How to Kill One of Your Characters

writing, characters death, novels,The problem with developing your characters and making them as realistic as possible is that when you have to kill one of them, you hesitate. I’m at a point in my latest book where I need to write a death scene for one of my favourite characters. This person has been with me throughout the first book and now, in the sequel, I must say goodbye. I’m not joking, it is such a difficult thing for me to do that I’m into another chapter and still haven’t done the dastardly deed. This has been going on for over a week and I have decided that this weekend it just HAS to happen. I know how, where and when to do it, but as crazy as this must seem, I keep putting it off. I even thought about scrapping the scene altogether but it’s a vital part of the story and leads to life changing circumstances for the other main characters. So (sniff, sniff) needs must.

Does anyone else have this problem? I’ve just finished a trilogy and in the third book, a character who had been there from the beginning dies, but I knew from the second book that this was going to happen – and I still got a little teary-eyed. Maybe I just need time to accept my character’s fate once I’ve sealed it. The plus side of this, is that I’m writing more chapters than I intended, by putting off the dreaded event. I have even added a twist that injects a bit of mystery into the story.

If certain words in this post get picked up by search engines on the hunt for criminal activity, I promise, it’s all in my head. Keeping the characters out of my heart is the problem.

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The Phoenix Shall Fall

perspectiveIf you are interested in philosophy – duality and perception in particular – check out this post on a new blog The Phoenix Shall Fall

Speaking of philosophy, here is one of my favourite Nietzsche quotes (at least I think it was him).

“It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them!” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

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Starting From Zero

Jean Reinhardt:

When I first tested out the waters of self-publishing, David Gaughran’s was one of the most informative blogs I came across. This post by him will tell you why. Excellent advice.

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

lets_get_digital_amazonSuccess can seem unattainable to those starting out. It’s easy to forget that even the biggest sellers started from zero.

Amanda Hocking didn’t arrive on the scene as a fully formed sales machine. She didn’t have a platform which she had been diligently building up for years, nor did she come from trade publishing. She was unable to convince an agent to take her on and decided to self-publish instead, and then sold a million e-books in nine months!

Detractors tried to paint Hocking as an anomaly — and she was, in the sense that anyone who is phenomenally successful at anything is an anomaly.

But that missed the point: she was able to sell as much as the biggest names in publishing without the help of a publisher.

Soon, others followed suit. Authors like Bella Andre, Hugh Howey, HM Ward, Liliana Hart, and Barbara Freethy have sold millions of e-books…

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The Bucket Challenge

jean and bucket

The ice bucket challenge has gone viral on facebook at the moment and some people are beginning to question whether or not they should participate. This is mostly due to the fact that a there has been various campaigns against funding research that includes the use of embryonic stem cells. I gave this a lot of thought as I was eventually challenged to participate. I knew it would happen, sooner or later.

If I was so against all medical research because of it’s ethics then I would not have donated to motor neuron disease research, MND in Ireland or ALS in America. Instead I would have nominated a charity or a cause that I was 100% sure would not use either embryos or animals or children or elderly people or prisoners or one that contributes to the destruction of the Amazonian rain forest, or – – – the list goes on. Most research, unless it’s based on complementary medicine or natural ingredients, has been guilty presently or in the past, of some degree of what could be called unethical practices.

If people are worried about what their donation might be used for, then groups that offer support for various illnesses and disorders, including ALS/MND are a good choice to contribute to, as an alternative. Everyone is entitled to make a decision based on their own values and conscience, without being judged or made to feel uncomfortable.

The bucket challenge is a way of highlighting a life destroying disease, that many people were not aware of. I knew a little bit about ALS/MND but not very much, other than it affects a very small percentage of the population. I hate it when people are reduced to statistics. Seeing the face behind the data is so much more eye opening, so I’m sharing this video.

 

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Clonmel Ireland, a town full of historical buildings.

image

Those arches belong to a magnificent building in Clonmel, which dates back more than 400 years. It’s called the Main Guard and was built by James Butler, the Duke of Ormond, in 1675 and served as a courthouse. Over time it was converted into shops, with a basement and additional floors added to it. Now it has been sensitively restored to it’s original state with it’s open arcade of sandstone columns. Architect Margaret Quinlan was commissioned by the Office of Public Works to provide a blueprint for the project. She was awarded a silver medal by The Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland for her dedication to the restoration of what is possibly one of the oldest surviving classical public buildings in Ireland.

