Sunday, February 28, 2010

KUDOS to Facebook Fans

This humble author is most appreciative for the 81 fans who have joined the Briton and the Dane Facebook page since its inception one month ago. KUDOS to my most renown and illustrious followers.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Resource Page Update

I thought a map of the Esbjerg sea route would help visualize the sea route Erik and Rollo chose to follow when they set sail to Wessex. Since artistic talent is not my forte (SMILE) be kind with your critique.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Book Clubs

I am truly blessed with the tremendous support I am receiving from my family, friends and work buddies and acquaintances. A few of these wonderful people know people who belong to book clubs. I will be available for Q&A with the author, in person locally and via conference call nationwide. This is quite exciting!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Great Stuff from Sonja in Omaha

Thanks to Sonja who finished everyone's favorite book at the airport and on her flight. "It was fantastic and now I want more! So write fast." :-)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thanks Paul Auerbach of Douglaston, NY

“The Briton and the Dane” was, for me, a delightful surprise on many fronts. Mary Ann Bernal displays a remarkable talent with this tale set in 9th century Britain. She has a formidable ability to constantly surprise the reader with a supply of plot twists and turns. The storyline quickly becomes addicting and hard to put down. The book is a solid package of history, romance, and political intrigue. It is obvious that Ms. Bernal has a great love for and knowledge of this world of the past. Her enthusiasm is contagious! The reader is quickly immersed in a world of events and emotions which seem at once foreign and familiar. And what an array of memorable characters we come to know! Part of Ms. Bernal's talent is to surprise us with revelations of her characters' loves, longings and unexpected relationships to one another. One need not be a history buff to appreciate "The Briton and the Dane." By the book's conclusion, I felt a brand new connection with its world of so very long ago
Paul Auerbach
English teacher, writer

Monday, February 22, 2010

Comments from an American Soldier

I received a great review from a NCO in our Armed Forces. Harold states: I have read about 1/4 of your book so far and it's really very good. It's well thought out and the roles of the warriors are compellingly accurate.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Celtic Cast

Last Runes Cast was Odin's :-)

The Significator represents you and your current state of being.

Kenaz foretells the coming of clarity and knowledge. It is time for you to grow by exchanging knowledge with others. Opportunities are upon you.

The Crossing Cast denotes that which opposes or influences you.

Eihwaz represents the Yew tree and its everlasting nature. The Yew may bend, but it does not break. You are on the right course and have the strength and ability to meet your goals. Congratulations!

The Foundation Cast addresses the origin of your question.

Watch for hidden traps. Look for holes in your defenses and fill them.

The Recent Past represents past events and concerns.

Uruz is the Rune of harmony, order and inner strength. Often it marks endings and beginnings of periods in our lives. Uruz also symbolizes your ability to tackle new challenges by confronting them with the powers that lie within you. Opportunities probably abound for you right now.

The Crown issues that are significant in the present or may come to pass in the future. This cast foretells future events which you may or may not occur, depending upon how you respond to the present situation.

This may be a period of loneliness and stagnation you must fight through. This may not be a good time for you to take chances or indulge in any form of gambling.

The Future depicts that which lies ahead.

Tiwaz is the Warrior Rune. It represents pure, masculine power and the ability to successfully fight to meet your goals. However, you must be careful that costs of attaining your goals overshadow their values.

Emotions cast signifies the current state of your emotional self.

Ingwaz signifies completion, success and fertility. Your present ambitions are about to be met. You are fecund in both mind and body.

External Forces represents the influence of others in your life as well as trends in your relationships with others.

Fehu is the Rune of prosperity, good luck and unbridled creative energies. Being associated with Frey, this Rune is also a powerful omen of fertility. Fehu is one of the three Mother Stones and should never be taken lightly.

Hopes and Desires stands for the hopes and desires you have for the outcome of your question.

Raidho may mark the coming of a physical or spiritual journey. Whichever the case, changes in your life are soon to come. Spiritual or material goals may be attained.

