Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Jury Duty

I'm involved in jury duty at the moment, so apologies for such a brief post.

For those of you who live outside of Scotland, you may never have seen these two sketches, but as soon as I knew I would be called for jury duty, they came to mind! They are from Chewin' the Fat (a Scottish comedy programme) and both of them are from a series of sketches that they did of 'court reports'.

Sadly, nothing so exciting has happened so far (thankfully), but it's certainly been an interesting experience!

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Nearly there with the edits!

Essential tools!
I got the first round of edits back on Poisonous Minds two weeks ago and I'm just about done (just ahead of having to do jury duty!). Maybe others would have managed to clear them more quickly than this, but I had to fit in editing around Life plc.

Most of it was fine, but my editor had suggested a rearrangement of the back-story that's revealed in flashbacks and diary entries. Man, this was difficult! The manuscript is 300+ pages long in Word and various scenes needed shifting around, sometimes by a significant number of pages. My editor had very kindly provided a 'new running order' (which was even colour coded!) but had suggested that the back-story could be stretched out even further. I could see a few extra changes, but even with her running order and my notes on where to move things, I was getting totally lost at times. So yes, I resorted to good old Post-It notes and maps and time-lines to try and keep me straight! I suspect my husband believes we will never end up using our dining room table for its original purpose - it is forever covered in Post-It notes or index cards or print-outs of whatever I'm working on, not least because it's a decent sized horizontal surface (which also extends if needed!).

Anyway, the edits are now just about done and ready to send back, so that my editor can go over it (and make sure I've not totally messed it all up!) while I'm on jury duty.

How does everyone else keep track of these kind of changes?

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Noir at the Bar Dundee

What a fantastic night this was! Fabulous line-up of authors and an incredible atmosphere. The place was packed (the poor staff had to keep bringing more and more chairs down to the lower level where we were) and everyone seemed to have a brilliant time.

For those of you who haven't been to a Noir at the Bar event, the format is that all the names of the authors go into a hat and then a member of the audience draws out a name. That author stands up, gives a short bio of themselves, says a little about the book and then gives a reading. The person who drew the name out of the hat gets a free, signed copy of the book from the author.
All pictures are reproduced, with permission, from Love Books Group, who did an amazing review of the night. Go check them out. Great site!

Some of the authors
Back row (L-R_ Claire MacLeary (just seen), James Osald, me, Stephen Watt
Front row (L-R) Sandra Ireland, Wendy H Jones, Chris Longmuir
Photo from Love Books Group (with permission)

The event was organised by Wendy H Jones who is an excellent, award-winning author (check out her website here). She was a brilliant compère for the evening, as well as reading from her latest book, Killer's Crypt, due out very soon.

Wendy H Jones and me
Photo from Love Books Group (with permission)

Rather alarmingly, I was drawn first, but I managed my reading without too many calamities (though the microphone wasn't working! I just bellowed!).

Me, mid-thespian mode!
Photo from Love Books Group (with permission)

As well as hearing all these brilliant writers speak and learning about them and their books, it was a great chance to catch up with some friends - both Stephen Watt and Sandra Ireland were fellow Crime in the Spotlight authors at Bloody Scotland last year (you can see my interviews with them here for Stephen and here for Sandra and also here for a review of Stephen at StAnza). It was also lovely to meet people I've only 'known' via social media too - finally putting faces to names.

Some more of the authors:

Claire MacLeary reading
Photo from Love Books Group (with permission)
Jackie Maclean
Photo from Love Books Group (with permission)
James Oswald reading
Photo from Love Books Group (with permission)
Stephen Watt reading
Photo from Love Books Group (with permission)

All in all it was an amazing night and if you see a Noir at the Bar advertised as happening near you, go! It's free entry, great fun and you might even win a book.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Back to work...

I've been away, re-charging my batteries and getting ready for a busy few weeks. This is probably one of my favourite holiday pictures, and it was taken on the final evening of the holiday. The weather had been pretty mixed over our time away, but the final day eventually turned into an absolutely glorious one. These are (some of!) the standing stones at Calanais on the Isle of Lewis. The site is enormous with a large complex of stones - a central chambered cairn, a very large central stone, a circle with radiating lines of stones to the four points of the compass - plus two more stone circles within walking distance and lots of others within 5-10 miles of the main site at Calanais. Seeing the sun set behind the stones was absolutely magical. You can find out more about the stones at Calanais here: http://www.callanishvisitorcentre.co.uk/ and there is a good aerial photograph (to get more of a sense of how enormous the site is) here: https://www.geolsoc.org.uk/GeositesCallanish

But, back to work! I have a book event tomorrow - Noir at the Bar in Dundee - which should be a great laugh. Entry is free, there are a heap of us there, you get to hear a bit from each of us and there's a chance to win a free book. What's not to like? If you're in the area, come along!

