Author Archives: cthomson

Sneak Peek into My Novel-in-Progress

I’ve made you wait a long time. I know. So sorry. I hope to make it up to you from time to time by posting small excerpts. Here is one:

via Flickr GotCredit

From Enya’s Son ©2017 Cindy Thomson

The man’s eyes had been closed, but at those words his lids flickered open. “And has a spirit visited, then? That is why you’ve come here?”

“Aye.” She had no time to explain or wait for explanation. “I want to tell you my dream and I want you to tell me if my baby will die.” The words felt like raw wool on her tongue.

He nodded and she sat beside him and told him the whole thing. “Please, Brother, I must get home before my husband misses me. Tell me what you know.”

To her dismay, he sat in silence. She shifted about, rearranging the folds in her skirt to show her impatience.

“Ah, the time has certainly come, and you are surely a blessed woman.”

She grabbed his collar. “Will my baby die?”

He grinned, showing small, yellowed teeth. “He will die an old man.”

She let out the breath she hadn’t realized she was holding and then dropped her grip on the monk and moved toward the door. “Thank you. Truly, I am most grateful. But I must go.”

He splashed about and wiggled off the edge of the bath, nearly slipping on the wet floor. “But you should know that your life will not be easy. The child, the man, will break your heart and cause you worry.”

She paused with her hand on the door’s latch. “That’s what my mother said I did to her. Perhaps ’tis the lot of all parents.”

“I concur, woman, but none have endured more than you and your child shall. Do not forget this.”

Such a statement should have been delivered with dread. Perhaps he did not believe it because a slight grin crossed his face.

He tossed a wave toward her. “If you must, go. Go with the peace of God.” He returned to the bath and plopped his large feet back in.

Enya hurried outside where she found the stable boy sweeping a walkway. “I must leave at once!”

The startled lad dropped his broom and ran off. Amused, and a bit surprised at the tone of her voice, she picked up the broom and propped it against a tree. The guesthouse door open behind her.

“I must send you with a warning.”

She sighed. Hadn’t he just done so? She folded her hands in front of her and turned to face the monk.

His eyes bulged. The muscles in his neck tightened. “Heed my words, Enya of Mac Naue. No matter that you now live with a new clan. Do not forget ’tis a great burden to be a fifth daughter.”

She thanked him, and rushed off to find her horse. A shiver ran from her spine to her neck. She had the good news she’d come for. Her baby would live and grow to manhood. If Fe were here, he would say to dismiss the old man’s admonition as pure superstition. She put a hand to her beating heart as she ran, telling herself that despite the monk’s urgency, she must give it no heed.

~

Sneak Peek at My Work-in-Progress

Flickr by Seth Sawyers

I get it. Many of you are curious about what I’m writing. You want to get a feel for what the next novel will be like. You’ve probably already heard the title, Enya’s Son. You might even know it’s based on legends and mentions in ancient Irish manuscripts about St. Columba (Columcille) and his mother.

So I thought I might give you a sneak peek. Here it is, beginning with a partial sentence. (Sorry, it’s a screenshot, and besides, I don’t want to reveal too much.) 🙂

 

Today’s Research: Sunrises

Pausing to Research

Quite often as I’m writing, I realize that to describe something I need to better understand it, or even see it. I know some writers do not pause. They just make a note to come back to it later. I’ve learned to accept the fact that I must pause. And so I did today.

YouTube Research

Of course, I’d rather be in Ireland, but since I can’t be today, many times YouTube is the next best thing. I thought you might like to experience it with me, so below is the video that I hope will inspire a good description. I’m on Chapter 23!

NYC Talking Statues

More About Annie Moore

Some of you may remember me talking about the Annie Moore statue at Ellis Island, and that I was asked to write a monologue for her.

Now you can look at this map to find the other 34 statues in NYC that are also talking. If you’re planning a trip or know someone who is, please take a selfie with the statue and send it to me!

The Statue From My Novel

And if you’ve read Grace’s Pictures, you might remember the statue of John Ericsson in Battery Park. Grace pondered the meaning of this statue. If she was there today, the statue itself could tell her that meaning! Now this statue is talking too!

 

 

Festival Recap

How It Began

DIF 2017. Missing: Brenna Briggs, Therese Gilardi, Ben Anderson

First, let me say the people at the Dayton Celtic Festival were very good to me. They stopped by to talk about Ireland and genealogy, and which books of mine they’ve read. They bought a lot of books, and it was my privilege to be able to sign them for folks. They were also good at making St. Brigid’s crosses! Excellent students. 🙂 Heather has worked hard to grow the Cultural Area, and she is a delight.

But the week brought some tough news for no less than five people in various walks of my life: cousins, prayer partners, my son’s National Guard unit (there was a fatal car accident), and one of the festival authors who normally would have been at the Dublin Festival. Really, really tough stuff.

So when I got to the Dublin Festival, I admit I was not in the best of moods. And then our tent looked backwards to us. We were convinced no one would find us this year, and Friday sales were slim.

