Clues: Alex's Blog

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New Podcast Episode: Rumors of My Death...

After a five-month hiatus, Mysterious Goings On returns!

In this episode...

Alex updates you on the mundane details of his health along with news of the latest John Pilate Mystery, Pilate's Rose.

He also breaks news about his collaboration with the late author Robert E. Trevathan and a very special premium for John Pilate fans! 

Get the show free on Apple Podcasts or listen right here:

 

 

Hey, We're Back!

Sorry to be away for so long...been finishing up the new JP mystery, Pilate's Rose.

More on that shortly, but in the meantime, don't forget you can buy autographed books for the holidays right here on the site: click here! (Note we have a limited supply on hand, but can promise delivery if you order no later than Dec. 20, depending upon your order. Feel free to email me -- Alex (at) Alexgpr.com -- if you want to ask before you order.)

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Also, don't forget to catch up on my podcast on iTunes. More episodes coming in 2018!

Get regular updates on Facebook. More to come! Thanks for your support. Keep reading!

 

Happy New Year. There, I Said It.

Well, I have to tell you I had high hopes for a great 2017, but the election pretty well quashed that potential "era of good feeling" for me. Happy New Year, my ass.

Now, I realize you do not read this blog--or my books--for politics, so I will spare you any further commentary; other than to say I think we are in for a terribly rough ride and our republic may have been dealt a near-mortal blow.*

Just sayin'.

But enough about that. Let's talk about something important.

How about a word or two about where the John Pilate saga is? First thing's first--Pilate's Rose is behind. Like really behind. A novel initially promised to you on Halloween, then postponed to just before Christmas...is now in freefall. No end in sight. I have the story set, the characters are patiently awaiting me to return to them. I just don't have it in me to get it on paper.

Want my reasons (excuses)?

Well, firstly, the aforementioned election really distracted (and depressed) me. I went through the stages of grief (and not because I was in love with HRC, I was just very concerned about the damage DJT can--and likely will--do to our country). I just couldn't return to the manuscript when I was plagued by nightly dreams of armageddon. Then the holiday insanity hit, which was a nice diversion...yadda yadda yadda.

Secondly, I was pasted by work in December. That's a good thing. Have to earn (especially with my low book sales...yes, it's not attractive to mention that, but man, my sales are just in the tank). So, the day job takes precedence, and in my advancing years (!) the days of working 9-10 hours a day, then having family time, then staying up late to write for three hours or so are officially off the table for the foreseeable future. Stephen King (and Robert E. Trevathan, for that matter), I am not worthy.

Thirdly,  I made a commitment to myself and my family to take better care of myself. I have worked since October 2015 on getting in shape through a light crossfit/kickboxing regimen. It works! I lost nearly 20 pounds, increased my energy and stamina and am probably in the best shape of my life. Not only do I hit the gym 5-6 times a week, I'm back to running (half-marathons, 5Ks and obstacle races). Fitness time is scheduled every day and is non-negotiable, as it keeps me healthy, sane and happy.

So, not a lot of time to tend to JP and the gang.

That said, please know I love the saga and I want to finish Pilate's Rose. I do in fact pledge to do so in 2017. I'm not going to give a firm date--but definitely in 2017. Who knows, I may pull a Jason McIntyre and surprise you one day with a new book announcement. 

After that, I have some other plans for my writing. Won't say what, but I pledge this: stick with me and I will deliver. I will also crank up the Mysterious Goings On podcast again, so check out the back episodes on iTunes if you haven't yet--you have some time to catch up.

Friends, your support is vital. I sincerely appreciate your continued interest, your encouragement and your love of the John Pilate Mysteries. Thank you.

So Happy New Year. There, I said it in spite of myself. Let's hope we make it out alive. 

--Alex

* By the way, there was some good news: Pilate's 7 was named #35 on the Shelf Unbound Magazine 2016 list of Top 100 Notable Books! It was also the top-ranked collection of short stories on that list. That was really nice.

Shock That Monkey

On this episode of the Mysterious Goings On podcast, Alex talks about inspiration he drew from attending a Sting/Peter Gabriel concert recently. Specifically, he discusses ways that getting our "monkey" shocked (as Peter Gabriel's hit "Shock the Monkey" illustrates) in real life can be dangerous, but perhaps can be useful in your writing.

Listen on your desktop here.

Want to help keep new chapters coming? Please tell a friend about us, and definitely leave a review on iTunes. It only takes a minute! Click here to learn how:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201991

Be sure to visit the Mysterious Goings On webpage at www.PilatesCross.com and join our community onFacebook!https://www.facebook.com/John.Pilate.Mysteries/

Are you an author? Want to be a guest on the show? Contact Alex on Twitter:@A_Greenwood or email him: Alex (at) AlexGPR.com.

Intro music Mary Celeste by Incompetech.

Anyone for Boat Drinks?

Are you as sick of the cold weather as I am? Craving sun, sand, a refreshing cocktail with a shot of mystery? Then you need a Boat Drink.

