Tag Archives: joy

Ten Places I Found Joy This Winter

The cold months hold some real treasures –
here’s how and where I found joy this winter…

Ten Places I Found Joy This Winter - The Last Krystallos

It doesn’t matter what the weather, I spied a meadow through a gate swathed in fog and it made the most beautiful picture. The Elan Valley was cold and crisp when Bekah and I visited and the walk was stunning. A simple dog walk through local roads and fields conjure up joy especially when you’re wrapped up warm. The girls and I went up to Brechfa Forest to do a photoshoot for Cait’s art, the mist and rain offered a haunting vista through the woods.

Misty Meadow - Pen y Bont Elan Valley - Local Dog Walking - Brechfa Forest - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Vince and I escaped to London for a weekend, it rained, but The Phantom of The Opera made it memorable along with the sights and sounds of the city. Seeing the Shard disappear up into fog was beautiful. The seagulls perching atop George IV’s head and horse in Trafalgar Square were highly amusing as the statue itself had anti-bird spikes about the plinth, didn’t bother the birds, George’s head will do just fine!

Lisa and Vince Tower Bridge - Shard City of London - George IV Trafalgar Sq - Phantom of the Opera - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

I mentioned being wrapped up warm. Winter is cold, and my Scottish fingerless gloves were invaluable during the cold. My Stargazer pyjamas, I don’t think I’ve ever owned nightwear up ‘til now, but I love these! My grey scarf was a must this season, and I got Dr Martens, Cherry Red Arcadia for Christmas and matched them up with this cute burgundy tulle skirt to feel especially good!

Scottish Gloves - Stargazer - Grey Scarf - Cherry Red Arcadia Dr Martens - Burgundy Tulle - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Those fingerless gloves helped keep my fingers typing during my edits, even if Raven wanted attention instead. Writing and reading brings me great joy and tapping away at the keyboard during winter months is one of my favourite things. I redrew my maps and sketched for my new work in progress The Seren Stone.

Raven interrupting edits - research - A Symphony of Dragons - Maps and Edits - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

The best thing is getting out in the cold is for a Hot Chocolate and weekdays means my kids joining me at Pethau Da in Carmarthen.

Pethau Da Hot Chocolate - Bekah and Lisa, Dan, Cait and Lisa

© Lisa Shambrook

The other thing I spent a lot of winter doing was painting, some are secret projects, but I treated myself to some gorgeous art this Christmas from Tahina Morrison and J Edward Neill’s Hither The Wind and Amanda Makepeace’s Winter Raven. My children bought Vince and I the best anniversary gift with a print of the constellations on our wedding day. The stars are my thing!

Art - Hither the Wind - Winter Raven - Constellations - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Crystals and stars are my happy place. Peridot gems have been part of my research for The Seren Stone Chronicles, as are both smoky and clear quartz, I’ve been learning much about crystal therapy and using stones within my writing. The bracelet brought me great joy when Vince bought the Trollbead Wishful Sky set. It came along with one of my favourite quotes: I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the dark…

Peridot - Smoky Quartz - Clear Quartz - Trollbeads - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Our pets give us huge joy, Roxy will flip to her back and ask for a belly rub which just melts us, Raven curls up and purrs like a motorbike, and Misty had us all in hysterics when I took my new Docs out their box and she jumped in. When I tried to reclaim the box you can clearly see her warning to just walk away…

Roxy - Raven - Misty - Roxy - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Then nature gives us the most spectacular displays. In December we had a Super Blue Blood Moon and as it shone over the River Towy, I stood totally entranced. It snowed, briefly in Carmarthen, but much more the country over, and just crunching in the little snow we had brought me joy! Snowdrops have just begun to nod their stunning heads, and chasing rainbows has always brought glorious moments.

Super Blue Blood Moon River Towy - Rainbow - Snow - Snowdrops - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Lastly, there are moments of joy in unexpected places. Discovering baby reindeer in town at Christmas, finding Jack Frost’s handiwork on your car windscreen when you get up, holding a baby dragon in an acorn cup… and the beauty in things that aren’t always beautiful, the rainbows of colour in an oil spill on the pavement.

Reindeer - Jack Frost - Baby Dragon - Oil Rainbow - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

These are the things I notice,
simple and, sometimes, small things that bring me great joy.

Loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night - Sarah Williams - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Where did you find joy this winter?  

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Rebirth: Resurgence

My second tale of rebirth for J.A.Mes Press Rebirth Anthology. All proceeds will go to a UK Stroke Charity.

Title: Resurgence
Author: Lisa Shambrook
Book: Yes

Ocean Girl © Lisa Shambrook (All Rights Reserved)

Resurgence

Alice went to the beach with one intention.

