Today I am so pleased to welcome Lee Welch to Joyfully Jay. Lee Welch has come to talk to us about her latest release, Salt Magic, Skin Magic (which I reviewed here and totally loved!). She has also brought along a copy to give away. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

History with a Twist of Magic

I love books that play with history.

So, when I wrote Salt Magic Skin Magic, as well as writing a love story, I set out to have a little fun with the historical side of things.

Salt Magic Skin Magic is set in 1851, just after the closure of the Great Exhibition, which, as you may know, was housed in the Crystal Palace—arguably the most remarkable building of the Victorian age.

Built of iron and glass, the Crystal Palace was absolutely vast. It covered eight acres. It was tall enough that three mature elm trees grew inside it. There were eight miles of walkways and it housed 14,000 exhibitors showing everything from a cast-iron piano to a ‘tempest prognosticator’ (featuring live leeches).

The design for this marvel came from the mind of Joseph Paxton. Paxton was head gardener at Chatsworth (the residence of the Duke of Devonshire) but he was one of those tireless Victorian over-achievers who also found the time to chair railway board meetings, start magazines, and do a hundred other things.

Plenty of people had doubts about his design. They said storms would break the glass, or that it would leak. Or overheat. Or that the whole thing would fall down once visitors started tramping around inside.

And yet, despite freak storms, heavy rain and millions of visitors—everything went smoothly.

In fact, it went so smoothly that you might suspect magic was involved.

And if you did, you’d be right.

It’s a little-known fact, but Paxton hired an industrial magician to charm the iron and the glass. This magician—John Blake—assisted with construction, then kept the whole edifice intact even when it was battered by the highest of winds or the vilest of magic.

Well, not really. I made that up about the magician.

But it could have been true, right?

And what did this magician do once his Crystal Palace job was finished? That’s where Salt Magic Skin Magic starts.

As well as some twists on the history, Salt Magic Skin Magic features:

  • Dark deeds
  • Mysterious curses
  • An aristocrat who is not what he seems
  • An industrial magician whose sex life melts windows
  • True love
  • Unexpected hedgehogs.

Salt Magic Skin Magic is out now.


Lord Thornby has been trapped on his father’s isolated Yorkshire estate for a year. There are no bars or chains; he simply can’t leave. His sanity is starting to fray.

When industrial magician John Blake arrives to investigate a case of witchcraft, he finds the peculiar, arrogant Thornby as alarming as he is attractive. John soon finds himself caught up in a dark fairytale, where all the rules of magic—and love—are changed.

To set Thornby free, both men must face life-changing truths—and John must accept that the brave, witty man who’s winning his heart may also be about to break it. Can they escape a web of magic that’s as perilous as love?


Lee Welch wrote her first book aged seven (a pastiche of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) and first had an idea for an m/m romance aged twelve. She loves books and comics, and when she’s not writing, she’ll probably be reading. Her favourite authors include Ursula Le Guin, Graham Greene, Linda Medley, Dylan Horrocks and KJ Charles. By day, Lee works as an editor and business communications adviser, mainly persuading people not to say ‘utilise’ when they mean ‘use’. Her job has led her to work in areas as diverse as mental health, nursing, accident prevention and the criminal justice sector.

Lee loves to hear from readers. You can find her at:

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Lee has brought a copy of Salt Magic, Skin Magic to give away to one lucky reader on her blog tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter. 

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