Passing the Blog Tour Baton

The perfect day to highlight some great writing going on in the Emerald Isle

I was more than a little chuffed to be asked by Ken Armstrong take the baton of ‘The Blogging Tour’ from him and pass it forward. There are a few of these pass-it-on blog thingummies (yes that is the technical term) and this one is where writers with blogs, write a bit about themselves and the work they are doing.

I remember the first time Ken slapped my wrist on Twitter. I was so delighted that he responded to my tweet – didn’t really care that he was admonishing me. 🙂 Actually it was good advice he was giving me. It was early days for me on Twitter and he taught me well.

ken armstrongHis blog is one of my faves and has been since I found it more than 3 years. I think I like it cos it’s real. There’s the odd bold word but not just for the sake of it.  He shares some very honest and emotional stories and memories. Ken is funny and sincere. He takes no nonsense and if as a writer you don’t learn something from him… well I’ll eat my hat.
His blog is called Ken Armstrong Writing Stuff Go have a look whenever you can.
(PS I don’t know about you but I think he has a Simon Cowell thing going on –   but don’t tell him I said that or I’ll be in big trouble… 😀 )

So who have I got for you…?

CarolannCarolann Copland is the founder of Carousel Creates; a picturesque writers’ centre in the Dublin Mountains, offering writing experiences to writers of all ages and lifestyles. A primary school teacher, writing between Dublin and the South of Spain in her spare time; Carolann is happiest when she is sharing her passion for writing.
Her novel Summer Triangle is published by Emu Ink and her second novel Dominoes will be published in October 2014.
Carolann’s Website
Carolann’s blog
Twitter @CarouselCreates

KatieKatie Keeley has been writing a lot longer than I have. I remember as a kid she used to show me stories that she had written about all sorts of wonderful lands and characters. (She’s my niece btw, I didn’t just follow her around… 🙂 ) She’s 24 and when she’s not busy writing children’s stories she works in a crèche full time. She also reads, A LOT of fantasy and fairy-tale books which she credits her vivid imagination to. As well as having a passion for writing she also has a passion for photography and can get snap happy quite a bit.
Katie’s blog
Twitter @katie_cait

StaceyStacey Covell is a writer of literary fiction, flash fiction, poetry and the occasional blog post. She likes to ask questions and explore. What if we tilted our perspectives and looked at the world from that view? What would things be like/look like then? Living in Ireland for the past 10 years, she is simultaneously a writer, wife, mother & cross cultural mentor.
Stacey’s Website
Stacey’s Facebook Page
Twitter: @staceycovell7


And then there’s me…

amo is a writer1) What am I working on?
I’ve so many things on the  burner – my problem is getting stuck back into things as I’ve had a difficult couple of months.
I’ve got a first 50k draft of a novel that I worked on during NaNoWriMo last November. I have a second novel rolling around my head. Really need to get that down on paper.

But the major project for 2014 is to get another collection of short stories together to publish before the end of the year.
The Long and The Short of it… Volume 2 🙂
You can find info about Volume 1 here.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Wow what a question?!
I don’t know really. I’ve always said that my stories are very ‘normal’. No Jack Bauer cliffhangers – no bodice ripping love scenes. I just write ordinary stories about ordinary people. I try to give a happy ending or even an aspiration towards a happy ending. A chance for tomorrow to be a bit easier than yesterday.

I’m sure that’s not unique tho…

3) Why do I write what I do?
I can only write what I know. The stuff I write has to be believable – by me first. I believe in hope and second chances. I believe that restoration is possible and forgiveness changes things. So I write that stuff – hopefully to inspire or even just encourage readers that things can change for the better.

4) How does my writing process work?
Carolann, who I mentioned above, introduced me to Free Writing. It’s probably the most powerful part of my writing process. It is certainly the most productive.

I try to free write regularly and just write what ever is in my head. Almost every time I come back and there is something I can use. One time I had NO ideas and as I wanted to keep writing I just wrote a shopping list. That made me think of someone finding someone else’s shopping list and what would happen if they bought the stuff on it.
That was the beginning of ‘Corned Beef Sandwiches on Brown Bread’, a story that went into The Long & The Short of it and turned out to be very popular.

