Death of a Doxy

I would like to introduce my guest today, author Chris Longmuir, of Montrose, Scotland.

What a challenge my author/friend, Chris Longmuir, has undertaken. Her latest series of crime novels features Kirsty Campbell, a policewoman in Scotland during and after WWI.

Death of a Doxy is dedicated to the memory of Jean Forsyth Thomson, Dundee’s first policewoman. The fictional Kirsty Campbell goes through much of the lack of acceptance and the condescension that Ms. Thomson did in real life. In Death of a Doxy, Kirsty Campbell does her best to be taken seriously as a competent policewoman, but it is an uphill struggle against the nearly all-male staff. She is keen to prove herself and solve the crime when a local prostitute is murdered.

We sympathize with Kirsty as she faces obstacles typical of the ones that plagued women in the work force nearly 100 years ago. Many of the townspeople thought a woman had no place in the police force. She should be at home minding the children and keeping the house for her husband.

In  Death of a Doxy, a prostitute is killed in the city of Dundee. Ms. Longmuir must keep her characters, the setting, and the events true to post WWI times. Attitudes were different in 1919. Clothing was of a different style. Some postwar food shortages still existed. Many inventions we take for granted today, were not even thought of yet. The author had a huge challenge not to slip up and mention something in her novel that was yet to be invented.

Ms. Longmuir’s writing is convincing as she transports us back to those post WWI days, showing us the frustration Kirsty (and working women of her time) endured.

The closer Kirsty comes to tracking down the killer, the more she puts her own life in danger.

The author keeps the tension rising as she guides us through the investigation.

I felt as if I were watching a movie that kept me well entertained.

About Chris Longmuir

Chris Longmuir is an award winning novelist who has published three novels in her Dundee Crime Series. Night Watcher, the first book in the series, won the Scottish Association of Writers’ Pitlochry Award, and the sequel, Dead Wood, won the Dundee International Book Prize, as well as the Pitlochry Award. Missing Believed Dead is the third book in the series.

Chris also publishes a historical crime series, The Kirsty Campbell Mysteries, set during and just after the Great War. This series features Kirsty Campbell, one of Britain’s first policewomen. There are currently three books in this series; The Death Game, Devil’s Porridge, and Death of a Doxy.

Her crime novels are set in Dundee, Scotland, and have been described as scary, atmospheric, page turners. Chris also writes historical sagas, short stories and historical articles which have been published in America and Britain. Writing is like an addiction to me, Chris says, I go into withdrawals without it.

To find out more about Chris Longmuir and her books, visit her blogsite and her website:



How We Speak

How we speak tells our listeners a lot about us. We don’t need to sound like Wikipedia, but if we sound as if we are uneducated others tend to judge us accordingly.

I find it annoying when a person has purposely taken up the habit of using bad grammar. This usually affects how the person  is perceived  by others, and makes a negative impression.  I see  little advantage to this, unless the poor speaker is desperate to be “one of the boys” (or girls). Perhaps I’m misjudging the reason for that kind of speech, but in some cases I have seen and heard, this seems to fit.

The kind of language I’m talking about is not so much the sentences with the *F* word thrown in  before every noun and verb in the sentence, but rather something more common — using the wrong tense of see, come, say, go, and several other verbs.

Also notice the insecure use of “this” instead of “a” or “the,” with the sentences going higher in pitch at the end so they sound like a question.

Here is an example of a conversation with the errors marked in red:

Me and my buddy seen this ad in the paper? We rented an upstairs room in this boarding house? The first day I gets up early because I hears this noise downstairs? I come down the stairs in a hurry and I seen this guy? He’s leaving the house with this black bag in his hand?

I would’ve went after him, but I never seen which way he went. So I says to my buddy, “Hey buddy! I just seen this burglar take off with this black bag.”

“Oh, that’s just the guy that’s renting the downstairs room. Probably going to school. I think he’s in college.”

“Hmpf! Good thing we got our jobs. We don’t need no grammar lessons. I could’ve went  to college  but I seen the Help Wanted sign. Don’t need no grammar.”

“But your job is to be a reporter. You need good English for that.”

“Naaahhh! I’ll just get Anneli to copy-edit my work for me.”


Have you heard people speaking like this? Why do you think they do it, when they know it’s not good English?

The Longest Nine Months

I first shied away from reading this book because I thought it was going to be all about having babies, not my favourite topic. Luckily for me, I did pick up the book, read it, and enjoyed it. It was not all about babies and pregnancies, although this was a significant factor in the novel. It was more about the relationship between Chand and Campbell.

Chand is of East Indian heritage and Campbell is Caucasian. They are devoted to each other; so much so, that Campbell wears the traditional sari to please her husband, even when other modern East Indian women at their office party are wearing western dress.

