Small Steps Make the Journey Possible

It has been a while since I paid a visit to here, I think life has been a little upside down for us all. But I feel an update is required and so here I am! By taking small steps I am progressing in my writing life, plus it cancels out the terrifying feeling of being overwhelmed by all we must do.

I finished my Master’s in the University of Limerick and submitted my thesis at the end of August. Where did that year go? I loved every moment of it and would say to anyone of thinking of applying to do so.

My rights reverted back to me for my novels and so I am bringing them out again and they will be available in both formats, eBook and paperback. I am so thrilled about that. I want to thank Tirgearr Publishing for being a supportive and friendly publisher to work with. I am working on two other novels at present. Plus I aim to submit an erotic romance novella soon also. I have submitted some short stories and memory articles to magazines which I am waiting on word of their acceptance or rejection, so fingers crossed lovely people.

In the mean time the two flash fiction stories I share with you (links below) were published and I was interviewed for a local radio station in the US by Tirgearr author, Becky Flade, something I really enjoyed.

This following story is particularly cute, The Orange Flowerpot. I was honoured to be the first author to write for their new children stories section. https://lockdownbabybabble.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/childrens-lit-the-orange-flowerpot-mary-bradford/

I was invited to write a flash of 500 words on the theme, The Summer of 2020. This was published on Ted Atoka’s, FaceBook page Tell Me A Story.

http://A Year like No Other , by Mary Bradford

That’s it for now dear readers. Continue to take care and stay safe.

Mary x

Editing my life.

How are you feeling these days?

It’s hard coming to terms with the different guidelines being thrown at us on all levels of media and even in personal conversations. I was in self-isolation a week before the country was put into Lockdown back in March. It was a long time to be indoors with my thoughts. Like most others, I painted, I did some gardening and of course, I crocheted.

But now that we are out of the different phases and the country is on the move again, we still need to be careful. If I learned anything during my months indoors it is how thin I had spread myself to keep up and connect with others. No wonder pre-CoVid-19 I was tired, stressed and playing catch-up with my time. Like you no doubt, I needed another day in the week to get done all that I thought I needed to do.

So it got me thinking about my life now, do I need to rush out and meet so and so for coffee, for a chat, connect again with the world like before? In fact, I was reminded of how when I edit my writing, my stories are stronger for it. Cutting out the unwanted or not needed baggage in my work is the same in looking after my health. This was brought home to me, even more, when I had to be tested for the Corona Virus, only a few days ago. It was negative thank God, but the worry while waiting was horrendous as I have heart issues. Even after doing everything by the book, how quickly life can change.

The world will keep spinning if I cull my social media presence. So I took the first step and closed some popular social media accounts. Next up is my friends’ list on Facebook. I honestly don’t know most of them because of no interaction. The people I do actually know, I often don’t get to read their posts. Facebook groups are to be culled. I’d rather be active in a few than popping in and skimming many without any real quality connection. In my everyday comings and goings, I have been selective too. I’m not being mean or anti-social, that is not my intention. I would rather be a good friend than one that only pretends to be.

I see all this as editing my life. I will be stronger and better for it.

So think about the stressed-out areas in your life and see if you can make changes that benefit both you and those you love.

What have you learned during lockdown that can improve your way of living?

 

Take the Positives in Life

Hey dear friends, with life on a roller coaster right now, it is easy to lose sight of what makes us happy. There is so much sad news swirling around through all media sources. I have cut out the television, reduced reading the newspapers and when it comes to social media I do a quick scan. Yet I still get to hear the negativity that exists.

In making the decision to keep positive, to take the successes in life no matter what size, it fills me up with energy. A sense of being able to tackle the day no matter how tired I may be or how overwhelmed I feel. I remind myself, I have done well. I think of the nice review left by a reader, a text from a friend saying they were thinking of me, or a request to write a guest blog post for another writer. I’ve listened to bird song and sat in my garden more than before. Nothing life-changing in the grand scheme of things but important to my mind and well being, so therefore very important.

