Showing posts with label Old Mice Killer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Old Mice Killer. Show all posts

Thursday, 22 October 2020

'Coffee Cup Killer' Launch Delayed

Unfortunately, due to last minute editing adjustments and unexpected printing times, the official launch of novella 2 of the Jake Jones Sleuth-Hound series 'The Coffee Cup Killer' will be pushed back to Monday 26th October. I'm very sorry about this.

But if you haven't already, now is the perfect time to read novella 1 'The Old Mice Killer', which has been updated as a new edition, to get into the zone. You can snap it up as a paperback (£3.99) or ebook (£1.77).

I'm hoping to go live on Facebook on Monday and answer your questions about the new chapter in Jake Jones' adventure, so if you have anything you'd like to ask, please leave them in the comments. 

Thanks, and see you then!

Sunday, 18 October 2020

The Coffee Cup Killer

I’m very happy to announce that my new novella ‘The Coffee Cup Killer’, the next episode in the Jake Jones Sleuth-Hound saga since ‘The Old Mice Killer’(2017), will be published by Raptor Filmz on Friday 23rd October! It will be available as an ebook on Amazon and Kobo (£2.99/$3.99) and a paperback from and myself (£5.99/ $7.75).

Jake Jones is a sleuth-hound in a city full of femme fatales, drug cartels, corrupt cops, dirty politicians and dangerous power-lords. He has a nose for trouble and he follows it always. But what starts out as a simple stalker case spirals into something much worse, as Jake finds himself embroiled in the latest spate of bloody murders to plague the city - those of the Coffee Cup Killer...

Many thanks to everyone who has offered insight, advice and encouragement to help Jake Jones on his journey.

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

The Coffee Cup Killer : Chapter One

For the sheer heck of it, to find out how it sounds and to celebrate finishing the first round of editing, I read out the first chapter of The Coffee Cup Killer, The Second Jake Jones Mystery, on video. Then I added noir jazz music and black and white old film effects. Because why not?

The Coffee Cup Killer A Jake Jones Mystery Prequel to The Old Mice Killer Coming Soon ... © Chris R Young 2020 Music : MrSnooze

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Colorblind - A Book Review

'Colorblind' by Reed Farrel Coleman 
Published by No Exit Press 2019

I just want to start this by saying I'm not criticising - I'm reviewing. As a hardly published author I take my hat off to those who are established 'real' writers, and as ever want to express my condolences to the estate of Robert B Parker and appreciation and gratitude for the great man's work. This blog post is merely for the sake of analysis and writing practice for myself to understand what works and what doesn't, in my own work and others' in the hope of becoming a better writer.

I've just finished reading Robert B Parker's 'Colorblind' written by Reed Farrel Coleman, which is an interesting case because Robert B Parker is one of my all time favourite authors in the person of private detective Spenser, who inspired me to work on my Old Mice Killer series with Jake Jones. I won't lie to you, it was his name in huge letters on the front cover which attracted me to this book in the library, but after Robert B Parker's sad demise in 2010 his characters and worlds threatened to be no more, until his estate passed his baton on to other writers to carry on the flame.

In principle I've been both for and against this in the past. On one hand I think it's great that Parker's characters live on, but on the other hand it seems inauthentic. The cover itself, as with Clive Cussler's recent pair up novels where he works with other authors, is designed to - as with me - lure in readers using Parker's name in huge font at the top, and the real author's name (who I confess I'd never heard of until now) in small letters at the bottom. It seems like false advertising on one level. But from a publishing standpoint I understand they have books to sell, and from the estate's standpoint they want to honour the great writer's memory.

Even before, I hadn't read much of the Jesse Stone series, but I was that much a fan of Parker's strong male lead characters, sense of humour and turn of phrase that I thought I'd give it a bash. So it was with a dip of disappointment when I realised it wasn't actually he who had written the story. Nevertheless, I started the novel (283 pages), and sure enough I could see signs of Parker's handiwork in the strong male lead with steel will and moral fibre, who took it upon himself to shelter the weak and lost, but not much humour. I don't know if the original Jesse Stone had much of a sense of humour in the past, but perhaps it was due to being a recovering (bereaving?) alcoholic at this stage in his life maybe there was less to be cheerful about. I don't know. I'll have to dig further back to find out.

The story is definitely a slow burner - or perhaps I should say, has a long fuse. Well written, with an involving mix of characters all with their own issues and directions. But Jesse doesn't seem to do much but keep his ears open and stay off the drink (although myself trying to abstain from various addictions over the years I know how hard this can be) for most of the book. And then all of a sudden – Boom – on page 261 (the 92% mark) all of the groundwork that Reed Farrel Coleman has built pays off and blows the top of your head off. And you're left thinking, Holy sh-cow, how did he do that? The rug has been pulled out from under you and you're flying slow motion in mid air with the book in one hand, a cup of early morning tea in the other and lines of amazement creasing your forehead, thinking, what the hell?

Anyway. The book was a rewarding read. If you're familiar with the characters from earlier novels (which I wasn't, so perhaps that was why a lot of them were hard to remember 2D names for me – hooks with nothing to hang on) then I think Reed Farrel Coleman does an admirable (and brave) job of carrying the torch, as after all Robert B Parker is a hard act to follow and a writer worth devoting some study and time to.

I'm going to give this book four stars out of five. I think it's a solid work that delivers on all promises. Coleman does an admiral job - one that I certainly couldn't do and would immediately shy away from. But I still feel cheated by the cover. I know we shouldn't judge books by their covers, but we do. Anyone who's tried to self publish knows a book's cover is important. You get one chance to make a visual impression, and your cover is it. I think the climax is rewarding enough to make all the waiting around worth it, but the waiting around is another reason why it's 4 stars and not 5. As I said, I know staying off the one thing you want in all the world is hard going, and Coleman captures that well, but the first 90% of the book needs more rewards, more meat. More character development. More Easter eggs. More humour. More flashes of the old Robert B Parker. It was nice to see Vinnie Morris pop up again, but that wasn't enough. Personally I would have appreciated about 50 pages' worth of Robert B Parkerisms sprinkled throughout the book. Food, humour, romance, geography, history, baseball trivia (Al Dente). You know what I mean? That kind of stuff. It's great when the bus finally comes, but it helps to have someone interesting to share the bus stop until that happens. That said, I was inspired to stand and write a long and involving blog post about this novel in my pyjamas five minutes after the last page, which doesn't happen often, so something's clicked.

This is how, in my mind, the cover should have looked, and would probably fit in with the high moral standard of Robert B Parker's lead characters.

Reed Farrel Coleman
The New Jesse Stone Mystery


Based on The Characters and World
Created by Robert B Parker

Have a look at Robert B Parker's Wikipedia page. I thoroughly recommend investing time, money and effort reading his original works and I intend to go back and fill in the holes as soon as possible. Reed Farrel Coleman's pretty good too and I think I'll pick up more of his work in the future also.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

A Nice Message

Just received this nice message from author L. D. Wallace:

"I've just finished  'The Old Mice Killer' and all I can say is WOW! 
I loved it. Fab fun. Awesome. It's brilliantly quirky and excellently written. It's a mega hit! Highly addictive and I can't wait to read the next one."

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The Coffee Cup Killer Begins

This morning (safely back in Scotland) I finally broke ground on the next part of the Jake Jones detective series. As I mentioned before, it's going to be a prequel, because I think The Old Mice Killer would be better as a climax than a hard act to follow. 

To contrast with the November chill of the first one, The Coffee Cup Killer will take place in the heat of the summer months, and will be salt and peppered with connections to the OM Killer. Jake's parents are gone, he still has his pot plants and he still sits with his feet up on the desk while reading the newspaper waiting for mystery and intrigue to knock on his door. Innocent victims are disappearing, but whether they are due to the OM Killer or something else ... who knows? You'll have to buy the book to find out :)

I'm trying to keep the flow going after the writing accomplished over the holiday, but without much special to write I'm forced to focus on fiction, which is the main goal anyway.

The reasons I tried to write every day about our trip to Japan are threefold. First, I have such a terrible memory now (as I'm sure you'll have noticed) that I feel it's a shame not to record such a trip for posterity. Second, to practise writing and try to get some kind of handle on this thing; some kind of understanding or insight into my own writing - the good and the bad - perhaps even find my own style or voice. Third, to practice self publishing. After all, isn't that what writing a blog is? You put ads on your blog pages, you write something that you hope people will find engaging and come back to for more, and with luck someone clicks on an ad and you (rather than Facebook or Twitter) make a little something from it. Also, daily stats might be a good indicator as to whether what you're writing is actually readable or not. Is it consistent, and if so, consistently good or consistently bad? 