Perhaps the overall fan favorite character in the John Pilate Mysteries (besides John himself) is Taters Malley, captain of the fishing charter boat TenFortyEZ.

In "Boat Drinks", a short story from Pilate's 7, it's fun to see Taters in his own element--guiding the TenFortyEZ straight into mischief in the waters off Key West. 

So, fix yourself a boat drink, put on your flip flops and get set to enjoy my hammy reading of one of my favorite stories. All you have to do is click one of the links below to Chapter 13: "Anyone for Boat Drinks?" on the Mysterious Goings On podcast:

iTunes link:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/mysterious-goings-on/id1080474124?mt=2

Stitcher link: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/mysterious-goings-on

 

SoundCloud link:

https://soundcloud.com/alex-greenwood-14/chapter-13-anyone-for-boat

If you enjoy this story and want more, you can pick up the Pilate's 7 ebook from all the usual suspects, including AmazonBarnes and NobleiBooks, andSmashwords

Thanks for listening and a big thanks to iTunes for selecting us as a "New & Noteworthy" podcast!

http://pilatescross.com/clues-alexs-blog/

Want to help keep new chapters coming? Please tell a friend about us, and definitely leave a review on iTunes. It only takes a minute! Click here to learn how:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201991

Be sure to visit the Mysterious Goings On webpage at www.PilatesCross.com and join our community on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/John.Pilate.Mysteries/

Are you an author? Want to be a guest on the show? Contact Alex on Twitter:@A_Greenwood.

Intro music Mary Celeste by Incompetech.

Latest Podcast Episode with Jason McIntyre Available Now

The latest chapter of Mysterious Goings On podcast welcomes back acclaimed author Jason McIntyre about the unique concept of Jason's ten-book Dovetail Cove series, reading books "out of order," and more. The pair also compare and contrast the style of the Dovetail Cove Series with Alex's John Pilate Mystery Series.

Jason is the #1 Kindle Suspense author of THE NIGHT WALK MEN, bestsellers ON THE GATHERING STORM and SHED, the multi-layered literary suspense THALO BLUE and his latest: ZED. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and won several awards.

His debut novel ON THE GATHERING STORM is cited by readers as an 'uncomfortably thrilling' read and earned McIntyre a spot in the Top 20 Debut Authors for the Goodreads Choice Awards.
 

Learn more about Jason at his mothership:http://www.thefarthestreaches.com/p/the-author.html.

 

Thanks for listening and a big thanks to iTunes for selecting us as a "New & Noteworthy" podcast!

http://pilatescross.com/clues-alexs-blog/

Want to help keep new chapters coming? Please tell a friend about us, and definitely leave a review on iTunes. It only takes a minute! Click here to learn how:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201991

Be sure to visit the Mysterious Goings On webpage at www.PilatesCross.com and join our community on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/John.Pilate.Mysteries/

Are you an author? Want to be a guest on the show? Contact Alex on Twitter:@A_Greenwood.

New Podcast Episode Up!

Chapter 8: The Keys Go Viral is available now!

I have the stomach virus, so you get the Key!

Listen on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/chapter-8-the-keys-go-viral/id1080474124?i=364189442&mt=2

Listen on Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/mysterious-goings-on

Go to the Showpage to Listen: http://mysterious.libsyn.com/

Or, Just Listen Right Here On Your Desktop: 

Thanks for listening and a big thanks to iTunes for selecting us as a "New & Noteworthy" podcast!

http://pilatescross.com/clues-alexs-blog/

Want to help keep new chapters coming? Please tell a friend about us, and definitely leave a review on iTunes. It only takes a minute! Click here to learn how:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201991

Be sure to visit the Mysterious Goings On webpage at www.PilatesCross.com and join our community on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/John.Pilate.Mysteries/

Are you an author? Want to be a guest on the show? Contact Alex on Twitter:@A_Greenwood

 

Intro music Mary Celeste by Incompetech.

What's New

Hello and a belated happy New Year to you. I hope you East Coast readers are weathering the blizzard okay. Probably best to stay in and read a good book. (!)

A quick update on what's happening here:

I've spent the past few weeks getting back to normal pace at the day job since the relative inactivity of the holidays. I'm on month four of a kickboxing exercise regimen and I love it--as hard as it has been to get in shape, it's definitely worth it. I wonder if John Pilate will try it, too?

Been catching up on my reading, also...if you have not read Jason McIntyre's Zed you're missing out on a hell of a good book.

The new collection of Stephen King short stories has been a bit of a chore, frankly, and a letdown compared to the masterpiece that is Full Dark, No StarsBut hey, he's King. Even his average stuff is usually worth a read. In the case of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, I mostly enjoy his introductions, which illuminate the backstory behind writing each piece, 

If you're reading this, however, chances are you're more interested in when you might hear from our friends in Cross Township again, right?

Well, I have some things that are working...and some things that are not. I have been working (struggling may be a better word) on a project that involves a completely new direction for my "brand" as a writer, and must confess it's not catching fire. More on that as it develops (or doesn't, for that matter).

Back to John Pilate. 

