Friday, November 29, 2013

What's In a Name: Traditional #Irish Naming Patterns

            Traditional Irish Naming Patterns

             Sherlock turned in her direction, picking up his coat from the floor. “He is my friend.”
            “Liar, he’s Bailey’s best friend which makes him a threat to you and your family.”
            “I am trying the best that I can to protect you!”
            “Liar! You’re trying the best you can not to stir the pot because your so scared of Bailey you won’t do anything to turn against him. Sherlock, you’re the elder brother! That’s why you carry your grandfather’s name not Bailey. You have always acted like the youngest. When are you going to stop being so scared of Bailey and act like the man you really are, the heir of Kilmore!”
            “I’m the heir of nothing. Haven’t you heard, Mary, it’s illegal to be Irish in Ireland?”
                                                                           From Kathleen's Revenge by Allison Bruning

The RJ Mecredy Family Xmas 1901

Welcome back to my blog. The last time we spoke about Ireland I had introduced you to the white slave trade that occurred from the 15th through the 18th centuries. You can read more about that here: 

Have you ever wondered why a certain name drops down from generation to generation while other names seem to disappear? Naming patterns have a lot to do with that. A naming pattern is the traditional way a culture names their children. While a naming pattern is the norm for any given culture some parents do not always follow the naming patterns. For example, Countess Kathleen Turner and Countess Calico Collins in Bailey's Revenge were not named using the traditional naming pattern but their older brothers, Sherlock and Bailey, were. Every culture has their own naming patterns and this blog would be too long if we discussed them all. 

The traditional Irish family followed this naming pattern:

  • First born son named after his father's father
  • Second born son named after his mother's father
  • Third born son named after his father
  • Fourth born son named after his father's oldest brother
  • Fifth born son named after his father's 2nd oldest brother or his mother's oldest brother

  • First born daughter named after her mother's mother
  • Second born daughter named after her father's mother
  • Third born daughter named after her mother
  • Fourth born daughter named after her mother's oldest sister
  • Fifth born daughter named after her mother's 2nd oldest sister or her father's oldest sister

So if you look at this pattern and the passage I gave you from my new book you will see that Sherlock's grandfather was named Sherlock. Bailey was named after his mother's father. When Countess Kathleen  Turner and Countess Calico Collins were born their parents did not follow this pattern. I will not tell you why they carry the names they do. You will have to read the book.

How is that Calico from the series Children of the Shawnee carries the same name as Kathleen's sister? Because when Kathleen's daughter, Anne, gave birth to her twins she did followed the traditional Irish naming pattern for Calico but not with Rose. Although Kathleen was alive throughout her daughter's childhood, Anne had a horrible relationship with her mother. She had more of a  mother-daughter bond with Kathleen's sister. In honor of that relationship she named her first born daughter after the woman she considered her mother, the Countess Calico Collins. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

#Thanksgiving: In Search of The Truth

Today, Americans throughout the world will be feasting, watching football, spending time with their family and giving thanks. Thanksgiving is a time of personal mediation upon the blessings we have been given this year. Times are rough but so were the times in which the pilgrims lived.

Americans often imagine the Pilgrims as stoic, overly religious, and pacifists. Most of the stories we tell of about them are myths and if the woman in the picture was alive today she wouldn't recognize the image we often like to portray as her people. Notice the colors she is wearing? The pilgrims did not dress in only black and white. This is a very accurate picture of a pilgrim. Remember the buckles on their shoes? Well they didn't wear those, either.


In order to answer that question we must travel further back in time to when King Henry VIII (reigned 1509-1547) ruled England. The national religion of England had been Catholic until 1534, when the king replaced his newly created, Church of England, as the new national religion. Under his decree, every English citizen had to abandon their Catholic faith and become Anglicans. King Henry VIII's daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, finished what her father had begun. The king and his daughter had transformed the faith but there were many skeptics of the new found religion. Many of the skeptics felt the new religion kept the same rigid practices of the Roman Catholic faith. They wanted to return to the way the early Christians had worshipped. This group became the Puritans. The Puritans would establish their own colonies in the New World during the 17th century in what is now known as New England.  

