Category Archives: Fiction

The Start of it All

People often ask me how I first got started on my writing. Well, the truth is, I have always loved reading and writing. There was no particular starting point.

If I had to pinpoint a time, I suppose it was when I saw an advertisement for a creative writing course in my local town.

I jumped at the chance and couldn’t wait for the evening of the first class. The excitement! The joy! The anticipation!

I remember walking into the building and looking for directions to the room. I could feel fluttering in my stomach but I was still excited.

I walked up the stairs and there, in front of me, was the door.

As I reached for the handle, the first doubts began to creep into my mind. What was I doing here? I was no writer! Yes, I loved to put my thoughts down on paper but that was a far cry from being a writer!

I took a deep breath and opened the door.

Ellen, the tutor greeted me enthusiastically and before I knew it, I was sitting among the other students waiting to find out what it was all about.

To my delight, a neighbour of mine came into the room to join the class. At least I knew someone!

By the end of that first class I had already learned some valuable lessons.

Ellen brushed aside my insecurities and made me feel that, yes! I could do this!

As I listened to the first assignment, I suddenly realised that I knew exactly what I wanted to write and I couldn’t wait to get home and begin.

Within a few short weeks, we had become a team, sharing thoughts and ideas while being guided by Ellen’s expertise.

I grew to love hearing her read our assignments and the constructive advice that followed.

That class taught me to discipline myself. To sit and write. To just do it no matter how little time I thought I had. To enjoy it and look to forward to it.

Every week I turned in a new assignment – short stories – and every week I left with a better grasp of how to craft them.

Towards the end of the course, we held a public reading of our works which included a wonderful short play written by one of the students. Carol has since gone on to be a regular contributor to local newspapers and her pieces are well-written and fresh – a joy to read.

I also made a wonderful friend – Ruth, my neighbour. All these years later and I still remember her wonderfully quirky sense of humour which came through so clearly in her writing.

She has a passion for animals and rescued cats ad kittens long before people were aware of the problem. Her calm gentleness and quick laugh are some of the things that still inspire me whenever I sit down to write.

Most of us were in class simply for the love of writing but a few of us have taken it a step further.

Wherever it has led, I still think of that creative writing class as the time in my life when I realised that to succeed, you first have to try.

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The Copper Pot

New Exclusive Short Story

(Based on The Girl in the Shadows series)

Grace’s much-loved Granny proved very popular in the series and people kept asking me to write her life story.

Now for the first time ever you can download a free short story – a snapshot – based on Granny Maura’s early life!

Written in the same style as The Girl in the Shadows, The Copper Pot will amuse you much like Grace’s escapades.

The Copper Pot tells the story of Maura’s father making and selling poitin (illegal whiskey) on their small farm in rural Ireland at the beginning of the 1900s.

How do you get your hands on this Exclusive Short Story? Free?

Simply join my group of avid readers to receive your Free Short Story

The Copper Pot

Don’t miss yours!

Sign up here!

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Blah Blah Blah

Been feeling a bit “Blah” lately – probably because of a reaction to the flu jab – so been finding it hard to concentrate.

Started plotting a new novel but it’s not coming together yet – I’ve never actually tried plotting one before – perhaps try again in a week or two.

Did some marketing but lack of funds kind of limits that! Still, did the usual social media whirl etc.

Started a Thunderclap for “A Little Book of Horror” – due for release October 12th

Pre-order Here or Support Thunderclap Here (it’s FREE)

Finally sent off an assignment for a course I’m doing.

Still feeling “Blah”.

Opened up new novel file – I’m twenty thousand words into a new historical romance – and a couple of hours and two thousand words later, I’m not feeling “Blah” any more!

The secret?

Just do it!

Stop procrastinating and just make an effort. It will come. Give it the right time and place and anything can be accomplished!

Must get back to the novel now!

#amwriting #histfic #romance

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Love’s Spirit

Joseph falls for the beautiful Elizabeth but she leads him on and then leaves him for someone else. Devastated by his loss, Joseph turns to the charms of the ladies at Madam Corbin’s establishment.

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Tragedy ensues and through this unfortunate turn of events, Joseph meets Eliza. Feeling drawn to her, he pursues her but will he convince her to accept him as he is?

Eliza  falls for the handsome John Gilster and Joseph thinks his heart is fated to remain broken. He refuses to give up on his love and at last, Eliza sees him as he truly is.

Will death keep them apart or is death the only chance they have to be together?

Available to download today from your favourite store or from Smashwords

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Editing The Girl in the Shadows Part 3

The first edit is complete!

The manuscript has gone out to beta readers and while I’m waiting I will start on the second edit.

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I’ve still got the two paranormal romances to finish and more information to gather before I can write up Irish Paranormal Haunts Part 2, but hey, things are happening!

