Sunday 31 July 2011

A post with added itch

This weekend's cinematic viewing: A BITTERSWEET LIFE is a South Korean film set in the Korean underworld in which Sun Woo - a smart, young mob guy - is given the task of checking up on his boss' young girlfriend while the boss is out of town. A really good start - what happens when Sun Woo decides to act morally in an immoral world - but then he turns into some unbelievable Duracell bunny. He's a one man army wearing a cloak of invincibility. Next up was ANIMAL KINGDOM, an Australian crime film (apparently based on a true story). When 17 year old Josh's mother dies of a heroin overdose he turns to his estranged grandmother for help. She takes him in, and he discovers that she might be his gran, but she's no sweet little old lady - instead, she's the matriarch of a violent criminal family, and she's not really bothered when Josh's uncles get him involved. Tense, chilling, and nicely low key. Finally, and most impressively, BALLAST. Set in a depressed part of the Mississippi Delta, Ballast focuses on three marginalised characters - a man whose twin brother has killed himself just before the film starts; the dead man's 12 year old son, who hasn't seen his father for years, and is heading in a dangerous direction; and the boy's mother, who is barely managing to make ends meet. Not much happens and it's shot in a documentary style, but it's a totally gripping film. Completely understated, subtle and nuanced.

In other weekend news - we booked tickets to see Killing Joke in Glasgow next March (yippee!), and I have 27 midge bites (which, given that these are Scottish midges, and the bites have a propensity to evil swelling), means that I am now just one big midge-y bite and I'm trying to restrain myself from clawing myself to death. I even used Avon's Skin-So-Soft before we went out, but the little buggers seem to love it. Either that or I taste so good that they are prepared to risk it. Yes, that's it - I am good meat.

An interview with the lovely Chris Ewan, in which he shares some wonderful and well-deserved news.

Over at the excellent Guilty Conscience blog, Luca Veste has been busy with Scottish crime writers. First of all, an interview with the lovely Chris Ewan, in which he shares some wonderful and well-deserved news, and, just for good measure, a review of Chris' THE GOOD THIEF'S GUIDE TO AMSTERDAM (and yes, for those of you who were wondering, the Isle of Man is a satellite state of Scotland). an interview with Helen Fitzgerald. And a review of her new book THE DONOR.

Talking of Helen Fitzgerald, please don't go and see her stand-up comedy routine.

Tony Black's TRUTH LIES BLEEDING is out in paperback on August 3rd. Here's Tony reading an excerpt.

The Guardian, with an article on Josephine Tey.

Fancy a role in the Edinburgh Fringe production of Alexander McCall Smith's THE WORLD ACCORDING TO BERTIE? Hmmmmm, think I might go for this myself. Are you calm? Yes, yes I am. Enthusiastic? Oh, very. Have a very waggy tail? Ummmmm, no. Is that vital? Are you a Border Collie? Well, no, actually. I'm more like a very out-of-shape St Bernard who's been at the brandy in her little barrel.

Happy one-month birthday to Allan Guthrie's TWO-WAY SPLIT, in which the very accommodating Mr Guthrie does my job and rounds up all the Allan Guthrie news that's fit to print.

John Dingwall interviews M C Beaton.

The Telegraph tells us that, in a menacing world, we flee into thrillers. Condescending, much?

Thursday 28 July 2011

News, Reviews and Interviews

The My Life In Books event at the wonderful Glasgow Women's Library last night seemed to go well. We had a nice turnout and Karen Campbell and Caro Ramsay were a joy to interview. They talked about books that had influenced them throughout their lives (turns out that between us we had a shared history of Enid Blyton (although I was the only one of us who'd ever got into trouble because of The Famous Five), Black Beauty, Just William and the Jennings series of books. They also talked about their own writing. Karen read from a very atmospheric piece from her most recent book PROOF OF LIFE and Caro read the chilling prologue of her forthcoming book, due out in January. I had a good time, despite my nerves prior to the event.

