Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011



Wishing all our readers and contributors here at The Celtic Rose a season of peace, love and joy.

Merry Christmas

I want to wish everyone here at The Celtic Rose a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
I hope 2012 brings you HEALTH, LOVE, and PEACE!!!!

God Bless!
Sarah Hoss

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Perhaps you have already viewed the trailer shown below this one.  "Loving the Knight"  is the prequel to Kris's  historical romance, "Loving the Norseman," shown here.  I have thoroughly enjoyed both books set in the ancient Scottish/Norse world.  I hope you'll get the same pleasure from watching her beautiful videos.

Monday, December 19, 2011

"NORWAY IS THE NEW SCOTLAND" - Books by Kris Tualla

Please enjoy this lovely trailer by Kris Tualla, author of the Hansen Series. For those who love historical romance in the Scottish/Norse setting of old, these are must reads.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Just want to share some happy news with my blog family.  This one is really special to me.  My fantasy historical romance, The King's Daughter, has been accepted by Victory Tales Press and will be re-released in February, 2012.  The book will be available in print this time and I will probably put my copy on my pillow and kiss it every night!  Honestly, I'm so in love with this book and hero that it's embarrassing.  What can I say?  It got 5+ reviews out the wazoo, so apparently some other people liked it, too.  If you didn't catch it first time out or want it in print, it will be available in February. 

The book is Book I of the Chronicles of Alcinia, the story of Tarabenthia, born to a dying queen and an ambitious king.  Tia is heir to the throne, but when the idyll of her childhood ends she defies her father, tipping the balance in a world poised on the brink of war--leaving history to judge whether she is heroine or harlot.  In a time of war, what would you sacrifice in the name of love?

Here's a peek at the cover by Laura Shinn:

If you like historical fantasy in settings reminiscent of Ancient Rome and Roman Britain, I hope you'll consider giving this one a try when it's available.  But in any case, enjoy Laura's cover!  :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope that all of you here at The Celtic Rose had a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving surrounded by love, family, and friends. May God bless you the rest of the year as well!!!!!

Sarah Hoss

Wednesday, November 23, 2011



Friday, November 11, 2011

Glancing Through the Glimmer / Pat McDermott

Greetings to everyone here at The Celtic Rose, and special thanks to Miriam for her hospitality today, the release day for Glancing Through the Glimmer. I'm Pat McDermott, author of the "Band of Roses" trilogy*, romantic action/adventure novels set in an Ireland still ruled by the heirs of High King Brian Boru.

Glancing Through the Glimmer is the young adult "prequel" to this trilogy. Don’t let the young adult label put you off! Readers of all ages will enjoy "Glimmer"—as long as they love Irish myths, adventure, romance, and a hefty wallop of fairy magic. (On Sunday, I’ll randomly choose one commenter to receive a PDF copy of the book. Please leave your email address if you’d like a chance to win.)

So where did the title come from? Glancing Through the Glimmer is a phrase from The Fairy Thorn, an old Ulster poem by Sir Samuel Ferguson that begins innocently enough:

Get up, our Anna dear, from the weary spinning-wheel;
For your father's on the hill, and your mother is asleep;
Come up above the crags, and we'll dance a highland-reel
Around the fairy thorn on the steep.

Don’t listen, Anna! Everyone knows if you dance around a fairy thorn, the fairies will steal you away. Especially in County Galway, the home of Finvarra, King of the Connaught Fairies. Finvarra loves to dance, as American teenager Janet Gleason learns to her dismay.

The Blurb:

In the modern Kingdom of Ireland, few mortals believe in the fairy folk. Without that belief, the fairies are dying. Finvarra, the King of the Fairies, would rather dance than worry—but he must have a mortal dancing partner.

When Janet Gleason’s grandfather becomes the new U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, the sixteen-year-old orphan must leave Boston and her friends behind. Janet is lonely in Dublin and unused to her grandparents’ stuffy social life. An invitation to a royal ball terrifies her. She can’t even waltz and dreads embarrassment. Finvarra’s fairy witch overhears her fervent wish to learn to dance.

Seventeen-year-old Prince Liam Boru loathes the idea of escorting another spoiled American girl to a ball. In fact, he detests most of his royal duties. He dresses down to move through Dublin unnoticed and finds himself on his royal backside when Janet crashes into him. Intrigued, he asks to see her again, and she willingly agrees. Unaware of each other’s identities, they arrange to meet. When they do, the fairies steal Janet away. Liam’s attempts to find her trigger a series of frustrating misadventures. Can he and Janet outwit a treacherous fairy king who’s been hoodwinking mortals for centuries?

The Excerpt - The stunning Cliffs of Howth provide the setting for Janet and Liam’s memorable first date:

The first time Liam slipped and fell, he cursed the rain-damp grass. He blamed his second tumble on his haste to catch up with Janet. What on earth had possessed the girl to run off like that? She couldn’t possibly want to find music that badly.

Music only she could hear.

The third time he lost his balance, he’d swear someone had pushed him, but no one was there. He landed on his hands and knees and cursed again. He might not be a muscleman, but he was far from a clumsy dolt. A lifetime of sports and outdoor treks had surely left him fit enough to climb a scrubby little hillside.

Something strange was afoot.

I’m being ridiculous.
The breeze must have kept him from hearing the music she heard. She’d likely gone after the owner of whatever was playing the tune to learn its name.

Yet the Nose of Howth seemed deserted. How odd for a sunny Sunday morning. Even if Janet had gone off seeking the source of the music, no amount of rationalizing could explain why she’d left so abruptly. The chilling sense that she was in danger had Liam’s heart thumping high in his throat.

Should he call his cousin? If Kevin was still on the pier, it would take him a while to get here. And practical Kevin would surely think Liam astray in the head.

Maybe he was, but something told him he had to find Janet, and fast. Keeping close to the ground as if he were dodging radar, he clambered monkey-like up the hill. This time he reached the top of the rise. Lumps in the landscape surrounded him, clumps of rock and rolling masses of heather and gorse that encircled the level spot where he stood. He knew the place well. Except for the curious lack of weekend hill walkers, nothing seemed amiss.


He listened hard. A seagull cried in the distance. Otherwise, all was silent. No, wait! Music drifted toward him, a plucky harp tune he might have enjoyed under different circumstances.

