Val Penny Hunter’s Chase Blog Tour

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ and Hunter’s Revenge are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The third book in the series, Hunter’s Force, follows shortly.

Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.

DI Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city and he needs to find the source but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course. Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable. Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taught crime thriller.

Hunter’s Chase Excerpt 4


Hunter Wilson sat at his desk on Friday morning. Young Myerscough would not be starting with him till Monday. Pity. It would have been an education to take him to the post mortem. Not to worry. There would be other chances to test the lad’s mettle.

His gut told him the corpse found on his patch was not the result of an accident. Hunter did not like the thought of murder on his watch; it was even worse than this influx of cocaine. As soon as Rachael Anderson arrived they would head over to the Scottish Parliament building, interview Sir Peter and find out what he had to say for himself. Probably more than Hunter wanted to listen to, but he might have some insight into the burial site. After all, even if the man was an oaf, he had over 25 years experience on the force to draw on.

Hunter did not like the Scottish Parliament building. It had been designed by a Spanish architect who died before its completion, probably of shame. The project was completed ten times over budget and nearly three years late. As the DI mused about what would happen within the police force if it tried to proceed on that basis, Rachael walked in.

“Morning, Boss. I got time for coffee?” she asked, clearly more in hope than expectation.

Hunter shook his head and tossed her the car keys.

“Will this take long, do you think?”

“Not if I can help it. Anyway we have to be back for the briefing at 10am.”

Rachael was silent as she drove them to the bottom of the Royal Mile. She pulled up outside the modern Scottish Parliament building, then trotted up the stairs ahead of Hunter as if they were part of a dressage exercise.

Inside, the detectives showed their badges and asked for Sir Peter Myerscough.

“I’m sorry. Sir Peter phoned to say he had had a break-in last night and had stayed at The New Club on Princes Street,” the admittance clerk said. Then she added. “Very nice, the New Club, I believe.”

Hunter grunted.

The clerk ignored him and went on: “He had to go home to supervise repairs. He is to speak to his insurers, I believe. He won’t be in until the joiner has finished work on the broken doors and replaced locks. Do you want to leave a message?”

“Fucking arse,” Hunter said.

“No thanks, no message. We’ll contact Mr Myerscough at home,” Rachael said.

“Sir Peter to you, I think, officer.”

“Dectective to you.” Rachael smiled and held the door open for her

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Hunter’s Chase Amazon Page

Val Penny Amazon Author Page


BRM Stewart The Deaths on the Black Rock Blog Tour

Brian RM Stewart was born in Rutherglen and grew up in Grangemouth. He attended Glasgow University and Jordanhill College of Education, taught in Edinburgh, then moved to Nairn where he and his now-late wife Jan raised their children. Brian now lives in Broughty Ferry with his wife Sally, where he is a member of the Angus Writers’ Circle and an active member of Rotary. Brian spent much of his working life teaching mathematics and computing, but is now partially retired and lectures for the OU. When not writing, Brian attempts to play golf and the guitar (though not at the same time), and is a keen Bridge player. He has published two previous movels, Digital Circumstances and Digital Investigation



It’s been a year since Rima Khalaf died in a fall from the Black Rock, deemed to be a tragic accident by the police.

But her grieving parents are dissatisfied with the police investigation, so DS Amanda Pitt is sent north from Glasgow to the small town of Clachdubh to re-examine the case.

Despite the suspicions of the distraught parents, all the circumstances seem to confirm Rima’s death was indeed a tragic accident until another woman is also found dead in the town.

Frustrated by the lack of any real evidence, DS Pitt pushes the limits of legality in her quest for the truth.


1. How did you get started writing?

I always wrote! I was good at essays at school, and I read a lot of fiction, so I always had that desire to write fiction myself. And of course I grew up in the fifties and sixties in a working class family, so the only way to travel and enjoy the high life was through my imagination.

2. What drew you to write a novel?

Really because that’s what I read and enjoyed most. I’ve read some short stories, of course, and can spot a good one – and I admire those enormously. But I don’t read many short stories, so it feels a bit of a cheek to try to write them – although I have tried from time to time!

3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing?

There are many many writers I admire, and I am indebted to the ones who push the boundaries and show what is possible in crime fiction, which is my main genre. My main debt is to all the writers of Tartan Noir who have turned it into such an international brand. Christopher Brookmyre’s style was so refreshing when it appeared – determinedly Scottish and unashamed – and at his best he is unbeatable.  Val McDermid showed that you could see inside the mind of the perpetrator, and also that crimes can change entire lives. I admire Michael Connolly, writer of the Bosch series which I first discovered on TV, for giving such authenticity and rigour to a crime procedural. And just about every author I’ve ever read has helped to show me how to construct a good story.

4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest?

It’s been a long road to get here. I first wrote a novel as a teenager and sent it to a publisher, who quite rightly rejected it! Then in the eighties I had another go. I sent a novel, based on my teaching experiences, to an agent in Edinburgh: they said it was well-written but that no one would publish it. So I wrote a crime novel, and a publisher nearly took it. After that my life was simply too busy for many years.

It was only as I was coming up to retirement that I knew I had to have another go, or I would go to my grave regretting it. By this time the publishing scene was harder and agents seemed to be the gatekeepers. I sent Digital Circumstances to a few agents: one rejected it, one ignored it, and one asked for the whole manuscript then rejected it – a process which took almost a year.  A direct submission to a publisher I knew got a near miss. It was all a bit frustrating.

