Saturday, July 26, 2014

13 Horror Story Bundle Is Published

Thanks to everyone who voted in my recent cover poll. As you can see below, I chose Cover #2. Not only did it get more votes, but I liked that it had a certain "Aztec" look to it. There's a story in this ebook that has a definite Aztec connection, so the cover art seemed very appropriate.
"13 Horror Story Bundle" is larger than my previous horror collections, and I think horror fans will definitely enjoy it. Some of these tales are on the long side, but that just gave me more room to sink my teeth (or should I say fangs?) into the story.
I know some of my fans think it's weird that I can write historical fiction like "Rose Of Skibbereen" and then switch gears and write about ghosts and vampires. That's just how my mind works, I guess. I just like creating stories, and some of them are romantic and sentimental, but others happen to be on the scary side. As long as it's a good story, I'm happy.
A long time ago, on the "American Bandstand" program, when the host would ask the teenagers to vote on the latest rock 'n roll songs, many of them would say, "I like it, because it's got a good beat." Well, I feel that way about literature. The story is what counts, like the beat in a good rock song. If you tell a good story, it doesn't matter if it's about two Irish lovers in 19th century Philadelphia or a monster in a coffee shop in present day New York -- most people will respond to it.
I hope you like this collection. And for the people who would like me to get back to "Rose Of Skibbereen", don't worry -- I'm going to work on the next book in the series now.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I Need Your Help Again

Hello readers:

I'd like your help in picking a cover for my next ebook. I did this a few months ago with one of my "Rose Of Skibbereen" books and it helped me to decide between two well-designed covers. This time I need help with cover designs for a new horror ebook. It's going to be called "13 Horror Story Bundle" and it's going to have a combination of new and old horror stories by me. I had a great time putting this collection together, and I want to publish it soon. The cover is important, of course, and I'd like to pick one that really grabs potential readers.
I'm going to run a poll, where you can tell me which cover you like best. It will be in the right column of this page. Please weigh in, let me know which one you like.
The one that gets the most votes is the design I'll use.
Cover 1:
Cover 2:

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Stories Are The Same

Many readers know that I based my “Rose Of Skibbereen” series of novels on some family history research, although I embellished the bare facts quite a bit. I got obsessed with finding out the truth about my great-grandfather Peter O’Farrell’s life and although I never did find out everything about him (like where he came from in Ireland), I found enough to quell my obsession for a time. 
Once the genealogy bug bites you, though, you’re never completely free of the desire to learn more of the story of your family’s past. My project now is to research a different part of my family tree, and I got a shock last week when I logged on to and saw a picture of my mother’s maternal grandmother in someone else’s family tree. Ancestry sends you a link to another family tree if there’s a connection to your tree, and it’s a great help to your research efforts. 
Anyway, this person not only posted pictures from my great-grandmother’s family, she also had a short essay about my great-grandparents that sounded like it could have been written by me. You see, I’m always interested more in the stories than just the bare facts of genealogy, and my mother told me stories about her family that I always remembered. Like, that her great-grandparents were of two religious denominations: Baptist and Roman Catholic. She said that the Baptist father would not allow newspaper reading on Sundays, and he was also opposed to dancing and card playing. He did like ice cream, however, and he and his wife went out for ice cream every night in the summer. 
Those kind of details had to come from someone with a strong connection to the family! I dashed off an email immediately, and sat back and waited. 
And waited. I’ve had no answer yet, but maybe the person just hasn’t checked their email for a while. I do hope they check it soon, because I’m dying of curiosity.

I’ll let you know what happens. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

How To Deal With The Monster Under The Bed

“How can you write a love story and then turn around and write about blood and guts?” a reader recently asked me. “Do you like to be scared?” 
I don’t write horror because I like to be scared. Maybe the answer is that if I’m going to be scared, I’d rather scare myself than have someone else do it. Or, maybe I’m trying to work out some issues buried deep within my subconscious. Or, maybe I just enjoy the adrenaline rush from a good scare. 
All I know is that true horror has nothing to do with blood and guts. True horror hits you where you live, in the subconscious. It’s the reason why you’ll avoid going down in the basement when you’re alone, because you know there is SOMETHING waiting at the bottom of the stairs. Why you won’t look under the bed in the middle of the night because you know there will be a pair of big red eyes staring back at you. Why the closet door HAS to be shut when you go to sleep.
Horror stories have their uses, believe it or not. They can make you feel better about the lousy job you have or that miserable creep who cut you off in traffic today. They make the everyday hassles of life just a little easier to bear. After all, going down in the pit of darkness for a period of time will make you face the light of day with a little more gratitude.
And when the horror is written down, it’s contained and under control. Writing horror lets me face the shadows and the monsters under the bed, to cage them in my words. 

