Category Archives: 2014 The Keepers of Éire Trip

Reluctant Paladin is nearing publication

One final pass of editing on my middle-grade novel, Reluctant Paladin while awaiting cover art. This novel is a spin-off from my first fantasy novel, The Keepers of Éire. Reluctant Paladin is a coming of age story that blends modern-day fantasy/adventure with the emotional upheaval of dealing with bullies. Here is my back cover blurb, as of now:
All Niall wants is to stay out of trouble at his new school, but Thorin, the school bully, has other ideas. When Niall comes home sporting bruises and asking for money, his grandfather’s suspicions grow, but Niall won’t open up about his troubles. To gain Niall’s trust, his grandfather recruits him to help care for Grayson, a newborn, wingless dragonet—himself a victim of cruelty and prejudice. Niall bonds with the dragonet and swears his allegiance to the Tuatha Dragon Clan. Now he must keep the dragon clan a secret.
Thorin struggles to care for his six younger siblings while dealing with the death of his mother and the fallout brought on by his father’s grief. Too young to shoulder the burden, he grows more desperate as his father’s destructive behavior puts the family in jeopardy.
Niall endures the taunts and physical harassment until Thorin discovers Niall’s unique pendant. Then he is forced to do what is right: stand up to his fears and confront the bully in order to protect a centuries old secret—dragons really do exist!
What do you think? Does this make you want to read the book?
Here I am with my muse, Grayson:20140730-232510-84310383.jpg

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Writing Update

I’m terrible at consistently updating my blog, but that’s mostly because I want to have something of interest to write about, not the some ol’ boring “I’m writing today”, or “I haven’t had a chance to write today”.

But just over two weeks ago, I once again took the NaNoWriMo challenge. NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, is where writers from around the globe challenge themselves to write 50,000 words (in some coherent sense) in the month of November. That’s 1,667 words per day, every day—come rain or come shine. La, la, la, la, la. I hear music playing.NaNoWriMo-shield-and-spelled-out

Anyway, I’m not as concerned with writing the 50,000 words, so much as I am getting back to writing everyday (or most days). I am still battling with elbow tendon repair surgery and being the president of Tri-Valley Writers (which takes some time away from my writing). But enough of the whining.

More than halfway through the month, and I have written just over 12,000 words (nowhere near where I should be). But those 12,000 words are solid. What I mean is: they are the first seven chapters of the middle-grade novel I’m writing. Of course, they will need to be edited, but not completely rewritten. Hurrah!

And, more importantly, the story is flowing well and I’m writing most days (still not everyday as I am having some major pain in my arm).

So there you have it, my writing update. I’m off to see what Niall is up to. He should be making Grayson’s (my wingless dragon from The Keepers of Éire) acquaintance in the next day or so. (check out Grayson atop Lia Fail, hanging with me in Ireland).




Filed under 2014 The Keepers of Éire Trip, Writing

Edinburgh-last day

For my last full day in Scotland, I hung out with velociraptors, thistles and needle pointers, dragons at a palace and Grayfriars Bobby. I started the day finding a real gem of a sgian dubh (dagger). Then I learned about how Scotland (and Earth) was formed and changed since the Big Bang at Our Dynamic Earth.

Then I checked out the Scottish Parliment. A major vote is coming up in September for Scotland, yet I went to view the 160 panel Great Tapestry of Scotland-fabulous! I even added some stitching to a panel that will be presented to Parliment.


Next, I visited the Palace of Holyroodhouse -where the royal family resides when they come to Edinburgh. And, I found dragons.




I touched Grayfriars Bobby’s nose (it is rumored that the Skye Terrier lay by his human’s gravesite for 14 years until he himself died in 1872 -now that’s loyalty).


And I wrapped up my day with dessert and a pint, or two, of St. Andrews Smooth at the Balmoral Hotel. Wow, what fun I’ve had.

Tomorrow I head back to Dublin for one last afternoon and evening, then I fly back home. The time has gone quickly, but I’ve reconnected with some wonderful people and made new friends along the way.
I am blessed to be able to experience some parts of the lands of my ancestors. Slainte.



Filed under 2014 Ireland /Scotland Trip, 2014 The Keepers of Éire Trip


I spent the day in Edinburgh visiting the Castle (which is getting ready for the Military Tattoo).




Here I am at the line of cannons.


And some dragons.


The castle is built on top of an extinct volcano, and easy to see why it was built here. The castle is solid rock fortress.


I finished the day with an early supper at the Witchery. Also, check out the street I’m staying.


I’m going to visit the Palace at Holyroodhouse tomorrow.

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Filed under 2014 Ireland /Scotland Trip, 2014 The Keepers of Éire Trip

Inverness, Culloden, Clava Cairns, Ruthven Barracks, Pitlochry, & Edinburgh

The morning started with a book giveaway and send off from my Inverness lodging- the Atherstone Guesthouse.

We headed out to Culloden Battlefield where in 1746, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobites lost their battle.


Next, the Clava Cairns (this will be one of the locations the Caledonian dragons will harness the earth magic in book 2 of my Keeper series). Grayson came along to show the way into the cairns.






Ruthven Barracks rounded out our morning.




We stopped in Pitlochry for lunch and whisky tasting. Guess where I ate lunch?


I’ll close out this post with our tour guide Bill (also my guide 3 years ago) from Real Scottish Journeys. He was quite supportive of my writing endeavor when last I was here, so…look for Bill in the next book.



Filed under 2014 Ireland /Scotland Trip, 2014 The Keepers of Éire Trip, Writing