R is for Rhumsaa (Ramsey)

Rhumsaa is the Manx term for Ramsey which is located on the northern end of the Isle of Man. It was named by the Norse (hrams-á) as the “Wild Garlic River” due to all of the wild garlic that grows nearby. Ramsey is the second largest city only bested by Douglas. It is also where Donal and his mother have a home.

When I was looking for a destination for Kailtlin when she arrived to the Island I turned to Google Maps. I knew I wanted Ramsey in my book, but I wasn’t sure exactly where within the town she would be. I “virtually” wandered the streets of town looking for that perfect house. After torturing myself for a few hours I went back to my old friend Google Search.

“Homes for sale in Ramsey, Isle of Man” turned up the best results and then I found it! What a perfect place! The listing was complete with descriptions, footage, photographs, and, to top it off, a stunning location. Dare I show you what I found? I think not. Now, don’t get mad. This is not an easy decision. When you read The Manx I prefer you form your own vision of the house, rather than me just handing the keys over. 

Now that I had the house that Kaitlin and her father would stay in, the rest was easy. Ramsey is a great coastal town that hugs the edge of a bay. It isn’t so big that Kailtlin would be lost in the bustle, but it is a nice size for a colorful backdrop in The Manx.

I wonder if anyone makes Queenies there?

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This post inspired by – R

S is for Mt Snaefell

P is for Castle Peel

Located on St. Patrick’s Isle, Peel was built in the 11th century by Vikings under the rule of our favorite king, Magnus Barefoot. Initially the castle was a Celtic religious site, but when Magnus’ forces arrived they replaced those with wood battlements. The sandstone walls did not appear until the 14th century.

There are so many things that I want to tell you about Castle Peel and the role it plays in The Manx but the spoilers would pile up too high. Instead I’ll leave you with a photo of it and you can imagine your own tales that might occur here.

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This post inspired by – P

Q is for Queenies

N is for Names

In choosing names for The Manx I used surnames that were listed in the census logs of the Isle of Man. I went as far back as I could find records for so that the names were as authentic as I could make them. Kaitlin Manning is named for the island, Mann (as it is sometimes spelled). Her first name is not of Manx origin, but she was born in America so I leaned toward something that would fit here in the states. Donal Kennaugh’s surname is one of the oldest I could find, plus I just liked it. His first name is of Manx origin and means “world conqueror.”

The book also takes us back into Manx history. King Magnus the Barefoot was king of Norway 1093-1103, during this time he was on the Isle of Man. King Magnus was ruthless in the battles he waged. He dominated much of the coastal area around the Irish sea. He had forts built on Man and he spent much of his time there while he was busy conquering the Irish Sea. His daughters, Ragnhild and Tora (I changed this name to Thora in the book), will play major parts in the past as well, along with a few other characters from his court.

The extent of historical accuracy does end there. I have used the names from the past  and taken a lot of artistic liberty with their characters. I also followed some of the historical narrative to build personalities for them, but that’s about it.

There have been days that I spent hours looking for names getting lost in the histories and the side trips of the internet. I am still building new characters so if you are Manx and know of a few good places, or people, that you think should be included. Leave a comment. I’d love to learn more.

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This post inspired by – N

O is for Osran

C is for Cat

Today’s post, for #atozchallenge, is dedicated to the letter C — for CAT, and my fantasy novel, The Manx. The manx cat is tailless and are thought to come from the Isle of Man. At one time there was a relatively large population of manx on the island, but in recent years it has been declining.

In the Manx language they are called, kayt Manninagh (the cat of Mann) and are also referred to as Stubbin. In Sophia Morrison’s, Manx Fairy Tales, the cat was running late to the arc and Noah slammed the door on its tail. Once on the arc, the cat turned to Noah and said,

Bee bo bend it,
My tail’s ended,
And I ‘ll go to Mann
And get copper nails,
And mend it.

When the waters receded Noah dropped the cat off on the Isle of Man to find some copper nails. I don’t think the cat ever found the nails because it is still without a tail.

The Manx cat is not the only Manx on the Isle of Man. The title of my book is named for the native peoples of the island, the Manx or Manxies. They have cultural origins with the Celtics and their language is related to Irish and Scottish Gaelic although it developed in seclusion since about the 700’s.

The Manx (my book) is inspired by the folktales and history of the island. You will find bugganes, Little People, castles, witches, and much more. Tomorrow, with the letter “D” I will introduce you to one of the characters in the book, Donal. Until then….

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Today’s post inspired by –“C”

c-for-a-to-z

D — Donal

A is for April Fools

Today, there will be many posts about April Fools Day. Where did it start? What are the most outlandish pranks? Who likes the pranks and who detests them? I will let someone else write about those questions. I am here to tell you about one great prank that actually made it into a book.

First, let me remind you that many of the posts during April will be about the Isle of Man and my first novel, The Manx. In case you didn’t know, the Isle of Man is a tiny place that sits in the middle of the Irish Sea. It is only 221 square miles (32 miles long and 14 miles wide), and home to over 82,000 people. Half the population are Manx who are native born to the Isle of Man.

The April Fools joke? It was about a bridge and the Handbook of International Bridge Engineering. In 2008 the Liverpool Echo announced that a bridge would span the Irish Sea from Liverpool to Isle of Man’s capital city, Douglas.  According to the HIBE, The Alf Priolo bridge would be 432,960 feet long and the third longest in the world.

bridge-april-fools

The 82 mile expanse would be named after a well known 19th Century Manx engineer by the name of Alf Priolo. However, the engineer did not exist, and the name is actually an anagram for April Fool.

I have it on reliable authority the bridge was recently completed. The Little People, also referred to as Themselves, completed construction just a few weeks ago. My source explained that the Little People were tired of the small bridge they had been relegated for so many centuries. Besides, they wanted to get out and see the rest of the world so only they can use it.  It spans from somewhere near Peel Castle, Isle of Man, to Ballyhornan, Northern Ireland. Don’t bother trying to find it. It’s invisible.

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This post inspired by: “A”

A-for-a-to-z

B — Buggane

Welcome 2016

We just crossed into a new year…are you excited? If you said, “YES!” then I’m with you. I am really looking forward to this year and what secrets it holds.The future is never certain, but I will make the best of it. My plan for 2016 is pretty simple; publish my debut novel The Manx. This book has been in the works for a few years and kept on the back burner while I dug down into the craft of writing. Developing character and story arcs, along with structure and plot are all necessary for developing a good book, but when I started The Manx I knew nothing about writing a book and soon discovered that it needed a little work.

Since its inception (around 2013), I have kept it safely on the shelf just waiting for the day I had enough confidence (and know-how) to pull it back out and dive in. The Manx is coming out to play and its going to be awesome! If you like fairy tales this will be your kind of read. I won’t reveal any more right now, but look to future posts as I introduce you to the Isle of Man and its people, the Manx.

Until then, enjoy the beginnings of this new year. Make your resolutions. Keep them or not. No matter what, make the best of everything that happens this year. It will be the one, and only, time you get to live 2016.