The Five Projects / Monday, 16th September, 2019

How one man spins a daft number of plates and only breaks himself

This is an idea I got from Warren Ellis’s Orbital Operations that he’s been running for a while. He’s a genius, I’m not, but let’s see how this works as a trial run for 12 weeks. If it’s going well, then I’ll keep going. And how’s this for size?


Been a strange week, mainly due to either having a bug or an allergic reaction to an espresso coffee last Saturday. Yes, you read that right — if I have an espresso-based coffee, e.g. an Americano or a Latte or a Capuccino, it floors me the next day. Inflamed sinuses and pain. And then it weakens my immune system so I am susceptible to bugs. Filter and Cafetiere are both fine (DO NOT MENTION INSTANT COFFEE TO ME), so I’m kicking coffee for a bit and relying on tea.

At the moment, I’m being a stupid bastard and juggling five projects at the same time. Part of the difficulty is breaking a new series next year, having another deal for that timeframe, which leaves me open this year to only releasing Fenchurch 6. But here’s what’s on my docket:

Project 1. My first FBI thriller (still untitled, but that’ll come soon along with the cover), but that’s done now, so it’s four.

Project 2. The second FBI thriller (again, still untitled) is due out in May next year and I’ve got to deliver by December this year, but I’ve got an incredibly detailed and tight outline. I aim to write this when I get back from a research trip to Seattle in a few weeks.

Project 3. The Black Isle, the third Craig Hunter novel, due in 1st December. On preorder now! This is my focus this week, getting the development edits done. I stupidly got four reader reports and a line edit done at the same time. And it’s due to the copy editor Monday 23rd. I will never learn.

Project 4. Codename BIGTIME. An unannounced novel set in the south of England, potentially book one in a series, but potentially not. I’m really happy with it, though. First draft done in three weeks, minor development edits, then a read-edit in three days (which might contribute to getting this bug). It’s with my editor, so I don’t have anything to do until tomorrow.

Project 5. Codename CODEPENDENT. This is a co-writing book with another author, and I did a good bit of work on it this week, but it’s hurting my brain so I’ve pushed that back a bit. It’s really good, though, and I’m sure you’ll love it when it’s actually a real thing.

And there’s the third FBI thriller, which I’ve given a crappy synopsis for and which needs reworking, but that’s a 2020 project. God, writing that year down is frightening.

When I was down in London week before last, I worked on a pitch for something else, called WORST ENEMY, which would be project six, but I’ll kick that into the long grass for now. It was a PI novel set in Seattle, now it’s a serial killer one set in London. But I really don’t need any more projects!

Speaking of which, I have delivered pitches for sequels to Project BIGTIME and a seventh Fenchurch, so just watch this space.

Every year, there’s a point where I get absolutely wiped out by my writing schedule and you can see why.

Who are you and why am I here?

I’m Ed James, a crime author from Scotland. I write books that are dark and funny, set in Scotland, London and soon in the Pacific Northwest. This is my weekly newsletter.


I heartily recommend 19-2 on Amazon Video, a French-Canadian cop drama. The first two seasons are fantastic, tonally similar to the Wire. I personally think season 3 went off the boil, for what it’s worth.

Oh, and watch “Mommy dead and dearest” on Now TV, a chilling true-crime HBO documentary on Now TV (presumably Sky’s online malarkey too). Actually, chilling doesn’t do it justice.

Reading-wise, I finished a book on the history of quantum theory, What is Real? by Adam Becker. Fascinating exploration of the characters and egos, but I still couldn’t tell you what quantum really is.

Currently, reading Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough, and god it’s really bloody good.

Oh and go buy Violet by SJI Holliday, just out this week. Fantastic novel, dark and astonishing.


Two things to tickle your fancy this week.

The Black Isle, the third Craig Hunter book, is on pre-order now! UK Link | RoW link

The first five Fenchurch books are on a £1 deal (or $1 or even €1) this month! UK link

That’s all from me this week. Hope this was interesting. Do let me know what you thought and what else you’d like to know.

— Ed

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