Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Time to re-engage my brain

Time to start editing...
Well, it's finally back! I sent the manuscript for "Poisonous Minds" to my editor, back at the end of July. Initial dates for it coming back were September, but, for one reason and another, it got delayed and finally came back last Monday.

This book is one I've really struggled with. I started writing it back in 2013. Over the years, in between other projects, I did several major edits before it went out to beta-readers at the start of this year. Feedback from the beta-readers was both helpful and contradictory! The female beta-readers loved the male character in the book and hated the main female character; the male beta-readers were a bit 'meh' about the male character and adored the female character. Everyone loved the older female character (phew - something they all agreed on!) and there was mixed feedback over some aspects of the plot.

So... taking their comments into consideration, along with my gut feelings about it, "Poisonous Minds" got another major edit, back in June. It's now October and my head is so far from that manuscript, it feels half like someone else wrote it. My editor has come back with some spot-on analysis and some very helpful suggestions about it all. Now I need to re-read it, get my brain engaged and sort it out! Here's hoping that this round of edits isn't too traumatic. Keep you posted.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Meet the author: Mac Logan

Over the next few months, I'm going to do a series of interviews with authors that I know. I'm delighted that first up is Mac Logan. I met Mac at the first Crime Writers' Association lunch that I went to, earlier this year and he kindly agreed to be my first victim interview.
Picture of Mac Logan
Mac Logan

When did you first start writing?
As far back as I can remember. There are poems, songs and snippets going back to the early 1970's. I still have hand-written originals.

What made you start?
It's as natural as breathing to me. I simply do it. Blogging, ekphrasis (collaboration with other art forms), poetry, prose, novels, business books, it's all the same to me … I love the work.

What was the first full-length novel you ever wrote?
The Angels’ Share which metamorphosed into Angels Cut.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

What a difference a year makes

Just over a year ago, I left my job. I worked in a university department, teaching physiology to medical students. The job was well paid, had a good pension... it was also killing me. No, seriously. I had a stress-aggravated arrhythmia that resulted in my heart pounding in an uncontrolled fashion that didn't effectively pump blood around my body. Episodes of it could be as short as a few seconds or as long as over an hour. On two occasions, my heart just stopped beating completely for several seconds. Believe me, that is a terrifying experience.

One day in late October 2014, during a lecture, my heart rate and rhythm decided to strut their own stuff and I collapsed.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Book Finds - September 2016

We all love it when someone recommends a new author or a new book to us. Well, I've decided to try and do one post each month where I tell you about books I've found and loved. Some of them might be bestsellers, but I'm suspecting that many of them won't be. What would be brilliant, is if you all share your 'find of the month' in the comments. Deal??

Okay, well the books I'd like to recommend to you this month are:

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

How was Bloody Scotland? (part 2)


Day 2: Saturday 10th September
This was going to be a busy day! Not only was I booked in to see three shows, I had my Spotlight slot too.

The preparation for my Spotlight slot was not helped by the fire alarm going off at 4.45am (false alarm) but nonetheless, I arrived as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as I could for the rehearsal, and met some of the other Spotlighters: Les Wood, Shelley Day and Michael Grothaus. Rehearsals went well and once we were finished, I had a quick tea with Les Wood (a fellow physiologist as well as a writer!) before heading off to see Alex Gray interviewing two forensic pathologists: Dr Marjorie Turner and Dr James Grieve. Another excellent session, mixing information, humour and some serious aspects too.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

How was Bloody Scotland? (part 1)


Well, the short version to that question is: absolutely brilliant! The longer answer's coming in 2 parts...

Day 1: Friday 9th September
Hubby and I arrived in Stirling for lunch, after which I contacted Gordon Brown, one of the organisers, to say I was there and to ask what time I should register. He texted me back, telling me to go to the Albert Halls for ~4pm and we could sort out registration later. As it turned out, he didn't need me to go to the Albert Halls at all (he thought I was going for a rehearsal, but I was due to rehearse on Saturday). However, it did mean that I got to meet some of the other Crime in the Spotlight authors and hear them read their extracts, which was excellent. Rehearsals over, we all toddled back to The Golden Lion to register and have this picture taken of us in the Waterstones book shop in the hotel:

Photo by Eoin Carey for Bloody Scotland
L-R Sandra Ireland, Stephen Watt, me, Eva Holland
Liz Mistry, Daniel Pembrey

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Music while you work...

Writing essentials: music and caffeine
The other day, I was discussing listening to music while writing, with my writing buddy (Stuart Lennon - you can check out his blog here... http://stuartlennon.com/ Don't worry. It opens in a new tab so you won't lose me).

I can get addicted to a particular play list or album when I'm writing and then that music is forever associated with whatever I've been working on. Sometimes it's because the lyrics or the music are very apt; sometimes it's because the music is already associated with a location in the piece I'm writing. For example, when I was writing the Malawian scenes in The Wrong Kind of Clouds, I had Lucius Banda's "Freedom" album on in the background, because on a couple of my trips to Malawi, that was playing everywhere. Much of the rest of that book is associated with 30 Seconds to Mars' album "This is War" just because that's what I was listening to while I was editing it.