Overhaulin’

Website needed a fix, and I am currently fixin’.

Talisman -coming soon

Not entirely sure how long this is going to take, but until then, here’s a “cover reveal” for the free Maratse “origins” short story: Talisman. It will be available free via sign up for the newsletter – all part of the overhaul, and available on paperback.

Talisman is set on Greenland’s east coast, and tells the story of how, when and perhaps even why Maratse joined the Greenland Police. Oh, and a talisman is involved.

Interested readers might like to know that I discovered the “talisman” on the cover in a hunter’s cabin I visited during a month-long solo kayak expedition in Greenland.

I won’t forget that cabin in a hurry.

There’s a bigger version of the cover on the page for Maratse’s stories.

Giving Back to Greenland

 

It’s no secret, I write about Greenland, and as a full-time writer I make a modest living from my Greenland stories. So, it’s time to give something back. Starting in January 2019, I’m going to give 100% of my royalties for the sale of my novella The Heart that was a Wild Garden, including paperbacks and eBooks (and audio when I get that far), to charity.

Why and to whom?

The why is really easy. I draw on a lot of my own personal experiences from when I lived and worked in Greenland, and I try to incorporate the culture and traditions of an amazing people living in an amazing country in my stories. Greenland is out-of-this-world interesting, and, if you ask me, Greenlanders are some of the most amazing people in the world. I worked with many incredible Greenlanders, and I worked with even more incredible Greenlandic children, teens, and young men and women, in schools, at A-level college, and at the Police Academy in Nuuk.

Sawing blocks of snow in Qaanaaq, Greenland, app. 800 miles from the North Pole.

As a teacher living and working in small, remote communities – and even in the capital city – you discover the importance of education very quickly, especially when many traditional ways of living and working, such as hunting and fishing in the north and east, are under threat from climate change and globalisation. Graduating from school, and learning a trade or studying subjects at a higher level can make all the difference. Which is why I want to support the Association for Greenlandic Children (website in Greenlandic and Danish, only).

As mentioned above, the who is the Association for Greenlandic Children. They work hard to ensure that children in Greenland grow up in a safe environment. Furthermore, the association support children and young Greenlanders through school and into further education. According to the association’s website, there are just under 56,000 people living in Greenland, and roughly 15,000 of them are children aged 0-18. While there are many strong, well-functioning families in Greenland, there are also many others who struggle and need help to cope with the challenges of daily life. Often, as in many countries, it is the children who face the greatest challenges in life. The Association for Greenlandic Children does what it can to help children in Greenland, and in Denmark, through summer camps and outreach family support services, to name but a few of their programmes. There are lots of Greenlanders living in Denmark, and the challenges facing those families can be, in some ways, even more difficult due to cultural differences and the challenges associated with language.

The igloo is on the beach close to the “sea”. Herbert Island is in the distance.

The main character in The Heart that was a Wild Garden is a young girl, and Constable David Maratse finds himself in a parental role, all of a sudden. It’s a challenge for him, to say the least. But I have no sympathy. 🙂 As a teacher, with no kids of my own, I received a baptism of fire (or was it ice?) in Greenland, working with the most amazing kids I have ever met, and am likely to ever meet. I used to describe my job as if I was a paratrooper – parachuting into a community (I did arrive by helicopter), and teaching your way out. So, when I gave Maratse the task of looking after nine-year-old Iiluuna, I had to chuckle every time she surprised and confounded him. I left Maratse scratching his head in despair a few times, as I often did.

The temperature in our “classroom” is about -20 degrees Celsius.

I suppose the purpose of my books, besides entertainment, is to share something of what I learned and love about Greenland and the Greenlandic people. I hope you, dear reader, enjoy my books, and I look forward to giving something back to the kids that truly shaped my years as a teacher, and as a human being. It is possible to support the Association for Greenlandic Children directly via this link to their donation page, or you can buy The Heart that was a Wild Garden from Amazon (and other stores from January, 2019).

The Association for Greenlandic Children also has a Facebook page. Check it out for fun photos and video, and give them a “like” while you’re there. The page is in Greenlandic and Danish, but likes are universal!

If Jack London wrote Arctic Crime Stories

Constable David Maratse debuted in The Ice Star, rocked the Scandinavian (Amazon) charts in Seven Graves, One Winter, but I really got to know him through his early adventures as a Police Constable in Greenland. Compared to Jack London stories by one Goodreads reader, Maratse’s short stories include themes that are current and relevant in Greenland, and are drawn from my own experiences when I lived and worked in remote towns, villages and settlements on the west coast and in the far north of Greenland.

