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Lazzmatazz 2019 – Literature & Book Fayre – Meet the author – Nicola Beechsquirrel

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I first met Nicola at my first book fayre in Llandeilo in 2015 when she arrived at my table and proceeded to unload my first three paperbacks from her rucksack for me to sign. Since then, she saw Tribal Unity Wales dancing at the Lampeter Food Festival and is now a valued and much loved member of the dance tribe. She’s beautiful on the inside and out, and I’m blessed to call her friend. Here’s what happened when I interviewed her….

Hi Nicola! Let’s start with a general one. How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I write non-fiction based on family history material, which can involve a lot of research. I don’t usually work to a plan – just have a loose idea of what needs to be done and get on with it. If one line of investigation dries up, I take up another.

I love research! I wanted to be a BBC researcher. Anyway, do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

My writing ritual is unimaginative and basic – switch on the computer, sit down and contemplate my documents to see what needs doing. Tea and biscuits are usually involved somewhere during the process!

Nothing unimaginative about tea and biscuits, in my opinion. Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

Ah, that would be telling! I like to keep a certain air of mystery!

Ha ha! I knew you were going to make this tricky! Okay, if you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

My desert island items would probably be a well-stocked sewing kit, some pens and paper, my comfy bed, a bag of clothes, and a guitar so I can practise chords. This is probably cheating though as the overall total of items is a lot more than 5!

Good choices though. On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

I would find it hard to take just 5 books – there are so many that I want to read! Anything by Carole Matthews would be good to relax with. I would also take Charmian Hussey’s “The Valley Of Secrets” for the sake of its marvellous descriptions of landscapes and plants, and if I can also take the three volumes of Helen Dunmore’s “Ingo” series which I’ve not yet read, that would be a good mix.

They all sound wonderful. I shall check them out. Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

If I’m allowed to travel back a little way in time, I’d like to have dinner with Marija Gimbutas, the archaeologist who wrote all those marvellous inspiring books about Stone Age Goddess cultures in Europe.

That would be fascinating, wouldn’t it? On to your current writing projects, what are you working on?

I am currently researching the historical background to my grandmother’s writings concerning a holiday she took in Burma in the early 1900s. It’s a fascinating task!

Other published work…

My list of published work is growing steadily! Currently it consists of:

“Memoirs of  a Twentieth Century Homesteader” by my grandfather, Lawrence Nowell, for which I compiled a historical background and various accompanying notes; “Grannie’s Own Picture Book” and “Granny’s Own ABC”; both written and drawn by my grandmother, Ivy Hindley; “Tales For Grandchildren”, by my mother, Olive Cole; and “The Old Woman Who Spun Clouds”, a childrens’ story by myself. And most recently, hot off the press, “Tongas, Doongas and Lilac Blossom”, an account by Ivy Hindley of her trip to Kashmir in 1913.

Thanks so much, Nicola, for taking the time to share with us, and thank you for reading this post. You can find Nicola on Facebook if you’re interested in purchasing a book, or come along to the Literature & Book Fayre, part of Lazzmatazz on 2nd June in Llandovery. See you on Sunday!

 

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Lazzmatazz 2019 – Literature and Book Fayre – Meet the author – Colin R Parsons

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Welcome to my blog and an interview with another Welsh author. I’ve met and chatted to Colin at a couple of book fairs, so I’m delighted to have him on my blog today. Colin is from the Rhondda Valley in South Wales and writes books for children and teenagers in a number of genres including Science Fiction, Steampunk and Fantasy. Welcome, Colin…

How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I literally start with a sentence and go from there – no planning or destination in mind. I did exactly that recently and ended up with a 17k short story, which I’ve just delivered to my publisher along with another seven stories. It’s a bit unorthodox, but I can’t write any other way. Each to their own, I suppose.

Absolutely!  Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

My computer screen or notepad must have something on it – a title, or sentence or even just a word. I can’t start anything with a blank piece of paper or white screen. It’s too daunting. Once I’ve got something then it evolves by itself.

So aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

I’m partially colour-blind so that hinders me in some respect. Most people don’t know that about me. I need to walk so that I can set things in motion (literally and figuratively). I used to cut the heads off chocolate Easter bunnies and place them carefully back on, just to see the reaction on my kids faces when picked them up. I hate swimming. I sing the Thunderbirds theme in my head when I pass big trucks on motorways, with over eight wheels.

Brilliant! I might start doing the Thunderbirds one! Moving on, if you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

My specs. A lifetimes supply of notepads and pencils. An indestructible solar panel, to power my fridge. 50 years supply of chocolate and Liquorice toffee.

I’m guessing you’re going to smuggle something else into that fridge;-) On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I am Legend by Richard Matherson. Airbourne by Kenneth Oppel. Lord of the Rings in one edition by J RR Tolkien. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Because I love them.

 

Great choices. Neil Gaiman’s book is a relatively new read for me and I loved it. Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

That’s difficult. Maybe, Angie Sage author of the Magyk series.

 

She’d be great fun, agreed. Your current writing projects?

