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Throwback Thursday: Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Welcome to the Distress Signals Blogging Bonanza! What’s that, you’re wondering? Well, you can either go and read this post or read the next sentence. In a nutshell: Distress Signals was out in paperback in the UK and Ireland on January 5 and hits the U.S.A. on February 2, and every day in between I’m going to blog as per the schedule at the bottom of this post.

Remember: there’s a super sexy hardcover edition of Distress Signals (the American one, out February 2) up for grabs, signed to you from me. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post or any post published here between January 5 and February 2. One entry per post, so comment on more than one and increase your chances. Open globally. Good luck!

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If you’re in Ireland or the UK, you can download Distress Signals for just 99p for a limited time.

It’s Thursday, which under the Distress Signals Blogging Bonanza rules, means a replay of an old post you might have missed the first time. This was originally posted last April.

‘WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS?’

The dreaded question asked of writers the world over. Now while personally I’ve been stalking authors – ahem, I mean, going to author events for years and have only ever heard it in the context of authors saying they’ve been asked it, I don’t doubt its popularity. Because that’s what everyone wants to know. It’s what I want to know whenever I read a book with an intriguing premise and/or a huge twist. How did he come up with this? Where did she get the idea for that?

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I can tell you exactly where I got the idea for Distress Signalsthe 12 November 2011 issue of the Guardian Weekend magazine. Specifically its cover story, ‘Lost at Sea’ by Jon Ronson.

Someone left their copy of it behind them in a cafe in Cork, and my mother picked it up and brought it home for me to read. This is something she does all the time: she saves magazines and newspapers, or just clippings from them, or nowadays she’s more likely to email a link to a thing she’s read that she thinks you might be interested in. Thinks. And that’s the problem, because more often than not the link between the article and an area of interest to you is tenuous at best.

For instance, back when I was self-publishing, she thought that all I wanted was to read local community newsletter stories about the latest Tom, Dick or Harry who’d written a 400,000-word opus about every single thing that had ever happened to him, ordered a box of them from CreateSpace and was now flogging it to family and friends while wondering aloud where you send submissions for the Booker.

(I didn’t, for the record.)

Even here, on this occasion, the link was weak. Once upon a time, I worked in Walt Disney World. Not directly for Disney, but for the global hotel brand that operated one of the resorts next to Epcot – and decidedly on dry land. Three and a half years after I returned home, Mum sees a story about a Cast Member (employee in DisneySpeak) who’d disappeared from the Wonder, a Disney cruise ship (run by an entirely separate branch of Mouse Ears Inc), and thinks Oh, Catherine worked for Disney too, she’ll be interested in that. 

Turns out though I actually was, although not because of the Disney link.

I’d never been on a cruise ship or been even mildly tempted to get on one – the biggest ship I’d ever been on was an overnight passenger ferry to France. Still, I had what I would assume are typical ideas about it for someone who’d never been: suntanned pensioners, buffets and cocktails, cabaret shows. Bad stuff that could happen to you on a cruise were, in my head, mostly limited to: (a) claustrophobia because you didn’t book a cabin with a balcony, (b) getting stuck with annoying people at dinner and (c) Norovirus. (The Costa Concordia would add another possibility to that list – sinking – in a couple of months’ time.) As for the rest… Well, terrible things happen in hotels too, on occasion. I knew that from experience. Many suicides, for instance, happen in hotels. A cruise ship is primarily a floating hotel. What’s the difference?

The difference is that if something happens to you in a hotel in New York, the NYPD will come running. If something happens to you in a hotel here in Dublin, the Gardai will quickly arrive on the scene. But what happens when you’re on a ship that’s sailing in international waters? What happens when you’re in no country at all?