And that’s the best way to deal with monsters.

Friday, June 13, 2014

What To Write Next?

I am in between books right now, and I'm trying to figure out what to write next. I could write another installment of my "Rose of Skibbereen" series, because the last one ended in the mid-1970s, and there are certainly more stories to be told about the descendants of Rose Sullivan McCarthy. I have this perverse character trait, though, that gives me a fear of being stereotyped. I know a lot of writers would keep mining the vein they started, which in my case would be the saga of Rose and her family.
However, the rambunctious imp in me wants to do something different. "How about a horror story?" the imp says. "Or, maybe a one-act play? Now, that would be fun!" Those are the conversations I hear in my head every day when I'm between books. I can't go too long without writing something, so I'll have to choose a project soon. We'll see if the imp convinces me to do what he wants. Anyone want to make a request? I'll consider most requests, unless it involves writing a massive historical novel that would take years to research and write, because, well, I just don't want to be holed up at my writing desk that long. 
Actually, I've got a notebook with some ideas jotted down, and a few of them involve the horror genre. I haven't thought about scary stories in a while, but for some reason the idea of writing a good old-fashioned, hide-under-the-covers yarn strikes me as a worthy project. We'll see what transpires in the next few weeks.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I Write A Bit Of Horror Too

Yes, it's true, I write the occasional horror story. Actually, I've written quite a few of them. I don't always play that up, because I've been writing a lot of historical fiction in the last year, and people who like those kind of stories don't always enjoy a good scary yarn. In fact, I've had readers of my "Rose Of Skibbereen" series say things like, "Why would you want to write about monsters and ghosts? I would never read anything like that."
So, I don't talk much about my efforts in the Stephen King realm. I guess it's a dirty little secret that I keep to myself. However, I am proud of those stories, and I think they're darned good ones. I developed a skill at writing short, edgy stories that can get a reader's heart racing. They're not very bloody or full of graphic details, and I'd say they're more concerned with psychological horror than anything else. After all, a good scare may start in the stomach, but it's magnified by the mind into something truly overwhelming.
So, if you think there's value in a good toe-curling scare once in awhile, something that will make you think twice about going down into a dark basement, check out my series of horror shorts. They're available on Smashwords here. You can also find them on Amazon, of course.
I also write humorous stories, by the way, but that's for another post.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Don't Have An E-Reader? You Can Still Read My Books!

I meet lots of people who've never read an ebook. Some of them tell me proudly that, "I'll never read a book that way. I'm a traditionalist. I like to hold a book in my hand and turn the pages." I understand that sentiment, but it's a bit like someone in ancient Greece or Rome saying, "I'll never read one of those newfangled scrolls. Give me an oral storyteller any day. Scrolls are cold and impersonal."
You can't stop the march of technology, and people have been inventing new ways to transfer information for a long time now. I can understand the reluctance to try something new, though. I've been a book reader since I was six years old, and it's always been one of the chief pleasures of life for me to curl up with a book. I wasn't sure I'd like e-readers myself, but I quickly learned that they have a lot of advantages. They can hold shelves and shelves of books in a wafer thin package, they allow you to adjust the font sizes and styles to make it easy on your eyes, and the price of ebooks is a lot cheaper than print books. I'm not ever going to give up my cherished books, but I'm happy to do a lot of my reading on my Kindle these days.
If you still haven't read an ebook, I have a proposition for you. Why not read one on your computer? All you need to do is go to a site like Smashwords, where you can purchase ebooks and download them to your computer. As long as you have some type of computer (laptop, desktop, etc.) you can read ebooks. On Smashwords, you just go to the information page for the ebook, scroll down to "Download the full versions of this book" then click on "read online" and you'll be all set. You'll be able to download the ebook and read it. It's so easy, and if you buy an e-reader at some future point you can transfer the book to it in a flash.
Of course, if you do try this method, I recommend that the first ebook you read on your computer is one of mine. I have quite a selection on Smashwords, in many styles and genres, including humor, romance, poetry, and horror.
I think you'll definitely enjoy it.
And who knows, you may like the experience so much you decide to buy an e-reader!