Eilean Donan Castle by DRW Photography

Monday, July 7, 2014

Ria Cantrell

YAY, This week is Ria. Look at my interview with her. Boy is she a wonderful person. I cannot believe all these wonderful Authors are letting me interview them. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I do.

Me: Tell us about yourself

Ria: I grew up on Long Island, New York. I have done many interesting things, including being a professional belly dancer, figure skater, singer and medieval re-enactor. I married the love of my life after accidentally meeting on Facebook as a result of a game. We were both bored and playing a vampire game. (I am not one of these vampire groupies, to say the least but I thought the avatar was sexy). I bit him, and he ended up “killing” me. He then apologized and something about the way he wrote “so sorry”… I knew he was from England. We started writing to each other, then chatting. We would talk for hours and hours. He came to the US for us to meet in person in 2010. We were married in 2012. I know, it sounds like a line from one of my stories. He and I share a love of music. He is a British Rocker, but we pool our talents. We share of love of writing. Presently we live in the sunny “banks” of the Gulf of Mexico in SW Florida.

Me: Tell us about your books?

Ria: My books mostly take place in Medieval Europe. They offer heroes steeped in valor and chivalry and strong heroines that know their own minds and hearts. My series, Celtic Storm, focuses around the Clan MacCollum, Clan Campbell and English Chivalry. Enemy clans war with each other until love breaks the bonds of hatred.  In my latest book, Celtic Spirit, love has to overcome centuries of loss, distrust and animosity when my reluctant hero is given a second chance of redemption after a life of dishonor. Only, the cost of such redemption is centuries spent in a limbo-like isolation until he meets a modern day woman who is descended from his enemy Clan. She is faced with a ghost as a castle-mate and he is faced with his greatest fear; to forsake his past and embrace a future in a world not of his own; with a woman representing his greatest hatred.  All of my books have a sense of paranormal and magic. I rely heavily on dream sequences, where clarity comes while the fog of the mind is lifted during sleep. I base the magic on Christian and Celtic-Pagan beliefs. I think my books are emotionally charged and have many twists to explore.

Me: When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?

Ria: I have to laugh. No. I really don’t. The names come to me and I joke that sometimes I think that maybe the “Ancients” are calling to me from the past to tell their story. They sort of take on a life of their own. Having participated in Medieval Re-enactment, I was able to learn many names that were used during those times. Sometimes I name characters after people I know or names that I have liked. Sometimes I even model characters after people and events I have experienced. And…if said person was not nice to me…I may even kill the character off in the end. (Ahhhh the power of the pen…)

Me: What made you want to write and also what made you want to write the genre you are writing?

Ria: All I can say is that I have loved writing since I was a kid. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write. As long as I can remember, I always had notebooks filled with stories, poems, essays, random thoughts. I craved books even as a small child and when my parents would ask me what I wanted them to bring me, I always said a book. I loved to read and hungered for the written word. I can even remember my mom getting mad at me for reading at the breakfast table and after taking my book away, I tried reading cereal boxes or whatever without her knowing. As for the genre, well, I wrote my first romance for a school project where we had to actually bind the book and type the pages ourselves. I think I was 13 at the time. I don’t think Sister Mary Veronica was too pleased about that story. Then, I started reading romances. When I was about 15, my friends and I would have “juice” parties where we would skim through books just to find the juicy bits.  Through life, I enjoy sensuality and so my books evolved into sensual, romances with paranormal twists. As for the paranormal, well let’s just say I have had a good share of those types of experiences as well, but that is an interview for another day.

Me: Do you think, about a book of yours, being made into a movie, or not when writing?

Ria: I think that there are a lot of books of similar genre out there at this time. While the world is starting to acknowledge period pieces more these days, I think it is difficult to catch the eye of the TV world. However, if any of my books should be made into a movie, I think Celtic Spirit would not disappoint.  Hmmm, I wonder who I would get to play my hunky ghost. Seriously, I think it would be a dream come true if such a thing happened. I am happy, though, just to have people read and enjoy my stories.

Me: Do you have any tips for our readers that might dream of writing?

