Tuesday, 26 April 2011

PERIL is everywhere

I've resorted to subliminal messaging to advertise and sell PERIL. This picture was taken in Jura, Switzerland by the first amazon.de purchaser of PERIL von Ruby Barnes.  Thanks to Jürgen (yes, he's a friend but I know he'll like the book because he's a big John Irving fan) this one sale has momentarily put PERIL at number 76 in Kindle Shop Englisch Thrillers and number 1,583 in Bezahlt in Kindle Shop. So I'm basking in the glory for a few seconds until Kindle DE sales pick up!

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Saturday, 23 April 2011

Men in black

Well, I found the VHS of my 40th birthday party in Switzerland. Had a friend (cheers Seanie!) isolate and convert a particular event from that evening that still brings tears to the eyes of all that were there.
These lads are very tuneful with their ladles and pans!
I don't know what else to say, just watch it and pass it on.


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Friday, 22 April 2011

Germany gets Kindle!

Welcome to friends in DE and CH! Amazon has launched kindle and PERIL is now here for €0.93:


Sunday, 17 April 2011

What drives people to crime?

A brief post to say thanks to Susanne O'Leary for asking me onto her blog to explain why I chose to write crime novels like PERIL.

Read my chatter here on Susanne from Sweden's Blog

Susanne has published numerous successful fiction titles over the years with mainstream publishers and has recently made her back catalogue of chick-lit, contemporary women's fiction and historical / literary fiction available on kindle. There's an interesting article on her blog giving some insight on how well this has gone. Susanne made a recent move into crime thrillers in partnership with Ola Zaltin (of Wallander Swedish TV script fame) and their new ebook Virtual Strangers is available as an indie ebook on amazon. Virtual Strangers is about an internet chat that leads to murder. It's hot stuff, here's part of the blurb:

Two complete strangers meet on a train and agree to off their significant others. Sounds familiar? It should be, it's 'Strangers on a Train'. 60 years later, two strangers meet online. A man and a woman - Seabee and Annika - hook up on a wannabe authors' site where they flirt, banter and play around with the notion of dispatching their equally impossible partners. It's all a big literary, intertextual joke, until the weekend when both their partners actually do die in what seems to be unrelated freak accidents – or are they? Seabee and Annika find out in a hurry that cyberspace makes strange bedfellows – and if it's not he nor she who did it – then who has done the killings? The two team up to find out who has hijacked their fantasy and turned it into a bloody real-life.

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Friday, 15 April 2011

Many hands make light work! Marketing and distribution of an independent book

It's now one week since the launch of the group anthology Original Sins. I have 29 copies of the first 500 left in a box in my dining room and folks will be fighting to the death over them this weekend. Hopefully Tim will bring down another 500 from Dublin!

If this had been solely my own book then I would be umming and ahhing about where to push it, who to ask and trying to deal in advance with the inevitable rejection from bookstores, reluctantly confessing to friends and family that I had published a book and expecting the world to discover my greatness in its own time. (Case in point with PERIL, although readers love the book once they do discover it.)

However, Original Sins is a group effort and that group has every kind of character within it. We have, amongst others, journalists, marketing folk, busy bees, on the road sales types, a relative of Obama and then there's a fella who gives funny speeches. It feels like Legion in the Bible but there's no curing this multiple personality disorder, and just as well! Because the book is now in ten bookshops and available on three websites. It's appeared in four newspapers and has a radio slot planned for readings. 'Splinter launches' are scheduled at different locations e.g. nudefood café in Dungarvan, Co Waterford on May 6th (please dress appropriately because you know I will) and large quantities of wine will be consumed by authors and readers alike. I certainly need a lot of wine to read out my serial killer contribution from THE BAPTIST. No-one will leave empty handed and we'll soon be out of copies.

The book is published through NUI Maynooth's MACE imprint, which is how it has worked its way onto Amazon and Waterstones, but the rest is pure graft by the author team. Take a look:

Original Sins is available to buy at:


The Book Centre, 10 High Street, Kilkenny 056-7762117
The Book Centre, 25 John Roberts Square, Waterford 051-873823
The Book Centre, 5 South Main Street, Wexford 053-9123543
Barker & Jones Book Shop, 2 Poplar Square, Naas, Co. Kildare 045-856130
Maynooth University Bookshop, John Hume Building, NUIM, Maynooth, Co. Kildare 01-6285629
Dubrays Book Shop, Market Cross Shopping Centre Kilkenny 056-7752800
Stonehouse Books, MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre, Kilkenny 056-7790780
The Blessington Book Store, Main Street, Blessington, Co. Wicklow 045-857730
The Bookworm, Liberty Square, Thurles, Co. Tipperary
Easons, Thurles Shopping Centre, Co. Tipperary
Nolan’s Book Shop, New Ross, Co. Wexford


You can order copies from any of the 22 authors who will organise purchase from the distribution team.

