Saturday, June 27, 2015

Justine's Journal #45

52 Weeks 500 Words


This is how it began: Justine (not her real name) decided to write 500 words (or as near as), anything goes, per week for 52 weeks. She would then submit it for anonymous posting, via me, her friend. Perhaps a pattern will emerge from her words, but at this stage it’s more an experiment I have agreed to share in. I’ll attempt to draw conclusions at the end of this. Stay tuned if this resonates with you.

Week 45

"Do you sometimes feel as if you have failed? It could be in a task, a responsibility you undertook, as a friend, in your work, your personal life? Of course you have, for all of us sometimes doubt ourselves.

This was my week, unfortunately. I feel as I have failed. Just admitting it makes me feel terrible. Yet it wasn’t in a task or responsibility, or a relationship. I failed myself. I have this week utterly doubted myself. Every positive feeling I have worked hard at attaining meant less than nothing. Yes, I wanted to crawl into bed and stay there, never to emerge again, for I am a failure.

When I sat to write this entry, I thought to record something positive, hoping it would jog me from this state of belief. Omission though is also lying, if only to myself. So, now the words of admission pour out instead. While I hope you will learn from this or simply feel empathetic in recognising yourself in here, this journal entry is so that I may reason this all out and change my state of mind.

I stare at the screen now and wonder if a chemical deficiency isn’t causing this negativity. Perhaps the stuff that wires me is defective and I need to have my hormones tested or something. Maybe. I can’t afford to visit a doctor, though, so that won’t help me. If this continues, I may have to acknowledge there is a physical reason beyond my control and then live with it.

Still, I am of the opinion we can rewire ourselves, shift those chemicals around ourselves if we try hard enough, believe in ourselves and give it our all. The process is the same for our physical selves as it is for the intangible parts. Therefore, anything I attempt to do, whether it is physical or emotional, will in the end lead to the same result. Right? Well, that’s what I tell myself. I do doubt at the moment.

I’m sorry, I had hoped to reveal to you a journey, one which slowly over the weeks of entry showed you how it is possible to grow daily simply by being more aware of the inner self. In this I have clearly failed also. Here I sit and dump doubts and it feels as if I have just started this journey and the intervening weeks have not happened.

They did happen! I did learn so much! I fixed so many issues!

Wow.

Oh, now I sound completely disjointed, but do you know what? It just occurred to me the journey is real and I have soul-searched and lip-chewed and I have GROWN. This current state of belief is but a few days in a far larger picture. Why throw what went before away? That would be the real failure. We are not perfect, not ever, and sometimes we doubt. Sometimes the big picture is overwhelming. Sometimes we have to admit we are only human.

Okay, so these few days do not define me. Your few days do not define you either. I acknowledge the bigger picture, but will now concentrate on the small stuff and use them to drag myself out of this.

I will go outside and listen to the birds. I will edit another chapter of my book. I will cook a lovely meal tonight. I will phone my brother for a quick chat. I will veg later and watch my favourite movie without telling myself I am wasting time better spent doing something constructive. I will cuddle with my partner tonight after our meal.

I will fix this.

Thank you for the opportunity to unload. This has given me the willingness to change my doubts and the path to do so. I hope you can find your path, too."



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Writer's Wednesday: Chatting with Daithi Kavanagh


Today we chat with Daithi Kavanagh


Daithi Kavanagh is 56 years old and lives with his wife and two teenage children in Trinity, Wexford. Up to 2012 when the recession hit Ireland he was making a living as a musician. He then went back to adult education and completed his Leaving Certificate in 2014. He is now studying for a degree in Culture and Heritage Studies at Wexford Campus.

While he was studying he began writing ‘The Gun’ which is the first book in The Tadhg Sullivan Series.  His second book in the series called The Brotherhood was released in May 2015. He is currently working on the third book in the series.

He plays guitar and sings in many of the pubs in his hometown of Wexford where he is often joined by his two children Ella and Rory who play fiddle and flute.


In his spare time he likes to walk his two dogs with his wife Caroline.

