Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview & #GuestPost Fingerprint Technology ~ Poetic Justice by @RCBridgestock @DomePress #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Series #Yorkshire

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Poetic Justice by R.C. Bridgestock
Review Copy
Synopsis:

When Detective Jack Dylan heads home after a residential course, he has no idea that an extraordinary succession of events is about to turn his life upside down. A vicious, unprovoked attack is just the start. Soon his wife is dead and his step-daughter – dangerously depressed – is being expelled from university for drug use. And at work, two teenagers have gone missing.

An ordinary man might break under the strain, but Dylan is no ordinary man. He knows that his survival depends on him carrying on regardless, burying himself in his work.

He is determined to pursue the criminal elements behind the events – both personal and professional – whether his superiors like it or not. And, as his family disintegrates around him, a newcomer to the admin department, Jennifer Jones, seems to offer some sort of salvation.

Life may have changed, but nothing will stand in the way of Dylan’s quest for justice.

My Review:

The prequel novel opens at the scene of a fatal car accident, the female passenger is announced DOA. It isn’t until the vehicle is discovered to be that of Jack Dylan’s, that we become aware of the significance of this accident.
It will be an accident which will change Jack’s life forever….

‘If I can’t have you, then no one else will either’

The novel then jumps 10 days previously to the car accident, to show the build up to the accident. Also the rocky relationship between Jack and his wife Kay.
We learn that Jack had recently attended a police residential course. Whilst Kay has been dealing with an obsessive admirer.

The novel also deals with the grooming of two local school girls from the Field Colt Children’s Home. I think it is exceptional brave of the authors to tackle this very modern crime. A crime that has been exposed as being widespread across the UK, including police/councils in northern England, the Midlands and the south.
How do grooming gangs establish control? How do they ensure their prey remain silent?

“The protectors are turning out to be the abusers” – Jack Dylan

This is a police procedural with incredible depth. I felt as though all the dominant characters within the story were dealing with their inner demons. From Jack and his police work, to Kay and her admirer, to Isla and her coming-of-age at Uni and new police admin recruit Jen from the Isle Of Wight.
With the car crash the personal lives EXPLODE!

Between the grooming case, car accident & personal lives of those involved, their are heart-breaking moments a plenty.
Can Jack solve the mystery of the car accident whilst supporting his daughter in the aftermath of her mother’s death?
Can the police involved track down every individual involved in the grooming of local teens? will the powerful and elite endeavour to cover the scandal up?

‘I want not stone unturned in this case’  5* 

Guest Post ~ Fingerprint Technology: 

“You left your ‘dabs’ at the scene mate that’s how we know you were there,” said many a Copper to a suspect.

Bob spent thirty years as a career detective in West Yorkshire Police retiring at the rank of Detective Superintendent (SIO), the Senior Investigative Officer in charge of major crime, including murder. During that time he witnessed, and was grateful for, the advancement of forensic technology into what would become known after his retirement in 2003, as the digital age. I also worked for seven-teen years in the administration department in the same police force and at one point my role was the administrative support to the Process Sergeant. Sowerby Bridge Police Station was the HQ of Calder Valley Police – as seen in the award-winning BBC police drama Happy Valley, which we were storyline and police advisers. In the process sergeants office I watched daily suspects / pris-oners fingerprinted by police officers, using the old roller and inkpad.

Brief timeline fingerprint identification:

Juan Vucetich, an Argentine Police officer in 1892, made the first fingerprint identification at a crime scene. He also opened the world’s first fingerprinting bureau in Calcutta, India in 1897.
The first United Kingdom Fingerprint Bureau was founded in Scotland Yard in 1901.

Around 1870, French anthropologist Alphonse Bertillon devised a system to measure and record the dimensions of certain body parts of the body. These measurements were reduced to a formula, which theoretically would apply only to one person and would not change during his / her adult life.

