A Bouncing Baby Book

Breaking with my tradition of not blogging at all, I decided to mark this day with a blog post.

So. After three years of planning and thinking and a frantic four-month workathon, my new book is finally done. “Done” as in the first draft, which needs editing, polishing, poking and all that stuff. But still, I am sitting atop a pile of 117000 words, more or less in the right order, and they feel very comfy indeed.

I shall not reveal so much about this book, as the title and the idea are pretty unique. Suffice to say it’s an urban fantasy adventure kind of thing with some horror and it’s got a lot to do with dreams.

Some inspiration.
Some inspiration.

The last two weeks I have worked in a blaze and did fully one quarter of the book. That’s 27000 words in two weeks, which for me is a hell of a lot of words. I’ve been getting up early to write before work, going home every evening to write after work, and my son probably thinks I am now part of the kitchen table as whenever he comes home from school, there I am, slouched over, squinting on the screen.

When I put the last word on the page at 7.35 this morning, I stared at the screen, with no idea how to react. And then I started to cry. I’m not sure if it was from relief, or happiness, or exhaustion, but cry I did. Nothing has felt this close to having a baby than actually watching my son’s mother having an actual baby.

Now I’m ploughing right into the next book (not a sequel to this one) which, for once, I will plan meticulously before writing. I suspect this might be the best way for me to work as with a plan I’m free to just write and not look back. And the new-born book will be put in a drawer and allowed to ferment and steam for six to eight weeks like a Christmas pudding. Because that’s what you gotta do.

And finally, here’s some music I listened to a hell of a lot while writing this — a seven-hour long ambient piece called “Somnium”. So put it on, float away and watch this space. (Or, better yet, this twitter space where I tend to post more than once every three months.)

/ paddy

Erotic Refugees Are Go!

Hurrah! After an unspecified volume of blood, sweat, tears, semen and coffee, my dick-lit novel Erotic Refugees is finally on the kindle ebook store!


Writing the bloody book was a walk in the park compared to working out how to publish on the damn kindle store. At some points it was like magic. I mean, who designed this rancid, stinking system? It was insanely hard to use and hid vital information at every turn.

Anyway, now it’s done. So welcome to the humorous and sexually invigorating adventures of Eoin Kelliher and Rob Maher, two love-hungry expats in Stockholm who decide to make a dating website with a nasty twist. With lots of expat jokes thrown in. And shagging, naturally. And Guinness.

So go on, my precious readers. Do the decent thing and give something back for the years of cutting commentary I’ve been handing out for nothing.

If you have a kindle, you can buy it directly from the device. If you don’t you can still read it using the kindle reader app on smartphone or iPad or Tab or whatever you have. However, you’ll have to first buy the book on the amazon website, and when you start up the app, it’ll download it for you.

And hey, some glowing reviews would be very nice too. Assuming you like it. Which you will.

(Here’s the link, if you missed the two up there: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AJ2ZC3O)

/ paddy

Fifty Shades Of No

The jury is in. It’s a “no” on Black Heart’s Blood. 5 no-thanks out of 5. Depressing. You’d think writing a good book would be enough. But no. Then comes the pimping and fawning and waiting. Oh the bloody waiting…

But there was one good part. A nice silver lining (although I’d rather have the silver on the outside, and not in the bloody lining, but that’s just me). The final no, which came today, was actually very positive. As positive as a no can be in publishing. Most positive no ever. And here it is.


Thank you for letting me consider ‘YOUR BOOK’ and for your patience.

There are many fascinating ideas (and images) at the core of your novel and I quite like them.
However, I did not feel entirely convinced I could place ‘YOUR BOOK’ on your behalf in the current market conditions.

Please note that this is just my personal feeling, which should not discourage you in any way from submitting your book to as many agents as you can.

May I take this opportunity to wish you and your team the best of luck in your search for representation.


