What’s in a name – a book name?

There is that famous quote from Romeo and Juliet:

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

“The Mystery of the Iron Mask,” sold 11,000 copies, but even though it the title clearly identified it as a mystery, no one cared much about an iron mask. But when the title was changed to “The Mystery of the Man in the Iron Mask,” it sold 30,000 copies. Of course, we now know it as “Man in the Iron Mask”.

So, what has happened to my book title “3 Wise Men”? It goes like this. My wife and I were driving out of town when she asked, “I was thinking …” I knew then that something major was on the horizon. “I was thinking … why don’t you change the title of your book?”

I replied that I had been recently thinking about that as well. So, we spent the weekend with friends and trying to come up with a new title that better described the plot and tension of ‘3 Wise Men’. Finally, I came up with ‘Spy Chase’. This title was more direct that the earlier one, and less religious too, especially around Christmas time! I was even more surprised that there was no other book title with the same name (although there is one called ‘The Spy Chase’). Not that it really matters, as book titles are not copyrighted.

Finally, I revised the cover (and am still working on a few minor adjustments to the new one) and used the new title as an opportunity to re-edit some of the manuscript before reformatting for the new release.

I hope that you, the reader, also enjoy the new title and new content in SPY CHASE!

Spy Chase Chapter 43 – a bouncy tune for a rough ride

Tension can mount in surprising ways when you discover that you have been taken captive. It happens in SPY CHASE in Chapter 43, when Louie burst into song; a classic French tune. He sings a poor rendition, but this only highlights the jibes he directs at his new passenger as they navigate twisted mountain roads towards St Paul de Vence – an old medieval hilltop town on the French Riviera. Louie’s antics add to the mounting tension. I hope you enjoy the song, and the rough ride, as much as Louie did:


New Reader Feedback and another ***** Review

Just in from Jerry D. in Florida:
“I just finished your novel! Thanks for sending it along! What’s not to like? Tech, spy craft, maths, sex, guns, exotic locales, adventure, dark and ancient secrets, weapons of war, plot twists and turns, and more!”
Thanks for your comments Jerry, and even more for your support and enthusiasm over the years. [Jerry has been such a great friend and showed me and my family wonderful hospitality when we stayed in the USA.]
And, on a side note, the following was added to the 5-star review on Amazon – “You won’t believe it until you read it – and I wouldn’t read it alone!”

Writers’ Envy?

I was speaking with my accountant about my book – in the hope that he would be as excited as me about the $$$ signs that would follow. “Oh, it seems that everyone is writing a book these days!” was his response. My hopes were dashed. “Yes,” he continued, “I have lots of clients who are claiming expenses for their books.” Then he rattled off a list of names, including some that I knew. My lawyer was just publishing his second novel and a teaching colleague was editing his. And here I was, battling to get the plot sorted for my own new novel. Alas, I put my despondency down to “writers’ envy” – a condition where an author is overwhelmed by writers more prolific and successful than themselves. “Stop it!” I told myself, “There is no point in comparing yourself with others. Just stick to the task and enjoy the pleasure of writing in the way, and with the pace, that you want to.” It was good advice for myself!

Blog Views Mirror Thriller Plot?

The following graph is a summary of recent visitors to this blog.

I could not help thinking that the rises and falls are similar to the intentional (or unintentional) rising and falling of tension in a thriller like 3 WISE MEN. For some, a sudden rise in tension – for example, the unexpected death of a character – is too much, and they prefer a more gentle building of tension. The steeper the graph, the more rapid the rise in the number of viewers on this blog. Peaks often correspond with holiday periods – a time when readers have more time to indulge in blogging. The mathematical significance of this graph would not be lost on our protagonist – Jak Colins! As a writer of thrillers, I am acutely aware of the need for the peaks and troughs in the plot. After all, I do want readers to be glued to the text and not easily able to put the book down. On the other hand, I know it is important to establish characters and event – something that might look like the trough in the graph above. For me, I need to work hard to do this characterization in a style that still engages, and a technique I have found useful is the use of humor. Let’s have a brief look at this in my next post.

What is more exciting – sales or satisfaction?

What is more exciting – sales or satisfaction? A good question to put to an author. Most authors might argue that they need their bread and butter – therefore, sales are most important. But, of course, sales will not come from a poor script – or will they? I have picked up books from well-known authors and been put off after reading the first paragraph, simply due to its poor grammar and lack of engagement. Now, back to the question. For me, it is reader satisfaction that is the biggest ‘buzz’. The other day, a reader commented on how much he had enjoyed the accurate detail in 3 WISE MEN. It made me smile. It also gave me satisfaction too – satisfaction that all my research was making the book come alive for the reader. That was exciting! I was also excited to see another ebook sold this morning. But I would be more excited to see that sale translated into positive feedback from the reader. That, I have decided, would bring the most satisfaction!

But, at what cost is this writing gig?

As a follow up to the previous post you might be asking, “What is the cost to research for a thriller?” Well, in simplistic terms – taking away the cost of being off work during research, etc. – would be about $US25 per page. I won’t break that amount down just yet, but it gives you some idea of the price to be paid to produce a novel. And, of course, there is no guarantee that it will sell enough to recoup the investment. For me, the goal was to tell a compelling and believable story, based largely on true facts and in exotic locations. After so much research, writing and editing, that effort was well worth every penny spent! And, from the reader feedback, they seem to think so too.

Inspiration to start that new novel?

What is the kick-starter to a new novel? For me, it was the clear head and fresh inspiration I soaked up when traveling to new places. SPY CHASE lay dormant for too long, until the spark to get writing began after a few days in southern France. I am not sure exactly what it was, but I needed to be in the surroundings that formed the basis for this thriller – to soak up the details required to be authentic in the novel’s details. Some might argue that the details don’t matter – after all, it is a novel, right? Not for me though. I simply wanted to be able to put my readers into real situations and genuine locations, even down to the colors and scents that I embraced during this writing adventure. I am now in the process of working on thriller #2 but will again need to see and feel the atmosphere and specific features of new locations. Well, I must get some fares booked soon before it is too late to get started!

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