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Monday, 30 March 2015

Woo Hoo! I’ve won the SAW best self-published Book Award

Award presentation to Chris Longmuir by Alanna Knight
I’m walking on air this week – yes, I know that’s a cliche – but I really am walking on air. You see, I’ve just returned from a brilliant weekend at the SAW writers’ conference – for those not in the know SAW stands for the Scottish Association of Writers. Now, I belong to several professional Associations such as the CWA (Crime Writers’ Association), the SOA (Society of Authors), and ALLi (the Alliance of Independent Authors), but the SAW is special to me because it was the first association I joined as a member of AWC (Angus Writers’ Circle). Have you noticed how all these organisations like to be known by their initials?

Anyway, back to the weekend which was most enjoyable. Eleven of us from Angus Writers’ Circle attended, but of course the best thing about the SAW conference is meeting up with old friends, and making new ones. Scottish writers are a friendly bunch.

Don't I scrub well?
The weekend was packed with speakers, workshops and seminars. The main speaker was Alexandra Sokoloff. She also ran two workshops on story structure – I attended both. As well as being a novelist, Alexandra is a Hollywood script writer, so I was interested in her take on structure, and it was interesting. Did you know that in films the hooks (climactic scenes) which writers use to keep the reader page turning, and ensuring the TV watcher keeps watching after the break, are placed in the film script at specific points based on when the film reels had to be changed in the early days of cinema? And, of course, nowadays they come before the commercial break in TV shows. Fascinating information

Linda Gillard also presented a great workshop on how to promote a book, write blurbs, and the effective use of promotional material. Very informative.

The Barbara Hammond Trophy for
the best self-published book

But, the icing on the cake for me – yes, I know it’s another cliche – was winning the best self-published book award which is a new competition the SAW set up this year. Winning this competition means I get the fabulous Barbara Hammond trophy. So, I’m the leader of the pack because I’m the first person who has won this. Oh, and before I forget, the book that won the award was my historical crime novel, The Death Game.

If anyone is interested in entering this competition next year, or even a similar one, the adjudicator explained the winning entry was decided on the basis of presentation, professional book cover, formatting, editorial and proofing issues, professional appearance, and of course, the actual story. My book scored high on all levels, and he said some extremely complimentary things about it, but I was beyond hearing most of them because I was so excited at having won this prestigious award.

So, all in all, it was the best weekend ever, and I’m walking on air.

The award winning book

Chris Longmuir





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Sunday, 8 March 2015

The Great Escape

Lay down the pen. Switch off the computer. Say goodbye to my fictional characters. It’s time to get a life.

Yes, I turned my back on my desk and did all of the above. For one day at least I was no longer a writer immersed in my fictional characters’ lives. I was living a life of my own.

So what did I do?

Well, it was simple really. I went on a family outing to the Edinburgh Playhouse to see the musical show, Dirty Dancing. And it was fabulous, even if Gareth Bailey who was playing Johnny Castle didn’t quite portray the same amount of sexual charisma that Patrick Swayze did in the film. But there was enough, and anyway who could ever match up to Swayze. But then I’m biased because I have never been able to forget the sheer animal magnetism Swayze portrayed in the film.

Roseanna Frascona played Baby in the show, and it was amazing how much she looked like Jennifer Grey who played the part in the film. However, it must have been down to the acting, because when I saw Roseanna in the foyer after the show, she looked nothing like Jennifer Grey.

And, of course, the dancing. It was marvellous, although again, I think the dancing in the film was a mite more voluptuous and sexier.

It was a great show though, and the only thing that spoiled it for me was the group of women who came to sit behind us at the interval, apparently moved from the balcony because one of their number was scared up there. Full marks to the Edinburgh Playhouse staff for their response to this problem. But black marks to the group who conversed loudly while the show was on, sang along with all the songs, and whooped so loudly every time Baby and Johnny came together, whether it was a clinch or a dance, that they almost deafened me. My ears are still ringing.

Great show, and I’m already thinking about how I can include the rowdy group into one of my books. Maybe they’ll meet a grisly end!

Chris Longmuir



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