November 13, 2015


Productivity in the Cole house is through the roof.

Annie has 2 YouTube channels, Max & Mark Adam have one too. Matthew is in a theatre production, Lily & Laura in dance. Mark is busy with work mainly, but often he is hosting a poetry class or reading philosophy! I am so proud to be around such a productive group of people.

I feel so alive!

Please visit our channels and subscribe:
Little Boys Channel
Jazzy Girl Stuff
Annie's Vlogs

January 08, 2015

Would you go?

Ruth 1:16b "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. 

Your people will be my people and your God my God." 

Our alchemy

I told you already, I will go.
Wherever you go I will be there too.
I will hold your hand until we melt together.
Like new.

Let us drink this elixir and
Travel light, with Summer along too,
And in this heat our slippery thoughts are fully exposed.

We sail,
The wind our companion
Bone and bone,
Flesh and flesh,
Dragging behind mistakes forgiven
And my unnamed future without you.

Inspired by my book Gala, which was inspired by the Book of Ruth, available on Amazon in paperback, for those who, like me, like to curl up with a good book; or on Kindle, for those modern women who read the modern way!

January 06, 2015

An Immigrant's Tale

"It’s generally understood that many fiction writers have a semi-autobiographical protagonist in their first books." Joanna Penn

This is certainly true of my first novel. While the story is based on Ruth in the Bible, I could identify with her traveling from one culture to another and working to fit in and be accepted. When I met Mark in 1992, he was only the 3rd American I had ever really met (the first one was also called Marc, at an Irish Language Summer Camp in Blackrock College when I was 12, and like my Mark he was pretty with brown skin, so clean and rich looking). I had never been off the British Isles, not even to the continent (of Europe), let alone the Americas! I am a homebody, I do not like to travel and had no intentions of seeing the world and was not practiced in the art of meeting people different from myself.

So when this American asked me to marry him, with the implicit idea that we would live in the US, I only agreed in my heart when he said that if I didn't like it we could go live in Ireland. Adjusting to American life was very difficult for me. I was very much a South Dublin Protestant when I moved to the States. But I knew for many reasons that my life in Ireland had ended and I was 'meant' to be in America. So I sucked it up. I adjusted. I changed my accent, my clothing. I learned to appreciate American customs and freedoms and ways.

And eventually, like Ruth, like Gala, I was accepted. I found my place. And I was loved.

And now, 20 years later life is good here.

The journey was worth the effort.

Buy my paperback novel Gala on Amazon.
Or get the Kindle version.

December 23, 2014

Last minute gift!

My book is only $2.99 on Kindle.

It is hard to 'give' a digital gift, so why not print this image out and put it in a Christmas card, or make it into a gift tag?

I have a pdf version for printing also, if you can't grab this image then let me know (via email - and I can email you the pdf!

It is a good, clean romance & page turner set in the future, in a fractured America. Written from a perspective of 19 year old Gala there is action, romance, adventure and lots of introspection.

Get it here on Amazon.

In time for Christmas!

December 16, 2014

Lead male in my novel

My book, Gala, is a loose re-telling of the story of Ruth.

If you remember, in the Bible, Ruth is a new widow in search of security, identity and family. Ruth travels from her own country to a new land with her widowed mother-in-law. When they settle Ruth and Naomi set their sights on Boaz, an important member of Naomi's people as a possible protector/husband for Ruth.

In Gala all of the names of the characters have been changed. Ruth is Gala, Naomi is Virginia and Boaz is Luke.

I love my Boaz/Luke character. He is a good man, a complicated, beautiful Mr. Darcy. As I wrote I had an image of an actor to work from: Jim Caviezel. He came to life in my writing mind. I love the slight sadness in his eyes and while he is a good man all is not perfect in his world. Because perfection is not a decent read.

I would love you to read the book and spend time getting to know my Boaz/Luke character.

December 13, 2014

Visual inspiration for writers.

I am a visual person. I have to 'see' something to fully believe or grasp concepts or stories. Even in my writing I have to 'see' what I am a writing. As I wrote my novel, Gala, I pictured the scenery, the characters, the houses, the clothing. I kept a desktop file of inspiration images.
I had certain actors in mind to fill the "roles" in my book. I had interior images of buildings to help me see the location of my story. I had music that played on repeat for the four months of creative writing that brought forth this novel. Needless to say, I was not alone when writing.

