Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for The Watson Letters Volume 6 : The Haunting Of Roderick Usher. I’m sharing a guest post written by the author with thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on the blog tour and to Colin Garrow for writing his guest post!
An invitation. A ghostly spectre. A criminal mastermind.
When Sherlock Holmes is invited to visit an old school friend, he and Doctor Watson are plunged into the first of three adventures involving the Dark Arts and the supernatural. From the ghostly spectre of a dead sister to the search for an ancient book of spells, the detecting duo learn that each case is connected, leading them into a final showdown with their deadliest adversary yet.
Adult humour throughout.
‘The Watson Letters – Volume 6: The Haunting of Roderick Usher’ is book #6 in this Victorian comedy adventure series set in a not quite Post-Victorian, steampunk parallel universe. If you love historical mysteries, buy something else instead, but if you’re into murder, fart-gags and innuendo, this’ll be right up your Victorian street.
Book Reviews and the Coming of Wisdom
Having always been an avid reader, it wasn’t until I started publishing my own books that I realised the importance of having them reviewed on sites like Amazon and Smashwords. When I started writing reviews of the books I read, the early ones were either books I’d wanted to read for a while, or those already on my bookshelf. However, I soon realised that it was indie authors who really needed reviews, rather than those with huge publishing machineries behind them. With that in mind, I included on my website a section where writers could request a review, while highlighting that indies would be given preference.
One of the problems of offering your services as a reviewer is that everyone and his dog are soon throwing themselves on your mercy, bleating about how their particular book will improve your life, knock you over with its unbelievable brilliance, or be exactly what you’re looking for at that exact moment in time.
Being taken in by witty blurbs and imaginative covers, I initially agreed to review many dozens of books on that basis alone. Unfortunately, as I soon realised, blurbs and covers do not a cracking good read make. Very soon, I found I’d agreed to read a seemingly endless pile of utter tripe that was (all too often) badly written, poorly plotted and crammed with enough grammatical and other mistakes to make my eyes bleed.
So, what to do about it?
As all authors and the book-buying public know, buying books in a shop is straightforward – you see a book with an interesting cover, you pick it up, you read the blurb on the back and then (and this is the important bit) you read a few pages to see if it interests you. Thankfully, Amazon and most other book selling platforms have a look-inside feature so you can do this exact same thing.
So I made it a rule to never buy a book (unless it’s by Stephen King) without at least taking the time to read a few pages. That way I can get a sense of the writer’s skill and ascertain if it’s good enough to match my ever-rising high standards.
Aside from those writers who are so skilled they can knock out the first few pages in a way that makes them seem ultra-talented and then write the rest of the book as if they only just learned to read, this habit works quite well. Occasionally, I still buy books that initially sound good but then turn to crap, but as I always read the first few pages, I’ve only got myself to blame.
The other thing I started doing a couple of years ago is to stop reading if I lose interest in the book. With so many excellent authors out there, why waste time on those who are too stupid to learn how to write well?
Age, as they say, brings wisdom. In my case it’s also brought a huge bag of irritations to go with it. Writers who haven’t heard of the ‘show don’t tell’ rule, or are incapable of writing a sentence of dialogue without adding on a ridiculous dialogue tag (he rejoindered with an angry glare of irritation), continue to annoy me, as do those who include exclamation marks after every sentence, or insist on using the word ‘whom’ in a sentence of dialogue spoken by a London cockney with a lisp, simply because it’s grammatically correct.
What bothers me most, however, is that some of the authors at the so-called top of their game, also include such foolishness in their work. As I’ve always endeavoured to improve my own writing with every new book I write, I have to wonder why other authors don’t do the same.
As Sergeant Phil Esterhaus didn’t used to say, “Hey, hey, hey – let’s be careful with that writing stuff.”
The Watson Letters Volume 6: The Haunting Of Roderick Usher is available from Amazon.
You can follow the rest of the blog tour here: