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Friday, 6 December 2013

Stop Counting, the words WILL add up!

I recently read 7 short sentences that really summed up for me a great way to approach my writing when struggling against time. Like many of you I am sure, I feel guilty if I do not achieve what I would call a decent word count each day. We all are busy and snatching ten minutes here and there is better than nothing at all but will that story ever get told at this rate?
Then when I do grab a good hour or two to scribble to my mended heart’s desire I sit down at the keyboard and one look at a blank screen sends shivers down my spine. Staring at a blank page with pen in hand has the same effect. Even when my head is crammed with characters screaming at me to tell their story, finding the first words can sometimes be tricky.
When words do spill out and the story is flowing brilliantly, I’m flying with pleasure then I pause and the pause stretches from one minute to one hour and oh I become weary. Despair settles on my shoulders, warming me like a cosy scarf. Will I ever get my mojo back I wonder and then I think of Earl Chessher.
Earl is the guy who put it simply, the way to think and how to break it down so I don’t panic anymore. Read his wise words below and put them up where you can see them each day. No matter how many words you write, there will always be a finished piece of work at the end.
One word a day is a flash fiction piece a year.
Two words a day is a short story a year.
Ten words a day is an enhanced short story a year.
Twenty words a day is a short novella a year.
Forty words a day is a novella a year.
100 words a day is an enhanced novella a year.
Then, you suddenly jump to 500 a day and voila, you're writing TWO novels a year!
Earl Chessher

Find out more about Earl at www.facebook.com/groups/fictionwritersg

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Family Matters Launched

It gives me great pleasure to say that Family Matters anthology had its premier launch earlier this week in India. Published by Nivasini Publishing, I am a contributor to this fantastic showcase of writing that will hold its launch in western Europe in the near future. My story The Handbag is in this collection and it is through another great literary journal Boyne Berries that my writing was found and my permission was sought to include The Handbag in the anthology.
To read more go to the following Facebook link at https://www.facebook.com/NivasiniPublishers .
There are stories and poetry to enjoy. So looking forward to my contributors copy arriving, well done to a truly international collection of talent.

 
 
Also next week another launch is happening, an anthology of award winning stories from A Circle of Friends. It is titled Just Because... so watch this space !
Happy writing.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Chicken Bones and Vodka

It is November 2nd, minutes after midnight, only just. Depending on the time zone you are in. Inspiration for this blog post came unexpectedly.
I was returning home to the beautiful smell or as the posh people may say the aroma of roast chicken. My nostrils absorbed this rich smell as I stepped in my front door and I immediately wanted to feast. Obviously so did my dog Buster! He was waiting for me by the stairs even though I’d put him into his bed before I left. I was only gone out to next door but had cooked the chicken earlier for dinner, a warm chicken salad which I enjoyed immensely. Having a salad in winter may seem daft but I am trying to eat healthily a bit more.
Certainly is winter outside tonight, it is frosty and so cold. The stars twinkled at me as I hopped the wall coming home. The sky inky blue and so clear of clouds. So putting Buster back in bed, grabbing a chicken leg, (I did say it smelt great) and a vodka, I hit for bed with my book.
That’s when I thought of it, Chicken bones and vodka!
I shared a great evening with 2 friends and neighbours and this is the result. Being a writer I thought why not? Others who are scribblers like me have these moments and we need to share them. The fact I’ve not written a word for the past 3 weeks is another story. Have you ever scrubbed and cleaned until your fingers curled by themselves and your wrists are so sore they are in fear of snapping? I have. Right now I wince as my fingers tap my keyboard.
But honestly roast chicken and vodka is not a bad combination. So enjoy your odd cravings and embrace what crosses your path unexpectedly. After all that’s what life is about. Be inspired and happy writing!

 

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Latest review for my collection

Below is a review of my short story collection by Roisín Peddle, journalist, writer and editor. Catch more of what Roisín has to say on her excellent blog at
http://randomdescent.wordpress.com

 

...Not only that, Mary is a very talented writer and editor. Her debut short story collection was launched last November and is still available to buy as a hard copy in the North Cork area (including Philips in  Mallow and Dick’s Newsagents in Charleville) as well as online, through Amazon and other e-book outlets.
With the nights drawing in an the air getting colder, it’s time to wrap up warm and enjoy a good book. A Baker’s Dozen is perfect for those cosy evenings by the fire. Thirteen stories, some with more than a touch of darkness and others with a tinge of the supernatural, but all are told with Mary’s heart-warming charm.
The stories concern themselves with the moments where lives interact and things begin to change. There’s both pathos and humour in the collection, and Mary captures the best of human nature as well as its less savoury moments. But for everyone there is redemption, and what’s more, a real sense of hope.
There the sinister coalman who is exerts his influence over his family and the community, the moralising librarian with a nasty streak, the woman whose mysterious powers demand good customer service, and other fascinating characters.
Many of the stories deal with illness, whether of the mind or the body. The final story, ‘A Sunbeam’ is a beautiful tale of loss, release and love, and the bonds that we have with those we love, even after we die.
Family bonds and the ties that bind are also present in many stories. ‘A Family Broken’ examines the aftermath of a family row that ends in tragedy. What happens in a mere moment can change our lives forever, and for this family it is something that will never ease.
On a lighter note, the charming ‘Would Mother Approve?’ sees a successful director realise that her late mother is giving her a standing ovation in the form of white feathers.  We are never forgotten: love remains. This is the powerful theme running throughout the collection.
Not every character has a happy ending. With Mary’s customary mastery of the twist in the tale, and a lovelorn girl working in bar who never quite manages to work up the courage to speak to her Prince Charming comes to regret it. But to say more would be to spoil the simple, yet delicious twist.
The topic of abortion has been to the fore more than ever in recent months in Ireland and ‘A Secret Farewell’ tracks a young woman’s lonely journey to London to end her unplanned pregnancy. My own favourite story has to be ‘A Mysterious Customer’ where a surly waitress gets her comeuppance at the hands of a woman who may or may not be a witch.
For those with a love for short stories looking for some escapism, A Baker’s Dozen is perfect fare...

Monday, 23 September 2013

My Pearl Anniversary

Thirty years ago
A Stag and Hen side by side
With love said I do

***
No photographer
Needed capturing back then
memories of hearts

***
Four children later
Celebrating family
Giving thanks each day

***

23-09-1983 / 23-09-2013

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Writing in the Gaps :)

It’s in all the writing magazines, blog-posts and author pages. What is? I hear you ask. Making time to write, that’s what I’m talking about. Sounds easy, just a tab of discipline needed, so ‘they’ say. Well, when you have housework, children, work and life in the mix, finding time to write is a luxury. I’ve burnt the bacon, boiled the eggs dry, wore my jumper on inside out and don’t ask what happened with the cabbage. But the neighbours smelled it for a week later and all because I was writing in my head. Clenching thoughts and ideas in my brain cells, until I get a pen in my hand and allow them to escape along the page. Excitement rising.
Making time to write is about keeping a notebook nearby, I feel. Grabbing every opportunity that presents itself, this is why this post is being written at the hairdressers, while my luscious locks are being attended to. Honest? Okay the greys are being covered.
Light-hearted aside I do make time to scribble each day. It may be thirty minutes, it may be ten and when life allows, a trip to my local library for a few hours. The dust collects, the laundry gathers, the vegetables go soft regardless of the crisp salad box they’re in, yet I sneak a few notes down, an idea here and there. So they get written, a short story, a blog-post, an entry for a competition and inspirations for other projects.
But to have a clear run of the day to write is a dream for many. Imagine having full days where the cup of tea is handed to you and dinner prepared. Oh bliss! we all deserve this time, why? Because we are worth it as they say on a certain hair product. So if the opportunity arises where a full day is gifted to you for writing, grab it and enjoy. If not, use your notebook.

 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Holiday Scribbles


Having had a lovely trip to Bochum, Germany in August, it was time I got back to my daily writing duties. While on holiday, I read a fair bit, (writing magazines, cover to cover and The Soul Catcher by Alex Kava) and decided to give myself a break from scribbling. But the pen is a mighty weapon and sure enough, a few days into the holiday, I was out the door and down to the shops to buy yet another new notebook. Then I found a comfortable spot near the balcony in the evening sun and took a deep breath. I was off. I wrote two short stories, titled When Love’s not Enough and Welcome Home. Below are just random feelings I had when I stopped to pause and take in my surroundings.
Inside the apartment, early evening
Air clammy, heat oppressive
Headache settling, eyes tired
Talk ceasing, silence heavy
Clock ticking, no other sound
Outside the apartment, same time
Trees rustling their leaves
Cars rumbling by,
People mumbling, sun shining hides behind the clouds
Washing blows, drying slowly.
Too quickly my holiday was over and while at the airport waiting to board a late evening flight I got out my trusty new notebook and again my thoughts were put to paper. Not quite Haikiu but yet it recorded my feelings and that’s all that counts.
(1)Pale blue skies cloudy
     Near the end of the day now
     Aeroplane waiting.
(2)Lure of foreign words
     Large advertising boards
     Promising new sights
(3)Children laugh and chat
     Parents weary yet watchful
     Waiting area their park.

