Tag Archives: Damien M Love

The Episode of the Black Dog

It’s not every young teenage boy who has a grandfather born in 1835. But Alex does, and he knows his grandfather might be old, but he’s cool. Practically a James Bond, even at his age. So Alex is more than happy to gallivant round Europe with the old man, again. After all, they survived their last adventure.

So, here they are, on a train across the Continent, bound for more adventures. Author Damien M Love has called this excerpt The Episode of the Black Dog, and it will eventually form part of Like Clockwork, Volume 2: The Old Man’s Back Again, which will be published some time next year. There is every reason to look forward to that. (And, you know, if you didn’t read the first one, now is a good time to remedy that woeful oversight.)

Damien M Love, The Episode of the Black Dog

Anyway, here they are, Alex and his grandfather, travelling rather like ‘The Old Man’ did with his father, back in 1849, when the black dog adventure happened. They’re in Magdeburg, and there are funny goings-on. And a dog. A black dog. Excitement in the dark of night.

Damien is offering the extract for free on Amazon over the Halloween weekend. I think that’s a good deal.

The UK version if you want to pay £0. Or US version for $0.

Preston’s Plumage

Some people don’t want to earn money. Or so it seems, in this crazy world. Just like I give you my witchy musings for free (would love to charge if I could), Damien M Love is doing his level best to let you read his latest short story for free. Except the big bookshop in the (cyber)sky will only let big publishers give ebooks away for free.

Damien M Love, Preston's Plumage

Small Damien didn’t want to give up, however, so he is using the loophole of being allowed to offer something to download for free for five days. Starting today. So get shopping! It won’t cost you anything but your peace of mind.

And that’s only if you read Preston’s Plumage, a nice (no, it isn’t) and short (yes, it is) story. It is short. It is good. It is creepy, in an amusing sort of way.

It’s about a not very nice boy not called Preston. You could say he’s dim, even. He’s got a granny. There’s a fence. And a major splat.

Don’t worry; it will soon be over. And you won’t have paid for it, unless you wait until after Monday, and thwart Damien by paying good money for his little story on how crime pays. Or maybe not.

The Scottish novelists

Lists will rarely be complete. But some are more complete than others.

On Monday Herald Scotland published a list of Scottish children’s authors.* What prompted this seems to have been Julia Donaldson’s decision to leave Scotland and move back to England. It felt like an ‘oh god who do we have left in Scotland if Julia Donaldson moves away?’ kind of list.

Don’t worry, J K Rowling is one of their ten ‘best.’ So are others that I know and admire, along with a few names I have never heard of. Which is fine, because I don’t know everything, and I’m sure they are great writers. I don’t even know who counts as Scottish for this purpose.

Although, with J K topping the list, I’m guessing they allow English writers living in Scotland. That makes my own list rather longer. Harry Potter isn’t particularly Scottish as a book, even if Hogwarts is in Scotland. Do Scottish authors living in England, or god forbid, even further afield qualify? (I’m not so good at keeping track of such people, so I’ll leave them out for the time being.)

As I said, I have no problem with who is on the Herald’s list. But along with quite a few Scottish authors, I gasped when I realised who weren’t on it. Catherine MacPhail and Gillian Philip, to mention two very Scottish ladies. Linda Strachan, Julie Bertagna and Theresa Breslin, who are also pretty well known and very Scottish indeed.

Keith Charters and Keith Gray. Damien M Love and Kirkland Ciccone. John Fardell. Lari Don, Lyn McNicol, Joan Lingard and Elizabeth Laird. Cathy Forde. Dare I mention the Barrowman siblings, Carole and John? Alexander McCall Smith writes for children, too. Roy Gill, Jackie Kay. Cat Clarke. And how could I forget Joan Lennon?

I’m guessing former Kelpies Prize shortlistees Tracy Traynor, Rebecca Smith and Debbie Richardson belong. (There is one lady whose name is eluding me completely right now, but who appears at the book festival every year and seems very popular…) Have also been reminded of Margaret Ryan and Pamela Butchart. (Keep them coming!)

Most of the above have lovely Scottish accents and reasonably impeccable Scottish credentials. But what about the foreigners? We have the very English, but still Scottish residents, Vivian French, Helen Grant and Nicola Morgan. Americans Jane Yolen and Elizabeth Wein. Ex-Aussie Helen FitzGerald.

And I really don’t know about English Cathy Cassidy, who used to live in Scotland but has more recently returned to England. I think she counts, too, along with all those writers whose names simply escape me right now, but who will wake me up in the night reminding me of their existence.

I’m hoping to get to know all of you much better once this wretched move is over and done with. Unless you see me coming and make a swift exit, following Julia Donaldson south. Or anywhere else. I think Scotland has a great bunch of writers for children. (And also those lovely people who write adult crime, and who are not allowed on this list, even by me.)

Sorry for just listing names, but there are so many authors! One day I will do much more. Cinnamon buns, for starters. With tea. Or coffee. Irn Bru if absolutely necessary.

Theresa Breslin's boot

*For anyone who can’t access the Herald’s list, here are the other nine names: Mairi Hedderwick, Barry Hutchison, Chae Strathie, Claire McFall, Daniela Sacerdoti, Debi Gliori, Caroline Clough, Janis MacKay and Diana Hendry.

Like Clockwork – the real book

An unexpected post-holiday pleasure was finding a copy of Damien M Love’s Like Clockwork waiting for me at Bookwitch Towers. I didn’t know there were plans to make the ebook into a ‘real’ book.

