Thursday, 17 November 2016

Dunvegan ~ Eilean Donan Castle (Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland)

Eilean Donan Castle 
TJ Drysdale
Eilean Donan Castle (Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland)

A picturesque castle that frequently appears in photographs, film and television dominates the island, which lies about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) from the village of Dornie. Since the castle's restoration in the early 20th century, a footbridge has connected the island to the mainland.

Eilean Donan, which means simply "island of Donnán", is named after Donnán of Eigg, a Celtic saint martyred in 617. Donnán is said to have established a church on the island, though no trace of this remains.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Nanawrimo - 25k ~ Halfway Point ~ 'Claíomh Solais' Book Three (The Future)

Christian Schloe.
Quick update:
The manuscript for book three is on its way. Hit the halfway mark yesterday in #nanowrimo ~ Yay!
I had an outline, which were more mental notes at this point than an actual plot all scribbled down. It has been an interesting journey so far. Characters really do lead the way. Yesterday, two main characters were just popping outside for a chat and a big plot twist took hold from nowhere. I sat back and stared at the screen wondering where it came from. I never saw it coming. Bang, one character completely changed their role on me! I was stunned and had to make tea. Yup, that serious. But I love it when that kind of magic happens, sort of feels more true in essence because structured plots are more controlled and, I feel, generally, if used as guidelines, enable this kind of epiphany to take place. So I'm really quite happy at this point. My son was ill for a week and catching up on word count was tough, but I did it. I intend to finish this early draft and my first attempt at nanowrimo. Positive thinking folks. :o)
First Draft Excerpts: Fantasy Fiction

He lifted his head, his eyes raging dark blue seas, she had never seen them look so cold and uninviting. Their normal warmth replaced by storms of deep emotion swirling violently beneath the watery surface. She was almost too scared to ask what happened noticing the scrapes and cuts on his knuckles. He trembled. Was it in fear or anger? The black cover of the...
“Oh, she’s a bitch alright.” Kez nodded. "Though I prefer to call her a realistic dreamer most of the time." The edge of his wrinkled mouth twitched. 
The beginning of a smile, perhaps, thought Wulfstan. "A contradictory term."
"Exactly." The smile finally formed on Kez's lips. "An amazing contradiction of your world and mine."
Her glittering red shoes stood out on the black painted line which hid the curling of her toes pressing hard against the sole, her odd way of controlling emotions so no-one could see. She knew Samson’s men were inside, but which ones? Of course, she was aware that didn’t look like one of them anymore. Today especially, with her camel 1950s coat flaring out above her knees, tights too, a rarity, all necessary for her roleplay today. The clank of the unlocking bolt echoed around the metal menace before the hatch screeched open. 
Book Cover Idea ~ For Inspiration Only ~ adapted art of YURI SHWEDOFF
Love and light,

Storytelling ~ Song & Visual

Jackson Carvalho
Take my mind and take my pain,
Like an empty bottle takes the rain.

And heal, heal, heal, heal.

And take my past and take my sins,
Like an empty sail takes the wind.

And heal, heal, heal, heal.

And tell me some things last.
And tell me some things last.

Take my heart and take my hand,
Like an ocean takes the dirty sands.
And heal, heal, hell heal!

Take my mind and take my pain,
Like an empty bottle takes the rain.
And heal, heal, hell heal!

And tell me some things last.
And tell me some things last.
And tell me some things last.
And tell me some things last.
Catrin Welz-Stein
Love and light,

Viktor Vasnetsov ~ Painter

Viktor Mikhaylovich Vasnetsov (Russian: Ви́ктор Миха́йлович Васнецо́в; May 15 (N.S.), 1848 – July 23, 1926) was a Russian artist who specialised in mythological and historical subjects. He is considered the co-founder of Russian folklorist and romantic nationalistic painting ( neo-romanticism), and a key figure in the Russian revivalist movement. Viktor Vasnetsov is probably best noted for his depth of feeling and power of style.
Love this image ~ 
There's a modern day story hidden in there ;o) 

Vasnetsov, who is intricately associated with historical and mythological paintings, initially avoided these subjects at all costs.
While living in France Viktor studied classical and contemporary painting. It was also during this time that he began to discover what would become his primary source of inspiration - Russian mythology and its legends, ballads, and fairytales. The 'folklore outlook' was still very much alive in the northern Russian village where he grew up and Vasnetsov found that his very soul was steeped in the poetry of Russian epic literature. Not only was he one of the first artists to turn to folklore for inspiration, but he also one of the first to study it in terms of method and technique. Thus he became the founder of a new style in Russian painting.
In Paris, Vasnetsov starting work on his first fairytale subjects, “Ivan-Tsarevich Riding a Grey Wolf” and “The Friend.” He was also the model for Sadko in Repin’s celebrated painting “Sadko in the Underwater Kingdom.” The large canvas, “Fairground Booths in Paris,” 1876-77 is also a product of Vasnetsov’s Paris period.