But Kindle was there, so I self-published it, and the sequel Digital Investigations (which I’d sent to the publisher I knew and got very good feedback which led to a major re-write of the first half).

The Deaths on the Black Rock is pretty much stand-alone, so I decided to send it to a couple of publishers who were taking direct submissions. Thunderpoint picked up on it. A lifetime ambition achieved! And here we are.

5. There are many interesting characters in your Novel, do you have a particular favourite one?

I like Martin and Michael because they are me, just younger. In a sense I’m living out lives I could never had had – or maybe even wanted to have – through them. Martin in particular has similar good taste to me: he likes local beers and feels the urge to explain things fully.

Keep your eye on Kylie: only a bit part in this novel, she’s got a big future ahead of her.

6. What kind of research have you have to undertake for your Novel?

A lot of what I write comes from stuff I know, especially locations and technology, but the world wide web is invaluable. I always check carefully any technology tricks – such as tracking a mobile phone without the owner’s consent, or unlocking a MacBook – because I really don’t like it in a book when something magical happens with tech.

I’ll usually go to locations where action happens in the book, just to check it out: this avoids blunders. (I once wrote about someone coming out of Hillhead subway station and commenting that there was a Waitrose in Byres Road. You can’t see the Waitrose from there! A slight amendment sorted that problem.) I wandered into Maryhill Police Station once to ask about a few things – mainly whether they have a canteen. (They don’t.)

I have a brother-in-law in the police, and I check things with him. He told me about the Major Investigation Teams (MITs), and about the Organised Crime and Counter-Terrorism Units. At one point I needed to know whether local police officers would work on a drugs investigation for OCCTU, and he reassured me that it was feasible – that was good enough for me!

7. Are the characters in your books based on any real life?

I try to make the characters realistic, and they are each a kind of conglomeration of people I’ve come across in life. But having worked in education all my life, my teenagers are drawn from that experience. Gary is the kind of boy who sits under the radar with his urges and his fantasy, and nobody notices him. Jamil is angry and disruptive, and the school has never been able to deal with that, so they stopped trying. There are girls like Kylie who are bright and trying to focus their ambition despite being seen by others as simply being ‘pretty’, while Jasmine is actually focused only on her own looks.

8. What has been your favourite book so far to write and why?

Digital Circumstances is the story of Martin McGregor – a genuine rags-to-riches tale – but it’s really an alternative reality for me. It’s what could have happened to me if I’d been twenty years younger, less risk-averse, and better looking. It’s also the first book that was widely read, so it will always be my favourite. However, I like to think my writing is getting better with each book.

9. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa?

Amanda has that same dogged determination with a puzzle that I have: she needs to understand events and why they happened. Gaps and missing information annoy her. Martin and Michael have the same love of tech as I have, along with a slight OCD that I refer to as the ability to focus.

10. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you might planned.

I’m well through a sequel to Black Rock which has a theme about Internet trolling and bot farms, which have led us to where we are in the world now. It’s a global issue, but I’ve got a thread running through it which is very personal to Martin.

I’ve been working for many years on a separate novel set in a future about ten years from now (though I’ve been working on it for more than ten years!). It’s set in an independent Scotland which is being shored up economically by Chinese investment. Unfortunately the Chinese have brought in all their restrictions on personal freedoms and privacy, but there is a network of people fighting back. In my mind it will be a trilogy, and the first book is almost finished – it just needs an edit and a polish, and I need to be clear about the next two in the series.

11. If you had the opportunity to write a novel with any crime writer alive or dead, who would it be and why

I don’t think I could write with anyone else! I enjoy the process where my publisher comes back with ideas and suggestions on my book and we discuss those, and I have in the past given constructive comments on other people’s writing, but I need to work alone, I’m afraid.

12.  Do you have words of advice you can share with anyone who is interested in writing a novel

I would echo Stephen King’s advice: write! It’s a mistake I made in my youth when I ‘wanted to be a writer’. Anyone can be a writer, you just sit down and write.

Editing and honing takes work and commitment  – not to mention self-belief – but you have to make your writing the best it can be. So you have to put the hours in.

Once you’re done, then either start the slog to find an agent or a publisher, or go direct to self-publishing. Someone will read it, and they will enjoy it. With luck, they’ll tell you, and that makes it all worth while. With more luck, lots of people will read it, like it, and tell you.

Don’t expect universal praise though, and don’t expect financial rewards: that’s only for the lucky few. Just write, tell people you’re a writer, and enjoy the creative process of making up a story and getting it out there.

The Deaths on the Black Rock Amazon Book Page

Amazon Author Page

Twitter: @BRMStewart

Publisher Twitter: @ThunderPointLtd


Mark Leggatt The Silk Road Tour

Mark Leggatt was born in Lochee, Dundee and lives in Edinburgh. A former specialist in Disaster Recovery for oil companies and global banks, his career has taken him around Europe, especially Paris, where he lived for a number of years. History and modern global conspiracy lie at the heart of his work, and are the backdrop for the adventures of CIA technician Connor Montrose. Leggatt is a member of the Crime Writers Association in the UK, and the International Thriller Writers in the USA.

Third in the Connor Montrose series by Mark Leggatt, following on from the success of Names of the Dead and The London Cage.

