When Sidekicks Take Centre Stage

In any fictional universe, the world revolves around the protagonist. Any "extras", sidekicks or love interests are very much subservient to the hero - though, if they are well-realised, they all think they're looking out for their own interests. It's only the writer who is leading them on to serve the hero and the narrative. Over at the Crime Readers' Association website, I wrote about Supporting Cast: Breathing Life into Secondary Characters. I even made reference to my favourite Hark, a vagrant webcomic. I mentioned Cerys Carr, who started life as nothing more than a gobby teenage sister to one of my protagonists and ended up playing a major part in Code Runner. She's also prominent in Book #3, and shows no sign of fading away. The beauty of a well-developed supporting cast of "sidekicks" to your hero is that they can leap to the fore at any moment. In television, this may even progress to them gaining their own show - for...
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Code Runner launch

Code Runner, Book 2 of The Amy Lane Mysteries, launches today! You can purchase a copy of your very own by visiting any reputable ebook retailer, like the following: Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo Not heard of Code Runner? Let me fill you in: Book two of The Amy Lane Mysteries Ex-con Jason Carr has faced down the toughest thugs in Cardiff, but being assistant to a brilliant, eccentric hacker who hasn’t been outdoors in ten years has its own challenges. Still, he and Amy Lane can solve cases even the cops can’t crack. And when a corpse washes up on a beach, Jason can’t resist chasing the clues—or defying Amy by infiltrating the very gangs he once escaped. Amy is distraught when Jason’s pursuit gets him framed for murder. He’s thrown back in prison where he’s vulnerable to people who want him dead. He needs Amy to prove his innocence. Fast. But Amy...
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Amy Lane’s Guide to Password Security

With ONE WEEK to go until the Code Runner launch, my agoraphobic hacker Amy Lane lays down the law on password security. Ignore her at your peril! If you're looking for my advice, I'm assuming we've filtered out the first layer of morons. I'm talking about the kind of people who think "password" is a great password or use one of the most common and worst passwords of the year. Or that swapping out letters for numbers in the name of their favourite band is the height of security. (Yes, Jason, I'm looking at you.) I also assume you have something worth guarding. Facebook is a leaking sieve for privacy - your best password is wasted on it. Of course, the best hackers will always bypass your defences, but you don't have to make it easy for them. Memorable data Unless you have a good head for random letter-number strings, you will likely base your password on words in common usage. This improves the...
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Freudian Script: Gangs and Drugs

Freudian Script: Gangs and Drugs

Gangs and drugs - in the eyes of the public, inextricably intertwined. But what is the impact of gang lifestyle on mental health? And how do alcohol and drugs fit the picture? What is a gang? My protagonist Jason often protests that he wasn't in a gang. He ran with a group of lads who liked petty theft and doing drugs on the weekend. So, what exactly is a gang? In its 2009 report "Dying to Belong", The Centre for Social Justice identified that part of the problem of researching and tackling the negative effects of gang culture is the lack of universal definition. Therefore, they proposed a definition, which we will use for the purpose of this post: "A relatively durable, predominantly street-based group of young people who (1) see themselves (and are seen by others) as a discernible group (2) engage in a range of criminal activity and violence (3) identify with or lay claim over territory (4) have some form of identifying structural feature (5)...
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Jason Carr’s Guide to Surviving On The Run

Bad day at work? Rent due and short of cash? Framed for murder? My streetwise ex-con Jason Carr, half of the crime-solving team in The Amy Lane Mysteries, shares his practical tips for successfully surviving on the run... I've known my fair share of trouble. More than my share, being honest, but that's my own fault. I mucked about in the past, got nicked by the cops - and rightly so, let's admit it - before being sent down. But this time, it weren't my fault. I got framed for a crime I didn't commit and, despite my boss' best efforts and with some bad guys trying to finish me off, I ended up running from my problems. I don't really recommend it, but if you find yourself in this kind of jam, here are my tips for staying alive and keeping a low profile. Mobile phones are not your friend You know those smartphones we carry about everywhere? My boss is a tech...
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Code Runner Book Trailer: The Making-Of

With four weeks until CODE RUNNER hits virtual bookshelves, it's time to share the book trailer! (You can find out more about Code Runner and the associated giveaway here) But over here at Swords and Lattes, I know y'all expect a little more. So let me talk you through how this trailer came into being - consider this the DVD commentary of the Code Runner book trailer. What is a book trailer? It is a trailer for a book. I admit, I was a little sceptical. Because my previous experience with book trailers was James Patterson's latest novel turning up on my TV and me thinking "WTF this is the worst telemovie ever - oh no, wait, it's a book". But I know from my short film efforts that folks love a good YouTube video. Short, sharp, to the point. Folks love visuals, and a shortcut to the main event. While I am not a natural viewer of video articles, I do now click Twitter...
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Are My Book Sales Good? Data for Novelists

Every debut novelist asks "what are good sales figures?" and every seasoned novelist/agent/publisher replies with "it depends". While this is undoubtedly true, it's not very useful to the novelist trying to work out where they fit in the world of books. We know who's at the top - bestsellers are determined by The Sunday Times, The New York Times, USA Today and more recently Amazon. These folks are selling 2000+ copies per day, depending on the season. Newsflash: most novelists do not sell thousands of books per day. Reports on author earnings can be useful, but they are difficult to apply on an individual level. Also, earnings =/= sales. Traditional publishers pay in two main ways - advances, where you get money before you sell anything, and royalties. Some publishers, like my publisher Carina Press, don't give advances but give higher royalty rates. However, royalties are only paid once you've "earned out" your advance (i.e. accumulated royalties are more than what was paid...
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COVER REVEAL: Code Runner by Rosie Claverton

I am very excited to reveal the cover for CODE RUNNER, the second book in The Amy Lane Mysteries. Ex-con Jason Carr has faced down the toughest thugs in Cardiff, but being assistant to a brilliant, eccentric hacker who hasn’t been outdoors in ten years has its own challenges. Still, he and Amy Lane can solve cases even the cops can’t crack. And when a corpse washes up on a beach, Jason can’t resist chasing the clues—or defying Amy by infiltrating the very gangs he once escaped. Amy is distraught when Jason’s pursuit gets him framed for murder. He’s thrown back in prison where he’s vulnerable to people who want him dead. He needs Amy to prove his innocence. Fast. But Amy hasn’t been honest with him—her panic attacks aren’t getting better. And now, with everything that makes her feel safe ripped away, she must stand alone, using her technological skills to expose a baffling conspiracy and a new kind...
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