Thursday, December 31, 2009

In 2010

Well, I've seen quite a few of my fellow bloggers doing this; New Years Resolutions! Normally I avoid such things (which might explain why I never do anything), and I certainly never make them public. I suppose it's time to change that, and hopefully I'll get somewhere with my writing as a result!

Okay, here goes... ready? I'm not... Okay, I'm digressing (or distracting you...)
  • Spend at least five hours a week reading something that's not college related (unless the pressure of college mounts up and I have no choide)
  • Spend at least five hours a week writing or editing my own work (unless college + pressure = no choice)
  • Blog at least twice a week, because I've become very bad at that, and it really needs to change
  • Review every book I read from now on, including some of the ones I've already read (this will work in conjunction with my YouTube channel, I think)
  • Start a bookclub on my YouTube channel
  • Start my autograph boook (or at least get more than one signature - thank you Jackie Kessler!)
  • Finish Meet Sam - 2010 is my year, I know it. I can do this. I have to. Then I'll get my other work noticed, like The Jump and The Magical Emporium of Magical Things (I started that three days ago - nice title, eh? ^_^)
  • Complete NaNoWriMo for the third year running

Okay, that's enough targets for myself. They'll keep me sufficently busy for the year, especially with college exams, meet-ups, potential holidays, birthdays, illness and laziness. The forces of procrastination might also show their ugly faces... wish me luck, and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Greatest Adventure to Date

It’s been too long since I blogged last. Far too long. So, I guess I better explain myself. And while I’m at it, I think I’ll go through my entire first semester at college; it makes sense to do this all at once.

Okay, so some of you (the Twitter folk who are online when I am) might have seen that I have my own room now. Well, this action resulted in the modem being disconnected from the room I am currently in. Now, this would have been a very simple process of reconnecting it in the other room if the cable was long enough, but it wasn’t. No, instead my brother said he’d replace it. He didn’t. Our neighbour did, eventually, at which point my NaNoWriMo novel was in distress of not being finished. I had to verify my word count in college!

Anyway, I digress. See, even when we got our Internet connection back up, I couldn’t get on my laptop. The reason? Drama. Lots of drama. Starting on Monday, November 30th, here were my plans, which also included college Monday to Friday:
  • Monday: Drama at 7 until late.
  • Tuesday: Drama at 7 until late.
  • Wednesday: Drama at 7 until late.
  • Thursday: Choir at 8 until late.
  • Friday: Setting up flats at college for the Drama, and Christmas shopping until late.
  • Saturday: Work and a mass until late.
  • Sunday: Dress rehearsals all day, until late.
  • Monday: Plays on stage; at college at half five until late.
  • Tuesday: In DIT for competition until late.
  • Wednesday: College choir service until late.
  • Thursday: Plays on stage; at college at six, then to college Christmas party until the early hours of the morning.
  • Friday: Recovery (though I still attended college)
  • Saturday: Work, then work Christmas party until early hours of the morning.
  • Sunday: Work... then I collapsed in front of the TV.
  • Monday (i.e. yesterday): Ice-skating.

It’s been hectic for two weeks, as you can see. Fun, but hectic. The plays we put on were Donalbain and Bang Bang You’re Dead; the first a parody of Macbeth, in which the title character leaves for Ireland (as scripted) and ends up in Playboy of the Western World shortly after its ending (every character was aware they were in plays – great craic!) and the second play was a serious piece of work written after the shooting in Columbine High School in April 1999.

I had roles in both plays; I was Witch 2 and Attendant 3 in Donalbain, which meant I had to be high pitched and hilarious (could have been worse... Witch 3 was gay!) and I was Actor 3, the Witness and the Principle in Bang Bang You’re Dead. So what did I get out of the Drama? Well... (list time!):

  • A greater understanding of Drama (a big help considering it was one of my modules for the semester... and the whole “I’m a writer” thing)
  • Confidence in front of a large crowd (for the audiences were quite large!)
  • The ability to speak loudly without shouting (thanks to Emma O for that!)
  • A huge group of friends (*ahem* Laura, Ronan, Eileen, Siobhan, Colin, Emma O, Emma B, Anne, Megan, Rónán, Niamh, Bobby, Cabrina, Mark, Fian, and the all-important directors Deezie and Nigel)

So take that? Seriously though, Drama is highly recommended at third level. We had so much fun, especially when Nigel made fun of my inability to be loud in his play (Bang Bang) despite the volume of my Gingerbread Man impressions from Shrek and my acting as the Witch in Donalbain. Then the lead (Colin) copied me with that little trick of not speaking louder when Nigel says, “Louder!” Good times...

Aside from Drama, I made lots of friends in class. I’m part of a big group of ten people, three of whom were in the plays, and it’s made the transgression from Second Level to Third Level so much easier! We “fooze it up” daily, have great laughs at lunch and constantly point out that Kevin’s dad is a lecturer. (seriously, Kevin’s dad lectures us!)

Readjust yourself in your seat, I’m not done yet!

In choir, we were approached by a woman trying to organise a Liturgy Committee for the choir, so that the priests know what we’re singing in mass, and so that we actually can sing it all. Fantastic news, really, since I had to organise a mass liturgy for college and spent the entire first semester learning about it.

In work, I have lots of extra hours for the holidays. And I had that super fun Christmas party! It was my first time out with the job, so it was a new experience... but very fun! We had pizza, then they all got drunk. Some more so than others... Fun... (seriously though, it was fun).

Writing... oh yeah, there is the small matter that I finished NaNoWriMo! Take that new room, with your eating up eight days in the month on me! The book isn’t finished, and with Drama I haven’t even touched it in a fortnight, but I won! I got fifty thousand words in 30 days (less, really, considering the unholy distractions). And I’m sure there’s more...

Yes! I got a poem published in the college magazine. It’s on YouTube. See my little bar at the top of the post to see the video (or go to my channel and look for Little Bo-Peep, the Revised Edition).

And I have my plans for a couple of plays. And more notes on The Jump. And a plan for a straight to blog book. And and and... that was bad grammar. I’m not sorry, though.
Now to abandon you just when you thought I might have more to say. I have books to read, things to write... ah, more lists I suppose!

To read:

  • Columbine
  • Tales of Mystery and Imagination
  • Metamorphoses
  • Let the Great World Spin
  • Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • Playboy of the Western World

(and that’s just for now...)

To write:

  • More nursery rhymes
  • More poetry
  • A play called Down
  • The Jump
  • The Wedding Singer

Okay, now I’m done. I’ll try blog more as stuff comes up. But yeah, an interesting semester at college. Lots of friends, lots of writing, a new hobby, new literature (to read and to write) and a whole future ahead of me. This is my greatest adventure to date.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Very Late Update

Hello all!

Well, things in NaNoWriMo are now officially good. In my earlier days this month, I wasn't doing too well. I had a low word count and was actually behind on my word count at the end of the first week. That wasn't encouraging. Then I went to Write or Die on and boom! At the end of Week Three I have 45,313 words at the time I'm writing this. To get to the site, click: -- I advise using Kamikaze mode, Strict timing, and with a word goal of 200 words for every 5 minutes. That'll make sense when you click the link.

What next... oh of course! My friend Sophie and I are putting together a book of poetry called Poetry Against Cancer, in aid of St John's Ward in Crumlin, Dublin. It's Ireland's only children's cancer ward, so it's a very worthy cause. We're looking for public submissions by December 15th. More info @ -- Please submit and spread the word!

Is there more? I can't remember... Well, I plan on writing a book that will go straight to a blog, but I want to know what the audience will be like first. I suppose I'll have to start writing it for that. But first, I need to edit Meet Sam. I'm hoping that between the end of The Wedding Singer and the end of my second semester at college I can edit it and get it sent off to a publisher.

Rebecca Woodhead and I were only talking about this on Twitter recently. We now refuse to use the word "if" when talking about us being published. It's now "when" we're both published. We've promised to do an event together, and sign our respective books for each other. I look forward to that day, whenever it might be.

