As a story teller, I am attracted to the cliffs at Slieve League and the Christian/Gaelic history that permeates the Irish countryside and brilliant views of the Atlantic Ocean. Characters are clamoring to tell me their stories and adventures on One Man’s Path and Pilgrim Path — dramatic hikes that demand more of walkers on a stormy day. Of course, my story will have at least ONE stormy day! My hero will take in the views from the cliffs dropping as much as 1500 feet to the ocean. He would enjoy the panorama of the Atlantic, around to the Sligo Mountains and bright Donegal Bay. Breezes would play with the blooms of the Nóíníní and Seamair Dhearg and Seamróg (Daisies and Red Clover and Shamrock– summer wildflowers at Donegal Bay), reminding him of his “brideach milis bouquet bláthanna fiáine” — sweet bride’s wildflower bouquet.
If you walk with me, we could visit historic Donegal Castle together and enjoy the views from this 15th century castle built by the O’Donnell chieftain. We could get lots of photos, then walk back to our inn for a celebration serving of historic Donegal Oatmeal Cream! “Taitneamh a bhaint as uachtar mhin choirce Donegal ag Sliabh Liag” We can enjoy Donegal Oatmeal Cream at Sliabh Liag.
One day clearly won’t be enough for me to be able to absorb the history and dramatic beauty of this mountain that has so many paths wandering over it and such larger-than-life views. If you are able to stay longer, we could get on one of the charter boats cruising the Donegal Bay to get a different, but no less impressive view of the cliffs from the water’s edge. And stop at one of the sweet, clear beaches along the edges of the bay.
Learn more about Sliabh Liag
A few weeks ago, Kathleen M. Rodgers, one of my favorite authors, wrote about how her dogs have been enjoying their summer and the pool. SHe quickly tells us about the inspiration she finds from her pets. Characters in her books are joined with furry characters as pets make a part of each story. She has the sweetest photo of the dogs drinking from the pool in Dogs of Summer.
My beloved dogs, Murphy, Sophie and Maddie Lou, keep me company and definitely inspire characters. They inspire some serious DOG characters as in The Beggar’s Miracle and COUNTENANCE. Human and angelic characters are shaped by their relationship with the dogs. My attitude toward all characters is affected by the unconditional support and love from the dogs!
The dogs make me be active. I have to break the writing trance to let them out or feed them or play with them. They say the computer chair is bad for one’s health. Well, those dogs make sure I don’t get glued to my chair! Their tender eyes are on me all the time to see if treat time has come around!
My dogs and your dogs give us a wonderful connection for conversation! I know I love to tell you about mine and the inspiration they bring to my stories. I want you to know that I enjoy learning about yours! Whether you are a reader or an author, I want to learn how your dogs and other pets bring that touch of inspiration to each tale you spin.
Some people get in touch with their pencil and paper or snuggle with their keyboard to coax the details of their story. I’m impressed and have studied their methods…hoping to find their secret in their printed descriptions of method and process.
As I revealed in a recent essay, Last Step: Keyboard, for Southern Writers Magazine Suite T, writing comes so differently for me.
The characters keep ‘snuggling’ with me, showing up in dreams or moments of distraction. There is no place for clarity of character conversation like the shower! I’m not limited to the shower to hear from my characters. They tell their story in my heart and head as I go about my day.
The details come in pieces that fit on a Post-It Note. Each might feel lost on a big sheet of notebook paper, but is comfortable blooming on a bit of sticky paper. Each idea and facet of the story is too important to even think of ever being lost!
The little quilt patches of paper come together to make the bigger picture, stimulating research in all sorts of direction.
As I gather the bits and approach the keyboard, I want to encourage you, if you are writing. Work with your muse in whatever way it comes to you. The purpose of my essay is to express that there may be as many different approaches to releasing the words as there are writers.
Keep trying till you find your way and enjoy the journey of releasing stories for your readers. That journey is one of the most joyful experiences I could ever have.
Not always an easy or straight path, my journey continues day by day. Give yourself a chance to enjoy someone else’s story — try Emalyn’s Treasure, my newest release or the continuation of this tale in The Beggar’s Miracle, another recent release .
And let me know how you learn about the way your muse communicates with you.
I brought PLENTY back to Alabama from the Las Vegas Writers’ Conference and the city. The author juices have been flowing from the time we landed until right now!
When I made arrangements to attend this terrific conference, I invited my daughter to join me because she had been to the Big City before while I had not.
I wanted a guide whose company I could enjoy during the visit!
Wondering how a little Alabama girl would know or be interested in a writers’ conference in Sin City?
I am a member of the Henderson Writers’ Group in Henderson, Nevada. This group hosted the Las Vegas Writers’ Conference in 2017. Authors learn early on that a good share of their marketing effort will be from THEMSELVES. Networking with other writers, groups and professionals is one of my marketing tactics.
I learned of the conference through group communication and thought that would be interesting, but the great drive came when the program announced Donald Maass would be the keynote speaker!
I’ve followed Mr. Maass for a long time. I’ve read all of his books and make every effort to apply the techniques he shares about writing, marketing and more. It was no silly conclusion that this was the chance I hadn’t even dreamed about to finally meet him and learn from him directly!
We boarded a plane for Vegas and set off into the city — The Meadows or Las Vegas — the name coming from the meadowland with a water supply in the desert!. For our first visit, we sampled enormous selections of foods and restaurants within Sam’s Hotel and Gambling Hall where the conference and attendees were housed. We walked miles through the courtyards and gardens.
Vegas made a wonderful foundation for the growing ‘pleasure pyramid’ as I was able to spend the morning in four sessions of the conference. I heard inspiring speakers and met some wonderful people.
25 Workshops were scheduled to give attendees some strong guidance. Everyone had to make choices about which workshops to attend…all of them were good!
My ‘grand finale’ of the week was the all day workshop on Sunday with Donald Maass presenting on his book “Writing the Breakout Novel”.
At the peak of my visit stands the Maass workshop and the opportunity to meet with Donald Maass, shake his hand and received personal pointers about my next novel for structure and ways to amplify intensity. Because we had communicated via email several times, his face lit up when I introduced myself. “Joy!” he said, “It’s so good to meet you. I feel like I already know you!” You better believe I didn’t leave that motivating experience in Vegas!