Tuesday, 1 November 2011

pixie world

Well welcome to the world of the pixies. Anybody who has ever moved from A to B will know that at some point someone has to a start packing up all the stuff, this job is done by the pixies. Getting all the boxes out..done by the pixies. Going through the loft and the basement, done by the pixies. These pixies are malevolent and always seem to remove the thing that the AN Other desperately wants at that minute. Although the article in question has not been seen or used for years and is now packed at the bottom of a box, at the bottom of a pile at the back of the garage. This produces cries of abject misery... OH but I need it now..... Did I unpack anything?... Did I hell. I resisted all temptation to go and buy another one, no matter how much it might help the economy. As wee granny used to say, you can always get used to doing without. And without sounding too much like my mother it never really does you any harm to ‘go without.’ (greek economics should take note!)

It fact I think my life would be happier and culturally enriched if we had to do without the x-factor and that thing on the other channel where they wear sparkly frocks, too much fake tan and twirl around a lot. He who would must be ignored goes off his nut, forced to watch the x-factor by his two charming but artistically challenged teenagers , he who must be he ignored just rants. The kids don’t actually watch the show, they just turn on the tv, sit back and wait for the rant to begin. It is funnier than Nick Clegg.... and probably last longer than the average chart life of the winning X factor contestant. He who must be ignored is that most cherished of things ( a man who does the ironing!) a musician who can play by ear. Having spent much of my youth around musicians and their ilk, you can trust them when they say ‘they are singing flat! very flat! Why is he saying that was good, that was flat!’ Over and Over....

But I think I would be blind not to notice that the same thing is happening in publishing. Looking at the books kicking around supermarkets for instance. I like Jeremy Clarkson, but I trust him about as far as I could comfortably spit out a warthog. I do admire his cheeky charm but do I want to read about his private life in a book? No. Nor Jordan, nor that other one that I can’t figure out what she actually does for a living...... Kerry Katona? Any of you that have read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy will recall the bit where all the useless people were sent off into space to inhabit a new planet. Oh I’ve just remembered that turned out to be the Earth didn’t it. We have evolved from the terminally useless. Well I suppose that explains the Simon Cowell phenomenon that is going on.

Why did get rid of that wee fat ugly one that can hold a tune? he asks. I think he answered his own question there. In fact I think I might put the plasterer forward for the x-factor, he does look like Rab C Nesbitt on a bad day but the man can sing. And I apologise for missing the joke out last week, as I was reminded more than once... . The song Nessan Dorma is known in Scotland as ‘no messin norma’.

And with regard to philosophy, did you hear about the philosopher who went to the brothel to try to improve the minds of the prostitutes? Well he found out that you can put Descartes before the whores but you cannot make them think.

And while on that theme.... joke overheard in Morrison’s tea room... what has a hundred legs and no teeth? The methadone queue at the pharmacy. Funny but sadly true.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

the return of the ramsay!

It seems ages since I last sat down to blog but I do have excuses of deadlines, builders and being short staffed at work. It was difficult to find time to sleep never mind write anything.

A strange highlight of the last few weeks was being underneath the table with a bearded collie called Buddy while appearing on the Fred MacAulay Show. I was talking about treating animals and trying to amuse the live audience as Buddy chewed happily on my shoes. He was a lovely dog, but he was wearing a red bandana. That to me is the same as a man who wears a bow tie as a fashion statement (never to be trusted). Any bandana wearing pooch or indeed, any pooch with a pink coat or dog wellies is a target for the wonderment that is Emily pit bull. She attacks them on sight with her little Mutley laugh. My dog is a type as named by Billy Connolly, it’s a ‘Wee Glasgow brown dog’... a strange looking short coated rather ugly animal that resembles a haggis with an obesity issue. These dogs, seen all over Glasgow, are commonly strutting about, leading a gang of reprobates. They walk as if they own the place and are rather good at upending wheelie bins. Their natural diet is chicken tikka and irn bru. Their personal hygiene is iffy in the extreme.

Buddy, resplendent in his red bandana, showed off his party trick on the radio- barking on command. My dog’s party trick is the summary slapping around of dogs wearing red bandanas.

After talking to Buddy under the table, I was treated to coffee by David hyphenated, I can never recall his proper name or his job title but he is something very important at BBC radio. He asked me to submit a few ideas but not crime or comedy he said. My heart sank as I thought, ‘why the .... are you asking me??’ But I did put in four ideas and there was one that he hated slightly less than he hated the other three so we will see what comes of that. Writing plays for radio is much more difficult than it seems.