Imagine if you will, a farmer who discovers his horse poops diamonds. He is understandably overjoyed and looks forward to becoming rich and never having to work the fields again. Unfortunately the diamonds are very small, and he has to sift through the manure on his hands and knees wearing a jeweller's eye loupe all the time. He has a bad back, the manure smells, the light is dim at dawn when we all know horses are more likely to poop diamonds, and he would much rather be working the fields or even sitting in his armchair reading a good book.

Word for the day
That's what I think my writing is like. Tiny diamonds in large piles of horse manure. The trick must be to make the diamonds bigger, or at least produce more of them, and reduce the manure as much as possible. Then, and only then, will the farmer become a rich man.

Let's accept then two rules of writing.

1. Include more diamonds.
2. Cut out more manure.

Hey at least manure is good for growing things.

It's hard work to read a blog everyday. If what I write does not hold any recurring value then there's only one person to blame, and that's myself. I completely understand that. That's why I'm doing it. Feedback loop. Writing: Response. There should be something for the readers to gain to make them want to come back - that's what I'm trying to drum into my own thick head.

It's like karaoke - you've got good singers, bad singers, and people in the bar just trying to get on with their evening. The drinkers suffer the bad singers because they understand that it's only going to be the length of a song and they empathise with the singer and know that to them, singing is nice. But if they're honest they would rather listen to a good singer, because there's something in it for them, be it a pleasant feeling, a memory of better times, music and tone and rhythm combining to conduct the kind of magic that only music mysteriously can.

© Chris Young 2018

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

The 23 To Neptune

Well, a huge thank you must go to the nice people of the West Lothian Writers Group who purchased all five of my copies of the first edition of The Old Mice Killer last night! I didn't expect to be sold out and am looking forward to ordering some more to bring along next time.

Also very chuffed to find out the proposed name for the WLW anthology this year will have something to do with Multiversality, as one of the stories I entered for it before Christmas was a short SF comedy I penned in 2007 back while living in Japan actually called 'Multiversal.' This is a good sign that it's been accepted for inclusion, but then again could turn out to be a total bummer if not!

It's about what happens when a guy called Bob reads in a science magazine that the multiverse theory has actually been agreed to be true by many notable and respected scientists. This is very loosely based on truth as it is inspired by what I actually felt and wanted to do upon reading the exact same article. But because I couldn't do it I instead explored the possible chaotic and amusing ramifications of what might happen if I did, and made it into a short story.

Looking forward to seeing it in print and whether anyone else submitted similarly themed stories and how they will relate with each other. 

Watch this space!

In other news I am still mulling over the plot for a prequel to The Old Mice Killer. The original story was a leap of faith in the complete darkness but now I'm trying to be serious about it I'm actually a little scared to begin another case to tell the truth. Why? I'm not very good at sequels. I know this is a prequel, but I just feel reticent about messing with something that works as a standalone (if slightly short and unmarketable) novella.

Anyway, if it does go ahead, it'll be called The Coffee Cup Killer. Again, watch this space for more info.

Regarding the title of this blog post, it's the name of the bus I took in Glasgow today from Union Street to Neptune Street to see my accountant for a damage report. I thought it might make for a good short story title. By now I'm sure you know what to do regarding the space and the watching :)

Promo Video for The Old Mice Killer

Buy The Old Mice Killer by Chris Young in paperback form here, or as an ebook here.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Facebook ≠ Write Book

Well, it's been weeks and I've hardly written a new word. Done a few bits of re-writing on my short story "Thick as Thieves" for the West Lothian Writers workshop and looking forward to reading that out hopefully on Tuesday 23rd Jan, but apart from that - nada. Ditto marketing of the Old Mice Killer. I have found a more local printers that should be able to print and deliver the books at half price which has to be an improvement, but I haven't contacted them yet. I guess I should at least try a test version.

Done a lot of reading on Facebook about writing, which almost feels like the same thing. A dangerous pitfall. The FB Groups are a real eye-opener and motivation crusher when it comes to writing. When I grew up I was the only one around here who wanted to be a writer. It was different. Exciting. Adventurous. But one look at the groups on Facebook and it feels like there are billions of us all standing around on the Isle of Wight crushed, elbow to elbow, squealing, "Like my page and I'll like yours!" or "How best to kill a mother in law?" or "I need some ideas!" or "Does having a pen make you a writer!?" or something.