The surprise success of Pilate's 7 with the breezier short story format is intriguing. I enjoyed writing those stories immensely, and sales have been fairly brisk. That said, I'm contemplating another round of short stories, then returning to the novel format. I'd love your thoughts on that--just plug 'em in in the comments section.

Otherwise, I am putting thoughts together on a novel that is more of a mainstream affair--something different from the mystery/thriller/horror stuff. I'm not saying it will be out anytime soon, but it takes up some mental real estate that I usually devote to the Pilate Mysteries. 

I'm very excited about the return of a show I literally watched from the beginning: The X-Files. I am a huge fan and am looking forward to seeing what Mulder and Scully are up to these days. 

Well, that's it for now. Thanks for dropping by, and I hope if you have not done so already you will write a quick review of my stuff on Amazon. Just click here to find the books. Thanks so much...stay warm!


(Updated) Pondering A Failure

Lately, after a very nice resurgence in sales and interest in my second book, Pilate's Key, I started pondering the book that followed it, Pilate's Ghost; which I affectionately call the "red-headed stepchild" of the John Pilate Mystery series.

The Stepchild.

Ghost gets good reviews and was nominated for a couple of awards, but for some reason it never sold much. As a commercial venture, it's technically a failure. 

The paperback version of the book was the product of a crowdfunding campaign I created to defray costs. I now wonder if the fact that most of the launch day sales were tied up as perks in the successful Kickstarter campaign I created killed forward sales momentum? 

I just don't know.

Technically with Ghost, I sold more copies of a paperback than ever before, and financially, due to the Kickstarter aspect, it made a profit--but the book's retail sales after the first month tanked.

Copies "sold" as perks of Kickstarter were never factored into the book's sales data, so to Amazon and other retailers, it was a stinker. The book has never recovered and now sits at the bottom of the Kindle Store rankings for Mystery novels. 

The all-time best sales rank for Pilate's Ghost is a dismal #1,158,421. (UPDATE: The book saw a resurgence of its own in September 2015--reaching #178,890!)

Contrast that with Pilate's Key's all-time best of #19,662 (NOTE: That figure is off--a more detailed check indicates that Key reached #14,413!). Heck...have a look at the whole ebook series (the Pilate's Cross under Pilate's Key on the graphic is the audiobook, not the ebook or paperback):

UPDATE Sept. 12, 2015: Well, the data for this post has changed...nearly all my titles have started selling again. I still stand by the thesis, but these numbers improve my mood a tad. Maybe all this talk of failure attracted readers who wanted to find out for themselves? Check out the updated graphic below--though the Pilate's Key ranking is still off by about 5,000.


To be clear--these rankings are for the ENTIRE Kindle Store. Most of my books have, at one time or another cracked the top-seller (paid and/or free) list for their genre several times--Pilate's Key made the Top 100 Sea Adventures list in between books by Michael Crichton and Clive Cussler.  Kickstarter Success Secrets  consistently makes the top 100 in the Crowdfunding charts. When I offer my award-winning short story Obsidian as a freebie, it always charts well. 

But, I'm haunted, if you will, by Pilate's Ghost. If I may be allowed to say so, it featured my most mature writing and most intricate story to date. Admittedly it was darker than the previous two books, but it had a great editor and a story that kept pages turning. I even appeared on television on the day of its Halloween 2012 release date to promote the book! 

 

It just didn't sell.

I think the only thing that has surprised me a bit more is the fact that my first Pilate book of short stories, the recently-released Pilate's 7, has also done better than Ghost and its successor, Pilate's Blood. Blood is regarded by many as a return to the Pilate's Key form, and frankly, it's on the fence of being a sales disappointment, also. But that's another story.

It's all so hard to say for certain, but I am coming around to the explanation that the Kickstarter campaign, which made the paperback of Ghost possible, also put a stake through the book's heart when it came to sales momentum.

Failure is a tough word for something that I worked very hard to create. It's also unfairly dismissive of a book that was nominated for an award or two and was the focus of a successful Kickstarter campaign. I'm not going to call it a failure, exactly. I'm going to call it a lesson learned and a necessary chapter in the continuing John Pilate Mystery Series. 

As for Pilate's Blood, well, that's one I really need to think on some more. Hmmm. 

What do you think, reader? I'd really like to know what you think--the comments section is open!

 

 

In the Beginning: A Reading from "Pilate's Cross"

Welcome to "In the Beginning" a series of audio recordings of the prologues or first chapters from each of the John Pilate Mysteries, read by the author.

Fittingly, our first selection is a reading of the Prologue of Book One: Pilate's Cross. This prologue sets up much of the mythology of the series that turns up in other installments.

The author hopes you enjoy the reading and if you have not read Pilate's Cross that you will order an autographed copy from this site or get an ebook or paperback from your favorite retailer. Please note that an entire audiobook version of this book exists, read by the excellent John Edmondson. You can get it here.

If you'd like to enjoy a reading from the latest John Pilate mystery book--a series of short stories-- Pilate's 7, click here.

Music on this reading is "Designer Drugs" by 37Hz.