Friday, 12 September 2014

Proof copy of Delirium: The Rimbaud Delusion

The proof copy of Delirium: The Rimbaud Delusion has just arrived from CreateSpace and it looks wonderful. The cover image created by JDSmith Design is beautiful and I chose a matt cover so it's eminently strokeable.

I love it!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

99 Blogs Tour

Today I am taking part in the 99 Blogs Tour run by N J Cole.  All N J Cole's books are 99 cents.

Find out more HERE.


Win a Prize on a Rafflecopter giveaway


N J Cole's books are available as below:

Midnight Caller

Midnight Eternal

Second Chance


ALSO available at 99c my short stories and poetry:


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Oldie but Goldie - a preloved blog post.

I haven't got a new blog post ready at the moment, so here's a pre-loved one for the time being. This post first appeared on Frances di Plino's blog on Sunday, 23 June 2013. Frances is the author of the DI Paolo Storey crime novels and she interviewed me about my venture into crime writing in particular and writing in general.

Ten facts about … me!

  1. When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer? I can remember making little books out of folded paper for my stories when I was fairly young. I can also remember being told off at school for writing compositions so long and involved that the teacher gave up reading half way through. Yes, Mrs Edgecombe, I’ve never forgiven you for that! So, I suppose it’s always been in me though it took a long time for me to get started properly.
  2. How long does it take you to write a book? Years and years usually. I think the shortest time has been two years and the longest seven or eight years. I really do need to speed up though, as I’m no longer in what could be called the first flush of youth (or even the second).
  3. What is your work schedule like when you're writing? If it’s going well I’ll probably start writing sometime in the morning and continue until I run out of ideas. This can be after 1,000 to 2,000 words when I’m really in the flow. Other times I might only manage 500 words before I concede defeat. Then I’ll usually turn to editing something completely different, or look over previously written chapters of whatever it is I’m working on. If I’ve had enough of sitting at my desk I’ll go for a swim or a walk or, if I can’t put it off any longer, get the dishes washed and the floor vacuumed.
  4. How many crime novels have you written? I’ve only completed one crime novel – Don’t Look Down – but I’ve started two others. One of these reinvented itself half way through and decided to become a non-crime novel. I rewrote this as Delirium, which I’ve recently finished.* The other part-done one is hiding somewhere on my computer and I hope to track it down one day and finish it off. I also have an idea for a series featuring an elderly woman and her granddaughter as amateur sleuths.
  5. Which is your favourite and why? Since Don’t Look Down is the only one I’ve finished, I suppose I’ll have to nominate that. I am fond of it anyway because it’s set in Nuremberg, Germany, which is a wonderful mediaeval town that I’ve long considered as almost my second home.
  6. Where do you get your ideas? The idea for Don’t Look Down came to me after a visit to Nuremberg to see some friends. I’d been many times before but this was the first time I’d visited in winter and I fell in love with the town and the surrounding countryside all over again and had to use it as a setting.
  7. Who is your favourite character from your own work and why? My favourite character in Don’t Look Down is a minor character called Axel. He’s mysterious and hypnotic and is actually loosely based on someone I once knew in Nuremberg. I expect if I met the real version again now, I’d be most disappointed.
  8. Which character from the work of others do you wish you’d invented and why? Giles Brandreth writes crime novels starring Oscar Wilde as an amateur investigator. Initially, I thought this was a bizarre concept but I just wish I’d had the idea first as it’s right up my street. I expect poor Oscar is rolling about in his grave at having been used as a fictional detective though – as if the indignities of his life weren’t enough!
  9. If you could have been someone from history involved in crime (good or
    BSE (left) playing Belle Elmore
    bad) who would that be and why? I once played Dr Crippen’s wife, Belle Elmore, in an amdram theatre production and have been interested in the case ever since. After murdering her, Crippen and his lover, Ethel le Neve, fled to Canada by ship but were recognised by the captain. The recent invention of the radio telegraph meant he was able to inform Scotland Yard of their presence aboard. Inspector Dew of the Yard got a faster passage to Quebec and arrested the pair as they came ashore—the very first instance of a criminal being captured because of ship to shore communication. I’d like to have been Inspector Dew—that must have been a very satisfying moment.
  10. What are you working on now? I’m having a short break from new writing as I’ve recently finished Delirium which was a long haul project. I still have tweaks to make to that book, and am also lightly rewriting a previously published non-crime book The Man with the Horn, in order to bring it out as an ebook. I have an idea for a new book based on the discovery of a mysterious dead man on a beach in Australia that I might pursue, or I may start on that series with the grandmother and granddaughter I mentioned earlier. I’m eager to get started on something soon and hopefully this time it won’t take me several years to complete.



