Monday, 22 October 2018

ONE STORY OUT OF A MILLION

The other day I was doing research on the Internet when I came across the obituary of a man named William Witherspoon of Dayton, Ohio, who passed away in Holiday, Florida on July 6, 2009 at the age of 61.

A funeral home in Dayton posted condolence messages on their website, and I was particularly struck by one posted by a man who wrote about having worked with "Spoon" for ten years at a warehouse where his co-worker unloaded trucks, stocked shelves, and made deliveries.

"You always knew when Spoon was working," he wrote, "you could hear his singing ringing through the rafters."

Last weekend I attended the semiannual vinyl record show in Ottawa, and as usual I kept an eye out for records I've never seen before. I took a flyer on Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble by a band called Melting Pot. It had a small scuff on it and I almost put it back in the bin, but at $2.50 I changed my mind and added it to my little pile.

Part of the fun after bringing them home is to hit the Internet to see what I can find out about these relatively unknown bands. I learned that Fire Burn was recorded in 1971 at Capricorn Studios in Macon Georgia, which was at the time a hotbed of southern rock. It looks like the only one ever cut by this group, who were more along the lines of Blood, Sweat and Tears and Chicago than the Allman Brothers.

Trying to trace the individual band members was a little difficult. Keyboard player Dick Gentile was one of the primary songwriters for the album, but he didn't come up in any searches. The same results for Howie McGurty (sax & trumpet), Steve Nichols (trombone - later a bandleader?), Mickey Smith (guitar), and Joe Rudd (guitar).

Bass player Kenny Tibbetts, however, was a fixture for several years as a studio musician. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 73 in Indianapolis. According to his obituary, he recorded and toured with Greg Allman, Dickie Betts, and Roy Buchanan, among others, drawing on southern rock connections no doubt made through Capricorn. After leaving the music business in the late 1970s, he worked in printing. Whoever wrote his obit proudly pointed out that he was known for being able to chord on his bass while simultaneously playing keyboards, which he apparently did while Melting Pot was recording the track "Feeling Alright."

Finally, there was sax player and vocalist Bill Witherspoon.

As the Reverend Curtis Lynn of Clearwater, FL wrote in his condolence message on William Witherspoon's death notice back in Dayton, "Little did I know that the Sax player at Countryside Church 3 miles from my house here in Clearwater was the same Bill Witherspoon (spoon we called him) ..."

Life, my friends, is a very strange and wonderful trip. Sing on, Spoon, and may your voice always ring loud and clear in the rafters.









Monday, 8 October 2018

Q & A: THE GHOST MAN


It's October and Hallowe'en is approaching, so our attention is inevitably turning to the supernatural. We thought it might be fun to do a short question-and-answer session with our mascot here at the Plaid Raccoon Press regarding The Ghost Man.

The Raccoon: The Ghost Man was your first novel. Where did you get the idea for it?


A: After leaving the public service to write full time, I spent almost a year researching my family history. The McCanns emigrated from Ireland in the early 1840s and settled in North Crosby Township, near Westport, Ontario. After a year I'd accumulated quite a bit of information not only about my family but the township in general, and I wanted to do something with it. I considered writing a local history, but my son, who was into the paranormal at the time, suggested I write a ghost story. So I did.

The Raccoon: Where was it published?

A: The novel was originally published by a small press in Alberta in May, 2009. I though my dreams of being a published author had come true, and didn't realize that the responsibility for marketing the book lay entirely on my own shoulders. Thankfully it was a short-term contract, and when it expired I re-acquired the rights and published it through our Plaid Raccoon imprint on February 13, 2013 -- 2/13/13. The significance of the date didn't strike me until later. Serendipity!

The Raccoon: Tell us about the main characters, Simon Guthrie and Dr. Doris Fowler.

A: Neither character is based on anyone in particular, which I suppose is a bit of an accomplishment for a first novel. I was an avid foodie at the time, and the idea of working with a protagonist who is a former celebrity chef really appealed. Simon's sudden descent from fame, his long recovery from injury, the near-death experience, and his subsequent encounters with earthbound ghosts of the dead all struck me as a fascinating combination.

As for Doris, I wanted a character opposite Simon who is equally accomplished in her own field--Canadian history--but lacks Simon's natural affability and self-confidence. As an academic she's naturally predisposed to look for rational, material answers to the phenomena Simon claims to be experiencing, and when she begins to experience them as well the shift from rationalization to fear and profound sadness brings out a side of her character previously hidden, particularly from herself.

The Raccoon: Why the cover change?

A: The cover of the original 2009 edition used a photograph taken by my son. Unfortunately he hated it, so after repatriating the novel I designed a new one. It's now five years old, and I've never been completely satisfied with it, so I thought it was time for a fresh look.

The Raccoon: How do you feel about the novel now, nine years later?

A: I'm a writer, so of course there's stuff I'd like to go back and change. But I won't, because on the whole I really like the story and the characters. The best part is that people still come up to me and talk about how much they enjoyed reading it. If they liked it that much, then that's good enough for me.

The Ghost Man is available from Amazon hereIt's also available from Kobo, Barnes and Noble for Nook, and iTunes

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

IT'S OCTOBER -- TIME FOR A GHOST MAN MAKEOVER!

It's October, which means that Hallowe'en is right around the corner. Time for tricks, treats and scary stories.

With that in mind, we've given The Ghost Man, my first novel, a little face lift in the spirit of the season.

As you can see, we've changed the cover to a new image, courtesy of LoweStock/Thinkstock. The revamped design brings the look and feel of the novel somewhat more in line with my other publications.

