Sunday, July 15, 2012

Parallel Worlds / Pat McDermott

The recent discovery of the Higgs boson, the so-called ‘God particle’, suggests the possible existence of parallel worlds. No surprise there. Storytellers have been telling tales of "Otherworlds" for thousands of years. In A Band of Roses and its sequels, Fiery Roses and Salty Roses (coming soon), Irish Crown Princess Talty Boru visits a few. There’s lots more to the Band of Roses trilogy than parallel worlds, but in honor of Professor Higgs’s discovery, let’s visit two with Talty.

The Ireland in which Talty lives is an Otherworld to us, a world where High King Brian Boru survived the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 A.D. and established a royal dynasty that rules Ireland to this day. A military assignment sends Talty to several different dimensions with her 'Veddy' English commanding officer, Richard Gale, who doesn’t know she’s the King of Ireland’s daughter. In a test run gone wrong, they arrive in our world in 1014 A.D., just before the Battle of Clontarf, which, in our world, claimed the life of Brian Boru.
* * * * *
Excerpt One:
"Where are we?" she asked. "Will we go back soon? And where’s Nick?"

Richard’s frown worried her. "I don’t know where the bloody hell he is. Either he didn’t make it through, or he’s somewhere nearby and we’ll meet up with him later. But we should already be back. Test runs never take more than a minute. Let’s find cover and sit tight."

He pulled his commando knife from his tool kit and slid it into his boot sheath. Following his example, Talty slipped her tanto knife into her own boot. They rested in a copse of oak trees, sipping water from their canteens.

Richard soon grew restless. "It won’t matter where we are when Creek calls us back. I don’t like sitting in one place too long. Let’s see if we can make friends with the natives before dark."

They found a deer track and set out through the woodlands. Bird calls and rustling leaves were the only sounds they heard until crashing branches and stumbling footsteps announced a desperate flight through the woods. Talty dashed behind a tree, as did Richard, just before a boy of no more than fourteen emerged from the undergrowth. After a moment, Richard signaled Talty. Together they stepped from behind the trees.

The boy froze. Curly black hair framed his pale face. The torn crimson cloak that covered his shoulders tumbled to his leather-clad feet. Beneath the cloak, he wore a belted blue tunic that reached his knees. Yellow leggings completed the colorful outfit.

Richard held his hands palms out. "Can we help you, lad?"

Frightened blue eyes flashed over Richard’s fatigues. The boy didn’t seem to notice Talty. His response sounded like gibberish to her, though an instant later the words made sense.

"Please, can you? The Danmarkers have my mother! I’m afraid Brother Marcan and the others will be too late!"

"Which way?" Richard asked.

The distraught boy ran off.

"You go first, darling. I’ll take the rear."

Talty set her hands on her hips. "Don’t you think you should’ve asked how many attackers there are before you agreed to help?"

Before he could answer, she grinned and jogged after the boy.

"Bloody hell," muttered Richard behind her.

A distant babble of voices quickly grew to angry shouts. Moments later, the boy stopped, and then he crept to the edge of a glade. Talty squeezed beside him, Richard at her sleeve. She peeked through the greenery to see four men standing before a round thatched cottage, the main building of a small homestead.

Armed with swords, clad in wool and leather, they’d tucked their long hair into their weapon-laden belts. Vikings!

They weren’t the only ones shouting. From inside the cottage, a woman shrieked a rainbow of insults back at them.

"Curse all of ye! I’d send ye to the devil, but ye’d be in too good company! Death and smotherin’ on ye, and may ye die roarin’!"

"Come out, Leesha!" called one of the men. He lifted a flaming torch from a fence post and stood grinning with his flaming prize. "If you don’t, we will burn you out!"

"Come out, Leesha!" called another. "I will keep Leg-Biter in his scabbard." His companions made lewd jokes about the swords that would make a scabbard of Leesha.

"Don’t listen to them, Leesha," called the apparent leader. "We only want to talk. Come out now, or we will set the place afire!"

"Pig snouts on your children, ye miserable dogs!"

