Coming soon: Barmbrack

                     Coming soon to and Kindle

                     Final Cover


 a play


Loretto Horrigan Leary

Mary is a young Irish woman living in New York city. She shares an apartment with three other Irish women. Rosie, the pretty new immigrant, just moved in.

It is a time of change in America. President John F Kennedy visits Ireland on June 28, 1963, and promises peace and freedom in his speech to the Irish parliament. For many Irish-Americans it is a time to celebrate Irish culture and heritage in the melting pot they call New York city.

Bridget is Mary’s neighbor and good friend. Mister Nowak is a survivor of the holocaust. They have learned through their own experiences that life is too short, live it as you wish to.

Is life like Barmbrack? Filled with strange surprises, forcing us to accept our lot and make do with what we find?  Or can we shape our destiny? Is it the luck of the draw, or do we have control over our happiness?

Mary decides, upon listening to Bridget and Mister Novak’s shared experiences of loss, that if she wants true happiness she must go after it.

For Mary, and those around her, actions do speak louder than words. Everyone is ready for peace and change. But peace and change mean different things to Mary.


Review of Death and the Bereavement Group

Death and the Bereavement Group Cover

Death and the Bereavement Group by Loretto Horrigan Leary

Review of Death and the Bereavement Group on

This book reminded me of one of my favorite movies, “Fargo,” by the Coen Bros. The world and the characters are so detailed and developed that it just seems simply realistic.

One of the best characteristics of a well made movie or well written novel, is to forget that you’re watching or reading, and to just be submerged into the story.

Check out this book and you’ll be transported to a small town filled with mystery. I’m ready for volume 2 🙂

Celtic Guide’s review of Mona, The Body in the Bog

Celtic Guide September Issue 2013

Celtic Guide September Issue 2013

I received a rather interesting book in the mail to review for this special ‘Muse’ issue of Celtic Guide.

The book, entitled, Mona, the Body in the Bog, was written by Loretto Leary, who hails from Connecticut but was actually born in County Galway, Ireland.
I absolutely love hearing about finds of old bodies, especially skulls, that have somehow remained intact enough for modern forensic study to take place. I most particularly love to see facial reconstruction as it brings these ancient Celts and other races to life, showing that they
usually didn’t really look much different than we
do, their lives were just so incredibly different.
Mona, the body in the bog

Mona, the body in the bog

The book struck me as being about halfway between a mystery novel and a documentary, though that is only my opinion.

Loretta says, “I was going for the reader coming to understand that the perfect society for women is a society that gives freedom of choice. I used the past and present tales to show how even though matriarchal societies sounded great for women, they really weren’t. And that even today, unless we have choice, we’re stuck in the
mud, so to speak.”
The mystery begins when a body is found in a bog in Ireland during construction work. It follows the lives of Elan, a female tribal chieftain from 700 BC, and Maire, the modern-day forensic scientist who studies her, naming her “Mona”.
A little bit of archeology, science, history, superstition, and drama, all told with Loretto Leary’s compassionate, intelligent voice, it is easy to instantly loved the characters in this story and to remain glued to the pages.
Was Mona murdered, or was it an accidental
death? Why did she die with three Roman coins
in her mouth? Will Maire be able to solve the
Loretto tells us, “This is a Celtic love story
and murder mystery, which unfolds with the
help of modern day forensic science. But science
can’t tell us everything. The lives of two women,
one in ancient Celtic Ireland, the other in present
day Ireland, unfolds as a bog body is discovered
and the brutality of the death is revealed. Both
women face challenges from the societies they
Thank you Loretto for this great book!
(Just a note: this book is appropriate for ages 13
and older. There is some sex, and some violence
that younger readers might want to avoid.)
Thanks to James for reviewing Mona, the body in the Bog.

Suspend, willingly, your disbelief

Driving away to safety in a soft top convertible. The last scene in The Birds (Image source Bill of the Birds Blogspot)

Driving away to safety in a soft top convertible. The last scene in The Birds (Image source Bill of the Birds Blogspot)

Suspend, willingly, your disbelief: that’s what’s written on the very first page of all my self-published books and stories. I am bewitching the reader, if you will, to believe that anything is possible.

It is possible for alien creatures to inhabit the earth and influence our comprehension and our votes. It is possible for a man to kill his brother by poisoning him with medieval methods, and it is, by all means, very possible that there are con artists out there attending bereavement group meetings and swindling rich widowers out of thousands and thousands of Euro.

It is possible, anything is, when it is fiction.