“Ivan Tsarevich Riding a Grey Wolf,” 1889, depicts a scene from a popular Russian fairytale. The magical plot has been reflected in numerous literary works and musical pieces. The landscape background was derived from studies made in Abramtsevo. The landscape is very important. Forces of evil surround Ivan Tsarevich and Helen the Fair. The impassable wall of the wood rises in front of them. The artist's imagination has transformed an ordinary wood near Moscow into a fantastic, mysterious wilderness.
“Tsarevitch Ivan, the Firebird and the Grey Wolf” 1889 (Painting)
A painter, draftsman and graphic artist, Vasnetsov played a primary role in the development of Russian art from the realist traditions of the Wanderers to Art Nouveau.

“A true work of art expresses everything about people,” Vasnetsov believed. “It conveys the past, the present and perhaps the future.”

Fairy Tale HERE
Love and light,

Sunday, 13 November 2016


“So all day long the noise of battle rolled
Among the mountains by the winter sea;
Until King Arthur’s Table, man by man,
Had fallen in Lyonnesse about their lord,
King Arthur.  Then, because his wound was deep,
And bore him to a chapel nigh the field,
A broken chancel with a broken cross,
That stood on a dark strait of barren land:
On one side lay the Ocean, and on one
Lay a great water, and the moon was full.”

~ Albion's Lost Lands: Lyonesse
The search for the site of Arthur's final battle where he fell mortally wounded at Camlann has defied identification; candidates have been proposed from the length and breadth of the country. Lord Tennyson seems to be in no doubt and in his Arthurian epic “Idylls of the King" places the final battle between Mordred and the King at Lyonesse.
 Alfred Tennyson. Photograph, carbon print.
The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon - Burnes
La Mort d'Arthur (The Death of King Arthur) by James Archer (1860)
Tennyson has Arthur roving the trackless realms of Lyonnesse long before they crowned him King and refers to the 'sad sea-sounding wastes' and 'lonely coast' of Lyonnesse.
We cannot be certain of Tennyson's inspiration in identifying Lyonesse as the scene of Arthur's final battle against Modred but he was clearly aware of the legend of a land off the coast of Cornwall, connecting Penwith with the Scillies; The Land of Lyonesse, stretching some eighteen miles west of Land's End and eight miles north-east of the Isles of Scilly with a watchtower at the most westerly point to guide seafarers.

“A land of matchless grace was Lyonesse,
Glorious with rolling hills, rejoicing streams,
Hoar monuments upreared when Time was young,
Wide plains of forest, slopes of golden corn,
And stately castles crowning granite peaks”

Following Arthurian tradition Tennyson’s Lyonesse was the realm of Tristan, or Tristram as he became known by English writers, one of the main characters of the greatest legends of Cornwall, the story of Tristan and Iseult, a Cornish hero and one of the Knights of the Round Table. Thomas Malory has the Lady of Lionesse play a significant role in his tales of Arthur and mentions Surluse as part of the kingdom of Lyonesse where Sir Galahad was ruler under Arthur. 2

However, although the tales of Tristan are firmly placed in Cornish tradition there were two other places with variations of the name Lyonesse as Leonais: one in Brittany, and the other seemingly from the French name for Lothian in Scotland. Arthurian romancers may have confusingly called this land off the coast of Cornwall 'Lyonesse,' following the Breton tradition, but the Cornish name for this stretch of land between Land's End and the Scillies was 'Lethowstow'.

