Tag Archives: mystery

3 Things Agatha Christie Can Teach You About Writing

Agatha Christie

I will openly admit that I have been reading a horrendous amount of Agatha Christie of late (my own favorites being Evil under the Sun and Death on the Nile), and felt inspired to write a brief post about her career and what can be learned from it.

Agatha Christie was a master at her craft.  No one can deny it.  After all, she basically invented her style of close-house mysteries.  Her stories have generated several world renowned and much loved literary figures such as the immaculate Hercule Poirot and the indomitable Miss Marple.

Her output was predominately Mystery/Crime fiction, but she did release six romance books under a pen name – even she grew a little tired of her genre- as her name became more synonymous with crime.  I had better add successful playwright as well, I cannot forget The Mousetrap – the longest running play in the modern era.  It has not closed since it initially opened in 1952.

She had a writing career spanning more than fifty five years and never during that time did she ‘fall out of fashion’ with her readers.

What Agatha Christie can teach authors

Fellow writers can learn a lot from people like Agatha Christie, and I am going to give three of my ‘take aways’ from her for a successful writing career below.

  • Hating your Creation – It was no secret that Agatha Christie did not like her most famous character – Hercule Poirot – I think her words to describe him were “Insufferable” and “Egocentric creep”.  But she kept writing him because her fans loved him, and she did not let her writing or storylines suffer because of it.  She saw herself as an entertainer first, whose job was to produce what her reading public wanted – and they wanted more Poirot.  Write to Entertain.
  • Recycling plotlines – Agatha Christie did create the close house, all suspects (still alive) together at the reveal Crime/Mystery Genre.  Basically, a murder is committed, there are multiple suspects who are all concealing secrets, and the detective gradually uncovers these secrets over the course of the story, discovering the most shocking twists towards the end. At the end, in a Christie hallmark, the detective usually gathers the surviving suspects into one room, explains the course of their deductive reasoning, and reveals the guilty party.  Whether you are reading Poirot, Marple or Tommy and Tuppence, the general plotline above is used.  But this plotline is a very stable, well functioning framework, which, when dressed with a well woven, tightly scripted storyline makes for a good and entertaining read.  Write on a well founded Framework.
  • Characters – What made Agatha Christie’s stories stand out were her characters.  Agatha would take the characteristics and mannerisms from the people she saw around her (mainly from what she observed from strangers), and give them to characters in her books.  It made her characters more ‘real’ and would give the reader something that they can relate to.  Write your characters as real people.

Agatha Christie was a very successful and well loved writer.  She has over 70 books in print and even though she died in 1976, they are still selling well which is a testament to her skill as a writer and her storytelling.

NB: This article was originally published on Bookmarketingtools.com

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Writing Update – December 2014


I have now published four books in four weeks, and now the first season of The Way to Freedom series is complete.

The books in this season are:

1) The Kalarthri

2) The Dream Thief

3) The Awakening

4) The Enemy Within

5) The Unknown Queen

Season two will kick off in July/August next year (or earlier if I finish my other projects!)

The Order, book two and three will be out January and February next year.

1) Winter’s Magic: Act One (pilot)

2) Winter’s Magic: Act Two

3) Fyre

I will also be putting out the next John McCall Mystery and the next Verge book, both should be out by May 2015.

I have also started Guest posting on the Book Marketing Tools Blog.  If you want to see my latest post, click the link below

“Them’s writing words!” 3 ways to gain inspiration for your next writing project.

Please leave a comment and say hi!

I think that’s all I have for everyone today.  The only thing left to do is to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, Yuletide or whichever festivity or religious holiday you celebrate at this time of year.  And I give you all my good wishes for the year ahead.

With Love


Kindle Countdown Deal -The Clout of Gen

Kindle Countdown Deal- The Clout of Gen

A book by  Ahmad Ardalan


Kindle Countdown Offer 12th December 2014 to the 18th December 2014!

Ahmad is having a countdown offer for The Clout of Gen, it will be priced at $0.99

This is a suspense and a mystery fiction, that deals with a conspiracy stretched for decades.

