Friday, 26 December 2014

The Mark Cole Series

Apologies for my absence on this blog, I have been incredibly busy writing my kindle exclusive series of books featuring Mark Cole - a deniable operative for the US government, and now the leader of Force One, America's top counter-terrorism unit. 

I've had a few emails from people asking about the order of these books, so here it is!

Mark Cole Series in order:

1. Stop At Nothing 

2. Whatever The Cost

3. Beyond All Limits

4. Never Say Die (Pre-order now)

Book number four - NEVER SAY DIE - is due for release on March 21st 2015, and is ready to pre-order now from AMAZON!


"Exciting, action packed, non stop action."


Saturday, 21 June 2014

WHATEVER THE COST - A new Mark Cole Thriller

Finally here a new Mark Cole Thriller. Enjoy!


A Chinese cargo ship is hijacked off the coast of Indonesia by ruthless pirates; North Korea is involved in a covert plan to reunify the country by taking control of the South; and in Saudi Arabia, a terrifying new terrorist group has emerged that threatens to destabilize the entire world. 

Adrift and psychologically damaged after the brutal murder of his family, ex-covert operative Mark Cole stumbles across a clue which might lead him to the hijacked ship. Realizing that it offers the opportunity to give him a purpose in life, Cole sets out to find the ship in a bid to earn redemption for his past. 

From a gun market in the ancient jungles of Cambodia, to the teeming streets of Jakarta, Cole stumbles upon a plot far greater than the simple hijacking of a ship; and as he battles against North Korean agents and Islamic fundamentalists, he promises himself that he will do whatever it takes to stop the unleashing of a terrifying jihad which threatens the Western world like never before.



Monday, 5 May 2014

My Writing Process - Blog Tour

I've been asked to take part in a 'blog tour' on the process of writing by another Headline author, Jason Dean. It's a 'tag team' affair whereby an author answers four questions, and then 'tags' another author to do the same thing the week after. It sounded like fun, so I was happy to oblige!

I met Jason a couple of years ago at the Theakston's Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, and he's a really nice guy. But more importantly - if you're reading this at least! - he's also a great writer, and the creator of the James Bishop character who features in Jason's exciting, fast-paced novels THE WRONG MAN and BACKTRACK. His third in the series, THE HUNTER'S OATH, is out in hardback on June 5th and - if the first two are anything to go by - it should be a real page-turner!

Jason posted his answers last week, and you can see them here -

Right then, on with the Q&A!

What am I working on?
I am currently working on a follow-up to my first novel, STOP AT NOTHING, which features Mark Cole, a former covert agent for the US government. I’m really excited about this, as I love the character and have some great ideas about how the series is going to progress. STOP AT NOTHING wasn't traditionally published like my subsequent novels, but I put it on Amazon as a Kindle exclusive as I personally still liked it very much, and it has really taken off in the US, even making it to #1 on the Amazon Best Seller chart for Political Suspense Thrillers. And because there’s been such a positive response, both to the book and the character, I've decided to continue Mark Cole’s story as a series exclusive to Amazon Kindle.

Here’s the blurb for the new book:

A Chinese cargo ship is hijacked off the coast of Indonesia by ruthless pirates; North Korea is involved in a covert plan to reunify the country by taking control of the South; and in Saudi Arabia, a terrifying new terrorist group has emerged that threatens to destabilize the entire world.
Adrift and psychologically damaged after the brutal murder of his family, ex-covert operative Mark Cole stumbles across a clue which might lead him to the hijacked ship. Realizing that it offers the opportunity to give him a purpose in life, Cole sets out to find the ship in a bid to earn redemption for his past.
From a gun market in the ancient jungles of Cambodia, to the teeming streets of Jakarta, Cole stumbles upon a plot far greater than the simple hijacking of a ship; and as he battles against North Korean agents and Islamic fundamentalists, he promises himself that he will do whatever it takes to stop the unleashing of a terrifying jihad which threatens the Western world like never before.

Hopefully it should be out in June, so watch this space!

How does my work differ to others of its genre?
I think the main difference is the emphasis I place on the action; for me, it is absolutely fundamental to my work. I spend literally hour upon hour planning and choreographing each action scene with great care and attention, and I like to think that the results are worth the effort. I try and see the action scenes like a movie, very visual with something of a cinematic feel, and I flip between different character viewpoints like a change of camera point of view in a film. I think it adds pace and tension to the scenes, and hopefully leads to the impression that my books are like ‘movies on a page’, which is definitely the feel I want to achieve.

