Success

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The good news is that my first published novel, Due Diligence is doing rather well. Much better than I could have reasonably hoped, in fact. Better news is that the second Jenny Parker novel, Proceeds of Crime, is also selling well because people like Due Diligence so much they’re buying the sequel. Even better news is that the third book, Limited Liability, is almost ready to publish. So how did I arrive at this happy situation? First of all, I write. And write and write. Anything, everything. Every day. I find it essential to have a daily writing habit. Waiting to free up hours of quiet undisturbed writing time doesn’t work for me. It never happens. I find that if I write an hour a day I can complete a novel in a year. Secondly, I write with a great deal of freedom. I don’t revise or edit. I don’t …

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Out of Action

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I’ve been a bit quiet lately. Not only on the blogging front but also in various other regards. I’ve not been well. I won’t go into details but it’s a condition that has been very uncomfortable and energy sapping. Now, I’m two weeks onto recovery from an operation to make me better. The surgeon promised me four weeks of agony. Those were his exact words. I paid an extra consultancy fee to have him repeat them and he did. Nevertheless, I proceeded with the surgery even though I felt a great deal of apprehension. So far, his words ring true. After two weeks I’m getting out of the agony stage and into the severe discomfort zone.   His four week promise makes me feel like I’m ahead of the game. Not much writing gets done when I’m in pain. The new Jenny Parker novel, Limited Liability, was put to bed beforehand and the fourth novel, Critical …

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Getting Involved

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  Is this your reaction to injustice?   If you’re anything like me you’re constantly hearing about situations that make you mad. The news is full of injustices and bad behaviour. The kind of things that make you want to do something about them. If you’re anything like me, you spend a few minutes being indignant then fail to follow through with anything concrete. Oh, now and again I might sign a petition but only if it’s emailed to me and all I have to do is click on the link. Actually doing something would involve time and money and might also include personal risk. Most of us don’t feel that we’re in a position to commit to that extent, we have other priorities that take precedence. We’ve got work to do, families to feed, a living to earn, children to play with, television to watch, books to read. Don’t …

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Just Because It’s Fiction Doesn’t Mean It’s Not True

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They say that truth is stranger than fiction. Someone (probably Mark Twain) said that the difference between fiction and non-fiction is that fiction has to make sense. Some of you will have read a previous post http://djharrison99.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/money-laundering-regulations.html where Jenny Parker tried to pay cash into a bank account and got herself into difficulties. A good friend of mine, and someone who has certainly read Due Diligence, fell into the same trap very recently. My friend is about to embark on an exciting business venture and is setting up a new company. One of the investors gave him a few thousand pounds in cash because he didn’t have the bank account details. On attempting to pay this into his account, my friend was taken aside, put in an interrogation room, visited and questioned by various people then told that the bank wouldn’t accept the money. He asked them if they would take a …

djharrison99Just Because It’s Fiction Doesn’t Mean It’s Not True

Ukraine

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As I write, all hell is about to break loose in Ukraine. Part of the second Jenny Parker novel, Proceeds of Crime, is set in Ukraine and I have a lot of sympathy for the plight of the Ukrainian people. In the book, Jenny befriends a Ukrainian girl who has found a husband in the UK through a ‘Romance Tour’ or ‘find a bride service’. Her twin sister hasn’t been so lucky, though. She’s gone missing after a similar attempt to get to the prosperous West. The situation highlights the disparity in wealth between the Ukraine and the UK. The Ukrainians are often so desperately poor that they will do anything to get to the UK. And I mean anything. The recent events, the protests in Kiev, the shootings and the ousting of the Russian-friendly president are all a result of the Ukrainians being desperate to improve their economic situation. …

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Money Laundering Regulations

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Here is another extract from Due Diligence. Have you ever had a similar experience to Jenny? ___________________________________________ As I queue in line at the bank, an officious lady with hair slightly too blonde and lipstick definitely too pink accosts me. She is carrying a clip board and wearing a navy blue uniform with the bank logo on its breast. ‘Can I help you?’ she demands busily. Her manner is brusque and unhelpful, in direct contrast to her words. ‘Oh.’ I am taken aback at first, deep in my own guilty thoughts. Having grabbed the bundle of cash this morning I decide to open a bank account with it during my lunch break, a sole account, one that Tim is unaware of, my account just for me and my future. It seems a safer place to keep the twenty grand and as I stand here excitedly I wish I’d brought it …

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An Offer You Can’t Refuse

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Here is an extract from the beginning of Due Diligence, the first Jenny Parker novel. When you’ve read it, let me know what you think Jenny should have done differently. As I sit on the edge of the giant bed alone at last in the functional tidiness of my Travel Lodge room, the feeling of vague unease I had after first examining Associated Composites’ accounts has grown into a realisation that there is something very wrong. Every attempt I make to get to the bottom of things is met with ill-disguised fudging and at this rate of progress I could be here for a long time. I really do need to get home tomorrow; I’m concerned about what’s happening there. Tim tells me all is well, Toby has been a good boy; he has eaten all his tea and he went to bed at the right time and is sleeping …

djharrison99An Offer You Can’t Refuse

Letting Go

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Letting go can be difficult. But it is the key to happiness. Let me explain what I mean. As we grow up, we get lots of ideas stuck in our heads. These images and voices determine our lives and control our feelings. The biggest influences often contain the word ‘ought.’ Things ought to be better, I ought to have a better life/body/partner/job etc. etc. You get my drift. I’m already thinking this blog ought to be better but what the hell, I’ve started so I’ll persevere a bit longer. Take away the voice that says ‘ought’ and what’s left? A realisation of how things are. Of how I am, of how the world is. And none of those things are the way I planned, expected or desired, maybe. So what do I do? I wish for something better. It’s only natural. If, however, I can let go of all that, …

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Bribery and Corruption

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Jenny Parker is having a hard time. She’s desperate to take her baby son and leave her husband but can’t afford to. In the course of her work as an accountant, she undertakes a due diligence exercise and thinks she has uncovered some irregularities. She voices her suspicions to a colleague but he overrules her. A representative of the company she’s investigating gives her an envelope containing ten thousand pounds in cash. He makes it clear that this is payment for a positive report, which she knows is going to result even if she objects. Whether she takes the money or not, the outcome of the exercise is going to be the same. The money is enough to change her life, to allow her to make a new home for herself and her son. What would you advise Jenny to do? If you were faced with the same circumstances, what …

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Where’s Jenny Parker?

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I believe that setting is important for a novel. It can help add a feeling of authenticity to the story and provide a solid backdrop for the action. As a writer, I can immerse myself more easily in places I know. That’s why Jenny Parker is in the centre of Manchester to begin with, working as an accountant in a modern glass and metal building. Her life is difficult enough as a working mother but further complicated by an affair with her boss, Martin, who’s apartment is conveniently close to their office. This, unfortunately, is as good as it gets for Jenny. Things soon change for the worse. They say that you are never more than a few metres away from a rat. In similar fashion, the nice, comfortable, safe parts of Manchester are very close to the bleak, dangerous ones. And that’s where Jenny soon finds herself, fighting for …

djharrison99Where’s Jenny Parker?