M is for Manannan Mac y Leirr

Manannan Beg was son of Leirr,
He was the first the e’er had Mann;
But as it seemeth unto me,
He himself was but a heathen.

‘Twas not with his sword he kept her,
Nor with his arrows, nor his bow;
Bur when he would see ships sailing,
He hid her right round with a fog.

He’d set a man upon a brow,
You’d think there were a hundred there;
And this did wild Manannan guard
That island with all its booty.

The rent each paid out of the land
Was a bundle of green rushes;
And that was on them for a tax
Throughout the county each John’s Eve.

Some went up with the rushes to
The great mountain up at Barrule;
Other would leave the grass below,
With Manannan above Keamool.

In this way, then, they lived, I think
Myself their tribute very small,
Without care or anxiety,
Or labour to cause weariness.

~~Old Manx Ballad

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This post inspired by – M

N is for Names

L is for Little People

The Little People have been a part of Isle of Man’s legends since the beginning. The Little People (Mooinjer Veggey), also known as Themselves, stand a good foot high. Much like gnomes, they dress in green with red caps, yet they are slender, more like a human. They are usually seen hanging out under the “Fairy Bridge”, but are also known to be just about anywhere riding on the back of a corgi. Kaitlin (who I introduced yesterday) will, of course, have an encounter with the Little People. 

For the locals, they know the importance of the Little People and the proper way to greet them. It is well known that if they are not given their due respect you may come down with chicken pox, get robbed, or have bad luck follow you. The TT racers are very careful about giving a kind greeting in hopes of having a bit of good luck in their race.

So, when you cross the Fairy Bridge you must say: “Moghrey mie (Good morning), Fastyr mie (Good afternoon/evening) or Laa mie (Good day) Mooinjer Veggey.” Many visitors write notes and wishes on pieces of paper and attach them to a nearby tree. The Little People are kindly and generous with their luck just as long as you are too.

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This post inspired by – L

M is for Manannan Mac Lir

K is for Kaitlin Manning

I have been anxiously waiting for the letter K to come up so I could introduce you to my main character Kaitlin Manning. She was born outside Denver, Colorado, and grew up in Agate; population….just over 500. School was not her favorite pastime. The kids stayed in town for elementary school, but the upper grades involved a 30 minute commute, one way. She was traveling with her father more than she was in school so she never quite fit in.

When she was five years old, Kaitlin’s mother left without a trace. The few memory snippets Kaitlin has of her mother are all smiles and laughter. She constantly asked her father, why? Why, if her mother was so happy, did she leave? His sad smile was never answer enough for her, but that was all she came to expect. 

We meet up with Kaitlin while she is on summer break from the University of Colorado.  At 20 years old she is ready to get on with her life, and isn’t sure she wants to return to school. This trip is her chance to get away from Colorado and try to find a direction for her future.

Kaitlin and her father are on the Isle of Man to photograph the TT (Tourist Trophy) Motorcycle Races; specifically the sidecar events. They have traveled extensively for his work as an international sports photographer, and she thinks she has seen just about everything the world has to offer until she gets to the island. Kaitlin soon finds out that this trip will not be like any she has experienced before. 

She is down to earth and very curious. She is known to stand at the edge of a cliff just to see what clings to life just over the edge. Her favorite pastimes are reading, photographing sunsets, and riding motorcycles – fast. It’s a good thing she likes the speed, she’ll need when she tries to outrun her future.

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This post inspired by – K

L is for Little People

J is for Jabot

I have really enjoyed doing the A to Z Blog Challenge so far. It has been fun, up until the letter ‘J’. I have been wracking my brain trying to think of a J-something to write about as it might relate to the Isle of Man or The Manx, but no. My mind has been a blank on this letter (I’m having trouble with ‘Y’ too).

For brain food I cracked open my 1934 edition of 20,000 Words (this is a second edition published by The Gregg Publishing Company). Turning to the letter J I found the first word listed, JABOT. I have never heard this word before so the next step was to break out my dictionary. This book is a more modern version called, “the internet”.

The word originates from the French word jabot: a bird’s crop. What is a jabot, you ask? Wiktionary defines it as, “…is a decorative clothing accessory consisting of lace or other fabric falling from the throat, suspended from or attached to a neckband or collar; or simply pinned at the throat.”

