Jan 30, 2014


Bit of background on this.

Recently, a guest on a show on RTE referred to members of the Iona Institute as homophobic. You can find details on the story here:


Here's the thing. Homophobia is defined as aversion and prejudice towards gay people. To believe that non-cissexual people are inherently less capable of being good parents, or don't deserve to have their unions recognised under law, is prejudice.

Some people claim that a child needs a mother and a father to grow up in a healthy, loving environment.

Some people claim that the only definition of marriage, often citing the Bible or another religious source, is between a man and a woman, and back this claim up by stating that marriage is to allow for the creation of children, in the "ideal" family arrangement as described above.

I find it funny, and not in the good way, that these arguments only come out when someone wants to argue against marriage and adoption rights for gay people. These groups never argue that a single parent shouldn't be left to care for a child. They never insist that married couples should be forced to have children, or that people who can't have children, or simply don't want to, should be prevented from marrying.

These arguments are all readily produced when it comes to denying rights to gay people, but quickly tucked away before they can be followed to their logical conclusion. To say nothing of the fact that there is no evidence that children raised by same-sex parents have any disadvantages to those raised by a man and a woman. And without even going near the fact that the definition of marriage in the Bible, so vehemently defended, has changed over time based on the demands of society.

There is no other way to regard the views of the Iona Institute as anything but prejudice against homosexuals. Therefore, by definition, the organisation's views and goals are homophobic.

Did we really need our state broadcaster to shatter any concept of being an unbiased source of information, and hand over taxpayers' money to an organisation dedicated to ideals that run counter to those of a significant portion of the populace?

Jan 28, 2014

Writing Without Sleep

As wonderful as my kids are, I will never miss the lack of sleep that comes with the first weeks of parenthood.

The hardest part isn't getting up for work (though that's no picnic...) or having the energy to take care of my children, because they energise me like nothing else. No, the hard part is managing my writing time.

It's a holdover from when writing was a hobby, just another way to spend my free time. It can be tough to think of it seriously, as an important priority.

My usual writing time is during my lunch in work, supplemented with a couple of hours on weekend mornings. At the moment I've been indulging in a shiny new computer I treated myself to, and playing some video games on weekend mornings.

And I've been trying really hard not to nod off on my lunch hours in work.

Things will have the kick into a higher gear soon, as I start my edits on Final Hope and Lady Raven.

Of course, I've learned my lessons from last year, and as much as I want to be able to write all day, every day, I know my body and mind need time to rest. I can't spend all my waking hours writing if I'm only getting maybe 4 hours of sleep a night, total. So I relax, I enjoy my chillout time watching tv with my wife, or playing video games while the rest of the house is asleep. Importantly, I do it guilt-free, because I know all too well that I need to take whatever rest I can get when I can get it.

Over the next few weeks I'll be solidifying my plans for the release of Lady Raven, letting you all know how I find the self-publishing process. What'll be really interesting is seeing how I juggle this with my traditional-publishing work. Of course, anything I'm on a contract for has to take priority over things I'm only working on myself, and I won't let my Nathan Shepherd fans down. I promise this is going to be a great year for my stories, seeing the end of one, and the start of so many more!

Jan 23, 2014

Beneath The Black Flag

Today, I thought I'd share a song by Miracle of Sound, which became the main inspirational theme for Lady Raven while I was writing it.

Since Cora becomes a pirate, I listened to a lot of sea shanty-style songs and considered how pirate culture would work in the series.

I'll be revisiting the song closer to Lady Raven's release, but for now sit back and enjoy!

Jan 21, 2014

Lady Raven

I've started receiving feedback from my Lady Raven beta readers. It's coming in slow, but it's giving me a lot to think about before sending the book to my editor.

I'm still self-publishing this one, and it's scary as all hell, so I'm taking my time and making sure I know exactly what I'm doing. I've found out about some great low-cost options for internal formatting, and I'll be working with a photographer friend on cover art.

With this, Final Hope on the way later in the year, and starting work on the first Carver and McCain novel, I'm really excited and looking forward to what this year will bring to my career. Of course, I have to prioritise things based on how soon they're due. While I don't have a release date for Lady Raven yet, I'm hoping to have it out in late spring or summer.

I'm coming up with promotional ideas, including my usual soundtrack lists and some character bios. If there's anything you guys would like me to do in the run-up to the release, or details you'd like to know about the book or how I've found this process, let me know!

Jan 15, 2014


Oops, I missed yesterday's blog post!

I spent much of yesterday dying to open up my new pc. I've had my current one for about 6 years, and while it's still going strong, it's not able to handle the newest run of games. Plus it'll be good to have a newer machine with more powerful RAM and processing speed, to help me get my research, writing and editing done faster.

I also had a friend, Claire Anne, over to have tea and talk about Lady Raven. Claire Anne and I know each other from years back, when we were in youth theatre together, and she's heavily active in the performance scene here. She's planning to put together a performance piece based on the mythology of Lady Raven's world, and will be helping out with the cover art for the book itself. We brainstormed some ideas with my wife, Jen, and looked at some of my musical inspirations and the lyrics for a song I wrote that features in the book.

I'm starting to get properly excited about this. With the number of people who'll end up involved in promotion, this book could open up a wide new audience for me.

Jan 9, 2014


I've fallen behind in my writing. Probably to be expected, since I've spent every day this week going to and from the hospital to see Jen and Olivia. The hardest part of the whole thing is that I need to split my time between seeing them, and being at home to look after Erica and Amy. I know Jen misses them, too. She says goodnight to them each evening over the phone, but it's not the same. Hopefully she and Olivia can come home soon.

In the meantime, I'm going to keep trying to write while the girls nap, and in the evening when I get home.

Wish me luck!

Jan 7, 2014


2014 is set to be a year of adventure, so I figured my first blog post of the year should be about the first of those adventures.

Yesterday, at about 2:08pm, this little angel was born by cesarean section.

Erica and Amy arrived 12 days before Christmas, and the c-section date for this one was set 12 days after, so we've named her Olivia, after the character from Twelfth Night

Erica and Amy, just hours before becoming big sisters!
This was the first time we had everything go according to plan with a birth. It was a surreal experience. No panic, no rushing around. And best of all, Jen got to hear Olivia's first cries and hold her minutes after she'd been born.

Olivia lets us know what she thinks of this "being born" lark
It's so strange being handed your child right away and a doctor telling you that you can keep her with you, and not have to send her up to the ICU for observation. Olivia is just perfect. So wriggly and alert. And she has such dark blue eyes, they're almost black.

It's going to be a challenge, raising three children all so young. But if this is an indication of how the rest of this year is going to go, I say bring it on.