Welcome to my place in the blogosphere!
feel free to explore the Flight Deck and check out my books and website.
Then fasten your seatbelts, sip a glass of something sparkling and let's chat awhile!
I hope you'll stop by again for guest authors and spotlights from time to time.

Beloved Enemy joined Starquest and Children of the Mist to continue the Destiny Trilogy and I'm thrilled to announce was shortlisted for the R.N.A. RoNA Awards 2017, awarded 2nd Runner up in the RONE Awards 2017 and was the winner in the SF/Fantasy category of the 'Best Banter Contest'.

Monday, 1 June 2020

More Welsh folk tales and legends - Rhiannon the horse goddess

Apologies for missing my post last week - its been somewhat hectic as my husband has been in hospital (thankfully not the virus, and he's out now) but it's been a worrying time and I just haven't had the time to devote to my writing or my blog. Anyway, I'm back now, and as  a horse lover, I couldn't resist telling you about Rhiannon - a horse goddess depicted in the Mabinogion, a collection of Welsh folk tales.
Rhiannon was married to Pwyll, the Lord of Dyfed. When Pwyll first saw her, she appeared as a beautiful woman dressed in gold, riding a magnificent white horse. Rhiannon managed to outrun Pwyll for three days, and then when he shouted to her to stop, allowed him to catch up. When he said he'd fallen in love with her and wanted to marry her, she scolded him for not telling her  to stop before, and making his poor horse work so hard. Then she said she'd be happy to marry him, because it would save her from marrying Gwawl, who she despised and who had tricked her into an engagement. Rhiannon and Pwyll conspired together to deceive Gwawl and thus Pwyll won her as his bride. 
Three years after they married,  Rhiannon gave birth to a son, but he disappeared at night while his nursemaids, who were supposed to have been watching over him, fell asleep. Frightened of the consequences, the nursemaids smeared the blood of a dead puppy on the face of their sleeping queen. When she awoke, Rhiannon was accused of killing and her son and eating him. As penance, she was made to sit outside the castle walls, and tell passers by what she had done. Pwyll, however, stood by her,  refusing to send her away or have her more severely punished.

The newborn child had been in fact found by Teyrnon, the lord of Gwent-Is-Coed. He was a horse lord whose beautiful mare gave him a foal every May Eve, but  each year. the foal would disappear. Before his mare had her next foal he took her into his house and sat vigil with her. After her foal was born he saw a monstrous claw trying to take the newborn foal through the window, so he slashed at the monster with his sword, before rushing outside. He found the monster gone, and a human baby lying by the door. He and his wife cared for the boy as their own, naming him Gwri Wallt Euryn (Gwri of the Golden Hair). The child grew rapidly, and had a great affinity for horses. As the boy grewTeyrnon who once served Pwyll as a courtier, recognised his resemblance to his father. He was an honourable man, and so he returned the boy to the Dyfed royal house.

Rhiannon is also connected to three mystical birds. The Birds of Rhiannon (Adar Rhiannon) appear in the Second Branch, in the Triads of Britain, and in Culhwch ac Olwen. In the latter, the giant Ysbaddaden demands them as part of the bride price of his daughter. They are described as "they that wake the dead and lull the living to sleep."

FREE AUDIOBOOKS
 If you're at a loose end in these strange and rather scary times, there are many great books out there to be read, try a new author.

If you'd like to listen to a book rather than read it, again there are some really great books available in audio.
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Monday, 18 May 2020

Welsh folk stories and legends - Y Tylwyth Teg- Welsh faeries

I'm interviewed on my publisher's blog today, if you'd like to find out a little bit more about me and my writing: https://thewildrosepress.blogspot.com/2020/05/garden-interview-with-hywela-lyn.html

Hello dear readers! I hope you're staying safe and well- today I'm going to tell you about the Welsh faeries, Y Tylwyth Teg (Pronounced 'er-tulwith teg)

According to Welsh folklore, fairies would ride Corgis into battle ...Known  by the native Welsh people as “Y Tylwyth Teg” (“the fair folk”) Welsh faeries typically live in lakes or streams and sometimes in hill hollows.
The are said to ride on Welsh Corgis, or use them to draw little carts. (The Welsh Corgi comes in two types, the Cardiganshire Corgi which has a long tail, and the Pembrokeshire, which has no tail at all.) They were traditionally used as cattle herding dogs by Welsh farmers, and the original two corgis were said to have been given to two human children by the TylwythTeg.

