What Do I Write?

Evil and black magic lurk in the shadows of Prague beneath The Astronomical Clock on the Old Town Square. (photo by Joseph O’Neill, 2016)

What Do I Write?

What do the COME HELL OR HIGH WATER trilogy and the STORM WOLF novel have in common? They are supernatural/fantasy thrillers that straddle timelines and cultures.

The Come Hell or High Water trilogy alternates between 1350s Prague and contemporary Prague. A witch curses the city in the 1350s and the curse is reawakened in the modern city; the curse works its way through the life of the town in both time periods as a handful of people in each period race to stop it before Prague is destroyed.

Storm Wolf follows the adventures of Alexei, the last werewolf in 1880s Estonia who is driven to become a killer and frantically searches throughout Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Bohemia for a sorcerer who can save him from the wolf-magic.

All the fantastic or magickal aspects of my novels are based on authentic medieval and Renaissance occult beliefs or practices; these are the real deal! (You can use them as recipe books, if you want. This is what people actually did if they wanted to use the supernatural to achieve their goals.) The books also incorporate local legends and history so that you get a taste of what it was really like in Central Europe or the Baltic States in the Middle Ages, the late 19th century, or now.

I’m currently working on Earth to Earth, Ashes to Ashes which is a novel about an Irish female vampire and the ghost of a witch who have kidnapped three high school boys from Waterford in August, 2002; their uncle, a professor of Irish folklore, and a graduate student try to rescue them from the vampire and the witch before they are lost forever in the Otherworld.

You can subscribe to my email list to get seasonal reading suggestions (who doesn’t need a good book for the beach? Or to curl up with in the winter as the snow falls outside?) as well as hear about my upcoming projects. See the spot over to the right? Where it says “Newsletter” and “Subscribe?” Just type your email in the box there and click “Subscribe.” Thank you for keeping in touch!

Now, you can HOP to the next blog on the tour! Or here.

Step #5 – Be sure you mark your calendar! As a Blog Hop participant, you will be responsible for checking your link and the Blog Hop once it is live to confirm it works.

The goal is to create a kind of “daisy chain” that readers can follow from site to site to B2BCyCon.com to site.

“Is fiction, which makes fact alive, fact too?”

Alexandra Cheira, a scholar of fairy tales and mythology at the University of Lisbon, recently presented a paper about the Come Hell or High Water trilogy at a conference. Her paper examines the relationship between historical fact and legend in the books; she uses the question Robert Browning asks in The Ring and the Book as the title for her paper (and I use it for the title of this post). Alexandra says that the interplay of fact and fairy tale in trilogy presents “a whole picture of the city, in which well-done research is matched by believable story-telling, so much so that the realistic narrative is interspersed by supernatural occurrences which do not strike even the most skeptical reader as out of character.”

She also writes that “the narrative structure is also well-balanced between realism and fantasy, with the description of the conferences, the delegates and the general camaraderie that accompanies them acting as a down-to-earth catalyst for the supernatural parts. The narrative tone is informed – but never lecturing – and the reader does actually learn a lot on a variety of subjects without realizing it.”

Alexandra concludes, “All in all, Morris has managed to create an urban-historical fantasy which pairs fiction and fact and brings to question what is real and what is imagined. ‘Fiction’ is an aid to ‘fact,’ something that can better a story, so that Morris’s ‘fictional facts’ do indeed ring true in the wider context of the novels.”

I am very happy that Alexandra chose to discuss Come Hell or High Water in her paper at the conference. As with all good critiques, she taught ME something about the books that I had not realized as I was writing them!

Happy (belated) Birthday, blog-readers!

The author of a blog I enjoy reading — it’s about the adventures of an English-speaking resident of Prague — recently announced that his blog is now EIGHT years old! It seems like only yesterday that I discovered it, swift on the heels of his having begun writing it. Time flies! But it made me think, “How long have I been writing THIS blog?”

So I checked. This blog began in January, 2013. So it’s just celebrated a “Happy Belated 4th Birthday!” We will hit the 300th post sometime later this year — this post is the 260th since that first post slightly more than four years ago.

Sometimes I have a series of posts planned out weeks in advance. Sometimes I don’t know what I will post about until I realize that it’s time to post something and I have nothing written! In either case, I hope you — the READER — find them interesting and informative and enjoyable. (Or at least one of these qualities.) And I hope you check back each week to see what is new here. (You can SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG, if you want. See the place to do that on the right side of the page? I think that means you get an automatic email when there is a new post here. Or you get an email that contains the post itself. If you SUBSCRIBE, let me know which it is.)

A fourth birthday is momentous. When a child turns four, it means they are almost ready for kindergarten and imaginary friends are important. (That’s still true for me!) In the Bible, there are 4 gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) and 4 major prophets (Isaiah, Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel). There are also the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse — who could forget them?! The tarot cards numbered “4” are about consistency and stability and the Emperor card is the fourth of the Major Arcana, signifying authority and competence as well as the need to make something solid and real.

It was also an honor and a pleasure to recently be a guest on British author E. Rachel Hardcastle’s podcast.

“Happy Birthday, blog-readers!” We made it this far–HUZZAH!