Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Review of January

My goals for January were as follows: -

1. Write 50K words on Til the Moon Fails.
Something about the Til the Moon Fails has been bugging me since I started it, and this month I realised what that was. So, I have gone back to the start to rectify the problem. This means I didn't get as much done on furthering the book as I had wished, however I hope that it will continue to flow quicker and stronger from now on.

2. Start to edit The Mark of the Wolf.
I read The Mark of the Wolf and took copious notes and I realised that editing was really a euphemism for rewriting it. The writing is good and there is a story there, but everything is layered with mounds of historical/big house drama that are unnecessary and slow the writing down. I gave myself two months for this job, which I now realise is foolishly optimistic, but I'm looking forward to starting working on the next draft come Feb.

3. Send Assignments 2 and 3 to the Writers Bureau.
Yup. Assignment 2 submitted and completed and, as of today, assignment 3 submitted.

4. Two meetings with Valpot about our joint books.
Yup again. Had two very productive meetings about Ely, its origins, its people and its mores.

Book Pledge: 9/150
Submission Pledge: 0/30

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Happy Birthday Christian Bale!

33 today.

(this one is for you, Pinky!)

Friday, January 26, 2007

What kind of soul are you?

The product of more hours wasted browsing

You Are a Visionary Soul

You are a curious person, always in a state of awareness.
Connected to all things spiritual, you are very connected to your soul.
You are wise and bright: able to reason and be reasonable.
Occasionally, you get quite depressed and have dark feelings.

You have great vision and can be very insightful.
In fact, you are often profound in a way that surprises yourself.
Visionary souls like you can be the best type of friend.
You are intuitive, understanding, sympathetic, and a good healer.

Souls you are most compatible with: Old Soul and Peacemaker Soul

Irish Writers Union

Joined the Irish Writers Union and got my membership card and newsletter last week. It feels good walking around with my card in my wallet. I feel like I can whip it out at a moments notice and commandeer someones book or car, shouting 'I'm a writer, I need your book for research purposes'. I don't think I would get away with doing it for long, but it is nice to think about it. :)

Book pledge:
Submission pledge: 0/30

Magazine Shopping

I went shopping for magazines today (for research purposes, of course) and I just couldn't believe the amount of magazines out there. There were several magazines on tattoos and tattoo art, all kinds for surfing and wind surfing and diving, several for knitting and papermaking, half a dozen for shooting, others on walking and running as well as your usual women's mags, animal mags, fishing and cars and hobbies and news kind of stuff. However, Easons in Dundalk didn't stock one magazine on writing or publishing. Either that, or they were all sold out this late in the month by the trigger happy writers of the town. It really opened by eyes though. There is a whole plethora of magazines out there devoted to obscure subjects that I can write for.

Book Pledge: 9/150
Submission Pledge: 0/30

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I was born in September!

I was browsing and I tried out the find your true month quiz. Turns out I was born in my true month. Go figure. Here is what they told me, for anyone who is interested.

Your True Birth Month Is September

Good memory
Calm and cool
Does work well
Likes to criticize
Loves wide things
Kind and sympathetic
Hardly shows emotions
Concerned and detailed
Able to motivate oneself
Suave and compromising
Clever and knowledgeable
Quiet but able to talk well
Tends to bottle up feelings
Loves to look for information
Trustworthy, loyal and honest
Careful, cautious and organized
Choosy especially in relationships
Loves sports, leisure and traveling
Must control oneself when criticizing
Likes to point out people's mistakes

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Christmas cat

This is my cat Fudge making a part for himself in the crib at Christmas.
Book pledge: 6/150

Friday, January 19, 2007

Horses up date

Here is my lovely horse, Cori, looking very noble (and very mucky) when he came up to the field gate to greet us on Christmas day.

Here are Cori and JB munching on their Christmas treats (some feed and plenty of carrots) with Rags scavenging the feed bowl for any left over crumbs on Christmas day.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Mid point of January already!

