Games in Fiction

April 5, 2019

I have played games throughout my life.  I think that this is the same for most people.  I have also followed many sports which is true for many people but not all.  Nowadays there is too much money invested in some sports but those sports where it is invested are very selective.

A great deal of invested money is derived from gambling but those that invest do so to make money and are not interested in sport.  Some sports have become so money orientated that winning is the be all and end all.  I used to follow rugby football but I do not now.  The players are so big and bulky that the small fast players I liked to watch in the 1960s and 1970s are no longer evident.  There seem to be more injuries these days because as they crash into each other more players are hurt.  There was a time when sport was an enjoyable social pastime but sadly this does not seem as apparent as it used to be.  But despite this the elements within it still make good story telling.

Whether the game you indulge in is sedentary (Board games, video and computer games) or physically active (football, athletics etc.) the intrinsic element of competiveness is stimulating.  I included some of these elements in my novel, Gifford’s Games, written under the penname Jack Lindsey and hope that I have produced a narrative that is enjoyable to read.

 

Keith Jahans

The ebook is available at http://amazon.com/dp/B00K2ACUOW and
the paperback via http://peatmore.com/giffordsgames.htm

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Putting emotion into Fiction

March 11, 2019

A good way to grab readers’ attention is to tap into their emotions.  One way is to include humour in a narrative, even if you do not set out to write a funny story.  I have written two humorous novels under the penname, Jack Lindsey and hope those that read them found them entertaining.

I have also written two thrillers under the pennames of Luke Johnson and Keith Jahans (my real name).  By using these names I could distinguish between my comic writing and these last two novels.  But there was a great temptation to insert a little humour into even these, which I did sparingly as I think, in the instances where I used it, it served to flesh out some of the characters and to relieve tension to give the reader a chance to draw breath.  This device is used by some truly great writers and arguably the greatest writer of all, Shakespeare, used humour in his tragedies (The grave diggers in Hamlet and the porter in Macbeth).

Making a reader cry is the hardest emotion to evoke.  I have experienced this when watching movies directed by expert storytellers.  I was moved to tears by the impending possible death of Spielberg’s character ET who was not and did not even look human and did not in the end die.  But I have rarely experienced this emotion when reading novels.  But perhaps this is just me.

A few of my readers have contacted me to say that they were upset about the death of two characters in my first novel, Cogrill’s Mill.  But I think this may be because they thought that I had wasted further comic potential of characters they had grown to identify with rather than morning their loss.  This was a surprise in what I had planned to be a comedy and not a tragedy.  But I suppose this only serves to show that a writer can forget that comedy often turns out to be tragic.

Keith Jahans


Genera/categories

February 27, 2019

Deciding on which genre or category your book fits into can be a difficult decision for any author.  Of course the easiest way is to decide this before beginning writing but it is not always that easy as the book evolves during its creation.  Yet this decision is important for anyone who is serious about its marketing as it is the means by which any bookseller, librarian or online marketer places it on their shelves.

The largest online seller is Amazon and, if you use this outlet, it will place a book into one of its categories if you decide not to do this yourself when completing its online submission form and sometimes it can get this wrong.  The best way to seek this out yourself is to search for a book which is similar in subject matter, style and tone to your own and look at the category Amazon fits it into or how other booksellers and libraries place it in their catalogues.  Concentrate on those which top the best seller lists and try to identify the key words used in searches.

This method is not necessary foolproof as I have found that sometimes Amazon alters the categories even after you have listed them using its KDP direct website.  It may have even found a better slot than you first envisaged so make sure you keep this under review.  Amazon allows authors/publishers a chance to choose two categories for its KDP publications so it is better to slot your book into two different subgenres to help prospective readers find it (see example below).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This comedy thriller ebook is available at
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K2ACUOW.
The paperback can be found via
http://peatmore.com/giffordsgames.htm

Keith Jahans


Book Review – 200 Free Tools to Save Time on Social Media Management by Anita Nipane

December 22, 2018

Serious authors need to keep in touch with potential or actual readers through social media.  Not only does this serve to promote their work but it helps in developing a strong fan base.  This handbook is an outstanding guide.  It contains a huge selection of aids to help the busy writer in maintaining most major social media platforms.  There is a massive amount of information here so, just as writers need to be selective in their choice of platforms, they should also be selective with the tools they use to manage them.

The number of social media platforms online is constantly changing.  New ones are arising and some old ones are disappearing.  As a rule of thumb writers should choose those platforms where they know their readers are and only use the tools they find easiest to use.  Anita Nipane provides a wide range to choose from and in doing this has produced a book which serves as an excellent tool in its own right.  Used correctly, it can save time and energy by allowing the busy wordsmith to get on with doing what he or she wants to do most which is to write.

