Reawakening Cover Reveal, nominations for Ys, and winter sunshine over the North Downs (this post is multitasking and IMAGE-HEAVY)

So, it’s been a busy December, and I’ve not been very good at blogging about it all. Firstly, I can finally reveal the gorgeous cover art and release date for Reawakening, my first full-length fantasy novel, which will be released by Dreamspinner on 17th January. It’s the story of a dragon who falls in love with a desert (and then, of course, things get really complicated, with bonus undead).

A very large golden dragon rears over a desert

Pre-order link

It’s also been a good month for some older stories. I’ll be blogging more about Gaudete, Christmas markets and cathedrals later this weekend (it would have been the straw that broke the camel’s back on this post, and deserves some attention of its own, methinks). I’ve been really delighted to see people enjoying it. I expected it too be far too British and quirky to get much attention. Thank you, everyone 🙂

As well, a few earlier pieces have been treated kindly in the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s Member’s Choice Awards nominations. Lodestar and two of the anthologies I’ve been in have been nominated for various categories. The poll is still open, if any of you haven’t voted yet. There’s some stonking good books been nominated, in every category, and I’m flattered to be included.

18372675  Best_Book_of_Year.N Best_Enemies_to_Lovers.N Best_Free_Story.N Best_Fantasy.NBest_Alt_Universe.N

Download The Lodestar of Ys for free

SteamedUpLG Best_Anthology.N

Buy Steamed Up here

SnowontheRoof_postcard_front_DSP Best_Anthology.N

Buy Snow on the Roof here

Urgh. That’s so much promo and boasting that I feel slightly nauseous. To clear everyone’s palate, here’s some prettiness to make up for it. No matter what’s happening with my writing, one of the things I’m always grateful for is that I live in such a lovely part of the country. I’ve worked in London and done my share of commuting, but I would hate to live in a city. In term time, my classroom looks out over a misty valley, and in the holidays, I take to the hills. This is what I did yesterday: the North Downs Way, between Guildford and Dorking. It’s about fifteen miles, if you include the walks to and from the stations at each end, so it was a bit of a push on a short day, but so very worth it. The sun was low but bright, the woods were bare of all but firs and holly and the last brown traces of autumn, and the hills faded into a blue and misty distance.

IMG_3504
The walk begins along the bank of the River Wey (which is Isaac’s river in Mistletoe Lock), as it slips through Guildford. Look carefully and you will spot the keep of Guildford Castle through the trees. This was the view of the weir from my breakfast stop.
IMG_3511

Looking back towards town from further along the river. My grandmother, who is in her eighties, remembers skating on these meadows as a child, although we haven’t had that hard a winter in my lifetime.

IMG_3512

Looking across the river. That hill there is the only serious challenge of this walk, St Martha’s Hill.

IMG_3514

Mist over the water at the bottom of Ferry Lane. The shallows here were first a ford. The now long-gone ferry and bridge came along when the river was made into a navigation in the industrial age. It’s deep and wide enough to carry barges for another five miles upstream.

IMG_3521

Although you can’t see it clearly because of the fallen leaves, the exposed ground here is sandy. It’s called greensand, and is the underlying stone of most of the local area, a sort of sandstone that erodes into sandy paths. Here, the colour gives the city of Guildford it’s name: gild-ford, the golden ford.

Across the river is the long climb through Chantries Wood and up St Martha’s Hill. This is a slow climb through dark woods which then turns into a steep climb up sandy paths. It’s very pretty, but slow-going, until you finally glimpse your destination through the trees.

IMG_3537

This is St Martha-on-the-hill, a church that is still only accessible by foot. It sits 175m above sea level (573 feet for imperial users), about 140m above the river.

IMG_3541

And this is what makes the climb worth doing. The view from the top.

IMG_3543

IMG_3546

Heading down the other side. Once you’ve made it to St Martha’s, you’re on the escarpment of the Downs for the rest of the walk. No more hills to climb!

IMG_3559

Looking along Albury Down. These are chalk hills now, which means far slimier mud to negotiate.

IMG_3563

Looking back towards St Martha’s.

IMG_3565

A hunter in the sky.

IMG_3567

Looking south, just before noon.

IMG_3573

Through the woods, over a coating of beech leaves.

IMG_3598

Looking east, with the sun behind me.

IMG_3596

And south, from the same spot.

          By then, of course, I was racing the sun. I’d known from the time I left St Martha’s that I wouldn’t make it all the way to Dorking station before dark. The sky was clear, though, and I knew that the last two miles, through Denbies vineyard, were along a clear, tarmacked track with no turnings until it reached the road to the station. The aim now was to get through the deer gate and into the vineyard by dusk.

IMG_3623

And here I am, with the deer gate at my back. This last stretch was surprisingly lovely, with the rush over and the wind rising in the trees as I wandered through the gloaming.

IMG_3625

Ten minutes later, I turned down towards my final destination. The little white building there is part of the Denbies complex, and I had enough light left to turn that way, stop in their shop for a bottle of (excellent) English wine, and walk safely the rest of the way into town.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Reawakening Cover Reveal, nominations for Ys, and winter sunshine over the North Downs (this post is multitasking and IMAGE-HEAVY)

  1. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!! Cover reveal!!!!!

    And congratulations on the nominations and I recognise some of those locations in the photos! It sounds like you had a glorious, glorious walk. <3<3<3<3<3<3<3

    *SQUEES*

    *pokes WordPress* Post and stop being a git.

    • amyraenbow says:

      ^__^ I’ve been sitting on it for a while, waiting for a firm date. I’m so glad to be able to share it.

      *grins* I would hope you’d remember some of it, after I dragged you up that damn hill! This is what it looks like without leaves.

      • I can imagine!

        *laughs* I’d protest at that description, but it really was a damn hill. I’m still glad you dragged me up there despite my grumbling and protests, though. That view was definitely worth it. Although I prefer it with leaves. ^-~

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s