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Leading the Pack, Silver Nights part 2..

 

So, after much quiet, the howl returns…

As I said in a post longer ago than I thought it was, I’ve been living in the real world these last many months.

But I’d done a year or more inside my imaginary city, the setting for the Silver Nights Trilogy.

I’m ready to publish the second and third instalments now.

Leading the Pack is out on Pre-order as of today!

you can get it for just 99c until publication on March 15th from Amazon….

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and Unleashing the Pack will be edited soon and the cover is nearly done…

It was a pleasure to return to the characters, but working on the two novels in tandem was a struggle while I was immersed in them, and I hope I’ve done justice to my original vision of the werewolf story.

The question I feel I have to answer, before anyone even reads part two,  is, “why go back?”

Because I didn’t need to.

The first book, Leaving the Pack, didn’t have an open ending. It was a stand-alone novel.

But I couldn’t leave it alone.

I had to go back and expand on the idea.

So I hope I’ve done the right thing. I hope I’ve not made a mess of the story.

One thing I hate is when writers and moviemakers go back just for the sake of it.

One of my favourite movies is Highlander, and I’ve seen it many times. I hate the sequels. I hate the series. Stupid films that made a mess of a great original story.

I’m watching Lonesome Dove, after having read the book, and now I have discovered there are sequels and prequels, but I’m wary about even going there, given some comments I’ve read.

Why mess with such perfect stories? Why corrupt the vision?

If you go back, you have to have a reason, a need, something else to say.

In my case, I wanted to explain the werewolves from different angles. Firstly, from the viewpoint of a new generation. Paul’s pack, in Leaving the Pack, is a disciplined machine. Paul has complete control (mostly) of his power. But is such camaraderie innate in a race so apt to violence? What is it like to feel such potency for the first time. I wanted to explore the line between being the alpha and what I called the leash – does power necessarily come with responsibility or vice versa?

Secondly, how do werewolves adapt to a new millennium? The twenty-first century is a world that such an ancient tribe as my werewolves would have trouble confronting, in terms of our more open, permissive and public society. How can you remain hidden in plain sight with so many cameras watching? The world is changing rapidly for us; imagine for a race who live so much longer. And at the same time, if they can embrace the future, then so can any other culture.

 

 

 

 

The Silver Nights Trilogy, rebooted

Twenty years is a long time. But always take the time you need…

Now the second and third parts of The Silver Nights Trilogy are ready to be launched, I can reveal to you the new look of the Leaving the Pack cover….

 

LeavingThePackbyDavidJoBrien500.jpg

This cover will tie the three books together with the same look.

The second part, Leading the Pack, will be published next month, and is going to be available for pre-order very soon. I’ll also have ARCs for my reviewers in a few days, so drop me a line at davidjmobrienauthor@gmail.com if you’d like to read and review…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patience, Patience

God made His world in seven days; it takes most authors a lot longer than that.

I’m not saying this because I swore I’d have the two sequels to Leaving the Pack ready for submission this week and I find myself unable to even get enough sleep.

I find myself a bit bemused about this whole George RR Martin Game of Thrones furor about the delay of Winds of Winter.

Perhaps it’s just me; I find myself bemused by lots of the things people get upset about on the Internet.

But what has happened to people’s patience?

I know we are creating a generation of impatient people raised on fast food and instant information. But we’re talking about readers. Readers of fantasy novels, the longest books ever, often with many books, which take years to read never mind write. If they can’t chill out and wait until the books hit the shelves, who can?

I have yet to see Game of Thrones. Not because I’m unconvinced it’s a kick-ass TV show. I am. I can’t wait to start watching it.

Except, of course, I can.

I am waiting.

I have the first three books in the series on my shelf. I haven’t read them yet. Don’t plan to for a while. I’m in no rush. I have a few years of reading material sitting beside those books, so I’m not stuck just yet.

Nevertheless, you’d swear there was no other book left to read in the universe from the clamour raised upon the news the new book will be delayed. Seriously, there are lots of other things to read. Go catch up on the classics. Or go read The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. That’ll keep you busy for a year. And there are other TV shows to keep your eyes busy, too.

