“…at the beginning of the VIDEO CONFERENCE – that’s right, because we can no longer meet face to face with cakes and coffee without asking people for a blood test…”


How are you today?

I do hope you’re staying safe and adapting well to the new normal.

Ugh. Every time somebody says that I feel this involuntary gag reflex. What if I don’t want the new normal? What if I don’t like it and want to return it for a full refund?

Okay. So, before this descends into yet another post about the thing that you’ve been hearing and are being reminded of from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed, let’s focus on the positive news that I’m here to share with you.

Yesterday, the focus group for my new supernatural thriller, HAUNTED, met to discuss the 1st draft of the manuscript.

For those who may not be aware, this process involves handing over the 1st draft, also known as first-born, to a group of readers to read in exchange for early, honest feedback. A bit like movie studios with a new movie before general release.

Yes, I can assure you that it isn’t the easiest of processes. If you’re a parent, imagine handing over your new baby to a bunch of people to examine and critique.


So, at the beginning of the VIDEO CONFERENCE – that’s right, because we can no longer meet face to face with cakes and coffee without asking people for a blood test, a germaphobe-induced panic attack or WWII-esque suspicion that they may have touched something somewhere without washing their hands – one of the members was telling us about how difficult it had been for her to home school. She explained that–

No. Wait. Hold on. I’m talking about it again!

This is our new way of life. Like it or not.



The pandemic put a stop to most photoshoots this year, but I’ve been keeping busy by shooting the odd image during early morning walks. 

If I’m perfectly honest, for me, this whole thing has been met with somewhat of a meh, simply because I feel like I’ve been training for it my whole life. Writing is a notoriously solitary practice. Writers are in perpetual lockdown. The only thing to truly suffer has been my photography, and the queue of new-faces that were going to make it into this year’s shooting schedule but now are much more unlikely to.

Which means that, over the past few months, while most folk have been agonizing about not being able to go to meet and greet and enjoy sun together, this vampire-like creature, otherwise known as a writer, has been locked in toiling away at his keyboard contriving infinite spooky ways of making the focus group members lock the doors, turn on  the lights and fear those things that go bump in the night

So, did I succeed? Did I manage to make them cower under their blankets, search the shadows, rake  the hairs up at the back of their necks? (which was a bit of an objective for me).

Well, it had been a while since I completed my last novel, the psychological thriller, PSYCHOSIS. I’ve been so involved in publishing for other authors and photography that I’d forgotten what author birthing pains were like.

And it had been so long that I went through the usual process of doubt, self-loathing, and general bouts of non-worthiness. To the point where I was even considering my own version of Stephen King’s first draft of Carrie – famously tossed it into the wastepaper basket before it was rescued by his wife.

Of course, I no longer have a wastepaper basket specifically for this purpose. Since, well, it’s 2020, but you get my point.

Somehow, and I don’t know how (I say that but I do really because all of this is a process) I persevered and the 1st draft of HAUNTED was born albeit with many more words.

But I chose to keep these in, opting instead to let the focus group pick out those parts that they believed were superfluous to the story.

AND… in true book marketing spiel, NOTHING COULD HAVE PREPARED ME FOR THE TRUTH.

They loved it!

And I’m not just saying that. I mean, they REALLY loved it!

At its first draft, HAUNTED was awarded a resounding collective average of 9.5 out of 10!

Yes. There were several misty-eyed moments when I saw that the positive feedback I was receiving was not isolated to a few members, but it was unanimous. With all agreeing that it is the best book I have ever written.


This hasn’t happened to me before so you can imagine my shock when I first started examining the questionnaires.  Which, incidentally, if you’re a book lover and like the idea of joining a focus group then get in touch. Be it my own novels or other authors, I work with, we’re always on the lookout for book lovers who are interested in sharing their honest, unvarnished feedback on the latest would-be bestseller before it’s unleashed on the world!

So, now, I am REALLY excited for the rest of you to read it!

Of course, there’s still a journey. Another draft from me. A stint with my editor. Then another draft from me and then and only then will it be ready for you.


HAUNTED is  Tony Marturano’s first book since Psychosis which was published 3 years ago. While HAUNTED is a standalone supernatural thriller, it does pick up two weeks after the end of the psychological thriller, PSYCHOSIS. 

HAUNTED is an “epic” “buckle-up” “emotional rollercoaster” of  a supernatural thriller that tells the story of a couple who inherit a cottage in a stunning clifftop location in a small fishing village on the southwest coast of England. The plan is simple, they move in there, refurbish the place, get it on the market, viewed, sold and are out before Christmas.

But things aren’t that simple. Far from it. There are lot of thrills, twists, and turns in HAUNTED that will get your pulse pumping well before things start going bump in the night (so I’m told).

While it’s a standalone novel, HAUNTED picks up a few weeks after PSYCHOSIS so if you’re looking for something to read, well, you could do much worse.

HAUNTED is scheduled for release this Halloween 2020, and if I want to make that deadline, I need to get back to work.

I want to close by saying THANKS to all of you that take the time to follow my posts, read my books, view and download my photography.  I may not get the chance to write to you as regularly as I used to these days but know that I am always humbled by your interest and support.

Thank you so much.

Until next time, be safe out there.

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