Friday, May 31, 2013


Just found this piece I wrote a couple of years ago about briefly fancying some daft English footballer who was on Strictly Come Dancing and it made me laugh…..

“Oooh, I said, “here he comes.”
On a Saturday, only because there is nothing else on the television, the family sits down to a bit of Strictly. I say “a bit” because it is always started before we remember it. I love dancing, in real life and on the telly, but somehow I haven’t managed to accommodate Strictly Come Dancing into my TV weekend routine. As a result I have never seen Lulu (is that Lulu? She’d had so much done to her face I can’t tell anymore?) or that ghastly Italian woman that was with the England football manager. The boys “let” me watch it because, like I say, there is nothing else on and also because it is their moment in the week when they allow something uniquely stupid and girlish to the television in acknowledgment of how marvellous I am. Or, more likely, they like to have a bit of a snigger at me.
“He’s good,” I say, “oh – yes now that’s what I call a waltz.”
“I wish your father could dance,” I say drawing the ten year old in, “When are you going to learn the salsa so you can dance with me.”
“Never!” he shouts laughing – then we tell him the anecdote about when he was a baby and we went to Kelly’s Resort Hotel and there was ballroom dancing on and Daddy went to the bar and when he came back Mum was doing the foxtrot with a very old man whom she’d asked up to dance.  It was so embarrassing. (Actually it was most embarrassing for the man who was very light footed and had to be seen among his dancing peers as taking to the floor with a much younger woman who could barely trot.)
I wonder sometimes if Angelina Jolie is such a source of amusement to Brad and their brood – I doubt it - but with the Tominator coming on board the boy-gang in the next couple of years – I can’t see the teasing and the slagging anad the complete lack of salsa-dancing around the kitchen stopping anytime soon.
Perhaps I was asking for it by openly fancying Robbie Savage.  It must be my age because, honestly, I don’t fancy footballers – or men who dye their hair or, under normal circumstances, men who go shirtless and thrust their pelvis at you. But then, Strictly isn’t ‘normal circumstances’ and I’m going to be fifty in three years time – the age when all bets are off and women start salivating over twenty-year Anyway, surely there is just something attractive about a big muscly sportsman dancing and he is, physically, a fine specimen and he never takes himself too seriously and always seems to be having such a tremendous amount of fun. Frankly? If I was at a wedding, and he asked me up to dance? Well – I’d say yes. Not question.
 “Now that’s what I call a samba,” I said, “just look at his bottom – marvellous stuff.”
“Mu-huuuuuuum!” Leo shouted, giddy with a mixture of horror and laughter.
“Oh God – not Robbie Savage – really? ” Niall said.
It’s funny how we only like our partners to fancy people off the telly who are slightly similar to ourselves. My husband is slim and sophisticated and low key - he very opposite of the preening blonde cavorting Strictly love-god.
I sensed a tiny element of jealousy creeping in to his voice so I hammed it up. A woman has to get attention anyway she can these days.
“Well,” I said, “I keep telling you there is nothing more attractive than a man who can dance….” – not just a barbed comment, but a sneaky nag as well. I’m good.
“So it’s alright for you to fancy Cheryl Cole,” I said, “but I’m not allowed to fancy Roddie…”
“Ronnie em?”
“Ronnie Savage – he’s a footballer.”
“Yes well whatever….”
“Anyway – you ruined Cheryl Cole for me – remember?”
Oh – so I did.
Last year my son and I plotted and went to a preposterous amount of trouble (and expense) getting a lifelike Cheryl Cole mask off the internet, then on Christmas morning I came down the stairs in my fluffy red dressing gown and frightened the living-be-Jesus out of my poor husband.
It was a very mean thing to do but it was also deeply satisfying and very, very funny.
I have yet, despite her ridiculously ruining her face and twittery Australian twang voice, managed to cool his ardour for Kylie Minogue.
The thing about these famous fantasies is that they fill in the gaps.
I will never be young and beautiful again and my husband will never be able to salsa like Robbie although....
“Don’t suppose you fancy a course of dancing lessons for Christm……”
“Don’t even finish that sentence,” he said.
Better start sourcing that Kylie mask on the internet now then.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time
Bertrand Russell

Friday, May 24, 2013

Irish Publicity Trip for Land of Dreams

This madness happens to me every May and every May I forget. Basically I write a book a year which means I publish one book a year. As one book is being delivered, another one is launching – which is insane. So, just as I am reaching what I call a state of Red Alert around a book I am trying, and failing to finish to a looming deadline –  flailing around in a state of shrill hysteria wearing unwashed pyjamas roaring at my husband ‘I’ll never get it finished! Empty the dishwasher? Me? I’m a NOVELIST! I have a BOOK to finish!’ I have a lovely posh publicist from my publishing house ringing to ask; ‘Can you make it up to Dublin for an interview at 10am tomorrow morning?’
This means brushing of teeth and applying of make-up, and wearing of swanky outfits, and all sorts of things are that are a complete anathema to my currently hermit-like working life - although I have to say I had a brilliant time with my new lovely publicist Grainne Kileen giving me great 'Auhtor Care' - a phrase I first heard coined by the lovely Patricia Scanlon - it basically means putting me in and out of taxis and buying me lunch and checking that I have enough milk in my coffee and making me feel very posh and important. I did TV3's Midday - and Elaine Crowley and the other female guests were lovely to me AND they invited me back which I probably will do, then of to Dublin City FM to chat with the lovely Victoria Mary Clarke - who is such a lovely woman and old buddy of mine whom I never get to see. The following day I did East Coast FM with Declan Meehan then hot footed it home to my boys. I find it hard doing anything else when I am finishing a book - but feel able to write this now because I am a couple of chapters away and at that stage where I kind of don't want it to end so I'm stalling! I'll be back on to let you know what it's about - but in the meantime you can check out my Pinterest page to get a clue. It's called Two Islands (working title) and the link is here.
Will blog again (a better, calmer one) when I emerge from the shed in a week or so. 
The End. (I wish) 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Land of Dreams Book Launch

The day finally arrived! My book launch for “Land of Dreams” the final instalment in my “Ellis Island Trilogy.” It was time to say goodbye to Ellie, my heroine who started her journey in a little town in the west of Ireland and ended up in the glamorous world of Hollywood. It was fitting then that my launch took place in a beauty salon. The fabulous girls in Purity Hair and Beauty Salon, in Ballina donated their space and time to help me pull it off. They along with my fabulous assistant and interns and Ballina Arts Centre had the place ready for a night of Books, Beauty and Pizzazz.

A wonderful group came out in support of me which I am so grateful for, it was fabulous to meet new and old faces and share my work with them. Vintage-inspired make-up brand ART DECO were on hand to provide a make-up masterclass where one of my TY interns proved a willing model and looked absolutely gorgeous with kohl-rimmed eyes and red lips.

I took to the stage and read a couple of passages from “Land of Dreams” which was emotional as it hit home that my time with Ellie on the printed page was over even though she would always live on in my mind.

Afterwards everyone enjoyed a glass of wine and snacks and the treatment rooms were left open and the staff were happy to answer any beauty related questions.

The wonderful staff from Eason books were on hand to help sell a range of my books which I spent the night signing!

A “Best Dressed” competition was held with the winner in a gorgeous genuine vintage frock recieving a make-up hamper from Purity.

I had such a wonderful time and I want to thank everyone who helped to make it a night to remember!