The 4 P’s

You may or may not have noticed but I’ve been missing in action for a few weeks. The reason? I’ve been busy putting the final touches to ‘Asylum,’ the third book in the Detective Jill Brennan Series.

After more than 14 months in the writing and three months working with my editor, PD Martin, ‘Asylum’ is done and dusted and ready to take on the world. Grrr. If you think writing a book is difficult, it’s nothing compared to marketing it.

Let me tell you up front and I’m no marketing guru and I don’t consider myself an expert in self-promotion, but there is one thing I have learned since taking up this writing business, it is just that…a business. I know the time has come for me to put my big girl pants on and step out of my comfort zone and tell every single person I meet for the next few months…’I HAVE WRITTEN THIS FANTASTIC BOOK. IT’S GOING TO BE A BESTSELLER!!’

You may be wondering about these 4 P’s. I’m sure I learnt about this business marketing strategy when I was studying economics but I never thought I would have to use it. And until now, I haven’t. The 4 P’s to marketing – here they are…

  1. Products – Your product should meet the market’s expectations, packaging, design, quality.
  2. Place – distribution – the use of internet to sell your product.
  3. Price – consider price setting and discounting.
  4. Promotion- communicating the benefits and value of your product to consumers.

I’ve put all these strategies in place so wish me luck. Hey, did I tell you ‘I’ve written this fantastic book and…




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Guest Blogger: Leonardo Wild: The Birth of Paradigm Shift Thrillers

Scary statistics.

The Crime Fiction Writer's Blog

The Birth of Paradigm Shift Thrillers
By Leonardo Wild


Ten years of writing commercially went by and one day I felt that I needed to make a shift in my career. It took me another ten years to figure out how to do it, and then five more before the result—THE GALAPAGOS AGENDA—saw the light of publication.

The details of how and why I felt the need to change are not part of this story.

Maybe another time.

This is the story of what I decided to do when I decided to shift. In short, I decided to create a new sub-genre within the thriller genre. Or rather, I discovered that, what I had to do, was find a vehicle for the topics that I wanted to write about—to share my discoveries—a format that would allow me to follow the rules of publication without, well, actually being…

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‘£100 POUNDS REWARD – MURDER!’  What do you think of this for an opening line of a crime novel?

The opening line is from The Mystery of the Hansom Cab written by Fergus Hume.

Most writers know a great first line in any work has the power to entice the reader to read on. I think Fergus Hume achieved this in his novel, The Mystery of the Hansom Cab. (1886). I read an interesting article recently in the State Library (The Mitchell Library) magazine dated Winter 2015. The article was titled, Catching a Cab written by Rachel Franks. I found the article interesting not only because Franks introduced me to an Australian crime novel and author I was unfamiliar with, but because I found the story behind the man intriguing. Fergus Hume, like many before him and since, was seeking recognition for his first novel. He is quoted to have said after he had completed his first novel, ‘I tried to get it (The Mystery of the Hansom Cab) published but everyone to whom I offered it refused even to look at the manuscript on the ground that no Colonial could write anything worth reading.’

Rejection didn’t deter Fergus Hume. He set about the task of self-publishing and in 1886, the printers Kemp and Boyce produced 5,000 copies of his book. Hume claimed he sold all copies within 3 weeks.

The Mystery of the Hansom Cab was the biggest selling detective novel of the nineteenth century with more than 500,000 copies sold. But that wasn’t all, according to Dr Lucy Sussex, an authority on Australian colonial crime fiction:

‘The book helped define the new publishing genre of detective fiction, alerting publishers to a new, and huge popular market-although the real beneficiary, it might be argued, was not Hume but Conan Doyle, whose first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, was not published until after The Mystery of a Hansom Cab.

If you have a spare forty minutes you might like to sit down, put your feet up with a cup of tea or coffee and listen to this podcast recorded by the ABC in 2009.

Unfortunately, Hume didn’t profit from this triumph. He sold the rights of his book for £50, (now there’s a lesson.) Hume produced 140 novels and short story collections. Unfortunately, they never matched the success of The Mystery of the Hansom Cab.

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Suicide By Text

The Crime Fiction Writer's Blog

You can’t think about it.

You just have to do it. 