Keith Jahans

Available in the Kindle store as an ebook in Mobi format


The Christmas Pudding

December 19, 2018

It was Christmas Day.

     “That was a strange pudding,” said Claire.

     “I made it,” said Marcus.

     “What was in it?”

     “Plums.”

Claire fled to the bathroom.  After a long wait, Marcus tapped on the door.

     “I’m alright” called Claire.  “I’ve done a test.  We’re having a baby!”

 

©Keith Jahans

www.peatmore.com

 


Villains in Fiction

November 30, 2018

Just as every book needs a good hero, the same book needs an even better villain.  Good heroes linger in the memory long after the story has finished, but what makes them memorable are the actions of the villain and I give and example of those encountered by one hero below.

James Bond is probably the best known thriller hero but what makes him so good is his confrontation with a really nasty villain and he comes up against some very unpleasant ones.  Most come across as deluded madmen who seek to dominate or destroy all that is good in the world.  But my favourite is one of the most unexpected, an evil woman called Rosa Klebb, who appears in the novel and later movie “From Russia With Love, and trys to kill Bond with a poisoned blade in the toe of her shoe.

I try to portray the villains in my books in the same vein.  In the novel “Magic Bullets”, a few characters appear to the hero as people who have harmed him or hindered his progress in some way but turn out to be “good guys”.  The real villain starts out as being entirely opposite but towards the end of the novel turns out to be entirely despicable.  In this way I hope the various twists in the story serve to keep the reader on his or her toes.

Keith Jahans

http://peatmore.com/magicbullets.htm


Book Excerpt – Victim of Compromise by Luke Johnson

November 27, 2018

The naked body of a young woman lay face down on the double bed like a discarded doll, a towelling cord wrapped tightly around her neck.

            “Dressing gown cord,” explained Donovan.  “The ‘otel supplies gowns for their guests.  The room’s been checked and photographed.  Mr Wallace said everything should be left as it was found till you arrived.  The doctor’s been and gone, and Forensic are waiting to move in when you’ve finished.”

            Ray had no idea why he had been summoned.  He had only received news of his promotion a month ago and was due to take up his new post in the Serious Crime Squad in two weeks.  The previous night he’d been out with the lads from the Flying Squad celebrating his promotion.  The evening had started well, then some bastard had put something in his drink.  Now his head was pounding and his tongue felt like an old dish-rag.  He had no track record of leading a murder inquiry.  However, investigating a suspicious death was part and parcel of police work, and he’d seen far too many corpses in his career – more than he cared to remember.  At least this one was relatively fresh and thankfully there was no blood.

            “When was she found?” he asked

            “About nine o’clock this morning, by the cleaning maid.”

            Ray looked at his watch.  It was one p.m.  He bent over the body, hoping he gave the impression he was an expert.  The girl was a brunette with short straight hair, cut in a bob, and may have once been pretty, but the blue and swollen face had changed all that.  He checked her fingers.  There was a silver ring containing a semi-precious stone on the right hand.  Her left hand showed no sign of jewellery, past or present.

            “Has her next of kin been informed?” he asked.

            “Yes, sir.”

            “Was she married?”

            “I don’t think she was.  We’re checking ‘er background – boyfriends etcetera.  The room was registered in the name of Mr and Mrs Roberts.  The receptionist says the register was signed by a man who was probably in ‘is forties.  She thinks she recognised him from somewhere but can’t think where.”

            Ray straightened up, glad that the examination was over and he had not felt sick.  He surveyed the scene.  A pile of clothing lay in an untidy heap on the floor.  His eyes registered a smart-looking black dress, black tights, black bra and pink panties.  He knew better than to touch anything.  They were in a double bedroom, expensively furnished with oak panelling, matching furniture and a marble en-suite bathroom.  In the bathroom, the towels were neatly folded and it looked unused.  The weather outside was hot, the hottest spring ever recorded, but both rooms were cold and he found himself shivering.

            Donovan noticed.  “I turned the air-conditioning up.  The doc suggested it – we didn’t know when you’d get ‘ere.”

            Ray nodded, relieved that it wasn’t the proximity of death that chilled the air.  He spoke quickly to maintain his air of professionalism. “Okay, tell me what you know.”

            Donovan opened his pocket book.  “The victim, as yet not formerly identified, is thought to be Mary Rayner, a twenty-two-year-old white female – up until the end of December, last year, she was a Detective Constable here at Wellstone.”

http://amazon.com/dp/B005HFLB4C