Category Archives: Uncategorized

Grimworld – a review

My short take on this is that if, regardless of age, you like Tim Burton films, this book is for you.

Grimworld is a children’s book set in a strange and slightly creepy place. The world building is great with lots of details. I particularly appreciated that author Avery Moray does not explain why things are the way they are. This is how it is, and you see Grimworld through the eyes of a young person for whom it is totally normal to eat sugar slugs, and for whom having to talk to the worm lady is just one of those regular, unpleasant things. Kids who relish a bit of gruesomeness, will enjoy this greatly. It’s not one for the squeamish kids, or the ones who have nightmares at the slightest provocation.

The story is strong with plenty of peril and action. The writing is engaging, and there’s plenty of whimsy and humour in the mix. This is a book for young readers who are really into words and language. Emotionally it has some serious stuff going on around death and loss and squaring up to the prospect of your own death in a responsible sort of way. All of this was handled really well, but the emotive content might not be suitable for all young readers.

If you are the sort of adult who enjoys a saunter into books for younger humans, definitely check it out. It’s very readable, ideal for a quiet afternoon or two on the sofa. If you want something to read to your goth-child, it will work for you.

If there’s a Wednesday Adams in your life, or a Para-Norman, get this book for them.

More about the book here – 


#DreamtimeDamselsAnthology blog tour: Elevenses with Nimue Brown

A recent interview I did – more Steampunk flavoured than Pagan, and decidedly silly. Includes an octopus. As you do.

Blake And Wight . com

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Max and Collin’s rambunctiously raucous and chi-chi to the core parlour located high above it all on board our beautiful rainbow-sailed ship, The Harlequin Ladybird.

Our tentacles are all of a quiver this morning and our china cups are chattering because we are still taking part in the Dreamtime Damsels blog tour and we are honoured (and not even slightly alarmed) to have our very dear friend the infamous lunatic and cheese fiend Nimue Brown joining us for elevenses this morning.

Do please put down that lethal looking collection of cutlery, My Dear, and have a seat, (Max, get off the chaise and let her sit down before she takes off a tentacle with that spoon… hm? … no she can’t sit on your lap, just move aside.)

Would you like tea? Earl Grey? Lapsang? Assam? Darjeeling? Oolong? (Max that joke is wearing…

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Odin Edge

I’ve read this book, twice. Robin is a really interesting author and I can recommend following his blog. As soon as I know where to send people to buy copies, I will write a review. In the meantime…

Stroud Walking


Odin Edge is my first novel now in existence as of yesterday in book-form!

I wrote Odin Edge somewhere about two years ago, the final result of a few years continuously working on an Anglo-Saxon Viking novel set in the early 870’s AD in what was then in my part of England in Gloucestershire the kingdom of Mercia. That time was all about getting my mind into that world and time, trying to understand how Anglo-Saxon England worked and what the significant Viking incursions of the mid 800’s AD were like to live within as a person. Since then my knowledge of the Anglo-Saxon times has greatly evolved and flourished, and there is always much be to learnt. In Odin Edge I wanted to be in the skin of the ordinary population, the Anglo Saxon common man and woman, and to embark on a journey through their experience of having…

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“All religion is guesswork”

This made me very happy…

My Life Unfolds_

My little sister and her partner Jon came to stay during the week, together with my nephew, Caleb. (I say ‘little sister’- she’s 46 this year.)

Anyway, we were having a discussion around religion, spirituality and the like and she asked if I’d read a book called ‘Spirituality Without Structure: The Power of Finding Your Own Path’ by Nimue Brown, a practising Druid. I hadn’t, but later downloaded it to my Kindle and started reading.

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Book review: Hopeless, Maine: Victims by Tom and Nimue Brown

It makes me really happy when people think this much about something I have made. A great many hours go into creating any book, so it’s massively cheering to have this kind of feedback and to feel that it was time well spent…

Meredith Debonnaire

I promised to talk about something other than Tales From Tantamount, so here is my review of Hopeless, Maine: Victims. The latest dark delight from Tom and Nimue Brown. My reviews of the previous two books can be found here and here. Disclaimer: I do personally know these folks!

BEWARE SPOILERS! I have tried to keep this review free of spoilers for Victims, but it will definitely have spoilers for the previous two books.

Salamandra dramatically uses her magic powers to make tea

Welcome to my island.

My friends, my dears, my delightful squidlings, you need to read this series. Partly because it’s excellent, but partly because I desperately need to be able to talk about it with other people. Reading Victims is an exercise in realising just how much Tom and Nimue Brown snuck past me in the previous two books. There are all these amazing plot things happening and I’m there going…

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Review: Mapping the Contours by Nimue Brown

I love Lorna’s work, so her response to mine means a great deal to me…

Fruits of Annwn

mapping the contours by nimue brownThere’s something old about the poems in this book, a bone-deep knowing, a merging of self and land which is reflected in the cover image. It speaks of a time when the hills were the contours of giantesses, the curves of beautiful goddesses, a time that still is and is not with us now.

