LADY BETH: Purchase a signed copy here!

“Lady Beth is stylishly written and has Gothic influences in its telling, which lend a splendid and chilling atmosphere to the story.” Martin Malone. Author

“Plenty of twists and an array of well-drawn characters you care about, propelling you forward to the end.” Lissa Oliver. Author

“This is an excellent read. Caroline Farrell shares an insightful, truth-filled voice.” Bob Gillen. Goodreads 5 Star Review.

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 [ €9.99 – Postage and Packing – worldwide – are Inclusive of Price ]

You can purchase a paperback copy of LADY BETH by clicking the ‘Buy Now’ button above and adding your name and address in the contact form below. If you would like me to write a personal greeting on your purchased book, just add your request to the ‘personal message’ field at time of purchase.

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!)

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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

The Librarian’s Cellar: We Have Always Lived in The Castle

Set aside a couple of hours in a quiet corner and lose yourself in this tense, gothic classic from Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in The Castle, a gem of a read for fans of psychological horror. Set in Vermont, New England, eighteen year-old Merricat Blackwood lives in virtual isolation with her sister Constance and Uncle Julien, secluded in their secrets and their strangeness – no spoilers here though!

Practicing her own personal brand of witchcraft, Merricat is a strange, feral young woman, with a strong will and a powerful narrative to match. Content to be with nature, running wild and unwashed, she shares a deep love for Constance, but hates people in general. So when her cousin Charles appears out of the blue, turning her devoted older sister’s head, trouble comes…

Engrossing, this was Jackson’s final novel, first published in 1962, only three years before her untimely death at just 48. It is a short, wonderful book. The kind of book you can barely tear yourself away from to make a cup of tea or lift your glass of wine. Explaining nothing, yet expertly unfolding a complex and horrifying tale, love her or hate her, the character of Merricat Blackwood will linger with you long after you’ve finished reading.

I’m holding my breath with anticipation for the movie version, coming soon, produced by Michael Douglas and filmed in Ireland with several Irish names featured in the cast and crew.

Shirley Jackson wrote some incredible short stories, including The Lottery, and was also the author of the classic gothic horror, The Haunting of Hill House.

The Librarian’s Cellar: The Lady in the Van

The Lady in the Van is based on a true story of the relationship between Alan Bennett and the mysterious homeless woman, Mary Shepherd, who ‘temporarily’ parked her van in Bennett’s London driveway and ended up staying there for 15 years.

This is a wondrous film, not alone for Bennett’s brilliant comic/drama screenplay, but also for the lead roles played so engagingly by Maggie Smith (Miss Shepherd) and Alex Jennings (Bennett – complete with dual voices of self and writer self). It is also a gently portrayed mystery – who is Mary Shepherd? What is her story, her past, and how did she become this eccentric old bag lady? And why can’t she bear to hear music? Beneath the frail, defiant skin and nervous energy, her fate is mastered by the act of parking her stinky, battered van outside a stranger’s house in Camden. A stranger who just happens to be Alan Bennett, a sensitive, compassionate, imaginative type (with biting wit!) who also just happens to be a brilliant playwright.

There is a poignant subtext to the film in the relationship between Bennett and his own elderly mother, mental illness being a tenuous ribbon of connection to his uneasy friendship with Miss Shepherd, fear, sadness and life lessons reflected through her contrariness. The frailty of aging and how it strips away dignity is dealt with unflinchingly, though in that most humanistic perspective of finding humour in the idiosyncrasies. Even with that most defiant trait of human nature, in the end, how helpless we become.

 

 

The Librarian’s Cellar: Five Chilling Reads for Christmas

I must admit, I’ve always loved the chillier side of the Christmas madness. Not just the ‘wrap me up in a big auld cardigan’ type of chill, but the atmospheric quietness of those ‘in-between’ days, when you just can’t take any more tinsel television or jolly fa la la la la malarkey! What better time then to curl up in your armchair, shins roasting by the heat source of your choice – with a bit of candlelight for effect if your eyesight can take it! Simply add a glass, or mug, of your favourite tipple and lose yourself in a good spine-tingling read. And if you are short on reading material, here are five of my suggestions:

 

SLADE HOUSE by David Mitchell

Slade House by David Mitchell. (no credit)

Every nine years, a guest is summoned to Slade House, behind the small black iron door, with no handle and no key – and every nine years, that guest narrates their experience as they enter into the strange and bewitching world of a house that isn’t really there, or is it? Where shape and time shift, and no-one is who they seem to be. Or are they? A quick and entertaining read, filled with a delicious mix of horror, suspense, a little of the science bit and some good old-fashioned ghostly goings on in a creepy mansion where twins, Jonah and Norah Grayer, ravenous for immortality at any cost, dwell in the twilight …

 

HEART-SHAPED BOX by Joe Hill

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Atmospheric, creepy and entertaining, this accomplished author’s debut novel tells the story of Jude Coyne, a cynical, aging rock star with a penchant for collecting all things macabre, who goes online to purchase the suit of a deceased man – a suit that he has been assured, is haunted. Delivered in a black, heart-shaped box, little does Jude know that he is buying the ghost of an angry, vengeful old man…with a very personal – and profound – vendetta. A quick read that does exactly as you might expect, thrills and chills to the bone!

 

THE WINTER PEOPLE by Jennifer McMahon

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In 1908, Sara Harrison Shea was found dead in a field behind her farmhouse just months after the horrific death of her little girl, Gertie. In present day, living off the grid in the same farmhouse, nineteen-year-old Ruthie’s mother has gone missing, and under the floorboards, Ruthie has just discovered a diary belonging to Sara. There are elements of psychological thriller and folk horror to this story as it moves from past to present via Sara’s diary and Ruthie’s investigations. The Winter People is also hauntingly heart-breaking…

 

LITTLE SISTER DEATH by William Gay

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To find his muse, writer David Binder, under pressure to produce another successful novel, moves his pregnant wife and daughter to a renowned haunted farmhouse, where the legend of the Bell Witch still rankles with the locals. Set amongst the landscape of a rural farm in Tennessee, the house is filled with secrets that Binder envelopes in his quest for research and the spark of a bestseller. Cut between the horror of experience of the previous inhabitants of the house and Binder’s unravelling, the novel has been described as Southern Gothic, as was the style of the deceased author. The descriptions of the landscape, the isolation, the people and the hauntings are vivid and mystical. I found Gay’s novel to be themed as much about mental health as it is about hauntings – and that’s cool too as the two go hand-in-hand anyway, especially in gothic fiction.

 

THE PALE BROWN THING by Fritz Leiber

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A collector’s item, in my opinion, the shorter version of Leiber’s work, Our Lady of Darkness (which I have not read) this novella is a gothic, atmospheric chiller. Set in San Francisco in the 1970’s, the Hippie culture and architecture layering in the city’s character, the narrative is a classic, old-school horror. Franz Westen, a widowed writer of supernatural stories, purchases a second-hand book by occultist, Thibaut de Castries, and bound to that book is a mysterious journal…with the ghostliest of cracklings the page came apart into two, revealing writing hidden between…and just where is the mysterious place, 607 Rhodes as referenced in the writings of de Castries? A beautiful hardback edition, this would make a wonderful gift for a diehard horror fan.