Racing the Moon

Warrior Moon

Barbara’s artifacts article will have to wait. I’m racing the moon!

The new book is in the editing room. And like the main character of the new book — who is not the fine warrior depicted above, I’m racing the moon — to publish.

The full moon is October 18. The ebook will be out by then, with the paperback to follow. Why is the full moon so important? It’s a secret, same as the name of the book itself.

So many secrets, so little time. Keep your Kindle charged!

August Update

Iroquois ArtifactsI’m working on the final article for the World of Barbara Reilly, a series delving into the background and details behind the book. BARBARA REILLY is a heartwarming historical fantasy novel taking place in the 1940s and the 1770s in area of New York once inhabited by the Iroquois. The article will explore my research into the artifacts featured prominently throughout the story. The Iroquois were superb artisans. Their ceremonial items as well as everyday objects were beautiful and practical to use. You may thirst for simpler times reading BARBARA REILLY, and enjoying the picture essay, “Iroquois Artifacts,” to be posted in September

The article has been delayed while I focus on the editing of the next book. If you read my preceding post on this homepage ( you’ll know I’ll be taking readers on a journey into the American West, where a rancher’s son falls in love with an Apache girl, in 1880 Arizona Territory. I’m still on track to release the ebook on Tuesday October 15. The paperback will follow soon after. It’s an exciting project and I’m sure readers will be pleased with the romantic adventure historical fantasy. I can’t tell you the title yet, it’s a surprise. The wait will be worth it, though. Trust me!

Meanwhile check out the World of Barbara Reilly Series in the Articles section of this website. Learn more about the book and its plucky heroine, Barbara Reilly!

New Book Coming

Rancher's SonBARBARA REILLY is going to have a brother!

No, Barbara is not. She already has a pesky older brother — namely John!

Confused? It’s simple: the BOOK is going to have a brother.

No, it’s not a sequel to BARBARA REILLY. But it’s exciting nonetheless.

The NEW book is about a rancher’s son in 1880 Arizona who falls in love with an Apache girl. It’s an adventure story. It’s a romance. It’s a rip-roaring tale of the old west with an element of fantasy.

BARBARA REILLY is going to have a brother.

He’s due October 15. I can’t tell you his name. It’s a secret till then.


Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls

New article up today, “Taughannock Falls: A Photo Essay,” fifth in the growing World of Barbara Reilly series, the section of this website exploring the background of the historical fantasy novel BARBARA REILLY.

Walk with Barbara and her classmates from the shore of beautiful Cayuga Lake  to the majestic “Great Falls in the Woods,” as they do in the opening chapter of the book. Its in the heart of New York’s beautiful Finger Lakes.

Enjoy the sun and cool waters of Taughannock Gorge like the Indians who once lived here, who also inhabit the pages of this historical adventure set in the 1940s — and the 1770s, when the Iroquois roamed the forests and shores.

Taughannock Lower Falls

Those Vintage Charms of Yesteryear

vintage 1940s charms My latest article, Barbara’s Charm Bracelet is up now in the Articles section of this website. It is the fourth in my continuing series exploring The World of Barbara Reilly. In it I show in detail the charms I drew for the bracelet I imagine Barbara wore during the events in the book BARBARA REILLY. I scoured the Internet for vintage charms to include, to depict the actual charms she would have had and cherished in 1948, her favorites as mentioned in the book.

During my research and drawing these figurines, my appreciation grew for the arts of yesteryear. I hope you enjoy them, and read the article, too. And enjoy the charms on this page as well, which I drew for the project, but which weren’t among the dozen I selected for the bracelet. Maybe they were extras Barbara had in her nightstand drawer, since they all show things from the story!vintage 1940s charms 1

Barbara's Charm BraceletThis artwork will be part of an in depth article forthcoming on this website about Barbara’s charm bracelet and the vintage charms of yesteryear, as part of the World of Barbara series adding depth and background to my book BARBARA REILLY.

World of Barbara, Article #3: Iroquois False Faces

This time I tackle the subject of “Iroquois False Face Masks.” These figure prominently into BARBARA REILLY, a historical fantasy in which a farm girl in 1948 discovers something truly magical relating to the Iroquois of the deeper past.

The masks of the Iroquois False Face Society and Corn Husk Society are a touchy subject for the Iroquois, and for me as well. Technically speaking, the Iroquois prefer that we do not even talk about them, let alone depict them in drawings or photographs, and unless connected to the societies, not make, possess, or sell them. This is understandable, since the masks are considered living beings and the attached rituals are part of a living process within Iroquois culture.

