The Memory of Myth – Paperback Now Available!

The third and final chapter in the Changelings series has been live for a month, and now I’m happy to report I have a paperback edition share! Get it here on Amazon.

In other good news, today begins the Changelings E-Book Summer Sale on Amazon!

Summer Sale


Changelings: The Memory of Myth

Pirates ~ Rebels ~ Wanderers

Changelings

The war between Man and Fae is over.

Nuada is dead, but so too is Sean. Dubh has disappeared back into the mists of time, and Maureen is alone.

When all the magic is gone, what remains?

Family.

Aunt Margaret, torn from her own time, remains, and she is waiting for Maureen to come home and bear witness to the family she saved.

With Aunt Margaret’s help, Maureen will unearth the secrets Dubh did not have time to tell her and unlock the tragedy at the heart of the family she created.

The war between Man and Fae is over, but the War of the Gods is just beginning.


Dubhshìth

I had known war. I had fought Bres and Balor, those fearsome brothers whose combined might could not match Nuada’s force – Nuada, who could command the Fuathan and their host of evil, which travelled the watery byways of the worlds of man and Fae. Nuada, who commanded the wandering malevolence of all the realms – who created it, and nurtured it – who would finally, by the grace of the gods who fought at my side, lose by it, too.

I had known war, but not since my days as a man, reeling from my father’s murder, had war so consumed me. My blood surged as Maureen crossed the barrier to stand at Sean’s side. Their kinship tingled at the edges of my senses, and their radiance, as they prevailed at the head of a column of Niamh’s forces, slowly woke me from my screaming fury as I stood in the maelstrom of Nuada’s demons.

Demons I once led into war at Nuada’s command.

I stared across the battlefield at my kin and nodded as our eyes met. Their foes lay scattered before them, their malevolent power stripped.

With my nod, Maureen, body before the fire at Dunn Ussie, shimmered and winked out of Faerie as the landscape shifted back to the Moor, and the two worlds Sean and I straddled collided.

I noticed the soldier before Sean did, but I was powerless to stop him.
As Sean’s body fell to the Hessian’s sword, his fierce love swept across the battleground.

His love rendered the seething masses of Fae on both sides of the battle mute. Nuada’s host of gnashing fiends stood adrift in the mists. Hate melted from their faces and they blinked as if just woken.

The king howled into the night, defeated as those who rose to his standard quaked and abandoned his side.

And yet, only part of Sean fell to the sword which cleaved his skull. The other part stared at me, the understanding that an earthly tether had been severed stark in his dark blue eyes.

Nuada saw it too, and though beaten, he smiled.

“Do it now, Druid – end my war – my life,” he said as he sank to his knees before me and barred his neck. “Let him pass from this plane with this knowledge in his heart. You can’t save him, but you can give him peace.”

“You’re wrong.”

Yet, even as my sword sang through the air and fell, so too did Sean.

† † †

I was falling again.

Again, and again and again.

The sword cut through the air in one land, while Sean’s triumphant face fell into lines of shock in another.

Wars won and lost in the same breath.

Maureen faded from the shifting mists of the Fae battlefield, and I swore I would never forget the sorrow and betrayal on her face as she realised Sean was no more.

I promised her.

I made so many promises.

And I did it again.

Again, and again and again.

“You are all in my keeping. I will make us whole.”

There was movement and shouting, figures flitting to-and-fro as I held Sean’s limp form, but I could not even compel myself to look up.
This must not end here. It must not, and would not.

Niamh was calling to me, but I ignored her, so she grabbed my chin and forced me to look at her.

Miach was at her side.

“He shall not be the sacrifice.” My voice was rough with screaming and tears. “Heal him. Please.”

Niamh’s golden head bowed as she touched my forehead with a kiss. For a moment I knew peace.

“You must give him to Miach, Dubh. He cannot pass here.”

I turned to the young healer and offered up my charge.

Immediately, Miach and the boy vanished.

“No!”

Her hand was firm on my shoulder. “He has taken Sean to Tír na nÓg. The life which stood on Culloden Moor was beyond repair. Healing him in Donn’s realm – with Donn’s magic would create—”

But I was no longer listening.

“He—I did not mean for him to die.” This war was not meant to be the boy’s final battle, although it was the last for every other king arrayed on the battlefield.

“No, nor will he,” she said quietly. “We can save him, but we will need your help.”

She hesitated.

I stood and wiped the blood and tears from my face. “And?”

“And saving him will come at a cost.”

“I don’t care. Take whatever you need of me. I gave them my promise.”

“You shall keep it, my friend.”


Changelings: The Memory of Myth, Volume 3 in the Changelings series, is available NOW on Amazon.

