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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

New On The Shelf At Fiction Books This Week

Picture of an English red post boxMailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the last week. Be warned that Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home, where links may be added each week. So why not stop by, leave a link to your own Mailbox Monday post, oh! and don’t forget to leave a comment for our three new joint administrators, after all, we all like to receive them … www.mailboxmonday.wordpress.com

Leslie of ‘Under My Apple Tree’

Serena of ‘Savvy Verse & Wit’

Vicki of ‘I’d Rather Be At The Beach’

This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!


My book this week is an author review request received direct from Alan Jones, a pseudonym for its otherwise anonymous, first time author.

As the book’s synopsis alone didn’t make for a particularly informative or interesting post, Alan agreed to write what transpires to be, a most interesting guest post, in lieu of an official biography.

Check out the unique and novel way in which Alan’s co-conspirators helped him to launch ‘The Cabinetmaker’ … you couldn’t have dreamt this one up!

As you have obviously worked out, I am writing under a pen name as I have a client base in my ‘real job’, some of whom might take issue with the content of the book. It’s very frustrating that I can’t tell anyone in my home town, and it’s probably losing me a lot of potential sales and exposure, but I have other people in the organisation to think of. Although I did a lot of the preparatory work for the street cabinetmaking launch and handed out flyers/talked to punters, it was all off-camera. The street cabinetmakers are all friends of mine who kindly offered their help in exchange for a curry and more than a few beers! We all really enjoyed ourselves, but I was itching to join in! We are intending to repeat it if the book ever does well enough to be published in print. If the book takes off and I can write full time, I would then be able to ‘come out of the closet’.


A young detective’s first case ends with a miscarriage of justice that haunts him, even when the freed killers’ lives begin a spiral to hell.

Set in Glasgow from the late nineteen-seventies through to the current day, ‘The Cabinetmaker’ is an unusual crime novel, telling the story of one man’s response to his son’s murder, and his personal fight to see justice carried out when the law failed him.

In 1978, young Glasgow policeman John McDaid’s first day in CID sees him in the thick of a murder investigation. A gang of young thugs has brutally murdered Patrick, the only son of local cabinetmaker, Francis Hare.

John and Francis become unlikely friends, united by a desire to bring Patrick’s killers to justice, by a love of playing football, and by Francis’ introduction of the young detective to a lifelong passion for woodworking and fine furniture.

This is the story of their relationship, the Cabinetmaker’s quest for justice, and the detective’s search for the truth.


Poster Art For The Cabinetmaker By Alan JonesI’d been trying out a number of plots for books for a number of years, and even started a few, until the plot for The Cabinetmaker gradually gelled, and I felt I had a story good enough to write. I’ve been an amateur furniture maker for a long time, and have always enjoyed playing football, so it was easy to use these as the main themes for the book, and I lived in Glasgow for the first twenty or so years of my life, so location was an easy choice.

The premise of The Cabinetmaker, a slightly unusual and sometimes gritty crime novel, is of a local cabinetmaker’s fight for justice for his murdered son when the thugs who killed him walk free, and of his friendship with the book’s narrator, one of the junior detectives on the case. It combines Glasgow gang culture, sloppy policing and amateur football with fine furniture making, bit of a love story and some interesting detective work. The book also contains some strong language, some sleazy police and a smattering of Glasgow slang, so be warned!

I’ve always been an obsessive reader, but sitting down to write wasn’t as straightforward as I’d hoped. I had a number of false starts over the next five years, but eventually it started to get easier, and in the end the book came together quite quickly.

My aim had been to write the book before I reached fifty, and it just scraped in with a few weeks to spare, made easier by the fact that my children were, by then, grown up and good proof readers. My daughter also did the cover.

The first person to read The Cabinetmaker, a friend who was a sergeant with Glasgow Police CID, loved it, and confirmed that I’d captured the feel of the Glasgow police force at that time the story took place very well. He suggested a few alterations and gave me a couple of stories that I added to flesh out the characters. A retired English teacher edited the book for me.

Despite trying a fair number of agents and publishers, I had very little response. One agent said that if I dropped the woodwork and the football, he would be interested, but I just couldn’t do it.

I’d just about given up when a small Scottish publisher asked for the full manuscript. Three days later I had another rejection, but they’d returned my manuscript, extensively edited, and said that, with changes, the book would have a good chance of being published.

Then, another agent said he’d liked it, and had wrestled with the decision, but declined it for various reasons. However, he said that it wouldn’t surprise him if the book did really well on Kindle Direct Publishing. I don’t think I would have self-published if I hadn’t had some qualified approval from publishing professionals.

I had the book formatted professionally by Electric Reads for peace of mind – they were very good, and quite reasonably priced. Surprisingly, I found the whole KDP publishing experience far easier than I’d expected, so the book’s now available on the Kindle store.

I developed a website to promote the book, with stacks of extra content including an audio slang dictionary, a cabinetmaking glossary, an interactive map and four free chapters to download as I felt that readers could get a good feel for the book before buying it by visiting the website, and refer to the slang dictionary or cabinetmaking glossary while reading the book.

We officially launched the book during the Literary Dundee week by staging a performance of Street Cabinetmaking, which went down well and was really good fun. It was covered by STV Dundee reporter Catriona McPhee.

I realised that word of mouth and a few posters on lampposts at the Wigtown Book Festival weren’t going to be enough, although book cafes in Wigtown, Inverness and Glasgow kindly displayed leaflets and posters for me.

I’d  read  an article that said the biggest available aid to increasing awareness was being talked about on book review blogs, so I’m getting in touch with any book blogs where I think The Cabinetmaker might have appeal to its readers.

So far, I’ve had a great response from a hell of a lot of people, and an astonishing amount of friendly and enthusiastic support from book bloggers and one best-selling author, successful Scottish crime author James Oswald, who gave me spades of advice and tweeted that The Cabinetmaker was ‘well worth a look’.

So until a publisher decides that a print version would be a good idea, I’m going to continue my efforts to publicise the eBook in any way I can. In the meantime, I’ve started my next book in between trying to get this one on as many ‘must-read’ lists as I can.


I can’t wait to discover all your own great new finds this week … so please stop by and share your link, so that I can visit your post.


Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • I can imagine it can be frustrating for the author using a pseudonym when he wants to reveal his identity. Best of luck with coming out of the closet! It’s pretty cool though, to have kind of a writing alter ego. The launch looks great and The Cabinetmaker sounds very good. Enjoy it Yvonne.

    • Hi Naida,

      I guess that’s always going to be the problem if you include something in the book which is liable to offend or upset someone it has affected in real life, especially if you have taken any ‘poetic licence’ with the event as it is a work of fiction, rather than fact.

      There isn’t anything fundamentally wrong with writing under a pseudonym, it just makes promoting your book in person almost impossible and authors seem to rely heavily on book signings and personal appearances to get their name out there in the public domain.

      I love the title of the book and the fact that being set in Scotland, it is probably going to be quite a gutsy and down to earth read.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and I hope that you are having a quiet and relaxing weekend.

  • I enjoyed reading about The Cabinetmaker, and now I am off to visit Alan’s website and read some of the some of the free chapters. I hope Alan a lot of success now and in the future.

    • Hi Ann,

      ‘The Cabinetmaker’ certainly sounds like an intriguing story, with a couple of strong central protagonists, who should move the action along at a pace.

      The book’s promotion was certainly unique, although from the dialogue which accompanied the film, through to the free to read chapters on Alan’s website, I am almost certain that you will be making full use of both the ‘Glossary’ and ‘Slang’ directories which Alan has very thoughtfully provided.

      Scottish English is a language all its own, however Glaswegian Scottish is something else and will often require translation for us mere Sassenach folk!

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you are enjoying a good weekend so far.

    • Hi Nikki,

      It is definitely to Alan’s credit that he listened to and acted upon some of the advice offered to him and chose to not follow through on those ideas which he presumably felt would compromise the integrity of the book’s premise, the story he ultimately wanted to tell and the experience he wanted the reader to enjoy.

      Thanks for the interesting comment and I hope that all is well with you.

  • Yvonne & friends,

    Thanks for the post, the replies, and the good wishes. I’m faceless but appreciative!

    Yes, it is annoying not to be to be able to tell everyone about it, and it does curtail some of the publicity I could be getting, but I’ve tried to put as much on the website as possible to make up for it, and the Street Cabinetmaking Launch has caused quite a nice bit of a stir. It was also really good fun to do. The guys gave a couple of passers-by a go at the saws and chisels at one point, which could have gone horribly wrong, but fortunately didn’t! That bit wasn’t filmed in case blood was spilled.

