Category Archives: Beneath the Distant Star

Finding Myself Beneath… Surviving Hope

Following last year’s release all three Surviving Hope novels are now available,
and I just got my own physical copies featuring their new covers.
I love them and it made me muse on an old post from three years ago.
What have you discovered beneath?

Surviving Hope Novels - Lisa Shambrook.

Writing teaches you a great deal about life, it purges, inspires, enthrals, and opens your mind, and you learn things about yourself. This series – Beneath the Rainbow, Beneath the Old Oak, and Beneath the Distant Star – saw much of myself come to the fore as I wrote about the lives of three girls and the events that permeated their souls and families. What have I discovered?

Dreams - Beneath the Rainbow - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Beneath the RainbowThe first book in the series follows Freya after a tragic accident and her desire to achieve her dreams. How important are your dreams? J R R Tolkien said A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities. I concur. Your dreams and what you do with them will define you.

Imagine a life without wishes and goals and the desire to achieve? I’d feel as if I’d lost my very soul if I had no dreams to chase. Old Thomas has a dream that appears pointless and unachievable, but Freya longs to help him and he quips “It’s those silly dreams that keep us alive.”

I began life as a contemplative dreamer… a quiet, shy child with an imagination that spanned so many ideas. It took until I was thirty to turn those gossamer dreams into concrete goals, but I did, and now I’m working hard to keep those dreams-turned-goals alive!

There is a difference between dreams and goals. Putting something in writing or into action changes the aspect of a dream into something solid.

Choose to put your dreams into action, choose to make them happen. Dreams are messages from your heart to chase and work towards to help you grow and become who you’re meant to be.

Oak - Beneath the Old Oak - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Beneath the Old OakIn the second book Meg has grown up with an erratic mother and her life begins to fall apart as her mother unravels. She seeks solace beneath the wide arcing branches of an ancient oak. I’ve learned that nature is my first port of call to help my mental and emotional health. I go to nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses put in order said John Burroughs.

Trees are my solace, from providing my grounding stim – acorn cups – to allowing me time to rearrange my head when I’m overwhelmed. Both oak trees and willows speak to me and both appear in my books. Trees stand as sentinels, strength emanating from their trunks and boughs, and life – a constant rotation with the seasons – in their blossom and leaves.

How can you not be inspired by trees? I’ve visited Sherwood Forest several times and I’m always emotionally affected by the Major Oak. It’s thought to be between 800 and 1,000 years old and is a sight to behold. It’s so large its boughs and branches are held up with supports, and you cannot walk about its 10m (33ft) girth because its aged root system is so fragile and constant footsteps would damage the ground.

The other oak that serves as my muse lives in Green Castle Woods, close to my home, and is small and broken, but every year it overcomes its hollow trunk and flourishes with leaves and acorns. Trees like this fill me with awe as I wonder at all the history they’ve seen. It makes perfect sense to me that Meg could find answers beneath her old oak.

Stars - Beneath the Distant Star - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Beneath the Distant Starthe final book in the trilogy finds Jasmine fighting to become herself as she battles the ghost of a sister she no longer remembers. The stars stimulate my mind with both wonder and ideas. If I need to remind myself of miracles, and marvels, and the need to dream I just have to look at the stars.

My favourite constellation will always be Orion, the Hunter. It’s the first formation my dad ever taught me and the one I always look for. You’ll recognise names of Orion’s stars, his shoulders are made up Betelgeuse (one of the largest stars known to us) and Bellatrix, right and left respectively. The Orion Nebula – a mass of dust, hydrogen, helium, and other ionized gases – is a stunning cluster and makes up the middle star in his sword which hangs from his belt made up of the nebula and two stars. The Orion Nebula is 1,600 light-years from earth, and seen through a telescope is astoundingly beautiful. Finally, Rigel, the Hunter’s left knee is a blue supergiant and the brightest star in the constellation.

When Jasmine stares up at the stars she tries to harness their light and pull hope into the darkness of her world.

The stars spread across the inky night sky give me hope and something to reach for. Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the nightSarah Williams’ quote lives right in my heart. I live for reaching, for compassion, for uniting the world, a bit like the Star Trek Federation. I have never seen our world as individual countries; as places to build walls and to live separately. I believe in unity and harmony, and the stars give me hope that maybe one day that’s how we’ll all live – together.

The Surviving Hope Novels - Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

So, these three books have inspired hope both with the grounding nature of trees and the celestial shooting stars of reaching for hopes and dreams.

Find out what Freya discovered Beneath the Rainbow,
What Meg found Beneath the Old Oak,
And what Jasmine searched for Beneath the Distant Star…

What will you find?

Surviving Hope Novels - Lisa Shambrook

Find all buy links for paperbacks and eBooks at lisashambrook.com or BHCPress.com

The Journey to Becoming Who You Are…

Figuring out who you are is the whole point of the human experience
Anna Quinlan
Discovering who you are is a journey and one that I don’t think has a final destination.
I am a contradiction, someone who hates change and yet, embraces it too…

The Journey to Becoming Who You Are... - The Last Krystallos
I recently posted a selfie on Instagram captioning it: Sometimes, I’m happy with who I am. Becoming who I’m meant to be. A lovely friend responded that I don’t need to change and become anything else, that I am great as I am.

