1.’Ma, He Sold Me For A Few Cigarettes’

Martha’s first book, Ma, He Sold Me for a Few Cigarettes, was published in trade paperback in 2007 and reached No.1 on the bestseller lists. The mass market paperback edition is now available.

Born a bastard to a teenage mother in the slums of 1950s Dublin, Martha has to be a fighter from the very start. As her mother moves from man to man, and more children follow, they live hand to mouth in squalid, freezing tenements, clothed in rags and forced to beg for food. But just when it seems things can t get any worse, her mother meets Jackser. Despite her trials, Martha is a child with an irrepressible spirit and a wit beyond her years. She tells the story of her early life without an ounce of self pity and manages to recreate a lost era in which the shadow of the Catholic Church loomed large and if you didn t work, you didn t eat. Martha never stops believing she is worth more than the hand she has been dealt, and her remarkable voice will remain with you long after you ve finished the last line.

You can purchase Martha’s books through

2.’Ma, I’m Gettin Meself a New Mammy’

The sequel to Ma, He Sold Me For A Few Cigarettes, was first published in Trade Paperback in September 2008 and is now available in Paperback, priced 6.99.

We rejoin Martha aged thirteen, she is rescued by the courts from the clutches of her evil stepfather, Jackser, and her feckless mother, Sally. After numerous arrests for shoplifting, a judge rules that she is to be sent to a convent school with the instruction that she is to get an initial relief at escaping the abuse and neglect she suffered at home is, however, short lived, as she soon realises that there are many forms of cruelty in this life. As she says, You can have a full belly, but your heart can be very empty. Ostracised by the other children for being a street kid and put to back breaking work by the nuns, she leads a lonely existence, her only joy coming from the books she devours and her mischievous sense of humour.

Desperate for love and a little place where she feels she belongs, despite all that she has suffered Martha retains her compassion for others and still continues to hope for a brighter future when she will be free to make her own way in life.

This book is now available to buy and went straight into the Irish bestseller lists at No. 5

3. ‘Ma, It’s a Cold Aul Night an I’m Lookin for a Bed’

In the third instalment of Martha Long s real life account of abuse, depravation and cruelty at the hands of her parents and the establishment, Martha is now sixteen, her time at the convent school is up. In Ma, It s a Cauld Aul Night and I m Lookin for a Bed, she leads us through her first months of freedom.

4. Ma, Now I’m Goin Up in the World

At 16, Martha collapses on the streets, suffering from starvation and exposure. She has reached rock bottom, but after Martha is taken to hospital, Lady Luck smiles kindly on her and she is given the opportunity to get off the streets forever.

Before long, Martha is on the way to leading the normal life she has so long dreamt of. She makes friends, begins to put the misery of her past behind her and even experiences her first taste of love.

For her, love is a powerful feeling. She has never experienced real affection before and is now plunged into the complex world of love between a man and a woman. The intense emotion consumes her, for this is a forbidden love that can never be requited. After all, Ralph Fitzgerald is a priest, and he will never break his vow of chastity. This love brings heartbreaking consequences and changes the direction of Martha s life for ever . . .

5. ‘Ma, I’ve Got Meself Locked Up in the Mad House’


The fifth instalment of Martha Long’s bestselling memoirs.

Martha is now in her thirties. Her daughter has left home and she is lonely and vulnerable. The hard knocks have taken their toll on her health, and as she looks into the years still lying ahead of her, she shakes her head, feeling she hasn’t the heart or the strength to go on.

As she teeters on the brink of a nervous breakdown, a phone call summons ghosts from the past. She discovers that one of the family is dead and the others need her help. Martha returns and when she comes face to face with the evil, psychotic Jackser, she can no longer suppress the nightmares of her childhood.

A failed suicide attempt sees her admitted to the ‘mad house’, where a hunger strike takes her even nearer to death. But finally she sees a chink of light at the end of the tunnel. Could love in an unexpected form pull her back from the brink?

6. Ma, I’ve Reached for the Moon An’ I’m Hitting the Stars

After a failed suicide attempt and recovery in the mad house, Martha is heading for France to be reunited with the one true love of her life.

Father Ralph Fitzgerald rescued Martha from the streets when she was sixteen and was the first person to show Martha true love and affection. But their relationship threatened his vocation and he eventually fled to Africa to take up missionary work. Martha never got over losing him and now, after nearly twenty years, he has made contact again. She sets of on a mission to find him and uncover his motives for getting in touch. Does he still love her? Has he left the priesthood? Is he now free to marry her? She needs to know what the future is going to hold.

