Ali’s Blog


My daughter’s heart is a ticking time-bomb with a fuse of indeterminable length. It could blow at any minute.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

This will be her stalker, prowling along behind her for all of her life. A dangerous killer lurking in the shadows, awaiting its opportunity to pounce should we slip with the medication which holds it at bay. We will never shake ourselves free of its clutches. We can never hope to save her from it. But there is no way we are going to let it have her. At least not just yet.

Carys was born with Cardiofaciocutaneous Syndrome. It’s rare. Less than three hundred unique individuals worldwide share this affliction. Connected by nothing more than a flaw in the development of their genetics. We have never met these people, don’t know who they are, but they are our extended family.

I can still remember the day we were told our daughter would die before she was born. Until that moment, we had not known anything was wrong. Our first scan, we walked into that room full of such joy, such anticipation. I knew it was not good news before any words were said, by the frown on the midwife’s face, and the way she kept pushing the scanner over and over my belly, staring at the grey, fuzzy screen on the monitor with such intensity.

Our baby had a cystic hygroma and foetal hydrops. The prognosis was death by week twenty six gestation. Termination was mentioned, although against the law in Ireland. It would have meant a journey to the UK.

But stealing the life from this much wanted child was not an option for us. She deserved the chance to make something of it, such as it was. We decided to leave it to her, and let nature take its course.

In some ways, that might seem like the easy option, but believe me, there is nothing easy about waking up every morning and wondering if today will be the day your baby dies. Waiting to feel that first movement which proves life is still stirring within you. The joy, the relief, the elation, all tumbled together in the wrappings of fear and desperation.

Day by day, we muddled through the pregnancy, lurching from one medical emergency to another. Not knowing the demon which possessed our daughter, I trawled the internet for information, and realised with horror that there are a multitude of syndromes, not all of them with positive outcomes. I hoped and prayed for just five minutes of life, to hold my daughter in my arms, look into her eyes, and tell her how much we loved her. I needed her to know.

Instead of five minutes, we got seven wonderful, awful, amazing years, and counting. Our daughter’s syndrome has changed our life beyond imagining. It’s a long, hard journey, and it’s ours alone. It’s scary. Very scary, at times. But there are others plodding along similar paths, and we have much to learn from, and share with them.

I’ll share more with you, too, as time goes by. Because fore-warned is fore-armed, and living with a special needs child is not romantic, it is a daily battle. Some days you succeed, and win victory; sometimes, you admit defeat. Often, there is just  struggle, conflict, and stalemate. But you keep on going, because you know you have no choice, really. You can never give in.

The battle, and the journey, they are the price you pay for the privilege of sharing the lives of these exceptional children. In return, they give you far more than you could ever expect; unconditional love, and an opportunity to let go of all your preconceptions, open your eyes and your heart, and learn.

Its a difficult lesson, and an elusive one, but certainly something worth striving for.




Welcome to aliisaacstoryteller, my new blog!

bannerHope you like it!
Ali xxx

Freebie Success!

4te-v3frontFreebie Success!

753 downloads…in just 5 days! That’s amazing! Thanks, you guys, for supporting me, and I hope you enjoy reading your free kindle copy of Conor Kelly and The Four Treasures of Eirean! And if any of you would be so inclined to write a review for Amazon or GoodReads, I would be most grateful…

Don’t forget, there’s still time to enter The Great GoodReads Giveaway to win a free paperback copy of 4TE; the competition closes at midnight on New Years Eve…Good Luck, and a Happy New Year to all!

Ali xxx

4TE at #4 in Amazon Kindle Top 100!

4te-v3frontI am very excited and proud to announce that Conor Kelly and The Four Treasures of Eirean Kindle edition has just reached #4 in the Top Free 100 e-books within the Historical Fantasy category! And #7 in the Children’s Science Fiction, Fantasy and Magic category! After just 1 day. I am delighted! Thank you to everyone who downloaded a copy, I sure hope you enjoy it!

Want a Freebie?

4te-v3frontThe Kindle edition of Conor Kelly and the Four Treasures of Eirean is FREE…yes, FREE on Amazon up until Christmas Eve, so bag yourself a bargain! Think of it as your Christmas present to yourself. Just click the link and enjoy!

What’s in a Name?

Well, in Ireland, quite a lot! Most of us don’t really think too much about what a name means, except perhaps when naming a new born child. Even then, there may be other more pressing factors affecting our choice, such as naming the child after a dearly departed loved one, for example. But Irish names all have meaning, and therefore, they have power. And it’s one of the many reasons why I love Ireland and its language so much.

Take for example the name ‘Conor’; it’s one of the more familiar Irish names, short, strong-sounding, easy to spell and say, a very popular choice amongst parents all around the world, not just in Ireland. It’s also the name of the hero of my book, The Four Treasures of Eirean, as many of you will know, and I chose it for those very reasons. But did you know that in its Irish form, it would be spelled ‘Conchobhar’? Not quite so easy to spell or say! It comes from the legendary High King of Ireland, Conaire Mor, who was reputed to have lived at the time of Christ, and actually means ‘lover of hounds’.

The name ‘Rory’ is an anglicised version of ‘Ruairi’, or ‘Ruaidhri’, which also features in my book, and means ‘Red King’. Red-haired, or red with the blood of his enemies he spilled? We don’t know, but we do know that Ireland’s history and mythology is full of kings named ‘Ruairi’. Quite possibly, these names were titles or epithets, just as England’s King Arthur was called ‘the Bear’. (Incidentally, ‘Art’ or ‘Artur’ is also an old Irish name meaning ‘bear’.)

And this doesn’t just apply to people, but places, too. I live near a small town in Co Cavan called Virginia, but in Irish, its name is ‘Achadh an Iuir’. This is believed to mean ‘the field at the fork of the river’, some say ‘the field of the yew’, but ‘luir’ is a similar word which derives from an old Irish word meaning ‘water’. As the town is built on the shores of the vast Lough Ramor, to me ‘field of water’ makes more sense. The Irish language seems to be as complex, and ambiguous, and open to interpretation as its mythology!

The Four Treasures of Eirean is based on this land, this language, this mythology, and readers have often commented to me on their confusion over characters names and pronunciation. If you have read the book, you will know it comes with a guide. If you haven’t, you will find the guide on this site. I say, don’t get hung up on correct pronunciation, or you will allow it to get in the way of the story. Just say the names how they most feel comfortable to you.

I have never heard anyone criticise Tolkien for the strange names of his characters, of which there were many, most just as indecipherable as my Irish ones! He based them on his own made-up languages; the language mine are taken from is real. The same can be said of Eddings, and practically all other fantasy writers. It’s a fact; fantasy novels are full of weird, unpronounceable names, and no-one bats an eyelid. Why should the names of my characters be treated any differently?

Someone once suggested that I get rid of all these ‘ugly names’ (true!) and swap them for nice, easy ones like ‘Eric’ and ‘John’ (also true!). I nearly choked on my cappuccino!(I know, I should have been drinking Barry’s Tea, but I wasn’t!). He was so missing the point.

This is IRISH mythology. Whether these characters actually existed in reality is irrelevant; the fact remains, they are solid and epic and larger than life in mythology, and those are the names they were given. Could you imagine Cuchullain becoming ‘Eric’? Or Fionn Mac Cool becoming ‘John’?

No. Neither can I.

So I’ll stick with my Irish names, and hope that you learn to love them as much as I do. Or at least find a way to pronounce them, at any rate!

Happy Crimbo Reading, everybody! Hope Santa brings you all the books you are dreaming of! Ali xxx