Author: Joseph Mark Brewer

Been a newsman since 1979 but a writer long before that. Departed coastal California for the Texas Hill Country. Life is good.

Stories, writing, and Nothing But The Truth

CrookedInterviewImageCROOKED INTERVIEW with Joseph Mark Brewer

BY ANITA KOVACEVIC ON 21/04/2017

This is an author who will draw you into his exotic world of the Shig Sato mysteries with ease and elegance. It gives me great joy to have Joseph Mark Brewer over as my guest today, chatting about his short story Nothing But The Truth in Crooked Tales, as well as his other books.
Author’s bio

From an early age, Joseph Mark Brewer loved travel and learning about the world. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a journalist and spent the next four years on sea duty, serving on ships that would allow him to visit more than 40 cities around the world. His three years based in Japan and subsequent time working as a journalist in Tokyo forms the foundation of an interest in that country that continues today.  

Interview


CrookedCoverWhat is your Crooked tale about and what inspired it?

  1. My Crooked Tales story is a sort of morality tale: neglected kids, broken homes, and witnesses keeping to themselves, for whatever reason.

What do you like writing and/or reading best? 

  1. I like reading best. Reading is the well from which my writing emerges.

What else do you do in life apart from writing?

  1. I work in the news business, and am a historian by nature/inclination. I spend as much time reading history and biography as I do literature, or mysteries, or even writing my own stories.

What are you currently working on?

  1. These days I am writing the next three books in the Shig Sato series, and shaping the outline of another trilogy quite different from Shig.

Crooked Interview – My 5 questions for myself:


What interests do you have besides writing and history? 

I developed an interest in the world and travel at an early age, and was fortunate enough to indulge in that before finishing my university education. I don’t travel as much as I’d like these days, but hope to resume that interest someday soon.

Why did you set your Shig Sato mysteries in Japan?

 I had no notion or interest in Japan until I was stationed there while serving in the U.S. Navy. But I grew to like the country’s art, literature, and music. And living in a culture so different from my own, I found similarities all humans share. I think this gave me confidence to write, and to write about people no matter their background or situation. All human emotion is the same.

How did you come to write a mystery series?

 Again, I surprised myself, in that when I took stock of what I like to read, and what type of story I wanted to write to convey some of my feelings about Japan and its culture, I found that a mystery series suited my purpose. I’ve always been a Sherlock Holmes fan, love Agatha Christy, and am drawn to noir and thriller books and films. I found it intriguiing to create that world to say what I wanted.

You worked as a journalist in the Navy. Did that influence your writing? 

 I think it helped me decide that that I could earning a living in the news business and learn how to write. I have worked for newspapers for almost 30 years. It’s a great way to learn how to write and edit. 

How is writing a mystery novel the same or different from writing for news media? 

It’s similar in that facts matter, and that a certain logical sequence has to be followed. Answering who, what, when, where, why is a good starting point. The main difference is in length. The challenge in writing a 60,000 word mystery is sustaining the narrative and holding the reader’s interest. Very few news stories, or longer pieces in magazines, are book- length. Learning how to do that was quite an adjustment. 

Joe’s new project is Tokyo Summer, a Shig Sato Novella. It’s a prequel to The Gangster’s Son, the first in his #ShigSato mystery series. ssnovella1

The blurb for Tokyo Summer:

It was classified as an overdose. Or was it?


Setsuko Usami, the wife of a top Bank of Japan economist, is found dead in her bathroom. The police report points to an accidental drug overdose. Government officials want to keep the death under wraps to avoid scandal. But when the toxicology report arrives, it points to murder.


Despite his independent streak and reputation for turning down promotions, the bureaucrats in government and at the Tokyo Police headquarters know there’s only one man for the job: Inspector Shig Sato. He re-opens the case and follows the clues. What he discovers is more shocking than any official can imagine.


Will Sato bend to the will of his superiors and keep the case quiet, or will Sato go the distance to catch a killer?

Because someone just might get away with murder.

MARK FINE’S QUESTIONS for other Crooked Tales authors

Do you find a silver lining in a bad review? If so, please give an example.

— I had one reviewer complain about the mistakes and errors and such, and I went back and had to sheepishly admit to myself that I had missed a lot of small things in the final edit. Let that be a lesson: Even an editor needs an editor.

What percentage of the research you do for a novel actually lands up on the printed page?

— Not much, but the Shig Sato series will eventually be 12 volumes. A lot of what I’m researching now, facts and answers to questions I have, and reviewing things I’d forgotten, will eventually make it into the series.

