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…

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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…

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Pete Lovelock, Demon Detective

the silence remains

Work had been a little slow that month.  Perhaps the world was getting back to normal.  Perhaps it was the quiet before the storm.

All I knew was that I needed to keep myself occupied in my office.  Make it look like someone was working within.  Ready and waiting should a client appear.  That’s what I kept telling myself for two and half weeks.

The accounts were up-to-date.  Case files were completed and my desk cleared.  Hell, I even swept the floor – and then mopped it.

I was starting to give up that Wednesday morning.  There was only so much office-based work I could cope with.  I was made to be outside, taking the fight to evil-doers, not cleaning and shuffling papers.  But the monsters of the world had gone quiet and my services were apparently not in demand.

That’s when the phone rang.  For a moment, I just stared at it.  Then, I grabbed it before it rang off.

“Hello?”

“Hi…er…” The woman’s voice on the other end of the line sounded nervous, unsure.

“Who you looking for, ma’am?”

“Umm…Pete Lovelock.  I was given this number by Tara in the crystal shop in town.  She said he could help.”

“Help with what?”

“Have I got the right number?  Who am I speaking to?”  She sounded guarded, worried.

“I’m Lovelock.  Now tell me, why might you think I can help you?”

“There’s something going on in my basement.  I hear noises.  Voices.  I went down there this morning and…I found…I’m not sure how I can say this without sounding crazy, but you’ve got to believe me.  I saw it!”

I was now perched on the edge of my seat, trying to keep the excitement out of my voice.  “What did you see, ma’am?”

“It had teeth and claws and…and…wings.  And it said, ‘They are coming,’ over and over.  It’s locked in my basement, but it keeps banging on the door, screaming about the horrors that await us all.  What am I going to do when it gets out?”

All the emotion had drained out of the woman’s voice.  I guessed she was going into shock.  I managed to get her name and address out of her before she clammed up completely.  Then I grabbed my jacket and my bag of tricks, and left the office, a smile plastered across my face, a tune on my lips.

I was back in business.


This was written for Day 4 of “A Month of Mini Writing Challenges“.  See this page here for more details and a list of prompts.

Dreaming of the Depths

The Mermaid by John William Waterhouse (photo credit - wikipedia)

The Mermaid by John William Waterhouse (photo credit: Wikipedia)

I knew I was safe as long as I kept one foot in the water and the other on the shore.

My dreams had told me as much.

But should I stray, either way, destiny would claim me.

Two feet on the land and the sea would reject me for good.

Both feet in the water and the waves would pull me under, my legs transforming into shimmering scales.

There would be no undoing, no going back.

But my dreams had told me a lot more. Of how the world beneath the waves sparkled in the light of sun, moon and stars.  Of how the folk of the sea possessed healing magic…but they were despised by all and thought omens of ill-luck…hated and hunted…

I had the blood of the merfolk in my veins.  Was I gifted or cursed?  It didn’t matter.  All I knew was that I had reached the age when the magic had awoken within me.  Now that it had stirred, it could not be silenced.

And soon I would have to decide…I couldn’t walk the shore forever, being of both but belonging to neither…

Excavating the Archives: A Midsummer Mischief

mitchells foldI walked around the stones that were sticking out of the ground like monstrous teeth.  No one else was about.  Not many people knew this place existed; if they did once, they seem to have forgotten it now.  I was alone as I explored the standing stones in the darkness.

It was Midsummer’s Eve, and the moon above was full and bright, bathing both stone and grass in silver light.  As I looked about, I wondered why I came.  It wasn’t to celebrate the solstice or anything like that; I was neither druid nor witch.  I wasn’t a pagan.

Nevertheless, I was here, though I had no reason to be.

I went and sat on the horizontal stone in the centre of the circle.  It looked like it had fallen over eons ago; patches of lichen dappled its surface, the moonlight making it stand out, luminous in the dark.

The air was warm; I wondered if it would rain.  Of course, I would have gone home by then.  I wasn’t planning on staying long, just long enough to…to what?  Perplexed, I wrinkled my brow and rubbed my temples.  At any rate, I would be home before it rained.  I wouldn’t be here much longer.  A few more minutes, and then I would be on my way…

I awoke to the sound of laughter.  As I opened my eyes, something darted between the menhirs in front of me.  I scrambled backwards in fright, only to fall heavily on to the damp grass beside my stone bed.

How I had managed to fall asleep, out here, on an ancient slab of stone, I couldn’t begin to understand.  My mind was dizzy with confusion.

Slowly, I peered up over the edge of the fallen stone at the centre of the circle, and looked about.  I saw nothing.

‘Of course,’ I said to myself, ‘I had imagined it.  Waking up in a strange, unfamiliar place will do that to you.’  I shook my head.  Why was I being so silly when I was usually so sensible?

I quietly laughed at myself in embarrassment.  Didn’t I feel foolish, sitting there on the grass, hiding from some imaginary creature behind a huge lump of stone.  I rolled on to my knees, stiff from sleeping on the hard slab of granite, and made to stand when –

‘Ow!’ I exclaimed, rubbing the back of my head furiously.  A small stone lay on the ground by my feet.

Again I looked about, but saw nothing.  But I heard them, giggling in delicate, high-pitched voices.

‘Excuse me!’ I called out, trying to get their attention.  The laughing suddenly stopped.  ‘Excuse me!’ I called again, only louder this time.

But the stone circle remained silent.  I waited for a few moments, wondering what to do.  Then I marched over to the standing stone from which I guessed the last lot of laughing came.  Just as I reached it, two flashes of sparkly light whooshed past me.

I spun round to see where they went, amazed by what I was seeing.  ‘Come back here!’ I shouted, rather belatedly, but they paid me no heed as they vanished behind one of the stones on the opposite side of the circle.  I tried following them, but when I got too close, they fled to a different stone, laughing as they went.

Eventually, exhausted, I sat back down on the central stone to get my breath back.  What was going on?  My head was spinning as I tried to get a handle on the situation.  The lights flitted past me again, moving back and forth, each time daring to come a little closer to me.  I was starting to feel quite annoyed, but an idea was beginning to form in my mind.

I took off my cardigan, and judging my aim carefully, I threw it, stopping one of the creatures as they moved across the circle.  The other one continued on, leaving the other one to struggle beneath the weight of the garment, huffing and puffing as it did so.

I approached warily.  When I was close enough, I gathered up the edges of the fabric and scooped the creature up.  I had to hold it at arms length, because it was angrily punching and kicking to try and break free.

‘Stop that at once!’ I said, in the most forceful, school-teacher voice I could muster.

‘Let me out!  Let me out!’ the voice cried from within.

‘No, I won’t.  You threw a stone at my head!’ I exclaimed, cross.  ‘Now.  Where is the other one?’  I said, turning round in a circle slowly.  ‘Why don’t you come over here so we can have a little chat?’

‘No, don’t do it!  Don’t do it!’ the voice from inside the cardigan shouted.

‘Be quiet!’ I snapped.  ‘I am not going to hurt either of you.  I am nice and kind and gentle, and nothing like you two, who were more than happy to throw a sharp stone at the back of my head and laugh about it, knowing that you had hurt me.’

The bundle went limp.  The circle was very quiet.  I let the stillness continue for a few minutes longer, before simply saying, ‘I just want to know what is going on.’

‘Will you let my brother go?’ a quiet voice whispered from behind the central stone.  I could see the sparkly light coming from the other creature as it peered around its side.

‘Of course, I will.  But first tell me what is going on.’

‘How do I know I can trust you?’ came the little voice.

‘I give you my word.’

‘How about you let my brother go and then we tell you?’

‘How do I know that you both won’t just disappear into the ether?’

‘You don’t trust us any more than we trust you, it seems.’

‘You threw a stone at my head – I have every right not to trust you.  Now start explaining.’

‘It’s Midsummer’s Eve.’

‘I know.’

‘Then why ask.’

‘I asked for an explanation.  That wasn’t one.’

‘Yes it was.  It’s Midsummer’s Eve.’

‘And?  There must be more to say.’

‘We’re fairies.  It’s Midsummer’s Eve.  There isn’t anything more to say.’

