An Omen? Or just the flutterings of a dumb bird?

A Raven sits on my mantelpiece, surveying all and sundry with a haughty eye. Arkyne, as I call him, is cast iron, in body and, yes, I believe, in spirit. He travelled here from a curio and antiques store in a small town called Cashmere in Washington, USA. As I recall, the suitcase didn’t make it onto our flight home from Seattle, well not until two days later, and I worried so for Arkyne, if he would ever get here. My treasured dark-winged harvester.

So, the other day, while we were out, we got a call from our neighbour that our house alarm was going off. Turning back from our journey, all the usual scenarios went through my head, but reaching home, there was silence, the house unturned, except for the strange and unusual code that flashed on the alarm keypad.  A number we had never seen before.

And then I ascended the stairs, and coming at me, invoking my best Tippi Hedren screech and dramatic pose, were two flapping black wings and a haughty eye, heading straight for mine! As I cowered against the impending gouging, my hysterical cry of It’s a bird! somehow translated to It’s a burglar! as it reached the ears of my better half, now downstairs in the kitchen. Thundering up the stairs he bounded, my defender, prepared to face down this unseen intruder, his face – and mine – creasing to confusion as neither burglar – nor bird – presented on the landing!

As my heart rate fluttered downwards, for a moment, I will admit, my very dark and fertile imagination wondered if Arkyne was still on the mantelpiece; if we had somehow found him out. Had we come upon his free gaff flight of fancy? Was this how he spent his time when we were not at home?

Yes, my better half gave me that same pitying get a grip look that you would probably like to give me right now.

We found the dark-winged intruder perched on my favourite chair. My husband opened the window, ordered him off the premises, and out he flew, though not before he hovered for a minute, eye to eye with the source of his liberation. Perhaps to say thanks? Perhaps to depart some omen, some warning, some message… or perhaps, it was simply a look of sympathy to the poor man having to live with this dumb bird!

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.

About Caroline…

I am a writer and filmmaker from Dublin Ireland, and author of the novels LADY BETH  (Winner of the Carousel Aware Prize BEST NOVEL 2017)  and ARKYNE, STORY OF A VAMPIRE. I have also written several award-winning feature-length and short screenplays. I am writer and director of the short film, FRAMED, currently screening at festivals, and have written and co-produced ADAM (2013) and IN RIBBONS (2015) which has screened at festivals worldwide. See awards and nominations here. WATCH the film HERE. 

In 2018, I was a finalist at the Blog Awards Ireland, and was also shortlisted in 2017 and 2016. I recommend Books, Film and Theatre on The Librarian’s Cellar. I work on a freelance basis as a qualified cultural event manager (Literature and Film). A qualified Librarian, I also hold a HDip in Adult Ed, and facilitate screenwriting and creative writing workshops.

 

 

 

The Spellery Magazine…

Check it out…and not just for the fact that I am featured in the latest edition! Love the cover too!

Take a peek HERE

Or pop over to their FACEBOOK Page

15067db9339e4ffebe57c50975e031f9

Writers and Authors Feature Interview

Many thanks to Writers and Authors for this recent feature interview

 

What genre do you write and why?

I write mostly in the horror/supernatural genre, but also in dramatic fiction. I am a screenwriter and filmmaker too, which allows me the freedom to experiment in different genres and formats of storytelling, so in terms of creativity, I have many structures to imagine and develop stories.

Tell us about your latest book.

‘Arkyne, Story of a Vampire’ is my debut novel and is a supernatural tale of myth and magic. It is set mostly in Ireland on the Aran Island of Inis Mor, where Caleb Flaherty encounters the beautiful and mysterious French girl, Coco de Rais, only to discover that she has unwittingly unleashed a daemon vampire, Lucius. Drawn together from vastly different lives and finding themselves in mortal danger, the lovers must accept and utilize the power they have each inherited through their strange and magical lineage.

Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?

I learned a lot through the process, particularly in terms of the amount of discipline and commitment that is necessary to apply to the long form of novel writing. The story meandered between a screenplay and a novel for a number of years, and eventually, to force myself to finish it, I began to post sample chapters on my blog. I received some very helpful feedback from supportive readers and it really spurred me on to finish it. The sheer satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that I felt on ‘having written’ a novel was also rather unexpected!

Who are your favourite authors?

I have so many, so perhaps I’ll just list the ones I find inspirational in terms of writing: Stephen King, Agatha Christie, Ann Rice, Alice Hoffman, Susan Hill, Neil Gaiman, and lately, David Mitchell and Audrey Niffenegger.

What’s your favourite quote about writing/for writers?

One of my favourites is from Anne Lamott: “When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.” From Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing versus traditional publishing?

I’m in favour of any method that enables an author to get their work out there. I understand how difficult it is for a lot of publishing houses, they simply don’t have the resources to publish every good book that comes their way, so authors have a right to look at alternative paths to publishing. I think people’s attitudes have changed for the better in regard to self-publishing in the last while. Sure, there are works out there that perhaps don’t meet the standard required, but overall, I think the vast majority of Indie Authors are sound, talented people with voices and stories that deserve a platform. I’ve been a librarian for almost 20 years, so I also understand that readers will find the works that speak to them, and whether that is fantasy, horror, crime, dystopian, erotica, western, romance, high-brow literature, classics or whatever else, taste is taste and there is an author out there to meet that need. Self-publishing bridges many gap, particularly with ebooks, supplying reading material that is cheaper and in abundance, and that means that more books are read, and more people are reading. Who can argue with that?

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Giving yourself permission to daydream, to imagine and to live in the fantastical worlds with the magnificent characters that exist inside your head!

What advice do you have for other writers?

Be brave. Write what you want to write. Write what you want to read. Look for feedback from people you trust and admire. Take the negative in your stride, don’t respond to it. Save your energy and embrace only the constructive criticism. Don’t assume you are better than anyone else. Don’t assume you are not as good as anyone else; you are unique, so strive to express your work in your own voice. Take inspiration from your own experience. Don’t try to imitate others. Keep at it.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

I’m always delighted to connect with readers.

I have a website and blog: https://carolinefarrellwriter.com

I’m also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarolineFarrellScreenwriter/

And Twitter: @CarolineAuthor

Where can a reader purchase your book?

Links to purchase ‘Arkyne, Story of a Vampire’ can be found here:

https://carolinefarrellwriter.com/category/links-to-purchase-arkyne-story-of-a-vampire/

Arkyne, Story of a Vampire: Reviews and Links

Arkyne, Story of a Vampire

 

LINKS TO PURCHASE

Amazon United Kingdom

 Amazon USA

Signed copies are also available by contacting the author HERE

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REVIEWS

“A gripping story, combining Celtic magic with horror and adding its own twist to the vampire genre. This is far from just another vampire story, far from a love story and takes the reader to new realms altogether. The tradition-swathed Irish island of Inis Mor provides the perfect backdrop, as a dark history envelops two young lovers and the fearsome, but compelling, daemon Lucius is unleashed. Farrell is an exceptional story-teller, her characters vivid and winning our hearts from the start, even, perhaps, when we know we shouldn’t! Inis Mor is alive on the pages, the sense of history and foreboding at times claustrophobic and everything we would want from a book. The underlying menace is constant, the story and setting highly original and the cast of characters a delight. This would certainly appeal to Anne Rice fans and is likely to generate a massive fan base for Caroline Farrell.” [Lissa Oliver]

* * * * *

“A powerful tale that combines wonderfully drawn characters with a real sense of place and time. This was a truly gripping read and will appeal to all even if you don’t think the genre is for you. The author sets this story of love and loss against the backdrop of one of Ireland’s most beautiful islands and her descriptive powers transport us there amongst the craggy rocks and wild, windy cliff tops. I’d thoroughly recommend this book as an introduction to Caroline Farrell’s talent.” [B. O’Reilly]

* * * * *

“I read this in two sittings and enjoyed it thoroughly, even though this would not normally be a genre I would choose.
It is pacy and slips comfortably between different time lines. The characters are engaging and you get a wonderful sense of landscape with powerful descriptions. There is a dark side to it that is disturbing yet it draws you in so that you have to keep going. Great writing and terrific holiday reading.” [C. Broughal]

* * * * *

“Great read, that keeps you hooked to the end and ready for the next novel! My first vampire novel but the mix of magic and Irish culture was also there.” [Catherine Fish]

* * * * *

“This was the fastest book I have ever read. It annoyed me when I had to leave it down(4 times). The words used painted such a vivid and powerful scene. That, and the story itself kept me glued to the seat and my eyes fixed on each page. Absolutely loved this powerful read!!!” [Martin Corcoran]

* * * * *

“A fantastic novel, my kind of book, vampires and witches. Recommend this fantasy book to everyone who enjoys fantasy.” Pat [Goodreads]

* * * * *

“If you like Anne Rice, this is for you. A great read and beautifully written, incredibly visual.” [Niamh Boyce]

* * * * *

“Excellent Irish Fright-Fest – couldn’t put it down.” ]M. Corrigan]

* * * * *

“I think people should know how beautiful this story is; when something is worth reading we must spread the news – Arkyne, story of a Vampire was brilliant! I don’t read Vampire novels but this one had a unique touch to it, like a sprinkle of magical realism! It was filled with heartfelt characters with distinct yearnings. I couldn’t put it down. Caroline writes in a poetic way – parallel structure, with deep multi-levels. She captivated my mind, bringing her story to life! I was hooked, and intrigued from the very first pages. With her vivid scenes, and colorful details; it all comes to life. I found myself glued to the moment to moment organic sentences! Worth reading! No doubt about it.”

[Maria Fokas]

* * * * *

An exciting vampire tale for horror fans. [D. Butler]

* * * * *

“Awesome read very deep loved from beginning to ending of story loved how it went thru generations.”

[Jo Ann Boothy]

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To Dream On and Dream Big…

No reminiscence, no resolutions, just looking forward, dreaming big, and thankful. Thankful to the people I’ve connected with so far; the ones who contributed to helping me create good work; the ones who were at my back and remain there; the ones I look forward to working with this year.

ADAM Short Film 2013

https://www.facebook.com/ADAMtheshortfilm

Cover image with titles

https://www.facebook.com/inribbonsmovie

Cover title

https://www.facebook.com/VampireofArkyne

Hushaway cover photo

https://www.facebook.com/HushawayShortFilm

And as I knuckle down to push ahead, this will be my self-penned mantra…

Be where your soul needs to be, and whether light or shade, cherish the experiences that have made you richer, wiser, stronger. Take what you have learned, sprinkle it with hope to dream on and dream big.

Here’s to a magical, peaceful and creative New Year for all of us.