Saturday, 22 October 2016

Christmas Presents sorted -- End of Season Paperback Sale.

Hi, everybody. So it's coming to the end of the year and I've just done my post conference / signing season book audit in my stock cupboard under my stairs.

The Knight Trilogy and When Sorrows Come have got beautiful new covers for next season, and I have built a little stock pile of books that need to be gone before the spring and the new season.

I am putting these paperbacks on SALE for £5 or Less and they make for great Christmas presents; especially as I have a load of gorgeous swag left over, too and will happily stuff envelopes with goodies if you let me know if it's a gift for someone or not.

The Knight Trilogy has had a complete revamp for 2017 and so I have 17x signed paperback editions of The Forest of Adventures for just £5 a piece - or I can bundle them up into Trilogy packages (7x complete trilogy bundles Left) for just £12 including goodie bags.

Check out my paperback sale form here (it's doubling as my Glasgow form so don't worry if you're not heading to the Glasgow signing, just use the form if you're wishing to order anything.


UK & EU postage - will be with you within 10 days of payment.

Friday, 21 October 2016

#FanGirlFriday: Water, Magic, and Monsters

#FanGirlFriday is the day I share with you the works of one of my favourite authors, which I think you'll also enjoy. Some weeks it will be sharing with you books of author friends I have genuinely enjoyed and other weeks it will be books, T.V or other people I admire and enjoy. 

This week I'm excited to introduce you to the fabulous KD Wood - she is one of the nicest, warm-hearted people that I have had the privilege to meet. We met at UTOPiA 2015 and we then went on to be table partners in 2016. 

I read 'Unwilling' in the summer of 2015 and absolutely LOVED it - finding myself captivated but this unusual YA contemporary myth/fantasy. As I read, I had total respect for the amount of research into folkology that had obviously gone into this piece, and the care and passion that had gone into the writing of it. 

Since then, KD Wood has gone on to release Book 2 in the series and it's on my Christmas holidays TBR list. 

If you re looking for something a little alternative from the usual YA fantasy focus, which is a page turner with a gut moving exciting climax - then give Unwilling a try. It's towards the Upper YA end as there are more adult themes of relationships and so makes for a great cross over story. 

Neely McIntire’s dreams warn her about the future but will not protect her from the danger hiding in plain sight. On graduation night, she plans to tell her best friend, Hayden Nelson, that she's in love with him. Instead, they argue. Neely's hurt feelings leave her vulnerable, giving her secret admirer, Andrew Huckley, the opportunity to put his mother’s monstrous plan into motion. When Neely gives into her broken heart and pushes him away, Hayden knows he must fight to recapture the spark he felt in their last kiss. But will he find her in time to reverse the damage or will she be changed forever?

Visit K.D Wood's Amazon Page here...

Thursday, 20 October 2016

#FolkloreThursday: The Winter Goddess

The 15 minute illustration challenge.
Cailleach Bheur sketch done in pastels and pen
by Katie M. John (copyright 2016)
Mother of Mountains, Ruler of Winter.

Today is the first of my #Folklore Thursday series. Folklore is central to my authoring, from well-known fairytales, to supernatural urban legends, to local legends. Every Thursday, I am going to introduce you to one of the folktales that I have discovered and which I find creatively inspiring.

Today is the legend of Cailleach Bheur, also known as The Winter Goddess, or the Ruler of Winter.

Her name derives from the phrase 'The Veil' and she falls into the archetype of the Hag or Crone like figure.

She figures in English, Scottish and Irish mythology and is linked to the idea of the seasons. Cailleach is the ruler of winter, transforming from stone into her human form on on Shamhainn (1st November) and the first day of winter, and returns to being a stone statue on Bealtainn (1st May)

She is believed to be the mother of all gods and goddesses, the maker of mountains, hills and boulders.

She carries both a hammer and a magic staff, which some legends say is made of human flesh. The hammer is used as part of her stone making, and the staff is planted into the ground turning the grass to ice. She is linked to the destroyer goddesses, but this is not necessarily seen as a negative thing but part of the great cycle of life.