Damien M Love, Like Clockwork

But here it is. (Sorry about the shine. It’s not the book. It’s me. I was so happy to see it.)

With no prompting at all the Resident IT Consultant started reading it (it’s not as if he’s not had the ebook at his fingertips all this time) and totally unprompted – again – he professed to like it a lot.

So, perhaps you too should see if you would like it a lot? I gather it’s print-on-demand, so demand away!

The paper book has the same illustrations, and here the Resident IT Consultant was simply too nerdy. They are meant to look like that, and yes we know the train is all wrong. And so is the bus. That’s the whole point. (I knew this, but I still checked, so now I know I’m right. It’s art. Or something.) Anachronistic.

Like Clockwork is also up for the First Book Award at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, coming soon to an Edinburgh near you. You could vote for it. In fact, so can I. I will do it now.

The EIBF 2013 programme

It’s not exactly a bad programme this year. It’s not exactly short on authors, either. I’ve probably missed a few, seeing as I have only browsed the pdf  in a hasty fashion, but even so, were it not for the fact that I actually know I am unable to cover the full two and a half weeks of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, I’d sign up for the complete works. Again.

I’d been thinking a weekend. Maybe a longish weekend, but no more than four days. But which longish weekend? And what about the fantastic midweek offerings?

This is going to be an easy post to write! I could simply list authors, one after the other. But that would be boring.

For the time being I will not cover the adult writers, although I noticed Salman Rushdie is coming. Roddy Doyle. And Patrick Ness is an adult this time.

So, first weekend ‘as usual’ we have Meg Rosoff, as well as her stable (yeah, right…) mates Eoin Colfer and Cathy Cassidy. Anne Fine, Tommy Donbavand, Helena Pielichaty, Linda Strachan, Andy Mulligan. Carnegie winner Sally Gardner. Obvious choice. First weekend it will be.

Meg Rosoff

On the other hand, during the week when it grows a little quieter we have Elizabeth Wein. Hmm. Debi Gliori with Tobermory Cat. Nicola Morgan. Lari Don and Vivian French. Damien M Love. Well, that would be good!

But Elen Caldecott is someone I’ve always missed. She’s there the second weekend. It will have to be the middle weekend. Charlie Fletcher, Teresa Breslin and Eleanor Updale, Jon Mayhew and Darren Shan. Need I say more? OK, Tom Palmer, Chae Strathie. Melvin Burgess. Keith Gray.

Jonathan Stroud has a new book coming, which I like the look of. And he’s there the second week. So are Julie Bertagna and Teri Terry, and Daniel Hahn is talking translation. That is interesting.

Having said that, the last, extra long weekend looks by far the best. Doesn’t it? Judit Kerr. Neil Gaiman. Our new children’s laureate, Malorie Blackman. Our own Liz Kessler, and Tim Bowler. Philip Caveney from ‘home’ and Derek Landy, whom I’ve not seen for a long time… Jo Nadin and Spideyman himself, Steve Cole.

Yes. No competition there. Except maybe all the other days.

What do the rest of you think?

(Sorry. I see I have done a list after all.)

Like Clockwork – the bitter end

Nah, only joking. It’s sweet and sunny all the way through. No, it’s not. (Damien M Love knows how to keep his fans on their toes.)

Alex and the adventure his grandfather set in motion by running off to Paris, continues in the cold and the snow, and mostly in the dark. I lost touch with how many days and nights they had to fight robots and other machinery, but I believe it was only something like three days. It just felt like more, as the reader shivers along with Alex in the Continental pre-Christmas weather. And then you shiver a little more when those creatures are after you. I mean, after Alex.

The grandfather is charming, but quite a slippery sort of customer, when you stop and think about it. You don’t always think when sliding off some roof or other, or those little robot things have a go at you, but the man always changes the subject!

You – and Alex – want to know who The Tall Man is. Why does Alex feel as though he knows more than he can remember? And those funny ‘feelings’ he gets. What exactly are they?

This is an exciting dash through several countries, in classic thriller chase mode with plenty of fight scenes. Nothing terribly deep anywhere, and until they also become too clichéd, I’ll take robots over vampires/zombies/etc any day. Good old-fashioned entertainment. (Although at some point I did wonder if Damien’s rather rubbish at maths, but I realised there was method in the confusion.)


You can buy it here. Parts one to six. Great stuff. Although it is cheating if you buy them all at once, with no waiting and no suffering for a week as Alex hangs on yet another cliff. But go on. You may, just this once.

Like Clockwork parts 2 and 3

I do. I mean, I did. Last night. I liked it. Just before bedtime was not the best of times for reading about machines that think – and attack – but I had finally got my paws on parts two and three and couldn’t resist. That’s despite me being halfway through another excellent read.

You may recall that I blogged about the first part of Like Clockwork some time ago. Then I received the second part as a pdf, but I hate reading on a computer screen so much that I just never got round to reading. I begged an ebook version instead, which is what I devoured in the middle of the night.

Oh, the ‘thrill’ of having to wait for more instalments! It must be akin to what Dickens used to put people through, and I don’t see why Damien M Love should do this to me. It’s calculating. It’s cruel. Leave readers hanging off cliffs (or worse) and see how they feel. (Ready to buy the next part, I suppose.)

Anyway, Alex and his Grandfather have escaped to ***, where they encounter more of these *** and as they try to get away…

The thing is, even bad baddies are people. These machines are not, and this notches up the creepiness levels considerably.

I’ve got halfway, and I can’t work out what will happen next. But all three cliffhangers have hung pretty good, so my hopes are high.

And that’s not all that is high. You should have seen when they were…