You said you were gonna do it. 

Like I don’t get why you aren’t.

Michelle Carter

So texted Michelle Carter to Conrad Roy, her 18-year-old boyfriend. And there were many other texts to follow. She goaded him to commit suicide, or at least that’s what prosecutors are alleging. And now she faces trial on an involuntary manslaughter charge. This will be an interesting trial particularly in regards to who is responsible for Conrad Roy’s death. There’s no doubt it was by his own hand, but is Michelle Carter culpable because she encouraged him to commit the act?

But this isn’t exactly new. In 1816, long before there was texting, George Bowen was charged with “murder by counseling.” It seems he was an inmate and convinced Jonathan Jewett, a convicted murderer who occupied the adjacent cell adjacent, to hang himself. Apparently Jewett…

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We’ve finally arrived in the future. At 10.29am this morning (AEDT) 22 October, 2015 (4.29pm 21 October, California time!) we reached the point in time when Marty McFly and Doc Emmett Brown arrived from the past in their flying DeLorean in the 1980s film, Back to the Future Part II.


When my children were small I remember calculating the age I would be on their 16th, 18th and 21st birthdays. Well, that time has come and gone. And here I am – in the future.

Have you ever taken the time to think about your writing goals?  I have. I plan to write 7 novels in the next 10-12 years. Here is where I’m at :-

My goal is to pen 10 novels. I am within weeks of finishing novel # 3 and of the remaining 7 novels I have yet to write, 6 will be written as part of my ‘apprenticeship.’  Then…(Drum Roll)

October 2027, Novel #10 !! By the time 2027 rolls around I would have spent 17.5 years from the time I started writing novel #1. I calculate, based on the number of writing workshops I have already attended that by 2027 this figure would have climbed to 50.

IMAGINE it’s October, 2027 – this is when I plan to hit the big time!!! The Ned Kelly Award?  The Booker Prize? Hollywood Movie rights?

Note to Gina : LOL.  Yeah right, in your dreams!

But seriously folks, life would be pretty boring without dreams and aspirations. But beware. From my experience after having set a clear path one needs to stick to that path. Herein lies success.

images-1So, where to start?

Your goals need to be  SPECIFIC. I plan to write 10 books.

Your goals need to be  ATTAINABLE. I’ve written 3 books in 5.5 years. I’m becoming more confident, the writing process is speeding up. I don’t sweat over every last word.

Your goals need to be MEASURABLE. In my case I’ve written 3 novels, so I’m 33.33%  of the way through the 10 books I plan to write.

Good luck with your writing goals. Wherever you are or whatever you’re doing on 22 October, 2027 you might  spare a thought for Gina Amos. Who knows? She could be on a stage somewhere accepting an award for her 10th novel.

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All About the Girl

3D Asylum


‘If a man truly desires to write, then he will. Rejection and ridicule will only strengthen him…The luck of the world. Go with it, send it. (Charles Bukowski)


I haven’t had much time lately for blogging. The reason? The third book in the Detective Jill Brennan series, ‘Asylum.’ My physical time and energy has been taken up by days too many to count of re-writes and discussions with my editor, Phillipa Martin. Now as I wait for Phillipa to come back to me with her final comments and changes, I find myself thinking about Detective Constable Jill Brennan. I like Jill. Her character is based on a real cop I met during an investigation into a fraud case which involved a cleaning business and a commercial building I owned. When I met her she was studying to become a detective and I was writing ‘Killing Sunday’ (the second book in the series). We formed a friendship of sorts and she was gracious enough to answer my many questions.

After sitting at my desk for hours on end, by the end of the day I often take myself off on a long walk in the afternoons. It was during one of these walks I caught up with Jill Brennan and had this conversation in my head with her, something I often do. It went something like this:-

Gina: Hi, Jill.

Jill: Hey, Gina. Good to talk to you again. I suppose you have lots of questions for me. You really like to get your stories as accurate as possible don’t you? (Jill pulls back on her pony tail.)

Gina: (Gina laughs). Yes, I can be a bit of a pain at times in that sense. I don’t always get it right but I think most readers are forgiving, at least I hope they are. I thought this interview would be a good way for my readers to get to know you. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?