IN LIBRARIES (lending)
Kilkenny Library
Carlow Library
Kildare Library (Naas & Newbridge)
Waterford Library
Tipperary Library

So, what's the secret to this distribution? Shamelessness. Each author might be a bit embarrassed by their own contribution and self-promotion but they firmly believe in the worthiness of the anthology contributions from the other authors. This is a highly talented bunch and each of us feels honoured in the company of the others. We have no problem promoting each other in ways that we would shy away from if solo.

So what next? I know that I should print colour handouts of PERIL and shamelessly promote it at all the anthology events, but that would be embarrassing. What if it offends? I shall wear a disguise. Wait, I already have a beard and a woman's name. Jane Alexander please post me that all-in-one body suit and Mark / Saffy I'll be ready for the blog interview in a jiffy.


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Monday, 11 April 2011

If they ain't heard it then you ain't said it!

Those are the words I remember from a presentation on communication skills by a man named Harvey Thomas. Let's turn back time to 1999.

Harvey Thomas presented to us on the Strathclyde MBA in St Gallen, Switzerland many years ago. He taught us TV interview skills and about communication in general. Harvey had been an advisor to Margaret Thatcher and one of his nuggets of advice to the young female Prime Minister was that she should lower her voice by an octave. The rest is history. For his involvement he earned a bed that flew through the air during the 1984 bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton, Sussex. Harvey was saved from death by his huge bulk and lived to find God. A strange but true story. Anyhow, his book If They Haven't Heard it, You Haven't Said it!: Guide to Better Communication is languishing in obscurity, but my copy is on the 'signed by author' bookshelf. He shared many truisms with us in Switzerland for which I am truly grateful (no party political component to my views on that).

So why am I banging on about the above? because Peril just received a review that reflects exactly what I intended when I wrote it. Someone heard what I said:

'Ger Mayes is one of those types of guys who make some women try to tuck him beneath their wing so they can take care of him. Others will follow along and pray he gets exactly what he deserves. Whichever kind you end up being, you're sure to have a blast following this womanizing idiot as he gets himself into one bad mess after another, each one just slightly worse than the one before it. I didn't know whether to laugh, or groan and slap my forehead, thinking it a good idea to pull him by the ear in to see the shrink and glue him to the chair. It's hard to believe one man can make so many bad decisions and get into so much trouble and yet find a way to talk himself out of it. Or does he? You'll have to read PERIL for yourself to find out. Ladies, you may want to hide this one from your husbands. You wouldn't want to give them any ideas. Don't worry about the slow start in chapter one. Once Ger gets the ball rolling, he sets off an avalanche that no one can stop, not even Lady Luck herself. If you like a fast-paced thriller, PERIL is a fun ride I'm sure you'll enjoy.'

My gratitude to Denna Holm. I knew of Denna on YouWriteOn.com but only from a distance. Denna has managed to explain for me some of the mystery of why ladies like PERIL.


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Sunday, 10 April 2011

Ireland's newest anthology

I want to share with you what happened to the 22 authors of this book over the past four years. Where we’ve been and what we’ve been doing when we said we were ‘going to writing college for the weekend’. Strange events have occurred.

When we arrived here in Hogwarts as first years - young witches, wizards and muggles – we were all nervous. Did we have the magic in our quills? Professors John Dumbledore McKenna and Suzanne McGonnigle Power made everyone welcome. They soon had us flying around on our broomsticks, playing Quidditch and chasing the golden snatch around the grounds. The rigours of John’s morning register and the spiritual escape of Susanne’s talking in tongues were strange, but we believed them when they said the Philosopher’s Stone was within our hearts. He that must not be named tried to sow doubt and fear in our fledgling egos, with terrible deeds such as putting do not park here stickers on our cars, but his powers were weak. The professors had us under their protection.
Year two - some found themselves prisoners in Azkabhan, torn and tortured by Dementors. There they lost their minds and their writer’s muse. We hope they’ll escape one day to join us. Meanwhile, a fresh intake arrived here at Hogwarts and were trained in the Dark Arts. They endured new hardships, such as lack of custard cream biscuits at tea break, outbursts of writers’ zeal from John and Suzanne forgetting the matches for her candles. They began to tune in to the subliminal hypnosis of John’s reading voice and experiment using Suzanne’s powers. There were whispers of self-doubt in ears at night from he that must not be named but together the students found the Horcrux, destroyed the second beast and dreamed of walking amongst literary giants.
The third year and existing students received an invitation by owl to attend the Two Roads course. Some of them were also too weak to escape Azkabhan and they languish in agony there. The lucky ones gathered here to look down their noses at the new first years and fight over the chocolate digestives. John, weakened by frequent growing and shaving off his beard, found increased strength with the launch of a new book of magic The Space Between Us (available on amazon.com and at all good book stores). Suzanne put herself through pre-nuptial purification rituals and took us on a journey of self-discovery where we discovered...ourselves.
Year four and the final struggle with the Death Eaters of doubt commenced. Hermione Powers married her Ron and brought the powers of Angel Journey (available on amazon.com and at all good book stores) into battle on our side. Dumbledore McKenna allowed us increased playtime to perfect our spells. Our writers’ muscles became bunched with self-belief and huge with the strength of inspiration. We stood shoulder to shoulder against the dark forces and destroyed the remaining Horcruxes of self-doubt one by one. Then we poured a piece of our own souls into Original Sins (available on amazon.com, at all good book stores and also right here tonight).
The world is full of writers who will never experience the joy that publication of their work brings. Tonight, here in Hogwarts, 22 authors have made that first, vital step.
As Bill Clinthon and Barrack Omama recently said at a cocktail party, Original Sins is the best anthology the world has ever produced.
Never let fact get in the way of fiction.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Declan Burke gets inside my head for a few minutes

