Legend of the Lost book 1, Short Stories, Social media and publicity

The Procession of the FAE

“But how can a forest be truly beautiful if nobody can walk through it, even see it or share the privilege?”
The young Prince’s face turned scarlet with rage as he spat those words.
Yet his father’s back was dumb as he waked away.
“My land remains shut. The great cull begins in the morning. Get some sleep boy and be there with your hunting bow.”
Tears blurred his eyes as he stormed from Ashridge house. But his feet led instinctively to the path, through the crisp bracken and jade ferns down to the mirror pond pool.
The birds, for once, held their collective breath. They too knew what the bloody dawn promised.
Slumped against a willow tree, chest thumping still, his face turned to the warming sun. A heady scent was drawn deep with each angry sob.
Eventually his lids grew heavy and he crossed into a deep sleep.
After several dark waves of slumber, the boy was gently awoken by the sounds of subtle splashing.
Opening his eyes, his attention was drawn to the shapes of what immediately appeared to be the most enchanting women he had ever beheld. When they laughed, it was like crystal glasses chiming.
Their limbs were like alabaster carvings that moved with the grace of moths on the wing. And their faces near burst with ripe joy.
He wanted to cry out, but they were naked and gavotting with such abandon that something warned him to seal his lips, lest his rudeness break the magic of the moment.
His instincts were true. Instead, he blended with his surroundings, like a timorous prey animal and simply watched, his senses crackling.
The nymphs splashed one another, using the tips of their wings like he cupped hands. But suddenly, as one, they froze. Then, in chorus they turned to face him. And he thought his heart would burst.
Without merest suggestion of self-consciousness, the Fae approached him, now barely rippling the water with their tread. Soon, he was surrounded by a crescent moon of iridescent delight.
They didn’t really speak. It was as if he had invited guests through a portal into his very head, where they quickly translated his thoughts and his feelings. Gradually, their expressions changed from wonder and warmth and delight to what he could best describe as a knowing disappointment, whichpassed between them like storm clouds blown by the west wind in a blue sky. Then, one by one, they took to the air on butterfly wings.
All but one.
“You smell of sadness. Your head is filled with anger and fear. But every life has a season. Every season has an end. Thus is the cycle. It is Mother’s way.”
He recoiled at THAT word, as if stung. Then he saw his flinch echoed in her beautiful eyes. He had not thought about his mother for many years and that wound had clearly still not healed.
“You don’t understand” he found himself shouting. “He will kill them. They will turn the land red. Destroy them all.”
The faerie simply smiled. Her eyes, brown pools, reflecting the water that surrounded them.
“Call them” she whispered, like a pregnant pause.
“Open the way and they will come.”
As she spoke, her features dissolved into the shimmering light.

He blinked.

She was gone.

The Prince sprang to his feet and waded into the water, but there was no sign of their presence or passing. He did notice that the wild roses on the bank had swollen into bloom as if struggling to contain a happy secret. The flowers were the only indication that the Fae had been here. That and the compulsion in his breast.
All afternoon, down in the village, the Prince busied himself among the artisans, the heralds,
minstrels and printers. He knew the simple people well and was greatly loved for his kind manner, tenderness and steady heart. He shared one urgent message with them all. They, in turn, spread their magic in the town.
He also shared his passionate secret with the small animals of the hedgerows and the fields. For he also knew them well, having rescued many from cold winters, cat’s claws or the raptor’s grasp.
He slept badly that night, racked by self-doubt, fear and insecurity. Still, he was up and dressed in his hunting clothes, when the King’s cold messengers arrived.
The pomp of the hunting party was as brash as the pageantry of its train and the excitement of the hounds terrifying. But he took his place by his father’s side, his black pony dwarfed by the King’smighty war horse that snorted like a dragon exhaling hot air into the morning mist, like fire.
The plan dreamed up by his generals was to start with a perimeter patrol, to check that the
boundaries were all secure. That nothing could leave the estate. Or, just as importantly, no
trespassing poachers or pleasure-seekers could violate the monarch’s land.
Sensitive to the mini-dramas payed out in the lives of the worlds between nature’s veils, the boy could see and feel the hairy and feathered families fleeing this four-footed mob. They took to the highest trees or the deepest dens, muttering a silent prayer to the old Gods as they fled.
Upon completion of their first brutish circuit, they approached the ancient oak that marked the boundary gate. It was rumoured that it was beneath these same mighty boughs that he had been conceived on a night when the silver moon was at its most proud.
He looked up. Could that be the hint of a smile on his father’s face?

