Promo for Silvana – just in time for Christmas

This has been put together and sent out from the publishers:



Every now and then a special book comes along….


SILVANA – The Greening



by Belinda Mellor


Once heard, the song of a Silvana can never be forgotten.

Yet for every man who wins such a wife there are three destroyed in the attempt.


Sixteen-year-old Fabiom dreams of winning the love of a Silvana, one of the mysterious and powerful tree spirits who haunt the deepest groves of the wildwood. But when he is suddenly thrown into the political arena and expected to keep the family silk business running, everything changes. Fabiom fears he will have to put aside his dream, for such a quest is perilous and Deepvale cannot afford to lose its young lord.

However, the piece of amber he finds beneath the huge ash tree could change his mind. If one of the Silvanii is upset enough to weep golden tears at the thought of losing him, then presenting himself on the eve of his seventeenth birth-anniversary might not be so dangerous after all.

What Fabiom does not know, is that the fiercely guarded secrets of silk-making have been sold abroad, putting more than the economic stability of his holding at risk; it was the Silvanii who first gifted Morene’s people with those secrets, and they do not take kindly to betrayal.



REVIEW A beautifully-written and engrossing treat(T Bass 18/12/13)



REVIEW  An absolute gem. (A Power 17/12/13)


REVIEW  A beautiful read from a great story teller. (J E Lane 02/12/13)



Belinda Mellor lives with her husband and daughter and far too many animals on a lifestyle block near Nelson; a place the family came to on holiday some years back and forgot to leave. A background in theology and applied spirituality make her eminently suited to a life of goat milking and egg collecting.

At the age of five she won a school award for ‘free expression’ and has not stopped writing since. She was an inaugural winner of an Ian St James literary award for her fantasy story Bronwen’s Dowry (published in the Collins anthology At the Stroke of Twelve). Since then she has been awarded a literary bursary and an award for a character-driven story, had numerous non-fiction and occasional fiction pieces published in magazines and local newspapers and a play for children performed by a theatre-in-education company.

Her current projects include readying the second Silvana book – the Turning – for publication; writing the third – Restoration; resurrecting a series of children’s stories about a fire-loving salamander family, originally written for an animation company that folded before the project could be realised; and completing a collaborative art book based on the story of creation and why the creator put THAT tree in such an accessible position.


           What readers have said about Silvana – The Greening

  • “Wonderful imagery more poetry than prose, it permeated the air around me with the sights and sounds of the woods”
  • “Breathtakingly beautiful images”
  • This is a fascinating and rich story, one I am completely swept into. The writing brings it to life. It’s wonderful”
  • “Your descriptions are stunning, and the story has stayed in my mind to haunt me”
  • “This novel feels important. I have chills right now just saying that”
  • “I wonder how anyone could read your books and not marvel at the talent and potential “
  • “….it almost seems to be a part of me; at least, I wallow in it as I did in sunshine when I was a young girl”

Preview the book 


Pages: 330

ISBN: 9780473-64024

Published: 2013


RRP NZ$34.50




So, it’s been an exciting week. And the day is finally here: Book One is no longer simply a dream, but has become reality. 

And to prove it – here’s the link to the online shop where it can be ordered:

 In the next week or so it will become available more widely: watch this space.



I’ve had some very nice help with publicity too. 

Kathy Temean, who has a very good writing and illustrating site, has featured Silvana in her current posting. In fact, if you click on this link to Kathy’s blog, you will be in with a chance to win a copy. 

And tomorrow (Saturday) my fellow Scribophile and beta reader, CJ Jessop, is running an interview with me on her site Off With The Fairies.


Still fiddling with the last minute bits and bobs: the map has been sorted, the acknowledgements are done. But the back cover blurb is still being tweaked, as is a ‘teaser’ for Book 2.

Book 2 starts 15 years after Book 1 ends. This is what I have chosen (I think):

The story continues.

Silvana – The Turning 

available 2014

Fabiom travelled on foot, for he could make better speed than with the donkey cart, yet Fairwater had never seemed so far away. It rained incessantly. The two nights it took to make the journey he passed in roadside taverns, pausing only long enough to get some sleep and dry his clothes. He ate on the move; walked, ran, walked, ran. Eventually the river widened into the estuary that led into the sea.

Set atop the highest hill, built all in white marble, the royal palace overlooked the shining city – though Fabiom had neither time nor inclination to be awed by the splendour. He went up to the palace immediately and requested an audience with Prince Ravik, even as he rinsed his hands in the red marble basin of the palace heart room.

Ravik was entertaining a diplomatic delegation from Malandel who had arrived only that day, but he left them and came to meet Fabiom in a small comfortable ante-chamber.

“Fabiom! This is a pleasant surprise. More pleasant than the other surprises I’ve had sprung on me today, for certain! There’s new trouble brewing in Gerik, I fear, or so my sources tell me. But – something’s wrong. What is it, my friend?”

“What sort of trouble?” Fabiom demanded. “I’m sorry, my lord, I forget myself. It’s just . . . no, I must know. What trouble?”

“Rebel forces are massing, even in the towns. Robstrom’s name is being spoken openly once more. There is talk of a new order, even if it must be achieved by civil war. That’s what I have heard. Now, tell me what has brought you here, Fabiom.”

Ravik had sat down and he watched Fabiom pacing towards the window, to stare down onto the city and out to the ocean beyond.

“Lesandor is in Gerik. I can’t believe, no, I don’t believe you sent him there. Yet he was given no option. He sailed from Windwood, with your youngest son.” Fabiom turned to look at his prince. “His mother fears for his safety. Gerik – Gerik could destroy him.”

The colour had drained from Ravik’s face and briefly he covered his eyes. “I know that!” he hissed. “It isn’t even my venture. Norgest has organised it. Larse his son – step-son – is in command. It’s a trading voyage. Believe me, Fabiom, there is no way I would have sent Lesandor to Gerik. He should have been on board the Spikenard, which sailed for Varlass six days ago. Raidan should be with him, I had intended them both to go to Varlass. Raidan was away in Rushford on my behalf. I sent a message to him there to go to Southernport and take ship, I told him they should go together. But why would he think that meant to Gerik?” He muttered the last, almost to himself.

Fabiom slumped down on a settle. “You may not have sent them, but please – bring Lesandor home. My lord, I’ll do anything. . . .”

“No.” Ravik held up his hand. “You need offer me nothing, Fabiom. You’re my friend. Even if you were not, I do know enough about the people of this land not to send such a one as Lesandor to Gerik.” He paused and shook his head. “Just as my sister knows it.”

Sir David Frost

I woke up this morning to the radio announcing that the renowned broadcaster Sir David Frost had died. The odd thing is, I had been thinking about him just yesterday.

I met David Frost in 1989 when he hosted the first Ian St James Awards ceremony at the Savoy Hotel in London. I was fortunate enough to be among the twelve finalists and we had all been brought together for the launch of the anthology and the announcement of the overall winners. It was a wonderful lunch and the room was full of literary people and journalists. Sadly, I had no idea what a unique opportunity it was and I didn’t make the most of it. But that’s life. Lots of lessons to learn!

At the meal, I sat beside some journalist from one of the big British papers and we were chatting (or so I thought). I guess journalists, like writers, are never really ‘off-duty’. Anyway, the next day I read in the paper that I ‘obviously hadn’t needed the prize money having just returned from a round-the-world holiday’. This statement was half-true: my mother and I had just come back from a long trip around the globe. The result of which was that we were absolutely broke. The prize money was, in fact, extremely welcome!

Everyone was lovely and David Frost was charming, as I recall.

This had all come back to mind this weekend just gone as I made the final, final revision to Silvana – The Greening and began to ponder a fellow-writer’s suggestion that I could put out a short story as a freebie on Amazon, to introduce readers to the world Silvana is set in. Bronwen’s Dowry, my entry for the Ian St. James Awards all those years ago, is, in fact, set in that same world – though in a different country. However, the copyright belongs to the charitable trust set up to fund and support the awards. The awards ran for several years and, I discovered (as I did some digging), resulted in some successful, indeed award-winning, novels. But they are, sadly, no more. So, I am currently trying to track down who now owns the copyright to my story.

All the papers and details came out and, of course, all the memories were relived: champagne breakfast on the flight between Dublin and Heathrow (thank goodness for the delay in landing – there was no way we could have appreciated the luxury otherwise!) limousines, photo-shoots, autograph signings. It was a heady time. And so it was this weekend I found myself wondering what all those marvellous people – fellow authors, judges, Ian St. James and Sir David Frost – were doing today.

Rest in Peace.


Dotting the Is and crossing the Ts

Not much actual ‘news’ regarding the book.

I’ve been through the whole thing and made hundreds of minor changes. I’ve decimated* words like ‘that’ and ‘just’ and ‘suddenly’; I’ve worried over using lovely words like ‘itinerant’ and ‘gleaning’ (both of which have been picked up by readers as needing explanation) and ‘kudos’ (which was accused of being too ‘modern’); I’ve puzzled over whether ‘lord’ should be capitalised, and if so, where; I’ve rechecked the bark, leaf, sapwood and heartwood colours of ash, beech, elm, birch and hazel trees, among others – to make certain my Silvanii and woodmaids were appropriately described, as each reflects the appearance of her tree in her own appearance. And so on.

I’m left with three sections still needing work. And they’ve been left until last for a reason – they’re the hardest to deal with:

  • Fabiom meets Gwillon, the son of a birch Silvana. I realised I’ve missed lots of opportunities for foreshadowing exactly what being Silvana-born means.
  • The revelation of why Fabiom had been betrothed to the daughter of the Lord Holder of Windwood, which involves a little of his Uncle Tarison’s backstory. I don’t want to go off on too much of a tangent, nevertheless…
  • Fabiom’s two years away from home on service. Originally I began this chapter a week or so before the end, so he was on his way home. We looked back over the past two years. But confusion ensued. I’m still fiddling with the time-line.

I have exactly one week. Wish me luck!

* I use decimate in it’s literal** sense, as in I reduced the incidents of such words by about 10%.

** I use literal in it’s, er, literal (?) sense – having recently read that, according to certain on-line dictionaries, literal can now mean either – well – literal or (drum roll) not literal.


Cover Story

Some time ago, my lovely neighbour and friend, Emma Panting – a brilliant, award winning artist, read Silvana and we ended up having a deep discussion about the characters and the settings.  Anyway . . . Emma arrived at my birthday dinner last year bearing this most wonderful gift – a painting inspired by the first chapter (in which the main character is just four years old and has run away from some older boys who were bullying him):

Fabiom paid the woodmaids no heed. He would be safe here, that was certain; and the roots of one of the huge trees formed a circle, like arms, where he could sleep. He was hungry and sore, but most of all he was tired. With a whispered word of thanks to the Silvana of his tree, he curled up in the woody hollow and fell asleep almost at once.

Dreams came in the night. He was in a dark, tight space, not even sure which way was up. There was no way out. His body jerked and he cried out. Suddenly he was out of the basket and running, but they were chasing him, catching up, trying to put the basket over his head again. He glanced over his shoulder as he fled. They had heads like wild pigs, with tusks and fierce red eyes, and through their piggy mouths, with squeals and grunts, they called his name. A branch lay across his path; too late he saw it and tripped. Triumphant squealing bore down upon him.… And then silence.

He had not heard her sing to him but, from that moment, only soft and gentle sleep was his. And the song remained in his mind – for the rest of his life.



 by Emma Panting

I love all of Emma’s work, especially her angelic hangings. She is also a fabulous portrait painter, and produces unique pieces with her talented ceramic artist husband, Giles (who once attempted to teach me the basics of potting, bless him).

There is something very special about being able to share in other people’s creativity. To be able to inspire such a beautiful work of art through my story-telling is a real honour, and humbling too.