#0 in a Mystery Series

Counting on our fingers, we all start “one, two, three.” Right? So what’s up with a mystery series, like the Seamus McCree Novels, that starts with zero?

Perhaps I should have been as smart as George Lucas, who labeled his first Star Wars movie “Episode 4.” But I was not. When I first decided to write a series about a financial crimes investigator, I thought long and hard about his name and finally decided on Seamus McCree. His first name is a double play with words:

Seamus is the Gaelic equivalent of my first name, James. Since this character was in a sense standing in for me on the fictional page, a variation of my name had a certain irony that I appreciated. Even better was that Seamus is a homonym for Shamus: Yiddish for a detective. Mystery readers would appreciate that inside joke.

After choosing a first name, I decided on the last name McCree so when anyone Googled the name, they would likely come up with my character. And with an Irish name like that, I gave him South Boston as a birthplace.

I also decided that I would follow Sue Grafton’s alphabet approach (“A” is for Alibi, “B” is for Burglar), but a bit more subtlety. I would name the books in the series alphabetically. Unfortunately for me, the first in the planned series, Actuarial Gains did not find a publisher, even though it did garner agent interest.

Bad Policy was the first published (2013), followed by Cabin Fever (2014). While wrestling with rewrites on Doubtful Relations, I took my better half’s advice and reread Actuarial Gains, which I had consigned to the digital equivalent of a bottom drawer. It had good bones: the story was strong; the characters had proved interesting to readers. The writing, however, was not up to my standards. (Good thing it never sold—I would have been embarrassed).

In between Doubtful Relations rewrites I tore Actuarial Gains apart, retained the basic story with a few important tweaks, rewrote the entire thing, and rechristened it Ant Farm. I self-edited, hired an editor (Dr. Julie Spergel) to find the problems I was missing, rewrote again, and polished the book for publication.

I thought I would self-publish this prequel to help promote the rest of the series (rather than have to work hard to convince my editor to put a book up free on Kindle as my hostess did with Final Respects). Then the Kindle Scout program came about (click here is you want to know more about that). I submitted Ant Farm and it won a Kindle Press contract, resulting in them publishing the ebook in June. The print edition is already available.

Ant Farm Blurb:

Financial crimes consultant Seamus McCree combats the evil behind the botulism murders of 38 retirees at their picnic outside Chillicothe, OH. He also worms his way into the Cincinnati murder investigation of a church friend’s fiancé and finds police speculate the hit may have been the mistake of a dyslexic killer. Seamus uncovers disturbing information of financial chicanery and in the process makes himself and his son targets of those who have already killed to keep their secrets.

You can check my website http://jamesmjackson.com/Novels/ant-farm.html for all the places where Ant Farm is available.

Jim’s Bio: 

James M. Jackson authors the Seamus McCree novels. ANT FARM (Spring 2015), a prequel to BAD POLICY (2013) and CABIN FEVER (2014), recently won a Kindle Scout nomination. Ebook published by Kindle Press; print from Wolf’s Echo Press. Find more information about Jim and his writing at http://jamesmjackson.com.

So happy you stopped by to visit, 


Thanks so much for having me on your blog. I'll stop back from time to time in case anyone has comments or questions.

~ Jim

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