Hello, Dear Reader.
Here's a bit of blurb about me. I've also included some photographs, just for your interest. They can be found on the 'Photos' page by clicking on the link above - feel free to have a browse so you can see the face behind the books. By using the links at the top of this page, you can have a look at not only my published works, but also the novels I am presently working on. Anyway, I hope you enjoy your brief visit to my site, and I look forward to catching up with you somewhere in cyberspace...
You can also find me on Twitter @riceauthor or on facebook
I was born in 1961 in Rhodesia (now called Zimbabwe) to English parents. My father worked for Caltex Oils and my mother for the Rhodesian Government. I spent the majority of my early days at various boarding schools in Rhodesia, before returning to the UK in 1975, where I attended school in Marlborough. Since then I have lived in many different places throughout the world - at present I live amongst the green fields of Wiltshire in the UK.
My favourite passions are, amongst many others, writing and motorcycles, specifically racing motorcycles. I love to go to the nearest track and have at it for the day, as you'll see in some of my photos.
When I was young, I was brought up on books - there wasn't much TV in those days in Africa - and I still think about all the books I read back then: Enid Blyton, Swallows and Amazons, Louis L'Amour, Wilbur Smith, James Herriot, Robert Ruark, Harold Robbins, Clive Cussler and many, many others. I loved reading, devouring everything I could get my hands on. I've also read just about every one of Wilbur Smith's early books, and the same applies to Stephen King - although I have read some of his latest work, too. The 'Dark Tower' series is probably my favourite read of all time. I was also an avid James Herbert fan. RIP, James, and thanks for the great stories - they were part of my early life.
I read quickly and can easily finish an 80,000 word novel in two days, if it engrosses me. That same ability to speed-read causes me quite a few problems with editing my own work. These days I seem to write more than I read, and if I'm not writing then I'm thinking about writing.
I served for 24 years in the British Army and experienced lots of different and interesting things during that time. I had a good time whilst I served, and I gave of my best. Since leaving the forces I have had the opportunity to visit many amazing countries. Amongst others I have been to Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan and quite a few countries in Africa, too. I spent the majority of 2011 in Libya - it was a big year for the people of that country and I was fortunate enough to witness some major events unfolding whilst I was there. Being there when the rebels burst into Gadaffi's compound was quite something else, believe you me!
The experiences I gained on that trip gave me the inspiration for my novel: Tears in Tripoli - A Jake Collins Novel
If I'm to be honest, I'm not really sure why I write. I've dabbled several times along the way, but never seriously. It just comes upon me, the need to write, and suddenly I find myself at the keypad again. I have never really applied myself before as it takes a lot of self-belief, which I didn't have.
However, since I did start applying myself to the art, in 2007, I have become addicted to writing. It is so challenging and also very rewarding. I have spent thousands of hours writing my books and have nothing but respect for those authors who have made a success of their work. I now know exactly how much dedication and hard work it takes just to get a draft copy finished, never mind a highly-polished and ready for publication manuscript.
These days I write because I love doing it. The task is immense, but it is also very challenging and I like a challenge. The other bonus is that since I've been writing I have had the privilege of making many new friends via Twitter and other social media applications. Keeping up to date with their writing and blogs etc is a great way for me to learn about the art.
I consider the last five years to be part of my apprenticeship in the art of writing - I don't think you can ever stop learning in this game. I've made mistakes, I've been naive and I've been far too impatient, which is normal with me. But, I have learned and learned a lot. I put a lot of my learning down to the feedback I have received from critics. Someone once told my that I needed to hone my writing 'blade' in the white heat of my critics' fire - never a truer word said. I take heed of every word they say. Some of those words stay with me daily. I'm also thoroughly determined, obsessed even, to get this right. The feeling one gets upon receiving a good review is what makes all of this worthwhile - knowing that someone far away has enjoyed the tale, bonded with the characters, is all the motivation I need.
My work has been described as a snap-shot of reality, gritty and believable. One reviewer was kind enough to state that my first Jake Collins novel, Tears in Tripoli, was: 'Like an Oscar-contending film from an Independent studio.' I take great comfort in such comments as they fill me with the desire to get back to the keypad. It's not the praise I want, although of course that is very nice. No - it is the feeling of knowing you have made someone happy, knowing that your words have taken them to a place where it was just them and your story. That is the real prize.
I consider my life experience to be the source of my inspiration, my qualification, if you will. I call upon all the ghosts of my yesterdays to help me when I write. They have never abandoned me, even though I have tested their patience many times. They, when coupled to my vivid imagination, provide me with an endless sea of ideas. I probably possess a rather ironic and very humorous outlook on life, and the world in general, which I certainly hope comes out in my lead characters at times. I also have a head filled with crazy ideas, story-lines, and spend many an hour, usually as I'm trying to sleep, in contemplating how I could make a story out of them.
