SUMMER IS HERE – FESTIVAL TIME!

PART ONE

I just love the summer, don’t you? It started with a big bang for me last weekend as LAZZMATAZZ 2019 hit the historic town of Llandovery, for three days of music, performance poetry, storytelling and literature. The festival was opened by the Mayor of Llandovery, Louise Wride.

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Little old me, introducing the Mayor Opening Lazzmatazz
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Mayor of Llandovery – Louise Wride

Now in its fifth year, the festival which is a platform for new talent was busier than ever with over 25 acts on the main stage, Fringe Events, Literature Festival and Book Fayre, and Craft Market.

There really was something for everybody and I am really proud of our small team that made it all happen. The venue for the festival is the Castle Hotel in Llandovery, and the hospitality for festival goers was incredible.

 

We were lucky for a little while on Friday as the weather held and all was outside on our main stage. Saturday a day of sun and everything was grand until about eight in the evening when the heavens opened.

Cariad our, stage management team are based in Wales, they know rain! Within fifteen minutes they had moved the desk, lights and pa and the Glass Dolls continued their set on our Ballroom Stage.

 

Excellent work guys. The sad thing is, Cariad moved from inside to out and back, four times over the weekend. But this is Wales and Cariad are an excellent stage crew. ‘Impressive’ I hear you say, it was! The Welsh Connections Lazzmatazz Songwriting Competition 2019 had seven finalists this year and was won by Erin Lancaster.

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ERIN LANCASTER  Winner of Welsh Connections / Lazzmatazz Songwriting Competition 2019

The judges had a dreadful time trying to decide on ‘runner up’ and in the end, announced ‘joint runners up’.

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Judges (L-R) Fil Ziebicki, Sue Oates, Paul Nicholas, Anna-Marie Elizabeth Reed.

They are Christian Aaron Perry and Tim Greenwood, both of whom passionately performed, stunning our judges.

 

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Christian Aaron Perry (Joint Runner Up)

 

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Tim Greenwood (Joint Runner Up)

We held the Tim Williams Award for Performance Poetry on the Sunday with five finalists.

 

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Trudi Petersen – Winner of Tim Williams Award 2019
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David Thorpe ‘Tim Williams Award’ 2019 ‘Highly Commended’

In this competition historically, we have only awarded a first prize. This year there was a clear winner and Trudi Petersen took the award home. But for the first time this year, the judges awarded ‘highly commended’ to David Thorpe a local poet from Llandovery.

 

Posts to come:

Part Two – Music Mayhem & Merriment

Part Three – Lazzmatazz Literature Festival & Book Fayre

Part Four – Lazzmatazz ALL WINNERS & RUNNER UP SHOW 2019

Part Five – Lazzmatazz 2020

FAREWELL 2018 WELCOME 2019 HAPPY NEW YEAR TO THE WORLD

2018 has been a roller-coaster of a year in so many different ways, memorable highs with the occasional blip. But what a year! It all started off with amazing news received in late January. My book, ‘Crach Ffinnant – The Prophecy’ was a winner in a holiday book competition organised by Words Matter Publishing in America.

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You can imagine the feelings created by this, when considering I had received over 30 rejections on the manuscript before entering the competition on a whim. My prize was a full publishing contract and by April, following the release of a promotional video by WMP, the book was launched and appeared on all major on-line platforms. WMP kind of finished off the year for me too, as in late November, my second book in the Crach Ffinnant series, Rise of the Dragon was published.

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So in 2018 I published two books, which are tales of wonderment and magic, in the Celtic tradition from Wales in the Middle Ages. Debbie Eve (Illustrator) and I have both enjoyed this journey and it continues as we enter 2019, preparing the third book in the series, ‘Crach Ffinnant – Ravens and Dragons’. We both created web-sites to promote our work, me as an author and Debbie Eve, as an illustrator, in turn bringing new experiences and enhancing horizons not before considered. As a result of this good fortune, invitations to book fayre’s throughout the year evolved following an appearance and interview on Showboat TV programme hosted by Welsh Author, Judith Barrow.

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Attending the book fayres enabled us to meet other authors in Wales and pick their ‘brains’, as well as begin networking. I have thrived in taking on ‘readings’ during the year which stimulated me to begin recording audio books of my work.

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Of course we attended various musical festivals throughout the year and I performed in a few folk clubs. I must say there are three highlights shining from the year. Appearing at Lampeter Folk Club reminded me so much of ‘old school clubs’, packed by an attentive audience. Great reviews and a splendid memory. Tafarn Bach Music Festival was a super weekend where not only did I enjoy performing, we also made really good new friends and I was able to book some acts for Lazzmatazz. Lazzmatazz in 2018 changed venues from Penlan Village, Cenarth, to the Castle Hotel in Llandovery. We will be there again in 2019 with a bigger and better programme but 2018, memorable in so many ways, not least of which, over 4,000 hits on-line of the live streaming of our song writing competition. Playing at Dennis Robinson’s 70th birthday three day bash was a hoot, loads of new friends and a super weekend.

Some nice weekends away in our clapped out camper van, but not as many as we would have liked as Dippy as the name suggests, was indeed so. The final highlights are managing to replace our camper van with one that works, and the adoption of Minnie. So we enter the New Year in grand spirits, looking forward to writing more, Lazzmatazz 2019, Book Fayres, Readings, Performing and enjoying our creative lives with so many others, spending quality time with each other and the dogs, Noodle and Minnie, as we journey through the universe, its wonder thereof never-ceasing to amaze.

