About the book
If Lily Poole is a 'ghost story', it's unlike any you've ever read before.
John's fresh out of school and trying to find his first job in 1970s Clydebank, Scotland, but times are hard. Local shipyards are shedding workers and the only 'work' is in Youth Training Schemes. John's got bigger problems – he's the only person in town who can see the young girl shivering on the hill by St Stephen’s School.
Parents at the school gates are wary of him, his family and his parish priest struggle to help him come to terms with his visions, and the local police beat him up and have him committed to a locked psychiatric ward.
A trio of perspectives follows John's growth into adulthood. The narrative moves between his perception of events, his girlfriend's and his mother's, carving out a series of overlapping and often contradictory visions of the supernatural, of our patchwork attempts to deal with mental illness and the strengths and struggles of the family bond.
From spiritualists to Catholic theologians, psychiatrists to the staff of a mental institution, police investigators to John's own concerned family, this novel interrogates what it means to see a ghost from different angles – and does it with the fast-paced plotting and tension of the murder mystery that lies at its heart.
Lily Poole breaks the mould of horror fiction to ask serious and urgent questions about society and psychology, and does it while telling a gripping story about murder and deception, about Scotland and mental health, and about love and family.
Jack O'Donnell is from Dalmuir, Scotland. Over the years he's tried his hand at just about everything, from washing dishes to mental health care, monitoring elections to joining floorboards, editing to surveying traffic, care work to lugging bricks.
And while accumulating all that life experience Jack has also been pursuing a love for the written word on ABCtales.com, where he's a generous contributor to the community, a competition-winner and a prized editor.
Lily Poole was written as a serial on ABC, the chapters short and action-packed, tailored to online readers who kept him in check when the novel showed any sign of breaking pace.
- How long will it take for my book to get dispatched?For books in stock we usually dispatch orders within a few working days. You will receive a dispatch email when your order is on the way.Where can I get my book delivered to?We have temporarily stopped taking orders for published books going to EU destinations due to BREXIT restrictions, but we deliver to most other countries worldwide. Enter your delivery address during checkout and we'll display the shipping cost when we know where to send your book. If your country does not appear on the list we are not currently taking orders to that destination.If I buy an ebook, when will I receive this?Ebook files are sent via email after checkout, or you can download them from your Unbound account.Where can I buy a copy if there's none available through the Unbound website?The book should be available to order from most bookshops, or you can support your local bookshop online by ordering from bookshop.org.
- 14th November 2016 Dalmuir Library on Saturday, 19th November at 11.30am
Oh, no, you’re probably thinking. He’s back. I thought when we bought his book that would shut him up and get rid of him. You’re not that lucky. If you’ve read the book, which I take it most of you have by now, or even if you haven’t read the book, kid on you have, just the same as I kidded on I wrote a book, and leave a review at Amazon or Goodreads (or both). I could tell you about algorithms…6th August 2016 You've got a copy of my novel, now be creative and write a review.
Go to Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lily-Poole-Jack-ODonnell/dp/1783522356 and follow the instructions for writing a reiew. It costs nothing but your time.
Or Ray is very Smart. https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/15449749-ray-smart. Hit Goodreads and leave a review.
Twitter and Facebook shares all help. Imagine the population of Scotland were all at it and had a book to sell. That's…4th July 2016 the cure for cancer is here
I’d one of those conversations today. Mrs Kerr, who’s about ninety, whispered that John McGinlay had died of the drink.
That’s great I said, because I thought he’d died of cancer.
Well, here’s another whispered conversation, Lily Poole is out and about, and you should be getting your copy pretty soon. I know I’ve been saying that for two years, but I write fiction and tend towards the fabulous…24th February 2016 Last orders at the..
I guess you’ve been informed last orders have been called for Lily Poole. Not the book but the chance to pledge and get your name listed as a supporter of the book. Usually, when I hear the shout of last orders I run up to the bar and buy six pints, leave five on the bar and stagger up the road. This is your last chance to behave sensibly or disgracefully, depending on what leg you’re not standing…17th December 2015 Love you to death
Love You to Death: A Year of Domestic Violence BBC 2, 9pm (iPlayer)
Produced and directed by Vanessa Engels, hers is the narrative voice that asks difficult questions of those left behind and she also asks those involved to read out, to honour, and give voice, to the 86 women killed in Britain by…22nd November 2015 Alibi
I need to tell you about my alibi, before I tell you what I need an alibi for. As we know anybody that says they’re not drunk and fail to notice that the El Clasico of Real Madrid v Barcelona they are supposedly watching suddenly involves Liverpool swarming towards Manchester City’s goal is on a shaky barstool. I plead guilty to that. And I’d call upon one David Brown to corroborate this metafiction…15th October 2015 A few words to the wise
Let me take you back to sometime in 2013. I was a little-known writer publishing my work online on ABCtales. That’s not changed. I write for fun and sometimes it’s funny and sometimes not. Usually the latter. I don’t really care. I’m just kicking around ideas in the same way I used to kick a ball around (and no I don’t need reminding how bad I was at fitba, I’ve got a dodgy knee to remind me)…2nd September 2015 Hard copy
Lots of people (well, one person—thanks for that John Urquhart, but remember my job is to exaggerate) have asked me when they can read Lily Poole. I was hoping the book would be out by Christmas. But it’s not quite as simple as that. Every word must be weighed and every sentence measured. Any you’ll hear the odd snide comment: Lily Poole could certainly do with losing a bit of weight, look at…2nd July 2015 success is social suicide - but who cares if you're an author?
Thanks to all who pledged. I can now look people in the eye and no longer wonder how many pledges they are worth. I no longer need to hang about the Terminus store and offer to buy booze for those that look a trifle under twelve – if they pledge their pocket money. I no longer need to make up wraps and slip talcum powder to people in the local boozer telling them it will be really bad for them…20th June 2015 Poppy's last shout
Cast adrift. Poppy’s single room in the hospital annex is sparse and milky as a bone. The umbilical cord of the machine by her bed works almost silently, keeping her alive in spurts.
Older people with bodies like a burst couch no longer irk her, their stupid ideas no longer seem petty and vain. Going into a deep sleep in their presence she has given them a gift of trust and she…8th June 2015 old ABCtales Inspector Doggerel
‘Bullying is about jealousy,’ said Detective Doggerel. ‘We’ve not got a suspect. What we do know is that a word has been murdered, splattered all over the page.’
‘Get out there,’ he said, ‘and see who has been hanging around villanelle town. And, for God’s sake, make sure you don’t get spliced with one of those trick endings, that look the same, but…you know what I mean and you know what happened…4th June 2015 old ABCtales - huts
The security guard with a pencil moustache, slides open the window of the lodge at the hospital gates and addresses me as ‘sir’.
I’m given directions and my thoughts take flight like frogs springing from water lilies leaving behind a grey silence. The bored bureaucratic tone, and the way he ganders at me from beneath his peaked cap, shows what he really thinks. I’m to go right along, past the…1st June 2015 housing - a poverty of ideas.
The former business secretary Vince Cable estimates the United Kingdom needs 300 000 new houses to be built every year to prevent house-price inflation. There are an estimated 1.7 million on the social-housing register in England alone. I was never great at arithmetic, but quite a dab hand at drawing where the X marks equilibrium in a diagram of supply and demand. Let’s just say Vince Cable wasn…21st May 2015 Aye, I remember it well.
For those of you that hadn’t noticed there’s been an election. A success for the Conservative Party. A failure for democracy and poor people. These things go in cycles. Remember the 1970s. Clunk click every trip (oh dear). 1980s. Fifty Labour MPs were elected to Parliament for Scottish seats to save us from the ravages of Thatcherism, among them Donald Dewar. They were taunts from the Scottish…14th May 2015 Vicky Pollard's not home.
You can’t talk about housing without talking about facts on the ground, the inequalities of wealth, health and educational opportunity. We seemed to have slipped back to the 1980s pop with A-ha, ‘Take On Me’, with an election and the Conservative Party pledging to give tenants a chance to buy the house they live in, not council housing this time, but housing association stock -- at discounted…13th May 2015 Bill Browder (2015) Red Notice.
Bill Browder (2015) Red Notice.
This book of 362 pages is three acts, which I read in two gulps. On the cover is a quote by Lee Child: ‘Reads like a classic thriller…but it’s all true, and it’s a story that needs to be told.’ Part of the reason for this is the way the book has been written (or ghost-written). Browder remembers every conversation and it’s all there. A naïve young Browder,…11th May 2015 The Enfield Haunting
The Enfield Haunting, Sky Living, written by Joshua St Johnstone and directed by Kristopher Nyholm.
The three-part series is based on Guy Lyon Playfair’s book This House is Haunted. Whether you believe in haunted houses or poltergeist activity will colour your viewing this as a nostalgic piece of hokum, or proof that there’s something out there we can’t quite understand. I must warn you…5th May 2015 the big malky
Frank took two days to hitchhike down to London. It was all new. A night sleeping in a plastic bin bag sheltering outside a Tube station, with what seemed like every dosser in town. His cheap rucksack with a change of clothes, and loop of torn leather strap, lopsided him. He carried it like a ball, but it made a goodish pillow, raising his head above the stink of pee. The Sally Army came during…28th April 2015 SNAP
You didn’t need to be a fortune teller to work out what Granda was thinking. Eyes windows of the soul, but eyebrows garbed like two grey squirrel tails swiftly climbing up his bald pate told you clearly that he was mad at the world, or someone in the world, which usually meant the grandson that never visited, never did anything for him and was as useless and good for nothing as his dad – and that…22nd April 2015 Cockroach control.
Panorama: The Great Housing Benefit Scandal. BBC 1
Alys Harte investigates rogue landlords. This makes a change from the more common media narrative, beloved of Channel 4 and 5, of unscrupulous single mothers ripping off the state by, for example, working part-time as a dinner lady, not declaring…16th February 2015 Apocalypse
Apocalypses echo what we know. The world will end. Three score years and ten. Well I’m looking at the tens. I’m not thumbing my nose and saying ‘Har, Har,’ because I’ll be dead. Let’s face it that kills any argument.
We all know what this mean. Helen Macdonald was a wee lassie in the nineteen-sixties. She was instructed by her teacher how to make a nuclear…6th February 2015 Shadow
Dan’s birthday. Their bedroom stinks of stale fag smoke, booze and the acrid burn of hash. After giving him his present, and another kind of treat, his girlfriend coughs up the ‘love’ word and spits out the word ‘kids’. It’s cool. He’s pleased. But not pleased enough to hang about the room and kitchen they share. Plans are for middle-class jerks. Life is taking him on another ride. When he becomes…18th January 2015 Sense and insensibility.
‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.’ Pride and Prejudice.
Could she ever love him in that shirt? Tracey isn’t sure. She rests her eyes between drinks and counts to sixty. Near the toilets, at the back of The Grange, the smell of dope is a history lesson. The regular’s mouths come unstuck as they periodically…9th January 2015 the guest
I kiss the ghost in the study, you have to wind down curved stairs to reach, pass a similar entrance, with a similar set of keys, and fly down another flight of steps. It’s a long narrow room underneath four large houses filled with the debris of comings and goings and flittings and things forgotten and fondly remembered, a bathroom without a bath, a kitchen without a sink, two desks, a table…30th December 2014 Love Cats
I never met Mr Hitler but he seemed like a nice man,’ said Mum.
‘I said Hiller Mum. Hiller!’
Mum wasn’t fazed by my outburst. ‘That’s what I said.’ Her neck went all tortoise on me and she stared over her specs with a half-smile on her face.
