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Winchester Writers’ Festival, University of Winchester, West Downs Student Village, Winchester, England

The Winchester Writers’ Festival is held in the middle of June and attracts over three hundred emerging novelists, poets, short story writers, children’s writers, script and memoir writers  from across the UK and the world to the University of Winchester. Delegates attend workshops, talks and one-to-ones with over seventy literary agents, commissioning editors, authors and expert practitioners throughout an inspiring and supportive weekend. This year was the first time I had ever attended The Winchester Writers’ Festival, but it was recommended to me by my friend and mentor, Simon Hall.winchester

I had the opportunity to meet with four agents and publishers, three of whom expressed an interest in my work. However, it was eventually Crooked Cat Books, whom I had submitted my work to, prior to attending Winchester, that accepted my debut crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ for publication.

At Winchester, I stayed in student accomodation. My goodness, it took me back! Accommodation with breakfast is available at the University of Winchester in basic student rooms in the West Downs Student Village and in Beech Glade on the main King Alfred campus.  A free shuttle bus service will run between West Downs and the Festival venues on the main King Alfred campus at key times over the weekend. En suite and Standard (shared bathroom) accommodation is available at very reasonable prices. Beech Glade is much more convenient for the main campus where the talks, meetings and meals are held, but only West Downs has en-suite accommodation, so the deal was set. I was staying in West Downs. The West Downs Student Village is at the top of a steep hill, so I was glad the course ran a shuttle bus morning and afternoon.

winchester university diningThe accommodation is basic, but clean. My room contained a bed, wardrobe, desk chair and book shelves with an ensuite shower room. Basic bedlinen, toiletries and towels were provided too. I was only there for a long weekend, what more did I need? Accommodation includes hot and cold buffet breakfast for the nights you stay. If you are attending the conference for the day, lunch is also included. Dinner is not and requires to be booked and paid for separately. The meals were ample and tasty and there was provision for vegetarians. Prices in the bar are much lower than in the real world.

Winchester makes great play of being inclusive and having rooms suitable for wheelchair users. I did not see any wheelchair users at the conference. The pack I received states that, although there are stairs leading from conference buildings to the bar and dining roomm, there are lifts for those with mobility issues. I do not have mobility issues, but there were delegates who required assistance to walk. The lifts did not work. That was unsatisfactory.

Free, but limited, parking is available at West Downs and further parking is available in the main car park and Medecroft car park on the main campus but as I travelled to Winchester by train, this did not affect me.

lemnsissayThe keynote speech was delivered on the Saturday morning by Lemn Sissay. I enjoyed the talk and found him a motivating and interesting speaker. Unfortunately, as many people queued to buy his books after his talk, we were told he had somewhere else to be. As a result of this, he stopped dedicationg the books and just signed them, then he left. Not all those waiting with books go them signed. This was bad organisation disppointing and tacky. I have never seen this happen anywhere before. I opted not to buy any of his books.

The Winchester Writers’ festival was interesting some seventy-five speakers delivered fifty separate talks, readings and workshops to almost three hundred writers. The accomodation was adequate. However, bearing in mind the conference only lasts three days, it is extremely expensive. I would not attend the Winchester Writers’ Festival regularly, but I may attend again in the future. I believe there are other writers’ events that are better value for money.

Val Penny

Exciting:An Excerpt From Hunter’s Chase

Hunter's Chase bannerPrologue

Edinburgh, November 2012

DI Hunter Wilson took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose.

There had to be an answer. How did it stay under the radar? The new supply of cocaine into the city made the drug little more expensive than tobacco. Fury mixed with exasperation to sting his pride. He was damned if any low-life was going to offload this junk on his watch. Bastards!

Hunter sighed and stared at the spreadsheets on his desk. The investigation wouldn’t start tonight, so maybe he should get down to the pub to unwind and think about the darts match. If he left now, he might not be late.

As he grabbed his coat, there was a knock on the door. Hunter was surprised to see DC Winston Zewedu, better known as “Bear”, stick his head round the door.

“Boss, I know you want to get away tonight, but we’ve just had a call from Sir Peter Myerscough. He’s had his house broken into.”

“Of course he has!” Hunter snarled. “That arse just has to get his stuff nicked on my darts night. Come on, Bear, let’s go.”

