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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

gardening and her new book

by

Emma Lane

It’s that time of year again. Nothing is more refreshing than a vivid blue sky accented by fiery leaves of the hard woods, yellows of the aspens and some maples, and various reds of the underbrush. Many shades of orange and yellow are accented by the dark greens of spruce and pines. Autumn is foliage showing off and we love it. It’s nature’s last hurrah before the settling of winter time and rest.

The flower gardens are looking a bit seedy (they have cause as they are making next year’s seeds.) Have your Hibiscus, Rose of Sharon, Obedience Plant finished? Sunflowers are nodding their heavy heads with birds and rodents feasting on the bounty of oil rich seeds. For relief we turn to a plant we nicknamed, MUM, but it is so not mum as it speaks with rich fall colors on a plant that stays tidy and easily tucked into existing gardens. Chrysanthemum has been shortened to mum; the real name almost forgotten.

Are mums perennial? Do they survive the freezing temps and come back next year?

The answer is . . . maybe. Indeed, the plant is cold hardy at least to agricultural zone 4/5. So why have so many gardeners been disappointed when the mums succumb to the cold? Might be from too much love? Actually, mums are fairly tough plants that need little attention to thrive. The problem is a shallow root system. Simply put, it cannot stay in the ground during frost heaves which come and go with a changing temperature.

Give it up. You aren’t about to run out every time a warm day and a frost freeze night happens. It’s probably many more nights than you suspect. Mulch is the best remedy. A good mulch will cut down on the possibility of the shallow rooted plant being thrust out of the ground and left high and dry to die.

Two other remedies: Stick a pot or two of your favorite colors in a corner of the garage and give a sip of water occasionally. It might work; worth a try. Next is treat the low-cost mum plant like an annual and don’t worry about it. Just buy new next year.

I’ve done all of the above with various successes. I refuse to give up new and different colors so I buy every year. I, also, cover my favorite yellows with solid mulch and try to remember to trim until the 4th of July. (Otherwise they grow leggie and unattractive.) I’ve been known to pot up an unusual color I want to try and save and tuck it into a corner of the garage. It works maybe half the time. I don’t get upset with failures, as I remember mums are not expensive and I can replace them as autumn approaches. It’s a lovely plant; indulge and enjoy.

Here’s a glimpse into my new Cozy Mystery Release, MURDER AT THE LOOKOUT. It is 4TH in the Detective Kevin Fowler series.

When is it not fun to be a blond?

What happens when a blond beauty hits town like a tornado stirring up memories and causing turmoil? Detective Kevin Fowler and his wife, the former Beverly Hampton, owner of the local newspaper, are settling into blissful married life. Although Beverly is sanguine over the demand on Kevin’s time by the good people of Hubbard, she is more than dubious when his duties include the escort of a drop-dead gorgeous female from his past.

There is some concern over the persistent vandalism of residential mailboxes, but an infamous arsonist has decided peaceful but dull Hubbard would make a great place from which to operate. He brazenly locates down the block from the detective and his wife.

What bait and tackle shop in the village has a dual purpose? Kevin ponders why two goons have invaded town shooting at and attempting to kidnap and murder three women. A state patrolman, aptly nick named Rooster, teases Fowler at the riotous scene of a traffic accident where the press, not the police, wins the day.

Another mystery and adventure with a satisfying ending unfolds in peaceful Hubbard, New York, small-town Americana, where Detective Kevin Fowler keeps an ever-vigilant watch.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes cozy mysteries as Janis Lane, Regency as Emma Lane, and spice as Sunny Lane.

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma’s new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Our suggestions to spot “telling” writing in your WIP.

We’ve all heard the admonition “Show, don’t tell.” When we show we are producing better writing that will capture our readers. Showing, instead of telling, lets editors and agents see you are not an amateur.

In spite of hearing the phrase over and over, many writers don’t know how to recognize “telling” writing. Writing that tells analyzes, generalizes, editorializes and summarizes instead of making the writing interactive and sensory for the reader. Naturally, there will be some generalizations and summarization in your writing, but you need to make sure these elements are in the minority, not the majority of your book. You need to show what’s happening so the reader can create in her own mind the picture you, the writer, want to share.

