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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

12-12-12

So today is the last day that we shall see the day, month and year all the same this century. Isn't it amazing what details catch our imaginations? When I was in my local library today, at twelve minutes past noon (12), we made a wish. It was 12 minutes past 12 on the 12th of the12th in 2012, thats a lot of 12's !!
Last year on the 11th of the 11th in 2011, my little grandnephew Ben was born, it has made me think what other stuff has happened on strange dates, when I find out I shall let you know!
Happy 12-12-12, celebrate it and enjoy a special evening ahead.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

I Survived, Did you?

Today is a day of rest!
It may be 24 days to Christmas but to heck with presents and preparations. I survived NaNoWriMo and won! I reached my 50000 plus a few more hundred with it, so today I am taking a break. I'm both elated and deflated. Elated that I stuck with it and proved to myself that I could achieve what I set my mind to. Plus that I had the discipline to set aside time and write. That I could make a committment and see it out. Deflated? yes it's over and a certain pressure is off to meet the words on a page and so I feel empty. I look at the clock and see it is time I should be at my desk, yet I know if I don't sit down tonight, I won't be playing catch up tomorrow.
So in a way, having the deadline was both inspiring and encouraging.Would I do it again, I honestly don't know. It taught me I can find the time to write each day if I want, no excuses. That deadlines help me to focus and everyone should experience NaNoWriMo at least once in their writing life! Plus I now have a good rough first draft of my second novel. Happy days.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Burnt Bacon Anyone?

I am twenty one days into NaNoWriMo and my life will never be the same again! I kid you not. For those lovely readers and writers who do not know what the above torture is, it is a challenge that writers take on for the month on November to write 50000 words in the month. I started off slow; in fact I didn’t start at all really as I missed the 1st day completely. I also took on launching my 1st collection of short stories, A Bakers Dozen, and had a ball on the 9th Nov. That meant no writing on the 9th. So now I was two days behind. I am also doing a community radio broadcasting course that requires assignments as in, a studio interview, an outside interview and produce a half hour programme. Yes I know, what was I thinking of?
So when I did sit and start writing my story of Hell, I typed out the words like there was no end to them. Sitting at the kitchen table with my dinner cooking on the hob, I worked feverishly at the keyboard. The novel was flowing hot from my fingertips, my characters were sharing their story of suffering and the steam was rising around me. My eyes were stinging from the computer screen, the sweat of hard work across my brow. This was good stuff, the satanic story was taking a life of its own, and I could even smell the burning in hell. Burning? I paused; the dark smoke around me was real. So engrossed in my novel, my pot of bacon had boiled dry and both bacon and pot were black, it all happened around me and I had not noticed! 
So shall I take the challenge next year? Maybe, I don’t know, probably, yeah okay, sure what else would I do with my quiet life in the month of November? Burnt bacon anyone?  

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

LAUNCH SUCCESS

LAUNCH A GREAT SUCCESS
The launch of A Baker’s Dozen on Friday November 9th was a great success. It kicked off at 7.30pm. Over 100 people attended at the Library, Main St, Charleville. Special Guests, author Vincent McDonnell and Michael Biggane spoke about what a wonderful thing it is to publish a book. A launch being a celebration of the event. Vincent read a piece from the collection and described my writing as a fine example of how to share a story. His review of the collection can be seen in an earlier post on this blog. He also made a presentation to me of a beautiful Sheafer pen in memory of the night. I was thrilled. Emcee for the evening was Ken Wheeler who did a wonderful job of keeping the proceedings ticking over. There was a wine and soft drinks reception with snacks. Amid music and laughter, the night rolled on and really ended on a high note. Thank you to all who travelled from far and near to mark this extraordinary night and so made it an exceptional night for me. Photos of the event will be put up on a separate page.   

Monday, 29 October 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

It is very close now to November 1st and we shall all be busy writing furiously to achieve our goals in this years NaNoWriMo . This is my 1st time to register for the event . It you are doing it too why not become my buddy? you will find me at the following
http://www.nanowrimo.org/
My name is splinter1, so why not join me and take the challenge with me. Happy writing !!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Another Review, Yippee

A Baker's Dozen

Karry Vanherreweghe rated it 5 of 5 stars false
 
I won this as a Goodreads, First Read and I wasn't sure what to expect. I was blown away at how quickly I could picture the people in these short stories. I was surprised at how quickly I knew the background of the situation and what was happening without actually being told. The only bad thing about this book is that it ended.
 
Thank you Karry for this lovely review and for taking the time to post it.
Hugs galore,
Mary

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Michelle Jackson, author

Michelle Jackson is a wonderful Irish author, published with Poolbeg, whose new book ‘5 Peppermint Grove’ is due out shortly. I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle at a literary festival in Doneraile this year.  She is a bubbly down to earth author who is willing to share her knowledge of writing with others.  Her tips were useful, she recommend that a writer consider putting the current mood in life into their writings. Also if your story or book has a theme running through it, maybe consider putting a quote in relation to the theme at the start of each chapter.  Just a couple of the many hints and tips she shared with the audience. At the festival she inspired us all with her happy nature and shared her email with us if we needed to contact her with any writing questions, how good is that? I have read Michelle’s books and in particular I enjoyed ‘One Kiss in Havana’ and ‘4am in Las Vegas’. She has also co written ‘What Women Know’ with Dr. Juliet Bressan, published by Hachette Books Ireland, a book inspired by women all over the world. So make sure you catch this author and sit back and enjoy a thrilling read.
Michelle Jackson happily signing her books for her many fans at Doneraile literary Festival 2012


Friday, 28 September 2012

Congrats to Goodreads Winners

Many congratulations to Ashley and Karry who both won my giveaway on Goodreads. A signed copy of A Bakers Dozen is on its way to you in the post. They should be arriving to your door shortly. I want to thank all 460 people who entered the giveaway and also those who put it on their to-read list.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Review of A Baker's Dozen

This review is by Vincent McDonnell, well known author. Read more about Vincent at the following link,  http://www.collinspress.ie/vincent-mcdonnell.html

Like the best short story writers, Mary Bradford mines the lives of ordinary people for her characters and their problems - what Frank O'Connor termed the "submerged population" found in all societies. In A BAKER'S DOZEN, Mary's first collection, a gambler tries to come to terms with his addiction, a pregnant woman has a terrible choice to make, a daughter discovers the unpalatable truth about her father, an anonymous letter writer sees faults in everyone but not in herself. These are some of the characters we encounter in the stories - characters who, while wrestling with their problems, illuminate for the reader what it is to be a human in our modern society. Though having great compassion for her characters, Mary Bradford is too perceptive a writer to offer glib solutions to their problems. She is aware, as was Chekhov that the short story should not offer a panacea to society’s ills and problems, but rather should throw a light on them - to say, "This is what the world is like".

This is a quiet, controlled collection of stories which leaves one with much to ponder, the characters remaining with the reader long after they have finished the collection. It bodes well for the future and I've no doubt that Mary Bradford will continue to mine the world she knows so well so that she can once again hold up a mirror to society and show us the extraordinary courage and resilience of ordinary people.

Mary Bradford's, A BAKER'S DOZEN is a very fine achievement indeed by a very fine writer and demands to be read. I look forward with great anticipation to her next collection.

Friday, 24 August 2012

The Waiting Game

I have come to the conclusion that writers are the most patient type of people there is. We hit the keyboard or scrape our pens across paper in moments of joy or desperation and struggle for hours with plots and characters that go AWOL. Next is the editing and then more editing. Followed on by searching for agents and publishers to send our sweet little babies off to, somewhere where they will be nourished and loved like we love them. That is what our scribblings are to us, our babies, we suffer mixed emotions when creating them from joy to frustration.
So then they are emailed or posted out and we wait, wait some more, then wait another bit and finally we wait. At present I have my novel and short stories out in the world seeking a home. So each morning I wait a little bit more for an email or a letter. Even a rejection would be welcome at times. So you see, writers are the most patient type of people I know.

Friday, 17 August 2012

What's in a Name?

At a recent writing meeting a discussion started up about characters names and the influence if any they have on a story. It got me thinking on how important the right name is. Think back to when, if you have children and it was time to choose their name. When a name is suggested one automatically associates it with either someone they know with the same name or a place etc. Well at least it does with me.
Naming my characters is not a job I take lightly nor should you. A handy way of testing if you have a suitable name is to say it out loud. Can you conjure up a picture of that person? Does it match what you had in mind for your character? Sometimes it will be okay, with others it may be way off. At times when I’m not paying much attention to what I’m doing, a character tells me its own name and that’s great as it makes my story easier.
Personally I feel a male character is more difficult to give a name to than a female one. For a female baddie, I just think back to my young days and remember all the girls I didn’t like and hey presto, I have a baddie. But with the guys, well, I just loved all the guys I knew!! Try it and see if it works for you.
Another idea for you to consider is buying a baby book of names and their meaning. Then if you need to get an idea for the type of male/female character you have, the name will give you a clue. For example, my name Mary is Hebrew. Of course the most well known Mary is the Blessed Virgin and in some cultures it is considered too holy to be used. It is often said it means ‘sea of bitterness’, ‘rebelliousness’ and ‘wished for child’. I hope it was the latter that my parents were thinking of when they named me! After all there isn’t a bitter bone in my body, though rebelliousness definitely lodges within me.
 Thinking about this topic, I wondered about my children’s names and why I named them what I did. I’m happy with my choices, and so are they, I did ask them honestly!! A name is a badge of identity and it is the first gift parents give to their child so put time into it and think and choose wisely. Pity the celebrities of this world didn’t check with me before they named their darlings, after all, Apple, Blue, and Peaches would remain fruits and colours like they were meant to be. See, not a bone of bitterness in me!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

HEAR MY INTERVIEW

I was recently interviewed on my local radio in connection to my writing and my collection of short stories that is in the bookshops. It was a wonderful experience and those at the radio station were so welcoming. So follow the link below and listen to me chat to John and Charlotte. While at the bcr92.6fm site, listen to other excellent podcasts available.
http://www.bcradio.ie/index.php?option=com_melody&id=89&view=audio&Itemid=83

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Maeve Binchy

Missing Maeve,
I was both surprised and sad to hear of the death of Maeve Binchy this morning. I was truly saddened to hear this. What a warm and welcoming lady she was, always wanting and willing to share her writing knowledge and more with her readers across the world. It is with a deep sympathy that I extend my condolences to her husband Gordon and extended family. May she find peace and happiness in her new world and continue to share her stories with her new audience in Heaven. Maeve had a family link to Charleville and like the world over, she was loved here.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

All in a Week


 
ONLY 3 LEFT!

I am still buzzing from an exciting week just gone. I got my books on to the shops bookshelves, then had two interviews with both local and provencial newspapers. One of the interviews reached the front page (see above) and the other is published next week. Then I had a twenty min interview on local radio. The radio station bcr92.6 fm, is giving me a podcast of the interview so I shall put it up at a later date.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Thanks Oscar (and Ken)

Well I bit the bullet and approached the shops on my own to ask would they like to stock my collection, A Baker’s Dozen, on their shelves. I must tell you I couldn’t sell water in a drought. So having got the ball rolling by my terrific brother-in-law Ken who approached the first two shops, I had to do my part. First things first, I prayed. I was as nervous as a cat cornered in an alley full of dogs. Got my bag of books and posters and into the car and I set off. Oscar and I chatted the whole way on how I would open my sales pitch. Well, Oscar listened and I spoke.
My knees weren’t knocking like I thought they would, the worst the shopkeepers can do is say no and I would smile politely, thank them for their time and then curse when I got outside. Okay so I had strategy, this put me in a positive position.
“Hi, my name is Mary Bradford and would you be interested in stocking some of my books please?”
“Sure, let me have a look”
It was now my knees went wobbly because I hadn’t prepared for them saying yes!!
So I went from town to town and all I met were kindness and smiles. So on the way home, I thanked Oscar over and over and again he listened. My books are now in Charleville, Mallow, Newcastlewest, Doneraile and Limerick newsagents and bookshops. So thank you Oscar, he’s my Guardian Angel and never lets me down, and we shall be on the road again this week.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

New Cover for my Ist Collection

Here is my new cover photo for my collection of Short Stories, A Baker's Dozen. When I published this collection last Autumn, the original cover photo was commented upon and so I took on board what my readers said and hey presto, my new cover photo! It is available as both paperback and as an eBook from Amazon and Smashwords. The paperback version is available from me and it is also in local bookshops from this week onwards. I am really thrilled at this new development.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Finally the Final Draft


Final Draft Completed!
I have not been active here lately due to getting my novel, A Thorn in my Side, up to a polished standard ready for submitting. I found it an exhausting task but an enjoyable one. I have completed my fifth draft and I am very happy with it.  As I ploughed through it I found myself cheering myself for writing such great characters and other times I thought this is tiring as I know how it ends! But that is what writing is all about. It is in the rewriting that you learn how to cut and edit and other times expand a bit. There are highs and lows to experience. Of course I have been writing other bits in between the editing of the novel and this provided a welcome breaks on occasions. So now I am back in the saddle to get up to date with my blog and catch up with other writing pieces. I have even been dabbling in poetry so watch this space. Now for the next step, to continue submitting my manuscript to the waiting agents/publishers and wait for the offers to roll in. It’s all about being positive.  

Monday, 28 May 2012

2 Quotes I Like


Aren’t these quotes beautiful and so true!  I thought I would share them, thanks Anabelle Bryant for sharing them with me.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Listowel Writers Week

A great week of literary feasts for all writing lovers is coming up at the end of this month in Listowel, Co. Kerry. Be sure to check the link that follows, it really has something for everyone, all ages catered for.
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Monday, 7 May 2012

Check out My Piece on being 50

I recently wrote a filler for myself on being fifty and thought no more about it. Then a writing friend was asking for short pieces to publish on his fantastic website and I sent him the piece on being fifty and hey presto! Check it out at this link http://lifein64squarefeet.com/2012/05/05/crossing-the-age-barrier/#comments

Friday, 4 May 2012

Another Site I Found Interesting

While browsing through the usual mountain of writing related sites and blogs I came across this site. It looks like there is a lot of good information on it and although I only skipped and jumped my way around it, there may be something valuable for you there.
The link is as follows http://literary-devices.com/

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Poet Karen O'Connor

I had the pleasure of attending the launch of a friend's 2nd book of poetry Between The Lines in Tralee. Her name is Karen O'Connor and it was a wonderful evening of Karen reading her terrific poetry and speeches from VIPs. Karen is gifted not just in writing poems and short stories, she is talented in reading aloud her work. She brings to life every word on the page and leaves the audience wanting more.
This collection, Between The Lines is published by DOGHOUSE. Her first collection FINGERPRINTS(On Canvas) is also published with them. Both books can be bought direct from DOGHOUSE and in book shops also. Check out http://www.doghousebooks.ie/ 
Congratulations Karen, looking forward to the next collection.

 



Sunday, 15 April 2012

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Flash Fiction at Easter

Destiny
He lay against the hard splintered wood. The pain washing over His body, excruciating and severe. The thoughts in His mind muddled up, wondering why He ever had agreed to it. Jay forced His eyes open to search for His mother. But soldiers were crowded around Him.  He knew her heart was breaking. 
It was the one thing that made this ordeal all the harder to endure. He loved His Mum; she had always been there for Him. Trusting Him when He knew His actions puzzled her. Being honest, He had questioned the Destiny that lay before Him especially during His difficult teenage years.
But it was her, His adoring mother who reminded Him of His duty and encouraged Him when He faltered. Joseph, her husband was hardworking and loyal and it comforted Jay knowing Joseph would be with her through the agonising future ahead.
The first nail went in, He tried to remain silent. The warmth of His blood spread over His hands and dripped down into the ground. Another nail, then another and yet another, His body throbbing and blood flowed where sweat and tears once seeped. The promise of impending death clothed all those who stood nearby watching. Jay felt the rough hands secure His broken and tired flesh with more blows of the hammer. Then the timber where He lay shifted and slowly it was raised.
As He hung there, crucified, His gaze fell on His Mum, weeping with grief. Looking skywards, He cried “Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing”.

Friday, 23 March 2012

A writing site worth checking

I found this excellent site, (in my humble opinion) a few days ago. It is loaded with hints and tips and interesting interviews. Why not check it out and see what catches your interest. I have posted a link here to one of their many pages there is to browse, I hope you enjoy.
http://www.novelicious.com/2012/03/what-an-agent-wants-week-1-what-does-an-agent-want.html

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Happy St. Patricks Day

A huge Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone. It is a pleasant day here in Co Cork, Ireland with showers promised for later. I am going into my local town to support our parade, which kicks off at 1pm. Wherever you are today I hope it is a good one and if you are indulging in drowning the shamrock, be sensible and stay safe. Happy St. Patrick's Day !

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Daniel Kaye, author, interviews me !! :)

This is the interview I recently had with number one author Daniel Kaye. I so enjoyed the whole experience and I want to thank Daniel for interviewing me.
http://daniel-kaye.blogspot.com/2012/03/interview-with-author-mary-bradford.html
Be sure to check out Daniel's blog after reading my interview. He has some wonderful tips and hints that are so worth reading.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Happy Days

I have been so busy lately that all things writing was pushed to the side. So it was with great pleasure that I received a request asking me for an interview about my writing and other bits about life. It was a light hearted chat that I really enjoyed and got me focused again on my writing. I shall be putting up the link for the interview with author Daniel Kaye when it is published.
I have since completed a short story and started another, both for an anthology that is planned for September 2012. Also acheived was some work on the agenda for a workshop that is taking place on April 21st by our writing group in our local library which is titled, 'An Introduction to Creative Writing'. This is free to the public and will take place on a Saturday morning.
I got some tagless dialogue completed which is part of an exercise for our writing group so it feels good to be back in the writing zone. So Happy Days  :)

Thursday, 26 January 2012

THE TROUBLE WITH READING......

The trouble with reading is it stops me from living, as in, other aspects of my life gets ignored. This blog, the ironing, the shopping, the husband (only joking, I think!) all gets pushed to the side. I got some books for Christmas just gone and found time has slipped by. Oh yes I never wished you all a Happy New Year either, sorry! I read Anthony Horowitz's, House of Silk, (Sherlock Holmes Story) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. He wrote a brilliant tale of intrigue and really got into the characters of both Holmes and Watson brilliantly. The only fly in the ointment for me was on page 244 where Sherlock is told he is a cool customer. Would they have used such an expression in the late 1800’s?
Another book I read was Dark Matter by Michelle Paver. The reviews this received in magazines were great. It’s a ghost story and I love a good ghost story but this was very disappointing. I would be slow to recommend it. The descriptions of the isolation of the Arctic wildnerness are excellent but the story fell very short for me. It certainly didn’t live up to don’t read this alone.
I am now stuck into Michael Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer Novels and it is amazing. It is early to bed for me with Mickey Haller and he certainly delivers! I shall try to catch up again soon and I intend to teach my hubby how to iron J.