Monday, 1 October 2018

Monthly Post: October 2018
Publishing – is there any future in it?

The Bridge of Dead Things (The Involuntary Medium, #1)The Bridge of Dead Things (The Involuntary Medium, #1) by Michael Gallagher
Current average rating: 4.12 of 5 stars

I started this series of posts by reflecting on the current state of publishing. We are mired in a marketplace that is grossly oversaturated, and—given humankind’s desire to express itself, combined with tools that make it ever easier to do just that—we are probably going to remain that way for some years to come. Along with the other two million authors to publish this year, you’ll be struggling to get your book noticed at all. In such circumstances you are unlikely to have a best-selling title on your hands without a huge amount of luck, a huge amount of help, and massive support for you on social media. But then there’s that nagging voice at the back of your head always whispering, “But it might just happen, mightn’t it?” Read on…

This month’s giveaway is a free download of The Bridge of Dead Things. A working-class Victorian girl discovers she has a unique if unwanted power and is soon drawn into a world of seances, ghost grabbers…and murderers. Offer ends on October 31st 2018.

“A fantastically detailed historical fiction novel ~ rich with period details, colorful characters, AND a very gripping ghostly tale. Read this book, you will not be disappointed.”—Paula Fetty-King Smashwords Reviewer (5 stars)

Happy investigating!
Michael

Find me on my website Michael Gallagher Writes, on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter @seventh7rainbow

Thursday, 27 September 2018

The Mangle Street Murders

The Mangle Street Murders (The Gower Street Detective, #1)The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C. Kasasian
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s the London of 1882. When Mrs Dillinger approaches Mr Sidney Grice—Britain’s foremost personal detective—with a plea that he exonerate her son-in-law, an ironmonger accused of murdering her daughter, he refuses outright. It is only when Miss March Middleton—his new ward who has only recently arrived in the metropolis—agrees to pay for his services that he accepts…with disastrous results for everyone concerned.

This wonderful, fast-paced Penny Dreadful is the first in a deservedly well-loved series, one that I came to when by chance I happened to pick up one of the later books, and it was a pleasure to meet all the regular characters again, this time on their very first outing.

So what can you expect? Well, there are a number of grisly murders, with the murder scenes described in gory, vivid detail. There’s a generous dollop of humour, most of it black. There’s a fair amount of indignation at the position of women in Victorian society. There are plenty of twists. And there is an excellent narrative voice in the form of March Middleton, a very modern young woman, who provides the perfect counterfoil to her cantankerous guardian. I can honestly say it was right up my street.

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Friday, 31 August 2018

Monthly Post: September 2018
The shocking truth about SEO…it’s so easy!

Big Bona Ogles, Boy! (Send for Octavius Guy, #3)Big Bona Ogles, Boy! (Send for Octavius Guy, #3) by Michael Gallagher
Current average rating: 4.73 of 5 stars

Hello newly published author! If you (like I do) have a very common name and aren’t famed for anything in particular (either in a good way or a bad way), the chances are if you Google yourself, you’ll have an awful lot of wading to do before you end up finding your listing. Six years ago, I doubt I even could have. I had no digital footprint. Now I only have to wade through nine pages to see me there. Hmmm. Note to self: probably could do better.

What I couldn’t improve on, however, is the ranking for my article about Maria B. Hayden, the Victorian medium who provided the inspiration for Mrs Harmon in Octavius Guy & The Case of the Mendacious Medium. You’ll find it in the number one slot…and on the very first page!—though it does help that there’s no Wikipedia entry, and only 2 million similar results. My article about Florence Cook (inspiration for a very different character of mine) ranks sixth in a search for her, but there are two Wikipedia entries above it and this time a hefty 7.4 million results. As you may have guessed, this month we’re looking at ways to improve your ranking—and therefore your discoverability.

