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June is Crime Reading Month! -- Joy Kluver

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 June is Crime Reading Month! The Crime Writers' Association has joined forces with The Reading Agency to promote it. There are lots of events up and down the country and you can find out more by going to  crimereading.com  . It's seventy years since The CWA was created so there's plenty to do. And of course, I've arranged something too. This is the perfect time to launch Murder In Merton: Crime Writing Events. First up, this coming Saturday 10th June 2-4pm at West Barnes Library, we have a Crime Authors Fair. With Sarah Clarke, Lucy Martin, Biba Pearce, Amer Anwar, Alex Khan and ML Rose. The authors will be free to chat with readers, with a more formal talk from Amer Anwar at 3pm. Books will be available to buy and there will be refreshments at a small cost. Entry is FREE and no booking is required. There will be a competition too! On Tuesday 20th June 7-8.15pm at Wimbledon Library, I'll be interviewing Robert Gold, Olivia Kiernan and Saima Mir about their latest n

Pay to Play by Debbie Bennett

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Standard advice for newbie writers seems to always be never pay to play . Generally speaking, that’s true – twenty years ago or so, you could confidently say that you should never, ever pay anyone to publish your books, that money always flows to the author and never in the other direction.  These days, it’s still good advice – although there are occasions when it’s ok for an author to put his hand in his pocket. I’m not here to discuss vanity or even ‘hybrid’ publishing, and for the new writer just getting to grips with it all, I’ll only say to do your homework. Google. Look at reviews. Check out ALLI  and Writers Beware before you part with a penny. And yes, it always has been perfectly ok to buy in editing and design skills if you don’t have them yourself. I’m a writer, not a designer, and while I can look at a bad cover and have an idea what doesn’t work and why, I couldn’t tell you what to do to fix it. My cover designer, on the other hand, can take my vague suggestions and idea

The Locked Room (Cecilia Peartree)

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I've become aware recently that there is a fine line between being an independent, fully functional person and becoming someone who is having serious trouble getting mobile again. I can't even write as much as usual, because I'm using a laptop on my lap instead of at a table or desk. However, despite these challenges I have recently published a new novel which I like to think of as a locked room mystery, and that has reminded me of this silly short story I wrote a while ago.My reasoning is that including this here will prevent this post from becoming just a series of complaints! I hope it will make someone laugh. The Locked Room   It must have been after midnight when I got the call. It was all I needed, after a long shift at the beach, warning off members of the public who should have been safely shut up in their own homes. That wasn't real police work. I had alternately longed for and dreaded a different kind of call, and I had even considered switching off my phone

We Are Resolute - Sarah Nicholson

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A group of writers came together with one vision: to build an independent consortium of experienced authors, professional editors and talented designers producing engaging and inspiring books of the highest quality for readers everywhere.  Ruth Leigh , who used to regularly write for Authors Electric, is the sort of friend who always leads me into some new adventure. First, she got me a slot here writing a monthly blog post and more recently she invited me to join Resolute Books. I’ve become a member of this consortium at just the right time, missing the zoom meetings about setting up a constitution and other more mundane stuff but arriving with perfect timing to attend a lavish book launch. Some of the Resolute authors - glasses of fizz in hand! To borrow Ruth’s words from the blog, Resolute Books was conceived at the end of 2022 when “two experienced and multi-published authors came together to talk about a collaboration. They wanted to create a group of like-minded people who

In the Beginning ... Umberto Tosi

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  Metropolis' Maria Futura comes to life, 1927 ... was the word. As I posted earlier, I'm amidst a third rewrite of my latest Frank Ritz noir Hollywood murder mystery. I had run into a wall about halfway through the novel, that draft the product of numerous revisions itself.  No matter. It dawned on me that my roadblock didn't originate ahead of me but back at the beginning of the process. I had gone with the big idea - the case of a famous, missing Hollywood prop that had led to murder - but had neglected Frank Ritz and his complicated personal life. I had made the assumption that readers knew him as well as did I. In the process, I neglected what is turning out to be the novel's most compelling stuff - not the case, nor a high-profile murder, nor the movie-biz clients, but a crisis in Frank's personal life involving his daughter Annie and his on-off lover and dogged reporter, Phyllis. So here goes. I offer this sample for your consideration:  -------------------

Visions Of Johanna - The Portrait of an Artist by Peter Leyland

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Visions of Johanna - The Portrait of an Artist I began writing this blog the day after the Eurovision Song Contest had been shown on the BBC to great acclaim. It was a contest that had been held in my favourite city, Liverpool, and you can see above a picture of Bob Dylan singing Visions of Johanna in the same city in1966. This was a key work from his album Blonde on Blonde and with any luck you will be able to get the song too, although you don’t have to listen to it all. A couple of verses will give you the flavour. Anyway, it is a longstanding favourite of mine, and on the day of the Eurovision Song Contest I somehow came across this live recording of it from the 1966 Dylan concert at the Odeon Theatre in the city. (On the same day Everton happened to be playing Sheffield Wednesday in the FA cup, which they won.) I still have the programme that I bought on the day of the Dylan concert because, as we time travellers have a habit of saying, "I was there."   The Programme:

Don't Tell Boys They Can't Read Books, begs Griselda Heppel

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Recently, a headline in The Times caught my eye:  Make boys read books with girls in says Chocolat author Joanne Harris .  At the Hay Festival , Harris announced: ‘We’ve got to stop giving them the message that it’s wrong for a boy to read books about girls, because even schools are giving them this message.’ The Tragickall History of Henry Fowst by Griselda Heppel Ante's Inferno by Griselda Heppel As a children’s author, this is an attitude I wrestle with. I don’t consciously create characters to suit a supposed readership; they spring to life according to the needs of the story.  My first book, Ante’s Inferno , had a 12 year-old heroine, Ante, while in The Tragickall History of Henry Fowst , the main character is a boy. The Fall of a Sparrow by Griselda Heppel With The Fall of a Sparrow , I was back to a female protagonist, Eleanor, and arguably taking an even greater risk of limiting my readership by setting the story in a girls’ boarding school, as this meant the supporting