2016 – Farewell

The last day of 2016 is here and I, for one, am ready to bid it farewell.  It’s been a year of fantastic highs and some hard-hitting lows – a true rollercoaster.  However, there is one thing I achieved this year that I had dreamed of doing all my life and that is publishing my first full length novel – Someone To Come Back To.

STCBT-for-web

Someone To Come Back To  – Book one in the Omega Security Series

I’m a great believer in marking special occasions – as life is simply too short not to – and celebrated the launch of the ebook online with a wonderful party.  A few months later the paperback version was released and the first copies arrived in Brisbane and how wonderful it was to finally hold my baby in my hands!  I decided another party was needed but this time I needed to pop some real corks! Below are a few photos of the event back in August. I’d like to thank all those who have supported me on my writing journey so far – from all over the world!  It means so much to me that you love my stories.  I’d like to wish you all the very, very best for 2017 – much love, Roisin.

Bubbles & Books – A Perfect Combination!

 

The Marketing Director – Getting Ready To Party!

 

Me And A Much More Talented Lady – Brisbane Based Artist Julie Cane

 

My Beautiful Brisbane Book Babes!

 

CK And Me!

 

Feeling Slightly Like Shakespeare As I Sign By Candlelight

 

Looking Slightly Psycho With The Lovely Pauline!

 

My Babies!

 

How Writers Roll

It’s Monday. It’s raining. It’s beautiful.  The kids are gone back to school and I am surrounded by blessed silence tempered only by the drip, drop, pat, pat, pat of raindrops.

School holidays for me mean no writing and as much as I love and adore my children, this causes me a certain amount of frustration, especially because I’m not the type of person who can easily pick up a story, like a piece of thread and just start sewing it together again.  No, I need to ease myself back into it, to pick up the mood and re-acquaint myself with my characters.  That’s just how this writer rolls.

The story I’m currently working on is about a man who has decided love is not for him.  Of course fate has other ideas.  Over the next few weeks I will be dealing with the crux of the story and its main theme – love.  So, in order to “pick up the mood” and find some inspiration for hopefully some decent writing over the coming weeks I’ve been listening to Ed Sheeran and reading love poetry.  Not a bad way to pass a rainy Monday!  In my efforts to find inspiration I came across this stunningly beautiful poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox and I’d like to share it with you.  Its so incredibly beautiful and yet astute in its observation of the physical and emotional state that is love. It blew me away.  Enjoy.

Love’s Language

How does Love speak?
In the faint flush upon the telltale cheek,
And in the pallor that succeeds it; by
The quivering lid of an averted eye–
The smile that proves the parent to a sigh
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
By the uneven heart-throbs, and the freak
Of bounding pulses that stand still and ache,
While new emotions, like strange barges, make
Along vein-channels their disturbing course;
Still as the dawn, and with the dawn’s swift force–
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
In the avoidance of that which we seek–
The sudden silence and reserve when near–
The eye that glistens with an unshed tear–
The joy that seems the counterpart of fear,
As the alarmed heart leaps in the breast,
And knows, and names, and greets its godlike guest–
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
In the proud spirit suddenly grown meek–
The haughty heart grown humble; in the tender
And unnamed light that floods the world with splendor;
In the resemblance which the fond eyes trace
In all fair things to one beloved face;
In the shy touch of hands that thrill and tremble;
In looks and lips that can no more dissemble–
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
In the wild words that uttered seem so weak
They shrink ashamed in silence; in the fire
Glance strikes with glance, swift flashing high and higher,
Like lightnings that precede the mighty storm;
In the deep, soulful stillness; in the warm,
Impassioned tide that sweeps through throbbing veins,
Between the shores of keen delights and pains;
In the embrace where madness melts in bliss,
And in the convulsive rapture of a kiss–
Thus doth Love speak.

I’m A Writer – Will I Starve?

Suffering from serious crisis of confidence this morning and wondering if I’m chasing some sort of fool’s folly (well it is Monday!) so I’ve spent the past few hours cruising the internet for inspiration and came across this great talk by successful indie author Linda Gillard, speaking at the Edinburgh Publishing Conference 2013.  Her talk starts at 28 minutes. Interestingly her talk is followed by Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords.  Enjoy!

Remember Me – Inspirations Part Two

The west of Ireland is a place that has inspired writers and artists for hundreds of years.  If you have any sort of creative inkling in you at all then you can’t spend any amount of time there without drawing an abundance of inspiration from its stunning natural beauty and cultural heritage.  I was lucky enough to grow up and attend university here and after a few years working in Dublin, I returned and spent the first ten years of married life in a small, renovated cottage on the shores of Lough Mask.

