Monday, 23 November 2015

Book Week Scotland and me

The week-long celebration of books and reading across Scotland has begun.
It includes a host of free events showcasing many of the nation's authors, poets, playwrights, performers, illustrators and book lovers who are all coming together "to celebrate everything wonderful about the written word."
Brought to bookshops, libraries, schools and loads of venues in over 400 events across the country, Book Week Scotland will highlight the words and works of some of the best Scottish wordsmiths and a few who are not so well known.
The week stars people like Michael Faber, David MacPhail, Jackie Kay, Liz Lochhead, Diana Gabaldon, Paula Hawkins, Neil Oliver, Kate Mosse, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, AL Kennedy, Christopher Brookmyre, Michael J Malone and me.
As part of my debut into the public domain, I will be at Waterstones, Dumfries, in a Meet the Author session with Ayrshire crime writer Michael J Malone. The event takes place on Tuesday, 24 November,  at 6pm and, although I'm not certain how it will go as I normally shy away from any kind of public gathering starring me, like my writing I will just let it evolve.
Michael J is one of those authors who can write just about anything ... and writes it well. His normal genre is Tartan Noir with a twist - a bit like a Martini with a Scotch Bonnet chilli. He takes a Scottish crime scene and turns it on its head to reveal the darkness in the characters affected by the stories' events. His award-winning crime books, Blood Tears, A Taste for Malice and Beyond the Rage are the kind of page turners expected of a high level writer.
He has also ghost written an historical novel, The Guillotine Choice, based on a true account of a 1920s Algerian, sent to Devil's Island for a crime he did not commit.
Not content with crossing the genres of fiction, Michael has also ventured into non-fiction with his book on self-development: Carnegie's Call.
And that's not all. Michael has turned his talents to provide professional editorial and mentoring services which will inspire and help green-gilled authors to perfect their talents.
You can read all about Michael and his books here.
My second venture into the big wide world of publicity this week involves going on a Ghost Talk with Dumfries ghosthunter Kathleen Cronie.
Those wonderful people at Dumfries and Galloway Libraries invited me to take on one of their events at Kirkcudbright Library and I couldn't think of a more fitting partner than Kathleen whose knowledge and enthusiasm for the region's favourite haunts have inspired some of her most successful ghost walks with her team of ghostbusters Mostly Ghostly.
Kathleen is an interesting and eloquent speaker who tends to keep her audience captivated while she recounts some of her hair-raising stories of ghastly goings-on in Dumfries and Galloway's violent past.
Her presence marries well with my second novel, The Ghost Tree, which was published in early October.
The book is set in Kirkcudbrightshire and was inspired by one of the world's most well-known poltergeists - The Mackie or Rerrick Parish Poltergeist. You can read all about it here.
I am still hearing stories from people who once lived or are still living close to that haunted steading. Incredibly, during my book launch in October, a lady came up to me and told me that she used to live in a house near the steading. When playing in the field, her brothers would mimic the shepherd and try to round-up sheep. She said that the flock always avoided being herded into a corner of the dyke: the corner close to the Ghost Tree. She told me one day they saw a strange, ghostly figure standing at that same corner and believed in the poltergeist.
I would love to hear more stories about Rerrick and the steading and Kathleen will be looking for local ghost stories for a book she is writing on some of the region's best haunts.
The event takes place on Thursday, 26 November at 7pm and everyone is invited to come along for a good old Ghost Talk before going home alone in the dark!

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Ghost Tree launches in local haunts

For most authors these days, getting a place anywhere close to number one million in the Amazon rankings is cause for breaking out the champagne.
There are so very many books out there, all jostling for the attention of potential readers, that most of them never see the light of day - day, of course, meaning within the top 100 of the bestsellers rank within the genre.
It is with great delight that I find the Kindle edition of The Ghost Tree at no 156 in the Books > Fiction > Horror > Fantasy list - a place that I never expected to be sitting in.
Now I know that Amazon listings are fickle and the book could drop to 999,999 in the same section within the blink of an eye. It is, however, really inspiring to see the book so close to the top 100 on any list and the paperback has not even been published yet.
I am launching The Ghost Tree at the Ewart Library, Dumfries, on Thursday night and I find that a more terrifying prospect than facing the Mackie poltergeist in the dark without a crucifix.
In the current economic climate, libraries are under a lot of pressure to look useful and busy while councillors sit at committee meetings deciding how and when they will close them. I am therefore really dedicated to helping them, even if that means facing the public in an event starring me.
I am the kind of person who loves the camera, provided I am the one looking through the viewfinder.
My second event will take place at Waterstones book shop in Dumfries on Saturday, 3 October. The local bookstores are also taking a pounding from their mighty online counterparts and I like to think that my presence, no matter how insignificant, will go a small way in supporting them.
Thanks to everyone who has bought my book and to those very special people who have taken time to write a review. You are all wonderful.

Monday, 14 September 2015

The Sleeping Warrior counts down on Kindle

Since it's only a matter of weeks to the launch of The Ghost Tree, I've put The Sleeping Warrior on Kindle Countdown for the weekend between 18 and  21 September (that's this coming weekend).

I don't know why, but readers in the UK will be able to buy it at 99p while across the Pond it's only 99c. Apologies to UK readers for the inexplicable price hike, but that's the way Amazon works for some reason.

In effect, that means anyone can buy The Sleeping Warrior for said discounted price for a limited time (from 8am on the Friday to 8am Monday). After Monday morning, and I believe that's GMT, the price will return to £1.99 and $2.99 respectively.

You can't get a decent packet of sweeties for 99p/c, so I hope some of you readers out there will take up the offer and try out the novel.

It's had some fabulous reviews so, hopefully, will be worth the pennies/cents to you.

Should you buy it, read it and actually enjoy it, please would you also leave a review on Amazon. Reviews are so important to authors, even bad ones are better than none at all.