Category Archives: My magic

Where did all the words go?

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Where did all the words go?

After celebrating the Winter Solstice with all my children on 21st December 2019, I turned my attention to the coming year, and the launch of The Riverbank Witch. I submitted my short story ‘The Dance of Love’ on the 26th December for an anthology, and was accepted. I uploaded another short story, ‘Lowri’s Forest’ to Book Funnel, to send out to volunteer readers, to decide whether to turn it into a novel, and the feedback was unanimous that I should.

Tribal Unity Wales dance classes began in Lampeter and Aberystwyth on 7th January 2020, with new ladies, as well as regular dancers. My diary began filling up with annual dance gigs like Lampeter Food Festival and The Steampunk Extraordinarium in Blaenavon with The Wee Crafty Folk. I joined prayers at 7am on Friday 10th January, the full moon, praying for rain for Australia. I woke the following morning, dizzy and disorientated, and my heart racing. Fear, swamped me, according to my diary. I had a real feeling that something more than the fires was going to happen. I organised knitters to knit joey pouches, and liaised with those transporting to Australia, and delivered our boxes to Bridgend.

At the end of January, my story ‘Leap of Faith’ was published by Zimbell in their Time Guardians anthology, and the idea, to combine all my magical creating under one, and operate as The Riverbank Witch, was underway. At Tribal Unity Wales, we learned Bollywood choreographies with the fabulous Kritika, and I began a list of possible craft fairs/book fairs/ faery festivals/craft markets and pagan markets, where I could set up a stall as The Riverbank Witch.

Throughout February I knitted and danced, and wrote and planned. I was eloquent and alive, and living a useful, worthwhile, helpful life, supporting and inspiring, creating a safe space for women to dance and be, as well as writing fiction about strong, practical, resourceful, amazing women. Inspired by the countryside around me, the magic and the muse were flowing with ideas and words…..and then the world was halted………..and my life was cancelled.

Then began the painful months, begging banks and mortgage companies, and signing on for benefits for the first time in my life. How I found the words to speak, I don’t know, but I still have my roof over my head.

Online dancing was difficult from the start, living on a Welsh hillside with a pathetic WiFi signal, and many of my ladies don’t have space in their homes to set aside to dance uninterrupted. Cancelling events in my diary began, each loss like a stab in the heart. I didn’t celebrate the publishing of my short story ‘The Dead Game’, not when there was a killer disease on my door step, and people I knew were getting sick.

With my partner at home, there was no time or space to write even if the words had been there. But instead of the usual ideas that had pervaded my head for so many years, magical fiction, linked closely with the Earth, now I was grieving for her, ripped apart by forest fires and devastated by acres and acres of cattle and pig farms, spewing pollutants into the earth, rivers and atmosphere.

We worked outside when the weather allowed, creating new vegetable beds and an area on the riverbank for fruit, anything to keep our minds and bodies active; anything we could do that cost next to nothing.

Not being able to go to the beach was almost as unbearable as not being able to see my sons. My riverbank was my solace, but I yearned for the sounds and smells of the ocean, embracing me and enhancing my magic and my life. I focussed on expanding my knitted, cotton range for The Riverbank Witch, determined to make a small difference, encouraging people to ditch throwaway wipes in favour of more sustainable options. I picked up my WIP, the sixth and final book in the Lizzie Martin Series, The Real Witch, and began to read it through with a view to write on, but my head was full of forest fires, rising hospital admissions and death rates.

In the middle of the summer last year, my partner secured a job that could be done socially distanced, but would take four weeks of long days and nights. On a whim, I abandoned The Real Witch, and began writing a new novel, out of my short story ‘Lowri’s Forest’. It’s a post apocalyptic kind of book. I wrote the first half, just over 50k words. They flowed out of me with ease. I allowed Lowri to feel some of my pain, as well as hers, and together we reached the half way point in the novel. I stopped. My partner had no more work and I had no words. Why? Because in order to complete the book, I needed a sense of hope.

It is the 1st March 2021, St David’s Day in Wales, and a bright but cold day, here on my Welsh hillside. The birds join me now on my early morning walk, and beneath my feet, the earth is warming up to spring. After the blessings of the full moon on Saturday, I’ve chakra bracelets to make for Artemis Soul Sanctuary in Monmouth, and seeds to plant to begin my vegetable growing this year. The Riverbank Witch has already launched a new product, our Twisted Headband, updated our Fresh Face bundle with extra face pads, and I’ve done the product testing on a new creation, launching on 21st March.

I haven’t seen my boys for over a year, but I am hopeful.

