Yes! “Write postcards.” ~Maeve Binchy

Long before either of us visited Ireland, my mother introduced me to Irish novelist Maeve Binchy’s books. I, too, became a fan. I can see my mother, who died a little over two years ago, reading one by the fire in the back room.

Ms. Binchy, who died in 2012, left behind a few tips for us:

“Learn to type. Learn to drive. Have fun. Write postcards. (Letters take too long and you don’t do it; a postcard takes two minutes.) Be punctual. Don’t worry about what other people are thinking. They are not thinking about you. Write quickly. (Taking longer doesn’t usually make it b… Read More

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Adventures await!

“It’s bad manners to keep an adventure waiting.” ~Unknown 

My mother would appreciate that quote. She lived into her mid-eighties and went through some hard times, but she was always up for an adventure. It was her mindset, even when funds were tight, and a great example for me as the third of her seven kids.

She was with us on our first trip to Ireland in 2006. I said, “Mom, would you like to go to Ireland with us?” I swear she started her packing list before she said yes. She didn’t let health issues and knee troubles stop her. I remember her delight as we trekked through a muddy pastu… Read More

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s a great day to celebrate and appreciate love and those we love.

Also for flowers and chocolate. 🙂

Here in Vermont we enjoy Lake Champlain Chocolates and everything Mother Myrick’s. Our roses won’t be in bloom for a while yet (our gardens are still covered in snow) but here are some Irish roses to enjoy.

Now it’s back to writing for me!… Read More

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An Irish castle walled garden

It’s no secret I love visiting gardens. On our recent trip to Ireland, we once again wandered through the walled garden at beautiful Dromoland Castle, now a stunning hotel near Shannon Airport.

My photographing abilities don’t do the garden justice but hope you get the idea! 

 … Read More

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Ireland’s Black Valley

Ireland’s Black Valley is one of our favorite spots to hike on our many visits to this beautiful part of the world. When I came up with the idea for my next Sharpe and Donovan installment, I knew part of it would be set in the Black Valley. Tentatively titled Return to Declan’s Cross, it doesn’t have a pub date yet but I’m working on it. I’ll be offering a “sneak peek” in the coming weeks.

Here’s a photo I took on our first hike in the Black Valley. The cottage ruin is a well-known site on the Kerry Way, a marked hiking trail we crossed on our own route. … Read More

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The Elusive Finian Bracken

Creating and now working with the characters in my Sharpe & Donovan suspense series has been fun, difficult, exciting, exasperating, creatively fulfilling and…interesting.

Yes, interesting!

Take Finian Bracken, an Irish priest and whiskey man who appears in every Sharpe & Donovan tale. Writing about him has meant I’ve learned more about whiskey, sheep in Ireland, Maine bean-hole suppers, early Irish saints and so much more.

Finian came together and started to feel real for me during a writing getaway to Ireland. One afternoon, I took long walk to a historic cemetery on the sout… Read More

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Recipe: Strawberry/Berry Meringue Roulade!

It’s not yet our local strawberry season but good strawberries are available in the grocery store, and I’ve decided to prepare strawberry meringue roulade for Easter. With two young grandchildren with celiac, I’m always on the lookout for naturally gluten-free recipes. This is a favorite. See below and print out the recipe here.

We first had meringue roulade in Ardmore on the south Irish coast, a key setting for my Sharpe and Donovan series. Here I am in my orange Irish raincoat a few years ago on Ardmore’s famous, and beautiful, cliff walk.

 

Strawberry MerRead More

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Happy 2022!

Just a quick post to wish you a happy new year!

Our 2022 is off to a nice start with family time and now quiet to write and enjoy the Vermont winter. More snow on the way later this week. We get to try out our new snowshoes.

I thought of this new year when I happened on the photo above that we took in Ireland in November, 2019. It reminds me to keep an eye on the beauty that’s right in front of me as well as afar. And it’s just pretty.

On to new adventures — enjoy!… Read More

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Back home in Vermont from Ireland

We’re home after almost a month in Ireland. We’re back to weeds in the gardens, fuzzy stuff in the fridge and gorgeous New England fall weather and foliage. We stacked a cord of wood delivered on Saturday and have a visit in the works with my mother. And I had a great chat with my fabulous agent on Monday.

Hard to believe last week we were hiking the Irish hills!

 

Tomorrow (September 30) is the final day to enter my Sharpe & Donovan 10th Anniversary Giveaway. In addition to signed copies of the entire Sharpe & Donovan series, one lucky winner will receive Irish beeswax cand… Read More

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A gift from Ireland

Hello from Ireland! Joe and I just arrived at a small cottage on the southwest coast, within walking distance of some great restaurants and shops. It’s a great place to write! Of course we’re doing lots of walks and hikes, too.

Yesterday I found a great little gift to add to our giveaway celebrating the tenth anniversary of the launch of my Sharpe and Donovan series. A pair of Hanna’s Bees small Irish-made pillar candles: “These beautiful hand-rolled beeswax candles burn with a gentle flame and release a sweet and comforting scent of honey and beeswax.”

Here’s a photo I took at our cottage:

Have y… Read More

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