I'm Oonagh: story-telling and story-seeking from Perthshire, Scotland. I'm a writer and literature lover, especially fantasy, the Gothic, folklore and poetry. This is a place to share my stories.
I make sense of the world with words. Writing is my passion and over the years I’ve filled hundreds of notebooks with thoughts, stories and the worlds in my head. This blog is a digital version of my writer’s notebook, a place to share my words, creative process and thoughts on writing.
A crumbling castle shrouded in mist. The gloomy North Sea in October. A barren moor haunted by deer. Eerie coffin roads through deserted glens and ghostly townships spattered with rain and memory. The dramatic Gaelic landscape and legends of my home provide the basis for much of my writing, and will feature often on my blog.
I like to fill my life with art, books, music and creativity. Books have changed the direction of my life, and I am continually inspired by the lives and work of other writers and artists. For me, there is nothing more exciting than finding a story, song or artwork that speaks to me, and I try to share as many of my discoveries as I can.
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For updates on my current writing projects, exclusive peeks into my writers notebook and an insight into my creative process sign up to my monthly newsletter. All subscribers will receive my prose-poem Song of the Deer, which I do not share anywhere else.
It’s time. The snow is falling. Stars twinkle cold in the icy sky. I am frozen to the bone from trudging in the drifts. Frozen but content, shaking meltwater from my hair. Getting home, pulling boots off. It’s time. The arrival of a quiet, December moment. I brew a cup of tea, balance some biscuits on the arm of the chair and settle into a wintry read…
On November 30th I’m releasing my novelette The Bone-Men into the world.
It feels exciting and scary all at once. Perhaps that’s to be expected sharing creative endeavours – a little bit of our soul is in everything we create. Overall, I feel joy that I can share this first step in my author journey with you.
I shared a daydream of mine on Instagram recently.
I am entertaining visitors with tea and spiced apple cake at my future cottage. Because I am intensely homely that cottage will likely be nestled among the leafy hills of Perthshire. Of course, it’s autumn, because I want my visitors to experience this corner of Scotland at its best – burnished, fire-hued and wreathed in mist.
We’ve all heard of the phrase ‘you are what you eat’, but what if we are what we read?
The last time I looked at my shelves it was like looking in a mirror. My past and future dreams rested on those shelves, all my beliefs and prejudices jumbled one atop the other in a yellow paged, dog-eared testament to who I am. Perhaps this explains the vulnerable feeling I get when a guest peruses my bookshelf. It feels like they are turning the pages of my diary.
Edinburgh. A city for old souls. The haunt of writers and ghosts of writers. Streets built upon the bones of something older, an open book where chapter titles are written with invisible ink.
Three days here was a dream. I watched, slowed to the pace of a curious wanderer. Forgot the things I’ve seen a thousand times. I let one of those blank chapters fall open in my hands and noted down what I saw.
Here is the fruit – one blustery September in Edinburgh, seen through the eyes of an autumn-souled writer.
September marks two significant milestones in my writing journey – six months since I decided to focus on writing fulltime and, more importantly, the completion of the second draft of my novel.
In some ways this second draft was much harder than the first. The hurricane of creation was replaced with picking through the wreckage, I was basically rewriting from scratch and sometimes it seemed like the story was getting worse instead of better. In fact, I’m going to write a blog post on all this soon because there’s a lot of advice and thought written on the first draft but not many writers talk about the second. (I now know why: it’s too traumatic).
Here's to the early days of autumn. Is there anything better than feeling that first chill in the air, pulling on an oversized jumper and curling up with an absorbing read? Below is a list of the books I plan to read this season, pages of magic and poetry, ghosts and uncanny quiet. I hope that you will find these tales as enticing as I do...
This morning I woke up naturally, padded into the kitchen and watched the bristle of rain from the window while my tea brewed. The face of the church clock was obscured by silvered haze, the leaves and post-box red fruit of the apple tree glistened with damp.
I paused to appreciate the unmistakable stirrings of autumn, letting my mind drift to a mist-wreathed kingdom of seal-folk and ancient things.
A far cry from where I was a few months ago – stressed, frustrated and lost. Unable to slow down or appreciate my favourite time of day in my hurry to get out the door and to work on time.
On Friday I visited St Andrews with a picnic and hopes for a final summer day out. Here are the thoughts I scribbled afterwards in my writer’s notebook.
The wind blows mutinously from the off, closing the Tay Bridge. Finally we reach St Andrews, where it whistles down dingy closes and tuneless cackles, “Game’s up! Autumn is here!”
I ignore it and find warmth by the sea. A pungent fug of rotting weed and salt. The tide is stripped back, a seal lolls on a rock. The houses lining the coast look like they contain mysteries – consulting detectives, vanishing people and cats guarding ancestral secrets.