Rufus Merle


The Sons of Thestian, book one of The Harmatia Cycle is being released in the US and on Kindle world-wide this November. Having just seen the final front-cover design I am very excited to be moving into the last stage of the publishing process. By next month the front cover will be revealed, and I will be publishing (on here) a series of short-stories set in the Harmatia Cycle universe, in order to give readers a taste of the characters and a small slice of the world they live in. These will be filed under the tag #HarmatiaShorts.

I will also soon be releasing a book trailer, which will be available here, on tumblr, twitter, facebook and youtube.

To find out more about The Harmatia Cycle and The Sons of Thestian, check out my website at





Character Introduction: Rufus Merle

Character Introduction: Rufus Merle

The main character in my upcoming trilogy The Harmatia Cycle, Rufus is a mathematical and magical genius. Low-born, but with a thirst for knowledge, he broke into the Royal archives (-forbidden to all by the King’s Magi) at fifteen in order to pursue his love of learning. When he was discovered there, after almost two years of secret studying, the Magi were so impressed by his wealth of understanding and ability, that rather than imprison him, they welcomed him into their ranks…
At seventeen he was the youngest, and first low-born Magi to have ever been apprenticed in Harmatia.

For more about The Harmatia Cycle, check out my website at

Artwork © Madeleine Vaughan

For Whom the Bell Tolls – A Book Review


Now, I am usually first inline when it comes to writing scathing book reviews. I have very little patience for novels that don’t keep up a certain pace, or possess an interesting narrative voice. Which is why when it comes to actually writing book reviews, I either do it to release the pent-up anger at wasting my time on drivel, or because I have enjoyed a piece of fiction so much that I feel it merits recognition.

They say never judge a book by it’s cover, but that is exactly what we all do and that’s exactly how publishers’ sell the merchandise. So looking at the cover of For Whom the Bell Tolls, it stands to reason that I might be somewhat dubious of the content. (Not it’s quality mind, but it’s intended audience.) Initially the typography is certainly attractive and reminiscent of the content, though the catch-phrase didn’t inspire me immediately. Added with ‘generic’ hooded figure, and you think you have a basic idea of where this story is going to go. (Eg – follow some whiney teenage vampire through the ages as he struggles with the darkness within him, and the potential to do good.)

Wrong. So very, very wrong. For Whom The Bell Tolls is a precise, masterful and engaging piece of work. A thrilling page-turner with very real characters, this is an age-old tale told like you’ve never heard it before!

The new craze of ‘teenage vampire angst’ had made me so fearful of ever picking up a book with the ‘vampire’ concept ever again that when I started ‘The Dracula Chronicles’, I did so tremulously. Within the first two paragraphs I knew that I had picked up something that was so beyond my expectation, I struggled to put it down.

There is no teenage angst here, only the ancient tale of the war between heaven and earth, personified in a unique, historical setting. For Whom The Bell Tolls draws on historical fact, mythology and religion all at once to create a masterful construction that will have you anxiously turning the page.

A dynamic, richly dimensional story, this book does not sacrifice pace for detail, with O’Neill effortlessly joining the two in a rich text. If I had one complaint, it would be the occasional modern word which appears in the description, but that it’s itself is a weak objection as it does nothing to the quality of the text and the engagement for the reader.

The story follows the tale of two men, Vlad and Andrei, half-brothers who will in turn become the champions of Good and Evil.  And yet, the story begins with them as young boys, privy to human emotions, petty sibling rivalry and childish stubbornness as slowly they become exposed to the cruel world around them and begin to exhibit wondrous powers.

This tale takes no sides and is as much an examination into the human condition, as it is an action-packed origin story of two brothers’ who will battle over the fate of all humankind.


This goes on Madeleine’s 5/5 Book-Shelf.

New! – Vocal Rendition of Debussy’s ‘Clair de Lune’

New! – Vocal Rendition of Debussy’s ‘Clair de Lune’

A vocal rendition of Debussy’s Clair De Lune, written by me as a lullaby. Recorded in concert, this piece was composed for my Dissertation, and is written in both English and French.

This is for my mother, Dominique Vaughan, who taught me what it was to be French and has inspired me each day of my life.

Je t’aime Maman, j’espère que vous êtes fiers.

Updates on ‘The Harmatia Cycle’

Updates on ‘The Harmatia Cycle’

Black Dragon Knot 2

Find out more about Bethean, a country in The Harmatia Cycle. Updates include information about the Kingdom, the Religion, Customs and Laws, and even a Dictionary of slang! (Viewer discretion advised)

Soon to come – Information on other countries including Kathra, Avalon and Réne, a quiz, and several more illustrations!


Dragon Knot

Faerie Thorn


There is a thorn tree

That we do not touch.

We farm about it,

Tip-toe the machinery

 In awkward circles

Around its territory.

                                                               It is an invader 

In our field, but

It has far out-lived

Each one of us.

It stated its claim

                                                            On the fertile land

                                                         Long before Grandpa

Was even born.

And so we leave it,

Just in case,

Its death-curse is true.

                                                        At night, figures dance             

Around it, in my dreams.