Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Trad Tuesdays (and other Celtic music)

Since Conn and his band Na Ealai Dubha (The Black Swans) are traditional Irish musicians I thought that once a week I'd share some Celtic music that they might play or listen to as a new feature on my blog. 

I thought I'd start off with Lukey's Boat, sung by Great Big Sea (a New Foundland folk group) and The Chieftains, one of Ireland's premier traditional bands. It's a very well done video filmed in Ireland. Enjoy!


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Time to plan a vacation in the Oxford Hills!

The Black Swans takes place in the imaginary town of Antrim, Maine which is placed in the not so imaginary region of the Oxford Hills in western Maine. 

Conn and Taisie have their first date at the nearby Causeway which is based on the real Causeway in Naples, Maine which lies between Long Lake and Brandy Pond (on the way to Sebago Lake). It's a great area for families with a lot of activities for everyone to do. There's boating, jet skis, the Songo River Queen, tons of restaurants, golf and sea planes.

It's a great place to visit and to learn about the area that inspired Antrim, Maine.

Among the many restaurants is Rick's which in The Black Swans has been renamed Jimmy's
Capt Jack's at the Naples Marina has food and all sorts of water sports
The Songo River Queen will take the whole family for a ride up Long Lake.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Books in the Antrim Cycle

Here is a list of the books in the Antrim Cycle in the order in which they take place. However, each book may be read separately without having read the previous book as these are stand-alone stories.

The Story of Gilly Flowers 

A Short Story - Isabella MacDonnell lives in the small town of Antrim, Maine. Will she find mystery and magic when she visits her neighbor, Gilly Flowers, one summer morning?

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The Black Swans

**2015 Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree**
**2015 Finalist in the Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards**
**2015 short list for the Drunken Druid Book Awards**

Taisie MacDonnell is a quiet girl who loves knitting and Celtic music. When a traditional Irish group moves to her small town of Antrim, Maine, she is thrilled. That the handsome pipe player she met at a fair is one of the band members makes it all the more exciting.
Conn McLaren and his siblings that make up the band, The Black Swans, are wanderers, moving from place to place. They have a secret that they must hide, a curse they have been under for many years, placed on them by the Fae at the behest of their step-mother, Aoife.

Taisie has no idea that becoming involved with Conn, the handsome pipe player, will enmesh her in magic, a centuries-old enchantment and pursuit by the Fae.

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Applegate Farm 

Jane Baxter has come to visit her aunt at Applegate Farm in the town of Antrim, Maine. She is tired of big city life and wants to know her relatives on her mother's side better.

Henry Maxwell works on the farm, but Henry has a secret. He is attracted to Jane, but worries about her reaction to his behavior. 

There is strange goings-on at the Farm and it is up to Jane and Henry, with the help of their friends and relatives, to solve the mystery. Their quest will lead them on a long journey to the 'other worlds' where they will encounter magic, battles, and new worlds.

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The Oak King and The Holly King 

A Christmas Short Story - Nola McLaren and Owen Campbell have settled down and made a new life in Antrim, Maine. Songs, stories, and secrets will be told when they gather with their friends and families to celebrate the Winter Solstice.

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Rory MacDonnell and the Brown Bull

In the tradition of the Irish story The Cattle Raid of Cooley, here's a short story about Rory MacDonnell's adventures in the ancient lands of Eire.

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Book Sale!

The Black Swans is on sale for .99 - Get your copy now!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Aran Knitting

Taisie is a knitter (as am I) and her favorite is the Aran sweater. Aran sweaters are knit by people from the Aran Island off the coast of Ireland. The designs are symbolic of the work they do and the area where they live.

For example, Cables represent fisherman's ropes, Honeycomb is supposed to be for luck, Diamonds represent the fishing mesh and a plentiful catch, and Basket is the fisherman's basket to hold his catch.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Here's an old Irish song - She Moved Thru the Fair - mentioned in The Black Swans, sung by Cara Dillon and backed by Solas (also mentioned in the book).

Sea Caves on Rathlin Island

Great Sea Caves of Antrim - Bruce's cave, Rathlin Island. This is the cave that Taisie lands in near the end of the book. It is called Bruce's Cave because Robert the Bruce supposedly hid out here while fleeing the English. He saw a spider struggling to make it's way up the wall and decided it was an omen for his own struggle. He went on to defeat the English at Bannockburn.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Other Books by N.W. Moors

Regency Romances Under Author Name Jerusha Moors 

Always (Free Short Story)

Spinster Anne Grey is in London to help her younger sister, Cecily, find a husband.
Richard Blount, Earl of Wakefield is looking for a wife.
Can Anne win the stern Earl for herself?

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Aubrey St. Clare, Viscount Lovell, fled to the Continent when confronted with stories about the woman he loved. He has now returned to find out that what he was told is untrue.
Lady Lucilla Blount was abandoned five years earlier. Now Aubrey has returned and Lucy must confront him to find out why he left and if he will stay this time.
Does she dare trust her heart once again? Will they have a second chance at love?

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Jamie Lennox, Duke of Carlisle, is looking for a wife, but has been turned down twice. Turning to work to distract himself, he decides to visit the rundown estate in Devonshire that he recently inherited from an elderly cousin.
Eleanor Mortimer is the vicar's daughter in the village of Sourton. Her father recently passed away and Eleanor knows that the new lord will be appointing someone in his place and she will have to leave the only home she's ever known.
Jamie has the advantage of her in station and background, but does Eleanor have an advantage in love?

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Admiration (Christmas Novella)

Lady Selina Masters is firmly on the shelf. A childhood disease has left her with a bad leg that discouraged the gentlemen of the Ton from pursuing her. She's quite happy to visit her friends for a Christmas house party in Yorkshire.
Mr. David Gray is a bit awed by his invitation to an Earl's house party. While everyone makes him feel comfortable, it's Lady Selina who he finds especially welcoming. And attractive.
Can these two people find that respect and admiration lead to love?

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Conn and Taisie

When I'm writing I try to visual the people as someone else I might have met or know because they're famous in some other way. Conn and Taisie were always Michael Praed and Judi Trott from the BBC series Robin of Sherwood.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Lagan Love

This is the song that Conn sings to Taisie in The Black Swans. It's a very slow song, but I've always found it haunting. This version is sung by Lisa Hannigan and backed by The Chieftains.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Derivation of the name Taisie

Glentaisie is one of the nine glens of Antrim. Taisie was the daughter of a King of Rathlin Island nearby. A king of Norway heard of her beauty and decided he wanted her for his bride as Taisie was already promised to Congal, the heir to the kingdom of Ireland. During their wedding the King of Norway arrived with an army, but Norway lost the battle.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Well of Slaine and the Heapstown Cairn

The story of the Well of Slaine comes from Irish legend. The Tuatha du Danann are the ancient race of Ireland. Their healer, Diancecht, enchanted the Well of Slaine so that warriors, hurt or killed in battle, could be brought there. Once their bodies were dipped in the well, they were cured and able to fight again. Their enemies brought stones and filled in the well, so it was renamed the Heapstown Cairn.
The Heapstown Cairn exists today in County Sligo.

The Black Swans

The Black Swans is a fantasy novel about the Children of Lir. They are traveling Irish musicians, playing in the small town of Antrim , Maine at night, but turned into swans during the day. The youngest sibling, Conn, meets Taisie MacDonnell there and the two fall in love.
Can Taisie save the children of Lir from their fate?

The Antrim Cycle

The Antrim Cycle is a series of books about the fictional town of Antrim, Maine. The first is a fantasy novel called The Black Swans. I’m currently writing the next book called Applegate Farm. Look further on the site to find more information about these books.