Saturday 27 May 2017

Guest Author Lesley Wilson of Australia

Born in North Yorkshire, Lesley Wilson was inspired to write stories at an early age. She turned her father’s garage into a theatre and produced juvenile dramas. Local kids who watched her shows were expected to donate a penny to the RSPCA. In her early teens, Lesley joined a theatre company and took part in many productions.

     On a train journey to Italy in 1957, Lesley met a young man. A whirlwind courtship followed before he joined the British Army. Fifteen months and hundreds of letters later, Lesley, aged seventeen, boarded a troop ship bound for Singapore, where she married the love of her life.

     Lesley’s careers have included fashion modeling, market research and running her own business but writing has always been her true passion. She completed a course in Journalism with the London School of Writing, and was also an active member of a writers’ group for several years.

     She now lives with her husband in North Queensland, and enjoys frequent visits from her two teenage grandchildren. When Lesley isn’t writing, she loves to read, entertain friends, and travel.

Oric and the Alchemist’s Key, published in 2015, is the first book in a medieval trilogy for young adults and young at heart readers. Book two, Oric and the Lockton Castle Mystery, was published in March 2017. Book Three Oric and the Web of Evil will be published during 2018

How Oric Eventuated


Several years ago I constructed a fabric figure on a wire armature. I dressed him in a long, purple tunic, flowing silver cloak, and perched a scholar’s cap upon his head. A cloud of wispy white hair and beard added character to his charm.  With his gnarled fingers wrapped around a book of herbal recipes, he looks every inch the medieval apothecary. I fell in love with the little man, and named him Ichtheus. He was the catalyst that began the Oric Trilogy.  Over the following few years I wrote Oric and the Alchemist’s Key, which is now published. A sequel Oric and the Lockton Castle Mystery was published in March 2017. Book three, Oric and the Web of Evil will be published during 2018

     I grew up in the backwoods of Yorkshire. Vast acres of heather and gorse-clad moors, where I cycled and hiked in winter and summer, were my back yard. Many medieval towns and villages exist to this day, all of which provided me with a wonderful backdrop on which to base my stories.


                   Excerpt from Oric and the Alchemist’s Key

                                           Lesley Wilson

                                       Churchyard Witch

Outside Nathaniel’s cottage, the cold air struck Oric and Ichtheus like a body blow. An icy moon sailed in an ocean of night sky, towing silver clouds in its wake. In a hurry to get back to Bayersby Manor and his warm bed, Ichtheus set a brisk pace.

     Oric followed with the dog.

     The only member of the trio not staggering was Parzifal.

     “What ails you, boy?” Ichtheus slurred. “You will have me fall upon my backside if you continue to run into me like that. Pish! Can you not hold your liquor?”

     Oric gave a hiccupping titter. “‘Tis not my fault, Master Ichtheus, ‘tis you that has over imbibed, not I!” 

      They soldiered on, tripping over each other until St Griswald’s Church loomed into sight. Nathaniel’s talk of witches and ghosts overrode Oric’s good sense, and he hung back. He had guts aplenty for everyday things, but ghosts were another matter altogether.

     “What a great booby you are,” chafed Ichtheus, cuffing Oric’s ears affectionately. “Come, we shall sing a song to cheer ourselves.” Without further ado, he launched into his favourite hymn.

     Oric joined in half-heartedly. Neither of them had an ear for music, and the noise they made set Parzifal to howling.

     Moonlight cast long shadows, creating a black and silver scene. Trees took on sinister shapes, and a sudden breeze made an old yew tree creak. The owl hooted from his perch in the bell-tower, causing Oric’s neck hairs to stand on end.

     An urge to relieve himself overtook Ichtheus. While he fumbled with all his extra clothing, Oric and Parzifal sloped off around a bend in the pathway.  Ichtheus was in full-stream when the pair reappeared, running as if chased by demons. Oric crashed into his master, and bowled him over. Unable to turn off his tap in time, Ichtheus pissed copiously into one of his boots.

      “Damn your eyes, boy!” Ichtheus staggered to his feet, “What in heaven’s name are you about?” He shook his foot. “You blithering fool … look what you have caused me to do.” He set his wet boot on the ground, and was disgusted to hear it squelch.  

      Oric’s voice rose from hoarse whispers to high squeaks of sheer terror. He grabbed Ichtheus by the arms. “Master!  Master! I saw it. Her! The thing!”