In addition, I like to have twists in the tale, and to keep the reader guessing. As such, I sometimes kill off characters unexpectedly, or write scenes which perhaps some other authors wouldn't. I like readers to feel unsettled, to not have that comfortable ‘Oh, that’s not going to happen’ attitude. I want there to be a feeling of danger; when a character is in a dangerous situation, it is definitely not a given that they will live through it!

Why do I write what I do?
I write thrillers for one simple reason – I love everything about the genre, and I always have. I was probably about ten years old when I read First Blood by David Morrell, and I absolutely loved it. Alistair Maclean, Jack Higgins, Eric Van Lustbader, Robert Ludlum, Marc Olden, Tom Clancy, Clive Custler - all through my teens I read every thriller or action-adventure I could get my hands on, and they had a massive impact on my development as a writer. Even the stories I wrote as a child were always strongly biased towards action, probably due to my love of US action TV series such as The A-Team, The Fall Guy, Airwolf and Magnum P.I., as well as comic books like G.I. Joe and – of course! – the James Bond films. I was always a big fan of martial arts films too, and Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon has been my favourite movie since the age of about six! I love the creativity of the fight scenes, and Jackie Chan is a perfect example here; he is a true genius when it comes to choreography. John Woo is similar in his choreographed gun-play – Hard Boiled is just incredible! I suppose my aim when writing is to marry all of these influences together – the strong plotlines and story arcs of authors such as Tom Clancy, the excitement of action comics and classic American 80s television, and the incredibly imaginative action and strong visual aesthetic of Hong Kong cinema.

How does your writing process work?

I will have an idea for a story – maybe from something I've read in the news, or from a conversation I've had with someone, or any of the countless other places ideas can come from – and then I’ll start to research the details and plan it out. I’ll work out a basic outline, and then it’s a matter of answering questions – if 'A' happens, what effect does it have on 'B'? Does it make sense? Can I make it more exciting? I fill notebook after notebook with my scrappy handwriting, trying to answer these questions and establish an outline which makes sense, and is also both unique and exciting. 

Once I have that, I go into it in more detail, mapping out the novel scene by scene. At this early stage, this is quite vague, but the whole story will be there in its entirety. Things might still change as I go, but I like to have the basic structure there before I write a single word of the book itself. 

And then, as I begin writing in earnest, I will always start off with a very brief paragraph on what I want to happen in each scene, and have it there in front of me so I can refer to it as I write. Again, it’s not written in stone; sometimes the characters do surprising things, and – if it makes sense and is an improvement over what I had originally planned – I make the changes and go with it. I like this process, as it makes the writing part very comfortable for me. I don’t sit staring into space for long periods of time – that’s what the research and planning phase is for! When I start writing for real, it is only when everything is in its place, and I’m confident that the story and the structure will work.

Well, thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you've found it interesting. But now I have a confession to make - I've been so busy with writing that I've not had time to get in contact with other authors to carry on the chain.

This is down to terrible organization and time-management on my part, but let's take it as an opportunity instead!

And so, I'm going to open it up a bit - if any writer out there fancies answering these same four questions on their own blog, please feel free to do so, send me a link to your blog or website in the comments section below, and I'll post the links on this blog next Monday!

Monday, 10 March 2014

Free Short Story!

To tie in with the release of my new novel EXTINCTION, my publishers Headline are offering my dystopian action sci-fi thriller short story DESTRUCTIVE THOUGHTS absolutely FREE for the next week!

Here's a brief synopsis of the story:

In a world where the Federation controls your mind, the wrong thought will get you killed.

Ben Carver is a wanted man for treason but knows he's innocent.

As time runs out, he must find out why he's being set up, and who wants him dead.

DESTRUCTIVE THOUGHTS is an explosive action short story with J.T. Brannan's trademark stunning twist at the end.


You can get it on Amazon UK here -;

Or Amazon US here -

I hope you enjoy it and please be sure to let me know what you think!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Exciting News!

Just a quick update with some exciting news:

EXTINCTION is now priced at just £2.99 on Kindle, so get it now if you haven't already!

It's ranked No. 15 in 'conspiracy thrillers' as of tonight, let's try and break the top ten!

Also, I now have two more events lined up:

Book signing at Manchester Arndale Waterstones on Saturday 15th March from 3pm -|WATERSTONE%27S%20ARNDALE%20CENTRE&sFilter=1

Talk at Nottingham Waterstones on Thursday 20th March from 7pm -|WATERSTONE%27S%20NOTTINGHAM%20BRIDLE&sFilter=1

Hopefully I will see some of you there!!!

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

EXTINCTION Launch Party Tomorrow!

Well, doesn't time fly?

It seems like no time at all since my debut novel ORIGIN was released, but it was actually back in October 2012!

And now my second novel, EXTINCTION, is just a day away from publication, and I'm just as excited as I was for the first one!

It's very nerve-racking though, and I always hear that the second novel can be the hardest to pull off. But I've had the first reviews back, and I'm pleased to say that the response has been really good so far! Here are three of the reviews: (also includes an exclusive interview!)

Waterstones Harrogate has been kind enough to host the launch party, which will be tomorrow evening (February 27th), from 6-8pm. There will be drinks and snacks provided, and I'm looking forward to it tremendously! Further information here:|February|14&mFilter=1

Perhaps I'll see some of you there? Do feel free to come by and say hello if you're from the area, it should be a very pleasant evening!

And if you read EXTINCTION, please be sure to let me know what you think!

Monday, 10 February 2014

STOP AT NOTHING - free book on kindle!

My all-action thriller STOP AT NOTHING is now FREE on Kindle, in the lead-up to publication of EXTINCTION later this month!. Get it now!

Check out the new cover! 

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Stories by My Three Year Old Daughter!

These are the stories my 3 year old dictated to me! What do you think?

'There was a princess and a prince who lived in a magical castle and then a unicorn arrived. And then there was a wicked witch and then she blew the magic castle down. And then Rapunzel came when she was a baby and then she grew and then a nasty queen took her and put her in a tower, and then she went into the magical woods with a prince. But the naughty queen found them and took them back to the castle. And then a knight came, with a queen and a king and a prince and a princess, and they put the wicked queen in a dungeon and they all lived happily ever after.
                But then the queen escaped from the dungeon and she went back to the magic castle and she fought with the unicorn and beat the unicorn and then she got the prince and threw him in the dungeon. But then Rapunzel came to the rescue and banished the bad witch to the forest of evil nightmares, and they all lived happily ever after.
                And then the prince ran away from the dungeon and the queen died and then Rapunzel ran away from her mummy and daddy because there was a holiday, and then she came back and they all lived happily ever after.'

'One day there was a fairy and a prince fairy and then a wicked fairy came and said ‘Get in the fairy tower!’ and then a knight came to the rescue. But there was another queen who was naughty and then one day there was a land where dreams came true but they didn’t find it. And then there was a magical tower and they found it, but the queen didn’t find them and they lived happily ever after.
                And then the wicked queen came back for them and put them in the dungeon, but the prince and princess fairy escaped and lived happily ever after.
                And then they did find the land where dreams came true and they said ‘I wish I wish tonight tonight, I wish again tonight goodnight, I wish that queen would disappear!’, and then it happened and the evil queen disappeared.
                And then the good queen came and she put the children to bed and the queen wished ‘I wish I wish tonight goodnight I wish the naughty queen could disappear and turn good.’ And they lived happily ever after.
                But then one day an evil lady witch came and made the children disappear from bed, but then she became good, and everyone lived happily ever after.'

'One day there was a Barbie who lived in a house and then her friends came and they didn’t know what to do and then she had an idea and they made cupcakes, but then an evil baddie came and destroyed all her decorations and then they went to bed and in the morning they saw it was all ruined and then one day there was another one who came and they didn’t know what to do. And then another baddie came and ruined Barbie’s jumper and then destroyed Barbie’s dress and handbag, and her hair, and then threw her into a cave. Barbie didn’t know what to do, and then she threw the naughty baddie into a cage, and had a party with her friends and lived happily ever after.'

'One day there was a little dog called Molly and she asked some of her doggy friends to come over, but then a baddie dog came and ruined all the dog decorations and made a mess and then Molly went to bed and in the morning she saw the mess and didn’t know what to do, but then she threw the wicked dog into a dungeon and had a party and celebrated with cupcakes. She then made a wish, ‘I wish tonight, I wish tonight, I wish the naughty queen dog would disappear.’ And then the naughty dog disappeared, and Molly celebrated with a party and cupcakes, and then put her little dogs to bed and everyone lived happily ever after.
                And then the wicked queen dog said ‘I’ll come back for you!’ and then she made a rattle noise outside, but Molly caught her and threw her in the dungeon and they all lived happily ever after.'

'One day mummy and the horsy went on a ride and mummy was a bit shy on the horsy and then they did good teamwork and then mummy had hot chocolate with her horse and then brushed her and then didn’t want to go back home without her horsy but was told that she can’t go home with her horsy, but she didn’t want to stop riding her horse and then a wicked horse came and then tiptoed down the stairs, but mummy caught her and put her in the dungeon and lived happily ever after.'

'One day there was a boy called Jakub and he liked dinosaurs and he went to a museum and saw a real T-Rex. Back home a T-Rex followed him and he wasn’t friendly and he hid in a coat and then Jakub came downstairs and heard a creepy noise and then he wasn’t scared and the T-Rex crept down the hallway and then in the living room he hid somewhere Jakub could never see him again.'

