State of the TAM - 19 Aug

What’s Up?

Penn is off home today. When I send this she will probably be somewhere around the Lake District/Yorkshire Dales. Depending on what way she want. We had a great time and went all over the shop.

This is literally the best picture I’ve ever taken.

In more writer adjacent news, however, I have booked my tickets to fly to GRL! Well, to be precise I’ve booked tickets to fly to San Diego since Rhys Ford and I are going to road trip it to Albuquerque. I need a ‘Take a left at Albuquerque’ t-shirt!

Once I hit GRL if you are looking for me these are the set points of my weekend. I’m rarely hard to find anyhow - just look for the excited Northern Irish woman with the culchie accent - but I’m not currently purple-haired anymore so just in case!

I am also on Diverse Reader on the 19th August for a GRL spotlight. So keep an eye out for that!!

I will need someone to tell me how this film ended, because I will never get the end. My death will be at the title sequence and that will be it. I’m not cut out for traumatic situations (and I get bored easily, I never made it through all the Bandersnatch branches).

Oh, congratulations! :D

Left Turn at Albuquerque Playlist

I am putting together the perfect, *chef’s kiss*, playlist for the trip. First song on rotation? Has to be the ineffable ‘Horse Outside by Rubber Bandits.

I always wish I had the patience to make beautiful book rainbows like this. Mind you, the whole ‘slightly colour-blind’ thing probably wouldn’t help!

What do you struggle with most, coming up with captions or photos? .
Today's one of those days friends, I'm struggling with what to post! I have spent the last 2 hours going through my phone's gallery 🙈 When in doubt post a #shelfie .
I don't often do book spirals anymore, but here's one! They usually fall over on me, but this one held up well! .
#bookshelves #bookstack #stacksaturday #bookspiral #rainbowbooks #rainbowshelves
July 20, 2019

Listen to this! It’s awesome.

Book Rec of the Week

Look, I love me some tragic mercenary-warrior ladies. I came up on this stuff. So I was sold at cybernetic soldier, even before the erased memories and tragic empath love. So check out this upcoming book from Elle E. Ire.


Storm Fronts: Book One
by Elle E. Ire

All cybernetic soldier Vick Corren wanted was to be human again. Now all she wants is Kelly. But machines can’t love. Can they?

With the computerized implants that replaced most of her brain, Vick views herself as more machine than human. She’s lost her memory, but worse, can no longer control her emotions, though with the help of empath Kelly LaSalle, she’s holding the threads of her fraying sanity together. 

Vick is smarter, faster, impervious to pain… the best mercenary in the Fighting Storm, until odd flashbacks show Vick a life she can't remember and a romantic relationship with Kelly that Vick never knew existed. But investigating that must wait until Vick and her team rescue the Storm’s kidnapped leader.

Someone from within the organization is working against them, threatening Kelly’s freedom. To save her, Vick will have to sacrifice what she values most: the last of her humanity. Before the mission is over, either Vick or Kelly will forfeit the life she once knew.  


Must Read of the Week

OK, I had a great article that I was going to use this week since I have already subbed some articles about AirBnB. HOWEVER…look at how beautiful the Isle of Skye is! I understand all the arguments about AirBnB—especially in very tourist friendly places like this. The ability to make a living renting out a house for the summer months means that a: locals get priced out of the market and b: it turns neighbourhoods into ghost towns during the off months.

On the other hand, man I want to stay in the Isle of Skye!

Of course, I could also book into Strangford for a week’s brain-shiring. It is also a very pretty place (I am on a County Down is the most beautiful place! drive at the moment :D)

Useless Site of the Week

You can’t not tweet this :D

Poetry of the Week

State of the TAM - 12 Aug

Dead Man Stalking coming soon!

What’s Up?

It’s going to be a light newsletter week. I love you guys, but my friend Penny is visiting for the week and we’re knackered! So far we have been to a seafood festival, hit up the local tourist attractions (Scrabo, and the duck pond), and gone shopping. We’re going to head down the Pennisula today to Winterfell.

edited to add - made it back in time to add an album of today’s photos from Winterfell (well, and Castle Ward:D)

I was going to do my monthly Lovebytes article about Portavogie, but I couldn’t think of a way to spin it so it was a passingly insightful article about writing and not just me rambling about clams. Instead I wrote about how to find your real competition as a writer.

It is also the very cool, and very talented, Jenn Moffatt’s birthday. So happy birthday, Jenn! Love you loads. That is also very much how I would ate cake if I still could!

Check out Dead Man Stalking by TA Moore (me!), the first book in the urban fantasy Blood and Bone series. It will be out September 10 from Dreamspinner Press! You can pre-order now! The Blog Tour starts 5 September!

