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Morecambe and Vice is a crime writing festival that first broke onto the festival scene in 2017, and has since attracted crime authors and fans in their droves to listen to the panels and masterclasses that range from LGBT themes in crime fiction to paths to publication, and many topics in between! The attendees list is a veritable who’s who of the crime fiction world, this year’s line up includes Professor Dame Sue Black, Graham Smith, Lesley Kelly and Robert Daws to name but a few.
Tickets to the panels and events can be purchased via this link.

And if this wasn’t exciting enough, there is another fantastic event happening!

London’s award-winning LGBT+ literary salon comes to Morecambe & Vice as part of the Polari Prize Tour, funded by Arts Council England. Founded in 2007, Polari is curated and hosted by crime writer Paul Burston and features guest authors, poets and spoken performers showcasing their work. Think literary cabaret and you won’t go far wrong. Based at London’s Southbank Centre, Polari also tours regularly – though this is the salon’s first visit to Morecambe. This special crime-themed event will feature the best in established and emerging LGBT+ literary talent, including writers associated with The Polari First Book, founded in 2011 to celebrate debut books which explore the LGBT+ experience.  Tickets for the Polari Salon starring Paul Burston, Derek Farrell, Lesley Thomson and Lilja Sigurðardóttir can be purchased via this link.

And I am delighted to welcome Derek Farrell back to The Quiet Knitter blog today to share his thoughts about festivals and the reasons you should attend them (when you can). Derek is one of those writers who can make you feel like he’s right there in the room with you as you read his books, you can almost feel his infectious excitement as you race through the pages and can hear his laughter as you sit stunned at what you’ve read. I’ve long been a fan of his books, and hopefully I’ll manage to bump into him at a festival soon with my copies of his books for autographing!
If you need any persuasion, my reviews of his books are available here and I would highly recommend the Danny Bird mysteries! Links to the reviews of Death of a Diva, Death of a Nobody, Death of a Devil and Death of an Angel are all here for reading.

Being the lovely soul that he is, Derek is offering a signed copy of Death of an Angel (the latest Danny Book) and 5 sets of pin badges featuring the words “Diva” “Nobody” Devil” and “Angel,” to some lucky subscribers to his mailing list. And there’s a FREE short story to download after you’ve subscribed! Isn’t he just a gem!? Pop over to www.derekfarrell.co.uk for more information and to sign up!

If you haven’t been to a Crime Festival before, then you should really be getting yourself off to Morecambe at some point between the 27th – 29th of September.

The Morecambe & Vice festival itself is on the Saturday and Sunday but the Thursday night has the Polari Salon at which I will be reading alongside Lilja Sigurdardottir, Paul Burston and Lesley Thompson.

If you’ve been to a festival before, you’ll know all the reasons why they’re so brilliant, but if you haven’t, allow me below to suggest a few reasons why popping in – for a couple of sessions, a day, a whole weekend – could be the best thing you do all year.

Firstly, there are four types of people who go to Festivals: Readers, Writers, Publishing Professionals and Authors. And no matter which of those groups you fit in (or if, like many people, you fit in more than one) there’s something for you at a festival like Morecambe & Vice.

Reason #1 Books: There’s a bookshop. It has lots of books. Some of these books are not officially in the shops yet, meaning you get to buy and read them before anyone else. And book-lovers, as everyone knows, love bragging-rights almost as much as they love books. Plus there are often goodie-bags which sometimes feature – even more excitingly – free books. Let me say that again: FREE. BOOKS. I know, right? Again, many of these free books aren’t due in the shops for months, so you get advance copies of books everyone’s going to be talking about next summer, at which point you can airily say “Oh yes, I read that last year. Got it at Morecambe & Vice.” Plus, you’ll almost definitely find books you’d never heard of before (see ‘Networking’ below for more on that).

