The Women of the Kingdom.

Silhouette Image by Mohamed Hassan, with additional background added by this blog. Images royalty free.
Archer at Sunset

Now the series of Heirs to the Kingdom has come to an end, and whilst I am looking at other projects, I have taken a little time to sit back and reflect on what is now a full body of work.

Heirs to the Kingdom has many messages within the pages, be them about justice, the environment, betrayal or loyalty, but one message that I wanted to be loud and clear, also reflects an aspect of my own life, especially in the role of management or business owner, and that is, I believe in complete equality for all.

In recent years I have seen messages certainly around the book world, and in film that there really isn’t enough female hero’s, and at times I have sat back and gasped with disbelief, history is packed them, Boudicea and Joan of Arc come straight to mind, as does Wonder Woman, who has seen a huge revival on the silver screen in recent times. I cannot think of a better example of a female hero than Wonder Woman, the bi-sexual, whip and sword bearing shield maiden who fights for justice, she has it all, and even as a boy I was a huge fan of Linda Carter, who was the Wonder Woman of my 1970’s youth. Literature is littered with rebellious strong women, and yet they appear ignored, Pippi Longstocking the free spirited teenager, Jo out of Little Women, and not forgetting Elizabeth Bennet out of Pride and Prejudice, as some of the strongest female character’s I have read, and I would say for women they should be inspiring figures.

When it came to Heirs to the Kingdom, I wanted similar characters. Yes the book is an action and adventure story laced with magic and mythology, and there was always going to be fights and brawls, but when I first set out to write the books, I looked seriously at the situation created by the Red Death, and to me it made perfect sense that not just the males, but the females would out of a survival instinct, fight to protect what little they had. Today I know my wife is as capable as me if it came to a survival situation, she has been by my side throughout most of HTTK, and yes we have made our own arrows, and taught the kids how to filter water and start a fire with wet wood, everything in the books has been looked at and examined, and if I simply did not know, together we tried it to document the process for the writing. I will add at this point that the sexual reference to barbeque tools in book seven, is very specific to Jett Amber only, we have no knowledge of such things, although my wife has had green hair, which happened once as an accident, and she did do it once on purpose.

Heirs to the Kingdom whilst a fantasy, had to reflect real life in my mind, and so I started by creating females who would enter the books as the very ideal of what is the stereotyped female, especially in the case of Runestone. Rune is a few bits of several people I have known in my life, her long red hair and sapphire blue eyes, are from one person, her temperament comes from another, and her slender frame and kick ass abilities, came from yet another female from my life. I grew up in the 1970’s around hippie culture which morphed into rock culture, and I was surrounded by friends like Runestone, Jade and Jett. It was my intention to show Runestone as would be expected of a young innocent girl, and then I began her transformation from girl in the clothes shop, to kick ass powerhouse side kick to a warrior lord, her evolution through the series has been a real pleasure to write, and for any young girl reading HTTK, I hope it shows them, that the stereotyped world is not their only choice in life.

The hippie community was filled with slender elegantly dressed, and certainly very feminine women, and it was from these people I referenced a selection of characters, the biker/rocker community gave me a sample of strong capable women, and it was from combining the two that I came up with a basic idea of how the females within the books would be shaped. For myself Runestones ability to lift a sword and fight besides her husband is a natural thing, I have seen women who are more than capable outshine the men in real life. The broad South Wales speaking, at times flaky, yet highly aggressive Jett Amber, is actually quite a normal persona from my past, and I actually think I live with Jade, as my wife is much happier in oversized hoodies, my shirts and her heavy boots. All of these people who shaped my story entered my life in a very feminine manner, and as I grew to know them and they became good friends, I began to see all their wonderful additional qualities, and to be honest there was no debate back then of treating them differently, as they were naturally seen and treated as equals. I think in many ways today the battle of the genders has become so fraught, we fail to see how alike we can all be at times, and that is a main point of HTTK.

This a post-apocalyptic story, a dystopian tale, and in a situation where the uncertainty of death hangs over you. I would say all the fights and squabbles over gender would be brushed aside, as everyone pitched in to help overcome the trials of the changes to life. It is a shame that we have such great stories literally within arm’s reach, and yet it feels at times like the world is stuck in this fight for rights and power, when if such an incident happened in the real world today, everyone would see that given the situation, all of us are capable of simply getting stuck in and doing what was necessary to survive.

The biggest change I have seen is my life is the eroding of acceptance. Growing up in hippie/rock culture, I saw a different way of living, which was based more in nature and less in the world of money and stone, it shows in my writing. Today we have moved away from simply being ourselves and accepting everyone around us for whom they are, this media driven world has become critical and is all about shaming others, and I find it very sad. I would like to think that HTTK whilst a wonderful vehicle for escapism, also can show a more natural way for all of us to live together, which is the whole principle behind Robbie’s Mere as the base of the Specialist’s. I really love the fact that there are alpha males and alpha females’ side by side, who get along and serve the community.

Human nature I feel is naturally accepting with an open mind, there will always be love and romance, sexual frustrations and expressions. Bravery will appear in the most unlikely, and fear will create doubt in the strongest, there are good and bad people in all communities, and there is certainly no shortage of bullies and those who will become their victims, and these things apply to both sexes equally. They have always been there, history tells us the tales of those times, and they are at times misleading, as they are only the words of the one person who wrote them. I think it is why I admire Celtic culture, for they believed in complete equality and in community. They lived by tribe mentality, and accepted each other as equals because their way of life depended on it, so why are we not teaching more of this to our children?

To say there is a shortage of female role models or hero’s I feel is misleading, if you look hard enough you will find them. Arwen and Eowyn from lord of the rings, Lyra Silver Tongue from His dark Materials, Jo Playton from Day of the Triffids, Super Girl, Bat Girl, Black Widow, Harlequin, Storm, there are so many of various types, and there is one pretty much to suit every woman alive, and now you also have Runestone, Jade Opal, Jett Amber, Scarlet, Sapphire, Opal Green Circle, Gwendolyn, Tila, Crystal, and Amethyst to add to the collection, and the thing that makes them all admirable is, they are all true to themselves and those they support. I will add if perchance you hate them all, go follow Rags for a while, because that girl can cope with just about anything.

Heirs to the Kingdom is a series of eight fantasy and adventure books, written by Robin John Morgan, and is available from Amazon and all online book retailers.

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Life and Darkness.

It was always my hope that within the pages of HTTK the characters would take on a life that felt real. I wanted the readers to form a bond with the characters as if they were real people within their lives, and so a great deal of my time writing this story was put into thinking each and every movement of the characters, and their reactions, which I hoped breathed life into them.

HTTK albeit a fantasy story, is in my mind about life, the normal everyday life that we all live in the time that we have. Life has many wonderful things, such as love, family, companionship, laughter and joy, but it also has its fair share of hurt, betrayal, sorrow, jealousy, and heartbreak. We are taught that life has to be a balance of both, and have many sayings such as, “taking the rough with the smooth,” and even though we may talk to others about their pain and suffering, I find it is often the case that people hide their own fears and pain, by burying it deep inside them in fear of the shame that they will appear less complete or weaker than those that surround them.

HTTK has many themes, but one underlying theme has been within the pages since the very start, and that is of course the darkness that is hidden from everyone. Throughout this story spanning eight books, every so often a little of the darkness hidden deep within has seeped to the surface, and this was shown in book one with betrayal, and two and three especially in the manner in which Mason’s soldiers conduct themselves. All of these served the purpose of showing a much deeper layer hidden inside the story that I hoped would serve to prepare the reader for the final two books. Greed and Power also show the darkness within people, and that has been very obvious within the tale since the start, and so these were my vehicles that would provide the truth of life, and clues to the final book in the series.

It is well documented, that in order to write Kingdom, I took much of my life experiences and that of others I had observed, and wove them into a fantasy series of books, using my characters as the vehicle to deliver my message, so if you take some time, and having read all eight books and follow the darkness, you will find that the final book comes to the most natural conclusion possible for this story, although I am sure at first reading that will not appear to be the case, and you will spend a little time pondering the way the book comes to its close.

In order to fully understand this, you have to go right back to book one and look at the actions of the green lord. He had watched for a long time, and seeing how out of balance the world had become, he decided to act, hence the Red Death virus that wiped out the largest percentage of mankind. Evil had spread through the lines of men, and they were blamed for all that was wrong, and so he took action to halt it for good. The opening of book eight begins with our old lord as he ponders everything, and in doing so he begins to realise he has made a mistake, for there deep within everything was a darkness hidden from everyone.

For myself personally, I feel that at some point in life, we too sit as the green lord does, and we all take some time to reflect on our past and on the life we have lived, and it is in these times that we begin to see that at some point in our life, we too have had to deal with a circle of darkness that surrounded us. Our lives do slip out of balance, and it is usually in these times that we suffer silently with our own dark thoughts, as our mind tries to deal with the experiences that we have had, and in most cases it is within the hours of darkness that our greatest fears creep into us, and we see the truth of not only our own lives, but also the lives of others. These are our own times within the circle, and they are powerful moments hidden from view, veiled from the rest of the world, and book eight is the book that finally brings these moments to the surface as everyone feels its effects and loses a little faith.

Without revealing any spoilers for the final book, I am sure those who have read the book will be a little surprised at the way this book comes to its close. I think I am right in saying it will be unexpected, although the clues have been there if you look for them.

The pace of the final book is very different from the rest, it is irregular as it weaves and twists through the highs and lows, and is filled with doubt and confusion. Book three was pretty dark in places, but this book takes that to a whole new level, you start to realise that the Specialist’s are jaded from over a year a hard fighting and they have lost a little of their zest, I think Rowan says it perfectly when he states, “he has seen things no man should have to witness” and just for the quiet contemplative man he is to suddenly admit that, shows the fatigue they all feel. He too is looking back and seeing his own personal circle of darkness and finally having to deal with it, as is Robbie, Rayne, Runestone, Jade and Sapphire.

Book eight reveals just how badly out of balance everything is, and it is not just a world view, or a natural environmental view, although they are important themes within all eight books, this time it on a personal level, and it does shake the inner most foundations of everyone’s beliefs, and that is why the ending of this book is the right one.

The only way to survive is to try and return things back to balance, there has to be light, but in order to keep the scales level, there also has to be some darkness, and this book looks at the way that can be achieved, and I am sure the last page of the book will highlight that perfectly.

Heirs to the Kingdom by Robin John Morgan

Heirs to the Kingdom was always meant to reflect life as it is today, and whilst it is wonderful to live in a fantasy that involves families, love, desire, friendship, simple living and compassion, sadly life today has too much of exploitation, violence, rape, war, and greed for wealth and power. Take a moment to study history and it reveals the great evils of the past that men have committed on their own race and other races. History shows how we have destroyed and exploited nature for gain, persecuted each other for power and control, and committed acts of horrendous evil. There was no coincidence in Opal saying “Look to the past,” her message was always to look deeply into the darkness and cast the light on the truth.

Life no matter how much you want to avoid it contains a great deal of pain and injustice, I know I have lived it myself, and witnessed it in the lives of those who have surrounded me. I have walked in my own circle of darkness and suffered, and I have fought on through it to find the light again, and I have accompanied many others on their own journey through the darkness into the light. What I have learned on these many journeys is that we do not always have control over it, we certainly hide most of it and wrestle alone as we deal with it, and sometimes, it is not us who can finally banish it, sometimes it takes another at our side to finally rid us of it.

We are never completely alone, we may feel it at times as the pressure mounts, but no matter how dark things become, if we have the courage to face the darkness and reach out, all of us find the help we so desperately need, be it a friend, professional or family, and that is the heart of the story that is Heirs to the Kingdom.

Heirs to the Kingdom by Robin John Morgan is a complete fantasy Adventure series that is available to purchase from Amazon and all other online book sellers.

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Behind the pages.

The one question I get more than any other question is, “Why did you leave horticulture to become a writer?”

For those who have no idea about my life before writing, I spent 35 years working with plants, and it is true to say, I am a huge fan of green life. I walked away from horticulture in 2008 which came as a huge surprise to a lot of people, as most people saw me as a very dedicated supporter of the growing and nurturing of all forms of plant life, and it may come as some surprise to know that I still am.

The reason for my sudden change back then was simple, horticulture for me as a profession had run its course, I had worked for nurseries, garden centres, ran a dedicated group of enthusiasts, and set up and run my own business, and each of those aspects of my life had provided me with passion, drive and ambition, but in truth, there was so much more to who I am as a person, and ultimately horticulture was holding me back from living a free and open life.

Through writing I discovered I had a voice, and I had thoughts, dreams and ideas that filled my head with endless possibilities. The life of a horticulturalist involves long days of work, and even though I will never regret a minute of that life, there simply was not enough time for me to explore the many facets of the person I had grown into, and writing gave the space and time to explore all of those aspects of my evolving persona and mind set.

I live a very private life, my circle is small and my mind is vast, and over the span of time I have lived on this earth, I have encountered many ups and downs along the journey of this life. I know devastation, I know heart break, I know inner turmoil, I know pain, and I know betrayal. I have seen the worst in people there is no doubt, but I also know joy, contentment, inner peace, companionship and deep love.

In life we share our time with many different people, and we are challenged by different beliefs and by other cultures, and it is from these kind of associations, which in many ways contradict each other, I have through life developed a wonderful curiosity about the human condition, and yet even though through watching plant life grow and develop, which in itself shows you natures interactions, I had no real way to apply my understanding of the things I learned about human interactions.

