Paying it forward is a phrase I’ve taught my children, not to talk about, but do it. When you are a writer, promoting your published book can be lonely, frustrating, and difficult. Over the last few months I’ve been privileged to get to know Niamh Clune, who is not only an extremely talented author. But Niamh goes many steps further than most authors, actually most people I’ve met. Every day she takes time from her busy schedule to help other authors promote their recent novels. I’ve asked Niamh to write a blog about what she does to help authors. And I’d like encourage everyone out there, to do just one thing today to help out someone else.
When Lorhainne Eckhart asked me to write for her blog about what I do for other authors, I was resistant, as I feel uncomfortable talking about myself. Rather than negate something just because it feels uncomfortable, I decided to embrace the opportunity and be grateful that someone should show interest. So, thank You, Lorhainne.
The idea of giving the best you have to others, being all that you can be is the spiritual thread I have followed throughout my life. It has been my guide from earliest years up until the present day. Perhaps it comes from being a member of a large, Irish catholic family where children didn’t tend to receive much personal attention. I was never much good at demanding it in the chaotic, market-place atmosphere of childhood where everyone clamoured for a few scraps. Often, only the loudest voices were heard, the most bullying or demanding, threatening, violent or hysterical. My quiet, reasonable voice was lost amidst the general noise, fighting, and cries of “Look at me, look at me.”
I realised early on that I was in danger of becoming demanding or disappearing completely, as the deep-down sense of, I have no right to exist, became apparent. If a child does not receive what it needs, he or she remains unsatisfied, yearning, always in need of something out of reach.
My childhood was difficult to say the least. I witnessed, and was victim of extreme domestic violence. As a child of two, I was aware of a choice. As I grew, the determination never to degenerate in nature as my father had done filled with me a fervency of belief and spiritual quest. Nor would I lose my soul to the bottle, killing myself slowly as my mother had done – my wits a mental blur, alienated from those who loved me. I watched the madness of childhood, filled with sadness yet holding on to a vision of beauty. I decided to give to others what I could not have myself, whether it was a kind word or piece of recognition. I watched how others responded when I gave from my heart.
I always try to see a thing for what it really is – the truth of it, the beauty behind the clamour, the thing that unites us – whether passion, love, sadness or pain; it is the thing that speaks most deeply to our collective Humanity. Those earliest experiences and on-going learning process shaped me into the person I am now.
The spirit of service is my only religion. I believe in striving to participate in the beauty of the day, even if we only manage to do this for a split second. In those moments, we re-connect to all that is good in us, to the beauty within that raises us above the general clamour, the noise, and the personal, sometimes egomaniacal sense of self-importance.
This spirit made me a healer, a Doctor of Psychotherapy, a social entrepreneur, an environmental campaigner. It took me to Africa during the nineties where I was fortunate enough to work for Oxfam, UNICEF, and World Food Programme. I lived among those who gave their all, in true modesty. The spirit of service was the mucilage that held teams together and enabled us to open our hearts to the suffering of those much less fortunate than ourselves. We were fully alive with the fervent passion of it. I was happy then.
This spirit now makes me a writer. Unfortunately, a bout of malaria triggered Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Some days, I can hardly think or move. The pain in my joints renders me unable to walk. A deep sadness suffocates me and tries to steal my wits. It is a physical depression not generated by any thought I have, or by a denied unconscious. It is, quite simply, an autogenic body response over which, I have little control. Before I suffered it, I never realised how terrible is the illness of depression. Writing saves me. Through it, I find healing. During a particularly bad time, I wrote my current Skyla McFee series. I found Orange Petals in a Storm by escaping into the world of a little girl – pure in heart – who learns to overcome the harshness and cruelty that surrounds her through the miracle that is her creative imagination.
The imagination is a wonderful thing. Through it, I can still participate in the beauty of the world. I can still write my books without fetters or limitations. I can imagine all manner of beauteous things, dance with my soul, and feel the strength of my spirit.
Publishing personal work is not easy, but necessary, as I cannot trundle through lists of literary agents in search of a ‘YES!’ I would find this exercise disempowering. I must keep my sense of volition embodied in the thought that I have some power to move in my world, to express my soul. It is the best I can offer. I cannot wait for permission to do this from an agent and yearn for recognition. This means that publishing my work has its downside. Again, I find myself plunged into a market place where everyone clamours for the same attention. All are writers; few are readers. It is difficult to find my own little corner. Clamouring is not my style. So I do what I have always done: promote other writers by seeing the beauty that unites us – the love of writing, getting the passion onto a page, the unique story, the triumph of the human spirit against all the odds. Obviously, I hope others will read my stories. I hope they realise and recognise my quality as a writer and as a soul trying to express beauty in a world-gone-mad. I hope it is of some value.
Interested readers can find my series of blogs where I feature other authors. On: http://niamhclunewrites.blogspot.com/ I write about unsung, inspirational women. Currently, I am featuring the wonderful best-selling author Pandora Pokilois who knows all about suffering and how writing is such a healing journey.
On the Orangeberry Book Blog, I feature Orangeberry writers. I am the editor and interviewer and I try to capture a writer’s passion and personality that goes into their creations http://theobblog.com
I am an editor and featured author on loveahappyending.com where I also try to bring a bit more of my DR. speak into play by using visualised colour as a metaphor to lead the reader into the writer’s psyche.
And I started the AmritA Publishing Page, where I do author promotions in various ways from short story snippets to helping them build their social network platforms through mutual support. It is an idea based on Paying it Forward! This can be found on Amrita Publishing. Unusually, I am there at the moment on the landing page to publicise my own book launch.
My web-site is: www.facebook.com/niamhclunesbooks
My video trailer can be viewed on You Tube
Please checkout Niamh Clune’s newest release Orange Petals in a Storm
I encourage everyone to download a copy of this amazing book, on sale for only .99 cents.Fiction/Metaphysical ASIN: B0055DVQEG Buy Now .99 on Amazon and Amazon UK 5.0 out of 5 stars Mystical writing at its best! This author is a female Pat Conroy…,September 20, 2011 By Betty L. Dravis “BETTY DRAVIS, author/reviewer”
Orange Petals in a Storm: A spiritual, inspirational story to feed the soul. In Skyla’s world, we find shelter from every hazard and outlive the longest night.
A bedraggled and bruised eleven-year-old child races through the rain-drenched streets of East London as though the hounds of hell were after her. She tries to reach the home of her childhood, a home that was hers until her mother’s recent death. What becomes of Skyla McFee once she arrives there? From whom does she run?
This is a story about a wonderful child who endures great suffering at the hands of her stepfather. Though she lives in a harsh reality, she evolves spiritually despite, or perhaps because of the hurt she suffers. The magical way she transcends her unbearable life through her inner world transports us into the hauntingly beautiful world of the imagination. Telling you that Skyla triumphs over her situation is not a spoiler – because as you get to know her, you realise there is no other way. She must triumph because of who she is.