Reason #2 Panels: I have to admit, when someone first suggested that I might enjoy sitting in a room listening to a bunch of writers talking to each other about their books and the craft of writing, or reading excerpts from their work, I was somewhat sceptical. I mean, no-one’s ever suggested I might enjoy listening to a group of plumbers discussing their oeuvres. But then not all plumbers* are born story tellers. The thing about the various events at Morecambe & Vice (which cover everything from Mental Health to Young Adult crime fiction via LGBT+ readings and on through apocalyptic crime, a discussion of dyslexia and a whole panel of prize-winners) is that even if the topic doesn’t immediately whet your appetite, the presence of people who are born story-tellers – and passionate story-tellers at that – means you’re almost guaranteed interesting, thought-provoking and entertaining conversation.

Reason #3 Networking: First of all, I hate the phrase Networking. It always sounds like something corporate that a robot would do. So let’s rebrand it: Making new friends who have more in common with you than you could imagine. Reading, by it’s nature, is a pretty solitary experience, but if you think that’s solitary, you should try writing: Living for months with only the voices in your head for company. So coming along to a festival like Morecambe & Vice is a brilliant way to meet readers, to meet writers who have books you haven’t read yet (I started reading one of my favourite crime series because I met the author at a festival and picked up the first book ‘on spec’), and to meet bloggers who often have news and gossip about your favourite genre, novelists or series before anyone else has. I attended my first crime festival as a book-lover who wanted to be a published novelist. This was back in the Cretaceous period when dinosaurs walked the earth and I knew absolutely nobody, but a couple of drinks at the bar**; a coffee at lunchtime with a bunch of people; and I have friends now that I would never have made if I hadn’t come along to that festival, spoken to people, asked them who they were and what had brought them to the festival.

Reason #4 Making contacts: Not quite the same as Networking, but if you’re an as-yet unpublished writer, an author looking to expand their professional network (there’s that word again, but slightly more relevant in a professional environment) or a Publishing Professional (editor, agent, publisher, designer, etc) then festivals are a brilliant way to make contact with others in your world. My top tip here: Don’t go in trying to find people who can ‘help you.’ That makes you look like a user (cos you are, quite frankly). Instead, go in looking for that personal connection. Almost everything good that has happened to me in this business has happened because there was a personal connection before we realised that each of us had something the other had been looking for. Also – and on that note – never go in thinking you have nothing to offer anyone. You have skills, knowledge, a viewpoint. If all else fails, you have that party trick where you can fit your whole fist in your mouth.

Reason #5 Partying: Here’s a list of things I have done at Crime Festivals: Had coffee with esteemed writers; been sworn at by Val McDermid (on a panel. Reykjavik 2016) crashed publishers parties I hadn’t been invited to (but ssssh; cos I don’t wanna get a reputation). Hung out at the bar with friends who made me laugh so hard I couldn’t breathe (I wonder if anyone has killed a character in a book that way?); spent way too much in the book shop and fretted about how I was going to carry all the books home; had a delicious meal with a roomful of other crime fiction lovers at a murder mystery dinner (no, I didn’t figure out whodunnit); sung David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ in a Karaoke room with a selection of Sunday Times Bestselling crime writers; met and chatted to first ministers and TV personalities; absolutely fanboyed my heroes, and been barged out of the way by James Patterson’s security detail (I’m not sure what I’d said, but they seemed uber keen to get him into a fast car and away from me as quickly as possible); pitched to agents; and introduced my dad to writers he’d been enjoying for years. The point is: There is literally something for everyone at a crime fiction festival like Morecambe & Vice, and the added feature of the festival taking place in an atmospheric town, and in a gorgeous art deco hotel makes the whole thing even more exciting.

So hopefully I’ll see you there!

(*with apologies to any wonderful story-telling plumbers out there)

(**okay; maybe more than a couple. I seem to recall waking up in a ditch somewhere in Nantwich without my shoes but wearing a chinchilla cape I had never seen before in my life. Happy days.)

Derek Farrell is the author of The Danny Bird Mysteries which are Death of a Diva/Nobody/Devil/Angel, and the forthcoming Death of a SINner. He splits his time between London and West Sussex and is really excited to be reading from his books at The Polari Salon at M&V on Friday 27th September at The Midland Hotel.