 

Chapter 1

Jamie Thomson swaggered along one of the tree-lined streets in the wealthy Edinburgh suburb of Morningside. To him, the capital of Scotland was really just a big village. Everybody knew everybody else, and tonight, everybody would know Jamie Thomson. He felt it as he moved quietly along the dark street. Excitement. Pop was away, but, although he had just turned twenty, Jamie would show folk it was business as usual. Pop would be so proud.

Jamie’s uniform was clean: black trousers, black jacket with a hood – other folk might call it a hoodie – black silk gloves, and cheap, new black shoes. So much more difficult to trace, especially as he chose to wear them a size smaller than was comfortable. If he left a footprint they police would be looking for the wrong size of shoe. Genius!

He was glad of the hood. The rain was not heavy, but there was a lot of it. The wind blew it into his face and almost took his breath away. His Granny called this wet rain. Jamie missed her. A lot. Silly old sausage! Who ever heard of dry rain? He was glad the road was quiet. But then nobody with any sense would go out in this unless they had to, and Jamie had to.

The house was dark. Jamie smiled. Good. He liked it quiet and peaceful when he was working. He could concentrate, get on with it and get the job done quickly. Very satisfying. The old boy was usually out late on a Thursday, Jamie knew. Jamie watched. The old boy would come home with a babe, back of eleven o’clock, usually. Jamie had no idea what the hotties saw in the old geezer, but good luck to him.

Jamie sauntered up the path as if he belonged, although it was not easy to saunter with shoes so tight. Still, the pain was worth it. He quietly slipped the lock and the door creaked as it swung open. Then he sighed wearily as the burglar alarm sounded. He found the control panel behind the door (they always put it behind the door) and hit in a code. Silence.

Jamie nodded. He could not believe how many folk left their alarms on the factory settings, but he was very glad they did. Idiots. They deserved whatever they got, or whatever he got, more like it. He chuckled at his own wit.

Jamie pushed the door open and paused as it creaked. He breathed in deeply. Cigar smoke. Expensive. Didn’t the old boy know smoking was bad for your health? But the carpet was lovely! Thick. Far more expensive than that stuff Mam and Pop got on sale from Carpet Worth. Jamie flexed his knees and felt the thick, soft pile give beneath him. Class. He switched on his torch to check the soles of his shoes. No wet, no dirt. Good. Torch off. He didn’t want to leave muck on this carpet; that would be criminal.

Shit! He jumped. A mirror on the cupboard door gave him a fright! He thought it was a burglar dodging against him. Jamie didn’t like to fight. Violence wasn’t his game. He felt all hot and sweaty. He stood still for a moment, holding his chest while his heartbeat returned to normal. Then he looked around. Two doors to the left, two doors to the right, and in front of him a staircase and a door. He opened the first door on the left and slipped into the room. He was pleased; this was the room with the French windows. Jamie unlocked them, just in case he needed an escape route. As Pop always said, you couldn’t be too careful.

He kept the torch on low beam and swept the light around the room. He started at the mantelpiece and shoved the silver and ornaments into his Asda bag. Shocking having to pay 5p for a plastic bag now. Daylight robbery. As opposed to nighttime robbery.

Moving over to the desk, he found a thick roll of cash. Lucky. And a cheque book. Did anybody still use these? Very old-fashioned. He stuck it in his pocket anyway. Bingo! Boxes: jewellery boxes; watch boxes. Nice. Lots of gold, bracelets, necklaces, and rings with big sparkly stones. The watches were impressive: a Rolex, and this one: a Breitling Transocean thingy. Well over £20k. Sweet.

Jamie was clearing the contents of the boxes into his pockets and congratulating himself on his cleverness when he heard a creak. He stopped. Listened. Shit! The front door. Lucky it needed oil, really. Who was it? Piss.

Jamie heaved his stash into his pockets and his bag, and shoved the cash down his trousers. Didn’t even have time to examine his haul.

***

Sir Peter Myerscough came back early. He came back alone. That day he had had to brief the First Minister on the action taken to contain the suspected terrorist threat in Broughty Ferry, then he had taken his parliamentary researcher for dinner. It did not take long to get through the three courses and coffee at the New Club. He had tipped off the staff to keep the meal coming.

