Tag Archives: irish folktales

Tiffany Turner Appearance at Tartan Day April 2 in Fremont, CA


TartanDayTiffany Turner will be making an appearance at the Tartan Day Day celebration at Ardenwood Farm Park in Fremont, CA on April 2, 2016. She’ll be set up in a booth to meet everyone and sign books. Also available will be the opportunity to enter a drawing for a crystal pendant or a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

Mrs. Turner has been very involved in the Scottish Heritage community in Northern California for 10 years. She has played the First Lady in Waiting to Mary, Queen of the Scots in the Royal Court of St. Gyles Acting Guild. She was a founding member of the guild, St. Ida’s of Cill Ida. Recently, she has been playing her Gaelic Harp for the parade group Danse Macabre.  Mrs. Turner proudly has Scottish and Irish heritage.

She will be signing books, giving out Tartan favors she has made from tartan purchased in Scotland, and visiting with her fans. All three Crystal Keeper books will be on sale. Plus, ask her about the current last installment of the series she is writing, The Lost Secret of Time. Also, stop by and sign up to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card or crystal pendant.

Also appearing with her will be the author of The Lost Celt, A. E. Conran. Ms. Conran is a children’s book author, freelance editor, and children’s book specialist at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA. She’ll be on hand to sign copies of her new release, and talk about Celtic heritage. Her website is at: www.aeconran.com.

Come by and spend the whole day with the family learning about Scottish and Irish heritage.


Using Legends and Fairy Tales in Books


Over the years, I’ve done a lot of research on fairies and elves. I’ve learned so much that I wanted to share some of the facts that I’ve found. Some of the research I was able to include in my books. Other facts are just fun to know. Together, it sometimes is good to see where a story starts. After all, every legend needs to start with someone telling the story.

The Top Interesting Facts I’ve Learned About Elves and Fairies:

1) Elves came from the fairy legends and evolved mostly from the changing of court society about 1,000 years ago. The courtiers wanted to hear tales and legends, but they wanted stories to reflect the life of court. Bards started to embellish their songs and tales to reflect this change in society. Thus, elves were born out of necessity to create fairies that reflected the human’s lives that listened to the stories.

Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. The Disney Castle design was based on this castle.

Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. The Disney Castle design was based on this castle.

2) Dragons most likely came from people finding dinosaur bones. To explain what a Pterodactyl might have been, a dragon tale was born. Similar discoveries of early human tools had tales made up about them. Often they were considered tools of the Fey Folk that had come before. Tales told of the mysterious people leaving to different lands. Again, many times stories were used to explain what science explains today.

3) Traveling will gain you lots of information. I discovered the Menehune in Hawaii while on vacation. They are the little dwarf-like fairies that come from Hawaiian legend. They love to mend things, and some people will leave gifts to gain help from them. I bought a book on Hawaiian legends, and it was helpful when my main character Wanda, travels to Hawaii in The Lost Secret of Dragonfire.

Untersberg Sign at the top of the peak in the German Alps.

Untersberg Sign at the top of the peak in the German Alps.

4) I learned to take lots of pictures. You never know where an elf may live. The classic is the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, pictured at the top, in which the Disneyland Castle is based. I also take pictures of plagues of local legends. I discovered legends of dwarves that live within Untersberg, one of the peaks in the German Alps. My imagination soared with these legends as a stepping ground.

5) Leprechauns are one of the most famous fairies or fey in Irish myths. The legends tell of Leprechauns being solitary shoemakers. According to Sir Walter Scott’s book “Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry”, they are also confused or combined with two other fairies, The Cluricaun and the Red Man. The Cluricaun tends to hide in the cellar while the Red Man enjoys doing practical jokes. Sometimes they are considered the happy brothers of the Leprechaun.

The Leprechaun is one of the most famous type of fairies.

The Leprechaun is one of the most famous type of fairies.

