David Rory O'Neill

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Keep Calm, It’s Only Creative Evolution.

Posted by David Rory O'Neill on July 23, 2014

Creative DNA

Creative DNA

The process of writing has one characteristic that most writers will know; it evolves over time and can be frustratingly unpredictable in how that evolution plays out.

Sometimes there is the dreaded block as a contrast to the good times when the flow is easy and satisfying. There is the tooth pulling one sentence at a time grind. There is the inspired spark that brings a smile that strengthens the will to write.

This process of change over time can bring fear and worry as we struggle with real or imagined deadlines or try to maintain our daily word count. There is much advice both free and purchased to help us cope but the truth is there is no need for fear or worry. Just accept the changes. Accept the inevitability and indeed the benefits of this evolutionary process.

If one writes formulaic cliche ridden pulp fiction, one can expect to face fewer such changes. Just churn away and try not to hear the whispers of creative guilt nagging in the background.

If one strives and constantly reaches for ever better prose and ever richer depth and imagery, then the evolution will be jerky and at times painful. Fret not, this is as it should be.

Relax and let it happen. Be patient and kind to yourself. Accept the dry days when the words won’t be found and the plot escapes. Don’t panic and cherish the overall desire to keep writing. The flow will come back when it’s good and ready and the imaginative juices that bubble away in the background have done their cooking. Then we will get the smile again.

So keep calm and let evolution work it’s magic.

 

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The Midi-venture.

Posted by David Rory O'Neill on July 18, 2014

Strangford Narrows

Strangford Narrows

We have three classes of adventure: Mini-venture, Maxi-venture and Midi-venture. A mini is confined to one day. Midis are up to one week and Maxi any more than that. Maxis tend to involve long plane trips and hire cars such as our recent three-week trip to Virginia and New York.

TopplessThis most recent Midi was the first trip in our new toy: A Peugeot 306 Cabriolet that has acquired the name: Prim-pretty-pug. A convertible or soft-top car is the supreme gawping tool here in Ireland – when it’s dry. Too hot and the hood must go up to protect the fair skinned but fortunately too hot isn’t something we do here often.

Cottage and new toy.

Cottage and new toy.

 

 

View of narrows from cottage.

View of narrows from cottage.

We booked three nights in an Airbnb cottage on the shores of Strangford Lough in County Down, Northern Ireland. It proved to be a perfect retreat; comfortable, beautifully located and close to some stunning scenery best viewed from a slow driven Prim-Pug. The weather was mostly kind-we had only one day when the top had to be up.

Audley's Castle on the shore walk.

Audley’s Castle on the shore walk.

Those are the facts: here are the impressions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hibernation.

Posted by David Rory O'Neill on July 5, 2014

Butterfly-03I’ve been in social media hibernation for almost six months. But I’ve emerged from my chrysalis: The Butterfly Effect Trilogy is reborn with a whole new plot line and new energy. This will be my ‘East of Eden’. My big book, my last big push to get all that’s in me, and all I have learned into a big book. (Well, three books but in my mind it’s one 400,000 word body.)

I intend to use my familiar characters Bonny, Lauren and Daniel to scream my indignation at the world. The themes will be huge and will include all the dangers and threats of East v West. Fundamentalism v Rationalism. Individual v State and above all, the tricks and political veil used to blind us will be lifted for any who cares to see. This will not be a political rant – but rather a subtext in an exciting espionage/ romantic/thriller, literary fiction trilogy.

My hibernation was a deliberate decision and enabled me to recover. It was not a health issue but rather one of creative energy .

In February this year I posted about the crisis I suffered and the drastic solution: http://wp.me/p18yK8-rG. I called it ‘Creative Infanticide’; a rather dramatic title admittedly but it was a dramatic moment in my writing life. I threw away an almost complete novel and stopped the ongoing processes for the two that were to follow in the Butterfly Effect Trilogy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Skellig Inspiration

Posted by David Rory O'Neill on June 15, 2014

The cover.

