First post of 2019

Well, it’s been about six months since my last post, and alot has happend in that time. My father died unexpectedly at the end of July 2018, and needless to say that threw me off for a few months. After that, I worked on finalizing and publishing my third book, titled The Saving Blade.

book cover final[3298]

It’s available as an ebook on Amazon.com. It should be available in paperback soon. And finally I’ve started a WordPress blog under my pen name, which I call K.D.CarterBooks.Wordpress.com. This is where I’ll be promoting my books, but I also plan to blog about other books that I’ve read. I plan to read at least one self-published book a month, to help promote other self-published authors. I hope you will check it out!

I will certainly try to keep this one a little more active, but it will strictly be my personal, fan-girl type blog. I’m sure I’ll mention any future books I self-publish, but for the most part I plan to keep these two blogs separate.

 

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Day 3 – Kinsale

We spent two nights in Kinsale at the Actons Hotel, and I must say that was probably my favorite of the three. The rooms were clean & functional, and the staff was TERRIFIC!!! I promised them a five-star review, & would give them six if possible. Why I didn’t get any pics of that hotel is beyond me.

Truth be told, we had a traumatic time getting there. Perhaps I didn’t mention that the smaller towns have very narrow roads? Well, we drove through the city of Cork to get there, probably in quitting-time traffic, and once we finally got to our hotel in Kinsale I was thinking maybe a self-drive was a bad idea! I’d planned to go to Cork the next day, see the English Market & go on a “haunted gaol (jail) tour,” but instead we spent the day hiking around Kinsale. Kinsale has an interesting history of it’s own, and we went on a “haunted” tour that first evening. It was kind of fun, and since the tour started & ended in a pub, we had a few drinks while we were at it. Here is a lovely view of the harbor:

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On the 26th we started just exploring the shops of the little town, finding some candy (of course) and other little things. We also hiked up to their Church, which was gorgeous!

After this we had lunch in a nice seafood restaurant – lots of seafood in Ireland! And then Ron & I hiked out to Charles Fort on the other side of the harbor. Margaret decided to just hang out in the town instead. Charles Fort has a long history of conflict, starting with the Battle of Kinsale in 1601. It also saw action during the fighting between James II and William of Orange in England. For “Outlander” fans, James II was the grandfather of Bonnie Prince Charlie. The fort was used up through WW 1, but then when the Free State of Ireland was formed in 1922 it was abandoned & fell into disrepair. Efforts have been made to restore parts of it. Some of the buildings were relatively intact, while others were missing roofs and parts of their walls.

Our tour finished with a monument to the various brigades that served there:

And then Ron & I took the long hike back into town. I was pretty exhausted by then. Did I mention that Ireland was experiencing the hottest temperatures in 46 years? And we saw no rain the entire time we were there – and guess who didn’t pack sunblock? Ah well, had a great time anyway. Walking through those ruins reminded me of the siege of Gondor in “Return of the King.” Of course, I’d be the one to think of that! Also found that the theme of Rohan from “Two Towers” made me think of Celtic music, or at least what I imagined Celtic music would sound like. But more on that later, in the meantime I hope you enjoy the pics!

Day 2 in Ireland – Co. Tipparary

I was told that J.R.R. Tolkien drew inspiration for Hobbiton from the rolling green hills of Ireland. I can believe it. We set off after breakfast on our second day towards Kinsale in County Cork. On the way we drove through Tipparary, to see the Rock of Cashel. This was a Middle Age church that legend says was once the castle of the King of Munster, who was baptized by St. Patrick.

There were castles and churches like this all over Ireland, in various states of repair. This one has been somewhat restored, and has a long history of occupation. There’s a museum on the inside displaying lots of artifacts.

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And this is the legendary Cross of St. Patrick.

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There once was a support on the opposite side, which sadly has broken away. There were some splendid decorations inside as well, and this doorway was IMO beautiful:

There was a cemetery in the courtyard with lots of Celtic crosses. Again, the artistry was amazing!

We had lunch in a nearby cafe before continuing the tour.

