Friday, 7 November 2014

Friday, 24 October 2014

Samhain - 31 October

Happy Samhain everyone. Or at least Happy Samhain for next week, I'm a bit early I know.
Samhain (pronounced Sow-en), or Halloween as it is better known, is a special time for many reasons, let me share a few with you and some great ways to celebrate.

Excerpt from 
A Beginners Guide to Celebrating the Traditional Pagan Festivals of the Seasons

Samhain is both the end and the beginning of the Celtic and Wiccan year. It is often referred to as the Witches New Year. The name 'Samhain'  is believed to be a Celtic word which, when loosely translated, means 'summers end'.  This is a time when the final harvest is safely in and so it is appropriate to celebrate the fruitfulness of the land over the past year as it prepares to rest and regenerate through the winter. This is also the time when the veil between the physical world and the world of Spirit is at its most insubstantial so it is a perfect time to remember and honour our ancestors and perhaps hold a feast in their honour. Ideal magical workings at this time will reflect the Endings and New Beginnings theme of Samhain. I have included some spells and a Meditation in the next chapters.
Blessed Be.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Competition Winner

This is one of my competition winning short stories. It is one of my earliest successes and it was judged by the RSPCA. So naturally enough the story had to be animal based. At the time I had a golden retriever named, Elsa and we attended training classes and generally had a great time. She was super to train, very quick to please; usually me but sometimes she couldn't resist being a rebel. We always had a Christmas party where we would do something a bit special at the training group we attended. This is the story of Elsa breaking the rules at one of those parties and loving every minute of it.

Technique Perfected

We were ready. After weeks of preparation, success was only a few short days away. We had trained hard. What could go wrong? Elsa, like most golden retrievers, was intelligent, alert and quick to learn. She had attended obedience classes from the age of six months and by the grand old age of seven years she had ‘been there, done that, and…’ well, you know what I mean. Suffice to say she had mastered far more complicated exercises than ‘food refusal’. In fact it wasn’t even the first time she had performed the food refusal exercise and come through it with
flying colours! So why was I worrying? Well, for some reason best known to themselves the organisers had decided not to use the reasonably resistible dried dog food. Oh no! This time sausages were to be used instead.

Did I mention that Elsa was a golden retriever? Put a Goldie in the vicinity of accessible sausages and you have a sausage-fest. Goldies have a passion for food, any food and let’s face it sausages weren’t just any old food. For her to walk past a plump, succulent sausage without even a second look would be nothing short of a miracle, but three weeks and two and a half kilos of plump succulent sausage later I believed we were ready; the technique perfected.
It was a simple enough routine - I tell her to sit and stay, I walk away from her, I turn to face her, I wait for a second or two, then I call her to me. Elementary stuff. Puppy-hood stuff even, except, between me and her lay, The Sausage, and to get to me she had to pass it. But hey, no problem, we were ready. Right?
On the day of the competition we arrived at the hall in plenty of time. As we ran through our usual warm-up routines Elsa was keen and alert. I was quietly confident. When it was time for the judging we walked sedately onto the floor for the first of the exercises. She worked well and listened carefully to my commands. Taking our turn at each of the exercises we sailed through Seek Back and Send Away then Scent Retrieval. It was looking good.
Then it was time for the Food Refusal. As soon as she saw the small mat that the sausage was to be placed on she began bouncing with excitement. As each of her peers took their turn the tension grew until she was whining softly to herself. Just keen that’s all. I told myself, but there was a definite tremor in my confidence. So I reminded myself of how much she loved to work and that she was probably just wanting to get on with it and I felt… worried.
At last it was our turn.
I walk onto the floor with Elsa at heel like the beautifully trained dog she pretended… I mean she is. We take up position at one end of the hall and I give the command;
‘Elsa, sit, stay.’
I walk away. I pass the sausage and get to the other end of the hall where I turn to face her and wait. Elsa, quivering with suppressed excitement, sits waiting for the recall command.
Just keen don’t worry. With my confidence registering point eight on the tremor scale I give the command.
‘Elsa, come.’
And she leaps into action with such speed her claws are scrabbling for purchase on the hall’s wooden floor. When she at last moves forward it is horribly obvious that all her attention is now on the sausage not on me.
‘No. Leave. Down,’ I yell
The three commands, hot on each others heels are never-the-less just in time. She drops down nose comfortable resting on the mat and 5 cm away from the sausage.
Back in control - of myself - I clear my throat. (Did it sound like a growl? Personally I don’t believe it did despite what they said later!) The other competitors and their dogs are now absolutely silent, watching, waiting. I try not to notice them and focus on Elsa.
 I remind her to, ‘Leave it.’
And then, ‘Come.’
She rises slowly to her feet but her head seems too heavy for her neck and she has trouble lifting it from the mat where the sausage is nestled. At last she begins to drag herself forward but it becomes obvious that her feet are now caught in some Treacherous Treacle Trap and she has trouble moving her legs as well as her head. Two tiny steps, three, the silence is total; her reputation is on the line. Three and a half strides… and the sausage was gone! It happened so fast I didn’t have time to draw breath. In fact it happened so fast I’m still not sure how she did it exactly.
The crowd went wild with delight and Elsa, grinning in immense satisfaction, was off on a lap of honour around her fellow competitors. They all congratulated her with ecstatic yelps on the audacity and speed of the strike and she thanked them graciously, lapping up the adulation as her due.
‘ELSA, COME’, I screamed over the noise and thus reminded of my existence she started back to me. On the way, however she suddenly remembered her manners and made a rapid detour, to the other side of the hall, to thank the kind person who had provided the sausage and made it all possible, checking out his pockets at the same time, then she came back. Perfectly of course and sat in the perfect return position with a perfectly huge smile on her face and her magnificent tail sweeping the floor behind her.
As I was saying, the whole problem of working with an intelligent, alert and quick to learn dog who has attended obedience classed from the age of six months is they are simply too smart for their owner’s good. I scowled at her. Elsa on the other hand was absolutely delighted with her performance. She looked up at me and her grin said as plain as any words, ‘Technique Perfected!’

