Writer and Author

Tag: Devil in the Red Dress (Page 3 of 7)

What I Do On My Summer Holidays…or How to Avoid the Silly Season

August is always a quiet month.  Even if you’re in  a newsroom this is the month when the “silly season” hits.  The courts and politicians are all on holiday and so the news that’s there to be covered can be rather thin on the ground.  In terms of general news the silly season hasn’t fully hit…one of the few plus points of a rather nasty recession.  If, like me, you work in the courts, however, the shop is well and truly shut from the very start of August until the beginning of October.

Some of the courts still sit – the High Court and the Children’s Court still process cases from time to time as needed.  The District court too has a constant stream of miscreants, but I don’t work in any of those courts.  My bread and butter is the Central Criminal Court so August and September are extremely quiet as there’s simply nothing doing.  People may get murdered, other people may get charged, but the actual murder trials are on hold until term starts in October.

So every summer I have a choice.  Either sit at home and twiddle my thumbs for two months or try and find something productive to do.  Two years ago I was making trips down to the Mahon Tribunal to take down our former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s testimony.  Last year I wrote Devil in the Red Dress.  This year it’s an altogether different project.

I’m writing a novel – well to be more exact, I’ve already written the novel but it still needs further editing before it’s in a state I’m happy to send out to publishers.  I’ve mentioned it on numerous occasions on this blog but now I’m several weeks into the editing process it’s become more of an obsession and less casual material for this blog.

Editing is far more of a slog than the free flowing drafting that initially creates the story.  This is the time when you are chipping away at the raw material and trying to make it into something that’s actually readable.  When I’m drafting the words might flow and the plot might spring into place organically (if I’m very, very lucky) but editing is down to the minutiae, the technical nitty, gritty of the writing process.

This is the time when you realise how often you’ve used certain words and phrases and get over your initial blushes to fix the problem.  This is when you take out the irrelevant words; the ands, thens, or whiches that can safely be chopped to make a cleaner more fluid sentence.

Because no matter how fluid your writing may feel when you’re drafting, it will always benefit from a strict vetting with a red pen.  When you’re in the middle of it it can seem counter intuitive that this sometimes tortuous process can be the thing that frees up a page but that’s how it works.  I always liked the analogy of editing being like a sculptor chipping away at his marble until something beautiful emerges.

Of course, you edit with journalism and non fiction as well but it’s a far more perfunctory affair than with fiction.  With journalism you are writing in a much more rigid structure so while it can be cleaned up or streamlined, the kind of in depth surgery that a larger piece requires just isn’t necessary.

So I’ve been spending large chunks of every day sitting at my laptop.  I left behind the red pen some time ago and now we’re down to the actual physical changing of the words in the manuscript.  When it gets to this stage it really becomes an obsession.  The manuscript becomes a god, a drug.  Every moment you are away from it there is an ache that simply will not stop.

I’ve been working for the past few weeks on a little table in front of my bedroom window.  It’s not a perfect setting.  I’m used to working at my desk with all my touchstones and paraphernalia that I like to think make me a better writer, or that help the inspiration to flow.  Much as I love my desk, it’s in a rather busy place, fine when I’m on my home in the house but not really workable when there are other people in the house and this summer we have a prolonged guest.

So I sit at my little table and look at the trees outside the window.  It’s the kind of place I would have picked to work in the past, before deadlines became an issue and publication of any kind was a simple dream.  The fact that the internet up here is sporadic at best and there’s no direct light and there’s not even space to put a mug of tea would drive me up the wall if I was writing my usual fare, which is generally fueled by caffeine and online research.

But for this job of editing, which I have promised to finish before the courts go back (after way too many years almost there) my little table is an oasis.  A different space that allows me to have the quiet and the concentration to do the chipping away that I must.

Up here, I wouldn’t now a silly season if it beat it’s wings against the window, although I’d probably be momentarily distracted.  It’s another world, far away from deadlines, and column inches and the Four Courts.  In the end it’s all work but I’m feeling very fortunate this year to spend the summer writing in the bedroom and watching the sunshine and the barbecues going on below.

Signing on the Dotted Line…

Today I officially signed with an agent.  One of the most exciting things about writing Devil in the Red Dress has been the opportunities it has opened up.  It was impossible to guess when I went into Court 1 in the Four Courts a little over a year ago that the trial I was about to cover would actually change my life.

