Friday 21 June 2013


I have a number of positive aspects to my character and a number of negative ones. Some parts of me have a foot in each camp.
On the negative side (and there may be positives to this too), I'm impetuous, disorganised, a bit dyslexic, a little daft and have a heap of OCD (meaning many of my thoughts, once realised, just won’t leave me alone).

What I’m trying to explain is the reason behind this competition. 

I have to miss the Bloody Scotland Crime Fiction Festival because my wife and eldest child are going to the top of Ben Nevis and have booked trains and accommodation.  I was there last year and loved every minute.

It was on the calendar downstairs, and even though I could have gone to look at it, I couldn’t get away from the Bloody Scotland programme. 
I also thought of interrupting my wife who was reading a story to the kids and in a bit of a bad mood, but I couldn’t hold on, not even for 5 minutes. That’s a curse.
The result is that I have tickets I can’t use (I only got to booking a few before my wife emerged from the room only 10 feet away) and broke the news.
A couple of them were free.  I have 2 tickets for the Radio Four Short Stories, Saturday September 14th at 1.30pm with Stuart MacBride, Ann Cleeves and Malcolm MacKay.  I’ve been to radio recordings in Edinburgh and Hay and they’re wonderful things to be part of.
The other is for Arne Dahl on Saturday 14th September at 11.45 am.  That cost £9.  It’ll be a sad miss.
I did consider taking my 5 and 7 year-old children in, but can just imagine the scornful looks of the audience as Mr MacBride described something rather macabre. I’m not sure I’d feel too good about them hearing it either.  (Ear muffs?).
I have no idea about the terms and conditions on the tickets (I could check, but that’s not really my nature, though I can hear the voice saying ‘it’ll only take a minute’).
So, to the chase at last.
If you’d like to win the tickets mentioned, what I’d ask of you is to answer the questions below and send them to me at
They relate to a couple of my books.
Can you tell me:

a)      In the novella Smoke, what Kind of car has Jimmy’s father been restoring?

b)      In Mr Suit, what colour is Archie’s canal boat?

I figure that it’s a good way to reward people who follow my work and a way to try and persuade people who might be interested but haven’t yet taken the leap to buy a copy.

How about 21st July as a deadline? From there, correct answers will go into a hat.

That sounds about right.

Before I go, I’m just going to mention that, though I’m upset that I’ll be missing these particular events, I’m more upset that I shan’t be touching base with some of the amazing people who’ll be there as participants and spectators.  If you didn’t make it last year, I can heartily recommend it.

I’m also going to mention that it seems odd that I’m not saying ‘answers on a postcard to...’ How old do I feel?
ps If the team at Bloody Scotland anounce a creche, I may just have to answer the questions myself and take my chances.
pps if there are no entries, I'll think of a way to help a charity benefit in some way.

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