Skellig Testament.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The body of this post was first put up more than a year ago. That trip inspired me to write a new novella based on a question that I had then: What makes a man choose to go live on a rock on the sea? Out of that rose Skellig Testament, my latest work. It was designed to be sold in the Skellig Experience Visitors Centre on Valencia Island.

Yesterday Brigitte and I had a wonderful drive round the ring of Kerry in beautiful sunshine to deliver the first books to the centre.

The Skellig Experience.

The Skellig Experience.

John O'Sullivan

John O’Sullivan

John O’Sullivan the manager there, made us most welcome and will be offering the book exclusively in his bookshop.

The centre is well worth a visit if you are ever on the ring of Kerry or are planning the sea trip out to the island of Skellig Michael. The ancient monastic settlement is a world heritage site and is jaw-droppingly deserving of the distinction.

The original post:

It was a steamy tropical land south of the equator; swamps, mountains, high rainfall, a primal jungle teaming with the land-pioneers – insects. Amphibians came ashore to harvest the vegetation and insects and some evolved to stay on land. They were the very first vertebrates to colonise the land; lizard-like Tetrapods crawling and slithering through the mud. The high rain fall brought floods of silt from the mountains, quickly filling and burying the tracks of the Tetrapod.

Grandads foot prints.

Grandads foot prints.

Over the millennia those tracks became encased in sedimentary rocks and those rocks moved. The great planetary upheavals that saw tectonic plates pull  the land apart causing it to drift across the mantle north and east and west until the earth-shapes we know now, were created. Erosion and more upheaval revealed the place where the Tetrapod roamed. His tracks exposed to the curious eye of one of his distant evolutionary off -spring. Another vertebrate, very recently evolved upon the earth, stood and gazed in wonder at the track in the rock and saw that this was special. Experts descended and applied their science and with awe they proclaimed: These are the oldest known in-situ footprints on this earth.

Tetrapod sign

Tetrapod sign

Now on the most westerly tip of the old-world, the edge of Europe, Valencia Island, County Kerry, Ireland – I stand and gaze at these tracks and am awestruck by their significance and puzzled by the fact that on a busy holiday weekend in August, in glorious sunshine, B and I are alone. There is no line of people waiting to see this wonder. There are no others here to see the marks of our ancestor and wonder at the passage of such a vast amount of time – 385 million years!  We are always alone when we come here.

Skelligs

Skelligs

The island crawls with visitors and tourists but they are here to see much more recent marvels; the monastic building on the remote Skellig isles; the site where Saint Brendan the navigator baptised islanders; the place where the Great Eastern set sail to lay the second attempt at a transatlantic telegraph cable; the radio and metrological site where Marconi’s work bore fruit.

Blooming hedgerows.

Blooming hedgerows.

Valencia and the Skellig coast are truly beautiful and full of history. We come here to recharge out batteries every few years. It’s an easy two and half hour drive from home but we usually stay over in some friendly B&B.

View from guest house.

View from guest house.

This time it was the Calafont with it’s wonderful views over the sound from Portmagee to Valencia.

The chrdh

The Fitzgerald chuch. Knights of Kerry.

Lived and died for empire.

Lived and died for empire.

As we wandered in the old church yard, where so many who served the British Empire on the remote Valencia radio and cable station worked and died, I was struck by the thought that this island should be world famous for the awesome Tetrapod tracks. The evidence in rock of the miracle of evolution that lead to the birth of creatures that could span the earth with first their cables, then radio and now the instant medium carrying these words – is that not truly awe inspiring?  Where are the queues of keen young minds wanting to see the wonder of their distant ancestor’s tracks? They are instead marvelling at the work of monks who built a doomed edifice on a sharp rock in a hostile sea to escape earthly things and there to worship myths and legends that violently divided people then and still do.  Those monks didn’t look far enough back in time to find the majesty and awe inspiring works of creation in this place.  They couldn’t see. We can, so why do we not see? Why do we stand on the edge of the old world and gaze with wonder at the great ocean and the new world beyond and prefer myths and legends, man-made from ignorance, to the wonder and majesty of life here at our feet?

Look again at the 385 million year old foot prints.

Look again at the 385 million year old foot prints.

Read the rest of this entry »

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The American Dream

Posted by David Rory O'Neill on June 2, 2014

We recently returned from a much anticipated three week trip to Virginia and New York City. I’ve tried to do a blog post about it since we came home but found I could not do it. This is my very emotional response to both the trip and my reactions since. I make no apology but there are powerful sentiments here and I hope my US readers will be as generous as their natures usually are and see these words are written with love and concern.

Thomas Jefferson and I.

Thomas Jefferson and I.

 

These feelings first rose in me as I stood beside a life size Thomas Jefferson at his historic home, Monticello, near our base at Charlottesville.

The American Dream.

We dreamed of John Wayne tall, James Stewart laconic, Gregory Peck noble in iconic places.

Places filmed by Hollywood factory dream makers. Dreams of cowboys and Indians and Sitting Bull Custer battles won by the good bad guys with bigger guns. Seas of buffalos destroyed so Sioux starved and fought battles they could not win against railroads and Gatling guns.

The great western myths John Forded on screens to make the nasty truths pretty and scenic and the genocides swallowable by the great penny-seat boys of far-away lands where our grandfathers brothers sail to seek the dream and the nightmares of Ellis Island and the Bowery and the fleeing west to manifest destiny.

Then the John Wayne heroes came East to save us in the wars that they won alone without us. They wrote the history in the films as they made new truth and fed it to us on flickering screens and our fathers said, “You’d think they did it alone. My war was myth. My war didn’t have the blessing of the screen heroes.”

And my mother stabs at him with her broken dream: “I could have married a Yank and gone with him back to…”

And I think: “ Why didn’t you. You silly fifteen year-old swept away by the stockings and chocolate GI wealth that got your knickers off so easily.”

The dreams of America, all Eliot Ness all Capone tommy-gun blood soaked streets and the dollar is God King and Queen.

The dollar beckons the failed out the skyscraper windows to crash into Wall Street ruined and crushed, but JP Morgan builds empires and collects all the great books of the world with his mighty dollar.

Henry Ford builds a new way for men to be slaves and fills them with desire to be that so they can buy a Ford and another and another every year new, never old. The old are for the other slaves free in name but not free – the clan and the burning crosses and the nobility of Paul Robeson ‘Old man river’s’ us on the radio and Nat King Cole croons so mothers swoon but wouldn’t want their daughters marrying one all the same.

The great divide remains and the blues and jazz cry to us across the seas and we glimpse the other dream – the Martin Luther King dream and the shattered dreams of Dealey Plaza and Dallas and the lies and cover-ups and the state machine that serves the dollar-King grinds on and wars and wars and Vietnam nightmares into our lives and changes it all forever and the invincible myth explodes and leaves the dream shaken.

I Love Lucy tells us all is well and Tricky Dicky Watergates into myth and another nail gets driven into the dreams and “These truths we hold to be self evident…” are not so evident and they never really were since Jefferson did not mean all men, only men like me, our kind, our class, our color and our race.

Manifest destiny and guns, lots of guns for sale in flea markets to anyone with the dollar. Guns to enforce manifest destiny on those who do not have the dollars or those who try to get them by foul means or those who resist or disagree or bully in school and create angry children with guns to kill their classmates and teachers or snipe at strangers but the dream says – we must be free to carry arms to protect ourselves from … the nightmare.

The dream has run to fat… so much fat, so much excess and troughs of self-service breakfast cafes with fat people and piled plates of fat food from factories that need people to be fat to sell them more fat palm sugar corn-starch saturated fats.

The dream is supermarkets stuffed with processed foods. Not real, not whole foods but products from factories with added value and added salt and sugar and added fats and added dollars.

They wheel their oversize trolley to their oversize SUVs and still their oversize children with DVD’s in the headrests and chips coke and chocolate stuffing their faces to silence, the hyperactivity fed by the sugars and E number colors and additives that the factories make while adding value to stuff no human needs.

