Winter Newsletter

Posted Sun, 12/01/19

Another year has almost come to an end, and I find myself contemplating what has been accomplished. The old adage of "how time flies" is certainly true, and makes one realize how precious each moment of every day really is. However, I have to admit the past twelve months have been very productive for me.

So begins my winter newsletter, which is now available online, and also for the first time as a PDF download.

Here are some highlights from the newsletter:

Deborah O'Toole: Newsletter (Winter, December 2019).

~ Glinhaven ~

I'm having fun writing Glinhaven at the moment, especially after I recently added two new "elements" to the storyline. They include Moggy Malone Mochrie and Sith Mochrie (see photo below).

Moggy Malone Mochrie and Sith Mochrie, two characters found in "Glinhaven" by Deborah O'Toole. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

The two Scottish Fold felines now have a place in the story, their domain being "The Thistle" curio shop in Glinhaven Village, Massachusetts. For story purposes, Moggy Malone is elegant and dignified, while poor Sith is clumsy and goofy. I named them using researched Scottish lingo: Moggy is slang for "cat," while Sith is the word for "fairy cat" in Scots Gaelic mythology.

According to Wikipedia:

The Cat Sìth (Scottish Gaelic) or Cat Sidhe (Irish], Cat Sí (in new orthography) is a fairy creature from Celtic mythology, said to resemble a large black cat with a white spot on its chest. Legend has it that the spectral cat haunts the Scottish Highlands. The legends surrounding this creature are more common in Scottish folklore, but a few occur in Irish. Some common folklore suggested that the Cat Sìth was not a fairy, but a witch that could transform into a cat nine times.

The Cat Sìth may have been inspired by the Scottish wildcat itself. It is possible that the legends of the Cat Sìth were inspired by Kellas cats, which are a distinctive hybrid between Scottish wildcats and domestic cats only found in Scotland (the Scottish wildcat is a subspecies of the European wildcat, which is absent from elsewhere in the British Isles).

The people of the Scottish Highlands did not trust the Cat Sìth. They believed that it could steal a person's soul, before it was claimed by the gods, by passing over a corpse before burial; therefore watches called the Feill Fadalach (Late Wake) were performed night and day to keep the Cat Sìth away from a corpse before burial. Methods of "distraction" such as games of leaping and wrestling, catnip, riddles, and music would be employed to keep the Cat Sìth away from the room in which the corpse lay. In addition, there were no fires where the body lay, as it was said that the Cat Sìth was attracted to the warmth.

As I've discovered over time, the inclusion of animals can often enhance certain scenes, and can inject humor into the mix as well.

~ Writing as Deidre Dalton ~

Writing as myself, and then switching to my literary pseudonym Deidre Dalton, entails a complete change in mindset. While most of my books are generally descriptive, those written under the "Deidre" hat tend to swim in much darker waters. This isn't to say I possess split personalities, but the creative direction requires a definite swing in focus.

The books I've written under the "Deidre" moniker go deeper into the dark side of various personalities, and some of the actions undertaken thereof require a balance between good taste and blatant sexuality and/or violence. If I were to psychoanalyze myself, I'd have to say this all began in my teen years when I wrote murky verses and followed my morbid train of youthful thought, as evidenced in my book of poems known as Torn Bits & Pieces.

Official website of Deidre Dalton (aka Deborah O'Toole).

The fictional result of my shadowy ventures has become the Collective Obsessions Saga, to be followed closely by The Bloodline Trilogy. When the trilogy is complete sometime next year, I'm not sure where I'll head wearing my "Deidre" hat. Anyone's guess is as good as mine, but rest assured Deidre Dalton will make a reappearance, in one way or another.

~ Personal Note ~

I rarely make mention of my personal life, and over the years have kept reference to it at a bare minimum. However, most people know I've been married three times as I am not ashamed of it, not do I attempt to hide it. The marriages were all lengthy, and all ended for a variety of reasons.

