Category Archives: My magic

The Wheel turns. Everything changes Part 2

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I remember when each of my children were born, my wish for them was health, and I was blessed with three healthy babies. As they grew, my wish for them was happiness, and that wish carries on to this day, and must be every parents’ wish for their child.

On 30th July 2019, my eldest son was married. It was one of the happiest days of my life.

I spent the day smiling, remembering the determined little boy who wanted to fly aeroplanes when he grew up, who became a handsome, focussed adult…and a pilot.

During the evening celebration, my son sat with me and told me how much he appreciated all I’d done for him. I didn’t need his thanks. All I wanted was to see my child happy, and I was blessed to be part of a magical day where I could see how happy he really was.

Bringing up children is hard work, and there were many times over the years, when I worried about the decisions I was making for them, but seeing them all, good looking, intelligent, well rounded human beings, I took a moment to be proud of all I’d done.

I gave them all the best start in life, and for me, that was bringing them up as vegetarian babies and young children. As they grew older, they were given the choice to eat what they wanted, and it broke my heart that at the age of 15, my eldest son chose to eat meat. He found pressure from others difficult to bear, so I didn’t blame him, but I’m thrilled to say he and his wife have been vegan for the past three years, and they chose a vegan menu for their wedding. The food was fabulous, and everyone enjoyed it.

There is always a hint of sadness on these days, thinking of those who have passed, who would have loved to be part of the celebration, but weddings are days to look ahead.

The Wheel turns and the world changes. Maybe in a year or two, my partner and I might be celebrating being mamgu and tadcu.

 

 

The Wheel turns. Everything changes Part 1

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Nothing stays the same. The Wheel turns and all those plans go out the window. On the 14th June, a phone call from my daughter in Essex changed the course of my life for the foreseeable future – she wanted to leave Essex and come and live with us in Wales.

It wasn’t an unpleasant surprise, just an unexpected one, and her arrival that evening, distressed and upset that her relationship in Essex was over, was the beginning of my sleepless nights, but to survive, one must adapt. I’ve always believed being flexible with arrangements and filling life with new adventures is a way to keep young, so we made a plan to renovate a room upstairs in our house for her, and we would collect her from Essex on 3rd August. Somehow, we needed to turn a room from  a barn-like, cobwebby mess into a welcoming room in just over a month.

It was a daunting task, especially as we were still working at our day jobs (my partner lays and sands wood floors, while I was teaching dance and writing my tenth novel), but we set to, clearing the room and sorting boxes and suitcases. My Mum died four years ago, and much of the sorting involved going through boxes from her house, so this wasn’t just a physical task, but an emotional, draining one too.

But looking back, remembering, grieving and looking forward is good for the soul. We were sorting our house for one of our precious children to live with us. It was a good kind of sadness, and we burned a lot of unwanted rubbish on our Midsummer bonfire, thinking of Mum and how happy she would have been that her grandchild was coming to live with us.

While my partner concentrated on getting the insulation, board and plastering fixed to our wobbly ceiling, I started work on the lime mortaring.

There weren’t enough hours in the day, but I made time to make fresh, whole food plant based meals which kept our energy levels up, and gave us a chance of completing our task on time. (We had our son’s wedding on 30th July in Rugby which took up three days – see Part 2 coming soon) Once my partner had plastered the ceiling, I switched tasks often between lime mortaring and painting, and then applying the coats of lime wash to the newly mortared walls. The scaffolding was too wobbly for me but I used steps and step ladders to reach almost to the appex and my partner finished the rest.

The other room upstairs also needed to be cleared,

and my partner was playing a gig at a birthday party, Tribal Unity were dancing at a steampunk weekend in Blaenavon and we were both performing at the Lampeter Food Festival. We worked late into the evenings.

Finally, we arrived at the days before we needed to go and collect our daughter, three cats, a rabbit and all her possessions. We pulled back the old lino to reveal the wooden floor.  

