The Surreal Killer

The Surreal Killer
Machu Picchu. Peru

Saturday, September 13, 2014

GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTERS AND HUNT TESTS-PART III: MASTER HUNTER


The third, and final, entry in my series of posts about hunt tests and our dogs follows. I hope at least some of my readers found this series interesting.  If all goes as planned, the venue of hunt tests will be the centerpiece for the next novel in the series.

Master Hunter is the third, final, and by far the most demanding, title a hunting dog can achieve in hunt tests.  Very few dogs achieve this title compared to the number of dogs who become Junior Hunters.

What are the judges looking for? Junior Hunter is all about the dog’s instincts and motivation to hunt.  Senior Hunter competition adds in the criteria of trainability and having the required skills to hunt with minimal guidance from the handler.  This third and most difficult hunt test degree, the Master Hunter level, adds the requirements of a polished and perfect performance by the dog without guidance in the field.  Now the judges are looking for the trained bird dog in all respects– steady to wing and shot, and able to scrupulously honor its brace mate as soon as it sees the other dog find the bird.  The handler is not allowed to give the dog any instructions in the field; the bird dog’s training has to be complete before the test.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

SOME OF THE DISADVANTAGES OF WRITING A MYSTERY SERIES


            Elaine was editing my newest work in progress when she suddenly asked, “Why did you have to name Roger and Suzanne’s son Robert?  Now we have to struggle with remembering a murder victim named Roberta Roberts and a boy named Robert Bowman in the same novel.  It’s confusing!”

Sunday, August 10, 2014

GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTERS AND HUNT TESTS-PART II: SENIOR HUNTER


Like the movie Groundhog Day, each new puppy we keep starts off the cycle of conformation shows and hunt tests once again in our household.  At the moment we have four generations of dogs, great grandma Viña, Grandma Jolie, mother Schöne, and son Ries, still a puppy.  All three of the older girls are currently at the Senior Hunter level, with Jolie two qualifying rounds (of the required five) away from Master Hunter status and Viña functioning at the Master Hunter level in the field, even though she resists honoring random brace mates in hunt tests.  Today’s post will again focus on Ries, who has already completed his Junior Hunter certification (at 7 months of age), and what the earning of the title of Senior Hunter will require.

What are the judges looking for?  Senior Hunter competition, like Junior Hunter is still about the dog’s instincts and motivation to hunt.  But now we add in the criteria of trainability and having the required skills to hunt with minimal guidance from the handler.  At Senior Hunter level the animals need enough training to understand what is expected of them, but finding a bird and pointing it should be instinctual in a well-bred pointing dog.  On top of these skills the judges are looking for the fundamental skills of the trained bird dog – steady to wing, and the honor.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

THE VARIOUS SERIES CHARACTERS IN THE ROGER AND SUZANNE BOOKS



Roger:  Let’s begin at the beginning.  Roger Bowman and Suzanne Foster first meet in the novella, “The Empanada Affair”, which started out in life as a full-length novel and evolved to the current novella format.  The story is featured in “Five Quickies for Roger and Suzanne”, and includes the detailed backstories for both characters.  Also included in the “Five Quickies” is a short story, “The Dog With No Name”, which describes Roger’s first case as a P.I.   For series aficionados, you’ll know that Roger has also been a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department and a licensed patent attorney

Suzanne:  We first meet Suzanne and learn her background in “The Empanada Affair” in the “Five Quickies”.  I’ve sprinkled bit and pieces expanding on what we know about Suzanne in most of the other novels, so trivia snippets about her life, past and present, are dribbled out through the series.  Suzanne appears in all of the stories, albeit just being mentioned in the shorter stories “The Dog With No Name” and “The Haunted Gymnasium”.  I’ve thought about letting Suzanne have a book (or novella) all her own without Roger, or with Roger in a less prominent role.  Maybe Suzanne will need to step up into the lead role when Roger gets a concussion or a bullet hole to recover from.  Opportunity beckons!  That may happen eventually, but I know not when.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTERS AND HUNT TESTS-PART I


Good news today:  The Deadly Dog Show won today's (7/26/14) Indie Book of the Day Award.  This Roger and Suzanne mystery novel features Juliet, a poorly disguised Jolie, as one of the detectives in a complex murder case.  Romeo, a poorly disguised Ries, is born at the end of the novel.  Sooner or later Roger and Suzanne will have to solve a murder or two at a hunt test.