In 2006 I began to add my thoughts to a story that had preoccupied a large chunk of my life, and very soon I realised this was the perfect vehicle for me to explore what I had learned. In many ways it is ironic, because by bringing together a fantasy fiction, I could express what was my real life observations and my own experiences. Daft as it may sound, it was a powerful experience to know I could recreate situations I had seen or lived through, and have other characters act out those scenarios with different outcomes. For the first time in my life, I could unleash my mind and allow my thoughts that were so mixed up and jumbled in my head, onto paper in a cohesive form, and I cannot deny it felt at first like an exorcism, and it was very powerful.

Since that time, what has become a series of books titled ‘Heirs to the Kingdom’ I have found a place where for the first time in my life, I have felt a sense of belonging that matched my love of the green world, and it has changed everything about how I see myself, and who I wanted to become. It is within the pages I have written, this somewhat awkward, introverted outcast discovered some way of making sense of a life that was confused, mixed up and at times lost, flapping in the winds of the wilderness. It was truly life changing for me to put pen to paper and finally make sense of everything, I can only describe it as some form of awakening, and it felt so positive it dwarfed everything, including my life working with people and showing them the ways of nature and raising plant life.

Heirs to the Kingdom by Robin John Morgan

My life still has many ups and downs, but I find I understand them and deal with them better now, and no I have no intentions of writing a self-help book. Today I understand that to be a writer it is important to look at the world and record your observations. It worries me that in this current time (2020) there is division and divisiveness all around the globe, it feels very much like the voices of many are being suppressed, and only those of certain creeds and cultures have the right to talk, and as a thinker and writer, I can see how destructive that is, and understand that without realising it, I have been writing about it for over ten years, for that really is what Heirs to the Kingdom is about.

I had no voice, I was not given the platform to talk openly and freely, and it has been that way since I was a child. That is the purpose of a writer, and yet it took me 44 years of life to truly understand that even though I was being guided by the voices of every writer I have ever read, I was in fact silent.

My story will shortly come to its conclusion, and I feel there is a stronger voice within the pages than ever before, and my attention will turn to other stories and other experiences, it has indeed been a very fulfilling journey. I still have hurdles to climb, none more so that the frustrations of multinational book sellers who have made life during the lockdown caused by the coronavirus harder than it should be, and I have to comply to the frustrations of staff shortages that cause delay after delay within the book production industry, but shortly, I will finally get to where I want to be, and I feel great optimism for the future writing about my loves and my hates and the flow of mine and others I have observed lives.

Heirs to the Kingdom is something I am very proud of, it is not a best seller, but it is known to a dedicated few and I appreciate their support. I often get asked what the book is about, and I always say the very same thing. It is about life; it is the story of families, and friends, the pain and the joy, and the hopes and dreams we all hold along the way. Yes it’s a fantasy, but the core of it is as real as your life or mine, and if I never write anything else, I am happy to have finished it, for it was a mammoth task, and a labour of love.

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The Final Circle.

When it comes to Heirs to the Kingdom, you have probably noticed that it’s all about Circles. It has become one of the most important aspects of the story, as everyone is interwoven into groups and circles of friendships that all revolve around each other. This is a reflection of my own life, as I have wandered from circle to circle, never really belonging to any one circle, and yet welcomed in many. Life in itself is a circle, and I feel it has shaped and influenced my own life in such a way, that it simply appeared obvious that I would include it in my series, which is based around the life of two families and their circles of influence.

Book Eight "The Circle of DarknessOne circle that has been hidden for most of the books is the one that will be used to title the final book, “The Circle of Darkness.” This is the final circle, which revolves around the family line of Morgan le Fey, and for most of the series has been hidden in plain view from everyone, including the characters, which is why it took seven previous books to arrive at it.

Throughout all the books I have brought snippets of the family of Morgan into the tale and slipped them out, almost as if this whole series has been one circle that the reader would enter for a brief time and then move on to another, and in doing this it has helped me as the Author to show you a glimpse, and then snatch in from view again, so that the reader has never truly understood how the line of Morgan became so powerful, but all of that is about to change.

There is a fascinating backstory here of mystery and devious behaviour, and it is my hope that the final book will cast some light into a very dark place and illuminate the whole story of HTTK in doing so. It has not been the easiest of the books to write, and as with everything I have added to Kingdom, I hope it is enough to really make you want to go back and look through all the books again and seek out those Aha! Moments, as you start to fully understand all those little bits of information woven throughout the first seven. Whenever I have been questioned in the past, I have always responded with “Everything is written for a reason,” and I hope that becomes clear in the final book.

The Circle of Darkness has taken longer than any of the series to write, and yet I have enjoyed putting it together immensely. As I began to write this book, I suddenly started to realise how large a world I had created in my head, and as I sifted through piles of notes to make a start, I must admit I found myself reading something I had written up a note years ago, and simply sat reading, which did somewhat slow the process.

This final book has allowed me to bring in one realm I planned in 2002, Florae, the realm created by Hearne and Eve especially for the Fae of Earth, which could only be accessed from the world of men via the doorway on the Violet Isle. Florae for me is a Utopian dream, a place where one truly is at one with nature, where nothing is wasted and every aspect of life is lived in harmony with nature. It is indeed a place I would live happily to the end of my days, surrounded by green life and beauty, and a place where I could rest my mind and simply relax.

Florae was ruled for ages by Queen Bridget Violet, the equal of Rhiannon and grandmother to Gwendolyn, and was built by her husband Malcolm, and her son Ninian, And considering who Runestone actually is, you will understand the wisdom of Gwendolyn, and her passing of a future Queen of Florae to the care of the Woodland Realm. This book will not reveal all of the life of Bridget, but it will show enough for you to understand her wisdom and care of her people, and yes there is still a good backstory there for later days.

As with all previous books I shall bring forth new characters, a few in particular that I absolutely loved creating for you, two such characters will be Branna and Tila. These two are poles apart in their character and philosophy towards life, and I hope you will all enjoy meeting them. Like all things characters will come and go as the book draws to its conclusion, which again I hope is as unpredictable as the ends of the others have been.

I have to confess I will miss many of these characters I created. The confusion and profound simplicity of Fagan, who Jade understands completely. Those dithering moments of Woody before Una took charge of him, the confidence of Jett and Blades in the thick of the fight. Opal, oh how I will miss her calm and insightful conversations, and also Steph, the voice of reason in the midst of nerves, or her absolute revulsion at the menu. Robbie, Runestone, Rowan and Jade have been the focus of many long nights planning their love and lives, be it woodsman boots under a wedding dress, or Robbie’s endless confusion of the family he married into. It has been so wonderful, like the moment Sapphire kissed Robbie in the cave, and my wife became outraged with her, or the text message I got over one of her favourite characters that simply read,  “If you kill him, I am divorcing you.” And as I reassured her at the time, “keep reading.” It has been a wonderful journey.

