Dance…today and every day

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I learned ballroom dancing by standing on my Dad’s feet when I was tiny. Ballet lessons, however, were out of the question as I was labelled a ‘fairy elephant’ and I learned piano instead. I shuffled my feet and waved my arms at the disco in the 80s but it wasn’t until I was forty that I ‘found’ dance and embraced it.

On Saturday night, my Tribal Unity Wales students and I joined the dancing at a hafla in Cardigan. (A hafla is a belly dance party, rather than a performance.) American Tribal Style® (ATS®)Belly Dance is the style I teach, created by Carolena Nerricio in the late 80s and since moving to Wales, I’ve started two classes and am about to start a third. Unlike Egyptian Belly Dance, every dance is improvised, dancers following the cues of the leader.

The atmosphere built as costumes were finalised and make up perfected before we began. As the first group danced, Rose Barter’s Belly Fit class for over 50s, I looked around at the other dancers, their friends and family. Everyone was smiling, clapping in time, supporting the dancers and enjoying the music and I wished we could capture the feeling in the Small World Theatre….then everyone would dance.

DSC_1261Our two group dances, one in groups and chorus and the other in formation, were interspersed in the programme with stick dances, a veil dance, a drum solo and other duets and solos. There were no egos. Each dancer was there to share the love of the dance.

Tribal Unity were invited to dance to the live drums and my partner joined them on the tabla. Hayley and I danced a fun, crazily fast duet…how can I describe how much fun that was?

My life changed when I started belly dance. In my early twenties I used weight training, swimming, aerobics and stretching to keep fit and sculpt my body. Thirty years on, dance gives me that and so much more.

I began with Egyptian Belly Dance, attending work shops all over the country to learn new skills and develop my dance until I became a tribal babe just over four years ago. Now I have the privilege to teach American Tribal Style® Belly Dance to others, sharing the love of the dance and the bliss of being part of a tribal family.

Don’t wait. You don’t need an excuse. Dance…today and every day.

To find out more about Tribal Unity http://www.tribalunity.co.uk

To find out more about American Tribal Style® Belly Dance http://www.fcbd.com

 

 

Blog Swap Interview with Christoph Fischer

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Today, I’m swapping blogs with the fabulous author Christoph Fischer. We ‘met’ on Facebook a few years back on Wanda Hartzenberg’s group and we’ve supported each other ever since.  Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. His historical fiction reflects his family background and I loved these particular books. Educated in Hamburg, he now lives in the UK with his partner and three labradoodles.

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1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as

you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I write impulsively. I start with an idea and a vague plan of where the book is meant to go but the stories and characters change and the outcome is usually different from my original idea. Additionally, I go back over the first draft many times and change some more.
For example, my latest book, The Healer, started as a character study and ended up as thriller.
2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

I need to walk the dogs first, or else they won’t let me write. I prefer to write at night or early mornings, when the world is quiet and peaceful. I drink a lot of water and camomile tea and prefer total silence.

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

1. I used to be scared of dogs, now I have three large Labradoodles.
2. I worked as a DJ in Brighton [cheesy pop ;-)].
3. The only thing I hate about writing is that I don’t get to spend enough time outdoors any more.
4. I would love to be a vegan, but it is a very unsocial thing to be.
5. I once made a burger for Samuel L. Jackson

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you

want with you?

Ipod, Kindle, Running Shoes, Pen & Paper
5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng, Satan Hates Me by Robert Irwin, The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

Maybe not many people know my first choice: Vanessa Feltz. I know she can be difficult but she is highly intelligent and witty and I imagine dinner with her to be quite an experience. (For your American followers: Vanessa is a talk show host and radio presenter.)
To pick a more known celebrity: Hilary Clinton would be the other choice. Or Sarah Palin, for a laugh.

7 Your current writing projects?

“In Search of a Revolution” is in the final stages of proof reading. It is a historical novel about two friends set in Scandinavia between 1918 and 1950. I hope to release it around Easter.

I just completed the first draft for another thriller which was entitled “The Gambler”. Now there is a movie with Mark Wahlberg (also a potential dinner guest) with the same title and so I need to find a new title. I also want to release this new project as part of a charity Box Set with a few other authors. The Set will have an art theme, so I need to re-work the book anyway to make that angle more prominent. My basic story is about a man who rises from rags to riches overnight and needs to come to terms with his wealth and all that comes with it.
I’m also writing the sequel to my mental health drama “Conditions”.
8 Other published work and links….feel free to add as many as you like.

