Observing the old ways when moving to a new home


Dear ,

How's 2018 treating you so far? It's been an exceptionally busy start for me – I've moved house, learnt how to make vegetarian “smoked salmon” (carrots)* and almost put the finishing touches to The Iron Court. It's also very very cold – in fact, I'm told it's set to be the coldest January on record here in Scotland. So this year I've been doing everything accompanied by a minimum of two hot water bottles, at all times.

Inspired by moving into my new home, today's email is all about the folklore associated with moving house – to ward off bad spirits, to appease the little people, and to bring good luck to your new home.

These are rooted in British and Irish history, but if you've got any customs from where you are then I'd love to hear about those, too.

The old ways for a new home

A pinch of salt on the floor of each room could keep out bad spirits.

Leave behind your old broom. And your cat, apparently – to bring it with you brought bad luck, although if it found its own way to your new home, this was considered very good luck.

Bring bread to the house before anything else so that you never go hungry.

The first time you leave the house, exit through the same door you entered. In Ireland it was customary to do this in order to avoid bad luck (easy for me since I've moved into a first floor maisonette, which only has one door in and out).

Light a candle to bring light into your home, cast out the darkness, and send bad spirits out with it.

Tell the bees that you've moved. This isn't only the case when you move house – custom had it that the bees should be told of a birth, death, or marriage, as well as changes to a household (although who knows where I'm going to find a bee given the aforementioned freezing Scottish winter...)

Recommended reads


I only discovered Anthea Sharp's work at the end of last year, but I'm now hooked on her writing – these are the kind of books you greedily race through. Her writing really reminds me of Diana Wynne Jones, so if you like her work then you'll love Anthea's Feyland series.

Book 1 is currently on sale at 0.99, and you can get the prequel novella for free.

Feyland is the most immersive computer game ever designed, and fifteen-year-old Jennet Carter is the first to play the prototype. But she doesn’t suspect the virtual world is close enough to touch — or that she’ll be battling for her life against the Dark Queen of the faeries. 

Tam Linn is the perfect hero — in-game. Too bad the rest of his life is seriously flawed. The last thing he needs is rich-girl Jennet prying into his secrets, insisting he’s the only one who can help her. 

Together, Jennet and Tam enter the Dark Realm of Feyland, only to discover that the entire human world is in danger. Pushed to the limit of their abilities, they must defeat the Dark Queen… before it’s too late. 

Get Feyland Book 1: The Dark Realm now

Hidden: A Pregnant Fairy Godmother's Journey

I've had my eye on this book for a while – I love discovering new authors who write about Faerie! It's currently on sale for 0.99 so I'll be grabbing my copy now, and wanted to let you know it was available at this price too.

Even being the best fairy godmother in all the land, Ciera’s been hiding a secret. Not only is she pregnant, but she’s magically pregnant with a human child.

Humans are not allowed in the fairy realm. Period. That includes half-fairy/half-human babies. The only solution is to give the baby to its father before the Fairy Council finds out her secret. Finding the father should be easy, how many men named John could possibly live in this place called Chicago?

Get Hidden: A Pregnant Fairy Godmother's Journey now

Happy reading,


* Despite some initial scepticism, this actually turned out better than expected... to quote one non-vegetarian friend, "it looks alarmingly like smoked salmon". Here's the recipe if you're interested.


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Preorder The Iron Court on Amazon

Helena Rookwood