Tag Archive | Anniversary

The Shadow Rises by K.S. Marsden

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Title: The Shadow Rises
Series: Witch-Hunter #1
Author: K.S. Marsden
Genre: Urban Fantasy

 
26133552_522288051486089_1544278909_nWitches are real, and to be blunt, they’re all black-hearted, and evil. These are not wiccans; witches are a different breed that use magic with devastating effect.

Charged with stopping the witches, taking whatever measures necessary, there are witch-hunters, all reporting to the Malleus Maleficarum Council (MMC). For hundreds of years witches have been persecuted and when the powerful Shadow Witch rises again, they have their opportunity for revenge.

The best the MMC has to offer, the talented seventh-generation witch-hunting Hunter Astley has his own part to play. In his own way.

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Author Bio:

26134896_522288048152756_2122466870_nKelly S. Marsden grew up in Yorkshire, and there were two constants in her life – books and horses.

Graduating with an equine degree from Aberystwyth University, she has spent most of her life since trying to experience everything the horse world has to offer. She is currently settled into a Nutritionist role for a horse feed company in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

She writes Fantasy stories part-time. Her first book, The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter #1), was published in January 2013, and she now has two successful series under her belt.

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Guest Post by Kelly S. Marsden:

THE STORY BEHIND HUNTER

12671741_10153640787618822_4666480751726479791_oYes, it’s hard to believe that it has been 5 years since my debut was released!

It has always been an ambition of mine, to be a published author, and these last five years have been an absolute dream. (An incredibly steep learning curve, but still a dream).

The Witch-Hunter books continue to draw in new readers and are my best-sellers; and it is still the story that I get most excited about.

 
What prompted the Witch-Hunter trilogy?

Despite the fact that this series pegs the witch-hunters as our heroes, and follows the famous Hunter Astley; the story actually started with the bad guy.

I used to practise Wicca when I was younger, and I wondered what would happen if you had a bad witch. One that broke all the wiccan rules, and inflicted pain for the fun of it. I decided the witches in my story would be a different breed, distinct from their wiccan cousins, and not restricted by human morals. And my main antagonist had to be the most powerful witch in history, naturally. Magic without limits…

Once I had my bad guys, it seemed almost too easy to create the people that would stop them: the witch-hunters working for the Malleus Maleficarum Council (MMC).

 
A witch-hunter named Hunter?

Yes, I know it’s cliche. I struggled to come up with a name for my main character. He’s the best the MMC have at their disposal; he comes from a witch-hunting family, and has some ridiculous inborn skills to deal with fighting witches.

So, I used “Hunter” as a placeholder until I found a name that suited him. And it stuck. And he’s enough of a pretentious git to pull it off.

It’s actually a bit of a running joke in the series – Hunter’s real name is George. Sexy, I know.

 
Fact vs. Fiction?

So… this might be a straight-up fantasy story, but a lot of it is based on real events.

The Malleus Maleficarum was a real book, published in 1487 as the guide for finding and persecuting witches, recommended by Pope Innocent VIII. (There’s a lot of contention surrounding the “authors” and how legitimate the papal bull is, but I won’t go into that here)

This book helped legitimise mass killings, persecutions, and the general witch-craze that swept the world.

Witch-hunters of questionable morals attacked people, regardless of gender or position. The incentive was often money, claiming the possessions of the “witch”, or even to enact a grudge they were holding.

The most common “witch” was female, and if you were a woman with any ounce of independence, intelligence, free-thought, charm…

My Malleus Maleficarum Council is based on the premise that they quickly saw the damage that was being done by the ignorant general public, and immediately started working in secret. The MMC employs real witch-hunters, who track down real witches.

Until our modern-day Hunter Astley.

 
Why witches?

When I was looking for a new project to start writing, I knew that I wanted to do something in Urban Fantasy.

At the time, I thought the literary world was inundated with vampires and werewolves, and I wanted to steer clear of these popular tropes. I wanted something I could put my own spin on, something that felt like it was mine.

In the end, I nervously started fleshing out a story about witches. I’ve always been fascinated by stories of magic and wicked witches, and I started to put to use all the random facts that I’d gathered.

The fascination with witches actually comes from a long-running family joke that all the women in my family are witches, and that my nanna would turn us into a toad if we misbehaved. Y’know, the usual silly stuff.

It felt weird, taking something that had been a family joke, and turning it into a bunch of books for everyone to read. I’m just grateful that it went down well!

 
Mrs Astley

Even though Mrs Astley is just a background character – as Hunter’s mother, she does little more than hang around the estate, and has nothing to do with witches – she is the one that leaves the biggest impression.

She is horrible to those around her. She doesn’t intend to insult everyone, she just doesn’t have a filter. She’s very entitled, and thinks that the people around her will benefit from hearing her opinion.

A couple of fun facts about this character: 

  1. She doesn’t have a first name. Well, she does, it is just never mentioned. Did you notice?
  2. Her husband died five years ago (although it was never a happy marriage), but Mrs Astley has been kept company by Charles, the butler. Nothing is ever said outright, but they do play “chess” (amongst some of my friends “playing chess” translates into relations).

