Excavating the Archives: A Spring Enchantment

Fera had been looking forward to the Spring Fair since the end of the Winter Market.  Beneath clear blue skies, the sun shone bright and strong, making it feel unseasonably warm for this time of year, but who was going to complain that the weather was better than it should have been?

As Fera moved in and around the crowd, she couldn’t help but smile; she was mesmerised by the noise and bustle of activity wherever she looked.  Then, above the calls of traders and the chattering of gossips, she heard it, soft and distant at first, but as she pushed her way through the throng, it became louder and louder until suddenly she found herself at the front of semi circle of people.  Before her a man a few years older than herself was strumming on a harp.

It was as if the world had stopped.  There was nothing except the music, nothing except the musician’s fingers strumming the harp strings.  Time faded away, lost all importance.

Was this magic? she wondered, before the very thought disappeared, chased away by the enchanting melody.

When the music finally stopped, she realised she was the only one still there with the musician.  The market traders had packed away and gone, the crowd too, though they would no doubt return for the evening entertain.  But just as that thought crossed her mind, she noticed that it was dark, day having given way to night many hours before.

Naturally, the young woman began to feel self-conscious.  Why should she remain when others had not?  Instead, all she could ask was, ‘Why did you stop playing?’

The musician smiled.  ‘Because the spell is at an end.  The charm is cast.  There is no more music left to play.’


This post was first shared on this site in March 2018. You can find the original post here.

Fight and Flight

 

Image credit; Simona Sergi @ Unsplash

Animosity and accusation hung in the air between them.

‘What will you do?’ he asked, staring at the envelope on the table. It had been hanging from the ceiling when she’d arrived home, she’d said. He hadn’t read the letter, but then he hadn’t needed to.  To know it was here, that it had arrived…to see the look on her face was enough. The jagged top edge where she had torn the paper, ripping at it in panic no doubt, captured his attention. He couldn’t look away. It was better than having to see her red-rimmed eyes again.  He was a coward and he knew it.

‘What can I do?’ she said quietly. Her voice was forlorn.

He could tell her eyes were filling with tears again but still he could not look at her.

‘Say something,’ she prompted.

‘What? What can I say?’

Anything,’ she spat at him.

Her pain and shock had turned to anger.  He couldn’t blame her for that, yet it still sent a jolt of revulsion through him.  He could just about tolerate her neediness, but there was something ugly about the creature she had turned into. And it was all because of that blasted letter.

He had caused this.  He knew that. But he wasn’t going to take all the blame.  He hadn’t made her do anything.

‘Grow up!’ he barked. ‘You think a few tears are going to fix this?’

This only served to bring on the next set of sobbing, which vexed him further.  He needed to think and he couldn’t do that if she was acting like a baby.

‘You knew what you were getting into from the beginning.  Don’t pretend you didn’t.’

‘But-‘

‘No.’  He cut her off.  ‘You did.  You’re just as responsible for this mess as I am.’

‘That’s not-‘

He snatched up the letter and shoved it into his pocket. ‘I need some air,’ he hissed before storming out.  What he actually meant was that he needed to get away from here.  From her.

The door slammed behind him.  He stood on the porch, closed his eyes and took in a few deep, slow breaths. One glance to the left and he saw the edge of the woods where he liked to walk.  A glance to the right and he saw his car.  He patted the pockets and found the keys.

Had she known he was planning on leaving when he stormed out? Had he?

But she knew him better than he knew himself.  And that was a dangerous thing, he admitted, as he crossed the driveway. Why did he have to let her get so close? He was vulnerable now. She had made him weak. And that made them both targets.

She was standing at the window now.  He could feel her eyes on him as he unlocked his car and got in. But he didn’t once look up, never gave her the slightest sign that he had seen her. That he cared.  Instead, he slammed his hands across the steering wheel a few times, his own frustration boiling over into anger at the way things had turned out.

Then, with no idea of where he was going, and no idea of what he was going to do next, he started the car and sped away, his tyres skidding across the road as he took the turns far sharper than he should of.

He was only a minute from the house when his phone started to ring. Her name flashed across the screen.

‘Can’t you give me five minutes of peace?!’ he roared at the phone without answering it. With one eye on the road and the other on his phone, he turned it off and then threw it behind him. He didn’t care where it landed as long as he didn’t have to see it.  He didn’t want to be reminded of the mistake he had made.

