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.

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Winter, or as they call it in the Land of Ath-o’Lea Forstig and Wintertide, is a rough time to be travelling The Trail. The group wakes up covered in snow on more than one occasion, and the wind whips into their face while they’re riding.

While writing a scene, I always have to be aware of the weather. The big question is: Is there snow on the ground? It can change everything.

For example, a scene in Revelation Stones, book 3, has Isla wearing a cape that makes her invisible. She arrives through a portal and steps outside to learn where she is. The snow complicates things:

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On Friday, I wrote the final words to the fourth book in the Castle Keepers series. Healing Stones came to 142,169 words. Obviously, it won’t stay that count; editing and revisions will change it, but not drastically. If all goes as planned, the book will be released in September 2019.

Healing Stones focusses on the remaining members of The Mercenaries after the brutal battle at the end of Revelation Stones. They set out to find Liam Jenkins, Isla’s friend from her youth, the boy who she pledged to unite with when she was only twelve years old.

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Family Christmas meal

The table with only the three youngest kids. That’s me with a fork in my mouth.

I come from a large family. Let me size it up for you. I’m kid number 10 of 11. My parents have 29 grandkids. While my mom’s family is small (she has only 4 siblings), my father’s family is immense. He has 16 siblings and almost all of them had at least 2 kids. To say I had many cousins doesn’t do it justice. We live in the same province as my dad’s family, so we visited each other often.

At my family’s peak, we had 12 people living in a small (think very small) home. Mom was an excellent cook, and everything was made from scratch. We were a boisterous bunch, and we weren’t forced to eat in silence. By the time I got into double digits, some of my older siblings were married and had kids of their own.

My siblings, their spouses and their kids came to my parents’ home for Christmas day. That meant the kitchen table was always full and we filled the living room and flowed into the hall and closets to find a place to eat when the eating time came.

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Travelling Food

At the moment, my characters in Healing Stones (Castle Keepers Series: Book 4) are travelling through Yikker Wood. They left Inglenook about two weeks ago, and they won’t reach a settlement to buy supplies for another three days.

This means they must carry all their food in packs or saddle bags on their horses. They could hunt, and they may resort to that, and they’ve picked mushrooms along the way to add to their dwindling supplies.

Starting Out

For several days after they left Inglenook, they ate biscuits, bacon, eggs, bread and meat, but those perishable goods are gone after 14 days. This is the point where I scramble to find food for them to eat, so they won’t starve.

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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.