Barbara Scott Emmett lives in Newcastle and writes in a room overlooking the Tyne – a greener view now than in the old industrial days. She shares this writing space with her husband, crime novelist Jimmy Bain, and their cat Gizzie—who has first pick of the available chairs. When not writing she edits the work of others and assists in ebook creation.

Published work:

Don’t Look Down 
Delirium: The Rimbaud Delusion - *ebook available now, paperback following in October 2014

The Land Beyond Goodbye

The Man with the Horn currently paperback only – ebook coming soon.


Wasps & Scorpions: Luv Pomes & Other Lies

All of which can be found at Amazon and Smashwords

and other online stores via PentalphaPublishing Edinburgh


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Last week's links

It's been a busy week - well, ten days now - since Delirium: The Rimbaud Delusion was released as an ebook.

In honour of the release of the new ebook I was featured in a few places online and some of them may have been overlooked in the promotions and commotions.

So here are some of the links for those who haven't seen them yet:

Interview by Jane Davis

I talk about all things to do with writing.

Guest blogging for Jill Marsh

My Struggle  
How I Avoided the Allure of False Paths and Became a Writer

Article on self-publishing for Southville Writers

Why Self Publish?

Time & Place: Charleville-Mézières - my page at Triskele Books

Rimbaud's home town and the setting for Delirium

Images of Charleville-Mézières on Triskele Pinterest page.

Rimbaud's grave, statue etc

Well, this has been an easy blog post to write - thankfully because I'm all blogged out for the moment.

And if anyone has read the new ebook and is a member of Goodreads feel free to nip over there and vote for Delirium: The Rimbaud Delusion.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Absolutely thrilled to see Delirium: The Rimbaud Delusion hit the charts. 

Thank you so much to everyone who helped it get this far.

Gay & Lesbian Chart

Metaphysical & Visionary

Metaphysical (not sure what the difference is!)

Now to write the next one!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Delirium: The Rimbaud Delusion - ebook out today!

The ebook version of  
is released today at the 
24 hour promotional price of only 
99c /77p.
Get it now before it goes up. 

How many times had I dreamt of coming across the yellowing manuscript of La Chasse Spirituelle? Inside an old book on a stall in Paris, perhaps. Or in the attic of some befriended ancient. How many daydreams had I enjoyed over the possibility that one day...?

I shook myself. It couldn’t possibly be true.

1872: The explosive love affair between flamboyant French poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine rocks French society. They flee to London, abandoning the manuscript of La Chasse Spirituelle to Verlaine’s scorned young wife. When a lawyer's clerk salvages it from a dusty deed box, the manuscript begins its journey down the decades, revealing the secrets and betrayals of its various keepers.

2004: Andrea Mann, disenchanted with life and love, travels to France. Driven by her obsession with Rimbaud, she’s chasing her dream – the missing manuscript. Beside the poet’s grave at Charleville-Mézières, she meets a beautiful young man who shows her a single page – from La Chasse Spirituelle.

Andrea embarks on a desperate quest. Drawn into a manipulative relationship with the youth and his Svengali-like mentor, the mysterious Albert, she faces unwelcome truths. The closer she gets to the manuscript, the further she veers from reality.

But is Albert’s copy genuine? And can La Chasse Spirituelle fill the void in Andrea’s soul?

The paperback version will be released in October in association with Triskele Books. Meanwhile, the ebook is available at Amazon and Smashwords and will soon be available at other online stores.


More information the background and inspiration of Delirium: The Rimbaud Delusion  HERE.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Making Research Count … by Gillian Hamer

Today my guest blogger is Gillian Hamer, author of a series of much praised crime novels. Here she is talking about research and the lengths she goes to achieve accuracy.