Rebecca Coriam was a British citizen working on a ship that was based out of L.A. – a ship owned by a company headquartered in the UK – who disappeared somewhere between the U.S. and Mexico. But yet her disappearance – potentially a crime with a witness list of 3,000 passengers and crew – was investigated by one man, a police officer from the Bahamas, who couldn’t start his investigation until he’d flown over a thousand miles to meet the ship. Why? Because maritime law governs cruise ships when they’re in international waters, and it states that the authority on board is that of the country where the ship is registered. Cruise ships tend to be registered in ‘flags of convenience’ for tax purposes, e.g. Bahamas, Panama, Libya. And no authority is on board, ordinarily – they have to be invited on, which only happens after the fact.

Would you go on holiday to a country that had no police?

Moreover, on a ship with thousands of passengers and crew, a disappearance might not be noticed immediately. And what if it wasn’t a disappearance? The ship might continue to sail away from the location where it happened, the crime scene could be a cabin that’s getting professionally cleaned once a day and potential witnesses – crew and other passengers – could leave the ship and go home. It’s also surrounded by the perfect place to dispose of evidence: three hundred and sixty degrees of open sea.

I was horrified. But at the same time, I was reasonable. This was a horrendous tragedy, yes, but surely it was an isolated incident…? Then I read something that stopped me in my tracks, so much so that I actually took out a pen and highlighted it.

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International Cruise Victims. International Cruise Victims. What was happening out there that a group like this existed – and clearly needed to? I started researching the answer online, reading the stories I found with my jaw on my desk.

I came away with three clear ideas in my head. There are no police at sea was the first. The second was the horrific challenge of looking for a missing loved one, searching for them all by yourself, when you had the whole world to check and no one to help you. What would you do? Would you – could you – ever stop, give up? How far would you go if you just had to know what had happened? And the third, which came later, when the wheels in my crime-writer-brain really started whirring, was this: A cruise ship is the perfect place to get away with murder.I once watched an interview with Edna O’Brien where she talked about writing being her way of grieving for what she read in the headlines. I think of Distress Signals a bit like that, a way of working out for myself the question that I kept asking when, after reading Ronson’s article, I started researching the laws, circumstances and attitudes that seemingly enable cruise ship crimes to happen so frighteningly often: how can this be? 

That’s where I got my idea.

The original article by Jon Ronson is online here and it’s also included in his collection of journalism, Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries, which is available here. Rebecca Coriam’s parents have established a website here, and also had a hand in founding the Maritime Victims International Helpline initiative. You can visit the International Cruise Victims website here. Cruise Junkie keeps a running tally of how many people have gone overboard from cruise ships going back to 1995. It’s currently at 270. [Update: it’s gone up to 285 since I first published this post.] 

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Quick reminder: leave a comment on this post to be in with a chance to win a copy of Distress Signals.

Also, it’s just 99p to download right now! 

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The Best Thing About Getting Published

Welcome to the Distress Signals Blogging Bonanza! What’s that, you’re wondering? Well, you can either go and read this post or read the next sentence. In a nutshell: Distress Signals was out in paperback in the UK and Ireland on January 5 and hits the U.S.A. on February 2, and every day in between I’m going to blog as per the schedule at the bottom of this post.

Remember: there’s a super sexy hardcover edition of Distress Signals (the American one, out February 2) up for grabs, signed to you from me. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post or any post published here between January 5 and February 2. One entry per post, so comment on more than one and increase your chances. Open globally. Good luck!

If you’re in Ireland or the UK, you can download Distress Signals for just 99p for a limited time.

BACK IN NOVEMBER, I brought my friend Iain to the Irish Book Awards. We’ve know each other for eleven years and he’s one of my favourite people, but he was, unfortunately, in the U.S. with work the night of my book launch back in May. Being Instagram-ready and owning his own (blue) tux, I thought the perfect commiseration prize would be to come with me to the Irish Book Awards. Getting shortlisted for Crime Novel of the Year was obviously a huge deal for me, but when Iain asked if it was the highlight of this whole getting-published adventure, I don’t think he expected me to say no.

