City Of Shadows - M J Lee

Blog Tour: Guest Post: City of Shadows by M J Lee

Welcome to BrizzleLass Books for today’s stop on City of Shadows Blog Tour organised by Neverland Blog Tours. There is a guest post from M J Lee below, I hope you enjoy it and pick up the book for yourself.

A family of four is found murdered in the heart of one of the new Art Deco estates in the city. It’s a brutal crime, committed without mercy.

Under questioning, a suspect confesses, but Danilov is not convinced of his guilt. When the accused is murdered on the steps of the police station, he investigates to clear the man’s name, diving deep into the dark heart of Shanghai, uncovering the greed and jealousy, triads and police corruption that lurks in the City of Shadows.

This is the second book in the Danilov series. The first, Death in Shanghai, is also available from Carina.

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Five things I’ve learnt about writing by M J Lee

I’ve been published for nearly a year now. In that time, I’ve produced three books for two different publishing houses. The Danilov series for Carina and the Pepys series for Endeavour.

Here’s a few things I’ve learnt along the way. Hopefully, if you’re thinking of being an author, they may inspire or scare the hell out of you.

  1. Writers have to have a thick skin

Thicker than a Rhinoceros. And hairier. And greyer.

Because for every ten people who read your book, there will be fifteen opinions. Some positive and encouraging. Some critical and encouraging. Some critical and discouraging. And a few, downright rude.

But you have to pick yourself and your pen up, and start again to wrestle with that blank page.

Only you can write, nobody else can do it for you.

  1. Fear of failure is not the most damaging emotion. Fear of success is.

Inside every writer is a voice that tells him or her, that they are not really good enough. That they are faking it. That one day the world will wake up and discover the truth – they can’t put two words together to make a coherent sentence.

Like this.

Don’t worry though.  I had lunch with a very famous writer last year. A man who’s written films and incredibly successful books.  A man I’ve looked up to for the last twenty years. He said that he always felt he would be discovered as a charlatan one day. People would look at him and know he had no talent.

Everybody feels this. It’s part of the insecurity of writers. Just write the best book you can and hang all the rest.

  1. Marketing isn’t everything (but it’s a major part of any book)

Nobody will discover you by chance.

They won’t log on to Amazon and suddenly decide I’m going to buy M J Lee’s book today. He seems such a nice chap and the book looks like it could be interesting. And I’m sure he wears terribly nice after shave.


There are over six million books on Amazon alone.

People won’t discover your writing unless you help them.  Write the best book you can.  Make sure the book cover is attractive. Get the blurb to be as enticing as it can be.

And then start to market. Because, there’s no point in doing the first three if nobody reads your book.

Selling your book is part of being an author. Get with the programme.

  1. Work with the best editor you can

No man is an island. No woman either.

A good editor will see things in your work that nobody else does. Even more, they will make your work better with just a few choice suggestions.

At Carina, I work with Clio Cornish and I can honestly say, she’s made my work what it is. She prods, cajoles, hints, interrogates me and my work to make it the best it can be.

I look at her extensive notes on my first draft, pour myself a stiff drink and I start to work.

Because, in the end,  all writing is re-writing.  A good editor will make the writing, and the reading, so much better.

  1. Write. Write. And then write a bit more.

Like anything, writing is exercise; the more you do it, the better you get. I certainly feel that I’m a more proficient writer than I was two years ago.

But I never stop learning. I still read tips on how to be a better editor. I still look for ideas on making transitions smoother. I still research new ways to put meaning or emotion across in words.

Never stop learning.

Never stop writing.

One day, you will be published and enjoy that wonderful buzz when people say they enjoyed reading your book.

Because the biggest thing I’ve learnt about being a writer is this one:

  1. Dreams become real when you put them on paper.

That’s six things. Never mind. You’ll be a better writer if you break the rules.

City of Shadows - Tour Schedule

City Of Shadows - Author ImageAbout M J Lee:
Martin has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a University researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, TV commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.

He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the North of England. In London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and London Festivals, and the United Nations.

Whilst working in Shanghai, he loved walking through the old quarter of that amazing city, developing the idea behind a series of crime novels featuring Inspector Pyotr Danilov, set in 1920s and 30s.

When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, practising downhill ironing, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake and wishing he were George Clooney.

Author Links: Website | Twitter

Title: City of Shadows
Series: Inspector Danilov #2
Author: M.J. Lee
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Carina UK
Publication Date: 11 March 2016
Review Format: N/A
Other Formats: eBook
Pages: 338
Buy: Amazon | Nook | iBook

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I'm BrizzleLass, I have Bipolar and have been dealing with mental illness in one form or another since childhood, I was first diagnosed with depression at nine. It's not easy speaking out about my experiences, some of them are extremely painful, but if I can help even one person then I have succeeded in sharing my story. This is where I talk about my mental health among other things that interest me. I enjoy walking, PlayStation, reading, heavy metal, and spending time with my Niece.

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