Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hello snow mold

Well, the melt is happening but that doesn’t mean to say there won’t be more snow. I am itching to get on the flowerbeds but I currently don’t own a jackhammer. I’ll have to wait another month before the ground is soft enough to work. In the meantime I am keeping clear as the mold under the snow is becoming exposed and I figure I have been sick enough this year.

I got some really foul bug in February that floored me completely and it still seems to be hanging on by one nasty claw. While my chest is now clear I am still so very tired. Right now I am supposed to be working on Writhe of Wurms, the third in the Darkspire series and it is as much as I can do to stay awake. Not impressed by this so have been taking loads of vitamin pills and now some iron ones, although the latter in moderation. I absolutely have to be fit by May as grandbaby #5 is going to be making his or her appearance. No, we don’t know which yet as the momma and pappa have one of each already and wish to be surprised.

On another note, I have started to accumulate all birthday and xmas presents well in advance after last year’s mess with the Canada post strike messing up xmas posting. What sympathy I may have had in their cause disappeared down the toilet at that point. So…this year I will be well prepared. I am shopping for both birthdays and xmas whenever I see something suitable for whoever it will please. To this end I have accumulated some great dragon mobile books for certain small boys for xmas. Hopefully, everything will be done by the end of summer.

So, not being able to get on my yard doesn’t mean I haven’t started planning my hanging baskets and planters. I know already I will need more planter pots as the frost has cracked a few. Now that was my bad as I should have taken them into the garage and didn’t. So, themes for this year? I think one of the hanging baskets must be red, orange, and black with lime green foliage. Another one should be pastel. It is really going to depend on what is on offer round about Mother’s Day weekend when the greenhouses open for business. What I do want a fair number of is citronella, to keep the darn cat out of my boarders. Yes, it is my cat but I do not appreciate his horticultural inclinations of planting stink seeds that never grow.

Oh, and if anyone is looking for a bargain book to read, Darkspire Reaches ebook is currently 99c or thereabouts in all the Amazons.

Changing times

People talk about how the twentieth century was the most fast moving with the advent of world wars, the atom bomb, television, space travel, computers, etc but many overlook the most life changing but hidden differences. Take the middle part of the century, for example. At that time it was normal for a married woman to stay at home to be a house wife but what people don’t realize is it wasn’t only normal, it was essential. Refrigerators were something ordinary households didn’t possess, which meant perishable goods such a meat, had to be acquired every day or other day. Meat not used immediately had to be kept in a meat safe, which had holes or mesh for the air to get in but not the flies.

Cars, if owned, belonged to the man of the house to get to his work. The wife needed to shop every day for food unless the people had a large vegetable garden and a lot of people did. A woman would either walk to the shops, or ride a bicycle, which was better as the goods could go in the basket at the front of the handlebars. Things like cheese came from a grocer shop and the required small amount was cut off a large slab with a cheese wire. Tea, coffee, flour and other dry goods were weighted out on a scale and then bagged up in brown paper bags. Butter was formed into a rectangle with two butter pats and wrapped up in wax paper. Think about the weight of all this and the lack of refrigeration.

One of the now lost jobs was that of a milkman, who would deliver milk and cream in the very early morning. A person would indicate how many bottles were to be left of what type by leaving out a note the night before in the washed bottles to be returned. This was one of the very few delivery services, along with a paper boy and the post.

So now we have a chunk of each day acquiring food and cleaning supplies. Now comes the cooking. Yes, bread came from the baker, but cake and other sweet treats were a tad too expensive for a family with one wage coming in. Some people did make their own bread, though. Everything going into the meals usually had to be constructed with the raw ingredients. I am thinking of things like pastry and also vegetables, as canned or frozen were not about. This also meant vegetables were seasonal.

Yes, there were rudimentary vacuum cleaners, but very few households had a washer. Most did have a mangle and would hang out the laundry on a clothes line irrespective of the temperature. Think about how long it would take to do a load of laundry using a wash board and a mangle?

Now think about the sort of shops that would have to be the heart of a town of a village? Thrown in a yarn and a fabric shop as woman generally made their own clothes and those of their children. Grocer, green grocer, butcher, baker, post office, which would also sell stationary, A haberdashery would supply yarn, clothe, buttons, thread, etc. Book stores only happened in cities or large towns.

Now think about the look of a high street today and the sort of shops. Also think about how much time is spent on shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. Thanks for your memories, Grandma.

Alas for the time gone by in a flash

Right now, the first major dump of December.

