Using her nine-inch green fingernails, the Welsh Witch raps three times. On a creak, the door swings open on rusty hinges and Oliver stands there, costumed in his vampire attire. He grins, displaying his razor-sharp fangs.
The witch, shrouded in a black mask and pointed black hat breezes straight through Oliver.
Oliver cackles loud enough to wake the dead and coils a hairy arm around the witch. After flexing his hairy biceps, he extends his arm and escorts the Welsh Witch down the long, dark corridor. Draping spider webs grace the corners. A mouse skitters out, twittering. They enter the parlor to find gargoyles holding torched lights. The manic laughter starts from behind the walls. Then all goes quiet…as the mistress of the haunted mansion speaks.
Sharon: Cackles so loud the glass windows shatter. Do you really think you can fool me, the Queen of Hearts? Fear not, Welsh Witch. Unveil yourself and party with us mare mortals on this most special of days. I know who you are and what today is. Why it’s Hywela Lyn and it’s your birthday! Let the celebration begin!
Happy Birthday Lyn!!! Sharon saunters over to hug her and hands her a box of Gidiva chocolates in the shape of ghosts and goblins. May you have many more, dear friend!
Lyn: (Hugs Sharon in return and laughs loudly , the sound echoing eerily through the mighty halls). I should have known I wouldn’t fool you, my sweet friend. Thank you so much, my very favourite. What a delightful treat, and what a beautiful place you have here!
Sharon: We rather like it. The skeletons rattle and shake from behind the walls.
Drum roll as the charismatic Oliver comes out singing Happy Birthday to the accompaniment of the organ as it begins to play the Funeral Dirge! What? But in keeping with the spirit of Halloween, Oliver breaks into song. And with a wicked wink, he presents a seven-layer dark devil’s food cake to Lyn. Then his eyes glaze over as a bouquet of black roses appear in his hand. With a sweeping bow and a big kiss…and tight squeeze…he presents them to the Welsh Witch.
Lyn: Ooooh Oliver, my hero! Fangs so much – I mean thanks! I luuurve devil’s food cake, and black roses – how romantic, Cariad. (That’s Welsh for ‘Darling’, you know!) come to me and let me kiss your neck and cast my spell on you! What’s that – my audience awaits? Then let’s go, at once!
Oliver grins…and is that a growl?
Thunderous applause explodes from the inner walls as the skeletons rattle and shake and scream to be set free! The organ music continues….even though no one is at the seat. But then a black cat leaps from the lurches, knocking down a few spider webs. Another eerie scream and the organ music grows louder and louder, faster and faster, reaching an ear-splitting crescendo. Then all is quiet as Lyn appears in a puff of smoke dressed in a black flowing gown.
Sharon: Well, didn’t I tell you, folks? She is a Welsh Witch and she is here today to read us a story, an excerpt from her bewitching best-seller Dancing with Fate.
And with no further ado, here’ssssss Lyn!
Excerpt from Dancing with Fate
The sparks of light appeared a few hours before dawn. Terpsichore looked across to where she could just make out Myrddin, lying close to the fire, apparently asleep. She stood and wrapped her brat around her shoulders. What unearthly lights were these? In the name of Hades, she had never seen anything like this before. She watched them, swooping and dancing. They seemed to beckon to her. She walked forward a few steps. This was not natural. She sensed evil, but of a kind she had never come across before. She tried to turn her head, to look away and move back to the fire. Some force compelled her to keep staring at them, to move forward. Further and further from the campfire she wandered. The air grew chill and she pulled her brat more closely around her. The flickering lights gyrated in a wild dance, inviting her to follow them. Dawn was approaching. In the dim early morning light, she could make out demon faces, red glowing eyes, hands outstretched, and flames at their fingertips.
She recoiled in horror. Somewhere in her subconscious, she knew she was in deadly danger, but still she moved forward. They summoned her to follow and she could not help but obey. She tried to call to Apollo, and her father, but her mind was numb. She could reach no one on Olympus. "Myrddin!" No sound came from her lips. still, a strange unearthly power obliged her to walk forward toward those eerie, mesmerizing points of light.
