Skipping past January…

Greetings folks! So the lurgy that went around did not pass by this house without making its mark. We quarantined ourselves, cancelled our week in Ireland and hid out, taking turns putting the kettle on (depending on who had the most energy).

The rest of Jan was catch up time and it’s only now that I’m getting to writing here. I have not been idle though…

I have decided to self publish a second collection of short stories. My audience is not huge, but I am often asked about the next lot of stories. There are lots written, but sitting in files. It’s time to sort that out.

At the same time, I’m starting the editing process of ‘Have mercy upon me O Lord, a a slimmer,’ my NaNoWriMo work from last November. It was painful to write, and I know going back to edit it will not be easy. SO! I’m enlisting the services of an editor friend who will help me kick it into shape, ready to send to some publishers. It’s not a book I plan on self-publishing. I really believe that if it is meant to be ‘out there’, it will be picked up by a publisher. It is in God’s hands 🙂

However if you just can’t wait… I’m delighted that to be part of a couple of anthologies that have just been published. 🙂

The Association of Christian Writers have published a collection, which I wrote a piece for. If you’d like to do some Lent readings with a difference, you’ll enjoy this. There are different styles of writing, devotional pieces, poetry and some creative writing based on the verses. If you’d like to check it out click here.

And I found out that one of my short fiction stories is in an anthology of poetry and prose. It’s called The Write Time Zine. It’s a new project just getting off the ground, and this anthology is also available to buy online if you’d like to support it.

So, although I’ve taken my time getting going this year – I’m now up and running.

Ah yes… running… I’ll come back to you on that one…

A x

2 weekends of inspiration and encouragement

I had the blessing of scooting off for two weekends, one after the other, on my own!

The first was a weekend in Dublin. I caught up with lots of family, with two dear writing friends, with one of the first Christians ever to make a real impression on me, and I went to a baby shower. It was full to the brim.

I had a bit of a revelation while chatting to my writing friends (neither of whom knew each other – so it was nice to connect them). I consider myself a failed writer – that’s not the revelation bit, I’ve always felt that. BUT, I’ve let it stop me writing. It’s like I’ve been waiting for someone to give me permission to put my heart and soul back into it, as I did in those lovely days before I cared whether anyone read what I wrote.

It was a liberating conversation in the middle of a fab weekend.

The following weekend I was in London, blessed to stay a couple of nights with a good friend, have chats and a hot chocolate with one of my smashing nieces, and join with other Christian writers for the ACW Writers’ Day with Glen and Emma Scrivener. What I took from it, as well as some great books and practical tips, was a confirmation of what my writing pals had told me the previous weekend. Get it writ! 🙂

I asked a question during the panel time. Basically, what if the crushing doubt that writers feel is actually valid in my case? What if I’m just no good?

The answer was like a welcome splash of cold water on my face. Basically it was to stop whinging. Amy Robinson compared my questions and hesitations to Moses when God called him.

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ Exodus 3:11-15 

I’m paraphrasing here, but what I heard Amy say was, if God had given me stuff to write, then I should stop finding reasons not to do, and just write it.
Whoosh!!! How refreshing.

So, that’s what I’m going to do. My #NaNoWriMo2017 novel idea has been shelved, and I’m going to write the non-fiction book that’s been forming in me for the last year or so. Will fill you in soon… 🙂

Thank you Amy Robinson! Thanks too, to the other panellists, James Prescott, Glen Scrivener and Emma Scrivener x

A couple of the ACW members have shared their take of the day – well worth a read. You can read them here and here.

The A to Z of the Pastor’s Wife – R is for Reading Room

RR is for Reading Room

Himself has an office. It’s in the same building as the one we live in; but he has to leave the flat and enter the building through another door.

It has meant that, for the first time, we don’t need to have an office in our home. We’ve always had one: between me working from home, us both being students, and working for ourselves for a while.

So, the extra bit of space we have, is officially called ‘The Reading Room’. It’s also a writing room. I suppose that might make it an office, but it’s got a different feel to it. Our hope is to try to keep it from being too ‘busy’ a space.

I have this (probably wild and unrealistic) vision of me sitting in calm and solitude in that room, or sitting chatting and praying with himself or others. That type of quiet, organised, reflective life doesn’t sound like me; but what is it they said they said about the Field of Dreams?

‘If you build it, they will come.’

Well I’ve got the room, let’s see if the quiet follows it. 🙂

April AtoZ Challenge…

A2Z badgeI’m going to be missing for a while as I take part in the April AtoZ Challenge over on the blog of my new writer’s website.

Hope to see you there 🙂

ps if you sign up to receive regular updates about my writing and as a thank you for trusting me with your email address I’ll send you two brand new stories written just to celebrate launching the website 🙂

Just go to and drop your email address at the nr the bottom of the homepage.