     “What thing, boy? What THING?” Ichtheus shouted and shook Oric as if he were a rag doll.

    “The witch! You remember! The one we talked about with Nathaniel. That old hag that was burned! I saw her around the corner,” Oric pointed a shaking finger. “She is there, I tell you. All of a quiver and a dither, she smiled and beckoned to me.”

     “What rubbish, boy!” Filled with nettle wine, mead, and bravado, Ichtheus strode down the path to investigate.

     Parzifal loped alongside, rumbling with growls. Feeling less brave by the minute, Ichtheus rounded the bole of a giant oak-tree.

    “Oh, my sainted aunt!” he gasped, his bravado deflated like a pig’s bladder pricked by a dagger. He seized Parzifal’s collar and huddled into the oak’s dark shadow. Summoning every ounce of his courage, he took another peek around the tree trunk.

     Not more than twenty strides away an old woman sat upon a rickety cart. She dithered and beckoned, just as Oric had described. Something was in the trees, too. Pallid, disembodied faces floated about as if imbued with a life of their own.

     Prickled from head to foot with gooseflesh, Ichtheus lost his nerve. He turned and fled on liquid legs towards the churchyard gate. Parzifal chased after his master. Now horribly sober, Ichtheus stopped at the gate to make sure the apparitions did not follow. He tried to catch his breath and slow his racing heart. It would never do to let Oric see him in this state. Oh, dear, no! The lad would never allow him to live it down.

     Oric was hiding in a ditch.  

     “Get out of there, boy! There is nothing to be afraid of,” Ichtheus bluffed in his boldest voice. “The ghost you saw is naught but a trick of the moonlight. However, to spare you further distress, we shall traverse the churchyard’s outer wall instead of cutting across the middle.”

     The sight of his master’s rigid face stilled Oric’s tongue, but he did not believe a word Ichtheus said.

     They galloped around the churchyard’s perimeter. Only when they had gained the cover of the overgrown footpath did they slow their pace. Not a word passed between them until they arrived back at Bayersby Manor.

     Still shaken, Oric bid his master a subdued goodnight and crawled, fully clothed, into his inglenook corner.      

     Ichtheus removed his boots and dropped thankfully onto his truckle bed, but he took a long time to fall asleep.




Mirth was not something the Horzefell family indulged in very often, but at this moment Rastus and Hersica were shaking with unrestrained glee.

     “Did you see the silly old fool?” Hersica screeched. “And did you ever hear such a racket? Trying to sing … hah! They sounded like tomcats from hell.” Tears ran down her lined cheeks and made tracks in the dirt. “I scared the apothecary witless, beckoning to him from yon barrow, like as not he lost control of his bowels with fright!”

     Rastus clutched his aching sides. “I doubt we shall see that pair here again. You did a grand job,” he praised Ned and Joe, who were equally doubled up with laughter. “Am I not a crafty beggar, coming up with such a clever idea? Holding those oil lamps under your chins when you were up the trees was a stroke of genius.” Rastus erupted with more horrible squeaks and wheezes as he visualised the urchins’ distorted faces. From a distance they had looked like disembodied ghouls as they climbed from branch to branch. Just for the fun of it, Rastus had grabbed a lamp and joined in.

     The church door banged, making everyone jump. Figg had returned.

     “What is the cause of your hilarity?” In a foul temper, Figg’s icy voice sliced through the crypt.

     Flushed with success, Rastus related how he had rid the churchyard of the apothecary and his apprentice.

     “You imbecile,” Figg shrieked. “You had those pests within your grasp and you let them go free?” Almost beside himself with rage, he held up his thumb and forefinger a hairsbreadth apart. “And you think it funny that we came this close to discovery?”

     The inhabitants of the crypt cowered under the intensity of the moneylender’s abuse.

     Figg took a deep, steadying breath. “However, circumstance may favour us for once. If the local folk are convinced this place is haunted, they will keep away. But I am not so sure about the apothecary. He is no fool.” Figg withered Rastus with a terrible look. “If you miss another chance to kill him, I shall not be responsible for my actions.” His eyes glittered like shards of ice, “And next time the opportunity arises, seize the apothecary’s apprentice and bring him to me …  alive.”




