Tag Archives: Jon Graham

Missing Cats, and Best Sellers

comfortable-catHere I am. Me. Fallible. Ready to disappoint. It’s Friday February 5, 2016 (can you believe time has flown so quickly?) and I have decided that my YA novel, which is in the second draft stage is just toooo darn boring. Well, okay, I realize it’s just me saying that, but it is now on my proverbial shelf, being thought about but not worked on. I think of that shelf as the back burner of my stove, the one with the various degrees of “simmer” which may mean that spaghetti sauce could sit there all day getting better by the minute. Thing is I need to put conflict on every page as my friend Roger Paulding always says in critique group. He is so correct. Conflict on every page moves the reader to turn the pages. If there is no conflict the reader is just going to fall asleep. My YA has no conflict in it, or at least not enough to keep every reader involved. So say goodbye to the YA novel I’ve been working on for two years, and say HELLO to a new murder mystery set in London with Jon Graham as the hero. It’s true. I think it’s going to be a winner. And I don’t mean that in a Donald way. I mean, if you liked Deadly Thyme I think you might like the one I am now writing set just before Jon Graham goes to Cornwall.

But back to being a winner. You see, Deadly Thyme is a winner. I say that because for all of three nano-seconds in January, I was a true BEST-seller. I was #1 in mystery, thriller, detective series and in several other categories. I was so thrilled I think I couldn’t see straight. Yes, I may have actually made a bit of money there. And if the world’s idea of success is making money, then I won in the world’s opinion of best-selling author. Plus, I paid a few bills, or at least I will when the royalties hit the bank sometime in the next four weeks.

Most people don’t realize, and when I say most people I include myself here, because I never thought about what kind of money authors made before trying to become an author. I just figured authors made a lot of money. Best-seller doesn’t always translate into what you and I would consider rich. Last year I went in the hole only $665.00. That’s pretty fantastic! The year before my debt was over $3,000. That’s what I spent getting my books out in front of you versus what I made selling said books. But this whole book idea/plan needs further expose. Let me break it down for you in a super simplified way because I am a super simplified-thinking person. I put Deadly Thyme on sale for .99 for the month of January 2016. Bookbub, bless their hearts, accepted me into their daily deal campaign. I sold three thousand Deadly Thyme ebooks on Kindle alone in one day. For the month of January, between all the various e-book outlets I sold over 6 thousand ebooks at .99. On Kindle I made 35% of that .99. Amazon made the rest. I am not complaining. A penny is still a penny to me, as old-fashioned as that sounds, and 29 cents is still a lot times three thousand. Compare that to what happens when a traditionally published big-name author sells their e-book for $14.99 on Amazon. Check this out! The publisher makes 15%, the author’s agent makes 15%, and because it isn’t in the price range of 2.99 to 9.99 with Amazon (that’s the 70% profit range) the profit is only registering at 35%, Amazon is making the rest. The author is taking home 35% of that $14.99, less 15% less 15%. Oh bother, as Winnie-the-Pooh would say.

Deadly Haste. There, I’ve said the title of my new effort. I even found the most gorgeous Byron quote for it. “Now hatred is by far the longest pleasure; men love in haste, but they detest at leisure.” So apropos. Don’t be mad. I love really cool classical quotes. Morris would be pleased. My setting is Harrow a northwest borough of London. And there are missing cats involved here.

Full disclosure. This is a preliminary draft and I realize that as time goes by what I love won’t always get to “stick” because, though I love it, the “thing” no matter what it is doesn’t always move the plot forward. I am all about story. I want you, my precious readers, to enjoy my story. If my little beloved “thing” — like missing cats, doesn’t move the story forward it’s going to be kicked outside into the snow.

I know, it makes me sad, too.

So this is the news from my end. I hope you all are enjoying a little quiet and comfort wherever you are. Stay warm. It is cold out there.

An Interview with John Graham prior to his journey to Cornwall and Deadly Thyme

Interviewer (Michelle Smith-Greene) – I’m having a recorded conversation while taking notes as to his expression with Jon (no ‘H’) Graham, born in Bristol, he says, and now living in London. So Jon, tell me about yourself.

Jon – This is great. But why me?

M – We want to put a face to the job of policing, add a human element. So, tell me.

Jon – What is there to tell? What you see is what you get.

M – What do I see? My radio listeners want to know.

Jon – That’s easy. A thirty-two year old man with a nose that overtakes the rest of his face. He has good enough eyes (oh! – green). He has unruly brown hair, a day’s growth of beard -not his fault – forgot his shaver- and a propensity to slouch when thinking about something. Yes, and he has a true fear of failure in anything he attempts.

M – That’s interesting. First of all, I would not have said that your nose was large. And your hair has a wave to it with some blond streaks. Did you add those?

Jon – Not blond, I’m afraid, more like gray. Job stress, that’s why I took up surfing.