My depression takes my spoken words from me. I turn inward, protecting myself, keeping silent, knowing that one rebuke will be one too many to bear.

My fear takes my written words. The natural world, that has ruled my life since I was a small child talking to the moon with my toy rabbit, is hurting, because humanity takes with no thought of giving back. Fires, melting ice sheets, rising sea levels and tsunamis, are Nature’s way of fighting back, seeking to rectify the imbalance we cause Her. But I don’t fear for Her. No, I’m afraid that humans won’t listen until it’s too late. The devastation caused by animal agriculture has been known for decades, as has the possibility that an animal virus can and will spread to humans if given the right circumstances, yet the appalling, barbaric conditions animals are reared in, continues. The world is talking about coronavirus, but I’ve heard nothing from any government about urgent meetings to discuss animal agriculture practices or help or subsidies for farmers to diversify, away from animals and into crops. There is no talk of a different, new, sustainable future, but instead, it’s all about getting back to ‘normal’.

‘Normal’ is putting power, politics and profit first. Isn’t it time to put people, parity and the planet first?

I cannot change the world on my own, but I need to be true to myself. As The Riverbank Witch, I stand up for sustainablity, recycling and working with the planet, rather than against her. Every day, I am mindful to do my best in this regard, and encourage others to do the same. The vaccine has given the world hope, and we must not abuse this wonderful blessing, but use it as a platform to create a better world than the one pre lockdown.

And hope is rising in me. My partner is working next week. I’ll be ready and waiting for the words and ideas that flit around the universe, to land in my head so I can write again.

Thank you to my friend and sister, Sheena Cundy, for your love and support, encouraging me to share, even when I feel that I don’t have the words xx

Happy Healthy Wholefoods

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Happy Healthy Wholefoods

From all the research I’ve done, I believe a whole food, plant based diet is the healthiest way to eat. It should be the default diet that everyone begins with, as the way to keep healthy and I wish I’d known about it years ago!

Having turned vegetarian at the age of 22 years, from what I believed was an ethical stand point, I’ve been vegan now for almost four years after realising that I hadn’t gone far enough, but if you’re looking at diet from a health perspective, you can’t beat a whole food, plant based diet. This way of eating can cure disease. I’m going to say that again….eating a whole food, plant based diet can cure disease. It has been proven it can reverse heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and many more illnesses. Don’t take my word for it…check out the factual videos and science at http://www.nutritionfacts.org On this website, Dr Michael Gregor provides facts, gleaned from medical papers, made easy to understand by non medical professionals.

Whatever your ethical standpoint, doesn’t everyone want to be well and fit, especially at a time when having a decent immune system is a bonus? I’m often asked what I eat on my whole food plant based diet and the answer is….as much whole food plant based food as I can! I’ve shared recipes with you before, but over the next few months, I’m going to revisit a few, share some updates and share new recipes of dishes I’m eating regularly.

So, what is a whole food plant based diet? Dr Gregor has a free App you can download called the Daily Dozen, and this guide really helps focus on the parts of our diet, essential for wellbeing and health. Beans, pulses, legumes, combined with vegetables, especially cruciferous, fruit, whole grains and healthy fats like nuts and seeds, form the basis of my diet, and my lentil loaf plays a big part in that.

Mine is a High Carb Hannah recipe and you can find it here https://wendysteele.com/2019/04/12/life-begins-at-fifty-healthy-life-11-hch-lentil-loaf/

I now add extra turmeric and black pepper to my loaf, and love chopping in dried apricots, sultanas or raisins. Drowning under a glut of runner beans from the garden one week, I added beans to the loaf and they worked well chopped small. The courgettes however, made the loaf a bit soggy!

Lentil loaf is one of our staple foods. We eat it most days for lunch with a huge salad, ticking off lots of boxes on the Daily Dozen without having to try very hard. It’s filling, really sustaining when there’s renovation work to do on the house, or wood to chop.

Consider including a lentil loaf into your cooking repertoire….easy to make, delicious, sustaining and really good for you. Check out the recipes on this site by typing ‘Plant based’ into the search box.

Visit again for more recipes and thoughts on the benefits of plant based eating. Blessings x

The Naked Witch is on promo this week!

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Since launching The Riverbank Witch, showcasing all my magical creating, I’ve met loads of lovely new people. We’ve chatted about knitting, growing fruit and veg, as well as their Craft and mine, so as a special ‘thank you’ to everyone who has supported me, I’m offering The Naked Witch to download today for just 99p or $1.24. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV

and for my friends across the pond https://www.amazon.com/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV

The Naked Witch is the first book in the Lizzie Martin series, so for less than the price of a skinny latte, you can begin a magical journey with Lizzie and her friends. There are three books published in the series, books four and five, The Eloquent Witch and The Able Witch, are complete, but not yet published, and the final book, The Real Witch, is in creation. My writing is Witch Lit.