Why the missing time? Stuff happened, some good and more not so good. I have worked on writing but have flitted from one project to another, unable to concentrate properly as I got a good dose of the glums. I think the thing that started that off was waiting forever for a cover for my new book. I’d see a half done version and loved it, but then came the long silence. I will not bug my publisher constantly as it isn’t their fault so I waited and fretted and got glum. The upshot is the project was ditched for some unknown and unexpressed reason so my wonderful publisher scrambled to get a truly wonderful and very busy cover person, Ken Dawson, to do a new one for me. This is by far my favorite cover ever, by a long stretch and I love it to bits. 

Isn’t it brilliant?  So book published and the glums start to recede only to get another negative boost. This is personal stuff mostly about loosing people from this mortal coil, quite a few this year as it happens. It makes for writing xmas cards that bit more difficult because of the omissions as these were people I cared about a lot. Then this month came news that a former friend had died suddenly. I am sad for their family at the unexpected even, albeit I shed my tears years ago when this person chose to walk away from friendship with no explanation. I was over that years back and yet this is still sad. The person was a month younger than me. It makes a person feel a tad vulnerable although my tally of years isn’t that great as yet. 

Then there was sickness. The dh and I caught a very nasty chest cold that lasted a good month. Yuk. The foul thing is doing the rounds as other family members are currently sick with it, although we stayed away from them while infectious. So…having failed to do Nano (the writing marathon for November), this year I am resolved to stop procrastinating and start listening to all the characters who are screaming at me to get on with their stories. Maybe I’ll get a book done by xmas? We will see. 

Wow, a great review for the Shadow series.

I just saw this on and am busy doing my happy dance. Reviews are lifeblood to authors and a huge boost when someone has obviously enjoyed a series. I hope the reader enjoys the fourth book, Staff of Shadows, which is currently 99c on pre-order until publication on October 1st, when it reverts to full price. It is available on all the Amazons, Kobo, Nook and other places. .

L L reviewed Shadow Over Avalon
Keys to the kingdom 19 September 2018
I am actually loving this story so much that I am hard pushed to find the right words of praise for this series. As a silly mistake on my behalf when I first found the books) I read the first 3 in reverse, so now I really loved learning how it all started. I was not disappointed! Arthur’s snooping into Shadow’s past via the Archive made me want to read on past the point where I really should be putting down the book and it flows in such a lovely way, that the reference to all the alien tech does not clog up the understanding with over-techinical definitions or super sci-fy information. It’s imaginative and unique. It is simply a joy to have discovered a new fabulous author and I cannot wait for the next book to be released! If you are thinking ‘maybe’ – just don’t! Buy it and read it! You won’t be sorry!




I hope I am safe to put my flowers out in containers and hanging baskets. If not, then I will be flying about trying to cover them all with garbage bags. This time of year is always so much of a risk as we could still get snow. Crosses fingers.

When Greed Becomes Obscene.

Some of you are probably just finding out that there is a problem posting a review for a book you have just read. Reviews can now only be attached to the site of your home Amazon account and only if you have spent $50 or whatever in your local currency in the past 12 months. There has to be x amount of cash spent by visa or debit card on any site in order to review there. How many ordinary readers spend that amount in one year? How much money does it take to satisfy the greed of an extremely rich man? I guess that well has no bottom.

Reviews are a writer’s life blood. Why try to strangle us? We get a pitiful amount in royalties anyway, with Amazon taking the lions share and more. A sad, sad day.

Interview with Ellen Croshain about her new book

So, this story you’ve written. What’s it about? Why should I interrupt my nap-time to read it?
Well, ‘Cruelty: Unmasked’ is a sequel to my first book, ‘Cruelty’. It’s set about 25 years after the events of book 1. Eliza and Cornelius have two children, Áine and Caolán who are 21 and 16. Faroust is still around as Henry the gardener, stewing over what Eliza did to him. But everything isn’t well with Eliza’s family; Cornelius and Caolán are at each other’s throats and Áine, who has recently broken up with her long term boyfriend, has caught Henry’s eye. He deliberately seduces her, with a mind to eventually reveal it to Eliza, and break her heart. Eliza herself isn’t well and seems to be slowly unravelling. And let’s not forget about the Veil. Eliza may have closed it, but that doesn’t mean it’ll stay closed. More than that I can’t say, but there is a third book.
Where do you get inspiration? Where did the ideas for your latest novel come from?
Mostly mythology. My BA degree is in Ancient History and English Literature. I read a lot, from classic literature to sci-fi, so sometimes a seed of an idea will lodge itself in my brain. I have always had a really active imagination so my brain will just feed it until it happens. The inspiration for ‘Cruelty: Unmasked’ actually came from Elizabeth Hull, who reviewed ‘Cruelty’ and said she hoped there was scope for more stories. I started writing and found there were lots more stories to tell. Not all of them may make it into printed word but they’re there.
Who’s your favourite imaginary friend? Is there anyone you don’t like?
From my own writing or other people’s? If it’s my own, it’s Eliza. She’s resourceful, clever, fiercely protective of her family but I also like her less honourable qualities. She is manipulative and secretive but none of what she does is intended to hurt anyone.

