Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Murky Middle!!!

I've talked a lot in the past about the murky middle of a novel. It's where you've managed to get the essentials of the story down by introducing the fictional novel world to the reader, one with an array of characters, insights and a sense (albeit full of questions) of where the story is going - AKA Act 1. 

Act 3, is the final segment of the story when I have a reasonably good idea of how it all will end, but I can change my mind at a moment's notice.

The one sandwiched in the middle, is Act 2, which I refer to as the murky middle.

It gets even murkier when you're like me and you don't plot your story. Nor, do I know what my character are going to do next. Right now, I also have a whole load of things planted in the script that may or may not have an influence on the outcome. And yes, I know, people like the wonderful Jeffrey Deaver know the whole story before they even write a single word. But alas, the process is different for everyone. 

Despite hating the murky middle, because it is at times, DIRECTIONLESS, and I have to write and rewrite myself out of many a cul-de-sac, I secretly like that some weird and often wacky surprises happen in these troubled murky waters, even if like this morning, I have conversations like this with my partner.

ME:    'I have a word count of 1,500 words to do today.'
HIM:   'That's good.'
ME:    'No, it isn't.'
HIM:   'Why not?
ME:    'Because I've no idea what I'm going to write.'
HIM:   'Don't worry about that, you've been there before.'
ME:    'That doesn't help. What if I can't think of anything?'
HIM:   'You will.'
ME:    'That doesn't help either.'

Thankfully I squeezed the 1,500 words out....so I guess he was right, but there's still tomorrow! 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Killer Chiller!!

It's not everyday that there's great news, but today is one of them!

I'm over the moon that the super talented Patricia Gibney has signed a 4 book deal with Bookouture.....

REMEMBER ME will be published in April next year and here's what Associate Publisher Lydia Vassar Smith, who acquired World English language rights from Ger Nichol at The Book Bureau, said of the deal:

"With rocket paced writing and fantastic series detective DI Lottie Parker, REMEMBER ME promises to be 2017’s serial killer-chiller. Patricia Gibney is a true pro and I can’t wait to get her books into the hands of readers."

On a personal front, I am also delighted that another one of my students has achieved publishing success. Her hard work and talent has been amazing and I never had any doubts that she would succeed! WELL DONE Patricia!!

Monday, July 18, 2016

4 Places Left! 4 Weeks to go! Crime Fiction Writing....

A week of Crime Fiction Writing at the Irish Writers Centre this August....

4 places left .....4 weeks to go

Visit link here

Monday, July 11, 2016

Quick Fire at The Slaughter House - Richard Godwin & Louise Phillips

Thanks to Richard Godwin of The Slaughter House for this interview..

"I guess it’s no accident that the main protagonist in my novels is a mother with a young son, nor is it surprising that I write about family a lot, good ones and dysfunctional ones. I’ve experienced both."

Friday, July 8, 2016

A Feast of Irish Crime Novels for June & July 2016!

PARADIME by Alan Glynn – June 2016
After a stint as a private contractor in Afghanistan, Danny Lynch is back in New York. But nothing's easy. Work is hard to find and his girlfriend owes more than $30,000 in student loans. Danny is also haunted by something he witnessed at the base - a fact that could ultimately destroy him.
Then he spots Teddy Trager, tech visionary and billionaire. These two men couldn't be more different - except for one thing: in appearance, they're identical.
Danny becomes obsessed with Trager, and before long this member of the ninety-nine per cent is passing undetected into the gilded realm of the one per cent. But what does Danny find there? Who does he become? And is there a route home?
From the prize winning author of LimitlessParadime is a novel for fans of the great '70s conspiracy thrillers, rebooted for today's ever-globalising world.

GIRL UNKNOWN by Karen Perry - June 2016
Girl Unknown
When Zoe Barry walks into Professor David Connolly's office and announces that she is his daughter, he is left reeling. Suddenly his family - imperfect, flawed, but working - is trying to find space for someone new.

But Zoe's stories don't quite add up and lies become indistinguishable from truths. The family struggle to make sense of whether she is a sister, a daughter, a friend, an enemy. But no one could have expected where it all might end.

Because they have let into their home a girl that they do not know. And now everything they have built has begun to violently, determinedly, break apart.

