K-LYTICS – Monitoring Data. So You Don’t Have To

Has been monitoring the mystery, thriller, suspense, and crime fiction categories on Kindle for five years now.

While many traditional publishers compete for this lucrative book market segment, they see a lot of smaller categories and niche markets available to indie authors.

Here are three exciting facts from looking at the data right now:

Mystery, Thriller & Suspense (MTS) has seen a 5-year upward trend on Kindle

MTS holds on to its position of the second highest-selling Amazon bestseller list.

All—yes, all— of the sub-categories in the main MTS category showed up in the “green zone” of attractive markets on the K-lytics Book Strategy Map. 100% – Wow!

K-LYTICS announce the release of the latest K-lytics Mystery & Thriller genre AUGUST report.

The report also includes Level 4 and Level 5 sub-categories. In total, it examines 137 Amazon Kindle categories.

If you intend to do any kind of book project with elements of mystery, crime, thriller or suspense, this report is for you.

Find out about trends, sales development, book supply, best categories, covers, top authors, publishers, keywords, price points, and more. The seminar comes with two reports and an explanatory video.

With this data, you will have more market insights than most publishers out there.

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K-lytics has been monitoring the mystery, thriller, suspense, and crime fiction categories on Kindle for five years now.

While many traditional publishers compete for this lucrative book market segment, they see a lot of smaller dcategories and niche markets available to indie authors.

Here are three exciting facts from looking at the data right now:

  • Mystery, Thriller & Suspense (MTS) has seen a 5-year upward trend on Kindle
  • MTS holds on to its position of the second highest-selling Amazon bestseller list.

  • All—yes, all— of the sub-categories in the main MTS category showed up in the “green zone” of attractive markets on the K-lytics Book Strategy Map. 100% – Wow!

K-LYTICS announce the release of the latest K-lytics Mystery & Thriller genre AUGUST report.

  • The report also includes Level 4 and Level 5 sub-categories. In total, it examines 137 Amazon Kindle categories.
  • If you intend to do any kind of book project with elements of mystery, crime, thriller or suspense, this report is for you.
  • Find out about trends, sales development, book supply, best categories, covers, top authors, publishers, keywords, price points, and more. The seminar comes with two reports and an explanatory video.

With this data, you will have more market insights than most publishers out there.

Research less, write more! Be among the first to get your copy here:

https://k-lytics.com/dap/a/?a=5342&p=k-lytics.com/mts-seminar/i

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Geraldine Evans-Guest Post on Joe Konrath’s Blog

Such a thrill to write a guest post for Joe Konrath. I’ve admired him from afar since before I decided to turn indie myself — a decision I doubt I’d have had the courage to make if not for Joe. So thank you, Joe, for your generosity in sharing so much with the rest of the writing community and for opening our eyes to the possibilities created by Amazon and the internet.

This is a post that I was invited to write by the great Joe Konrath. I’ve rejigged things to bring it up to date, but it’s basically the same as the one that appeared on Joe’s blog, https://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/07/guest-post-by-geraldine-evans.html/

 

Joe sez: If you’ve missed the previous guest blogs, they’ve been fascinating and informative. You’ll find them beneath Geraldine’s post.

Now here’s Geraldine Evans

Photo of mystery author Geraldine Evans
Mystery author, Geraldine Evans

 

Such a thrill to write a guest post for Joe Konrath. I’ve admired him from afar since before I decided to turn Indie myself—a decision I doubt I’d have had the courage to make if not for Joe.

So thank you, Joe. For your generosity in sharing so much with the rest of the writing community. And for opening our eyes to the possibilities created by Amazon and the internet.

You’ve raised the lid on so much to do with the publishing world. Not least author earnings, which most of us have probably been secretive about. Though more from mortification that our earnings were so small than from any James Bondian reason!

A lot of us are now earning a living from our writing and finding those readers that were so elusive during our traditional publishing days.

I’ve been writing for over half my life. But, like most writers, I took a while to get my act together and actually finish a novel. It took hitting one of those age milestones for me to stop prevaricating and actually type those blissful words: ‘The End’.

But, as we all know, and as Winston Churchill famously said in relation to World War Two, we weren’t at the beginning of the end. But we might be at the end of the beginning.

So, beginning made, we advanced proudly on to the next stage. You’ll be familiar with this one. It’s the standard rejection letter stage. This goes on for quite a while.

From there we move on, if we’re lucky, to the more personal rejection letter. Maybe even with a few encouraging words scribbled at the end by the editor. But it’s still a rejection. It doesn’t necessarily smell any sweeter with the addition of a few barely decipherable words.

Six years and six books later, in my case, I received my first letter from a publisher saying they wanted to publish my novel.

I’d been writing romances in the hope of getting signed up by Mills & Boon (Harlequin). I never managed to get taken on by them. Although I did get to the ‘few words’ stage. They advised me my books had too much plot and not enough romance…

So, I decided to try Robert Hale, who also published romance in a smaller way. They accepted my novel, Land of Dreams (set in the Canadian Arctic in an attempt to be ‘the same, but different’!–out of print in any format), for the fabulous sum of — wait for it — £100. Still, it was a start. And, of course, I’d go on to greater things…

Robert Hale rejected my next romance.

This latest rejection had made me good and mad. I simmered quietly during all the time it took before I managed to get published again.

It took me a while—a long six years. But I eventually listened to that quiet little voice inside. It had been telling me for over half a decade to try changing genres.

God knows I felt like murdering someone! So I did what that little voice had been saying, switched genres and turned to crime.

Ironically, I found a niche almost immediately with Macmillan. They sold that first crime novel, Dead Before Morning, (the first in my now 18-strong Rafferty & Llewellyn Mystery Series) to St Martin’s Press and Worldwide (pb). Heady stuff!

Or was it? Gradually, it dawned on me that I hadn’t advanced much, if at all. Although my advances did at least gather a nought on the end.

After Macmillan had published four of my Rafferty & Llewellyn novels (Dead Before Morning, Down Among the Dead Men, Death Line, The Hanging Tree), I still wasn’t earning a lot. I was still stranded on the midlist. With nowhere to go, but down and out.

And out I went, when Macmillan was taken over by a firm of German publishers, and they dropped about a third of their list, including yours truly.

It was another six years before I managed to get published again. What is it with me and the number six? Anyway Absolute Poison started my stop/start writing career off again. This time I’d go on to greater things, for sure.

Alas, the greater things never happened. I languished on the midlist through God knows how many years and another ten crime novels. With no marketing budget, no publisher-paid-for book tours, no nothing. It really was a dead-end job with no hopes of promotion.

Worse, it was a very poorly-paid dead end job which had to be fitted in around my real dead-end job.

Is this it? I thought. Is this what all my aspirations and hard work had been about?

By this stage, I was pretty disheartened and beginning to lose my love of words and the joy I’d previously found in putting them together. I was still working full-time at the day job and fitting in my writing during evenings, weekends and holidays. It wasn’t much fun for me or my long-suffering husband.

I’d always tried to educate myself about the publishing world. The same as I’d tried to educate myself after I left school at sixteen. It was this desire to learn that brought me to Joe’s blog.

Hardly able to believe my eyes, I read what he had to say about going it alone in a self-publishing world.

Could there really be a way to escape the publishing treadmill? Rekindle(!) my previous delight in the written word? And make a proper living, too? It seemed too good to be true.

There’s got to be a catch, I thought. But I continued to read Joe’s blog. From his posts I discovered other authors who’d taken the step into this Brave New publishing World before me. I started to think, ‘Mmm. Maybe it is possible’.

Joe was and is, such a great enthusiast, such an inspiration. He writes the things about publishers that most of us only think. In 2010, the year I turned Indie, it was like a succession of those ‘ping!’, light bulb moments.

Although I still hardly dared to believe I could succeed on my own, after a few months’ I became brave enough to turn down my publisher’s latest contract.

Not a difficult decision in the event. Especially as signing it would mean I agreed to give them the ebook rights to my entire backlist, the potential value of which they were starting to grasp.

Hey, I might be ill-educated, but I’m not stupid; certainly not after receiving a publishing education at the hands of the Master! No way was I signing that. So I said, ‘thanks, but no thanks’, and cut myself adrift to sink or swim on my own.

But I wasn’t alone. I had Joe always there with so much advice. And I had all the other intrepid authors who, like me, the publishing world assured us, would come to regret our foolhardy decision to leave their ‘nurturing’ nest.

Well, I’m happy to tell you we weren’t so foolhardy after all. I now earn more in a month than I used to earn in an entire year publishing the traditional route.

  • I was able to give up the hated day job.
  • I finally managed to get the rights back to the last of my books.
  • And since 2010, I’ve been a proud Indie author.