Ex-CIA technician Connor Montrose tracks two suspected terrorists to a deserted mountain village in Tuscany, where he witnesses an attack on a US Air Force troop plane, using a ground-breaking portable Surface to Air (SAM) missile. Unaware that the CIA were also monitoring the suspects, Montrose is blamed for the attack and narrowly escapes. The CIA receive orders from Washington to shoot him on sight, and a shadowy organisation begins to track his every move.

Then a spate of terror attacks threatens the fabric of NATO and the entire Western alliance. Civilian airlines are the new target, and the overwhelming evidence points to a CIA false flag plan to bring down aircraft and blame it on Moscow-backed terrorists. Montrose’s investigations lead him to underground arms sales on The Silk Road, the secret marketplace of the internet, hidden deep in the Dark Web. Montrose must assimilate himself into the society of the European aristocracy and the ultra-rich fascists, assisted by Kirsty Rhys, to pose as a middleman for the purchase of arms on The Silk Road and find the remaining cache of missiles. Montrose uncovers the layers of duplicity between governments and arms dealers, leading first to the CIA in Rome, and eventually to the palaces of the last Russia Tsar and the new oligarchs. Montrose must discover the remaining cache of missiles before the CIA catch up with him, and before carnage is unleashed over the skies of Europe.

Guest Post

The one question that always comes up, is ‘do you plot your novels before you start, or just go for it?’  This is the favourite question on the Four Blokes In Search of A Plot tour, and as a plotter, I am outnumbered three to one. The rest of the guys take an initial idea, go for it, and sit down and write the book by the seat of their pants. This is what we call  ‘pantsing’.

They may go up a few blind alleys and have to backtrack, but they start at the original idea, and write their way through the plot to the end. There’s a good reason for this, in that if they don’t know where the plot and the story are going, then neither will the reader, and it will always be fresh and exciting. I completely understand why you would use this method, and why it is attractive (if sometimes frustrating) to use, but that’s not the way it works for me.

I’m a plotter. I do use the ‘seat of the pants’ method, but only for about 400 words, where the other guys will do it for 80,000 words. I’ll do my 400 to write down the plot in summary, and if I can’t see it working, I’ll ditch it. It was a good idea, but it won’t work for a book. Then I move on to the next one and do it again. If the first 400 words work to summarise the book, and it looks like it would work as an idea where the story will last 80,000 words, with the potential for enough thrills and spills, tension, double crosses, action and fun, then I’ll place it on my desk in front of me, and use it to tease out the story to about 4000 words. If that works (it doesn’t always!), then I’ll start breaking that plot down into detail, locations, and characters. This works for me, because my first three thrillers required me to have a very good grasp of where my characters were at any point in time, what they knew, and what they had done, and what that would cause to happen next. A firm grasp of the old journalists’ adage, ‘who, what, where, when and why,’ that is required to make up every good story.  And when it’s all planned out, then I’ll sit down and write the story. I won’t stick rigidly to my planning if have a good idea, but I always like to know where the story is going. Planning is never wasted!

Mark Leggatt Amazon Author Page

The Silk Road Amazon Book Page




Catch Up Q And A With Gordon Brown

Gordon has six crime and thriller books published to date, along with a number of short stories. His latest novel, Deepest Wounds, published by Strident Publishing, is the third in the Craig McIntyre series. Gordon also helped found Bloody Scotland, Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival (see and is a DJ on local radio ( He lives in Scotland and is married with two children.

In a former life Gordon delivered pizzas in Toronto, sold non-alcoholic beer in the Middle East, launched a creativity training business, floated a high tech company on the London Stock Exchange, compered the main stage at a two-day music festival and was once booed by 49,000 people while on the pitch at a major football Cup Final.

Want to know more – go to

Craig McIntyre’s mere presence can turn people’s darkest thoughts into action.
On an Iraqi street, Craig McIntyre finds himself at the center of an event that leaves several people dead. Ex-military, now a bodyguard, he has no idea how they died.
Others think he is repsonsible – the catalyst. They have no issue with that.
Indeed, they are intent on harnessing Craig’s dark talent for creating chaos where once there was order…and will let no-one stand in their way.
Who are McIntyre’s pursuers? What do they see in him that he cannot see in himself? And what will happen to him if he is caught? Worse, what will happen to those closest to him if he escapes?
As he struggles to come to terms with events, and with the possibility that he really is a vehicle for anarchy, can he stop his darkest thoughts turning to revenge

You can only run for so long

Craig McIntyre’s mere presence removes people’s inhibitions and turns their darkest thoughts into actions.

Having fled across America to evade capture by arch-enemy Senator Tampoline, McIntyre is ‘persuaded’ to work alongside him in the national interest.

The US Strategic Petroleum Reserve has been destroyed by a white supremacist group. The attack has been hushed-up and time is of the essence if national and global economic meltdown is to be avoided.

As McIntyre tries to apply his unique ability to salvage the situation, it is hard to know who is working harder to thwart him: his allies or his enemies. It might be safer to stay ahead of both.

McIntyre will never forgive Tampoline for what he has done. He is not even sure he can suppress his animosity in pursuit of the greater good…

Craig McIntyre’s mere presence removes people’s inhibitions and turns their darkest thoughts into actions.

As Craig McIntyre tries to escape bounty hunters from the Dark Web, he discovers that his details are linked to a clandestine government project. Might it hold answers to his past as well as dangers for the present?

Back on the run in North America, McIntyre hooks up with some unlikely allies. But can he trust them any more than those who want to use him to shape the future…and to further their personal ambitions?

Have those behind Factor really given up on their pursuit of him? Or is McIntyre being reeled in with some politically toxic bait?