The Gamer, which is with a publisher as I speak.

Wintercode, which I worked on a while ago, but never finished.

A series of adult magical detective books called Killian Spooks Mysteries.

 

Exciting times! Thank you so much for chatting, Colin. Please list any other published work and links to find them and you…

Wizards’ Exile – (Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie due soon).

The Man with the Black Shoebox and Other Strange Stories (Thunderpoint Publishing out 2020)

Amaya’s Imagination (my first picture book) by Haus of Clare. (Amazon since March 2019)

You can find all Colin’s books via his author page here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Colin-R.-Parsons/e/B0034Q4XS2

and for our friends across the pond https://www.amazon.com/Colin-R.-Parsons/e/B0034Q4XS2

And on his website http://www.colinrparsons.com

 

If you’re in mid Wales, it would be lovely to meet you at the Literature and Book Fayre on 2nd June in Llandovery. Come along and check out a host of Welsh authors.

Lazzmatazz 2019 – Literature and Book Fayre – Meet the author – Lazarus Carpenter

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I met Laz last year at the Llandysul book fair. It was a magical fair in a beautiful setting, and I spent a good chunk of it chilling out with him. He’s far more than an author. He is the creator of Lazzmatazz, but I’ll let him tell you about himself. Welcome, Laz…

How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I have an idea and it will develop as a picture in my mind. I am a very intuitive writer and tend to narrate my stories as a character and as such am a real part of it (in my mind anyway). Planning is based around, knowing where I may start and indeed end, but the middle has to evolve within my character’s journey. As an example I wanted to write a story about Crach Ffinnant who was a prophet, seer and interestingly a dwarf, riding with Glyndwr. Little is known about him yet much is known about Glyndwr, so some research and a little creative imagination and he became alive after six hundred years. I wanted him to have been an apprentice and serve a prophecy related to Glyndwr. So I created his life. In the Prophecy I created scenes of the Middle Ages and loosely made it fit historical facts and Crach began his magical journey. I do not have any particular time of writing nor pattern, simply I will binge and finish three chapters at a sitting then perhaps nothing for a week or so and so on. The follow up to the Prophecy, Rise of the Dragon took six months to complete from beginning to proofing. Thanks to winning first prize in a writing competition in February 2018, I now have a formal publisher, published two books in my series and contracted for further volumes. I can sit on a rock, look at the sunset and instantly story-tell, it just flows and that is how I write. When I am in the zone, little thinking but a tremendous amount of story flow!

Cool, do you have any writing rituals? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

I can write anywhere but I do like my desk with the window to my side and the amazing views of the valley. I tend to use my laptop for everything nowadays but always have a pencil and paper around to jot ideas as I work. A few cups of coffee is helpful but time of day is not important. My only ritual is recognizing my ‘mood to write’

So, aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

I am also a musician and singer/songwriter and have been playing for forty years. I have done a bit of acting which I really enjoy and also some performance poetry. I have been qualified as a hypnotherapist for thirty years and occasionally do comedy hypnosis shows. I adore dogs.

You’re a great story teller too, if I may say so. Different questions now, iIf you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

I would want 1. paper 2. pencils 3. Knife 4. Pillow 5. Fishing Rod

I love that authors need pencils and paper! On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

‘Course in Miracles’ because it has always filled me with inspiration and is a source of grand inner thought when quiet.

‘Survival Manual’ because I am going to need it.

‘Christmas Carol’ (Dickens) will remind me of my childhood and father reading it year after year. It would help with any sense of loneliness but, I am quite content with my own company.

‘War and Peace’ because I have never read it and will have plenty of time on a desert Island.

‘Conversations with God’ (Donald Walsh) because if there is a God, then I will have plenty of time to converse and find out why I ended up on the desert island to begin with. As long as I was not responsible for sinking the ship of course!

Fascinating choices, thanks for those. Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

This for me is a no brainer, because it has to be Peter Dinklage. We would be discussing his forthcoming role as Crach Ffinnant, now he has finished Game of Thrones. I did not have him in mind at all as I was inventing the character but he would be just the ticket if ever my series hits the screen. It is a dream, but then so was getting a publisher on merit of my work, not my pocket. But I did after over thirty rejections on the manuscript, so anything is possible, even dinner with Peter Dinklage.

Absolutely! Why shouldn’t we see our book as a movie? So what are your current writing projects?

I am half way through writing book three in the Crach Ffinnant series, ‘Ravens and Dragons’. There are plans for further books related to his adventures during the Welsh rebellion of the 1400’s.

Excellent, thanks so much for joining me, Laz. I’ll add below the places where folk can find you and your work.

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/LazarusCarpenter?fbclid=IwAR0od5TMDffGpyKCCFs_7mTQtPazTd2rdtOScOveJxBz74gRgp4Rlj0Cr_0

http://www.lazaruscarpenterauthor.com

Crach Ffinnant – The Prophecy  – Words Matter Publishing 2018

Crach Ffinnant – Rise of the Dragon – Words Matter Publishing 2019

Ballad of Penygraig – Self published with LULU 2015

 

Don’t forget, if you’re in Wales, you can find Lazarus and myself at Lazzmatazz 2019 in Llandovery.

