Official Blog of Author Garry M. Graves (nonfiction) and Henry H.H. Hittlebloome (fiction/penname).

Friday, March 7, 2014

Author sells cheap…

  All my books (there’s only three), sell for $0.99 at Amazon (exclusively). Some friends have asked, ‘why don’t you sell your books for a higher price?’ Well, there are several reasons, but the two that I respond with most often are: 1) Ebook’s are unlike print books…they cost less to publish, and 2) I’m an unknown author, so, until I’ve written several books with many loyal followers the selling price will remain low.

  In case you didn’t know, I’m a part-time writer...not doing this as a means of financial support. My business, doing well since 1991, keeps my family clothed, sheltered and fed quite well. So, I write for the mere enjoyment of creating a story that other people might like. Not all my stories have wide reader appeal. No author has that. Not Patterson, not Roberts and not even Grisham, to my surprise. They even get 1 star reviews like me.

  Speaking of reviews…most authors love reviews. Some don’t care, those typically are the rich ones. A common belief or ‘authors policy’ heard around the writers circles is; ‘don’t believe the one star reviews and DON’T believe the five star reviews’. Personally, I like all reviews. So, if you have read my books, any of the three, then take a few moments and post a review on Amazon. (Never written a review? Here’s some help).


Garry’s Books: The Mystery Maxims of Jake Spade, click here. Bloody Omaha, click here. Character Happens! click here.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Increased book sales! Why? How?

  Recently, beginning around mid January, sales of ‘FORGIVEN’, the first case in the series of ‘The Mystery Maxims of Jake Spade’  have increased substantially for some unknown reason. How did it happen?

  I’m not complaining mind you…far from it. I just wish I knew if there exists some media exposure causing this increase in sales…where 220px-Holmes_Adventuresis the uptick coming from?  Is it something that Amazon is doing? Sometimes they post ‘new releases’ alongside the best sellers listing. Not the total best seller listing, but the ones that are genre specific, the sub-listings, like: Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery > Private Investigators. I’ve looked at these new releases for some time now but have yet spotted my book being offered there. WTH!

  If this extra exposure could be located, maybe I could influence it more with my comments (like on a blog). Or, maybe someone has said something about FORGIVEN on Goodreads? Hard to tell, I don’t surf Goodreads much. Researching where this uptick is coming from could take incredible amounts of time. Time I don’t have. Time away from writing, adding more content (and mystery twists), to the second case, ‘ABANDONED’, currently taking more time to complete than I would like.

  It’s just, you know, nice to see sales of your book increase even though you have no idea what caused it. Hopefully, those extra sales will turn into reviews. ‘Reviews,’ from everything I’ve read about the subject of reviews, help alleviate some anxiety from the book purchase. Consequently, when a book has a decent amount of reviews, sales seem to go up. Good or bad reviews, no difference. Potential readers love to peruse both the 5 star and the 1 star reviews for some unknown reason. I prefer 5 star…but that’s just me.

  If you are one of the recent buyers of my book, Thank You. You’ve made my day and month, and year. Just to remind you, FORGIVEN is the first in the series of many others to follow. It’s a shorter book (novella), so it doesn’t take much time to read. And, it’s NOT a gruesome, murderous depiction of a mystery…it’s a investigative-type piece, with twists and turns with unique resolutions to unique quandaries. Most people find it touching in its final pages. The final resolution might be something Holmes might do…except it comes from Jake, his great-great-great grandson, 120 years post Sherlock.

  It’s always a pleasure to correspond with readers about whatever it is they want to talk about; the book, where they can get it, maybe a writing or publishing question, whatever. Leave a comment here on the blog or PM me at FB, or email me at: garrymgraves at gmail dot com.

  Regards, Henry H.H. Hittlebloome, Author.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Is it just me?

  Am I the only one who dislikes all the gory detail typically written into a murder scene? bloody-knifeDescriptions like: ‘the bullets cleaved the victims arm,’ or maybe, ‘the machete severed the mans head,’ or what about, ‘the crossbows arrow ripped through the woman’s gullet.’ And believe me, there are writers who can describe murder scene’s in such a way as to shock in greater detail than I ever could.

  It’s just not me. Too morbid. Too gruesome. Too negative.

  Guess my writing doesn’t have shock appeal. Still, I can’t help but wonder about a readers need or desire for such description…does a shocking (macabre, morbid, ghoulish) narrative create further enjoyment for mystery/thriller readers? Yes! I think it does for some readers. Those readers make up more of the ‘thriller’ side of the genre. Here’s how David Morrell,, author of about 28 thrillers, defined the mystery/thriller difference several years ago. He said: “Traditional mysteries appeal primarily to the mind and emphasize the logical solution to a puzzle. In contrast, thrillers strive for heightened emotions and emphasize the sensations of what might be called an obstacle race and a scavenger hunt.” (Jodie Renner blogpost)

  Again, I must say, the elements of a gory scene is just ‘not me.’ Too negative.

