• Big Red Has Landed - Thank You!

    Big Red has landed!

    It’s been a long few months, but everything was worth it to launch Big Red surrounded by so many friends, family, and well-wishers. A massive thank you to everyone who came out to show their support and to everyone who’s picked up a paperback of Big Red or downloaded the eBook.

    My mind is still blown from the events of the last few weeks. Coming from relative obscurity, it was a surreal experience to suddenly find myself doing radio and newspaper interviews (with a magazine interview coming up soon). I’ve even been approached with an invitation to work on a very interesting project… but more on that later…

    It’s been a long journey to get here. There were times when I felt like giving up, but every time that thought popped into my head, I pushed it straight back out again. It’s normal to experience fear, especially if you’re doing something that takes you way out of your comfort zone. What matters most is what we do with that fear. I had a picture as clear as day in my mind; I wanted to see Big Red sitting on a bookshelf (although hopefully, not for too long!) No matter how tired, exhausted, or frazzled I felt, I pushed forward. The moment I saw Big Red sitting on a bookshelf in the Gutter Bookshop on 14th May, I knew everything was worth it!

    Thank you to everyone who has supported me on this journey. From my family, friends, and colleagues in the Irish Writers Union and British Irish Writing Community to every single person who has purchased Big Red. Thank you for putting up with me and for helping me to create the latest addition to the ever-growing library of Irish sci-fi.

    It’s been a rollercoaster and I look forward to sharing more stories with you in the future.

    Thank you!

    Click here to order a copy of Big Red now: https://www.damienlarkinbooks.com/order-big-red

  • Guess Who's back... Back again...

    It’s been a while since I’ve posted here and it’s great to be back!

    I had a busy few weeks after Big Red’s launch which didn’t leave a lot of time for blogging. Thankfully, things have started to settle down a bit. For the first time in what feels like an eternity, I have time to dive back into a few different projects, some of which I’m hoping to share with you soon…

    The first project I wanted to take on is this blog. I’ve since rebranded it from (the not-so-original name of) ‘My Blog’ to the ‘Mars Occupation Force – Press Office’. Whereas beforehand I wrote a bit about Big Red and my journey so far, I’m now looking to expand my horizons.

    Over the last few months, I’ve had the chance to delve into so many fantastic military sci-fi and Irish sci-fi and fantasy books. My goal is to expand on these topics a bit more and shine a spotlight on some amazing novels and topics you may already know about, as well as some you may not have heard of.

    I’ve also had the opportunity to meet and talk with some fantastic Irish sci-fi and fantasy writers, who I’m hoping to guilt into dropping by on this blog to say hello. It’s been an amazing year for Irish SFF writers and I’m really excited about seeing what the rest of the year holds in store!

    For anyone who’s been following along, The British/Irish Writing Community has also been taking our next steps towards global domination. We’ve spent the last few months throwing around ideas and seeing what we can do as a community. Finally, we’ve decided to launch our own quarterly magazine.

    It’s still early days on this but we’ve had a lot of interest so far. Our overall plan is to use this platform to highlight and promote the fantastic works of Irish and British writers of all levels who write speculative fiction. There’s no official launch date in sight, but if you know anyone who’s interested, have them check us out on FB or Twitter!

    Hopefully I’ll have more details on the above topics in my next blog post. In the meantime, if any writers out there are looking to do a guest post/interview for an up-and-coming launch or just for the fun of it, let me know in the comments below. I’ve learned a lot from the community and I’m looking forward to giving back.

    There’s more to come soon, so stay tuned!


    Hey there! I know what you’re thinking… it’s been a while, right? Close to three years since I last typed up a blog post. It’s something as a writer I know I need to get better at. The challenge for me is stepping away from a writing project and typing up a few hundred words on what I’ve been up to. I’d rather write eight thousand words in my WIP than eight hundred talking about it! But anyways… here goes…

    If you’ve been keeping tabs of my adventures via social media (links below if you’re not), the last few years have been hectic, to say the least. Following the release of Blood Red Sand, I switched focus to two projects that had been rolling around in my brain for quite a while.

