CSI Southampton – October 24th

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Don’t worry crime fans, the festival season isn’t over yet!

CSI Southampton drops in next month and looks like a fantastic one day event for all enthusiasts of the genre. Well priced with some big names this looks like a brilliant way of ensuring your Autumn crime fiction fix.

As part of Southampton’s So To Speak Festival, here’s what they have to say about the event….

Where:- Northguild Lecture Theatre, Central Library, Civic Centre, S014 7LW

When:- Sat 24th October 10:00am – 5.00pm

Price: £18.00 (including £4 reduction in the price of a book) plus booking fee

Join us for CSI Southampton where the cream of crime fiction writers meet real life crime experts. The morning session kicks off with a panel where crime authors Pauline Rowson and Natasha Cooper will be debating with crime scene experts from Hampshire Police, Carolyn Lovell and Jane Aston just how crime fiction differs from crime fact. There will also be the chance for you to ask your questions of the panel and to have your fingerprints taken!
In the afternoon Peter Lovesey will discuss how a decent law abiding man can think up 200 ways of murdering people, followed by Jessie Keane and Sue Wilkins in discussion with Penny Legg on how they create their crime novels. There’ll be book signings and the chance to mingle with both crime authors and crime experts.

Latest New Crime Writing Weekend – Carlisle, June 2015

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cw_logo_bigFor those aspiring writers amongst you there’s a new kid on the block when it comes to creative writing events specifically aimed at writing Crime Fiction.

Recently launched, The City of Carlisle are holding their first ever crime writing weekend during June next year.   Over thirty top crime writers will be hosting events at The Old Fire Station, the city’s new arts centre, due to open in spring 2015.

So far there are fourteen events planned over the course of the three day weekend including

  • Cumbria – Cosy or Criminal?
  • Northern Noir
  • Historical Crime
  • The Murder Squad
  • Femmes Fatales
  • Get Forensics Down Here!
  • Female Detectives
  • Talking Sherlock
  • Dramatising Sherlock
  • Fact vs Fiction
  • Tartan Noir

Further details of the weekend, events, participating authors and help with accommodation if you fancy staying locally can all be found at crimeweekend.carlisle.city  Tickets to events are due to go on sale at the end of November.

Meet the detective who fuelled my obsession (a.k.a who did it for you?)

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From the age of nine I lived across the road from a public library.  As I grew up, it was where I spent most of my free hours devouring everything and anything I could.  Indeed by the age of thirteen I had pretty much depleted the entire children’s section.  Thankfully, the local council had a rule that once I reached that age I could access the adult section of the library (and indeed any others in their control), provided a written parental consent had been submitted in person by the parent.  My Mom understood my voracious appetite for books and as such was more than happy to do so.

That was when I discovered for the first time the age old delights of Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and many more.  I didn’t find them by chance, and neither did I find them by reputation.  I found them by a love of crime fiction.  A love I first felt blossom from a series of, now sadly out of print, books.  Books which I have seen go for four figures on certain auction sites that will remain nameless.

The man who truly fuelled my love of the genre was Nils-Olof Franzen, with his series of Agaton Sax books, whose English editions were illustrated by the fabulous Quentin Blake.  Of the  11 books in the Agaton Sax series, Franzen had 10 translated into English between 1965 & 1971, including amongst them, Agaton Sax and the League of Silent Exploders and Agaton Sax and the London Computer Plot.  The series was also featured several times on the BBC series Jackanory, and Agaton Sax and the Max Brothers became a four part animated series in 1972.

I mention this now, because today I got this, and although it’s been almost 30+ years since last read one of these stories, I have loved every minute of reading it.  It was as delightful piece of escapism today as it was way back then.  It’s still a great introduction to the crime genre and I’m sure the reason I have as much love for cosy crime fiction, as I do for the hard core thrillers, and well executed police procedurals, because it has a flair for it all.

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Agaton Sax and the Scotland Yard Mystery

In which AGATON SAX, Editor-in-Chief of the Bykoping Post and detective extraordinary, directs his amazing intelligence (and his editorial telescope) to the problem of who has stolen Scotland Yard’s Secret Code Register of Current Criminals … the infamous crew of the bad ship Esmeralda lose their soup … and the mysterious “Boss” gets a nasty shock to his system.

 

Now, own up, who did it for you?

Bloody Scotland Short Story Competition

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Today Bloody Scotland has announced the launch of this years short story competition.

The winner will receive £1,000, a bottle of Deanston Distillery Malt whisky and a weekend pass to this years festival, to be held in Stirling from September 19th – 21st.

The winning story will also be published as an ebook short by Bloody Scotland.

We invite writers to from anywhere in the world to demonstrate their skill in short-story writing by entering a story, for a chance to win a brilliant prize and be recognised as an exciting emerging talent in the crime genre.

We’re seeking exceptional crime short stories based on the theme of ‘ESCAPE’.  

Stories should be a maximum of 3,000 words and must be submitted by midnight on 31st July 2014. There is an entry fee of £10 to cover the administration of the competition.

