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Terminal Transit, Book III ‘The Free State of Phoenix’

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Hi Everyone With the Papal visit rapidly upon us this weekend, I thought I would share the section of Terminal Transit where Dublin’s Phoenix Park is taken over by a group of cosmically-inspired malcontents and declared a free state. Terminal Transit, Book III ‘The Free State of Phoenix’ Verse 1 It all began with the plumes of black smoke that started to be seen in the vicinity of the zoo, plumes of black smoke bearing pink feathers that caught on the evening breeze and fell gracefully to earth across the puzzled city. A delegation of city officials and armed officers were despatched to investigate and discovered that the zoo was now under the control of an army of squatters, refugees, the h...
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Hyphens – use of.

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I’m quite partial to hyphens – often using them instead of commas. But should I? Frequently, when I read over a first draft of something I’ve just written, I will remove many of the hyphens scattered throughout, and replace them with commas or full-stops. They felt right when I was tapping away adding – in my opinion – pace and intimacy. But, on reading with a critical eye, their over-use would start to irritate. Time – perhaps – to check out when and how they should be used. A spelling guide, written a few years ago in conjunction with the Oxford University Press, states that there are no hard and fast rules about using hyphens (though your publisher may have a style preference), so the fol...
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On using a not uncommon turn of phrase.

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A police officer was recently reported as saying, “The community [must be able to] go about its daily business not unduly impacted by demonstrations taking place.” She was referring to demonstrations against President Trump whilst he was in Britain. Cue the grammar police attack of the vapours for her use of ‘not un…’ George Orwell was a leading literary figure who riled against this way of phrasing things – in fact he felt it should be banned; would you, he asked, write about a ‘not un-black dog?’ Obviously not! But he had got his own grammar a bit wrong, as who would refer to ‘an un-black dog’ in the first place, let alone a ‘not un-black’ one? Jane Austen, by contrast, used the format wit...
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Terminal Transit, Book IV ‘The Million’

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Hi Everyone Here’s another excerpt from Terminal Transit. An elderly academic uncovers a cosmic plot engineered by the NotBeSpeak, a race of intergalactic entities who wish to destroy the world. With only a young child to help him, the two race against time to save the planet from oblivion. In this chapter, the dread influence of the NotBeSpeak causes havoc on the streets of Dublin. Terminal Transit, Book IV ‘The Million’ The repercussions of the liberation of the zoo shook the city for days afterwards but before anyone was able to properly settle a further cosmic tragedy took place when the now-doubled presence of the NotBeSpeak caused Glasnevin Cemetery to give back all those who had ever ...
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Word crimes – or how to catch a killer by their writing.

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A book has just been published that is described as a ‘must read’ for any crime writer looking for ideas. I would like to suggest it could also be a useful guide for anyone wanting to include letters or other messages in their work that ring true for the characters they are portraying. I.e. Would my character really use words like that? Is the writing consistent with their age, level of education, intelligence etc? The book in question is More Wordcrime – Solving crime with linguistics, by John Olsson. Olsson is a forensic linguist and, as the title suggests, this is not his first book on the subject. He is often used as an expert witness for trials where the authorship of letters, text mess...
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Terminal Transit, Chapter II ‘A New Signal,’ Verse 1 [Work in Progress]

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Terminal Transit, Chapter II ‘A New Signal,’ Verse 1 [Work in Progress] Priory Hall. Two words that stand as a simple testament to an ignorant nation’s stupid, craven greed – that special kind of breathtakingly galling greed reserved for the self-appointed nobility of this ridiculous island; the bankers and builders and business leaders and breakers and burglars and broadsiders and backsliders and bastards and bollox and buffoons and landlords and layabouts and kiters and cutpurses and swindlers and sweat drippers and debt collectors and drubbers and tally men and tossers and sewage hounds and arse lickers and no-gooders and politicians and pie-dippers and chancers and swindlers and shitflic...
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Writing together – a novel experience (2)

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As promised in my last blog, authors Ann Evans and Robert D. Tysall answer questions today about their recent collaboration on writing the supernatural / thriller The Bitter End.  Why did you decide to collaborate? Rob: I had no choice. Ann said ‘you’re doing it’ so I did! It’s my fault for having the idea in the first place. Ann: Rob always comes up with great story ideas, but when he told me about this idea, I said I couldn’t write it. It was too deep and too dark. But he wouldn’t let the idea drop, so I made a start on the story and showed him. It wasn’t how he envisaged the story to go, so I said, right, we’re going to have to work on this one as a team. How did you decide the genre and ...
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Writing together – a novel experience (1)