Another group of religious reformers were the Separatists. They were considered very radical for their time.  The Separatists didn't want to reform the church. They only sought for worship to be conducted in smaller congregational groupings. The Pilgrims were one of many separatists. It was very dangerous for anyone to join these groups because it was illegal to leave the Church of England. England was a very dangerous place for the Pilgrims. They were arrested, fined or imprisoned. When life became too difficult they decided to move their entire congregation to Holland.

The Pilgrims had been able to freely practice their religion in Holland  for twelve years. The long stay in the Netherlands had taken its toll on them. Their children had abandoned their English culture for a Dutch identity. The Pilgrims felt if they remained in Holland they would lose their English identity and they did not agree with the Dutch's loose morals. You can read more about their journey to the New World at


The first thanksgiving feast was actually a harvest celebration in the Fall of 1621. The pilgrims had  .Native Americans had been hosting thanksgiving feasts long before the English had ever landed on their shores and many of the English explorers had taken note of their celebrations. While the Wampanoag had viewed the feast as a time to give thanksgiving to the creator for the bountiful harvest. The Pilgrims ,on the other hand, believed giving thanks to God was a solemn act that could only be devoted in a time of worship. Thus, they did not view the feast as a Thanksgiving like their Native American counterparts did.
invited Squanto and the Pokanoket Wampanoag leader,  Massasoit.  Massasoit brought 90 of his men to the celebration. Squanto acted as their interpreter. You can learn more about his life at

We rarely hear the side of the story from the Native Americans. Here is an account of the First Thanksgiving by the Wampanoag people.

The Native Americans were very familiar with the English before the Pilgrims had landed. The English had been raiding, kidnapping and raping Native Americans up and down the American East Coast long before the Pilgrims had landed. Infectious diseases such as Measles and Chicken Pox often destroyed villages soon after the English had left. The Native Americans had quickly learned not to trust the English, although some groups still wanted a peaceful relationship with the English. The pilgrims enjoyed a close relationship with the Wampanoag Nation until Massasoit died forty years later. Massasoit was a good leader who had forged many influential treaties with the English that had protected his people.

Want to learn more interesting facts about Thanksgiving? Check out this link.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I'm a #NaNoWriMo Winner!

It was a lot of hard work and ignoring people but I finally did it. I finished Bailey's Revenge. I am very excited about my next book. It takes place in 1738 Ireland and is the beginning of my Turner Family Saga. Some of my readers have already read Calico and have requested that I tell the back story of her parents. Well Bailey's Revenge is the story of Kathleen McGillpatrick and Isaac Turner. They are the parents of Alexander and Anna Turner. Anna Turner is Calico's mother.

Kathleen McGillpatrick is an Irish Catholic noble who is thrust into a marriage with English Anglican Earl Isaac Turner. Both have fallen madly in love with each other. There is only one problem. Their people hate each other and both their leaders expect them to be loyal to their own cause. Family drama, romance, politics, it's all there with plenty of plot twists and surprises.

Bailey's Revenge is scheduled to be released the first week of January by Mountain Springs House.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

In Tribute To One of My Heroes: Mr. Syd Field @fieldink #Iamwriting #author #screenwriter


If you don't know who Syd Field is then you probably aren't a screenwriter. As many of you know I am a screenwriter, author and blogger. I have to write. The words flow out of me like water from a fountain. I have always loved to write and tell stories since I was a child. My mother introduced me to Syd Field when I was in high school when she bought one of his books for me. I studied that book inside and out. I used it so much it eventually fell apart.

Syd Field was born on December 19, 1935 in Hollywood, California. The California native wrote several screenplays and television shows. He was a very talented writer who decided to teach the next generation of writers the secrets to his success. His methods revolutionized the screenwriting community. In fact, his books are taught in several film schools throughout the world. Why? Because his methods work.

