A happy new year to everyone, and all the best for 2019! We’re kicking things off with an interview with Battles of the First World War, a podcast which delivers exactly what it says in the name, a comprehensive examination of individual WW1 battles. Mike, who runs the podcast, took a break from the trenches to have a few words with me about my own military experience and how it relates to my fiction.

So, things seem to be going well. Over on Amazon.com, we’re just four (4) reviews short of fifty. I’m told that fifty reviews is when Amazon begins to take a book seriously, and starts doing a bit of the work in pushing it -- which in turn means I and everyone at Inkshares can devote more energy to creating the next book. So if you haven’t left an Amazon review yet, please do.

As for the "next book", an initial draft of "Cat’s Paw" has been written; tomorrow, I begin working on the next draft. I think we should be getting definitive news within a few days about whether it’ll be chosen as one of the "additional winners" of the Mystery & Thriller contest. Fingers crossed!

(Pre-ordering now should entitle you to a signed first edition, by the way. I admit that I never really understood the draw of things signed by me -- unless it’s a cheque -- but I was recently contacted by a bookseller asking for a signed copy of "A Gentleman’s Murder", so clearly I know nothing about how these things work.)

Meanwhile, I’ve also been working on a pilot screenplay (there’s a possibility I might be tapped to write the proposed TV adaptation of "A Gentleman’s Murder" myself) and catching up with my reading. On Inkshares, the latest projects to have caught my interest are "Goodbye Horses" and "All That Glitters". "Goodbye Horses" is a comedy; there’s murder involved, of course, but primarily it’s about the madcap woes of a Texas small town sheriff. "All That Glitters" is a mystery woven through one woman’s relationship with her parents when repeated murder attempts come knocking. So, yeah, check ’em out.

And have fun!

As of this writing, we have about FORTY-TWO HOURS LEFT on the Inkshares Mystery & Thriller contest. If you haven’t placed a pre-order yet for "Cat’s Paw", now would be the time to do it.

From the last will and testament of Sir Lawrence Linwood, dated 14 September 1914:

...However, in the event that I should die from unnatural causes, that is, by another’s hand; and, assuming the identity of my killer remains a mystery to the police; then, in lieu of the above, I bequeath the entirety of my residual estate, less the bequests listed in the first section, to whichever of my three children (Alan, Roger, or Caroline) first identifies my killer to the police....

From Sir Lawrence Linwood’s letter to his younger son, Roger Linwood, dated 28 March 1921:

...As such, I will be contacting my solicitors within the next week to alter my will in your favour. I’m afraid Alan will not be pleased, but as he has no time for England, I have no time for him; and Caroline, of course, never expected anything to begin with. Keep this information close to your chest. If anything should happen to me....

December is upon us, which means that, for a lot of us, Christmas is around the corner. Don’t forget to get your shopping done early; and if you haven’t yet, don’t forget to give Amazon or GoodReads (or whatever your preferred online bookstore is) your two cents’ worth of thoughts on "A Gentleman’s Murder". Other readers will want to know about your experience. We’re currently at 39 reviews on Amazon -- not too far off from the 50 review mark, which is when Amazon supposedly begins to take a book seriously.

December also means that we have just two weeks before the end of the Inkshares Mystery & Thriller contest: two weeks to try for that magic 250 reader mark for "Cat’s Paw". We’re still a good distance off, but, well, ’tis the season of hope. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I urge you to do so. Every little bit counts.

And of course, don’t forget to have a great weekend! I know I will: I’ve got a carton of eggnog waiting for me.

The 100th anniversary of anything happens only once, ever, and never again; and today was the 100th anniversary of Armistice, the end of the First World War. Here in Montreal, the event was marked by a ceremony at Place du Canada.

The haze you see is drifting smoke from the artillery guns, fired periodically as punctuation to the ceremony.

To all the veterans out there: Thank you for your service.

Remembrance Day, 11 November, is a week away now. I believe I mentioned last week that this will mark the 100th anniversary of the WW1 armistice. I don’t know if there’s much I could say in an update that hasn’t already been said better in an editorial, so here’s a picture from my last visit to Bristol:

This was taken in May this year. And that’s how it should be. Whatever we remember on 11 November, I hope we do not forget on 12 November.

For those of you who are in the Montreal area, I will be joining five other mystery writers next Saturday, 10 November, from 10am to 6pm, at the Chapters Pointe Claire (6321 Transcanadienne) for a day of readings, signings, Q&A, and general discussions of all things fictionally criminal. Come join us: Michael Kent, Katherine Prairie, Jim Napier, Barbara Fradkin, Robin Harlick, and me.

Meanwhile, on Inkshares news, consider checking out "Ruining Boise" and "Ripe for Execution", two very strong and dedicated contenders in the Mystery & Thriller contest. The first concerns a single father who turns to burglary in a desperate bid to keep his family going; a grim situation, yet I get the idea that it’ll be thoroughly laced with black humour. The second concerns the hunt for a terrorist who demands the reinstatement of the death penalty in the UK; check out the author’s reading of the first chapter, here, for a better idea of what it’s all about.

And finally, of course, is a reminder to check out "Cat’s Paw", my second novel, which is still in its Inkshares funding campaign. Your support is always appreciated. Thank you.

Two weeks from today is Remembrance Day; Veterans Day in the US; or Armistice Day as it was called originally. This year, it marks the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the fighting in the First World War. When we pin the poppy to our lapel this year, remember that it’s not just about thanking our veterans, but about acknowledging the ongoing cost to them. The First World War drew our attention to the phenomenon of PTSD; and while a lot has changed since then, PTSD remains a reality for many.