The Leprechaun legend continues with tales of becoming rich if one can find the Leprechauns gold from selling his shoe wares. Later in legends, the rainbow became a marker for the hiding spot of the Leprechauns acquired treasure.

So, I’ve gathered and learned a lot about the Fey. Elves, fairies, and dwarves have proved to be a very interesting subject. Like most writers, I learn a lot about my subject, but can’t always include all of the details in my books. That’s why books are so exciting. I enjoy the research as much as writing the book.

“Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry” by Walter Scott. Original published date 1888.

“Encyclopedia Mythologica: Fairies and Magical Creatures” by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda.

**This post can be used for teachers meeting Common Core Standards for Fourth Grade.

CCS ELA Reading Subject: Within range for literature focusing on myth, legends and fairy tales in a nonfiction format.

CCS ELA Writing 4.1: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using
effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

CCS ELA Writing 4.5 : 5. With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen
writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.

CCS ELA Speaking and Listening Skills: 4.3 : 3. Identify the reasons and evidence a speaker or media source provides to
support particular points.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has released her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, in her Crystal Keeper series. She continues to teach fourth graders in California while writing fantasy adventure middle grade novels. This is her 17th year of teaching. She is working on other writing projects in her No Limits Writing practices. She actively plays the Gaelic Harp at Renaissance festivals throughout Northern California.

**Follow to connect with more Common Core related blog posts over the next few months. Available for use in the classroom courtesy of Tiffany Turner.

Interview with Charles Markee


Author Charles Markee

To start off the year, I’ve had the chance to interview the author of the book, Otherworld Tales: Irish the Demon Slayer, Charles Markee. He is a great inspiration if you’re interested in Celtic lore. His story weaves the imagination with traditional Irish legends such as the Tuatha de Danann and Cuchulain. So, enjoy a peek into the world that Charles created and how he got there.

1) Your book includes a lot of Celtic lore and fairy tales. Why did you
choose to use them as a starting point?

My initial starting point was autobiographical. As a pre-teen, I spent summers in a cabin my grandfather built circa 1921 in San Geronimo, a rural community in Marin County, California. My two best friends and I rode bikes and explored the hills, forests and creeks. We had adventures just like the three characters in my book.

In the first two chapters, the boys seek help from an old woman the boys believe is a witch. For her Irish accent, I remembered a 1960s broadcast of an interview with the Irish poet, Ella Young, in which she described communicating with trees, animals and even rocks. I love the outdoors, so it seemed natural for talking trees to become a significant character in my book.

That Irish theme struck a familiar chord. My mother was 100% Irish, we lived in an Irish Catholic neighborhood of San Francisco and I attended a high school with primarily Irish and Italian kids. The school motto was and still is today, the ‘Fightin’ Irish.’

I had grown up surrounded by this Irish population. Curious about my heritage, I spent two years studying Celtic mythology. Most of my research uncovered tales of leprechauns and fairies, not what I wanted. Finally, I discovered a treatise titled, Cuchulain of Muirthemne, by Lady Augusta Gregory, a peer and friend of Yeats. I poured thorough this exhaustively and incorporated many tales of the great Irish hero, Cuchulain, as updated adventures for the boys and one girl in my book.

2) Have you ever been to Ireland?

Funny that you should ask. Half way through the second or third draft, my wife told me that I couldn’t very well write a story about Ireland without going there, so we did. After a few days in Dublin, we rented a car and got completely lost looking for Tara, but eventually found it. It’s a mystical place, the presumed location of the ancient castle of the king of kings. I made it the location of Queen Aine’s castle in my story. We then took a train to Belfast in Ulster and traveled through the countryside where Cuchulain fought his battles. I stood at the window most of the trip taking photos of the landscape. Later I bought contour maps of the area so I could accurately describe those places that the boys visited in their search for Irish’s sister.

3) Are there other adventures planned for Irish and his friends?

