The Missing Witness – out now!

The Missing WitnessWell… it’s taken 6 months from final draft to publication – which by the sounds of things isn’t unusual for the publishing industry – but at last my novel is available for purchase at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

As you’ll have noticed… the title of the book has changed (again).  During the first few drafts it was “The Baby, The Dog and Irene”- and then for pitching to agencies and publishers it became “The Impossible Suspect” – and after an extensive edit by endeavour press it was decided the title needed to be different.

Where do you go to find a new title… titles are often the hardest thing to come up with.  Being a game writer, I’m used to fabricating titles at fairly short notice, and I knew what would sell for a game… but what sells books?  I had no idea.  And so rather than settle on just one title, I decided to pitch several to the publisher to see what they thought.

This is the list I sent them – I’d be interested to see, after reading the book yourself, if you prefer any of the other titles…

The Curious Case of the Husband in the Attic
The Friendly Killer
The Silver Sleuther
The baby, the dog, and Irene
The Foundation of Murder
The Forgotten Memory
Nothing Left Behind
The Missing Witness
The Man in the Attic
Missing presumed dead
Loose Ends
A Different Solution
The Murder of Lesley Cooper
Murder on Park Drive
Falsely Accused
A Grim Murder
The Unlikely Detectives
A Suspicious Stabbing
The Kitchen Killer
A Puzzling Pensioner
A Caustic Connection
Too few at the funeral

Oh my goodness! I have a publisher!

Well… it’s been a while since I blogged.  there’s a good reason – I’ve been busy writing.  And not just games either… since the attending the writers retreat in January I’ve been finishing off my novel.

This isn’t my first novel.  I’ve been writing books since I was 14, but it IS the first novel that’s been accepted by a publisher, so it calls for a celebration!

Come 2017 – sooner if I crack on with the edits – The Impossible Suspect – will be digitally published by Endeavour Press, and will be available on Amazon as a kindle or print on demand book.

I’m not expecting this will radically change my life.  If it earns £100 in a year that will be a monumental sum, but it is the first rung on the ladder towards being a recognised “writer”, and I’m hopeful my second or third book may finally net me an agent and a mainstream publisher.

So right now, I’m editing… they felt it had too many ? marks and it seems my ending was a little abrupt so they’ve asked me to slow it down.  I suppose the difficulty there is I’m used to writing for interactive theatre productions and the solution shouldn’t last more than 3 minutes as everyone wants to find out if they were right and get back to drinking.  I’m guessing writing “READ MORE SLOWLY FROM HERE” isn’t a suitable addition to the manuscript, so it make take me a little while to get that ending polished to the level they want – so wish me luck – I have a deadline of the 30th November… but with so much work on at RHG at the moment, I need to get it finished much much sooner… not least because I’m off to Egypt in November to run a murder mystery evening I’ve yet to write!  Eeek!

Periscope – how to make the best of it.

GeographyPeriscope seems to be the “next thing” when it comes to social media, and there’s a whole raft of people joining Periscope every day.

At the moment, the people who seem to know how to use it best are all the social media experts and SM entrepreneurs – but it’s not as hard to get your head around scoping as it might seem.

So… because there is nothing more dull than watching persicope on replay to find out where you are going wrong or what you need to do, I thought I’d offer a few tips of my own.  I’ve been using Periscope around a month now, and while there are no real “no nos” there are some really good tips to make the most of it for you and your business.

DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME!

Periscope can easily become yet another time waster.  Unlike Twitter or Facebook, it’s really easy to get sucked into conversations and watching videos with periscope and soon your whole day is gone!  Let’s face it, we live in a world of TV addicts, and turn on a flickering screen anywhere in the room and you’re naturally drawn to it!

Don’t make the same mistake with Periscope.

The first thing you should do when creating your periscope account is SWITCH OFF your notifications!  All of them!  It’ll save you getting suckered into watching things when you’re not free.

