Spotlight Saoirse O’Mara

Saoirse O’Mara is a freelance writer of children’s and YA fantasy. 

 

She lives in Germany with her sweetheart and works as freelance editor,

 

 translator, and language teacher whenever she isn’t writing.

 

 

“I first started writing when I had figured out how to build words

 

 out of these weird shapes we call letters. My probably strongest 

 

 

memory of an early written piece is from fourth grade, when

 

 

My next strong memory, and my first finalized manuscript,

 

was an adventure book for children, similar to those by Enid Blyton–

my strongest influence back then and my favorite writer for a long time.

I simply loved her Famous Five and Adventure series, among others.

 I wrote that manuscript when I was twelve or thirteen, and

 completely revised and rewrote it again with sixteen.

It’s still sitting on my shelf and on my hard-drive,

 and I think apart from my mom, no one has ever read it.

It’s nothing to show around (I’m sure my writing style back then was awful),

but it is certainly something to be proud of. I started

 

and finished a complete manuscript.

I don’t remember when I started reading fantasy

 

 but it must have been pretty early on.

With twelve, I read my first book in English (I’m a German native)–

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, followed by

 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets…and then Lord of the Rings.

Yes, I went from a children’s book to High Fantasy

with lots of difficult-to-read descriptions. To be honest,

I’m still not sure I actually understood all of the story

and scenery, but I managed to read through the whole trilogy

 and was hooked enough that I bought

and read The Hobbit a year later during a vacation in London.”

 

 I wrote a short theatre play that was almost shown at a school festival.

 I don’t remember anymore what prevented the show,

but I still remember clearly how we practiced for weeks in our breaks.

Introducing the books!! 

 

 5 – 10  K – 4

Benji loses his parents in a car accident

 and is sent to live with his grandparents in Ireland.

 The problem: He has never met them before, 

and he doesn’t speak English. 
Life in his new home is miserable for him 

until he meets some of Ireland’s mystical inhabitants and things change…. 

“The Enchanted Garden” is a modern fairy tale for young and old.

Buy here-only $1.99… The Enchanted Garden

 10 – 18  4 – 12

You never know when you might end up on the other side of the law…. 
Govin had no clue how much his life would change 

when he signed up for the City Guard in Davon. 

A fateful meeting throws him into an adventure

 he would never have imagined, not even in his wildest dreams, 

and he is left to fix the mess once known as his life.

 And if that weren’t enough, there is still a cunning thief to catch…. 
“Bardon put the quill down and scrutinised his work.

 The sketch showed a young girl with untidy hair, 

smart eyes and a cute little nose. ‘A pretty girl,’ he remarked. ‘Too bad she’s a thief. 

She might’ve grown up to become a beauty,

 but I doubt she’ll live long enough. 

The streets are rough, and the prison’s even rougher.’ Govin felt a pang of guilt.” 
Meet Govin and Tayla as their friendship begins. 

Their first meeting doesn’t bode well, 

but when faced with the choice to save themselves 

or do the right thing, they decide to stand up for each other.

 Soon, though, things get out of hand and they need help from others. 

Will they trust the right persons? 

Buy here- only $0.99 The Lost Diadem

 

 10 – 18  4 – 12

Things have changed since Govin and Tayla

 solved the mystery of the lost diadem.

 Tayla is no longer living in the streets,

 and Govin has a new mentor. Life could finally be good. 

But looming danger forces them to abandon their ordinary

 lives once again to get to the root of a mystery.

Only this time, the whole city of Davon is at stake…. 


“‘What does that mean for us?’ Govin asked. 
‘You have to be very careful. At this point, 

the High Mage doesn’t know whom of his teachers

 and mages he can still trust, and neither should you.

 Trust no one, do you understand? It could cost your life. 

I’m sorry that I have to send you on such a dangerous mission, 

but you two are the only ones I can send in disguise.

 The safety of Davon and the surrounding lands 

could depend on your success. Be careful.’” 

Follow Tayla and Govin into the Mage Guild of Davon, 

where strange things are happening at night. 

Is it just a prank of novices, 

or is one of the mages preparing for a dark ritual?

