Path Unchosen Cover

Path Unchosen is the title of my novel. It’s the story of an apprentice necromancer who discovers that someone is deliberately raising zombies. She risks her life, and her soul, to stop them before any more innocent people die. This book is the first in a somewhat darkish urban fantasy series I’ve called Daughter of Ravenswood.

dfw-kc-pu-cover-largeI’m very happy with the cover, which was designed by Andrew Brown, of Design for Writers.  I like its feel, its just the right amount of creepiness 🙂

According to Dr. Carl Jung ravens symbolize our shadow selves, the dark side of our psyches. If we want to be whole we need to acknowledge and communicate with that dark side. Wholeness brings balance, and facilitates wisdom (something the wise raven would be very pleased with). It might be the end of the series before we see how much balance and wisdom my heroine achieves.

Can you see the dragon? Nothing thematic here. I just like dragons, and can’t imagine writing a story without one!

I am also pleased with the series and book titles. It’s funny though, as soon as you decide on a book title, you can’t remember or imagine any others. The hours, days, even weeks of indecision and brain pain are forgotten.

The name Path Unchosen was suggested by one of my beta readers when I begged for help after pulling out the last strands of my hair! The series name and future books in the series came slightly easier 😛

It will be available as an eBook soon, and in print in a few weeks. I’m so glad I decided to self-publish. Even though its mentally exhausting I can’t imagine not being in control of my own business. Exciting times ahead 🙂

What do you think of the cover? What does it suggest to you?

On Being Welsh

Beddgelert, North Wales by A Roger Davies on Flickr (cc)

Beddgelert, North Wales by A Roger Davies on Flickr (cc)

I’m not sure why I feel so Welsh.
Though I do.
I always have.

I grew up in Birmingham in the UK. But my family hails from Wales (and before that Ireland) and we spent every holiday in our caravan in a Welsh camping ground. Mostly we stayed at a small village near Rhyl.

Late sun on New Years Day, Conwy Valley, Wales, UK by erwlas on Flickr (cc)

Late sun on New Years Day, Conwy Valley, Wales, UK by erwlas on Flickr (cc)

Perhaps it’s because of the happiest memories: of forest walks and mountain climbs. Donkey rides on the stony beach. Hot chips in newspaper, the salt rough on my lips. Ice-cream cones melting down my wrist. Vinegar on bee stings and bulls in green fields. Waggly tails on black faced lambs. Even in summer, it rained like old ladies and sticks (mae hi’n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn). Spots hammered against the caravan windows, and we grabbed books and jigsaw puzzles to wait for the sun to come out.

Wales, UK by neiljs on Flickr (cc)

Wales, UK by neiljs on Flickr (cc)

When I first started writing my short story (the one that turned into an urban fantasy novel, you can read about that here) the setting was always Wales in my head. No-one wants to read paragraphs of description anymore, so the trick is to give a snippet of setting in context that sets the scene for readers. I hope I’ve achieved that!

A stormy day at Mewslade Bay, Gower, South Wales, UK by geographyalltheway.com on Flickr (cc)

A stormy day at Mewslade Bay, Gower, South Wales, UK by geographyalltheway.com on Flickr (cc)

My father, like a dog with two tails (fel ci efo dau gynffon), remembered a few words of Welsh at the end of his life and told us stories of scrumping apples, catching rabbits for dinner, and doing anything to avoid working in the pits. That’s how we ended up in Birmingham!

Knowing who I am makes me stronger.

How about you? Do you know where you come from? Does it help you to understand who you are?

Until next time, Y Ddraig Goch ddyry gychwyn (The dragon will show the way).

Y Ddraig Goch ddyry gychwyn
Y Ddraig Goch ddyry gychwyn

Small Steps Forward

I write fiction about hopefulness and determination. About heroines who punch through extraordinary situations and obstacles, one step at a time. 

Today I’m really pleased to turn my blog over to a friend of mine, Graeme Kneale. He writes fantasy and science fiction prose and biting poetry, this is his latest work.