Talking of JUST WILLIAM, serendipitously, Kate Atkinson chooses it for her top 10.

Jake Kerridge does a much better round-up of Harrogate than I did but then, he gets paid for it.

A review of Allan Guthrie's SLAMMER and an interview with the man himself over at The Crime Of It All, where there is also a review of Alice Thompson's THE EXISTENTIAL DETECTIVE.

Ian Rankin and others campaign to save Radio 4's short story content. Talking of Ian Rankin, here's a reminder about the charity event in aid of the Royal Blind.

Fancy a mystery tour of England and Scotland? Want to meet crime writers? Have a spare $6,000? Then this could be the trip for you. While you're in Edinburgh, you could go on this TRAINSPOTTING tour. Let's hope the "worst toilet" isn't too realistic.

Reader Dad reviews Ray Banks' small but perfectly formed novella GUN. And Paul Brazill interviews Ray here.

The Globe And Mail on Alexander McCall Smith's THE DOG WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, and Bookbag reviews Gordon Ferris' THE HANGING SHED.

Chris Ewan is appearing at a bookstore near you (if you live in Thousand Oaks) on August 6th. If you are near, go and see him, he's very entertaining and a top bloke.

Monday 25 July 2011

Post-Harrogate Post

Well, Harrogate Crime Festival was excellent. Not that I went to any events, so I can't comment on those, but it was so brilliant to catch up with old friends and to make new ones who you feel as though you've known forever. I'm not going to list everyone, because that would just be ridiculous, but you know who you are because I probably hugged you several times (or, if I didn't know you very well, I probably shook your hand whilst wishing I knew you well enough to hug you). Some brief highlights:

Getting to spend time with the gorgeous Christa Faust after missing out on an LA trip last year due to pneumonia. (Photo courtesy of Adele (who, at one point during the weekend, told me I wasn't scary after all. Am I scary, dear Reader?))

Lovely agent Allan Guthrie calling the screenplay I just sent him 'a humdinger' (he never usually says anything nice to me...)

Getting to meet Steve Mosby's gorgeous little baby boy.

The hilarious dinner where we developed a concept for the new TV show RUN, RUSSEL, RUN starring Russel D McLean and his catchphrase "Now THAT I can do." Thanks to Al, Damien, Kate, Charles, Adele, Kat, Vincent and Russel for such a fun evening.

My lovely new shoes - courtesy of the aforementioned Christa Faust.

Being insulted by young Kat Heubeck in such a lovely way. Knowing that I am a big fan of 70s punk (it having been the music of my heyday), Christa had also bought me a book about an LA punk club from the late 1970s. Kat, taking a look at it, said "Oh! A history book." I am, officially, history.

Meeting one of my heroes - Cathi Unsworth - and getting to talk music with her. It made me come home and play my old Sisters of Mercy albums.

Being inspired by Harrogate to finish up/write three short stories on the train on the way home, and dying to get stuck into the new screenplay.

Anyway, a wee bit of Scottish crime fiction news, because it doesn't just all stop while I'm away, you know. Before that, a rather marvellous picture from Harrogate of those Reservoir Scots Allan Guthrie, Stuart MacBride and Russel McLean (aka Mr Giggle, Mr Ponytail and Mr Breadcrumbs).

Craig Russell unwittingly leads tourists astray.

A review of Alexander McCall Smith's THE DOG WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, reviews of Grant McKenzie's SWITCH and NO CRY FOR HELP, and Publisher's Weekly on Denise Mina's THE END OF THE WASP SEASON.

Win tickets to the Edinburgh Book Festival.

Finally, several authors who were at Harrogate choose their favourite fictional characters.

Thursday 21 July 2011

A Hotch Potch of Crime Fiction Randomness

Just a wee reminder for anyone who's in Glasgow on Tuesday evening - I'm interviewing Karen Campbell and Caro Ramsay for a My Life In Books Crime Fiction Special at the wonderful Glasgow Women's Library. All welcome (it's not just for the girls!)

