Blog Archives

Competition in Irish Wildlife

As you know, 10% of my royalties from Peter and the Little People, my children’s novel about wildlife and leprechauns, will be donated to the IWT, the Irish Wildlife Trust – in addition to the 10% going to WWF.

For anyone who’s a member of the Irish Wildlife Trust, have a look in the summer edition of their Irish Wildlife Magazine and you’ll see that there are two copies of the novel up for grabs on their competition page!

 

competition iwt page

Check it out – the answer is dead easy!

competition iwt page2

 

 

 

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Harbingers

Praying for an Early Spring

 

Sitting in shirt sleeves

This late January afternoon,

Lettuce sprouts in greenhouse,

Bumblebees in almond blooms;

Annuals keep flowering and

Geraniums haven’t faded.

Newts and salamanders swim in pools

Wondering, too, if it isn’t too soon

Despite the lack of ice and instead

Should still slumber.

 

And though we’d love to see some snow,

It would be safer to let winter go

Unannounced, unpronounced, this year,

For fear it will freeze the very things

That would bring life to the spring.

 

geraniums in snow

This photo is from the week before, but one snowfall does not a winter make: the geraniums are still as colourful, the snow melted mostly that day, the sunny sky remained. The lettuces were fine; there are cheap strawberries in the supermarkets already. Unfortunately my phone camera didn’t work when I was trying to take a snap of the almond blossoms or the amphibians…

 

 

 

So I have a new book out…

The_Ecology_of_Lonesomeness_by_David_OBrien-200

Your friends don’t give a toss about your new book.

That’s one of the first things authors have to learn when they first publish, along with not to read reviews, not to take bad reviews to heart when they don’t follow that previous rule, and certainly not to comment on bad reviews even though they want to gouge out the eyes of the reviewer.

Your friends are not your friends because you are writer, even if you’re a good one, or a published writer. They were there before you told them you wrote. They were there when you were clicking away at the keyboard in your spare time at work, when you told them you were holding out for the box set of season three of The Wire because you were really writing instead of watching television. And they gave you a pass, held off on the spoilers in your company, though they’d to bite their tongues to do it.

When you put away the notepad you’d been scribbling on in the coffee shop before they came in, they didn’t twist your arm and demand to see your poems, or short stories or whatever. And you were glad.
Now that you’re published, you can’t go and demand everyone read your shit, or get pissed off that nobody seems to give a toss that you have this amazing new novel out now (Spoiler alert: I have a great new novel out today, but I can’t give any more info because it would be spoiling). You can’t now do the equivalent of shove that notebook in their face at the coffee shop and tell them to check out what you just wrote before they sit and get a cup of coffee. The truth is they don’t give a shit.

Yet, if they did, would you be happy? I suspect, because I have no firsthand knowledge of such situations, that it would be similar if a Hollywood movie actor’s friends were all waiting for his or her new flick to come out, or asking them to give a few lines of whatever movie they were rehearsing at the time was. And you’d think they were just there because you were what you were, not who you were.

That’s what I tell myself anyway. It helps when friends don’t give feedback, when they don’t crack the book you asked them to beta-read, when they give you no, “hey, thanks,” or anything of the sort in response to the dedication you put in the book you sent them a copy of when it came out, because, basically, they didn’t even fucking look at the acknowledgments.

There will be plenty of people out there who delight in the fact that you’ve a new book out. They’re not necessarily your friends. They’re called readers. If you are lucky, there will be overlap. But there doesn’t need to be. There just needs to be people in both camps. Lots of people in one, and however-many you’re comfortable with in the other.

When your friends don’t respond to thinks like wedding invitations and photos of your children, you can worry. You might see your book as a newborn baby, but to some you’re basically asking them to get all teary-eyed over a work project you finished. They didn’t read your research thesis, nor the amazing 100-page contract you wrote for the sale of three thousand solar panels to a Chilean copper mine consortium, nor did they do much more than glance at the wing mirror you designed for the new Chevy Volt (is that car even being made?). It’s all work to someone, though it’s art to others.

