Oathbreaker

If you have a moment, please have a read of my latest novel.  It’s currently available to read for free via Wattpad…Click the book cover below for the link…Thank you so much for your support ♥

~ Oathbreaker is now available to read in full on Wattpad ~

Longlisted for The Wattys 2018 – 31 August 2018
* * * Shortlisted for The Wattys 2018 – 14 September 2018 * * *

Summary

Eleri, priestess of the Green Lady, has waited for so long to marry her tribe’s champion, Celyn. Finally, the date is set for Midsummer’s Eve, when the tribes have gathered in the valley to celebrate the longest day at the stone circle perched up on the hill. But nothing is as it seems…

A glimpse of a bird circling over the stones foretells of doom…and maybe even death.

An oath is made. An oath is broken. And Eleri’s life changes forever…

*

Oathbreaker is a story inspired by ancient history, mythology, and the landscape. Set in the Iron Age, where there is no distinction between history and mythology, and where magic is as real as the ground beneath your feet, Oathbreaker charts the journey of Eleri, Priestess of the Green Lady, and the unusual quest she finds herself forced to make…

If you enjoy historical fiction, myths and legends, fantasy, adventure and romance, you might enjoy this too…

Tolkien Tuesday #3

18 January 2022

It’s a stunningly beautiful day in the (Bedford)Shire, as I am beginning this. The morning sun is shining, there isn’t a cloud in the cold blue sky, and as I’m writing this week’s Tolkien Tuesday, the temperature is reading 4ºC. Brrrr. Puddles beyond the reach of the winter sun are still icy, and in the air one’s breath billows about like smoke. And, although this is my favourite sort of weather to go out walking in, to admire frosty webs and ice-encrusted foliage that glimmers in the light like minuscule gemstones, it’s also the sort of cold day that begs you to stay indoors, under blankets, with a mug of something hot in one hand and a good book in the other…Today’s beverage of choice: hot lemon and orange, and the book…you guessed it, The Fellowship of the Ring. Well, there really was no surprise there, was there 😉

The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts

So this week I read: Chapter 1, A Long-expected Party.

Photo by Anna Guerrero on Pexels.com

First, I love (and have always loved) the echoes of the opening chapter of The Hobbit, An Unexpected Party, here. And yet the two chapters couldn’t be more different! In The Hobbit we have an unplanned party and a journey made on a whim, while here we have the most well-planned party in the Shire in recent memory and the host about to embark on a journey he has spent a very long time yearning for. In terms of character arc, we have both a beginning and an ending presented to us. We have almost come full circle.

As I read this chapter, I noticed something I hadn’t quite noticed before: how it serves as a transitioning point, in a number of ways. Until now I had thought of it more in terms of progression and continuity, with a change of main character.

The first is that as we move through this chapter, we are moving from Bilbo’s story to Frodo’s, which is expected. Yet there is a little bit more to this too: we are moving from The Hobbit, which is a children’s book, to The Lord of the Rings, which is not. Elements of the party, especially surrounding the hobbit children felt very much of The Hobbit, but other aspects of it, such as Gandalf’s hastily shared warning and departure hint at something darker and more dangerous. Something unknown. And it’s as if the two types of storytelling or tones of the books are both present in this one chapter, before we let go of The Hobbit-esque passages and continue on with The Lord of the Rings.

Middle Earth Musings and Meditations

My Middle Earth musings this week were inspired by Bilbo’s awareness, understanding and acceptance of the notion he has outgrown his present environment. He is ready to bring an end to his time in The Shire, to leave Bag End and the majority of his belongings, as well as his nephew and heir, Frodo. He is ready to move on.

This got me thinking, what things in my own life have become stagnant, or no longer serve the purpose for which they were intended? What do I no longer need? And what, if anything, can I do about them?

If you follow my book review blog, you will know that I have spoken (at length!) about having too many books, and that for many years I didn’t think such a thing was even possible. And, even now I know it is possible, and it is a problem I have, I am still buying books at a greater rate than I can read them, even though I am a fast reader. Sigh.

Photo by Guilherme Rossi on Pexels.com | This is how how my house sometimes feels…so many stacks of books…

Combined with my book hoarding, I’m also a craft hoarder (yarn, papercrafts, and fabric, and much more besides), as well as a stationary hoarder. Do you think I might have been a dragon in a past life? And for some reason I’m at a loss to explain, this hoarding stresses me out. As I get older and grow up ( 😉 ) , I am finding I am preferring the spaces I am in to be more clutter-free, probably because they project a soothing atmosphere of calm and order.

