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Do You Speak ‘Crime Writer?’

speaking crime writingSo you’ve made friends with a crime writer. Or perhaps you work with one. You may even have chosen a crime writer as your partner. Well, I think that’s wonderful. Crime writers need social circles too, after all. How else are we supposed to be inspired for our next – ahem – adventure? ;-)

The thing is, though, that crime writers speak a unique kind of language. If you don’t understand that language, it can difficult to know what a crime writer really means and respond appropriately. So, ever civic-minded, I’m here to help you. Here is your very own handy

Guide to Speaking ‘Crime Writer’


‘Crime Writer’ Language


‘I’ll be right there.’

‘I’ll be there as soon as I finish this scene. And check out those sites on poisons. And…..’

‘I really ought to do some shopping.’

‘We’re out of chocolate?! How can we be out of chocolate? What?! And coffee too?’

[substitute your snack and beverage of choice]

‘Thanks for telling me that.’

[After someone tells you
how much better s/he'd have
done at writing your book]

‘You will be the victim in my next story. It will not be pretty.’

‘Don’t worry. I’ll make dinner.’

‘Where’s the menu for that Chinese place that delivers?’

‘I write crime fiction.’

‘Please ask about my books. Better yet, buy them.’

‘Oh, let’s stop and check this out.’

‘Oh, this is the perfect place to dump a body!’

‘Sure! It sounds like fun.’

‘There’ll be at least a few people there who would make great suspects.’

‘Wow! That building is cool!’

‘I wonder how hard it’d be to push someone off it.’

‘Mind if I have a look?’

‘This would make such a great weapon!!’

‘No thanks, just browsing.’

‘That guy over there! That’s my killer!’


And no worries if that writer in your life is a romance, sci-fi or other writer. These translations can be easily adjusted.

So there you have it. The perfect way to learn how to communicate effectively with the crime writer in your life. I sincerely hope this is helpful. We crime writers really are nice people. All it takes is a little understanding.

Fellow crime writers, got any additions?

Happy Weekend!


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Crime Fiction News Break


Links You’ll Want


Agatha Raisin and the Blood of an Englishman

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death on Sky TV

Elena Forbes

2014 Ngaio Marsh Award Winner

2014 Ned Kelly Award Winners


Left Coast Crime

Crime Book Club

Rebecca Bradley


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Just a Perfect Day*

PerfectDay‘Come on, Jay, you’ve never liked amusement parks. Why all of a sudden do you want to go to MagicWorld now?’ Tessa turned from the sink where she’d been rinsing out the coffee pot and faced him. She raised her left eyebrow in that way she had when she didn’t believe a word Jay was saying. He was going to miss that.

‘I don’t know. It could be fun. We haven’t been there and you know, it’s not all just for kids. They have shows and things too.’
Jay hoped desperately that she’d go for this idea. MagicWorld was only an hour’s drive away, and it would be the perfect place to do what he had to do. With so much noise, so many people, and so much to see, nobody would pay any attention to one ordinary-looking guy and his wife. And it wouldn’t be anywhere near their home, where too many people might get too curious.

‘I don’t know,’ Tessa was saying. ‘I’ve got a lot of stuff to do around here.’ She gestured towards the glass-topped dining table where her students’ papers were laid out ready for marking. ‘For one thing I need to give these back on Monday.’
‘Come on, it’s just for a couple of hours.’ Jay gave her his best pleading look, stepped closer and took her hand. ‘It’ll be fun and besides, we haven’t been out in a while. I just wanted to, I don’t know, do something fun.’
Tessa relaxed just a little and smiled. ‘You know, that might be a good idea. You’ve been so tense lately, and we could both use a break.’
‘That’s my girl,’ Jay smiled back. ‘Consider it an apology for being such an ass lately.’ He kissed her lightly and ran upstairs to get ready.