It was during this time I had the opportunity to acquaint myself with a number of the historical houses of counties Mayo and Galway.  Many of these properties became the ultimate status symbol during the Celtic Tiger and others became the targets of developers, as featured in  the storyline of Remember Me. Practically all of these houses were designed by the most talented architects of the day and all of them are built in stunning locations.  They are beautiful testaments to a bygone era and as the general architecture of Ireland continues to evolve they stand as eternal links to the past.

Two of these houses in particular served as the main inspiration for Carra House, in Remember Me. Carra House is a fictional amalgam of these two houses, which I’d like to share with you.

The first one is Partry House.   It was built in 1667 by Arthur Lynch as a dowager house for his widowed mother.  It’s a stunning property with a wonderful feeling of warmth in it which is missing in so many historical houses.  It also has a beautiful gate lodge, which is the inspiration for the gate lodge in Remember Me.

Historical House

Partry House, Co. Mayo.

The second one is Cloonee House, built in 1775 as a hunting lodge for the Brown family of Westport House and nestled on the shores of Lough Carra, one of Ireland’s best fishing lakes.

Old house on shores of a lake

Cloonee House

During my time living nearby, it was owned by the local vet, who very kindly looked after my dog whenever I was away.  I always loved dropping him off and collecting him from this amazing property.  The private road up to it is hairy, as described in Remember Me but the drive is well worth it when you round the last bend and arrive at this stunning location.  The scene where Flynn arrives at Carra House and makes a dash up the front steps and opens the ancient door, is a scene straight from my own memories.

I arrived one very dark evening to collect Rock and there didn’t seem to be anyone home even though lights glowed all over the house.  The rain was monsoon-like and I didn’t fancy getting out of the car as I usually did and wandering around the property till I found someone.  So, I decided to use modern technology to solve my dilemma and phoned.  George answered and told me they were in the kitchen at the back of the house, just finishing their dinner and that I should come in the front door and go into the drawing room and wait for them there.  So, just as Flynn does in Remember Me, I dashed up the front steps, opened the huge front door and let myself in.  A beautiful, antique brass umbrella holder stood just inside the door and the entrance hall was decidedly chilly.  However, I’ve never forgotten the warmth and intoxicating smell of the log fire that enveloped me as I opened the door to the drawing room.  The fire spit and crackled, an old leather armchair stood empty in front of its flames and the room was full of antiques and history.  I stood there and breathed it all in as I imagined a man sitting in that chair, a man with a past, brooding and plotting as he stared at the flames and fuelled his plans for revenge with a glass of one of Ireland’s finest whiskey’s.

Photo of a bottle of Jameson Whiskey

Jameson – One Of Flynn’s Favourite Tipples

It’s taken me a while to bring that man from the dark depths of my imagination into the bright light of reality but I’m so glad for those few minutes in the drawing room of Cloonee House where the idea of him was born.

As an interesting footnote, I’m not the only writer to have found inspiration at Cloonee House.  D.H. Lawrence availed of its peace and tranquillity to write part of his novel “Women In Love” there.

As I said – the west of Ireland, a magical place that never fails to inspire.

Lakeshore

The Sparkling Waters of Lough Carra

Commitments, Contingencies and Coping With The Unexpected

It’s one thing to commit to a blog. It’s another thing entirely to find the time to actually write it!  When I committed to this blog a number of months ago I had a long hard think about whether or not it was a good idea to even start it if I was never going to have the time to attend to it.  I looked at all the commitments I have, sized up where I could adjust my schedule, allowed for contingencies and decided I could manage it. My aim each week is to have a post up by the weekend and failing that at least by Sunday morning at the very latest.  So far I’ve been doing ok…… until last week and the week before that…….  And here is the problem – when it came to allowing for contingencies I couldn’t have imagined a total crash of my computer system or, just the week after that catastrophic event, the arrival of a super-storm!  I had been thinking along the lines of sick kids, school holidays and unexpected visitors.  Obviously I need to up my contingencies game.  So, note to self – when it comes to planning contingencies in the future perhaps I should plan for bigger contingencies than most.  Mind you, contingencies don’t come much bigger than the super-storm that hit Brisbane last Thursday!

photo of jellyfish shaped storm cloud over water

The Beast

Two storm cells came together and formed The Beast – A Supercell Thunderstorm that unleashed hell on Brisbane in just over an hour.   One minute I was out the back of the house in blazing sunshine and sweating my tooshie off and the next I was looking out my front door, with my jaw on the floor.  “Oh dear,” I whispered as I stared at the sky with cold blasts of air rushing over me, “what’s this?”
Within seconds, a strange cracking sound started, then a blast of thunder exploded over the house. The sky was totally dark by now and it was as if night had descended upon us but not for long as sheets of lightning lit up the landscape.  And then they came – golf ball sized hail stones catapulted out of the sky and pummelled everything around them.  The noise was deafening.

