An Excerpt FromThree Words

A little bit from Three Words as promised.

rose in heart shape


“I’m so excited.” It was Tuesday evening and Tallie flung herself down beside Seth on Gaia’s big sofa. “A little bird just told me who’s playing at the Hare next Saturday.” Her eyes twinkled. “Pause for effect.”

“You do look more excited than normal,” Gaia commented, “which is a worry in itself.” She ignored the face Tallie pulled at her. “And as much fun as it would be not to ask you who but just to watch you try not to tell us, I will be kind and gracious and put you out of your misery. Who is it?”

“You’re fiendishly mean,” Tallie retorted, “But right of course. I’m nearly beside myself. It’s Underhill.”

Rob was grinning as Gaia, Ethan and Seth’s faces lit up. Serena was baffled.

“Really?” Gaia was elated. “Oh, I haven’t seen them in way too long,”

“Me neither,” Seth agreed. “Still the same guys?”

“As far as I know,” Tallie confirmed. “Well, Luke, Holly and Bryn for sure. Maybe Jonno, maybe April. Maybe both.”

Gaia rubbed her hands together. “That’s so great.”

Ethan nodded agreement, then noticed Serena’s puzzled look.

“They’re a band based in Cornwall,” he said. “Folky metally fusion.”

“Oh, but they’re so much more than that,” Tallie said pointedly, poking Gaia in the ribs with her elbow. “Aren’t they?” She grinned at Serena. “They’re the reason these two,” she gestured at Gaia and Ethan, “are together.”

Rob laughed and Seth was smiling. Gaia explained.

“Tallie and I were at uni together. She was the year above me but we were in the same flat. Luke was in her year, he’s the drummer. We were all good friends and Luke’s band got booked to play at the Summer Ball. Ethan and Seth came down and, well…” She took Ethan’s hand.

“The rest is history,” Tallie finished for her. “Oh, I can’t wait.”

Underhill did not disappoint. Serena had never seen a band quite like them. The energy seemed to crackle off the stage; most of their stuff was quite fast and heavy but the few ballads they played were hauntingly beautiful. the sound of the pipes seemed to reach right into her, touch her soul and the empty place beside it where her magic had once lived. She enjoyed chatting to them afterward when they came over to catch up with the others. Ethan noticed how Holly, who played the pipes and whistles, seemed to be watching Serena with interest. He moved to stand next to him.

“Picking something up, are you?” he asked quietly.

Holly grinned. “That could be taken in more than one way, but if you’re asking about magic, then yes.”

“I thought so.” Ethan was oddly pleased that he’d been right. After all, he’d picked it up about Holly, so he wasn’t sure why he doubted himself. Still… it sounded so farfetched. Holly wasn’t human, he was one of the fey, moving between the realm of magic and the human world as he chose. Despite his psychic gift, Ethan had been truly shocked when he’d realised how close true magic really was. He had never told anyone; Holly had asked him not to.

“I’m not sure what it is,” Holly went on, “But there’s something wild and mysterious there. I have no doubt you’ll find out.” He grinned impishly. “Didn’t take you long to find out about me, now did it?”


It’s World Book Day

Yes it is, and in celebration of all things literary I thought I’d share some of my favourite books. Please do add your favourites in the comments; I’m always on the lookout for a good read!

5 books

Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint. Anything by Charles de Lint really, he’s exceptionally talented, but this particular one is a collection of urban fantasy short stories and is my go to book for comfort when I’m feeling in need.

Green Angel by Alice Hoffman. She writes exquisitely and this novella is particularly haunting.

The Wood Wife by Terri Windling. Full of extraordinary desert magic, you can almost feel the heat rising from the pages. I love this so much I have two copies (one for lending, the other for me!)

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. This is a children’s book but don’t let that stop you; the lyrical prose and intriguing story will leave you thinking.

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. You will never take the letters of the alphabet for granted again.

Skellig by David Almond. A beautifully wrought modern fairy tale.

The Miracles of Santo Fico by D. L. Smith. Funny, unexpected and uplifting.

The Secret Life Of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Set in South Carolina in the sixties, it’s a sensitive coming of age tale.

Julie And Romeo by Jeanne Ray. A romance like no other and very funny to boot.

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. I adored this when I was a kid and still do now.