This set me thinking. Self-acceptance has always been something I struggled with – I’ve always felt out of place, odd, different, and just not for this world. For years I felt lost, cast-aside, and solitary, but as I’ve got older I’ve learned to love myself, to embrace who I am and to continually search for my own truth.

To be nobody but yourself - ee cummings - the last krystallos- lisa shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

I don’t think this is a journey that has a final destination. We don’t stay the same, we don’t reach perfection, we don’t become someone and remain that person for the rest of our lives. We move on, we change, we learn, we grow, and we become who we’re meant to be at that moment in time.

I write a lot about being who you want to be, about self-acceptance and being yourself: Never Changing Who I Am, Who am I and Who are You, and Belonging, Being a Loner, and Finding your Tribe, are just a few posts.

We must never dilute who we are, because intrinsically, whatever it is that makes your heart sing is you… and that you is exactly who you’re meant to be.

I am so much more than what they see - Douglas Pagels quote - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

In Beneath the Distant Star, Jasmine is fighting to become herself. Jasmine lost her older sister, Freya, in the first book in the Surviving Hope series, but now, at fifteen-years-old, she can barely remember her sister and her frustrations grow as her mother doesn’t seem to accept her for who she is. Jasmine feels she’s always battling a ghost and losing.

In this excerpt Meg, who used to be Freya’s best friend, is offering advice to Jasmine:

Meg took a deep breath and touched Jasmine’s shoulder. “I’m myself, and only myself, no one else, just like you’re you and not Freya.” Jasmine nodded. “But, but, Jasmine, you don’t need to fight it, you don’t need to prove you’re not Freya, you just need to be yourself. Your natural self, not the self that needs to show she’s different, not someone who fights a ghost. Just be you.”

Meg smoothed a twig out of Jasmine’s dark hair. “You don’t need to dye your hair black and red, or even chop it off to avoid being Freya. You don’t need to do the opposite of what your mum wants just to be different.”

Jasmine dug the toe of her boot into the earth and shovelled dusty dirt. Meg took Jasmine’s chin in her hand and brought her face up to meet hers. Thomas drew a nervous breath, people didn’t touch Jasmine, she very often over reacted. Jasmine met Meg’s eyes. “How?” she whispered. “How?”

Knowing and becoming who you are isn’t always easy. I used to think once I’d got out of my teens it’d be easy to discover myself… Not strictly so, like I said, finding out who you are is a journey and as your life changes, so do you.

Goddess, wild child, fragile mess...

S. C. Lourie quote found online

It’s a long standing thing for us – as human beings – to want to better ourselves, and society is always telling us that if we were this or that we’d be better, or if we bought whatever (they’re probably selling) we’d be happy, but life is a rollercoaster, sometimes we’re better, stronger, more confident, and sometimes we’re weaker, less confident, and we struggle. That’s completely normal and exactly as life should be. We rise and fall with our circumstances.

Even when you’re strong, weakness can prevail, those are the times that others need to step in and help you on your journey.

I dislike change. I struggle without a prescriptive routine, and when things change my life melts down. To illustrate that, my favourite body lotion was recently discontinued. I even tweeted to confirm, then I panicked. My favourite toothpaste vanished a year or two ago and I’d been using that brand since I was about twelve. It took me weeks to choose another, just staring at the choice on the supermarket toothpaste shelf wondering if they’d taste okay, feel okay, and just be right for me was hell. Now it’s happening again. I just bought the last seven bottles of body lotion that I could find from several shops in town. I’m not neuro-typical, but that’s okay, that’s my journey.

But when it comes to being who I am, change is appropriate and I embrace it.

Lisa Shambrook 2018

© Lisa Shambrook

I’ve been dyeing my hair since my thirties; when that silver strand appeared and wouldn’t go away, I dyed it. Now, fifteen years later, I’m fed up with colouring my hair. I’m forty-seven and all about embracing myself, so I decided it was time to stop and see what hid beneath the dirty brown. Change is scary. Change can point you out as different, buck the trend, make you stand out. I found a supportive Instagram page: Grombre and I went for it. I stopped dyeing.

I used to look in the mirror as my white roots appeared and I believed I looked ten years older. I actually gazed at my face and it looked greyer and physically older. Turns out you can fool yourself. Now, silver highlights are appearing like glittered stars in my hair and I love it. I look in the mirror as my grey grows and I’m no different to who I was when I coloured my hair. There is no age difference, I look the same!

I can’t wait to discover what lies beneath, quite literally, and after a lifetime of dark hair, I will be able to play with colours, maybe I’ll have blue tips, or lilac hair, or maybe I’ll go dusky pink – whatever I choose it’ll be me for a while. I’ll embrace who I am at that moment in my life.

Brene Brown said: Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.

Brene Brown Quote true belonging when we're authentic and imperfect - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Accept who you are – right now.
Light up the world by being You. Be the star.
Dance until the stars fall from the sky and fill your hair with sparkle and light – (anon)
Never stop walking, dancing, running through this journey we call life,
discovering who you are today, and who you can be tomorrow…

0000. Divider

Beneath the Distant Star by Lisa ShambrookJasmine knows her very existence reminds her mother of something her sister will never have—life. Craving love and acceptance, Jasmine struggles to become her own person, and her fragile relationship with her mother shatters.