When it comes to edits and rewrites – that is another thing. I’m not good at 3rd and 4th revisions. I get bored easily. When it comes to editing novel length stuff I know that’s gonna be a problem.

* * * * * * * * * *

So there you have it. Please do pop over to see what Ken, Carolann, Katie and Stacey are up to won’t you?.

This is one of the last posts here on Fictitious Amo as the all new website will be launching soon. Very excited to get that up and running. It will probably be sometime this week.
I’ll let you know where to find me and I hope you’ll join me there 🙂 x


Day 7 – a Christmas story from the Carousel

Carolann Copland, founder and director of Carousel Creates, is a great friend and writing mentor. She published her first novel ‘Summer Triangle’ in October this year and it’s a great read. When she isn’t teaching in a primary school children, she is teaching writing courses to adults and children, as well as running writing workshops at the writers’ centre in the Dublin mountains.

Her story…

Midnight Mass by Carolann Copland
More snow fell. I could see her through my window sitting at the bus stop. The single deckers had come and gone, yet she was still there and now the buses had stopped for the night. She was wrapped in a blue shawl that shimmered in the light from the street lamp. I watched her lift her Lidl bag up onto her lap and hug it close to her. I felt drawn to her but stayed where I was, staring at the woman child. She leaned her head forward and rested it on her bag.

Our Christmas tree lights flashed from the corner of the room. Leaning to turn them off, I stopped after pulling the first plug. That would be too final. It would mean it was time to switch out all the lights and go to bed and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to sleep. When I closed my eyes I would see her. On her bench. Freezing. Staring at the bag. Santa’s presents littered the room. He had stuffed the stockings to bursting point and eaten his cake and drunk his whiskey and gone off to eat and drink in other houses the length and breadth of the world. Imagine. I had more cake and I found myself wondering whether she’d like a piece. Would it remind her maybe of where she was supposed to be?

candle midnight massI couldn’t hear her from where I was but when she sat up straight suddenly, I could see from her face that she was in pain. I ran outside; the cold gripping. Each crunch of the fresh snow filled me with dread. I could hear her wails now and standing at the kerb waiting for a car to pass I could see the scarlet pool at her feet, seeping into the snow. I thought of my mobile and turned, unsure. Maybe I should try to bring her home before calling for help.

When I reached her she pulled the baby blanket around her and her crying stopped suddenly.

‘Go ’way.’ Her voice was hoarse.

‘I will,’ I said. ‘Soon. But would you come into the house and rest for a while first?’

She shook her head fiercely and pulled the bag closer to her.

‘Where’s your baby, love? Is it at home?’ I wanted to get her moving. I reached over and held her hand. No gloves. She was ice.

‘I forgot to leave the bag,’ she cried. ‘He has no clothes or nappies or anything now.’ More drops of blood fell on the snow and the girl cried with the pain again.

I tried once more. ‘We’ll bring your bag to the baby. You’re right. He’ll need all his things. What’s your name pet?’

‘Maria,’ she sniffed. ‘Is it midnight yet?’

‘No’ I said. ‘A half an hour to go.’ I put my arm under hers and pulled her to standing.

‘I left him with the baby Jesus,’ she said. ‘They’ll find him at midnight mass.’

Find out more about Carolann’s writing and teaching
on the Carousel Creates website
or follow her on Twitter @carouselcreates


photo credit: Eustaquio Santimano via photopin cc

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)


At a Crime Writers’ Day with Louise Phillips at Carousel Creates, we were set a challenge – we had 10 minutes to write a short piece & the prompts were ‘bad weather’ and ‘old contacts’.


I spun around and almost gave myself whiplash before I even knew what was happening. My cursing about the idiotic choice to leave the car at home stopped. I gave up my failing attempts to shelter from the driving rain. In fact at that moment, if you’d asked me if it was raining I wouldn’t have been able to tell you.

It was definitely him.

The sight of him always did that to me. Stopped me in my tracks, made my surroundings disappear until only his presence existed.

It was 17 years since it had last happened. 17 years since the last time he held my hand, stroked my hair and told me that everything was going to be ok.

17 years since he’d smiled at my father, danced with my mother and invited himself in to my bedroom.

I demanded to know – is he back? Why, why is he back?
But then we never found out why he left.

I was cold, so very cold.