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Two of my favorite people! Margaret was less thrilled about the second tour, which was the ruins of a Cistercian monastery known as Hore Abbey – “Hore” being the old English word for the color gray. Apparently the monks wore gray cloaks. It was founded in the 12th century. Right now it’s in the middle of a cattle field, and there’s no road leading directly to it, so we had to hike across the field (and watch our step!). Here are a few of the pics I took:

Yeah, Margaret wasn’t so thrilled, but I LOVED IT! After an hour or so in the ruins, we were finally on our way to Kinsale. Here is a parting shot of those gorgeous, green rolling hills.

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Aidan & Orlando, plus Dublin!

So I’ve been back from Ireland for nearly one week, and am finally getting around to posting some photos. But first, I’d like to share a little tidbit about two Hobbit alums who are literally killing it on the London stage. First up is Orlando Bloom, starring in “Killer Joe” on the West End:

http://www.playbill.com/article/first-look-at-orlando-bloom-in-tracy-letts-killer-joe-in-the-west-end

And Aidan Turner is also starring in “The Lieutenant of Inishmore,” here:

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2018/jul/04/the-lieutenant-of-inishmore-review-aidan-turner-martin-mcdonagh

Like Orlando, Aidan is slaying the audience – and apparently cast members – in this play. Both of these Hobbit alums are playing very different roles from what we’re used to. Well, Aidan DID play Phillip Lombard in “And Then There Were None,” who was a mass murderer, and it was a brilliant performance! Sadly, I won’t be able to see either play, although “Poldark” is back on for Season 4. But more on that later.

Aidan is from Dublin, and that was the first stop on my Irish vacation. We landed on June 24th at about 5am. We were able to find the Castle Fitzpatrick hotel easily enough (I’ll spare you the terror we felt about driving on narrow streets on the left side of the road), and were told we could possibly check in early. So, we had a fabulous breakfast and then went for a short walk through a nearby park:

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On the way we passed by a lovely Church, and once in the park we had a terrific view of the Dublin coastline:

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And I got a great picture of this black & white bird – they were all over the place, but sadly I don’t know what kind of bird this is – does someone else know?

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After we checked in, we walked to the small town of Dalkey and caught a train into Dublin. We had lunch at this charming little pub:

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After that we tried to see the Dublin castle, but there was some kind of U.N. event going on, and the castle was closed to the public. But we did get a few pics:

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We didn’t get to spend nearly enough time in Dublin, there was just so much to see! I wanted to make it to the Temple Bar district, but we weren’t able to find it. We did see Trinity College, and the big canal that runs through Dublin, but our time was short. We caught the train back to Dalkey, and that was our first day. I’ll have more pics of our next day very soon.

Also, I’m still looking for reviewers of my latest book, “The Death Doll,” a historical fiction set in New Hampshire during the Salem witch trials. I’ll send a free copy to anyone who’s interested – just send me a line!

 

New writing goal – NANOWRIMO in July!

First, I am back from Ireland, and will have lots of pics & posts from that vacation. Second, and more importantly, I am running a free download of my newest book, “The Death Doll,” for Amazon Kindle. In honor of our 4th of July holiday, the free download runs from July 2-4, which gives readers two more days to download. And of course, reviews are highly encouraged!

KD_Carter book cover 2

The link is here: https://amzn.to/2IL7JMU

I am somewhere around 3 – 5 chapters away from finishing the 2nd book in my “Celtic Rings” series, but after my trip to Ireland I’m also anxious to start on Part II of my Irish Celt book. This book will incorporate my “Last One Alive” short story that I wanted (but was unable) to publish as a Kindle single. My original plan with that one was to write three Kindle singles that could be combined into one book. Well, since I can’t publish three separate singles, I might as well just write the book!

And that’s why I’ve decided to make July my NanoWriMo month. My goal is to write 50K words over the next 30 days (today included). That comes to 1600 – 1700 words daily, and I wouldn’t even consider doing this except for the fact that July is the slowest month at the University where I work. So yes, some of those words will be written during my “downtime” at the office – sometimes I really do like my job! I’ll be keeping track of the wordcount on a spreadsheet, and will report back regularly on my progress! This will keep me honest, and hopefully will give me a first draft on TWO books! Well, gotta wrap up todays writing assignment, but keep an eye out for Irish posts! See you soon!

