Monday, November 2, 2015


Blogging. Does anyone even read blogs anymore? It’s all Twitter and Facebook and Instagram these days. But I still like the idea of blog, even if I’m not that diligent with posting. Like, how can you really, properly pontificate in 140 characters? I don’t want to apply a filter to my thoughts. And as for Facebook? What if you’re not my ‘friend’, you won’t get to see what brilliant things I have to say.

So blogging it is then.

But what to blog about. Well, I’m trying to write again. It’s hard. There are the kids, and the husband and the full time college course. And the need to sleep occasionally.

So, a plan.

The wonderful @abitinclined and I have decided we needed a plan. And brilliant creatures that we are, we have come up with one. We are to meet, once a week at The Orchard Café, in Celbridge, from about 11am.

And what shall we write about? This depends. Today, I am just writing this blog. But I also want to keep plugging away at the preparation of my totes brilliant new novel. But what about @abitinclined? We had a bit of discussion. What are our writing goals? I recounted how my novel, ‘The Dead Ringer’, picked as a finalist for the IWC Novel Fair, had started life as a piece of flash fiction. (300 words to 75,000!) And, my short story ‘Salt’, runner up in the RTE Guide/Penguin Ireland 2014 competion, also began as a 200 word musing. So, I set @abitinclined a challenge –

I folded up a number of bits of paper with a profession, a person, an emotion, an incident written on them. And then I wrote another set with the same criteria. Using these prompts, she is writing a flash piece! I can’t wait to see how it turns out. And I believe, if she’s happy with it, that she will post it to her blog

The idea is that the pair of us get writing. Every Monday we get something down on paper. And maybe it’s a little cheat of me this morning to just be writing about getting writing. But still. It’s a post, isn’t it?

Ps Come join us writing at the Orchard this November – it might not be quite NaNoWriMo, but we can call it NaWriSoMo (National Writing Something Month!)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Been having a bit of fun with a little cartoon strip.

Click to enlarge.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

And How Do You Do It?

So it seems I'm in a groove whereby I blog about writerly stuff I've read in the paper. Last post was about the wonderful Sarah Baume, and today it's about this interesting article wot I read in the Irish Times a weekend or so ago -"The writing ritual: from blank page to Booker contender"   Perhaps this blog should be renamed - Tríona Reacts!

Writing rituals. 

I devoured this article... would their routines be like mine? Would they have a secret that I could copy and therefore unlock heretofore unprecedented productivity? It was quite exciting. In the end it was mainly a lot of talk about rewards of tea and toast.

And seeing as I do that already, it wasn't much help.

But I still find the whole subject of how writers write fascinating. 

I have a bit of a JK Rowling thing going on. I go to this fabulous cafe that is just down the road from my youngest child's preschool. I drop her off, I go to this cafe, I steal their electricity and I write for three hours until my child has been sufficiently educated for the day. The cafe staff ask me how the book is going and I get to act all writerly and pretentious. I drink far too much coffee. Then I pick child up again and go home to the mess and the chaos and the mess...

I have a problems now though. School is out for summer very soon. No lovely cafe, no three lovely hours of writing. I'm going to have to write at home. With four noisy galoots. And all their noisy friends. Bah. 

There was a time when I could write at the kitchen table, with them crawling around at my feet. I was able to block out the sound of Barney the Dinosaur and immerse myself in whatever fiction I was creating. Not anymore.  They're just too big and I'm just too old to do it anymore. Now I need (relative) quiet.

So, what's the plan?

Well, it looks like long suffering hubby is going to be a bit more suffery. He's getting kicked out of the study. He's getting a desk in the bedroom (sure he already sleeps there, why not work there too, sounds great...) and I'm taking over the study. The littlest children will be allowed in, cause they're quieter than the big lads, and so I will still get to write (and paint. Don't forget my ART!) 

While I won't get to float around my cafe being writerly, at least I won't have to stop writing and we won't go bankrupt from all the lattes I've been buying. (Hubby could have turned into a Golum type creature before September comes round again though. But it's a chance I'm willing to take.)

What are your rituals?? Tell me all :)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Writing is Hard and other Duh Observations...

I noticed something a while ago about all my writer friends. Practically all of them painted too. And the few who claimed no visual artistic ability had an obvious talent with the aesthetic. Their homes are beautiful, their dress sense impeccable. That sort of thing.

Perhaps it's a coincidence?

We writers hate coincidences.

We visual artists are less bothered.

Maybe it's just the writers I hang out with. 

But, when I spotted this interview with Sara Baume a few months ago I was delighted. Before her sudden rise to literary fame, she had studied Fine Art in IADT. A girl after my own heart and another for my writer/painter list.

I eagerly clicked through to read all about her writing/artistic life.

What struck me in the end was something else, related but different, that she said... I'll quote her..."After the second book, I’d really like to get a studio again and make art again. I actually hate writing; it’s really hard."

"I actually hate writing; it's really hard."

This just resounded with me.

Because I feel that way too. Though hate is probably too strong a word. Where my painting/drawing is a restorative process, I become relaxed and consumed by it. Writing on the other hand is more like a difficult pregnancy. It is long, and exhausting. It drains me of nutrients and energy and it's labour is excruciating.

But you know, I have four children. And the love I feel for them is immeasurable. I willingly, with open eyes, endured those horrid nine months repeatedly.