A lot is written about SEO (Search Engine Optimization to make your website—and online presence—search-engine friendly), as it helps to determine your rankings. People even do it as a job. Most of what they say is very techie. It needn’t be. It basically boils down to this: what is it those cute little crawler-bots are looking for? Read on…

This month’s giveaway is a free download of Big Bona Ogles, Boy!: Octavius Guy & The Case of the Mendacious Medium (#3). This time everyone’s favourite Victorian boy detective and his ragtag bunch of friends investigate a shadowy spiritualist medium (as inspired by the good Maria), recently arrived from Massachusetts, only to discover that somebody desperately wants her dead. Offer ends on September 30th 2018.

“In a locked room, everyone is a suspect…Once again Michael Gallagher creates a vivid, almost tangible reality in Victorian England. That, with his rich character development, and engaging plot makes this book incredibly enjoyable and downright fun!”—Devon Lewis (The Pinkaholic) Goodreads Reviewer (5 stars)

Happy investigating!
Michael

Find me on my website, on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter @seventh7rainbow

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Monthly Post: August 2018
Newly published author? Build yourself a brand, part two

Octopus (Send for Octavius Guy, #2)Octopus (Send for Octavius Guy, #2) by Michael Gallagher
Current average rating: 4.20 of 5 stars

Spamming reviewers, book bloggers, and reading groups with offers of free copies of your book in exchange for an honest review wastes both their time and yours, and can seriously damage your reputation. So how, as a newly published author, might you better employ your time?

Offer free or heavily discounted copies of your book with no strings attached (though be aware that a free offer is much more likely to be taken up). By now you should have plenty of sites on which to do this. Try to ensure that the text of your offer makes the genre and style of your book perfectly clear; you’ll have much happier readers if you do. Consider the text of the giveaway at the bottom of this post for example. What can you glean from it? It’s for a well-researched cozy mystery set in Victorian times (so not exactly steampunk), it’s slightly comic, and the detective is a bit of an underdog. Possibly not one for lovers of the police procedural, then. Read on…

This month’s giveaway is a free download of Octopus: Octavius Guy & The Case of the Throttled Tragedienne (#2). When the leading actress dies in mysterious circumstances during a performance of The Duchess of Malfi, Gooseberry feels duty-bound to investigate. It is, after all, a great deal more exciting than the last case he was assigned to: the tracking down of a rich old lady’s errant cat! Offer ends on August 31st 2018, and no, there are no strings attached and no review is required. Phew!

“Historical fact is deftly combined with fiction that makes Octavius’s world a new form of old London that I am eager to visit again. Pour some tea or a wee dram, put your feet up, and enjoy cover to cover.”—Gladread LibraryThing Early Reviewer (5 stars)

Happy investigating!
Michael

Find me on my website Michael Gallagher Writes, on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter @seventh7rainbow

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Monthly Post: July 2018
Newly published author? Build yourself a brand! Part One.

Gooseberry (Send for Octavius Guy, #1)Gooseberry (Send for Octavius Guy, #1) by Michael Gallagher
Current average rating: 4.08 of 5 stars

Unless you want to see your title relegated to the virtual, dusty stacks of some forgotten neural-net byway, you need to devise ways of keeping interest in it and in you alive. Your goal now is to become more discoverable. Some of the things I suggest here you will already have done; others may seem like household chores, but they serve a purpose. They build your brand. Read on…

This month’s giveaway is a free download of Gooseberry: Octavius Guy & The Case of the Thieving Maharajah (#1). Join Gooseberry, the fourteen-year-old Victorian boy detective, as he and his ragtag bunch of friends descend into London’s Victorian demi-monde and underworld to ferret out the truth, while spending as much of his employer’s money as they can along the way! Based on characters from Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone. Offer ends on July 31st 2018.
“When you read a book by Michael Gallagher be prepared for a total immersion—every bit of scene setting, speech, character and historical detail is perfect. I highly recommend this book for fans of The Moonstone who wonder what happened next.”—Chris Keen LibraryThing Early Reviewer (5 stars)

Happy investigating!
Michael

Find me on my website Michael Gallagher Writes, on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter @seventh7rainbow

