Moving to Canary Islands – When a Dream Comes True

photo be JF Olivares

It’s been a red letter week for me. After a six-week rigmarole pulling together all the necessary documentation for the Non Lucrative Residency visa to live in Spain (the new reality for all us Brits), I finally mailed the application. What a process! So much conflicting info online especially around translation and notarisation requirements. I wouldn’t dare make any statement about it in case I was wrong. I’m currently based in Australia, and it appears the Spanish consulate does things a little differently here, which might be a good thing, I’m not sure. And of course now that travel restrictions have been lifted on Fortress Australia and cruising is back on, everyone is scrambling to get their passport renewed and buy luggage. This meant getting an Apostille (same department as passports) proved painfully slow, and you can’t buy low-cost luggage except on eBay. Small frustrations, but they can pile up.

Reducing my possessions to two suitcases has occupied much of my time as well. Shipping is prohibitively expensive. But to start a new life with just two suitcases! At my age! I had the sense to start early with massive clear outs, and the organising of who is getting what of my furniture and what I can sell. It’s quite a process and not something I would ever want to do again. Funny thing though, for a lot of items once you get rid of something, you can’t even remember what it was.

I’m trying not to be awash with anxiety. This is my fourth attempt at this move. The first time back in 2017, when I came very close to buying a farmhouse in Fuerteventura, resulted in me writing another novel based there. No move. The second time was a dizzying period of uncertainty and cold feet, resulting in an interstate move in Australia instead. The third time, just six months later, saw the borders close on me thanks to Covid. I really was going to take a leap of faith. Instead, I moved interstate again. And then Brexit happened and I thought I would never get another chance. The door on Spain had well and truly shut. I had to resign myself to spending the rest of my days down under.

But real estate in Australia has gone barmy lately and thanks to soaring house prices and an unexpected and keen-as-mustard buyer wanting my place – it wasn’t even on the market – and a ‘cute as’ little flat for sale in Fuerteventura… Well, I did the maths and went, ‘Hell, yes!’ And then I went through weeks of stress and turmoil dealing with the Non Lucrative Visa process.

It’ll be worth it in the end.

And this time, there’s no going back on my decision. There’ll be no cold feet. I have no idea what it will be like living there, no idea what the future holds, but I do know the island has stolen my heart and I can’t live the rest of my life filled with longing, especially when my special place is halfway round the world from where I currently am.

I can’t wait to get there. Meanwhile, I’m giving Duolingo a run for its money, completing about 200 questions a day, putting my faith in the brainwash approach which does seem to be working. Last time I lived there I only spoke Spanish and developed a decent vocabulary, but I reckon I can improve on whatever standard I had reached back then which was pretty much centred in the present tense. When you get to my age you definitely need the past tense as well.

And thanks to an exciting opportunity with a large UK publisher, to start with, I’ll be spending my time in Fuerteventura writing books set in Scotland! Who knows when or if I will expand on my Canary Islands output. Maybe six novels is enough. Maybe not. I do have a few ideas…

Book Review: Riebeckite by O.R. Lea

About Riebeckite (Bruised Moon Sequence Book 1)

Dangerous spores gather on Earth after an asteroid strikes the moon. Humanity watches the skies…but the real danger is at their feet.

After an asteroid strike on the moon, a strange blue dust began to flow down through Earth’s atmosphere. It’s harmful to breathe, but at least the microscopic creatures within the dust are dormant. Or so we thought.

Tahira made a childhood promise to a friend that the crisis would bring their people together… before a violent riot tore their lives apart. Now, as an adult, Tahira works as a biologist for a corporation constructing experimental towers to force the spores—known as riebeckites—to germinate into harmless colonies.

Except they’re about to learn everything they think they know about the dust is wrong. The real threat isn’t the asteroid that struck the moon and by the time humanity figures it out, it might be too late.

Riebeckite combines suspense and conspiracy with heart-in-mouth action sequences and nightmarish encounters, all in an immersive near-future setting and, at its core, a heartwarming story of friendship against the odds.

My Thoughts

On the surface, this sci-fi novel is a remake of a familiar story – think Ridley Scott’s Alien. There is a strange off-earth creature with a curious life-cycle. It is potentially terribly dangerous to life on earth. Dark military powers are secretly working to weaponise it. They are playing with fire. So far so familiar. But this compellingly written drama offers a refreshing reboot of the genre. It is firmly based on earth, and built around a realistic understanding of geo-politics. It explores the likely response to a global ecological threat, in a way that has a poignant resonance in a world that faces several of these. Its central characters are intelligent, competent, principled middle-eastern women. All of the characters are three dimensional.