FIND WHO IS ON WHEN YOU ARE

Secondly you’re home screen will be devoid of video streams initially.  So it’s tempting to jump straight on the web feeds and watch whoever’s there.  So the first thing you need to do is identify the people you’d most like to see on periscope and follow them so they’re always on your home stream section.

Because of the connection between twitter and persicope this makes this process much easier.  You can search for “scopers” and click on the people on twitter you most interact with usually.  Let’s face it, you’re usually on social media with these buddies anyway, you may as well grow the friendship.

Then watch what happens.

Like all Social media you’ll be allocating certain times to it.  So when you start finding people who are live at the same time as you, then follow the people interacting with them on their scopes (You just click their avatar as they comment and then hit follow).  This will give you a raft of people who are a) interacting with the same people you like to watch (similar interests as you) and b) ON periscope the same time as you and are therefore likely to be available to watch your broadcast when you decide to go live.

BROADCASTING TIPS

1. Don’t Dive in just yet:

Don’t scope immediately, tempting though it may be.  Rather, watch others for a few weeks.  This will give you ideas and you’ll find out a lot, and not only that, if you’re commenting on other’s feeds (strongly encouraged!) then other people will be following you back during this warm up time and will be ready to hear from you when you broadcast.

Your first scope on Periscope is dropped into all the Periscope users feeds, so don’t miss out on that opportunity to make your scope “the best.”

2. Block spammers pre-emptively

This warm up “lurk time” gives you the chance to start blocking the users who are throwing out spam and troll-like comments and “hitting on” people.  As these comments crop up in the scopes you watch, click on that user and block them.  It’s a preemptive strike.  You don’t want them harassing you on your feed!

3. Turn your location settings off.

This also prevents spammers joining you.  I’m not sure why, but it does.  Apparently they sit on the “map” section and jump in on people who are broadcasting their location more than those who aren’t

4. Get a good intro image

The first 2 seconds of your scope will be the image that periscope uses for your video.  SO… make sure you have the camera facing something interesting/pretty and not you pulling a face.  Also,… remember the camera is vertical NOT horisontal.  When you’re setting up to broadcast, it’s easy to forget that as the lower half of your screen is often covered by persicope informaton.  Make sure your camera screen is completely full of something.

You can simply use coloured card, or if stuck, put your finger over the camera lens for the first few seconds so it’s a black or red image that displays.  it looks better.

5.  Don’t start talking immediately.

Persicope cuts the first few and last few seconds of your scope.  It’s a time lag thing.  So start talking after 2 seconds and welcome people then.

6. Ask for questions or feedback, and respond to your comments

Periscope is all about the interaction.  People stay when they think they are being heard.  So respond to people.  Ask simple questions like “Where are you scoping from?”  “What do you do?” to prompt some interaction, and then reply to the comments as they come in. (Blocking spammers as you broadcast).

7. Scope when you’re free

It doesn’t seem to matter where you are or what you are talking about.  I’ve had more people chatting to me while I’m peeling potatoes for tea, than when I sit in the office deciding to show everyone what I do.  Just broadcast when you’re free.  Tell people something interesting and see what comes up in the comments and chat about stuff that your viewers that day want to know.  You rarely stay on topic if you’re scoping well.

8. Don’t be rude

It’s social media.  This means EVERYONE can see it.  Which means your potential next client will see you.  Don’t say anything you will be ashamed of later.

FOLLOWING UP

Katch.me is an essential tool for periscopers.  It enables you to link users who’ve interacted with you on the scope with users on Twitter instantly.

As with any networking, the sales are in the follow up – so follow up.

It’s going to be rare that someone watching your periscope live will immediately go and buy what you sell, but they may know someone who will.  So treat them well, they are your referral sources.  You build up that “know, like and trust” thing with your viewers, they will put work your way eventually.  Don’t alienate people and don’t make them hate you.

ETIQUETTE

1. Comment

Don’t watch in silence.  At least hop onto the comments once and say “Hi”.  It makes all the difference.