    To locate telling writing look for:
    • Passive sentences. Often passive sentences, especially those with the word was in them, are a tip-off you might be telling instead of showing. The sentence Sally was angry, is telling. Sally’s lips drew down into a thin, taut line, her jaw working side to side, shows us Sally’s anger. We can deduce from the picture that is painted how Sally feels because we know that look.
    • Passages that have very little sensory information. You can tell us the woman smelled good, was sexy, and she knew it, or you can show it by saying John turned to watch her as she strolled between the restaurant tables, her hips swaying like a belly dancer in slow motion. As she neared she tossed her hair behind her shoulder, casting the scent of violets and vanilla in waves toward him. The fragrance made him salivate. Her perfectly manicured nails trailed along his shoulder as she passed by. He shuddered under her touch and she smiled as he looked up at her. Here we know what the woman smells like, how she walks, how John reacts to her and how she reacts to him. Much stronger than just saying she was sexy.
    • “LY” adverbs. ‘LY” adverbs rob sentences of conciseness and force, making your writing weak. Which sounds stronger? The man yelled loudly or The man roared, the sound drowning out the radio. The dog’s tail wagged happily or The dog’s tail wagged in time to his barks as he bounded around the room. The taxi drove very slowly down the street, or The taxi crept at a snail’s pace down the street.

Get the picture? By adding active verbs, sensory information and using fewer “LY” adverbs, you are showing the reader a snapshot of what’s happening.

Here are a few telling phrases. Choose one, or two if you’re ambitious, and see if you can come up with a better picture.

    • skinny lunatic
    • fanatical nun
    • old paper
    • disgruntled employee.
    • frazzled mother.

Share in the comments what you’ve come up with so everyone can see what you created.

Links for our books are on our book page, under the menu at the top of the page or on our Amazon Author Page

Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

The Writer’s Process

By Deborah Raney

As I dive back into working on a new book to be released next year, I’m going to be sharing about a writer’s process of taking a book from the seed of an idea to an actual book on the shelf. My plan is . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Inspired by Life and Fiction blog

Friday Features’

Guest talks about

a perfect summer salad

from

Tina Griffith

Like ‘The Elusive Mr. Velucci,’ the Caprese Salad was born on the beautiful island of Capri, known as the Peral of the Gulf of Naples. This classic dish was created around 1920 when it first appeared on the menu of the Hotel Quisiana. The salad was part of futurist dinner organized by Filippo Tommaso Marinette, an Italian poet, editor, art theorist, and founder of the Futurist movement.

This delightful salad is one of the simplest and most appreciated dishes of the summer as it is always served chilled and is known as the Queen of Italian tables. And let’s not forget that the brilliant colors of red tomatoes, green basil, and white mozzarella are basically the Italian flag served on a plate.

How do you make this wonderful summer salad? My method is very easy. The amounts on each ingredient are your choice, but don’t stint on the tomatoes and cheese.

Tina’s Caprese Salad
Cooked curly pasta
Ripe cherry tomatoes
Fresh mozzarella cheese
Cucumber, peeled
Black olives, sliced
Fresh basil leaves, hand-ripped
Extra virgin olive oil or Italian dressing

Cook pasta until just al dente. Drain in a colander then rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Spread pasta on a towel to dry.

Dice tomatoes, cheese, and cucumber. Scoop into a large bowl. Stir in olives and basil. Mix well.

Carefully blend in pasta and just enough oil to moisten the mixture.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Here’s a bit from Tina’s most romantic and heartbreaking novel to date.

Enrico and Sadie were now standing alone, and it was their turn to say good-bye. They faced each other, he took her hands in his, and he spoke in an extremely compassionate tone.

“I didn’t realize how much you would mean to me when we first met”, he whispered with total sincerity. His eyes had filled up and he could hardly see, and with everything in his soul, he very much wanted to stay right where he was. He was miserable because he knew he couldn’t, so he promised to come back as soon as possible.

“Enrico”, she whimpered, as she looked lovingly into his eyes. Her voice had a gentle softness to it, with undertones of abandonment. She wanted to say a thousand more words, but they got stuck in her throat.

“I know”, he revealed, in a voice that was fragile and shaking. It was quite evident to everyone around them, that he wasn’t prepared to say good-bye to the beautiful girl standing in front of him. He brought his forehead forward until it was touching hers, and they cried with immense fear that they would never see each other again.

An announcement came over the P.A., which stated that all passengers must get checked in. It was in that moment when Enrico knew in his heart, that no miracle was coming and that he would have to leave. He pulled his head back from hers and looked deep into Sadie’s unhappy eyes. He had not expected to fall in love, and now he could feel his own heart breaking.

Enrico placed both of his hands against the sides of her face, and slowly closed his eyes. With all the love he had inside of him, he kissed her forehead, her cheeks, her nose, and then her mouth. It baffled him that this woman had provided him with the absolute need to love another living soul, for he would not have guessed that to be possible. He wanted to hold her, take care of her, know her whereabouts, and love her for the rest of his life, but he could not; he had waited too long to change the course of his immediate future.

Enrico was becoming frustrated that he had taken eight months to get to know her, but he had only had six hours to really love her. He pulled her body closer to his, and then held on tight. ‘If only I had known or acted sooner…’ he whispered.
Enrico needed to go, so he ended their embrace as hurriedly as it had begun.

A flash of wild grief suddenly ripped through her soul, as Sadie realized the true reality of what was happening. “Enrico!” she cried from every pore in her body. Her eyes were begging him to stay, while her heart was breaking into a million pieces. The whole thing suddenly felt very real, and severe panic began to fill every fiber of her being.

Enrico examined her face and he knew what she wanted. “I’ll be back”, he assured her, in a voice that was both soft and trying to stay strong. He picked up his suitcase with one hand, and he placed something in her hand with the other.

Without looking to see what it was, she swaddled the object safely in the palm of her hand, while keeping her eyes locked with his.

Enrico twisted his upper body to face his family and shouted, “Good-bye everyone!” He turned around to take one more look into the face of his beloved Sadie, and then he began to walk away.

“No!” she shouted loudly. The simple word dissolved into the air like a crispy leaf in the fall.

Enrico hadn’t gotten very far, and now it was him who was falling apart. He took one more look in her direction, put his hand to his mouth, and blew her a kiss. “Bye for now!” he said quietly. As he faced forward again, he began to cry. Not full-out crying like a small child who had gotten hurt on the playground, but a grown man’s frustration and enormous displeasure of things that he couldn’t fix or change.

Nothing in her mind or body was able to let him go, and now Sadie felt like she couldn’t breathe. Her muscles were paralyzed and she was experiencing numbness all over. Her eyebrows were raised, her eyes were wide open, and a look of extreme anxiety shot across her face.

While Enrico was moving his feet, he was trying to hide his appearance from the other travelers. He was utterly depressed and having a hard time forcing his emotions to stay down. He tried to make it look like he was holding back a sneeze rather than a flood of tears, but when one or two drops of salty water leaked out from their moist environment, Enrico wiped them off of his face with the sleeve of his right arm and kept going.

Sadie had been watching the man she loves walk away, and with an incredible amount of courage, she boldly took a few steps towards him. “En-ri-co!” She shouted his name as she extended her left hand far in front of her body, but he didn’t turn around. With sheer desperation gushing from the very core of her soul, she wanted to run after him, to hold him one last time, but she knew she couldn’t; their time was up.

Enrico heard her calling him, but he couldn’t bear to turn around again; he knew that if he saw her, he would run back into her arms and he would never let go. Instead, he made himself a promise to return to New York as soon as he could.

Sadie stood frozen in her tracks, while anxiety guided her every thought. She watched Enrico, as he continued to walk in a hurried pace, and she wanted him to come back. “Enrico”, she sighed, with little air passing through her trembling lips. “I love you.” Her head was bent in sorrow while the world was crashing down around her.

After Enrico boarded the large vessel, he made sure to stand on the very end of the large deck. He was facing her, but they were so far apart. His hand leaped high into the air and swayed back and forth, as he watched her wave back to him. He could tell that she was beckoning him to come back, and it was killing him that he couldn’t.

Sadie’s heart leaped in her chest when she saw him. “Enrico!” she called loudly. She saw him waving, and she waved back with as much energy as she could muster. She couldn’t take her eyes off of the handsome man, who only hours ago, had made passionate love to her. “I’m here!” she cried. Her voice had cracked and was full of raw emotion.

Enrico’s face was wearing the biggest smile of his life, and he waved with all of his might. “Sadie!” he called, as if she could hear him.

“Enrico!” she shouted. She knew in that instance that he was the man who she would love for the rest of her life.

The ship blew its horn a few times, and then it slowly pulled away from the dock.

“No!” she screamed, as her body went into an even bigger panic mode. Tears were trickling down her moist and flushed cheeks, as her soul was being smashed into a thousand different pieces. “Please don’t leave!” she pleaded at the top of her lungs. She was yelling with as much force as she had in her body, and was stunned that no-one was looking in her direction. ‘Why were they not helping me get him back?’ she wondered wildly.