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Thank you everybody who we have worked with through 2018 and in particular, Tammy Koelling, CEO of WMP, Judith Barrow (Showboat TV), Cheryl Beer, Sarada Thompson, Paul Nicholas, Castle Hotel, Llandovery, Dennis Robinson, Tim Greenwood & Sarah Howdle (Tafarn Bach), and West Wales Poundies.

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND A PROSPEROUS JOY FILLED 2019

‘CRACH FFINNANT – RAVENS & DRAGONS’ VOLUME THREE… a snippet….

‘CRACH FFINNANT – RAVENS & DRAGONS’ VOLUME THREE… a snippet….

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‘Our journey from Syncharth was swift and there was no doubt Tan-y-Mynedd achieved the great distance in record time despite changing winds hampering our flight on occasions, and also me hanging on for my life. A bright moon illuminated our passage but the great dragon frequently used clouds to conceal us from prying eyes; old habits die hard and in these perilous times were perhaps essential for our survival. Tan-y-Mynedd the Fire-Dragon soared skilfully ever onwards. The ground below rose and then dipped away again into a deep valley, shrouded by mountains on all sides. The darkness of night began to fade and dawn lingered in wait upon the horizon. The great dragon pulled back both wings, thrust out a proud armoured chest, extended four thick, muscular, scaled legs, flexed talons and swished his tail high. Expelling hot air from both nostrils in clouds of steam, he landed rather less than gracefully on the scree-covered mountainside. Scrambling down from between the safety of Tan-y-Mynedd’s huge armoured shoulders, legs shaking like jelly clothing brawn, my feet touched solid ground again. We had arrived once more at the Great Council of Blue Stone.
I sat with my old reptilian friend, Tan-y-Mynedd, at the long oak table surrounded by ancient members and old friends of the Council. All were familiar to me from the last time I was summoned here, but some were absent. Only Tan-y-Mynedd represented the dragons today. Graig-y-Graig, who was the eldest of all the reptiles, had been ill for some time due to his increasing years. The old dragon dropped off to sleep a few months ago deep in the caverns of Dan-yr-Ogof, never to wake up again. One dragon was still missing, a continued source of great concern for all, whilst the other protected the young dragons, ably assisted by Crow and Faerydae. Fwynedd the Shepherd sat opposite me, having returned from his village which was now prepared for protection against the English soldiers who were roaming the countryside. Carron perched on my shoulder, playfully pecking at my earring as usual.’

 

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RISE OF THE DRAGON – SPEAKS!

SNIPPET FROM

CRACH FFINNANT – RISE OF THE DRAGON

 A fire blazed across the enormous ornate hearthstone.  Above a great fireplace on the smoke-worn and stained granite wall, hung the standards of England and Ireland, wafting to and fro a little in the breeze of hot air rising invisibly from the flames. Honed fat logs of beech, fractured by heat, spluttered towards imminent flaming destruction, coughing as sparks flew here and there, abandoning all sense of ignition. Tapestries of battle scenes hung from the walls, splendid in their horror, depicting shadows of spectres long passed, dancing in half-light. Beeswax candles dripped from a candelabra, pungency filling the air, already heavy with smoke from the fire, mingled with incense and overladen by the stale aroma of roast venison. Empty platters adorned the great table. Crumbs of bread and ribs of a deer picked clean, lay discarded among the elbows resting thereon, full bellies digesting in silence. Several well-fed men with splatter of food and wine staining their fine clothes sat slumped around the table. At the head, in a great chair, sat the newly crowned King Henry of England and Ireland. Several paces behind him, two armed soldiers sporting the Royal Crest across their chests, stood motionless with eyes staring blankly into a space only they could know.

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The King seemed greatly troubled, his features strewn with deep lines of worry, creating the appearance of a spider’s web, etched upon a tanned face, almost the colour of a blacksmith’s apron. He portrayed a tiredness through lack of sleep, together with wine, rather than blood, running through his veins. He stared silently up into the rafters with eyes as black as Whitby Jet, no doubt reflecting upon some aspect of his obsession with power. His face, scarred and pock-marked by disease, made him look much older than his years. He raised his hand and with a grubby nail perched on the end of a chunky finger, he picked and scratched at a spot on his cheek until it bled. Then wiping the bloody finger across his chest, he left a trail across his blouse, as would a leech questing succour. Henry coughed and grabbed his stomach, moaning under bated breath, causing the digesting silence to come to an abrupt end.

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“You are unwell, My Lord?” Edmund Holland, Earl of Kent, who was seated to his left, enquired. “Perhaps a drink of water may assist?” Edmund beckoned the King’s glance towards the flagon on the table.

“Blast you, Edmund! For an educated man, you are a dullard, sir. A buffoon!” Henry berated the Earl of Kent, spitting contempt at the mere idea of such a thing. Drink water, indeed! “Fish urinate in water, Edmund, and I will not touch as much as a drop.” He spat on the floor to add theatricals to his disgust. “I will have wine. Bring me wine!” Henry called for service. “Water indeed!” He laughed and sniggered at his own joke.

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Thank you for dropping by……………………….

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CRACH FFINNANT – RISE OF THE DRAGON -TAKES FLIGHT TO SANTA IN TIME FOR XMAS

So excited … two books out in less than a year! Thanks to Words Matter Publishing for believing in Crach, Debbie Eve for illustrations and putting up with my obsession. The follow-up to Volume One, Crach Ffinnant – The Prophecy is here! Volume Two, Crach Ffinnant – Rise of the Dragon is now available on Amazon as an eBook and will be in paperback shortly. This is a series with some way to go yet, but join us in Crach’s new adventures with Owain Glyndwr and the evil Henry IV in CRACH FFINNANT – RISE OF THE DRAGON

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Back in February of this year…….

 

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