Happy Christmas – and What’s Next


(Image from my favourite ever Christmas book, at the age of 4 or thereabouts. I loved it so much I annoyed my parents by scribbling all over the text.)

I hope readers are enjoying the winding down of 2015, as it’s been a turbulent one. It’s hard to keep one’s mood up when reading about intractable terrorism and environmental destruction. But in the season of Advent, hope must still light a small candle.

I have recently submitted a short novel (YA, Ireland in the 1980s) so for the moment am free to write again. Writing that novel was good as it increased my confidence in learning the craft, which is never a bad thing. Right now I have two pieces in first draft, one quite advanced, one about a third of the way through. I am favouring the second because it is a continuation of the White Feathers story. (The other one is twenty years later than the time period White Feathers is set in, and while is still in the same universe, only touches very briefly on the characters in that story.)

(Y’know part of me wants to create a password-locked thread where people who have read the book can talk about spoilers – but that sounds a bit “up myself”. Would people be interested in that?)

Another thing that will be happening on my blog is that in the new year I will be doing a series of interviews with other novelists, poets, short story writers and artists. People who are not in the mainstream but are doing really interesting work. I hope people enjoy reading the interviews!

As a final salutation for 2015, here is the inimitable Mr Sam Cooke to bring hope and good cheer. Let it shine, AMEN!

Happy Christmas – and What’s Next

White Feathers – Win a Signed Copy and Christmas Promo!

Thinking of the perfect gift for someone special? Why not an epic tale of passion, betrayal and war, short-listed for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award? Beautifully presented, this is a gift to be truly enjoyed. And GIVEAWAY – everyone who comments / likes / shares this FB post before midnight Friday 11th can win a signed and personalised copy!

White Feathers


1914: The outbreak of WWI. A young girl’s family are trying to force her to give a white feather of cowardice to the man she loves, because he refuses to enlist. Her choice will have devastating consequences.







“Written in delicate prose, in the style of the period, the first thing that appealed to me when turning the opening pages, was the fluidity of the words. They slipped across the page, like a satin scarf slipping off the back of a chair. Gliding, without any apparent effort, taking the reader along their journey. This elegance didn’t fade once throughout the novel. Each chapter, each character and each sub-story, all had this unique feel. I felt like I was discovering some forgotten antiques at an old house auction, that could now be appreciated by a lover of stories.”

BleachHouseLibrary book blog review

“rain lashed the glass beside me while I read and read and read. White Feathers was so intense and addictive that my tea went cold and unnoticed.”

-American Author book blog



ETA: I have optimised this for Facebook: the FB promotional ad is here:

White Feathers – Win a Signed Copy and Christmas Promo!

Short Story Competition in Aid of Galway Rape Crisis Centre

Of Irish interest, but not limited to Ireland. A friend sent this on to me and I am blogging it because (a) Galway RCC need the funding and it’s an excellent cause and (b) it’s being judged by Sarah Clancy, a poet for whom I’ve a lot of respect. I will submit myself and throw my hat in the ring.

Galway Advertiser link here:

The Galway Rape Crisis Centre has announced its third annual writing competition, with entries being accepted for its poetry, flash fiction, and short story categories.

Winners in each category will receive €100, publication in SIN magazine, and a chance to read at the prize- iving event at NUI Galway in February. Entries are €7/5. Multiple entries are allowed. Maximum lines for any one poem is 50. Maximum for flash entries 500 words, and for short stories 1,800 words.

The judges are poet Sarah Clancy, author of the collections Stacey and the Mechanical Bull (2011 ), Thanks for Nothing, Hippies (2012 ), and The Truth and Other Stories (2014 ); Alan McMonagle, author of the short story collections Liar Liar(2008 ) and Psychotic Episodes (2013 ); and Celeste Augé, author of the poetry collections The Essential Guide To Flight(2009 ) and Skip Diving (2014 ), and the short story collection Fireproof and Other Stories (2012 ).

Entry fees can be paid by idonate throughgalwayrcc.org/competition Entries can then be sent by email towritinggrcc@gmail.com or post to GRCC, Forster Court, Galway quoting the transaction reference. The closing date is January 7.

Short Story Competition in Aid of Galway Rape Crisis Centre

On Productivity

It’s coming around to that time of year when book promotion gets done. I will probably be doing a bit of it myself. But then the objection always comes up in my head, But you’ve no new book.  Most of the authors I know don’t leave it too long between the first and the second book. Many who have more subsidiary obligations than I do have closed the deal. From my meetings with full-time writers at the Romantic Novelists Association, I see myself how hard, and fast, they work. Continue reading “On Productivity”

On Productivity