You can buy the book from our Webshop
Throughout August, this book is discounted with code ARACHNEVERSARY.
Cherry Potts reads her very first published story (Fantasy, of course), Penelope is No Longer Waiting which is in Mosaic of Air.
Part of our Women & SF/F event for Hither Green Festival.
Having discussed what we grew up reading, here’s a bit from one of Cherry’s early influences, her mum, Ghillian Potts. This is a section from Spellbinder, the middle book of the trilogy The Naming of Brook Storyteller.
The final installment, Wolftalker, is out on 7th June!
Cherry first read these books in her teens, and did a critique of them in her twenties, which was largely ignored!
More from our Women & SciFi/Fantasy evening for Hither Green Festival.
The audience put in their comments and recommendations. Call out for Naomi Novik and the Temeraire series
For the completists amongst you, here is the list Cherry forgot to bring with her of lots of Sf/Fantasy books she loves, feel free to comment to add your own high points. There are loads more these were the ones that sprang readily to mind!
Growing up with SF/F – YA books and first reads…
Diana Wynne Jones The Spell Coat series
Susan Cooper The Dark is Rising
Sylvia Engdahl Heritage of a star
Jan Mark: Useful Idiots/ Riding Tycho/ The Ennead
Andre Norton Forerunner Foray, Plague Ship, Moon of Three Rings, The Beastmaster, Mark of the Cat, Witchworld series, Octagon Magic, Steel Magic etc
Tanith Lee The Dragon Hoard, Kill the Dead, Companions on the Road, Drinking Sapphire Wine
Ursula le Guin Earthsea series, Lathe of Heaven, Rocannon’s World, Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed (actually pretty much anything by Ursula)
Helen Simpson Ingo series
Joy Chant Red Moon, Black Mountain
Pamela Sargeant Women of Wonder anthologies
Writers discovered in the 70s and 80’s
Margaret Atwood Handmaid’s Tale
Joanna Russ We Who are About to
Jaygee Carr Leviathan’s Deep, Navigator Syndrome
Joan D Vinge Snow Queen, Catspaw,
Jane Yolen Cards of Grief, Briar Rose, short stories,
Vonda McIntyre Fireflood and other stories, Dreamsnake
Elizabeth A Lynn The Woman who Loved the Moon
C J Cherryh Faded Sun, Brothers of Earth, Heavy Time, the Morgaine series
Marian Zimmer Bradley Sword & Sorceress anthologies
Anne McCaffery The ship who sang, Pern series, Decision at Doona
Megan Lindholm Wolf Brother, Harpy’s Flight
Suzy McKee Charnas Walk to the Ends of the World, Motherlines
Nicola Griffith Bending the Landscape (as editor), Hild, Ammonite, Slow RIver
R A MacAvoy Tea with the Black Dragon
Kate Wilhelm The Infinity Box, Where late the sweet birds sing,
Charlotte Perkins Gilman Herland, The Yellow Wallpaper
James Tiptree, Jr Houston, Houston do you read? (short story) Her Smoke Went Up for Ever
Naomi Mitchison Memoirs of a Space Woman
Vera Chapman Three Damosels
Zenna Henderson The Anything Box
Naomi Novik Temeraire series
Emily St John Mandel: Station Eleven
Aimee Bender The Colour Master (short stories)
Kate Atkinson Not the End of the World, Life After Life
Women writers of SF/Fantasy published by Arachne Press
Anthologies: (stories with SF/F flavour by women, there is SF/F by men, and stories with nothing to do with either SF or fantasy in most of them!)
Weird Lies (Alex Smith, Angela Trevithick, C T Kingston,Ellen O ‘Neill, Maria Kyle, Peng Shepherd, Rebecca J Payne) winner of Saboteur2014 best anthology award
Lovers’ Lies (Mi L Holliday, Michelle Shine)
We/She (J A Hopper, Joanne L M Williams, Jennifer Rickard, Elizabeth Hopkinson, Ilora Choudhury, Katy Darby)
Five by Five (Katy Darby, Helen Morris)
Solstice Shorts (Helen Morris, Imogen Robertson, Cindy George, Jayne Pickering)
Shortest Day, Longest Night (Polly Hall, Katy Darby,Pippa Gladhill, Karen Bovenmyer, Cherry Potts, Frances Gapper)
Dusk (Pippa Gladhill, Penny Pepper, Fiona Salter, Helen Slavin,Katy Lee)
Liberty Tales (Katy Darby, Cherry Potts, Sarah Evans)
Stations (Cherry Potts, Caroline Hardman)
Another gorgeous cover from Gordy Wright, and another great printing job from TJ International.
This is the third and final installment of The Naming of Brook Storyteller, and Brook (Brat-Spellbinder-Dragonfriend-Wolftalker) has taken on an apprentice, Cricket; but deadly plots are all around and it takes all her cleverness and resilience to get to the bottom of it all, with a lot of help from Cricket, and her ‘cousin’, the wolf, Drinks-the-Wind.