He was both saddened and furious that the girl was leaving, because she was lovely. He would have been proud to have her as a daughter: he would have been more proud to have her on his arm. What eye candy! He was disappointed he had never got into her pants. It was such a pity she had never been up for it with him.

Her leaving now was bloody inconvenient because her salary was cheap, while she was efficient and easy on the eye. She was also damn good at her job. This was a most unusual combination, and Sir Peter had no doubt that his assistant would be all but impossible to replace on those terms.

He chose not to express his irritation. After all, she was moving to that dreadful tabloid The Nation’s Voice. As the Justice Minister, Sir Peter suspected that sooner, rather than later, it would be useful to have a little goodwill at that reactionary rag. So he swallowed his pride, paid for dinner and made polite chitchat with the young woman this evening. He wanted to make sure that she could not think too badly of him in the end.

Arriving home, Sir Peter staggered slightly as he got out of the taxi and handed the driver £20 for the £10 journey. He felt obliged to keep up appearances. He stared at the door, wondering why it was open. He walked sideways up the path. Can’t be too careful. As he reached the door he pushed it a bit harder than he had intended. It creaked painfully then bounced back. He shoved it again, more gently. It stayed a little further open. He knew he had locked it and put on the alarm. At least, he thought he had put on the alarm. So why was the front door open? He hadn’t even put his key in the lock, but the door offered no resistance at all and the alarm was off. Monika was visiting her aunt in Switzerland. She would not be back until later in the month. He did not like to admit it, but he missed her. Ever since Louise had died, he had never got used to coming back to an empty house.

Since being widowed seventeen years ago, he avoided serious commitment to the fairer sex but always ensured a string of attractive young women with uncomplicated agendas vied to fill the void in his life. Monika was the latest, and had lasted the longest. He did rather like her; although she was not intelligent, she was tall, absolutely stunning, and attentive in the bedroom. The shoulder massage she gave was beyond compare. Still, she did have expensive tastes. In her absence, he would call the agency for some company. His mind wandered as he smiled and thought about which one to choose. Who would offer him most?

He was brought back to the present abruptly as he heard a floorboard squeak in the ground-floor living room that he used as an office. Sir Peter flicked on the lights. He frowned and entered the room swiftly. He was appalled by the space on his mantelpiece and the mess around his desk, on the floor. What was going on?

Then he caught sight of the thief. The bastard was right there, red-handed, rooting about. For the love of God: the violation! That desk was private. It held his late wife’s jewellery, his watches, his valuables, his emergency cash, and his stuff – even his expenses receipts. Sir Peter let rip a blood-curdling yell that echoed around the house.

***

Oh fuck! Jamie looked up in horror, but luckily his hood hid his face. He grabbed as much extra as he could, stuffing his pockets with sparkles, watches and gold, then he was off, disappearing through the French windows. Glad he had had the foresight to unlock them, but then, Pop had taught him well. He ran.

Bugger those tight shoes. Great for avoiding detection; not so great for ensuring escape.

Hunter's Chase book cover

On Writing

I am delighted to be with my friend Nina Romano on her blog today. We share a love of reading and writing: this is a powerful link.

emmaI believe that to be a good writer you must first develop a love of reading and stories and telling stories. I remember when my younger sister and I were little girls our Mum used to make time to sit and read us stories on a Sunday afternoon. These were not like bed-time stories, on a Sunday we would get to sit in the ‘good’ living room and she would read us books including ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens, ‘King Solomon’s Mines’ by H. Rider Haggard,’Swallows Amazons by Arthur Ransome and ‘Emma’ by Jane Austin.

We loved listening to the stories but after we were in bed, having heard another story, my sister often could not get to sleep right away, so I would make up my own stories to tell her until she fell asleep. The first book I ever wrote was one of these stories, an adventure entitled ‘The Douglas Family’. I was about 9. I always planned to write a sequel, maybe one day I will.

It is often said that when we are teenagers we rebel and when we grow older we become ourselves again. It was certainly true of me! I have always read voraciously but my writing, for many years was confined to studies, work and journals. However, when I was older, I discovered blogging. It was when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My way of coping during my treatment was to revert to type. I read all I could about the disease and began to blog about my journey at www.survivingbreastcancernow.com However, I have also always enjoyed good food and loved to travel. It is said I would go to the opening of a paper bag! So I decided to start another blog to encompass these interests. Whenever I go anywhere, or go out to eat, I will share the experience here at wwwhotelandrestaurantreviews.com – to date it has not resulted in free meals, but I live in hope!