Like the movie Groundhog Day, each new puppy we keep starts off the cycle of conformation shows and hunt tests once again in our household.  At the moment we have four generations of dogs, great grandma Viña, Grandma Jolie, mother Schöne, and son Ries, still a puppy.  All three of the older girls are currently at the Senior Hunter level, with Jolie two qualifying rounds away from Master Hunter status and Viña functioning at the Master Hunter level in the field, even though she resists honoring random brace mates in hunt tests.  Today’s post will focus on Ries, who has already completed his Junior Hunter certification (at 7 months of age), and what it requires to earn the Junior Hunter title.

What are the judges looking for?  Junior Hunter competition is mostly about the dog’s instincts and motivation to hunt.  The animals need enough training to understand what is expected of them, but finding a bird and pointing it should be instinctual in a well-bred pointing dog.  At this level, the judges want the dog to show they want to go out in the field and search for birds.  The judge is looking for the dog to demonstrate using its nose and searching for birds by their scent.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

BECOMING A TWIT


Last month was spent in Facebook jail, unable to post book blurbs or comments on Facebook for some Facebook rules infraction that was never explained to me.  Since I had a whole month of free time for alternative book promotion modalities, it seemed to be about time to join the legions of 140-character maximum obsessives who participate on Twitter.  This blog will share some of my experiences as a neophyte entering this brave new world.

The first thing about twitter is absorbing a whole new vocabulary and a 140-character limit to all tweets.  Both of these things come with a little bit of practice and the built in counter on the twitter software.  I haven’t figured out yet how to automate sending scheduled messages without paying someone else to do it for me, but so far going over to tweet on a hit-or-miss basis seems to be good enough for now.

There are dire warnings that you need to keep a balance of Followers to Followings or Twitter jail looms on the horizon, so I’m still strategizing the best way to do this.  I try to follow people who seem to have common interests, like mystery readers and writers, people who follow me and aren’t obviously trying to sell me something, and people who retweet my tweets.  Anyone who wants to follow me spontaneously is welcomed with open arms at this stage (several hundred followers), so my followers remain at about 75% of the total I follow.  I try to remember who my followers are, and retweet their tweets whenever I see one.  It’s also easy enough to thank people who retweet my stuff, and I try to do so, at least the first time or two. 

There are codes you can slip into the tweets to get automatic retweeting by individuals and groups, and I try to use some of these when space allows with the 140-character limit.  The result seems to be so far, so good with this approach.

It’s impossible to know if the 400+ tweets (I am pretty sure this includes at least half retweets of others’ messages) I’ve tweeted thus far have sold any books for me, but conventional wisdom says probably not.  It’s more about branding the author and the books, less about direct sales.  That’s OK, you meet some very nice people along the way and in some ways Twitter seems more social to me than Facebook.  The limit in length of messages suppresses the urge to rant or rave, and effectively prevents the possibility of doing so coherently, and that’s probably a good thing.

Signing off: @JeroldLast

Monday, June 9, 2014

Next Stop in the Writing Process Blog Tour



I’ve been invited by fellow mystery writer, Mike Martin author of the Sgt. Windflower mystery series to participate in a unique blog tour on writing.  Mike’s latest installment in this popular series is “Beneath the Surface”, available in Chapters/Indigo Bookstores across Canada and on Amazon in print and Kindle formats at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KBV5MPG.  Sgt. Windflower solves crimes and performs heroic deeds on the rugged East Coast of Canada.  You can visit Mike at https://www.facebook.com/TheWalkerOnTheCapeReviewsAndMore?ref=hl or at http//www.beneaththesurface.co.  Links on Mike’s blog can take you to other authors on this tour.

And so, to continue the tour, I will answer the four questions posed to participants in the Writing Process Blog Tour:

1.     What are you working on?  

I just published “The Origin Of Murder”, which brings Roger and Suzanne to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands.  That means I’m spending a lot of time trying to sell the new novel via social networking sites and guest blogs like this one. 
I’m also currently part of the way through a work in progress, a new Roger and Suzanne novel set in Alaska.  The current Alaska-based work in progress will be my sixth novel (and ninth book overall) in the Roger and Suzanne South American mystery series, about halfway completed.  This entry will take place in Alaska’s Denali national park wilderness, where a couple of Roger and Suzanne’s friends have been killed in what appears to be a random attack by a bear.  It’s a pretty good bet they were murdered, but how, and by whom?

