Saturday, June 27, 2015

Justine's Journal #45

52 Weeks 500 Words

This is how it began: Justine (not her real name) decided to write 500 words (or as near as), anything goes, per week for 52 weeks. She would then submit it for anonymous posting, via me, her friend. Perhaps a pattern will emerge from her words, but at this stage it’s more an experiment I have agreed to share in. I’ll attempt to draw conclusions at the end of this. Stay tuned if this resonates with you.

Week 45

"Do you sometimes feel as if you have failed? It could be in a task, a responsibility you undertook, as a friend, in your work, your personal life? Of course you have, for all of us sometimes doubt ourselves.

This was my week, unfortunately. I feel as I have failed. Just admitting it makes me feel terrible. Yet it wasn’t in a task or responsibility, or a relationship. I failed myself. I have this week utterly doubted myself. Every positive feeling I have worked hard at attaining meant less than nothing. Yes, I wanted to crawl into bed and stay there, never to emerge again, for I am a failure.

When I sat to write this entry, I thought to record something positive, hoping it would jog me from this state of belief. Omission though is also lying, if only to myself. So, now the words of admission pour out instead. While I hope you will learn from this or simply feel empathetic in recognising yourself in here, this journal entry is so that I may reason this all out and change my state of mind.

I stare at the screen now and wonder if a chemical deficiency isn’t causing this negativity. Perhaps the stuff that wires me is defective and I need to have my hormones tested or something. Maybe. I can’t afford to visit a doctor, though, so that won’t help me. If this continues, I may have to acknowledge there is a physical reason beyond my control and then live with it.

Still, I am of the opinion we can rewire ourselves, shift those chemicals around ourselves if we try hard enough, believe in ourselves and give it our all. The process is the same for our physical selves as it is for the intangible parts. Therefore, anything I attempt to do, whether it is physical or emotional, will in the end lead to the same result. Right? Well, that’s what I tell myself. I do doubt at the moment.

I’m sorry, I had hoped to reveal to you a journey, one which slowly over the weeks of entry showed you how it is possible to grow daily simply by being more aware of the inner self. In this I have clearly failed also. Here I sit and dump doubts and it feels as if I have just started this journey and the intervening weeks have not happened.

They did happen! I did learn so much! I fixed so many issues!


Oh, now I sound completely disjointed, but do you know what? It just occurred to me the journey is real and I have soul-searched and lip-chewed and I have GROWN. This current state of belief is but a few days in a far larger picture. Why throw what went before away? That would be the real failure. We are not perfect, not ever, and sometimes we doubt. Sometimes the big picture is overwhelming. Sometimes we have to admit we are only human.

Okay, so these few days do not define me. Your few days do not define you either. I acknowledge the bigger picture, but will now concentrate on the small stuff and use them to drag myself out of this.

I will go outside and listen to the birds. I will edit another chapter of my book. I will cook a lovely meal tonight. I will phone my brother for a quick chat. I will veg later and watch my favourite movie without telling myself I am wasting time better spent doing something constructive. I will cuddle with my partner tonight after our meal.

I will fix this.

Thank you for the opportunity to unload. This has given me the willingness to change my doubts and the path to do so. I hope you can find your path, too."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Writer's Wednesday: Chatting with Daithi Kavanagh

Today we chat with Daithi Kavanagh

Daithi Kavanagh is 56 years old and lives with his wife and two teenage children in Trinity, Wexford. Up to 2012 when the recession hit Ireland he was making a living as a musician. He then went back to adult education and completed his Leaving Certificate in 2014. He is now studying for a degree in Culture and Heritage Studies at Wexford Campus.

While he was studying he began writing ‘The Gun’ which is the first book in The Tadhg Sullivan Series.  His second book in the series called The Brotherhood was released in May 2015. He is currently working on the third book in the series.

He plays guitar and sings in many of the pubs in his hometown of Wexford where he is often joined by his two children Ella and Rory who play fiddle and flute.

In his spare time he likes to walk his two dogs with his wife Caroline.

Welcome, Daithi!