Was that what Janet had heard?

Where was it? He turned in a circle, squinting in the sunlight, scanning, straining to hear. When he returned to the spot where he’d started, a jolt of fear set his pulse racing.

A round stone hut had appeared on the highest part of the clearing. Its low thatched roof rose to a ridiculously high point. It resembled a roundhouse, the sort of dwelling that belonged in a prehistoric ring fort.

Or a fairy fort.

Liam swallowed hard. He’d seen replicas of such huts in Ireland’s folk parks. He’d also viewed ruins of the original ring forts, all that remained of the structures built by the mysterious peoples who’d lived and died in Ireland thousands of years ago.

Where had this one come from? Why was it on the Nose of Howth? Liam had never seen it before, nor had he heard of any gimmicky tourism plans for the cliff walk. Of course, he didn’t know everything. Convincing himself that he’d failed to see the hut at first because the sun had blinded him, he ventured toward the structure.

He spotted a doorway and relaxed. Janet was there, speaking to a woman wearing a period costume, medieval or older. That’s what it was, he thought: tourism come to tarnish Howth. How could Uncle Peadar have allowed such nonsense?

Liam called Janet’s name again, but neither she nor the woman showed any sign that they’d heard him. The wind must have carried his voice away. He stalked toward the roundhouse. As he approached, the costumed woman placed a necklace over Janet’s head.

The roundhouse flickered, faded, and reappeared. Alarmed, Liam stopped. This was no tourist gimmick. As his thoughts scrambled for an explanation, the woman grabbed Janet’s arm and pulled her into the hut.

"Janet, no!" His ferocious roar proved useless. Unbelievably, the roundhouse began to dissolve. No longer doubting his horrified senses, he dove at the hut and charged through the disappearing door.

The world around him melted away.

* * * *

A Little About Me:

I’m a Massachusetts native from a Boston Irish family whose music and myths have crept into my writing. One of my short stories earned an Honorable Mention for children’s fiction in the 74th Writer’s Digest Annual Writing competition. ‘Twas a big boost for my confidence! I'm a member of the New Hampshire Writers' Project, the Seacoast Writers' Association, Romance Writers of America, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. My favorite non-writing activities include hiking, reading, cooking (check out my cooking blog, below), and traveling, especially to Ireland. I’d love to live there some day, but for now, I call the New Hampshire seacoast home. Currently, I'm working on reuniting Janet and Liam in Autumn Glimmer, the Samhain sequel to Glancing Through the Glimmer.

A Little More:

My Web site:

Put the Kettle On (My Writing/Travel Blog):

My Facebook page:!/pat.mcdermott1

Facebook page for Glancing Through the Glimmer (feel free to "Like" it!):!/

MuseItUp Publishing Bookstore Page to purchase Glancing Through the Glimmer:

Kitchen Excursions (My Cooking Blog):

* * * *
*The Band of Roses Trilogy is currently unavailable. MuseItUp Publishing will publish A Band of Roses (May, 2012) and Fiery Roses (August, 2012) as re-releases. Salty Roses will make its piratical debut in November, 2012.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Be sure to join us on Friday, November 11 when author Pat McDermott will be showcasing a new release.  I'm not giving away the show, here!  :)  Pat is one of my personal favs, not just as an author but as a human being.  Everything she touches is gold, her historical research is second to none, and I know her book will rock.

Please stop in on Friday at The Celtic Rose.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


With our modern holiday Halloween approaching, I thought this might be an appropriate time to remember that it found its origins in the ancient Celtic festival, Samhain.  But did you know this was only one of four fire festivals?

"The heart of a Celt is a heart of fire."

This quote from--ahem--one of my own books is as close a truth as I know, because the four Fire Festivals of the ancient Celts still live in our own time...and perhaps, for many of us, in our hearts.

The ancient Celtic calendar reckoned days from sunset to sunset. For this reason most--but not all--festival bonfires were lit as the sun set.

Samhain, our present-day Halloween, was the beginning of winter and also, coincidentally, a festival of the dead when the veil between this and the Otherworld was considered so thin that spirits and mortals could meet. At least in part to prevent dangerous straying, communities gathered around huge bonfires lit on the night of Samhain.

Imbolc, celebrated from February 1 - 2, was considered the beginning of spring. It was and still is the beginning of lambing season; my large animals veterinarian, Missy, spent one semester during vet school in Scotland, delivering lambs.

Beltane later became our modern May Day. Cernunnos, the horned god of Ireland, was held to have died and been reborn on Beltane, which was an unabashed fertility rite. In ancient days, it was also the time cattle were driven out to pasture until autumn. The bonfire lit for Beltane was a mark of joy at the return of the sun...and the return of Cernunnos.

Finally, Lughnasadh was the feast of the god Lugh and celebrated from July 31 - August 1. It was traditionally the time when spirits began to be distilled for the coming year. Even today in the British Isles, many distilleries close for the month of August and reopen on September 1. As you sip a good whiskey from those parts, give a tilt of the hat to Lugh--that is, if you can remember where your head is. After a morning of whiskey-tasting at Jameson's Distillery in Ireland, I couldn't!

The traditions still live in many of us. You have but to scratch the surface to find the ancient Celt beneath.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011



There is very little known about the Celtic tribes of Roman Britannia living in the first century AD, except what Greek and Roman historians wrote about them. The Celts themselves had no written language, so their history was passed generation-to-generation and story to story. When the Celts were finally “absorbed” by the Romans, Saxons, and Anglos, very little was left of their civilization, except accounts by their enemies. It is a sobering fact to think that this highly advanced, sophisticated society fell victim to the Roman prejudice that all people not of the empire were barbarians. It could not be further from the truth.

While researching the Centurion series it was difficult at best to find kernels of truth from amongst the stacks of misconceptions. Fortunately, there are several books written that throw some light onto this civilization. Since I research to the book, I do not claim to be an expert; I leave that to the wonderful people who delve deeply into these people’s past. What few things I did glean from the experts was enlightening, to say the least, and much different than I originally thought. This is just a handful of information pertaining to a very short time period (60AD-65AD) in England.

