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Wednesday 25 January 2023


In Wales, today (25 January) is a very special day for lovers. It is the feast of St Dwynwen (in Welsh: Llanddwyn), who is regarded by many as the Welsh equivalent of St Valentine – the patron saint of lovers.  Her feast day is often celebrated by the Welsh with flowers and cards.

I’ve always loved the Isle of Anglesey (or, to give it its Welsh name, Ynys Môn) - so much so that for the past thirty years it has been my second home.

As well as boasting a rugged natural beauty, Anglesey is also steeped in history and folklore.  So when I was looking for a setting for my novel Never on Saturday, Anglesey was the obvious choice.

Never on Saturday is a paranormal time-slip romance novella, set partly in medieval France and partly in present-day North Wales.  And one of the key scenes in the novel takes place at one of Anglesey’s most picturesque locations: Llanddwyn Island.

Llanddwyn Island (in Welsh: Ynys Llanddwyn) is a remote rocky promontory, about a mile long, situated at the south-west corner of Anglesey, and forms part of the Newborough Warren nature reserve.   It is not, strictly speaking, an island, although if the tide is exceptionally high, as can be seen in this photo, it can become one for a few hours:  

According to tradition, the original Dwynwen was a fifth-century Welsh princess, one of the daughters of Brychan, a prince of Brecon.  She fell in love with a young chieftain named Maelon, but rejected his advances.  The reasons for this vary according to which version of the story you read, but the popular belief is either that Maelon tried to seduce Dwynwen before they were married, or that Dwynwen’s father had plans for her to marry someone else.  But whatever the reason, the outcome was the same: Dwynwen prayed to be released from her doomed love affair.

In answer to her prayer Dwynwen was visited by an angel, who instructed her to concoct a potion which would dispel all thoughts of love.  One source tells that the potion was made from rare herbs from Newborough Forest, mixed with a lover’s tears and beads of dew from the petals of the snapdragon.  She and her lover both drank the potion, at which point Dwynwen immediately forgot her love for Maelon.  Maelon, unfortunately, fared rather worse: he was transformed into a block of ice.

The angel appeared to Dwynwen again and granted her three wishes.  Dwynwen’s first wish was that Maelon should be restored to life.  Her second wish was that she herself should never again wish to marry, and her third wish was that all faithful lovers should find true happiness.  She then retreated to what is now Llanddwyn Island and spent the rest of her life in isolation.

Meanwhile, Maelon was restored to life in accordance with Dwynwen’s wish, and the spot where the block of ice had stood, according to tradition, became a spring of clear water.  This spring became St Dwynwen’s Well, and it soon became a popular place of pilgrimage for lovers.  It was said that a woman could test the fidelity of her lover by scattering breadcrumbs on the water then laying her handkerchief on the surface.  If the handkerchief was disturbed by one of the eels living in the well, this foretold that the lover would be faithful.

The place of pilgrimage was so popular that during Tudor times it became the richest in the area, and in the early sixteenth century a church was built on the site of Dwynwen’s original chapel.  Sadly, the church fell victim to the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536, but its remains can still be seen today.

As for what happens on Llanddwyn Island in Never on Saturday, and why it is pivotal to the story, click here to find out more...

Never on Saturday is also available in French as Jamais le Samedi.  And a Large Print edition, featuring a beautiful cover image of Llanddwyn Island, has recently been released by Ulverscroft Books and should soon be available in libraries.


As all Scots will know, today is the birthday of Robert Burns.  And it is also publication day for Hunter's Force - the next book in Val Penny's series of Hunter Wilson detective novels set in Edinburgh. 

Read on for a taster of the new book...

October can be one of the most beautiful months in Edinburgh, and the first two weeks of the month are often warm and sunny, but this morning was chilly, but the cloudless sky and slight breeze promised a typical ‘Indian Summer’. Children back at school enjoyed the challenges the academic year has to throw at them. College and university students, who invaded the city in August and September, find their feet and take full advantage of their freedom from parental restrictions. They have enthusiasm for studying their courses, but even more interest in studying each other. 

Jamie Thomson pulled up outside HMP Edinburgh in Saughton. He had driven his pop’s favourite old Range Rover to meet him. Pop was to be released from prison, at last, and would get out this morning. He was being let out very early in the morning to avoid a rush of journalists. Ian Thomson was one of the best-known inmates in the jail, and fame always comes at a price.