In 1880 Dr Henry Faulds, in Tokyo used fingerprints to identity someone who had left a stray bottle lying around. He matched the fingerprints left on the bottle with a laboratory worker.

In 1892 bloody fingerprints left on a doorframe were used to identify a murderer in Argentina. During that same year, certain police groups started keeping fingerprint files.

In 1901 after the success in Argentina and India, Scotland Yard began questioning whether it would be a useful system for England.

The Bertillon system was generally accepted for thirty years until an event in 1903, when a man named Will West was sentenced in the US, and it was discovered at this time that another prisoner at the penitentiary had Bertillon measurements that were nearly the same, intact similar enough for them to be identified as the same person. Upon investigation it was discovered that the other per-son, William West, was Will West’s identical twin brother.

In 1905 the American military branches began using fingerprints. The National Bureau of Criminal Investigation also began keeping track of the fingerprints on file and in 1924, with the advancement of technology, cataloguing fingerprints in America. By 1971 they had over 200 million fingerprints on file.

In 1990 with the advancement of technology, programs began using Automated Fingerprint Identifi-cation Systems. The AFIS scanned and sorted fingerprints electronically.

But, we can go back as early as China – 200 BC – where Chinese records from the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) include details about using handprints as evidence during burglary investigations, would you believe?

Of course there are other visible human characteristics we can use to identify people such as facial features, but these tend to change considerably with age, however fingerprints are relatively con-sistent. Barring injuries or surgery causing deep scarring, or diseases such as leprosy damaging the formative layers of friction ridge skin, finger and print features have never been shown to move or change their relationship throughout the life of a person (and injuries, scarring and diseases tend to exhibit telltale indicators of unnatural change).

Did you know:

1. Fingerprints are one of the last things to disappear when you die, the friction ridges are remarka-bly long-lasting even if a body has been in water.

2. Fingerprints can grow back.

We have known criminals who have purposely used methods, including harsh chemicals to remove their fingerprints so they wouldn’t leave evidence at the scene of a crime. What they actually did was make themselves even more unique.

More common, are those who do not want to leave fingerprints at a scene and will use less painful methods such as wearing socks on their hands – a typical trait of a burglar who also doesn’t want to look suspicious by carrying Marigold type gloves in his pockets, should they be stopped and checked, and possibly be accused of ‘going equipped to commit crime’.

When I took on the role of ‘Property Clerk’ at SB in 1988 this did not just include looking after the ‘Connected and Miscellaneous’ property such as firearms, monies, and drugs seized by the police but also victims’ and prisoners’ property for future court purposes. I was puzzled in the beginning as to why there were so many socks and gloves seized until I was told that it was a telltale sign if a prisoner had no socks on his feet when caught. That this might mean they had been discarded post crime, near to the scene. What the offender didn’t realise was if the police found them, and turned the plastic gloves inside out they would find the perpetrators fingerprints! A certain type of glove used consistently by a perpetrator will also link a series of crimes for the investigator.

Brothers Alfred Edward Stratton, and his brother Albert Ernest Stratton were the first men to be con-victed in Great Britain for murder based on fingerprint evidence. Both were executed at 9am on 23rd May 1905 at HM Prison Wandsworth.

Thankfully gone are the days when I had to cover the prisoners’ hands in ink with a roller. Carefully roll each finger 180 degrees on a fingerprint form which noted each finger individually, and press the palm down, including the beginning of the wrist on the reverse. Even with socks or gloves covering the hands some perpetrators, when climbing, caught the lower part of the palm, or the wrist became uncovered and they would leave a much-coveted mark for the police officer.

This operation was not easy with a cooperative prisoner, but can you begin to imagine how hard it was to take fingerprints this way from an uncooperative one?

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Fingerprint forms for both hands would then be sent through the police internal mail system to HQ,where they would be examined. If the quality was not good enough or errors had been made then the forms would be sent back to the officer for them to see the suspect concerned again, to take another set of prints. The subsequent scanned prints against unidentified marks lifted from crime scenes of crimes have great success.

We touched on the AFIS system (Automatic Fingerprint Identification System) and a National data-base IDENT 1: The United Kingdom’s central national database for holding, searching and compar-ing biometric information on those who come into contact with the police as detainees after being arrested. Information held includes fingerprints, palm prints and scene of crime marks.

This was, in my time, only able to be achieved in the bridewell but revolutionary technology now en-ables mobile units to use the electronic devices that are no bigger than an iPad without the mess or fiddle-fuddle. An officer simply placed the hand of a suspect upon the screen and the computer does the rest. If the suspect is recorded the officer will have their correct details quickly.

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Apart from fingerprints and palm prints, the soles of bare feet, toes and ear prints have been used successfully.

So the process of fingerprinting has been brought into the twenty-first century but it doesn’t stop here. We are very proud to say that work being done by West Yorkshire Police (the force where we spent our collective 47 years service), and Sheffield Hallam University are presently developing something called Mass Spectroscopy. In simple terms they vaporise the sample, and then fire it through an electronic and magnetic field.

How this works: particles of different mass behave differently under these conditions, which allows the team to identify molecules within the print and from this they are able to assist the investigator with the following:

Male or female / understand if a person touched or taken drugs / ingested substances which also may assist in identifying the lifestyle of the individual.

In the past marks (fingerprints) lifted from crime scenes were sometimes deemed ‘not good enough’ for court purpose – typically a smudged mark. These ‘rejections’ that didn’t achieve the required standard were useless, and annoyingly for the officer on the case, they wouldn’t be accepted as evi-dence and included on the case file against the accused.

Mass spectroscopy deals with this in a positive way, and ultimately the gap that the perpetrator may have previously slipped though will be sealed, and the marks will now be good enough for the courts.

The new technology will also be a useful tool in the investigator toolbox for identifying an unknown offenders’ characteristics – it may not give the police the offenders name but it will point them in the right direction ie. man, woman, drug user…

Ever advancing technology helps the investigator to link criminals to crime scenes.

And my view on that?

Amen!

RC
R.C. Bridgestock
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost #Location #Inpiration Black Moss by @Nolanwriter #MancNoir @fahrenheitpress #NewRelease #Mystery

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Black Moss by David Nolan
Synopsis:

In April 1990, as rioters took over Strangeways prison in Manchester, someone killed a little boy at Black Moss.

And no one cared.

No one except Danny Johnston, an inexperienced radio reporter trying to make a name for himself.

More than a quarter of a century later, Danny returns to his home city to revisit the murder that’s always haunted him.

If Danny can find out what really happened to the boy, maybe he can cure the emptiness he’s felt inside since he too was a child.

But finding out the truth might just be the worst idea Danny Johnston has ever had.

Guest Post:

Location/Inspiration

One of the main characters in the book isn’t a person at all – it’s the landscape around Manchester. It dominates. You can even see the hills from the city centre – they cup Manchester like a horseshoe. You can’t get away from them. The moors around Oldham, in particular, are especially bleak and unforgiving. In parts there isn’t even a tree to break up the view. The vista is as intimidating as anything you’d get in Scandinavia and sometimes almost as snowbound. It’s not necessarily what you’d think of when the word ‘Manchester’ is mentioned is it? But it’s true.

We’ve had plenty of ‘Scandi Noir’…Black Moss is ‘Manc Noir’.

The original idea came to me when I was out walking. I came across a reservoir way up in the hills that had a beach. Ian Brown, lead singer of The Stone Roses has a famous quote: ‘Manchester’s got everything, apart from a beach.’ It appears he was wrong. Here was a beach. I had a notion: ‘If I was going to dump a body somewhere, this is where I’d do it.’ Then I thought: ‘What a really weird thing to cross my mind.’ I looked at the map to see what the reservoir was called. It was called Black Moss.
Such a great name. Black Moss. Wow.

