Storyteller series: part 5

Roman and Dark Ages Britain

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Storyteller series: part 5

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Edited: Nov 19, 2012, 10:46am

Continuing the long-running series thread to this group.

Nov 27, 2012, 11:03am

Well. The group read of The Druid's Son seems to be over (sorry about the contention at the end, Dan!) so I suppose it's time to carry on with this thread.

Curiosity - what are people reading now? I am still making my slow way through The Old Ways (too concentrated to read all at once) with side orders of other non-fiction - currently Religion in the Ancient Greek City, which has some interesting material on blood sacrifice among other things, and Introduction to Early Irish Literature, which is a bit general in some of its statements for my taste but is easy reading. Some of this is pertinent to my next book, some not so much.

What are other folks reading?

Nov 27, 2012, 4:44pm

Thinking about connections between Mac Criomthann's stories / adventures in his own time and as Gwernin hears / experiences them 500 years later... At the moment some of what I wrote earlier in The Fallen Stones doesn't altogether match up with the way things developed in The Druid's Son. On the one hand, the detail-oriented part of me says, "well, you'll have to go back and change them, then," while the more creative part says "why? how closely do things need to match?". An interesting internal debate, and I'm not sure which half is winning...

Nov 28, 2012, 9:31am

>2 gwernin:

Not currently reading anything linked to this group: in fact, not reading much of anything (a recurring frustration but not a surprising one, at this point in my life). I may be able to do some "focused browsing" of my shelves, and LT collections, to review what I own. I have opportunities for quick, non-sustained reading which for the most part is squandered for lack of focus. I'm thinking things like maps or historical surveys, encylopedias, that sort of thing.

So keep the discussions going, they're helpful in giving direction or at least remind me of this project!

* shuffles off to find that Cycopedia of the Gods title he vaguely remembers owning *

Nov 28, 2012, 12:35pm

4: I picked up a nice second-hand copy of Blackwell's A Companion to Roman Britain recently - a nice collection of focused articles by specialists which don't have to be read sequentially. That sort of thing might fit your requirements.

Nov 28, 2012, 4:31pm

Crossposting to an interesting thread (and linked article) on English language origins relative to the various inhabitants of the British Isles:

Nov 28, 2012, 5:12pm

Interesting - I'll cross link to the article being discussed.

This is somewhat after Gwernin's time, of course, but would perhaps go some way toward explaining the considerable difference between the Middle English of the Gawain poet (West Midlands) and his contemporary Chaucer.

Dec 2, 2012, 2:13pm

The Druid's Son is now available for order through Amazon (paperback only; ebooks will continue to be on smashwords and elsewhere, e.g. B&N).

Dec 3, 2012, 1:14pm

Still thinking about the difference between history and legend, what happened and what was remembered, with regard to my two story threads. Or, to be more exhaustive, what Togi thought happened, what the Romans thought happened, what the Irish thought happened, what the storytellers made of it, what Gwernin heard five hundred years later, what Gwernin dreamed five hundred years later, what we make of it all... beginning to sound like one of these posters, isn't it?

From that perspective, it would be strange if everything did match up exactly, wouldn't it?

Dec 3, 2012, 2:08pm

That's a concise way of lining up the puzzle pieces, though. I'm still intrigued by these ontological / epistemological questions (and am quite accustomed to the criticisms about it being a modern variant of angels dancing on the head of a pin).

Here's another piece to add to the list: the picture (or pictures) which emerge, by chance, from those pieces of evidence randomly found at any given point of time. Given the right selection, a plausible scenario may be supported by the evidence, which nevertheless bears very little resemblance to "what really happened", if only we could know what that was.

Dec 3, 2012, 2:18pm

Random preservation / discovery of evidence: oh, yes. Leading one rapidly to conclusions about the ultimate unknowableness of everything, for which I'm sure there is a concise Greek (or possibly German) term...

As a storyteller, however, I rather like the idea of a deliberate mismatch.

Edited: Dec 3, 2012, 9:47pm

Nice review, Dan!

