Category Archives: My world

Meet Mabh Savage – pagan, author and herbalist

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For my second interview from the WitchLit group on Facebook, I was contacted by Mabh Savage. Her two beautiful books are published by Moon Books, and she’s been a contributor to many of their anthologies. Join me in welcoming her to my blog…

Welcome Mabh! Tell us about your writing…

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 change tack constantly! I have a very busy mind and as new ideas pop up, I find I have to adjust what I have done already to allow the new bits to fit in. It’s like doing a complex dot-to-dot puzzle where the dots you’ve already connected keep shifting. I’m never 100% sure what the finished picture, or book, is going to look like. So, I do plan but I nearly always end up with something wildly different to what I imagined in the first place.

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

With up to three children and three cats around the house at any one time, my ritual is pretty much grab what scraps of free time I have and splurge something out onto a page! An odd thing I’ve started doing recently is putting the cooking channel on the TV in the background. I have no idea why this helps me concentrate. Maybe it’s the contrast of something else that’s creative but entirely different to writing. Other than this, in the day I write by tea; in the night I write by wine and this is when most of the poetry happens.

Until we moved to Wales, I too used to write with the ‘aid’ of children and cats….now it’s just cats!

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

I’m a huge sci-fi geek. I love Star Trek, Babylon 5, and Blake’s 7 and more recently, Stranger Things and the entire Marvel Defenders collection. I adore a good box-set binge!

I’m the same with reading too. Once I get into a fictional series, I get completely absorbed and need to get the next book, at any cost. I recently re-read all the Pratchett books again, and am looking forward to starting on The Dresden Files for another session of self-imposed hibernation.

I suffer from chronic and occasionally severe anxiety and depression so I have a real interest in mental health and ways to cope and even thrive with mental health conditions. I write about this a bit on my blog, and lots of my poetry is about struggles with mental health.

I’m an amateur herbalist and I have a column at PaganPages.org every month called Notes from the Apothecary in which I examine the magical and medical qualities of different plants.

I play music and sing, and have lots of different influences from traditional folk to prog rock! I have a few tracks on Sound Cloud and hope to add to those soon.

Lovely to know your creativity goes beyond writing to music too, fabulous. And you can’t beat a good Sir Terry binge:-)

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

want with you?

A replicator! Ha ha, I guess 3D printing isn’t quite there yet so… My guitar, my Irish whistle, a pad, a pen and a special blanket which helps me sleep.

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

Ooh that’s a hard one. If it’s not cheating, I’d take the Elfin Diary, to keep track of days and also because it’s full of fascinating info. I’ve had one nearly every year for over 20 years. If I was in the middle of a series, I’d have to take the next book(s) in that series then just sit rocking with fiction withdrawal when they ran out. The SAS survival handbook would also be useful on a desert island! Maybe sack all that off and I’ll take the Earthsea books by Ursula Le Guin. I don’t think I could live without them.

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

I have crippling social anxiety so the thought of having dinner with someone I don’t know it’s absolutely terrifying. I wouldn’t even go on a blind-date. I would very much have loved to have met Stephen Hawking though. He seemed like such a warm, funny person as well as incredibly intelligent and insightful about the universe.

7 Your current writing projects?

I’m currently working on a book about Lugh; his mythology and also how he is revered in modern Paganism. In the realms of fiction, I’ve been working on a science-fiction/magical cross-over for some time. There are elements of artificial intelligence and also inexplicable universal energies. The protagonist is a scientist who is trying to make sense of the weird events unfolding around her. My eight-year-old boy wants me to write a children’s book, so I’m thinking of re-working some Celtic myths and legends for younger readers.

How exciting that you’ve such varied projects in mind. Good luck!

8 Other published work and links….

My first book was A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors which is an exploration of the relevance of Celtic culture in modern society. It’s told through the voices of many different people from all walks of life.

My latest book is Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft and this looks more specifically at following a magical path inspired by Celtic spirituality and with the influence of Celtic deities.

I’ve also contributed to the following anthologies:

Essays on Contemporary Paganism

Paganism 101

Pagan Planet

Naming the Goddess

iPagan

Every Day Magic

The Seven Ages of the Goddess

The Celtic Goddess

My main website and blog is at http://www.mabhsavage.com and I write for paganpages.org every month too. People can follow me on twitter @mabherick and I’m on Pinterest, Facebook and tumblr too.

Thanks so much, Mabh for your honest answers, allowing us into your writing life and thinking processes.

Check out Mabh’s books, and pop back for more interviews, writerly discussions, dance, healing and plant based recipes. Why not sign up for the newsletter and receive a FREE short story as a welcome. Bright blessings xx

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Meet DJ Martin – plant lover, herbalist and author

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I love getting to know new people, so I put a call out on the Witch Lit group on Facebook to see who would like to take part in blog swap interviews, to find out more about each other and our writing. Deborah, or DJ as she prefers to be known, was the first person to respond and without knowing it, we have a blessed shared memory in common. You can read my interview on her blog here http://www.authordjmartin.com/posts/interview-with-a-witch-wendy-steele/

Welcome DJ! Let’s start with your writing…

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?

Non-fiction is planned so tightly about all that’s needed after outlining is to put things into coherent sentences and add punctuation. Fiction? I do loosely plot but the characters write the story. I know the beginning and end, but they generally change things to suit themselves, so how I get from “Once Upon a Time” to “The End” can be a surprise.

 

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

It’s not so much a ritual but a place – both physical and head-space. I can’t write fiction on the days I’ve been buried in accounting work (my day job), even if there’s time to do so. I can’t switch gears that easily anymore. When I do write, I have to be comfortable, which means lounging. There are spots in the loft of our house and outside on our deck that are reserved for writing. There’s always a cup of coffee nearby, as well as one or two of our four cats. (Maks is supervising from a nearby sofa as I write this. Curled up. With his back to me. Shhh. Don’t tell him sleeping isn’t supervising.)

I too find it tricky switching gears these days….

  

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

Apart from the fact I don’t like to talk about myself?

 

  • I’ve been dancing since Mom taught me to waltz when I was a toddler standing on the tops of her feet. I love to dance and was, during the disco era, a professional dancer, as well as a disc jockey in a nightclub. (No, that’s not how I got my nickname. That came earlier.) I’ve even been a member of a clogging troupe.

 

  • Strangely, for a dancer, I don’t listen to music very often. I get caught up in the music and can’t concentrate on work; or start dancing around and forget to do whatever chore I’m supposed to be doing. Even classical music makes me lose track of time.

 

  • I’m a homebody who’s waiting for someone to invent and perfect transporter technology. I love to visit far-flung family and friends, and see new and different places, but prefer my own bed to anywhere else. I usually want to make a U-turn almost as soon as we leave the house to go to the airport.

 

  • I’m a huge baseball fan. That takes precedence over virtually anything else on the telly during the season. But I don’t actually watch It’s on in the background while I’m reading or doing other things. I’ll look up when the announcers get excited about something; or check the score at chapter’s (or chore’s) end.

 

  • Apart from having sports on in the background, I don’t watch much television at all. Therefore, I’m horribly out of the loop when friends discuss the latest television series…or even movies.

 I loved dancing on my Dad’s feet, always makes me smile when I think of it. Lovely insights, thank you.

 

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

want with you?

Sunscreen! 😉

If you count people and cats as things, then my husband, the cats, a fully-loaded e-reader, coffee (one of the four major food groups) and a pot to make it in, and dark chocolate (also one of the four major food groups). I don’t need much if I have those and the basic necessities.

 

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

 For an avid reader, that’s a really tough question!

 A plant identification book specific to the island. Which ones can I use for what, and which should I avoid?

  1. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, to make myself feel better about being stranded.
  2. Any of Nigel Tranter’s fiction. He wove Scottish history into fascinating stories.
  3. One of the Harry Dresden Files, if you won’t let me take the entire series. Jim Butcher tells a good tale and makes me laugh.
  4. One of the Iron Druid Chronicles (or the entire series…). Kevin Hearne is just as good as Butcher.
  5. Cheating and adding one: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (second in the All Souls Trilogy). History and Witch Lit! (But I’d still like to take all of them!)