Monday, 25 June 2018

Resort to Murder

Resort to Murder (Miss Dimont Book 2)Resort to Murder by T.P. Fielden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s the summer of 1959 and we find ourselves in the seaside town of Temple Regis—located on Devon’s self-styled Riviera (complete with the odd palm tree to grace the railway station)—ready to cater to the hundreds of English holidaymakers about to descend upon the coast expecting sun, sea, and beauty pageants. Not everyone is happy about the latter of these entertainments, not least the Sisters of Reason, a proto-feminist group that views everything that has happened since the end of the war as a retrograde step for womankind. Judy Dimont, star reporter for the Riviera Express—the town’s weekly newspaper—should know. During the war she worked high up in Naval Intelligence; now she works for an editor who was once her bumbling underling—an editor who seems keen to keep any mention of the two mystery deaths that occur out of his paper.

T. P. Fielden writes prose that is a delight to read. Couple this with a slightly unusual period setting, a host of excellent characters and just the right amount of love interest, and you have a great cozy mystery on your hands—though I wonder if other readers will be happy with how the love interest turns out. This is the second book in what promises to be an wonderful series, but it can be read perfectly well as a stand-alone.

Many thanks to HarperCollins UK for providing me with a review copy, and apologies that this review is a little bit late.

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Friday, 1 June 2018

Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire

Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire (A Betty Church Mystery Book 1)Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire by M.R.C. Kasasian
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The year is 1939 and, as Britain prepares for coming war, Betty Church prepares to return to her home town of Sackwater in coastal Suffolk to do battle of her own—as a police inspector, no less. How will she, a woman, be received into this traditionally male realm by her fellow officers?

Fans of M. R. C. Kasasian’s Gower Street Detective series (of which I am one) will love his new creation. Not only is Betty Church logical and tough, she is also March Middleton’s godchild—a good thing, too, since she is about to face a most puzzling series of murders, which may or may not have something to do with one of her constables’ past.

The cast of rude mechanicals in Betty’s charge ensures that Mr Kasasian can continue the absurdist comedy for which he is renowned. Be it the corpse she finds that turns out to be only her sleeping sergeant, or Woman Police Constable Dodo Chivers, who takes every statement quite literally, humour abounds. Where Dodo is concerned (like Mr Grice before her in the Gower Street novels), it can send conversations off at increasingly surreal tangents, which can require a careful reading if you’re to get the joke.

Her bumbling colleagues aside though, Betty also has a wealth friends who are quietly but delightfully developed as characters—fixtures, I hope, for many journeys to come. I especially liked Captain Carmelo (her ex-boyfriend’s Maltese father), Jimmy (her ex-boyfriend’s nephew, who considers her to be his aunt), and Dr Tubby Gretham and his wife. There has even been speculation on Twitter that Mr Kasasian himself pops up in the role of Betty’s father, an unpopular dentist who can hardly be civil to his own daughter, let alone to his dwindling number of patients. As for the mystery element, there are some particularly grisly murders, a lot of blood, and an extremely enticing red herring. More than this I dare not say for fear of spoilers.

One of the great pleasures of reading an M. R. C. Kasasian novel is that nothing will be quite as you imagine it should be, whether it’s a character’s name, their appearance, their background, or even their interpersonal relationships—and with Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire, Mr Kasasian takes this to a whole new level. Within the cozy mystery genre his voice is unique. If you delight in meeting a truly new kind of character, you will certainly delight in this. Be warned though; Victorian sensibilities are a thing of the past and the ripeness of some of the language may come as a shock.

If you enjoy comedy like this, you might also enjoy (although they are not Crimes & Thrillers) James Hamilton-Patterson’s Cooking with Fernet Branca, Patrick Dennis’s Auntie Mame (or better still—if you can manage to get your hands on a copy—Little Me), and even perhaps Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall. Fans of the Grinder-Snipe twins will relish in Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey’s Julian and Sandy from the vintage BBC radio series Round the Horne. Varder the big bona lallies on him!

Many thanks to @MRCKASASIAN, Head of Zeus Books @HoZ_Books, #KasasianCrew, and #NetGalley for providing me with a reviewer’s galley proof.

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