Welcome, Daithi!


1.      What sparked your interest in writing? Your proverbial light-bulb moment?

In 2012 I found myself unemployed due to the recession. I had worked as a musician prior to that. I took up adult education after that and am currently studying for a degree in Irish Culture and Heritage Studies. While studying English for my Leaving Certificate my teacher encouraged me to write. I started writing my first book The Gun and my teacher would check it for me. It took off from there and with the help of my wife Caroline I finished The Gun. I signed a contract with Tirgearr Publishing in 2013.

2.      Which genre are you most comfortable writing in?

Definitely crime fiction. I’ve been inspired by Stiegg Larrson, Jo Nesbo and  Ian Rankin.

3.      Would you say you draw most often from your own knowledge base when writing or do you research for fresh material?

I always draw from my own knowledge base. I feel it gives the stories authenticity. It is at times necessary to research as there are often things within the story where your knowledge could be limited. But in general I tend to write my stories quite often around my own life experiences. Also I often base the characters on people I am acquainted with either living or dead.

4.      Tell us a bit about your work. How, for instance, do you choose your titles?

So far the titles of my books have always been related to the main theme of the story e.g. in my first book The Gun the whole story grew around one of the main characters in the book accidentally acquiring an assault rifle. In book 2 – The Brotherhood the story revolves around a vicious cult known as The Brotherhood.  I think it’s important (in most cases anyway) that the title gives some indication towards the direction the story is going to take.

5.      We love to read excerpts. Share with us your favourite bit of writing from you latest book.

My latest book is called The Brotherhood and is the second book in The Tadhg Sullivan Series.

She knew nothing of the white van that pulled up behind her, until the two men
grabbed her and bundled her into the back. She’d been jogging along the road, with
her headphones on listening to Mumford and Sons. At first she’d thought it was a
prank by some of her friends. But as the van tore along the narrow road at top speed
and she found herself being tossed from side to side, she knew something much
more sinister was unfolding. She screamed. Suddenly the van took a sharp left, and
she smashed her face against the side paneling. They seemed to be on a long,
pebbled lane. She stared at her headphones, the music still blaring, lying on the
floor, and cursed herself for not listening to her parents, who had begged her to bring
her mobile phone.

6.      Who do you identify with most in your work? And why?

Without doubt Detective Sullivan my main character is the person I identify with the strongest. But most of my characters have a little bit of me in them. To give the characters  more depth I tend to often lend them the darker side of myself as for some reason bright and cheerful people often come across as bland. Where I can I try to use wit to counteract this darkness that exists 
in the characters.
7.      If you could choose who would play Detective Sullivan in the movie or series made from your work, who would it be?

I think the Irish Actor Cillian Murphy would play the part of Sullivan very well as he can portray both strong and vulnerable personas very well (in my opinion) and he has a depth to his character that I think would portray Sullivan very well.


8.      Which four words would you use to describe yourself?

Passionate, controversial, opinionated and left wing conservative!!

9.      Which four words would you use to describe your work?

Honest, controversial, fast-paced and very Irish.

10.  I have to throw this in! That list of favourites we’re all interested in!

Favourite book:           Anything by Arnaldur Indriðason
Favourite movie:         On the Waterfront
Favourite TV series:    Wallander
Favourite colour:         Blue
Favourite food:           Steak and Chips
Favourite drink:          Tea!!
Favourite pet:              Our two dogs Sam and Rosie
Favourite season:        Winter. I love the cosiness of the short evenings and lighting the fire.
Favourite place:         My hometown of Wexford.

11.  Often personal fame and prominence for your work go together, but frequently authors prefer remaining in the background while hoping their work will assume the limelight. Is this true for you, or don’t you mind a bit of fame?

