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Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Life of an Author: Busy, Busy, Busy

After the launch of Death of a Doxy, the third book in my Kirsty Campbell series, last week I thought I might be able to draw breath and relax.

Silly me! I should have known better.

In my naivety, I’d scheduled a Facebook event for the launch. and, of course, it was a mad dash at the last minute to ensure Death of a Doxy was available in time. After all, what’s a launch without a book? But the event was a great success. I provided virtual food and drink and some obscure facts and lots of chit-chat. It was exhilarating, but boy was I shattered by the end of it. It took me all my time to crawl into bed.

Next up was all the little things I needed to do. Responding to readers who contacted me,  then updating my website, my Facebook author page, making my Book2Look widget, updating my posters and various bits and bobs.

Finally, all the little tasks were done so what’s left to do? The Waterstone’s physical launch of course. That’s currently in the process of being arranged. It will be at the Dundee branch of the store and, as usual, there will be assorted nibbles and some liquid refreshment. These launches usually go off with a bang.

In the meantime, I noticed a couple of reviews had already trickled into Amazon so that’s good because I never ask anyone to do reviews although it’s great when someone takes the time and trouble to do one. It all helps to bring the book to the attention of new readers.

So now, is it time to sit back and relax?

Nope. No way!

I’m now preparing for Crime at the Castle where I’ll be speaking alongside the great and the good of the crime writing fraternity. People like Val McDermid, Denise Mina, Chris Brookmyre, Alex Gray, Lin Anderson. I could go on and on.
Glamis Castle

This is going to be a fabulous event held in Glamis Castle, the childhood home of the Queen Mother, and with a history that stretches back in time. My talks will be in the Queen Mother’s sitting room, and the Chapel which comes complete with the ghost of the Grey Lady. (Did I forget to mention the ghosts?) I must remember to welcome her to my talk.

Anyway, I have to be off now to prepare for this fabulous event. I’m busy, busy, busy.

Chris Longmuir

Monday, 12 February 2018

“Valentine’s Day must be for everyone but me.”

I rarely post guest blogs here and would never contemplate it unless I respected the guest concerned. And Anneli is someone I have a great deal of respect for. She is a brilliant writer and her blog is always crammed with great photos. I look forward to each one as it arrives. I have never actually met Anneli in the real world but she rates highly among my friends in the virtual world. So, this time, it is my pleasure to hand the blog over to Anneli and entertain you with a feast for the eyes.

This is how Marlie feels -- very much down on her luck with her world falling apart. See the eyes on the cover? One shows the hurt she has felt, and the other shows her determination to pick herself up and be strong
Her wild hair is a turn on for more than one fellow she meets, but although Marlie desperately wants to be loved, she is choosy. She’s been hurt too many times.
Everything in her life always seems to go wrong. Determined to start fresh, she is the perfect candidate for an escape to a remote teaching post in the Queen Charlotte Islands, now called Haida Gwaii, off the coast of northern British Columbia.
The town of Masset looks welcoming in the sunshine.

Many of Marlie’s students live in poor homes in nearby Haida village, but these First Nations children become very dear to her.

Being in a fishing community opens up a whole new world for her, with eagles, humpback whales, and killer whales to be seen in their natural habitat. Marlie is in awe of the beauty of the islands and the abundance of wildlife around her.

But all is not beauty and serenity. The lifestyle is quite different. In her daily life, it isn’t all as romantic or perfect as she’d hoped. For one thing, the weather can be horrendous. A fisherman shows her a picture of a bad day at sea. He says sometimes he can’t even see out the windshield for the rain and spray off the water. Marlie soon finds out what kind of screaming wild winds would visit the islands in the coming winter.

People on the islands help each other even if they don’t know who you are. Unfortunately, Marlie finds out that some will just as readily hurt an unsuspecting person. In her first months on the islands, she runs into both kinds. One unfortunate bad choice she makes will hang over her for months, and leave her struggling.
She shares some of her troubles with Skylar, a fellow teacher, as they explore the nearly deserted beaches. Even here, she finds herself having to test her survival skills.

Juggling her problems and feelings about people she meets on the islands, Marlie begins to wonder if her “fresh start” was going to work out for her. She has two choices: quit her job and go back to the mess her life used to be, or sort out the new mess she has gotten herself into and figure out a way to survive in this beautiful, godforsaken place.
Why don’t you come spend some time with Marlie in Anneli’s book? She could use a good friend right about now. You might even meet some people you’ve met in Anneli’s other books. Remember Jim, Andrea, and Foissy? You would have met them in “The Wind Weeps” and in its sequel, “Reckoning Tide.”
Make Marlie happy this Valentine’s Day.
Come see her inside the covers of the book named for her -- “Marlie.”
Here’s where you can find her.
For Kindle and paperback:
For e-books other than Kindle :

About Anneli Purchase
Anneli loves to write and to do copy-editing for other writers. She spent six years living in the Queen Charlotte Islands. She loves nature, gardening, and photography. Animals, especially birds, are a special interest, and although they are never the main focus, they always find their way into her books in some small way. Anneli lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and two spaniels.

