Liam O'Shiel

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Liam O'Shiel

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Member Since
December 2011

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Liam O'Shiel Danielle - thanks for your note. The book will go out from Amazon today. The problem has to do with addresses and it's my mistake. I had a number of w…moreDanielle - thanks for your note. The book will go out from Amazon today. The problem has to do with addresses and it's my mistake. I had a number of winners from Canada which is abbreviated by Goodreads as "CA." Amazon is refusing to ship parcels direct to Canada, a weird policy justified by "THE VIRUS." I see on my address list that I didn't ship your book because I mistakenly marked it "Canada" when it's actually California. I'm ordering it now, sorry for the delay. I expect it will take about a week to arrive.

Liam O'Shiel Jonathan - thank you for the very kind words about “Bleak Midwinter.” I am writing “Blood Upon the Rose” now. A writer shouldn’t offer excuses, but I …moreJonathan - thank you for the very kind words about “Bleak Midwinter.” I am writing “Blood Upon the Rose” now. A writer shouldn’t offer excuses, but I find that living on a working farm (I do the work) in “retirement” takes up more time an energy than working at a day job! But I will get it done.

Average rating: 4.04 · 102 ratings · 43 reviews · 2 distinct worksSimilar authors
Eirelan (Saga of the Latter...

4.02 avg rating — 85 ratings — published 2011 — 3 editions
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In the Bleak Midwinter (Sag...

4.12 avg rating — 17 ratings3 editions
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Review of Eirelan: Midwest Review of Books

Reviewer's Bookwatch: January 2013
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575

Bethany's Bookshelf

Eirelan is the award-winning debut novel of author Liam O'Shiel. A work of "future historical fiction", set thousands of years after an unknown catastrophe has leveled today's modern, technology-driven infrastructure, Eirelan tells of ordinary people fighting t Read more of this blog post »
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Published on January 16, 2013 19:24
(1 book)
4.02 avg rating — 85 ratings

Eirelan (Literature & Fiction)
1 chapters   —   updated May 13, 2015 06:33PM
Description: Eirelan is a dramatic saga of a people struggling to survive against great odds. The Province of the Twenty Clans, founded on the shores of Lough Ennell in Ireland, is about to celebrate its millennial year. As this milestone year approaches, the Province and its Celtic allies in Cornwall, Wales, Scotland and Brittany are threatened by an ever-colder climate overspreading Europe and by determined, powerful enemies on land and sea. The fight to defend the Province and its allies is led by Conor Laigain, a poet who dreams of peace and a hilltop cabin; his sister Fethnaid, an archer fighting in the Line of Bows who comes to realize that old ideas must change if the Province is to survive; Conor’s fiancée Mairin Fotharta, a warship captain in the Province’s naval squadron whose sleep is plagued by nightmares of a brutal childhood; and his towering Uncle Padraic, general of the army since the death of Conor’s legendary father Domnall. This is a story of human beings fighting for the right to live and enjoy the beauty of the world as they see it. When a great battle between the armies of the Province and the Ghaoth Aduiadh carpets a lovely meadow with thousands of dead and dying, Conor’s mother Liadan tries to console herself with words written by her father-in-law, philosopher Uinseann Laigain: “We must be content with life and love and the beauty of the earth. All the rest is dust in the wind.”
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Liam O'Shiel Liam O'Shiel said: " As many others have commented ... a superb work of history. Toll manages to give incredible detail and yet maintain the excitement of a novel. Highly recommend to anyone with an interest in WWII history and especially the early days of the war in the ...more "


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Danielle - thanks for your note. The book will go out from Amazon today. The problem has to do with addresses and it's my mistake. I had a number of winners from Canada which is abbreviated by Goodreads as "CA." Amazon is refusing to ship parcels dir See Full Answer
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message 1: by Tom

Tom Vetter A Visit with the Author: Liam O’Shiel

By Tom Vetter

I have known Liam O’Shiel for fifty years now. We met in high school a half-century ago, spent years in the same homeroom, endured many classes together, became good friends and members of the same ‘tribes’, which high school kids (then) more commonly called ‘cliques’, organized according to a complicated and unpublished set of factors: parents’ wealth, personal and social skill-sets. In those days he was Bill, and in truth, Bill he still is. He and I had many interests, with one in particular in common: since our intellectual powers lacked an outlet, and personal computers did not exist yet, we did what all soon-to-be computer wizards did in those days – we played chess.

Bill was, even then, ‘well-rounded’ as a person (and I am not referring to his physique). His after-school interests spanned athletics (shot put), music (choir), languages (Latin), student government and journalism; and he stayed busy. His skills in all those fields, coupled with an easy-going extroverted nature allowed him to fit in easily with the cool kids, the jocks, the student council set, and the chess geeks; he moved among all those circles with ease. My after-school activities were much more limited – driving my sister to and from her school while en-route to my own, and working a part-time job – so we stuffed chess games into lunch breaks.