My collection of notebooks is growing all the time. I should make it easier and just bring one every time I go away. But the thrill of choosing a notebook and filling the blank pages is a buzz I love so who am I to stop my enjoyment of shopping. Happy writing.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Normality Returns, hurray


Today I return to normality, well what is normality for me at least. For the next three days I shall enjoy my regular routine, after that it is off on the road again until September. It has been awhile since I have had the opportunity to put pen to paper due to other commitments, family and otherwise. I got to my library this morning where I penned these few words and oh boy does it feel good. I feel refreshed and eager to go with so much trapped inside me aching to get out. It is a shame my fingers cannot keep up with my thoughts. It also brought home to me how much we are creatures of habit. Take shopping for example, (what has this to do with writing I hear you ask?) well, nothing but stick with me and I shall explain. When you go to the supermarket, everyone starts in the same aisle and go around a certain route of the shop. I wanted to be different so I started at the further side of the shop and oh God was it a nightmare. It felt alien to walk against the flow plus it made me so disorientated that I had to start at the usual side before I finished. See, that’s what I mean we are creatures of habit. And like this morning my very presence in the library meant my fingers were dancing with joy to hit the keyboards. I never said what they wanted to say would be interesting after all they are a little rusty. So habit/normality call it what you will, oh the joys to be back in it. Happy writing !

Friday, 5 July 2013

And then I read the Guidelines...


It happens, not only does it happen to other people but it happened to me. I, who live by guidelines and rules in my writing life, had fallen and oh how had I fallen. Allow me to explain although the title of this post is probably self explanatory.
One Friday evening, tired and emotional (in my defence) from my week I realised the closing date for a competition I wanted to enter was upon me and I had not sent in my story.
So out came my laptop, competition site opened up and a few finger taps later my entry was sailing through cyberspace, on its way to winning me a wonderful prize (positive thinking people, it’s the secret).
Now I have a wonderful writing buddy who has chastised me for being quick to tap buttons on my laptop. This long suffering friend, let’s call him Dan, answers all my Internet questions. So I couldn’t wait to tell Dan the next time we met how good I was at figuring out this online site by myself.
Well, having sent my story, I sat back to relax. As the automatic answer thanking me for my entry popped up before me, it was then I noticed it. Yes, you have it, the bloody guidelines, in more detail, a full large paragraph of the do’s and don’ts but BELOW the competition entry form.
Well I was now in a pickle because I had not scrolled down the page fully. I hadn’t copped the bloody things. Surely though, again in my defence, should the guidelines not have been placed ABOVE the entry form? Anyway off I sent an email to the hosts of the competition and explained my predicament, admitting my silly mistake. Telling Dan was also not so bright and beautiful anymore. When I did he just laughed, what could he do? He has lost hope with me a long time ago. Yes, it’s sad.  
So people take note, scroll down the full page and read everything and (as Dan silently screams at me each day), stop being tap happy with the keyboard when it comes to form filling etc.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

WANTED - A New Head, Apply Below

Ouch it hurts. Ohhhh it is hurting now for a long time. My head you see is full of characters and ideas and all sorts of writing stuff. But I have not been able to let the creative side of my brain free to produce for at least two weeks now. I have been busy with mother/daughter/sister/life stuff and studying for a language course so any writing I have been putting on paper has been all logical bits and pieces.
So now I have these people walking around inside my head. Their stomping over and back my forehead, the headache I have will last until I give them voice. In bed at night I wish they would make their escape out my ears and hop off my shoulders into someone else’s mind. Their roaring and shouting trying to outcry each other is unbelievable. How am I supposed to write their stories when I can’t even hear them properly? They won't let me sleep, they insist on doing Riverdance at the first sign of me nodding off. It is torture I tell you.
My notebook is full of ideas and names and it’s hard to imagine any order being made out of them. So if you have a peaceful calm mind that is free from hassle and unwritten shenanigans, please consider swapping.
Since I have always fancied being a redhead, those with luscious locks of flowing red hair will be given precedence. Plus I like my blue eyes, so I want blue eyes too. Once swapped, you can’t have your head back, sorry.
Please leave your details in the comment boxes below, thanks.

 

Saturday, 15 June 2013

All Author Blog Blitz


Rita Carla Monticelli
Welcome Rita Carla to my blog. Tell me where did you get your ideas for your book?

It all arose from an image that formed in my mind. There was an astronaut who wandered alone in the Martian desert in a pressurised rover. She was willing to know more about this beautiful and lethal planet. I wondered where she was going, why she was alone, when would she run out of her air and water reserves. Was she maybe sacrificing herself to go where nobody has ever been?

From this idea came the story of Anna Persson, a Swedish exobiologist, crew member of the Mars colonisation mission Isis. Who, one day in the morning escapes in secret from their commune and penetrates this red desert.
Deserto rosso” (translation: Red Desert) starts from this apparently inexplicable act. What Anna is not aware of is that Mars has an incredible discovery in store for her. A mystery hidden in the depth of the biggest canyon of the Solar System: Valles Marineris. 

Can you tell me about the novel?

This novel involves the reader, drawing them in them to experience the feelings of an anti-heroin struggling for her survival in the hostile Red Planet. The setting is described with the technical-scientific exactness typical of hard sci-fi.
Thirty years have passed since the Mars exploration mission Hera, whose crew died in mysterious circumstances. This failure and the politic issues resulting from it slowed down NASA in its run to conquer space. But now, it’s time for a new mission, called Isis. This time the five crew members will be travelling over 400 million kilometres not on a return trip, for they are destined to become the first colonisers of the Red Planet.
Anna Persson, a Swedish exobiologist is among the crew. Anna opted for this mission in the hope of starting a new life away from Earth. But an unexpected discovery on Mars awaits her, a key to a mystery hidden in the depth of the Valles Marineris.
It is also the story of normal human beings. They have to face situations that are beyond both their range and expectations. The crew are forced to live in a limited space within an enormous desert and dangerous planet and without any conventions and control from Earth. They each show their true nature, until death visits this small community, thus upsetting forever, its difficult balances.
Packed with adventure, action, science and emotions, Deserto rosso, makes a great read not just for sci-fi fans but for all readers.
 
This novel is different from other novels, can you explain this?

Deserto rosso” is a science fiction serialised novel, made up by four episodes. What makes it different from a normal novel split in four parts is, each episode is written and published before I start work on the next one. It is an experimental project in which, even if a general plot already exists, its details can change because of feedback from the readers. This makes it particularly interesting, allowing for continuous interactions between my readers and I. It avoids those silent periods between the releases of two books.

Between the two releases, the readers are kept up to date on the various stages of the book production. This is possible because the story of each episode is not self-conclusive. This way, the reader wants to know what happens next and therefore they tend to interact with me during the months of waiting. They may even influence the events - maybe only details - which will be narrated in the following episode.

Explain further please?

I’ve already published three episodes in Italian.
The first one, the pilot, is Deserto rosso - Punto di non ritorno, (Red Desert - Point of No Return).
This is a novella (approx. 21,000 words),
which allows the reader to imagine themselves among the dust and rocks of Mars, its enormous flatlands and insidious canyons, half way between the urgency to explore and the desire to survive. But it is also the story of a selfish woman that, at the same time, is lacking self-confidence. Despite her controversial choices, without regret she stubbornly continues to go on. Even risking her own life, she demonstrates to herself and to others that her life was actually destined to have a bigger purpose. Her dark side emerges by means of her memories. She faces without fears the unknown of a cursed planet, which somehow continues to take away the lives of those trying to discover its secrets. Filtered by her erratic emotions and her deeply rooted prejudices, the events are shown to the reader. Thus involving them in an alternation of past and present by means of a gradual crescendo that drives them to the epilogue, from which the rest of the novel will derive.

The second episode is Deserto rosso - Abitanti di Marte, (Red Desert - People of Mars) which is a short novel (approx. 45,000 words), and the third one is Deserto rosso - Nemico invisibile, (Red Desert - Invisible Enemy), which has got the size of a full-length novel (approx. 74,000 words).

The whole project started on June 7th 2012 with the release of the pilot and will end on September 30th 2013, when the finale will be published.
The series will be published in English, with the title Red Desert, in late 2014. 
 
Author’s biography
Technical, scientific and literary translator, web copywriter and biologist, Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli is an Italian independent author. She has been writing fiction since 2009.
Her latest release is ‘
Deserto rosso - Nemico invisibile’, the third in a science fiction, serialised novel set on Mars, titled Deserto rosso. Her work is enjoying much success in Italy.
Deserto rosso will be published in English, with the title Red Desert, in 2014.


Her English blog is: http://ladyanakina.blogspot.com
Her website (in Italian) is: www.anakina.net
Deserto rosso is available on Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, Google Plus, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Sony Ebook Store and Diesel Ebook Store.
 
Book trailer of the pilot: http://youtu.be/94nut4gtoII
Thank you Rita for taking the time to talk with me.