Al Pacino, in my opinion, THE best Shylock ever. (Image source

Al Pacino, in my opinion, THE best Shylock ever. (Image source

The term, suspend, willingly, your disbelief is a manipulation of a phrase I heard often at NUI Galway while studying there from 1988 to 1991. One professor, Dr. Hubert McDermott, spoke of Shakespeare’s ability to command willing suspension of disbelief of his readers, in particular with regard to The Merchant of Venice.

Shylock was going to get his pound of flesh from Antonio. Oh yes he was, and we broke a sweat when he had to figure out how to do it without spilling a drop of Antonio’s blood. I won’t ruin the ending for you, just read the play.

The most demanding willing suspension of disbelief is done in Alfred Hitchcock‘s film The Birds. We have cowered behind the couch, covered our eyes, and ducked beneath pillows watching the birds go apes*!t on the humans. Then we watch in utter horror as the birds peck the wooden doors and glass windows of the house to shreds as the humans seek safety within.

The Birds original poster (Image source Wikipedia)

The Birds original poster (Image source Wikipedia)

We scream at the top of our lungs, “Don’t go in there!” as Tippi Hedren investigates the noises coming from a room at the top of the house. She is pecked to pieces, the poor thing.

We sigh a breath of relief as Rod Taylor drives her and his sister and elderly mother away in a soft top convertible through a landscape strewn with carnivorous birds, just waiting, waiting patiently.

Suspend, willingly, your disbelief.

Éirinn go Brách

viewsbycountryOne of the most interesting things about keeping a blog is clicking on the stats button and seeing where in the world your readers are.

In this first year of The Gathering in Ireland and with the now common place usage of the words Irish diaspora, I thought I might suggest some collaborative writing to those of you out there around the globe.

I watched a lovely film this past week called Paris, Je t’aime, a compilation of 18 vignettes all set in Paris. 18 perspectives of one place, some a bit zany, others just beautiful and simple. My favorite was the last vignette starring Margo Martindale as, “Carol, a letter carrier from Denver, Colorado on her first European holiday, recites in rough French what she loves about Paris,” as per Wikipedia’s summary.

I thought how wonderful it would be if those of us scattered around the globe from Ireland or of Irish heritage could collaborate on a compilation of short stories set in Ireland, or alternatively, what it meant to grow up as part of the Irish diaspora.

ErinGoBraghYou can tell me if it is too cooky but I would call the collection of short stories Éirinn go Brách which means Ireland Forever.

Some of you are reading this blog in France, New Zealand, England, Australia, Hong Kong, Spain, Greece, Germany, and here in America,but wherever you are, if you have a love of writing and would like to write a short story and contribute it to the final collaboration just send me an email through my author’s website contact page and we’ll get this thing going.

Who knows, if it goes well we’ll all get a little more attention as writers. I would publish it with and we could each do a small author’s bio as well. If you’re interested just let me know. I would suggest that we set a price that would make nothing more than a penny profit, this is just a collaboration to bring more attention to our written work after all. But if you disagree, tell me why, make other suggestions, I am open to them.

Death and the bereavement group now available on Kindle

Death and the Bereavement Group2Death and the bereavement group

now available on Kindle

Click here.

Available for purchase in paperback from on June 16th.

Click here to purchase paperback.


Dying is never easy, and trying to con people out of money before you kill them is even more difficult. You’ve got to have your wits about you, an abundance of patience, a shot gun, a shovel, an isolated burial place, and a bit of Irish soda bread. If the job is to be done, it must be done without any trace of evidence whatsoever. It just so happens, our murderer has had prior experience. She’s killed before, and never left a trail. Dark comedy and sinister tale all in one, Death and the bereavement group will make you think about who is your friend and who is your enemy, and bereavement groups.

Death and the bereavement group excerpt

Death and the Bereavement Group2Chapter 1


Happy is the corpse that the rain falls on.


June 8th, 2011

Elizabeth is looking through The Irish Times obituary section when her mobile phone vibrates across the table to the tune of, “If you’re looking for trouble.”

“Hello there,” trying to sound glad that she’s talking to the person on the other end of the phone.

 “What’s the story in the obits?” She can tell he’s still lying in bed, he sounds groggy. Elizabeth pulls a loose strand of her short blonde bobbed hair back behind her right ear and tucks it in tightly.

 “I just opened to the obituary. Let me see.” She starts to read. BYRNE (née McCarthy) (Ballystrand, Co. Galway) – June 3, 2008. Peacefully at Galway Hospital, Margaret (Margie) beloved wife of William, mother of Joseph, Liam, Lorchan and Bridget. Sadly missed by her sons, daughter, grandchildren Sean, Keiran, Saoirse and Elaine, daughters-in-law Barbara, Mary and Katherine, brothers Michael, Sean and Seamus

and sisters Teresa, Patricia and Anne, sister-in-law Miriam, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. RIP. Reposing at O’Brien’s Funeral Home, Galway Road, Ballystrand, tomorrow (Wednesday) from 5.30pm to 9pm. Removal on Thursday to the Saint Bridget’s Church in Ballystrand, arriving for 11am funeral Mass. Followed by burial at Saint Joseph’s Cemetery in Ballystrand.

