Thursday, 25 September 2014

Catching up

It's been a longish, hottish summer in Scotland, and lots has happened. I won't bore you with my holiday photos but here is some news I'd like to share.

I've declared October 2014 my personal Scandi-crime month, because this pile has looked accusingly down at me from my to-be-read shelf for long enough. And because I couldn't wait, I've started already, with Mankell's Faceless Killers. I've heard varying opinions on Twitter and Facebook about several novels in this pile. I'll let you know what I think at the end of next month.

No Stranger to Death has received two very different plaudits recently. Firstly, it has been awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion, an award for quality self-published books. 

B.R.A.G. is an acronym for Book Readers' Appreciation Group, and books which are chosen for the Medallion go through a rigorous selection process. This involves an initial screening then reading by members of a global reader group who judge them on creative criteria like plot, writing style, characters and dialogue, as well as the professional aspects of copy editing, cover and interior layout. The required standards are very high: only 10% of the books considered are awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion.

One of the criticisms of self-publishing is that it's hard for readers to find quality books among all the titles being put out there. The B.R.A.G. Medallion scheme is helping address that.

Find out more at this link.

I've written here and here about the process which led to No Stranger to Death having a cover design by Kim McGillivray that I'm truly proud of. While researching cover designs which work (and ones that don't!) I spent a lot of time on Joel Friedlander's website The Book Designer. As well as offering invaluable advice on many aspects of self-publishing, Joel runs a monthly e-book cover design award. Competition is fierce and some of Joel's verdicts can be even fiercer, so I held off from entering for months. But I did finally pluck up the courage, and here's what he thought: 
"I love the way the designer has used a minimum number of elements, colors and fonts to create this high-impact, moody cover. "
He also awarded Kim's design a coveted gold star, which gives us the right to display this image: 

All this excitement hasn't let me forget the most important task in hand: writing the sequel to No Stranger to Death. I'm about a third of the way through now, and once the first draft is complete, I'll share a little about it. All I can say to those of you who have read the book and are anxious to know if a certain character comes back is . . . probably, though not how you might expect.

Thanks for reading!