Also related to Rebecca, because she's one of the coolest people ever (!), I'm going to be sending her a copy of the Poetry Against Cancer book when it's published. ^_^

Christmas is in less than five weeks - I have to get everything ready for it! And next Friday is Andrew's birthday party thingy, so I have to get wrapping paper for his present. And a card for him. I can't wait! ^_^

That's it, for now. Check out those two sites I told you about... OR ELSE!! (I love that term when it's in caps lock...)

Beatha agus sláine,

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Day Before The Music Began

Tomorrow is NaNoWriMo. Or at least, Day 1 of NaNoWriMo. Alarm set for 8 am, I'm ready to tackle a month of extreme novelling; The Wedding Singer will follow up Meet Sam, with less of a main-character-hearing-the-narrator feel to it. However, I liked the narrator last year, how I wrote with her voice in my head, so I'm going to write like that this year too.

I have my first sentence, which will be posted here tomorrow night. I'll tell you this though - Sophie Byrne will wake up at the same time as me. She'll live in the house across the street, sing her heart, break it a few times, fall in love, love a dog (but in a different way) and follow the ChartJackers. Yes, the ChartJackers.

Now, onto business. Darren Shan (AKA my HERO!!!) agreed so many months ago that I could Interview him. We tried to offer it to the public... they essentially said no. Soooo we're letting the public ask questions instead! I've announced it on Twitter, on Bebo and on the forum (better mention it on Facebook too!) - follow the hashtag #q4shan on Twitter to see the fans' questions! I'm super excited about this one, and will even try get to Limerick to see him for the Interview.

Please ask questions! ^_^

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Need magazine help

Hello readers,

An idea arose the other day when the lovely Rachel Phipps came looking for an assignment for the Literary Den Magazine. I suggested something on an Indie Bookstore that was local to her, and from there, my idea expanded. What if we followed a different Indie Bookshop each issue?

That's where y'all come in.

I need volunteers to go to their local Indie Bookshops, or even just their local bookshop if it's not Indie, and check out a few things (details to follow, upon signing up). One important thing I need though, besides your valuable time and questioning of booksellers, is a photograph. Don't worry, it doesn't have to be you in the photo (generally if one is taking a photograph, one isn't also in front of the lens). No, I want the photo to be the view of the shop from the front door, or the view of the front door, or the most interesting point in the shop. The photographs will then all be put together as a collage to build up an important image for what could very well be the first cover of the magazine.

So please please please help! Anyone who does will be entered into the draw for one of three signed copies of our 2009 Anthology, upon submission of the final piece. Simply email me at literary_mania(at)yahoo(dot)ie and tell me you're interested.

Thanks a million!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Shan the Man

On Sunday, I met my hero.

Darren Shan, in the flesh, signed my books.

Darren Shan knew my name.

Darren Shan choke me for a photograph.

Now I'm going to direct you to this video, which contains the inscription he put in my book. Hoo hoo I'm so happy!

And with this short blog post done, I bid you adieu!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Review - Hell's Heroes

The Demonata #10: Hell's HeroesThe End is Nigh. The Demons are here, the heroes are falling, the world is at its end. So not much has changed then!

Darren Shan, the Number One Master of Horror (as far as kids are concerned) released, just 10 short days ago, the last book in his best selling Demonata Saga. 10 books, three protagonists, millions of demons, magic, science and all sorts of spiritual mumbo jumbo later, and I still love them.

I expected Hell's Heroes to go off with a bang. WARNING: SLIGHT PLOT SPOILER It slowed down a bit at the end. No big battle, but mainly because that would have undermined everything Shan had led the story to. He couldn't use the big weapon to kill the Demonata, because that would mean that it could have been done very easily in the past instead. And there would have to be a cheesy party at the end, which would have resulted in literary suicide for Mr Shan. His characters can never be eternally happy. That wouldn't work. That wouldn't make his fans happy. So in short, the ending was neat, tidy.

The rest? Fantastic! I still like the ending, but the rest of the story was.. wow! Blood, guts, vendetta, betrayal, death, Death and more DEATH! What more could you ask for?

It's suitable for children. I should point that out. Not very young children, but anyone 11 up should be able to get through this book without being too scared. There are far worse things out there than Demons in books. Afterall, it's an episode of Doctor Who that stops kids from sleeping (Blink). Darren Shan.. well, he's never kept me awake with fear, but he has turned my stomach on enough occassions. And I love him for that.

The man is a legend. Pure and simple. And the book, the SERIES, is a reflection of that greatness. When I say he's my hero, I mean it - I want to be like Darren Shan if I ever get published. Not physically, obviously, because I'm happy with how I look. The popularity...well that's always nice for authors. But the way he deals with his fans - that's how I want to be. I want to go on big signings because fans love that sort of stuff. I want to answer emails and write letters and blog and all that stuff that lets fans keep in touch. Because he does that. He keeps in touch more than any author I've ever had the good grace to read (except perhaps Samantha Priestley, but she's my good friend via the Internet, so that doesn't count.)

Read the books. You will love them, especially the early scenes of wonderment and gore. Lord Loss - plenty of stuff to start exploring. Demon Thief - oddities you've never imagines. Slawter - the first taste of Demon power on earth and what it can really do (and lots of blood!). Bec - the history of it all, in ways you never imagined (my personal favourite!). And it keeps going on. From that point, the stories are cronological, and fantastic! I'm 18 and I still love them, so you have no excuses!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a signing to get to. Mr Shan..! I'm COMING!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Inspiration strikes!

Well, it's been a week of college, and I'm loving it. In fact, I've been blogging about it on a seperate site,, where you can find out all about the highs and lows of week 1 of my new existence.

Speaking of new existences, I've officially begun my night life. Last night I went out for Niamh's birthday to find myself later at a nightclub. Or...beachclub? Bomdai (I think is how it's spelt). It was fun. And it was inspiring!

Let me explain; come November I will participating once again in NaNoWriMo, so I'm looking for my novel before I write it (sounding slightly crazy now...) I need scenes to move the story along, and because this protagonist is much livlier than Sam from Meet Sam, she will be going out during the story.

As I've only been to one nightclub, it will set there for a scene. As I sat drinking my non-alcoholic beverage, because I can't stress enough that I don't drink, my mind began to work out what to do with the nightclub. There was alcohol, and lots of it. There was a dancefloor. There were dozens of people, large security men, immature teens (late teens, of course) and, of course, girls in skirts that were too short. Then there's the music, thump-thump-thumping in your ear the entire night so you have to shout to be heard and strain your ears to listen.

Then when a song ends, maybe, just maybe, there is a moment of comparative silence. And that's the real climax of the night.

Since that happened, I know exactly what I have to do in the scene, and in various other scenes. It's been working itself out in my head for the entire day. She will live where I live, take the same buses and the same walking routes as I do, attend, even, the same college that I do. She will sing, occassionally drink, think about the world. She will live, yes live, and she will be happy. She will suffer, she will grow, she will find love and lose it and find it once again, and she will become known to anyone who might ever read the book as... The Wedding Singer.

I already have a few little things to throw into the fray that will stick in her life. Need to talk to a neighbour about one of them soon, make sure he's okay with something. I leave that sounding as suspicious as you want it to be!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Journey of a Thousand Miles

The ancient Chinese (or is it Japanese.. sorry, I'm confused now) proverb says The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. As far as I'm concerned, this is utter nonsense. Yes, it's stating the truth, the obvious truth that you have to begin before you get anywhere, but come on! A thousand miles - a single step won't do you much good unless it's onto a rocket that will fly you a thousand miles.

In my case, my journey begins rather boringly with not a step, but a chair, a laptop and a pre-registration form. My journey begins for real after that, I suppose. This is more like packing. And where am I going, I hear you ask? College!

Yes, this wee little blogger is on his way to the wider world where he gets to become scared of things like six year olds and paste until finally he escapes all that for fourteen years olds and clay. Admittedly, I won't be going near the clay, but teenage boys in art rooms like to throw clay about the place. It's annoying. I haven't even begun studying to become a teacher and I find it annoying.

Teacher, you ask? Yes, teacher. My course is one part Religion (well, really two parts Religion), one part English (proof there is a God, justifying the second part Religion) and one part Education. We'll do all sorts of fun stuff like discuss good and evil in Star Wars, watch the Simpsons, read loads of books and partake in four areas of work experience, one each year. How cool is that going to be?

This is the biggest thing that's happened to me since... ever! I'm actually going to doing something that counts towards my future (unlike the Leaving Cert, which is also like packing for this journey). And by the end of the course, I'll be qualified to teacher people Religion and English in secondary school. Yay!

Don't worry though. This isn't the end of my blog. Not by a long shot. If anything, it's actually helping my blog! You're probably wondering now how a college course will help my blog. Scroll up a wee bit there. See where I mention "read loads of books"? Yeah, that's what's going to change. Yes, I read books, but I've been writing a lot lately, instead of reading the books I want to read. College will broaden my selection of books reviewed on this blog, and maybe get me into reading a lot more than I already am. Fun fun fun!

The only downside to college, and this is both big and small; none of my friends are going to be there. They're all going to a different school so I'm stuck with, wait for it, my twin! Agh! I thought I was rid of him when I left secondary school, but obviously not. Still, it could be worse... Not a lot worse, mind you, just worse.

More fun things happening though; the college has two socities I'm currently interested in. A magazine and a film society! Hurray! I was already on a magazine and I vlog weekly (sometimes more than once) so they're perfect for me. Next in line - Niamh's birthday party! I love nights out like this. I'm not really a night life sort of person, and I don't drink, so my times out are always for something special like a birthday. And it's Niamh's birthday! And two days later, my Debs! Yay again! Niamh is going with me to that too. She'll be in turquoise, I'll be in a black tux with a silver waistcoat and silver cravat. In a limo. With a kareoke machine. Fun fun fun!

More stuff happening too! (I know, this list of great things happening is unfairly long, isn't it?) The Literary Den, with our fabulous new blog ( ) all set up, are releasing a couple of things in the near future. One is our soon to be annual fiction anthology in aid of The Laura Crane Trust, and the other is a couple of t-shirts that will raise money towards funding the administrative stuff for the Den (like the website, and removing ads from the forum) so that we can give more back to the public. So excited about showing them all off on my YouTube channel too! ( )

I think that's it for now. I know, long blog post compared to some of my others ones. And this is only what i know right now! In the future, I'll be trying to add blog posts about NaNoWriMo and some music I'm listening to, and obviously more reviews of books and stuff like that. Until next time, though, take care!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Writers block, and you

Twenty-one minutes ago, according to my Twitter timeline, I was asked about writers block. The particular case was one of the worst I'd ever heard of from an aspiring author - it started last September. Look at the calender; it's September now. When I realised how dreadful this was, I began trying to recall every tip I'd ever received about beating the big bad WB.

One of the favourites: try something new. This can range from anything from new music, a new route to work or school or some other place you find yourself going to every week, reading a new book that's completely different to everything you've ever read, or anything else you can think of that's different in your life. The reasoning behind this is that the unfamiliarity of the subject in question forces your mind to examine it while it's fresh. That new route may contain a dozen ideas for stories that you'll start noticing because the entire area is new to you.

Then there's free writing. Free writing is one of those much discussed areas of writing that involved nothing more than a stop watch, twenty of your best minutes (or even just fifteen), a pen/pencil with paper, or a computer instead, and you, the writer. The idea is to pick a phrase or word to get yourself started, maybe even use it as the title, and just write for the allotted time. It doesn't have to be great writing, once you don't stop until the clock is up. When you're done, you should feel refreshed and ready to tackle that novel that's been hiding away at the back of your mind.

Something I tried recently was going through every single of a band (one of my favourites) and looking for a connection in each one to a story I'd like to write. The creativity behind this lies in finding a new way to tell a story the original author had no intention of doing, like a crossword puzzle, only with ideas rather than words and songs rather than clues. Looking at the lyrics to the songs also helps, in case you don't hear what the singer is saying properly.

These three tips for beating WB have been very useful to me in the past. I'm not going to promise you they work, but they might, and that's the important thing. You won't know until you've tried, anyway. Most importantly though, just write. If they don't work, just try putting your thoughts into coherent sentences, and if and when you get going, you can always edit the badly written parts. Or, if the novel seems daunting, try writing something much shorter. I tried this one as well: flash fiction, or stories less than 1,000 words, are an excellent way to do some writing without having to worry too much about what's going to happen down the road - it's a very short road!

I hope these tips are of any use to you. If you have any yourself, please share them in case these aren't right for our tweeting-writer in question.

Monday, September 14, 2009

New Videos...

Introducing my new video series, in its own little playlist! The Purpose Videos are designed to give reasons behind some of the little parts of my vlogging life, and, if you want, my life outside of YouTube. Just ask a question and I'll do my best to answer it. It's that simple!

This little box here is my attempt to embed the playlist to my blog. I hope it works... (If it has worked, then yay!)

Following that, I made another video to say Happy Birthday to my good friend Niamh. And by good friend, it's really closer to best friend status =]

Here's hoping you enjoyed those. Toodle pip and all that for now.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Update on the writing...

Sorry I've been away for so long; I've been writing. Mad, isn't it? A writer actually writing!

Right now, The Jump stands at 25,500 words! Yahoo! I'm loving the book so far and there's still plenty to go. This book is like Geneticide, only for younger readers, yet more mature. How strange is that! It's darker too, evident from some of the things some characters can do. But it's fun to write. I listen to Hollywood Undead as I write mainly. They aren't too distracting; it's just some humourous rock-rap music (plus, Michael Grant, author of Gone, listens to them!).

I'm using The Jump to do some things I really wanted to do with Geneticide but never got the chance. Characters have hero and villain names (not all of them, mind you) and there are predjudices against them because of what the villains do. The "bad guys" are all pretty messed up too, unlike a lot of them in Geneticide. I want this to be a fun YA novel, so I'm fulfilling a particular stereotype of comic-book supervillains; they're mental! And I mean that literally. They've got issues they can't handle.

So far, I'm six days into the story, which is counted from the beginning of Emily Quigley's gifted escape from people with guns. You might be wondering if that makes Emily safe as a character; I can confirm that it does not. Other things in the story might, but that doesn't. It's simply a method of keeping track on the story.

This and Meet Sam are my two big novels. They'll be going out to publishers when there are second and third books written in each of them. The two books are completely different, I might add. One takes place in modern Dublin, with nothing quite strange happening that isn't contained in the protagonists head. The other takes place on the east coast of the US, with younger characters, all of whom have super powers, and weird stuff still happens (weird even to them, I might add).

I've got no idea where I might send The Jump yet, although my boss in work has an inkling at what might happen ;-)

Moving on from the writing for today, I've got a new YouTube video online! In this significantly shorter video, I discuss my Purpose Videos!

The Purpose Videos will be going live over the next three days. I've got three recorded now, but if you want to know the purpose of something in my life, please feel free to ask with a comment or a message or an email of some description.

Also, the Literary Den Blog has gone live! I insist you go to read it, now! The link is: - I was first, then Andy, and today, Sam. Enjoy!

Until next time, dear reader, take care!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Writing Marathon!

Well, I've gone on a mad one, but not in quite the same as I thought I might have gone a few days ago. See, my idea from a few days ago didn't come to pass. Quite quickly, I got bored with it. Thankfully my boredom died yesterday, with a new project.

I know what you're thinking. "This guy keep coming up with new ways not to finish/start writing." This time, you'd be wrong. See, I did write. I wrote a lot. And I wrote a lot more in these past two days than I ever wrote in that space of time.

10,009 words, according to my word count.

Yes, you read that right. 10,009 words of fiction in two days. I honestly don't know how I did it, but I loved every minute of it! It's been exciting, and thankfully the story's not over. I just had to take a break. Tomorrow there will be more writing and tea (there's always tea) and I'll have beaten another record - the most I've written in three days. Yes, I know it's cheating. Sue me. (please don't though; I only work six hours a week and I don't get paid to write!)

I could go on to describe what the new book is about. I really want to, but I'd just be repeating myself. You see, I read an extract and explained the story a bit on YouTube. So for the next ten minutes, you get to listen to me talk and hear a YT exclusive reading from yours truly. Peace and Love, and see you next time.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Descent into Madness...

