Angelina Kalahari

"Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself." by Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Tag: Novel

The Healing Touch

The Healing Touch

The Healing Touch is available from Amazon:

US – http://tinyurl.com/gmsqxo9

UK – http://tinyurl.com/zfoguwm

The paperback is also available on Amazon or here for £8.75 with free delivery in the UK only.
£3.99 postage for orders worldwide.


The Healing Touch – Paperback


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I’d be delighted if you’d be so kind as to post a review on Amazon or Goodreads, telling me what you thought of The Healing Touch. Reviews are really important. Not only do they tell other potential readers what to expect from a novel, but they also allow the novel to live in the world. It means I’ll be able to continue to write more stories for you.

You can reach me directly at angelina@angelinakalahari.com or at angelinasbooks@hotmail.com. Please bear with me if I don’t respond straight away. I endeavour to respond to each email.

***

The Healing Touch is one woman’s quest for love. She finds it. But it proves impossible to hold on to. Will she be third time lucky?

Gorgeous, talented, complex Isabelle Cooper, a sexy, youthful, fifty-five-year-old, is going through the menopause. But is it also a new coming of age for her? Is it time to question her long established position in life, her well-learned role? Is she bold enough to open new windows and walk through new doors?

When not one, but two new men enter her life, her world is turned upside down. Will the unexpected loss of one man drive her back inside her safe, albeit unfulfilling life, or push her into the arms of the other? Has she finally had enough of an unsatisfactory sex life with her husband in a loveless twenty-two-year-old marriage? Or will the cost and pain of ending it be worth feeling more fully alive than ever before?

A mesmerising story of loss, heartbreak, passion, and love in many guises, The Healing Touch is a gripping read you won’t want to put down. Funny, devastating, and uplifting by turns, The Healing Touch will leave you yearning to experience the perfect love yourself.

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Answering Readers’ Questions

 

Is Sexual Neglect A

Spiritual Issue?

 

Angelina talks to Elizabeth Dockrell-Tyler – Part 1

 

Angelina talks to Elizabeth Dockrell-Tyler – Part 2

 

Angelina talks to Elizabeth Dockrell-Tyler – Part 3

 

 

Under A Namibian Sky

Under A Namibian Sky

Under A Namibian Sky  is now available on Amazon.

UK https://tinyurl.com/ycsc6e3k

US https://tinyurl.com/y8h479a8

Or from here for £8.75 with free delivery in the UK only.
£3.99 postage for orders worldwide.


Under A Namibian Sky – Paperback


***

I’d be delighted if you’d be so kind as to post a review on Amazon or Goodreads, telling me what you thought of Under A Namibian Sky. Reviews are really important. Not only do they tell other potential readers what to expect from a novel, but they also allow the novel to live in the world. It means I’ll be able to continue to write more stories for you.

You can also read more about Under A Namibian Sky here: http://circleofbooks.com/2017/09/05/under-a-namibian-sky-by-angelina-kalahari/

You can reach me directly at angelina@angelinakalahari.com or at angelinasbooks@hotmail.com. Please bear with me if I don’t respond straight away. I endeavour to respond to each email.

***

THE LAUNCH

 

Hello, everyone! Welcome to the launch of Under A Namibian Sky. Thank you so much for joining me today. I’m excited to introduce Under A Namibian Sky to you.

I know this bit usually goes at the end, but I’d like to thank all the amazing people who have helped Under A Namibian Sky to become a satisfying novel for readers. It takes teamwork.

So, to my amazing editor, Christine, thank you so much. You asked all the difficult questions that made me dig deeper.

Thank you to my great beta readers for the amazing job you guys have done. Writing can be a lonely process and a scary one once you give your baby to someone else to read for the first time. Thank you for giving your honest feedback and notes in a kind and encouraging manner. It means the world.

And I don’t even know how to begin to thank the insanely talented and generous Sharon Brownlie for the perfect cover for Under A Namibian Sky. Not only did she capture the mood of the book, but also the characters’ personalities – no mean feat! Not only that, but she did the formatting. I told you she was talented. Check out the cover on my page.

Covers designed and sold by me

So, what is Under A Namibian Sky about? It’s essentially a contemporary romance. It’s the story of Luca and Naomi and it’s set in Namibia.

Briefly, Naomi’s parents died when she was five. After being shunted from foster parents to foster parents, she was understandably traumatised, to say the least. No one had really taken the time to explain to her that her parents had died and no one had seemed to realise that she needed to grieve. As a result, she’d locked up her emotions and carried a deep and abiding fear of loving anyone else in case she’d again lose them to death.

But her grandmother’s best friend, Auntie Elsa, eventually adopted Naomi. She went to live with her and her husband, Uncle Wouter, at Desert Lodge. The lodge bordered on the Namib Desert and when she was old enough, Naomi was allowed to play with the San tribe’s children there. They taught her about the desert, about what plants were safe to eat and where to find water. This led to her working as a desert guide at the lodge when she became old enough.

Luca, on the other hand, comes from a very privileged background – the Armati supercar dynasty in Italy. He is the heir apparent. But Luca has other hobbies that he’s passionate about. One of which is photographing and painting elephants. His secretary, Santina, who has taken care of him since he was a child when his mother left them, arranged a holiday in Namibia so that he could fulfil his dream and take a break from work at the same time.

Luca immediately recognises how different Naomi is from the models he usually hangs out with. But she assumes he is just another one of the rich ‘princes’ who makes everyone’s lives hell for as long as they’re on holiday at the lodge.

I don’t want to give too much away but I will say this – Under A Namibian Sky has many twists and turns. A sneak peek is when Luca and Naomi come in contact with a tiny new born elephant. They help to rescue her when her mother is killed by poachers.

***

Namibia holds a special place in my heart because it is where I was born. The setting is perfect for romance, danger, spirituality and love.

THE COVER

As I said in the introduction, the cover was designed by the multi-talented Sharon Brownlie.

Covers are really important because they’re “the picture that paints a thousand words,” as the lyrics of one of my favourite Bread songs says. Or in the case of a novel, thousands of words!

I saw one of Sharon’s pre-made covers with a couple that looked exactly like Luca and Naomi. I couldn’t believe it. Usually, it’s impossible to get a picture that looks exactly like the couple in your head. But there they were.

Luca, as he appeared to me, is tall, athletic and although aristocratic, has a somewhat devil-may-care boyishness about him. A kind of Richard Branson vibe, if you like.

Naomi, also tall and athletic, is independent and strong and I feel the figure on the cover depicts her somewhat stubborn streak perfectly.

Neither Sharon nor I imagined Luca and Naomi to be in silhouette, to begin with, but realised that the night sky would have no light source to show them in any other way.

The picture of the sky that Sharon used, is an actual picture of the night sky over the Namib Desert. The fact that it has a purple tint, is a hint of the spirituality behind the fact that Luca and Naomi are soul mates.

In the distance, you can see the mother and the baby elephant that played such a big part in their relationship. Because Naomi had reluctantly allowed Luca to accompany her on the ellie’s rescue mission, he then invited her out for dinner. Perhaps without that initial dinner, who knows if they’d ever got together?

Again, I’d like to thank everyone who helped choose the elements for the perfect cover.

THE BLURB

Blurbs are important. They’re usually the first thing people read when they’re thinking about buying a book and so, a lot of thought goes into writing one. Here is the blurb for Under A Namibian Sky:

Beautiful, vivacious, independent young Naomi grew up on the edge of the Namib Desert. After she becomes a safari guide, nothing is more exciting than showing off her desert’s fierceness, its raw beauty, and its exotic wildlife to guests staying at Desert Lodge.

Luca, the heir apparent to the Armati supercar dynasty, is blessed with the beauty of an Italian god and born to a life of wealth, power, and influence. In Namibia for a short holiday, he wants to fulfil his dream of photographing and painting African elephants.

Used to the wiles of such spoiled princelings, Naomi is suspicious of his motives. Begrudgingly, she feels drawn to his kindness, charm and aura. Impossibly, it appears he is equally drawn to the girl from the African desert.

But will the pain of their past experiences prevent them from being courageous enough to admit their soul mate connection? Will their love overcome the challenges they face when Luca ends up in hospital after a dangerous anti-poacher raid, and Naomi has to confront her fears about falling in love with him?

Compulsively readable, Under A Namibian Sky is an emotionally riveting romance that will enchant, fascinate and delight.

THE CHARACTERS

As I don’t want to spoil it for you, I’ll talk only about Luca and Naomi. I may post something on another day about some of the other characters.

Writing her, Naomi made me feel compassion and fury almost in equal amounts. I was sad for her that she was so traumatised as a little girl by the loss of her parents and by being moved from foster home to foster home. She was unloved and felt like a failure when she couldn’t make her new families love her. She was too young to understand death and what was happening to her. But her deep-seated fear that everyone she loved would die, stopped her from loving others when it’s so clear that it’s what she craved.

When she developed feelings for Luca, she talked herself out of those. I couldn’t believe that she would be prepared to give up such a love for fear that death would take her from him. But she was stubborn! It would take another traumatic event in her life to let her see the light at last.

Luca, on the other hand, having been abandoned by his mother when he was eight, regarded women with a healthy dose of suspicion. What made it worse, was that the beautiful models who he was used to having in his life, were mostly after his money and fame. But he realised pretty early on, that Naomi was nothing like them. He saw her strength, her independence, her vulnerability and her genuineness.

But when he overheard her saying something to her friend that he was rich and could have any woman he wants, he freaked out. It was a phrase he’d heard too many times.

It took a very distressing situation for him to realise that he loved Naomi and couldn’t imagine being without her.

These characters never stopped talking. I had no choice but to write them down!

THE SETTING

As I’d already mentioned, Namibia is very special to me. It’s the country of my birth and although I haven’t been there for many years, I know it’s the kind of unspoilt place – for the most part – that doesn’t change. It feels good to know that something can be that constant, especially in this crazy fast-paced world we live in, right?

Desert Lodge is based on a real lodge near the desert. The people and the place will always live in my heart, no matter where in the world I find myself.

Like Naomi, I was lucky enough to have had children from the San tribes to play with when I was a little girl. They taught me about the desert. About which plants were poisonous, which were good to eat, how to find water, which insects were a good source of protein, and which to avoid if you wanted to keep your eyes! So, these are the things I share with Naomi.

The Namib Desert is vast. It’s silent. It’s unearthly beautiful. Parts of it has featured in Hollywood movies, and parts of it have become a source of joy for people seeking action-adventure holidays.

It is this aspect that Desert Lodge eventually adopts as well. But until then, they offer only sunrise and sunset safaris with desert guides in a truck or the odd walking safari with one of the anti-poacher guards employed to keep the wildlife safe.

Here is a short video that shows how San hunter/gatherers find water in the desert.

WHY ROMANCE?

Under A Namibian Sky is a romance novel and one I hope you’ll all enjoy reading. The funny things is, I never thought of myself as a romance writer. My staple go-to genres have always been science-fiction, fantasy, psychological thrillers and horror. Those genres, of course, sometimes include romance as well. Yet, whenever I sit down to write something, romance is what comes out. It puzzled me until I analysed it and the truth dawned on me.

This is where my thinking led me:

The point that immediately sprang to mind is that we all want love. I’d go so far as to say, we crave it. When we read a romance novel, we experience the feelings of love through the characters in a way that may not exist in our everyday lives. It gives us that high, that hope that the love we yearn for, is possible for us as well. It helps to renew our belief in love. We live in a world filled with pain, divorces, disasters, acts of violence and war. When we read a romance novel, we reconnect with the idea of love, with the idea that there is something higher than the pain and discontent that pours daily from our TV screens or from social media. For readers who have not yet experienced a soul mate love, reading a romance novel can open them up to what that might feel like and how worthwhile a pursuit it can be for them. After all, as one of my characters in Under A Namibian Sky says: “In the end, love is all we have.”

At the other end of the spectrum is the fact that human beings and human relationships are complex. Stories are a safe way to explore those complexities and can even help us to deal with our own issues.

There are many other reasons why romance novels are important, but the fact that it can also be a form of entertainment is not to be sneezed at. When a reader with a demanding job, or a mum who is pulled in many different directions, read a romance novel, it’s a great way to just relax, have fun and escape from the daily grind.

Of course, even though nowadays romance novels are widely accepted, there are still people who turn up their noses at the thought of reading one. The idea that these novels are unrealistic at best – who really gets the happily ever after, right? – or at worst, that such novels are “trashy,” “titillating” or “fluffy,” and inferior to other genres, is still very much the perception, especially of those who do not read romances. (Interestingly, opponents of romance novels, often overlook the fact that classics such as Jane Austin’s books are the most sigh-worthy romances. I assume it’s because her books are “older” that it doesn’t count?)

And yet, the romance genre is the biggest selling genre in the book world. Why? Why do we read them?

I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts about why romance novels are important to you?

WHY UNDER A NAMIBIAN SKY?

Late one night, several months ago, I was watching a programme on TV about Mills and Boon (Harlequin to some of you.)

The programme looked at how difficult it is to write a good romance novel. How so many people have tried and failed.

The programme followed the journey of a traditionally published mystery writer going through the process of writing a romance novel. She went on away days with other romance writers, writer’s circles and writer’s workshops led by successful Mills and Boon authors at great settings. They filmed her at home making notes on her white board, writing, re-writing, getting frustrated and re-writing. Eventually, she handed in the manuscript to Mills and Boons offices here in London.

I never learned what happened to her novel. But having read a number of romance novels through the years, I wondered if I could write one.

I went on their website to learn more about what they’re looking for and discovered that they were actively looking for novels set in Southern Africa. Well, I was born in Namibia and while I’ve lived all over the world, the country of my birth will always live in my heart. There is a saying that once you have felt the Namibian sands beneath your feet, your feet will always walk you back to those sands. It’s a rough translation, but I think you get the gist. I’ll add to it that once you have Africa in your heart, she is a jealous mistress and will hold you to her bosom – you can never escape her arms.

So, it was a no-brainer for me to set my novel in Namibia. I know the place like the back of my hand. It’s one of the few places on earth where things don’t change, yet a desert is a place of ever-changing sameness. The sky over the desert, once you’ve seen it, will live in your heart and mind forever – it is breath-taking, yes, but more than that, it’s a most humbling experience. Its vastness reminds that we are a tiny part of something so big, we cannot comprehend it. The people are warm and friendly, and the animals are a reminder that the world offers more than concrete jungles and the rat race so many of us are only too familiar with. There is a deep peace, a unique calm that a place like Namibia offer, that you can’t find anywhere else on earth.

To cut a long story short, I wrote the required three chapters and submitted them along with a synopsis. A few weeks later, I received a long email from them, stating their interest in the novel and asking for specific changes. It was obvious from their email that they’d read the synopsis and the chapters. I felt encouraged and set about making the changes they’d asked for before running it past some of my beta readers. But after I’d re-submitted it, a few weeks later, I received a short email thanking me for my efforts but rejecting the novel. But rejection is a normal part of a writer’s life so it didn’t phase me.

By now, though, the characters lived in my head. They were talking to me, as characters are wont to do and they wouldn’t go away. There were other projects I wanted to work on but these guys wouldn’t let up. I had no choice but to finish the novel.

Luckily, the publishing world has changed so much now that Mills and Boon aren’t the only romance genre publishers.

That’s how Under A Namibian Sky came to live in the world today.

INTERESTING NAMIBIAN FACT #1

Namibia is a very large country – Namibia is more than a third larger than the UK and Germany combined or twice the size of California. It has rich deposits of diamonds, uranium and other minerals that are already being extracted extensively. There are 11 main ethnic groups living there.

INTERESTING NAMIBIAN FACT #2

What is a desert? To most people, it is a hot, dry area with little or no vegetation and often covered in sand dunes. Even though this may be an adequate definition of a desert, hot and dry are not specific enough to be scientifically accepted. Scientists use the measurement of rain, or rather the lack of it, to define deserts because water is the critical factor which controls all life and biological processes. According to such classification of deserts, the Namib is hyper-arid as it has a mean rainfall of less than 100mm per year. It is amazing that the Namib is a desert at all since north of it, Angola is subtropical and south, the Cape of Good Hope has copious winter rainfall. But the unique high-pressure zones and the cold ocean currents that border it has created the Namib Desert.

We know that the Namib Desert is old and could have been semi-arid to arid for about the last 80million years with true desert conditions predominating the last 15 – 20 million years.

INTERESTING NAMIBIAN FACT #3

Fairy circles – there is a peculiar unexplained phenomenon along the edge of the Namib desert commonly known as fairy circles. Unusually named they occur on sandy planes and on vegetated dune slopes. Scientists suggest that the fairy circles may, in fact, be termites which have eaten all the grass seeds in the vicinity of their nests.

INTERESTING NAMIBIAN FACT #4

What is the origin and meaning of Namib? The word is of Nama origin. It translates literally from Nama as “a bare plain” and means “the vast place of nothingness.”

 

Thank you so much for joining me today. I trust you enjoyed the launch of Under A Namibian Sky as much as I have.

I’m currently writing a novella in the Desert Love Series telling of Luca and Naomi’s life in Italy. It’s called Love In Modena, and you will receive a free copy when you sign up to my email list when it is finished.

I’d be very interested to know what kind of stories you would like me to write? Let me know what kind of characters you’d like, what obstacles and what setting – I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you again so much for spending time with me.

 

THE BEGINNING – EXTRACT FROM THE SENSE OF OTHER

Suddenly, an enormous squeeze clutches me. It’s too tight. More follow. They feel claustrophobic and angry somehow, unlike the warm, fuzzy rubs and hugs from Mother when she is suddenly overcome with love for me. These squeezes are much stronger. They feel serious and not loving at all. They are getting even tighter now, and more frequent. I want them to stop, but they do not stop. Why don’t they stop? It’s hurting now. One follows the next quicker and quicker. Mother’s sounds are loud. She is screaming. Has something happened to us, something bad? The squeezes are really tight, now, and getting tighter. Mother isn’t stopping them. I want to stop them but I don’t know how.

I’m moving, moving away from the warm weightlessness that was my home, down a very narrow place. It’s slippery, wet, and I can’t stop moving no matter how hard I try. I’m squeezed tighter than I ever imagined possible. My shoulders are squashed up towards my head. There are many other voices. Unfamiliar voices. The voices sound scared or excited, I cannot tell which.

Something is wrong. I know it straight away. I know it with the kind of knowingness when you just know something, and you don’t know how you know it. It was always only me and Mother. But now, another presence has made itself known. It is near me but I can’t feel it. I can only sense it. It is big, bigger than Mother or me. It is beyond our lives. I don’t know how I know that, but it is a sharp truth I will always know. The knowing lives inside me, without pictures, without words. But there are sounds. Earthly sounds. Mother’s sounds. Her voice. And other voices, deeper, scary. Mother is scared. Her heart is beating fast, her breathing more rapid.

My body moves even further down the narrow place. I don’t know how I know that I will see Mother’s face very soon. I’m happy about it, looking forward to it. But as soon as I start to relax, rough hands grab my head and pull me quickly through the narrow place. My body gulps air. My legs and arms flail. A bright light hits my eyes. I cannot focus on anything, but I know the skin I can feel beneath me belongs to Mother. I can hear her sounds. She sounds nearer, clearer and happy. She is making cooing sounds. Her soft hands touch me all over, as though she is checking that all of me is here, that I am safe. Just as I am getting used to the feeling of her hands on my body and her skin beneath me and the bright lights around me, other, rougher hands take me away from her. I feel instantly cold, then. Peculiar, pungent smells are all around me. I can hear a strange sound and realise that it’s coming from me. I am crying, yes, but I am astonished that I can hear the actual sound of my crying. I don’t remember being able to hear it before and I know that I have cried many times. I wonder if others can hear it too, if Mother can hear it. Will she come to me? Mother doesn’t come. But another someone comes – like her, but with a different smell and sounds. She picks me up. She makes soothing sounds and gently sways with me from side to side. It’s comforting. I stop crying. I look up at her and see that she is smiling.

“You poor little thing,” she whispers. “What will become of you? Your ma’s just a little baby herself.”

***

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Conor O’Reilly, would you just take this bloody child to the other room. I cannot stand his constant screaming any longer.”

Mother’s words are aimed at me. Her words hurt. But there is a painful, gnawing, empty feeling inside me that hurts even more. I don’t understand why Mother doesn’t help me. I know she can take it away. But she has been lying on the small red sofa for days now. Conor and Mary have tried to take care of me as best they can. But both still being so young they need looking after, themselves. Mary, especially, often cries with me. But Conor, being slightly older, is always quiet. He never cries, or laughs, or speaks.

Conor picks me up from the floor where I had been sitting, playing with the empty bottles until one broke and a shard of glass cut my finger. It hurts, but less than the empty feeling in my body. Red liquid is everywhere. It’s coming from my finger. Conor puts me down again. He puts his mouth over my finger and sucks the red stuff into his mouth. I stop crying and watch him. Conor’s blonde hair is standing on end, matted and unwashed. His blue eyes, like Mother’s, are closed. His face is screwed up in concentration. He sucks hard on my finger, holding my hand firmly to his mouth. But each time he pulls my finger from his mouth, the red stuff starts to flow again from the small wound. Mary, who is sitting next to me, has also stopped crying. Like me, she is watching Conor’s attempts to stop the bleeding. As though she suddenly remembers something, she gets up and waddles down the hallway, her nappy hanging full and low down her little legs, her dark hair bunched up from sleeping on it. I watch her go, wondering when I would be able to stand and walk, like her. She isn’t much older than me. Conor pays her no attention and goes back to sucking on my finger. The only sounds in our small living room are the telly and Mother’s soft snoring. It’s amazing that she could be so cross one moment and fast asleep the next. I wish I could do that. But the empty, gnawing pain in my stomach has often kept me awake.

Mary comes back into the room with a tiny piece of toilet paper. She offers it to Conor. He takes it and carefully puts it around my finger. The red stuff makes a big red mark on the white paper but at least it doesn’t flow anymore.

The doorbell buzzes, and Conor goes to answer it. Mary sits down beside me and holds my hand.

Uncle walks into the room with long strides, followed by Conor. “Jesus, it stinks in here,” he says, and quickly opens a window before moving to Mother. He shakes her shoulder but she doesn’t wake up. She just grumbles in her sleep.

Uncle brought the cold, fresh smells of outside into the room with him. Other smells came with him, too. The sharp smell of fresh alcohol and food smells that make all our tummies rumble. Uncle’s dark hair is short and clean and his blue eyes wild with an emotion I don’t understand.

“Conor,” says Uncle, “take the babes into the other room. I want to talk to your mother. And change their nappies if you can.”

Conor picks me up again and Mary follows behind as we make our way down the hallway to the bedroom we share with Mother. The room is much colder than the living room where the small heater lives. Mary crawls onto her small unmade mattress on the floor in the opposite corner. She tucks her teddy close to her body. Her lips, fingers, legs and feet are blue from the cold and she is shivering. Conor puts me down on Mother’s single bed, also unmade. The sheets and blankets are cold against my back and they smell funny.

Conor changes my nappy quickly. It feels immediately warmer having a dry nappy. The empty feeling in my tummy still hurts but now I can tolerate it more. Mary knows it’s her turn next and she gets up from her mattress and comes to stand next to Conor. He lifts her on Mother’s bed so that she lies next to me. She is quiet, clutching her teddy in one hand, her other hand holding mine. As soon as her new nappy is on, Mary draws Mother’s sheets and blankets around me and her. She lies close to me. I feel slightly warmer. Conor doesn’t wear a nappy anymore.

Conor leaves the room and I know he has gone to put the nappies in the bucket in the bathroom. But he comes back very quickly, with the nappies still in his hand, his face white, a frown between his eyes. He doesn’t say anything. He closes the door, puts the nappies on the floor next to Mother’s bed, and goes to sit on his own mattress against the far wall of the small room. He sits with his back against the cold wall, his head in his hands on his knees that he has drawn tight against his body.

Mary and I are quiet. We are watching him. He doesn’t move or look at us.

We listen to the sounds coming from the other room. Uncle’s voice; loud, demanding. Mother’s voice; speaking fast, rising as if she’s trying to defend herself. Sounds of a struggle, Mother screaming, something breaking, probably more bottles. A rhythmic banging sound and Mother’s low wailing, followed by Uncle’s sudden loud, piercing cry. Then, silence. Silence for a long time…

***

I cry as I wake up, the gnawing feeling in my body is overwhelming and making me feel quite ill. Mary wakes up and starts crying, too. Conor is still on his mattress but he must have fallen asleep as well because he is lying under his blankets. He gets up quickly when he hears us crying. His eyes are red and swollen.

The door flies open. Mother is standing in the doorway. She is swaying slightly. Her hair is a mess, she has a blue bruise on her eye and a raw swelling on her lower lip. Behind her, Uncle appears. His eyes are not so wild anymore. Instead, he is smiling.

“There he is, my little man. Just look how much you’ve grown.” He pushes past Mother into the room and picks me up. “We’re all starving, Moreen. Let’s get some food. My little man is hungry. What do you feed him these days?”

It feels like a feast day, all of us sitting in the warmer living room. Mother is sitting on the sofa with me at her breast, Uncle on the beanbag with a plate of steaming spaghetti, and Conor and Mary side by side at the small table in the corner. I know they’re enjoying themselves because they’re swinging their legs as they’re eating. Mother’s plate sits next to her on the sofa. She takes small, careful bites every now and then.

I’m not sure if we are a real family, or not. I’m not sure that I like Uncle. But at least Mother is awake now, and the horrid, empty feeling in my body is disappearing. I don’t want to drink any more milk. Mother puts me down next to her on the sofa. She picks up her plate of spaghetti. My eyelids are so heavy. I don’t want to sleep because I like the sounds of my family around me. I revel in the warmth of the room and the lovely full feeling in my tummy. I’m listening to the voices of Mother and Uncle talking as they’re eating.

“So, what are you going to do with the older two?” Uncle asks. “You can’t have them all here. I can’t support all of them. They’re not mine. And you better be right about Lee being mine because if I find out otherwise…”

Even though I’m so sleepy, something in my mind registers the words and the meaning behind them, somehow. The thing I know that is wrong with me, stirs. It feels like me, but not like me. It feels big, bigger than Uncle, and powerful and dark. It peeps out at Uncle. I hold my breath. But after a few moments, it slinks back inside. I breathe out. I’m relieved because I fear I could not control it once it came out fully. I know it is waiting. Waiting for blood, for souls. For when I’m bigger…

A Great New Novel – The Du Lac Devil

the-du-lac-devil

A lovely award winning writer friend of mine, Mary Anne Yarde, launched the second book, The Du Lac Devil, in her The Du Lac Chronicles series on Sunday. I love these books, and this story, so much that I wanted to share it with everyone here, too.

The Du Lac Devil, although a standalone novel, continues the story from the previous two books in the series, The Du Lac Chronicles, and the novella, The Pitchfork Rebellion.

I was looking forward tremendously to reading this book as I had enjoyed the previous two so much. I was not disappointed. In fact, I could not put it down and read through the night because I could not wait to see what was going to happen. Now, I can’t wait for the next one!

This could be the next big series on TV, because you’ll love it as much as Game of Thrones!

Mary Anne Yarde is a masterful storyteller. She weaves together history and fiction so perfectly and magically, that I find myself fully immersed in the world of her novels. It was wonderful to be back in the time of the Du Lac brothers, sons of Lancelot du Lac from King Arthur Pendragon’s court during the time of Camelot. The Du Lac Devil reveals the story of the youngest son, Merton du Lac, the Du Lac Devil.

Merton becomes a mercenary as a result of his guilty conscience over his inability to protect his brother, King Alden, who was once captured and tortured by the King of Wessex. King Wessex is blackmailing Merton in return for a promise not to invade Alden’s kingdom. But selling himself to the highest bidder lands Merton in trouble as he finds himself in the middle of two armies. We learn of his ingenious ways of solving problems as he escapes. He travels with his band of mercenary comrades to reunite with his brothers, Alden and Budic. Merton’s eldest brother, King Budic, recently lost his wife and son. Their funeral is the reason that everyone is at Budic’s court. But this is where the trouble really starts. There’s intrigue, romance, dastardly dealings, political scheming…

I won’t spoil it for you, save to say that this is a wonderfully gripping story that both young, and not so young, can enjoy. I cannot recommend it highly enough!

The Du Lac Devil is available in e-book and print formats on Amazon:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N0FW1RU

USA – https://www.amazon.com/Du-Lac-Devil-Book-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B01N0FW1RU

The last day of November. What does it mean to you?

november

November is an interesting month. It is the eleventh and penultimate month of the year and the fourth and last month containing 30 days. It is also the month when many of my friends and family members have their birthdays.

A number of festivals and holidays also happen during November. I love for example that the pagan Owl Month starts on 23 November until 21 December, signifying change and the Long Nights Time. It sounds kind of romantic, and I love owls.

The month has always been quite an exciting one for me personally, because I love autumn, the crispness of the colder days, and the colours, sights and smells of nature during this time. Long walks in the late autumn sunshine is a particularly lovely thing to do.

But November is also the month known to writers as NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. It started in 1999 in America but now writers from all around the world join to write at least 50,000 words of a new novel during the month of November. If you join NaNoWriMo’s official website and reach your word count on 30 November, you receive a certificate that you can print out. It leaves you with a great sense of achievement and satisfaction, and many more writer friends if you so choose. I haven’t joined officially, but wrote my new novel, Forever And Ever Love, alongside NaNoWriMo and as I’m doing rather well, I may join next year.

There are many benefits of writing, even if you never intend to publish what you write. It can help deal with tragic and difficult experiences and it helps with loneliness – paradoxically, as writing is very much a solo sport. But writing, and talking with your characters, will definitely take you on a journey – maybe even one where you discover things about yourself you never knew.

Some writers use NaNoWriMo to get their next book well on its way to being finished. Others write just for the fun of it. But whichever way you go about it, try it – it is intense and fun!

This is the second vlog in which I respond to readers’ questions on The Healing Touch.

I have received so many questions about the spiritual aspects in the novel that I have decided to split the responses into different parts.

This is the first part:

This is the first vlog in which I endeavour to answer readers’ questions about The Healing Touch. More to follow…

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