Two wonderful authors have new books either HERE and NOW or coming soon to a cyber-venue near you. 

First of all, there’s Crystal Collier’s upcoming MOONLESS.  Here’s the cover reveal:
It’s Jane Eyre meets Supernatural.  I read part of this story some time ago, before an editor even saw it, and it was really good back then.  Now, with edits, it’s probably stellar, so watch for it.  MOONLESS will be available starting November 13th.  And here’s a bit of a tease: 

Alexia must choose safety and an arranged marriage, or true love and being hunted by the Soulless every moonless night.

Alexia’s nightmares become reality: a dead baron, red-eyed wraiths, and forbidden love with a man hunted by these creatures. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with her beloved and risk becoming one of the Soulless.

For further teasing (see, doesn't she look like a tease):
visit Crystal here:  
Unleashing the dream world, one book at a time
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And Mary Waibel – Yes, THE Mary Waibel – has her second book CHARMED MEMORIES on sale.  If you fancy fractured fairy tales . . . well, not fractured really.  It’s more of a twisted tale.  NO, not that kind of twisted . . . it’s bent out of it’s traditional shape  . . .  Oh, hell, just read it.  It’s good. 

Here’s some teasing from Mary: 

A prince vows to prove the girl he loves is his missing princess by recovering her lost memories.

Prince Trevor has always placed duty to his kingdom above the desires of his own heart. But when his betrothed is lost at sea, he finds himself torn between honor and love.

After four years of searching for the missing princess, he begins to secretly long for Lady Bri, the Woodland Guide he works with each day. But the law says he must marry a princess, and Bri is barely a noble.

When Trevor learns that Bri shipwrecked at the same time and place as the princess, he begins to believe he has finally found his bride-to-be. But his happiness is short lived. Bri has no memory of her past, and the princess wasn't the only girl who disappeared from the ship.

Desperate to prove Bri is his princess, Trevor unwittingly places the two of them in grave danger. Buried in Bri's memories are deadly secrets someone wants kept from the light of day, and learning who she is may cost more than either is willing to pay. 

And if you would like to be teased further by Mary, go here:  
See what I mean?  Most excellent story-tellers with most excellent stories.  So, hurry up and read! 


I don’t take rejection well.  Which is ironic, because as an actor in Los Angeles, I dealt with rejection on a daily basis, sometimes several times a day, for over 20 years.  But, somehow, I still managed to make a living as an actor in a big pond.  As a writer, I have not yet achieved that goal, and sometimes that makes me feel like a totally useless waster of other people’s oxygen.  It can leave me in such a dark, low place that waking up and facing another day is too much to bear.  Yeah, I know, that makes me a total drama queen, but it is truth. 

Yesterday, a friend sent me photos from the Historical Novel Society Conference, with the message ‘Fun memories.’  And, yes, they most definitely are.  Friends have been asking me how that weekend went and what it was like.  So this post is about what I learned, and am continuing to learn, from HNS 2013.  
New friends:(L-R) Stephanie dos Santos (whose manuscript is about love, Portuguese tile and an 18th Century killer earthquake; Fiona 
A month ago today, the Historical Novel Society Conference was in full swing.  There were over 300 people at the Vinoy in St. Petersburg, Florida – all of us like-minded in many ways.  The Vinoy, a magnificent old hotel, is said to be haunted, although I did not personally meet any ghosts.  However, as historical novelists, we brought plenty of spirits with us.  There was a sea of friendly writers, each one passionate about a different historical time period.  Some had spent years researching specific historical figures, and everyone was happy to talk about their particular passion, if you asked them. 
With dear friend,Stephanie Cowell (author of successful novels about 
Shakespeare, Mozart, Monet and the Brownings, etc.) and new friend, Stephanie dos Santos
No one was shy when talking about rejection either: 
‘I thought I had an agent, but then she changed her mind.’ 
‘My publisher dropped me after my first book.’ 
‘My agent never returns my calls.’ 
It didn’t take long before I had a genuine understanding of the words I’ve heard so many times before:  ‘You are not alone.’ 