The Jack the Ripper play is being ripped apart (pardon me!) by my co writers, book four is away at the printers, book five is cooking nicely and when I get to that point my brain halts in protest at having too much to do. I have also got a whole load of appearances and talks to do – some of them are quite grown up--- see above comment about crime and comedy --- I’m not that much good at philosophy beyond that Rab C Nesbitt Govan street philosophy. That I can understand but Kierkegaard and all these chappies seem to have a go at horses all the time... is it a horse isn’t it a horse.... mmmm. Is in conceptual horse. Is the horse there? Or merely in your conscious? Do these people have too much time on their hands? I’m appearing on a panel of forensics and philosophy. I do have a great book on ethics and forensics which I think I shall quote a lot and look clever.

Managed to make it back to weegie which, like,most literary events these days has turned into a bit of a moan fest about how bad publishing is . But they had good sandwiches and I had a great chat with my pal Brian about the best way to lock Cinderella is a cupboard and spoke to Phyllis who is venturing into e publishing, (I might have that wrong).

Had a bit of bad news... the lovely and quietly humorous John Lawton ( I think of him as the Bill Nighy of the crime writing world) will not be joining me at the Bristol Crimefest this year...as he is holed up in Italy with his cat, some red wine and a year’s worth of desert island discs. I read that as I was sitting with a duvet wrapped round me trying to maintain some kind of core temperature as the builders had all the doors open, it was snowing on the hills and the wonderdog was lying in front of the freezer in an attempt to heat up. The plasterer was practicing the high notes in Nessan Dorma, so I decided to ignore Mr Lawton for being a wee smarty.

Going now to practice chasing some dead people over the top of the Rest and Be Thankful and that is a major wellie and thermal underwear job. That’s a back to the car for a chip buttie and flask of cocka leekie soup job! Can’t do that in Italy Mr Lawton eh?

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Rosie Birk Larsson

Been very negligent recently on the blogging front, due to holidays, book five, Jack the ripper and the excitement of a new carpet, indeed a carpet. After living in a building site for years it is really something when a carpet finally goes down and there is one room at least that’s not got cold, jaggy, drafty floor boards...with a gaps so big they create disorder in the space time continuum. All sorts of creepy crawlies come up the gaps, probably terribly mutated by the limitations on the gene pools. Spiders mostly, huge hairy spiders that frighten the pit bull. Been working hard on a play script/ treatment whatever you call it, my story boarding for the jack the ripper musical. I’m taking the challenge on the chin and trying to write it with a degree of empathy for the ripper. He wasn’t a bad old sod really compared with more recent serial killers. Very interesting that it was the first series of murders where there was a literate population to follow what the police were and were not doing by mass media. And the newspapers found out just how much they could boost their circulation by scaring the man, and indeed the woman, in the street senseless.

The name jack the ripper comes from a letter sent by a reporter pretending to be the murderer, just to stir things up a wee bit. Just as well they did not have phones in those days.

In the musical though, we are really are trying to scare the pants off folk. None of this cheery, happy cockney stuff of Dick Van Dyke and Tommy Steele. I’m working with a very talented musical person ( not in the Julie Andrews mould, more in the Lemmy from motor head mould) and a ripperologist who keeps thinking that the truth has some bearing on the issue. (Tempted to say that’s unusual for a cop but that would be unfair. Not.) Never let the truth get in the way of a good story of course!

Book five is coming on a storm, book four is away being proof read. Not sure what the title will be but I think THE BLOOD OF CROWS is top of the list at the moment.

Spent most of my time on holiday reading Stieg Larsson and the Millenium trilogy. And I really don’t know why I bothered. Well I do know, I believed the hype. Sinc e then I have been doing a little bit of market research through my patients who have read all three and there’s a constant theme.. ‘yes, I enjoyed them. No, I didn’t read it all. Yes, I skipped over bits... and then , on close interrogation, there is a strange admittance of finding endless repetition, and not really believing the entire baseline of the story. I read it and was intrigued. I got in touch with a pal who lives in Stockholm, who is a Scottish trained criminal lawyer but has been working in Sweden for a few years. She had read the whole lot and was also wondering how you can be diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic with no symptoms. And that an appeal to the court will lift any guardian status for anybody with a lifestyle that they can maintain. Sweden, not Soviet Russia. Or was that the point Larsson was trying to make.

