Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Fall by Claire Mc Gowan .......................... Sometimes you just gotta take a chance!!

Over at Crime Scene this week, I'm delighted to introduce you to Claire Mc Gowan, debut Irish crime writer and Director of the Crime Writers Association. Claire tells us about her writing journey, the creation of her wonderful debut novel The Fall, and how publication success is seldom a straight line, sometimes you just gotta take a chance........

Read More  HERE

Monday, July 23, 2012

RED RIBBONS - Preview....... Let the countdown begin!!!!!




A missing schoolgirl is found buried in the Dublin Mountains, hands clasped together in prayer, two red ribbons in her hair. Twenty-four hours later, a second schoolgirl is found in a shallow grave … her body identically arranged.

A hunt for the killer is on.


The police call in profiler Dr Kate Pearson to get inside the mind of the murderer before he strikes again. But the more Kate discovers about the killings, the more it all feels terrifyingly familiar . . . 


As the pressure to find the killer intensifies there's one vital connection to be made. . .  Ellie Brady, a mother institutionalised fifteen years earlier for the murder of her twelve-year-old daughter. She stopped talking when everyone stopped listening.


If you are a regular visitor to this blog or my Crime Scene blog at www.writing.ie

If you’ve ever read a story of mine and liked it

If you follow me on Twitter @LouiseMPhillips

or we are linked up on Facebook or Linkedin.com

or you like the sound of my Novel

You can pre-order RED RIBBONS NOW

Why pre-order?

Well why not?

See details below:
Pre-order Price Guarantee: Order now and if the Amazon.co.uk price decreases between the time you place your order and the release date, you'll be charged the lowest price
Delivered FREE in the UK with Super Saver Delivery


Born in Dublin, Louise Phillips, returned to writing in 2006. Since then she has been published as part of many anthologies, including County Lines from New Island, and various literary journals. Louise won the Jonathan Swift Award for her short story 'Last Kiss', and was a winner in the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice Platform, short-listed for the Molly Keane Memorial Award, Bridport UK, and long-listed twice for RTE Guide/Penguin short story competition. In 2012, she was awarded an arts bursary for literature from South County Dublin Arts Council.
Launching this new voice in crime, Ciara Doorley, Editorial Director of Hachette Books Ireland, says of Louise. ‘With overtones of Sophie Hannah and Tana French, Louise is a supremely talented writer. She subconsciously creates parallels between her characters, and this really challenges the reader. Her writing is tense, atmospheric and we’re really excited to be launching a new voice in Irish crime.’

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Too Close for Comfort

When you think of Niamh O’Connor, you think Successful Crime Novelist, you think True Crime Editor of the Sunday World, you think of someone who interviews high-profile criminals and their victims. A woman who regularly appears on our television screens talking about crime, helping us to understand the phenomenon of what’s happening in the darker side of Irish society, what’s happening on our streets, you think of a woman on the cutting edge who can tell a gritty crime story both in true-life and in the fictional sense - you think of a woman who can tell it as it is, because she darn well knows it.

Niamh O'Connor's latest book Too Close For Comfort hits a nerve in the Irish psyche, as I found out when I spoke to her about her brilliantly multi layered story of intrigue and lies...

Would you trust your neighbour with your life?

Read my interview with Niamh over at www.writing.ie HERE

Costa Short Story Award

About The Short Story Award

This award is for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words by an author of 18 years or over.

The story must be written in English.

Only one entry per author will be accepted. Entry is online (see below).

Entry opens at 9am on Monday 16 July 2012 and closes at 4pm on Friday 7 September 2012.

The author need not have been previously published. Publishers/agents may submit entries on behalf of authors.

All entries will be judged anonymously (ie without the name of the author available to the judges).

A shortlist of six entries will be announced in November and the public will be asked to vote for their favourite.

The winner will be announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony in late January 2013 and will receive a cheque for £3,500.

Two runners-up will each receive £750.

Monday, July 16, 2012

What a difference ONE DAY makes!

I had one of those computer problems we all dread over the weekend. You know the kind I am talking about -14/16 hours work down the drain in the blink of a microchip!!!