Monday, May 5, 2014

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT


My friend Mike Martin, a Canadian mystery writer, is the author of the popular Sgt. Wildflower series.  Mike has a birth announcement to make, as the proud new expectant father of volume 3 of the series..................

Sunday, May 4, 2014

“THE ORIGIN OF MURDER”---BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE NEWEST ROGER AND SUZANNE NOVEL


This entry will be posted to my blog when I submit “The Origin of Murder” to Amazon for publication.  It usually takes Amazon about 24 hours to publish a book after the author uploads it to KDP site, so wait till tomorrow before you check out the new book page.  I thought a bit of background, if not the book itself, might interest some of the readers of this blog.

In "The Origin of Murder", Roger, Suzanne, Robert, and Bruce take a vacation cruise through the Galapagos Islands, 600 miles west of Ecuador. Of course, Suzanne finds another dead body floating in the Pacific Ocean and we're off to solve another deadly mystery.  Among the suspects are a mysterious travel agent, a bird watching couple from Germany, a newlywed couple on their honeymoon, two sisters from San Francisco, and couples from Uruguay and Australia.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

LIFE WITH ONE OF “JULIET’S” PUPPIES


Well, life with almost one of “Juliet’s” puppies.  Our newest dog pack member, Ries, is the grandson of Jolie, the model for “Juliet” in “The Deadly Dog Show”.  Ries, in turn, is the model for Juliet’s new puppy Romeo, who will be featured in guest shots (or more) in upcoming books in this series.  He’s seven months old (that milestone happened on March 26th), and most certainly has a personality.  In fact his personality is bigger than he is at the moment.   He shows every sign of potentially becoming our best hunting dog ever---and that’s quite an accolade with three of the women in his life (mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother) having their Senior Hunter certifications and some, if not all, of the necessary successful rounds completed to qualify as a Master Hunter.  Ries is working his way up the hunting dog hunt test ladder, currently completing his final qualifying round at the Junior Hunter level.

Dog psychologists have defined a “fear period” from 8 to 18 weeks when the puppy will fear any bad experience he/she has had for the rest of their lives.   The human analogue of the “fear period” takes place when a child is 8-18 months old.  As responsible breeder/owners, it’s our job to give the puppy as many different experiences as they can possibly handle during this period, and to make the experiences positive ones, to get the best possible temperament and self-confidence in the adult dog to come. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

RIES, THE PUPPY, UPDATE


A friend and fellow dog owner came by last week with an invitation to join him hunting Chukar (partridge) and to bring our dogs.  He had several birds left on his card, which expired the next day, to shoot at a local hunting preserve.   So, Elaine, the friend, and I, plus all four of our GSPs went bird hunting on a beautiful, but hot, 80-degree (F) day.   The rest of the story is about Ries, our 6-month-old puppy, one of the four hunting dogs we took along.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Blog Hopping and What's New?


I’ve been tagged!  Tagged to participate in a blog hop for writers. Every Monday a new set of authors is invited to blog about their own writing process, using a standard format. I was invited to this blog hop by Susan Holmes (http://dogmysteries.com), a mystery writer whose novels feature dogs (does that sound familiar?).  This is definitely a multi-genre hop; previous authors have been from the mystery, paranormal, young adult, and romance genres. Follow the chain if you want to see for yourself!

What am I working on?

I’m in near-final edits for The Origin of Murder, the fifth novel and eighth book in my Roger and Suzanne Mystery series.  This story picks up the characters shortly after the events described in The Deadly Dog Show.  Private detective Roger Bowman and his wife, biochemistry professor Suzanne Foster, decide to take a vacation cruise through the Galapagos Islands, off Ecuador’s Pacific coast, accompanied by their infant son Robert with his nanny Bruce.  The dead bodies start appearing almost immediately.  There’s a ship full of suspects, including a shady DEA agent and two mysterious sisters from San Francisco, with more dead bodies to come.   In addition to the Galapagos Islands themselves, Roger and Suzanne visit Quito, Ecuador and Guaymas, Mexico as they stumble upon an international conspiracy and help solve a complex murder mystery against a background of retracing Charles Darwin’s historic 19th century voyage on HMS Beagle.

