Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Second Spotlighter Meet-Up

L-R Gordon Brown, me, Lesley Kelly, Les Wood
Photo © Gordon Brown
Last year, twelve of us were chosen to read a snippet from our books as 'support acts' for the famous people at "Bloody Scotland". The initiative was called "Crime in the Spotlight" and the twelve of us have referred to ourselves as The Spotlighters since then, and used the hashtag #TeamSpotlight on Twitter. It's been brilliant to keep in touch with everyone.

After the fun of the first meet-up, we did it again! This time we headed west to Glasgow and had a great lunch at Browns on George Square.

It was great to catch up with where everyone was at - when new books are coming out, what plans they all had. I'm still very grateful to Bloody Scotland for introducing us and for giving us the Spotlight slots almost a year ago.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Be more cat...

This seems like an ideal life!

Writing comes in peaks and troughs. There can be a huge flurry of activity - writing, editing, publicity - and periods of relative calm in between. I'm in a mini-calm before another storm right now and trying to 'be more cat' with it.

Be more cat?

Adult cats appear to have two modes, as far as I can tell: activity, and relaxing in recovery/ preparation for activity. They don't waste energy.

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.