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As the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I is marked across the globe, the publication of a new book dealing with homelessness and addiction, reminds us of the constant battles being fought on a daily basis, including on an individual and personal level. The resolution of such conflicts can often be the result of a surprising turn of events.
The Day the Poppy Met the Shamrock by Dezi Jay M is a frank, moving and personal account, reflecting on the problem of homelessness in Ireland today, told from the perspective of someone who has experienced it first hand. The author charts his own journey from homelessness to resettlement: not just a question of physical abode but also the deeper, more searching question of finding a home within oneself.
Dezi Jay M. grew up in Coolock, Dublin. Early experiences of abuse and addiction affected his life, resulting in several periods of homelessness, including following the break-up of his marriage in 2008. The author believes that the vast majority of people in Ireland today are "only a few months, or even a few weeks wages away from being homeless."
In The Day the Poppy Met the Shamrock, the author vividly recalls his own personal watershed, which occurred on a November day at a Word War I Armistice Day commemoration in the Irish Peace Park in Messines, near Ypres in Belgium.
For the author, being able to relate his own troubles to the legacy his country’s turbulent history, gave him an insight that helped to put his experiences in perspective. Since that day, Dezi has embarked on a career in the performing arts, while also achieving a certificate in addiction studies. In December 2010, he was invited to meet President of Ireland, Mrs Mary McAleese, from whom he received a commendation for overcoming homelessness.
The Day the Poppy Met the Shamrock is available to buy online, in print and e-book editions. It is also available in certain bookshops, including Footprints, with branches in Talbot Street, Dublin 1 and George’s Street, Dun Laoghaire. RRP €7.99 plus P&P.
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The Potless Generation is a collection of poems by James Linnane, published by The Manuscript Publisher and on sale now in print and e-book editions. In the author’s own words, it is "a book about where my country and our world is at right now, put where we are by the unscrupulous, ruthless and greedy."
Linnane’s poetry visits many places, exploring emotions and themes that will strike a chord with "anyone with a spirit generous enough to weep for the world," according to fellow poet, Kieran Furey. "There is plenty of life experience to be distilled from between the lines."
Further praise for The Potless Generation:
James Linnane was born in Co. Galway, in 1962, but now lives in Co. Meath, with his wife and two daughters. People who know him have described him as everything from "a kind of mad-but-wise existentialist bog philosopher" to "a man with an above-average-sized brain and an extraordinarily big heart" - often in the same sentence.
Angry, discordant notes are indeed present in The Potless Generation but it will be evident to the reader that these are borne of a "love of his country ... his belief in dignity, truth, justice, democracy and the hardship experienced by the common man ... so well expressed in this book," as Máire Morrissey-Cummins observes in the Foreword to this volume. There is also much by way of genuine warmth and even an optimism. Hardships are endured and struggles are waged so that the obstacles standing in the way of progress can be overcome. Linnane believes passionately that the outcome of all this will be a better world for all, both this and future generations. Growing old, even death itself can be seen as part of this renewal:
James Linnane has lead something of a roving life, with an interesting and varied career that has included bar work, construction and engineering, security and retail. He has always been a writer at heart however and has carried that with him wherever life has taken him. His first book, Never Take an Irishman Seriously Unless He's Armed, is a collection of poems and short stories that was published in New York, in 1988 but now out of print.
The Life and Times of a 'Gotcha' was published in 2011 and has been re-issued, in print and e-book format, to coincide with the publication of The Potless Generation. Described as a 'novel', it reads a lot like a thinly fictionalised memoir of his experiences, while working as a security guard in various parts of Dublin, during the 1980s and '90s.
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e-book library throughout April and May, starting this weekend with the SiarScéal Anthology, Roscommon in Reflection, published in 2012 by Roscommon County Library Services.
To avail of this offer, simply log on to Amazon, between now and Monday (April 14). If you do not already own a Kindle device, these can be purchased from Amazon or you can download one of the free Kindle apps, to your phone, iPad, tablet, computer or laptop.
The SiarScéal Anthology is a collection of poetry and prose, celebrating the culture, heritage and scenic beauty of the county of Roscommon, in the heart of Ireland. It represents the cream of the first five years of the Hanna Greally Literary Awards.
Entries are now being accepted for the 2014 Hanna Greally Awards. Submissions can be on any theme and can be in poetry or prose. The Ger Hanily Memorial Cup, which forms part of the awards, will be awarded to the best entry received on the theme of Coman's Wood. The overall winner will have their book published, in print and e-book format, courtesy of The Manuscript Publisher.
Closing date for entries is October 10th and the presentation of the awards will form part of the annual SiarScéal Festival, to take place on 25 October in Roscommon Town. The full programme of events is available from the SiarScéal website.
Make a note in your diary for further Kindle promotions in April and May:
17-21 April - A Woeful Tale by Derrick Cranpole. Life in a fishing community, on the south coast of Ireland, is recorded in this collection of poetry and illustrations. Cranpole discovered poetry during his time at sea, which took him from the Arctic to the Southern Ocean and from the Americas to the Red Sea. Remembering bits of verse helped pass the long watches of the night.
"Over the years I have known a lobster fisherman from the South-East, a man fond of a bit of ironic, sometimes blunt poetry or ditties, particularly when he was infuriated by official policies on fishing." - Tom MacSweeney, Marine Times.
24-28 April - The Magic through the Glass Door by Samantha Ann Robinson. Molly is a bubbly happy five-year-old but there is something very different about her: she creates magic wherever she goes and whatever she touches turns into a new adventure. This is the first instalment in The Stories of Molly's Never Ending Adventures series. Expect more from this talented author of children's fiction.
"I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, although written for a child it can keep you totally focused on the story. You feel you are in this adventure and speaking as an adult, I was captivated by this story and did not want to put it down. This book is also for parents and grandparents and the size of the print is easy reading. I would highly recommend this book also because as an adult, it brings the magic back to you that you had as a child." - Mick (on Amazon)
1-5 May - Where Did They Get You? a memoir by Bridget P. McDonnell. Growing up in Ireland in the 1950s, a career in nursing that spanned five decades, globetrotting adventures that takes in eight countries.
"This book will strike a chord with many people as it explores so many life experiences and issues, including motherhood, emigration, growing up in Ireland, betrayal, love and loss. It is a story that documents McDonnell's varied nursing career and all of the places it took her. It also deals with coming to terms with whatever life throws at you. The independence, courage and strength of character that Bridget displayed throughout her life is truly inspirational." - World of Irish Nursing magazine.
The Manuscript Publisher has teamed up with the organisers of the annual SiarScéal Festival, which takes place in Roscommon, to offer one budding writer the opportunity to have their work published professionally and for free, in print and e-book editions.
SiarScéal Festival 2014 will take place on Saturday, 25 October in Roscommon Town. The festival, which celebrates the culture and heritage of the county of Roscommon, is now in its eight year.
The full programme of events, which have just been announced, includes morning and evening activities, appealing to all ages and a wide range of interests, literary and cultural tastes. The main venue for the festival will be Roscommon County Library, Abbey Street, Roscommon Town.
Proceedings will commence with an official opening, presided over by County Librarian and festival patron, Richie Farrell, with the Mayor of Roscommon as invited guest.
This will be followed by the launch of the book, The Battle for Coman's Wood by Mario Corrigan, a work of historical fiction inspired by the students from Castleplunkett National School and Abbey National School, Roscommon.
The afternoon will see announcement of the Hanna Greally Literary Awards for 2014, entries for which are now being accepted. The closing date is Friday, 10 October. Entries may consist of poetry, prose, short stories (maximum 60 lines or 300 words) on any subject or theme. The annual Ger Hanily Memorial Cup, which forms part of the awards ceremony, will be awarded to the best entry on the theme of Coman's Wood.
The incentive for entrants to this years Hanna Greally Literary Awards, includes cash prizes, trophies and certificates. The overall winner will come away with a €1,000 publishing services package from The Manuscript Publisher, the Irish-based publishing solutions provider. The prize is designed for self-publishing authors and independent publishers. It will result in the winning entrant having his or her book published, in print and e-book format, with full editorial, design, ISBN registration, sales and marketing support.
In the afternoon, Galway-based writer, Fred Johnston will host a writers workshop. Fred's most recent collection of poetry is entitled, Alligator Days. He has also written novels, short stories and plays and in 2004, was writer in residence to the Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco.
The festival will conclude with an evening classical concert with recitals, to take place in St. Coman's Church of Ireland, Roscommon Town.
From the pen of Joy C. Agwu comes a timely work of fiction, dealing with the problems that arise when traditional societies and patriarchies are confronted with demands for modernisation. I Live by the Gun is Joy’s third published work and first full-length novel. Set in modern-day Nigeria, it tells the story of a family torn apart by conflicting ideas and loyalties, as they pertain to social and family relations.
When Edward, a successful, caring family man is gunned down one day by violent criminals, he leaves behind a widow with two young children. They continue to enjoy the support of Edward’s wider family circle after his death. Turmoil enters their ranks however, when Robert, Edward’s older brother, announces his intention to move into the family home of his late brother, citing local traditions. Robert’s own family, from whom he is estranged, oppose his bid. His father also strongly warns against this course, "Lest tragedy and pestilence befall you." He advises Robert that, "Any tradition that does not add value to our lives has to be thrown away."
