The Space Between | Writing Update

Hello, it’s been a while!

If you’ve been around a little while you may have seen me mention a project called Mouse. Mouse was a verse novel I started working on around this time last year when my agoraphobia and depression were at their worst. Well, we’re now only 25 days away from the official publication day of Mouse, now called The Space Between!

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It’s been months but I still can’t quite believe it’s being published, especially by a publisher I adore so much. Little Island Books were my very first choice, my dream publisher, so even the fact that they liked my manuscript still baffles me!

I filled this book with everything that I had. It got me through being housebound with agoraphobia, anxiety and depression. It gave me somewhere to go when I disassociated. It gave me the words to open up to the people in my life about what was happening. Writing this story, Beth’s story, helped me work my way through my own and I am so, so proud of it.

It is also very gay, which makes me very happy.

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I’m so excited, so nervous and so happy that my little book baby will be out in the world soon.

If you’d like to pre-order The Space Between you can do so here or here.

If you want to add it on goodreads, here you go!

Meg

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Today (A Diary Poem)

Today

was nice

Today was fog

and ice and

“I smell snow”

Today

was pulling the tags

off brand new slippers

Pink pajamas with

buttons

Home-made

peanut butter cups

and tea

Today was cold

Today was blankets

and extra socks

(fuzzy socks)

and red noses

Today was tears

smeared on glasses

Ice standing

little pillars

like people

on the fence

building up up up

a tiny world

Today was Team Jess

Team Logan

Team Jess

and holding hands

tight

when everything

means extra

Today was grey and

silver

“Here is slippy-”

white and

sparkling

“- Be careful”

Today

was nice

 

Make Yourself Proud | Writing Update

Hello again!

So, if you’ve been around a while you’ve probably seen me mention Mouse. Mouse is a novel I decided to work on earlier this year that then completely took over my life. Actually, I guess I kind of handed my life to it and oh thank goodness it was completely worth it. I’ve now finished Mouse. Finished! It went from a vague idea to four whole packs of sticky notes covering the windows to a messy as all heck google doc to a full on manuscript and I still kind of can’t believe I actually did it.

It was tough, my brain isn’t the most consistent or hospitable at the best of times but we rallied and I genuinely think Mouse has helped me and my mind-quirks learn to cohabitate a whole lot better. I feel so proud of Mouse and of myself and it’s the first time in a  while I feel completely Myself.

Which is good, because I’m now in entirely new territory taking a terrifying step that I didn’t actually think I’d reach. I’m working on making Mouse a thing. A thing that people could read and like or love or hate or put on a shelf and forget about. Right now Mouse is off with the lit agency of my dreams and I’m refreshing my email like it controls the air supply. I’m ready for the rejection letters and I’m ready to take notes and make changes. I thought it would be more nerve-wracking, to be honest. I usually fear failure to a ridiculous degree but with this, I feel like I can’t fail because (prepare for cheese) I’ve already won. I wrote a whole novel! In verse! A whole (maybe someday fingers crossed) book! My brain that regularly shuts down and hides managed to write a whole book. A book I’m proud of no less. I thought I would hide it away and keep it safe from anyone that could read and criticise it but instead, I want it to be read! I want opinions and notes and I want it to be the best it can be and oh my giddy, giddy aunt does it feel amazing.

I’ll keep you updated on Mouse’s journey, no doubt it’s going to be a long and rejection filled one but it’s one I’m finally ready for.

Meg

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WRITER Tag

My poor, beloved blog has taken a bit of a back seat while Mouse’s word-count builds and builds. While Mouse is a massive source of pride and happiness for me I do miss my little blog and I feel bad for letting it get a bit dusty. So today I thought I would pop up a post that’s relevant to both of my writing projects, a writing tag!

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As cliche as it is, I love writing in coffee shops. There’s something about the atmosphere (and probably the caffeine) that makes me want to write all day, especially if it’s a rainy day. The writing I do on those days is usually my favourite. But since leaving is tough for me I do most of my writing at home beside the biggest window, usually with the dog asleep on my lap and an endless supply of tea.

