Tag Archives: books

The Pursuit

The Journey of a Book

4222f-img_0583Writing is a definitely a creative pursuit, but it’s not all about creating an entertaining read, although it is that. It’s about a journey, a process, a growing and ever-changing trek through the publishing wilderness. And believe me, it is wild out there. I have talked before about my seven years in the writing desert. During that time I thought I was wandering hopelessly about, but in fact there was a plan and Brigid of Ireland would not be my only novel. It’s that uncertainty that makes a writer’s life a journey.

 

 

Grace's Pictures by Cindy Thomson

When my advanced copies of Grace’s Pictures arrived, I thought my wandering in the writing desert was over.

The Detours

The thing about journeys is they are usually unpredictable. As soon as you decide you know how things will be, they change. This can be upsetting. People don’t like change, not much anyway. This perspective is sometimes altered by taking a trip. Take for instance these photographs below from my 2013 trip to Ireland. We were visiting St. Brendan’s Cathedral in Clonfert. We went looking for that because I’ve been intrigued by St. Brendan’s journey for some time. I’d seen photographs of this lovely building, and it was a wonder to see up close.

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But then, just a few steps away, I spotted this.

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We went inside after those ladies there were finished and followed the path. It wove around in the woods and past a few spots where children had left toys. A sort of secret garden? And then…IMG_1152

It led to this view. Something we would have missed had we not stopped off on this detour.

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This is only one example. The BEST experiences in Ireland (and probably in many other places) is taking wrong turns and even getting lost because there is so much beauty around every corner.

The best experiences in the life of a #writer are the detours. Click To Tweet

We Are Never Truly Lost

Not if we keep looking up! A wise writer friend with tons more publishing experience than I have once told me how excited she was to find out what God had for her next. And she was sincere. I thought I’d never get to that place, but today (and it is one day at a time) I’m moving in that direction. It’s very much like life. We can plan, but we don’t have control over everything. And often, the best things are experiences and circumstances and meeting new people that we would never have imagined.

What’s your journey been like thus far? What are you looking forward to?

Coming Soon: New Books!

Here’s what is coming soon from me:

Celtic Cross photo by Cindy ThomsonIn a few short weeks I will have the reprinted, revised, updated non-fiction book titled The Roots of Irish Wisdom: Learning From Ancient Voices. It’s a newer version of my book Celtic Wisdom, but in paperback with some new material and new black and white photographs. I think you’re going to love it! Subscribers to my newsletter (see link above or click here) will see the cover first and learn when the release date will be. Here’s a synopsis:

This collection of classic Irish wisdom in the form of stories, prayers, and proverbs, reveals the Creator in the natural world and highlights the importance of the Celtic spiritual heritage. Along with historical background on St. Patrick, St. Brigid, St. Columcille, and the Twelve Apostles of Erin, Cindy Thomson leads the reader on an enriching journey through Celtic learning and prayer.

Coming Later This Summer:

My novel, the sequel to Brigid of Ireland: Pages of Ireland. More on this to come.

Do You Love All Things Irish?

Tell me why…

St. Patrick’s Day Eve!

St. Patrick Hill of SlaneHow to Celebrate?

It’s a question I usually ask myself when the day rolls around. How about you? Some people (in America) go to an annual parade, pancake breakfast, listen to live music at an Irish restaurant or pub. All good choices. All things I’ve done in the past.

Some use it as an excuse to get absolutely soused. I don’t recommend that. Drunkenness has nothing to do with the patron saint of Ireland, and can even be viewed as cultural stereotyping. I know we’re in the season of Donald Trump anti-pc rhetoric, but still…

Just How Should I Celebrate St. Patrick's Day, anyway? Click To Tweet

What St. Patrick’s Day Isn’t

Its not about leprechauns, green beer, kissing people who aren’t really Irish…It’s not “Irish I Were Drunk Day.” (Please, throw away that t-shirt!) It also is not St. Patty’s Day. Maybe there is a female saint named Patty with the same day, but probably not. If you must use the shortened version, and I personally have no problem with that, use Paddy, not Patty.

What St. Patrick’s Day Is

I’ve posted lots of thoughts on this:

Here with a guest post

And here

Here

And here

My Favorite Thing to Do On St. Patrick’s Day

Put on some Irish music, maybe Cherish the Ladies, We 3 Banjo, Natalie McMaster. Cook up some Irish stew (here’s a good recipe) and READ! There are some great Irish books out there, either by Irish authors or about Ireland. Of course, I hope you’ll read mine, but leave me some recommendations in the comments, okay? And enjoy!

*Looking for some non American recipes for St. Patrick’s Day? Check out my board on Pinterest.

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson, ebook

Ebook, Book One, Daughters of Ireland

Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherford, Irish books Cindy ThomsonHow the Irish Saved Civilization, top Irish books Cindy ThomsonThe Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry/Cindy Thomson Irish books

In Search of Ancient Ireland by McCaffrey and Eaton/Cindy Thomson Irish books

3 Questions for Fans of Novel Series

Sofia's Tune by Cindy ThomsonBook Three of my Ellis Island Series is coming in November. It’s the final book in this series, and the first time I’ve written a novel series, so I have some questions.

