Happy Thoughts 10

Wrapped in Light: Illustration for Thomas the Rhymer (Donata Zawadzka)

Extract from Thomas the Rhymer

Chapter 2: Happy Thoughts

Jack saw he was besides a lake. From its dark green depths Dan’s face rushed to greet him when he bent for a closer look. Astonished, Jack reached out, causing his brother to vanish in a pool of ripples.

As a golden glow shivered over the water, Jack looked up to see the beautiful lady from the park floating towards him, wrapped in the light.

“Happy thoughts are the thoughts of the many, while sad thoughts are yours alone.” Her warm, musical voice was hung with a thousand tinkling silver bells. “Do not choose solitude, be one with the one. Think happy thoughts.”

On the lily pads a frog orchestra struck up a jolly tune as she burst into song… “Hap, hap, happy thoughts, happy thoughts, think about things you like to do. You’ve got to have your dreams. For if you never dream, then how you going to have your dreams come true?”

With fireworks blazing in the twilight sky, Jack sat bolt upright. He was in bed. It was morning.



Wrapped in Light by Dona Zawadzka

You can read about how Dona and I started working together in the Birch Maiden on Sally Cronin’s Fantastic Blog Smorgasboard Variety is the Spice of Life. Click here & the link  is repeated below.

Wrapped in Light was the second drawing Dona did for Thomas the Rhymer. This time I wasn’t shocked because I knew what her remarkable talent could bring to the book. But I was still delighted by her creativity and insight.

If you look at Dona’s Fairy Queen Sylvie, there is something not quite human about her. The beauty is other worldly. This is due to what Dona cleverly did with the spacing of Sylvie’s eyes. The other thing that Dona instinctively grasped was the Celtic costume and the runic symbols Sylvie is standing over  – almost as if they are carrying her.

The Celts were a pan-European group of cultures that unlike the Greeks and Romans treated women as equals, traced a child’s descent through the mother, not the father, and worshipped powerful goddesses. Much of what we think of modern fairy folk lore comes from the Celts. Rather than tiny creatures with butterfly wings they saw fairies as very much like us but with extraordinary abilities.

Read more about the History of the Fairy Race here and follow the essays.

One of the central ideas behind Thomas the Rhymer is the fairy race are hybrids of human and our closest cousin, Neanderthal. When I first wrote Thomas the Rhymer  scientists categorically said Neanderthal were sub-human and the two species never interbred; despite evidence some skeletons had characteristics from both families.

This was before the Neanderthal Genome project (which sequenced Neanderthal DNA) showed we have between 99.5% & 99.9% of genes in common. Europeans and Americans of European descent still have about 4% of Neanderthal genes.

Learn more. Read these two articles Meet the In-laws  (which discusses our uncomfortably close relationship) & Alma (which gives evidence Neanderthals may not be extinct after all).

Before I go I would like to mention the music in the short video advert. It was composed by a good friend and brilliant composer Patrick Hartnett. Sadly we lost touch. I have number of his musical pieces hidden in the website. Contact me through Jack Hughes Books and I will send a link. His work is also remarkable.

Don’t forget to download your free copy of Thomas the Rhymer – instructions below.

A final thing…  Sylvie’s rhyme references the song ‘Happy Talk ‘from South Pacific… “Hap, hap, happy thoughts, happy thoughts, think about things you like to do. You’ve got to have your dreams. For if you never dream, then how you going to have your dreams come true?”



This post celebrates the work of Donata Zawadzka.

6 years ago, after falling in love with her work on the internet, I cheekily asked Dona if she would mind doing some illustrations for Thomas the Rhymer. She agreed, but only if she liked the book. Fortunately for me she did!

Although she has many styles I fell in love with her delicate black and white line drawings reminiscent of the classic Victorian illustrators such as Charles Snickett, Walter Crane and of course the great Arthur Rackham.

Please check out her website http://dezawadzka.wix.com/donatasgallery

Buy her work  http://www.redbubble.com/people/donattien/works/7004053-the-birch-maiden?c=32080-ink-illustrations

Like Dona on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/donataewa.zawadzka?fref=ts

Follow her on Twitter  https://twitter.com/DonataEZawadzka


Read the Birch Maiden on Sally Cronin’s must read blog for writers and readers alike!

Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

Another fantastic illustration by Dona telling an old Scottish folk tale.

See the full illustration here….

The Birch Maiden:



Find Dona’s first illustration The Old Woman and Dan here


Follow the Story of Thomas the Rhymer on the lavishly illustrated website

Download a free e-book of the full novel:

10 thoughts on “Happy Thoughts

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  3. Reply Shehanne Moore Mar 3,2017 4:17 pm

    Great work and the illustrations make it even better

    • Reply Paul Mar 3,2017 7:53 pm

      Dear Shehanne, Thanks so much For the nice comment and I am glad you enjoyed the artwork, Don’s is very talented isn’t she. There is another one coming this weekend. Look out for it. Best regards Paul

  4. Pingback: Still a Nightmare ← Odds n Sods: A miscellany

  5. Reply Donata Zawadzka Feb 22,2017 10:22 am

    A delight to work with you on your incredible story, I was fascinated by the Great Goddess and Gaelic folklore for quite some time, but you text sparked even greater interest and in the search for some more insight I dived happily into the materials available to learn even more! Thank you! x

  6. Pingback: Reblog – Paul Andruss celebrating the work of Illustrator Donata Zawadzka. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  7. Reply Sally cronin Feb 19,2017 8:40 am

    Love the illustration.. and the extract. As I cannot reblog from here I will do a post later in the day. Hugs to you both..

  8. Reply Robbie Cheadle Feb 19,2017 8:07 am

    Lovely post, Paul. These illustrations are fantastic.

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