(for the record, fiction writing is totally fucking art, though my doctoral thesis is also stimulating reading…)

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

Cover of Five Days on Ballyboy Beach

Five Days on Ballyboy Beach by David J O'Brien - 500

This is the cover of my second novel, published 19th September 2014 – I don’t want to reveal too much about what the plot is – best to just follow  the path and see where it ends up…

Available now at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and lots of other places via the book’s Tirgearr Publishing webpage.

You can read some of the reviews on the Tirgearr page, or here on this website:

 

A Summer for Love Blog-Hop

Welcome to “A Summer for Love Blog-Hop!”

 First of all, I need to let you know that there are….

 GRAND PRIZES

(6) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Cards

Comment with your name and email to be entered into the Grand Prize drawing. Comments without name and email will not be counted. Commenting on each and every stop will increase your chances of winning.

Winners for the (6) Grand Prizes will be drawn and announced on THE ROMANCE TROUPE blog by June 10th.

Find a list of all stops here!

http://www.theromancetroupe.com/p/a-summer-for-love-blog-hop.html
And, if you comment below on this post, you will be in a draw to with a copy of my own latest paranormal romance, Leaving the Pack!

Image

 

 “Summer love” seems like a phrase so well joined it’s a sin to separate them: like “ice cold”; “lightening fast”; “white hot;” yet with a hint, perhaps, of transience.

In the three novels I’ve written so far where characters fall in love, all have fallen during summer. My next novel, Five Days on Ballyboy Beach (just accepted for publication with Tirgearr Publishing!), is basically the story of a young man realizing he’s falling in love with his best friend over the course of a summer camping holiday.

The heat and sunshine, the cool drinks, the scant clothing and tanned skin (unless you’re Irish!) all make for thoughts of love and lust to come bubbling up from within one’s body.

Sometimes summer is wet, though, with thunderstorms and downpours. The following scene takes place during one such downpour, and afterwards, when the evening sun makes the puddles steam. It’s an excerpt from the recently published Leaving the Pack, when the two main characters are still getting to know one another and have arranged to meet by the beach:

 

The rain started as Susan made her way to the coast that evening. The clouds, building up all day and brooding darkly above the mountains, swept over the city and sea on a fierce, sudden wind out of the north, bringing the night with them. A number of enormous bolts, shooting down out of the black mass to the buildings and into the boiling water, followed by thunder to make men flinch and dogs cower, were the prelude to a downpour of seemingly biblical proportions. The water gullied down the streets, bringing the traffic to an almost complete halt. The bus crawled along for another half an hour, the driver’s foot forever on the brake as the cars in front continually stopped. Susan felt herself get irritated. She was going to be very late meeting Paul. It would have been quicker to walk, but the rain outside would have drenched her instantly. The very force of the drops would have plastered her light jacket to her skin and the water rebounding off the ground and puddles would have saturated the rest of her body. In some places, where the accumulated litter and rubbish of the city had clogged the drains, there were veritable ponds to cross and even the cars had to take runs at them. She took deep breaths and told herself it was fashionable for a lady to be late.

Visiting her mother had been good. She had recognized Susan and they’d had a pleasant conversation. The lights in the elder woman’s eyes appeared distant however, as if she were talking from a different epoch, but nevertheless, just as she was going, Susan told her about Paul. Her mother had seemed pleased, but told her she was a bit young to be going out with boys, she’d plenty of time for that and should be studying hard. Susan had smiled and agreed, wondering at the same time if the relationship was really serious and deciding that it was too early to know.

The bar – a wide, low-roofed room with some tables around the edges and a view out over the water – was heaving. The rain had driven the masses from the beach and half of them seemed to have taken refuge here. They would be trapped there in their shorts and t-shirts, miniskirts and beach tops until the rain ceased or at least eased and the floods abated. When she walked into the bar, however, she saw Paul immediately. He didn’t notice her arrive, and for a few seconds she just watched him from the doorway: standing quite alone in the centre of the room where there were fewer people. It didn’t seem to bother him at all. He didn’t look out of place, like you sometimes see people and would have said to your friends: ‘Hey, look at the loner,’ if you’d been back in your teens. It was as if nobody knew he was really there: a mere observer, a step back from the rest of the bar; just standing there watching everyone with an enigmatic smile on his face, as if he’d seen all this before, was appreciating a play for the second time.