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Plotting a Novel. Part Two

Plotting a novel - Part Two. 
The Chapters.

When writing my books I first need a framework.
Once I have the chapters or at least the 75% of them I give the book a time frame. If it is one of a series, as Dragon World is, then I decide how long it is since the last book, days, weeks, months? Then what time of the year it is again to correspond with  the last book. This will set the length of days, time of dawn and dusk, the climate and type of flora I could expect to find. As most of my books are adventure stories those details are important.

Once that is done I go back to the sentences for each of the chapters and under that one sentence I write down what is the minimum that chapter has to achieve. Each chapter has a role and each chapter must advance the story.  I make a note at the head of each chapter what time I can expect dawn and dusk. Then for the first two or three chapters I also note which day in the story it is, day one, or day two etc. and the approximate times I expect each event in the chapter to happen. When those chapters are written I  do the same for the next couple of chapters. Plotting it this way gives an overall structure and keeps the chronological order, day, night and all the stages in between, in their proper place. It also ensures that each chapter is contributing to the story.
This may sound like a very rigid framework but when I am writing a book it becomes a living thing. It grows and changes despite the confines I have set on it. New story lines grow, old ones fade. Characters often point-blank refuse to conform to the role I set for them; asserting that their character would never say that or do that. So the frame I have so carefully constructed stretches and gives and alters but it holds the whole in place.
This is how I plot my books. It is time consuming and painstaking but such fun and it makes the actual writing that much easier. I can concentrate on the details, filling in the colours and shades as I write knowing the structure is solid.

You can find the Dragon World books at Amazon and Smashwords

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Plotting a Novel. Part one

                       I have been asked a number of times if I plot my books or if I just sit down and write. I plot. Most definitely. I have tried the 'just write' technique and though I find it invaluable for scenes within the novel or if I am brainstorming, the novel itself as to be plotted. Of course as I write I discover that the book takes on a life of its own and it will often suggest a course I had not thought of previously. But for for that magic to happen I first need a framework. Once I have the framework I can fill in the details rather like colouring in a picture.  In my experience every writer works in a different way and what works for one may not work for another. But for those of you who have been asking me this here is part one of how I plot my novels.
When writing my books I first need a framework.
Plotting a novel - Part One. 
The basic framework.
I know it might sound simplistic but the first ingredients I need for a novel is a beginning a middle and an end. I have to have a good idea of what the essence of the book will be and the story I am intending to tell. Then I reduce the whole lot into one or at most two sentences. If I can do that then I know my aim is clear. The next step is to increase that sentence into three sentences. Then those three into nine and so forth. Each sentence follows the story in a chronological order from beginning to end. And each of those sentences becomes the basis of a chapter. I aim for around 30 chapters of around 3,000 words each but this is just a loose guide. The overall length of the book at this stage is judged to be around 90,000 words.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Mabon 20 -21 September

Mabon is just around the corner and as part of the celebration I would like to share an excerpt from The Wheel Of The Year with you. At Mabon most of us are hunkering down and getting ready for winter. But before the frost and snows arrive in earnest we  have the glorious weeks of Autumn colour and perfect walking, gathering days. I hope The Wheel of the Year will help you in celebrating this beautiful season.

