What happened at the brilliant #BloodyScotland Crime Writing Festival 2015 (Part 1)

Whose Crime Is It Anyway? (c) Eoin Carey

Whose Crime Is It Anyway? (c) Eoin Carey

The Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival is one of those festivals that goes from strength to strength. This year the organising team, led by the ever sparky Dom Hastings, put on a fabulous programme of events from panels to interviews, an awards dinner, a pub cabaret, and a football match – there really was something for everyone. In fact, it was so good it’s taken me a week to recover enough to blog about it!

The weekend kicked off with Val McDermid and Peter May in conversation, followed by Whose Crime is it Anyway? – with TV presenter Hardeep Singh Kohli throwing out the challenges to crime writers Christopher Brookmyre, Kevin Wignall and Caro Ramsay to improvise on the spot. Once the opening events finished, as ever at crime writing festivals, the rest of the evening was spent in the bar at the Stirling Highland Hotel with a glass of wine (or two, or three …).

Scotland v England

Scotland v England

On Saturday, I wasn’t able to get to many events as I was in training for a special performance with The Slice Girls at the Crime in the Coo event later that evening. But I heard great things about the Killer Women panel – Louise Millar, Helen Giltrow, and MJ McGrath – who discussed whether the Woman is deadlier than the Male? The thought provoking Self Publishing session with Alexandra Sokoloff and Allan Guthrie, and the New Crimes panel with debut authors Lucy Ribchester (The Hourglass Factory), Chris Dolan (Potter’s Field), SJI Holliday (Black Wood) and Mark Legatt (Names of the Dead) – which all sound like fabulous reads.

In the afternoon, in a brief pause between practices, I did get along to the Breaking the Law panel which had dynamic law buffs Steve Cavanagh, Neil White and Jeffrey Siger, along with Craig Sisterson, talking about the difference between the law in crime thrillers and crime fact, how they draw on their real life experiences in their writing, and the legal thrillers that they especially admire. After that, it was a quick sprint to get ready for the Crime in the Coo before meeting my fellow Slice Girls for one final practice (more about that on the blog tomorrow!)

(c) Eoin Carey

(c) Eoin Carey

After a late, late night on Saturday, my start on Sunday wasn’t especially early! The first event I got along to was the Thriller panel with Simon Kernick, Tom Wood, G.J. Brown and Mason Cross. In a lively debate they talked locations – whether to visit them or not, and the perils if you don’t, the fun of writing “lone wolf” characters, and about their routes to publication (the key, so they say, is not to let rejection stop you).

Then, with the sky getting darker by the minute, it was a short walk up the hill to the bowling green at Cowane’s Hospital where the Bloody Scotland Crime Writers Football Match: Scotland v England was happening. After Scotland’s convincing win last year there was a lot at stake, and as the game kicked off both teams looked very determined. In a tense game, where the players had to contend with alternating sunshine and pouring rain, the two sides looked pretty evenly matched with goal keepers Luca Veste (England) and Craig Robertson (Scotland) kept busy as both sides battled it out to win.

(c) Eoin Carey

(c) Eoin Carey

At the end of the match, the score was 5-5.

The Scotland goals came from Mark Stanton, Christopher Brookmyre, and Doug Johnstone (3). For England the scorers were Vincent Holland-Keane (2), Col Bury (2) and Howard Linskey. The team captains – Ian Rankin (Scotland) and Simon Kernick (England) held the trophy aloft and then, as the rain got heavier, it was time to trot back down the hill (to the bar!).

The final event of the festival was Literary Agent, Jenny Brown, interviewing bestselling crime thriller writer, Linwood Barclay, who was on his first visit to Scotland. To a packed audience, Linwood talked about his writing career, his latest book Broken Promise – the first of a sequence of three connected stories – and on creating a story with a killer hook. Very interesting and highly entertaining, this was the perfect session to end the festival with. Then it was back to the bar, for one final night, before setting off home the next morning.

Jenny Brown interviewing Linwood Barclay (c) Eoin Carey

Jenny Brown interviewing Linwood Barclay (c) Eoin Carey

Next year the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival runs from 9 – 11 September 2016. If you love crime fiction then you absolutely need to be there – put the dates in your diary and book a hotel, now! Trust me, this is one festival that you won’t want to miss out on.

But, of course, there’s something that I haven’t told you about in this blog post – just what happened at Crime in the Coo on Saturday night.

If you want to know, pop back tomorrow for my “(Not so) Secret Diary of a Slice Girl post. 

In the meantime, here’s a sneaky peep …

The Slice Girls on the bar at The Curly Coo (c) Eoin Carey

The Slice Girls on the bar at The Curly Coo (c) Eoin Carey

The #KillerWomenLaunch: Criminally Good Writing

Killer Women logo

Killer Women logo

Last night I was thrilled to attend the launch event for the fabulous new Killer Women group. Held at the lovely Collyer Bristow Gallery, with a plentiful supply of gorgeously yummy wine from Naked Wines, it was a brilliant evening.

