Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival: Days 3 and 4

I’m in pain and exhausted. I had to miss a couple of panels yesterday and both this morning. I’ve over done it; but still, I’ve done it! I’ve managed to go on holiday on my own, go to a festival and meet people. I had to spend this morning resting after a late breakfast, but I’ve been out for an hour or so, walking around Harrogate to get some tape to temporarily repair my glasses, visit a bookshop and buy a new suitcase. But I had better get back to the start of yesterday morning.

Continue reading “Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival: Days 3 and 4”

Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival: Day Two

Entry 1: 08:20

I’m up and showered after a rough night. I was in so much pain that it was difficult to get comfortable. I did eventually sleep, however and this morning I’m ready to go. Last night I wrote out a plan for me to follow so I don’t over do things. I have an hour between 1pm and 2pm to get dinner and hide for a bit. There are a few opportunities for book acquisition that I’m looking forward to today, most notably the Orion Proof Party in the library at 5pm.

Right now, I’m going to finish my cup of tea, get dressed and go for breakfast. I do enjoy a Premier Inn breakfast, especially since I’ve paid in advance for the full works.

Entry 2: 20:24

I am not in pain this evening! Woop! Although my feet were aching earlier, but now I’m back in my room after eating a rare three-course meal (such a treat!) the ache is beginning to fade.

I had a couple of too hot/too crowded slightly dizzy spells today but managed with the help of event staff and festival goers to cope. After the first panel this morning I also realised that the best thing to do wa sto arrive about 10 minutes before the panel was due to start and the crowds would already have gone in, and then go out when the questions started. The only things this didn’t work for was the Crime Files flash giveaway and the Orion Proof Party. If there are free books in the offing people go a bit mad and you have to get there early.

I visited the WH Smiths book tent and bought four books then had a wander ’round.

The first panel of the day was ‘Emerald Noir’. The panel were witty and insightful, discussing their books and characters, and influences. The liminality of borders, physical and psychological, and the importance of language were repeated themes.

Second panel was ‘A Class Act’. I wasn’t as impressed or entertained by this one and due to being overwhelmed by the first event, too hot and anxious I had to use my fidget cube until someone at the other end of the row whined that it was distracting. Me having a meltdown would have been rather more so. I left half hour in to get some air and went for my dinner

I felt rather lost and alone at this point as I hadn’t bumped into anyone I knew from Twitter and blog tours. So I went to the Crime Files pop up stand in the beer tent and had a chat. I found out about their Flash Giveaway at 3pm so I made plans to get to that early because they had limited books.

I also went back to the book shop and bought three more books. I found an empty table between the beer tent and the bookshop and started reading one of my new purchases, The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra in the rain. It was drizzling all day but not enough to be worth putting my jacket on for. I blame Val McDermid’s singing. Or Nicola Sturgeon for bringing Scottish weather with her.

Next up was the ‘Pace’ panel. It was okay. I learnt this and that, about the importance of cutting to maintain pace but it was all a bit here and there. I left as soon as questions started to go to the loo then went straight to Crime Files to get in the queue. Luckily, I got close to the front and got my copy of The Perfect Wife, which is now in my suitcase with the other eleven books I acquired today.

The break was good, I needed to get away from people again and found a table on the lawn to myself. People were standing around smoking and it made me cough so I gave up and went back inside, after gawking at Nicola Sturgeon again. She was sat at the table to the right of mine.

‘Antipodean Noir’ was the final panel for me today. I really enjoyed it, the writers were funny and I found their reflections on the differences between Britain and Australia, and New Zealand interesting, as I had the thoughts of the Irish/Northern Irish authors in the morning. Especially the differences in language use and cultural references. I had bought a book by one of the authors, Vanda Symon, so I went to meet her to have my book signed in the WH Smith tent. I was the first in the queue just to see her.

After that I headed to the Orion Proof Party. It was incredibly busy because the Jo Nesbo talk was happening in the Ballroom at the same time and the queue went from one side of the hotel to the other. I met a couple of people and chatted while we waited to get in. I picked up three books and then had one of my too hot/too many people moments and had to be helped out of the room. I got settled, had tea and scones while talking to a couple of people, and found out we sort of recognised each other from bookblogger Twitter.

