Indie Music for an Indie Author

I listened to the above playlist a lot while writing Fell Runner. It reminded me of when I was in Juneau, Alaska. There is this amazing post office, kind of quirky, and they were playing Langhorne Slim “The Way We Move”. Well, I was sold, I bought extra stamps, postcards, the works. I went out onto the street to find Jane and drag her inside on the pretense of buying more stamps.

Music is really important to me, and I just don’t listen to enough – can’t always distract from the lyrics when writing.

Life is tough, eh?

But, when doing layout, cover design, and even making maps, music has to be in the background, foreground – all around.

That’s just the way it is. Oh, and here’s the Fell Runner map:

This time it’s personal!

So Fell Runner is out soon, and this one means a lot to me. For sure, all my books are personal, but this one takes me back to another time and place that is pretty important in the grand scheme of things. If you’ve got a minute, and if you’re interested, I’ll explain – be warned, it has something to do with marshmallows.

Way back in 1997, after graduating from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, with a degree in Outdoor Education, I got my first real job – full time – as an outdoor instructor at an outdoor centre hidden in the forests of the Cairngorms National Park. It wasn’t my first time in the Highlands of Scotland, but it was the first time I was going to live there. The scenery is – like they say – breathtaking, and I fell in love, but not just with the place, I fell in love with Jane – a crazy Dane who I shared a log cabin with. Now, it took a long time before our friendship became a relationship and we eloped in Glasgow, and I’ll spare you the details, but I will add that Jane taught me to catch and throw.

Yeah, I know, you’re wondering about that, but imagine not yet being romantically involved, and no TV, Internet, and a spate of bad weather … we played tennis in the kitchen with marshmallows and wooden spoons. It takes some skill, let me tell you. But it was a diversion, as was the time I spent on the mountain as a reindeer herder…

Yes, I did that too, and it’s all getting very weird all of a sudden.

Isn’t it?

Let me get back on point and wrap this up.

Fell Runner is a short – 70 page(ish) – crime story set in the Cairngorms during a race from Braemar to Aviemore. Aviemore was where Jane and I recharged between courses, and to escape the midges in the forest. We also needed more marshmallows! The story introduces the character of Freja Hansen, a Scottish-born Danish police detective who lives in Sønderborg, Denmark. The action takes place in the Lairig Ghru, with the “middle bit” in the Corrour Bothy. It’s all fiction, of course, but there should be plenty to get the heart pounding when the weather turns nasty, and the killer moves in…

Fell Runner is the introduction to a crime series bridging the gap between Scandinoir and Scottish Crime Fiction. There’s a whole series in the works, and I’ll be drawing on local knowledge of both areas to spin a few tales of murder and mayhem in both countries.

If you’re curious, you can pick up Fell Runner at a low pre-order price on Amazon.

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Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get back to my marshmallows!

Iceland Thriller

There’s a scene in Blood Floe where we meet several interesting people at which point a new task force and a news series is born. Without giving too much away, I can say that one of the characters in that scene is Hákon Sigurdsson, a police constable in the Icelandic State Police. He is one of the first members of the Polar Task Force with the fun nickname of PolarPol – the task force, not Hákon. I can’t imagine him thinking that was fun. And, yes, all of a sudden, a whole new series is born. I can’t say too much without giving too much away, but there are 8 countries with territories inside the Arctic – so you can see where this is going. 😉

Northern Light is the first book in the series, and is available at a crazy pre-order price on Amazon:

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Blink and you’ll miss it!

I couldn’t resist fiddling with the cover of Seven Graves, One Winter, mostly because I like the cover for Blood Floe. Does it make a difference? Nah, probably not, but I like it, but it really is a case of blink and you’ll miss it. Of course, if that’s the case, you’ll have to keep your eyes shut tight to miss the larger version of the cover. 😉

So what’s going on? Why the subtle(ish) changes in the cover, and why… just why? Well, book 2 in the Greenland Crime Series is so very nearly ready to be released or unleashed on the world. That’s why. 🙂

Blood Floe is still available at a crazy pre-order price here, on Amazon:

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Iceland Noir

I’m heading north again – this time it’s Iceland, in November!