Don’t get me wrong – it was fabulous. But the actual highlight was a tweet from a stranger who’d just finished Distress Signals. I received it over the summer. It contained the phrase ‘Thank you for those lovely hours of reading’. And I don’t know why, but it struck me right in the feels.

I think because my idea of pure joy is to curl up on the couch with a fabulous book, a blanket and a cup of tea, and lose myself in another world, and to wander back, hours later, feeling like those hours were well spent. So the idea that I could have given that to someone else was honestly – without turning this into a total cheesefest – the best thing that had ever happened to me.

So I thought, instead of a year-in-review type post, I’d tell you about some of the other ‘best’ moments I’ve experienced since my book came out, the kind of things that have made all the hard work utterly worthwhile…

A BOX OF BOOKS

If you follow any authors online, you’ll know what an exciting moment it is when you get a box of your books for the first time. I can tell you firsthand that the excitement is the same whether you’ve self-published on CreateSpace or whether a whole team of people you’ve never met have put your book together at a publishing house. I clearly remember the moment I first held finished copies of Distress Signals in my hand back in March, and I clearly remember the moment nearly six years before that when I opened a box and saw stacks of Mousetrapped inside.

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But the smallest box was the biggest surprise. It was from Blackstone, my U.S. publisher, and it contained two wonderful treats: proof copies of the book and some of the ‘cruise brochures’ they’d made to send out to reviewers. I’d been expecting them. But what I hadn’t been expecting was that the proofs would be in hardcover. I love to read and I love to write, but I also love books, the physical objects themselves. Holding a beautiful hardcover edition of my book – way earlier than expected – was quite the treat indeed.

A Starbucks Shock

The week my book came out was probably the busiest, most exciting week of my life – because I had two book launches (one in Dublin, one in Cork), some of my best friends travelled from abroad (from Munich, Orlando and Orlando via Madrid) and I had university exams to contend with as well (update: I passed everything). You can relive the madness in this post.

One of the best moments of the whole thing though happened while I was sitting in Starbucks with my brother the morning after the Cork launch. Scrolling through Twitter, I saw that the Irish Times online had published the article I’d written for them on the secret of getting published. The tweet with the link said Distress Signals was going to be reviewed the following Saturday.

Well, my stomach dropped. This was the first I heard of the book getting a broadsheet review and of course my immediate thought was, What if they hate it? This was Tuesday – there were three days of worrying about this to go before I’d be put out of my misery. I felt sick. But then I clicked the link and scrolled through the (short) article to remind myself what I’d actually written, and down the bottom was this:

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Well, I actually squealed in the middle of Starbucks. My brother didn’t know what was happening. It was so much good news in one moment: a review in the Irish Times, a good one, and me not having to spend the next three nights awake in the dark wondering – hoping, praying – that the reviewer didn’t think it was a load of crap. Hooray! (You can read the full review here.)

A STARBUCKS SURPRISE

The following Sunday was a beautifully sunny one in Dublin. (This was back in May.) I live in a place which basically has a Starbucks nearby no matter what direction you head in, so on this morning I picked up some newspapers and headed to an outdoor table at my nearest one. I knew I was going to be in the Sunday Times because I’d written the piece but as I flipped through the Sunday Independent, I found a review of the book in there too! It was such a nice moment: sunshine, coffee and an unexpected review.

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Plus, there in black and white: my debut thriller on the bestseller lists. No. 8 in Original Fiction.

Coffee never tasted so good.

BEST NINE

If you use Instagram, you’ll know that at the year’s end there’s a tradition of posting your ‘best nine’, an automatically generated collage of your most popular nine posts of the year. I, however, decided to manually choose mine, and I picked out the nine pictures that represented the highlights of my 2016.