Beneath the Distant Star is published by BHC Press and is a novel that will enthral you.

“Jasmine can easily be related to and she pulls at your heart strings throughout the entire story.” — LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Beneath the Distant Star is now available in eBook and paperback (choose your format) at:

Amazon UK, Amazon US, and your local Amazon. Barnes and Noble, Waterstones, Google Play, Kobo, iTunes, and other online outlets.

Beneath the Distant Star – A tale of Love and Acceptance

Beneath the Distant Star is a story that takes resentment and rejection
and gives you what truly matters in a bittersweet tale of hope.

Beneath the Distant Star by Lisa Shambrook

Beneath the Distant Star © Lisa Shambrook

Jasmine knows her very existence reminds her mother of something her sister will never have—life. Craving love and acceptance, Jasmine struggles to become her own person, and her fragile relationship with her mother shatters.

Beneath the Distant Star is released through BHC Press on 11th December and is a novel that will completely enthral you.

Maybe You'd Love If I Was Dead - Beneath the Distant Star - Lisa Shambrook

Beneath the Distant Star © Lisa Shambrook

“Jasmine can easily be related to and she pulls at your heart strings throughout the entire story.” — LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Discover what you already have - Beneath the Distant Star - Lisa Shambrook

Beneath the Distant Star © Lisa Shambrook

“Jasmine has never felt good enough for her mother who is still clinging to the grief of losing her first daughter. The emotions Jasmine experiences and the antics she carries out to get attention are spot on for a confused teenager and I really sympathized with her throughout the story. The writing and imagery were beautiful and the story kept me turning the page.”
Riverside Reader on Amazon

Beneath the Distant Star is now available in eBook and paperback (choose your format) at:

Amazon UK, Amazon US, and your local Amazon. Barnes and Noble, Waterstones, Google Play, Kobo, iTunes, and other online outlets.

Beneath the Distant Star by Lisa Shambrook published by BHCPress

Beneath the Distant Star is the third book in the Surviving Hope novels, following Beneath the Rainbow and Beneath the Old Oak both already available.

If you’ve already read any of this series and not left a review, please do, authors adore everyone who leaves a review and will sprinkle stardust over your lovely lives forever! Reviews can be left anywhere you buy the books online and particularly on Amazon, Goodreads, blog posts and your own Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or blogs. Spread the word and make an author very happy!

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens intro and The Tale of Mrs. Cratchit by Lisa Shambrook

And because it’s Christmas – here’s a gorgeous treat… Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol published by BHC Press. The treat is not only do you get Dickens’ wonderful timeless classic, but you get an introduction and an all-new story ‘The Tale of Mrs. Cratchit’ written by myself for this brand new special edition. Originally published in 1843, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is still considered one of the most beloved stories ever written. It has inspired countless films, book adaptations and most importantly, helped nurture the Christmas spirit each holiday season.

Merry Christmas and happy reading!

A Symphony of Dragons, A Winter’s Romance, and Human 76 – Christmas Book Choice

Books are the perfect gift for Christmas
Short stories are ideal because they fit into your life
and you get to discover new authors to thrill you!

Symphony Dragons - Winter's Romance - Human 76 - Lisa Shambrook

Short stories are the perfect way to find new authors, to discover new favourite stories, and to see who you want to read next… No matter which genre you love one of these three books will hit the spot, either for you or for the bookworm in your life.
Three collections of short stories guaranteed to delight you.

Symphony_of_Dragons_Lisa_ShambrookIf you adore dragons and an eclectic choice of stories my latest release: A Symphony of Dragons contains seven stories that are linked through the theme of dragons.

Soar on dragon wings within a collection of fantasy, contemporary, romance, steampunk, and post-apocalyptic tales composed with the gossamer threads of dragon fire.

You’ll find yourself lost amid a lyrical quartet of seasons as you discover the dragons that bring you Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. Read a short steampunk tale of magic and love potions… My sweet, icy romance (also found in A Winter’s Romance and too good to leave out of my own book!). A beautiful conclusion to my Hope Within novels, find out what happened to Freya, Meg, and Jasmine. Witness the passion of dragons as they twist and soar through a glittered sky. My longest story (also found in Cutthroat and Curses) will entrance you with steampunk pirates raiding to save their lives, and the last post-apocalyptic tale will introduce you to The Seren Stone Chronicles and a whole new future…and you will find dragons in every tale.

AD A Symphony of Seasons - A Symphony of Dragons - Lisa Shambrook

You can buy A Symphony of Dragons, featuring my own cover art, in eBook or paperback at most online stores. You can also buy a signed paperback (at a discount price) in my Etsy shop Amaranth Alchemy.

A Winter's Romance BHC PressIf you are looking for romance, this is a beautiful book to cosy up with this winter: A Winter’s Romance by BHC Press. A Winter’s Romance – When winter and romance mix, the elements are anything but predictable…

This book gives you 19 beautiful stories from amazing authors. Tales that will enchant you, and stir you and some that will terrify you. You’ll get dragons, music, and thrillers, history, and laughs. You’ll shiver and tingle and giggle and smile. You’ll get a whole variety of short stories and the one thing I can promise you is that you won’t regret reading them!