“Sadie!” Enrico called, but the sound of his words were not as clear anymore. “I love you!” he added happily. “Can you hear me?”

With all the noise that was around her, Sadie’s ears didn’t get to receive his tender words. “How will I go on without you?” she cried, while choking on her own tears. Her heart was in her throat, her will to live had been taken away, and now there was a horrible, empty ache in her soul.

“Enrico!” Sadie shouted at full volume. She continued to step closer and closer to the edge of the platform, as the ship appeared to go further and further away from the shore. “No-o-o-o-o!” she screamed, as if that would somehow stop what was happening.

With each moment that passed, their hearts were growing heavier with the sadness that was now weighing them down. Minute-by-minute, their emotional pain was getting worse, and almost an hour later, the ship was nothing more than a mere dot on the large body of water.

Sadie had fallen to her knees before the ship had totally disappeared, and it was then when she discovered what Enrico had placed in her closed fist – a beautiful silver locket. On the left side of the elaborately engraved heart, was a picture of Enrico. On the right, was a picture of her.

AMAZON BUY LINKS E-BOOK PAPERBACK

Tina Griffith, who also wrote twenty-seven children’s books as Tina Ruiz, was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school.

After her husband of 25 years passed away, she wrote romance novels to keep the love inside her heart. Tina now has eleven romance novels on Amazon, and while all of them have undertones of a love story, they are different genres; murder, mystery, whimsical, witches, ghosts, suspense, adventure, and her sister’s scary biography.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children’s Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her second husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children’s books or intriguing romance.

Stay connected with Tina (Griffith) Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.

 

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

suggestions from Us about ways to keep your characters in turmoil!

We recently came across an old email entitled Instructions for Life. The 45 positive recommendations on the list are meant to help make one’s life better. By turning some of the instructions upside down and we created bad life advice that will keep novel characters in turmoil.

Next time things are going too smoothly with your WIP try throwing one of these in the mix.

    1. Let them believe in love at first sight, but fight it like it can’t exist.
    2. If they make a mistake, don’t let them be too quick to acknowledge it.
    3. Let them fall in love deeply, passionately, and with people they would never choose. They might get hurt, but it’s the only way to live life completely.
    4. Make them fight to keep their values, but make sure they do keep them. No one loves an un-heroic hero.
    5. Remember silence is sometimes the best answer and unanswered questions are always suspect.
    6. Let them dredge up the past; it makes for good conflicts.
    7. Let them read between the lines … a lot. Miscommunication thickens the plot.
    8. Let them slowly discover that not getting what they want is sometimes the best thing that ever happened.
    9. Never let them mind their own business. You can’t get in trouble that way.
    10. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risks, and make them willing to risk everything to get their goals.

Do you have a favorite trick for keeping your characters in turmoil?

Links for our books are on our book page, under the menu at the top of the page or on our Amazon Author Page

Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

How To Clean a House Like a Writer

By Lucy Mitchell

House cleaning is a useful activity for writers.

The amount of house cleaning a writer does depends on a number of factors: . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Lucy Mitchell’s blog

Friday Features’

Guest talks about

her newest Time Travel Fantasy in The Last Timekeepers series

by

Sharon Ledwith

This exciting book, that is people of all ages, releases September 17, 2021 from Mirror World Publishing!

Here’s a little teaser to pique your interest.

True freedom happens only when you choose to be free.

Eleven-year-old Drake Bailey is an analytical thinker and the genius of the Timekeeper crew. However, no logic or mathematical acumen can change the color of his skin, or prepare him for this third Timekeeper mission in antebellum Georgia. To survive, Drake must learn to play the role of a plantation slave and when confronted with the brutality, hatred, and racism of the deep south, he’ll have to strategically keep one move ahead of his sadistic captors to ensure his lineage continues.

In a dark world of Voodoo, zombies, and ritualistic sacrifice, the Timekeepers must ensure a royal bloodline survives. Can Drake remove both literal and figurative chains to save both himself and a devout slave girl from a terrible fate? If he can’t summon the necessary courage, humanity could stand to lose one of its greatest leaders.