There was only time for one buff and coat on the floor as we needed to furnish the room, but apart from a wobbly board and a few repairs to do, it came up beautifully. I made a curtain from some new sparkly organza that was given to me, and a seat cushion, cover made from a new cream curtain. With the bed and a chair, it was beginning to look more welcoming. The room had a new door, but we ran out of time to finish the panelling and had to put a dustsheet back up. Chests of drawers and a hanging rail were accompanied by rugs and bedding, and the room was finished to the best of our ability in the time allotted.

Our daughter loves her room, the bunny likes her home in the byre and the cats are getting used to being part of a bigger cat family. The angst of the past weeks is over, and we’re all looking ahead to new beginnings.

If we’d still been smoking, I don’t believe we’d have had the capacity to keep working at this pace for so long, and the good, wholesome food really helped too. There were sacrifices (see Part 3 coming soon) but those things in life that are worth working for often require compromise.

We’re all enjoying the sunshine, catching up on outdoor jobs and looking forward to new exciting projects next year.

Competition time! Friends in Wales!

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This year’s Narberth Book fair is on Saturday 28th September and Sunday 29th, in the Queen’s Hall, Narberth.

Have you visited Narberth Book fair? I’ve had a stall, or shared one due to the demand, at the Narberth Book Fair, previously the Tenby Book Fair, for the past few years and it’s always a great day. The event is well run by the fabulous Judith Barrow and Thorne Moore, and we spend a lovely day catching up with other authors and chatting to the public about our books and our writing. All genres of writing are covered, so there’s a book for everyone.

As well as the stalls, there are workshops and two writing competitions, one for adults and one for children.

This year I’ve penned an entry for the flash fiction story…why not join in the fun?

Here’s the link to the Narberth Book Fair website, for all the information you need. https://www.narberthbookfair.co.uk/index.html

Look out for this logo on social media for updates and information.

I’m looking forward to seeing you in Narberth at the end of September. Happy reading!

 

Words from the Cauldron released today! Happy Summer Solstice!

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Today is the publication day for the Witch Lit anthology, Words from the Cauldron, a fabulous book of short stories, essays and poems by twenty three Witches Who Write.

Witch Lit is a new, exciting genre, showcasing creative writing of all kinds, by witches. Magic is part of who we are, and emerges in song and story, poem and essay, as Witch Lit.

This anthology is a great way to explore a writer’s style, and for just 99p or $1.24, and with all proceeds going to Books for Africa, you’ve nothing to lose by downloading this magical book.

Summer solstice blessings and enjoy a magical weekend.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Witch-Lit-Witches-Who-Write-ebook/dp/B07SCVXR88

https://www.amazon.com/Witch-Lit-Witches-Who-Write-ebook/dp/B07SCVXR88

 

Destiny of Angels is on promotion! Last day!

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Download Destiny of Angels today for just 99p/99c!

You can read Destiny of Angels anywhere…. or even…

Here’s a brief synopsis of Destiny of Angels and some of the characters you will meet in the book…

Traumatic events in her childhood, send Angel Parsons upon a different life path.

Fifteen years later, with the help of her new ‘family,’  Angel confronts the perpetrators of her misery. Rather than seeking revenge and to free herself from her past, Angel uses the skills she has acquired to offer her persecutors the chance of redemption.

Laugh at  Angel’s partner Aidan, slim, blond, chiselled, a landscape gardener and former stripper, as he attempts to form a friendship without sex with the orange tanned, surgically enhanced Tiffany.

Cry as Eli, a big, triathlon competing hunk, tries to dissuade Clare, who is consumed by jealousy and hate, away from her life of prostitution.

Enjoy the struggles of Sophia, a slim, smart, sassy young woman who runs her own company, carrying on the philanthropic work of her granddad, as she shows Justin, a confident, cocky, player, an honest, less egotistic way of life and Maddy, a petite, doll-like young woman who runs her own events company, who attempts to steer Vincent, cool, hard and unfeeling, away from money as his driving force.

Smile as Zac, a broad, dark, quiet man who runs his own fitness centre befriends the sad, overweight Danielle and turns her world upside down and Jed, a rugby playing Adonis, who runs a security firm and helps Aidan expand his business into vertical gardens, gives Rob, a sad, lonely, overweight single dad, a second chance to be a success and he flies with it.

Open your mind to the possibilities of magic, levels of consciousness, angels, demons and parallel universes as Angel is guided by Lilith, the dark goddess, in her quest for closure on the past.

Will Angel fulfil her destiny and put her past behind her or will the demons she unleashes consume herself and her ‘family’ and leave her empty and alone once more?

Today is your final chance to download Destiny of Angels, First book in the Lilith Trilogy at the amazing price of 99p/99c!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Destiny-Angels-Lilith-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B007OX5J8O

and for my friends across the pond https://www.amazon.com/Destiny-Angels-Lilith-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B007OX5J8O

And there is a sequel! Wrath of Angels is available too, while book three is in production.

I do hope you enjoy your magical read, and if you still haven’t had enough of a magical fix, why not tune into my YouTube channel, Phoenix and the Dragon, for short stories told to you on my Welsh riverbank https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA?view_as=subscriber

Destiny of Angels is on promotion! Why read Destiny of Angels?

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Destiny of Angels is on promotion at just 99p/99c!

Destiny of Angels is the first book in the Lilith Trilogy, and my first published novel. A reader summed it up perfectly in their review…

‘a revenge/ redemption story with a spiritual twist, where the mundane and the mystical intertwine.’

Destiny of Angels isn’t a fantasy novel. The modern characters are real, as are the rituals and Angel Parson’s magic, where she follows the paths of the witches Qabalah. Destiny of Angels is Witchlit; modern, contemporary magical writing, with a heroine-centred narrative focussing on the trials and tribulations of the protagonist, Angel Parsons.

While writing the novel, I imagined Salma Hayek playing the lead role of Angel; a beautiful, strong yet vulnerable and feminine young woman.

Here’s an extract for your enjoyment…

Seven figures stood in the circle, identical in pure white shifts and new flat leather sandals. Each wore a moonstone on a leather thong about their necks bar one, who wore a citrine flecked with azure, as the sweet scent of jasmine and exhilarating ginseng invaded their senses. A single voice and then the joined chorus protected their work and raised the power.

            Seven figures stood on fine white sand, the depth of night around them dappled by a host of glittering stars. A crescent moon appeared and they hailed and greeted the goddess Levanah.

She descended to the horizon where she spoke to them. “Welcome worthy travellers to the sphere of Yesod, the Treasure House of Images. Here, everything that is to manifest on earth must first emerge and gain strength. Every dream, every wish and desire must first become an image and be given form here with me. I am the Force before the Form, the Divine Source of all being, who succours humankind and takes care of its needs.”

            Levanah paused, smiling down, her pure white hair glistening with stars as it enfolded her naked body and her eyes, the bluest cerulean, twinkling like planets. “As individuals, you’ve been brought together and lead to this point. You’ve been strengthened and tutored within a family unit, relying on each other for nurture and support. From this point on, whilst travelling the astral planes beyond this realm, you return to your individual status. Guidance and learning will be different for each one of you. Within you exists a special image, now in your unconscious but soon to be made conscious. Be aware of your dreams and you will know. No longer will you view the earth as you once saw it, all things separate and disconnected from each other. You’ll see not just the Form but the Force that inspired it and, as you strive on the plane of Malkuth to make sense of these wonders in the face of criticism, disbelief and unkindness remember, you have seen Yesod.”

