#TeaWithLeigh

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12049428_10153151341282844_2841710274308182234_n“The quintessentially British tradition of afternoon tea is usually credited to Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford in the early 1800’s.”

Or so says the menu of Anna’s tea room, as I peruse its thick, heavy-set and gilded pages trying to make a decision.

You see last month I was a very fortunate (and very smiley) reviewer who was invited by No Exit Press to experience the delights of afternoon tea with accompanying champagne at The Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London. There were several other reviewers and bloggers there along with Guest of Honour, author of the DI Geraldine Steel and DI Ian Peterson serial thrillers, Leigh Russell.

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Me with Leigh

We gathered initially in the Library where I presented Leigh with her very own “Blood Axe” (albeit a plastic one with no blood, although I did provide some red paint) and after a few fun photos

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Fellow reviewer Kirstie Long protecting her champagne from Leigh’s new Blood Axe

we were directed to our tables to order.

Tea was the first order of the day, and there were plenty to choose from, however as a person whose preference is “builders brew” that comes mainly from Yorkshire, I think I was a tad over ambitious in my selection, but in the spirit of adventure I had to try their Flowering Red Amaranth tea, just because it sounded so intriguing.image

After tea, some seat shuffling and a few more photo’s we were given a palate cleansing tropical fruit coupe, before being served with finger sandwiches, mini pastries and deliciously sweet desserts, before the final course of warmed plain or raisin scones with a selection of jams and clotted cream. All of which was absolutely gorgeous, and surprisingly more filling than you may think.

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Cakes, pastries and sandwiches

For four hours we laughed, ate, drank, (did I mention the champagne?) asked questions, talked books and reading, and Leigh’s upcoming releases. I had a fabulous time. In stark contrast to the dark themes of her regular #1 bestselling thrillers, Leigh is a delightfully sunny person to be around, is welcoming to all who enjoy reading, and supportive of those still aspiring publication. If you get chance to catch up with her at any of her regular book signings, or events (details of which can be found on the No Exit Press website) I highly recommend you do so.

 

 

 

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DI Geraldine Steel 7 – Out Now in e-book & paperback

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DI Ian Peterson 3 – Out now in e-book. Out in paperback 25th November

Heading for Harrogate

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theakstonscrimefictionvestlogo200Yes, it’s that time of year again, I really can’t believe it has come around so quickly, but tomorrow I shall be heading up north for what is now the ninth time to attend the 2015 Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival.

I have some amazing activities lined up, a few dinners and party invites to take up, and I’m looking forward to catching up with the many friends I have there that I only get to see when the festival comes around.

I’m looking forward to going even more than usual this year however.  Wearing my Crimesquad.com hat I will be interviewing Hakan Nesser & Arnaldur Indridason for articles to be posted over there so I’m ridiculously squeeing, and at the same time I’m terribly nervous.  When the interviews go up I’ll add some links, or alternatively if you haven’t already, make sure you add CrimeSquad.com to your favourites.  It’s a fantastic site I love being a part of, and since it’s recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, there is an absolute wealth of reviews to be discovered in its archives.

Now I’m off for some last minute packing and prep.  Do stop me and and say hello if you are up at the festival this year, you’ll more than likely find me in the bar…..

That was the break that was

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So I’ve been away for a little while.  I’ve been reading a lot, but I’ve also been celebrating a lot too.  I recently turned 40 and have spent three weeks, catching up with friends, attending festivals, going on holiday, and attending parties.  It’s been fabulous.

It started with CrimeFest where I had an absolutely amazing time as always.  There were some interesting panels, some strange and wild conversations, author meet and greets, awards announcements, gala dinners, publisher drinks parties, oh and free books…. but most of that paled into insignificance as over the course of the weekend, I got to go out for lunch with Lee Child.  I think I forgot most of everything that happened after that, including getting an author to write a guest feature for me! (oh the horror….)

There’s even more fantastic author news lined up, but I’ll save that for closer to the time it’s due to happen as I really don’t want to jinx it.

After CrimeFest, I flew to Las Vegas, I *almost* touched David Copperfield (my huge teenage crush), and I walked.  A lot.  When they say the hotels are big, you really just cannot comprehend.  They are beyond huge.  It took 20 minutes to walk from our hotel room through the MGM Grand and Casino to The Strip, but every blister, and night falling into bed with tired and sore feet was worth it.

I’ve been out and about in ‘that London’ with friends to celebrate the actual day, drunk an awful lot of champagne, and avoided writing the reviews and publishing the articles I usually do, because I’ve simply not found the time.

But now the hiatus is over, watch this space, as I catch up with events, competitions, reviews, awards and more.

Nordicana 2015 – Coming Soon…

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Moving from its previous February slot, Nordicana is set to return to London in June 2015.

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Here’s what Nordic Noir has to say about this years event…

From 6th-7th June 2015, fans with a criminal curiosity for provocative Nordic crime dramas will be flocking to the Troxy theatre in London for the 3rd Nordicana festival. The event promises a plethora of top talent – from internationally famed writers to the brightest stars of film and television that the Northern Lights have to offer. For the first time ever, Nordicana will also be recognising other top European shows influenced by the Nordic style.

The festival is designed to allow audiences the chance to explore the intoxicating realm of Nordic Noir and to get up close and personal, with an interactive collection of cultural activities to choose from.  A tantalising range of food, drink, design and culture combines the excitement of a cultural expo with the flair of a film and literary festival.

The evolution of the show continues in 2015 with a brand new team taking the concept into a fresh, revised format. All ticket holders will enjoy their own numbered seat for the day and can relax in-between talks and screenings.  We will have a focused set of events on one main stage across the entire weekend.

Head over to NordicNoir.tv to keep up with the latest developments

Where you’ll find me this weekend

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title_bob Taking Place from the 15th – 18th May at the Marriott Royal Hotel, Bristol, UK.

With a whopping 50+ events (be prepared to make some tough decisions over what you attend) scheduled over the four days, it’s an action packed four days with plenty of time for author interaction.

It’s where I will be from Friday morning, until Sunday lunchtime. If you are heading there come look me up, if I’m not in a panel you’ll most probably find me in the bar. I’ll be the one in the hat. Come say hello.