The Celtic Shelf
Novel - Historical Fantasy Fiction
The Celtic Shelf has deep roots stemming back to the late 1990's. I was travelling in Germany when I turned on the TV to catch a broadcast by the BBC. It had been overdubbed so I could barely understand what was being said, but this was the first time I had seen a graphic detailing the fluctuation of sea levels due to the influence of Ice Ages. Back in college, I had enjoyed studying ancient civilizations and knew that no matter what the culture was all of them grew up along the water's edge and that they also seemed a little too advanced and clean cut to be the desperate experiments of wandering hunter/gatherers.

Consider grains for a moment, the baking of bread and the brewing of beer, these are not easy things to do. They are nothing anyone would ever think to do had they not already known that they could be done. Especially if you are coming off a hunter/gatherer's diet which is rich in protein and far easier to produce. Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley - these are not the origins of civilization. They are the earliest points in history that we know of. The rest is all underwater.

So where did civilization begin?

Once I learned more about primitive hunter/gatherer societies I also had to wonder why anyone bothered with it in the first place. Years passed and without noticing it I began to compile a book about the possible origins of civilization in relation to the last great Ice Age. Unfortunately, it was mostly hypothetical, totally unprovable, and sounded a whole lot like Atlantis / Ancient Astronaut theorizing - which basically hot glues deely boppers to your forehead if you try to publish as "non-fiction."

Circa 2006, I suddenly found myself with far more free time than I cared to have and on a lark decided to try to building a novel around my studies. The plot ballooned beyond expectations, to where the whole 600 page monolith which is The Celtic Shelf represents only the first third of three planned books. Youch!

Still, I loved the story and its characters and continued to write. The whole thing took two years to complete, but as something of a bad omen I finished the book just as the movie 10,000 BC entered the theaters and flopped like a woolly mammoth sucked into a tar pit.

The Great Recession hit and the next two years would be spent shopping the manuscript around around to literary agents who refused to acknowledge that I or it existed. In 2010, extremely disenchanted by the traditional route of publishing, I decided to self-publish and despite a few good reviews the Celtic Shelf flopped like a woolly mammoth sucked into a tar pit. I had planned to release a sequel in 2011, but the business of publishing had gone so badly I could not justify the time necessary to finish the project and had to shelve the whole thing. Sometimes that's just the way life goes.

Will I ever return to the Celtic Shelf?

I seriously hope so, because it is by far the most amazing thing I have ever written. However, if I do go back it will probably be to break the book apart into a bunch of novellas and continue the series forward in that format. While there is something impressive about Shogun thick books, writing them in this day and age is pretty much a death sentence for ones career.

Until then, if you want to read the original. Here it is. Get a copy today before it becomes a collector's item tomorrow.
© 2018, JDMcDonnell