It garnered enough of a reaction to make the Hot Reviews section, for those who've opted to show that on your Home Page. I do, and it occasionally surfaces a title I'd not heard of, and isn't mentioned in any of the groups I browse here on LT. Hopefully it'll do the same for Druid's Son.

Dec 3, 2012, 10:53pm

12: It has nine thumbs now, so a few people have definitely seen it! Well done, Dan, and thanks for posting to amazon as well!

Dec 5, 2012, 12:27pm

Thirteen thumbs the last time I looked!

Dec 5, 2012, 12:35pm

And still in the Hot Reviews section. Certainly people are seeing it!

Dec 6, 2012, 12:48pm

I've just set up a new hardcover (w/ dust jacket) version of Storyteller on Lulu. Same text except I upgraded the map in the front. I'm going to do the same thing for the other books this week. Lulu, btw, is currently running a pre-Christmas 20% off promotion on everything, good through the 14th.

I saw a case-wrapped copy of The Druid's Son a couple of days ago, and it looks good, but I'll set up a dust-jacketed version as well.

Dec 6, 2012, 1:40pm

OK, I've set up dust-jacket hardcover versions of all four novels. The one for The Druid's Son is here. Surprisingly, it's only a dollar more than the case-wrapped version. I set up both versions for Storyteller, but didn't bother with the case-wrapped version for the other two, although I'll do it if anyone is interested.

Dec 6, 2012, 1:47pm

Here's a link to all my books on Lulu.

Dec 7, 2012, 10:33am

I've posted my review of The Druid's Son:

Dec 10, 2012, 12:41pm

Dec 13, 2012, 2:35pm

Well, let's see... currently reading Religion in the Ancient Greek City and An Introduction to Early Irish Literature. I was thinking of reviewing the later for a neopagan magazine, but on the whole I don't think I would recommend it. A great deal of it consists of brief plot summaries of the early Irish tales with neither enough detail to give those unfamiliar with the literature a good grasp of the stories themselves nor enough detailed discussion of the genres to interest those more familiar with them. It might make a good companion to MacCana's The Learned Tales of Medieval Ireland, which has the tale lists and some of the background discussion.

I just finished McFarlane's The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot. I think you would find that interesting, elenchus, and maybe Dan as well - there is a lot of geology in his discussions of landscapes and sense of place. Amazon has "look inside" for The Old Ways, which would give you an idea. This seems to be his third book, and I've ordered the first two in paperback.

On the writing front, I'm starting to reengage with the next Gwernin book, The Fallen Stones. I've decided not to make any decisions regarding the overlap with Togi's / Mac Criomthann's story, but just take it as it comes and let the awen sort it out. That's always the conclusion I come to, anyway, but the rational/scientific half of my mind always has to have this argument first ;-). Besides the Gwernin book, I'm currently working on a mummer's play for the local Welsh society's St. Dwynwen's Day and thinking about starting another poetry collection with a Welsh / Celtic theme. This might include sections from the earlier three books plus some material which hasn't been published yet, and some that I still need to write. So no shortage of projects!

Dec 14, 2012, 12:03am

McFarlane's on my wishlist, might be a good title to request from my local library. Do you tihink you'll do a proper review? On second thought: don't! It'll take you from your other writing, and I'm already sold on it.

So much holiday exertions, I'm not getting any reading done. Hope to remedy that a bit tomorrow evening, but I'm not sure what I'll devote myself to. So difficult to read when it's sporadic and for less than an hour a sitting!

Edited: Dec 14, 2012, 1:17am

McFarlane will be difficult to review except in a general fashion because the book is so segmented. I'll put up something by and by but don't expect to do him justice. His interest in following old paths and roads seems to border on obsession, yet it's so beautifully described that it's hard to stop following him. England, the Hebrides (by boat!), Scottish Highlands, Spain, Palestine, Tibet, and back to England again... and incidentally the first book I've read in a long time which used two or three non-specialist words which I didn't know! Would be good for intermittent reading - hard indeed to do anything else with him. I found myself wondering how he takes notes for this while doing his walking... more details on his kit would be interesting, too.