No children are planned in their as yet young marriage, so when Campbell finds herself pregnant, major changes loom. Chand is not as thrilled as Campbell had hoped he would be, and the final straw, a possibly flawed baby, threatens to destroy this happy marriage.

I was drawn into the story by Ms Balawyder’s skillful development of her characters. I cared about them. I felt their joys and frustrations,  and empathized with their problems.

Don’t miss reading this heartwarming novel by Carol Balawyder. You can find it here: Just click amazon.

You will also find that Ms. Balawyder has written several other very entertaining books. Although they are inter-connected, they can easily be read as stand-alones. I know you’ll enjoy them all.

Carol Balawyder



Seduction of Santa

I’m pleased to host Emma Calin today. One of my favourite authors, Emma has written another hot police romance for us.

If you like a good story and a bit of hot spice added into the mix, you’ll love this book.

seduction of santa small


For Paula Middleton the season of love is not just Christmas. As a cop on the hard streets of south London she knows the value of mercy. As a woman alone she fills her life with love for others in her community. When her kindness conflicts with the ruthlessness of the law, the heartless system of police discipline moves against her.  Crossing swords with the tough and dominating Max Muswell could be the end of her career or the chance of mind-blowing passion to last a lifetime.

As Christmas lights transform the West End of London into a glittering paradise for those with money, Paula uncovers a scandal of poverty and exploitation controlled by gangsters. In pursuit of justice and the spirit of goodwill to all men, she goes beyond her authority to close in on the crooks. As she falls in love she goes beyond her ability to control herself.

The consummation of her passion fixes the dangerous Max in her heart. Once again she acts with the spontaneity of love and is left crushed and alone. The fearless man she adores sets his face against her enemies and breaks all the laws except the law of Justice.

As Christmas closes in, police authorities react to the plight of the destitute victims of organized criminals and Paula rejoins the fight. With Santa Max once again at her side can they bring Christmas to those with nothing? Can love for all men also become the love of one man for one woman? Can the sparkle of snow find an echo in the sparkle of a diamond to last for every season?

Normal price Kindle: $2.99/£2.50 – Intro launch price 99c/99p.

Paperback: $7.99/£6.99

Universal Buy Link on Amazon :

xmas cracker twitter

‘SEDUCTION OF SANTA’ is the sixth title in Emma Calin’s ‘SEDUCTION SERIES’ of steamy suspense romance stories.

Each ‘SEDUCTION’ book is a stand-alone crime-solving adventure, with a love story woven through the core and a guaranteed happy-ever-after ending. The heroines are sassy British female police officers – as passionate about catching crooks as they are about the men in their lives.  Read them in any order – there are no cliffhangers between books.  Characters make cameo appearances across the series but pre-knowledge of their stories is not necessary. Emma Calin’s police stories are inspired by the real-life experiences of her partner, an ex-London police officer and Interpol detective – with Emma’s own romantic twist!

Other titles include:

Seduction of Combat

Seduction of Dynasty

Seduction of Taste

Seduction of Crowns

Seduction of Dynasty Plus (2-book bargain bundle)

Seduction Series Box Set 1 (books 1-4 in series)

Emma Calin 2015

About Emma Calin

Emma Calin was born in London in 1962. She currently lives in France and the UK.

She has been writing since childhood and has won numerous local, national and international prizes for poetry and short stories, including the East Texas Writers Guild Award in 2017 and the New Apple Award for Ebook Literary Excellence in 2017.

When not writing, Emma likes to kayak or cycle on her tandem in the french countryside and play the trombone – but not at the same time.

Find Emma











I’m so thrilled to announce that Marlie is now available as an e-book and within a day or two will be available as a paperback as well.

My fifth novel takes place on the BC coast again. Must be my favourite place to be. As you follow Marlie’s new life on the remote Queen Charlotte Islands, now called Haida Gwaii, you may be surprised to meet some characters you have met before in The Wind Weeps and in Reckoning Tide.

But Marlie’s story is different from the first two in this grouping. She has several adjustments to make in her first months in the islands. Her experiences in the new home she has chosen send her emotions in all directions. She needs to dig deep to draw on her inner strength.

Unlucky in love, Marlie flees a bad relationship. She accepts a teaching job in the remote Queen Charlotte Islands. The beauty of the islands and the rugged challenge of northern living enthrall her. A good-looking artist has his eye on her. The perfect gentleman. Or is he? And what about that handsome fisherman? Is he just a bit too real for her with his hunting and fishing? Just as Marlie hopes that her life has made a turn for the better, disaster strikes. She is shocked to see her life spiraling downwards yet again. How could she have made such an error in judgement—an error that sets more bad luck in motion?

Not willing to lose control, Marlie takes a deep breath and sets out to get her life back on track. But can she do it alone?

Set in the remote islands of coastal British Columbia, Marlie is a heartfelt romance of love and loss and love again.