A prestigious judging panel comprising representatives from the University of Stirling and crime writers Alex Gray, Craig Robertson and Gordon Brown, will judge the entries and announce a shortlist.  This shortlist will then be open for a public vote on the Bloody Scotland website

Further information on entering, including additional details for non UK entries can be found here

The Chase – Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

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The Fox and the Hare are back and the chase is on!

The newest target for the FBI’s secret odd couple is Carter Grove, the ruthless leader of a private security company who has stolen a rare Chinese artifact from the Smithsonian, an artefact whose theft was covered up and one the Chinese now want back.

In order to avoid an international incident should the truth come to light, Nick and Kate must operate under the radar in order to steal the piece back. As the chase for the artifact moves rapidly around the globe from Washington DC, to Shanghai and even to the Highlands of Scotland the heat is on to prove no one can outsmart Fox and O’Hare.

The Chase is another glorious riot of a romp from Evanovich and Goldberg, that left me wondering exactly what it is I like most about these books.

I’m not sure if it is the spirit and fun of the “will they? won’t they?” (of course they will) relationship, the audacity of the cons they pull, the pure escapism of the plots, or the breakneck pace of the novel which caused me to delightedly tear through the book in a matter of hours. One thing I do know is that these books deliver pages and pages of fun.

With a cast of wacky, yet bizarrely believable characters, its cheeky style, range of humour, and fabulous sense of adventure I think that this is going to be another winning series for both Evanovich and Goldberg. Certainly from my point of view, as I for one am already looking forward to more impressive cons, thrilling takedowns and the next adventure from this deceptive duo.

The Heist – Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

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Since it’s impossible to review a new book by Janet Evanovich without mentioning Stephanie Plum, I won’t bother to try, I will simply say that Kate O’Hare is about as un-Plum like as you can get, but she is a character that is just as much, if not more, fun and addictive.

The Hare and the Fox.

Kate O’Hare is a FBI agent who has made it her career to chase down notorious con artist Nicholas Fox.  She is smart, sassy, supremely capable, oh and also an ex Navy SEAL. (Cue some artistic license from the authors here, who note at the beginning of the book that there is no such thing as a female Navy SEAL, although there should be.)

Nicholas Fox is highly intelligent, handsome and charm personified.  All traits which have enabled him to become so succesful at his ‘cons’ and to evade capture for years, until now that is.

Now she’s got her man, but he doesn’t want to be caught and instead makes a deal with the FBI to work alongside O’Hare to capture a corrupt investment banker, as long as they don’t kill each other first.

The Book

One thing I did find was that given Lee Goldberg’s history in writing TV shows, I found myself often comparing the relationship between Fox and O’ Hare with various TV partnerships, of which the one that sprang to mind most often was the tempestuous relationship between Cybil Shephard and Bruce Willis in the 1980’s show Moonlighting

The Heist is an absolutely delightful book to pick up and read, with its fantastic verbal sparring, mad cap moments and emotionally charged relationship. Following the adventurous duo through exotic lands and pirate waters The Heist proves it is what all Evanovich books are….  The perfect piece of escapism from the everyday grind.

It is also a book you certainly won’t want to put down so when you sit down to read, make sure you are curled up in your favourite chair and plan to be there for a while.

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A Bonus Taster

Want more of an introduction to O’Hare and Fox? Long standing Evanovich fan who wants to see how this new pairing compares to Stephanie Plum? Never read an Evanovich or Goldberg book before? Just want more?

Then as a bonus addition to the series, grab your Kindle or Kindle App and download Pros and Cons, a short story prequel to The Heist.

It’s Dark & Stormy Down in Brighton

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Coming hot on the heels of CrimeFest and making sure you’ll be in the mood for Crime Story, it’s shaping up to be an A-May-zing May, with a second new Crime festival being announced in the last week, making for three weekends packed with all your crime fiction favourites.

Being launched as part of the larger Brighton Festival which runs from the 3rd to the 25th May, the Dark & Stormy Festival runs over three days from the 23rd to the 25th, and aims to bring you the best of all things crime related.

Dark & Stormy is a brand new UK crime festival, serving up a wicked selection of book, film, music & theatre events. We launch in May 2014, in partnership with Brighton Festival, Brighton Fringe, and Dukes at Komedia, to celebrate and promote this massively popular genre, bringing its fans, creators and stars together for one criminally good and unforgettable weekend.

Our aim is to appeal, not only to the legions of readers who keep crime writers at the top of the international bestseller lists, but also to the huge audiences who flock to watch The Killing and Breaking Bad on TV, Kick Ass and James Bond at the cinema, Max Payne and Grand Theft Auto on their PlayStations, and The Perfect Murder and Emil and the Detectives in the West End.

Sounds like another fantastic opportunity to celebrate crime fiction. So, grab your diaries and blot out this and the following weekends because there’s an unbelievable amount of criminal activity to be shared in.

CrimeFest – May 15th – 18th

Dark and Stormy – May 23rd  – 25th

and

Crime Story – May 31st – June 1st.

