Friday, June 28, 2013

TallaFest - Let the games begin!!

Lots happening as part of Tallafest 2013, on the 6th & 7th July!! We have Nature and Historical walks, we have Music, we have things for the children, Mobile Farms, Storytelling, Puppet shows, Face Painting, Balloons, we have photography exhibitions, we have sporting activities, and tons more, including a writing workshop!!!

Writing Workshop with Louise Phillips - Saturday 6th July 3.30 p.m. - 5.00p.m. 
The Abberley Court Hotel

All events are free, but pre-event booking is required. To book for the workshop or any of the other amazing events, all you have to do is this!!!

Phone (01) 4521071 - Leave a message with your name and the event
Text 086 7238373 - With your name and the event
Email - tallaghtfest@gmail.com or go
Online to register www.tallafest.com/register.html


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Have you ever considered where you might hide a body???

Intensive Crime Writing Week 
with Arlene Hunt 

Guest Speakers include Alex Barclay, Louise Phillips, Declan Burke and Declan Hughes...

29th July to 2nd August: 10.30am-5pm
 €450/420 members at The Irish Writers Centre

Have you ever considered where you might hide a body? Thought about being the gumshoe who follows clues to find a killer? Daydreamed on a Monday morning where you might like to retire with the proceeds of ill-gotten gains? If so, join author and publisher, Arlene Hunt, to explore the underlying themes of crime fiction. Focusing on characters, plot development, story arcs and mystery, we will dissect our story with gory relish. We will explore intent and red herrings, create tension; and ultimately unmask our villain.
This is a writing-heavy, intensive course that deals with the complicated business of crime fiction. Over five days we are going to develop and craft a functional crime fiction novella- to be read on the final day.
Not for the faint hearted!

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 and regularly reviews novels for RTE's Arena.

She lived in Barcelona for five years and now resides in Dublin with her husband, Andrew. Her books have been translated into three languages and her current novel – a standalone set 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, and Requiems for the Departed.
Booking information:
Members of the Centre can avail of a discounted rate by calling 01-8721302

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chilling, mesmerising. Gets under your skin and stays with you...



Thirty-five years ago Adrian Hamilton drowned. At the time his death was
reported as a tragic accident but the exact circumstances remained a mystery.

Now his daughter Clodagh, trying to come to terms with her past, visits
a hypnotherapist who unleashes disturbing childhood memories of her father's
death. And as Clodagh delves deeper into her subconscious, memories of
another tragedy come to light - the death of her baby sister.

Meanwhile criminal psychologist Dr Kate Pearson is called in to help in the
investigation of a murder after a body is found in a Dublin canal. When Kate
digs beneath the surface of the killing, she discovers a sinister connection 
to the Hamilton family.

What terrible events took place in the Hamilton house all those years ago?
And what connect them to the recent murder?

Time is running out for Clodagh and Kate.

And the killer has already chosen his next victim...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Latest Ramblings!

Thanks to Gerry from YOU magazine of The Daily Mail for making last week's photo session so relaxing - even with my braces! And no, I don't look like Joan Collins, not yet!!

Full cover (front & back) of The Doll's House will be revealed later on, so watch this space.

Good old 'Red Ribbons' will also feature shortly in the Mothers and Babies Magazine of The Independent, with me chatting to the lovely Linda Daly about protecting our big kids.

For any of you interested, I've also started on Novel 3 - working title 'Last Kiss' and yes, it will be another psychological crime thriller!!! And yes, I've completed the dreaded synopsis!!!

Saturday, June 22, 2013










Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Herbalist - Review

'He just appeared one morning and set up shop in the market square. It was drizzling. Everything was either a shade of brown or a shade of grey. He was the lightest thing there, the one they called the black doctor. He wore a pale suit, a straw hat and waved his arms like a conductor. The men spat about dark crafts and foreign notions but the women loved him. Oh, the rubs, potions, tinctures and lotions he had, unguents even. I went to the market the first chance I got, to see past the headscarves, but all I got was a glimpse of a bottle held high, and the gold-ringed fingers that gripped it. The women crowded around his stall. God, but they’d no sense at all, clucking like hens. ‘One at a time, ladies, one at a time.’’

Set in 1930’s Ireland, an Indian man, the herbalist, appears out of nowhere and sets out his stall in the market square, he brings excitement to Emily's dull midlands town. The teenager is captivated - the glamorous visitor could be a Clark Gable to her Jean Harlow, a Fred to her Ginger, a man to make her forget her lowly status in this place where respectability is everything.

However, Emily has competition for the herbalist's attentions. The women of the town - the women from the big houses and their maids, the shopkeepers and their serving girls, those of easy virtue and their pious sisters - all seem mesmerised by this visitor who, they say, can perform miracles.

But when Emily discovers the dark side of the man who has infatuated her all summer, once again her world turns upside down. She may be a dreamer, but she has a fierce sense of right and wrong. And with the herbalist's fate lying in her hands she must make the biggest decision of her young life.

THE HERBALIST is a riveting story that electrifies and dazzles with wonderful imagery, exposing the shadowy side of Irish life - the snobbery, the fear of sex, the tragedy of women destroyed by social convention and the bravery of those who defied it, but it is even more than that. Featuring a strong cast of characters, including a prostitute, and a woman desperate for a child, this novel is both dark and utterly enchanting. Somewhat like how the herbalist casts his spells on the villagers, Boyce does the same for the reader. You will be completely drawn in, and not only by the secret remedies of the exotic stranger, but by the magical realism within this captivating read.

