Tag Archives: Sam Smith Mystery Series

Dear Reader #14

Dear Reader,

I took a break from my Spanish Civil War research this week to research classic movies of the Golden Age. I intend to write a mini-series about the Golden Age, but I will use a pen name because it will be different in style to my mystery series.

My main writing activity over the past week was centred on translations. During the week, I received fifteen offers to translate my books. Unfortunately, I couldn’t accept all the offers because some were duplicates. Also, I have a team of translators already in place and some of the titles have been promised to them. The standard of the applications was high and it was a shame to disappoint some people, but I hope we will find a way to work together in the future.

Also this week, I’m back in audiobook mode. Suzan Lynn Lorraine, who has narrated twelve of my books to date, started work on Escape and Victory. I am looking forward to hearing Suzan’s interpretation of these stories and to making them available to listeners sometime in the autumn.

When an author writes a book, he or she has no idea what the reader will make of the story or the characters. Sometimes, in Saving Grace for example, my characters are based on real people. However, most of the time they are totally fictitious. So it was interesting this week when I received a message from someone along with a request to meet Sam. To this reader, Sam is real, and I can think of no higher compliment.

For entertainment, and research purposes, I’m working my way through the entire series of M*A*S*H on DVD. Is this the best television series ever made? It’s hard to think of a better one.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #10

Dear Reader,

Sometimes stories arrive fully formed and from that point on it’s a question of filling in the details, while other times ideas come in stages, over a period of time. The idea for The Olive Tree, my Spanish Civil War Saga, arrived fully formed and now I’m adding more research and filling in the details. At the same time I had an idea for a Sam Smith mystery. The emotional strand to this story arrived fully formed, but the mystery element was missing. Yesterday, while thinking about hair, of all things, the missing element arrived. For a writer, it’s exciting when these things happen 🙂

Over the past month I haven’t been actively promoting my books, but my sales have increased. How come? I think the answers lies with the past five years of promoting, particularly the past two years. For authors, the hardest part is to stimulate interest in your books. It takes time to build a readership. Therefore, my advice to authors is to build a strong foundation. Once you have done that you will attract readers.

I received fan mail this week. Unfortunately, it was intended for Hannah Howell 😱 To be honest, I’m not familiar with Hannah Howell’s books, and I’m sure she’s never heard of me. I’m not sure if having similar names is an advantage or a disadvantage. On balance, it is probably a disadvantage because it does have the potential to confuse readers.

Female bodybuilding. It’s a subject I don’t know anything about, but for my novels it’s an area of research. What are your opinions on female bodybuilders? If you are a female, why do you do it? If you are a male what are your thoughts? I would be interested in your opinions.

At the moment, I’m devouring books about the Spanish Civil War at great speed. I’m watching movies about the subject too. You will find details of these books and movies under the The Olive Tree tab on my website. The question occurred to me, why does the Spanish Civil War still attract our interest? The answer is multilayered, but one of those layers includes the fact that for people outside Spain, their governments did not force them to go to war. Many thousands volunteered and decided to fight for a principle. That is something worth thinking about and, I believe, it makes the Spanish Civil War relevant to today.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #4

Dear Reader,

For me, it’s been an eventful week. A very eventful week. I have experienced great distress and great joy. The joy centred on Sam’s Song. On Wednesday, Sam’s Song reached #1 for the seventh time. For the past two years this has been an ambition. You could argue that there is no difference between six times #1 and seven times #1, and you would be right. For a reason I can’t really explain reaching #1 for the seventh time was important and now that that landmark has been achieved the desire to reach new readers isn’t as great. I wouldn’t say that I don’t want to reach new readers, but if it doesn’t happen it no longer matters. In terms of eBooks on Amazon, I have achieved my goals.

I still have goals in other areas of publishing, with audiobooks, translations, paperbacks and secondary rights. I also want to write many more books, develop Mom’s Favorite Reads and her projects, and help authors find more readers. 

I do believe in the concept of setting clear, obtainable goals and plans to achieve those goals. My main aims with writing are: to entertain my readers and to prove certain things to myself. On a personal level, Sam at #1 this week proved something to myself, and that’s all that matters. Now I feel ready to move on.

A great moving on song…

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Sam’s Sunday Supplement #13

Welcome to Sam’s Sunday Supplement #13, a weekly digest of news from Sam’s World.

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Mind Games is published today, as a paperback and eBook. This story centres on Sasha Pryce, a young chess player. Chess is featured in the book, but the story is about family relationships and the many aspects of love. Amazon Link

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Digging in the Dirt starts with Sam and Faye sitting outside their office houseboat on a hot August day. They are looking towards Cardiff Bay, known in the Victorian era and throughout the twentieth century as Tiger Bay. Much of the land around Tiger Bay was owned by John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute (pictured). In the late Victorian era John Crichton-Stuart was regarded as the richest man in the world. That wealth came from exploiting the great mineral wealth of the South Wales Valleys and exporting it via Cardiff Docks. Through their business acumen and philanthropy the Butes are rightly regarded as the founding fathers of modern Cardiff.