“Ocean’s 8” with Richard & Kate

I caught “Ocean’s 8” last Friday and while it’s not the best movie, it was very good. If you like heist films you’d probably like this one. Of course Richard’s part was smaller than Kate’s, as she was Sandra’s right-hand gal. And I must say Kate’s accent was all over the place. I couldn’t tell if she was supposed to be from Texas or Australia, but that’s really a minor quibble.

Like I said, it was a good movie, but it had some problems similar to ones seen in the Hobbit movies. Namely, they pertain to a large ensemble cast. Kate, Sandra and Anne Hathaway (who probably had the best character) carried the movie, while sadly the other ladies were necessary cogs in the plan but little more than that. Helena Bonham Carter had some fun lines and a good tense moment, but it was a small moment. I would have liked a bit more of Mindy Kaling, but her dialog was limited, however she had more dialog than Rhianna and Awkwafina. There was a definite popularity pecking order in the film.

And then there was Richard playing Claude Becker, the back-stabbing ex. Thorin Oakenshield he was not, in fact the character was a bit wimpy – but I assume that’s what they wanted. His true purpose is probably not hard to figure out, but it was still good to see him looking so handsome!

Hot Richard Oceans 8

I did see a less than flattering Tweet from someone named Dana, calling him a “forgettable no-name actor.” The young lady got over 800 tweets in reply from outRAged Armitage Army fans, myself included!

Since I do follow him on Twitter, I also learned that his mother died recently. He wrote a beautiful memorial for her here:

https://margaret-armitage.muchloved.com/

I do send him my condolences. She had a long-term illness, which kept him from doing much besides audiobooks for the past few months. I guess you can record them anywhere. He has finished filming “The Lodge,” and started filming “My Zoe” finally. And it’s been announced that “Brain on Fire” will finally air on Netflix on Friday, June 22nd. That’s the night before I leave for Ireland, so I will probably have to wait until I return to watch this. And my next post will be all about Ireland, so stay tuned!

 

My book is live on Amazon!

My latest book, “The Death Doll,” is now available as an e-book on Amazon Kindle:

https://amzn.to/2sBMx5F

KD_Carter book cover 2

The paperback version will be available soon. This is my first historical fiction, set in New Hampshire during the Salem Witch trials. At one time, both New Hampshire and Maine were part of Massachusetts colony, which were largely Puritan colonies. Interestingly enough, the witch hysteria of 1692 was pretty much limited to Massachusetts. Neither Conneticutt nor New Hampshire colonies were much affected by this, although I did find two witch trials in New Hampshire some 30 years earlier. One woman was convicted and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, while the other was acquitted for lack of evidence.

If you’ve read anything about the Salem witch trials, you’d know that some young girls were the main accusers, and the judges relied on “spectral evidence” provided by the girls. They claimed to see the spectral image of the accused, and that the spectral images would allegedly pinch and torment them. Of course, no one else could SEE these spectral images, which is why Sir William Phips, Governor of Massachusetts told the judges not to use spectral evidence in the trials. However, he left that summer to fight Indians in Maine, and while he was gone the judges ignored Phips’ instructions, and used spectral evidence to convict and hang some 19 people. One of those victims was John Proctor, who was portrayed by Richard Armitage in a stage play, “The Crucible.” That play was written during another American hysteria movement, the fight against Communism led by Joseph McCarthy. He went after state workers, movie stars and even school teachers in a bid to rid the nation of “Communist infiltrators.” A few people, like screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, actually spent some time in jail, mostly for contempt of court (since being a Communist was never against the law). Still, careers were ruined by Mr. McCarthy’s push for fame, and most never recovered.

Trumbo’s career was resurrected when Kirk Douglas decided to hire him to write the screenplay for “Spartacus,” one of his most famous roles. There’s a wonderful movie about Trumbo and the Spartacus movie, with Hobbit cutie Dean O’Gorman playing Kirk Douglas. And like McCarthy, there is ample evidence that most of the witch trials were actually land grabs. Anyone who either confessed to or was convicted of witchcraft forfeited all their land and property. When Governor Phips returned from his summer Indian hunt, he put an immediate end to the trials and freed most of the imprisoned, but their property was gone.

“The Death Doll” isn’t the heavy political statement of “The Crucible,” but I think it’s relevant to today, especially in the era of “Fake News.” My lead character, Kate Tremont, is the victim of some idle gossip run amok. She gives a doll to a child, and that simple act of kindness is turned against her by some “Mean Girls.” In fact, you could say that the Salem witch trials, which take place during my book, featured the original “Mean Girls” Abigail Williams and Anne Putnam, Jr. Anne Putnam was about 12 years old during the trials. Later, she lost both parents to illness and had to raise her younger siblings by herself. She never married, no big surprise there, and when she was 30 she finally admitted that she gave false testimony (but claimed the Devil made her do it), apologized and begged forgiveness. Her story is a real-life example of “what goes around, comes around.”

In my last post, I speculated on whether to keep using K.D. Carter as a pen name, or switch to my actual name. Obviously, I’ve chosen to stick with K.D. Carter, for better or worse. We’ll see how this goes!

A conundrum of sorts….

I’ve been working steadily on the sequel to “Talamk an Eisc” with the goal of having the first draft done before I leave for Ireland. While doing this, I’ve also been finalizing “The Death Doll,” having decided to give it one more good read-thru before I file the copyright and get it uploaded on Amazon Kindle. I’m hoping to get that done Memorial weekend, but here’s the thing: I’m considering dropping my pen name (K.D. Carter) and using my REAL name instead. A big part of the reason is that I’ve learned there are already two other authors on Amazon that use some variation of K.D. Carter – probably should have looked into that, hmmm. On the other hand, I can’t find any author with my last name. Maybe there’s one in France somewhere, but doubtful that person would also have my first name. A smaller reason is that I’ve already set up social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, this blog) under my real name, and it seems superflous to set up identical accounts under the pen name.

BUT, I’ve already published a book under K.D. Carter. I’ve announced the release of “The Death Doll” as K.D. Carter, even got a really attractive book cover with K.D. Carter listed on it. And I’ve set up Amazon Central & Goodreads Author Pages under K.D. Carter. So I feel like I’m already somewhat invested in the pen name – not to mention that I’ve set up a page on my FB for K.D. Carter, complete with a photo! I don’t even think I have a photo on the blog, LOL! So I suppose I COULD change “Hobbitized” into an author blog, though I don’t think I want to. Even if I use my real name, I’d probably need to set up a separate blog for myself as author instead of Hobbit fangirl.

So there’s that, along with the fact that I haven’t really sold that many books yet. In fact, I’ve decided to slightly amend the title of my first book, just to make it a little more clear as to what the book is about. I’ve got a great potential book cover with the new title:

KD_Carter_v2_3d(2)

Talamk an Eisc: Nordic Landing, featuring a different axe hammer image, because unfortunately the guy that made the first book cover is no longer on Fiverr. And I’ve got to admit, part of me is dreading going through that whole upload process AGAIN – but that’s what I’ve got to do if I’m self-publishing on Amazon. I just need to make up my mind quickly, so I can get my 2nd book uploaded as well. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, thanks!!!

 

Infinity Wars – a review of that lousy ending and my “Strange” theory that could fix it

By now I imagine 3/4 of all Americans have seen the latest Avengers movie “Infinity Wars,” so I’m not going to worry about Spoilers here.  I have mixed feelings about even posting a review of IW, because part of me wants to forget everything I saw, and refresh my memory next year before the sequel comes out.  But instead I’ve been reading a few other reviews, some of which have agreed with me about the problems with this movie, while others have promoted some interesting theories about what the sequel might contain.  So I thought, what the heck, might as well throw my two cents out there before I successfully forget everything (like Star-Lord fading away – I seriously don’t remember that happening).

