I’ve played cards all my life, first as a child playing simple games like Go Fish, then as a teen playing Rummy and Poker. I’ve taught my kids a few games, Playing Cardsbut they aren’t the player I used to be. We didn’t have electronic equipment to occupy our minds when I was a kid, so if we were inside and wanted entertainment, cards or a board game was it.

Cards fit easily into a back pocket, so they travelled everywhere with us: to school, the playground, the camp, the woods. Everyone knew how to play at least one game, and most of my family and friends could play a dozen.

The characters in my epic fantasy series are often travelling. The most mobile entertainment for them is a deck of cards. Cards didn’t appear in my first two books, but they did in the third. With four teens gathered around the fire in book 4, Healing Stones, there’s going to be more card playing because it feels natural.

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This is part of a series of posts I’m writing to introduce characters from the Castle Keepers epic fantasy series. This week, it’s Beathas of Ailsa.

Beathas of Ailsa

In short: Hauflin, female, in her mid-90s, magic-maiden, living at Moon Meadow

Family and Teen Years

Little is known about this magic-maiden and so far, nothing has been revealed about her family or younger years. She arrived at Moon Meadow when Bronwyn was just a boy. She made a home there in a small cottage on the top of a hill surrounded by lush gardens and several waterfalls feeding into a large pool. Before the series ends, much more will be revealed.

Where I Found Her Name

Magic-maiden BeathasBeathas was one of those Scottish names that appealed to me. When I read the meaning, having great wisdom, I knew this was the perfect name for this mysterious magic-maiden.

Ailsa was another Scottish/Viking/Gaelic name that appealed to me. It “originates from the language of the Vikings who named a Scottish island in the Firth of Clyde, Alfsigesey (meaning Alfsigr, or Elf Victory). As a result, it’s meaning has evolved to “supernatural victory”.

Hauflins have a tradition of naming daughter’s first with an original name and then their mother’s (meeme’s) name. With this in mind, Beathas’ mother’s name was Ailsa. Isla’s mother’s name is Maura (Isla of Maura).

Boys are given an original first name and their father’s (das’) surname. Liam Jenkin’s father’s last name was Jenkin, and Liam would give all his sons the same surname. Isla of Maura’s daughters would be given an original name and ‘of Isla’ would be added to the end as a ‘surname’ (for example: Dianna of Isla).

History in Real Life

Beathas was not part of the original story, though there were a few magic-maidens who provided information and magic items to the original group. These people were brought together in one character named Beathas.

Role in Novels

Shadows in the Stone: Although Beathas is mentioned many times, characters visit her cottage at Moon Meadow and we feel her presence, she doesn’t actually show up in this book. By the end, we have a good sense of who she is because of those who know her – Bronwyn, Alaura and Isla – and their impressions of their shared experiences.

Scattered Stones: Beathas has two small but vital scenes in this novel.

Waterfall magical mystic

Beyond the Myst: And there lay the mystery. Beathas does not appear in this novel.

Revelation Stones: She appears in one scene, gives Isla an item that helps her and she is thought about several times.

Healing Stones: This novel will be written in January, and I believe Beathas has at least one scene. Until it’s written, I don’t know anything else.

Others: I feel Beathas will be around for several more novels, providing guidance, magic items and the stubborn in-your-face facts some characters need to hear. And let’s not forget the ear-pulling to get someone’s attention. Honestly, I have no idea where her and Bronwyn’s relationship came from. It’s a mystery, but gosh I love their interactions.

A snippet of a scene with them together in Revelation Stones.

“Remove your clothing save your shirt and trousers.”

Bronwyn eyed Beathas. It sounded like an order. When he opened his mouth to protest, she stopped him.

“Do it now. We don’t have time for petty debates. You must obey immediately without question if we’re to save Alaura.”

He stood and removed his cloak and vest, tossing them on a nearby chair.

“Everything,” Beathas said firmly. “Boots, socks, sword, daggers, belts. Remove it all.”

Was this necessary? Or did she want to disarm him? When he was done, she inspected him.

“You wear a singlet. Remove your outer shirt.” When he made a face, she frowned at him. “I’d have you strip to your shorts if you weren’t ridiculously bashful.”

He gulped. She knew too well the old Bronwyn, the young man who had never loved a woman. He didn’t wear shorts, so he’d keep on his trousers. “Is this—?”

It is. You’ll thank me later.”

He unbuttoned his shirt and added it to the pile. “What am I to do?”

“As you are told without hesitation.” She motioned him towards the bed. “Lay beside her. It will save us from picking you up off the floor.”

He prepared to comment, but her expression left no room for doubt. He climbed onto the bed and settled beside Alaura. When he moved to grasp her hand, Beathas swatted him away.

“You’re not prepared.” She continued to stir the contents of the bowl. “Reserve your strength. You’ll need it.”

He nursed his baby finger, the one that had taken the brunt of the attack. He had never known Beathas to be so forceful. She had always been a sweet woman who had offered him gumdrops when he came to visit with his dad many years ago.

This is part of a series of posts I’m writing to introduce characters from the Castle Keepers epic fantasy series. This week, it’s Tam Mulryan.

Tam Mulryan

In short: Dwarf, male, dark blue eyes, dark brown hair to shoulders, shaggy beard covers half his face, youngest of his kinfolk, born at Glen Tosh

Family and Teen Years

Tam is the son of Lillias and Conall Mulryan of Glen Tosh. He was born and grew up in that city by the ocean with a large family. I believe he has ten siblings; he is the youngest. His early years were spent working around Glen Tosh, mostly for his dad who owns a shipping company. Bitten by the bug to travel, he and his sister, Kellyn, set out to see the Land of Ath-o’Lea, eventually settling at Maskil, where their oldest brother Laird was a lord.

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This is the 4th of 5 Saturday updates to share my writing progress for NaNoWriMo.

This week, I passed three milestones:

  1. 100,000 words in the Revelation Stones novel
  2. 50,000 words in the Beyond the Myst novel
  3. 100,000 words written for NaNoWriMo

For book 3 in the Castle Keepers series, Revelation Stones, the number of words written between November 17th and 23rd was 22,978. The book now sits at 112,669 words.

Book 1 of a new series, nicknamed Project M [official name Beyond the Myst], now contains 52,059. I’ve added 12,646 words between November 17th and the 23rd.

In total, I’ve written 35,624 words in 7 days and drank countless cups of tea and hot chocolate.

Good luck to everyone who accepted the NaNoWriMo challenge.

NaNoWriMoThis is the 2nd of 5 Saturday updates to share my writing progress for NaNoWriMo. So far, I’m ecstatic with my progress.

For book 3 in the Castle Keepers series, Revelation Stones, the number of words written between November 3rd and 9th was 20,347. At this rate, I’ll reach the intended goal of 130,000 words in about 20 days. This means, the book will be completed by the end of the month.

Book 1 of a new series, nicknamed Project M [official name Beyond the Myst], now contains 27,004. I’ve added 11,981 words between November 3rd and the 9th. I plan to finish this 100,000-word novel in mid-December.

In total, I’ve written 32,328 words in 7 days.

Good luck to everyone who accepted the NaNoWriMo challenge.

NaNoWriMoThis is the first of five Saturday updates to share my progress writing for NaNoWriMo. So far, I’m happy with my progress. The two novels I’m writing, Revelation Stones and Project M, were already works in progress, so I wasn’t starting cold.

For book 3 in the Castle Keepers series, Revelation Stones, the number of words written in the first three days of November was 9,004. I’m putting extra effort into getting the words down now because I have a 3-day craft show next weekend, and I doubt I’ll reach my daily writing goals.

Book 1 of a new series, nicknamed Project M, had 4,864 words added since November 1st. This is second in priority, so my daily goal is only 1,500 words.

In total, I’ve written 13,868 words for NaNoWriMo and drank 11 cups of tea.

At this rate, Revelation Stones will be almost completed by the end of November. I may have to add an extra 10,000 words, but I’m aiming for around 115,000 words.

Project M will only have 57,000 words. I am aiming for 100,000 words for that story, so it won’t be finished until mid-December.

I plan to write book 4, Healing Stones, in January, then I’ll self-edit Revelation Stones and Project M. My totally insane goal is to release Project M in April, Revelation Stones in May and Healing Stones in June.

Good luck to everyone who accepted the NaNoWriMo challenge.

I’m tempted to answer a challenge I’ve never had before: to write 102,000 in 30 days. That’s 52,000 words more than called for in the NaNoWriMo challenge. My personal goal had been 60,000 words in the month of November.

Regardless of the goal I choose, I will post my word count daily in the right margin, and I’ll post a weekly round up every Saturday.

Also in the margin is the total word count for each of the novels I’m actively writing.

Since October 17th, I’ve written a total of 28,223 words. That includes

  • 11,827 for Project M
  • 16,396 for Revelation Stones

That’s an average of 1,882 words a day. I need to up that to 2,000 words a day to reach 60,000 words and 3,400 words to reach 102,000 words in November.

Participating in this challenge means I won’t be able to do any other writing except that which is vital to my writing career. This means my Tuesday Character Introduction series will be on hold until December.