Cover Reveal: The Book Of Learning by E.R.Murray

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Here it is, my cover for The Book of Learning – Book One of my #NineLives Trilogy for 9-12 year olds with Mercier Press (August 2015). I’m so excited!

The Book of Learning by E.R.Murray

And here’s the blurb…

Sometimes, it takes more than one lifetime to put things right.

After the death of her beloved grandpa, Ebony Smart’s world is turned upside down. Sent to Dublin to live with an aunt she didn’t know existed, she soon discovers that her new home, 23 Mercury Lane, is full of secrets.

Learning that she is part of an ancient order of people who have the power to reincarnate, Ebony quickly discovers that a terrible evil threatens their existence. With just her pet rat, Winston, and a mysterious book to help her, she must figure out why her people are disappearing and how to save their souls, including her own, before time runs out … 

Change is long overdue!

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rural ireland animals

Obligatory water dog action shot! Should help delay the inevitable a bit longer…

As it gets closer to my book being published (*Elizabeth does a happy dance*), it really is time for me to get my butt in gear and overhaul my website. This is long overdue, and one of those things I’ve been putting off while the writing and rewriting took over – but no more excuses…I teach a Blogging and Beyond course for Inkwell Writers, full of great advice, and yet I’ve fallen behind. It’s time to practice what I’ve been preaching!

Over the next few weeks, you might see a few changes to the overall design, as well as the page order, and there’ll definitely be some new additions – but don’t worry, things won’t change that much. I’ll still be chatting about what matters to me – writing, travel, rural living and charitable causes. I  just have to finally get things tidied up and looking a little more professional.

I’d love to hear your thoughts as you see things change – and if you have any tips on how to make this go as smoothly as possible, I’d love to hear those too! I’m enlisting the help of a friend because I’m capable but not brilliant when it comes to technology, and I have that awful fear that I’ll break the internet – or at least, my blog. Neither of which would be good.

I also have that fear that no one will like my book and I’ll be the only one at the book launch – but that’s another story I’m going to ignore for as long as I can. And apparently, it’s normal for writers to feel this way. So I guess we’ll see!

In the meantime, I appreciate your continued support while you see odd things happening to my blog. As a big thank you, I’ll be revealing the cover of The Book of Learning on here on April 15th (my birthday present to myself). I really hope you like it! 

A Call to End Child Marriage

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You may remember that I did a Because I am a Girl blog recently, for Plan Ireland; well today I received an email about their latest campaign (which included the shocking image I’ve added below), and I wanted to share this with you.

Plan Ireland is putting together a team for the Women’s Mini-marathon on 1st June. The team is running to “end child marriage.” Every day, 41,000 girls are married as child brides. Girls just like Sumnina (5) below from Nepal.

Run for Plan to end child marriage

Girls who are forced into early marriage miss out on education, are more prone to poverty and suffer complications during childbirth. Any proceeds raised will contribute towards Plan’s projects which aim to halt the global problem of child marriage.

Should you be interested you can visit www.plan.ie/minimarathon

Images of Easter: Krakow

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Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates this festival, and happy Sunday to anyone who doesn’t. Here are a few images of Easter markets and celebrations in Krakow, taken during my recent visit to Poland. I love the colours and the designs, the vibrancy of it all. Hope you enjoy them also!

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Traditionally painted eggs

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Easter bonnets

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Traditional dried flowers taken to church

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A decorative Easter chick

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Traditional shawls on a band of singers

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A traditional decoration in the market square

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Another view, with the cathedral in the background

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Easter bunny!

 

Short fiction – A Homelessness theme

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Dublin

Dublin

Whenever I visit Dublin, I notice an ever-increasing number of homeless people on the streets. Things have certainly changed since I lived there, and not for the better.

I’m currently trying to put together a charity book, with the proceeds going to a charity for the homeless, but I seem to be hitting lots of dead ends. In the meantime, I thought I’d post a piece of short fiction that was shortlisted for a competition back in December. It’s only a small gesture and does little to help, but hopefully my bigger plan will come together soon.

This is dedicated to all the homeless people in Ireland and across the world…

Another Day

The young woman is tired and clammy as she reluctantly heads home, pushing against the revelers in Santa hats and slinky outfits. Under the Christmas lights on O’Connell, their gentle blinking, she can almost pretend that she too will celebrate until the small hours, in a silver party dress, unburdened by the illness she still denies, not ready to wear the label just yet.

The young man is cold and homeless, but insists on smiling. Slumped against the humped city bridge, he watches people hurry by, imagining them to be friendly while they pretend he’s invisible. He marvels how the padlocks that the council had removed are starting to return – as though love can only work if it is shackled.

When the woman hears singing, the unmistakable force of Handel’s Messiah wending its way through the air, she changes directions, resists the urge to hurry like she would have even one month ago, before symptoms or diagnosis. The music warms her, and she fantasizes about what it would be like to tell just one person of her sorrows.

When the man hears voices spiralling, his heart starts dreaming. Memories of a young boy’s Christmas when he still believed in the gifts of angels. He follows the melody until he reaches the edge of a crowd in Temple Bar. He forgot his mother’s face long ago, but he remembers how sweetly she hummed this, her favourite oratorio, and how she swayed in time to the tune.

They stand side by side, their eyes locked on the choir, as though looking away might shatter the beauty. As the woman stumbles, the man catches her arm, forgetting to be invisible. ‘Y’all right, love?’ he asks. ‘Yes.’ ‘Are you sick?’ ‘Yes.’ The words escapes and hovers between them. The man doesn’t ask any more, but holds her until she’s steady. Then slowly, without thinking, he leads her in a shuffling dance.

The man hasn’t gathered enough hostel money anyway, so he invites her for a drink. She says it’s her shout, it’s the least she can do, and wonders – how can a person do more? They go to a place neither of them knows. The music is too loud, and they only make it to the dance floor, where disco lights dapple them with silver. They stay an hour longer than they intend and say goodbye without touching.

On the Luas the next day, the woman touches the spot where the man caught her. The pain is different now. Tender, like the bravery growing inside her. Maybe she could tell just one more person? She wonders where the man will sleep tonight, whether she would offer him a bed if their paths crossed again. She walks home via Temple Bar, even though it’s out of her way.

And the man is still cold and homeless, but last night he danced with an angel dressed in silver lights that glittered with possibility, like the ripples on the Liffey on this, another day.

 

A great cause: Because I am a girl…

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In case you haven’t heard of it, Plan.ie is an international charity that dedicates it time and money to helping children around the world, promoting child rights to end child poverty. On their website, Plan.ie explains:

For almost 80 years we’ve been taking action and standing up for every child’s right to fulfil their potential. On a daily basis, our energy is devoted to making a difference for children living in poverty.”

Because I am a Girl is just one strand of this charity’s reach: a global equality movement which transforms communities by empowering girls.

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Getting ready for school! Cambodia (author’s own photo)

I was delighted to be invited to write a blog post for Because I am a Girl, as my various travels – including my recent trip to Cambodia – have highlighted that this is an important area that still requires a lot of work.

You can learn more about the project, what you can do to help, and also read my blog post here.

 

Banshee: New Literary Journal Seeking Submissions

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banshee140x210There’s a new literary journal on the block and, knowing the people behind it (Laura Jane Cassidy, Claire Hennessy & Eimear Ryan),  this is going to be good quality stuff. Everything from the ethos, to the organisation, to the work accepted and the overall presentation, promises to be top notch – and they’re open for submissions. Personally, I can’t wait to see the results.

Over on writing.ie, Claire explains a little bit more…

We’re all writers; we know that talking and dreaming and hoping only take you so far. We also know what anything creative in any way is like – it is almost inevitably more work, and takes longer, than you imagine it will be.

But we’re doing this anyway. In part because several great outlets for Irish writing, such as The SHOp and wordlegs, are now closed; in part because there are lots of marvellous newer outlets, like The Penny Dreadful  and The Bohemyth  and Colony  and Gorse , going from strength to strength. In part because there are longstanding outlets like Hennessy (no relation, alas) New Irish Writing, now in The Irish Times , and The Stinging Fly , continuing to do a great job; and in part because there is always a need for new blood, for new editorial eyes, in anything creative. And mostly because we love words and language and what people can do with them.

Fair play to the girls. There can never be enough great journals as far as I’m concerned.

The first submissions window for Banshee is open until March 31st, and they aim to reply to all submissions by the end of May…

You can read the full details here: http://www.bansheelit.com/