In the shops from 7th June (the day after Ghillian’s 85th Birthday).
Launch party still in negotiation but I will be able to reveal soon, I hope!
May 18th at 7pm
Manor House Library
34 Old Road
as part of the Hither Green Festival
The evening will include readings and an opportunity to buy books and ask questions (PLEASE ask questions!), and Katy and Cherry will talk about their favourite women SF/F writers and what got them started on writing speculative fiction. Cherry will also talk about her mother, Ghillian Potts’ young adult fantasy series The Naming of Brook Storyteller the final book of which, Wolftalker is published in early June. we have pre-publication copies, and will bring other books for you to buy. There may even be some giveaways.
Book two of Ghillian Potts’ young adult trilogy The Naming of Brook Storyteller, Spellbinder, is published on 7th December, and we are celebrating with two readings at Ashburton Library, Shirley Road, Croydon, CR9 7AL on the 7th. The first is for a local school, and the second, at 4pm, is public, anyone can come along, so we hope you will!
Brook, Brat, Spellbinder… storyteller, remembrancer, witness… with as many names as she has titles, Spellbinder is abducted by Westron Lord Arrow, who holds storytellers as hostages to force her to raise the Elder Dragons, but once they are called, Brook cannot control them.
Our reader for both events of the day is Patsy Prince, who has read for us several times before.
Books will be on sale.
Thanks to our friends at Croydon Libraries for their continued support!
This tale is told by Brook Storyteller in Brat, but we had to cut the actual story to keep the book at a length that would make it affordable. So here it is, as a warm up for the next in the series, Spellbinder
This is the tale of the Luckstone, and of the luck it brought to a certain lady.
The lady who was afterwards called Carnelian was the Lady of Forlorn Hold. This had once been Fairlawn Hold, when it was prosperous, but for many years the Hold and the lands around had grown poorer and poorer until both the Hold and the village which lay in its shadow were called Forlorn.
Then, quite suddenly, things got better. A spring that had dried up began to flow again and the water-mill could once more be used.
The orchards bore more fruit, the fields seemed more fertile and the Lady Forlorn smiled once more. She could even afford to rebuild several of the more tumbledown houses in the village. She also bought a carnelian necklace and earrings, which she wore daily.
It was this that persuaded a certain scholar called Wordhoarder to visit her. He had for a long time been certain that the Luckstone really existed and he had found a description of it in an ancient record. It was said to be ‘about the size of a man’s little finger nail and in colour most like a carnelian but somewhat redder’. How better to hide such a stone than amongst a string of carnelians?
For the Luckstone can only be used when it is worn by its owner. It will not bring you luck if you lock it away in a strongbox or bury it in the cellar. It can be hidden in one’s pocket or worn under a tunic but for a Lady who must often wear jewellery, the safest place was clearly around her neck.
Wordhoarder determined to go to the Lady’s Hold, now once more called Fairlawn, to try to steal the Luckstone. From long brooding upon it, he had almost persuaded himself that it ought to belong to him.
He knew that the Luckstone may not be bought (though who would be so foolish as to sell it?) or it loses its power. Yet it may be stolen or given or inherited or simply found by chance and still bring its new owner good luck. So he set out.
But Lady Carnelian was cleverer than he had expected. She had caused the Luckstone to be set exactly as all the carnelians in her necklace were set and likewise those in her earrings. Every setting could be unhooked from the next so as to re-arrange the necklace or exchange the stones of the earrings for some of those of the necklace. You could never be sure where in the necklace or the earrings the Luckstone might be.
The only certain way to get the Luckstone would be to steal the necklace and the earrings together. But since the Lady wore both every day and kept them in her room at night, it seemed impossible to steal them without being caught.
So Wordhoarder presented himself to Lady Carnelian as one who was anxious to study the records of her Hold and got permission to work in the Records Room. He hoped that he would be able to tell the Luckstone from the carnelians if he saw the necklace closely and often and he knew that the lady was interested in the history of her family. She might well spend time with him in the Records Room.
And so indeed it befell. Lady Carnelian spent more and more time in the Records Room, telling Wordhoarder the stories of her family and hearing of his discoveries, for he was indeed a scholar and one who, despite himself, became immersed in the study of the Fairlawn records.
Yet, strange to say, he no longer stared at her necklace and tried to guess which stone might be the Luckstone. Instead, he gazed at the face of Carnelian herself and listened to her voice. Instead of making plans to rob her of the Luckstone, he found himself dreaming of her smile and her kindness.
In the end he forgot all his plots and only wished for her love. And as she loved him in return, they were wed and lived long together in joy until she died.
Then at last Wordhoarder inherited the Luckstone. But the only luck he now wished for was that of following his lady. He took the Luckstone and flung it into the mill-stream for the next finder, should it ever be washed ashore.
And then died.
copyright: Ghillian Potts, Gordy Wright and Flora Fisher
You can buy both Brat and Spellbinder from our online shop – perfect Christmas presents for anyone age 9 to 16, and not bad for us adults either!