Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Great Unread Classic - Hollywood Shakedown

I cannot complain about the first eight months of Green Wizard. 

After a bloody scary start (the first three months were a real bollock tightener), things have picked up nicely.

1) The Indie Catalogue has reached about 5000 people, I think (using a rough calculation).

2) Ultra-Violence sells plenty each month and is getting a wider readership than its target audience.

3) Carla is fast becoming my best reviewed title and is selling particularly well in the United States and amongst women. They all seem to fall in love with John Dexter, the most unlikely hero you'll come across.

4) The Ritual is possibly too long for 2012 and is going to be given away on PDF to ANYONE who attends my great friend Ngaire's Christmas giveaway.

5) Kid "not as good as the rest" Atomic is still on the cold list. Sorry Ricky, Kevin and Rachel. I luv ya...

6) The Illustrated Woman has made a promising start and will come good before Christmas. It's dirt cheap on Kindle and it's £5.39 in the UK and $8.99 in the US which is well cheap for an Indie paperback.

However, Hollywood Shakedown, my first fiction novel,  just doesnt sell at all. 

I can count on the fingers of one hand the people who have read it. 

I can name eight of them!!

Yet, look at these reviews.

This is from my top friend Clive La Court. He's a three book a week man currently working his way through the works of Shakespeare. He's no mug and no sycophant either. If he thinks something is poor, he will tell you - diplomatically maybe, but he will tell you. If it hurts, that's your problem. 

He didn't like The Ritual much, told me that the second person omniescent style of Ultra Violence gave him a headache, and hasn't read Kid Atomic. Told me all this to my face.

Yet he loved Carla and told me to fold Green Wizard and send it to a publisher. 

It was his idea for me to write a fiction novel and following his suggestion, I wrote Hollywood Shakedown. Here's what he wrote.


Oh Mr M, Lordy Lordy

What a great novel, a really, really wonderful read. Top $. Top bloody $$$ What must my new neighbour be thinking though? I was out the back yesterday and today with endless pots of tea, laughing my head off at times. Totally absorbed. What happened to this afternoon? It was 1pm and I sat down to finish HS; then I do, and it’s 3.30pm!!! A time warp. I was in LA. Poor Luccas needs his walk my friend.

I really enjoyed reading HS so much. That’s my kind of book. Great story, great characters. And beautifully written. But then that’s me and a million other folk out there. And you nailed the ending Mr M, you nailed it. I’m so glad you’ve decided to give yourself some time to think about how TIW should finish. We’ve said it so many times: ‘a good ending is hard to come by’. But you did it with both HS and Carla. You can do it again with TIW.


Mt T would have been proud of you.

Many thanks Mr M. You really are a talented writer my friend.

Mr T is Jim Thompson, the great fifties noir writer, who we both sort of hero worship. Having your friends and family read your work is nerve wracking. 

I'd rather have a critic slaughter my work than a friend think my work is average, so when Clive wrote this, I was relieved. 

The book was written in the winter of 2009 and 2010 just after I'd been dumped by my then girlfriend. She lived in Tulsa, in the United States, and became the inspiration for Monique, the gorgeous, feckless, slightly slappy, dipsomaniac, and generally misunderstood MILF symbol who is one of the main characters in the book. 

That winter was a nippy bastard and I wrote the book wearing fingerless gloves and an Inuit hunting cap with the dangly ear bits. 

I had never written a novel before. 

It was inspired by my friend in Houston, Paul Vani, with this e-mail sent on the 23rd of November 2009, nearly three years ago.


Ok, I finally purchased a new laptop. A little earlier than I could afford but it isn't going to bury me in mountain of debt. I will appeal to you consistent encouragement over the last several years by challenging you to a week long write off to help get me back in the groove...
The deadline will be this Sunday. There are no length restrictions, it could be a haiku... it should not in other words stop you from travelling to beautiful R'dale.
The constraints are as follows... It must be set in Los Angeles, it must be about someone leaving, Goats Head Soupand Mrs. Dalloway must at some point be considered by a character. Good Luck!

