Christmas is Heaven



Christmas is my favourite holiday; a way to banish the darkness, celebrate the sheer excess of life, and remember – with tears and smiles – the times and people past.

Our house fills with memories and memorials at this time of year, and with the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg as we sprinkle spice on the final demands before blowtorching them.

It also fills with love and a little sadness as we realise we cant have everyone we love here in one go. Maybe that’s heaven – if it exists: a perpetual week before christmas filled with everyone you love.




2015 was the worst year of my entire life.

I’ve talked, before, about losing my mother. Her absence – approaching and actual – filled my life.

I tried to mask the approaching nightmare by doing things – by keeping busy at work, by burying my head in the sand, by drinking and partying and being almost constantly outraged at everything other than the one looming outrage that deserved my fury, and by slowly, and almost unavoidably, falling apart emotionally and mentally.

“This is the worst thing that’s ever happened to you,” my husband said to me one day as I sat, sucked up into myself as though to contain the howls in my head, “But it’s not the only think that’s currently happening to you. There is so much good happening to you. There is so much life to be lived.”

He meant well, but at the time, it was hard to appreciate his words.

And yet – partly to shut him up and allow me to be left alone with my rage and my red wine – I allowed myself to go through the motions of doing things, of living a normal life – I’d do my day job, I’d write, send my books out, wait for the inevitable rejections.

And then something miraculous happened.

Continue reading YEAR ONE

Thursday Sonnet

Thoughts on the British Situation by a visitor to South Africa

“We’re all in this together til we’re not,”
Said Tessie as she stood before a crowd
And said “Of Auslanders we’ll soon be shot”
“Huzzah!” “Hooray” They cried as one aloud,
As “Them and Us” became a policy
Which – superficially – might well make sense.
Til one day “Them” includes the likes of “Me”
And History becomes the Present Tense.
I can not and I will not simply leave
The place that has become my final home
And though my prayer tonight to some’s naieve
I hope “We” can, together, one day come.
The land I’m in was once destroyed by hate
I wish we’d stop before it is too late.

My books are available to purchase, and they celebrate diversity with mystery, comedy, romance, and the occasional murder:

Saturday Sonnet #9


No-one ever really sees the lonely;
They hang around in angry gangs of one
And look at passers-by aloof and ston’ly;
A cabal of the lost and the undone.
I’ve been there and return there sometimes still,
Though I’m surrounded by a world of love.
Inside, a darkness battles with my will
To let the sunshine in, and float above
The sadness that is half my nature: Though
I will no longer hold it as a friend
I can not stop it coming to my door,
But know each time the visit will soon end
A landscape made of peaks and troughs is fine
The valley’s are endured, the hilltops mine.

“Death of a Nobody,” The 2nd Danny Bird Mystery is available now.

In the UK, you can buy it here. Everywhere else, you can buy it here.

“Death of a Diva” – The 1st Danny Bird Mystery – can be purchased here

Saturday Sonnet #8




I sit before a screen devoid of words
and wait for something smart to come along.
Ideas, skittish as a flock of birds,
are steadfastly withholding their sweet song.
This moment – now – the doubt begins to speak
Of how the things you write are value-free
Of plots that fail, of characters too weak
To make a mark that anyone can see.
And yet I type and worlds begin to come
From out of nowhere down on to the screen;
Their parts, sometimes, far greater than their sum
Their movements leaving nothing where they’ve been
If writings all that matters here tonight
What matters is the simple fact you write.

“Death of a Nobody,” The 2nd Danny Bird Mystery is available now.

In the UK, you can buy it here. Everywhere else, you can buy it here.

“Death of a Diva” – The 1st Danny Bird Mystery – can be purchased here

Saturday Sonnet #7

Having spent the weekend at CrimeFest, I’ve become familiar with the dangers…

So, in tribute, I wrote a Sonnet…



<Insert Obligatory Somewhat Buzzed Publication day Gin & Beer Pic>

On The Dangers of Believing What Authors Tell You Their Books Are About

“This book you wrote,” somebody said to me
“Is it all Fifty Shades of Filth and Phwoar?”
I guess I should have really let it be,
But “Yes,” I joked, “It’s all of that and more.”
Then didn’t think, again, of what I’d said,
Until my friend’s review popped up online.
“This book is one I wish I hadn’t read,”
They wrote, though you could almost hear the whine.
“I saw that it was ‘Crime’ and thought ‘Oh Good’
There’s bound to be some torture; nice and vile
I like a bit of buggery and blood
But this filth forced a thought and – worse – a smile
I wanted anal sex and acid baths.
But all I got was mystery and laughs”

My books are Death of a Diva, available Here

And – as of yesterday – Death of a Nobody, available here.

If you like the above, you might enjoy them. If you want, y’know disembowellings and blowfly infestations, you might not.  <But you won’t know til you try>

Saturday Sonnet #6



“You can’t do Jeffrey Dahmer” says the voice

Inside my head that censors what I say

“A gag about a cannibal?” “My choice”

I counter then begin to tap away.

Til inspiration blinds me as It glints

Into a scene in Woody Allen’s head

That features several Mini-Pops With squints

Immobilised while gaffer-taped to bed

And still the voices say to even speak

Of what your psyche kicks out is a crime

That Princess Margaret face down in the beak

Is – poss – a tale to tell some other time…

You throw away the words you’ve written: Waste!

A shame that we’re all slaves, these days, to “taste”.

The Eurovision Drinking Game. Wasted by Albania; Hospitalised by the Final Douze Points…


Yes, it’s that time of year.

Tomorrow, the Eurovision Song Contest Starts. Or, as I like to think of it. The Gay Hajj.

Like the Hajj, it involves going to countries you’ve never ordinarily been anywhere near, enduring hours of tedium in the hope of a religious ecstacy / handjob from a Moldovan backing dancer and potentially lethal crowd control issues.

Unlike the Hajj, this one comes with it’s own Drinking Game.

I’ve practiced this one for several years, and hospitalised several of my friends – who would have voted for Bosnia, so fuck ‘em – in the process, so here you go:

Derek’s Eurovision Drinking Game

Line em up, folks….

Continue reading The Eurovision Drinking Game. Wasted by Albania; Hospitalised by the Final Douze Points…

Style For Living


My mother loved Fashion.

More than fashion – which was prone to lapses of taste unacceptable to her – she loved STYLE.

She grew up in Dublin at a time when most people were intensely proud and incredibly poor. Money, when it was there, was for essentials.

Essentials included clothes, but style– the wearing of things that were beyond essential, but necessary simply because they were beautiful – was frowned on, as was aspiration or rebellion.

But my mother wore beehives, heels with stiletto toes, coats that were there to be shapely and luxurious rather than just to keep the cold out, in colours of chocolate brown and raspberry red, in hues of ochre, with explosions of turquoise blue and jade green.




And she passed her love of style, her quietly rebellious nature, and her aspiration – less quiet, but necessarily so – on to my brother and I,  though I suspect she sometimes wished she hadn’t.

I went through a period, in the 80s, of sporting a vintage* tuxedo, lined with orange and blue candy striped silk for everyday wear. The sleeves were rolled up to display the lining, and the whole thing screamed Dandy, Daring, or Sissy, depending on where you stood in 80s Dublin…

Continue reading Style For Living