Soul & Shadow

Posted Sat, 11/21/20

I was going to try to take a break from writing until January 2021, but it's not working out that way. In fact, I'm pecking away on two books now: Blood & Soul, and In the Shadow of the King.

 So much for a restful holiday season.

While I hope to finish Blood & Soul in April 2021, it will likely take me more than a year to complete In the Shadow of the King. As it stands now, I have roughly 80 pages of the book written.

Current manuscript for "In the Shadow of the King" by Deborah O'Toole. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

However, the storyline - which has injections of fictional characters with real figures from history - requires copious research and will probably take me into 2022.

A new excerpt from In the Shadow of the King:

The grave next to that of old Thomas Bryan had been there for some time, but attentive care of the marker had left it visible and standing erect. Not large by any means, it was impressive nonetheless with its faded carvings of the Bryan coat of arms.

The design had been intricate in its day, but the many years had worn the surface smooth, leaving a telltale visual of the original workmanship. The arms held three upright swords which were fairly visible but the carvings of the Lion of Judah had faded somewhat with the weather of time. The misty rain now swept across the marker like a fine sheen, sending rivulets running along the carving and off onto the ground. The drops also swirled in the name carved in the stone, which was still visible as well.

It was a simple headstone in truth, but enhanced by the exquisite carving of the coat of arms. The marker read:

Sir Francis Bryan 1490-1550

The fine mist of rain had become a torrent, creating small rivers of water that scurried around the two graves side by side, joining the patterns of earth as if they were one.

"In the Shadow of the King" by Deborah O'Toole. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

ESTIMATED RELEASE: Christmas 2022. Storyline and estimated release date may be subject to change. Check back for updates.

Irish Eyes: In the Shadow of the King

Tags: Bloodline Trilogy; In the Shadow of the King

Mind Sweeper Peek

Posted Sun, 11/15/20

A little "bird" has told me Mind Sweeper will be released at the end of November, so I've been preparing for the event.

Once the book is released, a re-vamped website for the novel will go live. Here is a sneak peek (click on images to view larger sizes in a new window):

MIND SWEEPER website. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

MIND SWEEPER website. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

Several "bonus" documents will also be available once Mind Sweeper is released, including a full cast of characters.

MIND SWEEPER: Cast of Characters. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

Mind Sweeper has been a long time in coming, so I'm looking forward to it's release. :)

Irish Eyes: Mind Sweeper

Tags: Mind Sweeper

Author Spotlight

Posted Sat, 11/14/20

Thanks to Scott and Book Lemur for the recent Author Spotlight!

Author Spotlight @ Book Lemur

Book Lemur features hundreds of author bios and related book links. I'm very happy to join all of them.

Irish Eyes: Book Promotions

Tags: Book Promotions

Prose by Fiction

Posted Wed, 10/28/20

Torn Bits & Pieces is probably my least-known book mainly because it's a collection of poetry I've written over the years. I'm not a poet, not by a long shot. However, there are times I feel the need to jot down something poetic, hence my collection.

Some of the poems are in relation to my fiction novels. For example, the eight-lined Collective Obsessions is the same-named counterpart for the Collective Obsessions Saga (writing as Deidre Dalton).

"Intro" poem to the Collective Obsessions Saga. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

I recently finished Bloodlust (book #2 in the Bloodline Trilogy). One of the main characters in Bloodlust is named Kirk Lester. He's a bit of a slime ball, but also a poet. The fictional character "writing" the poems began as a blank slate, somewhat akin to a block of bland cheese. I wanted to give him a tangibly unique trait as I developed him, thus a fictional poet was born.

Kirk Lester's gift with prose also emphasizes multiple traumatic events in his life, as if his spurts of creativity were inspired by diversity and outright insanity.

Blood of My Father is from the upcoming Bloodlust:

"Blood of My Father" poem from "Bloodlust" by Deborah O'Toole writing as Deidre Dalton. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

To that end, there are fourteen new poems stemming from Bloodlust, all of which will be added to Torn Bits & Pieces in due course. I created them on the fly - some are short, others longer - and all in relation to the fictional storyline.