Here's a blog Q&A that I did for Declan Burke on his blog about Irish crime authors. As well as yours truly he has some interesting stuff on there - crimealwayspays 

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Sunday, 3 April 2011

Where am I? Wonderland

There’s someone living on your street. We all know the type. Their property is in perpetually immaculate condition. There are no greasy smudges, splattered bird droppings or rain stains on the windows of their house. Hedges, grass and flower beds are maintained to the point of perfection. Weeds pulled out of the driveway by hand. The adjacent public pavement brushed free of detritus. A shining car parked every day within millimetres of the same spot.
Solicitors make a steady living out of such easily provoked people, sending warning letters on their behalf to neighbours whenever an encroachment upon the rules of excellence is perceived. The cat’s paw marks repeatedly appearing on the bonnet of my car have been traced to your pet. A consistently lackadaisical approach to maintenance of your side of the fence has been noted. Such accusations are accompanied by photographic evidence and a historical log of the misdemeanours.
When we observe such people, an initial feeling of inferiority creeps up our brain stem. Then common sense begins to question where they find the time and energy to live in that picture postcard fashion. The third, and irresistible, stage is ridicule. Let us thank the gods that we, our partner and family do not resemble these compulsive individuals in any way. Further, we flaunt our individuality and freedom, if we can find an easy way. Such as allowing the front garden to grow wild, which is handy as it saves mowing the lawn. Letting our car bodywork and its number plate gradually disappear under a coat of filth, thereby saving on water consumption. No, Mr Perfect and your Stepford wife, we reject your way of life for we are too busy to address the minutiae of perfection that obsess you. We are otherwise productively engaged – watching Iceland’s Got Talent, America’s Latest Model, Total Wipeout, Come Dine with Me, anything really rather than pull those weeds from dog urine soaked cracks in the public pavement.
Now, one day, you wake early and step out into the wild flowers and waving grasses of your water meadow, looking for the cat. Adjusting your hairy dressing gown for modesty, you scratch at a weekend’s growth of leg beard and wonder when your husband will be sober enough to emerge from bedclothes that probably needed changing last week. A gentle smile plays across your sagging features, framed as they are by a few grey hairs that will take you back to the hairdresser sometime during the next few months.
Across the way Mrs. Perfect is out in her garden, using some special device to make the roses look plumper. Mr. Perfect is extracting a resistant micro-organism from the pavement with a two fingernail technique, perfected during several weeks at horticultural evening classes. All this on a Monday morning before work.
You chuckle, without malice, turn back towards the beckoning warmth of the teapot and then freeze. Something has changed in the street. Every house, except yours, mirrors that of the Perfects. The inhabitants are all out in the fresh morning air, plumping their roses and using the footpath micro-organism extraction technique. Your movement alerts them to your presence. In a Mexican wave of disdain their heads turn towards you and they sneer as one. For the first time in your life that favourite dressing gown feels shabby. A breeze blows the grey wisps of hair across your face and they catch on the sprouting strands of a chin mole that you were unaware of. Rodents scurry in the undergrowth of what is no longer a water meadow but a garden jungle. Mortification overtakes your morning glory. Nineteen perfectly trimmed and coiffed heads look down their aquiline noses at you and so do their wives. You, at house number 20, are a low life. A foreigner. Welcome. You just arrived in Switzerland.


I wrote this piece a year or two after spending seven years in the land of chocolate and watches. The Swiss are very appreciative of deprecatory humour and an old favourite that my Swiss friends pointed out to me is a very funny little book named Malice in Wonderland by Eugene Epstein.

On a more serious note here's another post about Switzerland.


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