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In the days before scientific advances and the accompanying rise of modern conveniences made life easier, people born with severely limiting disabilities relied very much upon compassion, understanding and networks of support in order to make their way in the world. A soon to be published volume of memoirs, Melodies at Eventide by Rex Lee, is a personal account of someone who overcame disability, never allowing it to limit his outlook or narrow his horizons.
Out of desperation was born the motivation to embrace the philosophy of physical and mental compensation: by finding a faculty for the one he lost or never had. Rex is living proof that this can overcome most obstacles to leading a normal and independent life. It has in his own words been ‘a privileged existence’. - friend and colleague, Peter McKevitt (from the Foreword to this edition)
Rex’s story is also the story of Ireland as a country striving to assert itself on the world stage, overcoming barriers and obstacles that history had put in the way. Indeed, it is a story that charts the changing and ever-evolving nature of Irish society. His account spans much of period following Independence. Through his own involvement and activism (including work with organisations such as Macra na Feirme and the Irish Farmers' Association), he both witnessed and played a part in the making and shaping of the Irish society that has been handed down to us today.
Melodies at Eventide by Rex Lee is published by The Manuscript Publisher. The book will be formally launched by Fergus Finlay, CEO of Barnardos Ireland, on Tuesday, 9 February at Kells Public Library (corner of Maudlin Street and Carrick Street, Kells, Co. Meath). Details can be downloaded here. The evening commences at 7pm. Light refreshments will be available and copies of Rex’s memoir will be on sale. It can also be pre-ordered online.
A big Happy New Year to all our friends, followers and to authors, writers, independent publishers everywhere. We hope that 2016 will offer up all that you can wish for in terms of bringing your publishing dreams and ambitions to fruition. For our part, we pledge to continue bringing you all of the relevant and pertinent news, as it relates to publishing in the digital age.
Before saying a final farewell to the old year, we take some time to look back on the books, titles, publications and DVD that announced their presence in 2015. Already, we have plans to bring you plenty more in 2016. Watch this space!
The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox by Rose Morris (with illustrations by Karolina Smorczewska) was warmly received upon its launch at the SiarScéal Festival in November. A children's fable, told in the form of illustrated verse, it is whimsical, globe-trotting adventure story that also carries a cautionary tale about the fate of the planet. Ferdinand, the eponymous hero of the story, is struck one day (both literally and figuratively) with the realisation that if he does not take action to 'end the Earth's sad regression', then who will? It is available to buy online. Watch out for the e-book edition, which is coming soon.
Sorry for the Silence by Ian R. Braddock is a début anthology of poems that has had a long gestation period (as the title may suggest!). A body of work suggesting a journey and the culmination of a certain quest, to unravel the dichotomy of the human predicament: the relationship between what we want, what we need and the price paid for it. This is a collection of poetry that will be enjoyed by anyone who is not afraid to look at the world around them and discover its flaws, in order to seek out answers on a fundamental level. "It is only because of the factory that we can appreciate the meadow." It is available to buy online, in print and e-book editions.
Domestic Violence: One Woman's Nightmare by Susan R. Murphy describes, not just the experience of spousal abuse and family breakdown but also, what to do about it. Candidly written, the author deals with a traumatic issue in a manner that is self-affirming and positive. In her case, strength came from within but also from the networks and organisations that exist to support sufferers of domestic violence. It gave her the endurance, not just to survive but to rebuild her life. A must read for anyone who has experienced domestic violence or knows someone who may be going through the trauma. It is available buy online, in print and e-book edition.
Donegal Gymnasts by Seamus McCrudden, a work of contemporary Irish fiction, was published in e-book during 2015. Praise for Donegal Gymnasts has come from many quarters. It has been described as "a lovely story set in an era where life was simple yet vulnerable to loss and suffering." It is available to buy online in print and e-book editions.
Dare to be inspired and strive to create is the challenge set forth in Art is Everything, Art is Life, the début collection of poetry, paintings and photographs by multi-media artist and poet, Cormac Baker. Tales of heroism and history combine to show how art can be found in everything and everything that we live and do can serve as inspiration, thus aiding our efforts to interpret and re-interpret the world anew. It is available to buy online in print and e-book editions from the author's website.
The Kells Story: an Irish Monastery in a Time of Trouble is a documentary that brings to life the story of one of Ireland's greatest monastic settlements. The story of Kells is integral to an understanding of the monastic period of Irish and European history. It is told here in a lively, inventive, educative and entertaining manner, which will leave you wanting more. It is available to buy online in DVD and Instant Video.
