Wednesday, 28 October 2015


Sorry, but I couldn't resist having another blog about the Busman's Holiday in Brighton. Two in rapid succession! A bit like London buses, or in this case Brighton blogs - you wait forever on one coming and then you get two together.
Anyway, as I said before, I'm still sort of at work but in holiday mode, and that chap there featured recently. His name is Alfie Moore and he's a stand up comedian - a change of career following 18 years as a policeman.
Yeah, I know! I just had to go and catch his show when he played the Brighton Dome Studio a few days ago. I wanted a flavour, all be it a comic one, of the British police. My main character in North to South, Polar North, is a cop. A Glaswegian detective who comes to Brighton to assist in the investigation into the mysterious death of his boss's son. People say you should write about what you know, and a lot of the book calls on what I know: Brighton & Hove as a city; the gay community; Scottish mentality; human emotion; phobias and such like. Oh yeah, and a major theme in the book is sex and violence, which is something Jack Brighton knows a little about, if I say so myself. But I don't really know about the police - or at least I didn't before starting the book - beyond what fiction, TV and movies, and the media had told me. I had a concept, but I didn't actually know any cops to check this against. Rather than base the book on these assumptions of what it would be like to work in a police environment, I did a lot of research, delving into Police procedure manuals and reading various articles. I also got in touch with liaison officers from various sections of the police, including a very helpful officer from the Gay Police Association Scotland who reset some of those assumptions, for which I am very grateful. All this was done over the internet from Gozo where I was living at the time. I still hadn't met, or come face to face with an actual cop.
Busman's holiday then. I had to go see Alfie. He was quite funny and I enjoyed his tales from working in the sex offenders unit. And much to my delight Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp was in the audience a few rows behind me. He's the divisional commander for Brighton & Hove, and that role features quite big in the book. I have it occupied by a woman, but it was nice to actually see the man who's job my fictional character plays. He seemed an all right sort. Not sure what he'd make of my book, though. Would a divisional commander read a book where his/her role is featured? Perhaps he could do it on his day off... Now that really would be a busman's holiday.



Well bugger me backwards and call me Jackie - it would appear that Brighton is changing. The city that is, with an enormous phallus erected on the seafront. Very tasteful!
Having a fortnight break for various reasons, I arrived in my spiritual home on Sunday morning after a horrible night flight. Having managed a couple of hours kip, I wandered down to the seafront to take in the ambience. And what did I see? This great big tower sticking up in the air. Massive it is - almost vulgar in it's height. Apparently it's going the be a circular lift with spectacular views at the top. Cutting design and all that sort of stuff, and very in keeping with the Regency seafront - not. I haven't spoken to anyone who approves as yet, but I quite like the artist impression on the website. Change is good, and I think this will be good - when it's finished that is. At the moment it's an eyesore - just like my bathroom which is being gutted out and revamped for my proper return to Brighton in December - another change that I think will be good.
I'm certainly enjoying the stay so far, despite the bathroom work in progress. It's Comedy Festival Fortnight at present, which means some good shows on offer. A culinary tour of the world is being tackled on my part, testing out some new places and returning to old favourites. We've even had lots of sunshine, although all that changed today with more typical October rain falling. Not all change is good.



PictureI'm supposed to be on holiday, but in a way its turning into a busman's holiday, which I suppose was inevitable coming to Brighton.
Well I'm in Hove Actually - my flat being on the Hove side of the border. And if you want to know why the 'Actually' is capitalised then buy my book (J.K.'s book actually) - North to South! It explains it. Mixed amongst a detective yarn, I explain quite a few things about Brighton & Hove, although not as much as originally intended. A whole chapter was dedicated to Brighton & Hove, with a bit of its history and some little snippets of interest as my main character, Polar North goes for a wander. My proof reader was having none of it, though, and said it was irrelevant to the plot with the pace being lost. After some heated discussion I had to agree and the chapter came out with some tweaks elsewhere to cover for what little was actually relevant.
Anyway, about the busman's holiday. I can't stop looking at the places where scenes were set and wondering if I made some mistake. It's fun though and has added to the holiday. Going to The Gingerman for the first time was great - one of Brighton's best restaurants where I set a big scene but oddly have never been to it. The food was as good as I describe, and it was a pleasure to confirm this despite the hefty bill. Other healthier aspects of my busman's holiday have included walking along the prom, which Polar still has to do in the book, from Kemptown, which is the gay area, to Western Lawns in Hove where the body of his boss's son was found. It goes past these fab little beach huts which are just down from my flat. And yes! The sun was shining on Brighton when I had my seafront walk. It's been very pleasant for most of the time during my late October stay. Doubt if the same will be reported when I return permanently in mid December.


Saturday, 17 October 2015


Dylan Sinclair was never going to be an easy character to find an image for on the net. Given his age when I introduce him - just turned 18 is a dangerous one to play with. So I went safe and chose Mark Dalton - an older model who has the same sort of cheeky, happy go lucky expression, but also has the blond blue eyes and very cute look, who can just about pass for...