The Luck of the Weissensteiners (Three Nations Trilogy Book 1)
In the sleepy town of Bratislava in 1933 a romantic girl falls for a bookseller from Berlin. Greta Weissensteiner, daughter of a Jewish weaver, slowly settles in with the Winkelmeier clan just as the developments in Germany start to make waves in Europe and re-draws the visible and invisible borders. The political climate in the multifaceted cultural jigsaw puzzle of disintegrating Czechoslovakia becomes more complex and affects relations between the couple and the families. The story follows them through the war with its predictable and also its unexpected turns and events and the equally hard times after.
But this is no ordinary romance; in fact it is not a romance at all, but a powerful, often sad, Holocaust story. What makes The Luck of the Weissensteiners so extraordinary is the chance to consider the many different people who were never in concentration camps, never in the military, yet who nonetheless had their own indelible Holocaust experiences. This is a wide-ranging, historically accurate exploration of the connections between social location, personal integrity and, as the title says, luck.
On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/Weissensteiners

On Goodreads: http://bit.ly/12Rnup8
On Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1bua395
Trailer: http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/OtmyZh4Dmc/?autoplay=1
B&N http://ow.ly/Btvas

Sebastian (Three Nations Trilogy Book 2)
Sebastian is the story of a young man who has his leg amputated before World War I. When his father is drafted to the war it falls on to him to run the family grocery store in Vienna, to grow into his responsibilities, bear loss and uncertainty and hopefully find love.
Sebastian Schreiber, his extended family, their friends and the store employees experience the ‘golden days’ of pre-war Vienna and the timed of the war and the end of the Monarchy while trying to make a living and to preserve what they hold dear.
Fischer convincingly describes life in Vienna during the war, how it affected the people in an otherwise safe and prosperous location, the beginning of the end for the Monarchy, the arrival of modern thoughts and trends, the Viennese class system and the end of an era.
As in the first part of the trilogy, “The Luck of The Weissensteiners” we are confronted again with themes of identity, Nationality and borders. The step back in time made from Book 1 and the change of location from Slovakia to Austria enables the reader to see the parallels and the differences deliberately out of the sequential order. This helps to see one not as the consequence of the other, but to experience them as the momentary reality as it must have felt for the people at the time.
On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TNTSeb

On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/pthHZ
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/pthNy
Trailer: http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/95jvSpHf5a/
B&N http://ow.ly/Btvbw

The Black Eagle Inn (Three Nations Trilogy Book 3)
The Black Eagle Inn is an old established Restaurant and Farm business in the sleepy Bavarian countryside outside of Heimkirchen. Childless Anna Hinterberger has fought hard to make it her own and keep it running through WWII. Religion and rivalry divide her family as one of her nephews, Markus has got her heart and another nephew, Lukas got her ear. Her husband Herbert is still missing and for the wider family life in post-war Germany also has some unexpected challenges in store.
Once again Fischer tells a family saga with war in the far background and weaves the political and religious into the personal. Being the third in the Three Nations Trilogy this book offers another perspective on war, its impact on people and the themes of nations and identity.
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/pAX3y
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/pAX8G
On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TBEI

Trailer: http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/mB2JZUuBaI/
Time To Let Go:
Time to Let Go is a contemporary family drama set in Britain.
Following a traumatic incident at work Stewardess Hanna Korhonen decides to take time off work and leaves her home in London to spend quality time with her elderly parents in rural England. There she finds that neither can she run away from her problems, nor does her family provide the easy getaway place that she has hoped for. Her mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and, while being confronted with the consequences of her issues at work, she and her entire family are forced to reassess their lives.
The book takes a close look at family dynamics and at human nature in a time of a crisis. Their challenges, individual and shared, take the Korhonens on a journey of self-discovery and redemption.
On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TTLG
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/BtKtQ
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/BtKs7
Conditions
When Charles and Tony’s mother dies the estranged brothers must struggle to pick up the pieces, particularly so given that one of them is mentally challenged and the other bitter about his place within the family.
The conflict is drawn out over materialistic issues, but there are other underlying problems which go to the heart of what it means to be part of a family which, in one way or another. has cast one aside.
Prejudice, misconceptions and the human condition in all forms feature in this contemporary drama revolving around a group of people who attend the subsequent funeral at the British South Coast.
Meet flamboyant gardener Charles, loner Simon, selfless psychic Elaine, narcissistic body-builder Edgar, Martha and her version of unconditional love and many others as they try to deal with the event and its aftermath.
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/C0ZqX
On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/CONDITIONSCFF
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/C0Ziw
The Healer

healer cover for kindle

When advertising executive Erica Whittaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer, western medicine fails her. The only hope left for her to survive is controversial healer Arpan. She locates the man whose touch could heal her but finds he has retired from the limelight and refuses to treat her.  Erica, consumed by stage four pancreatic cancer, is desperate and desperate people are no longer logical nor are they willing to take no for an answer. Arpan has retired for good reasons, casting more than the shadow of a doubt over his abilities. So begins a journey that will challenge them both as the past threatens to catch up with him as much as with her.  Can he really heal her? Can she trust him with her life? And will they both achieve what they set out to do before running out of time?