We knew when Sharon Collins and Essam Eid first came into court that it was going to be an interesting trial.  Not many trials pass through the Four Courts that have quite that combination of sex and scandal.  There was money, there was an internet plot and Eid himself looked like the quintessential mafiosa…he even had a Las Vegas connection.  Even though nobody had died, or maybe because of it, it had all the elements of a first class thriller.  It was hardly surprising that one of the main topics of conversation during those long weeks the trial was running, revolved around who would play what in any eventual movie.

Even the accused chipped in to that one.  Eid was quite happy to offer the suggestion of Al Pacino to play himself. Sharon wasn’t quite so forthcoming – I think she had her sights set on writing the script herself!

As far as I was concerned it was a book waiting to be written.  I had been wanting to write a book for some time and had been looking around for the right plot.  I’ve wanted to be an author since I was little…I used to look at the books on the shelves in the library and dream of my name being on the spine of one of them.  Ever since I can remember I’ve made up stories.  I became a journalist so that I could earn my living from writing and telling stories – even if they weren’t ones I had made up myself.

I might have got waylaid for several years in radio but I’m finally where I set out to be…writing for my living.  Devil was something that was an extension of that living, a true crime book like those written by many of my colleagues.  I’m proud of it and still get a kick out of seeing it in book shops but I didn’t really expect it to lead anywhere beyond that.  A local story for the local market.  Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and Devil won’t be my last foray into the non fiction market but true crime books written about high profile trials don’t always have a very long shelf life.

What’s been remarkable about Devil is that is has opened more doors than I thought it would.  For the last few years I’ve been working on a novel.  It’s very, very different from what I do on a day to day basis but it’s something I love doing and I have always believed in the story.  In case you’re curious it’s a satirical fantasy, not the swords and sandals variety but more rooted in reality, a little like the work of  Jasper Fforde or Malcolm Pryce although it sounds so cheesy to compare myself to two successful authors when I’m only starting out.

Being totally subjective I’m not even sure it’s as funny as either of them or if I’m even making a fair comparison.  I’ve spent so long pitching the book to various agents around the place that pat comparisons like that have a habit of tripping off my tongue whenever I describe the book to anyone – something I’m going to have to work on if (when?) it finds a publisher.  Basically the plot, without going into much detail here and trying not to be overly cryptic, has journalists, a referendum, dodgy politicians and a sociopathic, womanising mythical beast as one of the main characters.  As I said, it’s a little different to the stuff I write on a daily basis…I don’t do the politics beat.

Before Devil came along the novel had been sitting in a yellow folder in the top drawer of the filling cabinet and, to be honest, I was thinking of passing it over and started on something else.  But last summer changed all that and that is how I came to start this post with the sentence “Today I officially signed with an agent”.  She will be handling the novel, and it’s two sequels and, as anyone reading the last couple of days posts will have realised, this summer I will be working on fiction rather than fact (except when I have to pay the bills).

I still feel slightly awkward writing about fiction in anything other than a purely theoretical basis.  I normally write this blog as a journalist and changing key in this way feels like baring a private part of myself that I’m not used to sharing.  But this is getting serious now and with any luck I’ll be writing the blurb by this time next year.  Today was the first step towards that and I’m looking forward to the work ahead.

Looking Forward to a Change of Tack

With the end of the first really sunny day of the year my thoughts have turned towards the summer break.  Each year the courts have a summer recess that spans the whole of August and September.  It’s lean pickings if your day job depends of trial reporting but I look forward to it every year.  Last year it gave me time to write Devil, this year I have something completely different planned (well, sort of).

I’ve been working on a novel for years now.  Since I started working in the courts it’s been sitting in the filing cabinet gathering dust but I’ve been persuaded to take it out and have another look.

So that’s going to be my summer this year.  Instead of chronicling real life I’ll be living in my head in the company of the characters I made up so long ago.  I’m still rather fond of them so it should be fun.  Fiction writing is an entirely different discipline to journalism or non fiction work so it’ll be great to slip back into that gear.

When I’m working on non fiction getting things right is, obviously, key so I tend to work at my desk away from the distractions of the outside world. I might do initial planning in a cafe or sitting in the garden but when it comes down to the actual drafting I need my notebooks around me and to be as free from distractions as possible.

Fiction’s completely different. When I’m writing that I could be sitting in the middle of a brass band with fireworks going off around me and I wouldn’t notice.  The scenes I’m imagining into being seem far realer at the time than anything around me.  Writing about world’s and characters I’ve created is like flying, a freewheeling dash that’s only stops when it’s run out of steam.

