Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Book finds: April 2017

Each month I showcase books that I've loved reading. Some of them might be best sellers, but the majority of them won't be. April has been a difficult month, so I only have two to share with you and they are both by an author I've just discovered: Harry Bingham.

They are:

Why do I love them? The main character, DC Fiona Griffiths is just wonderful. Very quirky, totally unlike any other police character I've come across before and very, very funny at times. I love the way her mind works and how she sees things so differently sometimes. The books are tightly plotted and with lots of twists and turns and an enjoyable read throughout. I've been reading a lot of crime recently and these are far and away the best I've read in a while. I hope you enjoy them too!

Friday, 7 April 2017

Forgive me for silence...

My beloved cat, Sylvester, had to be put to sleep this week. He was 15 and, if you are an animal-lover, you will hopefully understand that I'm devastated by his loss.

I can't face writing blog posts at the moment. Forgive me for the silence.
Sylvester, in healthier days. RIP my old friend.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Meet the Author: Liz Mistry

Liz Mistry
This month's author is Liz Mistry whose first book Unquiet Souls came out last year. Her second book, Uncoiled Lies has just been released. Liz is another "Crime in the Spotlight" author who featured in Bloody Scotland last year and I'm delighted to be able to interview her.

Your first two novels, "Unquiet Souls" and "Uncoiled Lies" are the first two in a series. Did you always intend to write a series? How many in the series are currently planned out?
I had the idea for Gus as a character years ago and he kept me company when I went through a very bad spell of depression. His father Fergus came to mind later and I love writing the dynamics between the father and son. Initially, "Uncoiled Lies" was to be the first book in the series but then I got the idea for "Unquiet Souls" and it seemed to sit better as the first book. I think I’ve got at least another three Gus books in my mind at the moment, but I’m sure as I write I’ll come up with more ideas. I also have an idea for a spin off series but that’s in the very early stages.

What are you working on at the moment? I know Uncoiled Lies has just been released. Are you taking a break or are you straight into something new?
I got my publication deal with Bloodhound Books when I was 52, so I’m making up for lost time now. I’m well into book number three which will provisionally be called "Untainted Blood".

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Book Finds: March 2017

Each month I showcase a small selection of books that I've loved reading. Some of them might be best sellers, but the majority of them won't be. That said, I didn't do a book finds in February because I had too many other things to share! But, I'm back on track now.

So, what treats do I have to share with you this month?

Well, in some ways this feels like a cheat, because although it's three books, it's a trilogy! It's Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking trilogy:

Tuesday, 21 March 2017


I hate being bombarded by emails about stuff, even when I've actually signed up for them. Over Christmas and New Year, with all the sales, I must have unsubscribed from umpteen mailing lists because I was getting them every day. Who has time to look at things like that every day? I don't.

My newsletter comes out just once per month. That's it. The only time I would send a second email in a month would be if there was a special offer for subscribers only - early notification of a price-drop, a money off offer or a freebie for them to thank them for their support.

My newsletters have a reminder of my blog posts from the month and also feature a few things, most of which relate to aspects of my novel The Wrong Kind of Clouds. I also include a short update about what I've been up to over the month.
[Not read The Wrong Kind of Clouds yet? Give it a whirl. The eBook costs less than a decent cup of coffee and lasts longer!]

The two main characters in The Wrong Kind of Clouds are Summer Morris who's a photographer, and LB Stewart who's a detective. My husband is a photographer and each month in the newsletter, I feature one of his pictures (such as this one here).

Boats at Salen on Mull, with double rainbow behind
© Colin Nicol
LB Stewart is a man who likes his food. In fact, he'd rather go hungry than eat a bad meal. Each month, I include in the newsletter a recipe that LB might cook. These might be main courses, cakes, soups... anything really.

Some of The Wrong Kind of Clouds is set in Malawi (a country close to my heart) and features a fictional charity that's loosely based on a real charity I helped to set up. In the book, the charity is called Samala (which means "to look after" or "to cherish" in Chichewa); the real charity is called Chimwemwe Children's Centre (Chimwemwe means "we are happy"). Each month I include a short update about Chimwemwe in the newsletter so you can hear what we're up to.

There's also a few links to things I found amusing or interesting over the month. These expose my eclectic taste I'm afraid and can range from glorious calligraphy, to a video of a dog hilariously failing an obedience test, through miniature mouse shops in Sweden or 3D scanning of a house in Pompeii.

Fancy seeing some glorious pictures, discovering new recipes, or getting my special offers or freebies? Then sign up for my newsletters. No spam, no selling of your details to anyone else and it only lands in your in-box once a month. And when you sign up, I'll give you a free copy of my novella "Gathering Storms" as a thank you.
[already signed up but didn't get the novella? Let me know and I'll send you the links.]

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The first 20 minutes

The first 20 minutes, for me, are the difference between not doing something at all and throwing myself into it wholeheartedly.

After the first 20 minutes of a run (and okay, some runs barely make it past that magical mark), a run can be wonderful. My muscles are warm, my breathing has settled into a pattern... my legs are moving, my shoulders are relaxed and it just flows.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Spotlighter Mini Meet Up StAnza

L-R Me, Sandra Ireland, Stephen Watt
As you may remember, there were 12 new writers selected for "Crime in the Spotlight" slots at Bloody Scotland last September. We've kept in touch and managed a mini-meet-up on Thursday, to support Stephen Watt at StAnza (Scotland's International Poetry Festival, held in St Andrews).

Sandra Ireland (author of the fabulous book "Beneath the Skin") lives not all that far from me, so I collected her from the train station and we headed to St Andrews on a gloriously sunny day. She was going to another event before Stephen's so I dropped her off at the Town Hall and headed for The Byre Theatre to see if I could find Stephen. He was indeed there and we had a natter and a walk around St Andrews (managing to freak out The Byre Theatre in the process who thought they'd lost him!).