Derek loves hearing from readers on Twitter @derekifarrell, or via the contact page on his website derekfarrell.co.uk, where you can get a free exclusive Danny Bird Mystery just for signing up to his newsletter.

To celebrate his appearance at Polari Salon at Morecambe & Vice he’ll be giving away a free signed copy of his latest Danny Bird Mystery “Death of an Angel” to a random subscriber to his website derekfarrell.co.uk. The winner will be selected on 18th October 2019.

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  • Title: Death of an Angel
  • Author: Derek Farrell
  • Publisher: Fahrenheit Press
  • Publication Date: 27th February 2019

Copy received from publisher and tour organiser for review purposes.

Description:

A woman is found dead in a London street – the evidence suggests she plummeted to her death from a nearby tower block – but did she fall or was she pushed? And why does she have Danny Bird’s name written on the back of her hand?

So begins this 4th magnificent outing for Danny and the gang from The Marq.

In the frame for a murder he didn’t commit, London’s self-proclaimed Sherlock Homo has no choice but to don his metaphorical deerstalker one more time to prove his innocence and uncover the truth about the tragic death of Cathy Byrne. 

With the indomitably louche Lady Caz by his side, Danny plunges headlong into a complex investigation while at the same time trying to be a dutiful son to his increasingly secretive parents, and still find the time to juggle his frustratingly moribund love-life.

My Thoughts:

I was only too happy to catch up with my favourite bar manager/amateur sleuth, Danny Bird in Death of an Angel. Having followed this series since the beginning, Death of a Diva, the Danny Bird books have gone from strength to strength. The characters have developed in ways that I would not have imagined and I’m thrilled to see how their stories have unfolded.

Death of an Angel is different from the previous books, there’s something about the plot that sets it apart from the others in the series, and it’s a fascinating and enjoyable read.
With a strong focus on families and relationships, Derek Farrell gives readers more than a story about crime. The link between family members is a driving force behind many events throughout the plot, the dynamic between characters shows the varied connections that exist and the lengths that people will go to to try and protect those they care about.

So, Danny and Caz are back, doing what they do best … getting caught up in situations that would have most “normal” people panicking, but somehow they always manage to keep things together and get out of awkward moments. Caz, a somewhat delightful yet dipsomaniacal member of the aristocracy, always has a bottle of something in that capacious bag of hers to help her in those situations. I say somewhat delightful because this character is one who causes much hilarity with her sarcasm and cynicism, and smock. But I have a feeling that behind her bluster is a genuinely soft heart, especially when it comes to certain people.
The case that the pair become involved with has some incredibly murky connections, and ones they have to be wary of. But nonetheless, they tackle each obstacle as it appears, uncovering dangerous corruption and ruthless killers. Clever plotting makes this quite a thrilling read, often I found myself trying to guess ahead at how things would all link together, or who was the killer and what their motive was but I was led astray by red herrings.

Characterisation is one of the key things in the books of this series, each of the main characters feels so real and easy to connect with. Readers cannot help but feel some pull towards the lives of these fictitious creations, such is the ability of Farrell to create a realistic cast. Danny’s family have become so real that I think of them with fondness.

A thrilling and clever read that gives the reader much to think about, whilst supplying many laughter inducing moments and plenty to keep them guessing!

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Whilst I’m taking a few days off for the school holidays I thought that it might be nice to showcase some wonderful indie authors and shine a blinding spotlight on them.

I am so excited to put one of my favourite crime fiction authors in the spotlight and share my love of his books with you.  The author in question is the lovely Derek Farrell who has written the Danny Bird mysteries series (Death of a Diva, Death of a Nobody and Death of a Devil).

Derek Farrell’s are published by Fahrenheit Press and are available to buy now!


Author Feature:

Derek Farrell_Fotor

Derek Farrell is the author of the Danny Bird Mysteries, ‘Death of a Diva,’ ‘Death of a Nobody’ and ‘Death of a Devil,’ which centre on the denizens of The Marquess of Queensbury Public House in Glamourous South London.