These and other titles are available to buy online.
The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox by Rose Morris: a whimsical adventure and a cautionary fable
The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox by Rose Morris
- a whimsical adventure and a cautionary fable -
posted 10 Dec 2015, 10:23
The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox is the title of a newly published children’s fable, told in the form of illustrated verse by Rose Morris, with illustrations by Karolina Smorczewska. It is published by The Manuscript Publisher and is on sale now.
Ferdinand is a dashing, playful young fox, leading a carefree existence somewhere in the Irish countryside. That is, until one day when he receives a message from on high (delivered in the form of a bolt from the blue) that recalls a previous admonition given to him by his Mammy, 'to pull up his socks'.
Accompanied by his Mammy, and soon to be joined by Seagull Sam (a geographer and famous oceanographer) from Amsterdam, together they embark on a mission to help creatures in need and put an end to 'the Earth’s sad retrogression'. Their exploits and adventures climax on the banks of Lough Erne in Co. Fermanagh, as it plays host to an important G8 summit of world leaders.
The publication of this tale came about as a result of the SiarScéal Festival, which takes place annually in Roscommon, and the Hanna Greally Literary Awards that form part of the festival's programme of activities. As overall winner in 2014 for her short story, The Wall, Rose Morris was given the opportunity to have her work published professionally by The Manuscript Publisher, who sponsored the prize.
"Rose's story was a popular choice, both with the judges as well as with the festival goers," says Oscar Duggan of The Manuscript Publisher. Set in Ireland at the turn of the 20th century and evoking themes of class divide and social taboos, "it surprised a lot of people for its sombre yet powerful storytelling style. What was more surprising however, was the book that Rose chose to follow up on her success with."
The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox is every bit as whimsical as its title suggests. [Splendiferous (adjective, informal, humorous): meaning splendid; magnificent; fine]. The story however, is underlined by a serious ecological message. It combines themes of folklore, mythology, world cultures into a globe-trotting action-packed adventure. It will appeal to children of all ages but is recommended for reading ages of 7-12 years. A glossary of difficult words is included, while the places visited by Ferdinand are listed in the book and have also been charted on Google Maps, adding an online, interactive dimension to the narrative.
Rose's experience as a primary school teacher is much in evidence throughout this book, using various techniques and devices to reach out to young minds, exciting and provoking a love of knowledge and an interest in learning as the story proceeds. She taught for forty years in her native Roscommon ("Ireland’s overlooked county," as she describes it). She writes in both English and Irish has enjoyed previous literary success at local festivals, competitions and events. While The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox marks her first outing as a published author, it is unlikely to be her last.
The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox by Rose Morris, with illustrations by Karolina Smorczewska, is published by The Manuscript Publisher. It is available to buy online. RRP €9.99.
Posted 2 Dec 2015, 12:01
What do Donegal, the Tunnel Tigers, Ireland in the 1960s and 70s, the Vietnam War, the Montreal Olympics and a coming of age tale have in common? They are just some of the ingredients that make up an inspired, debut novel from Seamus McCrudden, with a warm and absorbing storyline that will keep you guessing, right to the last page.
Published last year in paperback format by The Manuscript Publisher, it is now available in e-book editions from all of the major online e-book retailers, including Amazon (Kindle), Smashwords, Apple (iBooks), Barnes & Noble, Kobo, to name but a few.
Praise for Donegal Gymnasts has come from many sources since publication. Judging by readers' comments, its popularity and appeal would seem to stem mostly for its freshness of perspective and vision. McCrudden is not daunted by the challenge of telling a story in exactly the way that it needs to be told.
"A lovely story set in an era where life was simple yet vulnerable to loss and suffering," said one reader.
"A wonderful story that captures every possible emotion of Irish life, told in a unique fashion," was how another reader described it.
Certainly, it is a book that will resonate with Irish people of certain generations and the Irish emigrant experience is also well observed and documented - "a must for an exile's book shelf" said one favourable review. It is first and foremost however, a story that recommends itself because it works as a simple, yet carefully plotted and well-structured narrative about people who follow their dreams, no matter what obstacles they encounter. As an exploration of love and loyalty, it easily navigates its way across the contours of comedy, drama, romance, joy and sorrow, the journey from innocence to experience.
