Behind the staircase leading to the upper levels of the tree was a second, narrower set of spiralling stairs leading downwards beneath the earth. Having described the way, Marmalade gave Penelope a gentle push towards the passage, promising tea and rest after her bath. The stairs were faintly lit by glowing, moon-coloured stones pressed into the clay walls. The stairs soon gave way to a smooth, sloping path of moss and stone curving gently downwards, with several smaller passageways forking away into the deep. Arriving…Continue Reading “Ch 9 – Hope & Sea Stars”

Marmalade’s tree was warm and filled with the soft, golden light of glowstones. Penelope kicked off her borrowed boots, setting them by a haphazard stack of others in the entryway. Emptying the pockets of her borrowed coat, carefully stowing the fate token in the pocket of her skirt, Penelope hung her coat and scarf on a hook by the door. Marmot shrugged off his own pack, setting it on the floor with an alarming rattle of its contents. Opposite the cosy entryway was a set…Continue Reading “Ch 8 – Marmalade’s Tree – Pt 3”

Marmalade set a brisk pace that both Marmot and Penelope struggled to match as they followed the small witch along a snaking path of teal quartz through the mauve underbrush of the Faewood. The sky was dark as velvet and filled with the cold glitter of rising constellations. The teal crystals crunched underfoot. Faintly luminous, the quartz allowed the three to tread the path without stumbling. The surrounding forest was further lit by the dim, lunar glow of small mushrooms and star-shaped flowers clinging to…Continue Reading “Ch 8 – Marmalade’s Tree – Pt 2”

Prince Steph of House Grimwood cradled a broad tray of pies as he stepped over rocks and between puddles on the way to his tree house behind the cemetery. The warm scents of baked sugar, berries, and apples stirred with cinnamon made his mouth water as he settled into his cubby built amongst the thick boughs of a dead tree. With scientific determination he tasted each slice of pie in turn, making notes in a small notebook balanced on his knee. One apple pie had…Continue Reading “Teatime With Marmalade: A True Sort Of Nonsense”

“You,” Marmalade hissed at Penelope. “Explain.” “I have no idea what happened! I didn’t wish for that!” Penelope protested, hoisting herself to sit upright. “What did you wish for? Exactly?” “I… I saw a vision of my future. I saw my family reach out to embrace me… and then I was dancing with a prince… I think. I only wished for a way to ensure that future for myself. I just… I only wanted the love of my family back. Grimwood’s Dark Moon ball is…Continue Reading “Ch 8 – Marmalade’s Tree – Pt 1”

Teatime Ritual Choose Your Cup Choose a cup that feels like the moon in your hands, filled with the promise of magic and beauty. Choose Your Brew Choose a blend that speaks to your truest sense of self, singing forth your deepest dreams of enchantment. (I recommend Blue Moon, an ethereal tisane with elderberry, apple, cornflower, and lunar sparkles!) Steep Your Senses As you steep, surrender your senses to the scent, the steam, the warmth of your brew. Savour the colours as they come to…Continue Reading “Blue Moon Tea Ritual”

The Faewood trusts those who whisper kindly to its mossy branches and dew dampened corals. It trusts those who tread carefully along wild paths of stone and crystal as the moon rises before dawn. The Faewood trusts those who venture past their fear into the deeper shadows, where flowers sing themselves to sleep and do not wake until the constellations turn. The Faewood trusts those who ask permission to gather its fallen sticks and tumbled stones, and offer thanks for such gifts. The Faewood trusts…Continue Reading “The Faewood Trusts…”

The mother tree fell through the earth. Down and down, banished to the deep beneath. The abyss where her earth had once nursed all of life was cold and ringed by her grieving children. They curled their roots through earth and stone, abyss becoming cradle. The trees wept through the ages until cradle became well became lake. Known as The Tears to the creatures of Edenwood, these ancient waters are fae and fickle. Impish and sad. Restless… and dreaming of all lost things.

This is a draft map showing the realms of Edenwood Valley, the world in which the Marmot & Marmalade series of teatime tales are set, as well as the novel Marmalade’s Love Potion. The rough locations of Penelope’s cottage and Marmalade’s tree home are marked within the Faewood. The five river systems act as natural boundaries between the Royal and agricultural realms of Grimwood, Starwood, Sweetwood, Heartwood, and Wildwood. The dotted lines indicate the main infrastructure of alchemically augmented crystal roads and pathways which allow…Continue Reading “Edenwood Valley Map”

A young prince with a serious brow and mischievous eyes sneaks past the palace guards to play in the unfenced gardens. His dark curls catch in the pollen-rich breeze blowing from the Darkwood.  Clutched in his jam-coated fist is a string of his mother’s pearls. He likes how cool the round beads feel against his skin, and the awe in others’ eyes as they shimmer against the olive hollow of his queen’s throat. The boy prince darts past the broken stones at the end of…Continue Reading “Honeybelles for a Girl Prince”

Iridescent and serpentine, the dragon coiled upwards into the sky, fanning out its streaming veil of tails as it rose. Penelope felt strangely weightless. Whether from fear, or the aura of power which surrounded the dragon, Penelope couldn’t say. As the dragon rose higher into the sky, Penelope’s senses returned. She heard the churning of the waves as the waters of the Tears thrashed about the boat. She heard Marmot’s squeals of fear as he clung to Marmalade’s leg. She heard Marmalade shouting for Marmot…Continue Reading “Ch 7 – Crossing The Tears – Pt 2”

Marmalade stirred the last of the frayfern into her simmering cauldron, turning to her recipe with satisfaction. Just an hour more to brew and a day to decant— Splash. Crash. A familiar squeaking told Marmalade this couldn’t be anything good. Almost afraid to turn around, Marmalade spun to find Marmot upside down in the hearth soot, and her almost perfect potion turning a rather alarming shade of red. “Marmot!” Marmalade cried, unhooking the cauldron and upending its ruined contents into the sink. “For the last…Continue Reading “Clockwork Companion”

Penelope passed the time staring out the cabin windows as Marmalade’s boat coasted down the river, occasionally passing other merchant boats along the way.  Marmalade had given Penelope a thick wool coat, fleece gloves, a knitted scarf, and a pair of mushroom leather walking boots, as there was some distance to cover on foot to reach Marmalade’s home in the woods. The shoes were narrower than was strictly comfortable, but otherwise fit reasonably well. Penelope felt more calm now she was properly dressed again. Before…Continue Reading “Ch 7 – Crossing The Tears – Pt 1”