Category Archives: Settings for the Crossover Novels

Cleaved Cliff at the Entrance to Dingle Bay

Navigation was difficult in the pre-radio/satellite age. Landmarks were critical – at least the ones that didn’t move. Luckily, and I didn’t know this until I visited the area a few years ago, the small entrance to (what is now-a-days called) Dingle Bay has a distinctive cleaved cliff on its western side.

Cleaved Cliff Face

Cleave Cliff Face at entrance to Dingle Bay

In the second book in The Crossover Series, “Contact,”, my characters travel to southern Ireland in the year 1076 CE (“common era,” aka AD). This broken cliff face provided a distinctive landmark for Larry and his crew when they returned on their second trip. (Which, for those who haven’t read “Contact” yet, didn’t go so well…).

Here’s an overview of Dingle and the surrounding terrain (Ros was the headman back in 1076 CE):

Dingle Bay area

Dingle Bay showing the town of Dingle, the cleaved cliff, and Ros’s farmstead.

Here is a dramatic (but, unfortunately, out-of-focus) image showing the gap between the mainland and the cleaved cliff edge.

Cleaved Cliff Face

Fuzzy view of the cleaved cliff face

On our recent visit to southern Ireland, my wife and I walked from the town of Dingle (at the north end of the bay) to the entrance at the south end:

View of entrance to Dingle Bay from footpath

Path to entrance of Dingle Bay

The cleaved cliff is just to the right of the tower as seen from this perspective. Note: the tower was built several centuries after the time from of my book. Here’s a view with more detail:

Entrnace to Dingle Bay

View of entrance to Dingle Bay

It was a pleasant walk from Dingle to the bay’s entrance. Except for the land mines:

Yes, we had to clean off the bottom of our shoes…in spite of our care.

 

 

 

The Location of Haven’s Tower in “Conflict”.

The characters in Conflict, the first book in the Crossover Series, attempted to escape the warlord Tork by fleeing up the Susquehanna River. And decide to make a stand just north of present day Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Their first early defense against any attack by a pursuing Tork was a watchtower.

On the same trip as the one where I took a canoe trip down the Susquehanna, I was able to find the exact location of that tower (built by my characters back in the 11th century). And was thrilled to find that a cemetery occupies the tower’s hill in this century.

Present day tower location

The present day location of Haven’s tower

Not thrilled about the graves, but rather that the hill was cleared of trees and provided an excellent view of what Joe and his band could see in Conflict.

View from Haven's tower

Present day view from Haven’s tower.

Of course, the roads cut into the hills to the south weren’t there back in 1054 AD! For reference, here’s the map found in Conflict:

Location of Haven's tower

Location of the lookout tower relative to Haven

P.S. If you enjoy my books, please consider posting an honest review on the site from which you bought it. Reviews really help authors sell more books and readers discover new stories. Thank you!

The Susquehanna River as the setting for “Conflict”

In novels, the importance of location varies all over the place. Sometimes, it’s just some nondescript neighborhood. Other times, it’s a major “character” (think Middle Earth or Avatar).

Also important, location constrains and/or focuses the storyline. When looking for a setting for Conflict, the first book in the Crossover Series, I was interested in a location that could provide, at least temporarily, safety for my characters. And for their horses.

(Horses? My characters are sent back to 11th century, pre-contact North America. And take horse along with them.)

Other factors in choosing a setting would be setting up the other books in the series and to provide at least some food.

  1. So my constraints in location are:
    1. Safety
    2. Control the horses
    3. Provide later ease in travel (setting up the subsequent books)
    4. Food supply (fish)

So I searched using Google Earth.

I started out up near the Great Lakes, looking for terrain that had valleys, yet was close enough to navigable waterways. Really didn’t find anything.

Somehow, and I can’t remember how, I started looking at coastal waterways. And I found myself “traveling” up the Susquehanna River. When I saw the following image, I knew I found a home for my characters:

Haven's Geological Ridges

Haven’s Geological Ridges from Google Earth

  1. It has it all:
    1. Defensive hills (actually, they’re geological folds)
    2. A valley to hold the horses (actually, two valleys, one for each stallion)
    3. A route (with a few rapids) to the ocean
    4. Fish!

And the Susquehanna is convenient, as my niece lives nearby. So, I visited and took a canoe trip down the river:

Ridges from shore

View of Geological Ridges from shore where we stopped for lunch

 

Notice the hills. They’re really the ends of those geological folds. I have no idea of how the Susquehanna cut through them…but I wouldn’t have wanted to be around when it did!

Rocks in Susquehanna River

Navigating the rocks in the Susquehanna River

Very Shallow. Here’s my wife and niece (you may have to squint to see them) navigating through the broken bones of the geological folds that still remain in the river.

And that’s how the Susquehanna became the setting for my first book.

* * *

The first book in the Crossover Series, Conflict, remains free as an eBook at:
Amazon
Kobo
Nook

The second book, Contact, will be out on July 16th!

To stay updated, sign up for my newsletter at www.waltsocha.com

Any questions, thoughts, or comments? Contact me at walt@waltsocha.com