My Short Story Countryside Reveal Appears In This Week’s Woman’s Way!

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My short story Countryside Reveal is in this week’s Woman’s Way. It is one of four stories to appear in the fiction special this week.

 

The story appears alongside Diana Coxhead’s Allie-Millie, Eva Burke’s Iris and Geraldine Boylan’s Pay It Forward. Each of our short stories is accompanied by wonderful photographs by four photographers. My story is accompanied by a beautifully romantic image of a couple by Scott Webb.  A big thank you to Scott. They perfectly captured what Ray and Ciara looked like in my head which was really cool. Allie-Millie’s photo is by Alaric Duan, Iris’ photo is by Eric Ward and Pay It Forward’s photo is by Abdiel Ibarra. Thank you as always to Aine Toner and the team at Woman’s Way for including my story. It was wonderful to be featured alongside such wonderful writers and photographers.

I really loved writing this story. I loved Ciara and Ray and the romance and beauty of their love. It’s my eighth story under my own name and my tenth in all so I’m very proud of that milestone. 🙂

 

If you want to check out my story and the entire fiction collection Woman’s Way is on sale here in Ireland up to Monday. Thank you in advance if you do check it out. 🙂

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My Book Rory Murphy Mysteries: Trip To Birmingham Is Now Available On Amazon!

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I am pleased to announce that the second book in my Rory Murphy Mysteries series is now available on Amazon!

 

Rory Murphy Mysteries: Trip To Birmingham is the second book after Rory Murphy Mysteries: The Church Murders. It’s a lot sooner out than I thought it would be but when I got into the flow of it it took on it’s own life. The story carries on from the epilogue of the first book and we find out that the body on the waste disposal site is a 48-year-old woman Lucinda Evans who owned a pub with her family called The Velvet Hen in Birmingham. The book is set mostly in Birmingham but some of it is in London too where my protagonist Rory, his boyfriend Joseph and their mates and fellow couple Steven and Simon are living. As they investigate they face a problem: everyone apparently loved Lucinda.

 

I loved writing it. Rory is from Dublin and he has that Dublin humour that just makes the books a dream to write. If you choose to give the book a go, I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it and thanks so much in advance. 🙂

 

To purchase Rory Murphy Mysteries: Trip To Birmingham go to:

 

And to purchase the first book in the series Rory Murphy Mysteries: The Church Murders go to:

Writing 101: Writer’s Block

 

 

So everyone hi and welcome to the final part of Writing 101. Today’s topic is something we all deal with (unless we are a genius!) dear old writer’s block. I’m currently writing two books at the one time (not something I’d advise but there you go) and I’m having a lot of writer’s block. Getting from A to B without sounding like it’s contrived to get there is a pain in the backside quite frankly. But it’s doable (Got to keep telling ourselves that!) so without further ado here is my tips for overcoming the demon that is writer’s block …

 

  1. Let Your Mind Run Free

In my own experiences, I had very little writer’s block when I was younger. Maybe it was because getting the books out there seemed longer in the future. Now with Amazon, it’s pretty much when you’re ready you have the opportunity to put it out there. At the time I was just working on my craft trying to improve and there was no near pressure that someone other than my sister might read it so maybe that’s why I let my mind run free and don’t seem to be as free with my writing now as I was then. Or my brain’s just got older and slowed down! Much of writer’s block is I feel that we are scared to make mistakes and really, we shouldn’t be because it can be fixed if it isn’t right. But I think as humans, we tend to like to get it right first time and as we all know, that doesn’t always happen. So in short, if you have an idea run with it. Try out any idea, get the creative juices flowing and soon enough you should be back in the swing of things.

 

2. Think Outside The Box

Don’t try to write something like you think it should be. Sometimes we get too wrapped up in our own heads about how something will be perceived by a reader. Now of course the reader is the most important person but most readers, me included, don’t know we’re going to like a book before we read it and might be pleasantly surprised. Don’t be scared of crossing genres. For instance, if you’ve set out to write a romance and suddenly it becomes a romance thriller, if it feels right continue down that path. It could be the making of a great book. Don’t pigeon-hole yourself. Trust your gut. 9 times out of 10, it’s usually right.

