Claudia is a would-be apprentice on the cusp of her future, yet uncertain which path she should take.

Her older sister, Francine, is undertaking an impossible project as the youngest Master of Alchemy in two generations.

At 16, Claudia is meant to ford her destiny with a certainty she has always craved, yet never possessed.

A choice made hastily, impulsively, could prove the ruin of two sisters…

This tale explores the mystery of what happens to ghosts when they follow the call of sirens, deep beneath the earth…

The snow felt dry and soft, like sugar dust, beneath her feet as Penelope ran through the wildflowers. The gleaming crescent of the waxing moon hung high in the sky, offering scant light as Penelope danced across the open fields of Marmalade’s sequestered glade and into the thickets of the Faewood. Penelope squealed with glee as she found vines and brambles parting easily before her, revealing paths free of snow amongst the glimmering underbrush. Moonflies clung to the undersides of gold and mauve ferns, illuminating…Continue Reading “Ch 10 – Marmalade’s Love Potion – Part 3”

“It smells so pretty in here, like apricots and roses…” Penelope murmured as Marmalade steered her into a large bedroom. Marmalade guided Penelope by the hand around the curved rail guarding the stairwell and into the circular space beyond. The room seemed to spill over with books, plants, and fragrant, blooming flowers. Penelope spent several long moments spinning in slow, unsteady circles, taking in every detail with growing awe. A wooden staircase continued upwards to the left, following the curve of the tree to further…Continue Reading “Ch 10 – Marmalade’s Love Potion – Pt 2”

Tea entailed a generous spread of seeded breads and soft cheese, fruit crackers and tangy preserves. Marmalade poured herself a measure of whiskey before taking a seat by the fire. Penelope declined the offer of one for herself, and Marmalade set the crystal decanter of amber liquid on the table.  Marmot sat in front of the fire encircled by crumbs, his tail tucked neatly about his feet. He pushed a ready-made cup of tea towards Penelope as she sat in a stuffed velvet chair. “Thank…Continue Reading “Ch 10 – Marmalade’s Love Potion – Pt 1”

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”

“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”