McIntyre is the key to an explosive secret that could change mankind forever

All three book in the series are on a special deal of 0.99p on Amazon Kindle, buy them at the following links

What have you been up to with your writing since we last spoke?


1) I’ve been working on two different books. I just handed the first draft of the fourth in the Craig McIntyre series to my publisher. As usual I’ll now wait on feedback and the dreaded edits. If things pan out we are looking at a late Spring/early Summer launch next year.

The second book is something new. I currently have two series on the go. One in the U.S. with Down & Out Books where Charlie Wiggs is the main protagonist (‘Falling’ and ‘Falling Too’) and the Craig McIntyre series in the UK with Strident Publishing (‘Darkest Thoughts, ‘Furthest Reaches’ and ‘Deepest Wounds’). The great news is that Down & Out Books have just signed to take all three Craig McIntyre books into the USA, starting in 2019, so, for the moment, Charlie Wiggs is having a rest. This gave me the opportunity to work on a new series. I can’t tell you that much about it, as it’s with my agent at the moment, other than to say it’s a more traditional Scottish crime book, but with a twist.

On top of my book writing I’ve been playing my part in organising this year’s Bloody Scotland and I’m also, along with Neil Broadfoot, Douglas Skelton and Mark Leggatt on a mini tour with ‘Four Blokes in Search of a Plot’. The latest gig was a few weeks back in Rothesay,as part of Bute Noir, to a sell-out crowd. We are planning more gigs when we can get our diaries to gel.

I’ve also penned a few short stories – one was to help publicise the Four Blokes visit to Bute and the other was written because I couldn’t sleep (if anyone wants to read them click here).


So far what was your favourite book to write in terms of characters and plot?


2) The answer to this question is always the same, ‘The book that I’m working on now’. I love the process of writing. I lose myself in it. And, to be fair, I sometimes frustrate myself with it all. I strive to improve my writingat all times and I’m becoming more critical of my own work. Take the new Scottish crime novel, I had a fellow author, Russel McLean, work on an initial edit for me before I handed it over, as I am looking to shine brighterthan ever before with this new work.


How did you get involved in Bloody Scotland and the spotlight event?


3) The story of Bloody Scotland and my involvement goes back to 2010 when, sitting at a lunch with Alex Gray and Lin Anderson I heard them chatting about the lack of a crime festival in Scotland; a travesty given the wealth of crime writing talent that this country has produced. A week later Lin and I were sitting in Prince’s Square talking about the festival idea and I seem to remember uttering the words, ‘How hard could it be to organise a crime writing festival?’ Roll on seven festivals and we’ve just hit a little under 10,000 tickets for this year’s event.

Crime in Spotlight was born four years ago. In a previous life I used to run the Tennent’s marketing department and had the overall responsibility for the Tennent’s Lagersponsorship of T in the Park. I’m a live music nut and T in the Park grew my passion. When Bloody Scotland was getting established it was one of our core tenets that the festival, amongst other things, should encourage and supporting new authors. I can’t remember the exact music gig that sparked the idea of a ‘support band’ for the main authors at Bloody Scotland – but it seeped into my head one night. I suggested it at a Bloody Scotland board meeting – and Crime in the Spotlight was born. It’s been a great success, this year we had thirteen debut authors reading at the start of all our largest events.


Have you any events coming up that you can share with us?


4) I’ve a few events coming up. One of the fun ones is the North Ayrshire Libraries Reader’s Day on the 24th of this month. It’s a full day with three other authors – Denise Mina, Helen Sedgewick and David Ross. Each of us was asked to choose a book from our own work and a book from another author for the attendees to read and then discuss at the event. I choose my latest McIntyre book, ‘Deepest Wounds’ and Stephen King’s ‘Mr Mercedes’. I have a love/hate relationship with Mr King’s work. ‘Christine’ is a book that sparked so much in me as a wannabe writer but I’ve also fallen out of love with him on occasions. The Bill Hodges’ trilogy (‘Mr Mercedes’, ‘Finders Keepers’ and ‘End of Watch’) hooked me again as, with consummate ease, he turned his hand to crime fiction.

I’ve also just finished participating in a festival in Spain called Xabia Negra. I contacted the local council at Xabia a couple of years back and set up a reciprocal deal to take some authors from Bloody Scotland to their festival. This year, Graeme Macrae Burnet, AbirMuckherjee, Lin Anderson and myself attended. I wrote a small blog on it if anyone is interested.


Have you had any ideas about what you would like to write about next?


5) With book four of McIntyre with my publisher and the new Scottish crime book with my agent, I now need to get myself into gear for book 2 in the new series and McIntyre 5. I know what the former is about but not in detail, I’m not a planner. The latter is a bit of a mystery,although I’ve a kernel of a thought based on something that popped into my head while out for a walk a few days ago – both ideas will grow when I get to battering my poor old Mac into submission.


What has been your stand out moment so far as a Scottish crime fiction writer?


