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Archive for the ‘The Books’ Category


What a 2017 it’s been.

My sarcoidosis went into remission, and although it has caused permanent changes (glasses, asthma, arthritis), I am basically still the same person and not too badly worse for wear. Notwithstanding a few smaller issues with my back and knees, this year was the year my health started the slow climb back upwards, and that’s something worth celebrating. I plan on spending some time in 2018 making small changes to keep on feeling better and staying better. My 40’s have definitely been the years to put plans into action, and my health is a big one on that list.

Shawn and I celebrated another anniversary and every year that we get to do that is a blessing. If there is one thing that we’ve clung to since 2014, it’s that life is short. Super short. You should be with the people you want to be with and let go of anyone and anything that isn’t a positive force in life. We know that as the years go on and the kids keep on leaving to pursue their own lives, it will only be ourselves left at the end, and we better still like one another. We’re still planning that trip to Italy and one of these years, we’ll actually do it.

We bid a final goodbye to our beloved dog, Katie. And we miss her every day.

I took my first ever in my life solo trip this year. At the end of June, I flew to Edmonton Alberta, my first time west of Ontario, to see my baby brother get married. For one day short of a week, I stayed with my internet-now-real-life friend Allison in her beautiful home and learned to drive my way around Edmonton. I went to the big mall, had dinner with my internet family/friends, visited with my family (all six of my siblings in the same place for the first time in six years!) and watched my baby brother tie the knot. I missed my own family dearly and it was sad that my husband wasn’t able to come with me. That just made the coming home that much sweeter.

As soon as I got back from Edmonton, I jumped into a jam-packed rehearsal schedule, as, for the first time since moving East, I got involved with a theatre show. I have to admit, I was a little gun-shy to get into a theatre again, my last experience not exactly leaving on a high note, due to (pun intended) drama, but, I’m glad I did. I threw on a habit, and became a singing nun in Sister Act. The run was fantastic, playing to nearly sold out crowds nightly and it was great to be a part of a production again.

We celebrated three years this fall of Shawn’s life since the heart stopping September of 2014. As always, I had a mini-meltdown in the days leading up to the anniversary and as always, we reflected on the fragility of life.

Speaking of getting back into the habit, I put on my writer’s cap again this fall and was a featured author at the Saint John Fog Lit festival. It really felt good to talk about my writing again and to speak at the events. I am, as ever, appreciative of cities that celebrate the arts and their own local artists.

And to cap off a wonderful year, I did my exam for French with the province and received a certificate of Intermediate ability.

2018 is already shaping up to be a busy one. Shawn and I will both be students at the University, working towards continually improving and updating our skills. I will keep working on French while I move to a new department at work. Kathryn, our second youngest, is graduating from high school and Shawn Michael, the baby, will start his Grade 12 senior year in the fall.

Life is a journey. It should be savoured and enjoyed. Live well, love hard, and let the rest go.

Peace, my friends.

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Saint John has a literary festival!! That’s right, our own lovely city has a literary festival every fall and last night was the launch!
This past early spring, I was contacted by a friend, whose sister is on the board of the festival, to see if I would be okay with being put in contact. Of course, I said! So about two weeks later, Andrea and I sat down at the starbucks in Indigo (how appropriate) and discussed the festival, the events and whether or not I would be interested in participating. It had been a long time since I had been a part of an event that wasn’t a book signing, and of course I agreed.
Last night the launch was held in the restaurant at the Delta hotel in uptown Saint John and it was wonderful! What local talent, what support for the arts. I was the last of the night to get up and read and I have to say, I had forgotten how much I enjoy doing that. After the main event we all stayed and mingled and talked and bought each other’s work. I spoke at length with the other artist of the night and had a lovely conversation with another Irish transplant from Co.Meath.
In gearing up for the event, I reached out to a certain well-known Canadian author with whom I’ve had the good fortune to be somewhat friendly with over twitter and I asked him if he would be willing to come out and be a part of the festival, give a reading? He was touched that I asked, and happy to do so, unfortunately the timing did not work out with his already booked events. So, I’ve asked his agent to please put a pin in it for next year. If/when he does come out, the festival has graciously allowed me to be the one to introduce him, which, to be honest, would be an enormous highlight of my writing life.

Earlier that day, I had thrown my back out helping some strangers put a mattress in their car, I had gone with my daughter to look at apartments as she is gearing up to move out, and I had enjoyed a glass of wine with my husband as we talked about life and next steps. It just goes to show that I really need to remind myself on darker days that my life it pretty damn fantastic. And that I’m one of the luckiest people I know.

If you aren’t a native Saint John-er, and haven’t done so, I urge you to head on over to Fog Lit’s webpage and check it out. And, if you’re in another city, find out how YOUR town is supporting its local artist and go out to some events. You never know how it will impact your life.

Happy reading, everyone!

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I’m taking this weekend to work hard on Summer Poppies. It’s high time I gave it the attention it’s due. I’m not in a hotel, locked away as I used to do, I’m simply at home. Shawn has taken the teens out of the house for me and I am working along to the soundtrack of my childhood.

Seems only fitting since so much of this book takes place in Ireland. Writing this end to my series feels like completing a long tale that began the very first night I heard from my own father that his family got on a ship one day and crossed the ocean to come and live in Canada. A story that just a few years ago took me back to Ireland myself to see the home where he lived and the town he grew up in. My body was born and bred in Canada, but, my heart is Irish and always has been.

And now I’m going back to my beloved Siobhan, a character inspired by my own grandmother Lucy, to finish her story and to travel in my thoughts and my heart, back to Ireland again.

I hope to finish soon. Perhaps even before the summer is out.

I hope your own Saturdays are full of life and love and wonderful adventures, be them out in the world or in your own hearts and minds.

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I find it almost impossible to get any decent writing time in during summer. The kids are home all day with me and although they are all teens and older now and would completely understand my ditching them in favour of my laptop, they are actually really cool to be around and I like spending time with them. I like more, the fact that they still like my company and as they are all careening towards adulthood and their own lives with a speed that staggers me, I’d like to hang on to this willingness to “do stuff with mom” for as long as I can. I had a little reminder last night in the form of a message from an old friend just how fleeting that time can be. My own teen years seem like they were simultaneously seconds ago and an entire age away from me.

That being said…

Come September 8th my youngest baby joins his sisters in high school and my middle child embarks on her final year. I have two kids in their twenties now. One who no longer lives at home. Ash is off to university next year. The house is becoming exponentially empty.

So, as my wee littles who are no longer either wee or little set their paws upon the path of education and activities once again, so too will I return to my other sweet love. My keyboard.

I have let it all slide this summer, but, I have two books to finish come fall and I’d like to have at least one of them ready to release by Christmas. It’s a lofty goal, but I think I may just be able to pull it off.

I can’t wait to get back to it.

Bring on September. I have typing to do and worlds left hanging in the balance to right and release from my imagination.

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As promised, here we go!

So, first of all, my great Uncle Eldon passed away yesterday and although it is definitely sad, he is truly one of the most incredible men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing let along being related to. He was 103 years old, a veteran, an activist, an advocate and an avid lover of limericks. He died peacefully and with his family.
I loved him very much and although we were all happy to hear that he went very peacefully, it was sad and we all took a few minutes last night to hug one another and tell each other that we loved each other.

I woke up this morning still sad and even concerned for my Grandpa who just lost his last living sibling and I kind of spent a bit of time wallowing, as I am wont to do probably more than is healthy, when I came downstairs and saw the pile of books I had left out and remembered, hey, I promised to get some books to some new readers. If I know anything about my family, extended and immediate, it is how much we all treasure reading. A lot of us are also writers including Uncle Eldon. So, here we go.

The Contest:

For the month of June I’m going to be giving away several copies of all four of my current books. Autumn Violets, Winter Jasmine, Spring Daisies and Keeping the Women.

I have 2 copies of Autumn Violets with the original artwork cover, as released by Crackjaw Publishing. I have 1 copy of Autumn Violets with the full picture cover and 4 copies with its current cover.

I have 1 copy of Winter Jasmine with its full picture cover and 4 copies of it with the current cover art.

I have 1 proof copy, large size, of Spring Daisies. It should be noted that this is a proof copy and therefore may contain some errors.

I have 1 copy of Keeping the Women.

What do you have to do to get them??

Easy.

Leave me a comment here. What book would you like and why?
Comment on your Facebook page which book you would like and why. Tag me in your comment so I can see it.
Comment on Twitter and tag me in that comment. @NualaAReilly and use the hashtag #BookGiveaway
Nominate a friend to receive a book using any of these means.