The story itself remains entirely unchanged, with only front and back matter adjusted to reflect the new image credit and an updated list of my other novels. (The paperback edition will migrate to the new cover in the near future.)

It's still scary, still thrilling, and still a real good Hallowe'en read!

The Ghost Man is available for Amazon Kindle HERE.
Also available from Kobo, Barnes and Noble for Nook, and iTunes.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY FOR PERSISTENT GUILT


For the next month, PERSISTENT GUILT, the third March and Walker Crime Novel, is being featured as a special giveaway through Goodreads, the world's largest online site for readers and book recommendations.

An unbelievable 100 Kindle copies of the novel are available to residents of the USA who follow the link below to enter the giveaway.

Don't miss your chance to read outstanding Canadian crime fiction for free! And remember, if you're one of the lucky recipients and you enjoy reading PERSISTENT GUILT, please leave a review to encourage others to try the March and Walker series as well.

Best of luck to everyone who enters!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Persistent Guilt by Michael J.  McCann

Persistent Guilt

by Michael J. McCann

Giveaway ends September 19, 2018.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Sunday, 12 August 2018

LAUNCH DAY FOR PERSISTENT GUILT!

On behalf of the Plaid Raccoon Press I'm very pleased to announce that PERSISTENT GUILT, the third March and Walker Crime Novel, is now available for purchase.

As Detective Constable Kevin Walker and the Leeds County Crime Unit investigate the murder of a young woman whose body was found on the picturesque Thousand Islands Parkway, Detective Inspector Ellie March takes up the investigation of the mayor of a nearby city who's accused of criminal wrongdoing. When the cases threaten to intersect, March and Walker must decide which path will ultimately lead them to the truth.

PERSISTENT GUILT follows the Ontario Provincial Police homicide investigators first featured in SORROW LAKE, a finalist for the 2015 Hammett Prize for best crime novel in North America, and BURN COUNTRY, the second novel in the series.

PERSISTENT GUILT may be ordered in paperback through your local independent bookstore from the worldwide Ingram Book catalog. We encourage you to support your local bookstore.

It may also be ordered in paperback online from Amazon:

US: https://www.amazon.com/Persistent-Guilt-March-Walker-Crime/dp/1927884136/
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Persistent-Guilt-March-Walker-Crime/dp/1927884136/
Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Persistent-Guilt-March-Walker-Crime/dp/1927884136/

In eBook format, it's available from:

Amazon for Kindle:   https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G8L623Z/
or from Kobo for ePub devices*: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/persistent-guilt

Please remember, if you enjoy PERSISTENT GUILT, leave a review where you bought the novel so that other readers may be encouraged to give it a try as well. Thanks for your support!


Here's a helpful post on buying ePub books for your Apple device, including the iPad, iPhone, etc.: https://www.kobo.com/help/en-US/article/1962/buying-kobo-ebooks-and-magazines-on-your-apple-device?products=apple. Note that ePub book files may also be read on the Nook, the Sony reader, and Android devices.


Tuesday, 31 July 2018

PERSISTENT GUILT NOW IN PRODUCTION

I'm very pleased to be able to announce that PERSISTENT GUILT, the third installment in the March and Walker Crime Novel series, is now in production. The scheduled release date is August 3, 2018.

PERSISTENT GUILT is a police procedural featuring homicide investigators of the Ontario Provincial Police. The series is set in Leeds County, Ontario, which is located on the St. Lawrence Seaway corridor between Toronto and Montreal.

On a cold morning in late April, a man and his dog discover the nude body of a young woman in the ditch alongside the picturesque Thousand Islands Parkway in Leeds County. The woman was stabbed repeatedly before being dumped.

Detective Constable Kevin Walker of the Ontario Provincial Police discovers that the victim worked for a high school acquaintance of his. Kyle Baldwin now runs a charity that raises funds for mobile medical clinics in Kenya, but he had a brief affair with the victim several years ago that ended badly.

At the same time, Detective Inspector Ellie March is investigating the mayor of the nearby city of Brockville for alleged criminal wrongdoing. With two cases to manage, she and Kevin Walker must determine if the mayor is somehow connected to a wider circle of crime or if Kevin's acquaintance murdered his ex-lover in a fit of jealous rage.

Write it down in your notebook, folks. Ellie March and Kevin Walker are back!


Friday, 27 July 2018

THE DONAGHUE AND STAINER BOX SET

Many readers know my work through the March and Walker Crime Novel series, thanks in part to SORROW LAKE and its nomination for the 2015 Hammett Prize, and the second novel in the series, BURN COUNTRY.

Some of you may not have had a chance to read the police procedural series that preceded March and Walker. With that in mind, I'm offering THE DONAGHUE AND STAINER BOX SET this weekend at a ridiculously special price of only 99 cents.

The Donaghue and Stainer series, set in Maryland and Virginia, includes four novels to date: BLOOD PASSAGE, MARCIE'S MURDER, THE FREGOLI DELUSION, and THE RAINY DAY KILLER. The fourth in the series, RDK, was a semi-finalist for the 2014 Arthur Ellis Award for best crime novel in Canada.

Want to see where it all began? You can find the box set in eBook format for your Amazon Kindle here: https://www.amazon.com/Donaghue-Stainer-Four-Novel-Crime-Novel-ebook/dp/B00V0WCPGO/

If your e-reader uses ePub files (iPad, iPhone, Kobo, Sony, Nook etc.) you can purchase the box set from Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/donaghue-and-stainer

Homicide Lieutenant Hank Donaghue and Detective Karen Stainer are special characters I know you'll enjoy. At this price, you can't go wrong if you love crime fiction!