That thought didn’t last long as the expression changed from something approaching vulnerability, to what appeared to be, if he didn’t know better, a look of …..awe.
The Prince followed the beam of his father’s gaze, noticing that the army had now been stunned into silence. And there, framed by a golden glow, walked what appeared to be every humble peasant from the village.

Furthermore, they were being led, guided, inspired by a great, enchanting white deer, thousands of woodland animals and a bewildering procession of the Fae.
As they approached, the sharp fences inevitably dissolved and the heavy gate towers crumbled.
And there was no need for words as soon, tears became the one universal language.

*This is a short story featuring characters from the Legend of the Lost universe.

Reviews

Life Lessons in a Fantasy World

One of the benefits of publishing a piece of writing is the positive impact it has on others, how it touches their lives and makes the world just a little bit better. Well we were delighted to receive this lovely review the other day and I wanted to share that with you for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it’s clear that the reviewer really enjoyed Legend of the Lost, the fist installment of the changeling trilogy.

Secondly, because it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the core theme of the first book, the corruption of love into a form of pandemic that threatens the natural and super-natural world, has a lot of resonance in these dark times. As more pople use their “down time” during the C-virus crisis, more people are finding time to read. Hopefully, when they pick up Legend of the Lost they will find magic, entertainment, thrills, hope and, above all, love.

A magical advernture

Here’s what our reviewer had to say:

Legend of the Lost focuses on a world of fairies, nymphs, witches and were-beasts which discreetly exists alongside our own. It begins by the Atlantic, in west Cornwall, as a young girl meets a mermaid and quickly realises that she is deeply connected to this parallel realm. Gradually the story moves inland, primarily to English woodland, as it builds into a traditional climax of good versus evil… but with an insightful deeper message.

I thought the interactions weaving between the supernatural, natural and human worlds were well done and the sea and forest locations beautifully captured, leaving my mind full of blues and greens. The fact that the locations are real made this super-natural world all the more touchable, anyone who has strayed into woodland as dusk falls will know the feeling. And I loved the fact that the animals I see in the wild in my real life – foxes, kites, deer – mix freely here with rather more mystical creatures.

There are strong environmental themes: man has polluted his world and it is this poison which has led nature and super-nature to turn bad. Nobody and nothing – it turns out – is entirely good or bad, and even those who are more the latter may be so for good reason, even deserving of sympathy.

This is a story for older children and younger adults: yes definitely for girls, but I hope also for boys with the gifts of openness and imagination, and meanwhile there are plenty of monsters, beasts and battles to get stuck into alongside the whimsy. In fact, “Legend of the Lost” is also an enjoyable read for adults who have retained their sense of wonder, but they probably won’t be the primary readership.

Overall, beautiful writing, natural settings, clever interactions between the real and the fantastical, some great environmental themes and that good ol’ “good versus evil” climax, but where the line between the two lies is rather less clear than may first appear.

Apparently this is the first in a trilogy, and there is an accompanying interactive website for those who get immersed.

Many will.

Reviews, Social media and publicity, Uncategorized

Mums Share the Magic

Delighted thatLegend of the Lost has been recently reviewed by two busy and inspirational mothers.

One is a rebel scribe and home schooling champion from Wales, Kelly Allen. The other, a very widely read Mumsnet influencer, Jenny from the highly acclaimed The Brick Castle.

Both Kelly and Jenny give considered accounts of the first book in the changeling trilogy.CheshamLOL

Jenny published a detailed and well thought through analysis of the book’s appeal to children aged around 9+ :

Throughout the book you know that something big is going to happen, but can’t quite put your finger on what it’s going to be. The description of mystical folk and their abilities is underplayed and that gives it more of a realism somehow. You just accept who can fly, or transform, and learn more alongside some of the characters as they are pushed to their limits and discover what they are really capable of.

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Coincidentally, Jenny hails from Derbyshire where some of the inspiration for the story and its characters originated.

Given she is also a home tutor, we were especially delighted by the way Kelly summarises the book’s appeal:

I really love how this book is written. I’ts full of so many beautiful descriptions and we immediately fell in love with the little family. The writing is spot on for the age range it’s aimed at (7-11), even though I think it’s a perfect read no matter what your age!

There’s so much action and adventure throughout that it’s hard to put it down, but this is a good thing! I’d say it’s a pretty perfect read for any family with a sense of adventure and heart…

Please do pop over to both of their sites to read the reviews in full and to catch up with all the very interesting publications, competitions and other activities they champion on behalf of children in the 7-11 and young adult age ranges.

About the author, Ian P Buckingham, Legend of the Lost book 1, Uncategorized

Your Chance to Appear in the Changeling Trilogy

The first book in the Legend of the Lost trilogy continues to attract great feedback and reviews. So, as we enter the new year, thoughts naturally turn to the sequel.

Book II, The Ends of the Earth is set to preview in 2019 and promises more thrills as the adventure shifts to the African continent.

As a special thank you to our growing readership, we are excited to announce that we are starting a unique competition.

Ian is offering one lucky reader the exclusive chance to feature in one of the sequels either in person or, in keeping with the central theme of the series, to nominate a loved one or family member.

The successful individual will be written into the story line and will appear alongside their fictional heroes.

To be eligible, entrants simply have to be able to provide proof of purchase of Legend of the Lost and to contact us by email, using the heading “Feature Competition”. They will then receive an email from us with a question from the first book.

Simple!

The winner will be drawn by Ian, at random, from the group of successful entrants after the closing date of Feb 18, 2019.

So please spread the word far and wide with your friends and family , may the magic flow through you and very best of luck!

About the author, Ian P Buckingham, Legend of the Lost book 1, Uncategorized

All They Really Want for Christmas is Time

Being connected to social media is like being plugged into the thoughts and  feelings of millions of people simultaneously.

That should be and often is a very good thing, but d it can be overwhelming at times.

Unfortunately, Christmas has become a time of great pressure, both financially and emotionally with people feeling they have to go to greater and greater lengths to buy THE must have gadget or replace all the soft furnishings before the relatives arrive.

In the few short months since the first book in the Legend of the Lost trilogy has been published, listening to the feedback of readers from around the world, what has really struck me is the fact that the right books hold a special place in people’s hearts. This has nothing to do with the cost or the conspicuousness of the purchase to keep up with the peer group. It is mostly to do with the reading experience.And I am so pleased to hear tales of people reading this book together.

They are investing that most important resource that all children especially  respond to, time; time invested; time out.

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Nothing gives me greater delight than busy Dads telling me that they downloaded it on their device and are now reading it at bed time; grandparents who have sent copies to their beloved grandchildren far away with messages of love or Moms first taking time out to read it for themselves then repeating the process with their children having created dedicated reading time, reading purely for pleasure, together.

In a recent interview with the publishers Book Guild, I outlined that igniting imaginations was one of my aims and it delights me that this is happening.

So as you succumb to the inevitable stresses and strains of the festive period, consider this quaint tradition from Iceland and, if you’re feeling bewildered or overwhelmed, take to bed with a good book.

Iceland

Merry Christmas  from the entire changeling family…….