2. Send hearts for good content

Viewers can send hearts to support the broadcaster by tapping the screen.  The broadcaster can then look back and see just how many hearts you’ve given them.  Give loads.

3. Don’t be rude!

So many times I see people bad mouthing people on social media. You are making yourself unsellable.  There are many people who will not be getting business from me because I neither like them nor trust them because of things they’ve said to others on social media.  Even if a particular stream of diatribe is not aimed specifically at me… who’s to say the next won’t be?

Whoever treats social media like a playground is just plain stupid!  Playground behaviour, bullying other users etc will get you nowhere in business.  If something offends you, just ignore it and don’t watch them again, or block the poster from your feed.  Say nothing else.

DON’T DO THE SAME!

I think it’s a huge mistake to assume Periscope is simply a live You Tube, equally it’s not a TV advertisement.

There are a lot of people adding periscope’s to You Tube, who fail to recognise that the media is completely different.  If you scope something you think might be useful to a wider audience, why not record yourself on a webcam and do a proper You Tube video without distractions or breaks as you respond to users comments?

Periscope’s best feature is it’s interactive nature.  You Tube’s best feature is it’s uncluttered information.  Don’t mix the two if you can avoid it.  if you want to direct people to your replays, that’s where Katch comes in handy.  That’s a collection of your periscope videos, which shows all the comments and hearts, and like You Tube, totally free to use.

Also – don’t forget to adjust your periscope bio.  It’s a different media, so your periscope Bio will need to reflect that.  People connect with people they feel they have some commonality with, so don’t be afraid to “tag yourself” and place yourself into boxes.  Who are you, should be able to be summed up by a few distinct phrases e.g. Mum, chef, entrepreneur.  Use those for Perscope as it gives viewers a hint as to who you are and whether they want to connect with you.  Also it’ll mean you connect with more like minded individuals.

 

IT’S NOT ABOUT QUANTITY IT’S ABOUT QUALITY

Don’t jump on the band wagon and feel the need to get LOADS of followers.  You don’t need loads of followers, you need interaction.

Just the same way as your mailing list could be 27,000 individuals, if you only get 200 people who open your newsletters, then effectively you are only reaching 200 people at a time.  Why not shrink down your mailing list to those 200 and give them more targeted content?

Chasing followers will a) lead you to attract spammers and b) make you look needy and c) you could end up with a periscope comment stream you can’t handle effectively thereby reaching no one well.

Value every connection you make.  Don’t ask them to “swipe and share”.  Make THEM feel important as they’ve joined you.  You want to speak to them, not people they might invite.  If they like your content, they might well suggest other people hop onto your live broadcast, and you can thank them for that, but don’t go out of your way to ask for it.  Equally, don’t ask for hearts.  They’ll give them if they like what you say.

Create quality broadcasts, to a select few individuals and you’ll grow some great referral sources, not just random followers.

Busy year!

Forget busy week, this has been a truly astoundingly busy year.

And because I can never remember the log in codes for my personal blog, it’s been sadly devoid of regular content.  That might change.  Because as you can tell… I’ve found out what they were!!  Sometimes you just need to be in a different location for them to come back to you.  Me?  It’s the office.  Which means… while I type, I really should be hard at work grafting.

I wish you could see me now.  I’m surrounded by boxes.  We’re just about to hit peak seasonal sales with the website, and wholesale orders are dribbling in regularly which is why the office is awash with cardboard.

For those of you who follow me on Periscope you’ll have seen me shrink wrapping on a near daily basis recently. (I’ve just newly made it on this year I’m @redherringgames on there if you wanted to find me.) Even though I’m the MD of the firm, I’m still the one nominated to do the most boring job in the office because… you guessed it… I’m the best at it.  Yeah right.  It’s a job no one else likes.  Which means muggins here has to do it.