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/thehealerthriller
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheHealerNovelbyChristophFischer?ref=hl
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23662030-the-healer
Book-likes: http://booklikes.com/the-healer-christoph-fischer/book,12975746
Rifflebooks: https://read.rifflebooks.com/books/388235

You can link up with Christoph Fischer here:
Website: http://www.christophfischerbooks.com/
Blog: http://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590171.Christoph_Fischer
Amazon: http://ow.ly/BtveY
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CFFBooks
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/christophffisch/
Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106213860775307052243
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=241333846
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl
All Facebook links:

http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl

http://www.facebook.com/TheLuckOfTheWeissensteiners?ref=hl

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sebastian/489427467776001?ref=hl

http://www.facebook.com/TheBlackEagleInn?ref=hl

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Time-To-Let-Go/257989361049799?ref=hl

I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting one of my favourite Indie authors.

A Tour Through Blogland and Synergy in our Blogging Community!

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I was delighted to be invited to take part in ‘A Tour Through Blogland’ also called ‘The Virtual Blog Tour Award’.

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My nominator is Wanda Hartzenberg. She extended the hand of friendship across the water to me when I first joined Facebook three years ago as a brand new Indie author. A prolific reader and reviewer, she supports Indie authors with a passion. Last year, she joined us with her first solo book Suicide Song, a poignant and deeply moving read.

Link up with Wanda here http://tattlet.blogspot.com/

The rules for this project:

1. Pass the tour on to up to four other bloggers.
2. Give them the rules and a specific Monday to post.
3. Answer 4 questions about your creative process which lets other bloggers and visitors know what inspires you to do what you do.
4. The last part of Tour Through Blogland is to write a one-time article which is to be posted on a Monday (the date supplied by your nominator). This article can be in the same post in which you answered the 4 questions. The article can be anything of your choosing.

The date supplied by my nominator was Monday 9th February 2015. And I have opted for these two dates for my nominee. Either Monday 16th February 2015 or 23rd February 2015.

 

My nominee is Hayley Addis http://www.haloquin.com/

http://www.aworldenchanted.com

Hayley is a writer and storyteller and this year is launching ‘The Goblin Circus’ at The Spirit of Brigid Conference in Cardiff. Inspired by the world around her, Hayley’s writing guides the reader to enchanted places, meeting strange and beautiful creatures along the way. Be sure to visit her websites and be inspired by this beautiful, magical lady.

Here are my answers to my four questions:

1- Why write? Why not sing, dance or figure skate?
I write because I always have and I can’t imagine not writing but I’m lucky enough to dance as well. When I was 10 years old, I returned from the Tutankhamen exhibition in London and wrote my first poem. Ever since, if a day out, a place or a person inspires me, I come home and write about it.

My first piece of published writing was in the Dancing Times, after attending my first belly dance workshops. I didn’t start dancing until I was forty and once I began teaching and dancing most days, the writing became a perfect way to rest my weary body. It gave me the opportunity to sit down and use my mind.

2- Do you have a musical play list or do you need to write in absolute silence? If you have a play list would we recognize any of the songs or artists on it?
I don’t have a play list and prefer to write in silence. One day I will have a straw bale writing room on our land, surrounded by nature. I do have inspiring music though and one of my favourites is the soundtrack to Baraka.

http://www.soundtrack.net/album/baraka/

3- Can you see a future for yourself in which writing forms no part of your day to day life?
No, I just can’t imagine it. My bag always contains my trusty fountain pen and a few notebooks. Being invited to the writer’s group in the next village has helped ensure that I write something new at least one day each week and even when I’m up to my elbows in lime mortar, mud or both, my mind is always following a story line or exploring a new idea.
4- Which author/s inspire you currently? I am not talking about some of the greats but departed. Authors alive today, which of them inspire you?
I am a Terry Pratchett fan and regularly reread his books. I aspire to construct beautiful sentences and create characters like his.

Since joining Wanda’s group and receiving a kindle from my children for a big birthday, I’ve read far more widely than I did before and I’ve discovered new authors on the way in different genres. Paula Lofting’s Sons of the Wolf sticks in my mind as a particular favourite and Christoph Fischer’s Luck of the Weissensteiners. Both informed me about parts of history that I knew little about while providing a cracking story. To Tame a Highland Earl by Tarah Scott was a fast paced riot of a read while Waiting for Harvey by Lydia North was my first venture into ghost stories and I loved it.

I’m daily inspired by the dedication of Indie authors. It’s so easy for anyone to publish a book now so it takes grit, determination and belief in ones story, to keep fighting and get ones books read.