I won't post all my images at once, but I would like to introduce you the girl I pictured as "Gala" [pronounced Gal-uh, not Gay-la as in the event!!]. Her name is Abby Cornish, an Australian actress who, for me, embodies a vulnerable but strong female.

I found this images here.

When I found my cover art on I couldn't believe how much the cover photo looked like Ms. Cornish! It was meant to be :)

My book is available on Amazon and Kindle. 

Stay tuned for more images.

If you are a writer I would love to hear what inspires you!

December 10, 2014

Published on Amazon!

I did it. Finally. I took my guts in my hands and published my novel. I ordered a copy of it on Sunday, right after it was published and my copy came in the mail today, Wednesday. I didn't even look inside for fear I missed inputting one of my editors changes or made some other mistake. I just wanted to call it good. To say "I did it."

So, yes! I did.

And if I can do this, then anyone can do whatever it is they are dreaming of! I have 6 kids each with very active lives and large personalities. I homeschool them. I have a wonderful cleaning lady who comes weekly, and lot's of friends and emotional support, plus a super busy, loving husband but otherwise I do all my own household work/homeschooling/driving kids around myself. I took longer than someone who works at writing full time would, but I made the time in my busy mamma life for creativity. If I can do this, you can do this!

And it is worth the effort. I have accomplished something I am proud of. I like the characters in this book. I like the tone of the book. I like that it brings to life a Biblical story (it is loosely based on the Book of Ruth). I like the cover, thank you Beetiful Graphic Design!

I am not in this game to sell tons of books or make money. I just wanted to tell a good story. If you do want to buy the book you can buy:
Paper back for $9.49 on Amazon
Kindle for $3.99 on Amazon
If you have bought the paper back, you can also get the Kindle for $1.99 and if you are enrolled in the  Kindle unlimited program (which is $9.99 a month) my book, along with 700K other books, is free!

December 06, 2014

Nearly time to publish!

All edits are in, thank you Nicole, reviews are complete and I am almost ready to publish this book! I know it has taken me longer than I planned, but better late than never.
I didn't have an external deadline, just me. So here I am controlling my own path. I guess that launching the book just in time for Christmas is as good an idea as any.

So, if you want a signed copy of the book let me know and I can arrange that. I am selling pre-orders at my church this Sunday.

September 01, 2014


Matthew and Reese looking to the future
My son had a school project - to create a shield that represents America in the future. He and his study group brainstormed and then Matthew and his buddy Reese created this circle shield. It's dystopian of course. It seems that their generation so easily accepts a view of the future that life is going to get worse, or at least is not going to be better. So much of their literature is dystopian - think of The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner and the Divergent series for YA - all dystopian. They all portray the premise that the America we know may one day not exist. On their shield the boys drew only a few stars, because in their imagined future only a few states would exist, some would have merged, some would have seceded.

It is interesting to me that they would come up with this because that is what happens in my story. Matthew hasn't read my book, I did most of my writing at night when he was in bed, and I have not really discussed it with him. The background of Gala is that America is fractured - for example: California and some of the surrounding states have become a country called "New West" while Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas have merged to become "Tristate". New West was a country started with great vision, but has since descended into an pre-1989 East Germany type communism. Gala escapes from New West and travels across a vast area of destroyed land to reach a mysterious, prosperous, old fashioned democracy in Tristate. (It's true, I am truly a conservative Texan!)

I would love Matthew to create a flag for my book! Maybe he and I could work on it together. One day. When we are not so ridiculously busy with school and church and soccer and debate and family and friends and the other stuff that makes up our current, decidedly not dystopian life!

I got the proof of my book. It is in the hands of my editor, Nicole Watson for a final read through. I already know a couple of layout changes I want to make. It will be just what I want it to be when I finally get it up onto the book shelf!

July 30, 2014

Do it for the....

This week I will get closer to uploading my book, Gala, to Amazon and get my proof. Yep. I'm going to do it, even though I have had moments of doubt recently. Why do it?