Next morning Oric tried to assemble his thoughts, but he could make no sense of the things he had witnessed the night before. Surely he had imagined the ghostly old crone in the graveyard. Nevertheless, he was in no hurry to return to St Griswald’s, and he hoped his master would forget the whole sorry incident.

     Ichtheus crawled from his bed. Sober, and in the cold light of day, his intellect told him there was more to the strange goings on at the old church  than met the eye.


 Thank you Lesley for being our guest this week. Good luck with your series.

A huge Thank You to YOU for visiting the Scribbler. Please feel free to leave a comment below.


Saturday 6 May 2017

Guest Author Lisette Lombard of Mexico.

All the way from Monterrey...She’s back!


The Scribbler is pleased to have Lisette Lombard return for a second visit. A 4Q interview and an excerpt from her newest novel. If you missed her before, you can check it out here 

Thank you, Allan, for inviting me for a return visit to the South Branch Scribbler. I am honoured to be showcased in your blog. I am a native of Monterrey, Mexico. EBO is my first novel and is a YA paranormal romance. It is an exciting story about vampires and love. Night Orchid, its sequel, has recently been released. Both novels are published by Morning Rain Publishing of Ontario, Canada, of which I am their first international author. You can find me as L. Lombard, or by following the link to my website below.

4Q: I recently read your first novel, EBO, which was featured in your first visit here on the Scribbler, and I enjoyed it very much. Please tell us what fascinates you about Vampires and how the idea of loving a mortal was inspired.

LL: I’m so glad you enjoyed EBO. I have always been intrigued by the paranormal. It leads to question What if?— and this presents so many possibilities. I feel compelled to lead readers into another realm and make them forget they are reading the impossible, leave them with a sense of longing for the What if.  It is exciting to create a made-up world in which everything fits, one that is so believable that readers will forget it is fiction, and better yet, wish it were not.

But EBO and Night Orchid serve an additional purpose. The literary world is swamped with stories of vampires loving mortals; however, these stories tend to get a bit graphic. Years back, my daughter was interested in this genre. After reading several novels, it was becoming hard to find appropriate stories for her to read so I decided to write one for her, and that’s how EBO was born. Young Adults are smart and imaginative, and I write “clean” stories for them to enjoy. It’s fun to explore alternative ways for readers of all ages to experience strong emotions while reading my books.

4Q: Your latest work is titled Night Orchid and is a sequel to EBO. Tell us about it.

LL: Night Orchid begins where EBO left off. Thinking the worst is behind, Josephine is ready to turn her back on fear and live out a normal life—as normal as possible when loving a smouldering hundred and eighty year old vampire. But loving the undead is never simple, and the perils that threaten their world appear to never end.

Seeking protection from their beloved Ashanti, Ebo and Josephine return to Africa. Danger multiplies when hunters—a vampire’s worst enemy—side with the wretched creature that has made it her life mission to destroy Ebo and Josephine. The fight for their lives will test every fibre of their being. Can their love survive the turmoil?

4Q: Please share a childhood anecdote or memory with us.

LL: When I was about nine, I walked out of class to find a group of boys poking at a dead opossum in the hallway. The poor creature had a live baby in its pouch. I couldn’t help myself and took the baby home. My mom is an amazing person and was used to my antics when it came to rescuing defenseless creatures, but I still knew she’d freak out. I decided to keep it hidden, but I needed a plan. Our next-door neighbour was a young mother who’d recently given birth, so I went over to ask if she had baby formula she could spare. “It’s for a school project,” I said. Armed with powdered milk and a doll’s bottle, I fed the opossum round the clock for a week until I was found out. I wasn’t allowed to keep it, as I knew would happen, but mom drove me to the vet and the critter was left in his care. I’m calling my mom now to laugh over this, and I might remind her about the rescue of the lab rats while I’m at it… but that’s another story.

4Q: What’s next Lisette? What are you working on now?

LL: Shifters! I continue to be drawn to the paranormal and have a story brewing, but it’s still in the initial stages, so we’ll see where that leads.

An Excerpt from Night Orchid. (copyright held by the author)

Ebo, if you come I will never speak to you again. He’d been right. These guys were deadly serious, and his appearance at the village would turn ugly in a hurry. Moving from the window, I walked out the door to face the hunters.