These are very personal stories. They are fiction, but there is a lot of truth between the pages; some of it is difficult to think about, but important to remember. I used to blog (private for family only) about my time in Greenland – the good, the bad, and the out-of-this-world-once-in-a-million experiences. Shoveling my own experiences into Maratse’s past brings Greenland that bit closer, and allows me to explore the country, and revisit the people that shaped me during a very intense seven years.

At the same time, they are tons of fun to write, and I am very fond of Constable David Maratse. So, I am excited to say that there will be more short stories set in Greenland coming next year, 2019.

Here’s the reading order if you, like certain members of my family, are losing track:

  1. Katabatic
  2. Container
  3. Tupilaq
  4. The Last Flight
  5. The Heart that was a Wild Garden
  6. Qivittoq (2019)
  7. The Thunder Spirits (2019)
  8. Iluliaq (2019)

followed by the novels

  1. Seven Graves, One Winter
  2. Blood Floe
  3. We Shall Be Monsters
  4. Untitled WIP
  5. Untitled WIP
  6. Untitled WIP

Monster Paperback

This has taken an age, but The Greenland Trilogy is finally in paperback with a whopping 632 pages. #loveit

There are several polar bear sequences in the story, and it makes sense – for me – to link to another Nanook song about the polar bear, and a shaman taking on polar bear form. Greenland is rich with shamanic culture and tradition, so, naturally, book three my trilogy is called The Shaman’s House.

The Greenland Trilogy is available in paperback and ebook from Amazon USA, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find out more about Nanook on their Facebook page.

Monsters in My House

I just reread one of the chase scenes in We Shall Be Monsters. What I love about writing the Greenland Crime series is the chance to work some personal Easter Eggs into the story, and to build upon really local knowledge. I like to include action sequences in my books and I really enjoyed wrting the scene that occurs in the house Jane and I lived in during the four years we lived on the island of Uummannaq – see amazing photo above from Imgur.

Damn, I miss Greenland. But spending time with Constable Maratse and the rest of the cast of We Shall Be Monsters makes the longing that bit more bearable. I spent seven years in total in Greenland, but the four in Uummannaq were perhaps the most formative.

We Shall Be Monsters is the third book in the Greenland Crime series featuring Constable David Maratse. It is availble for pre-order on Amazon US, UK, Canada and Australia, and is scheduled for release on November 29 this year.

Just in time for Christmas.

Here’s some more Uummannaq!

The Holidays are Murder!

Forget hygge, this Christmas is going to be murder!

The Scandinavians and Greenlanders love their Christmas Advent Calendars. In Denmark every December, the Danish television companies – at least two of them – usually produce a new Christmas Calendar with twenty-four episodes, up to and including the conclusion on Christmas Eve, the night Scandinavians and Greenlanders celebrate Christmas. The usual premise is that Christmas is under threat, it might even be cancelled, and the viewers won’t know for sure until the very last episode. Nisse – Christmas Elves – are usually involved.

One of the best and most loved Danish Christmas Calendars is Nissebanden i Grønland from 1989 (link to Danish Wikipedia site). This is a particular favourite of mine as it is set in Uummannaq, in Greenland, where I lived and worked for four years. Funnily enough, Uummannaq is where the majority of my Greenland Crime and Arctic Thrillers are set.

Funny that, eh?

Nissebanden is a kids Christmas story. It’s a lot of fun.

Greenland runs the Danish Christmas Calendars on TV, but Greenlandic production studios have also produced their own, including Ammartagaq from Deluxus Studios. I was fortunate to work with the actress, Maria, when I lived in Nuuk. Here’s a teaser from 2010.

Side note, Deluxus Studios also produced the video for one of the best bands ever, not just in Greenland: Nanook.

The idea of writing a Christmas Calendar has been bubbling away for a bit, but, given what I write, my own Christmas Calendar has to be a lot darker, a Dark Advent if you will.

So, even though Christmas is, thankfully, way off yet, I just thought you might be interested to know that The Calendar Man will be available from December 1st, the idea being that you can read it one chapter a day all the way up to and including Christmas Eve.

Of course, you can be daring and wait until the very last day and read it in one sitting if you like. It is a “regular” book after all.

Here’s the big picture before the obligatory links to the special pre-order kindle price. However, don’t miss the “extra” bit of news after that.

Here’s the “blurb” for The Calendar Man:

When a ritual murder is linked to a long-forgotten case, Greenland Police Commissioner Petra Jensen is forced out of retirement to catch a killer seeking revenge.