And now for my article….
A Time to Shine

Now is the time. As wind, rain and snow batter the Northern Hemisphere, make plans for bright new beginnings in the Spring. Do it today. Do it now.

Like hamsters caught on a wheel, the daily routine keeps us existing and unless we jump off, we’ll never find that path or door that offers new opportunities.

My Mum loved her sayings and one of her favourites was ‘Never put off ’til tomorrow, what you can do today.’ She lived a busy and varied life, learning to drive at the age of fifty three, starring in church pantomimes and regularly thrashing me at tennis. Her adage is summed up with another, ‘Seize the day’ and following this good advice leads to fresh, new experiences.
For me, new experiences are about facing my fears. So often, fear of failure restricts us. Moving to Wales, from idea to inception, took over ten years, but we made it and it’s scary…but I love it!

Having no time is a much used excuse for not trying something new or following an idea you’ve wanted to explore. It took me three years in half hour sessions in the car waiting to pick up my children from school, to write my first novel. Working part time and teaching belly dance most evenings restricted my time further so I began my day earlier (much earlier!), had an hour power nap in the day and still had the energy to work, teach and write and be Mum to three children.

My Mum was an influence but the person who changed my life was my best friend from school. When Sally died at the age of forty, I promised to live my life to the full in memory of her. It shouldn’t have taken such a sad time to make me realise how precious every second of life is but from then on, I’m happy to say, I’ve truly lived. I am happy. I’m shining.

What will you do? Will you write the biography of an axolotl that’s been buzzing around in your head for years? Will you join a dance class, maybe give your tap shoes a dusting off? Join the local amateur dramatics group or take flying lessons? Volunteer at your local charity shop or foster a puppy?

As the cold earth stirs and the first buds prick the surface, it’s Time to Shine.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog and will visit again. Kettle’s always on, there’s cake in the tin but bring your slippers as it can be chilly in our little cottage in Wales.

If you would like to find out more about my books you can find me and all my books here:

http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1365459567&sr=1-2-ent

My latest work, The Standing Stone – Home for Christmas, is a novella about three women linked across time by a standing stone.

 

 

The Purple Flame of Hope

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DSC_1234 Over a month ago now, the Midwinter Solstice heralded the good news that the days would get longer and Spring would soon be with us.

As we approach Imbolc on 1st February, here are the feelings this time of year evokes in me.

Time of the reappearing maiden goddess, full of sacred understanding from her time within the sleeping earth of winter.

Nature heralds her return – the springs and swelling streams are her attributes – the life giving water of soul and survival.

Willow
Catkins are appearing on the willow – it is time to make the most important wishes of the year – walk out to a willow, tie a bow or a love knot into a willow frond. Celebrate all joys and a rainbow good feeling – tie the 7 coloured ribbons of the spectrum into the pale green branches of the tree. As they flutter in the wind, they bring blessings to all you think about. Only 3 precise wishes during the year so, choose carefully.

Light
Imbolc – Festival of Lights. Circle of tea lights for higher inspiration from the goddess. Lunar sabbat – mysteries of the unknown. In this circle, meditate, sing, chant, ask questions of your inner soul that are troubling you. Answers will come after a night’s sleep.

Love
Love rituals – for new love or to meet someone new. Imbolc maiden is innocent but stirring. Shrine to love: lock of hair, ribbons and ornaments and a single vase holding a crocus or snowdrop – blessings under your roof. Plant one white flower for peace and prosperity from the maiden.

We honour the triple goddess Brigid – teacher, magical instructor. We honour her in her maiden aspect, though she is pregnant with the young seed of the Sun.
Activities include making corn dollies or just use one dried ear of corn and tie with a white ribbon, improvise.

Useful Correspondences

Herbs: heather, dried sage, lemon, honey, garlic, coriander seeds, rose hips, witch hazel, sunflower seeds, dried sunflower petals, vervain, violets, wheat, grains, myrrh, dragon’s blood, benzoin.

Stones: clear quartz, citrine, yellow tourmaline, green tourmaline, rose quartz, iron, hematite, ruby, garnet, red zircon.

Scrying and divination are appropriate to this time.
Light, divination and love.

This coming Sunday, Tribal Unity Wales will dance in a circle of light on our Welsh decking and welcome the Spring.

Wood and trees

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After spending a lot of last winter with no heating, we now have two magnificent and efficient wood burning stoves.Wales 2014 040This one, to heat the lounge, hot water and radiators and this one…..Wales 2014 037that keeps the room we live, sleep and work in warm.

But with only tarpauline and tin on the roof and holes in the stonework, our house is still difficult to heat. We’ve an interesting curtain arrangement around the stair case…extra long curtains lined with velvet help stop the draught from upstairs. The insulation screwed to the kitchen ceiling helps a little too but in order to keep warm, we need lots of wood.

