my copyright was being breached’ in each respective language. It was a nightmare and took the best part of a day to complete. Finally, a week later, most of the Amazon marketplaces have either made the book ‘Currently Unavailable’ or removed the offending Page altogether.

To prevent this happening again, I have had no alternative but to upload my own print versions of “Hope” and “Lines” to Amazon using their CreateSpace POD service. This has involved completely reformatting both books and designing book jackets from scratch. It has taken me away from writing Book #3 for a full week – and all because somebody in India (yes, the Seller was located somewhere in the subcontinent) had the gall to rip off my hard work for their own financial gain.

Now I know how all those struggling music artists feel when they have their music ripped by so-called ‘fans’ using internet file-sharing sites!

The good news is, both “Killing Hope” and “Crossing Lines” are now available in print editions from Amazon. Both books are in a 5″ x 8″ paperback format and are retailing at the lowest price possible to allow me to make a very small profit after CreateSpace have taken their princely printing costs.

So … if you’re a major Gabe Quinn junkie and you’d love a pair of big fancy bookends for your mantelpiece, now’s your chance! … because you never know, if I get picked up by a publisher in the future (and their editors are let loose), these First Editions may just become collectables and maybe even worth slightly more than you paid for them!

Killing Hope on Amazon US  |  Crossing Lines on Amazon US

Killing Hope on Amazon UK  |  Crossing Lines on Amazon UK

Thanks for reading! … and should you ever come across any of my books being sold en masse without being linked directly to my Seller Account … CALL ME!!!

All Best Until Next Time!

Keith :-)

 

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Your Name as a Character in Gabe Quinn #3 …

Coming up with character names can be a little tricky. Sometimes it can stop me in my writing tracks, while I debate the pros and cons of certain name combinations. Several factors must be entered into the equation before I settle on one:

Does the name feel right for the part?
Does the name have gravitas?
Is the surname indigenous to the location?
Does the first name reflect their character?
Does it flow off the tongue?

I may not always get it right, but a lot of thought goes into even this small detail.

And this is where you can help.

Gabe Quinn #3 will be out in 2013. It’s my plan to use one of my subscriber’s real names as a character in the next instalment. Of course, the fictional character won’t bear any resemblance to the real one! They could be a goodie, a baddie or someone who just gets in Quinn’s way. Would you like to take part?

One lucky (or unlucky) name will be drawn at random from my list of subscribers. All you need to do is let me know if you want to opt out of the draw – by sending me a quick email to contact@keithhoughton.com with the word ‘no‘ in the subject line – otherwise your name will be entered automatically. The winner will be notified by email sometime in the New Year and then, if they’re good to go, I’ll be using their name in the next Gabe Quinn Thriller, with a thank you in the book’s Acknowledgements.

In the meantime, don’t forget to pick up “Crossing Lines” – the second Gabe Quinn instalment, if you haven’t already done so.

All the Best to you and yours for the Holiday Season!

Keith =)

 

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“Crossing Lines” the NEW Gabe Quinn Thriller OUT NOW!

It’s here!

I am pleased to announce that “Crossing Lines” – the long-awaited Gabe Quinn Thriller #2 – is now available to download on Kindle and Kindle Apps for smart phones and tablets:

From Amazon.com – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AAMO9UU

From Amazon.co.uk – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00AAMO9UU

Once read, I’d be grateful for your feedback (both good and bad) so that I can work towards improving Gabe Quinn Thriller #3.

Email your thoughts to contact@keithhoughton.com

In the meantime, Thanks for all your support and Happy Reading !!!!

 

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“Crossing Lines” – Gabe Quinn Thriller #2 – The Lowdown

It’s been a long, hard slog penning the sequel to ‘Killing Hope’ – after the first book burst onto the scene back in January – but I’m happy to report that the toil is almost over. The new book – “Crossing Lines” – is in its final stages (in other words, I’m close to finishing the first draft) and, all being well, it should be available on Kindle in the next month or two, depending on a million variables, including writer’s cramp!

“Crossing Lines”Q & A

‘Killing Hope’ opened with a homicide investigation already in full flow, effectively throwing us in at the deep end. What’s the score this time round?

“Crossing Lines” continues Gabe’s story in the aftermath of the first book, following his tumultuous life in the wake of the devastating events played out at the close of ‘Killing Hope’. As with the first book, it opens with a bizarre murder and poses questions right from the start.

‘Killing Hope’ was based a year after the murder of Gabe’s wife. Emotionally, he was still raw and it showed. When is the sequel set?

“Crossing Lines” catches up with the dogged detective seven months later. In the interim, Gabe has shored up his emotional defenses and removed himself from the fray. In many ways he’s patched up his old wounds and is physically in better shape than he has been for years. Mentally, however, he’s battened down the hatches while he continues his personal crusade to catch or kill the two serial killers responsible for wrecking his life: The Maestro and The Undertaker.