Book Rec of the Week

I haven’t forgotten that I put this book up before, but Andi Lee is one of my oldest friends and her first novel is out of Tuesday. So check out her blog tour for prizes and insider rat info, and then take a gander at the book itself.

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Mischief Maker by Andi Lee

An Animal Lark Novel

What to expect when your pet rat is expecting, or how to fall in love at a pet show.

Jamie Hewett rescues and breeds prize-winning fancy rats. While he’s surrounded by supportive, animal-loving friends, his ex-boyfriend has never been one of them. One embarrassing breakup later, he definitely isn’t looking for love again, but perhaps a rebound relationship might ease his broken heart.

Liam Donnelly’s quirky dating life is the subject of a popular vlog, and his viewers have interesting ideas on where he might find romance. When they suggest he take Mabel, his new rat, to a pet show, he’s up for the adventure.

Although they can’t deny their growing interest in each other, neither Jamie nor Liam believes in love at first sight. They’ve both had bad luck with men, and Jamie isn’t pleased that Liam makes a living as a serial dater. On top of that, others are conspiring to keep them apart, and Jamie is left holding the baby—or twenty-plus babies—when their fur children have no trouble making a connection. Will a YouTube ukulele serenade convince Liam that Jamie’s love for him—and their unborn rat children—is for real?

Order Now

This is so cute I might die, just because I have reached peak cuteness IN MY LIFE.

Deal of the Week

$1.50 eBooks by Kate McMurray
Sale ends August 12, 2019 at 11:59 PM ET

Dave is enjoying his junior year at a big New England university, even if none of his relationships have been especially satisfying. He plans to hang around with his best friend Joe and focus on his studies until he graduates, and then he’ll figure out the rest. 

Meeting Noel changes his plans.

Noel is strikingly beautiful and unlike anyone Dave knows. Something about Noel draws Dave to him—an attraction Dave doesn’t feel ready to label. And even if he was, why would Noel be interested in Dave? And what about Joe? He hates Noel and everything he represents, and he might hate Dave if he finds out about Dave’s secret desires. So Dave will have to keep those feelings hidden—along with his relationship with Noel.

But Noel has fought too hard for his identity to be Dave’s dirty secret. Will Dave tell the truth and risk the life he’s always known… or live a lie and risk losing the love of his life?

Sale Here

Must Read of the Week

This is a fascinating article about how language shapes our perception of the world. It is something I used to talk to my old boss about quite a lot (along with exactly WHAT treasure had been lost in the sleech under Belfast). I think of us tend to think that everyone sees the world the same way we do, that there is a bedrock objective truth that we can all make out. Only sometimes it’s not so simple. I’m very slightly colourblind, it’s only at the ends of the spectrums, but when I found out it was quite discombobulating to discover you actually lived in a much pinker world than you realised.

Anyhow, check this out.

Our Language Affects What We See

Consider the case of the "Russian blues." While English has a single word for blue, Russian has two words, goluboy for light blue and siniy for dark blue. These are considered "basic level" terms, like green and purple, since no adjective is needed to distinguish them. Lera Boroditsky and her colleagues displayed two shades of blue on a computer screen and asked Russian speakers to determine, as quickly as possible, whether the two blue colors were different from each other or the same as each other. The fastest discriminations were when the displayed colors were goluboy and siniy, rather than two shades of goluboy or two shades of siniy. The reaction time advantage for lexically distinct blue colors was strongest when the blue hues were perceptually similar.

Read Now


WHAAAAAAAT?!?! How has Rhys Ford not told me of….THE VIETNAMESE DRAGON CHICKEN?

Also, this is cool and all? But dude, this chicken is 3/4 of the way to a dinosaur. It seems unwise. Are we watching them carefully?

Useless Site of the Week

Go visit the Tiny Tuba.

Poetry of the Week

State of the TAM - 5 Aug

August already?

A quick aside…

It is weird to send this the Monday after such a terrible weekend. I don’t often comment on here, as TA Moore, about events as they happen, it often feels disingenuous to do so on a platform I use to market myself and my books. At the same time it also feels insincere to just ignore the events of the weekend.

I can only condemn the shooters, and also the propaganda and tainted, racist, nationalism that helped to shape and direct these violent men. I’m not American and I don’t understand the attachment to guns, but I think it’s obvious at this point that something needs to be done to stop things like assault rifles being so easily available? I hope it’s obvious. I hope something is done soon to make places safer for people.

The rest of this was written on Friday, so please forgive the abrupt tonal shift.

What’s Up?

