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feel free to explore the Flight Deck and check out my books and website.
Then fasten your seatbelts, sip a glass of something sparkling and let's chat awhile!
I hope you'll stop by again for guest authors and spotlights from time to time.

Beloved Enemy joined Starquest and Children of the Mist to continue the Destiny Trilogy and I'm thrilled to announce was shortlisted for the R.N.A. RoNA Awards 2017, awarded 2nd Runner up in the RONE Awards 2017 and was the winner in the SF/Fantasy category of the 'Best Banter Contest'.

Showing posts with label King Arthur. Show all posts
Showing posts with label King Arthur. Show all posts

Monday, 22 June 2020

Welsh Myths and Legends - the Welsh dragon







Hello again, and if I have any male readers - I hope you had a truly loving and happy Father's Day.
In my series on Welsh myths and legends, the last few weeks have been devoted to mythical legends. It would be very remiss of me not to mention the famous Welsh dragon - Y Graig Goch - which appears on the Welsh flag. (LOL not many countries have a dragon on their flag, do they!)

You might be surprised that it relates to the Arthurian legends.

King Vortigern came to the mountains of Eryri, in Gwynedd. On the summit of one of these, which was then called Dinas Ffaraon, he decided to build a fortress.

Then the king sent for artificers, carpenters, and stonemasons, and collected all the materials for building. In the night, however,they all disappeared. Materials were procured from all parts a second time, but a second time they disappeared in the night. A third time everything was brought together for building, but by morning again not a trace of them remained.

Vortigern called his wise men together and they told him he must find a child born without a father, put him to death, and sprinkle with his blood the ground on which the citadel was to be built.

The king thought the advice of his wise men was good and sent messengers throughout Britain in search of a child born without a father.When they eventually found one, they took him to Vortigern the king.

The boy asked why he had been brought before the king and when they told him he was to be sacrificed to enable Vortigern to build a fortress, he told the king his wise men were wrong and that there was a pool beneath the ground where they were trying to build. In the pool were two vases and in the vases a tent.  in the tent were two sleeping dragons, one white and one red.

The dragons fought each other, and the eventually the red one won the battle and drove the white one away.

The boy told the king and his wise men that the pool was the emblem of this world, and the tent that of Vortigern's kingdom. The red dragon was the king's, but the white serpent was the dragon of the Saxons,  At length, however, his people would rise and drive the Saxon race beyond the sea. But he must seek another place to build his citadel.

The boy's life was spared. He became famous as the great magician Myrddin Emrys , or Myrddin ab Morfryn (Merlin, as he is called in English), and the mountain on which he proved his mighty power was called  Dinas Emrys instead of Dinas Ffaraon.  Thereafter the red dragon became the symbol of Wales and portrayed on the Welsh flag.




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Monday, 27 April 2020

The legend of Merlin's Oak

Happy Monday, my lovelies, I hope today finds you well and safe, and not too frustrated by 'lock-down.'

As promised, I thought I'd tell you about Merlin's Oak, which stood in the centre of Carmarthen town. (I was lucky enough to see the remains of it before it was removed.)

(Not this one, but one very much like it!)
Legend has it that King Arthur’s famous wizard placed a protective curse on the tree. The wizard said Carmarthen would 'drown' if the oak was ever removed. Some folk said a curious, pointed notch in the tree was the face of Merlin himself.

Sadly, in the 1850s, a local vicar, who objected to young people courting beneath it, but its trunk was preserved within iron railings. In the year 1951, a branch was broken off of the tree and it lies now in the Carmarthen Museum. It was  removed from the town when someone set it on fire at the end of the 1970s.

Carmarthen then suffered its worst floods for many years. In 1978, the last remaining fragments  of the tree-stump were  placed in Carmarthen’s Civic Hall.

Google Images

(The name Myrddin is  the second element of the place-name Caerfyrddin, the Welsh name for Carmarthen) and I'm happy to say Carmarthen is still standing, indeed flourishing, despite the floods that caused so much devastation.)

However, in a way,  Merlin’s Oak is back in Carmarthen, the town which he said would fall “when Merlin’s Tree shall tumble down”.

A Cambridge-born sculptor, living in Wales, bought a 500 year old oak which had been felled in Carmarthen to make way for a new superstore. The sculpture is one of the centrepieces of a spectacular  town centre shopping development called Merlin’s Walk.