Thanks, A x

10 Day You Challenge, Day 7 – 4 Books

Day 7 of the ’10 Day You Challenge’ 10-days-you-challenge2 copy Today – 4 books… 😉

cujo1.Cujo by Stephen King
This is one book that has stayed with me since the day I read it. I’ve never seen the film, but the memory of what I read plays in my head like a film reel. I can’t dwell on it too much or I’ll lose sleep. Chilling!

In case you didn’t know, I’m self-publishing a collection of short stories in October. You can find out all about it over on Fictitious Amo. I’m very excited and look forward to getting it out there. It’ll be available on Kindle and other e-platforms, also in paperback.

p&P3. Pride and Prejudice
I can’t count the amount of times I’ve read this book. It is my favourite fiction book in the whole world and I can’t imagine anything topping it. Jane Austen is so clever in how she describes people and their interactions with each other. She also describes her own culture and environment with great humour and insight. She’s the man! 🙂

4. The Bible
Come on you knew that was coming! 🙂 As I’ve mentioned many times before. My handbook for life; one I don’t read nearly often enough!

John 21:25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

Photo credits:
The 10 Day You image above doesn’t seem to come from any central website but can be found on many that have done the challenge. Many use it but there does not seem to be any original source info available
The P&P image was taken by me.
The image of the Cujo book was taken from one of its profiles on

Done and Dusted :)

I’ve been studying pretty much non-stop since I moved back into Ireland in 2007. I started by doing the last stage of my Theology degree by distance learning and then straight away started the Masters programme. If you read my Next Big Thing post I mentioned that the project I was about to embark on was my M.A. dissertation. Well I pondered it for a while and in the meantime had to majorly edit/rewrite a paper I’d already submitted.

I’ve been working on the MA for almost 4 years. My eye trouble slowed me down and after the cornea transplant I never really caught up. Then a year ago I started to write fiction and I’ll be honest, I let it distract me even further. It was too enjoyable to resist.

Clever cupcakes origin_2475149762
If I’m gonna graduate there must be cake!

So I’ve decided to take a long break from the M.A. Today I handed in the last paper – for now. Presuming I pass it, I’ll be able to graduate with a Post Grad Diploma in Applied Theology and because I’ve finished properly I can step back into the programme to do the dissertation stage and finish the M.A.

You know some decisions in life that are really hard? Well this one wasn’t. It was simple. Bottom line I want to be free to write about what two people on a park bench might say to each other.

Next to The Bible – the best book ever!

I am so grateful to the team at the Irish Bible Institute who’ve always been so supportive and when recently I was going to throw the towel in, they encouraged me to finish well and bow out in a way that left the door open for me to continue where I left off.

So… I can finally read Pride and Prejudice again. Before my studying started I read it every year since I discovered it. I plan to read lots of other stuff too and write plenty as well.

First stop – The Tribe Writers course by Jeff Goins. I’ve registered but til now have only dabbled.

Time to get stuck in…

photo credits:
clevercupcakes via photopin cc
My very own well-thumbed copy of P&P 🙂

Dear Twitter…

Dear Twitter

Let me get one thing straight before I start. You know that phrase, “it’s not you… it’s me”?

Well I’m fairly sure it’s you! 

I used to have so much fun with you. You were a place for great craic, plenty of banter and discussion about stuff I knew little about. I was ok with that, it was an education. I followed lots of people for lots of reasons and created my lists so I could look at writers and family and Christians etc separately if I wanted to.

I’ve spent a lot of time building my profile in your world. I’m no Nicki Minaj (on many levels) but 3000 followers is not nothing – and me trying to establish myself as some sort of writer, it’s a good place to be in.

I’ve met some clever people along the way, with differing views about differing subjects. Sometimes I was brave enough to chip in, other times I’d just sit and watch it go by. 

I remember the first time I saw #vinb. I thought the world had gone mad. I watched the programme a couple of times and quickly realised it wasn’t for me. But the hashtag was enough anyway. At first it was entertaining to see folk set their hair on fire about stuff. Then I noticed #rtept, #marian, #miriam and #twip, and it seemed some folk only appeared on Twitter when these hashtags were burning bright.

Something changed a few months ago and suddenly you weren’t so much fun anymore. A couple of topics rose to the surface and you became a place where I had to put up or shut up. Differing opinions were no longer welcome. The minority voice which in economic and social subjects was championed, was now told to be silent.

The senator, the professor, the clergymen, the I.I. director and most of that ilk get hauled over the coals every time they open their mouths. Insulted, criticised, mocked and hung out to dry. On the rare occasion someone gets a slap on the wrist for mocking, the wagons are circled… “poor you – how could anyone be so mean….?” 

Eh, yeah… that was my question, but about you – not to you.

I tried to be brave and stepped in a few times, but I was out of my depth. I watch as the overzealous fringe of Christian opinion is regularly dragged through your streets RT’d and RT’d again so everyone can have a good laugh.