Being surrounded by so many creative, friendly people turned me into a deer in the headlights.  I spent a lot of time just staring and listening to other people.  In fact, I had a whole conversation with Margaret George – THE Margaret George - and never even realized who she was.  [cringe] 

The person who probably made the most profound impression upon me was C.W. (Christopher) Gortner.  He’s the author of novels like THE QUEEN’S VOW and THE TUDOR SECRET, and he was the featured speaker at the Saturday luncheon. 

His stories are about passionate Renaissance types and Tudor spies.  He says he likes writing about the past for the same reason most of us history-geeks like it:  ‘There is always a secret to uncover behind the portrait, a mystery to explore within the legend, a hidden motivation under the fact.’   

Christopher's best-selling books have been translated into fourteen languages.  Fourteen seems to be a magical number for him.  He endured an epic amount of writerly angst and rejections – like agents who accused him of ‘lavender prose.’  Okay, now that’s a totally dim-witted criticism to hurl at a gay man who writes about queens.  After FOURTEEN LONG YEARS of that, he finally landed a publisher at the first HNS conference in 2005.  I was there too, and wish I’d known him then.  In fact, he self-published his first book, THE SECRET LION, about a 16th Century Tudor spy, the disappearance of Edward VI (who died at 15), the whole Lady-Jane-off-with-her-head, Bloody-Mary and Queen I-am-SO-a-virgin Elizabeth thing.  Now, I ask you:  Doesn’t that sound like a good story?  And now, in an absolute inspirational ending to Christopher's story, the publishing gods are definitely smiling on him .  When he spoke to us – a room of over 300 people who were eating desert and drinking coffee – it was like we were his friends from down the road who just happened to stop by for a cuppa and a chat. 

So, at the 2005 conference, Gortner got a publisher.  You know what he got at the 2013 conference?  A standing ovation.  By 314 people. 
Before the banquet: (L-R) Patricia Hudson (author of a wonderful manuscript about 
Daniel Boone’s wife, another one of those heroines ignored by HIStory); 
Fiona and Stephanie Renee dos Santos (dressed as Frida Kahlo for the costume contest). 
Patricia, Stephanie and I hung out in a hotel room until very late, sipping wine and helping each other perfect our pitches for the next day.  It was a great session.  We laughed ‘til our sides ached and then we each got manuscript requests! 

The next time I get really depressed about rejection, I hope I have enough money to run off to a writers' conference.  It's the perfect antidote.  

I’ll write another post about further adventures at the conference.  For now, I’ll leave you with the words of the amazing Charlotte Cook :  
 ‘Writers come to an empty page with a full mind.  Readers come to a full page with an empty mind.’ 


This week I’m going to the Historical Novel Society Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, where I’ll meet writer friends and mentors, some of whom I already know, and agents and editors I’d like to know.  Squeal!!! 

The excitement for this conference has been building with stories from various authors of how they got inspiration and gave birth to their novels spanning all historical time periods.  If you’d like to take a look at some of those interesting stories, they are here: 

And this is the story of the birth of my manuscript . . .

My home is on Lough Corrib, the largest lake in the Republic of Ireland.  Sir William Wilde (Oscar Wilde’s dad), wrote a book about the place in 1867, Wilde’s Lough Corrib, in which he claimed the lake (lough) has 365 islands.  God only knows how he counted them all.   
The largest of these lake islands is Inchagoill (meaning Isle of the Foreigner or Isle of the Stranger), so called because when the Christians first came to this island in the 5th Century, they were foreigners, and definitely strange.  Inchagoill is remote, beautiful, achingly peaceful.  Regularly shrouded in mist like a Japanese painting, this island is a forest with huge, old trees, hanging vines, ferns and moss-covered rocks.  Though no humans live here, there is a mysterious, ‘busy’ energy about the place . . . A place where, ‘earth and air resound with the music of invisible people.’  This is where my story, THE PATH THROUGH THE MIST takes place. 
On Inchagoill, a clearing in the forest marks the spot of the original 5th Century Christian settlement.  There are also ruins of two tiny temples from the 9th and 12th centuries.   
A stone with ancient Ogham-like hieroglyphs marks the 5th Century grave of Lugna, St. Patrick’s nephew, who brought the first Christian monks to this island.  