Buy here-only $2.99 Trouble in the Mage Guild

 

 

 10 – 18  4 – 12

Imagine you witness a murder but have no clue

 who the man was, or why he had to die. Imagine you 

stumble into a rat’s nest of piracy and greed and put 

your own life at stake for the sake of justice. 

Imagine you don’t know who you can still trust…. 
“No matter how she looked at it, she ended up with far too many suspects. 

How should she ever get to the bottom of the attack 

and the murder if almost half the harbour population had a motive?” 
Tayla would have never dreamed that her day off might end so terribly–

or that Govin wouldn’t find time to help her when she needs him. 

Yet she decides that justice can’t wait, and she follows her heart

 to right a wrong that happened in front of her eyes. 

Despite the dangers involved, her resolve stays strong. 

But who can she trust when the web of greed 

and intrigue threatens to ensnare her?

Buy here-Only $2.99 Pirates, Pirates

 

 10 – 18  4 – 12

$4.99 on Amazon…

 

 

 2 – 5  P – K

 

Kathi the squirrel, a delightful young girl;

she dreams of adventure, grows wings that will send her,

 up high in the air to see things everywhere.

 

 

This is a rhyming story for children

who love adventures, animals, and exploring.

Buy here-Only $0.99 Kathi the Flying Squirrel

Sometimes, fate strikes without warning. 

All that is left is to either adapt to the new circumstances 

or to falter and succumb to one’s sorrow. What would you do? 
Dedicated to Michelle Devon.

Buy now for only $0.99- Unexpected Turn

 

 

Saoirse also has a series of “help” books. 

You can find more of Saoirse’s reads 

on her Amazon Author Page at:

 

 

 

 

Posted in My Consumerverse, Writing Life | Tagged | Leave a comment

National Treasure: Richard Blanco

20150420_204039Last night I heard poetry for the first time. I have listened to poetry before and I’ve enjoyed it. I have favorite poems. But last night, listening to Richard Blanco read and speak, I heard poetry that infiltrated past my ears to settle somewhere between them and resonate where my soul resides.

His experiences are not my experiences. My white bread, 80s punk rock adolescence is as far from his rich, Cuban coming-of-age as vanilla ice cream from espresso gelato… but listening to his deep, clear voice talk about his growing up is the same as listening to my own story in a different flavor.

That’s why Blanco was chosen to read at a presidential inauguration, a privilege very few poets have enjoyed. He takes 20150420_190025his individual experience, gilds it in gold and shows it to us. As we look, we realize we are seeing our ordinary selves as we really are – extraordinary and uniquely similar. Blanco allows us to realize that it’s our blemishes, faults and imperfections that make us the lovely, awkward beings we are.

He stands in the company of Angelou and Frost, and I am thrilled to have had a few moments to stand in his company and be charmed by the warmth and honest cleverness that is Richard Blanco.

Posted in Poetry Slam, Writing Life | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The All New DandiFluff Show

AY Smith 4-2015Welcome to the first, experimental DandiFluff Show. Click the player to listen and you can download it here. Follow along with the transcript below. Today’s show is on the value of creativity.

Thank you to Amy Eye from theeyesforediting.com for getting my podcasting feet wet with Journal Jabber. Feedback welcome!

Albert Einstein said Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” Creativity is the use of the imagination or original ideas.  Like a dandelion seed, creativity waits in in the backyard of the mind, waiting to spread. Like dandelions, some people see creativity as a nuisance and they seek to eliminate it. Like dandelions, creativity is resilient and hard to kill.

This is really good, because everything good in this world is an act of creation. From airplanes to babies to baby’s books, all of it began as a creative seed that took deep root and blossomed. Creative ideas reproduce, and very much like dandelion fluff, they can travel and take root in minds all over the world.

Creation isn’t limited to paint, piano and prose. Anything that requires thought and innovation, I believe, is art. Gardens, good families and balanced budgets all require creative thought and innovation. That means writer’s block isn’t limited to writers- a creative block is just as big of an obstacle for a gardener trying to figure out where to plant his daffodils as an author trying to finish a story.

I believe we are all creative geniuses – some of us just haven’t discovered our medium yet. Can you imagine if Mozart had never been taught music? Or Shakespeare had never learned to read and write? Or was their creativity so powerful it would have burst through them in another art form?

