One of the questions I’m often asked when people find out I’m an author is: “What are your books about?” Such a simple question. I’ve tried many variations of answers. None are more than two sentences and usually I give only one because people’s eyes glaze if you try to give them more. I’ve so far failed to find a sentence that comes even close to properly describing the themes and subject matter of my novels. So… here is a longer answer for anyone who can cope with more than five second sound bites.
I have four groups of novels and novellas. The Daniel Series. The West Cork Trilogy, the historical with Prairie Companions and Skellig Testament and romantic erotic in the novellas. The standard genres don’t fit any of these well so I try to avoid them in descriptions.
The Daniel Series: Thrilling erotic romance based on non-conformist idealistic characters, Lauren, Bonny and Daniel Dawes. They are deeply drawn complex, compelling and real. The thriller element is based on the espionage activities two of the three are involved with. Historically accurate, these books reveal truths about Ireland and the Troubles, British collusion and secret service corruption. Other themes are sexual roles, love’s meaning, family issues raised by the four children, Dee, Kathy, Christine and David, that feature from birth to young adults. (These are NOT Irish ‘troubles’ books!) Irish readers tend to be offended by the stark glare of the Irish myth busting, anti-clerical, anti-tribal values of my protagonists. They live unconventional lives but are highly moral and strong in their defense of individual freedoms. Set in richly exotic locations in Ireland, North and South; England; France; Italy and Canada.
The West Cork Trilogy also features the characters from the Daniel series but they are secondary to the main characters. Surviving Beauty and Beauty’s Price feature a supernaturally beauty: Regan. We follow her life from age eight to young adulthood. The theme is the exploitation and abuse of her beauty perpetrated by her father who sells her image on the internet. Other subjects attacked are clerical child abuse and political apathy and immorality. All this is seen through the eyes of DI Jim Burrows who rescues Regan and with his wife Biddy offers her a new future.
Blue Sky Orphan features Bonny, Lauren and Daniel again but again in supportive roles. The main character is a high flying and feisty pilot, Emma. Again, the sub theme is family sexual abuse survival. Emma has buried her history and as this begins to surface she begins to take increasingly dangerous risks. Her husband Peter along with Bonny Dawes will help her survive this.
The Prairie Companions follows the intrepid pair Clara and Pat from England in 1905 to their adventures on the great Canadian prairies as wheat growers. This saga is character led like all my books. It’s also a romance as the companions, Pat and Clara, seek sexual freedom among the native Cree people of the plains. There is a link with the Daniel series and the trilogy as Pat is Daniel’s great aunt and he meets her in 1967 shortly before her death. All these novels have story lines that link characters or events.
The other historic novella is the about to be released Skellig Testament. This is a fiction/factual account of the life of the monk who may have started the isolated monastic settlement on the remote and isolated island of Skellig off the Kerry coast of Ireland. It begins in the year 650.
The other published novellas are: Animal and Leotie, Flower of the Prairie. Animal is an erotic romance about a sexually supercharged young woman. Eva suffers intense loneliness as result of the way her striking beauty intimidates men. The repressive and brutal treatment at the hands of her elderly father has given her a debilitating speech defect. She meets Ian who overcomes his nervousness and offers her liberation by acceptance of her defects and sexual preferences.
Leotie is an unusual experimental story that features the characters Leotie, a Cree girl and Aaron a Scots/Irish man. We first meet them in San Francisco in 1967. Then we meet them again in 1650, and then at different time periods past and future. It’s mystic and spiritual, erotic and romantic.
The next novella is another sweet erotic romance called Rachel’s Walk. This follows Christopher who lets crushing shyness stop him pursuing the nextdoor school girl of his dreams. Later as adults they meet again. She has transformed herself from the overweight schoolgirl he knew into a powerful woman, a serious bodybuilder with a dangerous career in the military. Another look at sexual roles and role reversal.
The next novels will be a trilogy called The Butterfly Effect. These called: Bonny, Lauren and Daniel play with butterfly effect idea to set these three on completely new life courses to that explored in the Daniel series.
Go on… buy one and review it and make me very happy.
March 2nd to 8th a selection of my eBooks on Smashwords are 75% off!
Visit and use the coupon codes to pick up a great read at a great price.
Surviving Beauty, Beauties Price, Blue Sky Orphan, The West Cork Trilogy Omnibus and The Prairie Companions are all available with coupon code: REW75.
From the Daniel Series the thrilling Grip is free with code: REW100.
