Sunday, December 5, 2010

Into The Electronic Age

It takes some getting used to, just as writing on an electric typewriter and using a copy machine replaced slogging away on a  manual typewriter with carbon paper, and just as that gave way to electronic word processing and the ever-easier use of the computer and word processing programmes with discs and CDs for back-up, just as the  thought process made the transition between writing everything out first in black ink in a lined yellow pad to being able to actually compose on a I have to get used to reading my own books on not just the computer screen, but...oh the incredibility of it...on my iPhone.

Yesterday "Uneasy Lies The Head", Volume I of the Glastonbury Chronicles went up on Kindle on and I am told "The Sword of The King", Volume II of the Glastonbury Chronicles and "Son of Air and Darkness" (although it is not advertised as such, Volume I of Tales of the Dearg-Sidhe) are not far behind.  Books, months of writing and editing, all available on that tiny little screen of my cell phone as well as on my computer or a Kindle reading device.  What once was printed on hundreds of sheets of paper, now electronically sent to my phone and computer and now truly the size that can fit into my pocket or purse.

What would the great authors I grew up reading have thought?  William Shakespeare? Mark Twain?  Charles Dickens?  Even Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov?  J. R. R. Tolkien?  Would they have been amazed at this new frontier of publication?  Would it have been considered wizardry or witchcraft?  For that matter , how would Mr. Shakespeare have felt about motion picture versions of his plays?  Or Mr. Dickens about audiobooks? 

Oh brave new world that hath such contraptions in it!

And now this brand new e-Author  has to go find her's ringing in the background.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


THE SWORD OF THE KING is the second installment of The Glastonbury Chronicles.  It was a joy to write, as the main characters are not only identical twins, they were conjoined at birth...difficult enough, though the physical separation was fairly easy (the 22nd Century has marvellous medical procedures) but in this case extremely important, for it makes both of  them the first-born son of the King and Queen of England, therefore both first in line for the throne.  It doesn't make matters easier that they have not only the special communication twins are famous for having; these two, Kieran and Neil, are totally telepathic.  Possibly this comes from the fact that in a prior life they had died together, Stephen and Kevin, King and King-slayer, and the bloodlines of both had merged when Stephen had married a descendant of Walter Tyrell and Kevin, a Watson of the Tyrell line, had married Stephen's sister Stacy.

The situation of course gets more complicated when they both fall in love with the same woman and mysterious deaths begin plaguing the royal families of both England and Scotland, and both brothers realise where their destinies lie: one must become the King, the other must eventually kill him...but which is which?

I was not even sure of the final outcome until about 5 pages before I wrote it. 

Reading it is one thing; writing it is another, entirely.

When you finish reading a book you can put it down and go on with your life.  When you finish writing a book you are left wondering what about the lives you have created in the book...what happens to them next?

When I finished UNEASY LIES THE HEAD I thought it was over.  That was it.  There was not going to be a sequel.  I had effectively done everything in my power to clean up all the loose ends so there would not, could not, be a sequel. 

Or so I thought. 

The Lads, as I have come to call them, had different ideas.  They began pestering me at all hours, wanting to come out and play again. I even started writing another novel, a book about Dubhghall.  Somehow they worked themselves into it.  And still they wanted more.  Finally I gave in, and there was another book.  A journal of Kevin Watson, called THE SWORD BENEATH THE ROSE (which is scheduled to be published at the end of the series)  And that one was going to be the last.  But no:  There were more stories, and they wanted to tell them.  THE SWORD OF THE KING is the second chronological story in the series.  So far there are five books plus the journals, plus whatever else they cook up.  (Did I mention the Tarot cards?)

The Lads are still nattering at me in the background as I try to put together the second volume of Tales of  the Dearg-Sidhe, THE GREAT QUEEN'S HOUND.  Poor Dubhghall is having a hard time getting a word in edgewise, but he will prevail.  They have to sleep sometime.  He doesn't sleep.