 

 

 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Interview with Mocha, Moonlight, and Murder author MaryAnn Kempher



MaryAnn Kempher
Hello MaryAnn, welcome to my blog.
Hi Mary, thanks so much for hosting me.
First, why don’t you tell us a little about your book.
Mocha, Moonlight, and Murder is Romantic Suspense. I tell people if you like Jane Austen and/or Agatha Christie, you’ll love this book. It has romance, and mystery, suspense, and comedy. The romance is very realistic, very friendship-based, and doesn’t come easy. Katherine and Scott were made to harass each other. Because at first they’re friends, and aren’t trying to get each other into bed, they’re not afraid to give each other a hard time, this makes for some very funny dialogue. Also, the waiting (to sleep together) ensures great sexual tension for them, and the reader. It also gives their romance a solid foundation.
You don’t have a lot of reviews on Amazon yet, but the ones you do have are very favourable.
Since my book was only released on April 14th 2013, it doesn’t have a lot of reviews yet, but those that have read it really seem to like it. This pleases me no end. It’s so nice to know something you’ve written is liked.
Tell us about your writing routine.
Well, I have two children. Once they’ve gone off to school I get myself a cup of coffee and sit down in front of the computer. I’m terrible, I’ll do almost anything but write. I’ll check my FB page, my Twitter account, my email. Finally, when I’ve stalled as long as possible, I’ll open up my work in progress. Usually, I’ll start by reading a paragraph or two of what I wrote the day before, then wait for inspiration to hit. Sometimes the words come easily, sometimes they don’t. I just hit 20,000 words, which is a milestone for me.
So, you’re working on another book then?
Yes, I’m hoping to have the first draft finished by the end of the summer. I’m hoping for a holiday release of book two, before Halloween if possible.
Is this a sequel?
Not exactly. It’s more of a mystery than my last book. My first book is more romance than this one will be. Having said that, a lot of characters from the first book will be in this one too. So readers of the first book will get to read about their favourite characters and find out what they are up to.
Can you give us a hint about the next book?
I’ll tell you it’s set on a cruise ship. Two people have been murdered and it’s up to the head of security to find out who before the ship reaches land. Honestly, I’m really excited about this book. I really think if you liked my first book, you’re going to love this one too.
Where can your book be purchased?
Right now, it’s only available on Amazon.com. You can get it for your Kindle or you can purchase a paperback. http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00CDNQ37Q 

How can people contact you?
Oh gosh, I’m everywhere.  J
I would like to thank MaryAnn for taking the time to talk to me and allowing us to get a glimpse in to her writing life.

 

Saturday, 25 May 2013

William Ryan Book Launch (with Rugby Stars)

Thursday last, May23rd, in O'Mahonys Bookstore, Limerick city, I and some friends attended the book launch of William Ryan's book The Twelfth Department, the 3rd in the Captain Korolev series. It enjoys praise from many, The Irish Examiner said of it, 'Atmospheric, beautifully written and meticulously researched' and the Times Literary supplement said it was a 'Whoduunit Heaven'.
Author William is a true gentleman, showing great patience posing for photos (that's me above with the dashing William) and chatting with his readers. On the evening he spoke about his book and thanked those of us who attended the launch. There was a rich mix of people there that included some Munster Rugby stars. As you can see from the photo, the place was full of gorgeous men ! Thank you to William and the staff of O'Mahony's bookstore for a lovely warm welcome and an evening of banter with a drinks reception, roll on the next launch please William. 


Munster stars Donnacha Ryan, Paddy Buckley and Keith Earls with writer William Ryan

 

Thursday, 16 May 2013

More than one style of Hangover!

Most of us have endured a hangover of the alcohol type or maybe even a chocolate binge headache at some stage. Reading my friends Blogspot about a word hangover she suffered it got me thinking can one have a driving hangover? You know the way you are on the road driving so much which I have been lately. I made three trips to Dublin from my home town (which is a round trip of 300 miles each time) in one week, not including in between shorter trips and so when you get to bed you can’t stretch your legs? The backs of my knees were aching; I couldn’t straighten my legs without being in agony. The same applied to my arms, in particular my elbows, from holding the steering wheel.
I was exhausted to say the least and like Marie in her blog post, she was longing to get the written word going again, I felt the need to drive the following day although my body begged to differ with my mind. Are we suckers for punishment? Maybe I need to learn my limits and live by them. So when you binge on whatever causes you to suffer the following day remember you are just having a hangover!
Check out Marie’s word hangover at the link below,
http://marieohalloran.blogspot.ie/2013/05/do-you-ever-suffer-word-hangovers.html

 

 

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Review: I Don't Want To Be Famous