    As for the slang, and some of the strong language – I swithered about it, but left it in as I felt it made the book more authentic, so hence the inclusion of the slang dictionary (with audio) on the website.

    Anyway, enjoy the book, and once again, thanks.


    • Hi Alan,

      Thanks for taking the time to check out the post and stop by with your comments, I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness.

      I think that the launch party was a brilliant idea, a definitely more inspired event than the traditional book signing, although I do hope that ‘The Cabinetmaker’ does make it to print in the not too distant future, when you can perhaps ‘come out of the closet’, reveal your true identity to your fans and allow them to meet you in person.

      Meantime, I do hope that you gain as much promotion for the book as possible and that sales begin to take off.

      I am so looking forward to reading ‘The Cabinetmaker’ and will afford it as much promotional space here at Fiction Books, as is possible.

    • Hi Peggy,

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and share your views about ‘The Cabinetmaker’, I did hop over and check out your full review, before replying here.

      This does sound like a book I shall thoroughly enjoy, however it is always good to have my own opinions endorsed by someone who has already independently reviewed the book, especially when I trust the views of that person to be even-handed and genuine.

      I hope that you have a great week.

    • Hi Mari,

      ‘The Cabinetmaker’ certainly does have a rather unique premise, doesn’t it? It sounds part crime / thriller, part character analysis and part relationship building. Definitely unlike anything I have read before, although early reviews and ratings have all been positive and encouraging, so I am keen to add my own thoughts to the mix.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by, I always appreciate your comments.

    • Hi Gautami,

      Crime / Thriller or Murder / Mystery are my favourite genres, so with the strong storyline and interesting characters in ‘The Cabinetmaker’, I can’t really fail to enjoy this one, I hope!

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and I hope that you enjoy your week.

    • Hi Serena,

      This is certainly the most interesting book title and cover I have seen for a while, together with what must be an almost unique storyline and most mysterious author profile …. Who wouldn’t be just the slightest bit curious?

      Thanks for stopping by this week, it is always good to chat with you.

    • Hi Kathy,

      I too, really like the mystery / thriller genre, so this was a ‘no brainer’ of a decision for me to accept ‘The Cabinetmaker’ for review.

      From past experience, any crime book set in Scotland is going to be pretty hard hitting and intense, but throw Glasgow into the mix and you can be sure of plenty of action and almost unintelligible banter, that slang dictionary is certainly going to come in handy!

      Thanks for visiting today and for those always appreciated comments.

    • Hi Mary Ann,

      Alan does describe himself as being a long term, amateur furniture maker, so I can see where the idea for the book’s title might have come from, however it is still an unusual choice.

      The opportunity for that unique cover design must have been just too good to resist for the artist (Alan’s daughter) and she has certainly done an amazing job. It does exactly what it says on the tin!

      Have a great week and thanks for the comment, I always appreciate them.

    • Hi Vicki,

      Alan really sounds as though he ‘stuck to his guns’ on this one and managed to get things done pretty much the way he wanted. That’s not to say that he didn’t heed good advice when he heard it, however not being dictated to by publishers and agents is to be admired in my opinion. Self-publishing opportunities come into their own in this type of situation, especially as the finished manuscript was professionally formatted and edited, which is where my biggest criticism of much of the self-published material lies.

      Thanks for your interesting comment and observations, I always value your thoughts.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      I do like it when an author review request is one which encompasses my favourite genre, so ‘The Cabinetmaker’ is right up there on my KTR (keen to read) shelf.

      Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the rest of your week.

  • Yvonne,

    My second book, ‘Blue Wicked’, is now available. It’s another gritty Glasgow crime thriller with an unusual pair of investigators. It’s on kindle and smash words. For details & free chapters, visit http://www.bluewicked.co.uk. Let me know if you’d like a review copy. It does contain some bad language, violence and some Glasgow dialect.


    • Hi Alan,

      Great to hear from you and to know that your writing career is still going from strength to strength.

      ‘Blue Wicked’ sounds fantastic and I would love the opportunity to offer some promotion for the book. I shall contact you direct by email as soon as I am back at my desk.

      Have a good weekend.

Written by Yvonne