I felt pain, I felt hardship, I consoled myself that it wasn't the worst thing in the world, and I dusted myself down and started the work all over again yesterday.

Yesterday, I might add in here, was a bit of a blur, one hour of shock horror knowing I had probably lost all the work from Saturday, another couple of hours talking to helpful friends like IT expert Susan Condon, other helpful IT friend expert Triona Walsh, and just to prove one IT expert can link up with another IT expert, Triona's husband Dan, all of whom talked me through hard drives, temporary folders, every version of search under *.*, and all the online help available, to sadly no avail. But I felt the LOVE, so thank you guys:) xxxx

Why am I telling you all this? Well actually I'm not particularly sure, only goddamn it, I want to tell you.

The other thing, I'd like to share is the fact that having redone Saturday's work on Sunday, the complete read through of my novel Red Ribbons, which I had scheduled for Sunday, was done today - all 115K words read in ONE DAY! Yes, you heard right, ONE DAY!

One part of me was thinking, gosh, all that work, and it can be swallowed whole in less than 12 hours, and the other part was thinking, well, dare I say.....I was HAPPY with it!

The latter is a huge statement for me, because I know by and large I fall into the trap of never really being completely happy with my work, and constantly feel the need to edit it more, and more, and more, sooooooooooooo, despite the fact that it is rather shocking that 6 -8 months works can be read in ONE DAY, it is also refreshing that for a brief moment, this highly critical, self-doubting soul, was HAPPYish (see the negativity is sneaking in already)!!!

Right, I've done my best - let the critics say what they will - the moment of truth is nearly here!!!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thought for the Weekend - Jumping off cliffs and developing wings!

Right, I'm in writing hibernation for the next two days! You won't hear a word from me - honest:)

And all the cliffs I might feel I'm jumping off, will hopefully be imagined, as will be the wings developed to stop me crashing on the way down!!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Irish Writers' Centre Novel Fair Open for Submissions!

The Irish Writers' Centre are open for entries for their Novel Fair! So get writing!!!

The second Irish Writers' Centre Novel Fair Competition was launched on June 27th. After the success of the inaugural Novel Fair (so far, one book deal, 9 signed with agents) they are really excited about this year's competition.
If you have any questions or queries, feel free to contract them, or email novelfair@writerscentre.ie

The deadline is October 17th! Get those submissions into them and maybe your novel could be the next big thing!

View Details HERE

Download Submission Form HERE

Check out Patrica Deevy, Penguin Ireland, talk about pitching your novel HERE

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Crime Scene Book Club Reader Reviews

This week's discerning bunch of Crime Scene book club readers give us some great reviews on Kind of Cruel by Sophie Hannah, Absolute Zero Cool by Declan Burke, and Taken by Niamh O'Connor!!!

Click To Read Reviews HERE

( Is it my imagination, or does my profile image look like an attempt to copy DI Jo Birmingham from Taken - ah maybe it's just the hair?)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Kinsale Arts Festival - A June of Ordinary Murders

I meant to put up this post yesterday, but unfortunately the internet was playing games again!!!

The Kinsale Arts Festival is on at the moment, 7th -15th July, and this evening there is a reading by Conor Brady, a man who has held many interesting positions in his life, editor of The Irish Times, The Sunday Tribune, presenter and reporter on RTE’s The News At One and This Week. The son of a policeman, and a former member of the Garda Ombudsman Commission, Conor has recently released his first novel 'A June of Ordinary Murders'

For booking details, and other links to the festival, click below:-

A June of Ordinary Murders

Dublin, June 1887: the mutilated bodies of a man and child are discovered in the Phoenix Park. Detective Sergeant Joe Swallow steps up to investigate. Is this a ‘special’ or an ‘ordinary’ murder? In the 1880s, the Dublin Metropolitan Police classified crime in two ways: political crimes were ‘special’, whereas thefts, robberies and even murders, no matter how horrific, were classed as ‘ordinary’… Detective Swallow investigates against the background of a city sweltering in a long summer heatwave, with a potential gangland war simmering.....

