Friday, April 11, 2014

Book Four Is Published

Book Four of "Rose Of Skibbereen" is published! This one took me longer to write, and maybe that's why it has more words than the other three books in the series. The extra words are not because the book covers a longer time period -- in fact, it only covers about 15 years in the 1960s and 70s.
Then again, there was a lot crowded into those years, as anyone knows who lived through them. The 1960s were revolutionary in many ways, and there were major changes in the way we lived and loved and thought about things during that time. That's really why I needed more words to tell the story -- the characters had a lot crammed into those years.
The main character of this book is Rosie Morley, the granddaughter of the original Rose of Skibbereen. Rosie is impulsive, tough, a gifted singer, egotistical, and a dreamer. Her passion and enthusiasm get her into trouble sometimes, and she hurts those around her, although it's usually not intentional.
Other characters who pop in and out of the story are: Pete, Rosie's son; Lucy, Rosie's mother; and Mercy Francis, who is actually Rosie's long-lost stepsister, who comes to Philadelphia on a reluctant quest to find old black and white film of her father, the scoundrel James Francis.
I have lived with this story for months now, and if I don't stop myself I'll babble on forever and give the whole plot away. I think it's a great addition to the "Rose Of Skibbereen" series, and it was fun to write, since I lived through the 1960s and this book brought a lot of memories back.
See for yourself, though. I hope you download the book, which is available on Amazon and Smashwords. And by all means, send me feedback about it! I want to know if you liked it or didn't, and which parts you liked or hated the most. Your comments will make my next book better.
One last thing: for people who don't have an e-reader, you can still read my book on your computer. Just go to Smashwords and you can download a version that you'll be able to read on whatever computer you use.
Oh, one final thing: "Rosie 1" was the cover that won in the voting, so that's what I used.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

You Can Pick My Next Cover!

I'm almost ready to publish Book Four in my "Rose Of Skibbereen" series, but I'm stuck on one last thing: deciding on a cover. I commissioned two covers, and I can't decide which one I like better. So, I figured I'd let my readers weigh in on this issue. I'm going to post both covers and let you tell me which one you like best. I set up a poll (in the column to the right) to collect your votes, and the one that gets the most votes will be the cover of my newest ebook.
Some background information: one of the main characters in Book Four is Rosie Morley, the granddaughter of Rose Sullivan Morley, the woman who came from Skibbereen to Philadelphia back in 1880 and started this whole saga. Book Four begins in the early 1960s and Rosie is making a lot of poor decisions, as she is prone to doing, which cause no end of trouble for her and the people closest to her. Since she plays a major role in this book, I wanted her to be on the cover.
The problem is, I can't decide which of two pictures of the fictional Rosie I prefer. So, I'm asking for your help, readers. I would like to know which one you like the best. Let me know, and I will be happy to use the one that gets the most votes.
Here are the pictures. The first one is "Rosie 1".

The second one is "Rosie 2".

Let me know what you think! Thanks. The voting ends in three days.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Book Four Is Coming

We writers try our best to keep on schedule, but sometimes things take longer than we planned. I had thought I'd have Book Four of "Rose Of Skibbereen" published by now, but my revisions are going a bit slower than I anticipated. Don't worry, though -- I will have Book Four published in ten days, if not sooner.
Book Four starts in 1960, and as you might imagine, there's a lot that happens in that wild and crazy decade. I was around for those years, and it's been fun to write about an era that I actually lived through. Writing about the music, the politics, the conflict between old and young people that took place in that decade has brought back a lot of memories. The Kennedy assassination, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, rock n' roll, Carnaby Street fashion, and a parade of crazy characters -- they're all in this book. You'll get to meet them in a matter of weeks, so stay tuned for an announcement coming soon on this blog.
In the meantime, here's your hard-working author, slaving away at the novel.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

St. Pat's Day Giveaway

I don't want to be one of those authors who's constantly running promotions to get people to buy his ebooks. I think it's important to market your writing, but you can't be running contests, raffles, and giveaways nonstop just to bump up your numbers on the best-seller lists. I've always believed that if you write a good book, readers will find you. Good writing will win people over more than a contest.
However. . . I decided that if I'm ever going to do a giveaway for my Rose Of Skibbereen ebooks, it should be tied in to St. Patrick's Day. After all, this series starts in Skibbereen, Ireland, and follows some Irish characters as they emigrate to America to find love, heartbreak, and personal drama. It revolves around the Irish people, and so I thought St. Patrick's Day, when everyone around the world celebrates the Irish, would be a good time to run a contest.
So, here it is. I'm giving away books One, Two, and Three of the series for free, and all you have to do to get a chance to win is enter on Facebook through this link. It's a simple contest, and I'll announce a winner after St. Patrick's Day. Best of luck to ye!

Monday, March 10, 2014

"It's My Land!"

I was browsing YouTube the other day and came upon some clips of Richard Harris in "The Field" (1990) which is a wonderful film set in Ireland, and which gives some insight into the Irish psyche. Harris plays a character named Bull McCabe, whose family has rented a field in the west of Ireland for generations. I won't give the plot away, except to say that the field in question is so important to the story that it is almost a character in itself. Because the Irish people did not own their land for so long, the very earth took on a formidable quality -- there was nothing so important as having your own plot of land. When I visited last summer, my cousin in Cork told me that land is still very important, even today.
Anyway, here is a clip of Bull McCabe, played by Richard Harris, explaining why he will never give up his land.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

My New Book Trailer For Rose Of Skibbereen

A video is a useful tool for authors to promote their books. These "book trailers" give a visual synopsis of the book in a minute or two of running time. I just completed a new trailer for "Rose Of Skibbereen", and I think it's pretty good. It's got a few images, some sentimental background music, and a link to where you can buy my book online. It was a fun experience for me to see my book come alive in video form, and I think users of YouTube will enjoy it. The link is below. Let me know what you think of it!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

People, Not Characters

Ernest Hemingway once wrote: "When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature."
In my novels I've tried to create living people, which means they are a mixture of good and bad, of noble and despicable qualities. They have many flaws, but they're also capable of kindness and grace. Like real people.
I've gotten some feedback from readers through emails and reviews on Amazon, but last night I had a chance to speak to some readers face to face, and I got some valuable insights about my characters.
For the first time ever, I went to a book club where the members were discussing one of my books, "Rose Of Skibbereen". I was nervous about going, but the members put me at ease right away, and it ended up being a truly enjoyable experience.
It was a special evening for a fiction writer, to sit there and discuss my characters as if they were real people. The members asked me questions about why Rose did something, or what was Peter thinking when he made yet another foolish decision, and as I gave them my answers it occurred to me that it was like explaining why someone in my family did something.
And that was the best part, because I realized the characters had come alive for these readers. They were not caricatures or cardboard figures, they were living people, warts and all. People whose lives you can get caught up in, which is why we read stories in the first place.
I couldn't be happier about the book club meeting last night. It was a special experience for an author, and I'd love to do it again. So, readers, if you have a book club and you'd like to invite me, contact me at mcdonnellwrite@gmail.com, and we can discuss the logistics. If it's possible for me to come, I'll be there.
I love discussing my people.