God, it’s been ages since I last wrote here. Promises were made at the beginning of the year, and then life got in the way. As it does. And sometimes life can be pretty crap, can’t it? Of course, I had some writing time, but it had to be prioritised, and working on a novel seemed like a higher priority than writing book reviews and telling my two readers how I was getting on with my writing.

Things are easing, though, and – at the risk of tempting fate – looks like they will get easier still over the coming weeks.

Which is why, after a lot of hesitation and doubt, I’m heading to Harrogate today. The annual Crime Festival started yesterday, so I’ve missed a day already, but I’ll be there from this afternoon until Sunday lunchtime. It’ll be a great opportunity to not only see the great and the good of the crime writing world (I’m booked to see Jeffrey Deaver, just to give you an indication of how great and good), but it’ll also allow me to catch up with old friends from the world of writing and book blogging. Inevitably, there will be a few absentees that I’d have loved to see, but I have a feeling there won’t be too much hanging around waiting for a familiar face.

For those of you who are oblivious to this festival and/or know little about it, it takes place at the Swan Hotel – famously, the hotel where Agatha Christie turned up after her 11 day disappearance in the 1920s. Clearly an ideal spot to launch a crime festival. And it attracts crime writers from all over the world. I had the good fortune to meet Robert (call me Bob) Crais a few years ago, and my partner got herself a photo with Harlan Coben the same year – incidentally, both were the loveliest people you could wish to spend time with.

We’ve seen Val McDermid singing rock songs while Mark Billingham and Chris Brookmyre played guitar alongside. There are other members of the band, but I’m naming the authors I’d already read. Incidentally, Ian Rankin was standing a couple of feet in front of me at the time, watching intently and swaying to the music. In many ways, this was a surreal moment, but it gives an indication of how easy it is to become a part of it all.

If you love crime and/or reading, this is a fantastic place to be. And I’m looking forward to it. It feels like it’s been a long time coming, but in part that’s because I’ve had to miss out on quite a few other events in the last 12 months.

Anyway, this is just a heads-up. I will be there to mingle and join in. And if things go to plan (do they ever?), I’ll have the opportunity to do more of the same over the coming months.

If you’re at Harrogate this weekend, do accost me – it’s one of my favourite things! And if you’re not, maybe next year – or keep checking back here for details of other events I’ll be at. It’ll be good to meet up some time!