Monday, May 23, 2011


Looks like I am going to have to eat crow on this one. (What a terrible expression, wonder where it comes from.) I've been reading about Amanda Hocking and her huge success via indie e-book publishing leading to a massive advance on her new YA series with a traditional publisher. Clever girl! I wish her well. It would appear that indie e-book publishing is the first real break for authors - in the master/slave relationship that is the publishing industry - since agents were invented. I'm afraid I don't see where writers' unions or associations have really mattered. They simply don't have the power. At the moment, the publishing industry is in a state of fear and chaos bordering on paralysis. They seem unable or unwilling to deal with the rapid advance of e-technology. Latest statistics show that e-book sales are passing regular book sales. We live in interesting times. If the publishers don't move with them, the writers must! Watch this space.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Here's a fabulous pic of Uisnech (I'm using the Old Irish spelling here instead of the modern Irish 'Uisneach') the most ancient of Ireland's royal and sacred sites, even older than Tara. It featured in The Singing Stone and now plays a central part in The Celtic Princess, both book and film. I found this on the Festival of Fires site, do have a look:

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Just finished Iris Murdoch's The Bell. As usual I found her characters tedious and repellent and their situations ridiculous and uninteresting and yet - as usual - I felt compelled to keep reading to the bitter end. I even find myself thinking about them still, just as I remember from time to time that bizarrely obsessive character in her The Sea, The Sea. The sign of a great writer. My one major complaint with this book: the use of the word 'rebarbative.' If she used it once, she used it seven times. Did she not notice? Did her editor not notice? Was it deliberate? The second time she used it I thought to myself, "there's that word again." By about the fifth time I thought "if I see that bloody word again I'll scream!" But sure enough it showed up a few more times, to my extreme annoyance. Conclusion: the word 'rebarbative' is, in itself, rebarbative. Is there a term for that, I wonder. Perhaps a form of onomatopoeia?