Tag Archives: books

Amy Fitzgerald – Freedom to Fly

Amy Fitzgerald

 

Amy’s life journey has thus far taken her down many fascinating pathways including completing her degree in Business Studies, appearing on School around the Corner receiving the Children of Courage Award, meeting many famous and interesting people, but none prouder than working on her own collection of poetry and getting them to print.

She lives with a severe disability, in medical terms ‘Congenital Defect’ but in simple terms she was born without legs from below the knee and without hands from below the elbow. Although this has made things more difficult for her growing up and moving through the various stages in her life, it has definitely not proven to be a barrier for her in achieving anything she sets her heart on. Although her educational background is centred around business, her heart and passion lies most certainly in writing poetry.

Growing up, she never really focused on her disability and it never seemed to bother her but when she reached her mid/late teens it started to concern her more and more. She never spoke about and always played the part in all aspects of my life but inside it hurt to see her sisters, brother and friends having opportunities that seemed only dreams to her. She found a huge sense of self-acceptance through her poetry and finds that she can handle her lot in life a bit easier because of the relationship I have with writing.

In her own words, she says that her poetry has “given me a place I can be totally myself and express my emotions, ideas and memories.”

Speaking about her launch, Amy said that it was the “best night of my life ever!”

Having the opportunity to print and bind her poems with selfpublishbooks.ie has been a dream come true for her. She hopes everyone gets something positive from reading her work, because her message is one of optimism, even through the most difficult of times.

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Delia O’Callaghan – Honeysuckle to Handcuffs

Delia O'Callaghan cover

 

Lettertec was delighted to print, Honeysuckle to Handcuffs, written by Delia O’Callaghan. In 2012 Delia was one of the finalists in the Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair competition.

In 2008, while living in Boston, U.S.A.  Delia joined a creative writers’ workshop at the Boston Centre for Adult Education. Taking on board the expert’s advice to write about what she knew, Delia started a novel about an Irish girl living and working illegally in Boston.

The following year, Delia, took a trip back to Ireland, in a disastrous twist of faith which turned her life upside down – she found herself locked up in the San Diego Correctional Facility. Ironically, although Delia’s worst nightmare came to fruition, she now had the new material she desperately needed and Honeysuckle to Handcuffs was born.

 

Books for Delia

When Boston-based Irishwoman Delia O’Callaghan meets Frank, she can’t believe her luck…

 

He’s everything any girl could wish for; rich, charming, handsome and fun. Whisked up into a world of ritzy restaurants and jet set living, it looks like all of Delia’s dreams are set to come true – that is, until US customs catch wind of Delia’s lack of a Green Card when she tries to return to the States after a trip home to Ireland for her sister’s wedding. Frank returns to Boston without Delia, leaving her stranded in Ireland with a big red ‘DENIED ENTRY’ stamp in her passport.

 

Determined to get back to the love of her life, Delia devises a hair-brained scheme: if she can’t get into America a legitimate way, then she’ll do what hundreds of thousands of people do each year: she’ll sneak-in through the Mexican border. What’s the worst that could happen… right? She asks herself, half-heartedly. But when the plan goes wrong. So wrong, in fact that Delia finds herself locked up in the San Diego Correctional Facility with a foul-mouthed, religious, drug-trafficking, yet protective, lesbian cellmate, Teresa. Not to mention Officer Lopez: the six-foot-two prison guard, identifiable as a woman only through her lack of an Adam’s apple. How is Delia going to cope? And will there be a happy ever after?

Honeysuckle to Handcuffs is the hilarious, fish-out-of water true story of one woman’s journey who discovers that over the course of nearly a month in jail and a series of disastrous but comical events that there might be more to life than Rolexes, fancy cocktails and fine dining.

 

The book is to be launched on the 8th of October by Brent Pope in the Bodega, Cork at 7pm.

 

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My Watchmaker’s Time by Joe Clarke

Watchmakers Time A5 CoverHR

Joe Clarke’s first novel, Mirrors Don’t Tell Lies, was almost 6 years in the making having undergone a series of rewrites in the process. His latest publication, My Watchmaker’s Time, followed along in a similar vein although taking a year or so less to complete. This week I had a quick chat with Joe about his new novel from Selfpublishbooks.ie.

