Sunday, 29 March 2015

I'm fascinated by the 8th Century, the Anglo Saxons and Celts


I like to have bits and pieces near me that connect my imagination to the story I'm writing. Sadly, I don't own anything from Durstan's time but I can imagine the wooden cross he wears, when I look at the smaller one in the photograph below. It's a rough version, not the most attractive, and simply crafted.



When I thought initially of a man sitting on a low stone wall looking out to sea, I asked myself who he was, then the date; why was he watching, and what could his story be about? Once I had answered those questions, Durstan became a reality.  

I assumed from the history I had learned at school that everyone in the British Isles converted to Christianity immediately, but that wasn’t the case. People already had an established belief system, their own Gods, often local ones and society was fragmented. Warlords had set themselves up as Kings in the areas which they controlled. Abbots and Bishops tried to persuade these powerful men to give land and coins to the Church, in exchange for a safe passage for their souls when they died, and for political reasons.

But the Old Gods had served people well enough when offerings were made, and the solstices celebrated properly! Given the Anglo Saxons and Celts loved to feast and drink ale, it was a happy bargain. The crops would grow, plagues and other hardships could be eased by sacrifice. People also had their charms, amulets and magic to rely on.




Durstan and Ailan were closer than we are today to the men and women of the much earlier centuries, places in the Hebrides like the above Neolithic village at Skara Brae, and the Bronze Age standing stones at Callenish. It would have had an effect on their thoughts and beliefs, in the wildness of nature and the seasons...




This was the world into which I brought Durstan, and there's more in The Monk who Cast a Spell... The characters came next! I'll be posting about these soon. I also keep a shell for Ailan on my book shelf, which I'll show to you. It makes me think of the one which Durstan finds on the beach at dawn, after they have celebrated Beltane, and he gives to her as a love token.




And the A-Z Blog Challenge begins again on 1st April! Best wishes to all who are taking part. I had a great time in 2014. There's links to my posts last year on the right hand side of the blog. I'm sorry not to be joining in this year, but life is hectic. The Monk who Cast a Spell was released on 16th March, and I'm still in the 8th century writing book 2. I've seen lots of interesting themes for 2015, and heard some thoughts on posts, which I'm looking forward to reading. 




Thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams blog. I hope you have a great week.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

But it's Ailan's story too...


Durstan, The Monk who Cast a Spell, falls in love with Ailan in 794AD, is drawn then to Beth when he thinks he has lost her, is injured in a Viking raid... and it's Ailan's story too!

How a young woman overcomes hardship at a time when it was difficult enough to survive, let alone be in love...

She "wanted more, much more, because she loved him.... and Durstan's lips met hers... but the spell cast by the firelight had to be broken..."



The Monk who Cast a Spell is available on Amazon 


I hope you are having a great week. Thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams blog.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Great Reviews for The Monk who Cast a Spell!


Two great reviews have been posted on Amazon for The Monk who Cast a Spell. They are both 5 star, and I am delighted. 

Follow the link to take a look, and read the story. 

The book is available now on Amazon in paperback and kindle. Also, Barnes and Noble Nook and other places.



Durstan is the Monk who Cast a Spell and celebrates Beltane with Ailan. He is drawn to Beth when he thinks he has lost her, and injured then in a Viking raid, but there's more...

I hope you have a great week. Thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams blog. 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Thank you for a great Book Launch!



My debut novel, The Monk who Cast a Spell, was released on 16th March. I was delighted to receive so many lovely comments, congratulations and good wishes.  

Thank you for a great book launch. You made it the best day!



The Monk who Cast a Spell is about Durstan, a 17 year old Monk, who falls in love with Ailan in 794AD. He becomes drawn to Beth when he believes he has lost her, and is injured then in a Viking raid. 

But there's lots more to the story, and it's here now on Amazon  and Amazon U.S. in paperback and Kindle

More good news... Beyond the Horizon, a poem which I posted earlier on the blog, has been published in the Spring issue no:30 of The Dawntreader Magazine Poetry magazine. 


Thank you again for all the good wishes, and for visiting the Hope and Dreams blog. I hope you enjoy reading Durstan's story.






Monday, 16 March 2015

The Monk who Cast a Spell is launched today!


It's an exciting day! 

The Monk who Cast a Spell has now been released as a paperback and ebook. It's available on Amazon

Durstan, a 17 year old Monk, falls in love with Ailan in 794AD. She disappears after their sexual awakening at Beltane, and he is left shocked and confused when he meets her again several months later on Mull. He becomes drawn to Beth who believes that she can obtain the protection of the Christian Church by manipulating the Monk’s emotions. 

Durstan’s family and friends; Abbot Faisal; Brionach the Druid and Lora, the slave girl who loves him; Erik the Viking war lord with his family and many others are important to the story, as it unfolds against the beautiful scenery of Scotland’s Hebridean islands.

The characters cross the sea from Iona in coracles to walk through ancient forest to Lord Duncan’s Hall inside its timber enclosure on Mull. The seasons change from Spring to midwinter, when the old Gods are in the magic of the firelight and the shadows at Yule.  It is a time when the early Christian Church continues to be challenged by tradition, and the Druids. Charms, amulets and spells are prevalent. The Monks use these too, and the books which Brother Andrew writes have their own magical element.

Durstan celebrates the Beltane Solstice with Ailan, and Abbot Faisal is forced to ignore the ancient fertility rite because the old Gods are then at their most powerful. 

Durstan becomes confused in a society dominated by fear of being outcast; violence; slavery, famine and disease. Men and women in the 8th century are seeking protection from the most powerful God: husband, Lord or Abbot. 

And the Monk’s goal…  to regain Ailan’s love.


Thank you for all the nice comments and good wishes you have sent. I hope you enjoy reading Durstan's story. Please let me know what you think.

Have a great week, and thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams blog.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

A Monk, and Beltane? The question I am always asked...


It's not 50 Shades of Grey, but it is Beltane and The Monk who Cast a Spell. 

Durstan has fallen in love with Ailan. They celebrate the solstice in the old way, as a fertility rite to honour the Gods. It's 794AD, and the Monk took a vow of chastity when he was 7 years old.

The Old Gods are at their most powerful when there's a solstice. Faisal, the Abbot on Iona, has to turn a blind eye because the people want to celebrate. They love to feast and drink ale! The early Christian Church isn't strong enough to challenge traditional beliefs.

Durstan's relationship with Ailan is forbidden but they are in love, and that's enough for them to find a way...

The Monk who Cast a Spell is currently available for pre order on Amazon and will be released on 16th March as a paperback and ebook.

I hope you are having a great weekend. Thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams blog.

Friday, 13 March 2015

The Monk who Cast a Spell will be launched on 16th March


The Monk who Cast a Spell takes place in 794AD, when people believe that the Old Gods are responsible for their destiny and survival.    


The early Christian Church is gaining a foot hold in the British Isles, and the Monk is part of this too, but he begins to question the way he is living at the Monastery after he meets Ailan.

It's a love story, celebrated in the old way at Beltane, but I've written about the Viking raids and murder; how it is to be an outcast, or a woman involved in domestic violence in the 8th century. 

There's the feasting at Lord Duncan's enclosure; women who love beautiful clothes, Anglo-Saxon jewelery, and want to fall in love with the "right" man to protect them. 


Durstan discovers the Druid's mysticism; how the magic in books can change lives, and there's much more...



Durstan has cast a spell on me. Once I began writing his story I didn't want it to end! I'm looking forward now to sharing it with you. The Monk who Cast a Spell is launched on 16th March in paperback and e Book. Here's the link to Amazon It's available for pre order now!

If you can help spread the word please click Redcoat PR and they will send a link for you to post. 






I hope you enjoy reading my book. Thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams blog.  

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Durstan is almost here... The Monk who Cast a Spell is published on 16th March

Motivational Press have designed my website social media banners, and I have a logo too!




I have joined Goodreads  and am listing the books I've read, those I would like to, and have on my shelves at home. It's been great to look again at the books I read to research the novel.



A big thank you to everyone who has pre ordered The Monk who Cast a Spell. It's out in paperback on 16th March, and there's still time to get a copy if you would like one. Here's the Link to Amazon

And because we all love a secret... I'll let you into mine. The book doesn't begin with Durstan and Ailan. You'll have to wait until chapter 2 to be with them. Chapter 1 gives us instead a great opportunity to meet some of the other characters in the 8th century, the Monk's world where everyone is looking for a way to survive...



"He had to put as much distance as he could between the enclosure and himself. They would hang him at the Lord's Court for what he had done, even Edgar Addle-Head knew that." 

and in chapter 2:

"The women hadn't been able to go back to Muile. A coracle was sturdy enough in 794AD but not in heavy seas; and the Monk's right arm lay across a girl's slender shoulders. She was sixteen years old..."

I'll be sending out a newsletter once a week with more extracts from the story, how I wrote it, and what happens next. Not all of this will be on social media so if you would like to receive a copy, and join me, please subscribe to my mailing list. 

There's a link to follow on the right hand side of the blog at the top, and also on my website (There's more quotes from the book on there too, if you want to have a peek...)



I hope you have a great week. Thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams blog.