An Irish Story

Every March, I look forward to St. Patrick’s Day because it triggers the memory of when I lived on the west coast of Ireland. As an American with 48% Irish DNA, I felt right at home in Inverin, which is a small village in Connemara, 2.7. miles up the road from the village of Spiddal, the next significant town being Clifden, fifty miles or so up the same road.

I lived in Ireland for more than a year and loved every minute of it.. Connemara is a land separated into geometric prisms by grey-stone walls leading down to the rock encrusted shores of the Atlantic on one side of the coast road and bog-land that stretches out forever on the other. Alongside the novelty of discovering Ireland was a curious sense of familiarity that gave way to a sense of belonging. Between the time I arrived in Ireland and the time I left, I managed to ingratiate myself into the rhythm of a land that has more soul and character than any place I’d ever imagined.

In an Inverin field.

Inverin really isn’t much more than a stretch of the coast road at the gateway to the Gaeltacht, which is an area on the west coast of Ireland where Irish is spoken as a first language. Inverin is moody, pastoral, a bit desolate, and those that reside there have deep generational ties. Inverin is 13 miles up the coast road from Galway City. Here are some photographs to give you an idea of Inverin’s atmosphere:

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Image result for inverin ireland
Image result for inverin ireland
Image result for inverin ireland

I lived within a short walk of this graveyard. It’s down a gravel road not far from The Centra, which, for all intent and purposes, is the lone gas station/grocery store in Inverin. I have a thing about graveyards that’s hard to explain. They speak to me of the significance of human existence–of love and life and history, with indelible, reverential resonance indicative of a region’s culture. Ireland takes its cemeteries seriously, and walking through an Irish graveyard has always given me an anchored sense of place. They are lonely, haunting, and beautiful, and what I love about the graveyard pictured above is that the headstones all face the sea.

Inverin was my home base, and during the week, I took the bus from Inverin into Galway, where I worked on New Road at the Galway Music Centre. Galway is a college town, which makes it feel youthful and vibrant. Here are some photographs that illustrate my point:

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Image result for galway ireland
Shop Street.
Taaffes is a 150-year-old pub in a 400-year-old building on Galway’s Shop Street.
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St. Nicholas Cathedral, Galway.

The Claddagh, Galway, a port for anglers on Galway Bay.

As a writer by nature, I walk through life with a running commentary in my head, and keep a journal. I took the experience of living in Ireland and used it as a basis to write a novel about a single American female who leaves the record business in Los Angeles and relocates to rural Ireland, where she meets an Irish traditional musician who won’t come closer nor completely go away. The novel is titled “Dancing to an Irish Reel.” I went out of my way not to patronize anything about Ireland, particularly its people. I wanted to refrain from bringing an American frame of reference to the book because I felt it had been done before and somehow cheated what I wanted to be the point of the story, which concerns the ambiguity of a budding love relationship, with its attendant excitement, hope and doubt. On the one hand, this story could have happened anywhere (I know of very few people who haven’t been thrown into confusion as they navigate the minefield of new found attraction) but because this story takes place in Ireland, I had the opportunity to highlight a setting in possession of unfathomable beauty, with a history of cultural nuances worth the singing of deep praise. In writing “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” I did what all novelists do: tell about how they find the world through the vehicle of one painstakingly crafted case in point story.

In anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day, there is a Goodreads Giveaway running until March 20 of Dancing to an Irish Reel.

The Goodreads Give Away Link for Dancing to an Irish Reel is here: https://bit.ly/38aOEDm

There’s another link to the giveaway as well as my social media platforms, and I’d love to align with you there!

https://linktr.ee/cffullerton

And this will be fun, as well as unprecedented! On Sunday, March 14, I’ll have the immense pleasure of being a part of a Facebook, multiple book page St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I’ll be in conversation with Irish author, Billy O’Callaghan, at noon, Eastern Standard Time on the Facebook page, The Write Review. We plan to talk about Irish culture, the influence of Ireland on our writing, and whatever else comes to mind. I hope to see you there! You can find all the book pages involved in this celebration on the graphic below, so if you’re on Facebook, simply go to the book pages to join in the fun!

Giveaway of A Beach Bag Full of Books! Scroll Through to Enter to Win!

APerennials

When two estranged sisters reunite for their parents’ 50th anniversary, a family tragedy brings unexpected lessons of hope and healing amid the flowers of their mother’s perennial garden.

 

Little Broken Things: A Novel

“If you liked Big Little Lies, you’ll want to crack open [Little Broken Things]. —Southern Living

An unforgettable and moving novel about an affluent suburban family whose carefully constructed façade crumb

The Enlightenment of Bees

Rachel Linden’s newest contemporary women’s fiction story speaks to the universal struggle of what it means to live a meaningful life where the passions we have meet the needs of the world.

The Book of Lost Friends

A new novel inspired by historical events: a story of three young women on a journey in search of family amidst the destruction of the post-Civil War South, and of a modern-day teacher who rediscovers their story and its connection to her own students’ lives.

Feels Like Falling

It’s summertime on the North Carolina coast and the livin’ is easy. Unless, that is, you’ve just lost your mother to cancer, your sister to her extremist husband, and your husband to his executive assistant.