I know, I know. You’re in the middle of the series. You need to know what happens next.

I sympathise.

When I was a teen I found The Clan of the Cave Bear in my local library. I was hooked. I took out the next two books straight after. I read on the back covers that they were part of a six-book series, called Earth’s Children. I was confused; t was a trilogy, surely. Then one day a year or so later I saw The Plains of Passage in a bookshop. I bought it straight away – well, I asked my mother to, since I was fifteen and it cost twenty quid.

Then I waited.

And boy, I waited.

For the first time, in my twenties, I looked up an author on the Internet to see what the hell was going on; where the next book, or was there a sign it was coming out. I was worried JM Auel was going to die before she finished the next two books. The last in the series, The Land of Painted Caves only came out in 2011. I’d waited twenty years to complete the saga. It took Auel thirty years to write them. But they were worth it.

GeorgeRRMartin1J M Auel

Who’s the slowest writer of them all?  GRR Martin and JM Auel

Photos from Nick Briggs/HBO via http://www.wired.com/2016/01/george-rr-martin-game-of-thrones/ and delibrossetrata.blogspot.com

 

It would have been great to find all the books completed, like we did The Lord of the Rings when we were kids (or The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant). But them’s the breaks.

That’s why I’m waiting, so I can go start to finish.

Since it became possible to binge on TV series, it’s become better (for me anyway) to wait until the last episode airs, and your mates have said it’s worth the watch. Then you just go through the whole thing.

I did this with Mad Men, last year, and with Breaking Bad before that. I was planning on doing it with Lost, but skipped that. I bought my bother the box set of season one on the strength of the recommendations it got, then never bothered to borrow it when the sixth season ended to bad reviews. I’ll never watch it.

So I’ll stick to the other books on my to-be-read list for now, watch The Shield, when I get a chance to watch anything with a new-born in the house and a pile of things on my to-be-written list.

And I’ll continue to ignore people talking about what happens in the series the same way I ignore people talking about the Kardasihains and their ilk on the Internet.

And when George RR Martin is good and ready to put out the last book in the series, I’ll start reading and once I’ve read it, I’ll get the box sets from someone and sit down in front of my telly for a marathon. By then I’ll probably be retired and have loads of time.

 

 

 

Happy Holiday Hop

I’m participating in a blog hop for Christmas today…

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Here’s a holiday photo..

 

Christmas is a complicated time for a writer. Both for his or her writing and for the characters in his or her head.

We generally have some time off over the holiday season. We writers generally look forward to it, imagining we’ll have long quiet mornings to get some serious word counts down, or plot a novel, or just scribble down ideas as we ponder the virgin snow in our gardens.

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And at the back of our mind, we know that it’s as fictitious as the man in red. We’re surrounded by family, by food and preparations, by kids running around with toys that usually make noise, and require some putting together.

We do get some time, because as writers we make it. We get up early – perhaps not the night Santa Claus comes, just in case we bump into him in the hallway, but on other mornings. And we see the sun come up over the winter landscape as we scribble, or edit, or plot.

For our characters, our plots, our storylines, Christmas can be a crux, or a crossroads, or a cross we have to jump over or have our story impaled upon it. To move the story along it can help, or hinder. Characters who are not from the same place would logically separate for the holidays, go their separate ways, to their separate homes – even if they love one another very much, and I know because I left my girlfriend every Christmas until we got married. If their families are living close by, we are faced with the battery of family members who’d want to be introduced, and while it can be amusing to have some banter over the table, it can be too much, too complicated to include in a plotline that nowadays readers expect to be ever more streamlined and spare, free of unnecessary sub plots and minor characters.