He was educated in Dublin, and, whilst waiting to become a writer of fabulous crime novels has passed his time being a burger dresser, bank cashier, David Bowie’s paperboy, and an Investment Banker in New York’s World Trade Centre (a bit like The Wolf of Wall Street, only with fewer hookers and more midgets, since you ask).

He is married and divides his time between London, West Sussex and Dublin.

Derek loves to hear from his readers, and can be contacted via Twitter: @derekifarrell or at his website Derekfarrell.co.uk

His books can be purchased as paperbacks or ebooks direct from the publisher Fahrenheit Press at: http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_fahrenheit.html

Or from Amazon:

Death of a Diva

Death of a Nobody

Death of a Devil

Death of a Diva is now available as a deluxe edition Hardback limited to only 50 Copies worldwide.
Purchase it here.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

The best thing about being an author is realising that I have a tribe of readers who love escaping into my world. I LOVE the idea of telling stories and knowing that there are people I’ve never even met who are on trains and busses and on holiday or in the kitchen wondering what’s going to happen to Danny and the gang next.

Plus, the parties are epic. There was this one time Wilbur Smith came into Studio HB54 on a White Horse…

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?  

Writing. To quote one of my writing Heroines Dorothy Parker, “I hate writing; I love having written.” Every time I sit down, the fear kicks in, and you wonder if you’re about to be rumbled. But you press on, and hope that, when it’s finally done, it will resemble the idea you had in your head all along. And so far, I think I’ve gotten away with it…

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

Can I have two?
“The Aggravations of Minnie Ashe” by Cyril Kersh was the first book I ever read that left me unable to breathe because I was laughing so hard.

It’s the everyday story of a Widow in East End London on the edge of WWII and her ongoing battles with the council, the neighbours and the ‘thieving tradesmen who’d rip the eyes out of a widow’s head’ as told by her long suffering son.

The cast of characters – mum, uncles, aunts, random neighbours – didn’t so much influence The Danny Bird Mysteries as provide an (admittedly unconscious) blueprint for how to make the every day both fascinating, funny, and tragically poignant. If I could write that funny and that humanly, I would be a very proud and happy author. This and its sequel are out of print nowadays, but well worth hunting down.

The Thin Man” by Dashiell Hammett.  I read this one at least once a year, along with ‘Gatsby,’ which is also a Talisman of mine. Hammett here manages to move the Noir novel into a space that’s a little more cerebral, a little more cosmopolitan, a lot more humorous. TTM isn’t a huge book; it relies on a couple of questionable turns; but it is like a perfectly constructed Martini: Simple, genuine, and far more complicated than it looks at first glance. Plus, it features GALLONS of booze. I mean it. GALLONS. At one point, I worried that Danny and Caz in my books were drinking too much to be (a) functioning and (b) feasible. Then I did my annual reread of TTM, and actually added more gin.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

Travelling, reading going to the theatre, drinking Chardonnay and Gin and stressing about the fact I’m (a) not writing (b) drinking too much and (c) as a result of (b) getting too fat go fit into my knockoff Prada onesie.

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

My number one ritual is: Travel.

All my first drafts are at least partially written en route to my day job.

Most of the 2nd half of Death of a Diva was written on a ship crossing the Atlantic. For five days my fellow passengers played Bingo, Quoits, or lounged on deck, whilst I – regularly supplied with Martinis – sat in the Library from dawn to dusk and wrote.

A good chunk of Death of a Nobody was written sitting by a swimming pool in New Zealand, and Death of a Devil was finished somewhere between Venice and Montenegro. The book I’m currently working on was plotted in a cottage in Wales and started on a Caribbean Island.

What’s on the horizon?  What can your fans look forward to next?

Danny 4. That’s – honestly – all I’m allowed to tell you.

But if you press me (and since you’ve promised me gin when we finally meet) I’ll add: LONDON in capitals, and a mix of smart, funny, sad, angry and – to be frank, having just written a scene with a dead pig and a celebrity chef – surreal. In other words: Danny & Caz  are at it full blast.

All I know is that, this time around, there will be tears.