...Rise into Power.

I've gone ever so slightly (more) insane today. At approximately 7.45am local time, the Universe opened up. The Titanic fell from the sky. Fat walked the streets. And the Darkness came... In the middle of it all, a little blue box with a fantastic engine roaring through the sky.

And I thought, "I'm in Heaven."

You see, ladies and gentlemen of Earth, it was The Doctor. "Doctor Who?" I hear you ask. And I say EXACTLY! Season 4, everyone. Season 4, in which Donna Noble travels the Universe, through time and relative dimensions (in space.)

So, you might be wondering how that relates to the title of this blog post. All I can say is, all in time. No pun intended. Well, maybe a little. But there is something that may or may not be coming. A history that maybe never was. A world that no one remembers.

Change was here, change will come again. This is my descent into madness, and the rise into power.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Longest Wednesday of my Life

I've been dying to talk about this for a while, but I wanted to vlog about it first. On August 12th, I received my Leaving Cert results. They weren't the best set of grades, but they got me my place in college! In the days I call the Longest Wednesday of my Life, running from the 12th to the 17th of August, my results were released and my college place was offered to me.

I'm going to be studying in Mater Dei Institute! Education, Religion and English. By the end of it, I'll be a qualified teacher of second level students! Hurray!

You can watch my vlog about this too... seriously, watch it. It's long, yes, but that's because I talk about a lot of things... I flail my arms around a lot too, which is a bit weird. Enjoy!

I apologise for the length of it. It's crazy, I know. I just couldn't shut up. Still, it's a vlog, and you have to watch it or else.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Flash Fiction

Hello, good people on the Internet, readers, writers, bloggers, vloggers, retail workers, office drones, party people, anti-socialites, and mermaids; I'm back after a much too long absense (*gasp* six whole days!). The reason for this absense is that I have news for you all that I only want to spread in Vlog form. Or at least, start in Vlog form and write the matching blog here too. My family have been against me on this agenda... By that I mean I can't make the video because they're never all out of the house when I'm still here!

Until such time I might be able to Vlog again, I have more news better suited to this blog. As you might guess from the title, I now write Flash Fiction. It's a rip-roaring barrel of fun and I highly recommend it. So far I've written four stories and submitted each one to a different magazine that my delightful followers on Twitter recommended to me.

Now it's your turn to recommend something: music. I know, it doesn't seem connected, but I'm going to attempt something mad that encompasses songs by a particularly fantastic band, and I'd like to know I have the creativity in me before I go forth. So, songs (they must have lyrics please) that I might be able to make a story out of. The only ones that are excempt otherwise are songs that are already stories (for example, Journey's End by Chameleon Circuit, or A Boy Named Sue by Johnny Cash).

By September 22nd latest, I will have heard from the first magazine. At that stage, if I'm successful, I'll leave a link to the story. Until then, music, music, music!!

Leave the song and artist in the comments below, or a direct link to the song on YouTube (which is where I will be going to listen to these wonderful songs). If you prefer to reply on Twitter, use the hashtag #musicpaul and I'll get all the recommendations. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Busy Body's Blind Wish

I hope that title confused you... Let me explain now. I'm the Busy Body in question. For the last few hours, the time set aside for my dinner excluded, I've been planning a novel. The title, for now, is Blind Wish. No, it's not a novel about eye-sight, or anything really to do with eye-sight besides observation and general vision.

I'm not here to tell you all about my novel, however. It's not written, not even a little bit, and therefore doesn't qualify to be blogged about. What does qualify, however, is the method I used to plan it!

Some of my Twitter followers remarked on the idea; I used PowerPoint. That's right, the presentation tool! Each slide was a chapter, except two slides that were a single chapter. I had two characters whose viewpoints would be followed, and I could move the chapters about as freely as I wished. Eventually I just planned in order of where they'd be in the story. However, I think you get the idea. I had complete freedom!

At the bottom of the screen in PowerPoint is the notes section. Conveniently, you can also print these notes with the presentation! So I can print out the general jist of the story, and some extra notes on each chapter, and voila, I have my plan all done and easily accessed!

I found the software really easy to use, so if you're a writer who wants to try plan a novel but you don't know how, give it a shot. Use a slide a chapter, or a slide a scene if you prefer, and use the notes at the bottom (well, mine's the latest version - I don't know where they are otherwise) to add in a little more detail. It's easy to read, easy to co-ordinate, and you can change it easily whenever you want!

Tomorrow I'll have to print it out and bring it with me to lunch. A friend of mine loves that I write, and this new planning method may get his interest!! Until next time, dear reader, goodbye! And thanks for reading!

I'd like to take this chance to point out that my blog now has my videos on the top of it if you want to find them easily. Just saying...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Review - Black and White

Black and White (Icarus Project, Book 1)Kessler and Kittredge, Jet and Iridium, Black and White.

A Dublin phrase might be used to describe this book - "pure whopper." Normally I despise colloquialisms, but in this case it's rather fitting. Black and White is an in-your-face, kick-your-ass Super Hero novel that will rock your world!

Following two characters, Jet and Iridium, the novel sends us all around New Chicago as both girls learn some secrets best kept in the dark; we learn of their childhoods, their daddy-issues, love interests, their time in the Academy and everythign thereafter, all the while with the two of them hating each other.

The once-friends are now sworn enemies, and victims to the society around them. In a similar way, their friends are torn apart; same-sex relationships between heroes are a major no, and a huge surprise! I shouldn't have been surprised, if I'd been paying attention, but it got me. It snuck up on me, shouting it's head off like some crazed lunatic and boy did it make the story shift a bit!

The authors, who I was only aware of thanks to the miracle that is Twitter, each took a character to write about; Kessler was Jet, the Shadow power, while Kittredge was Iridium, the Light power. I heard about the book only a few weeks before its US release and managed to get my hands on a copy a few weeks later. I'd been dying to read it! If you're lucky enough to be able to read this book, go for it! You won't be disappointed. Otherwise, just wait until its UK release in January 2010 for the masterful first book in the Icarus Project series!

Book two, Shades of Gray, is out in July 2010 (oddly enough, this is also the same time it's due out in the UK!)

The countdown has already begun, ladies and gentlemen; only ten and a half months to go!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Tweetwall - Lying to the World

Slander? I think not!

During the month of July, a massive campaign, the very campaign that started the Word Nerd Army, was held to get one Rebecca Woodhead to the first place of the Ms Twitter UK competition. The battles were long and hard, but eventually Rebecca overcame the celebrities in the contest (including Vanessa from the Saturdays and Lily Allen).

She was Ms Twitter by right! She got the most votes, overcame her own disability and fought her way forward with spirit, haiku, six word stories and all manner of literary chatting to earn her throne.

Do Tweetwall care?

No. The top 20 people in the July competition were supposed to be kept on the winners' wall for all of time and placed afterwards into the Continental Competition. So what about Rebecca, Vanessa and Lily? Nope. All gone straight to the next level with no immortal position on the wall.

In other words, Tweetwall are lying to the world. They more or less fixed the results, and attempts to contact them, I'm told, proved futile. They refuse to acknowledge the "no-body" celebrity that is Rebecca Woodhead for her victory. This injustice cannot go on.

Spread the word: Tweetwall are lying!

EDIT: Here's the proof of Rebecca's victory too, straight from her blog. A screen-cap of the page!

Update: Tweetwell have fixed the error. All is right with the world

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Review - Stardust

StardustMy second review of Neil Gaiman's work; he really is a fantastic author, and he proves it in Stardust!

I entered the world of Wall and Faerie thinking, "I already know what's going to happen; I've seen the movie!" I was wrong. Yes, wrong. There are distinct differences between the two, which I won't go into very much detail on (why would I want to ruin the story on you?). I will say, however, that some parts are more violent in the book than in the movie, and less violent at other times.

Gaiman has an excellent style in the book. It read like a fairytale story... with a few swear words and a lot more evil. Perfect. There's nothing like evil and swearing to bring a fairytale alive! They melt into the text, become something of the world, make it more real.