Jill: Go ahead, Gina. I’m used to your questions after three books. (Jill laughs)

Gina: Tell me what motivates you?

Jill: That’s easy. My dad, Mickey was a cop. He brought me up after my mother died in a car accident. I was two when she died so it was always Mickey and me. We were inseparable because he was the only family I had. We did everything together, including surfing at Bondi Beach at weekends.

Gina: It must have been hard for you then when Mickey died.

Jill: (Jill clears her throat) Yeah, I’ve never really got over it. I still think about him every day and I often think about what he would think of my joining the force. From the time I was a kid I wanted to be a cop, but Dad was dead-set against it so I went off to university and studied law and art history, instead.’

Gina: A strange combination, law and art history?

Jill: I suppose some people would think that but my mother was an artist so I guess I got my creative side from her.

Gina: Do you mind sharing with my readers how Mickey died?

Jill: No, that’s okay. He was shot in a drug raid in Lakemba. Six months later I threw in my job at a high-end legal firm in the city and joined the force.

Gina: It must have been a difficult time in your life when Mickey died.

Jill: Yes it was. I’m lucky to have good friends, like Bea and Harry not to mention my boss, Nick Rimis. They helped me through the dark times. Rimis is a good bloke, but don’t tell him I said that!

Gina: Your secret is safe with me. Can I ask, what was the one thing Mickey taught you? Every parent passes on something of themselves to their children. For me it was reading. Both my parents instilled in me a love and respect for books.

Jill: Dad was a dedicated cop, Gina. Everyone respected him. He was fair and played by the rules and instilled in me a strong sense of justice and a belief that you should never give up. If you start something, finish it. You know stick to your guns, sort of attitude. Haha, excuse the pun!

Gina: (I laugh). You’re excused. Now enough of all that heavy stuff. Let’s lighten this conversation up. Tell me what movie you’ve seen the most in your life.

Jill: That’s easy. ‘Love Actually’ followed closely by ‘The Sound of Music.’ Hey, don’t laugh. I love those movies. I’m a romantic at heart. I’m still hoping one day to find Mr Right.

Gina: So who do you picture as your ideal man?

Jill: Well, I don’t think he’d be a cop. All the shift work and the shit we have to deal with on a daily basis makes it difficult. I’ve dated cops in the past and it never worked out. As a case in point look what happened to Robbie Calloway in your current book, ‘Asylum.’

Gina: Yeah, I can see what you mean. Can I ask you what your plans are going forward?

Jill: Sure, this case you’ve written about in ‘Asylum’ hit me hard. So I’m taking Nick Rimis’s advice and taking extended leave. I’m off to Spain next month. I’m going to track down my mother’s family. I need to go back to my roots and get a sense of belonging. I want to know more about my mother and what she was really like.

Gina: I wish you all the best, Jill. Good luck and bon voyage!

Jill: Ciao, Gina. I’ll send you a postcard.





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Write Note Reviews

I would like to thank Rachael Johns for this insight into the non-writing life of a writer. I had the pleasure of meeting Rachael at one of my Stories on Stage events in 2013 and since then I’ve followed her career with great interest. Although she’s become known as a rural romance writer, she’s now making a foray into a bold new fiction style she calls contemporary life lit with her latest book, The Patterson Girls.  Voted one of Booktopia’s Top Ten Favourite Australian authors after the publication of her first book Jilted, Rachael is a mum of three small boys and has recently moved from a small town in Western Australia to Perth. Connect with Rachael at her website, on Twitter or on Facebook.

When I first started writing all those years ago (17 if we’re counting), I imagined that should I ever be lucky enough to be published…

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Seeing the Big Picture


Tick, tick, tick… I need to be more patient so I try to look at the big picture, but it’s not easy.  It’s probably harder now than in any other time in history to exercise patience. In a world where messages and information can be sent across the world in an instant with a few clicks of a computer mouse, our patience is being put to the test while we wait for a response.

The manuscript for the latest book in the Detective Jill Brennan series is currently being edited. I know my sweetheart of an editor is doing her best. She’s studying for a PHD in creative writing, she mentors writers and of course, I’m not her only client. She’s got kids and it’s school holidays. She works hard and is entitled to a break from her busy schedule. The manuscript will be ready when it’s ready I tell myself. But I’m impatient. Impatient to get my book into the hands of readers. Impatient to hold the print copy. Impatient to start the next book in the series. Impatient because I’m impatient!