Fortunately I’ve just finished a slew of custom written murders, so have the time to stand there while the machine vooms hot air all around me to my intense boredom.

The most exciting custom game this year has been the murder mystery for the International Agatha Christie Festival – which will get it’s first airing on the 18th September.  Details available directly on their website.

However, that’s not the main reason I’ve made it onto the blog at last.  Rather I wanted to tell you that I’ve finally finished the first draft of “The baby the Dog and Irene” which has been in development for over a year now and am back into re-editing.

Being me… I’ve sent the first re-edited three chapters off to an agent while I’m working on the rest, just to see what they say.  As a member of the International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, I’m hoping it’ll get more of a look in than the usual unsolicited manuscript… so watch this space.

As well as finishing off a novel, I’ve also made it onto Amazon Create Space and self-published a short mini guide on how to write murder mystery games.  Details of that are below.

//ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=redhergam09-21&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=1514688093&asins=1514688093&linkId=&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true

50 shades of crazy

handcuffsCall me mad… but working in an office of women in business. Women who have worked hard to get to where they are, to have men accept them as equals and treat them with respect, I find the whole media hype about a sadomasochistic male slightly against my feminist principles.

Not that I’m saying I’m a feminist. Those who know me will know, that I’m one of those women who likes to fuss around their man a little, get a meal on the table, bake cakes, act the perfect hostess. But you can be a feminist without losing your identity as a woman, talking with a gruff voice and “doing everything they can do better”. (Which we can by the way… but I don’t need to act all macho to prove that).

I put my hand up now and say I’ve not read the book. And there was some serious discussion in our office today between the girls who had, as to whether it was setting a good or a bad example for women.

The problem I always come back to is this… do we, as women, need to be subjugated to feel loved? Is it OK for a dominant male to whip their female companion because they feel like it? Should a woman crave that sort of behaviour and feel “left out” if it doesn’t occur?

Now – don’t get me wrong, I’ve watched plenty of hero movies and know there’s nothing quite like rescuing a damsel in distress to get your heart all a flutter, and I freely admitted I’d snog David Tennant as Doctor Who if I happened to be Billy Piper myself… but there’s a vast amount of difference between being “rescued” from a situation and being “subjugated” and placed in that situation by someone you supposedly love.

There has been a lot of media attention brought to bear on Barbie dolls, fashion icons and even mannequins in clothing stores not being representative of women. But for some reason 50 shades of grey seems to have slipped by everyone incognito.

HELLO!?

Hmmm… she might not be a supermodel or anything, and she might be someone we identify in that respect – but should we be encouraging women to place themselves in Mr Grey’s hands so willingly? Mr Grey, a self-proclaimed subjugator of women? Should we be wishing ourselves into those handcuffs?  Or our daughters?

Let’s face it, if it wasn’t erotic fiction, would we not be thinking of calling the police to rescue the poor girl? Send Mr Grey himself off for counselling?

I sell handcuffs at Red Herring Games (shameless plug there for those who REALLY need to get their hands on some), but would I want to wear them? Er… No! They’re uncomfortable, and there’s a reason we use them on criminals.

We have a whole generation of teenage girls out there, at that impressionable age. And they’re watching us all trooping off to the cinema to watch a man whip a woman to get a kick out of it. And this is fine with us? Is this the role model we want for our daughters? Would we be happy with our daughter’s marrying Mr Grey (ignoring his millions for a moment…)

On facebook at the moment, I see adverts for “renovating brats dolls” to make them less sexual, right beside trailers for “50 shades of grey”. Is it just me? Or has the female population suddenly developed double standards.

The BBC news is reporting that firefighters are concerned that the film will cause a “spike” in call outs to bound spouses unable to escape.   And they’ve even been issued with more equipment to cope with the extra call outs!

So… just one question for you. Would you rather have a man who loves you for who you are, treats you with respect and rescues you from peril? Or would you rather have a man who willingly locks you in a cage and cuffs you to a wall just to get off on you? Think hard people…

We women should be up in arms about the 50 Shades film – not flocking to it in our masses.