I want to mark the passing of a hero of mine or rather an anti-hero. Tony Crook died on the 21st Jan this year at a considerable age. His name and passing will be marked and mourned by a rather exclusive group of people. They are owners or fans of the Bristol motorcar. That brand is little known but much respected by those that do know. The company grew out of the Bristol aircraft company after the Second World War. Based at Filton Aerodrome, Bristol , the company founded by Sir George White, began manufacturing a car loosely based on a BMW design appropriated as war reparations. That first car, the 400 was unremarkable and even retained the distinctive BMW kidney grill on the front. Bristol artisans and engineers well schooled in the fine demands of aircraft design and manufacture improved the detail and metallurgy of the BMW to new standards. That aircraft influence became more obvious on the next model, the 401. This had an all new body, that was for very many years, the most aerodynamically efficient production car ever built. It looked like the product of an aircraft company and gathered a loyal band of enthusiastic owners. There followed the 403 which refined the concept even more. Around this time a certain gentleman racer called Anthony Crook, was earning his spurs as a considerable driving talent, often driving cars fitted with the Bristol 2ltr 6cyl engine that was to be found in formula two racers and various sports racing cars.Tony Crook eventually took ownership of Bristol Cars in 1973 and under his guidance the company continued to develop the 400 series cars right up to very recent times. The big change came when Chrysler V8 engines were introduced in the 407 to replace the wonderful but now outdated 6cyl Bristol unit. The cars became even faster and more gentleman’s express, less high spirited sporting coupe. Mr. Crook was said to be a difficult and opinionated gentleman who was known to have guided potential customers, who he deemed unsuited to Bristol ownership, towards a common Bentley or even a Jaguar. I never met the man myself but I did aspire to own one of his cars.
I finally did this with the purchase of a 1977 Bristol 412 s1. This rather odd looking cabriolet was perhaps the least respected of the Bristol cars. It was rather too compromised to be truly great, never the less, it offered the leather and wood ambiance and four large seats of any other Bristol. It’s 7.2 V8 made it fast and effortless. Brigitte and I had some glorious trips in the car. Best, being the blast through France to it’s natural stamping ground in the Cote d Azure. Hood-down over the Grand Cornice from Nice to Monte Carlo and a tootle round the Monaco Grand Prix circuit being a notable highlight.
Tony Crook passed ownership of Bristol to new owner a few years back and unfortunately that marked the end of the old company. It slipped and flailed. Now rescued and owned by The Fraser Nash Company it might yet come back. Read the rest of this entry »
I was within two chapters of finishing my latest work: Bonny. The Butterfly Effect.
I was up to about 110k words and aiming for 130k. But I was straining. It was like pulling teeth and I knew that meant there was something wrong.
Usually when I’ve got the creative buzz on, the words flow easy – I get into the zone and it just flows. Not this time.
I stopped writing and pondered. Then I put it on the back burner and bubbled the thing for a week. Then one morning I woke up with an ugly truth there in my consciousness. I needed to do great slaughter to my babies. Lots of them. Infanticide no less.
I was struggling because the story had taken a wrong path. I was forcing it down plot paths it didn’t want to go. Trying to make it conform to certain ideas I’d had when the thing was in the creative gestation period.
It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done – I threw away two thirds of the text. Killed most of it. I’m in mourning now and cannot go back to the remains of the corpse unit that grieving is done. Read the rest of this entry »
This is creativefluxmedia’s lovely film of me reading an extract from my best selling novel The Prairie Companions.
This was recently issued in a revised edition with a new cover and extensive re-writes.
It is my ‘great novel’ and the one I’m most proud of.
Certain words and phrases have the capacity to give delight. For each of us there is variation based on dialect and familiarity. What will bring a smile to me, may bring puzzlement to a US friend or even a near neighbour in England. Most of us share a delight in unusual expressions so I’d like to share a few that are personal to me and which come mostly from Ireland, North and South (Yes there are big differences even on this small island.) There is a whole dialect in the North, Ulster, which is labeled Scots-Irish. This is very distinct and almost unique to just those six counties. Lowland Scots in Dumfries and Galloway will share and understand much of this dialect that is close to a language on its own.
I’ll give you an example here. It’s mind bogglingly hard to translate: “Ear boyo fatch thon ween oh pags fernenst the shuck” = Here boy, fetch those few pigs near the ditch.
Closer to where I now live. I heard this today in Tipptown (Tipperary town centre.) A mother to her two small children: “Com-ear-tee-me. Wod yee ever stop actin de maggot, yees are gettin fur too giddy now.” = Come here to me. Would you cease acting likes wriggling fly larva. You two are getting too dizzy and busy. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been a fair few years since Brigitte and I spent a Christmas day alone and at home. This year we decided to focus on having a great meal and fine wines. When there are but two of us to please, we can do that without compromise. Inspiration for the main course meal came from a TV program presented by Tom Kerridge. This is unusual for me since I don’t usually follow recipes. In this case, I followed his broad strokes but added a few of my own variations. Read the rest of this entry »