Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Band of Roses Trilogy - Adventure and Romance in Ireland

April 23, 2014 marks the 1000-year anniversary of Ireland's bloody Battle of Clontarf. On Good Friday in 1014 A.D., the armies of High King Brian Boru challenged a host of Vikings and their allies on the plains of Clontarf, north of Dublin. Though Brian’s troops were victorious, he was murdered by fleeing Vikings as he prayed in his tent.

Many historians have speculated that Ireland would be a different place today if King Brian had survived the Battle of Clontarf. The Band of Roses Trilogy, a romantic action/adventure series set in modern Ireland, supposes he did survive and established a royal dynasty that still rules the Emerald Isle. The current King Brian upholds ancient traditions, as does his daughter, Crown Princess Talty, though Talty has a knack for landing in trouble. She wishes she were anyone but the heir to her father's throne—and she learns to be careful what she wishes for.

In Book One, A Band of Roses, Talty must hide her identity to outwit assassins, but she can't hide her ingrained training as a warrior sworn to protect her homeland. From Japan to California to an eleventh century Ireland, she finds romance and adventure, yet all she wants is to return to her family and Neil Boru, the adoptive cousin she secretly loves and cannot have—or so she thinks.

In the second book, Fiery Roses, the discovery of offshore gas ensnares the Boru clan in a web of blackmail and murder. When the residents of rural County Mayo object to pipelines on their land, an arsonist tries to change their minds. One of his fires sends newlyweds Talty and Neil to an ancient world at the mercy of a waking volcano, where they must fight not only to survive, but to save their fledgling marriage.

Book Three, Salty Roses, finds the dynamic princess believing her days of adventure are over. Her royal duties seem endless, and a day off with Neil is looking good. The royal couple accepts an invitation for a jaunt aboard a luxury submarine. As they view an eerie shipwreck, an unknown enemy lures them to an ancient tomb and sends them to a world infested with treacherous pirates. Talty takes charge of a pirate ship and its mangy crew, while Neil matches wits with a temptress who
jeopardizes his wedding vows.

In this Excerpt from A Band of Roses, a military assignment teams Talty with her 'Veddy' English commanding officer, Richard Gale, who knows her as Major Christy McKenna. In an experiment gone wrong, they arrive in our world in 1014 A.D., just before the Battle of Clontarf. They've met a lady named Leesha, whose handsome son Gayth has his eye on Talty. In this scene, Gayth is leading his Dalcassian clan to aid King Brian in his fight against the Vikings—but Gayth has more than warfare on his mind.
* * * * *
For three rainy days, the Dalcassians rode two hundred strong. On the third day, Gayth called a stop to rest. Talty and Richard tethered their horses and made their separate camp. While Richard prepared a fire pit, Talty rummaged beneath the shrubbery to find dry wood.

“Can’t we cheat and use matches, Richard? I’m tired of being cold and wet.”

“So am I.” Richard poked through his toolkit until he found the waterproof matchbox. When the fire was burning well, they finished the last of their oatcakes and ale.

“So here I am, the protector of a holy woman. Who knew?”

Talty winced. She regretted agreeing to the deception. Gayth had told the men her presence would protect them. “I wish Leesha hadn’t started this. I’m not some saint who can heal battle wounds with a touch.”

“They don’t know that, darling. We have an edge as long as they think you’re no ordinary woman. Why did she say that, anyway?”

“She was afraid I’d spirit Gayth away to fairyland. She needn’t have worried, though. He seems able to resist me just fine.”

“Perhaps you married too young to learn how devious men can be. Our friend Gayth isn’t finished with you, holy woman.”

Gayth stepped from the darkness. “My kinsmen are grateful for your fire. The furze is too wet to burn. They invite you to join them in a game of spear fishing, Richard. There’s salmon nearby, and we need the food as well as the sport.”

“I’m reluctant to leave Christy alone.”

Talty bristled at Richard’s protectiveness. “You should get to know the men. I’ll be safe enough at my prayers.”

Gayth’s chocolate eyes sparkled in the firelight. “I will stay and protect you while you pray.”

Still smiling, Richard found a spear and went off to fish. Though Talty had encouraged him to go, his abandonment annoyed her. “I’m going to pray beside the pond. It could be a watering hole for game.”

“You hunt game, holy woman?”

“Even holy women must eat.” She left him by the fire and was soon scanning the ground at the edge of the pond. The twilight’s glow revealed animal tracks in the rain-damp soil. She walked toward a dense stand of trees, not quite sorry that Gayth and his sparkling eyes had caught up.

“Did you see any tracks?” he asked.

“Yes. Deer, I think. Smaller game as well, and I’m sure I heard waterfowl a while ago.”

“I like roast goose. Can you pray for some?”

Silently groaning, she studied the sky. “Do we have time to roast meat?”

“The men must eat. Once we’ve rested and refilled our food sacks, we’ll ride again. We should reach Dublin in three, maybe four days’ time.”

“What day is this?”

“Monday of Holy Week. What holy woman wouldn’t know that?”

