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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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An Unforgettable Six Weeks

Well didn’t the last six weeks just whizz past?

After attending Bloody Scotland in September, I was utterly enthused about the writing, and have been over busy ever since.

Met some great people up in Stirling and will definately be going again next year, I even managed to get a publisher to agree to read my latest book.  I sent her ‘Locked Up’, and she came back saying that “I enjoyed reading this. It’s well written and engaging, and you write very convincingly about the prison setting and structure.”  Unfortunately she didn’t take the book, because she didn’t think it had the mass appeal that she and every other publisher are looking for.  Which might have made me feel dreadful, if she hadn’t actually been so gracious with the compliments above.  So the manuscript is with another publisher and I still have my fingers crossed for that, but I’m also planning for a crowd funding project to see if I can get the book published independently if the traditional route gets closed off to me.

Had to spend the swap over between September and October doing a week’s intensive course for work; that was tough – though I am now a register PRINCE2® practitioner.

However, as intense as that was, I still managed to write the second instalment of the Locked Trilogy, which I finished the first draft of on 19th October, only 59 days after starting it, I’m quite proud of that. I wrote it long hand, and boy did it ever make my hand ache, so I have no idea how many words it is, I just have to type it up.

Still I’m happy with the story, of course it needs a lot of revision, but it’s a first draft and it did what I wanted it to do, so I have to consider that a success.

Also in October the writers club had Meg Kingston in to give a talk, on crowd funding at it happens, have to say that this was one of my favourite talks this year, yes, because I’m interested in the topic, but also because she was a lovely woman and a really good speaker.  Very inspirational.

On the success front, I also have two short stories being published in a World War One anthology.  ‘Unforgotten’ is a collection of short stories and poems to be launched on 24 November at Swansea Library.  The two stories take quite difference paths, both are about soldiers from the war, but one finds his worth, the other losses his.  Not the most cheery stuff ever, but hopefully the readers will at least feel something.

Well NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, interestingly last year’s NaNo is when I wrote the first draft of ‘Locked Up’.  I’ve been vacillating between what story to write for this November, that’s included writing the third part of the Locked Trilogy, and a couple of other stories.  I thought I had decided to write a romance story, and I mentioned this to my husband, who then came up with this really brilliant idea for an unusually switch around.  In fact it’s so unusual that I need to really think about how to achieve it, but that rather throws the whole story line up in the air, and I’m unsure what to write now, so tomorrow in front of the empty Word file might be interesting.  Just have to wait and see what ends up on the page.

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