Thursday, August 30, 2007

Poll Results

Last week I asked you if you would like to live forever, and I got a very good response. Thank you for voting.

44% percent said they would like to live forever. I found this surprising, because the comments on my posts about this seemed to indicate the opposite.

On a more morbid note, 33% percent would like to live forever as a vampire. Vampire's with souls aside, this also surprised me. I can't imagine living to the end of time having to drink blood. Long hair and velvet clothes are all very well, but I would miss food!

Only 22% of you decided you would rather not live forever. I presume you wished to go to Heaven and enjoy eternal life there, rather than that you wanted to die and felt suicidal. I hope it was the former anyway.

Thanks for voting and look out for more polls in the future.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Filing Cabinet Trouble

I think someone is trying to tell me something about filing cabinets - I'm not supposed to have them. You see, I have all these notes and story ideas that I want to put in some order. They've been sitting around in a box for years and it is really hard to find anything. Last year I thought it would be great to get a filing cabinet and sort it out so I could easily access my work. I got a two drawer flat packed cabinet for Christmas, which was wonderful, but I foolishly tried to put it together myself and I didn't do it very well because the drawers were impossible to open. When I fixed that problem (brute strength and ignorance) I found the drawers were the half page size rather than the A4 size I was used to and I couldn't fit my crystal hanging files in to it. So, earlier this year, I decided to buy a full size four drawer cabinet for my office. They are expensive but I shopped around and found one that was quite cheap. There was a long waiting period for the delivery, made longer because I missed the delivery man's phone call and it took another two weeks before they could reschedule. When they finally did bring it to the house, I was out, but my sister was great and looked after the delivery for me and even asked them to bring it upstairs to my office. I was so excited when I got home and rushed up stairs to find this big brown box in my room. I tore off the cardboard packaging like a kid at Christmas. There was a large dent in the second drawer, which annoyed me, but I didn't think much of it. I eagerly reached out to open the drawers but was met with resistance. They must be locked, I thought, and rummaged around for the keys. Having found them, I tried to open the lock, but it wouldn't budge. Since then, the filing cabinet has sat uselessly in my office, gathering dust. I know I should have phoned the furniture company and complained, but I have a major fault in leaving things on the long finger and I have had it so long now I don't want to phone them. Does anyone know how to fix a dodgy filing cabinet, or should I resign myself to the fact that I'm just not supposed to have one?

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Mark of the Wolf

I'm working on revising The Mark of the Wolf at the moment, heading towards the final draft. I have all these ideas in my head about how I want it to be, and I hope I can bring all these threads to bear successfully in the final draft. I've been reading TMOTW again before I start work on it and, despite all its faults, I am enjoying it. I think the characters are good and the scenario interesting. However, I keep on feeling that it is the action that takes place off scene that is the more important stuff. A lot of the scenes are based very much in the mundane and the everyday, with the characters often referring to something exciting that has happened but that we, the readers, didn't get to see. One of the things I will have to do in this edit is shift the perspective and show those scenes which weren't shown before, and leave much of the everyday to the imagination. This might make the final draft look very different from the original (on the surface) but the book that was struggling to break free from the confines of the ordinary was there all the long. I think it is going to be good - really good. I'm very excited about it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Baby Lily Marie

Here are the (possilby) first photos of post natal Lily Marie Murphy, certainly the first on the internet of her anyway! This is my niece at almost one day old. We went down to the hospital in Port Laoise yesterday to visit her and to see how mum and dad were getting on. I've never been around babies much, I've never had any interest in them, so I've never experienced before the feeling of looking at a new person who has her whole life ahead of her. What will she be like? What will she do and learn and be? It is very exciting. I hope I will be part of her life and that she will like it when she visits me or I visit her, rather than groaning 'Oh no, Aunt Inkpot isn't visiting, is she?'.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


WELCOME to my brand new little niece who was born this evening to proud parents, Simon and Danielle. Today is St. Rose of Lima's feast day, so she has a beautiful patron saint. Being born on a Thursday means she is destined to go far. She also shares her birthday with famous people such as Gene Kelly and River Phoenix. Of course, none of this matters to her at the moment. She is only a little thing (under 6lbs) and is probably still struggling to make sense of why she has so much more room to move around in. I am going to visit the family tomorrow, so I'll let you know when I know more.

I know I shouldn't laugh, but...