And so, as Bilbo and Frodo between them start the task of de-cluttering Bag End, I think I will begin my spring cleaning early, and see what things I have but could live without…

Elsewhere

After reading Chapter 1 of The Fellowship of the Ring, I returned to The Hobbit to read through the opening chapter, and enjoyed it very much.

The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:

If you could join the gathering in either the opening chapter of The Hobbit, where Thorin and company descend upon Bag End unexpectedly, or the party for Bilbo’s 111th birthday, which one would you pick?

A tough question but I think I would opt to join Thorin and company. There is something quite atmospheric in that chapter…as the darkness of the evening grows, they begin to play musical instruments, and then they all begin to sing…I think the film captures this very well.

And a quick note: I’m behind in responding to Tolkien Tuesday comments, but I will get caught up over the next couple of days… 🙂

Weekend Writing Prompt #244 – Cave

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Cave

Challenge

wk 244 cave

Weekend Writing Prompt #244: This weekend you challenge is to write a poem or a piece of prose in exactly 34 words using the word “Cave”.

The challenge is simple: each week you will be given an exact number of words you can use to write a poem or piece of prose.  You can use any format or style you like; go wherever your inspiration takes you.  The only rules are these:

  • your poem / prose must contain this week’s word (see note below).  The word does not have to count towards the exact word count total – it can be in the title, or the first letters of the lines of a poem can spell it out – you can be as creative as you want as long as it’s there somewhere.
  • the length of your poem / prose must match the number of words stated in this week’s challenge.  No more.  No less.
  • A note on the word: you can use any variation of the word (for example: call, calls, calling, called etc).  If you find you are struggling to use this week’s word you may substitute it for a synonym – just include a note to explain the swap.  Remember, this is supposed to be fun! 🙂

Can’t wait to read what you have come up with!


Whispers and Echoes – is an online journal of short writing – read it here *
Check out the journal’s submission guidelines here

Weekend Writing Prompt Year 1 Anthology: Outcast and Other Words – Read for free here

Tolkien Tuesday #2

11 January 2022

I’m sat at my writing desk, with the biggest mug of tea imaginable (it must hold around at least a pint!) to one side of me, and my copy of The Lord of the Rings on the other. Elsewhere in the room, a pink rhubarb and pear wax tart is melting in the burner, infusing the air with the scents of orchards and vegetable plots and the harvest…all very apt as we begin our journey through Middle Earth in the Shire. To add the final touches to the scene, the soundtrack to The Fellowship of the Ring is playing softly(ish) in the background. And now I feel I’m ready to proceed with this week’s Tolkien Tuesday…

The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts

Funnily, after proclaiming which edition of The Lord of the Rings I would be using for this reading journey, I actually started with a different one:

This is a single volume of The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien, paperback, large format, published by HarperCollins, 1996. It is beautifully illustrated by Alan Lee. And much easier to hold than last week’s featured edition 😉

This week I read: the Foreword and the Prologue, and made a start on Chapter 1, which I will discuss next time. I’m pleased to report the slow reading is going well so far, and I’ve noted that I currently seem to be reading with a writer’s eye…

There was much for a writer to take away from the Foreword, most notably that Tolkien wrote to please himself not a market, and his enjoyment of his own imagination and creation is clearly evident in his prose. Also, the book took as long to write as it needed, which is indeed encouraging for those of us who feel the pressure of writing to meet (self-imposed) deadlines. So perhaps we should let them go, if they cause more consternation than aid productivity…

As for the Prologue, I would highly recommend any (would-be) writer of fantasy to study it. Here is set out, neatly and plainly, and in a manner that is easy to follow, for both the author and the reader, the all-important foundation of the book. We are given a summary of who and what Hobbits are, where they live, how the Shire is ordered, how they fit into the wider-context of the world and how they perceive that world and the other folk in it. It is a brief history, a character analysis and the background for the story to come, all in one, not-overly long chapter. To write such a chapter before beginning on a story would no doubt help in keeping story facts and world rules consistent and ordered in the subsequent storytelling, if one usually have trouble with such things.