And that is also how I feel about my literary offspring. Washed and new and swaddled, I look at my newly created sentences and paragraphs and am delighted. I can barely believe I had a hand in their creation. It has been so worth it. And though I may mutter, 'never again', I know I will.

Perhaps this is why so many of my writer friends are artists too? We need that flip side to recharge while still creating. I know, now, as my words daily divide and increase, growing into a potential new book, that the long hard road begins again.

And it doesn't yet fill me with joy.

But like all the other times, I'll do it anyway.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Updates and Things

February is when I last posted.

I said I'd check in and tell you how the Novel Fair went. Didn't I?

Well, yes, dear reader, I appeared to have lied to you. If it makes you feel any better, I am ashamed. But I have reasons, lots of lovely, plausible, understandable reasons...

We'll get to them, in good time.

So, how did the Novel Fair go? Hmm. Two answers - the actual day itself was one of  the most memorable, intense, overwhelming, brilliant days of my life. This brilliant little video from the Irish Writers Centre give you a pretty good idea of how it all went. I'm the one talking with my hands a lot.

Second answer - have I gotten a giant twenty figure book deal yet? No, not quite. The wheels turn slowly in this business. But I haven't not got a twenty figure book deal either :) There is possible potential for interesting things to happen... and I will keep you posted if anything develops from this possible potential ...

And now, why have I been so quiet. One word really. College. Quite annoyingly the slacker student I was in my youth is long gone. Maybe she's still propping up the student bar, carousing till the early hours. In her place, a single-minded phoenix, has emerged. Hardworking and driven. I prefer the former. She was much more fun. This student version of myself, determined to be the best in the class. Willing to work into the wee hours. Every. Single. Night. She's annoying. And hard work. I don't really like her that much. She's making me very tired! And why? What has she to prove?!!

But, we're done now. Finito. And its time to put my writerly the back one. The little doohicky at the top left of this blog that tracks my word count. The one that showed me finished with The Dead Ringer? Well, I'm setting it to zero. And a new one begins. Am I completely mad? Probably. I'll keep you up to date.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Words and Pictures

You know that thing they say about buses? You wait there for ages and then three come at once. Well. That's my life.

Not necessarily in a bussy way you understand.  Let me explain...

As mentioned in the last post, I have taken the plunge and gone back to college full time for this year. I've sent the D'Oub babies to be brought up by other people and now spend most of my day drawing and painting.

Art on book pages...nearly counts as writing?

I never realised quite how busy I'd be. Isn't Art meant to be relaxing, gentle, easy? But I have found myself hectic and under pressure practically from day one back in college. Don't misunderstand me,  I've been delighted. My brain has been jump-started Frankenstein's monster style by all the deadlines and challenges. But goodness, it's time consuming.

A drawing I did based on a line from a book. Does this nearly count as writing?

So what happened to my writing? Well. I've kept at it. But at a slower pace.  I've only sent out three pieces of work in the last six months.

A poem. 

A short story.

A novel.

Russian dolls of writing.

But, as luck* would have it all three of them have done well for me.

(Warning! Shameless boasting approaching!)

My story, 'Salt', was a runner up last autumn in the RTE Guide/ Penguin Ireland Short Story Competition. To be chosen in the top ten out of over a 1000 stories was a real confidence booster. (Maybe I can write after all??)

In October my poem 'Storm' (aka 'Us') was shortlisted for the Jonathan Swift Poetry Competition.

And about three weeks ago I got a phone call which I still can't quite believe - my novel has been picked for this years Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair!

I must go pinch myself again.

The big day is in about ten days. On Saturday 21st.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Novel Fair, it's sorta like literary speed dating. 12 unpublished novels are picked and the authors are locked in a room (well, not actually locked) with a ton of agents and publishers. It's been running for four years and each year has seen a number of the lucky finalist end up with an actual, published, proper book on their hands.

That's the dream, isn't it!

My husband if he has to hear one more thing about my book!

I am excited and terrified in equal measure and hopefully on the 21st I'll do my novel justice.

I'll keep you posted. But right now, I better go do more prep for the day.

I think college will be getting stick figures for the foreseeable future :)

*that old chestnut perhaps? - "The harder I work, the luckier I get.-Samuel Goldwyn"

Sunday, January 4, 2015

So, what you been up to since I last saw you...


Hell yeah!

Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough 2015!

This used to be a bit of a life/writing blog. I used to really love it. Then the demon baby D'Oub came along and there was no time. None. Demon baby D'oub is now 4. She's still a tough nut. But less time consuming.

Time to blog again?


I filled that demon void by going back to college.

I am a proud owner of a full time student card.

I am doing an art portfolio preparation course. Have literally no idea what I'm going to do once this course is done. Well, maybe some writing? Yes. And then more art study? Perhaps.

So, in the meantime, what say this becomes a life/writing blog again, with a dash off added art?

Let's give it a whirl!!

So, here are my life - i.e. my babies.

(Note how happy baby/toddler D'Oub looks - that's cause she knows she rules the roost. All roosts.)

And here is some of the art work I've been doing since September.

My little darling sleeps. And for a brief few minutes we are not all her servants.


I know people don't like feet. Sorry about that.

So, hey, maybe there will be a next time! Maybe this blog is back. Just maybe...