Ann Evans and Rob Tysall
I don’t think I’d be very good as a co-author. I struggle to compile a shopping list with my husband without getting irritated, and as for joint authorship of friendly little missives on the Christmas and birthday cards we send out – don’t go there! So I’m always very impressed when I hear about two or more people collaborating on a novel – especially when it all works out and their work gets published. Even more so if they are – and remain – married. There are plenty of examples of successful collaborations. To start with a couple of married couples: there’s the British couple Nicci Gerrard and Sean French who write psychological thrillers together under the pseudonym Nicci French. There ar...
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Terminal Transit, Verse 1 – Work in Progress

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Hi Everyone Here’s the opening chapter of Terminal Transit, a novel I have been working on for a while. Terminal Transit tells the story of an ancient race of evil gods called the NotBeSpeak who are hell-bent on destroying the world. Their evil purpose is discovered by an elderly academic called Professor Amhalgaidh Mac an Bhaird who charges a young child called Inteachán to help him try and save the planet from total and utter destruction. Terminal Transit is set in Dublin, Ireland and the story is interwoven with Irish myth, history and religion resulting in a novel that is a compelling blend of HP Lovecraft and Tomb Raider. I’m posting the first few chapters over the coming days with a vi...
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A Bestseller’s tips for aspiring writers.

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Many of us dream of being writers (preferably famous ones) from an early age, and may even draft an opening chapter or two whilst still in primary school. Few of us, however,  will actually finish a novel before leaving school or college. Even fewer will get anything published at that age – even if our grannies think what we’ve done is absolutely brilliant. Some of us will sustain the dream into later life. Then, as the distractions of work and a growing family fall away, we pick up a pen and, with an optimism soon replaced by grim determination, many set-backs, rejection letters and, finally, a bit of luck (if we’re lucky!) complete a book that actually gets published. The older aspiring wr...
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The Entry Word 1.13

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‘Backwards,’ declares Jodocus Meaddowcraft. ‘Backwards now world-spinning. All progress halt. New histories writing.’ His voice is a terrible one, all wrath and gritty. ‘Not resting us ‘til world back beginning spin at start once more.’ Bartholomaus Hamson, Einav Dionisii, Mally Jaqueminet, Agatho Wagner, and Husniya Hindge agree. ‘My plan,’ crows Jodocus Meaddowcraft to the weary Assembly. ‘My heart-hope all ambition decided.’ Jodocus Meaddowcraft raises himself to a height hitherto not imagined and looms large across the floor of the UN Building. ‘My palace now begone foul fellows flee!!!!’ The delegates scattered with a mixture of fear for the future and relief from the experience. Origin...
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The Entry Word 1.12

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Husniya Hindge is twin and has an arm as long as a leg and a leg as long as an arm and no-one can be truly sure of her outlines as Husniya Hindge shimmers psychosuggestively to cause a distinct mental uncertainty among all of those unlucky enough to meet her. Imagine being defined by a vagueness. Then imagine that vagueness being further defined by yet more vagary and bewilderness. Husniya Hindge is also exceedingly open-minded and this only adds to the difficulties she presents to any dimension upon which she materializes. Original link
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The Entry Word 1.11

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Agatho Wagner is a proud-strutting myriapod full of mathematical magnificence expressed physically as troubling angles and lines. Resplendent. Repugnatorial. Agatho takes the utmost pleasure in obnoxion and fully appreciates the disgust by which he is defined across the varied planes. Agatho does not ever speak but writes instead long missives in a tiny hand with a fine-feathered quill and leaves them on the floor for you to try and avoid reading. Don’t ever read them on pain of death. Original link
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The Entry Word 1.10

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With a stench from beyond space and time Mally Jaqueminet appears. She is wreathed in rotting weeds. ‘Nihil her thing best,’ says Jodocus Meaddowcraft. ‘See shining eye danger her facing you. Malingering. Moody. Malevolent. Malicious. Magnificent. Murderous. Mean. Malodorous.’ Mally bows lows to the watching world. Jodocus Meaddowcraft continues. ‘Calamitous. Deadly. Dire. Noxious. Pernicious. Ruinous. Sinister. Threatening. Venomous. Vindictive. Woeful.’ Thesauritical in his approach, Jodocus Meaddowcraft delights in introducing the world to his world. Original link
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The Entry Word 1.9

