The weekend promotion slot starts here with a little cameo performance from Freya Pickard. I came across Freya through her haiku blog on which she showcases haiku poets and their poetry, with periodic themed calls for submissions. As well as promoting poets, Freya is a poet in her own right, and she also writes novels. She has sent me such a tiny author pic it says a lot about the difficulty many of us have about shouting our own praise.
As Freya says “It’s hard promoting yourself, isn’t it?” So let’s start with the biggie, The Essence of Thyme.
Here’s the blurb.
An oblique re-telling of Sleeping Beauty, The Essence of Thyme allows Parsley the limelight (for once) as she pursues her dream of finding a handsome prince and true love. But messages from Merlin come in the form of riddles. Just who is this mysterious Nimue? Why has an enchanted forest suddenly appeared before Castle Thyme? Parsley veers between absolute determination and terror in her quest to find her true love. Can she and Dracomagan solve the riddle? Can they break the spell that holds Castle Thyme in its insidious grip?
Excerpt from The Essence of Thyme
Behind them the frozen river remained silent. A chill wind scattered loose flakes, filling up the hollows of their footprints. Before them white-furred twigs gleamed in weak sunlight.
Dracomagan shivered, loosening her weapon in its scabbard. “I don’t like it,” she announced, “the air reeks of enchantment.”
Parsley hugged herself, feeling the frigid air penetrate her fur-lined hat. “I have been chosen,” she said. “I must find a way.”
Dracomagan looked sceptical and stared again at the barrier before them. A tangle of tree and frost, gleaming blue-green, stood motionless. Thorny briar held hazel sapling with brown frosted chains. Beyond them, fallen birches leaned at odd angles, bark almost luminous. Through the gaps between trunks they could see a mass of grey-blue-greenness, shot through with hints of purple.
“Right!” Dracomagan stamped her booted feet decisively, reached behind her and withdrew the jagged blade. She hefted the wicked-looking weapon with both hands and swung it at the nearest profusion of branches. The giant potato peeler bounced off frosted wood, jarring the woman’s hands. She winced, swearing under her breath.
“That’s not right,” Parsley murmured. “The message said “a ruby tear will open the way.””
“A ruby tear?” Dracomagan snorted. “What’s that?”
Parsley looked thoughtful while the warrior checked her blade for damage. At length, the girl slipped off a fur-lined mitten and stretched out long fingers towards the iced barbs. She delicately pressed the first finger of her right hand against a slender, pointed icicle. A single drop of bright red blood fell against the frost rimed branch. Parsley placed her pierced finger in her mouth. Like an echo of breaking glass, the air was filled with sparkling light. A cool breeze rattled the frozen briars.
“Look!” Parsley gestured to the tangle of briar and branch as they unwound and drew apart.
“Shards and Shells!” Dracomagan exclaimed as a pathway emerged from the retreating undergrowth. Ahead of them loomed a green plantation of giant trees…
I have written stories and poetry ever since I was seventeen. Since being diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2014 I have realised that life is too short to wait on publishers and agents who never even acknowledge they’ve received my work, let alone actually get back to me. I am now in the process of publishing everything I have ever written. There’s a lot, and I’ve only just started! When I’m not writing, I enjoy cooking healthy meals, dancing by myself and walking in the English countryside. I read anything except horror.
What Freya Writes
I don’t like my writing (or myself) being put into a box! But, I don’t mind being associated with the idea of speculative fiction and poetry. In the simplest terms that means I look at the world and think “what if”… I write from the heart and my experience (yes, I do meet dragons, unicorns and trolls – most people do, they just don’t see beyond the exterior image!) I am struggling to write prose still and can manage only short bursts. Short form poetry is the easiest way for me to express myself at the moment.
What Freya’s working on
I’m currently preparing my first short story collection; five stories that are associated with Dracomagan and the world she inhabits. And I’m also close to finalising my first poetry collection that journeys through my experience of cancer, surgery and chemotherapy. An ongoing project is my quarterly newsletter where I serialise a short story in a year. 2016 sees The Oil of Sage being serialised. This is the follow on story from The Essence of Thyme. You can find out more at https://dragonscaleclippings.wordpress.com/fanzine/current-story/
Despite having an innate distrust of social media, I recognise its use as a tool for an independent writer. You can, therefore, find me all over the place: –
For someone who finds promotion hard, you may find these two videos of Freya talking about herself and The Essence of Thyme pretty amazing.
You can buy The Essence of Thyme here
And Dragonscale Leggings, the first book about Dracomagan, here
I hope you’ll delve a little deeper into Freya’s world, follow her blog, and keep a look out for the next call for haiku submissions.