I’m a fan of British “cosy” mystery television shows. You know the sort – like Midsomer Murders, Inspector George Gently… even The Inspector Lynley Mysteries get a run even though the main character is a pretentious prick.
Each show has its own kind of theme that endears us to the heroic pursuit of Bad People. Midsomer Murders is set in the modern day and yet at the same time is still adamant that the last fifty years has never happened. Britain is all just rolling green fields and peaceful villages where the vicar regularly flogs people to death with a golf club, people get poisoned by the baker and the local tart always gets what’s coming to her. Most of the crimes are solved by an illuminating pint of bitter followed by a chase scene through cow shit – with the coppers are wearing expensive shoes. That’s a bit weird – if you were a country detective you wouldn’t go solving murders in your best Barker Blacks, right? (Don’t worry, I had to Google a stupidly expensive shoe brand). You’d get a pair of Rossi’s or something.
Inspector George Gently offers a different approach to solving crime. Here our heroes use a unique method of chain-smoking any suspects into confessing. Forget water-boarding, hitting criminals with a phone book or your basic arm-twisting. The detectives in IGG just keep lighting up fags until the criminals, in a desperate bid to escape the interview room and avoid contracting Cancer Of Everything, confess to anything visible on the whiteboard.
It’s all good, harmless fun – apart from the murders, robberies, rapists and such, of course.
But I just don’t get “Vera”. If you haven’t seen it, Vera is a middle-aged (in fact, kind of on the wrong side of middle-aged really) Detective Inspector who solves crimes by just being fucking angry. She’s fucking angry about everything. The fucking whiteboard, the fucking forensics, the other fucking detectives, the fucking crime, the fucking evidence, the fucking cup of tea some incompetent fucker has made for her… I suspect the scriptwriter is in a really, really bad marriage. Apparently Brenda Blethyn (Vera) is an award-winning actress… must have been the UK Fucking Angry Awards or something. And while I get that maybe the producers of the show wanted to create the antithesis of your usual suave, somehow-flawed-but-we-don’t-mind, Pierce Brosnan-type of detective, it feels like they took it too far (maybe that’s why Vera’s so fucking angry?). Because it’s just too hard to imagine Vera is really a hard-nosed copper instead the cleaning woman who wandered onto the film set by accident. Then again, I suppose Miss Marple was hardly Catwoman…
Oh well, maybe a new series of Midsomer Murders is on the way? It’s got a cute, fluffy dog – and DCI Tom Barnaby’s wife is way easier on the eyes than her predecessor, who looked like an upside-down floor mop wearing cheap jeans. They’ve introduced a damned baby in the last series, but maybe it can get murdered in the first episode or something? Keep things uncomplicated and stick to dogs.
In the meantime I don’t have anyone quite so fucking angry in any of my novels. Upset, perhaps… and Lukas Boston’s neighbour is permanently disappointed in Lukas (actually, I’ve just realised that Vera resembles my fictional Irene a bit). The good news is that lots of people get murdered, abducted and robbed – the same kind of good, clean fun mentioned above.
Twice As Dead is still absolutely free on the Amazon US and Amazon UK sites. On other Amazon sites it might still cost you, because Amazon is crap at matching its own prices. You can send ’em an email and whinge – and they’ll fix it (I can’t, being the author… it’s complicated). If you get it and like the story, post a review will you? Reviews are the lifeblood of ebook authors.
When you self-publish on Amazon there’s this thing you have to do, which is about choosing an appropriate category for your books. You know, like “Crime” or “Mystery” or, of course, “Romance” with shape-shifting werewolves that look like Brad Pitt… and so on.
In the past I’ve tried to dip my toe in lots of different categories at the same time in the hope of reaching a wider browsing audience – more results in Searches, in other words. Seems that’s a bad idea, because instead of creating more results it kind of dilutes the effectiveness of your Search terms in all those categories, rather than concentrating on just one or two.
