Hi everyone! I’m so glad that Imbolc is here; the days are now noticeably longer and despite the snow/gales/floods the birds are all singing their hearts out.  The blue-tits have begun to check out our nest boxes and our snowdrops (the ones which survived the chickens and the puppy) are bravely facing the world.  The Great Rebellion and the Moongazy Girl I’ve done no events at all since the last newsletter at the Winter Solstice.  We spent a lovely Yule as a family, and Drax didn’t eat or even nibble the tree.  Since the advent of the new year, I’ve started research for a historical fiction book for adults, and have also begun some scribblings for a children’s book too. This month I’m off to spend a weekend with a lovely group of children’s writers and I’m hoping to get lots of useful tips. I’m also studying the Civil War with Oxford University on a ten week online course, which is brilliant.  This is a really exciting time and I’m teeming with ideas! Back to school I’m delighted to have several school visits lined up this term, where I’ll be speaking to pupils and running workshops.  I’m also visiting Winchester University to talk to students on the Creative Writing course, and a group of adult writers in Reading.  I really enjoy these events and I hope that I pass on some of my enthusiasm and excitement about writing, whether my audience is adult or only just started at secondary school.  Please contact me if you’d like to arrange a visit.   Moongazy Camp 2013 Writing the books may be over, but of course Stonewylde lives on and our community is very active.  We have our now annual event in May, the Moongazy Camp in Calne, near Avebury.  There are full details about this on our social network group - do come and join us for a weekend of laughter and friendship around a camp fire.  We have a craft fair where everyone can sell their homemade wares, huge communal barbecue, visits to nearby sacred sites, brilliant music from our own talented musicians, and dogs (and ferrets) are welcome. We take over a whole field at the campsite and benefit from cheap rally rates as there are so many of us.  The event is organised by Stonewylde readers, so Mr B and I just turn up and enjoy ourselves.  This year we’re looking forward to introducing Drax to everyone. Stonewylde goodies for sale The Stonewylde Store is still going strong, with the silver Stonewylde charms and lovely Stonewylde S earrings for sale, as well as a beautiful range of cards from Mia Bradbury, and the wonderful Moongazy and Dark Moon soaps created by our Stonewylde aromatherapist. We also have wooden ballpoint pens and a Stonewylde Goodies Bundle, which contains all sorts of bits for the serious fan. If you haven’t made it to a signing event, you can now order signed and dedicated book plates to stick into your books. Do pop in to the Stonewylde Store for a peek at what’s on offer. Stonewylde Facebook page The Stonewylde page on Facebook is very busy; please take a minute to “like” the page.  I’ve posted lots of photos from 2012 events on the page so if you came to any of my signings, do have a look.   The future of Stonewylde Shaman of Stonewylde, the fifth and final book, continues to sell well and feedback has been very positive.  And The Cure were wrong; it’s not true that boys don’t cry.  Lots of men have told me that the final book in the series reduced them to tears.  If you’ve enjoyed the book (and indeed, any of the others) then please do leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and any other online review sites.  Just a one- liner will do - it all helps encourage new readers to give Stonewylde a try.  Thank you very much.  I really appreciate it. Now that 2013 is here, I’m hoping to discuss the future of the series with my editor at Gollancz.  Lots of people have asked me when the books will be available on audio - I’m afraid I don’t know, but will keep you posted.  I’ve been told that the series will soon be available worldwide; again, more details when I’ve spoken to my editor.  The paperback version of Shaman will be published later this year.  Looking ahead in 2013 ... Please take a look at the diary dates below.  I hope to meet many Stonewylde readers this year so please come along to my events if you can. I wish you all a very happy 2013 and thank you to everyone who supported me last year. Bright blessings from Kit xxx Stonewylde Newsletter 48 February 1st 2013 Bright blessings at    to all Stonewylders What’s been going on ... Visit the Stonewylde Website
Stonewylde on Twitter and Facebook - Like Us! Kit on Twitter and Facebook School Visits I’m doing several school visits this Spring Term, so do get in touch if you know of a middle or secondary school, sixth form college or university who’d enjoy a talk and/or a creative writing workshop. What’s coming up ... The Crabchurch Conspiracy This exciting event takes place this month in Weymouth, Dorset.  Mark Vine is a local historian whose fantastic book, The Crabchurch Conspiracy, tells of the events during the English Civil War, when canon balls flew across the harbour and Cavaliers and Roundheads fought hand to hand in the streets of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis. Over the weekend of February 16/17th, there’s a re- enactment of this important battle, with hundreds of people taking part in full costume, a battle on the beach and huge exhibition in the Old Town Hall. Mark has also organised a brilliant event for the evening: a lecture about the Civil War by the renowned Professor Ronald Hutton (an expert in this era), followed by a gig performed by The Dolmen of their album The Crabchurch Conspiracy.  