Posted in Blogging, Festivals

Mixing It Up with Bonnier Zaffre

Those fabulous people at Bonnier Zaffre books had a bit of a doo at Harrogate festival this year, to which the lovely Katherine Armstrong invited me along. Once I found the not so secret, ‘Secret Garden’ (there was a big sign pointing to it) These were just a few the lovely people I managed to mix with and snap. There were plenty more there, and a fab couple of hours were passed by.


Ooh Look Fizz! (I may have had a tad too much)

David Mark, Katherine Armstrong and’s Kirstie Long

Sarah Hilary looking relaxed 🙂

Susi Holliday

Laura Wilson

Daniel Pembrey and Anya Lipska

As always, ‘Pretty in Purple’, Leigh Russell

The ever lovely Barry Forshaw

Martyn Waites and Alex Marwood showing the differing approaches to unexpected photos. 😉

Martin Edwards, charming as always

The fantastic Laura Lippman.

One of my favourite people in the world.  Zoe Sharp is a great author, and also an amazing cook!

It wouldn’t be Harrogate without Mark Billingham

It isn’t a proper party until you’ve got the dazzling duo, Kevin Wignall (above) and Simon Kernick (below)

Posted in Blogging, Festivals

Noir At The Bar – Harrogate

Originally started in Philadelphia, by Peter Rozovsky of Detectives Beyond Borders, and with chapters in major cities across America, Noir At The Bar has been working its way slowly southwards in the UK and finally made its Harrogate debut this year. As an informal opener to the festival, a large crowd gathered at Hales Bar, to see and hear some fabulous crime writers reading short stories, and novel extracts in a relaxed, fun and friend filled environment.

Noelle Holten is the name behind the CrimeBookJunkie book blog, as was here beginning her first Harrogate journey.

Ann Bloxwich and LP Mennock, plug their recently release anthology, Happily Never After.  A collection of crime short stories written by attendees to Crime & Publishment, the yearly crime-writing workshop held in Gretna Green, the home of British weddings

Penguin publishing sensation, and top Fife farmer James Oswald.  Check out his Inspector McClean series.

Graham Smith, the man behind Crime & Publishment and author of Snatched from Home calmly entertains the masses.  Stay tuned to Life Of Crime for more information on his upcoming releases.

Louise Mangos proudly showing off her prize, after winning Graham’s book giveaway.

The delightful Russell McClean, smiling because I haven’t had a chance to try and bump him off this year (it’s a long story…)

Eileen Wharton and KA Richardson, a pair of debut divas this year, check out Eileen’s Blanket of Blood, or Kerry’s I’ve Been Watching You and With Deadly Intent 

The delightful Col Bury, author of My Kind Of Justice, and the man behind our Harrogate piece last year, looking far more relaxed after finishing off his reading!

If these pictures have whet your appetite somewhat, than don’t fret!  Noir At The Bar will be back at Harrogate next year.  If you can’t wait that long then check out it’s latest UK outing on 7th September, as Noir At The Bar NE showcases at The Town Wall, Pink Lane, Newcastle.

Posted in Blogging, Festivals

Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival 2016

K A Richardson is the Northern based crime writer behind the novella Escape, followed by her first full novel With Deadly Intent. She also writes a North East crime series, I’ve Been Watching You is available now, with the next in the series Time To Play available from September.  She was fantastic enough to put together this piece on the 2016 festival.


The first thing you notice about Harrogate Crime Festival is the atmosphere. It oozes out from the hotel and every single person attending, whether they’re authors or readers. The next thing you notice is the big name authors like Peter James and Val McDermid. You might see these authors and initially go into panic mode or become a little anxious about speaking to them. But you really don’t have to. They talk to everyone like they’re old friends, because that’s what they are – even if it’s the first time you meet its like you’ve known each other for years. Readers and authors alike will sit together at tables, stand in groups or sit on the grassed areas and have a drink and a chat. There are tents, over-sized chairs and books shelves that take over the green at the front of the hotel.

Harrogate is a pretty magical festival. Not just because of the beautiful location at the Old Swan Hotel which is steeped in writerly history itself, or of the beautiful town of Harrogate, or even because the organisers do such a fantastic job. More so because it puts people on the same level – it’s easy to meet new friends and discuss books and writing, it’s educational as the panels give ticket holders the chance to hear about their favourite author or TV writer, how they write or structure their writing and how they got to where they are now.  You can get an insight into forensics, or cyber-crime as well as a multitude of other crime related subjects, by attending various other panels. Wannabe writers can partake in Creative Thursday which is a whole day dedicated to honing the skill and giving the opportunity to pitch to an agent.

On occasion some TV and film stars, are just wandering around chatting to people like they’re old friends. Last year Eddie Izzard was on a panel, we’ve had Jamie Lomas and Anthony Quinny this year. There’s also a lady from Coronation Street who attends regularly just to attend the panels as she’s an avid crime reader.

There’s always the opportunity to have books signed – whether by authors you see standing around chatting, or by those taking part in the organised signings in the tent outside. The book shop on the lawn gives you ample opportunity to make purchases and hunt down your favourite author, though you don’t need a book to sign to do this. As well as purchases, signings etc, there is also the chance to win goodies! Crime Files and Dead Good Books put events on through Saturday where you take part in a few exercises and can win books, chocolate, wine and a host of other goodies. Goodie bags are also provided if you buy a rover ticket – this bag contains approximately four books (some proof copies that have not even been released yet!), leaflets and bookmarks.

I’ve been going to Harrogate now for about five years, and I remember how terrified I was the first time I went. It was overwhelming – I didn’t know anybody there and was attending for a few panels. Once I got past the initial shock of seeing so many of my favourite authors in one place though, it became a fantastic experience and one I look forward to every year. I have made firm friends with many of the authors, publishers, agents, bloggers and readers, and we have a great time catching up. As a writer, I also find it incredibly inspiring – on my return home I open the laptop and start writing while the buzz is still there.

Realistically there’s only one way to see what I’m saying about Harrogate – the thousands of photos posted from there can only show so much. The only real way is to come down and experience it for yourself. So book the tickets, pack a bag (leaving room for books obviously) and head on down there. Next year the dates will be 20-23 July 2017, and I hope to see you there!

Posted in Festivals

CrimeFest 2016 – The Rozovsky Files

Peter Rozovsky of Detectives Beyond Borders is an all round fabulous guy who is a genuine delight to be around.  This is what happens when you give this crime fiction loving art aficionado lots of gin and a picture frame.

Strike a pose!

Re-creating Carravaggio


Re-creating Andy Warhol

Re-creating Salvador Dali

Re-creating Michaelangelo

Re-creating The Scream – Edvard Munch

Re-creating Gustav Klimt

Enough already!!!

Posted in Blogging, Festivals

It’s time for CrimeFest!

This weekend is CrimeFest 2016 and I’m super excited because it’s the first festival I’ve been able to attend this year, if you are there, come and find me and my groupies in the bar for your exclusive photo opportunity!

The boys are ready….. are you?

Posted in Blogging, Festivals

Flash Bang 2016 – Win CrimeFest Tickets!

It’s all go on the competition front this week.  Today it’s the turn of the 2016 Flash Bang competition run by CrimeFest Bristol.

Can you commit a crime story in just 150 words?

‘A shot rang out’ is four words, but it packs a hell of a punch. Flash fiction is the art of surprise, illumination, punch.

Think short fuse, short-arm, Get Shorty. Did you know ‘flash in the pan’ originated with the priming of guns? And flashnotes are counterfeit notes… We could go on, but we won’t, because we’re big on brevity. Surprise us. Burn us. Write us. Whatever you do, do it in a flash.

Bang bang, you’re read.

It costs just £2 per entry and the first prize is a PAIR (yes a pair) of weekend passes to CrimeFest 2017 (access to all interviews, panels and receptions, exc. accommodation, dinner, travel)  with runner up prizes of a single weekend pass to CrimeFest 2017, followed by a CrimeFest goodie bag.  On top of all that, those on the shortlist will be invited to attend the Crime Writing Day on Friday 20 May 2016, when the winners will be announced.

Think you’re up for it?  Why not give it a go, after all 150 words…… how hard can it be? 😉

Entries need to be submitted by 4th March 2016, and full details of prizes and how to enter can be found here

Have fun and Good Luck!