Questions From My Editor

Questions From My Editor

I've been fortunate to work with my excellent editor Deb Nemeth on three Amy Lane novels now. In the course of editing my work, she asks me a lot of questions. Some are to expand her knowledge of my characters' world and some are to challenge me to grow as a writer. I'm going to share a few (spoiler-free!) questions that Deb has asked me during different stages of editing for Binary Witness, Code Runner and Captcha Thief. Welsh life I use a number of Welsh names in my novels, but Jason's sister probably possesses one of the more challenging ones. Cerys is pronounced "keh-ris", not anything like "cerise". Additionally, Owain is less like Owen and more "owe-ein". Sticking with names, abbreviations aren't always universally understood. As Peggy is to Margaret and Betty is to Elizabeth, so Dai is to David in Wales. Slang is obviously also highly-localised. "Butt" is a piece of South Walean slang, most often found around Cardiff and Newport, and it's...
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Amy Lane’s Guide to Password Security

With ONE WEEK to go until the Code Runner launch, my agoraphobic hacker Amy Lane lays down the law on password security. Ignore her at your peril! If you're looking for my advice, I'm assuming we've filtered out the first layer of morons. I'm talking about the kind of people who think "password" is a great password or use one of the most common and worst passwords of the year. Or that swapping out letters for numbers in the name of their favourite band is the height of security. (Yes, Jason, I'm looking at you.) I also assume you have something worth guarding. Facebook is a leaking sieve for privacy - your best password is wasted on it. Of course, the best hackers will always bypass your defences, but you don't have to make it easy for them. Memorable data Unless you have a good head for random letter-number strings, you will likely base your password on words in common usage. This improves the...
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Jason Carr’s Guide to Surviving On The Run

Bad day at work? Rent due and short of cash? Framed for murder? My streetwise ex-con Jason Carr, half of the crime-solving team in The Amy Lane Mysteries, shares his practical tips for successfully surviving on the run... I've known my fair share of trouble. More than my share, being honest, but that's my own fault. I mucked about in the past, got nicked by the cops - and rightly so, let's admit it - before being sent down. But this time, it weren't my fault. I got framed for a crime I didn't commit and, despite my boss' best efforts and with some bad guys trying to finish me off, I ended up running from my problems. I don't really recommend it, but if you find yourself in this kind of jam, here are my tips for staying alive and keeping a low profile. Mobile phones are not your friend You know those smartphones we carry about everywhere? My boss is a tech...
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Freudian Script: Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia: a mental health problem that everyone's heard of and yet receives little attention in media or movies. In this week's Freudian Script, we will explore the definition of agoraphobia, its connection to panic attacks and other mental health problems, notable examples and writing tips on how to portray agoraphobia sensitively and accurately. DISCLAIMER: This blog post is designed for writers of fiction. If you are concerned that you or someone you know has symptoms of mental health problems, please see your doctor. What is agoraphobia? From the Greek "fear of the market/gathering place", agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder characterised by fear, anxiety and panic in public places, mostly open or crowded spaces, resulting in avoidance. The phobia part is similar to any other phobia - spiders, heights, small spaces - because a phobia is an exaggerated anxiety response leading to avoidance. I'm emphasising avoidance here because it's a really key part of agoraphobia. The definition hinges on the anxious person's splitting of the world...
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First article for The Amy Lane Mysteries!

The first article for The Amy Lane Mysteries has landed. In case you've somehow missed my wittering, my debut novel Binary Witness will be published by Carina Press on 5th May 2014. (And this is one reason why I'm getting more organised with this blog, including this little Technorati claim code by here: CKFHXQER5BB5) I submitted the manuscript for the second novel in the Amy Lane series to my wonderful editor Deb Nemeth on Thursday and I needed to put in some serious nautical research. The Barry Yacht Club were happy to help and the lovely folks at the Barry and District News helped to widen the net. You can read the article here -> "Novelist seeks Barry coastal knowledge"....
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2013 in review

So now is the time of year where writers waddle to their blogs, stuffed with Vegetable Wellington, and reflect on how everyone in the industry got the goddamn breaks except them. Or some such thing. My goal for this year was simple: seize my opportunities and write! Here's what happened: - I submitted my Cyber Crime Sleuth novel to Carina Press and it was accepted for publication. It will be published as BINARY WITNESS in May 2014! - I wrote the first draft of the Cyber Crime Sleuth sequel for NaNoWriMo 2013. - I wrote a short film called "A work of art", which was shot under the expert eye of Emma Ashley in August and is now in post-production. - I started work on a Wine and Women feature script with Nicholas John of Changeling Films. - I was a guest of Euro #scriptchat, talking about Multi-Platform writing. - I started a new blog series called Freudian Script about psychology for writers. It's been on hiatus but will...
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Writers’ Tools: How Google Maps Can Enhance Your Narrative

Now that NaNoWriMo is over, I have a few moments to do something other than pour words into my novel. One of my most invaluable tools this year, and in 2011, was Google Maps. My mystery series is set in Cardiff and spills out into South Wales. While I was resident in Wales for seven years and spent five of those years in Cardiff, I am currently living in London. Therefore, real life research would require hopping on the train and having a limited wander in the time available. Or I could just look up my location in Google Maps, plot out the route and make notes on the twists and turns of the adventure. For example, here is a chase sequence from the first novel - from Cardiff Central station to the River Taff: (To orientate you, the station is at the very top of the image and Cardiff City Centre is north of that. The river runs south towards Cardiff Bay.) This is...
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