My thoughts on writing, books, reading and folklore.

Writing on a Shoestring: Covers

This week I decided I'm going to self-publish 'Nightjar'. Why? I gave myself a time-limit on agency submissions; wanted to at least try the traditional avenues to publishing. I created a comprehensive list of UK agencies, using various sources, and approached those I felt would have an interest in a strange fantasy; a folk horror, inspired by the countryside and set in a feudal future. Characters with physical and mental disabilities feature strong in central roles and so it's on the edge. Liminal; Challenging perhaps. Now I can't say it's been a bad experience. I've been lucky. I must have received responses from more than half the agents (around 45 out of the 90 approached). Of those more

Joan d'Arc and a Fear of the Fairy Faith

After considering Iron Age forts and the landscape local to where I live last week, I’m going to come leaping forward in time and bustling off over the Channel to consider Joan of Arc for the letter 'J'. Why? Because I’ve always loved the tale of Joan of Arc; But it’s more than that. Joan is a very real historical character. A peasant girl from rural France, an area steeped in Celtic history and tradition, who struck the fear of God into English forces and claimed the throne of France for the Dauphin. For me, she is the epitome of Celtic womanhood. Fierce, a warrior in touch with greater powers, liminal and beautiful; strong, direct and afraid of nothing. Greater powers..? Voices she heard f

Iron Age Forts in Sandy

I live in Sandy. It’s a town on the busy A1 between London and Peterborough, and on to Scotland. A place to drive through for most, maybe stop for petrol, flash through on the train and gaze bored out the window at a platform. But that’s unfair. It’s a proper little folkloric and historical gem that not too many know about. A place of Roman Road and ancient settlements, Iron Age forts, Danish Camps in the age of Vikings on the banks of the Ivel, ancient woodlands and walking trees. More recent it was home of Sir William Peel, a recipient of the Victoria Cross and whose father - Sir Robert Peel - was founder of the old Bill, and is today a haunt for birdwatchers with the headquarters of the R

Galley Hill and the Hangman's Gibbet

Late last year I started writing ‘Forever Raven’. It’s a tale I started as a short story, but which quickly grew into a novel. Still early in its creative process, I really enjoyed the writing of it and it's a piece I will be editing in 2018. Perhaps the reason I enjoyed writing it so much is I was inspired by the local countryside close to where I live. It breathes easy for me, taught me things I never did know until the writing. I will explain. I walk. Read maps. And so it was Sutton with its ford (in Bedfordshire) was chosen as a starting point for a tale. I love the feel of the village with its 11th century stone bridge, ford, old church and the sound of running water. It has the magic f

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