Guess I’d better stop now. There are just so many great books out there; happy reading!

A Little Bit of Dreaming The Moon

picture of moon over sea

Here’s an excerpt from Dreaming the Moon. I hope you enjoy it.


Robyn and her friend Bryn are in the tunnels below the cliff, searching for what has been lost. But all is not going to plan.



Robyn forced herself to open her eyes and the first thing she saw was light. Not very bright, but definitely enough to see by and illuminating the tunnel in both directions. Ahead she could make out the cavern into which the tunnel opened, which also seemed well lit. She looked for the mark she had just made, only to find that it had disappeared.
‘Where are we?’ she asked. ‘What happened?’
Keeping his arm round her and pulling her closer to the wall, Bryn let go of her hand and lifted the bottle to show her. It was glowing fiercely now, almost incandescent.
‘I think somehow we’ve crossed over. Into the faerie realm. I don’t know how, whether we slipped through a rift in the shield or whether this is a crossing that neither side is aware of, but we’re certainly not where we were.’
‘Can’t we go back through?’
‘Unfortunately not. Humans usually can’t cross unless they’re with a magical being, but at the moment everything’s in chaos so who knows what rules apply. One thing I do know though, we need to keep moving because somebody is going to be aware of that shift and come looking.’
‘Which way?’ Robyn said. ‘Should we go back toward the sea?’
‘Don’t know which way that is,’ Bryn told her. ‘The approximate geography is the same but the transposition isn’t exact. I need to send a message to Holly, see if he’s got any ideas, then I think we should keep going, see if we can find another way out, or something that can help us in the meantime.’ He felt her shiver and gave her a quick squeeze before releasing her and feeling for the pen.
‘I’ll mark the wall,’ said Robyn. ‘Just in case.’
Bryn wrote the message on his arm and they watched it sink into his skin and disappear. Then they made their way cautiously into the cavern which was empty but lit by several flaming torches. There were several tunnels leading off it, most of them also lit. Bryn suggested they take the brightest one, thinking it was the one that was probably most used and therefore the most likely to lead them out. It was eerily silent, their footsteps echoing around them despite their efforts to stay quiet, and they were both on edge as they continued. Robyn marked their way and they walked for what felt like hours, up, down, tunnel after tunnel, with no sign of life at all. Finally they sat down on the ground in yet another small cavern, to rest and eat something.celtic knot triquetra
‘It feels like we’re going nowhere,’ Robyn said despondently. ‘Like in that old film Labyrinth. That girl, Sarah, she keeps walking and walking and it all looks the same, as if she’s not getting anywhere at all, no matter how far she goes.’
‘I know,’ Bryn agreed. ‘But we must be getting somewhere, surely. We haven’t seen any of the arrows you drew, so we can’t have gone back on ourselves.’
Robyn sighed. ‘We need a miracle,’ she groaned. ‘Otherwise we could be walking around down here forever.’ She leaned her head back against the rock. ‘At least it’s not dark. We’ll be able to see as we starve slowly to death.’
‘Cheery, aren’t you?’ Bryn said. He stretched. ‘Come on then.’
It was then that they heard the sound, a slight scuffling from the tunnel to their left. Bryn was on his feet immediately, finger on his lips. Robyn rose as quietly as she could. There was more scuffling, louder now, voices and a steady tapping. Bryn peered into the tunnel and backed up quickly. He grabbed Robyn’s hand.
Glancing back as they careered through the nearest opening, Robyn saw with horror a large crowd of small ugly creatures wrestling and pushing at each other. One of them looked up directly at her just before she disappeared. They heard the increase in volume of voices, but didn’t wait to find out whether the things had seen which entrance they had taken. They just ran, following whichever fork or tunnel was the nearest. Behind them they could hear sounds, pattering feet and strange nasal grunts and whoops, varying in volume so that it was difficult to tell whether they were being pursued or whether it was echoing through from other chambers. As they exited yet another cavern, Bryn spotted a split in the wall, almost invisible yet big enough to walk through, and he pulled Robyn into the small cave behind it. They stood very still, desperately trying to control their breathing, and waited.

It’s A Double Book Anniversary

Three Words book cover

Hard to believe but Dreaming the Moon has been out for three years now and Three Words is one year old today. I picture of moon over searemember the feeling of finally holding that physical printed volume in my hands; each one was a dream come true. Even now it still feels like magic!