I read the Year of the Nodpot blog this morning and noted that DN Reporter has done an up date on the Nodpot's January pledges because it is already half way through. I can't believe it, I've only been back at work for a week! It makes me feel bad that I'm not 25K into In Search of the Moon and that I haven't sent off the second assignment to the WB and that I haven't even finished re-reading the Mark of the Wolf. However, I have 2 1/2 weeks left to get everything done. To paraphrase Bob the Builder - Can I write it? Yes I can!

Book pledge: 5/150

Friday, January 12, 2007


I finished Brother Odd! It is a really good book and I really enjoyed it. It pushes the boundaries even more than the first two books, which I like, and the nuns and monks are so beautifully written.

I think 2007 is going to be a good year for the Nodpots and the Murphy family in total. I really believe it is the year that both Valpot and I will get published and maybe Mungs too, I'm not so sure about him (sorry Mungs!)

Please God I'm right

Book pledge: 41/2/150

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I am a big Dean Koontz fan and I was strolling past a bookshop today, peering into the window just on the off chance they might have his latest - Brother Odd (third installment in the brilliant Odd Thomas series) - when my eyes fell upon it sitting on the book shelf! I squealed with joy and ran into the shop, much to the amazement of my mother, who was with me. I started it at lunch time and so far it is excellent. I was so tempted to curl up in a comfy chair (or even a less comfy one) and read it all afternoon, but I forced myself to put it down at 2pm and go upstairs to write. It will be waiting for me when I'm finished working and it will be a good idea to prolong the pleasure. Reading a new book, especially a new book that I expect to be good (and even more so when it is one by Dean Koontz) is a wonderful experience. When I sat down to open the cover for the first time, my fingers were trembling. It is a little like eating a finally cooked meal. Part of me wants to rush through and devour it as quickly as possible, while another part wants to slowly savour each bite. Mmmm... I feel hungry now.

Book pledge: 3 1/2 and now 1/4 books/150

Monday, January 08, 2007

Back to work

Started back to work today. Things haven't gone exactly to plan, but I am working around it and the day is still going well. Mungo started his new book today. He didn't write as much as he would like to, but he is pleased with what he has written and I know he will pick up the pace during the week. I was meant to work on assignment 2 for the Writers Bureau this morning, but got distracted by other work. I'm not worried about it because I have given the mornings of the week over to it (discounting Wednesday, that is three more mornings to finish it in - eek!). I'm about to start work on Til the Moon Fails now. More copies of 7 Days in Hell and Leaf arrived in the post, so that was an exciting diversion. Looked up my writing for last year. Wrote roughly two hundred thousand words (well, between 200K and 300K). I want to break that total this year and sending it flying!

Book pledge: 3.5/150

Friday, January 05, 2007

Book Review

I have just finished reading Next by Michael Crichton. I have been a fan of his books for years and I particularly like Jurassic Park and Prey. Next, like all novels by this author, is immanently readable and moves at a fast pace, instructing the reader about the complex nature of gene therapy and transgenic animals in a relatively simple manner. Not to give too much away, there were certain animal related aspects of this book that I really liked, and it was a very fast, enjoyable read. However, like State of Fear before it, I feel it suffers from what I call the 'Lost' syndrome. Like recent television programmes are copying the popularity of reality television (the 4400 and Lost spring to mind) and abolishing the conventional hero who leads the reader through the world of the story, so has Michael Crichton in Next. There are no central characters that we can root for or identify with. There are multiple short chapters about different characters that are all separate but mildly linked. Joe Bloggs, who we meet in chapter one, may not appear again for another 200 pages, and so on. At times I found this choice of narrative quite boring. Without any apparent cohesive strand to the narrative, the middle of the book lagged for me. My interest in these (seemingly) random characters wained. The chapters are so short that it often took me several paragraphs to remember who the reintroduced character was, only to move on to another character within as many more paragraphs. I don't like this particular way of writing. I like to have a hero and a strong narrative. In this age of reality tv, everyone has a chance to get their story told, but in reality there are some people whose stories are just not interesting enough to anyone other than themselves and their friends and families. I dislike this trend creeping into literature. I admire Michael for trying it out, but as so many of his books are made into movies, I couldn't help but wonder if this was the blueprint for the script and shudder at the thought of such a fractured film.