          -Excerpt from The Wheel Of The Year -
A Beginners Guide to Celebrating the Traditional Pagan Festivals of the Seasons.
 Mabon is on of the Lesser Sabbats. It is a Quarter day midway between Lammas and Samhain. It is the Autumn Equinox which means that light and dark are once more equal, just as they were in Oestara which lies directly opposite on the Wheel of the Year. So Mabon is symbolic of equality and balance.

Mabon can be recognised in other ways than in a formal ritual. Prepare for the rebirth of the land by collecting seeds, gather and dry your herbs or maybe try your hand at wine making with the harvested fruit and berries. If none of that appeals then a simple walk in the woods or park to breathe in the change of seasons as the land prepares for the coming darkness can help you find inner balance.
Mabon is the time for spell work concerning balance, protection, self confidence and prosperity. I have included spells and a meditation  in the next chapters to help you get started.
Bright Blessings

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Cats Rule

Seeking my favourite chair I was met with a united front. Diva and her half grown brood had gotten there first! I was clearly out numbered and out manoeuvred. Oh well, the coffee break will have to wait. Back to the computer and Dragon World book three!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

My books are now in libraries.

Hi everyone, just a quick update on progress.
 My books;- The Lost Sorcerer, The Bonding Crystal and The Missing Link  - fantasy novels for age ten years up, (I like to think up to age hundred and one but I may be bias here!), are now available in libraries. Some have the physical copies others can order them in for you on request now that they are listed on the libraries register.
My latest book, The Wheel of The Year, is a reference book and will soon be added to the libraries list.

Friday, 4 July 2014

The Alan Place Memorial Competition Winning Entry Part Two.

