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, 30 March 2020

More ghosts of old Wales

 Hi folks, hope you're keeping safe and not going too crazy with social distancing!
(You might want to keep your distance from these ghosts though!)


 THE GHOST OF LLANDEGLA
 A small river runs close to the secluded village of Llandegla, and in this mountain stream under a huge stone lies a wicked Ghost. This is how he came to be there:

It  not is not known why Ffrith farm was troubled by a ghost, but when the servants were busily engaged in cheese making the Spirit would suddenly throw earth or sand into the milk, and thus spoil the curds. The dairy was also visited by the ghost, and there he played havoc with the milk and dishes. He sent the pans, one after the other, around the room, and dashed them to pieces. The terrible doings of the ghost was a topic of general conversation in those parts.
The farmer offered a reward of five pounds to anyone who would lay the Spirit. One Sunday afternoon,  an aged priest visited the farm yard, and in the presence of a crowd of spectators exorcised the ghost, but without effect.

The farmer then sent for Griffiths, an Independent minister at Llanarmon, who enticed the ghost to the barn. The ghost then changed its appearance to the form of a lion, but  could not touch Griffiths, because he stood in the centre of a circle, over which the lion could not pass. Griffiths tricked the ghost  into appearing in a less formidable shape, and it changed into a mastiff, but Griffiths demanded that it change to something smaller.

At last, the ghost appeared as a fly, which was captured by Griffiths and secured in his tobacco box.  This box he buried under a large stone in the river, just below the bridge, near the Llandegla Mills, and there the Spirit is forced to remain until a certain tree, which grows by the bridge, reaches the height of the parapet. When this takes place, the Spirit shall have power to regain his liberty.  To prevent this tree from growing, the school children, even to this day, nip the upper branches to limit its upward growth.

THE GHOSTLY GIANT OF PONT-Y-GLYN

There is a picturesque glen between Corwen and Cerrig-y-Drudion, down which rushes a mountain stream, and over this stream is a bridge, called Pont-y-Glyn.  On the left hand side, a few yards from the bridge, on the Corwen side, is a yawning chasm, through which the river bounds.  Here people who have travelled by night affirm that they have seen ghosts—the ghosts of those who have been murdered in this secluded glen. A man who was a servant at Garth Meilio, said that one night, when he was returning home late from Corwen, he saw before him, seated on a heap of stones, a female dressed in Welsh costume.  He wished her good night, but she returned him no answer.  She, got up and grew to gigantic proportions as she continued down the road which she filled, so great were her increased dimensions. Other Spirits are said to have made their homes in the hills not far from Pont-y-Glyn.

and finally...
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Sunday, 22 March 2020

Welsh Legends - Ghosts of old Wales

 Hi everyone - hope you're keeping safe. If you're in enforced social distancing and feeling at a bit of a loss, how about a couple of old Welsh ghost stories to take your mind off the current weird and rather scary situation.

THE GHOST OF TY FELIN
An exciseman, overtaken by night, went to a house called Ty Felin, (Yellow House) in the parish of Llanynys, and asked for lodgings.  Unfortunately the house was a very small one, containing only
two bedrooms, and one of these was haunted; consequently no one dared sleep in it.  After a while, however, the stranger induced the master to allow him to sleep in this haunted room. He had not been there long before a ghost entered the room in the shape of a travelling Jew and walked around the room.  The exciseman tried to catch him and gave chase, but he lost sight of the Jew in the yard.  He had scarcely entered the room, a second time, when he again saw the ghost.  He chased him once more and lost sight of him in the same place.  The third time he followed the ghost, he made a mark on the yard where the ghost vanished and went to rest, and was not disturbed again.

The next day, the exciseman got up early and went away, but, before long, he returned to Ty Felin accompanied by a policeman, whom he requested to dig in the place where his mark was.  This was done and underneath a superficial covering, a deep well was discovered, and in it a corpse.

Under interrogation, the tenant of the house, confessed that a travelling Jew, selling jewelery and such items, once lodged with him, and that he had murdered him and cast his body in the well.


BLACK DOGS AND ARTHUR'S SEAT
In Welsh mythology and folklore, Cŵn Annwn" hounds of Annwn") were the spectral hounds of Annwn, the otherworld of Welsh myth. They were associated with a form of the Wild Hunt, presided over by Gwynn ap Nudd. Christians came to dub these mythical creatures as "The Hounds of Hell" or
"Dogs of Hell" and theorised they were therefore owned by Satan. However, the Annwn of medieval Welsh tradition is an otherworldly paradise and not a hell, or abode of dead souls.