Already read one of my books and want another?? Leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads and tag me on either Facebook or Twitter with the link.

I will do draws at the end of every week and will announce all winners here.

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Good luck, everyone!

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If I didn’t know better, I would have a hard time believing that my cousin Chris and I are from the same gene pool. I mean, go check out his instagram (@cxtraining) and take a look at him. He is one of those guys Greeks used to make statues of. I am…well, taller, much rounder and…not built that way. Of course I have to remind myself that he is still in the midst of his twenties whereas I am dancing around the edges of forty. I also have to remind myself that Chris played hockey for years which kept him in peak physical form whereas I had five babies in eight years and then very recently quit smoking and went through a highly stressful series of events.
It’s good that he has that background. It means that he has spent the better part of his life training in some regard or another and that means that I trust him implicitly in this project.
Chris has been a personal trainer for some time and he gets great results. I’ve seen them. He knows what he’s doing and he knows how to motivate his clients. I had a personal trainer for a while back in Tilly and while I worked with him, I was in the best shape of my life.

Sadly, that was over three years ago and so much has changed and happened since then. I need a kick in the ass to make some changes.

Last night I went through all the files he sent me for this challenge and I got momentarily scared that I wouldn’t be able to do this, but, today I did.
Day one, completed. Maybe I had to work at a slower pace, but I did it. I also made a very specific effort at eating both breakfast and lunch today instead of my usual just breakfast.
I’m a night snacker, and a stress eater so tonight has been a bit difficult as immediately after 8pm my body craved sweets, but, I’m working on not giving in to those temptations, instead I’m up here in my room writing a blog post and drinking from a huge bottle of water. It helps.

Tomorrow should be interesting. No more dipping my toes, I plan to go full out (as much as my body will let me). Even with my trepidation’s, I’m excited to be doing this. Not only for me, though that is super important, but also because this is a really cool way to reconnect with my cousin again. Having over ten years as an age gap means that we really didn’t “know” each other when we were younger, but we have a chance to work together at this now and I couldn’t be more proud.

So…if you have my instagram, or facebook, you have probably already seen my before pictures. I’m going to pull them off my phone and post them on here as well later this week.

IN OTHER NEWS:

Room 15 is coming along. I’m still working on chronicling the actual day of the event, but soon I’ll be moving on to writing what happened after he was transferred upstairs and the 3 days of his coma and the 14 additional days of hospital stay once he woke up. I still find it somewhat difficult to write more than a few thousand words a day on this because it makes me go back there in my head and I get emotional, but, once I’m done, I hope that this book will be a help and a companion to anyone who is dealing with a similar situation.

Till next time, my lovelies.

*PS I tried on a bathing suit today. After I got over all the stabby feelings, I felt better about my decision to work out more on this challenge. Lesson learned. No more trying on bathing suits. Gah.

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First, I want to thank those of you who have asked me about Summer Poppies.

It’s not done. 🙂

When my zip drive with the book (just over a third, just under half) as it stood disappeared, a part of my enjoyment in writing it disappeared as well. I’m terrified to start over, because I just can’t believe
a)that I didn’t have it backed up anywhere else, that was pretty dumb of me
b)that it will be as good as it was with a nearly complete re-write
c)I’m still in disbelief that my drive is truly gone forever and I keep hoping I’ll find it somewhere one of these days.

That coupled with a new sleeping/working schedule and I have not really made the time to sit down and write the way I used to. Not really. That’s my own doing as well, and it’s a shame, because I know that eventually Poppies is going to be a great finish to the series AND I have the new book I’m outlining to write and that one is going to be sooo good.

But there’s something else. Some of my passion for writing has waned. It’s probably because I’m not actually taking the time to do it a whole lot right now. Whenever I’m in the middle of actively working on a book, I love it more than anything and I literally can’t imagine ever NOT writing, but right now, I’m two parts jaded by the industry, ten parts jealous of a couple of other writers I know personally and eighty eight parts procrastinating for previously mentioned reasons. It’s a slightly frustrating place to be, writing wise. So much worse than being blocked, because in essence, I’m blocking myself.

So there you have it. The reason you have not seen any noise on Poppies lately. I’m my own worst critic and enemy.

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