On the flats between the small Isles of Scilly are the remains of field walls, now under the sea, evidence of division of the land before it was submerged. Further evidence of man's presence before the inundation is found in an Early Iron Age hut found below the high-water mark on St Martins and pottery from the 3rd and 4th centuries and a Roman bronze brooch from a stone grave found below normal high tides on Old Man. Environmental evidence shows that as late as Roman times the area between the Isles of Scilly was dry land and just one island, a single large, wooded isle which could be walked to at low tide. A Roman writer records a heretic who was banished to Sylina Insula, the island of Scilly, in 387 AD.

The confusion of the location of Lyonesse/ Lethowstow, as the antiquarian, William Camden records, seems to exists because Cornish people during the 16th century referred to the Seven Stones reef off Land's End as the City of Lions, the reputed site of the capital of the legendary kingdom, confused with the Breton town Leonais, probably the region around the coastal town of Saint-Pol-de-Léon, and this form is the probable source of Malory’s Lionnesse. The Seven Stone rocks are held to be the remains of the city where local fishermen have dragged up domestic items in their nets, still calling the Seven Sisters the 'The Town.' 3 Today this reef remains a navigational hazard for shipping and has caused as many as 200 shipwrecks.

In later traditions, Lyonesse is said to have sunk beneath the waves some time after the Tristan stories take place. A persistent legend claims that the Isles of Scilly are all that remain of the fabled land of Lyonesse. However, we find no references in medieval Arthurian legend to the sinking of Lyonesse.
he story goes that a devastating storm swept in to the south-west driving the marauding sea over Lyonesse, drowning the luckless inhabitants and submerging the kingdom beneath the waves until all that remained in view were the higher ground to the west, known to us now as the Isles of Scilly. Legend claims that only one man, Trevilian survived, and he rode a white horse up to high ground at Perranuthnoe before the waves could engulf him. It is said that his ancestry lives on in the Cornish Trevelyan family, whose coat of arms bears a horse issuing out of the sea.

Elizabethan antiquaries collected reports current in the 16th  century stating that Lethowstow contained 'fair-sized towns and 140 churches' and was suddenly engulfed by the sea. They also claimed that one could hear the bells of the drowned city ringing out during rough seas. Today the remains of field boundaries show up at low tide along the sands of the Sampson Flats between the isles of Tresco and Sampson in the Scilly Isles.

Stanley Baron, a journalist from the News Chronicle who was residing in Cornwall during the 1930's, was awoken during the night by the muffled ringing of bells and was told by his hosts that he had heard the bells of Lyonesse.  Edith Oliver, the former mayor of Wilton, claimed she had twice seen towers, domes, spires and battlements beneath the waves whilst standing on the cliffs at Land's End.

What Lies Beneath
Perhaps much of this can be dismissed as fantasy?
Yet, there is evidence of a drowned forest on the Cornish coast with tree stumps sticking out into the sea at Mount's Bay suggesting the sea levels were once much lower. Furthermore, the old Cornish name for St Michaels Mount is 'Carrack Looz en Cooz' which translates as 'The grey rock in the wood'. Archaeological evidence indicates that Mount's Bay was the source of a prehistoric axe material. We have clear evidence of a submerged land in the south-west England within historical times.

Inundation legends are found in many other parts of north-western Europe, not least in Celtic lands.

Gerald of Wales claimed there was a drowned city beneath the waters of  Llangorse Lake in the Brecon Beacons, Mid Wales. On the North coast of Wales near Llandudno was Llys Helig, the palace of Prince Helig ap Glanawg; it is said the ruins can still be seen at very low tides. Off the North-West coast of Wales in Caernafon Bay there is a cluster of rocks, a reef known as Caer Aranrhod, named after the mother of Lleu Llaw Gyffes from the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogion. Charlotte Guest in her notes to the Mabinogion, states, "There is a tradition that an ancient British town, situated near this place, called Caer Arianrhod, was swallowed up by the sea, the ruins of which, it is said, are still visible during neap tides, and in fine weather."

Tree stumps can be seen leading out into the sea at low tide in Cardigan Bay, Wales, the mythical site of Cantre'r Gwaelod (The Bottom Cantred).

But the nearest legend to Lyonesse is the tale of the mythical Breton city of Kêr-Is which was built on the coast of Brittany in a then-dry location off the current coast of the Bay of Douarnenez. Over time the Breton coast had slowly given way to the sea and it now threatened Kêr-Is. To protect the city from inundation, a dike was built with a gate that was opened for ships during low tide. The one key that opened the gate was held by King Gradlon.