‘Walking myself into the landscape, and walking the landscape into myself’ is the way bard and druid author Nimue Brown describes the process behind her new poetry collection Mapping the Contours. In the poem that provides the title she says ‘Human bodies are much like landscapes.’

In ‘Raised upon these hills’, one of the most beautiful hymns to a landscape I have ever read, Nimue evokes her lifelong relationship with the Cotswold Edge:

I was raised upon these hills,
My bones are made of limestone,
Sweet Jurassic limestone,
Grown from ancient seas.
I was raised…

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Salamandra’s Key

An exciting development from Hopeless Maine.

For those of you not familiar with this side of my life, it started out as a graphic novel, and is rapidly becoming a world in it’s own right, with songs, artifacts, a roleplay game, puppets, cosplay….

The Hopeless Vendetta

Hello, again people! (and others)

It is the new year, and I hope it brings you many good things.

I have spoken before, I think about how, at the beginning, when we first imagined how things might go with Hopeless, Maine, that we thought one day we would work with artisans and craftspeople if there were to be any HM related artifacts. No factory made things or plastic tatt that would one day end up in a landfill. Well, it’s dream come true time. Matt Inkel (who I introduced to you, here) has begun working with us and the first fruit of this collaboration is Salamandra’s Key.

Here is my drawing of Sal’s Key and Matt’s finished prototype.

It’s difficult to describe the feeling I get seeing something from our story made real in the waking world. It’s a bit uncanny and utterly wonderful. For those of you who…

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Review: ‘Darkest Part’, by Madeleine Harwood

I love this album, great to see it getting attention…

The Catbox

‘Darkest Part’ is the first album by Madeleine Harwood, an a-cappella folk singer from Gloucestershire.

I’ve been seeing a lot of Madeleine lately on social media, from friends in the Folk and Pagan scene, as well as on Folk radio programmes. I was therefore thrilled to receive a copy of her CD to review.

The art was the first thing to grab me. By Tom Brown, co-creator of ‘Hopeless, Maine‘, it hints at the musical tone within, but doesn’t give too much away.

This was an album unlike any I’d heard in a long time. I pressed Play, only to hear a deep intake of breath… before a beautiful voice soared from the speakers, like a bird’s first song breaking the silence of the morning. Madeleine’s vocals are absolutely breathtaking; her words rise and fall as a lone instrument, clear and strong. It’s easy to image these songs…

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Survival Manual for the Human Race

I’ll be posting a proper review soon for the book this relates to, but let me say now that it is brilliant and please do hop over and read the post. The stories we share are such an important part of how we make the present and shape the future. We need better stories, and this is one such.

The Bardic Academic

Friday, 13 April 2018


Things may seem pretty bleak out there at the moment – geopolitical unrest, climate chaos, displaced populations – and threats are real not only to the peace and security of our families and communities but to the very existence of humankind as the dominant species upon this planet. It all feels like The Eighties: the sequel. It was back then, living in the shadow of the Cold War as a teenager, that I first started to get seriously interested in science fiction as a way of speculating about the future. Alternative versions of now. For SF holds a dark mirror up to the present day. It has done this since its inception, in Mary Shelley’s masterpiece, Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus, published 200 years ago, but haunting us still about the perils of playing god, of science running amok. In the 30s Aldous Huxley explored the spectre…

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Hopeless, Maine comes to Time Quake

Things we’ve been up to recently, and some insights into Hopeless Maine, my steampunk enthusiasms, and so forth. Somehow, Tom managed not to get his photo into this, but there’s a bit of me and also my very grown up offspring!

The Hopeless Vendetta

Last weekend, we had a bit of an adventure and brought Hopeless, Maine to Manchester (UK) We are basically hobbits (Eldritch Hobbits, naturally) and can only be lured away from our shire for the most excellent adventures. This was one such. Time Quake was a bold experiment put together by the same people who bring you The Asylum Steampunk Festival.  (Which is the largest, and my opinion, best steampunk event in the world) Thier involvement meant that this experiment was bound to be a success (Spoiler- it was)

We set up as the Hopeless, Maine tourist information stand and prepared to educate the unwary about life on our strange little island off the coast of Maine. We were armed with creatures, books, strange bunting, oddities, and the lovely tourist info posters drawn by the esteemed Cliff Cumber. Also- we had leaflets on island history and a piece by the mysterious Eldrich…

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