Thursday, April 13, 2017

A New Claddagh Story!

Good morning, Miriam, and to all your readers! I’m pleased to be back at the Celtic Rose, and I’m thrilled to be talking about Wishes of the Heart, Book 7 of my Claddagh Series.

Wishes of the Heart is my Cinderella-with-an-Irish-twist story, and it’s filled with Irish mist and magic and superstitions. It’s set in Ballycashel, home of the O’Brien family, a wind-swept village on the Galway coast.

There’s a legend in the village of Ballycashel. The Big House is built upon the ruins of the castle of the ancient king, Sean Donnelly, and it’s said that his ghost appears on the estate to forewarn of danger or disaster or death.

Now I’ve never seen the ghost, but on a dark night, when the wind is sighing through the yew trees and the mist is blowing in off Ballycashel Bay…

A thick curtain of mist descended from nowhere, surrounding her, ensnaring her in cloying fingers. She blinked water from her streaming eyes and caught her breath in a strangled gasp, staring at the murky form standing before her.

‘Twas the spirit of Himself. Neave didn’t know how she knew, but know it she did. The spirit of the old Celtic chieftain, Sean Donnelly, had come to warn her. She knew that too.

She raised a trembling hand to bless herself. Her entire body shook with chills as the Heavens emptied their contents upon her and the wind gusted about her. She tried to speak, tried to swallow, but she was rooted to the spot. She couldn’t have run if the spirit had raised his mighty fist to strike off her head.

But he didn’t. He stood before her, his ankle-length linen shirt white against the black night. His red cloak fluttered around him, its brightly-colored embroidery and gold braiding shimmering like a halo and fastened by an elaborate silver brooch of Celtic knotwork and Connemara marble.

He looked as he must have looked as a young warrior, when he’d led the Donnellys to victory against the invading D’Arcy tribe.

His eyes glowed pale blue, and his face looked grim. But not menacing, as she’d have thought. Instead he looked sad. Neave’s heart lurched into her throat.

Something terrible was going to happen tonight.

“Oh, holy Mary, Mother of God. ‘Tis yourself.” Her voice refused to rise above a whisper, but somehow she knew he heard and understood her, despite the howling wind. “’Tis you, Sean Donnelly. You’ve come to warn the people of Ballycashel, haven’t you?”

Still the spirit didn’t speak. He raised his hands in a gesture that encompassed all of Ballycashel, then dropped them to his sides and shook his head. Was it death or destruction he’d come to predict? Whose death? Whose destruction?
But she knew she couldn’t ask. Neave felt no fear as the Donnelly stared at her with tormented eyes. She pitied him, condemned as he was to roam the earth. She raised her trembling hand and made a slow sign of the cross before him.

“You’ve done your job well, Sean Donnelly. You’ve given your warning. Now ‘tis time for us to listen.” The spirit began to waver before her. Slowly, she made another sign of the cross to him. “Wander no more, Donnelly. Go home now, in the name of God, and may His grace go with you.” She blessed herself once more, and the image vanished.

Neave’s legs shook so hard she almost collapsed on the sodden ground. She gasped for breath, shivering uncontrollably.

Had she really seen the spirit of Sean Donnelly?

Oh, sweet Saint Brigid, what did it mean? Who was in danger? Rory O’Brien? Thomas? And why had the spirit chosen to show himself to Neave? She wasn’t a member of the O’Brien family.

Should she go back to the Big House, warn them? But who would believe her? No one trusted the village witch. A clap of thunder rolled across the little clearing, and she raced down the boreen to the blessed sanctity of her cottage. Broken branches and bits of thatch from the roofs of nearby homes flew through the air as if on the wings of some satanic bird. Dead leaves swirled up and around her skirts.

Blessed Brigid protect me.

The cottage shone like a beacon in the howling night. She flung open the door. Smoke blew down the chimney, fogging the room and momentarily blinding her to the little lantern she’d left burning by the door. From somewhere high above, she heard Bron squawking and chittering.  She fought the wind until finally she pushed the door closed.

Then she threw herself in front of the smoldering fire and prayed.
About the Book:
He’ll never be the true heir…
Tom O’Brien is trapped in the distant shadow of his rebel brother. Heir apparent to Ballycashel, his hands are bound by the fetters of the past and his father’s reluctance to take the estate into the future it so desperately needs.
She lived under a cloud of suspicion…
A wise woman suspected of witchcraft, Neave Devereux spent most of her life scorned by the superstitious village folk. Alone in her tiny cottage, she yearns for acceptance, friendship…and love.
Can Tom and Neave unite to save their village from ruin? Or will superstition and old enemies destroy Ballycashel forever?

