Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Chris Longmuir’s Life of Crime


How did I become a crime writer? Where do I start? Well, like all good stories it’s better to start at the beginning.

In the beginning there was a little girl who always had her head in a book and went about making stories up in her head, although she didn’t actually commit them to paper. Silly girl. But you see, she thought writers were magical people, and she was only ordinary, and ordinary girls didn’t have books on the book shop shelves.

Roll on a few years, and as a new mum she still had that urge to create stories, so she scraped and scrimped to buy a correspondence course in how to write (no computers then!). The only reason she could afford to do this was because each lesson was paid at a time. Two lessons in, and her mother-in-law commented “Who would want to do that?” referring to her desire to write. Thoroughly discouraged the young mum bought no more lessons – silly girl.

A short time later she wrote a short story for a Scottish Sunday newspaper, and she got a rave rejection. But she was so naive she just registered it as a rejection. Silly girl. It was many years before she understood that a rave rejection means that if the story was worked on in accordance to the advice, it would have sold. And yes, you’ve guessed it, that little girl was me.

Then life got in the way. Two children, and a career in social work took up a lot of time, but the urge never really went away, and when a night class was advertised for creative writing, followed shortly after by the establishment of a writers’ group, that urge became a reality. However, I have to admit my first attempts at writing were dire. But I’m stubborn and I don’t like giving up.

My first short story sold to People’s Friend, followed by several to My Weekly. I wrote a lot of articles, mainly historical, and sold to a variety of markets in the UK and the US. This kept me busy for about twenty years, but I still hankered to write a book.

But the one I wrote wasn’t a crime novel. It was a historical saga, A Salt Splashed Cradle. The RNA (Romantic Novelist Society) liked it so much they placed it with a publisher. Guess what? That was the year sagas went out of fashion and saga writers were being dropped by their publishers.

Not to be discouraged I changed genre, and wrote a historical crime novel, The Death Game. The publisher, Penguin liked this one, but not 110%. Probably 100% wasn’t good enough.

Nothing daunted, I turned to contemporary crime, and wrote Night Watcher, introducing DS Bill Murphy. He’s a hit with the ladies, but strangely, men like him as well. This was the first book of my Dundee Crime Series. No publishing nibbles for that one, despite the fact it won the Scottish Association of Writers Pitlochry Award.

Did I mention I’m stubborn and never give up. I started on Book two of the Dundee Crime Series, and wrote Dead Wood, again no nibbles when it went the rounds, but this book also won the Pitlochry Award, and it went on to hit the big time when it won the Dundee International Book Prize in 2009, and was published by Polygon.

The third book in the series is Missing Believed Dead, again with the popular DS Bill Murphy.

Now that my career as a writer was taking off I went on to publish A Salt Splashed Cradle, and The Death Game, and I’ve never looked back.

My life of crime is well and truly started.

Chris Longmuir



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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Dare Club by Margaret K. Johnson



A group of newly singletons attend a course to help them deal with their relationship break-ups. Aleysha, Nick, Colette and Emma all met on the course and bond and decided to swap their broken hearts for brave hearts as  they set each other challenges to overcome their fears, by forming a dare club.

I really enjoyed getting to know all the characters in this book and learning about all their different background and individual stories that had resulted in them all ending up meeting at a crossroads in their lives, each character as their own issues to deal with and overcome. I also liked the way that new friendships were formed out of the difficult circumstances. It is a story of moving on.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow



The Forgotten Seamstress tells the story of Maria, who comes from humble beginnings to find herself working in Buckingham Palace as a seamstress, only to begin a passionate affair with the then Prince of Wales, Prince Edward but when she becomes pregnant she is put away in a mental asylum and when she recalls her story no one believes her and she is soon given the nick-name Queenie.

In the modern day Caroline becomes interested in a patchwork quilt she is given by her mother. The quilt belonged to her grandmother; Caroline becomes interested in finding out who made the quilt when she finds a unique Royal silk in it. Journalist Ben is on hand to help on what at times looks like an impossible and long search, not knowing that the Royal connection maybe closer than they think.

This is just one of those remarkable stories that have been perfectly put together with a good well thought out plot that does not disappoint the reader.  The sad fate and position Maria ends up in his heart breaking and although I did work out how the book would end this did not put me of reading the story to see if I was right! I would read more books by this author.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Blogger Girl by Meredith Schorr



Kim writes her own Chick Lit book reviewing blog which is hugely popular, while also working as a legal secretary. Kim occasionally meets Jonathan her ex for sex that changes when she falls for Nicholas who works as an associate at the same company.

When Kim gets a request for a review from a new author Hannah Marshak, Kim is horrified, Hannah is a girl at school who was not very nice to her at school, and she has not seen her for over ten years. Kim is faced with the dilemma of reading and reviewing a book for someone she absolutely detests. Kim could make or break Hannah’s career as a writer.

Meanwhile she begins to date Nicholas, and she tells him her dilemma, and when she gets the response she does not expect it looks like their romance could be over before it begins, especially with the arrival of new associate Daneen.

OK… OK, I will let you into a secret I love Chick Lit! It is my guilty pleasure and I stand proud to come out and say this is a perfect Chick Lit novel with all that you could want and expect from this genre. Perfect for all us girls who have busy lives and just want to chill and detox with a good read.  


Saturday, 24 January 2015

Love & the Goddess by Mary Elizabeth Coen



When Kate’s husband announces he wants a divorce after a marriage of twenty-three years, Kate is left shocked as the life she has known comes to an end. Kate moves to Galway City, and when she goes through an upsetting and traumatic health scare this prompts Kate to go on a spiritual journey of enlightenment to seek out healers and spiritual gurus. To help her develop personal growth and development which will her find her inner strength and inner goddess to help her move on, and embrace the person she always was, and could be.

First I have to say what an incredible beautiful book this feels when reading.  The detail and presentation of the way the book is set out is a wonderful details that as to be mentioned. Although this book is a long read, I read it in almost one sitting. I found the words on each and every page of this book to reach out and touch me. There is something very emotionally charged, and powerful about this story that made me want to breath in every word, and follow Kate through her awakening. I wanted to encourage her to tell her she can do it! This book is going in my top ten reads, and it deserves more than five stars.


Thursday, 22 January 2015

Lily Steps Out by Rita Plush



There must be more to life than cooking and making beds, and after thirty years of doing just this suburban New York housewife Lily is going to find out. Lily decides to go out and find herself a job, she finds the perfect one, and a fantastic opportunity, but husband Leon soon tries to put a stop to her new life. Lily must take on the new challenge of finding her own strength, and identity to become the woman she knows she can be.

Not a lot really happens in this book, although I did find it a little slow-paced, I wanted to read on and see how the story developed. For me personally it never picked up pace and I found my attention drifting at times.  I wanted more to happen in the story; I found what was going on to be a little dreary at times. But it was true to life, realistic and a nice easy read.