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Dec 29

It’s been a very hectic but truly enjoyable year for me. It’s taken a long time to write a book – I’ve probably wanted to do one for two decades or so – so to finally have something published was a big deal for me.

I’ve put in a lot of time and effort promoting the book this year, traveling to cities to do personal appearances and cramming in as many interviews, articles and blogs as I could. I have sent out thousands and thousands of emails and logged hundreds – if not thousands – of hours on the computer during the evenings banging on about Finn McCool’s Football Club to anyone I thought might be interested (and a few whom I knew wouldn’t be!).

On the downside: I wish I had sold more copies; it was a bit disheartening when bookshops in my hometown Belfast didn’t want to stock my book; and we have had very few actual reviews in the Irish and UK press. On the upside: the reviews this side of the Pond have been fantastic, far better than I dared hope; and the interest from both documentary makers and the movie world is encouraging.

I’ve taken a couple of weeks off (more or less) to relax in the evenings over Christmas. Managed to read a bunch of books (something I haven’t done in ages) and watch some DVDs. Tonight I’m off to start reading the book on a local radio station, but really I’m going to wait until next week before gearing up for the next push, mainly with the British press. Only so much I can do there though.

But my feeling is that on both sides of the Atlantic you have to give it your all. This is my first book, maybe my last, and I owe it to myself to do everything I can to make it a success. If that means another few months of nights in front of the screen for (seemingly) little reward then so be it. At least no-one can say I didn’t try…

Incidentally, embarrassing as it is to admit, I am blogging more regularly on the official Chelsea website Chelseafc.com than I am on my own site. I can’t even claim it’s for the money as I’m doing it for free. Anyway, you may want to check out A Blogger from America if you enjoyed the book.

So thank you for visiting my site, and a happy and prosperous New Year to y’all!

Dec 07

So I turned 40 when I was home last week. Wonderful. A nice cheery thought.

Actually to be honest it didn’t bother me. In fact to celebrate (commiserate) I had my hair chopped off. After 15 years with a girlie ponytail I finally took the plunge and got the snip. It was really bizarre for a few days, every night I went to take out my hair-tie and I still dump half a gallon of shampoo in my hand in the shower, but I’ve got used to it now and it has been rather freeing old bean. Finn’s owner Stephen Patterson told me it made me look much younger – well, he said it took weeks off me.

My time in the UK and Ireland was great, although after five years in Louisiana my blood has definitely thinned and I spent most of the time shivering, although I did pick up the flu when I was there which didn’t help. I had a busy four days in London – met my UK publisher, saw a couple of bands, caught up with a bunch of old friends some of whom I hadn’t seen in nine years – and then hired a car. I drove halfway around the country, covering almost 800 miles in three days, and that was hectic but fun. Did a radio show in Exeter with an old colleague I hadn’t seen in over a decade and also visited the real-life Royston Vasey for you League of Gentlemen fans.

Next I had 10 days at home which was less packed but still enjoyable. I spent a day in Dublin because I had two radio interviews, and as I had a few hours between them I wandered the streets. It was the first time I had spent any time in Dublin since, well, I can’t even remember, probably 12 years I’m sure. It is a cosmopolitan bustling place now, Temple Bar had a great vibe even on a cold December Tuesday afternoon, and I really enjoyed it.

I also did two radio interviews at home, a TV interview, a newspaper interview and photo-shoot, and a book signing at a fantastic bookshop called No Alibis. All of these things bar one radio interview of course was crammed into the last day I was there, nothing like forward planning on the media’s part of course… The book signing was the most successful I’ve ever done actually, sold 50 or something. And they weren’t all to my friends – some were even real-life book-buying customers!

So now I’m back in NOLA and playing catch up before taking a break at Christmas to spend some quality time with my wife and child after spending most of my evenings this year pumping the book. And my early New Year Resolution? To update this blog more frequently.