Looking forward to getting this one published!

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99p Limited Time Only

Looking for a side splitting comedy with plenty of Irishness thrown in?

Ready  to enjoy a rib tickler with a difference?

Want a laugh out loud kind of read?

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The Girl in the Shadows has it all!

Find out for yourself why readers are enjoying it. Fall in love with Grace and her madcap adventures.

Remember a time when life was simpler and childhood was carefree and fun.

Download now while still only 99p

snapshot

 

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A Paranormal Romance

A rough draft of the first chapter:

Joseph urged his horse on faster and harder and Elizabeth pealed with laughter as she tried to keep up. “Wait for me Joseph! My mare isn’t as fast as your stallion!”
Joseph risked a quick glance over his shoulder and flashed Elizabeth a smile, “You’ll never catch up riding side saddle anyway!”
Elizabeth slowed her mare, “Joseph Hopwood! A lady always rides this way!”
Joseph leaned back in his saddle and the stallion responded at once, slowing his gait and allowing his master to bring him to a halt.
Elizabeth brought her mare to a halt beside the bigger stallion. “Why have you stopped?”
Joseph laughed and gazed into her beautiful brown eyes, “To let you catch up of course!”
To hide her confusion, Elizabeth looked back to where the rest of the horses and riders were still two fields away. The sounds of the hunting horns came closer while the baying of the hounds faded into the distance.
“We’re losing the hounds.”
“There are far more interesting things here than a pack of hounds.” .Joseph suddenly dismounted. With two strides he was beside Elizabeth’s mare. “Come here. I want to show you something.” He reached for her.
With a stifled gasp, Elizabeth slid off the horse and into Joseph’s arms. “What do you want to show me?”
Placing her carefully on the ground, he offered her his arm. “This way. Be careful of your shoes the ground is a trifle soft.”
Together they walked to the top of a small hill, leading the horses behind them. At the summit, Joseph pointed into the distance, “One day all this will be mine.”
Elizabeth held her breath.
“This is one of my favourite places in the world because from here I can see my whole world. Is it not perfect?”
“Yes, it is perfect.”
“I like to ride up here quite often. It reminds me of my place in the world.”
Elizabeth gazed at the countryside and waited expectantly. The last three months had been leading up to this point and she had already decided to accept his proposal.
The marriage would be a good match. Her connections and his wealth, not to mention their well bred good looks, would make them a formidable couple.
Elizabeth had been brought up to play the role of lady of the manor and now at last, it seemed her parents’ wishes would come true. All those hours learning how to speak, act and dress correctly for every occasion were finally going to come to fruition.
“Elizabeth?”
She turned to look at him.
Joseph found himself drowning in those soft brown eyes. Was that a fleck of green in her left iris? He felt that he could stare into her eyes for ever and lose himself. He tore his eyes from hers and was immediately mesmerized by the curve of her ruby lips. He reached out and tenderly tucked a stray strand of her hair back behind her ear. His fingers tingled as he brushed her flushed cheeks.
Just then a fox burst through the fence at the bottom of the hill and within seconds a loud baying heralded the arrival of the hounds in full cry.
With a laugh, Joseph turned to Elizabeth, “Come on! I’ll help you mount!” and so saying, he grabbed her around the waist and lifted her quickly into the saddle. His stallion was already moving as he swung himself astride and with a loud bellow, he kicked the animal in the ribs and set off at a gallop with Elizabeth not far behind.
“Tally-ho, tally-ho!” Joseph’s stallion needed no urging. The fox scaled a ditch quickly followed by the hounds. Joseph set his horse at the ditch, with a massive leap the magnificent stallion cleared the ditch with room to spare. Glancing back, Joseph noted that Elizabeth had turned her smaller horse towards an easier place to jump.
Soon the rest of the hunt had caught up and together, hoses and dogs thundered across the land, flying over fences and streaking across meadows in pursuit of the wily fox.
Suddenly the hounds became quiet and began to mill around aimlessly. “The fox has gone to ground!” The cry echoed around the countryside. Spectators on nearby hills pointed to where they had seen the fox vanish into a covert.
An hour later the Master of Foxhounds called off the hunt and the group reluctantly returned home.
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A Taste of Things to Come!

An Extract from a new Novel I’m Working on!

It’s a Paranormal Historical Romance! 

Joseph risked a quick glance over his shoulder and flashed Elizabeth a smile, “You’ll never catch up riding side saddle anyway!”
Elizabeth slowed her mare, “Joseph Hopwood! A lady always rides this way!”
Joseph leaned back in his saddle and the stallion responded at once, slowing his gait and allowing his master to bring him to a halt.
Elizabeth brought her mare to a halt beside the bigger stallion. “Why have you stopped?”
Joseph laughed and gazed into her beautiful brown eyes, “To let you catch up of course!”
To hide her confusion, Elizabeth looked back to where the rest of the horses and riders were still two fields away. The sounds of the hunting horns came closer while the baying of the hounds faded into the distance.

