Susan & Owen's Wedding, April 5th 2014

Last Saturday we attended the wedding of a dancer (because once a dancer...) a beautiful girl and dear friend Susan Shanley and her partner Owen Atkinson. I've known Susan for about fourteen years. She was one of the earliest and Read more

A True Story - Children from 2 to 18

Morning all, I hadn't thought to be back so soon but then yesterday the first of April was sunny and warm and a good writing day and a good food day and a good family day, plus funny. I'd slept Read more

A Catch Up - First Draft Novel & More

Just to fill you in on what's happening, I got back to the book this morning. I hadn't planned to take such a long break but things were so busy and you know it's true when it kept me Read more

Next, Summer 2014 Collection Launch, Dublin

Afternoon all, it's been over a week since I blogged... I think. It's all a bit of a blur but I hope I was missed. I haven't been idle, I can promise you that, in fact I've been caught in Read more

Four go wild in Dublin

Last week I got a call from my little sister Martha. She'd won a competition with 'KOH Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge,' Dublin and the prize was a cocktail masterclass, champagne dinner for four, tickets to Beyonce in concert at Read more

Our Day at The Organic Centre, Rossinver, Co Leitrim

Once before we were married Adrian surprised me with a bunch of garlic and carrots he'd grown himself at his homeplace in Drumshanbo. Somehow when he'd said he had a 'surprise' for me this was not what I'd pictured Read more

First Draft Novel – Done

Afternoon all and Happy Easter. This post is a few days overdue but if you follow me on facebook you already know the good news is I finished the first draft of my book Tuesday.

Nine months, 85,000 words and five days ahead of my self imposed deadline of Easter Sunday. You never doubted me did you? I myself never doubted I’d finish but it still feels amazing.

Knowing I was literally sentences away and then writing those words ‘The End’ was quite the feeling. There’s so much I could say about this journey, it would be impossible to cover it all so instead here’s just a few points…

History

  • Like lots of people I was great at English in school and I always wanted to write a book.
  • I started the blog in 2012 and got into the habit of writing. One year into blogging the idea for the book came to me and I started writing it.
  • Nine months later I finished my first draft.

 

Hardest Bits

  • Starting and then finishing.
  • The frustration of time. When the demands of everyday life prevented me from writing or interrupted a good flow.
  • When I had to force myself to write, when I wasn’t feeling it, didn’t know what to say or had a difficult scene, when every word was a struggle.
  • Sometimes trying to keep track of everything felt daunting. What’s that Tom Cruise movie, is it ‘Minority Report’ ? He has all these scenes in the air in front of him and can swish them around at will, look at them all together at once. I dreamed of that! This was probably most difficult in the middle section and funnily enough improved later.
  • The dreaming, a lot of dreaming at the most intense parts.

 

wilde

Best Bits

  • Starting and then finishing
  • One of the early things I was scared of was writing dialogue because I’d never done it before so it was hugely shocking and surprising when the characters all started talking and all with DIFFERENT voices. It felt as if they’d already existed, out there somewhere.
  • The way the twists and turns of the story constantly surprised me.
  • The ghostliness factor. You think, ‘I don’t know who’s writing this but I don’t think it’s me.’
  • Light bulb moments. I could be out walking and BANG, plot breakthrough out of nowhere.
  • When everything started to come together as if by magic.
  • When the writing was easy and my head was going faster than my hands and I’d have to jump forward and back jotting down points and trying to keep up.
  • Feeling happy with the end result and looking forward to the next stage.
  • Towards the end I really wanted someone to read it so I selected an excerpt, changed the names so as not to spoil things too much and gave it to four people to read. My husband and eldest daughter and two of my siblings, Laura and Martha. Now your family might be the sort to candy coat their true feelings but  mine’s not plus they’re big readers so seeing their reactions and hearing their thoughts was fantastic and really exciting : )
  • The fact I’ve done it. I’ve achieved a life long dream, my ultimate one.

 

What it Took Really

  • Willpower and sheer bloody single minded grittiness
  • Self belief. I’ve said it before, I didn’t and don’t know how good it is or how it will be received when the day comes to send it out in the world but I knew I could and would finish.
  • Work (everything you’ve ever heard is true)
  • Really wanting to write that turned into to a feeling of having to write.
  • Passion
  • Obsession perhaps.