I’ll definitely look up Nigel Tranter for a bit of historical fiction, thank you…

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

 

Living or dead? If dead, Barbara Jordan. She was my heroine growing up. (I’ve never minded a well-behaved ghost.) If living, Sir Patrick Stewart. (Not just because of his Star Trek connection, but there is that.) His life has taken some interesting turns and I think it would be fun to talk about them. His public persona is intriguing and, like all public people, I’m curious as to whether the private person is the same.

 

 7 Your current writing projects?

I’m working on Fudge’s story. Fudge is the familiar to the protagonist in The Ogre’s Assistant series. He’s over 2,000 years old so it’s magic woven in with history. Or is that history woven in with magic? While I thought I was finished at the end of Transformation!, another Ogre’s Assistant book is floating around in the back of my head. I’ll probably get around to plotting that out in the next couple of months when I need a break from Fudge.

 Also perking in the background is a book about herb usage throughout history – both magical and medicinal. The research is pretty much done but I can’t figure out how to make it interesting to anyone but me. Perhaps someday the proverbial bulb will light, and that book will get written. If not, I learned a thing or two.

  

8 Other published work and links….

 

First, and easiest, is my website http://www.authordjmartin.com

 

 

Amazon US: http://amazon.com/author/deborahmartin

 

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B0046UDSM2

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authordjmartin

 

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/authordjmartin

 

Thank you so much for joining me DJ. Lovely to discover more about you and your books. Check out Deborah’s books via her author pages and her website.

For more author interviews, posts about the writing process, dance, healing and plant based recipes, do visit again soon. Bright blessings xx

The leap into Witch Lit

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My first published novel, Destiny of Angels, was the novel I wanted to read, but couldn’t find. With a large cast of varied characters, Angel Parsons led me along the paths of the witches Qabbalah, and I learned about myself and my writing. At the time I published, magical realism was stuffed full of vampires and werewolves, so it was time for real people and real magic, but without realising it, I’d written a specialist book. Not every reader cared about the opportunity to view life through different eyes, and be open to the idea of alternative realities. I wrote the sequel Wrath of Angels because it needed to be written (and it’s a far superior novel to Destiny in my opinion), but I had no readers and needed to think again.

Though ideas for the final book were rattling around in my head, they were quoshed by new ones, evoked by the Welsh landscape. Discovering a Bronze Age settlement site on the hill beside our house, my mind was drawn to the past and the people who lived there, and to those who will live there in the future and the Standing Stone book series was born. Three women linked, across time and space, are brought together in the presence of the goddess by the standing stone and given help and support to deal with their current problems and heartaches. I loved writing these books!

I was invited to submit a story for a Witchlit anthology, a gathering of magical short stories, so turned my hand to attempting to write one. The first two weren’t right; they were too magical somehow, and then I hit on an idea and Last Chance for Love was created. This short story has changed my writing path, leading me to write stories that mix the mundane with the magical with ease and pure joy. Sign up for my newsletter and receive it FREE as a ‘thank you.’

I know how much you’ll enjoy the Lizzie Martin, Wendy Woo Witchlit Series, so from 9th-14th October, you can download the first book, The Naked Witch, for FREE, and begin your journey into Witchlit. Lovely to have you with us. New moon blessings xx

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

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

For all my books, have a look at my author pages https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref

https://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref

 

Free books

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Six years ago, soon after I joined Facebook and Twitter, I made all five of my books written at the time free, to celebrate a large birthday with a five in it. Free books were the ‘done’ thing to attract readers and reviews. I remember watching the download figures soar beyond the thousands. I believed readers would love my books and review them, drawing more readers to buy my books, and my writing career would take off. I’d sit every day, writing books while publishers clamoured over my titles.

From more than 5k downloads I received 0 reviews. No one bought my books.

I was naive…and stupid. There were godzillions of free books at the time (kindles were new) and so readers downloaded everything they saw that was free. Most people read none of them. Once again, I was a new writer full of new stories to tell, but no one to listen to them.

From then on, I thought long and hard about what I was willing to write for free.