'One day there was daddy and he liked doing karate and he let his children and mummy come and he did karate with everyone and then Mia hurt herself and she said ‘I hurt myself,’ and then we lived happily ever after, with Mia doing karate.'

I think that's a good afternoon's work!!!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Want to be a Writer?

Since having my novel published I have met a lot of people who are aspiring authors. And although I am not a specialist, I am happy to share my knowledge and insights into the business.

Amongst the most intriguing things aspiring authors say to me are the following:

'Books, oh I don't read them, I really don't have the time...'

'I would never buy a new book, it's too expensive...'

'I only read the free books I can download to my kindle...'


So you want to write books, but you don't read them yourself?

You would presumably like people to buy your own book if it is published, but you don't want to spend money on books yourself?


Being an author is a job like any other. If people don't pay for the product, how do you expect the industry and the authors to survive?

New books are expensive?

Have you got a printer at home? Imagine printing 400 pages black and white and a full color cover (in HD). What would that cost you? And then add the time someone spends on planning, writing, editing, designing, selling and distributing the product.

Would you go to work if your potential new boss offered you the following: 50 hours a week and no pay?
I'm just guessing here, but I think the answer would be a resounding 'HELL, NO!'

Writing and producing a book takes a great deal of time and effort, and I believe that it should be appreciated. And if aspiring authors - those that want to enter this industry and work within it - can't appreciate it, then who can?

So if you are an aspiring author, start from buying new books, in order to support the industry you want to work in!

And remember - if you don't want to pay money for a book, then why would anyone want to pay money for your own?

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Being an author - an insight!

Carrying on with the previous blog post I would like to give you couple more insights into the real life of an author!


Author - THE DREAM


2. BOOKS - First print

Author - THE DREAM


Being an Author

Many people dream about being published. So did I! Now that I am a published author, I wanted to share this with you - I hope it will make you smile!

Author - THE DREAM


Friday, 24 January 2014

Competition Time - Book Giveaway For EXTINCTION!

Enter the Goodreads Giveaway to win an advance reading copy of my new book EXTINCTION! Good luck!

An extraordinary discovery in the Sahara desert will turn history on its head...

A series of unexplained phenomena create shockwaves across the globe - a huge religious statue moves its arm, and there's a spate of floods and earthquakes. Many think it's the end of the world...

Investigative journalist Alyssa Durham receives a call from an old friend claiming that these phenomena may not be entirely natural, but when he is assassinated in front of her, she finds herself on the run for her life.

Alyssa teams up with Jack Murray, a scientist from a secretive government research laboratory, to uncover the truth. But who wants them dead, and what are they trying to protect?

As chaos descends, Alyssa and Jack are drawn into a battle against an unknown enemy with the highest possible stakes, because one thing they've learnt is that nothing is safe from extinction...

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Writing My First Short Story

I've always enjoyed reading short stories, and so when Headline asked me to write one as an e-book, I jumped at the chance. With the end result - Destructive Thoughts - released tomorrow (for just 99p! -, I thought I would share some of the process with you.

Many years ago, whilst I was at university studying Interdisciplinary Human Studies (see for an explanation!), I remember that the book I enjoyed the most was Philosophy and Science Fiction, edited by Michael Phillips.

With stories by legends such as Isaac Asimov, Stanislaw Lem, Robert Heinlein and Philip K. Dick, the book was a compendium of the very best in science fiction short stories. With their focus on future societies and technologies, with all the moral and ethical issues that can result from such changes to the world as we know it, such stories were fascinating and thought-provoking, as well as exciting.

When I was coming up with the premise of my own short story, I had these very much in my mind, which is why Destructive Thoughts is set in the future, unlike my novels. The world it depicts is that of the Federation of New American States, which constantly monitors the thoughts of its citizens, projecting 'unauthorized' thoughts onto large screens which are found all over the federation's major cities. 'Thought criminals' are immediately punished by the surrounding citizens, and America has in this way become self-policing. Moreover, the citizens themselves become self-policing, no longer able to give free rein to their own thoughts, emotions and impulses. It is the surveillance state taken to the nth degree, and whether or not such a system would affect our minds enough to condition how we actually think is open to conjecture. That's one of the great things about short stories; ideas can be introduced and focused on more readily than they can in a full-length novel.

My favourite short stories also have one more thing in common - a twist at the end! I think one of the benefits of the short story structure is how it lends itself  to twist endings, and it's one of the things that can make a story stick in your mind long after you've finished reading.

Destructive Thoughts is my first short story and is out tomorrow (24th January). Give it a try, and please let me know what you think!