Tag Archive | Ireland

Tá sé Seachtain na Gaeilge!

Dia daoibh, peeps!

It is Irish (language) Week, which actually runs from March 1-17th, so I’d thought I’d share a bit about my journey into Ireland’s culture, history and language. And, I’ve made my Kilts series FREE until Saturday. More on that later.

I’ve been taking classes from CKonLine @ CKonLineteaching.com. It’s the company founded by Irish musician Colm Keegan, of Celtic Thunder, and the classes are taught by him.

I started by taking music theory, which was fascinating for me. Although I remembered quite a bit of the information (notes on the staff, beats per measure, etc) I learned a great deal in just the five sessions. So, I signed up for more. It’s a bit of a jolt to have someone whose music you thoroughly enjoy suddenly on camera teaching your class, but Colm is a terrific teacher and I soon got over my jitters.

The next class I took was a ten-week individual class on The Great Famine, or An Gorta Mór. Serious stuff. As a child of an Irish mom, who came to the States when she was just sixteen, I connected with the history and could easily imagine the pain and suffering of the Irish people, whether they chose to denounce their faith, language and culture in order to survive, or whether they stuck to their guns. More than a million people died during the period between 1845-1852, and more than a million left, often tricked into leaving their home by the false promises made to them by the landowners.

And I’ve just finished a five week group class in Irish, or as Gaeilge. That’s pronounced “gwale-guh”. I can now make small talk as Gaeilge, and  I practice my cúpla focail as often as I can. I’m looking forward to the next class already.

For those of you who are interested, CKonLine’s Spring II term just went on sale. He’ll be teaching Irish, Music Theory and a class on the 1916 Easter Uprising.

If you’re looking for great character backstory, a new setting for your novel, or just to learn a bit about the rich culture and history, and the beautiful language of Ireland, CKonLine is the place to start.

To honor Seachtain na Gaeilge, I’ve made my Irish-themed books free on Kindle until Saturday, March 18th.

the celtic contract picThe Celtic Contract–Claire Regan is on a mission, and not even Liam–the handsome “bad boy” of the Irish music group Kilts,  will get in her way.

But when the accidents start happening, Claire finds herself reluctantly accepting Liam’s help. Now if she can just prevent herself from accepting his love.




The Celtic Captive–Molly’s self-imposed seclusion is interrupted when a man literally falls face down at her feet. She tends to his injuries, and once he’s finally regained consciousness, learns he can only speak and understand Irish.

the celtic captive pic

Cáel has no idea where he is. Worse, he has no idea who he is. All he knows is that he’s going to use every advantage he has, including pretending not to understand the beautiful girl at his side. It’s not every day a man wakes to find himself injured and tied to a woman’s bed, after all. **This book contains lots of phrases/words as Gaeilge (Irish). There’s a glossary and pronunciation guide in the back to help you out. 🙂


The Celtic CradleThe Celtic Cradle–Life, as Séamus Kierney knows it, is over. The confirmed bachelor is suddenly a dad to petite, ginger firecracker named Róisín. Good thing his American neighbor, Rebecca,  is so easy to manipulate. He’s going to need a lot of help.

Rebecca Foster is no dummy. A psychologist staying in Dublin to run a final experiment before she can earn her doctorate, she uses her leverage to coerce Séamus into helping her with her project. His charm is legendary, though, and so Rebecca uses all of her weapons in her arsenal–positive self-talk, purposeful insults, and the knowledge that she has to leave in a few months to take the position her parents always wanted her to have.

But the man and his adorable baby are working their way into her heart. When Séamus’ custody of Róisín is suddenly in jeopardy, and the timeline for Rebecca’s departure is moved up, what will she do?


I am also pleased to announce my debut psychological thriller is now available.

Serve Me is the story of a woman who learns she is not who she thought she was. Her name, her culture, her husband…all lies. For what reason? Jada doesn’t know, but she’s not about to let the man who calls himself Jake get to her. No matter what shocking techniques he uses to make her obey. And even though he’s the same man who’s been haunting her dreams, a stranger whose every move, every gesture feels immediately familiar. Kindle Ready Front Cover JPEG_5979764

Jake Turner is an undercover agent working for the agency called One. His mission is to get Jada ready, by any means available, for the big test coming up. If she fails, she dies.


All of my books are available here: http://amzn.to/1QUmmhC


Go raibh míle maith agaibh! And Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

(Thanks a million)







The Celtic Cradle, Serve Me, and #NaNoWriMo

Hey peeps,

I can’t believe it’s November, already. October flew by so fast, with so many things happening, it’s just dawning on me that there’s only two months left until 2016.

omg cat


So, I thought I’d just provide an update. My newest book in the Kilts Books series, The Celtic Cradle, will be available on Friday, November 6th, through Kindle, Amazon and Createspace. This is book three of my series, and I’m feeling pretty blessed in this whole writing process.

The Celtic Cradle

In this novel:

Séamus Kierney has met his match, and she doesn’t quite come up to his knee. Suddenly, the “playboy” permanent bachelor of the Irish music group, Kilts, has to be responsible. In just the space of a few days, sixteen-month old “wee monster” Róisín gifts him with a messy blow-out, climbs his display case, and locks him out of his house, in the rain.

And in just his underwear.

He’s just Continue reading

Part Three of an Interview with Thea Kelly, and a chance to win some cash!

One of these men is my Uncle Martin Regan.

One of these men is my Uncle Martin Regan in Enniscrone, Ireland, 1955.

Ireland has long fascinated me. The sheer rich history of the place and my connection to it through my mother have always caused me to seek out stories, music and conversations with those lucky enough to be from there.

This is part three of my interview with Thea Kelly, from Cape Clear Island in Ireland. Parts one & two are available through the previous posts.

You mentioned travelling. Have you been to any other countries?

I’ve only ever been to Germany to visit my grandmother. It’s a bit of a yearly tradition to be honest! I’m going there at the end of July again to see her. Because I’ve only ever been there, that bites in big time into my craving to travel! I want to go everywhere!!

My other ambition is to travel the world! I keep a diary of all the places I discover and plan to visit them when I am older. Places such as Dinant in Belgium, or Tropea in the south of Italy. My number one destination is the U.S though. Ever since wanting to work for NASA, and having a unusual interest in WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) I gained a bit of an accent and a strong desire to travel there. Someday I will! 🙂

Do you have any questions for me?

Thea: Do you or did you have an American Dream? 
It’s funny that you should ask about the American Dream. We don’t really call it that–it’s just usually mentioned in terms of goals, or ambitions. I was actually listening to a fellow Kelly’s music (Ryan Kelly of Celtic Thunder, from Northern Ireland) and he has a great song he wrote called “American Dream.” I think that’s something people from outside the US call it.
For me, when I was about your age, I wanted to be an elementary school teacher, get married and have seven kids. (I’m the middle of seven, myself). But my dreams changed. I became an American Sign Language interpreter, and worked in schools for nearly twenty years.

The Martin Family, waaay back when.

The Martin Family, waaay back when.

And I only have one daughter. 🙂
My gorgeous daughter

My gorgeous daughter

I guess my dream now is to become successful enough at my writing to support myself with that income, and continue to try to entertain people with my books. By the way, I’m honored that my little translation project was your strangest assignment. 🙂 I love languages, and am always interested in learning more.
What’s high school like? I’ve always wanted to experience it! 
The education system sounds a bit different than yours. Education is free here until the age of 18, or 19, unless the student has special needs o disabilities. Then they can stay until they are 21. High school is either for grades 9-12, or 10-12, which translates to ages 15-18. Students have six classes per semester, and are allowed to choose which teachers and which hour (we call them periods) they would like to take, but have to satisfy requirements of the state for which classes. English, Math, Science, World Languages, Fine Arts, Shop, Physical Education, and History are all required, but most students satisfy the requirements by the time they become a senior and can choose their electives then. Classes are about an hour long, with occasional short days for school-wide assemblies, or teacher training.
College, then, for us is after graduation, and students must pay or earn scholarships or grants to attend, as well as passing the required tests and applying to the college/university of their choice.
Do many natural disasters happen where you are from? Like volcanoes or earthquakes? 
We do have some natural disasters here. We’ve had several earthquakes; the biggest one was in 2000, I think, on Ash Wednesday. It caused lots of damage. We’re supposedly due for another one soon. Our quakes are different than the kind that occur in California, because of the way the plates are stacked under the earth.
We’ve also had a few small tornadoes, which has only just occurred recently. We often have impressive thunder & lightning storms, and we flood often.
And, oh yeah, Mt. St. Helens blew up on May 18, 1980. That mountain, as well as Mt. Rainier and several others in the Cascades and Olympics are active volcanoes, but had been quiet until Mt. St Helens blew her top. I remember watching the huge ash cloud rise into the sky and come our way. We were lucky, though. We only got traces of the ash from the eruption. The people living on the other side of the mountain were pretty much buried in it.

Mt. St. Helens

Mt. St. Helens

Would you ever come to visit Ireland, and if so which area?
I would love to visit Ireland! That’s one of my dreams, for sure. My mother’s family is from County Mayo. Her parents moved to England, where my mom was born and raised, and then she emigrated to New York, when she was just sixteen. So I would love to visit. I feel a connection to the land, and the people there. County Mayo would probably be my first stop, but I’d really like to spend several months exploring everywhere. I hear Bray is a particularly nice area, and I’d love to try some of the trails that Ireland is famous for.
The rain definitely wouldn’t bother me. 🙂 In fact, my mom and dad decided to settle here because our weather, and all our green, reminded her of her home, and of Ireland, where she visited each summer.
From the previous answer regarding slang used in Ireland:
What does “throwing shade” mean?
“Throwing shade” is a term they use here for giving someone a hard time, and not usually in a good way. It might be a snide remark, especially one made under one’s breath, or an eyeroll,rolling eyes something like that. It can be combined into other terms; for example, my colleague here said “such shady boots” when another employee mentioned the schedule in a negative way (which is something we create).
I often misuse it, so I’m probably not the best judge. And my daughter (she’s 21) won’t let me use it at all. 🙂
I want to thank Thea for graciously agreeing to answer my nosy questions. I love her enthusiasm! This, then, is an open invitation to Thea and her mom to visit. We’d love to host you here, my daughter and I.
Calling all musicians!
In my previous post, I included the song that “Molly” wrote for “Cáel” for The Celtic Captive. Here’s the challenge:  Create the melody for the song and perform it in any style. Shoot me the video on either my facebook page @https://www.facebook.com/jmartinstories or send it to me by email: jmartinstories@gmail.com, or just post it in the comments below.
The winning two entries will win a $100 movie prize package, and two weeks of dedicated tweets/publicity for the video.
Be sure to leave your contact info so I can get in touch with you!
Good luck! I’m looking forward to hearing your music!

Three things an Irish teen thinks you should know before you visit Ireland–an interview with Thea Kelly

In my second book, The Celtic Captive, my protagonist Cáel Moore’s first language is Irish, having grown up in a Gaeltacht (an Irish speaking community). Though fluent at both Irish and English, whenever he is disoriented, feeling ill, or is in the, um, romantic way, Irish is his go-to language. When Molly Evans first meets him, he is feeling all three of those things.

The only two Irish phrases my mom, an Irish girl from County Mayo, by way of Maltby, England, taught me are “go raibh maith agat” which means “thank you,” and another phrase I can’t mention here. 🙂 So, I needed an expert to help me ensure Cáel’s language was correct.

That person is Thea Ní Cheallaigh (Kelly) from Oileán Chléire or Cape Clear Island in the southwest corner of Ireland. Thea, and Thea’s mother Dorothee Uí Cheallaigh, have a translation business called Ionad Foghlama Chléire. “Cape” as Thea calls it, is a Gaeltacht. It is also a 45-minute boat ride from the mainland.

Thea Kelly and her friends, Síle and Lucy

Thea Kelly and her friends, Síle and Lucy

Thea was kind enough to answer my many questions regarding her life as an Irish teen, and her view of Americans, in particular.

Here is part one of the interview. Part two will be posted next week, on July 8th.

So what’s it like to grow up in a Gaeltacht?

Growing up in a Gaeltacht isn’t much different from growing up anywhere else in Ireland to be honest. I think the real special aspect about where I live however is that fact that it is an island! One really has to adjust to coping with this certain lifestyle, I was born into it so I know nothing else. Continue reading