They were associated with migrating geese, supposedly because their honking in the night is reminiscent of barking dogs
Cadair Idris at night

The Cŵn Annwn also came to be regarded as the escorts of souls on their journey to the Otherworld.
The hounds are sometimes accompanied by a fearsome hag called Mallt-y-Nos, "Matilda of the Night". An alternative name in Welsh folklore is Cŵn Mamau ("Hounds of the Mothers").

Hunting grounds for the Cŵn Annwn are said to include the mountain of  Cadair Idris, where it is believed "the howling of these huge dogs foretold death to anyone who heard them.The locals claim that the mountain is haunted, and that anyone who spends the night on top of Cadair Idris will wake up either a madman or a poet. Different legends surround the mountain and one of the earliest claims that the giant Idris lived there. Three large stones rest at the foot of the mountain, and legend says that Idris got angry once and kicked them, sending them rolling down the mountainside.  

Other Welsh legends state, however, that Arthur made his kingdom there, hence the name Cadair Idris: or the Seat of Idris.

Join me next week for some more old Welsh ghost stories.


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Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Lights Out - Spotlight of Science Fiction novel by Kayelle Allen

Lights Out 
Bringer of Chaos: How Six Became Six 
by Kayelle Allen 
Genre: Science Fiction 


Join the Ghost Corps, they said. You'll live forever, they said. You'll save mankind, they said. They didn't say that to do it, first he had to die.

When Tornahdo signs on the dotted line, he puts his life into the steady hands of the mighty Ghost Corps. Three grisly deaths and three agonizing resurrections later, he's assigned duty on the space station Enderium Six.

He's  facing his most dangerous mission yet, the very reason the corps exists. Do they expect him to win? Fat chance. Tornahdo and his team are already dead and this mission is codenamed "Lights Out." No, there's more to this than he can see.

To discover the truth, he must face an unbeatable, unkillable enemy, and this time--somehow--find a way to keep himself alive...          

Tornahdo is facing his most dangerous mission, the very reason Ghost Corps exists.  He must take out the king responsible for every war between humans and Ultras since the origin of the Ultra bloodline.

If he succeeds, the war is over. If he doesn't, the Ultras will rule mankind for another thousand years...





I’m Science Fiction author Kayelle Allen. I did a tour in the US Navy, where I climbed around airplanes fixing black boxes that helped pilots find their way home. I wrote my first novel at 18 but to this day, it’s hidden under my bed, where (trust me) it will remain. Gems from it, however, launched several series in my galaxy-wide universe of stories. From childhood, I was the victim of an overactive imagination and inherited the Irish gift of gab from my mother. From my father, I got a healthy respect for mechanical things. Small wonder I write Science Fiction and Fantasy peopled with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. 

I’m a member of RomVets, a group of military and former military women who write romance. In 2014, I was awarded an honorary lifetime membership to the OutlantaCon Science Fiction Convention for support of the convention since its debut. I founded Marketing for Romance Writers (more about them below), and today it has over 7k members. I also lead a writer’s group in my community. Now that I’m retired, I stay busier than ever. I’ve been married so long I’m tenured. 

I am a graphic artist as a hobby. Most of the art and banners on this site and in my social media were created by me, including my logo. I have a great design team that I also work with, commissioning special pieces. Check out their pages. Jamin (Volgraza) and Livius (Nano-Core) have huge amounts of talent. I am also privileged to work with a cosplayer who portrays my immortal king, Pietas. Take a moment to check out Nik Nitsvetov’s amazing work. 






$10 Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Starbucks gift card, winner's choice 

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!






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, 16 March 2020

The legend of Devils Bridge


I used to live near a well known beauty spot called Pontarfynach, or Devils Bridge. It is really three bridges, built over a spectacular and beautiful waterfall, which rages down into a deep pool known as the Devils Punchbowl. The first bridge was built by the Monks of Strata Florida, (where the Holy Grail is reputed to have been hidden for a while) in 1075. In the 18th Century it was deemed to be unsafe, and a second bridge was built, over the first. The third bridge being built over that in 1901.

I thought it would be nice to share the legend of how the first bridge was built. There are a few versions, but this is my favourite:

Image result for images of devils bridge wales

There was an old woman who had a cow of which she was very fond, and which provided her with all the milk she needed. Early one morning she was distraught to find that the cow had somehow managed to cross the river and was now grazing on the bank the other side.

The old lady looked at the swirling river and wondered how she would be able to get her cow back.