I’d accept the fame if it also brought money with it! But I would prefer to remain in the background as I love the simple home life and be able to go into one of the local pubs in Wexford with my family and play music without all my fans mobbing me!!!!! (LOL)

12.  Tell us about your next book (we love to know what to look forward to!).

My next book is Book 3 in The Tadhg Sullivan Series called The Crucifixion. The Crucifixion is once again a story steeped in Irish history and Irish life. It begins with the murder of a Christian Brother  

13.  What comes next, besides a new book project? A holiday, an event?

This summer myself and the family will be going to Doolin to take in the brilliant traditional music and see again the beautiful Inishere and Inis Mor.

14.  And finally, if you could choose one person, living or dead, you would like to meet, who would it be and what would you ask of that person?

GOD – I would ask him how my books are going to do in the future!!!

Lol, yes, I wish we could all receive insight regarding our work!
Thank you, Daithi, it was a pleasure having you :)



Detective Tadhg Sullivan’s life seems to be falling apart, since being shifted to Clare
from Dublin after falling out with the Minister for Justice and the Garda
Commissioner. His partner, Journalist Helen Carty, has moved out, unable to live
with his bouts of depression and periodic alcoholism. He finds himself once again
alone in a world that doesn’t understand him.

Suddenly Sullivan is knocked out of his lethargy when a teenage girl goes missing
not far from Ennis where he has been stationed. Sullivan is asked to lead the hunt by
the local Superintendent and is catapulted into a world of unimaginable horror. He is
confronted by Lord Charles Cromwell the leader of a sadistic cult—The
Brotherhood—that derives its pleasures from the torture and murder of young
women.

Sullivan’s investigation is once again hampered by political interference. As he fights
his way through one bureaucratic obstacle after another he discovers that The
Brotherhoods tentacles have not only reached into corridors of power in Ireland but,
they are being protected by powerful politicians worldwide.

To cut through this protective ring of steel Sullivan finds himself having to engage
with some strange bed fellows. Which included an ex CIA agent, Simon Horowitz,
who had saved his partners life during his last investigation and an IRA leader, Rory
O’Connor, who has recently been released from prison.

Will this strange combination be able to destroy The Brotherhood before their
murderous reign takes another young life or will Lord Cromwell destroy Sullivan and

everything he loves?




Monday, June 22, 2015

Why English is so hard

This has been posted before in another format, but it is worth reading again!



Saturday, June 20, 2015

Justine's Journal #44

52 Weeks 500 Words


This is how it began: Justine (not her real name) decided to write 500 words (or as near as), anything goes, per week for 52 weeks. She would then submit it for anonymous posting, via me, her friend. Perhaps a pattern will emerge from her words, but at this stage it’s more an experiment I have agreed to share in. I’ll attempt to draw conclusions at the end of this. Stay tuned if this resonates with you.

Week 44

"I have a serious issue with the banking system here in the south. It’s a minefield of frustration, that’s what it is.

I have more than one account and recently ignored one account (where I try and save) and when I tried to put in some funds via internet banking, it was to discover my account is inactive. Huh? It seems the fees put me in arrears and now it is inactive. I have to make a special trip to the branch and spend literally hours in line (I mean it, HOURS – it took me four hours in line just to open this account a few months ago) in order to fix it. I have to do this, for I receive money from another party into this account on occasion.

FEES! The bane of our lives. There are fees for every transaction, fees for just having an account, fees for using internet banking, fees for sms notifications, and FEES for being in arrears! For doing nothing, the banks here make money off us.

Elaina told me how the account she had in Ireland was bliss itself. NO FEES! On the other hand, no interest to speak of (which we do have here, although it’s not massive for saving – massive for lending, oh yes), but I would rather earn little interest and not have my money vanish into the ether the way it does here.

While frustration is an issue, as is the impracticality of sorting this out, my main problem with this affair is how it makes us feel unworthy.

We try to save. We try to keep our heads above water. And what happens? Without doing anything wrong, we are in debt to the banks. Instantly we feel debt-ridden and anxious and unworthy as a member of our society. Fix it, you say, and all will be well. I agree, but why is it necessary to put us through this gauntlet with regularity?

I am not going to start on the politics of money our leaders manipulate, for then I will be raving like a lunatic and it will destroy my calm … and it will help me not at all. But I do wish our leaders could wake up and affect changes that will aid in making every citizen begin to breathe easier … to feel worthy. This doesn’t mean freebies, merely less taking from us. A foolish hope, no doubt.