Other books in the Changelings series:

The Memory of Myth – Available Now!

Happy Birthday to me!! The third and final chapter in the Changelings series is now live and available for purchase as an EBook. If you’re waiting for the paperback, watch this space, as it will be available shortly! And, as an added bonus, the rest of the Ebooks in the Changelings series are free today and tomorrow (May 30 and 31)!

As challenging as saying goodbye was, I’m so excited to share Maureen’s journey and Catherine’s story!

Changelings: The Memory of Myth

Pirates ~ Rebels ~ Wanderers

Changelings

The war between Man and Fae is over.

Nuada is dead, but so too is Sean. Dubh has disappeared back into the mists of time, and Maureen is alone.

When all the magic is gone, what remains?

Family.

Aunt Margaret, torn from her own time, remains, and she is waiting for Maureen to come home and bear witness to the family she saved.

With Aunt Margaret’s help, Maureen will unearth the secrets Dubh did not have time to tell her and unlock the tragedy at the heart of the family she created.

The war between Man and Fae is over, but the War of the Gods is just beginning.


Another Homecoming

1961

I could go back to Dublin, Aunt Margaret told me. My inheritance was waiting – the entire world was out there, waiting.

I stumbled out of the trees, a year to the day Sean and I had gone looking for standing stones. It would be romantic to say tears were running down my cheeks, but by then, they had all been spent.

Sean was gone. Lost to the war between Man and Fae. Lost to a Hessian’s blade on Culloden Moor.

But not lost to me. He was there, at the centre of the void which called to us – to our Changeling blood. He was in the shimmer of Faerie magic, which coated my skin, and he was there in the space between each breath, caught between the beats of my heart.

His smile – his laugh – teased at the edges of my awareness, and when I looked into the dove– grey eyes of the woman who called herself Aunt Margaret – Mared, Mairead, Sean’s great– grandmother sixty times removed – I saw in their depths the same fierce protectiveness, the same wary watchfulness, which often shaded the deep blue of Sean’s eyes.

I could, I told her. But I think we could also bring the world to us if I stay.

I stayed.


Changelings: The Memory of Myth, Volume 3 in the Changelings series, is available NOW on Amazon.

Other books in the Changelings series:

The Memory of Myth: 1964

Changelings: The Memory of Myth is two days away!

I took a different approach to the book this time around – both stylistically, and in terms of practicality. The E-Book will be available on Saturday, and the paperback a few weeks after that. Instead of the pages and pages of an in-book appendix – lovingly termed The World of the Changelings – in the e-book, readers will be directed to this site, where I’m working on creating an ever-evolving repository of historical fact vs fiction, reference links and general tidbits. The print book will still have the appendix, however.

Stylistically, The Memory of Myth is an all 1st-person narrative, from three different perspectives. I did not intend it to be that way, but it turned out, it was the best way to capture the now-adult Maureen best.

In the first few drafts, I had a chapter or two from Margaret’s perspective. Ultimately, I struck them from the book because I did not have enough of them for it to make sense, and their themes were easily integrated into other parts of the book. They did give me an excellent insight into the story, however, and the one below particularly gave me the strength to continue with the book at a time when I hated everything about it.

Enjoy!


Changelings: The Memory of Myth, Volume 3 in the Changelings series, will be available via Amazon on May 30, 2020.


1964 ~ Margaret McAndrew

The house was empty without her, but – thankfully – not as empty as it had been. Gerry remained – and Patrice and Jenny, as always – but gone were their worried stares and hushed silences which befell a room when I would sweep around the corner.

As if I could still sweep at this advanced age. I am spry, certainly, but I had never been particularly majestic. Even as a chieftain’s wife, I was more lithe and willowy than imposing.

But, I supposed, if I had been imposing, they never would have taken to me.

“They would have.”

“Perhaps,” I allowed after a moment, without turning to address him. “But not as quickly.”

“I was taken with you the first moment I laid eyes on you.”

“You were but a pup, and a bit teched.”

I turned then, but I knew he was not there.

He came to me often like this – in snatches of conversation, in small whiffs of humour or sympathy.

Were they truly gone? Had war stolen the heir to our legacy – my grandchild more than sixty times removed?

I supposed Dubhshìth’s voice was my foolishness, and though we had made plans – so many plans – to say he and Sean were gone, now and forever. . . I did not believe it.

Maureen did not believe it, either. Not really.

Maureen still waited.

She waited in the hallowed halls of the University of Edinburgh. She waited while she presented the findings of her genealogical search to the trustees of the estate.

She waited while she teased Colin McAlister with the treasure troves I kept hidden from him, and the possibilities of what lay within the Dunn Ussie broch.

