Category Archives: Awesome authors

Titancon & the Giant’s Causeway

I’m a little late writing this one up for a number of reasons, but they basically boil down to lots to do and no energy to do it with. Plus finishing my WiP, the Space Opera. Well, now that has gone off to my wonderful critters, I can’t put blogging off any more, can I?

Titancon was fantastic fun. So well run and entertaining for all of us. We had a ball. One of the really awesome thing was that Leigh Bardugo (author of SHADOW AND BONE) and Joanna Volpe from New Leaf Literary were there and we got to hang out. I have photos, which are all slightly wobbly as my camera decided to play up.

So first, on Friday night, we had readings in McHughs as part of Culture Night Belfast
Ruth reading from The Treachery of Beautiful ThingsLeigh reading from Shadow and Bone

Titancon was Saturday. We had panels on Romance in SFF, on becoming a professional author, on working in the Internet age. We met people from the TV show, A Game of Thrones. We had lots of fun and a lovely lunch.

Ruth and LeighPeadar Ó Guilín, Ruth and Leigh

Some of the encounters were pretty action packed. (that’s why its blurry, honest!)
Water dancing with Syrio Forel (Miltos Yerolemou)

Many thanks to Miltos and Johannah!

A great day was had by all. And here is a wobbly picture of Joanna, Leigh and myself with the Game of Thrones banners.
Joanna, Leigh, Ruth

We stayed for the Masquerade, which was fab and then the next day we decided to go to the Giant’s Causeway, little knowing we would be stalked by the Game of Thrones bus tour!

The Causeway was fantastic. I’ve never been before and always wanted to. Here’s a slideshow of some of my photos (my camera suspiciously decided to cooperate once the con was over!)


Titancon this weekend

This afternoon I’m heading up to Belfast for the kick off of Titancon.

Really looking forward to this one.

Tonight, as part of Culture Night Belfast, a group of the visiting authors will be reading in McHugh’s Bar, including Ian MacDonald, Peadar Ó Guilín, Leigh Bardugo and myself amongst others.

Tomorrow is a full day of panels and events, lots of Game of Thrones. My schedule (from the Titancon website) looks like this:

11.30 am – Is there still room for romance? Panel: Ruth Frances Long (mod), Peadar Ó Guilín and Leigh Bardugo
In this age of dark and gritty fantasy is there still room for romance? If so, what does it take to write a convincing and uncontrived love story or subplot?

2.00 pm – Foreshadowing in the Internet age Panel: Ian McDonald (mod), Peadar Ó Guilín, Ruth Frances Long and Ken Magee

Twenty years ago SF/F writers could include subtle hints and clues about the future direction of the story knowing that maybe one reader in a hundred would guess what would happen next. Now with the Internet that one reader can share their ideas with everyone else and suddenly an authors’ brilliant twist becomes an obvious thing that everyone knew ages ago. Is it more of a challenge to foreshadow stories in the Internet age? How can you successfully keep the twists and turns hidden and surprising whilst avoiding being overly subtle and obscure or turning to dues-ex-machina?

3.00 pm – How to become a published author Panel: Joanna Volpe (mod), Ian McDonald, Ruth Frances Long, Leigh Bardugo, Ken Magee and Colin Tate (Clarion Publishing)

Our guests including authors, a literary agent and a publisher discuss what it takes to go from amateur to professional writer, the pitfalls to avoid and tips on how to succeed.

4.00 pm – The eBooks Debate Panel: Peadar Ó Guilín (mod), Ruth Frances Long, Leigh Bardugo, Joanna Volpe and Ken Magee

With eBook sales now overtaking physical books the publishing industry is undergoing a radical transformation. What does this mean for publishers and have they taken the right steps to transition into this new medium? Are prices fair and acceptable for consumers whilst still offering enough growth for publishers to enable them to keep doing the vital jobs of editing, proofing and promotion? Or is self publication the way forward cutting out the middleman? eBooks is a topic sure to spark a strong debate that will pull no punches.

5.00 pm – Author guests signing session – Authors: Ian McDonald, Peadar Ó Guilín, Ruth Frances Long, Leigh Bardugo and Ken Magee

Our author guests will be signing copies of their books. Many of them will have a small stack of books with them that are available for purchase.

Yes, I am bringing a small stack of books. Most of them are The Treachery of Beautiful Things but some of my R. F. Long ones are coming too. As Treachery as never been to a convention before and might panic.

So if you’re in the Belfast area, come and say hello!

The Treachery of Beautiful Things booklaunch

What a wonderful night. With photos to prove it…

Look at my pretty book! Look at all the pretty books!