Celts of Britannia were hunter/gatherers for most of their history, who lived off the land they occupied. By the first century AD, Hillforts sprang up around the country. These were royal fortresses for their Kings and Queens. Of the dozens of tribes in Britannia, many had kings or queens ruling them and some had chieftains. The fortresses represented centralized living on the island and were well established when the Greeks and Romans first started trading with them. Yes, I said trading; the Celts of Britain had been trading with the mainland for many years before Rome “invaded.” Around the Hillforts of this time, small farms sprang up and the society was moving from hunter/gatherers to an agrarian base.

Although they did not have their own written language, they learned Latin very quickly while trading with the Romans and Greeks. Many of them traveled the world and visited Egypt, Rome, and other areas just as we do today. Wealthy Celts of this time often had Greek tutors who taught them to read and write. Women as well as men were well-educated, good fighters, and on equal terms with each other. Women warriors fought next to their male counterparts. This was disconcerting to the Romans who felt women were one step above slaves in society. Because of their prejudice, they often underestimated the very powerful queens that ruled many of the tribes. This led to one of the bloodiest battles on Britannia soil between the Celts and the Romans. It was brought about when a local Roman procurator decided that a woman, then queen of the Iceni, had no right to her own land. In many ways, it was the beginning of the end for the Britannia Celts and is chronicled in The Centurion & The Queen and The Edge of Honor.

Unlike the Romans, Celts were allowed to marry for love, though there were some arranged marriages amongst the royals. Likewise, they were much more promiscuous (at least outwardly) than the Romans; sleeping with partners of their choice before marriage was not unheard of. Sex to the Celts was as natural to them as breathing. They didn’t have the taboos the Romans and Greeks had. They were also fiercely loyal to their families.

Most Celts on Britannia followed the Druid religion and worshiped several gods and goddesses. There seems to have been a god or goddess for every aspect of life: the woods, water, thunder, the underworld, labor, fertility, etc. It doesn’t seem they all followed rigorously, but I think they may have been very superstitious; talismans were common among them.

Generally speaking, the Celts of Britannia around this period were articulate, generally well-educated, artistic, with strong familial loyalties and fierce pride in their way of life. When the Romans and Greeks first came to their island, they were friendly and traded freely with them. In fact, the Romans brought them so many wonders from the rest of the world, the Celts found it difficult to turn down the luxuries offered by the Romans. Foods, wines, spices, fabric, medicine, roads, sanitation, and education were strong incentives to form alliances with the Empire, as many tribal rulers did. Since the Romans left them to rule their own tribes with little interference, the tribute they paid in coin and goods to the Emperor seemed small price for the goods provided. Plus, when there was a border dispute with a neighbor (which happened quite frequently), it was common to accept weapons and troops from the nearby Roman garrisons to help quell them. Many Romans stationed on the island also took Celtic brides. However, after the Boudicca revolts, a lot of that changed, and the Celts found themselves struggling to hold onto their lands (see The Centurion & The Queen).

I think the one thing that has struck me is the parallels between the Romans and Celts and the Europeans and Native Americans of this country. Europeans moved into this country and made peace with the native tribes, traded with them freely, helped them fight off their enemies, and then methodically, took over their culture and land by sheer numbers.

I hope you get a chance to read The Centurion & The Queen, The Edge of Honor and now the new stand alone book in the series, The Gladiator Prince to get an intimate look into the contrasts between these two cultures.

On Saturday, September 17th, I will be hosting a forum called: Life in Ancient Rome - The Gladiator Prince Chat from 11:00am-11:00pm EST over at Coffeetime Romance. We will be talking about everything Ancient Rome and Britannia and I will be giving away a $100 GC to Amazon at the end of the day. Would love to see everyone over there to talk about Celts, Romans, and anything else you’d like to know OR can bring to the discussion.

Thanks so much to the Celtic Rose for hosting me today! Don’t be afraid to ask questions… I am giving away signed copies of both The Centurion & The Queen and The Edge of Honor to one commenter here today, so make sure to leave a comment! Minnette :o)


Somewhere between thirty and hair, blue eyes...six kids, one slightly used husband, and any number of pets from time to time... wanttabe hippy... wanttheirmoney musician and actress for 20 Years... native Oregonian... lover of music, beauty, and all things green. Willing slave to the venerable muse. Minnette currently resides in Portland, Oregon with her husband, having replaced the children with one dog. The dog, Pierre, pretty much runs the show.


Prince Thane is the last surviving royalty of the Trinovantes Tribe in Roman Britannia, having surrendered to the Romans after the Boudicca Revolt to save his two daughters, whose identities he sacrifices his freedom to protect. He is condemned by Nero himself to become a gladiator, to fight until he dies in the arena. When his two daughters are taken in a slaver's raid, Thane escapes, forcing the daughter of his master to take him to Rome to save his children. Little does he know that the beautiful Syrian woman holds not only the key to his passion, but a secret that triggers a disaster that ignites the world. Will this spoiled willful girl betray him in the end or sacrifice herself to save them all? Book III of the Centurion Series.


Monday, September 12, 2011


On Thursday, September 15, author Minnette Meador will visit The Celtic Rose as part of a blog tour for her new release, The Gladiator Prince.  If you love the history of Roman Britain as I do, you truly do not want to miss her article or the excerpt from her new book, which is the sequel to two smashing books, The Centurion and the Queen and The Edge of Honor.  Minnette is a friend, a multi-talented author and the purveyor of great treats!  I know she will be offering something wonderful during her stay, so please visit back.  

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Below you will see a posting for Sharron Gunn's amazing workshop.  Now, as "mother" of The Celtic Rose, I don't usually go out on a limb recommending classes or workshops, but in this case I'll gladly make an exception.  Sharron is a goldmine of information.  Her class is an incredible value.  If you are at all inclined to want to read and/or write about the Fae, this workshop is for you.  So don't hesitate to sign up.  Every one of her workshops I have ever taken was "the bomb."


Friday, August 19, 2011

Faeries and Other Magic Folk Workshop

Faeries and Other Magic Folk 
Instructor: Sharron Gunn w/a Sheila Currie 
Dates: September 7, 2011--October 5, 2011

Registration Deadline: September 6, 2011 
Fee: $10/HHRW members, $20/others 
Click HERE for Registration Form 
FMI: HHRW Campus Coordinator: 

Class Description:

Walt Disney would have you believe that fairies are sweet little creatures with wings and wands, helpful entities like Tinkerbell and the Tooth Fairy. Walt was wrong. In Celtic lands people believe it's not wise to go about your business in a manner which offends them--they are very touchy. Dead scary in fact.

