Today, we welcome my friend and morning writing buddy to the blog, Ally Lester and their new book As the Crows Fly. This book sounds right up my alley: short, loosely based on a Celtic myth, featuring a loner. Gimme!! *grabby hands* 🙂
Thank you so much to Nell for having me here to day to tell you about As the Crows Fly, my new short story—11,500 words—in my Reworked Celtic Myths collection. The stories are a loose set of contemporary stories set in Wales, and the seed of each one comes from a Welsh or Irish legend.
The seed for As the Crows Fly is the story of St Kevin. You can read about him in the afterword of the story (ha! See what I did there!) or on my blog. The story was a bit lacking in romance, even more so that my previous story Playing Chicken, which involved St Dwynwen and a magic well full of eels.
The thing I really wanted to write about though, and which sent me off to find a Celtic myth I could twist to fit, was crows. I’ve always been fascinated by their intelligence and their ability. A friend of mine talks a lot about a place she goes to deliver crafting courses where there is a resident jackdaw. He’s called Harry and he’s a real character (here’s his advice about staying safe during covid in a short facebook video) and of course there’s a long tradition of corvids being associated with both magic and shiny things.
I spent a lot of time in Wales in my young adulthood and one of the things that has stayed with me is the way crows circle and play in the wind around the ruined castles that dot the coastline. There’s this great sense of history past, and also loss, I think, that I get from places like that and somehow that has become associated with crows for me.
So my Kevin is a lonely young man, living alone on the south coast of Wales. He’s made friends with a local group of crows, called a murder. One in particular, Grackle (which is an old world for crow) is particularly friendly. Kevin works as a veterinary nurse during the day and in his free time he hangs out with his crow-friends and draws them.
He meets Webster one day by chance, offers him hospitality during a storm, and they just click.
It’s a short, hopeful story, a complete change from my usual longer historical angst-and-magic-filled queer books. I hope you enjoy it! I’m planning on adding to the collection regularly over the next few months!
Paul Webster has come out the army after a twenty-two year stretch with a trick hip and no idea what to do with his life. He takes a few weeks walking along the Welsh coast to get his head on straight.
Kevin Davies is a veterinary nurse and an artist. He’s getting lonelier and lonelier in his cottage on the edge of the sea, kept company by his cats and a friendly flock of crows.
What happens when the two men hunker down together to wait out a wild March gale?
A 11,500-word short story in the Reworked Celtic Myths series. This time, there are crows.
A. L. Lester is a writer of queer, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense. She lives in the South West of England with Mr AL, two children, a badly behaved dachshund, a terrifying cat, and some hens. She likes gardening but doesn’t really have time or energy. Not musical. Doesn’t much like telly. Non-binary. Chronically disabled. Has tedious fits.
Find her at her website, allester.co.uk or you can find on your preferred social media via lnk.bio. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and now, shockingly, Tiktok!