We’re very lucky. Our land has trees and lots of them and no one has trimmed them or managed them so this weekend, we’ve worked hard to take out the trees and branches that are dangerous or have been left to grow in daft places. A few weeks ago, we took down branches over a track we share and began a wood pile for next year with a layer of oak. Wales to 13th Sept 2014 004This weekend, we’ve been taking down ash which can be burned immediately. Any trees and branches endangering buildings are being removed before they become too big for us to handle and we’ve continued our scheme of coppicing, taking out wood to allow more to grow.

As our land provides for us, we give back. In March, we planted fruit trees, apple, pear, plum and damson. Wales 2014 March 015Ash saplings are sprouting all over the land, especially down on the river bank. Some we’ve left in situ until they grow bigger and some we’ve dug up and moved to the slope at the bottom of our field. We’ve planted willow, given by friends but it’s not taken very well so we’ll try again next year.

Our beech tree, the Queen of the forest, is another tree that needs attention, seen here the day the removal van brought our possessions. summer 2013 and tent pictures 432Great leathery rows of fungus are visible from the roadside at the base of the tree and we are concerned that the roots are being eaten away. We have a neighbour who is a tree specialist so we will be seeking his advice as to the best way to proceed.

We moved to Wales to change our lives and live closer to the earth. Our Land provides for us and we will look after her, removing the decades of rubbish left by previous owners and looking after the trees and replanting. In the future, we hope to plant hedgerow and soft fruit as well as erecting eco camping pods in our field using recycled materials, enabling others to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Welsh countryside. On our land, we see the wood and the trees.

 

 

Blog swap – Author interview – Elaina Davidson

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avi xToday on my blog I’m interviewing author Elaina Davidson. You can find me on her blog here  http://www.elainajdavidson/blogspot.com/ Read on to find out more about her…

Elaina is a galactic and universal traveller and dreamer. When writing she puts into words her travels and dreams, because she believes there is inspiration in even the most outrageous tale.

Elaina was born in South Africa and grew up in the magical city and surrounds of Cape Town. After studying Purchasing Management and working in the formal sector as a buyer, she chose to raise and home-school her children. She started writing novels around 2002, moving from children’s stories, poetry and short stories to concentrate on larger works. She lived with her family for some time in Ireland and subsequently in New Zealand. Returned now to South Africa, she realises the vibrancy of Africa has much to do with the inspirational side of her work. Something happens daily, something to shock, something to uplift … and the colours and diversity of nature itself fires the imagination.

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I start with an idea and once I have the first chapter down, the characters take over. Every single time! I have tried planning, but always the story takes its own direction. I like it that way, for I often find myself astonished by where I’m headed 

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

Not really, although I would probably die without my cup of coffee when I put my computer on in the morning. I guess that’s a bit of a ritual – making sure I have my cuppa with me when I sit down to start working. Other than that, it’s usually bed head at first before I realise it’s time to take care of myself and get to the chores.

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick?

Silence filled with birdsong. I am absolutely in love with natural sounds and work best when that is all I hear. When I’m not writing I’m doing research, and the subjects are eclectic. Everything from ancient legends, civilisations and religions, to new scientific breakthroughs. This is personal interest, but much of what I discover has served to spark an idea for a book as well.

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

Um, that’s quite a question! Let me see. As I’ll be roughing it and thus won’t have a computer … an inexhaustible supply of paper and pencils would be first! To record everything that happens, to sketch and, of course, to write. A camera, my cat and a sunhat.

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

Lord of the Rings, to vanish into Middle Earth when kitty isn’t enough company, and any book by Steven Erikson, because he writes such complicated fantasy you end up thinking it through for days afterward. I wouldn’t mind Poppet’s The Nephilim Cartel, because there’s so much information in there it needs to be read and reread many times, and an omnibus of my Arcana series and one of my Reaume series, to remind myself I can actually write 

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?

Steven Erikson. I would so love to pick his brain to find out where his inspiration comes from.

7 Your current writing projects?

The second volume in the Lore of Reaume series (The Nemisin Star) has just been published, and now I’m editing the third book (The Sleeper Sword) for January release. I’m also currently writing a short story for an anthology my publishers, Thorstruck Press, will be releasing in December. I’m quite excited about that; a bunch of us are writing a story based on the theme ‘Castle Drakon’ and it seems we’re each of us going in different directions and that is always fun to read!

My Links

FB Author page: http://www.facbook.com/ElainaJDavidsonAuthor
Book pages: http://www.facebook.com/LoreOfArcana and http://www.facebook.com/LoreofReaume
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005WUAIWS
Blog: http://www.elainajdavidson/blogspot.com/

The epic battle continues between the Enchanter and the Darak Or. Margus and Torrullin are two faces on the same coin; no matter how opposite they are they remain even, except Margus has no qualms in using Torrullin’s son for his agenda. Tymall is the dark twin, whereas as Tristamil is the light. Yet they cannot clash despite needing to, despite desperate to be free of their symbiosis.