Ria: The best advice I can give to people who want to write is to write often. Write anything. It doesn’t have to be a Pulitzer prize winning piece. It just has to come from your heart. Write every day if you can. Journal. The more you write, the easier it becomes. Write stories that mean something to you. When you write, just let yourself go. You can be as free as you want. Now, in today’s world, it is easy for a writer to publish his or her works. Try to put forth a good story and make sure your grammar and word usage is up to par. If you aren’t sure, have someone edit your work.  Above all, just write.

Me: Tell us anything you want?

Ria: I think it is a privilege to reach people, be it through my music or my written words. I am honored and humbled by the success and interest that my books have received.  Thank you for taking the time to interview me. I want to thank my readers and supporters for spreading the word about my stories. I hope that I can continue to touch their hearts and offer stories of hope, love, passion, courage, and honor. Most of all, I want to thank my husband Paul, who believes in me and promotes me every chance he gets. His support has made my dream a reality.  Bright Blessings to you all!

Don't forget to like her Facebook Author Page, And you can find ALL her books at Amazon. Links below.

Her Latest Book

Celtic Spirit (Celtic Storm)

*Prologue I *

1370 – Scotland – the Highlands

Derek Campbell had made his way back to his childhood home. He had been away for the past five years giving his service to whomever would pay him the most coin. His loyalty lay with no man. He was as good as a common whore, selling himself to the highest bidder. He offered himself in service to fight and it never mattered what side he fought for. Sometimes in a matter of weeks he fought within two opposing sides, killing those who had only paid him weeks before to line their ranks. One thing about the clans of the highlands, when they weren’t warring with each other, they were warring with the bloody English. He was never shy of work.
Being a mercenary was easy. He could fight and kill and never have to be accountable for his actions because in war there were no rules. He was a man without honor and so plying his services to whatever cause at the moment suited him just fine.
Long ago, he had given up any shred of honor. He could not remember fighting for a just cause; perhaps he never had. The last time he had been near Castle Campbell brought about bitter memories that pricked at his pride more than he cared to admit.
Looking down at the dirt road that led to Castle Campbell, Derek toyed with making his presence known. Enough time had passed and it was about time he claimed what was rightfully his. He heard it was no longer Campbell domain but instead, usurped and taken by the bloody MacCollums. His stupid sister had gotten herself entangled with the Laird’s son, Ruiri, the dreaded Wolf of the Highlands and the mortal enemy of all things Campbell. As far as he knew, though, she had never made claim of the keep and brushed the dirt from her feet on the last day she had stepped there. It was the day his brother Roderick had been laid to rest. Thinking of that day brought fresh humiliation to the forefront of his mind as if it had happened just yesterday. The MacCollum Laird and his other son had given him a sound beating along with a strict warning that if he were to make himself seen again, they would show him no mercy. They promised to meter out the justice due for his part in the abuse of his half-sister, Gabrielle, and they would let vengeance guide them in the judgment. If he hadn’t been surrounded, he would have taken at least one of them to hell with him, but instead they let him go and he slunk off to lick his wounds and nurse his humiliation till it became a living, breathing thing.
How many times had he imagined turning the tides of that day past in his favor and giving those haughty MacCollums the comeuppance they deserved? He remembered having a brief sense of remorse when his sister cried and railed at him that day in the clearing. He almost felt guilty for the times he had mistreated her along with his brother Rod. He almost felt sad for the part he had played in the accident that led to her mother’s death, but as the days and weeks passed, the humiliation and dishonor bestowed upon him ate up any of those feelings that were best served on weaklings.
Planting himself in a tree, he sat on a branch that kept him shielded to view the comings and goings at Castle Campbell. It certainly looked better than the last time he had seen it. It was being restored and he had heard that the MacCollum whelp had gotten herself an English husband and had taken up residence there when she wasn’t back in bloody England. That information infuriated Derek Campbell to the point of violence. If anything, his stupid sister should have taken up residence there; not another feckin’ MacCollum spawn. Certainly not an English dog!
From his perch, he saw the said dog meandering past the portcullis and moat with two little curs toddling alongside of their father. He was oddly dressed. He wore the plaid of the MacCollum bastards. Derek heard it was told that this one was now fully Clan since the marriage to the MacCollum lass and from what Derek could see from his vantage point, it certainly seemed so.
He observed and plotted…and stewed. How was he going to get back what was rightfully his? Plaid or no, this man was as English as could be. He could pretend he was a Highlander all he wanted, but he had the taint of the Britons about him that no amount of plaid could cover. It was high time to put the keep back into the rightful hands of the Campbell. Only, being a mercenary not only afforded him the freedom of not declaring fealty, so too had none declared fealty to him. He was pretty much alone in his quest to take back what he had lost so long ago.
As his heart churned with blackness and hatred pulsed through him, he hatched a vicious and evil plan. He would have his revenge and he would retrieve what had been rightfully his.
Lost in his musings of vengeance, Derek Campbell was not aware of the shifting of the limb he had positioned himself on to spy without notice. When he heard the cracking beneath his feet, it was too late. The limb failed; hurtling him some 50 spans downward, landing him on the hard ground below. The blackness in his heart now drowned out the light of the day as he felt his bones break as he hit the bottom of his plummet. The pain was intense but brief, as he succumbed to nothingness.

