Please welcome author Mike Martin today. He has brought his latest book in his Sgt. Windflower Mysteries, “Fire, Fog and Water”. Also, enjoy his essay detailing his journey into writing. Don’t forget to scroll down to the tour section to check out more wonderful guest posts and interviews with Mr. Martin as well as great reviews. Be sure to click the big red button for your chance to win one of three print copies of the book. Best of luck!
Keep On Writing
by Mike Martin
Some people say that I just make stuff up, but I choose to say that I have a vivid imagination. That imagination and creativity was stifled through the regimens of school and work, but somehow it still managed to get out. At first, it was little, funny stories that I would make up for my friends. Later, it was bedtime stories for my own little prince and princess.
I have few regrets about the past, mostly because there’s little we can do about the water that’s already flowed under the bridge. But if I could go back, I would have pushed myself harder in my fiction and creative writing. Instead, I conformed and followed along the paths that had been laid out for me. That didn’t mean I stopped writing. Heck no!!
I just found outlets that were open to me at various times in my life. That meant writing three essays for English class and then fretting over which one to submit. It also meant finding work where I could write for at least part of the time, even if that writing was policy manuals or internal newsletter copy or just correspondence. And I did manage to find ways to spend more time writing. Over a number of years, I eventually grew out of wanting to be part of a company or organization. Maybe I just grew up as a writer.
About twenty years ago I took the plunge as a freelance writer. The waters were very deep and very cold. It is tough trying to make a living as a freelance writer, especially tough if you expect to eat on a regular basis. But what I learned from freelance writing is two things. First, rejection happens. Get over it. Second, keep writing. No matter what, keep writing.
When I finally got to the writing of my dreams, my fiction writing, these lessons were absolutely essential. So many times when I was writing my first book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series, I wanted to give up. I’d hit walls, and I would just be stuck. At these times I remembered to keep writing, and I did keep on writing until I had a product that I wanted to show the world.
I thought I had succeeded. I had written a book. Except that it wasn’t near finished. Two years and reams of rewrites and an ocean of tears later it was done and my baby, The Walker on the Cape was born. Only it wasn’t really born yet, at least not out in the world.
The next challenge was finding a publisher, and I thought I could drop my manuscript off at a few publisher’s offices and then watch as they competed over my business. It didn’t happen that way. Almost all the big publishers will no longer talk to writers, they want to talk to your agent. I applied to seventy-five different agencies and got back twenty-two replies. Twenty were form letters that said ‘much too busy to talk to me, come back in about ten years’. The other two were nice little notes that said ‘Thank you, but it’s not right for us.’
Now I was stumped. No publisher, no agent, no book. At this point, I almost gave up, but I remembered the lessons from my freelance writing days. If your piece gets rejected one place, then try another. So I did. I wish I could tell you that I was at an event and I bumped into some famous author and they gave me the name of their agent and I got a six-figure advance and a contract for five more books, but that didn’t happen. It would make a good story, though!
No, I found a co-operative publisher right in my hometown. I would pay some of the costs and do my own promo and they would print and sell the book. And so the first book was born. If the ‘industry’ would not help me then I would help myself. Since then I have used several co-operative publishers and independent book distributors to release and sell my books all over the world. This has helped broaden my audience and allowed me to sell books in Britain, Australia, and Germany, Italy, India, and Brazil. I can’t say I’m an international bestseller, but my books are available anywhere anybody has access to the Internet.
The most important thing is to get the book written. Do the best you can with it and then get it out into the world. You do what you gotta’ do to make that happen. I now have seven books, seven babies out in the world. The latest book, Fire Fog and Water is now available both in print and in e-book format on Amazon all over the world.
So if you’re struggling, keep on struggling. If you are a writer, keep on writing. And remember what Stephen King says about writing “The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
Mike Martin is the author of the Windflower Mystery Series, set in small communities on the east coast of Canada.
It is no wonder that Sergent Winston Windflower is feeling cranky and overwhelmed. His small corner of Newfoundland is generally quiet yet he finds himself with an unsolved murder, a hit and run victim, as well as a suspected arson. His young officers are needing his guidance to work through challenges of their own, while his new boss is riding him almost to the breaking point. As he races to put all the pieces together, the foggy damp winter weather weighs him down and the fires in his dreams leave him confused and searching.
In any work of fiction, it is the characters that drive the story. In this book, the tail end of winter weather, especially the fog, becomes a character in itself. Throughout the story, it lies as subtext if not quite menacing definitely oppressive. While the human characters do their part, Windflower’s dog Lady, and surprisingly food, become almost driving characters as well. It is obvious that he has a deep relationship with both.
Book eight is my first venture into this series and with small exception, I found it easy to read and follow as a stand alone. There is a sense of shared history among the main characters that I never felt left out of. Windflower is an exceptionally spiritual individual and at first, I was quite lost when it asserted itself in his character. It is the one instance that I feel a bit of background from reading previous installments in the series might have helped me navigate the story a bit easier.
Windflower is quite different from most mystery protagonists. He is far more grounded in those close to him than is the norm. It is actually quite refreshing and doesn’t detract from the clever wit or dogged determination to get to the bottom of the various mysteries that is quite expected in literary detectives. These people in his life are well written and brightly colored offering a unique tapestry to present the story on.
I also quite enjoyed the insight into the RCMP structures and protocols. With me not being from Canada I found it quite different from the police procedurals I am used to. I would move to Grand Banks in a heartbeat. It sounds like a wonderful place, winter notwithstanding.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
About The Book:
Fire, Fog and Water (Sgt. Windflower Mysteries) by Mike Martin
Sergeant Winston Windflower and his trusty crew at the Grand Bank detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have more than a few mysteries on their hands. Windflower suspects that the three cases—a homicide, a near-homicide and a fire on Coronation Street—are somehow connected, but how is proving difficult to determine, especially now that he must battle his unusually cranky mood, the never-ending winter that has gripped the coastal region of Newfoundland and his new, power-hungry boss.
In Fire, Fog and Water, award-winning author Mike Martin is true to form, retaining the light crime genre for which he is known while delving into the most perplexing social issues of our time, including mental health, addictions and workplace harassment. Windflower must not only solve the drug-and-death crimes that threaten the otherwise tranquil lives of Grand Bank’s residents, he must resolve his own internal conflicts before they consume him as surely as the blaze that engulfed the house on Coronation Street
Book Links: Amazon
Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland, Canada. He is the author of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series. Fire, Fog and Water is the 8th book in the series. A Long Ways from Home, was shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year and Darkest Before the Dawn won for the 2018 Bony Blithe Award. Mike is currently Chair of the Board of Crime Writers of Canada, a national organization promoting Canadian crime and mystery writers.
Tour and Giveaway:
November 25 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 25 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
November 26 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
November 27 – Lisa Ks Book Review – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – canceled by blogger
November 27 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 28 – THANKSGIVING – OFF
November 29 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT
November 30 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
December 1 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, GUEST POST
December 2 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, GUEST POST
December 3 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
December 3 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
December 4 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 5 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 5 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
December 6 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
December 7 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
December 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST
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