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They were, going left to right, row by row:

  1. Receiving finished copies of Distress Signals for the first time and immediately throwing a shelf of books to the floor so I could snap a picture of them all lined up (with matching flowers, obviously!)
  2. A fortnight before the book came out I took myself off to Paris, by myself, for a few days, just to have a bit of quiet Me Time before all the book launching, exam-taking and Book 2-writing started. This was taken at Les Deux Magots and that book is one of my favourites: A Writer’s Paris by Eric Maisel. It’s a book of dreams.
  3. My writing bestie Hazel Gaynor launched her book The Girl From The Savoy in a cocktail-soaked, 1920s themed party and being the best pals ever, myself and Sheena Lambert (The Lake) came dressed appropriately.
  4. Late in the summer I stayed in a hotel in Villefranche, about 10 minutes’ drive from Nice, that offered the most exquisite view of any hotel room – or room in general – I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying in. As this was just a week after the horrific Bastille Day attack it was quite a sad, sobering time to be in the area, but tourism is their livelihood and I thought it was important to go anyway and show my support for the city I love.
  5. The aforementioned Hazel missed my book launch because she was in the only place I couldn’t be angry at her for choosing instead: Orlando. I actually emitted a high-pitched noise when I saw this picture on Facebook. She took a copy of the book to one of my favourite places on earth, Kennedy Space Centre, and got an, ahem, astronaut to hold it. I mean
  6. Back to Villefranche again. It features in the book, because it’s where Adam disembarks the Celebrate, and I spent some time writing it there tooThey have an adorable free library in the village square, so I left a copy of Distress Signals in there, with a note inside (see below). I wonder who got it?
  7. It wasn’t all full and games, because 2016 was really dominated for me with the writing of Book 2. Moving swiftly on—
  8. An absolute high point: the shortlist announcement for the Irish Book Awards. Distress Signals was nominated for Crime Novel of the Year alongside my hero Tana French (for The Trespasser) and, better yet, I got to celebrate it alongside many dear writing friends who were, in an astronomical defeat for the “it’ll never happen/give up on your dreams” crowd, also nominated. (Read more about that here.)
  9. And after all that… Relaxing at home with my family at Christmas. And wine!

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But you know what?

In all honestly, the best moment was still that tweet. Thank you for those nice hours of reading.

Thank you for reading this.

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Quick reminder: leave a comment on this post to be in with a chance to win a copy of Distress Signals. Also, it’s just 99p to download right now! 

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Authors Anonymous

Welcome to the Distress Signals Blogging Bonanza! What’s that, you’re wondering? Well, you can either go and read this post or read the next sentence. In a nutshell: Distress Signals was out in paperback in the UK and Ireland on January 5 and hits the U.S.A. on February 2, and every day in between I’m going to blog as per the schedule at the bottom of this post.

Remember: there’s a super sexy hardcover edition of Distress Signals (the American one, out February 2) up for grabs, signed to you from me. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post or any post published here between January 5 and February 2. One entry per post, so comment on more than one and increase your chances. Open globally. Good luck! 

So, Tuesday. Time for a tiny (read: short) post…

Have you seen a movie called Authors Anonymous?

It’s a mockumentary that follows the fortunes of various members of a LA writers’ group. They include Henry, who dreams of emulating his writing heroes (Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck) but his third attempt at a novel, Pizza to Go, is stuck. He has a huge crush on the beautiful Hannah, the sweetheart of the group who is genuinely supportive of the other members – but can’t name her favourite writer and struggles to explain how the moon in her novel’s title isn’t actually, like, literally a moon, but like… You know… One of those… (‘Metaphor,’ her mother supplies.) Yes, that.

Then there’s John, several incarnations of which I’ve had the, ahem, pleasure of meeting in real life. Everything he’s learned about writing can be boiled down to two words – Tom and Clancy – and ‘there’s a certain neighbour who has a cousin who has an in with Clint Eastwood’ so he’s convinced his novel, Roaring Lion, will be hitting the big screen as well as the book shelf soon. Any time anyone else in the group even murmurs about having some good writing news, he clears his throat loudly and announces that some agent somewhere is reading his manuscript and is very interested in it. He ends up in the hands of a vanity press, U R The Publisher, who publish Roaring Lion with a dog on the front cover and the last page printed in Chinese. Things take a turn when Hannah becomes the first one to sign with an agent.