Marlie is her fifth novel.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Is the World ready for Death of a Doxy? The great launch is today

Hang out the flags, summon the marching band, and bring on the dancing girls – Death of a Doxy has been unleashed on an unsuspecting world. It’s taken a year of hard graft but book launch day has finally arrived and to celebrate its arrival I’m offering an introductory bargain price on the Kindle eBook for the first few days. But it ends on Friday 9 February so if you want a bargain you’d better be quick.

 Death of a Doxy is set in Dundee, Scotland, in 1919, and features Kirsty Campbell, Dundee's first policewoman. In this book, which is the third in the series, Kirsty is investigating the murder of Lily, one of the girls in Big Aggie's house of pleasure. As the only policewoman in Dundee, Kirsty struggles to be accepted and she is keen to prove herself by cracking the case.

Not for the first time, Kirsty disagrees with her senior officer, DI Jamie Brewster. He is convinced Big Aggie killed Lily, but Kirsty believes the case to be more complicated than it appears on the surface and embarks on her own investigation.

To find the killer, she must unravel Lily's secrets and the deeper she delves into Lily's past, the more secrets she uncovers. But it is only when her own life is in danger that she learns others hide secrets too and will do anything to prevent exposure.

It is a tortuous trail where Kirsty faces danger before the mystery is solved.

Read the first chapter here:

Death of a Doxy

Chapter 1
Splotches of blood combined with other stains created a grim kaleidoscope of colour on the faded blue mattress.

He had meant to save her, not kill her. But her depravity overwhelmed him when she mocked him and laughed in his face.

Bile burned his throat and he leaned over the box sink in front of the window waiting for the pain to pass. Outside, footsteps on the landing caused him to draw back and he slid into a shadowy corner of the room, his hand tightening on the poker which he still clutched. When the sound disappeared he returned to the sink, turned the tap, bent over, and swilled water around his mouth. The burning sensation faded. He closed his eyes and leaned his head on the cool glass of the window in the vain hope the scene behind him would disappear and everything would be the same as when he entered the room less than half an hour ago.

An image of her flashed through his mind. Innocent blue eyes; now so knowing. Hair, golden as daffodils on a spring morning, streaming behind her in the breeze; now dull and lank. Skin, translucent in the sunshine; now caked in thick face paint.

Where had that innocent young girl gone?

He opened his eyes and turned to survey the room. A dingy place containing nothing more than a rickety wardrobe, a bed, one chair, and a table holding a guttering oil lamp. The last embers of a fire glowed in the black grate of the fireplace which spilled ash over the floor. And on the mantelpiece, a candle dripped wax into a saucer.

But the thing that held his eyes more than anything else was the body which sprawled on the mattress before him, beaten and bloodied, and no longer recognizable as the girl he remembered. His hand loosened on the poker which clattered onto the wooden floorboards to lie in a widening pool of blood.

Unaware he had been holding his breath, it now whispered out from between his lips, and the anger that consumed him was replaced by exhilaration rushing through his body, reviving him, exciting him.

He had saved her, although not in the way he intended. He could see now. This way was better. It was the only way to eradicate the depraved life she led. But he couldn’t leave her like this, with her clothing in disarray. No, that wouldn’t do. He would make her respectable, lay her out before her body stiffened, and arrange her dress to provide her with a modesty she hadn’t experienced for a long time.

Her limbs moved easily under his tender hands. He rolled her onto her back and straightened her legs, smoothing the dress over them. Next, he crossed her hands over her chest and arranged her blood-soaked hair over her shoulders.

Pleased with his work he carried the poker to the sink and rinsed her blood from it. Then, taking one last look at the scene in front of him, he left the room, closing and locking the door behind him.

At the bottom of the stairs, he sidled around the final corner and hurried across the backlands behind the tenement. This was an area of grass, weeds and rubbish which serviced the tenements that bordered it. The place where the tenants kept their bins and hung their washing on ropes to dry. He slipped through a close at the other side of this waste ground, opposite the building he’d left, and emerged onto the street. After taking a circuitous route and keeping to side streets he eventually reached Magdalen Green. From there it was a short walk to where the River Tay flowed to meet the North Sea. With one last look around to make sure no one observed him, he raised his arm and threw the poker into the water.

He smiled to himself as he walked homeward. His job was done.

Chris Longmuir