LADY BETH: Praise for the novel…

Putting your writing out in the world is a risk. The risk of being criticised. Of being rubbish. Of being ignored. Sometimes though, the risk pays off and I am so grateful for the praise and encouragement I have received so far for LADY BETH and am delighted to share the good word and positive vibes here!

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From Martin Malone. Author of Black Rose Days, Deadly Confederacies and Other Stories, US, Valley of the Peacock Angel, The Silence of the Glasshouse, After Kafra, The Lebanon Diaries.

Given the author’s previous works, a vampire tale, I was a little concerned that the title of Caroline Farrell’s latest novel, Lady Beth, might have been of the same genre, ensuring that I would not have consumed a word beyond its blurb. I’ve had enough of those bloodsuckers. Described as an urban thriller Lady Beth is stylishly written and has Gothic influences in its telling, which lend a splendid and chilling atmosphere to the story.

Set in the seedy world of drugs, the reader is presented with characters that are, too sadly, only too believable. The book steams ahead at a cracking pace, but not so quickly that we lose sight of what’s at stake, and who and what has been lost. The novel deals with loss, some serious secrets and the dark side of human nature, but there are redeeming traits in several of the characters, especially Frankie, who epitomises what it is to be a product of his environment.

Beth escaped a harrowing sub-existence to begin a new life for herself and her baby Jesse, who as a teenager is full of angst and rebellion; he travels the same route as his mother had done years before, to his detriment. When things in her life fully unravel, Beth sets out for revenge against the source of her ills; a confrontation with a brutal and controlling man known as The Poet…one wrong move from her, one hollow sentence, one false expression and she will not live to repeat another.

Lady Beth is a hugely entertaining read with well-crafted characters, and a strong plot-line. There are no vampires, but in hindsight, there actually are, but they’re defanged…which, by the way, makes some of the characters in Lady Beth no less menacing and no less dangerous. Really, a very worthy read.

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From Lissa Oliver. Author of Sainte Bastien, Chantilly Downs, Gala Day and Nero.

Gritty warts-and-all crime thriller, a real page-turner. Plenty of twists and an array of well-drawn characters you care about, propelling you forward to the end.The heroine is a fiercely protective single mother who loses her son to drug addiction and can either cave in completely or seek revenge. Past demons add to her torment. You feel her pain as she hovers on the brink of that agonising choice, the interesting cast of characters around her ready to help in whatever direction she takes. A departure from the usual books I read and well worth it, the author has used an interesting and unusual narrative technique that really adds to the suspense and mystery.

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From Lindsay J Sedgwick. Author of Dad’s Red Dress. Screenwriter of Punky, Wulfie and Barzakh. Playwright of Fried Eggs and All Thumbs.

I devoured it! The story was riveting and not at all what I expected – gritty and dark and very human and sad and a real roller-coaster of a ride! On every page, there were surprises. There’s a rawness to the writing and an energy and the characters are so complex. The choices they make are logical to them but not predictable ever.

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From Bob Gillen. Author of Understanding digital Storytelling, Filmmaking Basics: how to find your creative voice, Apart, The Man at the Door.

Don’t miss this one. A truly dark story, rising up out of the deeps of urban Dublin. A woman lifts herself up from a sordid, soulless past to build a normal life in the light of day. But darkness follows her, waiting for its moment. A death forces her to face her dark realities again, to confront the pain she masked for years. Is redemption possible? The author does an excellent job creating a tight story. Lots of twists and reveals. Strong characters. An exciting read. Caroline Farrell is not afraid to reach down into the dark to pull it back up into the light.

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LADY BETH is available from Amazon Stores and from Kindle Unlimited.

Signed copies are also available from this website HERE

The Librarian’s Cellar: Dave At Large

As controversial and challenging as ever, Dave Allen is back. He’s still dead though! Up there, down there, somewhere. Written by Brian McAvera and co-directed by the writer and Joe Devlin, the play is produced by Directions Out Theatre Company.

The essence of the man, the comedian, the commentator, is portrayed by not one, but three exceptionally talented actors, Bryan Murray, Michael Bates and Tara Breathnach, each one encompassing traits of Allen’s personality and unique performance style.

This is a must-see show, packed with satire, comedy, memoir. In a haze of nostalgia, whiskey and cigarettes, no topic is safe, politics, religion, sex, family, death ( and classic literature!) and all interpreted from the irreverent mind of a man born way ahead of his time. A magnificent tribute to an iconic Irish comedian, the play is now on tour and hitting the following venues. Go see it!