M – One doesn’t normally think of England as being a surfing hot-spot.

Jon – That’s where you’d be wrong. There are good waves if there’s any breeze at all.

M- It’s cold isn’t it?

Jon – Freezing. I have a wet suit.

M – How often do you surf?

Jon – I surf on my days off, two days a week. Year-round. If I catch three good waves, I’m happy. Besides, any more than that and I couldn’t feel my feet.

M – where did you learn to surf?

Jon – On holiday in Cornwall with my girlfriend. She was good at it. Much better than I’ll ever be. I’m a bit clumsy.

M – Was?

Jon – Excuse me?

M – You said your girlfriend was good at it?

Jon – That’s all due to the fact my girlfriend is presently past tense.

M – Ur . . . About your job.

Jon – Detective Sergeant with the London Met.

M – Sounds impressive. (Psst, to my listeners. This man is a total knock-out. I’m overwhelmed.) What is it you do exactly?

Jon – I work in the internal fraud division. We investigate crimes within the police department, those which are of a serious nature.

M – What does ‘of a serious nature’ mean?

Jon – Smuggling, drugs, you name it.

M – Murder?

Jon – Not since I’ve been in the department.

M – I’ve heard that your department is not the most well-liked department among other police.

Jon – They think we’re out to get them.

M – Are you?

Jon – Not unless they are doing something they shouldn’t.

M – You mention fear of failure. What does fear of failure mean to you?

Jon (shrugs) – I don’t like to be wrong.

M – Explain with an example.

Jon – I like to see a project through both at home or at work. I like it to be right, tied up, no loose ends. You get the picture?

M – You’re a perfectionist?

Jon – I’m too much of a slob. But yeah, maybe at the office. My desk is neat. But at home, nothing neat there. And it’s more . . . it’s just I hate to lose.

M – Competitive?

Jon – I am striving for a personal best at everything.

M – Sports?

Jon – Rock climbing. Surfing is a sport.

M – Be serious. (he gives me a searching look, lovely eyes.)

Jon – I am being serious. Hey! What are you saying, Michelle? Okay, I do like cricket but I’m no good at it. I love football. I used to play in a policeman’s league.

M – Why ‘used to?’

Jon – I joined Fraud and suddenly my “mates” were out to kill me. Besides, I discovered rock climbing, and surfing. Once you’ve surfed, there’s nothing else. I’ve even been tempted to chuck the job and pursue surfing full-time.

M – And why haven’t you?

Jon – The money, of course. It’s not just me I worry about.

M – Married? Children?

Jon – No and no. I help my mother out. My sister and I share care of her. But she also has Mrs. Fleet.

M  – Your mother? Is she old? Who is Mrs. Fleet?

Jon – She’s part of the family. A carer. My mother is a young fifty-five. But she’s in a wheelchair, car accident. A bad one. My father died. She’s very energetic and she paints. Acrylics. Her paintings are beginning to sell at a gallery close to her home.

M – I’m sorry. That’s so tragic.  Do you live with your mother?

Jon – No. But we aren’t far from each other. She actually lives with my sister when she’s in town.

M – Where do you live? Nice home?

Jon – On a policeman’s salary? Joking, right? My flat. It’s okay, very small. My bedroom is my living room is my kitchen, more of a bedsit really. A horrible mess at the moment. Hey – you’re taking notes? Don’t let me mum see.

M – So you see your mother when you aren’t working or surfing.

Jon – Three times a week, when I’m in London.

M – Your job is flexible then?

Jon  – No. The hours I put in are more regular hours. I used to be in Murders. My hours were never regular then. Never knew how much I’d be working on any given day. I think of the difference as what an emergency room doctor’s job is as compared to a dermatologist’s job. I’m the dermatologist of policemen.

M – What kind of crimes are you handling at the present time?

Jon – There’s a case come up in Cornwall. I’m going down there – today actually.

M – For how long?

Jon – Just a few days.

M – Then you already know what your errant police officer has done?

Jon – this is off the record right?

M – Yes.

Jon – It isn’t completely clear, that’s why I’m going down there. To wrap up the on-going investigation. Say, you won’t be putting this out yet, right? I mean, you’ll be holding it until I come back, right?

M – I said I would. But it does sound rather juicy. I could stand the ratings boost.

Jon – Would you like to go out sometime?

M – After the interview, lunch?

Jon – Sure. When I get back from Cornwall? Casual. We could discuss when you’ll air this then.

M – I’m up for a deeper discussion, yes.

Jon – Mmmm?

M – You’re a bit of a scoundrel. (Folks, he has such a smile, it would melt rocks.)

Jon – Putting a face to policing then?

M – the photos you’ve given me so far have done nothing for you.

Jon – How’s this one then? It’s me and my sister. She’s the good-looking one.

Happy joyful couple taking pictures with digital camera isolated on white background