Saturday, November 9, 2013

Today, 5 years ago, it all began. . .

It's hard to believe but this time 5 years ago I started this blog.

Truth be told, when I started I'd imagined that I would be a published author by now.

However, real life happens and nothing worth having comes easy.

So, I just wanted to mark this moment in time and say although my posts haven not been the most constant, my readers/friends certainly have been.

Thank you for sticking with me on this long and twisty journey xxx

Monday, October 21, 2013

My first interview!!!

I just completed my first interview EVER!

 Thank you so much to Sue London and her website Writing Insight.

As part of her Fresh Voices series, she interviews (soon-to-be) favourite authors!

(I hope!!)

 So if you've time - check my interview out here   :D

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Final Countdown. . .

It's the FINAL COUNTDOWN!! Or at least I hope it is!

 My submission date is fast approaching (oh God oh God!!) and I'm in the panics.

 I doubt I will get this thesis done (and if I do. . . will it be up to scratch??).

Following this, I then have my viva/defense. . .and then hopefully I shall be done (apart from changes needed).

 Literally (see below) counting the days that I'm back to the fiction writing and blogging :)

 See you soon!!


 And for your earworm pleasure, I give you . . .


Friday, August 30, 2013

RIP Seamus Heaney

Absolutely devastated to hear the news that Seamus Heaney, Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in literature has died today.

There are no words to describe this man's impact on Irish poetry, literature and society.

The only thing I can think of, is to share one of my favourite Heaney poems.

From Seamus Heaney's "North" collection, 1975


There was a sunlit absence.

The helmeted pump in the yard
heated its iron,
water honeyed

in the slung bucket
and the sun stood
like a griddle cooling
against the wall

of each long afternoon.
So, her hands scuffled
over the bakeboard,
the reddening stove

sent its plaque of heat
against her where she stood
in a floury apron
by the window.

Now she dusts the board
with a goose's wing,
now sits, broad-lapped,
with whitened nails

and measling shins:
here is a space
again, the scone rising
to the tick of two clocks.

And here is love
like a tinsmith's scoop
sunk past its gleam
in the meal-bin.

Rest In Peace, Seamus Heaney, you were much loved and shall always be missed.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

So what do YOU want?

Well it's been a while . . . I hope everyone is well (especially those of you still reading this blog ;)  ).

I've badly neglected this blog (and my writing) for the past year with the aim of finally finishing my PhD. Alas, I'm still doing my PhD (writing up now) and should be finished by the end of the summer.

Why then am I writing here - well I had an epiphany on St. Patrick's day weekend, in which I decided that I've spent far too much time waiting to write. . . "I'll wait until I've done my degree, then I'll take time off and write" . . . "I'll wait until I've done my masters, then I'll take time off and write". . . "I'll wait until I've done my PhD, then I'll take time off and write". . .

They say insanity is repeating the same action but expecting a different result each time. I've constantly prioritised other things over what I deem important to me. So I decided that enough was enough, I've been pushing out my dream of writing far too long - doing what was expected of me rather than what I wanted. It seems a small thing, but I decided that every morning, before i turned my email on, before I looked at stats or my literature review, I would sit down and write 500 words. Those 500 words or more would be for me. A small step every day toward my dream.

There is a wonderful quote by Robert Rowland Smith, which really struck a cord with me:
"You don't find happiness by trying to be happy. That would be like trying to overcome your hunger by thinking about eating. Just focus on doing what you love, stopping what you hate, and you might find that happiness is the unexpected result."
So since that weekend, I've steadily written 500 words or more a day. I shut up my inner editor, writing an utterly crap rough draft, which will be rewritten again and again and I've never been happier with myself. I still work on my PhD but I am doing this small thing for me, toward my dream and it certainly feels wonderful.

 So, if money wasn't an issue, and you had no responsibilities - what do YOU want to do ? The remarkable Alan Watts elaborates below!

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Soulless is the first of four parasol protectorate books which tells the story of Alexandra Tarrabotti, a half Italian spinster who also happens to be a 'preternatural' (aka soulless). A cross between PG Woodehouse and Jane Austen, Gail Carriger has created a wonderful alternative steampunk Victorian society in which werewolves and vampires are a key part of society.

After an attack from a strange vampire, Alexia, a preternatural/soulless (who has the ability to cancel out supernaturals) seeks to investigate what is happening to London's high society. However she isn't the only one as Lord Maccon, Alpha of the London pack and Head of BUR, with the help of his unflappable Beta, Prof. Lyall also seek answers to the unexpected new vampires and missing werewolves.