Now, I’m not saying the entire movie was lousy, in fact there were some really good moments mixed into it.  Loki’s death, for instance; if they’ve gotta kill him off, let’s at least give him a heroic, redemptive send-off.  And the playful banter between the new matchups, particularly Tony Stark and Dr. Strange, which definitely put a few ideas in my head regarding the sequel (currently called “Avengers 4,” but nothing is definite yet).  Sadly, at no point in the movie did Tony look at Dr. Strange and say “No shit, Sherlock!”  Oh well, you can’t have everything, like a well-developed villain.  And here is a general problem with Superhero movies – the villains tend to be one-dimensional.  Giving Thanos a purpose isn’t the same thing as giving him a personality!  Granted, Josh Brolin did better than most, but after Killmonger it just felt like a step backward.

But that complaint is NOTHING compared to the ending: Thanos not only succeeds in his mission to wipe out half the life in the Universe, he takes out all the new Avengers!  Every single one of the original team from the 1st movie survives – like Captain America, while the new boys, Spiderman and Black Panther, fade away, which is just SO DUMB!!!  First of all, any fan of the movies can tell you that Spidey and Black Panther have sequels coming out in 2020.  And EVERYBODY knows Chris Evans will be hanging up his shield after Avengers 4, so what was the real point of all this?  Emotional stakes???  NOBODY BUYS THAT!!!  My husband is convinced (like a few other reviewers) that this was just a way to stretch things into 2 movies so that Marvel could make a shit-ton of money!  To that I say well, yeah, of course.  That’s what they want to do, make a ton of money.  Peter Jackson was accused of that very thing when The Hobbit movies went from 2 to 3.

Anyway, we already know that the sequel will be about how the original 6 reverse everything & bring all those faded out Avengers back to life, so what was the real point of all that???  That’s not really a cliffhanger, especially when the final scene (not the post-credits scene) is of Thanos sitting somewhere (inside the Soul Stone?) with younger Gamora enjoying the sunset.  No, that really wasn’t a cliffhanger at all.  The only reason to watch Avengers 4 is to see exactly HOW everything gets reversed, because that brings up another problem.  If they (theoretically) get the Infinity Gauntlet back and reverse everything, will that bring back Loki, or Gamora, or Vision?  And if it does, none of those deaths were “real,” were they?  We just got played, y’all!

But, there are some other theories, like the “Trade lives” or “Soul for Soul” theories I read today.  Basically, the Old Avengers have to sacrifice themselves (the way Thanos sacrificed Gamora) in order to bring back one of the New Avengers.  Something along the lines of Tony brings back Spiderman, Cap brings back Bucky and/or Sam, etc.  I don’t buy that.  See, there are only 5 of the 6 Avengers in IW – Hawkeye is benched – plus War Machine was NOT one of the Original 6, which means only FIVE of the faded away New Avengers get to come back.  But we know that Guardians ALSO has a third movie coming, (not to mention the rumors of a stand-alone Black Widow movie) so no, I don’t think 5 Original Avengers can get that done.  And that’s where my “Strange” theory comes in!

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Yes, our favorite Necromancer turned Sorcerer Supreme is the key to solving this riddle.  We know two things, one of which seems to have been forgotten by the other reviewers.  First, Dr. Strange looked at 14 million possible scenarios for the Avengers v. Thanos, and the Avengers succeeded in only one of them.  Just one, and for some reason Tony Stark was important to that victory.  So important that Dr. Strange gave up the Timestone even though he insisted he’d let both Iron Man and Spiderman die in order to protect it.  We also know that he put a spell on the Timestone, so that Thanos’ henchman couldn’t remove it from Dr. Strange, hence the torturing scene.