In 2015 I put myself on a short story writing ‘course’, aiming to write, edit and submit one new story each week to a competition, magazine or anthology, hoping that at least one story out of 52 would be a good one. I managed 44 and had 10 of those published online or in anthologies. I was only paid for one of them, but even now, the anthologies I participated in are being downloaded and purchased, providing a link to my website and therefore to me. I view them as advertising, plus the year I spent honing my short story skills taught me a lot, and my novel writing improved because of it.

I still write short stories, some of which you can listen to for FREE on my YouTube channel, Phoenix and the Dragon https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA

From 9th – 14th October, you can download The Naked Witch, the first book in the Lizzie Martin Witchlit series for FREE…because I’m confident you will want to read more. Six years on, I’m a better writer, I’ve more books for you all to enjoy, and I’m sure you’ll love Lizzie Martin and her battle between her heart and her head. I’m not looking for thousands of random downloads, but looking to reach readers who enjoy a cracking story, great characters and a little humour in their books, and who’ll love to read more in the future.

I’ll let Lizzie introduce herself…

Hi, I’m Lizzie and I’m a witch. Not that I wear a pointy hat and travel to work on a broomstick! In fact, unless you get to know me well, you would never know. I live my life following the Sacred Wheel of the Year and use magic in my daily life. I might draw a single card from my Tarot pack, set a candle spell working or consult with Cerridwen and her cauldron but even if my focus is not on a magical act or ritual, the Wheel turns and I move with it.

I was a ‘ginger’ at school but if you’re going to label me, I’d prefer redhead. I love wearing bright clothes that compliment rather than clash. Paisley, velvet and Indian fabrics are my favourite, swathing my body in colour and light. I’ve never felt the need to show off my figure so I let my clothes do the talking. I rarely have to do more than smile, which I prefer. I learned to be quiet at an early age while my parents argued.

I’m not a great one for shouting. At our old house, I avoided the neighbourhood squabbles and gossip, preferring peace to provocation. I got on well with everyone but had no particular friends. My fault? Probably but I’m a private person and I worry about sharing too much of myself with strangers. At our new house, it’s different. Mr Brody is our next door neighbour, his house adjoins ours, so we met on the day Rowan and I moved in. I was worried about Rowan’s music disturbing him and he was embarrassed that his TV would annoy us!

Louise and I are friends, good ones I hope. She’s one of the security guards in the building where I work. She’s raven haired and vivacious, completely different from me, but they say opposites attract. She’s kind and funny and that’s why I like her.

With Josh, my ex-husband, out of my life, Rowan is my family. My father died when I was young. He is my first thought on waking, while my mother and I struggle to form any kind of relationship, even now. Affectionate isn’t a word I use to describe her. Some days, I don’t think she cares about me at all, but she’s Rowan’s Granny, so I do the best I can. Marsha, on the other hand, Josh’s mum is a sweetheart. She continues to treat me as family, phoning for advice about her dreams and welcoming Rowan to her villa in Spain every year.

‘Call yourself a witch! Where’s the magic?’ I hear you ask. At the bottom of my garden is a little wooden shed that I call Sanctuary. Rowan calls it my ‘Mum cave’. Within its warm and welcoming walls, I draw and paint and surround myself with magic.

Download The Naked Witch for FREE today, and begin the adventure https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV/ref

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

New moon blessings to you all xx

 

 

 

 

Why I enjoy historical fiction

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I don’t read historical fiction all the time, but when I pick up a book that not only chronicles a specific time in history, but brings me closer to the people, I can’t put it down. I’ve just finished The Wolf’s Banner by Paula Lofting, sequel to Son’s of the Wolf, set ten years before the Norman Conquest when the British Isles were in a state of chaos, as earls and thegns battled to keep hold of their piece of England…

‘I enjoy reading historical fiction for the same reason I enjoy watching Time Team, not just to immerse myself in the historical era, but to get close to the people and Ms Lofting describes her characters and their relationships with skill and an artful touch. Details of clothing and daily tasks help paint a picture of life from 1056AD in Horstede.

Where the first book in the series, Sons of the Wolf, is mainly about Wulfhere, a real thegn from the Doomsday book, The Wolf’s Banner begins and ends with Wulfhere and his family, but chronicles the trials, victories and setbacks of Burghred, son of Afgar, who goes against his father in support of his king. He wishes to uphold his grandfather’s name, rather than gain back his Mercian kingdom at the expense of the English throne.