Barely aware of his teasing tone, she supposed they could reach Dublin by Good Friday, though that would be cutting it close. Yet in this world, the Battle of Clontarf might not take place on Good Friday. Perhaps no battle would occur at all. Perplexed, she stole into the trees.

Gayth followed her.

“This will make a fine blind.” She spoke more to herself than to Gayth.

“You intend to wait here for deer? Praying?”

Ignoring him, she returned to the fire to bank the embers and fetch the Viking bow.

Gayth was right beside her.

She slung the quiver and arrows over her shoulder. Her hooded cloak went on next to protect both her and the bow from the weather.

Her preparations seemed to mystify Gayth. “Why don’t you simply rush the herd and cast a spear when they bolt?”

“This way I’ll get the deer I want, not one who falls behind because it’s old or sick.”

“I’ll come with you.”

“I need silence.”

“Yes, I know. To pray. I promise to be quiet.”

They stood in the natural blind together and watched the water’s edge. She didn’t resist when he pulled her against him.

“Lean on me, lady,” he whispered. “Rest a little.”

He wrapped his cloak around her. She leaned against him, breathing in smoke and sweat, banishing all thought until a small herd of deer appeared to investigate the clearing. Though tempted to forget them, she broke away from Gayth and uncovered her bow. Silence was critical now.

He caught her face in his hands and kissed her well. After the briefest pause, she kissed him back, grateful for the fading light that hid her burning cheeks. Then she nudged him away. The deer wouldn’t tarry long.

Kiyoshi’s words flowed back to her: See the target as a reflection of your mind, as a mirror. Your mind will find the target.

Gayth stepped back. Talty fixed on the biggest doe in the herd. She drew without breathing, released, and held her position until the arrow pierced the doe’s side.

Shot clean through, the doe hovered over the ground for the briefest moment before collapsing in a motion so natural, the other deer failed to notice. The arrow’s strange whoosh had alarmed them, however. They scattered into the forest.

Pleased with her success, Talty lowered her bow. The kiss that lingered on her lips unexpectedly angered her. “Why are you here, Gayth? You ran from me before.”

“I ran from a holy woman. Your warrior skills bestir most unholy thoughts in me.”
* * * * *
Thank you for reading!
Pat McDermott
Pat’s Website

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Available Now: Harry McGilloway I Will Sing My Songs For You

Harry McGilloway
Amazon US, Kindle UK, Smashwords

Visit Harry on the Heart of Fiction blog today for your chance to win a copy of this book!

Young musician, Simon, is the songwriter and front man of the very successful group, Simon and the Heartbeats. He is surrounded by all the trappings of a rock-star life style.

On a song-writing break to rural Inishowen in County Donegal, that borders the troubled province of Northern Ireland, Simon meets and becomes enchanted with the very beautiful Marie-Clare. As their lives being to entwine, can their relationship survive the tragedies and misunderstanding that will invade it? As Simon's fame and fortune climbs to a higher plane, Marie-Clare has her own demons to conquer.

Throughout the intriguing twists and turns, we encounter breaking points and endurance, tenderness and vulnerability, deep sorrow and intense love.

This is an in-depth look at the workings of the music industry machine and portrays the reality behind the popular misconceptions.
• • •
 The evening sun sank slowly on the horizon like a big orange button slipping gently between the seams of where the sky meets the sea. From the harbor, Simon watched until it was gone.

His gaze remained fixed for a few moments longer and then he turned away. Reaching down he picked-up his notepad and pen, a Walkman and some cassette tapes that lay scattered by his feet, and then packed everything into an old leather briefcase he had tucked behind the wall he was sitting on.
He lit another cigarette and gazed some more.

Simon--christened Steven Kelly all but twenty-four years ago by a woman who had neither husband nor a wanting for a child--was a young musician. A controversial poet who sang his expressions for a generation that raged against the system. Tall and handsome with long, wavy black hair, his slim build and swarthy skin gave him that Mediterranean look that was so easy on the eye. Music is his life, his friend and indeed his salvation. If he where not playing music, he would listen to it, sometimes maybe debate on it, but more often than not thinking about it. Tonight was one of those nights he is thinking about it.

Simon had taken time away from his very popular pop/rock band, Simon and the Heartbeats. Feeling the need to explore something different musically, he believed if given enough space he might just come up with something truly amazing.

He took the last drag from his cigarette.The roar of the sea and the chill from the night air made him shudder. Turning his jacket collar up and then reaching for the old leather brief case, he hurried back to his car.

His intention was to get here much earlier in the day, but a misunderstanding at a British army checkpoint, one of the many that guard the disputed border that divides the North from the South of Ireland, had waylaid him. The squadron on duty had become very suspicious of his Dublin registered sports car and they where not at all convinced by his explanation for the visit. The IRA mortar attack on the Derry checkpoint the night before had the squadies still jumpy and they were not taking any chances.

Moving their suspect to an enclosed compound for interrogation, Simon sat alone in a small gray room with only a table and some empty chairs for company. Time passed so slowly. While waiting, the anxiousness of his over-active mind struggled to interpret the raised shouting of angry voices that seeped all the way through the separating walls from the adjoining space.

