A FREE Gift for Paddy’s Day!

St. Patrick's Day Greeting Card

Next Tuesday is St Patrick’s Day, and in celebration of all things Irish, author Jane Dougherty and I will be giving away FREE copies of our book, Grá mo Chroí, ‘Love of my Heart’, Love Stories from Irish Myth.

GMCFinal Version lge

Grá mo Chroí will be FREE for three days only from Monday 16th March until Wednesday 18th March, and you can get your free copy from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Happy Reading, and may the luck o’ the Irish be with you this Paddy’s Day!

Winners of #Grámochroí Twitter Poetry Competition

clover heart on wooden backgroundIt wasn’t easy. We had a lot of entries, and Jane and I had to short-list them down to only ten. The lovely Nina of #Fieryverse then chose the winners. Without further ado, here they are, the glorious shining stars of the #Grámochroí twitter poetry competition!

1.
Deep water forests
of kelp and the moss
green bones of lost ships:
your city of silence
whose streets I cannot walk.

By Yvonne Marjot ‏@Alayanabeth

2.
She writes her love on the wind
In light upon the water
In the pure line of a tern’s dive
From blue to blue
Reading, he smiles.

By Harriet Goodchild ‏@HMGoodchild

3.
the warship left.

in hawthorn trees
yesterday
he twist a twig ring

now in grief,
hand on the back
of her neck

it became gold.

By John Feaster ‏@JohnFeasterB Feb 9

In addition, we felt that there were others of an equally high standard, which were also worthy of a mention, so here are our four runners up, too.

1.
She meets her love by starlight
A shiver & a shimmer
Two swans rise from the black water

By Harriet Goodchild ‏@HMGoodchild

2.
In a howling wind
the hunt goes past,
wild geese in skeins.
Herne himself,
writhing in mist,
shakes his spear

By  Yvonne Marjot ‏@Alayanabeth

3.
Arise with me
Before dawn
Awakens with its golden flame
Alone together
We’ll weave a fire
So bright it puts the sun to shame

By Éilis Niamh ‏@EilisNiamh

4.
Niamh wept emerald tears
for her lover of so many years
she kissed his lips
bid him farewell
the isle of Eire
his death knell

By Merry Maiden ‏@QueenofCups99

Thank you to everyone who took part; it was quite addictive and a lot of fun passing poem tweets back and forth of an evening! This is not the end of #Gramochroi, so please continue to send in your mythology love poem tweets, and don’t forget to include the hashtag.

neverlastingThank you to Nina of #fieryverse for judging, who was very busy in the final stages of publishing her new book, Neverlasting: Poetry of Love Lust & Lechery, an anthology of love poems which includes three from our very own Jane Dougherty, so please be sure to follow the link and check it out.

If you fancy a bit of extra reading, you can find all Jane’s books at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com, and mine are here (uk) and here (us), and you will also find Grá mo Chroí there, if you haven’t yet got your copy.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Irish Mythology | Happy Valentine’s Day – The Persuit of Diarmuid and Grainne

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all, I hope you’re getting some lovin’ today! In the spirit of all things #Grámochroí and true everlasting love, I thought I’d bring you something special.

In Grá mo Chroí, one of the stories I tell is about the fated love of Diarmuid and Grainne. Grainne was destined to marry Fionn mac Cumhall, but he was old and grey. Instead, she fell in love with the young, darkly handsome and dashing Diarmuid. Their story is full of great passion, love which lasts beyond the grave, hate and jealousy which leads a friend to kill, tragedy and deep sorrow. It is a love story unlike any other love story as we know them, and told as only the Irish fili can tell.

If you follow this blog, you know how passionate I am about connecting with our ancient ancestors whom we hear so much about in Irish mythology. One of the ways I love to do this is by visiting the places associated with them.

Sheebeg, the mound of Grainne and Diarmuid's Grave
Sheebeg, the mound of Grainne and Diarmuid’s Grave

Diarmuid and Grainne went on the run so they could escape Fionn’s wrath and be together, never sleeping more than a night in one place. Today, there are still many places around Ireland named for their brief sojourn there. Their presence seems so ingrained into the landscape and the Irish psyche thousands of years later, it’s quite impossible to believe it’s just a story. I think the foundations are rooted as deeply in truth as their final resting place is in Ireland’s soil.

Here is one of the places where they were said to have laid their heads.

As the sun goes down…

sunset

… on another weekend, I just want to say thank you to everyone who supported Jane and I over the past week with regard to Grá mo Chroí, and to all those who entered into the spirit of #Gramochroi by submitting your mini poem tweets. There is some talent out there, I can tell you, and it’s been quite lively, so much fun. I had no idea when Jane and I let the beast loose that it would grab ahold of me so tight… it’s very addictive! If you want to know what’s been going on, just click on #Gramochroi to find out more.

On Saturday, the very lovely Mishka Jenkins kindly posted her thoughts on Grá mo Chroí on her blog. If you love romance, than Mishka is the woman for you, she has quite a few titles under her belt, so please pop along to her blog and find out more.

Today, I was featured in an interview on Sally Cronin’s Sunday Show. This was quite an honour, as Sally has quite a distinguished career as an interviewer on radio and internet tv, and it shows! Her interviews are skilfully put together, and she has a way of wringing information out of you that you don’t expect, but all in a positive and encouraging manner. I hope you enjoy my interview; she also did an excellent interview with Nick Rossis.

So that’s it! See you bright and early on Monday for more Mythology!

Tara Sparling Taking Stock, Or the Electrical Side of Blogging

Tara Sparling is the WINNER of the Best Newcomer Blog Award Ireland 2014, and yesterday she had this to say about Grá mo Chroí, Jane Dougherty and my collaboration. (Please note WordPress won’t allow me to re-blog her post for some reason, but I’m linking to it instead.)

“There’s a new book coming out which might save our nation’s youth

For anyone who was scarred by my cringeworthy piece on How To Torture A Beloved Story To Death (And Ruin Children), there is an antidote to the pain and suffering I caused you.

Grá Mo Chroí (Love Stories From Irish Myth) is written by two very talented tellers of Irish lore, Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty, and features an ethereal telling of the Diarmuid and Gráinne myth from Gráinne’s perspective, along with several other vivid resurrections of ancient Irish tales of love and loss. It’s a lovely book, not least for its lyricism, which makes you feel like you’re listening to these stories by the fireside. It’s interesting too to see how our forebears thought of love. The viewpoints are startling, and refreshing. Rom-coms they ain’t.”

You can read more of Tara’s witty and entertaining posts on her blog, Tara Sparling Writes. It’s definitely worth popping along for a gander to see what a successful, award winning blog looks like, and also to find out how to join the blogging workshop that Tara is running for Carousel Creates.

Thanks Tara for your kind words about our book!

Grá mo Chroí | Tweet Your Love Poem! Just for Fun Competition

Grá mo Chroí 'Love of my Heart' Love Stories from Irish Myth
Grá mo Chroí
‘Love of my Heart’
Love Stories from Irish Myth

So, unless you have been holidaying in an alternate universe, you will no doubt be aware by now that the lovely Jane Dougherty and I have written a collection of love stories based on tales from Irish mythology, and we’ve called it Grá mo Chroí, ‘Love of my Heart’, Love Stories from Irish Myth.

We began tweeting little poems  to each other, just for a bit of fun. Jane kicked off with this stunning little gem;

From the sea she came

&the sea took her back

restless

he follows the wave

but the sea is ever empty

to which I replied with this;

On Aonbhar’s back she did ride

Hooves trod clouds in the sky

Her passion is the wild ocean roar

Sorrow, the grey gulls cry

That was it! We were hooked! Since then, thirty mini poems have flown back and forth across the ether between us, which some of our lovely Twitter-friends have kindly re-tweeted. It’s been fun! You can see them all on our hashtag #Gramochroi, but here are just a few of my favourites.

The surf roars

waves crash

Caibhan cries

but his love is gone

her golden hair

trails of sunlight

on the water

Jane

Yew boughs twined together

Lovers’ limbs interlace

Twisted, tattooed with ogham

In the bark, an image of a face      

Ali

Dawn fell silent

on snow

blood splashed

and in the black shadows

I thought I saw your raven hair

Jane

Men chase boar on Benbulbens back

noble creature, a fine kill

it turns to spear in frenzied attack

hunter shudders& lies still

Ali

He left her sleeping

her hair about her face

his last sight

Later

the sand mirror smooth

mocked his tears

Jane

Chalice bears a potent brew

Deception to disguise

Forbidden love will blossom

Hid from Fionns eyes.

Ali

Ok, I think you get the idea. Well, this is where you come in, because we’re opening the #Gramochroi hashtag on Twitter to all of you in the hope that you’ll join us in writing some love poetry for Valentine’s Day!

All you have to do is Tweet your mini poem as you would any message, but don’t forget to add the hashtag #Gramochroi at the end. If your poem is short enough, and you add mine or Jane’s Twitter name, we might even Tweet one back at you!

This competition will run from today, Wednesday 4th February, until the end of next Wednesday 11th February. At the end, we will publish our Top Ten faves on our blogs. We’ll even throw in a couple of Kindle copies of our books for the winner!

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and true love, please please pretty please come and join in the fun on Twitter and Tweet your lovely love poems! Don’t forget the hashtag #Gramochroi!

Cover Reveal | Grá mo Chroí, ‘Love of my Heart’

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Available to pre-order on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Launches Wednesday 11th February.

It’s not slushy, it’s not dewy-eyed, it’s not bodice-ripping, but it IS Irish, it IS mythology, and it IS romantic!

Back in November, it seemed like such a good idea; Jane Dougherty and I had got to know each other via our blogs, we had similar interests, and wrote along similar themes. When she agreed to the Grá mo Chroí project, I was delighted… for about five minutes, and then the panic set in.

I don’t/ can’t write short stories. I had never written a love story in my life. And Jane was so much further along the evolutionary path of a writer than I, how could I hope to meet the standard she set? I was going to have to up my game, and quick; we had settled on love stories from Irish myth with a launch date just prior to Valentine’s Day. We had two months in which to gather our thoughts, select and write our stories, edit them, create a book cover, format and publish, and plan and implement something of a blog tour (a big and heartfelt thank you to all our lovely blogging friends who stepped up to the mark here and agreed to help us out!). And in the middle of that, we had the Christmas and New Year holidays.

It was looking like a bit of a tall order. It normally takes me at least a year to write a book (I’m very slow!). But this one came together surprisingly easily, perhaps because it was such a pleasure to have someone to share it with, perhaps because we were able to support and encourage each other, and just maybe the heroes and heroines of these tales really wanted their stories to be told.

These are not your average love stories… how could they be? They come from Irish mythology, they feature brave, fierce warriors like Fionn mac Cumhall, Cuchullain and Diarmuid; powerful Gods and Goddesses like Manannán and Cliodhna; Fairy Queens like Fand; wise and noble High Kings like Cormac mac Airt, and beautiful Princesses like Deirdre and Grainne. They are full of passion, tragedy and poetry, all the ingredients which make a love story clutch at your heart, stir your emotions and excite your senses. They are stories which should not be forgotten.

I have enjoyed working with Jane on this project immensely. You can read what Jane has to say about it here. The tales we have told may not be represented in the way you might expect, and the views of some of the characters may surprise you. These are the stories which spoke to us, and we hope you love them as much as we do.