TREACHEROUS STRAND by Andrea Carter -June 2016
Treacherous Strand
A woman's body washes up on a remote beach on the Inishowen peninsula. Partially-clothed, with a strange tattoo on her thigh, she is identified as Marguerite Etienne, a French woman who has been living in the area.
Solicitor Benedicta 'Ben' O'Keeffe is consumed by guilt; Marguerite was her client, and for the second time in her life, Ben has failed someone who needed her, with tragic consequences. So when local Sergeant Tom Molloy dismisses Marguerite's death as the suicide of a disturbed and lonely woman, Ben cannot let it lie.

THEY ALL FALL DOWN by Cat Hogan - July 1st 2016
They all Fall down
Jen Harper likes to play it safe. She is settling into life on the outskirts of a sleepy fishing village with her little boy, Danny. Life by the sea – just how she wanted it.

When she meets Andy, she feels the time has come to put her baggage and the scars of the past behind her. Then she is introduced to Scott, Andy’s best friend, and is stung by his obvious disdain for her. Why is Scott so protective of his best friend? What is the dark secret that threatens all of them?

In her attempt to find answers, Jen must confront her demons and push her relationships to their limits. By digging up the past, she puts Danny and herself in danger. Will she succeed in uncovering the truth before they all fall down?

Raw and energetic, They All Fall Down is a fast-paced and addictive novel exploring the depths of flawed human nature, the thin line between love and obsession and the destructive nature of addiction.

SO SAY THE FALLEN by Stuart Neville - July 7th 2016
So Say the Fallen
When DCI Serena Flanagan is asked to sign off the suicide of a severely disabled local businessman, she finds herself envying the grieving widow's comfortable life and devoted marriage, until the widow's close relationship with the local rector starts to sound an alarm. But with a clean crime scene and no evidence to back her up, have Serena's instincts led her down the wrong path?
With her husband struggling to deal with the aftermath of an attack that nearly cost him his life, and her young children anxious and unhappy, Serena's determination to unlock the mystery of what happened in that house may cost her her job - and her family.

LYING IN WAIT by Liz Nugent - July 14th
Lying in Wait
'My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.'
Lydia Fitzsimons lives in the perfect house with her adoring husband and beloved son. There is just one thing Lydia yearns for to make her perfect life complete, though the last thing she expects is that pursuing it will lead to murder. However, needs must - because nothing can stop this mother from getting what she wants ...

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Intensive Crime Fiction Course 15- 19th August!!!!

Sure what better way to spend your time than an intensive writing workshop at the Irish Writers Centre....And here is a brief YouTube link....

Click on Image to View

Monday, June 27, 2016

Why isn't Wonder Woman wearing any clothes?

My Opinion Piece published in the Journal 27th June 2016

LAST WEEK MY four-year granddaughter asked her mother, “why isn’t Wonder Woman wearing any clothes?”
It was a valid question from a mind oblivious to the fact that female superheroes wearing the equivalent of underwear is normal, while their male counterparts are usually covered from their ankles up.
Establishing illogical gender norms in young minds may not bother everyone, but as a parent and a grandparent, it irks the hell out of me.
Humans are like other species in the animal kingdom – they’re designed to find ways to survive. They observe by taking in the world around them, adopting social norms. Why? Because if they don’t, they risk being ostracised. And by extension, survival – staying within the pack is safer.
If the things children observe are so important, and part of how they grasp the world, you’d like to see some impressive role models.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Last Days of Summer by Vanessa Rohan - Review

The Last Days of Summer is set in a Texas prairie town. It tells the story of Jasper Curtis, a convicted felon released from Huntsville prison. He returns home after serving 10 years for a heinous crime to a town where he isn’t wanted.

His sister Lizzie agrees to take him in. She lives with her two daughters, teenager Katie and 11-year-old Joanne. Lizzie's marriage collapsed shortly after Jasper was arrested, and as the town reacts with hostility, she gets a visit from Reverend Gordon, asking ‘You sure you know who you’re lettin into your home?’ ‘Where else he gonna go?’ she replies. Lizzie has no idea if Jasper is the brother she grew up loving or a monster.

Prairie dust, heat, hate and small town mentality combine with the time-bomb of Jasper, a man with a shady sexual desire and past living in an isolated location with two attractive young girls and a sister who can’t turn him away.

There is a slow pace for most of the story, giving the sense that nothing and everything is happening. This is counterbalanced by Ronan’s use of present tense narrative which is told from four points of view’ Jasper, Lizzie, Katie and Joanne. Short, snappy sentences add a sense of immediacy as if dark clouds of danger are constantly hovering. This novel is gripping and atmospheric, although if you’re looking for a fast-paced page turner, this isn’t it.