It was also during the time that I was recovering from cancer that I began my book review site. For almost a year I was too ill, first from the disease and then from the cure, to do very much. However, I could read: and I did, even more than I ever had. It seemed sensible to extend my blogging to include reviews of the books I was reading, so my third blog,www.bookreviewstoday.info was born. I began to get asked by writers to review their books and I am always happy to do that. I do not make a charge, but I receive many excellent novels and biographies in return for my honest reviews.

I always enjoy reading books by writers that are new to me, as well as those with whose work I am familiar. I just like to read. I have always found that reading can take you to a all kinds of places to meet different people. Perhaps it is my love of travel, this time through the medium of the written word. This was a great way for me to escape, especially from myself, when I was ill.

I particularly enjoy sharing my views on books I have read, I read a lot of book reviews too. When I am reading a book review, I am looking for an honest opinion about the book. I also like to learn a bit about the author, their background and how they came to write the novel. It is also important that any review, like any other piece of writing holds my interest but please, please don’t spoil my enjoyment of the story by telling me what happens! That really upsets me.

My own debut crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ is to be published by Crooked Cats Books in February next year, so I will have to get used to being on the other side of reviews. My goodness, hat is a daunting thought.

In ‘Hunter’s Chase’ my story is set in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Setting is very important to me in my writing, even when I wrote ‘The Douglas Family’ for my sister all those years ago, I could visualise the house the family lived in, each room and the garden in which they had so many of their adventures.Vicky's Edinburgh 1

I did consider creating an imaginary town for my protagonist, DI Hunter Wilson. However, I know the city of Edinburgh well as I lived there for many years and it has everything a writer could need. It is a diverse city with all different kinds of buildings and people. It is small enough that characters can move around it quickly and large enough for it to be credible that anything I want to happen there, could happen.

Edinburgh is also a beautiful city with a castle, a palace and a cathedral, wealthy homes, horrible slums, fine restaurants, fast food outlets and idiosyncratic pubs. It is home to an Olympic size pool, the National Rugby Team and two famous football teams. It also hosts the Edinburgh International Festivals every August. What more could I or my characters want?author's photograph

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 ballet dancer or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her first crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ set in Edinburgh, Scotland will be published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. She is now writing the sequel, ‘Hunter’s Revenge’.

‘The Emporium’ a short story by guest author Andrew Roberts

Andy RobertsToday I am delighted that my friend Andrew Roberts is visiting my blog to share his short story, ‘The Emporium’. Andy is an accountant by profession and a writer by choice. We share a love of telling stories and attending Swanwick Writers’ Summer School. We both very much hope you enjoy this tale.

The Emporium

I have always been very bad at buying gifts. My cousin’s birthday was two days away and I still had no idea what to get him, and then I saw the shop. I had not seen it before, had not heard ‘word on the street’ about it, either. I was simply walking home from work and there it stood on the corner: ‘The Emporium of Strange Delights’.

It was hard to ignore when its somewhat gothic facade stood out from the rest of the shops on the High Street. As always, curiosity getting the better of me I stepped inside in the hope of finding some interesting gift. My cousin had a profound interest in all things horror so I figured there should be a good find or two to be made.

The interior was dark with thick cobwebs adorning every shelf, every nook and every cranny. I don’t how many of them were decorative. Perhaps none of them. A man stood behind the counter, a pallid-looking figure with dark-rimmed eyes that hinted at an aversion to natural light. Maybe he was a hard-core gamer

‘Welcome,’ he looked me up and down as if I were a museum exhibit. That look along with his Vincent Price voice sent shivers down my spine. ‘May I be of assistance?’

‘Hi … I’m just browsing.’ I mumbled.

He didn’t react to my comment, didn’t even move, but I could feel his gaze following me around the room.

As unnerving as the shopkeeper appeared, as eerie as the Emporium felt, I was impressed by the variety of weird and wonderful items filling the shelves and peeking from behind the veils of cobwebs. Like my cousin, I too was a scholar of the arcane, so I recognised much of the paraphernalia, and there were trinkets aplenty suitable for any birthday. Some Voodoo dolls and chicken feet; myriad charms used in Ancient Egyptian funeral rites; forbidden tomes of eldritch power. They all appeared to be real.

