In my upcoming novel, Ramble and Roar, I delve into Irish culture, everyday lingo, and grammatical placement in speech in order to bring my mobsters and my other Irish cast to life. It required a lot of research in order to immerse myself, and I loved every minute of it! Someday, I will tour Ireland and experience it all firsthand. But in the meantime, I made a friend who does in fact live in Dundalk, Ireland. Her name is Jean Gilson. She was born in Belfast (Northern Ireland) and later moved to Dundalk, a southern town in Ireland, with her husband. Dundalk is about an hour and half from Dublin, which is where many of my Irish mobsters emigrated from in Ramble and Roar.
Jean is an absolute doll. I wrote her on instagram to ask if she’d help me fact check my Irish bits in my novel. To my delighted surprise, she said, “yes.” It’s been a fun adventure ever since. Jean has read through several excerpts of my novel, offering advice and has given me lots of fun sayings and phrases, specific to the Dublin area and the 1920s.
Today, I’ll be sharing some of her tidbits with you!
The Craic- (pronounced ‘crack’) This is a vital word used in Ireland. It can mean “what’s the news” or “how’s the fun/ entertainment.”
A drugstore is called the Chemist.
Especially in earlier Irish culture, sentences tended to be carried on by using the word, ‘so’ at the end. For example, “Oh, you like her so.”
If you’re looking to add cream to your coffee, you’d actually say milk. Cream is reserved for special occasions like Christmas.
In words with “th” as in thank you, would in fact be said as “tank you.”
“Deadly buzz” – a good time
“How ya” – a way to say hello
“Bleeding spanner” – a stupid person
“Go ask me bollix” – get lost
“C’mere till I tell ya” – I have news to share with you
“Not a bodder”– Doing good, a reply to how are you
“Pulling the devil by the tail” – having a bad day
“You scuttering hurebag” – again a dumb person
In grammar, Dubliners tend to use the “present continuous” (be doing) or habitual action “does be.” It’s much more common in the countryside nowadays than in cities.
I do be working every day.
It’s her I do be thinking of.
I done went to the Chemist.
Want to read more fun phrases and lingo? All right! My book, Ramble and Roar, will be coming out on May 22, 2018.
Thanks again to Jean for all her help.
A Place to Land is a globe-spanning memoir that wrestles with the question, ”Where is my home?” Kate Motaung watched ”home” slip away again and again–through her parents’ divorce, a foreclosure, two international moves, ten rental homes in ten years, and her mother’s terminal battle with cancer. Add in the challenge of a cross-cultural marriage, and Kate was constantly adapting to a new environment. Through her experiences, you’ll realize–as she did–that no matter where we go or what we do, this world is not our home.
This book is exceptionally well-written. It has moved me to tears. Kate’s story is powerful. I felt as though I was experiencing her life’s journey alongside of her. Her keen attention to detail and vivid description made each scene come to life. I felt her fears, her joys, her sorrows. Kate is a brave storyteller, speaking about the hard times and good times in her journey. Her vulnerable honesty ministered to my heart. Please, read this book. It’s beautiful.
I have many books inside of me that are bursting to be shared. Finally, I am able to do that. Presenting my new Indie Publishing Company… Flywheel Books.
You might wonder why I chose this name. I’m glad you wondered. There is a reason.
Flywheel Books is a spin-off from my husband, Jonathan’s music label. When it came time to produce his first record, he needed to create his brand. That night in a dream the phrase, “Flywheel Music” came to him.
A Flywheel is a heavy revolving wheel in a machine (connected to the engine) that is used to increase the machine’s momentum and thereby provide greater stability or a reserve of available power during interruptions in the delivery of power to the machine. (Oxford Dictionary and my paraphrasing)
So what does that have to do with Jonathan and I?
We believe that Jesus is the flywheel inside of us. He gives us momentum to move. He gives us stability. And when our reserve is low, He powers us. We can’t do life or art apart from Him. He’s at the center of all we do.
Thank you for following me on this writing journey. The first release from Flywheel Books will be on November 7th. It’s a children’s picture book called, The Magic Snow Globe. In this Christmas adventure, you can travel with twins, Willow and Wendell Potter to magical lands, from snow fairies to toy soldiers, that will reveal the secret to real Christmas magic.
I wasn’t always like this.
I used to be a shining star, a person with abundant potential, destined for greatness. Then the episodes came.
They moved upon me like mist overtaking the sea. At first, I tried to hide the shame of my agony, but I live in a small town. No one can hide secrets in a small town. My episodes are too vile to hide. When they wreak their havoc, I am tormented, unable to eat, sleep or find composure. I rock and scream and plead for death to come.
