Just a quick post to thank all of you for the support you have given in the past. I hope my American friends had a Happy Thanksgiving and my other followers are looking forwards to Christmas and Holiday celebrations over the next few weeks. I would like to send you all the first chapter of the second in the series following on from Louisiana Blood...BRUGES BLOOD. It’s a few minutes to read and I love first impressions if any of you have the time to give it a quick read. Enjoy!
Officer Ward Johansson slowly made his way down the dank stone stairs that led into the dusty catacombs beneath the police station. The large box of files in his arms threatening to slip free with every cautious step. The Kartuizerinnenstraat station was based in what had once been a convent back in the 16th century. Ward flicked the light on with his elbow and dumped the box onto an old steel table in the middle of the first room.
There had been a lot of rain as they headed towards Christmas, and the grey waters of the canal that ran past the convent lapped less than a meter below the dirt encrusted windows. The suns pale light filtered through the dust motes that swirled up as he dropped the files onto the table. Ward looked around the dank space and whirled his arms around to work up some heat and drive the chill from his bones. He had made the move from Brussels in the hope of becoming a big fish in the smaller pool afforded by the City of Bruges.
Newly married, and with the recent news that his wife Mari was pregnant, he needed to get on the promotion ladder to cover all the baby and school expenses headed his way. He looked at his watch. He’d promised Mari they would have an evening in, just the two of them while they still could. She’d promised to cook Stoofvlees, his favourite dish. A traditional Flemish stew made with beef broth and beer. He studied the watch. It was a big fat G-shock. Mari had bought it for him when he joined the force. She’d seen some Special forces guys wearing them when they were on duty at Brussels railway station shortly after the terrorist attacks. She told him he needed to look tough out on the streets, and fumbling for his mobile to tell the time wasn’t a good look. Mari was a sweet girl and he was looking forwards to getting home to be with her that evening.
He moved the files around, arranging them in chronological order along the surface of the table. During the Procession of the Holy blood extra officers had been drafted in and space in the main office had been at a premium. But that was months ago and now they were headed towards Christmas and there was more space available in the station. He’d been involved in the Holy Blood procession once when he was a child, and remembered his excitement at seeing the trumpets, the men waving fronds and the sight of a donkey.
He’d enjoyed the carnival atmosphere but had no idea of the significance of the parade until many years later. The belief that a reliquary containing a sample of Christs Blood became liquid on Ascension Day pulled in thousands of tourists each year. He could remember how annoyed his parents had got when, as a small child, he demanded proof of the miracle. Looking back, it was probably the first signs of what was to become his journey into the police force.
He heard a distant thumping from further down in the catacombs. His boss, Detective Inspector Jochum Hoog was practising on his drums. It seemed that anything with a rhythm was of interest to him. If he wasn’t out learning a new dance, he was banging away on his battered old drum kit.
He looked at the pile of files spread out in front of him. Chief Pieters had given him what he called ‘an opportunity’ that turned out to be a massive pile of old cases that had remained unsolved over the years.
The implication was that if he could clear up some of the backlog it would serve him in good stead when the next Detective attachment came up. Looking at the amount of cases Ward had a suspicion that the chief had given him the task just to keep him occupied. He went over to one of the leaded windows and wiped a circle of dust clear from one of the glass panes. Outside the streets were busy with tourists and queues for the canal boat tours. Ducks and swans bobbed along the water of the canal and the tour guides patter was audible across the water. He went back to the files on the table and began flicking through them.
They were mostly petty thefts, assaults, house burglaries, pickpocketing and the odd car-jacking. Ward sighed. None of the cases would produce a big enough splash to raise his profile and improve his chances of promotion, even if he could solve them.
He moved to the next row of files. Outside he could hear the low throb of an approaching canal boat. The boatman’s tourist patter barely audible above the water slapping against the ancient stone walls of the station. He flicked through another file, and something caught his eye. A tourist had reported that his son had been offered drugs in the Market at the skating rink. He skimmed through some more files and found three other reports, all logged during the Christmas season. There was no real evidence, other than the dealer wore a scarf and bobble hat and had long blonde hair. Ward smiled. This ticked the boxes. Drugs, children at risk and more than one complaint.
He moved the four files into a neat pile and rubbed his eyes. The flickering fluorescent combined with the deep throb of the approaching boat’s engine was giving him a headache.
He heard a dull thud and a woman’s scream. Seconds later something smashed through the window, sending bricks tumbling into the room. He just had time to register the prow of a canal boat before the water enveloped him, sweeping him across the floor, and slamming him into the stone wall. He lay there stunned as the water poured in. Heard the roar of the boat’s engine as the driver threw it into reverse… tearing free from the gaping hole. With the obstruction removed another surge of water slammed into him and he was swept under the surface. The lights went out and now he was pinned under something heavy, holding his breath as he fought to free himself. His air started to run out and his vision began to dim. As he began to black out he saw something that resembled a body drift past. Sodden sheets of paper swirled around past his face, clutching at him in a mocking embrace.And then it all went dark.
just a little treat for you all...and a request for some feedback. Below is the new front cover, and a prospective blurb for the back cover. Feel free to comment on both, and if anybody fancies being a beta reader feel free to let me know.
With the Ripper conspiracy laid to rest, and the Louisiana Torso case closed; Sherriff Duke Lanoix and Detective Chandler Travis were enjoying some downtime with their respective partners.
But then Travis receives a call from Belgian Detective Jochum Hoog. A headless torso with eerie similarities to their recent investigation turns up in a canal within the medieval city of Bruges.
With a booming tourist industry to protect, and the threat of more victims, the Belgium authorities wanted the case closed. And fast!