I’ll share a couple of short extracts from each over the next few weeks. Hope you enjoy them.

The Faeries’ Bazaar

“Have you ever seen it? The path, I mean? It changes and it moves, so it’s hard to find, even if you’re looking for it. Because you never really know what you’re looking for…”

In two weeks time, on the 16th September in fact, the path will lead to Thorncombe Village Hall where you’ll find The Faeries’ Bazaar.

It’s a mystical narrative of interlinking pieces that leads you through the Bazaar and introduces you to the various shopkeepers and characters to be found there. From the Apothecary to the Bookseller, the three sisters in the Sewing Room to Amily the street magician, each has a tale to weave around you.

angel faery


My older son Jed has composed a beautiful soundtrack that laces all the stories together. He plays as I read; he is the Troubador.


Younger son Zack, who is a most excellent chef, is the Innkeeper, while my husband Brian is our troubleshooter and all round good guy.

All proceeds from this performance will go to The Word Forest Organisation, carrying out amazing reforestation and educational work in Kenya. Check out what they do here:

So, if you’re local (or even if you’re not) please join us for an evening of music and storytelling.

For more details, contact me via my Facebook page:  IzzyRobertsonAuthor/events

Or you can book tickets here:

Hope to see you there!

Life between worlds – writing a novel

notebook, pen, laptopYou can get a bit lost in writing a book; it’s a long process and quite isolated too. You spend a lot of time with your characters, immersed in their world. Sometimes the real world is a welcome relief, sometimes it’s an irritating distraction. At times it can seem quite distant. The story grows and develops; it follows you even when you’re not actually writing. Your protagonists and antagonists feed you information, not always at the most opportune moments (mine often decide that the best time to tell me something vital is when I’m driving, usually with nowhere I can pull over to scribble it down). It’s as if you’re living in two different realms at the same time, each as tangible as the other.

You try hard to get the writing right, to let the characters have their say but also to keep the story flowing the way it should be. You cheer when it goes well and the words pour from your fingertips; you groan, procrastinate and drink far too much tea when the plot sticks or your characters decide to go off and do their own thing without telling you. And they do do that. Without so much as a ‘by your leave’ and then you find that they’ve changed the timeline or reconfigured the plot without so much as even conferring with you or asking what you think. Well, why should they? You’re only the author after all.

Eventually, eventually you get to the end.

Of the first draft.

But that’s not the end as a writer. Because the first draft is the basis but it always needs lots of work; editing and reworking paragraphs and dialogue, adjusting timeline inconsistencies, ensuring continuity of all sorts of things from the colour of people’s eyes to who has a dog and who likes what music. And then there are the typos and the grammatical errors and the repetition of words and phrases that need to be corrected.

So you plough through again, rewriting, amending, tightening up the prose and getting it closer to how you know it needs to be. And when you’ve finished the second draft, you go through it all again a third time, just to make sure.


You’d think that’d be it then, wouldn’t you?

Alas, no!

It’s usually when I’ve got to the end of the third draft that I ask my lovely band of pre-readers to read through it and feed back to me anything that doesn’t fit right or hold true, anything that seems superfluous or out of place, anything that they think needs altered or adjusted. With these invaluable critiques it’s time for – you’ve guessed it – draft number four.

By the end of the fourth draft, hopefully the manuscript is as near finished as possible and as good as it’s going to get. This is usually the point where, having been living and breathing it for however long and having read and reread the story countless times, I usually think “This is complete and utter rubbish. Why did I bother? I might as well just dump it in the recycling bin and do everyone a favour.”

At that point I know it’s time to consign draft four to my virtual drawer and ignore it for a month or two. When I come back to it, it’s usually not as bad as I’d thought. Usually needs a few tweaks but generally it’s OK.

That’s the scary point. Time to unleash it…

Capturing the Transient

multi coloured beadsWe see them. We hear them. We don’t always pay attention to them but they’re there. Those little moments of awe and wonder just waiting to be savoured before they’re gone. A whole string of them every single day, like a beautiful bead necklace, if we’d only take the time to notice. And when we do take heed, how we long to hang on to them, to store them away in that secret treasure box of memory so we can pull them out on a bad day and think “See. There is a point after all.”