“What the Devil can I do now?” she asked aloud.

Suddenly there was a smell of sulphur and a cloud of thick smoke, out of the middle of which appeared Old Nick himself!

“You called?” he smirked.

The old lady was made of stern stuff,.and after a moment’s hesitation, she explained her predicament.

Satan grinned wickedly.

“That’s easily sorted,” he said craftily, “I can build you a bridge – but it will cost you.”

“How much?” the old lady asked uneasily.

“Oh nothing much, just the soul of the first living thing to cross the bridge,” the Devil stated cunningly, knowing full well that she would have to cross the bridge herself to get her cow.

“Done!” said the old woman.

The Devil waved his arms and there, spanning the falls, was a beautiful new stone bridge.

The Devil laughed nastily, “now for my payment he said smugly.


Image result for images of devils bridge walesThe old lady was not as naïve as she appeared. She put her hand into her apron pocket and drew out a crust of bread which she had put there for her breakfast, and threw it across to the other side of the bridge. Immediately her little dog ran across the bridge and gobbled it up. Satan knew he had been outwitted, the soul of a dog was of no use to him; he scowled furiously and disappeared in an even bigger cloud of foul smelling black smoke, than the first, and was never seen in those parts again.

The old woman crossed the lovely new bridge, and having retrieved both her cow and her dog, made her way home, humming softly to herself.

The bridge can still be seen to this very day, and if you ever visit this part of Wales, be sure to take a trip on the delightful Devil's Bridge narrow gauge railway, which takes you through the mountains to the Devil's Bridge visitor centre.



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Monday, 9 March 2020

Myths and legends of Wales - Dwynwen

I've decided to make Monday a day for relating legends and stories of my homeland, Wales.

Last week I posted about St David, Wales' Patron Saint. This week, I thought I'd tell you about another Saint, this time a woman, St Dwynwen. I know it's a little late, but she is actually the Welsh equivalent of St Valentine.
                        St Dwynwen - Patron Sain of 
Lovers

January 25th is St Dwynwen's Day - the Welsh Valentine's Day!

There are several legends about St Dwynwen, this is one of the most popular:

Dwynwen was the beautiful daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog. She fell in love with a prince called Maelon Dafodrill, but unfortunately her father had already arranged that she should marry someone else. Dwynwen was so upset that she could not marry Maelon that she begged God to make her forget him. After falling asleep, Dwynwen was visited by an angel, who appeared carrying a sweet potion designed to erase all memory of Maelon and turn him into a block of ice. He then gave three wishes to Dwynwen.
Her first wish was that Maelon be thawed; her second that God meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers; and third, that she should never marry.

Dwynwen became a nun, fulfilling her wish to never marry, and left for the island of Anglesey to build a Church. This is referred to as Llanddwynwen, literally meaning 'Church of Dwynwen'.
Isn't that a romantic (if rather sad) story?
Belated Happy St Dwynwen's Day!

The lighthouse and cross at Llanddwynwen
(Picture courtesy of Wikipaedia)
                                                       
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

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Happy St David's Day!


I make no apologies for being unashamedly patriotic today

MARCH THE FIRST IS ST DAVID'S DAY!

I have put my Welsh flag up in the garden and am wearing my daffodil. The daffodils in the garden arrived several weeks ago - very early, I'm usually willing one or two at least to open by St David's Day, but I guess it's all down to gobal warming!

(The leek is also a traditional Welsh symbol worn on this day, because St David is said to have ordered his Welsh soldiers to wear leeks in their helmets when they went into battle against the Saxons,but the daffodil is prettier and doesn't smell so strongly!😄 )

ST DAVID'S DAY TRADITIONS
Many people outside Wales don't realise that St David's Day is as important to the Welsh as St Patrick's Day is to the Irish. Each year, the annual St David’s Day parade takes place on 1st March,  in Cardiff. A colourful parade takes place in the city centre. There will be parades across the whole of Wales including in Aberystwyth in Cardiganshire (my hometown), and in  Caernarfon,  Llandudno and Wrexham, plus a variety of St David's Day Celebrations in Bargoed, Blackwood, Caerphilly And Risca Town Centre.

The day is also commemorated with children taking part in concerts called 'Eisteddfods'  in schools or village halls, although today being Sunday, they will probably have them tomorrow instead, if they didn't have them on Friday.)