He was right, Tessa thought as she finished with the coffee pot. Jay’d been impossible to live with for the last couple of months. At first she’d thought he was having an affair, but that wasn’t it. None of those telltale signs that a lot of women like to ignore. He’d just been so edgy and nervous, jumping when the ‘phone rang, snapping at her for no reason, those kinds of things. He said it was just work pressure, but she was sick of it. Maybe a fun ‘kid’ day at MagicWorld was just what they needed.

She went upstairs to put on her own clothes and makeup, choosing her most comfortable pair of jeans and Rolling Stones T-shirt. Then she pulled her medium-length strawberry-blonde hair into a ponytail. Jay came out of the bathroom just as she was putting on the finishing touches of her makeup.
‘Lookin’ good, good-lookin’,’ he said.
‘Not so bad yourself,’ she answered. But he did look awfully stressed. His normally sparkling blue eyes were a little dull, with just a hint of shadow under them.
Jay felt a little uncomfortable under her gaze. He shifted a bit and said, ‘Come on, let’s go.’

Ten minutes later they were on the road. As they drove, Jay dropped his left hand into the Chevy’s map pocket. Yes, the knife was there. He’d chosen a small one with a very sharp blade. Small enough to slip into his pocket, and sharp enough to do the job. God, how he wanted not to be doing this. There was just no choice at all. Not after what Glenn had said last time they’d talked. If Jay didn’t solve his money problem, Glenn and his boys would solve it for him. Tessa’s insurance policy was the only chance he had at enough money to pay off his debts. Yes, that paper was in the map pocket too, where he’d hastily stuffed it yesterday. He didn’t want to forget to make a copy of it to show Glenn tomorrow.

‘You’re being awfully quiet,’ she joked.
‘Sorry, just thinking.’
‘About what?’
He smiled at her. ‘About what a perfect day it is.’ It was, too. The sky was a brilliant blue with puffy white clouds, but it wasn’t very hot. Ideal for a day at MagicWorld.

When they got there, Jay found a parking spot and he and Tessa got out. ‘Are you going to use your card for the tickets?’ she asked. ‘I brought mine just in case.’
‘Don’t worry. I’m paying cash.’
She shrugged and took his hand. ‘Let’s go pretend we’re kids,’ she grinned.

And for an hour and half, they did just that. He even bought her pink cotton candy. After they got off the MegaWheel bumper cars, Tessa said, ‘I’m hungry. Ready for lunch?’
‘Yeah, OK. How about that hot dog stand over there?’
‘Sounds good.’
They bought hot dogs and soda and sat down at a circular table near an artificial pond. Jay watched her as she ate. This was going to be too hard for him. No, he had no choice at all. None. Then he looked again at the lake. At least he wouldn’t have to use the knife.

After they ate, they crumpled up their trash and tossed it in a nearby bin. Then Jay said, ‘Let’s check out the ducks on the lake.’
‘All right.’
They walked out across the ornamental bridge that spanned the water. Jay looked quickly around. Nobody was there. They must all be at the song-and-dance show in the park’s main pavilion. He swallowed hard, stepped behind Tessa and threw his arm around Tessa’s neck, pulling back hard with his forearm as she struggled. At least she wouldn’t feel herself drowning. And he didn’t have to look at her face. Five minutes later it was done. The water closed quickly over Tessa as she sank.

He hurried as quickly as he could back to the car before his legs gave out. Now all of the bright, cheery blues and yellows and reds of the park seemed garish, and all of the faces seemed to be staring at him. He made it to the car without retching, although he came close once or twice.

Now, as he leaned against the car, he drew a few ragged breaths. All this for some goddamned betting! But at least it was over. He’d start again. Do something right for a change. As he opened the car door, he remembered the insurance policy paper. He pulled it out and looked at it. He turned white as he went over it carefully. Yes, he’d read it right: he wasn’t the beneficiary! What the hell? Her sister Marti was. Marti with those two obnoxious kids. How could she do this to him?