While my personal life journey has never taken an easy or normal route, events occurring in 2018 were bizarre even for the likes of me. Yet they resulted in a happy set of circumstances. To make a long story short, my first husband, Jerry Dalton, contacted me via Facebook on October 20, 2018, sending me a friend request. We had not seen or spoken to each other in more than twenty years. In the interim, we had both remarried and carried on with our lives.

Meeting again for the first time after two decades was quite amazing in itself, but what followed was even more remarkable. We again developed a relationship rather quickly, and within six months had moved in together. We've been cohabitating ever since, and to that end I definitely consider Jerry to be my "significant other."

We recently went to dinner with some old friends, Ben Opfermann and his wife, Sharon. Ben was there when Jerry and I met for the first time, many years ago. The three of us worked together, and Ben was privy to our first courtship and subsequent marriage. He was kind enough to take a picture of us at the recent dinner. I took the photo and placed it in a frame with a picture of us all those years ago.

Jerry Dalton with Deborah O'Toole (1983 and 2019, respectively). Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

Jerry was there in the beginning, when I first began writing the Collective Obsessions Saga. By the time we divorced in the late 1980s, I had nearly completed "Larkin" (which later became The Twain Shall Meet).

Life can turn on a dime, and then come full circle. I'm living proof of it, happily.

And if anyone ever wondered about my use of the writing pseudonym Deidre Dalton, the truth is now finally revealed. ;)

Irish Eyes: Writing

Tags: Bloodline Trilogy; Glinhaven; Writing & Editing

Celtic Review & Video

Posted Sat, 11/02/19

I'm amazed by this great review of Celtic Remnants by Barbara Cerda at Good Reads.

Impressions

The event. The Bogside Massacre. Bloody Sunday. Derry Northern Ireland, 30 January 1972. One heartless moment of violence and subsequent retaliation against bigotry will last for generations. The emotional scars created in this day has lasted for generations. Eventually, the hatred tears the love between the son of an English Earl and a bonny Irish girl.

This novel is quite a read. A masterful weaving of a love story that nestles nicely within remnants of Upstairs Downstairs, Poldark, and finally Downtown Abby. To me, the author speaks grandly about how the post World Wars have altered the cultures of Britain and Ireland. Not a new story but one haunted by centuries-old hate and bigotry. Although not an easy read. I think Anglophiles will crush on the detail of this work that is memorable. Well crafted characterization may slow the reader's progress in the beginning. But the emotional force conveyed when the author seamlessly transitions from love scenes to heartbreaking moments is surprisingly memorable.

It is because of this author's incredible skill and grace in storytelling that it serves well in telling of Celtic culture and its brutal struggles to achieve autonomy under British rule.

"Place yer loyalty to yer own first, rather than the masses."

Celtic Remnants

Celtic Remnants by Deborah O'Toole

Story/Plot/Conflict

This is a love story that finds its beginnings with tragic remnants that scars the soul of a young Irish girl, robbing her of family and home. Part of a closely-knit Irish family, the child Ava Egan learns firsthand the brutality of the British military. Hatred spawned from unjust violence, murders, and civil unrest darkens the heart of Ava. Until years later, as a young woman, she meets and falls unexpectedly in love with David Lancaster, eldest son of a belted English Earl.

With a soul steeped in the old traditions of English nobility, David and friend Bart Quantrill unexpectedly find love with two Irish girls. Only to lose that love in the cruelest of ways. The chance meeting in a small Irish pub changes the hearts and lives of four people. While one is forced to throw away a love that strengthens his heart. And makes him question the morality within a world of privilege. Ava returns home to Ireland broken and filled with hate. Following family traditions, she chooses to fight to break the yoke of British rule that destroyed her life.

This author weaves a tale of how bigotry and complacence created a world of violence and tragedy. Yet within the dreadful throes of violent civil unrest, loves springs real and lasting.

Barbara also created a beautiful video about Celtic Remnants

Celtic Remnants by Deborah O'Toole from Barbara Cerda on Vimeo.

And much love and thanks to Terrie at Club Lighthouse Publishing for all of her efforts on my behalf.

Irish Eyes: "Celtic Remnants" by Deborah O'Toole

Tags: Celtic Remnants

In the Midst

Posted Sun, 10/27/19

Bloodfrost was recently sent back to me by an editor at Club Lighthouse Publishing. Now it's my job to go through all the suggested corrections and agree or disagree. So far, I have to say, I have agreed with 99.9% of the suggestions.

I always love having a pair of fresh eyes on my work, as being in "edit mode" can often take away objectivity over time.

As a peek into the process, the following is a screenshot of the marked-up Microsoft Word document I'm currently poring over. Click on the image below to see its larger size in a new window.

Going through the edits for "Bloodfrost." Click on the image to view its larger size in a new window.

Much thanks goes to Terrie Balmer, Palvi Sharma and James Wasson at Club Lighthouse Publishing for their time and patience. They make an author's job a whole lot easier during all stages of writing a book, and my gratitude to them is boundless.

I'm hoping Bloodfrost (book #1 in the Bloodline Trilogy by me writing as Deidre Dalton) will be ready for release by the end of the year.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Irish Eyes: The Bloodline Trilogy

Tags: Bloodline Trilogy; Writing & Editing

Author Gab

Posted Sat, 10/26/19

A new interview with yours truly appeared at NF Reads in the middle of October.

New interview with Deborah O'Toole at NF Reads.

For the interview, I discussed my books, writing inspiration, dealing with creative block, reviews, and advice to other writers, among other topics.

Click here to read interview in full >

Ripper Read

Posted Wed, 10/16/19

In honor of Halloween, a full viewing of Jack the Ripper is now freely available. The article first appeared in the online edition of Ambermont Magazine some years ago when I was one of their staff writers. It is also available in e-book format from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

"Jack the Ripper" can be read online in its entirety for free from now until October 31, 2019 > >

"Jack the Ripper" by Deborah O'Toole can be read online in its entirety for free from now until October 31st.

Jack the Ripper by Deborah O'Toole is an essay about serial killer Jack the Ripper, which includes information about the Whitechapel district of London, the victims, suspects, the investigation, press coverage in the day, resources, suggestions for further study, related films and links to current computer games inspired by Jack the Ripper. Start reading >

Enjoy - and Happy Halloween!

Irish Eyes: Book Promotions

Tags: Book Promotions; Historical Essays

Joys of Reading

Posted Sat, 10/12/19

I love reading any time of day, but I seem to do it mostly at night after going to bed. Some nights I fall asleep after reading a few chapters, other times I can stay awake for at least an hour. I'm one of those people who can fall asleep at the drop of a hat, even after consuming a pot of coffee, so I consider myself lucky if I can keep my eyes open for an hour after hitting the hay.

My current book reading stack includes Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession by Alison Weir, and No Cats Allowed by Miranda James, part seven in the "Cat in the Stacks" mystery series.

During a recent trip to Barnes & Noble, I also picked up two "classic" volumes that I can hopefully dip into before the holidays begin in earnest. One is Penny Dreadfuls: Sensational Tales of Terror, and the other is A Treasury of Irish Fairy and Folk Tales. Both books were released by Sterling Publishing/Barnes and Noble in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and are beautifully designed with thicker than usual paper, gold edges and individual ribbon place markers attached to the spines. Each volume contains classic stories by a multitude of different authors.

Book descriptions from Barnes & Noble:

Penny Dreadfuls: Sensational Tales of Terror: Body-snatching! Premature burial! Cannibalism! The original Victorian-era penny dreadfuls entertained the masses with shocks, thrills, and lurid horrors. This terror-packed anthology includes two novels—The String of Pearls, which immortalized Sweeney Todd, the demon-barber of Fleet Street; and the original 1918 edition of Frankenstein—as well as tales by Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, Stoker, Alcott, and Conan Doyle.

