Jack Friday Sales Event!

Happy Holidays colorized Pen and Ink copyright noticed

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.

 

Poem And Plot

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.

Just as in the first book, The Mystery Of The Death Hearth, each chapter is preceded by a poem or short narrative setting the mood and tone. Here’s one:

Oh, Greed, so obvious your smile;

Want and Desire so blatant.

Reveal your Lust for material gain,

Of Profit and minted coin.

Omitting Oaths you have foresworn

As the pucker of your Aspirations

Lead you into Darker stations.

‘Tis The Season To Shop Local

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I will be signing copies of my books Mystery Of The Death Hearth and Storytellin’: True And Fictional Short Stories Of Arkansas Saturday, November 29, 2014 between the hours of 1:30 pm – 4 pm as part of Nightbird Books and the Local Author Day and Small Business Saturday.

“This is one of our best attended events each year so plan to make us part of your holiday shopping these days.” Nightbird Books, 205 W Dickson St, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Looks like it will be beautiful weather and a great day to shop local.

Hope to see you there!

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Ancient Celtic Blacksmiths

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.

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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.”

You can visit Dan’s site at Ancient Celtic Clans and Ali’s at aliisaacstoryteller

I hope you will take time to visit Ali Isaac and read through her many interesting articles. While there, make sure to check out her two current books The Fenian King and The Four Treasures of Eirean

Where do your poem ideas originate?

Easy answer: Any source that inspires a poem.

The writing process for me is the same be it poem, short story or novel. When ideas come, I scribble down a line or two capturing the essence of my initial thought then work it until complete. Capture the idea. Write the first draft. Rewrite and edit until satisfied.

In The Mystery Of The Death Hearth the poem ideas come from the story line. Each chapter opens with a poem or short narrative serving as a clue or mood-setter for not only that chapter but for the entire story.

In Chapter 24 for example, a key character—a hired assassin—reluctantly accepts a new target given by his employer. The opening poem sets the tone. After completing the chapter, the idea for the poem appeared and I jotted it down on my notepad. Here’s a rendition of the original idea.

 Death knocked upon the door.

The workman stood most weary;

Tired and spent without rest from labor dark and dreary.

Time he felt to quit this job, his muscles knotted, tired and sore.

Just one more thing he had to do:

Answer the knock upon his door.

Six Author Questions

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

The idea for a Celtic murder mystery formed during genealogical studies that traced the family name back to at least 1500 A.D. Germany. That finding began my interest in the very earliest inhabitants of Europe. Years of research later regarding early Europe and the Celts revealed a fascinating possibility for what some might call a work of speculative fiction.

The time period for the Runevision Mystery series roughly equates to historic 425-450 A.D. Europe but the series is a work of fiction—speculative fiction by some definitions, alternative historical fiction by others. Regardless of label, it is above all, a complex murder mystery full of detail, twisting plots, and devious subplots that take the reader along with the characters into a new, unexplored place and time.

How do historical Celts differ from those in your Celtic Runevision Murder Mystery series?

Today we think of something Celtic as being of Ireland or some other part of the British Isles but in an historical sense, that is not completely correct.

Before the invasion of the Romans into Eastern, Northern and Western Europe and the British Isles, (pre-Circa 55 B.C.) these areas were inhabited by groups of people known as Celts (pronounced Khelts). Although the group names, language and cultural norms varied widely by region—from Eastern and Northern Europe all the way to the British Isles—there is archaeological evidence these societies were connected by an impressive trade network which facilitated an exchange of varied cultural, social, and religious ideas. When the Romans spread into the lands, however, their efforts to displace Celtic traditions and religious practices with their own led to oppression, dissent, and outright rebellion.

In the Runevision Mystery series, the term Celt is a broad term used to describe those non-Romans living in Europe. As the Mystery of the Death Hearth and the Runevision Series illustrates, these people had a structured society, religion and strong social and family connections. In that sense, the fictional Celts are much like their historical counterparts. The series is a work of fiction that explores the struggles of those who might have lived at a time when the Romans controlled much of western Europe.

What inspired you to write?

My first book Storytellin’: True And Fictional Short Stories Of Arkansas was inspired by a desire to pass not only some entertaining, true family stories on to my daughter and granddaughter but to write and share original, fictional stories based in part on the old family stories; most with valuable, moral life lessons attached.

What are you currently working on?

Book two of the Celtic Runevision mystery series The Corpsemakers is well under way. The action begins a few months after the end of book one.  The series’ protagonist, Weylyn de Gort joins Fionna, Elder Eghan of Oaks and the Roman Commander Orrs to battle perpetrators of a murderous plot to annihilate the Celtic Oracle Fountain stewards and steal the sacred Celtic site. The danger escalates as an outbreak of deadly plague sweeps through the Empire and into the Brendan Valley.

Each of the books, although part of a series with recurring characters, are stand-alone mysteries so readers do not need to have read them in sequence to enjoy the work.

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

One word: Write. Seriously. Write, write and rewrite. It is the best way to hone your craft.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

The ability to put into words and share with others the thoughts and ideas that fill my imagination.