As for me.. No… I’ve not read the book. There are people all over the world trying to get out of abusive relationships just like this, and I’m not going to support its propagation.

Go on… tell me it’s a love story… fine. You can be loved that way if you want to be. Me? I’d rather have someone who loves me in my teddy bear pyjamas and finds me sexy in bed socks.

Creating a murder mystery for TOWIE

Wow… this came like a bolt from the blue… Friday evening, there I am, 6pm still sitting at my desk… the perils of a home office and being self employed, and the phone rings.

First thought… it’s my husband phoning me from downstairs… (two phones in the house and 2 flights of stairs between the kitchen and the office, I will admit we are occaisionally lazy…)  But no!  I answer the phone and it’s Amy from Lime Pictures, the company that films The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE) enquiring into the possilibity of a 21 player game 1920s theme.

Well… to cut a long story short, and so many emails that you wouldn’t believe… Red Herring Games will be featured on TOWIE this sunday (7th July 2013).  I’m not sure who from the cast they have playing the game that evening, only that it will be played by a total of 18 people and hosted by two men.

As you might imagine the time pressure was immense.  The initial call came through at 6pm on Friday, and the final “go” on Saturday late evening – and they needed all the game materials to begin filming for this Sunday’s show on MONDAY AFTERNOON.

Now… I’m not good with maths, or for those who know me… analogue clocks… but even I could work out that it was less then 48 hours from inception to completion that was needed.

So if I was to stand any chance of pulling this off I needed to use a “base game” as my starting point.

So we had to make a decision.  To use “Murder at Merkister Hall” or to use something else…

It would seem at first the easiest thing to do would be to use a game from the website… but what if the cast revealed the murderer either on television or through facebook, twitter, press releases… it would mean we would have to remove that game from sale.

So… I had a bit of a quandry… after all, the solution is the “big reveal”… what could I do?

Over the years, we pick up custom orders from clients.  Some make the website after a quick re-write (e.g. A Corporate Murder was written for Disney Stores Ltd originally with Mickey and Minnie mouse in it… not that you would ever know; The Smashed Hits Poll Winners Murder was originally written for a local Vision Express 50th celebration – which will explain, for those who have played it, quite why there are as many references to glasses and contact lenses in there as they are).  But there are some games which, quite frankly would be TOO RUDE to make it onto the website…

So… after a brief discussion with Amy, it was off to one of these large player “rudies” to clean it up and create something 1920s appropriate for ITV viewing.

Sunday, after church, saw me bascially superglued to my seat, and I worked, with no more then toilet breaks from 11am to 2.30am (Yes… 15 1/2 hours straight) on Monday morning creating a whole new game just for TOWIE!

They wanted no TOWIE references within  the plot, so my favourite name “Fanny Vajazzled”  wasn’t to feature shucks…  Mind you – I couldn’t help my usual nautiness and the dead body is Rudyard Well… he always was a hard act to follow… and now he’s a stiff…

Here is the synopsis the cast will be receiving this week… and their characters.

 

It’s the roaring 20’s; a time of hope, prosperity, industrialisation, liberating fashion and jazz.

There’s money to be made if you’re business savvy and have the right connections;

and tucked away in the leafy depths of the Essex countryside, millionaire Sir Rudyard Well is just one of those who has achieved a very comfortable life.

Ranking #3 in the Forbes millionaire list, Rudyard Well is presently the wealthiest land owner in Essex, with a massive investment portfolio which includes the very latest in aviation technologies, as well as one of the largest international import export businesses on the Essex coast, Well Enterprises Ltd.

Sir Well is known for hosting lavish soirées, and tonight was to be no exception.  With exquisite food and lavish surroundings the evening was passing pleasantly and uneventfully, at least it was until he was discovered dead in his cellar face down in a tray of kitty litter.

The question is – which of the guests killed him?

