About alex

Alex lives quietly with family on the West Coast of Scotland and has been variously; an ice-cream van driver in Kansas, an investment banker in San Francisco, an oil accountant in London and a teacher in Madrid among too many other 'seemed like a good idea at the time' enterprises.

Son Of A Gun

Ferry stories Sea Passages

I am privileged and humbled to have played a small part in getting this new book of short stories into the water. Each piece revolves around a ferry journey.

Harvested from the creative talents of writers who have dropped anchor in and around the waters of the West Highlands of Scotland, this little gem will appeal to readers who love boats, the Highlands or just the thrill of setting out on a new adventure.

Here you will discover stories of those passing purposefully over the water and those being swept by the tide. There are people lost and people found, stories of birth and death. Tales of whales, the bleat of sheep and the unmistakable tang of salt air.

When researching ideas for this project, originally for my Creative Writing group at Argyll College, I was intrigued by the superstitions, traditional customs and strange beliefs of mariners.

Most of these are associated with bad luck and as a thriller writer, I had to learn more.

Did you know that if the words ‘good luck’ were to be uttered on a boat, then the only way to reverse the ‘curse’ was to punch someone (most probably the person who had just said it) and draw blood?

Women on boats

We are all familiar with the naming ceremony for important new ships and a part of the cultural tradition demands that a woman performs the champagne christening as a way of ensuring prosperity and good luck for the vessel.

So, if a woman’s hand was deemed to be good luck during the naming ceremony for a boat, then why was it considered bad luck to have a women on board?

The answer to this lies in basic human nature and the fact that until recently, the sea-faring industries were totally male-dominated and so having a female among their ranks would have been a dangerous distraction. Although it did happen on many an occasion.

And this is where the wonderfully wicked curse, ‘son of a gun’ comes from. Imagine a busy and crowded vessel at sea with the additional presence of a woman on board. Should a besotted sailor wish to consummate his love, then the location for such a dalliance would very often be done in the relative privacy of the gun deck.

These affairs would often result in the birth of an illegitimate child – the son of a gun.

Just to confuse matters further, seafaring folk used to believe that nude women were actually a calming influence on the sea which is why you will see so many figureheads of naked women on old sailing ships.

If you pay close attention to our book ‘Sea Passages,’ you might discover in one story that there is a brief physical ferry encounter between a young couple deeply in love. Those of you who are particularly alert and read the book all the way through to the very last nautical nugget might also find out that this event has an impact on another story in the book.

I live on a tiny island and so I appreciate the excellent work the Royal National Lifeboat Institution do for our safety, every day of the year. They assisted a good friend of mine only last week, further south in the English Channel.

And so, all the profits from this book are going to the RNLI.

I hope you enjoy each and every one of the eleven stories and one poem.

Alex x

PS: I am still working on the 4th Ridge Walker adventure thriller and I promise it will be published later this year.

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If you’re looking for some dark and gritty writing then check out my thriller THE DEVIL YOU KNOW. There’ll be a sequel in the very near future.ferry

Not for the faint of heart but it’ll reward you for reading it. 

“I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking for something a little bit different.”

“The effort was worth it. More than a story, I recommend this book to readers who appreciate good writing. I am truly impressed and hope to see more books by Alex Breck.”

 

Have you listened to my Podcast show Alex Breck’s Banter yet?

ferry

 

So Has The Cat Killed Curiosity?

curiosity

Before, I start, just let me say I’m a huge fans of cats and if the rest of my family weren’t allergic to them, I’d have a house-full.

There’s something about their aloofness and the way they don’t hide the fact they like nothing better than to bask in the warmth of a sunny room and have the rest of the world running around after them. A bit like teenagers… more on them later.

But I’m much more of a lover of curiosity than anything else on this planet! A good old-fashioned yearning to find out more about stuff. Anything!

As a lad, I was happy to sit for hours on my own reading massive encyclopedias and even a dictionary would help me swallow up a rainy afternoon in Scotland.

And we get them a LOT!

Libraries were always a sanctuary for a wee boy like me who’d been forced to move house too many times due to his dad’s occupation. Making new friends in school always took a certain amount of time, but there would always be the serried ranks of familiar books to instantly reconnect me to my disjointed geographical timeline.

So it pains me greatly to tell you that my teenage son’s new 21st Century state-of-the-art high school – which he is moving into in a few weeks time – does NOT possess a LIBRARY!

 

curiosity

Now I am not a Luddite, by any means.

I make my living from a laptop for Pete’s sake…!

And I know you can store a gazillion books on a tiny hard drive.

But what happens when there’s a power outtage?

I mean, we get power cuts up here in the Highlands almost as often as we get rain.

And what are the chances of a teenage school kid making the effort to look up the history of cats in ancient Egypt when there is an online Call of Duty battle to be had?