    The first one was The Truceless War, a sci-fi retelling of the First Punic War between the Romans and Carthaginians. This is where my love of history took a hold, as I read history books for fun. The First Punic War isn’t as widely recorded as the much more well known second one (Hannibal Barca crossing the Alps with elephants etc). There were only four recorded pitched battles in twenty-three years.

    Most of the action took place as skirmishes, ambushes, sieges, and naval battles which I adhered to for The Truceless War (excluding some creative licence). Imagine the above with high-powered lasers, energy shields, massive war machines, artillery, jet bombers, and my trademark blood and guts style of writing.

    Split between four POV characters, The Truceless War explores a galaxy colonised by humans on the verge of war. The newly united Romaii Republic casts its envious gaze on the riches of the Punic Trade Empire and gears up for an invasion of the planet Sicilia. Caught up in the ensuing battle, young Amilcara Barca witnesses her mother’s brutal murder. For the next two decades, she forges herself into a warrior and political leader, determined to seek revenge and make the Romaii invaders pay.

    My next project was Lizard Skin and Sharpened Steel. This one is a sword and shields fantasy set in a medieval world where dinosaurs exist on an isolated continent known as ‘the landmass.’ The Dead Mudder mercenary legion are dispatched by the Hipernian king to locate and retrieve the eggs of one of the most feared native beasts the kingjaws.

    Aided by a young native woman named Boy and her surrogate father known only as Sir, mercenary leader Dustn must lead his soldiers into uncharted jungles. Despite their battlefield experience, the Dead Mudders suffer horrendous casualties facing the killer beasts that stalk the landmass and risk everything to satisfy a king’s whim.

    Both projects are edited, polished, and good to go, so I’m aiming to self-publish them either later this year or early 2024. For the most part, it’s just a matter of time, something I don’t have in abundance between a full-time job, a full-time family and of course, my non-stop writing projects. If I can force myself to stay committed to blog updates, hopefully I’ll have more news on these over the coming weeks/months as I’m eager to get them out there.

    Next up, we have Sky Breaker: Tales of the Wanderer. This was an anthology crafted between me and some of the rising stars of the Irish and UK indie writing scene. I had a lot of fun sitting down and chatting with so many talented writers. Together, we built a shared fantasy world across different eras and technology levels. Every story is bound together by strange rifts and tears in the fabric of reality and a mysterious copper-eyed character called the Wanderer.

    My short story for this was The Righteous Old Guard, a brutal military fantasy which centred on a bunch of elderly religious zealots who massacre their own young people they believe to have fallen under the Wanderer’s spell. In a bid to exterminate the rift, they battle into the heart of the Wanderer’s camp and attempt to destroy it with a large quantity of explosives. There’s something for everyone in this anthology, so if you’re into a variety of fantasy sub-genre short stories, check it out.

    Blood Red Steel (the third book in my Big Red series) is due out on 3rd October of this year and I’m looking forward to sharing it. Set two years after the events of Blood Red Sand, we’re once again reunited with the beleaguered Second Battalion who are faced with one final mission. Defend Forward Base Zulu at all costs. So far, I’ve gotten some great feedback from ARC readers, so I can’t wait to see what fans of the series think!

    Last of all, I’ve finally finished work on the long-awaited Born Red, fourth book in the series and direct sequel to Big Red. If you’ve caught any of my interviews, panels, or podcasts over the last three years, I’ve been teasing this one for a while. I’ve gone through six different drafts, constantly tweaking the story until I was one hundred percent satisfied. I’m glad to say, I’ve reached that point, so now it’s off to my publisher!

    Overall, it’s been a productive few years and I’ve no plans to stop anytime soon. If you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with me. More updates to follow!

