First of all: merry Christmas, and a happy New Year.

Second: we’ve passed 300 readers, which means I can start talking about how I’m defending my position on The List with 300, like King Leonidas at Thermopylae. Have you looked at The List’s leaderboard today, though? The contenders from the Launchpad competition have just been transferred in, at 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th. While the top three Launchpad entries are, according to the rules, probably going to be taken out again, there’s still that one contender, the fourth Launchpad entry, currently in 6th on The List, who’s just 10 readers below me and still taking orders....

In short, my position is Extremely Precarious, and I’m probably going to need a bunch of new readers within the next week to ensure my place.

In book news, the manuscript is complete and ready for submission. So is a brand new plan of the Veterans’ Club ground floor--and yes, the manuscript has been edited to take into account the new layout.

In short, we’re ready to roll. It’s just a question of what happens over the course of the next week. Now, more than ever: tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell your complete strangers. King Leonidas may have made an impressive defence of Thermopylae with his 300 Spartans, but that ultimately ended in defeat. Let’s hope the same doesn’t happen with my 300 readers.

It is now one week to Christmas, and a bit under two weeks to the end of The List. On the 30th, we shall see how our pre-order volume measures up against everyone else’s--I’m expecting a bit of jump in everybody else’s pre-order volume over the Christmas holidays as they meet up with distant relatives they haven’t spoken to all year, so let’s try not to get left behind. Make sure you’ve got your pre-order in!

Competing in The List ... well, that puts one in mind of a certain sport, doesn’t it?

Except the jousting in this List is done with pages. (And did you know that the official state sport of Maryland is jousting?)

Eric Peterkin, the hero of "Murder at the Veterans’ Club", doesn’t joust, but he does have dreams of Arthurian chivalry. The novel compares him to Sir Pellinore, one of King Arthur’s knights of the round table: according to legend, Sir Pellinore’s primary hobby was the pursuit of the mythical Questing Beast, a creature with the head of a snake, the body of a leopard, the feet of a deer, and a constant sound in its belly described as like "thirty brace of hounds a’questing"--hence its name. (Apparently the verb "to quest" once meant "to bark". Think of that the next time you read of heroes gone a’questing.)

The comparison is rooted in Eric’s Quixotic need to go chasing after something--anything!--and, in the novel, his "Questing Beast" is the identity of the murderer. Just as Sir Pellinore isn’t happy unless he’s out chasing his Beast, Eric won’t be happy unless he’s doing the same. Not that he’d ever admit it, of course.

In the meantime: happy Christmas, everybody! And may your new year be awesome!

Dear friends and followers:

Christmas is coming. So is my birthday. If you’re following the Julian calendar, those are on the same day. I think it’s pretty clear what I’d like for Christmas....

Well, the List contest continues apace. Thanks to you, I’m still in second. There’s no place for complacency, though, as I am not convinced that the numbers are entirely accurate: I believe that some of the books behind me have uncounted readers, which puts them a lot closer to knocking me out of position than I’m comfortable with. And things could easily change over the next month.

I’m grateful to all of you for having gotten me this far.

Meanwhile, I have not been neglecting the book itself in favour of selling it. I’ve updated the first two chapters on the site; I’ve worked out the actual calendar-date timeline for the events of the novel, and I am happy to say that the story officially begins on 31 October 1924. I’d very much like to be able to hand this in first thing in the new year, but that’s all dependent on what happens with the List.

Speaking of timelines and the upcoming New Year, it’s been a while since I made any recommendations. So here are a couple that I believe you’d enjoy, and whose authors would also appreciate the Christmas gift of your vote of confidence.

1) "Manifesto", by Daniel Poort. This one’s a psychological thriller about a small-town cop on the trail of a serial killer. Poort promises an escalating body count; and of course nothing says edge-of-your-seat like murder and betrayal.

2) "Shady Place", by David Byrne. A more light-hearted take, I think. A police detective and a mobster retire to the same seniors’ community, and find they have to work together to prevent a murder. If they play "good cop/bad cop", I wonder which would be which....

Until next time: have fun, and keep reading. And tell all your friends!

We have reached 450 orders! This means we have only 300 more to go before guaranteeing the Full Publication deal.

We’re also holding steady at second place on The List.

Things are looking good, but nothing is written in stone yet. The competition on The List is close, but a just a few more orders could be all we need to ensure our position; and if we make it to the end of the year still in the top three, we won’t have to worry about getting a whole 300 more orders. So, tell your friends, tell your neighbours, tell your enemies, tell your total strangers ... the sooner this becomes a done deal, the sooner we can start the process of getting this book into your hands.

Good things are coming.

EXCITING NEWS!

