Tuesday, November 24, 2015

ALMOST THERE ... "Two Houses" ~ A Preview

We are days from publication of A TRIO OF IRISH TALES II . . . and here is one more preview, this time of the final story.

Two Houses (Preview)
By Judith Cullen
© 2015

“Mark, the top has to be here somewhere!”
Mark Murphy glanced at the tourist map one more time, but it might as well have been written in Greek for all the sense it made to him.  “I know, we both saw it.”  He paused, lowering his voice, “I should have asked for directions, I’ll admit it.”
Cate turned to him indulgently, “I’ll take that admission, and I won’t abuse you with it.  Not much, anyhow.”  Then she laughed and threw her head back in that way he loved. 
This was part of why he had married her – life was just that much brighter, that much “more” when Cate was around.   Like now, when they were lost in Ireland on their honeymoon, looking for a hilltop they had both seen clearly from the front lawn Rathmore House.  It had seemed like such a natural thing to spend their honeymoon exploring their mutual Irish heritage. They were inexperienced as world travelers, at best, and they really should have done more homework than they had.  Still and all adversity can lead to adventure, and so far they had shared that in abundance.
“Look here!  This lane seems to go up.  This could be promising. Let’s try it and see where it goes.”  She was pointing towards a disheveled gate and a scraggly lane of trees leading uphill. What waited at the end of the lane was not clearly in view.
“You call this ‘promising’?”  He eyed the gate and the road that left the main track and disappeared to God only knew where.  It was a single metal gate between two square stone pillars.  They might have been nicely finished once, with an outer coating of sandstone or something to dress them.  The metal had a few vestiges of ornamentation left – tiny metal swirls and flourishes.  But one of the pillars was almost entirely crumbled away, and the gate hung from the remaining pillar by a single hinge.  Squinting his eyes, Mark wasn’t even sure of that.  He had the feeling that the gate was held there by habit alone, not by any actual constructive attachment.

Monday, November 9, 2015

MORE Preview and the Final Book Trailer - for now!

The final Book Trailer has been released, and the finishing touches are going into the final story.  What a wild, insightful journey 2015 has turned out to be.  Look for the release of A TRIO OF IRISH TALES II very soon! When teamed with the first set of tales, they'll make a terrific gift for the Celtic-hearted (or just the story lover) on your holiday list.

And now: more from Liam Killough . . .
The Fairy Tree (Selection #3)
By Judith Cullen
© 2015

 He soon found himself at a fork on the road he had taken out of town.  One road was bristling with signs and newer pavement.  The other seemed to disappear into the undergrowth as it ascended up a hill.  He tried to peek up it in case it was someone’s drive, for it did not seem to be marked as “private.”  Suddenly the words of a poem came unbidden into his head.
They’d been studying poetry at school, mostly Irish poets.  There’d been a lot of time spent on W.B. Yeats and George William Russell and other late 19th, early 20th century poets.  Liam didn’t always understand the politics laced through the poems, but he was working on understanding the struggles behind the words.  The teacher had spent one day focusing on contemporary poets of the period from around the world, and had read several poems by an American, Robert Frost.  The words just popped up from nowhere in his mind and he spoke them out loud, startling himself, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

Thursday, October 29, 2015

PREVIEW: More from "The Fairy Tree"

The Fairy Tree (Selection #2)
By Judith Cullen

(C) 2015

Once outside, Liam looked around the farm for something to engage his interest.  This was all known territory, nothing here that he had not already explored to the point of painful familiarity.  With hardly a moment’s thought he started down the short path to the road and did not stop to consider which direction to turn when he reached it.  He just turned any old way, his hands stuffed deep in his jeans pockets, his shoulders sagging and his head lolling forward like a ragdoll.
After ten minutes of crankily tramping down the lane he came to a crossroads and his head came up.  He looked at all the possible directions he could go, and considered what might be the best path.  He took a deep breath.
“Okay,” he admitted to himself, “they were right about going outside.”  The fresh, sweet air felt good inhaling and exhaling.  It smelled of things coming to life and Liam’s spirits began to rise as the energy of the land awakening began to fill him.  He decided to head towards town.  Liam would have been surprised if there had been a mirror to hand and he had seen himself as he started on his way.  His feet were springing on the ground as he stepped, his shoulders were back, his head was up, and he was smiling.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

PREVIEW: Liam Is Back!

Welcome to a preview of the next story in A trio of Irish Tales II.  Enjoy the newest book trailer, and then the first selection from "The Fairy Tree" where we meet young Liam Killough once more.

The Fairy Tree
By Judith Cullen
(C) 2015

“What did I say about “foostering” on the internet?”
Liam started, practically falling from his chair.  Rose McLane, was standing over him in the cool spring air that wafted through the office of his grandmother’s farm in County Wicklow.  Rose managed the farm, and Liam often used a spare desk in the office to do his homework. 
There was precious little space for him to do this in the farmhouse.  His dad’s office, where there was wireless internet in the house, was a “by invitation only” room. Grans and his Mom always seemed to have one project or another in progress, or about to be, on the kitchen table.  The dining room table was completely out of the question, and when he tried to work from his small bedroom he could not get a reliable signal.  He’d tried using his iPhone like a router, but something wasn’t working right. Liam got frustrated in a hurry, and he stayed that way.
So the farm office was really the only place where Liam could get any work done.  The first year they had lived in Ireland, Liam had gone to an online school, so this was a familiar drill for him.  Thankfully, he was attending a local academy now!  He couldn’t imagine spending all day in the office with Rose the way he had back then.
“I’m not foostering!” he said defensively, “Is that even a real word?”

Friday, October 16, 2015

PREVIEW: the Last Selection from "Patrick's Path"

W.B. Yeats by George Charles Beresford
from Wikimedia Commons
(Public Domain)
Patrick’s Path (Part 5)
By Judith Cullen
© 2015

“…I am haunted by numberless islands, and many a Danaan shore,
Where Time would surely forget us, and Sorrow come near us no more;
Soon far from the rose and the lily, and fret of the flames would we be,
Were we only white birds, my beloved, buoyed out on the foam of the sea!”
Pat paused and looked at Declan as he sat beneath the tree with his eyes closed.  There had not been a single “Crap!” uttered through the entire poem.  He waited silently for his teacher to respond.
“Well, you know the words sure enough, I’ll give you that.  The recitation was not without merit, and you’d not have embarrassed yourself at a poetry gathering. Look at the poem again, as if it were a story.  Look for the images in the words and try to bring them to life using only the sound of your voice.”
Pat reached for the slip of paper in his pocket.
“No, don’t look at the words!  The words are in your head, boy.  Find them there.  They are ideas, not printed type.  Take a moment.”

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A TRIO OF IRISH TALES II: Trailer #1 ~ "Patrick's Path"

A Trio of Irish Tales II features two stories that rejoin characters introduced in volume 1, and the third story introduces an entirely new cast of characters in a situation inspired by real places found in Ireland.

"Patrick's Path" features Pat Flynn from 2013’s story "In the Mists." Pat is 24 now and he's tired of always walking in everyone's wake - following along behind.  He wants to find something that he is passionate about; something that he can claim as his very own. He also wouldn't mind catching the eye of Daimhin Finnegan.

More stories, more adventure, history, romance and mythology.  Three modern tales steeped in the lore of an ancient land. 

Coming to Amazon for Kindle and in Paperback
this Fall!

Follow the preview posts of "Patrick's Path" here on my website to explore more of the flavor of this tale. Another installment is coming soon!

Friday, October 9, 2015

PREVIEW: More from "Patrick's Path"

Patrick’s Path (Part 4)
By Judith Cullen
© 2015

Declan sat on a boulder while Pat trotted up and down the strand reciting names of Irish Lords and Kings, in chronological order.  Every now and then the old man would bellow out questions randomly, and Pat had to respond with a basic bit of information.  If he paused at all, Declan would holler “Crap!” and make him back up a few hundred years or so and start again.  If Pat stopped jogging to think, “Keep moving! Keep moving!” rang down the beach and Pat had to back up his recitation again.  Last week it had been Gods and Goddesses.  The threat of Irish Saints was looming in the future.
Pat didn’t complain.  He found it as exhilarating as he did infuriating.  Even though the sound of “Crap!” made him want to punch something, he kept at it and kept at it until he could recite the entire list uninterrupted but for the unexpected questions which he fielded without pause.  Once he could achieve that, his teacher made him do it again five, six, seven times with no respite.  
The first time Pat had been able to complete the exercise undisturbed, he had felt the power of the knowledge within himself.  He felt like he owned the names, dates, and details and in the joy of it, his jogging broke into ecstatic leaps and spins.  His teacher grinned as he watched Pat careen across the sand and rocks, never once letting up his trial of the young storyteller.