When you make a conscious choice to be happy, no one can take it away from you because no one gave it to you: you gave it to yourself.

A quote from April Green's - Bloom For Yourself Journal

Wednesday 29 April 2020

Joining in with WOYWW 569!

Hello desk sharers and readers alike. I hope you're all ok and managing during this time?

I confess it has been a little while since I shared my desk with you all. But today, I am back sharing with everyone over at Julia's - the Stamping Ground WOYWW569

This lockdown has seen me spending a lot of time either in my garden or yard enjoying the glorious weather or I have been pottering in my craft room. I've signed up to do a Criminal Psychology course - something I've wanted to do for ages and it's a course that builds on my previous studies.

I've also been colouring a lot. Anyone that knows me will know colouring is my thing. I am constantly wanting to learn and improve so I do the monthly classes from Kit and Clowder to help learn new techiques and brush up on what I already know.

Here's my rather busy desk -

 So you can see my basket full of journals and notebooks. It also holds my stamping platform. There's various bits and bobs. To the left there are a few things that have just arrived and I've not put them away. I just dumped them on top of everything else!

There's a Black and Decker laser line - I do a lot of free hand writing and I saw a lady use one of these laser lines on Instagram and thought that's a great idea so I ordered one. There are a couple of books with paper cutting templates and projects. I've not tried it so wanted to see and the plastic bag actually holds a starter kit for resin jewellery/projects. Again I've not tried it so thought I'd give it a go. I do have some clay to make embellishments so these molds would work with that as well.
This is my colouring side - there's my ongoing colouring project that I'm doing following the March Kit and Clowder class. My large collection on Copics. That tea tin is great for keeping my art extras - paper blending stumps, pencil extenders things like that. There's my address books and reading journal. Plus a notebook that I'm using to keep a diary during this Covid19 crisis. I'm recording facts and documenting what is happening with myself and Keagan.

My boys (Keagan, my son and Asher, my Jack Russell) have enjoyed playing in the garden together.

Anyway I'm looking forward to seeing your desks and catching up with you all.
Take care Zoe

Tuesday 28 April 2020

Welcoming Mary Anne Yarde and her new novel - The Du Lac Curse - to my blog

Today I am taking part in the blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club featuring Mary Anne Yarde and her novel - The Du Lac Curse - which is book five of The Du Lac Chronicles. 

 Firstly, I'll introduce the book before sharing an excerpt.

The Du Lac Curse
By Mary Anne Yarde 

Book 5 of The Du Lac Chronicles
God against Gods. King against King. Brother against Brother.

Mordred Pendragon had once said that the sons of Lancelot would eventually destroy each other, it seemed he was right all along.

Garren du Lac knew what the burning pyres meant in his brother's kingdom — invasion. But who would dare to challenge King Alden of Cerniw for his throne? Only one man was daring enough, arrogant enough, to attempt such a feat — Budic du Lac, their eldest half-brother.

While Merton du Lac struggles to come to terms with the magnitude of Budic's crime, there is another threat, one that is as ancient as it is powerful. But with the death toll rising and his men deserting who will take up the banner and fight in his name?
Publication date: April 20th 2020

You can purchase The Du Lac Curse here -

Amazon UK

Now for the excerpt -

“Where will you go? What will you do now that you are a free man?” Hirsh had finally asked, breaking the silence.

Garren had shaken his head and sighed. “I don’t know,” he had replied with honesty. Freedom came with possibilities. Many possibilities. And yet, he feared that this was a dream. He feared that all too soon, it would be time to wake up and live with the bitter disappointment of his reality.

“I have never asked, but where are you from? I know from looking at you that you are not from the Eastern Empire.”

 Where am I from?” Garren had repeated Hirsh’s words. “I don’t know. I can’t… I can’t remember.”

“Yes, you can,” Hirsh had stated with the firmness of a father. “I know you were not born a slave. What do you remember about your homeland?”

“I don’t know… Grass... Sea,” Garren had closed his eyes as he spoke and he had tried to picture his homeland. For a moment, he had fancied that he could feel the breeze coming off the ocean, and he could hear the sound of the gulls as they circled overhead. He could see the waves as they crashed against the pale red rocks of the cliff face. Just for the briefest of moments, he could picture his brother, Alden, glancing back at him with a grin on his face as they raced across the beach on the horses their father had bought for them. Brittany. His homeland. His kingdom.

“Brittany?” Hirsh had rolled the name on his tongue as if he were tasting some strange exotic wine.

Garren had opened his eyes. He had not realised he had spoken his kingdom’s name aloud.
“Where is that?”

Garren had stared at the desert in front of them, but he did not see the vastness of the sand. Instead, he saw a castle. He saw a chamber, filled with laughter and soft candlelight. He saw his wife as she turned to look at him. She was smiling and cuddling the cat that he had rescued for her. Amandine...

“Where is Brittany?” Hirsh had asked again.

“It does not matter,” Garren had replied quietly as he tried to hold on to the image of his wife. But it faded, as memories do. “I cannot go back there,” Garren had mumbled. He had raised his hand to his mouth and began to chew on his already bitten fingernails. It was a nervous habit he had acquired over the years. Sometimes he bit his nails past the quick until they bled. And even then, he would not always stop.

“Why not?” Hirsh had persisted in his questions. Demanding answers, when Garren had no answers to give.

They had not come for him, his brothers. They had not searched. He was dead... He was dead to them. His wife had, no doubt, remarried. There was no life waiting for him in Brittany. He would be a fool to return.

So, this is what it felt like when your wildest and most unattainable dreams came true. Freedom had left a bitter taste in his mouth.

“My father…” Garren had tried desperately to recall his father’s face. But ten years was a long time, and his father had died a few years before Garren had been taken — stolen.

Hirsh had put his arm around him again. “You do not have to talk about it.”

“He was the king,” Garren had mumbled, and he had turned to look at his former master. “My father was the king…”

Mary Anne Yarde

Mary Anne Yarde is the multi award-winning author of the International Bestselling Series — The Du Lac Chronicles. Set a generation after the fall of King Arthur, The Du Lac Chronicles takes you on a journey through Dark Age Britain and Brittany, where you will meet new friends and terrifying foes. Based on legends and historical fact, The Du Lac Chronicles is a series not to be missed.

Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury — the fabled Isle of Avalon — was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.

You can get in contact with Mary Anne Yarde via the following -


I hope you will check out Mary Anne Yarde's work and enjoy.
Till the next time
Take Care Zoe

Monday 27 April 2020

Welcoming Mercedes Rochelle and her novel - The King's Retribution - to my blog

Today I am taking part in the blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club featuring Mercedes Rochelle and her novel The King's Retribution.

Firstly, I'd like to introduce you to her book and then I'll share what Mercedes has to say about her protagonist.
 The King's Retribution
By Mercedes Rochelle

Book 2 of The Plantagenet Legacy 

If you read A KING UNDER SIEGE, you might remember that we left off just as Richard declared his majority at age 22. He was able to rise above the humiliation inflicted on him during the Merciless Parliament, but the fear that it could happen again haunted him the rest of his life. Ten years was a long time to wait before taking revenge on your enemies, but King Richard II was a patient man. Hiding his antagonism toward the Lords Appellant, once he felt strong enough to wreak his revenge he was swift and merciless. Alas for Richard, he went too far, and in his eagerness to protect his crown Richard underestimated the very man who would take it from him: Henry Bolingbroke.

You can purchase The King's Retribution from - 
Publication date: 4/1/2020
Publisher: Sergeant Press 