So, an agent is telling me to keep on sending the sucker out, and maybe I’ll get lucky. A professional admits that the book had promise. That’s actually quite huge. There will be fizzy spinny drinks tonight!

However … my team? What team? Do I have a team? How come nobody told me this? And I’ve been beavering away in private on the damn book for ages when I could have had a whole team on it!

You live and learn. And then you go lick some more envelopes.

/ paddy

And it’s away!

Now my life feels a bit empty. Pointless. I feel like the children have left, the dog was killed by a falling anvil, and the roses were munched up by a stray horse.

The novel, you see, is sent off. Black Heart’s Blood, eight years in the making, is finally done, read, re-done, checked, read again, edited, cut, changed, polished, printed out, peered over and kissed lightly on the lips by a volleyball team of angels.

Last night I sent it off to my five chosen agents, with a synopsis, query letter, and first three chapters. Those who haven’t been through this process might be amazed by how much time it takes. A query letter (Hello, this is me, and here’s my book) takes weeks or months of fretting. Just google “agent query letter” and see what a flood of frantic, hair-pulling hits you’ll get.

I’ve also learned a hell of a lot about how to make a novel good. Thanks in large part to Stephen King’s brilliant book On Writing and agent Kristin’s excellent blog, Pub Rants, where every tip given is a nugget of pure gold.

So here’s what I learned:

1. Find the story catalyst, the event that makes the story begin. Harry gets his letter, Charlie buys the chocolate bar, Bastian finds the bookshop and the book that never ends. Make sure you know what it is, and arrange the book so it happens in the first thirty pages. The beginning of your book is just a vessel to deliver the plot catalyst.

2. Cut like you’re an insane gardener. In my final draft I went from 120,000 words to 97,000. Terrible carnage. Seriously, your book will shine if you remove every excess phrase and un-needed character. Take those darlings, gag them, and  shove the buggers into a wood-chipper.

3. Listen to feedback. I received very useful feedback from test readers and redesigned a character because of it, making her much better. Readers are your future audience, so listen!

4. Copy somebody. I read The Hunger Games and noted everything she did structure, grammar and pace-wise. To learn the mechanics of writing a best-seller, study a best seller, and note your own reactions and emotions as you first read it.

5. Use adverbs VERY sparsely. Incredibly sparsely. And semicolons too. A semicolon in fiction means, “look at me, I’m smart, me”. Off with their heads. Or their colons.

Now keep in mind these tips aren’t worth much unless an agent calls me. I have high hopes that they will. It’s a very good book, and I’ve read the fucking thing 96 times so I should know.

And if an agent does call, you’ll all hear about it. Oh yes you will.

God speed Jeffri Erduul!

/ paddy

A Book Done Day

Forgive me for a moment while I blow my own horn. (And there’s a skill all the boys wish we had, eh?)

About six years I started to gestate an idea for a young adult science fiction novel. The kernel of the idea was to have a character who accidentally gained magical powers and had to learn how to use them. Being SF the “magic” powers needed to have a technological basis to them.

From there it quickly blossomed into a space opera adventure story, with traders, pirates, strange races, intrigue, emperors, secrets, biological computers, reactionless propulsion, alien toilets, immortals, hyperspace intestines, and a massive kick-ass chase sequence that takes up fully a quarter of the book.

Needless to say, I am telling you this because draft 1 was completed an hour ago. (Actually it’s more like draft 3 as the first half of the book was re-done several times.) But fuck it, I’m calling it draft 1 because it has a nice fat ring to it.

I am very excited about this book, as 1) It’s got the best character names of anything I’ve ever written and 2) Every time I went back to it after a break I thought, wow, that’s pretty good.

Plus it’s a fucking space romp, and exactly the kind of thing I’d buy myself. Which is probably the best praise I could give it.

And that’s all I’m saying for now. The book shall sit for a little while before I return and polish it to a state where others can read it and start to comment. You want to, just ask.

I love it when a plan comes together.

/ paddy