Litopia After Dark

Had a great time on Sunday taking part in a Litopia After Dark panel on crime writing with my fellow historical crime writers William Ryan and Linda Stratmann.

I have to confess, I had a technical nightmare making the podcast, as I had to battle against some nasty pc gremlins just as we were about to begin.  The start of the show was delayed thanks to me, so apologies to anyone who was listening live.  The gremlins also seemed to have buggered up my computer’s long term relationship with the internet. (Though fingers crossed, I’m hoping the latter problem has settled down now. And yes, crossing my fingers is how I deal with all pc problems.)

I had bought a new Skype headset for the podcast, as Litopia had advised. Trying not to be anal for once, I decided that the equipment would work fine and there was no need to test it in advance. These days, everything is just plug and play, right? Wrong. Very very wrong.

I could get the listening part of the headset working, but the mic refused to pick up my voice. I could hear them, but no one could hear me.

Trying it with the pc’s in-built mic apparently caused a lot of feedback, even though – I promise – I wasn’t listening to the show via litopia’s website, but was only taking part in a skype conference call.

So yes, I was reduced to a screaming, swearing, child-frightening wreck, tearing round the house looking for alternative pc mics. None of which produced adequate sound quality. I switched to my wife’s laptop, but apparently that wasn’t good enough either.

Peter Cox of litopia remained impressively calm and understanding throughout. He took the initiative and called me on the landline – which is why my voice sounds as it does. Just before we began the (live) broadcast, he joked ‘it’s not one of those cordless phones that’s going to run out of battery charge is it?’ I laughed nervously. That was a pretty good description of the phone I was using – the only one we have been able to get working since moving house. It’s an old cordless, which no longer holds its charge for long periods. The panel was scheduled to last about an hour. I had my fingers crossed that it would last that long.

Sadly, it was not to be. Though I did manage to make it through most of the show, including the chain story challenge. All in all, it was a fairly nerve-wracking experience, though that was nothing to do with the actual panel itself, which was a joy and delight.

William and Linda were terrific, as was the show’s host Peter Cox and co-host Dave Bartram. As a non-crime reader, Dave threw us some head-on questions, but it was good to be challenged about what we do and why. Thanks also to Ali Gardner for fielding the chat room questions.

Apparently the next guest up on litopia was Peter Englund, the secretary of the Nobel Prize for Literature, so that definitely sounds like one worth listening to.

With any luck, the following code should be a virtual player for the poodcast of the panel I was on. Let’s give it a go:


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