Finally, if you could impart one pearl of wisdom to your readers, what would it be?  

One? You know me better than that, surely?

Stop thinking you should only read X or Y: Read whatever the f*ck you want to read, and – if it’s not working for you – stop, no shame no guilt, no judgement. Also: Review on Amazon, Goodread etc. Authors need these reviews. Not, obviously, the “It made my eyes fall out and my house burn down” type, but any genuine honest review is a brilliant thing. And tell your friends if you loved a book. Hell, if you loved a book, tell even the people you’re not that fond of. A personal recommendation is worth a billion dollars.

 

Can you tell me a little about your latest book?  How would you describe it and why should we go read it? hardback_spread1_Fotor

Death of a Diva is being reissued in deluxe, shiny glamorous extremely limited hardback edition. It’s the first of the Danny Bird Mysteries, and introduces us to a bloke and his best mate, the crazy denizens of the bar they end up in charge of, the gangster who runs it, and the world that thousands of readers have come to love. It’s been described as “Like M.C. Beaton on MDMA,” “A classic whodunit full of red herrings,” and – by Monty Python’s own Eric Idle – as “Quite Good.”

If you like Gin, Gangsters, Diamond Geezers, Dolly Birds,

Murder, Mayhem, Pearls Poison and Profanity, then I think you’ll like Death of a Diva.

And if you don’t, then there’s something not right with you.

Danny Covers

 

My thanks to Derek for being so much fun and taking part in Celebrating Indie Publishing, I’m so intrigued by the sound of book four and cannot wait to read it!  Now to see if I can squish myself into one of Derek’s suitcases for his next holiday……

 

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Description:

Danny Bird and the gang are back.

In this, the 3rd book of the popular series, life at The Marquess of Queensberry public house has returned to something resembling normality. Although his complicated love life is still in a state of some disarray, things are looking pretty rosy for Danny Bird.

Not for long…

Something horrible is discovered in the cellar, someone horrible comes to threaten one of the gang, and Danny and Lady Caroline are faced with some of their biggest challenges yet.

With local crime-lord Chopper Falzone keeping a watchful eye on his investment, Danny and Lady Caz must unmask a murderer, find some stolen diamonds and thwart a blackmailer – just another day at The Marq.

As the plot races breathlessly towards its conclusion, everyone realises that secrets, no matter how well hidden, can’t stay buried forever.

My Thoughts & Review:

I have to admit I did give a little squeal of delight when I heard that the third book in the Danny Bird series was going to be out soon and then headed over to Amazon to pre order it as soon as the publisher tweeted the pre order link was working.  Then there was the (impatient) wait until publication day….finally Death of a Devil arrived on my kindle and I took some time away from my review books to savour this one.

Death of a Devil sees the return of the prodigal Danny Bird and Lady Caroline Holloway who worked their way into my heart back in November 2015 when they first appeared in Death of a Diva and since then have delighted and amused me in equal measure.
Farrell’s writing has always been fantastic, but this latest offering feels different, like he’s developed a newer level of plotting and story telling that exceeds all expectation.
Beautifully clever plotting keeps readers guessing and completely off guard throughout.
The varied cast of characters add colour and shape to the series and each in their own right is superb.  Having followed the series it is nice to see the development of the additional characters, as well as the stars.
In this book it was interesting to explore more of the London gangster background as well as learn more about Ali the bar manager and see a different side to her that many readers might not have ever imagined.

The madcap adventures that Danny and Caz end up embroiled in are chaotic to say the least, but they somehow seem to have more lives than the proverbial cat and come out of it all relatively unscathed – just a little wiser for their troubles.

For those not familiar with the Danny Bird series, the first book Death of a Diva, the second book Death of a Nobody, and then finally Death of a Devil.  These books are fantastic to read and I would recommend reading them in order, but if you fancy picking up the latest installment it can be read as a stand alone book as there is ample information woven throughout the plot to inform you of previous events.

Another impressive novel from Derek Farrell, I just hope he doesn’t keep us waiting too long for his next book!!

You can buy a copy of Death of a Devil via:

Amazon

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