My friends have abandoned me, the insane one. I had once hoped to find love and happiness. But now, I know that’s impossible. I am outcast. Destined to die in this broken, ruined shell of a woman. The nights are long and lonely. There’s no hope for me.
So I thought.
But then, he came. The man with the haunting eyes came to our village. I stayed on the outskirts of the crowd, watching and twitching as he spoke. As I drew a step nearer to hear him, those closest to me moved aside, not wanting to brush shoulders with someone unclean. I don’t blame them. I know what I am. Suddenly he stopped talking and looked directly at me. I trembled harder, sensing his gaze pierce into my ugly soul.
Breaking through the crowd, he came to meet me, face to face.
I shriveled backward in fear, begging him to keep his distance.
He extended his hand and touched my cheek. “Peace to you, dear one.”
Instantly, the plague in my mind ceased.
“Come, Mary.” He smiled. “Your future awaits.”
I followed him, with a heart overwhelmed by hope. Today I, Mary Magdalene, found Love.
Altered: A Flash Fiction Story by Catie Cordero
Picture Adapted from polyvore.com
Excerpt from Ramble and Roar by Catie Cordero:
Eliza shook her head. “I can’t stand much more of this stifling life. I need to go some place where people will applaud me. I read in Radio Stars that Marion Harris recorded her songs in New York. People love her.”
“New York?” Hugh inclined his head. “You want to go there?”
“Yes, Manhattan.” She spoke the word like it was a dream world, full of every good and glittering thing.
During my process of writing my 1920’s trilogy, I’ve been dazzled by the frolicking wonder of this glorious time period filled with danger, desire, and the need for fulfillment. It amazes me how my characters teach me lessons as their own stories fall upon the pages of my novels. Oh, how I treasure those moments.
If you enjoy the roaring twenties and historical fiction, stick with me. There is more to come…
Following World War I, an attitude of cynicism and disillusionment infected the mindsets of most people resulting in a decade where living for self and enjoyment became top priority. It produced a people that lived by this code or slogan: “Eat, Drink and Be Merry…For Tomorrow We Die.”
One of my favorite books on the 1920’s is by Frederick Lewis Allen called Only Yesterday. In this book he says, “Morality was dethroned, the old codes of ethics hung out to dry, replaced with a disillusioned sense of freedom, and the pursuit of this led only to emptiness and futility.”
I painted the picture below to represent the heroine in the first book of my 1920’s series.
Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing multi-published author, Susie Finkbeiner. She is a wife and mother of three children, living in West Michigan. She grew up in an art-friendly home where art was not only encouraged; it was part every day life.
Not only is Susie a talented writer, but also, she is just a cool person. Let me introduce you to her now through our Question and Answers conversation:
When did you decide to become a writer?
I always wrote stories. Told them a lot, too (although some might call it “lying”…whoops). When I was in 7th grade my English teacher encouraged me to write more. At the time, I wrote terrible poetry about boys. Still, it seemed I had a knack for putting words together. Becoming a published author seemed an unlikely goal, though. I kept on writing little pieces of this and that, playing with genre and language and ideas. I read everything I could, forming my literary taste. As an adult, I wrote a bunch of plays (one was even published). I realized I should give it a go and started to work on my novel Paint Chips. I realized that as I wrote, I felt more of my full self than when I didn’t. I was hooked. I felt I’d found the “thing” God had for me to do.
Why do you write?
I have a few reasons. One is that I am a grumpy mom and wife when I don’t have a story rumbling and tossing from my mind to paper. Another is that I love, love, love it. Story is how I process life, it teaches me about myself and the world around me. The last is because it’s an intimate form of worship for me. I feel this deep connection with God as I wrestle with a story. As the late Anne Schmidt, co-author of Acceptable Words, said, “When I write, I feel God’s pleasure.”
What have you written?
I’ve written seven plays, which were produced at a church in Kentwood, Michigan. One, Merry Chrismucka, was published in 2006. Between that and novel writing, I wrote hundreds of short stories for my blog. Writing those super short stories was like a crash course in fiction for me. As far as novels, I’ve got Paint Chips, My Mother’s Chamomile, and my soon to release, A Cup of Dust. I’m currently working on another novel and a super secret potential project, which I’m not ready to reveal just yet.
Where can we buy or see them?
Paint Chips and My Mother’s Chamomile are both available online or at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids. A Cup of Dust will have a wider distribution. Still, it would be coolest if readers purchased their copies from their local, independent bookstore.
Give us a brief synopsis of “A Cup of Dust.”
Ten-year-old Pearl Spence is a daydreamer, playing make-believe to escape life in Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl in 1935. The Spences have their share of misfortune, but as the sheriff’s family, they’ve got more than most in this dry, desolate place. They’re who the town turns to when there’s a crisis or a need–and during these desperate times, there are plenty of both, even if half the town stands empty as people have packed up and moved on.
