Shoes, Ducks & Maids of the Sea – Free ebook

So here it is folks – the IBbY ebook for Children’s Book Day.

Shoes Ducks and Maids of the SeaShoes Ducks and Maids of the Sea is a collection of thirteen short stories retelling the classic tales of Hans Christian Anderson with an Irish eye. There are stories from Paula Leyden, Oisín McGann, David Rudden, Sheena Wilkinson, Deirdre Sullivan, Claire Hennessy, Paul Timoney, Anna Carey, Siobhán Parkinson, Sarah Webb, Darragh Martin and me!

You can download Shoes, Ducks and Maids of the Sea here and check out the awesome stuff on, the new website for international Children’s books featuring articles, reviews and children’s lit from all around the world.

And come along to the launch tonight at 6.30pm in the Workmans Club, Wellington Quay, Dublin, if you can.

Backups and researchiness

First of all I want to give thanks to Dropbox.

I work out of my dropbox folder these days and thank goodness I do. At the end of my last round of edits I decided to read through the completed file on my tablet, which in its infinite Androidy wisdom (NOT) decided it should strip out every quotation mark, apostrophe, dash and ellipsis from the entire file.

I’ll just give that a moment to sink in…

Every. Single. One.

I discovered it on Sunday morning. The edits were due on Monday.

Yes. There was screaming. There was crying. There was a bit of throwing myself about on the stairs and on the sofa. My children frantically made tea and brought me crisps and hot wings sauce to dip them in. The dog hid. I suspect my husband my have contemplated just staying upstairs and locking some doors. He didn’t. He’s good that way.

No, he was the one who kept the level head and pointed out that you can get the previous versions of files on the Dropbox website. Which I did. And all was good. All I lost were a couple of bookmarks I’d made on the errant tablet version of the document. It took about an hour to fix it. Once I’d calmed down.

So great was the relief, and what did we learn?

Always always always keep multiple backups, preferably with iterations of files. Whether you use something like Dropbox or not. Do not save anything on my tablet. Ever. (Yours might be perfectly well behaved). Keep a level head and remember what safeguards you have put in place. Dropbox.

And when I freak out bring me tea and crisps and hide. Blue cheese is also good.

Phew. It was a nightmare. But the edits went in on time. It’s only taken me about three weeks to recover and write this down. The next round are due next week.

Backups, kids. We love them!

I learned something else today. I say learned but I already knew it. It is this: I am not be trusted in the library with my library card and research books. Exhibit A

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But um… yes… one of these things is not like the others…

Happy St Patrick’s Day

It’s St Patrick’s Day, which generally means a weekend of rain. Luckily we didn’t get that (though there was a bit of drizzle through which we persevered). Instead there’s something of a feeling of spring out and about.

Native Woodlands Trust, Blessington

Native Woodlands Trust, Blessington

Yesterday we took ourselves off on a scavenger hunt with the Native Woodland Trust to Blessington, spotting wild primroses, frogspawn and learning about various native tree species, along with some which we thought were native but aren’t (looking at you Sycamore, Horse Chestnut and Beech). I’d never heard of the Wych Elm, for example, but now fully intend to put it in a book. And I was never sure which flowered first, the Hawthorn or the Blackthorn, but now I do — the Blackthorn flowers before its leaves come out, the Hawthorn the other way around. The Hawthorn waits for May. The Blackthorns are out now — pretty splashes of white against the bare branches. Who knows why they have such a dark reputation?

The first round of edits for A Crack in Everything have gone back so I took a week off and now can start looking at the next book until the next round come in. I think the Blackthorn is going to make an appearance now.

Perhaps you’ll see the first stirrings of Spring around you as well. It’s so heartening.

In the meantime, happy St. Patrick’s Day to one and all.



Happy World Book Day

And in honour of World Book Day here is a Shelfie

Please excuse the mess, jumbledness, double shelving and occassional fairy…


















Basically, there aren’t enough bookshelves in the world…

Frantic editing cave post – in which I made a library-related mistake

I am back in the editing cave.


I know, I haven’t been out of it much of late. That’s what happens when you have two books due and are writing two more. So editing cave.

Unfortunately, I made the fatal mistake of going to the library with my kids today. One we don’t usually go to. Why a fatal mistake you ask? Because, I answer, pulling at my hair like a maniac, I found books… 3 books!.. that I have been dying to read.

Ash by James Herbert (I adored the previous David Ash books and didn’t know about this one until quite recently so am super psyched)

Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper. (I mean come ON. SUSAN COOPER!)

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (because I’ve been meaning to read this one for a while and it ticks all the right boxes for me)

Soooooo I am making a deal with myself. For every chapter I get through on the edits (for which I have a deadline and I’ve kind of worked this out so bear with me*) I can read. I have three weeks. I have three books. The more chapters I get through and the shinier it becomes I can read more of the books. The lovely shiny books.

And this isn’t even taking into account that I got The Gutter Bookshop in Dalkey to order Liz de Jager’s Banished for me and it’s due in next week.  Squee.

Cue hysterical laughter. And editing. And hopefully reading!


Oh and in a little bit of other news, my steamy paranormal romance The Mirror of Her Power is due out in April. It is so not YA, but it is fab and lovely. Edits for that are done. Yay! Thanks to my awesome editor Dayna!


*I haven’t really worked any of this out at all. But anyway…

Lá Fhéile Bríde

St Brigid’s Cross

Happy Imbolc or St Brigid’s Day. As Brigid (or a form of her called Brí) appears in my forthcoming YA fantasy A Crack in Everything, I thought a little post on the day marking the first day of Spring was in order.

In mythology Brigid (there are a variety of spellings so I’m going with this one for simplicity) was the daughter of the Dagda and the wife of Bres. She was the goddess of poets, invented keening (thanks for that Brí!), was a healer and is associated with all things fiery.

When Christianity came to Ireland Brigid became St. Brigid of Kildare. Or the historic Brigid took on the attributes of her pagan goddess namesake. Or something. It’s rather complicated and the source of great controversy.

The Brigid’s Cross is made for the 1st of February, St. Brigid’s day, and is said to protect against fire and to keep evil from the house. It’s made from rushes. It links the image of a cross with a pagan sunwheel, and neatly combines both aspects of Brigid, the Goddess and the Saint.

So news news news news news

I promised news and here is news. This is turning into a year of news (let’s hope!).

This time the news is R. F. Long news. I’ve signed a contract with Taliesin Publishing for a new paranormal romance called The Mirror of Her Power.

It’s the first in hopefully a series about magicians and magic and steaming hot heroes… well, it’s not a YA book. Hence the R. F. Long name on it.

But if you liked Soul Fire you’re going to love this!

We’re hoping it will be out in the Spring so not long to wait at all.