Monday, 2 May 2016

Plotting Characters

I am currently reading The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson.  It's an exciting read with a massive plot twist - I am only half way through so there may be more twists to come, I'm pretty sure there are.

People sometimes ask me if the characters in my novels are based on people I know.  My answer to that is no, absolutely not.  For one thing, it would be impossible.  We really do not know people as well as we think we do.  We have very often little idea of what drives them, what their childhood experiences were, what really influences them and - most important of all - what they really think about important things.

Characters in my novels are probably based on bits and pieces of character traits I have observed over the course of my life.  I've met a lot of people from different backgrounds, people with a completely different view of life and its values to mine.  I've met people who have profoundly impressed me and people I didn't care too much for.  That is true of all of us, I guess.

The characters I create do what I expect of them, I can manipulate them, move them around the story like figures on a chessboard. Their role is to people the story and drive the plot. But I do like some of my characters more than others!  And yes, once in a while they want to behave differently than I planned.  This is all the fun of writing a novel. And it's hard work, too, of course. But that's what keeps me writing. 

Here is my latest novel, the second in the Sergeant Alan Murray series, now available as an e-book from Amazon.
ENDING IN DEATH (U.S. link) and U.K. Amazon link

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Stormy Sunday

It's a stormy Sunday morning as I write this.  I wish I had a better camera to show the white foam spilling onto the street, blown by a gale-force wind.  Here goes:
or looking out my back window, the river looks wild too.
Only when it's stormy do we realize there is not much we can do about it except sit it out.  This one is not so bad - there have been times when my street has been flooded.

Only one more week before I release my crime novel on Amazon Kindle.  I still have to do a final check on it.  But for today I am going to curl up with the Sunday newspapers, play some Simon & Garfunkel in the background and enjoy the day.
Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, 2 April 2016

This Writing Life - Letting Go the Novel

I am almost finished writing my crime novel Ending in Death under my author name P.B. Barry.  I have done at least twenty edits - I don't count them and it could be more than that - but now I just need to read the whole thing over again from start to finish and see if I've made any glaring mistakes and then I'm ready to go. It feels like the first time your child goes to school.  You have to let them out into the big bad world where they will be taken at face value.  The fact that this is your darling child has absolutely no influence on how they fare. Yes, you'd like to nurture them and keep them close but you know that's not the right thing to do.  So you watch them take their first steps away from you.
I've had a lot of fun writing this novel and I hope my readers will enjoy it.  

Ending in Death is the second novel in the Sergeant Alan Murray mystery series and will be available on Amazon Kindle e-books from the end of April 2016.  It is set in the fictional village of Ballyamber in the Kerry mountains.  A young girl's body is found near the village.  Who is she and what was she doing in such a remote area? Murray has only started investigations when Stanley Wallace, a businessman who has lately moved to Ballyamber, is also found murdered. Were both victims just in the wrong place at the wrong time or is there a more sinister explanation? 

Thursday, 24 March 2016

The Adventure of Travel

I don't know about you, but by the time I've finished booking flights and hotel on the internet, I feel as if I have run a marathon.  Yes, this must be what the winning horse in the Aintree Grand National feels as he makes it up to the winning post. He's surmounted all the hurdles and held course despite the many distractions.
It's not that I am booking anything fancy, you understand.  Just a return flight to the Continent and a hotel to match.  The hotel isn't actually difficult as I use one of those handy sites which compares all the prices.  But flights are another thing.  If you are in absent-minded mode, then you had better watch it.  I wanted to book the cheapest flight - at a most inconvenient time for me, I might add but you pay for what you can or can't get -  and because the more expensive ticket was highlighted I almost clicked on it to verify. 
Then you have to plough through all those little boxes :  Book a seat? No thanks, I reckon you'll fit me in somewhere.  Insurance?  What for?  Either I make it or if I'm too sick to travel and lose the money - if I'm that sick I don't care one way or the other. Check in bag?  No, I have discovered you can live for a week out of a very small carry-on bag even if the toothpaste gets squeezed out of the tube.  Hotel?  Done at another site, thank you.  Car?  Nope. 
As I said, booking the hotel is easier but if I have trawled the net for information on hotels - maybe I'll make it to Rome, Budapest, wherever, and I just need a feel for how much it would cost - I find pictures of hotels at these places popping up with tantalizing links every time I go online.  It was just a passing thought, OK, advertisers?  Just because I paused in the shopping aisle at the local store and inspected stain remover doesn't mean you should follow me around for the next month waving different brands of it at me. 
Anyway, I'm all set now for my travels in August.  Roll on the summer.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day !