Torrullin returns to Valaris – to a war already fought. After dragging the Darak Or across time and space to battle it out elsewhere, he discovers his world cannot avoid another round of terror. In a golden city there is temple raised from vision and on one night every year a star shines through the aperture overhead. This is a connection to the world of Nemisin, the first homeworld. In this place where stars meet Torrullin must choose life or death for his sons.

As the universe searches for the Light in all its brilliance, seeking peace, Torrullin begins to see himself as a prince among demons. Torrullin returns to Valaris to save his family, his people, his world and his soul … and chooses to change the rules. Death, after all, is not an end. Too many lives have been lost because the Enchanter has a nemesis. Too many hearts have been broken. Sometimes the only way to find peace, is to lose yourself

The Nemisin Star Final smlhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/Nemisin-Star-Lore-Reaume-Book-ebook/dp/B00OV81JD4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415010311&sr=1-1&keywords=the+nemisin+star

Thank you Elaina for joining me today…you would love it on our Welsh riverbank, sitting in the dappled shade, listening to the birds and watching out for the kingfisher. Good luck with all your writing.

Author interview – Annette Mardis

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Happy Monday! Today I’m interviewing author Annette Mardis on my blog. photo As a girl, Annette dreamed of being an astronaut, but she stank at science and math and became motion sick riding the bus home from school. So she went with her second choice—newspaper journalist—and stuck with it for more than three decades. After years of ignoring well-meaning people who said, “You should write a book,” she finally did. And then she wrote a few more. When she’s not working, Annette usually has her nose in someone else’s novel or her gaze glued to sports on TV. She has three totally spoiled pets, enjoys being the designated sightseer on her husband’s Harley, and volunteers at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of diva dolphins Winter and Hope from the Dolphin Tale films. Read on to find out more about this author…

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan? I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer. Sometimes I’m not even sure where I’m going until I get there. I also lie in bed at night and work out the plot and even individual scenes. I’m also pretty good at self-editing, so I do revisions as I go along.
2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers? No. I’m a former newspaper reporter and editor, and working in a newsroom is a lot like trying to concentrate in the middle of a train station. So I learned to just sit down and get to it, no matter what else is going on. Not feeling well? Too bad. Deadlines won’t wait. It’s either produce or do something else for a living. I think that discipline serves me well now. I do need to sit where I can put my feet up, so I usually take my laptop to the living room couch or the massage chair in my sunroom. My dogs often are barking and my bird is screeching, so conditions are never ideal. But I don’t need to lock myself in a quiet room to write.
3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? I love my husband, my family, and my pets. I’m a big sports fan, especially NASCAR, baseball, and football. I enjoy being the “designated sightseer” on the back of my husband’s Harley. I also volunteer at Clearwater Marine Aquarium and love talking about marine life, especially dolphins, and conservation with guests.
4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you? A phone, lantern, extra batteries, knife, and, oh yeah, a boat.

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why? A survival guide for obvious reasons; a Bible for inspiration and comfort; a dictionary to study to pass the time; a journal to record my thoughts; and a romance novel because I enjoy them.

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with? Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (and her husband, Mark Kelly) because of their service to our country and because they’ve worked so hard to overcome the crazed actions of a would-be assassin. She’s a model of courage and persistence.
7 Your current writing projects? I’m working on Shore to Please, book 3 in my Gulf Shore contemporary romance series. I’ve also written a middle grades children’s book that I need to do more work on before I start another round of submissions to agents and publishers.

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The Shore Thing, Book 1 in the Gulf Shore series — Danielle Dani”Davidson vows to just say no to workplace romances after her first post-college job is soured by a messy breakup with a manipulative coworker at a fish hatchery. That’s just one reason she doesn’t trust any man with her heart, let alone one who swims with sharks for a living. So why can’t she get cameraman Evan Sanders out of her mind?

Evan is twice shy, too, after an alluring but self-absorbed colleague at Gulf Shore Aquarium takes a bite out of his heart. Thought he’s dead set against dating anyone else he works with, he’s intrigued by Dani’s shyness and tempted by her intelligence and low-key sexiness.

Sharks, a stingray and an orphaned baby dolphin help bring them together, but will Dani’s inhibitions and Evan’s career aspirations ultimately tear them apart?

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Shore Feels Right, Book 2 in the Gulf Shore series — Once a pariah among her coworkers, marine biologist Monica Sims has spent months reinventing herself as she seeks redemption. A history of failed relationships leaves her leery of romantic involvement until she meets Cosby Williams, the new co-owner of Nauti-Toys watercraft rentals.
As things heat up between them, Gulf Shore Aquarium responds to the stranding of a group of pilot whales. When a billionaire bachelor lends his private plane to the rescue effort, Monica catches his eye — and an obsession is born.
How will she cope with the unwanted attention? And will her past sins come back to doom her newfound happiness with Cosby?