Maureen and her professor had begun the preliminary work to excavate the grounds. It would take a year or more before they found anything of note – anything the National Trust would give them credit for. I bit my tongue almost daily to stop myself from giving too many hints about where to find what.

As if anything had survived the last 1,275 years.

Yes, Maureen waited, even as her life continued, as full, if not more so than if she and Sean came back from that faerie war unscathed.

Just as I waited.

Waited while I married a rival chieftain, so he would send his soldiers to save my lover and his clan.

Maureen waited as I had as the lady of Teach na Clochach, for that lover to return to me, and again through Culloden, and again through both World Wars – waiting for men who never came home, or who came home forever changed.

“You promised me.”

“And I shall keep my promise. I swear it.”

† † †

“It’s different this time.”

“I’m sorry – what did you say?”

I saved my spot in my book with my finger.

Gerry and I always took tea together in the library – and sometimes in the back garden if the weather was nice, but the rain hadn’t stopped lashing at the windows in three days, so it was definitely not nice.

We took tea, sometimes chatting, sometimes perusing the papers, or a book, or our faraway thoughts.

Without Maureen, and the rigours of managing the day-to-day of the estate, faraway thoughts and dreamy escapes in books and magazines were often the rule, not the exception.

What day was it, even?

“Tuesdays are for art, I know – and forgive me for interrupting your novel. You’ve read that one before, aye?”

“Whether or not I have read the book before does not mean I do not glean enjoyment from it, Mr. Ballard.” I tried to keep my voice arch.

“Ah, so you forget bits and pieces too.”

I sniffed. “What is different this time?”

“The air. The quiet. Before, it was so sad. I mean, I miss the young lass and all, and Master Sean – I just–”

Gerry pulled out his handkerchief and made a lot of uncouth noises to cover the hitch in his breath.

“Aye well, that one still hurts, but with Miss Maureen gone, the quiet is not so bad as it once was. We know where she is, and the Mach 10 can bring her home any time she likes.”

“Yes, Mr. Ballard. I was thinking much the same myself.”

“Aye, I thought so. When you get to thinking about them, you get to thinking about him, too, and it’s almost like your thinking summons him.”

“Him?”

Gerry snorted. “Aye. Him. The one you loved and lost. The one who spirited them away.”

One lonely night, not long after Sean and Maureen disappeared into 1745, I had confided in Gerry – told him of my part in it. He, in turn, trusted me with the part he played in their lives in Ireland.

“There’s this look you get around your eyes, and the tilt of your head is like you’re listening to someone – and the air shimmers around you. Sister Theresa told me what to look for. She thought maybe I was like herself – canny, like, but not able to move about. I reckon she wasn’t wrong either.”

“But I am not like they are – not like you and Sr. Theresa, either. I see no shimmer, or eddies of mist when Faerie is near.”

“No, but he is – and it’s like he’s there. Just beyond seeing.”

It was my turn to cough over a hitch in my throat.

I reached over to pat Gerry’s hand, and he covered mine with his big paw.

I smiled.

“Well, my dear friend, if he is just there beyond seeing, then perhaps Sean is too.”

“Oh aye – I’ve thought that myself. I hope he is. I hope. . .”

“I hope so too, Gerry.”

† † †

The rain had subsided to a mere drizzly trickle – the sky might even stop its weeping tomorrow. Perhaps then the meanderings of memory would leave me in peace.

Maureen still had three years before she completed her doctorate – and a residency after that.

Did this old body – which, the history books and my memory said would not have seen me past 50, much less the 85 I was today – have four more years?

Would I be able to see Maureen to the end?

Would I be able to see myself to the end?

“You promised, my love.”

“And I shall keep it – I swear it.”


Other books in the Changelings series:

Changelings: The Memory of Myth, Volume 3 in the Changelings series, will be available via Amazon on May 30, 2020.

The Memory of Myth: A Look Back

Well, there are 6 days left. The third – and final – book in the Changelings series, The Memory of Myth comes out on May 30. 

The Memory of Myth is my birthday present to myself – a stressful present, but still a present. The book also tells a story I never expected to tell and follows Maureen to a place I was personally reluctant to go to. Maureen, Margaret, and Catherine have made me alternately cry and tear my hair out in frustration. 

The Memory of Myth may not be the hardest story I will ever write, but it certainly is the hardest I have written to-date. And, if I am honest, it is the most rewarding story too (which may come as a surprise to the people who know me, given how much I complained about the bloody thing). Harder – and more rewarding – stories will come, but for now, I am happy the Changelings trilogy is finally complete.

