Nov 30, 2012

Locked Within Blog Tour: Karen Jones Gowen

It's the end of the run. The Locked Within Blog Tour is coming to a close. It's been great to talk about the many influences I've had in my writing, and how I worked though different challenges to create the final book.

I hope everyone's enjoyed these posts, and more importantly that everyone who has read or will read Locked Within, whether you buy it for yourself or receive it as a gift this Christmas, enjoys the book. It was a joy to write and work on over the last several years, and my biggest hope right now is that enough people want to see what happens next, after the final page.

With that in mind, I'm ending the tour at Karen Jones Gowen's blog, Coming Down the Mountain. I'm there to let everyone know that there are still monsters in the world. There are still dark things hiding in the shadows. But don't worry, because Nathan Shepherd will return...

Nov 29, 2012

Locked Within Blog Tour: Ellen J Miller

I'm going to miss having these blog tour posts to look forward to. I wrote them all so long ago that I find I've forgotten what I said in most of them, and it's nice to re-read them now.

Today I'm at the blog of a friend of mine from my online gaming days, Ellen J Miller, talking about how to make the supernatural feel natural.

Nov 28, 2012

Locked Within Blog Tour: Roni Loren

The tour is almost over, but I've still got some stops with some great bloggers before the end.

Today I'm at Roni Loren's blog, talking about romance and reincarnation.

Nov 27, 2012

Locked Within Blog Tour: Audrey Lockwood

The Kindle edition of Locked Within is currently available for free, and I know this tends to cause a spike in downloads, so I figured I'd take a chance and look at its current ranking.

As I write this post, Locked Within is ranked #654 for Free Kindle, #13 for Contemporary Fantasy, and #6 for Occult Horror! I'm dumbstruck. Does this mean I can call myself a bestseller?

On to business. The chat client for Saturday's Q&A is set up. You'll see a new "Chat" page above, and all you need to do is sign in as per the instructions on the page. You can even sign in, then reserve your nickname for yourself for future use, just by entering /msg NickServ REGISTER followed by your password and e-mail address. Then when you want to login with that nickname, you use /msg NickServ IDENTIFY followed by your password.

The Q&A will start at 8pm GMT, and finish up around 11pm. I'll leave the chat client in place afterwards, so it can be used for future online events or if people ever want to get in touch through it.

Also, on today's blog tour stop, I'm with Audrey Lockwood, talking about how to write a book like it's a movie.

Nov 26, 2012

Q&A Name Draw

Hi everyone. This is the final week of the Locked Within Blog Tour. I hope you've enjoyed the posts, and meeting the different bloggers who were kind enough to host me.

I'll have final details about where to go to join Satuday night's Q&A chat this week, but I wanted to announce that every person attending will be eligible to enter a draw on the night.

The winner of this draw will have a minor character in the second book named after them, who will help Nathan out of a tough situation.

To enter, all you have to do, between now and the end of the Q&A session on Saturday night, is send an e-mail to with the subject "Name Draw" and answer the following question:

What is the name of the park where Nathan meets Roland?

Nov 23, 2012

Locked Within Blog Tour: Amy Saia

The next stop on the Locked Within Blog Tour is an interview with my fellow WiDo author, Amy Saia.

Nov 21, 2012

Locked Within Blog Tour: Louise Phillips

Hey everybody! Today I'm doing some word association with Louise Phillips, author of Red Ribbons.

Nov 19, 2012

Locked Within Blog Tour - Elizabeth Craig

On today's blog tour stop, I'm over at Mystery Writing is Murder, talking about planning my trilogy.

Nov 16, 2012

Book Launch

Edit to add: Today's stop on the Locked Within Blog Tour sees me with Talli Roland, talking about myth and inspiration.

Last week I celebrated the release of Locked Within with a launch party in Hughes and Hughes in Dundrum.

When I was growing up I had all these dreams of what it would be like to become an author. I imagined my friends and family being excited for me, supporting me every step of the way. I imagined a crowd of people gathered around me to hear about my book, all eager to get a signed copy. Going in to the store last week, I was a little worried that it wouldn't live up to my expectations.

I can tell you now, it did not live up to my expectations.

It surpassed them.

The launch was one of the best nights of my life. I haven't smiled so much and so freely since my wedding day. My wife and I arrived early, with the books (there had been a couple of problems meaning the store couldn't get stock in on time so I provided a limited amount and the store was ready to take orders when it ran out), and got settled. Some friends who had agreed to help out arrived shortly after; Ciara, who offered to take pictures of the event, Imogene who I'd asked to act as MC, and Fleur, who provided wine. We also had another friend, Beth, who was over from the UK for the launch and staying with us.

We got set up and my dad arrived with a projector and screen to show the book trailer on a loop during the night. I was given a small table with a few books displayed on it, while the staff set aside pre-ordered copies and put the rest on a larger display table in full view of the entrance.

Then the people began to arrive, and it all gets a little blurry. A line quickly formed with people eager to get their copies signed, more than one commenting on how awesome it was that they had to wait their turn to talk to a friend!