    - DL

    Stay up-to-date on my writing adventure by following me on the below sites.

     FB :https://www.facebook.com/DamienLarkinAuthor/

    Twitter :https://twitter.com/Damo_Dangerman?

    IG :https://www.instagram.com/damo_danger_larkin/

    Damien Larkin is an Irish science fiction and fantasy author. His military sci-fi novels Big Red and Blood Red Sand were longlisted for BSFA awards. He served for seven years in the Irish Reserve Defence Forces and lives in Dublin, Ireland.


  • It's Not You... It's me...

    I know, I know… I haven’t put up a blog post in a while. It’s not you, it’s me!

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; I’d rather write four thousand words than four hundred. I can craft battle scenes, create new characters and worlds, and destroy them with ease. But the thought of writing a few hundred words about myself or what I’m up to makes me want to throw myself onto the ground like my five-year-old son after I tell him we’ve run out of yogurt… Anyway, enough of that and let’s dive right into it!

    The last few months have been exceptionally busy. I’ve watched the British and Irish Writing Community grow from strength to strength and witnessed our online magazine Bard of the Isles continue to expand. We’ve added more members to our community and leadership team and have a dozen projects in the pipeline to support and promote fellow writers across these beautiful islands. With three issues of Bards under our belt, we’re still receiving some fantastic short story submissions, articles, and interviews. With Issue 4 out as of yesterday, we’ve expanded our offerings and opened up a poetry section. We’ve also announced the first ever BIWC prize for indie authors with the finalists due to be announced at BIWCcon in October!

    Big Red, my debut Irish military science fiction novel, also got a brief moment in the limelight. Thanks to fans and supporters, Big Red reached the longlist for the BSFA award for Best Novel released in 2019. There were some serious heavy-hitters on that list and some fantastic works – just to see my name alongside them was a massive win.

    Big Red was also a year old on the 14th May. A continued thank you to everyone who’s checked out my debut Irish science fiction novel and left a review. A year later and my mind is still blown by the level of support I’ve gotten!

    On the writing front, things have taken an interesting twist. This year, I started on a project using the working title ‘Oceania’, a military science fiction set seventy years after humanity colonises a water world. My publisher Diane from Dancing Lemur Press had previously asked for a short story set in the Big Red universe. Setting Oceania aside, I crafted a 13k word story entitled ‘Blood Red Sand’ which covered one of the pivotal backstories in Big Red, namely the Allied invasion of Mars in 1954 and the Battle of New Berlin.

    It was a lot of fun delving back into the universe of Big Red. One of the things fans of the novel had said to me on more than one occasion was that they wanted more insight into the action and the actual battles. It’s a fair point because as Big Red was told from the POV of an unreliable narrator, it can be a bit trickier to capture the wider action from a platoon, company, or battalion-sized operation. Blood Red Sand gave me the opportunity to switch to a third person POV and explore the Allied invasion from the perspective of the invading Mars Expeditionary force and the defending Wehrmacht.

    Needless to say, I was thrilled by my publisher’s reaction to the story. Rather than launch it as a standalone prequel short story, she suggested developing it into a novel in its own right, which gave me a boost. Three months later, Blood Red Sand stands at slightly over 100k words and is sitting in the hands of my amazingly talented proofreader and editor Monique. I’m sure I still have a bit more to go to polish it off, but I really enjoyed writing this project and especially answering some of the questions fans of Big Red had brought forward.

    For those that have read Big Red, I’ve covered a good few topics ranging from the origins of the Hollow Programme to the Mars Occupation Force and the Compression Matrix, as well as some insight into the background of the so-called Natives. Although some of those burning questions have been answered, I couldn’t resist leaving a few threads open, while creating a few new ones…

    I have a few more writing projects scheduled for this year and a lot more exciting news coming your way. Stay tuned and stay safe!