Having spent the two previous days getting apologies from those who couldn’t make it (with perfectly valid reasons of course), with a major concert on in Dublin, the Junior Cert exam results out that day, and traffic chaos, I was expecting no one to make it but we had a great turnout in the end. Yay! I didn’t get to talk to everyone, nor as much as I would have liked to but it was fantastic to see so many people, new friends and old. (Yes, I got into trouble for mentioning my “oldest” friends — I think I am forgiven now, barely. “The people with whom I have been friends the longest” isn’t quite so snappy though.)

Bob from The Gutter Bookshop introduced us,and Celine Kiernan spoke so kindly about The Treachery of Beautiful Things.

The wonderful Celine Kiernan

And I thanked … well everyone in the world really, virtual, imaginary, and real.


But eventually I shut up again and we had cake.

Did I mention the cake? 😀

Oh yes, there was cake

I didn’t actually get any cake because I was signing books

Signing books

but I’m told people enjoyed it and the hoard of small children surrounding the table earned themselves the nickname “The Cookie Monsters”.

And then it was time to go home. Thanks so much to everyone who was able to make it, who sent good wishes and celebrated online. I had a fabulous evening. I hope you did too!

Ruth and Celine – see how much fun I’m having?

Next up, it’s Titancon, from the 21st of September, in Belfast. I’ll be on the literary panels, and signing books. Check out those guests! Can’t wait!

The Treachery of Beautiful Things is now available, from Dial Books at

Indiebound Book Depository | | Barnes & Noble | Powells

and at your local bookshop.

eta: I forgot to add – The Treachery of Beautiful Things got a STARRED REVIEW in the ALA Booklist – their review is here.

Out in the wild – Book Launch imminent

In the wild…

The countdown is on to the book launch. My brain has switched into its usual stress management mode – BAKE ALL THE THINGS!

Venue: The Gutter Bookshop
Date: Wednesday 12th September – 6.30pm until 8pm

Free and Everyone welcome. Encouraged even.

There will be cake. Just saying.

The book will be launched by the wonderful and talented, not to mention award winning Celine Kiernan.

There should be photos (if I charge my camera and find a photographer). And there might be wine. (*ahem*)

So come one, come all to the Gutter Bookshop tomorrow evening and see what happens.


The Treachery of Beautiful Things

by Ruth Frances Long

Now available:

Indiebound Book Depository | | Barnes & Noble | Powells

and your local bookshop!!!

Guestblog: Kate goes to the RoNas

On Monday evening, the Romantic Novelists Association will be holding its awards ceremony and my friend, the extremely talented Kate Johnson, is a nominee for her fabulous alternate world fantasy adventure The Untied Kingdom. I read this last year and it’s sensational.

Best of luck, Kate. And best of luck to all the nominees. You’re all fab!

I asked Kate to tell us about it all. Even better, she tells us what Eve and the deliciously grumpy Harker would think of award season. Drumroll…. and it might be an idea to secure anything breakable…


So amongst all the congratulations and the shoe dilemmas and the oh-my-god-I-can’t-even-zip-this-dress-up crises, I stopped to wonder the other day what the actual characters of The Untied Kingdom would make of this awards ceremony malarky.

It’s Awards Season at the moment, or just was at any rate. Over the last few weeks I’ve watched the Oscars (and spent the next three days sleeping it off: damn those take-a-shot-if-someone-weeps-during-their-speech drinking games!) the Baftas (complete with Prince Colin Firth Charming) and the Brits (live, albeit from the top tier of the O2 arena, which is about as high up as you can go without going through an airport). So we can call that research. Right?

Of course Eve, my heroine, would take awards ceremonies all in stride and probably find the whole thing a bit of an inconvenience. She’s been going to glitzy do’s since she was seventeen, and while they were exciting back then, the glamour quickly faded. Brit Awards, Grammys, film premieres, a dozen red carpets, uncomfortable shoes, frocks you have to be sewn into and hair that doesn’t even belong to you. She likes the effect, when she sees the pictures later (the carefully screened ones her agent sends), but to be honest she’d rather sit at home with a hot chocolate and watch Glee.

Then we have Harker. He feels uncomfortable if he’s carrying any less than three types of personal firearm, and has the hairstyle of a man who thinks combs are for nancies. The only clothes he’s worn since he was eighteen are the ones the army gave him, and the idea of putting on a penguin suit and actually having to shave fills him with horror. All this poncing about, being polite to people he either doesn’t know or doesn’t like, drinking tiny glasses of fizzy plonk instead of dark beer, like a normal person, and pretending to be pleased when someone who is not the love of his life wins the award she deserves…no, he’d rather sit at home too, although I don’t reckon he’d think much of Glee.