There were many assorted boxes of bric-a-brac, and as many more filled with those trashy things most folks use for Halloween decorations. And for no explainable reason a box of selfie sticks!

‘One of our more … nefarious products,’ the shopkeeper said, eyeing my reflection in a pock-marked mirror. I snorted in disbelief.

Knowing my cousin’s predilection for the unusual I felt something magical would be a good choice, and my sights were soon set on gnarled, wrinkled hand, more animal than human.

‘What’s this?’ I asked.

‘It is … an appendage, which grants your every desire.’ The shopkeeper was suddenly standing behind me, his cold breath raising the hairs on my neck. I hadn’t heard him move across the room.

‘It does?’ I paused, searching my mind for a certain memory. ‘That reminds me—’ I started to say. ‘That is I am sure that I have once read of this … a monkey’s paw? But I cannot recall… How much?’

monkey paw

‘I shall accept whatever payment you deem appropriate. But take care what you wish for, because you should know that every wish carries with it a heavy price.’

I thought for a moment. The Emporium was in an up and coming area so I didn’t think the shop would be trading for very long. I had to take the opportunity to buy now else the opportunity would be lost. Despite my better judgement I could not resist buying the ugly old paw.

After all, I thought, what could possibly go wrong?

Andrew Roberts

On Writing

I remember when my younger sister and I were little girls our Mum used to make time to sit and read us emmastories on a Sunday afternoon. These were not like bed-time stories, on a Sunday we would get to sit in the ‘good’ living room and she would read us books including ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens, ‘King Solomon’s Mines’ by H. Rider Haggard,’Swallows Amazons by Arthur Ransome and ‘Emma’ by Jane Austin.

We loved listening to the stories but after we were in bed, having heard another story, my sister often could not get to sleep right away, so I would make up my own stories to tell her until she fell asleep. The first book I ever wrote was one of these stories, an adventure entitled ‘The Douglas Family’. I was about 9. I always planned to write a sequel, maybe one day I will.

Only years later was I converted to the world of blogging.

It is often said that when we are teenagers we rebel and when we grow older we become ourselves again. It was certainly true of me! I have always read voraciously but my writing, for many years was confined to studies, work and journals. However, when I was older, I contracted breast cancer. My way of coping was to revert to type. I read all I could about the disease and began to blog about my journey at www.survivingbreastcancer.com.food 1

However, I have also always enjoyed good food and loved to travel. It is said I would go to the opening of a paper bag! So I decided to start another blog to encompass these interests. Whenever I go anywhere, or go out to eat, I will share the experience here at www.hotelandrestaurantreviews.com – to date it has not resulted in free meals, but I live in hope.

It was also during the time that I was recovering from cancer that I began my book review site. For almost a year I was too ill, first from the disease and then from the cure, to do very much. However, I could read: and I did, even more than I ever had. It seemed sensible to extend my blogging to include reviews of the books I was reading, so my third blog, www.bookreviewstoday.info was born. I began to get asked by writers to review their books and I am always happy to do that. I do not make a charge, but I receive many excellent novels and biographies in return for my honest reviews.

books

I always enjoy reading books by writers that are new to me, as well as those with whose work I am familiar. I just like to read. I have always found that reading can take you to a all kinds of places to meet different people. Perhaps it is my love of travel, this time through the medium of the written word. This was a great way for me to escape, especially from myself, when I was ill.

When I am reading a book review, I am looking for an honest opinion about the book. I also like to learn a bit about the author, their background and how they came to write the novel. It is also important that any review, like any other piece of writing holds my interest but please, please don’t spoil my enjoyment of the story by telling me what happens! That really upsets me.author's photograph

My own debut crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ is to be published by Crooked Cats Books in February next year, so I will have to get used to being on the other side of reviews. That is a daunting feeling.

Individual aspects of creating a novel are interesting. Setting is very important to me in my writing, even when I wrote ‘The Douglas Family’ for my sister all those years ago, I could visualise the house the family lived in, each room and the garden in which they had so many of their adventures.Vicky's Edinburgh 1

In ‘Hunter’s Chase’ my story is set in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Crooked Cat Books will publish the novel on 02.02.2018. I did consider creating an imaginary town for him. However, I know the city of Edinburgh well as I lived there for many years and it has everything a writer could need. It is a diverse city with all different kinds of buildings and people. It is small enough that characters can move around it quickly and large enough for it to be credible that anything I want to happen there, could happen.

