The difficult Second Novel is out next month: – The Wife Finder

It’s surprising how close I was to actually publishing my first three novels when my son was born. The second one will be ready next month. It is very different to the first. I hope that reading it will be as funny and interesting for you as writing it was for me. I really love these first two very different stories.

My second novel is called “The Wife Finder”. There will be the usual opportunity for you or your friends to download it for free for two days next month and I’ll let you know the exact times for each major time zone well in advance this time. There will also be another opportunity for any of your friends to download the first novel, “The Benign Abductor of Souls”, for free for two more days at the same time. If you or any friends download either novel and like it, you could show your appreciation by reviewing it on Amazon. My wife hasn’t designed the cover for “The Wife Finder” yet but here is the blurb:

The Wife Finder

Paul Kelly is that rarest of beings: a twenty-five-year-old Irish virgin. He leaves the confines of an Irish seminary three months before he is to be ordained and his first date, two months later, is organized by a grieving mother and her husband. He turns up wearing a corpse’s cast-offs and this state of affairs actually represents an upturn in his fortunes for him.

He moves to London and quickly partially loses his first girlfriend, who eventually advises his second girlfriend on how best to partially dump him. Paul is an unconventional Lothario for his is the role of the wife finder.

His search for understanding and the solution to the untenable mathematical equation, 1 + 1 = 1, leads him along an increasingly peculiar path where love, sex, bondage, confusion, no small amount of comedic slapstick, imminent psychological ruin and the ghosts of Saints Augustine and Ignatius Loyola, who is actually the fastest mouse in all Mexico, occupy and define his life with the sort of strange encounters that only the truly unbalanced or the contentedly weird could possibly conceive.

Look out for the notices of the free downloads next month.

Look out for the notices of the free downloads next month.


The Benign Abductor of Souls free download – extended until June 12th

I have just realised that Amazon’s free promotions start at midnight Pacific Coast Time, so Europeans will not be able to download the book until about 3pm on Thursday June 11th.
I have extended the promotion for another day, so the book will be available for free between the following approximate times:
Eastern Asia, Australia and New Zealand: 3pm June 11th until 3pm June 13th
Europe: 8am Thursday June 11th until 8am Saturday June June 13th
United States and Canada East Coast: 9pm Thursday June June 11th until 9pm Saturday June June 13th
United States and Canada West Coast: 1am Thursday June June 11th until 1am Saturday June June 13th.
I am sorry that I did not realise this initially and let everyone know sooner.

Download the Benign Abductor of Souls for free for 24 hours on Thursday, June 11th, 2015

“The Benign Abductor of Souls” is now on

If you think that this novel might be your cup of tea now or at some later date, you can download it for free for 24 hours on Thursday June 11th, 2015 at Amazon by going to:

I hope that you enjoy the novel. If you do, perhaps you could leave a review on the Amazon site. If you know of anyone who would be interested in the novel, please ask him or her to use the free download period to do so. The greater the number of downloads, the higher the novel appears on the list of most-downloaded free works. This is pretty good free publicity for the novel, so please don’t be shy. Tell your friends and your enemies too.

A little about where I live: Part 1

If you decide to visit this blog regularly, I hope that you will realise that the world looks very different when viewed from this presently insignificant corner in which I live and that this thought will lead you to appreciate that every corner that is a viewpoint inspires its own insights. There is a widely held belief that the Orient is a haven of tranquil tolerance and philosophy, where the rhythm of life is marked by a lazy pulse that beats in time to the throb of natural tempos and where some lost vision of humanity is somehow preserved in an innocently gentle vignette of a lifestyle that has long since disappeared from all but the farthest reaches of memory for those who labour and toil in a western culture that can appear morally bankrupt by comparison. Don’t believe the Asian propaganda machine. It’s dog-eat-dog and quite a lot of times it can be man-eat-dog.

I hope that what is written here will enlighten those who harbour unrealistically romantic views of East Asian society. It’s not all grace and tolerance. Anyone who lives here for more than a few months soon realises that those two virtues are probably even more strained here than in Europe or North America.

A little about writing and myself

The Benign Abductor of Souls” is soon to be out there on the electronic bookshelves. It took a long time to let it go. I actually finished this book in 2009. At that time, I had a fancy and quite famous London agent who trawled the capital’s publishing houses for interest and had no success. He advised me to go ahead and put the book on the Internet and chance my arm, as he thought that it would sell well and he would stand to profit from the royalties. This I resolved to do and in short order.

Thereafter, things didn’t exactly go to plan. My son arrived on the planet late that year and all of the things in my life that didn’t involve gathering filthy lucre for the purchase of nappies, wet-wipes, baby clothes, soft toys and the other paraphernalia that is associated with having an infant in the house were shoved to the side and forgotten.