The dream is cheese that is one molecule away from being plastic spread on burgers that are ten percent whole meat and ninety-percent ears cock asshole and saturated bleached fats hydrogenated and added as value to burgers costing two cents to make more dollars for Ronald to add a bigger grin to his smirking manifest destiny.

The dream is rush rush, rush hyped on coffee rush to work and making dollars for more, more more, more what? More SUVs stuffed with stuffed kids and stuffed fathers with guns in their rack and pride on their John Deere caps and dreams of old west and cowboys that were real men.They hunt and they hunt bears but don’t eat bears but their cocks are made hard by the real-men cowboy myths and they try to forget the truth of the fat that stops them seeing their cocks over their fat bellies stuffed not with bear, but hydrogenated fat and pigs dick and lettuce.

The dream is shattered by the reality of what we see and we leave confused and sad and wondering how anyone can live with the illusion that the dream is real.

We leave happy with the warm people we met and the friendly brave folk who live the dream and see the dream and hope the dream may yet be made real.

We leave stimulated by the iconic enormity of it all and the art and the grandeur and we try not to see what made JP Morgan’s huge book collection or the commercial whore that is the 9/11 memorial.

We leave glad to have seen it and glimpsed the glory of what the dream could be if only the people could wake up from the nightmare.

 

 

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Niche Marketing.

Posted by David Rory O'Neill on May 22, 2014

The cover.

The cover.

Some time ago while sitting on a sea cliff looking at the utterly astonishing Skellig Islands, I fell to pondering what motivated men to build a monastery on these remote rocks around the year 650. That fascination led to an imaginative story called Skellig Testament. An historically accurate but fictional first person account of one of the monks who built that monastic retreat.

It had always been my intention to market this book locally in the Skellig Experience Visitors Center and other local outlets. There will be no eBook version and I will not market it elsewhere although it will be available through Amazon and the Createspace shop.

I will continue to look for interesting niche markets like this to sell work aimed at a small audience. That audience may later read some of my back catalog and that will be an added bonus.

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Publishing services.

Posted by David Rory O'Neill on May 20, 2014

Thinking of Publishing?

Thinking of Publishing?

I am a member of ALLi – the Alliance of Independent Authors. One aim of this alliance is to raise standards and help people produce work that is as good, or more often, better than mainstream press. One way we do this is to offer mentoring to other members. I am in the middle of such a mentoring exercise with a talented new author.  This has been a steep learning curve for her and surprisingly me too. I thought I knew most of what was needed to produce good quality work but I am learning that I must not assume an author has any knowledge of the technical, formatting and copy editing needed to produce high quality results.

One tends to forget one’s own long journey. I’ve been an Indi publisher/author for more than ten years and have acquired a great reserve of hard won and often painfully earned knowledge.

It was always my intention to use my imprint to provide publishing services to new authors.

The time has come to take that step.

There are many publishing services out there, some are infamously bad and most are stupidly expensive. My service will be tailored to the requirements of individual authors. There will be no standard charges. Every writer needs a different level of help and each needs a different commitment from me. Each has a different budget and some have none. So I will offer the service needed at a price that suits the need and the ability to pay. That may include profit sharing – ho hum- that’s a risk for me. Most Indi authors make no profit.

So if you simply must get your work out there and want to ensure the best possible standard for the budget you have, then contact me and we will see what we can do.

davidrory2@gmail dot com

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“What are your books about then?”

Posted by David Rory O'Neill on March 10, 2014

cropped-bannerwp5.jpgOne 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. 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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Read an Ebook Week,

Posted by David Rory O'Neill on March 1, 2014

Read an eBook week.

Read an eBook week.

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.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/category/1/newest/1

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.

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Mark the passing.

Posted by David Rory O'Neill on February 13, 2014

Tony Crook in Bristol 412

Tony Crook in Bristol 412

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.

My 412 by John-Wickart.

My 412 by John-Wickart.

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 »

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