Beltane – New Cover Reveal

Alex Beltane ebook coverI’m delighted to announce that my supernatural fantasy romance, Beltane, has a gorgeous new cover.  The cover features a rather good looking Green Man.  I’m rather taken by his lovely eyes and how it’s clear that under those leaves there’s a really interesting and (let’s be honest) downright sexy guy.

Now if you’ve not read Beltane then you might be thinking, what’s with the Green Man.  I’m afraid to answer that question would need a spoiler alert so I’ll just say that the Green Man is a very key character in the book.

My original title for Beltane was The Green Man but after one too many person said, “Sounds like a pub” I decided Beltane was a better option. It’s taken me a while to find my perfect Green Man for the cover and, since I published the book, readers have very kindly sent me Green Men that they’ve found on their travels.  I’ve now got pictures of Green Men from all over the UK so I thought I’d share a few with you.  There’s stone ones, wood ones, knitted ones and even ones on biscuits!

IMG_0703Green Men have been around for many centuries but that name wasn’t used until 1939 when Lady Raglan coined it in an article about ‘The Green Man in Church Architecture’ which was published in the Folklore Journal.  Before that they were known as foliate heads being essentially heads surrounded by foliage.

Green Men are surprisingly ancient.  There are Roman examples of the Green Man and carvings from Mesopotamian in present-day Iraq.  Surprisingly, as he’s (probably) associated with fertility and nature, he’s found in many mediaeval churches where you’ll find him carved in wood or stone.  He had a bit of a revival in the nineteenth century when he was a favourite of the Gothic revivalist and arts and crafts movement.  Since then he’s been interpreted by artists, had a festival named after him and a lot of albums (I’ve just discovered, and I have to say it seems somewhat unlikely to me, that Mark Owen of Take That’s 1996 solo album was called ‘The Green Man’) and given his name to a Morris side (which my Morris dancing friend tells me is the technical name for a group of Morris dancers).

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Green Man biscuits

The Green Man is sometimes confused with Jack in the Green (the trickster character of English May Day parades), Green George (who it turns out is a leaf covered young man in mummer’s plays), John Barleycorn (a character in a folk song which personifies the life cycle of barley) and Robin Hood (yes, the robbed from the rich to give to the poor Nottinghamshire outlaw).  But he predates all of them.

Interestingly, with all those images of him there’s no clear understanding of what he represents. The experts aren’t one hundred percent sure which means there’s lots of different theories.  Some believe he’s a symbol of death and rebirth, others that he’s a symbol of fertility and others that he’s a symbol of life and nature.   For me, it’s the last one that rings true and that’s why he’s important in Beltane.

Knitted green manI hope you’ve enjoyed looking at my Green Man photo gallery.  They’re all remarkably handsome in different ways.  If you’ve got a photo of a Green Man or if you see one on your travels then I’d love to see it.  You can add a comment below, tweet me at @Alyswestyork, post on my Facebook page @alyswestwrites or visit my website at www.alyswest.com

If you’d like to know more about Beltane click here

Endings and Beginnings

We’re edging towards the end of 2016, and at Fabrian Books we’ve been looking back at a great year, during which we’ve published some amazing titles.

Eden for Susanna's blogOur year began in April, with the release of Sharon Booth’s romantic comedy, This Other Eden. Featuring a sexy sheep farmer called Eliot, an ageing rock star and his spoilt princess of a daughter, a cheating politician, and a rather confused young woman called Eden, it was described by one enthusiastic reviewer as “a hugely entertaining jaunt of a novel through the Yorkshire Dales”, This Other Eden is the first in Sharon’s new Skimmerdale series.

 

beltane-newistJune saw the publication of Beltane, the first of Alys West’s amazing fantasy series, The Spellworker Chronicles. It’s  set in mystical Glastonbury, and follows talented artist, Zoe, who is plagued by strange dreams. Working in Glastonbury, she encounters the rather gorgeous Finn, who seems disturbingly familiar to her. Dark forces are gathering around the two of them, and it’s no wonder one reviewer admitted she “couldn’t put this novel down”.

 

tdkd-coverIn August, Alys turned her hand to a different genre, with the release of her steampunk novella, The Dirigible King’s Daughter. Set in an alternative Whitby, this gorgeous story features feisty heroine Harriet, and the utterly charming Charlie, as they face a race against time to clear Harriet’s name, when she’s accused of a rather serious crime. Described by one reviewer as “a tale of romance and peril against the background of the thrilling flights of the dirigibles and escapades on steam-powered omnibuses” it’s “terrific fun and a lovely romance story”.

 

51uc3fcsfslSeptember brought the publication of the third in Sharon Booth’s Kearton Bay series. Once Upon a Long Ago is set in the gorgeous former fishing village and smuggling stronghold of Kearton Bay on the North Yorkshire coast, and, this time, it follows the adventures of stubborn, practical Lexi Bailey, and the sweet-natured, gentle lord of the manor, Will Boden-Kean. Will has been in love with Lexi for many years, but she’s never even noticed. Unfortunately for Will, she quickly notices his rather handsome cousin who arrives in the village when Will’s father passes away. Secrets, lies, hidden treasure, and a hero from the past,  plus a beautiful stately home, and a cute chocolate Labrador called Buttons, all feature in this story, which one reviewer described as “Downton Abbey meets Upstairs Downstairs with a touch of Cluedo!” Another hailed it as “Another super read from the pen of Ms Booth”.

 

baxter-ebook-coverOctober saw the release of not one, but two new books – both feel-good novellas, and just 99p each. The first was Sharon Booth’s Baxter’s Christmas Wish. Starring Baxter, the boisterous Boxer dog, it’s a tale of love, home, and second chances. As one reviewer put it, “This is a lovely, warm and fuzzy love story with a wonderful dog and a little boy who adores him at the heart of it”.

 

gmyad-ebook-new-version-finalJo Bartlett’s October offering was the lovely Give Me Your Answer Do. Set on a farm overlooking the English Channel, and featuring lots of cake, weddings, and the world’s naughtiest donkey, it would be difficult to find anything not to love about this story! The reviewer who wrote “a completely charming read which is as enjoyable as a slice of Ellie’s Mum’s Victoria Sponge cake” clearly agrees.

 

a-holly-bay-christmas-ebook-cover-v2Finally, November brought our last release of the year – Jo Bartlett’s Christmas novella, A Holly Bay Christmas. Another Fabrian feel-good book, priced at just 99p, this tells the story of Maddie, who runs a combined bookshop and tearooms in the Cornish village of Holly Bay. Maddie is completely devoted to her business, but when a handsome stranger arrives in the village, she finds herself drawn to him. But Ben has a secret, and when Maddie founds out what it is, it looks as if her budding Christmas romance is over before it really began. But, after all, it is Christmas…A Holly Bay Christmas became a best-seller just days after its release!

 

So that’s our round-up of this year’s Fabrian releases. But we’re not just looking back. Oh, no! We’re also looking forward to a glorious 2017. We’ll have new books from all your favourite Fabrian authors, but we’ll also be welcoming new authors into the fold, and releasing their amazing stories into the world. We’re very excited about them, and we’re sure you’re going to love them, too!

In the meantime, we’d like to thank you all for supporting Fabrian Books, and to tell you how much we appreciate all you lovely people who have bought, read and maybe even reviewed our stories. We’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas, and a happy New Year.

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