Welsh faery-lore is believed to be closely related to the legend of King Arthur and Guinevere; some believe her abduction by Arthur was abduction by the faeries – of whom Arthur was King.

The magical entities are said to resemble outstandingly beautiful humans, with blue eyes and blonde-white hair. Smaller fairies are normally more virtuous and kindly- the taller fairies tending to be more mischievous and dishonest.

Y Tylwyth TegUsually they dress in green, but the courtiers of the Welsh Fairy King Gwyn ap Nudd are described as being adorned in blue/red silk. In Welsh folklore faery interactions with humans feature quite heavily and kind and mindful mortals are typically rewarded with magic and the anyone found to be greedy or spiteful would be harshly punished.

There are various tales of humans being trapped in the fairy realm and the intermarriage between faeries and humans. The most famous faery tale is that of a beautiful young Cardiganshire woman called Shuï Rhys, who allegedly went away with Y Tylwyth Teg and never returned

    She was the daughter of  poor farmer,  and one of her duties was to drive up the cows to the milking parlour.   She would often  loiter  to pick flowers, or chase the butterflies, which caused her mother to scold her sharply. One night Shuï did not come home until bed-time, leaving the cows to care for themselves. Dame Rhys was furious but the girl told her it was the fault of the Tylwyth Teg. She  said they were little men in green coats, who danced around her and made music on their tiny harps. Her mother believed the tale because it was well known that the Tylwyth Teg inhabited the woods in Cardiganshire.

 Many times after that Shuï was late coming home,  but her mother stopped scolding her, for fear of offending the faery folk.

 One night Shuï did not come home at all, and although the family and friends searched the woods, she was never seen again. Her mother watched in the field on the three nights of the year when goblins are sure to be out and about, but Shuï never returned.

Another story concerns Llyn Cwm Llwch, a small Welsh lake that is situated in the Brecon Beacons of Powys. It is associated with some rather strange legends and folklore. One relates the story of the Tylwyth Teg and an invisible island,

According to local legend, the lake was the abode of the Tylwyth Teg, or the Fair Folk, who had a garden on an invisible island in the lake. On May Day every year, it was said a doorway would appear in a rock by the lakeside. Those humans who were brave enough could pass through it into a passage, which would take them into an enchanted garden situated on the island in the lake. Although visitors to the island could clearly see the shores of the lake, the island and the garden were not visible from the lake’s shore.

The Faery Folklorist: The Fairy Women of Llyn Barfog, North WalesThose who ventured through the door and down the passage entered into a wonderful land with gorgeous flowers of the most beautiful colours and intoxicating scents. These were visited by brightly-coloured butterflies and dragonflies, and songbirds sang e as they flitted through the branches of the trees.

In this glorious setting, the Tylwyth Teg provided their guests by with food and drink unlike anything to be found on Earth. Then they entertained them with songs, music, and amazing stories. All the Tylwyth Teg asked of their guests was that they should not take with them a single item from the island or garden when they returned tto the land of mortals.

However, humans have short memories while the  Tylwyth Teg never forget. There had never been a single transgression of this rule since the time when they first opened the door. But one day, one irresponsible and ungrateful guest decide he wanted something more than just a memory of his wonderful time upon the island. He picked a beautiful flower which had never been seen in the mortal world, and hid it in the inside of his jacket pocket. The second he stepped out of the door and placed his foot on earth, his senses all left him. He fell to walking round backwards in circles and talking nonsense, and lost all ability to reason, and eventually dropped down dead.

The Tylwyth Teg took leave of their guests with their usual good manners and courtesy. However, the following May Day the door did not appear. Nor was it seen again in the years that followed. and to this day, the door to the enchanted garden on the island of the Tylwyth Teg has never appeared again.






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 If you're at a loose end in these strange and rather scary times, there are many great books out there to be read, try a new author.

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Monday, 11 May 2020

Myths and legends of Wales - The Welsh Atlantis

Hello dear readers! I hope you're staying safe and well- here's another Welsh legend for you.

The town of Aberystwyth, where I grew up, overlooks the beautiful Cardigan Bay, where dolphins and porpoises play with canoeists and surfers.

