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'.

Showing posts with label #Welshlegends. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #Welshlegends. Show all posts

Monday, 12 October 2020

Welsh myths and legends - Twm Sion Cati, the Welsh Robin Hood

It's not just Sherwood Forest that has a famous outlaw who stole from the rich (although it's not confirmed that he gave his ill gotten gains to the poor, but we'll gloss over that.)

As a child, growing up in West Wales, I was enthralled by the tales of Twm Siôn Cati. (Tom son of Cathi). He  may have become a legendary figure in Welsh folklore. but it seems he actually existed. Thomas Jones was of noble blood, born around 1530, supposedly the illegitimate son of the squire of Porthyffynnon (Fountain Gate), near Tregaron, mid west Wales and Catherine (Cati), the illegitimate daughter of one of the ancestors of Syr John Wynn of Gwydir. (a rather immoral lot some of these noble families), although it is actually more likely he was  the son of a farmer, Sion (John) son of David ap Madog. It was  common practice in rural Wales, traditionally a matriarchal society, for children with common names to be nicknamed after their mothers, so he became known as Twm Sion Cati.

Twm Sion Cati earned his reputation, roaming the rugged west and mid regions of Wales, robbing from the rich. It is thought he had some formal education and  was a talented poet. He appears to have progressed from being a a common thief and highwayman into quite a crafty and clever conman.
 
 According to one well known tale he once stole a fine chestnut mare from a farmer named Powell. Twm then painted the animal grey and sold it back to the farmer - who didn't find out how he'd been cheated until rain washed the paint off the horse!

Another tale tells how Twm stayed an inn overnight and learnt that a certain highwayman planned to  rob him the following day. He had a large sum of money with him and allowed the rumour to   get around that he had the money hidden in the pack saddle of his horse.The next day, Twm rode an old, broken winded nag along the track which the highwayman frequented. When the robber accosted him, Twm tossed the pack saddle in the middle of a pool. While the highwayman waded into the pool to fetch it, Twm  switched horses and galloped off on the highwayman's own horse, a fine, swift stallion.

Another time a shopkeeper tried to cheat him by selling him a pot with a hole in it, while claiming the it was sound. Twm dropped the pot over the man's head, saying that there was certainly a hole in it or he would not have been able to fit such a large thing as the shopkeeper's head inside it. He then made off with the other pots!

He was reputed to be compassionate though, and to have avoided hurting those from whom he stole. It is said he was able to secure his victim by firing an arrow which would pin the rider to his saddle, rendering him unable to move, but unharmed

Twm often hid from his arch enemy the Sheriff of Carmarthen in a cave on the slopes of the rugged, densely wooded Dinas Hill, about 12 miles north of Llandovery, close to the village of Rhandirmwyn. Beneath the cave, the mountain river Pysgotwr joins the larger River Towy and thunders through the rocky gorge below. These days Dinas Hill is on RSPB nature reserve and  can be visited by tourists and visitors interested in the legend of Twm Sion Catti.

When Elizabeth 1st came to the throne he was pardoned and returned from Geneva where he had fled to escape the law. He served as steward for the lordship of Caron and later a Justice of The Peace and geneologist, becoming wealthy and marrying an heiress widow. becoming much loved and respected until his death in 1609.

There are several books written about this loveable rougue, including Lynn Hughes' book about Twm, entitled 'Hawkmoor', which was serialised by the BBC in 1977.
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CHILDREN IN READ

 #ChildrenInRead. U K readers will be familiar with CHILDREN IN NEED  which takes place every November and raises funds for deserving children all over the world. Children in Read is part of this and hundreds of authors have donated signed books to help this great cause.

I'm so happy to be taking part, and you can bid now for a signed paperback of the first book in my Destiny Trilogy - it's complete and a 'standalone'. I'll include any dedication you wish, and also some 'swag' goodies!


You can bid now for this or any of the hundreds of wonderful books in all genres. Go on, treat yourself and help a very good cause at the same time!

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 If you like to listen to a book rather than read it, there are some really great books available in audio.

(You can get my own Destiny Trilogy for FREE, and there are plenty of other free listens available too.)

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Children of the Mist: https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/?q=children+of+the+mist


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(If you have a free audio book you'd like me to mention, just leave a comment with an email addy so I can contact you)  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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, 14 September 2020

Welsh Myths and Legends - King Arthur's awakening

Hello my lovelies, 

I hope this finds you still safe and well. Here in my part of England, we survived a minor earthquake at the beginning of the week, no damage and no-one injured, thankfully. I'm going back to my native Wales for another legend, this time featuring King Arthur.

Somewhere in the beautiful peaks of Snowdonia, King Arthur is said to lay sleeping with his knights, awaiting the call to return, at a time when the world has need of them.  This place is said to be the mythical Avalon, and their sleeping forms guard a great treasure in gold. Many people have searched for the gold and this is a tale of one of them.

A Welshman visited London, after selling a herd of good Welsh Black cattle. He carried a hazel staff, and as he walked over London Bridge, he saw a man staring at his staff. After a while the man asked him where he came from and he replied that he had travelled from Wales, although he wondered why the man was so interested. "Don't be offended," said the man, but if you can remember where you cut that stick, it could be to the advantage of us both, for there is treasure buried near that place."

It gradually dawned on the Welshman that the man might be a sorcerer, and although unsure whether he should trust him, eventually allowed himself to be persuaded to show him the place.

They journeyed together to Wales, and the Welshman, pointed out an old hazel tree. "This is where I cut my stick."

"Then we must dig," said the sorcerer. Eventually they dug down to a broad, flat stone. Together they managed to prise it up, and found some steps leading downwards. At the bottom of the steps, they walked along a narrow passage until they came to a door, which they opened, to see before them  a great cave, dimly lit. The first thing they came to was a bell. "Do not touch that bell," warned the sorcerer. As they looked around the cave the Welshman saw many knights asleep. Each one was clad in shining armour, a steel helmet  on his head, and a gleaming shield on his arm. The sword of each was in his hand. The King held in his hand, below the hilt,  a mighty sword with scabbard and haft of gold studded with gleaming gems; on his head was a crown set with many precious stones. He too slept. On the floor was a huge mound of precious gold.

"Are they really asleep?" asked the Welshman, hardly believing his own eyes.

"Yes, all of them. The King is Arthur himself and they have been sleeping for over a thousand years," answered the sorcerer, "but if you touch that bell, they will all awake.

They swiftly gathered as much of the gold from the treasure mound as they could carry, but as they left, the young Welshman stumbled against the bell, and the sound reverberated throughout the cave. As soon as it rang, the warriors leapt to their feet. Arthur demanded "Who rang the bell? Has the day  come?"

 The sorcerer shouted back ," No, the day has not come. Sleep on, Arthur the Great."

The sorcerer hurried the Welshman out of the cave, moved the stone back to its place, and vanished.

The Welshman tried many times to find the way back to the cave again, but although he dug over every inch of the hill, he never did find the entrance again.


If you like to listen to a book rather than read it, there are some really great books available in audio.
(You can get my own Destiny Trilogy for FREE, and there are plenty of other free listens available too.)

GET YOUR FREE CODES NOW:
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Children of the Mist: https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/?q=children+of+the+mist


Also try this one by the very talented Helen Johannes:

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(If you have a free audio book you'd like me to mention, just leave a comment with an email addy so I can contact you)





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, 31 August 2020

Welsh Myths and legendary creatures - The Dormarth

 Heaven's Gate, courtesy of Hubble telescope

Hi everyone, I hope you're still staying safe and well. Back to mythical Welsh creatures this week - have you heard of the Dormarth?



The Dormarth (sometimes called the dormarch) was a hound belonging to Gwynn ap Nudd, who was the ruler of Annwn, a sort of Welsh mythical heaven. This legendary hound had two front legs and then its body narrowed, ending  in three fish like tails. Gwynn was responsible for escorting the souls of the dead slain in the 'Wild Hunt', from the battlefield, to the gates of Heaven, and was helped in his search for them by the Dormarth. 

Unfortunately I couldn't find a picture I liked of the Dormarth, so I thought I'd show you this beautiful picture of the 'Heaven's Gate' instead. (Courtesy of the Hubble telescope.)

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If you like to listen to a book rather than read it, there are some really great books available in audio.
(You can get my own Destiny Trilogy for FREE.)

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Children of the Mist: https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/?q=children+of+the+mist


Also try this one by the very talented Helen Johannes:

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(If you have a free audio book you'd like me to mention, just leave a comment with an email addy so I can contact you)


 

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, 24 August 2020

Welsh Myths and Legends - Devil's Bridge

Hi everyone, I hope you're still staying safe and well.

As a change from rather scary Welsh creatures, this week I thought I 'd turn to a rather more light hearted tale - the legend of Devils's Bridge. I have featured this before but if you haven't heard it before, I think you'll enjoy it - and if you have, I hope you don't mind me repeating it. It's one of my favourite Welsh legends.

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:
 

An old woman 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.

At once 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. The 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 still remains, to this very day. (Although two later bridges have been built above it, and today it has the usual tourist trappings.)

You'll rarely see the Devil in Wales these days, local folk say he's too embarrassed to show his face!


FREE AUDIOBOOKS


If you'd like to listen to a book rather than read it, there are some really great books available in audio.
(You can get my own Destiny Trilogy for FREE.)

GET YOUR FREE CODES NOW:
Starquest: https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/?q=starquest
Children of the Mist: https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/?q=children+of+the+mist


Also try this one by the very talented Helen Johannes:

https://www.freeaudiobookcodes.com/book/4911f918-9db3-4733-867a-53e015ec3192




(If you have a free audio book you'd like me to mention, just leave a comment with an email addy so I can contact you)


 

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, 3 August 2020

Welsh Myths and Legends - Merched y Mor - Daughters of the Sea

Hello, dear readers,

I hope you're keeping safe and well.