Strange torture

So, if he put one spell on the Timestone, couldn’t he have put another on it right before giving it to Thanos?  Yeah, that sounds like something he’d do, especially if he foresaw Thanos snapping his fingers & fading out half the world’s population.  MAYBE that spell was meant for the faded out people?  Maybe that spell directed all of the faded/finger snapped people to an alternate dimension, or maybe even a MIRROR DIMENSION!  And maybe Tony Stark, who’d spoken with Wong earlier, will be smart enough to figure that out, thus bringing back all the faded out people.  Now, this would NOT bring back Loki, Gamora or Vision, since they weren’t killed with a finger-snap, so those deaths would be the real deal.  BUT we’d have Dr. Strange, Star-Lord, Drax & Groot to help the Original 6 – plus Captain Marvel – and if they are working all together at the same time/same place then MAYBE they could defeat Thanos!  Yeah, it’s a theory, that’s all.  Maybe the Hulk will finally snap out of it, too!

Speaking of which, I did read a cute story about how 5 of the original 6 Avengers got matching tattoos.  It started with Scarlet and Chris Evans, but then Robert and Jeremy Renner decided to get it done.  The story goes that Chris Hemsworth had to be bullied into getting his, but Thor came through.  The lone holdout?  Mark Ruffalo.  Well, maybe the Hulk will get one for him!

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“Poldark” Update (plus Graham!)

Poldark season 4

I thought I’d check on Aidan Turner’s series, and found this interesting article:

http://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2018-04-20/aidan-turner-teases-tempestuous-and-political-poldark-series-four/

“Poldark” season 4 should air on BBC sometime in early summer, which means likely September for those of us in the United States.  Last season ended with Demelza, being pretty fed up with Ross constantly ignoring her (and possibly re-kindling things with Elizabeth!), taking handsome Hugh Armitage (no relation to Richard) up on his offer of a romantic tryst.  Season 4 will pick up with the ramifications of Demelza’s actions, along with Ross’ decision to run for Parliament against longtime foe George Warleggan.  It seems much of the series will relocate to London – whether a London soundstage or something else is yet to be determined.

I spent a fair amount of time visiting London back in 1981-82, when I was in the U.S. Air Force stationed at RAF Bentwaters, which was about 85 miles northeast of London.  I’m sure alot of things have changed since those days.  For one thing, they didn’t have the giant ferris wheel (the London Eye) or the glass Faberge egg-looking building, which locals call the Gherkin.  Perhaps someday I’ll return to London, just to see how much it’s changed.  I could write an entire blog just reminiscing about my time in England, hmmmm….

Meanwhile, Graham McTavish has also picked up yet another series, making me think he might be the most successful Dwarf in the bunch – and a major workaholic, to boot.  He’s currently working on Season 3 of “Preacher,” but will be joining “Colony” on USA network.  I’ve started watching the first two seasons on Netflix, and it’s intriguing.  It’s a type of space alien invasion story set in modern times.  Our lead character Will (played by Josh Holloway) is basically a collaborator working for the Alien-installed government, while his wife Katie (played by Sarah Wayne Callies) is working with the Resistance.  What’s interesting is that the Collaborators motives are on full display.  Will was forced into collaborating in an attempt to get his 12-year-old son back.  His partner was just in Los Angeles at the wrong time and acts like he’d rather be anywhere else.  Will’s first boss was just convinced that no resistance could defeat the Aliens, and the best way to keep ordinary people alive was to quash the Resistance.  On the other hand, the Governor is just a selfish opportunist taking advantage of the situation.  My understanding is that Season 3 sees Will’s family reunited and escaping from the Colony, but possibly ending up in worse shape than before!  I don’t know what character Graham is playing (my guess is some kind of Military person), or whether he’ll be a friend or foe – or both!  The tagline is “The enemy of my enemy is NOT my friend!”

Graham in the Colony

So, he’ll be in TWO T.V. series this summer, plus “Castlevania” whenever that gets going, and there’s that little movie coming out this fall: “Aquaman.”  Busy guy!

Well, my Kindle Scout campaign has officially ended; many thanks to those of you who checked out and nominated my book.  Amazon tells me they’ll let me know in a few days if my book will be picked up or not.  I’m not really expecting it to be, since it appears the entire Scout program is being shut down – BUMMER!  But I will keep everyone advised.