Making Research Count …
by Gillian Hamer

A thoughtful reviewer wrote this recently about my latest crime novel release, Crimson Shore:

Crime novels are harder to write than they are to read. The author must hold back, keep a twist for the tail without letting too much away but without leaving the outcome too far-fetched or disappointing. The ending has to satisfy. Not only that, but these days a crime author must remain au fait with the latest technology and the latest crime-fighting wizardry of the forensic pathologist.”

I am so glad someone gets it. Crime writing is incredibly difficult for a multitude of reasons, of which just a few have been mentioned above, but getting the research right must be up there at the top of the list. 

The easiest way, in my mind at least, of spoiling a crime novel, and losing the reader, is a lack of authenticity. Getting it right, whatever the ‘it’ may be, is vital. And the ‘it’ in this genre can be wide and varied. 

  • It can be setting the right atmosphere of tension and intrigue. 

  • It can be getting inside the mind of a twisted killer or the victim of a vicious attack. 

  • It can be correct representation of police procedurals, or detailed knowledge of a complex subject such as pathology or forensics.

And that is my chosen topic for this blog post.

In a couple of my books, I’ve relied heavily of pathology and forensic procedures, a topic that has long fascinated me. Reading books has never really been enough for me, I don’t seem to be able to absorb the information. I think it may be because I am a visual writer, so I need to interact more for research to sink in. 
So, three years ago, I enrolled on an entry level Forensics Science course, with the Open University. I’m proud to say I managed to pass although it was a hard years’ work, and I found a lot of the science-based chapters a tough challenge.

The research material supplied on the course is an invaluable asset to me even now, and for that reason alone, I’d recommend taking the plunge in something similar if you get an opportunity. 

The course work started with basic police procedurals such as crime scene investigation, fingerprint analysis, examination of blood and bodily fluids which then led into the more complex world of DNA profiling.

One of the chapters I have recently re-researched for my current WIP is forensic toxicology and drug abuse. I learned so much about toxicity and the analysis of drugs and poisons that I know I can write with confidence when my detective characters face these issues in the course of their investigation.

The most interesting subject I studied was forensic science and the legal system. The role of forensic science in a court of law is an interesting and ever-changing spectrum. With new technology and profiling techniques appearing year on year, UK legislation is constantly changing and adapting to take up the benefits of new developments. As a writer, keeping abreast of these changes is vital to keep your work authentic.

But despite all of the incredible new options that forensic science and pathology offer to the police and legal services, I was also amazed at just how hard and time-consuming it was to ensure the accuracy of the data collated. And the statistics for times when the evidence did prove unreliable due to contamination or foul-play was quite staggering. 
Many crime novels would have you believe that DNA is the saviour of policing. And yes, DNA analysis is a robust technique based on sound scientific principles that has revolutionised both policing and the legal system. But DNA profiling is not 100% accurate and can fall foul of human error with disastrous consequences. 

Example: For sixteen years, German police chased an elusive female serial killer known as ‘the Phantom of Heilbronn’, as the same female DNA was found at 40 crime scenes, including six murders. 

It was eventually discovered that the cotton swabs used to collect the samples of DNA had been contaminated by a woman working at the factory making the swabs, and that the crimes were not linked. If you want to find out more about this case, have a look at ‘DNA bungle’ haunts German police via BBC News.

It seems to me that not even the most up-to-date technology can ever be fool proof and that back-to-basics policing is still always required. 
So, my latest project is a move away from the science-based procedure and I have enrolled on a second OU course, this time examining the human brain in terms evidence. The course is titled “Forensic psychology: witness investigation. Discover how psychology can help obtain evidence from witnesses in police investigations and prevent miscarriages of justices.”

I’m only a few weeks into the course, but I already know it’s going to be hugely beneficial to my writing, not only by re-hashing much of what I learn into my detective team by choosing a character to undertake a similar course, but also my adding another layer of authenticity to my writing. 
Increasingly in many crime novels and TV dramas, we see a talented team of scientists rely on bloods and amino acids to catch murderers. Many more authors now focus on the use of forensic analysis of physical evidence to solve cases and identify killers. And yet, in the real world, understanding how the human mind works, particularly how our memory works, is a crucial part of any police investigation. 
The human element of any story, particularly the evidence provided by victims/witness remains a compelling component. In real life, cases are rarely straightforward because of human intervention and for many reasons there is more likely than not considerable uncertainty as to whether the person accused of the crime actually did it – and with any shred of ‘reasonable doubt’ in place in a courtroom, a conviction is always unlikely. Knowing how to evaluate evidence and how to improve eye-witness reports can be the key to solving the crime and seeing justice achieved.

From a writer's perspective, not only does this research and knowledge add another string to my bow and assist character development, but also it takes me one step closer to a real-life laboratory, crime scene investigation, or police incident room. Not only does this tick the all-important authenticity box, but it’s a great deal more fun – and a whole lot more realistic for the reader – than relying on a Google search or Wikipedia as sole source of our
Gillian Hamer


Gillian Hamer is author to Crimson Shore and three previous novels, The Charter, Closure and Complicit.

More information can be found at her website or you can keep up to date with her on Twitter @Gillyhamer.

Monday, 7 July 2014

JJ Marsh Guest Blogging today!

Today I am honoured to have the very wonderful JJ Marsh as a guest on my blog. Jill is the author of the acclaimed Beatrice Stubbs crime novels. Set in the UK and various European locations, these books are intelligent, witty and cleverly plotted. Find them HERE.

And now here's Jill riffing on all things poetic:-

I woke up this morning with a regret. 

Nothing unusual there. Yet this time, said regret was unconnected to a bottle of tequila, a roguish pair of eyebrows or another spectacular failure in a foreign language. 

I realise I told a lie. 

Yesterday, someone asked me if I read poetry. “Poetry? Not really my thing,” I said. “Much rather read a book.” 

That is an untruth. 

I met Poetry in primary school. We got on well. Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience lured me in and RS Thomas finished the job. Kiss-chase and rounders were neglected for lines such as these:
Men of the hills, wantoners, men of Wales With your sheep and your pigs and your ponies, your sweaty females How I have hated you ...

IMG_0552Secondary school led me to another Thomas. (Listen to this now and if you are not smitten in 90 seconds then you can stuff your Christmas card.) 

Here are words, looking for trouble. 

Here are words in a strange, ancient rhythm I already know. 

Here are words tumbling, effervescing, colliding, exploding with energy and lyrical power. 

Poetry made me laugh and cry. Poetry understood me. I swore eternal allegiance. 

Biology was one of my favourite subjects in Sixth Form. Kidneys are intriguing. But arts and sciences don’t mix so I did French Literature instead. Poetry and I went InterRailing and met Paul Verlaine. Green and the earthy passion contained in those words connected with a song I’d heard - Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man. Love as raw exposure. 

(I was only sixteen at the time and my poems were devoted to some public school twit I met on a sponsored walk. Still, his kidneys are mine now.) 

University’s Professor Turner turned me on to Wordsworth and the worth of words. His lecture on Nutting is still etched on my memory and caused one of my housemates to fall in love with his forearms. I kept reading French poets, not least to be pretentious, and bumped into Baudelaire. An encounter I’ll never regret. 

As often happens with childhood friends, Poetry and I drifted apart. I got in with a bad crowd (Crime), dropped out for a while (Literary Fiction) and messed about with one night stands (Short Stories). I knew where to find Poetry but wondered if we had anything in common anymore? In weak moments, I looked it up. Re-reading Robert Graves after The White Goddess: An Encounter, I recalled how poems of war carried a mightier punch than any footage or statistics. Raw words connected. Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds - a different kind of war – left me wretched and awed. 

One compilation CD in my car includes Nick Cave, PM Dawn, Suzanne Vega, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen (hello again) Alanis Morrisette and Joni Mitchell. I keep getting it mixed up with the others, so needed an identifying title. Why did I collect these singers/songwriters on one album? 

Because they use words in a way that shocks me, gives me shivers, sends me pictures, tells me stories and makes me think. Words doing things I didn’t know they could. Like Poetry used to do. 

Hello, Poetry? Are you on Twitter?   

Jill grew up in Wales, Africa and the Middle East, where her curiosity for culture took root and triggered an urge to write. After graduating in English Literature and Theatre Studies, she worked as an actor, teacher, writer, director, editor, journalist and cultural trainer all over Europe.  

Now based in Switzerland, Jill works as a language trainer, forms part of the Nuance Words project and is a regular columnist for Words with JAM magazine. She lives with her husband and three dogs, and in an attic overlooking a cemetery, she writes. 


Beatrice Stubbs Series by JJ Marsh