It was too late to fix things. She was on her own now.  They both were. But he doubted very much that would save them.


Written for: What Do You See? #65 hosted by Sadje at Keep It Alive – Thanks Sadje for the inspiration!

This is the first time I’ve joined in with this prompt, and as soon as I saw the photo, the story was suddenly there waiting for me to write.  I love it when that happens.  However, the rules do ask that the responses are family-friendly and there is a lot of anger in my characters and in this scene, so I’m not sure if I broke the rules here…apologies, if I did…

Excavating the Archives: Maintaining the Mask

A random photo…

I couldn’t keep the puzzlement from my face.  I had always tried to keep up with the mental trampolining of my best friend, but sometimes, like now, it was no good.  I was lost mid jump.

I could have just said, ‘What are you going on about?’ But that had never been our way.

It would have revealed that I was perhaps not as smart as I liked to think I was, or as clever as I liked to pretend. No, the ruse needed to be maintained. Let the mask slip and who knew what the consequences would be. It could change the nature of our friendship forever.

‘Elucidate,’ I prompted, sounding far calmer than I felt.  In for a penny and all that…


This was first shared on this site in July 2020.  You can find the original post here.

Excavating the Archives: Murder, You Say?

‘Murder, you say?  Are you sure?’

Hannah Jameson gave a sideways glance out of the corner of her eye at her partner. Dan Davids wasn’t known for being smart, but even he should have realised how obvious this was.  Instead of answering him, she decided to continue to process the scene.

I think it was suicide,’ Davids called out.

I think you’re an idiot.’

‘But-‘

‘There’s no but.  The body is hanging from the ceiling, his wrists bound, his ankles bound.  There is what…four feet between his toes and the floor, but nothing for him to climb up.  He didn’t float up there, did he?  No.  He was winched up there by someone else in this room.  May be even two somebodies given the size of him…’

Davids scratched his head, processing all Hannah had said.  He didn’t look convinced, but although he was a good guy, he was a lazy cop and just wanted to go home.  He had three weeks of holiday starting tomorrow and this murder was more than a little inconvenient for him.

‘Just go, Davids.  I can handle this.’

His eyebrows shot up.  ‘You sure?’

‘Yes.  Go.’  He was more a hindrance than a help, anyway.  When he left, the noise of the other on-scene teams floated through the open door, before being abruptly cut off as it closed.

‘Who are you?’ she whispered, looking at the dead man.  He looked so plain and unremarkable, just an average guy you would see walking down the street.  He didn’t stand out.  He didn’t scream for attention.  But he had got someone’s attention, clearly.  And that hadn’t ended so well.

The pathologist hadn’t arrived yet but Hannah knew he would be there soon and then the body would be beyond her reach.  She needed to find as many clues as she could in the room before she left, before anyone else started interfering in her case and telling her what was what.  They were not as easy to dismiss as Dan Davids.

She stepped closer but not close enough to contaminate any evidence.  After a few minutes of intense scrutiny.  She found it.  A small mark above the right heel.

A mark she had seen before.

This was no murder mystery, after all.  This was a sacrifice.


This was originally posted in September 2016. You can find the original post here.

Excavating the Archives: The Frozen City

I had never seen anything like it.  A city made of crystal, that shimmered in the light of the sun, moon and stars. So different and bizarre to my eyes was it, that I could have been on another planet.  Perhaps I was.  Or perhaps it was the same planet, but a different time; a different reality.  I could not say.  I was puzzled by many things, the chief of which was how I came to be here, a mystery I had yet to find the answer to.

To look at it from a distance – and I did, for I was so taken by its beauty – you would see a collection of upside down icicles.  Some ended in sharp points.  Others appeared as if they had been broken, their tops snapped off, leaving either strange jagged protrusions or else being weathered smooth by the passage of time.

It looked cold, a city of winter in the heart of a forest that stretched for thousands of miles in every direction.  But looks can be deceiving.  There was warmth there and much jollity to be found.  The people were quick to laugh and slow to anger.

It was a pleasant place to stay, but I wasn’t from there.  I wasn’t one of them and this wasn’t my home.  I was stuck here, unable to return, no different from being stranded on another planet…but I could imagine worse places…


This was originally posted in September 2017. You can find the original post here.