 

Lazzmatazz 2019 – Literature and Book Fayre – Meet the author – Stephen Greenhalgh

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Welcome to the second of my author interviews, showcasing the talented authors at the Literature and Book Fayre on 2nd June in Llandovery, as part of the Lazzmatazz 2019 festival. I first met Stephen wearing a different hat, as the sound guy and compere at the Lampeter Food Festival. For the past four years he has handled Tribal Unity Wales’ music requirements for us in the main marquee. He’s recently published, so let’s give a warm welcome to a new author.

Lovely to have you with us, Stephen. Let’s start with your writing. How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

It’s all roughly mapped out, but a story doesn’t flow properly if you don’t allow it to shift slightly as you write.

And do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

I generally lie on the bed with my laptop on my knees. I do enjoy a Jack Daniels if I’m writing in the afternoon with no responsibilities later in the day.

I’m a laptop on my knees writer too. Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

I love to play guitar and sing. I meditate regularly. I love Roleplay games. I sometimes pretend I’m a spaceship. I love random adventures.

And you’ll be singing at the Lazzmatazz festival, so check out the timetable folks. Stephen will be performing on the Friday. A different kind of question now…If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

An unlimited supply of JD. My fiancé Beth. My laptop so I can write (and solar panels for power.) My son, if it were a short term stranding, (cause I wouldn’t want him to get bored. A sat phone to call him with if it were to be longterm.) And access to the complete stock of Ann Summers (if it were just me and Beth.)

Brilliant answers! I should add sunscreen to the list if I were you! Moving on, on said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

Supposing I had access to my own books on a laptop for continuity checks I would take:

The Silmarillion, really enjoyed it, will definitely read it again.

The Illiad for the same reasons.

The Odyssey again for the same reasons.

The Complete collection of Terry Pratchett because he’s absolutely brilliant.

A random recommended scifi or fantasy book from a friend.

Cool. I had to look the first one up…that’s going on my birthday list, and you can’t beat the Discworld novels for escapist reading. Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

Not fussed, don’t really do star struck. Mind you, I’m sort of easy if the famous person is paying for dinner in a nice restaurant.

I love you’d go for the food rather than the company! So, tell us about your current writing projects?

Love Island Two – Realms (Book four)

Thanks so much for joining me today, Stephen. Please share your published work and where we can find it:

Love Island Two – Beginnings:

http://www.stephengreenhalgh.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/theloveislands/

Make a date in your diary and come along and join the fun in Llandovery, for a weekend of art, craft, music and books.

 

 

 

Lazzmatazz 2019 – Literature and Book Fayre – Meet the author – Angela Fish

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Welcome to the first of my author interviews featuring authors taking part in the Literature and Book Fayre, part of the Lazzmatazz 2019 festival. I first met Angela last year when we both had a table at a book fair in the National Botanic Gardens of Wales. It was a really warm day, and we took turns minding each others tables so we could nip outside for a breath of air! She writes delightful children’s stories, beautifully illustrated, perfect as gifts for boys and girls.

Welcome Angela! Lovely to have you here. Let’s get started

How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as

you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I generally have a good idea/plan of the overall story, but things always change! With my WIP the characters just will not do what they’re told and keep challenging my plans for them!

It’s always exciting though, isn’t it? Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

I’ve never been able to stick to a fixed time for writing, it’s when the mood takes me. I might go days without writing a word, and then suddenly I’ll have a few days where I can write up to ten hours a day. I used to love having my cat on my desk, but sadly she’s no longer with me and her son prefers the garden. Apart from that, the only ‘quirk’ I have is that I only write with a pencil, until it’s time to move on to the computer.

I love a pencil! So, aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

Mad about cats – they always seem to know when there’s a vacancy at my place.

Left my blood on the portcullis of Castell Coch, Tongwynlais, when I was about five (lived in the village and often visited. Ran up the drawbridge too quickly, fell and bumped my head.)

Hate flying.

Love gardening and cooking.

Absolutely useless at drawing!

I too have a tendency to acquire cats…we have four at the moment! If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

Sunscreen/specs/notebooks/pencils/cats

On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

Almost impossible to pick just five (and I’d probably read them too quickly!) but if pushed:

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. Classic from my childhood

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos-Ruiz-Zafón. A book about books! Fabulous other-worldly mystery.

Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore. Her last novel. Wonderfully written and thought provoking.

Any of the poetry books of Seamus Heaney. Just love the way he handles words and the pictures he paints with them.

Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolien. What an imagination!

Great choices, though it is hard to pick just five. Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

David Attenborough

I’m with you on that one. His eloquence and affinity with the natural world could be the beginning of saving our planet. What are your current writing projects?

I’ve almost completed the first draft of a novel that explores the nature/nurture question through the lives of two girls who have their sons on the same day. Over the course of the next twenty years, their lives follow different paths but intersect occasionally, as do the lives of the boys. The impact of their backgrounds and experiences shapes much of what they do and the decisions they make but how much of a part does fate/luck play?