This is sci-fi for readers who are ready to grapple with our own world as well as escape into fiction. It is billed as the first of a three part series, and it will doubtless be worth reading the sequels. At the same time, however, it works perfectly well as a standalone. All in all, a terrific achievement. A well-earned 5-stars!

Experiencing the Texts of Alice A. Bailey

This book is an edited and revised version of Isobel Blackthorn’s PhD dissertation The Texts of Alice A. Bailey: An inquiry into the role of esotericism in transforming consciousness.

I’m delighted to share my doctoral thesis on the mother of the New Age Alice Bailey now in book format. I’ve revised and improved some chapters, and I’ve kept the core chapters on Amelia Hewman the same. The result is a much more readable version.

The original PhD has been downloaded over 6,200 times via Western Sydney University’s library! That’s almost unheard of. Most PhDs get read at best ten times.

About Experiencing the Texts of Alice A. Bailey

Experiencing the Texts of Alice A. Bailey offers an in-depth exploration of the theosophical teachings that inspired the New Age. 

Adopting a holistic approach, Blackthorn delves into Bailey’s esoteric cosmology, explores the spiritual path, and tackles some of the more controversial aspects of the Bailey teachings. 

Profound and reflective, this book is perfect for students of the teachings and those interested in spiritual and esoteric teachings more broadly. 

You can also find a copy at all other online booksellers including Smashwords.

Book Review: Thunder Point by Colin Holmes

…reviewed for Blackthorn Book Tours

About Thunder Road

When an Army Air Force Major vanishes from his Top Secret job at the Fort Worth airbase in the summer of 1947, down-on-his-luck former Ranger Jefferson Sharp is hired to find him, because the Major owes a sizeable gambling debt to a local mobster. The search takes Sharp from the hideaway poker rooms of Fort Worth’s Thunder Road, to the barren ranch lands of New Mexico, to secret facilities under construction in the Nevada desert.

Lethal operatives and an opaque military bureaucracy stand in his way, but when he finds an otherworldly clue and learns President Truman is creating a new Central Intelligence Agency and splitting the Air Force from the Army, Sharp begins to connect dots. And those dots draw a straight line to a conspiracy aiming to cover up a secret that is out of this world⎯literally so.

My Thoughts

This is an immensely stylish novel, capturing the tone, the voice, the mise en scene of a 1940s film noir, and turning it into an atmospheric modern mystery that will leave you with a wry smile on your face and a spring in your step. Beautiful dialogue, perfectly judged for the time. Nice little nods to various real and fictitious characters familiar from the period. Not to mention (though I have to) certain popular preoccupations of the time that drove, much later, a conspiracy theorist’s biggest daydream. It was a time when flying-saucer mania hit the popular psyche with a big thump, and perhaps this is the excuse for the extraordinary film-noir/sci-fi mash-up that the novel turns into. An unusual but fun read.

Definitely worthy of 5 Stars!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Grab your copy –

Find Colin Holmes on Twitter @bycolinholmes

Huge Book Tour Praise for Gothic Thriller The Cabin Sessions

Sometimes, you feel so excited you want to shout from the rooftops. Today is one of those times. Two stunning reviews of my gothic thriller The Cabin Sessions. Here they are:

The Cabin Sessions by Isobel Blackthorn is a psychological thriller that ensnares you into a web that is dark and scary yet electrifyingly spellbinding.

Set amongst the backdrop of a storm, both literally and mentally, the book revolves around few of the residents of the town of Bruntun. The story unfolds in the local pub ‘The Cabin’  on Christmas Eve, where the whole town has gathered  to pay a musical tribute in memory of  local star Benny Muir. It is told in a unique three person viewpoint of musician Adam Banks; the town’s plumber, Phillip, and his mysterious sister Eva. What starts off as a fun night of Christmas cheer and memory slowly unravels into quite a storm.

As the storm rages behind we realize that each of the characters present is stifled by the stench present in the ‘cabin’ and the stench of their secrets weighing down on themselves. Will their secrets remain secrets or will they unravel and spell doom.

Isobel’s use of auditory and sensory imagery, heighten the desperation, the bitterness and the stench of the lengths the human soul is capable of.

An absolutely thrilling read, it keeps you hooked right till the very end. Beware; you might want to hide under the covers more than once.

So glad I got this ARC it was an absolutely scary and spellbinding read. Hope you liked my fair and honest review. –


Darkly decadent, The Cabin Sessions traps the reader in one place, sinking them deep in the mire that is the town of Burton’s twisted history. The reader learns secrets piecemeal, drowning in the suspense, as Blackthorn rushes them to the explosive conclusion.