6) That’s a tough one, there are so many special moments – the time I saw my first book on a shelf, the launch and success of Bloody Scotland, the USA picking up my work, appearing at some fantastic events across the world – the list goes on. The real joy for me is the realisation of a dream to be a published writer. It’s not all wine and roses, but it’s an amazing adventure and I’ve met some wonderful people that I would never have encountered had it not been for my writing.
Amazon Author Page


Wendy H Jones Antiques and Alibis Tour

Award Winning Author Wendy H. Jones lives in Scotland, and her police procedural series featuring Detective Inspector Shona McKenzie, is set in the beautiful city of Dundee, Scotland. Wendy has led a varied and adventurous life. Her love for adventure led to her joining the Royal Navy to undertake nurse training. After six years in the Navy she joined the Army where she served as an Officer for a further 17 years. This took her all over the world including Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Much of her spare time is now spent travelling around the UK, and lands much further afield. As well as nursing Wendy also worked for many years in Academia. This led to publication in academic textbooks and journals. Killer’s Countdown is her first novel and the first book in the Shona McKenzie Mystery series. Killer’s Crew won the Books Go Social Book of the Year 2107. There are now six books in this series with Killer’s Crypt being released in August, 2017. The Dagger’s Curse is the first book in The Fergus and Flora Mysteries for Young Adults. She has also wrote a children’s picture book Bertie the Buffalo telling the true story of a young Water Buffalo that went missing from a Farm in Fife and the adventure he had.

Cass Claymore, a red headed, motorbike riding, ex-ballerina inherits a Detective Agency, and accidently employs an ex-con dwarf and an octogenarian. Hired by a client who should know better, Cass has no leads, no clue and a complete inability to solve a case. Still a girl needs to eat and her highbred client’s offering good money. Join her as, with bungling incompetence, she follows a trail littered with missing antique teddies, hapless crooks, a misplaced Lord of the Realm and dead bodies. Will Cass, and Scotland, survive?

Book Location

As I am Scottish and From Dundee, the ideal location presented itself to me straight away. I would take the advice of write what you know and set my books firmly in my home town. However, as Dundee is a rather small city, I had to expand things a bit. Therefore, I use Angus, Perthshire and Fife as well.


I believe crime books need both a large palette and a tight canvas on which to paint the mystery. Let me explain. The tightness of a local area helps to heighten the tension of the situation. If there is a serial killer on the loose in a small space, the terror is all the greater. It allows the writer to develop the characters and the visceral fear that grips the city. However, this fear can also be greater if no one knows where they will strike next. If the killer is at work in Dundee, the residents of Angus, Perthshire and Fife become complacent. When the next murder is on one of these areas, the terror moves to the whole country. Panic then ensues.


I am fortunate in that the area in which I set my books is stunning. It has history, nature, industry, old buildings, new buildings, parks and enough variation to allow for dram and excitement. Dundee is an old whaling town and is known as the city of Jute, Jam and Journalism. The people are proud yet generous and, on the whole, look out for each other. It is going through a whole period of regeneration and the new V&A Museum has just opened. There is a real vibrancy and buzz about it, so plenty to write about and to use as a location.


Cass Claymore is a motor bike riding ex-ballerina who inherits a Private Detective Agency. She loves the bike and needs a wider area in which to ply her wares. Therefore, Scotland is her palette but still with Dundee firmly at the centre.


As an author, I am also allowed to take my characters wherever I choose. In the next DI Shona McKenzie Mystery, Shona and Peter will be taking a trip to New Orleans as it ties in with a case she is working on. This is great fun to write as New Orleans is such an exciting and exotic city. The contrast between Dundee and New Orleans will play a large aprt of the story.

There’s been a murder author interview with Pat Young

1. How did you get started writing?

I’m not one of those folk who has always wanted to write a book. I never expected to be a writer. Then I found a discarded book with a wad of cash and a letter tucked in the flyleaf. ‘What if something awful happened to the owner of this book?’ I thought, and I was off. I used to think my constant ‘what iffing’ was a curse as I fretted about my children. Now I regard it as a blessing. ‘What if’ is the start of a story.

I knew nothing about writing when I started. In fact, I tried to find someone to write that first story for me. A friend told me to write it myself and when I tried I realized that I knew a thing or two about books, if not about writing them. Having studied English, French and German at university, I’d read a fair few and had learned much along the way, it seems. And so, I gave it a go. After that, there was simply no turning back, I was hooked. I had other plans, none of which included sitting at a desk from daybreak till dusk. But some days I just have to. Because there’s a story to be told.


2. What drew you to write a novel?

Finding that book. Trying to work out what might have happened to the young man who owned it. I’m a runner and every morning during my run, I thought about it, couldn’t get it out of my head, in fact. Pretty soon I had a story. I tried to find someone to write it and a friend said, ‘Write it yourself.’ So I did.  Although it has been changed a lot from its first draft, that story became my third to be published, last week. I originally wrote it about France because that’s where I got the inspiration but it’s now set in Scotland and it’s called One Perfect Witness.


3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing?

I’ve always had a hyperactive imagination. As a child, I devoured books. Depending on what I was reading, usually under the bedcovers, I’d believe I was Heidi. Or that I owned magical ballet shoes, or led secret clubs at boarding school. A far cry from my life in a small village on the Ayrshire coalfields.

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield is my favourite, I think. And I loved The Borrowers.

As a teenager I was really into Catherine Cookson. Much to the chagrin of my English teacher, I even answered the literature question in my O Grade (O Level) English exam on a Catherine Cookson novel. I also adored The Catcher in the Rye.

By sixth form my tastes had matured and I loved DH Lawrence. Sons and Lovers probably was, and still is, my favourite.

Since I write crime, my style isn’t like any of the above, but being an avid reader all my life I guess I’ve picked up lots of influences along the way. I write as if I’m watching a movie in my head and I’m describing it. When I’m ‘in the zone’ I feel like I’m just the typist, if that doesn’t sound too trite to be true.


