My Love For Irish Culture and How I Incorporated It Into Ramble and Roar

Dundalk, Ireland. Picture taken by Jean Gilson.

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.

Examples:
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.

 

Flywheel Books: My Publishing Label and Why I Chose This Business Name

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.

 

 

Altered: A Flash Fiction Story

 

f56d6acd5a8ce1da86186a4c67ff129e

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

Manhattan 1920’s and An Excerpt From My Novel

ap2001010269-f758bed1e131d9578a7ea29256b0b2ce5c71a2a8-s800-c85
Times Square near 42nd Street in New York City, in the 1920s. Reference: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2013/10/22/239870539/the-sounds-of-new-york-city-circa-1920

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. 

Clara-Bow.
http://classiccinemagold.com/category/clara-bow/

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.

1390581097810.cached_0
http://www.historia.ro/exclusiv_web/general/articol/flappers-feminism-inovatie-extravaganta-inceputurile-epocii-interbelice

If you enjoy the roaring twenties and historical fiction, stick with me. There is more to come…

Painting Mattie From My 1920’s Novel

IMG_2188

Meet Mattie O’Keefe. She is a rollicking flapper from my 1920’s series. And if you’re wondering if this is a dress, the answer is no. It’s her chemise, an undergarment.

Today, I painted this picture using watercolor and acrylic.

The quote is from my novel.

Interview with Author Susie Finkbeiner

wpid-wp-1442488797966

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Rejection isn’t the end of the world. It’s a chance to try again.

009c3a266e40b7199e18539e631f1a19

See more from Author Susie Finkbeiner at http://www.susiefinkbeiner.com

West Palm Beach Conclusion to the Tour

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.

IMG_0427
Downtown Stuart
IMG_0440
My husband, Jonathan, and myself

 

IMG_0441

IMG_0435
A view from the river looking at downtown Stuart

 

West Palm Beach Tour: Third Stop…Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar

Every good story has conflict, and conflict thrives on “crazy” characters. That is why Jolene breeds a great story…she’s quite crazy. In a good way. Fact is…we all have little bit of crazy.

One such wild night in my story takes place on Clematis Street inside a happening restaurant and tequila bar. It’s called Rocco’s Tacos, and the restaurant certainly does rock! The food was drenched in flavor and the guacamole dip made me want to kiss an avocado.

IMG_0376

IMG_0377

IMG_0385

Rocco’s had a great atmosphere and service. I enjoyed the accordion doors that opened up the restaurant to the outside and let the sunshine in. Sorry folks…I can’t report on the tequila but I did love the tacos. If you’re ever in the area, check it out! Delicious. Delicious.

IMG_0382

 

Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar
224 Clematis St, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
https://www.roccostacos.com

 

West Palm Beach Tour: Second Stop…Clematis Street and Liberty Book Store

West Palm Beach has a lively downtown area known as the historic arts and entertainment district. The heart of this district is Clematis Street. This area is known for its indigenous flavor for arts, music, food, boutiques, specialty shops, and nightclubs. Thursday nights from 5:30-9pm come alive when Clematis Street transforms into Clematis By Night.

IMG_0387

In my upcoming novel, Shrink Me, which is a romance mystery, I contemplated the perfect location for Jolene (my heroine) to have her “meet-cute.” The meet-cute is that special scene where the hero and heroine meet for the first time and a spark is ignited between them. Oftentimes, that original spark is squelched by a clash of interests or personalities only to be rekindled later in the book.

Oh how I love a sweet love story!

It wasn’t long into my search for the meet-cute location that I found the perfect store on Clematis Street. It’s a charming little shop called Liberty Book Store.

Prior to my flight into Florida, I contacted the store owner, Thorne, via email and asked him if I could highlight his store in my story. He generously agreed and when I was in town, Thorne personally showed my husband and I around his shop. It was a splendid adventure.

IMG_0390

IMG_0401

I learned a lot from Thorne about his knowledge of literature and pricing vintage books. He says, “Condition is everything.” Wear and tear. Stains. Complete pages. Smell. The spine. All these things factor into the worth of a book.

IMG_0391
A view inside the antiquarian book room

In the back of the store is a special room that will make a book collector’s dream come true.  The antiquarian book room contains hundreds of association copies, first edition, signed and rare books. Locked glass display cases hold prized collections of Charles Dickens and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The Nonesuch Dickens 24 Volumes are a limited edition and includes the steel plate for the image “Mr. Noodle is led to the contemplation of his destiny,” proof print, and letter of authenticity. The price: $6,500.00.

505
F. Scott Fitzgerald Set: The Great Gatsby,The Last Tycoon, All The Sad Young Men, The Vegetable, This Side of Paradise, Flappers and Philosophers, The Beautiful and Damned. New York: Scribner’s, 1920-1941. First Edition. Hardcover. Price: $7,250.00

In a glass case, near the front of the store was an item I found worn and beautiful. It was a copy of the Holy Bible printed in 1811. Price: $1,350.00.

262

262_3

On the door of the rare book room is a sign that says, “I cannot live without books,” by Thomas Jefferson. That quote says it perfectly.

I am in love with books. I am in love with writing them, reading them, studying them, and collecting them. I need books. I’m drawn to book stores like a kid to a candy shop. Perhaps that is why I needed my heroine, Jolene to love books as well.

IMG_0399

If you are ever on the east coast of Florida, make it a point to visit Liberty Book Store located on Clematis St., Ste. 117
, West Palm Beach, FL 33401.

References:

http://www.westpalmbeach.com/clematis

http://www.libertybookstore.com

 

West Palm Beach Blog Tour: First Stop…CityPlace

Throw on your flip-flops and a pair of sunglasses, we’re going on a tour to West Palm Beach, Florida!

I spent the last five days absorbing the beauty of Florida’s east coast for the setting of my newest contemporary novel: Shrink Me. This novel explores the life of a therapist named Jolene, an eccentric gal who takes her profession to the extreme.

In order to capture my book in a vivid and real way, I wanted to see everything through Jolene’s eyes. So I went to the places Jolene would go. Since she lives in West Palm Beach, I spent a lot of time scouring the area.

West Palm

One of the hot spots of downtown West Palm Beach is CityPlace. It’s a shopping oasis filled with sunlight and palm trees. There is a large community of sparrows that inhabit the flowering shrubs around the plaza. Their chirps mixed nicely with the sound of fountains.

IMG_0408

My husband and I mainly window-shopped the huge selection of stores, but one store beckoned us to come inside: Tommy Bahama. Their candles smell like Hawaii, and I desired to wrap myself like a baby in their beautifully soft and expensive clothing. I managed to refrain from snuggling the garments, but I did buy a candle.

IMG_0405

IMG_0406

Along the main stretch of CityPlace is a grocery store called Publix Supermarket. In my book, I have a special opening scene in this particular Publix between Jolene and her soon-to-be boss, Adrian. Adrian always goes to this store for his groceries, since it’s within walking distance of his apartment.

IMG_0354

IMG_0353

IMG_0361
Stouffer’s are a staple in Adrian’s freezer. He’s a bachelor.
IMG_0368
Busy taking notes

Tomorrow, I’ll be taking you to the historic district on Clematis Street (well that name just sounds exciting).