Pearl is proud of her loving, strong family, though she often wearies of tracking down her mentally impaired older sister or wrestling with her grandmother’s unshakable belief in a God who Pearl just isn’t sure she likes.
Then a mysterious man bent on revenge tramps into her town of Red River. Eddie is dangerous and he seems fixated on Pearl. When he reveals why he’s really there and shares a shocking secret involving the whole town, dust won’t be the only thing darkening Pearl’s world.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Pearl is ten-years-old. Writing from her perspective was a joy. She’s spunky and funny and curious. Throughout the novel, she’s learning what it means to live a life of compassion, putting others before self. It truly is a coming of age story, seeing Pearl through the difficulty of growing up in the Dust Bowl. Even more so, she is refined as she learns what makes up a person’s character and worth.
What genre are your books and what draws you to this genre?
My first novels are in contemporary settings. However, I’m currently working on Historical stories. There’s something about history and the eras of my grandparents, which calls out to me. There is much to learn from their generation, and as I research, I discover that, although much has changed, much remains the same. Also, I love the research. It’s fascinating.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
The hardest thing about writing A Cup of Dust was exercising restraint. I think the story would have easily spiraled out of control. The time period is so intriguing and the story so emotional. I had to cut some really great scenes because they zoomed out from Pearl’s story too much. The struggle, though, made the story and characters more endearing to me.
How much research did you do?
I’ve been researching the Dust Bowl for 20 years. No lie. That was the first time I read The Grapes of Wrath. The photography of Dorthea Lange inspires me greatly, her ability to capture the humanity of the people throughout the Depression makes me want to be a better writer. Ken Burns’s documentary The Dust Bowl is beyond fantastic and touching. I watched it no less than four times as I prepared to write A Cup of Dust. Also, Timothy Egan’s book The Worst Hard Time was a remarkable resource. It’s a history book written like a novel. I loved every single minute of my research.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Oh, mercy. That’s a toughie. As an author, I think I’d love to meet Stephen King. That man has so much wisdom about the writing world, and he can tell a story like none other. Here’s the thing, though, I act like a blubbering fool when meeting someone I greatly admire.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
- READ! READ! READ! Good books of all genres will fill your brain with ideas, inspiration, and will develop your literary palate. If you don’t have time to read, sorry, you don’t have time to write. Reading is the single best way to learn how to be a writer.
- Write every day. It’s fine to take weekends off, but you have to keep developing those writing muscles. Writing includes these activities: reading, research, jotting ideas, plotting, and writing poopy first drafts.
- Don’t expect your first effort to be good. Revision and editing are best friends with the writing. You will have to keep on working on it. The writing will grow and so will you.
- Rejection isn’t the end of the world. It’s a chance to try again.
See more from Author Susie Finkbeiner at http://www.susiefinkbeiner.com
Today I conclude our six-day journey through West Palm Beach and the surrounding areas of Florida’s east coast. Over these past days, I have enjoyed sharing details about my upcoming novel, Shrink Me, and the beauty of Florida.
Since returning to Michigan, I have been reworking my manuscript with a fresh set of eyes. Nothing shines light on a story setting like being immersed in the real one.
Thank you for joining me, and I hope you’ll stay tuned for more updates to follow. If you haven’t already, you can sign up for email notifications on this blog that will keep you posted on the launch dates for Shrink Me. Click the Follow button on the right side of the page.
Trust me…my heroine, Jolene, will keep you on your toes. She continues to amaze me as I’m writing her story.
In my novel, Shrink Me, Jolene’s sister is preparing to get married. And what is the one thing every bride needs…a wedding dress!
I scoured the West Palm Beach area for the perfect bridal shop to feature inside my book. After lots of searching, I found Bridal Belles. This boutique has the essence of antiquarian charm and elegance. The owner of the shop is Joyce Maloney. She has owned and operated Bridal Belles since 1982.
Joyce welcomed me into her boutique and shared her heart behind her store. While many bridal shops have become big conglomerates, Joyce has clung to her vision for a private, personal bridal experience tailored to each individual bride. Joyce is a lovely woman with a lovely store. She said that she perhaps should retire, but she just can’t let go. She’s passionate about what she does. In order to give each bride her full attention, Joyce meets by appointment only.
I would like to say a special thank you to Joyce Maloney for allowing me to feature her boutique in my novel and for showing me an example of dedication and determination to see her dream through.
I truly enjoyed my visit to Bridal Belles. I wasn’t even a bride, and I still felt special.
If you are a bride in Florida, make sure to check out Bridal Belles.
2800 N. Military Trail #109
West Palm Beach, Fl 33409