*Prologue II*

The little girl went towards her grandfather, so very happy to see him again. Mama had said Grandpa had gone to heaven, but here he was in her room, just after she had had a bad dream.
“Grandpa, Mommy said you went to heaven.”
The grandfather smiled at his beloved darling girl. She climbed up into his lap and rested her head on his shoulder.
“Grandpa, is heaven beautiful?”
“Oh, very beautiful.”
“Will you be going back?”
“I will be going soon, precious girl, but not just yet.”
“Can’t I go with you?”
The grandfather laughed sadly and said, “No, darling, not yet. You have many things to see, but when your time comes, I will be waiting for you.”
The little girl sighed; she was filled with joy now that her grandfather was with her again. She loved him very much and had been so sad when he had gone away. Mama was sadder than she was and cried all the time, it seemed. She couldn’t wait to tell her mother that Grandpa was back. With her hands around his neck, she felt him rocking her in the big chair like he had done so many times in her young life when the things of night scared her. She could hear him humming that tune he always sang or whistled and she no longer felt afraid. She waited for him to finish the song and then she said, “Grandpa, will you come back to play with me?”
“I will always be with you, honey. You can be sure of it.”
She snuggled into his lap and fell asleep. Everything was going to be alright now. Grandfather had come back from heaven and Mommy wouldn’t have to cry anymore.
In the morning, thinking that her grandfather must have tucked her back into bed, Kiera scrambled from under the covers and ran to tell her mother the good news. Her mother was fixing breakfast in the kitchen and she smiled at her little child.
“Mama, I saw Grandpa. He’s back from heaven.”
A frown twisted her mother’s smile and tears instantly welled in her eyes.
“No, Honey. You must have just dreamed that.”
Shaking her head adamantly, the little girl insisted, “No I didn’t. I had a bad dream and woke up and Grandpa was sitting in the rocking chair in my room. I sat in his lap and he sang me a song. He said he would always be with me and that I would see him today. He said he would come back to play with me. Isn’t that wonderful, Mommy? Now you don’t have to be sad anymore.”
“Kiera, your grandfather died. Honey, he won’t be coming back now.”
“No. I saw him. He rocked me in the chair. He was real. I touched him.”
Krista Callum looked at her husband and he just shrugged. Kiera turned to her father and she said, “I saw him, Dad. I did. He is coming back today. He told me heaven was beautiful and that I can’t go there with him yet, but he said he was coming back to play with me.”
Krista sat her daughter down at the table and gave her some breakfast. She said, “Eat your breakfast, while I talk with Daddy for a minute.”
John Callum followed his wife out of the kitchen and when they thought they were out of hearing distance from their daughter, he said, “You don’t suppose….”
“John, no. It can’t be. I don’t want any…weird aberration harming our child.”
“But what if it isn’t an aberration? What if she can see…well, what if she is gifted that way?”
“No. I don’t want to hear it. Our child has a very vivid imagination; that’s all. Now let’s not talk about it again.”
“Alright. If you wish, but you know she isn’t the only one who has been given that gift.”
“That gift, as you call it, is a curse. She will be targeted and ridiculed for it. We will not harbor this, John. I mean it.”
John sighed. His own mother had been clairvoyant and he had grown up nurtured with a natural knowledge of the spirit realm to some extent. He did not share the gift but his mother had been quite gifted when it came to communicating with those who had gone before. Krista was a logical sort of woman and she did not take much stock in such things. She had discounted it to being a little eccentric but that was all. Now it would seem his little daughter may indeed share the gift of her grandmother.
John’s parents were descended from an old line of Scots. He knew that people who shared that heritage had ties to ancient ways that sometimes many could not fully understand. His father was a direct descendent from a clan that had ties to St. Columba, the Irish saint who had brought ancient immigrants to Scotland so many centuries ago. MacCollum they were called; in honor of their patron saint. He supposed that the name Callum was somehow begotten when people came through Ellis Island, to be forever changed for all posterity. John also knew that his mother never denied her gift and he would have to try to explain things to Kiera so that she would not be afraid of it. Of course, he would have to do that when Krista was not in the room.
Kiera heard her parents talking, but she didn’t know what they meant. She didn’t know what an aberration was, but she was sure it was not her grandfather. For if it was, he would never harm her; of that she was certain. She didn’t understand why her mother would not be happy that Grandfather had come home. Well, she was happy. Her mom must have just been confused. Maybe Grandpa was just waiting to surprise her and then she would not have to cry anymore.
Later that day, Krista watched her daughter playing in the yard. It seemed she was talking to someone. She peered through the window to see who her daughter was playing with as she heard the sweet giggles of her child on the afternoon breeze. She could not see anyone. She did not give it much concern, thinking Kiera was just pretending, but then she saw something that made her heart plummet in her chest. Kiera was walking and looking up adoringly at no one and her little hand was raised as if being clasped in the hand of an adult. Krista blanched as she watched her child having a full conversation with someone she could not see. The pot she had been scrubbing clattered to the floor as fear squeezed her heart.