EXCERPT

Suddenly, a radiant white light beamed from the archway like a lighthouse beacon. Drake hooded his eyes. Amanda grimaced, cradled her stomach, and fell to her knees. Perspiration beaded across her forehead while she fumbled for the Timekeepers’ log in her purse. Amanda pulled a thin, pencil-like writing instrument Lilith called a crystal chalkis out of the log’s spine, and opened the log. Her left hand jumped across the page, scrawling at an incredible rate. Amanda’s breathing became labored. She tossed the crystal chalkis and Timekeepers’ log aside, and lurched to vomit across the lawn.

“What the—” Jordan crouched to steady her. “Amanda? Are…are you okay?”

Treena heaved. “Oh, I don’t do pity puke well.”

“Neither do I,” Ravi said, puffing his cheeks. “I can’t unsee or unhear that.”

A sharp whoosh—like the sound of a spaceship’s door opening on a science fiction television show—made Drake glance into the archway. Lilith appeared with her arms open wide, and a slight halo around her slim body. The shimmering, dark blue sleeveless dress she wore billowed as if a great force rolled in behind her.

“Greetings, Time…” Her sea blue eyes widened. “Amanda, let what you feel pass. They are old emotions embedded into the vibration of your new mission.”

“Embedded emotions?” Drake asked. “Is that like those haunted imprints we experienced in our last Timekeeper mission?”

Melody grabbed the garden hose and rushed over to Amanda. “John, please turn on the tap.”

“Hang in there, Amanda, the cool water will make you feel better,” the Prof said.

Lilith clasped her hands together, and nodded, making the numerous quartz crystals holding up her blond hair quiver. “Yes, Drake, but worse. These haunted imprints go deeper.”

A terrible ache spiked through Drake’s stomach. He picked up the opened Timekeepers’ log, swallowed hard, and read aloud, “April 8th, 1855—Fields of blood bathe the deep south’s soil as a race of people continue to toil. Broken in body, but not in soul, they wait for a King to make them all whole.

Drake stuffed the crystal chalkis into the spine of the Timekeepers’ log. He imagined wearing the standard issue red uniform of a crewman in his favorite space show. The crewman who always gets killed by the end of the episode. Was this a call of duty or a suicide mission? Drake’s belly burned. Now he wanted to puke too.

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Anne Montgomery’s newest Contemporary Women’s Fiction/Suspense from TouchPoint Press releasing September 13, 2021!

Ancient ruins, haunted memories, and a ruthless criminal combine with a touch of mystic presence in this taut mystery about a crime we all must address.

Maggie, a National Park Ranger of Native American descent, is back at The Castle—a six-hundred-year-old pueblo carved into a limestone cliff in Arizona’s Verde Valley. Maggie, who suffers from depression, has been through several traumas: the gang rape she suffered while in the Coast Guard, the sudden death of her ten-year-old son, and a suicide attempt.

One evening, she chases a young Native American boy through the park and gasps as he climbs the face of The Castle cliff and disappears into the pueblo. When searchers find no child, Maggie’s friends believe she’s suffering from depression-induced hallucinations.

Maggie has several men in her life. The baker, newcomer Jim Casey, who always greets her with a warm smile and pink boxes filled with sweet delicacies. Brett Collins, a scuba diver who is doing scientific studies in Montezuma Well, a dangerous cylindrical depression that houses strange creatures found nowhere else on Earth. Dave, an amiable waiter with whom she’s had a one-night stand, and her new boss Glen.

One of these men is a serial rapist and Maggie is his next target. In a thrilling and terrifying denouement, Maggie faces her rapist and conquers her worst fears once and for all.

PREORDER YOU COPY FROM AMAZON

REVIEW COPIES OF THE CASTLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
Contact: Chelsea Pieper, Publicity Manager, Media Liaison

Review/interview requests: media@touchpointpress.com

Register & Order Online: TouchPointPress.com/Bookstore
Orders: info@touchpointpress.com


 

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

Spark and Fire

By Courtney Pierce

Sorry to break it to you, but men and women are very different in how they forge relationships, especially in print. I’ve nailed the female side of the equation, but I tend to need serious support when it comes to behavior driven by testosterone. It’s like pushing my chapters into the TSA x-ray machine and waiting to . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Romancing the Genres blog

Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Attempting to learn a new language

by

Carol Browne

This week I made a serious attempt at tackling a life-long goal. I have always wanted to learn Welsh and now that I am semi-retired, I have the time and the inclination to take on new projects. I already have a good grounding in French and a smattering of German but Welsh has been what you might call the Holy Grail for me when wanting to learn another language. There are a number of reasons for this. As a Brit, I believe we in the UK should value and preserve all our languages. It is a shame they aren’t taught in schools. The UK comprises four nations so why should English alone be the national tongue? Welsh is a British language and the Britons were here first!