In there another interrogation took place. Unlike recording studios, these rooms where not built to be sound proof. At some point, the din from the other space suddenly stopped with the sound of a slamming door. The impact from this had heightened Simons awareness to his vulnerability. He cringed at the thought of what was yet to come. Moments of silence then passed as he sat there alone and waited, and just when he least expected it, the door to his space opened in a hurry. Two plain-cloths from Special Branch escorted by two in uniform from the military marched in. The trepidation and terror of their training followed with them as they entered the room.

He had noticed that the two in suits showed signs of sweating when they took to their places across the table from him; the two military took up position at either side of the doorway, securing any escape from this room. As the suits continued with their accusing and hostile questioning, Simon repeated that he was only passing through on a holiday break.

One of the suits from Special Branch, the tall slim one with the mustache, remarked how strange it seemed at this point in these troubled times that a stranger who has neither family or friends living in the province would want to come and visit.

“What really is your business here, me lad,” he whispered up close into Simons face. The warmth from his stale breath was as rank as the cheap suit he wore.

The implication from the Special Branch worried Simon. “I know no one here. I’m a musician on holiday,” he answered awkwardly. Seeing his weakness, they went to great lengths to install fear in Simon and show their authority.

“Music is it. Our agents say that weapons are being smuggled across the border in show-band vans.”

Their intimidating behavior became yet even more argumentative when they showed Simon photographs of known militants who where on the run. It was like good-cop bad-cop. One would ask the questions and show the surveillance pictures while the other studied their preys’ reaction. The smaller more powerfully built one of the suits banged heavy on the table with his fists, and then pointing to the photographs of the wanted, he roared out each of their names in anger, as if it would prompt Simon into remembering one of them. The taller one with the mustache concentrated on Simon’s expression.

“Maybe just a flicker of the eyelids or a nervous twitch from the cheek, just show me the slightest sign of your guilt you Bastard and I will have you,” the suit with the mustache seemed to be thinking. But there was none. Simon knew nothing.

• • •
What the reviewers are saying --

This story will come at you from many angles and test the bounds of vulnerability, endurance, and love. It's always been said to write what you know, and Harry gives us the inner workings of a rockstar lifestyle and the music industry as a whole, no doubt from his experiences in the business and witnessing these things going on around him. These experiences has made for a gripping backstory . . . Up front, we have a man who dreams of doing something big with his music. It was the time when dozens of singers and bands were coming out of Ireland and making it big in front of a worldwide audience. Simon wants a piece of that! And he gets pulled into the seedier side of the business. The reader can't help but be pulled in with Simon. We stand beside him through it all, and feel for the life he wants with Marie-Clair . . . Harry's unique voice in telling this story means the reader shouldn't try rushing through the book. While you may finish the story in a night, not wanting to put it down, the words should be read methodically to capture the unique inflection of an accent from such a beautiful part of Ireland. It does seep through! And it will enrich the story tenfold. ~ Heart of Fiction blog

• • •

On the 18th of March 1954, Harry Mc Gilloway was born into a city steeped in culture. Growing up in Derry City, Northern Ireland—it is also known as the City of Song—was a great education for a youngster like Harry. It is a wonderful city where it seems like everyone either sings, dances, plays instruments, or tells stories.

If Ireland is the land of saints and scholars, then Derry City is the place of imagination and dreams. Though history claims a religiously divided community in this city, this is only partly true. When it comes to performing, arts, music, poetry, song, and dance are the common grounds that bind all of the tribes together.

'Its the music that is there in the Derry air,' a comment that was once spoken by another great son of Derry, the famous composer, Phil Coulter.

In the early years, Harry's first paid work came as a drummer in small pick-up bands and in time this developed into touring as a professional musician. Over the years, his profession took many turns.

Booking agent, events promoter, tour manager, bar owner—to name just a few of Harry’s occupations. He now resides in Moville, Co. Donegal along with his son—the youngest of his four children—who is also a musician; performer and composer with the band Follow My Lead. His son’s style of music is different to that of his fathers, as was Harry’s was different to those who went before.

What’s really important is that the music still plays on.

Find Harry Online --

Where to buy -- Amazon US, Kindle UK, Smashwords

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


First released in 2008 and now available as an e-book bundle, this novel and spin-off novella follow the adventures of a band of Irish fairies and the humans they come to love:

Confessions of the Cleaning Lady:  A band of feisty Irish faeries who stow away in the trunk of a pharmaceutical representative from Killarney are inadvertently released in the Pennsylvania countryside where Mal McCurdy sets up bachelor housekeeping. In need of a cleaning lady, he is introduced to Shawna Egan, unaware that his faeries have taken up residence in her oak tree. Shawna, who was raised with tales of the Fair Folk but never realized she can see them, learns it the hard way when she cuts down their home. She gives them another…and faeries always repay their debts. Stupid Cupid:  When the son of Zeus and Aphrodite bumbles into a meadow south of Killarney, he is met by a band of indignant faeries outraged by his target practice. Soon, however, all the supernatural creatures are overshadowed by an estranged couple intent on fisticuffs! Can Cupid effect a reconciliation between the humans? Or is just a wee bit of intervention by the Fae in order?