I wrote the piece below for Changelings: Into the Mist – wrote, and then removed and posted here as an outtake. Rereading “The Race” was eye-opening, especially since I have been living with Maureen as a twenty-five-year-old for at least two years now. Going back to who she was as a young woman. . . well, the former girl-pirate was definitely a character! 

This piece plays a part in The Memory of Myth, so I hope you enjoy it!

The Race

“You let that horse lead you too much,” Maureen scolded.

Sean looked up, startled. He had been daydreaming, not watching the road. He trusted the horse to know her way home. Maureen’s voice jolted him to the present, which was, oddly enough, the past.

Today was November 30, 1584. They had been part of Grania Uaile — Grace O’Malley’s — crew of pirates for three months. In that time, they had crossed the breadth of Ireland, rescued Maureen from Sir Richard Bingham — the newly-installed English Governor of Connacht — and thwarted said governor’s plan to destroy Grania Uaile’s hold on the western coast.

Now, they were back in port, back at Grania’s stronghold, Rockfleet Castle. Now, they were home. The only problem: he and Maureen had been born in 1943. Home was a relative term.

“What are you doing here, Maureen?” he asked. He kept a wary eye on her as she sidled up to him on her own horse, Baibín.

Maureen ignored him and instead, leaned over and patted his mare’s neck.

“You have him wrapped around your hoof, Mistress Réalta ” she whispered. She looked over at Sean and winked.

Sean rolled his eyes. He did give Réalta too much lead, but it was a compromise he was willing to make with the horse to remain seated. He was no horseman.

“I’ll ask again, since you obviously didn’t hear me the first time: what are you doing here, Maureen? Didn’t Grania tell you and Owen to clean the stables?”

It had been Maureen’s punishment for refusing to take a knife to her hair. The dark curls always threatened to escape the tight, coiled braid Maureen wrapped around her head. It posed a real hazard when one spent her time among the rigging and ropes of an Irish galley.

After Grania’s decree, Maureen had stated, rather boldly, that she had no desire to earn a nickname like Grania’s own: Grainne Mhaol — Grania the bald.

She would keep her hair bound while on board, thank you.

Shooting the room a look, Maureen had dared anyone to contradict her.

Sean had stayed out of it. He was not going to be caught between the two formidable women — one old and one young, but both determined. Eventually, Grania yielded and Maureen had been tasked with mucking out the stables.

Now her hair was flowing free over her shoulders, the sun catching the hints of red within its dark waves and making them glow.

Sean shook his head and stared ahead, smiling ruefully.

“We finished,” Maureen was saying now.

He didn’t believe her; he believed Owen — youngest of the O’Neil lads, who were Grania’s most trusted associates — was mucking out the stable by himself.

Réalta the horse wasn’t the only one who knew how to take advantage.

With a blithe shrug, Maureen turned her mare and kept pace with Sean. “I thought I would ride to meet you. It’s too lovely a day.”

Translation: she had nowhere else to go where she would not be caught shirking her duties, and she was jealous of Sean’s freedom.

She smiled brightly at him and he smiled back. Whatever Maureen’s reason, it was good to have her company.

“How was Tomás?” Maureen asked.

Sean had been sent to Tomás Conroy, a smith who lived about three miles inland. The once-empty bags straddling Réalta s rump were bulging with metal-worked, lethal goodies.

“You just missed him — he came out part of the way with me. He said there have been people along the road, unusual people.”

“More unusual than us?”

Tomás had been their first encounter after arriving in 1584. Thanks to Maureen’s wild story about being orphaned runaways-turned-minstrels — to account for their unusual clothes — he had taken them for spies and delivered them to Grania.

“Ah, you know Tomás — he’s worried about the hill,” Sean replied.

They were approaching the hill now. It was a fairy hill — a sidhe mound — and within it was the power bridge the gap between centuries. Sean often wondered how many other superstitions were really truths buried by centuries of lost knowledge.

“He says they — whoever ‘they’ are — have cut more trees. He’s afraid the good folk are mad. Given we’re here, I’m inclined to agree with him.”

Maureen nodded her head and gazed up at the hill.

The sun was starting its descent. As it slipped behind the hill, a shadow spread across the path.

Sean would never admit it aloud, but the hill scared him. At the sight of it, dark premonition slithered over his shoulders. Dubh’s letter had said they would be able to use the hill to return home in three months’ time. How — and by what power — he did not want to know.

He shook her head, banishing the thoughts, and turned to Maureen.

“Moseying past the hill seems a bit like walking on our own graves,” she said, as if reading his mind. “I’ll race you back to Rockfleet!”

“Maureen,” he protested, “I’m no horseman — you’re the one who had the lessons, not me.”