Middle Earth Musings and Meditations

This week’s musings were primarily focused on the nature and personality of Hobbits as Tolkien outlines them in the Prologue’s “Concerning Hobbits”. I came away thinking of them as being merry, joyful in spirit and prone to smiling and laughter. Quite simply, they are, on the whole, perceived as good-natured. I’ve decided, in this respect, I need to be more hobbit-like 🙂

After that, and inspired by the same passage as the previous musing, I began pondering on occupations and work in the Shire, quickly followed by handicrafts. Hobbits are described as skilful and adept at crafts but not fans of machinery – quite like me then! And when Tolkien mentioned hand-looms that got me thinking that I would like to take up weaving again.

I am a very crafty person (you can find my sporadically-updated craft blog here) – I knit, crochet, sew, cross-stitch, make books and jewellery, draw, paint and design. I have done a little weaving in the past, most recently when I learnt stick-weaving which is thought to be one of the earliest forms of textile creation (a lot of my crafting is often inspired by history and archaeology). As for loom weaving though, I have done hardly any, only making three coasters or mug rugs:

…the extent of my loom weaving to date…

So, inspired by this week’s reading, I am setting myself a challenge to complete in 2022: to weave a scarf. I’ll share updates as I go a long…

Elsewhere

I’ve still yet to decide how I want to “stock” my “Tolkien and Middle Earth” shelf on Goodreads (links to my profile can be found in the sidebar). However, I have started to add books that I already own to it, which would be included regardless of my final choice.

Also, I’ve spent some time flicking through David Day’s Tolkien: The Illustrated Encyclopedia. Much of the artwork included is quite different from the artwork often seen regarding Middle Earth.

The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:

Are you looking forward to the Amazon Prime Lord of the Rings series which is set for release in September 2022?

In a word, no. I could write at length as to why as I have a few misgivings, but one thing above all others makes me nervous, and it is that one which I will mention here. I fear it being no more than A Game of Thrones set in Middle Earth. If this series doesn’t match the tone of the books – the tone Tolkien carved out for these stories – I think it will be a terrible thing.

I do hope I’m wrong. I’ve seen some of the amazing names on the cast list which raises my hopes for the series and I can easily imagine them being perfectly cast for these roles, but ultimately, it will be the type of story, the style of storytelling and above all, the tone of the content that will make or break this series, for me.

Note: I have no problem with A Game of Thrones. Having read the books and watched the series, I enjoyed them both well enough. What’s worth pointing out is this: the tone and content of the series matched the tone and content of the book.

Weekend Writing Prompt #243 – Temerity

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Temerity

Challenge

wk 243 temerity

Weekend Writing Prompt #243: This weekend you challenge is to write a poem or a piece of prose in exactly 69 words using the word “Temerity”.

The challenge is simple: each week you will be given an exact number of words you can use to write a poem or piece of prose.  You can use any format or style you like; go wherever your inspiration takes you.  The only rules are these:

  • your poem / prose must contain this week’s word (see note below).  The word does not have to count towards the exact word count total – it can be in the title, or the first letters of the lines of a poem can spell it out – you can be as creative as you want as long as it’s there somewhere.
  • the length of your poem / prose must match the number of words stated in this week’s challenge.  No more.  No less.
  • A note on the word: you can use any variation of the word (for example: call, calls, calling, called etc).  If you find you are struggling to use this week’s word you may substitute it for a synonym – just include a note to explain the swap.  Remember, this is supposed to be fun! 🙂

Can’t wait to read what you have come up with!


Whispers and Echoes – is an online journal of short writing – read it here *
Check out the journal’s submission guidelines here

Weekend Writing Prompt Year 1 Anthology: Outcast and Other Words – Read for free here

Tolkien Tuesday #1

4 January 2022

I hope everyone had an enjoyable and restful festive period and that you are gently easing back into the swing of things. I’ve noticed over the past few years it takes me a long while to get fully settled back into my schedule after a break away from my routine. “Go gently, go slowly and do not fret much over little things”, is to be my mantra for this year – it sounds comforting and positive, and hopefully will go some way to prevent burdening myself with unnecessary stress. We shall see…

I made mention in this post, Twenty years ago today…, that I had planned to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of the fantastic first instalment in the LOTR film trilogy with a slow, and mindful, and fully immersive re-reading of The Fellowship of the Ring. And I had many thoughts and ideas of where I wanted to go with it. However, it took me a few weeks to try and bring these disparate thoughts together in a way that wouldn’t seem overwhelming and disorganised…So…

Welcome to Tolkien Tuesday, where I will talk about Tolkien and Middle Earth and anything and everything that might tie-in with it. But mainly, I’ll be talking about my journey through The Lord of the Rings.