Neither, it seems, do I.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Today marks Samhain, the ancient Celtic New Year.  It is a time when the Veil between the Worlds is thin, or in some cases non-existent.  Spirits of the ancestors walk among their descendants, offering wisdom and wise counsel, if we are ourselves wise enough to listen.

This is the background against which the first volume of The Glastonbury Chronicles was written. UNEASY LIES THE HEAD opens with Stephen Windsor celebrating his 25th birthday on 31 October 2065.  It is also the 25th anniversary of his father Richard's death.  It is a magical time, when the forces of the ancient Celtic Gods interact with mankind and anything can happen, and in this case, does, setting the scene for all manner of interesting revelations and complications in history, both past and future

The second volume in the series, THE SWORD OF THE KING went to press last week   It is available for pre-order from Pendraig Publishing and should be up on within a few days.

May you all have a Blessed Samhain.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


It really wasn't so hard to write those terrifying words: CHAPTER ONE.

After nearly two weeks of post-partum depression  following the completion of THE BLOOD OF KINGS and frantic editing of Volume II of The Glastonbury Chronicles: THE SWORD OF THE KING for release in about two weeks from now, I needed to start a new project, or rather to resurrect an old one.

SON OF AIR AND DARKNESS was itself Volume I of another series, Tales of the Dearg-Sidhe, and Dubhghall has been awaiting his turn to have his second tale told.  I had originally begin to write it several books ago, but The Lads as I call them, the heroes of The Glastonbury Chronicles had taken my Muse hostage and demanded their stories be told first.  Dubhghall retaliated, by showing up here and there in the background until by the last linear novel* in that series he had become a major character.  He has since wooed both me and the Muse back into his semi-historical world and I found the original first chapter of his second volume THE GREAT QUEEN'S HOUND languishing in an all but forgotten folder on my computer, but it wasn't really a chapter, considering what I knew he would experience in his far future.  It was a Prologue.  And Prologues lead to writing, in their own right, things called CHAPTER ONE.

It is done.  I'm hooked.  Dubhghall has his teeth in my neck and is draining every word from my mind as he rides me off into his next adventure, a long way through time and space from where he mounted the white mare at the end of his last adventure, but then, as he explains it, he does not always tell his stories in the order in which they happened, merely in the order in which he remembers them.

What a ride!

*last linear novel:  There will be more Glastonbury Chronicles...journals, stories of others related to the original characters, but  not following the time line in a linear manner as the first 5 books do

Friday, October 1, 2010


I finished THE BLOOD OF KINGS at 6:30 this morning.  I had gone to bed at 2AM, not comfortable with what I had written.  It was blah.  It was dreary.  It was meandering, losing the force behind the words.  I was exhausted.

At 5:30 the Muse woke me again and ordered me to sit at the keyboard and not get up again until I got it right, and I obeyed.

I shaved off 2 pages of rubbish which didn't belong, added one or two things that should have been there, and sat back to read the words.

The biggest problem was that I always knew how it would end, at least the basic shape of it.  For the last couple of weeks I have been absent from my blog because I have been racing toward that ending, the one I felt every minute of every day, saw, tasted, smelled, heard, every word they said together, every ripple of every muscle in Kevin's upper arms, every beat of Stephen's heart, every sanguine drop of it, and yet as I held it in my mind I knew no matter how badly I wanted to write it if I did so then I would never go back and write the chapters which led up to it and made it all work.

And so I held off, surprising myself along the way with hairpin turns of the plot I had not seen, characters I had not known existed, all important, all leading up to the final moments.

Perhaps it was my reluctance to let go that stayed my hand from the last few pages when the time was right to set them down.  Perhaps it was because I knew what finding those last few words to wrap it up would mean,:  I had lost them, this time perhaps forever.  Three months this time...who knows how many in the books before...and this was what I had been racing toward all along, never knowing it until the last, until the last few words were finally set down, and when they were, and when they sounded right it was as if the sword had found my heart and emptied it.

I cried.

I was alone, hollow, no voices in my head.  And in the aftermath...