“The way Liam tells it, you did fairly well on the trip to Dublin.”

“Don’t remind me.” Sean rubbed his backside. There was a reason he preferred life in Grania’s fleet to life on land — in the sixteenth century, anyway.

He looked at Maureen. She was waiting patiently for his acquiescence. He made a face.

“Fine, woman. We’ll race — but no cheating this time!”

“What, me? Cheat? I’m offended, Sean!” Maureen leaned over; there was a wicked gleam in those green eyes and Sean held Réalta s reigns tightly.

“Just for that, I’ll give you a head start!” Maureen whistled and slapped the horse smartly on its behind.

Réalta snorted and shot ahead. Sean bounced on her back and tried to hold on with his knees. Maureen laughed behind him and he cursed, loudly. Réalta took it for encouragement and somehow galloped faster.

They rounded the bend which skirted the hill, its shadow damp and chill in the already-cold November air. Something snapped in the scrub and Réalta gave a startled whinny.

†††

Maureen chuckled as Réalta took off with Sean clinging to her back. She dug her heels into Baibín’s flank; Réalta was a fast horse, but Baibín was faster.

She was within a tail’s length of horse and rider when she heard Réalta s frightened whinny and Sean’s desperate call. She watched, helpless, as he nearly lost his grip and struggled to keep his place. The panic in his voice was real, and she urged Baibín on.

They were hurtling through the countryside. Its barren winter splendour was a blur as they raced, yet Réalta was not tiring.

She would have to do more than muck out the stables if they ran roughshod through the huts, carts, and stalls of the village abutting Rockfleet Castle.

“Try to avoid the stronghold, Sean,” Maureen called out. Just beyond the stronghold was a protected dune and shallow inlet. If Sean could steer–

“You think I’m in control of where she goes?” Sean managed to shout back.

Maureen grinned. At least he had not lost his wits.

“Hold on!” she called out. To Baibín. she muttered: “Go fast, girl — fly!”

And they flew. She caught up to Sean, and with Baibín close to her flank, encouraged Réalta to veer off the path. They cut through tall grass and bramble, ignoring the sting as thorny branches slashed at their legs. The inlet was ahead; Maureen hoped the sandy dune, the pebbled beach or the shifting waters would stall Réalta s frantic gallop.

“Maureen, get me off this thing!”

“I’m doing the best I can!” she shouted back. She did not trust her skills as a rider to reach over and grab Réalta s reigns — was not sure it would even work.

They careened over the dunes and slammed into the shore faster than she thought they would. Both animals reacted too quickly for Sean and Maureen to do anything other than scream as the horses deposited them into the shallows.

Recovering first, Sean sputtered and wiped seawater from his face. He grabbed at Maureen and helped her stand. Baibín and Réalta up to their knobby knees in the water, snuffled at their drenched heads.

“Well, that was fun,” Maureen muttered as she pushed Baibín away.

“Fun?” Sean shot back, his blue eyes wild. “Maureen O’Malley, you’re mad.”

“Aye well, Sean McAndrew, you’re off the horse and alive, aren’t you?”

Sean slapped at the water and Maureen shrieked, laughing. She splashed back, and they giggled — giving into hysterics as they tried to help each other out of the water.

†††

Liam O’Neil, Grania’s first mate, and his brother Owen observed the spectacle from the dunes. Owen turned to Liam.

Carrickahowley Castle, photo via WikiCommons, uploaded May 2007 by Brholden

“So, who do you think won the race?”

It was not the first time Maureen had challenged a fellow rider.

Liam turned to see two older women from the stronghold rushing towards Sean and Maureen and attempt to help them out of the shallows.

He laughed shortly. “The washerwomen.”


Changelings: The Memory of Myth, Volume 3 in the Changelings series, will be available via Amazon on May 30, 2020.

Other books in the Changelings series:

Changelings: The Memory of Myth

The war between Man and Fae is over.

Nuada is dead, but so too is Sean. Dubh has disappeared back into the mists of time, and Maureen is alone.

But not quite. Aunt Margaret, torn from her own time, is waiting for Maureen to come home – to bear witness to the family she saved. With Aunt Margaret’s help, Maureen will unlock the tragedy at the heart of the family she created.

The war between Man and Fae is over, but the War of the Gods is just beginning.


Changelings: The Memory of Myth, Volume 3 in the Changelings series, will be available on Amazon on May 30, 2020.

Other books in the Changelings series:

Daily Lines: Here we go!