I couldn’t see another human being as far as I looked in every direction, yet in the distance I could see the skyline on Manchester City Centre. I thought that if anything happened to me here, I’d be done for. Yet I can see Manchester. Help is near, yet so far away. It gave me the chills. It all started from that thought, though there were several years between me seeing the beach and starting the book.

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David Nolan
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost The Golden Orphans by @GaryRaymond_ #Psychological #Thriller #Cyprus @ParthianBooks @damppebbles

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The Golden Orphans by Gary Raymond
Synopsis:

Within the dark heart of an abandoned city, on an island once torn by betrayal and war, lies a terrible secret…

Francis Benthem is a successful artist; he’s created a new life on an island in the sun. He works all night, painting the dreams of his mysterious Russian benefactor, Illy Prostakov. He writes letters to old friends and students back in cold, far away London. But now Francis Benthem is found dead. The funeral is planned and his old friend from art school arrives to finish what Benthem had started. The painting of dreams on a faraway island. But you can also paint nightmares and Illy has secrets of his own that are not ready for the light. Of promises made and broken, betrayal and murder…

The Golden Orphans offers a new twist on the literary thriller.

Guest Post:

Gary Raymond explains how the ghost of Graham Greene helped him write his new literary thriller based on the island of Cyprus.

In June of 2006, just a few weeks after being made redundant from a job I hated, I found myself in Cyprus working in a beach bar for my cousin just outside of Ayia Napa. Back then Ayia Napa was notorious, so the “outside of Ayia Napa” bit is important – I was in essence placed at the outskirts of something, which is of course the correct positioning for a writer. In my twenties, the decade of my life I was in back then, I had a habit of cropping up in places I really had no right to be in. A casual biographer, which would surely be the only one I’d ever earn, might mistake me for some kind of adventurer, but I was always more motivated by the idea – a very simple idea – that going places meant opportunities to gather stories. Whether they ever ended up being written down or not, I was on the move to soak up characters and scenarios and dramas and comedies. But I also knew that where I might be modestly “cropping up”, there was a certain Graham Greene element to it.
In Cyprus I read, for the first time, Greene’s The Power and the Glory, his great rumination on faith and martyrdom all wrapped up in the dust and heat of a chase narrative. Before this book I had been led to believe, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, that literature was a serious business. To read is to gorge on the riches of the human experience, but to write – well this is no laughing matter – it is toil and torment and a thankless task at that. To borrow Angela Carter’s analysis on this subject – “the British put up a strong resistance to the idea that pleasurability might be a valid criterion in the response to literature, just as we remain dubious about the value of the decorative in the visual art”. I may be Welsh, but in so far as my reading habits and my understanding of literature, I was brought up British, with a British education demanding an understanding of a British context and British temperament. I discovered I had been just as under the influence of the Leavisite idea of eating up your broccoli as the rest of Christendom. You see one thing I was never told as a writer – and I am a glutton when it comes ideas about the craft – is that you can, if you really must, have fun.
It was quite the sea change for me. There was a week in Cyprus where an ex-pat couple asked if I’d look after their house while they visited home for a funeral – and I spent that time sitting on a veranda readings books set in hot climates, picking oranges from the tree just arms length from my chair – I read The Power and the Glory a few times over that week. A book that spoke to me about things I wanted to see discussed, and it also kept me turning the page, the action careered forward, every chapter perfectly poised to slip me into the next. It was a revelation.
I’d like to say I saw an affiliation with Greene, but that would be stretching it – his life was perhaps one of the most intriguing in modern literary history and I was basically a penniless hanger on, and not an MI6 agent masquerading as a journalist. The things that Greene was whispering to me back then, however, were not so easily deciphered, and it took another ten years and another two books for me to come back to him and see what I’d been left. I was not, you see, Oxford educated, and was never likely to be courted by MI6, and I was not as focussed or as talented a writer, and well it was a different time – we’d had punk, devolution (in Wales), and I’d frankly spent too much time reading the Americans – Greene would not have approved. But I had one thing important to an affiliation with Greene, in that I was “cropping up”.
Most of the characters in The Golden Orphans are based on real people I met in those six months I was out there. The only question for me, it turned out, was whether I wrote the story of what happened to me while I was out there – or whether I took what I saw and wrote something more fun, more compelling, and more “made up”. As I said, it took another 10 years to get to that, but get to it I did.
I’m not going to try and describe the murkiness of Cyprus to you – that’s what The Golden Orphans tries to do – but suffice it to say it is perhaps strikingly Greenian in its murkiness, in its ability to attract rogues and misfits. Cyprus is quite well-known for how attractive it has been over the years to Russian ne’er-do-wells, but it is also worth noting here the Lebanese pimp, the Egyptian cigarette smuggler, the Greek wideboys and shifty Israelis I met who didn’t make it into the book. There is something of the melting pot about the island, and exactly the sort of place you would have expected to see Greene.
In the end, I think it was Greene who showed me how to write about Cyprus. As a writer you never stop learning from others, but that was a bit of a bombshell.