A Winter’s Romance features authors: J.S.Bailey, LaDonna Cole, Drea Damara, Sara Daniell, Natalie Gibson, Bibi Hamblin, C.R.Hiatt, Kaite Jennings, S.R.Karfelt, D.M.Kilgore, Alice Lakewood, Elise Manion, Emmie Mears, Melissa Hladik Meyer, Tom Mohan, Patricia Paris, Lisa Shambrook, Hannah Steenbock and A.D.Trosper.

My own tale Between Ice and Fire is a captivating chance meeting on an icy winter’s morning – and you’ll want to know what sends shivers down Laine’s spine…You can find

AD Between Ice and Fire -Lisa Shambrook - A Winter's Romance AD

A Winter’s Romance in a gorgeous Paperback and Kindle on Amazon. And find it at all online stores at BHC Press.

Human 76 - Lisa Shambrook - Michael WombatAnd if you prefer adventure, the brilliant post-apocalyptic thriller: Human 76 put together by myself and Michael Wombat is perfect.

Human 76 – An unprecedented set of stories set in the fragments of a fractured world…

You can read about how this collaboration came to be in two of my blog posts: Human 76 – Ghabrie is on her way… and Human 76 Release as this is a project very close to my heart having been inspired by a photograph of my own daughter on our family post-apocalyptic photoshoot!

15 stories from 14 authors written without knowing how they would intertwine. Ghabrie loses her little sister in a raid and sets out to find her. On her journey she discovers eclectic communities, enemies and allies. Ghabrie and her search is the theme that threads through the book, but what you get is a gorgeous vignette of many lives, some struggling and some prospering, in the Post-Blast world.
What leads them to Ghabrie? How do they meet her? Does she affect them? How do their stories impact hers? You’ll have to read them to find out.

Human 76 features authors: Lisa Shambrook, Michael Wombat, Alex Brightsmith, Denise Callaway, KJ Collard, Alison DeLuca, Michelle Fox, Rebecca Fyfe, Jeff Hollar, Nick Johns, MS Manz, Julia Rios, KR Smith and Steven Paul Watson.

My own tales Leaving the Nest and We Make the Future open and close the book and you’ll need to read it to discover how all the tales entwine in the most amazing way…

AD Ghabrie Intro Human 76 - Lisa Shambrook

Human 76 is available in Paperback and Kindle on Amazon UK and Amazon US and your own Amazon store, and in Paperback and Download on Lulu. All proceeds from this book go to Water is Life (a global charity that provides clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education programs to schools and villages in desperate need worldwide.)

Seriously, you cannot go wrong with any of these book, so, order a paperback and slip it into a loved one’s Christmas gifts, let them discover a great read in their Santa Stocking, preload a Kindle, or buy it and give yourself a well-deserved treat!

L_Shambrook_The_Hope_Within_Novels

You can also pick up my Hope Within novels… available on Amazon and online bookstores. Beneath the Rainbow, Beneath the Old Oak, and Beneath the Distant Star are books that will lift your spirit and steal your heart. All three are available as signed paperbacks at a discount in my Etsy shop Amaranth Alchemy.
Beneath the Rainbow signed 1st edition paperback is currently priced at only £2.50 + P&P a true bargain at Amaranth Alchemy!

So, find your Christmas books, your gifts, and your next read, and enjoy!

 

 

 

For the Love of Books – What’s Your Favourite Genre?

Reading is a true pleasure, and not only do we all have books we love,
stories we adore, but we often have genres that we lean towards
when we’re searching for new books.

So, where’s your heart when it comes to the books you read?

For the Love of Books - What's Your Favourite Genre - The Last Krystallos

These days books are very much pigeon-holed into genres, which when I first began writing didn’t occur to me at all! I just wrote the story inside my head before discovering it really didn’t fit a particular genre. In the end, my first series of books, The Hope Within Novels, actually fit very well into the Young Adult field, and we all know YA can be read and loved by any age at all!

Since my first book, I did learn that to succeed it’s pretty important to know your genre, and through flash fiction and short stories, I discovered my passion is fantasy – moving into steampunk and post-apocalyptic.

I grew up with Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five adventuresexploring ruins, islands, castles, and moved into Narnia, The Hobbit, and my favourite The Dark is Rising Sequence. I was hooked. From there Philip Pullman, Tolkien, Eoin Colfer, and again, my favourite author, Garth Nix and his Old Kingdom series captivated me. I read many genres, but love writing contemporary and fantasy.

So, what do you love?

My love of fantasy arrived with dragons and after Smaug, I fell for some friendlier types in the rather wordy Eragon series by Christopher Paolini. Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea is a classic, as is anything by Tolkien, and I’ve loved current books Orison by Daniel Swensen and the beautiful Quest of the Dreamwalker from Stacy Bennett. I am also entranced by Patrick Rothfuss, and fell in love with The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

Fantasy-genres-you-love-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Are you a romance reader? I went through some steamy romances in my twenties, my bored housewife/young mum years, but my palate grew up and I now love fantasy and contemporary romances. I have been completely enchanted by Sophie Moss and her Seal Island Trilogy, and can’t wait for her latest book in the Wind Chime series… And you’ll love ditsy Katie Button from Lizzie Koch.

