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CRA Newsletter
January 2017
Dear CRA Member,
Welcome to the January newsletter. A little later in the month than usual but that’s the nature of January! 

Happy New Year! To welcome in 2017, we’re pleased to offer you a 10% CrimeFest discount. Find out more below.

10% CrimeFest discount

CrimeFest in Bristol is one of the high spots of the crime-writing year. So we’ve negotiated a discount for our CRA members!

The CWA has negotiated a 10% discount for CRA members on a Full Weekend Pass to CrimeFest 2017 (18-21 May).

For full information, visit and for your discounted ticket register here. (Please note that the discount only applies to the Full Weekend Pass.)

Dark January nights

It’s January. Long nights, gloomy days. So not to be anything other than obvious, we’ve selected a couple of books for those winter nights with ‘dark’ in the title.

In the DARKEST of Shadows is the fourth crime novel in the Superintendent Mark Faraday Collection, written by ex-Superintendent Richard Allen.

In the DARKEST of Shadows' finds Detective Chief Inspector Kay Yin at the scene of a fatal car accident, with one body with two identities. At the mortuary, Kay, together with Detective Superintendent Faraday of Special Branch, discovers more anomalies about this MoD researcher. Who is this man? Why the double identity? What had he been doing?  Where had he been? Where was he going and why? As the officers follow a trail from Bristol  to The Pentagon in Washington, from Rome to the US Embassy in London, from Gibraltar to Bonavista, and the savage shores of the Costa da Morte to the tranquillity of England's south coast, they will uncover murder and a callous assassin, treason and double-dealing.

Available in paperback or eBook from or Amazon.

Dark Minds is a collection of crime and thriller short stories written by authors from around the UK and beyond. Including best-selling authors from the giant publishing houses, hugely successful independent authors and those at almost every stage in-between, it is a collection of stories which will entertain and delight readers.

Dark Minds is a collection of stories by authors who have come together to produce an anthology that will lure, tantalise and shock its readers. From master authors such as Lisa Hall, Steven Dunne, Louise Jensen and Anita Waller, Charlie Flowers and Hannah Haq as well as less familiar writers, readers can expect one hell of a ride…You think you know darkness? Think again.

Remarkably all the authors featured have crafted their stories for no gain of their own. Dark Minds is published by Bloodhound Books, who will donate all net proceeds from sales of the book to Hospice UK and Sophie’s appeal.

Available from Amazon.

The Real Sherlock Holmes?

CWA member Bryan Kesselman will be talking about his biography of Victorian private detective Ignatius Pollaky on 20 Feb at 5pm at Marylebone Library.

Bryan Kesselman, who is a composer and musician as well as a writer, will tell his audience more about 'Paddington' Pollaky, Private Detective, The Mysterious Life and Times of the Real Sherlock Holmes.

Who was the Victorian super-sleuth ‘Paddington’ Pollaky? Newspaper accounts detail his work as a private detective in London, his association with The London Society for the Protection of Young Females, his foiling of those involved in sex trafficking, and his tracking down of abducted children.

What was his involvement in the American Civil War? Why did he place cryptic messages in the agony column of The Times? And why were the newspapers so interested in this Hungarian detective and adventurer while the police thoroughly disapproved of him?

Was it Pollaky who provided the inspiration for great literary creations Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes? Come to Bryan’s talk and find out for yourself.

Mick Finlay: Diary of a Debut Author 

The review copies of my first novel Arrowood arrived three days ago. I had a couple of glasses of wine and opened one but couldn’t bring myself to read the words. It’s getting serious now. You put a lot of yourself on the line when you publish a novel.

I signed my book deal in April 2016, and it’ll be published in March 2017. Someone told me the time would race by, and publication day would come before I knew it. I can see how it would be that way for my publishers (the great new Harper Collins imprint HQ) and their marketing team, as they have a constant cycle of other books being commissioned and published, but I only have one, and I’m afraid to say it’s too easy to obsess over every step. My most recent weakness is looking on the internet to see which book-selling website it’s appeared on. You can’t buy it, of course, but it’s there, all over the world, in languages I don’t recognize.

Other writers told me about this period between signing your first book deal and it being published. One told me I should try to enjoy it, this golden time between being able to call yourself a writer and your book being out there in the market. You’ve been accepted, your agent and publishers love your book, and you can sit in that cocoon and enjoy it before the people that matter, the readers, can tell you any different. Another told me how difficult it is, the waiting and wondering what will happen when it finally comes out. That’s what I do a lot at the moment. Will my friends like it? Will it get reviewed in newspapers and blogs? Will it get on the tables in Waterstones? How many stars will it get on Goodreads? Will anyone buy it?

At least there are distractions. The to and fro over cover designs, negotiations over TV rights, joining the Crime Writers’ Association, news of publishers in other countries signing it, and the small issue of writing a sequel that has to be finished in January. I’ve tried to arrange my life better so that I can be a writer. There’s a new shed in the garden to work in. I’ve negotiated going part-time in my job (I’m an academic in a Psychology department). My publishers have set a date later this month to train me in social media and to plan a PR strategy. I’ve even had my dog’s ears emptied of wax so he doesn’t yelp when I stroke him. And life goes on…

Continue reading on the CRA website:

Writers’ Corner

CWA Debut Dagger Mini Critique
Are you aware the CWA is running a pop-up mini critique service (minimum 400 words) for those who’d like some professional feedback for their proposed entry? It’s £75 and you get the work back within 16 days of acknowledged receipt.

The deadline for entry is getting closer now at Feb 28 so this is a great opportunity to get some useful feedback and still leave yourself plenty of time for revisions. The service closes on Feb 12 so don’t hang about.

The prize is £500 and the shortlisted entries are passed on to agents and editors.

Debut Dagger info
Mini critique info

The Debut Dagger is sponsored by Orion Books.

The Northern Writers’ Awards 2017 

The awards are now open for entry until 2 February 2017.

Northern Writers award winners 2016

The Northern Writers’ Awards were founded by New Writing North in 2000 and have a reputation for identifying some of the best unpublished writing in the UK, with recent winners including the novelist Benjamin Myers, short story writer Carys Davies, and poets Andrew McMillan and Zaffar Kunial.

The awards exist to recognise talent and support new work towards publication or broadcast. In 2017 there is £40,000 worth of awards available for writers at different stages of their careers, including mentoring, developmental support and cash awards to buy time to write. Forms supported include fiction, narrative non-fiction, short stories, children’s and YA, graphic novels, poetry, and writing for television. The literary agent Elise Dillsworth, writer Richard T Kelly, poet Clare Pollard, YA writer Juno Dawson and journalist Peter Wilby will judge the awards in 2017.

Enter now at

Mystery Weekly Discount

Topping and tailing our newsletter with discount offers this month, this is from Mystery Weekly magazine of Canada.

Fancy reading more short stories in the crime or mystery genre? We’ve negotiated a digital discount for CWA members and CRA subscribers with Mystery Weekly magazine, a newish publication published in Canada; January will mark their 17th issue.

See a past issue here:
(If the link doesn’t work, copy the url into your browser)

Get the digital subs discount here

Happy winter reading!

The Dagger Sponsors

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