About Cynthia:

I believe I was destined to be interested in history. One of my distant ancestors, Thomas Aubert, reportedly sailed up the St. Lawrence River to discover Canada some 26 years before Jacques Cartier’s 1534 voyage. Another relative was a 17thCentury “King’s Girl,” one of a group of young unmarried girls sent to New France (now the province of  Quebec) as brides for the habitants (settlers) there.

My passion for reading made me long to write books like the ones I enjoyed, and I tried penning sequels to my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries. Later, fancying myself a female version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I drafted a musical set in Paris during WWII.

A former journalist and lifelong Celtophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to my first love, romantic fiction. My stories usually include an Irish setting, hero or heroine, and sometimes all three.

I’m the author of The Claddagh Series, historical romances set in Ireland and beyond, and The Wild Geese Series, in which five Irish heroes return from the American Civil War to find love and adventure.

I’m a member of the Romance Writers of America, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. A lifelong resident of Montreal, Canada, I still live there with my own Celtic hero and our two teenaged children.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Saturday, October 29, 2016



Monday, February 8, 2016

Unholy Crossing by Pat McDermott

Who doesn’t love a good ghost story, especially one set in Ireland? A visit to Tubbercurry in County Sligo last summer inspired this one. It all began when my aunt learned I planned to call on my cousin Michael, whom I hadn’t seen for years.
“Tell him I want that picture of my grandmother!” she said. “It’s in Grannie’s old trunk! Bridgie told me she put it there.” (Grannie was Michael’s grandmother, my grandmother’s sister.)
Years ago, my aunt lent a photo of her grandmother, my great-grandmother, to Michael’s mother Bridgie for inclusion in a historical publication. My great-grandmother was a schoolteacher, and the publishers wanted to feature her in a Who’s Who type section. Sadly, by the time I went over, Bridgie had passed away.
Undaunted by family intrigue, Michael gave me a grand tour. We saw the remains of the house where our grandmothers grew up, the ruins of the schoolhouse where our great-grandmother taught, and the cemetery where many family members rest. He knew nothing about the photo, though he knew about the trunk, stored in the ruins of a cottage near his childhood home.
“Look all you like,” he said. “But I’m telling you, my father wouldn’t touch that trunk, and neither will I.”
Michael has a touch of the Blarney about him, yet he seemed quite serious when we reached the cottage. I'd no sooner opened the trunk when a shrieking flock of crows flew above us. The wind rose and tore off a piece of the old door. I thought it was great fun, but Michael quickly left the place and said he’d wait outside.
I never found the photo, and I didn't care. The trunk had captured me. I closed it up and wondered where it came from, how it got there, and what it had seen and heard. And let’s not forget the sound effects. Whether the crows and the wind were a coincidence, or whether Ireland had cast another of its spells, I had a story—if Grannie would let me use her trunk.
Apparently, she didn’t mind. Here’s the Blurb and an Excerpt from Unholy Crossing.
A Spectral Stowaway Opens the Door to Ireland's Pagan Past...
It’s 1912, and America has lost its charm for Noreen Carbury, an educated young lady from Ireland. For five long years, Noreen has looked after the children of Boston’s well-to-do. Homesick and vexed by the gentry’s demeaning views toward immigrants, she schedules a voyage to visit her family in County Sligo.
Beneath the clothing and gifts she packs in her steamer trunk, Noreen conceals a wooden box whose grisly contents she’s promised to transport to Ireland. She boards a splendid new steamship expecting a crossing fit for a queen, yet her trunk has somehow harbored a spirit who plagues her during the week-long trip. She believes that once she delivers the box, the phantom will leave her alone. Although she keeps her promise, the visitations grow more sinister, pitting her strict Catholic upbringing against Ireland’s pagan past.
To protect the reputation of the man she loves, Noreen says nothing of the mysterious incidents. For decades, she bears the burden alone, until the elderly woman she becomes confesses the spine-chilling tale of the Unholy Crossing.
The Laconia sailed east, past the islands in Boston Harbor. Soon she would turn northeast. Toward Ireland.
Toward home.
I unlocked my cabin door and gasped at the room’s icy temperature. Annoyed that the heater had failed to perform, I eyed the button that summoned the steward. As I crossed the room to push it, I glanced at the photos on the desk and froze.
What I’m telling you now is the truth, I swear. As I gazed at the portrait of Ned and me, a golden glow rose from the top of the silver frame. A dark-haired image appeared between us.
Had I drunk more wine than I should, you ask? On my word, I did not. The woman was there, in the portrait, staring. Staring at me. Smiling.
* * * * *
Unholy Crossing - A Novella/Novelette Available in Print and eBook from