Non fiction is different.  It’s a far more cerebral experience, an almost academic excercise to fit seperate events and quotes into a cohesive whole.  It’s just as rewarding, and as absorbing when it’s going well, but very, very different.

I remember talking with a very good friend once about these different gears.  I was saying that I find it much easier to switch between fiction and non fiction when I’m working on different projects in one day than to switch between cases.  Facts can get muddled, the language, the way you write in these two different ways doesn’t.

My friend is a translator and also a trained journalist.  We ended up speculating that perhaps the different styles of writing use the brain in a similar way to switching between languages.  Once you’ve got the knack you can switch back and forth perfectly happily, it’s hard wired into you so the gears don’t tend to slip.  Writing fiction and non fiction are almost like totally different languages, at least as far as your brain is concerned.

Neither of us is a neurologist so I’ve no clue how accurate our theory is but it that’s what it feels like.  And this summer break I will be spending my time (most of it anyway) talking in that other language. I can’t wait!

Devil in the Red Dress Steps Out Into the World

My book, Devil in the Red Dress is now officially available in the UK.  It’s the first time it’s been available outside Ireland and I’m interested to see how the story will translate somewhere that hasn’t been so familiar with the whole Lying Eyes, Tony Luciano affair.

One of the reasons I was attracted to writing the book was the fact that the story reads like a thriller and could have happened anywhere.  Even the barristers made references to the Coen Brothers and film noir.  To be honest you simply don’t get cases like this cropping up in Ireland and it was simply too good a tale to pass by.

I was aware while I was covering the trial and later researching the book over last summer that the story had gone truly global.  I did a lot of research on line (fittingly enough) and every time I searched people involved in the story I got hits from further and further afield.  Even doing a search now you can find accounts from the Telegraph, The Guardian and the Daily Record in the UK and CNN in the States. I’m not surprised particularly, it is a great story.

What did amaze me though was how far the coverage extended, there’s coverage from Spain, Hungary and even Vietnam. Now my Spanish, Hungarian and Vietnamese aren’t great, so I’m not sure what spin they were taking but it’s the first time I’ve covered a story that has become such an international talking point.

When you work in a country the size of Ireland it’s easy to get caught up in the local aspect of news…there’s frequently little else but the odd time, when a story arrives with a truly international dimension, that spans from the west of Ireland to the casinos of Las Vegas with a pitstop in Spain, it’s difficult not to get excited.

A lot of the Irish press focused once again on the local angle, the fact that the scheming femme fatale behind the internet plot to kill her millionaire boyfriend was a County Clare housewife from an old Ennis family.  Certainly this is a case that has gone down in Clare legend and it’ll be a long time before it’s forgotten in Ireland as a whole.

But there is another side to the story.  The so-called hitman Sharon Collins hired to do her dirty work was an Egyptian poker dealer in Las Vegas.  His story and his conquests had travelled through Ohio, Michigan & Illinois.  Much of the plotting took place while Sharon was staying with her partner PJ Howard at his apartment in Feungirola in Malaga.  This was a dimension that lifted things out of the parochial into the international.

I was fascinated by the international dimension and explored the American angle in far more detail the majority of my colleagues.  I’m not saying clever me, simply that this was the bit of the story that interested me.  It’s not often the bright lights of Vegas shine on an Irish court case after all.

It remains to be seen how my account of the whole twisted mess does on it’s first foray abroad but I wish it well.  It’s a story that should reach a wider audience.  But we’ll just have to wait and see.

A Collins in the News Again…

When Sharon Collins decided to hire Essam Eid to kill her partner PJ Howard and his sons Robert and Niall she ensured that anyone connected with the case would become a honey pot for the Irish media for months, if not years, afterwards.

Sharon herself can guarantee the column inches for merely catching a cold while the intensely private Howard family have complained that they can no longer conduct their property business in Ennis, Co Clare without being constantly aware of prying eyes and smutty jokes.

Well today Lying Eyes effect can be seen again.  Sharon’s former husband, Noel, the father of her two sons and a familiar face to anyone who attended her trial, has appeared in Dublin Circuit Civil Court in an employment law scuffle.

It appears that Noel, when working as a security company manager, had allowed a security manager to sleep on the job and had got the sack as a result.  The full story is here.

It’s the kind of story that runs through the courts all the time without comment.  What makes it suddenly news is Mr Collins proximity to the notorious Devil in the Red Dress.  I can’t help feel sorry for the man.  All he did was stand by the mother of his children and give support to his sons, now he will be in the deflected spotlight for a very long time to come.