Or the catching up of who did what to whoever, where, why and when on Social Media.

It just won’t happen.

Curiosity will slowly die.

At least the curiosity to learn about books. About words. Where they came from and why they were chose above others on a page.

I’m proud to say that an excellent book of short stories from the West Highlands of Scotland will soon be published by my imprint, Seilachan Fort. It germinated from an idea of mine to help foster a sense of shared purpose and thereby encourage a group of local College evening class students to keep coming back for more writing classes.

But we recently had a discussion where one of the talented author-contributors wanted to include a glossary of some of the more unusual Scottish words.

The rest of us vetoed this.

Our argument was that it is healthy to have words which might be unfamiliar and it’s even better when the reader is forced to do a little research and find out about them on their own.

That’s how we learn.

Curiosity.

But now, instead, our kids will just lie back on the sofa and keep on surfing YouTube or maybe gaze vacantly at yet more cat photos…

Alex x

PS: Do YOU think it’s acceptable to have a new high school built without a library? I’d love to find out out if this is a Scottish issue or a wider problem.

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If you’re looking for some dark and gritty writing then check out my thriller THE DEVIL YOU KNOW. There’ll be a sequel in the autumn.curiosity

Not for the faint of heart but it’ll reward you for reading it. 

“I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking for something a little bit different.”

“The effort was worth it. More than a story, I recommend this book to readers who appreciate good writing. I am truly impressed and hope to see more books by Alex Breck.”

 

Have you listened to my Podcast show Alex Breck’s Banter yet?

Alex Breck's Banter Podcast Show

 

Can I Count On Your Vote?

Can I Count On Your Vote?


Can I Count On Your Vote

I’m so excited because my Ridge Walker book ‘The Piper’s Promise’ was just nominated for the 2017 Readers Choice Awards!

Please vote for it at www.tckpublishing.com/readers-choice-voting.

[It’s in the Thriller section which is on page 9 out of 16]

Or if that doesn’t work GO HERE TO VOTE

One happy author!

Alex x

PS: You can get your own copy of ‘The Piper’s Promise’ HERE!

Find me on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter

If you’re looking for some more dark and gritty writing then check out my thriller THE DEVIL YOU KNOWvote

Not for the faint of heart but it’ll reward you for reading it. 

“I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking for something a little bit different.”

“The effort was worth it. More than a story, I recommend this book to readers who appreciate good writing. I am truly impressed and hope to see more books by Alex Breck.”

 

Have you listened to my Podcast show Alex Breck’s Banter yet?

Alex Breck's Banter Podcast Show

My Books On Book Store Shelves

Book Store ShelvesMy Books Are Now In Book Store Shelves!

Ever since I wrote my first Ridge Walker adventure thriller back in 2012, my biggest goal was to see my work displayed on the shelves of real bona fide bookstores.

Very quickly, I came to understand that this goal, as a self-published indie author, was going to be extremely hard to achieve.

Don’t get me wrong. I knew that I could make a genuine living from being a self-published author despite having no illusions about being the next Ian Rankin or J.K. Rowling.

My idea was never to beggar myself trying to get an agent and then a publisher. As a late entrant to the world of book writing, I couldn’t afford to wait 10 years for the gate-keepers to finally deign to accept my manuscript.

In addition to writing Ebooks and self-publishing through Amazon, I also embarked on a career in online marketing and then coaching, all of which has been exciting, unpredictable and a lot of fun.

So, I was happy to publish online.

Apart from one thing.

When friends, family and others who knew me were sceptical about my ‘online activities,’ that was perfectly fine. They couldn’t see my growing bank balance. I didn’t need their accreditation.

But when they thought I was just ‘playing’ at being a writer – that hurt. A lot.

I wanted to be able to walk into Waterstones, which is our biggest UK bookstore and point to my books. My son was around ten years old and I wanted him to see my books and be proud of his old dad.

I appreciate that I won’t be shifting a ton of books through these stores. That’s not what it’s about with me. It’s just good old-fashioned pride and recognition of a job done.

So my goal has been achieved this week. My books are on bookstore shelves. Waterstones now sell my print books and I am doing a book signing even in December. One happy author.

Alex

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If you’re looking for some dark and gritty writing then check out my full-length thriller THE DEVIL YOU KNOWhalloween

Not for the faint of heart but it’ll reward you for reading it. 

“I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking for something a little bit different.”

“The effort was worth it. More than a story, I recommend this book to readers who appreciate good writing. I am truly impressed and hope to see more books by Alex Breck.”

 

Have you listened to my Podcast show Alex Breck’s Banter yet?

Alex Breck's Banter Podcast Show

 

The Black Hand Of Death – A Halloween Tale

My Halloween Short Story – The Black Hand Of Death

 

Halloween - the black hand of death

Here’s a cheery (not) Scottish tale just in time for #Halloween.

