Saturday, February 09, 2013

Glimmering with Pat McDermott

A big thank you to Marva for her hospitality here at The Cellophane Queen today. I'm Pat McDermott, author of romantic action/adventure tales set in an Ireland still ruled by the heirs of High King Brian Boru. These tales began with the Band of Roses Trilogy, but today I’m going to spotlight the prequels, Glancing Through the Glimmer and Autumn Glimmer, two Young Adult sweet romance/adventures rich in Irish myth and packing a hefty wallop of fairy magic.

Don’t let the Young Adult label put you off. Readers of all ages enjoy these books, both of which star two teens: Janet Gleason, the granddaughter of the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, and Prince Liam Boru, the King of Ireland’s son.

In Glancing Through the Glimmer, we find Finvarra, the King of the Connaught Fairies, unfazed by the fact that Ireland’s fairies are dying from lack of mortal belief in them. Finvarra would rather dance than worry—but he must have a mortal dancing partner.

When Janet Gleason’s grandfather becomes the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, the sixteen-year-old orphan must leave Boston and her friends behind. Janet is lonely in Dublin and unused to her grandparents’ stuffy social life. A royal invitation to the Ambassadors’ Ball terrifies her. She can’t even waltz and dreads embarrassment. Finvarra’s fairy witch, Becula, overhears her fervent wish to learn to dance.

Seventeen-year-old Liam Boru loathes the idea of escorting another pampered girl to a ball. In fact, he detests most of his royal duties. He dresses down to move through Dublin unnoticed and lands on his royal backside when Janet crashes into him. He asks to see her again, and she agrees. Unaware of each other’s identities, they meet for a date, but the fairies steal Janet away. Liam’s attempts to find her lead to a showdown with Finvarra in the dungeons of Clontarf Castle.

In this “Glancing” excerpt, Janet visits a Dublin dress shop to try on a gown for the ball. She finds more than a gown in the dressing room:

   Janet looked in the mirror and gasped. The reflection of the old woman she'd nearly knocked down on the street smiled back at her. She turned around. “Hello. I didn't realize you worked here. I'm Janet.”
   “Yes, I know, love. You can call me Nora.” The old-fashioned dress was gone. Nora wore the same black slacks and blouse that seemed to be the uniform in Kincora Designs. She opened her hand.
   The golden necklace she held enchanted Janet. It's old, she thought, so very old. Whoever had made it had woven tiny gold beads into the links. The pendant, three interwoven Celtic triangles, enclosed a glittering blue stone, the same sky blue as the gown she wore—and she'd seen enough of Gram's jewelry to suspect that the gem was real.
   “Is it a sapphire?”
   “It is.” Nora entered the cubicle. “Turn and I'll fix it so you can get an idea how it looks.”
   Janet obeyed, lifting her hair from her neck, bracing herself for the metal's chill against her skin. Its heat surprised her. No doubt it had grown warm in Nora's hand.
   “They say this necklace is magic.” Nora stepped back to the cubicle's entrance. “If you make a wish while wearing it close to your heart, your wish will come true.”
   “Ireland is full of stories like that.”
   A chuckle prefaced Nora's reply. “Yes, I know. It's only a legend, but it wouldn't hurt to try. Who knows? You just might get your wish. I'll be back in a few minutes.”
   The curtain closed. Janet gazed in the mirror. The sapphire had fallen to just the right spot on her chest. If only it really were magic! She'd try anything to avoid looking lame at the ball. Maybe she should wish she didn't have to go. That she could go back to Boston. That her parents were still alive.
   You're sixteen, not six, she thought, sighing at her reflection. Then she smiled. Pushing the pendant to the left, she pressed it hard against her skin and squeezed her eyes shut. “I wish I could dance,” she whispered. “I wish I could two-step. I wish I could one-step. I wish I could waltz like a princess! I wish Wish WISH I could dance!”
   Feeling ditsy, she opened her eyes and glanced around the dressing room. No one could have heard her. No one but the necklace.

* * * * *
In Autumn Glimmer, King Brian invites Janet and her grandparents to Glensheelin, the royal family’s country estate, to celebrate Halloween. In Irish, Glensheelin means the “glen of the fairy pool,” a sentimental old name, or so the mortals think. In fact, a clan of fairies still live beneath Glensheelin’s lake, and every seventh Halloween, a few of them must leave their watery home to fill a magical bag with the flowers their queen requires to keep a hungry monster asleep. This year, Blinn, Mell, and Lewy get the job. Blinn wants to see the mortal king’s house. Lewy wants to taste oatcakes again, and Mell goes along on a tragic ride that leaves poor Lewy lost and alone. Can Liam and Janet help him find the flower bag before the monster awakens? Or will Lewy’s misguided glimmer trap the young mortals forever in the palace beneath the lake?

An “Autumn” excerpt:

   Below the bubble, the water brightened to a lustrous cobalt blue. Stars seemed to shimmer deep in the lake. A forest of vegetation waved on the lake bed. The impossible sight of crystal towers emerged beyond the greenery, and Liam wanted to dance.
   Janet raised a hand to her face. “It’s lovely, but why does it smell so bad?”
   She was right. A nasty whiff of something vile had seeped into the bubble.
   Becula raised her arms. “Hasten!”
   The bubble’s downward speed increased. The stench intensified. Trying to pinpoint its source, Liam scanned the ghostly lake. An amber mist glowed in the inky water beyond the light and seemed to be pursuing them.
   “What is it?” he asked, dreading the answer.
   “The Crogall Cú,” Becula said, her nonchalant tone at odds with the stiffened sags and bags on her face. “When it hunts, its nostrils blow foul vapors to confuse its prey. Fear not, young prince. It shall not harm us.”
   A terrible roar tore through the bubble. Janet yipped and clung to Liam. Squashing his lips to keep from yipping himself, he hugged her to him.
   The mist billowed into to a putrid fog that poured like custard to sully the water. Another roar, much closer this time, jolted the bubble.
   Janet screamed. A blood-red eye as big as an autumn moon stared into the bubble.
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A Little About Me:
I grew up in the Mission Hill section of Boston, Massachusetts. I now live and write in New Hampshire. One of my short stories earned an Honorable Mention for children’s fiction in the 74th Writer’s Digest Annual Writing competition, a boost that encouraged me to keep writing. My Young Adult paranormal adventures, Glancing Through the Glimmer and Autumn Glimmer, are prequels to the more adult “Band of Roses” trilogy, A Band of Roses, Fiery Roses, and Salty Roses.

I am a member of the New Hampshire Writers' Project, Romance Writers of America, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. My favorite non-writing activities include hiking, reading, cooking, and traveling, especially to Ireland.
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Glancing Through the Glimmer / E-book Available from

Autumn Glimmer / E-book Available from