If you want a really tense story of murder, love and betrayal with a truely engaging female character, try that other Larsson.... Birk Larsson. He of the killing Danish TV series, now been remade by American TV. I’ve heard the American version is good but I was so taken by the original I don’t want to have another version in my head. I was so wound up in it I had to look up a spoiler site on the internet and make sure they caught the murderer in the end. I couldn’t get to sleep without knowing that. The guy playing Thise Birk Larsson, the victims father, deserves a TV Oscar .

It was fab.

Just as fab is Random by Craig Robertson, the guy I am appearing at the Edinburgh festival with. The event should be good

More soon

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The King Of The Sausage People

Had a very good night at writers group last week with a guest writer Alistair McIver. He’s a children’s writer and into folk lore and kelpies (no that’s not illegal!). I knew he was a professional story teller and I attended with some misgiving as I thought ‘oh no, he’ll be a very worthy beardie in cashmere who will nod sagely and think the world would be a better place if we all paid attention to the life cycle of the lesser spotted haggis.’

Not so.

This young man appeared. He reminded me of a friend of mine who is to be found in the corner 48 hours after the party has ended, still in his tie dye t-shirt, still with his braveheart hair, still a bit dazed from doing agadoo until 4 in the morning and overdosing on Night Nurse - bad hangover but clear sinuses. Such is the type of Mr McIver – if not a rebel with a clue, he is at least a rebel with a cause - the cause is storytelling and story writing. His voice is a tad Alex Ferguson meets Sir Ian McKellen. I was surprised that he wasn’t RSADA, he has that degree of presence.... he is convincing even when he’s talking about the invasion of the sausage people and the best way to defend ourselves. The skill of a good story teller I presume.

I did google him to find out that he’s not a Glaswegian, his accent is from Dumfries yet his acting and observation of the Glaswegian ned is uncanny.

He wrote a book called the Glasgow Fairytale. He entered it for a competition for young kiddies but the reading age of the book was too old. He talked at some length about the phrasing and vocab for books for kids of different ages yet as I read the book I am aware that it’s a very subtle and complex plot .. an intelligent read for kids as well as being laugh out loud funny. This book has its multi storylines that intertwine and I suppose that shows that kids can deal with very sophisticated tales as long as they are crafted for that age.

So far, in the book a guy has been sold three magic beans by the jakey on the bus. I think Rapunzel might be an Asylum seeker, there’s a whole sectarian subplot with Cinders and the Ugly sisters and plenty of wry comment on the care system in place for young teenagers. I was with the little pigs all the way through their meeting with the planning officer (we’ve all been there!!!), I was cheering them on with the skin on my chinny chin chin!

Great stuff. I have no idea how it will pan out so from that point of view, it’s better than Steig Larsson. Will Snowy White, the albino chick magnet make it through to the end of the book now that the mirror has named him as the bonniest man in all of Glasgow. Should there have been a superinjunction??

Buy this book if you own a teenager who reads Tolkien a lot and is getting bit serious about life. Read it yourself before you hand it over. Don’t read page five while on public transport, there’s such good joke in there it can provoke spontaneous hilarity and you will walk about all day singing a song from your childhood about yer granny and a bus and you will probably get arrested.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Bristol Crimefest

Just got back from the marvellous Crime Fest in Bristol. Such lovely people and I’m sure a region only develops an accent like that in a county where there is little rainfall. Great city with a cool and froody vibe, I think it must be the coffee house capital of Western Europe.

The flight home on Sunday night was iffy in the extreme; the gale of the following day was starting to flex its muscles. The poor wee sqeesyjet was buffeted around, aiming vaguely for a strip of concrete somewhere to land on. As the cabin bounced about – so did my dinner. Both HWMBI and Christopher Brookmyre were nose deep in their respective books and had no idea of the ‘Diehard 2’ type drama going on outside as I imagined Charlton Heston having to abseil into the cockpit to rescue us and get the cabin crew pregnant. As the plane made a reappearance through the clouds, so my dinner thought about making a reappearance through my mouth. The plane got down safely, I got onto the tarmac and felt the fresh air on my face; then into the terminal building to get to the loo and pour cold water on my wrists...only to be confronted by a baby’s bottom covered in poo. The mother was holding it up by its ankles and swinging it round, scraping away at its hind end with a paper towel.

I made it to the loo but only just.