FOOD
Cawl
A variety of traditional Welsh food is eaten, in particular, cawl, a clear soup,made of course,with leeks as a prime ingredient, eaten with bread and cheese. Its meat content varies with the region. Where I come from, which is mountainous sheep country, it  is always  lamb or mutton, but it can also be fish, bacon or sometimes beef. The broth or soup also includes potatoes, carrots, and other seasonal vegetables.

Welsh cakes
Traditional Welsh costume
Then there are Welsh cakes, a kind of scone,  rolled out as a dough with currents, and baked on a griddle or 'bakestone'and  absolutely delicious served hot with butter, and just as good cold, sprinkled with a little sugar,. Alsos bara brith, a malty fruit cake made with tea, cut like bread and spread with butter,  and Welsh rarebit, toast covered with rich cheese sauce made with beer and seasoned with Worcester sauce, then poured onto the toast and grilled until bubbling.


ST DAVID
So who was St David. and why March the 1st?
Well he died on that day in 589AD.

Dewi (the Welsh form of David) was born to Welsh nobility in the late fifth or possibly early sixth century.  The Anglo-Saxons had invaded Britain by that point and had driven most of the inhabitants into what was known as the Celtic Fringe: Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany.

He was educated in Cardiganshire and then went on pilgrimages, founding religious centres across Wales and England, including one at Glastonbury. He even travelled as far as Jerusalem, where he was made an archbishop.

He eventually settled at Glyn Rhosyn (now St Davids), in south west Wales, where he established a religious community. Many miracles have been attributed to him.including causing the ground to rise beneath him when preaching so that everyone could see and hear him.

When David died he told his devoted followers to: "Be cheerful and keep your faith and belief, and do the little things that you have heard and seen through me."

His remains were buried at the Cathedral of St Davids in Pembrokeshire. It became a popular place of pilgrimage and  two pigramages to St Davids were said to equal one to Rome and three equalled one to Jerusalem.

THE RED DRAGON
To end with I thought I'd tell you why the red dragon (Ddraig Goch) appears on the flag of Wales.  You might be surprised to learn that it relates to the Arthurian legends.

King Vortigern came to the mountains of Eryri, in Gwynedd. On the summit of one of these, which was then called Dinas Ffaraon, he decided to build a fortress.

Then the king sent for artificers, carpenters, and stonemasons, and collected all the materials for building. In the night, however,they all disappeared. Materials were procured from all parts a second time, but a second time they disappeared in the night. A third time everything was brought together for building, but by morning again not a trace of them remained.

Vortigern called his wise men together and they told him he must find a child born without a father, put him to death, and sprinkle with his blood the ground on which the citadel was to be built.

The king thought the advice of his wise men was good and sent messengers throughout Britain in search of a child born without a father.When they eventually found one, they took him to Vortigern the king.

The boy asked why he had been brought before the king and when they told him he was to be sacrificed to enable Vortigern to build a fortress, he told the king his wise men were wrong and that there was a pool beneath the ground where they were trying to build. In the pool were two vases and in the vases a tent.  in the tent were two sleeping dragons, one white and one red.

The dragons fought each other, and the eventually the red one one the battle and drove the white one away.

The boy told the king and his wise men that the pool was the emblem of this world, and the tent that of Vortigern's kingdom. The red dragon was the king's, but the white serpent was the dragon of the Saxons,  At length, however, his people would rise and drive the Saxon race beyond the sea. But he must seek another place to build his citadel.

The boy's life was spared. He became famous as the great magician Myrddin Emrys , or Myrddin ab Morfryn (Merlin, as he is called in English), and the mountain on which he proved his mighty power was called  Dinas Emrys instead of Dinas Ffaraon.  Thereafter the red dragon became the symbol of Wales and is portrayed on the Welsh flag. (Myrddin is the hero of one of my books a short novella, 'Dancing With Fate.')


 Finally, I thought you might like the recipe for Welshcakes. Traditionally cooked on the hob, on a 'bakestone' they can also be cooked in a heavy frying pan.

 Ingredients
•    225g/8oz self-raising flour
•    110g/4oz salted butter, cut up small
•    85g/3oz caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
•    handful of currents or sultanas
•    1 egg, beaten
•    milk, if needed
•    extra butter, for greasing


Method
1.    Sift the flour into a bowl and add the butter.
2.    Rub with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
3.    Add the sugar, fruit and beaten egg and mix well to form a ball of dough, using a splash of milk if needed.
4.    Roll the dough out on a floured board to a thickness of about 5mm/½in.
5.    Cut into rounds with a 7.5–10cm/3-4in plain cutter.
6.    Rub the bakestone or heavy iron griddle or frying pan with butter, wipe away the excess and place on the hob until it is heated through.
7.    Cook the Welsh cakes a few at a time for 2–3 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown.
8.    Remove from the griddle and dust with caster sugar while still warm. Delicious eaten hot but can also be eaten cold, spread with a little butter



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

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Weekend Writing Warriors, Snippet Sunday, Show Australia some love

                                 Snippet Sunday Facebook  Group

Don't forget to visit the other authors at the link above, there's something for all tastes.