Faking to rub sleep from my eyes, I made my way to the chief’s side, noticing the Ashanti guards were closer to Kiki but in an unfavourable position to help her. “What’s going on?” I asked, trying to control the anger in my voice.
“We have visitors,” Chief Kande said. The tension on his face warned me against doing something stupid. He might’ve thought he had things under control, but it sure didn’t look that way to me.

Concentrating on the hunters, I made them believe I was witnessing Kiki’s rough treatment for the first time. “Let her go,” I hissed through gritted teeth. She wasn’t hurt, but it was easy to see the way her body trembled. All blood had drained from her face.

“They want vampires,” Kiki muttered.

Sidestepping through the guards, I made my way to her. “Then go watch a movie,” I told the leader. Too late, I realized I should’ve acted more surprised, but my blood was boiling.

The young one at the back chuckled again. I didn’t risk glancing away from his leader. He was taller and stronger than I’d initially thought. A hand was placed on my shoulder, and I tensed at Chief Kande’s touch. That’s when I noticed the Ashanti had surrounded the hunters, all spears raised in their direction.

Ebo’s growls were in my head, and his fury was in my heart. It made it difficult to keep the emotions from showing on my face, so I directed that hatred toward the man before me. “Let. Her. Go.”

“And you are?” he asked with a smirk on his face, but I noted a hint of indecision in his voice.

“Her friend, and a member of the Ashanti.”

His head tilted. I was sure he saw something, but was it enough? “What are you?” he demanded in a low, dangerous tone.

“That’s a really stupid and offensive question,” I spat.

Ebo was moving fast and would soon reach us. I’m not kidding, stay away. His pace slowed, but did not stop. The anger he felt made me want to scream. My vision unfocused at the edges. You’re making it hard for me to stay human, I warned, unsure of what it meant, but it made him stop.

Behind me, Chief Kande spoke. “Tell us what you want, and we will assist you. The girls know nothing of the female deathling.”

A speculative glance was directed my way. “Have this one switch places with her friend while we search your village.”


I moved before the chief finished speaking and reached for the leader’s arm holding the knife. He lowered it, releasing Kiki and taking me in her place.

“I didn’t expect this,” he said. “You are warm.” The hand holding the knife moved, and he placed his thumb against my neck, feeling for a pulse. “You have a heartbeat.”

“Of course, I do.” I forced the laughter that followed. “Do I look like the walking dead?”

“On the contrary, you are extremely beautiful.”

Kiki moved forward and slapped the man hard across his face. Korshi pulled her back just as the other hunters came to her. The Ashanti took a step closer, forming a tight circle around the hunters.

“Uh-oh, you’ve angered them,” I said.

“Shush, foolish girl. I thought you were the one Sophia mentioned. A part-vampire.”

Sophia. Bile rose to my throat. “Maybe I am.”

Ebo’s growls filled my mind as soon as I spoke. Balling my fists, I fought the urge to punch the man. My vampire was capable of such anger. But nothing compared to the fear radiating from him. Had I gone too far?

“Stop toying with us, girl. You have no idea what we’re capable of.” His thumb prodded my neck again. “Call your men back,” he said to the chief.

Kande nodded, and his men took a tiny step back. A really tiny step. The chief wasn’t taking any chances. Kiki went for the leader again, but Korshi placed his hands over her arms, holding them down while forcing her away from us.

Motioning to Alex, the leader said, “Inspect her.” The hunter’s grip tightened, and he whispered in my ear, “He will not harm you, but we must be sure.”

Moving at the same time as Alex did, the chief was immediately at my side. “If you harm her, you will not walk out of here tonight.”

Ebo was running again, and I decided against asking him to stop. The tone in the hunter’s voice made my skin crawl.

“Open your mouth,” Alex said. Relaxing, I nearly laughed out loud. They’d find nothing there. Gently, his thumb pushed against my top lip and explored my teeth. Should I bite him? I asked Ebo. It was hard to control the urge.

Do not test them, sweetness.

With a hard tug, the leader twisted my arm back. I howled in agony as Alex thrust his hand in my mouth, feeling over my teeth again.

One moment I was held in a chokehold, the next I stumbled forward, watching a head roll past and blood splatter the ground, over my face and clothes. The second of stunned silence was chased by uproar and chaos. Chief Kande was right there, by my side, catching me before I fell.

Thank you Lisette for being our guest this week. Wishing you all the best with your stories!

And a Special thank you to you - the Reader.
Please feel free to leave a comment.