She is often referred to as the Blue Faced Hag, and she is guardian to the beasts through winter, with specific attachment to deer, cats and wolves; she is often depicted riding on the back of a wolf. Her sacred trees are the Holly tree and the gorse bush, and it is said that when the ice under her feet turns to grass, she throws her staff down under a Holly Tree and disappears in a whip of anger.

She has manifested in more contemporary fairytales in the form of The Snow Queen, and in The Chronicles of Narnia, as well as more recently, the figure of Elsa in Disney's Frozen.

Were you aware of this myth? Do you have any other favourite Ice Queen / Snow Queen fairytales or legends?

The Goodess Path by Patricia Monaghan

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Sign up for the Quarterly Katie M. John newsletter

Want to get your hands on free eBooks, exclusive material, offers, trailer premiers, and other magical, funky things? Sign up for my quarterly newsletter. 

I have (after a year and a half of being on the to-do list) finally made my first author newsletter.

I've held off for a while because I wanted to make it as positive experience for subscribers as possible, with Free eBook downloads, exclusive content, exclusive giveaways, trailers, breaking news and signing links. 

Rather than doing it monthly, I am going to send out the newsletter on a seasonal basis - so 4x a year, with just a quick alert on release week (about 2x a year) 

I am sending out the first newsletter tomorrow with some lovely goodies, such as an exclusive newsletter giveaway of paperback editions of Beautiful Freaks Volume 1, and links to my Kindle eReader giveaway - so if you haven't signed up yet, and would like to receive it then please fill in the subscription link below.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Beware the Ghostly Hunt. Don't go into the woods alone...

The Meadowsweet Chronicles is a seven book series that plays with a whole host of folklore, countrylore and urban legends. Heargton  Village sits at the intersection of lay-lines and has long been known for its magical properties. The activities of the Ravenheart coven have caused a paranormal ripple effect, unleashing a whole cast of paranormal beings.

One of the paranormal phenomenons that manifests is that of a wild hunt or a ghostly hunt, which rides through Raven Woods.

An image from The British Library Archive
depicting a version of the ghostly hunt. 

There are many versions of this legend which also encompass The Headless Huntsman that span several continents - most famous of these is 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' which was immortalised by Irving and then later film and T.V adaptations. Irving had travelled extensively through Europe and had picked up the legend along the way.

The headless huntsman or the ghostly hunt have many variants across Europe. In Celtic mythology, it is told of a headless fairy who rides with its head tucked under its arm, and which has a whip made of a human spine.

In Germany the tale talks of a ghostly huntsman with variant tellings of him with or without his head.

This legend of the ghostly huntsman is also known as The Wild Hunt, and legend talks of a huntsman, or several huntsmen riding through the woods in the company of a pack of dogs that are reputed to come from Hell. The first documentation of the Wild Hunt was written by German folklorist, Jacob Grimm (published in 1835 Deutsche Mythologie)

In certain parts of Britain, it is believed that the hounds from hell are out to chase sinners who have not been baptised. In Devon they are referred to as the 'Wisht Hounds' and in Cornwall 'The Devil and his Dandy Dogs', in Wales, 'The Cwn Annwn / the Hounds of Hell' and in Somerset 'Gabriel Ratchets dogs.

In the meadowsweet Chronicles, Fox and Jeremiah hear the sound of ghostly dogs barking before sensing the terrible feeling of being chased. They flee, knowing that behind them, a terrible force of darkness is pursuing them.

Fox sees the lead huntsman and recalls how he wore the rags of a frock coat which flew back to expose his skeletal body, which still had rags of decaying flesh hanging from the bones. His eyes glowed red and she was certain that the dogs that accompanied him were from the very flames of Hell.

You can read the story of The Meadowsweet Sisters and all the other various folklores in the series here. To celebrate the release of Book 3 of the series, 'Devilry', I have put Book 1 of the series, 'Witchcraft' on FREE DOWNLOAD on all eBook platforms.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Celebrating launch of 'Devilry' by giving away a kindle e-Reader

Complete the Rafflecopter tasks below to be
in with a chance of winning a new kindle.
Giveaway is international and closes
on Nov 3rd 2016. 

In order to celebrate today's release of Book 3 of 'The Meadowsweet Chronicles', I am giving away an all-new kindle e-Reader, 6" Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, wi-fi (black) worth £59.99.  To enter, all you have to do is complete the Rafflecopter tasks below, which are designed to help me spread the word about the release of 'Devilry'.

Today is the release day of 'Devilry' Book 3 of 'The Meadowsweet Chronicles' A modern Tale of Witchcraft.

I am super excited to be sharing this with my lovely readership and I know that there are many of you who have been waiting patiently for me to finally release book 3 of the series. I can only apologise for being so slow, but I hope, when you read it, you agree that it was worth the wait.

The reason this particular book took me so long to write was for several reasons. First, I really needed to spend time on the bloodlines and lineage; it becomes very important in Book 3 and by the time you have finished book 3, you'll understand why. Secondly, I needed to invest a lot of time into research for this book.

Originally, the plan had been to sort of 'bang' these books out - one book of the series every 6 months, written with enthusiasm, playfulness  and energy. I had told myself that I wasn't going to labour over the research like I did with Knight Trilogy - but ... well, I just can't help myself; I can't write with a full heart when my head isn't full, too. And so, the research and investigation for this book took around half a year (which hadn't been planned for)

And now -- it's live in both eBook and paperback, and even more exciting is that the research I invested for Book 3 is also integral to Book 4 and so that is already well on the way to be written, with the notion of a much quicker release date.

Thank you for your patience in waiting for 'Devilry' - I really hope you enjoy it. Please take the time to write an honest review on Amazon as it makes a real difference to where they place it in the rankings and in turn, the kind of exposure that it gets.

If you haven't had a chance to read the series, then you can catch up by downloading Book 1 of the series, 'Witchcraft' for FREE On all eBook platforms.

LINKS to FREE BOOK 1 of the series.


LINKS to 'Devilry' Book 3 of 'The Meadowsweet Chronicles'

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The synergy between poetry and horror.

Don't forget to check in with the Devilry launch post (linked) for your chance to win a Kindle e-Reader.

Today I am sharing with you a piece of my poetry called, 'Phantasmagoria', and then a little musing on why poetry and horror have such a synergy. I'm also going to share with you my favourite horror poem, and if that wasn't all fun enough; I am running a fun, short twitter poetry contest and the winner will receive a paperback edition of Night Shade, an anthology of horror.


Heart sorrow full, followed by pale phantoms
He winds his way through darkened avenues.
Far in the distance, the echo-yap of
A hell hound’s bark splinters the silence.
This citadel of restless, walking dead,
Holds not the warmth of a beating human heart;
Save one.
The fading heart of Lillibet.

Suddenly, the fear of being alone,
Is outweighed by fears of duplicate shadows
There is blood on the moon, cries from the ground,

For in this place only the dead are found.


Poetry was the first form of writing that I consciously crafted. I began writing poetry around the same time that I started writing my journal, at fourteen years old. I found poetry a way of expressing ideas and emotions that weren't so readily expressed verbally. I still have that poetry, stashed away between the pages of my adolescent journals that now live at the back of the wardrobe in their own little dust cocoons. I will at some point have to make the decision as to whether I leave them there or destroy them before the next generation get a hold of them. But I digress...

Poetry has always held a certain magic to me - it's a pure expression; stripping away the superfluous to arrive at a point of clarity. There's something cathartic in that - almost zen. 
Poetry also allows us as creatives to create without having to explain ourselves, or wrap ourselves up within the complex rules of grammar, syntax and structure - unless of course we choose to do that in the choice of poem. 

Unlike prose, which is for the relatively constrained in its shape, form and construction, poetry is the epitome of rule breaking, even when it looks like it's behaving. 

Poetry especially lends itself to the horror genre because horror is a very abstract concept. It's full of abstract verbs, and oxymoronic emotions, of contradictions and absence as much as presence - and in this way, poetry allows for a powerful expression of the senses attached to horror - in much the same way that poetry works for love. 

Atmosphere can be instantly evoked in poetry - the reader suddenly plunged from their present space of 'ordinary' into a space of wonder, awe and fear in the space of a few lines. The effect of that interaction lingers, haunting the edges of the memory, in much the same way that an exprience in the real continues to ripple through our senses going after it has finished - there's no adjustment time to horror in poetry; not like in a horror novel, where the mind has already begun to process the situation before the novel has ended.

