Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Summer Reading

Ah, the bliss of a rainy day with the excuse of staying indoors and reading some of the books in the large pile in the living room. As we've had plenty of rainy days lately I've had lots of opportunities to catch up.
I confess I like to read a variety of genres,though crime is my favourite and I've read two excellent debut crime novels so far this summer. Although both are set in Glasgow, each has an unusual slant on the usual 'police procedural'.
'Blackmail' by Bill Daly introduces DCI Charlie Anderson as the main character,but the crimes he deals with involve all strata of society.This is not so much a whodunnit or whydunnit as an exploration of the world of murder and drug dealing lurking beneath the shiny surface of the 'new' Glasgow. I'm already looking forward to his next novel 'The Key Question'.
'Blood Tears' by Michael J Malone is the first in series featuring DI Ray McBain, a man whose past underpins the events in the novel and the excitement lies in the gradual revelation of the reasons behind the dreams that haunt him. This is a gritty novel with a charged atmosphere, a format that bodes well for the follow up 'A Simple Power.'
A different genre, but with an underlying theme of crime, is '2312' by Kim Stanley Robinson. Billed as science ficton, it's much more than that - a thriller which gives us a bold vision of humanity's future.
And to round off this first set, I'm currently reading and loving 'The Etymologican',billed as ' a circular stroll through the hidden connections of the English language.' This is a delightful book, witty and erudite and a must for anyone interested in the derivations of words.
That's my choice to date...if the rain continues, I'll be able to start on the next pile.
What are you enjoying this summer?

Monday, 23 July 2012

Water, water everywhere.

Now I know how the Ancient Mariner felt!
The rain today..and yesterday... and many days before that set me thinking about how we use the weather in our writing.
One crime novelist always prefers setting her books in the autumn -the dying time of year. Others go through the all the seasons in the course of the narrative.
Does it matter what we choose? Does the weather in our writing affect the reader's perceptions about what is happening?
So far I've much preferred to set the Bute novels mostly in the summer, with an occasional winter chapter to capture the storms that can cut the island off from the mainland.
Winter on Bute

Summer on Bute

But summer is how I think of Bute and hope will give readers a picture of the magic of the various locations, in spite of the grisly events.
Mmm...perhaps the next one will have a winter theme.

Thursday, 12 July 2012


At last, inspired by so many other writers, I've joined Twitter. I must admit the first time I logged on and saw what looked like millions of tweets I had a mild panic.
However day 2 was better, including the realisation you don't have to reply to everything, nor do you need to follow everyone.
I can see why it becomes addictive and why discipline is called for - else it's all tweeting (and Facebook and blogging and actually talking to people) and no writing.
Looking forward to sitting out at Ettrick Bay on the Isle of Bute, tweeting about the marvellous weather ( well, we must have summer some time).
Can I add 'member of the Twitterati' to my author CV?