1.      What sparked your interest in writing? Your proverbial light-bulb moment?

In 2012 I found myself unemployed due to the recession. I had worked as a musician prior to that. I took up adult education after that and am currently studying for a degree in Irish Culture and Heritage Studies. While studying English for my Leaving Certificate my teacher encouraged me to write. I started writing my first book The Gun and my teacher would check it for me. It took off from there and with the help of my wife Caroline I finished The Gun. I signed a contract with Tirgearr Publishing in 2013.

2.      Which genre are you most comfortable writing in?

Definitely crime fiction. I’ve been inspired by Stiegg Larrson, Jo Nesbo and  Ian Rankin.

3.      Would you say you draw most often from your own knowledge base when writing or do you research for fresh material?

I always draw from my own knowledge base. I feel it gives the stories authenticity. It is at times necessary to research as there are often things within the story where your knowledge could be limited. But in general I tend to write my stories quite often around my own life experiences. Also I often base the characters on people I am acquainted with either living or dead.

4.      Tell us a bit about your work. How, for instance, do you choose your titles?

So far the titles of my books have always been related to the main theme of the story e.g. in my first book The Gun the whole story grew around one of the main characters in the book accidentally acquiring an assault rifle. In book 2 – The Brotherhood the story revolves around a vicious cult known as The Brotherhood.  I think it’s important (in most cases anyway) that the title gives some indication towards the direction the story is going to take.

5.      We love to read excerpts. Share with us your favourite bit of writing from you latest book.

My latest book is called The Brotherhood and is the second book in The Tadhg Sullivan Series.

She knew nothing of the white van that pulled up behind her, until the two men
grabbed her and bundled her into the back. She’d been jogging along the road, with
her headphones on listening to Mumford and Sons. At first she’d thought it was a
prank by some of her friends. But as the van tore along the narrow road at top speed
and she found herself being tossed from side to side, she knew something much
more sinister was unfolding. She screamed. Suddenly the van took a sharp left, and
she smashed her face against the side paneling. They seemed to be on a long,
pebbled lane. She stared at her headphones, the music still blaring, lying on the
floor, and cursed herself for not listening to her parents, who had begged her to bring
her mobile phone.

6.      Who do you identify with most in your work? And why?

Without doubt Detective Sullivan my main character is the person I identify with the strongest. But most of my characters have a little bit of me in them. To give the characters  more depth I tend to often lend them the darker side of myself as for some reason bright and cheerful people often come across as bland. Where I can I try to use wit to counteract this darkness that exists 
in the characters.
7.      If you could choose who would play Detective Sullivan in the movie or series made from your work, who would it be?

I think the Irish Actor Cillian Murphy would play the part of Sullivan very well as he can portray both strong and vulnerable personas very well (in my opinion) and he has a depth to his character that I think would portray Sullivan very well.

8.      Which four words would you use to describe yourself?

Passionate, controversial, opinionated and left wing conservative!!

9.      Which four words would you use to describe your work?

Honest, controversial, fast-paced and very Irish.

10.  I have to throw this in! That list of favourites we’re all interested in!

Favourite book:           Anything by Arnaldur IndriĆ°ason
Favourite movie:         On the Waterfront
Favourite TV series:    Wallander
Favourite colour:         Blue
Favourite food:           Steak and Chips
Favourite drink:          Tea!!
Favourite pet:              Our two dogs Sam and Rosie
Favourite season:        Winter. I love the cosiness of the short evenings and lighting the fire.
Favourite place:         My hometown of Wexford.

11.  Often personal fame and prominence for your work go together, but frequently authors prefer remaining in the background while hoping their work will assume the limelight. Is this true for you, or don’t you mind a bit of fame?

I’d accept the fame if it also brought money with it! But I would prefer to remain in the background as I love the simple home life and be able to go into one of the local pubs in Wexford with my family and play music without all my fans mobbing me!!!!! (LOL)

12.  Tell us about your next book (we love to know what to look forward to!).

My next book is Book 3 in The Tadhg Sullivan Series called The Crucifixion. The Crucifixion is once again a story steeped in Irish history and Irish life. It begins with the murder of a Christian Brother  

13.  What comes next, besides a new book project? A holiday, an event?

This summer myself and the family will be going to Doolin to take in the brilliant traditional music and see again the beautiful Inishere and Inis Mor.

