Jerry Carpenter's Blog



25 April 2014
Confessions of a Part-Time Novelist:

Well, I’ve done it – gone and got another “Day Job”.

I’d certainly rather be working full-time on The Missionary, the Cannibal and the King but, aside from the extra income being useful for some long-delayed, capital-intensive projects, there have also been some positives from a creative point of view.

The first of these has been that, having been forced to reduce my writing output, I find that I’m spending more time mulling plot development.  This, of course, is something that can be done pretty much anywhere, any time – during lunch breaks, driving to business meetings or, even, during those meetings.  Thus, on top of my long-standing habit of reviewing plot lines while I’m waiting for sleep to overtake me at night, I feel that the stories I have yet to tell are getting more of a polish – particularly so for East of Eden, a sequel novel to the Chronicles of Tarcus trilogy.

At the same time, The Missionary, the Cannibal and the King has benefitted from being left alone for a while.  During this “fallow period”, I have (at a friend’s suggestion) managed to read Heretaunga Pat Baker’s Behind the Tattooed Face – a ripping good yarn which, I feel, will help me achieve a “more Maori” perspective for this project.  My strategy now is to get the first third of the story thoroughly polished up and then present it (along with a plan for the rest of the novel) to some local publishers.


Hopefully, I’ll have this done by the end of the year as, rather topically, Christmas Day 2014 marks the bi-centenary of the first Christian service in New Zealand  (a significant event in my story) which took place at a Maori settlement called Rangihoua.  My wife Winnie and I drove up to this rather remote location in the Bay of Islands last summer and, as you can see from these photographs, it’s a beautiful spot that we had all to ourselves.  We even went for a swim…






6 December 2013


On writing one’s first historical novel…


Wow.  A bigger project than I thought it would be – although I suspect that I’ve been making a mountain out of a molehill.


Let me explain…


Work continues on The Missionary, the Cannibal and the King, a novel based on the true story of Maori Chief Hongi Hika’s journey to London in 1820.  An academic friend has very kindly reviewed a very early draft of what I’ll call Part One and, as always, she made some acute observations.


One of her first comments was that my writing didn’t seem to be either as fluid or readable as it usually is and, looking back over the draft, I have to admit that she was right.  In the interests of historical and cultural accuracy, I’ve produced a slew of long, factual sentences (gradually wearing out the ‘comma’ key on my computer) and, while these might well have their place in a historical thesis, they do rather get in the way of an exciting novel.


At the same time, perhaps because research is “what she does”, she’s also asked how certain I am about my facts – particularly as I appear to be treading on some culturally sensitive ground.

So, while I’ve been diligent in consulting the handful of reference works that I consider deal specifically with my subject matter, I’ve since followed her suggestion to research the reputation of those authors and to consult a wider range of sources.  It certainly turns out that you don’t need to plunge too deeply into the world of factual historical writing to find writers who challenge each other’s point of view.  There’s also no doubt that reading more widely around a subject is going to give me a broader, possibly better-balanced perspective.


The process of absorbing more historical facts and expert opinions doesn’t solve my problem though – in fact, it probably does the opposite.


I’m writing this novel from a Maori perspective – that of Waikato, the junior chief who accompanied Hongi on his voyage to England.  Being aware that, as a Pakeha, this could be contentious, I’ve tried to avoid over-simplifying many aspects of Maori culture so as to avoid being accused of trivialisation.  However, when dealing with subjects such as whakapapa, for instance, this becomes a problem.  In Maori society, whakapapa (ancestral lineage) is an enormously important part of one’s identity, and just who one’s great-great-grandfather might have been, or what one’s tribal connections might be, are not things to be lightly glossed over.  However, it’s now evident to me that trying to relate the whakapapa of each new Maori character who appears in my story has the pace-killing effect of a Formula 1 gravel trap.  Consequently, I’m now in the process of replacing some extensively researched genealogies with terms such as “well-connected” or “of chiefly family”.


Similarly, I may have fallen prey to a tendency to over-explain some cultural practices in order to reassure the politically-sensitive reader that I’ve fully-researched the subject and am not simply throwing lines around.  A fully-loaded example of this is cannibalism, where a long-winded explanation of the cultural reasons for (not to mention justification of) this long-abandoned practice makes an equally-effective gravel trap.  Imagine, if you will, a modern novel set in which practices like drunkenness, contraception, religious beliefs, etc., are rigorously explained and examined from a social, economic and medical perspective.  In the case of a novel where those subjects are central to the theme, then fine.  Otherwise though, the story is just going to get bogged down.


In my novel, one need only accept that cannibalism was still a common practice amongst Maori in the 1820s (and there are, of course, revisionists out there who do not).  I’ve tried to avoid any sensationalism of the subject (apart from my shameless use of the word “cannibal” in the title) and I’ve treated it as a normal and accepted part of pre-European Maori culture.  What I’ve done now though, is to go back and edit out any “over-explanation” surrounding that subject – along with a few others that, potentially, represent politically-correct pitfalls.


Frankly, when I complete this book, I’ll be including a substantial bibliography and several pages of endnotes for the benefit of the pedants.


Here’s the paradox though;


A large part of the target audience for The Missionary, the Cannibal and the King are readers who, I know, will never even look through a bibliography, let alone consider reading any of the sources contained therein.  If the novel becomes a best-seller however, I have no doubt that it will also become de facto New Zealand history to a great many people (in much the same way that James Michener has told me all that I need to know about the Caribbean or the Chesapeake).  As well as being a fascinating story that needs to be told, I certainly see this novel as an opportunity to help more people become more informed about New Zealand’s past – but I also know that, to reach a broad audience, it needs to have a lot more readability than reference value.


So, I’m now in the process of what I’ll call “responsible abbreviation”.  When YOU read The Missionary, the Cannibal and the King though, you can rest assured that there has been an awful lot of research around the facts and a great deal of consideration as to any perspectives that might be implied.  However, as I recently heard a much-published historical novelist say in an interview; “Don’t let history get in the way of a good historical novel”.




27 August 2013


On Being Maoried Out.



“Maoried out”.   

It’s an expression that seems to pop up more and more frequently in New Zealand these days, particularly in conversations where the person using it has established that the all the faces of his or her audience are reassuringly white.  Inevitably, as the beer flows and the shiraz goes, the word “they” gets a lot of use – along with “I’m not a racist, but…” and expressions like “race-based benefits”, etc.  It seems that there is some real frustration out there in our predominantly-Pakeha, middle-class suburbs and – when every day seems to bring a new announcement of yet another multi-million dollar tribal settlement under the auspices of the Waitangi Tribunal – it is hard not to feel that the “entitlement industry” of New Zealand is running out of control.  “They” get all this – along with special funding and social programmes left, right and centre – and yet “they” still want more even though “they” are way over-represented in our criminal statistics.

It’s enough to have European New Zealanders cutting eyeholes out of their best white sheets…

Before I go on, I have to declare myself a member of the “Radical Centre”.  In other words, and even though I have to confess to owning as many prejudices as anyone else, my political position is one of staunch moderation.  Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that I’ve arrived at some sort of default position by virtue of not holding any genuine convictions.  Centrism is philosophy that I’ve adopted after careful consideration and one from which I have come to regard extremism – in all its political, racial and religious forms – with distrust and disdain.

What am I on about?

I recently read an article that alluded to the rise of “Bourbon and Coke Politics”, so let’s call it that – or BCP, for short.

“Maoried out” is a very BCP term because what it actually means is, ‘While I haven’t really informed myself about this issue – and have no intention of doing so – and while I certainly don’t have any workable alternative to suggest, I don’t think it’s right that “they” should get…etc.’

I’m quite sure that, on the other side of the racial divide (an increasingly evident feature of New Zealand's geography), similar sorts of BCP expressions get thrown around all the time – I’m just not present to hear them.  My point is this though – regardless of what our view might be if we actually thought about the issues, once we acquire a taste for canned, pre-mixed politics, then we become easy prey to extremist groups.

History is rife with examples of political personalities who have risen to power on the back of popular politics but it seems that, these days, accessing the approval of the public has never been easier.  Take the Pakeha Party – at the time of writing, an “unregistered, unincorporated” political party but, in reality, just a Facebook page started by a gentleman called David Ruck. 
 
About: Equal rights & benefits for all races. 
Mission: Any additional benefits the Maori ask for exclusively for Maori – we ask for the same things for Pakeha!”

‘Damned right!’ growled white New Zealand and, as of today, 50,292 frustrated thumbs have hit the “like” button for the Pakeha Party’s page.  Clicking that little icon is so anonymously easy – particularly if it’s a knee-jerk reaction to the latest round of Waitangi Treaty settlements or some of the outlandish comments spouted by extremists of the Brown Wing.