Some say the idea of fairies was just too useful to be abandoned. Some say they still around because they are the old gods, the gods of the ancient Celts. They can do what they want. But what changes they have undergone; Lugh, the sky god good at doing many things, became the Luprachan (leprechaun), the little fairy good at only one thing -- making shoes. And guarding a pot of gold.

Fionn MacCumhaill is a giant in fairy tales, responsible for creating the Giant's Causeway in the north of Ireland. And did you know that Highlanders don't believe that ghosts, the spirits of the dead, inhabit the houses (and castles) of the living? Nope. Their homes are 'haunted' by other, equally frightening beings. The definition of fairies is broad, you will learn something about kelpies, selkies, the washer woman of the ford and many other supernatural entities.

The course includes self-quizzes and simple research projects to generate story ideas. Discussion and questions are encouraged, but lurkers also welcome.


What is a fairy?
Dinnsenchus (Hill Traditions) & The Otherworld
Folk & Creatures of the House, Water & Forest
Afterlife & Rebirth


Sharron Gunn lives in British Columbia and teaches Irish and Scottish history at the University of Victoria part-time. Of Scottish, French and Irish origin, she was born on the east coast of Canada--some knowledge of the Gaelic and French languages and cultures was inevitable.

While living over eight years in Europe, she studied the languages and history of Great Britain and France. She has a diplôme from the Université de Nancy, France, a B.A. in French and a Masters degree (2nd first degree) in Scottish History and Celtic Studies from the University of Glasgow. She is hard at work on a paranormal set in World War II.

Format: Course is conducted via Yahoo Groups email with lessons and Q&A

For additional information, contact the Campus Coordinator.

Click to register for this class.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Just about the time Rebecca Vickery asked me to write a short story for her  Historical Anthology, I had been thinking of the poetry I wrote for forty years before I ever published a romance.  Some of that poetry was very romantic and much of it was based on the Irish Bardic poetry of my childhood.  The echo of that style can be heard in the works of Gerard Manley Hopkins, W. B. Yeats and Dylan Thomas, but the earliest written Bardic poetry dates back to about the 6th century, and the oral traditions of bards greatly pre-date that.  The “Tain Bo Cuailnge”—the Cattle Raid of Cooley—falls into that category and is mentioned in my story, “Deirdre.”  Much of the Bardic writing would hardly be recognizable to modern readers as poetry, comprised as it was of long genealogical records and nearly journalistic accounts of deeds of lords and ancestors.  The ancient tale of Deirdre of the Sorrows, with which I was raised, falls roughly into that category and I had begun to wonder if I would like to undertake my own rendering of the ancient tale in a style reminiscent of Bardic poetry yet written as prose.  Rebecca’s email came right at that time and a new project was born. 

Along with my contribution to the anthology, there is a wonderful Highland romance and two pieces of Americana--one set against the backdrop of the Civil War, the other about the early coal mining days of our new country.  

The anthology is available as an ebook or in print and can be purchased at:


Saturday, June 11, 2011


The Celtic Rose has now officially been in existence for just over one year, and in that time numerous wonderful friends have posted and readers have responded with more than 4,000 views of the blog.  I am truly touched and grateful and sincerely hope we're bringing a little sunshine to readers interested in all things Celtic.

In celebration, I would like to send an autographed copy of the Historical Anthology collection by Victory Tales Press, in which my short story Deirdre is included, to the first commenter who leaves an email address.  I will use this to contact you for your snail mail addy.

Scroll down a bit and you will see the picture of Deirdre and be able to read a bit about this wonderful anthology.

Like so many authors, I am busy right now preparing to go to the RWA Nationals conference in New York, but I will do all mailings first, and hopefully return refreshed and recharged for another great year at The Celtic Rose.  Oh, and I am presently working on an Irish tale of my own devising, The Legend of M'Rith.  Look for that one later this year.

Fond best wishes to all of you.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Interview with The 42nd Royal Highland Regiment

Today is a special day here at The Celtic Rose and I am excited to share with you my interview with The 42nd Royal Highland Regiment.

I have had the pleasure of watching these men perform on many occasions and I can honestly tell you that it is a wonderful experience each time.
I hope you will sit back and read along as I introduce to you The 42nd Royal Highland Regiment and their fierce leader, Preston Smith.

*Preston, thank you very much for joining me here today. I would like to start off with an explanation of who The 42nd are.

The 42nd Royal Highlanders is America’s Premier band of pipes, fifes, and drums. We portray the 42nd Royal Highlanders (aka today as The Black Watch), of the American Revolution era (~1777).

The 42nd Regiment was the most senior of all the Highland Regiments – first coming to North America in 1756 for the French and Indian War. The regiment fought in a famous but ill-fated attack on Fort Ticonderoga in 1758, and was given the title of “Royal Highlanders”. The 42nd traveled to western PA in the early 1760s, and down the Ohio in 1765 to the Mississipipi River to take possession of Fort de Chartres at the end of the war.

During the War for Independence, the 42nd fought throughout New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

The 42nd band of music portrays the 42nd of the Revolution – and fields the highland pipes, 6-hole fifes, and the rope-tension drums that would have been on the field during the revolution – the only such band in the US.

*Why were they called ‘The Black Watch’?

Before becoming a Regiment of the line, the 42nd served as Independent Companies of the Highland Watch in Scotland – essentially law enforcement.

The origin of the name “The Black Watch” is murky – some say it’s a reference to the distinctive dark tartan worn by the regiment; some say it’s a reference to the Watch’s “black hearts” policing their own people; and others believe it’s a reference to their watch of the “black trade” – cattle rustling.

The Black Watch became the official name of the regiment in the late 1800s, and today the 3rd Battallion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland carries on the lineage of the 42nd.

*How did this group come to be formed in Lafayette, IN?

In the early 1970s, Thomas Griffin was a director of the Tippecanoe Ancient Fife and Drum Corps, also from Lafayette. Around 1975, the bicentennial brought out a resurgence of 18th century music, particularly corps of fifes and drums.