The rest is silence.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

Where did the time go?  I just looked up and it's already past the middle of the month.  And what a busy month it has been so far!

Last weekend it was a book signing  at Crescenta Valley Park in La Crescenta, California in conjunction with the Society for Creative Anachronism's  celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Barony of the Angels.  This coming Saturday (the 18th) I will be signing books at the Kern County Pagan Pride Day celebration in Bakersfield, California at the Kern County Shriners' Club, 700 South P Street, Bakersfield,  adjacent to the Fairgrounds.  Next Saturday (the 25th) another book signing at the Antelope Valley Pagan Pride Day celebration at Poncitlan Square, 937 East Ave. Q9, Palmdale, California.

In between that it's Write!  Write!  Write!  Starting Chapter 37 of THE BLOOD OF KINGS (Volume 5 of The Glastonbury Chronicles).  Although it's not scheduled for publication till 2012, the story won't leave me alone, and since the hero of "Son of Air and Darkness" will be joining the regulars for this jam-packed adventure, I am having a hard time staying away from the computer keyboard.  Twists, turns, a real Celtic interlace of mythology, fantasy, history and science fiction are making me pay rapt attention to every word The Muse lays down in this one.

Once again, sleep is for wimps!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

No...Really...A Giraffe

It was more than a year ago I first saw him...just a glance out of the corner of my eye, and then I shook my head.  Travelling at 65 miles per hour on the freeway and seeing something like that near the foothills above Southern California...nah, couldn't possibly have been...

But yes, this is Southern California, and anything really is possible, so I looked again about a week later on the same route home, and all I saw was a very tall barn with no sign of life.  Two days later on the same drive I looked again and he was there, tall and sort of yellowish and brown, but he wasn't moving.  It must have been a very large stuffed animal.

It became the only possible way to go home, to see if there was anything to be seen on the right side of the freeway in that tiny window of opportunity when that barn could be seen, and occasionally my vigilance was rewarded with the sight  of...well...a giraffe.  The first time he moved I was ecstatic.  A real live giraffe was living within 2 miles of me.  A giraffe!

And then there was always the possibility that I had been writing too many strange things and I had only thought I had seen know...a camelopard,  Giraffa camelopardalis, (named camelopardus by the Romans because to their eyes it had characteristics of both the camel and the leopard).

So for days I was afraid to say much of anything about it, lest I be accused of having finally lost touch with reality, and for days I continued to drive by my long-necked friend to see how he was doing.  He.  How did I know if it were a he or a she, especially travelling down the freeway at 55 miles per hour? Of course I didn't, but I recalled a TV commercial for a toy store called Toys R Us (with a backwards R that my keyboard will not duplicate) and remembered they had a giraffe named Geoffrey as their -uh- spokesanimal, so Geoffrey he became.  Or she.  It no longer mattered.  Geoffrey had become my equivalent of the 6-foot invisible rabbit Jimmy Stewart used to talk to in the film "Harvey", and I was duly waving hello to this giraffe as I drove by at 45 miles an hour.

And then one day I let it slip to a friend who had lived in this end of town much longer than I had and I asked her if she had ever seen a giraffe in the area.

She laughed and said "Oh sure,  He's an animal actor.  He does a lot of commercials and all.  You can see him off the freeway not too far from here."

So if you see me driving down the freeway at 35 miles an hour, don't honk.  I'm just trying to wave at Geoffrey on my way home.  And if you look over to the right side of the freeway after you have slowed down, you may see him too.

After all, anything is possible in Southern California

Friday, September 3, 2010

She Who Must Be Obeyed

I do not have insomnia.  I have a Muse who is living on Greenwich  Time and expects me to do the same, which makes it, shall we say "interesting" for someone who in her mundane life is currently living on Pacific Daylight Time. slug-a-bed, I found myself dozing off at 9PM last night and up brightly at about 1 AM to add 3 pages to a chapter (25) I had assumed was finished.

