If you are on island this weekend and are interested in writing, continued education, or just interested in what some determined, hard-working writers are up to from the Adult and Community Education and John Hough's writing workshop, come to the best indie bookstore @ Bunch of Grapes 3.00pm-4.30pm.
5.0 out of 5 stars Chesca and the Spirit of Grace, March 27, 2014
Clare O'Beara (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Chesca and the Spirit of Grace (Paperback)
A girl, a horse and the magical Irish countryside; what more do you need for a great story? CHESCA AND THE SPIRIT OF GRACE grabs our affection immediately and whisks us off to Howth harbour on the east coast of Ireland, north of Dublin. Chesca O'Brien has learned to understand what her animal friends say - so much so, that she doesn't want human pals.
Malley the lead stallion is fond of Chesca but her dairy-farming father won't let the girl ride such a strong spirited horse. Chesca's favourite spot is "surrounded by old stone walls and steeped in history. An old ruin of a cottage... the fields and meadows all fell away to the cliffs and down to the beach, cove, village and harbour." The excellent scene-setting puts us in the mood for excitement. Chesca enjoys trick-riding on her mare Star but Malley is a superb storyteller. He tells the girl that he is descended from a horse owned by the pirate queen Grace O'Malley.
Life has hard realities. The O'Briens run pony-trekking and between costs, insurance and loans, the banker puts them on notice. This is clearly a matter for the adults; what could a girl of nearly twelve, who's away with the fairies half the time, possibly do to save her home? Then the unthinkable happens and Chesca's mother is taken ill, so that cultured, unfeeling Aunt Dena arrives, promptly kicking the dog which came to greet her and doubting that her sister ever had a manicure. How much worse can it get?
The contrasts are nicely placed - a sudden acrid smell of nail-polish remover in the farm kitchen, a farmer wearing a suit to visit the hospital. Chesca is made to feel guilty for getting her own way; seeing her venerable home from her aunt's point of view, she realises that yes it is old, draughty and hard to keep. But what does Dena mean about calling in pest control? Chesca and her pet mouse haven't a clue. "I bet she was dropped on her head as a baby," mutters the rebellious girl.
I laughed aloud and loved this story. Young adults, especially girls, will relate to Chesca and her need to save her home and family. She discovers that human friends are great to have in a pinch, and that people do strange things in difficult times. Courage counts for as much as inventiveness in Lara O'Brien's CHESCA AND THE SPIRIT OF GRACE. The author grew up at Howth Riding Stables and now lives in Martha's Vineyard. I also highly recommend her work for adults who want a break from the dreary economic news.
Found a great way of multi-tasking today. I took a page out of the kids book and put head phones on, then listened to a few podcasts from this new site I love, Rocking Self-Publishing. Here's an example.
More advanced marketing: http://rockingselfpublishing.com/episode-17-marketing-smart-way-leeland-artra/
What you need to know about editing:
Let me know what you think.
Thanks for everyone who downloaded, if anyone is thinking about it, you can help bring her closer to the Amazon bestseller list. March is the month, just $2.99
We are also getting closer to the 500 new likes on Facebook, so if you are supporting Chesca, hit the 'like' button, review on Amazon and Goodreads and be part of the adventure. Every review is so appreciated.
THANKS a million.
TO CELEBRATE THE SEASON. CHESCA AND THE SPIRIT OF GRACE IS ON SALE FOR $2.99 A DOWNLOAD ON KINDLE. LULU, B&N, IBOOK.
Kindle offers a gift option, you can buy it and gift it to a friend.
Thanks for the support.
If you feel it, leave me some feedback on Amazon or Goodreads.
See all the buttons below on the website page for direct buy.
Have a great weekend. Congratulations Ireland on a great win yesterday!
ONE DAY ONLY. The Kindle download of Chesca and the Spirit of Grace is available for $2.99. Starts midnight THIS Sunday - through Patrick's Day, ends at midnight.
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I remember when I was about ten reading books about horses. Black Beauty broke my heart, with such cruelty and sadness. My Friend Flicker was another favorite, way back then, but I can't really remember the story now.
It was Walter Farley's the Black Stallion that gave me my OZ moment, the moment when the book, page after page, became colorful and alive. When my imagination found a happy home run amok in different places with new people, horses, barns, smells, conflicts and solutions.
I was on a deserted island, taming the black, we swam and hunted together. I know this is true because I remember it vividly, like it actually happened, yesterday. After the last page, it was just me and the Black. I don't know what happened to Alex! I wrote my own imaginary story.
The Black began my life long love affair with books.
My daughter (11) is not considered an avid reader, her book choices are within her age group, she has difficulty with phonemic awareness and symbol imagery (me too) but something great just happened. She began reading the Fault in our Stars by John Green. I have a feeling this is her big one, the one that pulls her in, and turns her on to story, reading, life outside our small town. She wants more, she's hungry for the next page.
It's a deep heartfelt story, she's a sensitive child, she will be sobbing at the end of this one. The Fault is to her what Black Beauty and the Black Stallion were to me.
I am relaxed watching her reading journey, the story will do its work. Because the job of a good book is to engage the reader and nurture the love of reading.
Addie, (white top) Emma and Matthew Robinson (no relation, I swear) Addie was a fan when she arrived in Beckett's in Arlington on Friday night and brought her book to be signed. For her next birthday she's doing a book club party with her BBF's and bought five copies as a gift for them to read in advance. How very fashion forward is that?! A birthday book-club sleepover.
(I'll tell ya...There was no book-club sleepovers when I was growing up, but I'd love one, even now.)
Addie's going to email questions and I will post those with answers from the soiree on this website. Feeling very book-chic.
It might seem like an unlikely choice, to have a children's book signing/tour in Irish pubs, but it couldn't have gone better. The event paired really well with the relaxed atmosphere. We meet some great families and young readers. Owners and friends Mark and Denise Kirwan were brilliant and all the staff of Beckett's were generous hosts supporting a new and 'young' (I'll take it) author. Books were sold, kids were happy, fun was had. Delighted.
What can I say? It was an honor to be invited. Thanks Donna Leinwand Leger (over pic) and all the volunteers at the National Press Club for making me feel like a star. After I quit shaking and calmed down a little, the kids took over, wanting to know more and that's the way it should be. They asked great two part questions, still not sure if I answered all the parts but they brought out the essence of the book. Had a great chat with parents at the signing and met O'Malleys and friends of friends, and lovers of Howth, so a great day was had, very fun. Thrilled to be presented with the NPC 'mug' (it felt like getting the oscar in my own little mind)and we had a really fancy brunch at the Fourth Estate, where they had the cover picture on the menu. Very cool.
Colm and Ciara Dillon of the Four Provinces were in fine from on Sunday and the crowds were there. I was off shaking again. We had a very young attendance and were able to gather them together for stories of Howth, Grace O'Malley and show them pictures of the Living Horse Museum in Chantilly, France and artwork by the cover illustrator, Chris Beatrice. A great turnout and the brunch was fabulous. Thanks Tammy and staff for the welcome.
We lived in DC for eight years so reconnecting with some great friends was the very best part. A decade slipped away and brought us back to our younger selves, it was great to be in DC again. Thanks Rosie and Steve, Amanda and Paul and Ann Watson, Ciara, Colm, Mark and Denise, Lorna Kirwan, Fiona Lydon, Jo, Karen Downy, Robinsons, Bill and Brenda Mc Grath, Caroline and Wayne, all the kids. Missed you Tom and Vee Stack.
Next stop Howth, Ireland, TBA. #homewardbound.