Heirs to the Kingdom

Heirs to the Kingdom has always been the story of life, with its loves and pains, and learned wisdom, from all that happens. Much of this tale has been taken from real life and given a fantasy twist, but if you look deep enough, I am sure there is much to take away from it. I never realised when I began to seriously write that first terrible draft back in 2007 that it would grow to be such a detailed and inspiring tale. I do think I greatly underestimated how much I would come to love these characters, and the realms in which they lived. My life since that day has been filled with excited conversations, wonderful emails, and some very long nights working quietly in the darkness, lost in a world that is alive in my head. It has been such a thrill to create it, and if just one person falls in love with my world and lives through a thrilling adventure in their thoughts, I will feel satisfied and a little less insecure about putting it all together, and out in print.

The wait will not be much longer as the final manuscript is edited and formatted, and soon you will hold it in print, and it is my hope, you enjoy it as much as I have creating it. Heirs to the Kingdom is not the biggest seller, or the most popular, but the love shown it by such a dedicated few, made it feel like the world’s biggest best seller to me, and I am so deeply grateful for the love you have shown to it. Thank you.

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Time to leave the Woodland.

The Circle of Darkness : heirs to the Kingdom Book Eight, By Robin John Morgan

In December 2017 I sat alone with a pad, and made 10 bullet points of what were the most important aspects of my fantasy adventure story, Heirs to the Kingdom. Once done, I opened my computer and started to write what was to become the final book in this series. It has been a long journey through woodlands and forests, mountains and lakes, and it has been an epic adventure that has occupied my thoughts since way back in 1987, when I first made up a short tale so as not to end a bed time story too soon.

On March 3rd 2020, I handed my wife a USB stick with the completed and edited manuscript having decided the book was complete, and she is now currently reading the full draft for the first time. She has read a rough version, which was back in November 2019, but I wanted her to be the first to read it as I intend to present it to every other reader. This version is much more polished and has a further 15 thousand words.

The couple of years have been a trying time for my family, we have faced problems and health issues throughout all of our close friends and family, and I cannot deny there has been a few times where the stress levels reached a peak, and it made writing impossible, and so this book has taken more time than any of the other Kingdom series, and I have been acutely aware throughout all the writing that the readers of this tale were becoming impatient. It has not been easy, but I am so delighted to finally say it’s done, and it’s coming, as it is no longer in my control as it has now entered the Publishers for formatting into the book.

The time has come for me to leave the woodland, in many ways it is a bitter sweet experience, as I began the first real attempt of writing this tale back in 2007, and so I have grown to know these characters as well as my family and friends, and walking away is not that easy, as I still get ideas and pencil them down of adventures they could still have. I will not say this is it, I am done, because as I have learned over the years, my mind controls the stories I write, and if a great idea arises, I will sit and write it, it is who I have become.

Cover : The Circle of Darkness. HTTK Book 8

Part of writing this book involved looking backwards, and in order to fill in those important blanks, I have written more of the back story, one part in particular which had many new characters, has had an extensive work up and is in itself a small book, some of it will appear in the last book, as I literally copied and pasted sections of the past into book eight. I do think I will finish it and polish it, and I will probably at some future date put it out there, as I think it can be read as a standalone book, or an addition to Kingdom. Which is why when you open the cover of book 8, you will see under the title on the first page, “Of the Ravens of Berengar” in italics.

The kingdom will continue, in so much as I have more to blog and plenty to add to the web pages, which have been a little neglected due to life and the pressure of getting this last book out, no doubt there is more to come, and maybe there are one or two lose strings that have yet to be tied up.

No one knows what the future may bring, and sadly people like Sapphire are not around to guide me, so for the future what I can say without any doubt, is I will keep looking into interesting things, talking to open minded people, and enjoy them sharing their ideas and experiences of life, and throughout all of that, maybe I will find another group of characters, who are simply so interesting, I will have no choice but to write about them.

Heirs to the Kingdom Book Eight : The Circle of Darkness will be here shortly, and I hope I have lived up to your expectations.

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Happy New Year 2019.

Winter within the Woodland

At one hour past midnight in a glade filled with soft snow, the sounds of a small babies cries echoed through the bare snow dressed trees, around the ancient woodland that surrounded Robbie’s Mere, and the house of the Lord Loxley and his wife Runestone.

   As if they all knew, the few animals that scratched in the snow for food, stopped and all raised their heads and looked in the direction of the wooden house. It was a sacred time when a power of the sight of the future was brought by Stephanie and Jessica into the world.

   The house rang with cheers, and laughter and the ringing of glasses of celebration, and somehow in the world of the woodland that was asleep for the winter, life seemed to tread round the trees and bring tidings to all of a new addition to the noble line of Loxley.

Taken from The Queen of the Violet Isle. HTTK Book Four, by Robin John Morgan.

Is it 2019 already?

It is hard to believe that 10 years ago in January of 2009, I sat with my girlfriend, later to be my wife, and looked through every page of the Bowman of Loxley. We were in the process of starting what was to become a publishing deal for the first editions of HTTK, the only problem was, the publisher was concerned about the word count. We edited a sizeable chunk from the first book, something I did very begrudgingly, as this book was the culmination of 20 years of research and ideas.

It was an exciting time, I had been pushed and pushed by a lot of people to publish this book, and for two years I had dodged doing it, from my own point of view I did not feel like I was a writer, I simply wrote stuff down and enjoyed doing it. Writing was a past time, a hobby, it was not something that was meant to be serious, but having been pushed by just about everyone who had read the rough first draft, I had finally made the decision to publish and set about getting things ready.

The rest as we know is history, the book was edited down, the book was published in April 2009, followed by book two the same year, and the third book came out a year later. It has all felt like a whirl wind trip, and the kind of story dreams are made of, but sadly that was not to be the case.

The fourth book in the series was not published until 2014, four years after the third book, which was mainly due to the fact that as my third book hit the stores, I began to feel very uneasy about allowing my publisher of that time work on the fourth. Things felt wrong, and my suspicions grew a great deal that things with the publisher were not as expected. I am glad now that I listened to my gut feelings because as I arrive in 2019 I still have not received a single penny in royalties from those first editions, and I can no longer reach the publisher as they have disappeared, I have had no choice but to write off those earnings from what at the time was a lot of book sales.

It served as a lesson for the future, and became my driving force to set things right and establish HTTK by a means I could control, and funnily enough, it was New Year’s Day 2014 that I launched Violet Circle Publishing, after a year of seriously hard work and effort on the part of my wife and myself. January 2014 was once again a hive of activity as I pushed to firstly revisit the first three books, and put back all the edits that had been removed from the first editions. The focus from that point on was to completely re-format the interior with a format that could be replicated throughout all the books, I wanted it simple, clean, and easy to read, and by making the page size a little larger, I manged to drop the page count, and thus reduce the price of the books, as I had always felt the first editions were just too expensive.