Parenthood came to me late in life and I don’t mind telling you that this was the biggest mistake that I could have made. I was forty-six when our son was born. I was relatively fit and thought myself to be strong of body and character. The first five years of parenting almost killed me. There is a reason why most people have children when they are in their 20’s and spend their middle age enjoying the financial security and free time that comes with an empty nest. Our nest is full and financial security is a distant dream, but I would not change a single second of the past five years.

Within three months of our son’s birth, we had moved as a family from Taipei to the east coast of Taiwan and rented a house that could only be described as a fixer-upper by the person who was not responsible for the sheer amount of fixing up (my wife). When we arrived, my description of the property involved the use of somewhat less optimistic but very much more colourful language. Later that year, with the renovations completed, we opened a small home English school, which has gone from strength to strength in the past five years because it is unique in Taiwan in that it actually places the needs of children first. I produce all of the texts and design the entire curriculum, because there is not a single published English text that caters for the very special needs of Chinese speakers. Producing a varied series of texts for children from kindergarten age to young adulthood has been a little time-consuming, but it has been worth the effort and the children certainly appreciate the final product.

Every other Taiwanese private English school seems to operate primarily as a business for parents who really don’t like children and who have enough money to foist them onto others for a sizeable chunk of the week. Children are the inconvenient elements in a system that moves initially to the staccato beat of riffling banknotes and promptly settles into the orderly and unbelievably dull throb of unimaginative rote-learning and constant memorizing. Questions are discouraged and any need for understanding is viewed as witchcraft. I am the principal witch in this forgotten coven of budding witches and warlocks who seek initially to understand the world before we try to exploit its many gifts.

So here we are, six years hence and I have set about my exploration of the file marked “My Writing”, which has loitered accusingly at the edge of the desktop of my computer for all of that time. With my son in kindergarten, my English school on an even keel and a reduced need to produce new academic texts, I have time to go back and finish what I started in the days before son.

After another round of edition the first novel is ready. The second is almost complete. The third is in need of a little rewriting because I have decided that its plot and humour are better suited to teenage readers and the travel book will require about two months of hard work and savage use of the editorial scalpel before it sees the light of day. Having a child wore me out, but it luckily lowered my expectations, in terms of sleep and personal time, so I now find that most of my day is spent productively and that I now have the most driven and most-difficult-to-please boss on earth – myself.

Han-dy life

Cover for

Cover for “The Benign Abductor of Souls”: Design by 陳秋芬 (Chen Chiufen)

Welcome to my blog. I’m Michael McGarrigle.

I was born in Belfast, in Ireland, but I have lived in the small city of Hualien on the east coast of the island of Taiwan for five years. Living in an ethnic Chinese society is definitely not for the faint-hearted or lovers of an easy life, but Hualien is a little forgotten backwater where Taiwanese people mostly come on holiday, so the living is relatively easy.

I’ve been writing for a long time. I love to write. Writing is the only method that I have yet found that allows the brain to operate at a speed becoming of a fifty year old man. I’m no slow coach, but in a life of ups and downs, ins and outs and frequent unannounced about-faces, I have learned that my fingers are a safer way to communicate than my mouth, which is usually far too fast for its own good, or for the good of any other part of the corporeal mass to which it is attached. That is not to say that my fingers are always slower than my brain. I am still discovering the lower reaches of mental velocity as I negotiate my middle age with all of the propriety and panache of a blind, flatulent hippo at a polite afternoon tea party.

As of June 2015, I have one novel for sale on Amazon Kindle: “The Benign Abductor of Souls”. This is the blurb:

The fourteenth Dalai Lama is nearing the end of his life. He has long been a thorn in the side of the Beijing, so a secret Chinese military cabal that many believed to be defunct decides to eliminate the next Dalai Lama before he is discovered. As a conclusion to his active service, a very appropriate Chinese agent makes a convincingly genuine flight to Daramsala, in northern India, which is the home of the Tibetan government in exile. He must kidnap or kill the child who will become the next Dalai Lama.

When the great holy man dies, a callous reign of terror is visited upon the lives of each of the three emissaries who will begin their search for the last Dalai Lama, two years hence.

The next Dalai Lama has been chosen partly because he will be living within a Han society, in Taiwan, where he will learn about the character of Tibet’s greatest enemy while his spirit guide chaperones his transition from novice to leader. On the small Island, it is assumed that he will be insignificant and safe from the attentions of both the media and the Beijing government, which could never imagine that its greatest enemy would be hidden among its own kind. However, the child’s future becomes so uncertain that even his spirit guide doubts their chances of survival.

There are three more novels waiting in the wings and one non-fiction account of my three-year circumnavigation of the globe twelve years ago. I have purchased ten ISBN’s and I abhor waste, so expect further works on a regular basis. Any progress on new work will be updated here.