“Once finished I had no real ambition to publish either works but subsequently gave in to family promptings,” Joe said, “I felt, at the time, that something as beautiful as the written word, especially in book form, was a fitting legacy and I am very proud of what I have achieved thus far.”

Following on and prior to his early retirement Joe also dabbled with poetry, writing scores of poems along the way.
“I love the simplicity of telling complexed stories in just a few rhyming verses,” Joe admits, “Occasionally I target the humour of topically funny stories via my email inbox or headline banners and make them real. I believe that poetry is as complicated or as simple as the writer cares to make it. I have written poems about life, death, love and hate with more than a sprinkling of adventure thrown in. When I eventually reach the milestone of having written 250 poems I will then seriously consider publishing them in their entirety. Prose versus Poetry is such a tight call for me simply because both play such a huge part in my life. I’d say the one starting with the letter ‘P’ wins hands down.”

 

What was it in this second novel that kept him engaged? “I really enjoyed writing My Watchmaker’s Time as it gave me the opportunity to think outside the box, steering away from the conventional,” he maintains, “The novel is made up of a series of short stories spanning centuries. It revolves around the life of Bryan Barnett, a pretty regular type of guy, who must seek his redemption through a series of tasks set up by a Higher Power. My favourite chapter tells the tale of Abe and Lucy, a pair of young ambitious hopefuls, during the great ‘Californian Gold Rush’ of 1849. Their original naivety in searching for gold saw them swiftly change direction when they accidentally struck rich. Setting up a series of hardware stores throughout the States brought more wealth than they at first had imagined. It’s a gripping story of rags to riches that more than just pulls at the heart strings. Really one to enjoy!”

 

How does My Watchmaker’s Time compare to Mirrors Don’t Tell Lies? Joe pauses on this. “To stand back and compare both books is very difficult to do, given their diversity. Aesthetically, both compare equally well although I will always have a special fondness for my first book, which is understandable, I suppose. I would like to once again thank Selfpublishbooks.ie for making my words come to life in the form of an exquisite book. Special thanks go to Shelley O’Reilly for the fantastic work done in producing such a stunning cover. Huge thanks also to my wife Terry for her support throughout. Without all of your help it would be but just a dream.”

 

So what’s next for Joe? “I am currently working on my third novel, The Case of the Missing Letter, a detective story with many twists and turns. It’s shaping very good at the moment but is still someway from completion. When inspiration isn’t there, you know, it just isn’t there and right now I am in that place, time for golf? I have no doubt that a few weeks away from the computer and on the golf course will do the trick, yet again. Funny old game this writing!”

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Book Promotion Strategies — That Actually Work

What’s the best book promotion strategy you’ve ever seen?

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian took to Reddit to seek promotion advice for his new book, Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed.

He asked the network of loyal readers: “What are some of the smartest things you’ve seen people do to promote a book? … I’d like to make the most out of all this time I have to do some awesome stuff for the fine folks who’d pre-order/buy a copy.”

We’ve collected ten reader responses below to help you plan your own book promotion.

 

Book Promotion Strategies That Actually Worked

1. oguerrieri wrote: “Definitely offer free e-book with purchase of hard copy! Something I wish every book did.”

2. JoanofLorraine wrote: “My favorite example is the writer who opened a storefront in Brooklyn that sold only copies of his own book.”

3. josephflaherty wrote: “The little things Field Notes does, like putting in a themed patch or button goes a long way to making their books feel more like cultural artifacts than indie Moleskines.”

4. HAGOODMANAUTHOR wrote: “Advertising on Reddit has increased my Kindle sales exponentially”

5. josephflaherty added: “Put it in a crazy package: Seth Godin put copies of his books in Milk/Cereal boxes which made them really stand out and feel more like limited edition products than books.”

6. Davytron wrote: “when i worked at a book store, these ladies gave every employee a copy of their cook book. A bunch of us used the recipes and ended up telling customers and family about them. It was very nice but also a clever way to get us to promote their book.”