All in all, I found Next very absorbing and thought provoking. I hope Michael returns to the more conventional main character approach of the novel, but other than that, I would recommend this book to fans of his work. 5/10

Book pledge: 2/150

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Fantasy books for 2007

For those of you who may have noticed I have no new fantasies planned for 2007, it is because I want to take a little break from that genre. I've been working on the Moonwolf Chronicles since 2004 and I am working on them this year - finishing them, editing them and getting them ready for publication - and after that is done, I want to set Reath aside for a little while and let it settle. It doesn't mean I have locked the lid on the fantasy box for 2007, it is just I don't see myself writing another one this year at this moment. I have a plan for another horror and I have a science fiction story I want to write, and then I'll be back to fantasy in 2008 - most likely either Tracker or my opus magnum (begins with B). I hope my other books will be enjoyed just as much as the Moonwolf Chronicles and look forward to 2008 for a new series of Reath books beginning.

Happy Feet Review

Went to the cinema this afternoon to see Happy Feet. I had heard a lot about this film, both good and bad, but I tried to clear my mind of it when I entered the film so I wouldn't be prejudiced. Unfortunately, due to a sudden and unexpected rush of traffic in Dundalk we were about 10 minutes late and missed the beginning, but I don't think we really missed anything and I caught up quickly. The natural inaccuracies bothered me a little at first, but I thought they would build up a realistic penguin world to bypass them, but they didn't. Nicole Kidman's voice work as Mumbles mother really irritated me after a while. Mumbles never moulting got under my skin as well. He was visually different enough for the animators not to need that as a visual clue as to which penguin was Mumbles. I didn't think the animation was that good, and when they showed the penguins swimming, it really paled in comparison to the real thing. I suppose the biggest problem I have with the movie is that it had no story and after 10 or 20 minutes of looking at endearing fluffy penguins, I got bored and started to pick holes in the animation and natural inaccuracies because I had nothing else to occupy my mind. I liked the idea of the heartsong though, and all the penguins singing together with the Aurora Borealis over head was a cool scene. The end was particularly laughable. Overall, I came away from the cinema bored, brow beaten by illogical environmental propaganda and glad that the movie wasn't very long (although it felt it) because I didn't have to pay for parking. One other thing of (mild) interest - I was sure the leopard seal was supposed to be voiced by Steve Irwin, but it certainly didn't sound like him. Did the Irwin family pull his voice after his tragic accident?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


My New Year writing resolutions for 2007 are as follows:-

1. Finish Til the Moon Fails
2. Edit the Moonwolf Chronicles and submit
3. Write another Zombie Horror
4. Do two assignments for the Writer's Bureau each month
5. Write a couple of short stories and send them out to publications
6. Write Twenty-Four Hours with Valerie (and maybe another joint venture)
7. Edit 7 Days in Hell and submit

I have also taken a pledge to read 150 books this year and a pledge to submit the Moonwolf Chronicles up to 30 times (please God I won't have to do it that many times!)

Book Pledge: 1/150

Monday, January 01, 2007

Nodpot of the Year - 2006

They say a picture tells a thousand words, and I think it is quite obvious what the out come of the Nodpot of the Year was from this photo. I didn't win. I know, it was a shock to me too. I really thought I had got the hat trick and won for the third time this year. I hoped that Valerie would win. I was convinced that Mungo hadn't got a chance, and then he reached in his grubby little paws and stole the cup away from me. His gloating is insufferable. I don't know how I am going to put up with a year of this. At least he is planning on going on tour with his cup, I might get a few months break from him then.