THE SUSPECTS

Faye Slift – Mistress of Sir Rudyard Well.

A glamorous film star of some renown, Faye Slift is incredibly enticing and she has never been short of wannabe suitors.

Chuck Soveigh – The inventor and founder of Magnetic Underpinned Gearing (M.U.G.)

Aesthetically very pleasing on the eye, and with some significant financial backers, Chuck Soveigh is a good catch and he knows it.

Gill Tedd – Estranged third wife of Sir Rudyard Well.

A former model, Gill Tedd is a glamorous blonde famous for her appearance on numerous motorcar calendars.

Al Tetude – Founder of Essex Lion Aviation

Well connected and a fascinating conversationalist, Al Tetude is incredibly suave and good with the ladies.

Hugh Jinnins – International cricket coach.

Resplendent in his cricket whites, Hugh Jinnins is very handsome and has a charming and witty personality.

Anna Glipta – Art dealer

Classy and reserved, Anna Glipta has an attractive figure and has a sculptor’s eye for the other men at the party.

Hugo Furst – Test Pilot

Brave and daring, Hugo is hardly ever out of his flying gear, and is always reluctant to be parted from his leather jacket, long white scarf and goggles.

Debbie Taunt – American Socialite

With links to the French fashion industry, Debbie Taunt is dazzling at any party and a favourite of Sir Well.

Marc D’Triumph –  French Ambassador

Flamboyant French ambassador with a seductive accent and a cultivated look, Marc certainly knows how to entertain a lady.

Charity Bahl– Singer

Able to wow any crowd with her canary like voice and her peacock display of colour and form, Charity shines even without a spotlight, and always draws a crowd.

Warren Pease – Navy Captain

With the archetypal stiff upper lip, and smart in his dress uniform Warren radiates victory, though his career has been more chequered than he cares to admit.

Lee Enfield – Hunter.

A marksman of some renown and currently in pursuit of the “Beast of Brentwood” Lee Enfield is a powerful presence in any room, more noticeable for his preference for safari gear.

Ros Well – Celebrity Journalist

Never one for missing out on a scoop Ros Well is incredibly well dressed, and always on the look out for scandal and gossip, she always dresses to thrill… just don’t ask where she keeps her notebook and pen!

Emile Tikkit – Decadent Writer

Incredibly vain, fond of fashion and very much a man of leisure, Emile is single-minded in his pursuit of dandified elegance.

Ena Trance – Astrologer and spiritualist.

An enigmatic lady with hidden depths, Ena Trance positively oozes luxury from her every pore.

Jenny Tix – Creator of the Elixir of Youth.

A jewel encrusted beauty, Jenny Tix partakes of her own elixir and is regularly mistaken for a much younger woman.

Ivan Ego – Self-made Millionaire

An international man of mystery, Ivan’s financial beginnings may be inscrutable but his money is very much in evidence in his attire.

Anita Drinck – Executive vice-president in Sir Rudyard Well’s Corporation.

Elegant and with refined tastes, Anita Drinck doesn’t suffer fools gladly and takes no prisoners.

 

Of course… I suppose we need to write this one up into a proper plot now for everyone… and it’ll have to be called “The Only Way is Murder…”

You can find our more about our regular games here:  www.red-herring-games.co.uk

My personal favourites!

Well… I’ve been writing murder mystery games for more then a decade now and hosting for probably another 15 years.  The question I’m often asked is “What would you reccommend?” 

It’s actually harder then it looks to reccommend a game.  I’ve enjoyed them all!  Each one has been enjoyable in different ways, but for me – its the “slightly tiddly” finishes and the hilarity throughout the evening that make the nights so memorable.

Counting up quickly on both hands (and feet), I’ve actually hosted over 17 games in the last 10 years – and this is discounting events I’ve hosted for corporate or large groups… this is just the games I’ve run at home with friends!