I know a lot of people have read this book. I can see why now! It's not a romantic novel by far, as I feared it might be, what with Tristran and Yvaine's ultimate destiny (as seen in the movie), but an adventure story, a mock up of what a star should be like (she's bitter - it's funny). It was excellence in a book!

Stardust is highly recommended! Seriously, you'll love it if you're reading my blog right now. It fits neatly into my tastes, of which you are probably familiar with by now. I've thrown myself into worlds of demons and magic and sci-fi for years, with a few surprising indulgences of less fantasitical fiction in between, and I've loved every bit. It's an expansion of my choices for books. It's a fantastic feeling. Now I'm left with a slight despair that I don't have a lot of free time currently to go out and buy more of Gaiman's books! I'll have to compensate with other books in my possession, for now. A few more treats like Stardust will do me some good, I suppose.

Now go read it! (and might I just add, it's better than the film!)

Monday, August 10, 2009


Well, it's official: I am Paul Carroll, Knight of the Word Nerd Army by the Power and Grace of Rebecca Woodhead.

Knight of the Word Nerd Army

It's a nice little piece I think. If I can figure out how to make it a permanent feature of the blog, I will do that. For now, we can all just admire it where it stands, in this post. I'd like to thank Rebecca publicly for this, and for all the work she's done to start the Word Nerd Army. I'd also like to suggest Googling "Word Nerd Army." Go on, do it now and I'll wait until you're back.

See that? My video was there! Amazing isn't it? Me! On Google. I'm chuffed.

And with that, I bid you farewell. There are books to be read (and a particular publisher that needs to get back to the public and say who won a selection of books!). Toodle pip!

Friday, August 7, 2009

When Twitter Was Down

Silly little poem. Enjoy!

When Twitter Was Down

Millions stranded,
Left behind,
Alone in the dark,
When Twitter died,
Searching for wisdom,
Courage and friends,

During those hours,
When Twitter was dead.
Searching the Net,
Wearing a frown,
Passing the time,
When Twitter was down,
Anything but life,
The thing we connect,
Everything to share,
With the Internet.
Silence fell on Twitterville,
No more chirps and Tweets,
The World Wide Web was bitter,
But life became more sweet.
No more death for Twitter,
As the weapon has been shown,
It shall be defended
(Our cybernetic home)
From virtual villains
And their techno-bots,
And everything else
That takes a shot,
So no one will cry,
Or moan or frown,
So that never again
Will Twitter go down.

Doctor Who and the Word Nerd Army

So, I've finally had a free moment from my family, and I made a vlog! I sound insane otherwise, just talking to myself. Best not to let other people hear it too.

So, here it is, Doctor Who and the Word Nerd Army!

It's not much; it never is.

Anyway... if you're interested in sending your script to me to read and to share (I'll leave links to the scripts on my blog and YouTube channel (the latter when I get enough of them) so that everyone can have a read of them! Just send them literary_mania(at)yahoo(dot)ie with the subject of Doctor Who Script in .doc, .docx or .rtf format, with your name and the title of the script as the entire first page (as it would be presented to an actor, for example). Sending the script is giving me permission to share it (as fan-fiction, you can't sell it anyway).

If in the event that Literary Den t-shirts become available and I get enough scripts, I'll judge which one is most interesting.

If you can't write a script, write a story instead. Once it's Doctor Who in style, I don't mind. I'm judging the story, the dialogue, the suspense, the humour and how in touch with the show it is. And don't forget, not even the Doctor knows everything - he didn't recognise the things that attacked on Christmas, and he had to ask where the Clomian was from (Clom, obviously).

Good luck!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Review Service

As you all know, I review books. Whenever I finish a book, I review it. It's not always full of praise (for instance, the most recent Andy Briggs books) but it's an opinion on the book based on my tastes.

I would like to make it clear, this service is open to anyone. In the future, I will be receiving books from Simon & Schuster Kids to review. If anyone else would like to avail of the service, it's simple: ask and you shall receive. Publishers looking for a reviewer, I'm your man! While Crime and Romance aren't my preferences, I will do my best with whatever offers are made to me.

All children's books from this will be donated or used as prizes for schools within the Den's magazine. Successful schools will receive a box of books, based on the amount of books I receive. Obviously, the more diverse the selection (publisher and genre accounted for), the better the prize. This is part of an active movement to promote reading and writing.

The adult books will be distributed fairly, maybe even to the parents of the pupils of successful schools, or as prizes for the magazine again. One thing that won't happen: I won't make a monetary profit from the books. In fact, taking postage into account, I'll be making a loss on this. I don't mind, it's my idea and my money.

If you're interested, be you a publisher or an author, please contact me at literary_mania(at)yahoo(dot)ie with the subject of Review Service. Thank you for your time.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Review - Crazy Hair

Crazy HairWell, it's a first here at Mightier Than the Sword - a review of picture book, Crazy Hair! You see, it's not just any old picture book. It's a picture book written by Neil Gaiman. I know, he's legendary.

We first got the book in our shop a couple of weeks ago and thought, "That's too scary for children." Really, we did. It was Neil Gaiman. It was designed to be weird. It was designed to scare children. It's all it could possibly do, right?

Wrong. It's actually... FANTASTIC! I read it, in my boredom/curiosity on Saturday. (Took all of less than five minutes) The illustrations were amazing - done by Dave McKean (thank you Google) - and the rhyming story was actually really fun to read!

When I was a kid, we never read picture books. To be honest, we couldn't afford to get hooked on new books all the time, and my mum always had too much to do to bring us to the library. So we never read at the age when picture books were suitable. We had Mr Men books, about three of them, and that was it. It wasn't until I was older than I started reading for fun, and by that age I'd gotten past the age of reading picture books. I really wish we'd been able to read them (or even look at the pictures!) If they'd been anything like Crazy Hair, I'd have had a happier childhood (happier than it already was, I might add)

So, if you have a small child, or maybe you like picture books, or Neil Gaiman, or fanciful artwork, or you want to recapture your youth, or get the one you never had, I recommend this book. Crazy Hair is a must read (and admire!)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Review - Vacation

VacationWell, it's been a while since I reviewed anything here, so I thought I'd bring it all back with a review of a book by a Twitter friend of mine. His name is Jeremy C Shipp, and in the last few years, he's become one of the biggest names in the Bizarro genre. His début novel, Vacation, is marked as Literary/Science Fiction, and tells a remarkable story of a world gone wrong, with nobody knowing it. That's a bit vague, but I don't want to ruin the plot.

First and foremost, I loved this book. I'm not just saying that either; it got me thinking, more so than any other book I've ever read. It's one of the most intriguing books I've ever laid my eyes upon! And not just about the general way the world is falling apart; smaller things too, or larger, depending on how you look at it. I had to read the book in small doses to prevent an overload of thoughts flooding into my head. Safety first!

Secondly, it really is well written, and it's no wonder it was published! Jeremy has a fantastic style, and he keeps his character alive with a voice that remains true. There are lines that you read later in the book and think "He said something similar to this earlier, only he was more depressed before..." It's a good thing, I might add, that he seems to repeat. It's character development. Plus, the book is written as if it were to the protagonist's parents, as a letter, so it's nice to see a human side to him.

Thirdly... well there is no thirdly. Not really. The book doesn't need a thirdly. It did, however, get a mention in my vlog! I read out the inscription in it that Jeremy added before sending it to me. In the future, there will also be my pathetic attempt to be philosophical, so make sure you stay tuned for that, as it's all related back to Vacation.

And remember, though it may be a Vacation, it's no walk in the park.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

No One

Poor ill-fated blog. I'm sorry!

*ahem* I apologise for that. I had to comfort my blog after my absense.

A lot has happened these past few days that I haven't had the good grace to write about. There has been good things, and bad things. Since I hate ending on a bad note (happened before at mass "singing" and I came off the alter laughing and red-faced), I'll start with the bad point. My head is melted. Not literally of course, but my writing brain is dead for the time being.

To compensate (people like compensating) I've begun a YouTube vlogging session! That's the first of the good news-y bits! I get to chat a lot about nothing in particular... yet. People say vloggers are vain and that they just want to record themselves so they can watch/listen. I think that's a bit... stupid? I'm certainly not doing it for that reason. I hate how I sound and I don't like the camera pointing at me. I do, however, enjoy talking. Communicating, rather. It's easier to do on YouTube because no one will interrupt. Plus, I like seeing the viewing numbers go up.