It’s not the best movie – I’m not sure it’s even a good movie – but if you write, it’s quite funny to watch situations unfold that you’ll undoubtedly recognise. I mean, how often do you hear the phrases ‘print on demand’ and ‘Amazon sales rank’ in a Hollywood movie? And it’s hard not to commiserate with the other members of the group when they struggle to deal with the fact that Hannah, who doesn’t seem to read, not only gets an agent but a book deal, movie rights and a coffee date with a handsome famous author. (In fairness though, she’s the one who seems to actually write.)

Have you seen it? What did you think? What other movies about writers would you recommend?

Remember: there’s a super sexy hardcover edition of Distress Signals (the American one, out February 2) up for grabs, signed to you from me. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post or any post published here between January 5 and February 2. One entry per post, so comment on more than one and increase your chances. Open globally. Good luck!

dsbb

Your 732nd reminder: Distress Signals is out in paperback in Ireland and the UK now! If you’ve read it already, hunt down someone you know who likes thrillers and tell them that my rent is very, very high. (Or that you liked it, if you did. You know, whatever works.) If you have no idea what I’m talking about and you’re not quite done with your procrastination yet today, you can find out more about Distress Signals here.

The UK/Ireland Kindle edition is just 99p for a limited time! 

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Writing Goals: Should We All Just Shut The Hell Up?

Welcome to the Distress Signals Blogging Bonanza! What’s that, you’re wondering? Well, you can either go and read this post or read the next sentence. In a nutshell: Distress Signals is out in paperback in the UK and Ireland on January 5 and hits the U.S.A. on February 2, and every day in between I’m going to blog as per the schedule at the bottom of this post. Remember: there’s a super sexy hardcover edition of Distress Signals (the American one, out February 2) up for grabs, signed to you from me. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post or any post published here between January 5 and February 2. One entry per post, so comment on more than one and increase your chances. Open globally. Good luck!

So, Monday! The schedule says ‘A very long blog post’. Let’s see how that goes… 

This morning – it’s Sunday, I’ve brought the laptop into bed and I am armed with a vat of freshly brewed coffee – I planned on writing a year-in-review style blog post, one that looked back over the year I finally, after years and years and years of dreaming about it, got published. Except it would have a twist: instead of rehashing all the stuff you know about already (my book launch, the Irish Book Awards, etc.), I’d write about the quieter moments, the ones you don’t know about, like the simple tweet from a random reader that reduced me to tears it made me feel so good, or the Book Awards moment that had nothing to do with the ceremony itself where I was… Actually, come to think of it, a lot of these quieter moments involved tears. But anyway.

I’m not writing that post now. I’ll write that one for Wednesday instead. This morning, I want to blog about not blogging. To share some thoughts on not sharing. To wonder whether or not, when it comes to our writing, we should all just shut the f–k up.

Stay with me here.

I started off half an hour ago typing “A Look Back at 2016, The Year I Got Published” into the title box. I thought about how this blog was born at the beginning of 2010, and how many Januarys I sat down to write a New Year blog post, and how this was the first year I was finally able to say that the one thing I’ve wanted to happen in my life, my dream since I was eight years old, actually happened.

And I wondered what I had said all those other years.

So I went and had a quick look.

