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Monday, 26 July 2021

Reading Between the Lines - Style and the Solitary

 



BLURB


An unexpected murder. A suspect with a reason. The power of unwavering belief.

A murder has been committed in an office in Jerusalem. That’s for sure. The rest is not as clear-cut as it might seem.

Asaf languishes in his cell, unable to tell his story even to himself. How can he tell it to someone who elicits such fear within him?

His colleague, Nathalie, has studied Beauty and the Beast. She understands its moral. Maybe that’s why she’s the only one who believes in Asaf, the suspect. But she’s new in the company – and in the country. Would anyone take her opinion seriously?

She coerces her flatmates, Yarden and Tehila, into helping her investigate. As they uncover new trails, will they be able to reverse popular opinion?

In the end, will Beauty’s belief be strong enough to waken the Beast? Or, in this case, can Style waken the Solitary?


EXCERPT CHAPTER ONE 

 Asaf Levitt pushed a hand into the almost-arctic atmosphere outside the bed and killed the music, dead. Instantly, he was up, throwing off the bedclothes and racing to complete the morning chores in record time. Washing, shaving, dressing, breakfast of cornflakes with milk, toast and cheese, apple juice. No need for a hot drink; that could wait for a break at the office. Bed-stripping and -folding to turn the bed into a sofa, washing up, because a tidy flat would welcome him back with open arms; a messy one would depress him, like a relationship gone sour – not that he knew anything about relationships.

Winter jacket with hood, gloves in pockets. Asaf gave his black shoes an extra little polish. Then he checked his image in the wardrobe mirror and felt around in his pockets. Keys, phone, wallet with Rav Kav, ID card, credit card and money. And the note, written last night, folded twice. He rubbed his thumb and forefinger against its smooth surface. The rubbing gave him courage, determination, like the touching of two wires to complete an electric circuit. Nothing would put him off, this time. Nothing and no one.
Asaf turned the key to unlock the front door, using his foot to push aside the draft stopper. When he returned, he would have done the deed and things would be different. Yes, people were about to take notice of him. Change was in the air.
The cold wind hit him as soon as he stepped out of the flat. This block didn’t have an outside door, and living on the ground floor didn’t help. Outside the building, the wind swirled around him. Asaf cut through it with hooded head lowered, as he charged ahead along almost-deserted pavements. He passed closed, lifeless shops. Even the grocer, though open for business, had its entrance closed to keep the weather out.
Other early birds waited at the bus stop on Hebron Road. Asaf recognised most of the faces and some of the voices. They probably recognised him. One thing he was sure of: none of them had ever heard his voice. He’d never approached them, and they usually left him alone. There was that time when a newcomer had asked him which bus he needed to get to the central bus station. He shrugged and raised his eyebrows, despite knowing the answer, and someone else offered the information.
The 71 turned up and most of those waiting crowded around the entrance. Asaf stood at the back, where no one would blame him for shoving them. There were generally enough seats, anyway, at this time. If not, standing was no hardship for him. As usual, he was the last to insert his Rav Kav into the slot.
This time – was this a sign? – he even won a prize for being last on. A window seat, vacated when two people prepared to get off at the next stop. A chance to get up to date with news headlines on his phone, as well as to glance up at the familiar sites passing by. The Bank Junction, nicknamed after the numerous bank branches. Its name had stuck, although several of them had since changed identities. The streets of the neighbourhood of Baka on the left, then Abu Tor, the mixed Jewish and Arab neighbourhood, on the right. The First Station, once Jerusalem’s railway station, now an outdoor cultural and culinary centre that hosted shows and boasted the start of a walking and cycling path leading as far as the zoo. Yemin Moshe, the beautiful old, road-free neighbourhood easily identifiable by its tall windmill. The town centre, and then the orthodox areas, noticeable especially by the dress of those traversing the streets, chatting together or scampering in all directions.
Perched on his window seat, Asaf took in all these sites, and skimmed the news on his phone, but still focused on his self-imposed mission for today. Nothing could stop him. Not