The question I would put to many “likers” of the Pakeha Party however is – what is there to actually like apart from a resonating catch-cry?  Where are the policies?  What do you know about the founder?  What, precisely, are the “benefits” they are referring to?  And do you really agree with the racist rants from authors of all colours that the page attracts?

You see?  The Pakeha Party is Bourbon & Coke Politics at its finest.  You can’t possibly be expected to make an informed decision if there isn’t any information available to do so but that, my friends, is how a lot of people seem to like it.

My concern though, is that, when smoke and mirrors entities like the Pakeha Party gain political traction on the back of a populist wave, its “likers” may well discover that they have created a monster over which they have no control.

Let me relate a story:

Not so many years ago, in Australia, there arose a white wing politician by the name of Pauline Hanson, whose extremist policies – particularly regarding immigration – resonated enough to make her a significant political figure in that country.  She also had a lot of fans here in New Zealand and, at the place that I worked at the time, I was surrounded by colleagues who thought she was the best thing since Adolf Hitler.  Yes, loyal and vocal fans they were – right up until the evening that Hanson announced that stemming the flood of immigrants to Australia would also include Kiwis.  I have to confess that I could barely wait to get to work the following morning and ask, ‘Any Pauline Hansen fans here today?’  The silence from my work-mates – all of whom, no doubt, regarded a secure, gated community in Queensland as the ultimate retirement dream – was, of course, resounding.

It is hard work to keep politically informed – and it can eat into valuable drinking time.  I’m not saying that everyone has to make the effort which, on polling day, will allow them to wield their democratic vote with conscience and accuracy – even if I think that’s what they should do.  But, before you take whatever your politics may be beyond Friday-night-drinks-with-friends level, for heaven’s sake stop and consider what your beast of choice might do with your support.  You may very well be feeling “Maoried out”, but “liking” the Facebook page of something like the Pakeha Party is a bit like agreeing to the terms and conditions of a new internet programme without actually reading them.

And you wouldn’t do that, would you?
PS: The number of “likes” for the Pakeha Party’s page are substantially lower than when they peaked a month or so ago so I would suspect that, having investigated beyond the “knee-jerk click” stage, a number of souls have not liked what they have found and “un-liked” – good on them.  Frankly, those who feel that they must indulge in in White Wing politics should probably consider the 1law4all party.  I don’t like their policies myself, but at least they have some.  Of course, the fact that they have explained who they are and what they stand for may also explain their grand total of “likes” on Facebook – 377.
 



24 July 2013


I’ll say one thing about myself as a writer – I’m punctual.


I don’t know how many of you have ever seen the 1984 mocumentary This Is Spinal Tap.  It’s a rather hilarious spoof of the life of a fictional, self-absorbed, not-particularly-talented rock band whose only real attribute is, apparently, their punctuality.














The truth is that I’ve been feeling a bit Spinal Tappish myself lately…


After an enforced 4-week break from writing (in Canada, as mentioned in my last entry, with a broken lap-top) one would imagine that I would be feeling refreshed and ready to go.  Certainly, we had a great time, particularly in wild, beautiful Newfoundland where icebergs, moose and some fabulous hikes all awaited us in surprisingly warm weather.




Now, however, it’s back to New Zealand and back to the keyboard (of the backup laptop).  The weather is not too bad but it is winter so it’s all a bit cold and damp.  There’s a bonus in that, mind you, in that such distractions as surfboards, boats and golf clubs have temporarily lost the allure that they possess in the warmer summer months.  On the other hand, I seem to have come off the plane with some sort of ‘flu’, and am having to seriously apply myself to the reality of finding the dreaded “day job” again.

Yes, I’m fully aware that there are writers out there who can quite happily spit out well-researched, provocative, inspiring novels in between having enormously busy, successful careers and raising a family, but I am not one of these admirable people.  I’m a one-thing-at-a-time kind of guy who knows that full-time employment will almost certainly mean the suspension of his writing to a large degree.  I find the thought rather depressing… 

Of course, the reason I need a “day job” is that, after having been privileged to be able to write and publish full-time for a year, I’ve failed to generate enough of an income stream to continue on this course much longer.  That’s one reason for an “Attack of the Spinal Taps” – another is that sales on Kindle this month seem to be a lot slower than normal (although they always seem to accelerate in the last week of the month – why is that?).  Yes, I have shamelessly branched out into Smashwords – which distributes my e-books through Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Sony, iBooks, etc – but the reporting of sales back from some of these channels is, it seems, very slow.  For all I know, I could have sold a million books on Kobo by now but, as far as the sales I can see go, it all looks like a bit of a void out there in e-pub world.  All this may sound like I’m someone who, to paraphrase Frank Zappa, is “only in it for the money” but, to do what I love full-time, I need an income stream.
