So we skip it sometimes. We gloss over it. If we have to deal with it at all – sometimes the timeline nicely avoids the whole season. In my most recent adult novel, The Ecology of Lonesomeness, Kaleb the American scientist, stays in Scotland for Christmas, since he’s Jewish and isn’t expected back home by his parents. He’s going out with the daughter of fairly strict Scottish Presbyterian, which might have provided some laughs, but also some awkward moments, and it would have bogged down the story; we’d already found out much of what we needed to know about Jessie’s parents, and more would have become boring. So a few comments about how well it had gone and how good an impression Kaleb had made by just being there and attending morning service with the family sufficed.

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In my only other novel that had to deal with Christmas, Leaving the Pack, the two main characters are also very different in their approach to Christmas. Paul, of a race of men who are the origins of the werewolf myth and who worship the wolf, has no familial obligations at Christmas, and is happy to accompany Susan, his “normal” girlfriend to her family for lunch (though he does make her miss morning mass… The rest of the day is leapt over, because Susan’s family, since they’re not werewolf-like, are very peripheral to the story line.

Leaving the Pack by David J O'Brien - 200

 

Leaving the Pack is part one of my Silver Nights Trilogy, the two other parts of which I am currently editing. My plan is to submit them to my editor and publisher in Tirgearr Publishing as soon as submissions reopen after the holidays. To this end, I have grand plans to work while I have some time off from my day job teaching high school science… of course, I have a 4-year-old who’s waiting to put up the tree, a 10-day old son who hasn’t yet figured out that his dad has other children besides him, most of which are imaginary but equally demanding to have their adventures written down,an extended Spanish family who will expect to see said son and me for their intensive three-day family celebrations, complete with Basque version of Santa, dinner on Christmas Eve, Lunch on Christmas Day and St Stephen’s day, as well as the serious gift-giving on Little Christmas when the Three Kings come… The only reason I don’t have to squeeze in a trip home to Ireland in between is because said son is too small to travel as yet (and hasn’t got the travel documents in time). But I will find some time, and get my submission in.

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I’m offering a prize today of a copy of Leaving the Pack – a werewolf novel like no other you’ve ever read, written by a scientist about the truth behind the myth.

Leave a comment and let me know whether you prefer to read about Christmas in a novel or skip it to get to the other plot points to be put into the draw.

 

Blurb of The Ecology of Lonesomeness:

Kaleb Schwartz isn’t interested in the Loch Ness Monster. He’d enough cryptobiological speculation about Bigfoot while studying the Pacific Northwest forests. He’s in Scotland’s Great Glen to investigate aquatic food webs and nutrients cycles; if he proves there’s no food for any creature bigger than a pike, then so much the better.

Jessie McPherson has returned to Loch Ness after finishing university in London, hoping to avoid the obsession with its dark waters she had when younger and first discovered lonesomeness. She knows any relationship with a scientist studying the lake is a bad idea, but something about Kaleb makes her throw caution to the depths.

When Kaleb discovers Jessie’s lonesomeness refers not just to the solitude of the loch, he’s faced with an ecological problem of monstrous proportions. Can he find a way to satisfy both the man and the scientist inside himself, and do the right thing?

10% of the author’s royalties will be donated to WWF, the World Wildlife Fund.

Blurb of Leaving the Pack, Silver Nights Trilogy Part 1:

Nobody believes in werewolves.

That’s just what Paul McHew and his friends are counting on.

They and their kind roam our city streets: a race of people from whom the terrible legend stems; now living among us invisibly after centuries of persecution through fear and ignorance. Superficially Caucasian but physiologically very different, with lunar rhythms so strong that during the three days of the full moon they are almost completely controlled by their hormonal instincts, you might have cursed them as just another group of brawling youths or drunken gang-bangers. Now at the point of extinction, if they are to survive their existence must remain restricted to mere stories and legend, but, paradoxically, they also must marry outside their society in order to persist.

The responsibility for negotiating this knife-edge is given to Paul, who runs the streets with his friends during the full moon, keeping them out of real trouble and its resultant difficult questions. Having succeeded for years, he finds his real test of leadership comes when he meets Susan, a potential life-mate, to whom he will have to reveal his true identity if he is ever to leave his pack.

10% of the author’s royalties will be donated to WWF, the World Wildlife Fund.