With this in mind, I want to share the latest good news I received. A poem I wrote in a whim was published on the pendemic.ie website and now along with other writers, it is to be archived for 100 years in University College Dublin library. Our wonderful President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins has shared a poem too that will be added to the collection. So I’m in wonderful company for sure.

http://pendemic.ie/self-isolation-a-poem-by-mary-bradford/

http://pendemic.ie/take-care-a-poem-by-president-of-ireland-uachtaran-na-heireann-michael-d-higgins/

http://pendemic.ie/announcement-pendemic-to-be-preserved-by-irish-poetry-reading-archive-at-ucd-library/

Look around you, listen to the good news stories. Take every nice word shared with you and store it all up for the doubtful days. It takes practice but like anything it can become a part of your daily habit.

Stay Safe x

 

 

Our Weary World, (my thoughts)

Hey folks, I don’t claim to be a poet nor would I but I like to sometimes put my thoughts in a poem structure of sorts. When I checked the news this morning, my heart sank. The world is lost, what’s next I asked myself, and then as I opened a blank page to continue with a work in progress, the below thoughts came out instead.

Stay safe wherever you are.

 

Our Weary World

Beginning to adjust to the new ways, lockdowns, social distancing

And missing family.

Battles within fought every few days

To keep focus for my own good and to save others.

Waking up to days without names, without function or

urgency.

A diseased heart dictates.

I could cope just about, then.

 

Now,

Our world is broken.

Not by new ways but old that lived,

secrets in shadows, until the masks, fell off.

From a simmering pot to boiling dry.

Its burning smoke choking us in reality.

The time, when living drenched in unfairness and injustice was never

gone to be no more.

Evil thrived unseen, unspoken, uncared about.

Weaved through society, hidden beneath layers of indifference and I’m alright Jack.

The world is weary, it wants us off, to leave,

to let nature claim it back,

from greed, disrespect, and power.

Who to blame for ruining the pot?

We all point the finger,

away.

When we should point it at ourselves.

 

 

 

 

Short Read 100 words

Back in March this year, I entered a competition for a 100 word story. The words, since sliced bread had to be a part of it. I’m happy to say I received an honourable mention for the below story, From Afar. This is a joy for me, anything positive in your writing life is a pat on the shoulder to say keep at it!!

Many congratulations to the winners. If you wish to enter the monthly flash fiction challenge then head over to Morgen Bailey’s blog for further details. Link beneath my story.

From Afar

I am in love. She sits there under the tree without a care in the world. I sit further away on a bench admiring her. Ask me anything about her and I’m sure I could answer. Her hair is russet red, her lips, a pale strawberry, her eyes, deep sapphire. She works at the checkout in Tesco’s four days a week. She comes here to the park for her lunch break, weather permitting. Her name is Chantelle. She is the best thing ever since sliced bread to come out of Tesco. Pity, she doesn’t know who I am. Maybe someday.

 

Link for Morgen’s blog. https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/2020/04/18/results-of-morgens-100-word-competition-march-2020/

Free for my Birthday Week

We are all on lockdown at present except of course for the many key-workers who are holding our nation together. Now is a tough time for many, I have had my wobbly days. So in the spirit of giving and because it is my birthday week, well not all the week (but one of the days), my novella, in eBook format, Destiny, is

FREE on Amazon from today, Mon 6th until Fri 10th April. 

We need a feel-good story right now. Plus a novella is a good length for those of you who may not normally pick up a book to read. Spread the word, and remember FREE for 5 days only. Don’t own a Kindle? No worries, download the Kindle app to your computer or phone and read away  

Find the link to your copy at the end of this post below.

DESTINY

Ahyoka is the daughter of a Cherokee White Chief and is betrothed to Wohali, a warrior in her village. On one of her many walks outside the camp boundaries, she comes across an abandoned cabin. Surprising herself, she feels contented there, enjoying the time she spends in her secret place. 
Charles W Sexton is a cowboy who has tired of the cattle drives and the constant sleeping beneath the stars. Yet it is not until he stumbles upon a deserted house that he thinks about settling down.
Two people from different cultures, strangers are both drawn to the same log cabin. When Charlie claims it as his own, Ahyoka no longer has her sanctuary to run to. But destiny shapes the path which they will travel. Will the cabin bring them together as soulmates or pit them against each other as enemies.
Who can tell?  

