Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

'Alma' collecting money on the Esplanade, Sidmouth

‘Alma’ collecting money on the Esplanade, Sidmouth

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Fresh Air followed by Cakes!

Join me at 2.30 pm today, 15th of November for a short walk round the locations in Sidmouth that inspired ‘Revenge Ritual’ – followed at 3 pm by tea and cakes at the library and a talk about my novel.

Part of Devon Libraries Active Life, Active Minds programme. Tickets are available from Sidmouth Library, which is where we will start.
For the whole programme see http://www.devon.gov.uk/print/alam16-brochure.pdf

On Saturday, 19th of November I will be posting a review of Jane Isaac’s latest crime novel,as part of the ‘Beneath the Ashes’ Blog Tour and asking Jane some questions about her writing. Don’t miss it!

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‘The floor felt hard beneath her face. Nancy opened her eyes. Blinked several times. A pain seared through her head. She could feel fluid. No. She was lying in fluid.’

When a body is discovered in a burnt-out barn in the Warwickshire countryside, DI Will Jackman is called to investigate.

Nancy Faraday wakes up on the kitchen floor. The house had been broken into and her boyfriend is missing. As the case unravels, DI Jackman realises that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has a secret.

Can he discover the truth behind the body in the fire, and track down the killer before Nancy becomes the next victim?

Follow Jane on Twitter @JaneIsaacAuthor
Follow Legend Press on Twitter @legend_press

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Ladram Bay, Sidmouth - site of Ladram Heights New Town in Revenge Ritual

Ladram Heights New Town in Revenge Ritual  – another beach where bad things happen

Linda Huber’s is an accomplished author of psychological thrillers whose faultless narrative voice takes you right inside the heads of her characters as she creates stories that keep you on the edge of your seat with suspense. She’s also a lovely person who helped me out when I was researching for a workshop on getting published that I was gave at The Swanwick Writers’ Summer School earlier this month.

‘The Cold, Cold Sea’ is Linda’s second novel. It is set in Cornwall and in a month where the West Country has experienced a number of tragic deaths by drowning on beaches the title drew me in and made me shiver. The story opens with a child going missing from a holiday beach and takes you through a turmoil of emotions as you share the anguish and guilt of the little girl’s parents. The mother, Maggie’s experience is skilfully woven through a parallel story about another family who have lost a child. The multiple viewpoints are written with great skill and finesse as the pace quickens, building up the nail biting tension as you start to realise what has happened to the two families. A novel you have to read in one sitting. Brilliant.

I can’t wait to read her next psychological thriller ‘The Attic Room’.

Crime Writer M J Hall

Crime Writer M J Hall

We recently discussed M R Hall’s crime novel ‘The Coroner’ at the Sidmouth Crime Fiction Book Group. The book generated a lot of discussion. We shared our own experiences of sitting through a Coroner’s court and although most cases are brief and business like, we agreed that Matt Hall’s experience of being a criminal barrister and his knowledge of the criminal justice system brought real authenticity to Jenny’s courtroom – although we hope that Coroner’s are not in the habit of popping pills in the real Coroner’s Court.

We like Matt Hall’s tense and compelling style of writing and thought he did an excellent job of getting inside the head of a neurotic professional woman, with the proviso that the romance/sex side of the novel seemed a bit more masculine.

Matt Hall will be giving a workshop on ‘Turning Good Ideas into Commercial Crime Novels’ at ‘Creative Thursday’, part of the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival in York on Thursday 21st of July. Sarah Hilary, (see my earlier post) another of our favourite authors and winner of Crime Novel of the Year Award at last year’s festival will also be taking part. I’ve attended Creative Thursday on two previous occasions and found it inspiring and fun. I can also recommend taking the challenge of pitching at ‘The Dragons’ Pen’. It’s scary but brilliant when all four ‘dragons’ want to read your submission.

Sarah Hilary - Theakston prize winner 2015

Sarah Hilary – Theakston prize winner 2015

A big thank you to all of you who turned out on a wet and windy morning just before Christmas for the launch of the paperback version of REVENGE RITUAL at The Clock Tower Café in Sidmouth.

All set up but will anyone come?

All set up but will anyone come?

 

 

They came - and even stayed to listen to the opening.

They came – and even stayed to listen to the opening.

But the ramble round the settings from the book was rained off!

But the ramble round the settings from the book was rained off!

 

Join local author CJ Browne for the launch of

REVENGE RITUALC J Browne Twitter header

a crime thriller set around Sidmouth.

At The Clock Tower Cafe, Connaught Gardens, Peak Hill Road, Sidmouth EX10 8RZ.

On Thursday, 17th of December, from 10 to 11 a.m.

And afterwards for a short ‘Revenge Ritual Ramble’ – a guided tour of the settings where the action happens.

Come and find out about the scary side of Sidmouth . . .

Copies of the paperback will be available to buy and have signed. REVENGE RITUAL is published by Endeavour Press and also available as an eBook on the Amazon Kindle Site.

For more information email: cj.browne@live.co.uk

Life Writing with my friend Christine Partington

Life Writing with my friend Christine Partington

So many events in the South West I was spoilt for choice. But I chose Sherborne, Yeovil and Bristol. All very inspiring in their different ways. At Sherborne I had a chance to discuss the outline of my new novel with festival ‘Writer in Residence’ Diana Cambridge. Talking it through has really fired me up to get down to writing it. Attending Sophie King’s Life Writing workshop produced more ideas to develop the plot as well as providing a fascinating afternoon listening to the other participants.