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Other Articles by the Author

The Girl in the Shadows – Review

The Girl in the Shadows – A short extract!

Stuff of Nightmares – 5 Short Stories to Help you Sleep…

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A Productive Week!

The task of marketing seems never ending for indie authors. There is always another site to submit to, a post to write, an ad to tweak – not to mention giveaways to keep up with, social media to be updated, queries to be answered. Sometimes it is hard to get down to the real work – writing!

This week has been fantastic. After spending the last three months concentrating on marketing I have finally settled back down to writing.

The Girl in the Shadows Part 3 – First draft almost complete. First edit well underway.

The Girl in the Shadows Part 4 Sean’s Story – First draft well underway.

A New Novel – Wait for it! An Historical Paranormal Romance! – First draft well underway.

The marketing has also been continuing at the same time and ratings and reviews are coming in – All 5 star this week!

The Girl in the Shadows Part 1 Goodreads giveaway ending tonight – 1726 people requesting it as I write (with a few hours still to run).

Goodreads ad promotion still running.

At times it can be hard when you are struggling to get your books out there but the secret is DON’T GIVE UP!

My dream of one day earning my living from writing is moving closer baby step by baby step.

In the meantime, it’s back to the writing!

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Growing up in Ireland

People often ask me if the Girl in the Shadows is about my own life. No, it is a work of fiction but I have used my experiences of rural life in Ireland to add flavor and depth to the series.

My Grandparents lived on a hilly farm in Co Kerry. My Dad and I used to visit them regularly from our farm in West Cork. I always volunteered for the trip (about 50 miles over the mountains) as I loved meeting my extended family – Uncles, Aunts and Cousins.

As soon as we arrived my Grandfather would pour a shot glass of Irish whiskey for my Dad. My Grandmother would hang the blackened kettle over the fire and put a few pinches of tea leaves into the battered stainless steel tea pot.

While the kettle was boiling my Grandmother would cut slices of sweet currant cake and place the pound of butter on the bord (table). Cups would be taken off the dresser and the fine turf ash rinsed out of them with a little water from the bucket. The rest of the water would be poured into  a bowl and the empty bucket would be handed to me.

The well was a shallow hole in the ditch a few hundred yards down the road, filled by water dripping off the hill behind it. An old piece of wood was lodged over the hole to keep the worst of the dirt and debris out of the well and this would have to be carefully replaced once the bucket was full. It took a bit of practice to fill the bucket without stirring up dirt from the bottom of the well.

By the time I got back to the house the tea would be on the table and the currant cake would be buttered.

Sometimes, if we arrived early we would have bacon and cabbage with boiled spuds. My Grandmother used to show off the beautiful bacon with its two inches of fat, “Did you ever see a finer piece of meat?”

After eating I would help my Grandmother wash the ware. She always used Daz washing powder for the job. She never saw the point in getting washing up liquid when the clothes washing powder did the same thing.

My Dad would help my Grandad haul in a massive piece of tree trunk and this would be laid in the hearth on top of the glowing embers.This chunk of wood slowly burnt in the middle and when the fire needed making up, the two sides were simply pushed together. A few pieces of turf were thrown on top for good measure.

My Grandfather would take us on a walk around the farm, starting with the steep hill behind the house where the sheep were grazed and finishing up down by the river where the two or sometimes three, cows were kept. We would drive the cows home for milking.

It was my Grandmother’s job to milk the cows and I loved watching her as she filled the buckets with the creamy milk. The cow shed smelt of bracken as this was the bedding used by my Grandfather – straw was unknown on the mountain.

My Grandmother would pour a little milk into a bowl just inside the cow shed, “For the cats, they keep the mice away.”

After milking the men would drive the cows back down to the river fields.

As darkness began to fall the rest of my Dad’s family began to arrive bringing their own families with them. The parents would sit in the house drinking tea and playing cards while we younger ones played outside or just sat around in groups.

My cousins were as fascinated by my life in Cork as I was by their lives in Kerry. The counties are side by side but sometimes it seemed like a whole world away.

As the evening wore on we made our way into the fire and watched the card games and listened to the chatter.

Finally, the table was pushed back against the wall and everyone pulled up a seat to the fire.

“So! Who’s first for a song?”

One by one we all sang for the company. My cousins had some of the sweetest voices I have ever heard and I was always embarrassed to follow them but everyone clapped, praised and thanked each of the singers in turn so I never really minded.

All too soon it was time for Dad and I to say our goodbyes and head back over the mountains. I consoled myself with the knowledge that in a few short weeks we would be back again.

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