After that, I have some Murder and Mayhem dates organised - a group of writers will be doing events with a twist! We might be doing a murder-mystery play or we might be doing an improvised story built line by line, based on whatever the audience shout out. It could be murder... it could very easily be mayhem, but either way, it will be great fun. Full dates to follow!

Then I've a book to finish, Poisonous Minds is back from the editor so needs some of my time, and then The Wrong Kind of Clouds will be being re-released. If you've not yet got a copy, act soon as it will be a few months before it's available again! It will be withdrawn from sale at the start of August. And don't believe any nonsense that Amazon is spouting! The RRP of the paperback is £8.99, not £11.49 (as they currently claim). Order it from Waterstones or get it direct from Matador. If you're still struggling to find a copy, drop me a line via my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AmandaFleetWriter/) and buy one direct from me (with free P+P). Or, come along to any of my events and they will be available from me. (If you're not sure when or where my events are, follow me on Facebook and you'll see all my events listed there)

Well, better get back to work!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Too many plots... so little time

Piles and piles of notebooks...
In my last post, I told you that I was writing the follow-on from "The Wrong Kind of Clouds". If only that was all I had to be working on! The first round of edits on "Poisonous Minds" (which should be getting published in September) are about to land on my desk; there will be editing for the re-release of "The Wrong Kind of Clouds" (whose current re-publication date is October)... then of course, there is The Guardians Trilogy - an urban fantasy trilogy of which the first two books are written. Having just come back from a holiday on the Scottish Islands, it's quite hard to prise my brain away from that, as the rugged landscape of the islands provided some of the original inspiration for the books.

And then... there is another thriller that's written but which needs re-writing; a book lovingly referred to as "book 3a" which has detailed notes and full chapter outlines already written (but I've not had the time to actually write the thing. Or name it, evidently!); another LB and Summer book starting to crystallise, and a book called "Fault Lines" which is due back from beta readers soon.

What I need is to stop having so many ideas and to clear this backlog! I can't quite see it happening though. Ah well, better to have heaps of ideas than to be suffering from Writers' Block I suppose.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Big News!

If you subscribe to the newsletter, you'll already know my big news, but for those of you who don't... I've been signed by Joffe Books!

I submitted a book called "Poisonous Minds" to them and they almost immediately came back to me to say they were interested. They are also intending to re-release "The Wrong Kind of Clouds" and have the option of publishing the next book to feature any of these characters. I'm currently halfway through writing the book that follows on from "The Wrong Kind of Clouds" so those of you who wanted to hear more about LB and Summer will have your wish granted. The book's working title is "Suspicion".

Any time now, the first edits of "Poisonous Minds" should be landing in my in-box. The current aim is for it to be released in September of this year. Fear not, I'll keep you all posted.

I'm very excited about it all. Do I get to call this "a three book deal"?

As well as cracking open the champagne, surely it's also a great excuse to buy another lovely notebook? And also another fountain pen..? 😄

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Meet the Author: Les Wood

Les Wood
This month's author is the excellent Les Wood. Les was a "Crime in the Spotlight" author at last year's Bloody Scotland and his first novel is "The Dark Side of The Moon". I'm delighted that he agreed to be grilled by me.

When did you first start writing? And what made you start?
I’d always dabbled in writing wee stories at school (mostly rewrites of favourite science fiction books and films), but later at university I tried writing some original stuff - which was terrible, to be honest. Pressures of working life meant that I laid it aside for a good while, but my wife encouraged me to start again. I wrote a few short stories which I submitted to anthologies and entered into competitions. I was lucky enough to be one of the winners of the very first one I entered – the Canongate Prize for New Writing - which, at the time, was a pretty prestigious competition. That gave me encouragement that maybe I could do this after all. I enrolled in a couple of continuing education creative writing courses and from there moved on to the MPhil in Creative Writing at Glasgow University, which was a fantastic experience.

What was the first full-length novel you ever wrote? (I realise this may not be the same as the first book you have had published!)
Dark Side of the Moon was the first full novel I completed (though many (other) moons ago I did get quite a way through a young adult fantasy book – maybe I’ll return to that some day).

Your first novel, “Dark Side of the Moon” has just had a second print run. That’s fantastic news! Tell me more about the book? What prompted you to write it?
The book is essentially a heist story, concerning a bunch of Glasgow crooks who decide to steal the world’s most famous diamond (a rare purple diamond known as the Dark Side of the Moon) when it is exhibited in the city as part of a festival. The story is told entirely from the crooks’ point of view – there isn’t a cop in sight – but the important thing here is that they are completely incompetent; they are hopeless, a bunch of numpties. The story revolves around the setting up of the heist and whether they can pull it off or not. It’s funny, it’s dark, it’s violent, and there quite a few sweary bits! I wanted to write a kind of Hollywood blockbuster crime story but set it in Glasgow and populate it with normal Glaswegian punters with all their foibles, hang-ups and dodgy alliances. No Bruce Willises or Matt Damons here! It’s been described as Ocean’s Eleven meets Trainspotting.