Disappearing for a while…

Hi foiks

I’ve decided to do NaNoWriMo this year – aka National Novel Writing Month – to try to get the bones of my first novel down on the page.

So I won’t be around much in November, but… my first collection of short stories  called
‘The Long and the Short of it’ is being launched this month so as soon as I have a venue confirmed I’ll be shouting. Date is November 21st. More news anon.. 🙂

If you are doing #NoNoWriMo this year and would like to buddy up, my NaNo user name is ‘auntyamo’ and my word count will be automatically updated to the little blue box on the right hand side – the minimum word count for the month is 50,000.

My NaNo novel is ‘Dear Mel…’ and here is the synopsis I’ve put up on the NaNo site..

Carmel Graham, or Mel as she is called, is struggling to come to terms with the loss of her mother. Rather than time being a healer, time is revealing that Mel’s mum didn’t always tell her the truth.
After losing control of her emotions while visiting her mother her grave, she attempts to attack a woman who comes to her aid. It seems she is starting to fall apart. Mel is ‘sentenced’ to a course of counselling sessions.
Esther Ryan, court-assigned counsellor & psychotherapist, attempts to help Mel navigate her journey to recovery. Part of the process is to encourage Mel to keep a journal that she addresses to herself. 
Mel’s inner journey also takes her on a physical one as she searches for the truth about her mother, her father and herself.

Bear in mind that by the end of November it may not resemble the above synopsis in any way 🙂 I’ll be back with news of the launch of ‘The Long and the Short of it’ but other than that… I’ll see you in December 😉 x


Open letter to Julian Fellowes from an emerging writer…

Dear Mr. Fellowes

“you had me at hello” as the saying goes. Or more accurately, you had me at the opening credits of Downton Abbey Series 1. Episode 1. And not just me, I’m sure your marketing people have told you how popular the show is.

Many of us love the characters, the intrigue, the humour and the style. Anybody who wanted happiness has had to fight for it; and you’ve given us a certain sense of realism with war, loss and financial shenanigans.

I read somewhere that you responded well to the vehement response to Lady Sybil and Matthew Crawley’s untimely deaths. (We were never quite as distraught about poor Lavinia Swire.) I sensed you held your hands up when Dan Stevens left… ‘it wasn’t me – he left of his own accord, had to kill him off, no choice’

It feels like the characters who fought most for what they wanted, lost it not long after. And tonight we see you’ve written in the potential ruination of the couple who fought most for happiness.

Mr. Fellowes, you made us love those characters. You made us cheer them on and hope for them and cry with them when they lost. And that’s because you’re a great writer and they are great actors. But I also read somewhere that you promised to go easy on us in the series. That you heard the cries from Downton fans at the amount of loss in such a short space of time and that this series would not be so hard on us. (I’m sorry I can’t quote the sources but I’ve read them more than once and if I had the energy or time to google them I would!)

DowntonI’ll be honest, I really don’t know if I can watch it anymore. I probably won’t buy this series on DVD. I’m wondering what happens next and if I can bear it. Will you sweep the issue under the carpet quietly and quickly (which you kinda did with prostitution)? Or will we watch another beloved character die (albeit on the inside)? Another happy marriage wrecked – and no doubt there’ll be a baby on the way soon enough and…. we’ll never know will we?

So as an avid Downton Abbey fan, and an emerging writer, looking to people like you to learn from, I’d like to ask you why you insist on breaking our hearts. I think what happened tonight was a step too far. I want to be a good writer and I know that means harsh realism and not everyone gets ‘happy ever after’. But I also feel I have a responsibility to my readers, my audience – even if they are only few at the moment. If I am blessed enough to be talented enough to make my readers love my characters  – then I feel a responsibility to let those characters be happy.

Your PR people will probably love that Downton is trending on Twitter. You may well be consoled by others that tell you that ‘all publicity is good publicity’. No doubt you’ll be contacted for a whole stream of interviews over the next week. Maybe clever people who know what they’re talking about will say, “Every war, even the ratings war has casualties. Some people are angry and we’ll lose a few, but it doesn’t matter.”

But I think it does matter and I hope it matters to you.

photo credit: GriffinStar7 via photopin cc

The First Few Words…

I was on hols last week – had a fab time 🙂

To keep my writing skills from falling into disrepair (it wouldn’t take much), I set myself a challenge. I tried to write a few words inspired by a photograph I’d taken that day. I suppose it was a free-writing exercise in some ways, but who knows, there might be something in these little starts.

In the end I didn’t do it every day, but I did 3 in the 6 days I was away, so not bad eh?

Thought I’d share them with you. Let me know what you think… 🙂

Stumpy McNabbStumpy MacNabb crossed the street, but not until he was sure it was safe. That was the third automobile that had passed him in the hour it had taken him to walk from his cabin to the main street in the village.  He had told them all that it was going to spell disaster and now he felt he’d been proved right. 3 cars in one hour!

The locals reckoned that if all Stumpy’s premonitions of doom, and prophecies of destruction had come true, the village would no longer exist. But he was insistent. The advent of the automobile was going to spell the end of life as they knew it.