Romance-genres-you-love-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Or does horror chill you? I was never a horror fan, preferring movie versions of most horror stories if any, but I did love James Herbert’s Portent, and I’ve read a few Stephen King. J. Whitworth Hazzard blew the zombie genre right out of the water with Dead Sea Games, and I adored the chilling literary tales from Max Power and Darkly Wood.

Horror-genres-you-love-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Do you love the classics? Are you a Bronte fan, or do you go weak at the knees for Mr Darcy? I’ve always loved fairy-tales, stories that chill, enthral, and fascinate bringing us dragons, fae, and much more. I love Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, then there’s The Count of Monte Cristo from Dumas, and so much more. The classics are right there, standing the test of time.

Classics-genres-you-love-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Are your tastes more eclectic? I remember raiding Dad’s bookshelves to read John Wyndham, introduced to Chocky by the BBC TV series on Children’s Television back in 1984 – and I then devoured The Midwich Cuckoos, The Chrysalids, The Kraken Wakes and more. Sci-fi is still up there with my favourites, but I tend to watch sci-fi much more than read it.

Autobiographies, Mum and Gran loved reading about people, real people, and my husband enjoys it too, not so much my cup of tea.

Contemporary, is a hit and miss thing for me these days. There are some brilliant books out there like Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep from Joanna Cannon, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, but you can easily hit some real misses.

I also enjoy Thrillers, Harlan Coben being my favourite.

Autobiography-sci-fi-contemporary-children--genres-you-love-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Children’s books, I still read kids’ books, why not? They are what introduced me to reading and inspired me to write myself. The Silver Brumby absolutely entrances me, and I will always love it. I’ve even been known to reread Blyton’s The Castle of Adventure as an adult…

From children’s books to Young Adult…a genre that is a law unto itself. Harry Potter broke the mould with children’s books, bringing them to children and adults simultaneously. Now, you’ll see YA in the hands of all ages. John Green and Meg Rosoff inspire when they pen great stories, and so do some much lesser known authors, like Angela Lynn who had me completely in love with All the What Ifs, and Louise Gornall with an emotional journey through Under Rose Tainted Skies. Another book that made me weep was Loser from Jerry Spinelli, a book I would read again and again, and Anne Holm’s I am David. My books, Beneath the Rainbow, Old Oak, and Distant Star, also inspire through difficult journeys and true to the YA genre have been loved by all ages!

YA-genres-you-love-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Lastly, I love short story books. I love a book I can pick up while I’m waiting, and I’m often waiting for children, dentists, Drs, and other appointments. Short tales are inspiring, eclectic, a good use of spare time, and they also introduce us to new authors, or an author’s writing style, when you fall in love with their writing, you can search out full-length novels and bury yourself among your favourite words! And, like with Human 76, you can sometimes find a completely original and exciting concept, this time a book of tales by different writers, brought together in the same world, but each telling a unique story.

Short-Story-genres-you-love-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

So, tell me, what books do you love, where is your passion,
and what genre is your ‘go to’ when searching for a new read?   

Taking part in the #LlandeiloLitFest – My Book Fair Interview

I’m heading to the #LlandeiloLitFest next week – a Literary Festival from 27th – 30th April in the gorgeous Welsh market town of Llandeilo. I’ll be signing and selling books on Saturday 29th April in the Civic Hall, Crescent Road (SA19 6HN if you need SatNav directions). I’ll be offering some great deals too. While stocks last, I will be giving everyone who buys ‘A Symphony of Dragons’ paperback a free copy of ‘Beneath the Rainbow’ too…and who doesn’t want a free paperback?

LlandeiloLitFest-Llandeilo-Boook-Fair-2017

So, in preparation I thought I’d share the interview I did for Llandeilo Book Fair (find the original interview here) with you:

Please tell us about the books you’ll be bringing to the Book Fair.
L_Shambrook_Beneath_the_Rainbow_AmazonBeneath the Rainbow: Freya won’t let anything stand in her way. Not even death. Freya’s family are left to fulfil her dreams, but as time runs out final yearned for wishes remain lost. Only Freya can help as precious life hangs in the balance.

BeneathOldOak_Cover_Amazon (1)Beneath the Old Oak: Meg thinks her mother is broken. Is she broken too? Meg’s life spirals out of control and she’s terrified she’ll inherit her mother’s sins. Seeking refuge and escape she finds solace beneath a huge, old oak, but a devastating storm will change her life forever.

Distant_Star_AmazonBeneath the Distant Star: Jasmine feels like the ghost of the sister she can no longer remember and has something her sister never will – life. She fights to become her own person. Life becomes a battleground as she disregards the rules and her reckless abandon threatens to destroy what she needs most.

