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Badgers and books, two magical ingredients

Today sees the magical convergence of days celebrating two things I hold dear in life as it’s #BookshopDay and #NationalBadgerDay.

Legend of the Lost, for those of us in the know, has an ecological theme at its core. For there quite possibly would never have been a story had it not been for a strange toxic ailment leeching from the Firehills.

The unfortunate consequences of this magical malaise gives rise to what has come to be known as the werebeast army. And one of the most ferocious adversaries the changeling children have to face is the werebadger.

Badgers are ancient creatures, the subject of myth and lore worldwide. They are usually depicted as wise and kindly. In England badgers are variously known as Old Grey, reflecting their ghostly nocturnal presence, often heard rather than seen, or Brock, alluding to their famous monochrome colouration.

They are also known for their strength and indomitability, none more so than the legendary honey badger which has been known to attack lions!

We have had the good fortune to encounter wild badgers, both in the Ashridge Forest where Legend of the Lost is partially set, Berkhamsted Castle and on the Cornish Coastal Paths.

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I also had a long conversation with a badger conservation volunteer at a recent book signing and one of my former colleagues now heads up the Woodland Trust, an influential voice for wildlife conservation in the UK.

But even if I hadn’t had such close encounters, how on earth could I ever leave these incredible creatures out of our magical journey?

For they are a hugely important part of the English natural order and  long may they be celebrated, as they deserve.

Legend of the Lost book 1, Social media and publicity, Uncategorized

The call to adventure…..

I’m a big fan of the work of mythologist and master storyteller, the late, great Joseph Campbell.

He dedicated his life to tracking down groups of people within cultures all over the globe and capturing their local folklore and stories.

What he detected was that, despite it being impossible for some to have been influenced by others, they all had a pattern and a cadence they shared.

He called this the monomyth and he went on to describe a narrative device called the hero’s journey, the path that the central character takes, usually the reluctant hero who represents Everyman (or woman).

One of the stages on that journey is what he termed the “call to adventure”.

It’s that moment when the central character has to choose between staying in the ordinary world or taking the first step on a journey of transformation that will change them and ultimately their community.

The Legend of the Lost trilogy is written in the hero’s journey style.

Readers are just starting to share their stories.

Question is, will you now accept the call…?

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Legend of the Lost book 1, Social media and publicity, Uncategorized

What type of reader are you?

Me?book magic

I love to get my hands on a book, the actual, physical copy.

I crave the whole experience of the look and the feel of the cover art and even the smell of the freshly printed pages.

I like to interact with the book. I’m afraid to say I make notes and mark pages, highlight passages that really speak to me. For me, my copy becomes something new and different as a result of my reading experience.

But then I have friends who are horrified by this. They treat their books like treasures or relics and virtually don white gloves to read them.

Some have been known to buy hard and soft copies, one for their collection and the other for the reading part.

Latterly, many people buy and store their books on their devices, especially if they do a lot of reading on the go.

Well, whatever your preferences, Legend of the Lost is available in a range of formats, from the traditional physical book with that sensual purple cover that has been such a big hit, through to the Kindle edition, available to read instantly from the Amazon store.

Personally, I admire the approach taken by this reader:

“We had to have the hard copy and wanted Ian to sign it. That now takes pride of place and we’ve bought Kindle versions for our friends so we can share the experience.”

But how you mix up your options to suit your lifestyle and preferences is entirely down to you.

To celebrate the launch of the Kindle version, however, here’s another brief extract from Legend of the Lost.

It’s a key moment for Holly and Savannah which changes everything for them both, forever.

We’ve chosen carefully to avoid spoilers, which those of you who have read the book will know, isn’t easy:

Buckingham Book LOTLBoat

“Just for fun, she had brought the scarlet robe with her, hidden in a carrier bag. She pulled it about her as she sat down on the flattest rock to wait, being sure to tuck the bag away in her pocket.

She wasn’t there for long before the figure of her friend appeared from the seaward side of the beach, looking radiant in a long ocean blue dress and golden hair band. She smiled as she saw Holly, who stood up to greet her.

“Don’t you find that this is always a little bit of a blowy spot?” Holly said, forgetting for a moment that Savannah had no spoken words.

Savannah smiled, looked deep into Holly’s eyes and then took her hand and led her towards the cliff-face. It looked as though they were headed for a dead end, but it must have been an optical illusion caused by the way the boulders were lying.

Soon, much to Holly’s surprise, they were at a part of the beach that she hadn’t noticed was accessible before. Here, their footprints seemed to be the very first, not just for this tide but ever.

After a short walk, they approached what looked like a solid rock wall, covered in ivy and seagrass. Savannah reached forward and drew the grassy and leafy covering aside like living curtains. She then gestured for Holly to follow her inside.

What greeted them as they stepped, blinking, into a cool, cavernous, salty-smelling space simply took Holly’s breath away.”

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The Book Guild Lineup

LOTL

Legend of the Lost is leading the new children’s books line at Book Guild, the independent, UK based publisher that we’re proud to partner with.

It’s important that the book was conceived, published, printed and distributed in the East Midlands, UK.

Take a look at their latest lineup of titles and snuggle up with a good book as a fantastic Summer hands over to a cosy Autumn of long walks and comforting reads:

 

Reviews, Social media and publicity, Uncategorized

The Buzz about the Chilterns

Those of you who have read Legend of the Lost will know that the action is split between Cornwall and the Chilterns area.

Both are beautiful, inspirational spots.

In this interview with Tring Buzz, a publication dedicated to the Chilterns, including Tring, Berkhamsted and Ashridge, the home of the wood nymphs, of course, we explore why the locations were selected and what they mean to us.

fairywarrior