Ooof, what a week! My friend Penn and her husband are coming to stay for just over a week. So I spent the weekend clearing out space in the wardrobe so they would have somewhere to put their clothes! Then I stashed everything in the garage, because I was too knackered to sort them out.

So going to drag her hither and thon around Northern Ireland next week. Going to start with the Seafood Festival in Portavogie on Saturday!

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Not much writing news this week! I am writing, and also working on the next book on my list. There’s news that I’ll be able to fill you all in on soon, that I am very excited about.

My next book Dead Man Stalking is out soon! 10 September. I love Kanaxa’s cover on this! It’s beautiful. Vampires are one of my first literary loves—I had such a fight with my English teacher when she said that Dracula wasn’t classic literature—and I really enjoyed writing this books. Other people seem to like it too!

Pre-Order Now

I will announce my blog tour next week!

Speaking of blog tours! Andi Lee’s blog tour for her debut novel Mischief Maker will be starting soon! You can still preorder a copy, and the novel will be released on 12 August.

LIAM BARELY remembered a time when his vlog wasn’t the most important thing in his life. As friends settled down into nine-to-five jobs and found partners, his life became less ordinary—just the way he liked it. If he ever felt a twinge of dissatisfaction, he would check how many new subscribers he had and scroll through his comments. His life was fun.

He used his phone camera to check his appearance. His hair was too perfect, so he ruffled it with one hand until it fell into his eyes. When he deemed it tousled enough, he nodded, switched over to video mode, and pressed play.

“Two words,” he said in the conspiring tone he used to draw his viewers in and create intimacy. “Escape Room.”

His vlogging camera was a Panasonic Lumix, but when he was out and about, he liked the effect he got when he edited the lower spec on his phone into footage from the Lumix. It gave it a fake-reporter vibe.

Order Now

There are some sins that cannot be taken back. THIS is one of them.

If anyone hates their pancreas enough to give this a go, though, I do have a recipe. Let me know how that works out!

Rainbow Fried Chicken Recipe

These are just insane. I theoretically understand how colour and shadow was used to create this effect, but my brain refuses to see anything but texture and thickness. I would be so tempted by one of these.

Book Rec of the Week

Tattoos and crossed wires are always a good way to draw me into a book! This contemporary by Anna Martin promises both and definitely delivers. Andi Lee, who I mentioned above, is also very fond of a Martin book.

So there you go, two votes for give it a look!

The Color of Summer
The Colour of Summer
Anna Martin

Tattoo artist Max Marshall races into his hometown of Sweetwater, West Virginia—and is promptly pulled over for speeding. Max’s luck isn’t all bad, though, because he recognizes the deputy, Tyler Reed, Max’s childhood best friend’s older brother.

Reconnecting with Tyler helps Max settle back in, and it also leads to attraction. But when he tries to explore that connection at the grand opening of his tattoo studio—by kissing Tyler—awkwardness ensues. Max wants more, but has he misread Tyler’s signals?

As a single father raising a six-year-old daughter, Tyler doesn’t have much time to date. He’s ignored his attraction to men for years, but he can’t stop thinking about the kiss he shared with Max. If he can handle the complications of dating in a small town and the possible consequences to his career, this romance could blossom with all the colors of summer.

Buy Now

Awww, look at the little grumpy faces!

Must Read of the Week

The politics of being a tough guy are pretty complicated. I am fascinated by this Wall Street Journal article about how the stars of action movies carefully curate their image on screen. It sounds counter-intuitive, they want to look so tough so they bean-count headbutts like book-keepers. When you look at them, though, it makes sense. These guys aren’t actors, they’re action stars. Sometimes they step out of that lane, but even if they veer into comedy or SF they remain the tough guys of Hollywood. That brand is their bread and butter, so they are left with this dichotomy to resolve between the fact they need to get beat up in movies and the need to still look tough doing it.

Plus, Statham kind of painted himself into this corner of doing his own stunts and that has got to sting sometimes.

The On-Set Politics of Fight Choreography

The actor was in rehearsal for yet another fight in his seventh “Fast & Furious” movie when he started to sense his co-star and on-screen opponent, Jason Statham, was landing more blows than he was.

Mr. Diesel had an idea: Why not assign numerical values to every move—head butt, roundhouse kick, body slam—so he could calculate a total and determine if the two men were getting pummeled evenly?

In Hollywood, where sheltering the tender egos of action stars is increasingly a cost of doing business, no leading man is willing to look less macho than any other. Nowhere is that more apparent than the “Fast & Furious” franchise, where an arms race of machismo can break out between Mr. Diesel, Mr. Statham and their third beefy co-star, Dwayne Johnson.

