Category Archives: Uncategorized

HAPPY TOLKIEN READING DAY

25TH MARCH 2017

Sing now, ye people of the Tower of Anor,
for the Realm of Sauron is ended for ever,
and the Dark Tower is thrown down.

Sing and rejoice, ye people of the Tower of Guard,
for your watch hath not been in vain,
and the Black Gate is broken,
and your King hath passed through,
and he is victorious.

Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

And the Tree that was withered shall be renewed,
and he shall plant it in the high places,
and the City shall be blessed.

Sing all ye people! (JRRT)

COURT OF THE SUN

 

THE DRY WELL 21

Made it, just, to the publication date I wanted. Following the inevitable hiccups, the POD paperback of The Dry Well is now live on Ingram Spark and should pop up on online sellers pages soon, or can be ordered via your local bookshop. Its ISBN is 978-0-9954536-2-3

The eBook will be along shortly.

Details will be added to Goodreads asap.

lowresdw

THE DRY WELL 20

I haven’t opened Word for three days! Feels very weird. I may have to do some of those sorting out/filing sort of jobs I’ve been moaning about not having time for.

Where did I put the shredder…?

FILING SHREDDER

CATALOGUE 102

bookscatslifeissweet

The cats tell me they feel all this boring blogging about booxes has gone on quite long enough, and how do I think their fan-club feels with no mews abut their noses, constipation or misplaced pooing?

So here’s a mogblog for a change. How are they doing? This is what I told the cattery just a few days back, in anticipation of their upcoming stay while I depart to visit family:

‘Felix – much as he was except that his drinking has gone up. I have bookings for the three of them to have their Flea Program injections as soon as I get back, and will be taking Felix separately so that they can do a blood test for his kidney health as well.

Fluff – still needs the crystals to keep off the constipation, but seems pretty well otherwise. His coat is re-established now and I keep finding the odd matt, which I clip off once I can get him in a suitable grip! He sleeps contentedly for most of the day, his appetite seems good.

Things are slowly moving on for Mystic, but he’s basically well and happy and cuddly. The erosion of his nose is worse than when you last saw him. and he had a spell of severe nosebleeds through February and early March, I had to call the vet round for one that I could not staunch. He is still on his painkiller, but now takes an antibiotic daily to help stave off the inflammation and infection that cause the bleeding. It’s doing its job so far. Now and then his left eye flares up, and I have a partly used bottle of steroid drops I’ll leave with you in case that happens, it’s still going to be within the ‘month after opening’ while he’s with you. So that’s two daily meds and one possible, plus of course I know you’ll call in the vet for anything that alarms you about any of them.

After 20 months they seem settled and happy, Felix still not too companionable with the others but he does seem to be relaxing with me at last. Maybe if he needs treatment for kidneys that will help his anxiety too?’

The lady from the cattery was kind enough to reply to me – ‘thank goodness they found you.’ It honestly seems the other way round to me, they exhaust me but charm me and I love them very much, even when washing their bottoms or scrubbing bits of the carpet! Which admittedly is much less frequent now.

They send gracious greetings and tail-waves to all their followers.

THE DRY WELL 19

lowresdw sample-shads

The Giveaway is finished, and I will be posting ‘Shadows of the Trees’ to the lucky winner in the next couple of days.

This seems a good point to go back to my informal run-through the Skorn works to date, and talk about ‘Shadows.’ We open with the words of Iranor:

What you have said is true, my children. I have made these beings out of the shadows of the trees and in your likeness. In each shadow I placed a heart like the hearts of my children, so that they are not as animals are: they love and hate, and they speak. But neither are they as you are, for they are mortal. Each one will die, as a flower dies, and this is why they are unhappy, weak, fearful, slow-witted, ignorant and unseeing.