Edinburgh is also a beautiful city with a castle, a palace and a cathedral, wealthy homes, horrible slums, fine restaurants, fast food outlets and idiosyncratic pubs. It is home to an Olympic size pool, the National Rugby Team and two famous football teams. It is also home to The Edinburgh International Festivals, what more could I or my characters want?

Val Penny

Edinburgh, The Setting for ‘Hunter’s Chase’

edinburgh Firth_of_Forth_from_Edinburgh_Castle

I chose Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, as the setting for my novel ‘Hunter’s Chase’. The book will be published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. Edinburgh is a beautiful city of around half a million people. The city is situated on the south banks of the Firth of Forth. There are some lovely views across the Forth from Edinburgh to the county of Fife on the north of the river. There are three bridges crossing the Firth of Forth: the oldest is the Forth Rail Bridge, built in the nineteenth century, the Forth Road Bridge was built in the twentieth century and the most modern, a bridge for road traffic was completed in the early part of this century, named the Queensferry Crossing.

edinburgh bridges

The delegated parliament of Scotland, that has wide powers over how the people are governed, meets in the Scottish Parliament Building, in the Holyrood district of the city. Following a referendum in 1997, in which the Scottish electorate voted for devolution, the current Parliament was convened by the Scotland Act of 1998 which sets out its powers as a devolved legislature. Since September 2004, the official home of the Scottish Parliament has been a  new Scottish Parliament Building in the Holyrood area of Edinburgh. The Scottish Parliament building was designed by Spanish architect Enric Miralles. There was much concern at the time as the building was completed many years late and several times over budget.

edinburgh parliament

The main protagonist of ‘Hunter’s Chase’ is Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson. He lives in Leith, an area to the north of the City and drinks in his local pub, the Persevere Bar. His home is also close to one of the main soccer grounds in Edinburgh, the Hibernian Football Ground. Hibernian Football Club, commonly known as Hibs, is a Scottish professional football club based in Leith.

edinburgh persevere

The other main character, Detective Constable Tim Myerscough lives across the city from Hunter, in the south-west of the city. He moves into a flat Gillespie Crescent between Tollcross and Bruntsfield. His local pub in the Golf Tavern, off the Bruntsfield Links.edinburgh gillespie cres

A wonderful free activity to do all year round is to play golf on Brunstfield Links. It is believed to be one of the oldest sites of golf as it pre-dates the seventeenth century, the short hole course was founded in 1895. Situated south of Melville Drive, there are two courses available to play on. A summer short 36 hole course (open end of April to September) and a 9 hole winter course (open October to end of April).edinburgh golf links

DC Tim Myerscough’s father, Sir Peter Myerscough, lives even further to the south in the Morningside district of Edinburgh. From his large house he has fine views across the Pentland Hills. The Pentland hills are situated just outside of Edinburgh. The reservoirs are picturesque and each hill is slightly different. If you are fit enough, you can go on top of all of the hills in one day. edinburgh Pentland_Hills_From_Caerketton_Hill_II

Edinburgh is such a diverse and cultural city, home to The Edinburgh International Festivals that represent all aspects of art, three universities and several colleges and the Scottish national rugby ground at Murrayfield. It is the perfect place to situate ‘Hunter’s Chase’ and the mysteries DI Hunter Wilson has to solve.

#hunterschase

Val Penny

More about a main character in ‘Hunter’s Chase’

One of the main characters of my new novel ‘Hunter’s Chase is Detective Constable Tim Myerscough. The book will be published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. In the meantime, let me tell you a bit about Tim.cats-kittens-mothers-day

Like me, Tim is a cat lover. I have owned and bred cats all my life, but I have never blue burmese cats 2owned a pedigree cat. My cats have always been ‘history of cat in one volume’.

 

Tim, however, has a beautiful Burmese pedigree cat named Lucy. Burmese cats have short, silky and shiny coat that can be dark brown, champagne, platinum, blue or creamy brown in colour: Lucy is a blue Burmese.

