Competition – Win a Copy of Backpackers!

Hi all,

It’s competition time once again (UK residents only). This is your chance to win a paperback copy of my latest book, Backpackers.

The book follows a number of people backpacking through south east Asia in 2003. Each one of them meets Cath Pearson, who is running from home, screwed up on drink and drugs, and heading for oblivion.

Ten years later in 2013, rock star Jack Wolf is in a similar situation: screwed up on drink and drugs and running from himself. He decides to find Cath, who he fell in love with on a beach near Bali in 2003. But the more he learns about what happened to Cath after they parted, the more he fears she may be dead.

It’s a tale of growing up, of love and loss, of adventure and greed, and of villains and heroes. Rated 5* on its Amazon ebook page.

To be in with a chanBackpackers book photoce of winning this very copy in the picture, simply answer a few ridiculously easy questions and send your answers to me using the details below.

Competition questions

1. The first few chapters of the book are set in Indonesia. What is Indonesia’s capital city?

2. Later in the book, a boat journey becomes very dramatic for our main character Cath Pearson. The river she travels on stretches from Vietnam, through Cambodia, then up through Laos. Which river is it? It’s a big one.

3. I have a science fiction book for sale under my pen name, astrotomato. What is it called? (ps, it’s really good – read the reviews)

Competition rules

This competition is only for UK residents, due to postage costs. If you live elsewhere in the world and want to enter, I am happy to give away an .epub file of the book for e-reading devices as a separate prize. This prize is only available if I receive entries from outside the UK.

None of my family are allowed to enter. Isn’t it about time you bought a copy, anyway?

Oh yes, closing date. Please ensure your entries are with me by midnight (GMT) on Saturday 22 June.

Send entries to or follow and DM me on Twitter @astrotomato. (I think I’ll need to follow you, too, so let me know.)

Good luck!

astro x


Writing update 02 June 2013

A very productive weekend.

I was sent home sick on Thursday afternoon with a weird virus-thingie. Hot & cold flushes, nausea, disassociation. By Friday afternoon I was starting to feel better, so I sat down to write around 4pm. By Sunday morning, with pauses for sleeping, eating and going into London to see friends, I’d managed to write about 10,000 words.

I don’t know if it was the illness, but most of the writing revolved around two new characters in my secret project. They’re dwarfs from 10th Century Romania who develop a cocaine habit. They were a completely unplanned part of the novel, though they seem to have found a very natural place in the narrative.

They initially sprang out of a Twitter comment which caught my imagination. I played around with them in one scene, and grew rather fond of them.

This afternoon I also made a few lazy edits to my long-in-gestation Robocop fanfic. I realised, too, that it’s not very good. And though I’d originally wanted to write it quickly and with a complete pulp fiction feel to it (that’s pulp fiction as in the 1950s and 60s stuff, not the film), I’ve now fallen into a trap of wanting to improve its quality.

That’s about it writing-wise.

I finished reading The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, too, which was OK. There are a handful of good short stories in there, and a larger handful of fairly tedious ones. The book is structured in a similar fashion to my own novel, Backpackers, which is pleasing, as I had been concerned that a narrative which is loosely centred around one person, but goes into short stories about other people, wasn’t market friendly.

Adieu for now,


astro x