One of my favourite horror poems is  Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven.  I particularly like this reading of it by Christopher Lee. The use of rhyme in this poem creates a totally immersive quality in the reader - like the drumming of fearsome war drums, or the ritualistic undulation of chanting, or the rhythm of my own adrenalin fuelled heart. 
Win a paperback
edition of Night Shade
Volume I 


For a chance to win a paperback copy of 'Night Shade Volume I' head over to Twitter and use your character allowance to write a Twitter poem. 

The only rule is that it must contain the phrase ( @KnightTrilogy #OctoberFrights )  in your tweet, but that still leaves you a whole 110 characters to play with. I will choose a winner tomorrow night at around 9pm GMT time. I will tweet you if you have won. 

It would be nice if you cut and paste your poem tweet and stuck it in the comment box here, too, just so we can see a gallery of them.


Thursday, 13 October 2016



Tomorrow sees the release of 'Devilry' Book 3 of 'The Meadowsweet Chronicles'. Tonight, I'm sharing with you the preface...


In the temple, the candles guttered. A storm raged outside. Fierce and brutal, it snapped the branches and whipped the bracken. But the black robed figures could not hear the sounds of it for the drumbeat drowned out the sounds of nature’s protests. The chants falling between their lips raised them to an unearthly plane. Tonight was the night they would smash reality to a million pieces. Tonight was the night they would break all the rules of man and God – and the outcome would be their glorious elevation to immortality. Aubrey Billinghurst, their high-priest, had told them so – and Aubrey knew, for Aubrey had drank tea with the Devil and bargained such.
When the two, small, barefoot children had been ushered into the space before the stone alter, shivering from the cold and the knowledge of their impending murder, Penelope’s chant had faltered – just for a moment, but a moment long enough for Paulina, to glance at her. Unlike last time and the unfortunate pair of young village women, who had been lured to the previous ritual with the promise of a good party, and then never saw the sunrise, these children looked so innocent. A brother and sister: twins. Their golden hair shining almost white in the candlelight. Aubrey had spent months planning their procurement. In the end, it hadn’t been difficult at all. He was a wealthy gentleman with a large estate, and the workhouse was easy pickings. He had swept in and picked the children with no less care than a child surveying a row of sweet jars. He had known exactly what he wanted and would settle for nothing less.  
The Regeneration Ritual had been found scribed onto the centre pages of a black leather-bound book discovered behind a false panel in the library of Coldstone House by Aubrey; an over-curious weekend guest. Penelope had never managed to work out how Aubrey had ‘stumbled’ upon the volume (perhaps the Devil had a hand in it from the very beginning) but once found, that small, thick paged book, The Life and Times of The Devil Dance Club, changed them all.
The ritual promised to bring forth the sons of Satan into a new age; all that was needed were suitable life-exchanges and compliant vessels. The reward for those who brought life to those ancient forces would be a lifetime of luxury, wealth, and power.
It had started as an intoxicating, luxuriant and sublime parlour game, fuelled by too much absinthe, the smoking of too many heady Egyptian blue cigarettes, and too many overlarge egos, and now… well now they were standing in the reclaimed temple, robed and preparing to undertake the ultimate ritual; the bloody sacrifice of two innocent souls. If Penelope had any doubts, they were dulled by the drug of love. Penelope loved Aubrey with all of her heart, and all of her body. She certainly loved him more than she loved her husband – and maybe, if the events of tonight went to plan, she and Aubrey would be bound by some darkling secret that would act as the marriage vows they could never speak.
The drum beat on. The wind howled. The chant took up a furious crescendo, and then it fell silent whilst the whole universe held its breath. In the centre of the inverted pentagram, a shadow rose; a shadow made of ancient energy, of old-time evil, of death, destruction and all things wicked. The room span as it filled with the dizzying effects of sulphur and the sense of too much time contained within too small a space. The children cried out for they knew their sad fates as Aubrey and his accomplice, Penelope’s weakling husband, brought down the blades and ended their tiny tears.
Paulina, Maiden of The Flowers, and Penelope, Maiden of The Vessel, fell to the ground in a swoon - and the drum took up its crazed beating once more. The room became a tangle of limbs and song and dance, of blood and tears and shadows, and nine months later, three sons were born.