Six shots from Allan Guthrie over at Shotgun Honey.

Getting to know Stuart MacBride.

An excellent Noir Interview with Ray Banks. What a great idea. And a couple of reviews of the excellent GUN.

A review of Kate Atkinson's STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG.

Edinburgh's Oxford Bar, home of Rankin's Rebus and more places of interest on the Literary Map of Edinburgh. Tickets on sale for An Evening With Ian Rankin on September 2nd. And Colin Bateman interviews Ian on September 22nd at the Irish Literature Festival in Bangor.

Talking of Ian Rankin, I hope that he and Val McDermid have been gargling with honey.

Trailer for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

A conversation with Alexander McCall Smith.

I'm off to Harrogate tomorrow for the Crime Festival, so I doubt there will be any posts from me until at least Sunday evening. Have a lovely weekend, Dear Reader.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Custard, Coathagers and Catwoman

I am currently down at my parents (alternately being spoiled and being treated as though I have regressed to being a six year old). This is a very useful visit, as well as being lovely, because the screenplay I have just finished is set in a retirement community. And my parents live in one. Handy, eh? I'm currently editing the screenplay so some of the things that have happened over the last couple of days may well find their way into it. Today, my mum took me to the bingo (having first said "You just mark off the numbers on the card with a cross." Gee, thanks mum.)

Sadly, we didn't win the cucumber, the gravy granules or the mint sauce (or the tin of Ambrosia Creamed Rice - which seemed to be the hot prize of the day, given the oohs and aahs that accompanied its announcement), but we did come home with this little haul (the custard powder and the coat-hanger were my winnings, the rest of the booty was down to my mum).

I also made the shock discovery that my mum once walked out of a Beverley Sisters concert in the 1950s "because of the foul language". Yes, this bevy of apple-cheeked beauties. No wonder my mum doesn't like my books... I have no idea what they said, sadly my mum can't remember.

Anyway, enough of that nonsense, and on to the Scottish crime fiction news.

First of all, Ray Banks is interviewed by Allan Guthrie over at Criminal-E. And here's Mr Banks again, at Guilty Conscience.

While on the subject of Luca Veste's excellent Guilty Conscience website, she's not Scottish, but she lives in Sunderland, so that's close enough, here's an interview with Julie Morrigan. If you like dark and warped, do read her stuff.

Over at I Meant To Read That - a review of Douglas Lindsay's THE LONG MIDNIGHT OF BARNEY THOMSON.

A bit of a half-hearted review of Christopher Brookmyre's WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED,

Pictures of all the Ian Rankin art sculptures. Aren't they brilliant?

Alexander McCall Smith on tackling rabies.

The Rap Sheet has a piece on Paul Johnston.

Week two of the Telegraph's Kate Atkinson discussion.

Finally, what all the well-dressed assassins are wearing these days. Au revoir, mes petits choufleurs.

Sunday 17 July 2011

This, That, and a Bit of the Other

This weekend's film viewing was 36 QUAI DES ORFEVRES with Daniel Auteuil and Gerard Depardieu - a gritty, absorbing and convoluted crime thriller with lots of shades of grey. Great performances from Auteuil and Depardieu. Off to Harrogate Crime Festival next week so it will be a film-less weekend.

A great post from Helen Fitzgerald on self-obsession, and here's a great interview with her in The Scotsman.

The Scotsman also interviews David Ashton.

Hobbit in Irvine Welsh's ECSTACY.

An audio interview with Dr Val McDermid.

The World of Alexander McCall Smith, a review of BLUE SHOES AND HAPPINESS and a video interview with the man.

An interesting article on Douglas Watt's TESTAMENT OF A WITCH.

Fancy an evening with Ian Rankin?

Shirley McKay and Gillian Galbraith will be appearing at the Inverness Book Festival August 10-13. Louise Welsh and Christopher Brookmyre will also be appearing.