Not to return.

Her heart thudded painfully, constricting inside her chest, as she walked. She pulled at her soft cotton cardigan sleeve, tugging threads, watching as the slight strands drifted away on the breeze. She sniffed, remembering his scowl, and hurriedly wiped away tears as she approached the dune. She stood atop the shifting sands, amid tall wiry grass, and stared at the sea for a moment letting the breeze lift her hair from her face.

She dropped to her knee and untied her trainers, kicking them off and leaving them behind, just as he’d done to her. She stepped forward, barefoot. Her toes wriggled as hot sand trickled through them, raising a momentary smile, but her vision blurred again as her bottom lip trembled, her tiny cry of despair drowned by the cackling seagulls down by the shore.

The breeze picked up, as did her pace, wafting her skirts around her legs, the gossamer material fluttering like butterflies against her skin. She stopped and hugged her arms to her chest shivering despite the heat of the late sun. Her shoulders shuddered as silent sobs built, rising in her throat, fighting for release, but she pushed them down and tilted her head. The sun’s rays kissed her closed eyelids and dried the tracks of her tears. Alice opened her eyes, lowering her face, gazing across the empty beach. Miles of sand stretched either side of her and her arms dropped to her side.

Her cotton dress floated about her as she shrugged out of her cardigan and let it fall to the sand at her feet. The breeze rolled across her bare shoulders and the material rippled across her breast and stomach. She instinctively brushed her dress down, her fingers lightly smoothing over her chest and lingering at her belly.

The ocean rolled in, wave after wave, never ending, and she tightened her resolve with a deep sigh.

She stumbled towards the shore kicking up clouds of sand that swept across the beach behind her. Her legs, now heavy and awkward, propelled her on across the tide line, across the mounds of wet seaweed, and the sand firmed beneath her toes. She jogged, her feet slapping the glaze of water, wet sand splashing up her legs and tears welling again behind red eyes. The waves ebbed and flowed, the gentle rhythm matching the leaden beat of her heart, as she waded into the sea.

She stopped again, the water lapping at her ankles and closed her eyes, allowing the gentle gusts of wind to caress her face, one last pleasantry, and she tried to calm her hammering heart. She braced, inhaling the ocean air, tasting the salt tracing her lips. She listened to her grief, to her despair and stepped forward.

A squeal of delight startled her and her eyes fluttered open as a young girl raced past, plunging into the water. The girl ran, giggling as she leaped over waves. The girl hitched up her shorts, already splash darkened, and stopped.

Knee-deep, Alice watched as the small girl in the orange shirt threw out her arms with abandon and turned her face towards the glorious evening sun, enjoying the simple delight of waves dancing around her legs, wind on her arms and the warmth of the sun on her face.

Alice felt tears spill as she backed out of the water. Her heart hammered and knots of tension loosed. Goosebumps erupted from head to toe and she sank to the wet sand, her hands trembling as the surf gently embraced her. She watched the blur of orange and denim and newfound innocence engulfed her. Her eyes shone as a slow smile curved and shaky laughter rippled from her lips, and her fingers trailed, tenderly, across her newly rounded stomach.

(638 Words)

 

‘Those Silly Dreams…’ Beneath The Rainbow Review

Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use)
The scariest thing about having a book out there in general public land is not knowing what people will think when they read it, or even if they will read it…will anyone ever read it? 
I’m lucky some lovely people have bought and read my book, and they seem to have enjoyed it! My friend, the lovely Sarah Nicholson at re-ravelling, took the plunge and read Beneath the Rainbow and wrote a beautiful Blog post about it at re-ravelling: here. Like I said it’s always scary when people actually read your book, so I was honoured and pleased to discover her enjoyment!
When Sarah told me she was reading it I knew it was near the second anniversary of the death of her husband, and I had no idea if my book about grief and joy would hurt or help…she writes:

‘Some books forever get caught up in real life events of the reader, something the author cannot predict, but in this instance it made my enjoyment of the book even richer helping me process a bit more of my own grief.

For me this is why I thought it was a great first novel and I would recommend it to anyone grieving because it is so beautifully written and thought provoking.’

I teared up when I read her praise and I was significantly humbled.

Something powerful happens in the mind of an author when they write and they always hope that that power, that inspiration, that something will engulf the reader, but they never know if it truly will.

I want to thank those who’ve read Beneath the Rainbow and enjoyed, and especially those who’ve left reviews whether on their Blog, on Goodreads, or on Amazon. You are so very much appreciated!

If you are interested my book is available on Kindle:
and 
(and other Amazon country variants…)