Being of Scottish descent, and a piper, Tom set out in 1975 to create a unit that would carry on the history of the regiment, and bring Scottish field music to the world of 18th century music.

*What is the goal of this group?

     ·        To present an authentic-looking portrayal of the men and music of the 1777 42nd Royal Highlanders
·        To present a unique program of 18th century Scottish field music, with elements of the state of the art in piping, fifing, and drumming
·        And to be the group that everybody else wants to be!

*How many participate in the group and what are the instruments involved?

We field around 25 men at full strength, in several different sections:
·        8 bagpipers
·        4-5 fifers
·        6 drummers
·        6 color guard – uniformed as private soldiers of the regiment

During band performances, in addition to the music of the pipes, fifes, and drums,  a show by the 42nd will feature demonstrations of the arms drill used by British soldiers during the revolution, and Highland Dancing. The 42nd’s regimental dancers will perform either the Highland Fling or the Sword Dance.

*What kind of events does The 42nd perform at?

Being such a unique group, the 42nd can fit in just about anywhere – many of our regular performances are at historical festivals like the Feast of the Hunter’s Moon, Mississinewa 1812, or the Fort DeChartres Rendezvous. The band will also perform at civic events around central Indiana, parades, and pub performances.

On occasion, the 42nd will appear at large fife and drum gatherings (a “muster”), or will appear at a Highland Games, which are always interesting. We’re not quite a fife and drum corps, and not quite a regular pipe band, so for either of these audiences, the 42nd is something new and unique.

*How does a person become a member of The 42nd?

There’s a number of different ways to be involved with the 42nd – men interested in 18th century music or military life can participate in the band of music; anybody interested in Scottish Country Dancing can take classes with our partner group “The Whole 9 Yards”. In recent years, our camp life at festivals has even begun to incorporate civilians in support of the band and military.

If volunteering is more your speed, the Forfar Bridie booth at the Feast of the Hunter’s Moon is one of our major fundraisers – volunteering for a shift is an excellent way to contribute.

Or if you just like to be involved in things Scottish, you can sign up for the 42nd’s mailing list or Facebook page, and participate in cultural events – we’ve hosted a Robert Burns Supper every January for nearly 30 years, we hold events like Whisky tastings, golf outings, hold concerts, or arrange trips to see Scottish performers. All of these things can’t happen without volunteers!

*Can you tell us a little bit about the CD’s you have out and where we can find them? 

In 2010, we released our 2nd recording – “No Matter What the Season”, featuring 22 tracks of music of the pipes, fifes, and drums. It’s available for purchase via mail, iTunes, or Amazon MP3, and features many of our newest arrangements that you can hear today when we perform live. If you visit our web site, you can preview all of the tracks on the CD.

Here is a link to our performance of “Highland Cathedral” at Freezer Jam 2011 -

We also have our first (1996 – self-titled) CD available on iTunes or Amazon MP3.

*To learn more information about The 42nd Royal Highland regiment, where can you be found? 

You can find us on the web at, or on Facebook at

Preston, I want to thank you again for taking the time to talk with us today. I look forward to watching The 42nd perform soon and wish you all luck in the future.

You’re very welcome – I hope to meet some of your readers as we perform around the Midwest this season!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tis the Season for HIGHLAND GAMES

Spring is upon us and the season is already underway...for Scottish Highland Games, that is. Many American and Canadian citizens can trace their roots back to Scotland. Some of these people celebrate these relationships by organizing, volunteering at, and attending Highland games. Doing so helped me come up with the idea for several books. To be surrounded by people dressed in Highland attire, ancient plaids, and weaponry gave me fodder for my historical paranormal, DRAGONS CURSE, and for several other books in the works.

When I first met the man I was destined to marry, his grandfather and father had already researched their Scottish ancestry. Both a grandfather and grandmother hailed from Scottish clans, in this case Gunn and MacBean. We have attended the New Hampshire Highland Games from the time they started back in 1975. In the early 1980s, my husband began his long stint volunteering. I stayed home with the boys until the youngest showed an interest in his Scottish lineage, then also volunteered. Marching bands, odd looking food, and colorful kilts amid the spectacular fall foliage of the New Hampshire’s White Mountains made for memorable days.

The New Hampshire games has turned into an annual three day event, now visited by over 40,000 people! We volunteer as a family and, even though my husband and I moved to the south, we still travel to New England to offer our service under the information tent. Our sons join us to help us sell official programs, hand out maps and schedules of events, and sell raffle tickets, the proceeds of which fund scholarships for area students interested in pursuing the Scottish arts such as dancing, bagpipes, harp, and more.

This annual celebration has turned into a major undertaking and the Board of Directors and office staff work tirelessly to coordinate the many entertainment venues, clan representatives, venders of food and goods, vocal groups, and hundreds of volunteers in order to bring the sights, sounds, and flavors of Scotland to New England.

Volunteering every hour of the three days is too much to ask of anyone, since there is so much to do and see, so my husband and I gather several hardy individuals to share the load. This affords everyone with time to either go watch the sheep dog trials, taste the shortbread, scones, bridies and meat pies, shop the venders, or listen to rock bands. No one wants to miss the athletes as they toss the caber, a tree length wooden pole.

Many states, communities, and organizations host their own Highland games and these games welcome everyone…a Scottish lineage or kilt are not required! If you enjoy harps, bagpipes, Highland dance, wonderful food and a sea of brightly colored wool (and is there anything more sexy than a man in a kilt?) please visit a Highland games or Scottish festival soon.

Here are a few links to scheduled games that will help you on your way:

May 20-22 Smokey Mountain Highland Games
June 10-11 Kansas City Scottish Highland Games
June 25-26 San Diego Scottish Highland Games
July 7-10 The Grandfather Mountain Games in NC
July 30-31 Pacific Northwest Scottish Highland Games in WA
August 5-7 Celtic Roots Festival in Ontario
August 20 The Maine Highland Games in ME
August 28 The Vermont Highland Games in VT
Sept. 16-18 The New Hampshire Highland Games in NH
October 14-16 Stone Mountain Highland Games

These are only a few of the 2011 festivals available in the United States and Canada. For a complete list, visit the website of The Association of Scottish Games & Festivals
For a little more on the historical aspect of the games, read my article

Nancy Lee Badger writes fulltime and lives with her husband in Raleigh, NC. She loves everything Scottish. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and Celtic Heart Romance Writers. Visit her website, and her blog

DRAGON’S CURSE is available from Whispers Publishing, Amazon for Kindle, Barnes & Nobel for Nook.

