Jun 24, 2014

Recyling plot ideas

I have a folder marked 'story ideas' and it goes back far beyond 2007 which is when I did my first nanowrimo. I look at them occasionally but up until now I've never picked one out, blown the dust off it and used it in a new draft.

Here's the crazy thing, the next book (Excalibur) has a launch party close to the beginning and I'd been looking for a recognizable venue. Somewhere big enough to have a ton of guests but small enough to control access and keep the press at bay and I was going to use the naval academy at Greenwich because I was only there a couple of months ago and the details are still fresh. I started writing it and Greenwich wouldn't work, felt flat and then I remembered Battersea Power Station. I saw it every morning we were in London because our hotel room was high up and facing towards it. A quick search of my story idea folder and there it was, it needed a couple of character changes but it slotted right in. I wrote that nearly two years ago! How cool, and weird is that?

Jun 23, 2014

The Silkworm

If you liked The Cuckoo's Calling, you are going to love The Silkworm, you'll think you've got it figured out and then to your surprise and delight you'll realize that you are totally, hopelessly and wonderfully wrong.

Galbraith/Rowling develops both Strike and Robin (one review I read said Robin had nothing to do in this one, I disagree) Both have their backgrounds expanded, Strike's experiences in Afghanistan and Robin, oh and she's been taking some courses on the quiet I won't tell you which because I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise.

Jun 10, 2014

New Project

Go to the mystery giveaway tab for a new project that I've been working on. There are a few rules but nothing major, enjoy!

Jun 5, 2014

Amazon = Goliath

OK this is a weird title and normally I read the op eds and maybe comment on the side of the indies. This however is a whole different ball game. Hard ball. For those of you who are fans of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series you will know who Goliath are and feel free to skip to the next paragraph. Goliath (in Fforde's books) is the global behemoth that has taken over the UK, they control everything they run a puppet government, they make TV shows, (in the books they aren't above killing people but hey that's fiction for you) When I think of Amazon, Goliath comes to mind so Fforde was going for a global monopoly a Walmart, or an Amazon or some other tech giant that wants to take over the world! (pause for maniacal laugh)

And we're back with everyone else. I speak as a recovering addict, ten years ago I used Amazon for everything and then we moved to the US and I started working in a bookstore and writing a novel and everything changed. First I had access to the trades, the blogs and newsletters that booksellers and librarians use and I didn't like what I was seeing. Also Amazon moved from being just a supplier to a publisher (Create space) self publishing was exploding and they wanted some of that action. And the fact that they don't pay sales tax and bricks and mortar stores do, that turned the tide for me. The thing that made me kick my Amazon habit completely was an article. Amazon uses books as 'loss leaders' it makes no profit whatsoever on books, it actually loses money. It makes money on all the other things you can buy on that site. Then came the e reader, where you 'rent' books from Amazon, yes I did say rent and that is because even though you have purchased the title if Amazon chooses to, they can take it off your e reader without your permission. Don't believe me? hop onto Google and search 'Amazon 1984 kindle' (yes the George Orwell title, pause for irony) oh and while you're there look up the definition of a 'monopsony' because that is what is happening in the publishing world right now. Amazon is now so powerful that it thinks it can dictate terms to publishers to drive down the price of books even more. If Hachette falls, then Penguin Random, and S&S etc aren't going to be far behind. In the short term consumers get cheap books but what happens when there is no competition left? Think about that for a minute. Amazon breakfast cereal, Amazon pants, Amazon furniture, Amazon smart phones (I'm extrapolating from where we are now.)

Now the cynics among you will be saying, 'she's jealous of the competition' nothing could be further from the truth. My passion is books, bookselling is in my DNA, it took me a long time to realize that I am a born book seller. I read voraciously, I get behind authors you've never heard of because I love what they write, their inventiveness. Authors are like rock stars to me, and I get to interact with book lovers like myself every time I go to work. Our dining room table is covered in books. Do you know how long it takes to write a book? For some it can take years, each book, each writer is unique in their style of writing, in their plots, in the times and places they write. Their ideas can inspire new authors, change lives, there is no way to put words in a blender and come up with a book, one size is never going to fit all.

Just one last question before I pack up my soap box. Today, how many of you have commented on 'Goodreads', shopped on 'Zappos' bought second hand books from 'Abebooks', used 'IMDb' to look up a movie or tv show, purchased audiobooks from 'Audible.com' used 'Zyna', 'Netflix' ('LoveFilm' in the UK) 'Foursquare' or 'Dropbox'? Then you have wittingly or unwittingly had an Amazon experience today. Do we really want a world where everything comes from or goes through Amazon? Bez-topia? Bor-ing!

Please note that this article has been researched and written by me, my opinions may not match yours but isn't that what debate is all about?

Jun 2, 2014

The Late Scholar, Jill Patton Walsh

St Severin's college Oxford is split over plans to sell an ancient manuscript with connections to Alfred the Great. With another vote on the matter looming and the college Warden missing, several of the faculty call for the Visitor who just happens to be Lord Peter Wimsey, now also known as the Duke of Denver.

His Grace, wife Harriet Vane and their faithful manservant Bunter travel to Oxford and between then uncover a seething fury beneath the veneer of the gentlemen scholars, and more than one murder.

N.B This is the second of Jill Patton Walsh's continuation of Dorothy L Sayers beloved series.

Canyon Sacrifice, Scott Graham

This is the first in a new mystery series set in and around America’s national parks, featuring archeologist Chuck Bender.

Chuck is keen to show his new wife and ready-made family the beauties of the Grand Canyon, but he is still stumbling over the dual roles of husband and father. When one of the girls goes missing Chuck is certain that someone close to him has guessed his secret, a find he chanced upon deep in the Canyon many years ago. Something precious to the Anasazi, something he is determined to preserve. He knows will sacrifice anything to get his daughter back but even he isn’t prepared for the actions, or identity, of her captor.

The Director, David Ignatius

In the wake of a corruption scandal at the CIA, the president appoints millionaire businessman Graham Weber as the new Director.

Weber has a mountain to climb; the old guard don’t want him to shake things up as he has promised to do. Some want him to succeed, most want him to fail. As Weber’s tenure begins, a scruffy young kid walks into the US embassy in Berlin with a message for the new broom. “The CIA has been hacked, we’re reading all of your encrypted data.”

Weber has to use all the analogue assets he has to find the leak before an army of hackers launches an all-out assault on a pillar of anglo-US co-operation that goes all the way back to 1945. If they can bring it down a new era will begin and Weber may be powerless to stop them.