I’m also currently about half way through writing Being Dead Is Unbearable in Alaska (provisional title), the sixth novel and ninth book in the Roger and Suzanne Mystery series.  This story picks up the characters shortly after the events described in The Origin of Murder.  After the family gets back from the Galapagos Islands, Roger’s partner in his detective agency, Vincent Romero, asks Roger and Suzanne to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of his good friends from Chile, who were apparently attacked and killed by a bear in Denali National Park in Alaska.  Working closely with the FBI, Roger and Suzanne go undercover impersonating wealthy tourists to investigate Suzanne’s theory of why this may have been a well-planned murder, and who might have perpetrated the crime.

Neither of these books features a dog, although both briefly update Juliet, and her new puppy Romeo, as they progress.  I’ll try to get back to a dog-oriented story with book number ten in the series, which should get started this summer or fall.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My style is hard to classify in traditional terminology.  It’s sort of a “tweener” between hard-boiled noir and cozy.  You’ll find elements of the traditional cozy mystery in my work: there isn’t any vulgar language (at least in English) or graphic sex in these books.  There’s an amateur sleuth (Suzanne), connections to local law enforcement, and a complicated mystery my sleuths are motivated to solve.  On the other hand, the world we visit in the Roger and Suzanne mystery series is considerably darker than the usual cozy.  There are plenty of dead bodies and there are scenes of violence, even though the violence usually contains minimal gore.  There’s also a supporting cast of recurring characters, which vary from book to book, so there is some connection between all of the books in the series.  The books are, nominally at least, written chronologically from the characters’ point of view.  Some of these recurring characters are “good” bad guys or “bad” good guys, so they can have complex motivations for getting involved.  There are also complex plots, well-researched locations described authentically, and plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing.  The final goal of the heroes is to solve the mystery and to make sure justice is served and that the villains are punished.   


Why do I write what I do?

I choose exotic locations that I’ve really visited so they have authenticity, and research the locations thoroughly so they are authentic and up to date.  My wife and I lived in Montevideo, Uruguay and Salta, Argentina for several months each, and we’ve travelled around much of South America as tourists or in conjunction with my research work.  Suzanne’s science is authentic (I have a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry), and as up to date as I can make it.

I write about South America and California because I love the regions. I want readers to see beyond the stereotypes and appreciate the beauty of both places and the interesting people who live there.  I also love dogs, especially the German Shorthaired Pointers my wife breeds, shows, and hunt tests.  Pointers show up in cameo or featured roles in many of these books.

Roger and Suzanne can each take care of themselves in a risky situation.  Both are highly trained in martial arts.  These skills can, and do, come in handy in many of their books.  A strong female amateur detective married to a professional like Roger gives the stories balance, while avoiding such clichés as damsels in distress and women as helpless victims.  I’ve enjoyed watching Suzanne grow throughout the series, from a sheltered academic living in an ivory tower to Roger’s partner in crime solving in a noir world where official incompetence and corruption can make solving crime difficult for the good cops on the regular police forces.

How does my writing process work?

All of the books are plot driven.  I like to create complex whodunits to insert my characters into then let them take over and create the plot.  Whodunit, and why the bad guy(s) did it, can, and does, change during the writing process.  I start at the beginning and mostly write consecutive chapters for the first draft, although I’ll also write scenes as they pop into my head and splice them into the work in progress wherever they seem to fit.   Much of the creative process takes place in my head before I write anything down, so writing the first draft comes easily.  I wish I could say the same for editing!

Somewhere around the third or fourth draft, my wife gets a hard copy to read and critique. If dogs are involved, she is an expert dog trainer and acts as a consultant as well.  If she says something (a dog scene, a paragraph, a plot device, a character) doesn’t work, out it goes and I’ll revise until she’s satisfied.  I’ve tried asking friends to edit drafts, but that’s a good way to lose a friend so doesn’t work for me.

Keep on Hopping!
Thanks for reading. Be sure to check out author L. A. Remenicky’s post from last week. And on March 14th, look for new blog hop posts by authors Carmen Amato (http://carmenamato.net/friday-fiesta/friday-fiesta-blog-hop-striking-gold-recommended-stories/).