I heard on the news yesterday that mobile defibrillators (you know, the electronic device that paramedics use to restart the heart - CLEAR!) saved two lives over the weekend. This is great news! One life was a heart attack at Croke Park. I don't know who was playing, I don't follow GAA, but I understand that there are some who feel very passionately about this sport and I can understand that in the heat of the moment - standing red faced in the crowds from shouting at your team - the old ticker might give out. The second life saved was a heart attack at the Rolling Stones concert at Slane. This made me chuckle. I wonder was it one of the band.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Printer Problems

I was sending out query letters to agents for The Mark of the Wolf and, this just shows you how long it has been since I last got a submission package ready, I ran across a problem with my printer. Well, my print cartridge to be more precise. I printed out my letter head and it is a brown/sepia tone and it came out red. The display on the computer told me I was out of black ink, but the colour cartridge was over half full. I changed the black cartridge and printed another test page. Again it came out red. I played around with the image and changed the lettering to black and, even with this, it came out with a faint red line around the words. I printed out a test page and it was also red. The conclusion I came to was that I have run out of the other colours in my colour cartridge leaving only red ink. I didn't know this was possible (I don't remember printing predominately blue and yellow pictures) but I am very disappointed that the printer is telling me I have so much of my colour cartridge left when it is only red ink! I would have changed it if I had a spare cartridge. It will be a waste of all that red ink, but I don't print red that often (obviously, otherwise I wouldn't have so much left!)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Poll Results

I asked you what genre of books were your favourite and you answered in your hundreds... well, you answered -


Yes, that is right. With over 50% of the vote, horror came out top. Science Fiction and Fantasy tied as second with crime coming in third and factual books fourth. Popular fiction didn't even get a look in with not one of you voting for it in the poll. I wonder if I should ditch the Moonwolf Chronicles and concentrate on writing a follow up to 7 Days in Hell - 7 Weeks in Hell anyone?

Would you like to live forever?

I watched a documentary on Channel Four last night about the worlds oldest people. It was amazing to see a 100 year old woman in Japan who still grew her own vegetables and ran a shop and a 100 year old man in England who lives on his own and still uses coal to fuel his furnace. However, for every lucid able bodied centurion, there were plenty who were the more familiar picture of old age - crippled, deaf, unable to communicate and suffering from the unfortunate decrepitude that awaits for us all. Why some people age better than others is a mystery - it is all in God's hands - and there seemed to be no common link in diet or exercise between the various people who were interviewed. There was a difference in attitude however. Some were happy to have achieved such a great age (usually the more able bodied people) while the others longed for release from this mortal coil. One of the most poignant was a woman over 100 living in the US who was wheelchair bound and much distanced from the world, but who would sing when her nurse started to sing into her ear. It is one of the worst consequences of original sin that old age reduces our bodies to cages where we are can only respond to the strongest of stimulus. With this thought in mind, I asked myself the question - Would I like to live forever? It is a question I have often asked myself throughout the years and, bouts of depression aside, the answer has always been yes. There is so much in this world to learn about, study, see, explore and experience, so many people to get to know and to help, so many monsters to discover (and by monsters I mean creatures of the deep, Nessie, living dinosaurs etc) that our brief allotted time has never seemed enough. However, I long for the never ending life that was intended for us before the Fall. Living to a great age when you still have health and autonomy does have some attraction, but I am afraid I baulk at the thought of years of ill health, surviving all your loved ones and living in a home. However, it is not up to me to decide these things and, while I spend the years finding out my fate, I can explore the implications of immortality and mortality in my writing, as many authors have done before me.

Monday, August 20, 2007

How far would you go?

A friend said to me the other day - 'If you knew you had to submit your work 500 times before you were published, would you?' I must admit that it gave me pause to think. 500 times is a lot of times. Do I believe in my writing enough to keep going that long? 100 I have no doubt, but 500? It only took me a few seconds to respond with a positive 'Yes', but it did have me considering the whole situation. Later, when I spoke to Valpot about this, she posed another question. 'Which would you rather, to win the lottery or be published?' I found this easier to answer. 'To be published of course!' But it led me to think on another course. I've always looked at publication as the end of the road, the final achievement, the validation of my work, but what happens after publication? What if your books don't sell? Or what if they only sell ok and go out of print after 18 months? It happens - a lot! My answer to that is WRITE MORE. If you are publishing twice a year, you have more chance of getting your name known and making money from your books and, when you become successful enough, you will get your out of print books reissued. I found this very helpful for reminding me that I love writing and that I can easily get two publishable quality books out a year, if I just stick to it.
Book Pledge: 61/150

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Happy Birthday David

47 today. Good luck with the new tv show!