I fool you not, this novel moved me greatly. The characters are of the stature that will stay with you long after you finish the final page. And just in case some of you out there haven’t yet heard of Niamh Boyce, I can tell you, she won the 2012 Hennessy New Writing Award, as well as being shortlisted for the 2011 Francis McManus Short Story competition, the 2010 Hennessy Literary Awards, the 2010 Molly Keane Award and the 2010 WOW Award.

Dermot Bolger has described the novel as ‘A richly layered and finely realised evocation of the closed world of a vanished Ireland, encompassing its innocent insularity and its hidden corners where sexuality and respectability collide. Niamh Boyce's compelling female characters push against the rigid social parameters of 1930s Ireland, yearning for the light of the outside world, which comes in the shape of a stranger trading in herbs, cures, complications and danger.’

To me there are three elements which stand out about The Herbalist, the power of the magical realism in this story, the strength of the characters, and the ultimate beauty of the prose. Boyce captures both warmth and darkness with a tale that is rich and thought provoking. The characters in Boyce’s novel are fascinating, real, and wholly engaging. And if you’re like me and happen to have a best book shelf, you’ll place The Herbalist on it.

P.S. I'll be interview Niamh as part of her blog tour on the 4th July, so watch this space!!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

RTE Guide/Penguin Short Story Competition - Closing date 5th July 2013


All entries for the 2013 RTE Guide/Penguin Ireland Short Story Competition should be original, unpublished and previously not broadcast short stories in English of 2,000 words or less. Manuscripts must be typed and cannot be returned. Entrants’ name and contact details (address, phone and/or email) should be on a separate page. The closing date is 6pm on Wednesday July 5th. Entries are welcome from anywhere in the world.

Send your entries to : RTE Guide/Penguin Ireland Short Story Competition, PO Box 1480, RTE, Donnybrook, Dublin 4 or you can email 

Do you need help Editing? - This might be for you!

So I had three lovely weeks holidays in the Canaries. I came home to grass up to my knees, laundry baskets bulging, a house minded by my son (don't even go there), unpacked suitcase with dirty washing that won't see the laundry baskets for some time, a 'To Do' list as long as your arm, and no food in the house. Nothing unusual there!!

Anyhow, I've lots of lovely news for you all, but you'll have to wait a little while longer. I can tell you that RED RIBBONS is doing well, and that it's been spotted on sale at a flea market in Spain - I kid you not, International acclaim here I come!!!!

But just to get you all back in the mood, and yes, I know you missed me, and I certainly missed you - (addicted to social media? who said that?) here's a great piece on editing from Derbhile Graham, Author of The Pink Cage. You can find out more about Derbhile here at www.writewordseditorial.ie/

How to Edit Your Own Writing

You’ve finished the first draft of your story. You’re exhausted, but exhilarated. Whoo hoo, you think. All the hard work is over. But it hasn’t. In fact, the fun has just begun. They say that all writing is rewriting. I’m going to take a liberty and say that after that frenzied first draft, all writing is editing. And it’s now that the editing process begins.

After the First Draft

Editing your own work is quite a challenge. You’re snowblind from all the words you’ve written; you’re too immersed in the world you’ve created to see straight. But at this delicate stage, you are the best person to edit your own work. Your ideas still need nurturing. If you turn it over to an editor after the first draft, the editor may unwittingly snip away some prize blooms along with the dead wood.

To clear away the snow blindness, step away from your work. Have a break. Have a Kit Kat. Watch trash television. After a while, you’ll feel an itch and you know it’s time to return to the work. Now you’ll be able to approach it with fresh eyes, almost as if a different person wrote it.

Large and Small Cuts

As you read the draft, the central thread of the story will become clearer to you. Now is the time to be ruthless. Anything that does not relate to that central thread needs to go. This culling process will help your central story shine through. It’ll be easier for readers to follow your thread, and you’re less likely to get bogged down in sub-plots.

When you’ve done that, take another short break, then read it out loud. You’ll be amazed at the amount of repetitions, clunky sentences and inconsistencies you’ll spot. Don’t lose heart – these are a natural part of the writing process. This is a good way to reduce your word count without cutting out too much of the story. You don’t have to kill as many of your darlings as you think.

Advanced Editing

Take a break again, and this time when you return to it, start at the end and read backwards. This breaks the attachment you’ve developed with your story. Read the last sentence, then the sentence before that and so on. Our eyes naturally correct what we read, but reading backwards helps you to separate the words and letters and weed out rogue typos.

A special word to those writers who tend to write a little too lean and end up with a word count that falls short. I feel your pain. At this stage, pinpoint the scenes that you skimped on because you were afraid you were writing too much, and start fleshing them out. Ideally you’ll have compiled notes about your characters, settings and plot, and you can incorporate those into parts of the story that are less well developed.

Now you’re ready for that second pair of eyes. Your writing will be robust enough to withstand critiquing and copy editing. If you’ve any questions about the editing process, drop me an email on derbhile@writewordseditorial.ie


And here is another link from Novelicious about Structural Edits from Behind The Scenes at a Publishing House

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