Digital stocking filler

November 11, 2015 Leave a comment

Special Christmas offer: the Kindle version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow will be cut to £1.99, VAT included, from November 12 through to December 26. A similar discount will apply in the UK.

Categories: General

Unashamed campaigning

November 11, 2015 4 comments

The Crime Writers’ Association has asked book lovers across the nation to nominate their favourite crime authors for the 2016 Dagger In The Library award. This is the only award that QJ has ever cared about winning. I’ve been nominated once, but I haven’t given up on it, so if anyone should  care to nominate me, I’d be very pleased.

This literary prize is a unique part of the CWA Dagger Awards because the nominations are made by crime readers and are in celebration of an author’s entire body of work, not just one individual book.

I grew up near my local library in Motherwell, and I go back there to speak whenever I’m invited. For many kids like me it all strats inLibraries, and it’s libraries that make them readeres. The Dagger In The Library was introduced to give them a voice in theDagger Awards, which endeavour to showcase the best of the best in the crime genre.

To nominate you should go to

After completing their ballot, you will be entered automatically into a prize draw to win £200 in National Book Tokens. Not only that, you will also be asked to nominate your favourite library. The winner will be awarded some great CWA Dagger prizes

The sad truth is that funding cuts, and. occasionally, unsympathetic councillors threatening the future of our libraries it’s even more important than ever to support them and celebrate the service they provide communities.

Categories: General


November 10, 2015 Leave a comment

My current leisure read is Fields of Glory, a new venture by my friend Michael Jecks, master of historical fiction. It’s the first in a saga of the Hundred Years War. (A large hint that there’s plenty more to come.)

This isn’t a review; you know QJ doesn’t do those, not being presumptuous enough to tell other witers how to write. But it is a very strong recommendation; I’m half way through and it’s a cracker. War has always been messy, and Fields of Glory tells it like it must have been. Well done, Jecksie.

Categories: General

Should he be trusted?

November 10, 2015 1 comment

A couple of quick questions about yesterday’s WADA commission report into Russian athletics.

Dick Pound, the Canadian chair of the commission is a past president of WADA. In that post he built a reputation over several years as a fanatical pursuer of alleged  ‘drug cheats’. He enjoyed also a very high media profile.

  1. With such a background, was he the best person to put in a position that demanded an objective and unbiased approach?
  2. Did his commission begin its work with an assumption of guilt?
Categories: General, Pics, Politics, Sport


November 10, 2015 1 comment

Sorry for the long radio silence. Blame Bob Skinner.

Categories: General

Claret and granya

October 20, 2015 Leave a comment

I couldn’t help noticing on BBC Reporting Scotland that the kids in the sports centre in Motherwell were wearing Barcelona shirts. Says it all.

Categories: Sport

Comfort and joy

October 20, 2015 Leave a comment

There is one place, and one place alone, where every printed title on my catalogue is stored and available as a matter of principle.

It isn’t Amazon, and it isn’t Waterstone, and it isn’t WHS. No High Street bookstore has the space to stock over 40 titles, only my officially approved website, where every book sold is signed by me.

Christmas is coming, the turkeys are working their way through their rosaries, and festive dedications are available, on every title ordered by November 28.

Ebooks may be all the rage, but you try signing one.

Categories: General


October 14, 2015 Leave a comment

Today, after weeks of tinkering and prevarication, I go into full Skinner mode until further notice. That means that I do not open my email inbox, my blog, Facebook, nada, until 2pm at the earliest.

If you need to get in touch with me earlier than that, call my agent. If you really need to get in touch with me, use the phone. If you don’t have those numbers, you don’t really need to get in touch with me.

Categories: General

Thomas Wolfe

October 14, 2015 Leave a comment

On hearing the news that Mark McGhee has been reappointed as manager of Motherwell Football Club, my lifelong team, my instant reaction was, ‘You can’t cross the same river twice.’

This morning, it still is.

Categories: Sport

Words fail me

October 2, 2015 1 comment

I’ve just watched TV news coverage of the latest US college massacre, and the reactions of some of  the presidential candidates. There are occasions on which a tweet is neither adequate nor appropriate.

Jeb Bush says he’s praying for the families of the victims. Is he also praying for the families of future victims?

Sixteen years ago, at the time of the Columbine High School massacre, Jeb’s older brother was running for President. He held that office for eight years and nothing happened. Seven years into Obama’s Presidency, nothing has happened beyond the fuelling of his frustration and anger.