            Dark and murky water crashed and flowed all around and above the circle, smashing and mixing and wallowing in a mass of uncertainty. Above the thunderous waves they heard anguished  moans, screams and cries and they held each other’s hands tighter, seeking comfort from the touch. Levanah rose out of the chaos aboard her crescent train. Silver and glistening in the midst of the darkness, whispering her purity over the bedlam, she calmed and cleansed the waters and they quietened and stilled.

            Angel lay in the centre, on the hub, as the wheel began to turn and she rose up into the sky, past the earth and the universe, on into space. There she lay with all that is around her. She saw planets and stars and, as she watched, silver threads began to join one to another and then, each and every one to her and as each thread attached, she felt a tingle or a buzz and on and on, the threads crossed and joined and soon, space was dark no more, as every planet and star she could see and all the dark matter between were connected.

If you’re looking for a magical read, a ‘no punches held back’ kind of book about relationships and the human struggle to make sense of the world we live in, you’ll enjoy Destiny of Angels.

Destiny of Angels has a host of characters, including Angel’s friends…

Laugh at  Angel’s partner Aidan, slim, blond, chiselled, a landscape gardener and former stripper, as he attempts to form a friendship without sex with the orange tanned, surgically enhanced Tiffany.

Cry as Eli, a big, triathlon competing hunk, tries to dissuade Clare, who is consumed by jealousy and hate, away from her life of prostitution.

Enjoy the struggles of Sophia, a slim, smart, sassy young woman who runs her own company, carrying on the philanthropic work of her granddad, as she shows Justin, a confident, cocky, player, an honest, less egotistic way of life and Maddy, a petite, doll-like young woman who runs her own events company, who attempts to steer Vincent, cool, hard and unfeeling, away from money as his driving force.

Smile as Zac, a broad, dark, quiet man who runs his own fitness centre befriends the sad, overweight Danielle and turns her world upside down and Jed, a rugby playing Adonis, who runs a security firm and helps Aidan expand his business into vertical gardens, gives Rob, a sad, lonely, overweight single dad, a second chance to be a success and he flies with it.

Open your mind to the possibilities of magic, levels of consciousness, angels, demons and parallel universes as Angel is guided by Lilith, the dark goddess, in her quest for closure on the past.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Destiny-Angels-Lilith-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B007OX5J8O/

and for my friends across the pond https://www.amazon.com/Destiny-Angels-Lilith-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B007OX5J8O

 

 

 

Life begins at fifty – Healthy life #13 – Why Vegan?

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This post documents my personal journey from being brought up as a meat eater by my parents to my ethical and health based choice to be counted as a Vegan. Everyone’s story is different. My reason for sharing my story is my inability to understand how a person can stop being a Vegan, if they’ve made a stand to be counted as one, and return to eating animal products. Let me tell you why…

I was born and brought up in a typical, ordinary household, where we had a roast dinner on Sunday, that also made up a dinner of cold meat, chips and peas on Monday, and the remnants added to the curry on Tuesday. As a child, I always disliked hot meat.

It wasn’t until I left home, bumped into an old friend at a wedding reception, that I learned there was an alternative to eating meat and fish. I was in a position to cook for myself, but didn’t know how, so I signed myself up for an evening class in vegetarian cookery. I chose to give up eating living creatures when I committed to being a vegetarian. It wasn’t easy. Though I rarely ate out, omelettes were the usual choice available at a restaurant. Over the years I built up a repertoire of delicious vegetarian meals, sharing recipes in the school playground if asked. At that time, I believed I was doing my best for animals, the human family and the planet by not eating meat and fish. I’d read as widely as I could (before the internet) about the huge swathes of land and water given over to producing beef that could feed the world, and I wanted to be part of a movement that had that as a goal.

Almost fifteen years later, with my life maxed out with stress, I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. In order to stop the pain, I needed to change my diet. With little guidance, I struggled to work out what was causing the problem. Further tests revealed I was intolerant to wheat and dairy, as well as a list of other foods. Wheat and dairy were the main culprits, causing most of my pain, yet I’d spent years cooking and perfecting recipes that regularly featured both (hence the problem), and I struggled to cope with the change. I continued to cook for my family, while eating very little in an attempt to keep my pain small too.

