Friday, August 29, 2008


Finally got my novella 'The Other Side of the Mirror' proofed, so it will be available very shortly.

I'm not sure what took me so long - except I had a few other things on.

Of course, I did suffer from what probably a lot of writers experience - the urge to edit and re-edit and re-edit.. In other words, never let it be finished! I can improve each version...forever...

Of course, I probably could continue to improve it, but at some point you have to let go of your creation, release it out into the big bad world for others to read and review and criticise or enjoy (hopefully the latter)

It's done now anyway!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I didn't list them in the last post cos I try to keep my posts short and snappy (except when I rant about first person present tense..

Anyway for those who may be interested the books I bought are:

1. Christians in China AD 600 to 2000. I think China is a fascinating country so how could I resist this? Nearly 600 pages and small print!

2. Church and State in Early Christianity. As this is a much debated topic (debated is perhaps the wrong word: usually it is proponents of a certain type of separation of Church and State who speak loudly on the subject), I thought a look at early Church history would be interesting.

3. Milestones (Memoirs 1927:1977). This slim volume is the autobiography of Pope Benedict XVI, and relates his life up to 1977 (when I think he became a cardinal. The book was first published in 1977).

4. Architects of the Culture of Death. A look at the main thinkers who shaped and influenced the culture of death that is so prevalent in the world today.

5. Jesuit Missionaries to North America. The 8 missionaries in question all arrived in North America between 1632 and 1637, and their story is told mainly through letters they wrote back to their superiors in France.

These 5 books were ordered about a week ago from the States. The postage was more expensive than the books, and yet altogether the total cost was under €35!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I find it's generally one or the other.

It's nice to have a list of books waiting to be read but a lot of the time I find that I have nothing to read, or perhaps really I'm not in the mood to read anything piled up on my bedroom floor!

Having just finished the latest Odd Thomas book by Dean Koontz, I was given "The Pimpernell of the Vatican" - regarding the Irish priest Monsignor O'Flaherty who hid numerous escaped POWs, Jews, Italians, and in fact anyone who had fallen foul of the Nazis during their occupation of Rome (1943-44), and earlier helped those in need evade Mussolini's regime. At the same time, I was lent a recently written (though obviously not by Ian Fleming) James Bond novel. On top of that, I started to re-read that masterpiece "Black Rabbit Island" (written by me for Nanowrimo 2006) with a view to seeing if it could be polished up for publication.

I am enjoying all three books, despite their varied tales (zombies versus heroic priest versus secret agent). However today 5 books I ordered from Ignatius Press arrived - it's hard to resist starting one or two of them as well!

Monday, August 18, 2008


Recently I read a blog from Inkpot about keeping notes, and how she went through notes on stories she wrote years ago.

Although I too kept most of my notes and stories from way back (not that long ago, really!), I also have another problem which is not a good one. I tend to keep all versions of stories I write (now that I write on a pc). Therefore I have story X version 1, 2, 3.. and so on. I start a story, it's not going well so I re-start it from a different angle, yet I can't bring myself to scrap the first version.

I tend to be a hoarder anyway but I think this is pushing it!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I was watching 'Frasier' the other night. At one point he advises a man who is contemplating writing his biography to use the present tense, that it added a sense of urgency.

Like the advice that Frasier gives out on his show, I think this gem stank. Maybe I am being unfair, I have a particular antipathy to the use of present tense, particularly when combined with a first person narrative.

I will now rant about this pet peeve of mine.

I think using the first person is generally done out of laziness. It saves the author having to describe the MC, or indeed anything at all as we can be shown through the MC's eyes instead of having to interpret descriptions. It is much easier to write but what does it add to the story? Usually when I read first person I hear the author's voice rather than the characters - and so often this ruins a perfectly good story where, for the example, the teenage boy/girl sounds like a middle-aged woman. I also think it takes from the story because we know the MC is going to survive (unless the author cheats).

Present tense - what does that add? Again I think this is done out of pure laziness, and I find it both irritating and boring. Irritating because it makes no sense - you can't tell a story in present tense because every action is immediately in the past. And what does it add? Does it truly make the story any more believable? Or urgent??? I find these stories boring because generally the less talented writers use this format (and if you can prove me wrong, please do so!)

First person present tense - arrgh what a combination! I shall say no more.

Seriously, I can think of few occasions when first person is used well. Wilkie Collins 'The Moonstone' is a brilliant exception where the first person narratives are done perfectly and each character is so diverse. I think first person narrative works well for Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas tales but I don't think I'd like to see him use it in his other books. Don't get me wrong - I have enjoyed many stories which have been told in first person (eg 'Rebecca' by D. DuMaurier, 'Laughing Gas' by PG Wodehouse) but I think I'd have preferred them written in the third person. (Quick aside: I understand writers like to experiment with different styles, so first person is not always written out of laziness!).

I can think of nothing written in the present tense that I could rate as a good read.

Please let me know of any books written in either/both first person and present tense that are good!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Congrats to Inkpot who has done it again!

Yes, Inkpot has won another writing competition - check out the details here!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Toffee and Honey

Honey, the new pup in the house, is settling in well, and playing lots of games of chase with Toffee.

The other day Toffee curled up in her basket for a rest, but Honey hopped in beside her.

It was, of course, a great photo op. Naturally both kept moving once the cameras came out, but here they are anyway:

Monday, August 4, 2008


I saw the proof copy at the weekend and it looks really good - the cover came out really well, and I really love the pocket size.

Had to do a few tweaks to the story so I'm now waiting on a second proof copy. Then it should be ready to go!