Winner of the Alan Place Memorial Short Story Competition July 2014

Maureen Murrish
Part 2

Nancy grabbed David's arm and pulled. David didn’t resist but he was slow and stumbling. He had never been particularly athletic and the days spent in the forest without food had taken their toll. They followed Nukka and Amka at David’s shambling pace putting as much distance as possible between themselves and the ravine.
They are still in the valley, Nukka said.
What are they? Why do they want David? Nancy asked silently not wanting David to overhear.
They are sprits. They seek the souls of unguided humans. David would feed them for many years.
Nancy’s horror formed a knot in her throat and she clung to a tree to steady herself. ‘Okay,’ she muttered, ‘he’s a spoilt brat, but does that mean I can let a pack of… creatures feed off his soul?’
David threw himself to the ground his breath rasping in his throat. Amka circled above him.
But he’s safe now, right? I mean he has us, we’re guiding him. Nancy asked silently
If we can get him back to the passing-stone before they catch us then yes, he will be safe, Nukka said.
She dreaded the answer but had to ask, And if not?
Then only his own guide can protect him.
‘But he can’t see her!’ she snapped.
‘Can’t see who? Who you talking to, sis?’ David gasped.
Nancy rounded on him. ‘I’ve told you not to call me that. I’m not your ‘sis’. And for your information was talking to Nukka about a pack of sprits, whose only goal in life it seems is to eat your soul, slowly.’ She took guilty pleasure in seeing his watery-blue eyes widen in horror.
‘You’re lying!’
‘It seems if we can’t get you back to the passing-stone before they catch up, then your only hope is Amka, who, since you insulted and rejected her, you can no longer see.’
‘Get up and run.’
He did as he was told.
It seemed to take forever to reach the edge of the forest. They paused and she looked up the bare hillside to the place she had met Nukka. It was close and hope swelled. She grabbed David’s arm as he began to sink onto the grass.
‘Oh, no you don’t. Come on, run.’
David leaned over and retched. ‘I can’t,’ he gasped, ‘need to breath, just for a minute.’
Nancy looked about her. The sun shone onto the open hillside. Amka circled in the warm air above them. Nukka, a few paces ahead, looked back at them.
‘Okay, you have ten seconds. Start breathing.’
Before David’s ten seconds were up, Nukka and Amka’s warning exploded in her head. She grabbed David’s arm and tried to yank him to his feet.
David’s breath rasped in his throat. ‘No, Nancy, please, you said ten…’
A wild screeching echoed through the forest behind them.
She thumped him, hard. ‘David if you want to hang onto your miserable soul you had better run.’
He looked up at her, his stricken face purple and slick with sweat. ‘I can hear them. They’re coming; you’ve got to help me.’ His eyes were wide with terror.
‘I’ve told you! I can’t help you, Nukka can’t help you. Only Amka could have helped you. All you can do now is get to the stone and leave.’ She pulled on his arm. ‘Run, you lump of lard.’
David struggled to his feet. After a few stumbling steps he collapsed, sobbing. ‘I can’t, Nancy, I can’t. Please, I can’t run anymore.’
Nancy looked back at the forest. Countless small crouching figures crept from the shadow of the trees. Their shapeless bodies seemed to shift and change in the pall of dark smoke which hung about them. They were cautious now, looking up at the sun and back to the sobbing boy as if calculating their chances. Nukka and Amka put themselves between the creeping forms and David, but the sprits seemed to have no interest in the guides at all.
Nancy pulled harder, ‘David if you don’t get up right this second then you are worse than dead,’ she screeched. ‘If you won’t do it for me then think of Posy. She’ll be upset, really, really upset, believe me, I know.’
Sobbing, David began to crawl. The sprits spread out, surrounding him cutting him off from the crossing-stone. Cold swept through Nancy as the sprits closest to Nukka passed through his body as if he were smoke.
‘Amka, you have to help,’ she yelled.
Amka landed close by.
I can’t help unless David accepts me.
‘Accepts you? How can he? He can’t even see you, you damn stupid feathered…’
‘Amka, Amka help me.’ David’s voice was shrill with fear.
‘At last,’ Nancy said. ‘She’s right here, sitting in front of me. See her?’
The sprits were moving closer as if sensing their moment of victory might be slipping away.
‘David, can you see her,’ she snapped.
David reached toward Nancy with a shaking hand. ‘Yes, yes, I see her.’
‘Then for heaven’s sake tell her you need her. If I can Change to go find you then you can admit you were wrong, damn it.’
Nancy was barely able to hear the whispered, ‘Amka, you were right, please, please help me.’
Furious the sprits dived toward them, Nancy threw herself over David only to be tipped off him a second later when he swore and pushed her away. The sprits’ shrieks of triumph turned into screams of rage as they dissolved in the warm air leaving trails of smoky vapour behind them. Nukka’s triumphant howl filled the hillside. Nancy flopped back onto the grass and flung her arms wide.
‘Damn, David, that was close.’ She sat up and glared at him. ‘Do you realize how close? Can you imagine what it would have been like if I had to go home without you? You have no idea how unbearable your mother has been these past few days. Can I just say, if you are going to be a member of this family you have got to promise you will never, ever disappear again. I don’t think I could stand it if…’
‘Nancy, get a grip.’ David said still engrossed in Amka as if seeing her for the first time. Then not even sparing a glance in Nancy’s direction, he got shakily to his feet and tottered up the hill.’
‘Well, you ungrateful…’
‘And don’t ever try to hug me again.’
‘Hug you? Me?’
‘Are you coming or not, because you know, now I have Amka, you’re sort of redundant.’
Nancy gaped at him, ‘This isn’t over by a long chalk, David,’ she yelled after him. ‘You owe me. I saved your life.’
‘Amka saved me, not you.’
Nancy spluttered in disbelieve at David’s retreating back. ‘Only so your mother can kill you when you get home,’ she screeched after him.

‘With any luck,’ she muttered wistfully.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Alan Place Memorial Short Story Competition

Yesterday I was honoured to receive First Prize in the Alan Place Memorial Short Story Competition with my Short Story 'CHANGE'. Alan was a much admired and valued member of The Write Stuff writers group based at Seaham.  The awards were presented in the fantastic new Seaham Library. It was a great day in which I and my fellow winners were made to feel very welcome. Thank you for all the hard work the organisers had obviously gone to to make it such a memorable day.