Bellydance saved my life. I joined in a class at the age of 40 with my daughter, then aged 9. I knew if I wanted to dance, I needed to eat. I began to learn to put meals together for myself without wheat and dairy.

It took me years to get the balance of foods ‘right’ in my body, and I tended to eat less, just to be on the safe side.

Five years ago my partner and I moved to Wales. Around this time, one of our sons switched from vegetarian to veganism. He pointed me in the direction of videos and books, explaining how damaging dairy can be on the body. He lives with arthritis, has done since he was twelve, and he decided to remove dairy from his diet. The inflammation in his joints reduced significantly and he felt a lot better, so my partner and I took a step in that direction; I gave up the goat’s cheese I occasionally ate and the Magnum ice lollies (made with skimmed milk powder that didn’t affect me as much), and my partner cut down on cheese. The biggest change was adding more green vegetables to our diet and making them a much bigger part of our plate share. Eldest son and his fiancee joined in the plant based eating, switching from eating meat to focussing on plants. Recipe swapping was prevalent, though the youngsters were so much freer with trying new ideas, making up recipes as they went along.

January 2018 my partner and I gave up smoking nicotine. The hormones in my body went ballistic. Weight landed around my middle, I felt weighed down, depressed and anxious. I took up walking regularly. In the time we’d been in Wales, we’d watched documentaries and Youtube videos about the environment, knowing a crisis was coming. We’d always done our best to recycle and make as few trips in the car as possible. By December 2018 it was evident that the climate crisis was upon us. Everyone needed to do their best.

I knew eating a whole food, plant based diet was best for my body. I now know it’s best for the planet too. I can’t proclaim to care about the amazing planet we live on, if I don’t stand up and be counted as a Vegan. I know Vegan means different things to different people; it must do, or the vloggers who can quit so easily were lying all along. I was a vegetarian; I am now a Vegan, and for me that means not consuming animal products or derivatives, but it also means I live my life caring about the causes of all my actions; from driving to a supermarket for only three items, to buying a bag of salad in a plastic bag. I need to think, and make choices not just for me. I’m not perfect. I have a long way to go, but it’s no longer a good enough excuse to say ‘but plastic is so convenient’ or ‘but I prefer drinking from a plastic straw’.

The new array of Vegan products in the supermarkets made to taste like meat, are a step in the right direction for all meat eaters to join in Meat Free Monday, but small steps need to be converted to big strides quickly. We need celebrities to get on board now. I was appalled to read Dr Michael Moseley’s articles on why he won’t be going Vegan or giving up meat, and even more disheartened to read in the comments the hateful abuse against vegans. It’s time we woke up to what is really happening to our world, or there won’t be a world to wake up to. It’s time to care. The time has gone to say ‘I’ll think about it’. We need to act now, so why not join me on my Vegan journey?

I’m excited! I’ve thousands of new recipes and food combinations to explore. Plant based food tastes good and it does you good! My energy levels have definitely increased since the beginning of this year, and my excess weight is disappearing. Check out the recipes on this website – put in ‘plant based’ or ‘healthy eating’ into the search box and away you go. All recipes are tried and tested, and my tips and alternatives are listed for your convenience.

We already do clothes swaps within our tribe….why not organise a similar one with your friends? Use local swap sites rather than buying new. Recycle items yourself….the inside of a washing machine makes a fabulous fire pit!

We can do this! Let’s join forces to save our planet.

 

Coming Soon! The Witch Lit Anthology!

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I’ve ‘met’ such a fabulous bunch of magical writers on the Witch Lit Facebook group, and four of us have worked together to produce an anthology of magical writing to be published at Beltane.

The wonderfully talented and creative Laura Perry edited this first edition. I interviewed her on the Witch Lit Podcast two weeks ago https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvwGxF6lQWA

Here’s the link to Laura’s original post, as she gives you a taste of what’s to come, and why we’re doing it. Enjoy!

http://www.lauraperryauthor.com/post/coming-soon-the-witch-lit-anthology

 

If you are a magical writer, or enjoy reading magical fiction, non-fiction, poetry and prose, join our Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1055104057875422/

 

 

 

 

April Inspiration

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With new life shooting up all over my riverbank, how can I not be inspired?

The willow has taken hold, and shiny lime green leaves reach for the sun. They’ve made a huge difference reducing the moisture on the bank (it used to be part of a leat running along our riverbank, over the road to the mill), and also sustaining its integrity, following the flooding swells we experienced last year.

We’ve planted over 100 tiny trees this year, with 60 little saplings getting a start in pots, still to put in.

Loki likes to accompany me down to the riverbank to help me write.

I’m delighted to announce I’ve almost reached the midway point of my tenth novel, the fifth book in the Lizzie Martin series, The Able Witch. Fancy a few lines? Having burned her hands rescuing Bilbo the dog after he knocked a candle over with his tail, this is the first time Lizzie has potted for a while…

Lizzie grasped the new lump of clay on her wheel. She missed Marsha. Into Lizzie’s mind arose the tanned, smiling face, and blue eyes sparkling with mischief, and then she thought of her own mother, Elsa, but she couldn’t pin down her features. With her eyes shut, she found herself walking the path to another world, but all was in darkness. Twitters, hoots and howls of fear and flight rose from the blackness of the forest. Strange eyes glowed. Vines, leaves and branches brushed against her body, snagging at her ankles, threatening to trip her. Grotesque shadows loomed out of the trees, into the clearing ahead. A roar echoed behind her and she turned. Slime, a dozen eyes, a mouth-like tunnel and rows of pointed teeth threatened to consume her.

“This isn’t real,” she whispered.

She opened her eyes and sat back from her wheel. The flowerpot was perfect, but the road to the land of the fae had changed. She removed the pot and picked up her coffee.

In fact, everything had changed in only a few months.  It was little wonder that the road to the underworld was no longer a pleasant one.

Today, there is no sunshine. The first of the bluebells are hiding, bending to the rain. It’s another great day to write a magical novel.

 

Making Save the Cat work for you

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Last week I chatted to the fabulous Laura Perry on the Witch Lit Podcast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvwGxF6lQWA and afterwards, we started talking about Save the Cat! We discovered we both felt the same way about how we could get the most from the book.

You can read about my struggles with it here https://wendysteele.com/2019/03/05/how-much-did-my-cat-really-need-saving/

Since then, I, and it seems Laura, came to the conclusion that the book works on two levels; the large picture and the minutae. Reading the options for the different type of novels, there were times when not all fifteen beats were required, and we both came to the decision that writing three acts with various hingeing points for the plot worked well, allowing the story to flow, but that trying to fit our stories into the beats wasn’t the way to go.

Laura has finished the first draft of her Minoan Historical novel this week using this less stringent idea, picking out the beats that were right for her story, and my fifth Witch Lit novel, The Able Witch is half written using the same method.

If you’ve purchased Save the Cat! and are finding writing from it hard going, maybe it’s not for you. From a screen play perspective, where the original idea came from, I can see how it can work, but selecting beats that work for your story could work better.

When it comes to editing, Save the Cat! can be referenced again, as I did with The Eloquent Witch having bought the book after I’d written the novel.

Hope that helps.

If you’re looking for a magical series to start today, here’s the link to The Naked Witch, the first book in the Lizzie Martin series https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV/ref

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

For Laura Perry’s books and Minoan Tarot deck https://www.amazon.com/Laura-Perry/e/B001K8LSQ6?ref

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Laura-Perry/e/B001K8LSQ6?ref