Water for Bees

djharrison99 Crime, Lifestyle, Thriller Leave a Comment

There’s been a lot said and written about the terrible collapse in bee colonies and the reduction in bee numbers that threatens to disrupt human food supplies. About forty per cent of what we consume relies on bees for pollination. Farmers are reduced to importing bees from foreign countries to make up the numbers. This practice has its own implications for native populations. Nothing to do with me, I hear you say. What can I do about it? You can help provide them with food and water. Food can be some flowers in a window box. There’s lots of information on which flowers are best but I would suggest something that blooms either early or late, in other words when the bees are scratting about looking for food. Water isn’t something that is talked about much but bees need to drink. They can’t even consume their own honey stores in …

djharrison99Water for Bees

What’s in a Name?

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Character names are a bugbear for me. When a character pops up in my mind I usually get to see (roughly) what they look like and can even hear their voice when they speak. Unfortunately, they never tell me their name. It’s me that has to decide on that. Rather than interrupt the flow of my writing, I tend to give this little thought. Jim is a favourite name of mine. Most male characters start up being Jim or John or Tim or Toby. This, however has to be sorted out otherwise the reader can become very confused. Then they get irritated, then they throw my book in the bin. Of course, in real life we meet lots of people with the same name. That doesn’t work in fiction. Even names beginning with the same letter should be avoided in order to reduce the possibility of confusing the reader. On …

djharrison99What’s in a Name?

Success

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The good news is that my first published novel, Due Diligence is doing rather well. Much better than I could have reasonably hoped, in fact. Better news is that the second Jenny Parker novel, Proceeds of Crime, is also selling well because people like Due Diligence so much they’re buying the sequel. Even better news is that the third book, Limited Liability, is almost ready to publish. So how did I arrive at this happy situation? First of all, I write. And write and write. Anything, everything. Every day. I find it essential to have a daily writing habit. Waiting to free up hours of quiet undisturbed writing time doesn’t work for me. It never happens. I find that if I write an hour a day I can complete a novel in a year. Secondly, I write with a great deal of freedom. I don’t revise or edit. I don’t …

opencirclebooksSuccess

Out of Action

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I’ve been a bit quiet lately. Not only on the blogging front but also in various other regards. I’ve not been well. I won’t go into details but it’s a condition that has been very uncomfortable and energy sapping. Now, I’m two weeks onto recovery from an operation to make me better. The surgeon promised me four weeks of agony. Those were his exact words. I paid an extra consultancy fee to have him repeat them and he did. Nevertheless, I proceeded with the surgery even though I felt a great deal of apprehension. So far, his words ring true. After two weeks I’m getting out of the agony stage and into the severe discomfort zone.   His four week promise makes me feel like I’m ahead of the game. Not much writing gets done when I’m in pain. The new Jenny Parker novel, Limited Liability, was put to bed beforehand and the fourth novel, Critical …

djharrison99Out of Action

Getting Involved

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  Is this your reaction to injustice?   If you’re anything like me you’re constantly hearing about situations that make you mad. The news is full of injustices and bad behaviour. The kind of things that make you want to do something about them. If you’re anything like me, you spend a few minutes being indignant then fail to follow through with anything concrete. Oh, now and again I might sign a petition but only if it’s emailed to me and all I have to do is click on the link. Actually doing something would involve time and money and might also include personal risk. Most of us don’t feel that we’re in a position to commit to that extent, we have other priorities that take precedence. We’ve got work to do, families to feed, a living to earn, children to play with, television to watch, books to read. Don’t …

djharrison99Getting Involved

Who’s Jenny Parker?

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 People often ask me where I get my characters from. One rather cynical soul accused me of ripping off people I know by putting them in books, making money from them and not paying them a penny! Well, that’s not the way I work. Really. There are a few people that think they recognise themselves in Due Diligence. One of them is right. All the rest are mistaken. Sorry. My main character, Jenny Parker, is certainly not based on any individual. She’s a product of my imagination, created by my desire to write about an ordinary person who gets caught up in serious crime. I wanted to explore the predicament of someone struggling without any safety net. I made her an accountant for two reasons. First, unlike someone who works for the law enforcement agencies, there’s no obvious support system for accountants who get into trouble. Putting her fate in the …

opencirclebooksWho’s Jenny Parker?

National Crime Agency

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The NCA became operational in October 2013. This may not mean much to you but I’m a crime writer and I’m getting pretty excited about this new organisation. It appears to be the UK equivalent of the American FBI which has provided a rich source of stories and characters for us writers. Remember Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs? Since the mid 1930’s and J Edgar Hoover, the FBI has been at the forefront of novels, film and television.  The arrival of an UK equivalent is a momentous event in crime fiction history. As a novelist writing stories set in the present, I can’t ignore current events and still retain credibility. If the local police force turn up to investigate and the reader knows full well it ought to be the NCA it’s not helpful to the plot. As both Due Diligence and Proceeds of Crime involve organised crime, …

djharrison99National Crime Agency

Bankers

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Bankers should be spelled with a capital W. If you haven’t worked out how our financial system works, let me assist. You put your money into a bank or another financial institution such as a pension provider or investment company. These brilliant, exceptional, essential, amazingly well paid people we call bankers look after it for us. They ‘invest’ our money, or, to put it another way, gamble it on some financial horse race. If they win, they win. They get loads of money. If they lose, we lose, they still win, they get loads of money. If they do something really stupid and bring the whole financial world to a collapse, we lose our jobs, we’re subject to austerity measures and they get bailed out by the government using our tax money. If they do something illegal like this: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/dec/04/banks-rate-rigging-libor-euribor-rbs-citigroup-jpmorgan They get fined and we pay the fine, either as …

djharrison99Bankers

Money Laundering Regulations

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Here is another extract from Due Diligence. Have you ever had a similar experience to Jenny? ___________________________________________ As I queue in line at the bank, an officious lady with hair slightly too blonde and lipstick definitely too pink accosts me. She is carrying a clip board and wearing a navy blue uniform with the bank logo on its breast. ‘Can I help you?’ she demands busily. Her manner is brusque and unhelpful, in direct contrast to her words. ‘Oh.’ I am taken aback at first, deep in my own guilty thoughts. Having grabbed the bundle of cash this morning I decide to open a bank account with it during my lunch break, a sole account, one that Tim is unaware of, my account just for me and my future. It seems a safer place to keep the twenty grand and as I stand here excitedly I wish I’d brought it …

djharrison99Money Laundering Regulations

An Offer You Can’t Refuse

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Here is an extract from the beginning of Due Diligence, the first Jenny Parker novel. When you’ve read it, let me know what you think Jenny should have done differently. As I sit on the edge of the giant bed alone at last in the functional tidiness of my Travel Lodge room, the feeling of vague unease I had after first examining Associated Composites’ accounts has grown into a realisation that there is something very wrong. Every attempt I make to get to the bottom of things is met with ill-disguised fudging and at this rate of progress I could be here for a long time. I really do need to get home tomorrow; I’m concerned about what’s happening there. Tim tells me all is well, Toby has been a good boy; he has eaten all his tea and he went to bed at the right time and is sleeping …

djharrison99An Offer You Can’t Refuse