But the gate was left open during a storm and at high tide a massive wave crashed down on Kêr-Is and the city was swallowed by the incoming waters. King Gradlon escaped on Morvarc'h, his magical horse.  Which is all remarkably similar to the tale of Lyonesse and Trevilian who escaped on his horse and perhaps the inspiration behind the Cornish story.

In addition to describing Lyonesse as the site of the final battle between Arthur and Mordred, Tennyson's Idylls of the King also claim the lost land is the final resting place of  King Arthur himself. Perhaps this is why the grave of the King cannot be found – it lies beneath the sea.
The Mullamast Stone, from 500-600 in Ireland. There are 4 blade marks on the left side of the stone and 2 deep ones on top, suggesting that the stone was used as part of a “sword in the stone” kingship ritual.
The Mullamast Stone, from 500-600 in Ireland. There are 4 blade marks on the left side of the stone and 2 deep ones on top, suggesting that the stone was used as part of a “sword in the stone” kingship ritual. Mullaghmast, decorated with a triskele, thought to belong to the very end of the prehistoric period, or perhaps to the early Christian period, is now in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.
Extra HERE and HERE
Mullaghmast was the royal residence of the Uí Muiredaig kings (later to become the O'Toole family), a sept of the Uí Dúnlainge dynasty of the Laigin.
Fairy Rath by Mark Knight-Raths are always associated with fairies. They are round structures, a ring on the landscape, earthen fortifications dating back to ancient Celtic times. According to archeologists, raths were simply enclosures where family clans once lived in ancient times. But if you ask the average Irishman or Irishwoman today, they will give you a knowing wink and a smile and tell you that these are the homes of ‘the little people’. 
The Laigin are claimed as being descended from Labraid Loingsech. Modern historians suggest, on the basis of Irish traditions and related place names, that the Laigin were a group of invaders from Gaul or Britain, who arrived no later than the 6th century BC, and were later incorporated into the medieval genealogical scheme which made all the ruling groups of early Ireland descend from Míl Espáine. Placenames also suggest they once had a presence in north Munster and in Connacht.

Archaic poems found in medieval genealogical texts distinguish three groups making up the Laigin: the Laigin proper, the Gáilióin, and the Fir Domnann. The latter are suggested to be related to the British Dumnonii.
Amongst others, some of the dynasties that claimed to belong to the Laigin include: Uí Failge, Uí Biarrche, Uí Dúnlainge, Uí Ceinnselaig, Uí Garrchon, and the Uí Máil.
In the legendary tales of the Ulster Cycle, the king of the Connachta, Ailill mac Máta, is said to belong to the Laigin. This is thought by Byrne (2001) to be related to a possible early domination of the province of Connacht by peoples related to the Laigin, the Fir Domnann and the Gamanrad.
The Dumnonii or Dumnones were a British tribe who inhabited Dumnonia, the area now known as Devon and Cornwall (and some areas of present-day Dorset and Somerset) in the further parts of the South West peninsula of Britain, from at least the Iron Age up to the early Saxon period.
The Metrical Dindshenchas, or Lore of Places, a Middle Irish collection of poetry purporting to explain the origins of Irish place names, claims that Mullaghmast is named for Maistiu, wife of Dáire Derg, who was killed by the sorcery of the malicious faery Gris, who was in turned killed by Dáire Derg.

Love and light,

Monday, 31 October 2016

A Wandering Soul

Crossing the veil between worlds...

A light bright
a loud cry in the night
makes way for a soul in the dark
gliding through time
a passage ethereal sublime
a story forgotten renewed

Mingling the past into the future
a haze blinding most
glamour hides a host
the spiritual warrior has eyes to see
but not until he falls to his knees

The figure in shadow feels the heart of the broken
crushing love not forgotten
gripping mist 
chasing dreams
karma eludes or so it seems

Circles and cycles
souls entwined
something at work
possibly divine

Love and light,

A Carpet of Purple Flowers ~ Book Reviews by Fellow Authors

Mark Mayes ~ Author (THE GIFT MAKER)

This is a most entrancing and captivating story. Bea, as the central character, weathers every emotional storm you can imagine, and as we get to know her, we feel for her plight, and one is torn on her behalf as she herself is torn, between two men, two identities, two realms of reality. 

Bea is living a fairly ordinary life, running a small, somewhat esoteric, bookshop in London, left to her by her much-missed uncle. Into her somewhat muted existence burst beings from another realm, and why they are so interested in her gradually becomes apparent. 