Do you have an author you admire? If so, why?  

— Patrick O’Brian, the author of the “Master and Commander”  Aubrey/Maturin series. What he created — the British Royal Navy during the time of the Napoleonic Wars — and the characters, settings, adventures, plot twists, naval engagement, world travel, history, natural science; it’s simply a masterpiece. I found myself rereading the series five times, and realized about the third time through that what I was doing was learning how to write a series from him. I regard that series as the how-to for anyone who wants to write a series, regardless of genre.  

Question for authors from Joe Brewer:

Who is your favorite story or character or author  from literature – any genre-  Why?

Does that story/character/author help you in your writing process?

Tokyo Summer is available at Amazon. All you have to do is click here.

For your copy of Crooked Tales, click here.

You can find Joe’s other books here.

The INFP Writing Personality: Elegant Persuasion

Write with Personality

Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential
to give something back.
—Diana, Princess of Wales

Have you ever wondered whether your personality affects your writing style?

If you’re an INFP writer, chances are, the answer is yes.  INFPs have a natural aptitude for writing. In exploring this solitary pursuit, you can communicate your deeply held values and experiment with elegant, inventive uses of language. But you may find that formal approaches taught in writing classes don’t seem to work for you. Composing an opening paragraph may prove impossible until you’ve fleshed out the major ideas. Developing an outline may turn a pleasurable activity into an intolerable one—and your zest for the topic may wither away. INFPs write best when their imagination is unfettered.

The INFP personality type is one of 16 identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a popular psychometric instrument used to determine how people prefer…

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Bookreview: ‘The Gangster’s Son’ – TuesdayBookBlog

Today, I’m reviewing ‘The Gangster’s Son’ by Joseph Mark Brewer
The Gangster's son

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Facing retirement and weary from caring for his terminally ill wife, Tokyo police Inspector Shig Sato returns to Azabu Police Station and teams up with his old partner, Detective Ken Abe, for his last month with the department. On his first night back, a young waitress at a jazz club is murdered. Her boyfriend, an American Marine, is missing, and the club owner is nowhere to be found. Sato knows that if the American has anything to do with the murder, it could ignite a political and diplomatic firestorm. Sato believes that find the American is his first duty. Then Sato learns that the club owner is the son of prominent crime boss Ses Fujimori. Ties between the Fujimoris and Satos go back a generation. It’s something the inspector cannot escape, especially since he asked Fujimori for help in solving a case early in his career. Fujimori agreed, knowing that Sato would be in his debt. With his son now a murder suspect, what will Fujimori demand in return for his cooperation? What price will Sato pay to bring a young woman’s killer to justice?

Did I like it?

Absolutely. It’s a bit like a cosy mystery. No gore, no descriptive sex. (no sex at all, it’s located in Japan) There are several possibilities for a series (for example: back story is only hinted at, Sato retiring, becoming a PI. Commissioner already mentioned that he might need him in the future). And not to forget I’m kind of Japanophile. “shinnichi” (親日) in Japanese.

What I didn’t like…

That it took me so long to discover it. And I do have a little problem with the piece concerning the super-rich. The possible future client when Sato retires. Link was made via the commissioner. Who could remember that Sato thinks about becoming a PI after his retirement. Super rich reveals that he has links with the Fujimori clan. And then? If it’s a hint to future books then fine for me. If not, then what’s the point of it? It’s a loose thread. Revealing something about Sato’s character?

Would I recommend it?

For sure. A mystery without gore, a bit of police procedure. Interesting characters with a lot of potential for upcoming books. Recommended. And as I said I’m kind of Japanophile. 17 out of 20 points with a tendency of more points

 

To get your copy of The Gangster’s Son, just click here. You’ll get it through Instafreebie, and great site with lots of titles. You won’t regret it!

Source: #Bookreview ‘The Gangster’s Son’ by Joseph Mark Brewer #TuesdayBookBlog

Death in the Night

In The Gangster’s Son, Kimi Yamada is found dead in a Tokyo back alley. The investigation begins – but what about her next of kin? What happens when proud, loving parents find out their child has been murdered? In this chapter, the Yamadas hear the tragic news:

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MYSTERIOUS KNOCKING ENDED Yosh and Miyako Yamada’s summer slumber. Even as they tightened their robes as if to protect themselves from what the two policemen were saying, a slow ballet of shock and grief stirred in their hearts as they tried to comprehend words like “dead” and “Kimi” and “Roppongi” and “a short time ago” and “can you identify the body right away?” Time shifted to a meaningless state, and they took no notice of their actions or their surroundings. The gates of hell had opened beneath them.