Vanda Symon joined us and I went back into the library to see if there was anything left. I got the last book.

After that I chatted some more then came back to the hotel. Took some photos for Twitter so my friend Mon could see what I’d been up to and then went for tea.

I had planned to head back to the festival for the Black Thorn Black Out event at 8pm but by the time my meal arrived and I’d eaten it was almost 8pm, I was tired and decided to come back to my room and write this post instead. I’m going to put my pjs on and get back to reading one of the three books I brought with me – you know, just in case I didn’t buy any while I was here. I’m pleasantly full of food, tired, not in pain and less anxious than I was yesterday so it hasn’t been a bad day.

More fun planned for tomorrow!

Night.

Entry 3: 21:16

A couple of accessibility issues I noticed.

  • Water was not easily available, I needed to be sign-posted to find the water coolers, and was denied water when I desperately needed it because one of the few, and nearest, water coolers was in the ‘Friends of the Festival’ Lounge. Even in an emergency I wasn’t allowed to get a cup of water.
  • The use of bounce microphones during Q&A sessions. It’s a microphone in a box, you’re supposed to throw and catch it. As has been raised by disability activists, this makes it difficult for people with limited mobility or motor skills to take part, because you can’t catch the thing.
  • No quiet area, at all. It was drizzling all day, the tents and hotel were busting at the seams and it wasn’t quiet outside either. I wore my headphones all day just to cope.
  • You couldn’t stay in your seat between panels. I’d have liked to get settled in for the day but they threw everyone out between panels.
  • The only food onsite was expensive.

It’s fine having disabled access cards and providing wheelchair spaces, and allowing people to leave whenever they wanted, but it’s the little things like easy access to water or a quiet room to unwind in would make things better.

Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate: Day One

Entry 1: 14:45

After an early start, due to massive anxiety, I caught my first train. It was on time and everything. The TransPennine Express is reasonably comfortable, and from Grimsby to Scunthorpe I had 1st Class all to myself.

Yes, I travel first class when I can. I need the extra leg room and the quiet. TPExpress trains don’t have a quiet carriage and the standard class carriages can turn into a scrum on a bad day.

So, I got to Doncaster on time and made use of the LNER 1st class lounge to get a cuppa and water. I’ve never been in there before, and since I’m getting the Northern rattletrap on the return journey I won’t be again, at least not this time. It was very comfortable. The train was late and I had to go across to platform 8 but it’s a warm, muggy day so sitting outside wasn’t too horrendous. I drank my hot chocolate – I filled up my travel cup while I was in the 1st class lounge – and waited, wrote some Twitter poetry about being anxious and tried to read some more of The Quaker, but it just wasn’t doing anything for me (see review post).

The LNER train was comfortable, again 1st class. It was better than the TPExpress, more leg room and a free drink, but the carriage was bigger and there were more people. It was the London King’s Cross to Leeds train so I was joining it late. Definitely impressed, and should I make any trips to London. I’m going to try to book far enough in advance that I can afford to go first class. I had a decent chair and table to myself. Not a big table, but better than the ones on the TPExpress.

Having got to Leeds late I missed my connection to Harrogate, but another one was due at 1315. I got that one. Northern have definitely improved their carriages. It was much better than the almost a tram I’ve been on on that route before.

I got to Harrogate about 1420, and after a taxi ride to the Premier Inn, I got here at 1430. To find that the computer system had crashed and I couldn’t check in yet. I’m in the bar using my portable wifi to write this. I’ll update later.


Entry 2: 21:28

Well, I’m back at my hotel after my first foray to The Old Swan.

It was terrifying. I didn’t know anyone. there were crowds, it was noisy. I went to the reception tent for help. Got a programme so I can plan my weekend and because I mentioned getting PIP they gave me an access pass so I could get in first for events. It sort of helped, but I wandered around confused a lot and ended up in the short queue walking in tight little circles like I normally do when I’m heading into a meltdown.

I’ve come back to my hotel rather than network and drink with everyone else because I’m in pain. Can’t decide if it’s from too much walking or anxiety. I’m really not up to socialising tonight, maybe I’ll try again tomorrow?

But what happened at the awards, I hear you ask.

There were speeches from one of the organisers, I didn’t catch her name, from the sponsor’s representative, Simon Theakston, and from the award presenter Mark Lawson. They were all very funny.

Mr Lawson invited all the nominees up on to the stage one at a time to talk about their books. They were also amusing. Boris Johnson kept getting a mention.

Ian Rankin presented the award for outstanding contribution to crime writing to James Patterson. He was marvellously hilarious.

Then, Simon Theakston opened the golden envelope, and announced the winner.

The winner of the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year 2019 went to Steven Cavenagh, for Thirteen.

Now, if you’ve read my reviews of the shortlist books, you’ll know I struggled with this one. Courtroom thrillers just aren’t my thing, but the judges liked it so who’m I to disagree. I’m only a little book blogger.

Oh and for people who are in Harrogate, I’m the big, fat woman who wears headphones all the time.

Rosie Reviews the ‘Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year 2019’ Shortlist books

Hola, peeps, dear readers, etc. I’m awa’ on my big adventures – heading to Harrogate (pronounced ‘Arragut, except for by posh people who pronounce it ‘harrow gayte’) for a long weekend of crime writing delights. The fun starts this evening at the Crime Novel of the Year Awards and in preparation (otherwise known as ‘so I don’t look like an illiterate twerp’) I have been reading the books on the shortlist. I couldn’t decide which order to read them in so I went for alphabetical by author’s surname.

Continue reading “Rosie Reviews the ‘Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year 2019’ Shortlist books”

Book Promo: ‘The Nanny At Number 43’, by Nicola Cassidy

·        Paperback: 344 pages
·        Publisher: Poolbeg Press Ltd; 1 edition (1 July 2019)
·        Language: English
·        ISBN-10: 1781998086
·        ISBN-13: 978-1781998083
 
Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nanny-at-Number-43/dp/1781998086

BLURB

Wanted, a respectable woman to care for a motherless child.

When William D. Thomas’s wife dies in childbirth, he places an advertisement in his local newspaper seeking a nanny for his newborn child.

He is thankful when an experienced nanny arrives at 43 Laurence Street and takes over from his frazzled housekeeper Mrs McHugh.

Mrs McHugh confides in her bedridden friend Betty, who has a bird’s-eye view of all the happenings on Laurence Street, that the Nanny is not all she seems. Betty begins her own investigation into the mysterious woman.

When the bodies of twin babies are discovered buried in a back garden, by a family who have moved from their tenement home into a country cottage, a police investigation begins.

But it is Betty who holds the key to discovering who the Nanny really is … and the reason she came to 43 Laurence Street.

This was supposed to be a review but the book didn’t arrive on time. I will be reviewing it at a later date.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nicola Cassidy is a writer and blogger from Co. Louth, Ireland.

She started her writing career early, entering short story competitions as a child and became an avid reader.

Encouraged by her English teachers, she chose to study journalism at Dublin City University and while working in political PR and marketing, studied a series of advanced creative writing courses at the Irish Writers’ Centre.

Later she set up a lifestyle and literary blog http://www.ladynicci.com/, which was shortlisted in the Ireland Blog Awards in 2015 and 2016 and finalist in 2017 and 2018.

She signed with Trace Literary Agency in 2016.

December Girl is Nicola’s debut historical fiction novel and is set in the mystical and ancient Boyne Valley, Co. Meath, famed for its stone age passage tombs. Elements of the story are inspired by true events.

Her second novel The Nanny at Number 43 is published by Poolbeg Press.

She lives with her husband and two young daughters in Termonfeckin, Co. Louth.

Follow her at http://www.ladynicci.com/, on Twitter @ladynicci or http://www.facebook.com/ladynicciblog.

Cover Reveal: ‘The Emerald Tablet Series’, by JM Hart

The Emerald Tablet Omnibus Edition; three books in one.

Shaun can’t shake the deep anger over his mother’s death. But when his father’s desperate actions release parasitic hell-beasts upon the world, he has a much bigger fight on his hands.

Kevin hoped his country would be immune to the pandemic turning everyday people into psychopaths. But as his horror grows, an incredible new power could be the only thing that prevents Earth’s destruction.

Sophia is terrified of God’s plan for her. Plagued by visions of planetary devastation, she prays she can reach her allies in time to save humanity.

As doomsday approaches, can the teens accept their destiny in time to protect their world?

The Emerald Tablet: Omnibus is three books of dark speculative fiction in one. If you like brave teenage heroes, intriguing mystical connections, and apocalyptic international settings, then you’ll love JM Hart’s incredible collection.

Buy The Emerald Tablet to unlock the adventure today!

Purchase Link:  http://books2read.com/The-Emerald-Tablet-Omnibus-book-1-2-3

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QH8KWDZ  Reduced price for a limited time: $4.99 ebook only on Amazon

Convergence

As doomsday approaches, can the teens accept their destiny in time to protect their world?

Seven special teens. A deadly ancient evil. Can they combine their unique powers and halt the infection before humanity is obliterated?

Shaun is dying. The plane’s engine is failing.  Kevin must open a portal to catch the falling plane and save Shaun’s life.

Sophia is terrified of God’s plan for her. Plagued by visions of planetary devastation, she prays Shaun and Kevin can reach her in time to save humanity.

Convergence book three in The Emerald Tablet Series

Purchase Link – http://books2read.com/Convergence-book-3-in-the-emerald-tablet-series

For a limited time only book one, of the trilogy Shadows of Doubt is only  $1.00 on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K69DXG4

And now, the cover reveal:

Continue reading “Cover Reveal: ‘The Emerald Tablet Series’, by JM Hart”

Surviving ‘Outland’ with Rosie

I’ve listened to ‘Outland’ by Dennis E. Taylor and narrated by Ray Porter many, many times since I bought it earlier this year. Having entertained similar plots in the past but never written down (they were terrible, teenage fantasies) I have put some thought into the idea of how one would survive in a post-apocalyptic world. My sister has a similar thing with The Walking Dead and other zombie apocalypse series/films.

Anyway, time to play hypotheticals. I am in Lincoln, Nebraska, at the university for some reason.

Why would I be there? Am I visiting or living there?

A visiting lectureship in creative writing? Research for my PhD? A conference of some kind?

Yellowstone erupts.

I studied Earth Sciences, and was fascinated by volcanoes for a while. The subject of supervolcanoes came up in one lecture. I’ve read about them, I know what those beggars can do. As soon as Yellowstone started to do anything out of the statistical norm, I’d be finding an excuse to get on a flight back to England.

But let’s assume that for some reason I can’t get a flight home.

A bunch of students turn up at the university medical centre after the earthquake with a means to escape Earth. Their escape Earth, Outland, is a wilderness.

What will I need to survive?

  • Warm clothes
  • Boots
  • Waterproof clothes
  • Tent and camp bed
  • Sleeping bag and blankets
  • Food and water
  • Transport that doesn’t require fuel
  • Batteries and solar charging panels
  • Cooking stove and pans
  • Notebooks and pens
  • Books
  • Medication, including painkillers and a first aid kit
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Earplugs

Where would I get these from?

Well, if i was living in Lincoln, Nebraska, hopefully I’d have camping kit in my accomodation. Because it’s a rural state and there’s place to visit in neighbouring states. Not that I camp much these days. My back doesn’t like it and I like showers too much but let’s go with it. Clearly, at home I will also have medication and toiletries.

What about transport?

A bicycle with a trailer would work, even better would be an electric bike. It could be put up on blocks and used as an alternative source of power using the battery. A trailer would be useful for carrying the stuff and with chunky wheels on both the trailer and bicycle, the transport wound be able to handle the terrain.