In that last few days I’ve watched the RTs stack up of the clip of the New Zealand MP and his hilarious account of some of the contact he’s had from people who disagreed with him. He had the whole of the chamber in stitches laughing as he described some of the comments, he did a clever science experiment & used a Bible verse to seal the deal (completely out of context, but hey the Christians do it; so what?!). It was like an episode of Mock the Week, or is it ‘mock the weak’? 

I suppose I could just unfollow a load of people, or re-jig my lists. Grab one of my gay friends who I love (and who love me back) and ask them to assure you that I’m not homophobic. Explain how love for family, childlessness, & love for life are as much reasons for my prolife stance as any Bible verse I may wave at you. But Twitter, you steal my voice, you silence me. I sit at an empty blog post, finger poised over the keyboard and I can’t speak. I swore only a year ago that I’d never let that happen again.

When I finally realised I was a writer and said it out loud for the first time, I was determined never to let anyone convince me other wise. I was going to say what I wanted to say. But you put a stop to that. Or maybe I just let you.

Either way, you stifle me. You smother me. You make me cry. And if you were a boyfriend…. any true friend of mine would be asking me why I haven’t dumped you a long time ago.
The annoying thing is that you’re exactly like that crazy boyfriend I used to have – I’m finding it really hard to let you go, even though I know you’re bad for me and things are about to get a whole lot worse.

@auntyamo needs a break from you. Let’s see if I can live without you for a while.
I’ll miss you – a bit.

A x

P.S Thanks to all the Tweeters who noticed my recent comments about leaving and were nice enough to say ‘don’t go’. If you really can’t live without me follow @amowriting But it’s a politics free zone. God knows I need it! 

The Next Big Thing – celebrating my 100!


Welcome to my 100th wordpress blog post!
And I’m just 100 or so views from 10,000 so this is a momentous… erm… moment for me!
I was wondering what significant wisdom I could bring to you when I reached the century; and perfect timing – here is my The Next Big Thing post.

The Next Big Thing is an online blogging chain. It helps writers promote and introduce other writers and highlight whatever they are working on. There’s a list of questions to answer and then the writer of the moment picks others to pass the torch on to; or ‘tag them’ to use the technical term…

I’ve mainly seen authors do it and the blog posts have made great reading. I was not a little delighted to be  ‘tagged’ by Trish Nugent! Trish is one of my many Twitter connections that I haven’t actually met. If you use Twitter then you’ll know that there are some folk you chat to more than others. And some you get on with more than others! Trish is one of my Twitter friends that I would love to meet and drink coffee (or wine) with. We’re hoping it won’t take too long for that to happen 🙂

Trish is a part-time actress and writer, and a full-time wife and mum. She lives in Dublin and you can read her blog here.

So let’s get this show on the road!

My Next Big Thing Well to be honest the next big thing I need to write is my Masters Dissertation. I’m doing a Masters in Applied Theology with the Irish Bible Institute. Before I start a great literary work, or even a terrible one, I need to finish my M.A.
Other than that I have two blogs on the go. I guest post for a couple of places regularly and I also write a regular piece for VOX Magazine. My first article appeared in the Jan 2013 of WHOA Women magazine in the US and I’m hoping to have a regular spot there too. Details of all that stuff can be found here

What is the title of your book dissertation? Well the title is not worked out yet as dissertation titles can be a bit wordy, but it’s something along the lines of “The connection between the attitude to suffering and ‘spiritual development/maturity’ using the Apostle Peter as an example”

HOWEVER, If I were to write a book it might be called something like, “The Chocolate Conspiracy”

Where did the idea come from for the dissertation/book? The idea came from my own experience really. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I can’t have children. That is the issue that I wrestle with most in my Christian life. I have 27 nieces and nephews and no kids of my own.
I suppose it’s a search really to see if an increase in one’s spiritual maturity gives you a more ‘Jesus-like’ attitude to the sufferings of life. Mine, compared to others are very mild. But they are mine and I haven’t handled the sadness well over the years. I’m hoping that the research and writing of this paper will help me make my journey towards acceptance.

The idea for “The Chocolate Conspiracy” came from a biscuit tin. I was eating a biscuit, from said biscuit tin and I thought… I bet chocolate is actually good for us and that story is being repressed by a South American mafia with connections to Eastern European gangs… Voila! 🙂

What genre does your dissertation/book fall under?
Dissertation – Christian Spirituality
Book – Crime/thriller/nonsense

Give me the preciouuuuussssss!
Give me the preciouuuuussssss!

Which actors would you choose in a movie rendition of your book?
ok the dissertation is NOT going to be made into a film… but the book?

Well obviously I’ll be played by the guy who played Jabba the Hut.
My psychiatrist will be played by Colin Firth (love interest)
And all the baddies will be played by your woman who played the little dark curly-haired barmaid in Cheers. (There’s a ‘cloning’ subplot that I’m in danger of giving away here so I’ll stop.)