Outbound Train

In 1976, memories from a night near the railroad tracks sixteen years earlier haunt Barbara Parker. She wrestles with past demons every night, then wakes to the train’s five-thirty whistle. Exhausted and dreading the day, she keeps her hands busy working in Bryson City’s textile plant, known as the “blue jean plant,” all the while worrying about her teenage daughter, Carole Anne.

Trouble the Water

Inspired by a true story, Trouble the Water is about risking everything for freedom. Born a slave, Robert Smalls commandeered a Confederate arms ship from the Charleston harbor, and with the woman he loved and a small crew of other slaves, delivered it to the Union Navy. After the war ended Smalls was able to purchase the house in which he and his mother had been enslaved, and he became one of America’s first black legislators.

The Summer House

Sometimes it takes losing everything to find yourself again.

Lily Bishop wakes up one morning to find a good-bye note and divorce papers from her husband on the kitchen counter. Having moved to Alabama for his job only weeks before, Lily is devastated, but a flyer at the grocery store for a hair stylist position in a local retirement community provides a refuge while she contemplates her next steps.

Little Tea

Southern Culture…Women Friendships… Family Tragedy… Healing the Past

As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia Wakefield realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if her friendship with Little Tea can triumph over history.

Still Waters

Cora Anne Halloway has a history degree and a plan: avoid her own past despite being wait-listed for graduate school. Then her beloved grandmother requests — and her dispassionate mother insists — that she spend the summer at Still Waters, the family cottage on Edisto Beach, South Carolina.

Across the Winding River

A woman unlocks the mystery of her father’s wartime past in a moving novel about secrets, sacrifice, and the power of love by the bestselling author of Daughters of the Night Sky.

And Then There Was Me

 

Bea and Awilda have been best friends from the moment Awilda threw her fourteen year-old self across Bea’s twin-sized bed as if they had known each other forever. Bubbly, adventurous Awilda taught sheltered, shy Bea how to dress, wear her hair and what to do with boys. She even introduced Bea to her husband, Lonnie, in college, who pledged to take good care of her for the rest of their lives. But philanderer Lonnie breaks that promise over and over again, leaving Bea to wrestle with her self-esteem and long time secret addiction.

Now that I have your attention, ENTER TO WIN!

In the midst of these unusual times, reading a great novel is a life-line. NYT best-selling author, Julie Cantrell, got the inspired idea to host a beach bag book giveaway and has asked her author friends to participate! I am thrilled to add Little Tea to the giveaway and  am sharing Julie’s instructions on how to enter here:

“Ready for an escape? ONE lucky duck will receive a beach bag PLUS all these stellar books. Sign up for my newsletter at www.juliecantrell.com to learn more. Watch your inbox JULY 1″

Good Luck to all who enter the Beach Bag Giveaway!

 

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A Portal in Time

Anna Lucera, the main character in my Paranormal/Mystery, “A Portal in Time” has what I call “dependable intuition”, which is what drives the entire story in such a way that it is an unfolding of events. I chose to give Anna a heightened sense of intuition because I believe many people are aware that intuition has played a role at one time or another in their life. They point to coincidence, precognitive insight, or perhaps a gut-level feeling that has proven to be amazingly accurate. They report a sense of the uncanny in an episode with awe, or perhaps gratitude at the feeling of a type of magical helpfulness that has sprung from deep within. I know this has been the case with me, and I have always been fascinated by the subject.
Years ago, after having read untold books on the subject of intuition out of sheer curiosity and a desire to become educated, I unexpectedly fell into conversation with a passing acquaintance who told me about a woman that taught classes in developing intuition. Intrigued, I called the woman and spoke to her at length about her curriculum. I told her I didn’t want to get all weird about things; I wanted to stay grounded in the real world, yet still believed intuition is a reality and if one can actually be taught to develop theirs, then I’m all in!
For a year and a half, on the first Sunday of every month, I drove to class in Venice, California. The class lasted for five hours, and there were three other students besides myself. The teacher was what is known as a clairvoyant healer, as in, she intuits energetic information through visual images that spring to mind. We began by discussing energy. We learned about the chakra system then moved on to the auric field and its seven layers, which correspond to each chakra in the chakra system. We explored how each of us perceived information, and I learned some people do so visually, others through feeling, others audibly, and still others with an iron-clad “sense of knowing.” There was much more to my year and a half of learning, but what I’ve come to believe is yes, intuition can be developed! This is why I wrote “A Portal in Time.”
In “A Portal in Time,” I painted Anna Lucera as a spirited, slightly off-beat, unpredictable character whom her paramour finds absolutely fascinating. Because she is naturally intuitive, she decides to do the responsible thing and learn everything she can about her ability by going to class!
If you are interested in the subject of intuition and the by-products that come into a life because of its development, then “A Portal in Time” is the book for you!

There is currently a giveaway of A Portal in Time on Facebook at a book site called Sue’s Reading Neighborhood. https://www.facebook.com/groups/SuesReadingNeighborhood/

https://www.clairefullerton.com