1) Mark, my husband, said do it.
2) My friends said do it.
3) Some friends and family have taken the time to read and do a light edit, I need to respect their time.
4) I paid for a cover.
5) I paid for a pro edit.
6) My daughter is writing her own books and I need to model publishing for her (like Jeanie James said in the last post comment).
7) I said I would and I need to be true to my word.
8) I always wanted to do this. Why stop now? What do I have to lose?

I was procrastinating last night and saw a news article about a Viner who has become a star due to millions of teenage girl fans. Shawn Mendes has a new song on You Tube that I listened to. I didn't like the song much, but the lyrics inspired me! The irony jolted me - here I was surfing the internet, avoiding working on my novel while this kid singing about not being ordinary, risking making mistakes, taking a shot even if it scary! I woke this morning with my to do list clear.

So this week I will try to wrap up the formatting and probably read it one last time. I am getting closer and closer to being ready. Everyday I do something on this book, all those little things add up! When it will be available on Amazon, I don't know exactly - Nicole, my editor will read the hardcopy once more in case there are any final edits, but hopefully it is pretty close.

July 24, 2014

Beautiful Away

I had a month away from home. A month at my old home. The place where I grew up. With my family.

And now - jet lag. Appreciation of what was. Marveling at the speed of it. The indulgence of it. Loving my old life with fresh eyes.

Yes, it is always good to get away, to have a lovely time all the while letting the break build appreciation for the life created at home.


The editing is done on my book, thank you Nicole Watson, she understood my writing and cleaned it up without changing my voice. Priceless really. Now I am formatting my manuscript again for the CreateSpace template. It could have been done by now, but honestly I am dragging my cold feet.

Why? I don't know, something to do with putting myself out there, being bare, reading too many one star Amazon reviews on other books and knowing the boldness of people who would tear you to pieces while they drink their morning coffee. It would be easier to stay home and keep my ideas to myself. It would be easier to write a story for my friends who are delighted that I did it and supportive of my efforts.

Oh, I don't know, something to do with putting myself out there, being bare, realizing that, worse than criticism, the audience may be mute, indifferent, absent. I am a people person. I have never had a strong internal motivation drive. I am a 'clean the house in 30 minutes if a friend says she is on her way' kind of person. I have always worried about turn out at a party. For me to put on a party where no one shows is one of my life's big horrors! I remember when I was 4 hiding on the attic stairs waiting for my birthday party to start and feeling a deep relief when the doorbell finally chimed. It meant that at least someone came. I like a big party. But I know I need a big invite list to get a few people to show up. For this book, in the grand scheme of things, I don't even have a small invite list! As it is today, I don't really want to do the things I should to market my book, to get an audience to read my story. How can someone read a book they don't know about? And given that will the silence ruin my fragile motivation to keep writing? Can I keep doing this just for me?

Yes, I guess I have old fashioned stage fright. Nothing new in the world. Just my version of it and as I am publishing the book myself I have no deadline. I have no one telling me I have to do this or do that. Here in lies freedom, but also the problem. And in that freedom I am dragging my cold feet.

June 14, 2014

Another round of editing

Waiting to fly
Once I took a class on hospitailty. The leader said something that rang true with me - basically, that your guest will probably not notice if your house is perfectly tidy and clean, but if your house is a mess they will notice.

In the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter what your house looks like. But in reality details do matter and bad details distract.

So the same goes for editing my novel.

I want to the put the best book out there that I can. In order for Gala to be an easy read, and ensure grammar does not distract from the flow of the story, I have decided to do one more round of editing. As I have limited grammar skills, I have farmed that out to someone. That someone is Nicole Watson. She is going carefully through my story finding things I didn't even know were problems!

I am ready to release Gala, to free my table so that I can write my next book. It's a lesson in patience. I am okay with that, just a little more work to make Gala into what it is meant to be. Fully formed and beautiful.

June 07, 2014

Finished book jacket!

"It is the year 2053, 19 year old Gala has lost almost everything - her parents, her husband, her belief in the dictatorship of New West. Living in a fractured America she is faced with a chance to escape and start over in another part of the country. Venturing into unknown territory will Gala find what she desperately desires - acceptance, security and true love? Or is it an unattainable a dream?"

"Gala is a journey of loss, hope and love and is inspired, in part, by the biblical book of Ruth."

