Photography by kind permission of A. Blaney.
Now available at Barnes and Noble online in books and download form. If you want go to the store they will order it for you too, just give name and title.
Photography by kind permission of A. Blaney.
We did it! On Saturday we launched Chesca and the Spirit of Grace. It was a beautiful cold day with the promise of snow. Lucia Hayman and Lorin Stevenson were rocking in the Kitchen, Lexi Garcia oversaw the details of decor to make the beautiful Noepe Center a festive wonderland. Jess and Imani Hall were on music. Violet Southwick did a great job fiddle playing, adding a touch of Ireland. The tent was up, big thanks to Jim and Annemarie Eddy from Big Sky Tents, the candy bar was brimming with M&M's and all sort of candy that would drive a mother demented but had the kids happy with hot peppermint and chocolate whipped cream and festive sprinkles. Carlene Gatting and Grace Robinson were on book sales, Chuck and Cathal taking care of overseeing de-icing and general go-fors. The launch team; Sequoia, Willa, Imani, Cesca, Chloe, Violet oversaw the candy bar and drinks and kept the party going.
Thank you all, it takes a village and in this case it was the essence of grassroots, brilliant friends helping the event come together. It was flawless and fantastic.
We got a great crowd, many friends and some new faces, and a few very notable writers in attendance, which made my day. Justin Ahern, West Tisbury Poet Laureate, founder and Director of the Noepe Center welcomed everyone. John Hough Jr, author, editor and teacher of the Indian Hill workshop that I attend, spoke about the ACE adult education class he gave at the high school six years ago which gave me my start. I spoke a little on the book and thanked a lot of people, including my family, Cathal, Lani, Chesca, Grace, Chuck and to Dad who flew from Ireland to see this day. Just about managed to hold it together and not cry like a baby, it was very emotional and extremely rewarding.
The talented children's book author Kate Feiffer and children's book buyer Susan Savory were in attendance and I nearly fell over when a woman I have admired from a distance (only because I have not had the nerve to say hello) Pulitzer prize winner and most brilliant author Geraldine Brooks came and bought two books, one for her son (praying he likes it). It was warm, festive, and a great, great day.
Thanks to Sara and Justen Ahern who helped and hosted. To Angie Sayles for these great photographs, Nevette Previd and Allison Arruda who have been working hard behind the scenes on PR and Marketing and Jonathan Revere for videography. To the launch moms, and to the Facebook supporters who could not come but have been cheering Chesca on for some time now. For those who did come and support the release of the book, you are great, it has been most fun.
It's the morning of the launch/party. More than anything I'm hoping for a party, a big Christmas party that let's the work of the last few years in creating Chesca and the Spirit of Grace out into the larger world. I couldn't be happier at how that has come about or played out. I have made some great reconnections with some childhood friends, kids from the stables have face booked and let me know how they are now, pictures have been posted of us as kids and the ponies from way back in the early 80's and it's just good fun and energy remembering all the good times. Howth is great, and I am so happy today to be presenting her to another little island that I call home, Martha's Vineyard.
Not sure what I'm going to talk about, it will be quick, that's for sure, I'm not one for speeches, but I have much to be thankful for. From the first day of taking Nancy Aroine's writing workshop to John Hough Jr's writing class every Wednesday night for years, to a great support system of people who encouraged me with simple and kind words along the way, I am thankful for them all. And friends, here and in Ireland, who are always steadfast in love and humor and understanding.
It's been a huge year for our family, in February we got the best biggest pup you've ever seen, Tukka is a real life version of Clifford the big red dog, he's brilliant and brings a ton of joy into the home. In June we welcomed Yolani into our family. She left her home and family in the Marshall Islands for an education and to be a nurse. It has been joyful, heartbreaking and really interesting to see how she makes her way in this world and this family. She is one of the bravest and strongest girls I know. I have a house full of them. It is never dull and my kids have excepted her like a sister, fights and all, just like it should be. My husband the bold Chuck is the type of man who said, "you can do this, just do it." He's always right that fella. It would drive you nuts.
My Dad flew over to see the day. I've been very fortunate to have a great family.
And then there is the little one, the one that took up all the mornings when the rest of the kids were in school, Chesca and the Spirit has been a labor of love, and she's heading out into the real world today - as they say on the Vineyard - Whatever The Outcome.
I wanted strong names that remind me of strong women, in my life, in history, and in character. Girls who mean what they say and do what they mean, and I chose very carefully. Chesca is short for Francesca, Italian for - to be free - and the Spirit of Grace is Grace O'Malley, female trail-blazer, pirate queen, chieftain. If you know me, you know I have used these names for other spirited, strong, independent characters.
Dena reminds me of the word mean, Devlin Travers, to cross the devil. Pig is Pig, Mouse is Mouse, Malley is from O'Malley. Simple enough.
I pulled some names out of an imaginary hat. There is no character based on any person, all are a combination of many characters blended with a figment of imagination.
*There was one name that was changed the night before the final edit was submitted. It occured to me the name was too close to someone I know in Howth and she may, possibly, think that I named the character based on hers. I didn't, but to avoid all confusion or emotional misgivings, I hit replace all button and changed the characters last name. I'm glad I did.
So that is the naming game. It has been fun.
Helen Seymour, a best fiction of 2013 pick in the Sunday Post over the weekend, for her debut novel Beautiful Noise. There she with Bono! (who attended the book launch in February)
Couldn't be any prouder of her, she crafted a great read. Check it out on amazon.
When a bus accident brings Elliott, Iris and Squirrel together, little do they realise that the real journey has only just begun. It's an unlikely partnership; the Barrister's son, the Punk on the dole and a Courier with big dreams, but within six months of meeting, Studio One goes live, takes on the big boys of radio, and less than a year after they first meet, Elliott, Iris and Squirrel are owners of the Number One Radio Station in the country.
But not without consequences.