Kingdom of Uisneach: The Prophecy

Dreams of battle. A king offering a crown. Longing for a faceless archer. From a quiet life in Maine, Briana Brennan, landscape designer and bookworm, is led into the woods and through a tree, where she emerges a savior of the mythic kingdom of Uisneach. She must begin the journey through a land terrorized by the evil Lord Shamwa. Guided by the stalwart Lord Marshall Sigel and the handsome young bard, Silas of Cedarmara and mentored by a forest crone and a shapeshifting crow, she must discover how to use the black medallions they wear to unlock the curse and rescue the king.

A magical map, mystical beings and a fantastic world all contribute something to the journey and to Briana’s growth as a woman, a warrior and a queen. Briana’s trek across Uisneach is a grand adventure that will hopefully bring her love and a happily ever after. Or will it?

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Okay, dear friends, I am taking the plunge! I am posting the opening scene of "The Prophecy." I hope you enjoy it. I would love to hear your first impressions and if you would consider reading this book when it published, hopefully in October.  

Chapter One
Gray mist rolled across a bloody field.  Air redolent of fear, vomit and putrid flesh choked her. Men lay dead or dying in unthinkable positions in front of her. Crouched and partially hidden behind a tree, she watched through hanging branches as an auburn-haired man came toward her holding a blood dripping sword in one hand and a crown in the other. Her heart raced and her stomach rolled violently. Good guy or bad? Desperately, she felt around for something to protect herself and her fingers made contact with cold steel. She rose up slowly, lifting the weapon in front of her. The man’s expression changed to one of reassurance and he spoke soothingly, holding out the crown to her. She couldn’t make out the words but let her sword drop slightly. A flash of blonde hair caught her eye. She turned to see the back of another man as he slung a quiver behind him and walked away. Faceless but familiar. Who are you? She was about to follow him when a fierce battle cry forced her attention back to the auburn haired man as he rushed toward her, now looking angry and afraid. Too late, she realized as the sensation of cold metal cut across the skin of her thigh, followed by a burning and a river of redness that flowed down her leg. She turned to face the source of the attack and saw a different, gray-uniformed man preparing to stab her again. Pain and rage overwhelmed her. She screamed.
Briana sat bolt upright in bed, heart pounding and drenched in sweat. Reaching across the tangle of sheet and quilt strewn across the bed she found a pillow and clutched it to her chest. The dream again. The third night in a row she’d confronted the grisly scene, felt the giant’s icy blade slice into her body and felt compelled to follow the faceless blonde haired man. Closing her eyes again, she willed him to appear, but he would not. She sighed, cast the pillow aside and sat up, pulling her hair off her sweat-dampened neck.
 A hint of pre-dawn light cast shadows around the nest Briana called her bedroom. Beyond the colorful heap of quilt and hand-woven throws and assorted pillows tossed on the floor, were clutters of tiny treasures she had collected from the outdoors; a fractal of stones, shells, lichen and bark, stashed everywhere - on shelves, in cupboards and on windowsills, collecting light and dust. She scanned the bookcase of fairytales, fantasy and mythic adventures underneath the picture of an old Irish abbey and the medieval figures, arranged in defensive positions to protect the king and queen, standing atop a castle she built herself from tiny stone fragments until she found him-the archer. Dressed in red with bow nocked and helmeted by long, blonde hair, he reminded her of the faceless man. Longing rushed through her, not new, but more intense during this past week of the dream. Who are you? He wouldn’t answer. He never did.
Copyright  2017 Heidi Hanley

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Soundtrack of The Prophecy

Scientists have written extensively about the effect of music on the limbic and paralimbic system, the amygdala and hippocampus. There are chemical and neural reasons that we get a chill when listening to a certain kind of music. Also well documented is how music in a major key usually evokes a happy feeling while music in a minor key makes one sad.
 Good information but what I’m more interested in is how it translates into the writing of a novel, specifically the Kingdom of Uisneach series.  
I discovered in the writing of The Prophecy that some music or musical artists created a mood in me that was conducive to writing battle scenes, love scenes and a few otherworldly moments. Some music or songs inspired me to think about the relationships and the philosophy behind the choices characters made. Some music was instrumental (pardon the pun) in world-building and plotting.
If I could choose one song that represents the essence of The Prophecy, it would be Adrian von Ziegler’s mythic, “Prophecy” ( While writing the wedding scene, I looped this on my device and although some would find it more a dirge; for me, it evoked the culmination of all the sacrifice, commitment and love that brought our heroes to the altar and the throne.
Celtic Thunder earned several spots on my playlist with one song, “Voices” nearly appearing in the book. Due to copyright issues, I decided not to use it directly, but it inspired me to write the lyrics to “Crossroads” which made many appearances as a rally song along the journey from Wellsland to Ard Darach. “Noreen” could bring a tear to my every time I heard it as a reminder of Silas’s sorrow.
Briana spent much of her time mooning over her bard with von Ziegler’s “Ashes”.  She also happens to be fond of Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years.” I discovered a less well-known song by the Carpenters, “I Believe You,” that made her (and me) smile.
Most of the battle scenes were planned out listening to another favorite musician, Brunuhville whose haunting Celtic sound transported me to that mythic world. Songs like “Tales of Ice and Blood” and “Heart of Fire” called up images of warriors (and warrioresses) battling it out on the fields and forests of Uisneach.
Ahhh…Silas- ‘man of the forest’ is what the name means and our bard/archer/lover is an emotional force all by himself. He would be represented on my playlist by Keith Harkin’s “Wait On Me” and “My Love Goes On” and his recent recording on Brian Byrnes project Goldenhair, “In the Dark Pinewood”. James Bay’s, “Incomplete” and “Hold Back the River” speak to the soulful nature of their love. From the inception of The Kingdom of Uisneach, I had a vision of Silas on a castle parapet, singing something like “Now We Are Free.” It’s there, not the song, but the inspired scene.
It took me until the end of the second revision to connect with King Brath. I resisted him; oh my, did I resist. He’s handsome, smart and a just and visionary king, but very different from Silas. Eventually, I discovered the good and loving man underneath the crown. Ray Boudreaux helped me out here with his album First Train. A couple of songs, “Why Don’t We” and “I Don’t Wanna Stop,” drew me into this sexy ruler.
Interested in a sneak peek at music for the sequel books? Try out “My Immortal” by Evanescence, which sets the tone for Briana’s grief or BrunuhVille’s “When Love Fails” which is titled exactly opposite of how I feel it and the scene it inspires. “To Where You Are” (Celtic Thunder’s version) shows up in books two and three for different reasons. I recently discovered a new song by Brett Young, “In Case You Didn’t Know,” that I could imagine Silas singing to Briana in book three, although I have a feeling before he can sing that one, he’ll be listening to Yiruma’s “Kiss the Rain.” Our beloved bard has a long road ahead of him and it won’t be an easy one.  I will let you guess the scenes inspired by Brian Crane’s “Song for Rome” in book three.
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this musing.  I would dearly love to hear from other writers about their current work and the playlist for it. Musing is much more fun when it’s shared! 
Until we meet again- I lift my goblet to you! Sláinte!