There’s battles and blood feuds, family disputes and coming of age trials, set against the political maelstrom, ten years before the Norman Conquest. Even though these are violent times, the author doesn’t shirk from describing the outright fear and seeming futility of hacking your opponents to death in a shield wall as they breathe their last breath in your face, before another victim treads over his kinsman to receive the same brutal punishment.

I loved reading of Wulfhere’s children growing up, and the inevitability of the destruction of his relationship with his wife, Ealdgytha made me sad. Burghred’s ambitions and clever use of tactics to end a siege and the coming of age of Winflaed were two highlights of the book for me, and I felt for both of them, living their lives as pawns at a time of chaos and political uproar.

Three tumultuous years take their toll on Wulfhere, but he lives to fight another battle, and there’s hope at end of the book, that he will be restored.’

 

If you’d like to read historical fiction by Paula Lofting, check out her Amazon author page https://www.amazon.co.uk/Paula-Lofting/e/B007IWFIIM/ref

 

15k tweets and beyond! Tweet and tweet again!

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Last week I reached the 15,000 tweet milestone and I’ve been sharing a few tips and ideas for those of you who’re new to this social media or who would like to take part, but aren’t sure how to join in. This final post is about bringing YOU to the party.

Tweets are unique. Those good with tech can produce clever banners with links, GIFs and videos. I am not one of those people, but that’s okay. If you read the first two posts from last week about tweeting https://wendysteele.com/2018/09/25/tweeting-milestone-15k-and-beyond/ 

and https://wendysteele.com/2018/09/28/15k-tweets-and-beyond-part-2/

you’ll see that honesty is one thing I’m passionate about when sharing online, so my tweets reflect that. I use ** then write my headline, enclosed by ** on a lot of my tweets. I first use this way of highlighting when I began **The Amazing Karmic Sharefest** on Facebook (now obsolete because you can no longer see ALL the posts from pages you like) Think of a style or way of posting that is unique to you, that might make you stand out from the crowd. It doesn’t have to be on every tweet, but it helps.

You’ll find lots of accounts encouraging you to sign up to gain twitter followers. The whole point of twitter followers is that they are likeminded in some way, I believe, so gathering followers like that does not appeal to me. I follow people I’m interested in. If someone follows me, I check out their profile and decide whether to follow back, but that’s just me as other users follow everyone back. You can decide the way you build up your world on Twitter.

There are hashtags on Twitter that you can use to encourage people to follow cool people you know and interact with like #FF (Follow Friday), but I decided to go one step further. I’m a great one for ‘thank yous’, so every day I thank those who have RTd for me and on the line sharing groups, I say a big thank you to everyone for liking my words. It doesn’t take long, maybe fifteen minutes out of my day, but it’s very me and another way I can be honest online.

I rarely interact with DMs (direct messages), will unfollow if I see any posts that are racist or inciting people to make judgements or make unkind comments and will RT any cause I believe in, for example, homing rescued animals.

I’m on my way to 3,000 followers, but on a day where I’ve done my five tweets and have time, I’ll start working backwards through the alphabet, RTing for my followers. They don’t know that’s what I’m doing, of course, but it’s always a lovely surprise when someone I haven’t heard from in a while RTs for me.

When you follow me on Twitter @WendyWooauthor, you are welcome to the world of Wendy Woo.

15k tweets and beyond! Part 2

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This week I reached 15,000 tweets! Read my first blog post to find out how I began https://wendysteele.com/2018/09/25/tweeting-milestone-15k-and-beyond/

In this post, I’m sharing tips on how I began to expand the world of Wendy Woo on Twitter.

A good photo goes a long way. Although Twitter is about words, I’ve found photos to be really useful.

Hashtags are a must, but before I get into talking about them, I wanted to say that the writing games where you share a line of your WIP have been inspirational. I began with #1linewed, liking and RTing others interesting, lyrical and pertinent lines, and then posting one or two of my own.