I often get asked, what is Witch Lit and why did you decide to write it?

I believe the best description is borrowed from Chick Lit. Stories with a heroine-centred narrative focus on the trials and tribulations of their individual protagonists. These women live in a modern world, coping with work and home life. The books are peppered with a smattering of light heartedness and humour. All you have to do is substitute ‘witch’ for ‘chick’.

Witch Lit is contemporary, magical realism, where the magical and the mundane co-exist. The stories are gritty and believable while magic is sprinkled through the stories, offering the reader a new perspective on reality.

In response to why I write it, why wouldn’t I want to write about a woman who can hold down a full time job, single parent a fourteen year old daughter, raise money for the local children’s hospice and knock three coconuts off a shy…on a bad day? Why not write stories about passionate, earthy women, living real lives and embarking on wild, wonderful and outrageous adventures?

Characters with an underlying sense of their own spirituality are fascinating to read about and even more compelling to write about. Stories emerge from a different perspective but are set in the familiar world the reader inhabits.

Unlike Chick Lit, Witch Lit women do away with the sweet, sickly or fluffy. Their passion, determination and creativity shine through the stories, though none are averse to a well-rounded buttock or a chiselled jaw. Witch Lit isn’t anti-men but Witch Lit women’s lives don’t revolve wholly around their presence or absence.

Download your copy today https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV/

https://www.amazon.com/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV/

Press the link to ‘The Riverbank Witch’ on this website, and visit the FB page http://www.facebook.com/theriverbankwitch

The Riverbank Witch is new to Instagram, so do come over and say ‘hello’. New moon blessings to you all xx

 

 

The latest from The Riverbank Witch!

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It’s been a soggy July here in Wales, but it’s given me plenty of time for writing and crafting. I’m delighted to present to you the latest product from The Riverbank Witch……..

Fresh Face

1 soft, cotton midi cloth for washing

1 mini cloth, knitted in worsted cotton, perfect for exfoliating

9 face pads for cleansing

1 bag to wash them in, just secure the top and pop into the washing machine

Fresh Face is the perfect, eco way to glowing skin! No more facewipes. No more disposable face pads.

Choose the colour of your midi cloth from White, Ecru (creamy), Moondance (shades of blue and lilac), Key Lime Pie (shades of vibrant, zesty lime) and this week’s new colour, Fruit Punch ( blue, lilac, white and and a touch of green)

Mini cloth is crafted in Blackcurrant (Ecru is also available for a gentler wash)

Face pads in various colours

Buy your Fresh Face bundle for £15 with FREE postage to the UK this week. I’ve sets ready to post out immediately!

These hand crafted, beautiful cotton bundles, are perfect for you or as a gift.

Contact me today to order yours.

New moon blessings to you all xx

The Riverbank Witch is here!

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The Riverbank Witch is here! You can find her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/The-Riverbank-Witch-107997124171331/

There are new crafted items for sale on a weekly basis including cotton cloths, jewellery and books.

You can also visit the new page on this website https://wendysteele.com/the-riverbank-witch/

This week’s new products are Everlasting Scrunchies. Postage to the UK is FREE on all orders placed this week, so why not pop over for yourself, a gift for a friend or for ideas for presents for parties and hen nights. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, message me and I’ll do my best to help.

Thank you to everyone who has supported The Riverbank Witch. Full moon blessings to you all xx

Second of TFFFM, Wrath of Angels – tea break listen!

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The Muse is staying. It’s lovely having her here, but she will keep going for wanders around the land when she’s supposed to be helping. I’ll not admonish her though….she knows what she needs, and I’m sure she’ll be back to get me to the half way point of my new novel very soon.

Enjoy the short video of The First Fabulous Five Minutes of my second novel, Wrath of Angels. I love this book! Exploring the magical pathways with Angel Parsons, the main protagonist, was enlightening, so I can’t wait to share it with you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDilcHd58w0&t=66s

Purchase your copy here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wrath-Angels-Lilith-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00KTH2E4Y

or for my friends across the water https://www.amazon.com/Wrath-Angels-Lilith-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00KTH2E4Y

Today in the UK, you can purchase this paperback for just £2.58! https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wrath-Angels-Second-Lilith-Trilogy/dp/1500136662

Join me next time for the first book in the Standing Stone Series, Home for Christmas.