Winner of the Alan Place Memorial Short Story Competition July 2014

Maureen Murrish
Part 1

Her stepmother’s sobs drifted up the stairs. Nancy could hear her father’s soothing voice as he tried to comfort her. Nancy closed the bedroom door. It shut out the sounds of grief but not the feelings of guilt. Dropping onto a stool she stared in the dressing table mirror and began a one sided conversation with her reflection.
‘You warned him. You told him not to follow you. Told him he didn’t know what he was doing, but, as usual, David knew best. If he’s… stuck, then it’s his own fault.’
Picking up the hairbrush she swept it through her black hair, being careful not to look into her dark eyes. They were too much like her father’s though his eyes had been dulled by sadness these past few days. She slammed the brush down.
‘Damn, David. And damn, Posy. Perhaps now he’s gone she’ll go too and things will get back to normal. We don’t need her. She’s useless, even her name’s useless, Posy, what kind of a name’s that?’
Nancy threw herself onto the bed. By the time her father came in to see her it was getting dark. She sat up and switched on the lamp. The light accentuated the shadows under his cheekbones and sunken eyes. He took hold of her hand.
‘You alright Nance?’
She shrugged.
He pulled her to him as he had when she was small and she allowed him to cuddle her. ‘Thank God you’re safe. Poor, poor Posy. I feel so helpless. If only there was something I could do.’
‘You want him back that much?’
The words slipped out before she could stop them. Her father took hold of her arms easing her away from him to look into her face.
‘Nancy, how can you ask that? He’s your brother.’
Her anger, always close to the surface these days, boiled over. ‘I don’t have a brother.’
‘I don’t believe I’m hearing this,’ her father said. ‘David is part of this family now and yes, I want him home.’
She hung her head and fought to control the tears. Her father pulled her to him and stroked her hair. ‘It’s okay, sweetie. Deep down I know you love him as much as Posy and I do.’
Nancy was torn between guilt and incredulity. Guilt won. ‘Dad, there’s something I…’
‘John, John, where are you?’
Nancy gritted her teeth at the sound of her stepmother’s shrill voice.
Her father stood up. ‘Get some sleep, honey.’ The door closed behind him.
She pushed her fists into her temples then smacked them down onto the bed, ‘Damn it. I’m going to have to go bring him back.’
When Nancy was sure both her father and Posy were sleeping she slid, fully clothed, out of bed and sat cross-legged on the floor. Placing a small flat stone in front of her she rested her hand on it. Closing her eyes, she brought the image of her guide, Nukka, into her mind. A familiar ripple disturbed the air and a cool breeze swept over her cheek. She opened her eyes and looked straight into the blue-grey eyes of a wolf.
She stood, stepped off the crossing stone and bowed formally to Nukka .
Nancy. I have been expecting you.
She was surprised; in all the time she had been coming to Between-World, Nukka had never said he had been waiting for her. Though as always Nukka had spoken directly into her mind Nancy used her voice to reply.
‘You have? Why?’
A member of your pack is lost, he needs you.
Was that a note of rebuke? ‘He is not my… my brother. What’s more it’s his own fault he’s lost. He shouldn’t have followed me. Then, to cap it all, when he did get here he rejected his guide and went off on his own.’
He’s a member of your pack and he needs you, Nukka repeated
Nancy pushed down her annoyance. It was pointless being angry with Nukka. She sighed, dusted off the seat of her jeans and looked around. They stood near the top of a hill in early morning sunshine. The forest spread below and around them as if they were on an island in a sea of green. ‘Where do we start?’
David is in the forest to the north. Amka is watching him but as he has rejected her she can’t help him.
‘The stupid…. Okay, let’s get this over with.’
Nukka lead the way into the forest. The path was broken and dangerous and progress was slow. She felt Nukka’s concern.
‘What’s wrong?’
Amka tells me something is stalking David. She’s afraid for him.
‘Stalking him? What’s stalking him?’
Her mind holds no clear picture of what it is. We must run.
Nancy’s heart clanged against her ribs. ‘By run you mean…?’
Nukka stopped and looked back at her. You must Change.
‘Damn and double damn. I swore I would never Change after that first time and now because of him…’
Decide! Nukka commanded.
Her shoulders sagged ‘Okay.’
Remember what I taught you. Nukka said. Reach out with your mind, touch my spirit, let it become one with your own and don’t fight the Change.
Nancy took a shaky breath and mentally reached out as Nukka instructed her. She felt her humanity slipping away and forced herself to stay calm. It’s just for a while, she told herself. Just until we find David. She became aware of the scents on the breeze, the noise of small creatures scuttling under leaves and she could feel the earth beneath her four paws. She opened her eyes and experimentally flexed muscles she had not had moments before.