For new writers especially, joining in with #1linewed, #Btr2sday, #MuseMon, #Thurds or #FictFri to name but a few, is a really good way for readers to check out your writing style. One word of caution; post your Tweet with care because first impressions count. A badly constructed sentence with spelling or grammar mistakes does not say to the writing community ‘I’m an accomplished writer’. The hashtag games I’ve mentioned have a theme, but some games just ask for a line or two from your WIP that you want to share.

None of the above allow you to attach a buying link and I love that. If people are interested or curious about the line you’ve tweeted, they’ll check out your profile where you’ll have a link to where they can find you and your books.

A quick word about your Twitter profile; you have very few words in which to describe yourself. I chose to link with the words on the home page of my web site and my business card ‘Author. Wise Woman. Goddess.’ Those three words encompass the many aspects of me that I share with social media. With the link to my website, and the FREE stories on my YouTube channel, readers who see me on social media immediately have ways to read my blog, find my books, share my passion for dancing and plant based food, and listen to me reading them a story.

Finally, hashtags. Hashtags are vital. Instead of your tweet disappearing into the ether, hashtags direct it to groups where others may follow posts or be interested when hashtags become popular and show up as such on your home page. In my little marketing book, I have a page of collected hashtags and endeavour to sprinkle them through my tweets. As an independent author, #IARTG (Independent authors retweeting group) is useful and I make sure I RT others from the group. This summer #beachreads has proved popular, but may not work as well in the winter. Spend a little time exploring and find #hashtags that will work well for you.

I hope sharing my Twitter journey with you has been useful and I look forward to ‘meeting’ you there @WendyWooauthor.

Join me for more posts about writing, dancing, tried and trusted plant based recipes and magic. Sign up to my newsletter for a FREE story on my home page and subscribe to my Youtube channel, Phoenix and the Dragon, for FREE short stories and book extracts. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA?view_as=subscriber

 

Tweeting milestone – 15k and beyond!

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Today I hit 15,000 tweets; not bad for a woman who struggled so hard to find her place on Twitter. So what did I do? How did I ease myself into the Twitter community?

When I began social media, honesty was the key. I wanted people to meet me in the street and find I was the same person they had ‘met’ online. I’ve never compromised who I am, but in the past, I’ve been a little shy.

On twitter at first, I couldn’t see the point. I was a tiny person in an enormous aircraft hanger, calling out to anyone who would listen, ‘Hello? I write books, did you know? Hello?’ I took a step back. Maybe I could operate in a similar way as I did on Facebook, share for other authors and offer help, advice and share my experiences. I asked other users, but still couldn’t find a way that suited me.

Then I discovered the 5 Tweets a Day idea. Knowing I only had five tweets to construct gave me confidence to try new things.

Tweet 1: something helpful, a ‘how to’ tweet, either from something I knew myself or from YouTube or other people’s blogs

Tweet 2: inspirational: I chose writing quotes at first. Later I found tweets about my passion for dancing were popular.

Tweet 3: fun: I chose to share pictures of my crazy cats and kittens

Tweet 4: retweets: I chose to RT from groups that I care passionately about, for example, The Woodland Trust.

Tweet 5: promotional: limited offers and links to FREE content.

 

Tweeting just five tweets a day is a great way to begin on Twitter. You’ll discover which times of the day work best and you’ll bring people into your Twitter world who are likeminded.

Join me later in the week when I’ll share more of my Twitter ideas. Full moon blessings xx

Cheryl Beer – author of ‘Soul Seeds’, ‘Soul Ink’ and ‘The Truth is in There’

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I met Cheryl at the storytelling event at The Botanic Gardens of Wales, and she kindly invited me to her first book fair in Llandysul, hosted by herself as Parlour Press Publishing on 29th September. Today, she shares her writing schedule and five things you may not know…

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 in free fall. I let my soul connect to my pen and leave the rest to trust. Sometimes, I don’t even know that I am writing, especially since waking up two years ago with sudden hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis. I find that on awakening, I have fully formed poems, stories and songs in my head. It helped me to write them down and then I found that in actual fact, I had been recording these pearls of wisdom onto my phone in my sleep. There are literally hundreds of recordings. These have become the basis for my new books, Soul Seeds and Soul Ink and The Truth is in There.