after the events of Thursday, the last working day before the weekend. Thursday was a bad day, but sometimes you needed bad things to occur because they pushed you to break out of your comfort zone. Like the time he hit back at some twerp at school, who fell down in surprise, and for a change the laughter had diverted from Asaf to the twerp.
The screen on his phone turned itself off, but Asaf continued to stare at it.
Thursday. It was about eleven when he found out – after everyone else, naturally. He’d been concentrating on a particularly difficult circuit board, trying to work out the best components to fit into a tiny space, and he’d just had a lightbulb moment when Ido had put his black-haired head round the opening to Asaf’s cubicle, all smiles and false friendliness. Typical. Ido always appeared at the worst moments and commanded attention solely by his presence.
Asaf should have told Ido to wait because he was busy. He should at least have said he needed another minute, so that he could write down his lightbulb thoughts before shifting his attention to Ido. But he didn’t. He never did. The truth was – and this was hard to admit but had to be said – he was in awe of Ido.
Yes. Ido, who was hopeless at his job in quality assurance. Ido, who said, “Yes, of course I understand.” Ido who came back to Asaf to ask yet again and feigned friendliness until Asaf had practically run the whole procedure himself, because there were only so many times you could explain the same thing.
“Asaf, you’re a brick. I’m indebted to you. I’ll tell Omer how helpful you’ve been to me.”
Like hell you will, thought Asaf. You’ll never tell the boss I did your work for you. You’ll pretend it was all you, and he’ll believe you because you could talk your way out of a snake pit. You could persuade a murderer to release you from the knife on your neck. And you know I won’t tell Omer, despite being absolutely exasperated with you, because it would be too much of an effort for me to get the words out. Omer wouldn’t believe me anyway. I know that and you know that. It’s win-win for you and lose-lose for me. Every single bloody time.
Yes, this was that same Ido who Asaf was in awe of, precisely because of his ability to use his tongue to get everyone on his side.
But on Thursday, Ido hadn’t come with any of his scribblings in hand or asked Asaf to review any of his measly attempts. No, Ido had come with an excited grin between his spiked hair and neatly trimmed beard, and a piece of news.
“Guess what. I’ve been promoted!”
“What!” Even Asaf couldn’t keep quiet at that.
“I know; I was amazed, too. They think I’m ready to manage a team and, with Koby in the
other office leaving, there’s one going. Isn’t that wonderful?”
“Yes. Congratulations.” Asaf’s reply was weak and emotionless, but that wouldn’t raise
any eyebrows. Asaf always sounded quiet and lacking in feelings.
“Cheers, mate.” Ido thumped Asaf on the back. “I’m ordering cake for this afternoon. Two
o’clock. Don’t forget.” Ido’s actions were apparently friendly, but Asaf sensed the underlying scorn. What Ido was really saying was, ‘Huh, you see? You sit here glued to your desk, slaving away at your simulated designs with their intricate components, but I’m the one who gets promoted. I’m the one who’s going to get ahead in life. Ten years from now, I’ll be a big boss over a whole department or a whole company. I’ll have a large office all to myself, and you’ll still be sitting in your little cubicle taking commands from up above.’
Asaf had lolled back in his chair after Ido left him. He’d been working at the office longer than Ido, he was far, far better at his work than him, and he would never be promoted. 

 AMAZON LINK TO BUY STYLE AND THE SOLITARY 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Style-Solitary-Jerusalem-Murder-Mystery-ebook/dp/B08X7GG82V


Miriam Drori was born and brought up in London and now lives with her husband and one of three grown up children in Jerusalem.

With a degree in Maths and following careers in computer programming and technical writing, Miriam has been writing novels and short stories since 2004. After some success with short stories, Miriam turned her hand to longer fictional works, publishing NEITHER HERE NOR THERE and THE WOMEN FRIENDS: SELINA, co-written with Emma Rose Millar.

Social anxiety features in Miriam's latest publications. SOCIAL ANXIETY REVEALED is a non-fiction guide that explores this common but little-known disorder from multiple points of view. The book has been highly recommended by 'sufferers' as well as professionals in this field. CULTIVATING A FUJI is the story of a fictional character who battles against social anxiety before learning to make friends with it. STYLE AND THE SOLITARY, a crime novel, asks an important question: what happens when a suspect can't stick up for himself?

When not writing, Miriam enjoys reading, hiking, dancing and travelling.