If it’s someone else’s work, then it’s Lestat. He was the first character I ever really connected with, the first hero (anti-hero) who was shades of grey, good and bad in equal measure.

As for someone I don’t like. Superman. He’s too black and white. Too judgemental.
What are your plans to conquer the world?
Irrepressible Irish charm. Plus I know a few Faeries who might help out, just for the craic.
What research rabbit-holes have you been down while writing? What was the most interesting, or the most tedious?
Oh, so many. Mostly it was Faerie Queens (there are many). Without giving too much away, I needed one, and I’d killed Mebh off-stage in Book 1 and Jim Butcher’s sort of got the monopoly on Mab. It took forever to decide on who to use and then to create a strong character for her. I’m happy with how she turned out though.
How often do you provide a cat sleeping spot- I mean, write? Do you have a comfy chair and a routine, or do you freelance cat-nap style?
I try to write every day but there’s no routine. I have a full time job, a toddler and a household to run so I squeeze in the writing whenever I can.
When you’re not writing, what do you spend your time doing? Besides looking at cat pictures on the internet, obviously.
I teach English full time. When not at work or writing, I spend as much time with my family as I can. I sing in my church choir and I bake as well.
Is there anything you’ve read/seen recently that would be worthy of my attention? [aka. what book or film recommendations would you make?]
‘Thor: Ragnarock’ was so good, a really good adventure. ‘Coco’ was amazing. Left me in floods of tears. I’ve also been watching some great anime: ‘My Hero Academia’ is a great underdog story and ‘The Ancient Magnus’ Bride’ is just a wonderfully bittersweet thing, full of magic and faeries. As for books: Dresden Files, ‘The Copper Promise’, ALL of the Grimbold Catalogue, The Vampire Chronicles, and ‘The Iliad’ and ‘The Odyssey’.

If you kindly brought your human a present, and they scream and tell you that they don’t like dead mice – that’s just rude, isn’t it?
Well, I know that cats think that humans are just bad hunters who can’t take care of themselves, which is why they bring dead mice but honestly, you don’t need to worry; we have supermarkets these days. I understand why you would find it rude though.
Cats. Fabulous, or completely fabulous?
Completely fabulous.
What’s your second-favourite food? Because obviously you are a human of taste and discretion, and therefore your favourite is tuna.
Actually, I have an oily fish allergy so tuna would kill me. I love pasta, spaghetti Bolognese is my favourite.
Bold’s bow tie: excellently stylish, or rather dashing?
Rather dashing
On a scale of ‘excellent’ to ‘needs more practise’, how good are you at giving ear scritches?
Excellent. No cat has ever complained.
By the way, I left you a present behind the chair. I hope you like hairballs.
I will treasure it always. I will even place it in a special container that is definitely not the bin.

Available for pre-order, release date 30th May
Henry used to be a god. Now, he’s just the gardener.
Nearly twenty-five years have passed since the ancient Faroust fell in love with Eliza MacTir. Stripped of his powers and forced to work for the family he used to rule, he can’t avoid the woman who ruined him. But when a chance encounter brings him into contact with Eliza’s daughter Áine, a twenty-one year old student looking for a chance to explore herself, he sees a chance to exact revenge. The affair is sweet and Henry knows that when he finally reveals it to Eliza, it will be even sweeter.
But Henry and Áine aren’t the only ones keeping secrets. Áine’s brother Caolán, sixteen and rebellious, has his share of demons and not all is well with Eliza and Cornelius. The veneer of the perfect family has cracks and once the truths start to spill, everything Eliza fought for will start to unravel.
Secrets cannot be buried forever and the Veil won’t stay shut. Darker forces are watching and waiting…

Ellen Crosháin is a Northern Irish writer, now living and working in South Wales. With a Northern Irish father and an Irish mother, she is the eldest of four children. Her entire childhood was spent with her head either in the clouds or in books.

She has a wide range of interests. She is a classically trained singer and is a member of her local Church choir. She loves to cook, especially baking. She makes an excellent chocolate and Guinness cake. Oddly enough, she loves to read and really does read everything from comic books to classic literature. If it’s interesting, she’ll read it but Fantasy and Gothic or Horror are her favourites.

Every draft of everything she’s ever written is done by hand in a series of beautiful notebooks. She finds that there is something more organic, more real, about the process of creating a story if it’s done by hand first.

Ellen currently lives on the outskirts of Cardiff, with her Scottish husband and a small army of guinea pigs.