1. Do you read the series in order when each book can be read alone?

Or maybe you skip one or two of them? My editors and I decided that each one of these books would stand alone and not be dependent on the others, but of course they are sequential, and the characters’ lives progress along the way, so I’m wondering what readers really like.

2. How many books do you like to see in a series?

Grace's Pictures by Cindy Thomson

I always saw The Ellis Island Series as three books, but some authors have really long series of a dozen or more books. Of course, those authors had a readership clamoring for more books, so that worked for them. But I personally feel a series can outlive its welcome. But I want to know what you think.

3. Are you as a reader ever reluctant to see a series end or do you just move on?

I know writers sometimes have a hard time letting characters go. I will miss Hawkins House, but I’m satisfied that I’ve told the stories from that time and place. I’m ready to move on. To go back to Ireland. And to hopefully, one day, tell that baseball story that just won’t go away!Annie's Stories by Cindy Thomson

4. Finally, I’d like to know the titles of some of your favorite novel series, and why you liked them.

I can’t wait to hear your answers!

Talking about the appeal of novel series. What are some your favorites? Click To Tweet

Read books!

When I Wear This Shirt…

It never fails. No matter where I wear this shirt people tell me they identify. They often tell me they want one.

Bedtime t-shirt campaign

Ordering the Shirt

I’ve asked many times who wants one. Some of you tell me you do, but so far not enough to put in another order. But with all the comments I get–a musician at the Irish festival, a TSA guy at the Columbus airport, a banker when we went in to apply for a loan, a lady walking past me at a used book sale, a young girl and her mother who came to my festival book table–I know there are several of you out there who would like one.

These Would Make Great Gifts

My sister gave them to her grandkids’ teachers for Christmas. I bet you have a reader on your list. They come in all sizes from kids to XXXXL. We can do unisex and/or ladies styles. They are a nice quality. I love mine.

So Just Leave Me a Comment Telling Me You’re Interested.

If I have your contact info, I will keep you posted. You can send me a message by using the contact form. The price will be somewhere around $20 depending on the number of orders. The more ordered, the lower the price. We could also do sweatshirts, but the cost of course is higher.

(And for full disclosure, my web site appears on the back.)

Do you read past your bedtime? If so, you need this shirt. #reader #books Click To Tweet

My Pet Peeve About Other Writers

This Embarrasses Me About Other Writers

It’s gotten to the point that I can’t ignore it. One of these days I just might say something, but so far I haven’t figured out how to say it. So for now, I’ll just explain here on my blog.Find out what I dislike about some fellow authors. #bookrant #authors Click To Tweet

Cindy Thomson's author tableEvery time I go to an event where there are multiple authors there is at least one who hard sells his/her book by telling potential readers that theirs is “a really, really good book.” That “all the reviews have been stellar.” That “everyone who reads it absolutely loves it.” And especially embarrassing, “I guarantee that you are really going to love it.”

Reading is Subjective

Gaelic proverb

On the wall of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, Edinburgh. Photo by Beth

The truth is there is no one book EVERYONE will love. Do you love every book your friend loves? Do you share the same reading tastes as your boss? Have you ever had a hard time figuring out why a certain novel is so popular when you didn’t care for it at all?

I’m guessing you said yes, you have experienced that. So who would actually believe what that author is saying about her own book? Probably no one. She is making herself look foolish or at best, completely ignorant. You might say she was boastful or even arrogant. In any case, as a fellow author sitting nearby, I feel embarrassed.

But it Works!

Read books!If your goal is simply to sell books and bring  home some cash, then yes, it does seem to work. I see authors that run after readers and give their own works high praise sell more books than those of us who don’t do that. I don’t know why people buy. Maybe they believe her, or maybe they are trying to be nice. After all that small talk they feel like they can’t walk away. I don’t know.

Maybe this is the reason that bookstore signings don’t work. The reason people see an author at a table and refuse to make eye contact.

I’d Rather Reach the RIGHT Readership

I’ve worked hard on my books. I want the people I wrote them for to actually read them. I was once at a book festival where an author seated next to me told my husband, “I don’t care if people read my books or not. I just want them to buy them.” Ack! Why bother writing the thing then? I guess I just won’t understand some people. EVER!

Author Cindy Thomson's complaint about the overly aggressive author sales pitch. Click To Tweet

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy ThomsonTwo young girls stopped at my table last Saturday. They picked up Grace’s Pictures and Annie’s Stories and read the back covers. They said, “This sounds interesting. I don’t think I’d read it but it sounds like something my grandma would like.” Did I argue with them? Did I tell them, “I guarantee that if you buy this you will absolutely love it!” No. I think they are probably right. They said they enjoy fast faced, adventure-like stories. I suggested Brigid of Ireland, but I did not press them. One took a picture of the book cover with her phone. We talked a bit about reading preferences. Why force a book on someone if that person is not your target audience?

