images/banners/damienlarking-book-bg.jpg
Blood Red Sand
Mars will run red with Nazi blood…
After World War Two, Sergeant McCabe knew the British army could send him anywhere. He never imagined facing down another Nazi threat on Mars.

In New Berlin colony, rivalry between Generalfeldmarschall Seidel’s Wehrmacht and Reichsführer Wagner’s SS threatens bloodshed. The Reichsführer will sacrifice everything to initiate the secretive Hollow Programme and realise his nightmarish future for humanity.

McCabe, Private Jenkins, and the Mars Expeditionary Force must overcome bullet, bomb, and bayonet to destroy the Third Reich. While Jenkins fights to stay alive, McCabe forms an uneasy alliance with MAJESTIC-12 operatives known as the Black Visors. Will this be the final battle of World War Two or the first confrontation in an interstellar war?

Mars Occupation Force – Press Office

01 September 2023

AN INTERVIEW WITH SINEAD MCGUIGAN


In this weeks interview, I'm joined by the one and only Sinead McGuigan. Sinead is the author of 'A Gift and a Curse' and 'Unbound.' Be sure to check out her work!


 

Welcome, Sinead. How long have you been a poet?

I started writing poetry in 2019.

Where did you get the inspiration for your books? 

My poetry is directly linked to my own personal healing journey from cancer and my past. I write from a deep emotional place and am influenced a lot my women's rights and freedom.


What is the biggest challenge you’ve experienced in your writing career, so far?

I find it hard to make time to write as much as I would like to, life can get busy so really my greatest challenge is being disciplined more in my creative endeavours.





If you could go back and give your younger self a single piece of writing advice, what would it be?


I used to write as a teenager and certainly I would have wished I hadn't ignored that side of me for so long.

What do you think the biggest challenges are for aspiring writers and poets, right now?

The social media aspect in a sense really is challenging and it can be confusing perhaps to see people with large following and little talent. In Ireland I think there is a certain snobbery almost in what is deemed good poetry

Do you believe that having a strong social media presence leads to more book sales?


It can help absolutely as often it's the only option for self-published authors . I definitely feel it helps me so much and I'm very grateful.







How do you deal with writer’s block?

I genuinely don't get writers block but there are periods in which I don't write.

What is your favourite part of the creative process?

When I see a piece of art or feel instantly inspired by a subject and it flows naturally.

If you could collaborate with any other poet or poets on a project, who would it be and why?
I generally collaborate with artists and my main projects are related to women's issues.

What are you working on now?

I am trying to decide what my next book will focus on.





Where do you see your writing career in 5 years?

I really would like to write short stories and perhaps in time a novel.


Have you ever considered writing in another genre?

Yes, certainly fiction and perhaps a healing journal for others.


What marketing tips would you give to someone starting out in their career?


Always be true to yourself and your art. There are different flavours to be explored but write from your authentic self.


Be sure to follow Sinead's writing journey over on @sineadmgpoetry on Instagram.

Hits: 1347
25 August 2023

AN INTERVIEW WITH K.A FINN


For today's interview, I'm joined by K.A Finn author of the Broken Cords, Blackjacks, and Nomad series of books. So far, I've only read book one in the Nomad series, so it's clear I have a lot of reading ahead of me. Enjoy!

How long have you been a writer?

I physically started writing my first book in 2011 but the idea was with me for years before that.


Where did you get the inspiration for your books?

It’s different for each series but my sci-fi one was inspired by Star Trek TNG. I watched it all the time and developed my own set of characters as part of that world. A few years later I had created many more characters, too many for the Star Trek ‘fanfic’ world, so I gave them their own.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve experienced in your writing career, so far?

Marketing! I love writing but I hate marketing my writing. Imposter syndrome also comes into play a bit – especially when I’m working on a brand new series and the doubt series in. I go through phases of thinking this is the best thing I’ve ever written, then flipping to this is total rubbish after I reread it. Trusting yourself and what you’re writing is difficult at times.




If you could go back and give your younger self a single piece of writing advice, what would it be?

I think I’d say not to worry about what people might say about your writing – just do it. I talked myself out of so many ideas or removed whole scenes because I was afraid. I still am at some stage of each book, but not as bad as I was. All that doubt meant my first book took four years to write. If I’d just stopped worrying and doubting, it would have been completed a lot sooner.


Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Pantser all the way! I tried plotting a few books but I never managed to stick to it. I prefer to let my characters run wild and see what happens. I love being surprised by what they get up to!


What do you think the biggest challenges are for aspiring writers, right now?

I think it’s getting noticed in such a flooded market. It’s relatively ‘easy’ to publish a book nowadays. There are so many books being published every single day it’s difficult to stand out - especially with the rise of AI written books.

