Tag Archives: Irish

Can You Break My Code?

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I couldn’t just be a ‘normal’ 14-year-old. 😉 Don’t worry, this page isn’t what you have to decode.

Finally! I’ve been wanting to do this for months but one thing or another has kept me from it. Here it is at last!

Back in the day…

…I created a code so no one could read my super secret teenage thoughts. This is one of the pages and pages of my “code diary.”

At first I was going to simply post the above image and have you all try to crack it. But after getting several opinions, it was unanimous that this was too hard by itself. It’s difficult to see the word breaks, and it IS a lot of letters to decode. I’d probably only attract nerdy nutters like myself. While I LOVE nerdy nutters, I want this to be fun for everyone.

So instead…

Your mission…

…should you choose to accept it: decode the following Thanksgiving themed phrase.

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Each symbol represents a letter of the alphabet. As you can see, I gave you the vowels. 🙂

Email your entry to me at shea_ford@yahoo.com by November 29th. I will select a random winner to be announced on November 30th.

Your prize…

…an Amazon copy of The Stone of Kings!

Why is this kind of contest related to the story? I’m sure the Irish druids had a much different set of symbols on the rare occasions when they wrote things down. But when Bresal communicates with Taichleach via magic symbols in stones, these were the symbols that I visualized.

Just go with it. 😉

Wait…there’s more!

I have a big announcement to make on the 30th, so be sure to look for that when you stop in to see if you’re my winner! 😀

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Meet the Characters of The Stone of Kings – Ciaran & Hamish

Bwaa haa haa! Caricature by J.J., SVG file by Gustavb via Wikimedia Commons.

Up to now, I’ve introduced you to most of the good guys in The Stone of Kings, with the exception of Mr. Reppenhaggan. The conflict of the book is primarily internal from the protagonist Ardan. However, there are a couple of villains, though they don’t show up till just before the dramatic high point at the end of the book. Since they mirror each other, I’ll talk about them both in this final “Meet the Characters” post. 🙂

What They Look Like

Ciaran is young, early twenties maybe. But he’s kind of scrawny. I imagined his back story to be a relatively good kid who got picked on a lot for his lack of muscle. That’s why he turns to drugs to numb the pain and the New IRA for acceptance.

As a side note, the current New IRA, aka Real IRA (classified as a terrorist organisation) does carry out vigilante work against drug dealers, but mainly through extortion and feuding. Times change, but bad judgment will always be bad judgment. Since this part of my story takes place in 2023, I didn’t see Ciaran’s drug addiction and IRA involvement as a very big stretch.

Hamish is a Scottish druid with an attitude. His attitude stems from being a Little Person in the 18th century so you can probably guess why he’s a bit grouchy. I really can’t blame him. Like the other druids, his hair, beard, and eyes are white.

Their Parts to Play

Ciaran is the literary foil for both Thomas and Hamish. (Still not quite sure how I managed to come up with that! 😉 ) He contrasts with Thomas, who has more right to hate the British than Ciaran. But Thomas knows how foolish it is to react as rashly as Ciaran does. Ciaran compares with Hamish, who identifies himself under the British crown, the very political power that Ciaran loathes.

I just love these kind of wild circles! 😀

Poor Hamish is just trying to make a better life for himself. He saw an opportunity to live a more aristocratic life in Ireland and jumped on it. Like Ciaran, he’s not all bad, just fed up with being picked on. He was partly inspired by the character Miles Finch from The Elf. 🙂

What They Mean To the Story

The name Ciaran means “little dark one.”  It’s probably meant to be literal for the Irish babies born with dark hair. But I gave Ciaran his name for figurative reasons. He’s a dark character and shows Thomas how not to react. Thomas is understandably upset that the English took his family’s land. His relationship with Turlough (whose family historically suffered the same fate) helps to keep his anger in check. Ciaran’s over-the-top violence proves to Thomas that he needs to let go of his anger. Then again, the faeries have even bigger plans for Ciaran and Thomas…

The name Hamish means “supplanter” or “representative,” which made it the perfect name for this character. Hamish represents England for the Irish Druids. Though the Irish welcome him into their number, he attempts to use one of their own weapons of power against them in order to make himself their leader. Let’s see how well that works out for him…

Their Failings

Ciaran is so wrapped up in having been accepted by the New IRA, he can’t see the forest for the trees. Even when the faeries make themselves visible to him, he believes that someone has set up some kind of elaborate “intervention” complete with holographic images.

