Monday, 25 July 2011

Crime Cental, the SAS, Tuscany and Hamish McHaggis!


July has been a busy month, with a trip to Charney Manor  ( my room was the window above the door to the left).  It was a wonderful week spent in the company of about 30  SAS types.

No! Not that SAS  the OTHER ones the
Scattered Authors Society!

(more likely to be armed with pens than guns, although perhaps that is no less dangerous??)

'the pen is mightier than...'  etc.

 We talked about all things writing-related ( you might be surprised at how wide a topic that can be!) having no need to concern ourselves with the worry of boring the others in the company, as might happen at home!  Some interesting discussions took place about the future of the publishing business, the rise of ebooks, Kindle and the like, and what we children's authors can do to keep our careers going, our books in print and, hopefully earn a crust in the process.

There were opportunities to explore less tangible ways to unlock the creative flow and we were also free to hideaway and have peace to write, if that was what was needed.

The food was good, wholesome and plentiful and the sweets far too delicious!

I have been to Charney once before and again I found the experience creatively energising.  The writers in the SAS (Scattered Authors Society), always a welcoming and incredibly imaginative bunch, are also a lot of fun to be around.  With such a range in ages, writing styles and expertise it was a fabulous opportunity to share ideas and to discuss all the ups and downs in a writer's life.

The SAS is not about writers getting together to moan about the things that go wrong in the publishing world, although we do a little of that too, it is about getting together and making things happen, such as the ABBA  (Awfully Big Blog Adventure) Lit Fest which started out as an idea that developed into a fabulous showcase of  talent from the SAS. 
It took a lot of enthusiasm and hard work, especially for the small but dedicated litfest team, and it turned into a great success.  Due to it being an ON LINE book festival you never need to feel you have missed out because itis all still there to enjoy here on the ABBA site  at the  ABBA online lit fest

This month I am also the editor for Crime Central blog  it is always fascinating to see the variety of posts.  There is today's post by Susan Price about her fabulous Sterkarm series showing how crime can be protrayed in fantasy.

We had Jo Cotterill talking about crime in a completely different setting, in her Sweet Hearts series  book 3  Forget Me Not revolves around much gentler but no less criminal, crime. 
 There have been interviews with the four editors finding out about  
The Opposite of Amber -Gillian Philip, 
When I was Joe- Keren David, 
Heartburn- Anne Cassidy and  
my own- Dead Boy Talking. 
We have had Adele Geras, Keith Gray and The Bookette telling us about books they have read and enjoyed and also reviewing crime novels for us. A variety of guest bloggers, Malcolm Rose, Rachel Ward, Cathy MacPhail, and a host of others join us regularly.  It is quite amazing how many writers have a criminal slant!


But some of July has been hiding away in 'Tuscany'  my writing hideaway, where I love to sit and hopefully let the images of what I am writing take me away to that 'elsewhere' populated by my characters.

I am enjoying the peace after a very hectic first half of 2011, before it gets busy again.

  But I have to say that I am looking forward to the second half of August when it will be time to hotfoot it into (hopefully sunny) Edinburgh because it will be time once again for my favourite time of year,  the Edinburgh International Book Festival.  

This year I will be there for various events. If you are around come and say hello.

On Thursday 18th August 2011 - 5.30pm 
I will be reading as part of the Amnesty International Imprisoned writers series

On Friday 19th August 2011 - 5.00pm

I will be talking about the research I did for Spider and Dead Boy Talking (Chaired by Philip Ardagh)

On 25th August 2011 - 11am  

I will be running a writing workshop (THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT)

and finally as part of the 
Edinburgh International Book Festival Schools programme 

I will be speaking to primary school children  about  Hamish McHaggis  on 30th  August 2011

Here is Hamish at a previous festival appearance, with the fabulous staff in the Author's Yurt
(I wonder -did he need an author pass to get in ???)