Friday, April 29, 2011


I am so happy to say that my short story "Deirdre" will be available May 1, 2011 when Victory Tales Press releases its invitation-only Historical Anthology for spring, 2011.

"Deirdre" is a retelling of the ancient Irish tale, "Deirdre and the Sons of Usna" which has been told and written time out of mind in Ireland.  Born with a cursed beauty that will make kingdoms contest for her, Deirdre is also born with a mighty gift--that of a true heart.

Read her story plus a riveting Highlands tale and two stories drawn from American history in this sweet-to-sensual collection of stories from Victory Tales Press authors.

Buy links are:  (not live until 5/1/11) 

I hope you will enjoy this anthology in print or as an ebook.

Friday, April 22, 2011


With full credit to

IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.
Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and, supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.
We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the last three hundred years they have asserted it to arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades-in-arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.
The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and all of its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.
Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.
We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God. Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, in humanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.
Signed on Behalf of the Provisional Government.
  • Thomas J. Clarke,
    Sean Mac Diarmada,
  • Thomas MacDonagh,
    P. H. Pearse,
  • Eamonn Ceannt,
    James Connolly,
  • Joseph Plunkett

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bid and win a critique by an agent

Crits for Water is auctioning critiques by Agent Marissa Iozzi Corvisiero at 12:00 am and 9:00 am on April 12; and at 9:00 am on April 13 EST.

Friday, April 8, 2011


For information and a great video on this annual writers' contest, go to:


Monday, March 21, 2011

New Irish Romance by Cynthia Owens

Coming Home, the long-awaited sequel to In Sunshine or in Shadow, my “classic Irish romance” (TCM Reviews), will hit the bookshelves at the end of March.

This book is very special to me. It’s all about fathers and daughters, family, and returning to your roots. It’s about the healing power of love, and learning to trust your heart.

It’s also dedicated to my late father. Dad passed away suddenly only a few short weeks before In Sunshine or in Shadow was released. He never got to hold my first book in his hands, but I know he was reading over my shoulder. And I know he’s proud of me.

I hope you’ll enjoy the excerpt.

About the book:

“A woman's love is strong, more powerful than all the ghosts in Ireland...”

Daughter of a village girl, step-daughter of an Irish landlord, Ashleen O’Brien was never certain where she belonged. But after a year in America, she yearns to return to the green land that is her heart’s home.

War and betrayal had taken everything from Cavan Callaghan – his home, his family, and the woman he loved. A hero of the Irish Brigade’s Antietem campaign, he’s seeking the Irish family he never knew.

Love and treachery await Cavan and Ashleen along those emerald shores, as the ghosts of a past that can never quite be forgotten rise to threaten their newfound happiness.

A heartwarming visit to a nineteenth century Irish village filled with memorable characters, post-famine intrigue, and bittersweet romance.
 ~ Pat McDermott, author of A Band of Roses



The Atlantic Ocean, 1867

He was going home.
Home. Such a simple word. And for so long now, such an unattainable dream.
Yet as he stood on the deck of the Mary O’Connor, he thought maybe he’d finally find a real home once again.
When Johnny comes marching home again . . .
He looked seaward. The salt wind tugged at his hair. Spray stung his eyes. Gulls wheeled and shrieked overhead. Open water lay beyond the horizon, and beyond that still, his new life. In a few weeks, the Mary O’Connor would dock in Galway Bay, and from there he’d head for the small village his parents had spoken of with such love. He felt a stirring of emotion, the first spark of excitement since—
Deliberately he cut off the thought. He was no longer a soldier. There would be no more Rebel yells, no more guns, no more battles. He was no longer Captain Callaghan, so-called hero of the Irish Brigade.
He was just plain Cavan Callaghan, an Irishman searching for peace.
What would Ireland be like? For as long as he could remember, he’d heard his parents speak wistfully of the country they’d left behind. The green fields and sea-swept coast. The heather-strewn countryside filled with wild strawberries and prickly gorse. They’d spoken of the people, too, but especially of his father’s brother.
The last of the Flynns now, except for himself.
His mother had said the village of Ballycashel lay some nine miles from Galway City. What would he find there? He knew about the Hunger, of course. Had any of his family survived?
 Or would he find the same devastation he’d confronted on his return from the war?
 A ripple of sound floating on the briny breeze told him he wasn’t alone. Recognizing the delicate notes of a penny whistle, he glanced around. One of his fellow passengers, obviously an Irishman, lowered the instrument from his lips and smiled, his foot tapping in jig time.
The piper began playing anew, and a raw slash of anguish ripped through Cavan’s gut. He knew the words well, and the tune the man played so effortlessly and with such emotion.
He’d prayed never to hear them again.
The minstrel boy to the war has gone,
In the ranks of death you’ll find him . . .
He squeezed his eyes shut, the ‘ranks of death’ marching through his memory. So many friends, his comrades-in-arms, who would never return . . .
His brother.
With a hard shake of his head, he strode away from the haunting melody.
He was going home. And there he would find peace.
There would be no more war.

