The Day I Nearly Died.

It was during a trip to Folkstone, on England’s south coast. It was the summer holidays, and all us kids were off school, looking for mischief and finding it.

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The Day I Nearly Died

It was during a trip to Folkstone, on England’s south coast.

F O L K S T O N E

It was the summer holidays and all us kids were off school, looking for mischief and finding it.
Then someone in the south London council flats where I lived at the time, had the bright idea of getting up a coach party to take us all to the seaside for a day.
A Coach Outing? What a great idea!

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Photo by Jimmy Chan on Pexels.com

It had the added appeal for the parents that until the day of the coach outing dawned, we could be kept more-or-less in order by the ever-hovering threat of being kept at home for naughtiness, while everyone else made faces at us from the back of the coach. A threat not to be borne. Even David, my second brother, always in scrapes, behaved himself more than usual.
scenic view of ocean
Photo by David Yu on Pexels.com
I suppose there must have been thirty-odd people. Mostly kids, their mums, and a few dads.
I’d have been about nine or ten. I’d never been on a coach outing. Was I excited! That we were going to the seaside was the strawberry on top.
close up photography of person s eye
Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

A Scorcher!

The day arrived. It was beautiful, clear blue skies, and the temperature already soaring by eight in the morning. My three siblings and I squabbled our way on board with the other kids, pushing and shoving, as we all wanted to knab the back seat. The bigger boys staked their superior claim, so that was that.
I didn’t care. I was going to the seaside. I would have sat anywhere, ever with the adults at the front.

Spartan

Someone started a singsong. We sang to the halfway point, where we had a toilet break (this was back in the 60’s when coaches were more spartan than they are now). One of the dad’s suggested a quick visit to the pub. This wasn’t too popular with us kids, of course, as we saw the tide going out on our seaside adventure.
beach birds clouds dawn
Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

Bribery and Corruption

But the grown-ups bribed us with crisps and lemonade and disappeared with alacrity pub-wards. We must have played up, making a nuisance of ourselves, asking everyone who went in to tell the parents to hurry up. Anyway, they soon got fed-up of our whining every time the door was opened and being accosted about rowdy kids by strangers, because within half-an-hour we were back on the coach. Off again. The next stop would be Folkstone! Maybe that’s what gave me the idea to try bribery and corruption by my main suspect in Dead Before Morning, my #1 Rafferty & Llewellyn Mystery!

You can’t eat yet

By this time, my two brothers were starving, and started riffling through mum’s neatly packed bags. This earned them a smack and a ‘Wait till we get there.’
My sister Maria and I sniggered as the greedy pair got a backhander. We, of course, were models of decorum (though I have a vague memory of being sick with excitement on the coach floor).

Are we nearly there?

The singsong started up again. Soon we were asking, ‘Are we nearly there?’ And this carried on for the next half-hour, till, finally, as we sighted the sea for the first time, we answered our own question, as we cried, ‘We’re here!’

We reach Folkstone

It was a gorgeous day. So often in England, a day that starts bright with promise will, by early afternoon, have turned into a damp squib, with grey skies blotting out the sun. But not today! Today the sky was still as deep a blue as it had been at eight in the morning. Sea gulls swooped, crying their seaside cry.
flock of white seagulls flying over the large body of water
Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on Pexels.com

Grub up!

As mum unpacked the food. We all settled down and demolished in five minutes what it had taken mum an hour to pack the night before.

 

colorful woven basket
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Let your lunch go down

Then, we were clamouring to get in the water. We were told to wait till our lunch had gone down. I couldn’t believe it. Why were all the adults, after promising us an enjoyable day at the seaside, putting so many obstacles in the way of our enjoyment? First it was the pub; then we must eat lunch; now it was, ‘wait till your lunch goes down!’ I’d have suspected a conspiracy, if I’d known such a word at ten.

Into the sea

But eventually mum announced that sufficient time had passed, and we were allowed into our swimsuits.
silhouette of people by the seashore
Photo by Bayu jefri on Pexels.com
At last! We raced like lemmings over a cliff, eager to feel the lap of the water around our legs. It was icy, even on a scorching day; the water around Britain’s coast is always chilly. But we splashed each other, uncaring of the cold water and how it made our teeth chatter.

Hearty Appetites

Twenty minutes later we came out of the water, looking for food. The sea air had even given Maria and I, normally picky eaters, hearty appetites.

The case of the disappearing grown-ups

Then one of the men in the party said a visit to a seaside watering hole was obligatory. No sooner were the words out of his mouth than, as one, all the adults disappeared pub-wards, pausing only to shout instructions to, ‘Behave yourselves.’