 

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Card Makes

Thanks to a snarky comment that dented, even further, my non-existent confidence a few months ago, I stopped posting my card & craft makes on my blog.
I have now got past that… it’s my blog and I’ll post what I want.

Don’t like my posts? Don’t look at them!!

These are cards I’ve made over the past few months.

 

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The one above was for my parents anniversary

and the one below was for my Dad, on Fathers Day.

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An anniversary card (above) for my hubby,

and a wedding card (below) for my brother-in-law & his new wife!

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A Push n Pull card for my daughter’s birthday.
Open ↓

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Next up are a few parchment cards…

 

 …and finally

a couple of random ones!

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Hearts and Flowers

A more accurate title would be hearts and a pansy, but I didn’t think it sounded as good.null

Felt Pansy

Cut one strip of felt 2 cm x 25 cm – for the front three petals. Fold into thirds at right-angles then stitch around the edge. Pull the thread tightly, to gather the petals, and knot.

purple

Cut a second strip 2.5 cm x 20 cm – for the back two petals. Fold in half at right-angles then stitch around the edge. Pull the thread tightly, to gather the petals, and knot.

blue

Cut a triangle of felt 2.5 cm high and 2.5 cm across the base – for the centre. Stitch around the edge, pull the thread to gather it loosely, and knot.

yellow

Stitch the back petals to the rear of the front petals, then stitch the centre to the front. Wrap a pencil in green ribbon and fasten to the back of the pansy.

pansy

The vase was inspired by Camilla Fabbri’s Balloon Vase. I cut off the mouth of a balloon and stretch it over a small glass storage jar with the lid removed. I also poured some rice into the container to stand the pencil in and to weigh it down.

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Hearts

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I made 3 different hearts, in various sizes, to attach to my balloons, a solid heart, a  heart-shaped frame and a lacy heart-shaped frame.  The lacy heart-shaped frame is the same as I used on my anniversary card. I cut them all on my scan’n’cut.

WordPress won’t let me add .fcm or .svg files, but these are the images I used for my hearts.
heart(2)heart(1)heart(3)

To convert to fcm, for scan’n’cut, click on the picture to open it in a new window, copy the URL and paste it here to convert to SVG. This will save to your computer, then add the SVG file to your scan’n’cut canvas.

To cut by hand, with craft knife or scissors,  click on the picture to open it in a new window, then save to your computer.

If  you prefer you can contact me for the fcm or SVG file. Please state which file(s) and format you would like. Thank you.

Heart Cakes

I made two cakes for our anniversary.

A tall sponge cake and a heart patterned swiss roll.


Tall Sponge Cake

There are four layers of sponge in this cake separated with buttercream and jam, and iced with more buttercream.

Ingredients

12oz (340g) self-raising flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
12oz (340g) soft margarineEJ310-246x248
12oz (340g) sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
pink food colouring

For the buttercream

12oz (340g) icing sugar
6 oz (170g) butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice
pink food colouring

Jam

Heart shaped sprinkles

Method

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180C.
Grease 4 x 8inch/20cm cake tins, line the base with greaseproof paper and grease the paper too ( I only have 1 tin, so had to bake each layer separately).
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl.
Add the margarine, sugar, eggs and vanilla essence and beat with an electric hand whisk until batter is smooth.
Split the batter equally into four bowls and added different amounts of the pink food colouring to three of the mixes.
Pour each mix into a cake tin and  bake for 30-35 mins or until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Turn out onto a cooling rack after a minute and leave to go cold

For the buttercream

Cream the butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
Sift in the icing sugar and slowly work it into the butter.
Add the lemon juice and beat with an electric hand whisk until light and creamy.

To assemble

Level the tops of each layer of sponge.
Place the darkest pink layer on a plate or cake board and spread a layer of the buttercream over the top.
Place the next darkest layer on top and spread with jam.
Place the last pink layer on top, and spread with buttercream before placing the plain sponge on the top.
Cover the top of the cake with a layer of buttercream using a palette knife to smooth.
Cover the top third of the cake with the buttercream.
Add a few drops of pink food colouring to the buttercream and cover the middle third of the cake.
Add more food colouring to the buttercream and cover the bottom third.
Run your palette knife all the way around the edge to smooth the surface.
Add more food colouring to the remaining buttercream (and some extra icing sugar if needed) and spoon into an icing bag.
Pipe around the edge of the top of the cake and around the bottom.
Carefully add the heart shaped sprinkles in a pattern around the sides, and on top of the cake.

