Helen's Bay, County Down, Northern Ireland
Poem of the Month, Poetry

Poem of the Month -Neither an Elegy Nor a Manifesto, by John Hewitt

I've just discovered the poetry of Belfast-born writer John Hewitt, which is a shocking oversight for someone writing a novel based in Belfast during the Troubles.  But then his name is somewhat overshadowed by those other dazzling Northern Irish luminaries:  Seamus Heaney, Louis MacNeice, CS Lewis and Frank Ormsby. I read the poem below and… Continue reading Poem of the Month -Neither an Elegy Nor a Manifesto, by John Hewitt

And The Buntings Flew, My writing, Reading and Books, Writing

Begin at The Beginning -Does My Novel Need a Prologue?

I've been thinking about beginnings a lot, since, well, the beginning of this new year.  I'm currently reviewing my manuscript for And The Buntings Flew, having put it away for a few months; that distance allowed me to clean up what I've written to date, and forge on with the story. I've now got 35,000… Continue reading Begin at The Beginning -Does My Novel Need a Prologue?

Poem of the Month, Poetry

Poem of The Month – Naming of Parts, by Henry Reed

This month's poem of the month came to me during a work meeting recently; it was a somewhat attenuated review of some annual targets, and the use of jargon and corporate buzz words led my gaze to fall from the screen and out of the window to the street below. Students from the nearby university… Continue reading Poem of The Month – Naming of Parts, by Henry Reed

Poem of the Month, Poetry

Poem of the Month – The Journey, by Mary Oliver

I've just created this new regular feature for 2019, after re-reading some of my favourite poems; it occurred to me that I'd discovered many of them by browsing around online on all sorts of sites, literary and otherwise. Some of these poems have become touchstones in my life,  and I revisit them regularly to refresh… Continue reading Poem of the Month – The Journey, by Mary Oliver

Folklore and History, Food, Travel

Happy Nollaig na mBan, 12th Night, Epiphany 2019!

We took down the last of our Christmas decorations today, as we always do on the 6th January, or the Epiphany; it's a tradition carried on from my own mother, who insisted almost fearfully that every last scrap of tinsel and turkey must begone by this date, or a calamitous year of bad luck would lie… Continue reading Happy Nollaig na mBan, 12th Night, Epiphany 2019!

The Codsway Chip Shop, Bushmills, Northern Ireland
And The Buntings Flew, Food, Travel

For Cod, and Ulster – Northern Ireland’s Enduring Love of Chip Shops

This is a post I wrote on my family history blog in July that I meant to crosspost sooner;  it's a short musing on food and language in Northern Ireland, both important themes in much of my writing! via For Cod, and Ulster - Northern Ireland's Enduring Love of Chip Shops

My writing, Reading and Books

2018 Review – Freeing the Flow and Looking Forward

Hi constant reader, I'm still here, in case you were wondering; I took a summer/autumn hiatus from all things writing; my creative outlets were limited to completing a drawing course, gardening, and some pre-Christmas knitting. I promised to read more (and more physical books - Kindle on a tablet makes it way too tempting to… Continue reading 2018 Review – Freeing the Flow and Looking Forward

And The Buntings Flew, My writing, Travel, Writing

June ’18 Update – More Flash Fiction, and Seeking Inspiration for My Writing

Make voyages. Attempt them. There's nothing else. - Tennessee Williams Sometimes, rather than peace coming to me "dropping slow", it's inspiration. The inspiration to realise my writing dreams waxes and wanes, given the daily grind of job, commute, and paying the bills. Waiting for inspiration doesn't get things done, and it can be interminably slow… Continue reading June ’18 Update – More Flash Fiction, and Seeking Inspiration for My Writing

My writing, Publishing and Self Publishing, Writing

Mini May Update – Flash Fiction Anthology, and Striking the Balance Between Writing Short and Long Fiction

Today I received my copy of the first anthology from Reflex Fiction, titled "Barely Casting a Shadow"; my short piece "The Shore Road" made their summer 2017 flash fiction long list.  It's great to see your words in print! If you get the chance, do check out the stories published at Reflex Fiction, there's some really… Continue reading Mini May Update – Flash Fiction Anthology, and Striking the Balance Between Writing Short and Long Fiction

My writing, Publishing and Self Publishing, Writing

They Loved My Writing – But Turned it Down. When Constructive Criticism is More Valuable Than Publication

I'm not going to list out all the famous authors who had to persist through dozens of rejections until their magnum opus was snapped up. And I'm not going to name that Decca manager who rejected the Beatles as a passé guitar group on their way out. I'm not even going to dwell on Stephen… Continue reading They Loved My Writing – But Turned it Down. When Constructive Criticism is More Valuable Than Publication