January 2019 is going to follow a similar pattern; I will be writing none stop as my wife looks towards the editing of each chapter as I write it, in order to speed up production of the final book of the series. It will feel good to finish with the final book on the tenth anniversary of the first publication, a feat that will bring to a close a whopping twelve years of none stop writing of this particular series of books. Who knew it would take so long to actually get all of it to this point and into print?

Heirs to the Kingdom has seen me write millions of words, spend literally a good few years of just editing and revising, I have taken thousands of photographs, driven hundreds of miles, and have hours of notes on my digital voice recorder, and I think I have used a good few trees worth of recycled paper in the process.

I would love to say it’s been exhausting, but honestly even though there have been so many nights sat up alone writing, and I have at times suffered sleep deprivation because I got carried away on a particular stubborn part of the tale. Exhaustion was never an issue, it has been a challenge of that there is no doubt, but I loved every moment I have worked on this story, and it has become a huge part of the person I have become, and hopefully I think I can say I have finally earned my stripes as full time writer.

2019 will take me into a place where my focus and concentration have to be better than ever, I have a lot still to do to bring this story to its final conclusion, and it with that in mind that I take my inspiration from the last ten years of working to publish this story. It still needs a much bigger fan base if I am going to continue to write, and once the final book hits the shelves, that will be my goal for the second part of this year, but for now, I am simply doing what I love the most, writing the tale that you have all come to love, for all of you who read this are one of the inspirations that drives me forward, and I will be forever grateful to all of you.

I wish all of you the very best for this coming year, I wish you all peace, and safety in whatever you may face this year, and I hope all of you will get to walk a greener path lit by the shade of old trees.

Happy New Year 2019 to you all.

The dappled shade of the Woodland

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The Parting of Sapphire and Keith.

Handfasting or Marriage

I have had a few comments from readers on the breakup between Sapphire and Keith. Quite a few of you have expressed some sadness at their parting of the ways. They met in book two, and it appeared that they were destined to be together forever, especially when you look to book four, and Sapphire’s ordeal at the hands of Brother Argus, and how distraught she became about her prospects for future chances of children with Keith.

I try in all that I write to give an honest representation of life, and I think the story of Sapphire and Keith serves as a good reflection of our modern world today, and there is a line I have used many times as I have talked to someone suffering a broken heart, which simply put is, “Some people are meant to belong in our hearts, but not always in our lives.”

I have seen a great deal in my half century on this earth, and since I was a young boy, a great deal has changed in regard to relationships and marriage. I think with age I have grown a little cynical about the future of what is now seen as out of date values, and I have watched the game change into something so different from the family roles I learned as a young boy. I do try very hard to present a modern take on my woodland world, and I spend a great deal of time thinking about how the rules of society would change after a life changing event such as the Red Death, and one thing I do know, is that if you put people into a survival situation, pretty much most of their view points on life will shift, especially in regard to long term goals.

Modern culture is unrecognisable to that of my youth, and as a people watcher who is fascinated with the human condition, I have observed many of the younger couples that have grown around me. Marriages are changing, so are relationships, and in today’s world, sadly a marriage is something no longer measured as for life. The young embrace marriage and relationships as a short term phase, most marriages today encounter cheating and infidelity much sooner than say twenty years ago, it appears that forever has a life span of only ten years in the modern world, and I think about this a great deal.

Pagan ritual of marriage

The fact is, modern society sees relationships so much more differently than I did in my twenties, they have adopted a more  disposable lifestyle, which I think creates an attitude and a live in the now approach. To a degree I understand this, as I grew up opposed to marriage due mainly to my own observations of those around me, and I chose to live my own life in search of liberty and self-discovery. It was only in my later years that I even considered marriage, and so I feel that maybe the youth of today are a little more wiser to life, and want to enjoy being single for far longer than many of my peers did before settling down. When I was younger I was taught marriage is for life, you pick one person and then tough it out no matter what the circumstances, today traditional marriage is just one of many options, that include open lifestyles of varying degrees, and I have observed these in action, and considered it and realised that a marriage in the modern world, is whatever that couple wants it to be, and I actually can see some sense to this.

I have observed couples, who break up, and I have had the chance to talk to quite a few during their times of separation, and many have regrets, and equally as many do not want to let go. It is an interesting phenomenon, and something I wanted to reflect in the books. I have known females, who even though their partner treated them terribly, and left them for other women, they refused to let go, and have endured a long period of suffering alone as a result. I still to this day do not understand why anyone would want to be around someone who treated them so badly, but the facts are, they fought for all they were worth to try and win the man back, and even though I disagreed with them, I also admired them for such massive belief in the power of love to win over.

Others I know have had multiple affairs, and it has weighed heavily on them, and yet as unhappy as they were living in what they perceived as misery, they refused to leave their partners, as they did in a strange way actually love and care about them, and had no intention of hurting them. It is a strange thing to observe, as they worked so hard to save their marriage, only to end repeating their infidelity. I feel that today marriage and relationships are more flexible and easy to discard in the minds of a generation who swipe left or right, and can hook up instantly using the internet or a phone app. I also have had to ask myself, that if your life was plunged into the danger of an apocalyptic event, would that make people more likely to couple up for relationship security, and then in time, as the situation improved, would they be more likely or less likely to separate?

The way I see it, is that with the chance to start completely from scratch, would those with less than a satisfactory relationships separate for a complete change and a better future, or would that bond be strengthened, and therefore remove the all the sources of unhappiness with the struggle to survive? I talked to a lot of people about this and did a lot of reading, and I came to the decision that most bonds would probably be boosted. It is clear that during war time Europe of the 1930’s and 40’s with the chances of survival lower than say during peacetime, more people rushed into marriage, but again in many cases, military personal stationed  very far from home, sort companionship with partners who were not their legal spouses.

I think the higher the risk of death, the more willing some people were to risk everything and move away from the norms of society. With this in mind I turned to Sapphire and her situation.  Firstly Sapphire has had to endure 30yrs alone and isolated (Book 7), so in this scenario she grows use to being without Keith and learns to be dependent on just herself. Sapphire’s other important factor is that once she has used the Bridge of Sequana, she begins to understand that as her powers grow, she will attract the attention of the Dark One. One factor gives her separation and the other threatens death, both ultimately risk Keith’s life, and could end up with him alone if she dies. It is not a simple situation.

Celtic handfasting ribbon knot.