I’m also about halfway with a novel for children, which uses myths and legends from around the world, and moves between the ‘real world’ and a magical one. Essentially, it’s about making friends, bullying, the transition from junior to senior school, and the relationship between the heroine and her grandmother, who supports her on her quest.  Oh, and of course, it has cats!

You’ve been busy! They both sound great. To finish, do share your published work.

Ben and the Spider Gate                    (Book Guild)

Ben and the Spider Prince                              “

Ben and the Spider Lake                                “

The Captain’s Favourite Treasure      (Matador)

 

Hard copies via my website: www.angela-fish.com

Ebooks via Troubador bookstore: https://www.troubador.co.uk/bookshop/

Thank you so much for joining me, Angela. Been lovely to chat and finding out more about you and your writing. See you in Llandovery on the 2nd!

 

 

 

Meet the Author – D Hart St Martin

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I haven’t done many interviews lately, but I’m excited about this one! May I introduce you to D Hart St Martin, a wonderful, magical writer from the US, who has kept me transfixed for many years with her Lisen of Solsta series. She’s also written a paranormal romance called ‘Soul Doubt’ which will keep you guessing until the very end.

Welcome Hart! Lovely to have you with us. Let’s start with an easy one…

How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I mostly pants my way through. I used to put every scene on 4 x 6 inch cards. That way I could play with them. But the more I write, the more I enjoy the challenge of letting it come as it comes. That is not to say that I don’t make notes. I make copious notes, and I’ve finally learned how to organize the “clutter” of them in a notebook (along with diagrams of various settings for individual scenes or chapters). My notebook is my little bible.

I love my notebooks! Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

I get up in the morning, and after giving a nod to social media on my phone, I sit down at my kitchen table with my computer and attack the assignment for the day. I have my water and often an apple with me, and I work for a couple of hours. My cat, Calypso, often reminds me to pet her by rubbing against my leg and chirping at me. Of course, I must obey.

Our feline friends love to help, don’t they? So, aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

I watch way too much television.

I’m a political junkie (one of the reasons I watch so much television).

I have a sister who’s a much better writer than I am.

I’m a tree hugger.

I’m a lousy housekeeper.

I’m going to add no 6, you’re always way too hard on yourself…and who needs housework? Too many better things to do, IMHO. Another question, if you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you

want with you?

My computer, my cat (if one can dare to call her an “item”), a deck of cards since I’m assuming a cell phone would be out of the question, some way to listen to music (maybe I’d take that cell phone after all), and a way to charge the computer.

And on said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

The Lord of the Rings, Dune, the Harry Potter books (I’m counting series as one book), Octavia Butler’s two Earthseed books. And my own Lisen of Solsta series because I keep promising myself to pick it up and read it as a reader, not its creator.

 

Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

J.K. Rowling. I’d love to ask her questions about how and when certain aspects of Harry Potter’s story became clear to her.

 

Tell us about your current writing projects?

I am in the middle of rewrite of book 1 in a new YA fantasy series. The book is called Into the Forsaken Forest. Fifteen-year-old Mari Spencer (her name rhymes with “sorry” and she’s an apology in motion) lives in a rural town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Her mother is a first-class narcissist who can see no good in Mari. One day Mari sneaks into a mysterious forest of sequoias where she meets a woman who transports her to a different world. I’m exploring my own psyche in this one, giving Mari both my attributes and my flaws as honestly as I can. It’s a huge risk, but if I succeed in resolving some of her issues, I’ll be satisfied.

Sounds exciting, you must keep us posted as it develops. Tell us about your books and where we can find you and them.

 My web site is a good place to start. https://dhartstmartin.com  Links to all my books on Amazon as well as descriptions of them are there.

To learn about my Lisen of Solsta series of 6 books, go to https://dhartstmartin.com/lisen-of-solsta/

I also have a paranormal romance called Soul Doubt which you can discover here https://dhartstmartin.com/soul-doubt/

Thanks so much, Hart. I look forward to reading more of our books very soon.

 

Meet Mabh Savage – pagan, author and herbalist

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For my second interview from the WitchLit group on Facebook, I was contacted by Mabh Savage. Her two beautiful books are published by Moon Books, and she’s been a contributor to many of their anthologies. Join me in welcoming her to my blog…

Welcome Mabh! Tell us about your writing…

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as

you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I change tack constantly! I have a very busy mind and as new ideas pop up, I find I have to adjust what I have done already to allow the new bits to fit in. It’s like doing a complex dot-to-dot puzzle where the dots you’ve already connected keep shifting. I’m never 100% sure what the finished picture, or book, is going to look like. So, I do plan but I nearly always end up with something wildly different to what I imagined in the first place.

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

With up to three children and three cats around the house at any one time, my ritual is pretty much grab what scraps of free time I have and splurge something out onto a page! An odd thing I’ve started doing recently is putting the cooking channel on the TV in the background. I have no idea why this helps me concentrate. Maybe it’s the contrast of something else that’s creative but entirely different to writing. Other than this, in the day I write by tea; in the night I write by wine and this is when most of the poetry happens.

Until we moved to Wales, I too used to write with the ‘aid’ of children and cats….now it’s just cats!

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

I’m a huge sci-fi geek. I love Star Trek, Babylon 5, and Blake’s 7 and more recently, Stranger Things and the entire Marvel Defenders collection. I adore a good box-set binge!

I’m the same with reading too. Once I get into a fictional series, I get completely absorbed and need to get the next book, at any cost. I recently re-read all the Pratchett books again, and am looking forward to starting on The Dresden Files for another session of self-imposed hibernation.

I suffer from chronic and occasionally severe anxiety and depression so I have a real interest in mental health and ways to cope and even thrive with mental health conditions. I write about this a bit on my blog, and lots of my poetry is about struggles with mental health.

I’m an amateur herbalist and I have a column at PaganPages.org every month called Notes from the Apothecary in which I examine the magical and medical qualities of different plants.

I play music and sing, and have lots of different influences from traditional folk to prog rock! I have a few tracks on Sound Cloud and hope to add to those soon.

Lovely to know your creativity goes beyond writing to music too, fabulous. And you can’t beat a good Sir Terry binge:-)

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you

want with you?

A replicator! Ha ha, I guess 3D printing isn’t quite there yet so… My guitar, my Irish whistle, a pad, a pen and a special blanket which helps me sleep.

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

Ooh that’s a hard one. If it’s not cheating, I’d take the Elfin Diary, to keep track of days and also because it’s full of fascinating info. I’ve had one nearly every year for over 20 years. If I was in the middle of a series, I’d have to take the next book(s) in that series then just sit rocking with fiction withdrawal when they ran out. The SAS survival handbook would also be useful on a desert island! Maybe sack all that off and I’ll take the Earthsea books by Ursula Le Guin. I don’t think I could live without them.

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?

I have crippling social anxiety so the thought of having dinner with someone I don’t know it’s absolutely terrifying. I wouldn’t even go on a blind-date. I would very much have loved to have met Stephen Hawking though. He seemed like such a warm, funny person as well as incredibly intelligent and insightful about the universe.

7 Your current writing projects?

I’m currently working on a book about Lugh; his mythology and also how he is revered in modern Paganism. In the realms of fiction, I’ve been working on a science-fiction/magical cross-over for some time. There are elements of artificial intelligence and also inexplicable universal energies. The protagonist is a scientist who is trying to make sense of the weird events unfolding around her. My eight-year-old boy wants me to write a children’s book, so I’m thinking of re-working some Celtic myths and legends for younger readers.

How exciting that you’ve such varied projects in mind. Good luck!

8 Other published work and links….

My first book was A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors which is an exploration of the relevance of Celtic culture in modern society. It’s told through the voices of many different people from all walks of life.

My latest book is Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft and this looks more specifically at following a magical path inspired by Celtic spirituality and with the influence of Celtic deities.

I’ve also contributed to the following anthologies:

Essays on Contemporary Paganism

Paganism 101

Pagan Planet

Naming the Goddess

iPagan

Every Day Magic

The Seven Ages of the Goddess

The Celtic Goddess

My main website and blog is at http://www.mabhsavage.com and I write for paganpages.org every month too. People can follow me on twitter @mabherick and I’m on Pinterest, Facebook and tumblr too.

Thanks so much, Mabh for your honest answers, allowing us into your writing life and thinking processes.

Check out Mabh’s books, and pop back for more interviews, writerly discussions, dance, healing and plant based recipes. Why not sign up for the newsletter and receive a FREE short story as a welcome. Bright blessings xx

Meet DJ Martin – plant lover, herbalist and author

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I love getting to know new people, so I put a call out on the Witch Lit group on Facebook to see who would like to take part in blog swap interviews, to find out more about each other and our writing. Deborah, or DJ as she prefers to be known, was the first person to respond and without knowing it, we have a blessed shared memory in common. You can read my interview on her blog here http://www.authordjmartin.com/posts/interview-with-a-witch-wendy-steele/

Welcome DJ! Let’s start with your writing…

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as

you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

Non-fiction is planned so tightly about all that’s needed after outlining is to put things into coherent sentences and add punctuation. Fiction? I do loosely plot but the characters write the story. I know the beginning and end, but they generally change things to suit themselves, so how I get from “Once Upon a Time” to “The End” can be a surprise.

 

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

It’s not so much a ritual but a place – both physical and head-space. I can’t write fiction on the days I’ve been buried in accounting work (my day job), even if there’s time to do so. I can’t switch gears that easily anymore. When I do write, I have to be comfortable, which means lounging. There are spots in the loft of our house and outside on our deck that are reserved for writing. There’s always a cup of coffee nearby, as well as one or two of our four cats. (Maks is supervising from a nearby sofa as I write this. Curled up. With his back to me. Shhh. Don’t tell him sleeping isn’t supervising.)