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Enchanted Highlands by April Holthaus, Victoria Zak, and Dawn Marie Hamilton

Happy New Year! Now that the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is behind us, let's heat things up with a Highlander collection from three Celtic authors...

Enchanted Highlands

Three Winter Novellas
Available at Amazon for 99 cents
or Free with Kindle Unlimited

Three magical love stories...


Twelvetide (Twelve Nights of Highland Magic)
By Dawn Marie Hamilton

He has twelve nights to gain her love.
She has twelve nights to save his soul.

Fulfilling a childhood promise, Ashley Dumont returns to an ancient Druid garden in the Black Hills of Scotland on the eve of the winter solstice—a time when magic hums and the veil between realms thins and tears, allowing all manner of supernatural creatures through. Will the ghost who claimed to be her destiny still be there?

Caelan Innes awaits her arrival. Unjustly murdered in the sixteenth century, a second chance at life depends on this woman. The Druids grant them the twelve nights of Yule to find love and save Cael’s soul. Will a trip through time and the treachery of enemies make the sacrifice too dear?

Once Upon a Winter Solstice
By Victoria Zak

What if all moments throughout time existed at once? What if you had a love that stood the test of time? Never faltering, never fading. What if one legend brought both time and love together as one? Once Upon a Winter Solstice is dedicated to those who believe in true love.

Stars and Stones
By April Holthaus

Riley Kincaid was a man who thought he had everything, until fate intervened. While traveling to London; only days before Christmas, a fierce storm blew in forcing Riley to land in Scotland instead. With treacherous winds and snow-covered roads, Riley found refuge at a small bed and breakfast as he waited out the storm. But little did he know that his arrival was not by mere chance.

 Three Celtic Authors...

Dawn Marie Hamilton:

April Holthaus:

Victoria Zak:

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Available Now: Irish Pride Box Set by Kemberlee Shortland

Kemberlee Shortland

 ISBN: 9781310562150

ASIN: B01520GFE2

 Length: Novel

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Price: $7.99 (SALE $2.99 through September)

 Buy Here: Tirgearr Publishing

  This box set includes:

Rhythm of My Heart - Eilis Kennedy, gave up a singing career to become an Artists Representative with Eireann Records. Kieran Vaughan is just the talent she needs to contract who will really launch her career, while at the same time getting her out from under her boss's thumb. Fergus Manley vows to have Eilis in his bed at any cost.

A Piece of My Heart and the short story sequel, Constant Craving - Ten years after their break-up, the addendum in Mick's father's will forces Mick and Kate together to save Mick's heritage. Kate thought she was falling in love with Mick all over again, but a new revelation is too much for her. She is determined to finally say goodbye forever to her childhood sweetheart. Mick has other plans for Kate's future. And none of them involve goodbye.

Shape of My Heart - Gráinne moonlights at The Klub! to earn money for college tuition. John ‘JD’ Desmond is an undercover detective. The Klub!, owned by Jimmy Malloy, is being used as a drug front, headed by the notorious Taylor 'The Hunter' Wade. JD wanted Gráinne to snitch for him, but things get complicated when they fall in love. When Gráinne witnesses Jimmy’s murder, she and JD are forced to run for their lives.

• • •

Kemberlee is a native Northern Californian who grew up in a community founded by artists and writers, including John Steinbeck, George Sterling, and Jack London. She has dual diplomas -- canine and feline nutrition, and hotel and restaurant management. At one time she also ran a private part time obedience business, and also showed English Bull Terriers In 1997, she left the employ of Clint Eastwood to live in Ireland for six months. It was there she met the man she would marry, and relocated to live in Ireland permanently. While always writing, Kemberlee earned her keep as a travel consultant and writing travel articles about Ireland. In 2005, she saw her first romance sell, and to date, she has eight published romances. Kemberlee enjoys her two Border Collies, who feature on the cover of A Piece of My Heart, and also knitting, gardening, photography, music, travel, and tacos! 

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