Monday, 26 July 2010

Ryan David Jahn shortlisted

A big heads-up to anyone who doesn't follow his blog: Ryan David Jahn's Acts of Violence has been nominated for the Crime Writers Association New Blood Dagger Award (the award for best first novel).

Well done, RDJ--and well-deserved, too!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Works in Progress and Reads in Progress

Wondered what you were all doing, so thought it might liven up the blog to see where we are all at. I am currently reading Tracey Chevalier's Remarkable Creatures,which has taken me off to a quieter and more genteel age, and the fossil strewn cliffs of Lyme Regis. What I admire about Chevalier's writing is that it all seems wonderfully restrained, and this suits the women's repressive lives rather well. (see, I'm already saying "rather") When I read Girl with the Pearl Earring I was similarly impressed by the way she managed to capture  the spirit of the times. I am dabbling as well with a lot of non-fiction research books, including a very readable book called The Elizabethan Underworld - strange how yesteryear's criminals become somehow picturesque rather than despicable when put into print.

Work in progress - well I'm at the stage where it is nearly done but I'm picking over it trying to smooth out all the wrinkles. I am about to have the luxury of a whole day writing, good job it is wet and the garden can wait. I have a couple of events lined up for The Lady's Slipper at local branches of Waterstones - signings are odd events aren't they? I'm never very sure how much entertainment I am supposed to provide or whether my mere presence is enough! Which it probably is if you are very well-known. I have met some very interesting people at my various events though - orchid enthusiasts and people interested in local history.

This feels a bit like one of those Round Robin letters that people send at Christmas, oh dear.

If your update is long and interesting maybe put it in a separate post.

Monday, 19 July 2010

A fun way to waste time

This one is courtesy of Ryan David Jahn, who came across a site called "I Write Like." You paste in a few paragraphs of your prose, click a button, and some sort of algorithm tells you which famous writer most closely matches your style.

I pasted passages from the first four chapters of Shock and Awe--which rotate POV--and found that I Write Like:

1) David Foster Wallace
2) Chuck Palahniuk
3) James Joyce
4) Dan Brown

Hmm. Toss those in a blender and see how the result tastes.

For those of you too lazy to click on RDJ's link above, I should mention that his multi-POV novel gives him Vladimir Nabokov, Raymond Chandler, and Stephen King--although a second pass with the Nabokov chapter gave him HP Lovecraft. (That's a bit of a comedown from Vlad, I suppose, but I'll gladly swap my Dan Brown voice for his Lovecraft.)

Have fun, you Jane Austen, William S. Burroughs, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Edgar Allen Poe hybrids.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


The MNWers coincide at literary events only occasionally, but at least three of us who have published under the MNW label will be at Bodies in the Bookshop at Heffer’s in Cambridge next week – me, Eliza Graham and Roger Morris. It is (though I am shamelessly ripping off this fact from Roger’s blog) the twentieth annual Bodies event, bringing together crime writers from all over the country to chat informally over a glass of wine with anyone who wants to show up, and maybe even to sell the odd book or two. I’m hoping to be signing copies of The Herring in the Library there.

The complete line-up so far, in strict and impartial alphabetical order, is as follows: Don Bartlett (Translator of novels by the Norwegian authors K. O. Dahl, Jo Nesbo, Pernille Rygg and Gunnar Staalesen), A. L. Berridge, Richard Blake, Alison Bruce, Armand Cabasson, Charlie Charters, Mary Andrea Clarke, Rory Clements, Barbara Cleverly, Adam Creed, John Curran, Ruth Downie, Ruth Dudley Edwards, JT Ellison, Ann Featherstone, Jason Goodwin, Dolores Gordon-Smith, Eliza Graham, Michael Gregorio, Lucretia Grindle, Elliott Hall, Sophie Hannah, Veronica Heley, Suzette Hill, Matt Hilton, Lis Howell, Seth Hunter, Rebecca Jenkins, Erin Kelly, Jim Kelly, Laurie R. King, Patrick Lennon, Adrian Magson, Rose Melikan, R. N . Morris, Janet Neel, Chris Nickson, Gerard O’Donovan, Christine Poulson, Ann Purser, Philip Purser, Sheila Quigley, Mike Ripley, Imogen Robertson, Leigh Russell, William Ryan, E. V. Seymour, Lynn Shepherd, Stav Sherez, Harry Sidebottom, Roz Southey, Lyndon Stacey, L. C. Tyler, Nicola Upson, Andrew Williams, Emily Winslow.

Bodies in the Bookshop tickets at £5 are available from the Ground Floor Cash Desk at Heffers (01223-568568) or by contacting Richard Reynolds on 01223-568532 or by e-mail at

See you there?

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Congratulations, Brian

Gallows Lane has been short-listed for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award – see