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Gary Raymond
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost ~ The Truth Is Out There #LyingAndDying by @GrahamBrack #CrimeFiction #NewRelease #JosefSlonsky @SapereBooks

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Lying And Dying by Graham Brack
Synopsis:

What do you do when the poison comes from within…?

The body of a young woman is found strangled by the side of the road.

There are no obvious clues to what happened, apart from the discovery of a large amount of cash concealed on her person.

The brilliant, but lazy, Lieutenant Josef Slonský is put in charge of the case.

With a wry sense of humour, a strong stubborn streak and a penchant for pastries, Slonský is not overly popular with the rest of the police force. But he is paired with the freshly-graduated, overly-eager Navrátil, whom he immediately takes under his wing.

When fingers start to point inwards to someone familiar with police operations, Slonský and Navrátil are put in a difficult position.

If what they suspect is true, how deep does the corruption run? Are they willing to risk their careers in their pursuit of the truth?

Anyone could be lying – and others may be in danger of dying…

Guest Post:

The truth is out there

Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? (John 18:38).

I suppose that any writer of fiction who is not expressly in the world of fantasy has faced Pilate’s question. What is truth? And, whatever it is, does it matter to me?

As a crime novelist, my stories have to be set in a recognisable world; not necessarily one that we currently inhabit, or there would be no historical crime fiction, but one that we either experience or that makes sense to us from our knowledge of the history. But does it need to be true, in the sense of possessing factual accuracy?

Now, before I started crime writing, I would undoubtedly have argued that it must. If Great Britain and Northern Ireland had an Olympic pedantry team I would be a strong contender.

To make the characters fill out, I have to research their biographies so far as I can, but there are undoubtedly gaps, and the author may need to fill them. The most I can do – but also the least I can do – is to ensure that my inventions do not contradict known history.

By the time I wrote the first Mercurius story (my historical crime series, coming soon from Sapere Books!) I already had three Slonský books under my belt, and I confess that I had not thought in any systematic way what the truth amounted to in those tales set in 21st century Prague. They are works of fiction, after all; why do they need to be “true”?

Yet, I think, if they could be easily shown to be factually incorrect it would detract from the stories. I can, and have, taken a few liberties. The Czech police retirement process is, I believe, substantially accurate but if anyone can find a way round it, it would be Slonský, a man who dreads retirement as a vampire fears garlic. The rank system is byzantine; Slonský is described as “Lieutenant”, but there are actually three grades of lieutenant, podporučík, poručík and nadporučík.
I will not weary you with the other fourteen ranks.

While the police headquarters in Prague are where I place them, the internal layout may be very different. I do my research like anyone else, perhaps more diligently than some, but I do not think my readers will hold it against me if a door opens outwards when I have said it opens inwards.

This must always be so. To take one example, the opening scene of Lying and Dying (which is set in 2006) takes place on a small piece of land near a Metro station. When I viewed and photographed it, in 2006, it was as I describe it. There is now a small building on the site. That, of course, has nothing to do with “the truth” in 2006, but as late as 2015 you could have viewed it and recognised it from my description, and now you cannot.

However, where I must keep to the truth is in the biographies of my characters. I keep a database of them, noting the facts of their life (Slonský was born on 11th November 1947, for example) of which some will never appear in the stories. I know his parents’ names, to give one example, but I have never needed to use them. I also note their foibles and characteristics.

Slonský’s sidekick, Navrátil, enjoys long-distance running but is too unco-ordinated to give his girlfriend much of a tennis match. Major Klinger, head of the fraud squad, employs a complicated system of coloured highlighter pens to mark up his notes, so that – for those, like Navrátil, who have troubled to learn it – the text has a meta-text superimposed upon it.

I have no doubt that somewhere in the books there will be solecisms. I comfort myself with the thought that many better authors than me have had those too. I hope they don’t spoil your enjoyment of my stories.

One final thought. Slonský is not autobiographical. I do not know any single person on whom Slonský is based. That is just as well, because having the fictional Slonský causing havoc in my neatly ordered brain can be tough enough.

He is, simply, a good man. In nearly forty years of policing he has done some things which may have been legal, but they were not just, and he is determined to redress that before he bows out. He knows how dirty his hands are, and he assumes that almost everyone of his vintage is the same. That is why he has difficulty in according some people the respect that they think their position merits. He does not know that Burns said “Rank is but the guinea’s stamp”, but he would wholeheartedly approve the sentiment. In Slonský’s eyes, the bigger they are, the harder they fall, and he is determined to train Navrátil the same way. I hope he succeeds.

But don’t take my word for it. Read Lying and Dying and decide for yourself.

GB for Sapere
Graham Brack
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Author Bio:

Graham Brack hails from Sunderland and met his wife Gillian in Aberdeen where they were both studying pharmacy. After their degrees Gillian returned to Cornwall and Graham followed. This is now called stalking but in 1978 it was termed “romantic”. They have two children, Andrew and Hannah, and two grandchildren, Miranda and Sophie.

Graham’s foray into crime writing began in 2010 when he entered the Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger competition and was highly commended for The Outrageous Behaviour of Left-Handed Dwarves (reissued as Lying and Dying), in which the world was introduced to Lt Josef Slonský of the Czech police. The Book of Slaughter and Forgetting (reissued as Slaughter and Forgetting) followed and Sapere Books have published book three, Death On Duty.

In 2014 and 2016 Graham was shortlisted for the Debut Dagger again. The earlier novel, The Allegory of Art and Science, is set in 17th century Delft and features the philosophy lecturer and reluctant detective Master Mercurius.
Sapere Books will publish it as Death in Delft in 2018.

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Anne Bonny #BlogBlitz #GuestPost Heart Swarm by @allanwatson12 @BOTBSPublicity #NewRelease #Mystery #Thriller

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Heart Swarm by Allan Watson
Synopsis:

Heart Swarm – Prepare to be Scared…
It feels like history is repeating itself when out-of-favour detective Will Harlan gets summoned to a crime scene in the village of Brackenbrae after a young girl is found hanging in the woods.

Five years ago Harlan headed up the investigation of an identical murder in the same woods; a mishandled investigation that effectively destroyed his credibility as a detective. The new case immediately takes a bizarre twist when the body is identified as the same girl found hanging in the woods five years ago.

The following day a local man commits suicide and the police find more dead girls hidden in his basement. The case seems open and closed.

Until the killing spree begins.

Harlan finds himself drawn into a dark world where murder is a form of self-expression and human life treated as one more commodity to be used and discarded.