4. Symphony_of_Dragons_LISTINGMy newest release A Symphony of Dragons is a collection of my own short stories which connect my Hope Within books and my new chronicles, and follow the theme of dragons…A lyrical collection of seven stories featuring enchanting worlds of fantasy, contemporary fiction, romance, steampunk, and more that will let the song of dragons lead you…

Which genres do they belong to?
My three Hope Within Novels belong in the contemporary and Young Adult genres, but have delighted all ages. The short story collection embraces dragons and the eclectic genres of Steampunk, fantasy, contemporary, romance and more!

jasmine-discover-what-you-already-have-lisa-shambrook-beneath-the-distant-star

Jasmine © Lisa Shambrook

What are the characters and plots like?
My characters are real and vulnerable in the Hope Within novels, the plots cover a range of difficult subjects which will inspire those who read them.

Tell us about your newest book.
I’m currently working on The Seren Stone Chronicles which I am loving writing. This is Wales far, far into the future: ‘Centuries beyond post-apocalyptic, the landscape of Wales has turned into a whole new country…and the rumble of dragons has returned…’

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Seren Stone © Lisa Shambrook

Which of your books are you’re most proud of, and why?
I am totally engaged in my current writing, but I am proud of each of my books in different ways.

What is the best thing that has been said about your books?
One of the best compliments has been having my writing likened to Virginia Woolf and Mitch Albom.

Why did you decide to come to the Llandeilo Book Fair?
I have been before and the atmosphere is fun and friendly and the visitors are lovely!

Do you have a special connection to Wales?
I moved to Wales twenty-three years ago and I love it. The Welsh countryside has inspired my latest writing, and the myths, legends, and nature continue to enchant and rouse me.

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© Lisa Shambrook

What is your personal background?
I am a quiet introvert and I live within my words! I have a lovely husband and three children, and have been writing since my youngest was born.  I also have cats and a neurotic German Shepherd!

Who are your favourite authors?
It’s always been Garth Nix and Tolkien, but Patrick Rothfuss and Philip Pullman are right up there.

So, come and see us all at the Book Fair and see if any of the weekend’s events take your fancy…Lots of great talks, classes, and a Book Hunt…check out the website and Facebook page to see what catches your eye!

Ten Things I Discovered Beneath…

Do you ever look beneath?

Ten Things I Discovered Beneath - The Last Krystallos

I love being beneath – the rainbows, the old oak trees, and the stars,
and what else have I found beneath?

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I was five and the verandah was cracking, not long and it would be dangerous… © Lisa Shambrook

I grew up in a house with a veranda out the back. When I was young, Dad tore it down and rebuilt the back steps and I discovered the space beneath the veranda! A dark, dusty, and dirty ‘cave’ which I loved to play in, I doubt today’s health and safety would allow it, but I discovered my imagination down there.

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The night sky has always fascinated me © Lisa Shambrook

I always knew I was a Daddy’s girl, and standing out beneath the stars while he taught me constellations, confirmed it.

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I love the calm beneath the water © Lisa Shambrook

Under water there is calm – a calm which I lack in my every-day life (do any of us have calm in our every-day life?) and swimming relaxes me. I once swam a whole length beneath the water without taking a breath – it was beautiful. Maybe I should be a mermaid…

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Nothing more beautiful than the colours of the rainbow © Lisa Shambrook

Rainbows are all about perspective. Have you ever tried to stand beneath one? Rainbows teach me both magic and science – and that you can never reach the end of one!

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The crashing cascade is a true wonder © Lisa Shambrook

There are many waterfalls in Wales, but at Henrydd Falls and Sgwd Eira you can walk a slippery ledge to get behind the veil of water, but it’s worth it. Standing beneath a waterfall is an exhilarating experience and I found the inner delight of a child and my love of water!

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Arty clutter © Lisa Shambrook

I can’t even go into detail about how many things, every-day items, I’ve lost and found beneath other things – that’s the cluttered home of a writer.

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Lost in the velveteen darkness © Lisa Shambrook

I love the dark. Have you ever gone beneath ground into an old castle ruin’s dungeon or down a mine? Dolacothi gold mine isn’t far away and we visited when my children were small. We wore miner’s hats with lights on the front and big heavy batteries round our waists, and to demonstrate the darkness the miners worked in we were all instructed to turn out our lamps. As we stood in the pitch blackness, small fingers clutched my hand tight and a small, quivering voice rang out in the dark. “Mummy, my eyes don’t work anymore.”  I discovered the innocence and trust of my three-year-old standing in the dark, his hand clutching mine.

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Beneath the Old Oak © Lisa Shambrook

Beneath trees I’ve discovered how to make daisy chains, how to kick up piles of autumn leaves and I’ve found love.

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Anxiety and depression © Lisa Shambrook

Beneath the suffocating blanket of depression and anxiety, I discovered support, love, hope and reasons to carry on…

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The Hope Within Books © Lisa Shambrook

I was a shy and very introverted child, and beneath the façade of quiet and reserved I uncovered an observant and imaginative mind – capable of writing and conveying all the stories queued up in my head – hence, I became a writer!

What have you discovered beneath?

Lisa Shambrook The Hope Within Novels Twitter Ad

The Hope Within Novels by Lisa Shambrook

Find out what Freya discovered Beneath the Rainbow,
what Meg found Beneath the Old Oak,
and what Jasmine searched for Beneath the Distant Star… 

Llandeilo Book Fair – Finding Books

Last Saturday I took part in my first book fair 
and the Llandeilo Book Fair was a lovely experience!
I found my next book, did you?