‘Fairies!’ I exclaimed, feeling even more confused.

‘Yes, fairies.  Haven’t you ever seen a fairy before?’

‘Of course, I haven’t,’ I snapped before taking a big deep breath in steady myself.  Fairies.  Fairies.

All of a sudden there was a flash of light.  I fell to the floor, dropping my cardigan and what it contained.  Instinctively, my hands flew in front of my face, to protect my eyes from the brightness.

When I opened them again, I was all alone and the stone circle was silent.  Gingerly touching the back of my head, I felt a rather large bump forming.

Something had happened to me that night at the small stone circle, though I wasn’t sure exactly what.  After all, I had taken a knock to the head, and the only explanation I had for it was the mischief of fairies.  Who was going to believe that?

The Storm (accompanied by random photos)

after the storm

The letterbox clatters, a gong sounding in the early morning hush.  Now broken.

Rain falls, pulsating in waves, dancing along the street to its own mixed tempo rhythm.

Fences rattle and sway, daring the wind to try harder.

Tree limbs thrash and snap, an angry whip cracking, tapping and tickling windows, bending one way then another, under the influence of this swirling mass of Mother Nature’s energy.

The air carries a song; its timbre is quiet one moment, building to an apocalyptic crescendo the next.

Verses come and go, and in the silence between, we wait…

after the storm 1


About the random photos: They were taken this afternoon, after the weather here had settled down after Storm Katie.

Excavating the Archives: In the Cave

This piece was written in 2012 and posted on an old blog, before I first posted it on this one in 2014.  To view the original post, you can click here.


paleolithic flash fiction

We had gathered outside the cave entrance, waiting since sunset, as per the orders of the clan-elders.  It was dark save for a few torches lit either side of the opening.

And here we were, waiting…for what?  No-one seemed to be sure.  Everyone was talking in whispers; the air of anticipation surrounded us.

As if pre-arranged, the crowd fell silent.  A distant drumming could be heard; although we couldn’t see anything, we all knew it came from inside the cave.

Moments passed and nothing happened.  Everyone was watching the entrance to the cave intently.

A noise from behind us had the crowd turning to face the other way, as one.  Before us, we could see our holy man, dressed in the skin and antlers of a stag, his usual awe-inspiring ritual garb.

‘Follow,’ he said, pushing his way through the crowd, heading towards the entrance.  ‘This night we speak to the children who come after us.’

Very hushed mutterings went up from those gathered, but one look from our holy man and it stopped.  He entered the cave taking with him one of the torches, and the crowd followed behind him in a long line.

We did not have far to go.  The line slowed, only creeping forward.  My heart beat in time with the rhythm of the drum which sounded louder now, but I still could not see anything.

When I was finally at the head of the line, those in front of me now gone, I was allowed into the small side cave.  The stone room was lit by torches that threw shadows around the wall and illuminated a painting that made my jaw drop.

‘Dip your hand in the dish, and press it to the wall,’ the holy man encouraged.  ‘Don’t be afraid. Go leave your message.’

I did as I was asked and as I removed my hand, a question came to me.

‘What does it say?’ I asked the holy man.

‘Do not worry, for those that come after will understand it.’

Summoning Love – A Story for Valentine’s Day

Summoning Love cover
Summoning Love is the name of a short story I wrote for Valentine’s Day last year, and because I have been blessed with an increase in follows since last February I thought I would repost it this year.

So, what is Summoning Love about?  This is the description I posted on Wattpad:

Emma was always alone on Valentine’s Day.  Would this one be any different?

To read this short, please visit the original post, here.  Or read on Wattpad, here.

If you do decide to read it, please let me know what you think.  I’ve had a number of people say that they would like to see how the story develops and that it shouldn’t end where I stopped writing.  If you agree, again, please let me know.  If enough people are interested in a longer story, I do have a few ideas of where I could take it.  Otherwise I will just leave it as it is.  Should the consensus be in favour of extending it, as a thank you for offering feedback, I will dedicate the story to everyone who gets in touch, and might even offer it to these readers first.

On a side note, if I was to add to the story, I do think a new front cover is in order.  I made this one in a rush last year, and I’m afraid it shows…