John Callum let himself into his little daughter’s bedroom to tuck her in and to read her a story. Krista had told him what she had witnessed that afternoon in the yard and she had been absolutely terrified. Her child was speaking to a ghost. She wanted no part of that even if it had been the spirit of her father, but John knew he had to try to explain things to his impressionable young child as best as he could.
After reading her a story, he sat on the edge of her bed and he said, “Kiera, your grandfather loved you very much.”
“And I love him. He is my best friend.”
“Well, honey, you know he would never have left you if he didn’t have to. Remember how sick he was?”
The little girl nodded sadly.
“Well, after he got so sick, he died, honey. Do you understand that? Remember when your pet froggy died and we had to bury him in the yard? Remember how I told you he wasn’t coming back? Well Grandpa isn’t coming back either.”
“But he is back, Daddy. I played with him this afternoon. He pushed me on the swing. We had a long talk. He said he would always be with me, but that I might not always see him.”
“That’s right. You won’t. Kiera, I want to talk to you about this so you won’t be afraid.”
“I would never be afraid of Grandpa, Daddy.”
“Well, what I am trying to tell you is that I think you saw the Spirit of your grandpa today.” John Callum wasn’t even sure his young daughter would understand, but she answered, “You mean like a ghost, daddy?”
“Well, yes, kind of like that.”
“No. Ghosts are scary. Grandpa would never scare me.”
“Well that is because he loved you so. Some people don’t have the talent to see their loved ones again after they die. You seem to be able to. Your grandma, my mom was able to, too.”
“Can you, daddy?”
“No, honey I can’t. I wish I could, because I would love to talk to my mom again.”
“And you can’t because she died, too?”
“That’s right, honey. I just wanted to tell you because I don’t want you to be afraid. These Spirits, well, they are kind of like angels. They won’t hurt you. They will always be around you to protect you, okay?”
“Okay, Dad.” Then a frown turned her pretty lips downward. “Dad,” she said quietly.
“Yes, Kiera.”
“Mom doesn’t want me to talk to Grandpa, does she?”
“No, honey. She doesn’t. It scares your mom a little, so try not to upset her about it, okay?”
“I don’t want to tell a lie, Daddy.”
“I don’t want you to either. Give her time. She misses her dad a lot. I will talk to her more about it. Maybe she won’t always be afraid.”
“Daddy, Grandpa didn’t feel like a ghost. He felt real. I could feel him. I could smell him. He was real, Dad. I know he was.”
“I know he was too.”

You can purchase at Amazon



  1. What a wonderful interview, Ria! I loved hearing how you met your husband! It was truly was destiny. :) So looking forward to reading Celtic Spirit after I finish Celtic Fury.

    1. It's the coolest story ever, I wish I could meet the love of my life that way.

  2. Lovely interview! I love Ria and Paul!a