The US constitution doesn’t allow the president to impose sensible gun laws. Only Congress can, but it will never do so, for as long as the majority of its members are so morally bankrupt that they accept money from the blind, blinkered nutters in the gun lobby, who are prepared to tolerate the slaughter of children in schools and colleges just to preserve their right to shoot moose of a weekend, and anyone else who happens to cross their path at the wrong time.

Categories: Politics


September 30, 2015 Leave a comment

As of next year, twelve months earlier than planned, continuous coverage of the Open Championship begins on Sky.

That will mean, farewell Hazel Irvine, hello Sarah Stirk; not an exchange that this golf viewer will welcome. In fact, it really gets on my Colin Montgomeries!

Categories: Sport

Don’t think so

September 30, 2015 Leave a comment

A clear message from the YouGov poll this morning. Question: Corbyn as Prime Minister? Answer: No.

If 24% approval is the best a Labour leader can do in his Party Conference week, in his first month in office, he isn’t going to last long.

Categories: Politics


September 29, 2015 Leave a comment
Categories: Politics


September 27, 2015 10 comments

Big day here; Catalan parliamentary elections, which are in effect a referendum on independence from Spain. Looks like the worst possible result; the Yes coalition has won a majority of seats, but it looks like it has failed to secure 50% of the popular vote.

Someone said to me on Friday, ‘We will vote and we will be independent.’ I told her ‘No you won’t, because Madrid won’t allow it and neither will the military, which has an obligation to protect the Spanish state.’

As it stands, the leader of the ‘Si’ movement says that if independence is not granted he will declare it in two years. By that argument, ie a substantial majority of parliamentary seats, Nicola could declare Scotland independent tomorrow. But she won’t.

I say this as an SNP member and a supporter of independence for Scotland; without 50% plus one of the popular vote, there is no incontrovertible mandate for Catalan independence.

Categories: Politics

Music while I work

September 23, 2015 Leave a comment

Stereophonics – Keep the Village Alive. Just downloaded this, after catching a sampler on Jools Holland last night. I’m halfway through and already I’m glad I did. Kelly Jones could sing the phone book and make it work.

Categories: General

This is for Fergus

September 22, 2015 1 comment

(Sorry about the ads.)

Categories: Uncategorized


September 22, 2015 2 comments

This is worth some of your time, particularly if you don’t like pompous TV interviewers who aren’t very good at their job.

Categories: General, Videos


September 22, 2015 2 comments

A propos de rien . . .

Categories: General, Videos


September 21, 2015 1 comment

In the great days of the British Empire, a new commanding officer was sent to a South African bush outpost to relieve the retiring colonel. 

After welcoming his replacement and showing the usual courtesies (gin and tonic, cucumber sandwiches etc) which protocol decrees, the retiring colonel said, “You must meet my Adjutant, Captain Smithers, He’s my right-hand man and is really the strength of this office. His talent is simply boundless.”


Smithers was summoned and introduced to the new CO, who was surprised to meet a hunchback, one eyed, toothless, hairless, scabbed and pockmarked specimen of humanity, a particularly unattractive man less than three feet tall.


“Smithers, old man, tell your new CO about yourself.”


”Well, sir, I graduated with honours from Sandhurst, joined the regiment and won the Military Cross and Bar after three expeditions behind enemy lines. I’ve represented Great Britain in equestrian events and won a Silver Medal in the middleweight division of the Olympics. I have researched the history of…..”


At that point, the colonel interrupted, “Yes, yes, never mind that Smithers, he can find all that in your file. Tell him about the day you told the witch doctor to fuck off.”

Categories: General, Politics

BBC and all that

September 21, 2015 3 comments

Quintin Jardine:

M y buddy Mike; always an interesting read.

Originally posted on writerlywitterings:

Still had time for an occasional walk! Still had time for an occasional walk!

Last week was another busy one. Plenty of writing and planning, but then I had to go up to London to discuss the next books.

I am currently on a two book contract. The first of the pair is written and submitted: it’s the last of the Vintener Trilogy, and deals with events ten years after Crécy. I really like it. There is a pretty high body count, but most folks are happy with that. The questions was, though, what my editor and I should look at next. Some people have been asking me to write about Agincourt, which is an appealing idea, but for that I’d have to invent a bunch of new characters and work through a different period, while many readers would expect something to follow on from the other books. They are all in the Hundred Years War, after all.

View original 496 more words

Categories: Uncategorized

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