The ground grew soft beneath her feet. Cold mud oozed between her bare toes. The further she walked, the deeper the mud became; eventually, she realized she was up to her waist in chill, muddy water, and she was powerless to turn back, or even to move any more. Zeus, oh, Father, please help me...don't desert me
For the first time in her eternal life, she knew fear. These creatures of nameless evil had her trapped. They would drag her down to the underworld and she would never see Olympus or her family again.
Then strong arms encircled her, swung her round. “Cora, look at me.” She gazed into two pools of azure blue, filled with concern, a pale face set in resolve. Still she had an irresistible urge to look at those weird, flickering lights. She turned her head, and at the same moment, there was a flash like lightning. The ground behind her burst into a wall of blue flame. It blotted out everything, engulfing the demonic lights and the hideous forms that a moment before had lured her onward.
Thunderous applause from the rafters. The windows rattle and shake and the torches flicker.
Sharon: Do have a seat, Lyn. The floorboards creak and a ghost from Halloween’s past floats through the room. I’ll just have a seat and make myself comfy on my nail-back throne.
Lyn: I’ll just float a few feet above the ground over here, on my broomstick, if that’s all right with you, Sharon. Oh the ambience here is so perfect. I feel so at home here, and look, Cedrick my giant pet spider is spinning a web around Oliver. Cedrick, behave yourself, Sharon’s going to need Oliver again – fully fleshed and NOT sucked dry! Oh listen, is that ghoulish footsteps I hear on the floorboards above us – and hark, I do believe that’s the heedless horseman galloping by.
Sharon: Oh the spirits of the walking dead do love to come and play on this special of nights! Oliver, please bring chocolate martinis for us. And do slice some of that decadent cake But first….all the torches dim and go dead. We must sing Happy Birthday to Lyn so she can blow out the candles and make a Welsh wish.
From behind the walls, the skeletons rattle their shackles as Sharon and Oliver sing. “Happy Birthday to you Happy Birthday to you Happy Birthday Dear Hywela Lyn…Happy Birthday to youuuuuu!”
Sharon: Now blow out the candles and make a wish so we can dig in!
Lyn: FHEEEEWOOSH! There we go. Gosh, do you know you much witchy breath it takes to blow out three thousand and nine candles? I wish, I wish, I wish…….well you didn’t expect me to tell you, did you, wishes don’t come true if you TELL them!
Sharon: (waves her long blood-red fingernails) Oh tadpoles and frog eyes. That’s just a rumor, dearie. Mmmm. Quite delicious, Oliver. You’ve outdone yourself. Now, Lyn, with your birthday so close to Halloween, do share with us a bewitching tale from Wales or how about the one you once told me about the banshee in the woods? Ohhh I do so love that one.
Lyn: “’Twas a dark , misty night, and there was an evil stillness in the air. All at once the silence was shattered by a shriek that came from no mortal throat, a sound the like of which would freeze the very blood in ones veins. Again it came, and out of the darkness appeared – oh thank you Oliver, yes I will have another piece of cake, it’s scrumptious. Where was I? Oh yes, a sound like the cries of the damned, evil souls in torment ,the scream of the banshee, that most hideous of creatures, the soul sucking banshee, known in Wales as the Gwrach-y-Rhibyn, the Hag of the Mist…” Lyn warms to her subject while Oliver ‘s hand shakes violently as he pours her and Sharon their umpteenth chocolate martini. “Out of the woods, her hair swirling around her face and floating in the air around her like tendrils of mist, came the banshee. Hovering above the stream at the edge of the trees she shrieked again. Alone in the small cottage beyond, the young girl quaked in terror. Why oh why had she picked up that silver comb lying on the ground this morning? Now she knew beyond a doubt it was a banshee comb and the owner was coming for her!”
At last the Lyn finishes her tale, and Sharon stifles a yawn (well she’s heard it a million times already.)
Sharon: (covers her mouth to suppress a cackle…but it rolls out in a most unlady-like fashion.) And let’s talk a bit about this excerpt from Dancing with Fate. It draws me right in Tell us a bit about the setting and how your wild imagination conjured up this most bewitching tale.