"We need to help each other in this business!" they say, and yes, it's probably true, but we also need to find a quiet distractionless place to sit the fuck down and write our fucking hearts out, which - I might risk mentioning - could be more important. Facebook ain't it.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Christmas 2017

Well, we had a great time over Christmas, and I hope you all did too!

The rain turning to snow before midnight on Christmas Day and a white Boxing Day was the icing on the cake (pun not intended) with snowman-building and sledging thrown in. I should have put a bet on it being a WC as it could perhaps have helped pay for some of the expense.

A White Christmas! Woohoo!

Much food was eaten, much alcohol consumed (but not exorbitantly so) and much Christmas TV was watched, specifically Ernie & Wise tributes and the movies Gladiator, Harry Potter and Predator. Pressies were given and received and all in all the day was a success.

Extremely glad we didn't become stranded on a snow-bound motorway on the trip home as several other unfortunates did this year in England and Wales. Our thoughts are with all those whose Christmas didn't go as planned, with stranded flights, power cuts and what not.

I did no writing whatsoever, but I gave a copy of The Old Mice Killer to my mother as a present, after tippexing out the one F word in the whole book near the end at her request. Maybe next time if I self publish another book on Lulu I might upload two versions - a 'Director's Cut' and a 'Mother-friendly' version. It turns out she's now read it already and, 'after taking a while to get into it,' sounds like she quite enjoyed it.

This time between Christmas and New Year is ideal to start wondering about New Year's Resolutions. My resolution for last year  - Try Not To Be An Asshole - had moderate achievement ratings. I found that even when I tried to be nice to people, I was still inadvertently nevertheless being an asshole, or being perceived as an asshole owing to misinterpretation - probably due to the extrapolation of the all my Ass-holery of previous years - so I might go for this one again. Or maybe I'll tweak it to be more accomplishable: Try Not To Be A Total Asshole. But since I'm on the topic, other potential resolutions could be:

Write more
Exercise more
Eat less meat
Go to bed earlier
Get up earlier
Play more guitar
Study more Japanese
Spend more family time
Play more harmonica
Go out with friends more
Spend less time on social media
Drink less alcohol
Spend less
Buy less
Repair more
Spend more time in the garden
Take my own coffee cup to Costa

Yeah, those might be some good starting points. But how to keep them going after the first couple of weeks have passed ...?

Thursday, 28 December 2017

First Old Mice Killer Review

"Chris , I’ve just read The Old Mice Killer! Thank you so much for the most amazing, escapist, joyride of suspense and belly laughs rolled up with cinematic imagery running throughout!
You really are a man of many talents and The Old Mice Killer harnesses them perfectly! In short ! I think it’s brilliant mate! Please send me a signed copy, payment to follow!" - Andrew Osborne

Sunday, 17 December 2017

First Two Copies Sold!

Very pleasantly surprised when two of my English students were keen to purchase a copy each of The Old Mice Killer when I was just showing the little books off to them for the chat :)

First two signed copies sold!

Quite difficult to explain in 30 seconds what the story's about - I need to work on that for future sales and marketing.

"Er, it's about a detective who acts like a dog, whose client is a woman, who, er, acts a bit like a cat, you know, but it's not a kid's story, it's a story for adults, but, there's no sex in it, I mean it's not like that ... anyway, the detective is snooping around like a dog, you know, like a hound on the trail of a scent, and the client is all, like this, you know, with her nose in the air all posh like, kind of arrogant, and wandering off for no reason, and the detective has to find his client's missing boyfriend, and they have these problems communicating, and there's a serial killer involved, you don't have to buy one ..."

Raptor Filmz Ltd, a videography company which I started up in 2012, may actually be on the verge of becoming a publisher, and is looking into buying copies of this in bulk for distribution to book stores, so watch this space :)

Now I have to go and tippex out the F word near the end for my Mum's copy.

You can order a paperback copy of The Old Mice Killer direct from Lulu here for about £7 including postage, or if you can get a hold of Chris Young or Raptor Filmz ( or text 07899 718775) he's selling signed copies for just £3.50 in the Livingston area, West Lothian, Scotland. Alternatively you can purchase the ebook here for instant download on Kindle or Ibooks for just 99p.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

First Edition Arrives

At 11:15 am this morning the doorbell went.