From the outset, Jasper, the felon, hasn’t given up on God, whilst Lizzie, the good woman, has, and these types of contradictions set the reader up for a messy and complicated landscape.

This novel is not for the fainthearted and is uncomfortable reading at times. On one occasion when Jasper is alone with Joanne, he recalls the paedophile he met in prison and states he understands how young girls got him ticking. Another time he meets a young mother and wonders if he sucked her tits would he get milk. The barbaric description of his original crime is difficult too, as is the incident when he skins a rabbit alive. Each beg the question if these elements exist for shock value or whether we’ve become watered down in our fictional approach to evil.

Certainly, Ronan rackets up the anxiety in a variety of ways, with secrets and half-truths about what Jasper really did all those years before. The threat of violent outbursts from him and others in the town, coupled with Jasper’s deviant introspection and heightened sexual desire towards women, including his nieces, keeps the reader on edge. Unusually, there are no chapter breaks in this novel, adding a form of relentlessness in how the story is told. It should be exhausting, but rather it propels the reader forward.

All the characters in this story are flawed, with the exception of young Joanne, who serves as a vacuum of innocence, befriending Jasper when others loathe him. Each member of the town is trapped in much the same way as Jasper was incarcerated - no one is leaving. Hate, danger, fear and small town bias serve to keep all the inhabitants as potential victims of themselves and the insidious locked in element becomes the backdrop for revenge. 
The main character, Jasper, has two strands to his personality. One the reader can relate to when he shows his ability to care and wishes the rest of the world could see him the way Joanne does. ‘I want to feel human again,’ he tells Lizzie, ‘I want to feel close enough to normal.’  This draws on the reader’s empathy, but the gulf between this and his darker side is often contradictory, which partially dilutes the character’s credibility.

The unhurried pace of the story as it builds to a finale leaves you with high expectations of what’s to come, like a heavy rain shower after hours of overhanging darkness. The finale is violent and tough, but lacks the poetic, atmospheric, descriptive style of the earlier part of the novel, and overall, it didn’t give the dividend the previous pages dictated.

A very credible debut with an unusual and fresh approach. This author takes risks and there is a lot to admire, including some terrific writing. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016


I’ve been a little quiet on Social Media of late. Mainly because returning from Boston, life got really hectic with things to do with the family, our business and other stuff! Anyhow, this Monday I will be back to doing what I love most – writing.
This means another break from Social Media, except for the odd sneaky post.
Here are a few dates for the diary in my absence. Hopefully I’ll catch up with some of you at an event or two!
25th & 26th June 2016 – Dublin Writers Conference
21st – 24th July 2016 – Harrogate Crime Festival
15th – 19th Aug 2016 – Intensive Crime Fiction Course IWC
End Sept 2016 – Launch of Irish Fiction Anthology
Trouble is our Business, New Island
4th October 2016 – Book Club Maynooth Library
Early October 2016 – Trip to San Francisco for festival
15th – 16th October 2016 – Dalkey Festival
29th October 2016 – 10 Week Irish Crime Fiction Workshop Irish Writers Centre
End October 2016 – Trip to Phoenix Arizona for festival
Early November 2016 – Launch of Red Ribbons in the US
12th November 2016 – Leaves Literary Festival

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Sunday, June 12, 2016


 24th to the 26th June 2016

The Dublin Writers Conference will take place later this month and extra seats have been made available!!!

Judging by the success of last year's event, this conference is quickly becoming a key date on the literary calendar.

I'm really honored to be joining the list of professional speakers and workshop facilitators this year, so if you fancy taking part, I'll look forward to seeing you there.

There are a wide range of seminars and workshops available, and flexibility with bookings too, whether you are available for one day or two.....

You can check it out HERE

The workshop I will be doing....


This module will look at how best to begin your story, including getting that killer opening line. It will examine the role of character/characters in your fictional world, concentrating on truly engaging the reader by creating memorable ones. Pace and impact are crucial components of fiction writing, and during this session we will explore the ideal means of establishing solid pace and impact in your work. The right pacing and the the correct impact, both critical components, will have your reader turning the pages, keeping them hooked throughout. Pacing defines the speed and rhythm at which a story is told, pulling the reader through events, whilst the correct impact has the power to captivate, entertain and inspire your reader. 

And a little about me.....

