Wednesday 25 July 2012


First off apologies again for the lack of recent updates. 

While I'm well through the second draft of my new novel The Sex Cabaret, this seems like a good time to say a few words about my first published novel Words Made Flesh. The book was originally published back in November 2000 by the now defunct Virgin imprint Idol but is making a return this year courtesy of Random House and their classic imprint. The ebook is available now and a new paperback is due in November/December

Best-selling novelist Glenn Holden has an appreciation for the rougher side of sex. But when a handsome stranger breaks into his house claiming to be a character from one of Glenn's own thrillers, the author is suddenly thrust into a surreal sexual adventure that goes further than the concoctions of his own dirty mind - a bizarre world full of mysterious men and even wilder sex.
Back cover blurb.

I started developing the book in 1999 as a direct proposal for the Idol range. At the time I had been writing erotic stories for magazines like In Touch, Indulge and Freshmen. When Virgin announced their new Imprint for gay erotic fiction, I jumped on the opportunity to write for them. I put my success in securing a contract down to a combination of good luck and naive self confidence. Words Made Flesh (originally titled Vivid) was commissioned on the strength of a synopsis and the first 15,000 words. When I signed a contract I had only written the first three chapters. I realise now how incredibly lucky I was to secure a deal like that as an "unknown" author. I had something of a name from the magazines and a handful of short story anthologies, but I hadn't written or published anything of significance. Anyone who has tried to find a mainstream publisher for their work in the last few years will know how rare and unlikely those deals are now. Ah, the good old days. Unless you're JK Rowling or Stephen King, it just doesn't happen.

Idol's commissioning editor Kathleen Bryson gave me three months to deliver a completed manuscript. I put my head down and finished the first draft in a blur of activity, writing every spare moment I had. The book was already well plotted from the synopsis so the story was never a problem. I wrote it exactly as planned; producing as many as 5000 words per day. Despite my limited experience, I knew that my first drafts were pretty ugly; so I structured the work to have as much revision time as possible between finishing the first draft and the deadline. Three months to write, redraft and edit a 78000 word novel!

As a result of the deadline, the final version of Words Made Flesh is very rough and unpolished. Looking back I'm not even sure how I managed it. I can't work in that manner these days. To put it in context: I've been working on my new novel for seven months so far and it's still several months away from being finished I guess I was fuelled by youth (I was 26 at the time), excitement and a "can do" attitude. Before Random House stepped in to republish, I had plans to release the ebook myself, giving it a thorough rewrite and including it in one bumper package with the original version as bonus material. But Random House have republished the 2000 version as it stands.

My feelings are divided on Words Made Flesh. Personally I find it too rough and unpolished. When I knew it was coming back I tried to read it again but gave up after a few pages. I guess that's just the writer in me; we never stop wanting to revise and rewrite our work. A bumper ebook containing both a 2012 and 2000 draft would have been a nice compromise but it's out there now as it is. Maybe that's a good thing. It is what it is - a product of it's time - like an embarrassing photograph of the fashions we used to wear. I've got new books and stories to write so maybe I should just let Words Made Flesh be. Get over it, Thom.

For better or worse - it's out there.


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