So with that in mind, I’ve gone back to the “Mystery” theme for my Lukas Boston books and redesigned the covers… again. I’m also going to make the first book free permanently, but that’ll take a few days. I’ll let you know when it’s done.
In the meantime, what do you think of the new covers?
I appreciate that a lot of mystery and thriller readers don’t like novellas – they’re simply not long enough. So in the interests of addressing that I’ve bundled my first three Lukas Boston books into a collection called “Murder, Mystery, Villains and Ghosts” and published it at a bargain price. The cover here was designed by Jennifer at Acappella Book Designs – great job, Jennifer! I’ve also started promoting the individual books through Amazon’s KDP Select, which unfortunately means they’ve been withdrawn for sale from other outlets. Get in tuch, if that’s a problem for you and maybe we can work something out?
Happy reading, and I hope you enjoy “Murder, Mystery, Villains and Ghosts”. You can find Amazon links here.
Hi everyone, it’s been a hectic and very busy time as I’ve been working to finish off our new house- and by that I mean I’m the one swinging the hammer and climbing the ladders. Not surprisingly, everything else has been pretty much put on the back-burner. But now we’ve moved in and while the house isn’t exactly finished I’ve got to start being a writer again, promoting my books, getting some more out there…
I’m hoping to build this site up more, add some music and such, since the whole WordPress thing is so much easier. This isn’t the first time I’ve promised to get my website act into gear. Here’s hoping I finally get into it!
Cheers everyone, Graeme.
It’s been a long process, basically because I didn’t want to do this thing half-arsed, but I’ve finally converted all my published novels- and a few more-into Ebooks for the world to buy, download and enjoy… I’m sure you get the idea. Most of my time was spent changing over eight novels in one go and there were a few issues. First, for some of my original manuscripts I didn’t have the final, edited versions of the Word files that ultimately went to the publishers. My first books were published at a time when manuscripts were still sent as hard-copy print-outs to the printers. Hey, before you think any further I’m not that old! We still wrote on computers and word processors, but the layout and printing wasn’t digital yet. Anyway, it proved to be an opportunity to re-edit those original manuscripts and stories. Clean them up a little and add a bit of the writing experience I (hopefully) gathered in the years since. Think of them as the 2011 “digitally remastered” copies of my books like they did with music albums. But it’s important to realise I didn’t update the stories. Don’t expect to see mobile phones and the internet in novels I wrote in the 1990’s. They weren’t around when I wrote those books and that’s the way I wanted to novels to stay.
Another thing that happened was I didn’t have a recent file of “Missing Pieces”, a crime novel that’s been selling really well in Germany. It was published in the US ages ago and that publisher even put out their own Ebook (without my permission I might add), but they couldn’t give me a file either. The crazy solution was to buy my own ebook (!!) and then use an Optical Character Recognition program to scan the pages back into my word processor… yes, it was tricky. Worse, the OCR didn’t recognise lots of things (like italics, believe it or not) and I had to painstakingly go through each page to reformat and re-grammar (if that’s a word) the text.
Next I created my own covers. This was a crash-course in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, but I’m pretty happy with most of the results. In the effort to get all my books done I compromised a little on some, but I can always go back and rework those.
Finally, I had to reformat the manuscripts again, because when you convert these things into a file suitable for an Ebook publication there are a few different rules you need to know. I won’t go into any details here, but if anyone is keen to ask me any questions please use the comment box and I’ll reply as quick as I can.
So now it’s done. I was tempted to offer one of my books for free- free ebooks! Nope, I just can’t do it. How about a cheap ebook? It’s a deal! My book “Ghost Tales, Four Stories of the Dead Among Us” is available for the huge sum of $1.95 and believe me, it’s a bargain because the four ghost stories combined are actually bigger than a normal book.
There is a page on this site dedicated to my ebooks with links to Amazon and Smashwords, where you can buy them.
Wish me luck. Any support anybody offers is greatly appreciated. Feel free to get in touch and I’ll try to reply quickly.
Graeme Hague July 2011