Following a period of compassionate leave, Petra Piitalaat Jensen has chosen early retirement to work through the grief surrounding the loss of her partner. But when the frozen body of a young man is discovered on the eve of a referendum that will decide the future of Greenland, Greenland’s First Minister urges Petra to forgo retirement and investigate the case.

As the people of Nuuk lock their doors, and the voting booths are empty, Petra stretches the limited resources of the department and orders more police onto the streets in a desperate hunt for a killer determined to make this Christmas one to remember.

Set in Greenland, “The Calendar Man” twists Greenlandic politics, traditions and myths into a dark tale set in the darkest month of the year, in a frighteningly imaginable future.

“The Calendar Man” is set many years after the events in the Greenland Crime series, but features several of the characters introduced in those books.

The Calendar Man is scheduled for release on December 1st.

Available at a special pre-order kindle price from Amazon

USAUKCanada and Australia

But wait, there’s more!

One of the scariest Christmas traditions in Greenland occurs on the twelfth night, January 6th, when people with masks and sticks run through the streets and chase people. So, it makes perfect sense, for me anyway, that The Calendar Man is followed by The Twelfth Night, scheduled for release on – you guessed it – January 6th. I’ll post more information about that book later.

So I’ll be rounding off 2018 with a couple of chilling Greenland Crime books – perfect for dark evenings with a candle, a blanket and something sharp – just in case.

Yep, this is dark hygge at its best!

P.S. if you like the original iceberg photos on the covers, be sure to check out Annie Spratt’s website for more incredible photography!

Wolf Summer!

After 199 years, the wolf has returned to Denmark. Big wolves, similar in size to Timber Wolves, cross the border from Germany. The first was spotted back in 2012, which was interesting, as I was living way north – practically in white wolf country – in Qaanaaq, at the top of Greenland. I did live in polar bear country, and bought a shotgun at the supermarket – as you do – at the suggestion of a local hunter. The area around Qaanaaq is a denning area for bears. But, despite bears coming in the night, I didn’t see one, and no wolves in the two years I lived there. But, wolves were in Denmark, and it made the move back a little more palatable.

The Danish nature was/is rewilding.

But wolves have a habit of stirring up trouble, regardless of statistics, and that got me wondering. The idea of Paint the Devil was born, and as the debate really kicked off earlier this year, the book started to write itself.

There are always two sides to a story, but Paint the Devil has a third – the story of the wolves, something the main character: wildlife biologist Jon Østergård has to take into consideration as he navigates through the heated debates and opinions dividing the community of Thyrup, a small (fictive) village on Denmark’s west coast.

So, without further ado, here’s the blurb, the links, and the cover for Paint the Devil, available for pre-order and scheduled for release in October.

As the wolf debate heats up during Denmark’s hottest and driest summer on record, wildlife biologist Jon Østergård and his teenage daughter relocate to the West Jutland village of Thyrup, to study problem wolves in a community divided by fear, belief, opinions and violence.

Jon quickly discovers that his experience of wolves in Greenland means nothing in a farming community fighting to have their voice heard in an increasingly divisive national debate.

Pressed by politicians demanding an objective report on one side, and locals on the other, Jon risks losing his way as the debate turns ugly, and his daughter is drawn into a family convinced that extreme action is necessary to protect their livelihood. 

Sporadic wildfires flare up in the surrounding countryside, and the flames force a small pack of wolves closer and closer to the village.

Available from Amazon

USAUKCanada and Australia

Seaweed & Secrets

Seven Graves One Winter is set in the settlement of Inussuk on the west coast of Greenland. Inussuk doesn’t exist, but the strange pieces of art shaped and crafted from seaweed, bones, skulls, pebbles, and sinew do, or at least they did when I visited “Inussuk” in 2010. 

As I write in the book, it wouldn’t take much of a detective to locate the real Inussuk on the map in Uummannaq fjord, but I like the fact that the location of the settlement is a little mysterious, hidden for a while. But I will never forget the people I met, the sound of the surf breaking on the black sand beach, and the fin whales passing by as I was treated to coffee in the artist’s house.

All the characters in my books about Greenland are fictitious, but each of them share a common grounding in Greenland, the country, and its people.

The Heart that was a Wild Garden

I’m having fun with this one – imagining Constable David Maratse as a parent. There’s a lot of sadness and hope in The Heart that was a Wild Garden, it even starts with a funeral. But the themes are relevant, and, without giving too much away, I’ve experienced elements of this story in Greenland, to varying degrees.

The Heart that was a Wild Garden is available from Amazon for pre-order, and is due for release in October. It is the 5th in the series of Greenland short stories featuring Maratse, but it is set way into the future.

You can find it here:

USAUKCanada, and Australia

And get the bigger picture here: