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May, 2013:

Early Praise for ‘Rum Luck’

Ben Cooper awoke in a Costa Rican prison cell to discover he had bought a bar on the beach – and been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Rum Luck is  an exciting and hilarious thrill ride set in the beautiful, rough-and-tumble surf town of Tamarindo, Costa Rica. It is also the debut mystery novel of crime writer Ryan Aldred.

Although draft copies have only been made available to a very limited audience, Rum Luck  has already received strong feedback from its readers.

“Aldred has the touch. This novel is magical and works on so many levels.” – Garry Ryan, Author of the Detective Lane Mysteries

“Let me introduce Ryan. Up and coming crime writer…”  -Vicki Delany, Author of the Smith and Winters Series and the Gold Rush Series

“Excellent book, beginning of what I think will be a long career of Aldred.” – Sheri Robinson

“I read for the escape and fun… ‘Rum Luck’ offers both.” – Janet

“Excellent read… I’m eagerly awaiting the gang’s next adventure.” – Sebastian

Rum Luck is the first book in the Bar on a Beach Mystery series.

Home Stretch

Feedback from the peer edits is in. It’s time for the final push on the ‘Death in a Bottle’ edits. By early next week, I’ll be sending out the first of the query letters to agents. It’s an exciting time – the project has never felt as real as it does now.

I’d like to extend a huge thank-you to everyone who took the time to review the novel and share your thoughts. Andrea, Janet, Sheri, Seb, Graham and Garry. When I first asked for help with the review, I had no idea that so many would be interested in reviewing the novel. After I sent out the dozenth copy, I started to wonder whether I hadn’t made some sort of horrible mistake – that I was essentially asking for my novel to be edited by committee.

But as feedback arrived, I soon realized that this kind of peer review was exactly what I needed. Comments like “awesome”, “excellent”, and “magical” reaffirmed that the plot, characters and setting were still on the rails, while your solid constructive criticism will help ensure the novel is polished to a high sheen in the days to come.

I would like to give special thanks to Andrea, Graham and Garry for taking the time to perform a full copy edit on the work. I had reached point where my eyes simply don’t see the errors any more, and was debating sending ‘Death in a Bottle’ out for a professional copy edit until your feedback came in. Your edits have saved me a huge amount of time and money, for which I am very grateful.

For those of you who still have a copy that you were planning to review this week or next, please do continue reading and send over your feedback when available. I expect it will take weeks before an interested agent requests pages, so I will continue making modest changes after the initial letters go out.

Back to the word mines. Wish me luck.

Canada Writes – Lawmakers and Lawbreakers Challenge

I had the pleasure of taking part in the CBC Canada Writes Lawmakers and Lawbreakers Challenge yesterday, in which writers were asked to prepare their best description of a sleuth or villain in 140 characters or fewer.

Here is a selection of my favourite entries:



Jackson rose on unsteady feet, port sloshing in his glass. “To absent friends and fallen officers,” he said, eyes bleary.

Litz yawned. His breath tasted of stale coffee and sweetener, with a hint of the Highland malt he kept beneath his cold files.

Jack opened his locker and found it full of silver spoons. There was even a photo of a spoon taped to the door. “Ha ha, guys.”



She smiled. “What you smell now is air mixed with magnesium dust. One spark, and both us are little more than red mist.”

A lone drop of blood slid down the blade of the gleaming dagger. It clung to the tip for a small piece of eternity, then fell.


And a few from my fellow writers:

Sarranto Jones was a thief, a liar, and worst of all, a lousy tipper. @ryanbyrneman

He tried to always make it special. After all, he would kill dozens of times, but a person only ever gets one death. @BlizzardWriter

He was born to catch killers, jail thieves. But this one had his heart. And if he didn’t watch out, she’d have it on a platter. @TweetTinaW

No kid dreams of working homicide. Not the real deal, anyway. The day his daddy met the axe, Trent had stopped being a kid. @RRBrunet


A huge thank you to everyone who organized the event. I very much enjoyed myself, and appreciated the introduction to many of Canada’s writers.

Eye of the Storm

(or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Peer Edits)

Suddenly, in the midst of a maelstrom of e-mails and edits, a strange calm has descended over my keyboard.

Writing a novel is a daunting challenge. Not only does the word count seem to grow at a snail’s pace, but there is the constant nagging worry that plagues every author – “Is it any good?” I took breaks during this creative period, but they were more… reprieves than anything else. It’s hard to truly take a break when you know that you have another 30,000 words left to write.

The day I finished the novel was a good day. I took the evening off, watched Captain America and Thor, and washed down a plate of beef curry with a cold lager or three.

The next day, the real work began. Editing. I gave myself a week to edit the rough draft, but I should have set aside two or three. Sometimes, I spent hours on the same page. But after a sixty-hour death march, I finally reached the end.

Or so I thought. Then it was time to build a website, draft a synopsis, craft a query letter and start knocking on doors. And, the most important of tasks, send the novel out to people who can tell me whether it’s any good. It will be two to three weeks before I find out the answer to that question of questions.

There is, of course, always more to be done. I could be researching agents and publishers. I could be integrating each and every piece of feedback as it comes in. I could start on the second instalment of the Bar on a Beach Mystery series.

But instead, I am enjoying the brief window in time, this eye of the storm, when there is no mammoth task begging for my attention. I am going to tidy my office and pull dandelions from my garden, and steel myself for the months ahead – the daunting business of convincing a publishing house to place their chips on my square for the next spin of the wheel.

Wish me luck.

A Work in Progress

RyanAldred.com is now up and running. Expect major changes over the next few days.

Sample chapters of ‘Death in a Bottle’ are also coming soon.