On Being An Opinionated Novelist


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I’ve often wondered how appropriate it is for a writer to share opinions on issues unrelated to their work. Particularly ones of a political nature. Specifically I wonder if I share too readily and express my opinion too often. Recent crises, particularly Brexit but not limited to that sequence of events, have brought this thought to my mind.

Continue reading “On Being An Opinionated Novelist”

Wexford Literary Festival

I’ve just had a wonderful Friday night and Saturday down in Enniscorthy at the Wexford Literary Festival, at the invitation of its organiser, novelist Carmel Harrington. I can heartily recommend it for aspiring and working authors. I came down on the Friday by train and stayed in the most wonderful, peaceful guesthouse a short distance from the station, which had the deepest carpets I’d ever had the pleasure of sinking my feet into. If you’re hiking or holidaying or festivalling in the area, I can strongly recommend the Anam Cara Guesthouse for both luxury accommodation at a reasonable price and a lovely hostess for whom nothing was too much trouble!

It was particularly nice because I knew it would be a safe place for me – which after previous experiences (protected post) was a crucially important consideration. All the novelists coming along were people I already knew, or had the pleasure of getting to know, and who wrote genre and not literary fiction. There was no secret door being opened for them, no backslapping or old-boy support, just sheer hard work on their part. Hardworking, successful novelists of every genre who distilled their information into some great panel discussions on the publishing industry (traditional and self), YA, crime and the particular issues faced by debut authors. I was “off duty” and as a member of the audience paid attention to all the points made and learned a lot about all the genres. The panels were well structured, with the moderators always taking care to seek contributions from the other members (No names, but this does not always happen on literary festival panels, as I’ve witnessed!) And it was fun. And there were biscuits!

I can’t possibly name everyone because I will end up leaving somebody out and putting my foot in it, but I had a wonderful time meeting everyone and just relaxing in a supportive and stimulating atmosphere. Well done Carmel for putting such a great package together – something this well run takes work, as I know. I can’t wait to see all you guys again next year!

Launch of To Shape The Dark 1st May


Hello all, here is where I make a foray into the world of science fiction! Pleased to announce that To Shape The Dark, an anthology of feminist science fiction compiled and edited by Athena Andreadis and featuring my Chekhovesque (well I can only hope!) story “Ward 7”, is being welcomed to the world on 1st May.

It’s already been very warmly reviewed by Analog SF and given its predecessor, The Other Half of the Sky, has done very well, I’d love to create awareness of it in Ireland. If any sci-fi periodicals or book bloggers of any genre (particularly those I’ve interacted with before) would be interested in reviewing the anthology, please drop me a line via the contact form and I will pass your enquiry on.

Many thanks – and if you are interested in having a read yourself, it’s on Goodreads too.

Thanks Australia and NZ: White Feathers Ranking High

I’m not sure how I stumbled on this but I noticed that White Feathers is currently ranking very highly in the Kindle Historical Fiction section on Amazon Australia, coming in at 140. I suspect it’s because the digital list price has been reduced by AUS$11 🙂


Kindle AU WF

But…it’s also worth reflecting that in WWI the Australians and New Zealanders sent out more fighting men as a percentage of their forces than any other nation of the then Empire – and lost huge numbers of them in fruitless, almost spitefully stupid campaigns and that anger about the war remains and is felt strongly around Anzac day. White Feathers does not shy away from unabashed anger in places and perhaps that is something that strikes a chord.

Whatever the reason, I’m very grateful for the interest, and many thanks to Australian and NZ readers. I hope the story moves you, and do feel free to drop a comment here if you wish.

White Feathers Available on Kindle UK for £1


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(In euros that is €1.30 – half the price of a cappuccino in Cafe Nero down the docks.)

I’m very excited to see White Feathers available at such a massive discount on Amazon UK and do hope that will encourage anyone who adores sweeping, epic narrative and seeks stories of passion, history and war to have a look!

Did I mention it was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2015? Well, I’ll mention it again 🙂

Here are lots of people who are not me saying it’s a compelling read.

Eva Downey jumps at the chance to attend finishing school, especially as she is about to be pushed into marriage by her overbearing stepmother. At the school she finds kinship, and, unexpectedly, love. But when war breaks out in 1914, her family are pushing her into giving the man she loves a white feather of cowardice, because he refuses to enlist. Eva’s decision will have devastating consequences for her – and everyone around her.What do you do when forced to make an impossible choice?

Event: Visit to New Ross Library 23 Feb

I’m delighted to announce that at the invitation of Trish Keenan from New Ross Library I will be giving an open talk there at 7pm on Tuesday 23rd February. Anyone in the New Ross area who is interested in finding out more about how I write my novel(s) and would like some inspiration for their own work is very welcome to attend. There will be a bit of mild workshopping, nothing too deep but enough to whet the appetite.

The New Ross library site is here – this link goes to their Facebook. I will add the event time into my author facebook page this evening.

Interesting to note that my work came to Ms Keenan’s attention through a review of White Feathers in Bookseller Magazine last winter, which I am currently working on sourcing so I can proudly quote from it!