Author chat with Yvonne Payne

Author chat with Yvonne Payne

In Bristol I went to the Book Bazaar and Seminars. Learnt loads from Lucienne Boyce’s informative talk on researching historical settings, was inspired by Ira Rainey’s book ‘From Fat man to Green Man’ and enjoyed a lovely chat over hot chocolate with author Yvonne Payne, about the importance of place in writing. Something which is very obvious in her novel ‘Kritsotopoula’ set in the Greek village where she lives. We also talked about book launches. Very useful as mine for Revenge Ritual is all fixed for the 17th of December. More about this later.

In Yeovil, the talks ranged from the full on battle charge of Andy McNab to a quieter but informative chat from Tim Weaver on the latest novel in  his ‘David Riker’ series ‘What Remains’. It was a very helpful discussion on writing serial characters. I shall remember Tim’s comment ‘What happens in the first book of the series will have a long term effect in future books’ but also ‘that the character needs to abide by the rules of the world of the series that the author creates, or readers will be disappointed.’ So far I’m half way through ‘What Remains’ and I can see what he means already. I’ll be reviewing Tim’s book in my next blog post.

'Alma' collecting money on the Esplanade, Sidmouth

‘Alma’ collecting money on the Esplanade, Sidmouth

DaughterYesterday was the first meeting of the Sidmouth Crime Fiction Reading Group after our summer break. Fresh from our holidays, sunshine, gardening and walks we eagerly dissected our book of the month: ‘Daughter’ by Jane Shemilt. At first, we weren’t sure it qualified as crime fiction as it doesn’t seem to have a crime, but it is a thrilling read. Jane Shemilt writes beautifully, especially her atmospheric descriptions. The alternating timeframe of ‘then’ and ‘now’ quickly draws the reader into the story and compels them to turn the page. Although none of the group found the lead character Jenny very likeable, we found plenty to discuss about her situation as a busy working mother and her attitude to parenting. Our discussion of the novel prompted an interesting sharing of different points of view about the novel’s main themes of grief, parenting and teenage secrets. It was just what I hope to get out of a satisfying read and a stimulating discussion.

And on the way back to the car park I enjoyed an October burst of sunshine, listening to the sea and eating an ice cream.

The Sidmouth Crime Fiction Book Group meets at Kennaway House at 2.30 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month. Newcomers are very welcome.

International Agatha Christie Festival 2015

International Agatha Christie Festival 2015

I’m still glowing from attending the last weekend of the International Agatha Christie Festival. This is the second year I’ve been – and I love this event. It is held in and around Torquay, where Agatha was born. Despite being all about crime, it is the most light-hearted writing festival that I’ve been to. The sun always shines, well it did for the last two years, and as well as talks and performances about Agatha’s work and new versions of her work like Sophie Hannah’s there are lots of event about contemporary crime novels. It has steam train rides, visits to Greenway, Agatha Christie’s holiday home near Dartmouth and a murder mystery set in a funicular too.

This year I went to hear the ‘Killer Women’ panel talk about their books and their inspirations and the practicalities of writing them. ‘Killer Women’ are a collective of London based women authors. Alison Joseph has been writing crime novels about a Nun as well as other stand alone novels for some years. Her latest novels, published by Endeavour Press, are appropriately about Agatha Christie becoming a sleuth herself. It’s a neat idea. I’ve just finished reading ‘Hidden Sins’ and I’ll be reviewing it in my next post.  Louise Voss has just published her first solo crime novel, ‘The Venus Trap’ after the recent success of her thrillers co-written with Mark Edwards, and Helen Smith’s work is more light-hearted about a female PI called Alison Wonderland.

Then there were noneLots to think about there and then I went to see a charming production of ‘And then there were none’ at the Princess Theatre in Torquay – although the ending was a bit gruesome. All very Agatha.

 

Theakston's Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival 13

Agent Jane Gregory and friends at the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crimefest

It’s two years since I’ve been to Harrogate for the crime writing celebratory bonanza and four since I braved the Dragons’ Pen initiation of terror for would-be crime writers. But the heightened sense of adrenelin is just the same and I was sorry I could only stay for one day.

Still, there was plenty of time to have fun and experience some great moments like:

  • Mingling with authors, agents and publishers at the first Dead Good Reader Awards. I won two new books and my favourite book of the year, The Girl on the Train, was voted the most recommended book. As a fan of Ann Cleeves crime books, I was delighted to see Brenda Blethyn accompany her to collect their award when Vera was voted the best detective.
  • Meeting Sarah Hilary after her brilliant debut novel, Someone Else’s Skin won the Crime Novel of the Year Award. I met her last year at The Agatha Christie Festival where she was giving one of the best writing workshops I’ve attended. She’s still just as lovely and very much deserves her success.
  • The Perfect Match panel, Isabelle Grey, Stewart Bain, Anya Lipska, James Oswald

    The Perfect Match panel, Isabelle Grey, Stewart Bain, Anya Lipska, James Oswald

    Finding out how to identify books to make your heart sing at ‘The Perfect Match’ panel consisting of authors and Orkney librarian, Stewart Bain. It was entertaining and amusing and I learnt that very cheap or free books increase sales and writers revenues; most readers on Amazon already know what books they want to buy; covers count and readers of crime novels want to solve puzzles and expect to find an early murder.

  • Enjoying the interchange between author and critic, NJ Cooper and Stig Larsson’s publisher and editor about gender issues and sensitivity arising from The Millennium Trilogy in advance of the release of ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web‘ the new Lizabeth Salander sequel by David Lagercrantz on the 27th of August. With regard to the rape scene, the editor, Eve Gedlin was asked ‘Was Blonquist too important to bother with his women’s emotions?’ She didn’t think he was but it will be interesting to see how Lizabeth’s emotions are treated in ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’.