Monthly Archives: January 2017

Author Spotlight: Caimh McDonnell

A little while ago I read a sample from a book a reviewer recommended to me. I got sucked in so fast, I barely hear the whoosh. Naturally I signed up for the author’s newsletter, and when I got the opportunity to review his new release, I jumped at the chance. Let me introduce Caimh McDonnell, or the white-haired Irishman as he is called. I’ll tell you more about his new release as soon as he answered some question I asked him. But introductions first:

caimhCaimh McDonnell is an award-winning stand-up comedian, author and writer of televisual treats. Born in Limerick and raised in Dublin, he has taken the hop across the water and now calls Manchester his home.
His writing credits include The Sarah Millican Television Programme, A League of Their Own, Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You. He also works as a children’s TV writer and was BAFTA nominated for the animated series ‘Pet Squad’ which he created. He was also a winner in the BBC’s Northern Laffs sitcom writing competition.
During his time on the British stand-up circuit, Caimh has firmly established himself as the white-haired Irishman whose name nobody can pronounce. He has brought the funny worldwide, doing stand-up tours of the Far East, the Middle East and Near East (Norwich).

Now, tell us some more about you, Caimh.

Why did you become an author? Was it a childhood dream?
I’m sure it was in there somewhere but frankly, I think I wanted to be everything at one time or another when I was a kid. I definitely remember wanting to be an Apache Indian, a priest, the drummer in U2, an international footballer and a comedian. I achieved one of those things (comedian) and I’m still holding out for that call-up to the Ireland football team. I have rather gone off U2 so Larry Mullin can keep that job.
I did always want to tell stories as a kid but any chances of my being a writer were held back by the fact that my handwriting was and still is truly awful. Every time I wrote an essay, nobody could read it. Teachers kept telling my mother that I might not be that bright, she was perpetually standing her ground going ‘no, he’s a smart kid, you just can’t understand what he is trying to say.’
Then after I left school, the world got access to Microsoft Word and all of a sudden, people could at least understand what I was trying to write.

What’s your greatest obstacle in writing?
Time. I have a head over-flowing with ideas and there’s a permanent sense of frustration that I can never get them all out. I think the most surprising thing about being an author is how much time is taken up by things other than writing. The reality is that when you write a book, you are starting your own business, whether you’re traditionally published or doing it yourself.

I’ve been lucky enough through my various jobs writing for TV, to have been a professional writer for over a decade before I wrote my first novel. I think that gives me a very different perspective on writing. If you’re writing for TV nobody cares if you’ve got ‘writer’s block.’ Everyone is on a deadline, so you learn to be disciplined or you don’t get the work. I prefer to think of writing as a craft than an art-form because craft implies you can work hard and get better at it, whereas art-form implies you’re sitting around staring at cloud formations, waiting for your muse to show up.

What makes the world of your novel different from ours?
My novels are set primarily in inner city Dublin but it is a version of it that is tinged with my inevitable nostalgia from living in the UK for the last 15 years. Also, my version has a little more of the Wild West about it. Certainly, Detective Sergeant Bunny McGarry, who is one of my central characters, would probably last about five minutes in the real Irish police force.

What was the most exciting thing happening when you wrote your novel?
I don’t know if exciting is the right word, but certainly the oddest thing involved reality spookily mirroring the world of my imagination. In The Day That Never Comes a group of homeless protesters take over a building owned by the Irish government that had been left vacant for years. That exact scenario played out in real life in Dublin just before Christmas. The real building is called Apollo House and it was about a 4-minute walk from where I’d placed the imaginary one in my head.

Who is your favorite Indie author?
Tough question but I’d go with Sean Platt, David Wright and Johnny Truant a.k.a the boys from the Self-Publishing Podcast. First and foremost, through their various combinations they write really well and they’ve also been phenomenal mentors to me on a personal level. I’m amazed by how much quality work they produce while at the same time giving so much to the Indie community.

