August 23, 2014

All set for a day of reading.... my own work :)

No question for #askamowriting this week as I was away, but there’s a great one waiting in the wings for next week. 
In the mean time I’m preparing myself for a great and busy day today. Well I would be preparing myself if I wasn’t hopping up and down with joy. I received an email yesterday to say that I made it on to the long list of this year's Penguin Ireland/RTÉ Guide short story competition. As you can imagine I’m a tad excited :) 
I can’t believe it, because the story was rushed. I left it too late to start something new. Then I spent a couple of days editing an old story. THEN I remembered I had already published that old story online, so I couldn’t use it. At this stage I had 2 hours to the deadline. I was tempted to leave it, but remembered an idea that I’d had for a novel. So I hastily typed a few thousand words, edited it, let a couple of people read it and then sent it off with less than a minute to the deadline. 
I entered last year too. Spent weeks on the story. Put it in a drawer, got some feedback, more editing, back in the drawer for a week. Polish, polish, polish… but no dice. Who knew all it would take was two hours of the fastest writing and hasty editing I’ve ever done! :D 
I wonder am I a better writer under pressure? Or maybe I’m just ‘better’ than I was last year. Anyway, I am so delighted, and encouraged.
So when I calm down, I fully intend to prepare for today!
I’m bringing The Long & The Short of it home to Tallaght, Co. Dublin; where I was born and reared. Today is Tallafest, a day of celebrating local art, culture, sport, business, fun, family and all things Tallaght. The place will be transformed into a festival venue, filled with music, stalls, all sorts of entertainment for kids, demonstrtions and more music :)
There will be an Emu Ink pop-up bookshop all day, selling the full range of Emu Ink titles, including my own. There is also a ‘Meet the Author’ event. I will join with some Emu Ink authors, we’ll talk about and read from our books. I can’t wait!
Then tonight in Kilcullen, Co. Kildare, where I live, there is a WWI commemoration evening, entitled ‘Our Unfortunate Sons’. The title is inspired by a letter from a local Kilcullen man to his father, written when he was at war. He signs the letter, “Your unfortunate son.” 
Totally out of my comfort zone I wrote a story based on an old song my great aunt used to sing. I’m actually very happy with it, especially after some help with editing from the most excellent author, Martin Malone.
So! I’m all set for a busy day, and really looking forward to it. 
Don’t forget to submit your questions to #askamowriting Email me amowriting at gmail dot com, leave a comment on  my Facebook page or tweet @amowriting

August 12, 2014

#askamowriting - about adding images to blog posts

Welcome back to #askamowriting. This week’s question comes from… well it comes from an anonymous person. We'll call her Flossy...
They say confession is good for the soul; Flossy has been very bold and has asked me to help put things right
Flossy asks...
Dear Annmarie
I use a lot of images in my blog, 
but I just get them from Google images. 
I’ve been told it’s wrong but I’m not selling anything on my site.
I don’t make profit from them, so it’s ok. Isn’t it? 
Can I really get into trouble? And does it really matter?
And if it does matter, what should I do now?
Dear Flossy,
firstly, put out your wrist so I can give you a slap. It does indeed matter. You get a few points for using images on your blog, but you lose them, and go into minus points for grabbing them from Google images. 
I wish I’d kept a link to an article I read a couple of years ago. A blogger disappeared off the scene for a while. When she came back she explained that she had been in a legal battle with a photographer. She grabbed an image from a google search, put it on her blog for nothing more than aesthetic effect, but she was still dragged through the courts for copyright infringement. In the end the biggest cost to the blogger was the legal fees, but the photographer won the court case. 
Grab and use an image by a large company like Getty Images, and you run the risk of much bigger troubles.
Images are important, so where do you get them? 
I bought a small batch of photos from istock. But I don’t have the funds for ongoing photo purchasing. 
One of the main places I get free images from is They give you the html code to directly attribute an image. Compflight do similar but I prefer photopin; both have links to paid-for files as well. 
Recently I spoke to a photographer I know, and asked him if I could use some of his photos; when ever I do I will credit him and his website. This way I get good quality photos for free, and I give a good photographer some promotion.
Keep an eye out for images taken by your friends and added to FB, Instagram etc. If you see a powerful image ask permission, then save the photo using a keyword and the owner's name as the image name. Makes it easier to remember who to attribute it to if you don't use it for 6 months. 
But what if the image, the VERY image that sums up your piece is sitting there in front of you on the internet. Is there any way you can use it?
Well... shared this great infographic recently and it’s a great check to see if you can use an image and in what way. It's only a guideline, but a very useful one.
Whatever image you use, even if you took it yourself, you should always note somewhere in the blog post where you got it from.
Bottom line – you need to change your way of thinking. You’d be miffed if someone took the text of your blog post and just stuck it in their blog.
I hope you’re conscience is clean; now go clean up your blog :)
***update!!! ooohhhh someone has just share some very interesting news re Getty images over on the Facebook page... looks like we can use them. Click here to find out more***  
If anyone out there has any good photo sources to share please let us know. And you can submit a question too. Email me amowriting at gmail dot com, leave a comment on  my Facebook page or tweet @amowriting

August 5, 2014

#askamowriting is open for business

Welcome to the first instalment of #askamowriting, a weekly column that will answer questions about various aspects of writing and blogging. Make sure to get in touch if you have a burning question.


The first question has come in from Margaret Bonass Madden of BleachHouse Library. Her marvelous book review blog is extremely popular and always a great place to find your next new read.


Margaret asks,



Dear Annmarie 
I can't seem to find any writing courses
that are not in Dublin or Wicklow.
Would love to join a writers group with other people
so I could learn something!
Any in the North East?



Dear Margaret,

I’ve had a bit of a rummage and found a few links that I think will be helpful. Can I just say that joining a writing group is a great idea. I really benefit from the ones I’m in.


I’m not exactly sure of the secure location of BleachHouse Library, so some of these may be out of your reach. But hopefully, they will be able to help you with more local info.


Saltwater Scribblers are based in Drogheda

Equivox Writer’s group are based in Oldcastle, Meath

Boyne Writer’s Group are based in Trim, Meath has information about the recent Bough Bells Literary Festival hosted by Dundalk Writers, joined by the Boyne Group, Baileborough Group and Ardgillan Dundalk Writers.
I can’t get info on all of these groups meeting times, but the Create Louth website seems to be a place to start. They may well be able to furnish you with some contact details.


I would also keep an eye on ongoing post about writing groups – which btw I think every group should be on. It would be great to have a central hub of writing group information! I would set one up myself, but I reckon is the best place for it. I hope that post I've metioned there will become a comprehensive list.

btw Shared Planet Writer’s Group who meet in Liffey Valley once a month, was formed from folks making an appeal on Twitter and the above post. Twitter can be useful sometimes.


If all else fails, it may be beholden to BleachHouse library to develop into BleachHouse writing group. :)


As far as courses go, I haven’t been able to find anything specific. I think if you made contact with some of the people involved in the above groups, you may well find something that’s going on. The North East Co ordinator for NaNoWriMo is Grace Tierney – I would say she’s a font of information about anything that’s going on in the region. 


If you have no luck, I’d be happy to spend a weekend with you and a few willing bodies. Just to pass on some of the lessons that others have taught me… Genuine offer!


Well I hope that helps Margaret.
Thanks for asking, A x


If anyone out there knows of a group or course in the NE please let me know. And you can submit a question too. Email me amowriting at gmail dot com, leave a comment on  my Facebook page or tweet @amowriting

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