Before they realized what they were doing, Kimi Yamada’s parents found themselves driving from their home in the western suburbs through dimly lit, unfamiliar streets, looking for the place where the police said they could find their daughter. Searching kept their minds occupied as an incomprehensible torment squeezed their souls without mercy.

Eventually they found the building they were directed to go to, the building caped in the dark of night, surrounded by harsh streetlights. They parked their modest sedan as close to the shiny glass doors as possible, and it took some time before the couple was aware that a tall man chewing a toothpick was standing by the large glass doors.

As they approached the doors the man opened one and held it open for them as he said, “My name is Kato. I’m a police officer. Please follow me.”

Without saying anything, the Yamadas meekly followed Kato to where the unthinkable would become real.

(more…)

Shig Sato Prequel – Coming April 21

Was it suicide – or murder?

A sick and desperate housewife. Her career bureaucrat husband has a big promotion in his grasp. All she wants is her migraines to stop.

ssnovella1One night, they stop for good.

And the Tokyo police turn Inspector Shig Sato to get to the truth.

But who’s truth? The Bank of Japan wanting to keep a scandal quiet, or following the clues wherever they may lead?

Toky Summer, a Shig Sato novella, is available for pre-order now before its April 21 launch.

Here’s Chapter One

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“It feels like knives behind my eyes.”

Setsuko Usami said it so often her husband seemed deaf to it. She knew that their years together taught her that Taro would not understand it, not even try. Taro Usami’s indifference had become almost as painful as the migraines themselves.

(more…)

Many Thanks!

The Gangster’s Son was published over three years ago as book one in the Shig Sato Mystery series. Set in Tokyo in the 1990s, it features a police inspector, Shig Sato, who is at a crossroads: mandatory retirement and a wife who is terminally ill. Upon his return to Azabu Police Station in the Roppongi Hills district, his old ‘home turf’ – he gets a case that could prove to be his last. The murder of a jazz club waitress forces him to confront a secret he’s held tightly onto for years: he is indebted to a yakuza boss, a man who was once his best childhood friend.

The Gangster’s Son has been downloaded over 4,000 times and has sold in dozen countries. It’s success encouraged me to continue writing the Shig Sato saga – book 2 and book 3 is available at most ebook vendors. But it’s The Gangster’s Son that’s closest to my heart.

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I just want to say thanks for all the support, and that another Shig Sato Mystery will be coming your way later this year.  I’ll keep you posted on all the Shig news coming soon.

Twisted Tales: Meet the Authors – an interview with Geoff Nelder

To paraphrase Forrest Gump (and his momma): “twisted is as twisted does”- so grab your free copy of Twisted Tales, a Readers’ Choice selection of short fiction from Readers’ Circle of Avenue Park. Literary lies, epic yarns – it’s an eclectic collection of stories by authors from around the globe.

In today’s Meet the Authors series I’m delighted to welcome to the blog Geoff Nelder. He was a Geography and Maths teacher who gained his MSc and Fellowship of the Royal Meteorological Society partly for research in weather satellites.

ChaosofMokii (1)     Just recently, Geoff Nelder, wrote an experimental fiction, THE CHAOS OF MOKII, as a short story. In this tale there is a city, Mokii, which only exists in the group consciousness of its inhabitants. Olga sits in a train but her mind is busy bluffing past a figment bouncer and into the glorious gothic yet brilliantly lit city where there’s fun but also trouble. Geoff submitted the short story – it’s only a half hour read – to Solstice Publishing, who loved it so much they published it as an ebook. It was a surreal experience for Geoff to be asked for cover art decisions, acknowledgements and blurb pages for a short story!
It’s out already for only 99 pence or dollar equivalent at http://mybook.to/ChaosOM
 

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In the research of Prime Meridian he stayed a Chingford hotel directly on the Prime Meridian and he spent a day walking that 0 degrees longitude from the northern to southern boundaries of London.

Your story ‘Prime Meridian’ appears in the Readers’ Circle of Avenue Park’s recent anthology Twisted Tales. What made you decide on that story?

Prime Meridian is my favourite story. It is part autobiographical in that the protagonist is a teacher, who is nothing special but has extraordinary things happen to him. In this case a grape-sized micrometeorite hits his house at the same time every day. He has to find out what’s happening before his home is a pile of rubble. For my research I stayed in a hotel in North London right on the prime meridian (the zero line of longitude) and hiked all the way to the southern edge of London all along that line. Readers who don’t embrace science fiction have delighted in discovering that it’s kind of SciFi and yet isn’t. Humour, character-driven threads and novel ideas are woven in. Great fun.