Getting to Know my Protagonist
By Mercedes Rochelle

For a long time my only knowledge about Richard II came from Shakespeare. How typical! The great bard established many historical figures in our mind that didn't match reality (how about Richard III?). I suspect he would have been amazed at how thoroughly we believed his memorable characters. So when I decided to take on King Richard II, I thought of him as a spoiled brat with a tragic flaw. I also thought, before he came to a bad end, that he was flippant, arrogant, inconsiderate, and self-centered. It was a tribute to Shakespeare's skill that I felt sorry for him at the end.
I'm still not sure why I needed to write his story, but thirty some-odd books' worth of research later, I'm glad I made the journey. My conception of Richard changed along the way, and it's still probably incomplete. He was a complicated character, and once I found out what Shakespeare left out, I was more amazed than ever.
Born in Bordeaux, Richard didn't move to England until he was four; apparently he didn't speak a word of English. He was the second son; his brother, England's heir, died just before they left France. From what I understand, he did not grow up with a support group since much of his youth was spent in the household of a dying man—his father, the Black Prince. Crowned king at age ten, the lonely boy started out at a disadvantage. No child should have that kind of responsibility thrust upon him, even if he was only a figurehead. Did he realize he was a figurehead? Or did he take his responsibilities seriously? Since he alone had to face the ringleaders of Peasants' Revolt at fourteen, I'd say the young king took on more than his share of authority. Did any of his elders give him credit when the crisis was over? It appears not; they were quick to blame him when it came time to suppress the aftermath. I imagine this was the beginning of his "bad attitude" toward his alleged advisors. 
Not willing to suffer reproaches from his council, he sequestered himself with the men he did trust: Sir Simon Burley, his tutor, Robert de Vere, his childhood friend from Edward III's court, and Michael de la Pole, his chancellor, among others. These were the very men singled out for destruction by the Lords Appellant—led by the Duke of Gloucester and the earls of Warwick and Arundel. Once their patience ran out with Richard's "bad government", the Appellants decided it was time to clean house and get the king under their control (more of this in A KING UNDER SIEGE). As far as the Appellants were concerned, Richard was badly advised by his friends; they had to be eliminated—permanently. To say that the Lords were thorough would be an understatement! By the time the Merciless Parliament was over, Richard had lost his inner circle of friends to either judicial murder or outlawry, and his household members were all dismissed. The reins of power were wrested from his hands. His humiliation was complete. One can only imagine what that trauma would do to a young mind.
Ultimately, I see Richard as someone who never had a sense of security. On the one hand, he was able to instill loyalty with his close friends. Both his wives loved him. His court was among the most cultured in Europe; he patronized men of letters such as Geoffrey Chaucer and John Gower, as well as Oxford University. For the first seven years after he achieved his majority, he reigned quietly and efficiently. England experienced a rare time of peace and prosperity. Chroniclers had little to talk about except the weather. Then, all of a sudden, it seemed that his pent-up anger and frustration burst forth. His enemies, who had been lulled into a false sense of security, were unexpectedly arrested and tried for treason. For a few short months, the Wheel of Fortune raised him to the top. Alas, in the end, his retribution wasn't enough and he didn't know when to stop; he felt that the whole country was against him, and took measures accordingly. What would Richard require to feel safe again? I don't think he ever found out.

Mercedes Rochelle

Born in St. Louis MO with a degree from University of Missouri, Mercedes Rochelle learned about living history as a re-enactor and has been enamored with historical fiction ever since. A move to New York to do research and two careers ensued, but writing fiction remains her primary vocation. She lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they had built themselves.

You can get in contact with Mercedes via the following links -

I hope you will check out Mercedes Rochelle's work and enjoy.
Till the next time.
Take care Zoe


Saturday 4 April 2020

Welcoming Drema Drudge and her novel - Victorine - to my blog!

Today I am taking part in the blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club (founded by Mary Anne Yarde) featuring Drema Drudge and her novel Victorine.

I'll jump straight in and spotlight this fabulous new novel -

By Drēma Drudge
In 1863, Civil War is raging in the United States. Victorine Meurent is posing nude, in Paris, for paintings that will be heralded as the beginning of modern art: 
Manet's Olympia and Picnic on the Grass
However, Victorine's persistent desire is not to be a model but to be a painter herself. In order to live authentically, she finds the strength to flout the expectations of her parents, bourgeois society, and the dominant male artists (whom she knows personally) while never losing her capacity for affection, kindness, and loyalty. Possessing both the incisive mind of a critic and the intuitive and unconventional impulses of an artist, Victorine and her survival instincts are tested in 1870, when the Prussian army lays siege to Paris and rat becomes a culinary delicacy. 
Drema Drudge's powerful first novel Victorine not only gives this determined and gifted artist back to us but also recreates an era of important transition into the modern world.

You can order Victorine here -
 Amazon US

Publication Date: 17th March 2020
Publisher: Fleur-De-Lis Press

Drema Drudge

Drēma Drudge suffers from Stendhal’s Syndrome, the condition in which one becomes overwhelmed in the presence of great art. She attended Spalding University’s MFA in Creative Writing Program where she learned to transform that intensity into fiction.

Drēma has been writing in one capacity or another since she was nine, starting with terrible poems and graduating to melodramatic stories in junior high that her classmates passed around literature class.

She and her husband, musician and writer Barry Drudge, live in Indiana where they record their biweekly podcast, Writing All the Things, when not traveling. Her first novel, Victorine, was literally written in five countries while she and her husband wandered the globe. The pair has two grown children.

In addition to writing fiction, Drema has served as a writing coach, freelance writer, and educator. She’s represented by literary agent Lisa Gallagher of Defiore and Company.

You can get in touch with Drema Drudge via -
The Painted Word Salon (Facebook)

I hope you will check out Drema's work and enjoy.
Till the next time.
Take Care Zoe