There is something haunted about seaside towns. Visit one in the winter and you’ll see what I mean. Towns haunted by the sultry summer months when the tourists pack the streets.

Useless Site of the Week

Does the red-amber-green scaling of password strength not work for you? Well check out the Passive Aggressive Password machine! It condescends to you as you try and find that sweet spot between memorable enough to remember and complicated enough to put off the Russians.

Create a Password

Poetry of the Week

Check out Lagan Online’s collection of poetry from Northern Irish poets. It’s from 2017, so most of these writers will have some new work out for you to chase up if you like it!

State of the TAM - 29 July

I have carpet!

What’s Up?

I have carpet!

To explain my excitement, I’ve spent nearly three months without carpet, three weeks of which involved a half-carpeted hallway with gripper rods on the stairs that I stepped on in my bare feet more than once! So, you know, the fact that’s over is exciting!

I’m not, in case you ever wondered, a graceful woman.

Other news?

Still writing!

I’ve also arranged MOST of the Dead Man Stalking blog tour and have started to put together the bumph that I email out to the blogs. This will be my OFFICIAL tenth book with DSP, so I am planning to do something a bit exciting for it. Stay tuned!

Oh, and I finished the first edit on Swipe by TA Moore, which will follow Dead Man Stalking and I hope you guys enjoy. It was a ridiculously fun book to write, I gotta tell you.

And as I head into the last pages of the final book in the Wolf Winter series, I just thought I’d share this.

If you were wondering what our Wolf Winter lads look like in the fur-skins…

Danny as a little dog-shifter.
Jack and Gregor have their first fight.

Nick during the awkward teenager-shifter years he skipped.

Comic Rec of the Week

Slight change of format! Hope you don’t mind, but well…I do as I please! Unsounded by Ashley Cope is one of my favourite comics on the web, or just generally in existence. A sprawling, clever, exhaustively realized high fantasy world is delivered three times a week (usually! She takes a break at Christmas, you have to give her that). Not only is the art amazing and the story gripping, Cope has created a comic that, while enjoyable in print, is truly native to the web and makes full use of the flexibility of its format.

It is definitely adult fare with adult themes throughout, fair warning, but if you like high fantasy with a gritty edge, political and moral themes, and a fierce, lion-tailed child-thief out to prove herself to her thief-lord Da then check it out.

Read Now

The Ron Perlman of cats! He DELIGHTS me. He delights you too. Don’t lie. (I mean the cat, although honestly Ron Perlman is one of the actors who would devastate me if they brought shame on themselves somehow. He always seems like a GENUINELY good guy…and makes an awesome cat).

I would just suck this out of the wrapper, but unfortunately they all have bicsuit in them. So that makes them Not Safe for Tamm. I have been told they are delicious though…which is sad :D.

Must Read of the Week

I always find these stories as fascinating as they are sad. I feel for the people who’ve been hooked and reeled in, some of them have ruined their lives and are left with nothing, except public scorn for being fooled.

I also find it intriguing how con-artists have evolved into their new ecosystem. The cons are the same as they ever were, but social media and the internet has changed how the con plays out. It used to be the con artist had to cold read most subjects (unless they had a public persona), but now they can research their mark online and find out what they like and what they hate, where they’re tender and how to stroke them. It also lets them turn what would have been a one and done con into a long con, that lets them keep tapping the mark’s wallet over months or even years.

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — On a Monday afternoon in June 2017, Renee Holland was draped in an American flag at Philadelphia International Airport, waiting for a soldier she had befriended on Facebook.

The married 56-year-old had driven two hours from Delaware to pick him up. Their blossoming online friendship had prompted her to send him a care package and thousands of dollars in gift cards. She also wired him $5,000 for plane tickets to return home.

Now she was looking for a buff, tattooed man in uniform, just like in his Facebook photos. But his flight was not on the airport arrivals board. Then a ticket agent told her the flight didn’t exist.

Facebook Connected Her to a Tattooed Soldier in Iraq. Or So She Thought.

Read Now

I had something similar to this as a kid. It was a playhouse/shed in the garden where I was allowed complete (sans matches, because I had set myself on fire twice by that point) autonomy. It was my space, and that was very cool for a kid. Still, if I’d had this in the house I doubt my mum would have seen me from one week to the next!

Useless Site of the Week

Koalas to the Max! This is weirdly satisfying. I’ve done nothing, but I feel like I have.

Poetry of the Week

State of the TAM - July 22

I just missed the lobster roll man

Last week I was on Sliabh Liag, the highest accessible cliffs in Europe. It’s slightly less well known than the Cliffs of Moher, but is still completely stunning. You can get a lobster roll there if you want, most days, but he drove out just as I arrived!