Tracey-anne McCartney introduces us to a richly-detailed and dramatic cosmology drawn from Irish folktales, mythology, and magic, and it is by virtue of this age-old relationship between the world of the Sidhe and that of humans that we find ourselves drawn in most strongly. It is the skilful, often humorous, blend of supernatural and spiritual elements with that of ordinary life; the hopes and disappointments of the ordinary person, as experienced by Bea, which makes this novel so charming, and makes us experience Bea’s emotional maelstrom as our own. We want the best for her, even if deciding what that may be seems near impossible. 

The final scene in Coldfall Woods is magnificently achieved, and the writing overall has the right balance of lyricism and restraint and is peppered with moments of levity when appropriate. The narration allows one not only to viscerally experience the events described but also to be privy to the internal life of the principal characters, sensing their doubts, their confusion, their pain and joy – Bea's in particular.

The finale does not give up all the secrets hinted at during the novel. Who exactly is Jonathan? What does Bea’s future hold? And other questions, which I will not pose here for fear of spoiling the many surprises and revelations this artfully-plotted novel offers us en route. 

A Carpet of Purple Flowers is an original, entertaining, and sophisticated blend of romance, the paranormal, and the spiritual. 

James Silvester ~ Author (Escape to Perdition)

This is the kind of book that makes you glad to have stepped out of your comfort zone for a moment. Although aspects of magical folklore and the like have always intrigued me, I've never been that keen on reading about them in fiction, perhaps because I think it is a genre that is often lazily presented, to its own detriment. Not so with this book, however, which I thoroughly enjoyed on very many levels. The folklore isn't just thrown in there, it is researched and well considered, as well as being presented in a believable manner. So too is the main character, suddenly thrown into this new, ethereal world. While saying that there is something for everyone in this book, I don't mean it at all flippantly - the elements of fantasy, love, magic, sex, humour and raw emotion are all expertly intertwined by a very talented writer who really sieze her opportunity to make this genre her own. I look forward to more.

Shirley Golden ~ Author (Skyjacked)

'A Carpet of Purple Flowers' is a wonderfully rich and sumptuous debut novel by Tracey-anne McCartney. It is an elaborate folklore fantasy, which pulled me in right from the start. The central story involves a complicated love triangle between Bea, Chance, Alithia and Karian (yep, there are four in this triangle). I cared about all of the characters and enjoyed the world McCartney created. There is an especially salient moment where an illusion is shattered, leaving a deliciously gothic image. The ending left me wanting more, and I hope there will be more to come. Recommended.

Christina Philippou ~ Author (Lost in Static)

Epic fantasy, coming-of-age, romantic drama and mythology: this book is a finely woven carpet of great fiction.

Bea, owner of a little bookshop, is drawn into the war between two paranormal factions. Kari, a royal on one side, thinks Bea's harbouring the soul of his long-lost love, Alithea, and sets out to re-win her heart. Chance, a warrior for the other, thinks he's protecting Bea, but endangers her through his own actions. As Bea gets pulled in different directions, and starts to uncover histories and recover memories, she realises she alone holds the key to this war...

From the blurb, I expected a kind of 'Twilight for adults'. What I got was intricately-imagined fantasy, suspenseful action, two beautifully interwoven love stories (not the kind of paranormal love triangle I was anticipating), and a lot of well-crafted drama. Brilliant - I want more!

*I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Cate Hogan ~ Author & Editor ~

As a romance editor / addict / obsessive, I often feel that even the best new novels are re-hashes of books I've read before. Which is why I was so pleased to discover this little gem - a truly unique premise that merges the spiritual with the paranormal in a very interesting way. The characters are gorgeous, and the love triangle is full of twists and surprises. I highly recommend.

Teresa Ruiz ~ Author (Freefall Into Us)

Not normally my genre, but was sucked in from the get-go, the author gifted at pulling you in. Could have been the instant love of the character, Bea, a book shop owner in London and the heroine in this story. Which may I say was very well written, not overly wordy (can't stand to much description) but still a whopping 400 pages. Honestly, the story was so engaging and hard to put down, It didn't matter. All the characters I liked, even Brandon whom at times I felt sorry for. Well done Tracey-anne, on a beautiful journey and debut book!

Love and light,