‘Killing Hope’ was divided between California and Nevada. Where is this one set?

“Crossing Lines” features two main locations: Florida and California, and is split equally between the two. As with the first book, there are lots of juicy locations, described in Technicolor detail.

‘Killing Hope’ had a plethora of characters. Will we see the return of some old favorites?

“Crossing Lines” has a solid crew, containing some old faces and some new. The book introduces two new major characters, backed by a strong supporting cast, which help flesh out Gabe’s reality.

‘Killing Hope’ focused in the main on the pursuit of the psychic serial killer known as The Undertaker. Who is the main baddie in the new book?

“Crossing Lines” sees Gabe cast into the lion’s den as he does battle with his nemesis, The Maestro. It promises to be the showdown of all time.

‘Killing Hope’ was as much an emotional roller-coaster ride as it was a zigzagging hunt for a killer. Is the sequel set up the same way?

“Crossing Lines” contains just as many twists and turns as the original. To some extent (given that Gabe has learned to bottle his emotions better), it is more action-driven than emotionally-led. This gives the sequel another dimension and makes for an edge-of-the-seat thrill ride that is, in some ways, an improvement on the original.

As the author, how do you feel about penning Gabe Quinn part two?

All things considered, I’m happy with the way in which “Crossing Lines” has shaped up. At first it was a struggle, getting to grips with Gabe anew, but now that I’ve given him a new lease of life, I feel it’s turned out better than expected. The sequel is an altogether different read than the first, but just as punchy and just as ‘page-turnable’. It gave me the chance to explore certain settings and to see what would happen if I pushed characters to cross lines – hence the title. Do I think it’s better than ‘Killing Hope’? Well, that’s like asking a father who of his two children he loves the most!

Watch out for “Crossing Lines” coming to a Kindle near you soon!

 

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Introducing – Author Interviews

Some time ago, I set about adding Author Interviews to the keithhoughton.com website – partly to give new and emerging Indie Authors a voice for their fans, but mostly to introduce them to you, my own readership.

Although there are just a handful at the moment, I’m hoping that the number of participating authors will contrinue to grow over the coming months and years, as new voices enter the stage.

In the meantime, please check out their interviews when you have a moment. You never know, you may learn something interesting about one of your favourite Indie Authors.

You can read all the interviews here >>>

If you know of any aspiring authors who would like to participate, please ask them to drop me a line to contact@keithhoughton.com

Thanks … and happy reading!

 

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An Englishman in Cebu

On returning from a typhoon trip to the Philippines to visit family I am struck with the deafening realisation that England has become deathly quiet in my absence. The streets are empty, the pavements spacious and the verges clutter-free. A warm sun shines happily from a perfect Spring sky. There could be a zombie uprising round the corner, but I’m too jetlagged to go take a look. This is not the England I left behind just a few weeks ago. That England was hectic, with traffic-crammed roads and a pace of life so fast it made Usain Bolt look pedestrian.

Where are all the jostling jeepneys, the manic motorbikes and the hoots of horns? Where are the mango trees, the crispy dogs and all the smiling people?

Blink twice and take a deep breath. This is not the Philippines. Jetlag plays havoc with the senses. My consciousness is stretched around half the planet while my circadian system is wondering why I’m eating an evening meal at two in the morning. The only thing worse about travelling 7000 miles one-way, crossing 19 countries and passing through 8 time zones is the wearying flights. I am not one of those people who can cheerfully sleep on board a plane, curled like a baby around the armrest, with those fashionable eye masks and matching flight socks making me look like a Halloween reject. 48 hours without sleep is still a bad movie.

Blink. Blink again. And breathe.

Two weeks back, heading for Cebu at the heart of the Philippines, I didn’t know what to expect. In fact, I make a point of not expecting – that way I am rarely disappointed. Until my daughter had moved out there a year ago with my twin granddaughters, the Philippines had never really factored in my everyday life. I knew where it was – out in Asia on the Ring of Fire, teetering on the Pacific rim. Knew there were over 100 million Filipinos and Filipinas in a country whose dominant religion was Catholic. Knew that English was widely spoken and that I had to grin and bear umpteen vaccinations before being given the green light to go.

What I didn’t know was how much I didn’t know.

The cultural diversity smacked me in the face like a custard pie. From the moment we touched down at Mactan airport to the second we took off on a bustling ride through the busy Mandaue streets and on into heaving Cebu City. No hiding it. No trying to. Five-star hotels sitting shoulder to shoulder with shanty dwellings. Americanised shopping malls with more eateries than you could shake a French stick at, while homeless children begged for food outside. Flash sports cars being overtaken by rusty pedal cabs.