Hamish gets too power-hungry. Due to his appearance, he would never have been able to life an aristocratic type life in Scotland, even with the help of faerie magic. He manages to pull it off in Ireland and the power goes to his head.

Their Strengths

In a warped way, Ciaran truly believes that he’s acting for the good of Ireland, even though he nearly kills his own cousin among many others.

Hamish is a talented druid. The fact that he can gain the wealth he has despite his appearance is a testament to that. If he could only remember what being a druid is all about…

I’d love to hear from you!

Do you ever feel kinda sorry for the bad guy? Do you know why they went bad, but you get frustrated because they go over-the-top with the meanness? Do you think there are really ALL BAD people, who have not redeeming qualities at all? Are they believable as characters?

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Meet the Characters of The Stone of Kings – Jim Jam and His Troope of Faeries

I couldn’t find pictures of red foxgloves. But this is what faerie hats look like, only red. 🙂 Attribution: W.J.Pilsak at the German language Wikipedia.

When I told my husband about Irish faeries being in my book, I think it put him in mind of Tinkerbell and adventures in tiny faerie villages with smiling bugs for sidekicks.

Er, no.

Irish faeries, aka The Good People, are not Disney-esque in the least and you must treat them with proper respect. If you don’t, you may regret it.

This was a difficult post to write because I didn’t want to risk giving away too much of my story. Also, there are tons of different myths and ideas about the Fae Folk. It can be a fascinating study, and I highly recommend it. But here’s a general rundown of how I depict the faeries in The Stone of Kings.

What He Looks Like

Most of the time, the faeries are invisible. If you are worthy enough to be able to see them, you’ll find that they disguise themselves to look like foxglove (or lusmore) flowers. Like the others, Jim Jam is tiny and green. He wears clothes styled like the aristocracy of 1715, but all in green hues. The only thing not green is his hat, which is tall and pointy like a foxglove blossom. It is specifically red, because red is a magical color in the faerie world. Jim Jam also has delicate wings which is an aspect that I chose to use for my book. Some of the faerie myths have them to be wingless.

His Part To Play

Each immortal druid deals with a specific faerie troope. Jim Jam is the chief of the troope that deals with Bresal. We really only see them at the beginning and the end of the story, but they are central to the plot, nonetheless. Like with the other druids, Jim Jam and his faeries have given Bresal his magical spells. But the law stands that he must not write down the spells. Jim Jam kind of knows that Bresal will break this law, and lets it happen.

Jim Jam has his reasons…

What He Means to the Story

I found Jim Jam’s name in the story “Frank Martin and the Fairies.” I don’t think there’s any great significance to his name other than that. I just liked it. 🙂

His Failing

The Fae Folk don’t have failings, in my opinion. 😉 But if you want to call it a failing, they like to make trouble for people who don’t respect them.

Respect the faeries!

His Strength

Jim Jam and his troope of faeries are extremely intelligent. They understand human nature better than humans themselves. They gift worthy people because they recognize how these people can make Ireland a better place than it already is. If you’ve ever been to Ireland, it’s hard to imagine it to need improvements (such a gorgeous country!), but the faeries know how to pull it off.

I’d love to hear from you!

What are some faerie myths that you’ve encountered? Have you ever seen a faerie rath? Do you have a faerie inspired story to share?

Join me this week for Wednesday Welcomes! We get a sneak peek at E.A. West’s brand new release, Pressure.

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Meet the Characters of The Stone of Kings – The Reppenhaggans/Christian & Ana

Better shade of greyIn light of the 50 Shades of Grey movie coming out this Saturday, which in my opinion would be better suited for Halloween than Valentine’s (if they had to make it at all), I thought it would be fitting to introduce two of the minor characters from The Stone of Kings. Minor though they are, the Reppenhaggans reflect a major theme of anti-bullying which flows through the book.

And, if you’ll indulge me, they represent a more realistic view of Christian and Ana. And I would sincerely hope that Ana would eventually find courage as Mrs. Reppenhaggan does. As a disclaimer, I’ve never read FSOG and have no desire to. I’ve read enough summaries and excerpts to know that this is too much like some of the abusive relationships I’ve seen within even my own family. I really don’t find it at all sexy or remotely appealing.