Freedom

mountain by the sea
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
It was a scorching day and it wasn’t long before the cool water lured us again. Soon we were bobbing about in the waves, splashing one another, squealing when one of our bare feet landed on a sharp pebble, but thoroughly enjoying such freedom.
It didn’t last long. At least for me. Not many more minutes had gone by when a bigger wave swept in. As the youngest (and smallest), the wave knock me off my feet. Down I went, into a green world, strangely echoing, with distant shouts mingling with the whoosh of water in my ears.
photo of woman swimming underwater
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

Not waving but drowning

My flapping arms brought me to the surface again. The sky was still a brilliant blue. I opened my mouth to scream, but before I could emit as much as a squeak, it filled with water and down I went again into that green, green world, with its whooshing water making everything seem vaguely unreal.

Did my life flash before me?

I remember thinking, ‘I’m going to die.’ But drowning I found a curiously peaceful experience, so it didn’t unduly bother me. Weird. My life didn’t flash before me. But I wouldn’t turn ten until October, so there wasn’t much life to flash.

Going down for the third time

Peaceful or not, I was still, involuntarily, flapping my arms, and they brought me to the surface again. Again my mouth filled with seawater before I could scream or gulp in air. I was going down for the third (and presumably, the last) time, when somebody must have finally noticed that Geraldine was drowning, not waving.

My saviour

They shouted for Tommy, the only boy in the party who could swim. Tommy hauled me out and dumped me like a sack of spuds on the beach, while I coughed, spluttered and said hello to my lunch.
My mum was sent for, not too pleased at being hauled from the pub, until somebody explained what had happened.

Just think-No Rafferty & Llewellyn British Mystery Series!

RAFFERTY AND LLEWELLYN MYSTERY SERIES

This is my main achievement in life. If I’d died before I reached the age of ten, I’d have nothing to show for my life apart from some running medals.

Poor mum

Don’t be too hard on her. Admittedly, it was irresponsible to leave four kids, none of whom could swim, on the beach, while the adults all went to the pub. But poor mum rarely escaped her child-rearing duties. Day after dutiful day, there she’d be, arguing with the neighbours when David got in trouble again, sitting in the hospital for ages while one of us got patched up after our latest mishap. Year after endless year. Looking back, I wonder how she stood it.

No more laughter

woman standing wearing white long sleeved top
Photo by Min An on Pexels.com
That was the end of my day at the seaside. I wasn’t allowed in the sea again all that hot summer afternoon. I couldn’t even make sandcastles as it was a pebbly beach. Instead I watched my siblings having fun. But the sea had lost its enchantment for me in any case. Nearly drowning will do that.

Mum booked swimming lessons–but only for me!

One thing stands out from that day (apart from my brush with death). My mum was around the swimming baths as soon as they opened the next day to arrange swimming lessons, presumably thanking the fates that she’d still got four kids.
But the swimming lessons were only for me. The other three, who couldn’t swim either – even David, my mum’s favourite – could drown!
Mum’s cock-eyed logic still makes me chuckle even today.

What about you? Have you had a brush with death, but lived to tell the tale? Do write and tell me, and, with your permission, I’ll feature the best of them on my blog.

Creating a Crime Series – How I Did It

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Plugins were my Downfall!

Plugins were my downfall. Confused.com At last, after months, and months, I have been able to configure my website. Each time I tried (and failed), I got one of those irritating messages that said it was unresponsive and I could either Wait or Exit. I was tearing my hair out that I’d wasted half a day on this malarkey.

Plugins Were My Downfall

Plugins

At last, after months, and months, I have been able to customise my website. Each time I tried (and failed), I got one of those irritating messages that said it was unresponsive and I could either Wait or Exit. I was tearing my hair out that I’d wasted half a day on this malarkey.

Shutterstock

Plugin Problem

I eventually realised that it might be one of my plugins that were the culprit (slow or what?). They’ve been behind every other aggravation I’ve experienced, so when I thought about it, one or more of these was the obvious suspect.

Plugin Problem Solved

After I stripped out all of my plugins, barring the few that are self-controlled, I could customise. Amazed? Delighted? I’ll say. I might even dare to be more regular in my blogging in future (if that’s not tempting the fates to do dire things–which it probably is).

Bright and Shiny

Repeat after me. I must not get new plugins in the manner of a person seeking happiness in retail therapy.  It will only bring misery and pain. So these are my new rules to live by:

Plugin Rules

  • insert only one new plugin at a time
  • find out exactly how it works
  • delete it the minute you suspect it of sabotage
  • don’t agonise–ask a tech-savvy person for help
  • this applies equally to all technology. If you don’t understand it, and think you never will–don’t install it. Technology is such a time-suck if you weren’t brought-up with it.
Shutterstock by https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/woman-who-uses-computer-gets-angry-1345762625beika

You know it makes sense.

