Published! The Verry Volk

Two days ahead of schedule, I am happy to report that The Verry Volk has now been published and is available in both paperback and Kindle editions :) You can purchase your copy here.
The Verry Volk book cover

The Verry Volk - published and ready to purchase from Amazon

Now it is time for me to concentrate on continuing the second draft of Berserk!

Shed Sounds

A field recording of the last summer day we spent in our garden in 2019. As with all my audio recordings, this is best listened to with a good set of headphones:

Berserk! Draft 2. Chapter 5. Completed.

Sunflowers at Night

Following on from last year's visit to the local sunflower field, I paid a late 3 a.m. visit to the site last night. It was an eerie experience to say the least!


Splinter - More Christmas Trouble

I am still experimenting with working out the plots of my books by story-boarding them:


Solstice Postie...


The Hylder-moer


According to early European folk tales, the tree-dwelling spirit, the Hylda-moer, would haunt those who cut down their trees. Furniture made from their trees would also be haunted, the occupants of the house being pinched black and blue by the resident wood spirit. This little titbit of research has inspired events in my forthcoming Christmas ghost story, which I hope to have published by Crimbo 2020 :)


September

The summer of 2019 is fading fast and whilst I still live in dread of the cold, dark and bleak season of winter, I do have a bit of a soft spot for September.

Perhaps more so than New Year, I see September as a time of new ventures, of moving on, of ditching the things that have not worked out so well for me over the past year. I suppose that this feeling is a remnant of the main cycle of yearly change that occurs in the school year, and later the college ad Higher Education years, all of which start in September (or early October in some cases for university courses).

This feeling of renewal balances out the awful feeling that emanates from the yearly turning of the wheel and the slipping away of summer. I will miss sitting out in the sunshine, with either a book or a blank page and pen in my hands. I will miss the joy of gardening, of watching seeds I have sown spring to life and eventually flowering. I will miss the warmth of the sun on my skin. I now have to wait a whole six months for these joys to return. But in the meantime, I have new projects and fresh ideas to work on and lose myself in.

Work on my writing shed will start anew in September (the shed had been needed for more traditional handiwork and joinery over the last few months) and I will start working on my new novella in there in the next few weeks. Those visitors to Pixie-Led with keen eyes might have already noticed that I have already made a tentative start on this next writing project - just rough scribblings so far though, enabled in the quieter moments of my new day job (another fresh start). Now that I am able to put The Verry Volk behind me, I am looking forward to working on this new novella, which is a Christmas ghost story entitled Solstice. I won't go into any detail about this new venture yet, though you may be able to get the gist of the story plot from these initial doodles:





To hopefully help in the writing of Solstice, I have also signed up to a free Open University online creative writing course, which looks like it may be useful to me. I am only on Week Two of the course but I am intent on completing the thing. I will discuss this O.U. course sometime in the near future, but for now I think I will leave this post here.

It is time to embrace the coming month of September and the new season ahead...

Completed: The Verry Volk

I am happy to report that my guide to local faery folklore, The Verry Volk, has now been completed. It should be hopefully available to buy sometime over the next week. :)


In The Shed

Misery in the Garden

What a welcome relief to feel the warmth of the sun again :)

Reading Stephen King's Misery out in the garden

A Beach Campfire Beneath the Stars

Making the most of the last nights of Summer 2019:

Our campfire beneath The Plough constellation

Yours truly beneath the stars
I made a couple of audio recording whilst there too, to help capture better the atmosphere of the evening (headphones needed to appreciate the field recording):


Three Cliffs Bay, Pennard

I took a walk down to this fine beach today:

Three Cliffs Bay
It was a lovely walk down from the car park...


...and I saw this curious scene en route:

Skittles decorating the path down to Three Cliffs Bay

The magnificent Three Cliffs Bay
Three Cliff Bay, looking towards Oxwich

Heading back along Pennard Cliffs...

Pennard Cliffs


...I stopped off for some refreshments at the Pennard Stores outdoors cafe, where I made this short field recording of the background chatter there:


I couldn't think of a better way to round off this year's summer :)

The Verry Volk #10 and #11

With The Verry Volk close to completion, I will conclude this short series of posts sharing some of the photographs contained in the book with these two images, both taken along the immense marshland that stretches from the foot of Llanmadoc.

A pony meandering across the marshlands of Llanmadoc

Cwm Ivy Tor, Llanmadoc
It has been an immense pleasure writing and producing this book, which I hope you will finally be able to get your hands on sometime over the next weekend. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed working on it.

The Verry Volk #9

The sunshine dripping through leafy boughs, Llanmadoc

The Verry Volk #8

In the depths of Betty Church Woods, Llanmadoc, a shaft of light strikes an ancient tree.


The Verry Volk #7

This is one of my favourite photographs featured in The Verry Volk - a nice moonlit shot of Three Cliffs Bay. According to local folklore, this was once the scene of Fae festivities. Interrupted by a chief and his army, who attempted to slaughter the magickal creatures, the faery folk, or Verry Volk as the locals used to term them, wreaked a dreadful vengeance on the warring men and their castle, which looked down upon the bay!