It can take me up to a year to write, edit, re-edit, rewrite, format etc one of my books, but I’ve read of other authors using AI to complete a book in a matter of hours. I’m not going to change the way I create my books, but it does makes it difficult to compete.


Do you believe that having a strong social media presence leads to more book sales?

No one will buy your book if they don’t know it exists…unfortunately! As much as I dislike social media dragging me away from my writing, I think it’s absolutely vital if you’re to succeed as an author. You absolutely need to shout about your books over and over again on as many different platforms as possible.

How do you deal with writer’s block?

I’ve never actually had writer’s block. At the moment, I am actively writing six books and have started another fifteen or so. If I get stuck on one book, I move to the next one. I have a limited few hours a day to write while my kids are at school, so I can’t afford to waste any of that time staring at the screen. So far I’ve been able to work like this very successfully. If the cyborg from my sci-fi series finds himself on stage with my rockstars, while the vampires watch from the audience, there’s a strong chance I might have become a little confused. So far so good though!


What is your favourite part of the writing process?

I absolutely love holding the completed hardback book in my hand. I read each book numerous times on my Kindle to check for errors before publishing, but holding the physical book, then putting it on my shelf alongside my other books, is the best feeling in the world.


If you could collaborate with any other author on a project, who would it be and why?

Michael Scott. I was addicted to his young adult novels growing up, and read them repeatedly. I still have them on my bookshelf. I love the way he incorporates Irish mythology/fantasy in his books with a modern twist. It was my first introduction to that merging of old and new. It’s something that’s always stuck with me and it’s something I include in my books to a certain extent.


What are you working on now?

Lots and lots of books!

I’m just running through the final edits on my fourth Broken Chords (rockstar romance) book, Crushed Rock. That is due out in a month or so (fingers crossed). I’m also completing the final edits on a new fantasy romance series, North Bound, about a sword swinging, demon fighting Santa. It’s my take on Rise of the Guardians – for adults! Once the rockstar is out of the way, I’ll be finishing up my third vampire Blackjacks series book, then on to some wolf shifters, back to the next rockstar. I’m also planning to finish the seventh book in my sci-fi series. It’s my favourite series and I’ve been neglecting the characters for too long.


Where do you see your writing career in 5 years?

In my over-active imagination I see all my books on TV as massively successful series’. And I would absolutely be left to sort out the casting for the different characters! Realistically though, I would love to have my books on more shelves around the world, in the hands of more readers, and for my fans to still love my books as much as they seem to at the moment.


Have you ever considered writing in another genre?

I began writing sci-fi, then ventured into more romance genres (rockstar, paranormal, and now fantasy). It really depends on the characters that pop into my head and where they want to be situated. I’m just along for the ride.


Pen names – yay or nay?

I use a pen name and always have. I like to remain mysterious!


What marketing tips would you give to someone starting out in their career?

Dedicate one day a week to marketing. I have Marketing Monday. I plan and make any Instagram, Facebook posts, make the images etc and schedule them for the week. If I don’t force myself to do that, I’ll get lost in the writing. Get it over with at the start of the week then spend the rest of the time doing all the fun writing!


To learn more about K.A Finn and her books, check out the below links:

Website: www.kafinn.com
IG: kafinnauthor
FB: kafinnauthor
https://linktr.ee/kafinn

Hits: 401
18 August 2023

AN INTERVIEW WITH CHELSEA BURKE


Today, I'm joined by Chelsea Burke who recently self-published her debut dystopian romance novel Second City. I had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy and really enjoyed it. Add to your TBR!

Welcome, Chelsea! How long have you been a writer?

I think I’ve been a writer my whole life, but it’s only in the last few years that I’ve actually shared that with anyone. When I was younger I’d write my own stories, or if I’d read a book that didn’t end the way I wanted it to I’d rewrite my own ending. I used to tell my mam that the dream was to move to New York, sit in a coffee shop and write books all day long. I just finally have the confidence to do it… I mean from Tallaght but, alas.


Where did you get the inspiration for your books?

I think just from the many, many books I read. I always found myself thinking ‘I wish this book had this. I wish this happened. I wish this was different.’ So I really just figured out what I felt was missing from all those books and wanted to try write something using those elements. I figured if I feel like these aspects are missing, surely there’s other people who want them too. Also I adore fantasy, but it can be hard to swallow sometimes, hard to follow along. Writing a realistic dystopia kind of felt somewhere in the middle of fantasy and normal romance and that’s what I wanted.


What is the biggest challenge you’ve experienced in your writing career, so far?

Trying to figure out where Second City fits in the market and in my niche. There are so many amazing romance books and writers out there at the moment and trying to explain what makes Second City special and different and worthy of readers time has been a real personal struggle. Marketing overall I think is the hardest part, but for me it’s more of a ‘where do I fit in in all of this?’ I think it’s some sort of existential crisis. Self-publishing is hard, doing everything on your own is hard. I have no real experience in any of this. That’s the biggest struggle for me.