“I was once told my daughter would be a queen.
The man who said it had tears in his eyes as he kissed my fevered face. He stared at me as though he would burn the memory of me into his soul.
Goddess, he called me.
It was those words, and the look of loss in his eyes, which would eventually allow me to forgive him all that followed – which would allow me to forgive him for dying.
I think, when our small company parted ways, he lost so much more than I – though I can admit now that my life was never the same without him in it.”

D: . . . Well, way to start on a melancholy note, woman.

A: This is your story, D.

D: My story?  I’m pretty sure that’s Maureen speaking, my dear A.

A: It is. You put her through a lot.

D: I put–

A: Oh yes – you, Druid. You put – you continue to put – that poor dear through the ringer.

D: That poor dear, who would have brought down the British Empire with her bare hands? I’m fairly certain she can handle herself.

A: *No longer containing the ridiculous smile that accompanied D’s Return(TM)* That she can. So, what do you think?

D: I told you what I think – that’s a rather melancholy way to start!

A: Well sure, but it’s’ the third – and final – foray into your world. That is a little melancholy, even if it is wonderful and ridiculously exciting!

D: I saw you publish a “World of the Changelings” short earlier this year, A – don’t think you’re going to get rid of me that quickly.

A: *rolls eyes* heaven forbid. I’m not hoping to get rid of you – did you not see that grin when you showed up?? You’ve been a bit MIA, Druid.

D: I have not – I have simply been biding my time. A druid is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to.

A: You just stole that from Tolkien.

D: I think you will find, given our respective timelines, that Tolkien stole it from me.

A: *eye roll* Right – my mistake.

D: Indeed, my dear A. Indeed.

Well, there you have it – Book 3, tentatively titled The Memory of Myth is underway. As I remarked to friends today – as a way to explain my sleep-deprived self – this is the

This trunk has been around the block a few times in the last 40+ years, but most notably – or recently – it’s seen 5+ books written on (or near) it’s surface

first time in about 4 years that I’ve written anything from whole cloth. Once upon a time, this book was slated to be the second in the series, and a stand-alone tale of Catherine McAndrew.

The threads of Niamh’s tapestry dictated, however, that it become the final story. The 120,000-word behemoth I wrote at this same yellow trunk 16 years ago while my then-baby boy slept is to be pared down and incorporated into a Möbius strip of timelines and stories that will bid farewell to the O’Malley, McAndrew, and McAlister clans, who have kept me company these last 25 years.

I hope you’ll join me (and D – who is indeed with me again!) – it’s been an interesting road, made even better by the people I get to share it with. I’ll share daily/weekly lines here and on Facebook, and as always, pictures of my world and writing buddies (otherwise known as my cats) on Instagram.


Welcome to the World of the Changelings. Pick your Poison:

It’s Here! Changelings: The Rise of Kings

Irish teens Maureen O’Malley and Sean McAndrew were lost in time. They fought at the side of a pirate queen, and raised the flag of a new nation. They defied the will of the Faerie king, and set in motion a revolution, which claimed the life of their friend and mentor – which barred them, the last of the Changelings, of from Faerie, forever.

Or so they thought.

Facing expulsion for their misadventures, Maureen and Sean are sent to live with Sean’s aunt, deep in the Scottish Highlands. There, Faerie whispers reach out to snatch them once more – and this time, returning home is no longer an option. This time, to thwart the king, they must become myth themselves, and fight a war none may win without dying.

Gods and rebels and kings, oh my!

The Rise of Kings is the second book in the exciting Changelings trilogy, and it is available in print and digital from Amazon today! And, lucky you, if you want a signed copy, you can buy one directly from me, using the products page on this site!

As an added bonus, the first book in the series, Into the Mist is available as an Amazon ebook for FREE today only!

 

Homecoming

“Changelings and foundlings – and chasers of faerie gold. Wanderers, the lot of you.”

The chills skittering up Maureen’s arms were at odds with the hollow ache in her heart and head.

Dubhshìth mac Alasdair was dead. The gateway between the realms of man and Fae was closed. There would be no more wandering now.

Two years she and Sean – best friend, fellow orphan, and Changeling – had spent chasing after the phantom warrior whose name changed with the century: Dubhghall, Dubh Súile, Captain Doyle and finally, Dubhshìth. Two years, which had sped by in the space of a day. But then, a night in Faerie was six months to the minds of men. That’s what Sr. Theresa had always told them.

Maureen glanced at the raw-boned nun who kept a protective arm over her shoulder as if shielding her once-young charge from the smoking ruins of the tiny chapel destroyed by faerie fire not a half hour ago. Ruined by King Nuada Silver Arm to rid himself of the last of the Changelings – the last of the descendants of Man and Fae.