A moonlit Three Cliffs Bay

The Verry Volk #6

A lonely lane on the Gower Peninsula

The Verry Volk #5

Another image from my forthcoming book, The Verry Volk:



The Verry Volk #4

This image from my forthcoming book, The Verry Volk, features the village I called home for the first twenty years of my life - Penclawdd. I hope you agree that I was very lucky to have been brought up amongst such spectacular natural beauty:


The Verry Volk #3

The image below, photographed in Pitton, Gower, was originally intended to be the cover design for my book The Verry Volk. If you are interested in how that design would have looked, you can see it here. You can also see the alternative cover design, featuring another photograph from the book, here. Ultimately, I decided upon this later design, as I felt it held a richer connotation of the magical aspects of nature, which I wanted to denote in the book. I still have a soft spot for the below image though and have included it in the book for your delectation.


The Verry Volk #2

Even amongst the hustle and bustle of 21st Century life, the old haunts of the Fae are still beautiful and serene. Here a couple of images from my forthcoming book ~ The Verry Volk, featuring one of my favourite locations, Three Cliffs Bay:

Three Cliffs Bay, an old haut of the magickal Fae

Three Cliffs Bay

The Verry Volk #1

To celebrate the upcoming release of my next book - The Verry Volk, I will be publishing some of the photographs that will appear within its pages here on my Pixie-Led site. First up, here's a picture I took at the summit of Pennard Cliffs, overlooking the Bristol Channel:


The Uninvited by Clive Harold

The Uninvited by Clive Harold (1979 edition)

This book spellbound me when I first read it at the time of its initial publication in 1979. The skies still held that wonderment generated by the release of Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind a few years previously, and I had even formed a small 'UFO Watching Club' in my school that gathered in the warm summer evenings to atop a hill behind our home village. Tales of UFO sightings were rife at the time in South Wales and the area, or at least the skies over the area that had become labelled 'The Welsh Triangle' could be seen in the distance from our watching ground. Unfortunately, we never spotted anything out of the ordinary on any of our meet-ups :(

Clive Harold's book, detailing the strange occurrences experienced by the Coombs family during the height of the UFO sightings with The Welsh Triangle, was a gripping read and was easily as scary as any other horror novel I had read at the time, especially as the book took pains to point out that every word contained within it was the God's honest truth!

'THIS STORY IS TRUE. YOU'LL WISH IT WASN'T.'

'Every word in this book is as true as it is incredible.'
Even though the book is essentially a novelisation of the events that are said to have transpired to the Coombs family, I remember believing every single thing that was written on it pages had occurred exactly like it was stated within its pages, especially as the publisher, Star, had categorised the book as Non-fiction!

Inside front cover of the 1979 edition of The Uninvited by Clive Harold

Pauline Coombs (the central focus of the book)
with her two children at Ripperston Farm
The book is set during 1997, primarily on Ripperston Farm and the nearby coast at Stack Rocks. It commences with Pauline Coombs stood at her kitchen window, looking up at the night sky and watching a ball of incandescent light that hung motionless there. At first she imagines that the light is a flare, set off from the nearby coast, but after a while the light began a "swaying motion. Gently. Like a pendulum. Back and forth. To and fro. Like it was watching here, waving to her". This curious incident is followed by other unusual occurrences, a light following them in the night sky as they drive home one evening, flickering lights at the window of their cottage, and soon escalates to the sighting of a glowing seven foot tall figure in a silver suit staring into the cottage at the family.

Ripperston Farmhouse
Further events recorded in the book include more incidences of silver-suited figures, unusual dark and fluid shapes moving around their home and a UFO performing incredible acrobatics before diving into the sea at Stack Rocks! 

Signpost to Stack Rocks
Heading to the clifftop at Stack Rocks to investigate further, Pauline spots two figures, , again silver-suited, each around ten feet tall, clambering about the base of the rock formations.  A doorway appears in the rock and the figures disappear through the entrance. Stepping out of site, the door itself then vanishes from view.

My copy of The Uninvited at the sight of one
of the more unusual occurrences in the book


I won't give away anything further about the contents of the tale contained within The Uninvited but the tale truly makes for a fascinating read and it is a real page-turner of a book. And for those of us lucky enough to have lived through and experienced the 1970's, the book a real nostalgic treat.

A figure atop the cliffs at Stack Rocks

Stack Rocks
It is now over 42 years after the events depicted in The Uninvited were said to have taken place. And 40 years since Clive Harold's novelisation was published. In the intervening years, Pauline Coombs and her family have kept a very low profile and no longer seem to want to discuss the matters recorded in the novelisation of the events she witnessed. The author himself seems to have fallen on hard times. The last mention of him I could find was this short news clip from ITV's News at Ten, which finds the writer a little down o his luck but in good spirits.

Stack Rocks

Stack Rocks
As for myself, after losing my original copy of The Uninvited many moons ago, I recently stumbled across another in my local second hand store and snaffled it up with greedy hands. Upon a second reading, I found that the book was just as creepy and engrossing as I remembered it being. And, having reignited my passion for the tale contained within its tattered covered, I even drove out to take a look at both Ripperston Farmhouse and the famous Stack Rocks themselves. As you can hopefully see by the photographs of the sites I have including in this article, it was day out to remember :)

The magnificent Green Bridge of Wales, Stack Rocks

If this brief entry has stirred your interest, I can recommend this interesting read as your next port of call.