Category Archives: Sam Smith Mystery Series

Your Book at #1 Part 2

You have written your book. With justification, you are very proud of it. What next? The obvious move is to contact an agent or publisher. However, in the 21st century this route is becoming old-fashioned. Agents and publishers reject far more than they accept. They take a percentage of the royalties. They exert control over content, cover design, marketing, etc. Sometimes, they take a very long time to publish a book. If you are happy with that package, give agents and publishers a go. They could be ideal for you.

If agents and publishers are not for you, you could try self-publishing. Amazon and Smashwords, for example, offer excellent self-publishing platforms that place your books in front of millions of readers. Self-publishing is now an established part of the book industry. The stigma, which existed at the start, has long gone. Indeed, many traditionally published authors are turning to self-publishing because they recognise the advantages it offers. Lesley-Ann Jones is a Sunday Times bestselling author, yet she decided to publish her memoir, Tumbling Dice, independently to great media acclaim. You too could become a bestselling author. More about that next time.

A Man Walks Into a Bar

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I was sipping a drink, researching my latest Sam Smith mystery when a man walked into the bar. He looked distressed. 

“Quick,” he said to the barman, “I need a glass of water.”

With a quizzical look on his face, the barman poured water into a glass. The man grabbed the glass, gulped the water then ran to the rest room.

Two minutes later, the man returned, still looking distressed. “Nope,” he said, “that didn’t work. I’ll have a Bacardi and lemon.”

The man sipped his Bacardi then chewed on the lemon. With a pained expression on his face, he ran to the rest room only to return two minutes later.

“Nope,” he said, “that didn’t work either. I need a radical solution.”

Then, to gasps from the clientele, the man produced a gun and handed the weapon to the barman. “Shoot me,” the man said.

“You must be crazy,” the barman said. “I’m not touching that gun.”

“You, lady,” the man said to me, “shoot me.”

Of course, by now I’d twigged what was happening so, nonchalantly, I placed the gun in my hand. I raised my arm, pointed the barrel at the man’s head and eased my finger against the trigger. Before I could squeeze the trigger, the man sighed and walked out of the bar.

“Phew,” the barman said. “What was that all about?”

“Didn’t you notice?” I asked, sliding the gun across the bar. “The man had hiccups.” 😀

 

The Muse #2

Welcome to The Muse, the latest news from bestselling author, Hannah Howe

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The opening chapter of The Devil and Ms Devlin finds Sam still working, against her will, from her office houseboat. However, when a Greek billionaire shows up wishing to hire Sam, does this mean a change of fortune?

The billionaire wants Sam to discover who is sending death threats to his lover, the superstar actress Dana Devlin, who after suffering emotional problems is making a comeback. However, the death threats are sent on postcards containing hearts, angels and flowers. What could this mean? Sam enters the glamorous world of movie making to uncover the truth, a truth clouded by murder, blackmail, fetishes and crooked business deals.

Meanwhile, Sam’s psychologist husband, Alan, encourages Dana to talk about her life, uncovering a closely guarded secret about her daughter and the root of her emotional problems.

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I’m researching a novel, which will be set in Bulgaria in 1944. My novel will be based on true events and the lives of two individuals, Ivan Danev, an eighteen year old resistance fighter imprisoned by the fascists, and Frank Thompson, a British officer who assisted the partisans. Along with biographies of Frank Thompson, Ivan Danev’s memoirs, Nest of Heroes, (pictured) will form the centrepiece of the story. The novel will also feature Ivan‘s sister, a young woman caught up in the conflict.

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Laura has started work on the French translation of Amour et Balles, Love and Bullets, book two in the Sam Smith Mystery Series. Our aim is to develop this series in French and explore the French book markets this year.

