A Very Brief Launch Retrospective

A quick post here just to say thanks to everybody who came to the launch of The Call, especially, of course, Oisín McGann, Bella Pearson, Declan from Gill Hess and the fantastic crew of Department 51 in Eason.

But just as especially to everyone else! You made it a wonderful night whose memory I cherish to this very day ;)

Some of you travelled far. Some braved parking at rush hour in Dublin. Others brought chocolates and children to entertain and delight.

I apologise for the names I fluffed. Anybody who has known me long is aware how terrible I am with names and faces. I'd like to say I'll do better in future, but over time, it's the opposite that happens.

Take care, one and all!


Launch of The Call for Ireland, UK, Australia and Empire of Elsewhere

Today is the big day!

The Call is now officially available everywhere. Whoever you are, I hope you'll consider buying a copy and that you'll love it more than anyone or anything else in your life. Soon you'll be buying more and more copies until the whole world is denuded of trees and...

Well, I've been known to exaggerate, but I am very happy with how things have gone so far and hugely grateful for the support of friends and family all over the world.

If you're around Dublin this evening, you're welcome to attend the official launch in Eason, O'Connell Street at 6:30pm. Please take some pictures :)


The Call goes on Sale TODAY in North America -- plus miscellaneous

Holy Moly! Today is the day that friends from Alaska to Florida, from Newfoundland to California to Hawaii can finally purchase my new book, The Call. I am utterly grateful to anybody who does so. I can keep going at this game only because of the support of so many fine people in all parts of the world.

I'm also thankful to the army of reviewers and bloggers who took the time to do write-ups. There's a definite buzz in the air as a result of their hard work...

And, of course, we can't forget the staff at my publishers -- DFB in the UK, and Scholastic in the US. I blow kisses in all your many general directions and make absolutely no obscene gestures, not even behind my back or under the table!

The launch for the rest of the English-speaking world comes in two days...


A sample of the audio book can be listened to here.


A few new reviews came in today. Bart's Bookshelf gave The Call 5/5. Hurray for that!
The Blonde Bookworm says "I picked up the book one time and I never put it down again. It. Was. Awesome! Seriously, everyone needs to give this book a try."

On the other hand, I got my first 1* review on today. Not for issues of quality, but because the woman was appalled by it and didn't want her grandchildren reading it. Some you win and some you lose...


As part of my continuing blog tour for the release of the book, Howling Reviews allowed me to post a little article about Irish folklore and legends and how they relate to my novel. I really enjoyed doing that one!


It's happening on Thursday 1 September at 6:30pm in Eason on O'Connell Street, Dublin. Nibbles will be provided. Speeches will be short. Books will be plentiful with several authors on hand happy to provide signatures. ALL are welcome.


The Blog Tour Continues

The Blog Tour for The Call continues today with an interview I did for Bart's Bookshelf. You can read it here.

Hope you're all well. I'm growing increasingly nervous over publication date, but this is par for the course. Two days until it's on sale in North America and four until the rest of the world can buy it.

Mind you, there have been some fantastic reviews lately. Three of my favourites among the recent ones are StarBurst Magazine, Pretty Purple Polkadots and Other Worlds Than These. And there are many, many more! I've been very lucky, but only the public can decide if a book is to be successful or not. So, until then, my nails will take the brunt of my worry.

take care...


Ask Me Anything -- Reddit and Me on August 31

Barack Obama has done it, so, even though I'm only the second most powerful person in the world, I feel entitled to do one too. I'm talking about Reddit and its famous AMAs -- ask me anything.

The session starts on August 31 at 1pm EST/6pm Irish Time (BST), and add on another hour if you live in Western Europe. You know how it works.

Do your worst!

The Call will have been out for a single day in the US by then, and surely, surely the rest of the world will be quivering in anticipation of buying its own copies on 1st September?

Only time will tell!


My US Visit -- Fun Without the Mess

As my consciousness crawls back up from the jetlag abyss, it's time to lay down an imperishible digital track of memories. Will this little posting intrigue you? Will it stimulate your imagination, inspiring heights of creativity or lurid dreams? That... is doubtful. You may want to skip this and marvel instead at the myriad properties displayed by paint as it expels the last hints of moisture. I will carry on, nevertheless, for the enjoyment of my future self, waxing nostalgic for this wasted youth.

Note: I'll mostly be leaving out names here to protect the innocent and the shy. Any names that I do include are there because I'm confident nobody will mind. If you do, let me know and I'll remove you ASAP. Or the opposite is cool too :)


I crossed the Atlantic in the company of Adrian Tchaikovsky's Spiderlight. It's a fun book that grows increasingly dark towards the end. Adrian is a great author who can handle everything from Science Fiction, to humour, to manners, to kick-ass high-concept fantasy. Spiderlight is the story of a typical D&D type adventure where certainty and escapism are slowly poisoned by moral quandries.

I also watched the Irish movie, Sing Street. It entertained me mightily apart from one particular moment that made me despise the protagonist. Nevertheless, very well done.


My friends T&C drove several hours to pick me up from Boston airport and several hours in the other direction just so they could have the privilege of waiting on me hand and foot. They have a stunningly beautiful, cat-crowded house, and a preposterously friendly dog by the name of Jake.

The first night, when my eyes started to droop, they fed me a gorgeous green curry where the vegetables came straight from the garden. Wow! The sweet corn lived up to its name. I couldn't get enough of it.

Vermont is lovely and green and quiet. The bears grow fat on careless hikers. Know, dear reader, I was not careless this time.


I travelled there by train -- business class, no less! -- moving from Albany, all the way down the languid Hudson river with fine views and hilarious shouted conversations between the crew members.

After that, New York was just one hightlight after another. The Soho Grand Hotel? Like something out of a movie. Quirky, lovely, friendly. Scholastic Books HQ? A nest of creativity, humour and joy.

My publicist JA had a mountain of vegan snacks piled up before a stack of books for me to sign. I smudged one with the other so that each reader can have the pleasure of peeling apart the pages to discover a unique, fragrant surprise.

I met many, many other people there. I clinked glasses with them while they were ridiculously friendly to me.

That night, my US editor, NT, took me to a Yankee's Game. Yes, you heard me right. Yankees.

The subway shimmered at a temperature close to the boiling point of titanium. It wouldn't surprise me if New Yorkers brought raw pizza to work to be cooked on the foreheads of their fellow passengers. Although, with everybody sweating so much, steamed dumplings might be the better option...

But I digress! We got to watch one of the world's most famous sports teams from a private box with all its own snacks and with a pack of cheerful people open to chatting to a baseball-innocent like myself. Fantastic experience!

The next day, there were interviews with Bustle and Sci-Fi Bulletin. Both interviewers really knew their stuff.

And then, came lunch... I should really play some kind of musical intro here, because Blossom provided me with the best meal I've had since I turned vegan four years ago. Everything was beyond delicious and the great company I had only enhanced the dining experience.

That evening I had another great meal with an absolutely wonderful crew of booksellers and librarians from in or near NY. Everybody -- absolutely every one of them -- wanted nothing more than to talk books all night long. It's been years since I've seen sports, politics and weather so thoroughly ignored throughout such a large crowd!


Although this was the longest part of my trip, I don't have a whole lot to say about it. Not because WorldCon, the usual highlight of my year, wasn't filled with joy and fantastic meetings with the best of friends, but because most of what occurred fell within the bounds of a typical Con experience.

At La Guardia airport, I had the good fortune to run into Xray and McBigski from the BwB. Company and hugs were evenly distributed. When the airport ejected us at the other end, having extracted our nutritional content, Mr. X collected us and whizzed us all the way to our hotel. I would be sharing a room with McBigski and Ser Scott -- two manly men who mostly left me alone when darkness fell.

Some highlights:
A panel, including legend Tamora Pierce. (The MidAmericon Program, was in general, superb, by the way.)
Dinner with the BwB. Met a few new ones to add to what was already an august company. Best part of the menu? A salad marked "V" for vegetarian that contained prosciutto ham! Luckily, they were happy to do one without the meat for me.
More panels. Wonderful greetings from old friends. A tremendous parade of fascinating topics.
Irishers and diplomats at the Dublin 2019 desk.
A vegan restaurant called Fud that I found only with D's help and guidance.
A free dinner in the same restaurant, foolishly paid for by Black Gate editor, John O'Neill. I bet he's cursing now as the moths fly out of his wallet.
A meeting with the academic and podcaster, Amy Sturgis.
A visit to Program Ops to sign a book for EU's friend.
More BwBers, always more of them, like a horde of ants, remorselessly bearing hugs and humour. We threw a party, of course, at which I was permitted to give prizes to people. Best of all was a talking George R.R. Martin doll. Apparently, a mere squeeze of its hand is enough to make it say "I'm still working on it". Alas, it would not speak to me...

And yet, despite the indifference of the GRRM doll, the following evening, I had the good fortune to attend the Hugo Loser's Party thrown by the real GRRM. Even better, two groups of my friends won Alfie awards -- Black Gate, whose editor is the same John O'Neill (see above), and Journey Planet, whose staff include James Bacon, Chris Garcia and Esther. How cool was that?

Finally, came the last hurrah of a barbecue meal with the BwB. A vegan option, fought for by LG, kept me happy, 'though I was surrounded by vicious carnivores at every turn...


And that's it, really. Other than the fact that I made it home to find my house all the better for my absence. I spent more time than is healthy at O'Hare, and made the mistake of counting how much money I had spent. But what a brilliant ten days it was! Roll on FinnCon!


The Blog of Blogs

Tomorrow I will try to write a post about my adventures in the lands that lie far west of Connemara. But more important matters are afoot for now.

One week from today, The Call, will be available for purchase in the US. Two days later, the rest of the universe will have its chance to turn precious, precious money into something with my name on the cover and with my words (and hangups) inside. I'm shocked by how close it is. And just as blackberries, ripening in concert, cause Autumn to arrive, so too does my blog tour bring forth from the abyss, the fruit of my nightmares. My book, that is.

First off is an article I wrote for the web site of the Irish Times, called "Of fiction, fission and fairies".

But the actual, real, official tour began yesterday when Words from a Reader conducted an interview with me. Want to know some of my favourite books? Who inspires me? Then, click on the link.

Today the tour continues with a post I wrote for Tales of Yesterday about unlikely heroes. I make a few mentions in there of dragons and St. George, the tiny, but aggressive piglet.

Details for the rest of the week are in the image below...


My Program for MidAmeriCon -- WorldCon

I'll be appearing at WorldCon in Kansas, like a beautiful vision from which none shall e'er look away...

Or... or maybe not. Anyway, my schedule is below. I'm delighted with it and happy that I'll be doing a reading from The Call on the Friday, only a fortnight before the book hits shelves in the US. I'd love to see some of you there!

Young Voices: Protest and Rebellion in YA Fiction
Wednesday 16:00 - 17:00, 2209 (Kansas City Convention Center)
The Harvard Gazette defines protest literature: "literature meant to spur action; to convey anger and shock; or to prompt empathy, based on a discontent with the status quo." Young adult fiction often features these concepts, which resonate strongly for readers. But can it be considered "protest literature" in the traditional sense? Our panelists discuss YA protest themes and characters, what drives them forward, and how they differ from the rebellious teen. Join the rebellion!
Mr. Peadar O Guilin, Mr. Jeffrey Cook (M), Mark Oshiro, Miriam Weinberg
Great Characters in Young Adult Fiction
Thursday 11:00 - 12:00, 2207 (Kansas City Convention Center)
There are groundbreaking characters in YA fiction: Katniss Everdeen, Percy Jackson, Clary Fairchild, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, and more. Why do these teen characters ring true? Creating a believable teen vs adult characters -- is the process and are the elements the same? Who are some of the other great, and overlooked, characters within YA fiction today?
Mr. Peadar O Guilin, Mark Oshiro, Sunil Patel, Fonda Lee, Chelsea Mueller (M)
Utopia, Dystopia and the Default?
Thursday 14:00 - 15:00, 2502A (Kansas City Convention Center)
Certain kinds of imagined futures currently dominate the SF field.. For example, we usually find settings in either grand interstellar deep space futures or trapped-on-Earth dystopias with the rare exception. What about the futures that land somewhere in-between, that may be more likely for us? Is the "middle future" too reminiscent of the Golden Age of SF? Let's discuss the "middle future" in SF, how it compares to earlier eras in SF, and where it falls on the Utopia/Dystopia spectrum.
Jack Campbell Jr. (M), Thomas K. Carpenter, Sarah Frost, Mr. Peadar O Guilin, Tamara Jones, John Joseph Adams
The Re-emergence of Environmental Speculative Fiction
Thursday 18:00 - 19:00, 2503A (Kansas City Convention Center)
This used to be a booming field but has only recently re-emerged. Why is this and how do today's tropes differ from the ecological dystopias of the 1970s?
Mr. Peadar O Guilin (M), Brenda Cooper, Alyx Dellamonica
Privilege of Beauty in Film & Television
Friday 11:00 - 12:00, 2206 (Kansas City Convention Center)
While characters in novels aren't always attractive, the same cannot be said for those whose faces grace the big and small screens. There are few unattractive characters and most are outright stunning. When confronted by a steady stream of actors such as Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Jensen Ackles, Elizabeth Taylor, Lucy Liu, or Paul Newman, what effect does this lack of "beauty" diversity have on audiences? How does beauty differ from page to screen to real life? Do we crave the illusion of beauty in television and film or is it just part of a storytelling toolkit for the digital medium? Does beauty matter or is it another form of bias that we need to stamp out?
Mr. Peadar O Guilin, Nicki Lynch (M), Craig Miller, Christine Taylor-Butler, John Chu
This panel deals with some sensitive topics. Therefore, we ask that participants remember to give everyone a chance to speak and to remain open to topics with which they may or may not agree.
Reading: Peadar O Guilin
Friday 14:30 - 14:58, 2202 (Readings) (Kansas City Convention Center)
The "One True Love" Narrative Trap in Young Adult Fiction...and How to Smash It!
Saturday 10:00 - 11:00, 2503A (Kansas City Convention Center)
True love in YA fiction has been a mainstay of the genre, but life is rarely that simple, especially for teens...even fictional teens! Why do we fall into this trap? Authors share their tips and tricks for writing love, romance, and the teen dating scene.
Darlene Marshall (M), Sarah Beth Durst, Tessa Gratton, Mr. Peadar O Guilin, Denise Grover Swank
Inspiring the Creativity
Saturday 12:00 - 13:00, 2204 (Kansas City Convention Center)
In recent years, many creators have made public the music playlists they used for inspiration while creating a work. But what else do creators surround themselves with when preparing to Make Art/Write Fiction? Is it art on the walls? TV Shows? Podcasts? Or is the greatest inspiration of all just switching off the internet?
Dr. Amy H. Sturgis (M), Cynthia Ward, L. E. Modesitt Jr., Chelsea Mueller, Mr. Peadar O Guilin
YA Fiction Beyond Borders
Saturday 17:00 - 18:00, 3501F (Kansas City Convention Center)
Young adult fiction is a strong and thriving market in the U.S., but how is it doing internationally? We discuss the books and authors beyond mainstream "America's literary borders" that deserve recognition. Is there a difference in approach, content, characters, and diversity of topics and themes? How do we continue to break down these borders and barriers for YA readers and authors alike?
Mr. Peadar O Guilin, Keith Yatsuhashi, Shanna Swendson, Edward Willett, Christopher Kastensmidt (M)


Reading, Watching with lots and lots of love from Australia

Oh, yes, it's been a while. You're right to sneer at me as I get down on my knees and swear that this time it will be better, that I'll blog more often and never fail you again. But we both know different, don't we? Still, this is just who I am and you knew that when you first befriended me, even though everybody said I was no good.

But despite all rumours to the contrary, I have taken time out of my busy schedule to entertain myself.


What I'm reading right now, is portentious and endless and dull. So, I won't talk about that here today. However, I do have a few books by friends of mine on my TBR that I plan to get around to in August or September, and I'm pretty excited about them.

First up, is a book I'm saving for my next plane trip. It's Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky. The last few novels of his that I read were real page-turning, world-shattering stunners. Exactly the sort of thing to pass a dull journey with.

Following that, I have Gabrielle Harbowy's Hellmaw: Of the Essence. Gabrielle has been an excellent editor to me in the past, so I have faith that this will be great.

Finally, my TitanCon buddy Jo Zebedee is invading, blowing up and generally, smashing Belfast in her novel, Inish Carraig. It'll make a great change from seeing the Statue of Liberty getting knocked over for the 100th time :) The book is apparently doing really well, so, late to this party as always, I'm going to grab a piece of the action for myself.


In brief:
1) Versailles was terrible. Made it halfway through episode 5 before the writing threw me out for the last time. Yes, yes, the warnings were there in episode 1, but I kept glimpsing what I thought were hidden depths. They were depths, all right.

2) Third Season of Bojack Horseman was fun, but well short of an incredible Season 2, IMHO.

3) I enjoyed the Netflix documentary series, Last Chance U about a school that takes in hugely talented American Football players who have so far failed to make a splash in the big leagues. Their talent is amazing, but so is their total lack of self-esteem. Interesting, sad and hopeful, with some spectacular goings-on during the season.


READINGS -- which seems to be an association of Australian independent Booksellers, has put up an entire page containing nothing but absolutely gorgeous reviews of my forthcoming novel, The Call. I'm definitely bookmarking it to read again and again for when I'm having bad days in the future. I really, really appreciate it.