July 7, 2022
Crete: where magic & mystery meet courage and hope. Aridela: an extraordinary princess who dances with bulls. Two brothers plot Crete’s overthrow, but desire for this woman will propel all three into an unimaginable future, and spark the immortal rage of the Erinyes.
“Lochlann has translated words, ideas, poetry, character, myth into an alchemical wonder, a dazzling novel of the ancient world. She is a fit heir to the great mantle of such writers as Scott O’Dell and Robert Graves, and even, dare I say it, the goddess herself.” MM Bennetts
Discover The Child of the Erinyes,
a myth with meat
inspired by Ariadne, Theseus, and the Minotaur!
https://books2read.com/u/3nXr54 The links on this page take you directly and automatically to your own country’s retail site.
OR CHOOSE YOUR PREFERRED LINK DIRECTLY:
To read more about the overall series, see my article “The Evolution of The Child of the Erinyes.”
April 26, 2022
Some of us draw down the moon in dreams, prayer, or ritual, understanding that she wishes to give gifts, inspiration, and insight. The Child of the Erinyes is also drawing down, preparing for its finale. After the publication of When the Moon Whispers, Book Seven, there is only one story left to tell.
Swimming in the Rainbow. (UPDATE: Swimming in the Rainbow is now published! The series is complete!)
As I have mentioned in posts and backmatter, writing this series became my life’s work, though I didn’t exactly intend it to be that way. I often wonder if I would have begun if I had seen how long it would take, how much work, and the cost, not only financially but physically. Still, the sense of accomplishment is pretty satisfying.
When I was a kid, I remember wishing I could be older so I would know more, could be a better writer, and could put into permanent form the stories floating through my mind. Nothing gave me as much fulfillment as doodling a tale with pencil and paper, and later, the old Royal typewriter in the basement. One by one, inspirations revealed themselves, beginning with D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths. It cracked the door open, giving me hints of the faraway worlds calling to me, waiting for me. There are so many! When it comes to Greece and myth, the stories are endless. Later, I found out Scotland is similar in that regard.
As I approach my mid-sixties, I see things very differently than I did as a child, writing stories in the forest, or as a young adult, juggling writing with work, with love interests, and with partying, or as a thirty-something, as a working mom. Writing had to take a back seat in those years. But I knew I would get back to it, and I did, joining a writing group which forced me to have a new chapter ready every week, entering contests, collecting validation from other writers, and seeing this epic saga slowly form its shape.
I thought I was barreling along, but the story needed time to simmer, many, many more rewrites, new visions, and much more introspection. This series builds one upon the next, so even though there are eight books, I classify them all as “a story.”
For When the Moon Whispers, which I started writing in the late 1980s, I had to conjecture what the world would be like in the faraway, futuristic year of 2020, which was my original choice of date. Turns out I missed the mark on some things. While I did foresee countries invading their neighbors, I never foresaw a pandemic, and I confess I failed to envision the lengths technology would go. When I reread Whispers somewhere around 2008 or so, I laughed to find cassette tapes holding on in my dystopian world. Apparently, I thought cassettes were the height of what humans would do with recordings. Even way back then, I knew I had to put that book aside and leave it alone. I deliberately ignored it during the years it took to mold, write, rewrite, and expand The Year-god’s Daughter, The Thinara King, In the Moon of Asterion, The Moon Casts a Spell, The Sixth Labyrinth, and Falcon Blue. I knew the way those books evolved would change Whispers drastically, and they did.
I started the focused rewrite of Whispers immediately after publishing Falcon Blue, in 2018. Falcon Blue is an Arthurian medieval tale, set in 502 AD; Whispers jumps from that setting to one beginning in 2049 AD, and then leaps to 2072! Swimming in the Rainbow takes place even farther on, in the 2090s.
It took a long time just to read the notes I’d added to the Whispers manuscript over the years. Don’t forget to…, inspiration from here and there, and a very long list of “Prophecies that must be resolved.”
My memories had grown blurry so my next step was to reread the book itself. The reread caused more than one moment of “How can this be happening?”
Whispers was meant to be purely speculative fantasy, but events were unfolding in America and the world that mirrored the story. Not Covid. Covid is never mentioned in Whispers nor does it need to be. No, it’s other things that caused uneasy shivers on the back of my neck. There are things in Whispers that I don’t want to come true, ever, anywhere on the planet, but many have already. I’d much prefer them to remain firmly in the realm of dystopian fiction. I may have missed the mark with cassettes, but I hit the mark on other things, which doesn’t make me particularly happy.
This seems like a good time to advise potential readers on the content. Sure, there are a lot of books out there that are worse than mine. But some of my scenes were difficult to write and for some, will be difficult to read. There’s raw language and raw events. No sugarcoating. More so than any of the other installments in the series.
Speaking of that shiver on the back of my neck, I’ve noticed throughout the writing of all the books that every now and then, I’ve been given a “WOW” moment, not because of disturbing things becoming reality, but signs that I haven’t been toiling alone.
For instance, there’s the way some things just inexplicably work, despite my laziness or brain fog (It’s real), or the pressure to get this book done, or the stress/adrenaline that makes me write something down with the understanding that I will have to go back and fix it later, before publication.
In Whispers, there’s a scene where Rafe explains “Carnevale” to his son, Adam. “This year,” he says, “Carnevale will begin tomorrow morning and culminate in the Hunt on Tuesday night.”
I knew vaguely that the scene was taking place in summertime, but I wanted this event on Tuesday night to fall on the same night that was the sacred day out of time in the Bronze Age books—the holy day falling between the old year and the new. I didn’t want to take time out to research how to write this in a way that would work, however, because it would take too much time when I was trying to get the draft finished. This was one of those things I would go back and fix on one of the rewrites. I left a note in red to remind me.