7. Thestom wrote: “Free book of equal or lesser value with the purchase of the author’s book.”

8. josephflaherty also added: “I’m sure you’ve got the book tour part dialed in, but treating them more like concerts would be fascinating … Would be fun for a tour to host a few local entrepreneurs who have succeeded without permission.”

9. Ms Adler wrote: “doing a discount on ebooks will often get you more readers that may not otherwise purchase a hard copy, and signed first editions are prized by collectors.”

10. Ginroth concluded: “Writing a good book.”

 

Reblogged in full from Jason Boog at Galleycat

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Mirrors Don’t Tell Lies

 

Mirrors Don't Tell Lies A5 Cover

Joe Clarke, golfer, traveller, fisher, has always had a healthy fascination with the written word. His first novel, Mirrors Don’t Tell Lies, has been reprinted this year by Selfpublishbooks.ie and we caught up with the author this week to chat about it.

 

Mirrors Don’t Tell Lies was my first novel,” Joe says, “It caught the bug from talking to another author friend in the States. I set about writing this book almost 5 years ago initially taking 5 months to complete. I have since rewritten it twice adding another 4 months on to this time-frame. With a love for detective movies, crime and the solving of same was always going to be the topic for my book. Pretty much with an open mind, no set agenda, I let my imagination run wild all the time developing the story and introducing characters as it went along. I have changed the original ending adding another chapter in the process.

 

“From my teenage years I had a love for writing although in those days I favoured lyric writing, hoping it would give me my big break but alas it didn’t happen. For a time I also contributed to the Drogheda United match day programme. In the subsequent years following on from my retirement I initially wrote poetry which I still very much love to do.

 

I asked Joe what his favourite part to write was. “Chapter 19,” he says, without a doubt, “when protagonist Tom Doyle who is a much accredited, well-respected retired Scotland Yard detective suddenly gives in to his softer side when he once again, after 5 years, meets up with his only daughter Susan and two grand children Elle and Toby who he knew nothing about.”

 

Sounds intriguing! Joe talked a little about what made him rewrite and reprint this book. “Since I finished the re-write of my first book my family have asked me to publish it but I always felt that the expense simply didn’t justify it. However, when I checked it out I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it wasn’t nearly as expensive as first thought. Having had no prior experience with publishing I adopted a very nervous and cautious approach. Daunting would probably describe the initial phase but with the help and assistance of Sharon, my fears were quickly allayed. As you can imagine it was a big learning curve for me but I must say that I found the whole process a pleasant experience.”

 

I asked Joe what the physical book was like: “The finished product was beyond my expectations and I am obviously most pleased with it.”

 

So what’s next for the mystery writer? “My next publication ‘My Watchmaker’s Time’ is already written and is currently being proofed. I expect to have the final file ready in three weeks and intend to then publish it through Selfpublishishbooks.ie. I then intend to write my third novel but haven’t yet decided on a plot. Watch this space!”

 

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Literary Mixtape: What’s Happening This Week

#10

What do we make of Marcel (Proust)?

#9

More children are using libraries

#8

Self-Publishing 2013 with Catherine Ryan Howard

#7

The Book Thief film adaptation

#6

Sylvia Plath: Reflections on her legacy

#5

The National Emerging Writer Programme

#4

A new look into Jane Austen

#3

On Richard III being found in a Leicester car park.

#2

How much should you budget to self-publish your book?

#1

Get a free copy of Poetry Magazine!

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Going to College as a Mature Student

Going to College as a Mature Student

This week, the team at Selfpublishbooks.ie caught up with Denis Staunton. I asked Denis about himself and what may have prompted him to write Going to College as a Mature Student.

“I am originally from Limerick, now living in Cork, married with four grown-up up children,” said Denis, “I have been involved in education at many different levels and in several different contexts for the past thirty-five years. I have worked in the non-formal education sector as a community youth worker, in the in-formal sector as an adult education co-ordinator and in the third-level sector as a lecturer, researcher and policy formation. I know the Irish education system from both the outside and the inside.