While these are interesting things to see, the true beauty of the island lies beyond these remains.  If you venture into the forest and walk around the island to the other side, you find that the land rises and becomes an unnatural, seemingly man-made hill, with a shallow ditch around it, in just the way the ancient Celts used to build duns or hill forts.   

On my first visit to the island, I stood upon this hill, looked out over much of the enormous lake and felt more than thought, “This was a non-Christian settlement.”  Images and sounds came to me of robed and hooded figures round a fire, drum beats, chanting.  It felt like I was standing in an ancient, holy place and I stayed on the island a long time, listening to the sounds of the invisible. 

Once the idea for a story came to me, I began the long, involved process of researching a time before things were written down.  Every historical and geologic source I consulted claimed that Christian monks were ‘banished’ to this island by the local people.  Some said they were banished by Druids.  But that made no sense.  Druids frequently lived apart from local tribes or clans.  They would have preferred to live on the island, near water -- especially surrounded by it -- for water would have been considered a gateway between this world and the next.  The dun fort would have been indicative of a native (non-Christian) tribe of people inhabiting the opposite side of the island from the Christians.  It seemed to me that all the evidence pointed to Druids living on this island first, before the Christians took over. 

Interviewing local historians, I found they had two things in common:  They were all male and all well over the age of 50.  All were Catholic with the exception of one Protestant Archdeacon who’d written a book on early monastic sites.  Without exception, each historian said they did not know about the hill fort on the island, or they passed it off as ‘the natural lay of the land.’

I couldn’t help wondering if all these historians had a revisionist view of ancient history inspired by their religious up-bringing.  Maybe I was crazy – just imagining Druids there because it would make a good story.  That prodded me to keep investigating. 

Finally, the author of a book on local history recommended I go see ‘Joe.’  “He’s a crazy, old guy, now, he might frighten ye.  But he can certainly offer ye another point of view,” the author told me.  Friends told me I shouldn’t go visit Joe.  “He’s a recluse, a frightening lunatic.  Best mind yerself, now.”  There was never any mention of why, exactly, he was thought of in such a negative way. 

It took some work, but I located Joe and drove through impenetrable fog to his house.  He looked to be about 80-something and described himself as a ‘Devout Pagan’ and ‘Reformed Catholic.’  His face was creased with a perpetual frown, but he invited me in to his smelly, old house and we sat in a tiny room that was wall-to-wall books.  There, we huddled next to the radiator, along with his Winnebago-sized German Shepherd.  Like a man who’s been alone for too long, Joe talked and talked.  He told me the history of the area and of his family.  He said things like, ‘local holy wells were sacred long before the word ‘holy’ came to this country,’ ‘ley lines cross this whole area like spider webs.’ He even offered to teach me how to douse.  When I asked him about the hill fort on Inchagoill and if maybe there were Druids on that island before the Christians came, he fell silent.  Glaring at me from under his bushy eyebrows, he resembled that ‘lunatic’ people had warned me about.  But then a slow grin spread across his face.  “Yer the first person’s ever said that to me.  Sure the Druids were the first.  We all know it, don’t we.  Just most of ‘em’s round here won’t say it. Cowards.” 

“But why?” I asked.  "Why won't anyone say it?"  

Joe twitched his head.  “The church has always covered up these t’ings, ye see.  They’ve ruined this country, the Catholics.  Besides, if we’re right about this, that wouldn’t serve their purpose a’tall, now would it?” 

Of course, Joe’s declarations don’t completely confirm my intuition, but his beliefs did make me feel a little less alone.  Best of all, his input gave me the courage to finish writing this manuscript, and he is now a character (renamed, of course) in that story. 


Once upon a time, in kingdoms on opposite sides of the globe, two writerly women of mostly-pleasant disposition (with occasional lapses into Mad-Hatterness*) became cyber-friends.  One was named Lady Fiona and wrote foresty-druidy stuff.  The other was named Lady Mary of the House of Waibel, and wrote twisted fairy tales. 