So next week I am off to stand in line cursing under my breath for a few hours. Wish me luck and wish me patience. Wish also for lightning bolt enlightenment to strike someone with the power to change things for ordinary people. Ha."



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Writer's Wednesday: Chatting with David O'Brien


Today we chat with David O'Brien



David is a writer, ecologist and teacher from Dublin, Ireland, now living in Pamplona Spain. He has a degree in environmental biology and doctorate in zoology, specialising in deer biology and is still involved in deer management in his spare time.

As an avid wildlife enthusiast and ecologist, much of David's non-academic writing, especially poetry, is inspired by wildlife and science. While some of his stories and novels are contemporary, others seek to describe the science behind the supernatural or the paranormal.

A long-time member of The World Wildlife Fund, David has pledged to donate 10% of his royalties on all his hitherto published books to that charity to aid with protecting endangered species and habitats.

Welcome, David!



  1. What sparked your interest in writing? Your proverbial light-bulb moment?
 I started writing poetry as a teen. I haven't stopped, but I added a few short stories in my late teens and then turned one into a novel. I prefer novels to short stories - it's just the way I write, slow and conversationally. I wrote a few more over the next twenty years as I studied and wrote biology papers.

  1. Which genre are you most comfortable writing in?
Tough question still, after 8 books. Perhaps young adult, though I don't have a lot of ideas for that genre. I don't like writing erotica much, and don't put many sex scenes in my novels - I leave that to my mate JD Martins. Contemporary with some romance and some link to the natural world is what I like best, I'd say.

  1. Would you say you draw most often from your own knowledge base when writing or do you research for fresh material?
The former, definitely! I go with what I know, fill in with some short research and questions to friends who know stuff. I collect factoids as I go through life and some of these come into my head when I am writing. I have a long term WIP called Palu and the Pyramid Builders that requires a lot of knowledge of Neotropical ecology. I have read some books about it, but I am mostly basing it on what I learned on my few trips to the Caribbean and later in the second draft I will add in some stuff and fact check what I've included from memory.

  1. Tell us a bit about your work. How, for instance, do you choose your titles?
 The titles usually suggest themselves, though it might take a few years to do so. Often the names are obvious. When they are not, it's a nightmare. I have a book set in Madrid that I can't come up with a decent name for. I'm sure it's part of the reason nobody has jumped on it yet (it's also very long, so perhaps another edit would help!) Leaving the Pack took a long time to come, but when I had a proper novel-lenght draft, it summed up the book. Five Days on Ballyboy Beach was just the best way to describe what happened in that story - way too much happened to be explained in a title at all! It was best left to the imagination as to what might have happened over those five days... The Ecology of Lonesomeness was first called The Shadow of Loch Ness while I was writing the first draft. Half way along, I realised what the name had to be. Readers have agreed so far...

Of my other books, a YA paranormal  called The Soul of Adam Short is about a teen whose soul is separated from his body and the struggled to reunite them. That title captures the story. I had to make sure the character's name sounded good though; The soul of Jimmy O'Callaghan doesn't have the same ring! Peter and the Little People is a children's book out next year, with Muse ItUp Publishing (as is Adam Short, this summer) and the title came right before I started writing down the idea.

  1. You are certainly prolific! We love to read excerpts. Share with us your favourite bit of writing from you latest book.
I can't share my favourite, because that would give the plot away. But here's a bit from the first few chapters... The two main characters, Kaleb the American scientist and Jessie the local girl just back home to the Great Glen are in Fort Augustus on the shore of Loch Ness:

He watched her cross the canal, swallowing the last of the cod fillet and finishing off the small crispy fries from the bottom of the bag. Once over the swing bridge she turned and headed straight towards him.
He stared. She smiled at him, still approaching. His heart lurched. She was coming to sit here, with him, he realised. Holy shit! Did he have any ketchup on his face? Unobtrusively, he tried to wipe his mouth on the greasy paper the fries had come in.
He went back to staring at the lake, as if he didn't see her walking up the path, so he could act surprised when she arrived. His heart was thumping, now, and a leaden feeling weighed down his liver, making his abdominal muscles instinctively tighten.
"Hello."
He looked up, feigning a surprise that must have been as transparent as the water flowing over the lock beside him. "Oh, hey. Fancy meeting you here."
She smirked. "Do you mind if I sit here?"
"For sure, go ahead, no problem." He indicated the bench on the other side of the table, wishing there were chairs so he could get up and pull one out for her. "Not eating inside today?"
She chuckled. "No. I need to relax and get a breath of fresh air."
He laughed too. "Oh, you're short of that out here?"
"Ah, I'm getting my fill. Might be goin' back to London at some stage. Got to get it while you can."
He nodded. His heart had begun to slow down again, the heaviness lifting a little. She was only a normal young girl, he told himself. She came over to you, so relax.
"What did you do at college?"
"English and Drama: like everybody else in the world."
"Cool. If it's popular it must be good. So, what do you want to do now?"
"That's the big question. That's what I'm tryin' to figure out."
"No." He shook his head, drinking some Coke to wash the last of his food down. "You're trying to figure out if you can do it, or if you think you'll have to do something else because you don't think you're good enough to make a living doing it. But what would you like to do, if you could just do it? If your fictional boss would say, 'Yes, that's a great idea, Jessie. Do that. We'll pay you handsomely for that.' What would that be?"
She smiled at him, her dimples tinged with a little blush that made his abdomen heavy again. "I'd like to be a playwright, or a screenwriter."
"Then do that."
"Aye," she replied dismissively. "There's not much call for screenwriters round here..."
"Then you should go to California."
"Aye," she repeated in the same tone. "That's what they all say."
"They're right."
"And the Californians are coming here—look at you."
He grinned. "I'm from Washington."
She smiled back and shrugged. "Same difference."
"Yeah, like here and Norway."
"The Shetlanders are practically Norwegian. Well, what did you do in uni?" She leaned forward.
He was suddenly nervous again. Thank God for the cardigan.
"Well, for my first degree I studied a mixture of computer science and biology, called Computational Biology. I went to Gonzaga University in Spokane. That's a city in the middle of the state." He watched her to make sure she was following him.
She smiled and nodded as if she was, taking a bite out of her tuna sandwich at the same time.
"For my doctorate," he went on, "I used what I learned to study the big redwood forests in the Pacific Northwest. I made computer models of the effects of bears eating salmon in British Columbia, in Canada." Would she know there was a Vancouver Island?
"Oh, that's where Bigfoot lives, isn't it?"
"You know about Bigfoot?"
"Of course. Us 'monster locations' are all connected. I have a pen friend in the Himalayas: she sends me photos of Yeti."
Kaleb laughed.
"Maybe that's why they brought someone all the way from America," Jessie said. "Because you’re an expert in the Bigfoot.”
Kaleb chuckled again. It was true Loch Ness wasn't his first brush with a cryptobiological phenomenon. Many of the hunters and backwoodsmen he'd met on his fieldwork on Vancouver Island had asked if he'd come across signs of the Bigfoot. There had been a few mentions of it on hiking trips in the Cascades, too, and even a word of warning to watch out for more than bears during undergraduate field trips to Glacier National Park. He'd nodded solemnly and walked on, smirking to himself and shaking his head at the credulity of the lay community. If ever there was a case for federal control of schoolbooks and course content, it was the terrible state of scientific reasoning among the general public.
“It’s not Bigfoot, it’s Big Data they pay me for. Mostly it's because the US government pays me."
"So you don't believe in the Sasquatch, then?"
He loved the way she said Sasquatch. "For sure I don't believe in it. I've spent a few years in the deep woods, bumped into bears and wolves and marmots and cougars—bumped into grizzlies in Glacier, too. They're all very secretive animals, but if you're out there enough, you'll see them. Never saw a single sign of a Sasquatch—not a footprint, nor hair I didn't identify for sure as bear or wolf or cougar. It's like the monster that's supposed to be out there," he said with a nod towards the lake. "It's impossible, man."
"So you don't believe in Nessie, either?" she asked, taking another bite of her sandwich.
Kaleb laughed again and shook his head. “No way. I told you that. I’m an ecologist. I’m open to any evidence of the ecological possibility—either for or against it. My study is a complete statistical breakdown of the lake and its tributaries. It’ll show where every gram of nutrients can be found—whether it's in the water, the fish, the bugs, the forest, or the otters. Energy in, energy out. If there is something left over for a pod of orcas, or a shoal of sturgeon, or a family of ichthyosaurs miraculously left over from the Jurassic—or whatever else the monster’s supposed to be—I’ll find it.
"But even with an open mind, how can there be a population of large animals out there, with no dead bodies ever showing up, no sign of them for years on end?"
"A population?" Jessie asked, holding her hand over her full mouth.
He noted the curiosity in her tone.
She swallowed the piece of sandwich. "Why a population?"
He smiled. It was always amazing how little biology seeped into the majority of the general populace's minds and stayed there after they'd left high school. "There's always a population. It's biology."
"Oh, is it, Mr Smarty-Pants?" She laughed back: obviously, he noted with relief, taking the lighter side of his dismissal. "I thought he could have spontaneously generated from the wishful thinking of a drowning man in the 1680s."
Kaleb guffawed. She was a quick wit, this girl.
"So, then, you're here to prove it can't exist. Like Bigfoot. You can't actually survey the whole lake: not at once. But you can say there's not enough food there to feed the animal—sorry, animals. Just like you can't sweep the entire coastal redwoods—though they're getting pretty thin on the ground, I hear—with an infrared camera to prove there are no Bigfoots... Is it Bigfoots or Bigfeet?"
Before he had time to reply, she continued, "Bigfoots. So, since you can't say definitively that it doesnae exist, because ye can't prove a negative, you say: 'It's kind of like saying that it's irrelevant whether Schrödinger's cat is in the box or not, or was once in the box or not, because if he's in there now, he's most certainly bloody dead. A cat can't live without food, water and oxygen: it's biology.'"
"Uh... yeah," Kaleb replied, quickly reviewing what she'd said to ensure he wasn't tripping himself up—or she was trying to trip him. Man, she knew her stuff, this girl from the chip shop who'd studied English and Drama.
"It's a bit of a cheat, isn't it?" Jessie asked. "Go on, you can say it. I'm not a scientist. I won't rat you out to your learned colleagues."