I was no slouch at chess and won often against most of the other chess regulars. I rarely beat Bill, and considered it a significant accomplishment whenever I did. But then, we all did.

Graduation separated us. First college, then war, and finally our different lines of work took us far in different directions. I went to the University of Minnesota on an NROTC scholarship, became a naval officer, went to Vietnam twice, spent two decades in submarines at sea and then became an IT architect for two more. Bill went to MIT, earned a PhD in physics and a Law degree, became a lawyer and worked a career with the US Government in the regulation and oversight of the nation’s nuclear power and nuclear weapons facilities.

With too many moves and too many miles between us, we lost touch during those middle years; but we never stopped being friends. And when another mutual interest finally had its turn to blossom, it pulled us back into contact.

In 2011, Bill published “Eirelan”, a fascinating fictional epic of medieval Ireland set more than a thousand years in the future. I had always had a desire to ‘write someday’, and I must say that his accomplishment put the spur to me. Deep inside, my muse felt an intense spark of jealousy and said, “If he could do it, why can’t you?” Two years later, I have two books written. My muse still isn’t happy, though, for his book is in print and my books are not ... yet.

When a short story of mine won a contest for inclusion in an ‘emerging authors’ anthology and was published earlier this year, I found that we both had author’s pages on A note to him renewed our contact, and frequent email exchanges followed, which led to mutual invitations to visit. He hosted our first, and this is its fruit.

On a wet Saturday we found ‘Liam’ amid mountain peaks shrouded in mist. It could have been Ireland, but was, in fact, Virginia. Set on a handsome ‘gentleman’s farm’ of 30 acres near Luray, Virginia is a spacious white farmhouse filled with books, animal companions and a lovely bride named Karen. Bill divides his time there between growing feed grain, teaching college courses as an adjunct professor, reading, writing, and caring for his growing local fan club. The years have passed, but nothing has changed.

He now looks like a character from one of his books (a sequel to “Eirelan” is now well underway) –a sort-of Irish version of Santa with a touch of leprechaun added for mischief and charm. He likes being a farmer and dresses the part, but one mustn’t forget a lawyer and a nuclear physicist occupy those overalls; and a natural-born storyteller, too!

Bill and I told tale after tale in an easy back-and-forth as we caught up on a lot of personal history. Nearby Karen cheerfully worked on a magnificent supper project: a three-decker sea pie and ‘bashed neaps’, recipes straight from the pages of Patrick O’Brian, our mutually admired author of the “Master and Commander” novels about Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. In Karen, Bill has found a charming spouse after decades as a confirmed bachelor. As a hostess, she brings Martha Washington to mind. But she is no mere farm wife; the lady is a patent examiner for the US Government and an expert in biotechnology.

The full-time residents of the aptly named Cloudy Mountain Farm include three female dogs of assorted sizes and a baker’s dozen cats. Most of the animals Karen and Bill rescued from dreadful circumstances – not that you could tell from looking at them. All are sleek, a touch too well fed, and happy with each other and my own silky terrier, which was only too glad to be so well accepted. There were animals everywhere, but everyone - people and animal - was healthy and happy. The beasts have their favorite spots staked out throughout the house, but in both Bill’s and Karen’s offices are chosen spots where the animals congregate while the people work.

Bill collects more than handsome women and charming pets. Eight shiny antique cars reside in an immaculate garage. 1950’s-era radios and small appliances grace shelves. Model railroad cars and train-set buildings fill others. And perhaps 2000 books line all four walls, floor-to-ceiling in a spacious library. How I envied that!

To Karen’s supper, Bill and I each contributed. He, a Cabinet Pudding – a steamed cherry bread pudding; while I offered a ‘Solomongundy’ (Salmagundi) - an extravagant chef’s salad – as well as wines and port. No Aubrey-Maturin Royal Navy meal would be authentic without the latter.

Over Karen’s excellent supper, the conversation flowed. Topics covered are too numerous to fully itemize, but included farming, neighbors, Luray, animal histories, past work incidents, our backgrounds and occupations, amusements, Patrick O’Brian, of course, and so on.

Afterward, it was necessary to lounge a bit on the enormous sofa, with more stories told in turn by all parties. The animals sought out empty laps to snuggle and seek a bit of scritching. Finally, by mutual inclination, my bride, dog and I bid all good night and headed out to my RV, parked in the yard.
I fixed us all a late-morning breakfast the following day in my mobile playhouse; and then we took leave of our charming hosts. Some of the enormous sea-pie came with us to feed us this week, and Karen has Salmagundi for her lunches.

As we drove out, rain from Hurricane Karen still drizzled in the Shenandoah Valley, and I never saw his ‘cloudy mountains’. But the world was brighter, all the same.

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