4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest?

My first book won a Literary Agent in a competition. He was sure Till the Dust Settles would sell to one of the big international publishing houses. They all read the full manuscript (a compliment in itself, apparently) and no one hated it, but no one was prepared to take a chance on it, or me. The backdrop of 9/11 made it a hard sell to some. I made some changes and it was snapped up by Bloodhound Books.


5. There are many interesting characters in your novels, do you have a particular favourite one?

I like all my characters, even the horrible ones like Gus! And I’m particularly fond of Seb as he was the first character I ever created. I like writing children. Wee Ethan, the little boy who is abducted in I know where you live has touched many a reader’s heart and I confess to loving him as if he was my own. Wait a minute – what am I talking about – he is my own. I made him up!


6. What kind of research do you have to undertake?

If researching a novel meant spending hours poring over tomes in libraries, I couldn’t do it. My research tool is Google and it is wonderful. It’s immediate – I can check something and get straight back into the story. Sometimes it throws up ideas I’d never thought of. When I tried to find out what was in the dust that settled on Manhattan, I uncovered conspiracy theories that shook me but also inspired me as I wrote Till the Dust Settles. And I’ll let you into a secret. Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve never been to New York! I did it all with the aid of Google maps and the internet. I’m delighted when readers gasp at that fact, or tell me they know New York and I’ve captured it perfectly.


7. Are any of the characters in your books based on someone in real life?

That’s best answered by what I wrote at the end of One Perfect Witness in Author’s note and Acknowledgements

‘One character in this book is based on a real person, although I never met him. In the summer of 2010, a young man left a book on a French campsite, which I found. There was a letter inside and an envelope of money. I was intrigued! Had I not found that book, I would not have written this story or any other. Whoever you are and wherever you are, ‘Sebastien’, I hope you’re safe and happy.’


8. How do u feel about your latest book being on the top 10 Scottish crime books list on Amazon?

I’m over the moon. Rubbing shoulders with the great and the good – wow, what can I say? Just thanks, readers.


9. Do you see any of your character’s personality in yourself and vice versa?

I really don’t know the answer to that question. You’d have to ask someone else, I think. Or I’ll cheat and say, ‘Only in the nice ones!’


10. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you might planned.

All I can say is that the two I’m working on have vastly different plots and settings from each other and from the three you already know but they do have the same theme. I’m fascinated by the idea of the missing person, someone who just disappears, for whatever reason. That’s back to my ‘What if?’ obsession, isn’t it?


11. If you had the opportunity to write a novel with any crime writer alive or dead, who would it be and why?

This one is easy to answer. While I loved meeting Willie Mc Ilvanney (such a gentleman) and I like acting in Douglas Skelton’s crazy murder mystery plays with Caro Ramsay, Michael J Malone, Theresa Talbot, Lucy Cameron and the great author himself, and while it’s great to be amongst other crime writers at festivals like Bloody Scotland, I have to be honest here. I’m a lone wolf. Or maybe just too much of a control freak. I’ve been asked to co-write a couple of times and my answer has been, ‘Thank you but I’m more flattered than tempted.’ For me writing is a solitary pastime. I like it that way.


12.  Do you have words of advice you can share with anyone who is interested in writing a novel?

Yes, to quote the mighty Nike, Just Do It! Get sat at the computer and get started. Doesn’t matter how awful it is to begin with, at least you’ll have something to work with. Work is the right word, by the way. It’s hard work and it needs dedication and commitment, but the feeling of satisfaction when you produce a story that will take someone out of their world for a few hours is unbelievable.

A great way to get started, and what got me going, is coming up very soon. Every November is National Novel Writing Month. You can write a novel in a month. Track your progress. Get pep talks and support. Meet fellow writers online and in person.

I had a go in 2018 and now I’ve got three books published.

Check it out –

Two women will never meet, but their lives are about to collide.

Lucie married young. Her husband has become abusive, controlling and violent. Having lost everything as a result of the marriage, Lucie decides it is time to walk away.

As she leaves the house on the morning of September 11th, heading to a job interview at the World Trade Centre and the promise of a new life, the unthinkable happens.

On a street in New York, choking on the dust, Lucie stumbles upon an opportunity to start again.

She thought the grass would be greener but starting again is never that simple. And sometimes, what lies ahead is even more deadly.

Penny believes she’s being watched. Yet no one should know where she lives.

Penny seizes the chance of a new life for her family when her husband is offered a job in Europe.

At the airport, they meet charming Sophie, fluent in French and looking for work as an au pair. Penny, struggling to cope in France, offers Sophie a job and she soon becomes an important part of the family’s life. But Sophie is hiding something.

Then Penny’s toddler son, Ethan, is abducted and an international hunt for the child

begins. The police beg Penny and her husband to take part in a television appeal but the couple refuse. Unknown to the police, Penny and Seth have new identities and are determined to lay low and protect them. But it may be too late for that.

Who has taken Ethan and why?

Are the couple’s true identities linked to the abduction?

And who has been watching them?

To save her son Penny may have to put her own life on the line.


