About the series

Welcome to Immortality

Rafael Jones is just starting out as a private investigator after working as a detective for police forces in Buffalo and New York, NY, when...

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Author photos

For many of us, the worst thing is having everything ready for the proof copy, then remembering that an author's photo is expected. You don't want it to put anyone off or distract from the story. You've been spending ages editing and the idea of getting dressed up and going to a studio to get photos done is a recipe for exhaustion.

Well, when your character is a private eye, why not do a little film noir cosplay and see what happens?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Dedicated to those who remember

When I write about the not-too-distant past, I’m writing about someone’s lifetime. Part of my interest in jazz and pulp detective stories come from my parents. My father, in particular, loved music, and had a large collection of jazz and classical pieces that were part of the background of life. Mind you, the post-swing era of crooner and do-wop were more part of his personal timeline, but every generation picks up things from the generation before.
Detective stories have never really gone out of style. My parents had a large collection, and the local library had plenty as well. While many wonderful stories are being told in present day, the works of Raymond Chandler, Rex Stout, and others, will always have a place on a well-stocked shelf. Although some people may be put off by out of date social mores, a discerning reader will see some of the writers were pushing against prejudices few people talked about at the time. It also grounds the modern writer who wants to write about times past. Kerry Greenwood, the author of the Miss Fisher mysteries, does a wonderful job connecting with issues of the past that are relevant today. In a sense, one can ‘remember’ things by proxy.
The classic movies, often in black-and-white, played as filler on TV in much of my childhood, although they were preserving a time I never lived through. But the vivid emotion of the acting and high suspense of the stories drew me in and made me feel as though I were there. While some parts of Forever’s Too Long draw on more recent sources, the pop culture of the time is referenced in many ways.
But would it ring true to someone who had been there in person? I may never learn. The generation of my grandparents and their siblings is disappearing. I lost my great-aunt recently, and while I mostly thought back to happy memories of her, and what a swell woman she was (Eugene’s friendship with Rafael may have been subconsciously influenced slightly by having a very successful relative who never treated anyone different due to economic status), I also thought, I wish that my book had come out in time for her to read it.
Here’s to the ‘Greatest Generation” and the ones before and after, that expanded the American middle class, started a sense of multiculturalism (what else can one consider jazz to be?), adapted wonderfully to changes in technology and social structures, and shaped systems that improved world peace. Thanks for the memories.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Genre fiction

I've always been a keen reader with a strong imagination. I've been drawn a lot to fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal storylines. But I also am an analytical thinker, which is usually more appealed to with science fiction, nonfiction, and mysteries. 

My first published works were as co-author on Allan's Para-Earth books, where I've helped with character interactions, the science behind the stories, and dialogue on the first two, and for the third and fourth wrote part of them myself. I insisted that there be a science fiction grounding for the monsters, because I found such monsters scarier, being potentially real, whereas the supernatural creatures never really scared me. 

Yet here I am, writing my own, and my love of fantasy has resurfaced and my detective has to deal with supernatural problems. Some of my friends don't like horror, and originally I assured them that it wouldn't be too scary-- but then I found out that one friend considers Harry Dresden too much of a horror story (a wizard detective in urban fantasy), and I had to tell her not to read my books. 

So what genre am I in? I consider Rafael Jones to be primarily in the detective novel category, sometimes being true mystery, sometimes more pulp fiction adventure. Yet the supernatural elements will be strong in every story. His base is in New York City, making urban fantasy a good description. Whether it should be considered to cross into horror depends, I guess, on what you think horror is. I don't feel it is that, myself, because the books are hopeful, philosophical, and funny. But when there's murder, there's an element of horror. 

One of my beta readers said she felt like she was reading a Philip Marlowe story, only to have it twist into Kolchak: The Nightstalker. I wonder what you will find in my writing... 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Time, time, time, see what's become...

I thought one of the wonderful things about starting a  series in the 1940s was that there would be so much time to move forward in.

And yet the second book, set only a few months after the first, is rooted more-or-less in the 1920s. A ghost becomes a sort of secondary client for the detective as his attempt to determine a house is not haunted does the reverse. His heart goes out to a murdered flapper and he seeks out a murderer on this very cold case in the hopes that getting justice will help her find peace. During the Prohibition Era, gangsters were often treated like celebrities and the elite might be found rubbing elbows with them. What kind of chaos happened when a teenager house-sat for his family at a manor too close to the Canadian border to be dry?

For Rafael, there's a bit of nostalgia in re-visiting the 20s. For me, there's a lot of research! And a little bit of irony.