Bookish · Uncategorized

Setting – Val Penny (Guest Post)

Hey all, today, I am delighted to be on the tour for Hunters Force by Val Penny and I have a guest post for you! I’ve been on previous tours for the books prior to this if you want to check those posts out too and so I am chuffed to be hosting another guest post from the author. Thanks, Val!

Thank you for inviting me to your blog today. I am very excited because my third crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Force’ has been published by Crooked Cats Books and is easily available from Amazon.

The story is set in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. I think setting is very important to a novel and did consider creating an imaginary town for my story. However, I lived in Edinburgh for many years and know the city well. I definitely saw my main protagonist, Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson, as a city policeman. Also, Edinburgh is a beautiful city and it is lovely to ‘research’ by walking around my favourite places!

Edinburgh has everything a writer could need. It is a diverse city with all different kinds of buildings and people. It is small enough that characters can move around it quickly and large enough for it to be credible that anything I want to happen there, could happen.

Edinburgh is a fabulous city with a castle, a palace and a cathedral, wealthy homes, horrible slums, fine restaurants, fast food outlets and idiosyncratic pubs. It is home to an Olympic size pool, the National Rugby Team and two famous football teams. It is also home to The Edinburgh International Festivals, what more could I or my characters want?

When I chose Edinburgh as the setting for my first novel ‘Hunter’s Chase’, I thought about it carefully. it is a beautiful city of around half a million people. I wanted the place to be big enough to support the series of books the form The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries, and I have no doubt that it fits the bill.

Hunter Wilson is divorced. He lives in a flat in Leith, an area to the north of the City and drinks in his local pub, the Persevere Bar and plays darts there.

The delegated parliament of Scotland, is where Hunter’s nemesis, Sir Peter Myerscough served as Justice Secretary. The Scottish Parliament has wide powers over how the people of Scotland are governed and meets in the Scottish Parliament Building, in the Holyrood district of the city.

Sir Peter Myerscough, has a fine home to the south in the Morningside district of Edinburgh. From his large house he has fine views across the Pentland Hills. The Pentland hills are situated just outside of Edinburgh. The reservoirs are picturesque and each hill is slightly different. If you are fit enough, you can visit the top of all of the hills in one day.
Another main character, Detective Constable Tim Myerscough is Sir Peter Myerscough’s son. He jogs through the unique park at The hermitage of Braid and his favourite pub is the Golf Tavern, off the Bruntsfield Links where, it is claimed, the oldest golf course in the world is situated.

Edinburgh is such a diverse and cultural city home to the National Art Galleries, beautiful parks and all kinds of people. It is the perfect place to situate my new novel, ‘Hunter’s Revenge’ and all the cases DI Hunter Wilson has to solve.

About The Book

Hunter by name – Hunter by nature:

Can DI Hunter Wilson keep Edinburgh safe when he is the hunted?

DI Hunter Wilson is woken in the early hours of the morning by a call from his son, Cameron. Who has murdered the young student who shares Cameron’s flat? Why would anybody want to kill a young woman recently arrived in the city?

Now that the united police force, Police Scotland exists, Hunter must call in the new Major Incident Team (MIT) to lead the investigation. Hunter’s ability to investigate anything further is put in severe doubt when someone from his past decides to take revenge on him. He goes missing and his team have no idea where to look for him. Who would want to stop Hunter in his tracks? 

Hunter’s team must work closely with MIT, with or without him, to solve the murder in this taught crime thriller. 

About The Author

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ Hunter’s Revenge and Hunter’s Force are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The fourth book in the series, Hunter’s Blood, follows shortly.

Bookish · Uncategorized

Plotting in Novels – Val Penny (Guest Post)

Hey everyone! I hope you all had the most wonderful weekend! I’m kicking this week off with a Guest Post from Val Penny as part of a blog tour to promote her book Hunters Chase which is available now in both Kindle and Paperback formats. It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited and you can get a free 30 day trial of that here.