Jamie leant on the car and flicked through the Facebook messages on his phone as he waited. He was glad his pop would be back to run their car showroom, Thomson’s Top Cars. Jamie and his cousin Frankie had done their best, but it would be good to have Pop back at the helm. Although goodness only knew how they were all going to fit into that three-bedroomed semi-detached house he shared with his cousin Frankie and Frankie’s twin baby daughters. With Pop out, Frankie’s brother Harry and his pal Gavin home on leave from Afghanistan, that would be seven of them squeezed in there. Jamie was sure it wasn’t going to be him sleeping in the bath!

“That’s a nice welcome, son! You with your eyes glued to that phone!”

“Pop! Good to see you. It’s great to have you out of the big house.” The men shook hands then hugged. Jamie had missed his pop.

“It is good to be free, that’s for sure. Did you remember to bring me a hat?”

“Of course. Here you go.”

“It didn’t have to be an Andy Capp style like this, boy!” Ian Thomson doffed his cap and laughed with his son. 

“I didn’t think you wanted it as a fashion statement; just something to hide you from the journalists?”

“Well, it’s certainly not a fashion statement, lad! Let’s make tracks, before the paparazzi realise they’ve been conned. Oh, and I’ll be driving, Jamie.”

“Well, seeing you’re back now, Pop,” Jamie said as he handed over the keys with a grin.

“Aye. We’ll go back to the house first and I’ll get a proper shower and change into decent clothes before we go over to the showroom.

“You’re certainly looking fit. Been working out in the gym inside, have you?” 

“Not much else to do, really. But I have got a surprise for you. I did a wee deal inside, and we’ve got two new betting shops to add to our business empire.”

“Betting shops? You mean you’re a bookie now, Pop? That’s mental! Whereabouts are they?” 

“One in Frederick Street, one in Lothian Road.”

“Wow! That’s brilliant. Fine and central. They’ll make good money.”

“Aye, they do.”

“So, you kept that very quiet. Who’s been minding them?” Jamie asked excitedly.

“Arjun Mansoor’s wife,” Ian said.

“What the fuck? You’ve got back into bed with old Argy Bargy. You’re mad, Pop!” 

“No, I’m not. With him and his brother-in-law inside his wife needed a job, and she’s damn good at keeping the books straight.”

“Well, I think you’re insane. That old bastard Mansoor did your business over before, and I bet you’ll find his wife’s just as bad. But it’s up to you.”

“Yes, it is up to me. Now let’s not fall out already, son. I know what faults the Mansoors have, but the wife doesn’t ask any questions. Better the devil you know and all that, and, while Arjun Mansoor is still in the big house, he has nothing to do with this.”

"You better hope not, Pop," Jamie said as he shook his head knowingly.


Val Penny has an Llb degree from the University of Edinburgh and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer but has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. 


Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories, nonfiction books, and novels. Her novels are published by SpellBound Books Ltd. 

Val is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and their cat. 


Hunter by name - Hunter by nature.

Can DI Hunter Wilson keep Edinburgh safe when he is the hunted?

Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is woken in the early hours of the morning by a call from his son.  Cameron's flatmate was murdered.  Why would anybody want to kill a young woman recently arrived in the city?

Hunter must call in the new Major Incident Team (MIT) to lead the investigation due to the reorganisation of police services.  Hunter's ability to be involved, however, is put in severe doubt when someone from his past decides to take revenge on him.  He goes missing, and his team have no idea where to look for him.  Who would want to stop Hunter in his tracks?

Meanwhile, Hunter's team must work closely with the MIT and, with or without him, solve the murder in this taut crime thriller.

To get your copy of Hunter's Force, click here.

Friday 6 January 2023



Greetings, one and all!  A very Happy New Year to you all.

Christmas might already seem like a distant memory, but here is something to make it last a little longer.  Today is Twelfth Night, otherwise known as Epiphany - the day when, according to tradition, the Wise Men from the East arrived in Bethlehem bearing gifts for the Christ-child.  

Here at Ocelot Press I'm afraid our budget doesn't stretch to Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh, but we can offer you something else: a fantastic deal on our publications.  For this weekend only, you can stock up on our Kindle titles for just 99p each (or the equivalent in your local currency).   

Ocelot Press is where history meets mystery meets romance.  All our bargain titles can be found on Amazon.  Click on the image above to be taken our website, or go to Amazon and search for the books individually.  You can also link to my own Ocelot titles (The Ghostly Father, Nice Girls Don't, Finding Nina, The Unkindest Cut of All, Never on Saturday and its French edition Jamais le Samedi) by clicking on the book covers on the right. ----->

Here are the genres you can find:

Happy reading!