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A great start to the year for Tradimento, the Italian version of Betrayal, #2 on the Historical Fiction chart 🙂

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What a lovely review from a Canadian reader, for Sam’s Song 🙂

“Initially, I had a bit of trouble getting into the book, probably because the premise was not something I was familiar with, i.e. a rock star with a problem. Not a fan of rock music, or the lifestyle, it was the protagonist, Sam, that drew me in. Don’t you just love it when a book grows on you? Three-quarters of the way into the story I was routing for Sam and hoping she would make sound decisions. It takes a good writer to draw one into a story that is hard to put down, especially if it isn’t something you relate to.”

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Another wonderful review from Canada, for The Big Chill 🙂

“I love the Sam Smith series! She is feisty and funny and determined. Sam is shot in her office and as part of her recovery, she is not going to rest until she finds the person who did it. The list of potential suspects is unnervingly long. I couldn’t stop reading until I reached the last page, and now I’m a little sad it’s over. I highly recommend this series. They just keep getting better!”

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I’ve never been drawn to fame, fortune, glamour or celebrity. This book explains why. It tells the story of many beautiful, extremely rich and privileged people. The common thread is the sad and vacuous nature of their lives. When Gene Tierney suffered a mental breakdown and couldn’t remember her lines, the only person who tried to help her was a common maid. Gene Tierney had hired the maid to look after her daughter. Instead, she looked after the movie star. As Gene Tierney candidly admits, she had ‘everything’, a glamorous existence, while the maid had ‘nothing‘, except the happier life.

Portmeirion

Currently, I’m writing The Devil and Ms Devlin, Sam Smith Mystery Series book fifteen. Most of my novels are set on the South Wales coast, between Porthcawl and Cardiff. However, The Devil and Ms Devlin is set in Portmeirion.

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Portmeirion was designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village. In designing the village, Williams-Ellis stated that he wished to pay tribute to the atmosphere of the Mediterranean. In particular, the fishing village of Portofino on the Italian Riviera strongly influenced his design.

Williams-Ellis incorporated fragments of demolished buildings, including works by a number of other architects, in his fairytale village. To some, Portmeirion was an overgrown folly. However, Williams-Ellis’ dream was justified for the village and its nostalgia strongly influenced the development of postmodernism in twentieth century architecture.

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Portmeirion has often featured in popular culture with episodes of Danger Man, Doctor Who, Citizen Smith and Cold Feet all shot there. However, Portmeirion’s greatest claim to television fame is as The Village in the 1966–67 cult classic The Prisoner starring Patrick McGoohan (who also starred in Danger Man). Annual fan conventions are still held there, at locations unchanged to this day.

 

The Muse #1

The Muse

#1

The Devil and Ms Devlin eBook Cover

The Devil and Ms Devlin, Sam Smith Mystery Series book fifteen, will be published on Easter Sunday. The book will be available for pre-order from 21st January 2019.

A lovely quote from Gene Tierney, discovered while researching her life and career, “A romantic picks the rose and is careless with the thorns.”

My books have sold well in France over Christmas with several making the top 💯. Also, a lovely review for Secrets and Lies, in French.

Beaucoup de plaisir à lire cette série qui n’a guère de prétention autre que de distraire le lecteur avec des personnages attachants et des histoires variées. C’est un roman policier variante eau de rose (l’harlequin du polar) qui fait passer un bon moment sur une plage ce qui n’a rien de méprisable, les bons moments sont toujours bons à prendre!

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I’ve read so many excellent books this year, it’s impossible to pick a favourite. However, if forced to nominate one I would select A Study of Household Spirits of Eastern Europe. Check it out. It’s truly delightful.
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I love movies from the 1940s through to the 1970s. I also love Dana Andrews as an actor. Therefore, I was delighted to receive a DVD of Fallen Angel for Christmas. I’m sure this movie will influence a novel I’m researching. Set in 1948, my novel will feature one of the characters from my Ann’s War series and will have a noir feel, similar to The Third Man.

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One of the highlights of the past year has been working with my team of talented translators. In particular, I would like to send Christmas greetings to: Cristina, Anita, Tais, Irene, Laura D, Luc, Zachary, Laura N, Minea, Jill, Silvia, Eva and Christina. Thank you. I look forward to working with you again in the new year.