CLICK LINK BELOW FOR FREE EBOOK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Destiny-Mary-T-Bradford-ebook/dp/B01I5GAKHI/

For your free ebook click the above link and download

 

* Exclusive Interview with Cora Maguire *

Top wedding dress and fashion designer, Cora Maguire grants a rare interview from Chester, UK where she resides. Read on to find out what Ms. Maguire has to share on motherhood and being a business woman to the stars and celebrities.

Mary: Thank you, Cora for giving us some time out from your busy day. It is a trying time for us all with the Coronavirus escalating by the hour. Are you taking precautions?

Cora: Hi, Mary. Yes, I’m staying indoors and doing all the sensible things, like hand washing and keeping calm.

M: I’d like to ask you, Cora, with Mothering Sunday coming up next week, March 22nd, what are your thoughts on it? Is it just another gimmicky day or is it a time to reflect on what our Mums mean to us?

C: Well, any chance for the shops to make a quick pound and they will but it is good to remember the strong women who are doing an amazing job.

M: Is it fair to say you were late to motherhood, although you had your daughter in your early twenties?

C: Yes, I had Lacey when I was young. she was raised with her father.

M: She went looking for you, did she not?

C: It is well documented, Lacey’s journey and I meeting. She was 24 or 27 when we rekindled our relationship, some age like that. I’ve never claimed to be Mother of the Year. There was a lot of fuss becuase of my standing in society and anyone who knows me, knows, I keep my private life private.

M: Yes, I will leave a link below for anyone who needs to read about Lacey’s search, the book is My Husband’s Sin. Plus we do thank you for this rare chance to speak with you. What is your relationship with Lacey like now?

C: Lacey and I are too very different people, she is more her father. But we have our time now and are making our own memories.

M: But am I right in saying, you once said and I quote, “Business before family always.” How does that work for you and Lacey? Was motherhood ever a part of your plan for life do you think?

C: And I would still say it. I was a young mother starting out in my career and back then there was no support or very little of it for women who wanted to work and have a family. Lacey was better off with her Dad. I have no regrets in life, I don’t allow it. Wallowing in what could be stops one from progressing. What I have built up, my business, my shops, all that will be hers, Laceys, so even though she wasn’t with me, she will benefit. Motherhood may have been if I had remained with Lacey’s father but if I was to be honest I should say, no, I didn’t go looking for motherhood.

M: But surely, having you in her life as a child would be a million times better for Lacey than what she did have? Would Lacey agree with your sentiment you’ve expressed here today? Have you asked her?

C: Now you’re refering to that book that was written about our relationship. well I’ve said what I’ve said and I stand by it. Relationships are complicated, life is.

M: Yes, the book, Don’t Call Me Mum is a best seller and I shall leave the link for our readers just above and again below this interview. Cora, one last question. How will you be spending next Sunday? Mothers Day?

C: Having a breakfast of poached egg on toast with a strong coffee and a leisurely read of the Sunday papers, like every other Sunday.

M: Cora Maguire, designer to the stars and celebrities of the world, thank you for your thoughts and wishing you continued good health during this troubled time.

C: Thank you.

The links to the books, Cora Maguire mentioned for you to read about her daughter’s journey in finding her and their relationship since follow below. Both are best sellers, giving an insight to the life of a daughter abandoned and how she forged a relationship with a mother, who lives in the public eye.

My Husband’s Sin Lacey’s journey

Don’t Call Me Mum Lacey and Cora, how it worked out

Photo used shows the River Dee that flows through the historical city of Chester ©

Epiphany

It’s 2020, a new year, another chance to rally our thoughts and achieve clarity for the coming months. I am lucky to belong to a writers group, who meet monthly in my local library. It was a prompt as a homework exercise from December 2019 that gives me today’s post.