 

 

New beginnings at the Spring Equinox

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It all began at the full moon before the Winter Solstice last year, a few words of a conversation that gave me an idea. At that moment, The Riverbank Witch was born. My gorgeous, talented, magical friend Rhea Ruth Aitken, designed my logo for me from a doodle I showed her.

The Riverbank Witch already existed as the story teller on the riverbank, reading magical short stories and book extracts on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA?view_as=subscriber but at the end of last year, I saw the potential of combining magic and stories in a more practical sense. I created a chakra bracelet of semi-precious stones and lava beads to go with the Lizzie Martin series of books. I loved threading the beads, creating the magic on the thread.

Then the Australian bush fires got out of hand. Called upon to help, I knitted joey pouches and sewed cotton liners, collecting donations from others and taking them to a distribution point in Wales, ready to be shipped to Australia. Out of this random act came a renewed passion for knitting.

I learned to crochet last August, but hadn’t knitted for a while. At the next new moon, I asked the Goddess for advice, and she suggested The Witches Cwtch, a shop where witches could sell their magical crafts. We could knit, sew, crochet, write, sculpt, draw, paint, recycle and upcycle. I was concerned about taking on the project myself, but having spoken to my daughter and sister-in-law, between us we were confident we could make a shop work.

Together, we began working on the premise for the shop …

“The Witches Cwtch is where dreams become reality.

We’re modern witches who care about our world and the creatures that live on it.

At The Witches Cwtch we believe in sharing the love, giving back, passing forward and supporting the local community, as well as our world wide family.”

But there are many things to consider when opening a shop, not least creating the magical products to go in one. We were keen and determined, but the world has changed since we began. Storms here in Wales took down my internet connection for almost three weeks. Last week, all the book and craft fairs I had planned for this Spring and Summer to promote The Riverbank Witch and The Witches Cwtch were cancelled. In this climate of uncertainty, we decided to postpone the shop.

This Spring Exquinox morning, I woke to a bright sunny day. Sheep and lambs baaed in the fields and the birds were singing. On my riverbank it’s difficult to believe there’s a terrible virus raging through the population of this country and the world, taking the lives of the elderly and infirm, and spreading fear and dread in its path.

So I asked the Goddess how I could help, and she told me to share my magic. Today, I’m opening The Riverbank Witch facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/The-Riverbank-Witch-107997124171331

My sister-in-law is The Hilltop Witch https://www.facebook.com/HilltopWitch

Liking the pages would be wonderful, and the first product I will list will be the chakra bracelets. The semi-precious stones are cleansed on my riverbank, beneath the full moon, and will help balance both mind and body, grounding the wearer to the earth. I’m working on listing them right now!

Is it the right time to launch something new? Probably not, but I am The Riverbank Witch and I want to share my healing magic with the world.

Ostara Blessings to you all xx

 

The Wheel Turns – approaching Imbolc

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It was a busy run up to the Winter Solstice. I shared a table with the fabulous Nicola Beechsquirrel at the Lunar Market in Llanfair Clydogau, and at the Carmarthen Book Fair.

If you look closely, I’ve a little extra something on my table that I was testing out with the public…watch this space! Something new is coming!

We had a fabulous Yule with our children, and the work we’d done in the lounge helped to make it look clean and sparkly, welcoming in the light.

But the weather was grey and dank. We managed to get to the beach for a walk though.

And then the children went home. We walked on Borth beach on Christmas Day and were back to work on Boxing Day. It was the time to get ideas and new plans underway….and then the call went out for help for the animals in Australia.

Alongside my new crafting and writing ideas, I’ve been knitting joey pouches, and collected knitted and sewn items from ladies of Tribal Unity Wales, a student at the Uni and a lady from her slimming club, and took them to Llanelli to be taken to the main hub in Swansea for sending.

Wool was given, donated, shared around. Cotton pillow slips, t shirts and sheets were recycled. It’s been a privilege to be part of a group of crafters, coming together to help a common cause. The UK hubs are doing a stock take this week, sending out boxes and liaising with the contacts in Australia to make sure the right help went to the right places, and will let us know if we need to knit on. Many people have contacted local wildlife sanctuaries, to see if they need similar items to help their animals, so the crafting continues to help animals in need.

I’ve enjoyed having a project on the go to help others. Though I welcome the light on 21st December, January is a dark month. It’s been wet and windy on my hillside. We’ve snatched moments at the beach, which has helped.

I’ve an exciting new project which I’m planning to launch on 20th March, and that is keeping me busy, and helping to keep me positively focussed.

Wednesday dawned bright, cold and dry, and out on the grass by the driveway, was a purple flame of hope.

Imbolc is almost here. I take my courage and strength from the natural world around me.

It is time for the maiden goddess to appear, 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.

On the first of February, I will cast my three wishes…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.

Imbolc is the 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 rituals are prevalent at this time of year, 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.

 

Welcome Imbolc into your life. Know that all is dormant beneath the soil, ready to burst forth, fresh and new in the Spring.

 

 

IMBOLC SALE

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Let’s start the year by sharing the love!

Purchase ANY pixie coat, short or long length, for just £18! Check the page for availability, and I’ll happily measure any coat for you. https://wendysteele.com/pixie-coats/

Email me via Stay in Touch (Contact Me) and you’ll soon be snuggling up in your very own pixie coat. Or purchase one for a friend, they make lovely gifts.

And there’s more…

You can purchase all three Standing Stone books, Home for Christmas, Silence is Broken and The Gathering, for just £12. These books are about the characters’ relationships with each other and the land they live on. In the second book, there’s a beautiful, timeless Imbolc ritual that I know you’ll enjoy.

And finally….

If you purchase a pixie coat and the Standing Stone books, and you live in the UK, I’ll send them to you for FREE.

Imbolc Blessings to You

Writing News

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Apologies for being totally useless at getting my newsletter organised this year, where I’d be sharing with you all the news about my writing as it happens, but I seem to have started infinite plate spinning early on in the year, and am only just taking a few down so I can manage the rest.

It’s been brilliant having the first three books in the Lizzie Martin Witch Lit series to share! The Naked Witch has 25 reviews, the others, 9 and 10 respectively, and I’m hoping to double all those totals in 2020.

If you’re new to Witch Lit, I often get asked what it is, and why I decided to write it…

I believe the best description is borrowed from Chick Lit. Stories with a heroine-centred narrative focus on the trials and tribulations of their individual protagonists. These women live in a modern world, coping with work and home life. The books are peppered with a smattering of light heartedness and humour. All you have to do is substitute ‘witch’ for ‘chick’.

Witch Lit is contemporary, magical realism, where the magical and the mundane co-exist. The stories are gritty and believable while magic is sprinkled through the stories, offering the reader a new perspective on reality.

In response to why I write it, why wouldn’t I want to write about a woman who can hold down a full time job, single parent a fourteen year old daughter, raise money for the local children’s hospice and knock three coconuts off a shy…on a bad day? Why not write stories about passionate, earthy women, living real lives and embarking on wild, wonderful and outrageous adventures?

Characters with an underlying sense of their own spirituality are fascinating to read about and even more compelling to write about. Stories emerge from a different perspective but are set in the familiar world the reader inhabits.

Unlike Chick Lit, Witch Lit women do away with the sweet, sickly or fluffy. Their passion, determination and creativity shine through the stories, though none are averse to a well-rounded buttock or a chiselled jaw. Witch Lit isn’t anti-men but Witch Lit women’s lives don’t revolve wholly around their presence or absence.

The Witch Lit anthology came out this year too, a cornucopia of delightful stories, poems and essays, including my short story ‘The Butterfly Door’. All profits from this anthology go to Books for Africa.

This year I’ve completed the fourth book in the Lizzie Martin Witch Lit Series, The Eloquent Witch, and am on the verge of completing the fifth aswell, The Able Witch. Once book five is complete, I shall write book six and then publish all three books in close succession.

I’ve had two stories published by Zimbell House Publishing in their anthologies ‘Unleashing the Gods’ and ‘1969’

I wrote ‘The Crocodile Brooch’ for the steampunk story, and ‘Sister Moon’ for the story set in the sixties.

I’ve a short story ‘Charlotte’s Ghost’ in this year’s Ghostly Rites 2019, published by Plaisted Publishing House. These stories are scary!

I’m working on two new short stories at the moment, as well as finishing my novel, and I’ll keep you updated on their progress.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the catch up on my writing and publication progress. Do let me know if you’d like me to update you on other aspects of my writing, inspiration, writing process and characters. You can find all the books listed above on my Amazon Author page here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06

or for my friends across the pond https://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06

Ghostly Rites is not yet linked to my page as it’s a new release, but you can find it here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghostly-Rites-2019-Plaisted-Publishing-ebook/dp/B07ZQV2Y4Q

or here https://www.amazon.com/Ghostly-Rites-2019-Plaisted-Publishing-ebook/dp/B07ZQV2Y4Q

Thank you for your patience. Happy reading! Bright blessings xx