Psst…wanna escape from the world and into a book?

I’ve not done a Countdown offer for some years; this works by starting low (99p usually) and rising in installments. I’d opted out of the Kindle select programme that allows such promotions (for a lot of good reasons) but have tentatively enrolled Away With The Fairies again just to see what happens. It can also be borrowed if you are with the Kindle Unlimited programme; I get paid by pages read rather than by purchase if the book is borrowed.

So, here it is:

From today it’s 99p, and goes to £1.99 in three days, before returning to its original price three days after that.

Needless to say, shares, tweets, Facebook shares and so on would be greatly appreciated, especially if you have read it already and would recommend it to others. It’s got a few new reviews recently but because of the mysterious ways Amazon works, they give greater prominence to new reviews. If you have read it and enjoyed it, more reviews can keep the book fresh and current in the weird algorithms Amazon uses. Thank you to all who have reviewed it; the overall rating is 4.6 which is pretty damn good. It’s been a Kindle bestseller several times, in a number of categories, especially in the metaphysical and visionary category.

Here’s the blurb:

Irrepressible artist Isobel has survived most things. She’s coped with everything from a sequence of miscarriages, her husband’s ordination, the birth of two small and demanding children, and finally the recent death of both her parents in a bizarre suicide pact. She’s managed to bounce back from everything so far. A sequence of domestic disasters finally signals to Isobel that perhaps things aren’t quite as rosy as she’d like. With her half of the inheritance, Isobel buys an isolated holiday cottage where she hopes to be able to catch up with some painting, as well as have the occasional holiday.
The cottage is idyllic, beautiful and inspiring, but odd things keep happening. Doors won’t stay shut, objects go missing and reappear in the wrong places and footsteps are heard when there’s no one there. One of Isobel’s new neighbours suggests that it is the fairies who are responsible, but Isobel is more than a tad sceptical: there’s not a hint of glitter or tinselly wings or magic wands.
Isobel’s inner turmoil begins to spill over into her daily life when she hits a deer while driving back from the cottage. Her family hold crisis talks, deciding that she needs to have time alone in the cottage to get over long repressed grief and to paint it out of her system. As she works at a frenetic pace, the odd happenings begin to increase until even Isobel’s rational, sceptical mind has to sit up and take notice. And that’s when she gets really scared. Up until now, her motto has been that there’s nothing in life that can’t be made better by a cup of tea and some Hob Nobs. This time it’s beginning to look like it’ll take more than even chocolate biscuits to make things better.

(I’m hoping that this offer, going on for a week, may give a boost to this book, help it reach new readers and may also boost the other novels too.)

Special Offer in time for #Halloween and long autumn evenings

With 41 reviews (mostly 4 and 5 star with a couple of three stars) Away With The Fairies has hit the spot for a lot of readers.

In a bid to sway the waverers, it’s on special offer for the next week, first at 99p for three and a bit days, then going up to £1.99 for another three and a bit, before returning to its very reasonable original price of £2.65.

It’s the perfect book for this time of year; with Halloween coming up on Saturday, it’s the time when traditionally the veils thin between this world and the Otherworld, and we honour those who have gone before us.

If you haven’t read it yet, now’s the time to grab it. If you have already read it, I’d love to see the review count rise with more good reviews.


And as an added bonus, The Hedgeway (a chilling tale for Samhain) is just 99p worldwide (whatever that converts to in other currencies) until All Souls’ Day.

Not the August Bank Holiday Offer~ oops!

Not the August Bank Holiday Offer~ oops!

Red-faced here.

The post ran thus:

“In the UK, there are two August bank holidays. One at the start of the month (first Monday) and one at the end. We look forward to them despite the fact that quite often, the weather is terrible. There’s a theory that making a day a bank holiday invites unseasonably bad weather.

Anyway, I’ve put Away With The Fairies at a lower price WORLD WIDE until Tuesday morning, so grab it while it’s an even better deal than usual. None of my books are priced unreasonably; you can’t buy a posh cup of coffee for the same price.