Here is what you could do:

If you ever thought of reading it, this is the time: Click Here to get it from Amazon

Book Blurb


Newspaper reporter John Teddy’s miserable life is turned upside down when he uncovers a voice from the past—a voice that suspiciously knows far too much about the would-be future. John’s natural curiosity to understand the hidden message takes him to places he never imagined seeing, and ongoing conspiracies he never thought existed. The more John gets involved, the more he is led towards mysteries that are beyond his understanding. The circle of people involved grows bigger stretching from west to east; each step forward is like a step backward.


Ahmad Ardalan

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Help Lilo get to #1 on Amazon on November 20th!

Hello Everyone

My fellow author, Lilo Abernathy’s book, The Light Who Shines is going to be featured as a Kindle Daily Deal on Amazon!

This is HUGE!

It will be reduced to: $1.99 for ONE DAY ONLY!
When: Thursday, 11/20/2014

From Lilo:

My friend Brandt Legg (author of the Inner Movement Series) had a Kindle Daily Deal and sold 3000 copies on one day. He made it to #38. I checked and it is possible to get to #1 starting at around 3500 book sales in one day. It will be so close! I couldn’t help but try to get to #1. But I really need help from you, the book community, to get there.

How You Can Help
If you have been considering buying it . . .
Thursday is the day to do it! get it here

If you read it already and loved it . . .
Please recommend it to your friends on Thursday.
1. Go to this page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2…
2. Click the “Recommend It” link in the upper right hand corner and select friends who you think might like it.

If you want to help more . . .
Join my Facebook event where authors, bloggers, and readers are galvanizing into action to help push this book to #1. I have all the material you need to promote it there. It is wonderful to see the book community in action.




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Book Review – The Cold Dish

The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

I just read this book and loved it.

Sheriff Walt Longmire is a beautifully drawn character.   Longmire is a likeable, gruff and a very decent man who is just trying to do his job and hang out with his mate – Henry Standing Bear.  He is also a man just emerging from mourning the death of his long time wife and missing a daughter who works in Philadelphia.

The reader is drawn effortlessly into his world.  The author skillfully immerses the reader in the rhythms and mores of the West, smoothly integrating history and folklore into the evocative landscape of the Big Horn Mountains.  You can sometimes feel the wind and cold and taste the winter in your mouth as you read.  (Or I could just have a good imagination 🙂 )

Longmire’s small town enforcement duties are suddenly interrupted when a murder forces him to revisit an old case that had left a rather sour taste in his mouth. His search to find the murderer is a compelling story that both unravels a mystery and reflects Longmire’s inner struggles as he seeks to regain control of his life and maybe find a little justice along the way for everyone involved.

But, once you hit the middle of the story however, it does slow down and seems to get bogged in the nitty gritty of life in small outback regional centres.  It is probably amusing if you haven’t experienced this for yourself but for those of us that have, this just felt like padding to make a little time pass before the next break (or shot) in the case.  It did make me want to put the book down and wait until I was in a more suitable mood to want to read all the small town nuances.

However, I’m glad I pushed through with the book. Things really started coming together in the last third, but it’s more the land and the history of the place that brings the edge to the story and the writing. There are some really nice touches that echo the Old West and the supernatural without ever stepping over the line and becoming ‘cheesy’.  And there’s enough action and adventure to finish out the rest of the story nicely.

I highly recommend it to anyone who likes Westerns, Mysteries, well developed characters and language that is written well in the American vernacular.


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Howling Vengeance Giveaway

Hello Everyone!

I am having a giveaway on Goodreads, where I am putting two copies of Howling Vengeance up for grabs.

Just click on the link below to enter.  Good luck to everyone who enters 🙂

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Howling Vengeance by H.M. Clarke

Howling Vengeance

by H.M. Clarke

Giveaway ends April 28, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Howling Vengeance is here!

Howling Vengeance is now available for purchase!

Get it now on Amazon.com at the link below



Cover Reveal

Here is the cover for my new Book – Howling Vengeance.  I have set up a page for this under the tab ‘John McCall Mysteries’

Howling Vengeance Front