Monday, March 3, 2014

Writing for Water: Authors for Water.org


Throughout 2014, independent authors are joining together into the Writing for Water team, pledging a share of their earnings for the cause of clean water worldwide.  I’m one of those who volunteered to donate half of any royalties I receive for book sales during the month of March to this worthy cause.  I’d also like to acknowledge fellow mystery author Carmen Amato for organizing this effort.  Our progress will be tracked monthly in The Water Diaries at http://carmenamato.net/blog.

We’ve all experienced some literary success and want to use it to make a difference in a fundamental way. That’s why we’re asking you to buy a book. Not only will you get some terrific entertainment, but you'll also help us help others.
Please support the effort to bring clean water and decent sanitation to those who need it by buying a book from one of the Writing for Water Authors. All titles available at Amazon.com:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Body in the Bed (Link to book from Amazon Kindle on the right side of this page)


Rebecca Phillips Dahlke, a very successful mystery writer in her own right, promotes mystery/suspense/thriller writers with All Mystery Newsletter. This is presently the only multi-platform promotion site dedicated solely to mystery and all its sub-genres.  Really!  Established in 2010, it's been gathering writers and readers for four years. Rebecca is an Indie author and helping other Indie authors to get new readers.  My Kindle E-book, “The Body in the Bed“, is today’s feature.  Thank you very much, Rebecca!

Sound interesting? Here're the links:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

REBLOGGED FROM SUSAN TOY'S "READING RECOMMENDATIONS"

The following blog post appeared on Susan Toy's blog on Thursday, January 9, 2014.  Reprinted with permission.  Susan interviewed me about "The Deadly Dog Show".

What is your latest release and what genre is it? The Deadly Dog Show is a mystery. Because one of the lead characters is a dog, Amazon calls it a “cozy”. I’d call it “hard-boiled” or “noir”, but with clean language and no gratuitous sex. I guess that means it’s somewhere between those various genres.

Quick description: The Deadly Dog Show, a suspenseful journey into the world of canine conformation contests, provides an exciting backdrop for murder. Roger Bowman, private eye, is hired to investigate mysterious occurrences at California dog shows. Before long, Roger is working undercover at the dog shows impersonating an owner, dead bodies are accumulating, and a mysterious stalker is pursuing Roger’s wife, Suzanne. The reviewers are enthusiastic about this whodunit novel, which should appeal to mystery readers, dog lovers, and anyone else who wants to learn more about the world of dog show competition.
Dog show cover

Brief biography:
The author is a Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of California’s Medical School at Davis. He has a Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry and does research on asthma and health effects of air pollution on the lungs. He is also a big fan of California mystery novels. A quick search of Amazon will turn up books and articles in biochemistry previously edited or authored by Jerry, as well as his South American mystery novel series. The settings and locales for all of these novels are authentic; the author lived previously in Salta, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay. He has collaborated with several local scientists in Uruguay, Argentina, and Peru. The Deadly Dog Show, set in California, is the fourth novel in his Roger and Suzanne mystery series, following The Ambivalent Corpse, set in Montevideo, Uruguay and the surrounding region, The Surreal Killer, set in Peru and Northern Chile’s Atacama Desert region, and The Matador Murders, set in Montevideo and Santiago, Chile. All of these mystery novels are available as Kindle E-books from Amazon. Two shorter books in this series, a novelette and a novella, The Body in the Parking Structure, set in Los Angeles, and The Body in the Bed, set in Montevideo, are also available from Amazon. A novel-length anthology of shorter stories entitled Five Quickies for Roger and Suzanne, including The Empanada Affair, a novella set in Salta, Argentina, and The Haunted Gymnasium, a shorter and somewhat paranormal mystery set in Fortaleza, Brazil, is also available as a Kindle E-book from Amazon.
Jerry writes hard-boiled mystery books that are fast moving and entertain, while introducing readers to a region where he has lived and worked that is a long way from home for most English speakers. Montevideo, Salta, Machu Picchu, and Iguazu Falls are characters in these books, and the novels portray these places as vivid and real. He lives in Northern California with his wife Elaine, who breeds German Shorthaired Pointers, and with Vinia, Jolie, Schöne, and Ries, four generations of GSPs who contribute interesting material for his blog and characters for his books. Coming soon is a fifth novel, The Origin of Murder, a riff on Charles Darwin’s classic The Origin of Species, which brings Roger, Suzanne, Bruce the Nanny, and Paraguayan police person Eduardo Gomez to the Galapagos Islands where murder and intrigue once again await our detectives in South America.

