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

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

What Do I Love Most About My Genre?

What’s not to love? I do write in multiple genres (historical fiction, non-fiction, and fantasy), but my favorite is fantasy. Ever since a young age I loved tails about witches, vampires (Bela Lugosi was the best), fairies, and all the rest. I read the tame versions of the Brothers Gimm along with marathons of the old black and white Frankenstein-esque films.

My writing is on the tamer side of witchcraft and fairy tales. My first book (yes, I’m working furiously to get it out!) is based on the fairy tales and legends on the Isle of Man. They are pretty quirky stories that I still scratch my head about. One story is about St. Trinian’s Church and the monster haunting it. The monster, called a Buggane, hates all the noise the church builders are making during the day, so he rips off the roof every night. This goes on and on. The roof is on, the roof is off, night after night. Then a boy named Timothy makes a wager with the church that he can make a pair of pants inside the church before the Buggane can rip off the roof. They take him up on the wager just so the roof might stay on a single night. Timothy not only gets his breeches made, but he also angers the Buggane so much that it rips it’s own head off and vanishes. The church still stands today.

This is what I love about what I write. A tale of legendary monsters, a brave boy, and a building that still stands. One day, I will visit St. Trinian’s and touch the walls of history. Until that day I will write my own tales of the Buggane of St. Trinian’s.

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Today’s post is inspired by the IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group). Our awesome co-hosts for the February 7 posting of the IWSG are Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia, Angela Wooldridge, Victoria Marie Lees, and Madeline Mora-Summonte!

Click here to read some other great blogs

Beastkeeper

BeastkeeperBeastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
★★★★☆

I LOVED the writing style that carried me through this quaint story. The plot was not earth shattering so my rating of a four instead of five stars. I still really enjoyed reading this and recommend it to adults as well as young adults.

From Goodreads: Sarah has always been on the move. Her mother hates the cold, so every few months her parents pack their bags and drag her off after the sun. She’s grown up lonely and longing for magic. She doesn’t know that it’s magic her parents are running from.

When Sarah’s mother walks out on their family, all the strange old magic they have tried to hide from comes rising into their mundane world. Her father begins to change into something wild and beastly, but before his transformation is complete, he takes Sarah to her grandparents—people she has never met, didn’t even know were still alive.

Deep in the forest, in a crumbling ruin of a castle, Sarah begins to untangle the layers of curses affecting her family bloodlines, until she discovers that the curse has carried over to her, too. The day she falls in love for the first time, Sarah will transform into a beast . . . unless she can figure out a way to break the curse forever.

View all my reviews

Kristi Lloyd

We are pleased to have Kristi Lloyd join us today to chat.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

First of all, I would like to say thank you, KJ. It’s an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to be featured on your blog.

I am an Army wife and stay-at-home mother of two children. I’m originally from a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA, but I’m currently living in Colorado. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and used to work in a psychiatric hospital, which has helped me with my writing. I have a blog at http://www.thumpsbumpsandthrills.blogspot.com. You can also find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/kristi.l.lloyd or on Twitter @KristiLloyd1926. You may email me at generations1926@gmail.com.

2. What are you working on right now?

I’ve recently completed an urban fantasy novel, FAMILIAR GENERATIONS, the first of a series. I’m getting ready to “send it into the world,” a scary yet exciting sort of feeling! The second book of the series has started to unfold as well.

3. Of the books/stories you have written, which one would you like to tell us about?

Familiar Generations: Victoria Braumwell is a Wiccan with a number of psychic abilities, but her greatest downfall is that she’s terribly attracted to bad boys. When she meets Chaz Paglione, a mob boss-turned vampire, Vicki knows she finally found the real deal. While falling for Chaz, Vicki discovers she’s a partial vampire herself and is offered a position as a manager at a hot new nightclub in classic Mafia fashion. But when spirit activity becomes dangerous in her new place of employment, Vicki will need the help of her friends to ensure the nightclub is safe for its guests.

4. What was the hardest part about getting this book/story from the first ideas to publication?

I began writing this book about a year and a half ago, while my husband was deployed to Afghanistan. However, the idea for it first originated about ten years ago. I never had enough confidence to be able to sit down and write it though. The characters (most of them) were there in my head, but I didn’t think I’d be able to come up with a plot. One night, I put my kids in bed and started typing away. From that night on, I knew I had answered my calling to become a writer.

5. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t attracted to the paranormal. At the age of nine, I saw my first vampire movie, The Lost Boys. From that day on, vampires held me enthralled.

As for my characters themselves, Vicki is modeled after me. Since I first started writing, she has taken on a mind and personality that are all her own. Her two BFFs are characterizations of two important people in my life. As for Chaz, I don’t know where the heck he came from, he just showed up one night. I’ve learned to let him have his way.

6. What books or authors have influenced you the most and why?

R.L. Stein’s Fear Street books had me turning the pages.

In my opinion, if you’re writing within the vampire genre, you owe an immense amount of gratitude to Anne Rice. I don’t know that there’s much more to say about that.

Madelyn Alt’s Bewitching Mysteries Series gave me the courage to open up more about my religion.

Laurell K. Hamilton is a master at what she does. Her Anita Blake books are beyond fantastic. Ms. Hamilton was the first author that made me think it might be fun to fall in love with a vampire.

7. What are your favorite books that you have read simply for pleasure?

Most of the books I read, I do so for pleasure, even when I read non-fiction. The most recent fiction books I’ve found completely entertaining have been the Miss. Peregrin books by Ransom Riggs. As for non-fiction, I’m currently reading Young Al Capone: The Untold Story of Scarface in New York, 1899-1925 by William and John Balsamo (although I guess that one doesn’t count because it is part of my research, but it’s very interesting).

8. What does a typical writing day look like for you?

Unfortunately, the writing doesn’t have much space on my daily schedule. As a mom of a four- and a six-year old, I’m quite busy during the day, even when we’re just staying at home. But I do make a point to write every night once my son and daughter are in bed. I usually end up with anywhere between two and four hours of writing time, depending on how long I stay awake.

9. Do you have strategies for getting past those days that are hard to write?

Yes, sometimes I’ll watch a movie to get some creative juices flowing. I’ll often turn to films about gangsters, or sometimes witches. Goodfellas and Practical Magic are two that I particularly like. Otherwise, there are times when I merely sit and stare at the computer screen.

10. If you took a two-week vacation in any book or story, where would you go and who would you be?

I’ve always imagined I’d make a great Mayfair witch. The Witching Hour (Anne Rice) has always been at the top of my favorites list for books. Charlotte, Mary Beth, and Stella are the characters I adore most. And come on, who doesn’t love New Orleans?

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Coming August 15: Chris Mandeville will be chatting with us about her new release, “52 Ways to Get Unstuck”.

Heralds of the Crown: Poison

Heralds of the Crown: PoisonHeralds of the Crown: Poison by Ashley Hodges Bazer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Heralds of the Crown grabs you from the first chapter and keeps you reading until the last page where you say, “When can I get the next book?” Ashley Hodges Bazer has written a fabulous story of a woman, Marcella, who must choose to stay on evil’s side or go to the side of good. She is faced with choices that are balanced between the two worlds. What a page turner!

View all my reviews

Watch for our interview with Ashley coming June 15th!!