Writing started for me even before I could write, if that makes sense. When I first started school, I was labelled a bit of a day dreamer, but actually, in my head I was writing stories and poems and little songs. Then one Monday morning in Primary School, the teacher asked us to write our Weekend News and instead, I wrote a story about a black rose growing in my garden. I was so proud of it. I remember drawing the black rose across the page with the stem and thorns intertwining with the words. Well, it got me into terrible trouble. So, my Mum took me to one side and quietly asked me to ‘just write what actually had happened at the weekend, instead of making things up’.

The following Monday, I wrote ‘We went to the social club and my Dad got drunk again.’ As you can imagine, this didn’t go down too well either. So, it seemed that neither my imagination nor the truth, were acceptable fodder for Weekend News.

In response, my beautiful Mum gave me a little notebook, within which I could write whatever I wanted and in school, I was to write whatever they wanted. I decorated the front cover of that little book and kept it in a box under my bed. Inside, it soon became filled with stories and poems. There have been very many little books under the bed since then, nurturing my passion for creative writing and subsequently publishing, because writing and books have always gone hand in hand for me.

Cheryl inside the Dylan Thomas Writing Shed at Laugharne when she was one of 9 Poets in Residence for the year of the DT100. Photograph Jeff Beer.

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

Writing is my life rather than a special occasion. It can happen anywhere at any time; scraps of paper in cafes, backs of receipts, whatever I have to hand. I have a little notebooks scattered everywhere, just in case.

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

1 Helping other people to engage with creative writing. I grew up on a council estate and there were very clear messages about who became a writer, and it wasn’t us. So, I have spent a great deal of my life undoing that stereotype for marginalised communities. For instance, in 2015, I won the Gold Wales National Care Award for my work in Creative Writing and Publishing for Older People with Dementia. http://www.parlourpress.net

 

  1. I love making quirky little books and poetry pockets out of felt. I have a little lap tray and make them as a distraction for my tinnitus in the evenings. I have hundreds of them. It is always my intention to sell them and sometimes I do, but I find it hard to let them go. I like to make the little books to reflect the story or poem in them. They are an extension of the story, of my story.

 

  1. I am a volunteer storyteller at Skanda Vale Hospice. I love going there. I adapt storytelling so that it can be an inclusive, one to one experience at the bedside of those who are at the end of their life. Usually, it inspires them to tell me about their life story.

 

  1. I am fascinated by people’s life stories. And people seem to love telling them to me. Even as a child, I would stand at the bus stop waiting to go to school and know everyone’s life story by the time the bus came. I now run sound memories dementia friendly radio station which is an award winning digital story project, collecting life story. http://www.soundmemoriesradio.com

 

  1. Reading this back, I realise that my life is so immersed in writing, that the things that make me tick outside of my own writing, are associated with it. I even met the love of my life, Jeff, through writing. I auditioned for his band 32 years ago and we became collaborative songwriters before we were lovers. Incidentally, we snook off last week and secretly got married. We had poems in the ceremony. Guess who wrote them?

 

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

want with you?

I don’t really need items. I could find a stick and write in the sand. I do need Jeff, my lovely new husband and Maisy, my little King Charles Spaniel. Other than that, I can make do. It will be exciting finding out what the island has to offer.

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

I don’t think I would take any books. Once I have read a book, it stays with me for always. I don’t need to read it again. I might ask 5 friends to recommend books I haven’t found myself, so it will be a nice suprise or more likely, take 5 blank books and keep journals about my adventure on the island, press flowers in them, though it would be more exciting to make books out of banana leaves and ink from berries.

 

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

I have had dinner with quite a lot of famous people, when I was a touring singer/songwriter, the festivals would lay out tables for us backstage. I really was very blessed to work with the people that had been my heroes and to meet lots of wonderfully inspirational folk.

For instance, I was commissioned to write a song for Prince Charles when he opened Llanhilleth Institute and I stood right in front of him, performing it. That was pretty amazing really, that a daydreamer from the council estate could be stood in front of the Prince of Wales performing one of her songs. I don’t think I could ever have imagined that as a child. So, probably, I would like to have dinner with someone who is no longer here. To be honest, my first thought was, oh can I have dinner with my Grandad, please. He’s not famous, but he was the most beautiful human being.