And that, oddly enough, brings me onto more good news. I have a new TV show to watch! It's the forecasted topic of my next video - Doctor Who!! I have to blame Charlie McDonnell for that. See, at the Den we blame people for good things. It's Claire's fault, for example, that we released an anthology last year. And when I blame people like that, I'm really thanking them and giving them credit. So yes, I love Doctor Who. Just wait 'till you see what I can pronounce! (I can't spell it though...)

Now, to celebrate my return to my blog, I'm leaving you with a poem. It's called No One, hence the title of the blog. It's not much of a poem, but I liked the idea a bit. Here we go then..!

No One

No one heard me scream.
No one came to help.
No one watched me die.
No one was a witness.
No one came forward.
No one...

Rubbish, innit?

Anyway... le link for the channel if you want to watch my videos!

You can subscribe if you want, but it's not mandatory. feedback, however, would be nice.

Well, until next time - Cheerio!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Well, I'm back from Barcelona. It's a great city, had a great time, yadda yadda yadda...

That's actually not what I'm talking about today. No, "Fantastic!" is the catchphrase of the first of the new Doctors in Doctor Who (played by Christopher Eccelston). The reason for the catchphrase invasion? Well, I've just watched the entire first Season of the new DW. It's amazing!

I first decided I wanted to watch Doctor Who when I started listening to Chameleon Circuit (interview with Charlie McDonnell who helped put it together here). I was like, "That sounds like fun." And it was! I fell in love with the quirkiness, the originality, the genre! I can't wait to buy the second Season!!

Doctor Who has always inspired my own little time travelling story. It's still in the mental workshop at the moment, all the details being smoothed out, but I should be able to start planning it soon!

Aside from all that, I've not been doing very much. Well, I've been helping two writers with their books (my friends Sam and Aimee), working as an editor of sorts for them. Rachel Phipps from the Den also wants someone to help her, and I've volunteered my services. I don't charge. I just like doing it.

Take care!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The font I use...

I've noticed this became a big thing with writers - the fonts they used. It's all about style, presentation, and just what sort of story it is.

For me, not so much. I have my preferred fonts, of course; Times New Roman is a bit boring, but easy to read; Arial is less boring, and even easier to read; Comic Sans is more fun and just as legible. However, my favourite font isn't on the desktop I sit at now!! Calibri, which came with my laptop, is such a great font! It's simple, stylish, and new.

That last one is very important. New. It embodies everything my writing has become. I'm not the same writer I used to be, and my work is improving noticably. I want to symbolise that in the font I use, because it's a statement of my rebirth as a writer. When I wrote Meet Sam, the entire thing was in Calibri. It was excellent. Not the book (I'm much too modest to make that remark) but the way it looked. I could read it, it looked cool, and I didn't get bored with it.

What are your favourite fonts, and why?

(yes, this is just a boring blog, but I got an idea and I couldn't put it away)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Writing Magazines

Well, during my ventures yesterday in Dublin's City Centre, I purchased a few things. One is an album you're not interested in, and a couple of books that I'm not interested in telling you about at this point in time. I did, however, also make a couple of purchases in Eason. I don't normally like to do this, but it was a special case - magazines.

Two of them, to be precise, with another arriving in the post at the same time. Writing Magazine and Writers' Forum are now added to my collection, alongside my two-year subscription to The Stinging Fly. The latter is pretty much made up of short stories and poetry, and I received the subscription from my brothers for my eighteenth birthday.

The other magazines are all about writing. I'm experimenting with them at first, to see which I prefer. I might like them both, but for now I'm going to assume that's not the case, for my bank account's sake. Starting with Writers' Forum, I've already discovered some interesting things to help me in my endeavors that I will be partaking in, namely trying to freelance.

This is added to the multiple novels and short stories I'm already working on. And do you know, I can't wait.

While I'm here, I may as well remind the delightful public about the Literary Den magazine and giveaway. Click here for the full story, with info on submitting and the prize.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Review of The Sorceress

The Sorceress (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel)I'm going to be entirely honest: I love this series! The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel is hugely addicting and creates a whole new outlook on Mythology from across the world. Author Michael Scott is renowned for his expertise in the field, and it shines through in these books.

The Sorceress is the third book out of six, preceeded by The Alchemyst and The Magician. Following the adventures of Josh and Sophie Newman and Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel, while also encompassing a whole range of people from history and myth, the story literally brings us around the world!

Everyone, except Sophie and Josh, existed at some point in time. The Flamels were both real people, and were truly suspected of being immortal (helps when your grave is empty!) They also left France poor and returned stinking rich, hence their ability to fund several hospitals across Paris during their lives. The villain we're first introduced to is Doctor John Dee, a very famous Englishman who in this tale serves the "bad guys."

Now, I know several people read the name Flamel and stopped thinking, "He was in Harry Potter." Yes, he was. Rowling stole him from history and made him a secondary character. It's the reason people started by calling this series "the new Harry Potter." Nobody wants that anymore. People want to be continually enjoyed, not the big thing that everyone loves until it starts getting on their nerves. However, the story does have a few similarities with Harry Potter. Magic for one. Then monsters. That's about it.

And it's better, you know? It's better than Harry Potter. The characters feel more real. They don't hate for the sake of it (if they do, there's usually a reason... like magic or dementia.) The twins (should have mentioned, that's Josh and Sophie) get along, but they argue too. And there are secrets! They don't all come out at once. And they don't just conveniently get into trouble every book. They're special, and they have something the bad guys want. That's why they get into trouble.

And it's all taking place in a few days, as the Flamels age at a hyper rate. This is apocalyptic stuff here; the one thing that can save the Flamels can also destroy the world!

So, where does The Sorceress pick up then? Well, modern day London happens to be one of the most dangerous places on the earth... in the story I mean. And that's right where they've headed. I don't want to spoil too much, but if I recommend these books! Start with The Alchemyst. You'll love it if you like YA Fantasy!! And it only keeps getting better. The Sorceress was definetely the best so far. Now I have to begin the wait for The Necromancer!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Baibai Sci-Fi

Okey dokey, here we go! I've given up. Not all together, just on one thing. It's a Sci-Fi writing competition. My entry was going to be something similar to Geneticide (which in turn is similar to Heroes) but I just can't do it! It's not possible. My attention can't stay with it. I can't visualise the characters. Nothing is working in it. I don't even have a plan. It's one of those novels that can really afford to end as a long story, but not publishable. Ever. It never would have reached 80 thousand words.

However, my writing is not all dead. I've still got Meet Sam to edit this summer, and another novel to write. It's a YA fantasy that will tear away all the premises about fairytales, myth and of course, "Good VS Evil." I'm keeping it's name a secret for now, but it's going to be good. I know, I've been dreaming about it.

See, that's how I plan sometimes. I just dream it. Unlike a friend of mine, Andy Walker, I can't make out loads of character notes. I simply wouldn't know where to begin. I just imagine everything happening instead. I do what feels right. And I do that wonderous thing: I write what I know!

It's something people always forget to do. They start something far more complex than their heads can comprehend. If I asked some people about what they wrote, they wouldn't have an answer. They just wouldn't know. This ficticious world they've created is limited to what's been written down, in the book. I can't do that. I know so much about this story, because it's been in my head for over two years, unwritten.

Sorry, that's not entirely true. It's been written. About three chapters of it. And they're useless now, because the tale has changed. The very fabric of time and space has been torn apart since then. The protagonist is younger, but he's not quite "evil" like he used to be. Okay, I know I'm trying to get away from that point, so here we go... he's what people would call "good" if they read the story, but in truth, even the "good guys" can be bad. They make decisions, have morals and live to an ethical standard. Mostly. There's the Big Bads that accompany all YA Fantasy that don't quite like being told what to do.

You see, there is no such thing as good and evil in this story. It's all about Power, and those who seek it. How they go about their mission is what defines them under one of the two words, based on the standards of ethics in the world. But then, killing millions is a bit bad, isn't it?