Now, follow, she heard as Nukka streaked past her.
Nancy followed. The ground blurred beneath her feet. Trees whipped past. She leapt fallen trunks and deep ravines. The thrill of speed and pleasure at her surefootedness dissolved her fears. The smell and sounds of the forest excited her and invited investigation. Why have I denied myself this for so long? she wondered.
Fear. Nukka’s voice was loud now she shared the wolf’s nature.
Yes, Nancy thought, Nukka was right; it was fear of change. Not wanting to move from what was familiar and safe to what was different and unknown. That’s why they were in this mess.
Nukka stopped and crouched low.
Amka is here, he said.
Nancy focused her mind on her father and their shared love. With a pang of loss she felt her connection to Nukka lessen and her senses dull as she returned to her human form.
Nukka looked up and a magpie flew down to join them. Her black and white plumage shone in startling contrast to the browns and greens of the forest. Nancy nodded her respect. The magpie’s light crisp voice cut into her thoughts and she winced at its strangeness.
David is north of here. He still refuses to see me, refuses to hear me. He must leave. Quickly.
Before Nancy could answer Amka flew off and Nukka followed. Nancy trudged along behind feeling clumsy now she was back on two legs. Within minutes they reached a shallow ravine. Brambles and small bushes grew on its sides and a thin trickle of water fought its way along the bottom. David sat on a boulder close to the water picking something from the palm of his hand and pushing it into his mouth.
‘Stay here,’ Nancy whispered to Nukka. ‘Amka too. I’ll go down alone.’
She was halfway down before David saw her.
‘You! What do you want?’
At twelve, David was two years younger than Nancy yet he was both bigger and stronger. She had often consoled herself that no-one could mistake them for brother and sister. He was large, round and pink, she slight and dark. Pale blue eyes glared at her defiantly, but as she moved closer she saw tear stains on his cheeks.
‘I’m taking you home.’
David stood up and threw the remaining berries at her. ‘I don’t need you to take me home. Besides you’ve made it obvious you don’t want me around so why pretend you do?’
‘Listen to me you little…’ She took a breath and tried again, ‘Amka says…’
‘Amka? You still going on about that stupid bird? I told you I don’t want no useless guide. I bet you’ve got Nukka up there watching out for you. Frightened you’ll get lost without him or something?’
‘Yes, as a matter of…’ with a sudden flash of insight Nancy realized what this was about. ‘This is because you don’t think she’s good enough for you isn’t it? Because Nukka is a wolf you think Amka is inferior in some way.’
David glared. ‘I told you, I’m okay on my own.’
‘Oh yeah? Well how come you haven’t been home? How come Posy is crying her eyes out and dad is worried sick about you? You’re right, I don’t want you around, but for some reason they do and they are driving me mad.’
‘I’ll come back when I’m ready.’
Nancy held her arms out and spun around taking in their surroundings. ‘David, look about you, this isn’t Waverly Wood you know. It’s not just a case of wandering until you get to the edge then yelling for your mummy. There are all kinds of…’
Nancy heard Nukka's silent warning. She ducked and a rock sailed over her head.
‘Get lost. I’ve told you I don’t want no help.’
Nancy stood up barely resisting the urge to leave. ‘Amka says something is coming that is dangerous to you. She says you have to leave here. Now. Unless you think you can drive it off by throwing stones?’ She waited. ‘Well? Do you?’ she demanded.
At last she saw a flicker of concern in his eyes.
‘What ‘something’ is coming?’
‘It’s too far away for Nukka to know what it is and Amka isn’t able to explain, but she’s in a terrible state.’
‘She’s here?’
‘She never left you. She’s with Nukka. Will you at least go up to them?’
David’s eyes swept the ravine nervously and he nodded.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Nancy led the way back up the slope. Amka was flitting from branch to branch in her agitation.
‘Where is it?’ David asked.
‘Where’s what?’
‘The bird.’
‘She’s right there,’ Nancy said, puzzled.
David’s eyes narrowed in suspicion. ‘You’re lying, there is no bird.’
The magpie’s voice cut into her head again. He can’t see me, he has rejected me. Lead him away from here, quickly.
‘Amka says we have to go.’
‘There is no Amka, you’re lying. You’re trying to trick me.’
‘For heaven’s sake, why would I do that?’
Nukka crouched low to the ground baring his teeth and glaring at David. A growl rumbled in his throat. David backed away.
‘We have to leave, now,’ Nancy explained.
From below them came shrill screeches, the sound of twigs snapping and stones being overturned. Nancy realized that whatever was after David was now in the ravine. 

Friday, 6 June 2014

Readers In The Know.

I have just been made aware of this really useful new site called readers in the know.

One aspect of the site is, predictably enough, for readers. Once you put in your reading preferences it will narrow down the selection helping you find a great book. The great bit is they will let you know about any current or upcoming promotions on books that fit your preferences so you could get them when they are reduced or even for free.

The other part of the site is of particular interest for authors, especially Indie authors. Here is how it explains its role;  The purpose of this site is to expose you and your books to large numbers of readers looking for great deals, and to notify those readers of any promotions and events you run. We will also help you to manage your promotion schedule and track the results. 

The reader aspect of the site is totally free.
The Author / Publisher facilities are free for the first three months. Readers in the know is linked to Amazon and any books, both paperback and kindle, you have available there can be added to the site really easily. If you use my promotion code 2NHWH2BN when you sign up you and I will get 10 free advertising credits. I am definitely giving it a try. My books are on there now and I will be using it to run upcoming promotions within the next three months. .
Have a look, see what you think.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Wheel of the Year is Published

The Wheel of The Year is now published.
it is available as a paperback from Amazon and as an eBook from most places.
The next festival to be celebrated on The Wheel  is Litha; the Summer Solstice.
Litha is a time to sit back, relax and enjoy the abundant light and life. Decorate your home with birch, fennel, St. John's wort and white lilies for blessing and protection. Breathe in the promise of Litha as though taking a long anticipatory breath before a dive into a warm, crystal clear pool.

The best is yet to come.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

The Wheel of The Year

Due to be released in time for Litha!!!

The Wheel of the Year is a beginners guide to celebrating the pagan festivals marking the changing seasons.
It has been written after many request from family and friends over the years for ideas on how to celebrate the turning of The Wheel; on appropriate spells, correspondences and activities.  It is available in both eBook format at all the major outlets and as a paperback on-line from Amazon or on request at all the major bookshops. The Wheel of the Year is now available and is in time to prepare to  celebrate, Litha, the Festival of Mid-Summer.

Celebrate the ancient and powerful magic held within the Wheel of the Year with this clear and well-ordered guide. This book is much more than a guidebook; it offers everything needed to mark the changing of the seasons in a meaningful and fulfilling way. Within these pages are suggestions for activities, spells, guided meditations and lists of correspondences for each of the eight Sacred Festivals. Learn something of the role of the Goddess and her Consort and gain an understanding of the important role the Festivals played for our ancestors. Also included are guidance on Casting a Circle and collecting and cleansing the basic tools used for Craft work. Although aimed at those new to the Craft it will give the more knowledgeable tried and tested ways to celebrate these ancient and beloved Festivals.
available at Amazon as a paperback and eBook

Monday, 28 April 2014

Yeal Politis discounted books

Thought you might like to know Yael Politis has discounted two ebooks for this week only.  Enjoy!

Beginning today (April 28) the price of the following eBooks on is discounted to £ 0.99

Midwest Book Review calls both these books "Historical  fiction at its best."  On Olivia, Mourning has received 239 5-star reviews and The Way the World Is has received 152 5-star reviews

They take place in Michigan and Pennsylvania in the early 1840s.

Dates that this price will be effective: Monday, April 28 (8:00 am GMT)  -  Friday, May 2 (8:00 am GMT)

Friday, 14 February 2014

IT IS HERE. The Bonding Crystal is available in paperback!

And to give you a taste of what you are missing here is 
an excerpt from:
Released in paperback on 14 February 2014.

Robby looked over his shoulder and saw one of the snufflers getting down on his hands and knees to crawl into the bush where he and Abigail lay. He glanced at Abigail's terrified face as she lay in a tight protective ball next to him. The goblin was still sniffing the ground as he came and Robby drew his legs up as Abigail had done. He waited until the grappling fingers were within reach of his foot and then kicked out with all his might. He felt the sole of his boot connect with flesh and bone and the goblin let out a howl of pain. Instantly the others stormed the bush. Abigail and Robby got to their knees and began to crawl. Branches tore Robby’s skin and clothes as they scrambled through the bush toward a gap in the ring of goblins. Pulling himself free and grabbing Abigail tightly by the hand he stood up and started to run. The goblins saw them at once and with a howl of delight gave chase. Robby and Abigail had gone no further than a few metres when he felt grasping fingers clutching at his robes. Abigail screamed and fell to the ground with a goblin
holding her ankle. Robby turned to face them at the same time the ear-splitting scream of an angry dragon came from above. The goblins hesitated and looked up as Frenzel descended bellowing his rage. The sound and sight of an angry dragon was awesome. Robby instinctively threw his arms over his head and crouched low to the ground. Frenzel dove into the midst of the goblins closest to Robby and Abigail. Some were almost man high, yet the way Frenzel threw them aside they could be no more than straw dolls. Even in his terror Robby was astonished at Frenzel’s strength and realized he hadn’t fully appreciated his power until now. Keeping low Robby launched himself at the goblin holding Abigail. Wrapping his arms around the goblin’s neck he kicked at the back of his legs trying to over balance him, but he hadn’t the strength of Frenzel. The goblin stood firm and roared his anger. A second goblin came to help and Robby was grabbed in hands like claws, pulled away from Abigail’s attacker and held firm. He and Abigail were dragged to the shelter of the trees where Frenzel could no longer defend them. Robby could do nothing but watch helplessly as Frenzel continued to fight alone.

Available as a paperback from Createspace  and and
It is also available  as an eBook at
 iBooks and 

Thursday, 13 February 2014

In-depth interview on Smashwords.

Hi everyone. I have just had published an in-depth Question and Answer interview on Smashwords. I thought a good way to celebrate the release of The Bonding Crystal  as a paperback would be to share some of my dark secrets. Here is a sample;
Describe your desk
Well, my desk is large and neat with everything in its place. A picture of order in fact. But that is because I rarely use it! My work place of choice is my kitchen table, unfortunately a round table which makes it a bit awkward to work at and it is usually littered with bits of paper scribbled with 'great ideas' and 'maybe come in handy' snippets, and a kitten or probably two. The kittens are the reason I work at the kitchen table. I often have kittens to look after and don't like leaving them alone for days on end when I get immersed in writing. In fact I have a little white girl tugging at my sleeve demanding attention as I type - and then retype.
What are you working on next?
It is a bit of a change of pace for me as I am working on a non fiction book called The Wheel of the Year. It is based on the eight festivals, or Sabbats in the Pagan year which date back to pre-Christian times and are linked to the changing of the seasons.
I give an outline of the festivals as celebrated by modern Pagans along with their history and ways in which they can be celebrated today. I have used my many years experience as a practising Pagan to provided enough information to satisfy most early seekers without getting lost in detail. It will provide a solid base from where the reader can build on their knowledge.
Take a look here for more and let me know if there are other questions you would like to ask. 

The Bonding Crystal will be available at createspace  from tomorrow 14 February and shortly after at amazon   

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Only six days to wait!

There are only six more days to wait before The Bonding Crystal is available as a paperback. It will be available createspace and shortly after on Amazon but if you cant wait until Valentines Day then it is available as an eBook on Amazon, 
Barnes and Noble.

Friday, 31 January 2014

The Bonding Crystal is going Paperback! Yeah!!!.

Hi every one. It has been a long time but it has been all go here.

I am excited to tell you that The Bonding Crystal, Book One of the Dragon World series, will be available in print from Amazon 14 February 2014. Now Valentine ’s Day is even more impossible to forget. And it will still be available to buy as an eBook from Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Barnes and Noble and all the other great book shops it is currently available. 
In the Bonding Crystal Robby meets his dragon, Frenzel for the first time and learns what it means to be bonded and to be a part of Dragon World.
 I will post again when The Bonding Crystal is on the shelves but until then here is a reminder of what this novel is all about:-
Robby McRoss carries around a gaping hole. Not one that can be see or touched, sometimes he feels that perhaps that would be better. This empty place is inside him and is threatening to turn him into less than the wimp his classmates already take him for. To add to his troubles he has an ugly birth mark that is the cause of many a fight. He uses the term ‘fight’ loosely he realises and is the first to admit he does little more than curl up and wait until the fighting part is over. Trouble is it is usually his best friend who sorts it out for him. Not so bad you may think but Abigail is tiny and looks as though a good puff of wind would blow her away. She is also bossy, self-opinionated and has appointed herself Robby’s guardian angel.

It is not until Robby meets, Frenzel, his dragon, that the empty place begins to heal. However to keep Frenzel he must prove himself compatible. Abigail has serious doubts about the whole thing and no intention of letting him go off alone. Things get worse when Robby discovers that someone is planning to destroy his new world and its inhabitants and everything he is learning to love. He and Frenzel have to stop them and while doing so Robby discovers the ‘Empty Place’ has finally healed. This leaves Abigail free to discover that life need not always mean managing someone else’s. 

The Bonding Crystal is currently available as an ebook at:



Barnes and Noble

iBooks, just type in my name Maureen Murrish to get you there.

And remember The Bonding Crystal will be available as a paperback book at createspace  from 14 February 2014 and at Amazon shortly after.