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

My Tapestry of Women

woman weavingToday has me thinking about the women in my life. Other than two significant men—my husband and father—my life is a rich tapestry of relationships with women. There’s my mother of course, that strong thread of gold woven throughout my life. My sister’s thread appeared often in the earlier parts of the tapestry—sometimes slightly dark and knotty. Now it appears less often, but has transformed into the warm, welcoming colours of familiarity and friendship. My daughters’ threads are light and lovely—the colour of sky, sea and hope. They intertwine playfully with the vibrant swirls of my nieces’ threads. Continue reading

Why it’s taken me this long to feel like a Joan

father and child 2I’ve never felt like a ‘Joan’. When I was younger I was sure I was somebody else. Maybe Sarah, or Danielle or even Joanna. But definitely not Joan.

Now this admission is going to be rather heart-breaking for my father, who hand-picked this name for me. As a boy, my dad spent most of his holidays with an English family on the Isles of Scilly, just off the Cornish coast. My Dutch grand-father decided he wanted his son to learn to speak English and, given that he had business dealings with the bulb-growers on the Islands, Scilly was the perfect place to send his twelve year old son. Continue reading

Journey to Publication – Bringing Down the Walls

contract smallerThree and a half years ago God gave me a promise. Now I’m not one of those people who hear clearly from God on a daily basis. For me it’s always a lot hazier than that. I might hear a sermon on a specific verse and read the same verse in a book later that day; I take that as God speaking to me. I might get a sudden sense of clarity in a situation, or a particular feeling of peace surrounding a struggle. Sometimes, like John Wesley, ‘my heart is strangely warmed’. Continue reading