Book Excerpts /
Free Preview /
In Progress /
Writing Habits /
Summer Blues / My Kids /
Books & Reading
Hello dear readers,
In this, my inaugural newsletter, I hope to keep
readers informed about upcoming books, previews, bits
about my life and updates to my web site in general. Welcome!
Excerpts from several of my books are now available
as free PDF (Adobe Acrobat) downloads.
More downloadable excerpts will be added in the
future, so please check back for updates.
In honor of Halloween, a
full preview of Jack the Ripper
is now freely available. The essay can be read online in its
entirety until October 31, 2015. Jack
the Ripper by yours truly is an essay about the serial killer,
including information about the Whitechapel district of London, the
victims, suspects, the investigation, press coverage in the day,
resources, suggestions for further study and related films.
Enjoy - and Happy Halloween!
In Progress . . .
I've set quite a writing schedule for the remainder
of 2015 and into next year. Glinhaven
is nearly 3/4 finished, giving me hope it can be ready for release
by spring-summer 2016 (I'm keeping my fingers crossed!). It
is my intention that Glinhaven
be a traditional gothic fiction novel
similar in style to classic 1970s paperbacks written by the likes of Dorothy
Daniels, Marilyn Harris, Victoria Holt, Marilyn Ross and Phyllis
The following is a brief description of Glinhaven:
Piper Hunt leaves Boston to take over her grandfather's unique
curio shop in Glinhaven, Massachusetts. While adjusting to life in
the quaint seaside village, she uncovers dark secrets hidden at the
forbidding Glinhaven Monastery which may also unlock mysteries from
I'm five chapters into both
In the Shadow of the King. The
two stories are as different as night and day (in the former,
the main characters are murderous sex fiends while the latter is a
quasi-fictional account of a real person during the era of Henry VIII).
I hope to complete
Bloodlust next year, with
In the Shadow of the King
following in 2017.
yours truly wring as Deidre Dalton) is book two of
The Bloodline Trilogy, where
Noel and Pim's daughter Kate Grady has unusual powers which allow
her to bend people to her will. At first she uses her gifts wisely,
but then goes astray after falling in love with the diabolical Kirk
Lester, whom she follows down an ugly path of debauchery and evil.
The final part of the trilogy - Blood
& Soul - is scheduled to follow in 2017.
In the Shadow of the King >
I've been working on
In the Shadow of the King for
several years. The story is a blend of real history and fiction
(especially the dialog). I want to maintain accuracy in regards to
certain historical aspects of the characters, mainly well-known
milestones in Henry VIII's life, as well as people close to him
during the time period. My current description of the book is as
follows: In the Shadow of the
King is a fictional account of the dramatic life of Sir Francis
Bryan, confidant to King Henry VIII. Sir Francis Bryan was a knight
bannerette, chevalier, diplomat, poet and translator, Lord of the
Tor Bryan, chief gentleman of the privy chamber, Chief Justice of
Ireland and a gifted sportsman. During his time in Henry VIII's
court, Bryan was nicknamed the "Vicar of Hell" due to his apparent
lack of scruples and legendary sexual exploits.
In the Shadow of the King brings
to life the story of Sir Francis Bryan, as told by one of his
descendants in the twenty-first century.
In the Works >
Apart from my fictional endeavors, I'm also putting
Global Seafood Cookbook (2016) and
American Cuisine (2017) writing as
Shenanchie O'Toole. When
I undertake a culinary venture such as
Native American Cuisine, the
process involves painstaking research which can take anywhere from
several weeks to months. I also like to prepare several ethnic
dishes pertinent to the culture to experience the taste and feel of
it all, along with getting as many food photos as I can.
I have my work cut out for me - let's hope I can stay
healthy long enough do it all . . .
Speaking of writing, I prefer an atmosphere of calm and quiet while
creating, although I've been known to write even under the worst of
circumstances such as dicey living conditions, loud noise levels and
general misery. I write best at night, usually by hand. The next
day, I'll input my notes on the computer along with any needed
I spend almost every day - all day - on the computer.
This includes writing, web design and other projects. I
rarely use the computer for fun, unless it's to play games in the
form of a break. If I forget to wear my reading glasses, I often end
the workday with a headache (complete with jagged, lightning-bolt
eyeball spasms) after I shutdown. By evening time, I'm thoroughly
fed-up with my computer screen. I just want to get away from it for
Enter night-writing. I still enjoy writing by hand,
finding it a rare form of relaxation. Admittedly, I'm set in my ways
in regards to the way I write by hand: black ink pen (medium, round
point) and only on a quadrille pad. I never use red and blue ink
pens or, God forbid, pencils. And when I'm finished inputting my
handwritten notes into the computer, I draw a line through the page.
(Above): My computer workspace. Click on image to view larger
size in a new window.