I’ve put the UK link here but for anywhere else in the world, just go into the URL and change the dot co dot uk to whichever internet suffix your country might use.


P.S. Reviews always welcome.

P.P.S Enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend, whatever the weather”

Except I’ve had a total brain fart. There ARE two August Bank Holidays; however, they are not country wide. Scotland gets the first Monday and the rest of the UK gets the final one.

May does indeed have TWO Bank Holidays but August doesn’t.

Still, I shall leave the book on offer for the weekend and perhaps repeat it at the end of the month.

I’m an idjit.

St George’s Day special offer

Well, St George is the patron saint of England, even though he probably didn’t slay any dragons (endangered species!) and was certainly not English. However, for some reason he’s our patron saint and I’m very English and so are my books.

So, in light of that, Away With The Fairies (contains no dragons or saints, as such) is on a special countdown offer starting from today and will be 99p (or thereabouts) in the UK for three days before rising to a mere £1.99 for another three days before returning to its original and very reasonable price. It would be vastly appreciated if you pass this on to any friends, family and social media network as the greater the reach, the better the book will do. Thank you.

USA Countdown for Away With The Fairies

So that folks in the USA don’t feel left out, Away With The Fairies will be on countdown from today, for 120 hours at 99 cents first and then at $1.99, then at $2.99 before going back to its original price of $3.99 on the 10th of December. I don’t think I have put this on sale in the USA before, so I shall be very interested to see what happens.

Away With The Fairies hits the number one in metaphysical fiction

Excuse the jubilation but I am delighted to report that Away With The Fairies hit the number one in metaphysical fiction:

fairies as 1 in metaphysical fiction

I’m a bit chuffed to say the least. It’s been there the last couple of days.

A huge thanks to all who bought during the sale. It’ll be 99p for the rest of today (well, the next 9 hours) and then £1.99 for another 3 before going back to original price.

Special limited time offer for Away With The Fairies

For a limited time only, Away With The Fairies will be on offer at first 99p then going up to £1.99 before returning to its normal price of £3.08. UK only.

My writing process #mywritingprocess

My writing process~  #mywritingprocess

Janet O’Kane invited me to share my writing process as a part of the current blog tour that’s doing the rounds. It consists of four questions. I am tagging Suzie Grogan to carry the baton after me but do feel free to do the questions yourself. Add the hashtag #MyWritingProcess and see what is already out there on Twitter.

What am I working on?

Apart from waiting for surgery, I’m working slowly on a number of projects. I’m very close to getting my next novel Square Peg out on Kindle. For those who loved Away With The Fairies, this novel features Isobel Trelawny and her husband Mickey, but some years in the past when Mickey was at training college. The main character of Square Peg is Chloe, whose temperament and character is probably summed up by the title of the novel. The initial blurb is as follows:

Chloe is a square peg in an increasingly uncomfortable round hole. Brought up by her wildly unconventional grandmother, she’s a true free spirit and has never learned to pull her punches. She’s just married trainee Church of England clergyman Clifford, and is living at the theological college and trying to figure out what’s going on around her. She’s had very little connection with formal religion, and has a talent for stepping on all sorts of emotional land-mines with the wives of the other ordinands. That would probably be fine if it wasn’t for the fact that her grandmother has inconsiderately died, and left her a house full of exotic souvenirs of her days as a travelling doctor, instructions to track down her father and sister, and what everyone else regards as a really bad attitude. She’s also lost her job, her temper, but not the will to live.

Chloe’s life begins to unravel in ways she could never have imagined as she tries to understand her own background by setting out to find out what became of her sister and father. But trying to integrate her uncompromising approach to life brings her into escalating conflict with the other women of the college, leaving her isolated and friendless. In Clifford’s final year of training, Chloe meets the arty, anarchic Isobel and together they concoct a plan whereby the irrepressible Isobel becomes the mole amid the college wives and they start to undermine and sabotage the status quo with a series of practical jokes and psychological warfare that has terrible consequences for Chloe when things go horribly wrong.”

I’m working also on getting The Bet into paperback finally. The manuscript is being slowly readied for print. I’m really looking forward to having this one in my hands.

Writing wise, I am limping along with two projects. One is a novel that is running under the working title of Belle Dame, and which I don’t want to say more about yet. I’m around one third to one quarter done, and I’m very pleased with how it’s going. The other project is a little harder to explain. About three years ago I started a serial on this blog called “Lost” and I posted ten installments before stopping. Each episode had been written in a form of trance, and I decided to continue with this. Because the right mental state is quite hard to get into, the process has been slow, though I’m actually very proud of and intrigued by what has been emerging. Working title of Tabula Rasa, this novel is a journey into the hinterlands of soul and beyond and is quite unlike anything I’ve ever produced. I’m about 20k words into this and have no real idea of how long it will be.

I’m also ready to publish a longer short story, of around 18k words, called The Hedgeway, which is something I may save for the autumn and especially Halloween.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, as I’m not entirely sure of what my genre(s) is/are, I’m not sure how to answer that. Away With The Fairies and Strangers and Pilgrims are both listed at metaphysical fiction, which to me implies that the story has its roots firmly in the spiritual/psycho-spiritual realms. The Wild Hunt touches on that but is also heavily touched by mythology and folklore. Moth’s Kiss is very much about karma and consequences. The Bet is also hard to place, falling somewhere between literary fiction and psychological fiction.

Why do I write what I do?

I write the stories that come to me, starting with seed pearls that can be a single word, a dream, a scent, a feeling or sometimes a combination of factors that coalesce into a complex mix of narrative and characters that live and breathe in my mind. I am hopeless at following rules and guidelines and my few attempts to write to certain formula have been flat, dead and rapidly binned.

How does my writing process work?

It’s changed. At one time I would be consumed by a story and I’d write pretty much non-stop until it was done. The Bet was written in only 17 days, for example. Since my illness, the processes by which a story emerges have become blocked by memory problems and concentration issues, and it’s much harder work to get from Once upon a time to The End. But I have a general rule that when I do sit down to write, I write for a minimum time and word count, so I aim to produce a thousand words at a sitting. I sometimes set my kitchen timer for an hour, so I stay put for that hour, to ensure I have a chance to get to the thousand mark.

When I do sit down to write, I make sure my study door is shut, to ensure that cats or humans won’t be able to interrupt me. I start by lighting a stick of good incense; it’s been observed that incense smoke raises the levels of serotonin in the brain. Then I light a tea light under the oil burner, and put on essential oils that get me in the mood or which are somehow part of the narrative I am working on. I do put music on, but I find it hard to find music that doesn’t distract me by making me listen to the words. So most is instrumental. I also like using the various pink,white and brown noise generators available for free on the internet. There’s one site that you can set the noise to oscillate. Combined with a site that has rain sounds, the noise coming from my speakers ends up sounding like waves on a shingle beach. It’s often enough to put me into the semi-trance state I need to be in to allow words to flow through me from my unconscious. You see, I believe that my own creativity is not in my direct conscious control and I have to be able to step out of my own way to be able to write. That’s why my illness has been devastating, because it’s made the connections between conscious and unconscious harder to bridge, as well as affecting my ability to carry the memory of what I have already written in a story.

I also believe that the stories I write have an element within that comes from beyond me. Whether it’s from a collective unconscious or from a kind of divine inspiration, I feel sure that what I am writing is not pure fiction, that is carries with it a form of truth that at core all good stories must carry. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve started to call “Forever Fiction”, that is to say stories that people come back to time and again, and which are rediscovered and treasures by new readers and even new generations. My greatest wish is that I may write such works. If this sounds pompous or narcissistic or frankly “up myself” I apologise. I have always felt I was born to write. Along with the tens of thousands of other writers who believe themselves to be talented or gifted, I offer my work as a gift to the world and to my own soul.

The Longest Barrow

The Longest Barrow

The fairies have reclaimed this place

of oak and ash and thorn,

Tentatively taking the mounded earth

Where once the railway ran,

Now stripped of iron and engines

That once drove the Old Ones away.

An immense long barrow it is now,

Holding the forgotten land within,

an England that hides, left behind by time

But never lost and only hidden.

Straighter than nature’s rules allow,

This ridge splits unfamiliar crops;

I swear the fairies came to greet

The rows of roses, an ordered army,

Serried rank on rank without a bloom,

Bred for nameless gardens.

Perhaps when each is dug, encased in pot

Ready for the eager gardener’s hands,

Unseen stowaways may hitch a ride

And recolonise this land with fay.

“For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.” The Stolen Child ~ on why we need retreats.

For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.” The Stolen Child ~ on why we need retreats.
I’ve been thinking a great deal about how baffling I find life lately. I suspect the plethora of medical issues may be having a hand in it but more and more often I find myself feeling (excuse my French here) I just can’t be arsed any more with modern life. I value very highly the comfort of our twenty first century life and the incredible medical facilities and the delights of technology. They make life a good deal easier in practical ways than we would credit and yet, recently, with the news concerning Syria and a number of worldwide news issues, I’ve begun to feel like running away.
On Twitter I have set things up so that potentially dodgy pictures don’t immediately appear when I click on a picture link, but it seems that this is set to screen out nudity and adult language. I discovered this the hard way when I clicked on a retweeted link and found an image so graphic (of a murder victim) I recoiled and was seriously disturbed. I checked who had retweeted it and found that they no longer followed me so I had no compunction in cutting them loose.
But the thought remains that there is too much of the sadness, badness and madness of the world that is intruding into my world. I’ve never advocated the so-called Ostrich approach, or of sticking my fingers in my ears and saying loudly, “Lalalala I’m not listening.” The impulse to withdraw is growing and I sense by touching those filaments that connect me to others that it’s the same feeling for many. It’s all getting a little much for us, this life, this bombardment of harshness and the perception that we are powerless, and while running away (nota bene: there is no AWAY) is seductive, it’s not the answer.
I’d like to share a favourite poem, one by Yeats whose connection to the mystical of his native Ireland resonates strongly with me:
The Stolen Child by W. B Yeats:
Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand.
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.
Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.
Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.
Away with us he’s going,
The bright, but solemn eyed –
He’ll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest
For he comes, the human child
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand
From a world more full of weeping than he can understand
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.”
Indeed it is. If someone had told me as a child, in terms I could understand, just how much weeping there is in this world, I might have drowned in those tears.
In my novel Away With The Fairies, the main character Isobel withdraws, goes away from her family to seek solitude and to try to come to some sort of terms with the deaths of her parents. But Isobel is an adult, with responsibilities and duties and it’s far from easy for her to carve out time and space for her mourning and it’s only down to the unexpected internal crisis that is triggered when she hits a deer driving home that she’s able to take that time. Her family in the end are the ones who arrange for her to have that time.
For most of us, a retreat may be seen as a luxury, or even as a running away from reality and yet I wonder now how many of you reading now are thinking with some longing of such an experience, a week or a month somewhere away from your usual life. In Yeats’ poem the fairies seduce away a child from his normal life, offering carefree play and sweet foods and a promise of no more tears.
We are not children to be stolen away by fairies, but adults who can seek respite from the sometimes heart and back breaking relentless onslaught of the world’s weeping. Imagine if you will the mother of that stolen child, imagine the impact the disappearance of a loved one would have on the family, and also on the world. Who knows what work that child was to have had in the world, what difference they might have made to matters small or large? This, then, is why time out is important, to refresh and renew the tired spirit and restore aching hearts before returning to take our places in trying to stem the flow of tears with kindness and support, and make the world a place less full of weeping than it might otherwise be.
(for Suzie Grogan, thanking you for your kindness on Thursday. I shall be trying to find some kind of retreat when I can.)