The fact is nothing in a relationship is simple, everything is a negotiation, as we see with Robbie and Runestone as they face their roles in life, and deal with the their commitment to each other and the family they are raising. I think in today’s modern world, they do set a good example to those who really are committed and want to live with the one they have chosen. I have always believed that every marriage is unique, and should not be a formula fixed by society. It is a negotiation lived by just two people, and it is up to them to define their boundaries and live as they chose without comment from the rest of the world. In the background of the books we can see this in all the varied forms of marriage and relationships the characters have, and all of them are very different. I can certainly say that in my own marriage, everything is openly discussed, and then we chose what our next step will be, it works for us, even though at times others do not understand it, but we are also aware it is not going to be the same experience for everyone else, and we try not to comment or judge others because of that.

I have looked at people and how they live together, and it has been clear to me that they are not destined to find their way through whatever crisis they face with each other, and it is because of those cases in real life, I think that I wrote Opal’s part in this as the one to advise Sapphire and maybe shows the greatest wisdom. When Sapphire confesses how she feels about Keith and her future, it is Opal who states it is unfair to continue, as it is not just her life; she must also consider Keith’s. Opal advises the break up after Sapphire explains she wishes to find her own path alone, and I think this shows great wisdom, as even though they are both aware of how much this will hurt Keith, it is in the long run the best thing for him. Given time, Keith will heal and start a new relationship, and through that he will discover the joys of life again. The sudden break up will mean that whilst he is still young, he will have the chance to find something of value that will last much longer, because if Sapphire does not have the courage, and drags it out, it is Keith that will ultimately suffer the worst, and eventually have a shorter life time with a new love.

Many agree with Opal, and some who have spoken to me do not, ultimately I am always going to side with Opal, after all the women is over a thousand years old, and has seen far more in life than I have. But I do think that whilst immensely difficult, Sapphire ultimately did the right thing to end it. Her life is about to change forever, as she becomes the centre of a circle that will grow to guide many lines of lives, and she will enter places in her life Keith will not be allowed to go to.

(Spoiler alert) Sapphire is half human and half Fae, and up until now she has lived a very human existence, her coming years will see her face and embrace her Fae side, as she will be ever drawn in that direction, and whilst the Fae of Earth embrace many freedoms of gender and relationships, Keith will not be allowed to be a part of certain aspects of Fae life. It is a very important factor in her decision, and why the book contains the heart breaking scene where Sapphire visits Keith for one last farewell.

This is not a situation where anyone wins, and for Sapphire I think it is as painful as it is for Keith, but you cannot rule out that she has lived 30 years alone, only to be returned back to the point in time where Robbie confronted the Dark One on Citadel Mount. Having felt the freedom the isolation has given her to learn her craft, she is now placed back into Keith’s arms, and within her so much has changed. Yes she still loves him and probably always will, but she has to be realistic and face the truth of life. The truth is she has learned to live without him, and has come to the realisation that isolation is her protection and her greatest strength. I admit it would be no problem to pick up where she left off again with Keith.

As a writer, it would have made little impact on the books and the story, but that is not how I work, as I want the characters to appear as real as me and you, and I spent a long time thinking about her situation. It made complete sense at the end of the process to have Sapphire admit the truth, there has been a little part of her caught in her teenage dreams and fantasies born out of her own isolation growing up, and as she matured, she had to face the facts that her position could no longer tolerate any form of deceit. Not only towards others, but more importantly towards herself.  Sapphire has to a degree been fooling herself that she can live a mortal life, but the fact remains that she is half Fae, and sooner or later she would have to leave Loxley, and so with that in mind, she had to break it off with Keith, for her journey now is into the unknown world of the mystics, a place no fully mortal person can travel.

I think in today’s world the outcome would be exactly the same. It is said that if you truly love someone, you have to love them enough to let them go, and I believe in that deeply, as I feel that a relationship is two individual people sharing a life experience together, and it is with that in mind I wrote the passages in book seven. It is my hope this series will have a true to life feeling, even though it is heavily wrapped in fantasy, and I hope you will take that into consideration.

The final book in this series of HTTK will illuminate many aspects of the realms and worlds and the people within them, and as all the strings get pulled together to draw this adventure to a close, I hope it will become a little clearer for the readership, and answer many more questions. I am writing what is the most complex book  at the moment in an attempt to finish the book as quickly as I can, and so hopefully it will not be much longer before you all have a copy in your hands, and can complete this journey with me. Until then I thank you for all your correspondence, and look forward to presenting the final instalment at some future point.

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The roadblocks of life.

When I started this year, I had high hopes and a long list of notes and ideas to move forward and complete the final book of the series in Heirs to the Kingdom.

Looking back through all the data I had collected last year, which for the past ten years have been the backbone of what was a story that had been an obsession for 20 years, it became clear very quickly that the notes for the start of this story, where sketchy at best.

I have extensive notes on the Ruling Council, Gwendolyn, Opal and the different lifestyles of all the different races of people within this story, but what I lacked was the very start of the line of Le Fey. Mostly I had a small roughly scribbled story of two members of the Fae races that met in Avalon during the time it was being constructed for Rhiannon, and it lacked a great deal of detail.

The main bullet points highlighted the importance of this time, but they were just the bare bones, and lacked any kind of meat to build on. It became very clear that in order to complete the final story of HTTK, I needed a lot more detailed information on those times, something that could be achieved by writing the tale from start to finish. I soon understood that what I was about to embark on was the writing of two books side by side.

I began as I always do, researching and making rough notes of the plot, and started to write the back story, which was actually the very start of the series that I wanted to complete. Ten chapters in I had enough to go on with, and so turned my attention back to the final book of the HTTK series and made a start. The process that has been my routine for most of this year has been a strange kind of writing leap frog, the start of this series, and then jump to the final book and so forth, and as a result both books have progressed at a much slower pace than they would normally.

To give you all an idea of how fast these books come together, I wrote book one back in 2007 in a rough draft based on over twenty years of thorough research and notes, it took approximately three months to write the first draft, which was then revised and edited over a whole year to become what was the first edition. At that time (With a different publisher) I was not that happy with the final book, and so spent a further five months working on a revised edition in 2012, which was published as a second revised edition in 2014 via Violet Circle Publishing. Book One is still the fastest book I have written, book five took almost two years to write, and here I am trying to put together two very detailed books in as little time as possible, to say I have felt the pressure is an understatement.

2018 has to date possibly been one of the most difficult years of my life. My family life has been rocked since the year began, and as a family we have faced some very difficult and challenging times. I cannot deny that as I arrive in the last month of this year, I find myself stressed and strained and suffering from complete emotional and physical exhaustion. Endless hurdles to face and overcome has been the theme of my year, and even though there have been many times when I ached with the frustration to simply hide away and write, such has been the theme of this year that I have not completed anywhere near as much work as I would wish to. Writing, promoting my books and getting out and about to actually sell books to the public, have all been pushed on to the back burner many times, in order to have to stop and drop everything for the needs of others.

I have entered December this year hoping for some calm and stability in the hope of finally having the time to work through this whole month and play catch up on my writing, I am even considering planning to leave the house and hole up in some distant guest house, in order to finally complete the first manuscript of the last book, something I may well do in January if resources are available.

