January Blog: Hope Springs Eternal

No rest for the wicked. Well, perhaps a little bit of rest for the wicked. This month has been a total whirlwind and it’s probably the first time ever I can say that it’s absolutely flown by. January can have a tendency to drag its heels but 2018 really hit the ground running for me. I’ve been very busy in my day job and it’s hard not to let that effect other aspects of my life, notably writing. It’s important to try to maintain some level of writing engagement and to keep the momentum going. Small steps are better than no steps at all.

I’ve been doing plenty of ground work for my upcoming residency at the MacDowell Colony and even though it’s still two months away, at the rate January has gone by it won’t be long coming at all. Some of this prep work is non-writing related, such as arranging transport, getting a new passport, visas and all that other stuff that is too easy to put on the long finger. I’ve also lots of forms to complete for various bits related to my fellowship. It’s all good, however, and it’s nice to be planning something that I feel will be hugely worthwhile. In relation to Attrition, I’m still tapping away at the keyboard and the words are coming; not always the ones I expected nor the volume that I’d like but they’re there none the less.

Having some aspirations and hope is vital when writing and even though it waxes and wanes it’s essential to find something that acts as a beacon. One thing I’ve found beneficial is to take pleasure in the success of others. Fellow Irish writer, Sharon Thompson, had her debut novel published last week. Her book, The Abandoned, is gaining a lot of traction and is instantly gripping. I’m so happy for Sharon as I know she’s put in a hard slog to get where she is and her success makes me hope for my own too. The Abandoned, published by Bloodhound Books can be ordered here and is also available in bookshops. Scroll down to read more about The Abandoned.

The Poetry Ireland / Trócaire Annual Competition has now open for submissions. This year’s theme is Until Love Conquers Fear. Each year a different theme is chosen with the overall idea being to raise awareness of global justice issues and conditions affecting those most in need. The competition has several different categories and is open to poets of all ages. From personal experience I can say that this competition can be hugely beneficial and is well worth entering. There’s no entry fee and judging is anonymous, so there’s no reason not to. Get writing- entries close on Friday 16th March 2018. Full information can be found here.

After such as busy month I’m taking a little break, as I usually do towards the end of January. This year I’ve opted for slightly sunnier climes and I’m posting this blog from Nerja in Andalusia. My travel book on Kindle for the trip is the aforementioned The Abandoned and I have to say I’ve been hooked from the first chapter. It’s a thoroughly intriguing story with terrific characters, so between beach walks, Spanish explorations, and sangria I’m kept well entertained.

The Abandoned
Appearances can be deceiving

Peggy Bowden has not had an easy life. As a teenager her mother was committed to an asylum and then a local priest forced her into an abusive marriage. But when her husband dies in an accident Peggy sees an opportunity to start again and trains as a midwife.

In 1950s Dublin it is not easy for a woman to make a living and Peggy sees a chance to start a business and soon a lucrative maternity home is up and running. But when Peggy realizes that the lack of birth control is an issue for women, she uses their plight as a way to make more money. Very soon Peggy is on the wrong side of the law.

What makes a woman decide to walk down a dark path? Can Peggy ever get back on the straight and narrow? Or will she have to pay for her crimes?

Set against the backdrop of Ireland in the 1950’s The Abandoned tells the story of one woman’s fight for survival and her journey into the underbelly of a dangerous criminal world.

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