Links to buy Jerold’s book:
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK

Jerold’s promo links:
Blog
Facebook

What are you working on now?
I’m editing the next novel in the series, The Origin of Murder, which should be published on Amazon Kindle some time this winter. This murder mystery takes Roger and Suzanne to the Galapagos Islands, off the Pacific coast of Ecuador in South America. I’m also starting the next book to follow in the series, which I think will take our detective couple to Alaska.

Jerold’s reading recommendation:
I just finished reading the mystery novel Unleashed by Emily Kimelman (available as a Kindle E-book and elsewhere). I like murder mysteries and I like dogs as characters, so enjoyed this novel.

Monday, December 23, 2013

LIFE WITH ONE OF “JULIET’S” PUPPIES



Well, life with almost one of “Juliet’s” puppies.  Our newest dog pack member, Ries, is the grandson of Jolie, the model for “Juliet” in “The deadly Dog Show”.  He’s almost four months old (that milestone will happen on December 26th), and most certainly has a personality.  In fact his personality is bigger than he is at the moment.   The dog psychologists have defined a “fear period” from 8 to 18 weeks when the puppy will fear any bad experience he/she has for the rest of their lives.   As a breeder/owner, it’s our job to give the puppy as many different experiences as they can possibly handle during this period, and to make the experiences positive ones, to get the best possible temperament and self-confidence in the adult dog to come.  The human analogue of the “fear period” takes place when a child is 8-18 months old.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

RECENT REVIEW OF FIVE QUICKIES


            A very nice review of my newest book by a popular blogger just appeared.   Kathryn Svendsen, in her blog “Shelf Full of Books”, reviewed “Five Quickies for Roger and Suzanne”. 
She gave this anthology a rating of 4 stars.

            “This is an anthology of 5 stories of shorter length from novelette length to short story. Each one is about Roger Bowman, a private detective, who once was a patent lawyer and a police detective. The first of the five stories The Empanada Affair takes places in Argentina. Three of the stories take place in Los Angeles and the fifth story “The Haunted Gymnasium” takes place in Fortaleza, Brazil. Most of the stories have some kind of connection to South America

Thursday, December 5, 2013

PROGRESS IN THE GALAPAGOS AND OTHER STUFF


            The current Work In Progress reached a milestone.   The first draft of “The Origin of Murder” is complete, I’ve also completed the first round of edits, and a copy is currently being read by my wife with her trusty blue pen.   I like this new book, which started with rediscovering Elaine’s journal describing her impressions of what we saw when we took the cruise through the Galapagos Islands that Roger, Suzanne, and their entourage take in this current novel.   The plot evolved from the original idea (which is still the central theme of “Whydunit”), to a much more complex story as the peripheral characters began clamoring for enhanced identities and backstories.   “Whodunit” evolved with the novel.   Along the way I ended up doing a lot of research (I’d tell you about what, but that would be a spoiler) and learned a lot about [CENSORED] and [CENSORED].

Saturday, November 23, 2013

AMAZON”S WONDERFUL COMPUTER AND ITS QUIRKS


           It’s a strange and incomprehensible world out there when you start wondering how Amazon’s computer decides what category to put your new novel into.  Sometimes [cue the Rod Serling music], that pesky computer can do weird things.   Let me give you a couple of examples from real life.  Of course, this has implications on whether real book readers and buyers will find your book.

Because “The Deadly Dog Show” has a dog in it (actually, several dogs), the Amazon computer decided the right category for the book is “Mystery-Cozy-Animal”.   I wouldn’t describe my style as cozy---especially as we examine body count, violence, the slightly dark world things are happening in, and other parameters that make me call it “Hard-boiled” or “Noir”.   But what do I know?  The book is selling very well in the cozy category and there really haven’t been any serious complaints about the excessive violence for the genre.   Although a couple of reviews have mentioned one particular scene!

