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Monday, September 23, 2013

A Little Bit of English

Hello, dear readers! For those who don’t know me, I’m a British writer who loves history and folklore. I’m originally from the same town as The Cure, but I’ve spent half my life in quaint village settings that wouldn’t look out of place in Hobbiton.

Some of the guys look like hobbits, too, but I digress.

The English countryside is bursting with fayres, harking back to ye olden days, and I admit I have always been a sucker for them. My favourites are the medieval fayres, the sorts that have people in period costume. Long haired hotties, medieval musicians and warriors. I do love that.

Here is a peasant-boy version of me, at Herstmonceux castle. The big woman in red was part of the parade later.

Because my English mother has always danced in morris sides, we’ve been taken along to folk fayres, whatever the weather, since we were kids. Morris, now recognised as a very English style of dance, is something that sprung up in the middle ages, yet no one can agree on where from.

Arguments aside, there a few styles of morris. The more usual sight is a somewhat genteel dance, known as Cotswolds, with the handkerchiefs and bells, and soft music. Then there is border morris, from the Welsh borderlands. That’s the style I prefer; it’s a lot faster, there’s usually more drums so it’s louder, and the dancers wear masks or painted faces (because the peasants originally dancing it didn’t want their identities known) and sticks are smashed with lots of shouts and shrieks.

I’m rather partial to creepy things like The Wickerman, and maypoles, masks, and horror, so when I started writing my Goblins fantasy series, I knew I had to include some morris dancing. Though, to them, it is normal dancing. When one of the goblins moves into a human castle, in the second story, and sees the tame court dancing, he is not impressed at all. So, they run off to the village, to partake in some masked border dance instead.

One of the dances the villagers dance in my story, is The Horn Dance. A hunting dance, traditionally done with six dancers brandishing deer antlers to represent the animals, and later more dancers come on as archers. It represents good luck for the hunt.


There’s quite a few castles dotted about Britain, and I’ve been lucky enough to visit a few. If I lived in a castle, I’d like a moat and a long drawbridge. Herstmonceux castle was pretty enough in appearance to give an idea of what my castle in the Goblins story would be like.

While Goblins is a historical piece of fantasy, I wanted to give it a modern pace and humour. It needed to appeal to someone like myself, who loves history but is more interested in the story. I wanted the series to be fun, light-hearted, and romantic.

There are modern pop culture references peppered throughout, if readers think they can spot one, let me know!

 In the 17th Century, the ancient sprawl of Epping forest is bursting with magic and those who go unseen by human eyes: the elves who rule the summer court, and the goblins who rule the winter court. It is said that if a human catches the eye of one of the fey, they are either doomed or blessed.

Wulfren & the Warlock

When Wulfren wakes from a strange dream of a human captor with long silver hair, and grey eyes, his brothers tell him they rescued him from a warlock, and take Wulfren back home to the goblin king's palace. But Wulfren isn’t so sure the matter is that simple. Why was he missing so long? What are the strange dreams of the beautiful man with the silver hair? Dalliances with humans are severely frowned upon, especially by Wulfren’s father, but Wulfren is willing to risk the scorn of his family to find the human who haunts his dreams.

Quiller & the Runaway Prince

After a hard winter, Quiller is sent deep into the forest on a family errand, and is surprised when a human stumbles into his path. Quiller swoops in to pester him, perhaps even eat him, but there is something special about the human: his scent is royal, though he protests that he is not, and soon Quiller finds himself agreeing to help the human with his troubles—in exchange for a kiss.

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