The Ups and Downs of Writing by Damien Larkin (And Giveaway!)

May 15, 2019
Special thank you to Damien for putting this guest post together! Be sure to read his other guest post about writing military science fiction!

Ten years ago, if someone told me that I would pen a novel, I would’ve thought it was a joke. I had always wanted to become a writer, but back then, I suffered from (what I now call) ‘dream-itis’. It was an unshakeable belief that everything would just work out the way it was supposed to without any effort being needed and so, I just coasted along, hoping for the best.

If novels could be written, edited and submitted from sheer daydreaming alone, I’d probably have at least a thousand novels completed. But in the real world, it took a long time to get to where I am now. I worked various jobs and had numerous side-projects to keep me occupied, but none that I was overly passionate about. It took one of my side projects to crash and burn before I sat back, re-evaluated my life and made a conscious decision to become a writer.

Since then, it’s been like a roller coaster ride, albeit one with a lot of sharp, horrifying, stomach-churning dips. As a stay-at-home father (and also working part-time) my time was extremely limited. Back then, my children were young enough that they still took naps during the day so exhausted and frazzled, I used what little spare time I had to churn out my first novel. Burning with determination, I wrote slightly over 100k words in three months and spent another few weeks with edits and re-writes. Once polished off, I submitted to various publishers and agents and watched the standard rejection template emails flow into my inbox. To say that was a soul-crushing experience would be an understatement.

Dusting myself off, I proceeded to self-publish and in all fairness, my first project got off to a decent start before it too inevitably crashed and burned. Once again, I found myself in the middle of a heart-to-heart moment with myself. I had experienced the euphoria of watching my first ever novel soar through the charts on its initial run and watched sales pour in daily. On the flip side, I now knew the frustration of watching those sales flatline despite my best efforts. As tough as it was, I soaked up every piece of information about where I went wrong and got back to work. Within three months of that moment, the first draft of Big Red would be ready.

Edits, re-writes and submissions followed. Once again, I watched the endless stream of template rejections flood my email inbox. With my frustration levels growing, I prepared to self-publish once again but then something happened. I had recently entered a Twitter pitch-wars event and got some interest from publishers. After passing along the first three chapters, I received a request for a full manuscript and within weeks, a publishing deal.

Since then, everything has felt like a blur. It’s been a lot more work than I ever anticipated, but it’s been worth it to see Big Red in actual book form. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have believed any of this was possible at all, but that’s one of those interesting things about life: you never know what it’s going to hurl at you next. It took my app development side project to go up in flames and my first self-published book to crash and burn to get here. And it has been worth every frustrating, exhausting moment. Big Red – my debut sci-fi – is out now!

About the Book Big Red by Damien Larkin

We have always been here...

Traumatized by the effects of Compression travel, soldier Darren Loughlin holds the key to the fate of Earth's Martian colonies. With his Battalion decimated, his fractured memory holds the only clues to the colony-wide communications blackout.

With time running out, Darren pieces together his year-long tour of duty with the Mars Occupation Force. Stationed in the Nazi-founded New Berlin colony, ruled by the brutal MARSCORP, he recounts his part in the vicious, genocidal war against the hostile alien natives and all who question Terran supremacy.

But as his memories return, Darren suspects he is at the centre of a plot spanning forty years. He has one last mission to carry out. And his alien enemies may be more human than he is...

Book Giveaway

For fans of military science fiction, this book is for you! All you have to do is enter via Rafflecopter. This giveaway is open internationally (depending on where you are at, the book may be given in the form of an e-book). Giveaway ends 5/31.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Damien Larkin is a part-time Planning Analyst and a full-time stay-at-home father of two young children. He enjoys turning terrifying nightmares into novels and currently resides in Dublin, Ireland. You can find him online at

Readers, purchase your copy!

Barnes & Noble -
Kobo -
Amazon -
ITunes -


  1. Thanks for posting this Nicole! Looking forward to finding out who wins a copy of Big Red!

  2. I don't think I've read anything in this genre before. It sounds interesting!

    1. Me either, I've never even noticed it before

    2. It is! It is a unique, specific niche.

    3. I only started reading military scifi after writing Big Red!

  3. This sounds interesting, but I am not sure this one is for me.

    1. I'm glad you think it sounds interesting. Thank you!

  4. Interesting post as I likely will not be reading this.

    1. I'm glad you like the post, Robin. Thank you!

  5. Self publishing is definitely hard work. I recently helped an author self publish her book so I understand the work that goes into getting your book in the hands of the public and also trying to maintain sales.

    1. It can definitely be a tough experience alright!

  6. It sounds interesting and I think it would be a good read.

  7. This looks very interesting. I would love to win & check it out.


I love comments! Unfortunately, though, due to an increase in spam comments, I am going to be moderating comments for a while. But be rest assured, I'll be approving yours shortly. Thanks for stopping by!

All Blog Posts Belong to Nicole Pyles. Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top