The English Public Schoolboy
That's how Dylan is introduced as the first character to appear in The Wild Side. He is an English public schoolboy who has just turned eighteen, and doesn't have much a future, given that he's flunked his exams and has no rich parents to help him out. Thankfully his History teacher has an idea which takes Dylan to The Wild Side to play the role of the naughty English public schoolboy at the club . It is the start of an adventure that is the main storyline of the first three books, most of which we see through Dylan's eyes.
Mark Dalton is pictured here and while being much older, has the sort of facial features I describe for Dylan. He's also a lot more muscular than Dylan is when we first meet him, but that changes as the series progresses.
Dylan is a sweet, but also very naughty, lad - who loves sex and life in general. Things always seem to be going against him, but somehow it all gets sorted out. His youth and relative naivety make him adorable, and an easy target for pranks. And then there is the feel good factor that creeps in when things turn from disaster to a happy conclusion.  



I've added Paddy to the site now. Seth Fornea isn't the perfect image for him, but the best I could come up with. Would like to know of any better ideas...

The Enigmatic Slave - 
That's a term I used early on in the series to describe Paddy McGuire. The enigma is that Paddy is a slave at all. He certainly doesn't act like one, or look like one. But Paddy is the ultimate slave, totally devoted to his master, even though he can take on the role of a master himself, with all the skills and demeanour to carry off the role.
Paddy features right from the outset. He's not the first main character that is met, but he makes his appearance fairly early on in the first book, and alongside Dylan, is the star of the story. This is how Paddy is introduced...

He stood on the stage almost in a trance, seemingly oblivious to his audience of four – a thing of beauty being one way to describe him, although devilishly handsome, unbelievably hunky and magnificently masculine, would fit the bill as well.
“His name is Paddy… Paddy McGuire, an Irishman from Dublin,” Sven whispered, answering one of the many questions that was racing through Dylan’s mind.

So Paddy is Irish, and in his late twenties. I have him with dark ginger hair which could arguably be termed auburn. Having pictured him in my mind, it was difficult to find an image that fitted, but I suppose Seth Fornea come closest, with the hair and the facial stubble, and also the chest hair - hence he gets the main shot. In the back story book, 'The Wild Side of Paddy McGuire' I have Paddy in his early twenties, and he is bodily shaved as part of his slave training. The image on the bottom right fitted the bill and was used on the original book cover. But somehow the image in the centre captures Paddy in spirit if not physically correct. But that's the thing about Paddy - he doesn't fit a mould, and as such can be what you want him to physically be: the ultimate slave that only one man could master; a master himself who gets a slave for a toy; the sexiest beast that ever walked though fiction; and by far and away, Jack Brighton's favourite character.



I've decided to add a section to my website where I give some background on the main characters in the books. It will take time to build up, but I've made a start. Not surprisingly, I kick off with the men from The Wild Side, and there can only be one person who gets top billing. Paddy might get more page space, but there is only one Master of The Wild Side, and this is how I describe him...

Master of The Wild Side - 
That's how I think of Angus MacLeod, and how he is referred to in some of the books.
And quite rightly so. Not only is Angus the owner of the club, he is the ultimate master. Not a traditional master, but the one who commands the most respect.
Whilst he is the main character in the series, Angus is something of a mystery, at the outset. He is featured in the first book, 'Welcome to The Wild Side', but we encounter him at first in voice only, at the end of a telephone line. Then his appearance at the end of the book is speech only. I don't describe him - just leave the reader with the clear impression that this is a man who likes to be in control.
He is referred to in the second book, and we get an impression of him through the eyes of his slaves. But it is only at the end of the third book, 'Made for Auction', that Angus is revealed. And from then onwards, he features more and more, taking the starring role in a number of the books. We find him in the present as a very successful businessman. Owner of The Wild Side and a slave training stable in Kent called Bears Den - named after the suburb in Glasgow where Angus grew up.
So he's Scottish, ruggedly handsome - the young Ted Colunga pictured here being how I envisage him, although I described Angus long before I even saw Ted. I give him no age, although by implication he's in his late thirties. The man is highly sexed, big and hirsute, extremely well endowed, dryly funny, and terrifying when genuinely angry.
I have covered some of Angus's back story through a couple of books - the main one being 'The Wild Side of Paddy McGuire' which is set six years in the past and described when Angus met his favourite slave and The Wild Side came into existence. There is also reference to a shady past in Glasgow in 'The Taming of Gangster Gaz' when a debt of honour has to be repaid to Angus's former mentor. One day I'll tell the full story, or at least fill in a lot more details on Angus. That will be 'The Master of The Wild Side', and not a book that can be taken lightly. It has to be the jewel in The Wild Side crown, as Angus deserves nothing less. 


I have never tried this before, but the nice people at Smashwords, or more specifically Mark Coker, suggest that it's a good strategy, so I'm giving it a go. Having finished my draft of North to South, and thought about things for a day or so, I have decided to put the book out on pre-release. It is now available at Smashwords, and will ripple down to Apple, B&N, Kobo etc in the next few days. Amazon only allow for a 90 day pre-release, so I'll place it there early September.
Now I suppose I'd better polish the book, which doesn't sound too difficult given the three month time frame, but it does add a bit of pressure. According to Smashwords it's not a huge problem if the book isn't ready. They automatically move the release date out until the manuscript is uploaded. If I was a buyer, however, I wouldn't be too impressed with repeated postponements, so I'll make sure it's ready and up to scratch.

As you can see I decided to go with J.K. and the West Pier book cover. I would be interested to know if anyone has tried the pre-release strategy and how it went for them. Any other marketing tips would be much appreciated as well. With three months to play with, I might as well throw everything at it.

Jack / J.K.