The Outcome the ultimate outcome your question. Remember the future is not predetermined. Interpret this cast in the context of the entire reading and as an indicator of the path you are currently on, but not bound to. reading.

Othala reversed represents chaos and homelessness—a general lack of roots. Now is a time for you to take care of that which you have, so as not to lose it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fabulous Reviews

I did start the book! So far I’m enjoying it.
Janet G, NY

I'll be sure to leave you a review on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble when I get done. I should have finished already but there's just been so much going on as of late that I've been forced to read in piecemeal - which kind of stinks because you really do have me hooked.
Steven N, CA

Just finished the book. I really enjoyed it. The story was spell binding Hurry and write the sequel
Susan G, IL

I just finished your book this morning. It was quite a trip! And of course it is crying out for a sequel. I really enjoyed it mucho. So many new people to think about. You have really unusual and interesting characters. And non-ending twists and turns, intrigue, romance. It’s quite a trip!...You’ve accomplished a terrific feat with this book. Don’t know how in the world you did it. It is quite amazing. And you’re quite the author. Now you’ve got me wondering what’s going to happen next.
Paul A, NY

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Retirement date rapidly approaching

March 5th is just around the corner and there are so many work buddies that have to be notified of my future plans. Everyone is quite excited and supportive about my new venture as I look to promote my book and write the sequel. I continue to receive rave reviews on the story :-) I wish to thank everyone for their enthusiastic support - the success of The Briton and Dane is due to the wonderful fans. KUDOS to all of you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Book signing Scheduled for April 17th 2010

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday April 17, 2010; 1:00-3:00 p.m. Book signing at The Bookworm in Countryside Village, 8702 Pacific Street, Omaha, NE 402-392-2877

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Briton and Dane Cake

Cake, did you ask? Yes, it's true. For my retirement party I will have a cake in the shape of a book with the Briton and Dane book cover on top! It will be in full edible color :-) Will hate to put a knife through David and Odulf!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cast your Runes

Whether you choose Odin or the Celtic Cast or perhaps Thor's Cross - cast your runes and see how accurate the readings can be:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Reading of the Runes

My runes were cast this evening.

The Distant Past - Raidho
Raidho may mark the coming of a physical or spiritual journey. Whichever the case, changes in your life are soon to come. Spiritual or material goals may be attained.

The Recent Past - Laguz
Laguz reversed foretells a period of stagnation, sensual numbness and lack of creativity.

The Present - Naudhiz
Naudhiz reversed may tell of needs met and harmonious relationships. Your passions for someone or something may be a their pinnacle.

Near Future - Mannaz
Now is the time for you to explore your inner self and those of others. Your intelligence and creativity are very well honed at the moment. Cooperation from and with others should be very easy to attain.

Distant Future - Wunjo
Wunjo denotes joy and shared bliss. It may also represent a job well done and the satisfaction one feels from completing such a task. Wunjo brings good fortune and harmony.

Continuing Great Reviews

I've heard back from another fan who just finished reading the book and is sad it's over. Not to fear, Birthright continues the journey.

A few of my UK fans have expressed an interest to be considered as extras when the movie is filmed on location. Wonder if I could convince Hollywood to use all my fans as extras - that would be so cool!

Susan in Illinois is surprised by some of the plot twists. She finds the story interesting and is enjoying the book.

Terry in the UK became engaged after reading the first chapter.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Getting back to Wessex

Your favorite historical fiction author has been in Wessex withdrawal for these past few weeks as she devoted her time to creating The Briton and Dane facebook fan page, blog and worked with Jeff at ClickStart on the web page.

Of course there is my regular full-time job that takes a great chuck of my time but that soon will be corrected when I retire in a few weeks. Mayhap I won't need to burn the midnight oil as I continue to try to do it all :-)

Not to worry - you'll soon be able to find out what's going on with all your favorite characters. You'll be pleased to know there's some new blood in Birthright - more people to love and hate.