As is usual for her breed, Lucy is portrayed as friendly and curious. She is also is highly intelligent and seeks out human blue burmese catcompanionship. This reflects Tim’s character well too. Lucy adores Tim and when he is sitting down, she wants to be on his lap or right next to him, waiting expectantly to be petted. She gets huffy if Tim ignores her and, when she is sleeping, she is happiest curled up on his bed beside him.

Val Penny

Slang Names for Police Officers

robert peelDetective Inspector Hunter Wilson is the main protagonist of my debut crime novel ‘Hunter’s Chase’ that is to be published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. When I was writing the book, I had to consider various words that are used to describe police officers by those people in Scotland who are not members of the force.

The oldest ones I came across were ‘bobbies’ and ‘peelers’. The metropolitan Police Force in London, England was established by Sir Robert Peel who lived from 1788-1850. He served as a member of the Conservative party and was Prime Minister of The United Kingdom twice: The first time from 1834-35 and later from 1841-1846. However, it was when he was Home Secretary (1822–1827), that he reformed and liberalised the criminal law and created the modern police force, leading to a new type of officer known in tribute to him as “bobbies” (Bobby being a contraction of his first name, Robert)  and “peelers” (an obvious corruption of his surname).

Another common slang term for police officers in Scotland is “copper”. There is a common but mistaken belief that it refers to the police uniform’s buttons or badge being made of copper, however, it was originally used in Britain to mean “someone who captures”. In British English, the term cop is recorded (Shorter Oxford Dictionary) in the sense of ‘to capture’ from 1704, derived from the Latin capere via the Old French caper. The term “copper” is often abbreviated to “cop”.police pictures

“Filth” has moved from literature to common usage in the United Kingdom. In fact it is normally used as “The Filth”, meaning the police. The inspiration for this is the novel by Scottish author Irvine Welsh, “Filth”. Another slang term for police officers is “fuzz” or “the fuzz”. This term also found its way into art as the title of the 2009 comedy film “Hot Fuzz”. “Plod” or “the Plod” is another nickname for police officers that finds its source in British fiction. In this case, the children’s author Enid Blyton wrote stories about her character Noddy who lived in Toytown where Mr Plod was the policeman.

The phrase “the long arm of the law” is probably the source of the slang term for the police “the law”. The idea of the phrase is that no matter how far they run, all criminals are eventually caught and prosecuted successfully. Certainly, my characters DI Hunter Wilson and the members of his team are keen to ensure that this was true.Police-Scotland pictures

 

“Pig” is another derogatory term for the police in common use in Scotland. It was frequently used during the 19th century but  disappeared for a while, and reappeared during the 20th and 21st century. It became frequently used again during the 1960s and 1970s in the underground and anti-establishment culture. However, in Glasgow, Scotland the term “polis” (with the emphasis on the ‘o’) is common too. As my novel ‘Hunter’s Chase’ is set in Edinburgh, I avoided that Glasgow slang.

There are certainly many slang terms and nicknames for police officers in use in Scotland, most of them are derogatory and used freely and interchangeably by those outwith the police force.

Val Penny

 

Thirty-three Connection support the launch of Hunter’s Chase

Fabulous news! the Edinburgh band Thirty-three Connection have agreed that I can use their hit single ‘In the Rain’ during the online launch of ‘Hunter’s Chase’ when it is 33published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. You can hear the track and watch the official video on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFF2_JrN8O0

I last heard Thirty-three Connection in concert in Edinburgh, Scotland and thought their most recent hit, ‘In the Rain’ was the perfect music for my new novel set in the short autumnal days of an Edinburgh November.

I hope you will think so too. You will find Thirty-three Connection on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pg/thirtythreeconnection/photos/?ref=page_internal

Val Penny

Friends of Hunter’s Chase

I have established a new Facebook group, Friends of Hunter’s Chase. You will find it photos fettesat https://www.facebook.com/groups/296295777444303/ . Please join me there for news about DI Hunter Wilson, his police colleagues and his life in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In Hunter’s Chase Hunter has been promoted to Detective Inspector since the former Chief Constable, Sir Peter Myerscough resigned. Now Hunter is face with Sir Peter’s son, Tim moving photos edinburghinto his team. He is not looking forward to having another member of this family in his life.

Crooked Cat will publish Hunter’s Chase on 02.02.2018.

Val Penny