At the leader’s nod, the torch man swung his arm in ever-widening arcs.

Before Richard and Talty could stop him, the boy charged into the clearing. "No, ye filthy pagans!" He slammed into the torch wielder, who fell backward and raised his hands against the boy’s pummeling fists. The burning torch rolled harmlessly to the ground.

With roars of bawdy laughter, the other Vikings drew their swords and closed on the boy.

"The bitch will come out if we kill her pup!" one shouted.

Richard slid his knife from his boot and nodded toward the three standing Vikings. "The one on the right is yours. I’ll take the two on the left."
* * * * *
When a murderous plot to seize the throne of England leaves Talty fighting for both her heritage and her life, she must hide her identity and leave Ireland. She finds romance and adventure, yet all she wants is to go home to her family and Neil Boru, the adoptive cousin she secretly loves and cannot have. Or can she?

In Fiery Roses, an arsonist sends Neil, Talty, and Talty’s colleagues, Richard and Nick, to an ancient world at the mercy of a waking volcano. In this excerpt, a young boy's archery lesson turns deadly.

Excerpt Two:
Avoiding Neil's gaze, Talty rose to her feet. "Hulch is sleeping and I promised Kavie I'd give him a few archery tips. You old fellas have a nice rest."

She sauntered across the clearing, hips swaying, arms swinging, nothing like the trembling young woman Neil had held in his arms at the crater. She'd never admit it, but looking into the volcano had frightened her. She had needed him. Would she ever admit that?

Talty and Kavie hunkered down beside the hot springs with Kavie's quiver of arrows. A lesson on straightening the matted white feathers by holding them over steam followed. Neil dozed off to the sound of Talty's silvery voice offering confident and gentle guidance. His eyes fluttered open at her command to the boy to retrieve his arrows.

Nick lay snoring nearby, his head on an empty lunch sack. Richard crossed the clearing and informed Neil that the practice was over, and that Kavie had ventured into the underbrush to find his wayward arrows.

Trying to guess how long he'd slept, Neil watched Hulch dismantle the target. Talty stood near the woods, holding the bow and the half-full quiver, apparently waiting for Kavie. Neil rubbed his eyes, got up, and stretched.

Kavie came running from the trees, though he held no arrows. "I found baby boars!" His high-pitched voice cracked with excitement. The piglet wriggling in his arms let out a squeal of bloodcurdling terror. "Isn't he cute?"

"No!" cried Talty. "Drop it, Kavie! Drop it now!"

The worry in her voice alarmed Neil; the rapidly intensifying crashing in the woods horrified him. Behind him, the panicking horses screeched and strained at their tethers.

An enraged she-boar burst from the underbrush. Kavie released the piglet and screamed.

Neil tore across the clearing. Powered by sheer terror, he tackled Kavie to the ground, rolled with the boy in his arms, and slammed into a massive boulder beside a stand of trees.

The raging sow's momentum carried her straight ahead. She cantered to a stop and wheeled about, tossing her head and stamping her hooves.

Gasping for breath, Neil sized up the grunting, snorting nightmare. Three feet high and four feet long, she had to weigh over two hundred pounds. A mane of black bristles ran down the back of her wooly brown coat. Six inches of razor-sharp ivory curved from the base of her long black snout—and her swinging head left no doubt she knew how to slice.

The sow's tiny eyes squinted in murderous search of the culprit who had defiled her litter. Tufted tail whipping, she scented the air and shifted toward Talty.
* * * * *
Thanks for reading!

Pat McDermott
Romantic Adventure Set in Ireland
Pat’s Web Site
Put the Kettle On
Across the Plain of Shining Books


Wendy said...

I love the idea of parallel universes and having met Talty in Glancing Through the Glimmer, I'll be happy to follow her anywhere. Congratulations Pat. Your excerpts are very entertaining.

Pat McDermott said...

Glad you enjoyed them, Wendy. Professor Higgs found his boson just in time for Talty and company. Thanks for stopping by!

Margaret Fieland said...