Thanks for the Enthusiastic Support

I wish to thank the staff at Eye Care West for their interest and support for "The Briton and the Dane."

Friday, February 12, 2010


I have been receiving pleasant surprises from my penpals who have told me they bought the book and can't wait to read it or have started reading it. They are enjoying the story and are having trouble putting the book down. One of my friends plans to finish the book by Sunday and another may skip doing chores to finish. What great feedback - THANK YOU!

So did I receive a call back from that famous book chain - not yet - whatever happened to a courteous reply with a brief NAY or YEAH! What has happened to manners! What would be their reaction if I ignored their calls? But we're persistent and will succeed - be it with them or their competitor. But then every famous author had to start somewhere :-) I always go for the underdog - love it when we beat the odds! What say you????

Thursday, February 11, 2010

KUDOS to Steven Novak, my talented illustrator

Your signed book arrived this morning. I like the dramatic picture on the front cover. I would think that it would draw the attention of anybody browsing the book shelves in a shop.
Barbara L., UK

More fabulous reviews

I spend part of the day curled up on the sofa reading my new book. I have to say, I am really impressed. It is fantastic. Very easy reading and keeps you interested. The history lesson alone is worth reading the book and the story itself an added incentive. Kudos to you.
Stephanie P., PA

Congrats to you! I am a fellow Angel from Colorado. I wanted to let you know of a funny story. My son, Tyler age 13, came home from school and said he was asked if he would be interested in reading a book that the librarian just found about. Ty couldn't remember the title of the book but it was about Vikings and knights. So when I opened up the Founder's Notes from Patti and saw your profile, I asked Tyler if The Briton and the Dane was the title of the book....I thought he was going to come out of the phone. I told him a fellow Soldiers' Angel wrote it and now I just bought a copy and Tyler will tell the librarian to get the book. Thought you would like Congrats again. Can't wait to read it now.
Jenn P., CO

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Soldier's Angels Founder's Notes

Band of Angels

Mary Ann Bernal, Busy Angel and Leader

Growing up in Yonkers with a father who was a WWII veteran and parents who met on Pearl Harbor Day, it’s not surprising that Mary Ann supports the troops. During Desert Storm she wrote 100 “Any Soldier” letters a week, then joined Soldiers’ Angels in 2006 through a friend. Now she serves on the Letter Writing, Cards Plus, Wounded TLC and Mentor Teams, and currently has six soldiers who are “letter adoptions.” Her tremendous support is fueled by gratitude: “Our military is the reason that we are free today,” she says.

As could be guessed from her list of teams, writing is Mary Ann’s gift. Her first book, The Briton and the Dane (2010), mentions Soldiers’ Angels and was dedicated to the fallen son of a woman in her church, as is the sequel she’s currently writing. As a Mentor, Mary Ann constantly reminds her Angels to keep it up. “This organization does work, and our military does need our support,” she says. “I’ve gotten letters that say, ‘Your letter got there exactly at the right time.’”

What beautiful ways these are of showing love with real meaning that can change lives! From the warm gratitude of a gift of Thanks a Bunch, to life-giving blood in honor of those who shed theirs, to the love of Mary Ann who pours herself out in words…. I hope this week you get a taste of the love all around us!

Wingtip to Wingtip,

Patti Patton-Bader
Soldiers' Angels Founder and CEO

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Super Reviews

"I read the first 50 pages on the train this morning. I'm immersed and impressed!
Barbara C., NY.

"I can't wait to get back to the book. I'm almost mad I have to do other things."
Holliday F., NE

"I'm about fifty or so pages into the book, and so far loving it. You should be proud."
Steven N., CA

"I am engrossed in the story and am finding it hard to put down the book."
Susan G. IL

"WOW, I did not think this would be a book I would be interested in but I have read the first two chapters and find I can't wait to continue!! I really am enjoying it."
Carol P., GA

Monday, February 8, 2010

Press Releases and then some

Press releases sent to my home State of New York was readily received by the Westchester Herald and Yonkers Tribune. The article will run sometime this week! In addition there is a radio show called "On the Level" for which I will be interviewed. The air date for the segment will be sometime after May.