What is the one sentence synopsis for your dissertation/book?
Dissertation – “How did the Apostle Peter go from being the man who tried to stop Jesus from going to Jerusalem and denied him – to the man who wrote 1Peter, such as 4v14 ‘rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ.’?”

Book – The truth they didn’t want you to know… chocolate is good… lettuce isn’t!

How long did it take you to write a first draft?
I haven’t written a draft of either, but it’s all up here. *taps side of head
The dissertation (20,000 words) will hopefully be researched and written in 2013

What other books would you compare yours to within your genre?
War and Peace, Ulysses and The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle

Who or what inspired you to write this dissertation/book?
Dissertation – as I mentioned above, my own experience
Book – as I mentioned above, the biscuit tin. It spoke to me, called out to me in the night, followed me on Twitter… I couldn’t escape!

What else about your dissertation/book might piqué you readers’ interest?
Dissertation – If you’re not into theology, probably not much! But I do hope to answer the question!
Book – Hidden within the text will be a DaVinci type code that when found will actually be a bar code giving you 20% off your next purchase of chocolate HobNobs.
(Terms and conditions apply, subject to availability, all rights reserved, please get an adult to help you when using a scissors etc etc )

When and how will it be published?
Dissertation – well there’ll only be three copies. One for marking, one for the college library and one for my ego shelf. After that it’ll be a pdf!
Book – on papyrus, or that sugary paper you can eat!

OK!!! Enough of my nonsense – let me introduce you to my Three Musketeers
Helen Hamill
– IMHO this lady does not realise what a great writer she is! She has two blogs and her honesty and openness amazes me every time I read her stuff.
Helen was born and lives in Enniskillen. She is a trained teacher, musician and singer. She  holds the position of Director of Music with St Michael’s Church Choir. Her choir performed last year for Her Majesty the Queen, and have recently performed solo on BBC Songs of Praise.
She’s mam to 4 brilliant children and has been married to Jimmy for 24 years.
She tweets (a bit too often she says) @helenhamill
4 words to describe her… direct, honest, hardworking and driven.
She has two blogs, one about a medical condition she is battling her way through and one she co-writes with her 12-year-old son who is as he puts it “autistic and proud”!

Reclaim the Voice – now I don’t always agree with this guy. But I do love what he writes. He has made me laugh, shout at my computer screen in frustration, sit silently trying not to cry and think about things I’ve never thought of.
Here’s what he says about his blog… “This Blog, is a place, where words, thoughts, and feelings will exist, who the writer is, is not necessary, let the words speak for themselves, take them as you find them. Sometimes they will be passionate, political, poetic, however, above all,
hopefully provoking.” Take a look for yourself… 🙂

Carolann Copland – we met not long after I realised that I should be taking writing seriously. Although I haven’t read any of her writing, spending time at her Writing Centre and learning from her has been just fantastic.
Carolann is the founder of Carousel Creates; offering writing experiences to writers of all ages and lifestyles. She has a B.Ed in English and Drama and has been a teacher for thirteen years. Carolann has learned her writing craft under authors such as Siobhan Parkinson, Patricia O’ Reilly, Conor Kostick, Orna Ross, Niall Williams and Claire Hennessy.
She is a mother of three children aged nine to twenty-one.  Through mentoring writers of all ages; from all walks of life; Carolann is happiest when she is sharing her passion for writing.
Website: Blog:
Twitter: @carouselcreates


Group Therapy

It was with a spring in my step that I made my way to one of our local pubs here in Kilcullen to join the newly reformed Kilcullen Writer’s Group. I just happened to spot a mention of it on the The Diary and thought… I’ll have some of that thank you!

At the recent Culture Night event held in the town, members of the original group had been inspired to restart it. Perfect timing for me – and very considerate of them to hold it just a short walk from my house 🙂

There were 5 of us (with an extra 2/3 promising to come to the next one). All women and all with different writing experiences and styles. It was so nice to chat with folk who ‘get it’! This is still relatively new for me and already I feel I’ve bored anyone who’s not into the writing thing! We discussed inspiration, disappointment, what we read, writer envy, pen & paper v computer, courses & retreats, and we all read something we’d written.

To type or to scribble?!

We talked for about two hours and laughed for most of it. Already there’s an excursion on the cards and even the possibility of getting involved in Kilcullen’s contribution to The Gathering festivities…

It was all very encouraging & inspiring and just what I need as I contemplate some big changes coming my way – more on that anon.

Suffice to say, I’ve found the perfect therapy group. I go along, confidently stand up and say “Hello I’m Annmarie”, (nod at responses.. Hi Annmarie) “and yes… I am a writer”. And the great thing group is… I don’t even have to quit my addiction!