Ireland’s Smallest Bookstore

I love finding unusual places in Ireland and this one has been on my list to pop into many times.  I finally called in today and had a lovely chat with Mary – The Book Lady. Mary is the proud owner of the smallest book shop in Ireland.

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The New Book a Break Anthology

Available to preorder now for Kindle at a discounted price, my short story along with 33 others from award-winning authors and newcomers. With Our Eyes Open, an Anthology of Short Stories.


With Our Eyes OpenFancy a trip to Pluto? Or a fearful drive along a stretch of country road? Unless you prefer to go to church with a strange woman in green tights, her hair alive with electricity. Here you have 34 stories, each one a journey, whether funny or frightening, real or figurative, shared or dreadfully alone. ‘They had a long journey ahead of them’ was the prompt: the writers here, from award-winning authors to exciting new talents, took it and made it their own. Sit back and enjoy the scenery, then, as the stories open your eyes to destinations you’ll want to go back to again. Bon voyage!

The stories in this anthology were selected from submissions to the second Book a Break short story competition.  The proceeds from this book go to the Against Malaria Foundation.

The 2017 Book a Break short story anthology is available for pre-order now on…

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It Makes A Difference



Will this be my last contribution to the WATWB? By the time the next one rolls around, I should have my new website up, looking so much like this one that you’ll wonder why I bothered. But in my own mind, which is the one that’s kept me company over the years, it’s far more professional and focused. So no messing about with random odds and ends, no matter how positive. Because after all, does it make any difference? Is the world a better place because once a month, I post a good news story?

Well, yes, it turns out that it is. A teeny weeny bit, anyway. According to JodieJackson, a research associate at the University of East London, the positive news about positive news is that it works: ‘Readers say that positive news changes the way they see the world and generates feelings of optimism, hope…

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A Brand New Short Story Collection.


I am excited and honoured to have had one of my Short Stories highly commended in the 2017 Book-a-Break Short Story Competition, run annually by Crime and Mystery Writer, Curtis Bausse.

My story, Small Boats, a snapshot of a young refugee’s plight as seen through the eyes of another child, will appear along side thirty-two other stories by writers from all over the world.

The Anthology entitled With Our Eyes Open will be available next month, I believe, for a reasonable price, and all profits will go to the Against Malaria Foundation.

Sounds like an excellent Christmas present. (Did I just use the C Word?)

Fair’s Fair


Beatrice Asante KUAPA JAN 2009 016

The WATWBfocuses on good news. So I thought, what could be better news than a bar of chocolate? The real stuff, I mean, not the muck we get from Hershey’s or Cadbury. Dark chocolate full of cocoa, concentrated and bitter. Divine. And Divine is the name of a chocolate bar produced by Kuapa Kokoo, a farmers’ co-op in Ghana. Which isn’t just good on consumers’ taste buds but also, as explainedon theirwebsite, for producers’ pockets. Kuapa Kokoo – which means good cocoa growers – has a mission to empower farmers in their efforts to gain a dignified livelihood, to increase women’s participation in all of Kuapa’s activities, and to develop environmentally friendly cultivation of cocoa. 

Fairtrade, to quote the definition given by the FairtradeFoundation, is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the…

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Call to Photographers



The 2017 Book a Break anthology has a Journey theme. The 34 excellent stories in it are currently being edited and proofread. So now is the time to ask all photographers out there to submit a picture which fits with the theme, either in colour (for the ebook) or black and white (for both ebook and print).

The theme is open to many interpretations. The journey could be on roller skates, by recalcitrant mule or at the helm of an intergalactic spaceship. Unlike last year, the pictures won’t be linked to specific stories, but illustrations of your own approach to the theme. They need to be of a high enough resolution to look good either printed or on screen (minimum 300 dpi). For the ebook, I’d like to include a wide variety of arresting pictures; for the print book, only a few in order to keep costs down.


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The Good Son in Short Story to Novel Essay

The Good Son

Congratulations to novelist Susmita Bhattacharya who wrote this essay for a competition and wasn’t longlisted BUT it has been published by the internationally prestigious LA Review of Books. Just shows you – never give up on a piece you know is good, it just needs to find the right home! And sometimes the new home is better than the intended one 🙂

The essay talks about the link between the short story and novel in specific work including my novel The Good Son which came from a short story as well as Virgina Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway.

The Good Son 3rd Editon

Winner of The Polari Prize
“Both dancing and disquieting, complex and vivid, I devoured it in a day, but I’ve thought about it for many, many more.” Lisa McInerney
“It’s a triumph of storytelling, an absolute gem.” Donal Ryan
“Funny, raw and endlessly entertaining.” Johnathan Coe

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They tried to bury us

Degree of Uncertainty.

So 100,000 Workin’ Class people from all over the country flooded Dublin city with democracy all the way back in October. Nobody was expecting that. Not even Right2Water who only had a route planned up and down O’Connell St. Nobody was expecting such an intense expression of cultural identity, delivered with grace, determination and humour, unless of course you felt it. That age old feeling in the pit of your stomach. That feeling that the phrase “the people are rising” was invented for. It was no co-incidence that resistance to Irish Water was fiercest right where the FG communication clinic knew exactly what hand to play. Savages, thugs, lazy, sub-human, scumbags, scumbags who want to steal your water, then upload videos of themselves pouring it over a fixie from the iphone they just snatched.
The FG communication clinic played it well, who would want to be associated with estates like…

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Z is for Zero

A noble cause.



Well, guess what? I didn’t get to Provence after all. I must have got into the wrong bag or the wrong queue, but I ended up in Madagascar! The flight was very long and I was stuck in the hold without so much as a Tom and Jerry cartoon to watch, but now I’m here, I think it must have been fate. The other day, I told you about Cats Protection, but I’ve never explained why the other charity the proceeds from Cat Tales go to is the AMF – Against Malaria Foundation.

Curtis was in a taxi once, riding back into town, and the taxi stopped, as they do in Madagascar, to pick up other people. One of them was a young woman with a baby in her lap. The baby wasn’t crying but it didn’t look very happy either. It looked absent, awake but unaware, staring straight ahead…

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Wine Tourism Spain, Short Story Contest – My Entry

Extraterrestrial life arrives to Earth. They arrive somewhere in Spain. Wine plays an important role in the way their perception of Earth is shaped. 200-500 Words.



Our spaceship materialises into their atmosphere and we hover miles above the sparkling shores of an endless continent. The planet below us is primitive and fertile, and constantly in turmoil. Unlike our own peaceful but sterile world, where everything is manufactured and administered to us as needed. My eagerly awaited annual holiday on planet Earth begins in the place we call the Land of Giants.

Attendants pass among us with trays of synthesised essence of Syrah, and Cava lemonade for the children, as our ships spiral downward to our rallying point among the spires of Gaudi’s Basilica. They loom like ornamental mountain peaks above the cavernous streets of their city. If we had the ability to slow our timeline enough to become visible in their world we would appear no bigger than a swarm of honeybees above their heads. But a day for them is a year for us and we can only observe their legendary culture from the safety of our ships.

They appear frozen to us with smiles and greetings of friendship painted warm on their faces as they drink their wine and eat food in shaded streets and sunny plazas. With their futures on this wild planet unknown to them, they seem so fearless and optimistic to us. We know that, for them, their days and years can seem to slip through their hands so quickly, but as we pass among them we are envious of their longevity and can only try to reflect on the meaning in our own uneventful lives. Our tiny fleet turns and heads out into the countryside over rolling plains of towering vines.

We have a belief on our planet that when we die we are reborn as a perpetual human thought in this Land of Giants. And as beings who will live our entire lives in the time it takes for a grape to ripen on Earth, we savour the taste and sights of our future immortality.

I have been coming here all my life and the grapes are now very ripe with the pickers already assembled, and I know that I may not have many pilgrimages left, but perhaps I can live to see this harvest completed over the coming voyages.

We circle in low and see the expressions of hope and enthusiasm on their sun-kissed faces as they prepare to become one with the produce of this vibrant land. Syrah permeates the moment and once again I try to imagine how it feels to be part of this eternal cycle of life.

I hope that I will be reborn in the youthful eyes of one of these dreamers in the harvest, for without the patient attention of humans to slow down our years, this fleeting universe would have no meaning for us at all.