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Thought for the Weekend

'Those who write clearly have readers. Those who write obscurely have commentators'

 Albert Camus

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Publishing Day @ IWC

Saturday July 7th: 11am - 4.30pm

The Irish Writers' Centre is hosting an information day on publishing. The day will feature talks from industry experts and will offer the opportunity to pose questions to the speakers.
The day will feature talks with:
Novelist, Arlene Hunt
Editorial Director with Hachette Ireland, Ciara Doorley
Publicity Director of Penguin Ireland, Cliona Lewis
Literary Agent with Walsh Communications, Emma Walsh
CEO of ePub Direct, Gareth Cuddy
The day will start at 11.00am and run until 4.30pm. Tickets are €60 (€50 for Members) and can be booked by paying online or calling the Centre.

Ciara Doorley
Ciara Doorley - Editorial Director, Hachette Ireland
Through the course of her talk Ciara will explain key aspects of her job like the acquisition and editing process. She will also provide information that may be of use to writers sending work out to publishers such as: how to submit material to publishers, current trends and they type of books Hachette are looking for at the moment.
Ciara Doorley is Editorial Director at Hachette Ireland, the Irish publishing division of Hachette UK --- parent company of Orion, Little, Brown, Hodder & Stoughton, Headline, John Murray, Octopus, HachetteIndia and Australia and sister company to Hachette Book Group USA. Ciara has worked at Hachette Ireland since 2007 and is responsible for commissioning and publishing a host of bestselling fiction authors including Ciara Geraghty, Fiona O’Brien, Roisin Meaney, Martina Reilly and Christy Kenneally, as well as bestselling non-fiction titles including the acclaimed Vanishing Ireland series.
Gareth Cuddy - CEO of ePub Direct
Gareth will provide an overview of the eBook industry, discussing everything from formats and retailers through to examples of highly successful self-published eBook authors. A questions and answers session will allow all those attending to quiz Gareth on all things eBooks.
Gareth Cuddy is the CEO of Europe's leading eBook Company, ePubDirect. Based in Cork, the company creates and distributes eBooks to over a thousand on-line retailers and over 25,000 libraries.
Cliona Lewis
Cliona Lewis - Publicity Director, Penguin Ireland
Cliona Lewis will discuss all aspects of publicity in a changing media landscape. She will talk about the importance of media strategy from the outset of a book’s life, when it is being acquired by the publisher; how to identify and target the correct media for an author’s audience; the key role of social media; planning and implementing a publicity campaign; managing the media, and, crucially, author care. Her talk will cover publicity for both fiction and non-fiction titles.
Cliona Lewis is the Publicity Director for the Penguin Group in Ireland. As well as devising publicity campaigns for the Penguin Ireland imprint, she works on key titles for the Penguin UK group across all its imprints including Viking, Hamish Hamilton, Michael Joseph and Allen Lane. Prior to joining Penguin in 2005, she worked as Publicity Manager for Gill & Macmillan for five years. She also worked in the UK, selling foreign rights for Templar Publishing and Andromeda Oxford Ltd.
Emma Walsh literary agent
Emma Walsh - Publishing Consultant and Literary Agent
Publishing & Literary Consultant Emma Walsh will be exploring how to approach the publishing industry from a commercial perspective.
Emma’s talk will encompass:
  • The best way to approach an agent and/or publisher
  • Ways to develop and refine your work
  • Building a profile in your field
  • How to maximize your chances of getting closer to publication
  • Understanding the commercial market
  • The business side of book publishing – what you need to know
  • The pros and cons of self-publishing vs traditional publishing.
This session will be an informal session and attendees will be invited to ask questions throughout to steer the talk so that they get the most out of the session.
Emma Walsh has over 14 years’ experience in the book & publishing industry in Ireland. She has worked in almost every facet of the Irish Publishing Industry developing a broad foundation of knowledge that is sought after from a diverse range of clients in the book and publishing arena. Emma has worked with a range of clients from large corporations to individual fledgling authors and from established publishing houses to developing new imprints. Emma has agented three top ten Irish titles and regularly reviews books on television, radio and in newspapers.
arlene hunt Arlene Hunt, Author
Crime Writer Arlene Hunt will discuss striking out alone as an author, and her experiences developing her own publishing house, Portnoy Publishing.
Arlene Hunt is the author of seven crime fiction novels, five of which feature the popular QuicK Investigation duo, John Quigley and Sarah Kenny. She is also the co-owner of Portnoy Publishing. She lived in Barcelona for five years and now resides in Dublin. Her books have been translated into three languages and her current novel – a stand alone set in the US – entitled The Chosen, was voted as TV3's Book of the Month for November 2011. An earlier novel, Undertow (2008), was short listed for best crime novel at The Irish Book Awards. Arlene has also contributed to many anthologies, including, Down These Green Streets, Requiems for the Departed and Console.

Irish Writers' Centre, 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1. Tel: +353 1 8721302 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +353 1 8721302 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Email: info@writerscentre.ie

Get Your Crime Novel Published - Faber & Faber/Styplist Magazine 2012 Competition

Three important points here:-

A - Closing date is the 12th July 2012, so very little time left.

B - I seen this competition as a result of viewing the www.inkwellwriters.ie website, so if you're not following it, do so, as it is a brilliant support for writers.


C - To enter this competition, you need to live in the UK.


Faber & Faber Crime Fiction Competition

Get your crime novel published

In Stylist’s most exciting competition yet, we team up with powerhouse publishers Faber and Faber to find, and publish, a debut crime writer
Faber and Faber is the company behind the careers of authors including PD James and Kazuo Ishiguro, and has published an impressive 12 Nobel Laureates and six Booker prize-winners which is why we’ve joined forces with them to find a writer who we believe is going to be the next big thing in crime fiction. The plotline could be anything, from grizzly serial killer to eerie suburban murder. The only requirements are that it must fall within the crime/thriller genre and that it has to feature a female protagonist (it isn’t just men who can solve crime, after all).
So whether you’ve been itching to write a book for years and just need that final push, are a huge fan of thrillers and think you could write one too, or just fancy the ultimate challenge for 2012, read on to find out how you could be in with a chance of winning (and becoming the next Jessica Fletcher…)

The competition

To enter Stylist’s Crime Fiction Competition you will need to complete the first 6,000 words of your original crime or thriller novel. The novel must feature a female protagonist. Alongside this you will need to submit an outline, no longer than 300 words, to show how the story will develop but which doesn’t reveal the ending, plus a 250-word biography of the central character.

The judges

The entries will be judged by an expert panel who will be looking for a story which excites, intrigues and surprises them. The panel includes:
  • Ruth Rendell, award-winning author of over 60 crime fiction novels with book sales in excess of 20 million.
  • Lisa Smosarski, Stylist’s editor
  • Hannah Griffiths, publishing director, and Angus Cargill, senior editor, at Faber and Faber
  • Sue Swift, head of literary acquisitions at Kudos Television and Shine Pictures – a company responsible for adapting crime novels for TV and makers of Spooks

The deadline

All entries must be posted (no email entries will be accepted) to Stylist Magazine Crime Fiction Competition, Shortlist Media, 26-34 Emerald Street, London, WC1N 3QA by 12 July 2012. The deadline will not be extended under any circumstances.

The prize

The winning author of our fiction competition will have their debut novel published by Faber and Faber publishing house and will receive a book advance of £5,000. The runner-up will receive a place on a three-month writing course of their choice – worth up to £1,750 – at Faber Academy, Faber and Faber’s esteemed creative writing programme. Upcoming courses include a three-month ‘Writing Crime’ course, led by author Dreda Say Mitchell. Visit faberacademy.co.uk for more details on courses, or follow Faber Academy on Twitter @faberacademy.


  • The first 6,000 words of your original crime thriller or novel which MUST feature a female protagonist
  • An outline, no longer than 300 words, to show how the story will develop but that doesn’t reveal the ending
  • A 250-word biography of the central character
  • A signed copy of the entry form
Download the entry form and the Terms & Conditions and once you have completed your submission, post it to Stylist Magazine Crime Fiction Competition, Shortlist Media, 26-34 Emerald Street, London, WC1N 3QA by 12 July 2012.
Any questions? Email crimecompetition@stylist.co.uk

Click here to download your entry form

Click here to download the Terms & Conditions

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Top 10

Having gone past the 75,000 hit mark yesterday, I figured it might be worthwhile to reflect on which posts got you all connecting over the last 12 months, and here they are:-

1.  Dreams can come true... HERE
2.  What I know about Twitter Lists HERE
3.  Role Play HERE
4.  RTE Guide/Penguin Short Story Competition HERE
5.  Book Club Reviews of Before I Go To Sleep HERE
6.  Blackberry Picking - Seamus Heaney HERE
7.  International Woman's Day Poem HERE
8.  Twists of Twitter HERE
9.  Monkey & The Brain Eater HERE
10.Novelicious/Harper Collins UK Novel Competition HERE 

An enormous 'THANK YOU' to everyone who has visited this site, and a special thanks for all 1,223 of you, who visited the top billing post with the news of my dream turning into a reality.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Deadly Game of Crime Writing

In the first in a series of features interviewing debut Irish Crime Writers, I talk to successful playwright, Paul O'Brien, Author of Blood Runs Dollar Green, about his new novel, and why he decided to take on the deadly game of novel writing.

Check out interview @ Crime Scene HERE

Paul O’Brien is a writer from Wexford, Ireland. In the last fifteen years he has written sixteen plays and two screenplays. He has been commissioned and/or produced by The Abbey, Druid, Red Kettle Theatre Company, Town Hall Theatre, Galway and Spare Key Productions in New York.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Launch of Irish Writers' Centre Novel Fair

At the Irish Writers' Centre Novel Fair 2012 Launch, Jack Harte, Chairman of the IWC, spoke of the delight in celebrating the success of last year’s novel fair, and the launch of the adventure for 2012. He said - they were overwhelmed with the response last year, with a final tally of 570 entries.

A team of judges, professionals from the industry, who knew exactly what would be required, and who had a keen awareness of what publishers would be looking for did a fantastic job, and eventually picked 20 finalists which were show cased at the Novel Fair. 
The job was obviously done very well as the feedback from publishers and agents involved was that the work show cased was of an extremely high standard and of the 20 finalists show cased – currently, 9, have been signed with agents, and one of the final entries, The Herbalist, written by Niamh Boyce, has been acquired by Penguin Ireland. Jack Harte, is confident that as time progresses, this wonderful success will increase.
Launching next year’s Novel Fair – taking on board all the experience of last year, the final listing has been cut down to 10 finalists to ensure sufficient time is allowed for each publisher and agent to review the work on the day.

Patricia Deevy, Penguin Ireland, was also on hand to give some advice about the success of last year, to talk about how tough the industry is at the moment, and what pitching your novel really means.

'Obviously we all know in this room that the publishing world is not immune from the downturn. In the last two years fiction sales have dropped well over 10% each year and it’s proving more and more challenging to make things work. Yet – and I always say this at events so many of you will have heard me say it before – writers are the lifeblood of our industry. It might not always seem like it, but we are always hungry for new voices. There’s nothing more exciting to us than finding someone we believe in and want to present to the public.

It’s that key part of our job that I want to focus on here – bringing writers to the public. When Carrie and June briefed me for this evening they mentioned that it would be useful if I could talk about pitching and I’m very happy to do so because it sort of goes to the heart of what publishing is about. Writers starting out – and those who attended this year’s fair or hope to attend next year’s – might think of pitching as a one-off 15 minute ordeal, but in fact it’s pretty integral to what they’ll be doing as an author.

It’s self-evident, I suppose, but publishing is only half about writing. The other part of the equation is implied in the word publishing – making the writing public. When agents and editors look at submissions and have conversations with writers there are two things going on. They are looking at the quality of the work – whether it be genre fiction or literary fiction or anything in between – and they’re also thinking ‘Is this something we could make work?’

Making something work is about lots of things – the quality of the writing, timing, positioning a book properly so that it finds its audience … and crucially it’s about the conversations you can have about it. Publishing is an intensely conversational business – people who work in publishing love to get excited about a new book. They love it because they’re usually people who are in the business because they love reading. But they also love it because they love an opportunity and a challenge – to be part of making a success of something, whether that be selling lots of copies, or creating waves in the critical community, or in a perfect world, both.

As soon as the publisher starts to have conversations about a text, they’re into the business of pitching – internally – to colleagues in other departments of the company; externally to booksellers like Eason’s and Dubray and Waterstones’s and Tesco and also to the media.

For many of you who care passionately about writing it can be really hard to get past the idea that the quality of your work alone is not sufficient for a career as an author. In the gentlest way possible I’d urge you to simply get over it and figure out how to talk about your work in a way that’s comfortable for you.

It is naturally challenging for writers – many of whom are reflective and even solitary – to hear themselves talking about their work. It may even feel a little unseemly – a bit like they’re cheapening themselves by turning their writing into a commodity. We’ve all seen the satires on Hollywood – Robert Altman’s THE PLAYER comes to mind – that send up the business of pitching as being shallow and cynical.

I can see that these feelings could be hard to get over that but I think there are tricks you can play on yourself. Everyone will find their own method. One I’d suggest is to objectify your book – pretend it’s a book you love written by somebody else. How would talk about a book you loved to a friendly stranger on a bus or a train? Imagine you get chatting about reading and books and not far from your stop you mention a book you really loved reading recently. There isn’t time to go into all the nitty gritty of the plot, but you are passionate about wanting them to read it and you’re sure they’ll like it. So what you do you? You give them the essence of it in a few lines and maybe you compare it to other books out there.

The biggest mistake you can make when pitching a book is to try to explain the plot in detail. People in publishing are bombarded with material and there’s only so much we can absorb. The key is to figure out what the hook of your book – and it doesn’t have to be something very big and dramatic – and to use that as a jumping off point for talking about it. You can weave a certain amount of plot detail around that, but just enough to help draw out its themes.

Thinking about the novel fair and the very intense business of pitching in person, again I’d remind you of what I said at the start about publishers really wanting to find new authors. The people you will be talking to you are there in a receptive frame of mind, only dying to make a positive connection with you and your work.

If you are shy I think the trick is to acknowledge that that’s just who you are and see talking about your work and yourself as something you must work on as part of being an author. If you can become so completely absorbed in what you’re doing in your book, and if you’re confident in it, then you’ll probably feel less self-conscious talking about it. If you know it inside out and love it to pieces that’ll help. Practice will a sympathetic friend. Pitch in the shower. Talk to the cat. Do it on your commute to work.

Once you get rolling and you’ve got an editor’s attention the talk will flow from there and it’ll be a productive conversation.'

Afterwards, I spoke to Carrie King, who with Clodagh Moynan, of The Irish Writers' Centre, will be looking after the submission process this year.Carrie encourages anyone who has a debut novel, regardless of genre, to enter. It is all down to the quality of the writing. So get writing folks, and get submitting!!!

You can find further details about the Irish Writers' Centre Novel Fair on the IWC website www.writerscentre.ie/

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Inner Voice

I put this poem, 'The Voice' up on the site this time last year. Maybe there is something about being halfway through a year which gets us all thinking about where we are going, and a desire to look inside, wondering what direction the second half of the year will take.

Either way, it must have struck a note with many of you, because over 400 people have stopped by to have a read.

So here it is again in celebration/questioning of the second half of 2012

The Voice

Whose voice is this I want to know,
I hear her,
She is so familiar.

Sounds like me, but not so.
I hear her voice from years ago.

I hear it now,
I want to smile,
I love her spirit and her guile.

Where did she go?
I want to know.

I hear her playing a different tune,
The beat less sure,
The tone less tuned.

To strangers, she's a side of herself,
To family, friends, she's many guises.

To me, she's part of what might be.
I hear her voice,
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