I'm often inspired by images, so my storyline spreadsheets
include thumbnail pictures of people I feel represent
my fictional characters and various structures. The images are not
indicative of personality traits of real people or meant to be about
real places, but rather a general idea of what I envision as the
"outer shell" of each character and setting. I can see the snapshots
in my head as I assemble scenes and dialogue, a method which has
always worked well for me as far as writing style or creative
The summer of 2015 was long and strange . . . and I'm
so glad it's over. For those who don't know about my aversion
to summer heat, it is perhaps best explained in a blog entry (Summer
Phooey!) I wrote in May 2013:
I realize most folks have been looking forward to
summer with relish after a rather hard winter, but I'm not one of
them. My instinctive aversion to dry, hot climates is mainly
health-related. Being fair-skinned, I burn in the sun. Truthfully,
I've never had a suntan in my life. I go straight to red. My eyes
are also sensitive to overly bright light. Over the past several
years I've even taken to draping a towel over the lamp shade on my
computer desk, just to blunt the bothersome glare. I keep the lamp
turned off as long as possible because it also exudes heat, which
might explain my sensitivity to light. I don't see enough of it to
grow accustomed to the brightness.
In the heat, my hands swell and turn blood red in
color, as if I'm holding them in a 400-degree oven. Oddly, the
redness doesn't travel beyond my hands. I've been to a doctor for
the affliction many times, but haven't received an explanation for
it. When I can no longer endure the searing heat in my hands, I'll
plunge them into a cup of ice - which literally melts within a few
short minutes. I can buy a soda topped with ice from the corner
store, but if I hold the cup in my hands long enough, the ice melts
quickly yet again. What am I - radioactive?
Worst of all, perhaps, is the ever-present infection
that seems to lurk in my body. Heat exacerbates the issue, giving me
flu-like symptoms which feel worse than the actual flu. It can
sometimes keep me in bed for days at a time. Aside from dosing me
with antibiotics, the infection specialist I've been to has yet to
discover the root cause of the problem, or offered suggestions on
how to put a stop to it altogether
Aside from the miserable heat, I was ill for most of
summer months. My ongoing problem with infections definitely got the better
of me, culminating with a massive infection in my right leg (the
very worst to date, and I've had some whoppers over the years).
down for most of September. I eventually found a bottle of antibiotics
about the house and
began taking them, which made me feel much better.
The antibiotics also cleared my difficulty in
breathing, a bothersome affliction that began last February after I suffered a relapse from
2014 chest cold. I couldn't walk from the living room to
the kitchen without having to stop to catch my breath. It was scary.
At one point during spring-early summer 2015, I stopped going to the
grocery store because it was just too difficult and exhausting. I
bought food essentials (dairy, bread, canned goods, frozen
dinners) at Walgreens because the store is small and easier to
navigate, and I ordered case lots of dog and cat food through Amazon
(which turned out to be cheaper in the long run) because I
just couldn't haul the heavy cans from the car to the house anymore.
Instead, it was delivered to my doorstep.
Also during the summer, the basement hallway, loo and
laundry room flooded as the outside sewer pipes were finally crushed
by tree roots. The old pipes were made of clay, which I believe were
original to the house (built in the 1950s). Worse, the
ensuing flood barely missed entering my computer room. To be honest, I don't want
to even contemplate my future without a working computer.
Anyway, it cost nearly ten thousand dollars by the time clean-up
crews and plumbers finished.
Thankfully, we carry good homeowners
During the trials and tribulations of summer, my
(Black Lab mix) and
(Bengal and Siamese mix) remained my most steadfast
supporters. It might sound strange (and rather sad), but they bring
me comfort and laughter more so than any human being ever has.
(Above, left to right): My "kids" Rainee and Kiki. Click on
images to view larger sizes in a new window.
"kids" are worth their weight in gold, and I feel they deserve all I
can give them in return. I adore them, so it makes me happy to see
them happy. Hence, they are frequently on the receiving end of many
treats, toys, kisses and hugs.
Books & Reading
I read a lot of books over the summer months, a good
habit I've continued into autumn. I re-read the entire O'Malley Saga
and Skye's Legacy series' (12 books in all) by the late
Bertrice Small, along with her other collections: Friarsgate
Inheritance (4), Border Chronicles (6) and the Silk Merchant's
Daughters (4). I've also become addicted to "cozy" mystery books,
Coffeehouse Mysteries (14) by Cleo Coyle, the
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries (6) by Cleo Coyle,
Goldy Schulz Culinary Mysteries (17) by Diane Mott Davidson, and
more recently, the
Clambake Mystery Series (3) by Barbara Ross.
As of this writing, I'm reading The Lady in the Tower
Weir and The Fall of Giants by
(#1 in the Century Trilogy).
Until Next Time . . .
Again, I'm so happy the long summer is finally over.
Perhaps now I can get something worthwhile accomplished -
on wood. I plan to release another
newsletter in mid-to-late December 2015, so keep your eyes peeled.
Until next time, happy reading!
October 17, 2015
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