What They Look Like

Mr. Reppenhaggan is a strong, burly man who usually leers or sneers. His beautiful wife usually stares at her hands and makes sure that her shirt-sleeves are pulled to her wrists.

Their Part to Play

They make Ardan and Thomas realize how much Hannah means to them. Her beauty has drawn Mr. Reppenhaggan’s interest and he couldn’t care less about the beautiful wife he already has.

Thomas and Ardan are compelled to protect Hannah from Mr. Reppenhaggan. THAT is love and romance.

I’ll say it again: protecting someone from a threat IS true love and romance.

What They Mean to the Story

Whether it’s the people of a country who must stand against tyranny and oppression, or a solitary abused wife who must find the courage to change her situation, victims must find a way an intelligent way to become empowered. Thomas and Ardan help Mrs. Reppenhaggan to realize that her husband’s behavior is unacceptable. She sees that he can be defeated and she is ready to make her own stand.

Their Failings

Mr. Reppenhaggan/Christian is a bully. That’s his failing. Period.

Until she meets Thomas and Ardan, Mrs. Reppenhaggan doesn’t feel as if she can get out of her situation.

Their Strengths

For all his muscle (FSOG: wealth) and attitude (FSOG: hot looks), Mr. Reppenhaggan (Christian) doesn’t have any strength. Unless you count being an example of how NOT to behave to be a strength, then…well, there’s that.

Mrs. Reppenhaggan has the strength to finally see a situation for what it really is. She uses the knowledge to dig deep and stand up for herself. EMPOWERED!

I’d love to hear from you!

Have you been involved in an abusive relationship? If you got out, how did you become empowered? Did you need help? Have you read FSOG and been involved in an abusive relationship? Do you see the book for what it really is? Do you help victims get out of abusive situations? Please share success stories! 

This week’s Wednesday Welcomes dovetails with today’s post. This is totally cool, because I didn’t even plan it! 😉 You’ll get a peek at J.J. Nite’s YA Romance, Bruises of the Heart!

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Meet the Characters of The Stone of Kings – Hannah

Hannah’s eyes are bright blue. But the hair. That’s her beautiful red hair and I wish it I had it. *sigh* Image attributed to Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.

What She Looks Like

I have been trying and trying to think of someone who could be cast as Hannah. My mind keeps thinking about Shayna Rose (the original “Marina” from The Fresh Beat Band) or a young Rachelle Lefevre. Then I was thinking of who subconsciously inspired the character. You know that girl in high school? The one you only have one class with and you wish you knew her better because she seems so nice and sweet and pretty? It was that beautiful curly red hair and bright blue eyes. And she was always smiling. Yeah, her. That’s Hannah.

Her Part to Play

But don’t be fooled, she has a serious side too. She’s a nurse fresh out of school, ready to infuse society with her optimism, but so far, her patients have been far from receptive and she’s a bit discouraged.

Then she almost kills Thomas with her car.

And they show her the magic glowing book.

And the oak trees start communicating with her. Just her.

What’s a girl to do?

What She Means to the Story

According to Baby Names of Ireland, the name Hannah is an “Ancient Irish name from the noun aine that means ‘splendor, radiance, brilliance.’ Aine is connected with fruitfulness and prosperity… Aine appears in folktales as ‘the best-hearted woman who ever lived – lucky in love and in money.'”

That’s Hannah in a nutshell. Although, “lucky in love…” hmm. Well, a forbidden romance with a man who should have died 300 years ago is better than no romance at all, I suppose. 😉 But “best-hearted” that fits exactly. Hannah does everything in her power to keep Ardan and Thomas from winding up in an asylum and pumped full of anti-psychotic drugs. And yet she is very sensitive to how they must view the chaos of modern life.

Her Failing

Hannah falls in love with Thomas. She knows that she can never be with him. He was born in 1694. He’s supposed to be dead long ago. Her head knows this. So why can’t her heart figure it out?

Her Strength

Selflessness. Hannah risks everything, even her own life, to protect Thomas and Ardan and to do what she knows is right. It’s what she does. She has become a nurse because of her study of Turlough O’Carolan and how he cared for the Irish people and strove to unite them through his music. What better way to care for modern people than through medicine? She just had no idea how close Turlough’s history would come into play.

I’d love to hear from you!

Has a historical figure influenced your career? Of all the people in history, who would you most wish to meet? What would you do if you discovered that trees could communicate with you?

Join me for Wednesday Welcomes when we read about M.A. Foxworthy’s debut book, The Village Green!

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Meet the Characters of The Stone of Kings – Turlough O’Carolan

Oh! to have been one of those people in that audience! What fun it was making him a character! 🙂

I have done my absolute best to keep myself from going on and on about this fascinating historical figure for this post. It wasn’t easy. But if you’d like to learn more, other than by reading my book (which is a fictitious account), here is the link to his biography.

What He Looks Like

I didn’t have to imagine too much here. Turlough is the only character who was based on a real person hence the above image. I did TONS of research on this fascinating man from Irish history. I chose to illustrate him as a he was in his forties, fully recognized throughout Ireland and yet before he was married.

His Part to Play

The research I did for The Stone of Kings included William Butler Yeats’ book Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry. What does that have to do with Turlough? Here is the crucial line from the chapter on the Trooping Fairies, “Carolan, the last of the Irish bards, slept on a rath, and ever after the fairy tunes ran in his head, and made him the great man he was.”

BOOM!

There was my story. A “rath,” by the way, is a fairy home or fort. Ideas blossomed in my head about Turlough’s music, his relationship with the faeries and druids, and how he influences both them and his fellow Irishmen. But I tried to stay as true to who he really was as I could, so I also read Donal O’Sullivan’s Carolan: The Life Times and Music of an Irish Harper.

A big chunk of my research is found right in the prologue which is in the Amazon sample. 🙂 As a little side note, I was crushed to realize that I wrote “County Mead, Ireland” when I know there is no such place. I obviously meant “Meath,” however, after further research realized that it should have been Roscommon (the prologue was added during editing). I blame gluten. But it doesn’t change the story anyway. 😉

What He Means to the Story

Turlough is, of course, the famed blind harper of Ireland. He had many guides to assist him in his travels, and at the time of my story, his guide is Thomas. Turlough is very fond of Thomas because they have a similar background, and he treats him as family. Oddly enough, I couldn’t find a meaning for Turlough’s name, which doesn’t matter in the slightest. But he was occasionally known as Terrence, which is the alias that Hannah gives to Thomas while they stay at the Bed and Breakfast in 2023.

The most important thing about Turlough is that he underscores the idea of uniting the Irish despite creed, which is a major theme of the story and his own history. Turlough was a person I would LOVE to have known. He was a friend to anyone who did not oppress people. My kind of friend!

His Failing

He is a bit of a drunk and has a temper. In the story, he forgets that there is a time and a place for drowning your troubles in the drink, and not when you are on a rescue mission with an immortal druid. His temper, while justified, gets him in some tight spots. He also doubts his own usefulness while they attempt to rescue Thomas and Ardan. After all, he is merely a blind bard…right? Hmm…

His Strength

Like the others, he is loyal. Both to his friends, especially Thomas, and to his country. He also harbors no prejudices. He is kind and courteous to the English family they encounter, despite the fact that the English government continue to oppress him and his people. He allows the English family to prove that they are not an oppressive sort, and therefore judges them to be kindred spirits.

And, of course, there is his magical and mysterious music. But how can music bring Thomas and Ardan back to the year 1715 or save Bresal from the judgement of the druid council?

Have you ever heard of Turlough O’Carolan? Do you find him to be a fascinating character too? Are you familiar with his music? What is your favorite Carolan song?

Next week…meet Hannah!

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Introducing…The Stone of Kings!

TheStoneofKings_500X750

It’s been live on Amazon since the wee hours of the morning, but I was waiting for it to roll over to Barnes & Noble and Smashwords before writing this post. So, without further ado…

If you love a good Irish adventure as much as I do, you’ll enjoy The Stone of Kings. I wrote this book for those who, like myself, have enjoyed the Harry Potter series and The Alchemyst series, with a touch of By the Light of the Moon and The Chronicles of Narnia. In other words, these are some of my favorite books, so that is the kind of book I wrote. I sincerely hope you enjoy! 😀

Here are the links where you can find it:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

 

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