Lady Waibel lived happily with Lord Waibel and their brilliant, hockey-playing son and two cats who were not particularly adept at hockey.  Many was the evening Lady Waibel would remark to Lord Waibel, “Husband, I shall go now to the top-most turret and scribe my tales.”  “Aye, dearest,” Lord Waibel would reply, “And I shall retire to the kitchen to fashion a feast of Hamburger Helper.” 

Then One Day (that would be NOW), Lady Mary’s first tale, Quest of the Hart, was published by MuseItUp Publishing and debuted to much fanfare and critical acclaim.  The lovely cover looked something like this: 

Lady Mary sent her cyber-friend, Lady Fiona, a synopsis of this compelling tale she had written.  It went something like this:  

A reverse Sleeping Beauty tale where the princess goes on the quest to save the prince.

Princess Kaylee has never had to fight for anything. Her entire life has been arranged, even her marriage. But when Prince Devlin falls under an enchantment, she finds she is willing to do anything to save him, even if it means fighting a dragon.

Devlin's own sister, Princess Arabella, is behind the deadly plot. She wants the throne and will use any means necessary to gain it. Her perfect plan unravels, leaving Devlin caught in a magical sleep that is slowly spreading through the kingdom of Breniera. All Arabella needs to finish her spell and claim the crown is a drop of Kaylee's blood, but obtaining the single drop is proving more difficult than expected.

To save her betrothed, Kaylee embarks on a quest to find an ancient sword and gather a drop of dragon's blood, while trying to stay out of Arabella's traps. But Arabella's traps aren't the only danger. Time is everything. For once the last inhabitant of the kingdom falls asleep, the spell will be sealed, and not even true love's kiss will break it. 
Lady Mary then decided she would be kind to all the peasants of the kingdom and offer a FREE copy of her most wonderful twisted fairy story.  If the peasants would but follow this link, they might win the magical book: 

<a id="rc-4773610" class="rafl" href="" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
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The last part of this success tale is yet another tale of success.  For, you see, Lady Mary found happiness again.  After toiling tirelessly in her top-most turret, she produced a companion novel entitled Charmed Memories, which would become available from MuseItUp Publishing in August 2013. 

The moral of this tale?  Why, ‘tis that fairy tales come true, of course!  Lady Mary believed in herself, worked on her craft, did good deeds for others and never gave up.  May she be inspiration to us all. 


*Mad-Hatterness – the ability to change rapidly without warning, say scary things, ask unanswerable questions and perpetually edit prose.  


The trees you see on this post are about to be murdered.  These dear, old ‘friends’ are part of Coillte (Irish for forests) and have inspired so much of what I write.  In the grip of the global depression, Ireland is about to sell all of its forests to Chinese and Swiss investment firms.  These firms would be allowed to kill 1.2 million acres of trees in the name of profit.  That would leave us with increased erosion of soil, not to mention contributing to global warming.  And, dear God, all of those murdered trees! 
Please, if you have any heart at all, protest this environmental sabotage.  It only takes a minute to sign the SAVE OUR FORESTS petition on-line.  If you have already signed it, thank you.  Now sign again.  The politicians did not listen to us the last time.  If you are willing it only takes a few more minutes to send an email to politicians.  Anything you can do to let Irish politicians know this is NOT okay, will be greatly appreciated. 
Please sign the petition, ‘Save Ireland's Forests’ here: 

Here is a link that allows you to send one email to all TDs at once.  Your message can be as simple as, “Please do not sell Irish forests.” 
On behalf of all the beautiful trees, I thank you. 

‘If trees could scream, no one on Earth would sleep peacefully again.’
                                                                        – Jane Evershed


I'm busy writing (gasp!) and find it extremely challenging to write blog posts when I have two sets of characters in two different time periods caught in life and death situations which I have yet to solve.  It's like watching a movie and reading the foreign language subtitles at the same time.  My brain hurts.  So, fiddle-de-dee, Captain Butler, I'll blog tomorrow (or after that), but for now, blessings to you all: 

May the blog rise up to meet you,
May the wind never blow away your printed pages,
The rain fall far away from your keyboard,
And until we meet again,
May your server always be found
And your virus protection be ever-vigilant.