It has always been my plan to complete the last book and get it on the shelves, and then take my time finishing the final edits of what will be one last related book in the HTTK series, as it will become a prequel to the story with characters of whom you may have heard in references throughout the books, but you have not actually met to date.

I do get asked on a regular basis if there will be any other related tales, so I can say yes to at least one book, and there will always be a possibility of shorter tales, but for now I can only focus on the final book of the series, at which point I will see. I have other stories unrelated to HTTK I would love to complete, and so given the time and good health, I hope I can continue with those as well.

For now my frustration levels remain high, and my fingers are crossed for an uneventful life in 2019 so that I can relax and focus on the writing. Life is getting a little too much in the way, and I want to address that next year and withdraw more from the circles that surround me in order to focus on what I love the most, making up stories and getting them down on paper.

In the very little free time that has been available, I have managed to get some rough pieces together for the blog, and so with luck I will edit them and clean them up, and then get you some more insights into this wonderful tale on the blog over the coming weeks. Fingers crossed life will remain stable this month and I hope you enjoy what I can share with you.

My thanks and blessings to you all for the coming festivities. May you all walk safely and in peace into the coming New Year.

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Yuletide

  On the late afternoon of December 21st, he had returned, and with Runestone, they led the vigil in the old stone circle above the stockade and celebrated the Winter Solstice, and the going down of the sun on the shortest day of the year.

  Rune had smiled with joy as they headed back to the Mere in the darkness, and placed a fat heavy log on the fire to banish the darkness and celebrated with wine and ale. It was a time of family, and together they decorated the house with fresh holly and mistletoe, and Rune laughed with delight as Robbie carried in a large potted pine, to decorate with small decorations made of woven straw, and biscuits hung on red ribbon.

  The tree was topped with an elaborately made five pointed star of silver, which was their first ever Yule gift as a couple, and made by Jade’s skilled hand.

   All round the house candles burned, casting a warm flickering glow across everything, as the house rang to the sound of Rune, as she giggled with happiness while she prepared the meal for all the family who would be arriving shortly.

            Taken from “The Queen of the Violet Isle, HTTK Book Four.”

Green Man Yule.

Yule for me is time of darkness and light. At this time of year I always yearn to be alone and reflect on my year and my past, something that is not as possible now as I have a family. Before 2008 when I worked alone, I would always close up my shop at the end of the day of selling Christmas trees and wreaths, and walk home in the cold crisp air. On many occasions, I would divert from the road, and walk along the dark silent canal pathway, my mind lost in thoughtful reflection of my year. I think it was on one of those long walks home that I formulated what was to become the opening passage of book four, a section of which is at the top of this article.

The above passage from HTTK BK four, is based on real life events, and something I was a part of in my teenage years with a wonderful group of hippies, who changed my life, and showed me a way of living that was more in tune with who I was, and less in tune with the expectations of my family at that time. We numbered eight, of which today only three of us still live spread across three different countries, and on this day more than ever, I remember them and miss them dearly.

One figure more than any stands out for me, for she was the oldest of all us, and in many ways she became the focus of the character Steph in my books. I shall not name her out of respect for her family, for she walked from this realm and into another many years ago, and yet such was the power of her kindness and wisdom, I have never forgotten her, an feel privileged that I had a part in her life .

With her husband she made jewellery, and bags from cloth, she even knitted all of us warm hats and scarves, which she usually presented us with on Yule. Her husband was a Druid, and it was from him I learned a great deal of tree lore and the rituals of a Celtic past. My Steph figure was indeed a mother figure to all of us, even though she was only five years older than us, but even so her wisdom for her young years was honest, open, and deeply insightful. She gave me a lot of good advice at a time when I was lost, insecure, and looking for direction, and it was through her wisdom, which has stayed with me always, I think I found my way back into my love of plant lore and eventually writing.

I remember one Yule celebration and telling her how one person in my family life referred to me as the Scarecrow, and she smiled and asked how I felt about that. I was pretty scruffy at the time with my long tatty hair, faded Led Zeppelin tee, afghan coat, and patched pants, I told her it felt insulting and unjustified, and she simply smiled and asked, “are you ill at ease with the way you dress?” No I protested, I love how I dress, and her reply was simple, “Then embrace the Scarecrow, if you embrace it, then it will no longer feel unjust or an insult, I would say, it could be a compliment.” She gave a sly giggle and it made sense.

One particular member of my family expected our whole family to conform to her standards, I had refused to, and as a result of my teenage rebellion, I had embraced my free living side and joined the throng of growing hippies across the UK. She was appalled at it and refused to entertain me until I cut my shoulder length hair and changed my attire. Scarecrow was meant to be an insult, a means to shame me into conforming to her will, and so I embraced it and became more extreme, and whenever the insult was fired at me by herself or one of her pillar of society friends, I simply stood still and lifted my arms out in a Scarecrow pose. (I smile as write this)

It worked wonderfully, and soon the comments stopped. Embracing the Scarecrow took away my insecurity, and gave me the courage for the first time in my life to actually make a stand for who I was, and who I wanted to be. It felt like a life changing moment in my life at the time, and today as I look back, I can see how much of a difference it has made to the person I have become.

Every year on December 21st and 22nd, we all made our way to her house, and as the light of the day faded, all the lights in the house were extinguished, and we would gather around the hearth of the old open grate fire. She would say a small blessing and thank the world around us for the gifts of life, and the bounty of the wilds, and then she would lean forward and light the kindling stacked in the chimney grate. Once the fire began to burn, she would take a large cut log out of a basket, and place it on the fire to burn slowly over the coming days. Candles were lit from the burning fire and placed all around the house, bringing light to every room.

Once the fire was burning, and the house filled with light, her husband would carry in the tree of scots pine, one year we even had a holly bush in a huge pot, and we would all take part in the decoration of the tree. There were few baubles, and only a short string of electric lights, all the rest of the decorations were small neatly wrapped packages bearing the names of each of us, and special cookies that hung on red ribbons. Even now I still find it to be one of the most magical parts of my life, which is why many years back when I wrote the above passage for the fourth book, I wanted to save that very important moment of my life within its pages.

Drink mead and hail the Ancestors.

Yule was a time of friends and feasting, and all of us stayed together for the two days and laughed, talked and got quite drunk as I remember, I almost danced once such was the power of the home brew.

It is a memory filled with light, but also for myself edged with darkness, for I miss those wonderful people deeply at this time of year. Heirs to the Kingdom is more than just a story, it is the combination of a life, of love for people, and the adventures that are woven through all of my life of experience. I realise for most people it is simply a tale of adventure and fantasy, but I can assure you it is so much more than that, it is filled to the core with a life as real as your own, carefully written from hidden truth of a time long since gone, when people cared about each other and love had a true meaning between not just lovers, but true friends. The world has changed so much since that time, which is why it was so important for this memory to be kept alive in print.