  • TitanCon 2019 and Progress Report

    I always tend to start my blog posts with some reference to how busy I’ve been. I tried to come up with some other way of starting this post, but the truth is; I have indeed been kept busy. So, without further ado, it’s time for a quick catch up and a progress report!

    Probably my most exciting piece of news is that I’ll be attending Titancon 2019 in Belfast 24th-25th August. I’m really excited about this as I’ve never been able to attend a con before. To top if off, I’ll be doing a book signing at the con and hosting a talk about Twitter pitches for aspiring writers.

    For those of you who’ve followed my journey from the start, you’ll remember I got a lot of interest for Big Red during last year’s #IWSGpit. Not only was that the first time publishers had ever expressed an interest in my work, but it also allowed me to land a traditional publishing deal with my amazing publisher.

    I’ve talked about Twitter pitch events during various radio, magazine, and newspaper interviews and I’m still amazed by people’s reactions. I know a lot of people in the Twitter writing community are aware of these events, but there’s still a lot of writers out there who aren’t. Just like any other form of querying, participation doesn’t automatically guarantee success, but it does open up your work to a whole load of potential matches. I’m really looking forward to chatting about this and hopefully pointing a few aspiring writers in the right direction.

    In other news, the British/Irish Writing Community has nearly finished work on our very first e-zine and website. We’ve opened submissions to writers from all across Ireland and UK and some of the short stories we’ve received have been mind-blowingly good. Thanks again to everyone who’s gotten involved! I really can’t wait to share the very first issue with everyone. Also, keep an eye out for my own short story ‘The Republic of Inishdearg’. More details on that soon!

    Last of all, I’m making steady progress on my current WIP. I’ve had a few mini projects over the last few months that slowed things down , but I’m glad to say I’ve thrown myself full steam into it again. I’m roughly halfway through the first draft now, which I’m aiming to have done early to mid-September. I’ll leak some details about it in a future post, so stay tuned!

    That’s all from me for this week, folks. I’ve plenty more good news to share with you soon, so watch this space!


    I had the pleasure of attending the launch of We Stand With Ukraine on the 3rd of May. The event took place in Hodges Figgis bookshop in Dublin, and it was fantastic to see so many people gathered to support it.

    We Stand With Ukraine is an anthology of poems and prose written by protesters who’ve picketed the Russian embassy here in Dublin since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. What struck me most was that these were all ordinary people. All with different backgrounds, walks of life, and professions. One thing bound them all. From the moment they heard about the invasion, they wanted to do something.

    Without any organisation or central leadership, ordinary people banded together to amplify the voices of Ukrainian civilians. Regardless of the weather, they engaged in peaceful protest outside the Russian embassy. They may not have been able to influence the outcome of such an unjust and cruel war, but they were determined it will never be forgotten.

    The anthology came about as a suggestion from my good friend, writer, poet, and protester Helen Dwyer. She wanted to document the thoughts and outlooks of such a diverse group of people, to better understand why they were there and what they hoped to achieve. After some discussions, most of the protesters signed on to write a little bit about their experiences. One goal drove them. All proceeds and royalties from book sales of We Stand With Ukraine, go to Ukrainian Action, a registered non-profit organisation built to get much needed funds to Ukrainian civilians in need.

    The book launch was a moving event. Protesters read excerpts of their work and spoke of their heartbreak at the suffering of so many civilians. Members of the Ukrainian community in Ireland spoke of the horror inflicted on their country and thanked everyone who refused to remain silent and continued speak out against the crimes of the Russian war machine.

    I’m still reading the anthology. What I have read is a powerful account of people shocked by the invasion who are determined to exercise their democratic right to protest. There’s a clear distinction between the corrupt leadership of the Russian Federation and the Russian people, who don’t even have the right to speak out against the war without suffering criminal charges.
    There’s hope, too. Optimism that Ukraine will prevail, this horrible war will end, and tyranny will be brought down, as it has been so many times in the past.

    We Stand with Ukraine is available now for Mercier Press and all good bookshops: