Thursday, August 22, 2019

From the pages of my novel,  "The Saints Lost Their Way"

Finbar, the patriarch of the fictional O'Doole family reads this poem to his grandchildren as they row across Lough Gill in Leitrim.  As they approach the Parke's castle on the shore of the lough, notes that the castle once belonged to the  O'Ruaraic family.  The tale speaks of the family in the distant past.            

Dermott MacMurchad of Leinster, with heart of wood,
Ruled stolen land with cruel blood
Chieftains of Eire who stood to fight,
If they kept their life, they lost their light
Insulted the Abbess of St. Bridgit's Church grand,
Closed her in a cell in the bed of a man.
Lusted beyond the fjords of Wex and Water
E'en to the walls of Dublin's fine quarter
In MacLoughlin of Ulster Dermott found a friend
Thought his conquests then would know no end
Set his greedy eyes on Connacht and Meath
O'Connor and O'Ruaraic vowed to stand to the death
The King and the Prince together stood tall
With honor and sword 'neath Breffni's stout wall
Ere the kerns of MacMurchad heard the clarion's call
Had neither stomach nor heart for naught but withdraw

O'Ruaraic's confessor in piety's name
Bade the Prince make a pilgrimage away from war's game
Prince Tiernan, the pilgrim left with the first crow of the cock
Trusting husband saw not the need for a chastity lock
He believed the Bride of Breffni would wait
But the fair Derbforgaill did not lock the gate
MacMurchad came under cover of night
Abducted O'Ruaraic's wife and took flight

T’was a dastardly act, or so it would seem
Yet heard within Breffni's walls, nary a scream
When Tiernan's horse boy gave his account
He swore Derbforgaill was astride the Prince's best mount
And several housemaids reported before the gates closed
She was leading four pack horses carrying all of her clothes
Prince Tiernan returned to find a cold bed
With the fire of vengeance burning his head 

Mustered his army and moved with great haste
Toward a fortress in Leinster with intent to lay waste
Dermott's walls breached, the villain escaped in the end
But in all Erin's Isle he found not a friend
But there were those that owed Dermott an old debt
With his daughter Eva sailed o'er to England without regret
 King Henry had once borrowed Dermott's ships under sails
To suppress a pesky revolution out there in Wales

Finding Henry in England was sure of little chance
Because the King of England spent most of his time in France
But once found, old Henry would not lend a hand
Unless MacMurchad promised fealty and, of course Irish land
Now Henry avowed he could not an English soldier loan
Gave a letter permitting Dermott raise an army on his own
He looked, but could not hire an army anywhere
Until he met a red-haired Earl, Richard de Clare

Now Dermott could not understand, nor would he ever know
How this femme-faced Norman ever earned the title of, 'Strongbow'
 He was far from manly, never mistaken for a swain
Some say of him was written, "His blood is better than his brain"
But 'twas falsely accused, Strongbow had a clever plan
His price for aid, an Irish estate and the daughter Eva's hand
The pact agreed for Irish land and Eva as his bride
Strongbow set out to hire some men to fight for Dermott's side

Dermott for √Čireann sailed with Norman knights and gallowglasses
O'Ruaraic and O'Connor greeted him and kicked some Norman asses
 To buy some time and for his kidnap crime Dermott offered Tiernan gold
Tiernan took the bribe and set the stage for history yet untold
Irish troops fell back, laid down their arms hoping to fight no more
But now Strongbow and his Norman knights stormed onto √Čireann's shore
With a thousand men at arms to recapture Dermott's land
His promise kept, Strongbow could now claim fair Eva's hand

The wedding assured Strongbow became Dermott's heir

A Norman on the Leinster throne was a curse on all of Eire

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Excited to announce a book signing and discussion on March 16 from 11 to 1 at St. Inie's Coffee House, 46915 S. Shangri La Drive in Lexington Park Maryland

Monday, July 30, 2018

Creevelea Abbey, County Leitrim.jpg 
A little more about the Creevelea Friary.  Yeah, I think old Hank # 8 might have had something to do with the fire.  I remember the skeletons of some Scottish churches that he had torched.  Anyway, back to Ireland. It was rebuilt by another O'Rourke, Brian, who, being a good Catholic, sheltered some survivors of the Spanish Armada.  Henry's daughter Elizabeth I, of course, had issues with Brian. She invited him to London.  He never came home.  His castle on Loch Gill outside of Leitrim was confiscated and given to the Parkes family.  I've read that several O'Rourkes are buried at the Friary, but as I inspected graves there in 2016, I failed to find them.  The last Franciscan Friars were driven out by Cromwell's soldiers in the 1650's.  A sequel work in progress will drill down into that action.  Stay tuned

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Well, had a nice day at the Mid-Maryland Celtic Festival in Mount Airy in June.  The folks from the St. Andrews Society were great hosts, very helpful and cooperative.  Met lots of fine and interesting people.  Many stopped by the author's tent to chat, ask questions, and some even bought a book. Sharing the tent with other authors made for an interesting day.  Learned some by watching their approach to bookselling.  I felt that my approach was more successful.  Most of the others sat behind their desks and waited for visitors to approach.  I stood outside the tent inviting people to view my display and engage them in conversation.  I believe I sold more books than the others.  if not, I know I met more people and increased my network of followers of the Celtic festival circuit.

There was one incident that I regret.  A kilted father and son engaged me with some banter.  The son challenged some of my historical notations.  No problem, I enjoy dialog about things that are matters of opinion.  I was happy when they wanted to buy a book.  They were short of cash, (I would wager they spent a lot of it on the pints they carried).  And I had a problem getting to the WIFI at the site to be able to take their credit card on my tablet.  The son, a self-proclaimed IT expert tried but failed to help me get online. A bit embarrassed and frustrated at my failure to make the sale, I offered to sign a book for them on credit, gave them my address, and asked them to send me a check at their convenience. They agreed but did not offer their contact information, and I failed to ask for it.  Guess I should know better than to fully trust men in kilts with pints in their hands.  Needless to say (but I'll say anyway), to date, no check.  They stiffed me!

Cost of doing business and being too trusting I suppose.  I hope they enjoy the book enough to send a check when they finish reading it.

Oh well, on to the next venue, Timonium in November, the Maryland Irish Festival at the fairgrounds.  Perhaps they'll stop by and settle up.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Book Promotions

As a prelude to the Annual Celtic Festival in Southern Maryland, I was invited by my friend Jennifer Cooper to work with her and her guitarist Carl Reichelt (known professionally as 'GrooveSpan duo), to fill in when they took a break.  I know a couple of chords and sing a few Celtic songs, so I welcomed the opportunity.  The venue was a popular local winery called Perigeaux, and the manager invited me to promote my book while I was there.  The event was most enjoyable and several books were sold.

The festival was the next day.  I had paid to be a vendor and to sell my book there, so I arrived early to set up next to another author I met a last year's festival.  Ben Anderson has a series of fantasy books called "The McGunnegal Chronicles" Considering that Ben had much experience selling his books at similar venues, he was very helpful to me in succeeding at the festival. We are friends and not really competing for readers.  Ben's books are targeted t younger readers than my target audience.  His books are magical, check them out.

I next will be at the Mid Maryland festival on June 16, 2018.  If you're in the area of Frederick, MD, stop by the author's tent and say hello.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Well, we're going to give a book signing another attempt.  My scheduled book signing at the Fenwick Street Used Books and Music Store in March was a victim of March coming in like a lion and blowing away the plans.

So a new date:  The first Friday in April 4/6/2018  from 5 to 7 PM at the same place in Leonardtown:

 Joe Orlando's Fenwick Street Used Books and Music Store

If you've not been to the store before, you should come.  It is a destination in Leonardtown for bibliophiles, writers, and music lovers, specifically, vinyl jazz collectors.

Hope to see you there 


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

I've told you a lot about the book.  Take a look for yourself. .  Check it  out

It costs $18.85 on Amazon

 Here's a link