Checking in…a quick update

It’s been a while since I last shared an update. Here goes…

Blogging Break

a random photo…

For a little while I’ve been planning a bit of a blogging break.  Trying to keep up with blogging (on three websites), with writing and editing my WIPs (of which, I accept, I have far too many), submitting work to various places and searching out venues to send it, social media and wattpad, as well as everything life has to throw at us…well, it’s just too much, and in some instances I am failing completely (I’m looking at you Wattpad…).  Hence the need for a blogging break, to give this brain of mine a bit of a rest because it needs it.  It will also give me the time to think about which projects would benefit most from my energy.  A little bit of focus and clarity can go a long way…

This means things will be a little quiet around here for the next few weeks.  I will however, schedule the next few Weekend Writing Prompts…

The Winter Ghost

Last week I made this announcement on Wattpad / Facebook:

This is just a quick update to say that yesterday I put the finishing touches to the final edit of The Winter Ghost. Woohoo!
This little story has come a long way since I wrote the first draft as part of 2019’s ONC. The finished manuscript doesn’t look much like the version that’s posted here – it’s been restructured, extended, there are maps…With the help of some fabulous beta readers I’ve really tried to make this story the best it can be.
Since it can be hard to find a traditional publisher that accepts fantasy novellas, I’m probably going to publish it myself, and with that in mind, I’m going to unpublish the first draft posted here, but not before 13th September 2020. That should give anyone reading it the chance to finish it – or those who have yet to read it, the chance to read it from beginning to end, should they wish.

So if you want to read the original draft, you’ve only a couple of weeks to do so.  You can find the story here:

With this story now completely completed, as I mentioned in the announcement, the next logical step would be to release it out into the world.  This will be one of my main priorities for the next little while.  If I can find a traditional publisher who accepts fantasy novellas I will consider submitting it to them, but it’s highly unlikely, and so I will probably publish it myself.  There is going to be a lot of hard work in my future, but it will be exciting also, I’m sure.

Submissions

I’ve had a few pieces of work accepted recently. A couple of poems and some short fiction.  It always feels good to keep my list of publications ticking over, albeit slowly, even if it’s just for confirmation that someone somewhere thinks my work is ok and maybe…hopefully…enjoys it.  I’ll share more on these closer to the time they become available to read.

WIPs

As I’ve already said, I have more WIPs than I think any sane person should admit to…My goal at the moment is to make enough progress on some of these projects to at least give them a complete rough draft, just to see what’s looking promising and what needs a lot more work.  With others, I’m trying to be sensible and mark at least some of them as “On Hold”.  The problem I have is, as soon as I put a WIP on that list, I’m struck by a level of inspiration that I can’t ignore…Sigh…

Current projects I’m actively working on are:

  • an as yet, not ready to be revealed, historical romance
  • The Dreamer – An Andromache Jones Mystery novella
  • Oathbreaker and other books in the series / world
  • The follow-on to The Winter Ghost

I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe.  What projects are you working on at the moment?  What plans do you have for the near / distant future?

Maintaining the Mask

A random photo…

I couldn’t keep the puzzlement from my face.  I had always tried to keep up with the mental trampolining of my best friend, but sometimes, like now, it was no good.  I was lost mid jump.

I could have just said, ‘What are you going on about?’ But that had never been our way.

It would have revealed that I was perhaps not as smart as I liked to think I was, or as clever as I liked to pretend. No, the ruse needed to be maintained. Let the mask slip and who knew what the consequences would be. It could change the nature of our friendship forever.

‘Elucidate,’ I prompted, sounding far calmer than I felt.  In for a penny and all that…


Written for: Weekly Word: Elucidate, hosted Louise Bunting at An Enchanted Place – Thanks for the inspiration, Louise! 🙂

Excavating the Archives: Waiting for Wings

She stood at the very edge of the escarpment, at that point where her heels were still on the top of the hill but her toes were dangling off the edge, hovering in the air.

It was a long way down.  

She closed her eyes and stretched out her arms, imagining that they were covered in feathers, and with one leap could catch an updraft and fly off to…well, anywhere she wanted to go.  Just like in the story where the chieftain’s son had grown wings so he could fly to the sun and save his sister from the god who wanted to marry her.

With a desperate sigh, she took a few steps back.  One day she knew that dream would see her falling off the edge and tumbling into nothingness.

But it wasn’t today.  She hadn’t learned to fly yet.


You can find the original post here: Waiting for Wings – 18 May 2017

Interview with Crispina Kemp, author of The Spinner’s Game – Part 3

You may have seen the interview with Crispina Kemp I shared a few weeks ago from my book review blog, Sammi Loves Books. Now I get to share with you an epic three-part interview with Crispina, as we talk about her soon-to-be released five book historical fantasy series, The Spinner’s Game.

In Part 1, Crispina answered questions on writing the series, the main character, Kerrid, and where the story is set. In Part 2, she answered questions on magic, mythology and society in her stories. The third and final part of the interview can be found below, where we turn our attention to language, characters and favourite things…

Part 3: Languages and Characters

The terminology you’ve created in the book is interesting. Farfoot, Wolfman, Zeflas…  How did you devise the words?  And what is the difference between Wise-One and a Breathman?

Some terms are logical – at least, I think so. To farfoot is to walk a great distance, to explore the far-lands, to form alliances with distant tribes and open trade routes. And because of his greater experience and knowledge, and his contacts who can be called upon in times of need, a farfoot will make a good chief. In Gushan, the term farfoot has replaced the term chief.

But why is a farfoot also called a wolfman? That’s logical too – at least to me. Beyond and between the encampments, a lone farfooter would make excellent prey for the grey-furred hunters. Yet in the ritual killing of a wolf and the donning of its skin, the wolfman acquires the wolf-spirit’s protection. In like manner, a chief will wear the skin of a big cat, whose spirit then protects the clan against other cats.

The case for the zeflas is different. Zeflas are small disease, polluting, or stinging demons. I changed demon to zefla at the suggestion of one of my early readers for, as she said, in today’s fantasies, demons are something else entirely. But why zefla? It’s a corruption of seraphim. It seemed to fit.

And you’re not the first to ask what’s the difference between Wise-One and a Breathman.

Bargli is a breathman while Serande is a wise-man. Both know how to oblige the divines and to protect against the lesser zeflas. We see the difference when there’s a problem with no stock solution. Then they must consult the divines.

Kitted out in various skins to ensure their spirit’s protection, Bargli spins to entrance – downward, to the Horned One’s Dark Domain, to the begetter of the Six Clans of Gushan.

Meanwhile, Serande squeezes himself into a womblike cave where he downs a disgusting concoction of hallucinogens and drums himself into the all-encompassing Oracular Web. All truths, he says, are found in that Web.

So, I guess we might say, the breathman consults the Father, the wise-man the Mother.

So we’ve spoken of how you invented words, how did you create the names for your characters?

I’ve already said about Kerrid, that her name, inspired by the Welsh goddess Cerridwen, pre-existed The Spinner’s Game.

The others? For many I took inspiration from Sumerian names. Just to end a name in -il, or -li gives it an alien and ancient feel. And likewise, having found Kerrid’s name, I repeated that -id ending: Suenid, the Uissids (pronounced Wizids). But I controlled my passion for ending names in -en, -in, and -an, which I think is possibly a Germanic thing. There are some; Gimmerin for example. Another trick I used was to change a letter or two in an English name. Elizabeth became Erazibat.

But no matter the names used in the beginning, many evolved into something else during the writing process. A matter of rhythm, the flow of the sentence, and has it the right sound for the character? During those early days my brain made adjustments without consultation.

Who was the hardest character to write, and why?

My answer to that is a character from the second book, Lake of Dreams. Urinod.

He’s not the worst of the Uissids, but still he’s not a nice character. One of my beta-readers was offended by him and called him a toxic male. Certainly, he’s a misogynist who can’t abide Kerrid, in his opinion the root of all evil. He’s very much a physical person too; prefers to use his fists not his head – unless it’s to head-butt. And he’s possessive of his position within the Uissid’s hierarchy. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as head-on as that. It would have been easy to paint him all the way bad, but everyone has a backstory that explains how they are. I’d say his comes in one word: Olun, his older brother.

Now a question of favourites: who was your favourite character to write, where was your favourite location and what is your favourite quote from the first book in the series, The Spinner’s Child?

My favourite character to write, both in The Spinner’s Child and The Spinner’s Game is the one character everyone hates. The loathsome, psychopathic Paddlo. I had great fun with him, though several times I had to pull back. Gimmerin holds a close second place. For me, he’s an amalgam of every woman’s despised husband. He does try… truly. But he’s such an egotist.

My favourite location? In The Spinner’s Child, I’d say that’s the Spinner’s Otherworld Web, based on a vision experienced many years ago during meditation.

And my favourite quote? I have several, depending upon my mood. I’ve taken this from Kerrid’s first meeting with Gimmerin.

‘My brothers would fume if they knew I helped you,’ he said.
‘You’d best return to them then. I’m surprised any of Chief Uissinir’s sons care to help. I’m surprised they dare interfere.’
Her shimmer twitched. His flames remained steady. She pursed her lips. And again, her hands wouldn’t be still but rubbed her thighs.
‘Itch, do they?’
She picked at a bead instead.

One final question to bring this three-part interview to a close. If readers take away one thing from The Spinner’s Child, what do you hope that is?

First – and for this, it’s easiest to quote the poet Omar Khayyam: The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on. Nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.

In other words, what’s done is done and can’t now be undone; a sentiment expressed several times in the course of the five books. However, while it can’t be undone, one can make amends and put things right. It’s this which drives Kerrid to complete her journey.

Second: What at first might seem a disability, with acceptance can become a gift. I’ve seen this in my own life, where a speech defect in childhood served as the impetus to develop my writing skills so I could communicate. Yet look where it’s taken me.

If you would like to read my thoughts on the first book in the series, The Spinner’s Child, you can find the review here.

The Spinner’s Game

All five books of Crispina Kemp’s series, The Spinner’s Game, are available for pre-order now, with a release date of 21st March 2020. Follow the link below to her Amazon author page or website for more information.

Connect with Crispina Kemp

Failing to find a place on the space programme – to boldly go – I turned my vision inwards to a study of psychology and exploration of spirituality. This encouraged an outward journey to explore this wonderful world, its peoples, its beliefs, but mostly its pasts. From the exploration I returned with the core of my writing.

But, for the more mundane-minded: For a shy child with a speech problem, the written word came as a release, enabling me to express myself without being asked, ‘Eh? What did you say? Say again?’ I wrote my first ‘proper’ story when I was nine. A gothic offering to scare my friends. Since then, there’s been scarcely a day when I haven’t been busy writing. Novels. The short story form doesn’t appeal to me, although over recent months I have posted micro-fiction on my blog.

In my early teens, I visited Grimes Graves, the Neolithic flint mines in Norfolk. The following summer, I visited Stonehenge in Wiltshire. Thence began a lifelong interest in the archaeology of prehistory. The study of myths and legends seemed a natural progression, and from there to linguistics (despite my inability to pronounce the words).

Resident in Norfolk where my roots dig deep, my regular rambles into the surrounding countryside provide balance to the cerebral… and ample subjects for my camera.

I can be found on crispinakemp.com and my author’s page on Amazon

Next week: An interview with writer and book cover designer Lauren Willmore

Interview with Crispina Kemp, author of The Spinner’s Game – Part 2

You may have seen the interview with Crispina Kemp I shared a few weeks ago from my book review blog, Sammi Loves Books. Now I get to share with you an epic three-part interview with Crispina, as we talk about her soon-to-be released five book historical fantasy series, The Spinner’s Game.

In Part 1, Crispina answered questions on writing the series, the main character, Kerrid, and where the story is set. The second part of the interview can be found below, where Crispina answers some questions on magic, mythology and society in her stories. Tune in next week for Part 3, when we turn our attention to language, characters and favourite things…

Part 2: Magic, Myth and Society

The story has a rich mythological framework woven through it.  How does Kerrid and her people view and interact with the divine? How easy was it to create the mythology and fables? 

Before there was a belief in the gods, there was a belief in an all-pervading ‘Spirit’, a belief still prevalent throughout our world, and not only in non-technological societies. In fact, it is regaining ground in the West.

But for Kerrid’s people that belief included the notion of agency, known today as animism, in which Spirit, now coalesced into discrete entities, is able to act of its own volition. With the relevant gifts, these discrete entities – divines – might be made to act on the donor’s behalf. But who knows which gifts might oblige them? While knowledge of the more common gifts – e.g. a slop of brew for the Lady of the Hills will keep her sweet and not convulsing – anything out of the ordinary requires a specialist.

And then there are the demons. The role of a demon is to destroy. As Kerrid says, it’s what they do. They cause disease and rot.

I enjoyed creating the myths and fables. Straight from my head? I think not. I have read so much mythology over the years, it’s more likely they’re an amalgamation of many myths, distilled to their essence and simplified.

The first public outing of The Spinner’s Game was in instalment form on my blog where I called it Feast Fables. I imagined the fables not as tales but as ‘things said’ at the time of the feast. At Christmas we talk of Santa, his flying reindeer, his helpful elves. At Easter, we say of the Easter Bunny hiding its eggs. At Halloween, we speak of witches and goblins and the awakening dead. While these have roots in ancient rituals and beliefs, they are not myths. They’re feast fables. And so too with Kerrid’s people. Everyone knew the Lady’s sons had cut up their mother to make the world, but few knew the underlying myth.

Magical rituals make a number of appearances throughout the book. Could you explain a little about how magic operates in this world?

First, with animism, magic is everywhere, and everyone a practitioner… all without them knowing it. For anyone who makes a gift and gets a result is working magic. To Kerrid’s people, this would be as commonplace as for us to switch on a light. But that’s for everyday-everywhere magic. As I’ve already said, sometimes a specialist is needed. A specialist serves as a repository of the tribe’s magic lore – imagine a living encyclopaedia. But more important, the specialist knows how to communicate with the divines (Spirit); thus the specialist can ask what the divine might like.

The other magic in this world belongs to Kerrid and her Asars. It doesn’t belong in this world, it’s intrusive. Moreover, unlike the popular magic where knowledge and use is handed down from practitioner to practitioner, this is an intrinsic force that can’t be acquired. In other words, the Asars are magical beings (but don’t let them hear you say that).

The Spinner’s Child is set in a patriarchal society, where the roles of women are limited.  How do you think readers should approach this aspect of the story?

I’d say we should not project today’s conditions upon the past. They are not at all the same. We have medicines, social welfare, charities, schools, day care centres, food bought in shops, power delivered by pipes and cables. We have longevity and paid employment.

Imagine that your daily food depends upon a successful hunt, or a full fishing net, and what you can gather of fruits and nuts and roots in season (and eggs and insects and lizards). Imagine you’re the one who has to fetch it. And you have two children.

You can’t join the hunt with children in tow – though ‘tis true, you might leave them with the old folk. Except few people survive beyond their thirtieth birthday. Women die in childbirth. Men die in hunting accidents. So, who’s looking after your children while you join with the men in the hunt? Safer for the children if you restrict yourself to gathering. Besides, there’s always good gossip amongst the women. And you need their friendship so they’ll share their food with your children should you be ill.

The scenarios multiply. But always the concern for the children limits what a woman can do. Those children are the future of the family, the clan and the tribe. Yet without access to a healthy reproductive woman, there can be no children. Therefore, the women are valued even beyond the children. For a child might die (until recently, infant mortality was appallingly high) but a healthy woman can bear another.

Such was the origin of patriarchy, though intensified and corrupted into something oppressive with the rise of city-states and standing armies.

Part Three coming next week!

If you would like to read my thoughts on the first book in the series, The Spinner’s Child, you can find the review here.

The Spinner’s Game

All five books of Crispina Kemp’s series, The Spinner’s Game, are available for pre-order now, with a release date of 21st March 2020. Follow the link below to her Amazon author page or website for more information.

As a bonus, she says:

“And I’m now able to offer a full-sized, full-colour map of Lake of Skulls – a high resolution (2048 x 1536 px) full-colour fantasy map on pdf – if the reader sends me proof of pre-order. They should contact me via my Contact Me page on crispinakemp.com”

Connect with Crispina Kemp

Failing to find a place on the space programme – to boldly go – I turned my vision inwards to a study of psychology and exploration of spirituality. This encouraged an outward journey to explore this wonderful world, its peoples, its beliefs, but mostly its pasts. From the exploration I returned with the core of my writing.

But, for the more mundane-minded: For a shy child with a speech problem, the written word came as a release, enabling me to express myself without being asked, ‘Eh? What did you say? Say again?’ I wrote my first ‘proper’ story when I was nine. A gothic offering to scare my friends. Since then, there’s been scarcely a day when I haven’t been busy writing. Novels. The short story form doesn’t appeal to me, although over recent months I have posted micro-fiction on my blog.

In my early teens, I visited Grimes Graves, the Neolithic flint mines in Norfolk. The following summer, I visited Stonehenge in Wiltshire. Thence began a lifelong interest in the archaeology of prehistory. The study of myths and legends seemed a natural progression, and from there to linguistics (despite my inability to pronounce the words).

Resident in Norfolk where my roots dig deep, my regular rambles into the surrounding countryside provide balance to the cerebral… and ample subjects for my camera.

I can be found on crispinakemp.com and my author’s page on Amazon