But, there are some fantastic authors in that tent. Add in some Irish humor from a couple of the new authors, and things got better. As a whole the festival was very good for me, and I hear it was for the other authors as well. The fantastic weather on Saturday brought a ton of people to the festival and at times our tent filled up with book browsers.

I just found out what happens when a writer leaves her computer for a weekend. #connecting… Click To Tweet

The Readers Show Up

Oh, my goodness. I talked to so many interesting people. I can’t begin to describe all the conversations I had, so I’ll just share a few.

This young woman, Rebecca, has become a big fan. She’s read the entire Ellis Island Series, and is currently reading Brigid of Ireland. She picked up Pages of Ireland at the festival. She makes me think I better get a move on with the next novel! She’s so faithful to email me, read my newsletter, and show up at my appearances. It’s for readers like Rebecca that I’ve written these stories.

This is Jessica Krcal. She stopped by because her boss sent her. You see her boss, Lexi, is my friend from my youth group days. And she doesn’t live in Ohio. Neither does Jessica. They are in Virginia. Jessica was visiting family and planned to come to the festival. When Lexi heard that, she said go see my friend Cindy. So she got this photo to show her boss she followed up. 🙂

And I met a young woman named Autumn, who had bought a book last year. I had a nice chat with her and her friend. Turns out Autumn works for a book printer and they do work for Tyndale, one of my publishers!

Another woman popped in to tell me she bought Brigid of Ireland the weekend before in Dayton. She said she enjoyed it and read it in two days!

A few readers who get my newsletter and/or follow me on Facebook stopped by to tell me that. A young woman who was named after St. Brigid decided she must get Brigid of Ireland. I talked to several people about places in Ireland and about their genealogy. I signed a copy of Brigid for a young girl whose mother a few months ago gave birth prematurely. Her dad told us a bit of the struggle that family is having but things are improving and they are coping. Several people told us how very much they love books!

And then these folks stopped by.

Can you see what is on the leash?

Yes, I Did Talk

I had a talk on Saturday titled, Turning Novels Into Novels. I read excerpts from my books. There was a decent size audience and they were attentive, which is always nice. 🙂 On Sunday the group was smaller, but still attentive and even asked some good questions. That topic was The Ancient Books of Ireland, a bit of the research I enjoyed doing that didn’t make it into my novels.

So, Pretty Good!

Even with the bad hair days I had.

I also enjoyed catching up with some vendors I know. I met a new lady too. She makes embroidered designs copied from grave markers in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, and frames them. She told me how she got this inspiration, and how she kept dreaming about these designs until she landed on the idea to make them into wall hangings and then the dreams stopped. She doesn’t want them on clothing. She wants to respect the original intent of the families who erected these markers. She lives here in Ohio.

And Tom and I enjoyed the festival finale before we went home and fell exhausted into our bed. I have since received some emails and Facebook messages from readers, and fun chatter with the authors and Barb, our author’s corner coordinator who is so good to us. Oh, and one more thing I want to mention: The Book Loft!  Julie, Sean, Josh, and Ross, are such nice people not to mention knowledgable about all kinds of books. If you are in Columbus don’t miss visiting the unique book shop, The Book Loft.

Because I Don’t Get Out Much

SharingWriting is by necessity a solitary endeavor. So it’s great to get out and meet the people who will read your books. And connect with friends and family who came to the festival. I’ve heard it said that to write a novel people will want to read, you have to have experiences, which means you can’t stay behind your desk all the time! This time of the summer and fall is my time to do that. Make sure you get my newsletter to find out what else is in store.

Been to any good festivals lately? Tell me about it in the comments.

Today’s Research: Humorous Scribes

What Your Teacher Wasn’t Suppose to Read

I’ve read some of these before, little notes written in margins or on scraps found inside book bindings. I can relate right now to these medieval scribes. See if you can figure out why.

photo by Walters Art Museum Illuminated Manuscripts

Complaints by Medieval Scribes

  • New parchment, bad ink; I say nothing more.

  • This page has not been very slowly written.

  • The parchment is hairy. The ink is thin.

  • Thank God it will soon be dark.

  • Oh, my hand.

  • Now I’ve written the whole thing. For Christ’s sake, give me a drink.

  • Writing is excessive drudgery. It crooks your back, it dims your sight, it twists your stomach and your sides.

  • St. Patrick from Armagh, deliver me from writing.

And my favorite:

  • As the harbor is welcome to the sailor, so is the last line to the scribe.

I’m a long way from the last line right now.

How I Would Rewrite These Scribe Complaints

  • New version of Word crashing. I say nothing more.

  • This page HAS been very slowly written.

  • Laptop battery is dead. The charge is slow.

  • Oh God, why did you create electricity?

  • Oh, my hand. (And wrists, and shoulders, and elbows.)

  • I can’t seem to write the whole thing. Give me a drink!

  • Writing is excessive drudgery. It crooks your back, it dims your sight, it twists your stomach and your sides. (I couldn’t improve on this one!)

  • Oh shopping girlfriend, save me from writing.

  • As the hot tub is welcome to sore muscles, so is the typing of The End to the novelist.

I feel a kinship to these ancient scribes, although my complaints are nearly as charming.