Author Bio:

David is a writer, ecologist and teacher from Dublin, Ireland, now living in Pamplona Spain. He has a degree in environmental biology and doctorate in zoology, specialising in deer biology and is still involved in deer management in his spare time.

As an avid wildlife enthusiast and ecologist, much of David’s non-academic writing, especially poetry, is inspired by wildlife and science. While some of his stories and novels are contemporary, others seek to describe the science behind the supernatural or the paranormal.

A long-time member of The World Wildlife Fund, David has pledged to donate 10% of his royalties on all his hitherto published books to that charity to aid with protecting endangered species and habitats.

You can find out more and read some poems and short stories at https://davidjmobrien.wordpress.com/ and can join David on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DavidJMOBrien

 

To see others on the blog hop, click this link...

 

Fall Poem

Fall to Forest Floor

When golden leaves strew the ground,

When wind turns swirling, frisking clothes and shoulders,

Then the deer seek company in copses,

And the wolf inside awakens, opening equally amber eyes.

wolf eye

copyright EmoRobotics (http://emorobotics.deviantart.com/)

Back to writing second drafts of my werewolf novel sequels as November rolls on into winter… don’t seem in too bad shape so far.

Writing Women as a Man; are all writers equal?

I got a review of my novel The Ecology of Lonesomeness the other day. It was good: five stars. I was delighted. This paragraph struck me: “I’ll be honest, too, that I don’t think a lot of books by men in the romance genre really and truly portray women correctly. But, this author manages to do that with Jessie very well. She is a complicated character and she manages to be complicated without being whiney or annoying – which is always a plus!”
I don’t know why this is; I mean, why a lot of books by men don’t portray women correctly, or that complicated characters would be whiney.
I do know that most romantic writers are women, or at least have female pen names, and most male writers don’t write romance – under their own name, at least.
There is definitely an expectation of this – no, a surprise I’ve experienced when I have been interviewed about my romance novels. Which, in my view and that of their publisher, are contemporary novels with romance, more than straight romance. The surprise that I write such romance as I do under my own name; excluding my J.D. Martins novellas, which are romance.
And I hope that readers aren’t very prejudicial against male writers that they’d pass one over in favour of a female name.
Why should male writers “normally” write female characters and points of view badly? After all, the opposite is rarely commented upon. Nobody said JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter, or Ron, or Dumbledore all wrong (though she did use an ambiguous name to publish under). And surely there are male points of view in many romance novels (don’t read too many, myself, I admit).
I wrote Jessie from The Ecology of Lonesomeness, and Susan in Leaving the Pack (and Cora in the sequels), and Julie in The Soul of Adam Short, as people first, and female second. The sex (if there is any, depends on the book) might be a bit different, but the need for, and capacity for, love is the same. And every other desire and motivation is also equal between the genders. At least as far as I am concerned.
Perhaps I’m different. I suppose I am, though I don’t feel much different. However, I don’t think it hard to get into the mind of a female character, if you consider women your equal. Many men don’t. But that’s a problem of their own emotional growth, or lack of it. Many men are so obsessed with their own inadequacies that they fear women – or fear strong women (strong means equal here, in case you missed it).
Luckily, male writers are not usually like that. Their inadequacies are firmly sitting in their literary challenges. Their relationships may or may not be great, but they know they are in a business where (and I know the inequality exists even if I believe it is more in the readers’ minds) women are just as proficient as they are – if not more so, to be honest.
All writers are not equal, but the division is not based on gender.
So give a male writer a chance. You might be surprised as so many other readers.

Charitable donations

Hi all,

As you know, I’ve pledged to give 10% of my royalties from both Leaving the Pack and Five Days on Ballyboy Beach to WWF, the World Wildilfe Fund.

I’ve been giving to WWF for ten years now, and I hope that as sales for my books (the ones in the future will also have similar pledges) increase, so will my donation. At the moment, since I am only starting out in the world of novelist, I am not nearly at the stage where even 100% of royalties cover 10% of my donation, but the plan is that will change as I publish more books (an erotic novella out in Jan under a pseudonym and a YA out next spring/summer with Muse It Up!), all going well!