So of those 17 – which are my favourite?  Oh… it’s very hard to choose.  And sadly I don’t have photographic evidence from them all (probably just as well in some cases…).

Oddly – many of my personal favourites haven’t made even the top 10 best sellers on the website.  In fact, some of them are dragging up the rear of the popular list… so… to give a top 5 personal reccommendations might seem a little biased (not least because I only play my own games as a rule).

So… in fairness… I suppose I should start by giving the most popular top 5 on the website, and then I’ll follow it with my own personal favourite list…

5 most popular games at Red Herring Games are:

1.  A Bad Vintage – this only launched in the summer last year and has been incredibly popular!

2. Murder at Merkister Hall – A steady favourite – and it is so regularly adapted I can’t stand the sight of it now.. but that’s just me … all our customers love it!

3.  Death at the Distillery – This is an overlap as you’ll see from my personal favourites below!

4. Stiffen Very Carefully – Who can’t beat a bit of saucy Allo Allo!

5. Greased at the Diner – Well… summer lovin’ is always a blast!

And as for me… well my list is somewhat different, and it has to be said, when hosting myself, I tend to prefer the more “naughty” innuendo filled plots…

My top 5 Murder Mystery Parties:

1. Death at the Distillery – This had us roaring with laughter all night… helped by a steady imbibing of the amber nectar.  Our accents ended up a cross between Pakistani and Welsh by the end of the evening, and despite watching Balamory with the kids on telly, and living in Orkney for 6 years even I couldn’t maintain the accent with the plethora of unusual dialects springing up around the table.  (This is the only teen rated game in my top 5)

2. Murder on the Disorientated Express – accents and spies a plenty… we loved this.  It was one of my earliest plots (not the first, but certainly one of my first 10).  We’ve always loved Agatha Christie and spies and this gave us both!

3. The Atomic Bombshell – Oddly this is right down at the bottom of the “popular purchase” list – probably because it’s a “murder free plot” – but we had a fantastic night with this one.  (Murder-less mysteries are a pig to write, and require much more effort and plot lining – so they’re usually better games if you like complex mysteries… )  This ond has all the maturity of a typical “adult” game and lots of love tangles and naughty innuendo, AND spies, but no murder.  Our american accents were shocking… but it was still a great night!

4.  Murder in the Med – As excuses for getting blazingly drunk on cocktails this has to be one of our finest games!  (Personally I think it’s easy to solve… but the number of “Salty dogs” and “Blue Lagoons” consumed means that no one actually remembers who did it, and I’ve been asked to run it again with the original cohort, as no one can remember who actually killed Stew!

5.The Last Laugh – Mediaeval mysteries are hard to come by… which is why we wrote our own one in the first place.  The Last Laugh was  written and played long before Red Herring Games came into existence.  It was my second attempt at a murder mystery – and there is probably more innuendo in this game then plot – but it’s a rip roaring hoot and everyone still talks about it.

And so… there you have it – my top 5… Though I must admit – being forced to come up with a top 5 is really, really hard… there are SO many fun games I’ve enjoyed that really a top 10 doesn’t even do it justice… I mean… I didn’t even mention “You Only Die Once”, “Smashed Hits”, “The Surgical Strike”, “Take down at the Tate”, “Bump off at the BBQ”, “Murder in the Dark”…

… and as for  “A Bad Vintage” – you can see the fun we had with that one as we used that  for the video on the website and I can only say I’m grateful the cameraman didn’t keep in the video of me snorting mushrooms backwards;  unable to laugh because my mouth was full!  (Don’t try to eat coq au vin when you’re running the script… oh dear me no…).

I know there are a number of  customers who come back year on year – if you’re reading this – and you have a personal favourite I haven’t mentioned – do let me know!

 

A fine romance

Taking a break from the usual murder mystery writing this month…and working on something for:

I was approached by Andy Evans earlier this year and asked to put together a short 10 minute play for Breakwater Theatre’s launch night.