Michela Pasquali
As a short story writer myself, it was great to get the opportunity to read another writers work and review it. A canadian writer, Michela Pasquali's collection 'I Don't Want To Be Famous' is a varied mix of people, from children to grandmothers and lovers in between. Her ability to create these characters is terrific. Each story is wrapped in warmth and her description of the worlds her characters’ inhabit is realistic to the point I could feel the apprehension Henry had while waiting for his brother in Dragon’s and Sailing Ships. The soft silence of a snow covered landscape made me shiver as I travelled with Hiroshi to meet his loved one in Snow. I think this is my favourite story, then again, the chanting and noise in The Oracle Temple had me closing my eyes and picturing the vibrant and busy temple.
 Michela’s writing style is that of a natural storyteller. She enjoys her craft and this comes across in her stories. Her attention to detail aids the setting so that all senses are satisfied, ‘the swallows flying in gentle arcs’, ‘the laundry flapping in the wind’ and ‘the bottoms of his feet burning and bubbling’.
This collection of seven stories is a treat to read. The length of each story, just over 700 words, allows the reader to dip in and out when having a coffee or travelling to ease the journey to or from work. Michela is a talented writer who treats her characters with the care and attention they crave and so their stories are delivered to us in a way that leaves us, the reader longing for more. ‘I Don’t Want To Be Famous’ is a must for all readers of good stories. Looking forward to the next collection from Michela Pasquali, I hope it is soon.
Find more about Michela at www.michelapasquali.com and to buy her book, 

Monday, 22 April 2013

5 Sentence fiction - Angels

This is me having a lousy day! As it is pointed out to me below very nicely I got the prompt wrong. It is angles not angels as I read it. Sorry Lillie, sorry everyone. I'm sure angel's will come up sometime though :)
I got a chance today to take part in www.lilliemcferrin.com 5 sentence fiction for this week. Check out the site for other entrants for the challenge. Below is my mini piece.

 
Angels
His head was throbbing with pain. He needed to get some space so he decided to step out for a few minutes. The choir of angels' were in full practise mode for the next arrival.
 “I must be getting old,” St. Peter muttered quietly. Standing outside the Pearly Gates, he rubbed his forehead for relief.



Monday, 15 April 2013

99 word story


Bob wanted to be part of the gang. But he wasn’t street smart enough for them and they soon left him behind. Now alone and hungry, he walked the often scary streets. Nearing a bridge he settled for the night. The concrete was hard and cold but he curled up and tried to disappear. Not drawing attention to him was important because he could get hassled and even hurt. Bob thought his family would have put up posters, pleading for his return. Bob cried from loneliness. He longed to go home; a lost dog might never again be found.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Toastmasters, Heart Surgery, Moving

In an earlier post in Feb 2013, I promised to share some interesting facts that not everyone knows about me. The idea came from a course that I attended at The Big Smoke Writing Factory (www.bigsmokewritingfactory.com ) led by Vanessa O’Loughlin. I shall tell you about 3 facts that I thought of when I finally sat down to do this exercise. More shall follow in another post I promise.

Fact #1
I hold a CC from Toastmasters International (www.toastmasters.org ). CC stands for Competent Communicator; it is achieved after completing a programme that involves giving 10 public speeches at Toastmasters meetings. I was a member of the Fáilte club in Charleville for many years. I have represented my club in competitions in different areas and I must say I enjoyed it. Being able to speak in public with confidence is a great asset for any writer. Reading your work out at workshops or in groups is not a big deal when you have experience in public speaking. This is where Toastmasters International is excellent. I have started an advanced course as in Toastmasters there are many challenges for members to set themselves. Go join your nearest club now, you won’t regret it.

Fact #2
Since leaving my parent’s home when I was 18 yrs old (and then marrying my hubby), I have moved home 4 times. That is a lot of packing and unpacking. It is true that moving house is stressful plus we did this with 4 young children thrown into the mix! I’m a bit of a collector so each time I moved there was more and more stuff to take with me. I even had boxes marked ‘new attic’ and that’s exactly where they went, from my old attic to the new one. Would I move again? One should never say never.

Fact#3
I had open-heart surgery on May 30th in 2008, I was in my forties. There is so much to say about this that I really don’t know where to begin. I have had viral meningitis when I was 19 yrs old and I had shoulder surgery since my heart op too. When I was 7/8 yrs old, I tried to jump over a roll of linoleum, my Dad was going to lay on our kitchen floor, while wearing roller-skates that I received for my birthday 2 days before. I ended up dislocating my right shoulder and also managed to turn my arm backwards. I was wearing a sling for a long, long time. I’ve fallen out of trees, anything that ends in ‘itis’ I’ve had, health has been varied to say the least.
More facts to post at a later date.

 

Friday, 15 March 2013

5 Sentence Fiction

It is that time again folks for this week's 5 Sentence Fiction Challenge. This weeks prompt is Paradise. Enjoy reading my offering below and check out the other entries at the following link and discover other writers take on the same prompt. www.lilliemcferrin.com

Forgiven.
 
He wondered what will it hold for him. He never thought with the way he lived his life, it would be open to him. The pain he was suffering now was worth it he reasoned, he deserved it, unlike the guy next to him.The clouds gathered overhead and darkened the afternoon sky. He had no fear, the Man crucified beside him promised him Paradise.





Saturday, 9 March 2013

5 Sentence Fiction Challenge

It is time for the 5 sentence fiction challenge. This week. Lillie has given the prompt Whisper. Check out the other entries at http://lilliemcferrin.com


 A Lullaby Whisper

She sang a lullaby each night by the cream cradle. Her soft voice soothing the baby’s crying. Staying until her husband would come to check on the child. Then she would whisper goodnight to her sleeping baby. Fading in to the night before returning to the spirit world.



 

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

5 Useful Tips That Work For Me Page

Anything that makes my writing life easier is always welcome. Thinking about this I thought that if a particular tip helps me it may also help others. So with this in mind I have put together 5 tips that I use and that just may help you too. Rather than list everything here I have put it all on a page on the RHS of this blog, please go check it out. Maybe you use some of the list already or maybe you have tips of your own that you might share in your comments below. If so please do, either way we will all benefit and that can't be bad.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

5 Sentence Fiction Challenge

My writing friend Marie http://marieohalloran.blogspot.ie/  shared a blog with me that runs a 5 sentence fiction challenge each Thursday.  A prompt is given and off you go, it is a really good exercise. Find out more by visiting the blog at the following link http://lilliemcferrin.com. and do not forget to check out Marie's blog and see her entries also. My first entry is below and the prompt this week is Empty.

Blackmail
He placed the gun barrel to the side of her head. He watched her shaking with fear, sweat and tears fell together on her face. Gently he caressed her wet cheek and she sensed his finger on the trigger moving slowly. Click, it was empty. He laughed at her and walked away.


Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Submitting for Publication


Last Saturday, I attended a course about submitting for publishing at the Big Smoke Writing Factory www.bigsmokewritingfactory.com  It was led by Vanessa O’Loughlin www.writing.ie and it was really informative. I thought I had perfected my cover/query letter but I was totally surprised by what I needed to add to mine. Do not start with a question! Address it to the correct person, if you dont know , make a phone call or google the agency/publisher. get the essence of the novel in your letter. It is not meant to be too formal, some of your personality should show through.
A synopsis is difficult to write but worth practicing and keep to a max of two pages, no more. Remember it is what the story is, an overview of your book. Also one shoud be able to write a 50 word and a 100 word biography.
When sending in the first 3 chapters, it is important that your story starts where the action is. So therefore it needs a hook, a hook that draws in an agent, publisher and importantly the reader.
On leaving we were asked to consider ten interesting things about ourselves and write these down. We all smiled and smirked thinking what would be so interesting about us everyday mortals? Yet once home I sat and thought about it. So I made my list and surprised myself with what I came up with. So far I’m on number 5. Now I shall link them to my writing and fill you in on how it works in the next blog posts that I shall put up.
So watch this blog for how my interesting life list will inspire my writing.  

Friday, 8 February 2013

I am a Writer

Recently I came across a new site that offered both competitions and a retreat for writers. It is http://www.carousel-creates.com . Writers were asked to write under the heading I Am A Writer. It was challenging and thought provoking, so I gave it a go. I shared this challenge with a great writing friend Marie O'Halloran, http://www.marieohalloran.blogspot.com . My piece is below and check out Marie's great entry too.
CONGRATULATIONS to the three winners, read their work over on the Carousel Creates site.

I AM A WRITER
“I am a writer.” Staring at the mirror I want to see the happiness that sparkles from me when I say those words.
Four words that express all I want to be, who I am. I watch my tongue caress my lips in luxury like sampling exotic dark chocolate or tempting smooth ice-cream.
Four words that catch others attention, they noting there is more to the plain Jane that stands before them.
“So you write what? Why?” they ask with raised eyebrows.
“Life, because I need to,” I smile. They nod, but not understanding.
“It’s simple, I am a writer,” I add to help ease their discomfort at not getting the draw, the addiction there is to tap on a keyboard or feel the pen glide over page after page. Words tumbling out bringing life or new meaning to my many jumbled thoughts. The frustration of a blank page that refuses all offerings that my troubled mind tries to express, the dreaded writers block that turns to joy when once more both writer and words create beauty together.
I am a writer. Four words which continue to feed my confidence when a rejection comes through my letterbox, taunting my faith in my work. To be a writer is to be mixed up in reality and imagination forever more. How can I explain what is hard to explain to myself? It is both a delight and tormenting to say day after day, I am a writer.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Competitons Info

I must say I always enjoy going on this site, Novelicious.com as it has loads of info for writers of all levels. There is a great piece on comps so check it out, because you're worth it !!

