Sunday, 21 June 2015

A Midsummer Night's Dream

 Haleakala, the volcano on the island of Maui, Hawaii. 
I got up at four this morning, walked to the top of the hill in the field next to my house, and stood, watching the sun rise. I do that every year; it's always as magical as the previous one – and I've seen the sun rise in some surprising places in the past, including Haleakala. 

But a few years ago, a particularly hot summer, we spend Midsummer Night on Glastonbury Tor. This was unforgettable too, and I recreate some of my experiences (and add to them, of course), in the opening pages of my third Shaman Mystery Novel. 

Beneath the Tor, out in December from Midnight Ink Books, is the third book recounting the adventures and life of a young British shamananic therapist called Sabbie Dare. She walks in the spirit world to help her clients, people on the edge, seeking help from a shaman because all other avenues of help have closed off, and this often sends her into terrifying places and to dangerous people.

In Beneath the Tor, Sabbie is in Glastonbury, the amazingly spiritual town in Somerset, UK, to help run a shamanic workshop. This allowed me to introduce a new bunch of amazing characters to the stories.

Ten of us – a group keen to explore shamanism – had climbed the west side of Glastonbury Tor as the sun slipped from the sky in a shock of red. I’d been taking the lead up the steep grassy slope and was finally in sight of the hill’s crest, where the ground spread and flattened as if it had been sliced off, like the top of a boiled egg. I could already hear the people, the drums. My own pulse quickened. The party had begun.
Alys had grinned as she’d surged past me, heading hotfoot for the summit. She’d balanced on the edge above and exploded into jumping jacks – from sheer joy, it seemed to me – her long legs gold in the last sun.
Wolfsbane had leaned on his staff, an ornately carved piece of ashwood, and pointed with his unlit cigarette. He was a chain smoker when he got the chance, but didn’t have the breath to light up on the climb. “That girl is going to make a terrific shaman. I can’t wait to start working with her.”

It's a balmy night on Glastonbury Tor, but it doesn't end well for Alys:

I rolled onto my stomach to watch the handful of dancers who were still going strong. Alys was among them, turboed up like a child who’d had too much ice cream, hollering and whooping. I could hear her from the far side of the summit.
I saw her dance.
I saw her drop.
She fell to the ground with a silent thud.
She fell awkwardly, one leg trapped under the other, her head thrown back.
I stared for long seconds, waiting for her to rise and start again.
Alys didn’t get up. She didn’t move at all.
I stood and ran, but one person reached her before me. Ricky dropped onto one knee and touched her gently on the cheek. “Alys? Alys!” 
There was no response.
“What is it?” I barked. “What’s wrong?”
“Exhaustion, I’d guess.”
Shell was scampering towards us. I screamed at her. “Get Brice! Quick!”
My phone was in my back pocket, switched off to save batteries. I fumbled with it, cursing the slow turn-on. I’d got a signal. I bloody-well should get a signal on the top of this rock.
Word began to spread, people realized something was happening. The drums trailed off. The other dancers closed around us. 
“Give her air, please!” I cried into the silence.
Ricky looked up. “She won’t need air.”
“I saw her spirit go.”

Sabbie Dare and her friends are in shock and when her shamanic guru, Wolfsbane, confesses that Alys
Midsummer Day on Glastonbury Tor
may have unwittingly taken drugs during his ritual, Sabbie is  horrified.

Then, Brice, Alys’ grieving husband, approaches Sabbie for help. He has received sinister, anonymous emails about his dead wife. As Sabbie tries to unravel the meaning of these disturbing messages she is also trying to help a vulnerable and young new client, Laura, who is having terrifying panic attacks. Sabbie turns to the spirit world for guidance but only receives conflicting and enigmatic answers. As Sabbie heads closer to the truth about Alys’ shocking death, a deranged killer is also heading towards a showdown with a final victim, and both are closer to Sabbie than she knows.
There are Midsummer Night Party blogs all over the place today; go to to find out more.


  1. I can't wait to read this one! I find shamanism fascinating.

    1. Thank you so much, Kirsten. I do hope you enjoy the series - let me know what you think once you've read it.

  2. LOVE this!!! I was on the Tor once, and I will never, ever forget it. Your third book sounds so interesting...I will have to take a look at the others in the series! Thanks for sharing.