The Fellowship of the Ring – reading schedule

I’ve worked out my reading schedule in the hope that it will force me to read the book slowly. I freely admit this will be a very difficult task for me, as I’m naturally a quick reader, but I can’t help but feel this will be a beneficial, enriching and rewarding reading experience.

The Fellowship of the Ring, (Books I & II of The Lord of the Rings) is made up of 24 chapters, which divides up nicely across the length of a year. My plan is to dedicate two weeks per chapter.

The schedule for January 2022:

Book 1 – Chapter 1 – A Long-expected Party

Book 1 – Chapter 2 – The Shadow of the Past

Feel free to join in and read along with me, should you so wish.

A quick note on the volume I’ll be reading:

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, books 1-3 with Index and Appendices, Hardcover, published by Harper Collins, 1994

Front cover image from Goodreads my own copy is not in such a good condition

This was my first copy of The Lord of the Rings (note: not the first copy I read – that was from the school library), and my, has it seen some use. It’s been read so many times that last year I had to create a new spine for it as the original one came away from the cover. Thankfully, the pages aren’t falling out yet, but no doubt they will eventually. I do have a number of other editions, but this one is my favourite. It’s not particularly portable and wouldn’t fit in my handbag, but I love it. It’s one of my most treasured possessions. The cover illustration is by John Howe.

Elsewhere…

Yesterday, 3rd January 2022, would have been J.R.R. Tolkien’s 130th birthday. We celebrated his birthday in our house, like many other fans around the world by toasting the Professor, and watched, once again, one of The Lord of The Rings film (this time, The Two Towers).

And finally, I’ll be soon adding a ‘Tolkien and Middle Earth’ shelf to my Goodreads. You can find the link to my profile in the sidebar. I’m just trying to decide whether I want to limit this shelf to the books I already own, or whether I wish to include books I want to add to my collection too…

The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:

We will start with an easy one.

If you could only pick either the books or the films to read or watch for the rest of your days, which one would you choose?

I would pick the books without any hesitation. Why? It’s not because I don’t love the films, because I do, but rather one of my favourite parts of The Lord of the Rings didn’t make it into the film. Any guesses as to what it is?

Him-Indoors has decided he wants to answer this week’s question too, and he picks the films. I knew he would 🙂

Weekend Writing Prompt #242 – Goodnight

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Goodnight

Challenge

wk 242 goodnight

Weekend Writing Prompt #242: This weekend you challenge is to write a poem or a piece of prose in exactly 45 words using the word “Goodnight”.

The challenge is simple: each week you will be given an exact number of words you can use to write a poem or piece of prose.  You can use any format or style you like; go wherever your inspiration takes you.  The only rules are these:

  • your poem / prose must contain this week’s word (see note below).  The word does not have to count towards the exact word count total – it can be in the title, or the first letters of the lines of a poem can spell it out – you can be as creative as you want as long as it’s there somewhere.
  • the length of your poem / prose must match the number of words stated in this week’s challenge.  No more.  No less.
  • A note on the word: you can use any variation of the word (for example: call, calls, calling, called etc).  If you find you are struggling to use this week’s word you may substitute it for a synonym – just include a note to explain the swap.  Remember, this is supposed to be fun! 🙂

Can’t wait to read what you have come up with!


Whispers and Echoes – is an online journal of short writing – read it here *
Check out the journal’s full submission guidelines here

Weekend Writing Prompt Year 1 Anthology: Outcast and Other Words – Read for free here

Weekend Writing Prompt #241 – Din

As I mentioned in the last WWP post, I am posting this weekend’s prompt a day early 🙂 And for those who celebrate it, Merry Christmas! 🙂

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Din

Challenge

wk 241 din

Weekend Writing Prompt #241: This weekend you challenge is to write a poem or a piece of prose in exactly 19 words using the word “Din”.

The challenge is simple: each week you will be given an exact number of words you can use to write a poem or piece of prose.  You can use any format or style you like; go wherever your inspiration takes you.  The only rules are these:

  • your poem / prose must contain this week’s word (see note below).  The word does not have to count towards the exact word count total – it can be in the title, or the first letters of the lines of a poem can spell it out – you can be as creative as you want as long as it’s there somewhere.
  • the length of your poem / prose must match the number of words stated in this week’s challenge.  No more.  No less.
  • A note on the word: you can use any variation of the word (for example: call, calls, calling, called etc).  If you find you are struggling to use this week’s word you may substitute it for a synonym – just include a note to explain the swap.  Remember, this is supposed to be fun! 🙂

Can’t wait to read what you have come up with!


