Monthly Archives: July 2010

The Truth About Pandas

Finally - the truth about pandas. All these years the Chinese have been fooling us. According to Fuxing Man they're really just dogs in disguise. Click on the pic for more.

Got a letter yesterday. Personal, important looking. But not a bill. Could it be… a book response? Too small to contain a returned manuscript. Good news? Bad news? Palpitations… Continue reading

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Filed under art, Film, life, Music, My Writing

Shot Through the Sacred Heart

If anyone can find an image that better matches the title of this blog post, preferably something with Jesus in it, please put a link to it in the comments.

I have an identity crisis looming.

It’s all my mate Andrie’s fault.

She says I should consider changing the name of the book.

Panic!

But am I over-reacting?

.

The case for the prosecution: Continue reading

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Filed under art, friends, Music, My Writing

Count Zero or Stephen Hero?

I’m torn. I don’t know which way to turn.

This...

...or this?

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Filed under art, Influences, My Writing

Gossip and grenades

I based a character in my book Blackwatertown on a friend I used to work with. Actually, that’s not quite accurate. I just used his name and nickname. But Tom (who becomes Tomas) Greenard is now far away in Australia, so he is at my mercy.

His nickname was Tom Grenade. I never did find out why.

Tom, you’ll be pleased to hear that your alter ego lives up to your nickname in the book. Though I cannot promise that he survives to feature in the sequel.

Tom – in Australia sends this uplifting story:

Sócrates

Keep this in mind the next time you are about to repeat a rumour or spread gossip.In ancient Greece (469 – 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.

One day an acquaintance ran up to him excitedly and said, “Socrates, do you know what I just heard about Diogenes?” Continue reading

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Filed under friends, history, Music, My Writing

Missing Words

Sometimes losing letters works well.

I’ve had some big downs and big ups over the past few days, and one intriguing piece of literary gossip.

1. Some fool Continue reading

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Filed under art, In the village, My Writing

The inside story…


Crumlin Road Prison by Stephen Shaw. He's a super observant watercolourist in Belfast. Click on the pic for his online galleries. The old prison was said to be the most secure in the British Isles. It hosted many escapes and executions. A tunnel led from the jail to the courthouse opposite, which features in Blackwatertown.

Here comes the inside story of my book. It’s the brief synopsis I’m sending to agents. (Some agents prefer a different approach – longer blow by blow, chapter by chapter efforts.)

The next post will cover my recent calamities and a particularly juicy piece of gossip. But for now, have a peek inside.

Synopsis of Blackwatertown:

Blackwatertown by Paul Waters is a thriller set on the Irish border in the 1950s. The intertwining of fact and fiction is based partly on a murky episode of Ireland’s past, and partly on things discovered about my family’s own secret history.

It is the story of a reluctant and conflicted policeman called John “Jolly” Macken, who is drawn into a conspiracy, accidentally starts a war (the 1950s IRA border campaign) and inadvertently becomes a hero.

It is also the story of how complacency in a time of peace can quickly be shattered, if the underlying tensions in society are not addressed.

Jolly Macken begins with a personal crisis because of his leading role in a police action he knows is legally correct, but feels is morally wrong.

As a police officer, an RUC man, he is isolated from his fellow Irish Catholics because he serves the Crown. As a Catholic (in name anyway), he is by definition distrusted by his Protestant fellow officers and the State.

There are three main strands:

1. Macken is punished after a farcical episode of violence at the beginning, by being exiled to Blackwatertown village, a sleepy Co. Armagh backwater. He is sent there to replace the previous token Catholic officer in the district who died mysteriously. Was it an accident or murder? Were the killers fellow police officers? Will Macken be next?

2. Macken meets an unusually bewitching local girl whose bravado masks a certain innocence. However, is her innocence feigned? Will their romance endure? Is she an IRA spy or is she hiding a much darker secret?

3. Macken is caught up in a police conspiracy and cover-up that has unexpected consequences. Their fakery is so convincing that the conspirators are lauded as heroes and accidentally start a war. Macken becomes part of a web of political and personal intrigue, watching his back as genuine and imaginary sides go to war for real.

An ambiguous fourth strand weaves in and out of the action. It retains its mystery until near the end, when its true purpose and horrible identity is revealed.

As the tension and stakes mount higher, Macken is forced to choose sides when it comes to war and to his personal life. He embarks on a journey through a broken and twisted world to see if it is possible to salvage anything that is good, worthwhile and beautiful.

Blackwatertown conveys a sense of place in the tradition of Ulster writer Maurice Leitch, and is threaded through with flashes of humour reminiscent of Andrea Camilleri’s Sicilian Inspector Montalbano mysteries.

The story transcends time and place, but also parallels the current dangerous political situation in Northern Ireland today, and shows how a seemingly secure peace can be squandered.

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Filed under art, My Writing

Now look what you’ve done…

Now look what you’ve done. You’re famous. That’s you – readers and commentators. You have only gone and become online exemplars who have made “clear the sort of support you can get from a virtual network in a connected world.”

That’s according to the highly prestigious Trading As WDR blog. (“A blog containing thoughts about change, and how to achieve it…”)

WDR spotted what’s been going on here recently and has drawn attention to it.

After such high achievement, you deserve a special treat.

Spandau Ballet sang:

“Questions questions

Give me no answers

That’s all they ever give me

Questions questions”

But to cut a long story short, this is the moment you start getting answers. Three answers. (Four if you count the last one double.)

First, I’m going to reveal to you the answer to the question that has been bugging you since childhood. Continue reading

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Filed under blogs, media, My Writing