Monday, June 29, 2015

Something old is new again

I'm editing this post (14 July) to add that I received the other half of my pen set today. I decided to invest in the rollerball version of the Dracula pen set, so now I have both.

I'm so excited. The folks at York and Beyond have been very nice to work with...accommodating and friendly beyond words. I highly recommend them to anyone looking for a special gift for someone, even if that someone is yourself! When (notice I didn't say 'if') you order, be sure to tell them I said I love my pens! :-)


Dracula Pen
Vials containing sand from Whitby, and
Silver Sand and earth from the
Carpathian Mountain Region of Romania
near Count Dracula's home.
So, I got this in the post today.

A pen, you say?

Who cares, you say?

What if I were to tell you that this pen has connections to Vlad Țepeș...

Vlad Drăculea...

Vlad the Impaler...

Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia...


Well, it's all true, and I have a certificate of authenticity to prove it!

Signed by the Reverend Canon David W. Smith, Rector of St Mary's Parish Church in Whitby and Ruswarp, England.

The timber used to craft this unique pen is reclaimed from the old church after renovations, and has been certified that the timber felled for the church dates back to the 17th century.
It's real, and I can prove it.

OK, so Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, was alive in the 15th century, but Bram Stoker's Dracula had slightly more recent ties to the church with his creation of Count Dracula, in his work Dracula, published in 1897.

The box contained a great little booklet with history about St Mary's and the connection to Count Dracula of Bram Stoker fame.

It includes some photos and some interesting narrative.

I think just as interesting are the vials of earth and sand included in this nifty box.

Why have they done this?

Well, based on the story, the ship, The Demeter, sailing from Varna to Whitby was full of silver sand for ballast, and several coffins filled with 'mould', or earth.

Whitby, being a coastal community, would have sandy beaches.

So a bit of sand from both countries and Bulgarian earth to represent what was in the coffins.

From Chapter 7:

9 August -- The sequel to the strange arrival of the derelict in the storm last night is almost more startling than the thing itself. It turns out that the schooner is Russian from Varna, and is called the Demeter. She is almost entirely in ballast of silver sand, with only a small amount of cargo, a number of great wooden boxes filled with mould.

From Chapter 8:

For a moment or two I could see nothing, as the shadow of a cloud obscured St Mary’s Church and all around it.

Then as the cloud passed I could see the ruins of the Abbey coming into view; and as the edge of a narrow band of light as sharp as a sword-cut moved along, the church and the churchyard because gradually visible.

Whatever my expectation was, it was not disappointed, for there, on our favourite seat, the silver light of the moon struck a half reclining figure, snowy white.

The coming of the cloud was too quick for me to see much, for shadow shut down on light almost immediately; but it seemed to me as though something dark stood behind the seat where the white figure shone, and bent over it.

What it was, whether man or beast, I could not tell…

Of course, now I want to reread Bram Stoker's Dracula (a free read these days).

How cool would it be to visit Bran Castle (you've got to see this video with the volume up!)?!

And I've only to drive down to Dublin City to see the house at 30 Kildare Street where Stoker lived while writing Dracula.

For anyone interested in buying one of these one of a kind hand crafted pens (they also do ballpoint), just contact York and Beyond, who also sell pens with historic timber from Yorkminster Abbey, and timber felled on the Bronte estate.

From the lid of the presentation box - hand etched and smoked.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Where I live

I'm often asked about my life in Ireland...where I live, and as a writer, where do I research, where do I write, where do I get my ideas... 'Where' being the question.

Where, indeed.

Where I *have* lived since I came to Ireland over 18 years ago have included places like Shankill, Co Dublin; Bray County Wicklow (neighboring towns really on the county line); Douglas and Macroom, both in County Cork; Monasterevin, Co Kildare.

And most recently, and my personal favorite, is Mornington, Co Meath, which is where I currently live, get inspired, and write.

Why is Mornington my favorite place? Well, here's my backyard. Check the video at the end:

Lady Finger Tower (l), Mayden Tower (r), and
the old boat house

Mayden Tower, aka Mornington Tower, is a medieval
lighthouse which protected ships entering the
River Boyne for Drogheda

The mouth of the River Boyne, looking out to the
Irish Sea, and Mayden Tower Lighthouse.

The Spirit of Oysterhaven yacht, entering the River
Boyne and sailing toward Drogheda for the
2015 Maritime Festival. The Lord Mayor of
Drogheda at the helm.

Where the River Boyne meets the Irish Sea.
In the distance, the entrance into Carlingford Lough
and the Mourne Mountains of County Down, Northern Ireland.

The Irish Sea and view to Skerries, Co Dublin
from Mornington Beach.

Poppy (l) and Daisie (r) enjoying paddling in the brackish
waters of the River Boyne.

If this wasn't enough, the surrounding area is pretty stellar too, with places like Newgrange, Trim Castle, Skerries Mills, Hill of Tara, Hill of Slane, the historical port town of Drogheda, and so many others to inspire me.

Part of the novelty for me living on the east coast is the sunrise. Growing up on the Pacific, sunsets were always amazing. I still love them. But a sunrise over the sea is equally fabulous.

Solstice Sunrise - 2014
So...this is my 'where'. Pretty neat, eh?

Where is *your* 'where'?

This is my backyard!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

SALE: One Night in Dublin

Heads up, my lovelies. One Night in Dublin is now on short special through the weekend. Grab this great story for just 99c/99p at all Amazons!

Click here to chose your favorite Amazon site:

And if you send me a review for it, and post it on Amazon, I'll give you one of my other books to say thanks! ;-)