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I always tidy beforehand, even if the area is already perfect I’ll wipe down the surface and set everything out neatly. Then I always make a hot drink, put on background sounds (this Hogwarts library is my go-to) and if I’m having a tough time I’ll have an emergency dance party.

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I start to feel like my ideas will disappear and I won’t get them back and whatever I’m writing will never be as good as it could have been and ohhh my gosh the stress.

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I asked my girlfriend and she said “you’re good at rhythm and really impressive chunks of writing that fit really well in their little…containers. Like you read it and you’re like shiiit that should be on a bumper sticker on a really big car. You know?”
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Letting my brain go for a wander with no real plan, working things out as they go along. I never write in order, I just let my brain roam around the story until it all fits together. It makes everything feel neater and less confusing. As much as I love plans and schedules, when it comes to writing it just doesn’t work. So I’ve stopped trying to force it and since then writing has become a bit of a sanctuary where things don’t necessarily have to make sense or seem tidy. It’s a safe space.
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Mouse! The project I’m working on right now is pretty heavily influenced by things that are happening in my life. The characters and story are 100% fictional but there are definitely aspects that are reflections of reality or inspired by something that really happened.

Meg

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What I’ve Been Reading | Week 9

Quick, everyone pretend it’s Monday!

Here’s what I read last week, it’s a mixed bag but overall I had a pretty good reading week. I may have even found a new favourite, ooh mysterious…

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Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers

I kicked off my month of Irish reading with a quick illustrated kids book, Imaginary Fred. I’m a recent Eoin Colfer convert having just fallen in love with Artemis Fowl (more on that in a min!) and have always had a deep, deep love for Oliver Jeffers.

Fun fact: Ci and I met him a few years ago and he doodled me a moose, it was an excellent moose.

Pretty much everything about this book had me hugging it to my chest and all but cooing over it. It’s beautiful, a wonderful story with a great message and just so much fun.

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Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

Artemis Fowl was super popular when I was a kid. People in my school read and raved about it, it was always waiting on the shelf on my weekly thursday trip to the library and I knew it was about fairies. So even now I’m still confused as to why the heck I never read the series.

It’s by Irish author (and Laureate na nOg!) extraordinaire Eoin Colfer and set largely in Ireland so it seemed like the perfect addition to my March TBR. I was hyped, confident I would love it and more than ready to jump into Artemis’ world when the deal got even sweeter: I found out that the books have been adapted into graphic novels. If you’ve been reading my blog or subbed to my youtube for a while you’ll probably know I love graphic novels. They’re my favourite things to read and collect and I could ramble about them forever. So of course I immediately dove into the first graphic novel and adored it. It’s fun but never patronising, balances the light-hearted and heart-shattering aspects perfectly and features some gorgeous art and colours. And fairies.

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One by Sarah Crossan

One is written in free verse which has a special place in my heart and on my shelves. I love reading and writing free verse and novels written in that style almost always have an emotional and creative impact on me. But One took it a whole new level.

Grace and Tippi are teenage conjoined twins who are starting public school for the first time and have some big decisions to make. The story is told from Grace’s perspective and her voice is so clear and distinctive that it reads like a conversation with a friend. The book deals with tough family life, terminal illnesses, eating disorders and addiction as well as the difficulty of navigating a crush,the importance of friendship and how people can often be more than they first seem. I laughed, cried (a lot) and felt completely changed by the last page.

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

The only non-Irish book I’ve read so far this month was Fangirl, I started it at the end of February and didn’t finish before March 1st.

I have mixed feelings about Fangirl. On one hand it is incredibly relatable, Cath is starting college and her anxiety is definitely getting in the way. All she really wants to do is write Simon Snow fanfic (and her thousands of fans agree) but life has lots to chuck at her.

The book handled mental health relatively well, although I much preferred and was much more invested in another character’s journey as Cath’s mostly faded away after a few chapters. The fanfic sprinkled between chapters was wonderful, so much fun to read that eventually I mostly looked forward to the end of chapters so I could check in on Simon and Baz.