Experience the fears and joys of northern island living and delight in a second chance at true love.

You can put Marlie on your Kindle by clicking this link:

Paperback version is now available on amazon as well.

For those with e-readers other than Kindle you may find the version you need at

Book cover:

Painting by Jan Brown

Design by Anita B. Carroll


Your Reputation as a Writer

Are you a writer? Do you care about your writing?

Are you satisfied to publish your work for the world to see, when the quality of your writing is less than perfect? Sadly, some writers don’t care, but believe me, readers care.

Not many writers have flawless manuscripts.  Creativity and the mechanics of writing don’t always go together. Working with a good copy-editor  is essential.

I am a writer and a copy-editor–a good one, I think–and still, before I publish anything, I have another writer read my work and then I hire a copy-editor to read it again. I am always amazed at what they find.

I could read my own words over ten times and not see a mistake, but when I read someone else’s words, any mistakes would leap off the page at me. Why is that?

An author knows what their sentences are going to say. Our brain tricks us into thinking that those words are there, and, especially if we are reading silently, we tend to gloss over errors. When reading someone else’s work, we don’t know what is coming, so we see the mistakes more easily.

Why should you care if your writing is perfect or not?

Readers buy books expecting quality for the money they pay. As a writer, it is your obligation to give them your best.  It is a matter of pride and reputation. Do you want to be known as a good writer, or a sloppy one? Do you only want to publish a “one-hit wonder” and never write again? Would you want people to “wonder” why you bothered to publish that carelessly written “one hit”?

I’ve heard many readers say, “When I see one mistake, okay, I can overlook it, but when there is another and another, I lose track of the story and find myself just looking for that next mistake.” What a horrible thing for someone to say about your book. But so true!

When I skim over the first few pages of a book to see if I want to read it, I usually find bits of dialogue to see how that is written. If it has complicated dialogue tags, such as “inquired, responded, answered, replied, questioned,” and “shouted,” instead of “said” and “asked,” I move on to look for another book. Dialogue tags should be like punctuation–important, but not “in your face.”

I look for correct usage of ordinary words such as “its, it’s, your, you’re, their, there,” and “they’re.” I look for incorrect capitalization of “mom, dad, spring, summer, fall, winter, north, south, east, west, sir, madam, heaven, hell,” and many other words. (Note that “Mom and Dad” would be capitalized, but “my mom and my dad” would not be.)

In a short sample of writing, I can usually tell whether the work has been copy-edited or not.

Yes, it costs to have work copy-edited, but the price is not unreasonable. Your reputation hangs on the quality of your writing, and once the work is cleaned up, it will stay that way forever. Unedited work also stays that way and your damaged reputation as a careless writer could follow you around forever too.

Copy-editors  do much more than correct those examples I’ve given. They will check:

  • your sentences for balance to make sure your verbs match the subject
  • if you’ve omitted or repeated words or information
  • grammar
  • punctuation
  • spelling, including homonyms
  • hyphenation
  • capitalization
  • extra spaces
  • verb tense and usage, especially for problem verbs such as “lie, lay, laid, lain”
  • point-of-view errors
  • clichés, and many other errors you may have inadvertently made.

Please visit my website and click on the page for copy-editing if you are interested in having a few pages of your work copy-edited for free.



Pitching Your Novel

My guest today is Angela Noel. Her experience at a writer’s conference brought back many memories for me.

Signing up

By Angela Noel

A poet friend told me about The Loft’s Pitch Conference. The idea terrified me. Pitch my book to three agents? Live? That sounded like a job interview married to a parole hearing and covered in olives (I hate olives). But, I reasoned, I’d never been to a writer’s conference. It was in my hometown. The Loft in Minneapolis is an incredibly supportive haven for writers and ideas, and not likely to host another conference for at least another year. And, I had a second novel languishing at 30,000 words that needed a swift kick in the pants. I decided to sign up.

The months between signing up and showing up were filled with drafts. I finished that second novel, but it needed so much work, it wouldn’t be ready in time. My first novel was much closer to perfect. So, I polished it with the help of my writing group, and wrote draft after draft of my short pitch (the verbal equivalent to a marketing letter). It needed to roll off my tongue. It had to be perfect. I practiced with everyone who would stand still for four minutes and listen to me. I pitched my aunt and my mother over the phone. I pitched my golden retriever, who thumped his tail in appreciation. I pitched myself in my bathroom mirror. In short, I did all I could to prepare.

The day of the conference dawned. I picked out my clothes carefully and promised myself that in just ten short hours I’d either have a yes or a no. My first pitch to one of the three agents was mid-morning on the first day. If an agent liked my pitch, she’d request my work. That’s a foot in the door, not a shoulder or an armpit, just a tiny toe-hold, but a toe-hold nonetheless.