To her, however, it was impossible not to notice him. She would have been less surprised to see him in same spot telling jokes or relating a story to an enraptured audience. His aura seemed to fill the air around him, swelling his being until it was the kernel of the room, the core around which everything else revolved.

As she looked at him, she felt that this was a man who could do anything he had a mind to do, who was strong enough to make a decision and stick to it in the face of any opposition. He knew his mind and was not afraid to go with how he saw things, despite what others might think, could take seemingly impossible things and make them his own. It had been a long time since she had known a man like that, and she had often wondered if she would ever encounter another.

Paul turned suddenly towards her and caught her eye smiling broadly. It almost seemed as if he had known she was there all the time, and she was a little taken aback; her gut clenched the way it had when they had first met. She grinned back, then went over and embraced him.

“Sorry I’m so late. What a nightmare!”

“No problem. I was just doing a little people-watching.”

“So I see – you look quite the anthropologist watching a tribal dance.”

He laughed and nodded. “Not far off, not far off.”

They got some drinks and sat down in a quiet corner where a young couple had just left to brave the rain, bored and whining kids in tow. Susan noticed that Paul was carrying a small rucksack. She wondered what he had it for, but decided to wait and find out rather than ask directly. A part of her hoped it was an overnight bag, for she longed to spend the night with him again. The tiny piece or her which took offence at his presumptuousness was silenced by the rest, remembering that she had invited him into her house, and had done it just once.

“How was your mother?” asked Paul.

Susan shrugged slightly before nodding. “Good. She recognized me, and we had a good chat.”

“That sounds great. Did you tell her you met the man of your dreams?”

Susan smiled softly. She was not sure why, but she decided to lie, not really ready to reveal how much she believed that herself. “I didn’t. I’m not sure how old she thought I was, so I didn’t want to upset her.”

Paul didn’t reply, but took her hand and squeezed it softly.

She felt bad then. A panicked thought shot through her mind that he could see through her childish deception, but there was nothing in his expression to suggest that. She smiled more brightly at him, brushing his face with her hand. “I told the nurse, though, and she was delighted.”

Paul laughed and moved his hand to her knee, which he squeezed harder. “Was she now?” he asked as he kissed her on the lips.

They had some more drinks, while outside the torrent subsided. The clouds dispersed, quickly whipped south by the strong wind and the last rays of the day broke through. Once the rain ceased, the bar emptied as the tourists made for their hotels to change and spend the hours of darkness in the restaurants and clubs nearer the city centre. Susan and Paul also left, walking the promenade that separated the beach from the coast road. It was a balmy evening, the dying sun making an effort to evaporate the puddles of standing water, raising the humidity again. They strolled towards Chawni Point, jutting into the sea between them and the river, just another couple among many others doing likewise. The clouds had retreated to the horizon where they hung red across the sky as the glowing sun set, like galloping horses on the edge of a plain, circling some compelling predator. Soon after, the lamps along the sea wall came on and they kept walking as the moon rose above the clouds and poured its argent life across the ocean.