So there you have it, my guideline. It's not much, is it? Not for you, anyway. You won't know what the story's really about. That's the idea. But you know what it's not and that's important.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Review - Crisis Point and Power Surge

Power Surge (Villain.Net)Crisis Point (Hero.Com)I've described Andy Briggs' books as "twin cannons" in the past; maybe not on this blog, but in real life. This time, I felt a little disappointed.

Crisis Point and Power Surge are the two new books in the and series of books, respectively, taking off where the last titles left off. There has been a huge difference in them though, or maybe I'm only noticing this now: Briggs repeats himself a lot! And I don't mean from one book to the next, or across the two books. I mean throughout a book, he'll mention a point two or three times. Now, I'm aware the books are meant for younger readers, and he may be trying to remind them of certain things (like his mad theory on time) but I don't think he gives the reader any credit. I felt insulted to be reading something over and over again.

The plot, I found, was still enjoyable. In fact, it was only the repetition that really got on my nerves. If you've read these books, you know what I'm talking about. Two people, one in each book, consistently pop up to cause a huge amount of trouble for the protagonists on each story. Over and over and over again I read about it, and it got a bit tiresome. Only in the case of a second character in Crisis Point did it make any sense to keep throwing her back in, the reason for which you do eventually discover.

What I love most about the books though, aside from the whole superhero theme and the downloadable powers, is Briggs' ability to write the two books side by side! They happen at the same time, so the events in one affect the other. This requires a lot of thought, because things have to match up, and it can get quite messy. With these two books, he pulled it off even better than before, when he would painfully repeat dialogue too.

So, they're worth the read, if you don't mind the repetition. And you can get through both books in a day if you really want to (took me a little longer, but that's a story for another blog post).

There's more info on the books at:

Note that you can just as easily only read one series and still get a pretty good story. I find that both together wraps everything up nicely though!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Long list of books what need reading

No, it's not the most imaginative or coherent title. But it's true. I've got so many books right now that I need to read, and more that are unread and not on the list. Right now I'm reading a Douglas Adams book, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. It's as funny as the other books Adams has written, but I'm just not finding the time to read it as much as I'd like.

I've got the second book too, but I'm also expecting lots of books in the mail. One of those is a free review copy of a book that I need to review (Primal from Virgin Books). On the list is also one I've been trying desperately to get my hands on, Black and White by Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge. Awesome looking superhero novel!

So epect a lot of reviews coming up. I've also got the next two and books to buy, and The Sorceress by Michael Scott. Lots of books to read... I'll have to control my urge to Tweet so much!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Magazine Competition

Hi all!

Well, I've been discussing this on the Lit Den forums, and we're hosting a raffle of sorts, a giveaway. It's very easy, for the fiction writers, journalists, poets, artists and photographers to be in with a shot at winning.

Now, we can't afford to just hand out books like other people (although I do have a few I will probably be giving away at some stage). However, we have three copies of The Literary Den Book of New Fiction 2009 to give away to the public when it's released. As far as I know, this will be in the middle of July, or perhaps a little later.

So here's how to win. Very easy, just submit to our magazine! Every submission, including those already made by members of the public, will be entered into a RANDOM draw to win one of the three books. All the money from the books goes to the Laura Crane Trust (reg. 1058464), based in Huddersfield, Yorkshire.

So what to submit?

We're accepting: articles relevant to the literary world, preferrably not something that will be old news very quickly; short stories in any genre, although if you're aiming for younger readers, please mention that; poems on any topic; comic strips which can be expected to continue through the magazine; artwork and photography that displays a message, or is a demonstration of real talent; writing tips, although it should be pointed out that we will be reading these, and if no one can see the point in what you're saying, it's likely it won't get in (general tips work best; the more experience you have, the better); book reviews of your favourite books, ever - any related to members of the Den are even better!

When to submit?

Right up to the release, and beyond. Although, unless there are huge delays, the competition will close the moment the book hits the proverbial bookshelf. Take it as being mid-July, but keep an eye on our Twitter to get the finalised date.

Where to submit to?

I will be accepting all magazine entries. Send them to literary_mania(at)yahoo(dot)ie with the subject line Magazine Submission on or before the closing date to be entered. All successful entries will be published in the magazine, though not all in the same issue, based on the number of submissions we get.

This is a new magazine people, specifically for the public! Tell your friends!

Note of word limits

Short stories up to 3,000 words will be accepted. We would prefer a minimum of 1,500 words, although less than that may still be published. Articles and reviews must not exceed 1,500 words, unless the subject content is large; contact us in advance if you're not sure. Poems can be of any length, though poems of length greater than 80 lines may not be published. Comic strips may consist of 1-6 panels. If successful, expect further contact to arrange sequel comics.

The Literary Den reserves the right not to publish work (although this doesn't happen a lot after we've said 'yes.') Please send in material in an editted form. The prize of three books may be subject to change, although such changes will be made public the moment they are final. Copyright remains with the author, although by submitting to the Literary Den, we reserve the right to publish your work elsewhere - note that the members of the Literary Den are not making a profit from the magazine or other sales. Any money the Den does acquire that is not related to the Laura Crane Trust will be used to further the promotion and development of the Den, and will not be split among the active parties of the Den.

Also note that successful poets will be contacted to submit to the an Anthology of Poetry, editted by Elizabeth Dyer.

Any further questions can be posted here, or emailed to me @ literary_mania(at)yahoo(dot)ie

Thanks for reading, and good luck!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Reading, writing and how I need four hours more daily

Morning all. I've discovered that my day is too short. I need to read dozens of books, and very quickly, so that I can move on and buy some more, and review loads more! And I have lots of writing to do, and too many distractions in my life too.

Let me start from the beginning. On Friday, I told myself I would write until I hit somewhere in the region of 7-8,000 words on my new book, The Company. Well, I failed to reach even close to that as a result of spending the day with Sam, then being lazy later that night. So I told myself, "Okay, weekend is here. Only six hours in work, then I can write some more!" No, that never happened. The work did, but I didn't write any more. At all. Over the entire weekend. I think I'm somewhat broken, and I need to fix it. I know what you're thinking too. "He's blogging, when he could be writing." I could be, but I need to get my fingers into practice first.

So today, I have to lock myself up for four hours and just keep writing. I got an idea last night that I'm going to implement into the story to stir things up a bit, while also continuing the way I had planned to. I've been wanting to get to this part of the story for a while now. I just haven't been writing it...

The book I'm currently reading is Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (the same guy who wrote The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy). I'm only on page 12, but I'm enjoying it. I must spend about four hours reading that later too.

I also have to monitor my Survive The Net progress. I need one more reply to an interview on blogs before I post all three. After that, I can put Charlie McDonnel's one up. Survive The Net takes about three hours of my day away sometimes. It all depends on what I have to do. Today, I have to find more people to interview, so that could take up some time. I'm also entertaining myself with the survey I posted, so I keep checking back on it, using more of my valuable time.

So where do I stand? Let's see... four hours for writing, four for reading, three for STN, about an hour and a half for eating... I only got up at a bit past nine... and I spend an unholy amount of time on Twitter and checking emails and all that jazz.... I need about fourteen hours today! Oh damn! And that's assuming I finish up quickly on everything I do, don't get booted off the computer, and don't get bored/tired. Wish me luck...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Stories le

So I was checking out, following my previous rant about expensive printing costs, and I found a rather easy way to provide the short stories for charity in print. I can even make them in colour if I want, but I don't see the point as I'm not much of a drawer, and I don't have suitable models for photographs.

However, if I were to print in colour, I could get what I estimate to be 16 pages printed in A5 for only €6.00! That's quite good! Add on €1.25 for revenue (€1 for charity, €0.25 for and it's only €7.25 to print. In black and white printing, it costs even less! For a mere €4.61, the same size book can be printed. Adding on the same revenue and it only costs €5.86! Less than €6.oo people! It's a bargain, and that's only for people who want hard copies of the stories. It's great news for me, who will want to print a hard copy to display them at some stage.

If I choose to go for and though, it could be more expensive. In fact, I believe the price is doubled! So for those ones, I will be printing three stories together and upping the revenue to €3.75 so that each story still earns the same amount for a sale. I will need to do further investigation into the matter.