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Ann’s War is a mystery series set against the social history backdrop of the Second World War. Ann Morgan, the reluctant detective in the series, is fictitious. However, she is loosely based on real women of the period. For example, in the 1940s Melodie Walsh established herself as a private detective. Melodie Walsh’s father was a close friend of G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. Initially, Melodie worked as an actress – along with modelling, a middle-class career path for young women in the 1930s – before establishing her agency. Her bread and butter tasks included divorces and writ-serving, although glamorous assignments also presented themselves – on one occasion, Melodie went undercover as a model to foil a series of fur thefts. With her father’s social connections, Melodie was in demand, hired by people who wished to gain information while avoiding a scandal. In the 1940s, private detective work was still predominantly a male profession. However, through the likes of Melodie Walsh women were beginning to assert themselves.

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Betrayal, the first story in Ann’s War, starts on Friday, 24th March 1944. On that night this remarkable event occurred. Twenty-one-year-old Flight Sergeant Nicholas Stephen Alkemade survived – without a parachute – a fall of 18,000 feet when his Avro Lancaster aircraft was shot down over Schmallenberg (pictured). Alkemade’s fall was broken by pine trees and soft snow. Despite the fall of 18,000 feet he only suffered a sprained leg.
The Gestapo captured Alkemade and interviewed him. Initially, they refused to believe his story. However, after examining the remains of the Lancaster they realized that he was telling the truth.
Alkemade spent the rest of the war as a celebrated prisoner of war. He was repatriated in May 1945.

 

Sam’s Sunday Supplement #12

Welcome to Sam’s Sunday Supplement #12, a weekly digest of news from Sam’s world.

Mind Games has been uploaded to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo and Smashwords. Book eleven in the Sam Smith Mystery Series, Mind Games is available as an eBook for $0.99/£0.99/€0.99 and for £2.99 in print. Many thanks to everyone who has pre-ordered a copy; your support is greatly appreciated Amazon Link

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In Digging in the Dirt, a story about archaeologists, Sam ventures into a cave. One of the most remarkable archaeological discoveries in Wales was unearthed in a cave, Goat’s Hole Cave, on the Gower Peninsula. In January 1823 the Rev. William Buckland found The Red Lady of Paviland (pictured). Buckland identified the remains as female. However, later analysis established that the bones belonged to a man who lived in Britain 33,000 years ago. The skeleton, dyed in red ochre, represents the oldest known ceremonial burial in Western Europe.

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Great news…Suzan Lynn Lorraine, narrator of my Sam Smith Mystery Series, is very keen to narrate Ann’s War as well. So we are aiming to publish the Ann’s War stories in print, as eBooks and audio books 😃

World War Two. England. 1938. The family at home, tuning in to hear the news on the radio news. They have gas masks at the ready.

The Third Man is arguably the finest British film ever made. Orson Welles dominates the film even though he only appears in ten percent of the running time. You can read more about that in my article on this cinema classic The Third Man

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From the Illustrated Police News, 8 February 1896, Saucy Burglar Robs Amorous Honeymoon Couple! Read all about it!

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Sam’s Sunday Supplement #10

Welcome to Sam’s Sunday Supplement #10, a weekly digest of news from Sam’s world.

Mind Games has been edited and proofread, and the manuscript will be uploaded to Amazon next week. The book is currently available for pre-order and will be published on the 3rd June 2017. A print version will also be made available. All my books are in print and available at discount prices through the Goylake Publishing link on the Amazon product pages.

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I have been having fun this week casting actors and accesses from the 1940s in roles for my 1944-5 mini-series. So far, I have found parts for Gene Tierney (pictured), Joseph Cotton, Dana Andrews, Judith Anderson, Mary Astor, Vincent Price, Trevor Howard and Clifton Webb 😃

One of the chapters in Digging in the Dirt is set in Victoria Park, Cardiff (pictured). As the name suggests, the park was named after Queen Victoria and was created to celebrate her sixty years on the throne. The park also contains a sculpture of Billy the Seal who lived from 1912 to 1939 in what is now the paddling pool. Apparently, Billy got tangled in a trawler’s net and was rescued at Cardiff Docks. Billy was popular with the locals and they were saddened when he died in 1939. However, upon Billy’s death it was discovered that he was a she, and maybe should have been called Billie.

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There are several Second World War strands to Digging in the Dirt. One of those strands is loosely based on the life of Marie-Madeleine Fourcade a remarkable woman who in her early thirties became head of the French underground intelligence network, “The Alliance”. The Alliance’s assignment was to gather information about German troop and naval movements and logistics inside France, and transmit this intelligence to Britain, using a network of clandestine radio transmitters and couriers. It was extremely dangerous work. Many of Fourcade’s closest associates were captured, tortured and killed by the Gestapo. Some, however, escaped, including Fourcade herself, on two occasions. On the first occasion, 10th November 1942, she was arrested with her staff, but escaped to London. After returning to France she was captured a second time. Her second escape was more harrowing: in the small hours of the morning, she forced her petite body between the bars of a cell window. At the conclusion of the war, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was decorated for her outstanding contribution in the fight against fascism.

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In general, I tend to prefer books to movies. However, with the Maltese Falcon I prefer the movie to the book. One of the finest detective films ever made.

Porthcawl

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Porthcawl, a seaside town 25 miles west of Cardiff, has featured in Ripper, Family Honour and Sins of the Father. This poster, issued by a railway company to entice people from the valleys to travel to the seaside, c1930, shows the promenade at Porthcawl. There have been changes to the town over the past 90 years, but this view remains basically the same.