Three young men
One day in Scotland
Lives changed forever
Young Frenchman wanting a summer away from home so heads out with backpack and walking stick to see some of the world before taking a job at a camping spot.
Wannabe soccer/football star in Scotland to take on a new job but has anger issues that seem to land him in trouble.
Younger than the above young men and silent for five years after a traumatic event – an event that he has told nobody about since he went silent.
This is a story of bullying, abuse, death, family, priorities, lies and overcoming issues that hold a person back. It is also a story of choices made that can impact a person for years. It is about love and what one might be willing to do for a person loved…or a person feared. It is a slow building story with an ending that was unexpected and yet a finale that made me think Karma is indeed something to be reckoned with.

Bloodhound Books Author Page

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Amazon Author Page

Hugh Fraser Stealth Book Tour

Hugh Fraser is best known for playing Captain Hastings in Agatha Christie’s ‘Poirot’ and the Duke of Wellington in ‘Sharpe’. His films include Patriot Games, 101 Dalmatians, The Draughtsman’s Contract and Clint Eastwood’s Firefox. In the theatre he has appeared in Teeth’n’Smiles at the Royal Court and Wyndhams and in several roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He also composed the theme to Rainbow!

1. How did you get started writing?

I took a short story writing course with Guardian UEA under the tuition of the novelist Bernardine Evaristo which fired my enthusiasm.

2. What drew you to write a novel

It’s a form I’ve always enjoyed and when I showed the beginnings of my first effort to Bernardine, she encouraged me to persevere.

3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing?

I’ve always enjoyed the gritty American school of crime writing – particularly Elmore Leonard and James Ellroy.

4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest?

I was lucky when a friend of mine, the actor and writer Robert Daws showed my first book to Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications and Matthew decided to publish it.

5. There are many interesting characters in your novel, do you have a particular favourite one?

I think it has to be my heroine Rina Walker, although I have great respect for her daughter Georgie.

6. What kind of research have you had to undertake for your novel?

Quit a lot of background reading and online research, particulary for the Mexican section of Harm. Also a great many biographies and memoirs of criminals, active in the Sixties.

7. Are the characters in your books based on any real life?

A couple, yes, but I’d rather not say which…

8. How do you feel about being on the list for the not so booker prize

Honoured, of course.

9. Do you see any of your character’s personality traits in yourself and vice versa? Thankfully no. And I hope I succeed in keeping my murderous urges under control in the future.

10. If you can, would you give us a sneak peek into any future novels you might have planned?

Nothing planned at the moment but I wouldn’t be surprised if Rina gets up to some more skulduggery at some point.

11. If you had the opportunity to write a novel with any crime writer alive or dead, who would it be and why

Elmore Leonard because I know he would make me adhere to his ten rules of writing (available online), which I regard as the holy grail of style.

12. Do you have words of advice you can share with anyone who is interested in writing a novel?

Write in a genre that you are going to enjoy and remember Kinglsey Amis’s response when he was asked to give advice about writing: “The art of writing is to apply the seat of one’s trousers to the seat of the chair”.

When a step out of line means a fight to the death…London 1967. A working girl is brutally murdered in a Soho club. Rina Walker takes out the killer and attracts the attention of a sinister line-up of gangland enforcers with a great deal to prove.

When a member of British Military Intelligence becomes aware of her failure to fulfill a contract issued by an inmate of Broadmoor, he forces her into the deadly arena of the Cold War, with orders to kill an enemy agent.

Rina needs to call upon all her dark skills, not simply to survive, but to protect the ones she loves.

Other books in the Rina Walker series




Stealth Amazon Book Page

Hugh Fraser Amazon Author Page




Guest Post with Heleen Kist

Author bio:

Heleen Kist is a Dutch quintilingual Stanford-educated globetrotting career woman who fell in love with a Scotsman and his country, and now writes about its (sometimes scary) people from her garden office in Glasgow. She is a recognised expert in international business and small business finance and has put this knowledge to good use for her debut novel, In Servitude.

[For the author’s professional credentials in business see LinkedIn]

Setting out on a mission

No matter how content you are in life, you occasionally need something new and exciting: a light to pierce through the clouds of the mundane. A life-affirming frisson, if you will. To shake things up, I’ve challenged myself to undertake some daunting tasks in the past, like stand-up comedy, but writing a psychological suspense novel has been the hardest thing I’ve done so far.

When I decided in January 2017 that I would write a novel, I did not have an inkling of what the story would be. Living in Glasgow, with the reputation it has, it was obvious there should be an element of crime. But what did I know about crime, beyond what I’d read in novels or seen on TV? Thankfully, very little.  And in a way, I wanted to keep it that way. But I did wonder: how easy would it be for an ordinary person to not just become a victim of crime, but to become the perpetrator?

Over the course of the next 2 months, while I took part in the James Patterson Masterclass online, I made a point of being extra observant, asking myself ‘Could this be a story?’ whenever something unusual caught my eye. Then a friend told me about wanting to open a vegan patisserie. ‘Wouldn’t that make a lovely setting?’ I thought. I also quipped that if it didn’t’ work out, it could always become a front for money-laundering.

And so was sewn the seed for In Servitude.

What ‘Write what you know’ meant for me

You see, in my day job I am somewhat of an expert in small business finance. I’ve set up venture capital and loan funds for local and national government, I was on the Board of what is now the British Business bank and I’ve sat on the Access to Finance expert group for the UK government. I’ve consulted to Scottish and European financial institutions.

So once the idea of financial crime took hold, I had the spark I needed.

I grabbed an old roll of wall paper from the garage, spread it out on the dining table, stopping the sides from curling with the first things that came to hand – potatoes – and drew the whole plot out: the twists, the red herrings, the sub-plots and all.