Take it away, Val!

    Thank you for having me on your blog today.

    I think that plotting is central to writing a novel, but it is a highly individual process. No two authors plot in the same way. Some plot organically while others plot in a very orderly fashion. Many writers even plot differently from one book to another. Some write scenes: hundreds of scenes that interest and excite them and then they stitch the scenes together to from the novel. While others visualise the way the book will take shape using dozens of bits of paper laid out on their desk or even on the floor. It must be important to make sure the windows are closed if you plot this way!

    Some authors use tree diagrams, spreadsheets or mind-maps to plot and there is software available to download on line for this.

    However you plot your novel, the goal is the same, to allow the journey the plot is about take, that will last several months, to become a novel. It is important that you, as an author, choose between the ‘organic’ and ‘orderly’ methods of plotting so you are comfortable that your choice works best for you and the book you are setting out to write. I plotted my first novel ‘Hunter’s Chase’ organically but, after attending a course run by Sue Moorcroft at last years’ Swanwick Writers’ Summer School, I plotted the sequel ‘Hunter’s Revenge’ using diagrams and spreadsheets. Neither is wrong. Both have strength and weaknesses and either can be successful for crafting a novel.

    Writers who follow an organic way of plotting, approach the outline largely as a form of awareness of the story, rather than as an actual document to be followed strictly. Many view the outline not so much as a planning device but more of an analytical tool that helps strengthen the final draft by indicating the flaws in the story-line.

    Some authors begin with an idea and just jump in to tell the story. They write steadily and regularly until they have written tens of thousands of words. Then they go through the organic draft and delete large chunks and add other pieces until the final manuscript is complete.

    Other authors, like Sue Moorcroft, plot meticulously and there is no doubt that plotting an outline is hard work. However, having undertaken an outline on ‘Hunter’s Revenge’, I found myself writing my novel with confidence. I was happy that one chapter followed another in a sensible sequence. My characters retained their identities. Of course, at the end of the first draft, there were flaws, but I found I was able to repair those readily.

    Whether you plot organically or in an orderly fashion, the important issue is that you can tell the story to your readers and that you, and they, are satisfied by your novel.

About the Book

Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.
Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city, and he needs to find the source, but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course. 

Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder, but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: Detective Constable Tim Myerscough, the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable Sir Peter Myerscough. 

Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this first novel in The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series.

About the Author

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ and Hunter’s Revenge are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The third book in the series, Hunter’s Force, follows shortly.

Bookish · Uncategorized

Favourite Character to Write – BRM Stewart (Guest Post)

Today I am on the blog tour for The Deaths on the Black Rock by BRM Stewart, available now on Kindle and in Paperback formats. I’m pleased to bring you a guest post from the author about his Favourite Character to write.

Many of my characters are different aspects of me. Martin McGregor, and Michael, are me really. Martin’s life is stable just at the moment, so he doesn’t have a big role in this book (but wait for the next one!). Michael is developing well, and is going to take on more responsibility in the next book (as is the young Kylie).

I like Mark Grosvenor, the old semi-retired FBI agent, who appears to give his wisdom and knowledge, and help out generally using his contacts. Grosvenor has been with me since the first book, and I think he’ll always be around to give that international perspective. Anything involving cybercrime and online terrorism in the world will involve the FBI.

Overall, I think Amanda Pitt has to be my favourite character, and she has become a much more rounded and important character over the years.

She arrived late on in Digital Circumstances, with quite a small role as a corrupt cop. Right at the end, she seduced Martin’s secretary Claire, who was engaged at the time to a man she described as psychologically abusive.

I thought then that I could use her again, and friends also said they hoped to see more of her. In the second book, Digital Investigations, she rather took over: she was a member of a Major Investigation Team working on a murder and kidnapping.Amanda has a complex past. In ‘Investigations’ I explore that past, both how she discovered and came to terms with her sexuality, and how she became corrupt – being drawn in to a criminal gang as a result of doing a good turn for someone. It can be dangerous for a straight man to write about a gay woman, but I hope it rings true. I certainly hope I’ve avoided the standard pitfalls – I’m sure someone will tell me if I haven’t.

