I’ve been amusing myself again with making pictures centred on Spear. Partly it’s a way to stay connected to the book, which will belong to me only for another month, after which it flies free and won’t belong to me anymore but to readers. Partly it’s a way to have fun while I learn my way around Photoshop. And partly, well, I just love making things—and if they include hedgepigs, trees, and brightly coloured lethal weapons, all with a hint of changing seasons, so much the better.

The title of this post is, of course, a reference to the beginning of the book. Here’s the first scene:

In the wild waste, a girl, growing. A girl at home
in the wild, in the leafless thicket of thin grey
saplings with moss growing green on one
side. In this thicket, the moss side does not face north but
curves in a circle with its back to the world, and, at its centre,
where the branches grow most tangled and forbidding, is a
hill. In the face of that hill, always hidden from the world,
is the dark mouth of the cave where the girl lives with her
          As far as the girl can tell, none on two legs but herself and
her mother has ever trod here. Her mother will creep from
the cave only as far as the gardens at the edge of the thicket,
and then only in summer when the leaves are cloak enough
to hide the sun-burnished bronze of her heavy-waved
hair, when the hard enamel blue of her eyes might be forget-me-
nots; but the girl is at home in all the wild. She roams the
whole of Ystrad Tywi, the valley of the Tywi who fled Dyfed
in the Long Ago. In this valley, where there is a tree she
will climb it; it will shelter her, and the birds that nest there
in spring will sing to her, warning of any two-legged
          In May, as the tree blossoms fall and herbs in the
understorey flower, she will know by the scent of each how
it might taste with what meat, whether it might heal, who it
could kill. From its nectar she will know which moths will
come to drink, know too of the bats that catch the moths,
and what nooks they return to where they hang wrapped in
their leather shrouds as the summer sun climbs high, high
enough to shine even into the centre of the thicket. Before
harvest, when the bee hum spreads drowsy and heavy as
honey, she tastes in their busy drone a tale of the stream over
which they skim, the falls down which the stream pours, the
banks it winds past where reeds grow thick and the autumn
bittern booms. And when the snow begins to fall once again,
she catches a flake on her tongue and feels, lapping against
her belly, the lake it was drawn from by summer sun, far
away—a lake like a promise she will one day know. Then
as the world folds down for winter, so too do the girl and
her mother, listening to the crackle of flame and, beyond the
leather door curtain, the soft hiss of snow settling over the
hills and hollows like white felt.

At some point I’ll collect all the graphics and videos I’ve made in one place and archive them. When I do I’ll link to it. And maybe readers will send in Spear-inspired art and pet pictures, as they did with Hild. That was lovely.

Meanwhile, you still have a month to preorder Spear and get a free enamel pin. Pre-order here:

 | Amazon.com | Bookshop.org | Barnes & Noble | Apple | Amazon.co.uk

Or see this enormous list of independent booksellers in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.