Civic Theatre, Tallaght: 13-18 March

Town Hall, Galway: 21st March

An Grianan, Letterkenny: 22nd March

Theatre Royal, Waterford: 24th March

Wexford Arts Centre: 25th March

Viking Theatre, Clontarf: 27th March – 8th April.

On Inspiration…and why everything truly is copy!

I never kept diaries as a kid, and even today, as a devout scribbler, I find that the most trying times are the ones that are difficult to write down, in that moment, anyway. So it often becomes a shorthand of blunt sentences, enough to revisit when the crisis is over. Enough to jolt the memory, or for inspirational purposes, to fire the imagination; representing the real, I like to call it!

There are people however, some who don’t even consider themselves to be writers, who do manage to record their experiences in intricate detail, however traumatic, putting pen to paper at every point of their journey, until coming out at the other side of it. Talking to a female acquaintance recently on a rather difficult experience she had gone through, she told me that she would not have remembered or been able to describe what happened to her so vividly, had she not been writing it down as she experienced it. It was important for her to remember; to have it recorded for the future.

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

So wrote Anne Lamott. An accomplished writer, her non-fiction work is greatly influenced by her own struggles, her writing best described by the author herself;  “I try to write the books I would love to come upon, that are honest, concerned with real lives, human hearts, spiritual transformation, families, secrets, wonder, craziness—and that can make me laugh.” I posted Lamott’s quote on my Facebook page a while back, and a writer friend responded with another quote, from the late and great, Nora Ephron:

“Everything is copy.”

In the introduction to her novel, Heartburn (based on her personal experience of a marriage break-up) the wonderful Ephron elaborated further when she wrote of becoming the hero, rather than the victim of the joke. I am sure that many of us can identify with the sentiment? Not that I advocate dusting down tomes of snotty, tear-stained journals of youth and regurgitating a narrative of some exquisitely nostalgic pain-ridden experience. Nor indeed, some vengeful tale of ridicule to spite the target of your blame – though, it has to be said that all is fair in the land of fiction – so whatever floats your boat!

Recorded on paper or not, with distance, time-passing and maturity, and perhaps with a third-person narrative, stories of self can come to life in three-dimensional worlds that make meaning of experience, and hopefully generate empathy and connection with others. Removing the shield of author, and stripping away the mechanisms that hide the fragility of a human being alone, we know what we experienced, and we know how it felt. How we looked out at the world and the people in it, how we continue to do that. The difference between being a child as opposed to being an adult is that, as the former, we are powerless to our fate, and powerless to change anything. Becoming the latter enables empowerment to not only steer our own course, but more importantly, to change our ways of thinking, reacting and of just being. We can decide to be weak, or we can determine to be strong, and to analyse our past to the point of not wallowing in the soreness of it, but in recognizing how our experiences have shaped us – and perhaps, to step outside of it all, to write it out in a fictional world as we look back in; the spectator.

 Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. [Oscar Wilde]

For the writer’s inspiration, this is gold. For the writer’s soul, this is life.

 

Photograph is the copyright of Errol Farrell. 2017

LADY BETH: Purchase a signed copy here!

“This is an excellent read. Caroline Farrell shares an insightful, truth-filled voice.”

Bob Gillen. Goodreads 5 Star Review.

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Going Indie: And Why Not?

I like the term Indie Publishing. I’m an Indie Filmmaker – putting skin in the game to get my films made. I am a storyteller. I write screenplays. I write fiction. So when it comes to novels, why wouldn’t I take the independent route as well? Just like the film industry, you only learn in the ‘doing’ when it comes to writing and producing work, and the past couple of years have taught me a lot in terms of the publishing industry in all of its tranches; traditional, assisted – and self-publishing – of which I have now well and truly dipped the proverbial toe.

I’ve also experimented through the gamut of submitting the traditional way, to writing online and publishing my efforts for feedback, to publishing a finished work in ebook format, to going through the whole shebang with the paperback. I’ve made mistakes and thankfully, my readers have been both encouraging and forgiving. I have learned so much from them, and am grateful. There are also organisations that are invaluable to the advocacy and learning process of self-publishing, The Alliance of Independent Authors being at the forefront of ensuring professionalism and a code of standards.

While working through all of the above, I also sent out a sample of my novel to three of the biggest agents in Ireland; one has yet to reply. The other two did, in quick time, and with professionalism and honesty. While both gave positive and constructive comments on my work, both also stated that they are working in very difficult market conditions, which without doubt, limits the selection of work they can afford to take on. I completely understand that, and have so much admiration for publishing companies who take a chance on new writers and who keep supporting established ones. My experience as a Librarian for almost twenty years, working on a literary festival for seven, I’ve also talked to so many authors from all sides of the industry, whom I greatly admire, and reckon I’ve garnered a pretty comprehensive knowledge of how things work. It’s a tough game. Authors work hard. Publishers work hard. Respect. For now though, I don’t have the advantage of a publishing house at my back for the essentials of editor, proof reads, cover design, marketing and promotion, but I’m managing all that, and continue to learn from it.