I too find it tricky switching gears these days….

  

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

Apart from the fact I don’t like to talk about myself?

 

  • I’ve been dancing since Mom taught me to waltz when I was a toddler standing on the tops of her feet. I love to dance and was, during the disco era, a professional dancer, as well as a disc jockey in a nightclub. (No, that’s not how I got my nickname. That came earlier.) I’ve even been a member of a clogging troupe.

 

  • Strangely, for a dancer, I don’t listen to music very often. I get caught up in the music and can’t concentrate on work; or start dancing around and forget to do whatever chore I’m supposed to be doing. Even classical music makes me lose track of time.

 

  • I’m a homebody who’s waiting for someone to invent and perfect transporter technology. I love to visit far-flung family and friends, and see new and different places, but prefer my own bed to anywhere else. I usually want to make a U-turn almost as soon as we leave the house to go to the airport.

 

  • I’m a huge baseball fan. That takes precedence over virtually anything else on the telly during the season. But I don’t actually watch It’s on in the background while I’m reading or doing other things. I’ll look up when the announcers get excited about something; or check the score at chapter’s (or chore’s) end.

 

  • Apart from having sports on in the background, I don’t watch much television at all. Therefore, I’m horribly out of the loop when friends discuss the latest television series…or even movies.

 I loved dancing on my Dad’s feet, always makes me smile when I think of it. Lovely insights, thank you.

 

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you

want with you?

Sunscreen! 😉

If you count people and cats as things, then my husband, the cats, a fully-loaded e-reader, coffee (one of the four major food groups) and a pot to make it in, and dark chocolate (also one of the four major food groups). I don’t need much if I have those and the basic necessities.

 

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

 For an avid reader, that’s a really tough question!

 A plant identification book specific to the island. Which ones can I use for what, and which should I avoid?

  1. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, to make myself feel better about being stranded.
  2. Any of Nigel Tranter’s fiction. He wove Scottish history into fascinating stories.
  3. One of the Harry Dresden Files, if you won’t let me take the entire series. Jim Butcher tells a good tale and makes me laugh.
  4. One of the Iron Druid Chronicles (or the entire series…). Kevin Hearne is just as good as Butcher.
  5. Cheating and adding one: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (second in the All Souls Trilogy). History and Witch Lit! (But I’d still like to take all of them!)

I’ll definitely look up Nigel Tranter for a bit of historical fiction, thank you…

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

 

Living or dead? If dead, Barbara Jordan. She was my heroine growing up. (I’ve never minded a well-behaved ghost.) If living, Sir Patrick Stewart. (Not just because of his Star Trek connection, but there is that.) His life has taken some interesting turns and I think it would be fun to talk about them. His public persona is intriguing and, like all public people, I’m curious as to whether the private person is the same.

 

 7 Your current writing projects?

I’m working on Fudge’s story. Fudge is the familiar to the protagonist in The Ogre’s Assistant series. He’s over 2,000 years old so it’s magic woven in with history. Or is that history woven in with magic? While I thought I was finished at the end of Transformation!, another Ogre’s Assistant book is floating around in the back of my head. I’ll probably get around to plotting that out in the next couple of months when I need a break from Fudge.

 Also perking in the background is a book about herb usage throughout history – both magical and medicinal. The research is pretty much done but I can’t figure out how to make it interesting to anyone but me. Perhaps someday the proverbial bulb will light, and that book will get written. If not, I learned a thing or two.

  

8 Other published work and links….

 

First, and easiest, is my website http://www.authordjmartin.com

 

 

Amazon US: http://amazon.com/author/deborahmartin

 

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B0046UDSM2

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authordjmartin

 

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/authordjmartin

 

Thank you so much for joining me DJ. Lovely to discover more about you and your books. Check out Deborah’s books via her author pages and her website.

For more author interviews, posts about the writing process, dance, healing and plant based recipes, do visit again soon. Bright blessings xx

Jessie Cahalin – author of ‘You Can’t Go it Alone’ and instigator of Books In Handbag

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Author and blogger, Jessie Cahalin, is visiting my blog today, sharing with you all her writing routine and five things you may not know…