Jack and Jake, adopted twin brothers of Irish and Chinese descent, growing up in Donegal in the 1960s, discover a natural aptitude for gymnastics, which sets them apart and also sets them on paths that appear to lead to fame and fortune. The closer they get to their dreams, the more they realise that far off fields are not always green. Nevertheless, they persist and persevere, learning and drawing strength from both the highs and the lows, from their experiences of love and loss and all of the in-betweens. By the end, they are older and wiser but they have learned the true value of family, friendship, community and the network of support that these offer.
Seamus McCrudden hails from the famed county of Donegal, in the farthest reaches of Ireland's north west and continues to work and live there, with his wife and four daughters. He is well-known locally as a bus and taxi driver and says that his inspiration to write derives, in part, from the people whom he encounters during the course of his work. The rest has been due to training and advice that he as received through his participation in local writers and drama groups.
Donegal Gymnasts by Seamus McCrudden is on sale now, in print and e-book editions. The e-book edition (available in all of the popular formats including Kindle, ePub, PDF) is being launched at a special introductory price of US$2.99*. Copies of the print edition are also available, at the recommended retail price of €9.99 plus P&P.
More information on where you can buy Donegal Gymnasts by Seamus McCrudden is available from the website of The Manuscript Publisher, where you can also take the time to browse before you buy.
* Slight variations in price due to local taxes and currency exchange rates may occur
Book Launch: The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox by Rose Morris
6pm Thursday, 5 November at Roscommon County Library HQ
posted 28 Oct 2015, 13:38
The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox by Rose Morris will be launched on Thursday, 5 November at Roscommon County Library HQ on Abbey Street, Roscommon Town (see below for directions). We invite you to join us for an evening of celebration and fun, commencing 6pm.
Ferdinand is a dashing, playful young fox, leading a carefree existence somewhere in the Irish countryside. One fateful day, a message from on high, delivered in the form of a 'bolt from the blue', gives him his calling in life. He sets out on a mission to go where creatures are in need, to protect the Earth and ensure its conservation and re-birth.
A children's fable, told in verse and beautifully illustrated by Karolina Smorczewska, The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox is as wonderfully whimsical as the title suggests, yet underlined by a serious ecological message. It is a story that skilfully combines themes of folklore, mythology, globe-trotting action and adventure. It will be appreciated and enjoyed by children of all ages (and even a few adults) but is particularly recommended for reading ages of 7-12 years. A glossary of difficult words is included, along with maps and charts that allow the reader to follow Ferdinand's progress.
A retired primary school teacher and native of Roscommon, currently living in Elphin, Rose Morris has previously gained recognition for her literary output at local festivals, competitions and events. Her short story, The Wall, was a popular choice as overall winner at the 2014 Hanna Greally Literary Awards. Her prize, sponsored by The Manuscript Publisher, was to see her book published in print and e-book editions. The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox marks her first publishing outing but will bring to wider public attention, the work of a talented author with an exciting and diverse range.
Signed copies of The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox will be on sale at the launch on Thursday, 5 November at Roscommon County Library HQ, Abbey Street, Co. Roscommon. The book will be on general sale thereafter - RRP €9.99. It is currently available to pre-order from The Manuscript Publisher with an e-book edition coming soon.
Make a note in your diary. Download the details here. For directions to Roscommon County Library HQ, please refer to the map below.
The Manuscript Publisher is pleased to unveil its exclusive collection of Greeting Cards for All Occasions that include Christmas, festive, seasonal, winter solstice, secular and humanist greetings that also depict a stunning array of nature and wildlife themes and motifs. We also offer blank greeting cards, for your own, personalised greetings.
Our cards come in A6 size (105mm by 148mm or 4.13 inches by 5.83 inches), portrait and landscape. They come in packs of six with envelopes included. Choose from the range of themes and motifs and personalise it with your choice of greeting (Merry Christmas, Seasons Greetings, Winter Solstice Greetings). We will supply the finish product. Our cards cost just €3.99 plus P&P for a pack of six cards with envelopes.
Our specialist range includes Winter Solstice greeting cards, depicting our Heron and Winter Robin motifs and bear the inscription from the poem, Ode to a West Wind by Percy Bysshe Shelley: Oh Wind, if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
Our exclusive range of greeting card motifs can be further customised to your requirements using our Personalised Greeting Card order and delivery service (minimum order quantity - 25 cards). Choose from the themes and motifs that we provide or submit your own artwork. You can also choose between A5 and A6 card dimensions, portrait and landscape. Finally, select an appropriate greeting for your card then submit your order. We will revert to you with a tailored quotation within 48 hours.
For more information about, please visit our online bookshop (greeting cards section). We are ready to take your order now and deliver in plenty of time for the Christmas and festive season that is nearly upon us.
Posted 11 Sep 2015, 07:08
SiarScéal Festival 2015 programme of events has recently been announced and, as in previous years, the Hanna Greally Literary Awards features prominently. Entries, in the form or poetry and prose, are now being accepted for this year's awards, full details of which are available from the SiarScéal website. The closing dates for entries is Friday, 23 October. The overall winner will receive a cash prize of €200 with runners-up prizes also being awarded in categories that include national, international, schools, highly commended.
As an added incentive, all entries received will be considered for inclusion in the inaugural SiarScéal/Hanna Greally Literary Journal, to be launched at the 2016 festival, provisionally scheduled for April.
Last year's overall winner of the Hanna Greally Literary Awards was Rose Morris. Her prize was a publishing package from The Manuscript Publisher, to see her book published in print and e-book editions. The 2015 SiarScéal Festival, will kick off with the launch of Rose's book, The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox, an illustrated book of verse aimed at children but also carrying a very important message about the fate and well-being of our planet. The action takes the protagonists of this story on an adventure that crosses continents but ends up on the shores of Lough Erne, which, of course, was the venue for a recent G8 Summit of world leaders.
The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox by Rose Morris will be on sale from November, in print and e-book editions. Signed copies will be on sale at the launch, to take place at Roscommon County Library Headquarters, Abbey Street, Roscommon Town on the evening of Thursday, 5 November, commencing 6pm. Entertainment and refreshments will be provided.
The Festival continues the following day (Friday, 6 November), at the same venue, with a day-long programme commencing 10am. Opening addresses will be followed by the presentation of the Hanna Greally Literary Awards to the lucky winners. Musical interludes and recitals will accompany the events that also include two workshops. Author and poet, Mary Guckian will present a Writer's Recital and Workshop. This will be followed by a Writing for Publishing workshop presented by Oscar Duggan of The Manuscript Publisher on the theme of Writing and Publishing in the Information Age.
Full details about the Festival and the Hanna Greally Literary Awards are available from SiarScéal. A copy of the programme of events is also available to download and share.
- Friday, 23 October - closing dates for entries for the Hanna Greally Literary Awards 2015. See SiarScéal website for more information
- Thursday, 5 November - launch of the book, The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox by Rose Morris at Roscommon County Libraries HQ, Abbey Street, Roscommon Town. Evening commences 6pm
- Friday, 6 November - official launch of SiarScéal Festival 2015 including presentation of the Hanna Greally Literary Awards 2015, followed by writers workshops, music recitals, open mic.
SiarScéal Festival is sponsored by Roscommon County Council
Posted 8 Dec 2014, 14:08
By day, Seamus McCrudden is a popular local taxi-driver, based in Ballybofey in the Irish county of Donegal. Previously, he had dabbled in creative writing, submitting work to local newspapers, taking part in literary festivals and competitions, as any aspiring writer might do.
"I was always writing bits and pieces at night," he tells Connie Duffy of Donegal Now, "but they usually ended up in the bin. Then, about 15 years ago, I got involved in amateur drama, when local school teacher, Susan Doherty, decided to put on a few plays. I liked it and took part in a few shows, including a few for the nearby Butt Drama Circle in Ballybofey. That gave me the confidence to go on and go public with my writing."
That confidence which he gained has resulted in his first full-length novel, Donegal Gymnasts. It has been described as "an exploration of love and loyalty", according to Books Ireland magazine and, "a heart-warming piece of fiction that will entertain, thrill and take the reader of a journey from one end of the world to the other", by others. It is a tale that stays rooted, even as it peels back the layers and in doing so, manages to reveal the complexities associated with lives that are intermingled with love, loss, tragedy and triumph.
Donegal Gymnasts tells the story of twin brothers of Chinese and Irish descent, growing up in Ireland of the 1960s and ’70s, discovering a natural talent that sets them apart from their peers and how they deal the pressure that ensues. It is a story that entertains on many levels, offering an interesting take on Irish society and recent history in the process. It reads best however, as a work of fiction, by an author who delights in keeping his readers guessing, right to the very end.
Donegal Gymnasts by Seamus McCrudden is published by The Manuscript Publisher. It is available to buy in all good bookshops as well as online. RRP €9.99.
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From the pen of Susan R. Murphy, comes a collection of short stories, comprising thrills, chills, tales of the macabre that reflect influences ranging from American Gothic horror, ancient Greek mythology, UFO abductions, Halloween scares and campfire tales.
The characters who feature in these tales are beings cursed by fate. Life and death holds no distinction for them. Escape, or eternal rest eludes them. They wander the world, crossing continents and even galaxies, in search of sport, prey and sometimes sanctuary. For the immortals, there can be no respite and no final resting place: they are prisoners of this world, a world that they cannot leave. Some become hunters, others find themselves among the hunted. They alone have the strength to witness, to endure and to casually inflict tragic and inhuman suffering.
The Immortals is Susan's first published book, although she has been writing for many years. The series of short stories presented in this volume, she sat down to write one day in 1993. However, as the title of the volume suggests, they have a quality that transcends time. She has taken ideas from her life and the different places that she has lived, also influenced by stories related to her by family, friends and relatives.
Susan was born in Columbus, Ohio. The only memory of that place, she says, is "the cold, the snow, red licorice and white castle hamburgers." With her father serving in the US Navy, her family moved around a lot, until the age of twelve, when they eventually settled in San Diego. She continues to reside in California, in a desert community but many of the places that she lived in during her formative years are recalled in The Immortals.
The Haunted Railroad Tracks derives from her time in Charlestown, South Carolina while The House on Fairwood Avenue (an old Victorian style home with the glass doorknobs) refers to an early childhood home in Ohio. Other stories, such as The Butcher of Moore Mansion, are based on actual events, including murder mysteries and haunted house horrors that she heard about when she was growing up. She also has an enduring fascination with mythology, particularly that of the ancients, as reflected in Euryale the Gorgon and The Lost Princess of Atlantis.
Susan's stories testify to an abiding interest in horror, the supernatural and 'things that go bump in the night'. As she recalls, "The first movie I saw was called Straight-Jacket," memorable for scenes of heads rolling down the staircase. "From then on, I was hooked on anything horror." As a child, she played with her Barbie and Ken dolls, as most kids of that age would "but I played Vampires with mine."
Susan’s purpose in writing this volume, she says, "is to reach out to those who are interested in not quite normal everyday routine things. To scare the daylights out of the reader and probably give you all nightmares, or to just get you thinking that there may be something else out there not quite human."
In that, she has most certainly succeeded.
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SiarScéal Festival 2014 will take place in Roscommon Town, on Saturday, 25 October, with an exciting programme of events lined up. The main venue is Roscommon County Library, Abbey Street, Roscommon Town but full details of times and venues are available from the SiarScéal website. A brochure containing the Programme of Events is also available to download.
A further date has been added for Friday, 28 November, when the Trinity Arts Centre in nearby Castlerea will host a Water Music exhibition: a study of the River Suck through mixed media and haiku with artist, Anne Rigney and poet, Gwen Bond.
A centre-piece of the SiarScéal Festival, now in its eight year, is the Hanna Greally Literary Awards. This takes place annually in conjunction with the festival, honouring the life of Athlone-born writer best remembered for her memoir, Bird Nest Soup, a moving personal account of life inside Ireland’s psychiatric hospitals in the 1940s and 1950s.
The overall winner of this years award will have their book published, in print and e-book editions, courtesy of The Manuscript Publisher, the publishing solutions and author services provider who are sponsoring the prize. Entries for the Awards, which should consist of no more than 1000 words for prose submissions or 100 lines for poetry, must be received before Friday, 17 October. Up to three entries per person will be accepted. Full details, including competition rules of entry are available from the SiarScéal website.
Another highlight of this years festival will be the launch of the book, The Battle for Coman's Wood by Mario Corrigan. This is a work of historical fiction inspired by students from Castleplunkett National School and Abbey National School, both in Roscommon. Signed copies of the book will be on sale at the festival launch. It will also be available to buy online, in print and e-book editions from October.
Writers workshops, open mic, an evening concert recital featuring Lilibulero are among the other events being organised.
SiarScéal celebrates the history and the people of Roscommon. The festival extends a warm welcome to anyone with links to Roscommon or even just an affinity for its unique culture and heritage. However it is also open to the general public and promises fun, entertainment, relaxation for all ages and interests.
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