 

What I Learned

  • To begin, begin. You’ll think it’s crap and it won’t feel right but that’s ok. Just start and then keep going.
  • That if I made myself sit and wait while my head told me I hadn’t taken that load of washing out yet or that I was meant to ring about or that I never…I learned to just wait, insist on being there and the words would come eventually.
  • I learned that I struggled most when I tried to control the story. In the early stages I was good at letting it go where it wanted to with or without me but later I started to feel, ‘Ok, I have to make sense of this now and link it up to one thing or other. I was wrong about that.
  • That I can do anything I want to do within reason, I mean I can’t sing but if I could…
  • To trust the process. Some of my best breakthroughs and favourite parts happened after some of my worst days where I struggled most with one thing or other.
  • That if you have a flair for something when you’re young there is something to that, go explore. You never know where it might lead you.
  • That fear or doubt is cancelled out by doing.

 

Conclusion: I learned tons more than that but this post is turning into an epic in its own right so let’s get to the part you’ve been waiting for. Something of the book itself…

sisters

‘It’s been nearly ten years and the town is waking up to the news that’s travelling fast, the sisters have returned. They’ve come back but why? A family of healers is one thing but the women have long been associated with the cailleach of the mountain and that’s an entirely different matter…’

A multi point of view novel that crosses several genres including Magic Realism and Family Saga with Fantasy, Romance and Dark Fantasy or Fantasy Horror

Draws on the traditions in Ireland of the bean feasa or wise woman healer with that of the fearsome cailleach, a paranormal landscape figure from Irish mythology and set in rural Ireland around a family of sisters and aunts as they deal with a  legacy, that became a curse, that became a quest…

Family, community, doomed love, home, ancient powers, dark legacy, tradition, wild landscape, revenge and self actualisation are some of the themes you’ll find in this lyrical and darkly atmospheric tale from the west of Ireland…

So, now you know.

Is it what you expected? It’s certainly darker than the blog! I’m going to leave you for now with the perfect theme tune for the movie version : ) It was Martha brought it to my attention after reading for me and she was so right, it is perfect. The first time I listened the whole story played out in my head like a movie. Shame it’s already been taken by the Hobbit! Still, it evokes my story beautifully, just substitute the word sisters for brothers when you listen.

‘I See Fire’ by Ed Sheeran, click HERE

I’ll be back soon with regular posting and of course what comes next for the book. Finally I just want to say thank you for sharing in this journey and for being so encouraging and supportive along the way. Some of you’ve been really amazing and I appreciate it more than I can say.

Have a great weekend and talk to you soon : )

s martin

 

Posted on by Jane in I WAS JUST THINKING, Scribblings, THE YEAR IN EVENTS, PARTIES & SPRAOI'S, We Can Do It - Tips for Creative Living 7 Comments

Mike & Jo’s Supper Club

My love affair with the north of the county, that’s north Leitrim for those who don’t know, continued in style last weekend with yet another intrepid trip that direction. Last time was for a course at the Organic Centre, this time was for my first experience of a supper club, Mike & Jo’s to be precise.

Supper clubs, pop up or underground restaurants as they’re also known have been taking the food world by storm for some years now. Typically they take place in someones home but in theory any venue is possible. Skilled amateur chefs and passionate foodies, friends and strangers alike, come together on a fixed occasion for a surprise or certainly fixed menu that turns all eating and certainly restaurant convention on its head.

Mike and Jo, restaurateurs in a previous life host a club at their home with a different theme every month and it was while thinking of hosting a ‘one off’ event of this kind myself that I came across them on facebook.

Delighted to have found one so close I requested a few places and set out with my fellow adventurers, Caoilfhionn, Kerry and Lorraine, not knowing what to expect but of course that’s part of the fun of it.

We knew to expect a ‘Thai theme in the Songkran tradition (Thai New Year)’ and had enjoyed a glimpse of their preparations on facebook…

‘Busy making the Kanum for this weekend’s Thai Supper Club. A lot of chopping and grating of cassava and then steaming little packets of sweet mixture. The verdict in this house is that they are delicious, so well worth it!!’

kanum

Driving up the long, winding and kind of treacherous lane we passed three boys and then a sign that read…

Keep Left… Or Else

Hahaha, can you imagine the hilarity that caused! Of course if we’d put the three boys and the sign together we’d have gotten our answer. Jo later told Kerry she’d asked them to make a sign for the guests, they’d simply embellished a little without her knowledge.