I would like to make clear that Bloodlust is not a book of poetry, but rather a 400+page fiction novel sprinkled with smatterings of poetic prose written by one of its angst-ridden characters.

There might also be a few "overflow" poems that find their way into Blood & Soul (third and final book of the Bloodline Trilogy), which is scheduled for completion in 2021.

Irish Eyes: Torn Bits & Pieces

Tags: Bloodline Trilogy; Collective Obsessions Saga; Torn Bits & Pieces

Autumn 2020 Newsletter

Posted Sat, 10/24/20

Being a writer has its ups and downs. Whether you're an amateur or a published author, the process of writing a book can be excruciating, peppered with bits of relief and elation. There are times it all feels like an emotional rollercoaster. Those who are near and dear to us can also feel the impact of the long process on a daily basis.

Thus begins my autumn newsletter, which is now available online, and also as a PDF download.

Here are some highlights from the newsletter: 

Deborah O'Toole: Newsletter (Autumn, October 2020).

~ The Crypt Artist ~

The Crypt Artist was released by Club Lighthouse Publishing on June 6, 2020. The novel is available in multiple e-book formats from Club Lighthouse, and in both Kindle and paperback editions from Amazon.

Front and back covers for "The Crypt Artist." Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

What can I say about The Crypt Artist? The book was a definite labor of love for me, without a doubt. There was something about it that drove me, day after day, until the story was complete. I was enchanted with all of the characters that I developed over time, my two favorites becoming Irish poet Malachy O'Leary and the indomitable Howard Russell Baker. The verbal exchanges between Malachy and Howard had me laughing out loud on several occasions, even in the quiet and solitary world of creation. The fact that Malachy and Howard are both ghosts made their well-aimed barbs all the more deliciously comical.

A reader on Amazon wrote the following about The Crypt Artist:

The Crypt Artist grabbed me from the first page. I felt for struggling, depressed, and drunk Luca despite of his attitude or maybe because of it. Luca lives in a ramshackle old building where he reproduces classic paintings. A loner, the only interest he has in his neighbors is in room 2E where no one has resided since the 1950s. Why? Then his world is turned upside down when psychologist Izzy moves in next door. Both are immediately smitten with each other. Add to that a lonely elderly lady Elva Peabody and a plethora of ghosts who have devoted themselves to helping Luca. Why? Maybe a kindred spirit. The ghosts whom Luca thinks is a figment of his drunken imagination makes his paintings come alive. Enter still the landlord and his brethren who complicate his life all the more. Despite all this, the book is a quick and very enjoyable read.

~ The Bloodline Trilogy ~

I began writing the Bloodline Trilogy (as Deidre Dalton) in 2012. The first book in the series, Bloodfrost, was essentially completed six months later but wasn't published until December 2019. I shelved the trilogy for quite awhile after Bloodfrost was finished, not certain if anyone would be interested in reading about three women with special powers that spread out over three books. However, I finally convinced myself it was worth a shot and submitted Bloodfrost to my publisher, Club Lighthouse Publishing.

The Bloodline Trilogy by Deborah O'Toole writing as Deidre Dalton.

I began work on book two in the trilogy, Bloodlust, in late 2013. However, because of prior commitments to finish the Collective Obsessions Saga, as well as four other stand-alone novels (Celtic Remnants, Glinhaven, Mind Sweeper and The Crypt Artist), Bloodlust sat on the backburner for nearly seven years.

It wasn't until January 2020 that I was able to resume work on the second novel in the Bloodline Trilogy. To that end, I finally completed Bloodlust nine months later (on September 30, 2020 at 12:20pm, to be exact). After my own editing process, which took me to the end of October 2020, I sent the manuscript to my publisher. I was then flattered and humbled that Club Lighthouse offered me a publishing contract soon thereafter. As I've said many times before, I never take being published for granted.

For the publisher's edit of Bloodlust, I will again be working with Palvi Sharma (who also edited Bloodfrost), which I'm very happy about. Bloodlust is tentatively scheduled for release in spring 2021.