I could make a big long list of all the things I want to happen in 2011, all my goals and resolutions and dreams and plans and intentions, but really they all rest on just one thing: I want to get a novel published. It may seem naive to think that this will happen to me, what with the awful odds, etc., but what’s the point of even trying if you don’t believe that you can? You have to believe that you can do it. You have to have confidence in yourself, without being a crazy X-Factor auditionee.

from Happy New Year: What Do You Want to Happen in 2011?, January 2011

Forget, for a minute, the submissions and the query letters and the manuscript formatting and the e-books and the author platforms and the workshops and the word counts and the beta readers and the advances and what the Randy Penguin merger will mean for your writing dreams and your favourite authors. FORGET ALL THAT FOR A SECOND. Or try to. And think instead of what this about, what this is really about, why we want to be writers and entertain readers and see our names on the spines of books. It’s because we want to tell stories. And that, more than anything, is what I’m going to try to keep in mind this year.

from Plans and Goals and Stuff, January 2013

I read Commander Chris Hadfield’s book An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth just after Christmas, and Hadfield’s take on chasing dreams is wonderful: if you take pride in the every day work you do towards them, if you do everything within your control that will get you closer to your goals on a daily basis and you take pleasure and pride in that effort, you will be happy — even if the dream or goal never materializes, or doesn’t for a long time… [Hadfield] did everything he could to prepare for the opportunity to fly in space should it arise, and enjoyed every minute of it. Then, when his dream did come true, it wasn’t a relief but a bonus.

from A New Year, A New Routine (Or, The Problem With Goals), January 2014

Now, at first glance, you might think to yourself, Catherine gives good January. But I’ve pulled the good bits. These posts – and countless other ones in the archives just like them – are filled with me saying I’m going to work harder. I’m going to get up early. I’m going to write every day. I’m going to do x, y and z to finish project a, b and c and I’m going to do it by this date. I go on and on and on about all the things I’m going to write, how I’m going to write them and when I’m going to write them by, and this is a on-going theme all throughout the SEVEN years thus far of this blog.

But I never ended up doing any of things I swore I was going to do.

Yes, I finished a novel, but the time it took me to write it was 5% actual writing time and 95% moaning about how I should be writing. What if I had just stayed quiet? What if I’d just put my head down and got to writing? Did a constant reaffirming of my goals – on this blog, in various diaries, to my writing friends – get me anywhere, or did it just waste more time?

The hardest working writer I know never talks about her plans in advance. She just does it, emerging every few months to have a coffee with me and tell me what project she’s just finished. Another writing friend who is easily producing a book a year is the same. Both of them also have blogs, but their blogs aren’t a wasteland of ‘New Year, New Me, New Goals’ style posts. I, meanwhile, talk all the time about my To Do list, and yet Book 2 took so much longer to get out of my head than I thought it would. Am I talking too much? Talking about writing doesn’t get any writing done, but we do it because it’s so much easier than writing and it feels like it helps. But does it? Should we all just shut the fudge up and get back to writing?

There is another side to this, and it’s that I genuinely feel that when I read about other people’s writing goals/plans/strategies, it actually does help me. I mean, who hasn’t re-read Stephen King’s On Writing every now and then just for a shot of motivation?  I find Rachel Aaron’s From 2k to 10k (just 99p on Kindle) to be the ultimate commercial fiction writer’s pep talk. This post by Chuck Wendig, Here’s How To Finish That F**king Book, You Monster grabbed me by the shoulders and shook some much-needed sense into me this past week. (Thanks Hazel!)

I guess the difference is between writing blog posts about writing – after the writing is done – and announcing to the world what word count I hope to be at in six months’ time because I think that will bring some accountability and therefore help me get it done. The first one is good, the second one bad. Because it doesn’t help. And therefore writing that – when you could’ve been adding words to your novel – is a waste of time.

As I read over all my previous New Year posts, what I mostly felt was angry. Angry at Past Catherine – at 2012 Catherine, at 2013 Catherine, etc. – for not doing what she said she was going to do. And I felt like if maybe she had spent a little less time blogging about goals, new routines, To Do lists, etc. she might have achieved a bit more, and achieved it a lot quicker. This isn’t me being hard on myself, by the way, but realistic. I could’ve had three novels written in the last three years if I’d put my mind to it. (I know this because in the summer, I wrote three 2,500-word academic essays in almost exactly 24 hours, stopping only for an hour-long nap, and I got good marks on all of them. I can be a writing machine when I need to be, so long as there’s coffee around and horrible consequences breathing down my neck.)

Let’s be clear: I’m not talking about not blogging. I’ll never stop doing that, because I love it and might go insane without it. I’m talking specifically about not writing posts like this and then going off to watch The OA on Netflix, twice. (Because the truth is, that new routine I implemented? It lasted maybe three weeks.)

I guess what all of this is leading to is some advice from me: log-off, do the work, then come back online and tell us how you did it. NaNaWriMo aside, it’s probably best to write your book in private.

Does that make sense? (I have only had one coffee.) What do you think? How do you treat your writing goals on your blog, if you blog? (Or on Twitter, Facebook, over coffee with writing friends, etc.) Let me know in the comments below…

Remember: there’s a super sexy hardcover edition of Distress Signals (the American one, out February 2) up for grabs, signed to you from me. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post or any post published here between January 5 and February 2. One entry per post, so comment on more than one and increase your chances. Open globally. Good luck!

dsbb

Your 732nd reminder: Distress Signals is out in paperback in Ireland and the UK now! If you’ve read it already, hunt down someone you know who likes thrillers and tell them that my rent is very, very high. (Or that you liked it, if you did. You know, whatever works.) If you have no idea what I’m talking about and you’re not quite done with your procrastination yet today, you can find out more about Distress Signals here.

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Sunday Morning Coffee Reads

Welcome to the Distress Signals Blogging Bonanza! What’s that, you’re wondering? Well, you can either go and read this post or read the next sentence. In a nutshell: Distress Signals is out in paperback in the UK and Ireland on January 5 and hits the U.S.A. on February 2, and every day in between I’m going to blog as per the schedule at the bottom of this post. Today is Sunday, which means we have a digest of the previous week’s activity plus some cool links I think you should check out… BUT as this really only started on Thursday, this is going to more of the links and less of the digest.

What You Might Have Missed

My 28-day blogging bonanza started on Thursday with a replay of an old post: Being On Submission Syndrome and, if you were following me on Twitter, me running all over Dublin town looking for my own book on the shelf. Then on Friday, a momentous occasion: my first ever (and possibly last ever) video blog. On Saturdays I’ve promised to point you in the direction I something I wrote elsewhere, and yesterday I sent you to Writing.ie to read what I wrote about setting yourself a big writing deadline in 2017.

Sunday Links

Assuming you’re settled on the sofa this Sunday morning with a big cup of coffee, here are some things I’ve come across that I think you might be interested in…

(Two of those I discovered only because of Iain Broome’s Shelflife, a newsletter I highly recommend you subscribe to.)

When Google Reader was still a thing, I read ALL the blogs. Okay, not all of them, but a huge amount. Then for some insane reason Google terminated GR, I just never got into Feedly or discovered any other blog reader that I was as comfortable with. These days, I do still read blogs, but it’s mostly because I see an interesting link on Twitter and follow it. So, tell me, what blogs do you really like to read? Please, DON’T say your own – I’m looking for actual recommendations here, not clearing some space so you can advertise in it (and I will delete any self-promo). If you don’t have a favourite blog, perhaps you’ve read a really good blog post recently and you can point us all in the direction of it? Let us know in the comments below…

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Your 54th reminder: Distress Signals is out in paperback in Ireland and the UK now! If you’ve read it already, hunt down someone you know who likes thrillers and tell them that my rent is very, very high. (Or that you liked it, if you did. You know, whatever works.) If you have no idea what I’m talking about and you’re not quite done with your procrastination yet today, you can find out more about Distress Signals here.

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Setting Yourself a Writing Deadline

Welcome to the Distress Signals Blogging Bonanza! What’s that, you’re wondering? Well, you can either go and read this post or read the next sentence. In a nutshell: Distress Signals is out in paperback in the UK and Ireland on January 5 and hits the U.S.A. on February 2, and every day in between I’m going to blog as per the schedule at the bottom of this post.