“When I left secondary school I knew what I did not want to do but not what I wanted to do. I did not want to work in an ok kind of job, with ok kind of money, in an ok type of office. I felt there was something better out there waiting for me through education. I discovered a ‘thing’ called Sociology and went to UCD as a mature student to study for a degree in Social Science. I loved the challenge of learning and became a lifelong learner.

“Professionally I have worked as a youth work in the inner city of Dublin; Community worker in Donegal with the Combat Poverty Programme; Training Officer with a Community Development Organisation in Cork and for the past twenty five years in University College Cork (UCC) teaching in the Department of Applied Social Studies, Assistant Director (Academic) in the Centre for Adult Continuing Education and Director of Access.

“I have always studied topics related to my work. For example, I completed my Masters in the area of Burnout and Stress among Youth and Community Workers and my PhD was entitled ‘Was it worth it?: The occupational benefits of getting a degree qualification as a Mature Student.’ ”

Where did he get the idea for this book?

“It arose out of the many interviews I carried out with mature students for my PhD Thesis. Reflecting back on their educational journey through college many mentioned the fact that so
much time and stress could have been avoided  (especially in the first year) if they had known more about the academic cultural expectations and the skills and strategies required to become a competent student.
It took me three years to complete. It was hard work but I adopted a simple strategy: no matter what, do an hour every day and write 200
words. It’s amazing how quickly the words add up and after a year a
‘shape’ begins to appear. Year one was given to reading, researching
and drafting (enjoyable part), Year two focused on structure, clarity
and purpose (the self-doubting part), Year three (the really hard
part) was entirely given to rewriting, rewriting and more rewriting.
Receiving written feedback from ‘critical colleagues and friends’ is
essential during the rewriting phase.”

I was curious to know if Denis always enjoyed education. “Yes, love libraries and books. Always reading – even if pottering
around the house or garden I listen to audio CD’s. This allows me
experiment with all sorts of reading material. If I really like one I
can always get copy of book to read at my leisure or study in detail.”

What books or authors inspired him?

“I am more inspired by ideas and certain organisations. However, since
education is my primary interest I have been influenced by
educationalist such as John Dewey, Paulo Freire, Pierre Boudieu,
Malcolm Knowles and Jack Mezirow to mention but a few. I admire the
work of organisation like UNESCO, Amnesty and One in Four.”

Surely there must have been something in particular about this project that attracted him.

“I most enjoyed researching and writing about working with your brain
(chapter 6). Learning how the adult brain works put me in touch with
new research from a number of scientific fields, such as neuroscience,
cognitive science and developmental psychology. Up to a few years ago,
the prevailing notion was that we were born with all of the brain
cells we were ever going to get, and they steadily eroded in a
depressing journey through adulthood and old age. It is now thought
that throughout life, the adult brain is losing connections at the
same time it is creating new connections in the region of the brain
involved in learning. This notion of creating new connections is
called ‘brain plasticity’, namely, the adult brain has the ability to
change its structure and function in response to experience. This is
really good news for adults who return to study as it shows that
intelligence is not fixed but changes as we learn. The popular phrase
‘use it or lose it’ certainly applies to the adult brain.”

What was it about self-publishing that caught his attention?

“The book I wanted to publish was in the middle between purely academic
focused work, on the one hand, and a non-fiction or fiction book for
the general reader on the other. My book was aimed at a particular
audience and even within the field of education mature students
represent a small percentage. Self-publishing, therefore, was an
obvious option, apart altogether from the financial costs involved in
producing a book as well as any financial rewards.

“I certainly did on-line research but in the end opted for a company
near where I live. From my previous experience of working with
publishers and printers being able to visit the site and get to know
the staff personally helps considerably. Lettertec in Cork ticked all
the boxes for me. I got very helpful advice, practical support and a
professional published finished product.

“It worked for me. I was able to get assistance in editing, graphic
design and production quality. This meant that I could bring a
finished product to the university and to work in partnership with
them in bring it to the target audience.”

What’s next for Dr Staunton?

“Right now I am taking time out to reflect and relax before I
decide my next project.”

And we can’t wait!

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