Enforced Self-Isolation

Posted Fri, 03/27/20

Being a writer is isolating in itself, for the most part. However, the recent COVID-19 scare has made the isolation seem all too genuine, removing the self-imposed structure of my days in real time. Whether I want it or not, it is a simple fact of life for now. While I'm accustomed to solitude because of writing, having it enforced is a different kettle of fish. There is no avenue of escape, no sudden decision to head out the door on a whim.

The suggestion of "social distancing" has overtaken the norm, and none of us can predict how long it will endure.

I was witness to panic-buying at the local grocery store on more than one occasion. Some people adorned masks for protection, while others didn't appear to be bothered by the near-pandemonium. I've only had to go to the store a few times, thankfully. My significant other has always seen fit to bulk buy foodstuff and other products, so we've had no shortage of supplies.

Adding to the anxiety was a 5.7 earthquake in my community just over a week ago. No one was injured, thankfully, but during the quake books fell off shelves, and a few dishes toppled out from cupboards and landed on the kitchen counter. The ensuing aftershocks have been unpleasant as well, one just occurring as recent as yesterday. To say the least, it has been keeping us all on our toes.

For the past few weeks, I've kept busy with Bloodlust, and prepping for the imminent release of Glinhaven. When a break is needed, I head to the kitchen to concoct various meals, sometimes with the help of my significant other. We put together mini-pizzas on wheat pita bread, green salad with homemade olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing, pressure-cooker steaks and pork chops, scalloped potatoes and chili in the crock pot, biscuits and gravy, and an endless variety of muffins.

As confirmed cases of people with the virus increase by the day and the death toll rises as well, I watch the daily news with dismay. The situation is an international crisis, which I'm praying is resolved sooner rather than later.

Stay safe out there. Stay safe out there.

Irish Eyes: Writing

Tags: Bloodline Trilogy; Glinhaven; Writing & Editing

Editing X 2

Posted Wed, 03/11/20

Editing two different books at once is not my idea of heaven, but that's exactly what I've been doing the past few weeks.

I've been working with my editor Palvi on Mind Sweeper, which is slated for release in May 2020. While proficient with many software programs and applications, I'm not so familiar with the "editing" mode in Microsoft Word. Plus, my 2007 version of the software misbehaves with irritating regularity. However, we finally made it through. I'm so appreciative to Palvi Sharma for her expertise, as well as her infinite patience.

Editing for "Mind Sweeper" by Deborah O'Toole. Click on image to view larger size in a  new window.

Final word count for Mind Sweeper: 70,800. A new cover for the book is also under consideration.

"Mind Sweeper" by Deborah O'Toole. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

A week later, my publisher Terrie Balmer (owner and CEO of Club Lighthouse Publishing), sent me suggested revisions for Glinhaven. Since the novel is scheduled to be released in late March or early April, I jumped right into the edits. Thank you, Terrie, for making my writing life much easier. Final word count for Glinhaven: 92,216.

Editing for "Glinhaven" by Deborah O'Toole. Click on image to view larger size in a  new window.

A new book cover has also been designed for Glinhaven, again thanks to Terrie.

Book covers for "Glinhaven" by Deborah O'Toole. Click on image to view larger size in a  new window. 

How stressful is it to be editing two very different books, back-to-back? Oddly enough, not as difficult as it sounds. The two novels are far removed from each other in content, as well as characters, that I had no difficulty  maneuvering my way through all of it.

I'm still in the midst of writing Bloodlust, but The Crypt Artist, while complete, still has to go through the final editing stages. The novel may be coming your way in late summer or early autumn.

2020 has turned out to be a very busy year, indeed.

Irish Eyes: Writing

Tags: Glinhaven; Mind Sweeper; Writing & Editing

Pooka Read 2020

Posted Sun, 03/01/20

In honor of St. Patrick's Day (March 17th), a full preview of Foofer, the Pooka & St. Patrick is now available.

