Friday, February 26, 2010


It was only yesterday that I realized that there were in fact fewer days to look forward to this month than usual. Coupled with my intent to post a new blog at least once every month, I thought I better get going. Is it only me, or do the days and weeks and months disappear ever faster as we grow older? All I know is that we are close to the end of February, and there seems to have been so many projects I wanted to have finished by now, and yet they remain incomplete or undone.

As you probably know, the final copy-edit of ‘Saints of New York’ was completed a week or so ago. The book is now in production, and I hope to see bound proofs sometime in the next month or so. I imagine – if past experience is anything to go by – that a handful of them will wind up on e-bay!

I have completed ‘Bad Signs’, and this is going to be released on June 16th 2011.

Beyond that, we are currently in the process of negotiating a new publishing contract with Orion. I hope to have that resolved satisfactorily in the next month or so, and as soon as I know the result of that I’ll let you know.

Travel-wise, I am heading up to Glasgow for the Scottish Association of Writers Annual Conference over the 5th to the 7th of March. I hope to catch up with my great friend Michael Malone, he of the wonderfully generous reviews, and a great writer who I hope to see published this year. Returning on the 7th, I have a day’s leeway, and then I am off to the Emirates International Festival of Literature in Dubai from the 9th to the 14th. I am in Amsterdam for promotional reasons at the end of the month, just for a couple of days to conduct newspaper interviews etc. April sees me in Lichfield, York and London, May in the Midlands, Lincoln, Allestree in Derby and then down in Middlesex at Hampton Library. June is Sussex and Dunstable, and then in July I am heading back to the US to do a short tour of the north-east, including New York, Boston and Connecticut. Later in the year we did intend to undertake a major assault on the West Coast, hoping to visit San Diego, Sacramento, L.A. and San Francisco amongst others, but we are leaving that for another year. I will attend Bouchercon, of course, in San Francisco in October, but a more major tour of the west will have to wait for 2011 or 2012.

I have started another book, as yet untitled, but due to the fact that I do not have to deliver it until the middle of 2011…well, let’s say that there’s a little more of a relaxed schedule around this one. I worked so much last year that I sort of ended up a year head of schedule, and it is this leeway – time-wise – that has given me the opportunity to start playing music again.

On this front, I have been working hard. There is a phenomenon so widely noticeable in life, and it seems to be that whatever it is that you direct your attention towards, well you wind up with more of it. I was in London recently at my publishers, and I happened to notice a book on the shelf there. Entitled ‘My Bass and Other Animals’, it was the autobiography of Guy Pratt, a professional bassist who played with Pink Floyd and other bands of spectacular repute over many years. The name rang a bell, and it was about six or seven pages in that I realized why. He and I attended the same school, Kingham Hill in Oxford, a school that was initially established by the Barings-Young family to cater to ‘orphaned or wayward boys’. Originally, any boys attending the school would stay there until the age of seventeen, and then they would be shipped out to the Barings-Young Farm in Canada to learn ‘life skills’. Seems that they stopped doing this before I attended, because I wasn’t shipped out to Canada, but it was fascinating to me that someone from my school would also have his work published by the same company. Anyway, I lent the book to my bass player, Chris Malin (another truly extraordinary musician who has toured with some great bands), and he loved it too. Guy Pratt is not only a great musician, but also a stand-up comedian and a very funny man, and I highly recommend the book.

Otherwise, I was fortunate enough to run into a man called Steve ‘Doc’ Yankee who hails out of East Lansing, Michigan. Doc is a phenomenal pianist and keyboard player, again a professional who tours with blues musicians et al. He has introduced me to people such as Bryan Lee, an amazing blind guitarist, and a package of blues CDs are winging their way from Michigan to Birmingham even as we speak. I have sent Doc some of my books, and will continue to send more, and this is a working arrangement that seems to be working very well!

So, we have indeed started on the music front. Meetings have occurred, discussions have taken place, the first half of a set list has been agreed upon, and work is due to begin on the real business of getting a band into pubs and clubs. I wouldn’t imagine we’ll be out there for three or four months yet, but it is something I am every much looking forward to. There will, of course, be an open invitation to all of you to come and see me make a fool of myself in public, but I spend so much of my time doing that anyway that it really doesn’t hurt to do it to a musical backing as well!

So this is where I am, and what I have been up to. I trust you have all been well, and that life goes as you wish. I have recently begun to accept that the standards I set for myself are – realistically – utterly unattainable, and this is a two-edged sword. While this attitude never lets me rest on my laurels, and while this gives me the drive to go on working harder and harder to accomplish what I want to accomplish, it also means that I never really allow myself to enjoy those things that have been done well.

I think I kind of prefer it that way, to tell you the truth.

Until we speak again, my very best wishes, as always,



Michael Malone said...

Bless your wee cotton socks for such a generous mention, Roger. Interesting post, by the way with some detail we should discuss over a bottle of whisky sometime.

R J Ellory said...

We will most definitely do that, my friend. Most definitely. Good to hear from you. Hope all's well.

Anonymous said...

Unable to give you a heart. so have a reply to push up your post. ........................................