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Getting Her Money’s Worth — Life often has been unkind, and sometimes cruel, to Allie Charles, and she’s determined not to be shortchanged and to live in the moment whenever possible.

She and close pal Shelby Martin want many of the same things: romance, fun, good friends and satisfying work. After meeting on a softball field on a frigid fall evening, they enjoy many adventures together: watching the piranha feeding at the National Aquarium; overturning their canoe in the deepest, blackest part of a river; getting stuck thigh high in mud on a golf course water hazard; winning tacky prizes at skee ball machines in Ocean City, Md.

Only one woman will see her heart’s desires fulfilled, while the other faces the biggest challenge of her life. This touching, poignant and funny story will make you laugh, cry and go for the gusto in your own life.

Thank you Annette Mardis for sharing your books and those things that are important in your life apart from writing.

Contact Annette

Website: http://www.annettemardis.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnnetteMardis
Twitter: @AnnetteMardis48
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Annette-Mardis/e/B00E5UHPMM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/annettemardis/
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Shelbypie
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=221177296&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic
Google+ https://plus.google.com/+AnnetteMardis/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nx6WNGA94bQ

 

 

 

Wendy Steele – Meet my Main Character Blog Hop

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Today I’m taking part in a blog hop, introducing you, the reader to main characters in novels.

Thank you Judith Arnopp for tagging me to take part. You can read about Judith’s main character here http://juditharnoppnovelist.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/meet-my-main-characters-judith-arnopp.html

For next week I am tagging Kate Murray http://kate0murray.wordpress.com/ to tell us about her main character.

 

 

What is the name of your main character?

There are three main characters in The Standing Stone – Home for Christmas, Rachel, Candy and Fern.

 

When and where is the story set?

Rachel has just arrived to begin her new life in Wales in the present day. Candy lives in The Dome on the Earth in the future. Fern lives in the west of England circa 2000BC.

 

What should we know about the main characters?

All three women have suffered trauma in their childhood and have lived their lives in compliance, ensuring those around them are happy. All three believe there is more to life than the existence they have.

 

What is the character’s goal?

Rachel wants to bring her dream to life, get closer to Marcus, her husband and establish roots in her chosen community in Wales. Candy wants answers. When she was a child, the Lessons on the Screen in the Learning Zone filled her with questions but asking once had led her into trouble. Whatever it takes, she needs to find her own answers. Fern knows Nia isn’t her mother but she has always been one, nurturing Fern and her sister and teaching them the ways of the village but the arrival of the Tall Folk has caused Fern to doubt Nia’s motives and she seeks the truth for herself.

 

What is screwing up your character’s life (the main conflict)?

Rachel’s husband Marcus extolled the virtues of their new life in the country for months before they moved to Wales. Since arriving, he has sullenly, sometimes angrily, refused to play his part in their plan for the future. Candy is a security guard, working a solitary night shift at guard station 23 to protect the Dome. There is no human contact within the Dome without the eyes and ears of a Supervisor close by. Candy cannot ask anybody for answers. Nia is the wise woman of the tribe. She heads the council and guides the villagers as they live their lives in harmony with the earth. How can Fern question her wisdom or judgement?

 

When is the book to be published?

The Standing Stone-Home for Christmas will be released on 6th November 2014.

Rachel arrives in Wales to begin a new life but will Marcus jeopardise their future together before it’s begun?

Candy knows the punishment for leaving Station 23 unguarded. Will she succeed in convincing Paul to obey the Lesson?

Fern loves her life in the village but when the Tall Folk arrive with metal working skills, will her peace be shattered forever?

Though distanced by time and space, three women find the Standing Stone and the teachings of the Great Mother, Binah.

Standing Stone Home For Christmas Cover drop shadow

You can find all my books via my Amazon Author Page

http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1365459567&sr=1-2-ent

Or on Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6548666.Wendy_Steele

Follow me on Twitter for all that’s going on in the world of Wendy Woo

https://twitter.com/WendyWooauthor

 

 

 

Facing the fear

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I remember the day ‘Destiny of Angels’ was finished. Written, edited and the button pushed to publish, I shook like a leaf in a hurricane. I already had published work ‘out there’, dance articles and interviews in magazines, but this was my first published novel, a work of fiction and I was asking the public to read it. Then the paperback arrived.