My Crime Fest panel was, in my humble opinion and the opinion of others, one of the best of the convention. The chemistry of the panellists seems to be the main consideration that either makes it work or not work. We had the enigmatic one (Yrsa, think of Lund from “The Killing” and you would be close, that dark eyed Scandinavian ‘when can I escape for a fag’ look!); the clever one (M.R Hall. He was a barrister in a former life. All my friends that are criminal lawyers in Glasgow are all scarred and tattooed. But Matt is highly intelligent and very measured in comment, weighing each word); the cheeky one (me); and the charismatic rogue (John Lawton…the Bill Nighy of the crime writing world. Another bright bloke but more of a ranter than Matt… ranting with big words and he sounds like he knows what they actually mean. He used the word ameliorate twice in the panel. I’d like to put John Lawton and Jeremy Clarkson in a room and see who wins the fight.) It was well balanced with lots of humour flying back and forth, and intellectual comments (not from me I hasten to add). We were chaired by Martin Edwards who has a great knack of making the panel seem fluid while asking the questions the audience would be interested in. He doesn’t just ask the next question on his list ( some moderators do…even if it totally breaks the chain of a conversation and then the panellist has to say…. “But I’d like to pick up on that earlier point”). He makes sure everybody has their say without making it seem like an interview – more like a casual but informative chat. I was sitting next to him and saw his notes…it’s a much more complicated process than it looks.

Well I’ve ordered all their latest books. John Lawton is the only one I’ve not read yet but “A Lily of the Field” is next on my reading list.

The hotel was lovely as usual but good God it was expensive. Thirty gazillion pounds for internet and another twenty million for a gold plated breakfast – we nipped round the corner for a fried egg roll and a double latte (for £2.50). One fellow delegate had given up on the banquet to save a few bob and then realised that she was even more dosh buying a round of drinks at the bar. My bill, interestingly also included a round at the bar. I pointed out at reception that I hadn’t been in the bar the entire time that I had been there. She looked up what it was…a burger and a lager…exactly what a vegetarian non-drinker would order! The man standing behind me said quietly in disbelief “a Glaswegian who has not been in a bar…?”. He will be appearing in my next novel buried in a bunker with a golf club stuck where only a qualified proctologist should go – with latex gloves. But no Vaseline.

More later. All the gossip about Paul Johnston’s moustache and why it’s worth nearly three hundred pounds!!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Baldernock Linn


Just been twiddling around with plot lines and time lines for book five and getting a bit green with envy at fellow writers who spend a whole day here and there, talking to folk and making copious notes. For me it's a good look on the internet and a chat with everyone I know ... and somebody always knows somebody who will help out. This time it was the father of HWMB (he who must be ignored) who grew up near Baldernock and knew the site of my fictional dastardly deed very well. It's called Baldernock Linn. In my youth it was an open stream, caves visible but not easy to get to, having to pass along a four inch wide ledge above a six foot drop to the water before coming to the mouth of the second and much deeper cave. I can remember as a five year old being terrified out my wits as two friends of the family passed me from hand to hand over the (what seemed to me at the time) gorge where I could fall to my death. Like I say it's six feet at most. It's very overgrown now, and that makes it all the more spooky, it's almost dark at the bottom of the gully in early summer, the air is thick, full of insects and the only noise is the constant running of the waterfall that speeds like a curtain over the mouth of the caves.

I didn't hang around, strange feeling that somebody is watching us and I wanted back to the car. When we got there, there was a man standing at the car with a rifle. He seemed a pleasant chap, he and HWMBI exchanged a few pleasantries while I hid in the car. I was convinced he was going to shoot us and roll the burning vehicle down into the gully where we would lie undiscovered for years and be nibbled at by fish. Sometimes I think having an overactive imagination is a curse. The man with the rifle was a farmer of course, trying to protect his lambs from the crows.

Well that's what he told us.

I drove off at high speed in search of lamas and latte.


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Been very busy again, the business partner decided to go up the Amazon backwards in a canoe with no paddle. We thought this was very brave as they normally panic if they are not in sight of L K Bennett or Starbucks. We thought this was even braver when they came back photos of spiders as big as a human head... and that was in the sleeping quarters. I have trekked the High Atlas in Morocco but all we had to content with was a very drunk Shetlander and a donkey with irritable bowel syndrome.

And things have gone well with the play for Radio 4, the edit for book four is back while I am researching book five. It was always my intention to brutally slaughter somebody on the beach at Whitby in book five ... which was a bit daft as I had never been to Whitby in my life but being a Bram Stoker buff I thought it was rather an enchanting idea. So we booked to go and have a look see - but then had to cancel due to commitments with Radio 4. So we rebooked, not realising it was the Easter weekend we would be away ... as would every Tom, Dick and Harry with their pit bulls, tattoos, chips, Range Rovers and an awful lot of Lambrettas. I had already committed myself to the story, indeed I had already written that part of it - the body lying on the cobbles on the beach, the waves tickling the stones - that chattering noise pebbles on a beach make as the water advances and retreats ... and the body is lying there, being lifted a little with each incoming wave.