He spun around when he heard a voice call his name.
‘How’re you doing, Jay?’ It was Glenn.
‘I – I – just…’
‘Me and Ian here thought we’d pay you a visit this morning. We showed up just as you were leaving and decided to tag along.’
Glenn’s voice grew fuzzy as Jay’s legs buckled under him.
‘What’s the matter, Jay? You get too much heat or something?’


*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Lou Reed’s Perfect Day.


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Introducing: Dawn Harris

meHello, All,

Welcome to another edition of Introducing… Today, I’d like to introduce you to Dawn Harris. Originally from Hampshire, Harris now makes her home in North Yorkshire. Besides her writing, Harris is, among other things, a pub quiz enthusiast and a talented table tennis player – she even coaches it to area children. She also counts bridge and tennis among her interests. She’s also the mother of children’s book author Anne Cameron.

Harris also knows quite a bit about late 18th-Century England. That’s the context for her historical Lady Drusilla Davanish series. This series takes place mostly on the Isle of Wight, where Lady Drusilla lives at Westfleet Manor. You’ll no doubt know that during these years, there was no love lost between England and France, and that animosity plays its role in this series.

In Letter From a Dead Man, Lady Drusilla and her family are shocked and saddened at the sudden death of her godfather CuthbeLetter_From_A_Dead_Man_Kindlert Saxborough in what looks like a horrible riding accident. But Lady Drusilla isn’t so sure of that. After all, Saxborough was an expert horseman and unlikely to make the sorts of mistakes that seem to have led to his death. Later, tragedy strikes again when Saxborough’s son Thomas and his son Tom are killed while out on their yacht. Now Lady Drusilla is sure that these deaths are murders. In the meantime, she’s got another problem: smuggling. It seems that someone – possibly one of her own tenants – is involved in smuggling goods from France to the island and thence to the rest of England. The closer Lady Drusilla gets to the truth about the smuggling, the more danger she’s in. There are some very nasty people who have a vested interest in using the island as a smugglers’ haven. Is the smuggling related to the murders? Were the murders committed for a more personal reason? As Lady Drusilla learns the truth, readers get a look at life on the Isle of Wight at that time, at the social, economic and political realities of the era, and of course, the island itself.

Fat Badger SocietyThe Fat Badger Society takes up where Letter From a Dead Man leaves off. As a result of the events in the first novel, Lady Drusilla travels to London, accompanied by her aunt and uncle, as well as by Radleigh Reevers, cousin to the Saxborough family and the man in whom she is interested romantically. After an attempt on the King’s life, it’s clear that there is some sort of assassination plot in the works. Then Lady Drusilla is unexpectedly asked to visit Prime Minister Sir William Pitt, where she is told that the plot may reach as far as the island where she lives. Pitt tells her that John Hamerton, whom she knows socially and in fact, has invited to visit her home, may be a top French spy. In fact, there is a group on the Isle of Wight, the Fat Badger Society, that is suspected of having French loyalties. Hamerton might very well have been behind the plot to kill the King and foment an English revolution. It doesn’t help matters that he’s related to the notorious Robespierre. When Lady Drusilla is asked to find out whether Hamerton is or is not a spy, she agrees. After her return to the island, she begins to ask questions about the society and about Hamerton. Those questions get her into grave danger. They also bring up doubts about a lot of people – including Reevers…

This series weaves together history, adventure, murder and espionage. There’s also a bit of romance and some solid wit. And all of this takes place in the distinctive setting of the Isle of Wight in the 1790s.



Want to know more about Dawn Harris? It’s right here.

Want to know more about Letter From a Dead Man? Check it out here (UK) and here (US)

Want to know more about The Fat Badger Society? You’ll find it here (UK) and here (US)


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New Technology For the Crime Fiction World ;-)

KebyoardI’m always on the lookout for new technology to help make it easier and more enjoyable for crime writers to do what they do, and for crime fiction readers to enjoy good crime novels. And you know what I’ve noticed? Keyboards. That’s right, keyboards. They’re not always well-designed so that we in the crime fiction world can make the most use of them. So I’ve decided to step in and help. What you’re about to see is the new fully web-integrated CrimeNovel Keyboard! It’s custom-made for the crime writer and for the crime reader. See what you think.


