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

Witches @ Halloween #itscomplicated

Images of witches have appeared in various forms throughout history, from snaggle-toothed, hunched, hairy, wart-nosed women huddling over a cauldron of boiling liquid to cackling crones riding through the sky on brooms wearing pointy hats and capes.

Witches certainly have had a long history with Halloween.

witchhat

Legends tell of witches gathering twice a year when the seasons changed, on April 30 – the eve of May Day and the other was on the eve of October 31 – All Hallow’s Eve.

The witches would congregate on these nights, arriving on broomsticks, to celebrate a party hosted by the devil. Superstitions told of witches casting spells on unsuspecting people, transforming themselves into different forms and causing other magical mischief.

It was said that to meet a witch you had to put your clothes on wrong side out and you had to walk backwards on Halloween night. Then at midnight you would see a witch.

The black cat has long been associated with witches. Many superstitions have evolved about cats. It was believed that witches could change into cats. Some people also believed that cats were the spirits of the dead and acted as the witches’ familiar or bonded animal partner.

Witches-Gathering-original-ACEO

One of the best known superstitions is that  if a black cat was to cross your path you would have to turn around and go back because many people believe if you continued bad luck or even death would strike you. Yet in some village cultures black cats are seen as tokens of good luck, quite the opposite.

In pop culture, witches have been both dark and frightening but also a benevolent, nose-twitching, suburban housewife, an awkward teenager learning to control her powers and a trio of charmed sisters battling the forces of evil. So the  messages have been pretty mixed up.

 

BellatrixLestrange

The real history of witches, however, is dark and, often for the witches, deadly.

The early depictions of witches were people who practiced witchcraft, who used magic spells and called upon spirits for help or to bring about change.

Probably because of the competition with organised religion and conflicting belief which undermined many pagan belief systems, systems,  witches were depicted as doing the Devil’s work. But in reality, many, however, were simply natural healers or so-called “wise women” whose choice of profession and often healing practice using natural materials, was misunderstood.

Witches are found the world over, as the Legend of the Lost series explores, bringing the Werewytch and her minions to the attention of unwitting readers.

Modern-day witches of the Western World still struggle to shake their historical stereotype it seems, try as they may.

Most are said to practice Wicca and it is now an official religion in the North Americas. And they aren’t actually just women, many men identify as Wiccan too.

Wiccans famously avoid evil and the appearance of evil at all costs. Their motto is to “harm none,” and they strive to live a peaceful, tolerant and balanced life in tune with nature and humanity.

wicca

Many modern-day witches still perform witchcraft, but there’s seldom anything sinister about it. Their spells and incantations are often derived from their Book of Shadows, a 20th-century collection of wisdom and witchcraft, and can be compared to the act of prayer in other religions.

A modern-day witchcraft potion is more likely to be an herbal remedy for the flu instead of a hex to harm someone.

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Today’s witchcraft spells are usually used to stop someone from doing evil or harming themselves. Ironically, while it’s probable some historical witches used witchcraft for evil purposes, many may have embraced it for healing or protection against the immorality they were accused of.

SO, as you make your outfit choices for this witching season, consider that, like many things in life and most things in the faerie domain, witches and their association with the darker aspects of Halloween is complicated. There has to be some truth to the darker side of the folklore,. But if you accept that then you have to accept the notion of the benign and kindly witch simply trying to put those powers to good use in the local community.

The Legend of the Lost series has some fine examples of witches spanning generations and corners of the world.

They too, are not always what they at first appear to be.

Or are they…?

seawitch
*To celebrate Halloween, in honour of the witches of Legend of the Lost, we will give a signed and dedicated copy of the first book in the trilogy away to a person chosen at random from readers who leave a comment below or who like and re-tweet this post on twitter or Instagram.
Winner announced on Halloween night.
Legend of the Lost book 1, Social media and publicity, Uncategorized

Global Canine Capers

We all have our favourite dogs in fiction.

Whether it’s Lassie, Nanna, Lady. White Fang, Jock or Tramp, Scooby or Timmy of Enid Blyton fame, there’s something about man’s best friend in our books that helps to make them special.

Well, JJ of the Legend of the Lost trilogy is no exception.

ravenring1Whether it’s the influence of the Ravenring, JJ’s charisma, he also appears to be attracting his own fan club as we’ve had photographs sent in from canine pals in England, Wales, Ireland, Spain, the USA and now Australia.

One of our more dedicated readers and friend, Julie Levine even takes her copy of Legend of the Lost to the various dog re-homing centres she helps out at and supports in New Jersey, USA

Please do check her out on Instagram @juliesboomies as it’s very much a cause the changeling family would approve of wholeheartedly.

Here’s a few more photos for you to enjoy and yes, please do contact us and send in yours too if you’re so inspired.

The ancient Savage family members need all the help they can get to keep the evil bubbling up from the Firehills at bay, wherever it erupts on the planet next…….and hey, with help like this from Jonny in Australia (he’s the upside down one with his Kindle), the Earth is in safe hands….or paws….right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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.”

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

Announcing a New Arrival!

Legend of the Lost, the first in the changeling trilogy, had its official birthday today as it becomes available on all platforms globally.

Aimed at the 7-11 age range it joins a rich and magical pantheon of fiction for children.

bookmagic

It arrives at a time when childhood is coming under increasing pressure from online social media and the examination regimes our schools face that can sometimes distract from the need for children to read for pleasure as well as education.

But the power of stories and mythology is under-rated and young imaginations are ripe and hungry for inspiration.

Time invested reading is never lost time and we hope that this trilogy can help nurture  and sustain that magic in some small way.

owl face

Whether you hope to get hold of yours via book fairy, owl post or snail mail, will be going old school and visiting a library or an enchanted book shop, or, indeed prefer soft copies, our distribution partners* hopefully have all angles covered.

So please do join the Savage changeling family on their magical journey of discovery as they reunite, gain strength from each other and struggle to save amazing parts of our little blue planet and the creatures that call them home, along the way.

We very much look forward to hearing from you as your stories form part of ours.

My thanks to everyone involved and to you for buying a copy.

Very best wishes from us all and happy reading.

Ian

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*Just a few of the available outlets:

Amazon

Book Guild

Blackwells

Book Depository

Audible

AbeBooks

Kobo

Alibris

Foyles

iBooks

Indigo.ca

Waterstones

WorldCat

 

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

Book Fairies Sprinkle a Little Book Magic

 

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Ahead of worldwide release and distribution of Legend of the Lost at the end of August, Book Fairies delivered a select batch of advance copies to key Cornish locations for a lucky few to find.

Were you one of them?

Drop us a line (and a photo) and let us know…..

bookfairy