I’m feeling in a grateful sort of mood, so I wanted to say thank you to those people who have taken the risk and bought one or more of my books over the last few years. There’s not that many of you but I am very grateful to you all. It’s a great feeling to know someone is reading your work, and if they enjoy it then the feeling is magnified untold times. Those of you who have put reviews on Amazon or Goodreads or anywhere else, they are much appreciated whether good or bad. And if you’ve read something of mine and haven’t reviewed it, perhaps you would consider doing so? The reviews not only provide wonderful feedback for me but also help other readers decide whether to buy or not.

Thank you also to those Editors who have taken a chance on me – whether in book, magazine or anthology format. As much as I dread waiting for the reply about a submission, it feels great when a story is actually accepted (we won’t talk about the rejections here!).

While I’m busy gushing (!) a quick mention of two “real world” friends, Steve Upham and Tony Longworth. As well as being consistently supportive of my efforts, Steve (publisher with Screaming Dreams and an amazing artist) has both published me and provided fantastic covers for many of my books.  Tony (musician, film music composer and “scary Uncle Tony” to my kids) has known me even longer than Steve and yet still says nice things about both my writing and my music. He has also provided the amazing video trailers for several of my books. Without these two people my books and my marketing efforts (such as they are) would not look anywhere near as good as they do.

I can’t leave this post without a quick mention of my family.

My wife, Cathy, who may not always find my obsession with writing easy to live with but continues to love me and care for me (and no one is more puzzled by this than me!). She’s also a very tough editor when she takes an interest, and my writing is always better afterwards.

My son, Jonathan, who not only uses the fact he’s studying for an English Literature degree to sometimes pick apart my writing, but is also responsible for persuading me out of “retirement” to play guitar again as half of The 1850 Project. We’re still writing and recording almost five years after the original “one-off” project! Recently he has also been putting his design skills to good use as a book cover designer for The Noose Is Waiting. I’m hoping he’ll do more covers in the future.

My daughter, Rhianne, the “baby” of the family who, nevertheless, manages to provide me with more emotional support and understanding than anyone else (I’m sure it’s meant to be the other way round). She also has a natural ability on keyboards that I desperately want her to push on with. She’s already better on them than either me or Jonathan and needs to become part of The 1850 Project as soon as possible.

And so I bring to a close this most sickeningly sweet and emotional post. I will probably regret it in a day or so and it may even be deleted… but for the moment I’ll let it stand.

Thank you.

(Leaves the auditorium to stunned silence from the audience, broken only by an occasional wet explosion as someone with a weaker stomach than most throws up in a bucket helpfully provided by the organisers).