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A murder victim with no face. A media calling for answers. And a detective with a family not averse to a little gentle law-bending.

  • DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN #2

A much-loved murder victim. A long-dead patriarch. And a detective finding his way out of the morass of emotions.

  • DEATH LINE #3 

A murdered ‘seer’ who failed to predict his own future. A partner who refuses to see the murder as an inside job. And a Detective who’s coming up empty.

  • THE HANGING TREE #4

A disappearing hanged man. A witness designed to harass. And a Detective who felt ambivalent about getting a conviction.

BOOKS IN THE RAFFERTY & LLEWELLYN BRITISH MYSTERY SERIES

  • Dead Before Morning #1#
  • Down Among the Dead Men #2
  • Death Line #3
  • The Hanging Tree #4
  • Absolute Poison #5
  • Dying For You #6
  • Bad Blood #7
  • Love Lies Bleeding #8
  • Blood on the Bones #9
  • A Thrust to the Vitals #10
  • Death Dues #11
  • All the Lonely People #12
  • Death Dance #13
  • Deadly Reunion #14
  • Kith and Kill #15
  • Asking For It #16
  • The Spanish Connection #17
  • Game of Bones #18

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Writing with a Disability–Stroke of Fortune

Living the Dream—Well, Almost!
It’s no fun being disabled, though it is the perfect excuse to get out of doing the ironing, which I always loathed! All right, I never actually did any, far preferring creases to sweating over a hot iron, but hey, it provides me with the perfect explanation for the creases, instead of just being regarded as an idle domestic slut.

Writing After a Stroke –Disability

Living the Dream—Well, almost!

It’s no fun being disabled, though it is the perfect excuse to get out of doing the ironing, which I always loathed! All right, I never actually did any ironing, far preferring creases to sweating over a hot crease-eradicator, but hey, it provides me with the perfect explanation for the creases instead of just being regarded as an idle domestic slut.

Off On My Hols–Then a Stroke Brings Calamity

I had a stroke in 2015, on the jet flying to Malta for a week’s holiday-cum-writing break. I never did get to see the island. Instead, I saw the inside of a Maltese hospital for about four weeks, before my travel insurance company arranged for a plane home.

Memorable – But For The Wrong Reasons

That was a memorable trip. I was hoisted to a rack inches from the plane’s roof, well-strapped-in, for the flight. Surely, I could use that experience? I was a writer, for God’s sake, so I was certain I could lever it in somewhere! Especially as the worry about how in hell I’d get to the loo, lassoed as I was from the ceiling, occupied me for the duration of air time.

Difficulties of Writing When You’re Disabled

  1. But writing – about the terrors of inaccessible toilet facilities or anything else, when you’re disabled – is often an exercise in frustration.
  2. For instance, I can no longer touch-type, having only my left hand that actually works. Instead, it’s a one-handed peck and sniff exercise. I often hit the wrong key: ‘p’ when I want ‘o’, and, ‘m’ when I want ‘n’.
  3. And when I’m interrupted by bathroom breaks I have generally lost my train of thought entirely by the time I get back. What used to be a quick scurry to the loo, has turned into a 15/20 minutes’ operation, by foot, by the aid of trolleys, furniture, invalid bars, and a wheelchair. Getting there and back is an effort, especially as the bathroom, like in a lot of these old terraces, is built on to the end of the kitchen. Occasionally it means I’ve had an ‘accident’ before I get there.

If things are really desperate, I use the commode in the ground-floor dining room-turned-bedroom; though I try to avoid using that during the daytime as it’s so easy to become lazy. Besides, getting to the loo and back is the only exercise I get (I know, I know).

As I said, I live in an old terrace, and the house is a bit up and down, with a step up from the living room where I work, so, what, in a normal house, would be a quick whiz to the downstairs bathroom in the wheelchair, involves all of the above aids, and the same in reverse. So you can see why I can often lose my train of thought. Perhaps I should keep a writing pad, with string attached pen in the bathroom. Although, if I did that, I might never get off the loo!

Alternatively, I could write the idea/plot twist down before I started my intrepid travels. But if I did that, it’s guaranteed that I would be one soggy scribbler by the time I reached the bathroom (or even the commode).