That’s the thing with high profile trials…the story keeps running long after the verdict has been announced.  For all those connected with the Ennis femme fatale this means that their lives are now flagged on the paparazzi antenna.  They might not have done anything but they too will pay some of the price.  That’s just the way things are – but that’s unlikely to be of any comfort to Noel Collins as he suddenly steps into the limelight.

Six Months On…

So it’s six months and one day since I set up this blog.  Back then I had just finished writing Devil in the Red Dress and figured if I was going to become a fully fledged author I’d better come out of the closet, so to speak, and start a named blog.

Now here I am six months on.  Devil’s in the shops and due for a release in the UK in May.  There might be more book related news but I’ve been sworn to secrecy until the appointed time.  That’s something I’ve discovered over the past six months – when you write under your own name you have to be careful what you say.

I’m not talking about controversy here, although there are some subjects I’ve hesitated to discuss here I don’t assume the whole world will agree with my opinion – it’s more interesting that way!  No, what I’m talking about is that I can’t write about everything that happens when it happens because I have to look at this blog, at least in part, as part of the publicity behind the book.

Yes, I know there’s a picture of the book’s cover on this page but this blog’s going to be continuing into the second book and the third and the next one after that so it’s going to have to develop beyond The Devil in the Red Dress.

When I started back in September every post was about the progress of the book and the story behind it.  There will undoubtedly be more of that as the months go by but there’s a lot more I want to write about as well.

Back in September I was working exclusively down in the courts.  But a lots happened over those six months and I’m building on what I have so far.  So I won’t be writing about every murder that passes through – a fair few of them perhaps, old habits die hard, but you’re going to have to put up with my thoughts on whatever my next project is and, of course, The Novel!

I think the tag cloud works reasonably well to filter the different topics.  I’m not suggesting completely random rambling (except perhaps very occasionally) but as the work gets more varied so will the stuff I have to post about.  Just to let you know if you are here looking for something specific.  It’s still here – just in the tag cloud.

A little bit of housekeeping…

I’ll post properly later on but I wanted to post the interview I did for Devil in the Red Dress on John Cooke’s show on Clare FM back at the beginning of December that I was ranting about yesterday.  I was totally befuddled with a cold at the time and then got overtaken by the festive mayhem and since New Years I’ve been confounded at every turn by gaps in my knowledge of all things Internet.

I’ve been trying to upload it for days now, ever since we had the post festive clear out, and yesterday it had me driven to distraction but finally everything is talking to everything else and we’re cooking with gas.

For the record the combination that worked the charm was Total Recorder for the encoding (I bought it ages ago for recording streamed radio interviews but stupidly didn’t realise it’s also quite a nifty MP3 encoder) then a fair amount of fumbling with WordPress 2.7’s new interface and working out which plug ins were messing the whole this up (never did work out exactly which I will post when I find out).

I also used Cool Edit Pro to top and tail it.  I’m not going to link to that since it’s a really old programme I’ve had ever since I used to work in radio many years ago and it’s not even supposed to work with XP.  The programme was bought by Adobe and now costs lots.  I like it though.  It works for me and I;m familiar with the interface and can use it to top and tail and normalize with no hassle.

Anyway back to the interview. It’s not a great recording, the husband thoughfully did it for me from home but I had all the sound recording software with me on my laptop so a rather precarious network of Y cables linking the computer to my Zoom,  not the most elegant set up but it’s audible.

I sound rather like a cross between a frog and Marlene Dietrich due to the cold but I’ll leave you to decide for yourselves.

Enough procrastinating… here it is…

 


 

A Frustrating Day…

I’ve always found working from home a challenge.  On the one hand I love being able to work at my desk with all my stuff near at hand.  I’ve worked at the same desk since I started secondary school (it has fuchsias on it that my mum painted on using nail varnish for the petals).  It’s not the biggest desk in the world but plenty big enough for me and my laptop and it’s always been my little oasis in every place I’ve lived since home.  Someday I may post a photograph but at the moment it’s full of the detritus of the day and not fit to go out in public.

That’s the drawback with working from home, the day’s detritus.  When you’re out in the field you’re focused on the matter at hand and aware that the day won’t be finished until you’ve done what you came there to do.  As a journalist I’m used to working with multiple distractions, be it TVs blaring, people having minor nervous breakdowns, constant questions and random jokes, but you learn to focus through it to get the job done within the deadline.