On the other hand, it might not be a bad thing to get back out into the real world for a while.  To use that well-known Hemingway quote, I have found that “Writing, at its best, is a lonely life” and the cave from which I work seems to have been getting deeper and darker of late (at least I get to see Winnie when she comes home every night – God knows how you would do this, truly on your own, without going completely barmy).  Of course, I had hoped that, by now, my solitary existence would have been broken up by frenzied book signings, long lunches with movie producers and encounters with sexually-charged literary groupies but, sadly, the only interruption to my writing hours tends to be when the cat coughs up yet another fur ball (ah, the joys of owning an aging Persian).


Work on The Missionary, the Cannibal and the King grinds on though, especially now that I have made the brave decision not to let historical facts (or a lack of them) get too much in the way of the story.  I think that it is highly unlikely that I’ll finish before I become be-jobbed again, but this is certainly a story that I believe needs to be told as a novel – and which one which I am enjoying telling.


“Don’t you think a story from a Maori perspective, written by a Pakeha, will be a bit contentious?” is a comment that I sometimes hear when someone has asked me, “So, what are you up to?”


Darned right I do.


In fact, in a world where it now seems impossible to say or do anything without offending somebody, I would say that, in New Zealand, anyway, there’s a good chance I’ll manage to offend everybody:  In fact, I hereby forecast that:

  • Some Maori will say that I possess neither the right, nor a deep enough understanding of their culture, to take on this project (but, then, who does?).  
  • The Ngapuhi iwi (or, tribe, for you non-Kiwis) will probably be offended by my portrayal of their ancestors as opportunistic, blood-thirsty cannibals.
  • The other iwis (most of whom have good reason not to be fond of Ngapuhi precisely because of the historical events that are my subject) will probably feel that I’m portraying that tribe in an unrealistically positive light.
  • I will guarantee that many New Zealand Pakeha will condemn the book (without ever reading it) as a liberal, Maori-loving, suck-up (next month, folks, we’ll be discussing the topic of being “Maoried Out”).
  • And I’m sure that I will cop a bit of flak for slipping some gratuitous sex scenes (interracial ones, at that) into what I intend to be a serious book set against a fascinating and seminal period in New Zealand history.

Yes, I daresay everyone will be upset but me.


I hope so – as they say, you can’t buy the sort of advertising.
 


28 June 2013

Greetings from Lansing, Michigan


Hello again, Flowers.  Yes, I'm presently in Lansing, Michigan.
What sort of research could possibly bring me here, you ask?
Well, my wife's research, actually - Dr Winnie is making a presentation on her current project at the university here.  If applying the Viable System Model to companies that have moved "Beyond Budgeting" is something that interests you, you may wish to look her up on http://staff.business.auckland.ac.nz/5452.aspx .

I had hoped to spend some of my hotel room time here re-formatting the Chronicles of Tarcus series to print via Createspace. I've already gone through this exercise for Taonga - Treasure Beneath and discovered that there is a reasonable amount of effort required.  All this is in an effort to broaden my distribution, following some helpful advice from fabulously successful indie author, Shayne Parkinson, to whom I have referred in this blog before.  Sharp-eyed older fans, who have previously purchased my books through Kindle, may also have noticed that I have started distributing online via Smashwords - which means that I will also begin to appear in the lists of Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, etc.  

Anyway, my plans for using up my hotel room time have been thoroughly foiled by my decision to pack my laptop in my backpack and bring it to North America as checked-in luggage.  Yes, my friends, despite the bright pink "Fragile" sticker adorning my backpack, I am now the proud owner of a laptop with a broken computer screen.

"I told you not to do that," said Doctor Winnie.

"You didn't tell me not to do it - you just said it wasn't a very good idea," was my petulant response.

This conversation irresistibly reminded me of a book called Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About.  It's by a rather amusing writer called Mil Millington http://www.amazon.com/Mil-Millington/e/B000AR884I  If you're ever in the mood for some light, very British humour, I do recommend Mil's books - especially A Certain Chemistry.

So, courtesy of the baggage handlers of either Air New Zealand or Air Canada, I am writing this using the "Pages" app on my iPad - not something that I'm particularly happy about but needs must...

Anyway, after the last few months of working on my next novel, now tentatively titled The Missionary, the Cannibal and the King, a few weeks' holiday may not be a bad thing.  I knew that it was going to be a lot of work but I didn't expect to spend quite the amount of time researching that I now realise will be required.  Not a great deal is known about my main character, Hongi Hika's cousin, the chief Waikato, but I'm trying to make sure that I've been as historically accurate as possible before filling in the gaps with my imagination.  This has been more difficult than you might imagine due to the fact that Maori history of the period is oral and tends to vary from iwi (tribe) to iwi.  On top of that, many historical figures share the same name.  At the moment, my research places my main character in two locations at once, fighting, in one place, alongside men whose wives and children he has just massacred in another!

Yes, time for break indeed.

We'll shortly be heading up to Ontario, Canada, to catch up with Winnie's siblings there and then we'll head down to Newfoundland, her home province.  I'm certainly looking forward to returning to Newfie - particularly as we intend to explore the wilderness areas on the western side of the island (glaciated landscapes, ancient Viking settlements, etc). 

Last time I was in Newfoundland, I found myself continually being surprised by the unexpected relationships and similarities between NZ and this one-time British colony.  As an example, every Kiwi or Aussie regards the Battle of Gallipoli as a seminal moment in the development of our national identities - but not many people from my part of the world are aware that the Newfies were also fighting alongside our troops there.  One thing I can tell you about Newfies though (apart from the fact that they have to be one of the friendliest, most up-best people in the world) is, if you ever meet one, don' t go, "Oh yeah.  Newfoundland. The Shipping News right?"

Annie Proulx's novel doesn't seem to be held in high regard by its subjects...



18 May 2013



Prehistoric Trans-Pacific Voyaging




Hmmm.




Two things have happened this week that, to my mind anyway, are linked to the above.

The first is the local release of the movie, Kon-Tiki, a recreation of Thor Heyerdahl’s 1947 voyage on a balsa-wood raft from South America to Polynesia.  Thor’s intention, of course, was to prove that the Pacific was settled from the east, a delightfully romantic theory which has long since been almost, but not quite, debunked by modern science.




The second is a record-breaking Kindle promotion of my novel Taonga – Treasure Beneath.

Yes, folks, over five days and across the world, 3,592 people have availed themselves of a free download of the book and, already, at least one of these readers has very kindly posted a (5-star) review.  If I could ever see those sort of numbers in book sales per month, then the looming spectre of finding a day job again could be put to rest for ever. 


But my incredible success at giving my book away is not the subject of this entry.

Taonga, as those of you have read it will know, also touches on the subject of prehistoric voyaging in the Pacific.  In fact, the original draft of Taonga, then called Deep Cathedral, was about twice the length of the current publication and traced the journey of the “Shining One” from a Pre-Incan outpost on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) to Savaii (Western Samoa) – the implication being that Savaii is also Hawaiki, the ancient homeland of Maori, hence the arrival of the “god” in New Zealand.  As you can imagine, writing such a story required a substantial amount of research and it was with some regret that I subsequently culled these months’ of work from the final manuscript.


Why did I do so?


Taonga was always intended to be an action/adventure novel that would, perhaps, inform and provoke discussion – sort of Dan Brown meets Clive Cussler.  In the final analysis, however – and on the advice of some dear friends who had soldiered through the original manuscript – I had to concede that I had crossed the line into the thinly-populated world of the amateur anthropologist, and that the journey of the “Shining One” deviated too far from the main plot.  I still have the original passages, of course, and still have a passion for the subject so, who knows? – The Shining One – Taonga, the Prequel may well see the electronic glow of an e-reader one day.


Anyway, in formulating that sub-story, I needed to reconcile Thor Heyerdahl’s rather romantic theories with the fact that there is no genetic evidence indicating a link between the people of South America and Polynesia.  Certainly, it is difficult to believe that a race from either region could have spent much time in the others’ domain without…um…depositing their DNA. 


On the other hand, we know that the kumara (NZ sweet potato) originated from South America and that there is a species of chicken in the Pacific that also hails from that continent.  Thor’s Kon-Tiki voyage at least proved that it was possible to sail a prehistoric vessel from South America to the continent and, from our recently improved understanding of ancient Polynesian seafaring skills and ocean navigation abilities, we know that a trip in the other direction could have been made just as easily.  Even the most cynical anthropologists therefore, are still forced to admit that somebody made the crossing a long time before Europeans arrived in this part of the world and that the subsequent distribution of the South American chicken and the kumara confirm that this was not a mere accident.  (Oh, for a Time Machine!)


So, getting back to the “Shining One”, how did he get from South America to Easter Island - then on to Samoa and finally to New Zealand?


One day, I hope to tell you…in the meantime, I’ve got a book about Hongi Hika, that remarkable Maori chief, to finish off and, believe me, if I thought I had to do a lot of research on the subject I’ve just talked about, it was NOTHING compared to this little labour of love.

 19 April 2013


What Happens to Ravian?

Okay, so when we last saw Ravian in A Recall to Arms he was wounded and “on the very cusp of life and death” after a titanic struggle in Graticus’s retreat on the slopes of Mount Perios. 

The question I have since been asked, of course, is whether or not he comes down off the mountain alive (presumably, to live happily ever after with Liana) or does his spirit leave him at this point?

To be honest, I haven’t made my mind up yet – and probably won’t need to unless I write a further book in The Chronicles of Tarcus series.  I am, however, inclined to think that, whether he lives into old age or dies on the mountainside, Ravian has done his job (and a fairly massive job it was too).

Yes, Dear Readers, if there is to be another book in the CoT series (please feel free to bombard me with emails, clamouring that it be so) it will be in vein of The Chronicles of Tarcus – the Next Generation.

Yes, Aranu and Lusia have destinies to fulfil – and look at all those other loose-end characters I’ve left floating around – Queen Abien of course, not to mention Queen Aesha, and there are probably still a few miles and smiles left in Lectus.  Oh, and Liana’s son, Capernus, might well have been lost at sea during the Second War, but  we never actually saw his body did we?

Alright, I confess that planning for East of Eden is pretty well advanced and that the CoT trilogy may well become a quartet at the very least.  However, I’ve promised myself to complete at least a large chunk of the Great New Zealand Novel, My Cousin the Lightning, first and that, my friends, is a fairly mountainous proposition which I’ll talk about sometime soon.  Additionally, online book sales are still a long way from embarrassing me in front of the tax department and so it appears that, once again, I’m going to need to return to the workforce and make an ‘honest living’ for a while.


On that subject, I have a new literary hero – Shayne Parkinson, a New Zealand author who has also published five novels online.  The difference between us (apart from subject matter) is that Shayne is consistently in Amazon’s top-seller list and, I believe, pulls five-figure commissions every month.  So you see, it can be done – I just need to find out how…



5 April 2013


Alright, so it's Time to Start a Blog.


I suppose that the event that has initiated this is a review on The Sword in the Sea that has just been posted on Amazon Kindle. The reviewer said that they enjoyed the story but only gave me 3 stars because some questions in the storyline were left unanswered.


Now, The Sword in the Sea is volume 1 of the Chronicles of Tarcus trilogy and I know that, if I’m reading anyone else’s series or trilogy, I pretty much expect there to be a continuing theme that will bind me in to see what happens next.  I have to say that, more than any other writer, I’m influenced here by Lian Hearn’s superb Tales of the Otori Trilogy. On the other hand, hanging questions in stand-alone works have always left me feeling vaguely disgruntled (Tim Winton, I’m talking about you – you incredibly talented, frustrating bastard) and so it occurred to me that the latest reviewer of The Sword in the Sea might not have been aware that she was reading one of a connected group of works.


When you publish on Amazon Kindle, there is a field that you can enter the name of the series your book is in – and a further field where you can enter the volume number.  However, while the name of the series is shown in brackets after the title on the purchase site, no volume number is shown – hence a friend of mine recently pointing out that they weren’t quite sure which book came before which.  Now that the penny has (finally) dropped, I have just tried to get around this by typing the relevant volume number into the series field for each book in the Tarcus series.  Of course, this minor change means that I have had to re-publish – so all three books will be down for a half day or so before I can see if I have been successful in my little endeavour.


My apologies to the panting, seething legions of Jerry Carpenter fans out there who will now have to delay a few hours before they can further satisfy their Chronicles of Tarcus cravings.