I skipped down the stairs like a teenage schoolgirl and opened the front door to find a bearded DPD Driver standing in the snowy cold exterior with a slim package in his hands. A warmth spreading in my stomach I signed my name upside down on his electronic doo-hickey, thanked him very much, and brought the package inside.

Without much ceremony I tore down the dotted line, dug around inside thinking, "Is it ...? Could it be ...? How will it look? Will it be too thin? Would the font be too big? Will there be any major errors?"

And I brought out this.

Not only that but there were two more inside just like it.

There have been quite a few revisions since first ordering these late in the evening of Wed 6th Dec 2017, so I wasn't sure how many improvements (ebook or paperback) behind this version was, so my heart was rattling along at quite a rate as I flicked through the 100 pages. Yes, a spelling mistake here, an old version of the story there, and the 'About the author' page wasn't there yet, but ... yes ... rather nice first edition.

The only piece of fiction I ever had published in book form was a short story in Paperclips - a little heard of collection of stories from writers in Strathclyde, 1993 when I was 18. (Showing my age there). 

The only trouble was, my story, "A Talk With Death" was a story in a story. So the full title should really have been "A Talk With Death by Mark R Cain" By Chris Young. Unfortunately, my lack of experience in publishing at the time did not make me realise that I should probably double check with the publishers that this would be made clear in the book. I thought it was. But when it arrived, I realised it wasn't. So my name appears nowhere in the publication.

Contents page

Main page

So to have this little gem in my hands (even though it's self published) some 24 years later, is sweet indeed.

Very happy with it. 

For all intents and purposes it looks like a real book. It doesn't seem small, it's professionally bound with a glossy paperback cover, it's got page numbers, bar codes, a copyright page, the title and my name on the spine, a picture of a dead mouse on the front cover. It even smells like a new book. Took eight days to arrive - ordering, printing, delivery.

Oh yeah, and it's got a great wee story inside that a lot of nice people contributed towards.

What more could you ask?

You can order a paperback copy of The Old Mice Killer here or an ebook copy here.
Amazingly one used paperback copy of Paperclips Writers from Strathclyde is for sale here!

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Oh No Not Another Blog

I've read in many places recently that if you want to be a writer it's a good idea to keep a blog, so here's mine.

The last time I kept a blog was when I lived in Japan, and I have good and bad memories of doing that. Good: Yes, it was nice to connect with people all over the world. Bad: What on earth was I talking about?

Stay tuned to find out.

I've called this blog Chris Young (Author) but I think author is too grandiose a word for what I do. An author is someone who sits around the house in a dressing gown with bits of screwed up paper scattered around a threadbare rug. In front of the bay window on a desk sits an old Underwood typewriter and occasionally the author (who is need of a shave and a haircut) will sit down on the desk chair, crack his knuckles and type literature in short controlled bursts. In between bursts he will stand up, pace around, run his fingers through his unkempt hair, put the kettle on and make a cup of black coffee. He will listen to vinyl. He will flick distractedly through a newspaper. He will stand on the doorstep and talk to the neighbour's cat. He will unplug the telephone. Inspiration will take him and talk through him. He will eat a dictionary for breakfast and a thesaurus for lunch. For dinner he will spit words like bullets upon the virgin page.

Lastly, he'll have published something.

My most recent creation is a 100 page novella called 'The Old Mice Killer.' Technically Old Mice should be in italics, because nowhere in the story do mice actually appear, let alone old ones who get murdered. So in that respect, if those two words are not in italics, the title is misleading. Apart from that, it's dead on. There's a killer.

Old Mice refers to the aftershave he wears.

Which seemed like a really good idea at the time.

Yes, it's only a hundred pages, but rather than pad it out and dilute the awesomeness, I thought to heck with it I'll just give it a whirl as it stands. Make it more of a double espresso than a cafe latte. It's a real page turner, that's for sure. Mostly because each page only has about 165 words on it. Difficult to put down? Yup, because it's so light - just 130g. About the weight of an old mouse, dripping wet.

Here's the blurb:

"Jake Jones, a somewhat dogged detective, after taking on the missing person case of a rather catty client, suddenly finds himself on the trail of an ex serial killer. The question is, can he kill two birds with one stone - avenge his mother and solve the case - in one genius move?"

It's not been made into an ebook yet, but you can order the paperback version of The Old Mice Killer here

Paper. The way books were meant to be written.

Or as an ebook here.

Cheaper, faster, and better for the environment.

Either way - enjoy the story :)