You’ll be quite safe. No marauding ghosts or ghouls but I think there’s more than enough malevolent spirit for one old Highland house to take.

So, do you believe that bad things always come in three’s…?

And can young Campbell Black throw off the family curse that hangs over the town like a funeral shroud?

Enjoy my gritty story which is not without its dark humour!

But perhaps not the best time for you to have the builders’ in, methinks…

Have a spooky night wherever you spend Halloween!

 

Alex

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If you’re looking for some more dark and gritty writing then check out my full-length thriller THE DEVIL YOU KNOWhalloween

Not for the faint of heart but it’ll reward you for reading it. 

“I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking for something a little bit different.”

“The effort was worth it. More than a story, I recommend this book to readers who appreciate good writing. I am truly impressed and hope to see more books by Alex Breck.”

 

Have you listened to my Podcast show Alex Breck’s Banter yet?

Alex Breck's Banter Podcast Show

 

Why Did I Cross The Road For A Chicken?

You know the one about the chicken crossing the road, right?

 

chicken

As a holiday weekend treat for you, I’ve got a little short story about a chicken.

It’s a true story and it’s about both myself and the chicken.

You’ll find it here >>  More Chicken  <<

The story is currently being featured in a #ScottishBookTrust writing competition for which the theme was ‘Nourish.’

Let me know what you think of it.

If you like it, then please share, recommend or comment as the greater the interaction on the story then the greater the chances of it making the final cut for publication.

 

Talking about publication – if you fancy an ebook thriller for the holiday weekend, I should tell you my latest thriller THE PIPER’S PROMISE is available on Amazon for less than the price of a coffee.

Here’s a recent review excerpt: “Absolutely superb and one you won’t want to miss.”

the pipers promise ebook

 

Let me know which type of book you’ll be reading more of this summer!

Catch up soon!

Alex x

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Real Books versus Ebooks

The ‘battle’ between ebooks and real books is an old one now.

 

Real Books

 

And it’s not an argument that I’m wanting to kick-start here this morning.

I believe there’s a place for both and I certainly don’t share the view that the paper and ink real book will become obsolete like the cassette tape or camcorder.

In a few weeks, I’ll be leaving my wee island for sunnier climes. And I’m looking forward to lying on a beach and reading lots of good books. Where I live, we don’t lie on the beach. It’s very handy at the bottom of my garden. But still, we tend to march purposefully across our beach. At certain times of the year, we traverse it with great caution, often walking at a forty-five-degree angle against the biting wind.

So, being completely horizontal with a good book in my hands will be a glorious experience. But here’s the rub. Do I take bulky paperbacks or my amazing Kindle Fire?

For me, I much prefer the heft of a good book but the practical issues of transporting two dozen books on a plane means I’ll be reading both varieties of book this summer.

And even though I sell far more ebooks than paperback books, I was still pleased to read that in the UK the sales of ebooks has crashed by 17% last year while at the same time sales of real books were up 8% to £3 billion, the highest since 2012.

old real book

I don’t think we can write-off (excuse the pun…) the physical printed book just yet then.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the way digital books have opened the doors for so many new authors like myself and allowed more people than ever to read books easily and cheaply.

via GIPHY

But do you not feel sometimes, that’s it’s so much more refreshing to take your eyes away from all those pixellated screens and allow your tired brain to absorb the printed words from a real book?

Looking for real books?

In case you’re looking for some holiday reading yourself, why not grab my Gift Bundle of ALL four of my paperback thrillers at a massive discount.

Each one is personally autographed by me too!

real book versus ebook

 

But if you still fancy an ebook, I should tell you my latest thriller THE PIPER’S PROMISE is available on Amazon for less than the price of a coffee.

Here’s a recent review excerpt: “Absolutely superb and one you won’t want to miss.”

 

 

Let me know which type of book you’ll be reading more of this summer!

Catch up soon!

Alex x

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Join My ‘Street Team!’

Hey, everyone! How would you like to join my ‘Street Team?’

 

Street Team

How is everyone this Monday?

I’m great thanks. We’ve had weeks of unprecedented good weather for the West Coast of Scotland and I have been relaxing with family and reflecting on the recent launch of my third Ridge Walker thriller, The Piper’s Promise.

street team

Whilst it’s been the most successful book launch I’ve ever had, I’m still learning that I have a lot more to learn about marketing my books better.

There’s a whole marketing niche relating to book launches and I’m only now just realising why- with four books published already!

So with that in mind, I want to ask you if you’d like to be part of my Alex Breck’s Diamond Dogs Street Team?

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be asking, ‘What the hell is a ‘Street Team?’ 

I’m glad you asked.