I try to distract myself. I’ve just finished tidying my office, arranging my resource materials in neat piles. I’ve been thinking about what I’ll cook for dinner. I’m flying to the Gold Coast tomorrow, my bag is packed and my boarding pass is in my handbag.

When was it that we all became so impatient and our our lives so busy? Is the way in which we engage and react to technology the reason?

Impatience brings rise to all sorts of emotions. I tend to internalise my feelings so although appearing calm on the outside, internally my blood pressure rises, my palms sweat, my breathing becomes jagged. I try to manage my impatience by thinking pleasant thoughts or by observing others.

If you’ve never observed other people in a queue, take a look around you the next time you’re in heavy traffic or queueing for a movie ticket or waiting in line for the next bus. What happens is the body language changes, shifting of the feet, hands on hips, sometimes a terse remark is overheard, heaving breathing or constant checking of the time on a phone or a wrist watch.

Queue Of People Waiting At Bus Stop

Queue Of People Waiting At Bus Stop

What makes us so impatient? Loss of control for one, poor time management skills another. What makes you impatient?

In James Clavell’s novel, Shogun he writes about impatience

‘Karma is the beginning of knowledge. Next is patience. Patience is very important. The strong are the patient ones. Patience means holding back your inclination to the seven emotions: hate, adoration, joy, anxiety, anger, grief, fear. If you don’t give away to the seven, you’re patient, then you’ll soon understand all manner of things and be in harmony with eternity.’

In harmony with eternity. I like the sound of that!

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Escape to the Country- the power of words

FullSizeRender‘My Obliging Significant Other’ (Moso) is more your arty type than your literary type  so I wasn’t entirely convinced he’d want to accompany me to yet another writers’ festival, (especially as it had been raining most of the week). It wasn’t until I mentioned the words: country roads, river crossings, vehicular ferry, pub lunch, dirt tracks, MUD that I sparked his interest. Ah, the power of words! At this point, I should mention Moso had just bought a Mistubishi Pajero 4 x 4

With my choice of words having done the trick and with a hand on heart promise I’d only attend a one hour crime writing session, we took the M2 out of Sydney and drove to the St Albans Writers’ Festival.

St Albans is a quaint, historical village on the Macdonald River, 118 kms north west of Sydney. It has links with the early colony of New South Wales (think convicts, early settlers, explorers, bushrangers etc)

The session I’d chosen to attend, ‘Writing Crime Fiction, with authors Barry Maitland, Michael Robotham, PM Newton and Nigel Bartlett’, was both informative and entertaining.

FullSizeRender 5(left to right: Michael Robotham, Barry Maitland, Nigel Bartlett, Pam Newton)

One of the topics the panel discussed was the importance of setting and place. Here is  briefly what they had to say:

PM Newton: Pam knew she had the right character but after many re-writes she realised she’d put her character in the wrong book.

Barry Maitland: Barry finds the location first and sees the character in the place. This could be because he trained and practiced as an architect in a previous life. We are all shaped by a place as are out characters.

Nigel Bartlett: Nigel said place is multi- layered, it’s more than geography, also politics, people. Events could only happen in that place.

Michael Robotham: Michael said Place becomes a character. He also said the worst advice he’s ever been given was, ‘to write what you know.’ He said you should write what interests you, what fascinates you.

Gina Amos: In my mind the springboard for a story lies in the setting. During the planning stages of my books I begin with the location, followed by the crime.  My writing project at the moment is a series of four crime novels set in Sydney. The seasons act as a backdrop to the life and career of a young female detective, Jill Brennan.

Moso and I ordered a lunch of bangers and mash and fish and chips at the nearby Settlers Arms (1836).  
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What better way for a crime writer to finish a perfect day than a visit to the local graveyard.
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If She Walks Like a Victim… – Sue Coletta

If someone walks like a victim, they could draw the wrong attention. By studying body language crime writers can add credibility to well-rounded characters. Thus, making our stories more believable.

Source: If She Walks Like a Victim… – Sue Coletta

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