It’s the same at home if there’s a deadline.  You sit staring at the computer screen until the page in front of you is filled coherently to the right length.  Working at home when there’s no deadline however, is a totally different experience.

I had decided to take the time off until New Year after what had turned out to be a particularly hectic year.  It’s now well into the second year of 2009 and I’m craving structure.  The problem is that it just keeps slipping away from me.

I’ve been at this game long enough to know that I work best with a routine – most of us do.  The difficulty I’ve always had has been making a routine when there’s nothing to hang it on.  Now that I know that I am actually capable of writing a book within an allotted time by working 25 hours a day I say to myself that if I’m going to be doing this more often then structure is vital, there has to be balance.

Well let me tell you, the house is looking lovely.  I’ve been baking, there are fresh flowers sitting on my desk (really should put up that photo) and the husband has had a good square meal every day.  The problem is that the manuscript of the novel is sitting where I left it almost a week ago and the notebook page I headed Pitch ideas is accusatorily empty.

In fairness, today I did get up and settle straight down at my desk to do some work.  I was planning on uploaded a radio interview I gave on Clare FM about the book back in December.  That’s when things went arry.  While I’m loving the shiny new look of WordPress 2.7 I’m still having one or two problems uploading files to display on this blog.  Well one problem really.  It’s not working.

The problem with stuff going wrong technically speaking is that I’m not particularly technically minded.  I’m not completely useless.  I’ve grappled with the various programmes and gadgets that are bread and butter for todays journos for long enough and if the printer has a paper jam, I’m your man.  I would count myself as reasonably web literate but unfortunately that doesn’t yet extend to coding of any kind and I’ve only been dealing with the more nuts and bolts end of online communication for a few months so sometimes I can’t see the wood for the trees.

This means I turn to Google in search of the people who do know what I’m talking about and the hours tick away.  So it’s now 8 o’clock and all I’ve managed today is a blog post.  The printer has now stopped it’s annoying habit of refusing to print from the web and I’ve gone from WordPress 2.5 to 2.7 but I still haven’t been able to upload the interview.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll get up and shoot the book trailer.  I know how to use a camera!

The Next Big Thing…

Since the Joe O’Reilly trial in the summer of 2007 the Irish media seem to have managed a “trial of the century” every couple of months.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, it is after all my bread and butter, but it’s got to the stage where you can spot one of these trials long before they ever come to court.

The O’Reilly trial really did have it all from the press’s point of view.  There was an attractive young mother, brutally murdered in her own home; the husband, who not only admitted he was the prime suspect but had even appeared suitably suspicious on the country’s biggest chat show and had a whole room dedicated to Star Wars; there was even a mistress who had been called early on the morning of the murder and again shortly after it.

It was a sensational case from as soon as the garda investigation began that only grew more extraordinary through every day of the three week trial some two years later.  But trials like that don’t come along very often.  Ever since, the media have been trying to find a replacement, a trial that will capture the magic of the Joe Show.  A certain type of case seems to fit the bill.

There’s usually an element of class about them – either the accused or the victim will be middle class, from a respectable home.  The victim is frequently a young mother, frequently someone who could be described by the colour writers as “the pretty blond…”, the husband is often in the frame.  The trials of Joe O’Reilly, Brian Kearney or John O’Brien all fitted the bill and the media, predictably, went nuts.

I’ve often sat through trials that might have received steady coverage from beginning to end where, nevertheless, I was the only member of the press sitting in court.  But when the trial has this magical mix of sex, class and violence you know your working day has just grown by several hours since you will now have to be in court at some ungodly hour simply to get a seat.

The verdict will be characterised by a scrum outside the gates of the Four Courts, a scrum made worse by the fact that many of the papers have decided to send their own photographers and multiple reporters to make sure that every possible angle is covered.

It’s hardly surprising that news editors go nuts for stories that definitely help to sell papers.  The Irish public, it seems, simply can’t get enough of true crime.  I’ve heard this time and time again when I’ve visited bookshops to sign copies of Devil.  Several store managers have told me it’s their fastest selling genre.

It’s been a while since “petite blond mother of two” Sharon Collins was up for conspiring to murder her partner PJ Howard and young Finn Colclough, with his address on the exclusive Waterloo Road, was sentenced just before Christmas.  The search is now on for the next big thing.

There are a few possibilities, there always will be those trials that tick the sex and class boxes, as well as the ever present violence one.  Before the month is out there will probably be at least one trial that fills the press benches to bursting point and stirs the disapproving commentators who accuse the hacks of glorying in people’s tragedies.

