Journeys – Banished

Based on Genesis 3

I walk in Eden. Dappled light paints shifting patterns on my legs and arms as my feet sink into a lush moss carpet. My steps unleash the scent of green growth; it mingles with the hints of lemon and spice lacing the air in this part of the garden. I stop a moment. Listen. How can I begin to describe Eden’s music? It’s the sigh of the wind, the chorus of birdsong, the buzz and snuffles and purrs of all the creatures in our care. It fills and thrills, inviting every voice, even my own, to join in the chorus. I do not sing today. I only listen. Yearning to hear, just one more time, another voice – His voice. Rumbling with laughter or humming an ancient tune or calling my name. Continue reading

Badgered by an Unwritten Book

My friend Gill (owner of the unreadable Taiwanese book) always claims a word or two for herself at the beginning of each year. Claims is perhaps the wrong term because she doesn’t choose the word per se; it’s more that the word impresses itself into her soul and then becomes a theme that weaves its way through her year.

I had two words that felt significant for me at the beginning of the year. I wrote about one in the Taiwanese book story, but I told almost nobody of the second word. Continue reading

Celebrating Mom and Dad – A 50 Year Tribute

Fifty years ago today, my parents got married in a small town in Holland. It was a genuine celebration. They were surrounded by their family and friends, some who came from distant places like the Isles of Scilly, where my father had spent so many childhood holidays. Both their families were in the flower trade and my grandfather had arranged for magnificent Proteas from South Africa to be flown in for the occasion. At the reception there were skits and songs—often depicting life in South Africa, where the young couple would head right after their honeymoon. The photos and slides that I’ve seen are all filled with much laughter and merriment.

So started my parents’ life together. Continue reading

Confessions of a Recovering Racist

In the last month I’ve listened to two sermons where the minister said, “I’m a recovering racist.”

The words were followed by an almost palpable, collective intake of breath. A small shock charge seemed to run through the congregation. I felt it in myself—a slight internal cringing. Should you be saying that? Here? In South Africa? In 2017? Two white ministers. One nearing retirement. One a young father. Both confessing a struggle with racism. Continue reading

Deeper (Lessons from a book I can’t read)

gardenMy friend Gill has a Taiwanese poetry book of which we can’t read a single word. Strangely, it’s become one of our most precious books. Every few months she brings it out at a gathering of friends and we slowly page through it, looking at the pictures. And something remarkable happens – almost every person finds a picture that speaks to them in some way, that shows something of where they find themselves in their lives at that moment. It’s not so much that we choose a picture; it feels a little more like the picture chooses us. Continue reading

Introducing…Tessor, the Forgotten one

tessor-hand

Let me introduce you to another character from Chains of Gwyndorr. She is –without doubt–one of the most interesting and here’s why…

Tessor, wife of Gwyndorr’s Lord Lucian, has been forgotten by the world. She lives in a neglected wing of the large manor house and moves  only in the hidden, dusty passages behind the walls, listening to the whispers of its inhabitants. Continue reading

The Big Launch & Book Review

1 October was a big day for me. It was the day my fantasy novel Chains of Gwyndorr launched in South Africa. About 90 people attended the  event (see some photos at the end of this post). One of the most special moments of the morning for me was when Ian Laxton – who interviewed me – shared his review of the book. For those not at the launch (and even for those who were, but who want to hear it again) here is Ian’s review of Chains of Gwyndorr…   Continue reading

Introducing…Nicho, my not-so-typical Hero

nicho-pictureNicho, the hero of Chains of Gwyndorr, is perhaps not quite what one expects of a fantasy hero. Typically our genre’s heroes are the strong, silent type. Think Aragorn or Thorin Oakenshield. They are deadly with weapons (Legolas) or skilled with magic (Gandalf and Harry Potter). And of course they usually have that ruggedly handsome look happening for them.

In creating Nicho, I broke some of these stereotypes. Not so far as to make him ugly, mind you.

Doesn’t every story need at least one good looking guy? Continue reading

Introducing…Wild and Wilful Shara

shara-croppedMy heroine, Shara, is wild and wilful and a bit too outspoken for her own good. She has grown up in her uncle’s wealthy home in Gwyndorr—a home of rich foods and expensive objects, but lacking in love. The walls of her uncle’s homestead have hemmed her in her entire life, and she is starting to wonder why.

“She had always believed that the walls around the homestead were there to keep Randin and Olva safe in the event of an uprising against the nobility and town guards, but lately she had started to wonder if the walls did not perhaps serve another function. Were they the fortifications of a prison?” (Chains of Gwyndorr)

Continue reading