Amanda is a team player in ‘Investigations’. She lets the team know her ideas, and explains them. She also does what her boss asks her to do. She is the one who leads the team to make the breakthroughs. But she can also be ruthless: there’s an investigative reporter on her tail, looking into her past, and she will do anything not to let him bring her down.

In The Deaths on the Black Rock, Amanda is centre stage, and there’s no team around her. She alone thinks there is something dodgy about Rima Khalaf’s death, and I give her free reign to explore it. Amanda does some outrageous things as she gets more and more obsessed about the case, though hopefully it never comes across as unbelievable. It’s all very liberating for an author and great fun.

At the same time, I have to keep her rooted in reality: her task in her day job has to be carried out, and she does that well.

What I love about Amanda is that she works things out – not quite Sherlock Holmes, but close. She thinks about the problem. She does the spadework, so that when a piece of luck comes her way she can capitalise on it.

Blurb

It’s been a year since Rima Khalaf died in a fall from the Black Rock, deemed to be a tragic accident by the police.

But her grieving parents are dissatisfied with the police investigation, so DS Amanda Pitt is sent north from Glasgow to the small town of Clachdubh to re-examine the case.

Despite the suspicions of the distraught parents, all the circumstances seem to confirm Rima’s death was indeed a tragic accident until another woman is also found dead in the town.

Frustrated by the lack of any real evidence, DS Pitt pushes the limits of legality in her quest for the truth.

About the Author

Brian RM Stewart was born in Rutherglen and grew up in Grangemouth. He attended Glasgow University and Jordanhill College of Education, taught in Edinburgh, then moved to Nairn where he and his now-late wife Jan raised their children.

Brian now lives in Broughty Ferry with his wife Sally, where he is a member of the Angus Writers’ Circle and an active member of Rotary.

Brian spent much of his working life teaching mathematics and computing, but is now partially retired and lectures for the OU. When not writing, Brian attempts to play golf and the guitar (though not at the same time), and is a keen Bridge player.

He has published two previous novels, Digital Circumstances and Digital Investigation.

Bookish · Uncategorized

My Publishing Journey (Guest Post)

Hey guys, today, I’m delighted to be kicking off this blog tour with a guest post from Fiona Perrin, to promote The Story After Us, her debut novel, out now from Aria Fiction. The book is available in both Paperback and on Kindle and as part of Kindle Unlimited. You can find out more about the book on the other tour stops.

story-after-us.jpg

My journey has been a long one with quite a few stops to admire the view or have a rest along the way.

Put it this way, I always wanted to be an author, furiously scribbled all the way through childhood, wrote bad poems in adolescence and then became a copywriter and a journalist. I wrote my first novel back in about 2000 – it was a rave comedy which was a bit niche, I’ll admit – and then life, like loads of other authors, took over. That meant work – by then running a company and then a career as a sales and marketing director – kids, family: the usual.

Then in 2012 I really wanted to get on with it again and took a very rough draft of a second novel to the Curtis Brown Creative novel writing course. That taught me that I knew very little, so I threw away most of the words, learned a lot and then wrote it again with the help of my spin-off writing group from that course. We met up every fortnight for years as we all wrote books and that meant, whatever else was going on, I had to write another chapter every few weeks as well as help edit their fab books. That group has gone on to have four publishing deals and there will definitely be more. I think we’re all proud of that.

And I bumbled along getting quite a lot of rejection along the way; and yep, its character-building but it’s also awful. The only thing to do is let yourself be furious and miserable for a few hours and then move on.