"Shona C. Cole is author of the book The Artistic Mother, published by North Light Books. She was born in London, England, raised in Dublin, Ireland. She moved to the US when she married an American student she met while they attended college at Trinity College Dublin. She lives currently in Texas with him and their six children. Shona is a mixed media artist and storyteller."

Thank you to my designer Stefanie Fontecha. Working with her was so easy!

June 06, 2014

Books I have read

I went to school in the 70s and 80s in Ireland and I think there was some kind of progressive experiment going on because we didn't study phonics or grammar! I was not a natural reader, but equally I was not encouraged to read at all growing up or in school. How I can read and write is a mystery to me! 

Even so, I did read a little growing up - Go Ask Alice, The Flowers in the Attic series, many anthologies of Irish ghost stories, and hmmm… well, nothing that was not 'dark', books I would never let my kids read! It wasn't until I was 23 that I really took up reading! I am a sporadic, but passionate reader - I won't pick up a book for months, but then I will get into a story and you won't see me for 2 days! A good book can truly drown out the rest of the world! I love that feeling. 

As an adult I have read many books, but only a few stand out in my mind. In general, I enjoy two kinds of books 1) modern literary fiction and 2) fast-paced, easy to read stories.

Here is a (partial) list of type 1 books that I have read and enjoyed (you may notice a book to movie theme here):
The book Thief
The Kite Runner
Lovely Bones
Water for Elephants
Wuthering Heights
Endless Love
Gone Girl
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Love in a Time of Cholera
Solider of the Great War
Many Jean Plaidy books
Sleeping In Eden
Burial Rites

type 2 books:
The Notebook
Dear John
(I have read so many more light weight books that I picked up at the grocery store for summer reading, but they are not worth mentioning!)

While I would love to write something that would make the literary world swoon, with perfectly crafted lines, realistically my novel is more along the lines of type 2. And that's ok! There is room in this world for all kinds of stories. 

Gala is an easy read. It is a clean (read, no bedroom scenes), emotional, love story, with a fair bit of action thrown in. I like my book. I really do. I like the story because it is based loosely on a beautiful love story in the Bible - Ruth. I used the bones of that story to guide me in crafting this one. I have in mind two more books based on some awesome Old Testament stories. But I get ahead of myself! 

If you have a favorite book type or actual book that you would like to recommend, I would love to hear. I need a book to read during my international flight in a few weeks. It will need to be an easy read as I will have my toddler in tow! 

June 03, 2014

My voice

This is a lovely photo of my 10 year old, not related to anything!
There are a lot of people like me in America today. So what am I? - Christian, conservative, artistic sahm

If you looked only at the TV, movies, adverts, magazines, 'romance books' etc, you would believe that there are hardly any Christians or conservatives or happy sahms in the world, and the handful that exist are all mean, judgmental people who live boring lives!

I have been around Christian people of all kinds since birth. I grew up with a Christian mother and grandmother, attended Christian schools and summer Bible camps, went weekly to Sunday School, I was very active in the Protestant Girl's Brigade and got 100% on my Bible exams. I have attended church almost every week since the Fall of 1996 when I finally acknowledged I was in need of a savior. Most of the true friends I have had in my life are Christians. My husband is an Elder at our church. Our life revolves around our church friends. I live in Texas, where everyone goes to church, it seems! I know for a fact that we are NOT all judgmental people who live boring lives. 

Christians - these are my people. I love my people, but my people did a foolish thing in the last 20 years - they allowed the non-Christian academics and creatives to dominate education, the arts, entertainment and media. They control the voice of our world. They control the content of TV shows we watch. They write and produce the movies we love to go see at the movies. They control the content of education and literature and music and painting. We are often on the sidelines watching as they paint with a massive brush changing the hearts of our children. 

But Christians - we do exist! In droves, albeit quiet and sidelined.  

I believe Christians should have a voice in popular culture. Not necessarily always with a 'Christian' message, but at least a voice that is not offensive to Christian or conservative ideals. But no one is going to invite us to join in. We need to put ourselves in there. We need to man-up and make art, teach, speak up and take part in the world!

Years ago I used to watch the TV show 'Law and Order'. One night I watched a few episodes in a row when I noticed a troubling trend - the baddie was always a young to middle aged, educated father! Men that look like my husband or many of my friend's husbands! I quit watching that show cause it was just depressing! The picture they painted was one that is just not my reality. I know thousands of awesome men who would die rather than harm a woman or child. 

To counteract this for a long time I dreamed of writing a realistic, but positive, male character. A man who could make you swoon like Mr. Darcy, or Edward Cullen. A beautiful, strong, good man. A man my girls could search for and my boys could emulate.

So I did. There are two male characters in my book. Luke Johnson and his cousin Nash Johnson. Once my book is published then I will have taken my own small step in the direction of changing the culture, of showing the world (or the 100 people that will listen) that people like me, Christian, conservative, artistic moms have a voice!  

Edit Time

For Kindle you just have to have a book cover, but for the print book you need a back cover too. Tonight, I downloaded my book's full print cover. I just love what my designer, Stefanie Fontecha has done, the cover is beautiful - minimalist but emotional. I love the font and the colors.

I am not 100% sure on my back cover text though. I may edit that one last time. That text has to sell my book to people who don't know me or care that I am a super-cool mommy writer! They only want to know what the story is about and if it is worth their time to read it ! That is a big burden for one little paragraph.

If anyone wants to read the back cover text, let me know and I will email it to you! I would love the feedback. 

I have sent my novel's file out to one last person to read and then when I get her edits (here's hoping there are not too many) I will be ready to upload the story to Createspace along side the cover. Then I will order a writer's proof. I hope to have that in hand before I go to Ireland. Then I assume I can make any final changes or edits before I hit 'publish'.

My Mum told me tonight about a friend of my sister-in-law who wrote a book and on a whim sent it off to JK Rowling's publisher and it was accepted! She wondered if I should do the same. I thought for a second and then said "no." I feel okay with self publishing. I don't want to involve a third party. I don't want to wait and wonder what they think. I just want to get on with it, put the book out there and mark the project as done!

Once Gala is launched then I will be free to write the next book! I have done the outline of the next book which is called "Sive" (pronounced Si-ve, the 'i' says it's own name). I am ready to get writing again!

Editing my manuscript has been a little tiresome, it is not as thrilling as writing the first draft. But I am so glad each time I go back through it because I invariably find a typo I over-looked, like missing quotation marks or an extra 'o' on to, or my worst offense - mixing tenses! I can't believe how many times I wrote in the present tense when the book is written in the past tense! I wrote the initial story so quickly there are bound to be even more mistakes!

But hopefully, what I publish will be the best it can be. I wish my story all the best as it sails off into the world for love and ridicule. Be strong little tale, your momma believes in you :)

May 31, 2014

Imagery and a love story (my own)

Farwell, Texas by Shona Cole 1992

Images can inspire words. I have always first been a visual person. I can only learn something if I look at it. I can only do Math problems if I draw them out. And I have found I can only write if I have images to give me that certain feeling (well, and music too, but that is for another post). 

The first half of my novel is set in a land that looks like West Texas. In my real life at Christmas, 1992 I visited America for the first time. I had met a man in college in Ireland the year before. We knew each other for only 6 weeks before he returned to the States, but it was enough to change my whole world. He was different from every other man I had met. He was self contained, confident, independent and deeply passionate. We wrote letters when he left, but I never thought I would see him again. I was an Irish college student with no intention of ever leaving Ireland. I had never even been on the European continent let alone the Americas! 

In spring and summer, 1992, he was in Germany and later Liechtenstein working for Hilti. He called me out of the blue and invited me to visit him while he was in Germany. My parents said I shouldn't go, we hardly know him and he is a right-wing conservative therefore he could be a crazy maniac! I went anyhow. He met me at the Cologne airport and I was nervous. He was as beautiful and interesting as I remembered but what if my parents were right? What on earth was I doing there? What if the relationship wasn't as romantic as I remembered and I was stuck there for 2 weeks with a total stranger? But, as we stood at that bleak bus stop he touched my hair and I knew it was all good.  

We traveled back and forth between Liechtenstein and Ireland that summer and at Christmas when he had returned again to the US he invited me over for a few weeks. 