In I Live by the Gun, Joy C. Agwu continues her preoccupation with themes of family, faith, community and the ties that bind, which are much in evidence in her previous work. With I Live by the Gun however, she takes these themes a step further however, championing the cause of individual autonomy, which is invariably threatened when society perceives it to be a threat to its own values and traditions.
This thoughtful and considered account can be read as an affirmation of human rights, as they pertain to women and children in particular, weighed down by the expectations of 'culture and traditions'. Such claims, when invoked in an anachronistic sort way, often serve as a pretext to impose conditions of servitude upon people.
I Live by the Gun by Joy C. Agwu is published by The Manuscript Publisher, in print and e-book editions, which are available to buy online as well as in all good bookshops. RRP €10.99 plus P&P for the print edition. The e-book editions are currently available at a special introductory price of US$2.99 (subject to local taxes and currency exchange rates).
Further information is available from the website of The Manuscript Publisher and from the author’s official website.
Back in the early 1960s, Trevor Simpson realised his dream, when he got himself aboard as a crewman on a small lobster boat, working out of the Cornish town of Newquay. For Trevor, the sea was always in his blood, having spent nine years in the Royal Navy, which he joined at the age of 16. He had already sailed many high seas and visited distant shores before his demobilisation in 1956.
As he set about in earnest to learn to craft of sea-fishing - making pots, mending nets, rising early and working late - he also began keeping a diary:
"... to record the weather and the numbers of crawfish and lobsters we caught. Basically that, together with the areas we fished, was supposed to be all of it. It just kind of grew then so that before very long, I was adding scraps of information about what was happening to other fishermen besides us. As the year advanced, more and more details were added. Snatches of conversations were included and sometimes stories recounted to us by other people, were faithfully written up."
The diary records his impressions of life in a small fishing community, adventures on sea and on land, battling with hostile elements, both natural and man-made. It also charts his own progression, from crewman to skipper of his own boat, the growing challenges of raising a young family and his decision to move to Ireland.
Overfishing, the result of diving for shellfish, pollution caused by oil spillages, an unsympathetic officialdom all combined to make life difficult for people who depended on the sea for their livelihood. A meeting in Dublin with representatives of Bord Iascaigh Mhara (the Irish Sea Fisheries Board), resulted in an invitation to move operations to the south coast of Ireland.
The final chapter records the voyage of the Reaper, a 34" 6' St. Ives gig, on a nerve-tingling journey across the Irish Sea. The two-man crew eventually made landfall at 7pm on 22 August 1967, arriving at Dunmore East harbour. The diary ends there but the reader is left with the feeling that the story does not. There is an air of intrigue as to what might have followed and the author himself has hinted at the possibility of a sequel.
The diary itself lay in an attic for about 40 years, before it was dusted off, edited and now presented to the reading public.
"Just reading through it has triggered so many memories. Suddenly, I am 'down harbour' again and standing on the yellow sand. The sun is baking the seaweed on the harbour wall and it smells good. The boats are all made of wood and smartly painted. As the tide floods into the harbour, the boats come afloat. The crews slip their moorings and the boats head out to sea, their mizzen sails are barked canvas, red-brown in colour. Ropes are made of manila or sisal. The skippers and the crewmen are young and strong. The diary shines a light on those times and on our working lives."
Generously illustrated with photographs, drawings and diagrams, complete with a glossary of nautical and fishing terms, it doesn’t just introduce us to the life of the seafarer, it invites the reader in.
Diary of a Cornish Fisherman: Newquay, 1962-1967 is published by The Manuscript Publisher (ISBN: 978-0-9576729-2-5). It is available to buy online, in print and e-book editions, as well as in all good bookshops. RRP €14.99 (print edition).
The e-book edition is currently available at a special introductory price of US$2.99 (actual price may vary, depending on country and currency) for a limited time only, from Kindle, Smashwords and all major online retailers.
We would like to extend to all of our friends, followers, authors, publishers, readers, colleagues, co-workers, well-wishers a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.
2013 was a year in which many great strides were made. Thank you to everyone who has been involved. 2014 promises to be no less exciting. Already, we have several new books ready to launch in the New Year. These include:
All of these titles are available to pre-order from our Online Catalogue, along with other previously published titles, many of which are also available to buy in e-book format. If you are not already on our mailing list, we strongly recommend that you sign up, as we have an exciting programme of events planned for 2014, including special offers for readers - details of which will be announced.
Also in 2014, we will be announcing details of our Writing for Publishing workshops, to take place at venues across the country.
To keep in touch with all of our activities:
A new edition of John Toland’s early 18th century pamphlet, An Account of the Courts of Prussia and Hanover, has just been published in print and e-book editions by The Manuscript Publisher.
The appearance of this new edition will be of interest to students of Irish and European history of the early Enlightenment period, as well as anyone familiar with the life and work of one who has been described as ‘Ireland’s forgotten philosopher’. Its availability in modern, accessible formats, will further popularise the writings of one who is largely unknown in the English-speaking world and sadly neglected in his home country.