I had a choice of two prompts. Epiphany or A Resolution Gone Wrong.

I had a month’s grace to come up with something and, normally I would present something on the day of our meeting. Except, I couldn’t this time.

So what you read below is my offering to my fellow writing friends at the January meeting. It was written two hours before the meeting, while having my grey hairs coloured at the hairdressers.

I really couldn’t turn up with no homework. But I was totally at a loss this time. Read on, and be gentle with your comments. Interestingly, as I wrote this piece/poem, I was not aware it fell under the heading of one of the prompts. It was after I had scribbled the piece down, it struck me, I had, had an epiphany.

Epiphany

I could do it, I told myself.

I could spit them out and not blink an eye.

Tumbling on to the page, filling the white paper with rhythm and tales of now, past and future.

Sentences put together that when read, were music for the soul of those who soaked in them. Inspiring minds dulled by the technology of screens, and those who say they can’t switch off.

I’m their magic button. Forcing some to press time out and enter the worlds I create.

Chapters for them to pore over and, cry, laugh, blaspheme or praise whatever it is I tickle within them.

Books they read and then go ahh… closing the covers on pages of another place and time.

Giving choices.

Making decisions.

Was it good or condemn it to hell in a waste basket and rant over the twelve euro they spent?

But when I sit to toss and tumble word after word out, birthing new life from my mind, it is blank.

Empty.

Barren.

No longer overflowing.

I need to switch off.

Read others words, and bathe in their magic. Fuelling my run down bank of inspiration.

So I shall sit, and listen, and read, and be a part of the world of others.

*****

There you have it, we all need to switch off, give ourselves time to recharge and not feel guilty for doing so.

Happy 2020 and make it a year you enjoy at your pace and calling.

Mary, xx

When looking back, reflect with a friend

As the sun sets on another year, we all start to think where we are in our lives, work, relationships, health, and even financial. In some ways the year, 2019 has flown by and then in others I found it to be a long year. I sat the other day reading different reviews of the months gone by in magazines and such and on TV, they were reviewing the past decade, this all got me thinking. In fact it highlighted how I can’t think back to what happened last week never mind the start of the year. So to ease my weakness to recall stuff I went to visit a friend that I’d not met since August last or was it September? This friend, Maggie Doolin, is a writing friend. In fact she is a close friend, (put aside the first fact I’d not seen her in about four months) and beause we are close friends, we don’t keep track of when we meet, we just pick up from where we left off.

I was also suffering from cabin fever, I had not left my house in over a week and she had not left hers in a day, so we joyously met, hugged, drank tea, ate chicken sandwiches and lots of chocolate Mikados and talked. We chatted for eight hours and it was glorious. Laughter and more laughter echoed around us as we recalled the year gone by. It wasn’t all plain sailing, we grieved for loved ones lost, health issues that tried to better us but thankfully failed and some that have lingered, staying well beyond their welcome date.

We each reminded the other of our successes in our writing lives, little ones and big ones, the rejections too and the dreams we shared at the start of the year. Our goals were discussed with affection and then the despair when we hadn’t reached one or two. But throwing the kettle on again for another cup of tea and a log on the fire, we huddled down with notebooks and planned for the future 2020.

When it was time for me to hit the road for home, I felt refreshed, recharged and relief.

Why did we not meet for four months you may ask, well I started at University of Limerick studying for my Masters of English in Creative Writing, and she, Maggie has a novel to promote, yep, she signed a publishing contract for her first novel and is busy with all that brings. I shall have more news on that in Spring. Such exciting times ahead.

Looking back over the year wasn’t so hard after all, when done in the company of a true friend.

Happy New Year, and may it be a healthy, happy, filled with blessings one.

Mary xx

Author, Jo Allen joins us today.

Welcome to my blog, Jo and before I ask you a few questions, can you tell me a small bit about yourself please? 