Whispers and Echoes – is an online journal of short writing – read it here *
Check out the journal’s full submission guidelines here

Weekend Writing Prompt Year 1 Anthology: Outcast and Other Words – Read for free here

Weekend Writing Prompt #240 – Pavonine

A quick announcement before we get to this weekend’s writing prompt…next weekend’s prompt will be posted a day early, on Friday 24th December 🙂

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Pavonine

Challenge

wk 240 pavonine

Weekend Writing Prompt #240: This weekend you challenge is to write a poem or a piece of prose in exactly 81 words using the word “Pavonine”.

The challenge is simple: each week you will be given an exact number of words you can use to write a poem or piece of prose.  You can use any format or style you like; go wherever your inspiration takes you.  The only rules are these:

  • your poem / prose must contain this week’s word (see note below).  The word does not have to count towards the exact word count total – it can be in the title, or the first letters of the lines of a poem can spell it out – you can be as creative as you want as long as it’s there somewhere.
  • the length of your poem / prose must match the number of words stated in this week’s challenge.  No more.  No less.
  • A note on the word: you can use any variation of the word (for example: call, calls, calling, called etc).  If you find you are struggling to use this week’s word you may substitute it for a synonym – just include a note to explain the swap.  Remember, this is supposed to be fun! 🙂

Can’t wait to read what you have come up with!


Whispers and Echoes – is an online journal of short writing – read it here *
Check out the journal’s full submission guidelines here

Weekend Writing Prompt Year 1 Anthology: Outcast and Other Words – Read for free here

Weekend Writing Prompt #239 – Smuggle

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Smuggle

Challenge

wk 239 smuggle

Weekend Writing Prompt #239: This weekend you challenge is to write a poem or a piece of prose in exactly 66 words using the word “Smuggle”.

The challenge is simple: each week you will be given an exact number of words you can use to write a poem or piece of prose.  You can use any format or style you like; go wherever your inspiration takes you.  The only rules are these:

  • your poem / prose must contain this week’s word (see note below).  The word does not have to count towards the exact word count total – it can be in the title, or the first letters of the lines of a poem can spell it out – you can be as creative as you want as long as it’s there somewhere.
  • the length of your poem / prose must match the number of words stated in this week’s challenge.  No more.  No less.
  • A note on the word: you can use any variation of the word (for example: call, calls, calling, called etc).  If you find you are struggling to use this week’s word you may substitute it for a synonym – just include a note to explain the swap.  Remember, this is supposed to be fun! 🙂

Can’t wait to read what you have come up with!


Whispers and Echoes – is an online journal of short writing – read it here *
Check out the journal’s full submission guidelines here

Weekend Writing Prompt Year 1 Anthology: Outcast and Other Words – Read for free here

Twenty years ago today…

…The premiere of the first film in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, took place. To mark the occasion, I’ve spent part (a lot) of my day reading some interesting writing on and about Middle Earth and J. R. R. Tolkien, and the academic scholarship that has grown up around it. Fascinating stuff! Lots of tea has been drunk, I can tell you.

a random photo…or a shortcut to mushrooms

Like many people, Tolkien’s work means a lot to me, and has shaped my reading, my imagination, my interests, and my own writing. Yes, I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to Middle Earth. Anything which contained two of my most favourite things in all the world – landscape and mythology – and is accompanied by beautiful languages and fascinating maps was sure to hook me from my first encounter with them. And it did! I have lost count of the number of times I’ve read them, but I clearly remember the first time I picked up a copy…Simply Magic.

I love exploring those places where myth and landscape meet…

I am actually planning my own 20th anniversary celebrations for later in the month, – after all, I went to the cinema to see the film (multiple times), not the premiere 😉 There will be movie watching, biscuit-baking, and any celebration wouldn’t be complete without going back to where it all began…the books!

another random photo…though it could be The Shire, couldn’t it?

I’m thinking of documenting my journey through the books on this re-read, discussing aspects of them which are important to me, or that I find inspirational. The plan is to read it slowly, savouring the detail, and pausing every now and then to admire the view. I’m naturally a quick reader, and am easily swept along with the story, with an in-built desperate need to read what happens next. So a little bit of mindful exploration of Middle Earth, and even a wander or two off the beaten track into essays and other writings that tie-in with the chapters I will be reading, will be a new, intentional reading experience for me, and no doubt an enriching one.

Anyone else want to come along? Just let me know 🙂