But how to capture them, truly? How do you keep hold of that sudden drift of honeyed air as you pass jasmine on a summer evening, the hug your friend gave you or the eerie mist of bluebells through the trees? What about the heavy silence of pristine snow and the melting sweetness of a square of chocolate on your tongue, moonlight dancing on a calm sea, good coffee or the touch of warm sunshine on your skin after the winter cold? How about the languorous buzz of the bees in flowers and the twilight chorus as the dusk paints the sky in subtle pink and lavender.

Allow yourself to notice. Allow yourself to stop and really notice. Breathe it in, let it immerse you, settle inside you. It’s only a moment, but this moment, every moment, is all that we have.

hummingbird and flowerHere’s a moment from my memory treasure box. I was on Corfu, walking back from the beach when I saw a bumble bee visiting a flower in a patch of scrub by the path. Except it wasn’t a bee, it was the tiniest hummingbird imagineable and I watched it for a good five minutes before it flew away.


False Friends and True – a poem

Hope in Scrabble lettersI wrote this poem around the end of 2015/beginning of 2016 and last Saturday night I read it out as part of the performance poetry entertainment at the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Awards Ceremony. I was touched and humbled when several people came up to me to say that they enjoyed it and how much they related to the emotional journey it portrays. They asked me if it was published! They also told me that they thought other people might find it helpful.

With that in mind I am putting it on here. Please feel free to share it if you want to. Wishing you all much love and light.



My friend Paranoia came round the other day

I hadn’t seen him for a while; he said he’d been away.

My new friends Joy and Self-esteem don’t like him at all

They say I change when he’s about, I’m at his beck and call.


Anyway, he asked me if I would let him stay

He’d nowhere else to go, he said, he’d not get in my way.

I said no to start with. He said I was a grouch.

How could I just let him sleep on someone else’s couch?


“It’s only for a little while,” he wheedled with a grin

I felt my resolve crumble: should I let him in?

I recalled last time he said this, and I let him stay

A few days turned to months and months, he wouldn’t go away.


So I said no again and then he stormed off in a huff

Self-esteem was proud of me. “I knew you’d had enough.”

Then Paranoia played his trump. He sent his best friend Guilt,

To plead his case, and at her words I couldn’t help but wilt.


“How can you be so mean?” she asked. “He’s always stuck by you.

He’s never, ever let you down, it’s the least that you can do.”

I can deal with Paranoia, but Guilt is hard to fight.

I gave in; he came to stay, but only for the night.




Because when Paranoia’s there, Guilt hangs around as well,

And she brings along Self-loathing, who is as mean as hell.

The three of them get really loud and they give me no peace.

Then I can’t hear anything else and there is no release.


I realise I see less and less of Joy and Self-esteem

They pop in every now and then but I hardly know they’ve been.

Paranoia said that it’s because they never really liked me

They pretended, to be kind, but they’re better off without me.


Self-loathing told me that I am a really crappy friend.

“You’re lucky we put up with you, don’t bother to pretend

You’re doing us a favour by giving us house room.

No one else would bother with a nasty girl like you.”


“Yes, you’re lucky,” Guilt agreed. Her voice held quiet danger.

“We won’t desert you, leave you alone, let you become a stranger.

Another friend is moving in, don’t bother with your protests,

Because she’s been here all along and you haven’t even noticed.”


It was true; when I looked, Fear was curled up in the armchair.

I knew I couldn’t shift her now that she was settled there.

I wondered how she’d got in; through the back door, I suppose.

No matter how I try it seems impossible to close.


So now I was just overwhelmed and there was no escape,

I could only stand and watch my world disintegrate.

The four of them joined forces to wear away at me,

And together they are surely a formidable enemy.


Helpless before the onslaught I retreated to my room,

Curled small beneath the bedclothes amidst the deepening gloom.

It was then I heard it; a whisper through the air

So faint and yet I hadn’t just imagined it was there.


I couldn’t help but follow the almost silent call

It made me walk across the room to the mirror on the wall.

It was then that I saw Hope beside me standing strong.

I’d been so blind but now I knew he’d been there all along.


Somehow I’d forgotten Hope but he didn’t seem to mind.

He very gently took my hand, his touch so warm and kind.

Hope had not forsaken me but he has a quiet voice

And I just had not heard it over all the other noise.