LOUISE PHILLIPS is an author of four bestselling psychological crime thrillers, each shortlisted for Best Irish Crime Novel of the Year in the Irish Book Awards. Her second novel, THE DOLL’S HOUSE, won the award.  Her work has formed part of many literary anthologies, and she has won both the Jonathan Swift Award and the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice platform. In 2013, she received an Arts Bursary for Literature, and in 2015, she was awarded a Writers’ Residency at Cill Rialaig Artist retreat. She teaches crime fiction at the Irish Writers’ Centre in Dublin, and this year, she was longlisted for a CWA Dagger in the Library Award. She has also been a judge on the Irish panel for the EU Literary Award. Her first two novels, RED RIBBONS and THE DOLL’S HOUSE will be published in the U.S. in 2016 and 2017. Her latest novel is THE GAME CHANGER

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

An Impressive Shortlist of Six for the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award 2016!!

Theakstons Old Peculiar

The shortlist for crime writing’s accolade, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, has been announced.
Celebrating its twelfth year, the Awards feature six titles whittled down from a longlist of 18 crime novels published by British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1 May 2015 to 18 April 2016.
The 2016 Award is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith, and The Radio Times.
The shortlist in full:
  • Time Of Death – Mark Billingham
  • Career Of Evil – Robert Galbraith
  • Tell No Tales – Eva Dolan
  • Disclaimer – Renee Knight
  • I Let You Go – Clare Mackintosh
  • Rain Dogs – Adrian McKinty
The award ceremony will be hosted by broadcaster Mark Lawson on 21 July on the opening night of the 14th Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.
Executive Director of T&R Theakston Ltd and Judge, Simon Theakston, said: “It’s a remarkable shortlist that shows the crime genre shapes our cultural landscape and dominates publishing.”
Congrats to all on the Shortlist, but special congrats to Irish author Adrian McKinty whose latest novel Rain Dogs has been receiving mighty accolades!!!

Adrian McKinty

Rain Dogs has been shortlisted for the 2016 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award and longlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award 2016. Previous books in the Duffy series have won or been shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Award, The Edgar Award, The Anthony Award, The Spinetingler Award and The Barry Award.

Rain Dogs

McKinty has all the virtues: smart dialogue, sharp plotting, great sense of place, well-rounded characters and a nice line in what might be called cynical lyricism ("Rain. Wind. The afternoon withering like a piece of fruit in an Ulster pantry.") If Duffy's relentless patter occasionally makes you feel like you're trapped in a lift with a stand-up comedian, well, those dreary steeples cry out for a little antic distraction. Be warned, though. Rain Dogs is Gateway
McKinty: you won't stop here.
- The Irish Times

Challenged with the second locked-room -- locked-castle really -- mystery of his career, Duffy pursues answers in his usual manner: resolute and incisive until every aspect and angle of the truth shakes out. He is pleasurably full of quips, wry and dry, observing his Daisy-Dukes-sporting neighbor "smoking Benson and Hedges in a way that would have cheered the heart of the head of marketing at Philip Morris," and telling Lawson that their aggravating colleague, Frank Payne, is "as fine an example of nominative determinism as you'll ever get." McKinty captures the mood and flavor of a city perpetually under siege, the life of a detective during wartime [and he] also excels at scene-grabbing set pieces: this novel opens on a terrific one with a massive crowd -- including Bono -- fixated on a visit from Muhammad Ali. McKinty's decision to expand the series beyond the original trilogy has breathed new energy and vigor into his novels: Duffy's not just growing naturally into this larger space, he's taking us right along with him.
- The Boston Globe 

Adrian McKinty is on a roll. His last novel in the Sean Duffy series set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Gun Street Girl, has been shortlisted for an Edgar award by the Mystery Writers of America. The latest, Rain Dogs, does not disappoint. The dark humour, the verbal jests, and the seamless insertion of real historical figures and events into the fictional narrative are all superbly sustained...This is clever historical fiction with the bite of social commentary and the joy of a crime series at its zenith.
- The Sydney Morning Herald 

The tension between McKinty's competing love of tight, formal puzzles and loose, riffing dialogue is what makes the Duffy novels such a tremendous joy.
- The Guardian

A classic plot with modern twists...[another] thoroughly engaging crime novel set in Northern Ireland
- The Sunday Times

Last Day to Vote!!!

Today is the LAST DAY to vote in the Dead Good Awards, if you fancy casting your vote. 

The first category is for a series of books, i.e. The Kate Pearson series (hint, hint) and the other categories are for individuals books.

You could win £200 worth of book vouchers, and that can't be too bad!!

Thanks to everyone who voted so far - it's very much appreciated!! 

I will go now and be very quiet......

You can vote HERE

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Emerald Noir - Louise Phillips & Paul Perry chat with Nessa O' Mahony!!

