Monday, 5 March 2018

Hi everyone. A message from Backspindle Games
We are delighted to announce that our much anticipated 2-4 player Irish fantasy boardgame, MourneQuest will be going LIVE on Kickstarter.comon Thursday 22 March 2018.
We really hope you love the game and how we have brought the characters and monsters of Garry McElherron's mythical Ireland to life through illustrations and beautifully sculpted miniatures.
"We'd love it if you could like and share this post."
Thank you for enjoying our games!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

It's been a very long time since I blogged anything. I just got out of the habit. Facebook came along and took that place I think.
I just wanted to update you on the fact that a new book is out. It's called Mournequest, The Devil's Coachroad. The book takes place a number of hours after the last one left off.
Another exciting thing is the development of the board game by BackSpindle games. The collaboration with this talented bunch should bring forth an incredible game.

Monday, 17 February 2014

The wee man is alive and well

Cobs has leapt into the real world. He has literally jumped off the page and into the real world. Thanks to the talents of John Farrelly, artist extraordinare and Alan Perry for his amazing 3D rendering, then the craftsmanship of Philip Hynes who sculpted the wee fella and finally the Hairy Painter, Ric who breathed the final breath of life into him.
It always astounds me when I look at the list of names that roll up onto the screen at the end of a movie, but it took 5 people to put this together.

What do you think?

Another One

Just when you thought it was all over another one rears its ugly head. And this one has an ugly head, the head of a Shimnavore no less.
This is the cover of book 2 that will hopefully be gracing the cyber shelves in the near future and the physical shelves of those amazing stores that are discerning enough.
Book 2 starts later in the day from where book 1 left off. This continues to tell the tale of Jack Turner and Cobs but in a whole new way. The two help each other out without physically coming into contact with one another even though they travel into the hills again.
New characters and old ones reemerge. Loose ends are tied up.
This story is darker than the first and the stakes seem much higher.

I would love any feedback on book 1 and what you hope to see in this new installment.

P.S there are further developments to broaden the MourneQuest world.
Watch this space

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Get on with it!

As with all things that come to an end there has to be something new. That is the case with finishing this project. I now had a manuscript. That was the end of something, a finished piece of work, something that took a few years to get right. When I say get right, it'll never be right, it's abandonded. Every time I read a sentence I know it could be written 10 different ways but now when I read other, and immensely more successful authors, I can improve on their prose too. It is a matter of conceit mixed with pride what a writer writes; to work on a sentence for an age, to hone it to perfection, then the week after you re-read and trash it.

I decided after much deliberation to send the manuscript to all the publishers I so admired and waited until one by one the rejection letters arrived. The best one was Penguin Ireland and it was then that I decided, after 6 months to go the independent route.... THE DREADED PATH TO SELF-PUBLICATION.....

LULU allowed free publication on a print on demand (POD) basis. This allowed me the freedom to test the market and to go online and sell e-books. A whole new world opened up to me and the more I read about it all the more intrigued I became. It is a steep learning curve, one that allows you to see every angle. Artwork for the cover, layout, chapter settings, editing, copyright issues, branding. I'm beginning to bore myself...
Then one has to learn how to format and to e-pub. It was a nightmare. What I forwarded to the printers didn't look anything like the layout I expected. The amazing artwork that John Farrelly and Alan Perry had worked on morphed into an elongated blog...but I perservered, I climbed that mountain, I swam that shark-infested sea.
Truth be told I typed for hours until I got what I wanted. When I say hours I should shout weeks.

Now I had an online copy of my book I clicked print. Print on demand is amazing, the book is only produced when demanded. I know that sounds obvious but to be able to print one book at a time is a REVOLUTION.
I printed my first copy and several more until I was happy with the final product.

Now what


Thursday, 27 June 2013

Who knew?

I wanted my story to be accurate in every way I could and, as I have already mentioned, research played and important part. I found a piece of information that staggered and astounded me; C S LEWIS based Naria on the Mournes. I felt as though I had missed a week off school when every one was learning their multiplication tables. I wondered how long had every one else known this fact but never told me. It was like a giant secret.
The one good thing that I love telling people is that a dandelion is the same yellow weed that turns into the delightful white puffball that you make a wish on. I'm still surprised  how many people don't know this. They are probably smirking on the inside at my ignorance of Narnia and the Mournes.

I had decided early on that the Mournes were going to be used in all their glory. I was not going to make up place names, I had no need to, as they were so inspiring anyway. The characters who dwell in the mountains were to come from reality as well. As I researched the flora and fauna of the hills I came across wonderful names e.g. Erica Tetralix, Erica Cinerea and Erica Ling. These three names are the species of heather that cover the mountains. In the story they became the Three Sisters of the Heather who hold the secrets of the Mournes and are unwilling to share them with anyone. Bannon and Veronica and legend in their own lifetimes as great walkers and mountaineers so they easily fell into the story. The Planda: the louseworts, milkworts, tormentils are more species in the hills. Pierce is a Samundine, a man of fire and water.There are Nairulis and Hornfels, Ousters and Lichens. There are Staghorns and Sylomes, Nieron and Usher. I would love to name them all. They only have small parts but a bigger part of the whole story.

I noticed on the Ordinance Survey map for Northern Ireland a place in Annalong called Springwell Port but when I asked anyone from the local area they said they'd never heard of it. That became an instant choice for Jack Turner's home. Jack is my son's name and Turner is my mother's maiden name and this trend continued in the book too. Martha is my wife's middle name. Jack's father Matthew fishes for mackrel and herring (McElherron), Old man Russell is a friend from Kilkeel who was an old fisherman.
So many truths were woven into fantasy.
What makes the book unusual, I think, is that it is geographically accurate but the magic of the Mournes is ever-present.

I was working happily away, and the story was complete, until I had another meeting with Declan Carville and John Farrelly in a nice restaurant in Newry. Declan handed me a leaflet and said that it was important I apply. It was for a chance to get my manuscript accepted by a programme called LitNetNI. I told him I would be wasting their time but he told me to get on with it.
I left it for a week or so then finally I Googled the address and I saw that the Shimna Rd was very close by. Of all the places on the planet the word Shimna had come up, since the evil creature in my story was a Shimnavore I took this as another omen. I rang and a very patient and charming lady called Catherine McInerney listened to my ramblings and said that it sounded original enough to send her the manuscript.
To cut a long story, and a good few months short, I was a accepted and I was paired up with a mentor in Scotland called Lindsey Fraser. The next 6 months plus was the steepest learning curve I have ever experienced.
Lindsey is so good at what she does. She is part of Fraser Ross Associates and knows her craft really well. She gave of her time and her knowledge and at the end I had a manuscript I felt a lot more proud of than when I had begun.

Now what?....