Bloody Scotland 2017

20170917_112223I’ve hardly had time to stop and think this month – certainly haven’t had time to stop and recover, but more of that later.

After Asylum – fantastic! – we had ten days in which we didn’t stop because of the usual demands of life and the addition of our daughter having to be taken back to university.

Then on the 7th two things hit – the blog tour for “Locked Up” and Bloody Scotland.  Okay, technically Bloody Scotland hit on the 8th, but it’s a nine-hour journey from my home to Stirling so I have to add a day before and after for the travel. I’m going to split this into two blogs, this one about Bloody Scotland and the next one about the blog tour because they were both big events I want to mark.

This was the sixth year of Bloody Scotland – and I’ve been three times in the last four years.  The year I missed was because it clashed with my son’s graduation day and there have to be priorities in life.  I have to say that I’ve seen changes, the number of people attending, the number of individual events that are on offer, the variety of events on the programme.  All good stuff.  And this year I believe over 8,400 people attended.  That has to be good for crime fiction, crime readers, crime writers and of course, for Stirling.

The opening ceremony was grand, held in the great hall of Stirling Castle it was suitably bubbly. Glad to see that one of my fellow Bloodhound authors, Owen Mullen, was longlisted for the McIlvanney prise this year for “Games People Play”.  It’s a shame he didn’t get further, but longlisted is still a sign of a brilliant piece of writing.  “The Long Drop” by Denise Mina was the ultimate winner, and from what I’ve seen that was well deserved.

After the opening and awards ceremony, there was the torchlight parade from Stirling Castle down to the Albert Halls.  Now here’s the thing, Stirling Castle is at the top of a steep hill, which is largely cobbled.  The people in that group were crime writers and crime readers, those whose imaginations tend towards the murderous.  So it’s little surprise that I wasn’t the only talking about pitchforks and one singing the occasional refrain from Beauty and the Beasts’ “Kill the Beast.” There were so many people there, more than enough for that statistically likely accident to happen, yet it didn’t.  Traffic was stopped, as far as I know, no one slipped, got singed or in any way ‘damaged’ by the event, which caused quite a stir in the city. Then we all filed in to listen to Mark Billingham talk to Ian Rankin about 30 years of Rebus, which was a great way to spend an hour.

And that was just the opening night.  The rest continued apace.  There were so many things on, that listing all would fill many a blog, but suffice to say I had a brilliant time.

I meet up with some old friends, made new ones, too many to list and I’m bound to miss someone and I don’t want to upset anyone.  I promoted my book, got offered a slot at another event, which of course I took up, and generally had a great laugh – and caught a cold.  A real one that even now, a full week later, I can’t shake.

What matters though is that I had a great time.  I love Scotland, love Stirling and love Bloody Scotland.  The event gets better every year and I can’t wait until the next one.

Hope to see some of you there.

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