Those Precious Good Reviews

Writers crave good reviews even more than they crave a big slab of chocolate cake or a really fantastic pen. They make everything worthwhile, even if you were only really writing for yourself. It’s so good to receive validation that you’re not wasting your time. Although no writing time is truly wasted if you love it, or even if you took the wrong path in your writing and stumbled too far along it. (See Writing and Cucumbers for more on that kind of thing!)

This is the first written review I ever received for my first book (well-second book really, but we’ll forget the first one), published in the local paper by lovely journalist Hilarie Stelfox. All thanks to my mum, who shouted about my book from the rooftops and remains my biggest champion. Thanks Mum! xxx


The Oddest Book in the World

Written by a philosopher, a mystic, a coven of witches, or a muddle of martians? We may never know…

Carbon-dated to 1420, this enigmatic 240 page creation seems to document a forgotten culture in an unrecognisable language with dream-like illustrations. Some of the world’s most prominent cryptologists have tried—and failed—to decode the text.

If you’d like to have a go yourself, the whole thing is available online.

Take a look at this short film about why the Voynich Manuscript is truly a really Odd Bit of Writing!
Continue reading

Can a Witch REALLY Turn You into a Toad?

Toad

Witches don’t exist. Not the ones who fly around on broomsticks cackling at the moon and turning people into frogs. That was all made up by some nasty men to get rid of little old ladies who knew a lot about plants and healing, but not much about the Lord. Of course, that’s a very broad sweep over the subject because I can’t go into it now. Continue reading

Odd Books #3: Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop

If you are writing a book and want it to stand out amongst the stiff competition, you could do worse than give it a really bizarre title.

The Diagram Prize is an annual literary award which recognises and rewards unusual book titles. It started originally as a sideshow at the 1978 Frankfurt Book Fair, and is now a much-anticipated competition, decided by public vote. Occasionally there have been years when no winner has been announced, due to the entries not being ‘odd enough’!

Past winners include:

Strangers have the Best Candy by Margaret Meps Shulte (2015)

Managing a Dental Practise: The Genghis Khan Way by Michael Young (2010)

The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America by Julian Montague (2006)

Bombproof your Horse by Rick Pelicano (2004)

How to Avoid Huge Ships by John W. Trimmer (1992)

But my personal favourite has to be Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop by Reginald Bakeley (2013)

from the Amazon description:goblinproofing2

Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop is the only complete manual on how to identify, track, defend, and destroy those bothersome brownies, goblins, dwarves, scheming flower-fairies, and other nasty members of the fairy realm.

The Editor said of the triumphant win: “Reginald and I take this as a clear sign that people have had enough of goblins in their chicken coops. Our campaign against the fairy kingdom continues.”

A very deserving (and useful) winner! 🙂

New Cover: The Curtain Twitcher’s Handbook

Curtain Twitchers Cover

With ‘The Blackwood Crusade’ due for its chance in the spotlight on Sunday, I thought it would be wise to pay some attention to my firstborn in case it begins to feel neglected! Continue reading

The Long Lost Secret to Good Fairy Cake

Fairy Cake

Meanwhile, Silas was lobbing half of the faerie cake into the river.

“SNAPDRAGONS!” he shouted.

Tapping his foot on the lush grass of the riverbank, he waited for a response. The river was very deep and fast and he did not relish the idea of swimming across it. The very idea struck fear into him when he thought of his father’s hand disappearing into the raging grey water as it had carried him away once upon a time. Still, he was prepared to do it if…

“’Ere I am. Don’t be going getting your tunic in a twist,” came a familiar voice, gurgling up from the depths. Continue reading

Alternative Fact #4 from ‘Blackwood’

Meachers Dog

“Just one question,” asked Mab. “Where will I be?”

“You will be looking after my horse,” replied Lady Christina, briskly. “Now, Silas, are you ready?”

She turned to the door.

“Wait,” Mab said, momentarily confused. “The horse is staying here. Are you telling me I must stay here too?” Continue reading

Begging Letter #2: The Wrong Type of Mushroom

toadstool john anster fitzgerald

by Dr Melchior Williams (Co-Author of ‘The Blackwood Crusade’)

In the 15th Century, Blackwood is plagued by faeries, as everyone who lives there knows. Everyone except the Lord of Blackwood, that is, who refuses to believe there is such a thing. Continue reading

Alternative Fact #3 from ‘Blackwood’

Friend or Foe

THE NATURE OF TREES: FRIEND OR FOE?

It had been a long time since Christina neglected to pay her faerie toll when traveling through the woods so, for a moment, she dithered, unsure of how effective her new ring of invisibility was. Passing by the Toll Tree, she became a young girl with all her old fears, at the very birth of her quest. All the battles and triumphs between then and now seemed suddenly irrelevant, for this… this was the Black Wood, and home to Gallus, whose memory still turned Christina’s very core into an icicle. Continue reading

Begging Letter #1: A Spooked Horse

JOhn Anster Fitzgerald,_Fairies Attacking_a_Bat

by Dr Melchior Williams (Co-Author of ‘The Blackwood Crusade’)

In the 15th Century, Blackwood is plagued by faeries, as everyone who lives there knows. Everyone except the Lord of Blackwood, that is, who refuses to believe there is such a thing. Continue reading