Apart from the historical and cultural reasons for learning another language, it has been shown to help with cognitive function and to ward off dementia. It opens up neural pathways in the brain and is especially good for the mental development of children. Other languages can stretch our minds with their varied uses of syntax and imagery; it is a different way of looking at the world.

I have another reason for learning Welsh, however. This one will ask many of the people reading this blog to suspend disbelief. I did have another attempt at learning Welsh a long time ago. I was about eight years old and had inherited a bookcase with its contents from my great uncle. In it was a Teach Yourself Welsh book. So I tried. I desperately wanted to learn Welsh because being Welsh was an obsession of mine. Coincidentally, all my family holidays were spent in Wales as we weren’t too far from the Welsh border. Trust me, once you cross that border you feel different. There is something a bit magical about Wales. Druids, castles, dragons, yes! But the whole ethos of that country feels otherworldly. The beaches are gorgeous too and there are stunning waterfalls and lush woodland that seem to be a natural haunt for the faerie folk.

My attempt at learning Welsh on my own at such a young age was a failure. I could write the words but had no idea how to say them. No Internet then. There were no evening classes and no college courses in Welsh, even had I been old enough to attend. I was forced to abandon the attempt. But my obsession with Wales persisted. I didn’t just want to speak Welsh; I wanted to be Welsh. Being English instead actually caused me considerable depression. Bonkers! Why would a child have such outlandish thoughts!

Fast forward twenty years to a morning bus ride on my way to work. I remember it clearly. I was gazing sadly out of the window, thinking that if anyone were to ask me what my biggest regret in life was, I would have to say, “Not being Welsh”. Only one thought cheered me up. That evening there was something to look forward to. A neighbor and I had booked readings with a local clairvoyant medium. Although we both had an interest in spiritual and esoteric matters, we had not been to a medium before and it was a bit of a giggle; but I was not prepared for what I was to hear.

When my turn to sit with the medium came, she told me about my present life and quite a few things that would happen in my future (I dismissed them at the time but they all came to pass!). She said that I could ask her some questions before I left. Something prompted me to say, “Can you see people’s past lives?”

“Oh, yes,” she said. “I can see some of yours. In your most recent past life you were Welsh.”

Yep, I almost fell off the chair! How could she know I was obsessed with being Welsh? Nobody knew that!

She went on to tell me I was a woman with a smallholding in Maesteg, South Wales, and I loved animals but didn’t like human society so lived like a recluse. She said, unfortunately, I had brought that vibration with me to this lifetime (I have. My bad, but it wasn’t a conscious decision!). I died of cancer in about 1874.

“One day, you will go back to Maesteg and recognize where you used to live,” she went on.

So far, I haven’t made it to Maesteg, but you never know.

The funny thing is, as soon as she told me I had been Welsh, my obsession with being Welsh evaporated along with the sadness. Something lifted and I was content with my Englishness from that point on. Fortunately, my love for Wales and the language did not go away. Now, thanks to Duolingo, I am learning Welsh and I know how to pronounce it this time, so I have more chance of success.
For all those years before that clairvoyant released me from my past-life enchantment, I endured an inexplicable longing for a place with which I felt a profound but irrational bond. It was nostalgia for a home that no longer existed and a sense of deep sorrow and regret to have lost it. I experienced something for which there is no word in English.

But there is a word that encapsulates all of those feelings. The word is hiraeth. It’s Welsh, of course!

Here’s a brief intro to my latest book. I hope you enjoy it.

An elf laments a passing era,
But truth and beauty will survive,
For they live on in stories and verses,
And in our imaginations thrive.

Nature, nostalgia, mystery and magic,
In twisty tales and poems that rhyme,
Are here, with myth and fantasy blended,
To capture another place and time.

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Once upon a time a little girl wrote a poem about a flower.
Impressed, her teacher pinned it to the wall and, in doing so, showed the child which path to follow.
Over the years poems and stories flowed from her pen like magic from a wizard’s wand.
She is much older now, a little wiser too, and she lives in rural Cambridgeshire, where there are many trees to hug.
But inside her still is that little girl who loved Nature and discovered the magic of words.
She hopes to live happily ever after.

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