Monday, 26 April 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane

This weekend was the Mannslaughter and Mayhem event organised by the charming Chris Ewan, over in the Isle of Man. I was as nervous as anything - especially as I was doing the event with Allan Guthrie and Stuart MacBride who are both everything I'm not - funny, articulate, quick witted, intelligent, male. However, Bob Harrison of Manx Radio who was interviewing us was really nice and didn't ask too many difficult questions, and the audience were kind enough to laugh. I managed to get through the whole thing without vomiting, which was a surprise to me and a relief to Stuart and Al. We signed books afterwards and I actually signed books for people I didn't know - it was a total thrill.

On Sunday, we went for lunch with Chris and his lovely wife Jo (who's a complete star - in every sense of the word - loved the seal costume, Jo, it was really convincing :o) ). Over lunch, Chris taught us to pick locks - much to the consternation of the other people in the restaurant, who clutched their belongings very carefully. We had a leisurely lunch and lots of laughs (if you ever see Chris, do ask him about his boat trip along the canals of Amsterdam, but make sure you're not eating anything at the time).

Afterwards, Chris showed us around the island. Despite the fact that he is married to a history teacher, his knowledge of history is slightly sketchy. However, it is better than his maths. This post is accompanied by a few pictures - one shows the beautiful scenery I was looking at while Ewan (my partner) and Stuart were gazing lovingly at each other, and while they were all doing something important on their phones (checking the football scores, looking at porn, buying The Idiot's Guide to Arithmetic on Amazon, drooling over the shoe pages at Marks and Spencer) - I'll leave you to decide who was doing what by the looks on their faces.

Al And Stuart were due to fly out at 7.30pm, and Ewan and I at 9pm. Al and Stuart took off in sunshine. Half an hour later, a thick fog had descended. It felt as though we were sitting in the middle of a James Herbert novel. It was no surprise when our flight was cancelled. They sorted out a hotel for us overnight and we walked to the hotel with a lady who was supposed to be on our flight. As we walked over she told us why she had been in the Isle of Man.

"My grand-daughter was being presented with a certificate for a writing competition and there was an event at the Erin Arts Centre. It was very good, although I'm a little hard of hearing and couldn't hear the lady," she said.

"Don't worry, you didn't miss anything, she was rubbish."

"It was you!"

Ann is a really nice lady and we had great fun chatting to her. When we turned up at the airport the next day I spotted her reading OLD DOGS, so I had to snap this picture. By the way, I should point out that the bruise on Ann's face is nothing to do with me - I did not force her to read the book, I promise. As I left her to it, she leaned forward and said "I really liked the shite sandwich." (She was, needless to say, referring to something in the book, rather than the offerings in the cafe at Ronaldsway airport (which, by the way, has the friendliest staff of any airport in the world)).

I'm off early on Wednesday morning to go to Alaska - woohoo! So there won't be another post before I go, as tomorrow night I have to try and squeeze two suitcases full of stuff into one suitcase and work out how to wear ten layers of clothes on my flight over. Hopefully I'll be able to post while I'm there. If I do, it will be over at Alaskan Misadventures, but I'll try and remember to post a link here. Mum - if I can't post, it means I can't get a signal, not that I've been eaten by a bear, OK?

Before I go, a few links.

A great review of Allan Guthrie's SLAMMER over at the most excellent PSYCHONOIR. And Sea Minor with a review of Allan's KILLING MUM.

Chris Ewan's GOOD THIEF'S GUIDE TO VEGAS is due out soon. And my copy is coming with me to Alaska.

Lynda's Book Blog reviews Ken McClure's A WHITE DEATH, A Bookish Way of Life blog on Alexander McCall Smith's DOUBLE COMFORT SAFARI CLUB, Joe Barone on M C Beaton's AGATHA RAISIN AND THE VICIOUS VET and Seacoast Online on Denise Mina's STILL MIDNIGHT.

Finally, Ian Rankin on his secret Edinburgh.


  1. Donna - Sounds like you had a lovely time at the Isle of Man; that's great! I wish you a safe and wonderful trip to Alaska!

  2. You're not supposed to tell people about the canal story!!! Glad you got home (EVENTUALLY) and here's hoping the flight to Alaska is smoother...

  3. So Chris, did she vomit over the canal story, then?

  4. Take care, don´t fly near any volcanoes!

  5. Did you know that Canadian fellow has gone a bit potty about you in his current post?

  6. I was one of the young crime writers there on the night, and we really enjoyed the evening! Don't worry, you were wonderful, and thanks for signing my book! I'm reading it at the moment and really enjoying it!

    Thanks again to you three and Chris, it was a really great night.

  7. Margot - thank you! I'm here safe and sound :o)

    Chris - I didn't actually TELL the story, just said that there WAS a story. By the way, I'm looking forward to you telling Grandma the story at Crimefest...

    Bookswitch - very little vomiting at ALL

    Dorte - we flew right over it!

    Rubbernecker - which Canadian would that be?!

    Anonymous young crimewriter - I'm glad you enjoyed the evening. I really enjoyed your stories and would love to have chatted longer with you about yours. I would love to see more of your writing so do e-mail me if you want to. I'm glad you're enjoying OLD DOGS

  8. That's very kind of you, thank you! I may have to take you up on that offer! Sorry for the anonymity- it's Michelle Novellie, I got the Highly Commended prize for 'The Black Widow'? It was lovely to meet you!

  9. Michelle - I thought it might be you :o) I would be very happy if you did take me up on my offer - I meant it! I really loved your story - I thought it was very clever and very visual. I mentioned to you that one line I REALLY loved that sent a chill down my spine. I'd love to see more!