I’m really excited about going to Iceland Noir, and sitting on a panel of authors. I have zero, and I mean zero idea about what that means, but hey, when in Iceland! I always thought I might land there one day, and actually hoped a few times to be diverted when flying through bad weather in Greenland, but Air Greenland pilots are pretty good, damnit! 🙂

Anyway, that’s it for news just now. Just had to share.

Serial Dancer

Recently, I challenged myself to write a story built around cars and car chases, and I’m really happy with the way Pulp Driver turned out. The next challenge is dancing – the ballet kind. Of course, I couldn’t leave it at that, so there is a serious jag of vengeance/vigilantism/murder involved. Here’s the opening, while the ebook and paperback are available on Amazon.

 

DANISH DESIGN

PART 1

“Moth, be a butterfly,” the dance instructor said, “spread your wings.”

Milla Moth stretched, fingers poised, her arm moving as she lifted her chin, dipped her wrist, extended her slender fingers as the instructor pinched Milla’s elbow, pressed her hip, slapped at her bottom, studied her knee.

“Almost,” the instructor said. “Practice.” And then she was gone, walking her stiff walk to the stereo, pressing the skip button, backwards. The music started again, and the young apprentices of the Royal Danish Ballet School sighed as they slipped their bodies into the start position to stretch, poise and dip once again, and again, until it was dark outside, and they could just see the reflection of the lamps in the street sparkling the window in the corridor, outside studio four.

It was still raining when Milla lowered her arms for the last time, plucking at her leotard, the material damp and grainy between her fingertips as she lifted it from her abdomen. She glanced at her roommate, Scarlett, then crossed the short distance of the dance floor to embrace her. They pressed their foreheads together, breathed on sweat-streaked cheeks, and Milla said, “Done for today, baby.”

“Yes,” Scarlett said. She broke off and tapped Milla on the hip. “You’re cooking.”

“Again?”

“It’s Wednesday, again.”

“Fine.” Milla padded over to her cloth bags and her exercise tube. She sat down, leaned her back against the mirror, and unlaced her ballet shoes. She took a moment to study the black nail on her left foot, wondering when it might fall off, if she should pull it. The other girls said not to. Milla left it alone. She slipped her down-filled booties over her feet, stood up, and gathered her outfits, carrying them by the clothes hangers as she lifted her bags and followed the wake of weary dancers out of the studio and into the corridor. She recognised Scarlett’s cry as the door swung shut behind her.

[…]

Available from Amazon

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Withdrawal Symptoms!

I confess, this song was my ringtone for about 4 years! The song is called Seqinitta Qinngorpaatit and the band is Nanook. At one point I taught the new drummer when I was teaching at the A level college in Nuuk, Greenland’s capital.

I don’t know if this is throwback Thursday, but it is a great song.

Find out more about Nanook here.

The Blood is Floeing

Here’s a teaser, the opening paragraph from Blood Floe.

Even in the unfathomable dark of the polar winter there is always light. The moon reflecting on the surface of the sea ice, the green and white curtains of the Northern Lights twisting across the black night sky, the stars, pinpricks of light scrutinising the tiny villages and settlements dotted along the west coast of Greenland, the houses casting warm yellow squares onto the snow through thick-paned windows, the tiny red lights of the radio mast glowing above the graveyard on the mountain’s knee above the settlement of Inussuk, and a cigarette burning a bright orange, a smouldering flame just a few centimetres from the lips of the man wearing a headlamp, that he shined with slow drifts of his head to the left and right, as he searched for that damned dog that shunned the harness and refused to be trained.

Available for pre-order at just 0.99 from Amazon

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Christoffer Petersen Interview: “I think the setting for my books helps to define their style”

The Dorset Book Detective

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs the Beast from the East continues to keep the UK cold and damp, I talk to someone who knows the true meaning of tough weather; Denmark based Arctic explorer Christoffer Petersen, whose novels are set against a backdrop of the harsh Greenlandic landscape. He talks to me about his books and how they are enhanced by their unique setting.

Tell me about how you came to define your writing style. What drew you towards crime fiction?

I think the setting for my books helps to define their style, especially the crime books. Before I lived in the Arctic, I read a lot of Jack London stories and became fascinated with how the environment was just as much a character as the characters themselves. It’s like the ring in The Lord of the Rings; it has a voice, and I’d like to think I capture that in my style…

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