  1. Lovely, loads of unexplained! Who do you identify with most in your work? And why?
I suppose I have to say Derek, from Five Days on Ballyboy Beach. I gave him some of my basic characteristics - university, home town, course of study - and a few personality traits, just so I could put him in a very different situation and see what would happen.

  1. If you could choose who would play Derek in the movie or series made from your work, who would it be?
Oh, that's another tough question. He's pretty young (early twenties) so I don't know many decent actors of that age simply because I'm not keeping up with those kinds of movies. Twenty years ago Colin Farrel would have been great. He also could have played Paul, from Leaving the Pack.



  1. Which four words would you use to describe yourself?
Good words, right?

Easy-going, loyal, day-dreamy, environmentally-conscious.

  1. Which four words would you use to describe your work?
Interesting, true-to-life, romantic, enviornmentally-conscious.

  1. You are definitely environmentally-conscious - awesome! I have to throw this in! That list of favourites we’re all interested in!
Favourite book: varies, but today it's The Girl in the Swing, by Richard Adams
Favourite movie: The Highlander
Favourite TV series: The Wire
Favourite colour: Green
Favourite food: Venison fillets fried in olive oil
Favourite drink: Harpoon IPA beer
Favourite pet: My dad's old german pointer, Tess, long since dead of course.
Favourite season: Spring. Just because it's always too short
Favourite place: the top of any mountain in Co. Wicklow,

  1. Often personal fame and prominence for your work go together, but frequently authors prefer remaining in the background while hoping their work will assume the limelight. Is this true for you, or don’t you mind a bit of fame?
 I'd have to admit not minding a bit of fame, if only to push forward a bit of the old environmental awareness that some famous people have been able to do. My wife thinks I love to be in the limelight just for the sake of it, though. She knows me better than most!