Dec 15, 2012, 10:47am

I've started another thread in this group on Rosemary Sutcliff. That was one of the reasons for creating the group - to run more descriptively titled short threads in parallel to the main one. Take a look and contribute.

Dec 19, 2012, 8:17pm

Since stretch hasn't mentioned it, wanted to point out his new review of The Druid's Son.

Dec 31, 2012, 11:12pm

Happy new year, all!

Jan 2, 2013, 9:16pm

Time to start posting here again from time to time, I think. The last week or so I've been doing some recreational reading in and around holiday activities, including several Rosemary Sutcliff titles (Knight's Fee, Warrior Scarlet, Simon (too many touchstone choices) and A Letter of Mary. I'd forgotten about the manhood rituals in Warrior Scarlet, but was relieved to see I didn't duplicate any of the details with Togi! Now time to get on with other work - see the blog for details.

What have other folks been reading?

Jan 2, 2013, 10:50pm

Just completed Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief, marketed as YA but as with any quality story, you can ignore that and just enjoy the writing and plotting. Whalen Turner sets her story in her own world which has a strong semblance to Ancient Greece informed by some Renaissance and Mediaeval European historical developments. Quite good, I thought, but my daughter found it boring after 2 chapters (so I read it myself).

I hope to complete a novella (also recreational) and then ... who knows!?

Edited: Jan 11, 2013, 7:52pm

Monday we went to see the Pompeii exhibition, now in its last week at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and I took a lot of photos. This can be considered research for Togi's series. In fact, the eruption occurred in 79 AD, while he was first studying in Ireland, but I may find a future use for some of the details. Photo link on the blog.

Jan 11, 2013, 7:14pm

Link not working?

Jan 11, 2013, 7:52pm

30: typo. thanks.

Jan 11, 2013, 8:25pm

I had a general idea of what to expect, but those bodies caught in the moment (perhaps especially, the dog) are still quite affecting. Will be curious to read if and how you decide to include the eruption in future Togi stories!

Jan 11, 2013, 8:49pm

I didn't take pictures of all the body casts in the exhibit, some of them just felt ... too personal. But the dog upset me the most. The explanatory plaque said that it was left chained to the gatepost, and climbed higher and higher as the ash accumulated until it ran out of chain and suffocated... The picture with all the skulls is of part of a group of people who were waiting in a boathouse to be rescued and were suddenly killed there by a wave of gas. The one with two bodies is a man and a woman who died together. The single body after the picture of the pig died on the road while trying to escape, having pulled much of her skirts up around her head to try and protect herself from the ash...

If I use some of this in the future, it might be as thoughts on the part of Fulvus Rufus, who could have come from that area, and certainly would have heard of the disaster.

Edited: Jan 14, 2013, 6:48pm

Slow in coming over here...those pictures are amazing. I already feel bad for Fulvus.

ETA - My kids were fascinated too.

Apr 12, 2013, 9:54pm

After a long silence, I needed a short story under 600 words for a study program submission, so...


Apr 13, 2013, 11:24am

I think I will be writing some more short pieces soon about Mac Criomthann (aka Togi).

Apr 14, 2013, 2:22pm

A nice revisit with Togi: my, how he's grown.

Was this inspired by a British legend or folktale? It has the feel of one, which is quite fitting. I like the way the silence of the birds was woven in, I could tell it would prove meaningful but wasn't sure precisely how. After reading, it was fitting, in the same way fairytales or myths often can be for me.

Also interesting how you've come full circle, in a way: Gwernin's first tales where short tales you told for storyteller events or publications, am I right in remembering that? Only later woven into the first novel. And now this may be the start of a string of Togi shorter tales.

Edited: Apr 14, 2013, 4:23pm

No particular legend or folktale. I needed a short story of 300-600 words, "mythic" in character, for a study program qualification I'm working on. I've been thinking of writing some short pieces about Togi/Mac Criomthann anyway, so this seemed like a good fit. The silence of the birds came partly from part of this blog post, partly from my own observations that small birds shut up or disappear when a hawk or other predator is in the area. The climax is from something I saw a month or so ago - three crows chasing a great horned owl out of a big spruce near my house and harrying it away. From these seeds, the story just grew. The hard part was keeping it under 600 words. That meant I had to rapidly establish a situation and challenge, and just as rapidly find a solution. Togi always does the unexpected.

And yes, I started as a storyteller not long before I started writing about Gwernin. Mac Criomthann's character actually came from an internal story in the next Gwernin book (which I need to get back to writing!); I wrote The Druid's Son to find out how he came to be that sort of person. And there will be more.

Apr 17, 2013, 9:22am

Nice to see a post from you again, and how nice to be rewarded with a story! Great stuff G.

Apr 20, 2013, 9:16pm

thanks, Dan. nice to share.

Apr 20, 2013, 11:58pm

>38 gwernin:

It does sound folklorish enough to fool me and I grew up on them. I also like the way the old woman sounds Irish, but that you used only choice of words/structure and didn't try and write phonetically...

Edited: Apr 21, 2013, 12:08am

41> Writing phonetically is something I avoid. As you say, the underlying structure of the language does it better. But I'm glad to hear I got the flavor right!

Apr 25, 2013, 10:42pm

Working on another short piece now, which will probably be posted sometime next week. Looks like Togi's next book might be a collection of short stories rather than a novel.

May 5, 2013, 2:50pm

I've written another short Mac Criomthann piece which I should have on line in a couple of days. These aren't being produced in chronological order, btw - just jumping around as ideas strike me.

May 7, 2013, 10:12am

Looking forward to the next.

And curious to see if your ideas paint yourself (or Mac) into a corner, or if they all fall together into something greater than the parts! The creative process is so interesting, I think: no one right way, perhaps no wrong way either, but many "messy" ways to create, especially when dealing with a character's personality, or history, or a story's themes.

Of course, I presume you don't write something for every idea you have, nor post everything you write, necessarily. So there's an opportunity in your editing to avoid some major pitfalls.

May 7, 2013, 8:00pm

Well, painting oneself into a corner can occur while writing sequentially, too, so I'm not too worried about it. In part that was the reason for writing The Druid's Son - to establish Togi / Mac Criomthann's back story. And there are things in Storyteller I would do differently now - although mostly people / places on Gwernin's itinerary which should have been noticed or mentioned, but weren't because I didn't know about them.

The other thing about Mac Criomthann is that I'm essentially working in mythological time now. If some of these pieces show up - as they may - in Gwernin's next book, they will have been filtered through five hundred years of oral tradition, and undergone who knows what sort of changes... so expecting an exact match with what Mac Criomthann himself experienced is in a sense anachronistic!

Edited: May 11, 2013, 1:15am

Link here - this one opens as a pdf. Also, the Other Stuff page on my blog now includes some of my recent poetry plus a link to an mp3 of me reading some of it.

May 10, 2013, 9:55pm

Thank you for writing and sharing the lovely Mac Criomthann story!

May 10, 2013, 10:49pm

That was a wondrous tale of Mac, perfect for this unseasonably chill May on the middle coast!

I will return to the various pieces under Other Stuff, but first: what is the ADF program in which you are studying? It seems quite a broad curriculum, with liturgical, poetical, literary and historical requirements. My quick scan through the blog didn't uncover an answer, perhaps I missed it.

May 10, 2013, 11:52pm

49: There isn't an answer to your question on the blog, nor really on the public part of the ADF site either. ADF is one of the more scholarship-based neopagan groups, although it's not strictly speaking a reconstructionist group. We have an entry-level study program called the Dedicant Path (DP), which takes a minimum of a year to complete. After that, there are three strands - Generalist Study Program (GSP), which I'm following; Clergy Study Program; and Initiates Study Program. In addition, there are several specialist guilds which have their own study programs and requirements for ranking. I'm currently involved with the Bardic Guild (hence the poetry, etc. submissions), the Liturgist Guild SP, and the Scholars' Guild. All of this is entirely voluntary, for people who like this sort of thing, and only a relatively small percentage of the membership completes the DP, never mind the rest. I'm enjoying it, and also finding it quite useful research, especially the Indo-European Mythology readings. For some of the reference materials I'm using, see my adf collection.

Glad people are enjoying the story.

May 11, 2013, 12:30am

Your path sounds interesting to me, as well, and it appears to serve you well, judging by the writings you've shared.

May 19, 2013, 9:46pm

Oh, G, your story you linked to it #47, that is just wonderful.

May 20, 2013, 2:51pm

Thanks, Dan. Feel free to share the link with anyone you think might like it.

Jun 6, 2013, 11:45pm

Probably have a couple more Mac Criomthann stories out in the next month.

Jun 9, 2013, 5:13pm

Perhaps inspired by the garden? It's finally warmed up here in the midwest plains, presume it's done the same in the eastern Rockies.

Jun 9, 2013, 6:52pm

Not particularly inspired by the garden, but certainly it's warming up here too (forecast high tomorrow 97 F, and I hope they're wrong). One idea I have is to steal part of the plot of "Mongan and the White Cattle" (which I shared last year) and see what Mac Criomthann does with it - something different, I'm sure!

Jun 24, 2013, 1:35pm

Still doing bardic stuff, but after I finish the current module I will probably get back to working on Gwernin's next book. In the meantime, something I read today reminded me of our discussion of the nature of magic:

"We have a culture that teaches us to mistrust the evidence of our own senses unless it is corroborated overwhelmingly by the observations of other people or of instruments. We also have a culture filled with media images in which the presence of the Gods, or the action of magic, are announced by spectacular displays of supernatural phenomena, which have trained our perception toward the coarse and obvious, and to miss the subtle." Link to the full article here. Not a blog I normally follow, btw, but a link someone else posted to facebook...

Jun 24, 2013, 1:44pm

This user has been removed as spam.

Edited: Jun 25, 2013, 10:14pm

An intriguing quote: I'm off to pursue the article in full.

ETA The article was worth the time. Not only for what it said, but also for the even tone in which it was written, and the clear indication of the measured thoughtfulness behind it. Thanks for posting, not something I was likely to come across on my own.

Jun 30, 2013, 8:04pm

Glad you enjoyed it. A view into a different way of thinking.

I'm currently working on another short Mac Criomthann piece which should be finished sometime this week. After that, it's time (high time, some would say!) I got back to work on the next Gwernin book...

Edited: Jul 9, 2013, 6:31pm

Finished the story last week as expected; here's the link.

ETA: Note: This story could be considered slightly spoiler-y if you haven't read The Druid's Son.

Jul 10, 2013, 12:45am

Ah! A nice return, and the magic well done. I will have to revisit the relevant sections of Druid's Son to fit this tale in with it, but I recall enough to understand your comment about it being a spoiler.

My daughter saw me link to it, and was curious enough to have read it. "Really interesting!", is what she said. I'm sure she did not understand much of it, but I'm tickled that she's taken a recent interest in myth, and that it would extend to wanting to read this tale of Ireland. We're reading our way through Tolkien, at present, but I'm thinking now that Gwernin or Togi may be added to our reading list before long.

Aug 2, 2013, 12:42am

Gwernin - I think we had a place for this, but wondering if you might have suggestions about:

- Anything on Edward Lhuyd (like Edward Lhuyd, 1660-1709 by Frank Emery)
- Dark Age Britain by Henry Marsh
- Religion and the Decline of Magic by Keith Thomas

Aug 2, 2013, 12:43pm

Am also interested in gwernin's take on the latter two, especially the Thomas. I've seen it in the Folio Society catalogue, and it's well regarded but I've not read it.

Have not heard of Lhuyd: would that be pronounced closer to the modern Hood or to Lloyd?

Aug 2, 2013, 11:38pm

Hmm. I'm not familiar with any of these three titles. Lhuyd (which would be pronounced Lloyd) was, I think, an early collector / commentator on early Welsh literature and history. Will have to look into the latter two.

I spent last weekend, btw, at a neopagan Druid gathering where one of the speakers touched on the connections between religion and magic. His viewpoint was, broadly, that outside the monotheisms there *is* no distinction, nor should there be.

Edited: Aug 2, 2013, 11:52pm

Gwernin, I'm hoping to look more into Lluyd. He was ahead of his time. An antiquarian from the late 1600's, but taking after Aubrey so that he did a great deal of firsthand observation and collected a lot of folklore, and had some original, and still interesting today, ideas about pre-Roman Wales. He was also an early observer of the geology of Wales. (Just read The Trophies of Time: English Antiquarians of the Seventeenth Century by Graham Parry. Awesome stuff.) If I find out more, I'll let you know whether or not I can recommend him to you.

Aug 31, 2013, 7:46pm

Beginning to get to grips with The Fallen Stones again, after a summer spent doing bardic stuff. The Mac Criomthann short stories I've shared with you will most likely find a place in it, plus at least one other you haven't seen. I'd like to say I'd have this book out before Christmas, but I doubt it; sometime next year is more likely. On the other hand, I have 126 pages of essentially finished manuscript on hand, over 1/3 of the projected total...

Aug 31, 2013, 10:06pm

That's good progress, and if the short stories you've shared are any indication, good stuff! I'm happy to know another good story is well on its way -- sooner is better, I suppose, but I've got plenty I can't get to already, and of course there's no point rushing it.

Sep 30, 2013, 8:08pm

A minor newness - a new poetry collection. Available through Lulu at the moment, as a e-book soon, and on amazon eventually.

And yes, I'm working (slowly) on the next Gwernin book.

Sep 30, 2013, 9:43pm

To my pleasure, the druid theme has proven to be a weighty one, and not merely a side venture with the arrival of Togi's character. Clearly you've woven it into your studies, your writing, and seemingly your personal spiritual practice, as well.

Or was it there all along (for you personally), merely seeming to surface late in your fiction first with Gwernin, and later more insistently with Togi?

That's more of a personal question than I intended, forgive me. I should have stated: for me, the theme of druids was welcome but a minor thread while reading of Gwernin's travels, I did not suspect it would grow into such a presence along with Togi. Clearly you work hard at it, and your writing shows it.

Sep 30, 2013, 11:15pm

Hmm. An interesting question, and no offense taken. I've been more or less generically neopagan for about twenty years, without getting involved very deeply in any particular practice until four years ago. That generic neopaganism shows in Gwernin's early statement that he isn't a Christian, in stories first written in (I think) early 1996. The minor but growing mentions of druids, especially in Flight of the Hawk and Ash Spear, partly reflect my curiosity as to just what sort of British pagans might have been around in his time. Certainly the development of Togi / Mac Criomthann was a surprise, but a pleasant one.

For myself, I'm not sure I was even aware of the existence of modern neopagan American druids until I met one at Newgrange four years ago. This, of course, led to more research... which is still in progress. I have often said I research by doing; in writing about bards and storytellers, I have, I think, become one. Where the druid thread will lead me next I don't know, but so far it's an interesting journey. I'm glad you're enjoying it too.

Oct 1, 2013, 5:19pm

Publishing update: the new poetry collection Druid Songs (touchstone not working yet since I just added it) is now available from Smashwords ( in all the usual e-book formats.

Oct 1, 2013, 5:21pm

The first poem is for Togi:

A Song for Môn
The Druids are gone. Fair Môn now lies destroyed,
her oak groves burnt, her standing stones cast down.
Her empty fields hear but the endless sound
of sighing winds, where once her folk enjoyed
their festivals with chanting and with prayers
and sacrifices given to their Gods.
Where warriors danced, and poets came to laud
their courage bright, now only the high stars
and sun and moon look down, remembering
her fruitful past. Yet winter yields to spring:
Môn is not lost while still one poet sings,
and turning time her Druids back may bring.

Oct 7, 2013, 10:10pm

No actual forward progress with The Fallen Stones, but a good bit of thinking about it. I've amused myself over the last couple of days by putting the Mac Criomthann short stories into a book format together with several titles of not-yet-written pieces. Part of my cogitation re: Gwernin's book is considering what the narrative arc of the thing should be now that its primary purpose is not the search for Mac Criomthann... Balance, balance - things are shifting. Easier to write a book if you know what it's about...

Oct 9, 2013, 1:10pm

I've started a giveaway of five ebook copies of Druid Songs.

Oct 17, 2013, 1:24pm

I approved the paperback version of Druid Songs for release through Amazon yesterday. It should show up there in six to eight weeks. In the meantime, if anyone reading this thread would like a review e-book copy, just ask.

Nov 4, 2013, 5:10pm

fyi, Druid Songs has appeared on Amazon, though it's not available yet. Should be available in a week or so.

Nov 6, 2013, 4:05pm

Druid Songs Members Giveaway ended, with the usual collection of mostly non-reviewing winners. However, I am extending my offer of a free reviewer's e-book copy to anyone following this thread who wants one.

Nov 8, 2013, 8:45pm

The paperback version of Druid Songs is now available from Amazon.

On other topics, I am still thinking about The Fallen Stones, Gwernin, and Togi/Mac Crimthann. May actually start writing some of these thoughts down in a couple of days...

Edited: Nov 29, 2013, 12:24pm

Free shipping through December 10th for all my books at Lulu, including hard cover editions not available through amazon. Use code FREESHIP to save.

Dec 25, 2013, 8:48pm

Oh excellent, gwernin!

Dec 25, 2013, 10:16pm

A double thank you is a lovely addition to Christmas
lore. I sent it to a hospitalized friend to brighten her day.

Dec 25, 2013, 11:08pm

Glad you both enjoyed it, and I hope your friend does as well, Esta. I wrote it quite a few years ago for the Colorado Welsh Society's Christmas tea, and often read it for them. Come to think of it, I should record it and put a spoken version on line...

Dec 29, 2013, 2:22am

Well done! It would seem many of us have much the same challenges as Merlin, with relatives and plans, and without his considerable resources!

Apr 17, 2014, 7:03pm

My, it's been a while.

Something new coming: Mac Criomthann Tales.

Apr 18, 2014, 2:13am

This is the three short pieces I've already shared plus a longer story from my next not yet finished Gwernin book.

Apr 18, 2014, 9:47am

I was wondering if you'd found yourself "side-tracked" again, after the success of the short pieces! Even if you had been, I use "side-tracked" advisedly: it's not as if it were a wrong turn, so much as unexpected.

In any case, it will be interesting to see whether the longer piece is changed when it appears in the Gwernin story ....

Apr 18, 2014, 1:50pm

Somewhat side-tracked, yes, in so far as I've been doing studies in things like Indo-European cultures, Divination, Magic, etc ... useful research.

Getting back to Gwernin's story will probably generate more Mac Criomthann material as I weave my way back and forth across the centuries. Which will probably result in another little pocket book like Mac Criomthann Tales...

Sep 13, 2014, 3:48am

This is my 9-year Thingaversary! Amazing...

Sep 13, 2014, 4:39am

Many happy returnThings!

Sep 13, 2014, 11:09am


I've had a mini-project leaving notes on LTers I know, when their Thingaversary comes around. But I'm not so good on the weekends, apparently. I'd not remembered you were such an early adopter, it's impressive!

Will you follow the tradition of buying 9 books + 1 to grow on?

Sep 13, 2014, 11:20am

I saw an early story about LibraryThing, I think on the Guardian website, and joined then, but didn't find some of the features mature enough to be very useful, so wasn't active for a couple of years. In those days if you forgot your password, you had to email Tim to get it!

As for buying 9+1 books... I'm going to be in Ireland in a couple of weeks. What do you think? ;-)

Sep 13, 2014, 1:42pm

A golden opportunity, I think you're morally obligated to bring some back. Research, right?!

Sep 13, 2014, 2:55pm

Of course!

Edited: Sep 17, 2014, 5:29pm

Decided to throw together a little collection of my Welsh themed poetry. Touchstone not working yet, but the Lulu link is It includes material from King Arthur's Raid on Hell, Pryderi's Pigs, Storyteller Songs, and Druid Songs, plus a few pieces not previously published.

Oh, and the book entry is here:

Sep 17, 2014, 10:38pm

Ah, the touchstone works now: Songs of Wales: A Poetry Collection.

Oct 11, 2014, 5:55pm

A little bragging: just got back from two weeks in Ireland, and I managed to persuade the Rathcrogan visitor center to take some copies of my books (all I had with me at that point - 1 of The Druid's Son and 7 of Mac Criomthann Tales). If they sell well (and I think Mac Criomthann will - it's perfect for them) they will probably order more. Those on Facebook can see the link on my profile ( (Well, maybe other people can as well - don't know how that works.)

Oct 11, 2014, 10:18pm

Sounds to be a perfect opportunity: good on you for thinking of it and bringing the books.

Wonder if you agree: I speculate that much of "practical marketing" seems to be about these sorts of intersections of subcultures or "marketing demographics" or whatever it's named today: in effect, not finding or exploiting mega-markets, but finding the sizable groups of people with similar interests. Most sales (of whatever product or service) which become a social trend or attain celebrity status seems either a complete lowest-common-denominator sort of thing, or a complete fluke that can't be planned. The rest is simply finding ways to reach that sizable audience that doesn't share any other single trait that allowing easy one-channel marketing. Instead, lots of different approaches specific to each group.

Oct 14, 2014, 10:34am

I think you have a good point. I've gradually identified specific mini-markets for some of my books over the years. The Storyteller books appeal to people in the SCA (where they started) or other re-creation groups, and also to people interested in Wales. Mac Criomthann Tales is a natural for Rathcrogan. Both that one and The Druid's Son were surprisingly well received by other people in Ireland. King Arthur's Raid on Hell and Pryderi's Pigs appeal to both the SCA and the Welsh groups, and Druid Songs was specifically aimed at Neopagan groups. Mac Criomthann Tales was thrown together almost on a whim for a Druid gathering May, but appeals to all sorts of people, and has the additional advantages of being portable and rather inexpensive - a good low-investment taste of my writing which I hope will lead people who like it to buy the other books. The new Welsh poetry collection (Songs of Wales: A Poetry Collection) is again aimed at the Welsh groups and also to some extent at the SCA, and it also is small-format and quite cheap for me when I can catch Lulu offering free shipping, as they do from time to time. Druid's Son of course has cross-over appeal both to the historical fiction and the fantasy markets, but those are both so crowded that it's hard to get noticed.

Oct 14, 2014, 10:40am

Now your Stateside again, do you have the opportunity to track sales at Rathcrogan, and then re-supply?

I suspect a key challenge with these mini-markets is gaining any kind of momentum, allowing them to build or sustain themselves. If there long enough, I can see it really helping when someone sees your book in one place, maybe doesn't even buy it but then later sees it somewhere else and is moved to pick it up. But if you have to keep all the plates spinning yourself, it forecloses some of these opportunities.

Oct 14, 2014, 11:14am

If they sell at Rathcrogan, I have a couple of ideas about re-supply. But as you say, keeping all the plates in the air is a challenge!

Edited: Dec 28, 2014, 3:58pm

So, it seems Lulu is actually able to get ebooks into Amazon's Kindle store without their being previous best-sellers (the Smashwords situation). I tried King Arthur's Raid on Hell as an experiment, and it is there now (King Arthur's Raid). I'm in the process of moving most of my other books over, and will let people know when they show up.

Edited: Jan 6, 2015, 5:41pm

The Druid's Son and four of the poetry collections are now in the Kindle store, and the rest should follow by the end of the month. Take a look, friends - even views help.

Jan 7, 2015, 9:09am

Ah, not a regular user so didn't realise views would help! I'm more than happy to do that, recently loaded the Kindle app on my tablet but don't use it much. This can be a reason to play around a bit.

Jan 22, 2015, 8:47pm

Most of my books are on Amazon Kindle now - Storyteller and Flight of the Hawk should appear in the next few days. That just leaves Mac Criomthann Tales (paperback is there now, still have to do the ebook conversion, so about two weeks). Then I have to get back to working on The Fallen Stones, which seems to be converging on being a Gwernin Storyteller book with more bits around Togi/Mac Criomthann...