Tag Archives: Chess

Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine May 2019

Published today, the May issue of Mom’s Favorite Reads!

In this issue…

An exclusive interview with Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, a must-read for all writers and readers.

Plus, articles, short stories, puzzles, humour, health, travel, interviews and a special promotional offer for authors.

View or download your FREE copy here

Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine December 2018

Earlier this year, in partnership with authors Ronesa Aveela and Denise McCabe, I created Mom’s Favorite Reads, one of the highlights of my publishing year.

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What is Mom’s Favorite Reads?

*It’s a community of book lovers

* A monthly magazine featuring some of the biggest names in the entertainment world alongside the best in modern publishing

*A book catalogue containing over 400 books, including many bestsellers and award-winners

*A website with dedicated author pages

*A reading group where readers can discover new authors

*A partner to major businessness including The Fussy Librarian and chess.com

* A fun way to promote books with items like our Advent Calendar and nominations to the Apple News Channel

* A community to support literacy amongst adults and children

This weekend, we published our December magazine. The magazine is available from all major retail platforms, including Amazon. You can also read the magazine, for free, here:

Featured items include:

* Acclaimed author Nicholas Rossis writing about encouraging children to read

* A young author, aged eleven, writing about his moving experiences

* Christmas in various parts of the world

* Coping with stress at Christmas

* Healthy eating at Christmas

* Ghost stories at Christmas

* Paddy, The Christmas Turkey, a fun festive tale

There is something in the magazine for everyone: short stories, articles, puzzles, recipes and more. Follow the link and have a read 🙂

 

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.

 

Chess Kings and Detective Queens

Sam visits Tintern, in A Parcel of Rogues. The monastery at Tintern was the first Cistercian abbey founded in Wales, on 9th May 1131. In later centuries, after the Dissolution of the Monasteries, many poets and painters visited the abbey, including William Wordsworth and, in 1794, J.M.W. Turner, who painted the chancel.

Page One containing the historical background to my Ann’s War Mystery Series is now complete. This page tells the story of the 28th Infantry Division and their training in South Wales before embarking on the beaches of Normandy in July 1944. Some of the incidents mentioned on this page will appear in the series. Ann’s War: The Army Camp

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Sam is in the Wye Valley in A Parcel of Rogues. In the eighteenth century, the Wye Valley witnessed the birth of British tourism when the words and pictures of poets and painters enticed those with spare time and money to visit. This railway poster, c1938, was aimed at ‘everyman’ as people from all classes of society flocked to enjoy the valley’s natural beauty.

(c) National Railway Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Last week, I enjoyed coverage of the St Louis Rapid and Blitz chess tournament in which former world champion Garry Kasparov made a ‘comeback’. The event was won by one of my favourite players, Levon Aronian. You can catch up with all the dramatic action on YouTube

Sam’s home patch, Cardiff Bay

 

 

 

 

Sam’s Sunday Supplement #5

Welcome to Sam’s Sunday Supplement, #5, a weekly digest of news from Sam’s world.

Yesterday, April 1st, was Sam’s birthday and to help her celebrate Sam’s Song reached #3 on the Amazon private detective chart. I’m also very proud to make this list…Robert B Parker #15, Marcia Muller #17, Hannah Howe #22, James Patterson #25, Max Allan Collins #48 Amazon’s hot new releases 😃 This relates to Mind Games, which is now available for pre-order. Please click on the book cover on the sidebar for the Amazon link.

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As usual, Sam has been wandering the streets of Cardiff this week. She also ventured to Monmouth. The Romans established a fort in Monmouth and a thousand years later the Normans built a castle there. The House of Lancaster took possession of the castle and, in 1387, King Henry V was born there. One of Monmouth’s claims to fame is its medieval stone-gated bridge, pictured, the only one of its type remaining in Britain.

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While researching details about Cardiff Docks I stumbled across the following information, along with this fascinating film clip, which offers a flavour of the docks in 1926. In relation to women, 420 prostitutes worked the docks in 1860, while during the Edwardian era local women had the back-breaking job of unloading sacks of potatoes. During the Second World War women served as porters, wheeling trollies to and from the warehouses.

Mind Games features a young female chess player, though chess is incidental to the book and you don’t need any knowledge of the game to enjoy the story. That said, chess is full of interesting characters including Vera Menchik, the first women’s world champion. Vera defeated many male grandmasters including world champion Max Euwe. Sadly, Vera died in 1944 during a Nazi air raid.

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Mind Games also features a storyline about Faye, Sam’s assistant. If you have read the books in the series you will know that Faye has endured a difficult relationship with her mother. This link might help people in a similar situation  Psychology Today
I would like to end this week with these beautiful words. More news next week. As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

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Books Ten, Eleven and Twelve

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January was an exciting month for the Sam Smith Mystery Series with bumper sales and top twenty chart positions in ten countries, including #1 on the amazon.com private detective chart. February has started well with lots of writing and editing. Currently, I’m polishing the Stardust manuscript for publication on March 1st while working on the outline of Mind Games and developing ideas for Digging in the Dirt.

Mind Games is centred on a chess player, though you don’t need any knowledge of chess to understand the plot. Essentially, Mind Games is a love story, of sorts. If you read the book you will understand what I mean by that statement.

Digging in the Dirt features a murder set in the world of archaeology. One of the subplots to this book might include the story of Alan’s grandparents, and their activities during the Second World War. This strand ties in with the theme of the main story, the way the past affects the present and the future.

As ever, thanks to everyone who’s read a Sam Smith book, and if you haven’t read one yet, here’s a shopping link. Book one, Sam’s Song, is free while the other books in the series are only $0.99/£0.99 each 😃

https://www.amazon.com/Hannah-Howe/e/B00OK7E24E

 

 

A Story Begins

This afternoon, I completed a three page outline for Mind Games, book eleven in the Sam Smith Mystery Series. I always start a novel with a three page outline, which I expand into a thirty-three chapter (on average) storyboard. A first draft taken from the storyboard follows before I write the novel.

Mind Games is centred on a young female chess player and her relationships with her father, coach and would-be lover. The mystery element focuses on blackmail, while the theme of the story is love, in its myriad forms.

Meanwhile, I include three atmospheric pictures of Plovdiv in this post. Plovdiv features in The Hermit of Hisarya, book five in the series. The images depict the Old Theatre and the streets of the Old Town.

Finally, I would like to thank you for your support during 2016 and wish you a Happy New Year.

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