He had to find a way to make them see. He had to convince them that motor cars were a bad thing.
Even it if meant putting his life in danger – by owning one…

Longing LookA Longing Look
The view from the castle rooftop was astounding. You could see right the the shores of Aristomenthe. For these few minutes, Eloise was permitted to take fresh air and experience the outdoors.

She longed to be on the river, sailing far away from this place of prison and hopelessness.

She had promised her own life to save her father’s. This was no ‘Beauty & the Beast’ fable. Eloise’s father was a gambler and Farak would have cut him into 8 pieces – his usual method of fatal revenge; Eloise would not have been able to live with herself if she had not offered her life for her father’s. He wept, but did not argue – he was the weakest man in all of Aristomenthe.

The deal struck was that Farak would not hurt her father, nor would he lend him any more money or allow him to gamble in his tavern, so long as Eloise willingly remained in his castle…

The Holey Stone

The Holey Stone
For years, people came to see the stone. Some prayed, some touched it – hoping for healing. Some just stood silent, looking, nodding every so often in reverence.
Pat’s mother had decided it was best to say nothing. It was a simple misunderstanding; no malice was meant, it was just a mistake. And sure how could she take it back after all this time?
It was only when Pat’s mother took ill and the whole town started together at the stone for her, that Pat realised it was getting out of hand.

Mrs O’Byrne was not slow in telling Pat how upset she was that he hadn’t turned up to the first vigil at the stone. How could he be so callous, when it was his mother who was so ill, and his mother who had discovered that the stone was holy. Before she left, she made it clear that she expected to see Pat later that evening.

Pat knew it was time to end the reign of the ‘Holy Stone’. He just wasn’t quite sure how to go about it…

I was sitting there, writing, minding my own business – when this book appeared!

This is my entry into the writing contest “You are a Writer” being held on Bryan Hutchinson’s website Positive Writer

Last night I sat in the offices of Emu Ink with its founder Emer Cleary, having a conversation about my self-publishing project. For a couple of weeks I’d had a question rolling around in my head but had been too afraid to ask. Last night, I just went for it.

“You wouldn’t let me do this if the stories were rubbish would you?”

I had to ask her – I couldn’t bear the constant inner monologue anymore….

This woman has business to run and cannot afford to turn down clients, but surely she has a reputation to uphold. She can’t just put her name to any old scribblings… can she? I’ve only been doing this for a year. Don’t I have to ‘serve my time’? I’m indulging myself by barging past the patient folk who are waiting to be discovered – pushing my way to the front of the queue like a literary version of Verruca Salts.
I want a booooook, I want a no-vel…
I want to hang with the famous and arty; have twenty launch parties,
Give it to me now! 

(Yes my inner monologue is actually a musical! How COOL is that!? 😀 )

Emer was very encouraging and (of course) does take the reputation of her company seriously. She reassured me that the stories are good and that in her professional opinion, the book is worth publishing.

But I’m still waiting for ‘someone in charge’ to tell me I’m not allowed to do this…

Thinking about it again today, I was reassured by one thought.

amo is a writerI didn’t start this to be published.

I didn’t start writing, to write a book. I started writing cos it felt like the most natural thing in the world to do. For about 5 years it was non fiction, then I started to make stuff up and once I started I couldn’t stop. The stories just keep coming. There are the writer’s block days, and the editing headaches, and crises of confidence and all that; but now that I’ve started I can’t stop writing stories.

If they happen to be good, if they happen to be liked, if they happen to be popular – well then fantastic.
I won’t complain.

But I write cos… erm,… well… I am a writer.

Now if you’ll excuse me… I have a golden ticket to find.

Ficticious Amo is back and there’s some news about Lizzy

Hi all

after a week or so of ‘maintenance’ Ficticious Amo is back.

As you see there is a new look to the blog. You may also notice that I’ve taken away lots of stories in preparation for the book in October.

I will be sharing some fiction stories here as I always have but I’ll be adding some new stuff, like sharing story ideas, hopefully getting some discussion going about the process writers go through, and I’ll also be sharing some of the things I’m learning as I navigate this unknown path of self publishing. (Well it’s unknown to me anyway!)

And as for LIZZY… you remember Lizzy don’t you?
I’m delighted to tell you that Lizzy will have her own series. Not on TV (although I’m sure she’d give Fair City a run for its money.) Lizzy is going in to a local newspaper as a weekly series. It’s due to start some time in October so I’ll let you know when the dates are set and where you can find her.

All this means that I have a lot of work to do 🙂

I’m so excited to be taking my writing to a new level and thankful to each and every one of you for reading and commenting.

I feel like Bilbo Baggins…. I’M GOING ON AN ADVENTURE! So glad you’re coming with me x

Full credit for this pic belongs to http://the-hobbit.tumblr.com/post/47666443120/im-going-on-an-adventure-votebilbo
Full credit for this pic belongs to http://the-hobbit.tumblr.com/post/47666443120/im-going-on-an-adventure-votebilbo