From Competition to Publication – what a year!

I was very excited to turn 40 last year. I planned my party in my head for months and when I got up to sing with The Cure tribute band (arranged for me by my nephews) and then danced the night away to 80s music surrounded by friends and family – well it was just fab 🙂 I didn’t realise though, that at 40 my writing life would really begin!

The Curezins cropped
Love these cats! 🙂

Just over a year ago I wrote my first piece of fiction. Well, it was the first one since writing essays in school, and very quickly it became something I loved to do. I’ve been blogging and writing for VOX Magazine for a few years now, but fiction was new to me and in some ways it was like starting again. It was around that time that I had the moment…

‘THIS… THIS right here… THIS is what I’m supposed to do with my life,’ 

I couldn’t help myself when it came to writing and the more I delved into it the more compelled I felt to find somewhere I could go, or something I could do, to find out more. I saw a tweet from about a one-day workshop in Carousel Creates, a dedicated writers’ centre based in the Dublin Mountains. It promised inspiring views, plenty of coffee and lots of quiet time to write, as well as time to talk to the organiser. After a chat with my beloved, we agreed that I should go, as it seemed that this would be a good opportunity to ‘test the waters’. While I was booking my place on the one-day retreat I saw a competition to win a two-day retreat. A 300-word piece entitled ‘I am a Writer’ was required for entry and as I had just had that self-same epiphany it was an easy task!
And I won the competition! 🙂

carousel view 2
The view I have come to love

Carousel Creates became a regular haunt for me and founder Carolann has become an editor, teacher and dear friend. A year later and I’ve met so many more fantastic people who have encouraged and inspired me, including popular authors like Louise Phillips and Catherine Dunne who have read my stuff and given me the courage and confidence to push on. Storyteller extraordinaire Catherine Brophy, and her workshops, taught me how to take a memory and make it a story; and every day it seems is just another exciting learning curve for me.
I love it!

Over the year I’ve joined (as an emerging writer member) and two writing groups as well as the ASMSG. I’m also in the middle of Jeff Goins’ Tribe Writers course which has set me in a vast community of writers of all ages and stages. Already Jeff’s advice is changing my writing and my attitude to it, for the better. I’ve found lots of fab Twitter pals and Facebook friends and I relish the fact that the writing community on social media is fantastic!

This past year has changed me. It’s given me more confidence in my writing and the network I have built around me has been paramount in my decision now to take a leap of faith – I’m bringing out a book!

I’ve decided to self-publish an anthology of short stories and in doing this I’m excited to be signing up with the team at Emu Ink who are already on the case, and we are looking towards October for publication in both printed and e-book version! Over the coming days various short stories will be taken down from my blog in preparation for publication but there are also some brand new stories that have never been available, set for the book – I can’t wait to share them with you.

I want to thank you all for reading and sharing and tweeting and encouraging me with my writing, and there’s plenty more where that came from!

I also want to thank God – He is my ultimate inspiration.
Lord unless you build this house, I am building it in vain. (from Psalm 127)