When the time came and I was cleaning up the manuscript, I opened this program I used with Whispers called Aeon Timeline. It’s a nifty piece of software where you can set up your characters, their bios, their ages, and keep a timeline of every event in the book. I had set up some of this but not all. Now I had to figure out how hard it would be to juggle things around to make the Carnevale event fall on the right day, and because I didn’t think this would be a quick or easy fix, I gave myself an entire day to work on it. I found some old notes from The Year-god’s Daughter where I’d researched the rise of the star Iakchos (Sirius) and the ancient time telling methods, and refreshed my memory on those events. Chrysaleon competed in the racing and wrestling on the 16th of July. He fasted on the 17th, 18th, and 19th, the 19th being the holy day out of time. That night, he went into the labyrinth to kill the old king, Xanthus, and boom: he became Crete’s new bull-king.
Going back to Aeon Timeline, I started looking at the various events that had already happened in Whispers, and their dates. I came closer and closer to the moment Rafe was explaining the workings of Carnevale, and that’s when the back of my neck shivered, because somehow, the Tuesday night event—the Hunt—fell exactly and naturally on July 19th. Exactly. I didn’t have to change or fix anything.
Little moments like that throughout the series have made me feel Athene was gazing over my shoulder and intervening every now and then, bringing clarity in a dream, making a random date just mysteriously work, and guiding me, word by word by word, edit by edit, rewrite by rewrite, to the perfect ending, the ending that was in front of my face the whole time, but which I couldn’t quite see. I only had a vague notion of what had to happen. Reading and working, concentrating and living the story brought out the real ending.
My intent for this series has always been fourfold: To Inform, to Entertain, to Empower, and to Inspire. To make a suppressed possible history with fictional elements come to life in the reader’s mind. And I’ve always wanted to offer a slightly different perspective of my heroine, Aridela, than what is currently popular in books and movies. I’m a fan of Joseph Campbell’s reluctant hero, as those who know my books have seen. I’ve read more than once in comments and reviews that Aridela (and her later incarnations) has been incredibly frustrating at times. There was a warning about this way back in The Thinara King, when Aridela married Chrysaleon. “Thou wilt breathe the air of slavery for as long as thou art blinded. For thou art the earth, blessed and eternal, yet thou shalt be pierced, defiled, broken, and wounded, even as I have been.”
Aridela did not hatch from an egg all super-power-ey and infallible, able to leap tall mountains and crush the bad guys with a glare. To me that’s an unrealistic stereotype. Aridela (and her later incarnations) was a normal, real girl, like our sisters and daughters and friends and selves. She made mistakes. Sometimes her mistakes were pretty bad. Sometimes it was one step forward and two steps back. But she did have a good heart and always tried to head in the right direction.
“Robbers Roost?” you might ask. “What’s that?” Robbers Roost is a remote area in Utah that plays an important role in When the Moon Whispers. I won’t go into a description, as information about it is readily available online. Butch Cassidy supposedly hid from law enforcement there. “Bluejohn Canyon,” of Aron Ralston fame, can be found nearby. It’s desolate, but in a magical, mesmerizing, almost otherworldly way—the perfect place for my protagonists to seek sanctuary.
Here is a photo of the butte in Whispers, the one dominating the landscape, the inspiration for the place where Erin and Brie shelter with Maya.
“Sneffels? Sounds like a cold.” Early on in Whispers, this is where the reader is taken to find Erin. This, too, is an extraordinary place that worked well for a setting. Unlike Greece, which I can’t jet off to every time I have a question about a setting, I can and have popped over to Robbers Roost and the Sneffels area to solve dilemmas or memory lapses and say hi to the chipmunks. In this photo, you can clearly see why Erin and Will refer to the summit of Sneffels as “Old Man Sneffels.”
Now that When the Moon Whispers is complete, I’m turning my full attention to Swimming in the Rainbow. Unlike most of my other books, this one may not even reach 300 pages when all is said and done, but every book in the series leads up to it. It is the fulcrum. It is the book I love, and every time I read it, I cry. In a way, I wrote all the other books just trying to get to this one.
“Teófilo described the enchanted world inside a rainbow thousands of times, and I never tired of listening.
It is an endless ocean. You will swim, breathe, and drink color. Colors will burst on your tongue and in your throat, purple like grapes, brown like earth, white like salt, blue like twilight. You will become color, freed of human limitations.”
Swimming is a love letter. I hope my readers come away feeling the same love I felt as I wrote it.
Finally, I’ve commissioned an Athene doll from my good friend, the prolific, delightful Greek writer and artist, Annia Lekka. It’s my gift to myself for getting this far.
The Athene doll isn’t done yet, but here’s a photo of another doll she’s made.
And here’s her website: Annia Lekka
Onward and upward! As When the Moon Whispers finds its way into the world, I send out my gratitude to those who have helped and supported my efforts.
August 4, 2018
Falcon Blue, book six of The Child of the Erinyes, was the only book of the series not already drafted when I began publishing. I didn’t intend to write this story at all: my plan was to merely allude to it in other books. But after finishing The Sixth Labyrinth, I realized this story had to be told. For one thing, it’s the first reincarnation after the explosive, tragic events in the Bronze Age, as told in books 1-3, The Year-god’s Daughter, The Thinara King, and In the Moon of Asterion. That in itself makes it important—and there is more. The story of Falcon Blue as it was shared in The Sixth Labyrinth was a lie, and the record had to be set straight.
I had already written and published books detailing two of my triad’s lives, and I refused to add another unless it contributed a unique value to the series that no other book could. I’m happy to report that after much contemplation, months of research, and countless ever-changing outlines and drafts, I wrote a story that did what was needed. In fact, everything—the entire series—hinges upon the events in this book. So that’s kind of cool.