Syd Field taught screenplays should be written utilizing a three act structure. Within these three acts are pivotal plot points that keep your audience interested in your story. These plot points raise the stakes every time your character comes across them. Syd Field created a paradigm where the writer can lay their story down and then work from that structure as they write. I have not only used this method in my screenplays but also with my novels.

Here's a music video I wrote for Highland Reign that I used Syd Field's Paradigm on.

Syd Field's books include:

  • Screenplay (1979)
  • The Screenwriter's Workbook (1984)
  • Selling a Screenplay: The Screenwriter's Guide to Hollywood (1989)
  • Four Screenplays: Studies in the American Screenplay (1994)
  • The Screenwriter's Problem Solver: How To Recognize, Identify, and Define Screenwriting Problems (1998)
  • Going to the Movies: A Personal Journey Through Four Decades of Modern Film (2001)
  • The Definitive Guide to Screenwriting (2003)

If you haven't read any of his books I would suggest you start with The Screenwriter's Workbook. All of his books have been updated. 

You can learn more about Syd Field on his website at

Monday, November 18, 2013

#Irish #Slavery: White Slavery in the Colonies #history #Ireland #Iamwriting

"He (Isaac Turner) was going to take care of the rebel leaders once and for all. Irish law required political prisoners to be sold English families in the American colonies and in West Indies as slaves. He had the perfect buyer for Alexander McGillpatrick and his sons." - Kathleen's Revenge by Allison Bruning

Irish Slave Trade

It's something we don't learn about in our history books. We have grand visions of colonists who came to American with visions of starting over. Yet little do you hear about the colonists who had been forcibly removed from their homes and shipped to the colonies as indentured servants. Indentured servitude is just a nice way of saying white slavery. But to understand how and why the Irish were forced into slavery you must understand the back story of it all. 

Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries was a very dangerous place to live if you had been born Irish. The conflict between the English and Irish began when King John became the first Lord of Ireland. He visited the island twice (1185 and 1210) and convinced many of the Irish kings to swear their allegiance to his reign. Ireland had a long history of defending their lands against outsiders who wanted to control their island. Some of the Irish nobles had deemed King John an outsider and wanted nothing to do with him while others believed it was best to swear their fidelity to the English intruder in an effort to maintain peace.

Conflict on between the Irish and English nobles continued for over 100 years. In 1348, the Black Death came to the island killing more English and Normans than Irish. At the end of the plague, the Irish culture and language once again dominated the island. By the end of the 15th century, England had almost forgotten about the island as their attention was now focused on the War of the Roses.

In 1536, King Henry VIII decided to turn English eyes back on Ireland. He spent years trying to place control of the island under the English crown yet he would not live to see the fruit of his labor. The reconquest of Ireland eventually happened during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth the I and King James. 

The English greatly dehumanized the Irish claiming the Irish were savages. The practice of dehumanizing the Irish continued overseas in the colonies well into the 20th century. The Irish Slave Trade began under the rule of King James II with his Proclamation of 1625. He declared all Irish political prisoners be sent overseas and sold to English settlers in the West Indies. 30,000 Irish were forcibly removed from their homes and sold as slaves in Barbados. The English crown gave Oliver Cromwell free reign to gather undesirable Irish and sell them overseas. Ireland soon became the place for merchants to obtain white slaves. He rounded up the Catholics and shipped them as slaves to the Caribbean, mainly Barbados. In 1656, Cromwell gathered 2,000 Irish children and sold them to merchants and English settlers in Jamaica. From 1641 to 1652, over 300,000 Irish were sold as slaves. In one single decade, Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000. 

The Caribbean wasn't the only place the Irish were forced into servitude. Irish slaves were also found in the American colonies. Ireland soon became the place for merchants to obtain slaves because Irish slaves were less expensive to obtain than African slaves.  