Put on the kettle, make a cuppa and tune into this interview with myself, Paul Perry and the wonderful Nessa O'Mahony, where two crime fiction authors chat about all things writing, especially crime fiction writing. Plus, you get a sneak preview of 'Girl Unknown' by Karen Perry (writing duo Karen Gillece and Paul Perry) and 'After I was Killed' my latest novel. I hope you enjoy it!

Click on link here to view....HERE

Friday, May 27, 2016

Crimefest and my Crime Tribe!

If you were staying at the Bristol Marriott Hotel over the weekend, you could be forgiven for thinking you were a delegate at a Star Wars convention, such were the throngs of people bustling through the hotel, each armed with name badges and looking wildly enthusiastic. But it wasn’t Star Wars, it was Crimefest, the international crime fiction convention held in Bristol every May.

With record numbers this year, the festival attracted writers, readers, editors, agents, publishers and bloggers from all over the globe, and with a strong Irish contingent, it has become a date for the diary.

‘Crimefest is an event where I can have breakfast with an Australia author, coffee with an American reader, and at the Gala Dinner, present an award to a Scandinavian writer,’ says Sarah Ward, one of the judges of the Petrona Award. ‘It’s the highlight of my crime fiction year.’

But what actually happens at this festival over four days in May? You have the headline acts, internationally acclaimed writers like Ian Rankin, Anne Holt, Peter James and Hugh Fraser, all willing to share nuggets of their writing process and success, and also happy to chat with delegates during panel intervals, while copious amounts of tea and coffee are drunk.

(Ian Rankin with Patricia Gibney)

Ayo Onatade, Special Crime Reporter at Shots Ezine and associate member of The Crime Writers Association (CWA), puts the success of the convention down to the laid back and fun approach, as well as the panels being well organised. ‘It’s often difficult to decide which panel to attend. Everyone enjoys themselves and there is no demarcation between authors that are taking part, readers, fans, and bloggers who are there. It’s not elitist.’

And that’s the thing about Crimefest that makes it different. You could be chatting to a fellow writer or friend one moment, then find yourself talking all things crime fiction with publishers, agents and editors from around the world, and there are plenty of buzzing conversations with the sharing of contact details - another reason why so many delegates visit each year.

Author C. L. Taylor, familiar to many Irish readers agrees, describing Crimefest as an opportunity to connect with readers and her crime tribe. ‘Many of my friends live hundreds of miles away and it’s often the only chance I get to see them.’

But outside of the many conversations between readers, writers and publishing folk, lots happen here other than panels and headline acts. Along with panels covering everything from Creating Complex Characters to the Psychology of Thrills, there are workshops, quizzes, pitching an agent slots, and one off events - including the re-enactment of the Steve Avery trial (Making a Murder), with Irish author and lawyer, Steve Cavanagh, and Sophie Hannah as Judge.

The Crimefest Awards saw Stephen King, Ian Rankin, Paula Hawkins, Robert Galbraith and Linwood Barclay, compete for victory, whilst the longlists for the CWA Dagger Awards were also announced at the festival. Among them were Irish writers, John Connolly, Jax Miller, Adrian McKinty, William Shaw and yours truly.

Dublin-based crime authors, Paul Perry and Karen Gillece, writing under the pen name, Karen Perry, were both panel members and moderators. Paul says, ‘Crimefest is a great festival where crime writers from around the world meet. Karen and I were on a panel on Thursday called Writing Duos: How Not To Come To Blows When You’re Both Writing The Same Book. Then on Saturday, I moderated Sending Shivers Down The Spine with A.K. Benedict, Jenny Blackhurst, Mason Cross and Kate Ellis. I loved the easy going atmosphere, with time to discuss and share a love of crime writing.’

However, you can’t discuss Crimefest without talking about Bristol. A city, ranked fifth in the U.K., with its riverside cafes and bars, weekend markets and buzzing atmosphere (even on rainy afternoons). It has an appeal all of its own. As crime fiction enthusiasts gathered on the stone steps of the Marriot, amid stunning architecture and cathedrals, with the waterfront only metres away, teenagers played on skateboards in the communal areas, and you got the feeling you were in a city comfortable with itself. Early Banksy art can also be found in the city of his birth, pieces created when he was seen as another kid with a can of spray paint in his hand.

So whether you sign up for a one-day or full weekend pass at Crimefest, you will be transported into a hub of crime fiction, together with festival goody bag and mock syringe pen. Last word of advice, if the popularity of this festival continues – Book early!
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