Several readers have asked for a sequel and I’m about half way through a first draft. My target release date is the summer of 2012. This time the boys discover another part of the Otherworld that exists inside Mt. Shasta in California. You can download the first chapter here: http://www.charlesmarkee.com/html/irish2.html

4) What inspires you to write?

Everything inspires me to write, especially talking to other writers. People I meet become my characters. Places I see become the environment in the story. Events I witness become portions of the plot. I’m always writing even when I’m not writing. Finally, I confess that I love the god-like ego-trip of creating a fictitious world filled with my characters who take on an existence of their own.

5) What advice would you give young writers?

Read voraciously, especially in the genre you want to write in. Get to know your target audience. Join and participate with your local community of writers. Join or form a critique group. It’ll keep you sane. And above all, keep writing.

6) In one sentence, how would you describe writing?

For me, writing is the process of producing a dream state in readers’ minds that will take them into the world I have created.

7) In closing, what other books are in the works? Events or
appearances for 2012?

In addition to the sequel about Irish and his friends mentioned above, I have a completed manuscript sitting on the shelf. It’s the story based on true events about a Hispanic girl who discovers her best friend is dying of a kidney disease and her parents refuse to allow medical intervention. It’s a story that needs to be told, but my 72 rejects tell me that it won’t succeed with traditional publishers. You can download the first chapter here: http://www.charlesmarkee.com/html/maria_summary.html

A short story titled ‘Hills like Brown Camels,’ a parody on Hemingway’s ‘Hills like White Elephants’ is published in a 2011 anthology, ‘The Sound of a Thousand Leaves.’

Available from Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Vintage-Voices-Sound-Thousand-Leaves/dp/1463740220/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325276789&sr=1-1

I’m working on another short story for the 2012 anthology. It is titled ‘The Bear’ and it’s based on an event in the life of my father-in-law who was a bear guide in the Shasta/Siskiyou County mountains for 30 years.

As the coordinator for the North Bay Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), I plan, provide speakers and host quarterly meetings in the Santa Rosa area for children’s book writers.

***Charles Markee is the author of Otherworld Tales: Irish the Demon Slayer. Link to the book review here. His website is located at www.charlesmarkee.com.

An Otherworldly Adventure for the Young at Heart


Otherworld Tales: Irish the Demon Slayer by C.T. Markee

You’re an average kid hanging out with your friends. Then, weird things start to happen. Boulders try to run you over. The trees start to talk to you. Then, you’re cornered by a lady that seems like a witch from a fairy tale. Could it be real?

Otherworld Tales: Irish the Demon Slayer by Charles Markee starts out like any other day. Riding bikes on trails near their houses, a group of boys race their BMX bikes. Pete, nicknamed Irish, hears a warning voice before a boulder comes out of nowhere and almost kills them. Thinking it was an earthquake, the boys head home until they run into a strange old woman. She talks of Celtic legends as if they are real.

But when Irish’s sister, Kathy, goes missing, the prophecy from the old woman seems to come true. Irish must face the demon Abaddon and find his sister. Journeying into the Otherworld, Irish and his friends, Streak and Huff, soon discover a hidden world with the Queen of the Sidhe. They must overcome obstacles, warriors, and learn from each other to save the world from a terrible demon.

This is a great adventure for anyone who loves Celtic lore. From Ogham sticks to the Tuatha de Danann, Markee twists in Irish poetry appearing on a helpful Ogham stick to meeting the legendary Celtic warrior, Cuchulain. The legends mix into an adventure story packed full of fighting, suspense, and cheering for the good guy.

I really enjoyed the Celtic references in this book. It really made it fun. I think some of the explanations might have slowed the pace, and some of the kid character’s dialogue needed more variety in the slang. But overall, it’s a fun read for those that like a great adventure.

**** 4 Star rating
Available as ebook or paperback on Amazon.com. Also available as an ebook on Smashwords.com.

*Read an interview with Charles Markee.