Saturday, 4 April 2020

EP1: Writing in Lockdown: A Pep Talk and Writing Exercise

I'm finishing up my third week of lockdown with a lot of time on my hands, so I decided to create a Youtube channel. The Productive Writer will have regular videos on writing advice, exercises, and tips to make you a better and more successful writer.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Writing During Lockdown

Hello from lockdown!

No, I'm not locked down in the hypostele hallway of Karnak temple like the photo suggests, I'm locked down in my apartment in Madrid, the hardest-hit city of one of the hardest-hit countries in the world. I'm only going out for essential shopping trips these days. My Easter trip to England has been canceled, as has a planned spring trip to Tunisia.

At least that gives me plenty of time to write. In addition to work for my usual clients, I'm hard at work on the fourth book of my Masked Man of Cairo series, The Case of the Karnak Killer. I should be done with it in a couple of weeks and then it will go into edits. After that I'll finish up the third in the Interzone Mystery series, Flight to Fez. After that I'll be working on a couple of new projects that I'll announce later in April.

My word count has definitely gone up in the last two weeks of total lockdown. Writing is keeping me sane, so I'll just keep doing more and more of it. What are you doing to keep sane?

Stay safe!

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Facing Tough Times? Here are two free ebooks

Stuck at home and need some free reading? We're all bored right now and many of us are taking hard economic hits, so Smashwords has come up with the Authors Give Back program. From now until April 20, heaps of authors are giving away books for deep discounts or free. I've enrolled two of my books, Trench Raiders, a World War One action novel, and The Rat Killer and Other Weird War Tales, a collection of short stories.

While some might think it odd to be promoting war novels at a time like this, I don't feel that way. We are in tough times, to be sure, but the folks in these stories had it tougher. They showed grit, teamwork, and courage, and made it through. We will too.

If my books don't appeal, check out the Smashwords website for heaps of free and cheap ebooks in all genres in the Authors Give Back sale.

Stay healthy, and best of luck to you.

Sunday, 23 February 2020

My next newsletter comes out next week!

What's this place? If you've read The Case of the Shifting Sarcophagus you might recognize it. Read all about this little-known spot in Cairo in my next newsletter, coming out next week. Every issue contains a short story, travel article, and a coupon for a free or discounted book. And even better, I never share your information, because that would be a really lousy way to treat my readers. Click here to subscribe!

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

My Adventure Travel Year: A Look Back And A Look Forward

The Red Pyramid of Dashur.

Is it too late to write a retrospective on on 2019? Yeah, probably, but I've been busy.

It was a pretty solid year for me travel-wise, starting and ending with trips to Egypt to write my Masked Man of Cairo mystery series. I explored the old medieval district of Cairo, hung out with Egyptian and Sudanese friends, and headed to Bahariya Oasis deep in the Western Desert. The second trip, from which I recently returned, took me up the Nile to Luxor, somewhere I hadn't been since 1991. The modern city had grown and so have the ruins! No, there aren't suddenly more ancient temples, but more had been excavated and restored. Funny how even an archaeological site with change with time.

Bas-relief in tomb Luxor

Sandwiched between those two trips was a trip to Fez in Morocco. Readers of this blog will know that I regularly go to Morocco and have a few books set there, but oddly enough until this past year I hadn't been to one of its most famous cities. I stayed in the old medina and spent my days wandering around the labyrinthe of alleys.

Of course I also had my usual stays in Oxford and London for research and catching up with old friends.

The tannery in Fez ha been operating (and stinking) for centuries

So what's on the agenda for 2020? At least one trip to Egypt, perhaps with the goal of seeing the Faiyum region, which I've never visited. I also want to get some new countries under my belt. I've been to 35 countries but not a new one for several years. I'm fixing that by giving a talk at the International Dublin Writers' Festival in June. That's right, a guy named Sean McLachlan has never been to Ireland! Shameful. I'm also considering a trip to Tunisia and maybe even the Sudan. More details when I get them!

Holy man's tomb, Fez

Nobelman's tomb, Luxor

The hypostele hall in Karnak.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Trench Raiders on sale for 99 cents!

As I mentioned in my last post, I will be getting back into my Trench Raiders series of WWI action novels later in the year. I've been away for that series for too long and I've had readers pestering me to continue, so I will. In celebration of that, and for the release of the movie 1917. I'm putting the first Trench Raiders book at 99 cents until the end of the month. You can get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere else ebooks are sold. A blurb is below.

September 1914: The British Expeditionary Force has the Germans on the run, or so they think.

After a month of bitter fighting, the British are battered, exhausted, and down to half their strength, yet they’ve helped save Paris and are pushing toward Berlin. Then the retreating Germans decide to make a stand. Holding a steep slope beside the River Aisne, the entrenched Germans mow down the advancing British with machine gun fire. Soon the British dig in too, and it looks like the war might grind down into deadly stalemate.

Searching through No-Man’s Land in the darkness, Private Timothy Crawford of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry finds a chink in the German armor. But can this lowly private, who spends as much time in the battalion guardhouse as he does on the parade ground, convince his commanding officer to risk everything for a chance to break through?

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

My Writing Year: A Look Back and A Look Forward

Another year is over, and besides my usual trip to North Africa (more on that in my next post) it's time for my annual roundup of writing.

I had a fairly productive year, writing 930,000 words. While this was shy of my goal of one million words, I'm not unhappy because this year 409,000 of those words were published under my own name, more than in many years. I do a lot of ghostwriting, you see, and while I need the income it does cut down on my own work.

Part of the reason my word count under my own name was so high was a collaboration with British Science fiction author David Ryker. We came out with the first two in the Ark Ship series, about a colony ship that leaves a dying Earth only to get into more trouble than it left. It's done very well in sales, thanks in no small part to Ryker's marketing abilities.

I also came out with three books of my own. Three Passports to Trouble is the second in my Interzone Mystery series. This was followed by Emergency Transmission, Book Four of my Toxic World post-apocalyptic series. At the end of the year I came out with The Case of the Golden Greeks, Book Three of my Masked Man of Cairo mystery series.

Hmmm....I sense a trend. Lots of series! I haven't written a standalone novel in a while. Perhaps I'll remedy that in 2020. I have a Western that's been bubbling in the back of my head. I'm also going to write more in each of my series, including Trench Raiders. Yes, I've been letting that one lapse for far too long, and some of you have grumbled about that. Don't worry, you'll be getting more adventures from Company E in the autumn at the latest.

You can keep track of all my work on the right-hand side of my blog, where I'll be regularly updating the progress of each book.

Now I got to get back to work!
Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.