Held Design


Perfects Little Brother…

I remember when I self published A Place Called Perfect I wanted to make sure it was as polished as possible so that it didn’t look out of place on any bookshelf. The publishing world can be hard on self published authors and if you want to get out there into shops and garner reviews you need to look professional.

I decided to self published because it seemed to be the way the industry in America was going. A lot of authors self published, got reviews and sales figures then approached a publisher. I’m a graphic designer, it’s my job to design things so I thought it was a logical step to self publish. I finished the book, got in an editor and started to design the cover.

Perfect is a book for both boys and girls and I wanted the cover to not alienate anyone. I chose a neutral colour, a sea green. Then I illustrated the town and the Archers and framed them with lots of elements from the story such as eyeballs, skulls, tea, jars and of course the glasses. I chose to leave the illustrations in white outline as I felt they looked stark and slightly spooky against the green.

I was delighted with the outcome of my self published version, it didn’t look amateur at all I told myself. Now I’m rethinking that notion. As I look at the two covers together I’m beyond happy with Usborne and Karl Mountfords interpretation of the story. The cover makes the older version pale.

I can’t disregard my self published attempt though, it helped in a huge way to get a publisher. I would never take it back and it will sit proudly on my shelf alongside it’s new big brother!

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We’re all looking good…

A few months ago Usborne brought their debut authors for 2017 together in London to learn about promoting ourselves from a company called Author Profile. It was great to meet others in the same boat and to hear their stories. I really enjoyed the day and learnt so much, now I just have to put it into practice uh oh!!!

Anyway three of us in our book form 😉 are in the picture above. Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin Winter and The Amber Pendant, the first book in The Rose Muddle Mysteries by Imogen White were both released the 1st of June. A Place Called Perfect is available for pre order now but will be released on the 1st of August.

I think we’re all looking well, if I do say so myself.



Which one of these was easier to produce?

So I got a book and a baby in the space of a month. Baby Jo, called after Robbies grandfather Joe Heffernan was born just after 3 on the 5th of May, the 5th of the 5th, it has a nice ring to it! And eight copies of A Place Called Perfect landed on my desk a few weeks later. There were celebrations all round!

A Place Called Perfect will be launched on August 11th in Easons on O Connell Street and all are welcome… more celebrations to come!!

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A Place Called Perfect Cover Reveal

A Place Called Perfect had it’s cover reveal over on Book Lover Jo’s blog this morning. I’m so happy with the outcome, blown over! Check out her post HERE.

It was illustrated by the extremely talented Karl James Mountford, you can check out more of his work HERE.

A Place Called Perfect is available to Pre-Order NOW from Amazon. CLICK HERE




Croc an Oir

An interesting weekend I have to say… my brain is a little fried, spent most of the time staring at my notebook, trying to think of mad stories to write about a dog with blue eyes.

“Croc an Oir” at the foot of Sliabh na mBan was the backdrop to my creative weekend, I and about 12 others attended a creative writing workshop with John MacKenna. I have to say I reckon there must be something in the water in Mullinahone as I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much my eyes were leaking!

What the hell do I know?

“Who are you to air this wordy rant,
These thoughts you intend to show,
A shaky soapbox your foundations,
What the hell do you know?”

My head is a muddle,
My thoughts slip slosh like out,
Onto this victim paper,
A cowards beastly shout.
They say one man can’t move a mountain,
And yet, we’re one man made,
Feeney reared young minds once wandered,
Gave this island back her scholars,
Put books in the heart of Munster,
Pumping silicone to shores once lonely,
The Party Public bathed in glory,
As the tiger licked her paws.

But as our scholars flourished,
Our saints backbones did bend,
Patrick rid this land of danger,
Yet there’s hissing in the house of Leinster,
Our eyes once squinted shut,
Blinded by the gleam of gold,
And now our magic money vanished,
Their camouflage grows old.

And we insist their friend not foe,
But what the hell do I know?

Its been swelling, and brewing and brooding,
The skin harbours buried blisters,
The under currents rife,
And still the sea just ripples,
Its ferocious power ponders,
On the realities of life.
We’re stealing from our children,
Wishing our elders to their grave,
Sucking life from the disadvantaged,
All hard pennies fought,
Grabbed back into burning pockets,
Of criminals not caught.
As our people cry themselves to sleep,
Inside walls they’ll never own,
As our pride is stomped by dirty boots,
Our confidence stripped bare,
They debate the blasphemous,
Outlaw the holy swear.

And now, our heads hang critically low,
But then again, what the hell do I know?

We once had pride,
And power,
And passion.
We relished in the craic,
The laugh,
And the skit,
We were a remarkable people,
Our generosity matched only by our wit.

Don’t let the politics break us,
Don’t let the spirits wane,
Let our voices speak volumes,
Let us march through the driving rain.
We are Irish, blood and bone,
Our love mapped in calloused hands,
Daily we face the savage seas wrath,
We can reclaim these lands.

And so my angers easing,
And I know what I have to show,
I know I love my country,
This is what I know.

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