Before the carving began, Mr Hedger,said: “The townspeople of Carmarthen will breathe easier whenMerlin’s Oak is back in the town centre.“We will have an oak which definitely has Merlin inside it – back where he belongs.”

The statue of Merlin is adorned with the symbols of nature and the Celtic religion that for him was a way of life.

"From his twisted honeysuckle beard that falls from his smiling face which holds his bardic wisdom. On his left shoulder sits the dragon of nature's temptation and in his hand the three sticks and a
rope with thirteen knots; a druids measuring kit, in the other, a bag of healing herbs from the garden of your imagination. The feathered horn of the orax hangs on his shoulder, whilst the La Tène torc is tied to his belt.

Embroidered on his back is the story of Blodeuwedd, for in the day the eye of the owl is the open flower but at night blodeuwedd is the owl. Ortywyllwch Ir goleuni, from the darkness into the light, as meant in Welsh, to be inspired. These are the words that are carved into the trunk of Myrddin. Where the three spirals ripple from the water source, you can run your finger through the journey of life to the labyrinth."




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Monday, 6 April 2020

More Legends and Ghost stories of Old Wales


PWLL-Y-WRACH - THE WITCHES' POOL

Pwlch-y-Wrach
There is a pool hidden from the road among a copse on the top of Flint Mountain, in Flint North Wales. The pool is so small that travellers would not give it a second glance. But this was not always so. In days gone by Flint Mountain was a bare and desolate place and the pool was known as Pwll-y-Wrach, the Hags' Pool or the Witches' Pool, the place where the ellyllon (as the Welsh call goblins) would congregate, and thus a place where humans would stay well clear of, especially after dark.

In 1852 John Roberts a farm labourer paid an unexpected visit to Pwll-y-Wrach. It was a cold winter's morning and John was setting out to work when he found a youth blocking his path. With a harmless gesture he made to pass the youth but all of a sudden a force propelled him through the air. He landed face down above Pwll-y-Wrach, and the force held him there despite John's best efforts to free himself. He struggled for what seemed a lifetime, but in fact was just a few short minutes, until at the sound of a cock crow he was released. The ellyll, still disguised as a youth, stood astride him and warned. " When the cuckoo sings it's first note on Flint Mountain I shall come again to fetch you".

John got to his feet and stumbled back home, shaken but otherwise unhurt.

The following May John Roberts died. He had been repairing a wall at Pen-y-glyn on Flint Mountain when it collapsed and crushed him. A lady who witnessed the accident said a cuckoo came to land on a nearby tree just as it happened. When the body of John Roberts was being returned to his home the cuckoo followed, singing from tree to tree all the way to the front door.

Cadair Idris
Last week I told you about the Cŵn Annwn whose hunting grounds include the mountan of Cadair Idris.

Several Welsh legends state  that  King Arthur made his kingdom there, hence the name Cadair Idris: or the Seat of Idris. Being Welsh, of course I  myself subscribe to this theory!  Merlin was supposedly born in Carmarthen, West Wales, and his connection with the area forms the background for my fantasy novella Dancing With Fate , which also features not only the Ellylldan, or fire goblins, but a Greek Muse! 
 (I hope I've aroused your curiosity as to how she fits into my take on Welsh folklore, and that  you've enjoyed some of the myths and legends of my beloved homeland.)You can download Dancing With Fate for FREE at Smashwords, until 20th April 2020. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/53249

 Next week I'll tell you about Merlin's Oak, in Carmarthen. It's not exactly a ghost story, but it is interesting - and some of it, at least, is true.

and finally...
FREE AUDIOBOOKS
 If you're at a loose end in these strange and rather scary times, there are so many great books out there to be read, try a new author. If you'd like to listen to a book rather than read it, You can get my Destiny Trilogy for FREE.



GET YOUR FREE CODES NOW:
Starquest: https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.php?BOOK_ID=2735
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Sunday, 22 March 2020

Welsh Legends - Ghosts of old Wales

 Hi everyone - hope you're keeping safe. If you're in enforced social distancing and feeling at a bit of a loss, how about a couple of old Welsh ghost stories to take your mind off the current weird and rather scary situation.

THE GHOST OF TY FELIN
An exciseman, overtaken by night, went to a house called Ty Felin, (Yellow House) in the parish of Llanynys, and asked for lodgings.  Unfortunately the house was a very small one, containing only
two bedrooms, and one of these was haunted; consequently no one dared sleep in it.  After a while, however, the stranger induced the master to allow him to sleep in this haunted room. He had not been there long before a ghost entered the room in the shape of a travelling Jew and walked around the room.  The exciseman tried to catch him and gave chase, but he lost sight of the Jew in the yard.  He had scarcely entered the room, a second time, when he again saw the ghost.  He chased him once more and lost sight of him in the same place.  The third time he followed the ghost, he made a mark on the yard where the ghost vanished and went to rest, and was not disturbed again.