All in all, then, it’s probably a good job I haven’t Pygmalion’d them into existence and bought them tickets for the RoNAs on Monday.

I think I’d be better off taking my mum.


Kate Johnson lives behind a keyboard in Essex and belongs to a small pride of cats. She was born in 1982 and has spent the intervening years watching romantic comedies and reading Terry Pratchett, which sort of made it inevitable that she’d grow up to write fantastical stories about people falling in love. She’s worked in an airport and in a laboratory, but much prefers being an author since it allows her to look at pictures of handsome men all day for the purposes of research. She spends a lot of time online, Tweeting and reading other people’s blogs, and when she’s completely run out of other things to do, she occasionally writes books.

Holiday reading

One of the most wonderful things about holidays is that I get time to work my way through my TBR pile. Some of these are books I’ve had for AGES, others are new (books tend to shuffle up and down the pile, in a bizare sort of queue jumping, elbowing others aside sort of way) but they are all books I want to read.

The Demon’s Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan

The Poison Throne by Celine Keirnan (and the next 2 in the Moorhawk series)

Evermore by Alyson Noel

The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Cathars by Sean Martin

and hopefully Revelation by C. J. Sansom (if I manage to borrow it before I go)

Plus a book on the Megaliths of Brittany. And a trip to the library before we go.


Hey, last year I took 16 books for a 14 day holiday… and read them too! 😀

Free Octocon Anthology

As part of the run up to Octocon, the National Irish Science Fiction Convention held (funnily enough) in October, my story CARRYING KEPTARA is currently available as part of their free showcase anthology, along with stories by Peadar Ó Guilín, Brian J. Showers and Derek Gunn.

It’s available in ePub, Kindle and PDF formats.

Plus they are running a short story competition.

What are you waiting for? RUN!


Fairytales in fiction

Claire Hennesy has a thought provoking post up today about Retellings, where writers take well known and established stories like fairytales and folklore and use them as a base for their own stories, building on them, changing their slant or reworking them into something new. I started to reply there, but given the fact that I LOVE this subject, my reply started to get long, which is a little unfair on someone else’s blog. So I thought I’d put it here instead. You should of course read Claire’s post first! (but be warned, I now have MORE books to add to my neverending TBR pile).

For me, it seems to work the other way. Quite often I start out telling my own story and find that the fairy tale or mythic elements bleed through as the characters take on those ghostly archetypes that linger in the background of our cultural life. They are still my stories, my characters, still in their own stories but rather than deliberately drawing on archetypes I find they filter into the story in a subtle way (a hopefully subtle way). Because those fairytales are powerful things. They’re beguiling and whimsical. On the surface. But then you go deeper. And deeper. They tell raw and compelling stories when you whittle them down to their purest form. They have darker versions of themselves hidden away in the shadows behind our polished up 21st century versions.

So if I show you an image of a single glass slipper on a staircase, your mind fills in the rest and you go Ah-HA! If there’s blood on the slipper, or if the slipper shatters into a million pieces, your mind is both startled and intrigued. How has the story been changed? Or has it? Is there some older, darker version you haven’t heard before.

I think it’s part of the way writers often feel that stories tell themselves. That they run away with us clinging on for dear life via the pen.

So in my case a fantasy quest novel takes on elements of folklore and fairytales harking back to those older legends and the place of blood and sacrifice they came from. Or an urban fantasy set in modern day Dublin becomes a reimagining of the Percival legend with Celtic overtones and a heroine skirting to the wrong side of divine law.

Myths and folktales lend resonance to our stories and give a sense of a far deeper pool of storytelling behind them. It’s an exciting and abundant area in which to play.

I just wanted to do a quick post to let you know about the new writing site –

I’m really excited about this site which hopes to be a one stop shop for all things writerly in Ireland, and a wonderful resource for writers everywhere. As it grows, there’s going to be so much going on here, but even in its infancy, its a treasure trove of information, interviews and insights. As the founder, Vanessa O’Loughlin says in her introduction, the Irish are reknowned storytellers, so there is plenty to keep everyone interested.

Authors from all sorts of genres talk about their work, their lives and their methods in the Meet the Authors section, there are all sorts of goodies in the Writer’s Toolbox (including a glimpse into one of my infamous notebooks, if you dare!) and the fantastic 100 Tips from Top Authors.

Add to this Guest Blogs, a For Readers section, details on Courses and the Events Guide, I’m going to end up spending a lot of time here!