So where is Omaha do you ask? Still waiting as we are still waiting on that book chain to have the courtesy of a return phone call. The competition keeps looking better and better!

I'm delighted to report that I am continuing to receive fantastic feedback about the story. I am getting the emotional reactions I had hoped for - not to worry - no spoilers - the story continues to surprise - twists and turns are my favorite pastime - ah the intrigue and treachery.

Who said 9th century history is boring! If the professors put some life into their characters students would be lined up outside the door! Does anyone know how Edward II met his demise - and most unpleasant a demise it was! Stay away from Shakespeare - his view on history is for entertainment purposes and is not 100% accurate. Remember Richard III! He did not murder his nephews in the tower!

So my friends, history can be fun - picture the men who fought at the Battle of Hastings - then you may just remember the year, 1066!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Briton and Dane is being read in Europe

My friends in the UK and Germany are reading the book. If any followers have friends overseas, the title is available worldwide and is on

The good reviews continue to pour in. Many readers can't put the book down and those that must for reasons of sleep or work can't wait to get back into the story.

No spoilers on this blog - you'll just have to get through the 50 chapters but then that shouldn't be too difficult. Let me know who your favorite character is and why - mayhap you might know who I fancy :-)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Off the Clock article

Mary Ann Bernal with her novel, "The Briton and the Dane."
Off the Clock -- Mary Ann Bernal publishes her first novel
by Vicky Cerino, UNMC public relations

Mary Ann Bernal -- could it be the next
big name in historical fiction?
Bernal -- an administrative assistant in
the department of pathology and
microbiology -- just published her first
novel -- titled "The Briton and The Dane."

The story is about Anglo-Saxon Britain in
the ninth century under the reign of Alfred
the Great, a benevolent king who kept his
land free from Viking rule by fending off the Danish King Guthrum.
Bernal took a year to write the book and she has plans for several future novels.
Below, she takes a few minutes to talk about the story, the writing process and her

Why did you write about
this subject?
I have been interested in
English history since my
sophomore year in high
school when I read Sir Walter
Scott's "Ivanhoe." His
depiction of 12th century
England gave rise to my
interest in the Middle Ages.

Tell us about Alfred the
This story dispels the
misnomer for the term "Dark
Ages." The lack of
documentation about events in Europe from the fall of the Roman Empire through
the Renaissance gave rise to the term "Dark Ages." Barbarian invaders may have
destroyed the written word but the Heathen could not suppress the pursuit of
knowledge. Alfred the Great encouraged the translation of manuscripts and texts
from Latin into English. He created schools and established seats of learning, which
enticed scholars from abroad. Alfred is the only monarch the British named Great.
How did you get started writing?
I have written short stories and poetry since graduating from college. I have taken
creative writing courses, participated in writing workshops and completed an online
novel writing course to learn the craft. The human element has not changed over the
centuries. I enjoy breathing life into the historical characters I research. These
people did exist and these people did experience the range of emotions we deal with
Where can we get your book?
You can order it at the Bookworm (87th and Pacific streets) and Barnes and Noble
or you can order it online at or Also, you can contact me and I can get you a copy.

Date Published: Friday, February 5, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Author Website

My author website is up and running - check it out!

Another mini review

From Paul in New York

I'm still entranced in your wonderful world of the 9th Century. I'm hoping to write a review when I finish (I'm up to page 122 now), I can tell you've done a truly amazing job of balancing a very intricate plot. It is really a phenomenally developed story; so much more happens in your book than happens in most other books. It's quite amazing to see all the imagination you've put into it.

Thanks Paul!

Books arrived in the snow!

Of course UPS tracking was right on target when the documentation said my books would arrive today, in the rain and snow. UPS does not cover boxes with plastic like FedEx. There was a slight drizzle when I left for work at 6:30 a.m. in the dark. By mid morning the snow was coming down and the streets were very wet. The heavier snow did not start until the evening rush hour.

I sent out an S.O.S. to my son to see if he would be able to swing by and check to see if indeed the boxes had arrived and if the books continued to be protected from the elements. And they were! The books were fine even though there were rain drops on the masking tape.

So the evening was spent personalizing the books and repackaging them to send to family and friends out of state. Their patience is very much appreciated as would have had the book in their hands in 2 days.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Off the Clock

Your favorite author had her photo taken by the writer of the UNMC Today column, "Off the Clock". Of course I held the book and smiled for the digital camera. The featured article will run later this week or early next week. Rest assured the story will be posted in its entirety.

Your favorite author will be retiring from her UNMC full time job on March 5th. I have it from a very reliable source that the retirement cake will be in the shape of a book with a very edible "The Briton and the Dane" book cover topping the creamy white cake. Of course there will be pictures before David and Odulf meet their fate!

My author web page will soon be up and running. The site design is awesome and features my book cover created by a very talented illustrator, Steven Novak. Check out his site at

Have I received that return call from that major book chain - nay!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Diane posted a review on

“A marvelous mix of entertainment and intrigue grips the reader’s attention immediately as you journey back to the 9th century. The author's dedication to detail brings the story to life. I became completely invested in the lives of the characters and found it difficult to put the book down. The book is a joy to read full of surprises with each turn of the page.”

Diane Boni
Omaha, NE
January 31, 2010

Marketing Updates

Well my major book chain's representative has yet to return my call. I'll be nice and wait a week before I try again. I hope to have my business cards by the beginning of next week which will be more professional to hand out. I approved the proof today - the background I chose really enhances Steven's great illustration.

I also created a marketing log - OK - my organizational skills have taken over. God Bless spread sheets - columns for phone numbers and dates and emails and all important follow up information.

I also joined Writers Digest and She Writes. Now I need to find the time to do a profile and get my feet wet in these organizations.

I'm upset that I haven't had time to get to Wessex. My friend Diane who has been with me since I started this journey reads my manuscript in progress. She is anxious to know what is happening to her favorite characters. No spoilers on this site - you'll have to read the book to find out. Who are my favorite characters you ask? Do I have any favorite chapters - am I an incurable romantic from the beginning of time - you betcha!

Upated Reader Comments

My friend Paul's comments are as a "read in progress." They are also posted on the Briton and Dane Fan page on Face Book.

“I love the cover. The book reads really well. I'm learning a lot about 9th century Anglo-Saxon Britain too. So it's educational and a real trip into another world. I highly recommend this book which is a pleasure to read.
Paul A., Douglaston, NY

Text message:

Paul: 9th century Britain was like Melrose Place!
Mary Ann: Are you enjoying the book?
Paul: Absolutely! It’s fun and interesting.

I'm really enjoying your book. I'm just up to Chapter 9 now, and it's getting really exciting. The story is really moving quickly now, and I'm really impressed with your imagination! I'm not expecting the excitement to end any time soon either; I can tell that things are just getting started. So far, I'd say that you've done an amazing job with it. Many kudos!”
Paul A., Douglaston, NY

Monday, February 1, 2010

The joys of unreturned calls

I decided to call the events coordinator of the independent bookseller. What was interesting was her comment about dealing with self-published authors. When I told her I was not self-published there was a difference in attitude. I was told to send information on my publisher and myself. I was informed that spring would be more suitable for a book signing - Christmas bills should have been paid and the snow should have stopped falling! I did receive a return email later in the day which was quite positive, after checking out my credentials of course. We'll see how we do this spring.

Did I hear back from the big chain community coordinator. Not yet but then I guess the day or night should I say is still young! Let's see how long this takes. I did not have an email address so I couldn't send supporting documentation.

By the time my sequel is published I should be a pro at this!