Next a review by Clare O’Beara
Posted December 23, 2015 in ‘Fresh Fiction’

Fantasy Saga:
Iranor walks on the beach, an Immortal among the people in these early days of the world. She meets a fisherman mourning his brother lost at sea and asks him to teach her what it means to be mortal. Sue Bridgwater & Alistair McGechie have created a lovely fantasy reminiscent of the Earthsea books by Ursula LeGuin and the Celtic tales of the Fianna in SHADOWS OF THE TREES.

Kor-Sen is a small boy who lives with his mother Berget, a weaver, in a hot, busy town. When they are attacked because there is no man in the family, they move to a leather worker’s home in a different quarter and try to carry on with life. But Kor-Sen’s curiosity has been awakened and he starts to ask questions about why he doesn’t have a father. He is taught to read runes along with a girl who is taught in secret as the temple priests forbid educating girls. Meanwhile, Drewin and Saranna, the children of Iranor and her now-dead fisherman, are playing under the trees on the Isle of the East – but they are not immortal, and weapons can harm them as they are to discover when they travel to the mortal world.

The separate journeys of the three young people form a richly woven coming of age story, walking us among undersea denizens, showing us the humble life of fishing folks and elucidating the secretive ways of the Temple and Academy. Kor-Sen learns to seize opportunities, make life twist to his wishes. Saranna, like most women with few choices, goes through life accepting her fate and letting others decide her actions. Drewin learns about fraternal relationships and cunning. Each one meets and loses friends, and finds themself at the end of a journey changed from the start.

I enjoy that this fantasy departs from the usual heroic quest or fight against evil. We see people choosing paths in the dawn of the world. While we do not see magic worked, the fight against fate, demi-god heritage and circumstance is quite vivid enough to draw us in to the characters’ lives. Locations include a semi-sentient forest and an underworld, so contrast and creativity abound. This is the second story in the Skorn series (after Perian’s Journey) by Sue Bridgwater & Alistair McGechie and after reading the gently worded SHADOWS OF THE TREES you can look forward to another tale to be called THE DRY WELL. Fantasy readers who want something different to the usual run of sword and sorcery novels should enjoy the series.

Another review from Amazon;

I enjoyed this gentle and searching fantasy set in an earlier time when, as with the Fianna in Ireland, an immortal woman travels to a mortal shore, meets a man, brings him home and changes destiny. (In Finn’s day, his son Oisin went to Tir na nOg with Niamh where he never aged, but on touching the soil of Erin again after many years he became an old man.)

The tale focuses on Drewin and Saranna, the children of Iranor the Immortal and her sadly mortal lover. As demigods, the children have to choose their course, but the choice is inadvertently made and they are banished (similar to the fall from Eden) to make their way in an unfamiliar and unforgiving world. Separated, they don’t know if the other is alive or if they will ever meet again. Drewin travels and learns, while Saranna as a girl in sparse communities has few options open to her and works her way up to run households. I could not imagine her leaving her own child behind, but demigods would be different to the rest of us.

We also meet Kor-Sen, a boy who learns to ask questions such as why doesn’t he have a father, and why can’t girls be taught to read. He later goes on to be well educated, but I thought he might have done more about seeing to it that girls could read. With a shrewd mind and occasionally finding himself among simple people, the much-travelling Kor-Sen applies himself to learning how to prosper, and finding a woman to suit him. He came across to me as self-interested which may be a product of his early life. We also meet other interesting characters.

If you’re tired of the same old heroic quests, or ever more complex magical power systems, this book Shadows Of The Trees is a refreshing change.

THE DRY WELL 18

Today it’s all about countdowns.

It’s THE LAST DAY to enter the Goodreads Giveaway for ‘Shadows of the Trees.’ Time’s ticking on that one.

Shadows of the Trees (Skorn, #2) by Sue Bridgwater

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/226427-shadows-of-the-trees

Also we are counting down to March 25th and the publication of ‘The Dry Well.’

5 days to go!

lowresdw

Is There Life After Grip-Lit? If So, What’s Next?

Tara Sparling writes

Is There Life After Grip-Lit? If So, What's Next?