Plus, though this book turned out to be number six in the series, it can be read straightaway after the first three books without missing a beat, without any confusion, and, much like C.S. Lewis’s Narnia Chronicles, in linear fashion. His Magician’s Nephew was originally book six of that series, but it can be read as though it is book one: perhaps that’s why they started marketing it as such, although for me, it will always be book six, since that’s how I first read the Chronicles as an eleven-year-old. It’s due to Lewis that I felt comfortable leaping backward in time from The Sixth Labyrinth, set in Victorian Scotland, to the early 500s AD.
When I began researching the setting for Falcon Blue, I was surprised and rather dismayed to discover that the early medieval period (at least in Scotland) is a dark, dark place. Well, yeah, I know—I should have been prepared, since until recently, it was known as the Dark Ages. I honestly thought there would be more knowledge about this period than there was about my previous Bronze Age settings, but that was not the case. By the time I was committed, too far in to retreat, I realized this was not going to be easy or quick. Not that researching the Bronze Age Mediterranean was easy exactly, but I would argue that I had more information at my fingertips than I could find in a year of researching the early medieval period. When seeking the details I needed for this story, I came up against wall after wall, contradictory information, patchy details, and downright disagreement.
One of the first things I was sure I wanted for the story was the tower—a round tower—for the main place setting in the story, a fort I call Dunaedan, in the Cape Wrath area. I ran into problems pretty quickly. Apparently there were no towers in Scotland in this era, even though there were ruins of round towers from earlier periods—brochs—some of which can still be viewed to this day.
Thank goodness my work is historical fantasy instead of straightforward history. There may not have been any round towers in northwest Scotland in the year 502 AD, but there is in my story. More problems arose as I worked on the specifications of the tower. See, it’s kind of special. My tower has two staircases—one that leads from the feasting hall in a spiral through the center, up seven floors to various chambers, but there’s another staircase no one who lives at Dunaedan knows about. It’s hidden in the outer walls, and provides access to each level—each room—through seven disguised doorways.
There are tons of castle cutaways online. With their help I was able to imagine, form, and develop this unique structure. To see some, click here.
Of course, having secret doorways meant I had to figure out how those worked. So I put on my engineer hat and studied cantilevers and latches that would make it possible to open and close these doors soundlessly and in a small space. Typical—the Irishman named Aedan in the book got the credit for all these marvels of engineering! Here are some secret doors that inspired me.
The initial title of Falcon Blue was The Black Wolf of Dál Riata. As I always do when I am choosing a title, I went off into the mists of Google-land to see if this title was already in use. Well it wasn’t…then. It is now. That exact title appeared on another book as I was editing Falcon Blue. Whew! So glad I decided against it for other reasons. When I switched to falcon titles, I saw very quickly that this, too, was going to be a bit of a problem. There are many books—maybe hundreds—titled some form of “Blue Falcon.” But as of this moment, there are no other books called Falcon Blue.
About the cover: The warrior image was provided by the amazing artist, Eve Ventrue, whose work can be seen here. I bought the image (and two more) before I even started writing Falcon Blue, because the ideas for it were swirling around in my brain and I knew this image would meld well with the story. I don’t know if any of my readers have ever noticed, but there is a pattern to the covers. Three stories, each story part of an internal trilogy, each one leaning a little more towards one of the three characters. That character is portrayed on the cover. Book one has Aridela, book two has Chrysaleon, and book three has Menoetius on the cover. When the triad enters the middle trilogy, we see the same characters with their new faces: Aridela/Lilith on the cover of The Moon Casts a Spell, Chrysaleon/Aodhàn on the cover of The Sixth Labyrinth, and Menoetius/Cailean on the cover of Falcon Blue. We at Erinyes Press manipulated the warrior image for Falcon Blue off and on for two years while the tale grew. We added color, texture, standing stones, the glowing eyes, and the wolf as they developed. I have a comparison at my website showing Eve’s originals and how they changed.
Vita the wolf was a later addition. Initially it was a human warrior who was being hailed as “The Black Wolf.” There was no actual wolf. When the title changed to Falcon Blue, I naturally wanted the protagonist to have a pet falcon. But falcons just aren’t the same as dog-like creatures. They’re very cool, but I wanted a companion who could have an almost spiritual bond with the warrior. At first, Vita played almost no part in the adventures. But she grew and grew and grew in the course of the evolving story until she almost stole it. I absolutely fell in love with that mystical, mythical, personable wolf!
One of the most interesting and unexpected things I discovered while researching, after I had already written scenes of convicted criminals being put to death by “cliff,” was “The Judgment Stone.” East of the town of Durness there is, or was, a place called Ceannabeinne. One of the legends attached to this place is the “Clach a Breitheanas,” or “Judgment Stone,” where ne’er-do-wells were tossed off the cliffs to their deaths. I thought I had made that idea up, but apparently not.
In Falcon Blue, the inhabitants of an isolated island refer to the lands around them as The Dominion of the Seventh Age. This title morphed through so many iterations I can hardly remember them all, as did the name of the actual island itself, which began, for convenience, as The Other Place. You know, one of those holding names you use until you can come back and give it your full attention. I wanted to use The Seven Kingdoms for the countries outside of the island, but soon realized this was pretty much copyrighted by George R. R. Martin! More ideas came and went—The Sand Kingdom, The Lost Kingdom, The Water Kingdom, the Cloud Kingdom, The Kingdom of the Seven Mountains…blah blah blah. Finally, The Dominion of the Seventh Age stuck. As explained in the book, it encompasses our seven continents and an ancient legend.
Speaking of seven, I realized while I was editing Falcon Blue that the number seven was coming up again and again and again, not only in this book but throughout the series.
Here are a few examples:
Cailean (In Falcon Blue) promises to return seven foals to the breeder who sold him horses.
Bharosa is seventeen hands high: he was the seventh foal to be born in Britain after the purchase of the stallions and mares.
The seventh and final door in Dunaedan’s tower is Eamhair’s bed chamber.
When a human girl sheds seven tears into the ocean, a seolh (selkie) will come.
Seven men, including Cailean, sail off to find the escaped criminal, Taranis.
Seven days pass before Cailean regains consciousness after being injured in the sea.
The Dominion of the Seventh Age: legend claims the world will exist for seven ages, and in Falcon Blue, the world is smack in the middle of the seventh age.
Bericus promises to spend seven days on his knees asking forgiveness for what he does to Eamhair.
Aridela is told she will live seven lives. (Or labyrinths).
On the island in Falcon Blue, once every seven years a human is offered instead of a ram.
Cailean becomes a kira at age seven.
When the Moon Whispers, the next book in the series and the climax, is book seven.
Last but not least, a quote from Robert Graves in The Greek Myths: “The number seven acquired peculiar sanctity, because the king died at the seventh full moon after the shortest day.”
This all happened organically, without any planning on my part. For that reason, I suspect these occurrences were inserted by my muse, Athene—for what reason, I don’t yet know.
She offered no help when it came to choosing the name of the new character introduced in Falcon Blue—or did she? She sure let me know when name after name, so promising at first, had to be rejected. Excitement soured into disappointment then into despair, over and over and over again, for literally years. This was one of the very last problems keeping me from publishing; the one dilemma I could not seem to solve.
Finally, it came to me, quite by accident, as I was reading about something else—the life of Kronos.
Gaia, Mother Earth, wanted her younger children to attack their father Ouranos for what he had done to their older children. With the aid of an adamant sickle she provided, Kronos and his brothers and sisters defeated Ouranos; the blood from his severed genitals created the Erinyes: Alecto, Tisiphone, and Megaera.
Well, something led me to that article, and when I began researching and learned more about the name that sprang out at me, I knew it was “The One.”
I’d best say no more about that.
I hope to have Falcon Blue available in paperback before the end of the year. Happy reading!
July 19, 2018
A woman of keen instinct and unshakable loyalty. A proud warrior prince and his wounded half-brother. Glory, passion, treachery and conspiracy on the grandest scale.
As I prepare to release Falcon Blue, Book Six of The Child of the Erinyes, I’m putting the boxed set containing full-length versions of books 1, 2, and 3 on a 99 cent sale from July 19 through July 22. I want to provide new readers an easy way to begin at the beginning with little financial pain and get nearly caught up. This three book bundle takes place in ancient Greece and Crete, and I sometimes refer to it as magical historic fantasy.
Myths, both well known and intriguingly esoteric, the supernatural, my own vision, and real history are all entwined in these stories. Beginning in the Bronze Age, a matriarchal society on the island of Crete walks a fine line with its opposite on the mainland. The Year-god’s Daughter introduces Aridela of Crete and two brothers—Chrysaleon and Menoetius of Mycenae. It builds the world of ancient Crete, sets the stage for a tragic love triangle, and ignites the contest for ultimate power that will span millennia. Unforeseen consequences follow the eruption of the Santorini volcano in The Thinara King. This was a super volcano, the worst of the worst. In the Moon of Asterion is my interpretation of the famous myth of the Minotaur and the final struggle as the once-insulated Cretan culture collides with the changing world. All three books revolve around the king-sacrifice, a controversial custom in some ancient societies, which was at times replicated in ancient Britain.
After their sometimes selfish, sometimes misguided actions draws the wrath of the gods, (where would storytellers be without “the wrath of the gods!”) this trio is cursed to live seven times in order to satisfy their moera, or fate. The planned eight-book series follows them through their various lives.
At its heart, the series is a story of the clash of cultures: the matriarchal culture on Crete versus the rising power of patriarchy on the mainland of Greece, and how history was defined by it.
The boxed set includes an excerpt from Book Five, The Sixth Labyrinth, and teasers from Falcon Blue and Swimming in the Rainbow (Book 8, the finale of the series.)
Five books in The Child of the Erinyes series are currently available, with the digital version of book number six, Falcon Blue, oh-so-close: it’s up for preorder at Amazon, B&N, iTunes, & Kobo and is also 99 cents until publication day. It will go live on August 4, 2018, at which point I will begin work on book seven, When the Moon Whispers—the climax of the series. The denouement is coming at last!
The middle trilogy of the series takes place in Britain, which is not as completely off the wall as one might think. There was a lively trade of tin, silver, bronze, and other goods between ancient Crete and ancient Britain, plus Menoetius’s mother was a priestess of Avalon—a woman gifted with a life of ten thousand years.
Each book in the middle trilogy is a completely-told story or “life,” and each is set in a different era: The Moon Casts a Spell takes place in the 1850s during the potato famines, and leads into The Sixth Labyrinth, set in the 1870s in the aftermath of the Clearances in Scotland. Falcon Blue goes back in time to the Cape Wrath area, and tells the story of the first reincarnation after Crete. It is set in the year 502 AD.
Every life lived by my triad builds to the climax of When the Moon Whispers, which manifests in the future—but not too far in the future. I admit I’m looking forward to using modern language and slang for a change. It will be nice not to have to ponder what word is acceptable for “toilet.”
Because I’ve structured the series so that each book occurs in a different era, with characters who look different and are always on a new learning path, it never gets boring for me. I hope that’s true for the readers as well. My wish is that the series carry the reader away from cares and problems for a little while, provide an escape to another place and time, with characters who can be identified with, rooted for, and in some cases reviled, as they stumble, fall, and rise again.
And to think it all began with D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, which I devoured at about the age of seven. It was out of print for many years but I think it’s been re-released, for all the parents out there…
Many of my writing compatriots have talked about how becoming an author changed their lives, about the importance of writing, and how they are always writing, even when they’re not sitting at a computer but fixing dinner, running errands, toiling at a paying job or showering. (Showering especially.) How everything is seen through the lens of a story. Some authors liken writing to a lifeline. That’s sort of how I feel about it. I was under ten when I started writing and let me tell you, I had to deal with active ridicule and intense attacks. I could have given it up, but I didn’t. If anything, I affixed myself to it with every fiber of my being.
And while I wouldn’t exactly recommend my parents’ child rearing style, when I look back, I realize how seamlessly it formed me for this career. I spent so much time alone that I learned to love solitude. My imagination became my best friend…and there was an amazing forest behind my house where I wrote one tale after another, tales that eventually, thought by thought, word by word, year by year, evolved into The Child of the Erinyes.
Though the actual story of The Child of the Erinyes is purely fictional, invisibly woven through every line is my history—the world I have witnessed, lived, and dreamed, the world I, and many others, have had to grapple with over and over again.
March 24, 2018
the first reincarnation
Falcon Blue is LIVE!
Find it worldwide at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo: it’s also in stock at Indigo and Angus & Robertson. The paperback is now live as well! Paperback version can be purchased at Amazon, The Book Depository, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere else that carries real books.
I know… it’s a little unusual, making the first awakening of my triad after Crete, number SIX in the series. But early in life I was inspired and influenced by C.S. Lewis, who did something similar with his Narnia Chronicles. Did you know that originally, The Magician’s Nephew was Book Six of that series? For those who haven’t read them, The Magician’s Nephew was a prequel to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
So here I go, emulating a great writer in my own little way. And yes, all of the above is a load of doo-doo.
Truth is, I didn’t intend to make Falcon Blue part of my series. I was going to go along in linear fashion, 1,2,3,4,5,6 and 7. But as I kept on writing, developing the story and the goal, I realized it had to be included. Interested readers had to see the beginning–the beginning after the beginning, I should say.
So, TA-DA, Falcon Blue was germinated, watered, nurtured, and has now been birthed.
IF YOU HAVE READ THE FIRST THREE BOOKS IN THE SERIES, YOU CAN READ FALCON BLUE WITHOUT MISSING A BEAT!
The first three books are: The Year-god’s Daughter, The Thinara King, and In the Moon of Asterion.
Aodhàn Mackinnon told the story of Eamhair, Cailean, and Taranis in The Sixth Labyrinth.
Here is the truth.
Seeking escape from the brutality of war, Cailean journeys to the wilderness at land’s end, but instead of peace and solitude he finds conspiracy, evil, and a love that makes any sacrifice worthwhile.
When Eamhair was young, her sibylline mother predicted a king would rise out of the sea and take her away from her father and brothers. She walks the cliffs, dreaming of a new life and the lord of the seolhs.
Taranis succumbs to the relentless lure of a vision, chasing it all the way to his destiny at the outer boundaries of the earth.
Cape Wrath, Scotland. The first reincarnation.
Mist shrouds our eyes and stoppers our tongues, a grey, damp silence broken only by the softest sigh, like a dawn breeze. We know not how many centuries pass: we feel not the flow of time, until She turns her far-seeing gaze to us.
When we gasp and draw our first breath, we are newborns who never fought great wars, or loved deeply, or brought harm upon one another.
So the journey begins.
we are become Athene’s wanderers…
January 7, 2017
Spoiler warning! Don’t read these if you haven’t yet read The Sixth Labyrinth!
“You’re hurting my ears, child. Where have you been?”
“Walking by the bay.”
“I wish you’d come back before dark, Sophie.”
“Because of the selkie?”
Eleanor laughed. “Because I don’t want you getting lost, or falling and hurting yourself.”
“Auntie, listen to me!”
“I saw it!”
“The selkie! It came out of the water and turned into a man.”
“Ah, well, it must have been a selkie then. What did he look like?”
“He was old. His hair was white. Long, like a king’s. He was tall.”
“And what did he do?” Eleanor pushed her great-niece into a chair and brought her a slice of orange marmalade cake.
“He went over to that old blackhouse by the bay.”
“Aye. He was greeting, Auntie!”
“Was he? And what did you do?”
“I watched and didn’t make a sound.”
“Aye, thank you. Olivia Ramsay says it’s bad luck to go to the beach at the full moon.”
“That’s a well-worn tale meant to get children home before dark.”
“She said anyone who does it is cursed. She said only fools walk on Glenelg’s beach during the full moon.”
“Olivia Ramsay has an imagination.”
“She said the selkie is her da’s brother.”
“So Curran Ramsay has a selkie brother, does he?”
“She says the selkie cries for the human girl he loved and lost.”
“Is that so?”
“Auntie, I don’t want to go home.”
“You must. If you never went home, your mam and da would miss you and be sad.”
“Like the selkie?”
“Aye. Like the selkie.”
“Why is it sad? Did it really lose its true love?”
“How would I know?”
“You know everything.”
“Oh, child, I wish I did.”
“You do know, though. I can tell. You look sad, too.”
“I can pity those who suffer, even when they might deserve it.”
The first of September became the traditional date for holding an annual charity fundraiser at Kilgarry for the orphan project, as the weather was generally beautiful and the Michaelmas daisies were in bloom. It soon became the social event throughout the surrounding Highland counties, drawing Curran’s wealthy friends and associates from Glasgow, Edinburgh, and even as far as London. Every year the guest list grew, until Glenelg had to build a new inn to accommodate those who couldn’t fit into Kilgarry. Extra help was hired from Fort William and Mallaig to assist with cooking, cleaning, and serving; musicians were brought in for the evening balls and dances, and the manor house nearly burst its seams with so many people.
The first of September 1883 cooperated with warm sunlight and gentle breezes. Pavilions and tables were set up around Kilgarry’s pond, near the old oak. Guests wandered in and out of the gardens, enjoying lemonade, tea, and whisky, and there was a great deal of food for anyone who was hungry, as well as horseback riding, hunting, fishing, archery, and of course the ballroom was in great demand every night. The ferryman was kept busy transporting explorers to Skye for sightseeing, and for the most intrepid, there was mountain climbing. Interspersed with all the entertainment were the speeches, promises, and donations.
Morrigan, Eleanor, and Diorbhail sat together upon cushioned chairs beneath the oak, a table between them holding lemonade and cakes.
“You haven’t taken your eyes off Mr. Abernathy,” Morrigan said to Eleanor, only half teasing. “Are you going to marry him and leave us?”
With one of her signature snorts, she replied, “The most he’ll get from me is a night or two. He is rather handsome.”
“Eleanor!” Morrigan pretended shock then giggled with Diorbhail at the midwife’s brazen ways, but a moment later, she winced and rubbed the side of her stomach.
As usual, Eleanor didn’t miss it, and questioned with raised eyebrows.
“It’s fine,” Morrigan said. “Just my bones being stretched. I remember this from Olivia and Eirene.”
“It won’t be long now,” said Diorbhail. “We’ll have another wee lass to spoil.”
“I do think Curran might want a son. Can you arrange that?”
“No,” Diorbhail said with a wide smile. “You’ll only ever have girls. Girls and more girls. If you were having all the babies, the world would die out for lack of boys.”
At that moment wee Seaghan ran up to them, nearly falling as he hadn’t quite mastered running yet, and placed his fists on Morrigan’s knees. His right hand was stuffed with daisies, and he turned up his face, seeking approval.
“Are these for me?” she asked, taking them.
He nodded. She picked him up and placed him on her lap. “You’re a grand lad,” she said, kissing his cheek, and he nestled in as best he could against her.
To think what might have become of him, if he hadn’t been found two years ago in that awful place in London, barely six weeks old, sold by his father. Now he lived at Kilgarry, and had twenty other orphans for playmates, along with the local children, and since he’d had no name, he was called Seaghan in honor of Morrigan’s father, even though hearing it made her suffer his loss all over again.
Seaghan’s body was found, stuffed under a pile of rocks, a week after the events on Mingulay. Someone had murdered him with a knife, and a local man went missing right after, but he was never found, and the investigation languished. Right when Morrigan learned she had a true father, he was taken from her; not being able to speak to him as his child remained an unrelenting anguish and regret.
Soon Sophie joined them. Eleanor’s great-niece was a little lady, at ten. She and Olivia were the same age and the best of friends, though very different, with Olivia being a wild boyish child who, more often than not, could be found in the branches of the oak rather than sitting demurely beneath it. Sophie came to Glenelg every summer at her own insistence to stay with her aunt. She never wanted to go home to Edinburgh, though she loved her mother and father, and often wept for missing them. Her dream of a perfect world was one in which her papa agreed to move to Glenelg.
She perched on the edge of a chair and sipped tea.
“What is it?” Eleanor asked, in her usual perceptive way.
The girl didn’t answer immediately, but pursed her lips and frowned.
“Well?” Eleanor pressed.
“Livvy’s telling that story again,” the child said in her soft Edinburgh brogue.
“Which one?” Morrigan asked. Olivia loved making up tales. She was turning into Kilgarry’s own seanchaidh.
Sophie would only say that she wasn’t supposed to tell, but she hated the story because Livvy always refused to give her a part in it.
“Where have those lasses gone off to?” Diorbhail asked then. “I haven’t seen any of them in an hour.”
It was true. There was no sign of the local girls. “We’d best find them,” Morrigan said, “before they get up to mischief, if they haven’t already.”
Sophie wanted to stay, have cake, and admire the pretty dresses, so the three cronies left Seaghan with her and went off in search of the missing girls. They weren’t at the pond, nor the walled garden, or the gazebo. Guests stopped them to chat and ask after Morrigan’s health as she neared her ninth month of pregnancy, hampering their search. Lily found them and reported happily that Sir John Beechforth had promised to donate a building in Soho that had been in his family, unused, for years. She whispered that the old sot hadn’t been able to take his eyes off her bosoms, so she credited them for the prize.
Eventually, the three took note of a striped pavilion set some distance away from the others, and Diorbhail remembered that Olivia had asked Kyle and Logan to erect it for her and her friends.
They couldn’t see the children as they walked up, but heard a flurry of female chatter, and paused outside the pavilion to listen.
“How many sisters do you have?”
Morrigan recognized the voice of Rachel’s daughter, Jean.
“I don’t know,” she heard Olivia reply. “Lots.”
“Am I there?” This was asked by Eirene, Olivia’s younger sister.
“Of course you’re there,” Olivia said impatiently. “I told you already. The new sister will be there too. All my sisters will be there, all, from the first.”
“But how, if they’re dead?” This was Jean again. Though she was only nine months older than Olivia, she often expressed disdain for what she called the younger girl’s silliness.
Olivia huffed. “The lady says they’ll come back to life and we’ll be together.”
“People don’t come back to life,” Jean said.
“My sisters will. The lady promised.”
“How can they be your sisters? Your mam’s only had the two of you.”
“I want to dream of my other sisters!” Eirene said plaintively.
“Maybe you’re not old enough,” Olivia said. “I only started having the dream two months ago.”
“Tell us their names again,” Jean asked. She sounded disbelieving, like she thought she might catch Olivia in a mistake and prove the tale was make-believe.
Olivia gave a sigh and Morrigan heard a whimper, probably from Violet’s baby, Grace. Olivia loved that child, and was always running off with her.
As she began to speak, a large eagle landed on a nearby rowan branch. It made no sound but cocked its head and leveled the women with a fierce stare.
“There’s Romy and Claire and Evie. There’s… oh aye, Rosabel. And the ones with the unco names— Xanthe and Pasithea. And Iphiboë. And Alecto. And the new baby. The lady said her name will be Willow.”
Morrigan had sagged against Diorbhail as Olivia spoke the first three names. Her legs felt too weak to support her.
“Alecto,” Diorbhail whispered.
Morrigan took in a breath and straightened. The three women regarded each other, their eyes shining, and reached out, placing their hands on each other’s shoulders, creating a perfect circle.
The jeweler frowned upon seeing the items. He spent a long time studying them with his magnifier, turning them over repeatedly.
“What is it, Philip?” Curran finally asked. “Are they sham? Stolen?”
“No, Mr. Ramsay. Well, I know nothing about any theft. I do not believe they are imitation. Excuse me, sir.”
He went through a curtain into the back and soon returned with another man, who also inspected the knife and necklace carefully.
They spoke together in low, rapid Greek. Curran understood only a few words, having lost most of the Greek he’d learned at university.
“Will one of you tell me what is so interesting?” he interrupted.
The two men exchanged glances. Philip, whose surname, Curran suddenly remembered, was Christopoulos, said, “I believe these are ancient, truly ancient, but I would like the opinion of an expert. There is a fellow connected to the new museum in Athens, the National Archaeological Museum. With your permission, I would like to take these items there for him to examine.”
“You want to take them to Athens? I don’t know. They belong to my wife. It took her years to agree to this appraisal.”
The men exchanged another glance.
“You aren’t telling me everything,” Curran said.
“How did she acquire these pieces, may I ask?”
“They were gifts.”
“From a collector, perhaps?”
“No. Just a man.”
Christopoulos stared at him, frowning deeply.
“They are stolen. Is that what you are not saying?”
“No, no, Mr. Ramsay. Please forgive me. It is odd, of course, how pieces of such antiquity could spend years in… your wife’s possession? These should be in a museum.”
“And you have now suggested that twice. What guarantee do I have, Philip, that they will be returned if you take them to Athens?”
The door at the front of the shop opened just then and Morrigan came in, flanked by Diorbhail.
“There you are.” Curran held out his hand.
She came forward, clasping his hand and smiling at the two men behind the counter. “We’re finished with our errands,” she said, and perused the knife and necklace. “Well? Is there a verdict?”
“Not really. These men want to take your antiquities to Athens.”
Morrigan did not react as he’d thought she would. She blinked, but her smile didn’t falter. “They are wonderful, aren’t they?” she said.
“Yes, Lady Eilginn,” Philip said. “In fact, they are astonishing.”
The other man came out from behind the counter. “I am Spiro Michelakis, Mrs. Ramsay,” he said. Philip sounded like a native Londoner, but Spiro’s Greek accent was pronounced.
She held out her hand and he took it briefly. “May I tell you about our new museum in Athens?” he asked.
“There’s a new museum? I would be very interested,” she replied, and the two walked over to another counter, where he brought out several cases as he spoke to her.
“Mr. Ramsay, sir,” Philip said, “Greece has a moral right to her artifacts.”
“You are certain these are Greek.”
“The meander on the necklace suggests it might be Cretan. There have been other items found there with this pattern.”
“Does that mean something to you, Mr. Ramsay?”
“How was the knife broken?”
“It was dropped. I suppose that hurts its value.”
“I suspect nothing could harm the value of these pieces.” He picked up the knife, very carefully, and ran his thumb over the sheared-off edge. “Obsidian,” he murmured. “The hilt is ivory.”
“My wife believes the figure is Athene.”
“Oh yes, no doubt of it. The owl and the aegis tell us this.” His eyes filled with tears.
“Philip?” Curran said. “What have I done?”
“Oh, sir, it’s just that… look here. You can see the tool marks. I feel certain I am holding something in my hands that was created thousands of years ago, in my country, by men just like me, perhaps. Artisans. I feel them, you see, in my flesh. I feel I am looking through their eyes as they carve this image. I can almost smell their forge fires.”
Curran didn’t know what to say. It was odd, for he too sometimes saw flashes of things when he held the necklace and the knife.
“Is your wife knowledgeable about our history?” Philip asked.
“Very much so.”
Morrigan returned to his side. “Curran, I have an idea. You know how Livvy has always wanted to see an excavation. Let’s gather up the weans and go with these gentlemen to Athens and see their museum for ourselves.”
“We can take the lasses to see Schliemann’s Troy and his other excavations, at Mycenae, and Tiryns.”
“I would be honored to escort you to Crete,” Spiro said as he joined them. “Sixteen years ago, part of a building was dug up beneath a mound there, and many of our antiquarians believe this is the actual palace of Knossos— the legendary place named in Homer’s Odyssey! And as I was just telling your wife, sir, I am most intrigued by the pattern on your necklace, for it matches the pattern on coins that have been discovered nearby.”
Morrigan’s excitement was clear to see, as was Diorbhail’s. Curran felt excitement rise inside him as well, almost as though he was contemplating going home.
His wife was looking at him in that way she had, communicating without words.
He realized he was nodding.
So be it. They would embark on a new pilgrimage— this time with their children.
November 20, 2016
Hey everyone, here’s wishing you all, wherever you may live in the world, a happy and peaceful winter season.
Recently I discounted the first book of my series, The Year-god’s Daughter, to a hard-to-beat ZERO. I figured everyone across the globe who wanted it probably had it already, but I was wrong, and surprised at the response. Without any advertising or social media mentions, hundreds of copies have been downloaded, along with hundreds of The Thinara King, book 2 in the series, which is running at 99 cents.
It’s been so much fun seeing new readers pick up copies of the first two books, and an impressive number of the subsequent books as well. I even received a new 5 star review already! My thanks to all who decided to take the leap, though the series is not yet fully published.
The Powers that Be thought it might be nice to expand this sale and make it very easy for readers to collect all the books available thus far.