However, the BARBARA REILLY story – complete with masks — presented itself to me and bade me tell it. That makes me involved. In this new article I say something about them, after struggling with what that something should be.

I can say this has been an exciting process of my own, bringing this story to light, in its entirety – in a responsible manner – one respectful of the peoples it tells of – American Indians and others. All peoples and all histories deserve to be treated with respect by any writer of historical fiction or historical fantasy. By anybody, for that matter, writer or not.

Check out the article here.

New Article: The Story

In “The Story Behind the Story” I share how BARBARA REILLY came to life. Find out why it took twenty-three years!

“I started writing that same day, building the Iroquois side of the story from the dream, and Barbara’s from the pioneer spirit given on the dinner visit. At the time, I was living just outside Trumansburg, New York in an old farmhouse …”

It’s the second in a series of articles exploring the World of Barbara Reilly.

Winter Solstice

Celebrate the Dark of the Year

With wood on the fire and candles glowing by the window, greetings from the forest at this wondrous Winter Solstice time of the year. Let this be a time of relaxation from the labors of summer, a time of re-creation and hibernation, when the sun reaches its lowest point in the sky and the nights grow long and cold. It is a time to reflect on the seasons of activity gone by, and look within at who we are, and to gaze ahead and consider what we might wish for in the new year.

Blessing upon you and yours at the Dark of the Year. May its holiday season bring you joy and fulfillment, whether you spend it alone or with family and friends. Enjoy the fruits of the season, however you may celebrate them. In our family, which is of German extraction, we’ve always been partial to treats such as stollen, marzipan, and gingerbread. Others may revel in egg nog and figgy pudding, or mulled cider, fruitcake, and chocolate. It is only right to partake in these, letting them trigger fond memories and continue fine traditions into the future.

I can imagine Barbara and her brother riding out on the tractor with Grampa, to the hill behind the Pines Field on their farm to cut a Christmas tree. I can see them driving back through the snow to unload it from the wagon, at the house. They will spend a happy evening decorating the tree with popcorn strings and ornaments, Dad perhaps lifting Barbara to place the star on top. I can hear the family through time, all the way back to 1948, singing carols together afterwards and sharing whatever treats they liked, before setting out their stockings and going upstairs to bed.

The Dark of the Year is a special time indeed, for so many reasons. It is an ancient season of joy, irrespective of religion or faith, when the sun reached its nadir before beginning the renewal and ascent that would reach its zenith in its opposite time of year, the Summer Solstice, when the work of farming and gathering also reached a fevered pitch. I am not so sure we modern people who have left the land to live in the city do not also feel this, deep in our bones. I believe we all do still feel it on some level.


Keeping the Mystery

Showing Without Telling Secrets

BARBARA REILLY is a historical fantasy. The story alternates between two historical times in upstate New York, following the magical adventure of a farm girl in 1948, and an Iroquois girl in 1779 during a period of great distress for her tribe.

The magical part constitutes the fantasy element of the novel. This is something I believe readers will cherish discovering for themselves, reading BARBARA REILLY. How then to describe the book in general terms and still give a flavor? In my September 21 post I listed a series of key words and phrases illustrating the story. Today I would like to spotlight the book’s Table of Contents.

(The book’s chapter titles tell the story)

Click to enlarge

I designed the titles to tell the story in a nutshell. They do not reveal secrets, but quite clearly, if poetically, give an accurate feel of the book. As in a poem, much of the meaning lies between the lines. One may glean the whole by squinting, as it were, and letting the mind roll over the progression of chapters, much as the waves of Cayuga Lake roll over the pebbly shore at Taughannock Point, near where the mysterious tale of BARBARA REILLY begins.

Tweetings From the Forest


Barbara is set free to fly into your Kindle reader, as part of the Amazon Select promotion program, Friday November 16 through Sunday November 18, 2012. Let Barbara spend Thanksgiving with you this year. Experience the joys and challenges of a heartfelt story set in the upstate New York farmland of the 1940s and the woodland of the Iroquois during the dangerous Revolutionary War times of the 1700s.

Pick up your copy here

If you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon offers free reading apps for viewing BARBARA REILLY on other devices, including your computer, smartphone or tablet.

Goodreads Giveaway a Success

A big THANK YOU to the over 800 readers who entered the BARBARA REILLY Giveaway Contest on Goodreads in October. And to the hundreds who added the book to their to-read lists!

Congratulations to the winners of the four copies: Katlyn, Lauren, Brenda, and Roberta. Your autographed books are on their way! Hope you enjoy them as much I enjoyed writing BARBARA REILLY.

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday November 22, filled with the warm feelings that come with harvest time and family gatherings.

I have much to be grateful for, this year, as I’m sure you all do as well. The season is a good time to reflect on this, as the colder weather brings us indoors and more reflective within ourselves. At my home we like to begin the meal by recalling some of what we are thankful for, sharing this aloud around the table.

I can imagine Barbara’s family keeping this same tradition at their home near Trumansburg, New York, as the last of the leaves crackled over the ground in late fall winds and woodsmoke swirled up the chimney. Especially with her and Grampa being mindful of the Indians’ contributions, including helping the Pilgrims survive those first winters, and them all sharing a feast together, in spirit of cooperation in this bountiful, though sometimes harsh, new land.

Tweetings From the Forest





BARBARA REILLY available in Paperback: October 16

I am happy to announce publication of the print edition of BARBARA REILLY, my historical fantasy novel for age twelve and up. Yoly of House of Lit and I worked very hard to make it an edition to savor. We designed a whole new look from the e-book version, imbuing the book with a feel of classic children’s literature. This is a volume you will want to own even if you have read the e-book, to treasure for always.

Available through Amazon and other online booksellers, and can be ordered through your local bookstore.

Available to libraries and schools as well. Consider placing a request at your local library, that they purchase BARBARA REILLY in paperback (and e-book) for lending in your area.

Win an Autographed Copy of BARBARA REILLY

Check out my big book giveaway at GoodReads. See the sidebar of this main page for details and enter by November 4th.  If you win one of the four copies up for grabs, I’ll mail you an autographed paperback — even if you live in Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and loads of other countries. Follow the link. It’s FREE!!

By the way, Goodreads is a major hangout for readers from all over the world, and well worth joining if you love to read. Visit Carl’s author page at Goodreads.

Getting Out in the World

Barbara is starting to get out and about!

BARBARA REILLY is featured on Check out  Ann Marie’s fine book blog and review site. It’s a happening place, and Barbara’s in the “Spotlight” October 17.Barbara will be also sharing the sideboard space there with some other fine books for a few weeks starting October 22. Drop in anytime. Company’s welcome. Thanks, Ann Marie!

Also, Barbara is featured in the September Cover Design Awards at The Book Designer. Her e-book front cover didn’t win, but did garner positive comments from host Joel  Friedlander. She’s in good company – scroll down to the 11th book in the roster of entries to find her. Looking good. Thanks Joel!

Speaking of “Tweetings From the Forest”

This post may not be about tweets in the way most people think of them these days, but it’s as good a time as any to announce that Carl is on Twitter now. Feel free to follow or shoot a message @CarlGrimsman. Thanks!

New Feature: Articles

Welcome to the Forest!

I have launched a new feature, to invite you deeper into the World of Barbara Reilly. Click on “Articles” on the top navigation bar to view the first in a series of articles exploring the inner and outer landscapes of the book.

What was America like in 1948 when Barbara was thirteen years old? How did the same beautiful countryside appear to Nawa in 1779 when the future of her Iroquois people became clouded in doubt? And how were the people of these times different from us today? “The Times of Barbara Reilly” looks at the historical settings of the story.

Future articles will explore the book’s magical elements, examine how the story of Barbara Reilly was written, and delve into such mysteries as the False Face masks of the Iroquois. Join us for all of them.


If you read the brief description of the book on my website or on Amazon, you might guess that I try to provide a flavor of the book without giving too much away. You would be right. My goal is to allow joy of discovery for the reader, just like Barbara finds it in the story.

I would now love to share a bigger taste of the book, and again avoid spoiling the surprises.


Mystery * Adventure * Family values * A thirteen-year-old farm girl * Two time periods: Revolutionary War and Post-World-War-II America * Iroquois, also called Six Nations * An Indian girl * Magic * False Face masks * The 1940s * Farm life * Taughannock Stream and Trumansburg, New York * Eagle feather * 1779 * Wigwams * Fireflies * Charm bracelet * Photographs * Fourth of July cookout * Grampa * Cayuga Lake * Brother and sister squabbling * Premonition * Courage * Desperation * Danger * Wishing for a pony * Broken glass * Fire pit * Basket of eggs * Going to church * Cousins from Ithaca * Ulysses Philomathic Library * Maps * A road trip * Soldiers * Fog * Arrowheads * History * A diary * Ancestors * Onondaga * Love * Forest * Birds of prey * Pickup truck * Tractor * Artifacts * Waterfalls *

What flavor does all this give you, of the book? Does it feel like your kind of book? What subjects interest you the most? What do you like to read about?

click to enter these woods