The Irish blood running through my veins has always tapped a foot, waiting for me to get my arse to Ireland. It took a WIP set in Ireland to finally get me on a plane, and thanks be to St. Patrick himself, I'm glad I did.
The country is magic pure and simple.
I adored the people who by their own admission "Irish it up" which translates to bend the truth as far as you choose to tell a good story.
There aren't enough paint chips or color swatches in existence to cover the myriad of greens in Ireland.
Druid's Cave - Blarney Castle Rock Close
And yes, I drove a stick shift on the left side of the road and got by with only one popped tyre (Irish spelling) and a wee dent. (I highly recommend the "walk away" insurance.)
The real treasure of the trip was the research. I've always believed places give off their own unique "vibe." Walking in my characters footsteps, seeing through their eyes, and experiencing that sense of place as they would took my breath away. All the extensive digging I did while writing paled to actually existing in the the realm of my story.
Ferns Cathedral Ruins
It was also fascinating to see where I was pretty spot on and where I missed the mark.
The beauty of the land, the people, and the Guinness stew - sigh.
I can't wait to write new stories set in this place that beckons me home.
It is an absolute blast being part of the Swoon Reads community.
What is Swoon Reads?
"Swoon Reads is an imprint of Macmillan publishing under Feiwel & Friends and was founded by Jean Feiwel."
Swoon Reads is a website that connects readers and writers so they may interact and chat over unpublished manuscripts submitted to the site.
Per the website:
"Swoon Reads publishes young adult and new adult novels. Writers can submit their original, unpublished manuscript to the Swoon Reads website, and readers who sign up can rate and comment on manuscripts to help us choose which titles we want to publish."
As an author, it's a super forum to receive feedback on your work from an audience you would otherwise not be connected with.
As a reader, it's interesting to experience the content and quality of a variety of manuscripts. Analyzing the writing of other authors always helps me improve my own craft.
My offering OVER THE DEEP-FRIED RAINBOW is currently available to be read on Swoon Reads.
If you are so inclined to give my story a peek, click on the cover in the sidebar of this blog and it will take you to the website and OVER THE DEEP-FRIED RAINBOW. After creating a quick profile you'll be ready to read.
If you're a YA or NA author ready for feedback, I can't recommend a better experience than becoming part of the Swoon Reads community.
Here is the blurb for OVER THE DEEP-FRIED RAINBOW:
After months on the road, teen actress, Sid O'Sullivan, yearns for a slice of normal high school life. She pops home to surprise her long-distance boyfriend with prom tickets, and catches him with the new girlfriend he failed to mention during video chats. Sid high-tails it over the deep-fried rainbow to Kentucky for her next acting job. Instead of southern comfort, her kin are determined to raise her spirits from dying fly to spit in your eye. They slap GONE WITH THE WIND in her hand so Scarlett O'Hara can show Sid how to drive the romance train instead of hanging off the caboose. In the midst of pickled pig's feet and over-sexed cousins, SWEET BUTTERED JESUS, a hunkalicious farm boy appears on the other side of the screen door. Sid goes full throttle, eye-batting Scarlett on the local charmer. Even with her new skills, she may not be the real puppeteer behind this new romance.
I recently binge watched Jerry Seinfeld's COMEDIANS IN CARS GETTING COFFEE. The show delves into the minds of comedians, examining what makes them tick and that never ending quest for a homerun in the humor department.
When the episode with Garry Shandling came on, it hit me how much of my writing education I owe to being a part of It's Garry Shandling's Show. For the better part of seasons two-four, I had the honor to be the show's assistant art director. Occasionally, I can even be found in the background (gold sweater).
The opportunity to watch the writing process was golden not unlike my sweater in the above photo. The show aimed for a combination of heart and hilarity, which in my opinion it did with brilliance. It was fascinating to watch the revision process of each script as the journey to find the perfect jokes, emotion of the human condition, and infusion of intelligent wit was undertaken in every episode. It was beyond a blast to be a part of the show.
I was hooked from that groundbreaking first episode in season one when Garry destroyed the fourth wall and brought the audience into his character's living room. It was a dream come true when I joined the show and its wildly creative environment in its second season.
Garry's passing was very sad for me as I reminisced and reappreciated everything I learned from my time with the show. I will always be grateful for the experience and to the writing mentors who never knew the inspiration they bestowed on this writer's heart and mind. Special thanks to Garry Shandling, Alan Zweibel, Ed Solomon, Tom Gammill, and Max Pross who showed me process, perseverance, and the creative joy of being a writer.
I recently came across this interview with Garry about the writing process of Its Garry Shandling's Show.