Continuing my series on Welsh Mythical Creatures, this week we're returning to the sea, and my hometown, Aberystwyth, overlooking Cardigan Bay (which as you will see from the pictures, is actually three bays). This part of the coast is subject to violent storms, so fierce the sea often sweeps over the low stone wall and across the promenade road, and casts sand and pebbles against the buildings facing the ocean.

See the range of hills in the distance? the nearest one has a stone pillar on the top which you might just be able to see, this hill is called Pen Dinas. I used to live on the hill directly behind it, and had a lovely view of the bay (and saw lots of seagulls - 'clue') which brings me to this week's story:


Daughters of the Sea

This is  quite a sad tale. Once an old man had three beautiful daughters.  Dylan Eil Ton the sea god, who lived beneath the waters of Cardigan Bay, envied the old man his daughters and decided to have the girls for himself. He called up a great storm, and sent a huge wave to steal the young women.

Their father was heartbroken over their loss. Regretting his evil deed, Dylan, not wanting to give them up entirely, turned the girls into seagulls, belonging to the sea as well as the land.

Legend says that whenever the old man walked on the beach and called their names, three white gulls would fly to him from the sea.

Oh, an exciting bit of news - I'm being inerviewed on the British radio show CHAT AND SPIN https://chatandspinradio.com/ this evening  at 6.35 p.m. (1.35 pm Eastern time for my friends in the U.S.). The radio show plays great music and is a wonderful supporter of authors and the arts in general.
I'll let you know how it goes next week!



FREE AUDIOBOOKS

If you'd like to listen to a book rather than read it,there are some really great books available in audio.
(You can get my own Destiny Trilogy for FREE.)  
GET YOUR FREE CODES NOW:
Starquest: https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/?q=starquest
Children of the Mist: https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/?q=children+of+the+mist
Beloved Enemy:https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/?q=Beloved+Enemy



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, 27 July 2020

Mythical creatures of Wales - the Twrch Trwyth

 Hello my lovelies

Welsh mythology inspires new novel during 'Year of Legends' | Y LolfaI hope you're keeping well and safe. This week we're back on dry land for our mythical creature - and a return to the Arthurian legends.

The Twrch Trwyth iwas a massive, enchanted boar. A young squire, Culhwch was given a series of tasks in order to impress the evil giant,
Ysbaddaden Bencawr, who was the father of Olwen, with whom Culhwch was in love.

The hardest task was to take a magical comb, razor and scissors,entangled in the long hair around the boar's head. If Culhwch completed this task successfully, Ysbaddaden said he would use these items to shave his beard before the wedding!

Culhwch then enlisted the help of King Arthur. They pursued the creature to Ireland, but the boar took his family of monstrous young pigs across the sea, where it landed in Porthclais, Pembrokeshire, and created havoc, destroying large areas of the adjoining counties of Ceredigion (my home county) and Carmarthenshire, and killing many people, including some of Arthur's men. Eventually, they did manage to fulfil the quest,  and kill the young pigs, although even Arthur was unable to kill the gigantic boar itself, and it swam across the sea back to Ireland.


FREE AUDIOBOOKS

If you'd like to listen to a book rather than read it,there are some really great books available in audio.
(You can get my own Destiny Trilogy for FREE.)  
GET YOUR FREE CODES NOW:
Starquest: https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/?q=starquest
Children of the Mist: https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/?q=children+of+the+mist
Beloved Enemy:https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/?q=Beloved+Enemy





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, 15 June 2020

Welsh myths and legends Y Ceffyl Dŵr the water horse


After the tale of Rhiannon, the goddess of the horse, which I told you about a few weeks ago, I thought I'd mention one of the mythical creatures of Wales, the Ceffyl Dŵr, literally translated into English this means the 'Water Horse'.
Tales of this creature, which appears as a white horse (for some reason most mythological horses seem to be white, although when I was learning to ride as a child, I was taught that there are no such things as 'white' horses, only 'light greys, or albinos, but I digress.) Depending on which region of Wales one hears the stories, the Ceffyl Dŵr was believed to shapeshift, as well as having the power of flight. For example, in North Wales, it is represented as being rather formidable with fiery eyes and a dark foreboding presence, whereas in South Wales is seen as merely mischievous. She also is known to walk on her hind legs and disappear down the well in the graveyard of St Illtyds church in Oxwich Bay, or to simply evaporate into the sea mist. Over the centuries there have been many sightings of Ceffyl Dwr mostly around St Illtyds church.
The Ceffyl Dŵr is said to inhabit mountain pools and waterfalls and although it appears solid, it can evaporate into a mist. In one legend the Ceffyl Dŵr leaps out of the water to trample and kill lone travellers. In another legend, the Ceffyl Dŵr rises from the sea and entices the unwary traveler to ride her, then takes to the  air, and evaporates, and the unfortunate rider falls to his death.
Hmm, rather glad not to have met any horses quite like that, in real life!
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, so why no 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.
(You can get my own Destiny Trilogy for FREE.)


GET YOUR FREE CODES NOW:
Starquest: https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/?q=starquest
Children of the Mist: https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/?q=children+of+the+mist
Beloved Enemy:https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/https://freeaudiobookcodes.com/?q=Beloved+Enemy





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, 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