  1. Tell us about your next book (we love to know what to look forward to!)
I am working on the two sequels to Leaving the Pack - parts 2 and 3 of the Silver Nights Trilogy. The second title is not sure yet, Leading the Pack is a little too similar to the first book, but the last one will probably be Unleashing the Pack. I have part 2 written, but it needs lots of edits. I am doing them in tandem so that I can keep everyone's name in my head and not have to go looking up character's names later. In Part 2, a new pack is being formed and the young werewolves have to learn how to control their urges as well as decide who is going to be leader, or leash as they call it. In Part 3 they discover that their city is now home to a tribe of old enemies who know their secret. Their survival will require either reaching an agreement that had never been possible in the old country, or a war that will eliminate either one or the other group.

  1. Sounds intriguing! What comes next, besides a new book project? A holiday, an event?
Right now, I'm looking forward to the big festivals of San Fermines in Pamplona, and then a trip home to Ireland in July. I have a friend visiting from Boston, so I'm excited to show her around the town and experience the mayhem and madness. It coincides with the release of JD Martins' One Night in Pamplona, part of the City Nights Series published by Tirgearr, so it's doubly exciting this year.

  1. You have much to look forward to! And finally, if you could choose one person, living or dead, you would like to meet, who would it be and what would you ask of that person?

I'd love to have met Hemingway and I'd ask him if he'd prefer Pamplona not to have become famous because of him. A thing I'd ask of him, would be not to allow his wife to be in charge of his manuscripts that day they were stolen from a train and lost to posterity.

That would change something, wouldn't it?
Thank you so much for chatting with us, David. Here's to very success!

David's new book, just released :)


Blurb

Kaleb Schwartz isn't interested in the Loch Ness Monster. He'd enough cryptobiological speculation about Bigfoot while studying the Pacific Northwest forests. He's in Scotland's Great Glen to investigate aquatic food webs and nutrients cycles; if he proves there's no food for any creature bigger than a pike, then so much the better.
Jessie McPherson has returned to Loch Ness after finishing university in London, hoping to avoid the obsession with its dark waters she had when younger and first discovered lonesomeness. She knows any relationship with a scientist studying the lake is a bad idea, but something about Kaleb makes her throw caution to the depths.
When Kaleb discovers Jessie's lonesomeness refers not just to the solitude of the loch, he's faced with an ecological problem of monstrous proportions. Can he find a way to satisfy both the man and the scientist inside himself, and do the right thing?


Find out more about David and his other books here 



Saturday, June 13, 2015

Justine's Journal #43

52 Weeks 500 Words


This is how it began: Justine (not her real name) decided to write 500 words (or as near as), anything goes, per week for 52 weeks. She would then submit it for anonymous posting, via me, her friend. Perhaps a pattern will emerge from her words, but at this stage it’s more an experiment I have agreed to share in. I’ll attempt to draw conclusions at the end of this. Stay tuned if this resonates with you.

Week 43

"Well, it’s countdown to my final journal entry. Ten to go, including this one, I admit I’m starting to feel as if I am about to end something I would prefer to continue! This session of entries began to force me into recognition of self and I was initially frightened of doing so. Had Elaina refused me the space on her blog, I admit it would not have insisted too hard.

Yet, over the weeks, this has come to mean quite a bit to me. I soon realised how therapeutic it is to talk to the ether. It was as if I spoke to everyone and no one simultaneously, and that is pretty liberating. It’s faceless, as I remain faceless. I have learned so much about myself merely by being honest about my feelings.

I will continue with the journal under my pillow, without a doubt!

In a sense, you know me now.

You know I love and respect nature and find much of my inspiration from listening to and watching what happens in the natural world, from birds, rain, sunsets and the little spaces in the grass.

