Thursday, January 12, 2017
Boy, is it hard for me to get started on a new book. I launched Irregular Lives: The UntoldStory of Sherlock Holmes and Baker Street Irregulars in December -- although the audiobook version has yet to begin production. But, I needed to get on to something new.
For me a new book begins with a strong feeling, because, in the end, readers want a safe emotional experience. Feelings and emotion are the foundation for any story, so that’s where a writer needs to begin.
Recently, what touched my heart is the power and strength of women, and what they bring to the world. For example, Sara Rose is marching in San Diego on January 21, like millions of other women in the U.S. It is looking like 2017 is shaping up to be “the year of the woman.” I hope so, because our world desperately needs more powerful feminine energy.
Now it’s up to me to transmute this feeling into a story -- a new novel?
Sherlock Holmes - The Golden Years had a sub-theme of eugenics in its many forms. Irregular Lives is constructed around the exploitation of the poor, and the widening gap between the rich and the poor around the world.
My new novel, is just twenty pages long and is not fully outlined, but one thing is clear: My next Sherlock Holmes story will have a “sub-theme” around the exploitation and repression of women in our patriarchal world.
This is going to be an interesting personal journey from me, being a male of the species, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I trust I will do the subject justice. We’ll all find out about ten months from now.
Thursday, December 29, 2016
I promised to let you know when the correct version of my latest novel, Irregular Lives, is finally on line -- and IT IS ON-LINE NOW!
There is a shaggy dog story related to all this . . . actually something beyond shaggy dog, maybe hairless dog story . . . but I will spare you the sad drama.
So, if you have held off on purchasing the Kindle version of: Irregular Lives: The Untold Story of Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars, you can move forward. Of course, please remember to post a review on Amazon. I have received 9 reviews thus far and am hoping to get the “magic number” 12 soon. When I have twelve, my book begins to show up on Amazon’s “other recommendations,” so it’s an important benchmark.
I thank all of you for your support in purchasing my books - ebook and paperback. Your generosity of spirit and encouragement is appreciated, and highly valued.
Looking ahead to 2017 which promises to me an “Irregular Year.”
Friday, December 16, 2016
A friend recently asked me: “With all that is happening in the world, and now in the United States, how do you justify spending your time and talent writing Sherlock Holmes stories.”
A wonderful question that only a true friend might ask. Not surprisingly, I did not have a ready answer, but I promised to reply later . . . now.
First, writing is not the only thing I do. I give time to my local community foundation, protect the sacred land Sara and I live upon, help my neighbors, and the others things that “normal” people do. (All true, but it sounds like an excuse.)
Second, I endeavor, in my stories, to speak to the issues and problems that plague our world. In SherlockHolmes - The Golden Years, the “under-story”, or theme, is eugenics in all its various forms. The story is set in 1913, but every one of the eugenic efforts, and atrocities, that existed then (I am sad to say) still exist today. I don’t beat my readers over the head by preaching. I simply bring the issue, and the related need to act, into their consciousness -- or maybe into their subconscious.
In Irregular Lives:The Untold Story of Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars, the under-story is the widening gap between the rich and the poor, and the psychology and philosophy that facilitates our rationalization of this situation. Obviously, this subject is more appropriate today than it was a century ago.
Yesterday, I just wrote the first 500 words for my next Sherlock Holmes novel -- yet to be titled. The theme for my new novel will be the oppression of women in all its obvious, and not so obvious, forms.
I hope you would agree that these issues are relevant and worthy of my time and effort. I want to think that my stories may be making an difference . . . registering in awareness of my readers, possibly stimulating action. I do not know, but that is my intention.
I have no doubt that I will be more politically and socially active in the coming year. Standing in opposition to the things that Trump, and his surrogates, advocate and strive to achieve is something I am compelled to do. A “child of sixties,” I would hasten to add: I can’t believe I am still fighting this f- - - - - g shit.
Writing is important to me. “I’m a writer.” But, what does that mean?
A writer is someone who is (hopefully) good at telling stories that other people like to read or hear. Why? Because they get a satisfying emotional experience from reading. They (safely) feel their feelings. And, so it follows that a writer is someone who feels deeply, and endeavors to share those feelings through their stories.
What I am feeling now, as a citizen of the world and United States, is deep sadness and fear for my fellow human beings everywhere. At the moment, it feels as though the darker forces are dominating and winning. In light of this, Sherlock Holmes would seem to be today’s perfect hero -- tirelessly fighting the dark forces. In the canon, those forces were symbolized by Professor Moriarty. In my first two books, they are represented by Ciarán Malastier and Maeve Murtagh.
My hope is that, as people read Doyle’s stories, mine, or the stories of many other excellent “Holmes authors,” they can hear Sherlock is whispering in their ear: “Remember. We must fight for what is just, and best in human beings, even to the point of putting our lives down for that cause.”
Saturday, December 10, 2016
I recently celebrated the launch of Irregular Lives on Kindle. Now I am sad to report that my publisher sent the wrong file to Kindle and the INCORRECT VERSION of Irregular Lives in on line.
If you were thinking of buying it, please wait until this mess gets straightened out. I will let you know.
If you were thinking of buying it, please wait until this mess gets straightened out. I will let you know.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Finally . . . Irregular Lives: The Untold Story of Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars has been released ON KINDLE! The rush to the Christmas season had delayed the publication of my new novel as an e-book. But, it finally arrived!
So, if you are an e-book reader, go HERE!
to get your copy.
I see that five of you have purchased my book -- thank you, and several have posted reviews -- again, much appreciated.
PLEASE remember to review this book, and send any detailed feedback to me personally. Remember, you don’t need to provide a long review. It’s the number of stars that count in Amazon’s algorithm. Even if you cannot buy now, you can do a review it and read it later (bizarre as that seems, it’s the way things work on Amazon).
The audiobook will be out in a couple months, and I’ll let you know when it “hits the stands.” I have a new narrator, Dominic Lopez, who just signed the contract and will begin production next week.
Thanks for your patronage and support!
Sunday, November 20, 2016
My next novel -- Irregular Lives -- is set in the last century, it is most appropriate for our time given that the 1% are in control of my country.
Like many writer’s, I construct my stories around a central focus, or theme, that is artfully woven (hopefully) into the main story. In Sherlock Holmes - The Golden Years, the theme was eugenics, is all its various forms. Irregular Lives: The Untold Storyof Sherlock Holmes and Baker Street Irregulars has a another contemporary theme -- the growing economic gap between the rich and poor.
My novel is set in post-WWI London that, at that time, had a metro area population of almost 7 million. In 1919, almost 30 % of the London’s inhabitants were poor and destitute. In one scene, Wiggins takes Holmes to his home in Spitalfields where Holmes’s eyes are opened, really for the first time, to the horrid neighborhood his soon to be gang of irregulars call home:
Sherlock Holmes was familiar with the dingier places in London, but his previous encounters had been in the context of a chase. His eyes and attention had been on the villains and clues. In this way, his mind had forged a correlation between the slums and criminals. It was black and white, like Charles Booth’s poverty map of London, where Spitalfields appeared as a blacked series of city blocks on London’s east side. That map had no shades of grey, no color, no faces or names. Holmes remembered filing this map away in his archives, along with the knowledge that one-third of Londoners lived in desperate need and squalor. It was but another scrap of information, like the number of cabs in London—4,142 currently.
But now, he stood in the middle of one of those blackened city blocks. There was a metamorphosis: information had transformed into flesh and blood. He needed to consider this. He would—but not now, and not here. He would walk out of this “blackened block” to his spotless rooms. However, he would never again be able to leave behind the people of Spitalfields.
As an interesting side-note, London’s population has grown to 8.6 million people, but almost the same percentage of the inhabitants, about 27%, live in poverty. Not a lot of progress there, or elsewhere in the world, in the last century. 17% of the world’s population lives in extreme poverty, and nearly half -- 3 billion people -- are considered poor by the World Bank -- defined as making less than $2.50 per day.
Although I am active in my community, more and more I feel as though I am not doing enough for my fellow man. I rationalize that my reader’s will be able to draw parallels between my stories and the current reality in their community. Maybe they’ll be stirred to reach out and help others. In Irregular Lives, Holmes and Watson have a conversation about how the well to do tend to reach out in their community:
“Holmes, who is the fellow to be examined, and on whose behalf are we conducting this examination?”
“It’s on behalf of Wiggins’ mate, a youth called Snape.”
“Is he that rather stout lad who waddles about?”
“No, that is Rumpty. Snape is the ham-fisted youth—fifteen stone, or so, of solid muscle.”
“Rumpty, Dumpty, Snape,” Watson muttered. “These names mean nothing to me. Why do you meddle in their affairs? Noblesse oblige, I suppose.”
“I should not use that expression,” Holmes shot back. “It carries a dreadful stigma. Those who use it seldom see their societal obligations extending beyond their pocketbooks. They offer the less fortunate a hand, while keeping a foot on their neck.”
While this blog post borders on preaching, I can promise you that if you read Irregular Lives, you will not be subjecting yourself to a sermon, or morale tirade. I believe I have written a darn good tale. I only wished to give you a peek at one of the elements contained in my new novel. For, in the end, reading should be a joyous experience. Check it out on Amazon!
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Irregular Lives: The Untold Story of Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars is now AVAILABLE!
This new book as been described as a “multi-layered mystorical novel” —a way of saying that, within the larger thriller plot, there are five short stories set within a historically accurate post-WWI setting in the U.K.
As the title promises, the novel centers on a gang of adolescent boys and girls whom Holmes recruited from the slums of London to become his investigative allies. Doyle only referenced three or four cases where he engaged the irregulars, but there were many others.
Wiggins you know, if you’re a Sherlock Holmes fan. But, until now, other members of Wiggins’ backstreet brigade were never mentioned by name. Now you can meet them: Ugly, Snape, Kate, Ruck, Rumpty, Archie, Benjie and little Tessa.
Some of Sherlock Holmes’s most bizarre cases involved the irregulars: a hideous execution of a man who had been strapped to the barrel of cannon, a fiend who hoped he could live forever on the blood of others, and the largest jewel robbery in Britain.
Irregular Lives shines light on a hidden side of an older and more compassionate Sherlock Holmes, and illuminates “darkest England” —the abysmal backstreets, slums, and tenements of Victorian London that the irregulars called home.
The tale begins with a cryptic invitation and note:
Photographer S.P. Fields
invites you to the debut of THE collection:
Saturday, March 15, 1919.
35, Russell Square, London.
A note was enclosed in the envelope:
The lives of the well-off have an arc, with significant achievements posed near the peak. The lives of the deprived hover barely off the ground. Their accomplishment lies at the bitter end—the fact that they survived at all.
Please help me honour and eulogize those that served us both so well.
— S. P. F.
A wave of recollections—of people, places, faces and voices from the past, swept over Holmes’s mind like a tidal wave: his many encounters with the band of juveniles that bore his appellation “the Baker-street irregulars.”
If you are curious about how Holmes shaped and changed the irregulars, and how they changed his life . . . this is the book for you!