Small Steps Forward

Trapped in a cyclone
A never ending storm 
Of thoughts and imprisoning fears 
My mental self feels torn

It’s just one step so 
Why can’t I take it boldly 
Why have all these cares 
One foot in front of the other 
Moving to a future almost coldly 
Trying to hold against the stares

Okay so I make mistakes 
A black belted master of epic fail 
But sometimes it feels karma asks too much 
Where once I was strong as rock now I feel just shale

I fear by moving forward sometimes 
That I’m betraying things past 
And what’s the point in seeing dreams in the light 
When life rips them away so fast It’s like being shown the jackpot 
When you only won the consolation prize 
You know to see it brings more pain 
And yet you can’t avert your eyes

Stuck with so many questions 
Who, what, when, where or why 
Imprisoned behind fears and indecisions 
As time relentlessly passes by 
It’s like the road in front is deathly darkest black 
And I’m trying to drive while looking behind 
Frightened by all the might be’s that may come to pass

But I know I can’t stay here much longer
Cause I start to feel like a shade 
Passing through an existence neither alive nor dead 
As the sun ticks by the days 
So I guess I better do something 
Cause I don’t want to fade

Put one foot in front of the other till I’m off the plank 
And swallowed into the unknown waves 
Stop looking behind myself and swim like hell for the shore 
Cause it isn’t till we build a tomorrow 
That we are safe from the pains that have come before

Sunrise by nigelhowe on Flickr (cc)

Sunrise by nigelhowe on Flickr (cc)

GAK 2013.

Thank you Graeme! 

What do you think? Do you agree it’s too easy to trap ourselves in a mental cyclone. Too easy to let fears, doubts and regrets hold us in a place we don’t want to be. I know it doesn’t matter how big I dream, if I don’t take one small step after the other I won’t reach my goals.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments 🙂

Fish or Hedgehogs?

I couldn’t think of a blog topic this week.

I’ve got the cover for my debut urban fantasy novel. Which I LOVE! But while I’m excited about it…I don’t think many other people will be. Not as excited as me anyway 🙂

My friend suggested fish. Yes, fish. He was probably thinking about the kind that goes with hot, salty, vinegary chips. He lives by the sea and no doubt eats them all the time.

I’m vegetarian, so of course l don’t eat fish. Not even when its wrapped in crisp white paper that flaps in a sea breeze. I can almost smell hot chips now. Taste the salt on my lips. Why are hot salty chips so moreish?

my goldfish pond

my goldfish pond 🙂

The cat from next door keeps trying to catch my goldfish. It fell from an overhanging branch the other day, bounced into the fernery and scampered away. Unfortunately for it, Billie was in the garden at the time…

No harm done to fish, cat or dog I’m happy to report!

Maybe I will post about the cover next time 🙂

Now I’m thinking about Babelfish!

That is one fish I would love to meet and use. Although… “Arthur Dent commented only ‘Eurgh!’ when first inserting the fish into his ear. It enabled him to understand Vogon Poetry – not necessarily a good thing.”

A day that starts out with a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference has to be a good one 🙂

Adam Foster Photography on Flickr

Adam Foster Photography on Flickr

I think I’ll end with one of my favorite Douglas Adams quotes:

“If somebody thinks they’re a hedgehog, presumably you just give ’em a mirror and a few pictures of hedgehogs and tell them to sort it out for themselves.”

It’s just an excuse to post a great photo of a gorgeous hedgehog 🙂

Do you have a favorite fish? Or a favorite Douglas Adam’s quote? Let me know in the comments. I love hearing from you!

Am I The Last Person on Earth to Start Watching Downton Abbey?

downtonI must be the last person to get onto the Downton Abbey TV series!

I’m more of a Dr Who fan… But I really enjoyed Upstairs Downstairs (BBC Costume Drama from a couple of years ago – I was bummed to find out BBC decided not to do a season three). I also loved The Paradise (BBC Costume Drama last year) … and found myself wanting more. More. More!

I could watch season three episodes right now, for free. But I’m a start at page one girl, so I wanted to see it from the beginning. I downloaded the first season from iTunes and settled down to watch the first episode.

Why is there not an addiction warning?

Downton-Abbey-Ep4I watched all seven episodes of season one in one day. Only threatening glares from my husband stopped me from purchasing season two and settling in again! The drama. The clothes. The characters.

Of course there’s a naive scullery maid, a self-centered first footman, a stiff-lipped butler, turf war downstairs.

But there is also O’Brien, the ladies maid – deliciously evil, with no redeeming features in season one. And the sisters. Lady Edith dobs on her own sister, Lady Mary, when she has the poor taste to have a Turkish visitor die in her bed. Then Lady Mary diverts Edith’s suitor at a garden party and poor plain Edith loses her only chance at marriage. Maggie Smith is deliciously imperious, always excellent in everything she does. The script and acting is fabulous throughout. The characters three dimensional, the plotting tight and the clothes gorgeous. Did I already mention the clothes?

I have to get through seasons two and three so I can watch season four with the rest of the world 😛

Have you ever come late to a series, and have to catch up like mad? Are you a fan of British costume drama? Is there a TV show you just never miss?