Bloodlust was 428 pages long upon completion, prior to my first round of editing, which entailed reading through the entire book several times before I even sent it to my publisher for consideration. It ended up increasing in size (to 432 pages) after the editing process, despite having done away with two incidental characters. I'm not complaining, but it's a lot of material to read through to make sure all aspects are consistent and in sync with the storyline (scenes, dialogue, location and objects, along with the physical appearances and quirks of the characters).

It's just one of the many facets of writing that I continue to find fascinating, all of which contain the aspiration to reach an end result.

~ Lockdown Activities ~

As the interminable lockdown continues, and when I take a rare break from writing, we devise ways to keep ourselves entertained.

We went on another camping trip last July, spending five days at Wolf Creek Pass in the Uinta Mountains. We found the perfect spot to camp, just off the road and down a slight incline. It had its own fire pit and plenty of trees to provide shade. We also had a stampede of sheep run through our camp, which I managed to get on film.

And guess what I pack first for a camping trip? My "book bag." It includes pens, paper clips, sticky notes, spiral notebooks, printed material from the current book I'm writing, research notes, my iPad and the current book I'm reading (not writing). We recently invested in a laptop, so it comes along for the ride as well.

My travelling "book bag." Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

Reading is an ongoing activity for me, and always has been. My current stack contains And Furthermore by Dame Judi Dench, A Breath of Snow & Ashes by Diana Gabaldon (#8 in the Outlander series), Inside the Tudor Court Through the Eyes of the Spanish Ambassador by Lauren Mackay, The Pawful Truth (#11 Cat in the Stacks Mystery) by Miranda James, Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff, and Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe. I never leave a bookstore empty-handed, and I'm especially partial to collecting different bookmarks.

My array of bookmarks. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

In addition, a family of ducks began visiting us during the summer of 2020. The mother is an albino who had six ducklings at the time, all of them seemingly ravenous at all hours. Bread was their favorite, of course, but we started feeding them healthier fare, such as kibble and dried corn. But they do love their bread! Postscript (10/09/20): The family of six ducks has now turned into about sixty daily visitors. Apparently, they spread the word about our "Duck Diner" along the canal. They come at 7am sharp, and then again during the afternoons and early evenings. Click here to view a short video of the ducks on You Tube.

Debby's Duck Diner. Click on image to view video on You Tube.

I recently created a page at All Author, which is basically a social platform for published authors. Last week they offered-up banners for the Halloween season, so I decided to use the following for three of my "spookier" books (Bloodfrost, Glinhaven and The Crypt Artist).

Deborah O'Toole @ All Author.

~ Until Next Time ~

Another newsletter will be coming in late spring/early summer 2021.

And until next time, happy reading . . .

Irish Eyes: The Crypt Artist

Tags: Bloodline Trilogy; Book Promotions; The Crypt Artist

Duckie Love

Posted Fri, 10/23/20

I would have never imagined becoming enthralled with wild ducks before last spring/summer. However, that is exactly what happened.

We started off feeding one mama albino duck and her six babies. At first, we fed them bread and then it became kernel corn purchased at a local feed store. Then the numbers increased, until by the end of summer we were tossing food to nearly sixty ducks in the backyard and on the banks of the canal.

Mamacita duck and her babies.    Mamacita duck and her babies.

Our daily duck visitors.

I became fascinated with them - the way they walk (waddle), make noise (chattering and loud quacks that sounded like laughter). They are beautiful creatures. I became especially attached to the mama duck, whom I refer to as "Mamacita." She is one tough bird, fiercely protecting her babies and taking on other ducks if they came to close to her brood. 

Since the ducks have now flown south for the winter, I'm boning-up on all things duck in anticipation of their return.

"Mallard Ducks as Pets. The Mallard Duck Owner's Manual"

I even bought two stuffed animal duckies to keep me company all winter long. The smaller one has a delightful quack when squeezed. Jerry calls the big one R.D. (as in "roast duck"). I was not amused!

My stuffed animal duckies. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

I can't wait to see the real ones again. :)

Blog Tags: Photos & Other Images

Tags: Photos & Other Images

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