Still, low prices for stories, with all the money going to charity! Some specific charities I'd like to support are: The Laura Crane Trust, The Hanly Foundtation and The Manuela Riedo Foundation, who each deal with specific problems facing people. The LCT are sort of our partners in the Den; all the money we raise goes to them. The Manuela Riedo Foundation is a new one, which my friend Niamh is singing for in July (in Switzerland!!) The Hanly Foundation were really annoying people last Friday, but with a good cause. I'd like to support them if I can, but all I could do was buy a scratch card then, and only to get rid of them.

Naturally, I'll need to get in touch with every charity in advance to get a logo and a registered charity number. Here's where you can come in! Recommend a charity, leave a link to it, and I'll see if I'm not already covering the topic. If I am and I'm not writing for a charity under that topic, then I will pick the most suitable charity (based on the recommendations given).

If your recommendation is accepted, you'll be entered into a draw to win a free paperback copy of the story representing the charity. In fact, you'll get multiple entries. Each time a story is released, there will be a competition for one person to win a hardcopy of it, shipped to anywhere in the world! And it couldn't be easier to win. Just keep telling people about the stories, through Twitter and blogging and word of mouth, and each time someone says you recommended the stories, you'll get an entry. There will be more details later when the first story is published, which, by the way, I have begun planning.

Watch this spot ladies and gentlemen!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Big Summer Challenge

Change of plans since this morning. I'm no longer just working on Survive The Net and the those charity shrot stories. While I hope to be able to continue them, I'm now facing the challenge of writing and editting a novel by August 20th. This new WIP is currently at 1100 words and counting, but it needs to be at least 80,000 words!

Added to this, I need to edit Meet Sam between August 20th and September 7th. At this stage, I should know whether or not the WIP is in the short list for the competition it's being entered in to. If it is, then Meet Sam goes on hold. If not, it's being submitted to a publisher.

Assuming the worst in both cases (that I don't get short listed and I don't get accepted) I'll be sending off another novel that I have to work on a lot for late October. This one has a max of 80,000 words, and needs to be fit for 9-16 year olds (anywhere in there). So from the 8th to the deadline of the second competition, I have to write and edit a novel (although I may begin writing it early on). This novel won't be written otherwise if I get accepted by either the competiton or the publisher.

Whatever happens, I'm now working on three novels, for three publishers, in five months. Because of this, Survive The Net won't go on sale until (a) the current WIP gets published, (b) Meet Sam gets published or (c) the teen book gets published (and of course, any of them can get denied and I'll still put it to print).

However, this only gives me more time to put the book together and organise all the interviews I want. The short stories don't count as what the competitions prohibit, so I can still write them, whenever I find the time. I'll keep y'all posted on that.

Taking a risk / freedom!

Hi Universe,

Well, it's been way too long. However, I have an excuse (don't I always?) My dear old (young, actually, but you get the picture) laptop decided it was going to stop charging at all. So I can't use it. It's been taken off by Dell to be repaired, thanks be to God, but I haven't heard from them since and it's been a while.

The desktop I'm sitting at, meanwhile, is the worst thing in the world, ever. Up until this morning, it refused to work with Blogger at all. It's just shut down the Internet Explorer and told me to deal with things myself. Evidently, I'm back, and taking a risk with this before it decides to explode.

Lots has happened in the few weeks I've been forced away from my precious blog. For one, I've finished all of my exams! I'm officially free from the stress! Can I get a Hallelujah?! (moving on...) I've also begun work on the book I mentioned earlier in the blog: How to Survive (etc) which is being renamed simply as Survive The Net (subtitle: How to Survive and Thrive on the Internet).

This project is changing everything already. I've written interviews for a few parties, and I have many more in mind. So far, the delightful girls from Lipstick Royalty graced my e-self with an interview, and YouTube's own Charlie McDonnell (AKA charlieissocoollike!!) has agreed to an interview and has been sent the questions! Hazzah! Also on my interview list, in the middle of confirming the details, are Lessthan7, a YouTube collab. channel from several countries, and Lucas Cruikshank, also from YouTube, who makes the Fred videos. He's been the most difficult to contact, and I'm yet to get a reply.

Others I'd like to interview are Wil Wheaton (yes, the Star Trek guy) for his success selling books via, as well as the doctor who wrote My Stroke of Insight, for her success in not only overcoming her health problem, but in getting accepted by a mainstream publisher! I'd also like to arrange a Q&A with staff from Twitter and AudioBoo, as they've become fascinatingly popular since their arrivals, though not always with the younger crowd.

Added to that will be surveys (mass participation appreciated). I'll be exploring the sites people use, the reasons they use them, and the reasons they don't. Busy stuff, lots of work involved, can't wait.

Moving on swiftly now, to item number three in this ridiculously long blog post (can't you just feel my deprivation?) Yesterday, as I walking to the cinema, I thought about a work friend, Sandra, and a recent phonecall I had with her over a post on this blog concerning Lauren Keech and the story I wrote. Well, I've decided that I'd very much like to expand on the story, but make it more fictional. I'd also like to introduce lots of other issues, but too many in one tale would essentially kill the characters over and over again. The solution? I'm thinking a series of short stories, one every two weeks (that's the plan, anyway), each sold on individually at a low price (revenue of €1) with all the money going to charity. The charities will be chosen based on the theme of the story. Take a cancer-story, for example. The money from that will be going to my favourite cancer charity, The Laura Crane Trust.

For the series, I'd like to also help promote lesser known charities, which is why I said LCT rather than a larger organisation. I want these smaller charities to get noticed, because they deserve it to. So I'm asking you, please, to submit ideas for charities. I want to know about them, what they do, who they benefit, so that I might be able to work a story around that idea. The more personal the charity is to you, the better.

I'm going to begin work on these stories ASAP, working on Survive The Net at the same time, as well as edits of Meet Sam. When I have about five-six written and the charities' logos and permission, I'll begin posting them online for the low fee. Any and all support would be appreciated.

So, I think I've bored you all enough. However, if you want to keep getting annoyed by me, just look for my Twitter and follow. Also, keep an eye out for the official Survive The Net blog, which will be arriving shortly. Baifornow.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pop Culture Fashion Week

No, it's not official; it's my choice of clothing for the weekdays last week. I decided, not very quickly, to do this, if I had enough t-shirts. Evidently, I did.

On Monday, for DCG and Maths classes, I wore a stunning "Evil Monkey in My Closest" t-shirt from the Family Guy range of merchandise. This fabulous t-shirt was cheap, at a cost of 2 for €15 I think! I bought it alongside Tuesday's item of clothing, which I will get on to now. But first, the amateur photograph!

Tuesday, the day after graduation. This t-shirt was greatly enjoyed by Mr Tim O'Connor, as it proved he knew about teenage cartoons like Family Guy. The red top features a print of Stewie Griffin as the Devil with the words (translated to English, and by assumption) "The Devil Child" on top.

Wednesday, perhaps the best response to any of the items featured this week! Below is the picture of The Mighty Boosh Live Tour 2009 t-shirt, purchased last September for a handsome €25 at the Olympia Theatre. A second year in my school, a friend of my cousin Sarah I might add, saw the print and quite literally leaped at it, cheering "Mighty Boosh, I love them!" I've dealt with this guy before; his response to me was a thumbs up, so that's all he got in return. Still, fabulous t-shirt! (and the most comfortable of all the items on display)

Thursday followed The Mighty Boosh theme, except this one was a little less noticed, and merely just there. I was slightly disappointed, but alas, I can't expect everything I wear to attract attention. I'm not that much of an attention seeker!

This last item (below) came free in the Blue Harvest DVD set. Featuring Stewie Griffin as Darth Vadar, Chris Griffin as Luke Skywalker, Lois as Princess Leia and Quagmire as C3PO, this t-shirt brilliantly captures the satirical nature of the Star Wars parody. Second most comfortable to wear, mainly because it was a size too big.

So there you have it! That was last week's Pop Culture Fashion Week!! I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did; it was perhaps a little more creative than usual. If I've set myself a minimum standard of entertainment, let me know.