Before we get started, what did you think of yesterday’s video blog? I’m in two minds. On one hand, I think with a bit more effort and pre-planning, they could turn into something worth doing once or two a month in the long-term. But on the other hand, it irks me when things are a little bit crap (i.e. I just used my webcam, the room was kind of dark, etc. etc) and I really have my doubts that people who like to read blog posts are also people who like to watch videos. Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below. I’m definitely going to do it for the rest of this 28-day craziness, because I said I would, but we’ll have to see how it goes after that. If you haven’t watched it yet, you can do so here. To give you an idea of what went on, this screenshot sums it up (sorta):

screenshot

Anyway, onto today. Saturdays, as per the schedule, are for pointing you in the direction of something I wrote elsewhere. Today, I’m pointing you to Writing.ie, where for the New Year I wrote about writing deadlines.

I don’t know in how many Januarys I opened a brand new notebook, smoothed down the first page and wrote ‘Goal #1: Get published’ at the top of it.

It was lots of them though. All of them, almost, up until the last one. (I’m writing this on the New Year’s Eve that your liver might still be getting over, the one in 2016.) Last year I didn’t have to write that, because it was already happening. I was going to get published in 2016 – on May 5, specifically. That’s the day Corvus published my thriller Distress Signals in trade paperback in Ireland and the UK. A goal reached and a dream come true. Plus, lots of bonus stuff: the TV rights have been sold, I was shortlisted for Crime Novel of the Year in the BGE Irish Book Awards and Blackstone are publishing Distress Signals in the U.S. in less than thirty days’ time.

What was it about 2016? (Or 2015 rather, which was the year I actually signed my book deal. Or 2014, the year I got the amazing agent who got me that deal.) Did I write ‘Get published’ in a special pen? Select a notebook that had secret special powers? Accidentally inhale some pixie dust that I’d unknowingly brought into my house via some contaminated but adorable Disney World merchandise?

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Remember: there’s a super sexy hardcover edition of Distress Signals (the American one, out February 2) up for grabs, signed to you from me. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post or any post published here between January 5 and February 2. One entry per post, so comment on more than one and increase your chances. Open globally. Good luck!

dsbb

A reminder in case you’ve forgotten since the last paragraph: Distress Signals is out in paperback in Ireland and the UK now! If you’ve read it already, hunt down someone you know who likes thrillers and tell them that my rent is very, very high. (Or that you liked it, if you did. You know, whatever works.) If you have no idea what I’m talking about and you’re not quite done with your procrastination yet today, you can find out more about Distress Signals here.

Catherine’s First and Potentially Last Video Blog

Welcome to the Distress Signals Blogging Bonanza! What’s that, you’re wondering? Well, you can either go and read this post or read the next sentence. In a nutshell: Distress Signals is out in paperback in the UK and Ireland on January 5 and hits the U.S.A. on February 2, and every day in between I’m going to blog as per the schedule at the bottom of this post.

Now today…

(Oh, god. WHY did I say I was going to do this?!)

My first – and potentially last – video blog. *hides behind sofa*

In this episode:

  • A tour of Distress Signals in paperback
  • Your questions answered (Some of them. Sort of.)
  • Christopher Pike books
  • Coffee
  • My doorbell

Remember: there’s a super sexy hardcover edition of Distress Signals (the American one, out February 2) up for grabs, signed to you from me. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post or any post published here between January 5 and February 2.

dsbb

A reminder in case you’ve forgotten since the last paragraph: Distress Signals is out in paperback now! If you’ve read it already, hunt down someone you know who likes thrillers and tell them that my rent is very, very high. (Or that you liked it, if you did. You know, whatever works.) If you have no idea what I’m talking about and you’re not quite done with your procrastination yet today, you can find out more about Distress Signals here.

Thoughts on the video blog? A question I can answer next week? A demand that I never do this again? Let me know in the comments below…