575517_2923802914446_700076725_n The joy of holding my first book in my hand was wonderful and I bathed in a glow of contentment for days, until the fear began again as I attempted to market my book online. As my ‘baby’ was downloaded, I read the reviews with trepidation until I realised that readers were enjoying my story. I was inspired. ‘Wendy Woo’s Year – A Pocketful of Smiles’  soon followed and I published two volumes of short stories. With the addition of ‘Too Hot for Angels’, my first venture into erotica, I believed I was showing the world the kind of writer I was, adaptable, prolific and fearless, so I launched my big birthday celebration by giving away my books and waited for the 1800+ readers to respond….and nobody did.

Disappointed, disenchanted and defeated, my writing pad and pen sat idle for a while until the story of ‘Wrath of Angels’ refused to be suppressed and I wrote the second book in the Lilith Trilogy. Time for marketing my books became minimal as we sold our house and moved to Wales. Through those years, the fear of failure hung over me.  How could I call myself a writer when nobody read and reviewed my books? Inspired by my new surroundings, a new story began to form so I made a few notes, faced my fear and edited and published ‘Wrath of Angels’.  I returned to social media and was shocked but delighted to find good friends who remembered me and my books and helped me restart my writing career.

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On Saturday, I faced my biggest fear of all. I stood behind my table, in a large hall surrounded by talented creative craft folk,  and when anyone approached, I stood up and said ‘Hello, I’m Wendy Steele and these are my books.’ Why is that so scary? Because I have a real fear of meeting new people. I remember the first night of my City and Guilds evening class on teaching adults, having to stand up, introduce myself and tell everyone why I was there and how the teacher had berated me ‘If you can’t stand up in front of us, how are you ever going to teach anyone?’

I believe life is about facing your fears, challenging your preconceptions, allowing  you to explore paths you may otherwise miss. I’ve been teaching dance for almost seven years now and I have a ‘trick’ that helps me…during the warm up, I find it difficult to make eye contact, even while I’m speaking but I promise myself that when the music finishes, I will have my ‘teacher head’ on and all will be well. Sometimes I get my words muddled at the beginning of a lesson but I’ve learned to laugh at myself and my ladies laugh with me.

At the festival on Saturday, I spoke to lots of people and I enjoyed it. Talking about my passions makes me happy and listening to other people and their hopes, likes and ideas is inspiring. I took a tin of my homemade gluten/dairy free chocolate cake, cut into tiny squares to give away and that proved an interesting talking point. I sold a few paperbacks and gave out my promo postcards (handmade with recycled paper, card and glue!), promoted ATS® dance, next week’s World Wide Flash Mob and the Lampeter World of Dance Festival the following week but, best of all, I spoke to a number of people who want to write. I started a list with contact details so I hope to run a ‘Getting Writing’ workshop before Christmas.

Facing the fear makes for a challenging but exciting life. My first book written in Wales,  ‘The Standing Stone – Home for Christmas’ will be published at the beginning of November and I’m not afraid, just excited.

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You can find all my books on my Amazon author pages http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1365459567&sr=1-2-ent

http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

The Witch is back! You can buy Wrath of Angels for just 99p/99c until 10th October.

 

 

 

Are you a hoarder?

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When I packed up our ‘spare’ possessions in January 2012 and put them into storage, pre-empting a quick house sale and a speedy move to Wales, I tried to have a clear out.

m_mum's phone photos 338After we re-decorated our house and put it on the market in March 2012, dressed as a show house, I had another cull.

DSC00894As the days and weeks tick by towards the much awaited new thatched roof, I attempt to live and work in a couple of rooms, with my possessions in boxes, scattered between three barns and upstairs, but the need to sort boxes and attempt some organisation has become critical.

But what to throw away or recycle? I came across a bag of shimmy belts. As I no longer dance Egyptian bellydance, my need for these belts is zero and yet, as I tip the bag onto the bed, the coins jingling and tinkling, memories come flooding back to me. There’s my first, heavy, gorgeous, purple and silver belt and memories of my first class, the joy of shimmying my hips and twirling my veil and the breathless exhileration of dancing.  My teaching belt, lightweight and less noisy, emerges from the bag and I remember the hundreds of women and girls who attended my workshops, who I opened the door of belly dance for and invited them to follow a dancing path. Then there’s a stunning black and gold belt, a birthday gift from Mike’s Mum and I know why I still have these belts. When I first started Phoenix Bellydance, she came with a friend to my first taster workshop and they enjoyed it so much, they signed up for the beginners course…and never left.

…And that’s why we and the children have Memory Boxes. Into these boxes go cards, notes, pictures and possessions, ready to evoke memories from the past. Our Christmas Box is also a Memory Box as, each year, when the children came back from school with a cotton wool covered snowman, glitter stars and pictures, they went onto the tree and then into the box. The following year as the box was reopened, old memories emerged and were reshared before the tree was adorned with family memories once more.

I’m not a hoarder…I’m a treasurer of memories.