I’ve been invited to do some of the narration to this musical feast, alongside Prof Hutton (who’s a Stonewylde fan himself) and I am so honoured!!  This will take place in the theatre at Weymouth College. All profits will go to the restoration of the Old Town Hall in Weymouth, and Mark promises it will be “a stunning evening of history and culture”.  There’s a bar too, with a bit of a party afterwards. Do take a look at the page for this event on Facebook.  Tickets are £12.50 and are available via Paypal here, or from Imagine Books in Weymouth (who can take card payment over the phone).  Full details here on the Stonewylde website, including my book signing. Please come along for a wonderful evening, or make a weekend of it like we are! Do join us and become part of our amazing Stonewylde Community.  3 Magical Faerie Festival Matthew Callow has invited me to attend one of his amazing festivals, and I’m looking forward to this very much.  I first met Matthew at the Elf Fantasy Fair in the Netherlands in 2009; it’ll be great to take part in his own fantasy event in the UK. I’ll be there on Saturday May 11th, and will give a talk about the Green Magic of Stonewylde, followed by a book signing on Matt’s personal stall.  Mr B and I can’t wait to dress up in our finery again! There’ll be some beautiful stalls, incredible music and exciting workshops, so do come along either for the day or the whole weekend, with camping too. Sadly I must dash off to London in the early evening as that night I’m taking part in the famous Moonwalk! More details of this sponsored marathon walk nearer the time. In the meantime, do visit the festival’s website here.  We look forward to seeing you in magical and sparkly dress in May! Diary Dates February 16th/17th - Crabchurch Conspiracy and Civil War in Weymouth, Dorset March 4th - 8th -  World Book Day events in schools all week April 6th - Booksigning event at Castlepoint Waterstones, Bournemouth 12 - 2 May 11th - Magical Faerie Festival, near Worthing, Sussex (all weekend event)                   Moonwalk in London - Kit on 26 mile walk through London overnight May 17th - 19th - Moongazy Camp near Avebury Please see the Stonewylde website for full details. This festival, also known as Oimelc, marks the beginning of the earth's awakening after the cold and darkness of winter. Some sources say the word means "ewe's milk" and some "in the belly". This is the time when female sheep begin to lactate, and is the start of the lambing season. But it's also the time when life begins to grow in the womb of the earth, so both meanings of Imbolc make sense.The festival is a Celtic cross-quarter day, and marked the time in the old farming calendar when ploughing began. The corn dollies saved at Lammas, believed to hold the spirit of the corn, were ploughed back into the earth at Imbolc to symoblise the return of the corn spirit to the earth, thus ensuring fertility for the year ahead. Imbolc is the festival of the Goddess in her Maiden aspect. The crescent moon and white candles are symbols depicting the strength and purity of the virgin goddess who brings new life to the earth. She has many names - notably Brigid or Bride, which are apparently the origin of the word "bride". The custom of the bride wearing white and carrying flowers at her wedding are said to come from this pagan goddess. Brigid or Bride was later christianised as St. Bridget, but her origins go back much further. The Brigid's Cross , an important Imbolc symbol, is woven with four arms. The ones pictured here were made by Gillian Nott, aka Cornmother - thanks to her for lovely photos. Folklore tells of the Maiden crossing the threshold at Imbolc, which makes this a liminal festival - a sacred time when the door between the worlds is open. It's also a time to clean and get rid of the old season's clutter, both in the home and one's life. The besom (old fashioned broom) is therefore also a symbol of Imbolc, and is often placed at the threshold. Christianity subsumed this ancient festival and renamed it Candlemas, echoing the white candle theme, and marking it as the purification of the Virgin Mary. The links here with the pagan goddess and Bride are very obvious. To celebrate Imbolc, light white candles in your home, have a good clearout, plant bulbs or seeds and remember this is the time to celebrate the strength and power of young womanhood - Brigit, Isis, Athena, call her what you will. Imbolc at Stonewylde is described in detail in the fourth book in the series, Shadows at Stonewylde. A young girl of fourteen or fifteen is chosen to be the Bright Maiden.  She wears white, with a head-dress of silver wicker woven with snowdrops.  Partnering her is the Archer, a young man chosen especially for his prowess with the longbow.  He wears green, echoing the myth of Robin Hood and Maid Marion. Even though this festival can appear to be in the middle of winter when the weather is at its most bitter, nevertheless there are often many signs around this time of the beginning of life stirring in the cold earth. The goddess is never dead – only sleeping – and Imbolc marks her first awakenings.