The books sold out in no time, and when nearly everyone's copies had been signed, Imogene called everything to order and introduced Ron Callan, one of my lecturers from UCD. Having never met him, she spoke about how I'd described him to her. A great teacher, brimming with knowledge but so engaging as a speaker he would always leave you eager to hear more. A friend, who always had time for his students even at a moment's notice. The man who handed me by college degree. I'd told Imogene that having him launch the book felt like a rite of passage, and she repeated this. I nearly cried.

Then Ron started speaking. He had read Locked Within and loved it. He talked about how the book crossed genres; a detective story, a mystery, a thriller, horror, and evolving towards epic as Nathan's journey continued. He described the meaning he found in the names of characters, the idea of New York as a city so young, yet so powerful, and how he felt that I was very young to know so much and be able to express it. I couldn't believe it. I was hearing my favourite college teacher give a mini-lecture on a book I had written. I had never felt so honoured. I nearly cried again.

Finally, before I said my thanks to everyone who had helped me and supported me along my way, Imogene said a few more words. She opened with a quote from the song Alive. I've spoken before about how much this song means to me. She said "Let the end of the world come tumbling down, I'll be the last man standing on the ground. And if my shadow's all that survives, I'm still alive," then asked everyone to close their eyes for a moment. In that time, she said, for some people, entire worlds had sprung to life, with people and events never before imagined coming into being. She introduced me as one of those people. For the third time that night, I nearly cried.

I've never been more glad to have made notes of what to say and who to thank, because after all that I could never have managed to speak spontaneously in front of everyone gathered around me. I thanked the store, all the guests who came, my crit partners and beta readers, my other teachers who had guided my creative side and had managed to come to the launch, my parents, and of course, my wife Jen. On the day we met, I told her I wanted to be a writer.

Now I am.

Nov 15, 2012

Locked Within Blog Tour: Landing Interview

I've got a bonus post today! I'm being interviewed over at Tales From The Landing Bookshelves!

Nov 14, 2012

Locked Within Blog Tour: Nenad Ristic

Today I'm with Nenad Ristic, talking about fight scenes!

Nov 12, 2012

Locked Within Blog Tour: Guest Post at Pink Tea and Paper

The launch for Locked Within was a great success! I'll do a post about it this week, but for today, I'm continuing my blog tour with a stop at Ellen Brickley's blog, Pink Tea and Paper.

Nov 8, 2012

Guest Post - Janice Hardy

Today's the day of my book launch, and to help celebrate, I'm over on Janice Hardy's blog, The Other Side of the Story, talking about first steps.

Nov 6, 2012

Release Day!

Today is the official release date for Locked Within! I've wanted this all my life and now it's here I can hardly believe it.

Still can't get enough of this cover, I love it!
Thursday night is the launch party in Hughes and Hughes in Dundrum. The number of people who've said they can come has left me absolutely staggered. I'm so grateful for the support I've had, from my family, friends, my publisher, the online community, and even people who don't know me but know a friend or relative and want to come along.

On Friday I'll be hosting the virtual launch over Twitter, which should be a lot of fun. I'll be broadcasting a reading from the book as part of it. I'm currently torn between using Youtube or for the feed. If anyone has any advice on this, I'd love to hear it.

Today is also the start of the Locked Within Blog Tour! Today I'm over at Writer In Waiting, being interviewed by Dawn Alexander. Stop over and say hi!

Nov 1, 2012

The Credits Roll

Here I am, just 7 days from the launch of my first novel.

Wow. As much as this is the beginning of something new and amazing for me, it's also an ending. In the movies, the struggling artist's story always ends when they make it. They play the big concert. They get a standing ovation for a theater performance. They walk out onto the red carpet of their movie premier.

For most authors, a book launch is the closest we get to that. In a week's time, I'll stand up in front of friends, family, and supporters I haven't even met yet, and thank them. Because without people to appreciate it, art has no meaning.

Sitting on a shelf, a book is just sheets of ink and paper, held together with a chemically-produced adhesive. But when someone opens that book and looks at the words, it comes to life. Whole worlds are created every day, not by the writers, but by the readers. Their imaginations are what make the words live. They are why I now get to do this.

These past few weeks, I've talked about how I developed Locked Within, where Nathan Shepherd came from, and how he has changed and grown, as I have, through this journey. Some people would say I've had a rough time of it. I was a victim of bullying. I've watched people turn on me. I've lost a son. But my god, I have so much to be thankful for.

I was 12 years old when I decided I wanted to be a writer. I had no idea how to do it, or even the slightest clue about how to tell a story. I just knew, more than I've known anything else, that this was what I wanted to do with my life. 20 years later, I've made that dream come true. I have a wife, a happy home with two gorgeous dogs, the love and support of friends and family, and twins on the way. I wouldn't trade my life for anything in the world.

I feel like I've made it to the end credits. I always figured that if my life had a song for that, it would be something like St Elmo's Fire, above. Life's given me some hard lessons. They did break the boy in me, as the song goes, but they won't break the man. Whatever else life has in store for me, I have this. There is a book out there with my name on it. And I hope it's making people happy.

Thank you, everyone who has followed me this far. I hope you'll stick around to follow me to the next chapter.