http://www.novelicious.com
Typewriter

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

To Do List

I sat to write today but I couldn't get started. The white empty page remained without a blemish. So I doodled and thought about all I had to do, housework, family runs and of course my writing.  I deciced on a to-do list. I filled my blank lonely looking page with a list of ironing, polishing and all the household chores that need attending to. Then I wrote about the places I needed to go or take family members to and shortly after I found myself writing a short story without meaning to.
I had cleared my head and now my inspiration was taking over. I wrote 500 words and shall continue it to about 1500 or so. Imagine from a blank page to a list of stuff, to the beginnings of a short story about a woman under pressure to meet a deadline and has distractions thrown at her which makes her task all the more difficult. So you see, it's amazing what can come from an everyday to-do list. Happy writing !

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Next Big Thing

Okay today I am in the spotlight for The Next Big Thing and I am delighted to be a part of this on-rolling blog. I enjoyed answering the below questions and I hope you will come back and visit me again here or follow me on Twitter @marytbrad 
What is my Next Big Thing?
The next big thing for me is having my first novel accepted for publishing in the coming year. I am actively sending it out to agents and publishing houses. I have made it my New Year’s resolution.
What is the working title of your book?
The title of my first completed novel is A Thorn in My Side.     
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was at a funeral and wondered what would happen if, at the reading of the will there was a complete surprise for the family!
What genre does your book fall under?
I would say it is women’s fiction or maybe general fiction. Some who have read it said it is a family saga. Take your pick!!
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Oh the main character is a young female named Lacey, so I would go for Amanda Seyfried. I loved her in Mamma Mia and I think she is such a talented young actress. Her brother would be played by Ben Affleck (because I really like him).
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
A family that is torn apart by a letter at the reading of their mothers will.
How long did it take to write the 1st draft of your manuscript?
It is difficult to say, as I started it full of enthusiasm and then let it lay to the side for awhile as I wrote some short stories. Then I got back into it and completed it very quickly. So put all the time together I would say six months.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Once I had the idea while at the funeral plus I wanted the challenge of writing a novel, I went with it.
What else about your book might pique the readers’ interest?
Although it is basically Lacey’s story, the others, her siblings are all affected by the letter so how their coming to terms with its revelations makes it a great read.
When and how will it be published?
As soon as possible I hope in both paperback and as an e-book. Publishers’ and agents’ out there take note please!!
Before I hand over to my tag team I wanted to add that I have enjoyed this experience and want to thank Jill Godsil for tagging me on The Next Big Thing. http://jilliangodsil.com
Now over to my both creative and interesting fellow writers, watch their posts on Wed. 23rd January 2013
Marie O’Halloran
Daniel Kaye

                                                                                                                                  

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Guilty and Welcome !

I am guilty, it is agreed. I was speaking with my writing friends and we were chatting about social media. It was an interesting discussion about how often we should be on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Linkedin to name a few. I personally feel it should be a disciplined approach that one should take when dealing with the Internet. I deliberately took December off from all 'net related stuff and am glad I did so. I had a hectic November with my A Bakers Dozen launch night and also partaking in NaNoWriMo. So with family returning for the festive season I had enough on my plate to keep me busy and to focus on them was my priority.
But what about your followers and fellow writing friends was asked of me in horror at my actions? Well I am sure their lives continued just fine I answered. But the look of sadness I received was heartbreaking for me. So for all my lovely new followers (and thank you for doing so) on Twitter I am sorry for not welcoming you individually, please accept this apology with the genuine good heart it is given with. Also my other net friends I will be back to read all about your bits n pieces too.
But I do feel there is life outside the 'net and balance is what it is all about. Do you really want to know what I had for dinner and breakfast or if I'm wearing blue or pink socks? I thought not. But when something happens that is interesting then I shall tell you all about it I promise. Am I forgiven?

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

2013 WITHOUT BLOT OR STAIN

Today is a new day to a New Year. So Stop! Do not rush to fill each date on the calendar with what you must do or what others tell you what you must do. Yes we have dates that are pre-planed; I have two weddings to attend this year, yippee. Think about the everyday stuff.
Take each day for itself. Do not add to its trials with worry. Try instead to take the good moments no matter how few and focus on those. If work is difficult, look on the positive of having a job, many don’t. If the kids are driving you crazy, be positive you are in a family, many wish to be.
What I’m attempting to say is take each new day as a chance to find the blessings in your life. These are what will pull you through on the dark days. Each morning starts without blot or stain, it is us that smears its clean slate by rushing in unthinking.
I wish you all a healthy and happy 2013. Just think 365 days for us to wake up to knowing that the day ahead of us is truly a present. So live in it.