Thursday 4 April 2024

Sea Magic: An Extract from Erosion, my Gothic Novel

Erosion, my Gothic novel, is published this month. Here’s an abridged excerpt from it, to give you a taste of what's inside:

Circle in the Sand

“Charlie said that to do magic you need to make a circle and focus on what you really want. You can use a solid object and focus on that. A candle, or a wishbone or something. Then you let it go. You burn the candle or break the bone. You have to let it go, Charlie said, so it can come back true. That’s why you find broken things like swords left in lakes by people back in history. They were making wishes, making offerings to the spirits of the waters so their wish could come back true.” 

So we made magic on the beach and thought of our wishes, our dreams, with the salt drying on our naked bodies under the sun with just the gulls as witnesses. We found washed up driftwood and drew a circle around us in the sand, held hands and danced until we were warm and tingling and out of breath. We chose pebbles and held them, pictured the thing we wanted to wish for, imagining it as real. 

“What do we do now?” asked Jo, staring at her piece of white chalk like an egg. I looked at mine. It was dark grey, a hard, flattish, smooth oval. 

“Let’s throw our stones into the sea,” Zoe suggested. 

We ran down to the edge of the incoming tide and got ready to throw our little pebbles.

“I wish the world was a fairer place!” Jo hurled her ovoid chalk. It sploshed and disappeared into a swell. 

“I don’t think you’re supposed to say it out loud,” said Zoe. “You have to keep it secret when you make a wish.”

The wave broke and I tried to spot the stone in the backwash, but it was gone. Zoe threw hers but said nothing and it was also lost to the sea.

“Is this how it works?” I turned to Zoe, disappointed. Why wasn’t there a flash of light or a sparkle of glitter. How was this magic and not just chucking stones? But, of course, magic in the real world wouldn’t be glitter and sparkles and flashes of light. It would be something so like things normally happen that you wouldn’t suspect it was magic unless you’d cast a spell. And, as it was a secret, no one but you would know.

“I think so,” Zoe said. 

I thought for a moment, deciding on my secret before letting go and skimming my stone. It bounced across the water, once, twice…on the third time it went in and was lost.

Zoe smiled. “Three’s a lucky number!”

But it wasn’t three, was it? And the stone wasn’t broken. And a stone wasn’t precious like an ancient sword. Real magic isn’t glitter and sparkles: it’s sacrifice. That’s why the ancient swords were broken. I wondered what I’d have to do, let go of, to make my wish really come back true.

Where to find Erosion and my other books

My publisher is Moon Books, an imprint of Collective Ink. You can find Erosion on it's website via this link:

On Saturday 6 April I'll be signing copies of Erosion at Treadwell's Bookshop, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury London, WC1E 7BS. The event will start about 3.15pm, but I'll be there for a while. Please pop in and say hello if you’re in the area. I'll be happy to chat. This event is completely free. You can just turn up, but you can reserve a place if you prefer, at .

Erosion can be also be viewed on Amazon. (Note: I earn commission from advertisers for some links. This helps support my blog at no extra cost to those who read my posts.)

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