Chapter One

“‘Twill not be long now.”
Ashleen O’Brien turned to the young man standing next to her on the deck of the Mary O’Connor. A steerage passenger, Danny O’Shea kept everyone on the ship entertained with sweet tunes and stories of the black-haired colleen he planned to marry when he returned to Ireland.
“‘Twill do all our hearts good to be home again,” Ashleen agreed with a smile. She could hardly wait to see her family. It had been so long.
“And have ye a young man waitin’ for you there?” A tease lurked in Danny’s blue eyes. “Sure, a lovely lass like yerself must have a string of young lads after ye.”
“Oh, a dozen at least. But none’s managed to catch me yet.”
“Or could be ye’re just waitin’ for the dark one to give you the twinkle of his eye?”
Startled, Ashleen looked up into Danny’s kindly face. So he too had noticed the tall, dark man who haunted the decks at all hours of the night, prowling restlessly as if driven by demons.
Who could help but notice him? He was easily six feet tall, with broad shoulders and a well-muscled frame. His raven curls constantly tumbled over his forehead in the stiff ocean breeze, and his dark-brown eyes could pierce a woman’s soul.
A gust of briny wind blew her hair into her eyes and she brushed it back with trembling fingers, trying without success to laugh off Danny’s probing question. “Ah, Danny, ‘tis you’re the born matchmaker, so you are. Sure, you go home and marry your darlin’ Maura. The only men I’ve any wish to see right now are my da and my little brothers.”
“I’ve seen the glances ye’ve been exchanging with him, lass.”
Ashleen shivered, drawing her fine cashmere shawl more closely about her shoulders. Katie had insisted on buying it for her as a farewell gift, saying the shades of blue and green exactly matched her eyes. To Ashleen, it had seemed a needless extravagance, yet now she welcomed its comforting warmth.
“Sure, Danny, ‘tis nothing but a bit of harmless flirtation.”
“Harmless if they both be unattached,” Danny retorted. “What do you know about this man? Nothing.” A wave crashed against the side of the ship, dashing water up and over the rail. “There be a storm brewin,’ and no mistake. Will ye go below, then?”
“Soon. I’ll see you later, Danny.”
Danny nodded and Ashleen watched him go. Probably he was thinking of his happy reunion with his Maura when the ship docked in Galway. She felt a tiny pang that no devoted lover awaited her, but it was quickly replaced by excitement at the thought of seeing her family again.
She’d had a wonderful year in America. Her sister Katie had taken her everywhere—the theatre, balls, musical teas. And she’d enjoyed meeting her young nieces and nephews. There’d been the races at Saratoga, too, where she’d gambled and won, and lazy days at Katie’s summer home in Cape May.
Katie had wanted to send her home first class, of course, but Ashleen wouldn’t hear of it. She wasn’t a grand society lady like her older sister. She was just plain Ashleen O’Brien, a peasant Irish girl, and she had no wish to pretend otherwise. A second-class cabin would do nicely, thank you very much.
Of course she’d enjoyed wearing pretty dresses and meeting fashionable people in America. It had been fun for a while. Yet even as she had danced and laughed and flirted with a dozen handsome boys, her soul had yearned to breathe the fresh, heather-scented air of her native land. She’d missed the cry of the sea birds and the sweet smell of the hawthorn. She longed to once again run barefooted along the Ballycashel strand or gallop her mare, Princess Niav, over the soft, spongy turf.
Now she was finally going home. She’d missed her mother and her stepfather, her young brothers and sister, and her great-grandmother, Grannie Meg. And she longed to see her Uncle Tom and Aunt Nora, her mother’s best friends, and their three little girls. And Paddy Devlin, who was like a big brother to her, and played the penny whistle almost as well as Danny. And Liam Brady, a great friend of Grannie Meg, whose magical hands could make his grandfather’s fiddle sob or chuckle at a second’s notice.
Oh, ‘twould be so wonderful to see them all!
And yet, as she’d told Danny, there was no young man eagerly awaiting her return, no suitor hoping for her hand. There’d never been anyone special at home. Most of the local boys kept their distance because of who she was—Ashleen O’Brien, the girl who didn’t quite belong. She knew Katie had hoped she’d meet some young man in America, perhaps fall in love and marry. But she couldn’t bear the thought of living away from her beloved Ireland.
The wind whipped around her, sending spray rushing up from the sea to make her skin tingle. She laughed out loud, shaking back her hair, reveling in the freedom the ship offered. If only she could make the winds blow them faster, faster, toward the home of her heart.
Ballycashel . . .
A sudden movement beside her made her turn. She caught her breath, her heart leaping in her chest and hanging suspended for an endless moment.
He was watching her, a tiny smile lifting the corners of his full, sensual mouth. His eyes were dark and rich as American chocolate and framed by luxuriant black lashes. Coal-black curls blowing back in the wind exposed a high forehead and finely sculpted cheekbones. His skin was deeply tanned, with a sprinkling of freckles across the bridge of his nose. His ancient Aran sweater— was the pattern familiar?—emphasized the width of his shoulders, and his worn breeches looked as if they’d been molded by years of hard riding. He stood ramrod straight, an air of command about him as compelling as it was intimidating.
He was the most beautiful creature she’d ever seen.
“I’m sorry.” His voice was low and gravelly with just a faint hint of Irishness. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“Oh, you didn’t. I was just—” she broke off, afraid she would sound foolish, yet equally terrified he might leave—“just . . . remembering.”
“You have a wonderful laugh.”
Heat rose to her cheeks, and it wasn’t from the bite of the wind. “I . . . thank you.”
Their eyes met, and Ashleen became acutely aware of their surroundings. The high-pitched cries of the gulls sounded sweeter than they had a moment ago, the sounds of the waves the loveliest of music. The briny scent of the ocean filled her nostrils and dusted her lips with salt.
But all she really saw was him.
“My name’s Cavan—Cavan Callaghan.”
Her breath seemed to catch in her throat. “I’m Ashleen O’Brien.”
“You’re Irish.” It was a statement, not a question, and Ashleen couldn’t help but smile.
“And you’re American.”
He smiled back, melting her insides and weakening her knees. “I’m as Irish as you are.”
Her eyes widened. “You talk like an American.”
The rising wind blew a lock of her hair across her eyes. Cavan raised one hand and gently smoothed it back, his fingers barely touching her. Yet that touch burned right to her soul.
“I may talk like an American,” he acknowledged, abruptly dropping his hand, “but I’m just as Irish as you are, even though I haven’t your lovely accent. I was born in County Galway.” He hesitated, a shadow of pain flashing across his face. “My father brought us to America when I was little.”
“During the Hunger?”
“A few years before.”
She took a moment to digest that surprising bit of information. Cavan Callaghan had lived most of his life in America. Why was he returning to Ireland now? Did he merely want to see the country of his birth? Did he plan to settle there? Or was he, like Danny O’Shea, planning to marry a sweetheart when he arrived?