The Guardian on class in fiction. And another Guardian piece - this time the best summer reads and where to read them. Maybe we should do the equivalent for crime fiction.

I'm sure I don't need to tell you again that you should read the genius that is Douglas Lindsay's GOVERNMENT OF THE LIVING DEAD, do I?

And, he's not Scottish, but I can't resist the chance to give a shout out to the lovely Declan Burke, whose book ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is out soon. It's absolute 100% brilliant, by the way. And it's being launched on August 10th at the Gutter Bookshop in Dublin. Everyone welcome.

Thursday 14 July 2011

"Not in these trousers"

I am absolutely loving being made redundant. I've been doing some adult literacy tutoring, group work and creative writing groups at the wonderful Glasgow Women's Library, and it's where I'm going to be doing my plaement for my Masters degree. It's a lovely place to be. Sometimes it's quiet and restful to be there, at other times it's noisy and vibrant. It's always fun and interesting. They do so much there - adult literacy and numeracy sessions, trips to Glasgow's Buddhist Temple or Jewish archives, galleries, films, museums, arts and crafts. There's a group of learners who are involved in researching, setting up and delivering women's heritage walking tours of Glasgow, and they have a BME women's project. Everyone who works there is absolutely lovely and really friendly, and the learners are great fun and so enthusiastic. It's an absolute joy to go in there (I sent Ewan a text after a particularly great day there, saying "I love my job." He sent me one back saying "Just to remind you - you're not getting paid." Details, details).

They also have an archive of fascinating treasures - loads of Suffragette and women's history artefacts. They have a list of what's available and you have to find it yourself. There are loads of boxes, each of which contain several items. It's like a treasure hunt - you have to locate the shelf, then the box, then dig inside the box. One box has pulp fiction - including the marvellous - THE GIRLS IN 3-B ("They came to the city - fascinated, frightened - hungering after life with that desperate, head-long impatience of the very young...There was Annice...Bright, curious, full of untried passions, she let Alan drag her into his beat-generation world of parties, jazz, booze, marijuana and sex. And Pat...She was big blonde and built for love, but she was saving herself for marriage. Until she met her boss. Right from the beginning Pat knew she'd do anything for him - anything. And Barby...She was the most vulnerable. Men terrified her and for a good reason. When she finally fell in love it was with a woman.) How can you resist that?

There's also a beautiful Suffragette brooch, all wrapped up with tissue paper and ribbon, a card game called PANKO which has supporters and opponents of the suffrage movement and includes cards such as 'Votes for Women' showing a fight between Suffragettes and the police, and 'Gaol ! Gaol ! Gaol !' showing a Suffragette refusing a meal while on hunger strike a 'Votes For Women clock/paperweight (it's weird, but it works), 1950s knitting patterns, ancient sex education leaflets ("Should I let my boyfriend touch me below the neck?"), and my favourite find - Suffragette postcards. They have a collection of postcards - mostly cartoon-y, many of them taking the mickey out of the Suffragette movement. Some of them have been sent to people and those are the most fascinating "Dear Alice, I hope you don't hold with all this nonsense" type of stuff. But my favourite was one which has a young man wooing a young woman, and it looks as though he's trying to get her into a cosy love shack. She's wearing the new fangled trousers of the day - like golfing plus fours - and she's saying "Not in these trousers."

The back of the card says "Dear Alice, Shall not be over on Saturday, Frank." Now, doesn't that make you wonder what happened? Was Frank chucking Alice by the Edwardian era version of text message? If so, why did he send his message on a jokey postcard? Was she a Suffragette and he didn't approve? Or was this their usual form of communication, given lack of phones and difficulty in locating a carrier pigeon? Had they earlier agreed that he would come over either on Saturday or Sunday, and he was just letting her know that Saturday was out? Was Frank really Francesca?

Amy - I read your mail 100 years later and I'm worried about you and Frank.

Anyway, on to the usual crime fiction news.