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! 
 It's a day when the Irish remember all their family members who have emigrated to the four corners of the world and when the Irish in those four corners get out the shamrock and the Guinness and celebrate their Irishness.

It is a chilly but sunny morning here in Co. Cork.  I will attend the parade later on before spending the rest of the day with family. First though I'll go for a long walk by the sea.  I have been away for a day or two and miss that salty air.  When the wind is blowing and the waves are cascading onto the beach in white foam, I can taste the salt on my lips.  Yes, I understand that poem "I must go down to the sea again". 

Have a great day everyone! 

Saturday, 12 March 2016

National Noodle Month - suits me!

According to the  March is noodle month. This suits me fine.  I love noodles, rice and couscous.  You've got it - starchy stuff best avoided if you're inclined to pile on the pounds (which I am).  But, and it is a big "but", I have a legitimate reason to indulge my taste buds.  At least for now.
I have been having trouble with a tooth, not just any old tooth, this one was especially treated when I had my nifty bridgework done,  just so that I wouldn't have trouble with it.
You sure you want to hear this?  Anyway, I started getting toothache and went to see my dentist who tut-tutted, muttered "root canal" and referred me to a dentist specializing in endodontics because a very fine drill was needed in order to perform root canal on my tooth.
Now, I am a coward of the first order when it comes to dentists.  I know they are necessary for our health and well being but I want to have as little to do with them as humanly possible.  I was terrified, in part, I think, because many years ago somebody told me all about their excruciatingly painful experiences with root canal and my reasoning was why should I get off lightly?  Friends and family all told me it was "not bad but you have to keep your mouth open for ages".
In fact, it wasn't bad at all.  But - yes, another of those big "buts" - the endodontician (if that's what you call him) couldn't get through to the root cause of the trouble despite drilling for around an hour.  So I have to return in a month's time for another session.  Meanwhile my tooth is a bit sensitive to chewing and as it is located towards the front of my mouth it is kind of difficult to protect it when eating.  So I am enjoying noodle dishes, risottos and couscous with nearly everything.  Lovely.  An ill wind!
And who knows, if the dentist keeps drilling next time, maybe he'll strike oil and I'll be one of the OPEC rich.  Well, if he can solve the problem, I'll be happy. Even without seeing the bill, I know I certainly won't be rich.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

The grey hair gene

Listening to the radio early this morning, I heard that scientists have discovered the gene that causes grey hair.  Wowee!  With all the other ills that befall us humans: cancer, ebola virus, motor neuron disease, it's a relief to know that some scientists somewhere have been keeping an eye on the things that really matter.  The world has been saved!  Sorry, just had to let off a bit of steam there...

We are already forbidden to age, or if we are old-ish, we try to disguise it as much as possible.  At least that is the popular theory.  Almost every advertisement for face cream comes with the promise that it will make us look younger and more beautiful.  I find that stepping back makes me look both slimmer and younger - stepping back from the mirror, that is.

I could do with losing a stone or two, my hair is white and has never properly grown back since my chemotheraphy some eight years ago, but you know what?  I enjoy life.  I laugh a lot.  I like people.  And I don't spend too long in front of the mirror.  A wise man once said that you should never believe you are unattractive because you never see your own face when it lights up with pleasure or when you smile at someone. 

So hats off to the scientists - so you can see there's no grey hair....