You won’t believe this, but once upon a time, Before I Go To Sleep and Gone Girl were unheard of. The idea of a girl on a train would have been met with shrugs, apathy, and mutterings of “sounds boring. And what’s with this ‘girl’ thing? Aren’t you supposed to say ‘woman’ nowadays?” Not every single plot on the planet had to have a twist. Not every ending was the shock of the century. And James Patterson wrote his own books.

There was more than one genre to talk about. Okay, there was a lot of crime – mainly alcohol-soaked police procedurals with serial killers who killed women in endlessly creative ways – and chick-lit, featuring ditzy heroines who fell over a lot in designer heels in front of *spoiler alert* men who loved them ALL ALONG. But cops and shoes weren’t everything.

This was a time when the misery memoir was front and centre on the…

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THE DRY WELL 17

NEWS!

I’m interrupting my retrospective of the Skorn titles to announce that ‘The Dry Well’ has been uploaded today and that the publication/on-sale date is 25th March, 2017.

I decided to switch the date from my birthday to Tolkien Reading Day – also the day on which Barad-Dur fell and the Ring went back to the flames.

Too exhausted by my first lone upload to write more today!

lowresdw

THE DRY WELL 16

Perian’s Journey – the origin of Skorn.

PERIAN'S JOURNEY front jacket
Cover Image by Graham Ward

Perian’s story is told in the form of the classic quest; the journey is his life.

Perian cover pbk
Cover Image by  Alistair Mcgechie and Jan Hawke

He grows up in an idyllic and sequestered place, but when he encounters a wizard and a magical flower, he is impelled to leave his childhood behind and set out on adventures, facing perils in the forest, the desert and the lair of a sorceress before coming to the throne of Lavrum.  On the way he meets his one true love, the Princess Alauda, and the young pair are married.

Here the story moves beyond the traditional happy ending, and in the second book Perian seems set to lose all he has gained.  Alauda dies at the birth of their child, Magenta, from whom her father is then estranged.  Obsessed with the building of Alauda’s tomb, Perian allows his realm to go to ruin.  Only the arrival of a suitor for his daughter’s hand, who slays a marauding dragon, saves Lavrum from his neglect.

KemaraThe ageing Perian sets out on adventures again, seeking a new meaning for the last days of his life.  He meets the wizard once more, journeys south and east and then beyond the east, where he finds his old courage restored and overcomes a monstrous foe.

Kemara's Tower
Picture by Thomas Cole 1801-1848
Perian
Picture by Rufus-Jr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The journey ends with the close of Perian’s life, and with peace.

Praise for Perian’s Journey

This is a very enjoyable novella. As some of the other reviews have noted, it’s more in the style of a saga or fairy tale than the typical novelistic mode, and there are several particularly excellent episodes (my favourite is the tale of two brothers right at the start, but the story of Princess Sorrow comes a close second). This mode tends to be more concise, and there is a very great deal to find within these slim covers. The book does a particularly good job of painting mind-images, and encapsulated a theme or a moment in an image or event. – Nelson Goering, on Amazon

A therapeutic fairytale… I could not put this down, the writing is just beautiful, it is well thought out, well planned and full of magic. The character of Perian has flaws that are very human and extremely relatable, yet, ultimately, he is on his own hero’s journey, he returns to his call time and again, including the ultimate journey, meeting, confronting and coming to peace with his own fears.
Thank you for this writing, it moved me a great deal.
.. thoroughly recommended. – Amazon Customer

Perian’s Journey fits neatly into a tradition of myth and fantasy, with echoes from Arthurian legend, fairy tale, and Tolkien-era fantasy that allude to its precursors without ever falling prey to cliché or outright imitation. Shiloh Carroll; in Mythprint.

Wizards and dragons be here but the Hero’s quest is ultimately one of heart and mind where Perian finds, forgets and remembers, through a process of inexorable change, both who he is and what matters most. stephenkingfan; on Amazon

Pool of Ending