Arriving at the house the only outward sign of something happening was all the cars so abandoning ours with the rest, bottles of wine in our fists, it’s bring your own, we knocked on the door and went in…

First impressions…

photo 1 (62)

photo 3 (48)

photo 2 (59)

And then…

photo 4 (44)

From the cool quiet of the old part of the house we were drawn like moths to the inner sanctum with it’s flame red floor, warm atmosphere and warm welcome from Jo to a stunning glass room, framed in tree like beams and lined from one end to the other with an impossibly long table already filling up with guests for the evening.

photo 5 (29)

Taking our places we all agreed the best word to describe all of this was exciting. It was so exciting and we hadn’t sampled the food yet. The blend of new experience, not knowing what to expect, beautiful characterful surroundings and lively atmosphere boded well.

Chatting to people left and right we discovered a mix of regulars and newbies like ourselves. Chatting to Jo, I learned the pair did much of the work on the house, a converted and extended old cottage, a real labour of love. Chatting to Mike you can’t help but marvel at how cool as a breeze he is. I asked him what his secret was and he said ‘days of preparation.’

Going to the loo brought more surprise, bear with me. Ever use a compost toilet? Another first for the evening. Even after realising the fact, reading the sign to explain it (no ‘or else’ this time) I still looked for a handle!

photo 2 (60)

There’s Mike working away in the background. Being in this house made me want to redecorate…

photo 2 (62)

And then the food started coming, drum roll for the menu please…

The Menu:
Soup
Tom Jill – Basil scented potato and shallot soup

photo 1 (64)

Assorted starters
Satay Het Hom – Marinated grilled mushrooms with spicy peanut sauce
Sa Mo Sa – sweet potato and sweetcorn samosa
Tod Man Khao Pohd – Fried sweetcorn cake
Served with fresh cucumber pickle

photo 3 (49)

photo 2 (61)

Staples
Khao Pad Krapow – Fried rice with basil
Kow Soi – Chiang Mai curry noodles
Hot Curries
Gaeng Kari Tua – Chickpea and coconut curry
Pat Pet Fat Tong – Chilli pumpkin with lime leaves and basil
Salads
Yam Kanar – Raw broccoli, carrot and cabbage salad
Yam Yai – Many vegetables salad with tofu
Yam Tao Hou – Tofu salad with galangal and mint
On the table
Pak Dong – Vinegar pickled vegetables

photo 1 (65)

Dessert
Coconut rice pudding with caramel and ginger
Set Mango pudding
Kanom – Coconut and cassava delight
Kleeb Lamduan – Thai shortbread

photo 2 (63)

Tea and Coffee.

I’m afraid I can’t do the food justice but truth to say I haven’t eaten this well in some time and certainly not in a restaurant. Every little thing was so fresh and fragrant and delicious, portions perfectly judged, beautifully presented, second helpings anyone?

As the evening wound down and guests scattered out into the night we wound our way back to south Leitrim all agreeing this was a singularly fabulous evening. It was different, fun, exciting, inspiring and not forgetting delicious. Will we go back again? I think you know we will.

Visit, follow and keep up to date with Mike & Jo’s Supper Club by clicking HERE

photo 1 (63)

Posted on by Jane in THE YEAR IN EVENTS, PARTIES & SPRAOI'S 5 Comments
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    • First Draft Novel – Done April 19, 2014
      Afternoon all and Happy Easter. This post is a few days overdue but if you follow me on facebook you already know the good news is I finished the first draft of my book Tuesday. Nine months, 85,000 words and five days ahead of my self imposed deadline of Easter Sunday. You never doubted me […]
      Jane
    • Mike & Jo’s Supper Club April 16, 2014
      My love affair with the north of the county, that’s north Leitrim for those who don’t know, continued in style last weekend with yet another intrepid trip that direction. Last time was for a course at the Organic Centre, this time was for my first experience of a supper club, Mike & Jo’s to be precise. […]
      Jane
    • Susan & Owen’s Wedding, April 5th 2014 April 10, 2014
      Last Saturday we attended the wedding of a dancer (because once a dancer…) a beautiful girl and dear friend Susan Shanley and her partner Owen Atkinson. I’ve known Susan for about fourteen years. She was one of the earliest and longest running members of our Traditional Performance Arts Group and Show, The Shaylyn Group (2000-2011) […]
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      Morning all, I hadn’t thought to be back so soon but then yesterday the first of April was sunny and warm and a good writing day and a good food day and a good family day, plus funny. I’d slept in. I woke up at seven aware of a weight on my feet, Sadhbh. It’s […]
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      Just to fill you in on what’s happening, I got back to the book this morning. I hadn’t planned to take such a long break but things were so busy and you know it’s true when it kept me from writing, especially as I’m so close to the end (of the first draft of my […]
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