Pat, I am a huge fan of parallel worlds and have happily read many a sci fi novel based on the notion.

I'm hooked. I'm going to have to read your books.

PS: I am not a robot, but neither do I have wonderful near vision. Darned twisted letters...

Pat McDermott said...

Margaret, thanks so much for making the effort with the security letters. I'm not a fan of them, but sadly, they're necessary. So glad you stopped by!

Cellophane Queen said...

I just had a discussion the other day about the combination of science and fantasy. It reminded me of Arthur Clarke's quote: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Alternate universes? Why not? I described Otherworld that way in one of my books and it satisfied my need to have a good grounding in physical laws for magic to build on.

Pat McDermott said...

No argument here, Marva. In his novel The Haunted Mesa, the late Louis L'Amour explained the disappearance of the Anasazis by having them go through a portal to another world, and he did it in such a way that it made perfect sense. Through the Looking Glass indeed! Thanks for popping in.

Tami Dee said...

Great excerpts and post, Pat! Love the consept. :-)

Pat McDermott said...

Hi, Tami. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Gail Roughton said...

See? We writers are SO much smarter than science, we've ALWAYS known there were parallel worlds! We've been writing about 'em for YEARS!

Pat McDermott said...

LOL, Gail. Don't know if we're smarter, but we sure can give their scientific imaginations a run for their money. Great to see you!

Unknown said...

Alternate worlds, alternate universes. I suck at worlbuilding, but kudos to those who can do it.

I do love reading about them though.

Good luck with the sales.

Pat McDermott said...

Hey, Lorrie. Thanks for the good wishes!

Kemberlee said...

You know me, Pat. I just love anything Irish. And, as you know, 1014 is near and dear to my heart too ;-) Good luck with this book and the series!

Pat McDermott said...

Delighted to see you, Kemberlee. Thanks so much for stopping by, all the way from Ireland!

Maeve Greyson said...

I love all the exciting "what if's" parallel worlds hold. I've never thought we're the only ones. Thanks for the great post, Pat!

Erin OQuinn said...

Ah, Pat, just a quick re-reading has me clamoring for the sequel! I loved this book. And I especially appreciate your ingenious lead-in (the God particle). I am, in addition to a Gaelic-theme freak, a huge fan of cosmological subjects. I (along with a lot of physicists) strongly believe in parallel worlds. But I doubt whether any of those worlds is as ingenious as yours!

For those of you who haven't read BAND OF're in for a rare treat. Wishing you huge success on your next MIU venture. xxErin

J.Q. Rose said...

Having a scientific basis for another world makes the story even more believable and fascinating. Enjoyed the excerpts. Best wishes!

Pat McDermott said...

@Maeve, I seriously doubt we're the only ones.
@Erin, the sequel is right around the corner.
@JQ, so glad you enjoyed the excerpts.
Thank you all so much for stopping by!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

The excerpt is awesome! This book is going to be a huge success, Pat. Kudos!

Pat McDermott said...

Thank you, Joylene. So glad you stopped by!

Rosalie Skinner said...

Great timing on the Higgs Bosun particle. Did you arrange that? Imagine a world without parallel universes. How boring would fiction be then?
Love mixing sci fi and fantasy. So much science fiction become science FACT.
Great excerpts Pat.

Pat McDermott said...

I didn't arrange it, Rosalie. Prof. Higgs finally caught up with the world of science fiction :-) Glad you enjoyed the excerpts. Thanks for stopping by!

Kemberlee said...


Have you seen the documentary Prophets of Science Fiction? They've been focusing on the likes of Philip K Dick, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, etc and how they predicted the future in their stories. I'm waiting to see if they do Gene Roddenberry ;-)

Pat McDermott said...

Haven't seen that one, Kemberlee. Will watch for it. Thanks!

Kemberlee said...

Here's the link at Discovery who produced the series --

However if you go on YouTube and put in prophets of science fiction in the search, most of the shows come up in full length.

We watched the one on Jules Verne last night (recorded, as they're being re-aired here at the moment). British/Irish tv loves reruns for some reason!