  If you could go back and give your younger self a single piece of writing advice, what would it be?

STOP WITH THE CLICHES! I love a cliché in a romance book as much as the next person. They’ve become cliches because they work, but in the beginning I thought my writing had to have them or it was awful. Looking back at some of the drafts I’ve abandoned I think they could have been great stories if I had just done my own thing instead of trying to make them like every other book. Starting a book with the main character waking up was my go to. Makes me cringe just thinking about it.


Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I am a pantser with every fibre of my being. I wrote the last chapter of Second City on a whim… then wrote the rest of the book based on that. I literally had no idea what the beginning of my story was. Had no idea why the characters ended up the way they did. I just had that one end scene in my mind and then figured out how to get them there. I hate planning. It definitely does not work for me. I like winging it. For me it feels more natural, a little bit chaotic. I live for chaos.


What do you think the biggest challenges are for aspiring writers, right now?

I think it’s the same as it has always been; getting published. So many more people, like me, are choosing to self-publish because in many ways it really feels like the only option. As all writers know it’s a very lucky few who get traditional publishing deals. It’s something I’d love to achieve one day, but for now just doesn’t seem doable. It’s a big world out there, and a lot of people have stories to tell. Finding a publisher is a tough task.


Do you believe that having a strong social media presence leads to more book sales?

100%. Especially TikTok. The reader presence on TikTok is insane right now. When I was growing up I used to read my books and never tell a soul because reading wasn’t cool. Now? Some of the biggest accounts on TikTok are ‘booktok’ accounts. If you want more sales that’s where you need to be. It’s an amazing community to be a part of. You can really connect with readers and find people who are looking for your type of book specifically. Instagram is brilliant too, but on a smaller scale I’ve found. One viral video on TikTok and your sales can go through the roof. It’s wild.






How do you deal with writer’s block?

I read the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas. It is a work of art. If I can’t write I read that series and before I know it all I want to do is write a book that makes other people feel the way that series makes me feel. If you haven’t read it- read it. Seriously. I’m on my millionth re-read right now and it still puts me on the edge of my seat. That’s my cure for writers block. Get inspired.


What is your favourite part of the writing process?

Writing the ending. I think endings are the most important part of any book. If a book doesn’t end well it ruins it for me. I love (and hate) endings. As I mentioned, I started my debut novel by writing its ending. I lie in bed at night writing endings to stories that don’t exist yet. They’re so fun, and heart breaking, and cathartic. It’s hands down my favourite part. Editing it until its perfect? Delicious.


 If you could collaborate with any other author on a project, who would it be and why?

Stephen King. I’d pay money just to watch him write a story. He just writes like nobody else. When I read IT for the first time when I was young I just didn’t understand how he could write a horror that had me sleeping with the lights on and yet still have me in tears. (I like to pretend that one part in IT never happened, if you don’t know what I’m talking about carry on in blissful ignorance.) I just adore his writing. I’ve read every book he’s ever written and I’d give anything to work with him on something, even if horror isn’t my bag.


What are you working on now?

I have about 5 different manuscripts that are different degrees of finished right now. I like to switch between stories. One of my favourites is a novel with the working title of ‘The Offering.’ It’s a fantasy. Not entirely sure where exactly it’s going yet but I’ll figure it out. I’m also working on the sequel to my debut Second City. Someone once told me that the second book is the hardest you’ll ever write. I believe them. The sequel might just be the death of me.


Where do you see your writing career in 5 years?

In complete honesty I have no idea. Not a clue. I just hope I’m still writing. I hope people are reading what I’m writing and that some of those people feel about my books the way I feel about some of my favourite books. I’m not that great at planning ahead, but I do hope that I reach readers the way other authors have reached me.


Have you ever considered writing in another genre?

I think I’ll always be in romance. Whether that be fantasy romance, contemporary, romance or even just a romance sub plot. I live for it. I can’t see myself writing a book that doesn’t have that. It’s home for me.






Pen names – yay or nay?

I think that depends on where I take my books. Right now I’m okay writing under my own name. I like dark romances though, so if I decide to delve into writing the darker side romance I think I might write under a pen name. I don’t know if I’d like my family to read some of the books I’ve read… never mind if I decided to write something like it. I’ll have to wait and see.


What marketing tips would you give to someone starting out in their career?

Start early! Find your readers and get them excited about your book. ‘Booktok’ is a great community and TikTok is an amazing (and free) way to market your book without too much effort. If you can build up excitement around your book before it’s released you’ll already have some dedicated followers dying to get their hands on it. It’s extremely beneficial.



To learn more about Chelsea and her writing journey, check out her social media and website links below:

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@chelseakeoghauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/secondcitybook/

Amazon: https://a.co/d/eikleRz 

Website: second-city-h74i4s.mailerpage.io

Hits: 401