I was born in Wolverhampton and am a graduate of Edinburgh, Strathclyde and the Open University. After a career in economic consultancy I took up writing and was first published under the name Jennifer Young in genres of short stories, romance and romantic suspense. In 2017 I took the plunge and began writing the genre I most like to read – crime. Now living in Edinburgh, I spend as much time as possible in the English Lakes. In common with all my favourite characters, I love football (for my sins, I’m a season ticket holder with Wolverhampton Wanderers) and cats. 

Did you recently have a book published that we can congratulate you on?  Funny you should ask that, Mary! I have a new book to share … it’s a detective novel (with an added touch of romance) and it’s the second in my series set in Cumbria. The series focuses on DCI Jude Satterthwaite, who’s a love-him-or-hate-him character locally. His devotion to his job has already cost him the love of his life and caused series problems in his relationship with his younger brother. Please say you’d like the blurb. You would? Fabulous… 😉 

Blurb for Death at Eden’s End.

When one-hundred-year-old Violet Ross is found dead at Eden’s End, a luxury care home hidden in a secluded nook of the Lake District’s Eden Valley it’s not unexpected. Except for the instantly recognisable look in her lifeless eyes… that of pure terror. DCI Jude Satterthwaite heads up the investigation, but as the deaths start to mount up it’s clear that he, and DS Ashleigh O’Halloran need to uncover a long-buried secret before the killer strikes again… 

Please tell us about your journey to publication.  It’s been long! I have been writing for a very long time and, although I haven’t kept a record of the setbacks along the way (I think it would have broken me) I got my first request for a full manuscript from an agent over twenty years ago. My first short story was published in The People’s Friend in 2008 and it was in 2014 that my first novel, Thank You For the Music, was published by Tirgearr publishing. There were five more contemporary romances with Tirgearr, then three self-published romantic suspense novels, and in late 2018 I signed for three detective novels with Aria Fiction. The first, Death by Dark Waters, came out in May. The second is out today.

Where did the idea for your book come from?  I can’t remember! I do know that my detective novels all begin with the crime, but I couldn’t tell you at what point the idea came to me for this one, though I can probably pinpoint most of the others. At some point I must just have wondered why someone would kill a 100-year old woman who would soon be about to die, but that’s about all I can tell you.

Who has inspired you as an author?  With my romance hat on I’ve always loved Mary Stewart, whose heroines were always feisty and who has the trick of gripping her reader from beginning to end. In terms of crime, I turn to the traditional whodunnits from the Golden Age of detective fiction between the wars. I particularly love Dorothy Sayers, who managed to combine an intellectual puzzle with completely believable characters. They had lives outside their work and who had the same feelings and insecurities as the rest of us.

This is really important to me, probably because I started off as a romance writer. Much as I enjoy Agatha Christie and Conan Doyle, I never quite engaged with them in the same way as I do with Sayers, because their detectives don’t seem to have lives of their own.

Romance in detective fiction isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I know, but I’ve always wanted to write about real people. That goes beyond the criminals and their victims: my detectives have lives, too. And they do fall in and out of love and have problems of their own. So why not tell the reader about it?

What do you do in your free time?  I can potter for Britain! I love going cycling, as long as the weather isn’t too miserable, and I love reading. We’ve just moved to a house with a largish garden and I’m looking forward to spending some time growing my own veg in the summer. But all the time I’m doing these things I’m still thinking about the next book(s). So in that sense I’m never off duty, I’ll never retire…and I never have any free time.

What’s next for you?  I’m a bit wary of saying what’s next, because I don’t want to tempt fate. I have a contract for three books in the current series and I would like to do more. I also have a couple of women’s fiction novels on a dusty shelf, so one day I plan to rework them. Oh, and I have some ideas for psychological thrillers, too…

How much of this I actually get round to doing is open to question, of course, but there will certainly be something more to come.

Please share with us links to where you can be found online.

Facebook   Twitter   Instagram   Jo’s website

And you can download Death at Eden’s End here

I want to thank you, Jo for taking time out to chat with us today and continued success in your writing career.

Mary x

Thank you, Jo for joining me and sharing your good news about your recent launch. I wish you continued success with your writing career.

Mary x