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Heart Patterned Swiss Roll

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Ingredients

print at A4

size to A4 to print

4 large eggs
4oz (110g) sugar
4oz (110g) self-raising flour
red food colouring

2 tablespoons sugar

Jam

Method

Print off or draw a heart pattern onto paper, place onto a swiss roll tin, cover with greaseproof paper and grease the paper.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 7/220C.
Whisk the eggs and sugar in a  large bowl. with an electric hand whisk until light and frothy.
Sift the flour and fold it in.
Place a third of the mixture into a separate bowl, add some red food colouring and spoon into an icing bag.
Pipe the mixture onto the greaseproof paper, in the heart shapes, then place in the freezer for 15-20 mins.
If there is any mixture left you can stir it back into the rest (it may tint it a little).
Remove the patterned and greaseproof paper along with the frozen hearts and grease the swiss roll tin.
Return the greaseproof paper and hearts to the swiss roll tin.
Pour the rest of the mixture over the hearts and level it out with a spatula.
Bake for about 10 mins, or until the sponge is golden brown  and has begun to shrink from the edges of the tin.
While the  cake is baking lay a piece of greaseproof paper (larger  than the swiss roll tin) on the kitchen surface and  sprinkle evenly with the 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Turn the cake out onto the sugar-dusted paper, peel the paper off the sponge and trim the edges so you have a tidy rectangle.
Spread the jam evenly onto the sponge, leaving the edges clear as the jam will spread when rolling.
Using the paper to keep the roll tight, roll the cake up and leave it with the seam side down to cool.

25 Years

“Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.”
– Mark Twain

Yesterday was my silver wedding anniversary… 25 years of marriage to a wonderful man.

The past 25 years have been a journey, we’ve had a few bumps along the way and we’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve argued and made up more times than I can remember. We’ve had peaceful times, and days, sometimes weeks, filled with drama. We’ve made it through the hard times and appreciated the good times.

“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”
– Aristotle

I found my soul mate and my best friend when we met in October 1989. We were married in June 1990, at Lancaster Registry Office in a  quiet ceremony. There were only seven people in the room.  As well as the Registrar and his assistant, myself and Brian, there were our two witnesses,  and my youngest daughter, Zoe, who was just one-year-old. We don’t have any photos from the day, just our memories. We didn’t have much money… we didn’t have much of anything really, but we had each other, the sun was shining and we had a good day!

“Together is my favorite place to be.”
-unknown

We’ve celebrated our anniversary each year, the same way as we got married – quietly and together. A card, a gift, and maybe a drink or two in the evening at home, watching tv or a film.

Our celebration yesterday wasn’t much different, but we did have a small get together with Zoe and her children. Just a few sandwiches and nibbles, some biscuits, buns and a cake.

 “Family is what happens when two people fall in love.”
-unknown

For me, the celebrations started last month when I started looking for a new wedding ring. My original ring hasn’t fit for a number of years and had to be split so I could continue to wear it. I have a silver ring, as I don’t like gold, and a silver anniversary seemed an appropriate time to replace it.

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I booked in for a tattoo,  which I wanted to keep secret until the day.  I’d had an idea involving a bee (B for Brian) and one of his favourite flowers which would be either a dahlia or a pansy, wasn’t sure which.

I wanted to decorate the room with balloons, and silver and red hearts, and I needed to make an anniversary card.

“One love, one heart, one destiny.”
-Bob Marley

We found some nice rings and chose one. Having decided on a pansy for the tattoo, I drew my idea and sent it to the tattooist. I designed and made the card, incorporating the same flower, and, because I felt like it, I made a felt pansy as well. The silver and red hearts were easy and quick to do with the scan’n’cut.

On Wednesday, I had my tattoo….

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On Thursday, I baked a cake and on Friday I iced it. Early yesterday morning I inflated the balloons with helium, tied them to ribbons and attached some of the hearts to the ribbons. The rest of the hearts went on the window. I wrapped his gift and signed the card, ready for when Brian woke up.

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We had a quiet morning. Brian was surprised by the decorations. He put the new ring on my finger. He loved the card and the tattoo.

The afternoon was livelier with Zoe and my grandchildren. We talked, we ate, we had a drink of cham…. ermm… sparkling wine, we had a great time.c

It was just the two of us again in the evening curled up on the couch and watching a film. I couldn’t have wished for a more perfect day!

I can’t imagine a future without Brian… here’s hoping for another 25 years!

“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart and I’ll stay there forever.”
– Winnie The Pooh

Two Cards

I’ve made a couple of cards over the weekend.

An anniversary card for my husband and a father’s day card for my Dad.

Anniversary Card

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For the background, I started by drawing a diagonal grid with an embossing pen on a piece of lilac card and stamping hearts where the lines crossed, then heat embossed all with fine silver embossing powder.

I designed the heart and cut two on my scan’n’cut. I snipped through one at the top so that I could link them. The cut is hidden behind the other heart.

I added two lengths of ribbon with double-sided tape, folded the ends behind the lilac card and stuck the whole thing on a piece of folded silver card.

I drew the pansy petals on parchment/vellum, coloured them with blendable pencils and cut them out.

After assembling the pansy, I added some yellow flocking powder to the centre and attached it to the ribbon with a glue dot.

The pattern for the heart is available here.

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Fathers Day Card

heat embossed and scan n cutThe rushes and grasses were drawn on hammered cream card with an embossing pen and heat embossed with fine gold embossing powder, then coloured with brown and green alcohol markers.

I designed the ‘happy’, cut it on my scan’n’cut and stuck it onto the cream card. I added dragonfly and letter peel offs, coloured with brown peel-off pens, and stuck the finished panel on a folded piece of brown card.