Llandeilo Book Fair april 2016, Lisa Shambrook and authors,

I arrived at Llandeilo Civic Hall and let my nerves settle as I found my table and set up. I was actually very happy to be at the rear of the hall, a position that suited my anxiety as I could see all about me from a favourite place of mine – the corner at the back!

Lisa Shambrook Llandeilo Book Fair 2016 table

My book fair table

We were open from 10.30 to 4.30 and my daughter, Bekah, accompanied me. We learned much from the fair and the other authors, all of whom were so friendly, and most I recognised from social media. So much fun meeting people I’d only chatted online with before!

Lisa Shambrook Llandeilo Book Fair 2016

photo by Graham Watkins

Having never done a book fair before, I wondered if I was doing it right. My table set up was good, but I think I’ll be looking for a more professional table cover, one that reaches the floor. I got lots of marketing ideas from observing other stalls, but I think I did okay. I had decided to set each of my books at £5, but I think most other sellers were selling at cover prices, so maybe next time I’ll stick with £5.99 and £6.99 prices as on my books and maybe an offer for multiple sales. My banner was cool and I had both Hope Within bookmarks and business cards to offer for free.

 

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My books and Amaranth Alchemy bookmarks

In addition to my books, Beneath the Rainbow, Beneath the Old Oak, and Beneath the Distant Star, Bekah and I brought Amaranth Alchemy bookpage and bookspine bookmarks to sell. It was really sweet to sell one bookspine bookmark to a lovely lady who recognised a title that her Grandmother had once owned!
Memories are powerful.

I won’t list all the attending authors, you can find them in my website news posts, but it was so much fun to make new friends! And to meet another BHC author who was visiting from Norway, Shane K P O’Neill. It’s a small world when you realise you share contacts, and it was also a lovely surprise to find Lizzy approach me and tell me her friend had encouraged her to come to the fair, and we discovered we had Michael Wombat in common! It’s so funny when you need to trade Twitter names to recognise each other! So many new Facebook friends…

Llandeilo Book Fair 2016 photo by Graham Watkins

Llandeilo Book Fair – photo by Graham Watkins

The day was great; I sold a good number of books for my first event and loved discovering new books, ideas, and friends. I learned lots of things. I learned to chat with prospective customers, compliment them, say hello and make conversation – not an easy thing for a true introvert, but well worth doing. We were quick to see that people didn’t always pick up freebie bookmarks, so handing them out with a comment and a smile is well-received.  I discovered, when looking back at photos of my set up, the reason that most people picked up Beneath the Old Oak to peruse first was probably because it was the only one of the three books standing upright. I also found out that I grin a lot – see photos – I really enjoyed myself! And I realised my nerves were unfounded.

Llandeilo Book Fair 2016 with Carol Lovekin and Rebecca Bryn

With Carol Lovekin, Jane, and Rebecca Bryn

Llandeilo Book Fair 2016 Lisa Shambrook and Christoph Fischer

With Christoph Fischer

I am very much looking forward to attending more book fairs in the future. Thank you so much, Christoph, Judith and all those involved for a great day!

Don’t forget that if you didn’t make it to the book fair, or if you just live too far away – I mean, oceans separate me from many of you – all my books and other books I’ve contributed to are available online.

My website has all the links you need. Signed paperbacks are also available from my Etsy shop, Amaranth Alchemy, so you haven’t missed out!

And I mentioned I’d found my next book – Carol Lovekin’s Ghostbird

See you next time!

Lisa Shambrook The Hope Within Novels Twitter Ad

Come and Visit Llandeilo Book Fair 2016

I’m taking part in my first Book Fair on Saturday 30th April
in the picturesque town of Llandeilo in beautiful West Wales

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Llandeilo is a gorgeous setting close to Aberglasney Gardens and Gelli Aur in the pretty Tywi Valley. So if you’re local or at a loose end this Saturday and fancy finding some new books by some great authors, then pop along and meet us. We’ll be very pleased to see you!

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I’ve spent some time planning my table and set up, especially as I haven’t done this before, and I think I’m ready!

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I’ll be there with paperback copies of my Hope Within series. Beneath the Rainbow, Beneath the Old Oak and Beneath the Distant Star. There will be free bookmarks and business cards for the Hope Within novels and you can see some props from Beneath the Rainbow too.

lisa shambrook books, hope within novels, amaranth alchemy, bookspine bookmarks, bookpage bookmarks,

We’ll also be selling bookspine and bookpage bookmarks from my Etsy shop Amaranth Alchemy, where we rescue old, unwanted and damaged books and breathe new life into their pages.

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Article with Christoph Fischer in the Carmarthen Journal Twyi Valley, and leaflets and posters on Morris Travel buses across Carmarthen

We’ve had leaflets and posters up for a while and had some great interest in our competitions and talks and fun! Check out our Time Table of Events.

llandeilo book fair 2016 poster,

Llandeilo Book Fair will be open on Saturday 30th April 2016 from 10.30am to 4.30pm, free entry, and refreshments are by Caffi Iechyd Da from Carmarthen. There will be competitions, prizes, readings, workshops and lots and lots of books for all ages.

