I was honored to have this poem selected for inclusion during NPR’s National Poetry Month.
The poem opens Chapter 31 in the 5th Century Celtic novel, “Mystery Of The Death Hearth”, as the intrepid protagonist–a young Celt magistrate–must work with those whose ways are alien to his Elder Faith beliefs. Along the way, he must find an elusive young Celt girl and her missing grandfather, unravel the mystery of an Elder’s runevision, and avoid death at the hands of an assassin as he faces the greatest challenge of his life.
Please follow the link below and visit my online store for unique gifts like the “Three Skulls” mouse pad original artwork by J. R. Cotner
Forget Black Friday sales events. On this blog it’s Jack Friday.
Actually, it’s a sales event that goes beyond just this Friday featuring the Kindle editions of both my short story collection and my Celtic murder mystery novel. They’re on sale now through December 5th for just $0.99 each. From December 6th through December 23rd they will be half their usual listed price.
Grab a copy for yourself or purchase for family and friends.
Check out the blog writersinthestorm for some wonderful tips in a short, well-written article about creating a lovable villain by award-winning author Shannon Donnelly (Under The Kissing Bough) as she speaks of “villains we love to hate and how to keep them from becoming a cardboard stereotype whose every action is predictable and boring.”
“Nothing marks a writer as a beginner as clearly as the cliché bad guy.
This is the bad guy who is ugly inside and out with no redeeming qualities—this is the “boo-hiss” melodrama mustache twirling villain. And this is an easy fix in any story.
What’s that easy fix? Lots of things can help, but here are five quick fixes:
The article is definitely worth the read and I found myself thinking of one of my villains as I read Shannon’s advice.
I won’t say the assassin in “The Mystery of the Death Hearth” is exactly a lovable creature. Parzifal is, after all, a person who makes a living by killing. But he does have depth; that is to say as the story progresses, more is revealed about his background, his parents, his past and the horrid conditions among the less-than-honorable slave owners that helped create his inevitable destiny as a professional killer. He also has present-day motives that go beyond the daily, murderous tasks given him by criminal bosses. Parzifal has plans, high hopes for a new life, and a mental image of possibilities beyond his current circumstances having nothing at all to do with underworld crime. Does he manage to accomplish those personal goals? Can he successfully break away and fulfill his dreams? No spoilers here but I almost found myself rooting for this man even though he can and does make my protagonist’s life miserable to the brink of death.
I encourage a visit to writersinthestorm and read the rest of the Shannon’s article. Very interesting and informative.
Succumbing to temptation, a small group of conspirators scheme to procure a sacred Celtic site by eliminating all obstacles—including the Celtic stewards. This is one of several twisting plot lines in The Corpsemakers, the WIP manuscript for the second book in the Runevision Mystery series.
Back home after an enjoyable holiday trip and already busy with two more short stories for my paranormal anthology, work on the second book in my Celtic mystery series, and additional rework and editing of last year’s WIP murder mystery first draft manuscript set in fictional 1950s Logan County, Arkansas.
In Ritual Of The Death Hearth, I have a Celtic blacksmith character that provides valuable help and information to the protagonist as well as a vital clue in a subplot that runs through the story line of fictional Celts living in the fictionalized 400s A.D. setting. I did extensive research on the Celts of Ireland, the British Isles and on the Continental Celts for my murder mystery series and am always interested in learning more. So imagine my fascination when I found a blog post by author Ali Isaac about ancient Celtic blacksmiths.
At aliisaacstoryteller you will find an interesting and informative interview and pictures of Dan Crowther, a modern Celtic Blacksmith, at work.
Dan Crowther making a simple hook at “Connecticut Irish Festival” in New Haven, CT – USA 2010
Dan in his own words: “I’d been a blacksmith (mostly in a hobbyist capacity) for nearly a decade when in 1998 this passion combined with my historical interests. As a result, my wife and I founded the reenactment group Ancient Celtic Clans. Now, one of the advantages ACC has is that Sarah and I are both blacksmiths. This is key because almost without exception every other Celtic skill, either directly or indirectly, needs a blacksmith to make tools for them. It also means that we can recreate all the period correct tools we might need when learning any other new skill. This core dependence on the blacksmith was just as true back in 300BC as it is for our group today. It was very rare for a community not have at least one blacksmith.”