Thursday, August 29, 2013

You should see the back seat of the car . . .

Over at Criminal Minds this week we're talking about what our detectives carry in their handbags (or man-bags, as the case may be). 

Dandy Gilver travels light.  Her creator . . . not so much really.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Naked Emperors

This week's question on Criminal Minds is "what classic book do you think isn't as good as its reputation suggests?"  (Dead authors only, in case we meet in a lift at a convention).  My choice is by this writer.

If I hear a knock at the door I'll know who's come for me.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dandy No.8 slips down the causeway

McRobertses, McPhersonses. Honorary McPhersonses, Queensferry High School survivors and friends old and new, on parade at the launch of DANDY GILVER AND A DEADLY MEASURE OF BRIMSTONE last night.  More pics over at Criminal Minds today.  

With Colin, Brian, Bogusia and Nan McRoberts.

With Gordon Dalyell, Stuart McCormack, Tommy Morrison  and Kathryn with a K (photo by May McCormack (well-swerved, May))

Louise Kelly, Catherine Lepreux and Wendy Keegan - between them they''ve provided a lot of craft items, flowers and  character names.

With Wendy Bellars (she chose the pose, honest), the headmistress of the school that inspired A BOTHERSOME NUMBER OF CORPSES.

With Elaine walker and Mig Shaw, who've known Neil even longer than I have.

Thanks for coming, everyone!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Location, Don't Punch Me, Location

Which crime novel character would you like to be?  That's the question at Criminal Minds this week.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Marvelous Malice

I'm back in body but not spirit yet from the 25th Malice Domestic (my second).  I slept seven hours over the course of three nights and sound as if I've been drinking cheap rum and smoking cigars, when in fact I drank nothing but water and tea and didn't smoke so much as a kipper.

It feels as if I spent the whole weekend taking photos and asking people to take them of me and yet here I am with no pictures at all of my friend Dina Wilner who was powering through her first Malice without *her* friend Sally Fellows, who was Fan Ghost of Honour this year.  Laura Lippmann, as toastmaster, gave many wonderful speeches but none more touching than when she talked about Sally and drank a good glug of red wine in her honour. 

The Guest of Honour was Laurie R King (no photos)

The International Guest of Honour was Peter Robinson (another photo fail)

The Ghost of Honour (non-fan) was Dick Francis.  And finally I got a picture.  This is me, Dick's son Felix and some new kid who's giving writing a go.  Hope he makes it.

The Hyatt Regency Bethesda did Malice proud for the 25th year: dressing the doorman as Sherlock Holmes (here he has apprehended Jessie Chandler):

and decorating our pudding at the banquet:
as well as giving away 5 Charlie-Bucket-style lucky bookmarks in our goody-bags. (I didn't get one.)
I was lucky enough to moderate a stellar panel on the topic of research, with Frankie Bailey, (criminology), Jane Cleland (antiques and rare books), DP Lyle, (forensics and medicine) and Rochelle Staab (occultism).  I learned a lot and laughed even more.
Malice-go-round, speed-dating for books and readers, was an exhausting and exhilirating blast.  Going round with Sparkle Abbey, two of my favourite writer (Sparkle defies grammar), made it twice the fun.
There were so many lovely little moments.  Like the one when Joelle Charbonneau, who has written a gazillion books, caught her first glimpse of her brand new one and was instantly turned into a wee girl with a new bike on Christmas day.
Another lovely bit about conventions now is that you can meet face-to-face with people you already love, thanks to Facebook.  I was particularly thrilled to meet Diane Vallere, who wrote one of my favourites of last year - Pillow Stalk (a Doris Day murder mystery).  She was just as groovy as I imagined.
But if I had to pick the biggest highlight of the weekend it would be the banquet.  I hosted a table and spent the evening with old friends Vicki Delany of Criminal Minds, Sara J Henry and Michele Sandiford, and made new friends: Jean, Sarah, Deb, Jill, Lee, Maureen, Elizabeth and Irma Baker, who I think has given me the title of my next DG book - thanks, Irma.
Then there was the diamond on the cherry on the icing on the cake.  I was nominated for an Agatha alongside Rhys Bowen, Victoria Thompson, Charles (and Caroline) Todd and Jacqueline Winspear.  And look!

It's such an honour.  I'm still bobbing about somewhere near the ceiling.  And the teapot is on its way west via UPS courtesy of Malice.  Thank you to everyone who nominated, voted and cheered for Dandy.   You rock!  Or as Dandy would say: "Jolly good show."

Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Hours of Verbage (sic) and Boredom"

If you don't read reviews you miss people saying things like that about your books!  My best and worst over at Criminal Minds today.

Monday, February 25, 2013

I'm blogging about the Oscars (well, the dresses) over at Femmes Fatales today.  Here's one of the nominees for achievement in guacamole and tortilla chip consumption:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mix thoroughly and bake for fourteen years

Just stopping by here to say I'm really at Criminal Corners today.  It's a serious blog about writing method.  Except it's me, so not really.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Gettin fou and unco happy

We're a bit late with Burns' Night this year.  On the 25th itself I was in Long Beach working and Scotland's Bard might never have been born at all for the celebrations going on there (unless Hooters was having a tartan special; I wouldn't know).

But on Saturday, Groundhog Day, 254 years and 8 days since wee Rab was born, two Scots, one Frenchman, and eight Americans got together to eat haggis, drink whisky and mangle vowels.  The Lion Rampant was flying at the Ugliest House in California.  I don't think I've ever seen it in sunshine before.  It's quite garish.

It was a wonderful gathering, but here's a behind-the--scenes look at how it all very nearly went horribly wrong.

It has been said of me that I never knowingly under-cater; the first sign of trouble came when I looked at the haggis ingredients mixed so far + the four humungous onions still to go + the liquor (sounds nicer than the water the liver was boiled in, eh?) + the note in the recipe to leave plenty room for oatmeal expansion . . .

. . . and couldn't help but notice that I needed a bigger basin. Horrors! The rhubarb and ginger  trifle (half-made) was in the bigger basin! What to do? Two haggises? A thirty mile round trip to the Bigger Basin Shop? Clean out a wheelbarrow and wing it?

Or . . . was it possible?  Could it be done?  Dare we try the world's first recorded trifle transplant?

A fish slice, a spatula, a skimming spoon and a salad server.  Hold your breath and-

Oof!  Transplant successful.  Trifle in smaller basin.  Bigger basin free for haggis.  There's three things to note, though:
  1. We should have made two wee ones.  There was a heecher of a hiatus after the cock-a-leekie waiting for a five pound haggis to steam.  Mind you, extra drinking time.
  2. The transplant was pre-custard.  Post-custard trifle transplants are still only theoretical.
  3. Once the cream was on, the basin was a wee tiny bit full.

After that, our Burns supper was plain sailing. We found enough forks and glasses for everyone:

the Selkirk Grace by Ruisheart McHoenisch, The Toast to The Lassies' by Andy "William" Wallace, The Lassies'  Reply by Eibhliin McRendahl and Icy-Highland-Spring McWarren and The Immortal Memory by Black Douglas McRoberts were fantastic.

And the only mystery was what, in a room full of such clean living Californians, happened to all the whisky?

Well, some of it, and a quite a lot of claret too, ended up in here:

It's what Rab would have wanted.