I had only dread in my belly. Too many new people, no friendly faces, sweaty palms, and rejection—I imagined the soup of terrible awaiting me. But, I got in the car anyway. I drove to the conference, parked my car, checked that I hadn’t accidentally put my dress on inside out (it happens), and tried to pour mental molasses on the butterflies to slow their fluttering. Then, I trotted across the busy street and opened the gorgeous wood and glass doors of The Loft Literary Center.

That’s when it hit me: I could do this.

The first person I saw, a woman in a scarf so large and intricate I wanted to hang it as a tapestry on a wall in my home, looked up at me wide-eyed.

“Hello! I’m Angela,” I said, probably too loudly. “This is my first conference. How about you?”

She looked down at the floor, but shook my proffered hand. She told me her name and that she was new here too. She pointed me towards the stairs. “I think you have to register,” she said. “I’ll see you up there.”

The queue of eager registrants spilled down the wood and iron spiral staircase on the second floor. Once at the top, I found my name badge, got my program, smiled like a lunatic, and made my way to the coffee and mini-muffins. I saw many awkward fellow writers looking timid and alone.

“Coffee!” I said, setting my bag down to grab a paper cup. “Thank heavens for this! Unless I spill it on myself, in which case: curse you, coffee!” I don’t even know to whom I aimed my words. But hearing my own voice in the air comforted me. Smiling at the man who looked like a science fiction writer (and was) gave me courage.

Within minutes, I knew that in the land of introverts, a smiling ambivert is the circus come to town. As an ambivert—a quixotic creature sometimes filled with the extrovert’s love of people and company, and at other times the introvert’s craving for silence and peace—I had both an opportunity and an obligation.

I believe there is greatness in all of us and I’m grateful to see it in others. If I could just pick my head up, forget that I, too, am nervous and fretting that my preparation or worse, my novel, might not be good enough, I’d see how others suffered. They had all my fears but seemingly less of my willingness to shatter uncomfortable silence with words, smiles, and handshakes. My natural curiosity, and sincere love of fellow humans took over. Before the first hour had elapsed, my nervousness had been replaced by joy.

These people, these wonders, had put their work forward just as I had. They wanted to learn, to grow, to see their writing blossom in view of a wider audience. I could do something about that. I could connect people. I could meet one person and include them in a group. I could ask questions, share ideas, and demonstrate my interest in their work. With these small acts the nervous turtle in all of us relaxed. We came out of our shells. Desperate to relieve my own fears, I stumbled upon a gift I had to give to others.

Years ago, I realized the cost to me of being the first to love, the first to stretch out a hand to connect, was infinitesimal. Many times, I’m the instigator of new relationships. I can’t help myself. People are wonderful. And, though I don’t like rejection, I don’t often fear it. But, I’d let fear get to me prior to the conference. Yet something about walking through those doors and seeing all the other writers, my kin, made my fear disappear.

We journey together, all of us humans. For some of us we walk in tandem for the duration. For others of us, we are but temporary companions on the Appalachian Trail of life. Either way, initiating conversations costs me next to nothing. But the payoffs in learning, in awe, in wonder at the capabilities and pursuits of another human are infinite. I had forgotten this truth in the days leading up to the conference. I had focused too much on myself: my fears, my work. The moment I remembered I wasn’t alone, that I could forge connections and offer others a lifeline, everything changed.

I loved the conference. I loved when a woman I had just met asked me to hold her hand while an agent read her query letter aloud to an audience of people and applauded her work. When all three agents I’d pitched my novel to requested my manuscript, I knew my success was not mine, but ours. Each of the writers who’d let me into their world, who had talked to me about writing, creativity, passion, and purpose had gifted me with confidence. When I met with the publishing professionals I had an army of love behind me. It was the purest and best kind of love—the kind we give away for free without thought of return. I loved those writers and didn’t need them to love me back. I didn’t even wonder if they did. Giving love, standing in awe of creativity and accomplishment, is its own fuel; it feeds on itself. The more of it we give away; the more we have to give.

Though I believe I offered comfort to some of the quiet and withdrawn among the constellation of would-be authors at the conference, ultimately it was they who comforted me.  By giving all I had to give, I got everything I needed in return and more.

So: Go. Be. Do. Invest in whatever it is that scares you. We have nothing to lose, and everything to gain by signing up. If I can, you can too.


If you’re interested in attending an excellent, small, and well-run conference to pitch your novel, meet industry professionals and network with other writers, sign up for the 2018 Pitch Conference at The Loft Literary Center. Registration begins November 14, 2017.



Angela Noel lives and writes in Minneapolis. In between fiction projects, she posts inspiring stories about interesting ideas and compelling people on the You are Awesome blog. She enjoys yoga and loves books, humans, wine, and chocolate (but not necessarily in that order).  Connect with her on Twitter at or Facebook or subscribe to her blog for a new post each week.