Every Writer is in Love With Their Book

It’s true. We all want the whole world to love our stories. But it’s not going to happen. If an author says everyone who has read their book has loved it (and I’ve heard that claim more times than I can count!) it’s a lie. Maybe the author believes it, but it’s still a lie. If every Amazon review is five stars, something is wrong. It’s not honest. There have been people who have hated my books. I’m not sure why they had a such strong reaction, but they did. Thankfully, many more loved them, but reading is subjective. We like different things. It’s how God made us!

Let the Readers Speak

5 star review for Annie's Stories by Cindy Thomson

Annie’s Stories

That’s what I prefer to do. I may not sell a ton of books at multi-author events, but I will not pressure anyone into buying a copy. I just won’t. That’s not who I am. Okay, rant over. Thanks for listening!

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth–a stranger, and not your own lips. –Proverbs 27:2 NRSV

 

10 Irish Books: Reading Your Way Through St. Patrick’s Day

10 Irish Books for St. Patrick's Day! Click To Tweet

About St. Patrick

There are many history books and some fiction choices. If you really want to know the man, start with his writings. Two exist: St. Patrick’s Confession

Book of Armagh page

A facsimile page from the Book of Armagh where St. Patrick’s Confession is found. Held at Trinity College in Dublin

and his Letters to the Soldiers of Coroticus. The letter is shorter and meant as an excommunication for Coroticus whose men struck down new converts. The Confession is much longer and is a bit of a biography where we learn about the man.

“I did not, indeed, know the true God; and I was taken into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people, according to our deserts, for quite drawn away from God, we did not keep his precepts.”

But of course his story does not end there. Here are some reading suggestions, in no particular order.

Fiction About St. Patrick

I read this many years ago.

1. Patrick, Son of Ireland by Stephen R. LawheadPatrick by Stephen Lawed

 

I haven’t found much out there. If you know of any St. Patrick’s novels, please leave them in the comments.

2. Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie DePaola

Patrick post by Cindy Thomson

Learn About Ireland

Of course you can read many books about leprechauns, if you choose. But if you are like me and want more history, here some suggestions.

3. Celtic Wisdom, Treasures From Ireland by Cindy Thomson

Celtic Wisdom by Cindy Thomson

Even though it’s short, I’m still proud of the early history squeezed into these page with color photographs. If you’d like an autographed copy, let me know. Click on the picture.

 

About Ireland in General

4. Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson, ebookDid you know there are three patron saints of Ireland? (If you’ve read Celtic Wisdom, you do know that!) I still have print copies of Brigid of Ireland, or you can get one on your Kindle (or the Kindle app on your computer) for just a few bucks.

But there are plenty more choices than just my books!

5. How The Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill

 

How the Irish Saved Civilization, top Irish books Cindy Thomson

 

A condensed, but still useful, overview of Irish history according to the influence of the Christian monks.

6. Ireland, a Novel, by Frank Delaney

Ireland by Frank Delaney, Irish books Cindy Thomson

Featuring a seanchai, said to be the last of the itinerant storytellers, I really enjoyed this one.

7. Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherford

 Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherford, Irish books Cindy Thomson

Rutherford writes Sagas, spanning generations of characters. No one offers so much history in a  500 or so pages like he does.

8. The Tea House on Mulberry Street by Sharon Owens

The Tea House by Sharon Owens, Irish Books Cindy Thomson

For a different pace and a great glimpse into modern Ireland. Funny and entertaining. Owens has others as well.

9. The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry/Cindy Thomson Irish books

Barry is a gifted writer so you should check out all his books. I enjoy these types of stories where an elderly character tells about her past.

10. In Search of Ancient Ireland by Carmel McCaffrey and Leo Eaton, companion to the PBS Series

In Search of Ancient Ireland by McCaffrey and Eaton/Cindy Thomson Irish books

Truly, if you want to know about Ancient Ireland, read this book. Excellent!

 

Of course there are many more. What Irish books would you recommend for St. Patrick’s Day reading?

Cyber Monday Books!!

Cyber Monday buy books

photo by Kevin Marks

Get My Special Cyber Monday Deal!

I could not let this day go by without offering a deal on a couple of my books. So here it is:

  1. Buy EITHER Brigid of Ireland or Celtic Wisdom through my website (print versions only.) Click on the book titles to be taken to the page.
  2. Send me a message to tell me that you’ve done that and you’d like to take advantage of my deal. Put “Cyber Monday Deal” in the subject line.

It’s buy one get one FREE!

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson3. Tell me which book, Brigid of Ireland or Celtic Wisdom you’d like and I will mail to you for no additional postage. You can get a copy of each of them, or two Brigid, or two Celtic Wisdom. Buy two, get two free, and so on and so on…

4. Don’t forget to tell me how you’d like the books autographed. Books make great Christmas gifts, especially for those on your list interested in Irish topics and Irish history.

What you can do for me

It’s optional, of course, but I’d love it if you shared this on your Facebook wall or Tweeted it.Celtic Wisdom by Cindy Thomson

Just copy:

Author   deal 4 u. Buy a book-already a great price-& get a 2nd 1 free no addit. postage: 

What Great Cyber Monday Deals Have you Found? Share in the Comments!

Cyber Monday Shop for books

photo by Mike McCune