Monday, January 13, 2014

Through the Oracle's Mist

Today's special guest is Aedan Byrnes. There is no simple description for Aedan. Obsessive, dreamer, reclusive, compulsive, outdoorsman and wordsmith would be among the list if one were started. The displaced Gael lives in the upper Midwest with family between jaunts wherever the road takes him. A frequent traveler, he is as likely to be found rock climbing or spelunking as sitting fireside dreaming or aimlessly floating away.

A lifelong lover of words and writing, he claims a diverse reading appetite and his writing reflects the myriad influences. A self-proclaimed 'reader's writer', he looks for the emotional and the sensory in word combinations, not just the visceral comprehension of phrases in the stories he crafts and his love of all things literary shines through.


At my personal blogspot,, I listed Through the Oracle's Mist as one of my Top Ten Reads of 2013.  I asked him to talk about the research that went into the historical backdrops in the book - the deserts, Japan, and into the present with Ireland, as well as the inspiration for the Oracle in the book. Below is his response:

I have always been a student of the world. I love history and spend a great deal of time reading about it when not using it as backdrop for storytelling. Apollo’s Oracle at Delphi is a particular favorite of mine and I knew the Oracle piece of the story long before I knew anything else. I knew that I wanted an influence that was ageless and sustaining, but wise and foreshadowing even though perhaps not directly recounting the actual Oracle or the maidens of Apollo’s Temple.
            I had a lot of fun coming up with the Pythian Scrolls and the fortunes, as well as making them bend to the tale I was telling.  Only one is actually from the real Oracle’s prophecies, but that too was fun to work in. I’m enjoying the work on Warrior’s Watchtower, the next book in the Vengelys series, and how the Oracle will have sway and yet be a surprise for readers. There is giddiness to creating surprises in writing.
            As for the other backdrops, it was important to me to be accurate in the history even if the story was fiction. Once I knew the premise of the tale, I started thinking about times in history that were interesting to me and fitting them to the work. There are many more backdrops from history I hope to use in the series somehow, but I needed time to remain linear but also expansive for this tale, so not all my favorites made the cut. I looked at a large cross section history of the world and chose additional backdrops once I had worked in a couple that I knew in my head I needed to use to move the tale forward.
            Once I knew the rough notion of when I was going to be writing about, I hit the books. I am an old school writer that way and prefer to be nose deep in text as opposed to skimming or surfing the net. I have several large binders full of research for the backdrops, and pull them back out often to reference so I remain accurate and consistent. This to me is critical.
Present day Ireland was probably the most difficult research because of Niamh’s ‘run’. I wanted to represent all the places that people go, but also the ones the tourists’ dream of when they think of the Isle but many never see. There is a love affair for so many with this area of the world, the Celtic lore, and the ancient feel, yet many will never get the chance to go and experience it. I wanted to create the sensation of it with words that would transport the reader there, even if only for a few chapters, allowing them to experience the magick of the lands. In my humble opinion, I feel far short of encompassing the whole of it, but perhaps managed to give readers a glimpse.
Japan was fun to work on. I am fascinated by the era before and of the Shoguns. The conflicts that occurred leading up to a system that changed the world was difficult to condense down into such a small segment of the book, but Japan was not the point of this tale. The expansion of the world west to east and vis-à-vis made the sands almost necessary, and for me, a welcome addition. There is such dynamic contrast between them from desert to desert which in turn reinforced the tale I was weaving as I tried to show that one person’s perspective is not the same as the next through the same set of events.
Overall, each backdrop was chosen because it offered an insight into the characters stories and the near misses along the way but also because they offered an insight into the near misses of the world as we grew to become what we know today. It is my hope that somewhere along the way someone read a passage and yearned to know more about that time or place…AFTER they finished the book of course. I do not expect everyone to fall in love with history as I did, but if I piqued an interest along the way, that would be a great highlight for me. The story itself is a beginning of something larger…much larger.  We are part of something larger too. It was and is a great joy to get to share it through the characters, the stories and the series to come. Enjoy.


In the blackest night, with the moon and stars to guide him, she would always be there waiting…

Cyrenna thought she died the day she watched Tynan and his brothers jump through the banishment portal in an act of solidarity with Rigor. Little did she know, it would be the first of many deaths she would experience in her quest to claim his heart. She would surrender not only her immortal soul, but a mortal one repeatedly. Through a deal with the great Oracle, she has multiple mortal lifetimes to change the direction of her future and have a chance with Tynan.

Her journey spans the ages from the GenPei War in Japan and the Silk Road west, to Cromwell, the Three Kingdoms and modern times, bringing her one step closer to forever until she makes a misstep. Then, the burden falls to Tynan. The only thing that is absolute is her fervent hope that he will come, but there’s one big problem.

Through it all, he doesn’t so much as know her name.


That single word coupled with the tangling and untangling fragrance of her, become a vortex in my mind. Rational thought collides with irrational thought, wants, and needs. All of them together, do battle with my better self. Standing up, my feet are unsteady; my head is a carnival ride of haphazard motion, and my inner wild is desperately cleaving for release. I can hear her heaving for breath as quietly as she is able and can smell the palatable desperation to remain in control and calm. I have to back away or it will be over before I can form a thought to stop it. I am too close to losing the battle with my other self and I have less ability to restrain him of late. I am not master of myself right now. I’m too close. Mistakes made years ago will not be repeated. It is a hard reminder in the back of my mind. I have to back away or risk destroying another who might finally, so many years after Ite, be worth the challenge to learn.

Backing up, I find myself stumbling backwards, the mad tumbling bramble in my mind cluttering all rational thoughts and abilities. Lights flash against darkness in my mind, leaving momentary blindness in their wake and confusion. Images slideshow with lightning quickness; her standing in the moonlight, then it isn’t her at all but another who looks at me with sorrow, courage and compassion. More images come of her shivering to maintain control as I stroked an ice cube down her cheek; back to the other her, shivering from a different kind of stroking. The back and forth are disorienting and I find myself ass-planted on the floor with a ‘whump’ grabbing for my temples to stop the onslaught of the ensuing madness. The back and forth comparisons will not be still.

Kneading my eyes with the heels of my hands I shake my head to clear the fog from my addled brain. I am aware that she is not able to see me and that is a small mercy, though as I settle I can smell the cloying damp earth smell of her sobbing in confusion. The smell of her tears is nearly my complete undoing as my other self surges forward to rage at memories. I clamp down hard on the past and the storming emotions to wait. I am rewarded with the low tone of her breath hitching across her vocal chords as she rights herself and regains her composure. Sadly, for both of us, it isn’t enough. I want more.


Aedan will be awarding to one randomly drawn commenter a journal from his CafePress storefront, a charm and leather bracelet made for the story and a custom cover shepherd hook style bookmark made by Stone Soup Designs for Through the Oracle's Mist.  The bracelet leather colors and the journal cover may differ from the photo.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 

Connect with Aedan at:

Twitter   @AedanByrnes

Link for book video: