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
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
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
My 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
For the Blessing of a Tree
by Joan Campbell
May you know the blessing of a tree:
Rooted in the wholesome earth
Brimming with life and watered by showers of grace.
Drawing steadily and secretly on a deep source
For all that is needed to sustain you. Continue reading
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
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
Nicho, 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
My 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)
Almost 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