 7 Your current writing projects?

Soul Seeds: Planting Heartfelt Stories

Soul Ink for the Morning

The Truth is in There

Cheryl performing on the main stage at Women in Tune. Photograph Roweena Russell.

 Fallen on Deaf Ears

A tribute album being recorded by other artists of my song archive organised by Mike Kennedy of Welsh Connection Magazine and Radio Tircoed, being released by Death Monkey Records.

 Say it in the Sand

I have composed a piece of improvised music for a collection of films made by Sean Corcoran, an amazing artist at The Art Hand on the Copper Coast, The films are part of an International Prevent Suicide Campaign, based in Ireland.

 Soul Ink Songs

I am currently working on a collection of new songs, finding new ways to perform and record as a hearing impaired person. Jeff is patiently and kindly sound engineering for me.

 Sendelica

The band Sendelica have released a limited edition 12 inch single of a remix track that I recorded with them prior to my hearing loss. It is the most amazing, far our piece of psychedelic.

 The Parlour Press Anthology

I am compiling an Anthology for the Inaugural Parlour Press Book Fayre with poets from across Wales and two international guest poets.

Sound Memories Radio

I am in R&D for  a Silent Nature project with people who have end stage dementia.

Parlour Press

I am working with a client to collate a book of the songs that define her husband’s life, to help him remember his sense of self since moving into a dementia friendly care home. He has been a folk musician and his music helps him to remember.

 

 8 Other published work and links….

Best to come to my websites …

http://www.cherylbeer.com

http://www.parlour press.net

http://www.soundmemoriesradio.com

It never ceases to amaze me that every month @ 4000 people follow my Fusion Inspire: Journey Through the Creative Mind Blog. It has had over 140,000 views.

http://www.fusioninspire.blogspot.com

Meet Cheryl, myself and a host of other authors in Llandysul 29th September.

Thank you so much for sharing, Cheryl, and I’m looking forward to 29th!

Follow me for more author interviews, writerly stuff, tried and tested plant based recipes, dance and magic.

 

 

 

The inspiration behind The Standing Stone Book Series – Home

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Even though our house only had a tin roof, heating was various and I spent sleepless nights wondering if we’d made a huge mistake, within a year I’d written the first in The Standing Stone Book Series, Home for Christmas. Whatever the weather or the living accommodation, the Welsh countryside inspired me to pen a series about the people who had dwelled on the land before me, or who will live here in the future.

We’d holidayed in Wales for fifteen years with and without the children, but finally living here, in a tent, then a caravan and finally a house, I felt I’d returned home.

Each of the books begins with a song and it beautifully sums up the idea of home.

Home

Think of me in this barren landscape

Think of me, on this hill

Far away from love and friendship

Think of me, if you will.

 

Spare a tear for my weighty burden

Digging new this foreign land

Felling trees to build my homestead.

Hearth and home made with this hand.

 

But the earth, it is the same earth

And the sea ‘tween shore and shore

Gives me hope in times of hardship

That I’m coming home once more.

 

Coming home, I’m coming home

Coming home from distant shore.

 

Think of me as I bring in the harvest

Plucking crop from land and tree

Tending flock and growing family

Dry your eyes and think of me.

 

Trees and hilltops, plants and flowers

Glossy stars that light Her dome

Where I live in Nature’s beauty

That to me, is truly home.

 

But the earth, it is the same earth

And the sea ‘tween shore and shore

Gives me hope in times of hardship

That I’m coming home once more.

 

Coming home, I’m coming home

Coming home from distant shore.

Rachel, Candy and Fern make their homes in Wales, dependent on the land, the people and the culture, to help them call it ‘home’.

Today, for a limited time, you can download The Standing Stone Home for Christmas for just 99p/$1.30 and begin a new, exciting series. Discover how Rachel copes in her little cottage, how Candy seeks to escape the Dome and Fern becomes a leader for her people, while immersing yourself in the Welsh landscape. Mabon blessings xx

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Standing-Stone-Home-Christmas-ebook/dp/B00OCPBVV6/ref

https://www.amazon.com/Standing-Stone-Home-Christmas-ebook/dp/B00OCPBVV6/ref