Writing Matters

Moving on from bathroom matters (thank God, sez you!), as regards writing itself, I’ve been a seat-of-pants writer from the beginning, although, nowadays, I do make a plot plan of sorts. There’s usually a good lump of the middle missed out; I’ll figure that out when I get to it, is my thought.

I’ve never had the patience to write plot-plans that are half as long as the novel will be. Not sure if the necessity of writing even a half-arsed plot-plan is down to the stroke, or just getting older. Maybe, I’m just fed up rewriting those endless drafts necessitated by being an SOP writer.

Books Completed Since My Stroke

Anyway, since my stroke, plot-planned, or otherwise, I’ve completed three novels

  • Asking For It #16
  • The Spanish Connection #17
  • Game of Bones #18

in my Rafferty & Llewellyn Mystery Series

Several short stories

  • Pond Life – A Rafferty & Llewellyn Short Story
  • The Station Thief – A Rafferty & Llewellyn Short/Short
  • The Monarch’s Gift – A Rafferty & Llewellyn Short/Short

Two further Romances

  • The Wishing Fountain
  • Strangers on the Shore

All of which is an achievement in itself, with just my left hand!

More Difficulties

  • I’m now halfway through #19 in the series, though my notebook, with my only part-done plot-plan, tends to keep getting away from me. Writing with your left hand when you’re right-handed, is hard at the best of times without a moving notebook, so the chances of me being able to read the doctor-like scribble are small, at best.
  • I’ve tried using the hard plastic folders with the metal grip, but I’m just as likely to grip my fingers as the notebook. Ouch! Those grippers are fierce. Maybe a permanently-open document on the computer would be a better idea—at least I’d avoid the hazard of the grippers snapping my digits.

Staying in Hotels –Oh My!

Sorry, this is turning into a rant. But I shall continue in this vein for a moment, while I tell you about my recent experience with a hotel in Norwich, which I went to for a weekend writing break.

  • The accommodation door was so heavy I couldn’t get it open sufficiently to get me on my wobbly legs, or my mobility scooter, out. Yes, I’d asked for a disabled room when booking, so I don’t know who thought it would be a brilliant idea to provide the disabled with an impossible-to-open door.
  • When I tried to ring reception to come and let me out, I discovered the telephone wouldn’t work. I finally thought of ringing reception on my (seldom used) mobile, so, after missing Afternoon Tea, I did make it to dinner.
  • But the next day, Sod’s Law being what it is, when I tried to ring Reception on the mobile to go home, it had run out of charge. I had my Fire tablet with me, so I next sent reception an email. But the hotel’s Wifi was erratic at best, so I doubt they received it.
  • Presumably, they didn’t, as there I stayed, incarcerated in my room, trapped by a very heavy, barely movable door, with no means of communicating with the staff. I was reliant upon the youngsters who manned reception to remember my existence. And we all know that youngsters are more likely to be thinking about what they’ll do in their time off, than about the disabled old bird in the off-by-itself-Annexe, who hadn’t made it to breakfast.
  • A writer’s imagination being what it is, those long hours were filled with thoughts of slowly starving to death, forgotten by youngsters whose heads were filled with far more delightful thoughts. I was finally released from my prison at 11.00 am, and thankful to return home unscathed but for bruised dignity.

Indie Publishing

Nowadays, I’m an Indie Publisher so I can afford to live and write full time (well, when I say full-time, you understand the word is relative, what with emails, watching podcasts, trips to the loo, etc).

I spent about eighteen years with various traditional publishers, but I could never afford to give up the day job. The writing obviously fitted around that, in evenings and weekends. Like most writers, I worked seven-day-weeks for decades.

Led to My Stroke? — Maybe

Maybe all that sitting helped to lead to my stroke, which the airplane trip brought to a climax. Use your talents, is one of the parables I used to be particularly fond of. I didn’t realise my lifestyle would lead me to a life as a disabled writer! Oh, the iron-y.

Digital Publishing with Amazon

Anyway, when Amazon’s Kindle came along, offering writers the opportunity to turn Indie, and after having read various American writers’ blogs about how their income had vastly improved since they took the plunge, I grabbed the chance with both hands in 2010 and discovered those American authors were right.

Earning a Living with Amazon’s Kindle

  • A matter of months after I’d turned Indie I was earning a full-time living. I could afford to give up my hated temping jobs. Hurrah.
  • Now I thank God I took the opportunity, because, since I had the stroke, I’ve had a lot of expense, so it’s just as well that I could finally earn a proper living, as I can’t see any employer wanting a one-handed typist! Would you?

But you know, having a stroke isn’t the end of the world.