  What’s entertaining to me is the science, for lack of a better word, that goes into the investigative process. Very few Sherlock Holmes cases contained the ‘morbid details’ of a murder or someone found dead or dying. It was Holmes’ reasoning skills, his ‘deductive process’ that carried the story. The storyline worked well or Doyle (the Holmes creator) would not have enjoyed such monumental success…lasting over 100 years.

  ‘FORGIVEN,’ case 1 of ‘The Mystery Maxims of Jake Spade,’ falls into the mystery genre…not the thriller genre. It’s a modern day Holmes story with a ‘whodunit’ lasting throughout, until the end. The final discovery surprises the reader…and…it falls incredibly inline with how Sherlock Holmes would have handled the case. After all, when you’re a blood descendent of the Great Master (like great-great-great grandson Jake) there exists no other resolution. Jake remedied the mystery in a fashion that would have made Sherlock proud.

  If you have not read this novella-length book then consider picking it up the next time you’re on Amazon (it’s exclusively there). You’ll be surprised how it ends (some have said it was touching).

  Many Regards, Henry H.H. Hittlebloome, Author

Friday, October 25, 2013

Any writers out there? Any wannabee’s?

Mel Gibson Ransom  The second case in ‘The Mystery Maxims of Jake Spade,’ (it’s called ABANDONED recently changed from FORBIDDEN), has a storyline or premise around kidnapping. Sooo, the narrative will contain some interesting plot twists and hopefully a thesis going beyond what a reader might normally expect in a kidnapping crime story. You know – the typical money drop and police involvement, the boring-scripted ending where the victim is found and the perp is caught just in time. And yes, I’m aware of the Mel Gibson twist where he refuses to pay the ransom, in the movie by that name (Ransom). I’m just wondering – is there any other kidnapping plot schemes that haven’t been thought of in a crime story? Have any in mind?

  Now comes the second reason for this blog entry. From reading one of my favorite writers (who also commands a incredible audience on his blog), JA Konrath, has given me an idea about soliciting a ‘participant’ in the story’s writing. Participant meaning: he asks other writers to contribute a follow-up story to one of his already published books where he adds, deletes, and somewhat massages the contributed story with his own input, knowledge and critical eye…making a total book offering to be published. Naturally, they both co-author the book and sales royalty. It’s really a godsend to an aspiring writer…to be co-authored with an established writer like Konrath, with his name recognition and following. James Patterson does this all the time.

  Okay…you get where I’m coming from?

  Am I wanting a co-author for ABANDONED? No. My writing (or ego) is not at a point where I could ask someone to co-author with me (my author-name commands little reader recognition). However, I am offering someone (or more than one) the opportunity to be a part of my next project: ‘Case Two – ABANDONED.’ Being a part of the story means: me accepting your storyline contribution (however small) resulting in your name being included in the acknowledgements as a contributor. That’s it! Sounds exciting huh? Thought so.

  Seriously, if you are interested in participating or want to hear more specifics about participating, then either email me at: garrymgraves at gmail dot com or leave a comment here or on Facebook. Also, should you have any keen sensitivities, insight, imagination, etcetera, etcetera, about this ‘participating-author’ idea or the book’s premise…then please elaborate via the below comment section. It’s always fun, and informative, reading what others think.

  Thanks for dropping by and please come again.

Many Regards, Henry H.H. Hittlebloome, Author, ‘The Mystery Maxims of Jake Spade’ series.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Novella’s ?? What’s a novella?

  John Steinbeck“Many of the most loved, famous and influential books in modern history have been novellas…” (Suw Charman-Anderson – Forbes Article) And John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is one of them.

  Steinbeck’s offering, as noted in Amazon’s ebook listing, racks in at 112 pages, amounting to less than 30,000 words, making it fit categorically as a novella. Yes, something less than a novel length book (50 to 60,000 plus words), seem to be a quandary-length for many writers and readers. Some writers are convinced that publishing a book that is any less than 60 to 80,000 words will not sell as well as one that contains those volume of words. Not true. Steinbeck pretty much refuted that argument.

  It’s no surprise that the big five New York publishing houses (Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillian U.S. and Hachette Book Group), prefer novel-length books which are heftier, offering the book-buyer a greater perceived value…many hardback’s now fetching $30 or more. Readers however are finding these shorter books do have some appeal; given the ebook sales trend using devices like phones, tablets, ereader’s, even computers…and ebooks are outselling all print versions both hardback and paperback. Amazon even has a separate listing for ‘shorter’ offerings called Kindle Singles, with word count between 5 to 30K.