Lyn: Well I was very privileged to be one of nine authors involved in the anthology ‘Song Of The Muses’ each writing about one of the nine Greek muses. Mine was Terpsichore muse of dance. Now I had never thought of writing about a Greek muse before, and knew little or nothing about dancing, but the more I researched the more interested I grew in the project, and gradually Terpsichore spoke to me. I decided to send her to 5th Century Wales, not only because Wales is my beloved homeland, but because it is also the land of myth and magic – and the second half of the 5th Century was when a certain Arthur Pendragon was reputed to have been born. How a Greek goddess became involved with the Arthurian legends is something I’m afraid you’ll need to read the book to find out, but I had great fun putting my poor muse through all sorts of frustrations and dangers (hint - there's 10% off this month). In the excerpt you’ve just read, she unwittingly falls prey to the lure of the Ellylldan, evil goblins with flaming fingertips, who drew the unwary to their doom in the bogs, in many a Welsh legend.
Sharon: And with your birthday being so close to Halloween, was there ever a party with a Halloween theme?
Lyn: Do you know you’re the first person who’s ever tied the two things together. We don’t celebrate Halloween in Britain as much as you do in the States, but I think it’s such an exciting and fun time of year and I’m so thrilled to have you throw this wonderful Halloween/Birthday party for me, Sharon. And Oliver is just the most wonderful caterer and butler.
Sharon: Ah yes…let’s not forget the promise you made. The one where you agreed if I threw you this party in grand style you’d break the spell on me. The one the wicked Queen of Spades cast on me to grow old and wrinkled and melt into thin air so she can take my throne? A promise is a promise, dearie and it’s not nice to fool the Queen of Hearts. And speaking of witches and spells, how about a Welsh superstition that is guaranteed to give us goose bumps?
Lyn: An old Celtic superstition involves the moon; if you catch your shadow in the moonlight, you're simply doomed to bad luck - and even death. If you're burning candles on Halloween and the flames go out and there's no breeze or a drafty door to explain it, be afraid (evil cackle) - a disappearing flame on the candle burned on Halloween means there's a ghost in the house – and a flame that suddenly turns blue means there's a ghost very close by.
With that the candles flicker, a blue haze shrouds the room then everything is dark. Lightning flashes and Oliver stands transfixed, grasping Sharon’s hand, then all at once the candles glow again, while in the distance the sound of ghostly laughter fills the air.
“But on a lighter note,” Lyn continues, as if not noticing, “according to Welsh legends, children born on Halloween will have special powers to ward off evil spirits and the 'gift of second
Suddenly the raven clock chimes and the doorbell rings.
Sharon: Oliver, go let the masqueraders in. They are here in costume to wish Lyn a Happy Birthday and to have a toast with her. Sharon raises her martini glass to Lyn. Here here, dear friend. May the ghosts and goblins of the haunted mansion bestow good luck on you and your ability to keep writing those best-sellers we have all come to love. Happy Birthday and many more! And before the guests come charging in, where can readers buy Dancing with Fate and all your other books?
Lyn: Thank you so much Sharon, my sweet friend, you throw the bestest Birthday parties ever.
All three of my books can be purchased here: and if you would like an autographed copy of either Starquest or Children Of the Mist, or Book II of ‘Song of the Muses’ which includes ‘Dancing with Fate’ they can be ordered from my website: http://www.hywelalyn.co.uk And to thank everyone for coming, I’m going to put the names of everyone who’s commented in my special witches hat – and the first one drawn will win a free download of ‘Dancing With Fate’.
Thank you again for a wonderful party – and thank you Oliver for preparing such amazing food. Oh, before I forget, drink this Sharon, and that wicked spell the Queen of Spades cast will be lifted We cn' have you disappearing into thin air!
Oliver, if you’d like to accompany me on my broomstick to Hywelalyn Towers, when the party’s over, I’ll be delighted to show you my collection of etchings…
Oliver grins a bewitching grin, moves a wee bit closer and displays his sharpened fangs. After clasping his hands together in ghoulish delight, he blows the Welsh Witch a kiss with a wicked wink.