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?

djharrison99 Crime, Thriller Leave a Comment

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?

Fings ain’t wot they used to be

djharrison99 Lifestyle Leave a Comment

Things change. The world doesn’t stand still. It might move slowly, especially when you’re sitting in the middle and can’t easily see the rotation, but it keeps on going. As a writer, change provides an interesting problem. If I write about the present day (which I generally do) by the time a novel is ready for publishing it’s at least two years on. Not long, you might think, but then consider the fact that a reader might not pick it up for several more years. So, a novel is a thing of its own time, regardless of whether it is purposefully historical or not. It has to have the clues within in that establish the setting and time otherwise it may not work for the reader. Let me give you an example. Phones. For many years, the telephone was a tethered device that required the close proximity of the recipient …

djharrison99Fings ain’t wot they used to be

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?

Just Because It’s Fiction Doesn’t Mean It’s Not True

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They say that truth is stranger than fiction. Someone (probably Mark Twain) said that the difference between fiction and non-fiction is that fiction has to make sense. Some of you will have read a previous post http://djharrison99.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/money-laundering-regulations.html where Jenny Parker tried to pay cash into a bank account and got herself into difficulties. A good friend of mine, and someone who has certainly read Due Diligence, fell into the same trap very recently. My friend is about to embark on an exciting business venture and is setting up a new company. One of the investors gave him a few thousand pounds in cash because he didn’t have the bank account details. On attempting to pay this into his account, my friend was taken aside, put in an interrogation room, visited and questioned by various people then told that the bank wouldn’t accept the money. He asked them if they would take a …

djharrison99Just Because It’s Fiction Doesn’t Mean It’s Not True

Ukraine

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As I write, all hell is about to break loose in Ukraine. Part of the second Jenny Parker novel, Proceeds of Crime, is set in Ukraine and I have a lot of sympathy for the plight of the Ukrainian people. In the book, Jenny befriends a Ukrainian girl who has found a husband in the UK through a ‘Romance Tour’ or ‘find a bride service’. Her twin sister hasn’t been so lucky, though. She’s gone missing after a similar attempt to get to the prosperous West. The situation highlights the disparity in wealth between the Ukraine and the UK. The Ukrainians are often so desperately poor that they will do anything to get to the UK. And I mean anything. The recent events, the protests in Kiev, the shootings and the ousting of the Russian-friendly president are all a result of the Ukrainians being desperate to improve their economic situation. …

djharrison99Ukraine

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