Hi folks, 

I hope you had a lovely💗 Valentine's Day 💗and were spoilt or did the spoiling for) your loved one, if only a little bit. I had chocs and flowers from the hubby, dog and horse 😻 )

Something a little different from me for Snippet Sunday this week. (This will probably be the last time I post for a while but I'll try and visit my Writing Warrior friends whenever I can.)

Show Australia Some Love

As I mentioned last week,  The Wild Rose Press, and 48 authors have published three volumes of short stories to raise funds to help those affected by the devastating wildfires.

The ebooks  can be found on Amazon as well as any other distributor where you purchase ebooks. They're available now. Print  versions are also available from Amazon but Amazon will take their cut, whereas all of the money raised on the Wild Rose Press will go to the charity.

My contribution is in volume 1 and is an historical western - a change from my usual SF/Fantasy romances.
 

https://www.amazon.com/Australia-Burns-Show-Some-Love-ebook/dp/B0848W2HQT

My contribution is Portrait of a Gunfighter. It is in volume 1, and is a departure from my usual SF/Fantasy romance, although it still has romantic elements.  Historical Westerns were actually my first love until I started writing stories that are 'out of this world'.



SNIPPET
(Please excuse some creative punctuation to conform to the ten sentence rule)

Almost two hours after High Noon; Freemont Street lies deserted, wilting in the fiery rays of the afternoon sun. I draw back the lace curtains and peer through the window, the only sign of life is a single horse, a large bay, hitched to the rail on the other side of the street.

“We’re gonna have to go now, Honey.”


The words, although spoken in a soft tone, startle me, I turn back from the window, to face the four men standing, waiting. 


“Please—please don’t go. Let the sheriff handle it.”


“It’s too late for that now, Hun. You know it is -  Sheriff Behan’s worse’n useless, if he was goin’ to stop it, he should’ve stepped in a long time ago.”


I know, deep down, that he has to go, but it breaks my heart to think he might be going to his death. I look up at him, trying to smile, and cling to him briefly, “Go then, God be with you.”


“We’ll be all right, Darlin’.”


Another hand touches my arm.,“Don’t you worry none, Sweet Lady we know what we’re doing.”





One of the most important anthologies ever! From the authors of The Wild Rose Press.
February 14 was not just Valentines Day—it was also the release date for Australia Burns: Show Australia Some Love.

This is a three-volume book of stories by a total of forty eight authors at the Wild Rose Press. Romance, thrillers, mystery—whatever you like, and something for everyone. We are donating ALL proceeds to the Australia Red Cross, to be distributed as needed to help rebuild, rehabilitate, and help the thousands of people and animals affected by the horrible fires which swept across Australia, and the aftermath of the rainstorms.


Australia Burns: Show Australia Some Love will be available at all online stores. Please help us raise funds to help in this tragedy. It is now available on Amazon and The Wild Rose Press.

NOTE: If you buy the print from the Wild Rose Press it will bring in more money to send. https://www.thewildrosepress.com/product/australia-burns-volume-one
You get forty eight wonderful stories to enjoy and you’re supporting relief efforts in devastated Australia.

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

Friday, 14 February 2020

CHARACTER INTERVIEW WITH KERRY FROM ‘BELOVED ENEMY’

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

 The Hero of Beloved Enemy is in a special Facebook Interview at the Fantasy and SF Lounge - do come and join us if you can!
 





BLURB
Cat Kincaid is obsessed with killing the man she believes is responsible for the torture and death of her sister, but when she eventually catches up with him, survival becomes a greater priority than revenge.

 Kerry Marchant, haunted by memories, regret and self-blame, shields himself from the pain of the past by committing himself totally to the starship, Destiny, of which he is part owner. However, the beautiful, red haired woman who reminds him of his lost love, and who he suspects is working for a corrupt regime, represents a possible threat not only to the ship, but to his heart.

Marooned on an inhospitable planet, they need to work together to stay alive, fighting not only unknown assailants, but their growing attraction. But how can they learn to trust each other when he has vowed never to get close to a woman again, and she made a solemn pledge to destroy him?







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