A tiny pang stirred her.
As if reading her thoughts, Cavan said conversationally, “My mother and dad spoke so often of Ireland, I decided to come see the place for myself.” His voice hardened as he continued, “I may still have family there, although I can’t be sure.”
Before she could ask him any more, a wild gust of rain-drenched wind blew in from the sea, saturating them both.
Reluctantly, Ashleen said, “We should be getting below decks.”
“Yes, we should,” he agreed, but made no move to leave.
Torrents of rain pummeled the deck, but neither of them moved. Cavan reached out to trace one finger along her cheek and under her chin, bringing her gaze up to lock with his. His touch was gentle, the callused pad of his finger not quite abrasive. His eyes flared with a fire she didn’t quite understand. “I want to see you again, Ashleen O’Brien.”
She swallowed hard. This was so different from the meaningless flirtations she had known up to now. “I . . .” She faltered, feeling almost on the verge of tears. Oh, how she longed to see this dark man again! “We’ve at least another week. The ship doesn’t reach Galway until then.”
His voice deepened with something like urgency. “Will you be on deck tomorrow?”
Will you?”
She took a tiny step back, shaking her head to clear it, trying in vain to sort out her whirling emotions. Yet in the end, there was only one reply she could give—one reply she wanted to give. “I . . .  yes.”
“Tomorrow, then.” His hand lingered on her cheek, the touch so intensely tender she almost cried out with dismay when he dropped his hand. Then he spun and strode away, his dark head bent against the rain.
Ashleen stood there a moment longer, watching him go, one hand on her cheek where his fingers had been. She yearned to keep the memory of his touch forever.
* * * *
Cavan automatically adjusted his long strides to the rolling motion of the ship as he made his way to his second-class cabin. But his mind wasn’t on the coming storm, or even on the fact that soon he would be in Ireland.
He was thinking about the girl.
He’d noticed her the very first day. How could he have missed her, laughing and talking with the other passengers? She was as much at home among the steerage folk as she was with the first-class passengers. But he’d never been able to catch her alone.
Until now.
She’d looked so lovely on deck, gazing out over the ocean, her red-gold hair whipping around her shoulders, her fair Celtic complexion pinkened by the cool sea wind. And her eyes. The most glorious shade of blue-green he’d ever seen, like deep, turquoise pools, filled with life and promise.
But it was her laugh that really captured his attention. He’d heard it before, of course. But never had it sounded so free, like the pealing of a thousand silver bells, joyous and loving. Healing.
For a few minutes, standing beside a beautiful Irish girl on the deck of a ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Cavan felt there might be light again. The darkness in his soul had receded, leaving a tiny flare of joy.
Could he learn to live again? Not just exist from one day to the next, but actively participate in everything life had to offer? For so long he had lived in shadow—even before he’d come home to find everything and everyone he’d loved gone forever.
Now, alone in his cabin, he looked into the future and saw a tiny light at the end of his very dark existence.
But could it last?
The nagging question taunted him. How could anything so good last? Nothing ever lasted—at least, not for him. Not his family, not the farm. And certainly not Sam.
Better to keep it light and casual. He would see her again. He couldn’t stay away, even if he wanted to. He was drawn to her in some mysterious way he couldn’t fathom. Her beauty and spirit were irresistible.
But he must limit the relationship to casual flirtation. Nothing more.
For that was all it could ever be.
* * * *
Ashleen sat curled in a chair in her small, well-appointed second-class cabin, a book of Shakespeare sonnets in her hand and a pot of hot chocolate on the little marble-topped table beside her. Outside, the ship’s steam engines pulsed while waves pounded the bulkhead. But the chocolate had gone cold, she hadn’t turned a page in long minutes, and she scarcely heard the noise of the storm.
Her mind was too full of him.
She thought of Cavan Callaghan now as he had been on deck, tall and broad and, oh, so very masculine. His wonderful smile had reflected in his eyes, which were surrounded by tiny lines. Were they evidence of a sense of humor? Yet she sensed a darkness in him. Could those lines have come from squinting into the sun? Or glaring at an enemy, perhaps during the war that had nearly torn his country apart? Was he haunted by a painful past?
And his touch! So gentle, so tender, yet sensation had burned through her like wildfire. She’d wanted him to go on touching her. She’d even wanted to touch him in return, to explore the texture of his black curls, feel the roughness of his clean-shaven chin, touch her lips to his . . .
Shocked at her wanton thoughts, Ashleen jumped up from her chair, nearly toppling the pot of chocolate as her book tumbled to the floor. Hurriedly she began to undress, hoping the activity would cool her heated longings. She slipped into the lace-trimmed nightrail her mother had made for her before she’d left Ireland, but her trembling fingers snagged in the leather string she wore around her neck. Carefully untangling them, she stared down at the tiny pendant, a small reminiscent smile playing about her mouth.
Made from Connemara marble, the precious stone was like wearing a little bit of home. Tom, who’d been like an uncle to her as long as she could remember, had given it to her just before she’d gone to America.
Ashleen had always had a special bond with Tom Flynn. He’d stood by Ashleen’s mother during some of the worst times in her life. For a while he’d been almost a surrogate father to Ashleen. But even more than that, Tom had been her father’s best friend.
Ashleen had never known her real father, who had died when she was only two. And though she adored Rory O’Brien, who’d adopted her shortly after the birth of her little brother, Sean, she’d longed to learn more about the man who’d sired her.
Tom had told her about Michael Desmond, of his childhood, the young man he’d been when courting Siobhán Kilpatrick, the rebel he’d become as he’d watched his desperate neighbors die during the Hunger.
“Michael was my best friend from the time we were boys,” Tom had told her when he’d given her the pendant the night before she’d left for New York. “And your mother was like a little sister to me. I love you just as much as I do my own three lassies.”
Tenderly she stroked one finger over the pendant, watching the colors sparkle and swirl in the soft lamplight. What would Michael Desmond have thought of Cavan Callaghan? Would her father have approved of the handsome young man who had touched her so gently—touched not only her cheek, but her soul? Or would he have been distrustful of the darkness in him?
Tom would know.
Ashleen had to laugh at the absurdly romantic thought as she climbed into her bunk and extinguished the lamp. She had exchanged a few flirtatious words with a young man. That was all. Nothing would come of it. In a week or so, the Mary O’Connor would dock in Galway, and they would go their separate ways. They’d probably never see each other again.
She tried to ignore the pang of sadness that gripped her at the thought.