Thursday, August 28, 2014

Shamrocking Trivia: Brian Boru

This year marks the 1,000th anniversary of the death of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland. He was killed during the Battle of Clontarf just north of modern-day Dublin. In my novel, The Stag Lord, my protagonist, Bannerman Boru, is the direct descendent of this great warrior and leader.



The line between Irish Legend and Irish Myth has often been blurred, especially as the retelling of heroic deeds has been passed on through generations.

Brian Boru was no legend although his life deeds were legendary. He was very much a real man and was in fact the last great High King of Ireland and perhaps the greatest military leader the country has ever known.

Brian Boru was born Brian Mac Cennétig. He mother was sister to the mother of Conor, the King of Connaught.

His brother, Mahon, had become King of Munster in 951, upon the death of their father, Cennétig. Together they fought against the invading Norsemen, who had imposed taxes in Munster. This struggle eventually led to the murder of Mahon in 975 by the Ostermen (Norse). Brian avenged his brother's death by killing the King of the Ostermen of Limerick, King Ímar.

From this point onwards Brian held Munster as his own, including the pivotal trade-centre of Limerick. He marched into Connaught and Leinster and joined forces with Mael Sechnaill II in 997. Together they divided Ireland between them.

The Norse settlers in Dublin especially ranged against Brian but were defeated at Glen Máma where the King of Leinster was captured. The King of Dublin, Sitric Silkenbeard, was soon defeated too.

In 1002 Brian demanded of his comrade Mael Sechnaill that he recognize him as King of Ireland. Mael agreed, partially because many of his own people viewed Brian as a hero who had restored Ireland to greatness after the Viking invasions. The rule of the UíNéill's was thus at an end as a non-O'Neill was proclaimed as King. The O'Neill's had been rulers for over 600 years.

He earned his name as 'Brian of the Tributes' (Brian Boru) by collecting tributes from the minor rulers of Ireland and used the monies raised to restore monasteries and libraries that had been destroyed during the invasions.

The Norsemen were not done yet however, and once more waged war on Brian Boru and his followers at Clontarf in Dublin in 1014. The King of Connaught, Tadhg O'Conor refused to ally with Brian against the Ostermen although Uí Fiachrach Aidne and Uí Maine did join with him.

Despite the lack of backing from the men of Connaught, the Munstermen won the day but lost Brian Boru in the battle. This battle was a major turning point as it finally subjugated the Norse presence in Ireland who were henceforth considered subordinate to the Kingships of Ireland. Their military threat had been ended and they retreated to the urban centres of Dublin, Waterford, Limerick, Wexford, and Cork. They eventually became completely hibernicized and integrated into Gaelic culture.

After his death and the death of one of his sons, his remaining sons, Tadg and Donnchad, were unable to assume the kingship which was assumed by Mael Sechnaill. He died in 1022 after which the role of High King of Ireland became more of a position in name only, rather than that of a powerful ruler.

Perhaps the best that should be said of Brian Boru therefore, is that he was the last great High King of Ireland.

Brian Boru - An article provided by
The Information about Ireland Site.


(C) Copyright

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Forest of Whispers by Jennifer Murgia

I'm jazzed to be part of this week's Waiting on Wednesday for Forest of Whispers by Jennifer Murgia.

Title: Forest of Whispers
Author: Jennifer Murgia
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Expected Publication Date: September 9, 2014

Raised by an old fortune-teller within the dark veil of the Bavarian Black Forest, Rune has learned two valuable lessons: only take from the forest that which you can use, and never, never look anyone in the eye in the village. For something terrible happened in the forest long ago... and now, the whispers of a long-dead mother with a vengeful secret have come haunting.

Forced to flee all she has ever known, Rune soon learns of a legacy she is bound to--one that is drenched in fear, witchcraft and murder--a birthright that stretches beyond the grave to the trees where Rune is no longer safe.

Twitter @covercontessa   @SpencerHillP   @JenniferMurgia
All author information an be found at the following link:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Author Blog Hopping

I’ve been invited to be part of a fun blog hop for authors (thank you, J.L. Spelbring for tagging me with these questions!)

What are you currently working on?
I am halfway through writing the first draft of The Burnt Bones, the fourth book in The Adventures of Finn MacCullen (middle grade urban fantasy from Spencer Hill Middle Grade). I also just finished proofing the galley proof to The Stag Lord (adult urban fantasy to be released Dec. 2nd from Spence City.)
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
My settings tend to be more rural or suburban. In fact, I often say I write suburban fantasy. And most of my books focus on a master/apprentice or father/son relationships
Why do you write what you write?
I enjoy urban fantasy because I can mix modern life with histories and mythologies from around the world. My background is anthropology. And Tolkien. Always Tolkien.
How does your individual writing process work?
With some books, I just start writing, and with other books, I outline. But I always make myself write at least 500 to 1000 words a day, no matter what. Writing is a profession and I must show up for work every day. Speaking of which…I better get back to it!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Summer 2014

Wrapping up Summer 2014
(what this writer does to clear the old skull cavity)


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Four Months Until the Release of The Stag Lord

Today is August 2nd. Which means that four months from now, my debut adult novel, The Stag Lord, will be released from Spence City.

Which means I'm in the mood for a giveaway:  $20.00 gift card to Barnes & Noble.

Leave a comment here (about anything - have some fun) and your name goes into a drawing for a $20.00 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a cool antler charm. I will randomly pick a name on Friday, August 8th by noon.

 "Outlander meets Taken"

On the run across America from a vengeful shape-shifter, Bannerman “Bann” Boru has only one thing on his mind: keeping himself and his young son, Cor, alive.

At any cost.

Until he meets Shay Doyle, healer and member of a secret group of immortal Celtic warriors, the Tuatha De Danaan, living in modern-day Colorado. When Cor is injured, Bannerman is forced to accept her help. He quickly realizes that the golden-haired healer is shield-maiden tough and can hold her own on the field of battle with the big boys. And Shay soon discovers that there is more to Bann than meets the eye.

Now, with the shape-shifter Cernunnos teaming up with the local pack of Fir Bolgs (Bronze Age creatures with a nasty taste for children), Bannerman, Shay, her wolf-dog, Max, and the rest of the Doyle clan must figure out how to battle one insane god.

Barnes & Noble