CrimeNovel Keyboard For Crime Writers



As you can see, this keyboard is custom-designed with you in mind. Just take a look. Instead of the usual function buttons, you’ll see there are buttons that are far more useful. Each of the buttons at the top of the keyboard links to a different sort of murder method, and takes the crime writer to all sorts of useful information about that method. No sense getting it wrong, is there?

Now, just take a look at some of the other buttons. You can easily click on the last scene you wrote. And who needs the ‘Caps Lock’ button when you can simply insert tense and meaningful dialogue? Just below that key is the ‘Point of View’ key, so that you can instantly change the point of view you’re using in your manuscript as you go along. And see that green check at the bottom of the keyboard? Just click and your manuscript is checked for consistency! No more characters who have two or three different names, or problems with your timeline! The button right next to it checks your manuscript against hundreds of other books to help you avoid hackneyed plots and stereotyped characters. And since it’s always important for the writer to know, at least every 5 minutes, if there’ve been any new reviews posted, there’s an easy-to-use ‘A’ button that links you to all reviews of your books.

The rest of the keyboard is just as handy.



The three keys at the top left allow you functionality you never imagined. You can save creative ideas for cover design, take a break now and again for a social media check or a game of Bejeweled Blitz, and even set an alarm to take you instantly back to your manuscript after 5, 10, or 15 minutes.

The next row of keys is also quite useful. No more losing those 2AM fantastic ideas! The light bulb button lets you save them with a simple voice recording. They may sound a bit garbled the next morning, but they’ll be saved. Of course….sometimes you do have to go back to the beginning of a manuscript, and the ‘Start Over’ button lets you do just that. Completely dissatisfied with your work? Just shred it and begin again! Ready to submit? There’s a handy ‘Submit’ button too.

And always with an eye to accuracy, this keyboard allows you to check legal precedent, private investigator practice and police procedures with just a few convenient pushes of a button. Couldn’t be easier!!



CrimeNovel Keyboard For Crime Fiction Readers


Crime fiction readers, you haven’t been forgotten! There’s now a specially-designed keyboard just for you! Have a look.




Instead of those old ‘function’ buttons, here are some really useful ones – instant reaction buttons! This keyboard offers the full range of review ratings, too. There’s everything from the ‘Desert Island’ button all the way to irritation and anger. Whatever your rating is, it’s here!

The buttons on the left side of the keyboard are fully optimised so that you can instantly click open the blogs you read the most, be warned when your TBR is at the maximum number you set, and copy memorable quotes from your current read. What better way to keep them for later when you’re writing your review?

At the bottom, you’ll see convenient buttons for checking your TBR, checking your book budget, and adding books to your wish list. Ready to order a book? Click the convenient purchase button! Book lovers who use other vendors can have another key substituted… for a fee…


A quick look at the other side of the keyboard shows you even more of what makes this such a useful little tool.




On the top you’ll see buttons that let you specify things such as violence level, body count, quality of characters, ‘plotholes,’ suspense level, enjoyment level and wit. Very useful to help you write those reviews! Want an author’s back catalogue? Just click the handy button and you get a complete list in order of publication (‘though not necessarily in order of translation…). There are also buttons to notify you when it’s time for a cup of your beverage of choice, or time to order in food, so you don’t have to interrupt your reading. Want to post your review immediately to your blog? There’s a button for that too! And what about those DNF books? Simply use the shredder button to create exactly the review such a book deserves.

The bottom of the keyboard allows you to send your thoughts directly to the author or submit them to public review sites. There’s even a handy alarm to remind you to go to work, take dinner out of the oven or pick your kids up from school.

You’ll quickly find that the CrimeNovel Keyboard helps you in dozens of different ways, whether you write crime fiction, read it, or both. And for those of you who use tablets? No worries – it’s going to be available very soon in a convenient app.

What do you think? Sound like a marketable idea? ;-)


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