 AUTHOR LINKS 

https://miriamdrori.com/


Facebook 

https://www.facebook.com/miriamdroriauthor/


Amazon page: 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Miriam-Drori/e/B00L11J6D


Goodreads

 

https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/4829682.Miriam_Drori


 Pinterest

 

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/miriamdrori/

 

Twitter

https://twitter.com/MiriamDrori

 

Instagram 

 

https://www.instagram.com/miriam.drori/


Wattpad

 

http://www.wattpad.com/user/MiriamDrori





Monday, 17 May 2021

Melanie Robertson King's popular 'It Happened' series




Melanie Robertson-King is thrilled to announce the upcoming release of the third book in her It Happened series featuring the Scott and Layne families, set in picturesque locations in Canada.



Blurb:

Beaches meets Born on the 4th of July

When Melissa Scott flees to the village of Percé, she’s determined to leave her painful memories behind her.

Gareth Young, a soldier with the Canadian Forces, never got over losing his friend in the war in Afghanistan. Nowadays, he’s happier in his own company than that of others, until she enters his life.

Despite her recent breakup and knowing rebound relationships don’t work, Melissa falls head over feet for the handsome military man, only to discover he comes with enough baggage to fill an army cargo plane.

Will the couple be able to work through their issues and achieve a happy ending together?

Excerpt:

At the set of wooden stairs leading to the shoreline, Melissa picked up Buddy and descended. It was a short walk from here to the shoal, where she would cross. Once she reached the bottom, she put the dog back down, and the pair struck out.

Water lapped over the edges of the causeway and pooled in the lower sections of the sandbar. Melissa lifted her dachsie before stepping from the drier beach towards the mammoth chunk of shale and limestone. A lump formed in her throat as she stood gaping at its near-vertical cliff faces.

With Buddy tucked under her arm, she picked her way across. Unsure if it was due to the time of day, the time of year, or the bad weather forecast, there were not many people wandering around. No one strolled along Rue Mont Joli either. Strange.

Because he was well behaved and came when called, Melissa had no qualms about unclipping Buddy’s leash and putting him down. At first, he stayed by her side, sniffing the ground or raising his nose to catch a whiff of something. The scent of rotten eggs wafted through the air, no doubt brought on by rotting seaweed, occasionally overpowering the more pleasant aromas.

Melissa made herself comfortable on a boulder and pulled out her phone while Buddy amused himself. She had no new messages. Not hearing from Iain was a blessing. Maybe he realized they were finished.

She took pictures of the village from this vantage point and Buddy playing on the sand and pebbled shore. She was far too close to the rock to photograph it. She would have to wait for another time. The quay where the tour boats left from would be the best location. Melissa snapped a couple of selfies with Percé looming behind her — some smiling, some with pouty lips before returning the device to her back shorts pocket.

Loud barking and growling jolted her from her reverie as Buddy antagonized a company of gannets. Squawking seagulls soared overhead. One landed nearby and stared at Melissa with its beady yellow eyes. It took a few steps closer, ruffled its feathers and stepped back again. Living and working near the water in Saint John, she was used to seeing them. This one was different. It was more intimidating, almost like it was daring her to move so it could attack, like in the movie The Birds.

Water splashed by her feet. The tide was coming in. She wasn’t here that long, was she? Pulling her phone out, she checked the time. Yes, she had been. She had to act and fast or be cut off. “Come on, Bud, it’s time to go,” she called to her dachshund, but the animal continued harassing the waterfowl. She lunged for him, and he darted away closer to the arch — the most dangerous place of all here.

A clap of thunder rumbled in the distance. Things were quickly becoming dire. Melissa had to get her dog and return to the mainland before the thunderstorm hit. Too late. The skies blackened, and the rains pelted down. Lightning streaked across the sky, followed by yet another crash. How close was the storm? If she counted between the flash and the thunder, the longer the gap, the farther away the inclement weather was. There was more to the calculation, but at this point, it made no difference.

Strong winds pushed the incoming tide and created whitecaps. Huge waves churned and crashed over the sandbar cutting the two off from the shore ...

 

It Happened at Percé Rock is available to pre-order for the low price of 99¢/99p. You can get your copy here https://books2read.com/u/b6OJdp

 




After the June 6th launch date, the price will rise, so take advantage of the pre-order special!