John Toland, who was born in Co. Donegal in 1670, was notorious in his lifetime for his fiery polemics that challenged political and ecclesiastical authority of the day. At the same time, these Accounts also show him to be a capable chronicler and a keen social observer. Even after 300 years, they remain highly readable and continue to be cited by historians of the period.
Having left Ireland (for good as it happened) following the controversy surrounding his first book Christianity not Mysterious, Toland found himself in England, eking out a living from writing pamphlets that championed various Whig causes. One such pamphlet, entitled Anglia Libera published in 1701, supported the Act of Settlement of the same year. This led to Toland being invited to travel to Hanover, as part of Lord Macclesfield's delegation, which delivered the Act to Sophia, Electress of Hanover. The Act named Sophia and her Protestant descendants as heirs to the British throne, should Queen Anne die without a successor.
In Hanover, Toland was well received, especially by the Electress Sophia:
He was also introduced to the court philosopher, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who thought him to be “a man of esprit and is not lacking in erudition, but he pushes things too far.” (see J.N. Duggan, 2010)
Toland visited the court of Berlin the following year, where he made a similar impression on the Electress’s daughter, the Queen in Prussia, Sophia Charlotte. The two had a lot in common and struck up a warm friendship. Toland even addressed one of his books to her: Letters to Serena published in 1704. In the Accounts, she is referred to as having, “so just an Idea of Government, that in all Germany they call her the Republican Queen.”
Toland’s support for the Hanoverian succession might appear contradictory, given his staunch Republican leaning, which expressed itself in opposition to the Divine Right of Kings. In common with other Whigs however, Toland based his support on the assumption that ultimately, real power would be vested in Parliament:
An Account of the Courts of Prussia and Hanover; sent to a Minister of State in Holland by John Toland is published in print and e-book editions by The Manuscript Publisher and available to buy online.
Other works of John Toland that are published by The Manuscript Publisher are available to buy online, in print and e-book editions, along with the historical biography, John Toland: Ireland's Forgotten Philosopher, Scholar ... and Heretic by J.N. Duggan, who is General Editor of this project to publicise and make available Toland's writings. J.N. Duggan's official website can be found at BooksbyJNDuggan.com
The Magic through the Glass Door by Samantha Ann Robinson is the first instalment in an exciting new children’s adventure series entitled, The Stories of Molly’s Never Ending Adventures.
“I suppose the dreams and magic were all around those surroundings. Working with and sharing the hopes, dreams and talent of many people.”
The mother of four, Samantha has written stories for children for all ages. The Stories of Molly’s Never Ending Adventures is aimed at children from 3-4 years and older. The storytelling is fast paced, vividly imaginative and the book itself is lavishly illustrated.
Molly is a bubbly, happy five-year-old but there is something very different about her: she creates magic wherever she goes and whatever she touches turns into a new adventure. She goes to school like everyone else her age but it is when she comes home that the real fun and adventure begins.
In the magical lands that Molly visits, she makes many new and unusual friends. These friends however, are not like those of Molly’s world, nor indeed, any of the stories that have been told about that world. All of Molly’s friends prove important to her in helping her to succeed in her various missions. She learns many important lessons as she moves along between her world and the world of fantasy and adventure.
Among the memorable characters that Molly meets on her journey include Oley the Ogre, Isabel the Butterfly, Imelda the Ladybird, Hope the Caterpillar and Zendra the Fairy Queen, each of whom helps Molly in her quest to find the Magic Crystals, which she needs if she is to succeed in her mission.
Molly’s mission is to bring peace to her world and to defeat the evil, in the form of Kiel the Dragon, which terrifies it. This means that both worlds must come together when needed and Molly is the only one entrusted with the key that connects the two.
"This is Molly's real first adventure, but between Molly's world and her friends there are many more new adventures to come!"
The Magic through the Glass Door by Samantha Ann Robinson is published in print and e-book editions and is available to buy online. The next instalment in the The Stories of Molly’s Never Ending Adventures series is called The New World of Spike and Friends and will be published soon.
Details have just been announced of a Writing for Publishing course which is to take place in Tullamore, Co. Offaly over four weeks, beginning Saturday 21 September and continuing over the following three Saturdays. Full details of the course are as follows:
Tullamore Library (e-learning suite) is the venue - for directions, please refer to the map below - and interested participants can book a place by contacting Martina Needham at the library. She can be reached by e-mail or by phone - 057 9124950.
Following the success of the inaugural Writing for Publishing course that was held in Roscommon over the summer, and the positive feedback received, the organisers are looking forward to another lively event. They promise plenty of opportunities for learning and discussion, both formal and informal, on all the most important issues facing authors, writers, independent publishers today.
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