Main-Guard-Clonmel

 

 

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Robin Williams Decades of Laughter.

The death of Robin Williams has left  the world of entertainment with a huge space but he leaves behind a legacy of laughter. To have the ability to bring smiles to so many faces is a great achievement for a man who  battled with depression for most of his life. I loved him in Mork and Mindy and in every movie he ever appeared in. From Dead Poets Society  and Good Will Hunting to Mrs. Doubtfire and even Popeye. He used his intuitive and sensitive nature to bring to life any character he was asked to play, making him an extremely versatile actor.

To give you a taste of how good he was at improvising, here is a clip I found on Youtube. Thank you Robin for decades of laughter.

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Amazon, Hachette and Me

Amazon, Hachette and Me

Will books become victims of the fallout?

I have looked at both sides of the Amazon versus Hachette debate as open mindedly as possible and I’ve decided to be biased. This weekend I am going caravan hunting  because I earned the money to buy one from my book sales on Amazon. I have been helped every step of the way in my venture into self-publishing, by the advice freely available on both Amazon and Createspace. They have always been quick to respond to any of my emails. I am eternally grateful to the readers who bought my books and likewise to Amazon. If I were not able to self-publish, very few people would have read anything I wrote. Amazon helped me to realize a life long ambition. Of course it’s in their best interest for me to sell books, but it’s also in mine, too. Once my work started selling, thanks to my pathetic attempt at marketing and to those generous enough to buy it, Amazon got behind me and promoted my books – without charge. I didn’t even have to ask them to do it and they never deducted anything from my share of the royalties for the service.

High prices won’t affect me as I will never charge them for my books and I don’t buy any that are in a high price range – that’s where my local library comes in handy. Just as Hachette’s authors are remaining loyal to them, I am being loyal to a company that has supported me and I don’t believe they will be detrimental to books.
The Gutenberg Press made books available to people at a time when only the very wealthy could afford them. The translation of the Bible from Latin into the common language in Luther’s day meant the ordinary person in the street could read from a book that had been previously chained to a pulpit, written in a language only the well educated could understand. That’s called progress. Books flourished, readers grew in numbers and look where the book world is now. Are we on the brink of a literary Armageddon? I don’t think so, but if that IS the case, when the smoke clears, you will find me tucked up in my caravan (courtesy of You-Know-Who), clutching my kindle to my bosom and surrounded by the last remaining paperbacks that survived the ‘Abookalypse’.

See what Amazon has to say here.

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A Blend of Traditional and Orchestral

Have a listen to this fabulous sound. Irish rock/trad music with an orchestra.

Horslips and the Ulster Orchestra

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Cooking versus Writing, no Contest.

Eggsplosion

Eggsplosion

When writing conflicts with cooking, for me there is no contest. The image above is not a reflection on my culinary skills but a testimony to my ability to focus on my literary endeavours. This morning, in spite of being hungry, I got stuck into writing a new chapter, as I was on a role. I had earlier put some eggs into a pot of water and left them to cook for our breakfast, returning to the living room to continue my typing. I won’t apologize, as all puns are intended.

I became so engrossed by the ideas my brain was hatching that I completely forgot about breakfast. Even though my stomach was rumbling and complaining, I carried on eggstracting one thought after another until I had finished the chapter. With a sigh of relief and a great feeling of satisfaction, I leaned back in my chair and closed my eyes – I was eggsausted but eggstatic.

I heard the door opening and a strange smell accompanied my husband as he entered the room, carrying a pot for me to eggsamine.

“I think these are cooked,” he eggsclaimed, holding out the pot. “The rest are on the ceiling.”

Well, you can see from the photo above just how ‘hard boiled’ they were. It was the sound of our breakfast eggsploding in the pot that caught his attention. This just goes to prove how dedicated writers can be to their work. I have cremated countless pizzas and boiled dry numerous pots of vegetables, pasta and rice, in the wake of pouring out my thoughts and words – I’m not eggsagerating. Now I can add blowing up eggs to the list.

The funny thing is, I was working on a sequel to one of my books and guess which one it was – ‘A Pocket Full of Shells‘ – I kid you not!

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Camping in Clare, Castles in Kerry

DSC_0558

While on a recent camping trip to the west of Ireland, my family and I discovered a fabulous castle. It would make a great setting for a book, of any genre. Follow the link below and take a look at the video if you would like to see a lovely example of a late 15th century Irish tower house.

Camping and a castle

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