14.  And finally, if you could choose one person, living or dead, you would like to meet, who would it be and what would you ask of that person?

GOD – I would ask him how my books are going to do in the future!!!

Lol, yes, I wish we could all receive insight regarding our work!
Thank you, Daithi, it was a pleasure having you :)

Detective Tadhg Sullivan’s life seems to be falling apart, since being shifted to Clare
from Dublin after falling out with the Minister for Justice and the Garda
Commissioner. His partner, Journalist Helen Carty, has moved out, unable to live
with his bouts of depression and periodic alcoholism. He finds himself once again
alone in a world that doesn’t understand him.

Suddenly Sullivan is knocked out of his lethargy when a teenage girl goes missing
not far from Ennis where he has been stationed. Sullivan is asked to lead the hunt by
the local Superintendent and is catapulted into a world of unimaginable horror. He is
confronted by Lord Charles Cromwell the leader of a sadistic cult—The
Brotherhood—that derives its pleasures from the torture and murder of young

Sullivan’s investigation is once again hampered by political interference. As he fights
his way through one bureaucratic obstacle after another he discovers that The
Brotherhoods tentacles have not only reached into corridors of power in Ireland but,
they are being protected by powerful politicians worldwide.

To cut through this protective ring of steel Sullivan finds himself having to engage
with some strange bed fellows. Which included an ex CIA agent, Simon Horowitz,
who had saved his partners life during his last investigation and an IRA leader, Rory
O’Connor, who has recently been released from prison.

Will this strange combination be able to destroy The Brotherhood before their
murderous reign takes another young life or will Lord Cromwell destroy Sullivan and

everything he loves?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Why English is so hard

This has been posted before in another format, but it is worth reading again!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Justine's Journal #44

52 Weeks 500 Words

This is how it began: Justine (not her real name) decided to write 500 words (or as near as), anything goes, per week for 52 weeks. She would then submit it for anonymous posting, via me, her friend. Perhaps a pattern will emerge from her words, but at this stage it’s more an experiment I have agreed to share in. I’ll attempt to draw conclusions at the end of this. Stay tuned if this resonates with you.

Week 44

"I have a serious issue with the banking system here in the south. It’s a minefield of frustration, that’s what it is.

I have more than one account and recently ignored one account (where I try and save) and when I tried to put in some funds via internet banking, it was to discover my account is inactive. Huh? It seems the fees put me in arrears and now it is inactive. I have to make a special trip to the branch and spend literally hours in line (I mean it, HOURS – it took me four hours in line just to open this account a few months ago) in order to fix it. I have to do this, for I receive money from another party into this account on occasion.

FEES! The bane of our lives. There are fees for every transaction, fees for just having an account, fees for using internet banking, fees for sms notifications, and FEES for being in arrears! For doing nothing, the banks here make money off us.

Elaina told me how the account she had in Ireland was bliss itself. NO FEES! On the other hand, no interest to speak of (which we do have here, although it’s not massive for saving – massive for lending, oh yes), but I would rather earn little interest and not have my money vanish into the ether the way it does here.

While frustration is an issue, as is the impracticality of sorting this out, my main problem with this affair is how it makes us feel unworthy.

We try to save. We try to keep our heads above water. And what happens? Without doing anything wrong, we are in debt to the banks. Instantly we feel debt-ridden and anxious and unworthy as a member of our society. Fix it, you say, and all will be well. I agree, but why is it necessary to put us through this gauntlet with regularity?

I am not going to start on the politics of money our leaders manipulate, for then I will be raving like a lunatic and it will destroy my calm … and it will help me not at all. But I do wish our leaders could wake up and affect changes that will aid in making every citizen begin to breathe easier … to feel worthy. This doesn’t mean freebies, merely less taking from us. A foolish hope, no doubt.

So next week I am off to stand in line cursing under my breath for a few hours. Wish me luck and wish me patience. Wish also for lightning bolt enlightenment to strike someone with the power to change things for ordinary people. Ha."