Origins

 

The name Bannock came from Scottish bread: bannock. There are sessions when I’m writing quickly, and I don’t have much time to search for a name because I want to ride the story wave. In this case, I think I may have been listening to Dean Brody’s Mountain Man and in it, he says he can make bannock.

BAM! The name of a village was born because it was as good as any I could find in that desperate moment.

 

The Land of Ath-o’Lea

 

We first hear of the village in Healing Stones. It lies along the trail between Moonsface and Inglenook. At the entry of the elf settlement is a sign post created from stone and a thick, carved log that reads: Welcome to Bannock, the hubbery of Knollton Mountain Range: Population 2,467.

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Origins

 

I’m a genealogist in my spare time, and this hobby provides the perfect opportunity to discover unique names, including place names. When I stumbled upon Moonsface in an old record for Newfoundland, I knew it was also a place within the Land of Ath-o’Lea. The place name no longer exists on Earth maps, but it was supposed to be in the Burgeo-La Poile District and was used as early as 1825 and as late as 1857.

 

The Land of Ath-o’Lea

 

We first hear about Moonsface in Shadows in the Stone, book 1 of the Castle Keepers series. Lady Glynn Dasia of Aruam Castle mentions it and says she was born there. In book 2, Scattered Stones, Morrigan Fae tells others she was born in Moonsface.

In the short story, The Pledge, Alaura of Niamh mentions she might visit the village one day.

The cast of Castle Keepers don’t visit the large village of Moonsface until Healing Stones. It’s located on the long, winding water course Blue Myst River. It’s situated south of Edgewood and north of Eld’s Keep. By horseback, it’s about 35 days from Maskil, longer in bad weather.

We only get a glimpse of Moonsface. We learn the majority of the population are elf and in the centre of the village, there’s a pillory in a small green space. The two shops named are Ample Bothain, where the group drops off a package and picks up another job, and Eoghan’s Keep. They are located across the dirt lane from each other with wooden sidewalks in front. Ample Bothain is owned and operated by mates Bess and Harry.

 

Ample Bothain from Isla’s perspective

The little shop overflowed with a wide variety of foods, and the magnificent aromas filled her nostrils and made her think of the bakery in Maskil. When they were done, she planned to buy several of the fruit displayed on the counter. They were like nothing she’d seen before. They resembled an apple, but they were dark purple.

I’m certain we’ll visit Moonsface in future stories.

Not only is this the start of a new year, it’s the start of a new decade. We’re entering the Roaring 20s. Or shall we call it something else? The Fantastical 20s. That sounds perfect to me.

Healing Stones, the 4th book in the Castle Keepers series is set to launch soon.

The story opens with Isla of Maura, McGuigan Mulryan and Lyneth camped on the outskirts of Moonsface. Isla is waiting for the other two to stop arguing when someone steals her horse. She gives chase and the action begins.

This story takes place three moons after where Revelation Stones ends. The trio spent six weeks in Maskil, healing, working and earning coins to finance their trip to Wandsworth where they’ll search for Liam Jenkins.

Moonsface is a large village on the Blue Myst River, south of Edgewood. It has taken the group more than a full moon cycle to reach it from Maskil. They still have at least two weeks of travelling before they reach Wandsworth, but the weather is mild and they are enjoying the journey.

The Land of Ath-o’Lea

This isn’t the finished product, but it’s close to it. The front and back cover of Healing Stones, the 4th book in the Castle Keepers series has a slightly different design than books one to three. On the back cover, the poppy remembers our veterans, and the maple leaf symbolizes Canada.

2019 has been an extremely busy year. It’s also been a year of many changes on the personal front. On top of all this, I feel an overwhelming desire to learn. I’m thirsty for knowledge. Most of the research I’ve done will influence my books, but some of the material was for personal development. However, if one is analysing one self, a writer can turn this into analysing a character. So perhaps all my research will influence my stories.

With winter knocking on the door and long nights allowing for extended periods of quiet time in the evening, I’m writing more.

Book 4 of the Castle Keepers series, Healing Stones, is in the editing stage. Excluding any wild catastrophes, it will be released by the end of the year.

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On Saturday June 15th between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm, I will launch the 3rd book in the Castle Keepers series, Revelation Stones, at Dartmouth Book Exchange in Cole Harbour, the community in which I spent the first 29 years of my life.

I will also have copies of Book 1: Shadows in the Stone and Book 2: Scattered Stones of the Castle Keepers series as well as Book 1 in the Mystical series, a series within a series, Beyond the Stone.

Paperback Copies

Shadows in the Stone: $20.00

Scattered Stones: $24.00

Revelation Stones: $24.00

Beyond the Myst: $20.00

Some must get lost to find themselves.

After five years in prison, Isla of Maura is rescued when mercenaries break in to the dungeon. Burdened with guilt, she flirts with death while she learns to trust her newfound companions. When she’s caught in a feud between two ancient dwarf families, she must sort truths from lies, friends from enemies. If she fails, she may kill the wrong person.

If you love stories of adventure mixed with magic and romance set in archaic landscapes, you’ll love McGyver’s Revelation Stones. Unlike many fantasy novels, family plays a central part in this story, so be prepared for the hero to have her heart strings plucked by the song of home.

Revelation Stones continues to share the tales of the characters introduced in Shadows in the Stone and takes readers on a journey across Ath-o’Lea as Isla, now a young woman, struggles to find herself and make peace with the past.

The eBook is available at Amazon.

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.