I was very happy with that. Until we got there and the beach is of course, sandy. I would like to point out before you lot do, that research has told me that parts of the beach could be either ... but the one bit I wanted, was defo sandy.

While standing there, it became apparent that I couldn't use it anyway, as I had the action in the book. Whitby is built on tiny inlet, there is a perfect view from the surrounding high ground of anything that goes on anywhere on the beach.
Including murder.

It has to be said that the initial impression was not good, it was so busy the cars could not drive down the street due to the crowds on the road and dogs on very long leads getting caught between the cars. It was hot, noisy and very smelly. But then so was Venice probably on that day. It was brutally hot. We drove straight through the town at 0.5 miles an hour and up to the sanctuary of the abbey where I rethought the start of the book - the grass, the ruins, the wind, trying to imagine it all at night and it was perfect for my scene of gory death and destruction. Looking one way at the sea, just a haze of mist in the heat, the other way led to moors that a Bronte would be proud of.

Later, once the crowds had gone, we descended on Whitby (for chips!) and were treated to a thunderstorm worthy of a special effects Oscar. Lightning screeching across the bay, dark clouds rolling in from the sea, the thunder clattering in the distance. The sky was opening and closing allowing shafts of bright sunlight to radiate through, prisms of gold through the sky ... and they shone right on the ruins of the abbey, high on the cliff, silhouetted against the darkening sky behind. It was so beautiful people stopped on the pier to watch the clouds dance over the abbey, not minding that they ( and their chips) were getting soaked through. It was absolutely spectacular. It felt as though Dracula was talking to me, I could hear the voice of Mr Stoker on the wind. I said so and "he who must be ignored" immediately sniffed my Irn Bru to see if there was any alcohol in it. He has no romance in his soul.

In that mood Whitby was a very beautiful place indeed. And worthy of a good murder high on the hill.

I'm busy on the edit of book four, a very different book from book three but still in the Anderson and Costello series, the editor thinks it's 'remarkable, weighty and absorbing'. And I did worry whether is was a natural progression from Dark Water or a departure... but they are happy it's a forward progression in my writing. It was one of those books where the book is written , it gets sent off and then you read in the paper that it has really happened ... but I'm not telling you what but it was a bit worrying!!

We are off to Bristol soon to attend the great Crimefest - that's the one I got in the lift with Jeff Lynsay of Dexter fame and he admitted that he was quite scared of me. I don't really think that was a response to my literary endeavours, I think was just somebody had told him I was from Govan. This year I'm on with Yrsa Sigurdardottir .. if you haven't read her do so ... M R Hall from the tv (The Redeemed, Kavanagh QC amongst others) and John Lawton (Lily of the Field). I'm a big fan of the first two but not so familiar with John's work ... but that's the joy of these festivals you meet people as people ... and then it turns out they are great writers as well.

At the moment I'm trying my first Bryant and May mystery, it was a patient that put me on to them, New Tricks but very good, very funny and very humane, a lovely writer with a light touch an all round good egg ... you see that's what happens when you drive to England listening to Agatha Christie, you end up saying things like 'all round good egg'. Well it's now four and twenty past the hour, I'm going to have a tisane and some devilled eggs ... Not!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Golfing for cats in the Third Reich


Just come back from sub tropical London where I was trying to be well behaved at a very posh party where we menial little writer types had to act grown up in front of publishers and ... err lots of other folk with job titles that give very little clue to what they actually do.

I was hiding in a corner, in a lovely garden with N J Cooper who was telling us about her own garden produce, the stream that runs through her garden, the cherry orchard, the homemade wine. Chris Simms was waxing lyrical about his perpetual spinach, Laura Wilson was chatting about the contents of her window box, I was moaning that I'd had to scrape my car that morning to get to the airport .... how Scotland still has it's winter moments .... the waitress came up offering white wine, red wine and mineral water ... we all took the mineral water and plumped for the vegetarian canapes ... As Ian Rankin once asked ... what has happened to all the rock n roll crime writers. Edgar Allen Poe was an alcoholic by the age of 9.

