Archive for the ‘celtic fantasy’ Tag

Cover Reveal Murklin Wood   2 comments

Front CoverIt’s finally done, subject to some possible typographical changes.

Kindle Countdown Deal   1 comment

The Willow Branch ebook is only 99 cents today.

Lela Markham Interviewed with Read Freely   Leave a comment


The Willow Branch   1 comment

Front Cover Update“The best entry into speculative fiction this year” -The Booktrap

“Gripping and vividly written” – Kristin Gleeson

“In a time when so much fantasy being published is grim and dark, it’s refreshing to find a book that returns to the beauty of high fantasy, with lyrical prose and an alternative history” Ted Cross

Announcing Paperback Sale   Leave a comment

71rYAYxfZsL._SL1500_The Willow Branch paperback is currently on sale for $11.44

World Building in Fantasy   1 comment

Front Cover UpdateThe world you build in a fantasy novel is as much a character as the ones who speak. It is with this world-building that fantasy authors bring you into the rich tapestry of that world and ease you into a suspension of disbelief necessary for the enjoyment of fantasy.

The geography presents challenges and benefits to your characters that become integral to the story. The challenges particularly provide a point of conflict to oppose your characters. A mountain range or a swamp can act as a barrier to progress or a shield against abuse. It can explain why some people in your novel are rich and some are poor or why certain characters work in the professions they do.

Political and social systems play are huge role in The Willow Branch. The political system is in flux. A monarchy without a monarch is not only vulnerable to attack from outside forces, but subject to transformation into something else. While the nobles fight over territory, they leave the commons struggling to survive, which sets up a rich versus poor conflict that is hinted in the beginning and will grow over time.

Writers should indulge in some personal historian-like behavior when world building. It won’t usually make it on the page, but some notes about who the founding king was or the pivotal events of the society were will help lend authenticity to your world.

My streets stink!

No, seriously! They do! I want them to. I want my readers to know that a city street is a fetid place filled with odors of sewage and rancid cooking oil. It’s a place of meat pies and roast gamehen, of ale and water that shouldn’t probably be drank without some ale mixed in. This engages the senses and provides the reader with yet another hook to hang his hat on.

Map of Celdrya for PublicationI am not a Trekker. I created a few Elvish words and borrowed a great many more from Gaelic to set a mood in The Willow Branch, but I didn’t try to invent a language. But you might notice the lilt in the Celdryan narrative and dialogue drops away in the Kindred sections. This is because the Kin don’t speak Celdryan, which is based on Gaelic. Those tongue-twisting Kindred names are based on Asian naming conventions because I want you to know there is something altogether different about the Kin compared to the Celts and it isn’t just that the Kin are elven.

I have magical people in my tale. The Kin and a handful of Celdryans are naturally magical — they don’t need rituals and techniques. They are what they are. The mages, however, are magicians. They wield magic through techniques and rituals learned from decades of study. Why is this important? Because Daermad, the land of the Celts and the Kin, is a naturally magical place and some people are naturally attuned to it while others can only manipulate the magic. Why?

Read the book to find out.




The Willow Branch Paperback   Leave a comment

Front Cover UpdateJust $13.49 on Amazon.

A Taste of the Future   2 comments

This is what I wrote this afternoon for Murklin Wood —



Ryanna gathered her sword and long knife and strode toward danger. Sabre ghosted from the wood on silent paws.

Four men surrounded an ox-driven cart loaded with wheels of cheese. Two of the men had possessed themselves of struggling women while a bairn squalled in the cart the other two men were ransacking.

Ryanna tested the weight of her long knife and decided the odds were at least fair with Sabre’s aid. The dog thought bloody thoughts.

Ryanna reached for the Source, felt it flow up into her body and flung herself in the fray. The first man crumpled as she struck him across the back of the head with the pommel of her long knife. He promptly released the woman he was holding. Ryanna swept sideways to smack the flat of her sword across the forehead of the second man, who fell backwards with blood spurting from his nose. That woman wrenched free and ran for the cart.

Sabre had already closed on the arm of a third man, leaving Ryanna to deal with the fourth, who drew his sword as she whirled to face him.

Now, lad, you shouldn’t have interfered here,” he said, thinking himself facing a boy in his teens and not a woman with 20 years of sword training and some scraps under her belt.

That cart is not yours to interfere with either,” Ryanna informed him, forcing her dark-woman’s voice deeper. “If you take your fellows and run that way, I’ll let you live.”

He laughed and swung on her. Ryanna parried with the long knife and brought her sword round toward his guts. It turned on the jerkin he wore under his siarc. He pushed her back and quickly turned his sword upon her. He had a hands-length on her and at least five stone on her. She knew she was fighting for her life.

They circled one another. Her Sensing said Sabre had crushed the windpipe of the man he’d engaged and was now growling in the face of the one with the broken nose, who was trying to crawl off into the woods. That brief report was all she could spare as she parried the brigand’s sword and swept upward with her own. Jerkins left the underarm exposed. If she could catch the soft flesh there, the fight would be won.

His sword turned on her jerkin and drove the air out of her. But for the Source empowering her limbs, she might have been done for. She slewed sideways, caught his counter-thrust on her sword and brought the long knife down, then up into his underarm. For a moment, she panicked as the blade caught halfway in the boiled-leather of the jerkin, but then she was able to wrench it free so that blood flowed down his siarc. He fell against her and she lowered him to the ground.

You should have listened,” she told him as his eyes began to glaze over. And, then one of the woman screamed. Ryanna immediately dropped the brigand, moving to face the danger behind her. She saw the sword and thought I’m dead, but then the brigand wielding it stiffened, swatted at the back of his own neck and fell to his knees. An arrow sprouted from his back. Ryanna looked around for this new danger, only to see Sarala holding a hunting bow, a second arrow around nocked and aimed toward where Sabre had the remaining brigand backed against a tree.

Ryanna checked the three to assure they were dead and then faced the fourth.

Briganding will get you killed, lad,” she informed him. “Do you lasses have some rope?”


Now that you’ve had a little taste treat of the Daermad Cycle, why not buy Book 1 – The Willow Branch?


#amwriting, #lelamarkham, #willowbranch

Help Promote The Willow Branch   2 comments

Front Cover UpdateA book’s destiny is to be read. Support my Thunderclap for The Willow Branch.

What is Thunderclap? It’s a new website that allows people to pledge to Tweet or Facebook Share all on the same day and time in order to achieve maximum effect. Consider this an online cheer for The Willow Branch.

Click on this link and choose either Support with Facebook or Support with Twitter (or BOTH!) and add your name to the Thunderclap. On November 24, all those who signed up will automatically post on Twitter and Facebook a recommendation for a great fantasy novel.

With your help, on November 24, thousands of people will hear about The Willow Branch.

Lela Markham

A High Fantasy Epic   Leave a comment

My friend Jane Bwye, author of Breath of Africa and I Lift Up My Eyes, interviewed me on Monday for the launch of The Willow Branch.

A High Fantasy Epic.

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