Mum has a translucent brain. Well, she doesn’t really, but I got an A for using that kind of term in an essay I wrote for old Granger. He rumbled…24th December 2014 The Day Before Christmas
Christmas Eve is the cruellest day. Doreen steps up behind an old guy stinking of fags and booze, sporting a baseball cap back to front, reddish hair spilling downs his back in the vain hope it makes him look younger as he taps his four-digit number into the bank-telling machine. He has a quick squint sideways and behind him to see if anybody’s watching. Cars are parked on the corner of the road…22nd December 2014 a terrible idea at this time of year!
I wrote three novels
plots for three plays
radio-series that ends in nine ways
In my head
In my bed
When nobody spoke
Laughed out loud at a joke
So cruel my sphincter began to unspool
My characters filled me with so much glee
They seemed to be more me than me
American producers added glitter to my shine
‘Unique Voice’ the Booker panel surmised
Fingers reached…13th December 2014 Snakes and adders.
After spending our dinner money on sweets, Brendy nipped across from St. Andy’s school and bought two single fags from McLaren’s newsagent for the journey home. We cadged a couple of matches from the throng of other kids, hanging around the bus stop, waiting for the Corpy bus. A dash of faux-fur round our faces made us into two urbanised Eskimos, Brendy in his blue nylon getup, me in green. Parker…10th December 2014 Gotcha
Dear Mrs T, it’s confirmation of all the things I already knew. I’m thick, racist and rude. The media are on to us. Upper-middle class folk they say never smell because of course they never do any proper work, apart for lunching and launching some must-have accessory we don’t really need but must have. Think of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s sister, Rachel, editor of The Lady. They use her…7th December 2014 the honourable gentleman
I bequeath you my estate
All that you desire
A short-list of all that entails
I leave you with stroke of pen
Peddle the same old lie
There’s beauty in us all
Bigoted, bullying, lying types
Let those churchgoers barter
A foot on the board
Their name on a charter
Let’s not forget it’s our welfare…5th December 2014 Vintage Classics
[Vintage] Raymond Carver (2009  will you please be quiet? (2009 ) what we talk about when we talk about love.
I’ve read some of these stories before. From the latter collection, for example, Why Don’t You Dance? This has everything you need in a short story and the premise is simple enough to make sense and complex enough to leave the reader asking questions. Simply put, you don…29th November 2014 Two Tone
Two Tone is one of those guy that make your life more interesting than you want it to be. He’s called Two Tone because his skin looks as if it’s been through a shredder and his name is Tony. Well Anthony, if I’m being picky. Lately he’s got that smell. It follows him around like a skunk’s tail. You think he’s not going to last that long, but in the meantime you don’t want him sitting on your furniture…27th November 2014 Double Irish
‘Miss! Miss! Can I go to the toilet?’
Steve waved his hand in the air like a flag. His teachers was doing geography—countries of the world, with a box of colourful little metal pins sitting in a cardboard box on her lap, to show what she meant. She briefly looked over at him. ‘You’ve just had playtime and you should have went them.’ She sighed. ‘As I was saying the Swedish flag is a lovely…24th November 2014 Crow no more
Did you see mum in her prime
Dodder as if in fine wine
Totter on a lost wee soul
Garment half-clean, rents unseen
Half-smile at familiar faces
Where she should have been
Haggard, weary-limbed –
Chilled to the bone
Trudge lost and hopelessly on
With glassless eyes and face new drawn
Taut with woe
Grim with dawn?
Did you see her aimless go
Bowled over with…16th November 2014 What we can learn from the First World War.
Those that fought in the First World War are no longer with us. A million died in a strip of mud called the Somme, for what I’m not quite sure. Common-wealth flowed upwards from the common working man to the aristocracy, the landed gentry, and the rentier class at levels never before seen - until now. Gas, the bomb and bullet has no moral compass. It does not distinguish between rich and poor…15th November 2014 the wrong car
I’m never sure what postmodern is, or indeed was. I’m not even sure what modern is. Some people might call me old-fashioned. Maybe my time-frame is too temporal. I’m reading George Saunders which doesn’t help. That Brechtian idea of putting you outside the text to understand something you don’t understand anyway is something I don’t understand. Once upon a time a story was just a story.
I…14th November 2014 Not F***** Noddy Holder already!
Somebody I know very well went shopping and hung some kid’s clothes on the handle of the trolley, went through the checkout and came out to the van without paying for them. The right thing to do would be to go straight back into the shop and pay for them. My way of thinking - Christmas had come early.
But you don’t have to tell me about Christmas. Noddy Holder has been following me most of…11th November 2014 All the things I didn't do.
Congratulations to Laurie and Ewan for getting published by Unbound. We started at (much) the same time and as The Meatloaf song goes, ‘two out of three ain't bad’. Perhaps I’m one of the few who truly understand how hard you worked.
Anyway I’m not just a great fan of Meatloaf, or any other type of food, I’m a great fan of procrastination. While I’m procrastinating I read. I’m not sure if reading…29th October 2014 FREE EDITING - IF IT'S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT USUALLY IS!
We all need a bit of help with editing, making our stories a little better, and a lot sharper. I’m certainly no exception to that rule. We often project what we think we mean onto the page. It’s often easier for someone else to pick up the faults and fault lines in our story. We need that other reader to see what we cannot.
What I propose is to offer my editing skills. Pledge to Lily Poole and…2nd October 2014 Cogito Ergo Sum
National Poetry Day:
I’m a creature of habit.
All that I seem.
An Aristotelian ideal,
Proof that I’m real.
I believe in faculties.
A soul’s natural fall.
Christians, Soldiers, Heathens.
Aren’t we all?
I’m very close to self-expression.
Conviction never works for me.
Inclination or disposition?
Pegs of self-belief.
Reason racked by disbelief.
In a world of…26th September 2014 Static.
I was talking to someone today -Gillian- and she mentioned that she knew I had wrote a book. She said she would have pledged but it's hassle. Yep! I underderstand that. If somethings difficult and costs money, why bother? I usually don't. So here's a short I wrote, just to keep my eye in the frame. Read it and if you like it pledge. I know it's a bother, but sometimes life is worth it.
…23rd September 2014 Unbound, ABCtales, tupperware and sales.
No names are changed. No characters invented. No events fabricated. No extensive research been undertaken. It’s all about Me. Me. Me.
I’ve been selling myself for quite a while. If I was being exact, which I rarely am, I’d say since the end of July. I was lucky enough to get a week’s start before other budding authors from ABCtales were unleashed on a waiting world.
Scientists love a baseline…15th September 2014 Muddler
Something I jotted down. Muddled through. Not sure what to do. It takes two minutes to pledge. Please do. Someone, somewhere knows how to?
A puddle for a head.
Do the maths.
I’m in decline.
But I feel fine.
That’s my failing.
A life past caring.
I’m glitter and glue.
Tweaked to be like you.
I’m a sulking place.
Lurching out of view.
I’m someone.…12th September 2014 Hope Street.
Write what you know? It takes two minutes to pledge. I know its a hassle, but I hope it's worth it. Here's a short I wrote to help you on the way.
She loved that story of how they met. Telling it to her friend Julie on a rare night out made her smile and her voice shine. She is tender with drunks that tried to elbow in on girls’ conversations with some smart-ass comment and she glows with…31st August 2014 Superheroes Don't Always Travel First Class.
[Image result for superman] [Image result for batman]
I was sitting on the balcony of my penthouse apartment block, downwind from the Dalmuir sewerage work, looking over the latest statistics from my feeble attempts to market myself and sell my novel Lily Poole, when Batman appeared. There were a lot of guys masquerading as footballers (now Brian Biggins has taken up golf, it’s golfers) …25th August 2014 Just Jock - looks at seven good reasons for not doing the ice-bucket challenge.
Dear Just Jock, I’m overwhelmed with people suddenly standing up and flinging buckets of water over themselves and putting it Faceboook.
1) I don’t have an eleemosynary bone in my body, I don’t know what it all means?
Dear anonymous quiet question-person, I mirror your concerns. Years ago, in my blighted youth I ventured onto the dance floor at the Big O foaming at the mouth and spurted…21st August 2014 How to tweet your life and story in six easy steps.
Luke Neima, the equivalent of Luke Skywalker on ABCtales, asked me about story structure. I gave him the short answer. Each word in a sentence has a weight that makes up the ongoing narrative. I mentioned tropes, flung in a bit of trophallaxis and ended by feeding him the story of my life in which the words which were flew from the page before he could read them. I noted them down quickly, but they…19th August 2014 Twitter to your friends!
I attended a workshop to help me increase my tweets and sell pledges for my book Lily Poole. Well, I didn’t actually attend. I live on the planet Pluto and it was in London. You know how crowded London gets and with property prices being what they are and the threat of the Ebola virus. I watched it online, like everybody else.
I made some notes which I’ll share. Here are the notes: Use plenty…18th August 2014 extract from Lily Poole read by that well-known American writer and actor Richard II
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_S-PQqWcqQM15th August 2014 How I entered the world of the deepnet to sell a 'favorited' by a Noble Prize winner.
I’m typing this on an old Underwood typewriter, but I decided to leave black and white typewritten sheets and enter into the dangerous world of the deepnet to do something a bit shady. The deepnet is the world filled with people that worship at the altar of Jimmy Saville and ping encrypted signals from online server to server in order to remain anonymous. No one that enters comes out quite the same…10th August 2014 The Art of Poncing
Brendan phoned me last night. I’ve known him longer than Laughing Boy had hair. ‘It’s me,’ he said. ‘Brendan.’
Neither of us use our mobile phones much. I don’t know where mine is (it’s just beeped somewhere behind me, because it’s out of charge, and that gives me a clue). So we’ve got to explain who we are when we phone.
We did the usual how’s it gaun? flung back and forth between…7th August 2014 What would Jesus tweet?
My twitter account got Spammed, where is God when you need Him? But is got me thinking what would Jesus tweet in the twenty-first century. Then I tried to figure if counting was thinking and is this the twenty-first century? I’m getting old, what happened to the last one? If it is, where’s Buck Rodgers?
My three followers on Twitter were outraged with the tweeted message asking them to strip naked…5th August 2014 The Bam Projectory
I was out at the pub watching a Champions League match. (I won’t be saying that for a while.) Punters were crowding round the bar and the barmaid was looking through me as if I was made of glass. I bumped into Tam-who-will-remain nameless.
‘You’ll never believe it,’ he said. ‘Somebody’s put a video of somebody that looks like you up selling something?’
‘What is it?’ I said.
‘Dunno…4th August 2014 The Hard Self
I’m getting bored with the hard sell and the hard self. People imagine that I’ve finished Lily Poole and the words are banked in a vault like Luke Neima’s honeymoon jewels. But words are always searching for new meaning, syntax can be rearranged to make a sentence stronger and sentences can grow a rigidity that has the rhythm of Agadoo on the dancefloor (God not Agadoo again). There’s always somebody…3rd August 2014 Saturday Night Fever
What you see is what you don’t get is a wysiwyg clause I rarely use in normal conversation. I was out last night to meet my adoring public. It was Saturday night and it was the Drop Inn so you can guarantee a crowd of at least four people and Wullie Dalziel. There’s a rule that nobody can kiss at the bar, unless it’s Brian Thompson, and he’s had a bit much and he hears some song on the Jukebox and…2nd August 2014 Finding the writer within
I used to think that writers were two exotic beasts joined together by a furrowed brow -- the person that writes and the person that edits. The taxonomy has changed. Upon closer examination I recognised a third diablo poking out between the bones of the writer, clinging to the person and their reality and claiming to be an independent personality, the writer’s real self and willing to sell their souls…1st August 2014 The journey to Unbound is here
Just follow the links
So far I've got a 23% pledge level which is quite incredible, especially since I can count my friends on the finger I pick my nose with.
Other than that I'd like to mention Michael Douglas, Kieffer Sutherland and Eva Longoria -that's a DVD I'm selling…