Read "Foofer, the Pooka & St. Patrick" for FREE until March 17th!

The book can be read online in its entirety from now until March 17th. The eight chapters are provided on linked pages, with graphics not available in the Kindle or Nook editions of the short story. In addition, a little Irish ditty known as the Road to Lisdoonvarna plays in a quick loop on the first page only.

Click here to read the story in full.

A new book cover has also been released to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the first release for Foofer, the Pooka & St. Patrick.

"Foofer, the Pooka & St. Patrick" by Deborah O'Toole

Click here to view the book's cover history over the years.

Irish Eyes: Short Tales Collection

Tags: Book Promotions; Foofer; Short Tales Collection

Bloodletting & Dorian Gray

Posted Sun, 02/09/20

I spent most of the weekend writing for Bloodlust, mostly from my handwritten notes. There was also a copious amount of research involved, as I'm currently honing in on symbolism to be a semi-staple throughout the Bloodline Trilogy.

I recently received a paperback copy of Maiden, Mother & Crone by D.J. Conway, which is proving to be a valuable tool in my attempt to piece together a "triple goddess" feel to the collective storylines in the trilogy. Basically, the Bloodline Trilogy is about a uniquely magical yet ominous journey of three women through time. To that end, I'm assembling hints of the triple goddess myth in the books. The premise is certainly not the primary focus in the storylines, but is rather alluded to on occasion.

None of the books in the Bloodline Trilogy are about witchcraft or pagan lore, but the representation of Maiden, Mother & Crone (and the various symbols associated with them), reminded me of the rather intricate and uniquely magical blood ties between my three female characters. Each woman symbolizes a different moon phase and stage of life. In pagan lore, they also rule different realms such as earth and the waxing moon (Sammie), the underworld and full moon (Kate), and the heavens and waning moon (Noel).

Bloodline Trilogy: Readers Guide to Symbols (available in 2021).

I've also developed an offline document to keep track of all the symbolism present, which I will make available once all three books have been published, probably by 2021.

The bookmark I'm using for research into triple goddess symbolism for the Bloodline Trilogy has three 3-D owls as the background. Very apropos, without intention.

It's difficult to see in the photo above, but the bookmark I'm using for research into triple goddess symbolism for the Bloodline Trilogy has three 3-D owls as the background. Very apropos, without intention.

By Saturday afternoon, I was worn to a frazzle. Deciding to take a much-needed break, I sat in front of the television and watched the 1945 film version of The Picture of Dorian Gray. The book of the same name by Oscar Wilde is one of my favorite reads, so it was a no-brainer that I would enjoy the film. I had already seen the 1973 film version of the book (and in fact have the DVD in my library), but I have to say I preferred the older movie overall.

Poster for the film "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1945).

The remainder of Saturday went as expected. It was spent writing Bloodlust, and reading about the triple goddess, late into the night.

Irish Eyes: The Bloodline Trilogy

Tags: Bloodline Trilogy

Bloodline Doodling

Posted Tue, 01/21/20

Now that Glinhaven has been put to bed (so to speak), I'm back onto the Bloodline Trilogy. I'm taking up where I left off in Bloodfrost with part two of the trilogy, Bloodlust. There are roughly fifty pages of Bloodlust already written, but because there was such a long gap between writing Bloodfrost and its sequel (when I was finishing The Crypt Artist and Glinhaven), I had to familiarize myself with every aspect of the storyline again. Hence, I spent last weekend re-reading Bloodfrost and the maiden pages of Bloodlust.

There are scattered bits of symbolism throughout the trilogy. If you've already read Bloodfrost, you are aware of the bells and half-moons both main characters Noel and Pim see etched in candle glass. They do have specific connotations, which are revealed later in the book. The symbols are actually hints into the future. Of course, neither Noel nor Pim know it at the time. It's only when the hints come to fruition that they link them to the symbols, and after the mysterious character Shoji warns Noel about what could happen. More symbols are planted near the end of Bloodfrost. They do spill over into Bloodlust, where their meanings are made increasingly evident as the story moves on.

