Friday, July 9, 2021

"Blood Red Sand" by Damien Larkin

Happy Friday, Everyone!
Today I am excited to share an interview with author Damien Larkin!
Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. released his new military science fiction novel
Blood Red Sand, on Tuesday, the second book in his Martian series.
As my blogging buddies know, I have a soft spot in my heart for Dancing Lemur Press,
and I'm happy to support a fellow author in DLP's author group.

I have not read Blood Red Sand yet,
because I am still waiting for Amazon to drop it on my doorstep.  
However, I did read Damien's debut novel in this series, Big Red.
I really enjoy military sci-fi, and Big Red delivered
a mind-bending thriller that had me flying through its pages.
So I've been waiting for this sequel with great anticipation all year!

Welcome, Damien!  I can't wait to read your new Martian adventure, Blood Red Sand.  I enjoyed your book Big Red, a strange and compelling story, and I was intrigued by Darren Loughlin and the predicament that he landed in on Mars.   

Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here! 

1.  So who is Damien Larkin?  Tell us a little about yourself.

I spent seven years in the Irish Reserve Defence Forces (which even years later I say ranks as one of the best decisions I’ve ever made). I currently work as a Planning Analyst for a major broadband and tv provider. If I’m not working, I’m either hanging out with my family or writing. I live in a place called Tallaght, which is a suburb in southern Dublin, in beautiful Ireland.

2.  How did you become a science fiction writer?

A few years ago, I was working part time, looking after my young children and had an app development business on the side. I poured what little of my free time I had into growing it, but after three projects effectively blew up in my face, I had to make a serious decision on whether to keep going with it or try something new.
I started thinking about my choices and realised that one of the reasons I wanted that business to succeed, wasn’t because I loved it, but to earn additional income, step away from my other job and write a book. I decided to cut out the middle man and that same day, I started writing ‘Children of the Dying’ (my first self-published book – now unpublished) and three months later I had the first draft done.

3.  In both Big Red and Blood Red Sand you feature the Nazi-founded New Berlin colony.  What drew you to write about Nazi threats and a Third Reich on Mars?

I loved watching war movies growing up, especially ones set during WW2. The Nazis for me are always the ultimate bad guys. They’re as flesh and blood as you and I but became brainwashed into believing absolute fallacies that caused them to commit unimaginable acts of genocide. I remember learning about WW2 as a child and becoming both horrified and fascinated at how a group of people could become so warped. It’s something that’s stayed with me and in certain ways, I write about it to try and understand it.

4.  How did you develop the plot for the story?  Did you know the storyline and its ending from the beginning or did it evolve as you wrote?  

I had a rough idea of the story from the world building in Big Red. Unlike the MC Darren ‘Dub’ Loughlin, I am a fan of history, so I had weaved different events together that Dub hinted at throughout the story, but never elaborated on because he didn’t have an interest in it.
Some of my readers did question me on the events concerning the First Battle of New Berlin and how the Nazis got there in the first place, so that did get me thinking more about the backstory. Blood Red Sand initially started as a prequel short story to Big Red, so I had a vague outline of where I was going with it and hoped at some point to maybe develop it into an anthology. After I sent on the prequel (which is approximately Part 1 of the story) my publisher wanted to know more so I developed it into a novel. I never thought I get to see this entire story being told, so I’m very grateful.

5.  What did you learn about improving your writing and Blood Red Sand by working with an editor?

I always learn so much from the editing team over at Dancing Lemur Press and I appreciate all the lessons they’ve taught me. For Blood Red Sand, it was an area that haunts me – repetition! Between Big Red and Blood Red Sand, I have about three other unpublished works and it’s taken me this long to internalise the feedback and consciously work on improving that area of my writing.

6.  Do you have any tips or words of advice about writing that you've learned in the trenches? 

Yes – write as much as you can and network! On the writing side of things, try and do as much as you can and try not to get into the habit of making excuses. It’s fine to cut yourself some slack and have chill days, but if it’s something you really want to do, you have to be prepared to put in the work and sacrifice. For networking, I believe community is key, especially for writers. It can be a hard slog and definitely lonely, but there are plenty of virtual spaces where you can interact with others, share tips and make new friendships. I would be lost without the Insecure Writers Support Group and the British and Irish Writing Community!

7.  You are a proponent for the Irish and British writing community and are involved with the online magazine Bard of the Isles.  Do you have a favorite Irish science fiction author or book to recommend? 