The next day, the exciseman got up early and went away, but, before long, he returned to Ty Felin accompanied by a policeman, whom he requested to dig in the place where his mark was.  This was done and underneath a superficial covering, a deep well was discovered, and in it a corpse.

Under interrogation, the tenant of the house, confessed that a travelling Jew, selling jewelery and such items, once lodged with him, and that he had murdered him and cast his body in the well.


BLACK DOGS AND ARTHUR'S SEAT
In Welsh mythology and folklore, Cŵn Annwn" hounds of Annwn") were the spectral hounds of Annwn, the otherworld of Welsh myth. They were associated with a form of the Wild Hunt, presided over by Gwynn ap Nudd. Christians came to dub these mythical creatures as "The Hounds of Hell" or
"Dogs of Hell" and theorised they were therefore owned by Satan. However, the Annwn of medieval Welsh tradition is an otherworldly paradise and not a hell, or abode of dead souls.

They were associated with migrating geese, supposedly because their honking in the night is reminiscent of barking dogs
Cadair Idris at night

The Cŵn Annwn also came to be regarded as the escorts of souls on their journey to the Otherworld.
The hounds are sometimes accompanied by a fearsome hag called Mallt-y-Nos, "Matilda of the Night". An alternative name in Welsh folklore is Cŵn Mamau ("Hounds of the Mothers").

Hunting grounds for the Cŵn Annwn are said to include the mountain of  Cadair Idris, where it is believed "the howling of these huge dogs foretold death to anyone who heard them.The locals claim that the mountain is haunted, and that anyone who spends the night on top of Cadair Idris will wake up either a madman or a poet. Different legends surround the mountain and one of the earliest claims that the giant Idris lived there. Three large stones rest at the foot of the mountain, and legend says that Idris got angry once and kicked them, sending them rolling down the mountainside.  

Other Welsh legends state, however, that Arthur made his kingdom there, hence the name Cadair Idris: or the Seat of Idris.

Join me next week for some more old Welsh ghost stories.


For insider news and subscriber-only info, subscribe to my occasional Newsletter. I promise not to spam and your in-box will only see an email from me every 3 or 4 months or so - unless of course I have something really Newsworthy to share! I also promise that I never have and never will share your information or email address with anyone or any organisation.  http://madmimi.com/signups/196357/join

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court by Kim Iverson Headlee - Spotlight and #Giveaway



King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court
by
Kim Iverson Headlee
Genre: SF Time Travel Fantasy

How sick are you of US politics? How doomed is the world because of who has claimed the Oval Office throne—er, chair?

Refresh your spirit by laughing along with what Mark Twain might have written about today’s political falderal.

Solidly entertaining.” —Publishers Weekly

WINNER 2016 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Medal for Science Fiction & Fantasy.

Morgan le Fay, sixth-century Queen of Gore and the only major character not killed off by Mark Twain in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, vows revenge upon the Yankee Hank Morgan. She casts a spell to take her to 1879 Connecticut so she may waylay Sir Boss before he can travel back in time to destroy her world. But the spell misses by 300 miles and 200 years, landing her in the Washington, D.C., of 2079, replete with flying limousines, hovering office buildings, virtual reality television, and sundry other technological marvels.

Whatever is a time-displaced queen of magic and minions to do? Why, rebuild her kingdom, of course—two kingdoms, in fact: as Campaign Boss for the reelection of American President MaloryBeckham Hinton, and as owner of the London Knights world-champion baseball franchise.
Written as though by the old master himself, King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court by Mark Twain as channeled by Kim Iverson Headlee offers laughs, love, and a candid look at American society, popular culture, politics, baseball… and the human heart.

Mark Twain began work on A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court in 1879—the same year the Yankee Hank Morgan departed for his sojourn in sixth-century Britain. The first edition was published in 1889 and features more than 200 illustrations by the man who later would become founder of the Boy Scouts of America, Daniel Carter Beard. These illustrations are now in the public domain, and a handful have been incorporated into King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court as
an artistic homage to this classic edition of the first time travel story in all literature.

  **On Sale for only 99 cents!!**



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Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife.
People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins--the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-twentieth century--seem to be sticking around for a while yet.

Kim has been a published novelist since 1999 with the first edition of Dawnflight (Sonnet Books, Simon & Schuster) and has been studying the Arthurian legends for nigh on half a century.







Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive content and a giveaway!



For insider news and subscriber-only info, subscribe to my occasional Newsletter. I promise not to spam and your in-box will only see an email from me every 3 or 4 months or so - unless of course I have something really Newsworthy to share! I also promise that I never have and never will share your information or email address with anyone or any organisation.  http://madmimi.com/signups/196357/join

Friday, 22 April 2016

Kings Ransom Review Spotlight, #Giveaway and Review

Young Knights - Banner (New)

BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom AUTHOR – Cheryl Carpinello GENRE – Middle Grade Arthurian Legend PUBLICATION DATE – 2016/2012 LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 120 Pages PUBLISHER – Beyond Today Educator COVER ARTIST – Kaytalin Platt

Young Knights - Cover

BOOK SYNOPSIS

Answer the hero's call to Adventure with the Young Knights of the Round Table on their Quest.

Three friends. Three quests. Three mysterious predictions.

In medieval Wales, eleven-year-old Prince Gavin, thirteen-year-old orphan Philip, and fifteen-year-old blacksmith's apprentice Bryan are brought together in friendship by one they call the Wild Man. When an advisor to the king is killed and a jewelled medallion is stolen from the king's treasury, the Wild Man is accused of the theft and murder. Filled with disbelief at the arrest of the Wild Man, the three friends embark upon a knight's quest to save their friend's life. To succeed, the three must confront their fears and insecurities, and one of them will have to disclose the biggest secret of all. Join Gavin, Philip, and Bryan on their quest and share the adventures that await them in the land of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

My Review

This is an excellent young adult adventure which I really enjoyed.The three main characters are very well drawn and it is easy to relate to them and their various personalities, and while they each come from different backgrounds, their bond of friendship is strong and enduring.  A tale of loyalty and courage, set in medieval Wales in the time of King Arthur, i was immediately drawn into the story. Being from Wales myself, and steeped in both Celtic and Arthurian legend I found nothing that drew me out of the story and it kept me turning the pages. There is a great  double twist at the end, involving two of the major characters, and I really didn't see it coming.  This is not only a wonderfully told adventure story for young people, but one that I can imagine would fire their imagination and create a lasting interest in reading and history.  I can thoroughly recommend 'Kings Ransome for boys and girls of all ages, as well as young at heart adults.

Young Knights - Full Wrap

EXCERPT

Prince Gavin
Gavin’s gaze was drawn back to the castle’s battle-scarred walls and the heavily armed guards. The evil emanating from the structure surrounded and held him captive, like a lone deer surrounded by hungry wolves in the dead of winter, unable to move, its eyes glassy with fear, its limbs frozen by the hypnotic gleam of the wolves’ yellow eyes. Even knowing its life was ending, the deer wouldn’t break and run. So Gavin sat frozen in front of the castle. 
The enormity of his quest enveloped Gavin and he sighed. Continuing on meant he might save the Wild Man, but he might put himself in danger as well. King Edward was his father’s enemy and possibly responsible for Aldred’s murder. If Gavin were caught, Edward wouldn’t treat him kindly. The young prince summoned his courage and focused on the Wild Man. It had seemed so simple last night in the company of Bryan and Philip.
Philip
“I’ll be lucky if I ever get to the top. I need another lightning strike,” he muttered. He pushed himself upward. It took several more minutes and more backward progress before his wish for lightning was fulfilled. With the few seconds of illumination it provided, P

hilip spied a trail to the left leading to the top. He made his way over and was rewarded with firmer footing provided by the rocks imbedded in the dirt. He made it to the top in half the time it had taken him to get to the trail. 
At the peak, the relentless wind nearly toppled him. But Philip had too much at stake to be defeated. He hauled himself into the full brunt of the storm. Out to sea, the whitecaps rose and fell like his chest. His breathing, like the waves, was choppy and erratic. Philip stepped back from the cliff’s edge and looked around. A blast of white light flashed across the sky, revealing a small cave to the right. There was no sign of Dunham. For a moment, Philip gave into panic. Maybe the murderer had already been here, contacted the ship, and gone.
Bryan
He rode hard, not sparing his horse. It was in his hands now. His failure would mean the Wild Man would die along with his dream of becoming a knight. After crossing the Western Cleddan River twice and using the main roads, he avoided the mayhem left by the storm, and rode into the quiet village of Fishguard early that evening. The fishermen were likely already asleep. They would be up before dawn and the work of hauling in loaded nets was grueling. Only the tavern where he stopped to purchase cheese and bread showed any activity. On his way to Strumble Head, he ate and washed it down with the water he had packed. 
He reached the Head at around eleven o’clock as the night was at its darkest. Only a sliver of moonlight forced its way through the clouds. It provided minimal light, but it was enough. He tied the grey in a stand of scrub well away from the trail, grabbed his sword, and walked to the point of the Head. The beach was deserted. His gaze swept the sea. Nothing.


AUTHOR BIO

Author Photo
I am a retired high school English teacher. A devourer of books growing up, my profession introduced me to writings and authors from times long past. Through my studies and teaching, I fell in love with the Ancient and Medieval Worlds. Now, I hope to inspire young readers and those young-at-heart to read more through my Quest Books set in these worlds.
Also please visit my other sites: Carpinello’s Writing Pages where I interview Childrens/Tween/MG/YA authors; and The Quest Books where I’ve teamed up with Fiona Ingram from South Africa and Wendy Leighton-Porter of Abu Dhabi to enable readers to find our Ancient and Medieval quest books in one place.

AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS


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Monday, 25 August 2014

Monday's Welsh legend - King Arthur in Wales

Although all corners of the British Isles, lay claim to King Arthur and his knights, they regularly appear in Welsh mythology and folklore and I, for one, believe him to have been Welsh. (Naturally :) ) Sites throughout Wales are connected with the mighty king and Merlyn his magician - Myrddin ab Morfryn as he is know  in the Principality. (and who features in my Welsh historical fantasy 'Dancing With Fate')

The County Library at Mold is home to the world’s largest collection of books on Arthur, comprising nearly 2,000 volumes.

Arthur’s fame lives on in everyday place names. Caerfyrddin, (Carmarthen) a town in mid west Wales, is believed to  be Merlin’s birthplace, and is named after him. (The name means The fortress of Merlin) There’s Maes-y-Camlan or Camlan Field; Bryn y Cleifion (Hill of the Wounded) which marks the area where the casualties may have been laid and Nant-y-Saeson (Stream of the Saxons) is reputed to be where Arthur's enemies pitched camp. These place are centuries old. The name Arthur comes from the same root as the Welsh word ‘arth’, meaning bear.

He is also supposed to have fought his last battle at Bwlch y Saethau - the Pass of Arrows - which is below the summit of Snowdon and the lake into which Arthur’s sword Excalibur was thrown after his death, according to legends, is called Llyn Llydaw.


Arthur’s Stone stands on the Gowar Peninsular and is said to be a ‘pebble’ that he removed from his boot on his way to the battle of Camlan in AD 539. He threw the stone over his shoulder and it landed seven miles away on Cefn Bryn Common near Reynoldston.

Arthur is said to be buried in the Preseli Mountains, in Pembrokeshire and it is rumoured that if you listen long enough, you can hear him groaning.

File:Site of Old Oak, Carmarthen.jpgMerlin’s Oak stood in the centre of Carmarthen,  and according to legend, the  famous wizard placed a protective curse on it – until it was poisoned, leaving only a stump. The legend said Carmarthen would 'drown' if the oak was ever removed, and some folk even said a curious, pointed notch in the tree was the face of Merlin himself. Sadly, the tree was poisoned in the 1850s by a local parson, who objected to young lovers meeting beneath it, and to the noise made by people holding meetings there, but its trunk was preserved within iron railings.
Merlin's Walk, Carmarthen
 Giving my age away,  I am glad to be able to say that I actually saw that stump, all that was left of the magnificent oak, shortly before it was removed, when someone set it on fire at the end of the 1970s.

Carmarthen then suffered its worst floods for many years. It was later replaced by a young tree on the site of the old one, and there is also a wooden statue of Merlin in one of the Carmarthen streets.


These are just some of the connections King Arthur and Merlin have with Wales, and the Holy Grail, (sometimes known as the Nanteos Cup, which his knights went in search of, is said to have been taken to  the monastory at Strata Florida,where it was guarded by the monks before being taken to Nanteos, a mansion just outside Aberystwyth.  I've seen the grail myself too (or what was left of it) but that's another story.


What do you think?  Is there enough evidence that Arthur and Merlin were Welsh, or do you have another theory?