Category Archives: Murder at the End of the World

The Allison Newberry Mysteries

What is this series about?

When I decided to start writing a mystery [before that I had written science fiction and fantasy almost exclusively], I wanted to write about murders that were a bit different from the norm. The idea was to set up situations and cases that other detectives didn’t necessarily want to deal with, either because of their sensitive nature or because of their perceived complexity.

So, the case would fall to one detective in particular: Allison Newberry, a junior detective who is given the case in the first novel because no one else wanted it. And rather than just a standard investigation into a case, finding clues, piecing together clues, and then making an arrest, I wanted to have the investigation uncover something even more sinister and dangerous than the original murder.

Who is Allison Newberry?

My two biggest inspirations for writing in the mystery genre are Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Having said that, I don’t really consider Allison to fit in the mold of the neurotic detective who notices little details or makes connections that no one else notices. She’s also not an action hero who goes in with two guns blazing. I wanted to build a character who isn’t necessarily the greatest detective in the world, but makes up for a lack of experience with a deep-seated tenacity that makes her willing to see any case through to its end, regardless of how dangerous her situation becomes.

With all my characters, I’ve striven to keep them gray, rather than strictly black and white. There are no great heroes, there are no happy endings with all the loose ends neatly tied up into a bow. I’ve always kind of disliked the ending where all the good guys win and all the bad guys lose, everyone goes home happy. That thinking permeates my writing. So, to tie back into Allison Newberry, she’s not a hero who returns from her cases to bask in glory, but rather someone who strongly believes those who perpetrate the crime of murder should be brought in to answer for their actions.

What’s the world like?

Having been inspired by Poirot and Holmes, I wanted to use a similar setting [late-Victorian England]. However, as I mentioned earlier, I come from a background of fantasy and science fiction, so I decided to build my stories around a custom-made world.

Using a “fantasy” world, however, is a double-edge sword. On the one hand, I’m not constricted by reality, I can build my world however I want to and do whatever I want with it. On the other hand, it loses that connection to the real world and some people might be put off by that. Nevertheless, this is how I’d like to write my stories, since I can do things that a historical setting wouldn’t allow me to do.

The world is heavily inspired by Victorian England, all the way down to many of the terms used. The level of technology is roughly somewhere between late-19 century and early-20th century, with the industrial revolution kicking into full swing, the prevalence of flint-lock weapons, and a continued reliance on horses that is slowly giving way to steam-powered transportation. It does contain a few elements of steampunk, but they’re definitely not steampunk stories. I’ve drawn a few ideas from that subgenre and used them in my stories, but they’re not about cramming in every steampunk element I could find and then hoping that it somehow results in an interesting story. I’ve tried to use them judiciously and in ways that make sense for each story.


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Weekly Goals for 10/01

A new set of goals:

-Start writing the sequel to Murder at the End of the World in earnest.

I’d like to get at least 15,000 words [roughly 60 pages] written this week. That may seem a bit steep, but it’s certainly within the realm of what I can write in five day’s time if I set my mind to it and have few distractions. I’ve already written the first few chapters and have laid a lot of groundwork for the plot and how the mystery will go from beginning to end. I’ll leave things at that for now, but I plan on talking in more detail on the sequel throughout this week and next.

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Paperback of “Murder” Second Edition is Ready!

Got the proof in the mail today and it looks great! The map is just a little bit fuzzy, but it’s more than clear enough to be legible. Overall, I am very happy with how this all turned out. The story and writing are better, the book itself is much more professional looking [with the map in front and page numbers on each page]. I was able to take all the little things I’ve learned over the past 8 months are put together a really nice second edition. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

Link to paperback version:

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Proof for “Murder” Second Edition Ordered!

I put together the paperback version of Murder at the End of the World through CreateSpace and it all looks good so far. Getting the map just right was a little tough, but I think it’s going to turn out to be a nice little addition and give some clarity to how all the locations in the city relate to one another.

I’m really happy in general with how the second edition has turned out. I’ve made some changes and added some content here and there, really punched things up considerably. Really, I wish I would have thought of these things back in February! But that’s the writing process, you can keep changing and keep adding until you’re blue in the face. The story as it is now, however, is how it will remain. So don’t look forward to a third edition, instead look forward to the sequel!

Hopefully, I can have the paperback version ready for sale before the end of the month, but that all depends on how long it takes to get the proof and review it.

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Weekly Report for 9/21

This week my goal was to finish up the second edition of Murder at the End of the World. Well, that didn’t quite happen. I still need a few more days to get everything done that needs getting done, but I’m definitely very close to the end. Everything’s been improved, the writing’s sharper, and I’ve added a few new scenes that really flesh out the narrative and the mystery. I’ve also got the map of Illdara ready to go in the paperback release, which should be a nice little bonus. Nothing massive has been changed, but overall I think it’s ended up being a much better novel. Will there be any more changes after this? Probably not.

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Weekly Goals for 9/17

Goals for the new week:

-Figure out a way to get my map of Illdara into the paperback version of Murder at the End of the World

-Finish up the second edition of Murder at the End of the World and get it released

The first goal proved to be a lot trickier than I initially thought it would. First off, I had to completely redraw the map using a mouse and trying to get it to look as close as possible to the one I drew up before I started writing the book. Not that easy. Ultimately, it looks slightly different, but all the information is virtually the same, so it’ll definitely work the way I want it to. Next was trying to get the size right so that it will fit in the document file that I have to upload to Create Space. Probably took me a good 2-3 hours in all, but I think it’s going to work.

Writing on the second edition of Murder at the End of the World is coming along well. I added a bit more to it today and although it wasn’t a huge addition, I added a few bits that tie in really nicely to the last couple of chapters and flesh out the whole mystery/investigation.


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Progress Report for 9/14

I finally got Deadeye finished up this week and out in paperback, which was very nice. I’m certainly not going to say that I didn’t like the story [because that would be silly in any number of ways], but I’ve spent so much time working on it this year and in the past couple of years that it got to the point where I was really tired of reading through it again. Being conservative, I’ve probably read through it at least a dozen times. It’s nice to finally be able to move on to something else! But I am satisfied with how it turned out and I hope you will be, too.

The second edition of Murder at the End of the World is still coming along. I’ve found that there were far more little errors and mistakes than I thought could possible be left. How does this happen?! Anyway, I fixed them all and I’ve done some tweaking and fixing and adding elsewhere, too. I’m also going to play around with adding the map I drew up into the paperback version. It will require a bit of work, but it shouldn’t be anything that I can’t handle.

Another week in the books.

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