It's hard to put into words, how much I enjoyed this book (and it's sequels). Carriger is an extraordinary writer - she has created this wonderful world, with incredible characters, the most wickedly funny dialogue and all with a lovely dash of romance.  As an aspiring writer, reading (and rereading) this series make me want to weep because I will never write a book this well.

One of the main strengths of the book, is the characters. It is a rare (and lovely) thing when a reader becomes so attached to a set of characters - but it would be impossible not to with this book, as each individual character is so complete, it makes you want to cherish them. Even presumably 'minor' characters leap off the page and make you pay attention to their story.

So, if you enjoy intelligent and funny dialogue, excellent world-building and characters who stay with you long after you close the book - then this is for you.

But if you don't believe me - then simply read the below quotes. They show the wit and style that is the trademark of this series.And truly you'd have to be soulless not to at least crack a smile!!

 "A vampire, like a lady, never reveals his true age." 
 "My dearest girl,' said the vampire finally, examining Lord Maccon with an exhausted but appreciative eye, 'such a banquet. Never been one to favor werewolves myself, but he is very well equipped, now, is he not?' Miss Tarabotti gave him an arch look. 'My goodies,' she warned. 'Humans,' chuckled the vampire, 'so possessive'"
 "Miss Tarabotti was not one of life's milk-water misses--in fact, quite the opposite. Many a gentleman had likened his first meeting with her to downing a very strong cognac when one was expecting to imbibe fruit juice--that is to say, startling and apt to leave one with a distinct burning sensation" 
"Please, Lord Maccon, use one of the cups. My delicate sensibilities.” The earl actually snorted. “My dear Miss Tarabotti, if you possessed any such things, you certainly have never shown them to me" 
  "Hello, princess,” said Lord Maccon to the vampire. “Got yourself into quite a pickle this time, didn't you?” Lord Akeldama looked him up and down. “My sweet young naked boy, you are hardly one to talk. Not that I mind, of course" 
 "Mr. Haverbink bowed deeply, muscles rippling all up and down his back, and lumbered from the room. Miss Hisselpenny sighed and fluttered her fan. "Ah, for the countryside, what scenery there abides..., " quoth she. Miss Tarabotti giggled. "Ivy, what a positively wicked thing to say. Bravo.” "

Overall, an exceptional witty and fun read, with wonderful in-depth characters that will stay with you forever. Without further gushing, I give this book (and series) 5/5 moons!! 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's day everyone or rather Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh, hope you're all having a wonderful day :)

 To celebrate this day of Irishness, here are some quotes by famous writers on what it is to be Irish!

“When anyone asks me about the Irish character, I say look at the trees. Maimed, stark and misshapen, but ferociously tenacious.” — Edna O’Brien

“If one could only teach the English how to talk, and the Irish how to listen, society here would be quite civilized.” — Oscar Wilde

“Everything that we inherit, the rain, the skies, the speech, and anybody who works in the English language in Ireland knows that there’s the dead ghost of Gaelic in the language we use and listen to and that those things will reflect our Irish identity.” — John McGahern

“There is no language like the Irish for soothing and quieting.” — John Millington Synge

“Irish poets, learn your trade, sing whatever is well made, scorn the sort now growing up all out of shape from toe to top.” — W. B. Yeats

“I’m an Irish Catholic, and I have a long iceberg of guilt.” — Edna O’Brien

“Our Irish blunders are never blunders of the heart.” — Maria Edgeworth

“Put an Irishman on the spit and you can always get another Irishman to turn him.” — George Bernard Shaw

“My one claim to originality among Irishmen is that I have never made a speech.” — George Moore

“It’s not that the Irish are cynical. It’s rather that they have a wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody.” — Brendan Behan

“I think there’s something about the Irish experience — that we had to have a sense of humor or die. That’s what kept us going — a sense of absurdity, rather than humor.” — Frank McCourt

“I showed my appreciation of my native land in the usual Irish way: by getting out of it as soon as I possibly could.” — George Bernard Shaw

“Ireland is a fruitful mother of genius, but a barren nurse.” — John Boyle O’Reilly

“In Ireland, the inevitable never happens, and the unexpected constantly occurs.” — John Pentland Mahaffy

“Irishness is not primarily a question of birth or blood or language; it is the condition of being involved in the Irish situation, and usually of being mauled by it.” — Conor Cruise O’Brien

“An Irishman’s heart is nothing but his imagination.” — George Bernard Shaw

“When the Irishman is found outside of Ireland in another environment, he very often becomes a respected man. The economic and intellectual conditions that prevail in his own country do not permit the development of individuality. No one who has any self-respect stays in Ireland, but flees afar as though from a country that has undergone the visitation of an angered Jove.” — James Joyce

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