It was lovely (and flattering I admit!) to be approached as a local “professional writer” to write one of the six plays to launch the company.

Needless to say it was finished on time, and has been cast, and is even now under rehearsal.

So… on the 11th of March at the Beach Restaurant, there’s a play by me, as well as a couple by other writers who write professionally for hull truck, and people like the BBC.

If you’re free that evening – I hope you’ll join me down at the beach.  Comments welcome!

What can I do to make this right?

Errors creep in from time to time with anything you do.  Whether you’re a supermarket, a major brand name, or an on-line murder mystery retail business, you WILL mess up from time to time with your customers.  It’s enevitable and sadly, unavoidable…

So what can you do to retain your customers?  Why not ask them?

This week we’ve had Clark and Hilary Bernhard from Surf-n-sea Wetsuits over for a visit.  (For those that know me, Hilary is my sister, for those that don’t – Clark and Hilary hosted “Sherlock” for a week in sunny Ocean Beach, California last year!)

I was chatting to Clark just this morning about an issue I’d experienced over the weekend.  I’d messed up an order, mainly due to experiencing a severe migraine at the time and being unable to concentrate properly on what I was up to.  I explained what we usually do when we mess up and Clark explained what he usually did – a simple phrase which makes all the difference to customers and might prevent a company giving away “too much” as compensation, as some customers are happy to settle with much less then you think.

The phrase is this… “What can I do to make this right?” 

Sounds simple doesn’t it.

And if you’re already prepared to refund and entire order, apologise and offer an exchange or “go the extra mile” anyway – the phrase won’t make you do more then you were already prepared to – but it will make your customers feel that they are being listened to – something which many companies fail to achieve.  And it may prevent you as a company from over-compesating for any mistake, which can cost your company both in time and money.

Well… I might not have been here in a while but…

Sorry for all who read my blog… things got more frenetic then usual this autumn/winter at Red Herring Games and I ended up working some very long, but rewarding hours, and January has just seen me complete a big custom written game, so finally, I’ve made it back into the land of blogging…

So… what’s been going on… well…

I’ve been featured on the mumpreneur blog (you can read all about how and why I set up the company on there and also where I see us in 10 years time… ha!  Let’s hope so!

I’ve also been sledging with the kids, updating technology, sourcing and buying in new products and working on a big global redesign and lots of “world domination” plans… cue *evil cackle of laughter* – OK,… not quite… but we’ve got some BIG ideas this year, and it’s a case of lining up all the ducks to make them come off.

But… here’s a tale for you to make you chuckle.

Driving down the road with my daugher in the car after the last big snow storm, I spot this “older lady” (I say older lady… as she looks older then I feel, probably only 10 years in it these days, but as I still feel 21 she’s “old looking” to me…) and this older lady is busy sweeping her drive clear of the slush now that the snow has passed.

“Good on her” I think to myself as I watch her bend down to pick up a lucozade bottle that some helpful school child has tossed onto the path beside the place where she’s sweeping.  “Lovely to see someone removing the litter”.  But no.., just as soon as she straightens up with the bottle in her hand, she lobs it down the road towards her neighbours drive for them to deal with!

“That,” I say to my daughter  “Is NOT how to deal with littering.”

And finally, a joke I heard the other day… (Well, I liked it)

It’s Christmas eve and there is snow on the ground. A couple are cuddled up on a rug in front of a log fire when there is a knock at the door.

The husband answers the door to find a snail, shivering on the doorstep.

The snail looks up and, with pleading eyes, says, “Please sir, it’s the coldest winter I’ve ever known. Please can I come in and warm myself by your fire?”

The man slowly bends down, gently picks the snail up….and throws him to the bottom of the garden.

One year later, Christmas Eve again, it’s colder than ever. The same couple are sat on the rug, in front of the same log fire, when there’s a knock at the door.

The Husband answers the door, to find the snail on the doorstep again. He looks up, with pleading eyes, and says…

…”What did you do that for?”