Come join us and find your next read!

You won’t regret it!

4 #WritingTips To Make Your Writing Better

We’ve all been given writing tips that have helped us improve our writing skills.
Hopefully these will help you too.
These are the best tips I’ve been given, you may have different or better ones…
please share them in the comments, as we’re all here to learn and grow!

4 #WritingTips to make your Writing Better - The Last Krystallos

Said is not dead - it's alive and well - Four #WritingTips To Make Your Writing Better - The Last Krystallos

Said – is not dead… © Lisa Shambrook

1. Dialogue…I try not to go too fancy, I stick to said in general and ignore all those flowery replacements especially the pretentious ones. The internet is full of ‘Said is dead’ and ‘Over 200 ways to say said’, and maybe at school, whilst increasing your vocabulary, it’s great to learn new ways to say said but in a novel be sparing with your speech tags. Editors and authors know that dialogue is part of the story and speech tags are purely there to inform which character is speaking and when. Most dialogue tags should be invisible to the readers so as not to detract from the story.

If you’re character moaned, muttered, grumbled, murmured, and exclaimed all the time, your reader will soon long for a simpler flow of words. By all means sprinkle different dialogue tags throughout your work, but said, asked, answered, and replied are the preferred verbs.

Another important piece of advice I’ll always remember is how to use dialogue tags. I still see people writing: “It was so funny,” she laughed.  *Remember that you don’t usually laugh and speak at the same time. The same goes for sighed, sneezed, and spat for example. The piece of dialogue should finish and the action added in a new sentence or continuation: “It was so funny.” She laughed. (note fullstop and capital letter) or “It was so funny,” she said and laughed. (note comma and continuation adding the action in the sentence).
*edit: If you do use these tags be sure not to overuse them and make sure they work in context, it has been pointed out to me that it is quite acceptable to spit out words and laugh etc whilst talking, and, yes, I’ve certainly spat out an angry phrase before!

Four #WritingTips To Make Your Writing Better - The Last Krystallos

Dialogue from Beneath the Distant Star © Lisa Shambrook

2. Lose a good chunk of adverbs, or words ending ‘ly’. Please DO use them where they fit, and sometimes they’re the perfect word, but be sparing. For example if you’re writing about anger show the anger in the context of the story, demonstrate it to your reader through your character – for example (note the bold sentence):

“And it’s your birthday, why are you out here?”

Jasmine’s grin faded and a flushed smoulder spread across her features instead. “Well, at least someone remembered.”

“C’mon, we’ve got presents. Dad’s waiting for you downstairs. He’s waiting for us both. Aunty Rachel’s probably yelling up the stairs at us now!”

Jasmine’s face darkened further at the mention of her mother. “So, at least she’ll know what day it is now.”

I could easily have written:

“And it’s your birthday, why are you out here?”

“Well, at least someone remembered,” said Jasmine angrily.

“C’mon, we’ve got presents. Dad’s waiting for you downstairs. He’s waiting for us both. Aunty Rachel’s probably yelling up the stairs at us now!”

Jasmine’s face darkened further at the mention of her mother. “So, at least she’ll know what day it is now.”

The first example shows how the adverb just isn’t necessary and you learn much more about Jasmine’s response through the description, rather than just telling the reader she’s angry.
See my previous post: Don’t Just Tell Me, Show Me for more information about writing with emotion.
(Example text taken from Beneath the Distant Star book three of my Hope Within novels)

Stephen King On Writing Quote simplify - The Last Krystallos

Stephen King On Writing Quote – © Lisa Shambrook

3. Write simply. I love simplicity in my writing. You’re telling a story, not writing purple prose – unless you are, in which case, go for it! This does depend on your style, but most readers are more engaged in a story if it flows and simple words are usually less distracting. Stephen King told us not to be ashamed of our short words, my story is smoother and sleeker if my words, though beautiful and important, carry the reader without removing you from the experience.

That said – make sure your writing does contain appropriate big words unless you’re writing for small children. It was books I read as a child and teen that gave me my extensive vocabulary. There’s a lot to be said for looking up words in the dictionary and learning new ones. And I’m a huge fan of words, simple ones and complicated ones!

Four #WritingTips To Make Your Writing Better

Read aloud to find your spelling mistakes…I’m very sure my children were singing not sinning! © Lisa Shambrook

4. Lastly, the Best #WritingTip I’ve ever been given – Read your work out loud, especially dialogue. Reading through your work is imperative, in silence or aloud, but reading out loud gives a further depth to your work. Before reading out loud you’ll be sure there are no other distractions around and your attention is on your writing. You’ll engage more closely with your manuscript and you’ll hear it. You’ll hear the flaws, the way dialogue doesn’t flow, you’ll see the spelling errors Spellcheck didn’t highlight, and you’ll notice awkward sentences and placement. You’ll also hear what does work and be able to enjoy those passages that do!

If you can’t bear reading your work to yourself, find a friend or partner to do it, or use an app, you can even enable Word’s Text Speak command. Give it a try! Reading aloud has enhanced my writing and editing process hugely!

So, these are the tips that have really helped me – what has helped you most?

What makes your writing better?

What are your best writing tips?