So, beginning the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, (Friday, November 25), Erinyes Press will discount every book in the series to 99 cents, except for The Year-god’s Daughter, which will continue at its current price of FREE.
We don’t run sales like this very often, so take advantage! First and foremost, I hope you ENJOY!
Hopefully, reading the first five books will whet your appetite for the next: Falcon Blue.
And let me know if you shed a tear here and there, for as we all know, there is no light without the dark.
April 4, 2016
“I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me.” ~~~~Robert Louis Stevenson
In The Child of the Erinyes, a series dealing with reincarnation, only one of the main characters retains memories from previous lives. Because the others come back with a clean slate, so to speak, I’ve had to work out how they find each other in every new experience.
One of several methods I use is the aura. It’s part of what draws the triad and keeps them together.
Auras are interesting phenomena. Described variously as “a breath,” “an emanation,” “a vibration,” and an “electromagnetic field,” these are colors that circle around people, invisible to most of us, but seen or sensed by some. Individual colors mean rather specific things, though there isn’t always agreement on what.
Brilliant, clean colors envelop people who are farther along on the spiritual trail, “higher beings,” while muddy, dark colors point to trouble—a person mired in distress, hate, or sickness.
Thoughts and feelings can alter the color and density of the aura. When colors flash and change swiftly, it’s an alert that thoughts and emotions are in flux.
Generally, auras are made up of a mix of colors, though one will be dominant.
Since our auras come in a wide panorama from subtle pastel to blazing primary, I needed to understand these characters and their desires/motivations on a deep level in order to choose the most appropriate aura. Here are the ones I used and why.
Stranraer, Scotland, 1872: the first time Morrigan Lawton sees the stranger Curran Ramsay, he is standing inside a train getting ready to step off, and is in shadow. She’s looking up at him from the outside.
“A mist of color surrounded the being on the step, like a rainbow glimmering through watery clouds, but this rainbow offered only the blue spectrum, with hints of violet.”
Blue signals a person who is visionary, intuitive, and sensitive. But an aura isn’t simply “blue.” There are different shades of blue, and Curran (Menoetius from the Bronze Age) has them all in abundance. His aura communicates his ability to accept others and love deeply. Vivid blue tells us he is generous and spiritual. Indigo deepens that. Violet reveals that he is idealistic, even somewhat magical.
Curran Ramsay also sees Morrigan’s aura. He describes it as pure gold, glittering like a sea of mica, with entwining whispers of lavender.
Gold is a rarely seen aura, so of course I reserved it for the high point of the triangle, Goddess Athene’s child and brightest hope, Aridela—Morrigan Lawton in this incarnation. A person washed in gold is protected by divine beings. He or she walks a special, guided path. Lavender affirms that Morrigan is as much a visionary as Curran, but also a daydreamer—someone with a very active imagination.
Later, in Glenelg, Morrigan is introduced to the local midwife and healer, Eleanor Graeme, whose aura is a restful green. Green is not only a healer’s color but a teacher’s, a person who wants to help others. As Eleanor is the reincarnated Themiste from the Bronze Age, it makes sense. Themiste’s most ardent desire was to follow Aridela, to help her and make amends for the things she felt she had done wrong.
Chrysaleon of Mycenae is the problem child of the series, and in The Sixth Labyrinth, his aura displays this. Here he is Aodhàn Mackinnon, a guy with plenty of secrets—and the only character burdened by previous life memories. Perhaps that’s why his aura is red, with accents of orange, and sometimes mud! A red aura suggests a person who is not so advanced spiritually. He or she is stuck in earthly interests like jealousy, anger, sexual obsessions, and amassing power. It’s not always a bad color: it can mean dedication, and as noted in The Sixth Labyrinth, can be the prevailing color in rebels, ascetics, and artists—anyone who is passionate about something. Orange combined with red announces Aodhàn’s deeply rooted need to control things. It has, after all, kept his defiance alive and fired up for over three thousand years at this point.
Lastly, we have Diorbhail Sinclair—the reincarnated Selene. Selene is arguably the most resplendent champion of my saga so far: I actually refer to her in my own mind as the “Samwise Gamgee” of The Child of the Erinyes, and not surprisingly, she has the most complex aura. Hers is overwhelmingly white, and this is the color I had the most trouble researching. On the one hand, white can be interpreted as undiluted potential, a personality in transcendence. Some say angels themselves are cloaked in white. It represents not only spiritual qualities but also concentrated truth. On the other hand, there are those who believe white alludes to disease, near death, or a disordered noise, a failing of balance and harmony. After reading these opposing definitions, I knew white was the perfect choice for Diorbhail. She ardently wants to help her friend, Morrigan, but her allegiances are conflicted by her love for Curran, who is Morrigan’s husband. Loyalty fighting desire fighting resentment—as it was in the Bronze Age. She is on the verge of ascendance, but is held back by these earthly factors.
Curran’s aura also turns white during times of high emotion, for instance when the submerged Menoetius responds to the submerged Selene. They are, and always will be, connected.
The contrary qualities of Diorbhail’s white aura are set off by traces of pink—a promise that this woman is close to achieving the highest balance of all. Diorbhail’s is the most dazzling of all the auras in The Sixth Labyrinth. It nearly blinds Aodhàn.
It was quite fun learning about auras. After researching them, I pondered their influence outside of novels. Perhaps they play a part when we meet someone for the first time and are inexplicably repelled or attracted. It could be we are subliminally seeing and responding to that person’s aura.
So… the next time someone seems to be avoiding you, or you feel strangely turned off by a new acquaintance, maybe it’s not because of the onions at lunch. The reason could be a far more subtle influence—the influence of color!
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The Child of the Erinyes is an eight-book journey spanning 4000 years. Beginning in the Bronze Age, it follows the lives of two men and a woman as they are reborn seven times through history. The Sixth Labyrinth, Book 5 of the series, is being released 8 April, 2016.