I suppose I could be classed as a 'chaotic writer'. I very rarely make notes, I don't spend hours writing down details of my characters, or building storylines and other such vital things. No, I just think about things for a while, sometimes an entire story takes place in my head based around one line. Then I assemble it like a puzzle around that line, or scene, and the next thing I know is that I've bashed out 10,000 words. Sometimes I can't write anything for days, then at others I won't stop, banging away at the keypad until three-am every day for a whole week. When I do get stuck, which isn't too often, I may jot some ideas down to see if it helps. But, in general, I have already seen the whole thing in my mind, it's like a movie and all I have to do is to describe it to the reader. The ending is where it all counts for me - getting the ending right, leaving the reader with a feeling of satisfaction, but wanting to read more...
If anyone ever tells you this is easy, then send me their details and I'll get in touch with them so they can show me how. Seriously - if you want to write, then my main advice would be that you have to be prepared to spend many hours on your work, and be even more prepared to go back again and again to keep on trying to improve the story. However, I would also suggest that you don't try to write like other people, you are who you are, find your style, your voice, and run with it.
But most of all - never give up, not ever.
Oh, and get yourself an editor - a good one. I didn't for a long time, and I've paid the price.
I am now published by feedaread.com who are are sponsored by the Arts Council of Great Britain in order to find new writers. This allows authors like myself to get their work out into the world whilst trying to obtain a 'proper' publishing deal. This means everything from the design of the front cover to the final word on the back cover, and any errors in between, are all my own work. Any such errors will from now on be in short-supply as at last I have found someone whom I can entrust to edit my work, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is a good feeling, very good!
Personally, I think the 'eBook revolution' is an amazing time for us all - both writers and readers alike. As a reader you can access the work of many authors who would never have been published under the 'old' rules. As a writer I can now access a huge audience, receiving almost instant feedback from readers far and wide. There are so many brilliant authors out there and you, the reader, can have their work at the click of a button, sometimes for less than the price of a loaf of bread. Now, that is amazing! The other thing I like is that my hard-core readers have stuck with me as I progressed along this writing path. They have watched my mistakes and they have watched me grow, whilst all the time giving me their encouragement and pushing me to greater heights.
After spending five years trying to get the Parallel series right, and releasing the series as individual books along the way - albeit in their raw editions - I have finally reached the stage where I believe the tale is now ready for the justice it deserves. To that end, all three books have now been placed under one cover. I've also decided to change the title of the story as I feel that it deserves a fresh start.
The new book is titled 'Hunters - A Trilogy'.
I'm proud of how far the tale has progressed, and I swear that at times it almost told itself. I just had to learn how to write properly - the storytelling wasn't a problem, my lack of knowledge about how to write was. I've put a lot of myself into the tale. Blood, sweat, tears, and endless hours of work, they're all in there. It's a story of discovery, of love and sacrifice, of hope, bravery and the never-ending battle of good over evil. I hope that you will be able to see all of those things and many more within the tale. The story is a fantasy thriller, it is contemporary and filled with action, twists and cliff-hangers on almost all of its pages, which run to over 700 in length.
Hunters is a cracker of a tale, and I say that with the utmost sincerity. You can purchase the book in both paperback and eBook editions. They are both available worldwide from all good on-line retailers.
Also, you can still find copies of the original 'Parallel' books out there, if you fancy reading my early works, warts 'n all.
Tears in Tripoli: This is the first in a series of novels featuring a guy called Jake Collins. 'Tears' is a rip-roaring fictional tale of Jake's adventure whilst he was in Libya during the final months of Gadaffi's regime. It's not a story of just guns and violence, of that I promise you - none of my books are - and I hope that the tale will appeal to many different people. The eBook is only available from the Amazon Kindle Store and can be found on their website via both .com and .co.uk portals. The paperback edition is available from all on-line retailers.
Dangerous Games - A Jake Collins Novel: Jake's second tale, which leads on directly from where 'Tears' ended, is now available in both its paperback and eBook editions. 'Dangerous Games' has already received some nice reviews, for which I am eternally grateful! You can find the book by clicking on the links below:
Amazon sites: Although the above links will lead you to the Amazon UK or dot com portals, all of my novels are also available from all of Amazon's worldwide sites. So, from Canada all the way down to the sunny climes of Australia, and most places in-between, you can find my writing. With a few clicks of a mouse you can download an eBook edition of my work, and usually at a great price too!
eBook on Kindle
Paperback - from my publisher.
Anyway, that's enough blathering on from me. I hope that you get the chance to read the books, and more importantly that you enjoy the stories. My one wish would be for them to take you to that special place where only a good book can.
P A R
I also have a mini-site at The Independent Author Network - IAN - It's a great place to find some excellent books.
Follow me on Twitter: @riceauthor
Has the idea of publishing a book ever taken your fancy? If so, then maybe you should take a visit to the FeedARead site - just click the banner below.