7. Ma, Jackser’s Dyin’ Alone

On hearing that Jackser, her childhood abuser who ‘sold her for a few cigarettes’, is seriously ill, Martha is elated, thinking that finally she will be able to watch him suffer. But in the hospital she sees a frightened,lonely old man and realises with a shock that he seems to regret his earlier actions.

During her vigil she is joined by Charlie, her beloved little brother, then the ma and some of her other siblings. All of them have suffered greatly and it is clear that no one connected to Jackser has escaped unscathed.

But as she sits with him during his dying days, other memories of Jackser come back to Martha fleeting moments of concern and kindness, and a sense of closeness as he recalled his own tormented past in one of Ireland’s industrial schools. It is a vicious cycle of cruelty and loss that has played out, from which only her own tenacity and wit has provided an escape.

Poignant, ribald, poetic and defiant, with its resolution of many unanswered questions about her life this is Martha at her best.


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Are seahawks sending good “mojo” over to the mariners this year? – field gulls

Smoke break: what tobacco-free drug stores mean for e-cigarettes

You may not be a baseball fan, and really who could blame you? After all, if you’re on a Seattle Seahawks website, that means that your likely first choice for a baseball team would be the Seattle Mariners, and that’s rarely been fun for anybody. I am a baseball fan but I simply had enough luck to be a child of the 90s, so that means that right when I was starting to become curious about professional sports, the M’s literally had one of the most exciting teams of the modern era.

Had I been a child of the 70s, 80s, 00s, or if I was born yesterday, I can’t say for sure that I would understand the appeal of watching a baseball game either. Lord knows I haven’t seen many in the last decade.

Edgar Martinez became Jose Vidro (and about nineteen other guys.)

Ken Griffey Jr. became Mike Cameron who became Franklin Gutierrez’s stomach virus.

Randy Johnson became Freddy Garcia became Felix Hernandez, and that’s pretty much the only good thing to come out of the last 12 years.

Jamie Moyer became an immortal.

Jay Buhner became Ichiro became Ichirold.

Alex Rodriguez became a dick.

And so many Seattle Mariners prospects became… nothing.

Over the last 10 years, the Mariners have posted two winning seasons, haven’t made the playoffs since 2001, finished in last place seven times, and are on their eighth manager since trading Lou Pineilla to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2002. Pretty much nothing has gone right for the Mariners since their incredible 116 win season in ’01, and that includes the 2001 playoffs that saw them fall well shy of the World Series once again.

However, all of a sudden, something is different.

The M’s are 5 2 to start the year and while “seven games in a 162 game season” might seem like a small sample size to you (sure, it is) there’s something more here to consider. Seattle has rarely won five out of seven games over the last 10 seasons. It doesn’t matter if it’s the start of the year, the middle of the year, or the end, the Mariners simply don’t often win more than they lose. Right now, they actually look like a contending baseball team, and even when they won 88 games in 2007 or 85 games in 2009, they never quite looked as good as their record suggested.

It’s also important to note that the first six games of the year were on the road, that they’re 4 0 against the Angels (a team that has generally crushed our hopes as fans every year), and that the second and third best starters in the rotation haven’t pitched yet. The M’s made their biggest free agent acquisition in franchise history this year (Robinson Cano, a player that actually left the Yankees for money) and some of their prospects are actually panning out for what seems like the first time since 1992.

I was telling baseball fans a couple of years ago that “now would be a good time to start following the Seahawks” and I hope for their sake, some of them listened. But, is it also now time for you football fans to give a closer look to that baseball team across the street?

Idk, my bff Jill, but let me instead ask you this Is there any correlation OR causation between the success of one franchise in a city to another? I had a mind to think that I swear I’ve seen this before, so I did what I had to do I looked at the history. Do Super Bowl winners seem to line up with World Series winners? Do Series winners line up with NBA Finals winners? Does hockey matter, in general?

Let’s take a quick look back

2012 Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl

One of the biggest surprises in Super Bowl history was the charge of the 2012 Baltimore Ravens through the playoffs and culminating in an upset win over the San Francisco 49ers. The previous baseball season, the Baltimore Orioles were the shocker of MLB, going 93 69 before losing in the League Divisional Series in five games. The O’s had lost 90 games in each of the previous six seasons. They went 85 77 in 2013, proving it wasn’t just a one year fluke.

2011/2007 New York Giants win the Super Bowl

If you wanted to link the Giants and the Yankees (I have no idea how this works, do you also link the Jets and the Mets? Woah, that one rhymes so it’s gotta be true) then you could say that the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2007 and 2011, while the Yankees won the World Series in 2009. Though they are “the Yankees” and rarely count for anything because they operate business differently than any other sports franchise, it’s important to note that they hadn’t won the Series since 2000.

Under the guidance of Jay Z (that’s all I know about it) the Brooklyn Nets have posted back to back winning seasons, their first winning season since 2005 06. The Knicks are losing again, but returned to relevancy over the previous three years, including a 54 28 record last season.

Finally, the city of New York gets some sports relevance…

2010 Green Bay Packers win the Super Bowl

Though the Packers are pretty much the only professional sports team in the state, the University of Wisconsin did just make the Final Four. That recruiting would’ve started around and following the 2010 Super Bowl win.

2009 New Orleans Saints win the Super Bowl

In 2011, the Hornets returned to the playoffs. However, when the Saints were going through the bounty scandal, they changed their name to the Pelicans. So I guess franchises can also share negative effects as well.

2008 Pittsburgh Steelers win the Super Bowl

Several months after the Steelers won the Super Bowl, the Penguins won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1992. The Pirates remained irrelevant for five more years, but we had to be a little more patient with them.

2006 Indianapolis Colts win the Super Bowl

In 2006, the Pacers made the playoffs for the 16th time in 17 years. 2007 was literally the first time during Peyton Manning’s career that the Pacers didn’t make the playoffs. They missed the postseason four times in a row, but Indiana is back on top. Either them or the Heat are likely to make it out of the Eastern Conference this year.

2005 Pittsburgh Steelers win the Super Bowl

More importantly, the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl. The Mariners were embarking on their third year of sucking. The Sonics would be gone two years later. The Hawks had to fall before they could rise back up again even stronger. Hopefully the same will be said about the M’s, and hopefully the Thunder collapse under some sort of financial and criminal disaster for Clay Bennett.

2001/2003/2004 New England Patriots win the Super Bowls

The Boston Red Sex won the World Series in 2004, their first since 1918. They won again in 2007, 2013.

The Boston Celtics won the NBA Finals in 2008, their first since 1986.

The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011, their first since 1972. On the heels of the Red Sox latest championship, the Bruins could win another Cup this year.

Additionally, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have really grown as artists, and not just “Hollywood Movie Stars.”

2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers win the Super Bowl

The 2004 Devil Rays, for the first time in franchise history, moved from 5th place in the East to 4th place!

The 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning won their first and only Stanley Cup.

1999 St. Louis Rams win the Super Bowl

After a bit of a franchise drought, the Cardinals returned to the playoffs in 2000 and have since made the World Series four times, winning twice.

Nelly released “Country Grammar” in June of 2000. (Maybe the eeriest connection of all is wondering how many rap careers were launched around the time of a Super Bowl win a la Macklemore.)

In all seriousness, we have to wonder what kind of an effect winning a championship has on the other owners of teams in your city. The Miami Heat shocked everyone in 2010 when they added LeBron James and Chris Bosh while retaining Dwayne Wade. They’ve made the Finals three times, won it twice. In 2012, the Florida
Marlins changed their team name to the “Miami” Marlins and moved into a new stadium. They based an HBO special on what would be their breakout season, with new uniforms, new players, almost doubled their payroll and built an outfield monstrosity designed by My Little Pony.

It was a disaster. All of it. Everything that happened to the Marlins amidst their franchise facelift was terrible.

The Dolphins have only been to the playoffs once in the last 12 years, and the University of Miami football team hasn’t won a bowl game since 2006.

The Heat are a dynasty but it has done nothing to improve the prospects of those around them. If anything, it’s been detrimental to the Marlins. There’s no magic connection between the franchises.

I think it’s interesting that with the Seahawks clearly became a model franchise over the last three years, the Mariners signed a player to a free agent contract unlike any free agent contract they’ve ever handed out. The $240 million given to Cano blows every other free agent deal they’ve signed (re signing Felix, Ichiro doesn’t count really) out of the water. The M’s also continued to separate themselves from the fanbase by supposedly stepping in the way of a possible return of the NBA to Seattle, before signing Cano to that contract.

A deal that some still think was too much (but it’s really not.)

The players that are helping the Mariners right now, most of them, were in the plan long before the Seahawks won the Super Bowl or looked like they might. Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley, James Paxton, Erasmo Ramirez, Felix, Kyle Seager… One really has very little to do with the other. Just like the Marlins didn’t build a new baseball stadium overnight. (Though I think that outfield thingy was built in about two hours by Mrs. Wilson’s first grade class.)

It would be nice to think that the Seahawks have spread good “mojo” all around the city of Seattle, but more than likely it’s just a happy coincidence and we’re all just a little more elated to enjoy local sports while we’re still floating on this Super Bowl high. Either way, the Mariners look good right now.

Enjoy it… And go to a game! (Trust me, they’ll still need it this year.)