Had an interesting discussion on one of my favourite topics ... the cultural differences between us as we write and why we write what we write. The Icelandic author whose name I can pronounce (she gave me lessons) but I will not attempt to spell, said that Scotland and Iceland share the same landscape, the countryside around Inverness could be the view out her kitchen window. She thinks, as I do, that the cold and the bitter wind (the bitter, bitter wind ...) shapes our writing. We looked around the lovely English garden we were sitting in, full of sunlight and colour, our host offering her guests factor 15 sunblock, my companion and I sitting in the sun waiting for our skin to turn from blue to pink ...

Our French colleagues were telling us that in "England" (it was always England), books about dogs sell well. In France books about cats sell very well. And golf ... and anything to do with Hitler. From the bizarre conversation that followed, it was just as well we were sober! Golfing with cats ... instead of clubs one presumes.

I'm getting on with book five while the builders are absent with permission. Also thinking about running a marathon ... starting training today. I recovered from that quicker than I recovered from being charged £6.50 for a coffee, two slices of toast and a fried egg at Standsted airport!


Thursday, 7 April 2011

Hello all

Hi I definitely can't do this techno stuff. The last two blogs have disappeared into the ether or maybe appeared on somebody else's blog site, poor bugger. However book five has been started, strange thing - I promised myself a break after book four but book five jumped into my head and I had to start writing again. Walking about with serial killers and psychotic rottweillers in your head is not a good idea... much better to get it down on paper. The ugliest dog in the world, like many of us, has been watching the footage of rescue scenes from Japan, especially the search dogs sniffing their way through the rubble, looking for survivors. So when the ceiling fell in... in a classic Only Fools and Horses kind of way, with the poor builder underneath, the ugliest dog in the world leapt to the rescue... running up the stairs.. into a room that was snowy white with stoor... and began digging at the rubble... where she found the builder's packet of Hobnobs and made off with them. Ugly? Yes. Brave? Yes. Stupid.. No! But has no real sense of decorum. She would be the sort of person who would turn up at a stranger's funeral just to fill their plate at the buffet... and then go back for seconds. I've also been at the Radio Lab with BBC Radio Four which has been a very interesting experience. Lovely people; a Channel 4 journalist, theatre people, a poet, screen writers and yours truly. And what different skill sets. They were in awe of somebody who can write 130,000 words. I was in awe of those who can pinpoint a story... and tell it in 7,000 words. But one thing I did realise... novelists have a great capacity to lie instantly and convincingly. The last day of the Lab was spent in the studio recording, often taking 1 hr 30 minutes to get just 3 minutes of good stuff. The actors were very good, endless patience, amazing ability to say the same thing twenty times over without a hint of boredom... getting them to say urticaria ... and then say it in a broad Yorkshire accent. Just try it, it's not easy. Interesting language also, listening to the director and the studio crew and actors talk to each other... strange terminology. We are rumoured to be going back once the edit has been done for a chit chat and overhaul of our ideas. And going out for a pint after that! Should be more next week as my blog is now talking to me again. Caro

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

back in touch with the world..Hurrah!

Hello World!

Here I am back in touch after the website suffering more technical problems than Apollo 13. I feel like Baldrick .. a very excited person with a special reason to be excited. That's how bad I am at computers ... this sort of stuff is way beyond me. I would do much better on Come Dine with Me. That's just chemistry, bitching and food poisoning. I'm good at all three!

Having said all that, I have been very busy putting the finishing touches to the fourth novel which will be published about 12 months from now. The working title is the Puppeteer or it might be New Blood or it might be whatever Penguin decide to call it!!

I'm also drafting out book 5 and tomorrow I am missing all my friends at Weegie Wednesday as I am lurking around the backstreets of the West End looking for pokey places to stick dead bodies. Determined not to get stuck in a skip this time.

The big news for those that attend my events is that the building site I live in now has ... heating, floors and wait for it ... flushing toilets ... again I am excited as an excited person etc etc etc. I have done a little research into the nature of the talented but excitable beast that is The Plasterer. I believe their natural domain is in the pub and that they live, when in the wild, on a diet of kebabs and irn bru with occasional alcoholic libation for medicinal purposes. In captivity or indeed in the area that needs plastered, they are rarely seen. In my case The Plasterer was quite domesticated, used to being kept in captivity but howled constantly for his release in a rather superb operatic tenor. Personally I think he should audition for The X Factor, no autotuner needed for him. We nearly needed an ambulance for him when he and the resident Pit Bull had a minor altercation. The Plasterer 0 Pit Bull 3. The dog was playing on its home ground, always an advantage.

More blogging next week. I'm away now to walk across my new floors ... much easier than jumping the gaps, believe me.