How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?
I plan, I plot and lose the plot to rather assertive characters. At first, they remain quiet when I map out their lives on a large sheet of paper.  As time passes, the characters remove the post-it notes, screw them up and knock on my door.  I do argue with my mischievous characters quite a lot. I only listen to them if they speak nicely and explain why they won’t behave.
Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?
Where do I buy writing trousers?  I read about some power trouser designed to help the elderly to walk (not joking) – my gran would have loved these. Come to think of it, I have bought lots of jogging trousers since I started this writing malarkey, but I don’t think they I powered with words.
I start the day with posts on social media then switch off the Facebook and Twitter to begin writing.  I switch on social media for a couple of minutes at a time as a reward.   Eleven O’clock signals time for tea followed by some stretching exercises.  My aim is to write throughout the day. Blog posts and website updates are completed in the evening.
Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.
Embarking on my writing and blogging journey was not something I planned to do.  My husband published my manuscript on Amazon to force me into action.  I am glad he did this, as it has opened a fabulous new world for me. I am an accidental blogger and author.
My late father worked for Leeds United. Don’t get excited, he wasn’t Billy Bremner.  Many decades ago, Dad manufactured one of the stands at the ground and (pardon the pun) part of it is still standing.
Billy Bremner: not Jessie’s dad. Can you spot her novel?
Ever since I watched Out of Africa and heard the lines, ‘I had a farm in Africa.’ I have longed to own a farm in Africa.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to toil on the land. I want to sit in Blixen’s house and write stories with the pen she received from Denys Finch Hatton.  In truth, I fell in love with the setting.  I know I would be able to write in that vast, golden brown setting where solitary trees present umbrella silhouettes. If I have trouble writing then I say, ‘I need a farm in Africa.’
Right, time to get back down to earth. I ‘ate cream buns!  I mean I hate cream buns because they make me sick. Once, I went on an exciting visit to the Bath Pump Room Restaurant for afternoon tea and it wasn’t pretty. I discovered an intolerance to cream. This was NOT the Jane Austen experience I had imagined. I should have listened to Austen and said, ‘I would rather have nothing but tea.’
Finally, I confess that I do not possess many handbags.  I clear out my wardrobes, in the name of thinking time, when I need to avoid a task.
If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?
Ready for the desert island adventure. I’m Jessie, get me out of here!
I assume I am glamping on this desert island.  Can I stay in a house like the one on the beach in Death in Paradise?  OK. I’m settled and have removed my shoes.  I have my holiday handbag bursting to the seams with some smuggled items. My husband has just asked he if is allowed on the island too.

Firstly, I’d cram my manuscript, which I haven’t written yet, in my handbag.  This would force me to get on with the dreaded editing. I would read the entire thing aloud to exercise my voice. I would take an old-fashioned camera with lots of film because I fear there is no electricity. I’d need the photos for my tweets and memoirs.

I would like to take my tiny radio, if I could get a reception, because the batteries last for years.  I love radio 2 and Radio 4. Alternatively, I would take my guitar, bought when in primary school, and work through the beginner’s guide.

I almost forgot the essentials. Paper! I’d need reams and reams of paper. I would need to learn the art of tiny writing like the Brontës so I could fill every scrap of paper.

On a desert island, I may as well make the most of opportunities. I would take snorkelling gear to I could enjoy the underwater world.  Would I need a shark alarm?

I would have to smuggle an album of photos to remind me of people, favourite places and seasons.  I’d miss the beauty of the seasons on a desert island.

On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

I feel I should say the Complete Works of Shakespeare but what about Shakespeare’s sisters?  I love the Norton Anthology of Literature by Women because there is such a range of texts I could enjoy.  An anthology of poetry would also be useful.  A collection of classic novels would place me in good company. I would also take The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer.  I haven’t read the book, but the title intrigues me.  In addition to novels, I would take books about art history.  I am interested in art but would love to study the history in more detail.  I need to have visual material to make me reflect as well as words.

Stranded like a fool, I have my holiday handbag bursting to the seams with some smuggled items.

Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

Having read Judith Barrow’s ‘A Hundred Tiny Threads’, I researched the suffrage movement in Leeds.  I discovered a woman called Leonora Cohen involved in the campaign, and I’d like to speak to her.  I’d invite Leonora to dinner to get an insight into what happened in Leeds.  I am also interested in how working class women got involved in the campaign.  Perhaps I could also invite my great grandmother to see how she would have viewed the whole situation.

 Your current writing projects?

I never stop blogging about my world and am always writing something. At the moment, I am writing some flash fiction.  I plan to write another book in the Sunflower Series.  Judith Barrow has suggested I write the prequel to You Can’t Go It Alone.  I will need to research into Cardiff back in the forties.  Some plot ideas have been surfacing, but I haven’t written anything down yet.

Other published work

You Can’t Go It Alone, Jessie Cahalin

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Book links:

UK:                             http://amzn.eu/cz1jQgl 

US:                             http://a.co/iDjcGSH 

 

About Jessie Cahalin

I’m the proud author of ‘You Can’t Go It Alone’ and creator of Books in my Handbag Blog. I’m thrilled to be visiting another blog made in Wales.

I hail from Yorkshire in the north of England but now lives in Wales. I love to travel the world and collect cultural gems. I search for happy endings, where possible.  Great coffee, food and music give me inspiration. I adore books, bags, writing and photography. Having overcome my fear of self-publishing, I am now living the dream of introducing the characters who have been hassling me for decades. My debut novel, ‘You Can’t Go It Alone’, is a heart-warming tale about the challenges women still face in society.  The novel has light-hearted moments and presents hope.  As C. S. Lewis said, ‘We read to know we are not alone.’

Contacts

Visit Jessie’s website at http://www.JessieCahalin.com

Connect with her at:

Facebook         https://www.facebook.com/people/Jessie-Cahalin/100016975596193

https://www.facebook.com/JessieCahalinAuthor/

Twitter             @BooksInHandbag

Contact her at: jessiecahalin@aol.co.uk

Thanks so much for joining me Jessie! Lovely to find out more about you and your writing.

Follow my blog for more interviews, writerly stuff, dance, tried and tested plant based recipes and magic.

 

 

 

Lisa Shambrook – author of ‘The Surviving Hope’ novels and ‘A Symphony of Dragons’

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Today I’m welcoming Lisa Shambrook to my blog, another author who lives near me in Wales who I’ve met and chatted to at book fairs. You can meet her on 22nd September at the Narberth Book Fair and 29th September at the brand new Llandysul Book Fair, hosted by Cheryl Beer of Parlour Press Publishing.

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as

you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I wish I could have a writing routine – time set aside to write, but life is just too complicated for that! I write when I have time and I tend to plan. My first novel Beneath the Rainbow had no outline, I wrote as it flowed through my head, and edited thoroughly after to iron out the creases and fix the plot. Subsequent books, though, have all been well outlined and plotted. I like to have a scene list to work with, but that doesn’t mean I stick to it – any author will know that their characters evolve, and they, very purposely, throw curve balls at you! I absolutely love it when my characters take the lead and tell me, in no uncertain terms, that they’re going to do things differently to how I expected. It spices up my writing nicely!

 

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

 It might sound odd, but I’m a bit of a squirrel… I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and acorn cups are my stim. So, when I settle to write I have an acorn cup which I can smooth my thumb over and into while I mull over words and prose.

 

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

 The first thing is my acorn cup addiction and I really do carry them everywhere with me; each of my jacket pockets hold one or two, they’re placed strategically all through my home, and I make a bee line for oak trees!

Secondly, I love the stars and the moon and often find the theme threading through my writing. My Dad used to star gaze with us and Orion is always my first point of call when gazing up into the night sky.

I can’t bear seeing books abandoned, so I repurpose damaged and broken books into gifts in my Etsy store Amaranth Alchemy – breathing new life into old books…

I’m an observer. I like the small things – they need to be noticed. Every word I write in a novel is important, and is placed for a reason. I like details.

Lastly, I’m very partial to Fry’s Turkish Delight and Terry’s Chocolate Orange.

 

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you

want with you?

I’m going to count my family (hubby and three kids) as my first item – I don’t care if that’s allowed or not, I’m choosing them anyway! I’d want my laptop, but if there’s no electricity and there’s a strong chance there’d be no electricity on a lost desert island, then I’d want notebooks, lots of empty ones, and a pen or two, or three. I’d also like my bed, I hate camping and being uncomfortable, so my bed. And lastly, my camera – no doubt there’d be beauty to photograph and I love beautiful things!

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

I’d take The Lord of the Rings – Tolkien – in one enormous book, The Hobbit – Tolkien, His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman, The Dark is Rising Sequence – Susan Cooper, and The Old Kingdom series – Garth Nix. But if I was limited to only five physical books, it would be Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom: Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen, Clariel, and Goldenhand.

 

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

Oh, wow, so many to choose from! I’ll be honest, I can’t actually choose between Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellan.

 

 7 Your current writing projects?

I’m writing The Seren Stone Chronicles – ‘Centuries beyond post-apocalyptic, the landscape of Wales has turned into a whole new country – and the rumble of dragons has returned…’

I’m ready to begin writing the third book in the trilogy, and hopefully book one will be out in 2019.

 8 Other published work and links….

 

Beneath the Rainbow – Freya won’t let anything stand in the way of her dreams – not even her death. Now her family will need to uncover the clues to her secrets before it’s too late.

 

Beneath the Old Oak – Meg’s mother is having a breakdown, and Meg can’t cope. Seeking to escape bullies and overwhelming anxiety, she discovers an old oak tree whose revelations begin to change her life. Due for release by my new publisher BHC Press 16th October 2018

 

Beneath the Distant Star – Jasmine knows her very existence reminds her mother of something her sister will never have—life. Jasmine struggles to become her own person, and her fragile relationship with her mother shatters. Due for release by my new publisher BHC Press 11th December 2018

 

A Symphony of Dragons – A lyrical collection of seven stories featuring enchanting worlds of fantasy, contemporary fiction, romance, steampunk, and more that will let the song of dragons lead you…

 

Human 76 – Fragments of a fractured world. Follow Ghabrie on her desperate quest through a stark post-apocalyptic world to find her lost sister. A unique book of short tales from myself and 13 other authors.

 

You can find links to all my books on my website: www.lisashambrook.com/books and my blog is www.thelastkrystallos.wordpress.com Publishers website https://www.bhcpress.com/Author_Lisa_Shambrook.html Etsy Shop Amaranth Alchemy https://www.etsy.com/shop/amaranthalchemy

 

Thank you for joining me Lisa and I love and agree with so many of your answers! Getting to know other authors really helps on those long, cold, wet days when it’s just you and a restless, unhelpful WIP!

Join me again for more interviews and writing tips. Bright blessings xx