Set up by Melanie McGrath and Louise Millar, Killer Women is a group of fifteen established female crime writers: Jane Casey, Tammy Cohen, Helen Giltrow, Paula Hawkins, Alison Joseph, Erin Kelly, Anya Lipska, Colette McBeth, Melanie McGrath, Kate Medina, Louise Millar, Kate Rhodes, Helen Smith, Louise Voss, and Laura Wilson.

Between them they write in many sub-genres of crime writing from psychological thrillers to procedurals, to political thrillers and more – just look at the fantastic range of books on display last night (pictured). And as a group they’re looking to connect with readers through a range of fabulous sounding activities from talks at festivals to events at libraries and bookshops, to debates around women and violence, interviews with crime writers and criminal justice experts, and much more.

books by the Killer Women

books by the Killer Women

It sounds like a great idea to me, and I can’t wait to see the Killer Women in action at their next event.

To find out more about Killer Women and their upcoming events, talks, debates, workshops and giveaways hop on over to their website at www.killerwomen.org and follow them on Twitter @killerwomenorg

 

 

Swag from Harrogate TOP Crime Writing Festival

Harrogate swag

Harrogate swag

 

 

Okay, so last weekend I went to the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.

It was a fabulous event, and I’ll be telling you more in my blog post tomorrow, but for today I thought I’d post a photo of all the fabulous goodies I got at the event – a whole bunch of brilliant books (many of which I managed to have signed), an awesome festival goodie bag, and an amazing ‘Reacher said Nothing’ t-shirt.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you all about the event …

 

Event Alert: CSI Portsmouth 2013

English: HMS Warrior One of the many exhibits ...

English: HMS Warrior One of the many exhibits at the historic dockyard. Looking across Portsmouth Harbour to the flats of Gosport. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CSI Portsmouth is an event for all crime fiction lovers (and fans of CSI shows). It’s organised by author Pauline Rowson with Portsmouth City Council Library Service and Hayling Island Bookshop. This year it takes place on Saturday 2nd November at The National Museum of the Royal Navy in the Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth.

Featuring crime authors along with police and forensic experts on a morning and an afternoon panel, attendees get to hear how writers go about writing their crime novels and police/forensic experts do their jobs. There’ll be the chance to ask the panel questions, and a book signing.

In addition, the Crime Readers Association is running at competition to win two tickets to the CSI Portsmouth 2013 event. All you need to do is answer a question (there’s even a helpful hint on their webpage) and you’re in with a chance, but hurry – entries close on the 14th July.

To find out more about the Crime Readers Association competition and how to enter, pop over to their website at http://www.thecra.co.uk/giveaway-csi-portsmouth/

And, to get all the details on CSI Portsmouth, and to register for their newsletter, jump this link to their website http://www.rowmark.co.uk/csi-portsmouth/

Today is Get Writing 2013 Day!

Get Writing 2013 logo

Get Writing 2013 logo

Today I’m at Verulam Writers’ Circle’s Get Writing 2013 Conference at the University of Hertfordshire’s De Havilland Campus.

As well as attending many of the wonderful workshops and sessions at the conference, I’ve got the pleasure of chairing the Crime Panel in the Main Hall.

The four fabulous crime writers on the panel are:

ANN CLEEVES

Ann is the author of the books behind ITV’s VERA and BBC One’s SHETLAND. She has written over twenty-five novels, and is the creator of detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez – characters loved both on screen and in print. Her books have sold over 1 million copies worldwide.

LESLEY HORTON

Lesley’s books have been described as interesting, serious and gritty. After a career in teaching, Lesley took early retirement and has written five novels featuring DI (now DCI) John Handford and has completed her sixth. Her next novel will be a psychological suspense stand-alone. She is a founder member of the Airedale Writers’ Circle set up in 1995.

ADRIAN MAGSON

Adrian is the author of 13 crime/thriller novels and hundreds of short stories and magazine articles. His latest novels are ‘ Retribution’, the fourth in his Harry Tate spy series, and ‘Death on the Pont Noir’, third in his Inspector Lucas Rocco French police series. He’s a reviewer for Shots Magazine, he writes the ‘Beginners’ and ‘New Author’ pages for Writing Magazine, and is the author of ‘Write On! – The Writer’s Help Book’ .

CLARIE McGOWAN

Claire is the Director of Crime Writers’ Association and teaches on the new Crime Fiction MA at City University, London. Her first novel, The Fall, was published in 2012. Her second novel, The Lost, featuring forensic psychologist, Paula Maguire, was published earlier this month.

I’m really looking forward to it.

You can follow Get Writing 2013 on Twitter at @GetWriting2013

Events Alert: Murder in the (British) Library

Pulp Fiction - BW

Pulp Fiction – BW (Photo credit: Mark Coggins)

If you’re a crime fiction enthusiast like me then you might want to check out the ‘Murder in the Library: An A-Z of Crime Fiction’.

Installed at the British Library, London, this free exhibition is sponsored by The Folio Society.

It showcases the genre’s development from the early 19th century up to the present day, and will be open up to 12th May 2013.

For more information check out the British Library website at: http://www.bl.uk/whatson/exhibitions/murder/index.html

Maybe I’ll see you there …