Had Sr. Theresa known, all this time? Had the Benedictine nun, their guardian and teacher of ten years, been grooming her and Sean for their journey between the worlds? Had a secret part of her soul recognized in them the magic of the Fae – had she given them the tools they would need, in the form of stories and half-remembered superstitions, to guide them on their way?

She shook her head as she allowed herself to be guided from the chapel’s wreckage. She didn’t mind leaving it behind, and a quick look at Sean said he did not either. There was nothing left. The church had held only memories of who they once were – and of a birthright they would never be able to claim.

If Sr. Theresa had been grooming them, the smouldering remains were a testament to their failure.

Because Dubhshìth was dead, and the gateway was closed to them forever.

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Other books by KM Sullivan

The Changelings Series

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The Three Ghosts Series

Katie SullivanAbout the Author

Descended of pirates and revolutionaries, KM Sullivan is a lover and student of all things Irish. Born in the States, she is a dual US/Irish citizen, and studied history and politics at University College, Dublin – although, at the time, she seriously considered switching to law, if only so she could attend lectures at the castle on campus. She lives in the American Midwest with her son, two cats and a pesky character in her head named D (but you can call him Dubh). She can be found writing at her blog, The D/A Dialogues.

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‘Twas the night before. . .

As I was putting the final touches on Rise of Kings a few weeks ago, a suggestion from one of my beta readers led me down the path of -gasp- prose I’d written as a way of getting inside D’s head. While I don’t consider any of it *good,* it is insightful. None of this made the cut in the book, but I wanted to share it anyway – there were plenty of easter eggs to be had, which I enjoyed and I hope you do, too.

Originally posted on April 17, 2014 as Lives Entwine.

Warning: Prose ahead! The Daily Post’s challenge-of-the-week was to write a post in prose. Now, I know quite a few excellent poets, and I know I am not of their number. However, as my brain steadfastly refuses to leave D’s world, I thought a bit of prose introducing the players in Book 2 might be in order.

As I said, prose ahead – you’ve been warned!

Maureen

I live.

Queen and goddess,

He said, the mother of kings.

Yet, power withers in my hand

And nothing to claim but portents and lies

Out of the way of history I step,

Out of the way of kings.

Let their magic die upon the Plain

I will be their pawn

No more.

*

Sean

I stand.

Stalwart and true

Hers is the gift of whispers

Twisting a song of power

While mine screams loud with terror.

For her I’ll taste the bitter sting of steel

In wars of men and battles of Fae

Yet his fate we will not echo

For our time, I swear,

Will come.

*

Dubh

I fall.

Crippled druid,

A thousand times I die,

A sacrifice, upon the Plain.

Now I move as myth amongst men – a god

Of terrible vengeance,

A father of kings.

At my call, the sleepers shall arise

And his tyranny will be

No more.

*

Niamh

I fight.

Daughter of gods

Weaver of spells, I see far.

Magic withers upon the Plain –

Death and decay mark his reign.

I will call to the heart of my people

And weave their songs once more.

With his champion at my side,

The age of peace

Will come.

*

Nuada

I rule.

Sons of mac Lir we were

And fierce were our battles

‘Till the day he graced my door.

Cloaked in mist and forgotten power,

He won for me my crown.

Lies I twisted, all to tame him

Until the day, he slipped from my side.

My kingdom is myth,

No more.

*

Mairead

I love.

I stand through the centuries,

A guardian and friend.

Mentor and mother,

The lineage of gods in my keeping,

And his word my only salvation.

I know when wars be over,

And kings awakened,

On that day my love

Will come.

***

Get your copy of Changelings: The Rise of Kings (Changelings, Vol. 2) today – ebooks and paperbacks available at Amazon, and signed paperback copies available here

On the Eve of Battle – The Rise of Kings

Well, 2 years after it was promised, Book 2 in the Changelings saga is finally here. It doesn’t matter that it was essentially written four years ago – which, coupled with my desire to expand the story – caused me so. many. freaking. continuity errors I nearly lost my mind – it’s here now. It’s here and I love it.

Oh, and FYI – forewarned is forearmed: Book 2 is totally the Empire Strikes Back of the series. Just in case anyone was wondering, or hoping for resolution – no. I mean, yes, in a way, but no. Sorry.

In the midst of editing, I realized the truth. While Into the Mist could *technically* be a stand-alone story, Book 2, The Rise of Kings could not. It demands you read the first book (which is free, on July 13!!), and it hopes you read the final chapter, Book 3 (which, I’m happy to announce, is tentatively titled The Memory of Myth).

That said, I love it. I love where it takes Sean and Maureen. I love the people they become in this story – and I love the side characters. If anyone wants to have an in-depth conversation about Martin or Mared (or Elisabeth, or. . . well, you get the idea) hit me up on Twitter or Facebook. I’m not kidding. I love them all and I hope you do, too.

So, here’s to an updated website (hey, we have shopping carts – you all know you want signed copies!!), and a book three years in the making.

Thanks for sticking with me.

. . . Oh. . . I almost forgot! Here’s an excerpt from Changelings: The Rise of Kings. Enjoy!

He came at them not with flame or trembling light, but through the hollow call of a judge’s gavel. His were no longer the shrieking voices of faceless monstrosities, but the sonorous tones of men who claimed to speak for God. With them, Nuada attempted to lay to waste the keepers of memories, the tellers of tales, and the wise women of the woods.

Sean tossed in his cot, aware he was caught in a dream but helpless to do anything about it. He could not force himself to wakefulness, and though he tried, he could not take command of the dream.

As the parade of men and women passed before him, each doomed to die for nothing more than sharing the glimmer of magic in his blood, his powerlessness turned to fury – to action. He would save them.

He had to.

He stood before judges, and attempted to put out flame, but they did not see him, and the flame merely rose higher.

Briefly, tantalizingly, others would see him – those who stood at the edges, neither jeering the condemned nor sobbing for their lives. They could hear his words, and they peered at him with concern in their eyes. He urged them to speak, to stand up for the hunched crone who could not have poisoned the Smyth’s cow. She who had brought their youngest into the world with those careworn hands, and cooled the fevered brow of their brother as he lay with the sweating sickness should not be condemned for imagined evils.

But those who could hear him and see him were almost worse than those who could not. Their concern turned to fear – to hatred. How dare he single them out?

Those who knew, who could sense his otherness, turned on him. They did not want to know. Not anymore.

Night after night he dreamed. All those who could see, and feel, and reach across the barrier to touch his heart – Maureen’s heart – were bright dots that lit the earth. And night after night, they winked out of existence.

The earth darkened – lit only by the fires of those who burned.

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Pre-Order Changelings: The Rise of Kings!

Changelings: The Rise of Kings is now live for pre-orders in the Amazon Kindle Store! Between now and July 13, you can pre-order the kindle edition for $1.99! A print edition will be available on July 13 as well.

Ebook COverIrish teens Maureen O’Malley and Sean McAndrew were lost in time. They fought alongside a pirate queen and raised the flag of a new nation. They defied the will of the Faerie king and set in motion a revolution that not only claimed the life of their friend and mentor, but barred them, the last of the Changelings, from Faerie, forever.

Or so they thought.

Facing expulsion for their misadventures, Maureen and Sean are sent to live with Sean’s aunt, deep in the Scottish Highlands. There, Faerie whispers reach out to snatch them once more – and this time, returning home is no longer an option. This time, to thwart the king, they must become myth themselves, and fight a war none may win without dying.

And, to tide you over, you can download Hunted, from the World of the Changelings, at Smashwords for free AND check out how it all started with Changelings: Into the Mist, which is free on Amazon for the next five days.

But wait! There’s more (it *is* my birthday after all – treats for everyone!)! As an extra special bonus to everyone for sticking with me as publication of The Rise of Kings was delayed, below is a special ‘epilogue’ of sorts to bridge the gap between Into the Mist and The Rise of Kings. I hope you enjoy!

The Sleeper

Niamh stood at the head of a silent host whose bodies melted and blended with the mist as they passed through Mag Mell.

The fallen warrior lay sprawled where he took his last stand against the tyrant. Nuada Silver Arm had not even bothered to strip his foe.

Faint wisps of green and white pillowed the man’s head. The vines with their tiny flowers twined about his arms and legs, as if the earth would claim him for itself.

Behind her, awe-struck whispers rose:

“The Plain . . .”

“So much green.”

“Mag Mell – it lives again.”

Niamh crouched beside the Druid and murmured in his ear. “Fallen or sleeping, you give your very soul for your people, Dubhshìth – and yet you claim you are no king.”

No flicker of an eyelid or twist of the lips betrayed his stupor.

“Is he really–?”

“No, though it is well Nuada believed it so. He travels beyond us, but we can bring him back.” Niamh brushed a stray strand of hair from the warrior’s face. “The gods are not yet done with my Druid.”

She stood and allowed her followers to gather the fallen warrior.

“We must make haste. Mag Mell is watched.”

“Is it true, my lady? Do we really go to Tech Duinn? It is said none return from Donn’s domain over the dead.” It was the young healer, Miach, who spoke.

She put a hand on his shoulder. “There are ways.” She looked out into the mist. “Áine will teach us how.”

# # #

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