But after a few hours, the eye-battering, brain-numbing culture shock begins to ebb. You start getting used to the jumble of clashing styles. The westernised veil is drawn back. You start to see a societal structure supporting the shambolic surface. One that seems utterly alien, but somehow works.

For many, life here is without frills and even tough compared to my English homeland. But people seem happier here than back home. There is a stronger sense of community; something we have lost in the West in favour of wealth and status. This is how we used to live, before technology and Thatcherism blinkered us. Filipino families support each other. They invest their energies into their neighbourhoods. Strangers are generous with their smiles. They are genuinely happy to help. Suddenly, these pleasant people make my fellow Englishmen seem barbaric, shallow. People cook on the roadside, but it’s okay. Punters push Ray Ban fakes at the traffic lights, but it’s okay. There are block after block of street vendors feeding workers and commuters from corrugated iron facades, all across this crowded city, but it’s okay. Overflowing and garish tricabs transport locals, while air-conditioned taxis ferry tourists in fragranced cocoons, but it’s okay. It’s a mishmash of a place where the West crashes headlong into the East, and it’s all okay – from the toothless guys comparing cockerels outside McDonalds to the swanky Ford dealership rising amidst tin-roofed shacks, the Philippines is a reminder of how we used to be before everything went wrong, and what price we are still paying for our precious progress.

All at once, little Britain seems spacious, tidy. A big country on a small island, with structure and organisation. Where freedom is a liberty financially gifted by the State and poverty means having last year’s flat screen TV. But something is missing. Something we may never have again. It’s all very quiet. Too quiet. I think I can sense that zombie uprising just around the corner …

 

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How The Fonz and my Granddaughters Saved the Planet

“By the time I realised my father was right, I had a son telling me I was wrong.”
Henry Winkler

Every generation thinks it knows better than the last.
We thought it ourselves.
And live to hear it echoed by our kids.

It’s an enduring perception; thinking we know better than those who raised us.
Hardwired into the brain from birth and a thousand ancestors who never got to make it to a ripe old age.

It’s not their fault.

Just like our parents before us, we can blame the decline in society, bad parenting and even the TV. But when every negative influence is stripped away, all that is left is their primeval programming.

Inherited from us.

When I was young, I knew The Fonz as the happy-go-lucky rebel in the TV show Happy Days. Week in week out, the leather-jacketed Fonzie found every cool way he could to buck the system and show those old fuddy-duddy grown-ups that youth was king. In many ways, The Fonz was the voice of a generation. A social hero. The epitome of the youth-knows-best attitude – characterised throughout the ages by one incarnation of The Fonz or another.

Every generation has its own Fonzie voice. But essentially they all speak the same words. They all know best and they all want to reach the winning line first, knowing that those who have already passed it are indeed past it.

Despite their recklessness, they believe in the future. Their future. Very likely not the future we had in mind. But they know best. The future is theirs, remember. Not ours.

It’s frightening, letting go.

But there is hope.

I have seen it sparkling in the inquisitive eyes of my granddaughters.

Today, The Fonz – otherwise known as Henry Winkler – is a founding member of The Children’s Action Network and a voice for children with learning disabilities, especially those with dyslexia. Henry is dyslexic. So, too, was The Fonz. But it stopped neither from believing they could make a difference. Henry works with kids because he knows they are our future. To paraphrase Linda Creed’s timeless words, he believes that if we teach them well they will lead the way.

I can’t help admiring the man. The Fonz has come of age.

Now that my own children have reached the point where they know best, it’s tempting to think that the arrogance of youth will bring about the end of the world. That all those indomitable Fonzies will scupper society and plunge us back into the Dark Ages.

But then I have to remember that I am victim of the age-old dichotomy between adult mind and child brain. That my parents thought exactly the same way at my age. And that the only thing lost is our own youth.

The Fonz and my granddaughters have shown me the way.

Of course our kids will make mistakes. We did. Of course they’ll damage the planet. We did. But hopefully they’ll learn from their lessons and become better Human Beings, who will pass on their own words of wisdom to their kids and so on and so forth, generation after generation, just like we did.

Ironically, they too will go unheard.

In my book ‘Killing Hope’ the future seems lost with the death of a child. And indeed it is. For children are our future. In every sense. They are the candles lighting the way into tomorrow. Just like Mr Winkler, we should protect those flames and nurture them into blazing fires.

So next time I draw a big sigh when my son or daughter corrects me, or points out ‘that’s not how it is these days’ I’ll make a point of picturing a grown-up Fonzie, surrounded by happy children, with his big thumbs turned skywards and that crazy confident ‘trust me, I know what I’m doing’ grin creasing his joyful face.

I trust the Fonzies and my granddaughters to do a good job.
To become responsible custodians of the planet.
Their future is ours.

You never know, they may do a better job of it than us!

“Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.”
Linda Creed

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