With my mobility scooter I can still indulge in retail therapy, and although some of the high racks on which the clothes are hung are a bit of a trial, I manage.

And then, of course, there’s Amazon, again, coming to the rescue, with their home delivery of anything from inco-pads to bags of compost.

Admittedly, I can no longer touch-type, play my keyboards, paint, sew, (or iron!), but the many frustrations aside, I can still live a fulfilling life, doing what I love—writing novels.

It’s a far better life than many people enjoy, and I thank my lucky stars, every day, that I found my reason for living when I was in my twenties, and writing my half-finished novels. It took until I hit thirty to finish that first novel, and another six years, completing a novel a year, to get published. You can imagine how I felt when I received my first acceptance.

Reason for Living

But do you know what? For me, nothing compares with the pleasure writing gives me.

And when I’m in the middle of another novel, nothing else matters – not even the, often inconvenient business – of being disabled. It’s pure joy

What about you? What’s your ‘Reason for Living?’ Or are you still waiting to discover it?

Resources for Writers

Some Helpful Books, Blogs and other Tools we Recommend.

Resources for Writers

With thanks to Anne R Allen’s Blog:

Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris

 

Crime Writer Geraldine Evans

I’d forgotten I had written this article about how I set about creating a crime series! It was published in Red Herrings, the monthly magazine of The Crime Writing Association.

Perhaps it will encourage some of you thinking of dipping a toe into the crime fiction pool.

I’d forgotten I had written this article about how I set about creating a crime series! It was published in Red Herrings, the monthly magazine of The Crime Writing Association.

Perhaps it will encourage some of you thinking of dipping a toe into the crime fiction pool.

It’s inspired me to get on with my current Rafferty, which has spent so long on the back burner for one reason or another, that it’s in danger of drying up altogether!

Take Eye of Newt: Creating a Crime Series

Beginnings

The creation of a crime series is a bit of a puzzle — in more ways than one — isn’t it? Do you try to create a clone of the fictional British detectives Wexford, Morse, Dalgliesh? Or maybe the publishing world would prefer a bit of all three? Is that a chorus of ‘Yes! Please!’ I hear in the background?

Before I tried my hand at a crime novel, I’d been writing for six years, mainly articles and romantic novels. The articles were (mostly) published, but the romantic novels were all — bar, Land of Dreams, the last of the six — rejected. All with the comment, ‘Too much plot, and not enough Romance.’

So, once I’d figured out that romance writing wasn’t really my bag, I decided to turn to crime.

No Need to Make Life Difficult For Yourself

That decision brought my first dilemma. Because as I’ve already said, most of the really well-known fictional (British) detectives, although very different in temperament, etc, were of a certain type: middle class and well educated.

I assumed I would have to follow suit. Coming from a working-class, Council-house-raised, and secondary-modern educated (sic) background, this was a conclusion that put a damper on my aspirations. How could I possibly hope to write about such characters? Even trying a second-rate clone of one of them was surely beyond my ability (or desire).

I couldn’t write about such people. Not only couldn’t but wouldn’t. I didn’t want to write about such people. Why the hell would I? I had no experience of a middle-class lifestyle.

Back then, I found the mere idea so completely intimidating that I revolted against it; not least because after thinking about those crime writers regularly praised for their devilish ingenuity, God-like intellect, and masterly characterisation, I felt as if I should crawl back from whence I had come and not bother the critics – or anyone else – ever again.

But I didn’t follow that first, wimpish, inclination. My natural bolshiness rose to the fore, and I said: ‘To hell with that!’ (or words to that effect…! There might have been a few more common ‘F’*!*!*!s’ in there, somewhere.

Once I’d got that, ‘Bastards!’ stuff out of my system, I decided to do it ‘My Way’. So I took my life by the scruff of the neck, threw out the ridiculous idea of writing about middle-class characters from my Council estate mindset, and created my main detective character from the police majority; the ordinary Joes who have more to do with the reality of the average copper. None of your Fast-Tracking or Accelerated Promotion for this bloke. He’d have to do it the hard way if he wanted to work his way up.

Okay, I pretty much suspected that the cop character I came up with wouldn’t be the style of detective that seems to most impress the critics. My main man would be pretty well the opposite of the critics’ darlings. My copper would be working-class and indifferently educated. Much like me, in fact (that I’ve worked my socks off since leaving school at sixteen to try to educate myself, is beside the point).

This seemed like a far better idea. Especially as I felt it was essential that my main character, at least, should be someone to whom I could relate. If by some miracle, my first effort in the genre was published, I might be writing about this character through four, five, six or more novels (I’d envisaged this as a series of novels right from the start. No lack of ambition here!). No way I’d be able to do that if I wrote about a lead character whose background was totally at odds with my own.

Thus was born Detective Inspector Joseph Aloysius Rafferty. Like me, Rafferty is Council-house raised and secondary-modern educated. Again, like me, he’s Catholic (lapsed), and London-born of Irish parents and is one of quite a crowd of siblings (he’s the eldest of six, I’m the youngest of four, but the similarities are there: very important, those similarities.).

Every Need to Make Life Difficult For Your Main Character

Like many of the working classes who have risen above their roots to get somewhere in life, Rafferty is cursed by coming from a family whose aspirations have not risen with his own.

In short, the Rafferty family has more than their share of ‘Del Boy’ Trotter types, whose leisure-time preferences are far from Adam Dalgliesh and his poetry writing, or Morse’s Wagner. The Rafferty family pursuits are nothing so refined.

They’re into back-of-a-lorry bargains of dubious provenance and other diversions of equally questionable legality. And Rafferty’s Ma, the widowed Kitty Rafferty, often leads the field in these pursuits, using emotional blackmail to make Rafferty feel guilty when he upbraids her. Having far more than her fair share of Blarney Stone baloney, she always wins these little arguments.

Rack up  the Main Character’s Difficulties

To give Rafferty even more problems, I provided him with a sidekick preordained from birth to look with a jaundiced eye at Rafferty’s outlook on life, his theories, and conduct of cases, and his less than law-abiding family. DS Dafyd Llewellyn, the university-educated, only son of a Welsh Methodist minister, is more moral than the Pope and thinks the law should apply to everyone – even the mothers of detective inspectors. Luckily, I spend very little time inside Llewellyn’s head and only mention his interests in passing, so I avoid the problems I’d have if he was my main character.

Place Your Character in an Environment That Resonates

Once I had the basics of Rafferty, his family, and his sidekick sorted out, I had to place my main man in his environment. And after all I’ve said about his background, I felt there was only one place I could use as a setting for such a character. Essex. You’ll understand why it seemed his natural habitat.

We’ve all heard of the ‘Essex Man’ euphemism as a term for people who are stupid and common, with criminal tendencies. We’ve all heard ‘Essex Jokes’ (What’s an Essex Girl’s idea of a really classy meal? A wooden chip fork with her takeaway). Politically-incorrect they may be, yet they’ve stuck.

But, unlike the stereotyped depiction of the working-classes in ‘Essex’ jokes, and many of the older British crime novels, as chip-eating, adenoidal, and terminally stupid, I wanted to show that there is intelligent life, not only in Essex but also amongst the working-classes themselves.

As far removed from the intellectual, Sherlock Holmes type of sleuth as it’s possible to be, Rafferty is the typical, down-to-earth British copper. Okay, he’s not exactly deeply intellectual, or highbrow, but intelligence, like most things, comes in different guises. His background has given him a street-wisdom of a kind that’s often far more valuable in police work than the more academic intelligence.

But Rafferty has to work with the partner I’ve given him—Dafyd Llewellyn. Unsurprisingly, at first, Rafferty resents this intellectual copper. He resents his superior education and superior morality. Poor old Rafferty has far more chips on his shoulder than in his takeaway supper where Llewellyn’s concerned.

Unlike Rafferty, Llewellyn likes to examine the facts of a case immediately, rather than go off on flights of fancy. Worse, he tends to run a coach and horses through Rafferty’s favourite theories, which are often outrageous, and tend to indulge his various prejudices to the full.

Rafferty, of course, thinks the more politically-correct Llewellyn takes all the fun out of police work. What’s the point in having the usual working-class prejudices, he thinks, if you don’t occasionally indulge them? Besides, it’s amusing to tease Llewellyn, who needs taking down a peg or two.

Of course, this series began life in the early Nineties, before Political Correctness came into its own. Nowadays, to survive in the modern police service, Rafferty has had to learn to bite his tongue and push his prejudices underground, though, as he has come to trust his tight-lipped partner, Llewellyn still gets the full force of his ideology.

You could say the pairing epitomises the famous George Bernard Shaw saying, with which I shall take a bit of artistic license. You know the one: ‘It is impossible for a Brit to open his mouth without making some other Brit despise him.

Yet they manage to rub along together, helped by both Rafferty’s overactive Catholic conscience and Llewellyn’s stern Methodist moral code. As the series and the cases progress, so does their relationship. They both come to agree that a man consists of rather more than his accent.

Anyway, all this furious thinking produced Dead Before Morning from the steamy cauldron; a crime novel which features a woman bludgeoned beyond recognition, a suave, social-climbing doctor, and an idle hospital porter, who had a few ‘nice little earners’ of his own.

In this first novel, Rafferty has just been promoted to the rank of inspector in the CID. His beat is Elmhurst, a fictitious town based on Colchester, the old Roman town where that original Essex girl, Boadicea, used to hang out and harry the centurions.

Sub-Plots

Alongside the main story runs a humorous sub-plot, in which poor Rafferty is ensnared in the first of the series’ many family-created problems. My eighteenth Rafferty & Llewellyn (Published Feb 2018) Game of Bones (ebook), like the previous seventeen, has poor Rafferty embroiled in more trouble than a Victorian lady of the night sans the morning after pill.

Location. Location. Location.

Apart from Rafferty’s working-class background, and his family’s teeny-weeny tendency to ignore laws they didn’t like, there was another reason I chose to locate him in Essex. And that was because of the county’s historical connections. Many of the towns and villages in Essex are associated with the early settlers in America. And because of its port links, the entire area has always been close to the religious dissent stemming from Europe.

A bit of a dissenter himself, having been force-fed Catholicism from the cradle, Rafferty is against religion of any persuasion as a matter of principle. So it’s no wonder he feels at home in an area with such strong dissenting traditions.

One of the reasons I wrote the kind of crime novel I did is that my mind has a natural tendency to see the humour in a situation; especially a situation that contains a large dollop of Sod’s Law. In Rafferty’s – and my – experience, Sod’s Law really does Rool OK. So why fight it?

I must have done something right, because, on only its second outing, that first Rafferty & Llewellyn crime novel was taken from Macmillan’s slush pile and published. It was also published in the States in hardback and paperback, by St Martin’s Press and Worldwide, respectively.

But after eighteen novels published the traditional way, in 2010 I decided to split from my publisher and become an indie. Although difficult at the time, involving sleepless nights and plenty of anxiety, it’s not a decision I’ve had cause to regret.

I took a chance and did it ‘My Way‘ when I created that first Rafferty & Llewellyn. I also took a chance and did it ‘My Way’ when I became an indie. But both decisions have paid off. With my sizeable backlist becoming an indie was a no-brainer.

And, let’s face it if we weren’t independently-minded cussed, types, set on doing it ‘Our Way’, I think the publishing – and the reading – world, would both be a lot poorer.

PUBLICATIONS:

Rafferty & Llewellyn British Mystery Series: https://www.amazon.com/Geraldine-Evans/e/B009W1W0N8/

Dead Before Morning #1

Down Among the Dead Men #2

Death Line #3

The Hanging Tree #4

Absolute Poison #5

Dying For You #6

Bad Blood #7

Love Lies Bleeding #8

Blood on the Bones #9

A Thrust to the Vitals #10

Death Dues #11

All the Lonely People #12

Death Dance #13

Deadly Reunion #14

Kith and Kill #15

Asking For It #16

The Spanish Connection #17

Game of Bones #18

Casey & Catt British Mystery Series

Up in Flames #1

A Killing Karma #2

Standalones

Reluctant Queen: Biographical Historical Novel About Mary Rose Tudor, the Little Sister of King Henry VIII

The Egg Factory: Medical Suspense Set in the Infertility Industry

Land of Dreams: Romance

The Wishing Fountain: Romance

Strangers on the Shore: Romance

Short Stories

A Mix of Six

Pond Life: A Rafferty & Llewellyn Short Story

The Monarch’s Gift: A Rafferty & Llewellyn Short Story

The Station Thief: A Rafferty & Llewellyn Short Story

Non-Fiction

How to Format a Novel for Amazon’s Kindle

Lovers’ Life Guide (Life Guide Series): Palmistry for Lovers

Writing Woes: How to Avoid Them and Get it RIGHT Next Time (pseudonym Gennifer Dooley-Hart)

Articles

Various, mostly about Writing, Historical Biography of People and Places and New Age.

 

Promo-Love Historical Novels? This One’s for You!

Can you imagine what it must be like to be the little sister of infamous English king, Henry VIII? Remember, this is the king who went on to have six wives, two of whom he had beheaded.

Promo-Love Historical Novels? This one’s for You!

KOBO is holding a promo between 24-28 January 2019 for Australia and New Zealand. So all you Aussie and Kiwi fiction and non-fiction fans here’s your chance to grab a bargain. Over 400 pages for only $2.99!

Here’s the novel that I’ve entered:

reluctant-queen-low-resolution-cover-516dd2jc7il-_sy346_

It’s Biographical Fiction and tells the story of Henry VIII’s little sister, Mary Rose Tudor.

Here’s the blurb:

RELUCTANT QUEEN: A TUDOR BIOGRAPHICAL NOVEL ABOUT HENRY VIII’s LITTLE SISTER

A very readable account of a fascinating woman who dared to stand up to Henry VIII and survived. It is thoroughly researched, admirably written and the author’s love of the Tudor period shines through.’ Historical Novels Review

 

Portrait of Mary Rose Tudor-Wikipedia

IMAGE OF MARY ROSE TUDOR WIKIMEDIA MaryTudor111 - Copy

Wasn’t she gorgeous?

One not about any of the six wives! Henry had plenty of other relatives, most of whom, given his short-lived dynasty and shaky right to the crown, the always insecure Henry had executed throughout his reign in order to secure his throne.

Can you imagine what it must be like to be the little sister of infamous English king, Henry VIII? Remember, this is the king who went on to have six wives, two of whom he had beheaded.

And although the teenage Mary Rose is his favourite sister (he even named his famous ship after her), his shifting alliances and ruthless desire to have his own way, made him push the young and lovely Mary into a hateful state marriage with the ailing and ancient King Louis XII of France.

But, a reluctant Mary Rose, as strong-willed as Henry and passionately in love, for the first time, doesn’t give in easily. Before agreeing to the match, after a relentless campaign to get her to say yes, by her loving brother, Mary Rose extracts a promise from Henry. A promise she is determined he will keep.

Very easy to read, very hard to put down. This made a Mary Tudor so accessible and relatable to the reader.’ READER REVIEW

Thoroughly enjoyable.’ READER REVIEW

Geraldine Evans also writes the Rafferty & Llewellyn Mystery Series and the Casey & Catt Mystery Series.

KOBO BOOKS: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/reluctant-queen

 

 

Do You Write Cozy Mysteries?

Then K-lytics is doing a special Seminar on this very subject. If you’re interested take a look.

I find K-lytics reports very interesting, as they break down Amazon’s categories into sub, sub-sub, etc, so you can find what type of book is most popular, what has the most competition, and so on.

books on bookshelves

Picture courtesy of Pexels Photo Library

With so much competition now on Amazon, K-lytics is a great help. Only, I do wish they would change their name, as I seem to have terrible trouble typing it!

http://k-lytics.com/custom/cozy-mystery-1809-pr/

 

First Time Indie Publication! Deadly Reunion #14 Rafferty 99p/99c BARGAIN BUY

Deadly Reunion #14 Rafferty and Llewellyn mysteries
#14 in series

First Time Indie Publication!

I’ve finally got around to publishing this novel!

I got the rights back to Deadly Reunion from Severn House Publishers last year, and when I looked at it, it was to find I only had half the book saved on my computer. Eek!

I looked everywhere: past and present computers, Dropbox, the Cloud, everywhere. I thought I’d have to type the whole bloody book again, but I was saved from such a dismal prospect by Linda, one of my Beta Readers.

Phew! Anyway, here’s the blurb:

When a former pupil attending a school reunion at the prestigious Griffin School is found dead it is at first assumed Adam Ainsley died from a simple heart attack while out for a run in the nearby woods.

But the retired ex-professional rugby player was a fit young man in his thirties, who hadn’t been near a doctor for years, so a post-mortem is called for. The PM’s toxicology report shows that Ainsley was poisoned, but whether by his own hand or that of another’s is far from clear.

When DI Joe Rafferty and his partner, Dafyd Llewellyn, are called in to investigate, they find plenty of simmering emotions amongst Ainsley’s co-reunees. It seems Adam Ainsley, the school’s sporting hero, had made a lasting impression, and not always for his prowess on the sporting field.

And when the detective pair delve deeper, they find reasons for the lasting resentment. But how to prove which one of the ex-pupils has let feelings fester for twenty years, to end in murder, isn’t so readily apparent.

And Rafferty’s Ma, Kitty Rafferty, hasn’t chosen her dates well for organising a reunion of her own. Coping with a high-profile murder case at work, and temporary guests at home ensures Rafferty finds little peace to think constructively in either place.

Will this be the investigation that culminates in Superintendent Bradley finally achieving his aim of stripping Rafferty of his hard-won inspector rank?

It’s now also on Barnes & Noble, Scribd, and Playster: 

https://www.books2read.com/b/b5r6Z7

Still waiting for other sites.
Amazon: Below
My previous publishers charged something like £7.00 for this book. I’m delighted to price it at only £0.99 / $0.99 for a few days only, so if you would like it, grab it now!