Here is a picture of Mozart wearing one.

Is a jabot relevant to my book? Not specifically, but I think I may just throw the word in there somewhere just because it is a great word. I will leave it to you, my reading friends, to find it.

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Today’s post was inspired by — J (and the French)

K is for Kaitlin

I is for Isle of Man

When I was a young learner, I was taught in grade school how islands were formed. In very simplified terms, there is usually a push and shove from deep in the earth and an island is pushed up. Some islands, like the Hawaiian Islands, are built by volcanoes. But, the making of the Isle of Man was not made by Mother Nature, but by giants.

It happened thousands of years ago during a time when, in Ireland, the giants were always battling one another. One giant in particular, Finn MacCooil, was fighting the Red Giant of Scotland. MacCooil bested Big Red who ran to the east and MacCooil chased him. Red was getting far ahead of Finn. Fearing Red would jump into the sea and escape, Finn reached down and grabbed a handful of dirt and flung it at Red.

The fistful of dirt missed its intended target and it landed in the Irish Sea. This formed the Isle of Man. Now, the most amazing part of this story are the first Maxmen. As it turns out there were people on that clump of dirt, and they too were flung out to the sea. Luckily, the people landed safely.

They are The Manx.

Quite a hardy bunch if you ask me.

 

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This post inspired by – I

H is for Haunted

The Isle of Man is an island of rolling hills, quaint villages and bustling towns. It also has its fair share of haunted places.  Let me introduce you to just a few.

The Milntown Estate is located near Ramsey and was built in the early 1600’s. According to Lovely Greens, the house is haunted by a former Lady of the house who is more of a friendly, vs the other ghost who is a bit more aggressive.

Ben Sowrey and Dario Leonetti are the “Ghost Hunters” of the Isle of Man and they spent a night in the Milntown house declaring it Most Haunted. Here is the video the was produced for Gef The Mongoose: The Most Haunted.

The Gaiety Theatre is another haunted place listed by Gef The Mongoose. There are supposed to be four ghosts in the theater with the most well known one sitting in seat B14. This is her favorite seat so the theater keeps it open for her. Those who have experienced her haunting initially see a kindly older woman, but it isn’t until she slides into the wall near her seat that they realize they have been sitting by a ghost.

Last, but not least, are the black dogs that are seen in many places around the island. One dog in particular is Moddey Dhoo. My readers will be happy to know that Moddey is one of the characters in my book. I will have a post coming up about who he is, but for now, let me tell you the story about Moddey Dhoo of Castle Peel.

According to legend, there is a dog seen curled in front of the fire in one room or another throughout Castle Peel. No one knew who this dog was, and once the guards had locked the gates and secured the castle, Moddey would join them in the guard-room.

The guards, without fail, would take the caste key to the captain of the guards each night and they always traveled in pairs. One night, after having too much ale, one of the guards went alone. Once down the hall there came such a wail of screams that the remaining guards were frozen in their chairs. The single man came back out of his mind and he died three days later.

If you are out at night around Castle Peel, I suggest taking a friend.

There are many more places around the Isle of Man that are haunted, and many more wrapped in folklore. Here are a few links where you can discover them for yourself:

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This post inspired by — H

I is for Isle of Man

G is for Geography

It’s time to talk geography. I have mentioned Isle of Man in previous posts, and told you how small it really is (221 square miles, in case you missed that post). Today I want to tell about the actual island and its geography makeup. This will not by your typical “this is this, and that is that” kind of post. I hated geography in school so I won’t make this tedious for you.

But, I do have to give you a few quick facts:

  • It is in the middle of the Irish Sea
  • Its highest point is Mt. Snaefell at 2,036 feet
  • Most of the coastline is rocky
  • It is treeless except in a few areas that are sheltered from the climate
  • Ramsey is a large northern town (population close to 8,000)
  • Douglas is the capital (Population 27,000+)
  • The southern most tip you’ll find Calf of Man

So, there are your facts about the Isle of Man. Now let’s take a look of some of the fun stuff like, the Drinking Dragon. At the southern tip is this wonderful rock formation that looks like a dragon dipping its nose in the sea for a sip of water.

Another fun feature of the island is Mt. Snaefell. This peak is lower than my house (I’m at 6,000 feet here in Colorado), and is not too exciting to look at.