Here’s what Google said:

A street team is a group of volunteers who band together to promote an author and his or her book. Members of a street team are motivated by their love of an author’s work to promote it to as many people as possible. Street teams originated on the music scene before the digital age.

 

So, you’ve got to like the books.

I’m not asking you to compare me to legends like Ian Rankin, Chris Brookmyre or anything like that, let’s be realistic! This isn’t about bullshitting. It’s just about helping an indie author get his books in front of more readers, that’s all.

Depending on the size of an author’s fan base, a successful Street Team should be able to do the following:

  1. Recruit willing volunteers who are able to promote on social media
  2. Have members post and encourage others to post reviews of the author’s books
  3. Motivate and challenge members to engage in promotional activities and have fun
  4. Provide feedback on new book ideas, sample chapters and cover art

Good authors should be happy to provide copies of the books for review. They’re called advanced review copies or ARC’s but in no way are people being rewarded for giving biased or overly favourable reviews as this is totally against Amazon’s terms and conditions and will only result in both the author and the reviewer getting closed down.

That said, I’ll be giving away signed paperbacks, autographed bookmarks and all sorts of author swag to my Street Team, depending on how much they get their sleeves rolled up.

You can find out a wee bit more about our Street Team over on a dedicated page on my blog.

>>  If YOU want to be part of the ‘Diamond Dogs Street Team’ then click HERE  << 

I’m really excited about my new Street Team and if you’re an aspiring or struggling author then I’d thoroughly encourage you to start your very own team! If you do, please let me know how you get on!

Catch up soon!

Alex x

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Have you listened to my new Podcast show Alex Breck’s Banter yet?

Alex Breck's Banter Podcast Show

New Trailer For ‘The Devil You Know’

Have you seen this new trailer for ‘The Devil You Know?’

 

The video was made by a fellow Scots writer pal, Billy McLaughlin. Like me, he’s part of a group of gruesome Scottish writers called Write Scotland and we’re going to make some noise this year, just wait and see.

You can get a copy of my stand-alone thriller by clicking the image below!

trailer for the devil you know

All the best!

Alex x

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Alex Breck's Banter Podcast Show

‘The Piper’s Promise’ Hits the Amazon Top 20

‘The Piper’s Promise’ hits the Amazon Top 20!

 

Top 20

Huge thanks to everyone who grabbed a copy of my new thriller, The Piper’s Promise during the launch week.

You helped my book get into the Amazon Top 20!

If you missed all the excitement, here’s a little bit of info about The Piper’s Promise:

“When his best friend Thad is arrested for a series of murders he didn’t commit on the wrong side of the planet, the young Scottish adventurer, Ridge Walker, must find the real killer in order to prove his innocence. But as Ridge crosses swords with a merciless adversary and the savage ethos of centuries of warrior culture, the death toll speeds up and the seemingly random slayings take on a laser-sharp accuracy slicing ever closer to those he loves.

Two worlds collide in this race against time. As he sinks deeper into the macabre quagmire of a sick and vengeful mind he begins to realise the full horror that awaits him.

They say ‘the apple never falls far from the tree’ and it’s going to be a bitter harvest this season.”

————————————————————————————————-

WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID ABOUT ALEX BRECK:

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

‘Highly recommend to pretty much anyone and everyone

who loves a good read!’

‘More than a story, I recommend this book to readers who appreciate good writing.

I am truly impressed and hope to see more books by Alex Breck.’

‘A moving, gripping and at times disturbing thriller with the rich

scene-setting we have come to expect from Alex Breck.’

THE PIPER’S LAMENT

‘Another gripping adventure for Ridge Walker,

this book doesn’t disappoint!

Well-rounded characters, old and new, exciting storyline,

all told with a touch of grim humour. Buy it!’

HE WHO PAYS THE PIPER

‘A darkly comic romp from Scotland right through Central America.

Fast paced action and some great incidents along the way

to a surprise ending

– looking forward to seeing what Ridge gets up to next!’

Top 20

‘Fast paced with good characterisation… I genuinely wanted to find out what

would happen next… happy to recommend’

– Wendy H. Jones author of the DI Shona McKenzie mysteries

If you like

Passenger 19 or Play Dead or The Missing Ones

then you’ll love Alex Breck!

Find out more about Alex Breck

and get a free short story at www.alexbreckbooks.com

Crime Thriller & Mystery/Crime Fiction/Serial Killers

Crime Thriller & Mystery/Crime Fiction/British & Irish/Scottish

Mystery Thriller & Suspense/Crime/Serial Killers/Vengeful

Mystery Thriller & Suspense/ Thrillers/ Action-packed

Catch up soon!

Alex x

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Have you listened to my new Podcast show Alex Breck’s Banter yet?

Alex Breck's Banter Podcast Show