Then to write it all out. I won’t lie: it was hard.

But because I had a full outline, I just went about it chapter by chapter. Mentally picturing the whole scene unwinding like a movie before I started to type. The dialogue came easy: I could hear the different characters speaking inside my head. The plot had already been laid out, so it was down to capturing the action and the settings in a compelling way.

Never truly free

I was careful to keep the ‘accounting skulduggery’ simple and accessible–financial matters aren’t everyone’s bag. And ultimately, In Servitude is not really a story of financial crime. It was the vehicle to write about how we’re all beholden to another in some way. A family drama with plenty of betrayal that shows that we’re never truly free.

I’ve been delighted with the fantastic reviews and reader feedback I’ve had. As a debut author it all seems quite wondrous. And yet it reiterates my theme: I’m now expected to write another…!


Do you owe your family your life?
When her beloved sister Glory dies in a car crash, Grace McBride’s carefully considered life spirals out of control. She discovers Glory had been sucked into illegal activities at odds with her seemingly charmed existence. What’s worse: Grace finds herself an unwitting accomplice and forced to take over the shady dealings.

Determined to keep her fingers clean and redeem her sister’s reputation, Grace plots to extricate herself—and those Glory held dear—from the clutches of Glasgow’s criminal underworld. But her moral certitude is challenged when familial pressure mounts and Glory’s past intentions remain unclear. Grace grows convinced Glory’s death was no accident, even if no-one will listen.

Seeking justice, she finds betrayal.

Excerpt 1:

Blue pulled at the lead. I let him off once I’d scanned the area and noted no loose dogs. Only a lone figure loitering. His eye line crossed mine as he also examined the park, and paused on me long enough to raise a creepy sensation.

I moved to a bench by the play park and pretended to tie my laces. When I straightened up, the man was striding straight towards me. I searched for Blue, hoping for a semblance of protection, but he was nowhere to be seen. Nor was anyone else.

Before I could stop him, the man sat down next to me. He whistled and shouted, ‘Here boy!’ then faced me with a disturbing grin. As if he knew the dog wouldn’t come. I jumped to my feet and looked around. What had he done?

On the second blow of silent air through my dry mouth, Blue appeared from behind a tree thirty yard away. Safe. He showed no interest in me or the man, instead sniffing out the ground’s many treasures.

I turned back to the intruder. Standing over him gave me an edge—at least I thought it did—and I raised my chin and my voice when I asked, ‘Do I know you?’

He chuckled. ‘Nah, hen. I’m only the messenger.’


His smile faded. ‘We’re not very happy about you closing the café for so long. You need to open up again. There’s a delivery coming on Thursday.’

‘What do you mean? How do you—’

His eyes turned to ice as he grabbed my wrist in a flash. ‘We’ll be very disappointed if you’re not there to receive the goods. Ken what I’m saying?’

He rushed off, his dark coat billowing behind him like a cape, almost engulfing Blue who circled his legs, tail wagging, until he turned towards the road.

Excerpt 2:

A tailor’s dummy stood beside me, draped with colourful scarves that reflected the sunset in shimmering patterns, as if calling for my attention. I ran both hands through the soft fibres, creating dancing shadows on the wall and releasing a smell that punched me in the lungs, calling up a memory so vivid that I became light-headed.

Glory’s young voice.

‘Look at me! I’m Scheherazade!’

Loose strands of long red hair enveloped her face as she twirled around, her hands waving multi-coloured strips of fabric in fluid, hypnotising motions along her eleven-year-old body. She bounced towards me, covering her nose and mouth, batting her eyelashes in cartoon-style seduction. ‘Oh Aladdin, my hero! Shall I dance the dance of the seven veils for you?’

‘Stop it, Glory.’ I grabbed the so-called veils she’d been dangling in front of my face, too close. ‘Plus, that wasn’t Scheherazade. I’m fairly sure the dance of the seven veils was Salome.’

Glory shrugged and kept the choreography going. ‘I don’t care. It’s exotic! And foreign! And marvellous!’ Each phrase was punctuated by a defiant jiggle of the hips.

‘And a little blasphemous,’ I said, failing to suppress a large grin.

‘Okay, miss party-pooper. Your turn to do something with this.’

She heaped the mix of polyester, silk and cotton we’d rescued from our parents’ store onto my head and sat on the ground. Bright blues beaming in anticipation.

‘Fine, Salome. You think you’re so sexy. Well, you’ve got another think coming.’ I wrapped layer upon layer over my shoulders and across my waist, waiting for the inspiration that came so easily to her.

Once I could move no more for the bulk, I plonked my elbows on my side and stood legs apart like a superhero, bellowing, ‘For I am…Heidi!’ My heart leapt as her unrestrained laughter filled the room. ‘And I am on my way to meet my own man…’ I paused, basking in my sister’s approval, while I searched for that goatherd boy’s name—or any goatherd name. She roared as I broke into song instead. ‘High on the hill lived a lonely goatherd, yodelay-hee yodelay-hee yodelay-hee hoo!’

‘Oh Grace, you’re so funny,’ she said, then launched into yodels that merged into mine. And I wished it would last forever.

Publication date: 23 August 2018

RRP: £1.99 eBook; £9.99 Paperback

Pages: 338

ISBN: 978-1-9164486-1-2

Genre: psychological suspense / domestic noir

Amazon: Also available at Blackwell’s & Waterstones.




Twitter: @hkist

Amazon Author Page