The only clue that links everything is a large oil painting of ‘Sagittarius A’ – a massive black hole at the centre of the galaxy orbited by thirteen stars daubed in blood with the words –

Heart Swarm

Guest Post:

The Loneliness of a Long Distance Writer

Writing is almost as much about ritual as it is about imagination, sweat and sheer willpower. You’ll find most writers have their own personal charms to get them in the zone. For some this can simply be a glass of wine, or a coffee with a chunky Kit-Kat, while others can’t get down to work without whale song piping from their speakers sometimes preceded by ten minutes of meditation, breathing exercises and yoga. Anything goes. It’s all about tricking the brain into opening up and spilling out those precious pearls of perfect prose. Um… alliteration can also be a useful tool.

To get the creative juices flowing, my own ritual revolves around a fusion of music and light. The light provided by four strategically placed Philips Hue globes, tweaked via the supplied app to give a soft focus fairy-grotto ambience. Candles or draped strings of coloured LEDs left over from Xmas work wonders, too. The music is basically whatever iTunes Playlist takes my fancy at the time. Add a glass of gin and a smoke to the mix and I fall into automatic writing mode.

You think this sounds over the top? In that case I’m so glad I never mentioned the glass shelf positioned above my screen where a collection crystals and polished agates are aligned with geometric precision against a phalanx of collectable Zippo lighters, providing me with a focal point to gaze into infinity when considering the merits of the humble colon over the more elaborate semi-colon.

So what happens when the writer gets uprooted from their cosy life-support pods and forced to work in unfamiliar surroundings? For the past six years I’ve been mostly working away from home, living out of a suitcase in a succession of bland and soulless hotel rooms. In theory there’s nothing stopping me getting on with whatever book I’m writing, but getting the magic to seamlessly flow from my fingertips to the screen when away from home isn’t so easy.

Sure, I can stick on my headphones and drip-feed my favourite songs into my bloodstream. I can bring along a string of Xmas lights and drape them over my laptop. I can even keep myself supplied in gin – but there’s always something going on the background to distract and derail my normally dependable train of thought.

Sometimes it’s an inconsiderate clown in the room upstairs Morris-dancing with wooden clogs. Other times it’s the badly hung curtains (six degrees off kilter, I checked with a spirit level app), or weird-shaped stains on the carpet (one definitely resembled a silhouette of Barbara Cartland). After this comes the unpredictable sound of flushing behind the bathroom wall or the hotel air con deciding to impersonate a B52 bomber. And that’s without going into how distracting it can be when the people through the wall decide to have mattress-busting noisy sex without first asking if I mind or not.

Now, instead of slavishly devoting myself to ensuring those pesky sub plots converge properly or trying to subtly drop in a red herring without it stinking up the place like a two-week-old kipper or simply determining a minor character’s fate (pause to check current body count), I find myself looking at Facebook and Twitter. Distractions within distractions, and minor character is getting impatient awaiting his fate as I procrastinate over a picture of a friend’s grilled prawn curry. I quickly decide to kill off minor character to cover up my own ragged attention span. Minor character isn’t happy and says he’ll be talking to his Union Rep. I now realise I’ve been hitting the gin too hard.

I decide to go to bed and sleep. Tomorrow is always another day. I might even buy another Philips Hue globe. And a Zippo. It’s the alignment that’s important.

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Allan Watson
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Author Bio:
Allan Watson is a writer whose work leans towards the dark end of the fiction spectrum. He is the author of seven novels – Dreaming in the Snakepark, Carapace, The Garden of Remembrance, 1-2-3-4, Monochrome, Heart Swarm and Wasp Latitudes.

In between the books, Allan wrote extensively for BBC Radio Scotland, churning out hundreds of comedy sketches, in addition to being a regular contributor for the world famous ‘Herald Diary’.

He occasionally masquerades as a composer/musician, collaborating with crime writer Phil Rickman in a band called Lol Robinson with Hazey Jane II whose albums have sold on four different continents (Antarctica was a hard one to crack)

Allan lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland, but has never worn the kilt or eaten a deep fried Mars Bar. He also once spent three days as a stand-in guitarist for the Bay City Rollers, but he rarely talks much about that…

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