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)

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The Surprising Theme that Wove its way into my Trilogy

crossroadsAlmost ten years in the making and I’m on the final stretch of editing the last book of The Poison Tree Path Chronicles. The first book, Chains of Gwyndorr, is already out on the ether as an ebook, with the paperback hitting the book shelves in October.

The long, winding road to publication has been one of the most daunting voyages I’ve ever made. I had to face my own weaknesses along the way—pride, impatience and a selfish hunger for success. I had to learn to “Let go and Let God”, something I would have called a mere cliché ten years ago. Continue reading

My Bookshelf Tour: Books I’ve Loved, Hated and Been Jealous Of

There’s nothing I like quite as much as browsing through my friends’ bookshelves because it reveals something of their interests, passions and dreams. Today, I thought I’d take you on a brief ‘virtual tour’ of my own bookshelf and give you a glimpse at some of the books I’ve loved reading recently. Continue reading

A Mauritian Christmas – Palms and Starlight

palm Christmas TreeI found myself standing under a most unusual Christmas tree last week. A giant palm tree strung with star-like lights on its stem and swaying branches, this was a Mauritian Christmas tree very different to the conifer shaped trees at home. Yet, it was particularly lovely and perhaps reminded me of Jesus’ birth more than the tinselled tree in my lounge does.

After all, palm trees crop up often in the Bible. Palm branches formed a carpet for the hooves of the donkey carrying Jesus in to Jerusalem, and in the Jewish feast of Sukkot, families made booths from palm branches and slept under them for a week. So, it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that the rough stable in which Jesus was born might have had a roof made of palm fronds. And that the swaddled baby lying in a feeding trough could—on opening his eyes—catch a glimpse of starlight through the gaps of that modest covering. Continue reading

Breaking His Heart

Break my heart for what breaks yours. This single line of a song we sing in church somehow got stuck in my mind, like a repeating refrain.  I began to think about these words—what  was it that broke God’s heart? I could think of quite a few things off the top of my head. There’s so much wrong with the world. So much sin and evil, hardship and pain.

Still the line continued to play through my mind. Break my heart for what breaks yours. I thought a little harder. Would I want my heart to break at all the sorrow around me? Would I want to see the world through God’s eyes for even a single moment? Could my heart bear it? I decided, no. Safer not to let that kind of pain into my heart. Rather keep the world and its heartbreak at arm’s length. I wouldn’t even sing that line the next time the song came up. Continue reading

Journey to Publication – Deadlines and Insecurity

Here’s something that wasn’t in my life before a publishing contract – writing deadlines. For the last few years I’ve happily worked away at The Poison Tree Path Chronicles without having anybody peering over my shoulder. If I wanted to write, I wrote. If I didn’t…I didn’t.

All that changed when I signed a contract with Enclave Publishing. The manuscript for “Chains of Gwydorr” had to be delivered by July; the second, “Heirs of Tirragyl”, by October. Heirs particurarly needed a lot of work as it was only at first draft stage and it was too long. Continue reading