A walk on the not entirely domesticated side

Professional writers research their target market before putting pen to paper (fingers to keyboard)—identifying current trends, or the next trend, leads to success and sales. The sex market is huge and apparently still growing. The undead seem to be holding steady. Edgy thrillers with lots of tension have always been solid.

I didn’t even think about target markets (no secret there, I’m decidedly unprofessional) but lucked out to a small degree, as there is a new, tiny surge in older characters;  albeit feisty octogenarians whereas my characters are in the babyboomer age bracket (born between 1946 and 1964). Write what you know, so they say, and I’m a babyboomer myself, with one eye on the future, and I created the sort of place I would like to live. I added murder for armchair detectives, and more by good luck than judgement, it has worked. There are now five books in the series, and I am slowly collecting readers and reviews and so far so good.

The next thing professional writers do is nurture their target market and grow their readership by giving them more of what they like. Publishers, in fact, pretty much insist on this. If you have a successful formula, stick with it. My youngest regular reader is in her twenties and the oldest in his seventies (i.e. readers who have been in touch). Most seem to be in the forty to sixty-something age bracket, and so far so good, have been enjoying the vicarious experience of senior dating websites, or traipsing round the Edinburgh Festival. Those are things they’ve either done themselves, or could have an interest in, and no traditional publisher would have blinked either.

The latest book, though, Nine Ten Begin Again, takes my average reader into an environment they would never explore themselves and I’m wondering with both interest and trepidation exactly how far vicarious curiosity goes.

Would you dress up in disguise and head off to a club marketing itself as the fun alternative to BDSM and leather fetishism? Well, normally, me neither! But would you be intrigued by a vicarious glance into that world? Hell, I hope so.  I have no idea whether I have shot myself in the foot with a vengeance, or successfully entertained readers who have heard about that whole world and aren’t averse to learning a tiny bit more with characters they already know and trust to behave as they would themselves.

Nine Ten Begin Again is on a promotion price for its first week, click on the title, the cover below, or on the cover in the sidebar. And please let me know what you think!

nine ten kindle


Nine Ten Begin Again

nine ten kindleYup, Nine Ten has joined the family and just as soon as I have worked out again how to add it to my sidebar (I add things to my sidebar 3 or 4 times a year. I’m sure I will master the skill one of these days) will start selling like hot cakes.  In the meantime clicking on the cover in this blog should, at least in theory, connect you to the Amazon that enjoys your custom.  Oh, and if you’re quick about it, you’ll get it on promotion price. The first few days of each book are promotion days, glitches are part of the deal. If you missed this blog until after the promotion price, you should be on the mailing list.

I’ve always said Five Six was my personal favourite but Nine Ten may have overtaken it. I’ve read it through about a gazillion times over the last few months but still find myself smiling at certain times, and the beta readers commented that they smiled a lot too*. It was certainly an odd book to write, in that it started as a short story about Donald (I write microstories about the characters, call them hops and move them to their own tab on this website) and the characters took matters into their own hands and romped away with me panting after them and trying to call them back to heel. (My dog doesn’t listen to me either.)

So there I was with a very long short story which was refusing to quit, and a plot (after a contract job at a bank) which was trying to turn itself into a book, so I shrugged and put them together and asked my two all-time favourite beta readers to have an alpha look at the resulting draft. Yes, they said. Make it so.

Blame them.


*okay, apart from the one who was so shocked by the Donald bit of the story that she didn’t want to read on. But the others, and there were twelve of them, male, female, 30 something to 60 something, new and regulars, Scottish, English, American and South African, smiled a lot.