Never assume anything.  Never assume I have any idea of where this Muse is taking me or why.  I don't.  I just hit the keyboard when I'm told to do so and marvel at what I read when it's all over.

It's past noon over there.  It's a little after 4 AM here, and the alarm will be going off in less than 3 hours.

Sleep is for wimps.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Book Trailer Up
This is one of the two Book trailers we did for "Son of Air and Darkness".  I was particularly happy with the way it came out.

Monday, August 30, 2010

SCA Event Book Signing 11 September...Venue Change

This will affect only the 11 September book signing:

Angels Anniversary will be held at Crescenta Valley Park, 3901 Dunsmore Ave, La Crescenta, 91214. Due to issues with the City of Monrovia, this event will NOT be held at Recreation Park.
DIRECTIONS TO CRESCENTA VALLEY PARK: From the East: 210 Fwy to Pennsylvania Ave off-ramp. At the end of the ramp, turn left, cross Montrose Ave, turn right on Honolulu Pl. Merge onto Honolulu Ave, proceed to park entrance on left. From the West: 210 to Pennsylvania Ave off-ramp. At ramp end, turn right & follow directions above.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Alfred Hitchcock Moment

I spent most of the day yesterday working with my publisher, Peter Paddon of Pendraig Publishing, on a couple of video promos for "Son of Air and Darkness".  In addition to being a brilliant publisher, writer and lecturer, Peter is also very talented in the field of film production, it having been his major area of study at university in England.

We all arrived at his studio that morning to see the storyboards he had produced the day before with cartoons against the backgrounds that  would be used and the voice-over of Peter reading from the book the passages that would be used for the film clips..  I had provided most of the costumes and props (chain mail, Roman helmet, spears, Celtic leaf blade sword, tunics and such) and Jenna Borgen  had made up a feathery glossy surcoat to go over the black linen Morrigan dress.  Jenna is both a consummate costumer and make-up artist and quickly applied the theatrical make-up including woad spirals to the cast, and some really scary make-up to transform yours truly into the Celtic Battle-Goddess, the Morrigan.

Ah yes...the Alfred Hitchcock moment...appearing in my own book promo!

It had started out as a joke.  When we were auditioning people for the various roles in the promos none of the red-haired actresses who had signed up for the audition had actually managed to show up.  Later that evening I started kidding around with an old friend about how the scene should be played and Peter said..."'ve got the part". After several Doctor McCoy-like protestations of  "I'm a writer, not an actress" failed to work I gave in and started sewing for the role..

We were very fortunate to find  two really great actors...Stephen White, whose intensity totally typifies Dubhghall, amd his friend Neil Etman, who was perfect as the Roman Guard. 

Filming went smoothly, until we got to the capsules of theatrical blood.

Long ago, when Bela Lugosi was the most famous vampire on the screen, when vampires were in black and white and did not sparkle, they had a really tasty recipe for blood used in the movies:  chocolate syrup. Ever since the day Dorothy Gale set foot in Oz and the world expected everything in Technicolor people wanted to see blood in shades of dark red, which would have been fine except that in order to get the colour and the consistency right they have had to go to something made with high fructose corn syrup and red food colouring, which somehow also has an undertaste of saccharine.  It is perhaps one of the most vile tastes in the world...and when Stephen and I had to bite into the capsule the first time I am sure a tiny twinge of revulsion must have passed, however briefly, across our faces.

I'm sure the editor (Peter wearing yet another hat) will work it all out in post production.  Having seen the takes against the green screen, I can hardly wait to see the final cuts.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What Lies Beneath

I never really gave much thought to where ideas come from.  They come from everywhere. 

I have a Muse who breathes the words of my characters into my ear and I write them down.  That's part of it, but there is a lot more to it than that. 

Everything I have ever written, from the more than one thousand sonnets written in a single summer to the novels I have written over the span of decades have within them the seeds of everything I have ever experienced or dreamed of experiencing throughout my life.  A name here...a physical description there...all have been amassed either consciously or unconsciously and have been assimilated into what I hope is literature. 

