Kingdom of Uisneach: The Prophecy

For centuries fairy tales have entertained, comforted and inspired us. They have offered opportunities for adventure and provided hope for a ‘happily ever after’ life. But real life isn’t always as simple as fairy tales would have us believe. Sometimes the prince doesn’t wake the sleeping princess, or if he does, they discover they are a poor match. Sometimes a happy ending is a fairy tale.

Briana Brennan, aka, Mouse, has a biological clock that is ticking. So is the clock of destiny, started by a visit from a forest witch at the hour of her birth. While is worrying she won’t find her Prince Charming, a kingdom is worried that they won’t rescue their Savior and the kingdom will be lost. Following a sound in the woods, Briana finds herself traveling through a tree into the kingdom of Uisneach. She is met by gnomes who have been waiting for her to come as the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy, destined to save King Brath from a cursed exile and take the kingdom back from the evil Lord Shamwa and Druid Artanin. With only a magic map to guide her, she begins a journey that requires her to make decisions at every crossroads. The choices she must make at these crossroads pale in comparison to the life choices she will have to make as she meets and travels with her companions, strong and stalwart, Lord Marshall Sigel, the handsome young bard, Silas of Cedarmara and a wolfhound called Dara. Overseeing the journey and mentoring her are a shapeshifting crow and a forest crone. Together they must learn how to use the black medallions each wears to unlock the curse and release the king.

Magical maps, powerful swords, dryads, fairies, evil druids, good friends, and an Abbess, all contribute something to the journey and to her growth as a woman, a warrior and a queen. She learns the challenging lessons of love, patience, sacrifice, loyalty and commitment. The journey across Uisneach is a grand adventure, but one in which she must endure heartache and physical pain to find love and her happily ever after

Friday, January 6, 2017

Prologue-Welcome to the Kingdom

“You’re a writer. Write!” Those were some of the last words I heard from the lips of the charming, wizened old poet on Wild Meadow Road. Days later, he died, leaving us all with fond memories and a lovely story about magical folk who lived in the forest.
As they say, one thing led to another…
“You’re the only one standing in the way of writing a book,” my husband and friend said to me at the kitchen table over Chinese food. Those words forced me to break down the barriers to my creative success and begin the work of bringing a kernel of an idea to life.
There were three kernels, actually. A place called Uisneach (which actually exists in Ireland), gnomes named after a local road I traveled weekly on my way to see the poet and the image of a young woman walking through a tree to become the savior of a kingdom.
I spent at least six months on the first four chapters before realizing I was hopelessly mired in quicksand. Writing a novel sounded like such a good idea, but now I had a heroine I didn’t know and whose name I detested, a plot that seemed pretty ordinary and predictable and a hero that was like every other hero written about in fairy tales. I wanted this to be a fairy tale for adults and I had a kid’s book (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but…). I wanted to turn the traditional fairy tale on its head.
In a ripple of time, everything changed. In one magical moment, I met my muse. What happened shall remain forever my secret, but the results are what you will read as The Kingdom of Uisneach series of books, beginning with The Prophecy. I went to bed that night and the next morning had the plotline for not one, but three books. I knew exactly who my protagonist was, and her proper name! A secondary character became primary. The king, who was meant to be the hero became somewhat of an antagonist, though he’s not a bad guy. Really, he’s not.
Completing the first draft of Uisneach took only about nine months. I went to sleep each night only to be spirited awake at 3 am (the mercy hour, indeed) with conversations between characters which needed to be put on paper immediately! My paying job keeps me on the road and a notebook became my constant companion to pull over and record some critical idea, phrase or conversation.
 I found someone willing to read my work and felt the thrill of having her fall in love with one of the characters. That had to be a good thing, right? I felt ready to send my baby to publishers and agents, certain that it would be snatched up immediately. Right. While I had a few kind comments, the only publisher eager to work with me turned out to be a subsidy publisher. It seems that being a new author with no credentials of previous work keeps doors tightly shut. I decided, after some research on self-publishing, that if I was going to pay someone 5K to publish my book with no guarantee of marketing, then I might as well spend the money publishing it myself! Right?
Let me go on record here as saying that writing the novel was the easy part! Query letters, waiting, more query letters, more waiting and the stream of rejections was agonizing. Coming up with the money to self-publish was challenging and learning every detail that goes along with publishing your own book was back breaking. And I’m not done yet! Two things seem critical to me for successful writing and publishing:  
                 Invest in a professional editor! I read this over and over from other authors but they don’t come cheap, and I procrastinated. However, I could not believe how much more polished Uisneach could be until I worked with an editor. Having some first readers is important. They are your cheerleaders and the ones who can tell you what does and doesn’t fly before you make a fool of yourself. But having the critical eye and expertise of a professional is, I believe, essential to the responsible publication of your novel.
           Refuse to be denied the time to work on your craft and project.
Most of us who aspire to authorship, having paying jobs, families and other things that require our time and attention. It is so easy to give up writing because your focus is needed elsewhere. But books don’t write and publish themselves. There is a tremendous amount of sacrifice required, both from the writer and from the writer’s family and friends, when you commit to writing a novel. That was one of the barriers that I had to break down to do this. I had to learn to say, “No” and that is not always easy.
It was also not easy to get that first edited manuscript back and find all the lines through it, the suggestions that your infant is less than beautiful and that it might be necessary to start all over. Ouch! Feel free to crawl in a cave and lick your wounds. I did. And then somewhere in that dark night of the soul, you must find your inner warrior, child, Hemingway or whatever and get back to work.
I’ll be honest, this is the place I find myself now. I thought Uisneach would be in a Kindle near you by January of 2017. That is not happening. While I was cowering in my mental dolmen, I decided that while I was ‘fixing’ things, I would go ahead and start the website with blogs. Perhaps other writers would find something comforting or valuable in my own self-publishing journey. Or, maybe I would find others who wanted to come out and play with me. Both seem good reasons to blog about this experience.
So here I am, introducing myself and my project. I would love to hear your own stories of writing and publishing. I welcome any suggestions to keep moving forward and any particular books, websites or tools that have been helpful. At the very least we can keep each other company along the journey.
I am working with the following resources right now to help me with my rewrite:
·         Magical World Builder’s Guide by Stephanie Cottrell Bryan  http://www.web-writer.net/fantasy/ 
·         Description by Monica A. Wood
·         Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain
Also recently read Stephen King’s On Writing and Diana Gabaldon’s I Give You My Body- How I Write Sex Scenes. Both great books! Of course they are- they are written by masters!  
Writers write and writers read. It’s what we do. For pleasure reading, I recommend Cindy Brandner’s Exit Unicorn Series. I cannot promote this series enough.  It is the story of Ireland during the time of “The Troubles” as experienced by an incredibly well-written group of people. It is the love story not only of Casey and Pamela but of family and Ireland herself. Make sure you have time to read this one, because I promise, once you start, you won’t stop until you finish what is written of the series. Her fans eagerly await volume five next year. So, what’s on your bookshelf?
And please, you don’t have to be writing or publishing to follow this blog! This is a place to have fun, share good books and talk about all things fun, fantastical and magical.

And now, ladies, lords, commoners and peers of the realm- let us go forth with confidence, determination and playful intention and write!