Within hours Duke, Roxie and Travis are headed for Belgium. But as the body count grows their search leads them beneath the streets of Bruges where the investigation becomes personal…with devastating results.
It’s that time of year again...the mince pies have been scoffed and the brandy quaffed, now all that’s left to do is catch up on the backlog of goodwill for 2018.
Hopefully by now all you lovely people that purchased LOUISIANA BLOOD will have received a digital or paperback. If anybody has not, please let me know.
In that vein, can I ask you all for a small favour? REVIEWS. I’m starting to plan the marketing campaign and good reviews are one of the most important planks in the bridge from obscurity to notoriety.
If you have read or are reading the book please take a few seconds to nip over to Amazon and post a review. Hundreds of you were kind enough to launch the book into the ether, now I need some reviews to help land it in the press and boost it up the ranks of the mighty Amazon. No algorithms were harmed in the construction of this update :) Thank you for all your support.
POST REVIEWS HERE
Ho Ho Ho,
Festive greetings Ripperists!
A sack-full of salutations to the many followers that financied the publishing of LOUISIANA BLOOD. By now I hope you have received your digital downloads and for those of you who sprung for paperbacks as well you should have received a shiny new copy.
If anybody has not yet received a digital or hardcopy of the book please let me know and I will rectify the situation.
As I have over 300 followers it is possible that some of you have not yet ordered a copy for your own pleasure…some of you may, even at this late hour be scratching your heads for a suitable last minute Christmas present for a difficult to please family member, or an Ipad wielding youngster. Well, your search is over.
What could be more fun than reading the INKSHARE’S NO 1 alternate history mystery book of the year!
Imagine Mission Impossible meets the Prestige and you’ll be in the right ballpark.
I welcome any feedback from readers good or bad. I’m already well into the follow up BRUGES BLOOD and planning VENICE BLOOD, so hoping to build a loyal following while learning from my readers what they enjoyed most about the series.
You can purchase a copy through Inkshares here:
Or on Amazon here:
Hi there Ripperists,
It seems an age since the last update, but fear not, the book is having its final edit with my fabulous editor Sarah Caughie and then it’s off to INKSHARES. I’ve been watching other books in the throes of publishing from the sidelines, and one thing is obvious. Publishing a book isn’t as swift as an arcing blade. But nonetheless, it will be published swifter than human gestation. There is a cure for tardiness tho’… Simply send your email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading Louisiana Blood Beta Reviewer and I will send you a directors cut of the novel via PDF, or if I get up to speed a Mobi or whatever file is trending. You can then thank me dear readers by leaving a review on Amazon.com. or Amazon.co.uk, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads when my book is published. You will of course still get a paperback or download if you ordered them in the future. Thank you all for your support and your patience! Mike Donald
Hi there followers.
I just thought I’d send a quick update to all you fans as I haven’t done one for a while. At present I’m doing my final edit before handing it off to the folks at INKSHARES. I’m working with the wonderful Sarah Caughie, alias best selling author Sarah Bryant you can check out her Amazon page by clicking on her name link. She’s a great choice for Quill members if you want to sharpen up your work prior to sending it off to Inkshares.
I’m aiming for a publication date of early in the new year as I opted to avoid the Christmas (other festivals are available) bun fight and give my work the chance to miss being swamped by cookery books! Also, it would appear that Inkshares is going through various changes, some of which have impacted on the speed of publishing process.
Quill members I have been in touch with are finding it difficult to get a publication date from management, and without that information it would not be possible to mount a synchronised marketing plan...something essential for Quill authors in charge of their own campaigns.
A restructured royalty package also came with the possibility of marketing support for Quill authors. So until Inkshares has addressed that situation, and become able to give accurate publication dates, I think it best to use the time for editing Louisiana Blood rather than adding to their burden. When I see things starting to move, and authors I know being given dates I will hand my novel over to Inkshares for final tweaks.
On a good note I see that Louisiana Blood is number one in the mystery charts! I intend to make the follow up, BRUGES BLOOD as big a success! Thank you all for your support, and anybody that wishes to snap up a copy cheap, go HERE.
Small update. First editing session now over. This will soon be off to the team at inkshares for the various stages before publication. Now can I ask a small money free favour? I’d like all my 250 followers to "follow" me over at the follow up site BRUGES BLOOD --- the next Chandler Travis and Duke Lanoix mystery. All you have to do is click the link and FOLLOW me.
Here’s the link BRUGES BLOOD thank you all so much for getting LOUISIANA BLOOD published! And here’s the cover for the next mystery.
Welcome followers to my literary swamp!
Once more, I’d like to thank all of you for your input into the novel, the cover, and my prose...all of it is useful and helps with the bestseller trajectory I’m aiming for.
This is the latest and final cover before we launch. I’d also like to use this update to point you towards the geniuses behind the cover design. John Robin and Ave at Dreamscape Cover Designs.
Contact them HERE They did some fantastic work and were fast, and a pleasure to work with. If you need a great cover for your book...and who doesn’t! I suggest you check these guys out. They are also getting into website design so bear that in mind when you speak to them.
I’d also like to point you towards Peter Ryan’s new book Destiny Imperfect which is punching above it’s weight in the present NERDIST competition. It’s a fantastic read so why not hop over to his site and help push him up the ladder, he needs a few more pre-orders to keep him in the top three, preferably no 2! So go HERE and help the man out.
And now...drum roll. THE COVER!
Jus a small update.
Editing is progressing well and I will soon be handing over to the team at INKSHARES, but big news...new cover! Check it out and let me know what you think?