One of The Lumps of Ice That Hit Brisbane During the Super-Storm

One of The Lumps of Ice That Hit Brisbane During the Super-Storm

Now, it should be said I’m from an island on the west coast of Ireland and am no stranger to the fury of mother nature.  Storms on Achill are brutal and fierce and I’ve experienced some of the worst. However, in all my days, I have never seen hail stones the size of golf balls!  And we were lucky, as the storm intensified, hail the size of tennis balls fell in other parts of the city and how it fell!

A pile of Ice on the street

An Ice-pile

It rained down mercilessly, like God was emptying his Eski (local slang for cooler box.)  Nothing was safe and the damage has been extensive.

car damaged by hail in brisbane

Hail Damaged Car

Cars in particular were badly damaged.

Beige coloured car with window smashed in

A Lot of Cars In Brisbane Look Like This At The Moment

Many houses had their windows smashed and the office blocks of the CBD (Central Business District) also suffered.

Glass Office Building With Broken Panels

Beat Up Ofice Building In Brisbane CBD

Many people took shelter in the CBD only to find themselves being showered by hailstones and glass!
At about 5pm this is how Brisbane CBD looked.
Dark and foreboding sky

The Beast

Now if that’s not apocalyptic looking, then I don’t know what is!
As the hail abated the wind intensified and ripped through the city tearing up trees and taking roofs with it as it went.
Apartment with Roof Missing

Bye Bye Roof

Photo of UTE crushed by tree

Bye Bye UTE

Back in our part of town the hail had thankfully turned to rain and it was sheeting down.  Things were starting to look a little more like a “normal” storm.  Of course, power outtages and internet blackouts followed and so yours truly had to abandon all plans for posting on a Friday – again!
However, having seen all the post-storm damage I’m incredibly grateful that we came out of it totally unscathed and that nobody was killed.  I may have had to postpone a post till today but it’s not every day you get to write about having been in a superstorm.  Ah life in sub-tropical Australia – everything is bigger here – especially life’s little contingencies.

A Long Road

Doris Lessing Quote

I don’t ever remember making a conscious decision to be a writer but I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write.  I can clearly recall being eight year’s old and my teacher asking me to write a story about being stranded on a desert island.  I immediately set myself to the task and became so lost in the world I created, I forgot to go to lunch and kept on writing.  She returned to the classroom to find me still scribbling away.  To this day I can remember the details of that story and the joy I felt as I realized I finally had the skills to translate my imaginings into words.  Life moved on and I expressed myself in the written word as much as I possibly could and I dreamed of becoming a journalist and spending my every waking hour with a word processor.  But this was the late eighties in Ireland when journalism was considered a most precarious profession and not altogether suited to a girl.  So, I found myself in university studying English and by the time I was finished was convinced I couldn’t write anything of any worth so what was the point.  Many years of distraction and diversion followed but underlying it all was a nagging need to write, to find an outlet for all the curiosity and wondering in my brain.  It wouldn’t let me be so I finally gave in and went back to college and a course in journalism resulted in a career as a journalist.  Turns out I could successfully string a few sentences together.  However, as much as I loved chasing a story, putting in the research and crafting an article into shape, I was still left with the  problem of what to do with all the stories running around my head.  I took a few of them and presented them to publishers and agents and, in that time honoured fashion so familiar to authors, I duly received rejection after soul-destroying rejection.  Time was moving on, my bank balance was  beyond critical and my life was being held ransom to a dream.  Other sources of much needed income beckoned and  then the greatest diversion of them all  happened – motherhood.  Writing aspirations found themselves buried underneath nappies, endless bottles, vomit, fevers,  tantrums, cleaning, washing, feeding and the general drudge that comes with motherhood.  Oh and let’s not forget – all of it  on little or no sleep.  My brain simply went numb and on my more lucid days I seemed to remember I could do something  with my fingers other than mash avocado but couldn’t for the life of me remember what that was…..

However, whilst I was ensconced on planet mummy, a revolution was taking place in the publishing world.  An online company called Amazon were inviting  anyone to submit their work.  Detractors said it would never catch on and the rest, as they say, is history.  When I finally managed to send my cherubs off to school, the first thing I did was treat myself to a new computer, complete with the latest  edition of Word.  I’d spent seven years with stories running around my head and I unleashed my stiff and frustrated fingers onto the keyboard.  The result was three distinct short stories:

malooey_unfinishedbusiness3dcropped-malooey_a5-copy.pngmalooey_deadbody3d

After losing years on the traditional publishing  merry-go-round I decided to embrace the revolution and publish independently on Amazon.  I’m loving the freedom and independence it affords me and the thrill of finally seeing my work in print  is indescribable.  All those years  ago my little desert island story ended up being published in a collection of stories from school-children.  It’s been a long road but I’m finally a published author again.  I hope you enjoy my three offerings and will join me on the rest of  my journey.  Happy reading – Roisin.