I’m co-founder and co-editor of Mom’s Favorite Reads. Lots of great seasonal content in our December magazine. It’s FREE. Check it out 🙂

 

The Detective’s Gambit

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I’m a chess addict and my Sam Smith mystery, Mind Games, is about a chess player. Chess and mysteries have a common thread, the solving of a puzzle. With that in mind, I decided to research the connection between private detectives and chess. 

August 1957 saw the television premiere of The Chess Player, series one, episode eight of the Richard Diamond Private Detective series. In this episode, the wife of a wealthy industrialist hires Richard Diamond to discover who is trying to murder her husband. The plot is standard for the genre. However, David Janssen’s portrayal of Richard Diamond is engaging and it foreshadows his starring role as Richard Kimble in the television series The Fugitive. In The Chess Player, Julian Tyler, the industrialist husband, mentions that he played Capablanca and that he introduced a new variation to the Ruy Lopez.

When not tangling with femme fatales or dodging bullets, Raymond Chandler’s private detective, Philip Marlowe, could often be found brooding over chess puzzles. Marlowe preferred puzzles to over the board games with real opponents, which served to highlight his mistrust of his opponents, and humanity as a whole. 

Chess served as a literary motif in Chandler’s novel, The High Window, while Marlowe himself confessed, “I like liquor and women and chess and a few other things.” Maybe Chandler, and Marlowe, had a love-hate relationship with chess because, in The Long Goodbye, Marlowe stated, “Chess is the most elaborate waste of human intelligence outside of an advertising agency.” Yet Marlowe constantly returned to chess, including in the novel and television movie, Poodle Springs, a story written by Robert B Parker, another great of private detective literature.

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There are other examples of chess and the private detective, although in truth they are not numerous. In my Sam Smith Mystery Series, Sam (Samantha) is a budding chess player, keen to learn about the game. Chess is the ideal game to use as a metaphor in detective fiction. Furthermore, knowledge of the game suggests a certain level of intelligence. To win through, both the chess player and the private detective know that they have to make the right moves, and that one slip could be fatal.

 

Walking Away From Amazon

Interesting how the kaleidoscopic patterns in publishing change. Since July, at least ten of my books have featured regularly in the top fifty in Australia, so Australia is becoming the home of my books. Maybe I will set a Sam Smith story there one day. Also, because Amazon doesn’t have the ability to publish books in numerous languages, and my aim is to publish books in a variety of languages, other retailers are becoming more important. For my paperbacks, Amazon are now irrelevant because Gardners are my main outlet. And the profits from paperback sales easily eclipse the profits from eBook sales. All this is good, methinks. I don’t think in terms of success, I think in terms of enjoyment. And the path I’m following now, away from focusing exclusively on Amazon and eBook sales, is certainly an enjoyable one 🙂

SAVING GRACE AUDIO BOOK

Cover reveal for the audiobook version of Saving Grace. The audiobook will be published in October and will be available from iBooks, etc.

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Cover reveal for the audiobook version of Blackmail, Ann’s War Book Three. Blackmail will be published in November.

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A satisfying weekend for my books with a huge boost in sales on Barnes and Noble, seven titles just outside the top 💯 in Italy, Sam’s Song at #4 in America, Boston a hot 💯 new release and Saving Grace a bestseller also in America. Furthermore, yesterday Sam’s Song was featured alongside Mary Poppins, Janet Evanovich and J.K. Rowling.

27433ACC-2B15-4391-8333-31D4CBBD8852Writing and publishing should be about fun and we had great fun this afternoon recording a video for a leading book promoter. I was chief script writer, autocue operator and camera person while Daniela Jones provided the onscreen talent. The video is with the promoter now and it’s up to him how he will use it, but I hope I can share it with you soon. This video is part of a package that will transform book promoting. Some promoters are elitist and don’t give everyone a fair chance, but soon that will change. The target audience is two million readers. Exciting, I’m sure you will agree.

B321445C-E5E2-4A10-BA1D-AE92DB86C05FMy latest article for the Seaside News.