I was sometimes uncomfortable with how much the book relied on a love of Harry Potter (and really bothered by the mention of Harry Potter…why??) and used the nostalgia and love we already have instead of creating it’s own emotional impact. Basically, I finished Fangirl and immediately watched Harry Potter and had a cry about how much of my heart is in Hogwarts. So while Fangirl did illicit an emotional response, it had very little do with the book itself and everything to do with the dredging up of old Potterhead tendencies. Not that I mind, Potterhead for life.

 

What have you been reading?

Meg

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Mouse | Writing Update

Wednesday is my favourite day of the week. It’s new comic book day, the weekend is coming into view and I’ve generally settled into whatever routine changes I’ve made. Wednesday is great. It’s the day to learn from Monday and Tuesday’s mistakes and make the rest of the week lovely.

Snaps for you, Wednesday.

Today has been a Mouse-full day. I haven’t written a single word and my word count is sitting-pretty, still below 10K. But my ideas are flowing and I can feel the dust floating away and my confidence sneaking in past my worry. Everything that I’ve written so far is exactly what I want it to be. I’m so happy with all of it and there’s a proud little flame in my chest every time I open the cute little folder that greets me on my desktop.

Mouse feels like something 15 year old me would be proud of. Shy but over-confident “going to be published by the time I’m 18” me who stayed up all night writing and insisted that there was a story in everything but not enough time to tell them all. She’d be surprised. But she’d love it. She’d probably even be a little jealous, which makes me very happy in a very weird way.

Mouse has changed tone a couple times, only to go back to my first instinct anyway. Each change taught and brought me something new and for once in my life I’m not fighting with time. I suppose I have patience, but it doesn’t feel like patience. It just feels kind of right. I feel good. I feel creative. A part of me that was hiding for a while has come back out and been welcomed more warmly than I thought possible. I don’t feel stressed to get Mouse done right now. I just want to do it right. I’m enjoying the process. The changes don’t frustrate me like they used to, they fascinate me.

One major change is that Mouse is now written in free verse and oh my giddy giddy aunt do I love writing free verse. It’s liberating, it flows so cleanly and feels so powerful. Like the words are characters that demand their own space and weight.

I go to sleep thinking about Mouse, I wake up thinking about Mouse, I navigate my way through stress and panic by thinking about Mouse. For once I’m not at all focused on the finish line, although I’m confident that I’ll reach it.

I’ve also decided to take part in Camp NaNoWriMo which runs through April. All that really means is that I’ll set a word goal and try to reach it by the end of April, with the help of just the right amount of peer pressure. Through March I’ll continue to work on Mouse, planning and developing and building on what I already have without stressing about word count. If you’re taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo let me know and we can support each other!

I guess the point of this post is just to say this: still writing, still trying, still pushing through.

Meg

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Márta | De Mhí ón Leabhar hÉireann

March | A Month of Irish Books

Fáilte!

Welcome to March! As I’m sure you know St. Patrick’s day is on the 17th of March which means parades, shamrock shakes and permission to break lent for a day (Dairy Milk overdose). For a lot of people it’s an opportunity to throw back a Guinness or ten and get up to some shenanigans but me being me I’ll probably be at home with tea, books and as much Cadbury’s as I can cram into the kitchen cabinets.

I love Ireland and I love being Irish. I love this beautiful country, it’s eclectic and mostly comprehensible accents, riveting history and slightly bonkers folklore. So I will of course be celebrating my country and heritage this month but I’ll be doing it here, on my blog!

I’m dedicating March to reading books by Irish authors, books published in Ireland, books illustrated by Irish artists. If it has an Irish connection, I’m in. I’ve spent the last few weeks planning posts and filling my shelves with a very Irish TBR. I’ll even be reading some books written in Irish, which is going to be quite the challenge seeing as I’m about as rusty as you can get.

I’m really, sincerely excited to jump into March and have a very Irish, very bookish adventure!

Meg

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