Amongst the horrors of The Rookeries Asylum, Paulina Chase gave birth to twin boys, Gabriel and Lucien, and in an attic room of Coldstone House, away from the eyes of prying servants, Penelope Chase gave birth to a long awaited son, Edward.
It was on that night, when the storm raged and blood flowed, that the chain of terrible and inevitable events was set in motion. It was a curse that would travel down the generations and blight each one in turn – and the ones they loved.

BOOK ONE of the series, 'Witchcraft' is FREE on all eBOOK downloads. 

Ghost Hunt... Dare you visit the old asylum in Raven Woods?


Nestled amongst the spidery pine trees is building, once majestic but now sad and forlorn. Built in the grounds of Ravenheart House, the asylum was built in 1840, initially as a small hospital to cater for the local village community, it was ravaged by fire just fifteen years later.

When it was re-opened in 1860 it was converted into a home for the criminally insane and morally deviant of nature; disturbingly, it was also home to a maternity ward on its upper floors.

Eventually, after local authorities became alerted to strange 'progressive' practices taking place, the hospital was closed in 1961 under a terrible cloud.

The circumstances of the hospitals closure became the stuff of local folklore, and several residents claim that there was a cover-up, and that the Ravenheart family used their powerful London connections to escape public exposure.

During the 1970's it became an event grade free school, run by (in the locals' terms) 'a bunch of hippies with weird ideas'. The school didn't last long and the Rookeries was finally closed and left to the ravages of nature in 1978.

Now it stands a sad and lonely place, and for many in the local area, it is a place to be avoided. Reputed to be riddled with the ghosts of the insane and abused, it is also rumoured to hold an even darker past.

Several teams of paranormal investigation teams have attempted to conduct an investigation over night in The Rookeries, and each time, the investigation has failed. Equipment has faltered, and members of the team have had to leave with reports of sickness, dizziness and an overbearing sense of foreboding. It is reports of these investigations which have linked The Rookeries and the practices that took place there to a Satanic Cult, who used their positions of authority and trust at The Rookeries to manipulate and abuse patients.

In 1982 the body of a young woman was found in the abandoned hospital, and although there was a media blackout on the case,   rumours leaked that she had been discovered in the manner of a ritual sacrifice, furthering the belief that something dark and devilish lurks in the confines of it's festering walls - or at least that there are those who truly believe there is.

SO what now of The Rookeries? Borded up, and surrounded by a fence offering warnings of a more earthly punishment, The Rookeries has become something of an off-limits playground to the local teenage population. There was talk a couple of years ago about a hotel company buying the old building and converting it into a luxury country house hotel, but they pulled out; probably realising that few brides to be would relish getting married within the walls of a place so full of miserable history.

It is scheduled for there to be a ghost hunt and investigation this halloween. The six places open to the public were snapped up. Leading the investigation is Harry Peterson, a respected paranormal investigator who has spent many years unlocking the history of some of the reported most haunted places in the world. No stranger to strange encounters, it is hoped that maybe Peterson can finally lay some of The Rookeries ghosts to rest.

I know for one thing, I'll be awaiting the reports of the investigation with bated breath.


Head to my official website to pick up all free
OKAY, so HAPPY HALLOWEEN and I'm sorry to announce that this whole post was a dastardly TRICK - one which I hoped fed your imagination, gave you a little bit of the creeps and pricked your curiosity. So as with any Halloween Trick or Treat situation, now you've been TRICKED, it's time for your TREAT!

Two of the folks who comment on this post before October 17th 2016 will get a $5 Amazon Voucher to spend on lovely book goodies. Ensure that you put your twitter handle in your comment so I can get in touch with you. 

Please also press the Facebook and Twitter buttons on the post to help share the creepy fun.
at AMAZON worldwide

AND AS A TREAT TO ALL OF YOU LOVELY PEOPLE, Book One of The Meadowsweet Chronicles, 'Witchcraft' is on FREE download on all eBOOK platforms. 

If you had fun here, then please head over to the other fabulous horror authors taking part in this annual #OCTOBERFRIGHTS blog hop. There's some fabulous games, posts and giveaways going on, all celebrating the month of Halloween. 

Supporting Haiti.

Why 20% of all sales of Book 3 of 'The Meadowsweet Chronicles' between now and Dec 31st will be going to the OXFAM Haiti Emergency appeal.

Tomorrow sees the launch of Book 3 of 'The Meadowsweet Chronicles'. The series explores the folklore of witchcraft in many places in the world, from Heargton (A fictional English village) to Salem, to Mexico and in Book 3, Haiti.

The book has been a year in the writing, and when the Haitian Debois sisters were planned into that story, I could never have known the devastating effects that Hurricane Matthew would have on that beautiful island in the present.

I have never actually been to Haiti, but having spent months researching, goole earthing, studying, you-tubing and reading about this incredible place, rich with history, legends and culture, it has become a very special place to me -- one that I am determined to visit sooner rather than later.

I never approach the portrayal of places and their people lightly - when you're a storyteller, there is a great temptation to manipulate the whole world into your own fantasy; and of course, to a certain point, that is going to be inevitable in the world of literature, but we have a duty as writers to ensure that we adequately research, that we are gentle and playful with stereotypes, and that we challenge mistruths and bad politics. It's a dilemma; we want our works to be diverse, and we want to travel to far-flung places becoming both explorer and the means by which others can explore from their armchair, but we don't want to be part of that whole machine that perpetrates cultural constructs and misunderstandings.

When the Ravenheart sisters visit the Debois coven in Haiti they are greeted by three extraordinary women, with an even more extraordinary history - of course there are elements of the stereotype in the portrayal of these voodoo practicing witches - and at first, it seems that these stereotypes are an upholding of Eurocentric colonialist constructs, but what starts off as a classic portrayal of Haitian witches begins to take a different turn -- and I can't tell you how without pitching some massive spoilers - but the Debois sisters go on to take a very important role in the rest of this epic series of good over evil.

I am very fond of this coven - they are strong, and wise, and hold a knowledge that is beyond most of the other witches in the series.

So when I saw the devastating impact of Hurricane Matthew on Haiti - on the very real tragedy unfolding on our news screens, there was something inside me that felt unsettled. Here I was about to publish the third book of a series, with a story very dependent on Haiti as a setting and on the Debois sisters as characters, and yet the people of Haiti were suffering the most unimaginable paint and loss.

I wanted to mark my respect for the places I use in my stories. I wanted to put something back, and so I have made the decision that 20% of sales of Book 3 between now and Christmas will go to the Oxfam Haiti appeal.

I'm not a million book sales kind of author, and I don't make tens of thousands of pounds a book, but what I do make, I feel should be shared, and I wanted you to know that was what I am doing. I know it's not going to change the world for the people of Haiti, but I hope it might change the life of at least one person.


'Devilry' is out tomorrow and is available on pre-order at Amazon worldwide. 20% of all 'Devilry' sales between tomorrow and December 31st 2016 will go to the Oxfam Hurricane Matthew appeal.


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The horror of the camera lens: Official Author Photo photoshoot in Paris.

As you know if you follow the blog, this September saw me heading to Paris on retreat. The focus of the retreat was visibility, and as part of that we were to undertake a professional photoshoot with the incredibly talented Regina Wamba of  Mae I Design (

1. Pretending that it isn't happening.
The classic introvert safety net -
when things get scary, retreat and
read a book. The architecture
in Monmarte was just beautiful
and whimsical. 
Regina is an incredibly talented photographer and artist, and has been responsible for the creation of many USA TODAY best selling novels' covers. Her photography is magical, and so although the thought of having a photoshoot filled me with an almost panic attack inducing fear (quite honestly and literally) I was excited by the idea of it.

I have always hated having my photograph taken. As an extreme introvert, and somebody who is incredibly hard on themselves, having a camera pointing at me has had the same adrenalin rush as being faced with a hungry T-Rex.

Despite having been an out there and proud author for the last six years, I had not got around to getting my professional headshot done ---- and the retreat made me face the truth that it wasn't just my abject fear of being photographed, but something else - something much deeper.

2. I saw the inside projected outwardly
and that was hard to accept. The
defensive and yet powerful arm
cross, kind of says it all. 
It wasn't just that I feel silly, and weird looking, and 2 stone overweight, and gangly legged, and dough faced, and triple chinned - I was actually feeling VERY awkward about seeing myself as a serious author - of taking me and my work seriously... I know right?!

The NCWR retreat was all about facing this idea - and I soon realised that I was absolutely not alone in either of these fears. As much as we were all excited to be attending the retreat, of learning together and of growing together -- and drinking too much French wine together, we were all absolutely FREAKING TERRIFIED of the photoshoot. Excited but terrified.

Talking, we discovered that regardless of gender, our month running up to the shoot had been full of anxiety, preparation, mental strengthening, and outfit planning.

3. Allowing my true creative self to
be caught on camera was
I don't think I fully understood until that moment what an integral thing our outside was to our inside. I'm a girl who has always prided herself on not being sucked into all that 'beauty' stuff - most days, I go make up free; it's not a strange thing to me to have a selfie with no make up, or to do the school run. Most days, I barely brush my hair - and I've never really understood how someone can actually physically spend a couple of hours getting ready for an event etc.... perhaps now I do, LOL.

We were all so self-conscious that Regina had originally planned to do our photoshoots in private slots, but like freaked out zebra in the presence of a lion, we huddled together and in the end, we tag teamed it. There was something really wonderful about working together, encouraging each other, complimenting each other, reassuring each other --- and laughing; laughing lots.

4. Doing a photoshoot with
friends was so much more fun
than doing it alone. I know
exactly who I'm laughing at
here - my dear friend
+Carlyle Labuschagne 
Regina is a picture witch - she has this ability to capture not just the outside but the inside - she has the magical ability to showcase that unique beauty that is within all of us. We had a fabulous two day shoot, one day in the gardens of the Musee du Rodin in Paris, in a glorious (almost too hot) day, and the following day, we headed to the beautiful, sublime and architecturally stunning, Monmarte Cemetery.  It was fun - it was empowering and it was revealing.

Two days ago, I got the 100 or so photos we took into my in-box. I wasn't sure what I was expecting but I was surprised to feel very mixed emotions. I had been so high on the days of the shoot - and then it was like being hit by a train. There was me, hundreds of me - being author, being creative, being professional -- being a grown up! Yes, a woman, a woman with flaws, and ugly spots, and beauty, and power, and dreams, and ambitions, and love, and laughter, and heartsease, and friendship - and it freaked me out. I barely recognised myself even though I knew myself.

5. Seeing my sense of dreams
and ambitions played out
on film, and most
importantly, seeing myself
as a grown up at last. 
And I trashed through them, groaning and moaning and getting upset, not seeing perhaps what I had wanted to see - - but it wasn't because it wasn't there, but because I was still looking through eyes that belonged to the me that had spent a lifetime never really feeling quite good enough, through eyes that were embarrassed to step out and stand up for who I am, who was ashamed of being so forward, and afraid that I would be humiliated, criticised or brought down ---- so I STOPPED MYSELF right there and then and gave myself a BIG TALKING to! That shit has got to stop.

6. Taking myself and my art
seriously is the first step in
acknowledging myself as creative
I mean, seriously, THAT. SHIT. HAS. GOT. TO. STOP.

And I looked with my new eyes. My future me in the now eyes, and I saw that there were photos there that were beautiful, that there were photos that expressed the inner parts of me - and that was who I damned well was, and I was doing okay.

So if you know that you are needing to go through this whole process, I have a couple of pieces of advice -

1) Invest appropriately; pay the top whack based on research and recommendations - save in a penny jar if you have, too. You need someone whose work you love, who is going to take time with you, who is going to make you feel 'normal' and who is going to show the magic. If you can, book an appointment with +Regina Wamba - she travels the world for various events and she's always got her camera with her.

2) In the meantime - if you can't afford who you really want, get together with a talented friend and do a 'mock' location shot - find somewhere beautiful and play and laugh and see what comes out - some of our favourite shots were taken with each other's iPhones whilst Regina was busy photographing 'properly'.

3) Take time over really thinking about what you want to convey through your wardrobe. I wanted two very different looks of the multi-faceted side of my job; the gothic paranormal author, and the event planner and coach.

So now, here I am, sharing the results of that photoshoot and I'd love to know which is your favourite and which should be the one you think I should choose to send out on those first press releases I'm going to send out :)