Monthly Archives: September 2014

Normal programming will now resume…

First, thanks to all of you who read and liked my blog posts about Five Days on Ballyboy Beach, and thanks to my hosts for having me on their blogs. Also, welcome to the new followers!

vultures 2

 

I wanted to post this link to a radio show on the BBC  about rewilding, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p026lnqs
and features among the guests, George Monbiot, author of Feral – book I haven’t yet read, but don’t really need to in order to know I agree with 95% of what it says.

I was intrigued to hear George talk about the feelings he got when spear fishing for flounder in Wales at the start of this programme: George is against hunting, I think, especially the kind of hunting that goes on in Scotland among the rich (one of the reasons he was for a Yes vote last week) and he knows many of his readers are, too, yet the passionate feeling he experienced in the tidal flats were identical to what hunters feel when stalking. It is one of the reasons why, my non-fiction book about the sociology of hunting will argue that hunting will continue and become in some circumstances accepted by nature lovers of all stripes.

Hunting makes one feel part of the ecosystem, part of nature. Our genetic memory, our brains, cannot separate us from these feelings because we hold a gun rather than a trident like George did: the concentration is the same, the intensity of the feeling is the same, one becomes immersed in the hunting experience.

I also wanted to post a few photos from just beside my house in the country outside Pamplona from two weeks ago.

 

vultures 1

This for me was a metaphor for rewilding.

It’s a privilege to be able to see such spectacles still, since Spain still has a lot of wildlife now lost to much of the rest of western Europe.

A dead cow had been left in a paddock (used for storing straw and farm machinery nowadays) on Friday. The truck that normally collects dead livestock since the BSE crisis was busy. Nowadays, the carcasses are taken to a place where vultures and other scavengers can feed from them – Spain has large populations of endangered scavengers as well as other bids of prey – because starvation was affecting breeding successes, and causing some vultures to harass non-quite dead yet lambs, at least according to some farmers – otherwise these large scavengers might end up the way they did elsewhere.

On Sunday, the carcass was spotted by some vultures and within minutes, there were dozens. It was spectacular. The great birds came in from all directions, making a bee line for our village when they saw others descending.

And I thought, this is the way it is supposed to be. Nature is out there, waiting to come back in, and if we just let them, wild creatures will return, swoop in to take their former places.

Then the farmer realised they’d landed.

 

vultures 3

And he was worried that if he didn’t have a carcass to show the collection truck on Monday morning, he could get a fine – even though he’d reported the death and was told that they’d have to wait till Monday – so he came over and chased away the vultures.

They reluctantly took to the air and wheeled around above us, waiting, then hoping he’d leave. But he stayed all afternoon. And eventually, the last of the great birds stopped circling and glided off in a straight line, making for a roost on the last of the afternoon thermals, disappearing off into the blue distance from whence they’d come and the sun set on a dead cow as if they’d never existed, had been extinct for years.

And that was another message for me – we expend energy in keeping Nature at bay, with our rules drafted only because we now do extremely badly what we had once done well, for centuries.

The dead cows of yore were taken by mule team to a spot not 200 metres distant and left for vultures. But now the same farmer chases them away.

And if we let Nature do what it wants to do, it would be so much easier for us in the end – who needs to call a truck if the birds come to you for free? Nature does for free what we waste time and money and carbon dioxide doing ourselves.

Time to rewild.

Notching

Today is the last of my little blog tour and I am at Ladysmut.com, talking about notching – you know, the first time, the last time, how many times a week. The excerpt attached was one of my favourite to write in this book, too.
http://ladysmut.com/2014/09/26/notching/

The friend zone is often talked about in movies (often a bit silly in my opinion) but what I want to talk about is why someone would leave the friend zone – and it’s something people can only do together. Pat McDermott kindly invited me to ponder this on her blog, Across the Plain of Shining Books.

http://acrosstheplainofshiningbooks.blogspot.com.es/2014/09/david-obrien-five-days-on-ballyboy.html

Morning all. Today I’m talking about the word “West” and what it means to us when we hear it – the connotations and associations of places in our imagination… being guested by Charlene Raddon who writes novels set in the Old West….

http://charleneraddon.blogspot.com/

Guest Blogging about character names

I’ve been invited to guest blog on Mary T Bradford’s website today to mark the launch of Five Days on Ballyboy Beach. I’m talking about character names, especially the “hero’s”…

Here’s the link:

http://marytbradford-author.blogspot.ie/2014/09/new-novel-from-david-j-obrien.html

 

 

David J O’Brien: Author and Guest Blogger

David J O’Brien: Author and Guest Blogger.

 

As part of my little blog tour talking about Five Days on Ballyboy Beach, I’m on Jeff Gardiner’s blog today, talking about doing research for novels, and learning to surf.