"Murder at the Veterans’ Club" has been selected for The List. This is a contest for book projects on Inkshares that have caught the eye of the Powers That Be--unlike other contests, participation is by invitation only. On 31 December, the three book projects with the most unique readers will win the Full Publication deal ... you know, that thing that happens when you get 750 orders.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

It means that on 31 December, if "Murder at the Veterans’ Club" is still in the top three--thanks to you, we have a head start in second position--we can go into production with the Full Publication deal right then and there. It means you could get your books a month earlier than expected. It means the current focus is no longer on the great 750, but on maintaining a position at the top of the heap.

It means that people think "Murder at the Veterans’ Club" is a book worthy of note, in case you had any doubts before.

But wait! Is there any doubt that we can make it? Is there any doubt that we can maintain our position in the top three? Well ... yes. A handful of our competition are only just now starting: they’re blank slates, and anything could happen with them. The first few weeks of a campaign always see a huge spike in orders, so any one of these fresh-faced young recruits could pole-vault right over us. And then there are those veterans infused with fresh enthusiasm. We have to keep moving!

So if you’ve been on the fence before, now is the time to place your order! Stand up and be counted, because that’s the only way we can stay in the top three and make this happen!

As I write this, it is the final hour of Remembrance Day--Veterans Day in the U.S., and Armistice Day in the 1920s world of "Murder at the Veterans’ Club". It’s a solemn occasion, for remembering the sacrifices made in the name of one’s country. In Cape Town, South Africa, they began observing a daily three-minute silence from April 1918 onwards; this idea spread through the commonwealth and became, in 1919, an observed two-minute silence from 11:00 to 11:02 AM on the 11 November, the anniversary of the Armistice.

One minute for the soldiers who died. One minute for their families left behind.

To all the veterans out there, to their families, and to the families of those who are not coming back ... thank you.

On this occasion, we had an interview with Regina McMenomy of The Geek Embassy. Dr. McMenomy is the author of "Mothering: the Game", available for pre-order at Inkshares.

And, because it’s a day for remembering our veterans and because my background is in Architecture, here is a link to a news story about housing for homeless veterans in Kansas City, Missouri.

Let us not forget.

THREE MONTHS LEFT!

I admit to being more than a little anxious. Three months! They’ll be gone in no time! And one of those months is December and, as everyone knows, nothing except Christmas ever happens in December.

(I know what I want for Christmas.)

Well, back to the story. "The Butler did it" is a stereotype of mystery fiction, yet I’ll bet most people would be hard-pressed to name a story where that does happen. I know I can’t. Well, the nearest thing the Veterans’ Club has to a butler is the resident porter....

Until next time (THREE MONTHS LEFT!) have fun and (THREE!) keep reading.

Dear friends and followers,

I have recently heard rumours of orders being made but not going through. So, here’s an important announcement: I ALWAYS THANK EACH AND EVERY READER FOR THEIR ORDERS WHEN I SEE THOSE ORDERS COME IN. I usually do this through e-mail within twenty-four hours; if I’m in conversation with you at the time, I’ll thank you there and specifically say that I saw the order come in--especially if I’ve previously thanked you for expressing an intent to order.

IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE A THANK YOU FROM ME, THAT MEANS SOMETHING IS DREADFULLY WRONG.

Or it might mean that I’m out of town and have no access to the internet, but that’s a vanishingly rare occurrence. I’ll acknowledge your order and thank you for it as soon as I possibly can.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s look at the book again. I’ve got another character to introduce: Inspector Horatio Parker, the policeman assigned to the case.

Until next time, have fun, and keep reading.

Dear friends and followers,

First, allow me to introduce another one of the characters from "Murder at the Veterans’ Club": William Mainwaring, brother of Oscar Mainwaring. Not a member of the club himself, since he never fought, but intimately linked to it through his brother.

Next, I want to introduce to (some of ) you another book on Inkshares that has caught my attention: "Manifesto", by Daniel Poort. It’s classed as "horror", but there’s a strong mystery/crime/thriller element as well, dealing as it does with a serial killer and the small town sheriff investigating the crimes. It’s a reminder that you really don’t need supernatural shenanigans to make a horror story: the mind of an ordinary person can be a terrifying place.

And now I must run. It is, as I’ve mentioned before, IFcomp season, and there is a ton of interactive fiction in this year’s crop. Anyone who’s stopped by my blog will know that it is completely taken over by my ongoing reviews. So I’m busy! So until next time, keep busy, keep reading, and make sure you’re having fun while you’re at it. Ciao!

Portrait Christopher Huang · Author · added over 1 year ago
Thanks, @Timothy S Carter . And good luck to you on the job front!
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