Aberystwyth
 According to legend, there was once a prosperous, low lying kingdom, known as Cantre'r Gwaelod, which stretched along the coast where now the waves lap against the sandy shores.The kingdom was a community of merchants and prices and comprised sixteen thriving cities.

In order to protect the kingdom from the sea, a number of steep embankments were built, with gates, or sluices which were only opened if water was needed to irrigate the fields, and kept closed at high tide.

The Prince Gwyddno Garanhir ruled over the land, and he  delegated the working of the sluices to the control of a man called Seithennin,  described as a notorious drunkard.  One night he became so inebriated he forgot to close the sluice gates and the sea poured through, drowning the kingdom which vanished forever beneath the waves of Cardigan Bay.  At times of danger it is said the bells ring out from the ocean's depths. A famous folk song 'The Bells Of Aberdovey' supposedly refers to the legend.

About seven miles along the coast from Aberystwyth, between the town and Aberdovey, lie the old fishing villages of Borth and Ynyslas, Every winter, after storms have scoured away the surface of the sand, at low tide large areas of peat appear, littered with tree stumps and fallen tree trunks. Radiocarbon dating suggests these trees died about 1500 BC. The remains of the ancient forest were especially evidenta few years ago, when fierce storms swept along the coast, causing much damage and uncovering fresh areas of peat. And in 1770, Welsh antiquarian scholar William Owen Pughe reported seeing sunken human habitations about four miles off the Cardiganshire coast, between the rivers Ystwyth and Teifi.

So perhaps the idea of a submerged kingdom may be more than just a legend, after all.


I often incorporate snippets of Welsh legends into my writing, and I mention the legend of Cantre'r Gwaelod in my  fantasy novella Dancing With Fate, only I use the more ancient name of 'Maes Gwyddno.'

"He’d never known anyone to dance as she did. The way she swiveled her hips had him mesmerized. Her voice was soft and clear, with a haunting quality. It reminded him of the musical bells of Maes Gwyddno, the civilization that now lay drowned beneath the sea. At times of danger, if one listened hard enough, one could hear the bells ringing from beneath the waves."


I  hope you've enjoyed hearing about today's legend.  Do you know any other legends which bear a similarity to 'Atlantis'?


For insider news and subscriber-only info, subscribe to my occasional Newsletter. I promise not to spam and your in-box will only see an email from me every 3 or 4 months or so - unless of course I have something really Newsworthy to share! I also promise that I never have and never will share your information or email address with anyone or any organisation.  http://madmimi.com/signups/196357/join

Monday, 4 May 2020

Welsh ghost stories and legends - Blodeuwedd

Hello my lovelies! I hope you're staying safe and well and managing to survive 'lock down'. Last week I told you about Merlin's Oak, in which I mentioned the owl, 'Blodeuwedd'. This is the legend of Blodeuwedd:

 
Lleu Llaw Gyffes' own mother, the goddess Arianrhod, tried to prevent her son Lleu from receiving his birthright to become the king, by saying he would never have a a name, unless she gave it, he would not receive his arms, other than from her and, he could never marry a mortal woman. Thus, he could not become king, unless she willed it. 


The Celts were matrilineal; a person was born to their mother’s line, not their father’s. Therefore, the son of the king’s sister and not the son of the king and the queen was seen as the heir to the Kingship. Often the queen held the actual power, with her husband being a warlord rather than a king in the true sense of the word. In order to be a king, he had to 'marry' the land. This was often accomplished by the practice of the symbolic Great Rite between the proposed king and a priestess.

However Arianrhod was tricked into giving Lleu his name and his arms but he still needed a wife in order to assure his right to the land.



Blodeuwedd meets Gronw (illustration from Wikipedia)
To overcome this problem, the magicians Math and Gwydion took the flowers of the oak, the broom, and meadowsweet, and from those they conjured up the fairest and most beautiful maiden  ever seen. and named her Blodeuwedd, 'Flower Face', and she and Lleu were duly married, although Blodewydd doesn't seem to have been give much actual choice in the matter, so it's perhaps not surprising that while Lleu was away, hunting, Blodeuwedd fell in love with, and had an affair with a warrior, Gronw Pebr, the lord of Penllyn, and the two lovers conspired to murder Lleu.

There was only one way that Lleu could be killed, and Blodeuwedd managed to persuade Lleu to reveal the exact situation that would cause this, by pretending to be concerned about his possible death.  He revealed that he could not be killed during the day or night,  indoors or outdoors, neither walking nor riding,  clothed or naked, nor by any lawfully made weapon. He could only be killed at dusk, wrapped in a net, with one foot on a bath and one on a black goat, by a riverbank and by a spear forged for a year during the hours when everyone was at Mass. 

Armed with this knowledge, Gronw and Blodeuwedd prepared a bath on a riverbank, covering it with a thatched roof, thus making it neither indoors nor out.  Lleu was tricked into standing with one foot upon the edge of the tub and the other upon the back of a goat and wrapped in a net. Gronw threw a specially-made spear, hitting Lleu in the side, but instead of being killed, Lleu turned into an eagle and flew off. 

Gwydion tracked him down and found him perched on an oak tree. The magician lured Lleu down from the oak tree and switched him back to his human form. Gwydion and Math nursed Lleu back to health before  reclaiming his lands from Gronw and Blodeuwedd, who fled, but were overtaken by Gwydion. He turned Blodeuwedd into an owl. saying "You will not dare to show your face ever again in the light of day, because of enmity between you and all other birds. It will be in their nature to harass you and despise you wherever they find you. And you will not lose your name - that will always be 'Bloddeuwedd'.

Llech Ronw - WikipediaMeanwhile, Gronw fled to Penllyn. Lleu refused his plea for forgiveness, demanding that Gronw stand on the bank of the River Cynfael and receive a blow from his spear.  Eventually, Gronw agreed on the condition that he be allowed to place a large stone between himself and Lleu.  Lleu agreed, then threw the spear with such strength that it pierced the stone, killing Gronw. A holed stone in Ardudwy is still known as Llech Ronw (Gronw's Stone).







 
FREE AUDIOBOOKS
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Monday, 27 April 2020

The legend of Merlin's Oak

Happy Monday, my lovelies, I hope today finds you well and safe, and not too frustrated by 'lock-down.'

As promised, I thought I'd tell you about Merlin's Oak, which stood in the centre of Carmarthen town. (I was lucky enough to see the remains of it before it was removed.)

(Not this one, but one very much like it!)
Legend has it that King Arthur’s famous wizard placed a protective curse on the tree. The wizard said Carmarthen would 'drown' if the oak was ever removed. Some folk said a curious, pointed notch in the tree was the face of Merlin himself.

Sadly, in the 1850s, a local vicar, who objected to young people courting beneath it, but its trunk was preserved within iron railings. In the year 1951, a branch was broken off of the tree and it lies now in the Carmarthen Museum. It was  removed from the town when someone set it on fire at the end of the 1970s.

Carmarthen then suffered its worst floods for many years. In 1978, the last remaining fragments  of the tree-stump were  placed in Carmarthen’s Civic Hall.

Google Images

(The name Myrddin is  the second element of the place-name Caerfyrddin, the Welsh name for Carmarthen) and I'm happy to say Carmarthen is still standing, indeed flourishing, despite the floods that caused so much devastation.)

However, in a way,  Merlin’s Oak is back in Carmarthen, the town which he said would fall “when Merlin’s Tree shall tumble down”.

A Cambridge-born sculptor, living in Wales, bought a 500 year old oak which had been felled in Carmarthen to make way for a new superstore. The sculpture is one of the centrepieces of a spectacular  town centre shopping development called Merlin’s Walk.

Before the carving began, Mr Hedger,said: “The townspeople of Carmarthen will breathe easier whenMerlin’s Oak is back in the town centre.“We will have an oak which definitely has Merlin inside it – back where he belongs.”

The statue of Merlin is adorned with the symbols of nature and the Celtic religion that for him was a way of life.

"From his twisted honeysuckle beard that falls from his smiling face which holds his bardic wisdom. On his left shoulder sits the dragon of nature's temptation and in his hand the three sticks and a
rope with thirteen knots; a druids measuring kit, in the other, a bag of healing herbs from the garden of your imagination. The feathered horn of the orax hangs on his shoulder, whilst the La Tène torc is tied to his belt.

Embroidered on his back is the story of Blodeuwedd, for in the day the eye of the owl is the open flower but at night blodeuwedd is the owl. Ortywyllwch Ir goleuni, from the darkness into the light, as meant in Welsh, to be inspired. These are the words that are carved into the trunk of Myrddin. Where the three spirals ripple from the water source, you can run your finger through the journey of life to the labyrinth."




FREE AUDIOBOOKS
 If you're at a loose end in these strange and rather scary times, there are so many great books out there to be read, try a new author. If you'd like to listen to a book rather than read it, You can get my Destiny Trilogy for FREE.



GET YOUR FREE CODES NOW:
Starquest: https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.php?BOOK_ID=2735
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For insider news and subscriber-only info, subscribe to my occasional Newsletter. I promise not to spam and your in-box will only see an email from me every 3 or 4 months or so - unless of course I have something really Newsworthy to share! I also promise that I never have and never will share your information or email address with anyone or any organisation.  http://madmimi.com/signups/196357/join

Monday, 20 April 2020

Nanteos Mansion and its ghosts

Hello lovelies -

I hope you're staying well and surviving the enforced 'staying at home' and 'social distancing'.


Nanteos Mansion
Although I've lived in a small village in England since my marriage, my heart is still in my homeland and I cherish the times when I've been able to go back to visit my family and my old haunts, and long for the time when I'll be able to do so again.

One of my favourite places is Nanteos Mansion, set in about thirty acres of land near where I used to live. I used to keep my horses at the beautiful old stables and spent many a happy hour soaking up the atmosphere of this historic house. Nanteos is a Grade I listed, early Georgian country house situated just outside Aberystwyth, on Wales’s west coast. The house was built in 1738 by William Powell, and it remained the Powell family home for over 200 years, until the 1950s, when Lady Powell, the last of the family, died without children and the Mansion fell into the hands of a distant relative.

Horses in front of the mansion
Nanteos Mansion is also reputed to be home to a number of ghosts. These include the spirit of Elizabeth Powell, the late wife of William Powell, who wanders the hallways looking for her lost jewels; a phantom horse and carriage that pulls up to the front entrance in the middle of the night; and the ghost of harpist Gruffydd Evan, who played for the Powell family in the music room every Christmas for 69 years and whose music can still be heard in the woods around the house. My favourite story is a rather sad one. One of the windows on the bottom storey has been boarded up for many, many years. The story goes that the lady of the house was watching her husband ride up the drive towards her, when the horse spooked and threw him, killing him instantly. She could not bear to look out of that window again and ordered it to be boarded over and so it remains to this day. I have to say I never saw a ghost there myself, and always felt the house was a friendly place, rather than a sinister one, but sometimes, late at night the stables would ring with unearthly screeches, like souls in torment. Actually it was nothing more sinister than a colony of screech owls nesting nearby.

The Mansion itself was slowly decaying when I had my horses there, the stables having been sold several years before. Now the stables and Mansion are in the hands of a consortium who have renovated the mansion and use it for functions such as weddings and conferences. At least the house is now restored to its former glory and put to use.
Entrance to the old stable yard

Sadly, last time I visited, I found the elegant, roomy looseboxes changed into holiday apartments. No horses looking over the half doors, no stamping hooves or soft welcoming whinnies.
I closed my eyes and imagined my three horses, now gone over the Rainbow Bridge,
Flikka, Sally and Star, as I often used to see them in the early morning, next to each other with their heads over the doors in that lovely old stable range, overlooking the cobbled yard, reminiscent of days long gone by.




Apologies -  I promised I'd tell you about Merlin's Oak, in Carmarthen. I forgot! I'll tell you next time - It's not exactly a ghost story, but it is interesting - and some of it, at least, is true.

and finally...
FREE AUDIOBOOKS
 If you're at a loose end in these strange and rather scary times, there are so many great books out there to be read, try a new author. If you'd like to listen to a book rather than read it, You can get my Destiny Trilogy for FREE.



GET YOUR FREE CODES NOW:
Starquest: https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.php?BOOK_ID=2735
Children of the Mist: freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.p 
Beloved Enemy:https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.php?BOOK_ID=3285












For insider news and subscriber-only info, subscribe to my occasional Newsletter. I promise not to spam and your in-box will only see an email from me every 3 or 4 months or so - unless of course I have something really Newsworthy to share! I also promise that I never have and never will share your information or email address with anyone or any organisation.  http://madmimi.com/signups/196357/join