I’m a big fan of fellow Irish author Barry Corcoran’s dark fantasy “For Those That Do Not Die And Those That Can’t.” Book two will (hopefully) be out later this year. I also enjoyed “Shadow Warriors” by Paul O’Brien and Wayne Fitzgerald. It’s a fascinating look into Ireland’s special forces unit known as the Irish Ranger Wing.
Thank you again for having me on!

Thank you, Damien!  It was my pleasure, and I hope Blood Red Sand
entertains many happy readers.

MOF (Mars Occupational Force 

Blood Red Sand
By Damien Larkin

Mars will run red with Nazi blood…

After World War Two, Sergeant McCabe knew the British army could send him anywhere. He never imagined facing down another Nazi threat on Mars.

In New Berlin colony, rivalry between Generalfeldmarschall Seidel’s Wehrmacht and Reichsführer Wagner’s SS threatens bloodshed. The Reichsführer will sacrifice everything to initiate the secretive Hollow Programme and realise his nightmarish future for humanity.

McCabe, Private Jenkins, and the Mars Expeditionary Force must overcome bullet, bomb, and bayonet to destroy the Third Reich. While Jenkins fights to stay alive, McCabe forms an uneasy alliance with MAJESTIC-12 operatives known as the Black Visors. Will this be the final battle of World War Two or the first confrontation in an interstellar war?

Release date – July 6, 2021
$17.95, 6x9 trade paperback, 252 pages
Science Fiction - Military/Alternative History/War & Military
Print ISBN 9781939844781 / EBook ISBN 9781939844798
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Damien Larkin is an Irish science fiction author and co-founder of the British and Irish Writing Community. His debut novel Big Red was longlisted for the BSFA award for Best Novel. He currently lives in Dublin, Ireland.


Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

On the Bay of Fundy
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


  1. Thanks so much for hosting this. Much appreciated!

    1. It was fun to have you, Damien! Thanks for answering all my questions!

    2. No problem at all! They were great questions, thanks so much again!

  2. Well, it's not a short story anymore! Congratulations, Damien, and I'm enjoying it so far.

    1. I hope my copy arrives today, Alex! Happy weekend to you!

    2. Thanks folks. Glad to hear you're enjoying it, Alex!

  3. Thank you for featuring Damien today!

  4. I've been looking for more good Mars stories since I watched the movie Mars a few months ago. This sounds great.

    1. This is what's so cool about books; you can travel back and forth from prehistory to the future on another planet and beyond! Have a great weekend, Jacqui!

    2. Thanks Jacqui. Hope you enjoy it!

  5. Nice to meet Damien! :) Hope all is well Louise!! :))) xx (PS I went back to the Rocks two more times last week lol I'm obsessed!!)

    1. Hi, Rain! Oh lucky you! I've still been close to home. We're going to Vegas next month and to Hawaii in the late fall. I never thought of myself as a stay at home body, but I'm enjoying being at home more than any other time in my life. All is well. Things are feeling pretty normal, but we've got to be vigilant with food and exercise. I thought I had been doing really well with food, but I have discovered a whole lot more about what we eat. And exercise is not an option. It must be done ~ LOL! When I was younger, I thought that I could kick back at this age. Ha, I have to work out harder than ever. I hope you, Alex, and the critters are all doing well. Hugs to you!

  6. Good interview. I remember hearing somewhere how sci-if changed as we got to know more about space. Even during WW2, Mars held out the possibility of life.


    1. Hi, Sage! As an avid, lifelong reader of science fiction, I can say it has definitely changed. Sometimes it's fun to go back and read the earlier fiction. I have a couple of books to recommend to you ~ You may have read them, they might not appeal to you, or you're too busy ~ but that's okay. One has a tie-in to Jules Verne's "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea." It's the Pulitzer prize winning "All the Light We cannot See" by Anthony Doerr ~ fabulous! And "Hyperion," the first book in Dan Simmons' "Hyperion Cantos." I can't pick a single most favorite sci-fi book, but this would certainly fall in my top five most favorites. It's structured like "The Canterbury Tales" by Geoffrey Chaucer, and I think you'd find Father Lenar Hoyt, a Roman Catholic priest, and the religious angle fascinating. I'm still waiting on Damien's "Blood Red Sand," and I'll review that after I've read it. Thanks for hanging in there as Terry and I got back on our feet, my friend. Have a good one!

    2. Thanks Sage. Excellent point!

  7. Sure a lot of great groups to network with. One has to put in the work indeed. Congrats on the release.

  8. Congrats! Sounds excellent! Big Hugs!

    1. Thanks, Stacy! It's the next in my stack of books to be read. 💖💖


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate the time and energy you put into making them very much.