New Festival! Welcome to the calendar Crime Story

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Not content with announcing a fabulous competition for aspiring Northern crime writers last week, New Writing North in conjunction with Northumbria University has just launched CrimeStory, a new crime fiction festival to run at their campus in the heart of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

CrimeStory will run over the weekend of Saturday 31st May & Sunday 1st June 2014, and in the manner of all the best crime fiction, it comes with a delicious twist on the usual festival idea.

The weekend will focus on a fictional murder that we’ve commissioned from best-selling crime novelist Ann Cleeves in which a woman finds her foster-son dead in a locked room, a blood-splattered picture of an enigmatic woman on the wall and the dubious landlord nowhere to be found. The killer? Well, that’s up to the Crime Story participants

Crime Story will take place on 31 May-1 June and a host of top crime writers, criminologists, lawyers, police and forensics experts will walk attendees through the investigation, trial and punishment of the crime. There will be opportunities to participate in the digital autopsy of a computer, find out about ‘life inside’ from Guardian columnist Erwin James or listen to novelist Louise Welsh talking to former Observer crime fiction critic Peter Guttridge.

If it shapes up to be as interactive as it sounds, it will certainly be a welcome addition to the crime calendar.

 “In Crime Story writers will have the chance to find out from experts and practitioners how the criminal justice system really works. A young man has been found dead in his flat.  What happens next is down to the authors, academics and forensic scientists who’ll be exploring the scene.  CRIME STORY will be great opportunity for the writers of crime fiction to meet the experts who work in and research this field.”

– Ann Cleeves

Early Bird booking rates of £99 for adults, with a £10 discount for students are available until the 14th March. You can book your tickets here

Competitions abound

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February has been a good month for aspiring crime writers with two competitions being launched in the last two weeks.

Live in the North of England?   Then this just might be the competition for you…

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Moth Publishing is looking for the next big thing in crime fiction.

This year Moth are looking not just for a full length novel, but also short stories to feature in a ‘Northern Crime’ anthology.

The winning novels will be published in print and as ebooks in 2015. The winning writers will receive a standard publishing contract, a £1,000 advance, and support to editorially develop their work. They will also enjoy a marketing and PR campaign to support the publication of their books. Short story winners will get £100 and their story published in the very first Northern Crime short story anthology.

Entry fees for the competition are: £25 for the novels and £10 for short stories.

The competition opened on February 10th and closes on the 29th August 2014.

Full details on how to enter, including a map showing where in the UK you must live in order to be classified as a Northern Writer, can be found on their website.  You can also find Moth Publishing on Twitter at @MothPublishing

If you don’t happen to live in the catchment area for that one, then have a look at Criminal Lines, the competition being run by AM Heath Literary Agents in conjunction with The Writers Workshop.

The competition is open to unagented, debut authors, born or resident in the UK and Ireland and comes with a £1,000 cash prize. Here’s what they’re looking for….

If you’ve written a perfect murder, a psychological nail-biter, or a gripping procedural, why not enter it for the prize? We’re looking for anything that will chill or thrill, with characters we can’t walk away from.

You can enter any kind of crime, suspense or thriller novel for the prize, with the proviso that any material previously submitted to AM Heath is ineligible. Your novel doesn’t have to be finished but the synopsis does need to show you have a clear vision for the book. Self-published authors are welcome to enter.

More information on the prize available, and full details on how to enter can be found on the AM Heath blog post here.  The competition opened on February 17th and closes at Midnight on the 5th May 2014.

Updates on this competition can be found on Twitter by following @Criminal_Lines or following the hashtag #Criminal_Lines

Finally, if that has ignited your competitive streak and inspired your imagination, but you are unsure where to start, don’t forget there is still time to sign up for Crime & Publishment at The Mill Forge Hotel, on the outskirts of Gretna Green.  Crime & Publishment is a fantastic creative writing weekend retreat designed for budding crime fiction authors of all levels and runs from 7th – 9th March 2014.

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@CrimeandPublish

Crime and Publishment is what you need…

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Just finished NaNoWriMo?

Embarking on your novel and need some expert advice?

Still got that trunk novel under your bed you feel like digging out but you’re not sure what to do next?

Want some expert advice and an opportunity to pitch to an agent?

You can find the answers to all your questions and more available here….

C&P

Crime & Publishment is a two day course for writers, by writers, agents and industry insiders and will be held at The Mill Forge hotel, just outside Gretna Green from March 7th – 9th 2014.

They are also running a competition to win a complete package to attend the weekend.  To enter all you need to do is submit your 2,000 word short crime story or the first 2,000 words of your opening chapter.

You can find all the details you need here.

I was around at the Mill for Crime and Publishment last year and can guarantee you will have a have a fabulous weekend, with great opportunities to learn, improve and network in a relaxed encouraging and informative atmosphere. Above all that it will be fun.

So if you want to win that weekend get your writing caps on because the competition closes on the 31st December, and if you don’t win, just book it up, because it’s an experience you will never forget.