The Irish Slave Trade lasted from the 15th through the 18th century. You can learn more about the Irish Slave Trade from this site

Sunday, November 17, 2013

#IndieLife: Surviving The Book Reviews



Let's face it. I have a love - hate relationship with book reviews. Most authors do. Book reviews are very important in the literary world because they can either attract or detract your readers from buying your book. Anyone working in the literary world knows this and sometimes if you have made an enemy of a book reviewer or other author they will use this against you. It has happened to me several times. I had a woman who faked eight accounts on Amazon and posted one star reviews on my book, Calico, because she was upset with me. I have had two reviewers who know me, praised my book, then posted two one star reviews on Calico. Then there was the other author who posted a one star account on my book because "he wanted to help me gain readers."

Now was I insulted by these people? Yes. Did I react? No.

I know you're in shock. Let me tell you some secrets about handling those dreaded one and two star reviews.

1) NEVER respond to any reviews whether you are given a positive or negative review. 
If you respond to a review it will backfire on you. Readers do not want to pick up a book from an author who criticizes book reviews. They take it as if you will criticize them if you do this and will not feel comfortable with leaving their honest opinion about your book.

Good reviewers will always inform the author they are about to post a low star on book. I've known reviewers who will never post lower than a three star if they don't like your book. It just all depends on the reviewer. A professional reviewer knows the importance of the review rating. The general public, not so much.

2) Be mindful of who you give your book to
When choosing book reviewer for your book you need to chose someone who enjoys reading your genre and the sub genre you wrote in. For example: Although I write historical fiction people who read Elsa may not want to read Calico, even though they are both historical fiction. Calico is written in the voice of the Shawnee people. It's violent and contains sex, rape, molestation. It also takes place in the 18th century. Elsa on the other hand is written in a white woman's voice and deal with mental illness. It takes place in the early 20th century. It has no rape, some sex and no molestation.

Whenever I come across a reviewer who is interested in reviewing my books I let them know about the differences in my books right away. If the reviewer still wants to review one of my book I let them. Now this doesn't always work because I had told this to a reviewer and she still posted a one star review on Amazon warning everyone there was rape, molestation and sex in my book. So you just have to be careful with your reviewers.

3) Negative reviews also generate traffic
This was a hard lesson for me to learn. Just because someone has posted a negative review on Amazon it doesn't always mean it will slow your sales. The more people are talking about your book the more attention it will draw towards your book. People like to read what others are talking about. That's why social media and reviews are so important.

4) It's all about balance.
A book that has ten reviews or more on it will gain more attention from readers and Amazon. Yet you don't want all 5 stars. You want balance. Readers will not read a book that has all one stars. It just won't work. You want your reviews to have a mix of all the stars with most of your ratings in the five stars. For example, here's the rating I have on Amazon for Calico.
Calico has been released for five years and I have three editions of the book. The people who most respond favorably to my novel are those who either Native American or are interested in Native American culture. People want to read this book because I have eighteen five star and nine four star reviews.

5) NEVER buy your reviews
You may be tempted to stock pile your reviews so you can get a lot of favorable reviews. Don't do this. Your readers aren't stupid. They can tell when authors buy reviews. Readers want to read authentic reviews by other readers not other authors.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

#ISWG: Perfectionism - A Killer For #NaNoWriMo

This just in!

Another manuscript has been murdered.

The killer has been identified and is still at large. 

So you have survived your first week of National Novel Writing Month. Usually by this time of the writing season I am on target with my word count but since I have returned to the classroom I am way behind.

If your new to NaNoWriMo you may have noticed all the other participants posting their daily word counts on Facebook or Twitter. You may have even discovered the monthly calendar that tells you how many words you should have accumulated by the end of the that day. But these tools can lead an author straight towards the murder - perfectionism. 

When an author worries too much about their daily word count instead of staying on track with their outline the outcome is more likely than not the death of their manuscript. Don't let this happen. If you are behind, don't worry. You'll catch up sooner or later. Tell perfectionism goodbye and keep on writing. Your novel will thank you for it later.