Sunday, November 28, 2021


A book is finished, and I am about to publish it, either as a paperback on Lulu, or as an ebook on Smashwords. What is one of the last steps? The blurb - a brief description of the story, which will hopefully entice people to want to read it. 

In the case of the paperback, some form of the blurb is usually on the back cover of the book, as well as sometimes on the website where it appears. In the case of The Fallen Stones, it was a quote from the beginning of the story with an added descriptive sentence:

"Taliesin sang it, so it must be true. In all the years I knew him, I never heard him lie—though there are ways and ways of dealing with the truth, and a bard must know them all. But he was using none of these on the night when he sang Talhaearn Tad Awen’s death song in Prince Cyndrwyn’s high-roofed wooden hall, with the cold wolf-wind of a bitter winter snuffling round the doors and windows, and frightening the flickering torch-flames which cast his long black shadow, now here, now there, across the smoke-stained walls: across the faces of all of us who listened, and across our lives as well." So begins this fourth book of Gwernin Storyteller's adventures, which will take him and Taliesin to Ireland in a time of conflict between Kings, Christian Saints, and Druids. 

The shorter blurb, which is the one on Amazon and other sites, is more succinct: 

This fourth book in the Storyteller series takes Taliesin and Gwernin to Ireland to attend a wedding as representatives of their princes. In the process, they find themselves in a web of politics and magic, in a time of conflict between Kings, Christian saints, and Druids. Join them as they travel around Ireland in this turbulent period. 

 In the case of The King's Druid, however, things were a little more complicated. The back-cover blurb was again a quotation, although not an exact one:

"That is Tara of the Kings where the High King Muirchertach mac Ercae has his ráth,” said Coirpre, pointing at a hill on the southern skyline.

“I would like to see that someday,” said Fráechán.

"I think you will,” said Coirpre. “In the old days, before Priest Patrick came to Ériu, our kings had Druids among their court advisors. Perhaps one day some king will do so again.”

“That would be a thing to achieve,” said Fráechán slowly, his dark eyes shining. “To be a king’s Druid.”

“It would be indeed,” said Coirpre, and smiled, hearing the imbas in Fráechán’s words.

This works on the book cover, but I think not as well for a descriptive blurb. The long blurb I produced for Smashwords is this:

In the mid-sixth century, one hundred years after St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland, most of the Irish Kings were Christian – at least in name. But Díarmait mac Cerbaill, in his attempt to consolidate his position as High King, had recourse to an older magic. In about 560 A.D., he held the last “Feast of Tara” – the old Pagan sacred wedding of the King with the Goddess of Sovereignty. And at the subsequent battle of Cul Dreimne, the Chronicle of Ireland reports that Fráechán mac Tenusán cast the "druidical fence" over Díarmait’s army. In the event, Díarmait lost that battle due to "the prayers of Colum Cille" (Saint Columba).

But who was Fráechán mac Tenusán, and how did he come to be practicing Druid magic for Díarmait? “The King’s Druid” is his story.

And the shorter one, edited down to the allowable characters:

The Chronicle of Ireland reports that in the mid-sixth century Fráechán mac Tenusán cast the "druidical fence" over the army of High King Díarmait mac Cerbaill at the battle of Cul Dreimne, and that Díarmait lost that battle due to "the prayers of Colum Cille" (Saint Columba). But how could there have been a practicing Druid in the King of Tara's court in the Age of the Saints?

 It's a juggling act.


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