  Typically, as you would expect, short books (short stories and novellas), sell for much less than novel-length books. Readers expect to pay less. Ebooks in general sell for less money than paper or print versions…that’s why people buy them. That and the fact that more ‘readers’ are reading books via an electronic device.

  There is much more to this story, which I will not elaborate here in this post. The question is (you knew there would be a question – hehe), how many of you are: 1) reading shorter books and 2) reading them on electronic devices as opposed to print versions and 3) feel you are getting your money’s worth?

  Drop a comment with your answer…let’s see if a trend exists regarding short books.

  Thanks - Henry H.H. Hittlebloome, Author, ‘The Mystery Maxims of Jake Spade – Case #1 FORGIVEN.’

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Snippet–between Jake and Clarice…

Here’s a little snippet from page 63, where Jake (channeling his great-great-great grandfather Sherlock), responds to Clarice (his associate), about why they are parked in front of the Leo Burris home (who now is a suspect in the case).
“…“QUIET, please” he snapped. “I realize your anxiety at the arrival of Epic 8, knowing his saturnine history with the criminal element, et al, yet, as you well know from past ventures, he compliments our inquiry of sordid villains with his unique, hasty manner and bold technique...both most circumspect to this present inquiry. You’re angst is well noted, nonetheless, I must ask your indulgence of Epic 8’s introduction to the case – no one cuts through bureaucracy like his noble self, moreover, the occasion requires it. Additionally, what you fail to comprehend my dear Darby is that our Mr. Burris’ involvement in this case engenders more complexity than you credit him. You failed to notice the ‘black rook’ pendant attached to his shirt pocket during our interview…this medal ornament obviously connotes membership or station relative to some chess fraternity – his backyard game reveal him playing chess not checkers. Chess! Dear Darby, a game requiring long-term strategic thinking coming from a mind of complexity and cognitive capacity...not an aged, tired and minimalistic maintenance worker. Secondly, you missed Mr. Burris’ pronounced eyelid flutter when speaking to his daughter, a sure sign of either heightened anxiety on his part or perhaps some arcane method of communicating with his daughter, or both. Thirdly, dear Watson…ur, Darby, there exist traces of white powdery substance on the back porch steps upon which we set during said interview, possibly if not probable from similar residue found in the alleyway where concrete drilling occurred on the back walls of the 2nd Precinct building. All observations, however minute, causing me to travel here, to the Burris’ home, where clues suggest the case foundation lies, not in the attempted assassination of Detective Jones, who may very well have discovered inconsistencies on his own resulting in his being here, near where the shooting occurred…and that my faithful chronicler should answer your question as to why we’re…”
“Okay, okay, give me a break and just so you know I’m not writing any of this stuff down. You forget sometimes…no chronicling going on here, OKAY?”
So, there you have it. The passage tried to capture the essence of the noted Sherlock Holmes in my own imagined (and researched) way of how he spoke, conveying his indefinable manner.
What do you think?
Regards, Henry H.H. Hittlebloome, Author
The Mystery Maxims of Jake Spade, Case #1 FORGIVEN. Release July 2013. An Amazon exclusive ebook.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pictures or Not?

666 15th2

  The residence of Jake and his associate/chronicler, Clarice Darby, is 666 15th Street, in Detroit, Michigan. Having the address expressed in the storyline sorta picks up on Sherlock’s 221B Baker Street address premise. At least, that is the thought process the reader should glean from the Jake Spade narrative.

  The picture pasted here is the actual address of the ‘nondescript building’ portrayed in ‘FORGIVEN,’ the first case in the series. It’s located in the bowels of inner-city Detroit, near the Ambassador Bridge and the river where Jake swims on occasion. The surrounding area is rugged, nasty and dangerous…just the way he likes it.

  Have been wondering whether or not to include any, maybe a half dozen or so, pictures into the narrative of the book. It’s not done much (putting pictures in a novel), but, it would break the reading up, as there are no chapter’s in this novella length book (novella = what they call something less [in word count] than a novel, but more than a short story). Anyway, the pictures would be grey-scale, like this building picture.

  What do you think? Include pictures or not?

Regards, Henry H.H. Hittlebloome, Author, The Mystery Maxims of Jake Spade.  

It was time that the books I've written be compiled into ONE blog, this is it. This blog will highlight and speak to the various writings of nonfiction, under Garry M. Graves as the author. And the new fiction pieces, written under the author pseudonym or pen-name of Henry H.H. Hittlebloome. To email me, click here.