I wrote the thousand word short story, which became the first chapter of Hollywood after many, many revisions. 

Like a literary Forrest Gump, I started writing. And writing. And writing. And eight months later  I stopped.

It was edited and proofread chapter by chapter by Kelly "Heroine" Sherwood, who you can find on my timeline. She's a fantastic friend of mine and a massive supporter of Hollywood Shakedown. 

She thinks I should shut down GW and send THIS to a publisher. (Publishers are so passe though. So 1950's :-)  )

Her husband Seth, when everyone was going on about how good Carla was, sat there opposite me in his lovely Kent house next to fig trees and a vast orchard, peered over his fashionable Buddy Hollys and said point blank that Carla isn't a patch on Hollywood Shakedown.

One of my best friends, Roy Sherwood, Kelly's brother, read Hollywood on her recommendation without me knowing and finished it. This is a man who puts in sixty hour weeks and doesn't waste his time for a single second. "I can't believe Baz wrote this!" He said.

Caz Hall, one of my oldest friends here and someone whose judgement I value rates Hollywood higher than Carla. And yet she wrote the back recommendation on the paperback edition of Carla.

My American friends like the book. 

My editor, Mary Ann Bernal, thought it was a great story, though cursed me for the formatting errors and the naive stuff Kelly and I came up with in those early days. 

And I wrote the majority of it on Word 2003. She even had to send out to a brilliant Word guru (the fantastic Stephanie Matulich) to sort out the weird formatting errors and coding.  

K-Trina Meador, writer of Journey into Freedom, and the reviewer for the Cross Plains Examiner in Texas, thinks I should unpublish it and rewrite using American English, then send it to a publisher.

(I'm not interested in publishers though. Lots of reasons. Most of them beginning with C and ending in S.)

It wasn't all good though. As I wrote on The Cauldron before that became an interview blog, Hollywood was savaged by a friend of Kelly's named Ellie. 

A hooligan gang couldn't have put the boot in more throroughly. I nearly bled to death on the station concourse. My ears had popped. My teeth were lost. My eyes were cloaked in bruises. 

Fifteen minutes of slaughter. Have you ever had a book criticised like that? It isn't nice. It isn't for babies. 

Yet I asked one question. Did you finish the book? The question all writers want answering in the positive. 

The answer was yes. That will do me.

My opinion? Carla shades it. A better book. Tighter, more emotional and an ending noone ever forgets. I think Hollywood is better written though and a load funnier...*

You would think that I'd be laughing all the way to the bank with a book as good as this, yet I've sold eighteen copies. Including Kindle. And its on KD Prime for free.

Eighteen copies.

Say what!

Eighteen copies.

Either we're wrong, or the market is wrong. 

The two sides of the equation don't match up.

If it has a weakness, it is genre. Simply put, it doesn't have one and that could be fatal in an Indielit world obsessed with stratification, simplification, identification and categories. 

("I write YA." "Me too!" "Awesome, I write Paranormal Erotica." "OMG, so do I" "Nope. Historical Romance with an Alien twist for me, mofo!")

Me? I write fiction novels.

So if you fancy a fun fiction novel which people REALLY LIKE - I mean READERS, not AUTHORS - why not have a bash? Its a nice looking paperback too with a funky, art-deco Dark Dawn Creations Cover and its available for the same price as a first time author's book in a Barnes and Noble/Waterstones/WH Smiths. With free delivery. 

It's available at Amazon on Kindle and Paperback.


*The last two hundred pages of The Ritual p**s all over both of them for writing, but no one ever gets that far. Now I know why King and Straub stopped writing the horror blockbuster!!


  1. Hollywood Shakedown would do well on the big sceen - methinks a pitch to Hollywood is in the cards!

  2. Hollywood Shakedown is on my reading list ... lovely, lively prose Wiz ... :) n x

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