It was really when two things happened that I got there: all the kids grew up a bit and some went off to Uni and jobs; and I stopped working flat out and had time to think about what to do. That was when I finished it, sent it to my fabulous agent, Diana Beaumont, (she put out a tweet saying what she was looking for and I sent it straight away). She gave fab input and over a few drafts helped me make it a much better book. Then Lucy Gilmour at Aria loved it and… well here, I am. Writing my second book has made me realise how much I’ve learned but also that I won’t ever stop learning.

Fiona Perrin author pic
Fiona was a journalist and copywriter before building a career as a sales and marketing director in industry. Having always written, she completed the Curtis Brown Creative Writing course before writing The Story After Us.

As a mother and stepmother to four teenagers while holding down a fairly full-on job, she wanted to write grown-up commercial fiction about messy, modern love and families – with all their heartbreak, humour and hope.

She grew up in Cornwall, hung out for a long time in London and then Hertfordshire, and now she writes as often as possible from her study overlooking the sea at the end of the Lizard Peninsula, back in Cornwall. She’s currently there, writing her second novel for Aria.

story after us_15
If she tries very hard, Ami can remember when she used to have a dynamic and exciting career and a husband who she loved more than life itself, and who was equally smitten with her…

Now she has two children, a terrifyingly large mortgage, and no idea who she has become – or why she and her husband can’t even be in the same room anymore.

With life as she knew it in tatters around her, Ami is heartbroken, and in no way pulling off ‘consciously uncoupling’; like a celeb. But she’s starting to wonder if she just might come out the other side and be… happier?

Art Supplies · Art/Crafts · DIY/Tutorials · Uncategorized

DIY: Washi Duck Tape tabs

ducktape_washi

I’m awful at the whole regular blogging thing. Sorry not sorry. I promised myself I wouldn’t force anything when it came to my new blog, that includes imposing a schedule on myself. I’ve got plenty to write about, lots more to post, but I’m only going to do it when I feel up to it. In the meantime, I have lots of notes and thoughts and stuff that I keep in a notebook. It’s really helpful to be able to mark or tab things to help organise my thoughts, and while I use a notebook with two ribbon markers and have an index, it’s not quite enough for me. So what do I do? Washi tape tabs!

stationery

This stuff is really simple guys, and I absolutely love it. Anyone who follows me on twitter will likely know that I am addicted to duck tape. No, really. This is basically me. (not to scale, both horizontally and vertically.)

washi_man

Well, a while back, I saw Hobbycraft started stocking duck brand washi tape, so I had to get some. Washi tape is endlessly useful, especially if you like to be organised, but today, I’m gonna share a few ways I use the stuff in my notebook to help sort of “file” my ideas. I used to hate the idea of working on several things in one notebook and fear the blank page, but thanks to numbered pages, an index and washi page tabs, it’s no longer an issue for me.. mostly.

washi_paperclips

First, I’ll start with the easiest to move/remove. Paperclips! Paperclips are great to not only hold you pages together, but make little flag markers too. Simply put a small piece of washi tape through the clip, fold it over and trim the end in to whatever shape your heart desires. Personally, I cut mine to look kinda like ribbons. So useful!

ducktape_washi_tabs

Next are tabs for your actual notebook. Like I said before; these are all super easy! Just cut a piece of washi tape and attach it to your page, fold it over either just on itself or to the back side of the page. Personally, I choose to do it to the back side of the page, it feels sturdier when flipping to it.

washi_page

Lastly, two types of page edging! This is great if you want to mark pages or sections, but don’t want anything sticking out of your notebook. Simply put a length of washi tape along the page and fold it over. Or, as shown above, you can do a smaller length piece.

All of these are nice and easy, simple and effective. What I love is that they’re also really easy to remove and replace or whatever you need to do. You can also write on them, use the tape to cover mistakes, wrap cords, tag stuff, wrap boring stationery and so much more.

I hope some of you may find this helpful! Do you already use Washi tape? What do you use it for? I’d love to hear your uses for it!

 

*Some of the Duck Tape Washi Tapes featured in this post were gifted to me from the brand*