About Cleo McCarthy, Time Travel and Other Impossible Things
Burdened with an unlimited number of do-overs, Cleo McCarthy finds herself asking, how much time is enough?
For Cleo McCarthy, a twenty-four-year-old graphic designer living in Chicago who had never given it a second thought, time travel comes easily. Well, nothing unwanted ever comes easily, but even an unsolicited gift presents opportunities.
Six months after being diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s, Cleo takes a trip of a lifetime. Just as her vacation is coming to its tragic conclusion, she is transported from a plane in freefall to her home office nearly two months to the day before her trip. Startled, Cleo receives guidance and minutia to follow from a fellow time traveler who’s tracked her down. To get it right, Franklin, whom Cleo becomes fast friends with, has been repeating his life for centuries. But when an eerie white noise infringes upon her personal space, she suspects Franklin isn’t telling her everything.
Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Toronto, and other international venues find Cleo discovering new travelers to satiate the white noise. Unfortunately, the message is fragmented, and she wonders if she’s making the right choices. Still, she perseveres with the promise that the increasingly terrifying distraction will cease once they have located all the time travelers. But promises are meant to be broken.
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Had I considered becoming an author? Early on, yes. I wrote and bound my own books with needle and thread, glue and staples as a child. I’d always written in those days, often pairing with it my love of visual arts by illustrating each book. I created my own superhero universe and made dozens of comic books. Then, that all went away – the writing – as I decided to focus on the visual arts.
In high school, I became interested in the great impressionists, not the least of which was The Group of Seven, a compilation of Canada’s greatest talents at the turn of the 20th century. They still inspire me; a wave of inexplicable creativity envelopes me when in the presence of their paintings. Being Canadian myself, I am drawn to the wild place they portrayed, an avid outdoors enthusiast.
I graduated from Sheridan College’s Interpretive Illustration course and worked as a bartender for many years as I tried to cut it in the freelance world. Nothing seemed to stick. Then, writing returned with a vengeance. A manuscript I presented to a new friend who had been traditionally published came back to me edited and in book form. Self-published! The idea that I could be an author again became a consideration, if not a reality.
I reworked the novel, taught myself the processes behind self-publishing and submitted the book to Amazon with great expectations. This was 2009 and ebooks were relatively new. I was able to find an audience and decided to write two more and make the book a trilogy. This happened quickly and I was rewarded with a number of reviews, good and bad, but word was getting out.
When my marketing couldn’t keep the momentum up I realized a new book, and then another. My personal life was in a shambles and I was writing in part for my own sanity. More books came and I continued to self-publish, skipping the rejection letters I’d received before my first book was published.
In 2021 I’ve published 13 books ranging in genres, with two trilogies, a series and many standalone books. It has been my absolute joy to rediscover the love of writing. To revisit that childhood freedom where you can do anything and be anyone. I’ve also been able to include illustrations into a few of the books.
Discovering your purpose is a massive step in realizing your best life. Gifting myself the right to be an author has afforded me incredible growth as an artist and as a human being. I write with renewed devotion to offer stories that inspire and entertain; stories with depth of emotion and original plots.
I’m truly grateful to those who have helped me realize my childhood dream of becoming an author from editors to beta readers’ right up the ranks to those of you willing to read my books. It’s incredible to experience the endless stories that present themselves from the ether. The more you write the more you’re gifted to write. I believe anyone who wants to be a writer can be a writer if they write, and love the process. We all have a story in us, and from my experience, the more stories you tell the more you’re bound to tell.