At first, I had a hard time getting into Blackthorn’s writing style. It felt really heavy. But — and if you read my review of The Only Good Indians — once I got used to her style, it gripped me tight. So I would definitely recommend you push through the first couple chapters if you find yourself floundering. The tale is absolutely worth the swim. (How many puns? So many puns.)

The Cabin Sessions reminds me of the classic Gothic novels I really love, like The Mysterium. I felt like I was drowning in Blackthorn’s delicious prose, in the almost living setting of Burton, and sinking deep into the dark secrets of those who live there. It’s subtle, it’s brutal, it’s unforgiving.

No one can be trusted, no one can be depended on, and the end left me gasping.

Absolutely brilliant. –

Book Review Blackthorn Book Tours – Alejandro’s Lie by Bob van Laerhoven

About Alejandro’s Lie

Terreno, 1983, Latin America. After a dictatorship of ten years, the brutal junta, lead by general Pelarón, seems to waver.

Alejandro Juron, guitarist of the famous poet and folk singer Victor Pérez who’s been executed by the junta, is released from the infamous prison “The Last Supper.” The underground resistance wants Alejandro to participate in its fight again. But Alejandro has changed.

Consumed with guilt by the death of his friend Victor, whom he betrayed to his tormentors, Alejandro becomes the unintended center of a web of intrigue that culminates in a catastrophic insurrection, and has to choose between love and escape.

A love story, a thriller and an analysis of the mechanisms that govern a dictatorship, Alejandro’s Lie is a gripping novel about violence, betrayal, resistance, corruption, guilt and love.

My Review

Guitarist and songwriter Alejandro Juron is released from prison after ten years and faces a city alien to him. The slums, the political complexities of a crumbling dictatorship in the fictitious nation of Terreno (resonant of Chile), not even the music makes sense, the thriving local scene he was a part of having given way to American disco.

At home in Terreno’s infamous slum the Pigsty, Alejandro remembers the old days in Victor Perez’s folk-band Aconcagua, and Victor’s wife Lucia. He remembers the night he lost them both after various leftist groups were rounded up into a football stadium on a pretext and then either murdered on the spot or tortured and jailed, and the part he played in their demise. 

The story opens on Alejandro caught up in a street protest in the city, on his observations, recollections and his anguish, and his brief encounter with university secretary and Lucia lookalike Beatriz Candalti. On the same night of the protest, the nefarious paramilitary police raid the pigsty on the pretext of a hunt for communist infiltrators. Killing is casual, the brutality of the regime made plain.

Alejandro sets about reconnecting with whoever is left that is willing to help him leave Terreno, a quest that takes him straight back to Beatriz, precariously divorced and desperate to escape her father and ex-husband’s clutches. Through the lens of Beatriz, Bob van Laerhoven captures the essence of Latin machismo, the way that cultural habit underpins governance at every level and oppresses the powerless at every turn.

The stage is set for a complex political thriller brimming with vile and corrupt characters in a regime majoring in oppression, secrecy and arbitrary curfews as Beatriz risks her life to help Alejandro flee the country. The narrative is sprinkled with excerpts of poetry and song lyrics that capture the mood of the times, the aching for a return to peace and freedom, and capture the inner workings of Alejandro’s tormented soul.

Skilfully told in short, sharp chapters, Alejandro’s Lie is a taut, well-developed and intelligent read. Clean prose, an astute attention to detail, great characterisation and artfully constructed action scenes altogether make for an exemplary thriller. The novel has a cinematic quality to it, all dark streets and gunshots, casual violence and simmering passion. I’m a reader who is easily bored. When I remark that I found Alejandro’s Lie very hard to put down, that’s high praise and sincerely meant.

Spiritual Leadership by Alice Bailey

Announcing the release of two booklets on spiritual leadership written in 1921 and 1922 by Alice Bailey, not seen for a hundred years.

The two booklets in Spiritual Leadership written by Alice Bailey (herself) in 1921 and 1922, are now available on Amazon. In writing the introduction to this slim volume, my own thinking sharpened. These booklets represent the single most significant moment in the history of Alice Bailey, when she was in between being an active member of the Theosophical Society and founding her own worldwide movement.

About Spiritual Leadership

Spiritual Leadership contains two booklets written by breakaway theosophist Alice A. Bailey in 1921 and 1922, that address the issues facing the Theosophical Society at that time.

