The Queen 'neath the Hedge
conquered two worlds

Britain and the unknowable Other Realm...

Home of the


She's been dead 400 years

but they say she's coming back

The Umbra Series

Amorrie is an Umbra…

Umbra are our shadow selves

They’re the dark hidden part of us that makes us whole.
They exist in the Other Realm, usually visiting their human counterparts once each day. It’s a mortal bond – for life – if your Umbra dies so do you. is for readers of the Umbra Series of books set in 18th Century Britain.
Here’s what you can get from the site: –

Get involved and get creative: add your ideas and characters to the series

Plans for future books… sit in judgement as you get rare insight into A Conspiracy of Queens

J.L. Dawn’s thoughts on writing, on historical fantasy and other genre fiction

Characters you’ll meet in The Mortality of Queens and may start to wonder about

The Umbra Series

The Mortality of Queens

Book 1: Arthur knows Amorrie will be the death of him. It's a mortal bond and her enemies are close

A Conspiracy of Queens

Book 2: They have murdered for 400 years to stop her return... but there's never been so many to kill

The Queen 'neath the Hedge

Book 3: Her Treaty has expired, her enemies have united, the world she knew is no more

The Mortality of Queens is brought to life by narrator Skye Alley

“Skye has done a wonderful job bringing my characters into existence. I little thought when writing the book just how challenging my Umbra would be to render in audio. 
Luckily we found Skye, sent her one of the trickiest scenes in the book, and as soon as her sample came back, we knew we had found our narrator.
It was obvious Skye loved the story and she has added so much.” J.L. Dawn

Skye Alley narrates The Mortality of Queens.

“I really have been enjoying recording this! With so many different characters and being so far out of my normal repertoire, it was a challenge and I had a blast! I was extra proud of Maraziel and Hellekin.
Let me tell you, I’m really good at seeing a twist coming ahead of time and calling it. I did not see this coming at all.” Skye Alley

Experiment with an Umbra in an Air Pump (1768)
by Joseph Wright of Derby. National Gallery

Shape the series

  • Creating an Umbra – what you need to know
  • Tell us which characters you want to read more about
  • Imagine the Other Realm – what’s happening there?
  • Is the Queen ‘neath the Hedge coming back? And if so…

Loles Romero

Meet the Umbra

We’ve asked readers to imagine some of the Umbra in The Mortality of Queens.

So far a few images have come in from various art sites. It’s important to remember these aren’t the inspiration for the characters in the book – you can still picture them as you did when they leapt off the page and into your head.

Who does the archer pictured left remind you of?


Allied to: Arthur Tenebris – society artist.
Materialises: in shadow
Description: A warrior Tinkerbell who tries to solve every problem with a blade
First appearance: Naked, injured and covered in someone else’s blood.
Umbra type: unknown

Jenny Moonshine

Allied to: Pitt the Younger – First Lord
Materialises: only after moonrise
Description: ‘Jenny M’ is a slim, shrewish, silvery madam, whose hair rises into a nest of twigs.
Pitt’s advisor: she runs her own Umbra cabinet council. Some even say she runs Britain. Moon shadows swirl on the skin of her bare shoulders
Umbra type: Moonsprite

Don't miss news from

The Other Realm

Exclusive insights and contact from the Series

Something's coming...

“The three new passengers huddled into the coach seats. Arthur’s coach had picked them up from beside their overturned carriage two miles beyond Swanage.

To his inexpert eye it looked as though their carriage had stumbled off the contorted rolling road in a thicker swirl of mist and thrown a wheel. It canted at an awkward angle and blurred shapes of mist-men were working on it.”

Book two of the Umbra series is set in the same winter as The Mortality of Queens. The lords of death are busy…

Spoiler alert: click for plotlines to A Conspiracy of Queens ONLY if you have already read Book One

Author: discuss

It's 4 am...

...and I'm thinking about writing

Every-so-often a novel bites so deeply that I’m living for the moment when I pick it up again. When it happens, it demonstrates that stories are the best entertainment humankind has invented. But… it doesn’t happen often enough.

This is the reason why so many of us write. To conjure the elusive combination of ingredients that make a reader simultaneously want to binge on our story, yet desperate for it to last forever. If you’re reading one of my novels and you don’t experience that feeling, I need to know.

Like most writers I read a ridiculous number of novels, varying genre, style and period as much as possible. These are the five things I want in my reading, and they are what my writing should be judged on:

  1. Characters I believe in and whose fate I care about.
    It doesn’t matter if they inhabit fantasy, sci-fi, romance or crime; be they villains, minor characters or flawed protagonists – as soon as they say or do something that flips them out of character, a novel fails.
  2. Mysteries that come together slowly and grip before I even realise that was where the story was going.
  3. Plots which reach a tipping point where almost any outcome seems possible and yet still credible.
  4. Writing that expects me to contribute as a reader, where not everything is spelt out and the author has left me plenty of room for my imagination to fill in the details and pictures.
  5. Relevance, even when it’s a million adjectives away from the here and now. A novel should shed some light on the human experience.

No book is for everyone. If that description doesn’t sound like what you want in a novel, and you avoid my books, this blog has done its work.

Let us know...

…if you agree or disagree, feel I’ve missed something out , or said to much.