The symbol refresher proved to be a worthwhile endeavor. To that end, I'm currently writing Bloodlust and hope to have it finished by late summer or early autumn of this year.

While I was boning-up on symbolism over the weekend, I took an hour or so and played with the book cover designs for both Bloodlust and Blood & Soul. Sometimes, but not often, the quickest excursions into cover design brings about the best results. And so it did this time, luckily. Special thanks goes to artist Anton Belovodchenko for the wonderful photos, on which each cover was based.

"Bloodlust" by Deidre Dalton (aka Deborah O'Toole), book #2 in the Bloodline Trilogy. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.    "Blood & Soul" by Deidre Dalton (aka Deborah O'Toole), book #3 in the Bloodline Trilogy. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

And, as I've said before, writing as "Deidre Dalton" requires a different mindset:

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.

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.

Wish me luck. ;)

Irish Eyes: The Bloodline Trilogy

Tags: Bloodline Trilogy

Glinhaven Forthcoming

Posted Mon, 01/13/20

It's official! Glinhaven was signed with Club Lighthouse Publishing on January 13, 2020. The estimated release date for the novel will be late spring/early summer 2020. Click here to read the press release >

When my publisher first received the manuscript, she made a comment along the lines of "it has a Dark Shadows feel to it." No higher compliment could come my way, because that's exactly what I set out to do when I first began writing Glinhaven.

There's going to be some extra goodies that come along with Glinhaven, including a cookbook derived from characters and food mentioned in the story line, excerpts, book cover history, Q&A, Cast of Characters, FAQs About Monks, The Cats of Glinhaven and a bit about Piper's Hats.

The cookbook - known as Glinhaven Cookery - will be offered for free for anyone who purchases the Glinhaven novel at Amazon.

And there is now an official website for Glinhaven, where news about the release of the book will be posted regularly.

Official website for "Glinhaven" by Deborah O'Toole. Coming soon! Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

Meanwhile, the following comes from the dedication page Glinhaven:

"Glinhaven" is dedicated to my favorite gothic authors, who in part inspired the story that unfolds in the following pages: Dorothy Daniels, Marilyn Ross (aka Dan Curtis), Marilyn Harris, Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. Thank you for the many hours of reading enjoyment when I was in my teens and early 20s, and for inspiring me to do the same for others.

As I've said before, Glinhaven is my ode to the gothic fiction genre. Hopefully, I was able to do it justice.

Irish Eyes: Glinhaven

Tags: Glinhaven

Bloodfrost Out & About

Posted Mon, 12/16/19

Bloodfrost (by yours truly writing as Deidre Dalton) was released by Club Lighthouse Publishing on December 16, 2019. The novel is available in both paperback and e-book editions.

Editing "Bloodfrost" by Deborah O'Toole writing as Deidre Dalton

Noel Gatsby's dreams take her away from the misery of her pain-wracked, disease-riddled body. The dreams become real when she awakens one morning to find herself completely cured. However, she soon learns her miraculous recovery comes at a price . . .

Old before her time and afflicted with a myriad of medical problems, Noel Gatsby retreats into her "wishful-thinking" dreams every night. Desperate to escape the circumstances of her life, she imagines a world where all of her pain and suffering stops, to be replaced by the vigorous health of her youth. Yet each morning she awakens to the misery of her real existence, consumed by pain and depression.

Then one night her dreams come true. Noel is transported to another world, where healing hands work their magic on her tired body. She awakens without pain, filled with an exuberance and joy she never thought to experience again. Her unique affinity with the handsome Pim Grady gives her hope for the future, although their blossoming love is tempered by knowledge of their shared and secretive dreams.

Thus begins The Bloodline Trilogy, which will continue with Bloodlust and Blood & Soul in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Irish Eyes: The Bloodline Trilogy

Tags: Bloodline Trilogy

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