Category Archives: Awesome authors

Octocon 2019

On Sunday the 13th of September we’ve having a mini-Octocon (just the one day – I think everyone is still exhausted after Worldcon). All the details are on the website and the programme is now up.

I’m absolutely delighted to be a guest, especially as the theme is fairies! And I’m also there as Jessica Thorne so looking forward to talking about Sci-Fi Romance as well. You can find out what I’m up to here and the details are below. It’s an amazing line up. I hope to see many of you there. Come and say hello.

11am The Fae in Popular Culture
Room 4&5
Tags: panel

On one hand we have the dangerous creatures of Irish mythology and Terry Pratchett’s malicious Lords and Ladies; on the other, sexy elf-lords and twee little creatures with their homes in trees. How have our perceptions and cultural understanding of the Fae been altered, influenced or completely disregarded by modern fantasy novels, Hollywood, and TV shows like Carnival Row and Charmed?

2pm Author Readings
Room 12, 2pm – 2:25pm
Tags: reading

Guest authors Peadar Ó Guilín and Ruth Frances Long/Jessica Thorne read from their recent work.

Romance in SFF: Not Just a Sub Plot
Room 11
Tags: panel

Many SFF stories involve romance – it’s part of human nature, after all. SFF romance as a subgenre is as varied and creative as the genre as a whole but has often been .dismissed and undervalued. But why should lovers (of romance) settle for it being considered second-best to dragons and rocket ships?

5pm From the Terror in the Night to a Bedtime Tale
Room 4&5
Tags: panel

Once gruesome cautionary tales of warning, fairy tales somehow became cute children’s stories instead. Is it time for a return to the horror stories of old or do they need to evolve to remain alive? Are any of them no longer suitable for modern audiences, and is there room for both Disney sweetness and the grimmest of Grimm for children and adults alike?


Girl in Trouble

No, not me. Fortunately. Not this time, anyway. *checks* No everything appears to be ok. Just don’t move. Or blink. Or jinx anything.

My gorgeous, talented, hilarious, RNA Naughty Kitchen mate Rhoda Baxter has a new book out, Girl in Trouble, and you should all go out and buy it immediately. It popped up on my Kindle the other day and only being full on at Octocon stopped me from reading it right away. And now I have time. Mwhahahaha!

What’s it about? I’m glad you asked. Modern, smart, funny romance here we come.

Grown up tomboy Olivia doesn’t need a man to complete her. Judging by her absent father, men aren’t that reliable anyway. She’s got a successful career, good friends and can evict spiders from the bath herself, so she doesn’t need to settle down, thanks.

Walter’s ex is moving his daughter to America and Walter feels like he’s losing his family. When his friend-with-benefits, Olivia, discovers she’s pregnant by her douchebag ex, Walter sees the perfect chance to be part of a family with a woman he loves. But how can Walter persuade the most independent woman he’s ever met to accept his help, let alone his heart?

Girl In Trouble is the third book in the award nominated Smart Girls series by Rhoda Baxter. If you like charming heroes, alpha heroines and sparkling dialogue, you’ll love this series. Ideal for fans of Sarah Morgan, Lindsey Kelk or Meg Cabot’s Boy books. Buy now and meet your new favourite heroine today.

Rhoda’s books are always amazing. They’re smart, funny and have wonderful modern heroines. If you want to try some fresh new romance, here you go.

Why are you still reading this? Go and buy it! 😀 Now, where’s my tablet?

#WexLitFest beckons…

Carmel Harrington is a bestselling & award winning author from Co. Wexfor-8

The weekend is almost here (ok, it’s Wednesday, but I can dream, can’t I?) and with it comes the Focal Wexford Literary Festival in Enniscorthy.

To say I’m looking forward to this one is kind of a massive understatement. Not least because I’ll be there with the wonderful Claire Hennessy and Elizabeth Rose Murray. We have a panel on YA fiction together at 2pm and I am absolutely certain there will be shenanigans.

I’ll also be at the open mic on Friday night, once Claire and I have completed our Thelma and Louise Roadtrip down there.

In the meantime may I point out that Claire’s wonderful book Nothing Tastes As Good launches tonight in Dublin and Elizabeth’s equally marvelous Caramel Hearts is out now and has its Dublin launch next week. Rush out and buy both of them right away!

#YAieDay and Octocon

So, #YAieDay is on Twitter tomorrow, a day when we celebrate all things YA in Ireland, and I’m going to be on from 1.10-1.50 swearing… sorry “talking” about swearing with Kim Hood and Sally Nicholls. Follow the #YAieDay hashtag on Twitter and the full (amazing) lineup and programme is here. Thanks to the marvellous Michelle Moloney King for putting this together.

And then, next week it’s Octocon. And the programme is now up online too. Another brilliant line up of people and lots of YA here.

So this is what I’ll be up to.

Busy busy busy…

  • Friday, October 9
    Ireland as a location
    A. Tivoli/Yeats, 7pm – 8pm
  • Saturday, October 10
    As the creator Intended?
    C. Gaiety, 1pm – 2pm
  • 3pm
    Historical Inaccuracies.
    B. Abbey, 3pm – 4pm
  • 7pm
    Late Night Panel: Sex In Fiction/Erotica
    B. Abbey, 7pm – 8pm
  • Sunday, October 11
    A Fantasy of My Own
    A. Tivoli/Yeats, 2pm – 3pm
  • 3pm
    Irish Mythology And Its International Spread
    A. Tivoli/Yeats, 3pm – 4pm
  • 4pm
    Readings from our Authors featuring Planetfall by Emma Newman
    B. Abbey, 4pm – 5pm
  • 5pm
    Practical Magic: Perspectives of Pagans, Gamers, and Fantasy Authors
    B. Abbey, 5pm – 6pm

The whole programme can be found here. Come along and say hello! I will probably be the person rushing between panels but say hello anyway! 😀

Two awesome things – A Crack in Everything recommended read & #YAIE

I was in the Gutter Bookshop in Dalkey today and found A Crack in Everything in a proud position as part of their Christmas recommendations for teens. So now they have signed copies. And I have a lovely photo.


In some rather smashing company too.

And on Twitter there is now a hashtag for all things YA in Ireland – #YAIE and an account @booksyaie – thanks to Michelle Moloney King,   and 

Can’t wait for it.

Join us for the inaugural Twitter chat – next Wed (Dec 17), 7.30-8.30pm. Topic: ‘Irish books I wish were written when I was a YA’. #YAIE



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…

Fun and games with the Romantic Novelists

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Finally getting myself back into action after the Romantic Novelists Conference this year, which was held in Sheffield, at a place called the Edge. Oh the jokes just write themselves there… women on the edge, anyone?

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It was of course another wonderful conference. Filled with good food and great company. There was some toasting and a kitchen party with the ChocLit crew.IMG_4300 (800x533)

If you’ve never been to an RNA Conference, the kitchen parties are something else. There are always several naughty kitchens. This year however I wimped out on Friday night because I had “things to do” on Saturday. I was wise. It is a rare event.

On Saturday morning Imogen Howson and I gave a talk on writing YA.


Our lovely audience began to gather, bringing with them excellent reading materials.

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  Saturday night is gala dinner night so dressed in our finery the girls of F3 (Kate Johnson, Imogen Howson, myself, Sarah Callejo, Talli Roland and Jane Lovering) headed off to the ball. At the Edge. And over the edge.

We have a rep to live up to. Or something.IMG_4337 (800x533)

Kate won the Elizabeth Goudge trophy with a novel opening about Ice Giants apparently. Now I want to read it. It’ll go on the list with that murder mystery set on a spaceship about reincarnation I need to write now… The danger of chatting with writers in groups. It brings out the plot bunnies.

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 The party may have continued for some time. Hey, we had things to celebrate. Again.
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Most of all we celebrated spending another wonderful conference together. By the time I got home, nice as it was to be back, I admit to being homesick for flat F3. Roll on next year in Shropshire. I’m thinking another road trip is in order. Who’s with me?

(please excuse the slightly dodgy alignment of photos and text – I’m having fun and games with my website too. But soon that will all change. Oh yes. Bwahahahaha! News to come).

Authors Against Bullying – 19th October

Authors Against Bullying

Today, I’m taking part in Authors Against Bullying (#AuthorsAgainstBullying), having seen Mandy M. Roth talking about it on Twitter. The following post is about my experiences and how I got past them. The post may contain some triggerish things. Just to warn you. Many years later, when I described this to some friends at a writing conference, I suddenly found myself surrounded by shocked and silent faces. Oops. Continue reading Authors Against Bullying – 19th October

Octocon this weekend

This weekend is Octocon weekend! The full timetable is here. And general details here.  Liz Williams is GOH and a host of wonderful guests including C.E. Murphy, Celine Kiernan, Oisín McGann, Michael Carroll and me!

This is what I’ll be up to: (busy busy busy)


11am Room 101 – putting away all those SFFH tropes

1pm – Realistic Relationships in SFF – What makes for a realistic relationship, and does a different world change what is realistic in a relationship?

3pm – LGBTQ in YA – What is the impact of having LGBTQ characters in Young Adult Books? What are the possible

4pm – Reading – I’ll be reading from The Treachery of Beautiful Things (and maybe more)

6pm – What does the term strong female character actually mean? – We use the term all the time, but there seems to be a lot of disagreement as to what is and is not a “Strong Female Character”

Sunday 14th

(phew! A lie in)

Noon – Why so violent? – Why do so many stories resort to violence? Surely we can all just get along

1pm – Roots of Irish fantasy – Irish Myths and Legends go back thousands of years, and have been changed by interaction
with the Catholic Church, and the Catholic Church has been changed by the Irish people and our myths (I accidentally talked my way into this. Be warned, I have been doing research!)

5pm – Is there space for religion in Science Fiction? – Some see science as being about facts and figures, and believe that science fiction shouldn’t include relgion. We hope to explore these ideas.

I always have an awesome time at Octocon. (And collapse in a heap afterwards). But don’t forget that there is also the Friday night welcome drinks and the Dead Dog party on Monday!

Copies of The Treachery of Beautiful Things, Soul Fire, The Scroll Thief and Songs of the Wolf will be available in the Dealers room.

Come and say hello if you’re there. And come to the reading so I’m not talking to an empty room! Pleeeeeeease!