Some were conscious choices.  One name, Michael George Hartley, was lifted from a character in "Lawrence of Arabia".  I had always loved the lyrical way the name rolled across my tongue and one day a few months ago it found its way into a later volume of "The Glastonbury Chronicles".  Some of the other things, physical descriptions, for example, were a bit more insidious and I had not realised  that I had dredged them up from characters in shows I had loved until about four days ago when I looked at one recurring character (though he has different names at different times) and realised it was Little John from "Robin of Sherwood".  Another, Emma in "Uneasy Lies the Head" who will appear again as Alize in a later volume, is Maid Marion.  And so it goes.  I'm sure there are more in there from that show, as it was and through the miracle of DVD still is a very dear favorite of mine, and is actually incorporated into "Uneasy Lies The Head".  (Talk about the old theatrical convention of Deus ex Machina!)

Whatever a writer observes becomes a part of his or her research.  Words. phrases, names. physical locations, miscellaneous useless information...all are stored away in that mental library and come bubbling up into the conscious mind when needed. 

We are what we write, or more correctly, we write what we are, even if we are not aware of it at the time

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Book Signings and the SCA

I had a marvellous day yesterday at Recreation Park in Monrovia, California at the  Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) Crown Tourney for the Kingdom of Caid (Southern California, Hawaii and Clark County, Nevada),. It was a splendid place to set up a small pavilion and sign books while surrounded by the glamour of the Dark Ages, Middle Ages and Renaissance as expressed by its members in all manner of gorgeous period attire, the brightly coloured banners waving in the gentle breezes, the picturesque canvas pavilions, and the sounds of rattan swords clashing against steel armour and wooden shields.

The SCA is an international non-profit organisation which has events every weekend somewhere, and many science fiction and fantasy authors are or have been members.  It was founded in the mid 1960's by Diana Paxson and her friends, and among members has included Katherine Kurtz, Poul and Karen Anderson, and several folks related to the Star Trek world including Dorothy C. Fontana and Bjo Trimble.  The latter is currently (as Flavia Beatrice Carmgniani) the Baroness of the Barony of the Angels (Los Angeles, California).

I will be doing another book signing at the same park on Saturday, September 9, as the Barony of the Angels celebrates its 40th Anniversary at Recreation Park, 620 South Shamrock Ave. Monrovia, CA, 91016

I will also be signing books at Mediaeval Marketplace on Saturday, November 27 at Kuns Park, 1600 Bonita Avenue (between Bonita Ave. and Magnolia St.) in La Verne, CA 91750.  The shopping there will be extraordinary...all in a mediaeval setting.  My third book, THE SWORD OF THE KING (Volume II of The Glastonbury Chronicles) will be available for signing at this event, as well as UNEASY LIES THE HEAD and SON OF AIR AND DARKNESS.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Moving Write Along

There are many times I am thankful for being a Gemini.  It enables me to switch hats so quickly others might get whiplash.  Going between past and future when I write and having to spend several hours of the day in the "real world" is enough to make even me dizzy sometimes, but now...

Now I am in the midst of writing two different series with various characters which cross between them, one series set predominantly in the past, the other predominantly in the future.  The problem?  I am writing them both in the first person.  This means having to stay inside the head of one of them during one series and the other during the second series and never letting either character know something he shouldn't or have experiences outside his own realm of knowledge.  This also means making sure the voice is right for each, the reactions, the emotional make up, and the psychology.

It is easy in "The Glastonbury Chronicles" to go back and forth between the King and the Knight, by whatever names they have in those lives (and by whatever faces they wear) as they become more and more telepathic with each other as the books progress.  They are bound to have similar voices and similar psychologies, as they have been bound together for millennia. Yet there comes a time where even they diverge, and finding there are certain secrets they do have from each other, certain corners of their hearts which can express their individuality in ways the other does not always understand came as a bit of a shock to me.