About the author:

 



Melanie Robertson-King has always been a fan of the written word. Growing up as an only child, her face was almost always buried in a book from the time she could read. Her father was one of the thousands of Home Children sent to Canada through the auspices of The Orphan Homes of Scotland, and she has been fortunate to be able to visit her father’s homeland many times and even met the Princess Royal (Princess Anne) at the orphanage where he was raised.

 

It Happened at Percé Rock is Melanie’s eleventh book and it is available as an eBook or a paperback.

 


You can follow Melanie at the following links:

 

Website | Celtic Connexions Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Pinterest

 

GIVEAWAY

You could win a mobi or epub version of It Happened at Percé Rock.

use this link

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f805159b1/?

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Helen and Alison Tour 15th February


Alison Morton and Helen Hollick talk about their latest novels, Double Identity and A Mirror Murder.


It was with great delight that I met up with authors Alison Morton and Helen Hollick at CrimeFest in Bristol a couple of years ago. The three of us chatted over coffee (or was it wine?) about our future projects, and to our surprise both Alison and Helen, by pure coincidence, expressed their interest in branching out into writing something different to their usual novels. Ideas are all very well, but they do not always go further than a mere idea. However, I’m delighted to welcome Alison and Helen here to talk about ‘what happened next’...

 

Mel shivered. A cold breeze drifted over her bare backside. Dieu, the window must be open. Stupid in late November in London. But windows had been the last things on Mel’s mind last night.

Still drugged with sleep, she stretched out her hand towards Gérard’s face. His eyes were closed, the lashes resting on his pale cheeks. Too much time indoors, Mel thought and smiled. In his early morning relaxed state, Gérard looked more like a boy of seventeen than a man of thirty-seven.

Her eyelids were so heavy. She closed them. After a few seconds, she realised she wasn’t tired, just thick-headed. Opening her eyes again, she blinked hard then tugged on the duvet to cover them both against the too fresh air, but it was trapped under Gérard’s body. Never mind, she could think of a much more pleasurable way to warm up than hiding under the bedclothes. She stroked his skin with the tips of her fingers sliding over the fine brown hairs on his shoulder, then down his chest and over his stomach towards…

He didn’t stir.

He was cold. Stone cold.

 

“Thank you, Chris ... How’s that for an intriguing opening?” says Alison about the first of her new thriller series, Double Identity. “As I mentioned when we sat and talked, I knew I wanted to build on the success of my Roma Nova series, but what? Then it hit me. The new book would be  about a heroine with a strong connection to Poitou in France, which is where I live.”


She adds, “My Roma Nova thrillers are about an alternative society run by people descended from Romans who run their modern-day lives on Roman lines. Double Identity is a contemporary thriller  in the ‘real world’ featuring a tough and courageous heroine who has a dual nationality, which gives  some lovely internal conflict, especially with her British co-protagonist, DS McCracken, who is as prickly as his name sounds! My six years in army uniform left me a lot of useful background information, but I pored over French Ministry of Defence and armed services sites for hours to be certain of the French version! The most intriguing was researching French military voice procedure when using walkie-talkies! I also had to get other details right:  whether you can find a garage open on Sundays in rural France (you can’t!), the close community of  French rural life and the contrast with Brussels  and London big city life.

DS McCracken and Mel investigate in Double Identity


“We are both established and experienced writers,” Helen says, “I’ve known Alison for a long time now, particularly through our mutual interest in promoting good indie and self-published writers. I was first published in 1994 with my Arthurian Trilogy and Saxon historical novels, but when self-publishing started to become widely available around 2007, I went ‘solo’ with an idea I had for a pirate-based nautical adventure/fantasy series. Being independent also means I can diversify when I want to, write to please myself and my readers, not adhere to a rigid mainstream contract. For A Mirror Murder, I wanted to write something where I could use my thirteen years of experience working as a library assistant during the 1970s – all those anecdotes I have stored in my memory – although I hasten to add I have never been involved in murder or serious police procedures!”

 


ABOUT A MIRROR MURDER:

Eighteen-year-old library assistant Jan Christopher’s life is to change on a rainy Friday evening in July 1971, when her legal guardian and uncle, DCI Toby Christopher, gives her a lift home after work. Driving the car, is her uncle’s new Detective Constable, Laurie Walker – and it is love at first sight for the young couple.