I realised I felt calmer, more than I had in days

I knew that Hope would help me in so many different ways.

“We’re still here,” he told me, “Joy, Self-esteem and I.

But it’s hard to reach you when you’re with those other guys.”


“I’m sorry,” I said sadly, as I began to weep

“But I just don’t know what to do, I’m in far too deep.”

“You can let us help you to find your strength again.”

Hope was reassuring; I knew he saw my pain.


I let him lead me down the stairs and through the noisy four,

They didn’t like that he was there; I tailed him to the door.

“Open it,” he told me, “I’ve got you a surprise.”

Joy and Self-esteem were waiting on the other side.


“It’s really good to see you.” Words came with an embrace.

“Now let’s get this lot sorted out, and give you back your space.”

Paranoia grumbled as he left, Self-loathing raged and ranted,

Fear screamed and whimpered as she was forcibly decanted.


Guilt was the hardest one to shift; she went eventually.

“OK, I’m off for now,” she smirked, “but look, I’ve kept your key.”

Self-esteem just laughed at her. “The locks will all be changed.

She has true friends around her now, and you should be ashamed.”


Guilt was dawdling on the path; Hope turned me to the room

To Joy and Trust and Happiness and Love and Light and Truth.

Self-esteem brought Confidence, quiet and assured

And Gratitude is also here, helping me applaud.


So next time Paranoia knocks, I’ll have the strength to fight.

Next time I will be saying no. I’m claiming back my life.






Publication Day!

Today is a very exciting day. My second novel, Three Words is officially published and it’s a thrilling feeling. For an avid reader who as a child ate books for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and decided aged 9 that she wanted to write them, to have one novel published was a dream come true. To have another one out seems nothing short of miraculous. I’ve written on here about the magic of books before but I think it’s worth revisiting.

open book with mermaid

From the reader’s perspective, each book we open is an adventure, a journey into another world full of new people and situations. As we read, that world becomes real in our minds; we see and feel it, become part of it, if only for a few hours or days. When we finish the book and put it back on the shelf, the real world is just that little bit altered by the experience that we have had.

From the writer’s perspective, a story just needs to escape from the head onto the page. All writers work differently so I can only speak for myself, but my characters are very insistent that their stories are told. Their world becomes as real to me as my own; I can see them, hear them, I know what they’re thinking and feeling. Somehow I have to get that down on paper or screen. It doesn’t always go to plan, it’s not always easy, but I owe it to them to complete the tale, to give them their freedom.

And when those thoughts and ideas then become an actual physical entity, a real book, that’s extraordinary. That’s magic.

I’ll leave you with this wonderful quote from the scientist and author Carl Sagan:

“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”

Three Words

Three Words coverOn 14th February 2017 my second book will be making its way into the big wide world. It took me two years to write Three Words and get it to the point where I was happy to submit it to my publishers, Magic Oxygen. They’ve also put a lot of time, effort and love into it, from the editing to the amazing cover photography and much more besides. A big thank you is due.

It’s a romance at heart, exploring love and those things that pretend to be love but are very far from it; possessiveness, manipulation, guilt etc. It also encompasses love and relationships in the wider sense of friendship and family.

And of course there’s a magical element – because how could there not be? It’s very (and I do mean VERY) loosely based on The Little Mermaid, but the fairy tale rather than the film.

If you want to read the blurb on the back cover, click on the picture above. For now, here’s an excerpt to hopefully whet your appetite.


Tia and Serena left the cavern and swam through the wild ocean in silence, overawed. Tia was the first to speak.

“Did it hurt?” she asked. “When you gave up your magic?”

“A little,” Serena said. “I feel empty now, hollow. Room for a soul, no doubt.”

“Are you afraid?” Tia’s eyes were worried.

“Yes,” Serena confessed. “But I know this is the right thing to do. The only thing to do, for me. I’ll never meet the expectations of the mer, I’ll always be found wanting. At least this way I have a chance. I know you understand.”

“I will miss you,” said Tia.

“And I you,” Serena replied. “But I will always remember, all of you but especially you, Tia. I think you’re the only one that’s really ever understood me. Don’t think that some of the love I hope to find over there won’t be held for you.”

Tia said nothing but she didn’t have to. The crystal tears that slipped from her eyes told their own tale.