When they reached the Point, they continued walking around it and stopped at a pub that faced the sea on the eastern tip. The bar was a favorite of both strollers and bikers, which made a strange but agreeable blend. Susan came here now and then herself, and it was as full as it always was. They took their drinks outside and sat on the sea wall in the mild evening breeze, gazing at the waning silver disc reflected across the oily water. The satellite seemed to seep life directly into Paul’s eyes, so brightly did they glow in the gloom. The hot passion of before had not returned, and she wondered if it would disappear with the moon each month. However, it was replaced with something else, something more precious to her for being less tangible. She felt that her life would be like the night sky without the resplendence of that satellite, should Paul retreat his presence. She would be without meaning, without life, were he to suddenly disappear. The thought gave her a slight surge of fear, but that fear gave way to something else as she recognized it for what it was: love; the worry that someone she needed would not need her in return. Her heart soared tentatively in this private revelation, glad it had at last encountered this mysterious sensation, but amazed at its abruptness, its sudden evolution. She felt an urge to reveal it then and there, to make her declaration of love in the pearly luminescence, above the vermeil waves, but quelled it cruelly. Reluctant to show her vulnerability, despite its potential luxury, she had not gotten to this pearl-drenched headland by falling at anyone’s feet and would walk away from it as proud as she had arrived, arm in arm with the man whose very skin seeped steel. She would carry her concern untended until ready to tell him the true depth of her feelings and presumed it was an anxiety shared by all, a trepidation that never quite left. Susan wondered if the moon depended upon the night as much as the night depended on the moon, in the infinite dance of the earth and its satellite, and she felt the silver light fill her own being, not directly, but through his luminous eyes. After midnight, they continued westwards past the southern part of the harbor, in which most of the smaller private crafts were moored, and back into the city, where they caught a taxi back to her flat once more.

 

There is another excerpt of this novel on my author page at Tirgearr Publishing and you can find others dotted around the blog tour I did in May, the links to which are down below on this website.

Don’t forget to leave a quick comment (with your name and email included) to be in the draw for a free copy…(you have to scroll right down to the bottom of this page.)

 

Book Reader Magazine Featured Interview

my recent interview with Book Reader Magazine.

The Shallow Harbour of Bangladesh: a poem

 

I wrote this poem ten years ago now. I didn’t think it was that long ago. But boy, has a lot happened in those ten years. Well, actually, no. Regarding the subject of the poem, sweet F A has happened. Except that the problem has gotten 10 years worse, and will take us longer than ten years more to fix-slash-reverse the effects of those ten years.

So why am I posting this now? Well, you’ve probably all heard about the new findings showing that the western Antarctic ice sheets are going to melt. Going to. No might, no perhaps, no could or even will, if we…. They are going to melt. And Meghna, the last stretch of the Ganges, will then become the shallow harbour of Bangladesh. And there will plenty of shallow harbours around the world, it seems. And also shallows where once there were islands. There are calls to action. But will we act?

 

 

 

The Shallow Harbour of Bangladesh

 

Standing upon the rise, beard growing icicles in the wind,

Eyes weeping from it and the fields falling frozen before him,

Drifts against dead hedges, reindeer shelter in lees,

Eking out the existence once thriving life with sheep,

When the warm rain came.

 

Crouching on dry gravel, shaking stones in fist,

Scatters, shaking head at emptiness,

Lizard skitters across pebbles, scavenging scarce parched seeds,

Sun beats upon neck back and all before, years,

Used to draw grains and vines once sustained by winter snow,

And spring showers that sprinkled flowers,

Now storms wash out ravines of dust and dried husks.

 

A man stands proud upon a prow, poling into treacherously turbid estuary

Drowned mangroves threaten to mire like the lost tiger,

Channel shallows past the Sundarbans, showing signs of past life,

Here and there stilts stick up that once held houses,

Where one would watch the Ganges disgorge slowly,

Switched around to see the sea swallow,

Several names of river back to the border,

Splitting into a harbour a hungry nation awaiting huddled upon the bank,

The man sailing over rice paddies,

Fishing upon his former fields.

 

 

Interview by Jeff Gardiner

Day 5 of my blog tour!

Today I’m being interviewed by Jeff Gardiner on his blog:

 

I interviewed Jeff last month about his two newly released books Igboland and Treading on Dreams. One of his other books, the young adult novel Myopia, is a finalist for The People’s Book Prize. He’s a busy man! But he took some time to ask me a few questions about my writing and Leaving the Pack.

Day two of my blog tour!

I am being interviewed on Mary T Bradford’s blog today. Check it out and read my answers to her excellent questions!