But there lies the question.  Have the press over-stepped the mark and made criminal court proceedings into a form of entertainment that a greedy public devours in their daily news or is it simply that in these times we live in there are more news worthy killings than ever before and the press are simply doing their job.

There is a turn of mind, frequently muttered in the winding corridors of the Four Courts by members of the Bar unhappy that they now have to fight for seats with mangy hacks, that we are being overly sensational, introducing an ambulance chasing mentality to those solemn proceedings.

Certainly there have been rather a lot of tragic, blond, passably attractive, relatively young mothers virtually beatified by certain red tops over the past couple of years.  Telling the public that these women fall into the “sexy” murder category has certainly boosted sales in certain quarters.  These days the facts of a case have to pretty sensational to attract attention if the elements of sex and class are absent.

But then, maybe it’s just that the number of murders passing through the courts these days are so much more than Ireland used to see that the number of cases that tick the tabloid boxes is going to be far higher through simple statistical inevitability.  Unfortunately there are some people who kill those they are supposed to love, some men who see murder as an alternative to divorce while others fail to keep violent tempers in check.

Joe O’Reilly might seem to have started an avalanche of sensational murder trials but unfortunately such trials have always and will always appear; journalists and editors will always get excited about a good story and the public will always find human suffering interesting.  Maybe one or two women met their deaths while it seemed that the gardai would never have a sufficient case against O’Reilly but the reality is that we live in more violent times and the number of murders in Ireland has increased drastically in the past few years.

2009 will have it’s sensational trials that pack the court rooms with media and public alike and displace barristers who might have wandered in out of professional interest or possibly because they secretly have the same blood lust as the rest of us.  They are now a fact of life and until the public stop buying the papers that report on them that’s not going to change.

So all that’s left is to look ahead and spot the next big one then turn up early to get a seat!

A Brand New Year with New Possibilities!

I’ve been very bad about posting here for most of the festive period…I’ve been enjoying a bit of communications black out and focusing on the much neglected home and husband.  Anyway, it’s a new year with new resolutions and one of them is to stop slacking and rejoin the world!

2008 was an incredible year for me.  Last January I had steady work in the Four Courts and no solid plans to write a book (other than the novel that spent most of 2008 sitting in the top drawer of my filing cabinet.)  As 2009 dawns Devil in the Red Dress is on the shelves (thankfully in ever dwindling numbers) and I’m officially freelance and sitting here trying to decide what to do next.  Do I focus on fiction or push ahead at building on what I’ve already achieved…and am I completely insane to be even asking that question in the first place?

The novel, about more another time, is sitting awaiting further editing and thanks to developments towards the end of 2008 might actually see the light of day some day soon (as long as the on the future of publishing worldwide don’t come to pass.) It’s been a bizarre rollercoaster of a year but I think on balance it ended on a hell of an up!)

I’m very conscious of the fact that when I write here I hold an awful lot back.  I’m going to try and rectify that this year but the problem is that there’s been an awful lot going on the past few months that I simply can’t announce to the world in general just yet – hopefully all that will change before 2009 gets too much older.

A blog like this is an odd beast.  On the one hand I call it my personal blog, and certainly it’s completely separate from my publishers’ website, but it’s still very much a public persona.  I’ve spent too long writing for publication not to have a very strong internal editor screaming at me to tow the line when it comes to defamation and contempt of court.  But there’s a second consideration at play as well – just how personal do I want this blog to be?

I started the blog to write about the writing of and publication of Devil.  Now that Devil’s in print I have to decide where I want to go from here, not just with my writing but with the blogging as well.  So far the blog has been mainly focused on true crime (which is what Devil is and which is the bulk of the journalism I write) but if my options are expanding then surely the scope here should do likewise.

So far I’ve been slow to write completely unguardedly about my professional life.  As long as the book is in need of pushing then being one hundred per cent frank about certain things that happen day to day.  However, if I’m going to be branching out then maybe I should be more open. I’m not talking kiss and tell here just talking more about the frustrations and obstacles we all encounter in economic times like these.

My writing goal for this year is to write more books.  I enjoy the process of research and the freedom of writing at length.  I’d like to get somewhere with the fiction but the rent still has to be paid so I’ll not be hanging up my notebook and pen anytime soon.

In terms of this blog I’m just going to have to sit down and think hard about where it’s going…

Happy New Year!

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