Time to get real

In the last 48 hours, I thought the Universe was going all out to get me to give up the writing. I’m a little shame-faced to admit why: I hadn’t backed-up a number of important files, thinking my trusted old laptop was invincible. But guess what? Gasp of outrage that this could happen to ME! I used to laugh at people that happened to. Didn’t back-up? Ha, ha, ha! (Spoiler alert, my story has a happy ending). Of course, I did a major back-up of all my laptop files recently. I’m very particular about that, do it regularly. It is … Continue reading Time to get real

Hopelessly Devoted

Every writer should have a dog – and cats, lots of them. Although, as someone who used to be terrified of dogs (after being savaged by an Alsatian), that’s a pretty radical statement coming from me. The benefit of having pets in your life is well documented, and a quick trawl of the internet will show you that cats and dogs seem to feature in the lives of many famous writers. This story is mostly about my dog, Tully, although I’ve been the mad cat woman since I was three years old and was introduced to an energetic tabby kitten … Continue reading Hopelessly Devoted

Pet Shop Noise

I can’t remember how I ever came to think that keeping alpacas was a good idea. We imported a small herd of them into Ireland in 2003, convinced they would make us a fortune and they’d become pets, alongside the laying hens and lying cats. Trust me, alpacas don’t make friends with humans.  They like other alpacas, of course. But they only ever tolerate humans, no matter how nice you are to them. Ours had a very cushy billet in the west of Ireland, and thankfully, they rarely spat at us.  The spitting thing is a way of keeping order … Continue reading Pet Shop Noise

Stockings, and the Filling Thereof…

If you know someone who likes cats and short stories (always a good combo in my opinion) this anthology might be a good Christmas stocking filler. A paperback with illustrations and 21 stories (including one of mine, ‘Waifs and Strays’), the proceeds go to two charities – Cats Protection and the Against Malaria Foundation. ‘Cat Tales; An Anthology of Short Stories’ is available at Amazon:  Cat Tales Or there’s ‘The 2016 Exeter Story Prize Collection: 21 New Stories’ which also includes a short, short story of mine, ‘Fitting In’ (which has nothing to do with cats!). These are stories and … Continue reading Stockings, and the Filling Thereof…

Of Mice and Then…

    I wrote this article a good ten years ago. And now, after catching another NINE mice in our garage (not all at once I have to say), I thought it might be a good time to publish it… If you happen to be driving through the quiet lanes of north Roscommon and you spot a mouse trying to hitch a lift, please ignore him.  Even if he’s in smart shorts and t-shirt and looks like Stuart Little, harden your heart and look the other way.  It’ll be one of ours trying to get back home after I’ve evicted … Continue reading Of Mice and Then…

Spitting Nails and other Pointless Activities

I’ve been helping to get a new Creative Writing Group up and running in Charlestown Arts Centre, here in County Mayo. It is proving to be an interesting exercise in perseverance and determination – and of course, creativity. We’ve a core group of hardened scribes with significant publication credits to their names, alongside biro-wielding retired ladies looking for something interesting to pass the time on a Monday morning. Plus a few others who drop in and out, who aren’t quite sure if creative writing is their thing. Over the years, I’ve belonged to a number of different writing groups, some … Continue reading Spitting Nails and other Pointless Activities

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Writer

I quite like my own company. No-one to comment about what I’m doing/should be doing/have done. No-one to mind the music I’m playing or if the window is open or closed. No-one to share the (accidentally vegan) ginger biscuits. And no-one to interrupt when the creative juices are flowing. But everyone know that you can have too much of a good thing. I mean, look at Tom Hanks in ‘Castaway’.  He started talking to a basketball when he’d had enough of solitary confinement. And I kind of know what that was all about. Because after a while of pleasing myself … Continue reading The Loneliness of the Long Distance Writer

The Big Day

There’s something about birthdays that can be quite depressing. But your one who said: “Growing old isn’t so bad if you consider the alternative,” was quite right. So I’m trying to be upbeat about celebrating the passing of another year. I just can’t quite get my head around being the age I am. How did that happen? My life has just whizzed along in a blur to this point. Two children, one husband, lots of cats, one dog, three houses, two hot air balloons, nine alpacas, three polytunnels, 200 poems, five novels, 70 short stories and a partridge in a … Continue reading The Big Day

Hello Tully!

If you’ve ever wondered what a cat-lover’s dog looks like, here she is. Meet Tully, my lovely dog (now who would have thought I’d put those five words together in a sentence?). She’s a bit of a mixed breed – I think her mum got around a bit. Several vets have asked if she has some Corgi in her. Well. Royal connections? Hmm… Tully has taught me that not all dogs bite (I once nearly lost a leg to an Alsatian with big teeth), and that some dogs can be cute. Plus, they’re awful handy to have in the kitchen … Continue reading Hello Tully!