The booklets represent a pivotal moment in the transition from Alice Bailey’s failed takeover of the society towards the foundation of her own organisations which took place in the months that followed.

Written a hundred years ago, these short texts convey something of the occultist’s own spiritual aspirations and ambitions, and serve as an important historical moment in the history of theosophy.

A Matter of Latitude FREE on Kindle November 13 through 17

It’s not often that one of my books is available for free! A Matter of Latitude (Canary Islands Mysteries Book 1) is an Amazon #1 bestseller and will be available for FREE as a Kindle from November 13 through November 17. You can purchase from Amazon here. You can find out more about this book below.

★★★★★ – “If you enjoy international stories full of drama and culture, this is definitely one to put on your list.”

★★★★★ – “The author was brilliant in her descriptions and really brought some scenes alive for me. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense and interesting characters.”

When Lanzarote anti-corruption activist Celestino is T-boned on a lonely road, he knows the collision was no accident. Wounded and fearing for his life, he hides in an abandoned fishing village, waiting for a chance to make it home.

Meanwhile, his wife Paula is distraught and sets out to look for him. Paula’s search for her husband quickly descends into mayhem, danger and intrigue. Before long, she realizes she’s being followed. She needs answers, and fast.

But where is Celestino, and will he ever make it back alive?

Find out more about A Matter of Latitude here

The Unlikely Occultist: 0.99 US/UK Kindle 11/6 through 11/10

The Unlikely Occultist will be available for 0.99 as a Kindle purchase in US/UK from November 6 through November 10. You can purchase from Amazon here. You can find out more about this book below.

***** “Blackthorn’s book offers a fascinating portrait of a woman dismissed by mainstream thinkers and religions, a woman whose current obscurity is all the more poignant considering the grandeur of her ambitions and her hopes for a healed world.” – Misty Urban, Historical Novels Society, Issue 88 May 2019

***** “[Isobel Blackthorn] has given us back the idea of Bailey, and the inspiration to re-read her work and re-examine her remarkable ideas…Blackthorn is to be thanked for her scrupulously-researched novel…” – Walter Mason, New Dawn Magazine, July 2019

***** “A very interesting and unusual read!” – Tina for the TripFiction Team, July 2019

About The Unlikely Occultist: A biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey

Librarian Heather Brown discovers the fascinating life of Alice Bailey – a long forgotten occultist.

Back in 1931, Alice is preparing to give a speech at a Swiss summer school. But how can she stave the tide of hatred and greed set to bring the world to its knees?

Soon after, Alice is put on Hitler’s blacklist. What she doesn’t realize is the enormity of her influence to the world, and the real enemies who are much closer than she thinks.

A dynamic and complex figure, Alice Bailey’s reach was huge. She was influential among people and organizations of global power, especially the United Nations, and is widely regarded as the Mother of the New Age.

Yet today she is maligned by fundamentalist Christians, Theosophists, Jews, academics and above all, by conspiracy theorists. Are any of these groups justified in rejecting the unlikely occultist?

Click here to read more about The Unlikely Occultist

The Cabin Sessions: 0.99 US/UK Kindle 11/3 through 11/9

The Cabin Sessions will be available for 0.99 as a Kindle purchase in US/UK from November 3 through November 9. You can purchase from Amazon here. You can find out more about this book below.

***** “I was gripped in horrified fascination by Blackthorn’s subtle story.” – Zoe, Audible

***** “The author creates a story and unfold it bit by bit while painting a picture that comes alive as you watch. This type of writing is so much more precise and artistic than many of today’s author’s who put out garbage that somehow becomes best sellers.” – Paul Estrada

***** “Enticing and intriguing and entertaining.” – Eddie Generous 

About The Cabin Sessions

The Cabin Sessions brims with psychology and atmosphere.

A storm is rolling into the narrow mountain pass when hapless musician Adam Banks stands on the bridge over the river that cleaves the remote village of Burton. The night is already blighted by an astrological omen, and Adam thinks of turning back. Instead, struggling against rising panic, he resolves to fulfill his obligation to perform the guest spot at The Cabin Sessions. He cannot let down his mentor, Benny Muir.

But bad news awaits him. And at least one fellow musician he would rather not meet.

Told from third person viewpoints of Adam and Philip, the town’s plumber, the evening is mapped out in slow eerie detail – that at once manages to evoke Burton’s fanatical cult history while also acting as a harbinger of the disaster to come. In between these two male viewpoints, is the delicate first-person voice of Eva, the breath holder, whose recollections shed an unsettling light on the characters in The Cabin.

Read an Excerpt here

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