Did you find writing a short story easier or harder to write than what you’ve written in the past?

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Geoff Nelder

Writing is bloody hard work. I belong to Shorts Anonymous and have to confess I’m addicted to writing them, and have been for more decades than everyone else remembers. Novels? Dead easy. I’ve written eight, had six published, some with awards. Over 80 shorts published – each one costing me sweat and swearing. Some won awards and a few still earn me pennies. Novels give you time to develop characters, plot threads, false leads, be languid and live inside the beast. With shorts you have no damn time in, say, 2k to 10k words and yet the reader doesn’t want to feel hurried. Shorts are different animals to novels. I’m so excited, wound up, needy with my love/hate relationship with shorts I co-wrote a book on how to win short story competitions. How bad is that? Take me away!

Who has been an important influence on your journey as a writer?

Not my wife. She couldn’t give a flying fig unless I sneak her into one, but I value life too much. My car-crash journey as a writer has been steered by nutters such as Tibor Fischer with his crazy, marvellous novel, The Thought Gang. His mind for that story conjured the following: Fact 1 Bank robbers get away with it; Fact 2 Bank robbers are dumb; Idea gather a gang of unemployed philosophers to rob banks in France. Brilliant. He inspired my humorous thriller, Escaping Reality.

For shorts, I stumbled into that brilliant writing of A.L.Kennedy, e.g ., her Now That You’re Back. The skill of ALK’s writing is such that I hadn’t noticed until three-quarters through that collection that she hadn’t used any dialogue tags at all. Phrases I wish I’d written: ‘I have temporarily forgotten how to inhale’; ‘Something impatient about the sky.’

Allan Guthrie helped me tighten my writing so much it hurt. He’s the inventor of the article ‘Hunting down the pleonasm,’ agent, editor, writer of hard-nosed crime. Such a gent (get it?) that he suggested I slip my promo bookmarks into his Two-Way Split novel at his Edinburgh book signing.

What’s your next project?

Works in Progress include Xaghra’s Revenge—a historical fantasy based on the true event in 1551 when everyone on the island of Gozo were abducted by pirates. The ill and old were thrown overboard, the rest sold into slavery. Those souls are crying out for revenge. Yes?

Scoot is a series of illustrated stories for infants. He, his dog and friends, crash into surreal adventures inspired by my own grandkids. Something they can take into school to show off their author granddad rather than my scurrilous books for grownups.

I also write non-fiction. Articles for cycling magazines based on my longer journeys and odd ones such as one I’m dong now—cycling along the top of Offa’s Dyke.

Please share a little more of your writing background.

Dad illustrated a science fiction magazine and as a joke talked mum into having kids. I inherited his SOH and both their affection for science fiction. I wrote comedy sketches for my school players and was an editor and contributor to Sheffield university rag mag, sold for charity. I still see my awful gags around the web today for which I apologise.

A science fiction was my first novel, written (badly) while I was a teacher. Michael Crichton read it at Bloomsbury and it was praised then fell at the final committee fence. Gutted, I didn’t write another thing for hours. Later, I worked for the small publisher, BeWrite Books and became an editor at Adventure Books of Seattle. I still make more dosh editing other people’s stories than from my own but hey ho, it’s all creative writing.

Where can readers reach you?

Heck, I don’t want them to reach me. Have you any idea how often I’ve had to move house to get away from fans? Me neither. However, if they insist:

How to Win Short Story Competitions by Geoff Nelder & Dave Haslett Kindle http://hyperurl.co/283u9s

Geoff’s UK Amazon author page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

And for US readers http://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

Geoff facebooks at http://www.facebook.com/AriaTrilogy and tweets at @geoffnelder

http://nelderaria.wikia.com/wiki/NelderAria_Wiki

Geoff’s website http://geoffnelder.com

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Stay tuned for more Meet the Author interviews. If you like what you read in Twisted Tales you’re invited to leave a review on Amazon. Thanks!

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cropped-cropped-fbcoverthisishow.jpgJoseph Mark Brewer writes the Shig Sato mysteries. Mix up some Holmes, Poirot, and Japan Noir and you have a new series set in the heart of Tokyo. Click for your copy of The Gangster’s SonThe Thief’s Mistake , or Traitors & Lies – and to read how it all began, download my prequel novella Tokyo Summer at josephmarkbrewer.com