Hello Readers!

Happy Fall! As you’re reading this, I’m in Ireland for a month finishing up research and writing for my newest novel, The Irish Girl, slated for publication on Oct. 1, 2024 with She Writes Press. What a wild and beautiful place the West Coast of Ireland is!

In addition to walking country lanes, being in tune with the wild weather in Western Ireland, listening to traditional music, and sampling Irish fare, I am talking to librarians, historians, shopkeepers, pub owners, and townsfolk in rural County Galway where my great-grandmother grew up in the late 19th century, and upon whom the novel is loosely based.

While I’m in Ireland, four beta readers are reading the manuscript, along with peer author/reader Janis Robinson Daly, and my author father, Gerald F. Sweeney. And what about this cottage where I’m staying? Dreamy, or what?!


Happy Anniversary to Hardland

Hardland recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. Yay for Ruby Fortune and her brave story.


New Awards for Hardland

I’m happy to announce that Hardland placed in the 2023 WILLA Literary Awards for Historical Fiction, the third time I have been awarded this honor. Kali Fajardo-Anstine is this year’s winner for Woman of the Light. I am also honored to share the finalist award with long-time novelist Jane Kirkpatrick for her novel, Beneath the Bending Skies. We will all meet at the virtual awards ceremony in October.

Also, Hardland placed in the 2023 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Historical Fiction-Arizona. Hurrah for Ruby Fortune!


Who Am I? Who are You?

In my recent blog post on Women Writers, Women’s Books, I share my journey of using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator Test (MBTI) to discover the traits that have helped me in my writing career. I even use the MBTI for each of my book characters to understand them better.

Eliza Waite, the protagonist of my eponymous 2016 debut novel, is an ISTJ (introverted, observant, thinker, judger) who prefers an orderly life and is rattled when all does not go according to plan. Knowing this helped inform how Eliza would react to difficult circumstances, especially upon the death of her young son.

Ada Weeks, the protagonist of my second novel (2020), Answer Creek, is an ISTP (introverted, observant, thinker, perceiver) who improvises with what life hands her. And did it hand her a bad deal—as a fictional member of the infamous Donner Party, she is forced to endure the unthinkable in the winter of 1846-47.

Not surprisingly, Ruby Fortune, the heroine of my third, and newest, novel, Hardland is an extrovert, an ESFP (extroverted, observant, feeler, perceiver). Once the darling of the rodeo circuit, she is a shoot-from-the-hip heroine who never backs down from adventure or conflict.

If you haven’t taken the Myers Briggs Type Indicator Test, give it try. You might be surprised to learn more about how you tick, and what makes you, you.

Read the full blog post here.


Summer Book Read

I’m having an all-Irish year reading either Irish authors or books set in Ireland. Here are six books I loved this summer, some new, some not so new:

  • Out of Ireland, by Marian O’Shea Wernicke
  • Star of the Sea, by Joseph O’Conner
  • Down by the River, by Edna O’Brien
  • Brigid of Kildare, by Heather Terrell
  • Nora, by Nuala O’Conner
  • The Marriage Portrait, by Maggie O’Farrell









In Closing

Have you been traveling? I’d love to hear about your travels—and I can’t wait to share my experiences and pictures with you next month.

Until then, Happy Reading . . .