I found some inspiration on this blog, just look at the dinky caravans pulled by bicycle! I particularly like ‘ The Wide Path Camper’ from Denmark, although it’s a one-off. It would save on a tent and camp bed, and everything could be carried in it.

Audiobook Review: ‘The Singularity Trap’, by Dennis E. Taylor

The number one best-selling author of the Bobiverse trilogy returns with a space thriller that poses a provocative question: Does our true destiny lie in ourselves – or in the stars?

If it were up to one man and one man alone to protect the entire human race – would you want it to be a down-on-his luck asteroid miner? 

When Ivan Pritchard signs on as a newbie aboard the Mad Astra, it’s his final, desperate stab at giving his wife and children the life they deserve. He can survive the hazing of his crewmates, and how many times, really, can near-zero g make you vomit? But there’s another challenge looming out there, in the farthest reaches of human exploration, that will test every man, woman and AI on the ship – and will force Ivan to confront the very essence of what makes him human.

My Review

Had I heard/read The Singularity Trap before any of Taylor’s other books I would definitely have sought out his other works, because the writing is still good and characters interesting. The thriller element comes out well, and the central plot of Ivan becoming a metal man and the risk of annihilation by either A.I. or the Computer and its Masters, is gripping. I was really rooting for Ivan and the crew of the Mad Astra. The Naval command drove me up the wall, being pompous hawks. I liked the solution to the problem of what to do about the threat from the Computer and its development as an individual sharing a body with Ivan.

But…

This is my least favourite Dennis E. Taylor novel. I’ve only got it on audio book and I’m not particularly bothered about ordering the paperback, even though it would go nicely beside my Bobiverse books, along with Outland when it’s published in a couple of months. I don’t know if it’s because Ray Porter narrates them all so they feel like alternative universes. A lot of the characters have similar names. The main characters are all engineers/computer scientists and feel like the same character re-imagined in different circumstances. The Bobiverse books and Outland are sufficiently different that you can’t get them confused – apart from the coffee obsession. The Singularity Trap and the Bobiverse are quite similar, they could be alternative futures had the events described in We Are Legion (We Are Bob) as happening after Bob dies and before he is uploaded, been slightly different. Unfortunately these similarities kept distracting me from the qualities of the book itself.

Review: ‘A Killing Sin’, by K.H. Irvine #LoveBooksTour

Blurb

Would you surrender your secrets to save a life?

London. It could be tomorrow. Amala Hackeem, lapsed Muslim tech entrepreneur and controversial comedian, dons a burqa and heads to the women’s group at the Tower Hamlets sharia community. What is she doing there?

Ella Russell, a struggling journalist leaves home in pursuit of the story of her life. Desperate for the truth, she is about to learn the true cost of the war on terror.

Millie Stephenson, a university professor and expert in radicalisation arrives at Downing Street to brief the Prime Minister and home secretary. Nervous and excited she finds herself at the centre of a nation taken hostage. And then it gets personal.

Friends since university, by the end of the day the lives of all three women are changed forever. They will discover if friendship truly can survive secrets and fear.

Continue reading “Review: ‘A Killing Sin’, by K.H. Irvine #LoveBooksTour”

Cover Reveal: ‘Viola Pumpernickel and the Emerald Lady’, by Jo Baxter

Viola is a people-watcher. She loves to sit on the step of her father’s bakery in Brookwater Lane, creating stories about the weird and wonderful folk who pass by. Her father is secretly impressed by her big imagination but her mother thinks it’s all a bit silly, really.

So, when Viola witnesses a terrifying robbery late one evening, her theory as to who is behind this dreadful crime is met with rolled eyes and disbelief.

Determined to prove that she is not as silly as everyone believes, Viola sets out to bring this villain to justice and show that she is more than just a girl with a wild imagination.

Together with her older brother, Teddy, her best friend, Flo, and the mysterious Emerald Lady, Viola uncovers a plot far more dangerous than anyone could ever have imagined in this exciting Victorian mystery.

And now, on to the cover reveal.

Drumroll please…

Continue reading “Cover Reveal: ‘Viola Pumpernickel and the Emerald Lady’, by Jo Baxter”