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Another appears. Bulbous. Slime-lined. Mollusc. ‘Einav Dionisii,’ waves Jodocus Meaddowcraft. ‘Wrong all do. Evil only evil only ever.’ Einav clears his throat and begins to speak like the discord of a rusty orchestra. ‘More more agathokakological, gathered ones. A-G-A-T-H-O-K-A-K-O-L-O-G-I-C-A-L. Mainly leaning one way and then other but balanced overall.’ Jodocus Meaddowcraft begs to differ. ‘Balance not. Balance not.’ When Einav Dionisii smiles the world feels just a bit more glum. ‘Disagreatum est, felice! Disagreatum.’ Jodocus Meaddowcraft doesn’t approve of disagreement and demonstrates his disapproval by deigning to smile. ‘Not cross me, Bulbo! Not no never now!’ Save Original link
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The Entry Word 1.8

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‘Here Bartholomaus Hamson introducing,’ says Jodocus Meaddowcraft. ‘Lieutenant. Sidekick. Limb.’ Bartholomaus Hamson is an ugly brute of a manstrosity. ‘Herds Bartholomaus Hamson the Unslept,’ continues Jodocus Meaddowcraft. ‘Guidance divining crowd control.’ Bartholomaus Hamson offers his sleaziest of smiles. ‘Grin on, fine friend,’ says Jodocus Meaddowcraft. ‘Planet now feeling fear and not happiness.’ Bartholomaus Hamson begins to shuffle inconveniently and though the world could never know this is Bartholomaus Hamson expressing his joy at arriving through spontaneous dance. His dermatitis skin forms new flabs and folds and flakes as Bartholomaus gathers an unseemly pace. Original link
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The Entry Word 1.7

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The next morning. ‘I am obtuse from now forever,’ declares Jodocus Meaddowcraft. ‘We have seen enough of your foolish world to be anything other than annoyed for having been summoned through your stupidity.’ Jodocus smiles. ‘Furthermore, you will now find it hard to understand me when I speak.’ Another smile. ‘But just before that happens just always know that I only have your worst interests at heart. There can never be doubt with this.’ Jodocus Meaddowcraft clicks his fingers. ‘Sense now over gone forever hard speaking me confusion reigns misunderstanding.’ Original link
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The Entry Word 1.6

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‘There is a multitude of us,’ says Jodocus Meaddowcraft. ‘One after the other and then the next again forever now. More than you can count.’ ‘Behold the Unslept’ says Jodocus Meaddowcraft, pointing at the screen. ‘See how they play.’ Jodocus laughs. ‘Each one summoned by a mistyped search.’ The Assembly looks and what it sees chills to the bone. A hundred thousand million figures in perpetual tortured motion; fighting and climbing and dancing and jumping, in gangs and alone, all moving forever. The image is grainy but there was no doubt as to what the world is seeing, the end of itself. They begin materializing. All the shapes and sizes you can imagine. Many you cannot hope to. Original link
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The Entry Word 1.5

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‘I bet you don’t even know what I am?’ Jodocus Meaddowcraft continues. ‘Saint? Resurrect? Alien? Visitor? Deity? Destroyer? Saviour? Traveller?’ No one knows what to say to Jodocus Meaddowcraft. Advice is sought but not provided. ‘No whispering,’ whispers Jodocus Meaddowcraft loudly as delegates confer. ‘Do not talk amongst yourselves any longer. Only to me with the conditions I have outlined.’ Jodocus Meaddowcraft looks around. ‘This building is about to be off-limits to you all so please get ready to leave straightaway.’ Original link
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Are you in a Reading Slump?

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I’m not sure if it’s the hot weather, moral turpitude, or advancing years, but I’ve been struggling to read much recently. Reassuringly though, I have just read an on-line article from the Times and Sunday Times, and find I am not alone. Help is at hand so, if you are struggling too, here are some of the tips sent in by readers: 1 Read something short. The speedy sense of achievement will fill you with motivation to read more. 2 Reread a favourite childhood book to reconnect with the excitement of reading as a kid. 3 Try an audiobook. 4 Read a short-story collection. Easy to pick up and put down again. 5 Don’t feel guilty about abandoning books. Keep picking up new things until you find some...
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