You also know I have acknowledged the sense of premonition we all have and, while I certainly don’t claim knowing how it works, the feeling is welcome now. Follow your instincts, for that, in my opinion, is premonition.

You have followed my issues with family and I want you to realise, this entry thing? It helped to fix the relationship with my brother, and for that I am eternally grateful.

And, of course, you know about the stalker who nearly caused me to surrender my sense of self, as you know of my new partner (and my insecurities about us!). The stalker is now a lesson learned, while my partner has my heart. I do believe we will be together for a long time, but, if not, I have learned it is just fine to love again. Perhaps we will tie the knot, perhaps not, but these entries will be over before I can share it with you. Pity.

Maybe, in  a year or so, Elaina can post an update!

I post this ‘overview’ now because the final entries, I feel, should concentrate on those final niggling issues we all seem to carry around with us. Not that I have anything planned, for I think my life should determine which thing becomes important at a given time, but I will be looking out for it and then tell you what I think.

Maybe it will be about my frustration with my cooking skills! Yes, an issue for me. I have always thought I do okay in the kitchen, but now that I am cooking for a man again, I doubt myself. How crazy is that? It is, of course, not about cooking, but about my own insecurity, therefore an issue needing honest examination. And there, in those few words, a niggle is laid to rest without having to try too hard. Just acknowledging my insecurity sets me on a path to healing! A journal REALLY helps!

Catch you next week. Stay safe and well until then."


Poetry and madness


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Justine's Journal #42

52 Weeks 500 Words


This is how it began: Justine (not her real name) decided to write 500 words (or as near as), anything goes, per week for 52 weeks. She would then submit it for anonymous posting, via me, her friend. Perhaps a pattern will emerge from her words, but at this stage it’s more an experiment I have agreed to share in. I’ll attempt to draw conclusions at the end of this. Stay tuned if this resonates with you.

Week 42

"Oh, I had the greatest ten days in a long time! We decided to get together, brother dearest and I, and I flew up north to the plateau part of South Africa. I tell you, it gets pretty cold up there, but weather and temperature was far from our minds the whole time.

We did all the tourist stuff, took many photos, ate too much and laughed all the while. And we talked. We talked so much! We have definitely reconnected and no distance in living arrangements will again become distance in our relationship. This is the best feeling, knowing neither of us will ever really be alone.

Treasure family. If something is wrong, attempt to fix it. I am well aware sometimes it is better to walk away from a toxic family member and I’m not saying fix it with someone you know will entirely destroy your peace of mind, but your brother or your sister can also be your very best friend. The cousin you knew as a child may become that, or the aunt who always sent you little notes when you were growing up. Age is immaterial; the connection counts.

I thought I was alone, and now I know I am not. Happiness is realising our foolish pride can be set aside!

Friends, too, can become family. Sometimes a friend is more family than we realise, for they are always there without judgement. I said I thought I was alone, but I wasn’t, for I did have family, I had and have amazing and supportive friends, and I treasure them absolutely. I can’t wait for my brother’s visit towards the end of the year, for then I can bring him into my friend circle and I know already they will become part of his family as he will become part of theirs. I met his BFF while up north, a great teddy bear man who smiles all the time, and he is now part of my family!

Do I sound as I’m rambling? Floating on my happiness cloud, I may be stringing thoughts together to make some kind of sense for you, for me, and all I may be succeeding in doing is sounding random. Well, that’s just fine by me, for right now I can’t stop smiling either (like the teddy bear man!) and I hope you can at least sense how contented I am with life at the moment.

If something is wrong, fix it. It does make all the difference.

I came home to RAIN here in the south. The heavens had literally opened up and it rained and rained. Dams are filling, fields are green and the dust of many hot months is now washed away. In a way, for me this was a blessing. It was like having my return home anointed, validation of what I have learned and who I am now. Maybe that’s a bit freaky, but when I stepped off the plane, I felt blessed. I was home and new, as the familiar world around me was again new.

Life is good."