Who is your favorite traditionally published author?
So hard to pick just one but if you’re twisting my arm, I guess I’d go with Dennis Lehane right now. I’m amazed more people don’t know his name. Put it this way, have you heard of the films Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River, Shutter Island, The Drop and the recently released Live By Night? Did you know they were all based on books written by one author? That’s Dennis Lehane!

If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?

Chocolate would taste like celery, celery would taste like chocolate.

About the Book

the-day-that-never-comes-coverThe Day That Never Comes
Published 23 January 2017
McFori Ink
340 pages

Remember those people that destroyed the economy and then cruised off on their yachts? Well guess what – someone is killing them.
Dublin is in the middle of a heat wave and tempers are running high. The Celtic Tiger is well and truly dead, activists have taken over the headquarters of a failed bank, the trial of three unscrupulous property developers teeters on the brink of collapse, and in the midst of all this, along comes a mysterious organisation hell-bent on exacting bloody vengeance in the name of the little guy.
Paul Mulchrone doesn’t care about any of this; he has problems of his own. His newly established detective agency is about to be DOA. One of his partners won’t talk to him for very good reasons and the other has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth for no reason at all. Can he hold it together long enough to figure out what Bunny McGarry’s colourful past has to do with his present absence?
When the law and justice no longer mean the same thing, on which side will you stand?
The Day That Never Comes is the second About the Bookbook in Caimh McDonnell’s Dublin trilogy, which melds fast-paced action with a distinctly Irish acerbic wit.

My Review

OK, so I hardly ever do this in public, but this time I’m making an exception. The Day That Never Comes convinced me on all fronts. back in the time I used to love crime stories. However,after a while I found them boring. I mean, there are only very few motives to work with (love-problems, money/greed, power, or a combination thereof) and it’s really hard to write something that twists these elements into something I haven’t read before. But Bunny McGarry’s (whom I fell for in the previous book, A Man With One of Those Faces, currently available for 99ct on Amazon) disappearance caught me off guard.
I loved the way Caimh managed to make the Irish and their capital come alive with very few words. He mostly focuses on his extremely interesting characters. Although I did see one plot twist coming from a mile off, it was still fascinating enough to watch the characters involved struggling through revelation. Also, the rest of the book kept me guessing. I had all the necessary clues, but the resolution of the murderer still took me by surprise which I loved. Really, if you like crime novels, give this a try. It’s well worth it.

If you want to learn more about Caimh or his books, you can visit his website. Also he’ll be on these blogs in the next few days (you’ll have to search for the blog names since I’m extremely pressed for time. I need to hand in another 6000 word short story by tomorrow and I’m only 2000 words in, plus my first ever grandson keeps distracting me 😀 ):
the-day-that-never-comes-blog-tour

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First New Titles of 2017!

I’m excited to announce my first new titles for 2017 … one for each of my pen names and both with a deep blue ocean theme 😀

First, Deb Logan gives us a new tale of supernatural discovery. We know you’ll enjoy meeting Maris, a fifteen-year-old girl whose world is about to be turned upside down when she encounters Salt Water for the very first time.

SALT WATERsaltwater-cover-2x3
by Deb Logan
Audience: Juvenile | Siren | Short Story

Maris, a fifteen-year-old girl from Wichita, Kansas has never seen the ocean. Intentionally. Her parents have an unreasonable fear of the sea. When Dad allows Maris to accompany her best friend on a family vacation to Portland, Oregon, he has no idea that their ultimate destination will be Cannon Beach … and the wild waters of the Pacific Ocean. Maris is about to learn the truth behind the family taboo against salt water.

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Buy Now: Amazon | Apple | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

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Next, Debbie Mumford takes us on a mysterious ride as Meredith discovers the meaning of her dreams of drowning in deep water!

DEEP DREAMINGdeepdreaming-2x3
by Debbie Mumford
Audience: Historical Fantasy | General Audience | Short Story

Meredith has vivid dreams … of drowning in deep blue water, but she’s not unduly worried since she lives in St. Louis. When her father announces that he has accepted a prestigious position in Bermuda, she begins to wonder if her dreams have been precognitive. What will happen when she finds herself living on the edge of the deep?

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Buy Now: Amazon | Apple | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Author Spotlight: Donna Usher

donnausherToday, I’d like to introduce you to Donna Usher whom I met (virtually) through one of my Facebook groups. We got talking and I was fascinated by her story. It resembles the journey of many, many writers, don’t you agree?

The book she’s presenting today is the first in her trilogy. You can get it on Amazon for 99ct or for free on her website if you leave her your eMail address. The choice is yours, but you should really be reading this.

Why did you become an author? Was it a childhood dream?
I kind of accidentally became an author. I always enjoyed writing, and I loved reading, and I actually started writing a book when I was about 8. But then I had an English teacher that put me off and I kind of forgot about writing for a long time.
After I sold my dental practice I had a few months off and I started writing during that time. It took me a few more years before I actually sat down and wrote my first novel.

What’s your greatest obstacle in writing?
I don’t really have many obstacles with writing. I guess that makes me lucky. I’ve learnt over the years to recognise the signs that there is something wrong with the plot – that normally can cause what some people might call a writer’s block, but what for me is writer’s confusion. So now I go for a long walk and let the book play in my head like a movie and I normally work out pretty quickly where I have gone wrong.

What makes the world of your novel different from ours?
Well Faery Born is set in England, but it is a magical England where witches live freely with humans. There is also an overlay land in which the faeries live. And although there are cars and televisions and other modern conveniences, there are no weapons of mass destruction and no firearms.

Who is your favourite Indie author?
There are too many fantastic Indie Authors out there, and I have to admit often I’m not sure if what I am reading is Indie or not. But I really enjoy Shannon Mayer’s work.

Who is your favourite traditionally published author?
There are so many. I think Jim Butcher would be in a neck-and-neck tie with Stephanie Meyers. And lately I have been loving Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan Series.

If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
Hmmmm – More hours in the day, or to need less sleep. I think one of the things I am so jealous about in the Twilight Series is that the Vampires don’t need to sleep. I could get so much more done it I had that extra 7-8 hours a day.

faerybornAbout her Book

It’s been thirteen years since the Dark Years ended. Thirteen years since the mad War Faery responsible was imprisoned in stone. Now, with goblin attacks on the rise it seems Galanta, the Goblin Queen, is intent on returning the land to chaos and terror.

Isadora Scrumpleton is trying not to think about the Dark Years. She’s just been chosen by her ‘familiar’, found out she’s half faery, and discovered she’s dating the second-in-line to the Faery Throne. That’s enough for one teenage witch to handle. But when goblins attack her village, Izzy is forced into action, ultimately joining the elite Border Guard and attracting the attention of the Goblin Queen.

As Galanta weaves a web of deceit, Izzy struggles to control her powers. Will she be able to stop the Goblin Queen in time, or will the world be plunged into a dark new reality?

A few words from Donna Usher

Hi there, I’m Donna Joy Usher. I started writing my first novel when I was seven. With no idea about plot or character development (I mean I was only seven) my storyline quickly disintegrated into a muddled jumble of boring dialogue between two horses. Disillusioned, I gave up writing stories for quite a while after that. Instead, I concentrated on my studies, eventually graduating as a dentist.

After many years of ‘drilling and filling’ I turned to writing in an effort to escape the seriousness of my day job. During that time I created my first book, The Seven Steps to Closure, and discovered that I love nothing more than making other people laugh. Well that, and my husband and two miniature schnauzers, Chloe and Xena.

I currently live near the beach on the Swan River in beautiful Perth. When I am not working or writing, I love to paddle board, walk along the river and sip chai lattes at the local cafe.

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