Friday, 30 November 2012

Verse for the Salt Smugglers

I'm coming to the end of long, lovely project 'Viewpoint Voices', working with the National Scenic Areas Officer in Dumfries and Galloway.

We've taken many different groups of people, of different ages and backgrounds, up to the six viewpoints along this gloriously beautiful coast.  The youngest was 8, the eldest folk certainly in their 80s (I was too tactful to ask).  We created cinquains (like a slightly bigger haiku).  We're putting them together into video-clips of 'Viewpoint Voices', where you hear each participant read out their cinquain, set over images of the coast.  I will put them up.

I haven't often recorded anything I've written with these groups, but here's a cinquain for Gutcher's Isle, with its ruined laird's house and hall, its smugglers' bay, its legends of violent death and the threat of the excise men.

of salt we risked

at sea or sculled at night
through the stacks, our breathing shallow,

Gutcher's Isle, near Rockcliffe, in summer, admittedly.    

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

'The Crow House' is FREE this Saturday

Front cover of 'The Crow House'
Front cover of 'The Crow House'
Do help yourself to a FREE copy of The Crow House this Saturday 24 November.  You can download it for nothing to your Kindle/mobile devices/humble PC by clicking here.

Reviews appeal!  Earn my undying gratitude by posting a review on Amazon!  I gather that's what's needed to help The Crow House er, fly.

...Drifting past the table with the glass case, he was struck by both curiosity and rebellion.  He fished in the drawer for the key, and unlocked the top of the case.

This was strictly forbidden by Liddy.

Callum lifted the glass lid, and settled it carefully back as far as its hinges would allow.
The Grete Herball lay grandly in the safety of the case, not a very large book, but thick and impressively bound in high quality tooled leather, with gilt decoration.  He bent his head and sniffed appreciatively.   Then he did the banned thing, and opened the covers.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

We launch 'The Dark Farms' in Dumfries - by candlelight

'The Dark Farms', Roncadora Press 2012
Roncadora Press are about to stage (and I think that's the right word) the Dumfries launch of 'The Dark Farms' on Wednesday 28 November.

I'm looking forward to reading poems about the night skies of the Galloway Forest by candlelight in the cafe at Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries. 

The show starts at 7.30pm, free entry, and there Will Be Wine.

'The Dark Farms' will be read in a dark cafe...

Monday, 12 November 2012

The front cover of 'The Crow House'

The Crow House is my new novel for 9-12 year olds.  It's a mystery horror thriller set in Wigtown, a Georgian village by the sea - and Scotland's Book Town.  Click here to find photos and read an extract on The Crow House website. 

Time travel was never this inconvenient – or terrifying.  Holly and Callum have to cope with a dangerous old book, a witch (perhaps) and worst of all, the cold-eyed Hermetic Doctor of Wigtown: Jared Sliddery, inhabitant of The Crow House.

Hooked by the slow charms of Wigtown, I started writing The Crow House in 2005, when my eldest son was the right age.  By 2007 I had a finished first draft, which he read before getting on with growing up.  I managed to complete a second then third draft in time for my second son to read it in 2011 or so, and amid work, family, a smallholding and then a big house move involving three generations of us, I managed to thread my way through the formatting labyrinth to publish it on Kindle just in time for Halloween this year.  So - The Crow House is actually real and available from Amazon here.  
And you don't have to have a Kindle, actually - you can download it straight from Amazon to your pc.

If you do read it, and like it, then please do leave a little review or share to your FB friends.  I'd love to hear from readers.

Wigtown is full of irresistible front doors...