Also, here’s a link to the first two reviews of the novel, on Amazon among other places…

http://www.amazon.com/Five-Ballyboy-Beach-David-OBrien-ebook/product-reviews/B00NIVD8K2/ref=cm_cr_dp_see_all_btm?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

 

Interview on Heart of Fiction for release of new novel…

Hey everybody,

As you most probably already know, today my second novel, Five Days on Ballyboy Beach is out!

To celebrate, I am being interviewed on the Heart of Fiction blog, and for everyone who wants to have a chance to win a free copy all you need to do is leave your name and email address in the comments (you can comment, too!).

http://heartoffiction.blogspot.com/2014/09/david-j-obrien-five-days-on-ballyboy.html

I’ll be hosted on a few other blogs during the week where you can read bits and pieces of what it’s all about (don’t want to give away too much, as it’s that kind of book you just have to get into and see where it takes you – hence the cover image ) and some excerpts…

Hope you enjoy!

David

 

YES! The Big Day has come

So the big day has arrived; no, not the release of my follow-up novel to Leaving the Pack (a second effort that was far from the rushed, written-in-two-months scramble to get another book on the presses much like the second album of a group that spent years perfecting their first, but which still might seem pretty much thrown together!) but the day that the Scots will vote to gain their independence.

I absolutely believe that the yes vote will win. It has to. Nothing else makes sense. As a citizen of a country that had to fight for its independence from the same country (let’s just, for ease equate England with the mainstay of power in Great Britain – after all, that’s the whole point) I can’t imagine that anyone who has been given the chance to gain the same state without any bloodshed would pass up on it. As Howard Zinn said, no war is worth it: and if the Scots had to fight for what they’ll be handed on a platter today, I’d say no, it’s not worth it. Not today, not anymore. It was worth it for us at the time, but times change. It’s worth it for others at the moment (there are too many separatist and civil wars going on to mention) but England is not as bad as it used to be and the situation of the average Scot not so dire.

Of course, they’re still threatening reprisals to stop people voting yes, but those are empty threats. Really.

It sounds a little like (and I am just adding my imagination here, because I have no experience of this) an abusive spouse threatening his/her partner to stop he or she walking out the door. For the sake of brevity, let’s call England the husband and Scotland the abused wife. The analogy is not that far off the mark – if everything actually was “better together” why the hell would there be a vote in the first place? It’s as if the abusive husband has said, “well, fuck you, then. Fuck off and leave me if you really want to. I bet you don’t have the balls to do it, though. You need me more than I need you.” Of course, now it looks like the show of bravado has backfired and the wife really is going away. So the husband has been forced to beg and plead, and yes, threaten. The first threat is that if she goes, then that’s that – no coming back .”If you walk out that door, then don’t come back.”

Bollox. Like any shithead abuser, he’ll be on his knees and crying, embracing her if she does commit the folly of returning, if things really are not better for her alone. Going back to geography for a moment, the British would be delighted if Ireland rejoined the Commonwealth. If we left the Euro and asked to join the pound, they’d be happy, too. What country would not take back another? Did the West Germans say, “No, Easties, we got used to life without you during the last forty years, and really, you’ll just be a drag on us, let’s just maintain the status quo, apart from the odd conjugal visit”? Look at Russia and Ukraine – the big bad bear can’t help trying to pull back a country that really doesn’t want to go back.

No, Scotland, if you really do want to go back one day (and believe me, even if things go to shite, you’ll see that independence is more than worth it – ask any kid who’s left his parent’s luxurious house to live in a bedsit with cardboard box table and no TV) then England will open her arms.

But one thing is not a threat – that you’ll never have this chance again. England will never allow another vote. They know the mistake they made even suggesting you could walk away so easily. They’ll fight any other movement to repeat the vote. If you say no, then you’ll have to fight, and bloodily, for a second opportunity. When it comes to simply walking out on the relationship rather than escaping through a basement window, it’s now or never. And never is a long time.

Top 10 Tips on Writing.

Top 10 Tips on Writing..

who’d have thunk I’d be mentioned in a blog post about writing advice…

Advanced Review Copies of 5 Days, and pre-order available!

I have pdf and mobi copies of Five Days on Ballyboy Beach ready for those who kindly reviewed Leaving the Pack for me.  I will be sending them out over the next day or so. Anyone who would like to read and review Five Days on Ballyboy Beach (in a timely fashion, please!) can get in touch with me by leaving a comment or on davidjmobrienauthor@gmail.com

Also, if you want to take your time, but would like to get your copy sorted out, this link will take you to buttons to Amazon UK and US where you can preorder it and it will arrive in your inbox directly on the 19th!

http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/OBrien_David/five-days-on-ballyboy-beach.htm