Tag Archive | Finding Roanoak

Emme’s Predicament

Roanoake cover1

Emme held her breath waiting to see what he would do next. They were alone in the forest and he was not trying to force himself on her, merely to seduce. No one would ever have to know. His gentle touch made her wish she could press her hands on his chest to test the firmness of his muscles, to clasp his shoulders. He still held one of her hands with warm and steady pressure. One of his fingers rested on her lips. What would happen if she licked her lips with his finger there, brushing her tongue against his flesh? Would he accept the invitation?

A bird screamed overhead.

Emme jumped back. What was she thinking? She’d had so little sleep last night, her mind wasn’t working. She didn’t need to give Ananias more reason to dislike her and so far she’d gone half a day without doing any chores. He would be furious if he found out there was another European man in the forest. More furious if he learned that she knew before he did. “I should go back.”



Emme was married, but her husband died leaving her in a very precarious position. She is a woman, making her a second-class citizen at the time. But she’s a midwife giving her a skill and more power than the average woman would have. That’s what threatens Ananais. She’s a woman who can say no to him and mean it.


Follow The River

Follow the River

She had returned over a seven day after she’d gone into the forest seeking herbs. If they had been less worried about recent developments, they would have questioned her story of being lost in the forest, but in her absence they had been beset by storms and some of them had foraged some plants that made them ill. Emme walked out of the house and stretched. Four men, including Ananias, lay inside half aware and empty of food at last. Every time she tried to give them something, anything, it came right back out.


I stole Emme’s excuse from James Alexander Thom’s Follow the River. In it the heroine is kidnapped by natives somewhere in the Virginia/West Virginia area and taken as a prisoner to Western Ohio. She’s gone for a year. When she finally manages to return home, the men of her town think she was just lost in the woods. Dopes.

What I’m Watching: A Little Princess

A Little Princess (1995) Poster

When I’m feeling down, I watch this movie. The over saturated color and the magical realism (along with the nail biting ending) are the perfect anti-dote for a bad case of the everybody-hates-mes.


Best movie quote ever:

Sara Crewe: I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young. They’re still princesses. All of us. Didn’t your father ever tell you that? Didn’t he?

Stolen Children

“If I wanted this woman, I would just take her,” Far Seer said. “She wanders alone in the forest.”

“My people do not do that.”

Another woman joined Emme and the man. The woman had an infant in her arms and the drawn expression of one who needed good food and rest.

“Then why do you not bargain for her?” Far Seer asked. “There are many things they need.”

“They would be more alarmed by me than they are by you if I walked into their encampment.”

Emme was arguing with the squat man and the other woman tried to stop them. The infant cried like an unhappy cat. The sound clawed at Tighe’s chest.

A child. It had been so long since he had seen a child. There were those who wanted to steal it, but he had managed to convince them that doing so would only anger the newcomers. As long as they believed themselves alone, they would not go hunting old enemies. Much more likely they would go after the natives, but the others had believed him. That just showed him how great their fear of these mortals was. And how sad his great people had become.



The native people, like the Europeans, treated women as second-class citizens. At least, that’s what my research turned up. History written by the winners after all. The Fae are different. Their women are strong and independent. Emme doesn’t know this though.


The Fae in folklore are famous for stealing human babies and replacing them with their or sickly offspring. Now if you wanted to take a scientific view of this, inbreeding could cause Fae children to be sickly and stealing a strong human baby, with a completely fresh set of DNA, would help out the bloodline. If you wanted to take a sociological perspective, parents could blame supernatural beings for the defects of their children to deflect suspicion about their own bloodlines. If you want to focus from an educational angle, you could say that faeries stealing children was a cautionary tale of what could happen if you leave your baby alone because telling stories about wild animals grabbing the kid and running off with it are too realistic and scary. I’ve probably spent a little too much time thinking about this.


The baby’s cry actually came from the birth of a nephew. I was walking down the hospital hall to the room where the hours old tyke was with his mother and various family members when I heard this wet cat mewling. My first thought was “I hope that’s not my nephew.” It was, but he grew out of it.

Roanoak Colonist’s names

I wanted to use real names of the colonists so I did a little research.




I chose Emme Merrimoth as my heroine because I liked the name.


Ananais Dare’s name doesn’t appear on this list, but he is listed elsewhere are Eleanor Dare’s husband and Virginia Dare’s father.




Margery, who is heavily pregnant and breaks her leg in the opening scene, is on the list as well as a child with an unknown first name. If the child was born after John White left for England, he wouldn’t have known its name.


Roger Bailie ended up being overrun by Ananais after John White left. So often people who are excellent at being second in command suck at being commander.


For the fae, I used very Irish names. According to legend, the Fae went “West” after their defeat by the Men. I was working literally. My Fae needed to be connected to the world of Men to maintain their power, but spent most of their time in the Summer Country where the sun always shines and living is easy. And they are safe from Men and their iron weapons. A very important bonus.

Finding Roanoak Origin

Roanoake cover1


I found myself one summer housesitting for a friend and taking care of her dog for 6 weeks while she went to visit family. She owned a beautiful century home a block and a half from the fire station and three blocks from the library and a Chipotle. Also her dog was cute. Some mornings the firefighters would workout by running up and down the road. I would sit in the bedroom window with the dog and watch. It was the closest to heaven for me as is possible.She also had her TV in the finished attic. I had been overseas most of the previous three years so American cable was really entertining. She even had the SyFy channel, though I think at the time it wasn’t called that yet. Regardless, I gorged on cable when I wasn’t watching the firefighters run up and down the road or walking the dog


One day I was browsing the library DVD section. And I should mention here that my hometown has one of the greatest libraries on the planet. They have everything. Ask and you shall receive. During the 4 years I lived in Abu Dhabi, I borrowed ebooks from this library. Anyway, I was browsing through the DVD documentaries and spotted a DVD of historical mysteries including the vanishing Roanoak Colony. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with those kinds of things. Atlantis, Lemura, Roanoak, Bigfoot. Obsessed! One of the first movies I ever saw on the big screen was a documentary about Bigfoot because I begged my brother to take me.


Now you have a woman spending most of her time with a dog, alone in a big old house, watching the SyFy channel and thinking about what happened to the Roanoak Colony.


We’re lucky there wasn’t a firefighter in it.

What I’m Watching: The Secret of Roan Innish

The Secret Of Roan Inish is one of those fairy tale movies that hangs with you for a long time. On one hand it’s very fantastical, the entire family is descended from a man and a selkie who abandoned her children to return to the sea. On the other hand, it’s very realistic, the family had to abandon their life on the island for financial reasons. And the little boy is adorable.

The Vanishing Roanoak Colony

He sighed, the first overt sign of his tension. “We don’t need your people hunting us again.”

“My people? You aren’t one of the natives. Has Ananias been harassing your people too? That man is a fool.”

All the tension melted off his face as he laughed. “I knew you would be different.”


“Not like the others of your kind. My mother did not believe me.”

“Your mother?” Emme felt a vast sucking sensation under her feet. He talked like a mad man. A mad man with a mother who could be just as mad. What were the two of them doing by themselves in the New World? There had been no women in the previous expedition, especially not mothers.


The vanished Roanoak Colony was actually the second expedition to the site. After relations were established with the local natives, Raleigh left a small contingent behind to maintain his hold on the island as he sailed back to England for colonists. Emme would have known about this as well as the fact that none of the original detachment would have been women, especially ones old enough to have adult sons. I’d be a little freaked out to find a guy wandering in the forest where nobody was supposed to be.