Without creativity we would be back in the stone ages eating rare meat on sticks with dirt seasoning. It’s vital that we keep the creative spark alive in ourselves and others to evolve. It is our greatest gift to give and receive. Without it, we are nothing. With it, we can accomplish anything we can imagine.

This has been the first ever, experimental episode of The DandiFluff Show. I’m Angela Yuriko Smith, author of several books and a daily blogger. I work at a weekly newspaper by day and balance the rest of it at night. Sleep is optional.

Some of you may remember me from Journal Jabber, a Blogtalkradio show that was “by authors, for authors and about everything we authors care about.” The popular Journal Jabber show was created by Amy Eye, an excellent editor and formatter at theeyesforediting.com. I was lucky enough to be a co-host on Journal Jabber for awhile until I just got too busy with the day job. I want to thank Amy for being the inspiration behind this show, and for encouraging me to get on air. For now, I’m planning to have new episodes every Monday and they will only be available on my blog, dandifluff.com.

I hope this show will serve as an inspiration and a guide on all aspects of creativity – creative people, our processes and the products we create. We all have the seed of creativity inside of us – we just have to let it grow.

Posted in The DandiFluff Show, Writing Life | 1 Comment

Creativity Makes Us Whole

cape_quote

Posted in Writing Life | 1 Comment

BlindRide 2015

Today I’m off for the BlindRide 2015 kick off. Two cyclists, one of them blind, will be taking a tandem bicycle on an epic trip from coast to coast to raise awareness for blindness research and also to provide inspiration and hope that we can all do great things—don’t let anything stand in the way. Not even blindness.

I had the honor to do a story on these two guys this week and am excited to be covering their trip, both triumphs and tribulations. Here’s the story I did this last week that began it for me…

20150418_073728~2

Posted in Good Karma Alert, On A Personal Note | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kermit & Creativity

Kermit Creativity“Have no fear of perfection—you will never reach it.” These words by Salvador Dali may sound pessimistic at first, but they are freedom. When we are freed from impossible expectations, we are free to make mistakes, experiment and grow. Growth is creativity.

Watch this thought-provoking video from Kermit the Frog on creativity. His jokes fall flat on occasion and have too many pig references, but the message is on cue.

On another note: Friday came up on me so fast this week I forgot to do my celebrate post! Next week I’ll have to do double celebrations. This week I’m celebrating my job, essential oils and ginko biloba. I’ll explain more later.

Today’s post is part of the Celebrate the Small Things Blog Hop hosted by Lexa Cain, L.G. Keltner at Writing Off The Edge and Katie at TheCyborgMom.

Celebrate the Small Things: To be part of this blog hop, all you have to do is put your name on the linky list and then post every Friday about something you’re grateful  for that week.  It can be about writing or family or school or general life. (Originated by VikLit)

Posted in On A Personal Note, Writing Life | 3 Comments

Scooter Update

image (2)The scooter is almost roadworthy! Mr. Smith heroically got all the bits and pieces together despite a broken assembly video and no replacement video to be had. I received my certificate of origin and got the license plate on the way. Since scooter ownership is so cheap, I splurged and got the vanity plates.

20150415_212919At this moment the scooter is sitting at Scooter Brothers in Fort Walton Beach getting a professional once over and then it will be on the road.

Posted in On A Personal Note | 2 Comments

Death As Therapy, Lullacries & HWA’s Poetry Contest

Photo by Anton-kurt/Wikimedia | Copyright: Public Domain

Photo by Anton-kurt/Wikimedia | Copyright: Public Domain

Today was one of those cranky, over stressed days where the only way to feel better is to kill someone. Luckily, fictional murder is more therapeutic than I imagine real murder is. Since I’m still celebrating poetry this month, I did my dark deed in verse. Cheap, effective therapy.

On a related note, there’s a dark poetry contest held by the Horror Writer’s Association this month. Poems must be unpublished and they prefer free verse, so this one is out on two counts. I am working on one for it though, which I’m sure will be shared here at some point. Enter the second annual HWA Horror Poetry Showcase  contest here. Entry is open to anyone.

And here is my therapy for today’s awful day:

Lullacry

The night is dark and so am I

so let me sing a lullaby

of slippery souls and fading faces,

empty eyes and haunted places.

The rusted gate shrieks I love you

to each and every passer-thru

who came to see you lying here

with stifled cry and crusted tear.

The night is dark and so am I

as I hear your final, lulling cry.

 

Posted in Poetry Slam, Writing Life | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Featuring Wendy Nystrom

Good Morning! 

Spring has sprung, and 

we are entering summer reading soon!

 

Kidtales will be featuring new

SPRING HAS SPRUNG

reads each week for 

families to share! 

 

This week we are featuring…

Award Winning Author,

Wendy Nystrom!

 

Wendy’s newest book, Amongst the Clouds,

 is a wonderful spring edition with a glorious

trip among a mysterious iridescent cloud,

with James and his magical Icelandic friends!

 

James and Syvok 4th adventure has a new mystery floating about. 

James is curious to explore the iridescent cloud.

 All the colors of a rainbow glow, surely there are adventures to sow.

 Come along and meet new friends! Dragons, cats, troll, and more,

 lots of fun is in store. Join the adventures up in the sky 

and help the wizard find her magical key

. Come and see what the iridescent cloud hides!

 

You can grab Amongst the Clouds on 

Amazon or Barnes and Noble today! 

 

Amongst the Clouds on Amazon

*On SALE FOR APRIL- $0.99*

 

 

You can learn about Wendy’s other books in her series 

by following her in the linked locations below! 

Wendy is published with Anchor Group Publishing.

You can find more from Anchor Group at:

pizap.com14270398643911

 

 

Posted in My Consumerverse, Writing Life | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

No Reviews Are Better Than Fake Reviews

Star of starsI was just following along with a discussion on one of my favorite review groups (Wanda’s amazing Amazon reviewers on Facebook) and the discussion was about paid review sites. Are they ethical, and how do we feel about Amazon going on a witch hunt for them.

I’ve never used a paid review site, but I consider it often. Rumor has it that 20 reviews is ‘the magic number’ on Amazon to trigger their cookies to promote you.

It’s taken me four years to get 20 reviews on End of Mae organically. When the book was first published I asked for reviews from a handful of reviewers, but other than that I don’t ask. If the book is reviewed, that’s a gift to me. I don’t hunt down and seek reviews much because I don’t have time.

If I could simply pay someone that would guarantee me 20 more reviews, I would do that gladly. The most important thing, however, is not the reviews but the honesty of them. A glowing, dishonest review is a nail in the author career coffin.

I have bought a few books based on five star reviews. After reading a badly edited and pointless work, I went back to the reviews wondering if I was crazy and missed some vital part that magically made the book steller or was I a victim of the emperor’s non-existent new robes? I have decided the latter, and that author gets blacklisted on my reading list. I will never buy a book of theirs again.

The sad thing is that author may be quite good some day. To a writer, seeing our name in print is the biggest reward sometimes and we can fall prey to publishing lust. The urge to get it out has to be reined in, but is a forgivable offense. Publishing a rough manuscript can be overlooked by most readers, but no one likes to be lied to. A glowing review on literary junk will not be forgotten.

So I’m all for paid review sites but I won’t use one until I can find a guarantee that they are unbiased. Ironically, I already tread in dangerous water with my meager 20 reviews because they are all four and five, a little suspicious for a first novel. Mr. Bonejangles, published at the end of 2013, is picking up steam with 11 reviews already with an average rating of 4.7. Again, a little high for beginning works. I love it and am happy (please don’t stop!), but I feel hesitant to promote that at the risk of looking dishonest. It’s a conundrum—if I talk good about me it looks bad. If you talk good about me I must be good.

So here’s the kicker in the author world as I see it today: if you write a genuinely good book it can look like a crappy one because it has too many high ratings. If you write a crappy book you can sell it temporarily as a good book but eventually you will be found out and blacklisted. The only way I have found to have success as an author is slow, boring, boring advice steeped in persistence.

Write a good book. Polish it until it gleams. Hope your readers will feel inclined to give you word of mouth promotion, the most effective kind, and will review it honestly. There is no quick path.

Posted in Writing Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment