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?

 

Actor and Author, Domhnall pays a visit

I am thrilled to welcome Domhnall O’Donoghue to my blog. If you feel you recognise him, well that’s because he’s on our telly in the wonderful series called, Ros na Rún on TG4. Domhnall is a man of many talents and is the friendliest, kindest person to speak with. I put a few questions his way. 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m an actor, journalist and author. I hail from Co. Meath’s largest town – Navan. The word is a palindrome, which gives locals much pride! 
Today, I divide my time between Dublin, Venice – where my boyfriend grew up – and Connemara where I film the television series Ros na Rún. I also work in media and in addition to writing a monthly column for Woman’s Way magazine, I’m a travel journalist. My wanderings to destinations such as Jamaica, Istanbul and Chicago have formed the backdrop to all of my novels.

What genres do you like to write in?
My first three novels are all comedy, although the styles are drastically different. The best way of describing my first two books – Sister Agatha (Tirgearr Publishing) and Colin and the Concubine (Mercier Press) – is larger-than-life characters overcoming larger-than-life situations. 
For me, the story comes first and then I decide what genre would best tell it. Comedy isn’t the right fit for Book #4 – my current WIP. Instead, it is a hybrid of suspense, drama and mystery.

What is the title of your latest book, (tell us a bit about it)?
My latest book is called Colin and the Concubine and it’s a yarn about a long-lasting sibling rivalry set against the backdrop of a brothel in 1990s Navan. It was inspired by my six-month stint living next-door to one in Dublin – the things I saw; the things I heard! 
The story is full of Irish nostalgia – for instance, the climax takes place during the heats of the final-ever Calorgas Housewife of the Year Competition. Do you remember watching that on RTE?! 
Below the surface, it’s a critique on the double-standards that exist in our society along with being an exploration into how skilled we’ve become at presenting a version of ourselves to the world that can often be in stark contrast to our real, authentic selves.
The response has been really positive so far from both readers and the media, and it’s proven to be a popular choice for bookclubs and beach reads.

What are you currently working on? I wrote the first draft of my current WIP the week following the death of my dear aunt on St Patrick’s Day. It was an extremely cathartic process. The working title is Connie Maguire Wants to Help and the action takes place over three days, played out in reverse order. I’m really excited about it and have loved writing it. 

When and where do you like to write? Have you a favourite place?
Because there’s so much movement in my life, I’ve learned to work on the go, so I’ll happily write on a train or plane, in a café or at home. I’m a dab hand at drowning out the world – unless, of course, I’m using it as inspiration!
When I’m in my apartment in Dublin (like today), our cat, a Persian rescue called Prince, keeps me company! This is probably my favourite place to work. 

Has there been a defining moment in your career that made you think, ‘Yes, I am a writer’?
I’ve definitely felt, ‘Yes, I am a journalist’ but I’ve yet to properly feel, ‘Yes, I am an author’. That’s okay – it motivates me. In saying that, seeing copies of Colin and the Concubine in the shopfront of Dubray Books on Grafton Street was a rather lovely moment, I must confess! 

What is next for you? I’m just about to begin the editing process with Mercier Press on my third book – a comedy about a soap actor and a rather zealous fan. The working title is Crazy for You but that might change! 
The inspiration? Many moons ago, I joked to friends that my goal in life was to have a stalker – “That would mean that I’ve made it!” says I. A pal warned: be careful what you wish for. The book is an imagined version of that wish coming true!
There’s a lot of ‘me’ in this book – the main character, Clooney, is very much based on Domhnall. Again, it was an extremely rewarding process allowing myself to be vulnerable by recalling – and documenting – the highs and lows of my life. 
I’m really excited to start the editing process with Mercier; working with them on Colin on the Concubine was probably the most satisfying and creative collaboration of my career to date.

BOOK BLURB:

Colin and the Concubine Colin Saint James hates his older brother, Freddie – and for good reason. A true psychopath, Freddie has been hell-bent on destroying Colin’s happiness since before he was born! Never one to admit defeat, Colin searches for opportunities to get one up on his sibling, even just once. When the heats for the final ever, Housewife of the Year competition are announced, Colin sees his chance. The only problem is he needs a wife. Luckily, he lives next door to Navan’s best-looking woman, Azra, who happens to be single and anxious to get a ring on her finger. But Azra is also a Turkish concubine and she and Colin don’t exactly see eye-to-eye over her nocturnal activities.
Will Colin be able to park his reservations about his X-rated neighbour if it gives him the chance to emerge triumphant over Freddie for once in his life?

My many thanks for Domhnall giving his time to chat with us. Below are links where to buy his books and also if you want to learn more about Domhnall and connect with him, those links are there too.

BOOK TO BUY LINKS:

Colin and the Concubine: https://www.mercierpress.ie/irish-books/colin-and-the-concubine/

SisterAgatha: http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/ODonoghue_Domhnall/sister-agatha.htm

WHERE WE CAN FIND YOU LINKS:
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/domhnall.o.donoghue Twitter: https://twitter.com/Domhnall1982 Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/domhnall82/ Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15394447.Domhnall_O_Donoghue

Flash 300 Max

Can I play?

(From FWG on FB, photo surce unknown to me)

He sat in deep thought. Had he gone wrong? Did he not plan it perfectly? Of course he did. In fact he paid so much attention to every detail that he had not rested for well over six days at first. He believed in free will. He trusted too much his army of angels moaned. Still, what he created, he had done so from love.

Now years on considering his work unfold beneath him, he sat curious, watching. He liked that woman and man were inquisitive, wanted to know more of the world about them. Sometimes they tested his patience but more often than not, they enthralled him. This group that had caught his attention were on an expedition to find new land. They were clever, they looked to the skies for guidance. Sometimes watching them move about and interact, their petty squabbles, their laughter, their joys and sorrows, he wished he was down there with them.

Once he had walked amongst them, so long ago. He held fond memories of those times, his mother and Joseph and relatives sharing family time. Carrying from birth the weight of salvation on his shoulders, he did his best to fit in, to be the son that others took for granted. But his destiny said otherwise.

Now, master of creation, he watched over this latest trek by a group who believed they knew it all yet how naïve they were of the dangers the cold lands held. To be close he took on the shape of a frozen landscape of ice that would make them question was it man or mountain. He liked to tease, his mischievous side sprinkling out over the world.

Being the Creator, was it better sometimes being the observer rather than being the observed?

Flash 300 Max

Doorway to Happiness

Photo from FWG prompt on FB, source unknown

This is my quiet place. Where I go to be still. I first found it when out for a walk to get away from him. Ever since he retired he had taken over the house, each aspect of it and it really was doing my head in. I couldn’t go for a coffee with the girls anymore. They soon drifted away, stopped asking me to join them.

“It’s cheaper to have one at home. On the pension now, we are.”

If I heard it one more time, I would throw the tea pot at him. My book-club meetings were another nuisance for him.

“We can start our own little club, more intimate and share a pot of tea, just the two of us.”

When I protested to this, he said we needed to watch our petrol spend, could one of the other ladies pick me up and drop me off? I explained none of them lived close enough to do this. He nodded and asked, “What shall we read first to get us started?”

My days became lonely, the nights too. Now we were at retirement age, we could do without that side of marriage he winked.

So that’s why I came here. Peace. Tranquillity. Alone time.

Why let him away with being so controlling, my few friends left ask. He’s not that bad I laugh, maybe I’m exaggerating it a bit. I add.

But I am a patient woman. Patient and wise.

Amazing how the universe works, send it out and it shall be answered I was told and I did. Still his sudden heart attack surprised us all. Now when life is stressed for me I visit here and tell the universe my worries.

So far she has never let me down.