There is an old building on top along with a radio tower. Even though it is wind blown and cloudy most of the time, if you go to the top on a clear day they say you can see six kingdoms: Isle of Man, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Heaven. Now that’s cool.

The last place we’ll visit is St. Patrick’s Isle. This small tidal island is mostly occupied by Peel Castle. This castle is where my characters, Donal and Kaitlin, will meet their first buggane, along with meeting the Witch of Slieu Whallian.

 The castle was originally a worship center until the Vikings arrived in the 11th century. It was fully constructed by King Magnus (aka Magnus Barefoot, and another in the cast of The Manx). According to legends he built this as his summer getaway. More likely this was a perfect staging area to conquer large portions of the coastal areas of the Irish Sea.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of the Isle of Man. Although small in size, the island is large in interesting landscapes.

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This post inspire by – G

F is for Fairy Bridge

On the Isle of Man there is a bridge that belongs to The Little People. It is called the Fairy Bridge. The Little People (also called Themselves) are NOT fairies. They do not associate themselves with fairies and find it quite insulting to be called fairies. They are Themselves or Little People (Little Fellows), period. As I have done research into the folktales on the Isle Of Man, I have not come across the reason they detest being called fairies.

I can only imagine how much the Little People laugh at the humans who pass over the bridge. It might be that fairies do live under the bridge, but beware. They are tricksters. If you cross over the bridge be sure to say thank you for allowing you to cross.

Most people don’t realize that this well known bridge is only there for the tourists. There is another bridge, more difficult to get to, that is the true bridge of the Little People. This is the bridge I have in my book. Kaitlin’s first encounter with the magical world on the Isle of Man is under this bridge. Her life will change in ways she never dreamed of.

If you should find your way to this bridge, remember to give a kind nod of thanks. You are the guest of the Little People. They only ask for your respect. If you don’t, watch out. Your life could change in ways you never dreamed of just like Kaitlin’s does.

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This post inspired by – F

G is for Geography

E is for Eclipse

As a writer, I lean toward historical accuracy whenever I can, but when I really want a certain something to happen in a story, I make it up. That is the beauty of being a fiction writer…I get to make stuff up. There are many aspects of The Manx that hold true to the facts whether it is something that takes place today, or in the past. There are real people in the book like King Magnus and his family. The castles are all real too (Peel and Douglas in particular). But, there are also many instances that things come straight from my imagination.

Case in point; the lunar eclipse. I really wanted a lunar eclipse to happen at the same time as at least one of the motorcycle races. Through my extensive research (ok, I Googled it) I couldn’t make the eclipse sync with the TT. So, you got it, I put a lunar eclipse in there anyway. It is critical to the story, but not to history. I say to all you factoid fiends, “Suck it up.” I’m putting the lunar eclipse right where I want it. You may also cringe when I make up the names for any TT drivers, or when I put mermaids in places they shouldn’t be. I’m a fiction writer. I can do these things. 🙂

This post inspired by — E

F is for Faerie

D is for Donal Kennaugh

I would like to introduce you to Donal Kennaugh, one of the main characters in The Manx. I have enjoyed writing Donal’s character because there are  many secrets behind him. Throughout the story these secrets will come to light as he is forced to face  his past.

He lives in Ramsey with his mother, Brigid. He and his father were a sidecar team in the motorcycle racing circuit. During the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy race (also known as the TT), the bike went out of control. His father was killed, and Donal has not raced since, but still loves to ride on the rare days the sun shines on the island.

The main character of The Manx is Kaitlin Manning. She and Donal are first maternal cousins and spent childhood summers together adventuring around the Isle of Man. Donal took her to all of his secret places and they made up wild tales of kings and queens, knights and princesses. He slew dragons for her, spoke with the fairies, and wrestled bugganes. He was Kaitlin’s hero.

After his father’s death, the games suddenly stopped. It has been ten years since Kaitlin and her father visited the island, and they have returned to photograph the TT.

Donal and Kaitlin will once again take up their childhood adventures, but they will no longer be a games of pretend.

Note: Today calls for two blog posts in order to satisfy two blog writing challenges. A to Z Challenge’s daily post plus the Insecure Writers Support Group’s monthly post. 

This post inspired by – D

E is for Eclipse