But then, I have always maintained I do not write these books, I am merely taking dictation from characters who somehow seem to have lives of their own.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hello Harkness My Old Friend

Somebody asked me who I would like to see play the characters in my novels were they to be made into films.  Difficult to say.  I definitely think anyone playing the King of England should be just seems to make sense.  Nobody comes to mind right  now for Stephen in any of his incarnations, and that is going to be a tough bit of casting for anyone.  I can think of a lot of folks who were right for the part 15 or so years ago when "The Glastonbury Chronicles" series began to emerge in the first draft of the first volume, but that was a long time ago.  Back then I had never even considered who would play Stephen or Kevin or any of their various incarnations, though when I was writing the last couple of volumes the face of John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness of "Torchwood") somehow superimposed itself onto the character Kevin had become as he made his way to the pages of those manuscripts, especially in "The Coin of the Realm".

Of course there is nothing to say the different incarnations of the characters in different volumes need to be played by the same actors.  They are the same characters inwardly, with the same memories and all that has made them who they are over the millennia, but the phrase "whatever face he wore" occurs on more than one occasion.  The eyes are always the same,  the colouring is usually the same, but the faces are not always, hence as Kieran and Neil they are identical twins, conjoined at birth...which brings up the question...what happens if the firstborn son of the King of England is conjoined twins, born at the exact same time?  Under the rules of Primogenitor who is next in line to the throne?

"The Sword of the King" (Volume II of "The Glastonbury Chronicles") will answer that and more when it is released October 31 by Pendraig Publishing.

Monday, August 16, 2010


There is a French group called Manau I have listed in my music favourites.  OK, so hip hop was never one of my favourite types of music before.  I normally find it to have violent undertones and somehow it just grates on my nerves.

This group is different.  It's French, and the bulk of the music I have heard and of which I have viewed videos on You Tube centres around the Celts.  Most folks forget that the Celts were as much a part of French history as the history of the British Isles, be it the Gauls or the Bretons, or any of a number of groups which passed through what is now France (named for the Franks) on their migration ever westward.

Of particular interest to me are "La Tribu de Dana" and  "Le Chant des Druides", two pieces which stir in me my own Celtic roots, and even though it has been decades since my college French classes, I recognised a good deal of what was being said or sung.  A printout of the lyrics in the original French cleared up most of the rest, and I can now understand about 95% of the songs without having to make that backward leap of first translating it in my head into English before understanding it.  What a breakthrough!

So if you're interested in something recorded in 1998, something that may be a stretch for your musical tastes, give the album "Panique Celtique" a listen.  There is some background sampling from Alan Stivell on the songs.  I understand it was the subject of a lawsuit, and I wish both parties well.  His music just somehow belongs with theirs, and the Celtic images in the videos are wonderful too. 

No, That Wasn't Thunder!

So here I sit, trying hard to put fingers to keyboard and words to Chapter 20, when a sound akin to the combined rumble of a freight train and the staccato of hail races across my roof from one side of the house to the other.

AHA!  Every cat in the neighbourhood has by now learned that the greatest raceway in the area is on the roof of this house, and the Kittyanapolis 500 is in full swing once again.

"Listen to them, the Children of the Night."

As if I had a choice...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

All in a Day's Work

The day began with the thunder of tiny paws and a demand from Gandalf the Grey  (age 3 months) to be fed, along with the indignant looks of  the older tomcat D'Artagnan (he of the golden fur and peridot eyes and about 13 years of seniority) suggesting the kitten should pipe down and treat the matter of feeding time with a little more dignity.

While I was up, I thought, I might as well check my email, and, oh, grumble, yes, grumble, read back the meagre pages I had churned out the afternoon before.

Several hours and 3000 words later I emerged, having finished both Chapters 18 and 19 of THE BLOOD OF KINGS, whooping and hollering and doing a victory dance. I had finished one of the most crucial scenes of all which will tie "The Glastonbury Chronicles" series back in with the "Tales of the Dearg Sidhe" series and link the far past with the far future, for though the heroes of both series have paths that cross again and again, this is the ultimate junction of their lives, the one which will change the course of one life forever.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010