I mean, I’d neither expected nor wanted a lobster roll until that moment. Once I knew I couldn’t have it though? All I wanted.

If you are heading to Sliabh Liag at any point, take the coast road from Killybegs around (follow the signs for the Wild Atlantic Way). The drive is stunning on its own.

However, you aren’t here for advice on places to go in Ireland!

In addition to a brief wander around Ireland, I’ve also been working on Wolf Winter 3 and editing Swipe. This is technically a contemporary stand alone, but it might make a few of you go ‘ohhh!’ when you see where it is. It’s so odd though when the edits arrive though. I am a book and 3/4 away from Swipe at this point. My brain has had two entire other sets of very different characters come to visit. So it’s strange to find my way back into the ‘voice’ of Swipe.

It’s good in some ways—you sorta see things you wrote that were actually good—and in others not so much since you pick out all your mistakes. Mostly gerunds. I can be a gerunding machine when I get on a roll!

First edit is done, though, and sent back to Liz. The plan is to put the final touches on Wolf Winter 3 by this Saturday, although I have an asthma clinic and an Arts Funding info session to go to this week so I might need to ignore that!

Finally, just in case you were here for places to go in Ireland:

Oughterard in Galway is a lovely wee town and is pretty close to anything you want to do in Galway or in and around Connemara. They also have their own castle and a wonderful little pub/restaurant, the Powers Thatched Pub and Restaurant, that I would fully recommend for a good breakfast.

Also #teamketchup!

Book Rec of the Week

Well, book series rec of the week! Jordan L. Hawk (I eternally want to add an e for some godforsaken reason, so look at that! No Hawke!) has just released the first book in the third Spectr series, Stalker of Shadows. You should check it out.

However, if you haven’t read the Stalkr books before you can get the whole ebook first series on Amazon for only $4.36. Which is a pretty good deal for six books!

SPECTR: The Complete First Series

Unregistered paranormal Caleb Jansen only wants a normal life. But when the vampire spirit Gray accidentally possesses him, Caleb finds himself in a countdown for his very existence.

Hotshot federal agent John Starkweather thinks he’s seen it all. Then he’s called to exorcise Caleb, and discovers a creature that isn’t supposed to exist outside of stories. For Gray is a drakul: a vampire who drinks the blood of the demon-possessed.

If Gray can’t be exorcised within 40 days, the possession will become permanent. In the meantime, the three must find a way to work together. As they hunt down demons and save the innocent, the heat between John and Caleb explodes into passion. But when divided loyalties threaten his last chance at exorcism, Caleb discovers love may come at a price higher than he’d ever imagined.

Buy Now

Short Story Collections for All

Personally I love short stories, and I’m really not very good at writing them. I get carried away with the words and the world, to the point where I feel a 30,000 word novella is restricting.

Still a lot of these shorts look interesting. Not all of them, but still worth a look.

Remember when Kristen Roupenian's 'Cat Person' went viral? It was a reminder of the power the form can wield, and a great advert for literature in an era dominated by other mediums.

Short stories, of course, have the added advantage of being short, meaning you can digest them in small chunks - the perfectly alternative to staring at your iPhone for an hour before bed.

Here we round up 15 classic and modern short story collections that should be on everyone's radar. It's not a definitive list, of course, but it's a great start for anyone who wants to read more fiction in 2019.

Read Here

This is fascinating! I might have changed my bio recently, but I still fully believe that ‘…everything is cooler in space!’

Article of the Week

I find things like this fascinating for the way that SF authors predicted how technology would be used in the future, and they ways that they didn’t foresee or just got wrong. I was thinking about getting a Ring doorbell myself—mostly so I could check from upstairs who was at the door and if I needed to answer it or I could just remotely tell the Jehovah’s Witness/Man selling Vegan Food Boxes that they were at the wrong door—so I’ve hit a lot of these.

Amazon and Fear-Based Social Media

Quite like how Amazon’s killer Prime Day deals on Echo smart speakers have encouraged people to put more than 100 million artificially intelligent Alexa devices in their homes, the company’s push to sell Ring devices could lead to a more widespread embrace of what I’ve referred to as fear-based social media.

Read Now

Useless Site of the Week

Note: if you play around on this site for a while it will flash quite brightly and in various colours at you.

And all I can say about this site is huh. I mean, I’ve no idea what it is meant to be or why it was created. Nevertheless, I was intrigued enough to spend some time there.

Waste Some Time

Poetry of the Week

Abby Oliveira was one of the founding members of the Poetry Chicks, who were a HUGE influence on the Performance Poetry scene in Northern Ireland. Here you can see why!

Loading more posts…