 

But romance is soon to take a back seat when a baby boy is taken from his pram,  a naked man is scaring young ladies in nearby Epping Forest, and an elderly lady is found, brutally murdered... Are the events related? How will they affect the staff and public of the local library where Jan works – and will a blossoming romance survive a police investigation into  murder?

 

BUYING LINK:

Amazon Author Page (Universal Link) http://viewauthor.at/HelenHollick

ABOUT DOUBLE IDENTITY:

Deeply in love, a chic Parisian lifestyle before her. Now she’s facing prison for murder.

 

It’s three days since Mel des Pittones threw in her job as an intelligence analyst with the French special forces to marry financial trader Gérard Rohlbert. But her dream turns to nightmare when she wakes to find him dead in bed beside her.

 

Her horror deepens when she’s accused of his murder. Met Police detective Jeff McCracken wants to pin Gérard’s death on her. Mel must track down the real killer, even if that means being forced to work with the obnoxious McCracken.

 

But as she unpicks her fiancé’s past, she discovers his shocking secret life. To get to the truth, she has to go undercover with the European Investigation and Regulation Service and finds almost everybody around her is hiding a second self.

 

Mel can trust nobody. Can she uncover the real killer before they stop her?

 

A good read for fans of Daniel Silva, Stella Rimington or Chris Pavone. 

 

 BUYING LINKS

Kindle:  https://mybook.to/DoubleIdentity    (ASIN: B08P5YD3CN)  

For all ebook and paperback retailers: https://bit.ly/3s0XUlV


 

 

ABOUT ALISON

Alison writes award-winning thrillers series featuring tough, but compassionate heroines. She blends her deep love of France with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, historical, adventure and thriller fiction. On the way, she collected a BA in modern languages and an MA in history.

 

"Grips like a vice - a writer to watch out for" says crime thriller writer Adrian Magson about Roma Nova series starter INCEPTIO. All six full-length Roma Nova thrillers have won the BRAG Medallion, the prestigious award for indie fiction. SUCCESSIO, AURELIA and INSURRECTIO were selected as Historical Novel Society’s Indie Editor’s Choices.  AURELIA was a finalist in the 2016 HNS Indie Award. The Bookseller selected SUCCESSIO as Editor’s Choice in its inaugural indie review.

 

Alison now lives in Poitou in France, where part of Double Identity is set and is writing a sequel as well as continuing her Roma Nova series.

 


CONNECT WITH ALISON

On her thriller site: https://alison-morton.com

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AlisonMortonAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alison_morton @alison_morton

 

 

ABOUT HELEN

Helen and her family moved from north-east London in January 2013 after finding an eighteenth-century North Devon farmhouse through BBC TV’s popular Escape To The Country show.

 

First accepted for publication by William Heinemann in 1993 – a week after her fortieth birthday – Helen then became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) being novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend, and she also writes a pirate-based nautical adventure/fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages.

 

Her non-fiction books are Pirates: Truth and Tales and Life of A Smuggler. She also runs Discovering Diamonds, a review blog for historical fiction. She is currently writing more Voyages for the Sea Witch series and the next in the Jan Christopher Mysteries series. She has other ideas for other tales – and would like the time to write them!

 


CONNECT WITH HELEN:

Website: www.helenhollick.net

Facebook: www.facebook.com/HelenHollickAuthor

Twitter: @HelenHollick

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Christmas Greetings in this Strangest of Years

 


Before I start with my overview of the year, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I hope your turkey is nice and plump, you’ll probably still be eating it at Easter. I trust your wine is nice and chilled and you empty the bottles on Christmas day. And I hope Santa will fill your stocking with plenty of goodies and lots of books. As the old saying goes, ‘You can never have enough socks at Christmas’ well, just change the word ‘socks’ to ‘books’ and it’s spot on.

 

So, what has this year held for me? It started out well enough, although there were these rumours of a new disease in China. But China is far away from Scotland, so what was there to worry about? I was finishing my new book, Dangerous Destiny, and getting it ready to publish once my editor had taken her pruning scissors to it. Cathy Helms of Avalon Graphics had done a brilliant cover for the book and I knew people were waiting for it, particularly at the markets I regularly visit with my bookstall.

 

In agreement with what Rabbie Burns said in his poem To a Mouse ‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley’, my plan withered and died in front of me.

 

My last market was at the beginning of March and I was gaily promising my reader customers – the new book will be on my bookstall in April. But, as we all know, by the end of March we were all in lockdown and there was no April market.

 

I now had 150 copies of my new book with nowhere for it to go!

 


From March until July, I never ventured outside my garden gate. So, when lockdown ended and I gathered enough courage into my hands to walk up to the High Street (I was forced, I had to post a book to a keen reader) it felt very strange indeed. Next, I tentatively ventured to my newsagent, and it wasn’t too bad. However, I wasn’t yet prepared to cancel all my online deliveries, so I stayed well clear of the supermarkets.

 

It was at this time I was contacted by a television company wanting to commission me to take part in an episode of Secret Scotland with Susan Calman to talk about Devil’s Porridge, the explosive not the book. This was an offer I couldn’t refuse, but it meant travelling to Gretna, which was a hotspot for the virus at that time.

 

With Susan Calman at Eastriggs filming Devil's Porridge

I enrolled the help of my granddaughter and she drove me to Gretna, where we stayed overnight before filming at Eastriggs the next day. I must admit I was scared silly at the thought, but we did it and it all went smoothly, and no, I didn’t contract the virus, neither did my granddaughter. Susan Calman and the whole TV crew were lovely, and it was an experience I would have hated to miss. Oh, and if you’re interested, it was the Secret Scotland series 3, episode 4, Galloway and the Borders and it was shown in October on Channel 5.

 

Back home I became a hermit again and I’ve remained very much a hermit ever since. I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever feel confident enough to brave the wide world again, outside my garden wall?

 

Looking on the bright side, I’ve become adept at Zooming! I’ve done several author panels on Zoom, as well as some interviews and talks. It’s a strange old virtual world.

 

The other bonus is that my new book, Dangerous Destiny, has been trickling out due to readers messaging me on Facebook to order it and online sales are also ticking away. Quite surprisingly, though, I’ve had a sudden rush on a Salt Splashed Cradle, which is not one of my crime books. It’s a historical family saga set in the 1830s in the fishing and whaling communities in north-east Scotland. I suppose you could call it a gritty romance. I’m absolutely hopeless at writing anything fluffy or light-hearted. My characters are more salt of the earth types.

 


Well, that’s about the strength of my year and I really must put my head down and try to finish my new work in progress. If it ever gets finished, it’s a contemporary thriller, the fourth in my Dundee Crime Series, and it’s all about the sequence of events when my main character, Tony Palmer, wakes up next to a dead body.

 

Have a lovely Christmas everyone and let’s hope the coming year is a lot better than the year that is now finishing.

 

Chris Longmuir

 Web site: chrislongmuir.co.uk

 Amazon Author Page

 

 

 

 

Friday, 9 October 2020

Secret Scotland and Devil’s Porridge


 

Most of you who follow me and read my books will be familiar with one of my Kirsty Campbell mysteries, Devil’s Porridge. What I hadn’t expected would be that someone from TV land would have noticed it. But notice it they did, and an email landed in my inbox asking if I would like to take part in an episode of Secret Scotland and asking me to phone them.


Now, in this day and age of multiple scam emails, I must admit I looked at it with jaundiced eyes but it looked reasonably genuine so I gathered my courage into my hands and phoned the number. And, guess what, it was genuine!


Filming was planned for July, not long after the government lifted the lockdown, So, accompanied by my granddaughter, we drove down to Gretna in a state of great excitement. The only thing dampening my enthusiasm was my Covid hairdo and my Covid teeth. No time to get them sorted, and I wasn’t going to turn down an invitation to appear on TV simply to cater for my vanity.



We stayed overnight in Gretna and then travelled to the film shoot at Eastriggs early the next morning. So early, we barely had time for breakfast. In between showers and the sound of passing cars on the main road that runs past the Devil’s Porridge Museum, Susan and I chatted about Devil’s Porridge, the explosive not the book, and the gigantic munitions factory built in the area during the First World War. The factory was so large it stretched for nine miles along the edge of the Solway Firth from Dornock in the north to Longtown, near to Carlisle, in the south.



In the Eastriggs part of the factory, the munitionettes made the devil’s porridge, a mixture of guncotton and nitroglycerine which was then transported to the Longtown end to turn into cordite, a propellant for use in the guns at the front.



Susan and I discuss the munitionettes and how their life was in the munitions towns of Eastriggs and Gretna. Parts of the discussion cover the role alcohol played in the townships and how the government of the time handled this. We also take time out to look at the social life of the munitionettes and Susan has a wee whirl around the dance floor.



If you would like to join us by viewing this episode of Secret Scotland, it’s on tonight (Friday 9th October) at 8 pm on Channel 5. If you would prefer to view it later, you can see it on catch up. It’s series 3 episode 4, Galloway and the South, and here is the link https://www.channel5.com/show/secret-scotland/


Me and my granddaughter being photo bombed by Susan Calman

I hope that if you manage to view the programme you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed taking part.


Chris Longmuir


Social media handles 

@SusanCalman (Twitter)

@officialsusancalman (Instagram)

https://www.facebook.com/Susan-Calman-44711520390

@channel5_tv (Instagram and Twitter)

@channel5uk (Facebook)


Monday, 31 August 2020

Life - Not As We Know It


Strange times lead to strange solutions. As humans, we are unaccustomed to being cut off from our fellow human beings. It brings a multitude of problems of which social isolation is only one. It changes us. Our reality becomes a different reality. The new normal, whatever that is.

But we humans are, if nothing else, innovative. We are reluctant to let go of our social lives. So, we turn to virtual living through apps like Zoom and several others. In the process, we have all become proficient Zoomers.

I must admit, until we went into lockdown I had never heard of Zoom. But now I’ve taken part in meetings, chats, virtual coffee mornings, quizzes, and even an AGM. Not forgetting a couple of author panels and some interviews. Who would have thought?

Click the link to watch the Dundee and Angus Crime Panel on YouTube: 

https://youtu.be/lWiJtZsAZgw

People also engaged in other activities. Exercise, walking (when we were allowed out), cooking, and baking. I filled my freezer with individual homemade meals within a short time after I locked my door to the outside world. I’ve also baked cakes and scones, something I haven’t done since the early years of my marriage before I became caught up with more important things.


I’ve also learned how to freeze things like spare bread – I use to just bin the leftovers. I’m old enough to remember rationing and it’s as if that time has returned to haunt us. Nothing goes to waste.


The lockdown gave us all time. Time to reflect, time to indulge in other things, and something which had become alien to me – leisure. I’ve always been a workaholic, so to have all that spare time on my hands was a unique experience. Not that it did me any good.

You see, for some authors the lockdown was a chance to increase their output, for others it had the opposite effect. Raising barriers to the writing process where no such physical barriers exist. I’m afraid I come into the latter category. My production over the lockdown period has been abysmal. I suppose it boils down to the old saying ‘if you want something done ask a busy man – or in this case a busy woman’. And, the availability of masses of extra time means we are all less busy.

But now lockdown is more or less over and we are being offered more freedom, how is that going to affect us? I suspect that, apart from the section of the population who want to crowd out the pubs and go on illegal raves, the rest of us will be cautiously turning the key in our locked door and seeking the outside world with a degree of trepidation. We may have been offered our freedom, but are we brave enough to take it.


Will it be a brave new world where anything is possible. Or are we entering into a world which is no longer safe? Only time will tell.


Chris Longmuir

Web Site

Amazon Author Page


Monday, 10 August 2020

My Birthday Bargain Offer For You

 

When you look out of the window tonight, will you notice the moon is blue? And will you ask yourself why it has changed colour? Well, it’s simple really. You see, I’ve done something I rarely do, I’ve reduced the prices of all my novels to £1.99 and that equates to a saving of £2.00 on each book.


Now, it’s extremely unusual for me to reduce the price of my books. After all, each one takes over a year to write and the usual price of £3.99 is actually quite good value for a year’s hard work. They also sell well at the usual price, so what has prompted me to reduce them for the rest of the month of August.


The reason folks is that I’m a Leo. This is my birthday month and what better way to celebrate than to offer my readers a bargain. The other factor, of course, is that these are unusual times, so what better time to do something unusual than now.


So, come and help me celebrate my birthday and I guarantee to maintain the bargain until the stroke of midnight on the 31st of this month. When that witching hour strikes the bargain will disappear and like Cinderella fleeing the ball, the magic will vanish and the moon will no longer be blue.


Happy birthday to me and happy reading to you.


Chris

Website

Amazon Author Page