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.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Book Finds - August 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, 23 August 2016

More on Bloody Scotland: Crime in the Spotlight

Image from Bloody Scotland: https://www.bloodyscotland.com/

In my last post, I told you that I'd been awarded a "Crime in the Spotlight" slot (for new authors) at Bloody Scotland.

Well, I now know at which event I've been given 3 minutes to speak...

2pm on Saturday 10th September, in the Albert Halls at Stirling

And whose event am I gate-crashing???

MC Beaton and Fred Macaulay! Details of their event can be found HERE.

There are just 12 slots awarded, so I'm feeling honoured, thrilled, excited and terrified about it, in about equal measure (though terrified may have it by a significant margin!). Even the biggest lecture theatre that I've ever lectured in is about half the size of the Albert Halls and I'm just praying that I don't screw up.

Hope you can all make it up to the festival - it promises to be excellent (apart from possibly the 3 minutes that involve me...).

Better go and work on what I'm going to say in my 3 minutes!

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Bloody Scotland!

Image from Bloody Scotland site: https://www.bloodyscotland.com/

The Bloody Scotland Festival is Scotland's International Crime Writing Festival. It's in its 5th year and this year will be held in various venues across Stirling, from 9-11th September. Some of the best-loved names in crime writing will be there, such as Chris Brookmyre, Stuart Neville, Peter Robinson, Alex Gray, Val McDermid, Lin Anderson, Mark Billingham and many, many more...

and me!!

I've been chosen as one of the Spotlight authors for this year's festival! This means that I get to read from The Wrong Kind of Clouds at the start of one of the scheduled events, and my book will be available from the Waterstones stall (one of the official sponsors of the event).

I am hugely excited about this and feel really honoured to have been chosen. I don't know which slot I've been awarded yet, but I'll let you know as soon as I do.

The festival really has the Who's Who of crime writing. You can read the brochure for the event here (opens in a new window). Come along and join in the fun. It will be amazing!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

What would you like to see in a newsletter?

Those of you who subscribe to my mailing list currently get an email each month, listing the posts of the month. I want to make this email more interesting and more like a newsletter. To help me with designing it, please could you let me know what you would like to see in the newsletters?

My current ideas are:

Photo of the Month
Given that Summer, the main character in The Wrong Kind of Clouds, is a photographer and so is my husband, I thought about including a photo each month, drawn from the collection on my husband's website (Colin Nicol Landscape Photography)

Recipe of the Month
This idea came after several people said that they were going to try out the recipe for the dish that LB (the policeman in The Wrong Kind of Clouds) cooks for Summer. LB is a keen cook (as am I). Would people be interested in LB's recipe of the month?

An update about what I've been working on
A few lines about what I've been writing or doing, plus links to more freebies and bonus scenes (although I can't guarantee a freebie every month!)

Chichewa (Malawian) Phrase of the Month
Some of the wrong Kind of Clouds is set in Malawi where the language is Chichewa. Do people want to learn some new phrases?

An Update about Chimwemwe Children's Centre
While I was out in Malawi, I helped to set up a charity - Chimwemwe Children's Centre - that works with homeless children to give them somewhere to live and to support them through education and training. It's what Samala (from the book) is based on, though Chimwemwe is entirely above board, I hasten to say! Would people be interested in a few lines each month saying what we have been doing in Malawi?

This Month's Finds
Each month I find interesting blog posts or articles. Many of these I Tweet about, but not all. Let me know if you would like my top 3 'finds' each month.

This Month's Posts
This would be a quick list of the posts for the month.

What do people think? I've created a survey for you to vote in. If there are other features you would like to see of if you have other feedback, please feel free to tick "other" and add your comments in the survey.

Thank you for your help!
(survey closes 23:45 GMT on 26th August)

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