Anatomy of a novel

Here come the reins again


I can’t think how I can weave a horse into my current WIP,  but I’ll have to give it some thought.

That’s because I feel I owe a debt of gratitude to horses.

Metaphorically, I feel I’m finally back in the saddle after a fall that knocked the wind out of me.

But the equine link goes back way further than that.

It goes back to 1971 or 1972 when I found a box of girly magazines under our house in Hobart. The mags were from the 1950s when pin-up girls of that era posed in bathing suits.

Time for a face-lift


Good news. Cover designer Maria Connors is back on track after her computer woes.

She has tweaked my Major BS cover for me. I like it. You? The previous cover was blue and the title was more wordy. I think brighter colours better reflect the mood I'm trying to hit and the comic image stands out better against the lighter colour.

I’ve also been redrafting my book descriptions.

Here’s the new one for Major BS:

When you accidentally rescue the wrong people and bring 12 illegal people into the country, there are bound to be consequences ...

Up, up and away


I had a dream last night that somebody had borrowed our budgerigar. The weird thing about this is we don't even own a budgie.

But it gets weirder. They borrowed the budgie so they could use it to decorate a cake.

I am sure a dream whisperer can tell me what this means.

I've drawn my own conclusions. Not with the cake decorating. That, as I said, was just bizarre.

But after it was all done, they returned the budgie in a little cage, which they left at the door. …

Plan B: the paper version looms


I had planned to have released my comic thriller Escape From Mad Bill’s Island by now but my cover artist’s computer has had a meltdown, which probably means the artwork will be delayed by some weeks.

I did toy with the idea of using Amazon’s cover generator to make an interim cover. But I think many people out there would be heaving sighs of relief that I’m not going to embarrass myself again with my feeble artistic skills.

So you’re going to have to wait for 

One computer died in the making of this eBook

Apologies to anyone who had hoped Escape From Mad Bill's Island would be out by now.

That had been my plan, too, but technical difficulties forced me to miss the deadline.

It means I have to wait a bit longer for the artwork.

I always try to look for the silver lining when things go wrong, and I'm optimistic this time.

I now plan to launch this book exclusively with Kindle Unlimited, and the extra time gives me time to format a print-on-demand book I can release simultaneously with the eBook. 

Worse things really do happen at sea

The point of view character in my soon-to-be-published novel Escape from Mad Bill’s Island gives me the perfect excuse to bring out my soapbox.

Having started as a copy boy in 1977 and learnt my trade in the newspaper business for the next 30 or more years, I think I was in a good position to see when, where, why and how you-know-who went into a nosedive (see what I did there?)

I resisted any urge to have my POV character, Ralph Whistler, get all upset about the decline in the industry. …

Print-on-demand now available

lie tiger small

Lie of the Tiger is now available in print in the United States and Britain.

You can buy it print-on-demand from Amazon.

U.K.  £6.95

U.S. $8.99:

Apologies to Australian readers. The technology isn't available to us yet.

I went down this track with Major BS. I published in eBook first, then POD.

It allowed me time to iron out the kinks. I took the chance before formatting

Introducing the paper tiger

lie tiger small

Good news for readers who’d prefer a paper version of my latest funny mystery novel.

I’m about to start work on formatting a print-on-demand version, which should available in the US and UK later this month (sorry Australian readers, I’ll be doing it through Amazon, which doesn’t offer that service here yet).

IN THIS HUMOROUS MYSTERY, two old codgers resort to some secret doggy business to prove the existence of the Tasmanian Tiger. This ferocious-looking marsupial was declared extinct in 1986, but Wish-Wash and Oodles think its revival is essential to the survival of an Irishman who arrives to manage the Tasmanian Tiger Museum in Windy Mountain.

Fair dinkum


I'm supposed to be polishing my final manuscript for Escape From Mad Bill's island, the funny crime caper I plan to release in the last half of May.

Forgive me for getting distracted though.

I'm chuffed because the first two reviews for Lie of the Tiger have come in on Goodreads, and both have five-star ratings.

Gotta love the high ratings (I'm growing a thick skin in readiness for the bad ones), but even more encouraging to me was that one of the reviews came from the United States 

Be careful crossing the road when you’re reading

I’M OLD enough to remember when phones only came attached to walls with cords — so I marvel that it’s now possible to read a novel on your smartphone.

Like anything, I wouldn’t recommend it if I hadn’t tried it.

My mind was opened when I listened to The Kindle Chronicles podcast a while back. I listen to a lot of podcasts about book marketing and writing craft. This one sometimes gets a bit technical for my little brain but there is considerable overlap of things that interest me. …

© John Martin