"Penny Dreadfuls: Sensational Tales of Terror"   "A Treasury of Irish Fairy and Folk Tales"

A Treasury of Irish Fairy and Folk Tales: Collect more than 200 stories from the rich folk legacy of the Emerald Isle. Its pages are animated with colorful tales of the fairy folk in all their many guises: the changeling, the banshee, the headless dullahan, the leprechaun, the merrow, and the ever-mischievous pooka. In addition, this volume includes tales of ghosts, witches and fairy doctors, priests and saints, encounters with the devil, titans of Ireland's historical past, as well as popular treasure legends. A Treasury of Irish Fairy and Folk is one of Barnes & Noble's Collectible Editions classics. Each volume features authoritative texts by the world's greatest authors in an exquisitely designed bonded-leather binding, with distinctive gilt edging and a ribbon bookmark.

Another recent and marvelous find was the Secret of Bramble Hill by Sue Owens Wright. Sue happens to be a longtime acquaintance of mine, so it was a pleasure to read her work. Known for her Beanie and Cruiser Mysteries, Sue's take on gothic fiction with Secret of Bramble Hill was flawless in its execution. I thoroughly enjoyed the book from start to finish, and highly recommend it to anyone who fancies the original gothic genre.

And last, but not least, my next read will be Love's Legacy by T.L. Davison. I also know this author quite well as she also happens to be my editor/publisher (aka Terrie Balmer and Club Lighthouse Publishing). The blurb alone fascinates me: "In the year 1799 in Cornwall, England at Cardon Hall, four people are intertwined in a hopeless situation that ends in murder." I'm looking forward to reading Terrie's novel, just in time for Halloween.

As with most aspects of reading and writing, the old saying truly goes: "So many books, so little time!"

Happy reading indeed . . .

Irish Eyes: Books & Reading

Tags: Books & Reading

Upcoming Works

Posted Fri, 10/11/19

Now that The Crypt Artist has been to bed, so to speak, I'm moving on to other projects that have been on the backburner for quite awhile.

So, what's next?

Not one to rest on my laurels, I'm back to work on Glinhaven. The novel is already about 3/4 finished, set aside so I could complete The Crypt Artist, and I'm hoping to finish it by the end of the year. I know the end story for Glinhaven, it's just a matter of writing it and then undergoing the editing process yet again.

Glinhaven is not meant to be long and complicated, but rather my appreciative nod to the gothic fiction genre of novels I read during the 1970s and 1980s. The books gave me many hours of reading enjoyment, especially those written by Dorothy Daniels, Marilyn Harris and Marilyn Ross (aka Dan Curtis/Dark Shadows).  Glinhaven is basically my attempt at the same, and I must admit I'm relishing every moment of the process.

After Glinhaven is complete, I plan to move on to Bloodlust, which is not quite halfway written at this point. Since it's predecessor Bloodfrost is scheduled for release later this year, I need to get myself  in gear and finish the second part in the Bloodline Trilogy (by yours truly writing as Deidre Dalton).

Deborah O'Toole: In the Works

I've also had a few other projects on the backburner over the past year, which I hope to complete in 2020. These include Blood & Soul (part three in the Bloodline Trilogy), a historical essay about Lizzie Borden, the Luscious Leftovers Cookbook, and Native American Cuisine. There is also talks with my publisher about writing a ninth part to the Collective Obsessions Saga, and penning a sequel to Celtic Remnants. In addition, I would like to continue work on In the Shadow of the King. I began the book many years ago, and would dearly love to see it come to fruition.

I'm just hoping to find time for it all, alongside with living my personal life. It can be difficult to find the perfect equilibrium between writing and a happy home, but I'm doing my best. Writing often wins out, although I've tried to temper it somewhat over the past year in order to achieve a fair and equal balance for those who are near and dear to me.

Irish Eyes: Writing

Tags: Bloodline Trilogy; Glinhaven; Writing & Editing

Recent Entries:

Date Title Description
12/01/19 Winter Newsletter Life can turn on a dime . . .
11/02/19  Celtic Review & Video Good Reads . . .
10/27/19 In the Midst "Bloodfrost" edits . . .
10/26/19  Author Gab New interview . . .
10/16/19 Ripper Read Ripper free for Halloween . . .
10/12/19  Joys of Reading So many books, so little time!

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