A review for Allan Guthrie's TWO-WAY SPLIT, and one for Kate Atkinson's WHEN WILL THERE BE GOOD NEWS?

In DEAD SHARP, Len Wanner interviews Scottish crime writers Allan Guthrie, Ian Rankin, Christopher Brookmyre, Louise Welsh, Neil Forsyth, Stuart MacBride, Karen Campbell, Alice Thompson and Paul Johnston. Excellent stuff.

A literary festival in Soho with Philip Kerr amongst others.

Can you tell a Scottish novelist from an English one?

Ian Rankin on the new sculpture on the border between Scotland and England.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

I'll Take The High Road...

Hello, dear Reader.

This post is interspersed with photos from my 'research' trip up the west coast of Scotland yesterday. As you can see from the photos, it's a hard life, doing research. The photos are taken from a train window, so they're not perfect, I'm afraid.

I did not take a photo of the fish and chips I had in Mallaig, but, take it from me - they were delicious.

On the train, I also wrote the first ten pages of a new screenplay (which has a scene set in Mallaig, and on the ferry over to the Isle of Skye - hence the trip) , finished two short stories, and scalded myself with ScotRail tea.

Now on to the Scottish crime fiction news.

Over at Bastardized Version, I tell that wuss John Hornor how badass I am. Oh yes I am. Just don't tell my Mum.

More on the literature project for Darfur refugees that Alexander McCall Smith is involved in. I Prefer Reading reviews A CONSPIRACY OF FRIENDS, and a review of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING SEVEN.

Another one of the lovely origami Ian Rankins. Well, obviously not literally.

A brilliant interview by Anthony Neil Smith with Allan Guthrie over at Herman's Greasy Spoon.

A review of Kate Atkinson's STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG. And Kate Atkinson will be speaking at Fountains Abbey on Friday 15th July.

Manic Pop Thrills reviews Chris Brookmyre's WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED.

Finally, I can't remember, did I already mention that Philip Kerr will be joining Lee Child and Jeffery Deaver at next year's CrimeFest? Can't wait. But, since I have to, I'm off to Harrogate next week for the Harrogate Crime Festival.

Sunday 10 July 2011

Sheds, Swords and Sex

Tomorrow I have decided to treat myself to a day out...errrrr... spend a hard day researching the route from Glasgow to the Isle of Skye. This involves sitting on a train for 5 hours and taking in the beautiful scenery on the West Highland Line, which includes the Glenfinnan Viaduct (better known as the one from Harry Potter) and the beautiful Arisaig, before spending two hours in Mallaig for a wander round and some fish and chips, followed by a 5 hour trip home again. It's a hard life.

If you really need any more persuasion to buy Allan Guthrie's brilliant TWO-WAY SPLIT, here's the lovely Declan Burke to give you that extra push.

A review of Helen Fitzgerald's FURCHTBAR LIEB (aka DEAD LOVELY ) It's in German, and, if I concentrate, I can understand a lot of it. However, it's much much more fun to go to Babelfish and get an...ahem... 'English' translation, which has gems such as "Thus a harmonious Sexualleben of a marriage transforms into a Reproduktionsmarathon" and "Krissie of One Night conditions becomes just now more pregnant".

A review of Philip Kerr's FIELD GREY.

Alexander McCall Smith's wish for Darfur.

Grant McKenzie talks about true crime inspiration.

GOVERNMENT OF THE LIVING DEAD - a wee treat from Douglas Lindsay, starting on Monday and lasting forever (or at least a week).

If you read it in a book, would you believe a story about a woman who lived in a shed in her married lover's back garden?

And a serious one to finish with for a change: Reducing gang violence in Glasgow.

Thursday 7 July 2011

Screwed, Blued and Tattooed

Following Tuesday's post, here's another couple of books from my pulp fiction collection. The first one - THE CORPSE THAT REFUSED TO STAY DEAD by Hampton Stone - I picked up because of the blurb on the back: 'They lived in a city within a city, one of those hulking tenements of furnished rooms, shared kitchens, dismal studios...They were kids, some jazzy and some with hair down to their eyes, but all of them gone on the same Big Dream...One of them played the craziest violin east of Heifetz, another could make a clarinet weep...Another was the sour soprano whose morals were always off beat...Then one fine morning someone smothered the soprano and a red-headed old lady who was batty as a bird sang some fantastic lyrics for the cops...She called the tune on another killing - which happened to be her own...From then on - hot,cool or frozen stiff - the kids all had one little item in common...stark terror.' Hi-de-ho all you hep cats and hep kittens, doesn't that sound like the elephant's eyebrows?

And the second one is G G Fickling's THE CASE OF THE RADIOACTIVE REDHEAD. Here's the blurb: 'Two tapering legs waving straight up in the air, flaring downward into mesh-colored buttocks and a billow of gold cloth that played frantic peek-a-boo over the torrid torso of Frenchy Appleton. I'm Erik March, private investigator. The fee is a grand a day (plus expenses). Amigo, I knew all the angles...until I met The Radioactive Redhead. Settle back in your chair while I spell out this caper, it's a dilly.' Now, vomit on the table and tell me that ain't straight from the fridge, daddy-o. (by the way, Dad - that's just 50s slang, I didn't literally mean you should throw up on the dining table - Mum wouldn't be too chuffed. You know her roof is leaking (and I don't mean you should get the ladder out to check, I mean she's a little bit crazy).

An offer you can't refuse from the lovely Ray Banks. And here's an interview with him.

Sometimes, I think I should just give up blogging and just post reminders to go and check out Douglas Lindsay's blog. Especially when he puts up short stories like PLAN 16 FROM OUTER SPACE. Or this post on the media. Totally brilliant.

A review of Allan Guthrie's wonderful TWO-WAY SPLIT. And a most excellent post on BYE BYE BABY and narrative POV.

A biography of Stuart MacBride and his neatly trimmed beard.

An interview with Christopher Brookmyre.

A live web chat with Iain Banks tomorrow.

Fancy a crime novel written by 26 top authors?

Right-o, I'm splitting this crazy scene to get Screwed, Blued and Tattooed. Errrr, Dad, that just means I'm going to go out and have a good time, not literally...well, you know.

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Swing The Big-Eyed Rabbit

I'm rather enjoying this being made redundant lark. In the last few days I have finished the screenplay I was writing (sent off to lovely agent Allan Guthrie. I'm sure it's crap, but I had great fun writing it and it was great experience), and I've written two short stories, with a third on the go.

I don't know why, but when I'm writing a short story, it generally starts off (at least) with a title that's a song. One of the stories is called What Do I Get? (the Buzzcocks) and another is called Bikini Girls With Machine Guns (the Cramps), although I'm contemplating changing that one to Hens (not a song title). The third one, which I have just started, and which is a sort of homage to NIGHTMARE ALLEY (one of my favourite noir books/films) is tentatively titled Depravity Lane (Alien Sex Fiend). None of the stories have anything to do with the content of the songs, by the way, it's just the titles. (And the story Bikini Girls With Machine Guns has neither girls in bikinis nor machine guns, incidentally.)

The title of this post is another song by The Cramps. It's also the name of a book by John Pleasant McCoy. When I found this in a used bookstore in America I snapped it up. How could I resist? I haven't read it yet, but the back cover blurb says 'SWING THE BIG-EYED RABBIT is a vivid novel filled with the lusty pleasures and primitive emotions of the backwoods people. Here they are in all their earthy splendor - from the hell-fire and damnation preacher to the lush and laughing girls. This is an unforgettable novel that has won high praise from critics for its zestful humor, Rabelasian characters and abounding vitality.'

I bought it at the same time as SWAMP BRAT by Allen O'Quinn. I found this one hard to resist because of the excerpt on the back cover:

'She stepped out from behind the tree trunk, her daddy's shotgun cradled in her arms.

"What are you doing here?" I said.

"Squirm, Eddie." All that black hair curtained her eyes, but she kept the gun slanted at my face.

"Look here, Rosamay, what you aim to do with that double barrel?"

"Maybe kill dogs, Eddie, maybe you. Look over my shoulder, Eddie. She's down there waiting for you, ain't she? All soft and pink and prettied up. Eddie, I swore up and down last night when you left me that I wouldn't let her have you in one piece. It ain't easy staying awake all night, Eddie, and when you do, you get dizzy in the head so you could do most anything. Eddie, I aim to kill you."

I am really rubbish at titles, but find it difficult to start writing without one. Is that just me? For the writers out there - how do you choose your titles? And for the readers - how important is a title to you?

Anyway, I digress. On to the Scottish crime fiction news.

Several prominent Scottish authors - including Ian Rankin and Karen Campbell - talk about books they are looking forward to reading this summer. Ian Rankin sends Allan Guthrie's kindle sales sky high with his praise. Excellent stuff.

Another list of books for the summer, including Morag Joss' AMONG THE MISSING. And the Herald chooses Karen Campbell's PROOF OF LIFE as one of theirs.

An excellent review of Doug Johnstone's THE OSSIANS over at Dear Scotland.

The Vancouver Sun calls Alexander McCall Smith "an old-fashioned writer plugged into today's world."

More on the mysterious Ian Rankin sculptures. And Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith are amongst authors backing Oxfam's Bookfest.

An interview with Kate Atkinson.

Thanks to Bill Crider for this website, which has some absolute crackers.

And, finally, it really took them over 8 hours? Not just Scotland's only theme park, but Scotland's slowest theme park. What on earth were they doing all that time?

Sunday 3 July 2011

News, Reviews, and How My Mum Was Right

A great blog post from Helen Fitzgerald on her speech for the Oscars sparked this equally great post from Douglas Lindsay. (By the way, Douglas, I totally agree with you about the annoying Squealapova. She sounds as though she's auditioning for a part in Deliverance.)

The always brilliant Allan Guthrie's Ten Rules To Write Noir. Fantastic stuff.

Nigel Bird reviews Russel McLean's THE GOOD SON, and a review for Karen Campbell's PROOF OF LIFE. Over at Crimesquad, July's reviews include a couple for Scottish authors - the lovely Michael Malone reviews Denise Mina's THE END OF THE WASP SEASON, and G.S. (who I'm sure is equally lovely) reviews Craig Russell's A FEAR OF DARK WATER.

And Denise Mina reviews a true crime book. Not only is it a great review, but it's also an interesting and funny look at the appeal of true crime. Talking of true crime, right at this moment there is a woman being huckled into the back of a police van just along the road...

An interview with Lin Anderson.

My Mum gets the proof she needs for her theory that women shouldn't swear. Bugger.

Finally - please could we have our enormous bobble hat back?

Friday 1 July 2011

Nibbled To Death By Fish

First of all - happy birthday to the talented JT Lindroos. Thanks, JT, you're a star.

I've been away having a girlie few days with my friend Jill - you know the sort of thing - drinking wine, watching movies, shopping, and having your feet nibbled at by man-eating fish. Strangely, a notice on the tank says "Please do not feed the fish." The film we watched was BRIDESMAIDS - not my usual fare but it was a bit different from the usual sickly sweet chick flick, being delightfully rude and crude in places. Good fun.

I've been chastised yet again for not updating my music selections over on the right, so I've put my current listens up. No doubt they'll still be up there 6 months hence.

Allan Guthrie over at Criminal E interviews...errrr...Allan Guthrie. And he also interviews Gordon Brown, so he doesn't just talk to himself.

A real life Ian Rankin mystery. How brilliant is this?

An interview with Ken McClure.

Alexander McCall Smith at the London Literature Festival on July 3rd.

Irvine Welsh - Ecstasy: The Movie.

Have a lovely weekend all, and thanks to everyone for the creative writing exercises.