Thriller Writing – no 8 – PERSEVERANCE


I offer this as encouragement to those writers who feel they are not having success no matter how hard they try. Perseverance is key. You MUST keep at it. No one says that writing is easy. I am skeptical of claims that ‘I just wrote the first two chapters and sent it off and two weeks I had a contract from a major publisher’.

Writing might be compared to getting a sexually transmitted disease. If you persevere – in the end you will succeed! So I’m back to that word again – PERSEVERANCE. Set a target: 1000 words a day? All right, so that’s too much. So how about 1000 words a week? Choose which it is to be and see that  you do it – and no excuses.

You might get encouragement if you view a youtube by me on this. Patrick McCusker youtube.  Hope it helps.

(If you find any of my comments on ‘writing’ helpful, I’d love to hear from you.)




Novel Writing- encouragement that may help!

Marathon runners commonly hit ‘The Wall’ at around mile 20. For writers of novels it’s different. Many writers hit the ‘Writing Wall’ around page 80. Why this should be so is a puzzle. There must be hundreds of thousands of 80-page potential novels thrown into drawers by despairing writers.

If you are one of those – how about opening the drawer and hauling out your creation? With the passing of time you may hit on a new slant that will carry you forward into completing what you started. At least I hope it will.

Regards – Patrick.



Conflicts can grow from tiny beginnings. Indignation can build from a small matter to the point where countries go to war. And young men and young women are once more sent out to kill each other.

There is a simmering dispute between Japan and China over ownership of a small group of islands. It would be a fine thing indeed if resentment on both sides were put to rest. The consequences of a dispute here is unpredictable – and it could have consequences for the rest of us. Must we, the people of the world, always stay silent in matters like this? Our voices, if in sufficient numbers, generating a global concern, could help both sides of the conflict to draw back from conflict and struggle towards a more moderate position.

One position that we might suggest is that the disputed islands and the seas around them be designated as a world national park to be administered by the IUCN, or similar body, for the benefit  and the protection of species that depend for their survival on that area. ‘Ownership’ of this disputed area could be placed under the authority of the UN until such time that both parties to the dispute anvil out between them a more peaceful accommodation for their difficulties. And young men and young women need not go to war.

The United Nations may find difficulty with this proposal. If so then let it modify what is proposed here so that it fits into their accepted procedures – but let it happen. You owe us that.

Those who read this blog, if you agree with what is proposed here, I would be pleased indeed if you would re-blog it and re-tweet it to others to generate a ground-swell of ‘people opinion’ to prevent this creeping inevitability toward conflict over these islands.





Kill all snakes and frogs!

Are we  clowns?

32% of amphibians; 24% of birds and 12% of mammals are in threat of extinction. Hundreds of these offer potential in medical science and in food improvements but even with that going for them we are still not unduly exercised by this reality. We are indeed fools.

Bushmaster snakes from South America kill in an interesting manner – their venom drops the blood pressure of their victims to zero. But the same venom hold potential in the manufacture of blood pressure medication.

The poison in Panamanian Poison Frogs offer possibility in alleviating heart conditions. One scorpion may prove useful in the production of molecules to fight brain tumours.

There are about 600 species of cone snails. Only six have been studied in any detail. Those who suffer from epilepsy should know that the poison in the dart that they inject into their prey  offers hope for this ailment. Yet we destroy the mangrove swamps that they need: why do we destroy them? We do it  to create shrimp farms.

Yes we are indeed clowns.

At this stage we need nothing less than a world conservation ethic  that millions of people in dozens of countries would experience  a wake-up call that all of us need to come together to stem this loss of species – even if it is only for our own selfish reasons.

We are indeed fools if we continue to allow this draining away of potential into extinction.

Nothing less than a World Ethic for Nature!


There will be a three day festival – the Carnsore Summer School in Wexford on Friday 23 August to Sunday 25 August. If last year’s events are anything to go by this will be a wonderful happy occasion of music and dance and discussion on the environment and how we might all work together to improve it.

I have been invited to give a talk on Saturday afternoon on how we might generate a world ethic for nature. I hope to meet many who follow me on my blog at the festival. You might like to turn up for one or for all of the days.

Details on the events at the Carnsore Point Summer School can be had by logging onto the Green Foundation Ireland website. 

 Hope to see you all there.



To Hell with Ecology.


“To hell with ecology I want my job” This was a headline I saw in a Florida newspaper 30 years ago. And notwithstanding thousands of conferences, discussions and editorials over those past 30 years there has been scant shift from this attitude.

There is a political immutable reality too that stands as a twin brother beside this intransigency. When any government’s policy on the environment clashes up against its policy on job creation – job considerations always win. 

In a few hours time I will be attending the Dublin Climate Gathering meeting. Sincere concerns will be expressed at the prospects of global warming. At a thousand gatherings similar to this one participants will be expected to be optimistic that through ardent discussion we will somehow uncover solutions to this planet-wide dilemma.

But the attitude as held in that Florida newspaper those years ago holds just as steady today. So, following conference after conference, we will muddle along in the absence of any worthwhile change. 

Global temperatures will continue to increase. Goepolitical and environmental changes will flow as a consequence. We need now to plan for global warming.

Now where’s my coat? I have a conference to attend to!


Loss of Wonderment.


In a rainforest in Queensland, Australia, in about 1980 a small frog sat on a stone in a wet place. She had conspicuously protruding eyes. At a casual glance there was little beyond that that would catch the interest of a passer-by. Except for one thing. She had been given the extraordinary name of gastric-brooding frog. How could anyone conjure-up such a name! Come on!

This frog, with no notable colouration, however, had one little trick that said she was important.

Frog’s eggs, tadpoles and babies suffer from high predation. So what is a frog to do to protect her brood? This species evolved an astonishing process to give her youngsters their best chance of survival. She laid her eggs and the male fertilized them in the normal way of frogs. Then she did an unbelievable thing – she ate them all up – like Goldilocks eating the baby bear’s porridge.

So where’s the great plan in all of that? Eating your own eggs to prevent Great Diving Beetles from doing the same seems – well – a bit dumb. It’s as though mum hadn’t quite joined up all the dotted lines to come up with a workable solution. 

When food slips down into the stomach – acids break it up into nutrients – but in this frog’s case the eggs secrete a chemical that protects them from the corrosive digestive juices. The developing tadpoles and the resultant baby frogs, still in the mother’s stomach, also produce the same protective shield. And when mum frog judges the time to be right she regurgitates and spits out her brood of tiny children, one by one, to take their chances in the great world outside.

And there is another consideration here – usefulness – to us. In the USA alone up to 25 million Americans suffer from peptic ulcers; a painful condition. Could the chemical shield produced by the eggs of this frog lead to the discovery of a drug that would be a cure for this painful human condition? Scientists started to work on this possibility. Then all research stopped. Why? Because sometime in the early 1980s the gastric-brooding frog became extinct. It had taken millions of years of evolution to create this chemical – and now it had disappeared with the disappearance of this frog. 

There were two different species of gastric-brooding frog. Both have become extinct. the reason is not clear. Fungal infection and damage to the bits of rainforest they needed may have been part of the cause.

That a small frog managed to evolve such a process is far beyond our understanding. We can only drop down into silence at the mystery of it all. 

In her going we have lost one more wonder from our world.