On this day I gather my family around my own fire, and light a candle to light the darkness and pay tribute to my friends, and those other important special people I have lost from my life. Alone later I will sit and toast them, and then for a sad while I shall sit alone and remember them.

Whether you follow Yuletide or not, I send out my blessings and goodwill to all of you, may you walk on green paths with the trees above you, to keep you all safe from the storms of life next year and beyond.

Yuletide blessings to you all.

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Natural Vs Unnatural

A few things have happened of late that have made me think. Firstly as I write this, yet another major social media player, Tumblr has decided to remove all NSFW (Notsuitable for work) Content from its platform. I am no fan of any kind of censorship, I believe in the freedom of speech, and of expression, especially when it comes to lifestyles and artwork.

Having watched many blogs that I have interacted with on Tumblr face the prospect of being deleted on Dec 17th, it has felt like a bitter blow to creative expression and freedom, and I really do feel their fear and pain as they face the prospect of being banned for life, when all they have done is paint pictures of natural people, or promoted body positivity via a naturist lifestyle.

Free Thinking

We have seen this kind of sweeping censorship cross many platforms in recent years, as Facebook, Instagram, Google and the like have cracked down on free lifestyles by classing them as Porn, which it most certainly is not. Watching this has reminded me of a few conversations I have had with readers of HTTK about areas of my writing that address the topics of Sex and Nudity or as I like to phrase it, “Natural Lifestyles.”

One conversation that comes to mind was during the writing of book two, it was the part where after Robbie has been found and is recovering, he takes Runestone to Robbie’s Mere for the first time, and they spend the night making love under the trees. The following morning, Runestone wakes to find Robbie has gone off hunting, and so she slips out from under her blankets and walks naked to the water and goes for a swim.

I was asked,“Should you really be writing that an attractive 16 year old girl swims naked in the Mere alone. What if someone saw her?” I cannot deny it made me smile, and I responded as such.

“Why does it matter? I then went on to explain that yes she was 16, and I actually have never said that she was attractive, I always implied that Robbie found her attractive, and as we all know from life, people are attracted to different things in others such as temperament and personality. Would it be fine is she was unattractive, and does it really matter if someone sees her? After all, she is obviously comfortable with her own body, and so therefore I would suggest that she would be fine with being seen naked.” I think the reader completely missed the point of who Runestone actually is.

Its not Rude to be Nude

The response I got was a resounding gasp of horror, so I informed the questioner. “I think your obvious shock, is probably based more out your own fear than it is Runestone’s.” So I questioned, “Have you ever swam naked in a wild pool, it really is a wonderful feeling?” My questioner blushed, and answered somewhat quickly. “NEVER!!!”

I am not sure what shocked her more, the thought of herself swimming naked, or my absolute belief that being naked could be seen as normal. She obviously has issues with herself, and it is one of the things I spot the most in those who read my work. I have no issues at all presenting different or alternative lifestyles to that of what the society we live in considers natural or unnatural. I really do see the world differently to most of the people who read my books, and yes I do challenge people when they read HTTK for the first time, and yes I have absolutely no problems challenging the world beliefs of any reader.

I believe that a book should be challenging, if every writer chose to write a safe story then how would we learn about different lifestyles and world perspectives? I don’t write graphic sex, I do find it to be a tad coarse, but I do write implied sex and allow the reader to judge the events from, their own perspective. The way I see it, if a younger reader is engaged in the book but has little sexual knowledge and experience, the way I have written the story will not increase their knowledge or experience, and in most cases I have been proven right, as the very few younger readers I have known of, have not really understood those passages, simply because events are implied but not graphically outlined.

I grew up around Hippies and Pagans, and so there was a minority who are so in tune with the natural world that they have no issues with being naked around clothed people, and after some time of this kind of exposure, you simply get used to it and see it for what it actually is, ‘None Sexual.’ Seriously try going to a major rock festival like Glastonbury and not seeing naked people, it simply is impossible.

I see the world as two distinct aspects, there is the world of ‘Stone’ Which is the world of today with all its societal rules and irrational fears, and the ‘TheWoodland Realm’ which is my world, one that embraces the natural aspects of nature and life, free of societies self-absorbed disjointed belief systems. I have worked in counselling and helped people with their sexual problems and relationship issues, and so I am naturally a sex positive person, and feel no shame that I would encourage a person to explore their body or sexual feelings. I have no issues with Naturism and have freely participated in many group skinny dipping sessions in my life, and believe me it truly is something everyone should try, as after those five minutes of fear before disrobing, I think you will find you wonder what all the fuss was about. It comes as naturally as breathing, so add it to your bucket list for life.

Today’s modern culture, especially with social media and all its censorship, has helped advertisers build a profile of body shaming based on fear, and it is this control that does indeed change the way people think. The world of Mason Knox is all about fear and control, and I see it more and more in the world around me today. In the Woodland Realm there is no such thing as unnatural. I have always thought that to be open and free spirited is the truth of nature, and so therefore it is impossible to be unnatural, for within nature, everything can only be natural, and it is from this point of view I write about the Green Realm.

In 2018 the amount of people joining Naturism has risen substantially compared to previous years, and I personally think it is a good thing. In the USA it is noted that lack of vitamin D (Natural occurring in skin exposure to sunlight) is now at an epic proportion, there is now more plastic surgery than ever before, and more and more cases of body dysmorphia are being reported. The modern technological life is disengaging people from real life, and depression and suicides are rising. The average woman is bombarded by body shamming advertising every minute of every day, and as a result sales of beauty enhancing products have become the leading booming industry on the planet. The Bra industry shames women into believing that wearing an underwired bra is the only look a women should have, and yet more and more studies are showing that underwired bras can contribute to breast problems such as cancer. The whole world is driven by body fear, designed to do nothing more than create wealth for mass manufacturing corporations, and suppression of body freedom is yet another way of preventing people from understanding the simple truth, which is none of us should be afraid or ashamed of our own skin. Science has made a case for a long time that nudity promotes good health, clothing restricts the body from breathing, especially at night, and exposure to light helps promotes greater Vitamin D production that helps fight depression and strengthens the cells throughout out the whole body, and yet mass media sensationalises it and promotes greater fear for no other reason than it helps promote major industries, it simply is wrong.

Good Fiction

 If onereader of my stories discovers something wonderful from a passage, that may allow them to let go of some of this stigma and indoctrination of this world, then I rejoice in the fact that I presented another way for them to approach life, for that simply put, is the purpose of a well written book.

Be yourself, embrace your natural being, and seriously who cares if people are watching, the chances are they are not, because they are too busy looking down at their phone. So if in doubt, look to nature, after all it is where our origins truly lie. Be natural, live true to yourself and simply put, read more and be yourself.

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