            "The Surreal Killer" is currently ranked #19 in Books > Travel > South America > Peru, and #27 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Travel > Latin America > South America as I’m writing this paragraph.  It has consistently ranked high in both of these categories since it was first published 1.5 years ago.  What makes assignment of the book to these two categories worthy of note is that it’s a novel, as in a work of fiction.   I haven’t hid that fact from Amazon; in fact I emphasized it in my selection of categories and keywords.   There’s that Amazon computer overruling the author again.  

            Does it matter?   It probably does not in the cosmic scheme of things.  But maybe it does, and it seemed a fun thing to highlight for this week’s post?   Does anyone else have some strangeness by the Amazon computer to share?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

AN EXPERIMENT WITH AMAZON KDP’S NEW BOOK PROMOTION, THE KINDLE COUNTDOWN DEAL


            Amazon KDP recently announced a new book promotion opportunity.  For up to seven days you can reduce the price on your KDP entry to any amount you want on any kind of staggered schedule you might care to try.   The incentives are (1) there’s a special promotional page on Amazon where your book is announced as a participant, and (2) you get the full 70% royalty on sales, even if the price is below the normal threshold for the 70% royalty.   It seemed a fun thing to try---the worst-case scenario was nobody would be interested in a book I put on this promotion.   That would have been OK, as I chose a book with low sales at this time but one that is an excellent entry point into my series because it features pretty much all of the recurring characters in five shorter stories.

            The new promotion started on a curious date, 11/12/13.   I announced the promotional price, $0.99, a substantial reduction from the normal price of $2.99 for this novel-length anthology, on a couple of dozen Facebook sites and on my own Facebook page.   The promotion was set to run for seven days, through the 18th. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

POISONOUS SCIENCE – A FIRST NOVEL

Today's guest blog is by Henry Forman, who has just published a new mystery novel I think many of you might enjoy reading.   Henry's plot dramatizes a real issue in contemporary scientific research, so there's some real food for thought in this novel.

Monday, November 11, 2013

NOT QUITE A FREEBIE ALERT---BARGAIN ALERT


Starts tomorrow!  Special Promotional Price on Amazon KDP ---Nov. 12-17, 2013.  Thousands of readers have enjoyed a series of mystery novels set in South America and California featuring Los Angeles-based private detective Roger Bowman and his wife biochemist Suzanne Foster.   “Five Quickies For Roger And Suzanne”, a novel-length anthology of five stories---three short stories (including “The Dog With No Name” for dog lovers), a novella, and a novelette---features the regular characters from this popular South American mystery series.  Enjoy the quickies, which introduce several of the recurring series characters from this series and are a great place to begin it!  Normal list price is $2.99; Promotional days only, $0.99.  http://www.amazon.com/Quickies-Roger-Suzanne-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00F7VRMKS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1379311152&sr=1-1&keywords=b00F7VRMKS

Saturday, November 9, 2013

THE NEWEST ROGER AND SUZANNE NOVEL


The current Work In Progress is almost completed through the first draft stage.   I don’t have a title yet.   Here’s the set-up.   Roger and Suzanne, along with Robert and Bruce, are taking a long overdue vacation tour though the Galapagos Islands.   This is another fascinating piece of South America Elaine and I have visited that I wanted to share with my readers.   On the second day of the tour, as their Zodiac raft motors towards one of the islands Suzanne finds a dead body floating in the ocean just off the beach.   And we’re into another South American mystery novel starring my favorite couple of detectives.   And there to help are Eduardo Gomez, his wife Sophia who we'll meet for the first time, and the mysterious General Vincente Aleman. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

SCHÖNE”S LITTER---UPDATED


            The long-anticipated day arrived Monday, 10/21.  The puppies were 8-weeks old and ready to begin relocation to their new homes.  Two of the pups left us---Gil to go to his new home in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains about an hour northeast of us, and Molly to her new home in Silicon Valley, about 2 hours southwest of us.   Gil will be living with two adults and several horses being trained and competing in endurance events.   Eventually, we’ll find out for sure whether an adult GSP can trot along for 20-30 miles without having to breathe hard, but I think all of us who own this breed of dogs already knows the answer to that.  They are incredibly gifted athletes with huge chests and equally huge hearts that translate to great stamina and endurance in the field.   Molly in Silicon Valley will be joining a family with a teenaged son and his younger sister, an ideal situation for a puppy that loves cuddling and people.   She also may have a show career ahead for her based on puppy grades, and will surely have a hunting career based on what the new owners are looking for from their dog.