Photo Diary

Archive for December, 2007


Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

DSC_0001.JPG, originally uploaded by michael_jecks.

Who cares about the book I’ve not quite finished? Walking the dogs up on a hill, I saw this view, and had to stop just to stare. I am enormously lucky to live here in Devon. It is one of the rare, beautiful places left in our poor little overcrowded country.


Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

DSC_0004.JPG, originally uploaded by michael_jecks.

Home again, and soon I was out walking the dogs. The autumn has always been a wonderful time for me. I like all the seasons, and I really don’t care whether it rains or not when I’m out on the moors, but when I come across a little scene like this, I really like to take a photo.

The trouble was, of course, that I had a book to write before the end of the month when I got home. There was a huge amount to be written for this, my twenty-fifth book, and the moments I had when I could just down tools and go out for a wander were all too few and far between. In fact even now, I still haven’t managed to get out on to the moors. I have to buy a new camera bag first, something which will allow me to take the Nikon out into the wilds more, without fearing for water damage with the rain!


Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

SMB2007_1002_120255.JPG, originally uploaded by michael_jecks.

And after the excitement and enormous fun of Anchorage, I had a few days to work in Seattle. A very picturesque and wonderful city. The views of the Sound were magnificent, too. But there was one thing which coloured my feelings about the place. While on holiday in England in August, I ate a crab that had something severely wrong with it. And passed it on to me. I didn’t dare eat any shellfish in case of another reaction while I was in Seattle. And I love shellfish. Especially crab and lobster. So, while walking the streets, I would keep finding restaurants selling this delicious looking and smelling food, and dare not to stop in case I had a worse attack than last time.

It won’t last, though. I refuse to give up on my crab cakes and thermidors.

While there, I signed stock at many more shops, and was made inordinately welcome by the fabulous people at the Seattle Mystery Bookstore. And Cynthia made my day when she turned up and declared herself a fan too!


Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

DSC_0153.JPG, originally uploaded by michael_jecks.

And this is what Gary took us to see. Wonderful glaciers. You can see the density of the ice from the colour it takes: a beautiful, deep blue. Usually there is a decent fall of ice into the water each day. It’s shocking when you see it, and realise how quickly global warming is destroying these beautiful natural wonders. On one of the photos on Flickr, if you look at it, you’ll see a photo of the harbour as we returned. There is one massive apartment building there that houses ninety percent of all the people there, and a massive hill behind it. Apparently in the 1980s when Gary came to Alaska from New York, that hill was covered by an enormous glacier. It’s retreated so far, you can’t see it any more from the water.


Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

DSC_0153.JPG, originally uploaded by michael_jecks.

I really wish I had a better picture of our guide, driver and entertainment officer, Gary! He kept us all laughing all the way up to the coast and back. A great guy and brilliant comedian!


Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

DSC_0148.JPG, originally uploaded by michael_jecks.

Sadly all good things soon end, but at least I managed to take one day off to see a little of Alaska. With my agent and Ruth, I went off on a trip to see a bunch of glaciers. The only problem was, although in the morning the views were lovely (like this!) soon things grew a little darker, and the light became a lot more dim. And then it started to rain. Well, it was late in the year for a journey like that. Enormously enjoyable, though. And the people couldn’t have been more helpful. I think we were taken to see twenty six glaciers in total.


Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

DSC_0115.JPG, originally uploaded by michael_jecks.

And so I had to go to work. It was great – especially meeting up with Michelle Borowitz and Steve again from Heirloom Books. Lovely folks, both of them. And my agent came out to see me too, as did Ruth Dudley Edwards – an absolute diamond among authors. If you haven’t tried any of her books, for goodness’ sake, buy a copy of “Murdering Americans”. It is hilarious, a brilliant satire on the modern education system in universities in America. Wonderful.

Ruth came up with my favourite quote of the event: when told of another nonsensical political decision, she moaned gently to herself “Pity the poor satirist!”

I had two great panels, and have made some good friends from them. Especially close to my heart is the humorous crime writer Tim Myers, who has generously sent me a couple of his books: Dead Men Don’t Lye, and Not A Flicker of Doubt. Excellent tales, and thanks again, Tim!


Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

DSC_0092.JPG, originally uploaded by michael_jecks.

After the delight of Chicago (look, I’m a country boy – I didn’t expect to enjoy a huge city anything like so much!) it was still a relief to get to Anchorage. Where else can you go, where people will stop when they see you looking confused, purely to make sure you’re OK? The guys in Anchorage were lovely, really kind, generous and unfailingly polite. I only wish I’d had the time to go for a walk in the woods, and to borrow someone’s handguns for a plink at the local range. It’s been too long since I was able to enjoy a shoot with a decent gun. Hey ho. Sadly, the publishers seemed to think I really ought to be working while there. I had the chance to circumnambulate the city on my feet, and took this shot. I was a little tired after the flight from Chicago. But a lovely town.


Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

DSC_0032.JPG, originally uploaded by michael_jecks.

There are loads of guys who helped make my trip to the US memorable – but I have to thank Oggie (again) for making me enormously welcome at his store. It’s one of those stores where you can’t help buying something. And I was glad for an opportunity to test out my new flashgun (honestly, the thing was under half the price of the same device over here in the UK – less than ninety pounds!). But the great thing about Chicago, I found, was just how friendly everyone was. Didn’t matter where I went, even in the dark, I felt safe. A lovely city.


Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

DSC_0024.JPG, originally uploaded by michael_jecks.

The last few months have been very tough. First, it was a short-notice thing that I was going to get over to America for the Bouchercon event. And I was going to meet with the people at Trafalgar Square, which was brilliant news. They’ve been doing a fabulous job, selling vast quantities of my recent titles all over the States. And that meant I had to get to Chicago, which was a great opportunity because I’d never been there. So suddenly, one cool evening, I found myself deposited outside a wonderful hotel on the river, overlooking this little marina opposite. Now if I had to commute into the city every day, that’s the way I’d do it!