Archive for November, 2012

What do you think?

Designed (once again) by the amazing Jeroen ten Berge. I couldn’t be happier with it. In this case, at least, hopefully you CAN judge a book by it’s cover.





Posted: November 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Remorse of Orestes

First things first. My second novel, FURIES, comes out on December 1st.

FURIES has been a labour of love for me. Well, mostly love. It started over a luncheon discussion with my agent a few years ago as she was working on selling CHALK VALLEY. She raised the inevitable question ‘What’s next?’. I had a few ideas, of course. While CHALK VALLEY was clearly contemporary, I wanted to try something a little different. I’d always been a big classics buff and thought it would be interesting to set a thriller in ancient Athens. I was especially interested in tying in murder investigation with elements of philisophical inquiry and classic mythology. My agent loved the idea but suggested I set it in Alexandria instead. Now that was an interesting idea, I thought. Alexandria was a fascinating city in ancient times – as metropolitan and as crowded as modern Manhattan, founded by Alexander the Great, ruled by the Ptolemies right up to Cleopatra before it was conquered by the Romans. It was a mix of incredibly rich cultures, a huge, robust marketplace and was at one point the pinnacle of academia. The Library. The Lighthouse. The Museion. I’m in!

Of course, I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into. The research I had to do to meet my OCD standards of veracity was unbelieveable. Alexandria may be well known in concept, but its details were rather poorly described by ancient historians. Unlike Athens or Rome, most of the physical city was either destroyed over the milennnia by earthquakes and what remained either lay beneath the modern city or under the sea. Many details are only recently being uncovered by archaeologists. The thing was, there were details out there in the research books, just not all in one place. So yes, it was a bit of a challenge. But I tend to like challenges. So I did my best to rebuild a lost world, and then to tell a story within it. Set in 36 CE, FURIES focuses on a Roman businessman named Decimus TarquitiusAculeo who, after being ruined in the wake of a investment scheme gone bad, becomes entangled in a case of murder and corruption.

I’m really looking forward to getting FURIES out there in a few weeks. When I published CHALK VALLEY, I didn’t expect how much damned fun I’d have being an indie-writer. All I saw going into it then was the work I’d have to do. Do a cover. Edit the book. Get it formatted. What price should I put it at? How do I market it? I’m a sales and marketing suit in one of the biggest corporations in the world in my day job – why would I want to do this for my writing too? Writing’s supposed to be for fun – a break. Not work. Yes, I whined like a baby about it.

In reality it’s been an absolute blast. I loved getting the cover created – it helped that my cover designer Jeroen ten Berge is not only the best in the business but also a great guy to work with. My formatter, Linda Boulanger at Treasure Line, has been absolutely amazing to work with and became a very dear, trusted friend. My editor is my lovely sister-in-law, Karen Gold, who took it upon herself to edit it when she saw all the typo’s in the first draft I published. Oops. Thankfully she enjoys pointing out other people’s mistakes – and she’s really, really good at it. My friends who reviewed it for me prior to publishing – I can’t thank them enough not only for their support but also for their encouragement.

My mentors, other authors who have broken the trail ahead of me (Robert Bidinotto, Theresa Ragan, D.B.Henson, Andrew E. Kaufman, Jenny Hilborn to name just a few), have been unbelieveably supportive, giving all sorts of advice, even reading it and tweeting about it. Keep in mind that I have never actually met any of these people (other than my sister-in-law of course) – I’ve never even actually talked to them, it’s all been via email, but that’s the nature of communications and networking these days I suppose.

The book bloggers have been amazing to work with as well – I’ve posted about them before, but they are a rare and wonderful creature and I’m thankful for their support. The biggest surprise of all, however, has been my readers. The letters I’ve received, how they connected with the story, the characters, how they want more. It’s a cool way to start the day with fan letters from complete strangers – I recommend it. In fact, there’s probably a business idea in there somewhere.

So that’s it for now. Mark December 1st on your calendars! And wish me luck.