 

3. Watch Documentaries, Films, Anything

As writers, we tend to get inspiration from everywhere so take time away from your writing (or watch it while you’re writing) and chances are something will come to mind from something you’ve watched. Obviously I don’t mean take their ideas but get inspiration from them. Watch things about your subject, watch things not about your subject, you can get ideas from everything. It also helps clear your brain and give you more energy to write. Alternatively go for a long walk or to a coffee shop. This will give you inspiration and give your mind the energy to continue your work too.

 

4. Don’t Feel Bad

It’s a natural feeling but what use is it? Yes, as a writer you will feel like you should be able to do this because it’s your craft after all. But try to get rid of all of them thoughts to the best of your ability because they serve no purpose and only stop you from thinking of more productive thoughts for your book. We all get writer’s block so don’t feel bad about it. It’s just part of the profession.

 

5. Don’t Overthink

I believe very strongly that writing is a very natural process. I think the best writers are those who don’t overthink what they are doing. If it feels right, they write it. And with writer’s block, the same rules apply. Don’t try hard to come up with something. Brainstorm with casual ease. Sit down at the computer and see if you can at least add a few sentences. Don’t write continuously just to finish the book because you feel you should have it finished by now. Publisher’s deadlines are obviously an exception to this rule. By all means write lots if it comes to you even if you might not end up using it all or any of it but don’t force out anything either and bust your brain cells doing so. Let it come naturally. Eventually it always does in the end so stay positive.

 

Key Points Summary

  • All writers get writer’s block.
  • Try out any idea, get the creative juices flowing and soon enough you should be back in the swing of things.
  • Think outside the box. Don’t be put off by your story moving into a different genre or cross of genres and/or a new direction.
  • Take inspiration from many sources. Clear your head and re-energise your brain. This will help you get back flowing with sentences soon enough.
  • Don’t feel bad because your work isn’t going as smoothly as planned. It happens us all at different times.
  • Don’t overthink things. Writing is a natural process.

 

 

Writing 101: Publishing

 

 

Hello everyone and welcome to part 9 of my 10-part series Writing 101. It’s strange to think this series started in 2017 and will end in 2018. Thank you all for joining me for part 9 which is about publishing.

 

Yes, publishing, the ‘ole cherry on top of your writing journey. Seems simple but in reality, it’s not quite as simple as anyone who got to that stage and is ready to publish knows. We live in a very different world to older days when you relied on a publishing house to like your work. That option still of course exists but now we have a world of choice. Without further ado let’s get into the world of publishing …

 

 

  1. Believe In Your Work

 

Ok, I hear you: what’s she going on about? This is publishing. It’s the business end. And that’s very valid. But in truth if you believe in your work, you are more likely to still publish it when that publishing house possibly turns you down. I don’t want to dampen the dream, I’ve been there, but realistically, it’s not going to happen for all of us. You might be the lucky one in 100 but more likely with statistics you won’t be and I want to say still believe in your work. It’s one or a couple of peoples’ opinion/opinions. It doesn’t mean your work is bad. Heck publishing houses are not always right. You created this work, it relies on you, as much as a non-feeling script does, to bring it to light. You owe it to your work if you believe in it. And you never know, someday you might find another publishing house who loves your work down the line. We learn as writers who we are suited to and basically we should take baby steps but if you love what you have written, get it out there by any means possible within limit.

 

2. Where To Publish

 

There is numerous publishing houses, both indie and well-known as well as in-between as well as many others. I started sending to some publishers. I was a bit impatient. So I turned to Amazon. There is also so many others out there from indie to well-known and self-publishing. Where you publish depends on yourself. There is really no right way or wrong way so long as you know there’s good and bad books in all. People think your career is either one or the other. Maybe it is for some and that’s their way. Most of us ebb between them all just wanting to get our characters out there. Because we love them. Most unbusiness-like statement but there you go. (Apart from Amir in my new book that I’m writing, can’t stand him, not a promotion moment, just had to say it, sorry.) What I’m saying is that it doesn’t matter. As a reader, I have read good, bad, inbetween books from so many places that where they are published ceases to matter anymore. Publish wherever and don’t worry about the snobbery or the fall-out.

 

3. But …?

 

And this is important my fellow writers, when I say publish wherever, I don’t mean vanity publishers. It’s very enticing when you are starting out. Very. I was enticed when I was younger by them. They offer you what you always wished of: your title published and your name on the book cover. But they want you to pay for it. Always a bad sign. Don’t go there. You can’t get it published by a publisher, run to Amazon and co … run from vanity publishers. They haven’t you or your book’s best interests at heart.

 

4. Some publishers

 

Here’s a few websites with some details:

 

https://www.writing.ie/resources/irish-publishers/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English-language_book_publishing_companies

http://www.lorillake.com/glbt_pub.html

 

5. Your Publisher Must Get Your Work

 

Research publishers. Read books by the writers from the company. Get a feel for their work and what they publish. We all jump head first in when we start or most of us do in any case. Your work must suit the company, not the other way around. Don’t write to be accepted by a company. Write what you want and research a company who wants what you’ve written.

 

 Key Points Summary

  • There is many options in publishing in our world nowadays.
  • Believe in your work and don’t take rejection personally.
  • You have options ranging from publishers to Amazon and beyond …
  • However avoid vanity publishers.
  • Make sure your work fits the company, don’t try to fit the company’s work. And research, research, research ….

 

 

 

 

 

Trumpet Blowing Moments

 

Throughout life we all have trumpet blowing moments. Moments where things come together in some way and suddenly make sense. In just 27 years I have had my share of those but hope to live much longer and in consequence experience more of them! 🙂

Going back to when I was a kid, I experienced my first trumpet moment very early. For most of my school life I was bullied and one of the plus points that came from that awful situation was that I gained an empathy with people who were treated wrongly because they are deemed different in some way. After all, the reason I was bullied was that I was an introvert and that was seen as different. I also acquired from that a sense of never changing who you are for anyone. If you do that you’ll constantly be doing that to fit the company you’re in. I seen books which said shyness was wrong, many people who felt I was ‘too quiet’ but I was happy being who I was. And I knew early on that no one should make themselves unhappy to fit a model of society’s ‘perfection’. I would like to think I would have known all of this anyway even I hadn’t been bullied. But been bullied definitely had a huge impact on my feelings in these regards. Bullying is at heart singling somebody out because of a difference in some way and as I’ve grew older I’ve felt that prejudice is the exact same thing did in adult society, done slightly more politely and diplomatically often but with the same starting point: a dislike of difference. That’s why when those with bigoted and negative views turn around and claim they are facing prejudice from people standing up to them, it makes me laugh. It’s like a bully in a playground saying people are getting at them because they tell them they are wrong and no better than anyone else.

 

As I got older I knew someone very close to me who suffered from depression. Though I don’t see depression as a stigma, the person I’m talking about did and it caused them a lot of stress and worry. Because of that I won’t mention who the person is in this discussion. But though I had no prejudices about depression beforehand, I came away with knowing secondhand what depression was like. It’s quite difficult seeing someone you love to bits suffering so much and knowing you can’t do anything to ease their pain. After all depression doesn’t work like that. There isn’t a magic cure. But it was nothing compared to what this person went through. And what I realised from that time was that even though we don’t all have depression in our lives every single one of us experience moments of deep sadness where we’re close to being depressed. So it’s really hypocritical when people judge others for human responses to a world none of us completely understands.

 

I always wrote from very early in my life. But a trumpet moment was five years ago when I threw myself almost completely into writing over any other profession. Things weren’t working out too well in other professions. The employment market wasn’t great and still isn’t so I said what the hell? I might as well do what I like doing instead of worrying about the future. Besides without meaning to sound cocky, I knew I wasn’t too bad at it. And I wasn’t much good at anything else so … and then the future I was worried about opened up from there on it’s own. Things happened in writing like they didn’t in other professions. I got published and then published some more. And I’m still on that journey. And I suppose the realisation of that is that things happened because I cared about what I was doing and people could see that. With everything else they must have seen it wasn’t authentic.

 

The final two realisations came in the last few years. I realised that I was pansexual and an atheist. During your twenties, you kind of find that you are searching to find out more about yourself and as you find more and more pieces of truth about yourself you become even happier and more relaxed in yourself. I thought I was straight and catholic. I was brought up catholic and had attended catholic schools growing up. Now I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with being straight or catholic but neither of them were me and there was clearly an unhappiness there in me that I wasn’t aware of because when I realised I was pansexual and an atheist I felt happier and freer. I suppose it goes back to authentic again, it felt real and from that comes inner peace and happiness. I remember soon after I realised I was pansexual I briefly worried about prejudice I’d face until my wonderful sister reminded me that I’d faced and came through worse. By the time I realised I was an atheist after that, I didn’t worry about prejudice I’d face about that because yes, I had come through much worse and I would continue to survive over and over. And knowing you’ll survive, that’s a trumpet moment in and of itself.

 

The idea for this blog post came from Kathryn who runs the blog Let’s Talk Depression. You can read Kathryn’s brilliant blog post here entitled Trumpet Blowing Moments – Speak The Truth:

https://letstalkdepress.com/2017/12/08/trumpet-blowing-moments-speak-the-truth/

 

 

 

My Short Story Family Christmas Appears In Woman’s Way!

 

My short story Family Christmas appears in the latest issue of Woman’s Way here in Ireland. It is my 9th story to appear in the magazine but is my first seasonal story to appear. The illustrations as always that the magazine put with the story are wonderful and help bring the story to life on the page. It is one of two short stories to appear in the magazine this week. Winnie’s Burke’s wonderful short story Stranger Than Fiction is also in the issue and is a brilliant read.

I loved Lucy and Francis and their wonderful family with Holly and Cody. If you get a chance to read the story I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

Writing 101: Editing

 

Hello everyone and welcome to part 8 of Writing 101. Today’s lesson is about editing. It is a vital part of the process but one which doesn’t bring a lot of enjoyment to many writers including myself. Personally it’s the part of the job I absolutely dread. It is probably because we are more creative in nature and editing ain’t creative. But it needs to be done.

So without further ado, let’s talk about the little monster called editing …

 

1.   Take Your Time

It is a very tedious process so you will have a desire to run through it. But don’t. Stay calm and do it at your own pace. Think of the big picture: you don’t want your book that you are very proud of littered with mistakes and loopholes. This is overlooked often but it is probably the best advice I could give you for editing so take your time and take each error one by one.

 

2.   Don’t Lose The Naturalness

When you are editing, there may be a feeling of wanting to take out chunks of text. But second-guess it for a minute. There may have been a reason you put it in in the first place. While most of your plot needs to move the story forward, I do think you need to leave in things that don’t. In everyday life, not every piece of dialogue or everything that happens is for a major reason or has major consequences so leave some of these moments in as they will make your story seem more natural and your characters seem more real.

 

3.    So How Many Drafts Should I Do?

That’s completely up to you. You could do ten drafts, you could go straight from draft to editing. A lot of writers do 2-3 drafts but you have to go with what you feel is right. It’s just all about when you personally feel the book is right. As long as you aren’t throwing out anything or over-editing your book then it’s perfect. If you don’t do many drafts, don’t feel lazy, it’s simply your writing style. And don’t be put off by writers who do lots of drafts. That’s just their writing style or they don’t do as many drafts as they let on.

 

4.     Spellcheck, Spellcheck, Spellcheck

With the amount of spellcheck websites you can find on the internet, you have no excuses for having lots of spelling errors anymore. Be careful though of Spellchecks as occasionally your word may be right and it gets confused. It’s rare so don’t worry too much about it. But 99% of the time, Spellchecks will be your best friend while editing so make use of them.

Some Spellcheck sites to check out:

http://www.spellcheck.net/

https://www.jspell.com/public-spell-checker.html

http://www.online-spellcheck.com/

Also if your piece needs to be a certain amount of words, Word Count sites will be a great help:

http://www.online-spellcheck.com/

https://wordcounttools.com/

https://www.countofwords.com/

 

5.   After Editing, How Will I Know It’s Right?

Reading is subjective so you will never know if it’s right for every reader. It won’t be. But you can only go on yourself reading the final manuscript and those around you. If you and those around you like it, go with it. When you have did all you can, be brave with your stories, believe in them even if someone else doesn’t. Learn from feedback but don’t be discouraged. Learn and put it to use in your next book. Even best-selling writers are always learning.

 

 Key Points Summary

  • Many writers don’t like editing. But it needs to be done.
  • Take your time to edit your book. Don’t rush through the process even if you really want to.
  • Don’t lose the naturalness of the story. While most things need to be there for a reason and plot progression, not everything needs to be. You need moments of mundane, everyday elements to make your story and characters more relatable.
  • You could do ten drafts, you could go straight from draft to editing. A lot of writers do 2-3 drafts but you have to go with what you feel is right.
  • Make use of Spellcheck and Word Count sites to help you in the editing process.
  • If you and those around like your book, let it’s wings fly. You need to trust the judgment of yourself and the people helping you.
  • Learn from any feedback you get but don’t be discouraged or take it personally. Keep writing and incorporate the feedback into your next book.