 “Too many relatives,” the voice at the other end states. It is an English accent, not very proper, but not impoverished either, a hint of a privileged upbringing.

 “Ok,” she responds and her eyes move down the column methodically.

 “Elizabeth?” he says, making the ‘E’ long and sexy, rolling the ‘’l into the ‘iz’ and finishing with the double consonant ‘a-beth.’ She can hear him rustling between the sheets.

 “Light of my life, fire of my loins.” The breathing becomes deliberate and heavy.

 “Oh, fire of your loins! I like that!” she says and continues to scan the newspaper that has covered most of the surface of the small kitchen table.

 “Vladimir Nabakov.”

 Elizabeth holds the mobile phone away from her ear. Her mouth pulls up on the right side, and her eyebrows rise into a ‘What are you talking about?’ glance. Putting the phone back to her ear she knows she must ask, but she already knows the answer.

 “Vladimir who?” Best to keep him happy.

”Nabakov. Vladimir Nabakov darling. He wrote Lolita? You really must educate yourself and read the classics darling.” He yawns and stretches and scratches himself. She hears everything. Now he’s wide awake.

 “Yes, the classics, that’s it! How’s the passport coming along?”

 “Your new American passport will be at your Dublin address tomorrow. Go on with the obits love. Let me here what our pickings are like?” Eugene is two minutes of foreplay, one minute of sex, and the rest of the day he’s about money she thinks to herself. He was the one who came up with the scam and the rules.

 The rules were simple; a widower with as few children as possible, the less family, the less interference.

 The first step was to locate the widower; gain some information about his work, his family, his bank account, and his house. The house was key. His job was important too, but the house was the deal breaker. It had to be a mansion of a place. Finding that out would probably take a reconnaissance mission to the town. They’d gather some vital information about the real estate market in the area. Let a few of the retailers know that she was recently widowed, was looking to relocate to the town, temporarily for now but with the possibility of moving there permanently, if she liked the area. And it just so happened, she always liked the area.

“Here’s something!” she says and reads aloud. “Maureen O’Shea (née Harrington) (Kiluisce, Co. Galway) – June 6, 2008. Died peacefully at Galway Hospital, Sinead, beloved wife of William, will be sadly missed. “…..and blah, blah, blah, removal June 7th, blah, blah, funeral June 8th and burial directly afterwards at Saint blah blah blah.”

 “No kids?” Here he grows enthusiastic, but holds the orgasm until the facts about the bank account and house proves that William O’Shea is their next target.

 “No kids listed here in the obituary,” Elizabeth says and starts to power up the lap top to do some more research.

 “Are you Googling right now?” Eugene is becoming animated and when that happens, he gives orders, lots of orders.

 “Yep, just turned my computer on.”

 “I can’t wait to see you.” He says and the pause is a beat too long before she responds.

Review of The Foundling in Irish Scene

Colin Merrey of Irish Scene magazine in Australia read The Foundling and gave it a rave review. Thank you kindly sir. You can read the review in Irish Scene by clicking here.

Or you can read a copy and paste version of it below.The Foundling

The Foundling – Loretto Leary

The publisher is CeateSpace Independent Publishing Platform and the book is available from Amazon via their website at a cost of GBP8.42 plus postage etc.

Loretto is Irish born but now lives in the USA with her husband and son.

This book is the first in a trilogy set in the early 1800’s in Ireland and features the Mountbellew family. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it – as I do almost any book on Ireland, its people and its history.

This book presents a very interesting and insightful introduction to the Irish politics of that period nicely wrapped around a beautiful love story: it is indeed a well crafted tale of mystery, romance, and class struggle against the backdrop of the 19th century Republican movement.

The second book “Stained Glass” should be available in December 2013 and the final book of the trilogy “The Blackberry Man” will be available in December 2014. I really can’t wait for the next installment– but of course I will have to!

If you enjoy books about this period of Irish history and this genre of writing then this book is for you. It is well worth getting hold of from Amazon – I don’t know if it is yet available in Australia but I would hope that if enough of us get behind it then it may become available here in the future. Enjoy!!! Well that’s it for books this issue – don’t forget – the book competition is open (see above) for my book choice of the month.

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The Foundling

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