Altogether, with my eighteen traditionally-published novels, I now have twenty-eight books to my credit (21 mystery/suspense, 1 biographical historical novel (Reluctant Queen), 3 romances (written under a pen-name), and 3 non-fiction. And I’ve published short fiction as well.

The eighteenth Rafferty, Game of Bones– as well as all the rest of the series from Kith and Kill #15 – is one of my self-published works.

My Rafferty & Llewellyn Series is more cozyish procedural than noir, with my London-born and Essex-based DI Joseph Aloysius Rafferty hailing from a working-class Irish Catholic family who – with their little more than passing acquaintance with the letter of the law – are the bane of his life.

Being a policeman in the Rafferty family is not a happy experience. And while they might give me, as the author, and, hopefully, the readers, a lot of fun, they cause Rafferty plenty of angst. Angst compounded by me partnering him with DS Dafyd Llewellyn, a more moral than the Pope intellectual Welshman.

So, alongside the murder investigations, I’ve generally got family-caused mayhem going on in the sub-plots. Which gives Rafferty plenty of ‘how the hell do I get out of this?’, moments.

Now, I really must get on with my so-called work in progress (Untitled #19 Rafferty series), which seems to have been as stop/start as my writing career!

Okay, the catch is that I have to market them, and do all the hundred-and-one jobs entailed in running my own little publishing empire.

But I have a new lease of life, new readers and a new, much improved, source of income. All things the nay-sayers claimed I’d never get. It’s great! And, Joe—so are you!  :)xxxx

Joe sez: I remember thinking that it was my fault my books never made the bestseller lists. Even though my publishers made so many mistakes it was a comedy of errors. Even though I’d done more than any author, before or since, to self-promote. I felt the responsibility for being midlist.

Self-publishing for me was emancipation. With it came the realization that I’d done many things right, and that it was the archaic, greedy, dysfunctional, evil industry that had screwed up, not me.

But I won’t place all the blame on NY publishing. Because fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me for eight legacy published books, I became a willing participant in my own victimization.

Granted, it was the only game in town. To a starving man, a crust of bread is a banquet.

But I’ll never forget the feelings of failure, many of which stemmed from my own modest expectations.

I can imagine what young sports stars feel like, working their asses off in college sports, hoping to go pro. I can also imagine how they feel when they get a shot at going pro, and it doesn’t work out. The whole “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” sounds like it was written by someone trying to soothe himself after a horrible experience.

Honestly, I don’t know what hurts more. Spending years trying to break into legacy publishing but never getting a deal, or getting a deal and being treated like crap.

I still see authors going after legacy deals and I honestly can’t understand what the allure is. Aren’t there enough confessional stories of woe on the internet that show how legacy publishers treat authors? Aren’t there more and more indie authors speaking about their successes?

I’d like someone to explain to me why, if they read my blog, they’d still pursue a legacy deal. The hope of a NYT bestseller? It can happen self-publishing. A movie deal? It can happen self-publishing. Someone to guide them through the publishing process? That DOESN’T happen in legacy publishing. Publishers don’t take care of you. They exploit you.

I’m not the only one crowing about this. I’m seeing the same stories, over and over. I’m seeing publishers make the same mistakes. I’m seeing the old system fail, bit by bit. All the information is out there, easily accessible.

And yet there are still authors who want a book deal. The Big 5 and Harlequin are still seducing authors into taking unconscionable deals.

Why?

You can read Joe Flynn talking about his publishing history here: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/07/guest-post-by-joe-flynn.html

You can read Richard Stooker talking about bestsellers here: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/07/guest-post-by-richard-stooker.html

You can read Nikki M. Pill talking about fear here: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/07/guest-post-by-nikki-pill.html

You can read Billie Hinton and Dawn Deanna Wilson talking about categorizing your book here: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/07/guest-post-by-billie-hinton-and-dawn.html

You can read Helen Smith talking about her publishing journey here: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/07/guest-post-by-helen-smith.html

You can read Jeff Carlson talking about his publishing journey here: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/07/guest-post-by-jeff-carlson.html

You can read Zander Marks talking abut new genres tion from tiotradut: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/07/guest-post-by-zander-marks.html

 

https://geraldineevansbooks.com/rafferty-and-llewellyn-mystery-series/?frame-nonce=63dcf099c6/

https://geraldineevansbooks.com/creating-a-crime-series-how-i-did-it/

 

 

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.

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!

pexels-photo-2243734

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

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.

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/