From helping fight Crime, To helping write crime

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When it comes to authenticity in a novel, it’s all down to research, research, research and at times some expert advice.  Not everyone knows where to look, so today former DCI Stuart Gibbon, is talking to lifeofcri.me about his transition from writing factual police reports into helping write fictional police procedurals.

FROM HELPING FIGHT CRIME TO HELPING WRITE CRIME

GIB1My name is Stuart Gibbon and I’m a former police DCI turned Writing Consultant.

My story began in the early 1980’s when I travelled from my native north-east of England down to London at the ripe old age of 16 to join the Metropolitan Police as a cadet. A couple of years later I passed out (fortunately not literally) from the police training college at Hendon as a fully-fledged Police Constable. For the next 18 years I worked in uniform and CID on the streets of north-west London.

In 2000 I transferred to the East Midlands where my police career continued with promotion through the ranks to Detective Chief Inspector (DCI). As a large part of my police career was spent as a Detective I was able to gather lots of experience in crime investigation and detection. As a Senior Detective I was in charge of Murder and other serious crime cases.

On retiring from the police service in 2012 I still wanted to help people and had always maintained an interest in reading books. I decided to set up GIB Consultancy to offer advice to writers to ensure that their work is not only procedurally accurate but also authentic. I contacted the Crime Writers’ Association and circulated my details where possible. Since then I have been working with a number of writers across a diverse range of topics from standard police procedure, missing persons and Coroner practices to forensic evidence, kidnapping and Murder investigation.

My first written acknowledgement arrived courtesy of Tammy Cohen as a result of my advice for her novel Dying For Christmas published in 2014. I have recently advised C.L. Taylor on her massive hit The Missing and I’m currently working with her on her fourth psychological thriller which is due out next year. Although the majority of requests for advice are from crime writers, I have helped writers of other genres who may wish to include something police-related in their story.

In addition to the advisory service I also talk with Writing Groups and at festivals/conferences on the subject of ‘Murder Investigation’ and the challenges facing a Senior Detective in charge of such cases. The talk/workshop is designed to give writers ideas for their work and to ensure that any procedures are realistic.

My new ‘career’ is every bit as challenging and rewarding as my previous one. It’s great to be able to play a part in helping to produce something which is going to be enjoyed by so many people.

I have a website at http://www.gibconsultancy.co.uk and would welcome any writers who would like any advice or just the odd question or two answering to contact me as I am sure I would be able to help.

The GIB Consultancy

Stuart Gibbon
GIB Consultancy

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Flash Bang 2016 – Win CrimeFest Tickets!

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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!

Bloody Scotland Short Story Competition – Closing 27th July

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BScot

 

 

This is what the festival have to say about the competition…..

The Great Agatha Christie Inspires our Short Story Competition

This year marks 125 years since Agatha Christie was born, known world-wide as one of the most well-loved crime writers of all time, one who had a penchant for poison and created unforgettably charismatic sleuths.

We wanted to celebrate her legacy with our short story competition this year- we’re inviting stories inspired by Christie and her writing.

First prize is £1000 and a festival pass to Bloody Scotland 2015.

 

Submissions of up to 3,000 words of unpublished work are invited from new and unpublished writers from all over the world, but entries must be written in English. Writers are welcome to submit as many stories as they wish, but there is an entry fee of £10 for each story submitted. The deadline for submissions is midnight on Monday 27th July 2015.

A shortlist of five to six stories will be selected by a judging panel comprising of University of Stirling postgraduate students, authors, booksellers and publishers, which will then be made available for an online public vote on Saturday 1st August 2015. This public vote will end on Friday 21st August. Winners will be announced during the Bloody Scotland Festival 2015, 11th – 13th September in Stirling, Scotland

Terms and Conditions & Details of how to enter can be found here

Criminal Lines is back for 2015

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Literary Agents A M Heath have re-launched their crime-writing prize for 2015, with the winner receiving entry to The Writers’ Workshop Festival of Writing 2015, along with £500 plus the opportunity to discuss their works with two of AM Heath’s agents, Euan Thorneycroft and Oli Munson

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Last year AM Heath in association with The Writers’ Workshop launched Criminal Lines, a crime-writing prize open to unagented, debut authors, born or resident in the UK and Ireland. We had lots of brilliant entries – from grisly historical murders and psychological suspense to alien abductions and Alaskan thrillers – and had a great (though difficult!) time reading and choosing the shortlist. 

With debut crime writers already hitting the bestseller lists this year, we know the next big thing in crime is out there. Is it you? Only one way to find out – enter your novel for Criminal Lines 2015…

To enter, send the first 15,000 words and a synopsis (max 800 words) of your novel as word documents to: criminallines@amheath.com

You can enter any kind of crime, suspense or thriller novel for the prize, although anything previously submitted to AM Heath is ineligible. Please remember that you must be unagented, debut, and born or resident in the UK and Ireland in order to enter. 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.

Submissions are open from 17th February 2015, and the deadline is midnight on 4th May.

Further details on prizes, results, and opportunities open to entrants can be found on the AM Heath Criminal Lines website

CWA Dagger in the Library 2015 – Nominations Open

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Crime fans everywhere can nominate their favourite authors online and the ten authors with the most votes will make up the longlist. The response received last year was staggering, with 1,384 crime fans voting for 636 different authors, highlighting the extraordinary quality and variety in crime writing.

Unlike most other literary prizes, the Dagger in the Library is awarded not for an individual book but for an author’s entire body of work and is one of six highly prized CWA Dagger Awards awarded to crime writers since 1955. This year’s shortlist and winner will decided by a panel of judges including previous winner Sharon Bolton, CWA Director Lucy Santos and a panel of UK librarians.

Anyone nominating an author (or three) via the Dead Good Books website will also be entered into a prize draw to win £200 worth of crime fiction from Penguin Random House.

Nominations close on Monday 14th April and the 2015 winner will be announced at the CWA Awards Dinner on the 30th June.

Register your nominations on the Dead Good Books website here

 

Newcastle Noir Programme Announced

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BwnFL_ACUAAoblOMay is always a busy month for crime fiction fans, and 2015 is no exception, with not one, not two, but THREE festivals for crime fans to pick and choose between. Kicking of the month in fantastic style is Newcastle Noir, returning for its second year, the festival has expanded from one to two days in length, and has this week announced this cracking programme of events.

Saturday 2nd May

10-12noon | Writing Workshop with Christiana Gregoriou, Bea Davenport and Barbara Nadel. 

11am-12pm Classic Crime Readings with Kay Hepplewhite

11am-1pm Murderous Newcastle Walking Tour with Pat Lowery, Newcastle City Guide. Begins at the Castle Keep, ends at the Lit & Phil. .

12.30-1.30pm Panel discussion: Northern Landscapes with authors Howard Linskey, Nick Quantrill and David Mark Craig Robertson, chaired by Luca Veste

2.30-3.30pm Panel discussion: Writers in Prison with Mari Hannah, Russ Litten and Alexandra Sokoloff, chaired by Louise Ridley

4.30-5.30pm Panel discussion: Award winning crime-writers Martyn Waites and Mark Billingham in conversation

6.30-7.30pm Panel discussion: From page to screen to page with Cilla and Rolf Börjlind, Erin Kelly and Christopher Brookmyre

8.30pm-9.30pm Panel discussion: Gangsters & Gangs with Philip J. Howard, David McCaffery and Steve Wraith, chaired by Charlotte Bilby

Sunday 3rd May
10-12noon Writing Workshop with Christiana Gregoriou, William Ryan, Bea Davenport and Barbara Nadel.

11am-1pm Murderous Newcastle Walking Tour with Pat Lowery, Newcastle City Guide. Begins at the Castle Keep, ends at the Lit & Phil.

11.30am-12.30pm Panel discussion: Crime in Translation with Dominique Mannotti, Roz Schwartz and Ragnar Jónasson, chaired by Jacky Collins

1.30-2.30pm Victorian Villanies with Gail-Nina Anderson

3.30-4.30pm Panel discussion: Legal Eagles with Peter Murphy, Steve Cavanagh and Clare Donoghue, chaired by Ayo Onatade

5.30-6.30pm Panel discussion: Crime Authors/Creative writers with William Ryan, Bea Davenport and Barbara Nadel, chaired by M. J. MacGrath

7.30-8.30pm Panel discussion: New Blood with Eva Dolan, Kati Hiekkapelto and Susan Wilkins, chaired by Sarah Ward

 

Newcastle Noir is based at Newcastle’s Literary & Philosophical Society (The Lit & Phil) Britain’s largest independent library outside London, and celebrates the best in crime fiction.

Information on tickets and how to book your place can be found at http://www.litandphil.org.uk/events.shtml

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.