Ultimately, the culmination of all of that accumulative learning and ‘doing’ is the fact that I am now in a position to make an informed decision on what is right for me at the present time; to stick with Indie Publishing. And here are my top ten reasons for doing so:

  1. Print-On-Demand! The risk is mine – and mine alone.
  2. Ebooks! Accessible and cheap. I read now more than ever with my Kindle!
  3. I connect directly with Readers and Writers – and learn from them.
  4. The start-up investment is manageable – and balanced by higher royalties.
  5. I retain complete control over everything I publish.
  6. Without contracts, I can write what I like, when I like.
  7. I have the freedom to experiment and to move outside any genre.
  8. The services and support to get it right are out there.
  9. I’m in the exceptionally good company of dedicated and supportive Indie, Traditional and Hybrid authors, more and more of whom are self-publishing back catalogues and/or moving into Indie publishing with new work.
  10. It is fun. The learning, the doing, the achievement. And the possibilities are endless.

I’ve never been a fan of labels, I want to express my writing in the genres and formats that feel right for me. and whether I work on a screenplay, a novel, or a short story, in the end, I am a storyteller.

LADY BETH is available from Amazon Stores.

ARKYNE,STORY OF A VAMPIRE is available from Amazon Stores.

Lady Beth: The Perfect Antithesis to Valentine’s Day!

Excited to announce the ebook release of my novel, LADY BETH.

(Paperback release date to be confirmed soon!)

lady-beth-banner

Beth has been keeping secrets from her beloved son, refusing to tell him who his father is. When an unforeseen tragedy takes him from her, she is compelled to face the demons she has been running from all these years. She has come full circle, and with nothing left now but her memories and her knowing, the need for revenge scratches inside her veins.

Available from Amazon Kindle and Kindle Unlimited

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

First off, as this story originally came to me as an idea for a screenplay, I would like to thank the original members of The Kildare Screenwriters Group for the initial sparks of encouragement to keep going with it. Also from the film world, deepest appreciation to Michael Kinirons, Dermot Tynan, and Ozzy and Gabriel Villazon. To the late Gill Dennis – my eternal gratitude for the confidence instilled in me through his kindness and support. I would like to thank The Attic Studio Actors for the public script reading that almost scared me to death, but ultimately was hugely helpful and inspiring: Geraldine McAlinden, Joe McKinney, Sinead Monaghan, Michael Bates, Blayne Kelly, Laura Way and Melissa Nolan – your collective feedback was invaluable, then and now. To The Writers Guild of Ireland and the amazing group of writer friends I found there: for the readings, the feedback and the laughter! BIG THANKS! To my wonderful soul friend, Julie Luttrell. To my editor, Averill Buchanan, for putting some manners on my scribblings. To the amazing Lindsay J. Sedgwick for her support through the blood, sweat and tears proceedings, and to the lovely Celine Broughal for the constant encouragement. Special thanks to Mike Murray ( www.13thdoor.net ) for the beautiful cover design, and to actress and producer, Sinead O’Riordan ( www.sineadoriordan.com ) and photographer, Anita Kulon  ( www.facebook.com/Anita-Kulon-Photography ) for permission to use the stunning image. To my readers: what good is a storyteller without you? And it goes without saying: to the most patient man on the planet, my better half, Errol, as always.

The Librarian’s Cellar: The Dolocher by Caroline Barry

Merriment O’Grady works hard to keep her apothecary business going, concocting potions for her customers’ ills, and keeping her very colourful personal history to herself – as best she can.

When a down-at-heel writer, Solomon Fish, becomes her tenant, life for Merriment and for Janey Mack, the child she has rescued from the slums, becomes very complicated. Solomon has stumbled on a gruesome story: The Dolocher, half-man, half-pig, now stalking the alleyways of Dublin. Can it really be the evil spirit of a murderer who has cheated the hangman’s noose by taking his own life in his prison cell? Or is it something even more sinister?

If you enjoy a gothic thriller, you will love The Dolocher. Based on legend, and set in Georgian Dublin, this atmospheric tale is rich in suspense, grisly in tone and filled with engaging characters. Barry’s writing is lyrical, and filled with authenticity in her vivid descriptions of the period. And it is dark, so deliciously dark!

The Dolocher: Black and White Publishing. 2016