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


Remember, remember, the absolute bonkers madness that is November (hang on… that’s not right is it?)

Well hello everyone!

Have you missed me? I’ve been buried under the craziness of NaNoWriMo AND getting my book ready to launch. NaNo story is almost there. Almost 42k as of last night, so on the home stretch now.

But the very exciting news is that ‘The Long & The Short of it’ my first collection of short stories is out and there and published and real and you know… PUBLISHED 🙂


AMO LAUNCH 1 cropped
The book is dedicated to my 27 nieces and nephews.
Some of them were able to make the launch 😉 ❤

It’s a fantastic feel to have the book out there in the world.

You many recognise a few of the stories as a number of them have been on the blog. But they’ve been polished up and some of them have a different ending… There are also some brand spanking new stories too – that never made it to the blog.

Me & Catherine Brophy
Me & Catherine Brophy


The launch was a fun night. The book was launched by novelist, story-writer and story-teller Catherine Brophy. It was wonderful to have her and many other friends that I’ve met on my regular visits to Carousel Creates; a wonderful writers’ centre in the Dublin mountains, where much of the raw material for these stories was written.

Emer and Brian from Emu Ink were there, and as usual were working hard. I’m so grateful to them for all they have done to get this book published.

long and short coverI’m looking forward to a second launch of the book in Kilcullen; the beautiful village which has been home for the last couple of years. On December 6th at 7.30pm in Kilcullen Library, local author Martin Malone will launch the book. I’ll read some stories from it, but it will be a group effort as some of the members of Kilcullen Writer’s Group will also read. And you never know, there might even be a song or two…

Anyone who can make it is very welcome 🙂

If you’d like to get hold of a copy of  The Long & The Short of it,  you can click here to order it in paperback, find links to any e-version you fancy & you can even rent a digital copy for 30 days from Emu Ink.

I hope you enjoy it. I really do!

Now, back to NaNoWriMo with me… 🙂


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.