Among the Inkshares books to consider this season: "Blasted by Adversity" and "The Battle Within". The first is a biography; the second, a fictionalised thriller. Already published and available, both books deal with the trials of the aftermath, and would be well worth the read.

Don’t forget that Cat’s Paw still needs your support. It appears that the deadline has been moved to the 14th of December, giving us a bit more breathing room; let’s not waste it. Be sure to check that your order really has gone through. Remember, if I haven’t thanked you by email or by direct message or by some other form of communication, that probably means I haven’t received news of your order -- which in turn means that Something Is Wrong.

Those of you who are in Montreal might be interested to know that the Montreal West Public Library will be hosting a Night of Mystery and Suspense this Wednesday, 24 October, at 7:30pm. I will be there, of course, along with John Kalbfleish ("A Stain Upon the Land") and Sheila Kindellan-Sheehan ("Where Bodies Fall", "The Courier Wore Shorts", and many others) to read, meet, and greet. Do stop by if you can!

Meanwhile, we’re at the halfway mark of the Inkshares Mystery & Thriller contest with "Cat’s Paw" in second place. If you enjoyed "A Gentleman’s Murder", I’m sure you’ll love "Cat’s Paw". Do check it out -- as was the case before, your support is what enables books like this to happen.

Speaking of making books happen, there seems to be some good stuff happening on Inkshares right now. I mentioned Z. Z. Traver’s "Gumshoe Rules" back when the contest started, and I still think it’s worth checking out. Aside from that....

"The House That Fell From the Sky" features a house that appears in the middle of the city out of nowhere. A bunch of people are set to enter and investigate, and you know that nothing good can possibly come out of it. A book trailer just went up on the page a few days back, and it gives a pretty nice idea of the sort of flavour and atmosphere we should expect.

For those of you who prefer epic fantasy, there’s "Bane of All Things". The tech level’s a little more advanced than usual -- they’ve got gunpowder -- and it looks like we’ll be dealing with some interesting questions about loyalty.

And of course, don’t forget "Cat’s Paw". Let’s make this book happen!

Dear friends and followers,

We’re at the three week mark for the Inkshares Mystery & Thriller contest, with 71 readers counted and 102 pre-orders. We’ve still got some distance to go, and about five and a half weeks to make it in. There’s been an issue in the past couple of weeks of orders not being processed as expected, so please check to see if "Cat’s Paw" is listed on your account bookshelf under "Purchased". I make sure to send out thank you emails during this pre-order process, so if you think you’ve ordered but received no thanks from me, that’s usually a sign that something’s gone wrong somewhere.

Meanwhile, there is also the Inkshares Horror contest, with its own host of entries. The one that’s caught my eye at the moment is "Ereshk", by Frederick Street which pits "an alcoholic ex-cop, a washed-up arms dealer, and a fugitive stripper" against a mysterious cult. I guess I’m attracted to it because it borders on being a crime story, and, well, you know me and mysteries.

I was recently in touch with J. T. R. Russell, author of "Wake Up Call", which was returned to draft mode after its initial campaign a year and a half ago. I remember being disappointed then, as I was looking forward to this story. I thought it had a certain Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams quality about it -- perhaps it reminded me a bit of Adams’s "The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul". Not to worry: Russell apparently still has plans for the book, and I would recommend following it in case he opens up a new campaign or does anything else with it.

In the meantime, keep reading, and have fun.

Dear friends and followers,

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, so for those of you who celebrate it, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving. For my part, I would like to give thanks for the progress "A Gentleman’s Murder" has made since its release back on 31 July.

  • Firstly, that it was released at all. That in itself is a great gift.
  • Great reviews, both by professional critics and by readers such as yourselves. I’m glad to be bringing some enjoyment into the world.
  • Being optioned for TV. That’s rather like winning the lottery with a ticket bought with the winnings from another lottery.

I assume all of the above means, in the words of Sally Field, "You like me! Right now, you like me!" And I hope you like me well enough to consider backing "Cat’s Paw". Important as it is to give thanks for the past, it is as important to look to the future. With this second novel, I want to give you the same degree of enjoyment, if not more, that you and other readers seem to have derived from "A Gentleman’s Murder". Experience has shown that it can be done; all it needs now is your go-ahead.

Quite aside from this, of course, I must thank all of you who’ve expressed your confidence in me with regard to "A Gentleman’s Murder": those of you who backed it, who introduced the book to your friends, and who afterwards wrote reviews of it on Amazon and Goodreads. May you have as much and more to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season.

Dear friends and followers,

We are now one week into the campaign for "Cat’s Paw", and we’re standing at a somewhat precarious 2nd place in the Inkshares Mystery & Thriller Contest. Some of you have already got on board with that campaign, and I am grateful for your ongoing support. I hope more of you will consider doing the same. "A Gentleman’s Murder" has done quite well since its release, and I would like to think that it’s demonstrated my capabilities with a word processor; but one can’t just stop there. It doesn’t pay to be complacent.

Click here for the "Cat’s Paw" project page.

"Cat’s Paw" is somewhat darker than "A Gentleman’s Murder" was, having actually begun as an idea for a horror story. But then, I know mystery a lot better than I know horror, and so it’s classed as a mystery ... albeit one with its roots in a very dark place. But then again, some people would just call that "Noir".

In the meantime, I should like to draw your attention to a Facebook fundraiser a friend of mine started for the American Cancer Society. Cancer is a nasty business, to put it lightly, and these people are doing some very good work about it. I hope you’ll give this fundraiser some consideration.

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