Anyway, this time of year is when my membership comes due, so I thought I’d post the receipts (with the number of dollars written as X and the transaction numbers deleted to maintain my privacy) to show that I am making good on the pledge.

So, now, before I paste it in, go and tell your friends to buy a book which will help a good cause, or better yet, go and donate to said cause yourself if you can!

David

 

 

 

shopper@worldpay.com

To

Me

Today at 3:16 AM

 

Transaction ConfirmationPlease retain for your records

Thank you

Your transaction has been processed by WorldPay, on behalf of WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature (World Wildlife Fund).

::: This is to confirm :::

Transaction details:

Transaction for the value of: USD X
Description: Payment 11 of FuturePay agreement ID _____________
From: WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature (World Wildlife Fund)
Merchant’s cart ID: newmember,Dr. David O’Brien,optedin,19/March/1974
Authorisation Date/Time: 24/Oct/2014 01:16:06
WorldPay’s transaction ID: 1________
This is not a tax receipt.

::: Questions? :::

Email Monika Kull at mkull@wwfint.org, and attach this email receipt.

::: WorldPay Says :::

Enquiries

This confirmation only indicates that your transaction has been processed successfully. It does not indicate that your order has been accepted. It is the responsibility of WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature (World Wildlife Fund) to confirm that your order has been accepted, and to deliver any goods or services you have ordered.

If you have any questions about your order, please email WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature (World Wildlife Fund) at: mkull@wwfint.org, with the transaction details listed above.

Thank you for shopping with WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature (World Wildlife Fund).

 

 

 

Monika Kull

To

Me

Today at 9:37 AM

Dear David,

 

Many, many thanks for renewing your annual contributions to WWF by updating your credit card details with WorldPay, our online processor ! I  just received your generous payment of USD X for 2014.

 

Your regular and long-lasting support of our work to protect nature and wildlife is much appreciated !

 

With my best wishes

E-mail: | 1196 Gland, Switzerland | WWF International | | Development Monika Kull mkull@wwfint.org

 

 

Sommer Marsden has graciously invited me to post my paranormal book blurb on her blog, along with a little poem for halloween….

 

http://sommermarsden.blogspot.com.es/2014/10/spooky-sexy-spot-2-david-obrien.html?zx=d402b9adc54ce7ea

 

 

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

The end of the summer

So August wasn’t so treacherous this year. I got the final edits and cover art for my second novel, Five Days on Ballyboy Beach ready for its release on the 19th, I did some more rewriting of a novella and had it accepted for publication in the new year with Tirgearr Publishing, and I wrote a short story based on my safari in South Africa last year, called At Last Light on the Sage Flats, which will be the title story to a collection of short stories I’m putting together for the end of this year. Oh, I finished that first draft of The Ecology of Lonesomeness, too.

I also started the sequel to Leaving the Pack – not quite sure of the title yet, but the working title is Leading the Pack.

And I am three-quarters way through reading The Count of Monte Cristo, which I have had on my shelf for about twelve years! I didn’t get around to season five of Breaking Bad yet, though – but the autumn is coming (feels like it even here, too – we didn’t have what you’d call a Spanish summer this year), so I’ll get to that, when I have a second draft done of Lonesomeness….

 

Meanwhile, here is one of the few poems I had a chance to finish, about doing very little….

 

 

 

Getting Old, Slowly

 

Along the ridge a row of windmills go slowly round.

You can hear them when the wind turns south.

Twenty-five years they’ve ringed the valley

And show no sign they’re soon to fall.

Similarly, we inhabitants stand around,

Eating from our gardens here, seasonally

Watching flight of swallows and their fellows,

Observing numbers (often) ebb and (seldom) flow,

Grass get cut instead of grazed and oak trees grow tall,

New abodes are built and others crumble to the ground,

Sitting upon a porch of an evening, the sky yet

As wonderful as youth, and starry as can still get,

Achieving only that act of getting old slowly.