The Crime Readers' Association

The Best Bit of Writing Advice I Was Ever Given, by Morgan Cry aka Gordon Brown

20th January 2022

When I signed a two-book deal with Polygon back in 2019 under the new name of Morgan Cry, I was ecstatic. I delivered both books to the publisher by late 2019 and thought, what do I do now? I knew that there was editing ahead on both works and, for a while, I thought I’d sit tight and just wait for the red pen of the editor to set me to work. But that flies in the face of one of my writing maxims.

I only have three – the first two are courtesy of a certain Mr Stephen King’s book, On Writing, the third is mine.

  •  I set a target word count when writing and stick to it (2,000 words a day).
  • I always write something that I enjoy. If I’m not enjoying it, I bin it.
  • I never stop writing.

And here was I, thinking of breaking the last of these maxims. In fairness I could justify the time away from the keyboard. After all, I had two books in the bag. But inaction on the laptop front didn’t sit well with me. And for good reason. For all the work I have had published (by early 2023 it will be eleven novels and numerous short stories) there are half a dozen books that’ve never seen the light of day. If you add up the half-finished novels, part novels, short stories and the like that reside in my hard drive, you can multiply the quantity of my unpublished words by a factor of ten.

The birth of this non-stop typing goes back to a day, many moons ago when, while attending an event at the Edinburgh Book Festival, an author on stage (forgive me but I cannot remember her name), asked how many people in the audience had tried to get a book published. Up went hands. She then asked people to keep their hands high if they had been trying to get the same book published for over a year…for over two years…for over three years? Many hands stayed up. Her advice to those people was simple – set the current novel aside and write something new. ‘Not that your current novel is bad,’ she said. ‘It’s just not for now.’ That struck a chord with me. I took the advice and started on something new.

Six months later I landed my first book deal but as soon as that book was finished I started on the next – and landed a deal for it. I kept writing but this time no one picked up the book. Regardless I kept writing. And so it has gone on. I write, put the book out on submission and write on.

Before my current deal my agent sent my previous book to a dozen-plus publishers, all of who said ‘no thank you’. While the rejections were coming in I kept writing and this led to the two Morgan Cry books. So when the opportunity for a break presented itself in late 2019 I followed my own maxim, opened my trusty Mac and battered on.

The results? A crime book set in seventies Glasgow starring a couple of kids, and a crime book set in the eighties/nineties about a would-be rock star. Both went out on submission and Red Dog Press jumped up, and said we’ll have both. So with Six Wounds coming out this May, a year late due to Covid, Any Day Now coming out in August and No More Games due out in 2023 – have I stopped writing? Nope. I’ve just put the full stop on the first draft of a novel about a contract killer who might not be a contract killer.

Hang on, I’ve just had another idea…


Thirty-One Bones Competition – Win a free book!

Morgan Cry is looking forward to the release of his second Daniella Coulstoun crime thriller, Six Wounds, this May. Set in the coastal town of El Descaro on the Costa Blanca the new book is a follow up to Thirty-One Bones. To celebrate the upcoming launch, Morgan is offering a couple of signed copies of Thirty-One Bones to two lucky winners.

Here’s the question you need to answer:

What is the title of the second Daniella Coulstoun book?

Simply send your answer in an email to

Write CWA Thirty-One Bones Comp in the subject line, and the email must reach him on or by Friday 11 February. Two lucky winners will each receive a signed copy.

Go back to Blog

Join the CRA

Joining the CRA is FREE. There are no lengthy forms to fill out and we need nothing but your email. You will receive a regular newsletter but no spam.