Mark's 1980 Chevy Camaro
I flew to Dallas and he picked my up in his red Camaro and drove me west to his hometown in Farwell, Texas. I was devastated. It was flat and empty and I thought the place looked like the moon! I had at that point entertained the idea that we could one day marry, but I could not picture myself living in such a rough, flat, brown place! I am from Ireland, I love green and hills!

I took many photos when I was there and journaled and wrote poems and tried to sketch things to make myself love the place. I painted the painting above when I returned home to Ireland from a photo I took at the end of Mark's Mom's street. I saw it as bleak then. I see it as beautiful and romantic now. In reality, of course, it is both.

We did get married, we did move to Texas, not to the Panhandle, but to Houston. It took me years to love Texas. I can honestly say that now I love Texas. I love the man from Texas that I married. I love my husband. I love our life here on 5 acres north of Houston. Houston is green. We have trees (just no hills). We travel every summer to Ireland so I get my fill of beautiful. 

My novel is set in Texas. Gala travels there on foot across a ruined land. The year is 2053, America is fractured and Texas has joined with two other states to form the Tristate. It is a place of hope and security in a crumbling world. Yep, my personal biases are stamped all over my novel. Let's call a spade a spade. But I am writing for people like me. Conservative, freedom-cherishing Americans who love the good guys to win! 

May 30, 2014

Realistic Expectations

Photo credit - Sophia Cole, my talented niece

People can only read something if they have heard of it! Obvious enough. But for people to hear about my book then I will need to do some kind of marketing campaign. 

And honestly, as I am a busy artistic mother and not a marketer, I don't really have
1)  the time or
2) the know how to market a book. 

Timewise, I just have to be realistic. It is amazing how much I can get done if I break it down into little chunks and slot the tasks into the quieter parts of my day or, realistically for me, evening. I have been reading blogs describing all things I could do to get the word out. Some of them I am just not going to do, others I can chip away at little by little. Every little step gets me one more potential reader.  

Concerning point 2, I can learn how to market. As I said, I have been reading a lot about book launching. Much it seems to swirl around social marketing. I can handle a little of that. Yes, I have this blog and Facebook  (Oh, I started a Twitter account! So follow me there too. My twitter name is Shona C Cole, or just Shona Cole, I am not sure! I have 8 followers as of today ;). I am thinking of an Instagram and Pinterest project, I will see how that goes…. 

Social media is time consuming, I don't have a lot of time. It's a circular problem, but I will do my best!

Regardless of what I do, if I am realistic - probably not many people will even know that there is a book called 'Gala' to read. But that is okay. It is what it is. I am at peace with the balance of my life. I am a mother first and I love my kids. While I love the novel I wrote, nothing compares to the enormousness of who my people are and are becoming. 

May 29, 2014

Why I am blogging

Photo by Laura Cole, 10
Essentially, writing here I am piggybacking on my old blog. I am writing about art still - but now the written kind. What is my new blogging purpose? Well, I will be journalling about the creative process that resulted in me writing my novel, as well as the ins and outs of my story.

Words can create castles in our minds. I hope that my storytelling actually paints mental images for my readers and the characters arise from the page. In that way I can see my writing as an extension of my decade of visual art.

In Gala, I have tried to used simple words to created a future America, ruined by war, fractured but hopeful, with some compelling characters to love. I am excited to put these words out there into the world and see where they may land. The few people who have read it so far have loved it, but perhaps they are biased as they know me in real life. I will be interested to see what other people who read it think! Not too long now! I plan to publish it before the Fall, 2014.

In the meantime, I will blog a little once in a while about the book writing and launch process and other thoughts. I hope you come back!

May 27, 2014

My new book cover

I was considering a cover for my book and I discovered this universe of pre-made book covers! Yes, there are photographers/designers out there who make covers to sell to authors like me. You pick one, contact the artist, they give you a proof, you agree to it, pay and then they mark it as sold and no one else can have that cover.

I browsed and browsed until I found this cover by Stefanie Fontecha at Beetiful Bookcovers. I simple fell in love with the color and font and the melancholy look on the girl's face. It is perfect for my novel.

And now you know the title of my book! Gala. I will tell you more about the title and the book itself later, but it is at love story/action story.


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